Book Of The Law Of The Lord
The Book of the Law of the Lord is the most important of the lost books of the Bible. It is noted nineteen times in the Bible; and another eighteen times as the law of Moses. The original was signed by God and kept in the ark of the covenant. It was considered too sacred to go into the hands of strangers (Gentiles). It was signed by God and kept in the Ark of the Covenant.
The Book of the Law of the Lord has been divided into five sections due to the length of the book. This shortens the time required to log onto any one section. You may click on the link at the top of each section. You may continue from the end of one section directly to the next without returning to this page.
(1) Introduction, Chap. 1, Chap. 2, Pages i-86.
The True God
(2) Chap. 3 – Chap. 15, Pages 87-159.
Blessing of Infants
Baptism for the Dead
(3) Chap. 16 – Chap. 32, Pages 160-199.
Calling of a King
Duty of the King
Abstinence of the King
(4) Chap. 33 – Chap. 36, Pages 200-282.
Establishment of the Law
(5) Chap. 37 – Chap. 47, Pages 283-336.
Place of Your Dwellings
Groves, Forests, and Waters
Apparel and Ornaments
Descent of Inheritances
Payment of Debts
The Book of the Law of the Lord was lost to the Jewish nation; while they were subject to foreign powers. James J. Strang claimed that an angel of the Lord had given into his possession (with the Urim and Thummum) the Book of the Law of the Lord on the metallic plates of Laban; which were brought out of Jerusalem before the Babylonish captivity (about 600 BC). The angel of the Lord authorized him to translate the Book of the Law of the Lord from this authorized copy of the original Book of the Law of the Lord which was kept in the ark of the covenant.
One of the most important features of the Book of the Law of the Lord is that it restored the Ten Commandments as they were originally given to Moses. This Decalogue is the only complete copy of the Ten Commandments in Christianity.
The plates from which the book was translated were among the plates of Laban that were taken from Jerusalem about 600 BC; and from which were also translated the Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith. This was one of the greatest treasures of the House of Israel. “23 Though the exact words of the two tables were never written in any book, (Josephus’ Ant. B. iii, ch. v, 4,) except that kept in the most holy place, the substance was carefully written out by the inspired Prophets, and to the paraphrases so prepared, all transcribers of repute made their copies conform.” (James J. Strang, Book of the Law, p. 43)
It also includes several revelations that were given to James J. Strang for insertion into the Book of the Law; and many pages of his personal notes.
The Book of the Law of the Lord was likely the greatest work of James J. Strang. Both the Book of Mormon and the Book of the Law were prophesied to be restored in the last days. “Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph [Book of Mormon], which is in the hand of Ephraim [Joseph Smith], and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah [Book of the Law], and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.” (Ezek. 37:19)
The “stick of Joseph” is a book written by the seed of Joseph. Joseph Smith was of the tribe of Ephraim, the son of Joseph, the son of Jacob. The Book of Mormon is another testimony of Jesus Christ; as Jesus spoke with this people on the Western Hemisphere the same as the Prophets on the Eastern Hemisphere. It is a record of part of his seed that migrated to the America’s in 600 BC.
The “stick of Judah” is The Book of the Law of the Lord. James J. Strang was of the tribe of Judah. These two have been joined together. What other books could Ezekiel have reference, if not to these two? Sectarian Christians claim the canon of Scripture is full. Yet, there are twenty-two books of Scripture noted in the Bible that are not included.
One of the most important features of the Book of the Law is that it restored the Ten Commandments as they were originally given to Moses. This Decalogue is the only complete copy of the Ten Commandments to be found in Christianity.
“But of all the lost books the most important was the Book of the Law of the Lord. This was kept in the ark of the covenant, and was held too sacred to go into the hands of strangers. When the Septuagint translation was made, the Book of the Law was kept back, and the Book lost to the Jewish nation in the time that they were subject to foreign powers. The various books in the Pentateuch, containing abstracts of some of the laws, have been read instead of it, until even the existence of the book has come to be a matter of doubt.
“It is from an authorized copy of that book, written on metallick plates long previous to the Babylonish captivity, that this translation is made. And being made by the same spirit by which the words were originally dictated, it is beyond doubt as perfect as the language will admit of.” (James J. Strang, ibid, Preface)
The Book of the Law of the Lord. James J. Strang. 2000 Edition. The first printing included 650 numbered copies on 100% archival white rag paper with leather binding and 1400 copies on archival 25% rag paper. This is the only modern type re-print of the 1856 Edition; reproduced word for word, line for line, and page for page in as nearly an exact duplicate of that original work as was possible. Orders will be filled using the lowest number available within each category.
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Book of The Law 1
BOOK OF THE LAW
BEING A TRANSLATION FROM THE EGYPTIAN OF THE LAW GIVEN TO MOSES IN SINAI, WITH NUMEROUS AND VALUABLE NOTES.
PRINTED BY COMMAND OF THE KING,
AT THE ROYAL PRESS,
A. R. VI.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
This printing includes approximately 2,000 copies; including approximately 425 numbered copies printed on 100% rag paper and leather bound; and 1575 copies on archival paper and hard back binding.
This typeset edition was prepared by Samuel E. West. Copyright 2000. All rights reserved. No part of this volume may be reproduced in any form; including by computer, without permission in writing from the editor. Reproduction for person use is authorized. The First Printing included 2,000 copies. The first 200 copies were printed on 100% rag paper, leather bound, and numbered by the editor. The last 1,800 copies were printed on archival paper.
Special Recognition: First, I would like to thank my wife Mary for her patience during the many weeks of work which I spent in the preparation of this Millennium Edition. Without her patience and help the work could not have been completed. Second, I would like to thank Robert and Carolyn Hansen; without whose financial help this work would not have been possible. Third, I would like to thank Cora Little, Franklin Little, and Dean Barnett for their help in initial proof reading.
Whoever receives this book shall not condemn it because of any imperfections which are in it. If there are faults, they are the faults of man and not of God. But rather, give thanks to God that I have been able to make this book available for your edification that you may “grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Remember the command in this Book of the Law, “read in it all the days of your lives…and talk of it, and think upon it; and it shall be inscribed upon your hearts continually. For by this Law hath the Lord your God sanctified you.” (Page 206)
This book is an enlarged typeset edition of the Saint James, Michigan edition of 1856. It has been carefully reproduced word for word, line for line, and page for page in as nearly an exact duplicate of that original work as was possible. The 1856 edition was never bound with a title page, testimony, or preface before James J. Strang was killed in 1856. Therefore, this reproduction has a testimony and preface from the earlier Saint James edition of 1851. That forerunner of 1851 comprised just 80 pages, and was titled: The Book of the Law of the Lord, Consisting of an Inspired Translation of Some of the Most Important Parts of the Law Given to Moses, and a Very Few Additional Commandments, With Brief Notes and References. The later edition of 1856 comprised 320 pages (17-336), and contained nine new chapters and numerous and valuable notes. The title page of this Millennium Edition is conjectural, derived from the edition of 1851 and an announcement of publication in the Daily Northern Islander in 1856. The engraving is reproduced from the edition of 1851.
The 1851 Edition of the Book of the Law did not include the notes by James J. Strang. The 1856 Edition materially altered “Baptism for the Dead” and added nine chapters: “Oaths,” “Benedictions,” “Maledictions,” “Prayer,” “Thanksgiving,” “Sacrifice,” “Monuments,” “High Priest,” and “Priesthood.” “Establishment of the Law” was the last chapter in the 1851 Edition.
T E S T I M 0 N Y.
BE it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, to whom this Book of the Law of the Lord shall come, that James J. Strang has the plates of the ancient Book of the Law of the Lord given to Moses, from which he translated this law, and has shown them to us. We examined them with our eyes, and handled them with our hands. The engravings are beautiful antique workmanship, bearing a striking resemblance to the ancient oriental languages; and those from which the laws in this book were translated are eighteen in number, about seven inches and three-eights wide, by nine inches long, occasionally embellished with beautiful pictures.
And we testify unto you all that the everlasting kingdom of God is established, in which this law shall be kept, till it brings in rest and everlasting righteousness to all the faithful.
SAMUEL P. BACON,
ALBERT N. HOSMER,
ROMAN NUMERAL CONVERSION
v=5; iv=4; vi=6.
x=10; ix=9; xi=11.
L=50; il=49; vl=45; xl=40; li=51; lv=55; lx=60.
C=100; ic=99; vc=95; xc=90; ci=101; cv=105; cx=110.
THE necessity of a new translation of the Sacred Oracles into the English language has long been felt by all biblical students. The earliest translation of any part of the sacred writ into Anglo Saxon was the Psalter, by Adhelm, the first Bishop of Shuborn, A. D. 706. Soon after, Eadfrid, Bishop of Holy Island, translated the four Gospels. This manuscript is in the British Museum. Bede, in the same century, translated the Bible into Anglo Saxon. Alfred, king of England, a little later, translated the Psalter, and part of the New Testament, an edition of which published in London, A. D. 1640, edited by John Spelman, remains.
During the period in which the Anglo Saxon was being changed into the present English language, a variety of translations and revisions were made of parts, and a few of the whole Bible. But in 1603 Dr. Reynalds induced king James of England to appoint fifty-four distinguished men to revise the entire Bible. Of this number forty-seven assembled in six companies, and collated the various translations, both in the English and other languages, with the copies in the original languages, and finally agreed upon what is commonly known as King James’ Bible. It was first published in 1611. In 1683 it was corrected by Dr. Scattergood; in 1711 by Bishops Tennison and Lloyd; afterwards by Dr. Paris; and last by Dr. Blaney in 1769, whose work is treated by nearly all Protestants as a standard edition, and all subsequent impressions profess to conform to it.
The Roman Catholicks have a translation of the Old Testament made at the College at Doway, and of the New at Rheims, held in high repute by them, and doubtless quite as faithful as that of king James. There are also various other translations, little known and seldom referred to, yet approved by some of the minor sects. These are generally mere revisions, in which different editors and revisers have made changes to suit their peculiar views and interests, and still bearing upon their faces the unmistakable mark in almost every chapter of some translator previous to king James’ famous revision. The peculiar
merit of each is not in its general fidelity, but in its more accurate rendering of particular passages, or words of scripture. Neither king James’ or the Doway has attained its present eminence by its own merits, but each by the patronage with which it is sustained. In thousands of instances the same word in the original is translated by a different word in the English, when no reason for the variance can be given, except its influence on some particular doctrine. The names of the same persons are in different places written in so different a manner as not to be recognized by the unlearned, as Elias and Elijah, Isaiah and Esais, Osea and Oshea, Joshua and Jesus, Jacob and James, Mary and Miriam.
In various places the translators have been utterly unable to translate at all, the meaning of the original words being quite lost; as the word bdellium, Gen. ii. 12; Ezekiel (ix. 4) was commanded to go through Jerusalem and make a particular mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and mourn for all the abominations committed there. But what that mark was, translators have been utterly unable to determine. In the Hebrew it is the last letter of the alphabet, thau or tau, which in the genuine or ancient Hebrew character is identical with the sign of the cross. Roman Catholicks therefore interpret it as the sign of the cross. If this plausible interpretation is the true one, it is yet unaccountable that the form of the sign was changed when the Hebrew came to be written in the Chaldee character. Protestants, to destroy the plausibility of this interpretation, render the passage “set a mark,” leaving out the very mark itself, which the prophet mentioned with so much particularity. The Protestant leaves out a part of the scripture, which he cannot understand, and the Catholick puts it in, utterly ignorant of what it means. Human ingenuity can never surmount the difficulty. Only an inspired translation can tell us what mark the prophet was to put upon their foreheads.
Everything in written or spoken language is the subject of interpretation, and in many instances doubtless there is a real difference of opinion among the learned as to the true interpretation of the scriptures, in the original tongues; and, there
fore, if divested of all sectarian feeling, they could not agree upon a new translation; nor if agreed, could they be assured that they were certainly correct.
But there is another objection to resting a religious faith on those works, of far greater consequence. The copies from which the translations are made, are not authenticated, as accurate copies. In the various ancient copies collated, not less than thirty thousand variations in the reading have been discovered and marked. And yet all the copies of the Old Testament collated are derived from that of AARON BEN ASHER, written about A. D. 1034, or 2525 years subsequent to the giving of the tables of the law. The Jews of middle and eastern Asia have their various copies, varying from one another, derived from that of JACOB BEN NAPTHALI, who was cotemporary with AARON BEN ASHER, and whose copy varied greatly from his. The black Jews of India have still another copy, for which they claim a high antiquity, also varying greatly from each of the others. The Samaritan Pentateuch presents the highest claim to antiquity of all these various works, and contains many words, sentences, and even whole chapters, not found in the common Bibles.
Of the New Testament the earliest copies are, first, the copy of Beza, now in the University of Cambridge, containing the four Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles, with the old Italian or Latin translation, written probably in the fifth century. Second, the Vatican copy, written at some period from the fourth to the sixth century. Third, the Alexandrian copy, claimed to have been written soon after the Nicene Council, but not certainly entitled to a higher antiquity than the tenth century.
The most ancient of all manuscripts lack several important passages, now contained in all Testaments, and the controversialists of those days did not allude to them, though put to narrow straits for the testimony contained in them, by which we know that those passages are forgeries of a later date.
Several books are also mentioned in the scriptures, not now found in the Bible, but of equal authority with it, which have been lost; as for instance, another epistle of Paul to the
Corinthian and the Ephesian churches, and the books of Iddo, Nathan, and others, prophets of high rank in Israel.
But of all the lost books the most important was the Book of the Law of the Lord. This was kept in the ark of the covenant, and was held too sacred to go into the hands of strangers. When the Septuagint translation was made, the Book of the Law was kept back, and the Book lost to the Jewish nation in the time that they were subject to foreign powers. The various books in the Pentateuch, containing abstracts of some of the laws, have been read instead of it, until even the existence of the book has come to be a matter of doubt.
It is from an authorized copy of that book, written on metallick plates long previous to the Babylonish captivity, that this translation is made. And being made by the same spirit by which the words were originally dictated, it is beyond doubt as perfect as the language will admit of. The utmost pains has been taken to make the execution of it in all respects what it should be, and the editor flatters himself that no errour has crept into the body of the work, and none of importance into the notes. That a little ambiguity may exist in some places, by means of the ambiguous or double import of words, is not doubted. Until a perfect language exists, it is not possible that it should be otherwise.
The following corrections were made to the original text:
Page.Par. From: To:
18.3 (adoration) (adoration,)
20.4 (3) (3.)
23.3 (the the) (the)
34.2 (wilful) (willful)
59.2 (that that) (that the)
64.6 (of earth) (on earth)
76.5 (ideas or) (ideas, nor)
96.1 (consciencekeeper) (conscience keeper)
129.7 (Neander, is) (Neander, in)
175.4 (reestablishment) (re-establishment)
229.3 (persons,”) (doctrine,”)
259.2 (crossexamination) (cross examination)
265.2 (” her “hands) (her “hands)
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
CHAP.- SUBJECT. – PAGE.
I. The Decalogue…17
II. The True God…47
X. Blessing of Infants…114
XII. Baptism for the Dead…136
XX. Calling of a King…168
XXI. Duty of the King…177
XXII. Abstinence of the King…179
XXIV. King’s Council…183
XXV. King’s Court…185
XXV1. City Court…187
XXVIII. Twelve Apostles…191
XXIX. High Priests…193
XXXV. Establishment of the Law…203
XXXVII. Place of Your Dwellings…283
XXXVIII. Groves, Forests, and Waters…286
XXXIX. Apparel and Ornaments…288
XLII. Descent of Inheritances…300
XLIII. Social Order…305
XLIV. Household Relations…310
XLVII. Payment of Debts…335
Chapter II. was written by the prophet James, by inspiration of God.
The first six sections of Chapter XX. were written by the prophet James, by inspiration of God, and the nine following sections are the words of the angel of God when he conferred upon James J. Strang the prophetic authority, and made him the chief shepherd of the flock of God on earth.
Chapter XXXV. is a revelation given Feb., 1851.
Chapter XL. is a revelation given Feb., 1851, except the first two sections.
The first three sections of Chapter XLI. are a revelation from God, given to James J. Strang, July 8th, 1850.
With these five exceptions all the other chapters of this book were translated from the plates of Laban, taken from the house of Laban, in Jerusalem, in the days of Zedekiah, king of Judah.
BOOK OF THE LAW.
CHAPTER I: THE DECALOGUE.1
- These Commandments were given by the voice of God, in Mount Sinai, to Moses, and to all Israel; (Deut ix, 10;) for though Moses and the Elders of Israel only went into the Mount, (Ex. xxiv, 1, 2, 9-11,) and Moses alone received the Tables of the Law; yet all Israel heard the voice of God, when he gave the Commandments. (Ex. xix, 16-19. xx, 22. Deut. v, 4, 5. Josephus’ Ant., B. iii, ch. v, 4.)
- The Commandments were written on two tables of stone, by the finger of God. (Deut. ix, 10, 11.) Moses broke these tables; after which he prepared two others, on which God wrote the same words, (Deut. x, 2, 4, 5,) and the tables were placed in the Ark of the Covenant, (Josephus’ Ant., B. viii, ch. iv, 1. Heb. ix, 4,) and kept within the Tabernacle and the Temple until the Babylonish captivity. (2d Mac. ii, 4, 5.)
- They were not restored to the Esdraic Temple, (Buck’s Th. Dic. “Ark.” But. Con. “Temple,”) and the Jews have not possessed them since going into Babylon.
- It was never allowable to write the exact words of the tables, (Josephus’ Ant., B. iii, ch. v, 4,) except in the Exemplar of the Law, kept in the Sanctuary. But the substance of them, as written out by the Prophets for publick use, is now restored by divine authority.
1Ten Commandments, Ex. xx, 3-17. Deut. v, 7-21. Matt. xxii, 37-40. Mark xii, 30, 31. Luke x, 27. Rom. xiii, 9.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy might, and with all thy strength:1 thou shalt adore him, and serve him, and obey him: thou shalt have no other gods before thee: thou shalt not make unto thee any image or likeness of anything that is in the heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters of the earth, to bow thyself unto it, or to worship it: thou shalt not bow down thyself unto, nor adore anything that thine eye beholdeth, or thy imagination conceiveth of; but the Lord thy God only; for the Lord thy God is a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, from generation to generation, even upon all that hate him, and showing a multitude of mercies unto them that keep his commandments.2 143 words, 597 letters.
- The design of the Almighty evidently is to found his government in love; and to make that the chief sanction of his law. Love is the first thing required of all men; love unto God, who first loved us, and who bestows on us all the good which we possess.
- The adoration service and obedience, which he demands of us, are but the natural sequence of that love; and the universal prohibition of false gods, is a necessary means of keeping our hearts unto him; for if we were allowed to bestow
[1 See Ten Commandments, p. 17. Deut. vi, 5. x, 12. [2 Deut. vii, 9, 19.
divine adoration on fire, the sun, or any instrument of his munificence, or any statue, or symbol, or any man, or officer, or imaginary being, as his representative, man’s shortsightedness would forget God, and soon worship only the creature.
- Thus the earth is filled with examples of nations relapsing to idolatry through such small beginnings as setting up apt symbols of God’s perfections, to be worshipped by the ignorant, instead of the God whose majesty they symbolized.
- The priesthood and the generality of the learned in most Pagan nations, do not worship the idols which they set up for the ignorant to adore; but rather the majesty who is above them, or the power and beneficence which they represent.
- And in Roman Catholick countries, it is to be feared that many of the ignorant, really terminate their adoration on the cross, the images and pictures, with which their churches are filled: though the mere presence of them in the church is not objectionable.
- Though God has founded his government in love, and made that the chief sanction of his law, we are not allowed for one moment to imagine that he will not punish sin, or that he will look upon it with any degree of allowance.
- For in the same breath he tells us that he is a jealous God, visiting iniquity on all that hate him; not as some have said, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon their innocent posterity; but upon their children who abide in their sins.
- Often it happens that though the father alone may have committed the sin, the children are its beneficiaries. If the fathers have obtained property by fraud and violence, the children who inherit it, receive it, subject to the curse; and unless they make reparation for the iniquity, must expect to be visited with the wrath of God, as for a sin done in their own persons.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain:1 thou shalt not usurp dominion as a ruler; for the name of the Lord thy God is great and glorious above all other names:2 he is above all, and is the only true God: the only just and upright King over all: he alone hath the right to rule; and in his name, only he to whom he granteth it:3 whosoever is not chosen of him, the same is a usurper, and unholy: the Lord will not hold him guiltless, for he taketh his name in vain. 100 words, 367 letters.
- By the first Commandment God establishes a government among men, which he makes supreme in all things. But as every government, besides laws and the sovereign power whence they emanate, must also have officers by whom the laws shall be administered; so those officers must derive their authority from the sovereign, in legal form.
- All officers act in the name of him from whom they de-rive their authority. In the several American States the official acts of most State officers are done “in the name of the people of the State.”
- Officers of the Federal Government, act “in the name of the United States of America.” In the monarchies of Europe, official acts are done “in the name” of the sovereign. And in voluntary societies and corporations, the officers act “in the name” of the society or corporation.
[1 See Ten Commandments, p.17. [2 Deut. xxviii, 58. [3 Dan. vii, 13, 14, 26, 27. Matt. xxviii, 18. Luke i, 38. Eph. i, 18-21. Phil. ii, 9-11. Heb. ii, 8. Rev. i, 3. ii, 26, 27.
- It therefore appears that to act in the name of any one, is to act by his authority; and to act in the name of God, is to act by his authority.
- Hence taking the name of God in vain, is taking his authority without being authorized; it is attempting to govern, without being called to that office; in any matter wherein God has declared a law, and appointed an administrator of the law.
- It follows, therefore, that every form of government among men, which was not instituted of God, is a usurpation, (Zech. xiv, 9, 17, Dan. ii, 44. vii, 14. Rev. xi, 15,) and that every exercise of the proper functions of government under it, is a taking of the name of God in vain, as every exercise of functions not proper to government, is tyranny.
- Priests made by the authority of man, and not called of God; Priests who constantly profess to have received no dispensation from God, and who deny that he has revealed himself to any for eighteen hundred years, do constantly administer in his name, as boldly as though they were sent by him.
- They baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; they go about doing works in the assumed power and might of God’s ministers, of whom Jesus Christ said, “I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt vii, 23.)
- He did not deny that they had preached, prophesied, or worked miracles in his name. He denounced them as workers of iniquity, because they were unknown to him; that is, were not his ministers. They took God’s name in vain.
- God has appointed a door to the priesthood; a call of God by revelation, and an ordaining by the hands of his ministers; (Heb. v, 4. Ex. xxviii, l. 1st Tim. iv, 14. Acts vii, 35;) and Christ declares that he that comes not in by the door, but climbs up some other way, is a thief and a robber. (John x, 1.)
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work; thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy womanservant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates: for in six ages the Lord thy God made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh age: wherefore the Lord thy God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it:1 thou shalt keep it holy unto him, that thou forget not the Law, nor be found keeping the company of the vile, nor be despised by the righteous. 129 words,
- The day of rest originated in the rest of God, when he ceased the work of creation, at the making of man, to have dominion over the earth.
- It was had in remembrance as an institution of God, before promulgated by his voice in Sinai; (Gen. ii, 2, 3. Ex. xvi, 23;) and there is no ground for believing that the sanctifying of the Sabbath, was not a law among the Patriarchs and the Antediluvians, because it is not mentioned in the scriptures; for from the time of Moses until that of Solomon, when it was unquestionably in force, it is nowhere mentioned.
[1 See Ten Commandments, p. 17. Gen. ii, 2, 3.
- Throughout Christendom, with some slight exceptions, the first day, and not the seventh, is kept as a Sabbath. For this they have no warrant in the scriptures, and pretend to none. (Buck’s Th. Dic. “Sabbath.”) The reason given for the change, is, that Christ raised from the dead the first day, and the attempt is to justify it by tradition, and the practice of the Church.
- But, evidently, the Church have no power to change or abrogate a commandment of God, who required us to keep the seventh day, not any other day in the seven.
- The early Christians did undoubtedly frequently meet on the first day for religious worship, precisely as the Saints do nowadays, in exclusively Christian communities; not because they regarded it as the Sabbath of God, but because on that day, being the regular day of heathen festivals, men would come together to hear them.
- Keeping the first day as a Sabbath, instead of the seventh, is one of the innovations forced upon Christianity by the Emperour Constantine, to make the change of national religion less difficult.
- The very language of this Commandment, seems to pre-sage the propensity of man to change the Sabbath; remember the Sabbath day; and God, foreseeing what wicked men would do, has placed on his chosen a special injunction that they keep that day in all their generations for a perpetual covenant; (Ex. xxxi, 13-17;) and awful penalties are denounced against those who abolish it.
- The Sabbath is appointed for men in every station in life. The crime of exacting labour of children and servants on the Sabbath day, is a great offence unto God. But it is the Sabbath of the beast as well as of men, and to work beasts for our pleasure or profit, is an offence unto God.
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.1 thou shalt not revile him, nor speak evil of him, nor curse him:2 thou shalt do no injustice unto him; and thou shalt maintain his right, against his enemy: thou shalt not exact rigorously of him, nor turn aside from relieving him: thou shalt deliver him from the snare and the pit, and shalt return his ox when he strayeth: thou shalt comfort him when he mourns, and nurture him when he sickens: thou shalt not abate the price of what thou buyest of him, for his necessity; nor shalt thou exact of him, because he leaneth upon thee: for in so doing thousands shall rise up and call thee blessed, and the Lord thy God shall strengthen thee in all the work of thy hand. 133 words, 558 letters.
- As God has founded his government on the dominion of love, and as our principal relations in life are to God as a superiour, and to our neighbours as fellows, love to our neigh-bour is as necessary to a faithful observance of his law, as love to him.
- All the Commandments which follow after, are but the elaboration of the law, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself;” a law very aptly expressed in that other form of words, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” (Matt. vii, 12. Luke vi, 31.)
[1 See Ten Cornmandments, p. 17. Lev. xix, 18. Matt. xix. 19. Gal. v, 14. James ii, 8. [2 Matt. v, 22. Rom. xii, 14.
- Many infidel writers of late years, have attempted to de-rive this precept, under the name of the golden rule, from heathen philosophers, and have claimed that Christ borrowed it from Zoraster, or Confucius; whereas, they, as well as he, have only copied it, with a slight change of words, from the Commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
- The doctrine contained in it, is original with God, and does not even date with Moses, but was known in the days of Adam; and it was in violation of this law, as well as that which says, thou shalt not kill, that Cain lifted up his hand against Abel.
- If all men were under the law of God, this law would introduce a universal brotherhood: a consummation most desirable. But so long as men are found in rebellion against the law of God, it is most important that those who cleave unto it should remember this thing, that they love one another.
- If any one has really done us an injury, we ought, as far as possible, to believe that he was blinded to the right by the common infirmities of our corrupt nature, rather than that he has deliberately, and of malice aforethought, designed to do a wrong.
- But if the utmost stretch of charity will not bring us to so favourable a conclusion, still we should remember that his corrupt conduct will injure him more than us, and so remembering, should look upon him as an object of compassion, whom we ought to reclaim, rather than an object of vengeance, to be destroyed.
- Even when we are obliged to bring him to judgment, our prayer should be that he be not utterly condemned; but that when he is found in the wrong, there may be found room for repentance.
Honour thy father and thy mother:1 give heed to their commandments, obey their laws, and depart not from their precepts: reverence their age, and seek unto their house all the days of thy life: exalt not thyself against them, nor withhold to build up their house above thine own: honour and obey the King and the Judges, and the rulers, and all that are set in authority; for they are as fathers among the people: that they may be a fear unto evil doers; and the Priest also, who stands before the Lord, that he may instruct thee: and thy days shall be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 114 words, 476 letters.
- The Patriarchal ages were distinguished by veneration for parents, and deference to age, as well as by a proper regard for those who by their priesthood, or office, stood as fathers of the people.
- Even at this day, in some Oriental and Levantine countries, children so honour their fathers and mothers.
- But in no country on earth, have men so far departed from this rule, as in the United States.
- It is the continual scandal of the time and country, that children constantly speak of their parents as the “old man and woman;” and as age grows upon them, rather look upon them as encumbrances upon the estate, than as heads of the house.
[1 See Ten Commandments, p. 17. Matt. xv, 4-6. xix, 19. Mark vii, 10. Eph. vi, 1-3.
- This evil is increasing with time. A single generation back, children were instructed at home and at school, to make obeisance to parents, teachers, and to men and women generally, at entering and leaving a house, at meeting them on all occasions, and especially on receiving favours from them.
- All this is changed now. Very small children pride themselves on wanting respect to age, station, and parentage. This is all wrong.
- The general lawlessness which pervades the continent, the boldness with which laws and the ministers of justice are defied, by small bodies of men, grow naturally out of the education of boys, in the customary manner.
- But due honour to parents, does not consist solely in mere forms. The whole idea that at a certain age a son becomes independent of his father, is vicious.
- A son should be subject to his father all his days. He should ever look up to him as the head of the house, and though separately established on his own inheritance, should pay such deference to him, as he in turn would desire from his own sons.
- If parents attempt to use their authority over their sons, for selfish and private ends, endeavouring to make mere servants of them, instead of building them up, they greatly abuse their authority. (Col. iii, 20, 21.)
- But for that or greater causes, children cannot justify dishonouring their parents, though they may refuse submission to mere usurpation.
- It is every man’s duty, as far as in his power, and at as early a period as possible, to establish his sons in such position as to make them useful members of society, remembering that when so established they are yet his sons, and their honour is his honour.
Thou shalt not kill:1 thou shalt slay no man in malice; neither thy child, nor thy wife, nor thy bondman, nor thy bondwoman, nor thy servant: nor the child of thy servant: neither shalt thou slay thine enemy, except thou admonish him, and entreat him, and he hear thee not, and God give him into thy hand: thou shalt only slay him in lawful war: and if any man trespass against thee, and break through, and do violence, thou shalt not slay him in revenge. If thou overtake him in the trespass, thou mayest resist unto blood; but except thou slay him in the trespass, thou shalt deliver him to the Judge; he shall judge him, and the hand of the officer shall be on him. 126 words, 518 letters.
- In very few Christian countries, have publick men had the moral courage to refuse duelling which once became so thoroughly established as an honourable arbitrament of controversies, as to have a force little less than that of law.
- Duelling is now, to some extent, discarded. But in place of it has risen up the more barbarous Lynch law, in pursuance of which mobs get up mock courts, to judge those they have already doomed to exile or death.
- To execute the judgments of such courts, is as much murder, as any killing under any circumstances can be. No amount of evidence of the real guilt of the condemned can
[1 See Ten Commandments, p. 17. Gen. ix. 5, 6. Ex. xxi, 12-14.
give the slightest colour of justification to such a deed.
- All killing by mobs, or bodies of unauthorized men, acting upon no matter what provocation, and not in open and legal war, belong to the category of mere murder.
- Nor should that be regarded as legal war, which men by their law have authorized, but only that which the law of God authorizes.
- Consequently, he who voluntarily enters upon an unjust war, is guilty of murder. As part of the force, he is guilty, when death is inflicted by others.
- Nor will he be justified, though required by the law of his country; for that which the law of God declares to be sin, man cannot make lawful.
- It is, therefore, the duty of the Saints, to abstain from all wars which are not authorized by the express word of God, or the plain principles of his law; as from murder.
- Many laws have been made among men, especially among barbarous nations, which are themselves opposed to the divine law, and enforced with the punishment of death.
- To have any share, however indirectly, in enforcing such laws, or inflicting the penalties for their violation, is in the last degree culpable.
- It does not follow, however, that one should rebel against such governments. In most cases it is better to remove beyond their dominion.
- To those who remain, remonstrance is better than resistance. If one is thus involved in punishment, patient, unresisting submission, is a faithful testimony against sin.
- Even those trades and employments not necessary for the happiness of mankind, and which minister principally to vices destructive of life, are in their nature murderous, and should be avoided as deadly sins, which God will judge.
Thou shalt not commit adultery:1 thou shalt not in any wise lie with the wife of thy neighbour; and if she seduce thee, thou shalt resist her; that thou pollute not thyself, and make not the place of thy house unclean, and destroy not the house of thy neighbour, and that thou cause no violence in the land:2 thou shalt not lie with the wife of the stranger; neither shalt thou lie with the wife of thine enemy; lest thy children be scattered abroad, and know not thee, nor the fear of thee be upon them, and they be strangers to the covenant of God, and the whole land be corrupt, and thine offspring be destroyed with the wicked. 119 words, 495 letters.
- Few crimes have worked so terrible destruction among men as adultery, that popular vice, which, in these degenerate days, is rather boasted of, than concealed, by the guilty.
- The most wicked delusion of the times, is that which places the obligation of chastity, on woman alone; visiting the penalty of crime on the victim, rather than on the criminal.
- Every man of the world understands very well, that with-in certain trifling limitations, he can indulge in unrestrained licentiousness, without suffering reproach in fashionable society.
- Worse than this; those who are reputed successful in this crime, are most popular among women, and envied by men. Thus society offers bounties for the crime which, of all
[1 See Ten Commandments, p. 17. Matt. v, 27, 28. [2 Case of Sodom, Gen. xix, Case of the Benjaminites, Judges xix, xx. 2d Sam. xii, 10.
others, most desolates the household, and the social circle.
- There can be no remedy for these evils until chastity becomes the duty of men, as well as women. Such is the rule of God’s law. The interdict of adultery is addressed principally to men, as the persons chiefly bound to preserve the sanctity of this Commandment.
- This rule was well understood in the days of the Patriarchs, as well as in later times. Joseph resisted the seductions of his master’s wife, and numerous instances are recorded where crimes against chastity, were visited on the guilty men, rather than on their victims. (2d Sam. xii, 9, 10. Gen. xxxiv, 1, 2. 25-29.)
- Happily for the people of God, this rule, in spite of the corrupt education, which, as Gentiles, they received, has become a sentiment among the Saints, so strong that treating it lightly produces universal indignation.
- Among Gentiles a man would be laughed at and lose caste, who professed to practice chastity in the face of strong temptation; but a woman once overtaken in sin, is irrecoverably disgraced, no matter by what false practices overcome.
- But among the Saints, a man guilty of adultery, would be avoided as though infected with a plaguespot, and his victim, though deeply disgraced, might hope, by a long course of humility and penitence, for some of that forgiving charity, which, from the infirmities of human nature, all so much need.
- The crime of fornication is only an inferiour kind of adultery. For, as adultery is a pollution of the marriage bed, so fornication is the pollution of the bed of celibacy.
- Nor should any one imagine for a moment, that any subsequent reparation can justify fornication. For though the law compels the guilty seducer to marry the victim on whom he has begotten seed, he is yet guilty.
Thou shalt not steal:1 thou shalt not trespass upon anything that is thy neighbour’s, to take it from him, nor to destroy it: neither shalt thou trespass upon the stranger that dwelleth within thy gates, to destroy his substance, nor to take it from him;2 for to thee he looketh for justice, and a shield round about all that he hath; and the fear of the Lord thy God is upon him also, and to his righteousness he also seeketh: neither shalt thou overreach him by cunning, nor by stratagem, to take his substance from thy neighbour, nor the stranger within thy gates. Remember that ye were strangers, and were oppressed, and oppress not the stranger, lest his cry ascend to God against you. 124 words, 545 letters.
- The general interdict, “Thou shalt not steal,” does not prohibit larceny alone, but all those modes and contrivances, by which one person appropriates the labour or property, of another, unjustly.
- Even if the unjust appropriation be consummated through legal forms; or the consent of the victim be obtained through deception or fraud; or by taking advantage of mental imbecility; it is stealing as much as where the taking is done secretly, without the consent of the owner.
- Obtaining property by gambling is stealing; for the owner receives nothing for that with which he parts; and the
[1 See Ten Commandments, p. 17. 1st Thess. iv, 6. 1st Cor. vi, 8-10. [2 Ex. xxii, 21. Jer. vii, 5, 6. Zech. vii, 10. Mal. iii, 5.
inducement of each to the undertaking, is the hope of obtaining of the other something for nothing.
- Taking property in pledge for debts or advances disproportionate to the amount pledged, and retaining it forfeited for nonpayment, is another mode of stealing.
- Letting money on mortgage, and buying the mortgaged property at the mortgage sale for less than its value, is stealing; and if two combine, one to take the mortgage, and the other to buy the property, both are alike guilty.
- Buying or selling property to be delivered on time, at a fixed price, and operating on the markets to produce an artificial scarcity or abundance, so as to obtain money for releasing the contract, or damages for the nonperformance of it, or any similar transaction, equivalent to that, is only a civil mode of stealing.
- In fine, all those speculative transactions, by which one man obtains from another anything valuable, without making what is esteemed by both parties a just and full equivalent partakes of the nature and guilt of theft.
- But these definitions do not include letting money at reasonable interest. For the use of money is of substantial worth, and it is just that one who borrows money to make money by the investment of it, should pay for the use of it.
- Nor do they extend to buying property in quantity, to be retailed at a higher price; for the subdivision and keeping open market is a just consideration for a higher price. And so of all legitimate commercial transactions, where a real difference in the value of property is produced by transportation, transmutation, or timely retention.
- Neither do they extend to cases where bounties are offered to the successful competitors in any laudable under-taking, and truly awarded, and so received.
Thou shalt not bear false witness:1 thou shalt not speak falsely before the King, nor before the Judge, nor in the assembly of the Princes, nor in the presence of the Ruler, nor unto the Minister of the Law, nor among the multitude;2 nor in the ear of thy friend, nor to thy wife, nor thy child, nor thy servant: neither shalt thou withhold the truth from the King, nor the Judge, nor him that is set in authority: for thus shall righteousness be established in all thy borders. 89 words, 373 letters.
- At Common Law a man is liable to be punished for bearing false witness, only when under oath; and then only in cases where the proceeding is judicial, the oath false, the intention willful, the assertion absolute, the falsehood material to the matter in question, and the person legally sworn. (Chitty’s Crim. Law, Vol. ii, p. 302, 303)
- So narrow is this rule, that any person may swear in the most solemn manner to anything whatever, no matter how false, in any case not in the course of proceedings at law, and he is subject to no punishment.
- And on a trial for perjury, if it should turn out that the Magistrate before whom the perjury was committed was not duly qualified, or that in some manner he had failed to get jurisdiction of the cause, or that the particular part of the testimony wherein the perjury was committed was not material to the issue, no matter how corrupt the intention, or how
[1 See Ten Cornmandments, p. 17. Deut. xix, 18-21. [2 Ex. xxiii, 1, 7. Ps. xv, 3. ci, 5.
false the testimony of the accused, he would go clear, legally.
- Indeed, so loose is the rule of law among Gentiles on this subject, that for all practical purposes nearly all perjury, and every form of false witness not under oath, is lawful.
- If it should be alleged that the laws against libel and slander are a restraint upon false witness in cases less than perjury, it should be remembered that the action for a libel is not founded on its falsehood, but on its tendency to cause a breach of the peace; and an indictment for a libel lays for printing the truth, as well as a falsehood, though lately this rule has been slightly modified.
- And the action for slander cannot be maintained, simply for bearing false witness against another; but for falsely accusing him of some indictable offence, involving moral turpitude, or subjecting him to infamous punishment; (5 Johns. R., 188;) some act injurious to him in his profession or business; (8 Johns. R., 64. 1 Johns. C., 330. 5 Johns. R., 476. 17 Johns. R., 217;) or anything by which he suffers a pecuniary injury. (10 Johns. R., 281. 5 Cow., 351. 1 Wend., 506.)
- Under these rules perjury and slander, false witness in nearly every form, are actually legal. One may, by his falsehoods, keep the neighbourhood in a perpetual broil; speak evil of dignities, and almost all manner of falsehood of the purest of God’s creatures, and the law has no bridle for his tongue.
- The Law of God changes all this. It exacts truth of all men, in all places, when it allows anything to be put in issue; and takes no denial, when it makes inquisition.
- Its searching supervision goes into the family circle, and forbids that a man speak falsely to his wife, his child, or his servant; and among the multitude it rebukes the talebearer, and forbids all men to raise a false report.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours inheritance: thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, nor his bondman, nor his bondwoman, nor his manservant, nor his womanservant, nor his horse, nor his carriage, nor the instruments of his labour, nor the produce of his land, nor the things that he has made, nor the treasures that he has in store, nor anything that is thy neighbour’s:1 thy desire shall not be upon them, to take them by stealth, nor by fraud, nor by cunning, nor by violence: neither shalt thou covet that which belongeth to the stranger that dwelleth within thy gates;2 but thou shalt improve thine own, and thy desire shall be unto it; lest thou be corrupt, and the hand of thy neighbours be against thee, and the cry of the poor ascend to God against thee.3 138 words, 605 letters.
Total-10 sec., 1,215 words, 5,042 letters.
- Other systems of Law are satisfied with external actions. God’s Law demands the allegiance of the heart. It will not be satisfied because our actions appear to be righteous; only when we are moved to them by just motives.
- Thus we are not merely forbidden to steal, but we are forbidden to desire our neighbour’s property. We are not merely forbidden to usurp dominion which God has bestowed
[1 See Ten Commandments, p. 17. Mic. ii, 1, 2 Hab. ii, 9. Eph.v, 3, 5. Heb. xiii, 5, [2 Ex. xxii, 21. xxiii, 9. Jer. vii, 6. Zech. vii, 10. Mal. iii, 5. [3 Ex. xxii, 27. Ps. cxiv, 19.
on another, but we are forbidden to desire the possession of it.
- Covetousness does not consist in the desire to increase our substance, and multiply riches; for that desire is laudable. Covetousness is the desire to obtain that which is another’s, rather than to increase our own by production.
- Many men, possessed of industry and talent, spend their lives in a series of efforts to make themselves rich on the possessions, or out of the earnings of others; when, with equal efforts, they could produce wealth.
- So great is this propensity, that there are numerous occupations and professions, the chief business of which is, not to make anything valuable, or add value to anything in being, but to get away something from the owner; and either leave him destitute, or to new toils to supply himself.
- Such business is unlawful. If our neighbour has a good farm, we have a right to desire as good; but we have no right to desire his, even for a price. Our desires ought to be to our own, and we should seek to improve that, and make it desirable, rather than get away that of another.
- God created all the land for man. Man made none of it. Why should he sell it? There is enough for all, if they will but go and possess it. Why take that of any man, when there is countless millions as good, unoccupied?
- It is the duty of every man to obtain an inheritance, if he has none, and labour faithfully to improve it, and make it a good inheritance for his posterity; and that his desire be unto it, and to the substance which he shall accumulate, and not to that of his neighbour.
- And it is not right to seek to purchase, or to tempt any one to sell that which he needs for himself, or his household. We should rather produce for ourselves, or buy that which was produced for the market.
NOTE ON THE DECALOGUE.
- From time immemorial the Constitution of God’s Kingdom has been entitled, “The Decalogue,” or, the “Ten Commandments.” There can be no greater evidence how poorly the oracles of God have been kept, than the fact that among Christian sects none know what these Commandments are.
- Protestants read and divide them as follows:
- Thou shalt have none other gods but me.
II. Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, and visit the sins of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and show mercy unto thousands in them that love me, and keep my commandments.
III. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. For the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
IV. Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all that thou hast to do; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt do no manner of work, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, thy manservant, and thy maidservant, thy cattle, and the stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it.
V. Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
VI. Thou shalt do no murder.
VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
VIII. Thou shalt not steal.
IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house; thou shalt
not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his servant, nor his maid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is his. (Common Prayer. Catechism.)
- The objection to this reading and division is, that the first and second are one and the same Commandment; for the language, “Thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor worship them,” are but an elaborating of the previous language, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” The Commandment contained in them is one.
- As these are one Commandment, and only eight follow after, Protestants have but nine. To conceal this errour some theologians have asserted that the first Commandment was contained in the words, “I am the Lord thy God;” (Ex. xx, 2. Deut. v, 6;) which are no Commandment, for they are in the affirmative, not the imperative; and are not the substance of what Jesus asserts to be the first Commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matt xxii, 37.)
- These words of Jesus, though not found in the Old Testament, are sometimes used by Protestants as the first Commandment. But the intent of the Commandment evidently is, that we shall bestow divine adoration on God alone; and it therefore as truly includes the interdiction, “Him only shalt thou serve,” as the mandate, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God:” so, if these words are taken for a portion of the first Commandment, the number ten is not supplied. As well might the Sabbath day Commandment be divided so as to make that one Commandment which requires us to work six days, and another which requires us to sanctify the seventh,
day, and still another which interdicts all work on the seventh day. (Ex. xx, 8-11. xxxi, 13-17. Deut. v, 12-15.)
- Roman Catholicks divide and read the Commandments as follows:
- am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of anything that is in heav-en above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them.
II. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
III. Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day.
IV. Honour thy father and thy mother.
V. Thou shalt not kill.
VI. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
VII. Thou shalt not steal.
VIII. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
IX. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife.
X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s goods. (Metropolitan Catholick Directory, 1843, p. 7.)
- By this reading it is evident they have but nine Commandments; for it is certain that the interdict, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife,” and, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s goods,” are but an elaboration of the general interdict, “Thou shalt not covet anything that is thy neigh-bour’s.”
- To this it is sometimes objected that coveting, or desiring, a neighbour’s wife, is a different crime from coveting a neighbour’s ox; because the ox is property, but the wife is not. It is equally true that by the Law of God, manservants and maidservants are not property. They are all persons, over whom man exercises some sort of dominion, and in
whom, by virtue of that dominion, he has some kind of interest, though that interest is not a property.
- Therefore, if the interdict, “Thou shalt not covet or desire thy neighbour’s wife,” is a different command from that, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s ox,” so also is that, “Thou shalt not covet his manservant.” But neither is a different Commandment, for this only is contained in all, “Thou shalt not covet anything that is thy neighbour’s,” whether it is his property, or his dominion.
- Josephus has also preserved a version of the Commandments, much abbreviated, as follows:
- The first Commandment teaches us that there is but one God, and that we ought to worship him only.
II The second, commands us not to make the image of any living creature, to worship it.
III. The third, that we must not swear by God in a false manner.
IV. The fourth, that we must keep the seventh day, by resting from all sorts of work.
V. The fifth, that we must honour our parents.
VI. The sixth, that we must abstain from murder.
VII. The seventh, that we must not commit adultery.
VIII. The eighth, that we must not be guilty of theft.
IX. The ninth, that we must not bear false witness.
X. The tenth, that we must not admit of the desire of anything that is another’s. (Josephus’ Ant., B. iii, ch. v, 5.)
- The works of Josephus have been preserved and brought down to us by Christians, who have been so anxious to avail themselves of the testimony of so distinguished a writer, that they have made several alterations in his writings, which have materially diminished the value of his testimony on any question depending on verbal accuracy.
- Among other things, these Commandments must have been tampered with; for, by the first, we are commanded to worship the true God, and “him only.” Yet, by the second,
we are forbid to worship “the image of any living creature,” which is tautology; for that would be worshipping another God.
- And the third Commandment forbids swearing falsely by God; whereas, the ninth forbids bearing false wit ness; which is nearly the same thing; the chief difference being, that under the third, any oath except that by God, might be broken with impunity.
- It is possible that the Commandments were in a much mutilated form as early as Josephus’ time, though not equal to this. Be that as it may, it is certain that this is not the form in which they were given.
- For as in this reading, the first and second are one Commandment, and the third and ninth one, there are but eight in all: both that which forbids assuming the name of God in vain, and that requiring us to love our neighbour as ourself, being wanting.
- The erasure of the second Commandment must be a post Christian work, for no Jew could be suspected of attempting to blot out the fact that God was King in Israel; that he had established his own Law there, and called men to govern in his name, and that he will not hold guiltless those who take his name in vain.
- This lack in the number of the Commandments, and the consequent disingenuousness in dividing them, is the more singular, and evinces so much more the theological blindness of mankind, (Matt. xv, 14. Luke, vi 39,) from the fact that the lost Commandment is, nevertheless, contained in, the Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament.
- In the same discourse in which Jesus Christ says, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; this is the first and
great Commandment,” he also says, “And the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself ” (Matt. xxii, 37-39.) The same language had been used before by Moses, (Lev. xix, 18,) though in the present state of the Scriptures, it is not in its proper place among the Commandments. (Ex. xx. Deut. v.)
- Thus, though the Bible does not contain above nine Commandments, in a body, in any one place, nor the New Testament above six, (Rom. xiii, 9,) the ten are substantially contained in them.
- Had the divine spirit guided and inspired the theologians of Christendom; in the impossibility of making more than nine Commandments, in the reading which they adopted, they would have looked to the words of Christ, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” (Matt. xxii, 39. Mark, xii, 31. Luke, x, 27. Rom. xiii, 9. Gal. v, 14. James ii, 8,) to supply the lack, as he declared this to be one of the Commandments.
- The wisdom of men never made the discovery. It was left till the translation of the plates of Laban, by the gift and power of God. But the discovery once made, the Bible of all the sects is our witness.
- The Commandments, as here given, were translated by the Prophet James, from the plates which were taken by Nephi from Laban, in Jerusalem, (B. of M. 1st Nephi i,) and brought to America, in the time of Zedekiah, King of Judah; and are the substance of the two tables, written by the finger of God in the days of Moses.
23 Though the exact words of the two tables were never written in any book, (Josephus’ Ant. B. iii, ch. v, 4,) except that kept in the most holy place, the substance was carefully written out by the inspired Prophets, and to the paraphrases so prepared, all transcribers of repute made their copies conform.
- Subsequent to the Babylonish captivity, the Jews were without the Divine Tables, and the literal copy of the Law which belonged to the Sanctuary. They had only the copies used by the Prophets. These have long since been lost.
- The Jews were not fond of allowing their sacred books to pass into the hands of the Gentiles. Jews had become very numerous in Alexandria, and the use of the Greek language among them was so general, that vast numbers were unable to read Hebrew, before the translation of the Old Testament into that language.
- Even then the translation into the Greek language was made at the instance of a powerful and liberal King, Ptolemy Philadelphus, who obtained this favour of the Jews by liberating many of them from captivity, rather than of their own disposition. From the account of Josephus (Ant. B. xii, ch. ii,) it is doubtful how much of the Sacred Oracles were then translated; but the reasonable inference is, that it was so much of the Old Testament as in the tripartite division of Law, Prophets and Psalms, was called the Law, to wit, the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, the two books of Samuel, and the two books of Kings.
- But these are not the “Book of the Law of the Lord,” for that was written by Moses, and placed in the Ark of the Testimony in his day; (Deut. xxxi, 24—26;) whereas, many of these books were written subsequently.
- This tripartite division of the Old Testament was subsequent to the Babylonish captivity, and the name “Law” appears to have been adopted, because those books contained numerous recitals and illustrations of the Law, and were a convenient substitute for the book itself, which had become very rare.
- It is reputed, however, that the genuine “Book of the
Law,” that is, an authorized paraphrase of it, was actually, translated into Greek in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus; and numerous incredible tales are found on the subject in old Jewish legends, nearly all of which, in a still less credible form, have been preserved by the Christians of the third and fourth centuries, as applicable to the Septuagint Bible.
- The most credible history of this translation is that contained in the Hebrew preface to the Book of Jasher, (Jasher, p. xvii,) where, after giving an account of the translation of the other sacred books for Ptolemy Philadelphus, the writer says: “After some time the persecutors of Israel became aware of this, that the Israelites had not sent the Book of the Law to the King, and they came and said unto him, ‘0 King, the Israelites have treated thee with contempt; for they did not send to thee the Book of the Law, which we had mentioned to thee, but they sent to thee another book, which they had in their hands; therefore send to them that they may forward unto thee the Book of their Law; for from that book thou wilt obtain thy desire, much more than from the book which they have sent to thee.’ So when the King heard their words, he became exceedingly wroth against the Israelites, and his anger burned within him until he sent again to them for them to forward to him the Book of the Law. Fearing that they might still continue to scorn him, he acted prudently with them, and sent to seventy of their Elders, and placed them in seventy houses, that each should write the Book of the Law, so that no alteration might be found in it, and the divine spirit rested upon them, and they wrote for him seventy books, and they were all of one version, without addition or diminution. At this the King rejoiced greatly, and he honoured the Elders, together with all the Jews; and he sent offerings and gifts to Jerusalem, as it is written there.
At his death the Israelites acted cunningly with his son, and took from his treasures the Book of the Law, but left the Book of Jasher there, and took it not away, in order that every future King might know the wonders of the Lord, blessed be his name, and that he had chosen Israel from all nations, and that there is no God beside him.”
- All this carries with it the air of probability, except the assertion that seventy separate translations were made, of the entire book, which is doubtless a mere mistake in the relation, by some person over fond of the marvellous. Each translator was assigned his portion or seventieth part of the Law to translate, without communicating with the others; and as the parts, when put together, formed a continuous series or code of laws, the King was satisfied that they had furnished him the genuine Book of the Law; though the translation was not quite as perfect as it might have been, had the seventy been allowed to help each other.
- But this book, so placed in the Alexandrian Library, it is expressly asserted, was withdrawn from the Library at the end of that reign, and no trace of it is found in the history of the Eastern Continent, at any subsequent period. The anxiety of the Jews to prevent its falling into the hands of the Gentiles was so great, as to preclude the multiplication of copies, and in their various persecutions the few copies in existence were lost.
