The Essential Joseph Smith
Foreword by Marvin S. Hill
“We Have again the Warning Voice Sounded in Our Midst,” A Sermon Delivered on 20 March 1842
(from Scott G. Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9 vols.
[Midvale, Utah: Signature Books, 1983-85], 2:159-63)
[p.154]The Speaker [Joseph Smith] read the 14 ch[apter]. Revelations, And sayes “we have again the warning voice sounded in our midst which shows the uncertainty of human life. And in my leasure moments I have meditated upon the subject, & asked the question[,] Why is it that infant innocent Children are taken away from us, esspecially those that seem to be most intelligent beings?”
Answer. “This world is a vary wicked world & it is a proverb that the world grow weaker & wiser, but if it is the case the world grows more wicked & corrupt. In the early ages of the world[,] A richeous man & a man of God & intelligence had a better chance to do good to be received & believed than at the present day. But in these days such a man is much opposed & persecuted by most of the inhabitants of the earth & he has much sorrow to pass through. Hence the Lord takes many away even in infancy that they may escape the envy of man, the sorrows & evils of this present world & they were two pure & to[o] lovly to live on Earth. Therefore if rightly considered, instead of morning we have reason to rejoice, as they are deliverd from evil & we shall soon have them again.
What chance is their for infidelity when we are parting with our friends almost daily? None at all. The infidel will grasp at evry straw for help untill death stares him in the face & then his infidelity takes its flight[;] for the realities of the eternal world are resting upon him in mighty power & when evry earthly support & prop fails him, he then sensibly feels the eternal truths of the immortality of the Soul.
Also the doctrin of Baptizing Children or sprinkling them or they must welter in Hell is a doctrin not true not supported in Holy writ & is not consistant with the character of God. The moment that Children leave this world they are taken to the bosom of Abraham. The [p.155]ownly difference between the old & young dying is one lives longer in heaven & Eternal light & glory than the other & was freed a little sooner from this miserable wicked world. Notwithstanding all this glory we for a moment loose sight of it & mourn the loss but we do not mourn as those without hope.
(We should take warning & not wait for the death bed to repent.) As we see the infant taken away by death, so may the youth & middle aged as well as the infant suddenly be called into eternity. Let this then proove as a warning to all not to procrastinate repentance or wait till a death bed, for it is the will of God that man should repent & serve him in health & in the strength & power of his mind in order to secure his blessings & not wait untill he is called to die.
“My intention (says the speaker) was to have treated upon the subject of Baptism. But having a case of death before us, I thought it proper to refer to that subject. I will now however say a few words upon Baptism as intended.[“]
God has made certain decreas which are fixed & unalterable. For instance God set the sun, the moon, the stars in the heavens, & [has] given them their laws conditions, & bounds which they cannot pass except by his command. They all move in perfect harmony in there sphere & order & are as wonders, lights & signs unto us. The sea also has its bounds which it cannot pass. God has set many signs in the earth as well as in heaven. For instance the oaks of the forest the fruit of the tree, the herd of the field all bear a sign that seed hath been planted there. For it is a decree of the Lord that evry tree fruit or herb bearing seed should bring forth after its kind & cannot Come forth after any other law or principle.
Upon the same principle do I contend that Baptism is a sign, ordained of God for the believer in Christ to take upon himself in order to enter into the kingdom of God. “For except you are born of the water & the spirit you cannot enter into the kingdom of God,[“] saith the Savior. As It is a sign or command which God hath set for man to enter into this[,] those who seek to enter in any other way will seek in vain, for God will not receive them neither will the angels acknowledge their works as accepted, for they have not taken upon themselves those ordinances & signs which God ordained for man to receive in order to receive a celestial glory, & God has decreed that all who will not obey his voice shall not escape the damnation of hell. What is the damnation of hell? To go with that society who have not obeyed his commands.
[p.156]Baptism is a sign to God, to Angels to heaven that we do the will of God & their is no other way beneath the heavens whareby God hath ordained for man to come & any other cource is in vain. God hath decreed & ordained that man should repent of all his sins & Be Baptized for the remission of his sins. Then he can come to God in the name of Jesus Christ in faith. Then we have the promise of the Holy Ghost.
What is the sign of the healing of the sick? The laying on of hands is the sign or way marked out by James & the custom of the ancient saints as ordered by the Lord & we Should not obtain the blessing by persuing any other course except the way which God has marked out.
What if we should attempt to get the Holy Ghost through any other means except the sign or way which God hath appointed? Should we obtain it? Certainly not. All other means would fail. The Lord says do so & so & I will bless so & so. Their is certain key words & signs belonging to the priesthood which must be observed in order to obtaine the Blessings.
The sign of Peter was, to repent & be baptized for the remission of Sins, with the promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost & in no other way is the gift of the Holy Ghost obtained.
Their is a difference between the Holy Ghost & the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was Baptized which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the gospel. But he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost untill after he was Baptized, & had he not taken this sign or [or]dinances upon him the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God would have left him untill he obeyed these ordinances & received the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands according to the order of God. He could not have healed the sick or command an evil spirit to come out of a man & it obey him for the spirit might say to him as he did to the sons of Seavy[,] Peter I know & Christ I know but who are ye?
It matereth not whether we live long or short after we come to a knowledge of the principles & obey them. I know that all men will be damned if they do not come in the way which God has appointed.
As Concerning the resurrection I will merly say that all men will come from the grave as they lie down, whether old or young. Their will not be added unto ther stature one cubit neither taken from it All being raised by the power of God having the spirit of God in their bodies & not Blood. Children will be enthroned in the presence of [p.157]God & the Lamb with bodies of the same stature that were on earth. Having been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb they will there enjoy a fulness of that light Glory & intelligence which is received in the celestial kingdom of God. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for they rest from their labours & their works do follow them.[“]