- The tables of stone had never been restored since the Babylonish captivity. Consequently, before the Christian era, the sole evidence of the import of the Ten Commandments was oral tradition, and such books as incidentally related the substance, without attempting to give the words of them. Had not God preserved them, we should now be without them, as our fathers were, and Christians are.
CHAPTER 2: THE TRUE GOD.
Thou shalt have no other gods before thee.
- The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob is our God; this is his name forever, and this is his memorial unto all generations.1 He created the heavens and the earth, and all things that are in them are the workmanship of his hands.2 He created man in his own image, that he might have dominion over the earth, and over the beasts of the field, and over the fowls of the air, and over the fishes of the sea.385 words, 325 letters.
- Man, being in the likeness of God’s person, they all recognize him as their Lord, and fear him as a God. And notwithstanding his degeneracy, he has retained so much of the divine likeness, that beasts, birds, and fishes, fear him, and his power is over them as a mighty one. It is diminished as he has departed from the likeness and perfections of his Creator: and that spirit of rebellion, which man has received so redundantly, he has communicated to them also, that they rebel
[1 Ex. iii, 15. [2 Gen. i. Ex. xx, 11. xxxi, 17. Neh. ix, 6. Ps. viii 3. xxxiii, 6, 9. lxxxix, 11, 12. Isa. xliv, 24. Jer. x, 12. [3 Gen. i, 26-28. v, 1.
against him, as he rebels against God. Yet the fear of man is on them continually;1 and his dominion is over them throughout the earth. 111 words, 434 letters.
- God conversed with Adam as a familiar friend;2 and walked with Enoch,3 who was faithful unto him in the midst of a corrupt race: he communed with Noah,4 the father of a new world; and covenanted by his own oath, with Abraham the faithful.544 words, 185 letters.
- He commanded a fiery law, with a voice of thunder, in Sinai:6 the earth quaked at the tread of his foot: the rustling of his garment was as low thunder; and his voice as a mighty thunderbolt: the beaming of his face was as the sun in the morning; and the flash of his eye as the fierce lightning.7 The nations trembled at his presence;8 and the tribes said, Not unto us; not unto us, Oh Lord God, but unto Moses, be thy voice known.9 85 words, 330 letters.
- For they heard the voice of God, as the voice of a trumpet; and as loud thunder: and they saw the lightning: and the mountain smoking; and they felt the earth tremble; and they fled far away, crying, Not unto us;
[1 Gen. ix, 2. Ps. viii, 4-8. Jas. iii, 7. [2 Gen. ii, iii.. [3 Gen. v, 24. [4 Gen. vi, 14-21. vii, 1-4. viii, 15-22. ix, 1-17. [5 Gen. xv, 18. xxiv, 7. Heb. vi, 13. [6 Ex. xix, 16, 18. Deut. xxxiii, 2. Job. xxxvii, 2, 5. [7 Hab. iii, 4. 1st Tim. vi, 16. [8 Ps. xcvii, 4. [9 Ex. xx, 19.
not unto us: but unto Moses, declare thy law, Oh God, and we will obey his voice, and live,1 for, who shall abide in thy presence? 67 words, 259 letters.
- His word was made known to the Prophets, and his sacraments were established in Israel. Kings ruled in his glorious name; and the nations who forgot him were destroyed. 29 words, 136 letters.
- He hath appointed everlasting life in the Lord Jesus; and given the keys of death and of hell2 unto him who alone among mortals, hath kept his glorious word in all things. He hath chosen him the first born among many brethren;3 for he is the first begotten of the dead,4 and hath the keys of the resurrection, and of life forevermore.5 62 words, 263 letters
- He maketh his Apostles the witnesses of his Law, unto the nations;6 and of his gospel unto every kindred, and tongue, and people. His word is among men; and the revelation of his power, in, the midst of the earth. 40 words, 164 letters.
- The Lord our God is glorious in his perfections; there is none like him. The gods of the heathen have no voice: neither do they
[1 Ex. xx, 18-21. Heb. xii, 19. [2 Rev. i, 18. [3 Rom. viii, 29. Col. i, 15, 18. [4 Rev, i, 5. [5 John xi, 25, 26. [6 Matt. xxviii, 19, 20. Mark xvi, 15. Luke xxiv, 47, 48. Acts i, 8. x, 41, 42.
see, nor understand. The God of Babylon the Great, the Mother of Churches, before whom all her daughters bow down, is naught; he is as wind, and vanity; he can neither be seen nor heard, nor felt; he hath no dwelling place: where shall any abide with him? Passionless, is he; and can neither love the good, nor hate the evil: who shall adore him, or fear him? 93 words, 374 letters.
- Without members and parts; he cannot hear, see, feel, smell, or taste. Neither can he speak, nor come unto those that worship him, nor smite the disobedient and rebellious. Handless, footless, mouthless, eyeless, and earless; a shapeless chaos, conceived in the imagination of the vain: ye shall not fear him, nor bow down unto him, nor adore him. 58 words, 271 letters.
- It is apparent that the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, is not the God of the Christian Churches; either of the Mother Church, or of the generality of the Daughters.
- The Creed of Saint Athanasius, composed during the reign of the Emperour Constantine, is the most perfect and elaborate statement of the Christian doctrine on that subject in existence, and is adopted by ninetenths of all Christendom.
- It is as follows:
Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholick faith.
Which faith, except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
And the Catholick faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity.
Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.
But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one: the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate.
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.
The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal.
And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal.
As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated; but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible.
So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty.
And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God.
And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord.
And yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord.
For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity, to ac-knowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;
So are we forbidden by the Catholick Religion to say, there are three Gods, or three Lords.
The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.
And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none is greater, or less than another;
But the whole three Persons are coeternal together, and co-equal.
So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped.
He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.
Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man:
God, of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds: and Man, of the Substance of his Mother, born in the world;
Perfect God, and perfect Man: of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting:
Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferiour to the Father, as touching his Manhood.
Who, although he be God and Man, yet he is not two, but one Christ;
One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God;
One altogether, not by confusion of Substance, but by unity of Person.
For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one Man, so God and Man is one Christ;
Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead.
He ascended into heaven; he sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty; from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works.
And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
This is the Catholick Faith; which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be; world without end. Amen.
- Among all Christian denominations, except the few small sects known as Unitarians, this creed is substantially, if not literally, subscribed to; the principal departure from it being that the Greek, and a few small Eastern Churches, hold that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father only; not the Father and Son.
- In the Catholick and most of the Protestant Churches, this is the declared Creed; but in those where it is not read, and its existence probably unknown, the same doctrine is set down in some different form of words: thus they all bow down before the same God: but not the God of Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles.
- Among the Articles of Religion, of the Episcopal Churches, are the following:
- There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom and goodness; the Maker and Preserver of all things, both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
II. The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect Natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his
Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men.
V. The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory, with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.
- The Methodist Articles of Religion are a transcript, with slight variations, from the Episcopal; the chief variation being that in the later editions of the Discipline of the Methodists of America, it is not alleged that God is passionless.
- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob worshipped no such God. None of the Patriarchs knew him. None of the Prophets gave us his word. None of the Apostles were his witnesses.
- The God who created Adam had a body, with all its parts; for as truly as Adam, when he begat a son, begat him in his own likeness, after his image, (Gen. v, 3) so truly God, when he created Adam, made him in the likeness and after the image of God. (Gen. i, 26, 27. v, 1. ix, 6. 1st Cor. xi, 7. Jas. iii, 9.)
- Abraham worshipped the same God; for when God visited him, Abraham at first mistook him for a man; and, with genuine Patriarchal hospitality, invited him into the tent to eat, and offered to wash his feet. (Gen. xviii.)
- Jacob also, worshipped the same God; for after wrestling with him, he tells us he saw him face to face. (Gen. xxxii, 24, 28, 30.) Surely the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has a body and parts, face and feet.
- The God who spoke to Moses from the fire in the bush, and in a voice of thunder in Sinai, gave the Commandments; wrote the Commandments on tables of stone, with his finger; (Deut. ix, 10;) conversed with Moses face to face, as a man converses with his friend; (Ex. xxxii, 11;) passed by
covering Moses with his hand, and allowed him to behold his back parts. (Ex. xxxiii, 22, 23.) Truly this is not the God without body or parts, which Episcopalians, Methodists, and all other Christians worship.
13. The God of the Prophets and Apostles was in bodily form, with all the appropriate parts, as imaged in his creature man; for he had
Arms, (Jer. xxi, 5. Job xl, 9. Ps. lxxxix 13. Isa. lii 10. Luke i, 51,)
Hands, (Jer. xxi, 5. Hab. iii, 4. Ex. xxxiii, 22, 23. Acts vii, 55, 56. v, 31. Rom. viii, 34,)
Loins, (Ezek. i, 27. viii, 2,)
Feet, (Ezek. xliii, 7. Hab. iii, 5. Gen. xviii, 4,)
Face, (Gen. xxii, 30. Ex. xxxiii, 11, 23. Num. xiv, 14. Luke i, 76,)
Eyes, (2d Kings xix, 16. Deut. xxxii, 10. Hab. i, 13. Heb. iv, 13,)
Ears, (2d Kings xix, 16. Num. xiv, 28. 2d Sam. xxii, 7. Ps. xxxiv, 15,)
Nostrils, (Ex. xv, 8. 2d Sam. xxii, 16,)
Mouth, (Isa. xxx, 2. Lam. iii, 38,)
Lips, (Isa. xxx, 27. Ps. xvii, 4,)
And tongue, (Isa. xxx, 27.)
- The appearance of God was the likeness of man, when he appeared to Ezekiel, and called him to the Prophetick office; though he was surrounded with fire and a glorious radiance, from his loins upwards and downwards (Ezek. i, 26, 27.)
- Their God was stirred up with the passions of
Love, (Deut. vii, 8. Jer. xxxi, 3. John iii, 16. xvii, 23. 1st John iv, 16. Mal. i, 2. Rom. ix,13.)
Jealousy, (Ex. xx, 5. xxxiv, 14. Deut. iv, 24. v, 9. vi, 15. Josh. xxiv, 19. Ezek. xxxix, 25. Nah. i, 2. Zech. viii, 2. 1st Cor. x, 22. 2d Cor. xi, 2,)
Anger, (Ps. vi, 1. vii, 11. Isa. xxx, 27. Jer. xxi, 5. Nah. i, 3, 6. Hab. iii, 8, 12,)
Indignation, (Isa. xxx, 27. Nah. i, 6. Hab. iii, 12. Zech. i, 12,)
Wrath, (Jer. xxi, 5. Nab. i, 2, 6. Hab. iii, 2, 8)
Hatred, (Jer. xii, 8. Hosea ix, 15. Mal. i, 3. ii, 16. Rom. ix. 13. Prov. vi, 16. Isa. lxi, 8,)
Fury, (Jer. xxi, 5. Nah. i, 2, 6,)
And revenge, (Nah. i, 2.)
- It is sometimes objected, that “God is a spirit.” (John iv, 24.) So are Angels “spirits sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation:” (Heb. i, 14:) yet when Abraham and Lot saw them they mistook them for men, (Gen. xviii, 2, 5, 16-20. xix, 1, 15,) and John the Revelator mistook one for God, and was about to worship him, but he said, “See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the Prophets” (Rev. xxii, 8, 9.)
- Those who worship a God without body, parts, or passions, do not worship the God of Abraham, of whom Prophets spoke and Apostles bore witness; but an idol—a false god, which their imagination conceives of; and as by their Creed, he is a nonentity, their faith is Atheism.
- Close upon the tail of this Atheism, follows Polytheism. For as the Creed declares that the Father is Lord God Almighty, uncreate, eternal, aud incomprehensible; the Son, Lord God Almighty, uncreate, eternal, and incomprehensible; and the Holy Ghost, Lord God Almighty, uncreate, eternal, and incomprehensible; it is most indisputably the Creed of three gods, notwithstanding the disclaimer, which says they are one God.
- Thus they worship God the Father, “without body, parts, or passions;” and God the Son, begotten by the Father, with “body, flesh, and bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature,” sitting at the right hand of God, the Father, who has no hand; and God the Holy Ghost, who proceeded from the Father and the Son, who is, nevertheless, eternal, though he could not have proceeded from the Son, until he was begotten; three gods, all unlike; and require men to believe these three, but one, on pain of being damned everlastingly.
- It is no wonder that those who preach this doctrine declare it a mystery. It is a greater mystery, that men have been found to believe it. Well did John the Revelator name the Church in which it originated, “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and abominations of the earth. (Rev. xvii, 5.)
- She was once the Apostolick Church; the Lamb’s wife; but when she lost the Apostolick Priesthood, and went off in an unholy union with the Kingdoms of this world as her Lord, she became what the Angel declared her to be, a whore; as all her daughters, prostituting themselves to the various national governments, without ever being lawfully joined to Christ are only harlots.
- To make their Creeds as ridiculous as they are infidel; false as they are heathenish; Catholicks teach that Christ’s mother is the “Mother of God;” as though God was begotten by himself, on a creature of his hands, that he might be eternally begotten.
- And Protestants, not willing that Catholicks should monopolize all the folly and all the falsehood, have invented, or borrowed from their mother, the doctrine of an infinite
atonement, by means of infinite sufferings in the crucifixion of one of these three gods.
- And, as by their faith, these three gods are one and the same god, it follows that the Lord God Almighty, uncreate, incomprehensible, and eternal, became a Priest unto himself, and offered himself a sacrifice unto himself, to make propitiation unto himself for sins against himself, and became a mediator between himself and his rebellious creatures; and has risen from the dead, though he alone hath immortality, and ascended on high, where he has received all power from himself, and sat down at his own right hand; where, with his human body, flesh and bones, and all that pertains to the perfection of man’s nature, raised to immortality and everlasting life, he “is the express image of the invisible God,” (Col. i, 15. 2d Cor. iv, 4,) “and the express image of his Father’s person,” (Heb. 1, 3,) who has not any such body or any part of it, and is nevertheless the same identical person with himself.
- This is not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Ye shall not bow down to the God of Babylon, for the God who spoke in Sinai, said, “Thou shalt not bow down unto, nor adore anything that thy imagination conceiveth of; but the Lord thy God only.”
- The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was not the offspring of adultery; nor was he born of woman; he was not carried about in a nurse’s arms, nor dependent on his mother’s milk for sustenance; he never died, nor did he cry to himself, and find no helper. (Matt. xxvii, 46. Mark xv, 34.) Eternal ages are but pulsations in his lifetime, and his might is omnipotence.
- The Lord our God hath an incommunicable name; never polluted by the breath
of the ungodly: which none can know, but he who ministereth in his holy sanctuary; by which he revealed himself unto Moses; and in which he establisheth this law, for an everlasting covenant. 46 words, 214 letters.
This incommunicable name is not Jehovah. That is written instead of it. For his secret name was only written in that copy of the Law kept in the Ark of the Testimony. How ridiculous to believe with Christians, that the name of God which Abraham was not permitted to know, (Ex. vi, 3,) was written in a published book, for all the Heathen to read. It was never spoken out of the Sanctuary, nor above the breath, and then only between three High Priests, after the order of Melchisedek. (See Josephus’ Ant., B. ii, ch. xii, 4,)
- God alone hath immortality. Adam, the first of men, the Ancient of Days, the great Prince;1 Abraham, to whom God gave an everlasting possession;2 David, whose throne was established as the days of heaven, forever;3 all died. Enoch, who walked with God, and was not found, because God took him;4 and Elijah, who ascended to the throne of God, in his own fiery chariot5 shall return to the earth to sleep with their fathers.6 The change which is sealed upon all the sons of Adam,7 shall come upon the faithful, who stand on the earth, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed
[1 D. &. C. Sec. iii, p. 28. Dan. vii, 9, 22. [2 Gen. xvii, 8. [3 Ps. lxxxix, 29, 36. 2d Sam.. vii, 16. Isa. ix, 6, 7. Jer. xxxiii, 20-26. Luke i, 32, 33. [4 Gen. v, 24. [5 2d Kings ii, 11. [6 Rev. xi, 7-9. [7 1st Cor. xv, 22.
from heaven, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those who know not God, and obey not the gospel.1 And he, the Prince of the Kings of the earth;2 who in the days to come, shall speak with the voice of a trumpet, and the dead shall hear his voice and live;3 died once, that he might live forevermore.4 He praised God, who alone hath immortality, that he would not leave him in the place of the dead:5 he preached the gospel to the spirits in prison,6 and obtained the key of life everlasting:7 but God alone liveth forever: the eternal ages are unto him as moments to us:8 infinities, as units to the mathematician. Our God alone hath immortality.9 Thou shalt love him with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. 239 words, 1,010 letters.
- God alone hath omniscience. He clotheth himself in light as a robe: his ministers, who at midday, are as a flaming fire in the dark night, are blind before him; he apprehendeth the motion of the atom which floateth in the invisible element,10 and discerneth the speck in the centre of the star, which the light of the sun hath not reached since the
[1 2d Thess. i, 7, 8. [2 Rev. i, 5. xi, 15. xvii, 14. xix, 16. Dan. vii, 13, 14. 1st Tim. vi, 15. [3 John v, 25, 28. let Cor. xv, 52. 1st Thess. iv, 16. [4 Rev. i, 18. Heb. vii, 25. [5 Ps. xvi, 10. Acts ii, 27. [6 1st Pet. iii, 19. Luke xxiii, 43. [7 John xvii, 2. xi, 25, 26. [8 Ps. xc, 4. [9 1st Tim. vi, 16. i, 17. 2d Pet. iii, 8. [10 Ps. cxxxix, 12. Dan. ii, 22. Heb. iv, 13.
day that the sons of God shouted for joy that the earth was created, as a mountain in the eye of mortals. He never sleepeth; his eye closeth not; and there is no darkness before him. Our God alone hath omniscience. Thou shalt love him with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. 123 words, 512 letters.
- God alone hath omnipotence. He looketh upon the nations, and they melt in the fury of his countenance:1 he frowneth, and the mountains dissolve to smoke; the vallies are consumed in the breath of his nostrils. He spoke, and worlds were created:2 he thought, and they were lost in space. Earthquakes are but the whisperings of his voice; the rustling of his attire causeth lightning, and thunder; and with the shadow of his garment he blotteth out the sun. The Prince of the Kings of the earth; by whom the world was created;3 and who liveth and reigneth forever receiveth power from him, and rendereth it unto him.4 Who shall stand before him? Our God alone hath omnipotence.5 Thou shalt love him with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. 136 words, 603 letters.
[1 Jer. x, 10. [2 Ps. xxxiii, 6, 9. Isa. xl, 26, 28. Jer. li, 15. 2d Pet. iii, 5. [3 Eph iii, 9, Col. i, 16, 17. Heb. i, 2. [4 Eph. i, 19-22. 1st Cor. xv, 24. Matt, xxviii, 18. [5 Acts xvii. 24-26. Jer. xxxii. 17. Rom. xi, 36.
- God alone is omnipresent. His presence filleth the immensity of space as a point. In the midst of the bottomless pit, is he; the pavilion of his feet, is the face of the earth:1 the stars, are his home: his breath, is fragrant odour to the blessed, in the highest heaven; and it enliveneth the crumbling frame of the dead.2 The rays of the sun, have not found his bourn; nor the light of the stars, the place he inhabiteth not. His rest outspeedeth the lightning; it leaveth the morning ray behind it; and his speed is more rapid than the thought of angels. Our God alone is omnipresent.3 Thou shalt love him with all thy heart and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.127 words, 526 letters.
- God alone is one. There are choirs of angels; hosts of spirits; and multitudes of men: but God hath no fellow. A great King, is to him as the unseen spawn before the monsters of the deep; Methuselah, as the ephemera of a day:4 the most glorious spirit, is bodiless, and a breath. And the Lord Jesus, who created the earth, and redeemed it; whose kingdom filleth the earth, and the heavens; possesseth but a speck, amid the stars he made.
[1 Acts xvii, 27, 28. [2 Ezek. xxxvii, 5, 9, 10, 14. Ps. civ, 29, 30. [3 Ps. cxxxix, 7-10. [4 2d Pet. iii, 8.
He alone is one.1 Thou shalt love him with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. Thou shalt adore him, and serve him, and obey him; and beside him, thou shalt have no other God: for he alone hath immortality, and omniscience, and omnipotence, and omnipresence. He alone is one; and they who obey his law, shall be like him.2 147 words, 605 letters.
Total—16 sec. 1,492 words, 6,261 letters.
NOTE ON THE TRUE GOD.
- During the ages immediately following the apostacy of the Christian Church, when nearly all the world had fallen into a state of barbarism, ignorance and superstition, the knowledge which mankind had formerly possessed was so far lost that the wisest and most learned nations had little left of the natural or moral sciences, or the industrial arts.
- The civilization of modern times is the emergence of the human race from the barbarism of the dark ages. But in this emergence little new has been developed. The chapter of lost arts is nearly a duplicate of that of modern discoveries and inventions.
- The few streams of learning which flowed on through that period of barbarism, were deep and narrow. A few houses, closed to the gaze of all but their inmates, brought down to modern times much of the old learning.
4. But during the same period, the nations of Europe, and
[1 lst Cor. viii, 6. Deut. iv, 35, 39. Ist Kings viii, 60. Isa. xlv, 5, 6,18, 22. x1vi, 9. Mark xii, 32. [2 lst John iii, 2. Phil. iii, 21.
around the Mediterranean, engrafted on their religion all manner of superstition, partaking of the popular ignorance and prejudice.
- Not only was the keeping of the Oracles of God in the hands of the ignorant and superstitious, who by that means not unfrequently corrupted them, but most of the translations into modern languages were made before the light of the newly developed sciences dispelled those superstitions.
- As a consequence, nearly all religious knowledge among Christian nations was more or less mixed with the falsehood which the ignorance and superstition of the preceding ages inculcated.
- And as the different systems of religion were fixed and unchangeable, bound up by creeds which it was heresy to question, almost every advance in knowledge was opposed by every influence and injury which ignorance and superstition could inflict.
- The Clergy having the control of Courts and Legislatures, opposed the progress of knowledge by pains and penalties, until religion, designed by the Almighty to be the school of mankind, in which all knowledge should be gained, became the prisonhouse of the lover of knowledge.
- Since in a few places on earth, laws have ceased to oppose knowledge, and here and there a benefactor of mankind lives, without the fear of prisons and clanking chains, the superstitious prejudice pursues the friend of man as a shadow, and not unfrequently wreaks on the fame of the dead, the punishment which a virtuous life has scarcely escaped.
- These are not the worst ills which false religion has inflicted on mankind. The doctrine has been everywhere inculcated that religion is a mere myth; a thing to be believed, to be sure, in some way, but not to be demonstrated as other
sciences, and to stand upon its intrinsick merits; that though true in some mysterious sense, its truth is opposed to what is also true in other sciences, and that what is true in religion, may be impossible in natural philosophy.
- A sound mind revolts against this. If the religious sentiments predominate, it believes on, and shuts its eyes to the voice of nature, wandering in the mazes of metaphysicks, and wasting in logomachy the talent, which should have developed valuable ideas.
- Otherwise, it passes by religion as a thing not to be studied, if believed; rejects the revelations of God’s word, as a means of obtaining knowledge; and, perhaps, without denying that God did in some remote time, in some mysterious way, reveal a religion to man; laughs to scorn the fact that he is known to man in modern times, especially in this enlightened age.
- Among such men the dogma is universal that the primitive ages of man were ages of barbarism; that civilization originated with man, and was developed in the slow progress of long ages; and that man is the author of the sciences, and the discoverer of the knowledge he possesses.
- Nothing could be farther from the truth. The history of all the old nations, brings a shadowy knowledge of a civilization earlier than that of the Greeks, the wisdom of which was lost before the days of the earliest author whose works have reached us, though its monuments remain.
- The golden age was the theme of all the early poets, as its return was the hope of the sages. Without additional confirmation, it was hardly probable that a faith so universal was not founded on true history notwithstanding, most of its witnesses had disappeared.
- But recent developments in Archaiology have proved
it true. Of the Egyptian Empire, the earliest whose history has been rescued from oblivion, it is now beyond question that at the beginning of its history, its civilization was of the highest order.
- The classick historians, Herodotus, Manetho, Eratosthenes, and Diodorus, agree with the monuments and papyri, that Menes was the first sovereign of the Egyptian Empire.
- His reign is placed by Lepsius at 3,893 years before Christ, or 5,749 years ago; being 1,544 years earlier than the date which Archbishop Usher’s Chronology erroneously gives to the flood.*
- Yet at that early period Egypt was a powerful and highly civilized Empire, eminent in the sciences and the industrial arts. The name of Menes is gloriously associated with the building of Memphis, the oldest metropolis, of the origin of which we have any knowledge, with foreign conquests, a high state of the arts, a numerous and wealthy population, and a successful system of internal improvements, such as Holland alone affords a parallel, if indeed she does at the present day.
- The Nile, an immense river, overflows all the arable land of Egypt, and had to be controlled by dykes and canals, more extensive than are found in America, before the country could sustain any other population than a few wandering herdsmen. For this purpose hydraulick engineering must have existed in the highest perfection; an immense population must have pressed down the valley of the river for room, and industry, such as is never found among barbarians, must have been the national characteristick of teeming millions.
*Archbishop Usher’s Chronology is that generally used and found in the margins of most family and pulpit Bibles, though different editors make slight variations from it.
- Little of coetaneous records of that age remains; most of its monuments are deep buried in the sands, from the Lybian desert; or removed to construct more modern cities.
- But, two or three centuries later, when we reach the period of abundant and undoubted contemporaneous monuments; walking no longer in a land of shadows, we read Egyptian history upon monuments of granite and paper of papyrus, in the same language which was written during the reign of all the Pharaohs.
- Fiftythree centuries ago, sepulchres and pyramids; palaces and temples; highways and canals such as in this age would cost millions; dykes and bridges of immense extent; statuary sixty feet high, and delicate tissued paper; reed pens, and red and black ink, which have not yet faded; chemically prepared paints and varnish, the colours of which are as fresh now as those from the best workshops, laid yesterday; and the preservation of the dead uncorrupted, were among the achievements of Egypt.
- The present times have no parallel to that. The result of all inquiry is, that the earliest civilization was of the highest order. The theory that it was developed by man, and grew up from the necessities of dense populations through long ages, is giving way. It originated with God, who is the author of all the arts and sciences, and taught them to his creatures.
- That which lays at the foundation of all civilization, all wisdom, all knowledge, man did not possess by nature; could not invent, and until possessed, could have no desire for; articulate language.
- Man by nature has no articulate language. Certainly no fact is clearer than this. The child never speaks words till he hears them. He uses no words but such as are taught
to him. He speaks no language but what he learns from others. If he has no opportunity of learning of others, he never speaks. If he is devoid of the faculty of hearing, he never learns to speak.
- All the animals, or, at least, all the domestick animals, and many not domesticated, all the superiour kinds of animals, and many of the inferiour, have a natural language; a language of the passions. This language is uniform with each species. They learn it from none, but possess it by nature. No one of the species is ever without it.
- The dog barks, howls, growls and whines. Every dog has these powers by nature. The same species of dog has them substantially alike. And he has the whole of these modes of expression, and all the varieties of them, without learning or hearing them from others. There is a peculiarity in the voice of the dog, when he starts the chase, when he snuffs the track, when he spies the game, when he drives him to tree or burrow, and when he triumphs over him or tastes his blood.
- He has a growl of pleasure, a growl of fondness, a growl of anger, and a growl of defiance. And no dog in the species is destitute of it. None learn it; all possess it. Not only do all possess it, but all possess it just in the characteristick of his race and of his particular family or breed. Every hunter distinguishes the voice of each different kind of dog, and the particular passion or fact expressed by the voice and intonation of the dog.
- The dissimilarity and unlikeness between the voice of the hound and the terrier, both used much in hunting, and constantly kennelling together, are very great. Their continual association does not produce any approximation of language, or the slightest change in the tone of the voice.
It neither adds to or diminishes from the language of either, one intonation.
- Take the spaniel that has never seen the light, and place him with a hound possessed only of his natural habits, and the spaniel never learns one sound that belonged not to his nature. Place him where he never sees or hears another dog, and he is deficient in none. If you cross the breed, the new race will have a language between the two; approximating to both, like to neither.
- You can change the language indefinitely by changing the nature, the blood, or race, but none at all by changing the habits or instruction. These remarks are equally true of all the other animals possessed of a voice. Cows all low and bellow, without being taught. Horses all neigh, though they have never heard it. And to their natural knowledge of this language, instruction can add nothing.
- Man has a natural language of the same kind, rich and prolifick in the expression of the passions, but barren in abstractions; partially inactive by neglect, but lost by none, and resorted to as often as men meet who have no common articulate language. From the new born child to decrepit old age, in every age, in every country, in every clime, and of every race and family of people, there never was one individual that did not possess it.
- The common expression of this language is in the laugh, the cry, the shout and the moan, which are the same everywhere. Every child must be taught to speak; none to cry. All have to learn the definition of words. All know what is meant by the laugh. The conqueror speaks of his triumph to men of strange tongue in vain, but the shout that tells of victory is never misunderstood. The dying man’s voice articulates bootless words to those who have not learn-
ed them, but the moan and the sigh of broken limbs and crushed hearts was never mistaken. The cry of childish fear and pain is comprehended by all ears. How else could infancy tell its sufferings?
- No one has an articulate language by nature. If articulate language was natural to man, as is the language of the passions to both man and beast, he would be born with it, which no man is; or all would come to possess a uniform language at some definite stage of existence, which is not found at all; or there would be particular forms of language peculiar to particular races, which there is not; and the language would be changed by crossing the breeds, as among animals.
- The child knows no word till it has been taught. It will use any sound whatever to express any particular idea, just as the tutor pleases to teach it. The English child, placed in a Dutch family, learns and speaks the Dutch as well as a native. The Chinese child, placed in an American family, will not be possessed of one word of the language of his fathers. There is no peculiarity of race which adapts it to one language more than another.
- There have been, in various countries and in different ages, instances of persons growing up to manhood with all their faculties unimpaired, but so entirely separated from the rest of mankind as to have no opportunity of learning articulate language. And every one of them have been as destitute of it as the beasts of the field. Not many years since a wild boy was found in the swamps of Alabama, who, according to the most plausible conjecture, had been lost at the age of three years. He could not speak one word of any known language. Yet all his natural faculties were decidedly good.
- Similar examples are of frequent occurrence. Scarcely a year passes but the newspapers bring us the account of one. And the facts in every case produce the same conclusion; that man by nature has one uniform and universal language of the passions, and that he has no articulate language. So uniform have been results thus far, that in case a wild man should be found, men would just as much expect to find him able to laugh, moan and cry, as to have two ears and one mouth; and would just as little expect him to speak an articulate language, as to understand the art of painting or sculpture.
- An eminent example of the natural inability of man to speak, is found in Caspar Hausar, of Nuremburg, who was imprisoned from the age of four years to sixteen, during which time he never saw the face or heard the voice of man. He was possessed of natural talent of superiour order, yet he could neither speak or understand one word. But he could cry. That was natural language. He needed none to teach him that.
- The ancients have recorded several cases of children brought up in utter seclusion, for the purpose of determining what language they would speak; vainly supposing that there was one original language, from which all were derived, and which all the untaught would speak. They spoke none. Why? Simply because they were not taught.
- As man has never in any known instance been found in possession of an articulate language, and as in millions on millions of cases he is positively known to be destitute of it, the inevitable conclusion is, that by nature he has no articulate language. Did he invent it? Could he originate it? Vain thought! There is not an instance known where he has added one articulate sound to the store of words which man
possessed at the period of the earliest authentick records.
- It is hardly conceivable that a man, destitute of language, should know the want of it. Certainly it is impossible that one who was destitute of all the arts and sciences, should see any need of a language, or have any desire to possess one. And it is not by any means conceivable that a people destitute of language, should possess arts and sciences.
- Man untaught is one of the weakest most dependent and inefficient of all animals. Other animals, cast off in the early period of their existence, seem very well able to take care of themselves. Man is almost sure to perish. The knowledge which has been made their universal heritage, is usually sufficient to provide for all their wants. In man, even under favourable circumstances, it is barely sufficient to preserve life.
- Is it possible that man, placed in such circumstances, a mere untutored animal of forests, swamps and meadows, more dependent and inefficient in providing the means of subsistence than any domestick animal, should ever have a desire for an articulate language? Or, that, destitute of such a language, he should ever possess any such knowledge of arts and sciences as would make it desirable?
- But if it was possible for such a being to desire any mode of expression, beyond the mere language of the passions, which all animals possess, could he invent it? Could he invent radical articulations, capable of infinite combination, join them in words, and fix a meaning which each word should express? And, then, could he compel his fellowman to learn his language?
- If all this has happened to man, we may expect some day to see a dog on the errand of Cadmus, inventing a language to be spoken by dogs, which shall express ideas, instead
of passions; reasonings, instead of impulses; and teaching it to his fellowdogs; and, in regular progress, making letters adapted to writing and printing, for general use in the fraternity of dogs.
- Unseemly and ridiculous as such an idea is, it is more so of the untaught man than the dog; for, unaided by science, the arts, and instruction, man is less capable of providing a subsistence than a dog; and, therefore, has less means of improvement.
- Man, without instruction, such as the child would be, if separated from all the human race, never hearing the voice or seeing the face of man to learn from him, is so far removed from anything we are in the habit of seeing or contemplating, that it is difficult for us to conceive of such a being; and should we meet with such a one, it would require an effort to esteem him human.
- No man could for a moment suspect such a being of a capacity to develop the state of civilization, which now exists in the world, by his unaided effort. No one could suspect him of inventing or making a language, nor would any addition to the number increase their capacity for such a work.
- From whom did man derive articulate language? Not from any of the animals of the earth. None of them possess it. They all have a language of the passions, as a natural endowment; always enjoyed, never acquired. None have anything beyond it.
- Man, subject to the same wants, and still more helpless by nature, has also a language of the passions, equally expressive; always enjoyed, never acquired. And superadded thereto he has an articulate language, not by original endowment, but by acquisition; altogether artificial, incomparably superiour, and capable of infinite forms of expression.
- So far it is perfectly clear that he could not originate it, and while entirely destitute of a language, could have no desire to acquire one. It is equally certain that he did not derive it from any existing animal. None possess it.
- It must have been learned of the superiour; from some one to whom it is a positive faculty; not a transitory endowment.
- Who is that superiour? An animal similar to man, but one step above him in the scale of being? He is not found on earth. Geologists have not found his fossil remains. Anti-quarians discover none of the works of his hands. The pale faith of the most marvellous tradition has never named him.
- Articulate language, the language of ideas, of logick, is the gift of God; by him communicated; revealed by him to man. There is no other teacher, in whose school that lesson could have been learned.
- As this proposition is contrary to the theories most prevalent on the subject, and the demonstration of it makes a full end of the Atheistick controversy, it may not be amiss to pursue the theory of the Atheist to its results, and thus reduce it to an absurdity.
- No modern pretends that articulate language is a natural endowment The universal experience is too strongly against it. But it is alleged by those who say there is no God, that it originated with man, and grew up with his necessity.
- Without attempting to show how man, without one word of articulate language, could make any such progress as to feel the need or appreciate the use of it; ignoring the fact that he has never in any known case originated anything which was not analagous to something he had already witnesed, they have assumed that he could feel the necessity; could ap-
preciate the use, and could invent a thing as unlike anything of which he had any knowledge as articulate language is unlike any natural faculty of man.
- In attempting to justify this assertion, they have assumed, further, contrary to the principles of every language on earth, that there is some similarity between the sound and signification of words; and, hence, that language originated in the imitation of natural sounds, both of animate and inanimate nature.
- The universal rule in articulate language is, that the meaning of words is merely arbitrary; entirely independent of the sound, and determined merely by usage; and, consequently, that any word might mean a very different thing from what it does, with the most perfect propriety, if it was only so used.
- Contrary to this universal rule of language, these infidel theorists allege that the beginning of articulate language was in the imitation of such familiar sounds as the voices of domestick animals, the sound of thunder, wind, and various things in inanimate nature, from which it has gradually progressed to the present state.
- It is sufficient answer to all this, that not one of all those sounds has become a word in any spoken language, under heaven. More than that, we do not use one of those sounds in naming the sound itself, or the thing which produces it, or in expressing any idea concerning it; and if we should repeat it, it would not express any idea whatever, in any spoken language under heaven.
- None of the sounds in nature are articulate; therefore, an articulate sound could not be derived from them. We write baaa or maaa for the voice of a sheep; not because the spoken word is like the voice of the sheep; for it is not. If
it was, we should have but one word for the one sound. The only point of resemblance is a long drawn sound, slightly resembling the continued repetition of short a. There is not the slightest approach to any consonant sound. Consequently, we may substitute any other consonant for the b, or m, and the resemblance to the voice of a sheep will be just precisely the same.
- In like manner we write booo, looo, and wooo, for the voice of a cow; changing the consonant freely, and the failure to make the true sound is precisely equal in every form, because the voice of the cow is not an articulation, and does not resemble one. The only approach to likeness is in a long drawn sound, bearing a very slight resemblance to the constant repetition of o long and close, as in move. There is not the slightest approach to any consonant sound whatever.
- Similar is the case of every animal whose voice man has attempted to imitate. Not one of them has been found to articulate a single letter. Not one of them has made the slightest approach to a consonant sound. Not one has ever enunciated a vowel, or any sound that could possibly be mistaken for one.
- As there are no articulate sounds in nature, either in the voices of men, animals or inanimate nature, man could not get the idea of them from any of those sounds, or learn them by imitating those.
- No sound in nature is the representative of an idea, nor is any combination of the natural sounds. The voices of animals are the representatives of passions, of feelings, but not ideas; and as such are a universal language, everywhere understood, nowhere learned; but the sounds in inanimate nature do not come up to that; they represent neither ideas nor feelings.
- Therefore, in those cases where articulate language approaches nearest to the sounds heard in nature, there is not the slightest similarity in sense. For instance, the voice of a sheep, which makes some slight approach to aaa, or a rapid repetition of short a, is used with slight variations in every feeling that the voice of a sheep can express; whether of pleasure, or pain; joy, or sorrow; love, or hate; triumph, or despair.
- Yet it would be difficult to find a single instance in any language, of the idea of the same passion or feeling represented by that articulate sound. The same is true of every voice of any known domestick animal.
- The celebrated Lindley Murray has pursued the subject of sounds corresponding with sense, until he has exhausted it. Nothing can be added to the result of his labours, beyond additional examples on the same points, which he has fully illustrated. (English Reader, Part ii, ch. i)
- And the result of his labours is, that any words whatever, without reference to the articulate sounds of which they are formed, duly arranged in verse, with the proper succession of long and short syllables, may be so read as in some few studied cases, to produce a similarity, in a single point between the sound of the spoken sentence, and some one idea contained in it. He does not get one step beyond this.
- In the couplet,
“When Ajax strives some rock’s vast weight to throw,
The line too labours, and the words move slow,”
there is not one articulate sound which would not be perfectly appropriate in expressing any other sense, no matter how different. The author, by a skilful selection of long syllables, has put it in the power of the reader to make the sound correspond with the single idea of slow moving force.
- In other words, if the idea is of a powerful and slow
effort, the reader, by speaking with a strong breath and full voice, slowly, deliberately, and with emphasis, a succession of long syllables appears to tax his strength, much as the gigantick Ajax did in lifting a heavy rock. And this is the extent of that similarity of sense and sound, out of which men of learning construct their theory of a human origin and progressive development of articulate language.
- The following is the exact opposite:
“Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o’er th’ unbending corn, and skims along the main.”
Here a skilful combination of short syllables, which the variety of English synonyms puts in the reach of the author, enables the reader to make the sound correspond with the single idea of swiftness.
- Pursuing the skilful selections of Mr. Murray, we find the following example of a noisy stanza to express the idea of certain work, attended with great noise:
“Loud sounds the axe, redoubling strokes on strokes;
On all sides round the forest hurls her oaks
Headlong. Deep echoing groan the thickets brown;
Then rustling, crackling, crashing, thunder down.”
In this example the sole similarity of sound to sense consists in the use of words spoken with a full quick sound. So far from there being a real likeness in our sounds and the ideas expressed by them, it is an evidence of ability and skill in a writer to so combine his words as to produce some tri-fling resemblance. Should any one say, “in cutting down the oak trees the repeated blows of the axe make a great noise, and in the fall there is a very noisy cracking and crashing of limbs and old dry brush and bushes, with a noise like a clap of thunder when the tree strikes the ground,” he would, by the use of different words express the same idea perfectly, without any similarity of sound and sense.
- Without pursuing these examples farther, it is sufficient to say that there is no possible similarity between sounds and the great mass of ideas, which language is used to express.
- Sound can have no similarity to a colour; none to a form. It is not possible that any sound should bear the slightest resemblance to an idea, a reason, a logical sequence, an abstract thought, a ratiocination of the mind; those things which spoken language is chiefly used to express.
- There is no likeness whatever in the ideas expressed by the words virtue, vice, good, evil, faith, wisdom, folly, logick, reason, sense, seriousness, and the sounds of the words; and the words might be exchanged indifferently, one for another, without in any sense impairing the language, or the facility of learning it, so the change was generally adopted.
- Articulate language is, therefore, an endowment of man; not possessed by nature, which he could not derive from anything in inanimate nature, or any of the animals below him in the scale of being; and which he could not origin-ate, nor, until he was possessed of it, wish to enjoy.
- In fine, he must have been instructed in it by a being possessed of a high degree of intelligence, of boundless beneficence and charity to man, to whom it is as much a natural endowment as laughing and crying is to man, or singing to a bird. He must have learned it of just such a being as God has revealed himself, and as he is shown in all his works. Had there been no God, or had he never revealed himself, and become our teacher, man could never have possessed any other language than that of the passions.
- The oft repeated assertion that language is progressive, is not proved. It is mutative, undergoing perpetual changes; but there is no evidence that on the whole it gains anything in the progress of change. All the sciences, with their new
wants arising from year to year, find their vocabularies in the ancient languages; and the languages the most unlike, have derived their words from common roots. And if the old languages seem barren to us, we have no assurance that we possess half their words, or know well the use of them.
- Moreover, man is not formed by nature especially for articulate language. The parrot, the crow, and several other birds, learn to speak words with less difficulty than the infant; though they fail of the intellectual strength to put them to much use.
- Man, on the other hand, has not a compass of voice sufficient to answer his wants, and frequently finds it difficult or impossible to articulate words which his intelligence develops the want of. There are numerous words, in every language, which most men learn to speak with difficulty, and some not at all; but there is no round in the natural language of all animated nature but every individual of each species can enunciate, without even the trouble of learning it.
- Truth will invariably sustain itself against errour, in the long race of time; it is only because it is incessantly opposed by new errours, springing up from day to day, that it receives so little credence. All the battle fields of truth have to be new fought from generation to generation. Every exploded attack of infidelity on revealed truth, is renewed as often as men rise up who do not remember it.
- Testing the existence of God, and the fact of revelations from him as the great facts in the natural sciences, are most of them tested and proved, and no room is left for doubt.
- Geography, natural and political, is proved by the testimony of men. Yet its leading facts are undoubted. There probably may not be a man in the United States who has
seen the city of Tombuctoo, the Chinese wall, or the sea of Aral. Who doubts their existence? Only the idiotick. What has produced such universal credence to facts that none of us know? Simple human testimony. The words of men who have seen them, and their words by hearsay, second, third, and fourth handed.
- And this testimony has not been by any means uniform. All who had the means of knowing, agree in the main point, the existence of those objects, however much they disagree in the details concerning them. Consequently all men, except the merely insane, believe their testimony that such places really exist, but disagree according to the several witnesses in their characteristicks.
- The same is true in all the sciences. The facts are picked up here and there, by men of all classes, in every situation and circumstance in life. The statements of many of the witnesses may be anything but reliable; but in the constant accumulation of testimony, after a time, the truth rises, prominent above all errour, and justifies itself before the world.
- Often the facts are ever present, or at least within our reach, so as to be subject to present experiment, and satisfactory tests. In such cases the triumph of truth is prompt. Ignorance and prejudice take immediate flight.
- In others the facts are not in our immediate reach, or at best are accumulated in long years of tiresome labour. In the ordinary course of human affairs, they would scarcely be accumulated in sufficient quantities to lead to any result. Some great scholar, or society of philosophers, gather them with tireless pains from the ends of the earth, or the old records of forgotten ages, and the truth is vindicated.
- If, as in Geology, they can be had by looking for, publick interest and a spirit of inquiry will explore mines, trace
the tunnels and cuts which engineers have opened through mountains, gather rocks from cleft hillsides, and learn wisdom and divine truth where the door only wasted his strength, and spoiled his utensils on rocks and uncongenial soil.
- Or, in Astronomy, the stargazer has, perhaps, noted a fact, not as possessing any consequence of itself, but merely as a phenomenon; a something he could not account for, and had not before witnessed. He cannot repeat it for examination. Perhaps centuries may elapse before it occurs again.
- Through long ages the facts accumulate. In the same time many falsehoods are recorded for facts. They also accumulate. When enough is accumulated, some giant mind seizes them. As with a magician’s wand he brushes the scales from all eyes. Truth stands revealed.
- In these cases there can be no experiment; no putting theories to the test. They experiment themselves, and test themselves in the revolutions of time. Man has only to see when the universe reveals herself. He cannot question her.
- So it is in the knowledge of God. He speaks to man when he will; nor does he respond to presumptuous questioning. The fools, who have said in their hearts there is no God, have no claim upon his charity, that he should walk with those who regard him as vanity, and nothing.
- But, though like eclipses, and the conjunctions of planets, he does not appear to every questioner, to demonstrate his being to ignorant doubters; like them, he is never without witnesses; and like them, the testimony is ever present to the wise.
- To an Astronomer, an eclipse a hundred ages past, is as certain, and its precise time and appearance as accurately ascertained, as that of yesterday, which he witnessed; and his faith in that which shall occur ten thousand years hence,
is as steadfast as it can be in the sunrise of tomorrow.
- So is the faith of the righteous, that God is. That man could never have had a language, except God taught him, is already shown. Consequently, he must have visited man’s abode, and conversed with him. This necessary sequence is a proved fact: proved by just such testimony as has established the primary facts in all the sciences.
- God has been seen of men. This fact has been proved by the testimony of men of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, under the whole heavens, from the days of Adam down till this present time.
- Neither savage tribe, nor enlightened republick, has refused its testimony to this great fact. The King upon his throne, the Priest at the altar, the Philosopher in his cabinet, the Reformer in the publick assembly, the peasant by his fireside, and the captive in the dungeon, have each and all contributed their share of testimony that God is; which, if written, would crowd libraries, such as great Kings are proud of.
- Notwithstanding the trifling disagreements found in human testimony on all subjects, all nations of men have agreed in the great leading facts of their testimony; that besides the grosser bodies, ever visible around us, there is another, a more volatile world of animate existence, generally invisible, composed of myriads of persons, of greater or less power, some good and some evil, the greatest and best of whom is God, the Lord.
- The Mosaick account is anything but without witnesses in the premises. Nor is it supported alone by the Jewish Prophets. The Egyptians, Chinese, Chaldeans, Hindoos, Phoenecians, Greeks, Romans, Scythians, German, Britons and Gauls; all the ancient world; had men standing among them, of all ranks, from the King on his throne to the
peasant in the hovel, who testified that they saw God, and conversed with him.
- The modern Chinese, Hindoos, Persians, Turks, Greeks, Egyptians, Italians, Germans, French, Britons and Scandinavian, all have men among them, men of learning and of good report, at this present day, who assert that they have seen God, or some of the myriads of spirits in subjection to him, and in rebellion against him.
- Among the savage nations of America, Africa, Asia, and the islands of the Indian and Pacifick Oceans, not one people is found where similar testimony is not furnished, from generation to generation.
- Is this testimony true? Can it be false? Have men in all the ancient nations from China to the Pillars of Hercules, and of all ranks from the king to the beggar, and of all characters from the philosopher to the dunce, with all their national divisions and animosities, conspired together to impose a lie on their fellowmen? And have men of every faith, of every nation, and of every age, from Abraham till James, made their whole lives one living lie, for the purpose of palming off such an imposition on their brothers, their sisters, their wives, and their children?
- And in such a cause, with scarcely a point of unity but this, and ten thousand points of diversity, many of which have drenched the earth in blood, have such men traversed earth and sea to find fellow conspirators, in the unknown isles, which the covetousness of commerce, and the rapacity of conquest never discovered?
- Have sages, philosophers and statesmen, joined hands with jugglers, impostors, and frightened fools, to impose bootless lies on posterity and friends, as well as strangers? And is there no truth in man, that when those nearest and dearest to
them offered their lives in blood and fire to such a faith, none of these have confessed the imposture, to save a father, a brother, or a child?
- In all else, the united testimony of those who have studied the facts, is deemed sufficient and satisfactory proof. The facts of Geology, the facts of Astronomy, the facts of Chemistry, the facts of Botany, the facts of Zoology, are all proved by testimony like this in kind, less in accumulation. And upon facts so proved are based the principles of those sciences. The facts were thus determined. And the principles are but deductions from them.
- The existence of God, the Lord of the universe, a being of intelligence, motive and will, is proved by more testimony than that of Julius Caesar. And a world of spirits is proved by more living witnesses, and has been in every generation of men, than can or ever could be adduced to prove the existence of one half the species of living animals on the earth.
- Enter into the closet of your friends’ hearts, open the door that shame and the fear of being called superstitious has shut, induce men to speak to you as they commune with their own hearts, and how many will you find, who have never beheld the spiritual? How many who have never been spoken to by the invisible? How many who have never been led by the intangible?
- The world is now a vast crowd of living witnesses of the spiritual, shamed down to silence by the Atheistical doctrines of modern Christianity. This truth is a spring that can never be dried up.
- A generation shall yet arise who, taking facts as they find them, will make religion a science, studied by as exact rules as mathematicks. Then will these facts be sought for as are new discoveries in Geology and Astronomy. Facts well attest-
ed will be generalized. Rules be drawn from them. Man’s prejudices will cease to minister to his blindness. The mouth of the Seer will be opened, and the whole earth enlightened.
- In the transmission of testimony from generation to generation, it is by many supposed to lose much of its credibility. But this is not true, where it is supported by proper monuments.
- When a religion has been built up, a new Law, sacrament, or ordinance, engrafted on an existing institution, or any publick monument, erected in pursuance of a particular revelation of God, it is evidence to all succeeding generations, that at the time of the event, the testimony of it was believed by those who had the best means of knowing whether it was true or false, and were most interested in the truth.
- For instance, the appearance of God to Moses, and to all Israel, in Sinai, could not have been an original falsehood, written by Moses, for if the events did not occur as written, all Israel would have cried out against palming the deception on their children.
- Nor could it have been subsequently forged; for the Law then instituted was its monument. All the people would have cried out, we received no such Law from our ancestors. They left us no such history. National or great publick events cannot be forged in history. Facts in which multitudes are interested may be distorted, but they cannot be created.
- That God has been seen by, and has conversed with men, is the best proved fact in history, whether tested by historick testimony, or by induction. These testimonies remain forever, to confound the unbelieving. But to us he has given the inspiration of his Spirit, and the sure word of prophecy; a perpetual and ever present witness.
Book of The Law 2
CHAPTER III: OATHS…87
CHAPTER IV: BENEDICTONS…98
CHAPTER V: MALEDICTIONS…100
CHAPTER VI: PRAYER…102
CHAPTER VII: THANKSGIVING…104
CHAPTER VIII: SACRIFICE…106
CHAPTER IX: MONUMENTS…110
CHAPTER X: BLESSING OF INFANTS…114
CHAPTER XI: BAPTISM…116
CHAPTER XII: BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD…136
CHAPTER XIII: CONFIRMATION…142
CHAPTER XIV: EUCHARIST…145
CHAPTER XV: MARRIAGE…159
CHAPTER III: OATHS.
Thou shalt adore the Lord thy God.
- THOU shalt swear by the name of the Lord thy God,1 and of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit of God, and by nothing less: neither by the heavens, for God’s throne is there; nor by the hosts thereof, for they serve him; nor by the earth, for it is the place of the sole of his foot; nor by the inhabitants thereof, for they are mortal, and vanity; nor by thyself, for thou art of a day, and shalt cease; nor by any work of man, for it perisheth.293 words, 343 letters.
- It is imagined by some that Christ abolished the oath, in saying, “Swear not at all.” (Matt. v, 34.) There is a slight errour in the translation of his words into English, but not enough to conceal the true intent, to wit: that they should not swear by the less, but only by the greater. (id. 35, 36.)
- Of the legality of oaths, under the dispensation of Christ, an eminent example is found in the Angel, who “swear by him that liveth forever, that there should be time no longer.” (Rev. x, 6.)
- And in the dispensation of the final gathering and holiness of Israel, God will exact of all men to swear by his name.
[1 Isa. lxv,16. Neh. xiii, 25. Deut. vi, 13. Ps. lxiii, 11. [2 Jer. v, 7.
(Isa. lxv, 16. Jer. xii, 16.) In the very discourse in which it has been supposed that oaths were abolished, Jesus said, “Think not I am come to destroy the Law.” (Matt. v, 17.) Yet that was the Law which required these oaths.
- Remember that the Lord thy God swore by himself, because there was none greater:1 but by the greater shalt thou swear, even by God Almighty, and by him whom he sitteth at his right hand forever; and whose is the Kingdom under the whole heaven. Thou shalt not swear by the name of any other God.2 56 words, 231 letters.
- Thou shalt not profane the name of the Lord thy God, nor of the Lord Jesus Christ, nor of the Holy Spirit of God, by any oath:3 but such oaths only as the Law of the Lord thy God, and the command of the King requireth of thee and alloweth, shalt thou take upon thee; for all else is profane. Thou shalt not profane the name of God by any oath or vow, of thine own. 76 words, 278 letters.
- It is profaning, the name of God to swear vain oaths, such as are not appointed in the Law, or are not necessary to justice. The oath was appointed of God for great occasions, and not to be made a light thing of by familiar use.
- In the conversations and communications of men, let your communication be yes, and no; for he that is not worthy of credit in these, is more to be suspected of falsehood
[1 Isa. xlv, 23. 1xii, 8. Heb. vi, 13, 16. Gen. xxii, 16, 17. [2 Josh. xxiii, 7. [3 Lev. xix, 12. vi, 3.
when he swears. Profanity will not prevent falsehood.
- Nor should Judges and Rulers, and those set in authority exact an oath in all cases of controversy among men. The habit of always swearing a witness in all cases of litigation about little trifles, tends to destroy the sacredness of the oath, by making it too common, and encourages perjury.
- Be not too ready, after asserting anything with ever so much sincerity, to swear to it. Men are sometimes mistaken, when very sure. A word should be spoken on oath only with much deliberation and thoughtfulness. Otherwise it ceases to be the end of controversy. Great readiness to swear without due deliberation, would reduce the oath of the swearer to another man’s yes, and no, or below it.
- The practice of swearing by the name of God, or of any holy person, or of any false god, or of any man, or place, or thing, or by any name, word, or place whatever, in our conversations, or in anger, is to be reprehended, and punished as a gross violation of this Law.
- And all those modes of speaking which approach to, and resemble profane swearing, should be avoided; and if any one, after admonition, persists in them, he should be punished.
- An oath shall be before the King, and the Judge, and the Ruler, and the Minister of the Law; and before such as are set in authority, whensoever they require it:1 and there may be an oath also between those who enter into covenant:2 and also between him that serveth, and him that ordereth.354 words, 226 letters.
[1 1st Kings viii, 31, 32. Lev. v, 1. [ 2 Gen. xxvi, 28—31. xxi, 31. Josh. ii, 12 -14. Ist Sam. xx, 16, 17. [ 3 Gen. xxiv, 2, 3. 1 st Sam. xxx, 15. 2d Sam. xix, 7, 1st Kings i, 17, 51.
- It is the duty of a judge to use the most careful discretion, in requiring an oath of a party or witness before him. If a witness is under reasonable suspicion of willful falsehood, an oath will seldom relieve it. If he is not corrupt, the truth can generally be got out of him without it.
- The principal use of the oath, is to bind one for an act long in the future; and to be of any value for that purpose it should only be resorted to on great occasions, and with much deliberation.
- In covenants between parties, it is proper only in cases where, from some reason, the Law would scarcely afford a remedy for the breach of the covenant, or there is no sufficient authority to enforce it.
- So between a Prince, or Ruler, or Master and his servants; it is right to take an oath of a Steward, for the substance of another is in his hand, and no one knows what he does with it. And if a promise be made to a servant, by a great man, of some great favour, he may confirm it with an oath.
- Thou shalt perform all thine oaths; whether unto God or unto man, thou shalt perform them. Thou shalt do according to every word that proceedeth out of thy mouth.1 Thou shalt not speak with thy lips when thy heart giveth not assent, to do and to perform all the words of thy mouth.253 words, 222 letters.
- If thou swear by an oath to do anything which is known to thee, and it be sin, it is not an oath of the Lord thy God. Thou
[1 Lev. xix, I2. Num. xxx. 2. Deut. xxiii, 21-23. Nah. i, 15. Ps. xv, 1-4, 1, 14. Ecc. v, 4, 5. Job xxii, 27. [2 Acts v, 1-4.
canst not profane the name of the holy, to sanctify sin. God shall judge thee, and him that asketh it of thee. Ye shall bear your sins together. 57 words, 203 letters.
- But if thou swear by an oath to do a thing, and it be hid from thee, and thou know it not, and when it is known to thee it is sin; thou shalt submit thyself unto the judgment of God, and shalt do penance; and shalt make restitution, as shall be put upon thee; that all sin may be put away, and thy heart purified, and wickedness put out of the land.173 words, 266 letters.
- There is, perhaps, no more difficult question in moral philosophy than that arising out of this class of oaths. The discussion of it for near three centuries, has failed of any satisfactory result.
- One of the chief accusations of the Protestants against the Roman Catholicks was, that the Romish Priests, or some of the higher of them, exercised the prerogative of absolving Christians from their oaths.
- This question had most consequence during the political struggles between Protestants and Romanists in Europe, which coutinued for three centuries, and during which the Pope not unfrequently absolved nations from their oaths of allegiance to Protestant Princes.
- The same power had frequently before been exercised against Princes, who were not sufficiently subservient to the Pope, though of the Roman Catholick religion. Indeed, it is not improbable that the dread of that power, more than
[1 Lev. v, 4-13.
anything else, induced several Princes to encourage the reformation.
- So terrible had this power become in the hands of the Popes, that by means of absolution* and interdict** the Pope, by a simple writing from the Vatican, could drag a powerful Potentate down from his throne, and the meanest of his subjects would refuse him homage. Not unfrequently by the exercise of these prerogatives, renowned Princes had been brought on their knees before the Pope, to kiss his feet, and beg restoration to favour.
- Protestants maintained that such acts by Popes, Bishops, or Priests, were a mere license to commit perjury, and that the oaths of allegiance were, nevertheless, binding, and no power on earth could absolve the subject from his oath of allegiance to his Prince.
- But in the progress of the reformation it not unfrequently happened that Protestants found themselves bound by oath of allegiance to Princes of the Roman Catholick religion; Princes whom they deemed it their duty to God, to oppose in arms.
- They did not stand upon the obligations of the oath. The better sort of men, perhaps, in some way, persuaded themselves that the oath was not pleasing to God, and on the whole ought not to be kept, and so took to themselves a dispensation to violate it.
- Taking example from them, worse men assume to disregard any oath they wish to be rid of, as often as they can do so without fear of punishment.
*Absolution extended not only to pardon of sins, but to releasing from oaths, obligations, or allegiance.
** By the Pope’s inderdict publick worship ceases, the churches are closed, the sacraments cannot be administered, nor the dead buried. There can be neither marriage nor baptism, or any religious act, till the interdict is withdrawn.
- If it was dangerous to trust the dispensation of oaths, under circumstances when the propriety of keeping them was exceedingly doubtful, to the leaders, instructors, and pastors of the people, how much more dangerous to trust the same powers to the mass of the people, with all their temptations, to depart from obligations, voluntarily assumed, but which they no longer wished to keep.
- This was the opening of a floodgate of crime, which Protestants have never been able to close. And a horrible comment it is on their affected indignation at the Roman Catholick Priests, for dispensing the obligations of an oath.
- In the English and German revolutions of the last three centuries, as well as in the American revolution, whole nations of Protestants trampled on their oaths of allegiance, and sundered them as ropes of sand. Indeed; latterly, revolutions seem to have been entered on just as lightly, and upon just as small causes as though subjects were not bound by an oath.
- If the mischief ended here, there would be hope for those nations which dispense with the administration of the oath of allegiance. But the doctrine once set on foot that a man may simply throw off the obligation of an oath, because he thinks it ought not to have been taken, has almost destroy-ed the force of all oaths.
- The practice of the Protestants is grossly contrary to the Bible, as they read it. In the ambiguous statement of the Law, (Lev. v, 4,) whatever else may be in the dark, it appears that “if a soul swear to do good, or to do evil, and it be hid from him, when he knoweth it, he shall be guilty.” That is, if, in the result, the oath unexpectedly requires a sinful act, he shall be guilty, whether he keeps or breaks it.
- Further, the Law is not clearly set out; but it requires
him to confess, and to make a trespassoffering, and the Priest shall make an atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven.
- This much is, therefore, clear; that a man cannot, of right, put off and break such an oath; and that those who are unfortunately involved in it, must submit themselves to the Priesthood of God.
- An eminent case in point is that of Jephthah, Judge of Israel, who, when he went out to battle against the Ammonites, vowed unto the Lord that if he would deliver them into his hands, he would make a burnt offering of whatsoever first met him, as he returned home in peace.
- He did not know what would first meet him. Therefore, what the oath required, was unknown. He won a great victory; but as he returned home his daughter, his only child, met him. Yet Jephthah dared not to break his vow.* (Jud. xi, 30-37.)
- A still stronger case is that of the Gibeonites, (Josh. ix,) who by lies and false pretences obtain a covenant of the Princes of Israel to let them live.
- The Law of God forbade Israel to make any league or covenant with the people of the country; and by the deep guille of the Gibeonites they were induced to violate this Law. Yet God held them and their children bound by the oath, throughout all generations.
- For when, Saul, King of Israel, slew some of the Gibeonites, in violation of that oath, God punished Israel, at whose instance he did it, with three years famine, until the posterity
*Jephthah’s daughter was not slain and burnt. As she was not a lawful sacrifice, she was valued by the Priest according to the Law, (Lev. xxvii, 1-7,) and a sacrifice made instead. But as she was devoted, she could not be redeemed; (Lev. xxvii, 28-33;) therefore she was given to the service of the Tabernacle as a Nazarite all her life. For this reason it is not said that she or her companions lamented or bewalled her death, but her virginity. (Jud. xi, 37-40.) She could not be given in marriage; a very great misfortune in Israel; and this is what she and her companions bewailed.
of Saul were given up to be destroyed; the most conclusive evidence that in the judgment of God the oath was binding on the nation, though the taking it was sinful.
- Had the Gibeonites and the Princes of Israel both understood that the oath was unlawful, and unlawfully obtained it seems that it would have been void.
- But it would be wrong that the Princes should excuse the breach of an oath, made in favour of strangers, by saying it was contrary to the Law of Israel, which the stranger might be quite ignorant of.
- Nor could they excuse themselves because the Gibeonites had deceived them, for that would present a temptation to all men, after receiving the benefit of a covenant, to seek some pretence for casting off the obligation. Deliberation should go before the oath; but, as far as possible, that should be the end of strife.
- These cases and Commandments make a strong rule against the doctrine and practice of Protestants. Still the rule of the Romanists is inadmissible. For it is not to be endured that there should be any power within the State which can step between sovereign and subject, and absolve one from his obligation to the other.
- Among a people who truly believe their religion, and will not profane their oaths, such a rule would at once transfer the real sovereignty to the Priests, to whom the power of absolution belonged.
- If the Priest may absolve a citizen, and give him a dispensation to violate any oath, which, as citizen or subject he is bound by, the State has lost its power over him, and can bind him by no obligation; it depends on the Priest alone.
- If he may absolve the Prince, the subject can have no
guaranty that what the Prince has sworn to at his coronation, he will perform in his reign. The Priest, in becoming the conscience keeper, becomes the common ruler of Prince and people.
- This was doubtless the intention of the Law of Moses. Under that Law, officers of the Church were all officers of the State; for State and Church were one institution. And the delicate question of the obligation of oaths, not proper of themselves, but when the impropriety was unintended, was reserved to the men raised up of God as leaders and pastors of the people.
- If thy wife swear by an oath to perform anything which thou mayest disallow, and thou hold thy peace at her, the day that thou hearest it, her oath shall stand. If thou wilt not that she perform it, thou shalt disallow it presently; for if thou delay, and then disallow it, thou shalt answer for her oath, and shalt bear her iniquity.1 63 words, 262 letters.
- If thy son, or thy daughter, swear by an oath to perform anything which thou mayest disallow, and thou hold thy peace to thy child the day that thou hearest it, the oath shall stand.2 If thou wilt not that the oath stand, thou shalt disallow it presently; for if thou delay, and then disallow it, thou shalt answer for the oath, and shalt bear the iniquity of thy child. 70 words, 289 letters.
[1 Num. xxx, 6-15. [2 Num. xxx, 3-5.
- And if thy servant swear by an oath to do a thing which thou mayest disallow, and thou hold thy peace at him, the day that thou hearest it, his oath shall stand. If thou wilt not that his oath stand, thou shalt disallow it presently; for if thou delay, and then disallow it, thou shalt answer for the oath, and shalt bear the iniquity of thy servant. 68 words, 273 letters.
Total—10 Sec., 663 words, 2,593 letters.
- Wives, children and servants, being subject to an authority which may control their actions, cannot always perform what they may have sworn. Hence, the husband, the father, or the master, is made liable for all the consequences, if permitting them to take the oath, he will not allow them to perform it.
- But some oaths he cannot disallow. If a higher authority interposes rightfully, they must yield to it, and that authority will shield them, and will be their avenger.
- Those who are thus subject to the control of another, ought to be very careful not to incur any obligation which they may not be allowed to perform, without permission so to do, except upon very grave cause.
- It is their duty, also, after incurring the obligation, to seek diligently to perform it. Though the husband, father, or master may interpose to prevent the keeping of the oath, they cannot appeal to him to shield them from their voluntary obligations. On the other hand, they are bound to seek his permission, to do what they have sworn. For so sacred is the obligation of an oath, that to seek a pretence for drawing back from it, is a violation of its intent and purpose.
CHAPTER IV: BENEDICTONS.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.
- Thou shalt delight in blessing, and not in cursing. And in the name of God, and of all the holy ones, even all that are above thee, shalt thou bless; and it shall be a blessing. 36 words,135 letters.
- Thou shalt bless thy fellows, and thy children and servants, and theirs; and all who seek to learn the righteousness of God, and the peace of his Kingdom of thee, and all whom God has committed to thy care. And him who blesseth thee, shalt thou honour. 47 words, 198 letters.
Total—2 sec., 83 words, 333 letters.
- If blessings were only an expression of the good will and wishes of him who pronounced them, more appropriate forms of language could be found, and forms which would not seem to trifle with the name and power of God, Angels, and Saints.
- Jacob pronounced blessings on his sons, and the sons of Joseph, whom he adopted, (Gen. xlviii, 15-22. xlix, 1-27,) because he had power from God to bless, and the blessing should come. Laban and Bethuel blessed Rebecca, when they gave her in marriage to Isaac, (Gen. xxiv, 60,) and the blessing was with her. Melchisedek blessed Abraham. (Gen. xiv, 19.)
- But blessings are not limited to occasions of so great
consequence as these. It is our duty to bless, rather than curse; ever to bless all but the impenitent, who love iniquity.
- While we should only curse, as a mere duty, those justly condemned, for whose repentance there is no hope, it should be our pleasure ever to bless, and to honour those from whom blessings flow.
- The ancient Saints blessed in their salutations, in their greetings, and in their feastings. In consequence of this practice, John gave a commandment that no one should bid the schismaticks, who came among them, God speed, (2d John 10,) which was a very wholesome commandment, not to be forgotten in these days; for he that blesseth such, is partaker of their evil deeds. (2d John 11.)
- The proper manner of the Saints, is, therefore, when they meet those who are entitled to blessings from them, instead of the ordinary salutations in use among different people, to salute them with blessings in the name of God, Saints, or Angels.
- These salutations ought to be adopted on occasions of meeting and separating, and ought to be practiced neither in levity, nor in a gloomy and misanthropick mood; but in cheerfulness and hearty good will, which tends to blessings and happiness.
- Parents should be an example in these things to their children, and Elders to all the people. The effect of the general adoption of this manner would be to put an end to most of the difficulties which occur among neighbours, and to smooth down the asperities of human life. In short, if the Saints bless with all their hearts, the blessing will not fail.
- The less cannot bless the greater. (Heb. vii, 7.) But whom you cannot bless, them honour, with becoming reverence, as the Stewards of God, appointed to minister unto you.
CHAPTER V: MALEDICTIONS.
Thou shalt obey the Lord thy God.
- THOU shalt not curse, out of the bitterness of thine own heart;1 nor shalt thou curse any but he that is under condemnation of God’s Law, and, being oft rebuked, will not repent.2 38 words, 138 letters.
- Thou shalt not curse thy neighbour, nor the stranger that dwelleth with thee; for the hand of the Judge is over them: and, possibly, when he rebukes, they will repent, and turn to righteousness: but when he curses, then shalt thou. 41 words, 181 letters.
- But thou shalt not curse any who is placed in authority, or has jurisdiction over thee.3 If they oppress thee, or do thee unrighteousness, and thy cry ascend to God in heaven, in heaven will he hear thee. He will be the avenger. Curse not, lest thy curse return upon thee.451 words, 212 letters.
Total—3 sec., 125 words, 531 letters.
- So general and widespread is wickedness among men,
[1 Rom xii, 14. Lev. xxiv, 11, 14-16. [2 Jud. v, 23. [3 Ex. xxii, 28. Lev. xx, 9. [4 Num. xxiv, 9.
that while the salutations so common among the Saints of the former days, “Peace be with you,” “God speed you,” and various others, are nearly forgotten; cursing and swearing, then rarely heard, have become features in conversation.
- Thus the whole order of God in this respect, as in many others, is reversed. Cursing has become the practice, and blessing the exception. It is not singular that the curse has come, after being so oft invoked.
- The whole practice of mixing up cursings in conversation, is an offence to God, and to all the Saints, and is a fruitful source of divers mischiefs.
- Maledictions should only be invoked on such as, on deliberate and candid thought, are found condemned to them by the Law of God; and then the curse should be invoked as in the presence of God, the searcher of hearts; conscious that whosoever curses in the bitterness of his own corrupt heart, and not in the light of God’s truth, the curse will return upon him.
- The different occasions of cursing are marked by different modes. When hospitality is refused to the embassadors of the gospel, by the instruction of Jesus, they wash their feet, or wipe the dust from them, as a testimony against the house or city in which they have been refused food and rest. (Matt. x, 14. Acts xiii, 51. xviii, 6. Mark vi, 11. Luke ix, 5. x,10,11.)
- Maledictions are also pronounced on hereticks, schismaticks, and those guilty of gross and abominable immoralities, and acts of great cruelty and wickedness. For this purpose not unfrequently the Prophets, Apostles and Bishops pronounce the maledictions, and the whole body of the people say, Amen. (1st Cor. v, 5. 1st Tim. i, 20. Mal. iv, 6.)
CHAPTER VI: PRAYER.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto anything that thine eye beholdeth,
or thy imagination conceiveth of; but the Lord thy God only.
- WHEN thou prayest, thou shalt not use many words, or vain repetitions; for God hath understanding: nor shalt thou cry aloud;1 for God heareth the whisper of the heart. 29 words, 132 letters.
- Nevertheless, in the assembly shalt thou speak with an audible voice, that he who prayeth with thee, may say, Amen. 20 words, 91 letters.
- Thy prayers shall be unto God, thy Father;2 for he is rich in mercy, and loving kindness: and in heaven shall he hear thee, in the fulness of his wisdom and goodness, if thou believe on his name. But unto his Ministers shalt thou petition for whatsoever he has dispensed unto them. For his mercy is over all his works. 60 words, 249 letters.
Total—3 sec., 109 words, 472 letters.
- A great mistake prevails in regard to the proper occasions of prayer. Many pray at certain appointed times every day, or every week, without regard to the occasion, and think attention to it with perfect regularity a most important duty.
[1 Matt. vi, 6, 7. 2d Kings iv, 33. [2 Matt. vi, 9.
- With such, prayer becomes a parrot like repetition of words, and tends more to hypocrisy than communion with God.
- Man ought always to give thanks when he has abundance; always to pray, when in unprovided want.
- But his wants are not the occasion of prayer, if he is able to put forth his hand and supply them. Rather should he help himself, and then give thanks that abundance was bestowed, so that he had but to reach forth his hand and enjoy.
- How much annoyance do children often make, continually asking for that, which, perhaps, has already been refused them, or is being prepared with all possible expedition, or possibly is ready and waiting to be taken by them.
- Like this is the conduct of the children of our heavenly Father, who continually importune, year after year, for what God has never found them worthy to receive, or what he is preparing for them, or has already bestowed upon them in abundance.
- The Lord Jesus, in his day, taught his Disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” (Matt. vi, 11,) because he had taken them from the business at which they laboured, and sent them out preaching without purse or scrip.
- But that instruction is no reason why he should pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” who has bread for himself and all in his house for a whole year, and a like abundance for all other wants. Such a one should give thanks for what God has bestowed upon him, and, perhaps, pray God to inspire him with meekness and charity to so use it that it shall be a blessing, and not a condemnation.
- Not only do thousands pray for what is already supplied to them in abundance without the asking, but also mistake the direction of their petitions; asking of God what they have only to ask their neighbours or their rulers for.
CHAPTER VII: THANKSGIVING.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.
- WHEN, in blessing, the Lord thy God shall bestow upon thee any great and choice blessing; or, in his abundant charity, shall deliver thee from any great calamity, thou shalt assemble together thy wives, and thy children; thy friends, and thy neighbours; and shalt celebrate his glorious goodness with thankofferings, and feasting, and musick, and dancing. 56 words, 286 letters.
- And for the chief blessings of God to thee, shalt thou keep it in remembrance from year to year, and teach it to thy children, that they who inherit the blessing may not forget gratitude to the giver, and the remembrance of the goodness of thy God be preserved throughout all generations. 52 words, 232 letters.
Total—2 sec., 108 words, 518 letters.
- There is a natural buoyancy of spirits in the constitution of man, which will not live down to the demands of misanthropy. It is the native thankfulness of the heart, for blessings bestowed, favours conferred, and happiness enjoyed.
- In that false system of religion, which condemns all the pleasures of life as sinful, and enjoins on us the selfinfliction
of gloom, pain and misery, in this life, as the price of happiness in another, this natural thankfulness is condemned as sinful.
- Give it a voice, and it will speak the praises of God; motion, and it will act the gratitude of the heart, inspired with an afflatus from the heart of the Redeemer of men.
- In the Jewish Church, singing, instrumental musick feasting, and dancing, were all used in praising God. But it is worthy of remark, that they used them or not, according to the extent of their blessings or calamities. (Ps. cxxxvii. 4.)
- While in Egyptian bondage they had no national feasts but on the destruction of the firstborn of Egypt, the feast of the passover was instituted. (Ex. xii, 3-10.)
- On different occasions new feasts, sacrifices, and dances were instituted, and new psalms and songs composed for their various thanksgivings; both national, sectional and individual.
- The use of all these modes of praising God, and giving thanks to him, prevailed among them, and were anticipated in the Church of the latter days. They were regarded as most acceptable forms of worship. (Ps. cxlix, cl.)
- Dancing and instrumental musick should, therefore, be regarded as forms of religious worship, acceptable to God, when done to his praise, and the magnifying of his name.
- And though it may not be positively sinful to join in a dance which was not instituted to the praise of God, yet as tending to an unprofitable mixing with unbelievers, the practice should be avoided. It may cause some to stumble.
- Be admonished, therefore, that whatsoever you do, you do it in reference to the law of God, being guided thereby in all things; rendering due thanks and praise unto him for all his goodness, and assembling your neighbours with you to be joyful in the Lord.
CHAPTER VIII: SACRIFICE.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy might and with all thy strength.
- THOU shalt offer upon the altar of the Lord thy God, and before his Priests, sacrifices for sinofferings, and for trespassofferings, and for memorials, and for peaceofferings, and for thankofferings. 30 words, 163 letters.
- Thy offerings shall be of the firstlings of thy flocks, and of the choice of thy fields, and of the chief of all holy things. 25 words, 98 letters.
- Of thy flock shalt thou offer the firstling of male or female, without deformity or blemish, of such as divide the hoof and chew the cud; and of fowls, shalt thou offer all singing birds; and of fishes, all that have scales and fins; and of shell fish, such as have two shells, and move about from place to place: these shall be holy unto the Lord thy God, and shall be offered upon the altar. 76 words, 306 letters.
- Of the choice of thy fields, that which is good for food without change or addition, and whatsoever is used for bread for man, that is holy unto the Lord thy God, and shall be offered unto him as an offering, and lifted
up to the Priest; but it shall not be offered on the altar. 56 words, 217 letters.
- And whatsoever other thing ye offer, it shall be accompanied with one of these, and thus thy gift shall be sanctified. But if it be not accompanied with one of these, thou shalt redeem it at the Priest’s valuation, and it and the price thereof shall be the Lord’s. 49 words, 208 letters.
Total—5 sec., 236 words, 992 letters.
- Of the first institution of sacrifices the Divine Oracles make no record. But the date of them goes back to the first of men.
- Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam, offered sacrifices; Cain, of the fruits of the field, and Abel of the firstlings of his flocks, (Gen. iv, 3-5,) and God had respect to the offering of Abel, and not to that of Cain.
- Why God had respect to the offering of Abel, and not to that of Cain, is not stated in Genesis; but the most common inference has been that it was merely because Abel offered of the flocks, and Cain of the fields.
- This reason alone seems quite insufficient; for other offerings than those of slaughter are often acceptable, and required by the Law.
- The Book of Jasher* gives as the reason, that Cain “had brought of the inferiour fruit of the ground before the Lord;” (Jasher i, 16;) whereas, an offering, to be acceptable, should always be of the best.
- Sacrifices continued in all ages, from Adam till Christ;
*The name Jasher is not that of a man, the author of a book; but of the book itself; and signifies the upright or just: the Book of the Upright, or the True or Upright Record.
but there has been a wide field of argument as to the propriety of their continuance subsequently.
- The general, though not quite universal, sentiment among Protestants is, that no form of sacrifice should be offered since the offering of Christ for the redemption of mankind.
- Romanists hold that the Eucharist, as often as it is repeated, is an offering anew of Christ a sacrifice for the sins of men; and in supporting their theory, offer some testimonies, clearly enough showing that, in all the ages, the chosen of God will offer unto him acceptable offerings; (Mal. i, 11. Rev. viii, 3;) but fail to show that that in particular is the offering spoken of.
- Both Protestants and Romanists are in the dark in this matter; not only for want of a proper understanding of the true nature of a sacrifice, but also of the prerogatives of the Priesthood, in all its divisions.
- It is the prerogative of the Melchisedek Priesthood to offer certain sacrifices, and to administer certain ordinances and sacraments. Wherever that Priesthood is found, there those sacrifices, ordinances and sacraments may be looked for.
- The Melchisedek Priesthood existed in the times of the Patriarchs, and offered sacrifices. The same Priesthood, during the continuation of the Jewish nation, existed in the persons of several Prophets, who erected and sacrificed on altars at other places, than the sanctuary in the keeping of the Aaronick Priesthood, (1st Kings xviii, 30-38. 2d Sam. xxiv, 25. Jud. vi, 25, 28. xiii, 16-20,) which the Aaronick Priesthood were forbidden to do. (Deut. xii, 10-14)
- Jesus, as well as most of these Prophets, came of other tribes than that which held the Aaronick Priesthood, and it is witnessed of him that he is a Priest after the order of Melchisedek. (Ps. cx, 4. Heb. v, 6, 10. vii, 17, 21.)
- His Apostles were made partakers of the same calling, (Heb. iii, 1. Matt. xvi, 18, 19. xxviii, 18, 19. Eph. ii, 20,) and inducted into the same Priesthood; for they were of tribes to which the Aaronick Priesthood did not pertain, and administered sacraments and ordinances over which it had no power.
- The Apostles, therefore, are Priests after the order of Melchisedek. Being inducted into that Priesthood, they have power to administer the sacraments, and offer the sacrifices which pertain to it.
- And it is particularly worthy of remark, that the only offering made by Melchisedek, of which the Bible makes any mention, is that of the bread and wine, (Gen. xiv, 18,) which is everywhere recognized as a sacrament, if not a sacrifice.
- It is, therefore, clear from the testimonies in the Bible, without reference to any other revelation or law, that the rites peculiar to the Melchisedek Priesthood continue.
- Christ himself is the one sacrifice, great above all others, offered once in fact; offered ever in symbol; who was offered, not upon an altar, nor by a Priest, after the manner of all instituted sacrifices, but a natural sacrifice; yielding himself, who had done no sin, to the wrath of sinners; that by his sufferings he might bring them life.
- This is the true and proper idea of a sacrifice. It is a something valuable given, or yielded up to be destroyed, as the sole or necessary means of saving something else. From this natural, originated all sacerdotal sacrifices.
- And as the Eucharistick Sacrifice is a symbol of the natural sacrifice of Jesus, so sacerdotal sacrifices are all voluntary offerings, in lieu of natural sacrifices. Instead of being burdensome to those who offer them, the design and effect of the institution of sacerdotal sacrifices, is to diminish the necessity for the natural.
CHAPTER IX: MONUMENTS.
The Lord thy God is a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children,
from generation to generation, even upon all that hate him, and showing
a multitude of mercies unto them that keep his Commandments.
- WHENSOEVER the Lord thy God manifests himself unto thee in majesty and might, or walketh with thee, and revealeth unto thee wisdom and knowledge, thou shalt erect unto him pillars, tablets and enduring monuments, and make inscriptions upon them; and shalt write and inscribe thereon his dealings with thee, his blessings and mercies, and his great power and glory, which he hath revealed unto thee; that it may remain a witness to the generations to come; and that they may know that thy God is God, and there is none else.1 91 words, 420 letters.
- Thou shalt preserve the memory of the chosen of God, who have been faithful in their ministry, and in the calling whereunto the Lord thy God hath called them, fresh with thy children, and thy children’s children. 37 words, 170 letters.
[1 Gen. xxviii, 16-18. Josh. iv, 3, 9, 20, 21. viii, 32. Jasher ii, 13. Josephus Ant. B. 1, ch. ii, 3.
- Thou shalt build monuments to their memory, and erect pillars and tablets, and inscribe their praises, their works, their faith and their sufferings thereon; and when thou beholdest their monuments, thou shalt remember them, and talk of their righteousness, and teach thy children to walk in their righteous ways. 49 words, 256 letters.
- When God giveth thee a victory over thy enemies, thou shalt commemorate it with monuments and inscriptions. 17 words, 89 letters.
- But over the graves of persecutors and blasphemers, and they who shed the blood of the innocent, and at the places of their abominations shalt thou pile rough stones, with muttered curses, against the day of the resurrection of damnation. 40 words, 194 letters.
- And thou shalt teach thy children to add a stone to the pile as they pass by, and to curse him that removes the stones, and cleaves unto their wickedness. 30 words, 122 letters.
Total—6 sec., 264 words, 1,251 letters.
- The Scriptures mention but a few instances of the erection of monuments, to preserve the memory of the revelations of God’s majesty and mercy. But those there mentioned were of an early date, and show that the Law was kept in the beginning.
- It is worthy of note that travellers find many ancient monuments in the land of Canaan, of Israelite origin, and
prophetick ages, which are nowhere spoken of in the Bible.
- But that country has so often changed masters; so often been desolated by destructive and long continued wars, that many of its monuments have been destroyed; others lost; and such a multitude of false tales put affoat in regard to them, that little is now known of the genuine Israelite monuments.
- The best known ancient nations, whose books are lost, are Egypt, Assyria, and Chaldea, whose histories have been preserved by their monuments; and their claim to ancient renown, which tradition had preserved, but books ignored, has been recently fully vindicated.
- The universal practice of erecting monuments, in all the early nations, was the result of Law, not caprice. All Archaiologists concur in this, that as their knowledge of God diminished their monuments became inferiour, till, with the loss of true religion altogether, the construction of monuments was, to a great extent, abandoned. Instead of monuments, they then erected statues, and, forgetting the living God, worshipped them as gods.
- The expense of constructing enduring monuments is not great. The most valuable material should not be sought for, as it is more likely to be demolished for new structures; but rather that which, after being demolished, will be of little or no value.
- For common monuments, brick, laid in strong mortar, is preferable. The brick should be made of different sizes, with every one a letter sunk into the end, and laid up in order, as type are set.
- In this style of building the side of every structure of brick could, with little expense, be made a monument, covered with records; and as the brick would be of little value
for any new structure, these works would seldom be demolished.
- To make the temptation to demolish them less, the whole interiour mass might well be constructed of gravel and rough stones, mixed with lime and sand, which would very soon harden, and become massive stone.
- It would be preferable to impress the letters into the brick, rather than emboss them, because they would be more durable; but either style could with propriety be adopted, in interiour tablets, properly protected from weather.
- In this style of building the walls of houses should be divided in pannels, and each pannel filled with an inscription, beginning a little above the earth’s surface, and placing each line above the last, in succession, as each is below the last in the pages of a book.
- Or, a draught might be made of each pannel, with its proper inscription, with regard to the size of the letter bricks, and by that they could be laid up so as to read from top to bottom, in the usual style.
- As these monuments would be valuable as structures, and nearly valueless as materials for future structures, they would be most likely to be permanent.
- But in the construction of them, some events might well be briefly commemorated on a single brick, and occasionally a brick be laid with the inscribed side within the wall, so that no process of destruction would blot out its testimony, short of tearing the monuments down to the foundation, and breaking up each brick.
- Such monuments would withstand the elements as long as any other material, and could be constructed without difficulty, in most countries. When made of pressed brick, they would present a fine appearance.
CHAPTER X: BLESSING OF INFANTS.
Thou shalt serve thy God, and obey him.
- When the Lord thy God in multiplying blesseth thee, and giveth thee a child in thine own image; thou shalt bring him before the Lord thy God, in his house, or in the assembly of the Elders; and they shall lay their hands upon him, and bless him. Thou shalt not delay to do it; and though thou be far away, yet shalt thou bring him before he is eight years old: that the blessing of the Lord thy God may be put upon him; and his heart shall seek to the Kingdom of God, and its righteousness: for of such is the Kingdom. If he die, yet shall he live therein forever. He shall be thine. 117 words, 450 letters.
- And the child of thy servant also, and of thy bondman, shalt thou bring to receive this blessing: and the stranger that dwelleth with thee shall bring his child also, to receive his blessing: for thus shall the power of the Kingdom be a shield unto him, and his heart shall cleave unto its righteousness; that he may be established therein forever. 62 words, 279 letters.
- The blessing of infants is no new sacrament. It was practised by Jesus Christ during his ministry. (Mark x, 13-16. Luke xviii, 15-17.) After the practice of baptizing infants was introduced, in the days of the apostacy of the Church, it was confounded with confirmation.
- But there was such a manifest impropriety in confirming unconscious infants, that that sacrament was necessarily postponed to a later period of life. By this means blessing, as a sacrament, was quite lost.
- Yet it is retained among Romanists, the eastern Christians of various sects, and some Protestants, not as a sacrament, but as a nonessential ceremony attending baptism, or sprinkling, which most of them have substituted for baptism.
- And whosoever shall bring a child to be blessed; whether it be father, or mother; or master, or mistress; the same shall teach the child this law to keep it. Thus shall ye be honoured as fathers and mothers in Israel: but, if ye do it not, and evil befall the child, his blood be upon you. 57 words, 222 letters.
- The Apostles, High Priests, and Elders, in their assemblies; and the Priest thereunto appointed in the Temples of God, shall bless with this blessing: for, behold, it is a great sacrament. 31 words, 149 letters.
Total—4 sec., 267 words, 1,100 letters.
The name by which a child is blessed, that is its name. Those who bring a child to be blessed, should determine what name they wish, and if there is no good objection, it should be blessed by that. But if any just objection appears, he who blesses should bless by such name as is most proper.
CHAPTER XI: BAPTISM.
The Lord thy God shows a multitude of mercies unto them that keep his Commandments.
- EXCEPT a man be born of the water, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.1 16 words, 58 letters.
- The language, “born of water,” as found in this Law, and in the discourse of Jesus to Nicodemus, is sufficient to settle the controversy as to the manner in which baptism should be administered.
- For a birth is a coming forth out of something that covers and conceals. Such is baptism, only when the subject, being covered in water, is brought forth out of it.
- It would be folly in the extreme to say of one, upon whom a few drops of water had been sprinkled, or a small quantity poured, that he was born of the water. It cannot even be said that he is sprinkled, or poured. It is the water that is sprinkled, or poured.
- Nor can any one say that this language, “born of the water,” was not used of baptism. For if baptism is not the thing here spoken of, then there is another ceremony to be administered in water, besides baptism, so entirely essential that without it no one can enter into the Kingdom.
- And that other ceremony would also be baptism; that is, an immersion in water. For as no one can dispute that, it is necessary to be born of water, in order to enter into the
[1 John iii, 5.
Kingdom, so, whether baptism is or is not an immersion, nevertheless, immersion is essential to entry into the Kingdom.
- This discourse of Jesus with Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, has given a further key to the manner of administering baptism. He reproached Nicodemus for not understanding what it was to be born again.
- Why that reproach? Because the Jews were at that time making considerable numbers of converts to their faith, all of whom were baptized; and they always spoke of this baptism as a new birth.
- Maimonides, one of the most distinguished of the old writers on Jewish theology, after relating that proselytes were received into the Jewish faith, males by circumcision, baptism and sacrifice; and females by baptism and sacrifice, adds, “A Gentile who has become a proselyte, and a slave who is set at liberty, (on embracing the faith,) are both, as it were, new born babes; which is the reason why those who before were their parents are now no longer so.” (Clarke’s Fleury, B. iv, ch. i, p. 273.) Hence a master in Israel could not be ignorant how a man should be born a second time.
- Baptism was most clearly treated as regeneration, or a new birth, by Jesus, during his ministry. He said to Peter, and the rest of the Apostles, “Ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matt. xix, 28.)
- In what had the twelve Apostles followed? The re- generation. What is regeneration? Butterworth says: “Re- generation, is the change and renovation of the soul, by the spirit and grace of God. (John iii, 5, 6.) It is called the new birth, and consists in the infusion of spiritual life into the soul, (John v, 25,) whereby it is capable of performing spiritual
actions, and living unto God. (Rom. xiv, 3.” But. Con.)
- Buck says: “Regeneration, a new birth; that work of the Holy Spirit by which we experience a change of heart. It is to be distinguished from baptism, which is an external rite, though some have confounded them together. The evidences of it are, conviction of sin, holy sorrow, deep humility, knowledge, faith, repentance, love, and devotedness to God’s glory.” (Bucks Th. Dic., p. 395.)
- These are standard writers of Protestant theology, and their definitions express the doctrine of most Protestant sects. But they are irreconcilable with the teaching of Jesus.
- For if regeneration is a change of heart, evidenced by conviction of sin, and repentance, as Buck says; if, with Butterworth, it is a change and renovation of the soul; how could he undergo that change? how could he be convicted of sin, and repent, who was without sin? (Heb. iv, 15. vii, 26.)
- The language of Jesus, “ye who have followed me in the regeneration,” just as truly implies that he whom they followed was regenerated, as that they who followed were. And as he who was without sin, could not repent and turn from sin, and was nevertheless regenerate, so repenting and turning from sin, is not regeneration.
- The change of heart or turning from sin to holiness, which has been mistaken for regeneration, is in the gospel denominated repentance, and is a prerequisite to baptism, without which no one, once in sin, can become regenerate.
- In this view of the matter, Paul spoke of the baptism of water as the washing of regeneration, and that of the Spirit as the receiving of the Holy Spirit, shed abundantly on us through Jesus Christ. (Tit. iii, 5, 6.)
- But no man may have baptism of water,
except such as have faith toward God,1 and come unto him through the ministry he has sent; repenting of evil deeds,2 and seeking to learn righteousness by the living word:3 for this is the door of all into the kingdom;4 from eight years old and upwards; through which if ye enter not, ye shall not see God.5 65 words, 267 letters.
- To be a lawful candidate for baptism, it is necessary to have faith toward God, and to repent of all sin. Without these prerequisites, baptism will avail nothing.
- Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Heb. xi, 6.) This faith does not consist merely in believing in the existence of God. It is necessary to believe in actual communion with him; in the language of Paul, that he is the rewarder of those who seek him. (id.)
- In sending out the Apostles to preach the gospel in all the world, Jesus gave them this promise, “He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.” (Mark xvi, 16.) Believeth what? The word preached. Thus belief is a prerequisite to baptism.
- So Philip taught the eunuch of Ethiopia, when he inquired of him why he could not be baptized. “If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest.” (Acts viii, 37.)
- But faith toward God will not alone qualify one to receive baptism. It is equally necessary to repent of all sin, whether of action, word, or thought.
- The Apostles, when they received their commission to
[1 Mark xvi, 16. John iii, 18, 36. Acts viii, 37. xvi, 31, 32. Rom. x, 9. [2 Matt. iii, 1, 2, 5, 6. Luke xxiv, 47. Acts ii, 33. iii, 19. [3 John xvii, 3. Matt. xi, 27. Luke x, 22. Eph. i, 17. 18. [4 John iii, 5. Matt. iii, 13-16. Mark i, 9. John X, 1. [5 John iii, 3. Mark xvi, 16. Matt. xi, 27. Luke x, 22.
preach the gospel in all the world, were sent to preach repentance, and the remission of sins, (Luke xxiv, 47.)
- Very soon after receiving this mission, when Peter was inquired of by his congregation what they should do, (to be saved,) he replied, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts ii, 38.)
- This repentance is that conversion, or change of heart, of which the sects so often speak under the name of regeneration; their errour being chiefly this, that they think that to be regeneration, which in fact is its necessary prerequisite.
- But baptism will be unavailing, if it is not administered by those duly authorized of God. The doctrine of the Roman Catholick Church, that it may be administered, not only by a Priest, but by a layman, a woman, or an infidel; and that it will be valid, so the intention is right, is absurd.
- For, baptism is the sacrament by which and in which sins are remitted, and unauthorized Priests, laymen, women and infidels have no authority to remit sins.
- This doctrine is made very plain in the gospel. The authority conferred on the Apostles by Jesus, was to go into all the world, preaching repentance and the remission of sins to every creature; (Luke xxiv, 47, 48;) witnessing unto them, he that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; and he that believeth not, shall be damned; (Mark xvi, 16;) and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. (Matt. xxviii, 19.)
- The reason of this rule is plain. For sin is an offence against God. He being the party wronged, has the right to forgive or to withhold forgiveness.
- Nothing is clearer, therefore, than that he has the right to prescribe the conditions on which he will forgive sin, and the
manner in which he will do it, and to confer the authority to grant the remission, upon whomsoever he will; and that no man can validly exercise that authority, except he that is duly authorized of God.
- All sects substantially admit the soundness of this rule, by confining the administration of the rite, under ordinary circumstances, to those whom they regard as God’s Ministers. Their occasional aberrations from the rule grow out of the defects and innate follies of their various systems of theology.
- Nor is there any other door into the Kingdom, by which men may enter. Children under eight years old, are not subjects of baptism, because at that tender age there is not a foundation for intellectual responsibility. If made liable for the consequences of their conduct, they have not the intelligence to so act that their conduct shall be the counterpart of their intentions.
- But the sole fact of their freedom from the stain of actual sin, does not authorize them to enter the Kingdom by any other door; for Jesus was without sin, (Heb. iv, 15,) and yet it was necessary for him to be baptized. (Matt. iii, 13-16. Mark i, 9. Luke iii, 21.)
- Not pursuing these special cases any farther, the general rule is so clearly laid down, that no one can come into the Kingdom, except through valid, authorized baptism, that it is only a matter of surprise that any believer of the gospel should have ever doubted it. Nor is it possible that any who has faith in the gospel should be in doubt on the subject, after reading the testimonies in God’s word.
- For the keys of the ministry of the remission of sins, in the sacrament of baptism, hath the Lord your God bestowed upon his
Apostles;1 and through them, upon their fellow labourers, the High Priests, Elders, and Priests; commanding them to preach repentance and remission of sins, to all nations throughout the earth.2 52 words, 255 letters.
Total—3 sec., 133 words, 580 letters.
- The keys of authority to baptize for the remission of sins belongs to the Priesthood after the order of Melchisedek, in all its grades. Priests of the Aaronick order are also authorized to baptize for the remission of sins.
- John the Baptist was of the Aaronick Priesthood. Yet his principal ministry was in preaching repentance and baptism for the remission of sins; that is, the baptism of repentance. (Matt. iii, 1-3. Mark i, 4. Luke iii, 3.)
- And when Jesus gave the Apostles the plenary authority, in all cases throughout the earth (Matt. xxviii, 18) to remit and retain sins, (John xx, 23,) their first use of the power in behalf of new converts was in the washing of regeneration, or baptism for the remission of sins. (Acts ii, 38.)
NOTE I.—THE MANNER OF BAPTISM.
- A most singular and uncalled for controversy exists among Christians, as to the manner of baptism, there being three rites or forms in use, each of which is offered as a valid manner, to wit: immersing the subject in water, pouring water upon him, and sprinkling a few drops on him.
- The Greek Church, which uses the New Testament in the language in which it was written, has always practised
[1 John xx, 23. [2 Luke xxiv, 47.
immersion, and denies that the members of the Latin or Roman Church are Christians, because they are unbaptized.
- The oldest Church edifices in Europe, both in Protestant, Greek and Romanist countries, are provided with baptismal founts for the immersion of adults; and it is matter of undisputed history, that sprinkling and pouring were not used until quite modern times, except on the plea that the health of the subject would not admit of immersion.
- Romanists, among whom sprinkling and pouring originated, justify it, not by Apostolick institution, but by the authority of the Church to change forms and ceremonies.
- It is not a little singular that Protestants, who deny all authority of the Church over the sacraments, and claim that the Scriptures are a complete rule of faith and practice, should follow the Romanists in that for which they claim no warrant from the Bible, and justify under the authority of Romish Councils.
- But nearly all Protestants do so follow the canons of the Church of Rome. The Methodists have carried the folly farther, by leaving the question of the manner to be determined by the subject. (Discipline, ch. i, sec. xxi, 1. ch. iii, sec. ii, pp. 103, 109, edition of New York, 1836.)
- And this folly is practised by numerous other sects, though it carries with it the scandalous admission that the ministers of those sects are not capable of instructing their converts in religious ceremonies, but need to be instructed and guided by them.
- If three manners had been originally instituted, the Minister of God, rather than a new convert, would be the proper person to judge which was appropriate to the occasion. And if one mode was instituted, and that had fallen into doubt, it is ridiculous that the solution of that doubt should be re-
ferred to one not yet inducted into the Church, rather than a Minister of God’s Law.
- But it is nowhere pretended that more than one mode of baptism was originally instituted; and among those who are acquainted with early Church history, and the Greek language, no pretence is made that the mode was other than immersion.
- Romanists, who instituted other forms, admit unhesitatingly that they rest on the authority of the Church, and not on warrant of Scripture.
- The apparent doubt which hangs over the subject in the English language, grows out of the fact that the Scriptures have never been duly translated.
- The English version of the Bible was made by sprinklers; not baptizers. When they came to the words rendered in English, “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, (Mark xvi, 16,) they translated all but one word. The word, “baptistheis,” they did not translate. To have done so would have decided the controversy in favour of the Baptists. They Anglicised it into the word “baptized,” and thus left the controversy where they found it.
- These translators, when the sacrament of baptism was not involved, found no difficulty in translating the same word. Translating the Old Testament, not from the original tongue, as the title page represents, but from the Septuagint, they made no difficulty in translating “and Naaman went down and dipped himself seven times in Jordan;” rendering “ebap-tisato” “dipped.”
- In the Greek language this sacrament is always named by the word “baptizo,” which invariably signifies “immersion;” whatever cavillers may say to the contrary, when they have an audience who do not read Greek. Of numerous ex-
amples, the following, selected from the classicks, will be satisfactory:
- “But when the sun had dipped himself (Greek, baptized himself) into the flood of the ocean, and the dark shining moon lead in the stormy night, then went forth the war-like men who dwelt in the northern mountains.”—Orpheus.
- “When a piece of iron is taken red hot from the fire, and is dipped (Gr., baptized) in water, the heat, being quenched by the peculiar nature of the water, ceases.”—Heraclides Ponticus.
- Polybius, describing a naval engagement between the Romans and Carthaginians, in which the latter were defeated, says that “on account of the weight of the vessels, and the unskilfulness of the rowers, they sunk (Gr., baptized) many of them.”
- In relating the siege of Syracuse, he says: “The greater part of their vessels being sunk (Gr., baptized) they were filled with consternation.” In speaking of the naval engagement between Philip and Attalus, which happened near Chios, he says: “Attalus seeing one of his quinqueremes (galleys with five oars in a seat) sunk (Gr.,baptized) by one of the enemy’s vessels,” &c.
- “As when one dips (Gr., baptizes) the vessel into the fountain of water.”—The Greek Scholiast on Euripides.
- “The crow often dips (Gr., baptizes) herself from the head to the top of the shoulders in the river.”—The Greek Scholiast on Aratus.
- “And I plunging (Gr., baptizing) you in the waves of the sea, will destroy you in the briny surges.”—Alcibiades in Jacob’s Anthol.
- “Finding Cupid among the flowers, I caught him and
plunged (Gr., baptized) him into wine, and drank him up.”—Anacreon, in his Ode on Love in the Heart.
- Aesop, in his fable of the Ape and the Dolphin, relates that the dolphin having generously undertaken to carry an ape ashore, who had been unfortunately wrecked at sea, became vexed with him for telling him a falsehood, and sinking (Gr., baptizing) him, “killed him;” that is, he plunged him under the water, till he was drowned. In the fable of the Shepherd and the Sea, he says: “The vessel being in danger of being sunk,” (Gr., baptized,) &c.
- Diodorus Siculus, speaking of the sudden swelling of the Nile, says: “Many of the land animals are overtaken by the river, and being sunk (Gr., baptized) perish.”
- In another place he says: “The Admiral’s ship being sunk, (Gr., baptized,) the armament was thrown into great confusion.” In another he says: “The river rushing down with a violent current, sunk (Gr., baptized) many and destroyed them.”
- Baptizo always denotes a total immersion. If only a part of a thing be immersed, still it is an entire immersion of that part, and the context limits its extent. Thus, Polybius says: “The foot soldiers passed through, (the water,) scarcely immersed (Gr., baptized) to the paps.”
- The Fathers of the Protestant Reformation, and the most learned Protestant Divines, have admitted, contrary to their practice, that immersion is the proper form of baptism.
- Thus Calvin, though he contends that “whether the person who is baptized be wholly immersed, and whether thrice or once, or whether water be only poured or sprinkled upon him, is of no importance,” yet says, in the same section, “The very word baptize, however, signifies to immerse; and it is
certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient Church.” (Institutes, Book iv, ch. xv, sec. 19.)
- “Baptism is a Greek word, and may be translated immersion, as when we immerse something in water, that it may be wholly covered. And although it is almost wholly abolished, (for they do not dip the whole children, but only pour a little water on them,) they ought, nevertheless to be wholly immersed, and then immediately drawn out; for that the etymology of the word seems to demand.”—Luther.
- “Christ commanded us to be baptized; by which word it is certain, immersion is signified. Baptizesthai, in this place, is more than niptein; because that seems to respect the whole body, this only the hands. Nor does Baptizein, signify to wash, except by consequence; for it properly signifies to immerse for the sake of dying. To be baptized in water, signifies no other than to be immersed in water, which is the external ceremony of baptism. Baptizo differs from the verb dunai, which signifies to plunge in the deep and to drown.” —Beza, (on Mark vii. 4.)
- “The act of baptizing is the immersion of believers in water. This expresses the force of the word. Thus also it was performed by Christ and his Apostles.”—Vitringa.
- “Christ commanded us to be baptized, by which word it is certain immersion is signified.”—Hospinianus.
- “To baptize, among the Greeks, is undoubtedly to immerse, to dip; and baptism is immersion, dipping. Baptismos en Pneumati agio, baptism in the Holy Spirit, is immersion into the pure waters of the Holy Spirit; for he on whom the Holy Spirit is poured out, is, as it were, immersed into him. Baptismos en puri, ‘baptism in fire,’ is a figurative expression, and signifies casting into a flame, which, like water, flows far and wide; such as the flame that consumed Jerusalem.
The thing commanded by our Lord is baptism; immersion into water.”—Gurtlerus.
- “The words Baptizein and Baptismos, are not to be interpreted of aspersions, but always of immersion.”—Buddeus.
- “Baptism is immersion, and was administered in former times, according to the force and meaning of the word.”—Salmasius.
- “The word Baptizein, to baptize, is nowhere used in the Scripture for sprinkling.”—Venema.
- Professor Fritsche, a disciple of Hermann, (in his Com. on Matt. iii, 6,) says: “Baptism was performed, not by sprinkling, but by immersion; this is evident, not only from the nature of the word, but from Rom. vi, 4.”
- “The word baptism, according to etymology and usage, signifies to immerse, submerge, &c.; and the choice of the expression betrays an age in which the latter custom of sprinkling had not been introduced.”—Augusti.
- “The word corresponds in signification with the German word taufen, to sink into the deep.”—Brenner.
- “Baptism is perfectly identical with our word immersion or submersion, (tauchen oder untertauchen.) If immersion under water is for the purpose of cleansing, or washing, then the word means cleansing or washing.”—Free Inquiry respecting Baptism, Leipsic, 1802.
- Again, “The baptism of John, and that of the Apostles, were performed in precisely the same way; that is, the candidate was completely immersed under water.” Speaking of Rom. vi, 4, and Gal. iii, 27, it says: “What becomes of all these beautiful images, when, as at the present day, baptism is administered by pouring or sprinkling ?”—id.
- “An entire immersion belongs to the nature of baptism. This is the meaning of the word.” “In the word Bap-
tizo and Baptisma is contained the idea of a complete im-mersion under water; at least, so is Baptisma in the New Testament.”—Bretschneider.
- “The word baptize signifies in Greek, sometimes to immerse, sometimes to submerge.”—Paullus Com.
- “Baptism consists in the immersion of the whole body in water.”—Scholz, on Matt. iii, 6.
- Professor Lange, on Infant Baptism, says: “Baptism, in the Apostolick age, was a proper baptism; the immersion of the body in water. As Christ died, so we die (to sin) with him in baptism. The body is, as it were, buried under water–is dead with Christ; the plunging under water represents death, and raising out of it the resurrection to a new life. A more striking symbol could not be chosen.”
- Bloomfield, in his Critical Digest on Rom. vi, 4, says: “There is here plainly a reference to the ancient mode of baptism by immersion; and I agree with Koppe and Rosenmuller, that there is reason to regret it should have been abandoned in most Christian Churches, especially as it has so evidently a reference to the mystick sense of baptism.”
- Rosenmuller (on this passage,) says: “Immersion in the water of baptism and coming forth out of it, was a symbol of a person’s renouncing his former life, and, on the contrary, beginning a new one. The learned have rightly reminded us that on account of this emblematical meaning of baptism, the rite of immersion ought to have been retained in the Christian Church.”
- Neander, in his letter to Judd, says: “As to your question on the original rite of baptism, there can be no doubt whatever that in the primitive times, it was performed by immersion, to signify a complete immersion into the new principle
of the divine life which was to be imparted by the Messiah.”—Judd’s Reply to Stuart.
- Dr. Knapp, an eminent and pious German divine, speaking of the passage in question, says: “We are, like Christ, buried as dead persons by baptism, and should arise, like him, to a new life.” “The image is taken here from baptized persons, as they were immerged, (buried,) and as they emerged, (rose again.”)
- John Wesley, on Rom. vi, 4, says: “Buried with him, alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion.”
- “It being so expressly declared here, Rom. vi, 4, and Col. ii, 12, that we are buried with Christ in baptism by being buried under water; and the argument to oblige us to a conformity to his death, by dying to sin, being taken hence; and this immersion being religiously observed by all Christians for thirteen centuries, and approved by our Church, and the change of it into sprinkling, even without any allowance from the author of this institution, or any license from any council of the Church, being that which the Romanist still urges to justify his refusal of the cup to the laity; it were to be wished that this custom might be again of general use, and aspersion only permitted, as of old, in case of the clinick, or in present danger of death.”—Whitby.
- “Anciently those who were baptized put off their garments, which signified the putting off the body of sin, and were immersed and buried in water, to represent their death to sin; and then did rise up out of the water, to signify their entrance upon a new life. And to these customs the Apostle alludes, when he says: ‘How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein? Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his
death? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism.”—Archbishop Tillotson.
- Chrysostom proves the resurrection from the Apostolick mode of baptism, as follows: “Our being baptized and immerged in the water, and our rising again out of it, is a symbol of our descending into hell or the grave, and of our returning from them.”—Chrys. Hom.
- “In the time of the Apostles, the form of baptism was very simple. The person to be baptized was dipped in a river or vessel, with the words which Christ had ordered, and, to express more fully his change of character, generally assumed a new name. The immersion of the whole body was omitted only in the case of the sick, who could not leave their beds. In this case sprinkling was substituted, which was called clinick baptism. The Greek Church, as well as the schismaticks in the east, retained the custom of immersing the whole body; but the western Church adopted, in the thirteenth century, the mode of baptism by sprinkling, which has been continued by the Protestants, Baptists only excepted.”—Edinburgh Ency. Baptism.
- The word Baptizo is still used by the Greeks, and they mock to utter scorn the absurdity of supposing that it means sprinkle or pour. They employ terms of contempt for those practices, and always immerse any members who join their Church from other Churches, where they have only received sprinkling or pouring.
- Professor Stuart says: “The mode of baptism by immersion, the Oriental Church has always continued to preserve, even down to the present time. The members of this Church are accustomed to call the members of the Western Churches “sprinkled Christians,” by way of ridicule and contempt. They maintain that Baplizo can mean nothing but
immerge, and that baptism by sprinkling is as great a solecism as immersion by sprinkling; and they claim to themselves the honour of having preserved the ancient sacred rite of the Church free from change and corruption.”—”The Mode of Baptism.”
- “The Oriental Church has not only preserved un-changed the custom of immersion, but declares it so essential that they rebaptize those who were sprinkled, and by way of contempt call them “sprinkled Christians.’ “—Augusti.
- Walch says: “The Greeks not only immerse the candidate thrice under water, so that the water closes over his head, but consider that such a mode of baptism is essential. They reject sprinkling.”—History of Religious Controversies.
- Dr. Wall says: “The Greek Church, in all the branches of it, does still use immersion.”—History of Infant Baptism.
- Dr. Knapp, (Professor of Theology in the University of Halle,) says: “In the Greek Church they still hold to immersion. It would have been better to have adhered generally to the ancient practice, even as Luther and Calvin allowed.”
- Stourtza, a native Greek, (in a work published in 1816,) says: “Baptizo has but one signification. It signifies, literally and invariably, to plunge.”
- The Greek Patriarch, Jeremiah, says: “The ancients were not accustomed to sprinkle the candidate, but to immerse him.”—Walch’s Controversies, out of the Lutheran Church.
- Christopulos, a Greek, in his “Confession of Faith,” says: “We follow the example of the Apostles, who immersed the candidate under the water.”
- The great standard of the Greek Church is the Pedalion, (the Helm,) duly authenticated by the Patriarch and Ho-
ly Synod. The Pedalion speaks thus: “We say that the baptism of the Latins (Roman Catholicks) is baptism falsely named,” (Gr., Pseudonum on Bapzisma.) Again, “The Latins are hereticks of old, specially from the very fact that they are unbaptized,” (Gr., Abaptistoi.) Again, “The more ancient Latins, the first to make innovations upon Apostolick baptism, practised pouring, (Gr., Epikusin,) that is, they poured a little water upon the crown of the child’s head. And this is still practised in some places at the present time. More, however, now, with a bunch of hogs’ bristles throw a few drops of water thrice upon the child’s forehead.” Again, “Observe, then, that we do not say, that we rebaptize (Gr., Anabaptizomen) the Latins, but that we baptize (Gr., Baptizomen) them, since their baptism (Gr., Baptisima) is a lie in its very name. It is not baptism at all, but bare sprinkling,” (Gr., Rantisma.)
- A celebrated treatise, authenticated by the Patriarchs of Jerusalem, Constantinople, and Alexandria, is called Rantismou Sleleleusis, (an exposure of sprinkling.) Here are the titles of some of the chapters:
“A Demonstration that Sprinkling is not Ancient, and that the Proofs
adduced by Papists are Lies.”
“Reproofs of the Fathers against Sprinkling.”
“A Demonstration that the Law of the Church to admit the Latins as Baptized was made when they were accustomed to Baptize as we do. Also Witnesses from Latin Authors that Srinkling was not received then by them.”
“A Demonstration that Baptism is the Command of the Lord; Sprinkling that of Satan.”
“A Demonstration that Sprinkling, being Satanical, is opposed to Divine Baptism.”
“A Demonstration that Sprinkling, being a Heretical Dogma, is under Anathema.”
- If any one point is made out in theology, it is this: that Christian baptism, in the days of Christ and the Apostles, was an immersion of the whole body in water, and that
there is no authority for any different mode, but the assumed power of the Roman Catholick Church to change the ordinances of God.
- And the thing made out is not that one mode of baptism is better than another; but it is that immersion only is baptism; that pouring and sprinkling are not.
NOTE II.—THE SUBJECTS OF BAPTISM.
- It has been already shown (post xi, 2, note, p. 119) that faith and repentance are prerequisites to baptism. These facts alone ought to put an end to all question as to whether infants are proper subjects of baptism.
- Calvin has made a most ingenious argument in favour of baptizing the children of believers, on the assumption that baptism came in place of circumcision, which was administered to infants. (Institutes, B. iv, ch. xvi.) All Pedobaptists follow him.
- It will not be necessary to trace the course of his argument, for the following reasons: 1st. Faith and repentance were not requisite to circumcision; and, therefore, if baptism was substituted for circumcision, it was upon new conditions, which excluded infancy. 2d. Circumcision was not administered upon females; therefore, if baptism was a substitute for it, females would be excluded. 3d. Circumcision was the seal of the covenant, by which Abraham and his posterity have the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession; (Gen. xvii,10-14;) and as that grant was for a thousand generations, at least, (1st Chron. xvi, 15-18. Ps. cv, 8,) the seal of circumcision has not been superseded, but must be kept by all Israel, on pain of forfeiting all share of the inheritance.
- There is another objection to Calvin’s argument, which
reduces it to an absolute absurdity. If the children of believers are entitled to baptism, as a substitute, because Abraham’s children were to circumcision; then are their servants also, and all slaves bought with money or born in their houses; for all the servants of Abraham and of his posterity, whether born servants, or bought servants, were just as much entitled and required to be circumcised as his children; and this without reference to age, faith, or any other condition, except owing service to Abraham and his posterity. (Gen. xvii, 10, 11, 23, 27.)
- An attempt has been made to prove infant baptism by several New Testament cases, of the baptism of a whole household. But in no one of these cases is it mentioned that there was an infant in the house. In the present dispensation several hundred instances have occurred of baptizing a whole household; yet never a child under eight years.
- The rule may, therefore, be laid down as a safe and universal one, that believers, whose hearts are free from the love of sin, and they only are subjects of gospel baptism; and that such are truly buried with Christ in baptism, and raised, resurrected or regenerated to a new and holy life.
- Nor is it necessary to submit the question of baptism to the Church to be acted on by them. The Apostolick practice was, and now is, to baptize all of eight years old and upwards who offer themselves for baptism, professing faith toward God, and repentance of all sin. None but hypocrites, and those who come to mock the sacraments, or the Ministers of God, are refused. Nor are they delayed from night till morning, or from morning till night.
- The candidate need not be questioned as to the general soundness of his faith. It is enough that, like a little child, he be ready to learn of the Minister of God.
CHAPTER XII: BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD.
For the Lord thy God is a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children,
from generation to generation, even upon all that hate him,
and showing a multitude of mercies unto them that keep his Commandments.
- AT every Temple, which thou shalt build unto the Lord thy God, by his Commandment, shalt thou make a fountain for the baptism of the living for the dead.1 29 words, 121 letters.
- A special dispensation was given to baptize for the dead at Nauvoo, in 1842, and the waters of the Mississippi, in front of the city, sanctified for that purpose, until a place for baptism, should be prepared in the Temple. (D. & C., ciii, 10.)
- Such a place was made in the Temple, but in the rejection of Nauvoo as a holy city, the baptisms there administered were rejected, and the dispensation forfeited. (D. & C., ciii, 11, 13, 14.) The rejection took place at the time of the exodus from Nauvoo, subsequent to which all baptisms were invalid.
- Those baptisms, administered down till that time, were valid, when done by competent authority. But those who were baptized, if they followed leaders whom God did not call, were also rejected, with their dead; which leaves the dead without saviours; and yet dependent on the charity of the living. (Mal. iv, 6.)
- The records of those baptisms were never set in order in the Temple, and are lost. It is necessary, where the baptisms
[1 1st Cor. xv, 29. 1st Peter iii, 19, 20, Ezek. xxxii, 31.
are valid, that due proof be made before a Recorder, and the baptisms recorded anew. In cases of rejected and invalid baptisms, the rightful representatives should be baptized, as though it had not been done.
- A dispensation to baptize for the dead at Voree was given August 9th, 1849, and the waters of White River sanctified for that purpose.
- A dispensation was given to baptize for the dead at Saint James, during the session of the General Conferance, in 1855, and Fount Lake sanctified for that purpose.
- And for these shall you be baptized: every one of you, according to your several rights, and in your several orders, according to consanguinity, sex, and primogeniture, shall be baptized for any deceased husband, wife, or posterity; or any progenitor, to the third and fourth generation; 302 letters.
- Thou shalt also be baptized for any relative, within the fourth degree of consanguinity; for any one betrothed to thee in marriage; for thy fosterfather, mother, brother, sister, or child, whom I shall give to thee by tongue, dream, vision, spirit ministering in fire, word of angel, or by my own voice. 52 words, 238 letters.
Degrees of consanguinity are ascertained by counting each generation, up to the common ancestor, and down from him.
- And whensoever I will that any of my faithful servants of the Aaronick Priesthood be baptized for any other, I will send my angels to signify it unto them. But unto my servants of the Melchisedek Priesthood, I will speak by my own voice, or minister in fire. 48 words, 206 letters.
- When the candidate claims baptism for the dead by revelation, in any form whatever, the Administrator should inquire and judge of the validity of the claim, and the Recorder should briefly state the revelation in the record.
- Care should be taken that this record is sufficient in substance; otherwise the baptism may be set aside as invalid.
- But no man or woman among you shall be baptized for the dead, who is not a member of some family, according to the order of the Church of the Firstborn of God; or who is under condemnation of any word of this Law; or who withholdeth anything whatsoever from the treasury of the House of the Lord your God. 60 words, 241 letters.
- Baptism for the dead is an ordinance of the Temple, and it is only by special dispensation, in consequence of the poverty of the Saints, that it is ever administered out of a Temple. Hence those who withhold of the funds due for the construction of the Temple, are refused baptism for the dead.
- Those who are under condemnation for disobedience to any word of this Law of God, whether it be a Commandment, a statute, a precept, or whatsoever word it may be, are unfit for saviours of others, because they are not themselves in a
state of salvation, nor even progressing forward towards it.
- But those who are not regular members of any family, duly organized, have no place to bring those for whom they shall be baptized; they have no home for them to abide in, in the everlasting life. The chief thing in the salvation promised in the gospel, is in the family relation, and love, of a holy people. They who lack that relationship, are unsaved themselves, unprepared to save others.
- At every Temple which ye shall build unto the Lord your God, shall High Priests be set apart, and sanctified by anointing with holy oil, and the hands of Apostles and Prophets, to baptize for the dead; for no other shall administer this sacrament. 44 words, 194 letters.
The Chief Shepherd and Counsellors in the Presidency baptize for the dead without being set apart to that calling.
- Recorders, also, shall be set apart by the laying on of hands of High Priests, to record baptisms for the dead; who shall, be eyewitnesses to the baptisms, and shall record according to the seeing of their eyes.1 38 words, 167 letters.
- And other witnesses, who see with their eyes, shall sign the records of baptisms, that every one may be proved by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 28 words, 123 letters.
- But there shall be one record before the King, unto which all records of bap-
[1 D. & C., cvi, 3.
tisms for the dead shall be brought,1 and all written together in perpetual archives; that what you record on earth, may also be recorded in heaven. At every Temple also shall ye perpetuate the record of such as are there baptized. 55 words, 246 letters.
Total—9 sec., 417 words, 1,842 letters.
NOTE ON BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD.
- To millions of mankind the gospel was never preached in life. If it is not to be preached to them in another state of being, then the salvation which the gospel promises is not offered to them. And if the gospel is not preached to them at any time, then they are denied the possibility of entering into life.
- Many Christians, unwilling to admit that salvation was not offered to all men, have asserted that those to whom the gospel was not preached were saved, on the general ground that as they did not know the Law of God, they were not under condemnation for breaking it.
- Admitting this to be true, the consequence would be that ignorance of the gospel was as pleasing to God as obedience; and the just conclusion would be, that the gospel was not revealed to save men, but as an excuse for damning them. For, if all who are ignorant of the gospel are to be saved, universal ignorance would have produced universal bliss.
- If they fall back on the old Christian faith of the Fathers, that there is no salvation without obedience to the gospel,
[1 D. & C.., cvi, 4.
then without preaching to and baptism for the dead, those to whom the gospel was never preached may justly claim that they were lost; not because they would not obey, but because they could not hear.
- If, to avoid both horns of this dilemma, the Christian shall say that the sincere and wellmeaning of every nation will be saved, whatever his religious faith, then they are not saved by the gospel, but by their own righteousness; not by obedience to the word of God, but by integrity to the institutions of their several countries and nations.
- God, having established the rule that all shall be destroyed who obey not the Law of the gospel, (2d Thess. i, 8. ii, 12. Rev. xxii, 14. Mark xvi, 16,) has provided for the preaching of the gospel to the spirits in prison, (1st Peter iii, 19. iv, 6. Luke xxiii, 43,) and the baptism for the dead, (1st Cor. xv, 29,) that salvation may be offered to all men, and only those lost who take pleasure in unrighteousaess. (Matt. iii, 10.)
- When Jesus had finished his testimony on earth, and offered himself for the sins of men, he went in the spirit and preached to the spirits in prison, (Ist Pet. iii, 19, 20,) and opened unto them a dispensation of the gospel, before he ascended to heaven. (John xx, 17.)
- The dispensation being opened, and he having, by a stainless life, and a sacrifice of himself for the salvation of others, become worthy of the keys of the resurrection and everlasting life, ascended to heaven, received all power, and sat down at the right hand of God.
- Those who become partakers of the same calling with him, as they leave their ministry on earth, go to minister among the spirits of the dead; that they, by obedience to the gospel, may be saved, as are the living.
CHAPTER XIII: CONFIRMATION.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
and with all thy might, and with all thy strength.
- EXCEPT a man be born of the spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.116 words, 59 letters.
- The birth of the spirit is fully illustrated by Jesus, in his discourse with Nicodemus. Assuming that a ruler of the Jews could not be ignorant what a birth of water was, he seizes upon a familiar illustration of the other, to which the dry hot climate of that country gave peculiar force.
- The severity of climate in that country is not in its wintry frosts, but its summer heats; so that the coming of the blessed is compared to the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. (Isa. xxxii, 2.)
- Passing over the parched plains, under a cloudless sky, with the sun’s rays pouring down like the blast of a furnace, when the traveller is ready to perish, suddenly he hears a sound of wind. Immediately it sweeps past. The cooling breeze comes upon him. His lungs are inflated, and his strength renewed. He feels himself another man. So is every one that is born of the spirit. (John iii, 8.)
- A more splendid exhibition of this power occurred at Jerusalem, at the first Pentecost after the ascension, when the outpouring of the spirit was so abundant that those present spoke in tongues, and every one understood in his own language. (Acts ii, 1-11.)
[1 John iii, 5.
- Whosoever shall be baptized for the remission of sins, upon him shall the Apostles, High Priests, or Elders, lay their hands, and confirm him in the Kingdom, and give unto him, by their hands, a gift of the Holy Spirit, according as the spirit will.1 45 words, 195 letters.
It cannot be expected that every one who receives the laying on of hands, will receive with it a powerful and overwhelming inspiration. But he will receive a spirit of truth sufficient, if cherished, to guide him into all truth, and make him wise in the things of God’s Kingdom. Such should avoid looking for marvels, and be content with substantial wisdom and enduring knowledge.
- And the spirit thus given shall inspire him with faith, intelligence, and understanding; and if he cherish it, then shall it guide and establish him in all righteousness.2 28 words, 138 letters.
- It is a mistake to suppose any one will possess all the spiritual gifts, who has the laying on of hands, or that he will have any particular one he may choose. The spirit divideth gifts severally, as he will. (1st Cor. xii, 11.)
- Paul enumerates the gifts of the spirit, as wisdom, knowledge, faith, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, and the interpretation. (1st Cor. xii, 8-10.) Of these every servant of God, obedient in faith, repentance, and baptism, will, by the laying on of hands, receive his portion, sufficient to guide him to life, if he will follow its inspiration.
- For when they lay their hands upon
[1 Acts viii, 17. xix, 6. 1st Cor. xii, 7-11. [2 John xvi, 13.
him, the spirit, like an invigorating breeze, shall come upon him and cover him; and it shall inspire him with a new power, accord- ing to the gifts of the spirit; and as it passeth off and leaveth him, his gift shall continue, and he shall walk in newness of life.1 57 words, 233 letters.
Total—4 sec., 146 words, 625 letters.
NOTE ON SPIRITUAL GIFTS.
- When Jesus sent his Apostles to preach to the nations of the earth, he commanded them, “go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature: he that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; (with impunity;) and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Matt, xvi, 15-18.)
- This promise, as broad as the earth, and as long as time, just as much assures signs as salvation. The believers of the gospel which the Apostles were sent to preach, are as certain that signs will follow them, as that they will be saved.
- It makes a simple issue of veracity between the Lord Jesus Christ, and all those sects who say the signs do not follow. Inquire of any Christian sect if the signs follow them. As oft as they say they do not, so often be assured, on the oath of Jesus Christ, that they do not believe the gospel.
- But the signs do not go before unbelievers. They are not given to beget faith in their minds, but to benefit the faithful.
[1 John iii, 8.
CHAPTER XIV: EUCHARIST.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto, nor adore anything that thine eye beholdeth,
or thy imagination conceiveth of; but the Lord thy God only.
- IN your feasts of love, in your solemn assemblies, in your humiliation, and in your sorrow, ye shall separate of the juice of fruit, and of the bread of grain, a portion to be consecrated unto God, that it be the body and blood of the one great sacrifice of propitiation for the sins of the world:1 and they who are washed of their sins, and have a pure conscience before God, shall eat and drink thereof at the hands of the Apostles and High Priests, who shall consecrate it, and the Priests and Elders, who shall minister it, that, partaking of the sacrifice, they may lay hold on eternal life. 1l1 words, 468 letters.
Wine is to be preferred for the blood of the sacrifice, and bread of wheat for the flesh; but the expressed juice of any edible fruit whatever is lawful, and bread of any grain. No article of commerce should be used for wine, on account of the practice of adulterating so perfectly that the fraud cannot be detected.
- For this is the one great sacrifice, which
[1 Matt. xxvi, 26-29. Mark xiv, 22-25. Luke xxii, 19, 20. 1st Cor. x, 16. xi, 23-26, B. of M., Moroni iv, v.
except ye eat of it, there is no life in you.1 And beware how ye eat of this sacrifice: for in the spirit in which ye eat and drink, shall ye be confirmed and strengthened. And if ye eat and drink in a pure conscience, not having offended against God nor man, and all your former sins blotted out of the book of remembrance; ye shall be established in righteousness, and grow up into everlasting life. But, if ye eat and drink in your sins, ye eat and drink condemnation,2 confirming yourselves in your iniquities. 103 words, 438 letters.
Jesus Christ was the real sacrifice, of which the bread and wine are the symbols. By consecration, and not by any change in their physical nature, structure, or identity, they become the body and blood of Christ, that by eating them we may truly feast upon him as a sacrifice and live.
- Therefore, when ye come to the table of the Lord your God, to eat of this sacrifice, ye shall examine yourselves, whether you have done injustice to man, or iniquity against God, that ye may humble yourselves before God, and make restitution to man;3 and may come with clean hands, and a pure heart, to this most holy sacrament. 59 words, 258 letters.
Total—3 sec., 273 words, 1,164 letters.
- It is not right to stay away from the table of the Lord, because any one there has wronged us. The table is the
[1 John vi, 53. [2 1st Cor. xi, 29. [3 1st Cor. xi, 28. Matt. v, 23, 24.
Lord’s; not ours. We partake, seeing his body and blood in the bread and wine, and if we stay away, stay in contempt of him.
- But it is our duty, as we approach the table, to examine ourselves, whether we have wronged any one; and, if so, to make restitution first, and partake of the sacrifice afterwards. Any one who persists in going to the table, knowing that another has just cause against him, will be hardened in iniquity.
NOTE ON THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST.
- The most common doctrine among Trinitarians is, that Christ was God, from eternity to eternity, according to the theory of the Creed of Saint Athanasius, (ante pp. 51, 52,) and possessed all the attributes of the Godhead; that God, being infinite in all his attributes, his Law was infinite; and, therefore, the violation of it an infinite sin; that as man was finite, and therefore incapacitated to endure an infinite punishment, there was no way by which he could be redeemed from the stain of sin, and consequent everlasting destruction, but by a vicarious and infinite atonement; that Jesus Christ, being Almighty God, infinite in all his attributes, offered himself a sacrifice to appease the wrath of God; or, in the language of the creeds, “to reconcile his Father unto us;” that by his infinite sufferings, paying the debt which we by our sins had contracted, we might be released therefrom, come into the favour of God, and live forever.
- This theory involves the dogma that justice and mercy are antagonist, and not collateral attributes, and that justice is so vindictive that it must have its demand, without reference to the reformation of the subjects of its exactions, or the
amount of intellectual and physical happiness enjoyed in the creation of God.
- And it involves the further dogma, that the exactions of justice are so undiscriminating, that they are equally satisfied so the demand is paid, no matter who pays it; a dogma which, though not particularly obnoxious in the mere voluntary payment of money, presents a very different aspect, when it exhibits itself in inflicting pain on an innocent being, who, through excessive generosity, may volunteer to suffer as proxy for the guilty.
- Such dogmas could only have got footing among men in times of ignorance and barbarism. They, in fact, grew up among a people not half redeemed from Pagan superstition. But once thoroughly established as a part of the creed of Christendom, the mind is progressively hardened in them as it advances in the knowledge of such a system. Hence many very intelligent and just men, in later times, have given an unconsidered assent to this dogma, in comparatively enlighten-ed ages.
- The innate injustice of this dogma has had less influence in overthrowing it, for the want of anything on which to fall back; the true doctrine of the atonement and the mediatorial office having been quite lost among Christians.
- The idea of a sacerdotal sacrifice is not original, but derived from that of a natural sacrifice. A natural sacrifice is something given up, or yielded to be lost or destroyed; and is made, not willingly, but as the means of saving something else, or of avoiding some calamity. Sacerdotal sacrifices are voluntary offerings of things esteemed, in pursuance of some appointment or law, by the keeping of which, calamities are avoided, or blessings obtained; the assent of the heart being the very gist of the matter, of which the offering is the proper sign.
- The offering of Christ was a natural sacrifice, and it was not necessary that he should be offered on an altar, nor by a Priest. The numerous volumes written on the fact of his being killed by the instigation of the Aaronick Priesthood, and at Jerusalem, the place consecrated for sacrifices, are nonsense; for he was not slain upon the altar, nor after the manner of slaying victims for sacrifice. The Priesthood are not authorized, and never were in any dispensation to offer human victims for sacrifices. Sacerdotal sacrifices are either eaten or burned, and he was neither.
- But this dogma is obnoxious to the further objection, that if the manhood only of Christ suffered death, then there was no infinite suffering, and therefore no infinite atonement; and if the Godhead died, immortality, and consequently infinity, are not attributes of God. If God died, he was mortal, and finite like ourselves. If he did not die, there was not an infinite sacrifice.
- All these mistakes and follies flow naturally from the errour of imagining that God can do anything whatsoever that the mind of man can conceive, and is only restrained by his own attributes from doing many things which to good men seem most desirable and right, which he does not do.
- Believing that God can do anything whatsoever, and therefore that he can at any moment purify all men from all sin, and all corruption; and thus make them all holy, and all happy; most undisputably a most holy work, and well worthy of God; they set about accounting for his not doing it, by saying that it would be contrary to his attribute of justice, which, when mercy pleads in behalf of miserable man, continually demands satisfaction for the debt of sin. Man, therefore, must have perished everlastingly, but that Jesus Christ, the infinite God, took upon himself this infinite debt,
and expiated it by his infinite sufferings, in the death of the infinite.
- The dogma is monstrous blasphemy. It makes God’s mercy so short that he will not forgive the penitent till they have paid the uttermost farthing, knowing they have nought wherewith to pay, and never can obtain it. It makes his justice so blind that it only demands a victim, and is as well satisfied with punishing the innocent as the guilty. It charges on God all the misery of the universe, which it alleges he can change to blessedness, by only willing it.
- In opposition to this horrible dogma, the truth is, that God made man and all the creatures of his hand as good as it was possible to make them. If the creator was infinite, the material of which he made man and animals was finite; corruptible. He made the best possible work of the material. His goodness demanded of him to make all things the best possible, and forbade him to make anything which, on the whole, would not be blessed by its existence.
- It is necessary to be thoroughly impressed with this truth: that God cannot do all things; that some things are essentially and immutably impossible; impossible to omnipotence, as well as to worms of the dust; that almighty power extends only to doing such things as, in their nature, are possible.
11 For instance, almighty power cannot produce something from nothing; it cannot make two and two to be either more or less than four; it cannot make truth to be false, or falsehood to be true; it has no power over the past, but oblivion; over the future, but change; and it can produce no effect, but by the use of sufficient means. And in the selection of means, there are many things possible, which, nevertheless, can only be accomplished through numerous processes, which,
in their accomplishment, necessarily occupy long periods of time.
- As the earth and all things therein were created of corruptible matter, the creation necessarily partook in some degree of the nature and of the defects of the material. The successive acts of creation seem to have developed improved results in every step of progress; not by any improvement in the skill of the creator, for, so far as we can judge, the most stupendous acts of creation were in the beginning; but, by the improvement of the material, by each change for the final consummation.
- Each thing made was good, because on the whole its being was beneficial, especially each living thing was good, because its existence was a blessing to it. But the last, best, the finishing work of creation, was the making of man, in the image and likeness of God. Though we know he was of the dust, for he returns to it, yet that dust must have undergone numerous and great changes, to bring it from mere dust to be a living man. What time these changes occupied, we cannot know, for we know not the creative process.
- To man was given dominion over the earth, and all created things therein. Had it been possible to bestow divine perfections on one thus placed to rule as Lord over the creation of God, and who, because made in the likeness of God, was feared and obeyed as God by all the rest of creation, the infinite goodness of God would have dictated that he be so created.
- The injunction in the gospel, “be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect,” (Matt. v, 48,) is conclusive evidence that in the mind of God this is a desirable and necessary attainment, and if desirable during the eternity to come, equally so in the times past. If we really believe that God
is infinitely good, we are compelled to believe that the only reason man was not so made, was because it was impossible.
- It being impossible of any existing material to make man perfect as God is perfect, and yet possible to so make him that his existence would on the whole be beneficial, and so that through a long series of changes he could ultimately attain to that, it was consistent with the goodness of God to make him as man was created, relatively good, but not altogether perfect.
- And as the world would be better by his dominion over beasts than without it, notwithstanding his imperfections, it was also consistent with his goodness to give man the dominion over them.
- We are equally compelled, both by our faith in the divine goodness, and by all our knowledge of the works of God, to believe that the means devised for the improvement and final perfection of man, is the best adapted to accomplish that end; and that by the use of that means as large a portion of the human race will be made “perfect as God in heaven is perfect” as it is possible to bring to that condition.
- As God, like man, can only produce results by the use of sufficient, means, no amount of suffering in his creatures becomes a reproach upon divine goodness, unless that suffering is allowed by him wantonly, or is so great as to make the existence of those who suffer, a curse, rather than a blessing.
- Wisdom, knowledge, prudence, are in some degree the result of experience. Inspiration and revelation may act a large part in producing them, but they can no more be brought into being without experience, than a child can be born without a mother. Experience is the mother of them all.
- But whatever other attributes man was created with,
he could not be with experience. That every being must have for himself. None can derive it from another.
- Had the conduct of man been subject to such a control that he could only choose, and do the right, his time of life would have given no experience. Unless he was capable of choosing or refusing either the good or the evil, he could no more learn by experience than could a machine. He could have no wisdom. He could only act the wisdom of the maker, as does the clock.
- Therefore, the very condition of things through which sin entered the world, and death by sin, was necessary, in the progress of the work, of making man perfect as God is perfect. Not that sin itself was necessary, but peccability, or the liability to sin.
- Sin, having entered the world, the benevolence of God demanded that an effort be made to save the sinner; and justice did not demand that he should be immediately destroyed; or that he should be destroyed at all, if he could be separated from sin; and thus made a blessing, rather than a curse.
- The fall of man principally introduced hereditary corruption of the flesh, which could only result in the death of the body. This hereditary corruption, and consequent death, is not to be regarded as a punishment inflicted by God on all men for the sin of one, but as the mere natural consequence of the corruption which Adam, by eating improper food, produced in his flesh; which corruption of flesh his posterity inherited from him, with its consequent death.
- Had it been in the power of God, by a mere and immediate effort of the will to remove that corruption, his goodness could not have failed to do it. But this being impossible in the nature of things, the divine goodness has, in its wisdom, devised a practical mode of finally accomplishing
that result, and something more than that, for such as by obedience to the Law, seek everlasting life.
- In bringing about this result, the corruption of man’s flesh, constantly exciting evil passions, is at war with those features in the character of man which approach nearest to the divine character. And God’s mercy cannot save and render happy, those who will not exercise a proper government over their passions and propensities.
- It is proper to know, therefore, that if any are lost in the end, it is because they prefer corruption. That the difficulty in the present and perpetual salvation of all men, from all sin, and their early delivery and perpetual redemption from all misery, is in their own unwillingness to live according to the true laws of life, and not in any unwillingness of God to forgive and save them.
- This unwillingness to live according to the law of life, is not peculiar to Adam. Every violation of the law of life in eating, drinking, or other carnal indulgence, is a new fall, like in kind to that of Adam, though possibly less in degree: and like that, it not only brings an earlier and more aggravated death on the sinner, but it entails it on his posterity also. The reason men, in their sins, are not saved, is, not that God is unmerciful, but that their salvation is impossible. What the wicked ask as salvation, is the worst damnation. God is better to them than their prayers.
- Those who are anxious to obtain delivery from pain and disease, without reforming in their character and conduct, are seeking to themselves the worst of calamities, an eternity of ill, in the unrestrained indulgence of a corrupt heart; against which God guarded Adam, by casting him out of the garden, and placing cherubs to guard the way, lest he should eat of the tree of life, and live forever in his corruptions;
(Gen. iii, 24;) a calamity greater than everlasting death.
- As death was the ultimate and inevitable consequence of sin, the life for which man was created could only be attained through a resurrection of the body. But had the power of accomplishing that resurrection been conferred on sinful man, in his anxiety to live, and to give life to all who were dear to him, he would have conferred the boon on those he loved, though they were yet in their corruptions; and in that way secured an eternity of ill, which he had not yet learned to sufficiently abhor.
- There can be no such thing as a conformity of man to the character of God; which is the true idea of salvation; till with a high order of wisdom and intelligence, and a power of choosing between good and evil, man continually prefers the good, and abhors the evil; preferring good to evil, not from the fear of the punishment which evil deeds entail, but on account of the innate loveliness of undefiled goodness; of pure, unalloyed holiness.
- To be a safe repositor of the keys of the resurrection, or the power of raising up these mortal bodies, and sealing them to everlasting life, one must not only love every good thing with an unalterable affection, and hate every evil thing with unchanging abhorrence, but he must have such divine wisdom, such a patient forbearance, and so much control over the sympathies of the heart, that he will never turn aside to raise up any one, even his own child, to that state of being, only such as are prepared for continuing ever in a state of perfect holiness, without any compulsion exercised over them, but from the mere love of righteosness.
- Such a one was the Lord Jesus Christ. Down to the age of thirty years, in the retirement of a peasant’s life, he never stepped aside from the path of rectitude, to do a single
evil deed. Not one even of the least of all the Commandments or precepts of God did he ever transgress, nor did an evil thought enter his heart. Conscious that he was the lawful heir to the throne of David, and that the whole house of Israel were his inheritance; never did he turn aside from the present duties of the humble position in which he was born, to disturb the peace, and peril the safety of his brethren, even in claiming his own.
- Made of the seed of Abraham. (Gal. iii, 16. Heb. ii, 16,) of the tribe of Judah, (Heb. vii, 14,) and of the house and lineage of David (Rom. i, 3. 2d Tim. ii, 8) according to the flesh, tempted and tried in all things as we are, (Heb. iv, 15,) and partaking with us of the common infirmities of human nature, he was holy, harmless, and without sin. (Heb. iv, 15. vii, 26-28)
- It was fit that such a one should receive the keys of the resurrection and of life everlasting (John xi, 25, 26,) and be exalted on high with divine power; for he had maintained the divine characteristicks through all the trials of his mortal existence; and having ever “loved righteousness and hated iniquity,” (Heb. i, 8, 9. Ps. xlv, 6, 7,) he was exalted by his Father and his God to be our God, and the Father of the world to come. (Isa. ix, 6.)
- Jesus Christ, having committed no sin, deserved to suffer no evil that was avoidable. Taking upon himself the Priesthood to which God called him, and working a faithful ministry with the sole view to the salvation of mankind, without regard to any suffering he might bring upon himself, he suffered bitter persecution, and a cruel death, all which he might have avoided, without sin against God or man, by doing less for the salvation of others. It was thus that he became a natural sacrifice for the sins of men.
- But having loved righteousness and hated iniquity, through the severest temptations, and never swerved one moment, God raised him to an incorruptible, and immortal life, and gave him the power to raise up all others; a power which, as he had already resisted every temptation, he could not be moved to abuse. Thus was established that incorruptible dominion of man over the creation of God, which the divine goodness had sought from the beginning, by the most direct means to establish.
- He was not demanded of God as a victim to divine vengeance, but offered himself as the victim of man’s malevolence. And having walked in the way of life everlasting, through death and the resurrection, he was capable of leading others the same road. Thus, by the appointment of God, and the requisite intelligence, he was possessed of the keys of the resurrection, and life everlasting.
- He is a propitiation for the sins of all men, in this, that whereas all, both by inheritance were doomed to death, and by actual guilt had aggravated that doom, he brings the actual resurrection of the body to all, (1st Cor. xv, 22,) and puts it in their power by obedience to a law which he makes known, to lay hold on everlasting life.
- By means of this law the way of life is ever so guarded that none can lay hold on immortality, except those who have, through the experience of temptation, a settled and unconquerable hatred of sin, and an unchangeable love of righteousness, so that the keeping of the Law of God, instead of being a restraint on them, is their chief desire and greatest pleasure. No other can enter into life.
- It is because Jesus Christ was a mortal man, subject to the same infirmities as other men, and tempted in all things like his brethren, that there was merit in his giving his life
for the salvation of others. Had he been God Almighty, coequal and coeternal with the Father, of one Godhead with him, and thus had power as God, to lay down and take up his life, death to him, at most, would have been no more than is a few moments sleep to mortal man, entered upon without terrour or dread; and the sufferings of his lowly life would have been only apparent, for God cannot suffer. To a man it was an act of the profoundest faith in God to trust un- doubtingly that, though dead, God would raise him up the third day, and of boundless benevolence to offer his life to save his persecutors.
- Thus Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham, mortal, but sinless, offered himself a natural, but not a sacerdotal sacrifice, for the sins of men; that he might be the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe; of all, from inherited death; and of those who believe and obey the gospel, in the likeness of God, and the life everlasting; not because God was angry and demanded a victim, but because no other means could bring man into a condition to participate of true happiness.
- Among the means appointed to draw men unto righteousness, inspire them with the same divine benevolence, and with due gratitude to him, was a partaking of this sacrifice, as a sacerdotal offering.
- Hence, he said to his disciples, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you;” (John vi, 53;) and when the eucharistick bread and wine are to be ate and drank, they are first consecrated the flesh and blood of Christ, and offered up, and then a feast made upon them, as a feast upon a sacrifice. Such is the actual sacrifice for the sins of men, made once; of which the eucharistick offering, made ever, is a lively symbol.
CHAPTER XV: MARRIAGE.
Thou shalt not bow down unto anything, but the Lord thy God only.
- WHEN thou takest a wife, thou shalt take such a one as thou lovest, and who loveth thee, and whom thou mayest lawfully marry: and thou shalt go before an Apostle, a High Priest, or the Chief of the Elders where thou dwellest, or the Priest who administereth in the Temple or the Synagogue; and by him shall ye be joined in marriage, that she may be thine in life, thine in the resurrection, and thine in life everlasting; and that the children which she beareth thee, may be with thee in the everlasting kingdom. 95 words, 404 letters.
- And he who joineth you in marriage, shall unite her unto thee by an indissoluble bond; and shall give thee grace to love her, and cherish her, and protect her; and grace unto her to love thee, and nourish thee, and honour thee. 43 words, 177 letters.
Total—2 sec., 138 words, 581 letters.
A betrothal confers the general rights and obligations of marriage, but ought to be acted on as a marriage, only when the authority to seal is not accessible. Then the marriage must be celebrated at the earliest opportunity.
Book of The Law 3
CHAPTER XVI: HEALING…160
CHAPTER XVII: ABSOLUTION…162
CHAPTER XVIII: ORDINATION…163
CHAPTER XIX: ADOPTION…167
CHAPTER XX: CALLING OF A KING…168
CHAPTER XXI: DUTY OF THE KING…177
CHAPTER XXII: ABSTINENCE OF THE KING…179
CHAPTER XXIII: VICEROYS…181
CHAPTER XXIV: KING’S COUNCIL…183
CHAPTER XXV: KING’S COURT…185
CHAPTER XXVI: CITY COURT…187
CHAPTER XXVII: MUNICIPALITIES…188
CHAPTER XXVIII: TWELVE APOSTLES…191
CHAPTER XXIX: HIGH PRIESTS…193
CHAPER XXX: SEVENTIES…194
CHAPTER XXXI: ELDERS…196
CHAPTER XXXII: PRIESTS…198
CHAPTER XVI: HEALING.
Thou shalt adore God, and serve him, and obey him.
- IF Satan afffict thee that thou be sick, thou shalt send for the Elders, and they shall anoint thee with oil, and pray for thee, and rebuke the power of the adversary, and bless thee that thou recover of the disease.1 41 words, 170 letters.
- But if thy sickness continue, and God deliver not thee therefrom, thou shalt confess thy sins to them, and they shall forgive thee; and thou shalt come to the assembly of those who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.2 47 words, 199 letters.
- If an evil spirit enter into any of thine, and torment him, or lead him about, thou shalt send for the Elders or High Priests, and they shall put their hands upon him, and look upon him, and rebuke the evil spirit, and cast him out.3 46 words, 179 letters.
Total—3 sec., 134 words, 548 letters.
- An errour has got afloat, that if any one has the gift of healing, he can heal whosoever he will, and that a failure to
[1 Jas. v, 14, 15. Mark vi, 13. Matt. viii 2-16 iv, 23, 24. xii, 10, 11, 15. xiv, 14. Luke xiii, 11-13. Acts iii, I-I1. xiv, 8-11. [2 Jas. v. 16. John xx, 21-23. Matt. ix, 2. [3 Luke vii, 21. Acts xix, 12. Mark xvi, 17. Luke ix, 1. x, 9, 17. Matt. iv, 24. viii, 16, 28-32. Mark i, 32-34.
heal in any instance is evidence of the lack of that gift. With this, commonly prevails the further errour, that the chief object of healing and of all other miraculous gifts is to convince unbelievers.
- The healing of the sick is a gift for the benefit of believers; and unbelief alone is sufficient to defeat its operation. (Matt. xiii, 58. Mark vi, 5, 6.) And those who have the gift are not sent to all the sick, but only such as the spirit will. (Luke iv, 27.) The gift is spiritual, not personal.
- When the sick receive the ministration of the Elders, no ostentatious display ought to be made; and if any unbelievers are present, they ought first to be removed, especially if they are numerous. Such was always the rule.
- Not unfrequently unbelievers say, if they could see the sick healed, or any other miraculous work, they should be convinced, and embrace the faith. But this is not true. All experience shows that the exercise of miraculous gifts induces persecution, rather than faith. (John xi, 53, 54. v, 15, 16. Matt. ix, 34. Ex. x, 28. 1st Kings xviii, 38. xix, 10.)
- Some thousand healings have occurred in the United States and Great Britain, in the midst of Gentile communities, where the infirmities and the healings were well known to them, and never questioned in the neighbourhoods in which they occurred, and it is not known that they have all been the means of bringing one person into the faith.
- The fact that the Saints, in their own families, generally call for the Elders, and very seldom for a physician, in case of sickness; and all agree that the ministration of the Elders is attended with the best effects, is conclusive; for they cannot deceive themselves, and can have no inducement to practice a selfdelusion. The administration of the Elders does not forbid, though it generally supersedes all medicinal remedies.
CHAPTER XVII: ABSOLUTION.
Thou shalt love and obey the Lord thy God
- IF thou sin a sin against God, or do an evil thing unto man, thou shalt go unto him who is God’s Shepherd, wheresoever thou art, and between him and thee alone shalt confess unto him, and shalt keep nothing back; and he shall lay upon thee restitution, and penance, and shall judge thee in righteousness; and what he judgeth, that shalt thou do, according to all the words of the Law of the Lord thy God, and he shall forgive thee thy sin, according as God hath spoken.1 89 words, 366 letters.
- And thou shalt in all things make restitution, as he judgeth thee; and if he require thee to confess unto the Judge who sitteth in judgment, or to any who is placed in authority, or to him thou hast injured, thou shalt do it; and otherwise thy sin remaineth upon thee. 51 words, 211 letters.
Total—2 sec., 140 words, 577 letters.
No power is here conferred on man, as such, to forgive sin. Only to pronounce God’s forgiveness of the truly penitent.
[1 Lev. vi, 6, 7. v, 5-10, 15, 16. Num. v, 5-8. Josh. viii. 19, 26. 2d Sam. xii, 1-14. 1st. Chron. xxi, 1-27. Matt. xvi, 19. xviii, 18. John xx, 23. 1st John i, 9.
CHAPTER XVIII: ORDINATION.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any image or likeness of anything that is in the heaven above,
or in the earth beneath, or in the waters of the earth, to bow thyself unto it, or to worship it.
- THOU shalt not take upon thyself the honour of the Priesthood; neither shalt thou confer this honour on any but him whom the Lord thy God shall call. For no man shall administer in the name of God, but he that is called by the revelation of God’s will, and set apart by the hands of those upon whom the authority of his name is sealed.1 66 words, 264 letters.
- Whosoever is called by the voice of God to the royal authority, shall be anointed and ordained by the hands of those who stand in royal authority above him:2 but he that is first, by the angels of God;3 that he may have all the gifts; even wisdom, knowledge, faith, revelation, prophecy; and whatsoever gift is good for the Chief Shepherd of the flock of God: that he may be able to rule in righteousness: and they for their several callings, among God’s flock. 84 words, 361 letters.
[1 Heb. v, 4, 6. Num. xvi, 10, 39, 40. Ex. xxviii, 1. John xv, 36. Acts 1, 24, 25. xiii, 2, 3. xx, 28. 1st Tim. iv, 14. 2d Tim. i. 6. [2 Num. xxvii, 18, 23. 1st Sam. ix, 16, 17. x, 1. xvi, 12, 13. [3 Acts vii, 35. Luke ix, 30, 31, 35. 2d Pet. i, 16-18. D. & C. i, 3, 5. Voree Her. Vol. i, No. 8. Post xx.
- And whosoever is called to administer at the altar, and in sacraments and ceremonies, shall be consecrated and set apart by the hands of those in like authority, according to the calling of God, for his ministry.1 37 words, 171 letters.
- And whosoever consecrates another to the Priesthood of God, and the authority of his name, shall, with his hands upon his head, by his voice declare and seal upon him the name and authority of God; even that Priesthood unto which he consecrateth him. 44 words, 201 letters.
Total—4 sec., 231 words, 997 letters.
- The Scriptures, in all their parts, show very clearly that no one can lawfully exercise any Priestly office, except he is duly called and duly consecrated to that particular Priesthood. Though many Priests are spoken of, and nothing said of the manner in which they were inducted into the Priesthood; as often as that manner is mentioned, it is shown to be a calling by the word of God, and a setting apart by the hands of those who hold the same or superiour power. This has been the uniform rule in every dispensation, whatever the nature or duties of the Priesthood or calling. Kings were called by revelation, anointed, and ordained; and those not so called, were deemed usurpers.
- No instance is given in the oracles of God of men, for want of a valid Priesthood, selecting one among themselves, and elevating him to be their Priest, and thus conferring on
[1 Ex. xxviii, 41. xxix, 7-9. xxx, 30. xl, 13-15. Lev. viii, 12. Num. viii, 13-15.
him a true Priesthood. On the contrary, God has instituted a Priesthood by direct revelation, and the ministration of Angels, as often as the Priesthood, or the superiour grade of it, was lost on earth.
ORDINATION BY ANGELS.
- In the general infidelity of the times the doctrine of Angelick ordinations strikes the ear as a discarded old superstition. Though the half converted disciples of Joseph assented to that truth in his case, it was with such a savour of unwilling faith as would not believe that the like would ever again occur. So unwilling are men to believe that God works now, as he did in the ages past.
- Jesus commenced his ministry after John the Baptist, the forerunner or porter, opened the door of that dispensation; being inducted into the Church by baptism, and the Priesthood by a call by the voice of God, and by the ministration of an Angel.
- But this was not his final ordination. Of the transfiguration, little is said. But it is a blind view of the record which terminates the mystery, with the appearance of Moses and Elijah. (Matt. xvii, 3, 4.) After the first admiration of their appearing was so far passed that Peter proposed building Tabernacles for them, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from out the cloud declared him his “beloved son,” and commanded Apostles to hear him; that is, to be obedient unto him. (id. 5.)
- Speaking of this, Peter says, we have not followed cunningly devised fables, but were eyewitnesses of the majesty of Jesus Christ; for he received from God, honour and glory; and there came a voice to him from the excellent glory,
saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (2d Pet. i, 16-18.) On another occasion, speaking of the manner in which majesty was conferred on him, Peter said, “Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour.” (Acts v, 29-31.) Thus showing, in express words, that he was both called by the voice, and sent by the hand of God.
- Moses was called by the voice of God, (Ex. iii, 4, 10,) and sent by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him when God spoke from the flame. (Acts vii, 35.) Joseph was likewise called by the voice of God, (D. & C. i, 4,) and sent by the hand of Angels. (D. & C. 1, 2, 3.) And in the same manner was James called and sent. (Post xx, 6, p. 169.)
- In the calling of Joseph there was a necessity that he be called by the direct revelation of the word of God to himself; for there was no Prophet or Priest of God on earth, by whom God should speak and minister in calling and ordaining him to the Prophetick and Apostolick office. Consequently God called him by his own voice, and sent Peter, James and John to ordain him to the Priesthood, because they, having been duly called and set apart, and filled an acceptable ministry on earth, had entered into life, capable of ministering in heaven and on earth, as God should send them.
- The necessity was equally strong that the successor of Joseph should be ordained by the hand of an Angel. He could not be ordained by any of the surviving Priesthood; because none were equal to Joseph in authority, and the less is blessed of the greater. Moreover, the keys of David, given him and his house forever, by the oath of God, had to be bestowed on the heir of David on earth, before the Kingdom could prevail and exercise dominion. They could only be bestowed by him who held them.
CHAPTER XIX: ADOPTION.
Thou shalt have no other gods, but the Lord thy God.
- IF thou wilt in any wise adopt a child to be thine own, and to be heir to thee, thou shalt take him whom thou lovest, and whom thou mayest lawfully take; and thou shalt go before an Apostle, a High Priest, or the Chief of the Elders where thou dwellest, or the Priest who administers in the Temple or the Synagogue; and thou shalt take the child upon thy knee, and clasp him in thine arms, and shalt protest that thou lovest him as thine own flesh; and he shall seal him unto thee in the name of thy God: and shall sprinkle water upon him, and consecrate him thy flesh: and shall bless thee, and bless him in thy house; and he shall be thine forever. God shall give thee grace to be a father unto him, and grace unto him to honour thee.146 words, 572 letters.
- And if thou hast a child who was not born in wedlock, and wilt assure him unto thee, thou shalt in like manner bring him, and protest he is thine, and he shall be sealed unto thee, that he be thine forever. 42 words, 159 letters.
Total—2 sec., 188 words, 731 letters.
CHAPTER XX: CALLING OF A KING.
God is the only just and upright King over all; whosoever
is not chosen of him, is a usurper, and unholy.
- THE Lord your God hath made the earth and established it, and unto him the dominion thereof belongeth. He created man, and gave him dominion over it.1 The nations are the workmanship of his hands; and he hath the right to rule.2 42 words,179 letters.
- He appointed Kings, and Rulers, and Judges; but man rebelled against them. He made laws, but man broke them, and trampled on them, and forgot them. 26 words, 114 letters.
- Unto Noah gave he dominion over the earth: and to Shem after him; but the people rebelled against him, and established their own ways; and those that oppressed them were their Kings, and ruled over them in unrighteousness. 38 words, 179 letters.
- Moses was King in Israel;3 but the people kept not the Law of God; and, rebelling, set up a false god, and worshipped it. When God would make them Kings to rule the
[1 Gen. i, 28. [2 Ex. xix, 5. Deut. x, 14. Ps. xxiv, 1. 1st Cor. x, 26, 28. [3 Deut. xxxiii, 5.
earth, they despised his majesty, and went after other gods. 43 words, 173 letters.
- Men have everywhere rebelled against God: nevertheless, the earth is his, and the fulness thereof. The dominion of it belongeth to him, and he conferreth it upon whomsoever he will. 30 words, 146 letters.
- He hath chosen his servant James to be King: he hath made him his Apostle to all nations: he hath established him a Prophet, above the Kings of the earth; and appointed him King in Zion: by his own voice did he call him, and he sent his Angels unto him to ordain him. 54 words, 207 letters.
- And the Angel of the Lord stretched forth his hand unto him, and touched his head, and put oil upon him, and said, Grace is poured upon thy lips, and God blesseth thee with the greatness of the everlasting Priesthood. He putteth might, and glory, and majesty upon thee; and in meekness, and truth, and righteousness, will he prosper thee. 60 words, 266 letters.
- Thou shalt save his people from their enemies, when there is no arm to deliver; and shalt bring salvation, when destruction walketh in the house of thy God. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity: therefore
thy God hath anointed thee with oil, and set thee above all thy fellows. 50 words, 233 letters.
- Thy words shall be like sharp arrows in the heart of the wicked. Thou shalt rebuke those who pervert the word of thy God. Thou shalt preach righteousness and the sublime mysteries in the ears of many people; and shall bring the gospel to many who have not known it, and to the nations afar off. 56 words, 234 letters.
- Thou shalt drive backward and put to shame those that do evil; and the workers of iniquity shall fall. They shall be cast down, and shall not be able to rise. With purity will the Lord thy God arm thee, and purity and truth shalt thou teach. 47 words, 189 letters.
- Keep the Law of the Lord thy God in thy heart; and none of thy steps shall slide. With thee is the fountain of truth. In thy light shall the people of thy God see; for thou shalt speak his words unto them, and from thy lips shall they receive it. 51 words, 190 letters.
- The blessing of their God shalt thou put upon them, and his curse upon evil doers, if, after being oft rebuked, they repent not: and before my people shalt thou go, to lead them into my ways; for unto thee has the Lord thy God given salvation. 47 words, 189 letters.
- In righteousness shalt thou rule: thou shalt redeem the poor and the needy from suffering and violence; and to thee God giveth judgment for them. Thou shalt deliver the prey from the spoiler; for God, thy God, hath put them in thy hand. 43 words, 187 letters.
- And in weakness will he make thee strong. Thou shalt rule among his people. Thou shalt break in pieces the rod of the oppressor, and the yoke of the unjust ruler. They shall flee away, but the way of peace shall they not find. 44 words, 177 letters.
- While the day of the wicked abideth, shalt thou prepare a refuge for the oppressed, and for the poor and needy. Unto thee shall they come, and their brethren who are scattered shall come with them; and the destruction of the ungodly shall quickly follow; for it already worketh. Go thy way, and be strong. 55 words, 242 letters.
Total—15 sec., 686 words, 2,905 letters.
NOTE I.—KINGDOM OF GOD.
- As clearly as the Scriptures show that God established the Kingdom of Israel, so clearly do they show that he will establish a universal Kingdom in the last days; for Daniel, after prophetically tracing the great national events down to the division of the Roman Empire into the modern European
nations, says, “In the days of these Kings shall the God of heaven set up a Kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; but it shall break in pieces all these Kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” (Dan. ii, 44.) “And the Kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the Kingdom, under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the Saints of the Most High, whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” (id. vii, 27.)
- Speaking of the King who shall rule in this Kingdom, David says, “They shall fear thee as long as sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.” “He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.” (Ps. lxxii, 5, 8.)
- To this many Prophets have borne witness; that, in the latter days, God would gather Israel again upon their own land, and establish them as an undivided Kingdom, and sanctify them unto himself, and be their God forever. (Ezek. xxxiv, 22-24. xxxvii, 21, 27. Jer. xxx, 9. xxiii, 5, 6. xxxiii, 15-26. Hos. iii, 5. Isa. lv, 3-5. Amos ix, 11. Zech. xii, 8.)
NOTE II.—A PROPHET OF THE SEED OF JOSEPH.
- The prophecies which went before of old demonstrate that, in the latter times, a Prophet, a Chief Shepherd of the flock of God should arise, of the seed of Joseph. Jacob called his sons together to bless them, and to tell them what should befall them in the last days; (Gen. xlix, 1;) and told them, from Joseph “is the Shepard, the Stone of Israel.” (id. 24.) And Moses, in blessing the tribes of Israel, blessed Joseph with the “good will of him that dwelt in the bush;” (Deut. xxxiii, 16;) which we know, by the call of Moses, was the calling to be the Chief Shepherd of the flock of God. (Ex. iii, 10.)
- The Stick, or Book of Joseph, which Ezekiel saw, was in the hands of Ephraim, (one of the tribes of the loins of Joseph,) when God required that it be placed with the Stick, or Book of Judah, that the Book might be one in the hand of the Prophet, to the end that Israel be no more divided. As this Stick, or Book, stands for the word of God, it evidently is in the hands of a Prophet of that tribe, at the time alluded to. (Ezek. xxxvii, 16, 20.)
- Most clearly was this fact stated to Joseph of old, when God said to him, “A Seer will I raise up, out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins.” (B. of M. 2d Nephi ii, 2.)
- These prophecies were fulfilled in the Prophet Joseph, whom God called by his own voice to the Apostolick and Prophetick office, in 1829, and ordained to that calling by the hands of Peter, James, and John, who held that Priesthood in their times of life, and were sent expressly to confer it on him. (D. & C. 1, 3.)
- He organized the Church of God in 1830, and worked a faithful ministry of fifteen years, as a Prophet of the Most High God; translating the Book of Mormon, sending the gospel to every nation and people where the English language is spoken, bringing two hundred thousand souls into the faith, and gathering together in his city seventeen thousand people, besides as many more in the surrounding country.
- In the course of his life he was prosecuted, in the Courts of his enemies, on more than forty criminal charges, always prejudged and foredoomed; yet so inoffensive was his life, that on every one, except the charge of unlawful banking, he was acquitted.
- He was persecuted by the people of Ohio; his property confiscated, his disciples robbed and banished, himself impris-
oned, and his life sought by the State of Missouri; and died a martyr, at the hands of the people of Illinois, in the jail at Carthage, (where he was unlawfully thrust,) the 27th day of June, 1844.
- On the publick pledge of the faith of the State of Illinois, made by Governour Thomas Ford in person, and by a vote of the militia and militia officers, that he should have legal protection and a legal trial, he surrendered himself into the hands of his accusers, and was murdered in the presence of the officers having him in custody, crying, “0 Lord, my God—,” and no one lifted a hand in his defence.
- Two or three hundred persons were engaged in this deed of blood, and many thousand in abetting it. The perpetrators were well known. (Ford’s History of Illinois, pp. 353, 354.) But no effort was ever made to bring them to punishment. On the contrary, to secure the guilty from being brought to punishment in some more healthy state of the publick conscience, they were indicted, arraigned, and acquitted, by a jury, and thus a legal bar interposed to any future prosecution for the same offence. (Ford’s History of Illinois, p. 368.)
- Thus was this Prophet murdered, (in defiance of law, to be sure,) by the highest authority in the State; and by every guaranty which the law can give, were his murderers perpetually secured against punishment. The State of Illinois can give no additional sanction to the deed. She could not, by any other form of action, have made herself more guilty of his martyrdom. His blood is on the State.
- With him in persecution and in death, as well as in his ministry, was his brother Hyrum. The malignity of their foes did not cease with their deaths. Though most respectable historians have borne ample testimony to their many vir-
tues, and those who were guilty of their death did not pretend to any legal justification, Christians everywhere, with here and there a solitary exception, are continually pouring out a deluge of falsehood on them, as though they had been overtaken in felony, and slain in vindication of law.
NOTE III.—ANOTHER PROPHET OF THE HOUSE OF DAVID.
- Many prophecies in the Scriptures speak of a Prophet to arise in the last days, of the lineage of David, which, by Christians, are understood as of Christ; though they can by no possibility be applied to him.
- The Prophet Isaiah predicts the coming forth of a rod out of the stem of Jesse and a branch from his roots; that is, an heir of the covered or lost stock of the house of David, having the spirit of the Lord, and the spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord; who shall judge the poor with righteousness, and reprove with equity for the meek; who shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips slay the wicked. (Isa. xi, 1, 2, 4.)
- In this reestablishment of the house of David, the enmity of the wild and tame beasts is to come to an end; the knowledge of the Lord is to fill the earth; the tongue of the Egyptian Sea is to be destroyed; Israel are to pass over the seven mouths of the Nile dry shod, and to possess their own land, and be united as one nation forever. (Isa. xi, 6-15.) Not one of these things have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The conquest of Moab and Ammon, the construction of a highway, the governing of foreign nations, the setting up an ensign to the nations, and the gathering in of the Gentiles,
(id. 10,) mark this as a ministry on earth, like that which Moses entered upon.
- The Angel which appeared to Joseph, and revealed to him the Book of Mormon, told him this was about to be fulfilled; (Times and Seasons, April 15, 1842, p. 753;) but it could not be fulfilled in the person of Joseph, because he was not of the house of David, but of the tribe of Ephraim.
- The covenant of God with David establishes in his house the royal authority forever. (Ps. lxxxix, 29, 36. 2d Sam. vii, 13.) Though it contemplates the casting down of that authority, in consequence of the departure of his posterity from righteousness, yet David is assured that God will keep his mercy for his house forever, and will not reject his house as he did that of Saul; (2d Sam. vii, 15, 16. Ps. lxxxix, 33, 34;) and, consequently, that at the end of all these chastisements the house of David will be restored. Accordingly the various prophecies of the restoration of Israel, promise also the reestablishment of the house of David in the royal authority.
- But more especially the Book of Mormon shows that such a Prophet, of the tribe of Judah, must immediately succeed Joseph in the Prophetick office; for by that it appears that God said to Joseph, while in Egypt “The fruit of thy loins shall write, and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines, and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days.” (B. of M. 2d Nephi, ii, 3.) To accomplish this, Joseph’s successor was necessarily the heir of David. No other could succeed him.
CHAPTER XXI: DUTY OF THE KING.
The name of the Lord thy God is great and glorious above all other names.
- THE King, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom and ruleth, shall write for him a copy of the Book of the Law, according to that which is before the Lord continually; and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life; that the fear of the, Lord his God be continually before him, and that he remember the Law, and forget not to administer justice and judgment throughout the earth; and that he turn not aside from the Commandment one way or the other;1 to the end that he prolong his days in the Kingdom, and of his children among the faithful. 112 words, 455 letters.
- He shall execute judgment among the people, and over the Princes and Rulers, and over all that sit in judgment: he shall deliver the poor, the needy, and the oppressed: and if their cry be faint, yet shall he hear;2 he shall be a father to the fatherless, and a husband to the widow, and a guardian to him who hath no protector. 63 words, 254 letters.
[1 Deut. Xvii, 18, 19. [2 Ps. lxxii, 2, 4, 12-14. Isa. xi, 4.
- He shall overthrow the rebellious, destroy traitors, and punish those that do wickedly. The haughty shall he make low, and the oppressor shall he tread down: those that exalt themselves, shall he abase. 33 words, 163 letters.
- The power of the Lord God, he giveth to him, to rule the nations, and to execute judgments among the children of men: he shall declare the Laws and Commandments; exercise his dominion; and cast a shield round about the children of his people; that his dominion be not taken from him forever. 53 words, 231 letters.
Total—4 sec., 261 words, 1,103 letters.
- Whoever is called Patriarch, without a dominion, is called a King, if he has dominion. Peter calls David a Patriarch, using the words King and Patriarch as synonyms. (Acts ii, 29.)
- Abraham, though he never reigned as King, but only ruled as the Father of his people, in a country subject to various surrounding Kings, was yet mourned as a King at his death. (Jasher xxvi, 30, 31.) Numerous Kings attended his burial, and the nations around mourned him. Many of his grandsons became Nobles, and Rulers of cities and nations; (Gen. xxv, 16. xxxvi, 15-19, 21, 29, 30. 1st Chron. i, 43, 51-54;) and their posterity were finally established as Kings. (Gen. xxxvi, 31.)
- The Kingly office has oftenest been merely an appendage of the Prophetick. When not possessed of a dominion, it can exercise no civil prerogative, except by voluntary submission.
CHAPTER XXII: ABSTINENCE OF THE KING.
God alone hath the right to rule.
- HE shall not multiply to himself horses: he shall not multiply to himself carriages: he shall not multiply to himself ships: he shall not multiply to himself armour: he shall have all these to defend his people, and the children of his people, but not to oppress them.1 48 words, 214 letters.
- He shall not multiply to himself wives; lest he forget the Law, and avenge not his people: and lest his heart turn from them to strange women. 27 words, 112 letters.
- He shall not multiply to himself servants of the children of his people; lest his yoke be oppressive. 18 words, 82 letters.
- He shall not multiply to himself silver and gold; lest he be proud, and turn away from this Law, and do it not.3 23 words, 85 letters.
- Neither shall he lead his people to strange places to dwell therein, which the Lord thy God hath not appointed for their
[1 Deut. xvii,16. [2 Deut. xvii,17. [3 Deut. xvii,17.
dwelling; lest they depart from the Law, and despise it. 32 words, 142 letters.
- He shall not make other Laws, despising this; but all his Laws and Commandments shall be according to the Law of the Lord thy God, to establish it. For the Lord thy God shall speak. He shall decree, and he shall alter it as seemeth good unto him, and none shall hinder. 52 words, 210 letters.
Total—6 sec., 200 words, 845 letters.
- In the time of Moses the same individual was Apostle, Prophet, and King. So far as prerogative was concerned, none was before him, till at the transfiguration, when Jesus Christ received an ordination under the hand of God. But the people, being in a lowly condition, Moses practiced great moderation, abstaining from rearing a numerous family, that he might give himself to the service of his brethren; and instead of providing armour for the nation, induced them to arm themselves, making private property supply the place of well stored arsenals.
- The nation having become wealthy in the days of David and Solomon, they not only provided large armaments, which were in some degree burdensome to the people, but took so many wives that many of them were left to barrenness, which was an offence to God. (B. of M. Jacob ii, 6.)
- But they were not forbid to have more than one wife. For the Law existed long before David. Yet, though David had a number of wives before the overthrow of Saul, God gave him Saul’s widows to his bosom, and was willing to give him more. (2d Sam. iii, 8.)
CHAPTER XXIII: VICEROYS.
Thou shalt not usurp dominion as a Ruler.
- THE King, when he committeth the administration of his Kingdom to another; or when he appointeth another to rule a portion in his name, may make him a Viceroy, and confer upon him Kingly dignity. 35 words, 156 letters.
- The Viceroy shall keep the King’s Commandment, and shall not depart from it; he shall not exalt himself against the King: he shall keep none of his doings from the King; and he shall be faithful unto him, and to his house, in all things. 45 words, 185 letters.
- The Viceroy shall make no Laws: he shall govern according to the Law of the King, and the Law of God:1 if he deviseth a new Law, yet shall he not proclaim it, but by the King’s Commandment. 38 words, 144 letters.
- He shall not do that which is forbidden to the King; but he shall exercise prerogative by the King’s commission, in whatsoever part of his dominion he shall appoint him: he shall not despise the King’s Commandment,
[1 D. & C. li, 2. lxxxv, 3. ciii, 29, 30, 32.
nor do that which he disalloweth; lest he be a usurper, and be removed from his place. 54 words, 239 letters.
Total—4 sec., 172 words, 724 letters.
- Under the Prophet Joseph, in the beginning of his ministry, was Oliver Cowdery. (D. & C. ii, 1.) Most of his time he was aided by two such assistants. (id. v, 2. ciii, 39.) But the office has not been steadily kept up, and from one to three persons have held it at the same time. It does not seem necessary to a complete organization, but to relieve the Chief Shepherd from duties which otherwise might be too onerous.
- A Viceroy would be entitled to rule in the absence of the King without a special authority, or in case the King was disabled, provided he was associated with him in the general administration; and he is the only officer who can be sent to take authority over the twelve Apostles.
- In the duties of his office, he is in all things subject to the King’s Commandment. Though the King may give him such discretion as he thinks fit, he cannot dispense with this duty of obedience. To do so would be a severance of the Kingdom.
- This office, like that of the King, is Apostolick, and carries with it the prerogative of administering sacraments, and preaching the gospel in all places. But the Viceroy is expressly forbid to make Laws. This prerogative belongs only to the conjoint Apostolick, Prophetick and Kingly office.
- There were no Viceroys associated with the Kings of Israel and Judah, except occasionally during their minority. But the Prophets who were above them were frequently assisted by such associates. Elisha followed Elijah, and assisted him in the Prophetick office, and succeeded him.
CHAPTER XXIV: KING’S COUNCIL.
The name of God is great and glorious.
- THE King shall be aided by a Council,1 to consist of wise men, chosen from among his people, learned in the Law of the Lord, and faithful unto the King; who shall assemble before him in council, as often as he shall require, to give him advice in whatsoever matter he shall ask them. 54 words, 221 letters.
- The King may apportion the administration of the Laws, and of the affairs of his Kingdom among them, giving to each his appropriate department, as the King shall command. 29 words, 138 letters.
- The members of the King’s Council shall dwell near the King; they shall attend him on his journeyings, if he require it: they shall each give him information, reason, counsel and advice, of whatsoever matter he shall require, and shall keep nothing back. 43 words, 203 letters.
- Each member of the Council shall keep the charge of the King, which he committeth to him, in his several department; shall
[1 Ex. xxiv, 13. 2d Sam. ii, 13. iii, 24, 25. xix, 5. 1st Kings ii, 35. xii, 6-8.
be a faithful Steward of the King’s substance, in his hands: and shall render the same, with a just account of his stewardship, as often as the King requires. 51 words, 222 letters.
- The Counsellors of the King shall be chosen by him as seemeth him good, being just men, learned in the Law, not proud, nor haughty; not given to much babbling; and they shall keep the King’s secret all the days of their lives. 43 words, 176 letters.
- If they serve the King well, he shall reward them as just and faithful Stewards. If they are unfaithful, he shall frown upon them. But he may choose new Counsellors, when it seemeth him good. 35 words, 151 letters.
Total—6 sec., 255 words, 1,111 letters.
- In the mere ministry of the Church there is so little for this Council to do, that it is hardly necessary to keep it up. Prophets, who held no Kingdom, have seldom been assisted by more than one or two Counsellors, and sometimes by none. Even Kings, reigning over a small dominion, have not generally found it necessary or convenient to keep up a full Council, according to the pattern here given.
- The Counsellors do not, by virtue of their office, have any particular authority. They are the King’s advisers. But in dividing the administration of the government, the King would confer on them certain limited powers, in their nature merely executive, which they would exercise, subject to his continual supervision.
CHAPTER XXV: KING’S COURT.
God alone hath the right to rule; and in his name,
only he to whom he granteth it.
- THE King shall appoint wise men, learned in the Law of God, lovers of righteousness, not fearing the rich, nor despising the poor, to be Judges; who shall sit before him continually, to judge all great causes.1 They shall sit upon the King’s judgmentseat, at his gate: the ear of the Judges shall never be closed, that they cannot hear. This is the King’s Court. 65 words, 282 letters.
- The King shall appoint twelve Judges to this Court, if so many are needed; all of them High Priests unto the Most High God; for the judging of all great matters;2 but all the smaller matters may be judged by other Judges, as the King shall appoint, that these may judge the larger causes continually, and that they judge upon the judgment of other Judges. 65 words, 282 letters.
- And the King shall order and determine what causes shall come before the King’s Court, upon his judgmentseat to be judged,
[1 Ex. xviii, 21, 22. [2 D. & C. v. ciii, 41.
and what causes shall be judged before the other judgmentseats. 31 words, 152 letters.
- And the Judges shall hear and judge, and determine speedily: they shall not delay: and they shall judge righteous judgment, and shall not take reward, and do injustice. 28 words, 135 letters.
- And if they judge unrighteously, or refuse judgment to the just, or despise the Law, or take reward for judgment, the King shall remove them. When they have served faithfully, he shall relieve them in their age and infirmity. 39 words, 180 letters.
- The Deacons shall bring the disobedient, the stiffnecked, the peacebreakers, and all who have done great wickedness, before the Judges, and shall execute their judgment on all who withstand it, and obey not. 33 words, 168 letters.
- The Deacons shall execute all the orders of the Court, and shall be a fear unto the disorderly, and all revilers. They shall do whatsoever the Judges command. 28 words, 127 letters.
- The Chief Deacon shall be the Steward of the King’s substance, which he committeth to the Judges, and shall render a just account of his stewardship to the King. 29 words, 129 letters.
Total—8 sec., 318 words, 1,455 letters.
CHAPTER XXVI: CITY COURT.
Whosoever is not chosen of God, is a usurper.
- THE King shall appoint Judges in all the cities, three to a city, and more if the business of judgment require it: all of them Elders of the people; Priests of God; who shall sit upon the judgmentseat of the city, and judge all the causes which shall come before them; even all such as the King shall apoint unto them to judge. 63 words, 258 letters.
- They shall sit in judgment, on the judgmentseat in the Synagogue of their city, every Sabbath day, to do justice unto all men; and shall render speedy judgment upon all who have violated the Laws. 35 words, 157 letters.
- The Deacons shall execute their judgment upon all who obey not, and shall bring before them the peacebreakers, and all who do violence. 23 words, 110 letters.
- The Chief Deacon of the City shall be Steward of the King’s substance, which he committeth to the Judges, and shall render a just account. He shall also be the principal Minister of the Court. 35 words, 153 letters.
Total—4 sec., 156 words, 678 letters.
CHAPTER XXVII: MUNICIPALITIES.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
- IN every village an Elder shall be appointed to rule, to teach, and to instruct: he shall govern the village according to the Law, and the King’s Commandment: to him shall the Priests of the Synagogue give heed; and if there be other Elders, they also shall give heed to him. 51 words, 216 letters.
It is intended that there shall be a Synagogue at every village, and an Elder appointed to rule therein. All the Elders residing in the same village should assist him, according to his call. The Priests, Deacons and Teachers should act under his direction for the general order, each in his appropriate duty. He is the Ruler of the Synagogue; not merely of the Elders in it.
- In every town shall Elders be appointed to rule, and teach, and instruct: five to a town: but if there be more than five Synagogues in the town, yet shall there be an Elder to each Synagogue, of whom one shall be Chief. 43 words, 170 letters.
- To a town five Elders should always be appointed to rule, though there may be but two Synagogues; and one to each Synagogue, though there may be more than five
Synagogues. If there are less than five Synagogues, one Elder should be appointed to each, and the rest of the five without any special charge.
- One of these Elders should be designated the Chief, and should preside in their assemblies, but each would have one vote in the transaction of business. Each Elder having charge of a Synagogue would have the same authority over other Elders, Priests, Deacons and Teachers, in that Synagogue, as the Elder in the Synagogue of a village. But the Chief Elder of the town has a general charge over them all.
- They shall govern the town according to the Law, and the King’s Commandment: they shall instruct the people in the Synagogue, every one in his order: unto the Chief of them shall the Priests of that town give heed; and unto every one, in the Synagogue where he administers. 49 words, 217 letters.
- In every city shall Elders be appointed to rule, to teach, and to instruct, in all the Synagogues: but to the Synagogue of the judgmentseat of the city, shall three be appointed Judges of the Court of the city: another shall be appointed who shall be Bishop of that city; he shall be Chief of the Elders, both in that city, and in the towns and villages in its vicinity: to him shall they all give heed. 77 words, 316 letters.
- If there be more than one city in the province, then shall that bishop who is ap-
pointed to rule the province, administer in the chief city: he shall be an Archbishop: to him shall the other Bishops give heed. 39 words, 165 letters.
- There is to be a Bishop to govern every city. He will be Bishop of a province, if there is but one city in it. If there is more than one city in a province, then at the chief city an Archbishop must be appointed to govern the province, and a Bishop also at each other city, to govern each his city.
- The Bishop is Chief of all the Elders in his city, and in all the towns and villages belonging to it; the Archbishop in his, and also Chief of the Bishops of the province.
- In conducting the affairs of their governments, Archbishops, Bishops and Elders will require the assistance of various officers, who should be selected from the Priesthood under their authority.
- But if there be no city in a province, yet shall an Elder be appointed to rule in that province: he shall be Bishop: and a Court shall be appointed also, and three Elders to be Judges: they shall be appointed at that place where the King will establish his government for that province. 54 words, 227 letters.
- By these shall the provinces, and cities, and towns, and villages of the Kingdom be governed: and officers shall be appointed to assist them in governing, as shall be necessary. The King shall establish his dominion in this order forever. 40 words, 192 letters.
Total—7 sec., 353 words, 1,503 letters.
CHAPTER XXVIII: TWELVE APOSTLES.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain;
for his name is great and glorious above all other names.
- WHEN the Lord your God shall send the gospel to the nations, he shall call and choose twelve Apostles, to be the witnesses of his name and Kingdom, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.1 35 words, 154 letters.
- He shall appoint them Shepherds of the flock; under the direction of the Chief Shepherd:2 he shall make them Princes in his Kingdom:3 he shall appoint them to declare his Law unto all nations;4 and to execute it among the Saints who are scattered abroad. 45 words, 202 letters.
- The Apostles, every one, shall have jurisdiction of the Churches beyond the Kingdom, by appointment of the Chief Shepherd: they shall exercise royal authority in the Kingdom, by the King’s Commandment. 31 words, 164 letters.
- Let them bear a faithful testimony to the nations: let them not shun to declare the
[1 Matt. x, 1, 8. Luke xxiv, 47, 48. Acts i, 8. D. & C. xliii, 5. [2 John xxi,16. [3 Matt. xix, 28. [4 Matt, xxviii, 16, 20. Mark xvi, 15. Luke xxiv, 47.
whole counsel of God; and he shall give them rest from their labours; they shall be Princes forever.1 34 words, 147 letters.
- One among them shall be Chief: to him shall they all give heed, as to a King among Princes: yet shall the Chief Shepherd be King over them all: they shall not rebel against his Commandment; and they shall be Princes in his Kingdom forever. 45 words, 189 letters.
Total—5 sec., 190 words, 856 letters.
- The Priesthood of an Apostle is the highest in the Church of God. But in that Priesthood there are different ranks, of which the Twelve is the lower, the highest being that of the Chief Shepherd, whether he is designated a Prophet, an Apostle, or a King.
- The Prophet presides over the whole Church, and the whole Priesthood; and hence in this dispensation has usually been called First President; and his two associates or Viceroys, have been called members of the First Presidency, though in other ages they have oftenest all been called Kings, Patriarchs, or Prophets.
- The distinction in their duties is chiefly this: that the First President is a Lawgiver, who teaches by revelation and commandment among all people, under the immediate direction of God, and assisted by the Viceroys, proclaims and executes the Law over all Priesthood, and among the children of God, at the places appointed for their dwelling. Whereas the twelve Apostles have no authority over the local administration at the gathering places, but have the keys of opening the gospel to all nations, the government of the scattered Churches, and the general direction of the missions.
CHAPTER XXIX: HIGH PRIESTS.
The Lord will not hold him guiltless who taketh his name in vain.
- THE Lord your God will choose faithful men, keepers of his Law, examples in righteousness, to be Priests of the order of an endless life. They shall be Princes and Nobles, and High Priests in the Kingdom of God. The presiding and ruling power is the prerogative of this Priesthood. 50 words, 225 letters.
- From the High Priests shall the King select Counsellors, and Judges, and Rulers. They shall sanctify things appointed of God to holy purposes, and shall minister in the salvation of the living and the dead. 35 words, 167 letters.
- One hundred and fortyfour High Priests form a quorum. From among themselves shall they choose one to preside in all their deliberations, and two to assist in presiding; but the King whom God shall set up, shall preside over all the High Priests. 43 words, 198 letters.
Total—3 sec., 128 words, 590 letters.
This order is sometimes called the High Priesthood, after the order of the Son of God. In the Bible it is generally named the High Priesthood, after the order of Melchisedek. They who hold it are called Sons of God.
CHAPER XXX: SEVENTIES.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
- THE twelve Apostles shall select seventy Elders, chosen men, faithful in the ministry of the word, to preach the gospel, under their direction, unto all people. 26 words, 129 letters.
- One of the Seventy shall they appoint Chief: he shall be first in their assembly, and shall set them in order.1 21 words, 87 letters.
- Other Seventies may the Apostles choose, until there shall be seven Seventies; and one shall be appointed Chief of each Seventy, to set his fellows in order, and to be first in their assembly. 34 words, 154 letters.
- The Seventies shall labour in the ministry of the word, and of sacraments and ordinances, onefourth of their time; and continually, if their households do not lack bread and raiment. 30 words, 148 letters.
- They shall have jurisdiction by appointment of the Apostles; and shall be Chief in the Churches they build up. 19 words, 90 letters.
[1 D. & C. iii, 43. Luke x, 1. Ex. xxiv, 1.
- When they have laboured faithfully, they shall have rest, and a goodly inheritance among the just; but if they come short in the ministry whereunto they are called, their power shall be taken from them. 35 words, 163 letters.
- The Chief of the Apostles shall be the Prince and Grand Master of the Seventies: unto him shall they all give heed. 22 words, 92 letters.
Total—7 sec., 187 words, 863 letters.
- The Seventies hold no different Priesthood from the Elders. They have only a different mission, for which reason they are differently organized. They are under the immediate direction of the Twelve for the work of their ministry. But this jurisdiction of the Twelve extends only to their missions, and the internal affairs of the Quorum.
- Elders, capable of travelling, and able in expounding the word of God, should be selected by the Twelve for the Seventies, and set apart to that ministry, by the laying on of hands.
- After they have worked a faithful ministry, they may be relieved from their duties as travelling Elders, and remitted to the duty of ruling and judging, and ministering in the Synagogue.
- Though the Elders have the especial duty of presiding, ruling, and ministering, and the Seventy of preaching the gospel among the nations, yet, while on their missions, the authority to preside belongs to the Seventy, rather than an Elder. If one of the Seventy builds up a Church, any Elder coming into it would be under his direction. And he has power to ordain and appoint an Elder to preside after him.
CHAPTER XXXI: ELDERS.
The name of God is Great.
- THE wise men in every city, who love righteousness, and hate iniquity; who seek unto the Law of God and its justice; who obey the King, and honour all who are placed in authority, shall be ordained Elders.1 38 words, 161 letters.
- These shall be Judges and Rulers, and shall govern and instruct in their several callings, as they shall be appointed:2 they are the leaders of the people. 27 words, 124 letters.
- The Elders shall read this Law all the days of their lives, that they may instruct the people therein, to keep it; and that they may be able to serve the King as Governours, and Rulers, and Judges, and Commissioners, and Masters of the King’s business, in the several offices to which he shall appoint them. 56 words, 242 letters.
- When they go beyond the Kingdom to
[1 Num. xi, 16, 24, 25. 1st Sam. xvi, 4. xxx, 26. 2d Kings xix, 2. Ezra v, 6. vi, 14. Matt. xvi, 21. xxi, 23. Acts xi, 30. xiv, 23. [2 Ps. cvii, 92. Prov. xxxi,23. Matt. xxvii, 20. Ex. xix, 7. Lev. iv, 15. Deut. xxv, 8, 9. xxix, 10. Ruth iv, 4, 9. 1st Sam. xxx, 26. 1st Kngs xx, 7. 2d Kings vi, 32. Ezra x, 8.
minister in word, and sacraments, and ordinances, the Apostles shall rule over them. 20 words, 96 letters.
- But they shall give heed to the Chief among them in their several cities, and one of the King’s Counsellors shall be the Grand Master of them all. 28 words, 116 letters.
- The Elders shall instruct the people in the Law and the gospel on the Sabbath day, and in their assemblies: they shall visit the sick,1 the poor, and the needy: they shall comfort mourners, and all who are distressed, and counsel those who know not right. 46 words, 201 letters.
Total—6 sec., 215 words, 940 letters.
- Those holding this Priesthood are called Elders, because age and experience are among the chief qualifications. It is the same as Aldermen, Senators or Seigniors. Age is not indispensable.
- The calling of an Elder is very honourable. So honourable is the title of Elder, that Apostles, Prophets and High Priests frequently adopt it. Bishops may be chosen from among the Elders.
- Their duties are principally in conducting the general internal affairs of the Kingdom, and ministering in spiritual things, and in judgment among the Saints. But they may be sent on missions, under the direction of the Twelve, and may be placed for the time being under the direction of the Bishops where they may be sent.
[1 Jas. v, 14. Matt. x, 1. Mark iii, 13, 14. Acts v. 16. ix, 17, xxvii, 8.
CHAPTER XXXII: PRIESTS.
The name of God is glorious.
- FAITHFUL servants of God; godly in their walk and conversation; not given to strong drink, nor lust, nor lasciviousness; shall be ordained Priests, in all the cities, and in every town and village which hath a Synagogue. 37 words, 176 letters.
- They shall be Keepers and Ministers of the Temples and Synagogues, and shall be Ministers and Singers, and shall serve in all callings in the worship of God; and in all the ceremonies which shall be appointed for worship and adoration. 41 words, 191 letters.
- The Priests shall also assist the Elders in the work of preaching, and shall visit from house to house to teach godliness among the people, and shall baptize for the remission of sins. 33 words, 149 letters.
- Whenever the Lord your God shall command you to build a Temple unto him, that he may come and dwell in the midst of you, then will he establish a peculiar Priest-
hood, to administer the ordinances of that Temple. 39 words, 169 letters.
- One of the Priests in every Temple shall be Chief, and to him all shall give heed. But in every Synagogue the Priests shall give heed to the Chief of the Elders. 32 words, 127 letters.
- One of the King’s Counsellors shall be Grand Master of all the Priests. 13 words, 57 letters.
- Godly women shall be Singers and Musicians, and assistants in the ceremonies, but they shall not kill sacrifices. 18 words, 93 letters.
Total—7 sec., 213 words, 962 letters.
- The duties of the Priests are exceedingly varied. Like the Elders, they are liable to be detached and sent on missions to preach the gospel, and baptize for the remission of sins.
- They are the regular Sacrificators. No one below them in the Priesthood is authorized to slay a victim as a sacrifice. And though those above them really have the authority, the duty so entirely pertains to the Priest that one ought always to be sent for, if any one is at hand, whenever a sacrifice is offered.
- Women may be ordained to this Priesthood, but they will not be authorized to kill sacrifices. Their duties would mainly consist in singing and instrumental musick. The conducting of matters of musick and dancing, and most mere ceremonies, and the keeping of Temples and Synagogues, belongs to the Priest’s office. For all their varied duties, where they are numerous, they ought to be classed, and appropriate officers appointed.
Book of The Law 4
CHAPTER XXXIII: TEACHERS.
The name of God is above all others.
- IN every city, town, and village, ye shall ordain Teachers, men and women who are apt to teach, learned in letters, and in every science, and every manner of wisdom and knowledge; that they may instruct you and your children, and that you may attain to all wisdom and all knowledge.1 51 words, 222 letters.
- In every Synagogue shall Teachers be appointed to instruct the people on the Sabbath day in the ways of the Lord, and in the words of this Law.2 The children of the rich and the poor, shall come together to learn of them, without price. 45 words, 186 letters.
- One of the King’s Counsellors shall be the Grand Master of all the Teachers: he shall be Chief in their assemblies, and shall set them in order; to him shall they all give heed. 34 words, 139 letters.
- The Teachers of eminence shall be set apart as Doctors: but if any have attained to very great eminence, they shall be Rabbis,
[1 Eph. iv, 11. 1st Cor. xii. 28. Dan. xii, 3. Joel ii, 23. John iii, 2. Acts xii, 1. [2 Isa. xxx, 20.
and the most eminent of all shall be Rabbonis. 32 words, 138 letters.
- Ye shall establish schools in all your cities, towns and villages; to every one shall a Teacher be appointed; but to the large schools many, that they may be able to faithfully instruct all who come unto them. 38 words, 167 letters.
- In every city shall ye establish an Academy: a learned Doctor shall be the Chief Teacher therein. 17 words, 79 letters.
- In every city shall a College be established: a learned Rabbi shall be Chief Teacher, and he shall have Doctors for his assistants. 23 words, 106 letters.
- If the city be very large, then may you establish other Colleges; and in all the cities, and large towns may you establish other Acadamies; and the Chief Teacher where there are several Academies, shall be a Rabbi; and where there are several Colleges, shall be a Rabboni. 48 words, 217 letters.
Total—8 sec., 288 words, 1,254 letters.
The whole subject of publick instruction of the young, belongs to the Quorums of Teachers. They ought to teach every Sabbath day, at all the Synagogues, without charge. But, in addition to that, the establishing and conducting of schools depends on them. They ought always to furnish qualified Teachers for all schools.
CHAPTER XXXIV: DEACONS.
The Lord will not hold him guiltless who taketh his name in vain.
- IN every city shall ye ordain Deacons; lovers of the Law; men of stout heart, strong arm, and swift foot: men who neither despise the poor, nor fear the rich; kind, persevering, and just; seeking unto the Kingdom of God and its righteousness.1 43 words, 189 letters.
- The Deacons shall be Ministers unto the King, the Judges, and the Elders, to execute their Commandments, both in judgment and mercy: they shall be merciful and just. 28 words, 132 letters.
- The Deacons shall be Stewards and keepers of the King’s prisons: and Stewards of the King’s Courts. 17 words, 79 letters.
- In the cities, and towns, and prisons, shall Chiefs be appointed over them: but one of the King’s Counsellors shall be their Grand Master. 24 words, 109 letters.
Total—4 sec., 112 words, 509 letters.
There is a quorum of Deacons to every city, including the towns and villages near by. But wherever there is a prison, a Court, or any institution requiring several Deacons, one may be their Chief, and others officers, as good order requires.
[1 Acts vi, 2, 5. Phil. i, 1. 1st Tim. iii, 8-13.
CHAPTER XXXV: ESTABLISHMENT OF THE LAW.
Thou shalt not take the name of God in vain.
- FEAR not, little flock, for your Father, in his good pleasure, hath given you the Kingdom; the dominion is yours forever; ye shall smite the nations with a continual stroke; for the Lord your God hath spoken it: ye shall break them in pieces, and destroy them; for the day of his vengeance has come. 55 words, 234 letters.
- He hath judged the nations that are near, and decreed destruction upon them, and their day continueth not: the nations far away are covered with their abominations as with a garment: their iniquities are not hid: he will not spare them. 41 words, 190 letters.
- The Saints of the former days have sat in judgment upon them; they have judged the earth, and the nations thereof shall not be spared: fire goeth before: famine followeth after; and the pestilence shall waste them. 37 words, 172 letters.
- Arise and smite them, 0 Daughter of Zion; and thou, 0 Tower of the Flock, whose power is above the clouds, possess thy do-
minion, and be thou a refuge: for Judah shall be bent, in his strength; as an arrow, Ephraim shall fill him: Manasseh shall be his barb; and Jacob shall be in the midst of the Gentiles, in the empire of nations, as a Lion among the beasts of the forest; as a young Lion in the flocks of sheep, who, when he goeth through, treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none shall deliver. 97 words, 387 letters.
- Let your fear be upon all men; and the terrour of you upon your enemies; for this is the day of vengeance of the Lord, and of your recompense upon your enemies. Joseph shall possess his land again; for the throne of David is established as the days of the sun; his Kingdom is everlasting. 55 words, 227 letters.
- And now, 0 Daughter of Zion, the land of robbers, the empire of many nations, shall gather her troops against thee, to look upon thee, and to defile thy dominion: but they have not known the thought of the Lord; neither have they understood his counsel; for he shall gather them as sheaves of the floor. 56 words, 238 letters.
- Arise and thrash, for I will make thy power iron: the tread of thy foot shall crush: thou shalt break in pieces many people, and shalt consecrate their spoil unto God, and
their dominion to the Lord of the whole earth. 41 words, 172 letters.
- Babylon the Great shall perish before thee; for thou shalt do unto her as she hath done unto thee: thou shalt render unto her as she hath rendered to thee, and reward her double for all her sins. Her cities shall be given to the flames, and the inhabitants to the sword: her government shall be broken in pieces, and her dominion taken away. 64 words, 270 letters.
- For in her is found the blood of Saints and Prophets; and the spoil of the children of God in the midst of her: and she hath drank of the cup of the indignation, and of the fury of God, with all the nations of the Gentiles. 47 words, 172 letters.
- Against her, Apostles have washed their feet on earth, and borne witness in heaven; and by the testimony and the blood of Prophets have her sins been made known in heaven: the great Prince, whose throne is as burning fire, hath judged her, saying, Let not her days be prolonged. 50 words, 220 letters.
- For by this law shall men be judged in the portion of Joseph: God will give it to you, that you may possess it for an everlasting dominion. In the midst of the Gentiles shall
ye establish your Synagogues, and gather out the just while ye wait for the judgments of God. 52 words, 212 letters.
- Ye shall, therefore, read in it all the days of your lives. Ye shall read it in your solemn assemblies, and in your joyous meetings; with the shout of triumph when your enemies flee before you; and in the voice of mourning when you have sinned against God, and have fled before them; ye shall read it in the gathering of your neighbours, and in the household with your children. 70 words, 299 letters.
- Ye shall talk of it in the house, and in the field, and by the wayside, and in the forest, and on the waters; in the camp, and on the march: when ye labour, and when ye rest shall ye speak of this Law to your neighbours, and to your wives, and to your children, and to your servants. 59 words, 213 letters.
- And ye shall think upon it in your joy, and in your sorrow; when upon the land which the Lord your God giveth you, and when far away; both in the midst of the multitude, and in your loneliness; all the days of your lives shall ye read it, and talk of it, and think upon it; and it shall be inscribed upon your hearts continually. 66 words, 254 letters.
- For by this Law hath the Lord your
God sanctified you, and given you judgment, and justice, and dominion. Remember that ye stood before him; your King, and your Princes, and your Nobles, the men of you, with your wives and your children, and your little ones, and entered into covenant with the Lord your God, to be a people unto him, and to obey his Commandments, and to keep this Law; and that he covenanted with you to be your God, and to make you a nation of Kings and Priests to the nations of the earth. 98 words, 395 letters.
- Keep, therefore, this Law, and obey these Commandments; for so doth God sanctify you, and so will he establish you, and prosper you, more abundantly than in former days. The land of Joseph shall ye possess forever, and Israel and Judah shall dwell again upon their own mountains. 48 words, 222 letters.
- Your vineyards, your gardens, and your orchards, ye shall plant again, and they shall flourish, and ye shall eat the fruit thereof: ye shall build houses, and shall inhabit them; and children’s children shall be in them, for a crown of glory to you, if ye remember the Lord your God, whose name is great and glorious, and keep his statutes. 61 words, 266 letters.
- And now if there be among you a man whose heart turneth away from the Lord your God, to serve the god of Babylon, and to honour the names of the nations; if there be a root that beareth gall and wormwood; and when he heareth the curse in this Law, he bless himself, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of my heart, the Lord will not spare him. 74 words, 285 letters.
- But the anger of the Lord, and his jealousy, and his fierce wrath, shall smoke against that man: and all the curses that are written in this book shall be upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven. 43 words, 172 letters.
- At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year, when all the children of the Kingdom are gathered together before the Lord in Temples, and in Tabernacles, and all the people are assembled, Princes and Nobles, men, and women, and children, and the stranger that dwelleth in your gates, ye shall read this Law before them all, in their hearing, and shall make it known in the midst of them. 74 words, 317 letters.
- And your children, and the strangers dwelling in your gates, that have not heard it, shall learn this Law, and ye shall all re-
member it again, and shall all lift up your hands, and shall enter into covenant with the Lord your God to keep this Law, and to obey his statutes, that he may prolong your days upon the land. 61 words, 249 letters.
Total—21 sec., 1,249 words, 5,166 letters.
- The pseudo philanthropy of the present time rejects the destruction of the wicked as one of the means of establishing righteousness. With some, philanthropy has got so far in advance of Godliness as to seek, pray for, and expect the salvation, everlasting life and unalloyed happiness of those who delight in sin, and take no pleasure in righteousness; believing that, in some mysterious way, God can make those happy whose chief delight is in wickedness.
- But the common sentiment in Christian countries is, that irreligious and wicked men and nations ought not to be destroyed; and that the most corrupt and abject races and men have the same right to live and to exercise government as the most Godlike.
- With Christian men this sentiment is entertained, with divers exceptions. They have little repugnance to the killing of those who keep the Commandments of God. They are quite satisfied that the destruction of the Canaanites was really by Commandment of God; but as certain that he will never command the destruction of any other corrupt nation.
- The destruction of the Canaanites by the Commandment of God can only be justified on good and cogent reasons. It is not enough that they were creatures of God, made by him, and that therefore he had the right to destroy them. They were living, conscious beings, having a right to the life to which they were born, till they diminished it by
violating the laws of life, or forfeited the right by such con-duct as rendered their existence dangerous to better men.
- The right to destroy the life of any man grows out of such conduct as renders his existence on the whole, a curse; and not in any capricious idea of absolute power. And the same rule applies to the extermination of races.
- The old world was destroyed by the flood, in consequence of universal corruption; not merely corruption of manners, but hereditary corruption of the flesh. (Jasher iv, 16-18. Gen. vi, 5.) Sodom and the cities of the plain were destroyed for a similar reason. (Gen. xviii, 20, 21, 26, 32. xix, 4, 5, 9.)
- In the long list of crimes recorded against Sodom, as the guilty cause of its utter destruction, the first is the custom of the whole population going out four times a year to a certain valley, with musick and dancing; when every man seized whatsoever woman he would, and they all enjoyed the wives and daughters of their neighbours in their sight, and no man objected a word; (Jasher xviii, 13-15;) a custom which has its counterpart in the Free Love societies of the present day. The natural consequence of this want of chastity was that beastiality, which has given the name of Sodom to the most loathsome of all human crimes.
- Of a different character was another of their cherished customs; that of confiscating the goods of such strangers as unfortunately fell into their hands, and distributing them among themselves, and pretending to receive each man’s share as a gift. (Jasher xviii, 16, 17.)
- But the fountains of justice were equally corrupted, so that the chief business of the Judges was to go through the necessary forms to give legal validity to acts of fraud and violence, (Jasher xix,) much as many Judges and nearly all
Attorneys occupy their time nowadays, in Christian cities.
- Thus corruption and wickedness pervaded society in all conditions, and prevailed in every act of men. There was no purity, no truth, as a foundation for reform. Every successive generation was raised up to incurable corruption and wickedness.
- The end of such a people could be nothing but overwhelming destruction, and utter extermination. The only possible object in prolonging their decay, was to contaminate the surrounding nations, and bring them eventually to the same end. The destruction of Sodom was mercy to the human race.
- The case of the nations of Canaan was like it. Corruptions similar to those of Sodom were national characteristicks. They had doomed themselves to extermination, just as various races and nations have since done. To them the judgment of God was but a matter of time. To other nations it was a matter of defence from contagion.
- But in the case of the Canaanites there was an especial mercy in the Law which preserved the female children alive, and gave them for wives to the conquerors.
- An important purpose, to be kept in view, in a wise administration of national affairs, is the increase of population. This increase does not depend on the number of the men, but of the women. For, with polygamy, it is apparent that a given number of women will produce the same number of children, whether the men are many or few.
- According to the Commandment under which most of the land of Canaan was overrun, all the virgin females were kept as wives to the men of Israel. These were taken into Hebrew families, and educated in their institutions. They became the wives of a brave and prevailing race of men, who
would suffer no relapse into the customs of their country.
- By the natural operation of the law of hybridity, the children of such crosses partake most of the blood of the prevailing race, and a few generations, under proper management, where one race continually rules with a uniform and rigid system, will obliterate all signs of the subjugated race, with scarcely any, perhaps no, diminution of the human race.
- Thus in the conquest of Canaan, if the whole work had been accomplished according to the Command of God, the next generation would have exhibited about the same number of children of Canaanite maternity, but they would have been Israelites, instead of Canaanites. As corruption generally begins with men, and but slowly extends to women, these women would have raised a righteous seed; who, educated as Israelites, would have been very little inferiour to the pure bloods.
- The activity and energy developed in these great undertakings, would have made the whole race superiour to what the Israelites were in the beginning; as it was, the land was not depopulated, but its population greatly increased, and the Israelite stock not in any degree deteriorated by the mixture.
- At the present time several nations, and some larger races, have come to a point in corruption where they are incapable of keeping themselves up. Without invasions or the impinging of any external force against them, they are slowly disappearing from the earth, and making steady strides to a certain extermination.
- Among the converted or Christian Kanackers, the evil is past remedy. The vices introduced and sown broadcast among them by Christian residents and sailors, have taken such deadly effect that the women are generally barren. The
population is diminishing several thousand annually. The Sandwich Islands, which, when first visited by Christian Missionaries, contained a half million of these people, have not now sixty thousand.
- Several nations of old Christian stock, are going in the same way. If left to themselves, they will disappear from the earth. In their prolonged decay, they may contaminate many others. It would be a mercy could they be overrun by a righteous race, and the women children alone preserved, and made wives to men of moral and healthy habits.
- The whole course of prophecy indicates that the nations of the earth will not be converted to Godliness; but that they will increase in wickedness, and be destroyed. The day has not yet come, but is in the future, which “shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble,” and shall be burnt up, leaving neither root nor branch; when they that fear the Lord shall tread down the wicked, as ashes beneath their feet. (Mal. iv, 1, 3.)
- Paul assures us that the coming of Christ shall be “in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.” (2d Thess. i, 8, 9.) Isaiah says, the earth shall be made empty, and few men left. (Isa. xxiv, 1, 3, 6.) Those days are days of vengeance, when Christ shall tread the wine press of the wrath of God, and the blood shall flow unto the horses’ bridles. (Rev. xiv, 20.) As those times are approaching, the judgment is pronounced on Babylon, “Reward her as she hath rewarded you, and double unto her double, according to her works.” (id. xviii, 6.) Then shall the Saints execute vengeance on the heathen. (Ps. cxlix, 6, 7.)
CHAPTER XXXVI: PRIESTHOOD.
Thou shalt not usurp dominion.
- THERE are two Priesthoods: the Priesthood of an endless life; and the Priesthood of life. 15 words, 72 letters.
The Priesthood of an endless life is commonly called the Melchisedek Priesthood, or the Priesthood after the order of Melchisedek, in honour of Melchisedek, who blessed Abraham, and received tithes of him. Before his time it was called the Priesthood of the Sons of God, because those who hold this Priesthood are Sons of God.
- In the Priesthood of an endless life are two Orders; that of Apostles, and of Priests. 17 words, 69 letters.
- Of Apostles there are four Degrees. 6 words, 29 letters.
- The first Degree is that of Lawgiver, and is Apostle, Prophet, Seer, Revelator and Translator. This Degree is sole, and gives the word of God as from his own mouth.1 30 words, 128 letters.
There is no word in language which properly expresses the varied duties of this Priesthood. It is the greatness of
[1 Ex. iii, 2, 4-6, 10, 15-17. vi, 2, 6. xx, 1-22. Deut. v, 5-21. D. & C. i, 4. ii, 1. iii, 42. xlvi, 1. xiv, 1, 2. li, 2.
the everlasting Priesthood; and has all the gifts, and all the keys conferred on man. It is so full of itself that it carries the Church of God with it, and can both institute and act in place of every other Priesthood.
- This Degree is only necessary for the establishment of the rest of God, and bringing in of everlasting righteousness on earth. A less degree of Priesthood has frequently stood at the head of the people of God on earth.
- Enoch was called to this Priesthood, and, being faithful himself, but failing to redeem the earth, was translated. (Gen. v, 24.) And it seems that many who followed him were translated with him. (Jasher iii, 27-38. D. & C. xii, 1.)
- Moses was called to the same Priesthood, and down to the time of receiving the Law of the Tables was engaged in the great work of making Israel a holy nation; a peculiar treasure above all people; a Kingdom of Priests. (Ex. xix, 5,6.) By this superiour Priesthood he was entitled to know the incommunicable name of God, which even Abraham did not know. (Ex. vi, 3.)
- As the Israelites turned from God to calf worship, they were cut off from the rest of God, and were only saved from an entire destruction by coming into an inferiour dispensation, on the intercession of Moses. (Ex. xxxii, 7-14, 31-35.)
- Hence, on the removal of Moses from his earthly ministry, this holy Priesthood was taken away with him, (D. & C. iv, 4,) and only a portion of the honour of Moses was put on Joshua, who succeeded him in the government of Israel. (Num. xxvii, 18, 20.)
- Jesus Christ held this Priesthood, and was succeeded sucessively by Peter, James and John. John was the last Revelator in that dispensation. It is apparent that their authority was not equal to that held by him, though they held
the keys of mysteries and revelations. For after his time no attempt appears to have been made to restore the Kingdom to Israel. Indeed, they were not of the proper lineage to bring about the restoration, not inheriting the promises.
- The present dispensation was the necessary sequence of that, as that was of the preceding. Not only had the prophecy gone before that the Shepherd and Stone of Israel should come of Joseph, (Gen. xlix, 24. Ante p. 172. Note ii,) but that the house of David should be reestablished on the throne of Israel. (Ezek. xxxiv, 22-24. xxxvii, 21, 27. Jer. xxiii, 5, 6. xxx, 9. xxxiii, 15-26. Hos. iii, 5. Isa. lv, 3-5. Amos ix, 11. Zech. xii, 8.)
- In the last dispensation the work of the gathering of the faithful and establishing the Kingdom of God could only be accomplished by the heir of David. (Ante p. 175. Note iii.) This was not only secured to David by God’s covenant with him, but it was sealed to the tribe of Judah by Jacob. (Gen. xlix, 8-10.)
- An objection is sometimes made to a dispensation of the Kingdom, and the Law of God in the last days, because of the saying, “in time ye shall have no King, nor ruler; for I will be your King and watch over you;” “and ye shall have no Laws, but my Laws, when I come, for I am your Lawgiver.” (D. & C. xii, 5.) So far from showing that a dispensation of the Law of God will not be given, this text expressly shows that it will, and that none will have power to administer the Law, but such as are sent in the name of Christ; and that his Law shall so far prevail, that when the time of his coming arrives, his people will be subject to no Law but his.
- Jacob began his blessing on Judah by saying, “Thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise. Thy hand shall be
in the neck of thine enemies. Thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.” His dominion over the heathen is signified by having his hand in their necks. Over his brethren, by their bowing down before him. And the reason of this superiority is in that superiour adhesion to the covenants of God, which secured the praise of his brethren. (Gen. xlix, 8.)
- Lest Judah should mistake the import of this language, and commence immediately to rule his brethren, in derogation of the power which Joseph held by revelation, (Gen. xxxvii, 5-10,) he next distinguished him as a lion’s whelp; that is, an heir of royalty, though strong as a lion, the true symbol of royalty. (Gen. xlix, 9.)
- But fixing with greater exactness what was already stated, that he was speaking of what should befall Israel “in the last days,” (Gen. xlix, l,) Jacob goes on to say, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a Lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”* (id. 10.)
- This language has evident reference to the birth of a Lawgiver, of the line of Judah, and not to the loss of the septre by the house of David. The style of speech aptly describes a birth, and its appropriate office is to inform Judah that though he was to hold the Kingly office, it was not till the last days.
- With this interpretation agrees all sacred history. Within a few generations Moses was raised up a Lawgiver, though of the tribe of Levi, and was succeeded in the leadership of Israel by Joshua, of the tribe of Ephraim. (Num. xiii, 8)
- Among the Rulers of Israel after him were Tola, of
* In the Doway this verse reads, “The sceptre shall not be taken away from Judah, nor a Lawgiver from his thigh, till he come that is to be sent; and he shall be the expectation of the nations.”
the tribe of Issacher, (Jud. x, 1,) Elon, of the tribe of Zebulon, (Jud. xii, 11,) Samson, of the tribe of Dan, (Jud. xiii, 2, 24. xv, 20,) Eli, of the tribe of Levi. (1st Sam. ii, 27, 28.) And when a King was called, it was Saul, of the tribe of Ephraim. (1st Sam. x, 1.)
- And though after Saul, David, of the tribe of Judah, became King, and the Kingdom remained in his family for many generations, they were none of them made Lawgivers. In David and in his house the Lawgiver did not come forth of the thigh, nor between the feet of Judah. All the Kings of that line, not excepting David and Solomon, were subject to Prophets, whom God set up above them in power. The Prophets could set up and drag down Kings, and command them in their outgoings and incomings. (1st Sam. x, 1. xv, 1, 3, 22, 23, 28. xvi, 13. 2d Sam. xii, 1, 7, 9, 10. 1st Kings i, 38, 39. xii, 22-24. xix, 15, 16. xxi, 20-22.)
- On the conquest of Judea, by the King of Babylon, the dynasty of David ceased, and was not restored at the end of the captivity, nor at any time previous to the coming of Christ. The Esdraick Temple was built under Persian Governours, selected without respect to their lineage. The Asmonean Kings were of the tribe of Levi. (1st Mac. ii, 54.) Herod was of Gentile stock.
- Consequently, if this prophecy of Jacob be understood as speaking of the overthrow of the regal power in Judah, it took place several centuries before the coming of Christ.
- But aside from that difficulty in the Christian exegesis, the gathering of the people was not to Christ. During the whole period of his ministry, Israel was subject to Gentile rule. He had very few followers among the Jews, and none among the Gentiles. The gospel did not go to the Gentiles, till after his death. He had the Priesthood of a Lawgiver,
but no people to rule, for none gathered to him. He came to his own, and they received him not.
- In the last days Joseph Smith, of the tribe of Ephraim, was called to the Prophetick office, the Shepherd and Stone of Israel, according to the prophecy of Jacob; (Gen. xlix, 24;) and after him James, of the tribe of Judah, and of the lineage of David, was called according to the prophecy of Jacob, (id. 10,) the prediction of Joseph in Egypt, (B. of M. 2d Nephi ii, 2,) and the covenant of God with David, (2d Sam. vii, 12, 15, 16. Ps. lxxxix, 19, 20, 25, 27-29, 36, 37,) and stands in the office of Lawgiver, having translated most of the Law given to Moses, organized and established the Kingdom of God, and established the Law of God in it.
- The second Degree is that of Counsellor, and is Apostle, Prophet, Seer and King. 14 words, 63 letters.
- As Viceroy, this Priesthood is capable of ruling in place of a Lawgiver in matters of administration and judgment. If there was an interregnum in the Priesthood of Lawgiver, the oldest Apostle of this Degree, associated in the administration, or if none was associated, then the oldest in fact would stand at the head till the place was filled.
- Joshua succeeded Moses under this rule, having been ordained to only a part of Moses’ authority. (Num. xxvii, 18-23. Josh. i, 1, 2.) By that example Sidney Rigdon had a just claim, as against Brigham Young, to stand at the head, after the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph and his Counsellor Hyrum. The only reason his claim was not absolutely valid was, that a successor was duly appointed and ordained.
- Like nearly every man who sets up a false pretence to the Priesthood, he did not long rest upon this strong position;
but, without waiting for the true successor to set up his claim, pretended to have obtained the most holy Priesthood, by some new mode, not known to the Law of God, and so fell.
- The third Degree is that of Embassador. Of these there shall be twelve. They shall be Apostles and witnesses to the nations, and Rulers in all places where the Lawgiver shall send them. 33 words, 149 letters.
- The Apostles have the duty chiefly of preaching the gospel in all places, where it has not gone. When all the world is brought into the faith, they will be the chief representatives of the supreme authority, to be sent to all places to preside in Conferences, Councils and General Assemblies, and to conduct the affairs of government in all great matters. As the representatives of the Lawgiver, they will exercise royal prerogatives in the great divisions of the earth.
- The Degree of an Embassador is more honourable than that of the Kings of the earth; for these Embassadors speak by authority, and Kings, who do not obey them, will be cast down.
- But high as is the Priesthood conferred on them, they have no right to stand in the place of the Lawgiver. They cannot fill the place of Prophet, Seer, Revelator and Translator. They have not the keys of mysteries and revelations. (D. & C. xi, 4. xiv, 1, 2. li, 2. ciii, 39.)
- It does not appear by the Scriptures that before the time of Jesus Christ this Quorum existed. In Moses’ time twelve were appointed to go and look out the land of Canaan, but their office was but for a short period. There seems to have been no officework for this Priesthood, till the gos- pel was sent to the nations.
- After the time of Jesus, the conducting of the affairs of the Saints remained in the hands of those who were of the Twelve during his time, and many have, therefore, imagined that the Twelve stood at the supreme head of the Church. this is an errour. Peter was raised out of the Quorum of the Twelve, to the Presidency of the Church.
- The intention to do so was announced previous to the transfiguration. Jesus said to Peter alone, “I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. xvi, 19.) To Peter alone, Jesus, after the resurrection, said, “Feed my lambs; feed my sheep;” (John xxi, 15-17;) signifying that he was to give the words of life, not only to believers, but to preachers.
- And it is evident that Peter was in fact taken out of the Twelve. The apostacy of Judas made but a single vacancy in the Twelve, and that was filled by Matthias. (Acts i, 21-26.) Yet, without the removal of any other of the Apostles, Paul was very soon called to the Apostleship, and Peter took the general supervision of all the affairs of the Church.
- Hence Peter, as the general head of the Church, addressed his epistles to the believers throughout the earth; whereas, Paul, as one of the Twelve, addressed his to those Churches in his jurisdiction.
- John, also, after Peter’s time, acted as Revelator to the Church, giving them the word of God to guide them in the ages to come; and also wrote a general epistle to guide the fathers of the faith, as well as new disciples. (1st John ii, 12-14.)
- In the present dispensation twelve Apostles were call-
ed and ordained to this ministry. (D. & C. xlii, 5, 6.) In 1837 a great falling away took place at Kirtland; and the Twelve assumed authority in governing the Church, in derogation of the right of Joseph the Prophet; but God rebuked them, saying, “Rebel not against my servant Joseph, for, verily I say unto you, I am with him, and my hand shall be over him.” “See to it that ye trouble not yourselves concerning the affairs of my Church in this place, but purify your hearts before me, and then go ye into all the world and preach my gospel unto every creature; for unto you (the Twelve) and those (the First Presidency) who are appointed with you to be your counsellors and your leaders is the power of this Priesthood given, for the last days, and for the last times.” (D. & C. civ, 6, 7.)
- Notwithstanding this, at the death of Joseph, Brigham Young claimed, in behalf of the Twelve, to supercede the entire First Presidency and stand at the head of the Church; urging upon the Saints that such was the true order, and that the Twelve had not been suffered to fill their proper place during the life time of Joseph;* and in this claim was sustained by an immense meeting of the Saints, hurriedly assembled together at Nauvoo, the 8th of August, 1844.
- One week later Brigham put forth an epistle to the
President Young then proceeded to speak, and give his views of the present situation of the Church, now that the Prophet and Patriarch were taken from our midst by the wickedness of our enemies. For the first time since he became a member of the Church; a servant of God, a messenger to the nations in the nineteenth century; for the first time in the Kingdom of God, the twelve Apostles of the Lamb, chosen by revelation, in this last dispensation of the gospel for the winding up scene, present themselves before the Saints to stand in their lot, according to appointment. While the Prophet lived, we all walked by sight; he is taken from us, and we must now walk by faith. After he had explained matters so satisfactorily that every Saint could see that Elijah’s mantle had truly fallen upon the Twelve, he asked the Saints what they wanted. Do you want a guardian, a Prophet, a spokesman, or what do you want? If you want any of these officers, signify it by raising the right hand. Not a hand was raised.
whole Church, vindicating this claim,* and it was generally acceded to in the Church. A very few followed the Prophet James, and as the Twelve could not stand against the arguments presented by his followers, they finally changed their position, acknowledged their former errour, and attempted to patch it up by electing Brigham Young First President, and H. C. Kimball and Willard Richards Counsellors, which they accomplished at Winter Quarters, Dec. 24th, 1847.
- This did not help their case in the least; for the same Law which placed the Twelve under the direction of the First President, made it necessary that the successor of Joseph should be appointed by revelation of God, through him, (D. & C. xi, 4. xiv, 1, 2. li, 2. lxxxv, 2,) and that he should be ordained by an Angel. (D. & C. xiv, 2, compared with 1, 2, 3. Ante p. 165. Note. Ordination by Angels.) They only succeeded in bringing Brigham Young into the Prophetick office by a revelation of the will of man, and no ordination at all.
*AN EPISTLE OF THE TWELVE.
TO THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS,
IN NAUVOO AND ALL THE WORLD—GREETING.
BELOVED BRETHREN:— * * * You are now without a Prophet present with you in the flesh to guide you; but you are not without Apostles, who hold the keys of power to seal on earth that which shall be sealed in heaven, and to preside over all the affairs of the Church in all the world; being still under the direction of the same God, and being dictated by the same spirit, having the same manifestations of the Holy Ghost, to dictate all the affairs of the Church in all the world, to build up the Kingdom upon the foundation that the Prophet Joseph has laid, who still holds the keys of this last dispensation, and will hold them to all eternity, as a King and Priest to the Most High God, ministering in heaven, on earth, or among the spirits of the departed dead, as seemeth good to him who sent him.
Let no man presume for a moment that his place will be filled by another; for, remember, he stands in his own place and aways will; and the twelve Apostles of this dispensation stand in their own place and always will, both in time and in eternity, to minister, to preside and regulate the af- fairs of the whole Church. BRIGHAM YOUNG,
President of the Twelve
Nauvoo, August 15th, 1844.
—Times and Seasons.
- At the same time James stood in this Priesthood, the heir of David, duly called by revelation of God to be a Lawgiver, an Apostle and a Prophet of the Most High God, ordained by the highest instituted power in heaven or on earth.
- Nine days before his martyrdom, Joseph received and wrote a revelation containing this calling, and put it in the confidential archives of the Church. At the same time he sent the appointment to James in a letter. At the very moment of Joseph’s death he was ordained according to the Law of God, and has from that time filled the office. Only two of the Twelve, John E. Page, and William Smith, acknowledged his calling, and the others being tried and condemned, their places were filled.
- The fourth Degree is that of Evangelist.1 Evangelists are Apostles, and witnesses of the Kingdom, to whatever nation they are sent. Seven are a full Quorum; and there shall be but one Quorum to any nation, kindred, tongue or people. 40 words, 184 letters.
The general duties of Evangelists are the same as of the Twelve. But their mission is only to a single nation. Very few have been sent, and a Quorum has never been organized in this dispensation.
- Of Priests there are, two Degrees. 6 words, 27 letters.
- The first Degree is that of High Priests. 8 words, 32 letters.
All inferiour Kings, Patriarchs, or heads of tribes, and Nobles, or heads of clans, ought to be of this Priesthood.
[1 Acts xxi, 8. Eph. iv, 11. 2d Tim. iv, 6. D. & C. iii, 17. civ, 8.
They who are faithful in the calling, have the gift of prophecy. Hence High Priests are frequently spoken of under the name of Prophets. (1st Sam. x, 5, 6, 9, 10. 1st Kings xviii, 4. Neh. vi, 7. Isa. xxix, 10. xxx, 10. Jer. ii, 8, 26. iv, 9. v, 13. viii, 1. xiii, 13. xiv, 13. xxiii, 14, 15. xxvi, 7, 16. xxvii, 15, 16, 18. Ezek. xiii, 3, 4. xxii, 25, 28. Amos ii, 11, 12. Mic. iii, 6, 11. Zeph. iii, 4. Zech. xiii, 4. Acts xi, 27, 28. xiii, 1. xv, 32. 1st Cor. xii, 28, 29. xiv, 29. Eph. iii, 5. iv, 11.)
- The second Degree is that of Elders. 7 words, 29 letters.
In degree of Priesthood the Seventies are the same as Elders. They have a diffierent mission, and are therefore classed separate, and placed in different Quorums, with a different discipline.
- In the Priesthood of life are three Orders; that of Priest, of Teacher, and of Deacon. 16 words, 67 letters.
- The Priesthood of life is commonly called the Aaronick Priesthood, after Aaron, who, with his family, in their gene-rations, held that Priesthood, to the exclusion of the rest of Israel, from the time of Moses till Jesus Christ.
- This honour was bestowed upon the tribe of Levi, for having stood firm against the rest of Israel while Moses was in the Mount receiving the Ten Commandments; and slaying with the sword those who engaged in idolatry; and they became Priests to the other tribes; whereas, but for the falling away, all Israel would have been Priests to the rest of the nations of the earth. When the gospel went to other nations, the restriction of this Priesthood to one tribe ceased.
- From the Biblical history, it would seem strange that Aaron, who made the calf, should have been placed at the
head of this Priesthood. But, in truth, be was compelled, on pain of death, to make it. (Jasher lxxxii, 13, 14.) Aaron had, in fact, induced those worshipping the calf to put off their armour, (Ex. xxxii, 25,) so that when Moses called for those who were on the Lord’s side to take up the sword and slay the idolaters, the tribe of Levi alone were found armed, and made a great slaughter of the other tribes. Aaron, instead of being guilty of idolatry, took the most efficient means of making a full end of it. (id. 26-28.)
- Aaron, therefore, by his personal conduct, was worthy to stand at the head of this Priesthood, according to his rank as the Chief, or Prince of the tribe of Levi. This right never extended beyond the Tabernacle, and the Temple at Jerusalem, and the ordinances and ceremonies connected therewith.
- Of Priests, of the Priesthood of life, there shall be a Chief Priest, a first and second High Priest, and a Leader of each Course of Priests, to every Temple. 30 words, 123 letters.
In the Bible the Chief Priest of the Temple is called High Priest, and those next him Chief Priests; but such a translation does violence to the truth, because a Priest might be high in the Priesthood, and not Chief; but Chief is evidently above all.
- This Priesthood shall be divided into Courses, according to the nature of their duties; and officers appointed in the several Courses, to guide and direct in the duties of the Course. In organizing the Courses, those may be included who have been ordained to a higher Priesthood. 47 words, 227 letters.
- Until Temples are completed, the principal Courses will be Sacrificators and Singers. After that other Courses will be necessary.
- As women may be Priests, of the Course of Singers, so it is not unlawful that a woman should be Leader; and in the Synagogues, it may often be expedient to appoint a woman Leader of the Singers.
- Of Teachers there are five Degrees; Rabboni, Rabbi, Doctor, Ruler, and Teacher. 12 words, 62 letters.
This Priesthood, in all its Degrees, may be conferred on women, as well as men; and ought to be conferred on the learned, who aid in improving the publick mind, though not professional Teachers.
- Of Deacons there are three Degrees; Marshals, Stewards, and Ministers. 10 words, 57 letters.
Total—15 sec., 290 words, 1,317 letters.
NOTE I.—NECESSITY OF A PRIESTHOOD.
- Men never institute a Law, without officers to be the keepers, expounders and administrators of that Law. Should they do so, the endless questions of interpretation arising in practice would nullify the Law.
- When God revealed his Law to men, he instituted a Priesthood, and set it in order, to be the keepers, the expounders and the administrators of his Law. Hence the say-ing, “No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation.” (2d Pet. i, 20.)
- Without such a Priesthood, qualified to truly expound
the word of God, the Scriptures would be wrested by those who do not understand them, to their own destruction. (1st Cor. ii, 16. 2d Pet. iii, 16.) The instructions of the authorized Priesthood should be received as an interpretation of the Law, and as obligatory on the faithful. (Deut. xviii, 15, 18, 19. xxxii, 7. Acts iii, 22, 23. 1st Cor. xi, 2. 2d Thess. ii, 15. iii, 6. 2d Tim. i, 13. ii, 2. iii, 14.)
- If any one had for a moment imagined that it would be consistent and wise in God to institute a Law among men, without also instituting a body of men to keep, expound and administer that Law, the result of the experiment, which has been tried with the Bible, ought to brush away all such imaginings.
- So poorly has the Bible been kept, that it is in dispute among the learned, whether numerous Books in it ought not to be expunged; and equally in dispute whether numerous Books, not contained in it, ought not to be inserted. The leading question of this nature is, as to the Books which, in Protestant Bibles, are called the Apocrypha. But great numbers of learned Christians entirely discard the Books of Ruth, Esther, Canticles, and Daniel, and not a few Jude and Revelations. On the other hand, many allow the Book of Jasher, and several later works which have been gathered up, and published under the name of the Apocrypha of the New Testament.
- Aside from these questions, as to what Books are entitled to a place in the Christian Bibles, there are other questions equally grave as to what is contained in the Books. More than thirty thousand variations occur in the different exemplars of the Scriptures, without any means whatever of determining which is the right reading. Though many of these variations are of trifling moment, great numbers of them
go to the sense of the reading, and some have a direct bearing on the most difficult questions of doctrine. Several of the most important controversies in the Christian world turn upon passages of disputed validity, and would be decided in a moment by erasing the alleged forgeries.
- Surely these facts are enough to show that there ought to be an authorized keeper of the Law, having power to determine what is Law, and what are interpolations. But on the interpretation, it is enough to know that more than five hundred various Christian Churches have grown up, differing in faith and discipline, all professing to conform to the Bible, and each justifying its difference by its interpretation of the same word.
- For the rest, if it be true “that the Law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless disobedient; for the ungodly, and for sinners; for unholy, and profane; for murderers of fathers, and murderers of mothers; for manslayers; for whoremongers; for them that defile themselves with mankind; for menstealers; for liars; for perjured persons; and for things contrary to sound doctrine,” (1st Tim. i, 9, 10,) then it is necessary that there be administrators of the Law of God, with power to punish the disobedient and rebellious.
- For such persons will not yield, except by compulsion, to a righteous Law. The inducement of good order and general peace and happiness, is not sufficient to restrain them. They will not be governed by precepts, but only by the mandate which says, Thou shalt and thou shalt not, and compels obedience by penalties, as well as induces it by rewards. To make a Law for such men, without officers to enforce it, would be vain folly. And the fact that God’s Law is against such, should admonish all that it is to be enforced by rewards and punishments, as well as inculcated by precept.
NOTE II.—LOSS OF THE PRIESTHOOD.
- It clearly appears from the old Scriptures, as well as the recent revelations, that no one can act in the name of God; that is, no man can act in the Priesthood, but he that is called by revelation of God, and ordained by the hands of those holding the Priesthood. (Ante i, 2, pp. 20, 21.)
- Thus the call of Joshua was revealed to Moses, by the word of God, and he was ordained under Moses’ hand. (Num. xxvii, 18, 23. Deut. xxxiv, 9.) Aaron also was called by direct revelation, (Ex. xxviii, 1,) and was consecrated by Moses, by most august ceremonies. Paul, speaking on this subject, says, “No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Heb. v, 4.) So all- pervading did he regard this rule, that he goes on to show that Jesus Christ himself did not assume the Priesthood, but was elevated to it in conformity with this rule.
- The Apostles practiced by this rule, and held that only by it could a qualified Priesthood be obtained. Paul, in exhorting Timothy, says, “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery.”* (1st Tim. iv, 14.) Thus the gifts necessary to a faithful and successful ministry are supposed to be conferred with the Priesthood, in the manner determined by the Law of God.
- This being the rule in God’s Law, it is a matter of unquestionable fact, established by all history, that all Christendom are destitute of the Priesthood. There is not a single
*In the Doway this verse reads, “Neglect not the grace which in in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the imposition of the hands of the Priesthood.”
one of all the Christian Churches which makes the slightest pretension to having a Priesthood, so called and ordained.
- The Roman Catholicks, and several of the Eastern Churches, do claim a regular succession of ordinations, from the Apostles down to the present time, and possibly some of them may maintain their claims by history, to that extent; but the calling of their Priesthood has for ages been anything else but by the word of God. In the Levantine countries, the calling of the Priesthood was, from the time of Constantine till the prevalence of Mohammedanism, for the most part in the hands of the civil power.
- During the long struggle between Mohammedanism and Christianity, it passed through numerous vicissitudes, frequently following the fate of war. Since the Turkish power was firmly seated, the Priesthood is generally purchased with money. (Goodrich’s History of All Religions, pp. 165,169.)
- In the Roman Catholick Church, the control of the Priesthood has been kept as much as possible in the hands of the Pope and Bishops. But these do not make the slightest pretence that candidates for the Priesthood are selected by revelation. Moreover, it has often occurred that in order to prevent a schism of a national Church, and losing his power over it altogether, the Pope has been obliged to yield the selection of Bishops to the civil power, reserving to himself only the right of investure; so that Bishops, chosen by the fiat of the King, and not by the will of the Pope, and much less by the voice of God, made Priests whomsoever they would, or such as the State which gave them power desired them to Consecrate.
- As for the Popes, on whose regular succession the Romanists principally rely to sustain their claim to the Priesthood, in succession from the Apostles, they are not ordained
at all. That is, they are never ordained Popes or Bishops of Rome. But any one who has been ordained Bishop, no matter to what See, on being elected Bishop of Rome, enters upon the Papal office without any further ordination. Popes, therefore, are ordained to no Priesthood, but that of Bishop. A succession of ordinations to the Episcopal office is problematical; and as for a call, they are generally elected by a Conclave, in which all manner of diplomacy and national intrigue have influence; and the election has, on several occasions, been determined by war.
- If all the old Christian Churches are unable to exhibit a Priesthood called of God, Protestants, and other modern Churches, can show neither a regular call, nor a succession of ordinations, from the time of the Apostles. They have no Priesthood beyond what men, by their mere motion, without authority from God, can confer.
- The Episcopal Church, from which a majority of the Protestant Churches derived their existence and their Priesthood, is an offshoot of the Roman Catholick Church. Before examining its claims as the true Church of God, it is well to bring to mind that God had revealed but one faith, established but one system of religion; that true religion cannot be derived from false, and that a true Priesthood can be derived from none but those who possess it.
- The Roman Catholick Church either was or was not the Church of God. If it was the Church of God, all who separated and dissented from it, separated and dissented from the true Church. They are false.
- If it was not the Church of God, then as all Protestants derived whatever they have of Priesthood from it, they derived their Priesthood from something other than the Church of God, and have no authorized Priesthood.
- So it makes little difference with the pretensions of Protestants, whether the Roman Church was or was not true. They equally fall to the ground, whatever may be true of that. But they have given it its character as idolatrous, and incurably corrupt.
- In one of the authorized homilies of the Episcopal Church, it is alleged, “that laity and Clergy, learned and unlearned, men and women and children, of all ages, sects and degrees, of whole Christendom, have been at once buried in the most abominable idolatry, and that for the space of eight hundred years or more.” And John Wesley, a Deacon of the Episcopal Church, but the Father of the Methodists, says, “The real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit were no longer to be found in the Christian Church, was because the Christians were turned Heathens again, and had only a dead form left.” (Sermon 94.)
- Such being the character of the Roman Catholick Church, when some of the Bishops and Priests protested against her authority or her corruptions, and set up separate Churches, what Priesthood had they? The Heathen, the Idolatrous Priesthood to which they were ordained in Rome? They could scarcely derive a true Christian Priesthood through that eight hundred years of most abominable idolatry, which overwhelmed all Christendom.
- In behalf of the Episcopacy of England, it is often claimed that they have a separate succession of Bishops and Clergy, derived from Saint Paul, and are not dependent on the Popes of Rome for their Priesthood. But after this declaration, that all Christendom, Clergy and laity, men, women and children, were idolaters for eight hundred years, it is of little consequence from whence they commence deriving their Priesthood. They bring it through that idolatry; for they
make no pretence of a new dispensation, of the Priesthood, at the time of the Reformation.
- Nor, if it is admitted that the first Bishops in England were ordained by Paul, can any show of evidence be produced of a succession of ordinations from them, through the period of Papal control in England. Many, and for ought we know, all the Bishops received their ordinations in Rome.
- But at the time of the separation, most of the Bishops adhered to Rome, and were cast out, and new Bishops put in their places by the civil power, and of those who remained, it cannot be shown that a single one was ever ordained at all, by any one who had himself been ordained. Moreover, the doctrine long prevailed in England, that the Episcopal authority was rightly derived from the civil power, as it has in fact been derived ever since the separation; and the form of ordination was for a long time so defective, as not to amount to an ordination at all.
- In fact, therefore, the Episcopal Church have not Bishops, who can show a succession derived from as far back as the end of this eight hundred years of idolatry, say nothing of going through it to the Apostle Paul. And, as the Priests are ordained by the Bishops, and not in succession by each other, they derive their power from the same source.
- Thus tracing the history of Episcopal and Priestly succession in the Episcopal Church, back to the time of Henry VIII, King of England, and it is derived in fact, from laymen, set up by the State; and by their own highest pretentions, is only derived from an idolatrous fountain.
- Lutherans only derive their Priesthood from Martin Luther, who was ordained a Priest of the Roman Catholick Church, and possibly from some of his associates who had no different authority. They were not ordained Priests in
the Lutheran Church, but Priests in the Roman Catholic Church, which gave them power to preach and establish the doctrine and discipline of that Church; not to overthrow it. If the Roman Catholick Church was the Church of God, it cast them out as schismaticks and hereticks, and delivered them to anathema. If it was not the Church of God, it could not give them the Priesthood of God.
- The Methodists have an anomalous form of Episcopacy, of a most singular description. John Wesley, a Deacon of the Episcopal Church in England, ordained a great number of men to preach, who were not Priests in any Church, for he did not allow them to administer sacraments. (Buck’s Th. Dic., Methodists, iv, New Connection) After these had built up societies at home and in foreign countries, he ordained some kind of anomalous superiours for foreign countries, among them Thomas Coke for America.
- Coke claimed, by virtue of this ordination, under the hands of Wesley, who was only a Deacon, that he was Bishop, and the Methodist Church so acknowledged him. (Discipline, ch. i, sec. 1.) And from this source alone is derived the Episcopacy of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
- Wesley disclaims having ordained Bishops. If his disclaimer is true, Coke was a miserable impostor, and the act of the Conference acknowledging the validity of his Episcopal ordination, a swindle. If, on the other hand, Wesley’s disclaimer was hypocritical, and he did really ordain Coke Bishop, he became just such a Bishop as any other Deacon of that Church can make over any other Church.
- Perhaps no more singular feature is developed in this matter, than the fact that the founder of the Methodists lived and died an Episcopalian; and as an Episcopalian, but without any authority from that Church, conferred the Meth-
odist Priesthood on all the first preachers of that faith.
- The condition of the Baptists, is in this respect, no better; for though they sometimes deny being Protestants, and claim a separate derivation from theirs, approaching the Apostolick ages, there is not the slightest evidence on which to justify such claims. In different ages there have been transitory schisms, in the mountain regions of Europe, from the Roman Catholick Church. But these different schisms did not derive their Priesthood from each other in succession, but each in its time, commenced with schismatick Romanist Priests. And they were not Baptist Churches, but schismaticks, who separated from Rome, some on one question, and some on another; but all agreeing with her in the main.
- The real derivation of the Baptists of America, is from Roger Williams, who had only an Episcopalian ordination, and a lay baptism. The attempt to patch up this bald beginning by sending to England a few members of the Providence Church, to be baptized and return and baptize others, only carries the difficulty back a few generations earlier, to the time when the English Baptists had a similar beginning.
- So unfounded are all pretences of an Apostolick succession in Protestant Churches, that many learned Protestants have fairly acknowledged that they had no Divinely instituted Priesthood, and undertaken to justify building up Churches without it; satisfied either with a Priesthood instituted by themselves, or, with none at all.
- Paul prophesied of them, when he said, “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2d Tim. iv, 3, 4.)
- Such a Priesthood could not possess the gifts which are received by prophecy, and the laying on of hands of the Priesthood. (1st Tim. iv, 14. 2d Tim. i, 6.) They would hold office in defiance of the rule that “no man taketh this honour to himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Heb. v, 4.) John, and Charles Wesley, seem to have had some idea that a religious society like the Methodists, with such a man made Priesthood, was something less than the Church of God; for they describe it as “no other than a company of men, having the form, and seeking the power of godliness.” (Bucks Th. Dic., Methodists, iii, Government and Discipline.)
- That a Priesthood, so made is no Priesthood, all Churches do practically confess. For they will not allow the laity to ordain Clergymen; nor the inferiour Clergy to ordain the superiour; nor a Clergyman of another sect, to ordain a Clergyman for them.
- Equally do they all practically confess that a Priesthood is necessary in the Church, for each in some way have contrived to elevate men to that calling, and to devolve upon them certain prerogatives, which the laity are not allowed to exercise. Certain sacraments and ordinances they practise as a part of their religion, which they do not allow to be valid, unless administered by a Priest. By these means they practically say, that the foundation on which they have built is not sound.
- But with all the pains these Churches have taken to put on the form of godliness, though without the power, (2d Tim. iii, 5,) they have missed of the form also. God has set in the Church Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers, (1st Cor. xii, 28. Eph. iv, 11,) and declared these several Orders and Degrees necessary for the work of the
Ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, and for the perfecting of the Saints; until they all come in the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto perfect men, of the same measure and fulness as Christ. (id. 12, 13.)
- Now, among all the Christian Churches, there is none which has this form; and as this is the only godly form, none has so much as the form of godliness in the matter of their Priesthood. Not one pretends to have in the Church, Apostles, Prophets and Evangelists.
- Roman Catholicks have, first, the Pope, then Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops, and Priests, and some inferiour orders, who merely assist the Priests in sacraments and ceremonies.
- The Greek, and most of the Eastern Churches, have the same order, except that with some the Patriarch and with some the Bishop is the highest.
- Episcopalians have the same order, beginning with Archbishops, and in the United States with Bishops; and with this the Episcopal Methodists substantially agree; their Bishops answering to the Archbishops, and the Presiding Elders to the Bishops of the Episcopacy; but with this difference, that among Methodists no one is settled as Pastor of any congregation, but with a joint pastorate, they are distributed around from time to time.
- Among other Churches nothing is seen that makes any approach to the Priesthood of the Christian Church, in its various grades, offices and authorities. In numerous Churches, under pretence of Christian liberty, a republican system of Priesthood and government has been instituted, where all men hold their power, not by the voice of God, but by the suffrages of the laity.
- Others, like Baptists and Congregationalists, with, perhaps, but one Order or Degree in the Priesthood, have a merely Democratick form of government; where he who should be a Teacher sent from God is made Pastor by the single act of the congregation over which he presides, and may be cast out of the Priesthood by them; as though the sheep could choose and judge the Shepherd, instead of being chosen and judged by him.
- Apostles and Prophets looked for and prophesied of this falling away. Daniel, in his vision of the horn which had eyes and a mouth, (Dan. vii, 20,) shows that he shall wear out the Saints of the Most High, and think to change times and Laws, and they shall be given into his hand; but, that, afterward, the judgment shall sit, and take away his dominion. (id. 25, 26.) To the same import Paul wrote to the Church at Thessalonica, warning them of so great a falling away, that the Man of Sin should exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped. (2d Thess. ii, 3, 4.)
- John the Revelator prophesied the loss of the Priesthood, and the apostacy of the Church, by some of those magnificently eloquent symbols so often used to inform the faithful, without imparting knowledge to unbelievers.
- The Church is represented as a woman, clothed with the sun, the fountain of natural light; because the Church is clothed in the light of God’s revealed word; and having the moon under her feet, because not guided by reflected light, or mere human wisdom. In respect to the Apostolick missions, the chief means of establishing and extending her dominion, she is represented with a crown of twelve stars. (Rev. xii, 1.)
- This woman is about to be delivered of a child, who shall rule the nations; a power which pertains to the highest
order of Priesthood; and a great red dragon stands ready to devour this child as soon as it is born; but the child was caught up to heaven, and thus preserved; that is, in plain, unsymbolical language, that Priesthood which shall rule the nations with a rod of iron, or an iron sceptre, was removed from earth, and taken up to God. (Rev. xii, 2, 3, 5.)
- The woman flees from the dragon into the wilderness, where, instead of being nourished from the presence of the Redeemer, with the waters of life, as she ought, being his wife, she is nourished from the face of the serpent, (Rev. xii, 14,) while the dragon went to make war with the rest of the children born of the woman; that is, the rest of the Priesthood, which God had raised up in the Church. (id. 17.)
- In this persecution, the Saints were quite overcome, and all power over all kindreds, tongues and nations, passed into the hands of a ruler, represented as a terrible beast, which had already received the power of the dragon, and all who have not already had their names written in the Book of Life, go after and worship this beast; so that under his reign, no more become Saints; no new Priests could be raised up to fill the places of the dying, and a single generation made an end of the true Priesthood. (Rev. xiii, 7.)
- It is difficult to read these symbolical prophesies, without seeing that the Pagan Roman Empire was the dragon; that the Emperour Constantine was the serpent which nourished the woman, and, therefore, substantially the serpent and dragon were the same power; and, that the beast was Papal Rome, the same thing, with a changed form, and a new name; Papal having grown out of, and received its power from Pagan Rome.
- It is curious, therefore, that the next which is seen of this woman, she is mounted on a scarlet coloured beast, (cor-
responding with the dragon in colour,) full of names of blasphemy; no longer clothed with the sun, or the light of God’s word, but with purple, and scarlet, and gold, and precious stones, and pearls, which Constantine and his successors bestowed on her, when he nourished her with the spoils of Heathen Temples, and the riches of his Empire. (Rev. xvii, 3, 4.)
- She now, in this new character, carries a cup full of abominations, and filthiness of her fornication, and has the name written upon her forehead, “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots, and Abominations of the Earth.” (Rev. xvii, 4, 5.) She is now called a whore, (id. 1,) because, having been (in the symbolical sense) the married wife of Christ, this woman (now destitute of all Priesthood or authority from God) has given herself to the embraces of Gentile Kings, and receives her support from the countenance of ungodly and usurping Emperours.
- This being the Protestant view of this prophecy so far, how blind are they, not to see that, having sprung from her, they are the harlots, her daughters; being distinguished from her by the fact that as they were never married to Christ, their prostitution in an unlawful union with the Kings of the earth, makes them, not whores, but harlots. Most aptly do these symbols apply to those Churches which were separated from Rome as a matter of State policy, produced of whoredoms, and incestuously prostituted to the corruptions, vices and tyrannies of the States which produced them.
- Thus the Priesthood disappeared from the earth, and was reserved by the power of God in heaven, against the day when he should reveal it anew on earth, and commit a new and final dispensation of the Kingdom unto man. And all the religious sects have, in one way and another, become the witnesses that they have no true Priesthood of God.
NOTE III.—RESTORATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD.
- The restoration of the Priesthood, of the gospel, and of the Law of God, in the last days, is the subject of numerous prophecies. All the prophecies of the Kingdom of God, to be established in the last days, involve the idea of instituting a Priesthood, with plenary power to make disciples, to administer all the sacraments necessary to their sanctification and perfection, and to take the dominion and administer justice and judgment. (Dan. ii, 44, 45. vii, 13, 14, 18, 22, 27. Mic. iv, 1, 2. Isa. ii, 2, 3. xlii, 1-4. Jer. xxiii, 5. xxxiii, 15-26. Oba. 21. Matt. vi, 10. Rev. xi, 15. xiv, 6, 7. xviii, 4. xix, 15.)
- Without going over the mass of these, a single one, by John the Revelator, concerning the restoration of the gospel, will be sufficient: “I saw another Angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying, with a loud voice, ‘fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come.’ ” (Rev. xiv, 6, 7.)
- As John was in this vision shown one of the things which should happen thereafter, (Rev. iv, 1,) the grave question arises, why was an Angel to be sent with the gospel to be preached to men that dwell on the earth? For no reason, but that men on the earth were destitute of the gospel. If there was a knowledge of the gospel, and a godly ministry to preach its truths, and administer its sacraments on earth, there could be no occasion for sending an Angel with it.
- And as this Angel was sent with the gospel, to be preached “to every nation, kindred, tongue and people,” it
follows that every nation, kindred, tongue and people were destitute of it; otherwise the Angel would not have been sent with the gospel, to be preached to them.
- This text thus stands as a distinct announcement that God would, in the latter days, restore the gospel to the earth, which would then be destitute of it. But the idea has become so prevalent among Protestants that the gospel may have a separate existence without the Priesthood, that it is worthy of passing notice, that simply revealing the doctrine of the gospel would not bring the gospel to men.
- If a book containing the whole doctrine of the gospel were placed in the possession of a Pagan people, and they should read and believe it, they could not be said to possess the gospel. Neither could they become Saints by that fact alone. For God has appointed a door into his Church, by which only can any one enter, to wit, baptism. So that even Jesus himself could not fulfill all righteousness, except by being baptized. (Matt iii, 15. John iii, 5. x, 1, 3.)
- Or, to be more explicit, the gospel does not consist in doctrine only, but also in sacraments, and in the power from God to administer those sacraments. Consequently this Angel seen by John, is sent of God to restore to men on earth the doctrine of the gospel, with the knowledge of its sacraments, and the power or Priesthood to administer those sacraments.
- Let no one imagine for one moment that this Angel is to preach the gospel. Such is not the prophecy. John saw the Angel flying through the midst of heaven, not through the earth or air, but having the gospel to preach to men on earth. The Angel was a Minister of the will and work of God in heaven; not on earth.
- Nor would it be meet or proper to send an Angel actu-
ally to preach, but only to commit a dispensation of the gospel to men to preach. Even Christ took not on him the nature of Angels, but the seed of Abraham; made in all things like unto his brethren; that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest, (Heb. ii, 16, 17,) because thus he could be touched with a feeling of our infirmities, being in all things tempted and tried as we are. (id. iv, 15.)
- The office of the Angel is accomplished in committing a dispensation to the chosen of God, and preparing him for the work, by giving him a proper knowledge of the gospel, and the authority to administer in all the appointments of God. And this work was accomplished in the calling of Joseph Smith, and Oliver Cowdery, and in the Priesthood and revelations committed to them, for the beginning of the ministry.
- As this proposition is fundamental, it deserves to be treated with more than a passing notice. That they did receive a dispensation of the gospel, does not rest merely on their assertion that they received the Priesthood of life under the hand of John the Baptist, and afterwards the Priesthood of an endless life under the hands of Peter, James, and John, (D. & C. 1, 2, 3,) nor on the testimony of the eleven witnesses of the Book of Mormon. Nor does it rest on any similar testimony, or any testimony which the voice of man can possibly impeach.
- They instituted the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which, alone, of all the Churches on earth, is possessed of the gospel of the Son of God. How should men hear the gospel without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? (Rom. x, 14, 15.) And no man taketh this honour, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron; (Heb. v, 4;) who was selected by the mouth of a
Prophet. He who is not so called, cannot preach the gospel, because “the things of God knoweth no man, but the spirit of God. Now, we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God, which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1st Cor. ii, 11-14.)
- As in the Church instituted by them alone, of all the Churches on earth, the doctrine of the gospel as it came from God is preached and believed, the conclusion is inevitable that this alone is the true Church of God. As the Priesthood derived in succession from Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery do understand the things of God and proclaim them according to God’s word, unquestionably they are sent of God. That the gospel preached by this Priesthood, and believed in this Church, is that revealed by Jesus Christ, is made apparent in its proper places throughout this Book of the Law, and the arguments and testimonies need not to be repeated here. That no other Churches give heed to it, their creeds and confessions of faith sufficiently show.
- God established two Priesthoods in the Church, consisting of divers Orders and Degrees. None of the sects have such, and none pretend to it, because, not being sent of God, they cannot work by his pattern. They are even ignorant of the distinction between the two Priesthoods, and know not whether to claim their Priesthood as one or the other, or something different from either.
- Jesus Christ, when he sent the Apostles to preach the
gospel to all the world, gave promise that certain signs should follow those that believed the word preached. (Mark xvi, 15-18.) As all Christendom avow that those signs do not follow the preaching of their gospel, they are self-condemned as not preaching and believing the true gospel. As these signs do follow the preaching of the gospel and the belief of it among those whom Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery sent in the name of God, it is equally satisfactory evidence that they have received a dispensation of the Priesthood from the Angel whom John saw flying through the midst of heaven.
- The publication of the Book of Mormon is the first epoch in the publick attention to the dispensation of the fulness of times. Aside from literary defects and editorial and mechanical blunders, it is the most extraordinary Book of this productive and progressive age. It traces, for a period of one thousand years, the history of a semicivilized population, extending over half the American continent with such minuteness, that the student in modern geography finds no difficulty in locating their nations and cities, and most of the events in their history.
- Their cities, temples and structures used in religion and war, form the same prominent feature in their history which such works usually do in the history of a people in a low state of civilization, and in some instances are minutely described. Such a work should have commanded the attention of antiquarians and historians in all the world. Prejudice has shut the eyes of the learned to this vast fund of knowledge.
- A few years later the American government sent the distinguished traveler and learned savan, John L. Stevens, as Embassador to Central America, accompanied by the artist, Mr. Catherwood, with permission to inquire into and examine
the antiquities and aboriginal monuments of that country. These learned gentlemen, after a sojourn of less than two years, returned and published, as the result of their labours, a minute account of cities, temples, altars, fortresses, kingly palaces and national monuments, of gorgeous grandeur, scattered in vast and rich profusion over all that sunny region; desolated and without inhabitant over which the ancient forest had grown in gigantick majesty, which the prying curiosity of man had not penetrated for countless ages. These cities, these towers, these temples, these palaces, were the same that the Book of Mormon had before mentioned. The same rivers water them, and the same mountains surround them, which the believing student had read of ten years before, in the writings of the Seer of Palmyra.
- Even the pictures painted upon the walls of palaces, temples and dwellings, are a faithful illustration of the history contained in the Book of Mormon, and as plainly record the great events there written out, as the pictures and statuary in the Capitol at Washington do the written history of the United States. The correspondence between the monumental and pictorial history, as discovered by Stevens and Catherwood on the one hand, and the written history as translated by Joseph Smith on the other, was perfect.
- Yet learned men, antiquarians and historians, still close their eyes to its consequence. Concede for once what is claimed by all but the disciples of Joseph Smith, that the Book of Mormon is an imposture, no matter by what means got up, how did its authors discover the secrets of past history, and make their writing correspond with the since discovered monuments? The power to do it is essentially a divine power, quite as much so as that of prophecy.
- This fact alone, sustained as it is by an overwhelming
mass of evidence, is enough to vindicate the sacred character of the Book of Mormon, the Apostolick character, and true witness of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, and to vindicate the Church by them instituted as the institution of heaven, and the new dispensation as a dispensation of life from the Almighty.
- If the Book of Mormon was an imposition, it could scarcely fail to contain modern figures, modern forms of speech, allusions to modern facts and modern discoveries in the arts and sciences, and ten thousand other evidences of its modern origin. So certain was this, that the sincere unbelievers in its divine authority made this the ground of their attack upon it, and based their unbelief on the assumption of the existence of such evidences of a modern origin.
- In searching for such evidence, it was discovered that the Book of Mormon mentions the use of steel several centuries prior to the Christian era, and history was appealed to, to show that the manufacture of steel was a modern art, invented since the Roman Republick. Against this it appears from the Bible that steel was used in the time of King David. (2d Sam. xxii, 35. Ps. xviii, 34.)
- It is now a well known fact, that the art of making steel of an excellent quality is one of the ancient arts of the Hindoos, practiced by them from remote and unknown ages, by a process different from that in use among the western nations. Their art and that of the Hebrews are doubtless the same. It is only the European process which is modern. So this argument falls to the ground.
- An imperfect compass was in use among the nations whose history is written in the Book of Mormon. Such is now proved to have been in use among the Chinese, from the earliest antiquity. The Book of Mormon shows the exist-
ence of herds of horses and cattle in America in early periods, whereas the present stocks are supposed to have all orig-inated with the European stocks brought over since the time of Columbus.
- The lama and the buffalo are beasts of burden and draft, which might with propriety be called by those names. The buffalo is as truly an ox as the European bos. And the evidence that the wild horses all sprang from European stocks is anything but satisfactory. Though it is certain that the Mexicans of the time of Cortez, did not use horses, the Mexicans of this time insist that certain breeds of horses now running wild, are of American origin, and were not introduced by Europeans. Their great unlikeness to horses of western Europe, justifies the Mexican opinion.
- Dr. Leidy, of Philadelphia, has proved, in a very interesting work, published by the Smithsonian Institution, that there existed in America in ancient times two species of ox of great size and value, which have disappeared so recently that several specimen of their bones and horn cores are in existence. These were the oxen spoken of in the Book of Mormon, and have become extinct for want of attention. Domesticated for ages, they perished when they lost all attention from man, not being adapted to a wild state in this climate. Thus answers the unbeliever to this cavil.
- The call of a successor to the Prophet Joseph in exact fulfillment of prophecy, and the continuation of the work of the dispensation in the very order in which he had begun it, though the largest share of the disciples of Joseph went off on another plan, is not one of the least evidences that it was God’s work. And the revelation to the Prophet James, by the divine word of the plates at Voree, is probably the best proved, to this generation, of any miracle since the
world began.* No man, either Apostate, Christian, or Infidel, has ever attempted to answer the evidence of it, though it was a subject of rather general notice in the newspapers at the time, and has been before the publick for more than ten years.
- Indeed, in more than a quarter of a century, which has elapsed since the restoration of the Priesthood, and the opening of the dispensation, no attempt has been made to meet and answer the evidence that it was of divine authority. Nu-
*REVELATION.—The Angel of the Lord came unto me, James, on the first day of September, in the year eighteen hundred and fortyfive, and the light shined about him above the brightness of the sun, and he showed unto me the plates of the sealed record, and he gave into my hands the Urim and Thummim. And out of the light came the voice of the Lord, saying, My servant James, in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thee, because I have tried thee, and found thee faithful. Behold, my servant James, I am about to bless thee with a great blessing, which shall be to those who love me, an immutable testimony; to those who know me not, a stumbling block; but to those who have known me, and have turned their hearts from me, a rock of offence.
Go to the place which the Angel of the presence shall show thee, and there shalt thou dig for the record of my people, in whose possession thou dwellest. Take with thee faithful witnesses; for in evil will the unfaithful speak of thee; but the faithful and true shall know that they are liars, and shall not stumble for their words.
And while I was yet in the spirit, the Angel of the Lord took me away to the hill in the east of Walworth, against White River, in Voree, and there he shewed unto me the record buried under an oak tree as large as the body of a large man; it was enclosed in an earthen casement, and buried in the ground as deep as to a man’s waist, and I behold it as a man can see a light stone in clear water; for I saw it by Urim and Thummim.
TESTIMONY.—On the thirteenth day of September, 1845, we, Aaron Smith, Jirah B. Wheelan, James M. Van Nostrand, and Edward Whitcomb, assembled at the call of James J. Strang, who is by us and many others approved as a Prophet and Seer of God. He proceeded to inform us that it had been revealed to him in a vision that an account of an ancient people was buried in a hill south of White River bridge, near the east line of Walworth County; and leading us to an oak tree, about one foot in diameter, told us that we would find it enclosed in a case of rude earthen ware under that tree, at the depth of about three feet; requested us to dig it up, and charged us to go examine the ground that we should know we were not imposed upon, and that it had not been buried there since the tree grew. The tree was surrounded by a sward of deeply rooted grass, such as is usually found in the openings; and upon the most critical examination, we could not discov er any indication that it had ever been cut through or disturbed.
We then dug up the tree, and continued to dig to the depth of about three feet, where we found a case of slightly baked clay, containing three plates of brass. (Continued on next page)
merous false tales have been put afloat, for the purpose of bringing the institution and the Priesthood into disrepute; none to meet the question of its divine authority on the merits.
NOTE IV.—OBJECTIONS ANSWERED.
- Among the works published against the Priesthood of Joseph Smith, and his associates, and their successors, and the authority of the Book of Mormon as one of the Sacred Records, the leading work, from which all others are more or less derived, is E. D. Howe’s “History of Mormonism.” This work first appeared in 1834, under the title of “Mormonism Unveiled.”
- Of this book thirtyseven pages are made up of the certificates and affidavits of nearly one hundred persons, to prove that Joseph and his associates were vagrants, moneydiggers, and superstitious, ignorant and vicious persons, and
(Continued) The case was found imbedded in indurated clay, so closely fitting it that it broke in taking out; and the earth below the soil was so hard as to be dug with difficulty, even with a pickaxe. Over the case was found a flat stone, about one foot wide each way, and three inches thick, which appeared to have undergone the action of fire, and fell in pieces after a few minutes exposure to the air. The digging extended in the clay about eighteen inches, there being two kinds of earth of different colour and appearance above it.
We examined as we dug all the way with the utmost care, and we say, with the utmost confidence, that no part of the earth through which we dug exhibited any sign or indication that it had been moved or disturbed at any time previous. The roots of the tree struck down on every side very closely, extending below the case, and closely interwoven with roots from other trees. None of them had been broken or cut away. No clay is found in the country like that of which the case is made,
In fine, we found an alphabetick and pictorial record, carefully cased up, buried deep in the earth, covered with a flat stone, with an oak tree one foot in diameter, growing over it, with every evidence that the senses can give that it has lain there as long as that tree has been growing. Strang took no part in the digging, but kept entirely away, from before the first blow was struck till after the plates were taken out of the case; and the sole inducement to our digging was our faith in his statement as a Prophet of the Lord, that a record would thus and there be found.
AARON SMITH, JIRA B. WHEELAN,
J. M. VAN NOSTRAND, EDWARD WHITCOMB.
that they got up the Book of Mormon as a speculation.
- First, among these is an affidavit of Peter Ingersoll, dated Palmyra, Wayne County, N. Y., Dec. 2d, 1833, certified by Thomas P. Baldwin, Judge of Wayne County Court, to have been sworn before him, “according to law,” the 9th day of Dec., 1833. A few pages subsequent, are the certificates of six witnesses that Ingersoll is worthy of credit; a rather suspicious circumstance, considering that his veracity had not been questioned.
- This same Peter Ingersoll is now a resident of Lapeer County, Michigan, and solemnly denies that he ever signed or made oath to the affidavit, or any other affidavit on the subject. As Thomas P. Baldwin certifies that Ingersoll did make oath to the statement, according to law, whereas, in fact, the law did not authorize him to administer any such oath, or any extrajudicial oath whatever, his certificate is, to say the least, not to be received against Ingersoll’s solemn statement that he never swore to the affidavit. The certificate is certainly false in one point; for as there is no law for administering such an oath, it could not have been done according to law.
- But as the name of Ingersoll is certainly forged, that of Judge Baldwin probably is. The title of his office is erroneously written to his signature, a mistake he would not be likely to make himself, though E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, might; not being acquainted with New York jurisprudence. In 1833 there was not in the State of New York such an office as Judge of the County Court. Circuit Courts, Oyer and Terminer, Common Pleas and General Sessions were held for every county, but there was no “County Court.” Every official act requiring the signature of a Judge, was signed by him as Judge of some one of these particular
Courts; not as Judge of some imaginary Court, having no existence.
- Upon an examination of all these certificates, it will be perceived that not one of them is authenticated in legal form; some are not signed at all; they are often contradictory one to another, and much of them is on hearsay. Not one is certified under the seal of any Court. When it is considered that religious animosities are the bitterest of all human hatred, and that these were got up on the ground where Joseph commenced his ministry, among those most bitterly opposed to him, if the certificates were really genuine, the wonder would not be that though a righteous man so much was said against him, but so little.
- Bunyan, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Wesley, Whitfield, if so judged, on the exclusive testimony of their enemies, would come off worse, and Jesus and his Apostles far worse. But at this time, while most of the witnesses, whose testimony is recorded against him, are yet living, scattered through half the States, and able to answer for themselves, the Saints know and continually assert that most of these certificates are forgeries, never sworn, signed or seen by those whose names are signed to them; and they perpetually challenge the world to the investigation, assured that the cause which must be supported by forgery is rotten.
- No one need start up in surprise and say, men would not dare publish forged certificates and affidavits. It is not a crime, by the law of any State in the Union. The affidavits, being extrajudicial, and of no legal force, the laws will not take cognizance of the forgery, if they are forged, nor of the perjury, if they are false. But E. D. Howe, the author of the book, is an Ohio lawyer, and in getting up the book attempted to give these evidences a legal form, and he has
made such certificates over the names of Justices and a Judge, as those officers would not use in the State of New York, unless ignorant of their own official designations.
- Moreover, though the object of these certificates is to impeach the credibility of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, and the character of the Prophet himself they are anything but unanimous, and prove little against them but being superstitious. On this the accusers have no advantage of the accused; for Stafford, one of the witnesses, certifies that he furnished them a sheep to sacrifice to an evil spirit to appease his wrath, so that he would not spirit away hidden treasures they were digging for, and was to have a share of the enchanted treasures when found.
- Not one word of this mass of testimony is worthy one moments credit, both because it is unquestionably forged, because, if genuine, it is too ignorant to be worthy of notice, and because often contradictory. It has received attention from those only whose minds were made up, and on the assumption that ignorance, superstition, and falsehood, was sufficient to refute what they had already condemned as ignorance, superstition, and falsehood.
- The leading purpose of these testimonies was to overthrow the evidence that the Prophet Joseph possessed the plates, from which he professed to have translated the Book of Mormon. They have never been reviewed by his followers; yet our enemies, being the judges, they fail of their purpose; for it is now admitted, even by Mr. Ferris, late Secretary of Utah, the ablest writer against the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph, that he did “exhume one or more of those curious glyphs, which now figure so largely in the list of American antiquities,” consisting “of metallick plates, covered with hieroglyphical characters,”—”written from top to
bottom, like the Chinese, or from side to side indifferently like the Egyptian and Demotick Lybian.” (Utah and the Mormons, p. 54.) And Thomas Ford, late Governour of Illinois, though he does not admit the actual existence of the plates, allows as a probable theory that the witnesses of the Book of Mormon thought they saw them; and, consequently are not false and corrupt, but superstitious and deceived witnesses. (Ford’s History of Illinois, p. 257.)
- But the grand assault on the Prophetick character of Joseph Smith, is, that known as the Spaulding story. This is to the effect that the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, of Conneaut, Ohio, in 1810, wrote a book entitled, “Manuscript Found,” giving a fictitious account of the emigration of some Jews to America, and their wars, settlements and national affairs, so as to account for the tumuli and other antiquities about Conneaut; which manuscript afterwards fell into the hands of Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, and was by them reconstructed into the Book of Mormon.
- The evidence offered to prove this, is, the certificates of seven witnesses, made in 1833, that they read and heard read the Spaulding manuscript, in 1810 and 1811, and that, on the introduction of the Book of Mormon there, subsequent to 1830, when it was first publshed, they recognized it as the “Manuscript Found,” of Solomon Spaulding, with which they had been acquainted twentytwo years before.
- The inference from these facts is, that the Book of Mormon, instead of being translated from plates, was copied from the Spaulding manuscript. Now, Conneaut is less than fifty miles from Kirtland, the gathering place to which the Saints began assembling in 1831. If the Book of Mormon was such an imposture, could the authors of the imposture, men who at least had the talent to succeed, have been guilty of
the folly of gathering their disciples so near the scene of their imposture? It is incredible. A blunderer would have got out of the way of so certain exposure. Men who make such blunders, are never successful impostors. The leaders had no need to go to Kirtland, before all the great west, that they should thus set down at the very gate of exposure and inevitable ruin.
- So great is the improbability that an impostor would do any such thing, that it could only be believed on the most overwhelming evidence. No motive can be imagined sufficient to induce any one to plagiarize a book, palm it off as an inspiration, build up a Church upon the imposture, and then transplant that Church bodily several hundred miles, and locate it only one day’s travel, on one of the greatest, thoroughfares of the continent, from where the imposture was as certain of detection as the sun to rise. Nor could this going to Kirtland possibly be attributed to accident, or necessity. Smith and Rigdon pressed it on their followers.
- The testimony of the witnesses ought to be read and judged, with a view to this exceeding improbability; and the genuineness of their certificates ought to be looked after with the suspicion engendered by the examination of the former set, accumulated by the same author.
- Solomon Spaulding was educated at Plainfield Academy and Dartmouth College, and had studied Law and Divinity, and preached several years. (Howe’s History of Mormonism, p. 279.) His style must have been good. From his enterprise, his tastes and habits, and especially his fondness for reading and writing, it was probably highly cultivated. The style of the Book of Mormon is exceedingly barbarous, probably more ungrammatical, and worse English, than any other book in the language which ever went through a second edi-
tion, carrying upon the face of almost every page those peculiar Yankeeisms which a man of education never speaks, much less writes; and proves that whoever rendered it in English, whether author or translator, was very ignorant of the lang-uage. It may be said not to be translated, strictly, into English, but into a barbarous Yankee tongue, familiar to the uneducated of the last generation, but now nearly forgotten.
- Yet these very marks of great ignorance of the English language, in either author or translator, are the marks by which the witnesses pretend to identify the work. Henry Lake certifies to telling Spaulding that the frequent use of the words, “and it came to pass,” sounded ridiculous. Unquestionably it does; and for that reason Solomon Spaulding could not have so written. He could not have written in that style, to imitate the Bible, as some have said; for that language occurs many times as often as in the Bible, and could only have originated in a very barbarous language, having an exceedingly limited vocabulary.
- The witnesses also remember that the names of Nephi, Lehi, and others found in the Book of Mormon, occurred frequently in the Spaulding manuscript. Twentytwo years, the time elapsing between hearing the Spaulding manuscript read, and reading the Book of Mormon, is a long time to remember the mere fictitious names, interwoven in a romance, and the place where they are interwoven in dreams of fancy. The names might be remembered, without being in Spaulding’s manuscript; for they originated some thousand years earlier, (Jud. xv, 9, 14. 1st Chron. v, 19. 2d Mac. i, 39,) and were in familiar use in the days of Samson and Nehemiah, though few readers of these names now remember where they have read them.
- One of the witnesses, Henry Lake, tells of an inconsist-
ency in the tragick account of Laban, contained in Spaulding’s manuscript, and also in the Book of Mormon, which he pointed out to Spaulding, and he promised to correct; (Howe’s History of Mormonism, p. 282;) certainly a very strong circumstance, except for the material fact that the inconsistency is not pointed out, and does not exist.
- Another witness, John N. Miller, whose memory is so tenacious as to recognize “many passages in the Book of Mormon as verbatim from Spaulding, and others in fact,” and to “find in it the writings of Solomon Spaulding from beginning to end,” recognized it by “some humorous passages,” which Spaulding frequently read to company. (Howe’s History of Mormonism, p. 283.) As there is not a humorous passage in the Book of Mormon, his testimony, if, indeed, he ever gave it, will go for nothing.
- Another witness, Oliver Smith, remembers that Spaulding’s manuscript gave an account of the arts, sciences, and civilization of the first settlers of America. (Howe’s History of Mormonism, p. 235.) But the Book of Mormon contains none of these things. There is not only no history of these things in the Book of Mormon, but they are so slightly alluded to in any way, that it is impossible to know what arts and sciences existed among the people whose history is there recorded; and the opinion prevails that they were in a state of semibarbarism, because their history consists of little but emigrations, settlements, religion and wars.
- They generally agree that the religious part of the Book of Mormon is not Spaulding’s, and that his object was to account for the antiquities found so abundantly about Conneaut, by writing a romance which should be a plausible history of their origin. Now the Book of Mormon does not in any way account for the origin of those works. It does
not place one of its scenes in that region, nor give account of the construction of any similar structures, nor does it appear by it that any person mentioned in the Book of Mormon ever saw or heard of the great Lakes of North America, or ever approached the Lake region, or the region of its peculiar class of antiquities, except as a fugitive, near the closing scenes of the book. And if the religious part of the book was taken out, most of it would be lacking, including every leading fact in the history of all those men whose names these veracious witnesses so well remember.
- Had testimony like this been given in open Court, upon a regular examination and cross examination of witnesses no judicious mind would have deemed the case made out. But when it was picked up by a lawyer, in exparte examinations of witnesses opposed with religious zeal to the cause he is attacking, it amounts to nothing at all. The plan once set on foot, it is a matter of surprise that so bald a case is made out.
- Unable to get certificates signed to his own satisfaction, Howe has added an unsigned certificate of one witness, Artemas Cunningham, (Howe’s History of Mormonism, p. 286,) and numerous unsupported statements of his own, of what various other persons said and would have said if he could have found them, and asks the world on such exparte unsworn, unsupported, contradictory, incredible and impertinent testimony and hearsay to believe the Book of Mormon was plagiarized from Spauldings romance. Against the credibility of any part of the testimony that the Book of Mormon was plagiarized from the “Manuscript Found,” is the overwhelming fact that, in 1832, Orson Hyde introduced the Book of Mormon at Conneaut, (New Salem, Ohio,) and there preached and built up a numerous Church among Spaulding’s
old neighbours, many of whom were familiar with his “Manuscript Found.” They could not be deceived, and could have no possible inducement to establish themselves and their children and friends in a delusion.
- But there was still another difficulty to encounter; that is, to show by what possibility Joseph Smith could have become possessed of Spaulding’s manuscript. If it was unquestionably shown that he held it, it would be a question of no consequence how he came by it. But while the testimony that the Book of Mormon was plagiarized, was defective, it was at least necessary to show that Spaulding’s manuscript might by possibility have fallen into Smith’s hands.
- So important did Howe deem this portion of his undertaking, that he traced up the family of Spaulding from Conneaut, through Pittsburgh and Amity, in Pennsylvania, Onondaga and Otsego counties, in New York, and from there to the State of Massachusetts, where he found Spaulding’s widow, and learned that she had left a trunk of Spaulding’s manuscripts in Otsego county, New York. (Howe’s History of Mormonism, pp. 287, 288.)
- The light began to break. Here was a chance to prove the imposture by bringing forward the very book, written by Spaulding in 1811, which Joseph was pretending to translate in 1829. The trunk was opened, and in it was found “a romance, purporting to have been translated from the Latin, found on twentyfour rolls of parchment in a cave, on the banks of Conneaut Creek.” (Howe’s History of Mormonism, p. 288)
- What further was done, Howe does not see fit to tell. He says, that this was the wrong manuscript; suggests that Spaulding had altered the plan of his book, thrown this by and written it over again, and that it was the rewritten man-
uscript which Smith had plagiarized; says he showed this manuscript to several witnesses, who had already certified to the identity of the Book of Mormon, with the Spaulding manuscript, who excused themselves of a lie by saying, that Spaulding “told them he had altered his plan of writing.” (Howe’s History of Mormonism, p. 288.) That such an alteration was actually made, is possible; for though Howe omits all mention of it, the testimony of the widow (then Matilda Davison) and daughter of Spaulding (Mrs. McKinstry) published in the Quincy Whig, shows clearly that the genuine duly entitled “Manuscript Found” was delivered personally to Hulburt, Howe’s agent, in 1834, at Monson, Massachusetts.
- Failing thus to identify the works, he returns to the important task of showing that by possibility Smith could have possessed himself of the “Manuscript Found.” And on this point he asserts this, no more: that the widow thinks the manuscript was once taken to the printing office of Patterson and Lambdin, at Pittsburgh; (Howe’s History of Mormonism, p. 287;) that Lambdin is dead, and, therefore, cannot testify, and Patterson does not know anything whatever on the subject. (id., p. 289.)
- This is absolutely all that he pretends to have made out. Here starts conjecture; that as Rigdon came to Pittsburgh, in 1823 or 1824; is said to have been intimate with Lambdin, studied the Bible, went into the Western Reserve, Ohio, and commenced preaching there the Campbellite doctrine, then new, and contained in the Book of Mormon, as well as the Bible, about the same time that the veracious Palmyra witnesses have Smith engaged in money digging, tavern lounging, and vagrancy, Lambdin must have surreptitiously copied Spaulding’s manuscript; Rigdon must have
stolen Lambdin’s copy; rewrote it to suit his purpose; and, in some of his long clerical visits to Pittsburgh, struck off three hundred and fifty miles, through the wild byways of the Alleghany mountains and the Susquehannah River, to where the boy vagrant Joe was digging money, and employed him to found a new religion. (Howe’s History of Mormonism, pp. 289, 290.)
- This is the whole case, as made out by Howe, in his Mormonism Unveiled, in 1834. This work, under the title of History of Mormonism, has gone through numerous editions since; but all end here. Time has not added one word. The friend and assistant of Howe, Philastus Hulburt, spent a full year in tracing up the Spaulding manuscript, and accumulating testimonies, guesses and forgeries, of which the latter make the largest share. What does it make out? Unanswered, is there enough of it to raise a suspicion? If suspicion was already awakened, is there anything to confirm it? Does not the meagerness of the case, and the suspicious character of the testimonies, damn the accusers?
- Though this tale was swallowed by those who were ready to believe anything against the Prophet, either with or without evidence, there were those who saw the necessity of obtaining something in the shape of testimony. Resort was had to Mrs. Davison, late widow of the late Solomon Spaulding, to see if in her waning years her memory had not brightened.
- Austin, of Monson, and Storrs, of Hollister, Massachusetts, visited the widow of Spaulding, and after obtaining what information they could, drew up a letter, to which Austin signed her name, agreeing in some minor features with Howe’s History, but stating that Spaulding did exhibit “his manuscript to Patterson, who was much pleased with it, and
borrowed it for perusal,” and after retaining “it a long time, informed Mr. Spaulding, that, if he would make out a title page and preface, he would publish it;” and also that the manuscript was carefully preserved by her till Hulburt (Howe’s agent) called upon her for it, in Monson, Massachusetts in 1834; contrary to Howe, who makes her say she “has no distinct knowledge of its contents,” “and is quite uncertain whether it was ever brought back from Patterson and Lambdin’s printing office.” (Howe’s History of Mormonism, pp. 287, 288.)
- This letter alleges that “Sidney Rigdon was at that time (which she makes some time previous to 1815) connected with the printing office of Patterson and Lambdin;” and that the manuscript was returned to Mr. Spaulding, when he removed to Washington county, where he died, in 1816, and that she took it with her, and it has been frequently read by her daughter, Mrs. McKinstry, of Monson, Massachusetts, and other friends, till 1834, when Philastus Hulburt (Howe’s assistant) came, introduced by her old neighbours, Henry Lake, Aaron Wright, and others, to get it for the purpose of comparison with the Book of Mormon. This letter was published in the Episcopal Recorder, of Sept. 12, 1840, the Philadelphia Saturday Courier, of Nov. 16, 1842, and the newspapers generally.
- This so far contradicted Roves version, in the attempt to make a stronger case, that numerous persons called on the widow and daughter of Spaulding, in Monson, to make personal inquiries. Among them, Mr. John Haven, of Hollister, Middlesex county, Massachusetts, published in the Quincy Whig, a letter stating that the widow says she never signed the letter published over her name, and never saw it till after its publication, and had no agency in the origin of
it, except answering some questions asked by D. R. Austin, who afterwards wrote the letter, without her authority.
- But she states the important fact, that she delivered the original manuscript to Philastus Hulburt, the associate of Howe, on an agreement of his to publish it, and give her half the profits; and that she “subsequently received a letter, stating that it did not read as they expected, and they should not publish it.”
- In Howe’s History of Mormonism, the fact that the real Spaulding manuscript was in the author’s hands, was covered by a very thin veil. It is difficult to read the published letter in the name of Spaulding’s widow without perceiving that fact, though it is not positively stated. But here it comes out clear and distinct
- Howe, when he published the History of the Mormons, had the Spaulding manuscript entire and unmutilated before him. He had employed an agent to travel more than one thousand miles, in tracing it up; got possession of it, and compared it line by line with the Book of Mormon. Had there been one page which agreed, he would have copied it in his “Mormonism Unveiled,” as the unanswerable evidence that Joseph Smith was an impostor, and the Book of Mormon a plagiarism. “It did not read as they expected.” The Conneaut witnesses were dishonest, or mistaken. This is the bitter end of the Spaulding story.
- But it may not be amiss to set down some additional facts, showing that the whole body of those who had a hand in making and propagating it, were willing to resort to falsehood. In the letter extensively published over the name of Spaulding’s widow, she is made to say, “Sidney Rigdon, (one of the founders of the sect,) who has figured so largely in the History of the Mormons, was, at that time, 1812, ’13 and ’14,
connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, as is well known in that region.”
- Now, Spaulding went to Pittsburgh in 1812, and remained but two years. (Howe’s History of Mormonism, pp. 282, 287.) And Rigdon did not go to Pittsburgh till 1823 or 1824. (Howe’s History of Mormonism, p. 289.) So that at least nine years before Rigdon ever visited Pittsburgh, the manuscript was returned to Spaulding; for the widow, in the same letter, certifies that “the manuscript was returned to the author, who soon after removed to Amity, Washington county, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1816. The manuscript then fell into her “hands, and was preserved carefully. It has frequently been examined by” her “daughter, Mrs. McKinstry, of Monson, Massachusetts, and by other friends.”
- Moreover, if Rigdon had been connected with Patter-son’s printing office, that fact could have been proved by Patterson himself. And it was a very important fact for Howe, in making his case. Howe did apply to Patterson for information, and learned that Rigdon arrived at Pittsburgh in 1823 or 1824, but did not learn that he was ever in the printing office for one moment. And it otherwise appears that the firm was dissolved, and the business closed long before that time. The only inference is, that, in endeavoring to supply a known vacuum in the evidence, Austin and Storrs set down this falsehood in the letter, to which they set her name, without any authority whatever.
- To set this question fully at rest, John E. Page, while in Apostolick charge of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in Pittsburgh, in 1843, published a book on this Spaulding story, in which he furnishes numerous affidavits, certificates and testimonials that Rigdon was but fifteen years old when Spaulding went to Pittsburgh, and but seven-
teen when he left there, and was all that time at work on his father’s farm, and that he remained there employed only at farm labour till 1819, five years after Spaulding left Pittsburgh, and three after his death; and that the Spaulding manuscript was in the continual keeping of Spaulding, Mrs. Spaulding and their daughter, from when it left Patterson’s office, in 1812, 1813, or 1814, when Rigdon was a farm boy in the back country, of fifteen to seventeen years, till 1834, when it was put into the hands of Hulburt, the agent of Howe, to be published as an expose of the plagiarism of the Book of Mormon.
- This work of Page’s, issued on the very scene of action, all its statements supported by the testimony of witnesses then living at and in the vicinity of Pittsburgh, distributed by thousands, and challenging investigation, no man ever attempted to answer. Not a position or an assertion in it was ever attacked. Not a man can be found on earth who, after reading it, pretended to believe the Spaulding story. Not a man can be found in Pittsburgh who pretends that Rigdon was ever in Patterson and Lambdin’s printing office, or ever saw Lambdin.
- Not only is there this entire failure to trace the Spaulding manuscript to Rigdon, but there has never been the first step made towards tracing it from Rigdon to Smith. In the investigation which so grave a question has called out, both Rigdon and Smith have been traced, step by step, from their cradles till after the publication of the Book of Mormon; and not an iota of evidence has been produced that they were ever within three hundred miles of each other; or that either of them had any kind of fame or notoriety by which the other could by possibility have heard of his existence, until after Joseph translated the Book of Mormon.
- While the matter was yet fresh in the publick mind, Rigdon, through the newspapers, denied having ever seen or heard of Spaulding, or his manuscript; denied having any connection with, or knowledge of, Patterson and Lambdin’s printing office, or any acquaintance with Lambdin; and challenged investigation at Pittsburgh, where plenty of witnesses could be found to contradict him, if his statements were not true.
- Patterson remained there, an influential citizen, and a respectable member of a Christian Church. In 1842, Rev. S. Williams, of Pittsburgh, undertook the task of supplying the lacking evidence, and published a work called, “Mormonism Exposed,” in which he failed to produce a single witness that Rigdon had any connection with the printing office, or Lambdin.
- Though eight years before, when “Howe’s History of Mormonism” was published, Patterson had no recollection of any such manuscript, (Howe’s History of Mormonism, p. 289,) he now certifies that some gentleman from the east did bring there a singular manuscript, chiefly in the style of the Old English Bible, of which he read a few pages. But unfortunately for our accusers, he certifies that the manuscript was committed, not to Lambdin, but to Silas Engles, a man of most excellent character, who had charge of the entire concerns of the office; was a good scholar, and an excellent printer, to whose decision was entrusted even the question of the morality and scholarship of works offered for publication; and that Engles, after a few weeks, returned the manuscript to its author.
- The sum of the facts, therefore, is this: 1st. The testimony offered to prove that the Book of Mormon has any similarity to Spaulding’s “Manuscript Found,” is of the most
doubtful character; quite as likely to be forged as genuine; and, if genuine, more likely to be false than true. 2d. The original, unmutilated “Manuscript Found,” was in the hands of E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, in 1834, when he first published his History of Mormonism, and was by him suppressed, because there was no resemblance between it and the Book of Mormon. 3d. There is no evidence that Lambdin ever saw or heard of the Spaulding manuscript. Patterson’s testimony shows it improbable that he saw it; impossible that he copied it. 4th. If Lambdin had it, it is so improbable that Rigdon ever saw or heard of it, as to be next to a certainty that he did not. 5th. If Rigdon had it, it is impossible that he ever transferred it to Joseph Smith, or ever heard of him, until after the translation of the Book of Mormon.
- Complete as is this failure, every subsequent writer has, for want of any other means of attack, fallen back on this. But it is marvellous, how men in high standing have filled up with their own assertions every defect in the chain of evidence, and lopped off every contradiction and inconsistency; reserving to themselves as much of the lie as had the semblance of truth, and adding what was necessary to perfect the falsehood.
GUNNISON’S HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
- Gunnison, in his History of the Mormons, (p. 94,) says, that when the “Manuscript Found” was put in the hands of Lambdin, the printer, “Sidney Rigdon was employed to edit it for the press.” No writer, no witness had ever asserted this; but it was necessary to make out the case, and he volunteered the falsehood, not knowing the fact, that at that time Rigdon was only a farmer’s boy of fifteen, and that it
was Engles instead of Lambdin who had the manuscript.
- In the attempt, however, to show that the boy Joe had such a reputation as a money digger, at Palmyra, New York, that Rigdon, at Pittsburgh, four hundred miles away, heard of him, and intrusted to him the scheme of founding a new religion, Gunnison breaks down and admits it incredible. (Gunnison’s History of the Mormons, p. 94.)
- Gunnison then asserts, that from 1817, to 1820, the trunk supposed to contain the manuscript was at the house of the widow Spaulding’s “brother, in Onondaga Hollow, [Onondaga county, New York] near the residence of the Smiths; [Palmyra, Wayne county, New York;] Wayne and Onondaga counties being separated by a narrow township of land.” (Gunnison’s History of the Mormons, p. 95.)
- Now, it is a fact that the whole breadth of Cayuga county lies between Onondaga on the east, and Wayne on the west; that Onondaga Hollow is in the east part of Onondaga county, and Palmyra, the residence of the Smiths, in the west part of Wayne, making the residence of Smith some eighty miles from Onondaga Hollow. As Smith was but twelve years old at that time, the inference of Gunnison that he smelled out a manuscript eighty miles off, and stole and laid it by to use in founding a new religion, at some future day, is not very forcible. He would need a revelation, at least, to guide him in finding it.
- But Gunnison’s premises are fatal in still another point He locates Spaulding’s manuscript at Onondaga Hollow, from 1817 to 1820, (History of the Mormons, p. 95,) during all which time the Smith family, according to Howe, lived at Royalton, Vermont, (Howe’s History of Mormonism, p. 11,) two hundred and eighty miles from Onondaga Hollow. If Howe’s authority is not good for the residence of the Smiths,
it is not for the Spaulding story. If it is, Gunnison’s conclusions are worse than worthless.
- Though Howe’s History of Mormonism, which Gunnison principally followed, almost shows Spaulding’s manuscript in Howe’s hands, the letter of Spaulding’s widow, published in the newspapers generally, from 1839 to 1842, showed that she had it in her possession from her husband’s death till Hulburt, the agent of Howe, came after it, in 1834, and that her daughter, and other friends in Monson, were in the habit of reading it, down till that time, and leaves the reader with the impression that she delivered it to Hulburt, for Howe’s use; and the testimony of both the widow and daughter, published in the Quincy Whig, and extensively republished, most positively asserts that it was so delivered to Hulburt, on an agreement to publish it, and that they received a letter from those having it in charge that they should not publish it, because it did not read as they expected; Gunnison ventures the assertion that, ever since the Book of Mormon appeared, the “Manuscript Found has been the manuscript lost;” and apparently oppressed with his own theory, that Smith at the age of twelve had been inspired with the knowledge of its existence in an old trunk eighty miles away, and stolen it; still guesses that by accident or design it got into Smith’s hands in some way. (Gunnison’s History of the Mormons, p. 95.)
- The testimony of both the widow and daughter that the manuscript of Spaulding was only about one quarter as large as the printed Book of Mormon, and, therefore, contained but about one twentieth the reading matter, neither Howe, Gunnison or any other writer has noticed.
- But Gunnison claims, that, notwithstanding the barbarous style of language in which the Book of Mormon is
rendered, it is really a work of genius of the highest order. (Gunnison’s History of the Mormons, pp. 95, 96.) One eighteenth, he says, is copied from the Bible. If the whole of Spaulding’s manuscript was copied into it, it would make but one twentieth, and something like nine tenths would remain the work of Smith. A little singular it is that the unlettered Joe and the learned Solomon Spaulding should have the same masterly and commanding genius, and write in the same barbarous style.
FORD’S HISTORY OF ILLINOIS.
- Governour Ford, in his History of Illinois, jumps over all the difficulties, and without pretending to any information beyond what Howe’s History Contains, makes the sweeping and unsupported assertion that “Rigdon had become possessed of a religious romance, written by a Presbyterian Clergyman, in Ohio, then dead, which suggested the idea of starting a new religion. It was agreed that Joe Smith should be put forward as Prophet; and the two devised the story that golden plates had been found, containing a record inscribed on them in unknown characters, which, when deciphered by the power of inspiration, gave the history of the ten lost tribes of Israel.” (Ford’s History of Illinois, p. 252.)
- Not a new witness is introduced; not a new fact is ascertained. No attempt is made to trace either Smith or Rigdon one step of the way over the three hundred miles of country between them. No attempt is made to show how Rigdon in Pittsburgh, heard of the boy Joe, whose fame for money digging extended throughout a quarter of the township of Manchester,* in central New York; or how he learned of the preacher Rigdon, who, as a Baptist preacher, was known for
*Manchester, Ontario county, adjoins Palmyra, Wayne county, and was part of the time the place of Smith’s residence.
near twenty miles out of Pittsburgh, in southwestern Pennsylvania. None of these little particulars trouble the Governour in his attempt to blacken the fame of the Prophet, the easier to vindicate the crime of conniving at his murder.
- Conjectures, of which he could not possibly know anything, which other men had for twenty years ransacked half the continent to find some evidence of, he simply asserts as though they were unquestionable facts.
- Like most men who bear false witness, he has made his falsehood patent. The Book of Mormon does not contain “the history of the ten lost tribes,” as he asserts; as any one will see by reading the book; and whoever will assert such a falsehood, when the truth is so easily known, whether from carelessness or corruption, is not a safe historian, on disputed questions, of which he has no personal knowledge.
ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
- The anonymous author of the Illustrated History of the Mormons, though more just than most writers on that side, falls into the common and unsupported falsehood, by saying that Rigdon was a “compositor;” that is, a type setter, (p. 45) but without one word of evidence to justify the assertion.
- The same author falls in with the general fame of the Spaulding story, without investigating it, and says, “Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon seem to have acted in concert in its concoction, from materials thus prepared for them.” (Illustrated History of the Mormons. p. 49.) This book was written in England, though published by Derby and Miller, Auburn, New York, and as it is not characterized with the usual virulence, possibly the author had only heard the general
statement of the Spaulding story, without those details which utterly overthrow it.
- In the same manner he is led to say that “anachronisms are frequent” in the Book of Mormon; (Illustrated History of Mormonism, p. 49;) though not a single one is pointed out, for the best reason in the world; none exists. This fact does not rest on testimony, but can be tested at any time by an examination of the book.
HOWE’S GREAT WEST.
- Henry Howe published, at Cincinnati, in 1854, a “History of the Great West,” in which he revives the Spaulding story, with the theory that Rigdon first heard of Joseph Smith as a vagabond money digger, subsequent to 1827, when Rigdon was a Campbellite preacher, in Mentor, Ohio, and Smith resided near Palmyra, New York.
- No evidence is offered that Rigdon had the Spaulding manuscript, or that he had ever heard of Smith. The only attempt to show either of these things possible, is the statement that “Rigdon was frequently absent.” (Great West, p. 337.)
- As Rigdon did not go to Mentor till after Smith was engaged on the Book of Mormon, the suggestion that he there heard of him, and on the faith of his vagabond character, entrusted him with the commission of sole founder of a new religion, of which Rigdon was to come in as junior partner, after the first rugged paths were trod, comes too late.
- And against the suggestion that Rigdon heard of him at all, till the publication of the Book of Mormon, in the newspapers, is the fact that Mentor, Ohio, is two hundred and thirty miles from Palmyra or Manchester, New York, and in the twentytwo years search which has been made for
some evidence of a possible collusion between Smith and Rigdon, previous to the publication of the Book of Mormon, not a witness has been produced who could show that any person residing twenty miles from Smith ever heard of him till the annunciation, through the newspapers, of the publication of that book.
- That Rigdon, as a Campbellite preacher at Mentor, was occasionally absent from home, is too probable to require any proof; but that that fact, equally true of every Christian minister, convicts him of stealing manuscripts to found a new religion on, or of dealing with vagrant money diggers, hundreds of miles away, is a new rule of evidence, to which all other Christian ministers will object.
- The town of Mentor is only five miles from the town of Kirtland, and Rigdon was the minister of the Campbellite Churches in both towns, and after receiving the faith of the Latter Day Saints, remained at Kirtland till 1837; and till 1848 was prominently connected with all the publick discussions of that faith. Had he at any time previous to the publication of the Book of Mormon made a journey from Mentor to Palmyra, and stopped with Joseph long enough to commit to him the charge of founding a new religion, and the reconstruction of the Spaulding manuscript into an oracle of God, why has no one of the Cambellites about Mentor and Kirtland any knowledge of his going to Palmyra, or of his being absent on some unknown journey, long enough to have accomplished that work?
- For twentytwo years, since the Spaulding story was first promulgated, as far as Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon have been preached, all Christendom has looked earnestly and with painful anxiety for some such proof, and have looked in vain. Had he made a single journey from Mentor,
in which he could not be traced step by step, and his employment proved day by day, so as to show the impossibility of his having visited the Seer of Palmyra, that absence would have been announced, and proclaimed the triumph of his accusers.
- It is obvious that Henry Howe had not investigated the matter at all, but only followed common fame, guessing his way through difficulties, which were apparent on the face of E. D. Howe’s History of Mormonism. His theory of the plagiarism, of the Book of Mormon, is built on the exploded work of E. D. Howe, altered, but not improved, by his own guessing.
FERRIS’ UTAH AND THE MORMONS.
- Of all the writers who have given currrency to the Spaulding story, the most able and at the same time the most unscrupulous and corrupt, is Benjamin G. Ferris, late Secretary of Utah, author of a book entitled, “Utah and the Mormons.” Ferris not only repeats the old exploded lie, that Rigdon was a printer, but says that at the time Spaulding’s manuscript was in Patterson and Lambdin’s printing office, Rigdon “was in the employment of Patterson, and became so much interested in the ‘Manuscript Found’ as to copy it, ‘as he himself has frequently stated.’ ” (Utah and the Mormons, p. 52.)
- Such unblushing falsehood it would be difficult elsewhere to find. At the date of Ferris’ publication, the Spaulding story had been twenty years published. Every effort in the power of man had been made to show the “Manuscript Found” in Rigdon’s possession, or where he might possibly have seen it, and so far in vain. Rigdon had presided over a
Church of three thousand Latter Day Saints, in Pittsburgh; and in the anxiety to destroy his influence, the Rev. Mr. Williams, pastor of a Church in Pittsburgh, aided by the whole clergy, had published a work for the purpose of fastening this plagiarism on Rigdon; and not a witness could be found to say that Rigdon was a printer; not a witness that he was ever in Patterson and Lambdin’s office; not a witness that he was ever in Pittsburgh, while that printing office existed; and not a witness that he ever saw or heard of either Spaulding or his manuscript, previous to the publication of “Mormonism Unveiled,” in 1834.
- But that is not the darkest feature in this allegation of Mr. Ferris. In saying that Rigdon “became so much interested in the ‘Manuscript Found’ as to copy it, ‘as he himself has frequently stated,’ ” including the last six words in quotations, as though he had copied them from some other writer, Ferris is guilty both of a known falsehood, and an unblushing forgery. (Utah and the Mormons, p. 52.)
- No man on earth had ever so written. Ferris did not copy his quoted words from any other writer, and it is patent on the pages of his book that he had read and was familiar with those works, on this question, in which Rigdon and his friends have continually denied that Rigdon ever saw or heard of Spaulding, or his manuscript, earlier than 1834, and challenged the world to produce one word of proof against him.
- Pursuing this course of falsehood, even when truth would seem to serve his purpose just as well, Ferris accounts for the meagerness of the evidence against Smith and Rig-don, by asserting the death of Patterson in 1826, four years before the publication of the Book of Mormon. (Utah and the Mormons, p. 52.)
- Yet the Rev. S. Williams published, in the city of
Pittsburgh, the residence of Patterson, in the year 1842, a pamphlet entitled, “Mormonism Exposed,” containing a certificate concerning this same Spaulding manuscript, signed by this same Robert Patterson, and dated April 2d, 1842. And John E. Page, then residing in Pittsburgh, in Apostolick charge of the Latter Day Saints, and abundantly able and disposed to expose Williams, if he introduced any false testimonies, published a pamphlet in reply, and admits Patterson’s certificate into his work without question. Patterson was living, and a prominent citizen of Pittsburgh sixteen years after Ferris writes him dead. And no writer, no man, before Ferris, said he was dead. Ferris is the original author of the falsehood. And this fact does not rest on the assumption of any man. If he had any authority, he has but to produce it. There is none.
- But with his unscrupulous corruption, Ferris was too shrewd not to see that the theory which says that Rigdon heard of Smith’s fame as a money digger, three or four hundred miles away, and looked him up as a suitable person to employ, to found a new religion, was ridiculous; that some new invention was necessary; or, when passion was over, every sane man would reject the wicked impeachment.
- Drawing upon his imagination alone, and asserting each point as though it was an unquestioned fact in history, Ferris says, “In the course of his wanderings, Smith met with Rigdon. These two men together conceived the idea of starting a system of religious imposture, commensurate with the popular credulity.
- “Conjointly they possessed, in mercantile phrase, the requisite capital for such an adventure. Smith had cunning, plausible volubility, Seer stones, mysterious antiquities, and, withal, the prestige of success; Rigdon was versed in the
lights and shadows of religious verbiage; had some literary pretensions; was a printer; and, above all, had a copy of Spaulding’s book.
- “Which started the bright idea of the golden Bible, is not known; though, in all likelihood, the credit is due to Smith, as he ever after maintained the ascendency in the new hierarchy. After the plan had assumed a definite form in the minds of the originators, it was easy for Joseph, in his perambulations, to trace out and secure the original manuscript of Spaulding, to guard the intended scheme from exposure.” (Utah and the Mormons, pp. 55, 56.)
- Thus, without spending one moment in inquiry, without even troubling himself to pick up such facts as were in his reach, much less inquiring for evidence, which twenty years of the most industrious research had failed to find, Ferris sits down in his armed chair, and on a half page of foolscap, demonstrates by his unsupported assertion, not only that Rigdon had a copy of the Spaulding manuscript, but that Smith, while hazing around with peep stones, and mineral rods, strayed off from Palmyra, three or four hundred miles, to Pittsburgh, to look up Rigdon as a partner; as tradition says, the head of a severed snake will look up his eliminated tail, which some mischievous boy has cut off and hidden in the most secret place; but that Smith absolutely traced up the original manuscript, and got possession of that also.
- Surely, the millions of Christians who had anxiously waited twenty years for some scrap of evidence, that either Smith or Rigdon ever heard of the Spaulding manuscript previous to 1834, ought to be thankful to Ferris, for alleging all they wish to prove, and saving the necessity of evidence. Henceforth no one need trouble himself to prove that Rigdon obtained a copy of the manuscript, for any one can prove
by Ferris’ falsehood that Smith had the original, without obligation to the copy.
- Why two men, obscure as Smith and Rigdon, each entertaining the ambition to found a new religion, should curb their zeal, till blindly burrowing like the mole, through the three hundred miles of intervening country, they embraced each other; why the entire task of accomplishing the work should be put upon the most inefficient of the two; why their two minds were so perfectly agreed, that, while one secured a copy, the other secured the original of Spaulding’s manuscript, Mr. Ferris must tell; nobody else can.
- But, why no other writer ever asserted this, why Ferris does not offer one word of proof in support of it, is very plain. Any body can tell that. It is because there is not a word of truth in it.
- As if to test the gullability of his readers, and prove how far the Christian world would be satisfied with falsehoods which a schoolboy could detect, so they militated against the divine mission of Joseph Smith, Ferris takes pains to prove that Smith “came into the northern part of Pennsylvania, near the Susquehannah River, in which part his fatherinlaw resided,” and then, to show that Smith might by possibility have found Rigdon there, he adds, “Sidney Rigdon, it will also be recollected, resided in the State of Pennsylvania.” (Utah and the Mormons, p. 61.)
- True, Rigdon did once reside in Pennsylvania, but it was the other side of the Alleghany mountains, and by the nearest road, meandering around the mountains and through their gorges, more than four hundred miles distant, and he had removed still further off into the State of Ohio, before Smith went into Pennsylvania at all. (Howe’s History of Mormonism, p. 289.)
- Pursuing his investigations with unblushing knavery and consummate skill, Ferris rakes over every document he can find, whether forged or genuine, supplying every apparent lack by his own fruitful invention, and laying especial stress upon every ebullition of passion of any of the disciples of Joseph Smith, during a period of a quarter of a century, to impeach the moral characters of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon; and sums up, that by their enemies they were held “very much below par;” and that among themselves a petulent editor, on some disagreement, called Martin Harris a lackey; and that when Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer had some business connection with the set of men who expelled the Saints from Missouri, Rigdon accused them with being “connected with a gang of thieves, counterfeiters, liars and blacklegs, of the deepest die.” (Utah and the Mormons, pp. 68, 69.)
- This is the same set of men who, in 1838, expelled the Latter Day Saints from Missouri, and in 1854 invaded Kansas, for the purpose of expelling the free State men; David R. Atchison, late member and President of the United States Senate, being the leader in both forays. And though Atchison’s men in either case stopped at no crime, it is certain that many men of the highest standing in the United States have had much more connection with them than Cowdery and Whitmer were accused of, in those hours of peril in which they were unfortunately separated from their brethren.
- A fact worth all the rest is, that in all those changes which separated the early ministers of this persecuted faith, even when Joseph and many of his faithful brethren were in prison, and the dead bodies of others lying around unburied, and Cowdery and Whitmer in the camp of their persecutors, they still gave the same unvarying testimony of the divine authority of the dispensation and the Book of Mormon; both
relating circumstantially, on oath, in a Missouri court faced and browbeaten by a Missouri mob, the fact of the exhibition of the plates to them according to their testimony in the Book of Mormon.
- And Cowdery, under the same circumstances, knowing that he was cast out and hated by his brethren as a traitor, who had joined their enemies and imperiled their lives, testified, on his solemn oath, that Joseph and himself did receive the Priesthood on two different occasions, by the voice of God, and the hands of Angels; relating circumstantially the time and manner of it; knowing well, when he did so, that the Missourians would turn against him more bitterly than his brethren had, and that the best hope which remained for him, was to flee secretly for his life.
- Though most of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon were, one time and another, separated from the Church, not one of them ever drew back from his testimony, or departed from the faith; and notwithstanding the violent hatred engendered by internal discord among brethren, which grew up against some of them at the time of their separation, they have all lived down scandal and reproach, and by their irreproachable lives have established an unimpeachable reputation for integrity and truth, both among Saints and Gentiles.
- The reputation of Joseph, as a money digger, and a peep stone Seer, originated in falsehood, and has been kept up for the purpose of ridiculing his calling to the Prophetick office. The truth about it is, that as a day labourer he was employed at wages to dig, not for enchanted treasures, but for money, which tradition said some Spaniards had buried in the bank of the Susquehannah River. (Gunnison’s History of the Mormons, p. 92. Pratt’s Ancient American Records)
- The various jokes about money digging, which from this fact passed between him and his early associates, were industriously gathered up by Philastus Hulburt, duly embellished and made a part of Howe’s “History of Mormonism;” and the affidavits there accumulated, if they prove anything, prove only ignorance, superstition, and the most venial offences, of which the witnesses bring in themselves for the largest share, and leave the reader with the impression that if what they say of Smith is really true, he was rather guilty of an occasional practical joke on their superstition, than of any participation in it.
- Nothing is more evident, notwithstanding the pains taken to conceal it, than that many of them believed Joseph had the plates, from which he professed to be translating; and one of the witnesses, Willard Chase, testifies that, notwithstanding Joseph’s anxiety to make his possession of the plates a secret, as many as twelve men did get to see them. (Howe’s History of Mormonism, p. 245.) And many of the witnesses who testify that he was not a man of truth, show, nevertheless, that they and others did credit him in matters which, to say the least of it, were a severe tax on one’s credulity.
- The true test of any man’s character for truth is his power to produce conviction in the minds of those who know him. This power Joseph had in an eminent degree. So much is admitted by his accusers. One of their chief accusations was that his neighbours, during his Prophetick career, believed on his word alone things hardly believable at all. Never was an attempt to impeach witnesses less successful than this, of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon. None of the old Prophets had better testimonies than Joseph and James.
Book of The Law 5
CHAPTER XXXVII: PLACE OF YOUR DWELLINGS…283
CHAPTER XXXVIII: GROVES, FORESTS, AND WATERS…286
CHAPTER XXXIX: APPAREL AND ORNAMENTS…288
CHAPTER XL: FEASTS…291
CHAPTER XLI: INHERITANCES…298
CHAPTER XLII: DESCENT OF INHERITANCES…300
CHAPTER XLIII: SOCIAL ORDER…305
CHAPTER XLIV: HOUSEHOLD RELATIONS…310
CHAPTER XLV: HIGHWAYS…329
CHAPTER XLVI: TITHING…331
CHAPTER XXXVII: PLACE OF YOUR DWELLINGS.
Six days shalt thou labour.
- YE shall not scatter abroad, after the manner of other men, nor dwell alone in the fields; ye shall dwell together in cities, in towns, and in villages. Your inheritances shall be appointed to you, both in the places of your dwelling, and in the fields and forests round about. 50 words,219 letters.
- Israel, in all ages, when they have been a people, have been gathered in large communities. While they wandered, they were in tribes and families, consisting of large bodies of men. Whenever they settled down, it was in cities, towns, and villages. This was their order from the time of Abraham, till the taking of Jerusalem by the Romans.
- The Hebrews, of every lineage, wherever they have a separate existence, follow this Law. The Arabs, descendants of Abraham by Hagar, have never departed from it; and the Tartar tribes, his children in the line of Keturah, keep it till the present time. The American Indians, descended from the Patriarch Joseph, keep up the custom in almost every place.
- In Europe the same custom prevails in many States and nations. With the German and Sclavonian nations this order is nearly universal. Of the Russian provinces less is known, but it is thought that the same custom is nearly universal there. It is also found to a great extent in Asia and Africa.
It everywhere presents itself as a primeval custom, partially lost in the corruptions of the age.
- Man was not designed for solitude and loneliness. Neither sound moral sentiment, the pure affections of the heart, or distinguished intelligence and usefulness are likely to grow up in solitude. Men, by living separate from each other, learn to hate.
- Though there may be frequent disagreements among the members of congregated communities, yet, on the whole, their attachments are necessarily exceedingly strong. Constant association develops the affections of the heart. Ideas are communicated from individual to individual, by which they are made partakers of each others knowledge. Emulation produces superiour excellence. Institutions for publick instruction are easily kept up. Knowledge is easily brought within the reach of all.
- In a community thus constituted, no ordinary power can exercise tyranny and oppression. In a rural village every man must know the rights and possessions of his neigbbour. If either is invaded, all will feel their insecurity, and a burst of indignation from the whole community would nip oppression in the bud.
- The congregated numbers who cultivate the soil of a considerable district, would be able to interpose a strong barrier to the progress of lawless bands, such as have robbed the Saints heretofore, and to defend themselves against any violence short of open warfare.
- For the purpose of adding as much as possible to their security, all their dwellings and buildings of every kind, should be erected with reference to joint defence. Every house should be a fortress, and part of a system of fortification.
- In the fields and forests may you go and
dwell, when you labour there, but ye shall return; and your treasures, your granaries, and your storehouses, shall be at the place of your dwellings. 34 words, 150 letters.
- And if ye would in any wise go and dwell among strangers to gain power over them, or to get riches, or for any other reason whatsoever, ye shall not go except by permission of your King and of the Rulers whom he shall command, lest ye be led away of your own lusts, and be estranged from the Lord your God, and be cast off forever. Moreover, if ye go without permission, ye shall be spoiled of your goods; and except ye repent and return, ye shall not have a place in the congregation before the Lord. 98 words, 392 letters.
Total—3 sec., 182 words, 761 letters.
- The gathering of the Saints to places chosen of God would be of little account if they might scatter abroad, every man at his own pleasure. The Commandment of God is to come out from among the wicked, that ye be not partakers of their sins, and receive not of their plagues. (Rev. xviii, 4.) The command implies danger that good men may be led away from righteousness, by the prevailing wickedness, as many have been.
- But as it is sometimes necessary, on one’s private business, and sometimes for the publick service, for some to go among them for the time, this mode is provided, subject to needful restraints of obtaining permission.
CHAPTER XXXVIII: GROVES, FORESTS, AND WATERS.
The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.
- YE shall not cut down the timber on the hills and mountains, lest your children suffer for want of wood and water. Ye shall not destroy the groves along the shores of the lakes and ponds, lest the winds and storms make your land desolate, and both heat and cold destroy you. Therefore shall ye cause them to grow continually, and they shall beautify your inheritance, and your children shall rise up and call you blessed. 76 words, 338 letters.
- Every man who receiveth an inheritance shall preserve a forest thereon, that his children may walk in the shade thereof, and may build houses and prepare food; and that his cattle faint not with heat or drouth, nor perish in the blast; and the land yield her increase. If there be no forest, he shall plant one. 57 words, 247 letters.
- Ye shall preserve the trees by the wayside. And if there be none, ye shall plant them. Whether it be in the cities, towns,
and villages, or the fields and forests, ye shall do it. 35 words, 137 letters.
- All these things shall ye do as your King shall appoint, and your Rulers determine, that the land be pleasant to your children. 23 words, 102 letters.
- And in your cities, and towns, and villages, and by the side of great waters, and ponds, and running streams, and springs, shall groves be appointed to you, that the aged and the young may go there to rest and to play. There shall ye all make yourselves joyful. 49 words, 203 letters.
Total—5 sec., 240 words, 1,027 letters.
- Greece has become a desolation, her fields a desert, and her rivers dried up, by the destruction of the forests. Much of Palestine has suffered in the same manner. The Lybian deserts are slowly but surely advancing on the fertile alluvion of the Nile, because there are no forests there.
- In higher latitudes forests are equally necessary as a protection against cold, especially against winter storms. Prairie and timber regions afford a most striking contrast, in winter comforts, in favour of the latter.
- But, aside from these advantages, there is a peculiar beneficence in providing abundant publick parks and watering places. They are the harbingers of health and happiness. And the common fisheries of the waters, and pasturage of publick groves, and unappropriated forests, will be a great relief to such poor people as are to be found at times in the best governed States. The poor you have always with you.
CHAPTER XXXIX: APPAREL AND ORNAMENTS.
Thou shalt keep the Sabbath day holy unto the Lord, that thou forget not the Law,
nor be found keeping the company of the vile, nor be despised by the righteous.
- YE shall not clothe yourselves after the manner of the follies of other men; but after the manner that is seemly and convenient, shall ye clothe yourselves. 27 words, 127 letters.
- This Command forbids all those extravagancies in dress which occasionally become fashionable, regardless of health and convenience. But it does not forbid ornamenting and enriching the clothing, in any manner which is seemly and convenient.
- The constant change of the style of dress, under the name of new fashions, is exceedingly inconvenient; requiring great waste in making over, or throwing by clothing; or the use of inferiour material, which, at a slight diminution of cost, will last only the period of short lived fashion.
- Every form of dress which pinches and compresses the body or limbs, so as to prevent a full natural growth, is grossly inconvenient and unseemly. The narrow shoes and boots, preferred by most men and women, are liable to this objection; and it is a depraved taste which admires them. More objectionable, because violating more fatally the laws of life, are the small waisted garments, generally worn by women and occasionally by men, for many years back.
- Besides these styles of dress, objectionable because they
injure health, shorten life, and produce hereditary disease and weakness, there is a numerous class of fashions and styles to be discarded for less reasons; such as enormous bell crowned hats, sleeves broad enough to cover the whole person, long narrow skirted coats, resembling a tail rather than a garment, skirts swinging below the knees, or enlarged with hoops to enormous proportions, or padded out to the uncouth style of a camel’s hump.
- A most serious objection to following the fashions of Gentiles, is, their tendency to divide the rich against the poor, and the poor against the rich. With fashions changing every season, only the most wealthy are able to wear really rich clothing, and keep up with the fashions. They are tempted to affect distinction, by making the changes so frequent that few can keep up with them. Where custom forbids appearing in publick a second time with the same dress, the burden is truly enormous. Poorer people, especially those who, though doing much business, are in debt, are frequently ruined in endeavoring to keep within the circle of fashion.
- And your King, and your Princes, and your Judges and Rulers shall clothe themselves according to their dignity: and the Priest who administers at the altar, and he who administers in the sacraments which I appoint unto you, shall clothe in the robes of his office. 46 words, 213 letters.
The style of these robes will be given from time to time, as they become necessary in the publick administrations.
- And all the people in their solemn asemblies, and in their gatherings together,
shall clothe themselves according to my Commandment. 20 words, 111 letters.
Apparel for solemn assemblies and publick occasions is a matter of divine appointment. That for common uses is not positively of divine appointment, though restrained and regulated by Commandment. Within proper limitations everyone can exercise his own taste in common apparel; and it is even allowed when sojourning among Gentiles to imitate, to some moderate extent, their foolish and ridiculous styles, to avoid impertinent observations, so they are not hurtful to health.
- And the ornaments of your persons, and of your apparel, shall every man wearas I shall appoint; every man in his own order. 24 words, 97 letters.
Total—4 sec., 117 words, 548 letters.
- These ornaments will distinguish Priesthood, Order, Degree, and Office. It is a high offence to put on false insigna; and a humiliating punishment to be compelled to take the proper insigna off for unworthy conduct.
- Gold is the proper colour for the Priesthood of an Endless Life, and silver for the Priesthood of Life; but other material may be used, having reference to colour and incorruptibility.
- It is not allowable for any one to wear or have other ornaments so much resembling those which distinguish the Priesthood that they may be mistaken for Priestly insigna, nor to wear the insigna of any Priesthood but his own, nor to wear the insigna when he is interdicted from the exercise of Priestly functions. These ornaments should be worn in worship and publick assemblies, and may at other times.
CHAPTER XL: FEASTS.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work;
but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.
- THESE are the feasts of the Lord; holy convocations, even convocations and feasts unto the Lord your God. 18 words, 85 letters.
- Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is the Sabbath day: ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings: ye shall take care that nothing perish, but ye shall not labour for hire nor increase; ye shall have a holy convocation in all your Temples and Synagogues. 59 words, 241 letters.
- The direct and positive obligation of the Sabbath is, to make it a day of rest, and to have a holy convocation; that is, an assembly for religious worship.
- The obligation to make it a day of rest is upon every house, and upon all that dwell therein; and it is the duty of all to assemble in Temples and Synagogues to worship God, and to execute his Law.
- Each of these duties is, in some degree, modified by the necessity of doing some small amount of work which could not be anticipated and provided against during the preceding days of the week, and an occasional necessity for some to re-
main at home to care for those who are unable to attend at the house of worship. These exceptions will not excuse persons absenting themselves from publick worship, on the score of ill health, who are able to give some slight attention to business; nor to remain at home to take care of those whom they can leave on other days; nor will they excuse working on the Sabbath because it is very profitable, when by resting they would not absolutely abandon property to destruction.
- There are some kinds of business really necessary among men, which cannot be conducted without an occasional departure from the strict rule of the Sabbath. Such labours, being really necessary, are not forbidden; but should be pursued with sincere regard to the sanctity of the Sabbath.
- The Priesthood, in their administrations, according to the letter of the Commandment, profane the Sabbath as oft as it occurs; but to its intent they keep it. (Matt xii, 5.) Sailors are obliged to work more or less on the Sabbath. It is enough for them to keep it as far as the necessities of their business will admit. Some kinds of business require incessant labour for more than six days. In such employments every one should sanctify as a Sabbath an entire day, either beginning or ending during the Sabbath, by means of which the Sabbath of a part would begin when that of the rest ended, and thus all enjoy Sabbath blessings without preventing the work.
- Recreations are not forbidden on the Sabbath, and are appropriate to it; but attending a holy convocation is a duty. Those, therefore, who do not faithfully attend it with sincerity of heart, ought to be excluded from all recreations as profane persons, contemners of the Sabbath.
- The Sabbath is for beasts of burden, as well as for man. They are subject unto man, and ought to rest with him. It
is not unlawful, however, to drive them for the purpose of carrying infants, infirm and aged, to the sanctuary, so their load is not burdensome, and the distance such as men usually walk to attend the convocation. But anything which really amounts to labour, it is unlawful to put upon them.
- The day* that James, the Prophet of God, was established King, and sat upon his throne, is a notable day; it shall be kept in remembrance forever. 27 words, 113 letters.
- As oft as this day returneth shall all the Saints assemble together. It shall be a holy convocation. They shall assemble in their Temples, and in their Synagogues, and in publick places, to offer a thankoffering, an offering of praise unto God, because he has given the Kingdom to the Saints. 51 words, 234 letters.
- The King shall, therefore, offer a heifer, without blemish; in the presence of the congregation shall he offer it. In the morning shall he offer it, and the same day shall it be eaten: he and his household shall eat of it. Not a bone of it shall be broken: they shall eat it with bread, and seasoned with herbs. 60 words, 241 letters.
- After this manner shall all the children of the Kingdom sacrifice: every man a heifer, or a lamb, or a dove. Every man a clean
beast, or a clean fowl, according to his household. 34 words, 138 letters.
- Ye shall take the victim of the sacrifice which ye shall offer, and shall bring it before the Lord in the presence of the congregation, and shall bring it to the Priest, and shall say, 35 words, 146 letters.
- I profess this day unto the Lord God, that I am come into the Kingdom which he promised by the mouth of all the Prophets: praised be his name for his glorious goodness, and his great power. 37 words, 149 letters.
- And the Priest shall slay the victim, and thou shalt say, We were a people, few in number; scattered among our enemies: they killed our Prophets, murdered our brethren, robbed us of our possessions, and banished us from among them; but God has made us a Kingdom: and the fear of us is upon those who hate us. 58 words, 240 letters.
- When the Gentiles evilly entreated us, and afflicted us, and thrust us out, we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers; the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and sorrow, and homelessness; and he gave us this land for an everlasting possession; and hath made us a Kingdom: and now have I brought unto him this victim for a thank-
offering, and a perpetual memorial. 68 words, 300 letters.
- And thou shalt eat of the sacrifice: thou and thy household, and thy neighbour; but the stranger, though he dwelleth in thy gates, and in thy house, shall not eat of it: thou shalt eat it with herbs, and the Priest with thee, in the congregation of the Lord; it is a holy convocation, and a feast unto the Lord: ye shall do no servile labour that day. 68 words, 271 letters.
- And when thou hast eaten, thou shalt say unto the Lord thy God, I have come into the land which thou gavest to thy Saints: I have heard thy Law, and have entered into covenant with thee to keep thy Commandments; and I have eaten of the sacrifice before thee as a witness forever. 54 words, 220 letters.
- Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless us this day, even all the children of thy Kingdom; and the land which thou hast given us, and establish us forever. 32 words, 137 letters.
- When ye are come into the land which the Lord your God giveth unto you, and have gathered the harvest of your inheritance, ye shall bring a portion of the firstfruits of your fields before the Lord your God, for an offering of firstfruits. 44 words, 192 letters.
- At every Temple where the name of the Lord your God is named, shall the Priest appoint the day of firstfruits, according to the days of your principal harvests of food; and by that day shall ye all bring your offering of firstfruits unto the Priest, in the Temple and the Synagogues, and ye shall have a holy convocation before the Lord in every place to which ye bring the firstfruits. 71 words, 311 letters.
- The feast of firstfruits is held once a year, but may, if found desirable, be held oftener, being governed by the times of the principal harvests. It is not necessary that it be held at the same time in all places, but in every place according to the harvests of that country.
- Firstfruits are required of all who dwell upon the inheritance of the Saints. Of the Saints, the head of every house is required also to offer a victim, according to his substance. If the stranger offers a victim, it is acceptable. For refusing a victim, or offering an insignificant one, or curtailing the amount of firstfruits, the frown of God and the disdain of the righteous is deemed a sufficient punishment.
- Ye shall lift up unto the Priest who ministereth unto the Lord a portion of firstfruits, by the day of the holy convocation of the harvest; on the selfsame day ye shall offer an offering of flesh also; a clean beast, or a clean fowl: it shall be a sacrifice and feast of thanksgiving unto the Lord, for the abund-ance of the harvest. 63 words, 263 letters.
- And ye shall not eat of your harvest, neither bread, nor grain, nor green ears, nor roots, nor germs, till ye have brought your offering of firstfruits before the Lord your God. He that eateth thereof, shall add a fifth to what he ate, and bring it and the increase, and the firstfruits also: and the firstfruits shall be an abundance for the feast, every one for his household: and the rich shall bring for the poor, out of his abundance, and for the Priests also that minister. 88 words, 376 letters.
Total—17 sec., 867 words, 3,657 letters.
- It is required, at all times of the year, before you eat of your harvest, to offer firstfruits before the Lord at such places as shall be appointed to receive them. This offering may be as small as you please, so it is entire; for it is only a memorial of firstfruits.
- But at the time of the feast of firstfruits all are required to offer according to their abundance; and of those things which are not put to use till the feast of firstfruits, no memorial need be offered, but the offering for the feast.
- Those living very remote from the place appointed for receiving firstfruits, who have a real necessity for using of a crop without the delay necessary in making the offering, may conscientiously set out the firstfruits, and they shall be holy to the Lord as if offered at the proper place, and eat of the crop. But if they then fail of bringing forward that which is thus sanctified and duly offering it, they will be guilty, and must make an atonement as for refusing firstfruits. Withholding firstfruits is a grievous offence.
CHAPTER XLI: INHERITANCES.
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: thou shalt maintain his right against his enemy.
- I HAVE appointed the Islands of the Great Lakes for the gathering of the Saints, saith the Lord God. I have given the Islands to them for their inheritance; even all that man walketh not unto from the main. 39 words, 164 letters.
- And I have appointed my servant James the anointed Shepherd of my flock, to apportion unto every one his portion, for a perpetual inheritance. 24 words, 116 letters.
- Let him, therefore, appoint unto everyone his inheritance, sufficient for him, and for his children: and to the Princes their portions, that they have an abundance for their servants, and their households; lest they be tempted to take reward for judgment, or feed not the poor for lack of bread, or deliver not the oppressed for the weakness of their arm. 62 words, 284 letters.
- Ye shall not sell your inheritances: nor shall ye deliver them to the hands of strangers, to possess them. Ye shall in no wise grant them to others: for they are the dwel-
ling of your wives, the food and raiment of your servants, and the home of your children. 49 words, 204 letters.
- If ye sell your inheritances, and take a price for them, yet shall not the purchaser possess them. They shall not be his forever. And though you thrust him not out, yet shall your wives, your servants, and your children return to them, and none shall hinder. 47 words, 203 letters.
- And a book of inheritances shall your King keep, and your Rulers also shall keep them, that every man may read therein, and trespass not upon his neighbour. 28 words, 125 letters.
- Ye shall set up landmarks to your possessions, and no man shall move them. If ye set not up landmarks, or neglect to keep them up that they go to decay, and are lost, and one trespass unwittingly, ye shall not punish him. He shall pay for what he hath gotten, or he who hath suffered the trespass shall pay him for his labour, and take his own, if he will. 71 words, 275 letters.
- If strangers or enemies set up landmarks against you, ye shall destroy them. They shall not remain. 17 words, 80 letters.
Total—3 sec., 337 words, 1,451 letters.
Inheritances usually consist of a town lot of about one acre, and a farm of from one hundred and fifty to two hundred acres.
CHAPTER XLII: DESCENT OF INHERITANCES.
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; thou shalt do no injustice unto him.
- IF a man die leaving sons, his inheritance shall belong to them, and it may be parted among them. And to the firstborn, or he that is worthy to be so reckoned, shall be given a double portion, that he may keep up the dignity of his father’s house. 49 words, 191 letters.
- The son of the father’s flesh, born of a free woman, before any other of such a mother, is firstborn by the Law. If there is no son of a free woman, the son of a concubine is firstborn by the Law. In either of these cases, if the mother lived with the father as his wife, under a betrothal or a defective marriage, at the time her first son was born, he will not forfeit his right as firstborn thereby.
- If there is no son by a wife, the oldest son by any strange woman will inherit as firstborn; but if he has no son of his own flesh, then the son first adopted, if he has made no distinction among them, or the one he has exalted above all others, if he has so exalted any one, shall inherit as firstborn.
- The sons which he hath adopted shall be reckoned with the sons he hath begotten. They are his. But if any of his sons have received an inheritance already, they shall
not receive a portion with their father’s children. 39 words, 175 letters.
If a son accepts a separate inheritance, he cannot inherit from his father as firstborn, though he is every way worthy, nor can he have a portion as a son, because he is thus already made equal with him. He gains by this a full inheritance, in-stead of a portion; but his younger brother who inherits as firstborn, will take precedence before him in the family.
- No man shall receive two inheritances, lest his neighbour have none. But if he receive another, or if he marry an heiress, he shall surely give up the former, that it may be given to him who hath none, or who lacketh a portion. 44 words, 177 letters.
- An heiress is one whose father has an inheritance, but no son. If there are several of them, such as wish to inherit from their father must retain his name, and name it on their husbands; otherwise they will lose their portions.
- If one who has received an inheritance wishes to return after his father’s death, and claim a portion, he must give up his own inheritance; and he cannot return without the con-sent of all the heirs. If one who has already received a portion of his father’s inheritance marries an heiress, his portion will return to the head of the house.
- If a man die having no sons, but daughters, the inheritance shall belong to them: the men who shall take them to wife, shall be called after the name of their fathers, every man after the name of his wife’s father: otherwise he shall not possess the inheritance.
Thus shall the house and the name of him be kept up, who hath no son. 64 words, 259 letters.
An only son, or a son in a small family, ought not to marry an heiress, because, as he cannot perpetuate both houses, he thus becomes the possible means of extinguishing one or the other. Having once assumed the name of his wife’s father, he cannot return to his fathers house, even to save it from extinction.
- But if he have neither sons nor daughters, and he be found a righteous man, then may the King appoint his nearest kinsman who is found worthy, and is not the firstborn of his father, his heir; and he who is thus appointed shall be called after the name of him who had no child. Thus shall his name and his house be kept up. Otherwise shall the King give his inheritance to him who is needy. 77 words, 306 letters.
In case the inheritance is merely given to him who is needy, without reference to the name of its former possessor, he takes in his own name, and the house of the former is lost.
- If a man desert his inheritance for a long time, that it be left to decay and waste, or become wild, that the portion of the house of the Lord, and the treasury of the King fail, then shall the King’s servants possess it. And the King may take it to himself, or grant it to another who needeth it. 60 words, 229 letters.
When the possessor has not improved and given value to his inheritance, if he abandons it one year it may be given to another. But if he has made valuable improvements, it will not be given to another until he evinces a design of total abandonment.
- If the sons of him who has left his inheritance return, the King’s servants shall render it to them. But if the King has taken it to himself, or granted it to another, then shall the King give them another inheritance. 41 words, 172 letters.
- If any man will leave his inheritance to seek a place in another land which the Lord your God giveth you, then shall he render his inheritance to the King, who shall appoint him another, that his children may possess it instead of the former, and his house and his name be not lost among the Saints. 57 words, 238 letters.
In such a case the custom is to grant the inheritance to some worthy man, requiring him to pay him who gave it up a sum sufficient to improve another in a similar manner. But this will not be done, when the change is without counsel.
- If the King seek men to go up to a new land to possess it by the Command of the Lord your God, then shall the sons among many brethren go up and establish their houses, and their names shall be named upon their inheritances, that they may be kept up forever. And they shall not inherit with
their brethren of the possessions of their father. 66 words, 271 letters.
While the land is abundant and waiting to be occupied, it is desirable that most of the sons thus go up to new lands, and establish themselves on inheritances, instead of remaining to receive a portion of their fathers’. But, when duly qualified, it is preferable that the firstborn remain to inherit, because otherwise a younger brother wilt take precedence of him.
- Thus shall every man have an inheritance, or a portion, and they shall not be divided till they are too small for you. 23 words, 93 letters.
The distinction should ever be kept up between an inheritance and a portion. The inheritance is one and indivisible. All that inherit receive their portions in it, unless they choose to occupy it jointly. The division of an inheritance into portions is not desirable, when the whole house can agree in occupying it jointly. It is desirable to double up the portions, but they cannot go to strangers.
- If an inheritance have been divided, and one who hath a portion die leaving no child, or render it up to receive another, it shall not be given to a stranger to his house. It shall return to the head of the family to whom the inheritance pertaineth. 48 words, 197 letters.
- And if he die leaving no sons, but a daughter, and any of her kinsman who has also a portion of that inheritance take her to wife, he shall have her portion with her. 34 words, 129 letters.
Total—12 sec., 602 words, 2,437 letters.
CHAPTER XLIII: SOCIAL ORDER.
Thou shalt comfort thy neighbour when he mourns, and nurture him when he sickens:
thou shalt not abate the price of what thou buyest of him, for his necessity;
nor shalt thou exact of him, because he leaneth upon thee.
- THOU shalt not abide in the conversations of the ungodly; the corrupt desires of deceitful lusts; as an old man unchanged; but shalt be renewed in the spirit of thy mind; that thou be a new man; growing into the likeness of God’s perfections; born anew in righteousness and true holiness. 5l words, 230 letters.
- Put away lying: speak every man the truth to his neighbour; let no corrupt communication proceed out of thy mouth; but that which is good to edifying, and increasing faith; that it may minister grace to the hearers: grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, by which thou art sealed unto the day of redemption. 55 words, 241 letters.
- Put away anger, wrath, bitterness, and malice; and be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God forgiveth you; followers of God as dear children, walking together in love. 34 words, 161 letters.
- The first power over every child is the mother: the highest power in any household is the father of the family, the head of the house: to him let all give heed; but the Law is over all. 38 words, 143 letters.
- If the father die, his firstborn son is head in his stead: nevertheless in the dwelling, he shall not rule over his mother, nor the mother of his brother; he shall honour them all the days of his life. 39 words, 157 letters.
- Thou shalt honour thy father and thy mother all thy days: thou shalt not depart from them, nor rebel against them; but shalt abide with them, except they send thee away with a blessing; that thou mayest build them up, or, be established by thine own name. 47 words, 201 letters.
- But thou shalt seek to establish thy sons: thou shalt build them up with thee, or part them a portion of thine inheritance, as shall be meet, that they may grow up, and in their honour bring honour to thee. 40 words, 161 letters.
- And if thou have widows, or children, or servants, or any members of thy household, thou shalt provide for them according to their station, and thy possessions. If thou do it not, the King shall appoint them their
meat and their portion, as shall be just. 46 words, 201 letters.
- But the inheritance shall remain one; over it the firstborn shall have the highest dignity; and his portion shall be double: if any man having a portion, divideth it among his posterity, he need not to respect the firstborn: he shall do as seemeth him good. 46 words, 205 letters.
- If thy firstborn is not worthy to keep up the dignity of thy house, and thou wilt abase him, and exalt another in his stead, thou shalt bring him before the Judges at the judgmentseat of the city, and show what evil he hath done: and if thou clearly show that he is unworthy, and that the other is worthy, the Judges shall declare it: thou shalt abase him, and adopt the other: but if thou hast neglected to instruct him, and to restrain him, the Judges shall declare it: thou shalt not abase him; the sin be upon thy head. 101 words, 408 letters.
- Thou shalt not sell thy daughter: thou shalt in no case take a price for her in marriage: but thou shalt endow her of raiment, and goods, and flocks, according to thine ability; and thou shalt give her in marriage only to whom she loveth, and who is worthy:
thou shalt not give her to a stranger, nor to a despiser of this Law, nor to a blasphemer. 68 words, 270 letters.
- Every man may give a portion to his children, a dowery to his wives, and a possession to his servants, while he liveth; and except it is manifestly unjust, the Judge shall not change it after his death; as he determines it by his last blessing, so shall it be: if it be made sure before, it shall not be changed. 61 words, 242 letters.
- The Princes, and the Nobles who have a great possession for an inheritance, according to their dignity, shall reserve a portion according to his dignity to the firstborn: to their other sons shall they give portions as common men; but they shall seek rather to make Nobles of them all. 50 words, 230 letters.
- If a Nobleman or a Prince have servants, and they eat not their bread at his table, he shall appoint them their portions, in his inheritance, that they hunger not: upon his inheritance he shall be as a King to them; but he shall not exact more than a tenth of them, besides the tithing of all. 57 words, 229 letters.
- This is the law of the servant taken captive in war, and of the servant bought with money, and of the servant born in thy
house, and of him who cleaveth unto thee that thou mayest be a Prince and a Saviour unto him: he shall be unto thee next to thy child: and thou shalt seek to establish him; for his greatness is thy glory. 66 words, 254 letters.
- But if they be content to abide in his household, it is better: he shall appoint them their food, their raiment, and their habitation, in due season; and they shall labour in his shop, and his field, and with his flock; they shall share in all his toils, and in all his possessions, and he shall be a ruler over them: if they serve him, he shall not cast them off forever; but if he oppress them, and they flee from him, ye shall not return them to him, lest his hand be hard upon them. 96 words, 373 letters.
This Law does not justify slavery. The servitude is voluntary. Every servant can depart from oppression, at his will.
- And if the brethren or the neighbours of a Prince or a Nobleman join themselves unto him, he shall appoint unto them duty and reward, according to their rank, and ability, and faithfulness: in his household they shall be as sons; and with him, and with his heir, shall possess his inheritance, that they together, being strong, may wax exceedingly great. 61 words, 282 letters.
Total—17 sec., 956 words, 3,988 letters.
CHAPTER XLIV: HOUSEHOLD RELATIONS.
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: for in so doing thousands shall rise up and call thee blessed, and the Lord thy God shall strengthen thee in all the work of thy hand.
- THOU shalt be fruitful and multiply and replenish the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and subdue it:1 lest it be waste and desolate, and thy name be lost in the generations to come. 36 words, 150 letters.
- But all thy children shall be of thy wives: thou shalt not go after strange wo- men, for so should the land be corrupt under thy feet; an abhorring to the righteous; and thy children scattered abroad; and in the mixing of thy seed, is barrenness and desolation; the corruption of the flesh, and disease and anguish. 56 words, 249 letters.
- Though going after strange women is a great sin, the iniquity ought to be visited on the parents, rather than the children of fornication. The child by a strange woman is an heir; and if his father refuses to acknowledge him, may be affiliated.
- But the effect of indulgence in such sins is general corruption of the physical systems of the whole people. If persisted in, it would result in the extermination of any people.
[1 Gen. i, 28. ix, 1, 7. Lev. xxvi, 9. Ps. cxxvii, 3. cxxviii, 3, 6.
The unrestrained indiscriminate intercourse of the sexes, generally practiced, and to some extent justified, in Christian countries, diminishes by a full moiety the natural increase of the race, and greatly aggravates the diseases and all the miseries of life. Yet these evils every where accompany Monogamy.
- Thou shalt not marry thy mother,1 or thy daughter,2 in any line, to all generations: thou shalt not marry thy sister;3 or the daughter of thy sister or thy brother, or the sister of thy father or thy mother:4 thou shalt not marry a woman and her daughter to all generations.5 51 words, 212 letters.
- A man is equally forbidden to marry his father’s wife, as his mother; and his son’s wife, as his daughter; and whom he may not marry; to lie with her, is abominable incest. In either case the offence ought to be punished with dismemberment or death. But when there is a possibility that the accused is a victim of false witness, he ought to be spared these extreme penalties.
- Several instances are mentioned in the scriptures where men married their sisters, without any word of disapproval. But the words brother and sister are frequently used to signify any near of kin, and included cousins as well as brothers and sisters, in the modern sense. In some of these cases the relationship was by adoption, and not by blood, and therefore no obstruction to marriage. In no case does it appear that a servant of God married his sister by blood.
- Thou shalt not marry a virgin in infan-
[1 Lev. xviii, 7. Gen. xlix, 4. Lev. xx, 11. Deut. xxii, 30. xxvii, 20. Ezek. xxii, 10. Amos ii, 7. 1st Cor. v, 1. [2 Lev. xviii, 9. xx, 17. Ezek. xxii, 11. [3 Lev. xvili, 11. [4 Lev. xviii, 12, 13. xx, 19, 20. [5 Lev. xviii, 17. xx, 14.
tile sexual impotence; nor a dwarf, nor one hereditarily deformed, nor possessed of evil spirits, nor any one not clothed in her right mind: nor anyone thou lovest not, or who loveth not thee. 42 words, 183 letters.
- The period of life when marriage is proper varies much in different climates, and more or less in races, families, and individuals. As a general rule in medium latitudes sixteen years of age for males, and fourteen for females, has been determined on; but in equatorial regions a much earlier age is proper.
- Many modern writers justify marriages with dwarfs, hunchbacks, and other deformed persons. A corrupt sentimental feeling has been engendered in favour of such marriages, supported with the maxim that the marriage is not to the casket, but the soul within it. The person is not the casket; it is the soul. The clothes only are the casket. All that lives is soul; and it is that which is married. To marry such, is to perpetuate their monstrosity.
- The children of insane parentage are eminently subject to that infirmity. The children of hating or even of indifferent parents, are cold hearted and ill tempered; on the whole, have inferiour intellects; and are more subject to idiocy. Most idiots are begotten in anger.
- It is singular that in times when so much pains is taken to improve the breeds and raise the best stocks of animals, there is so general an indifference about the breed of men; such an entire disregard of the difference in stocks, and of all the means of improving them.
- Men are exceedingly careful of the sires of their pigs, lambs, calves, colts, and mules, that they be of the best phys-
ical form; but will give their daughters in marriage to miserably misformed men, to be the sires of their grandchildren.
- The same means which will improve a breed of cattle, will improve a race of men; and it is worthy of note that intellectual and moral as well as material qualities run with the race. Consequently any race may be improved by crossing the best stocks upon the best, having respect to intellectual and moral as well as material development, and giving the progeny superiour culture. Against such advantages wealth is a shadow.
- In the struggle of human passions it would not be safe to take the same remedy against a debased race, as is taken in the animal world. The temptation to partiality and injustice is too great. But there are certain springs of human action, which, when brought into healthy exercise, will work a more effectual cure.
- If a man possessed of every excellence may marry a number of wives, and raise a multitude of children; if a woman of superiour endowments may choose the father of her children among the best of men, without disgrace to herself, or stain upon them, the superiour will not consort with the degraded.
- Under a system which forbids woman to propose marriage, she is left to take up with such as offer, whether worthy or not, or go barren. And as more men than women prefer solitary lives, in the main they are obliged to mate with men inferiour to themselves. The uncertainty of ever receiving another offer, induces many a woman to mate herself with a man whom it requires an effort not to despise.
- Relieve woman of this embarrassment, by such a system that men who are suitable to be the fathers of the next generation, may have several wives; restore the sentiment
that a multitude of children are a crown of glory to an old man; and every comely, virtuous and intellectual woman will refuse marriage till she can mate with one equal or superiour to herself; leaving men of ill temper, immoral habits, ignorance, sensuality and corrupt flesh to connect with vile women, or go childless to their graves. There is, on earth, no redemption for man short of this.
- Thou shalt not take unto thee a multitude of wives disproportioned to thy inheritance, and thy substance: nor shalt thou take wives to vex those thou hast; neither shalt thou put away one to take another. 36 words, 165 letters.
Every man having a wife, and seeking another, ought to consult the wishes of the former. But she cannot interpose an absolute veto. If her objection is in any degree well founded, it ought to prevail; but if it is merely captious, or capricious, the Judges would not sustain it. It is better not to press an objection which her husband is not satisfied with, unless it is really a strong one, founded in a legal obstacle, or a positive unfitness. But any objection from a good wife should weigh greatly with her husband.
- Thou shalt not put away thy wife but for adultery: the adulteress is abominable; she shall be given to the corruptions of the flesh, that her belly may swell and her thigh rot; and that she be a warning and a proverb: if she repent in dust and ashes for a long time, thou mayest forgive her; yet is she not thy wife: if thou wilt take her, thou shalt marry her again. 73 words, 285 letters.
- Thou shalt not lie with the wife of thy neighbour; for it is an abomination: neither shalt thou take her to wife; she cannot be thine: if he stone thee to death, no man shall hinder: thou shalt not be avenged; what he doeth he shall do speedily. 48 words, 190 letters.
- Thou shalt give thy daughter in marriage while she is yet young: if thou give her not till she has been six years potent, she may give herself in marriage: thou shalt not prevent her. 35 words, 145 letters.
At the age of twenty years a daughter has a right to give herself in marriage, without her father’s consent. He ought not to withhold to give her at an earlier age to a worthy man, whom she loves, because not the man of his choice; and at that age she ought to seek his consent, though not concluded by his refusal.
- Thou shalt take a wife to thy son, while he is yet young; yet not in his infantile impotence: thou shalt take for him one that he loveth, and who loveth him; if thou doest it not, when he hath been seven years potent he may take one to himself: thou shalt not prevent him. 55 words, 210 letters.
- It is a father’s duty to seek to get his sons well married, soon after they are sixteen years old. He may restrain them from improper marriages, till they are twentythree. But to refuse to allow a son to take one wife, who was not liable to any just and well founded objections, down till he was twen-
tythree years old, would be so gross an abuse of parental authority, as to justly call for the interposition of the Judges.
- The power of the parents over the marriages of their children, is a conservative power. They ought not to make their matches; only to aid them in proper, and restrain them of improper unions. As this power ceases early in life, and is ever subject to the supervision of the Judges, to prevent its use for malicious and selfish purposes, it cannot work any very serious grievances.
- And if thou covenant or promise to marry a woman or a virgin, thou shalt not break thy covenant; thou shalt not draw back from thy promise: and if thou lie with one, and she conceive seed of thee, thou shalt take her to wife; thou shalt not bring her shame upon her: if thou dost her brethren shall stone thee, and none shall deliver thee; and yet thou shalt be judged for thy faithlessness: if she be not of thy rank, and her brethren fear thee, the hand of the Elders shall be against thee: thou shalt not corrupt the poor, nor bring shame upon them. 107 words, 430 letters.
- A covenant or promise to marry is a betrothal. It is not in the nature of a commercial contract, and the breach of it cannot be compensated in money. In most cases, if a man is disposed to rid himself of the engagement, it is better to release him; but it is a matter of the heart, which every woman must judge for herself. If she insists, and he cannot show good cause against her, he should be punished accor-
ding to the magnitude of the offence, and put under interdict against marrying at all, until the offence is purged.
- But if a man will lie with a woman, and beget seed upon her, he is under obligation to his child and to society to marry her. He cannot object that she is unworthy, for any less cause than will justify putting away. At worst she is as fit to be his companion, as the mother of his children.
- If thy brother have an inheritance, and die leaving a wife, but no seed, thou shalt take her to wife, and raise up seed to thy brother, that his name be not lost among the people: thou shalt possess the inheritance with her, till the seed be grown up to possess it. If he had but a portion, it shall be thine, and the seed also. If she love thee not, or thou wilt not take her, this right goeth to the next kinsman; but no one shall take the inheritance or portion without her. 95 words, 368 letters.
- Moreover, if thou takest a widow in marriage, and she have been joined to another forever, thou shalt only take her for life; and it shall be expressly determined whose the seed is; whether thine, or his whose widow she is. 41 words, 176 letters.
- If thou marry a wife having children, and they have no father in the Kingdom, and she bring them to thee, they are thine: thou shalt receive them, and establish them. 31 words, 130 letters.
- If thou marry a wife, and she is the first representative in the faith of her progenitors and near relatives, in the redemption of the dead they shall be hers; she shall bring them to thee: if thou obtain a royal Priesthood, they shall be thine in the dominion forever: thou shalt raise them up in the last day, to increase the glory of thy Kingdom. 66 words, 276 letters.
- If a woman or a virgin obtain a good report through faith, and is chosen of God a Prince and a Ruler, she shall have an inheritance appointed to her, with her husband or her brethren, that she may possess it, and her children with her, and that she may rule over all her house.55 words, 216 letters.
Total—15 sec., 827 words, 3,385 letters.
Such a woman would stand at the head of her house, precisely as a man stands at the head of his, having her own distinct inheritance, and retaining her own name, and naming it upon her children. Her children would inherit from her, but not her husband or any other of his children. He would have little to do with her, except to be the father of her children; and would possess his own separate inheritance. Miriam and Deborah are examples.
- Polygamy has existed from the earliest ages. (Gen. iv, 19.) It is often mentioned in the sacred oracles, and never
spoken against. The absence of prohibition will not, as a general rule, amount to a justification. But as this institution began in the life time of Adam, and, with a single exception, has continued with most nations through all time, until this present; as it was practiced by a large number of the Patriarchs and Prophets, and favoured servants of God; the fact that it is not spoken against, raises a very strong presumption that God looks upon it with favour.
- It is not however left to rest on presumption, or any doubtful construction. Its sanctity is a matter of distinct divine testimony. Nor is it true, as many have said, that Polygamy is permitted in the Old Testament, but prohibited in the New. It is required by the Old, and not forbidden by the New Testament; and though the Book of Mormon interdicts it in the case of the Nephites, (Jacob i, 4. ii, 6,) the interdict is expressly stated to be in consequence of general corruptions which prevented the well working of the institution, and not that it was itself noxious; and makes the express reservation that in a future day God will institute Polygamy anew, as the means of raising up a holy seed.
- In the Commandments which God gave to Moses, concerning the conquest of Midian, they were required to exterminate all the males, but to preserve the women children alive. (Num. xxxi, 15-18, 40, 46, 47.) Now the Commandment requires all, men and women, to be fruitful and multiply. (Gen. i, 28. ix, 1, 7. Lev. xxvi, 9.) By means of war many men in Israel perished, leaving an excess of women. Here was an addition of sixteen thousand women, whom the men of Israel had to take for wives, beyond the excess of women in Israel. Without Polygamy, it was impossible to find husbands for so many.
- The whole course of the Law given by Moses, assumes
the existence of Polygamy as a legal institution, and provides for the relative rights of the wives and their children, forbidding diminishing the substance of one wife, when he takes another, (Ex. xxi, 10,) or preferring the son of a favourite wife by giving him the double portion that pertains to the firstborn, when he is not firstborn. (Deut. xxi, 15.)
- In practice God has in many ways sanctioned Polygamy by bestowing great blessings on the parties to such marriages, and upon their posterity. Abraham had two wives; Sarah and Hagar. Though Hagar was only a servant, and never being exalted to the dignity of her husband, is called a concubine; that is, a servant wife; her son Ishmael was highly blessed, and received great and glorious promises as an heir to Abraham. (Gen. xvi, 12. xvii, 20. xxi, 13, 18.)
- Jacob had four wives; two taking rank with him, and two servant women, who are therefore called concubines. By the Law of Monogamy, which prevails in most Christian countries, Leah alone was his lawful wife. Yet God regarded the sons of Rachel, Zilpha and Bilhah as legitimate sons, and made them all Patriarchs, and heirs to Jacob’s authority and his favour with God. Joseph, Rachel’s son, who, according to the Christian of modern days, was a bastard, God established as the firstborn, and chief of the Patriarchs.
- In these cases Polygamy has every mark of God’s approbation, both by its being pursued uncondemned by men whose daily walk was guided by the word of God, and by their receiving peculiar and especial blessings which they could not otherwise have attained to.
- But there was a Law in the days of the Patriarchs, reiterated by Moses and enforced in Israel in later ages, which required that when a man died, leaving a wife and no sons, his next brother should take the wife and raise up seed to his
deceased brother. This requisition was upon him equally, whether married or not. But if unmarried, it became necessary that he should marry a wife to raise up seed to himself, lest in preserving his brother’s name he should blot out his own. (Gen. xxxviii, 7-10. Deut. xxv, 5, 6. Ruth iv, 5-10.)
- In these cases Polygamy became a positive duty, enforced by direct Commandment, as well as by the great principles of the Law of God. As often as a man obtained an inheritance, and died without posterity, it became a duty that one of his kindred have two wives; one to perpetuate his own name, and the other to perpetuate that of his kinsman.
- If it is objected that this Law grew out of the Law of Inheritances, the rule will not be changed thereby; for it did not begin with the peculiar policy of Israel as a nation; and the Law of Inheritances, with which it is connected, is perpetual.
- Nor will it avail to say that in these cases he is not the real husband of the wife of his deceased brother, but only a proxy for the deceased; for it is equally Polygamy during life. But if it be yielded that marriage concerns the everlasting life, quite as much as this mortal, then it follows that every one who is truly married to several successive wives, will, in the immortal life, be a Polygamist.
- As the reason of the Law in these cases was the necessity of heirs to possess the inheritance, and to keep up the name of him who first received it; there are equal reasons in favour of Polygamy in every case when he who has an inheritance is childless, and his wife barren. And if there is a well grounded fear that the posterity may not survive to future generations, the same reasons have more or less force.
- Gideon, who seems to have had the favour of God be-
fore all the Judges from Joshua to Samuel, had seventy sons, the children of many wives. (Jud. viii, 30.) In the fragments which have survived to us of the history of those times, it is impossible to know to what extent Polygamy prevailed. Of most men named, we do not know whether they had any wife. But it is remarkable that of all the great and good men of whose families we know anything, a very large majority had more than one wife.
- In the case of David, God approbates Polygamy on a large scale, in the most distinct and emphatick manner. David, before he came to the Kingdom, had married Michal, the daughter of Saul, (1st Sam. xviii, 27. 2d Sam. iii, 13,) Abigal, the widow of Nabal, (1st Sam. xxv, 42,) and Ahinoam, of Jezreel. (id. xxx, 5. 2d Sam. ii, 2.)
- Yet with these three wives, on the death of Saul, God gave his wives to David, to take them to his bosom. (2d Sam. xii, 8.) How many wives Saul had, does not clearly appear; but whatever the number was, God gave them to a man who had three already, and declared his willingness to give him more. And David, fully assured of God’s approbation, when he came from Hebron to Jerusalem, took more wives and concubines. (id. v, 13.) In all this, David is nowhere condemned; but in the matter of Uriah’s wife, he is punished with great severity, (id. xi, 3, 4. xii, 10, 11,) be- cause in the mind of God, taking another man’s wife was adultery and robbery, but Polygamy was lawful. God commanded Hosea to marry two wives. (Hosea i, 2. iii.)
- In the face of such facts, it is doing violence to the word of God, to say that Polygamy was only suffered. It is hardly possible that God should give any further evidence of his approval of it. And there is nothing in all the scriptures to make a different rule, or to alter the force of the argument
in favour of this. The clear intention is to approve of it.
- The oft repeated assertion, that Polygamy is abolished in the New Testament, has no truth in it. There is not a text found in the book which justifies the assertion. Some have said that the language, “They twain shall be one flesh,” forbade the idea of more than one wife. But when it is considered that they are not one flesh in their own persons, but in the persons of their children, who are flesh of the flesh of both father and mother, it will appear that those words are just as applicable to Polygamick as Monogamick families; the true sense of the words being that a man beget children on his wife, and no other woman. In fact, his child, begotten on any other woman, is the flesh of they twain; but God has not joined them, and they sin in joining.
- The injunction that a Bishop shall be the husband of one wife, (1st Tim. iii, 2,) has been frequently offered as evidence that God disapproved of Polygamy. This is absurd. The rule is not that he shall be the husband of but one, but that he shall be the husband of one.
- But if we were to so construe the language as to forbid a Bishop having more than one wife, the limitation of the interdict to Bishops would clearly imply that other men might lawfully have more than one wife. Unless the general rule was, that men might have more than one wife, there could be no occasion to say Bishops should not.
- Indeed, such seems to be the understanding of this text by the most enlightened of those Christians who understand that it limits a Bishop to one wife. For the Christian Missionaries who have instituted Christianity among the Pagan nations of India, receive members into their Churches who have more than one living wife, and allow them to continue to cohabit with them; such members being admitted to all the
privileges of the Church, but not allowed to hold any office.*
- It is also an unquestioned fact in history that Polygamy existed in the Apostolick Church.** The celibacy of the Clergy and the Monogamy of the laity exist on the same foundation; the authority of the Roman Catholick Church.
- And it is worthy of observation that Polygamy was nowhere abolished upon the authority of the divine Law, but either by Canon or by Statute. Indeed, it was not really abolished at all. Legitimate marriages of the Clergy were abolished, but they were allowed to keep unmarried female companions, and, in many countries, those who had them, had an extra allowance from the Church for their support.
- And, notwithstanding the general prohibition of Polygamy, it exists in fact, though not in Law, in all Christian countries. Kings whose marriages are governed by State
* Now what shall be done in respect to such persons (Polygamists) when they give credible evidence of personal piety, and seek admission into the Christian Church? No case of this kind occurred in my own missionary experience. But some cases have occurred in India, and this difficulty will occur in numerous instances in the progress of the gospel. The subject will also have the consideration and decision of the highest authority, ecclesiastical and judicial, in India and England. My opinion is that the general practice in missions in respect to such cases will be as follows: When any man who has more than one wife to whom he has been legally married, wishes to be admitted into the Christian Church, he will be required to make a free and full statement of his domestick relations. He will be permitted to retain his marital connection with all his wives and his parental relation to all his children, subject to the discipline of the Church for the proper government of his household. Whether he may or may not cohabit with his different wives will be left, I believe, entirely to him and to them, to act according to their views of duty.—[INDIA, ANCIENT AND MODERN. Geographical, Historical, Political, Social, and Religious; with a Particular Account of the State and Prospects of Christianity. By DAVID O. ALLEN, D. D., Missionary of the American Board for twenty five years in India, etc.; pp. 553-4.]
**The Calcutta Missionary Conference. (representing Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Congregationalists) consisting of the Missionaries or the various Societies which have Missionaries in that vicinity, after frequent consultations and much consideration on the subject of Polygamy, as it exists in India, were unanimous in the following conclusion: If a convert before becoming a Christian has married more wives than one, in accordance with the practice of the Jewish and Primitive Christian Churches, he shall be permitted to keep them all; but such a person is not eligible to any office in the Church.—[INDIA, ANCIENT AND MODERN, etc.; p. 601]
reasons, generally use the privilege of taking one or more wives, to whom they are not married strictly according to Law, who are, nevertheless, in no sense under the imputation of unchastity, and numerous citizens followed their example.
- Not only have Christian writers of the highest rank justified these departures from the rule of Monogamy, but many of them have defended Polygamy, as the preferable and more moral institution. Luther, Melancthon, and the chief authors of the Protestant Reformation, gave Polygamy their express sanction in favour of the Landgrave of Hesse,* and numerous Protestants defended it as scriptural.
- And if Polygamy does not exist in most Protestant countries now as a legal institution, that fact is attributable to statute, and not to the discipline of the Churches. Very few if any of them have one word in their disciplines, which discountenances Polygamy in any way whatever.
- And that their testimony is not against Polygamy as a godly institution, but only against violating the law of the State, appears in this: the New Testament allows of divorce only for adultery. (Matt xix, 8, 9.) Yet when a Christian man has obtained a divorce for some other cause, which is no cause by the Law of God, and marries a second wife, the first being by the Law of God just as much his wife as she ever was, they receive him into their communion, just as before.
- In peaceable times Polygamy would naturally limit itself to a very few cases, because most men desire marriage. But as in all settled communities a considerable number more of women than men desire to marry, there is always a necessity of Polygamy, that they may obtain husbands.
*His wife was illtempered, and a drunkard, and he laid his case before the Theologians of Wittemburg. By an official determination, they allowed him to take another, though he could not divorce her; but asked him to keep the second marriage secret. Two of Luther’s letters, of an earlier date, allow Polygamy to be scriptural. (Michelet’s Life of Luther.)
- The excess of women seeking marriage, gives to men an undue advantage in obtaining companions for life. Every man who desires a wife can get one, but many women must fail. As a consequence many women are led to make very unequal matches, in despair of a better opportunity; and others, whose greatest joy it would have been to surround themselves with a numerous posterity, waste their solitary lives on pet birds and kittens, rather than bear children to corrupt and degraded sires; who, had Polygamy existed to a very limited extent, would have been the mothers of eminent sons.
- Many of the most eminent statesmen and scholars of modern times have died childless, or left only bastard children of degraded women, and slaves; who, had Polygamy been reputable, would, like the Patriarchs, have transmitted their virtues and their greatness to a numerous posterity.
- And as the lowest order of intellect is most prolifick, unless some means is adopted of increasing the progeny of intellectual men, and securing that progeny from mothers of eminent talents, superiour virtues, and healthy persons, the effort to elevate the masses will be counteracted by the vast disproportion in the posterity of elevated and degraded.
- That means is Polygamy; which will elevate the human race by making it possible for every virtuous woman, capable of bearing healthy, intelligent children, and exercising such selfcontrol that she can spend her days in love and kindness, with others like herself, to bear children to men possessed of every moral and intellectual excellence; and leaving jealous, envious, and petulent women, who cannot endure that a sister shall be beloved by the same husband, to pair themselves off with those of like disposition, or with such as have inferiour intellects, or bodies wasted upon strange women, or are infirm from hereditary corruptions.
- Polygamy elevates man, by giving him more blessings in well doing, a higher reward for a faithful and virtuous life, a more numerous posterity to perpetuate his fame, and inherit his honours, and virtuous and intellectual society as the reward only of a well regulated life, and the devotion of superiour intellect to the publick service. It elevates woman, by making her man’s companion, instead of a piece of furniture in the house as some, or a domestick drudge, as others are; by bringing marriage and suitable companionship in the reach of all; and making so many opportunities of a happy settlement in life, that an amiable and virtuous young woman cannot fail of finding an affectionate and worthy husband.
- Under the Law of Monogamy, it is evident that matches are made with trifling regard to fitness. Women can have next to no choice. But men have little inducement to discriminate, and less to see to the proper ordering of their households, so as to make good wives of suitable women. If a woman, otherwise unexceptionable, is petulent and subject to violent outbursts of temper, her husband, expecting to have no other wife, may indulge her, rather than assume the unpleasant task of applying a correction. In the end his house becomes a bedlam, and his children are reared in the midst of a tempest. It is no wonder that his prayer is, that they be few; nor that many such seek quiet dalliance with unchaste women; or, with blasted hopes, waste their intellects over intoxicating potations.
- Such a one, believing that a multitude of children were a crown of glory to an old man, and looking to the reward of a long and virtuous life, in a numerous posterity, all established in the affections of the people he served, would feel the necessity of curbing in himself, and in all his house, that illtemper which would render such a reward impossible.
- It is common to hear Polygamy spoken against, as, at best, licensed lust. With many, indeed with all who make carnal iudulgence the chief end, marriage is no less. But such are always opposed to Polygamy. If such a man seeks variety, Polygamy is too expensive. If he does not, one woman is sufficient; and will at the same time serve either as mistress of his house, or domestick drudge.
- It is only men who seek congenial companionship in life, and children in their own images to live after them, who are willing to charge themselves with the care of several wives, and the government of great households; subjecting themselves to that rigid mental discipline which is necessary to keep proper order, and cultivate all the social virtues in such a family. The blindest can see that the carnal mind can find easier and cheaper modes of indulgence in unbridled lust.
- The fact that houses of prostitution are unknown in countries where Polygamy prevails, while they exist everywhere in Monogamick countries, and cannot be suppressed, ought to put to shame those who object to Polygamy on the score of chastity. And, the further fact, that where Polygamy prevails, adultery is exceedingly rare, and in Monogamick countries so common as to scarcely call for a passing remark, should cause such objectors to seal their lips.
- But however men may declaim against Polygamy in this life, all who attain to the life everlasting, will, in the presence of God, dwell with it forever. For Polygamick Abraham, and Jacob, whose seed we are by the adoption of faith, if we attain to that estate, and Gideon, David, and Solomon, will be there, and their wives, the mothers of Patriarchs, Princes and Prophets with them; who were joined to them in the mortal, and will not be sundered from them in the everlasting life.
CHAPTER XLV: HIGHWAYS.
Thou shalt not turn aside from relieving thy neighbour.
- THE Seas, and Lakes, and Rivers where men can pass in boats and vessels of any kind, are the highways of the nations: thou mayest travel them: no man shall hinder. 31 words, 127 letters.
- Deserts, and forests, and waste places are also highways for the people: thou mayest pass over them, and none shall prevent thee. 22 words, 103 letters.
- The King may make great roads from city to city, and wheresoever the good of his people requires them, either by land or by water. 25 words, 103 letters.
- The King shall appoint Elders, discreet men to keep his highways, and to receive tribute of those that use them, that there may be money to make and preserve them forever. 31 words, 137 letters.
- The King may also grant unto others to make highways, and to receive tribute for the use of them, that they may be recompensed for the labour they have done: they shall not
be oppressive in their charges: the King shall restrain them according to justice. 46 words, 205 letters.
- The King shall appoint Elders in all the cities, and towns, and villages, to establish, make and preserve roads in all the country round about, as his people have need. 30 words, 133 letters.
- The King shall grant unto them a portion of the tithing of his people for the making of roads for the common use of all, without cost, that nothing obstruct you in your travels. 34 words, 141 letters.
- The King’s highway shall be made in the best place, and no man shall hinder; it is for all the people to pass over. But in making roads the Elders shall spare every man’s inheritance, unless the necessity for crossing it be very great. 44 words, 185 letters.
As much as possible, highways and roads ought to be so located, that inheritances will head upon them on both sides, narrow in front, and deep back.
- In the cities, and towns, and villages, ye shall make streets, and lanes, and alleys, with sidewalks, and crosswalks. 19 words, 91 letters.
- And in the highways, and roads, and streets, ye shall plant trees, and shrubs, and grass, and they shall be pleasant and beautiful. 23 words, 102 letters.
Total—10 sec., 305 words, 1,327 letters.
CHAPTER XLVI: TITHING.
Thou shalt maintain thy neighbour’s right.
- OF all the fruit of your fields, and the increase of your flocks, a tenth shall you render to the house of the Lord your God,1 and the treasury of the King; that the Priest who administers in holy things, and the servants of the King, who rule in righteousness, may eat bread, and the land yield her increase. 59 words, 241 letters.
- Tithing of crops is payable as often as crops are harvested, whether in whole, or in part; and no one has a right to the crop until the tithing is paid, or set out for that purpose; and to use it as his own, would be the same offence as stealing. When set out, he is bound to take care of it till it is duly delivered.
- The tithing of crops is payable in the same condition in which they are harvested. Cereal grains need not to be thrashed, nor corn to be husked. In general, it is required of those who raise the crops, to deliver the tithing at the place of collection. Those who have no teams are excused removing heavy articles.
- Tithing of horses and cattle is payable, the tenth animal, at three years old; of sheep and hogs, at one year old; of fowls, generally, at six months old. It matters not wheth-
[1. Lev. xxvii, 30, 32. Deut. xii, 6. xiv, 22. xxvi, 12. 2d Chron. xxxi, 5. Neh. x, 37. xii, 44. Mal, iii, 8. Luke xi, 42. Heb. vii. 5, 6, 8, 9.
er it is superiour or inferiour, the tenth, or the choice of the flock the year which produces the tenth, is the tithing.
- If animals are sold or marketed before that age, the tithing must be commuted, and then onefifth is added to the value. (Lev. xxvii, 31.) But if any change is made to give a poorer one for tithing, both it and that received in exchange are taken. (id. 33.) These forfeitures are not for the purpose of increasing the tithing, but to prevent frauds.
- If ye do not these things, the Priest shall fail to instruct you and your children: the order of God’s house shall be forgotten; and the servants of the King shall forget the Law, and judge for hire, and righteousness shall cease. Then shall wickedness be in the midst of you, and oppression come upon you. 56 words, 242 letters.
- Moreover, the King shall send his servants to demand of you, and they shall exact that which ye have withheld, and shall wrest it from you with increase; and if ye resist them, ye shall be spoiled. 37 words, 155 letters.
- Of all the spoil which you take from your enemies, a tenth shall ye render to the house of the Lord your God, and the treasury of the King:1 that he who administers in holy things may remember you before God, and the King’s arm may deliver you. 48 words, 190 letters.
- If ye do not this, ye shall not go out
[1 Gen. xiv, 16, 20.
with a blessing, and ye shall flee before your enemies, and none shall deliver you. 25 words, 94 letters.
- Moreover, the King shall lift his hand against you, and shall buffet you, and from you shall he take the spoil; and if ye remove it from him, he shall spoil you. 32 words, 124 letters.
- When you labour not in these things, yet onetenth of your time shall you consecrate to the Lord your God, and shall labour for the house of the Lord your God, and for the treasury of the King, according to your skill, and your cunning, and your art, and you shall not withhold; that a place for God to dwell among you may not be wanting, and the work of the King may not fail, and that you may possess abundantly fields, flocks, and habitations. 85 words, 348 letters.
- Tithing of butter, cheese, eggs, and numerous mixed productions of agriculture and industry, is payable from time to time, as they are brought to a suitable condition for use.
- No general rule can be laid down for the payment of tithing on the products of industry, beyond that which requires a tenth. When it can be paid in labour, it is easy to determine the amount, and it ought to be paid every tenth working day, or the tithing for a quarter year at one time, early in the quarter. A tenth of all is due in some form.
- If ye do not these things, ye shall not prosper in the work of your hands, and poverty shall be in your dwellings. 23 words, 89 letters.
- Moreover, the King shall take your goods and your substance from you, to recompense what you have defrauded the house of the Lord, and the treasury of the King, with increase. And if ye obstinately defraud in these things, ye shall be beaten with stripes. 45 words, 204 letters.
When increase is taken, it shall be onefifth the tithing, (Lev, xxvii, 31,) and the charges of the officer for collecting the same.
- And whosoever cometh into the Kingdom, a tenth of all he possesses shall he give for the establishment of the Kingdom, and for its increase, that he may have an everlasting inheritance therein. 33 words, 157 letters.
- And until he do this, no inheritance shall be given unto him, and he shall not wax rich in goods. 20 words, 75 letters.
- Moreover, the King shall send his servants to take a tenth from him, with increase; and then the King, remembering his children, shall grant an inheritance unto him: but his obstinacy shall surely be remembered. 35 words, 170 letters.
Total—12 sec., 493 words. 2,089 letters.
Tithing should be settled quarterly, at the Solstices, and Equinoxes, and the settlement recorded. Remittances of tithing are made to the needy liberally; but they are not allowed to withhold, because in want, till remitted.
CHAPTER XLVII: PAYMENT OF DEBTS.
Thou shalt do no injustice to thy neighbour.
- THOU shalt pay what thou owest: thou shalt not refuse it: and if thou refuse, the Judge or the Elder shall send a Deacon, and he shall take of thy substance, and pay him whom thou owest. 37 words, 144 letters.
- If thy neigbbour oweth thee, and is poor, thou shalt have compassion on him, and shalt not oppress him; but if he will not pay thee, or if he trespass on thee, or do thee wrong, thou shalt admonish him; if he hear thee not, thou shalt take with thee one or two neighbours, and shalt labour faithfully with him to do thee justice: if he will not hear them, thou shalt lay thy testimonies at the judgmentseat, and the Elder or Judge who judgeth, shall hear thee and him also; and he shall judge between thee and thy neighbour: and whosoever will not hear him, he shall send the Deacon to execute his judgment. 115 words, 475 letters.
- But if thy neighbour seek to defraud thee, or to do thee violence, or if he have
done thee violence, thou mayest bring the matter to the judgmentseat before thou admonish him: the Elder or the Judge shall judge between thee and him. 43 words, 185 letters.
- If thy neighbour hath not the very thing to pay thee that he promised, and be poor, thou shalt have compassion on him, and shalt take what he hath; but thou shalt not make him quite naked. 37 words, 147 letters.
- Thou shalt not lend to thy neighbour that is poor, on usury: thou shalt aid him, and strengthen him, and not oppress him: neither shalt thou keep his garment in pledge till morning: thou shalt return it to him. 39 words, 165 letters.
- Thou shalt not defraud the labourer of his hire: thou shalt not keep his wages till the darkness, lest he return not to his home, and his children have no bread; and their cry ascend to God against thee: if he testify to thee that they lack nothing, then shall he wait on thee, as thou shalt agree. 58 words, 233 letters.
Total—6 sec., 329 words, 1,349 letters.
Grand total—47 ch., 332 sec., 16,865 words, 71,538 letters.
The object of the Law is not so much to collect debts of the poor; for if honest, they will pay willingly as fast as they are able; and if dishonest, ought not to be trusted; but of the rich, whom others trust of necessity, and do not always find honest; also, to redress frauds and trespasses.