The Essential Orson Pratt
Foreword by David J. Whittaker
“The Pre-Existence of Man” —An Excerpt
(from The Seer I [July 1853]: 101-104; 1 [August 1853]: 113-21; 1 [September 1853]: 129-35)
[p.283]82. Having shown that man had a pre-existence in the heavens before the foundation of this world, that he was an intelligent moral agent, governed by laws, that he kept his first estate, that this earth was organized for his residence, wherein he had the privilege of being associated with a tabernacle or body, that this is the second estate, in which he encounters new trials under new conditions, which, if he overcomes, and keeps the higher laws, adapted to this state of being, will prepare him for a further advancement in the attributes and perfections of his Heavenly Father from whom he originated and by whom he was begotten, long anterior to his present existence; having shown that the fall was necessary that he might become like the Gods, knowing good and evil, and that redemption was necessary that he might know how to appreciate happiness, by its contrast with misery, we will next inquire into the nature, origin, and extent of his capacities as a moral and intelligent being.
83. First. What is the nature of the capacities of man? Man has the capacities of self-motion, of thinking, feeling, hating, loving, enjoying, suffering, remembering, reasoning, and many other qualities, too numerous to mention. Of all the qualities possessed by man, that of self-motion appears to us the most marvelous. All motions, excepting those of living beings, are said to be of a mechanical nature—that is, produced by matter’s acting upon matter; all mechanical operations, in their origin, are the results of a living self moving force. The great laws of nature, themselves, are the results of this force. There is no other force in the universe. Those qualities which are called mechanical forces, gravitating forces, chemical forces, &c., are not forces, but only effects. The force which produces these effects is hidden from the view of mortals. A living, intelligent, self-moving force, is the origin of all the motions and laws of nature. Man has this capacity of self-motion, and exercises it to a small extent, in the moving of his limbs and body. But to enter into the investigation, in this treatise, of the nature of self-moving forces in general, would be foreign to the subject under consideration. For further information upon this interesting though recondite principle, our [p.284]readers are referred to our treatise, entitled Great First Cause, or the Self-Moving Forces of the Universe. The nature of thinking, remembering, and all the other capacities of man which we have named, are already familiar to the understanding of every one. No one will dispute, but what man possesses all these qualities.
84. Secondly. Whence originated these capacities? When we speak of capacities we mean the original elementary capacities of the mind. We are well aware that metaphysicians consider many of the qualities named to be of a secondary or compound nature, growing out of the combinations of qualities still more original. All this we are willing to admit; but these secondary qualities, if analyzed, will be found in all instances to be the result of the combination of simple, elementary, original capacities. The question is, whence originated these elementary qualities of the mind? We answer, they are eternal. The capacities of all spiritual substance are eternal as the substance to which they belong. There is no substance in the universe which feels and thinks now, but what has eternally possessed that capacity. These capacities may be suspended for a season, but never can be annihilated. A substance which has not these capacities now, must eternally remain without them. The amount of matter in space can never be increased nor diminished, neither can there be a new elementary capacity added to this matter. For the arguments sustaining the eternity of matter and its capacities, see our treatise, referred to in the preceding paragraph. Admitting the eternity of the capacities, then the materials of which our spirits are composed, must have been capable of thinking, moving, willing, &c., before they were organized in the womb of the celestial female. Preceding that period there was an endless duration, and each particle of our spirits had an eternal existence, and was in possession of eternal capacities. Now can it be supposed, for one moment, that these particles were inactive and dormant from all eternity until they received their organization in the form of the infant spirit? Can we suppose that particles, possessed of the power to move themselves, would not have exerted that power, during the endless duration preceding their organization? If they were once organized in the vegetable kingdom, and then disorganized by becoming the food of celestial animals, and then again re-organized in the form of the spirits of animals which is a higher sphere of being, then, is it unreasonable to suppose that the same particles have, from all eternity, been passing through an endless chain of unions and disunions, organizations and disorganizations, until at length they are permitted to enter into the highest and most exalted sphere of organization in the image and likeness of God? A transmigration of the same particles of spirits from a lower to a higher organization, is demonstrated from the fact that the same particles exist in a diffused scattered state, mingled with [p.285]other matter; next, they exist in a united form, growing out of the earth in the shape of grass, herbs, and trees; and after this, these vegetables become food for celestial animals, and these same particlesare organized into their offspring, and thus form the spirits of animals. Here, then, is apparently a transmigration of the same particles of spirit from an inferior to a superior organization, wherein their condition is improved, and their sphere of action enlarged. Who shall set any bounds to this upward tendency of spirit? Who shall prescribe limits to its progression? If it abide the laws and conditions of its several states of existence, who shall say that it will not progress until it shall gain the very summit of perfection, and exist in all the glorious beauty of the image of God?
85. When, therefore, the infant spirit is first born in the heavenly world, that is not a commencement of its capacities. Each particle eternally existed prior to this organization: each was enabled to perceive its own existence; each had the power of self-motion; each would be an intelligent living being of itself, having no knowledge of the particular thoughts, feelings, and emotions of other particles with which it never had been in union. Each particle would be as independent of every other particle as one individual person is of another. In this independent separate condition, it would be capable of being governed by laws, adapted to the amount of knowledge and experience it had gained during its past eternal existence. Each particle that complies with the laws prescribed for its rule of action, is permitted to rise in the scale of existence; for, by obeying the law, it gains more knowledge, and is thus prepared to act in a higher sphere, and under a superior law. How many different laws these particles have acted under during the endless school of experience through which they have passed is not known to us. What degree of knowledge they have obtained by experience, previous to their organization in the womb of the celestial female, is not revealed. One thing is certain, the particles that enter into the organization of the infant spirit, are placed in a new sphere of action: the laws to govern them in this new and superior condition must be different from any laws under which they had previously acted.
86. The particles organized in an infant spirit, can no longer act, or feel, or think as independent individuals, but the law to control them in their new sphere, requires them to act, and feel, and think in union, and to be agreed in all things. When the same feelings, the same thoughts, the same emotions, and the same affections, pervade every particle, existing in the union, the united individuals will consider themselves as one individual: the interest and welfare of each will be the interest and welfare of the whole: if one suffers, they all suffer: if one rejoices, they all rejoice: if one gains any information, it is communicated to all the [p.286]rest: if one thinks, all the rest think in the same manner: if one feels, they all feel: in fine, the union of these particles is so perfect, that there can be no state or affection of one, but all the rest are immediately notified of it, and are thus by sympathy in the same state or affection. And, therefore, they live, and move, and think, and act as one being, though in reality, it is a being of beings. So far as the substance is concerned the spiritual body is a plurality of beings; so far as the attributes or qualities are considered, it is but one being. We should naturally suppose, that individual particles which have been accustomed to act in an individual capacity, would, at first, find it very difficult to act in perfect concord and agreement. Each individual particle must consent, in the first place, to be organized with other similar particles, and after the union has taken place, they must learn, by experience, the necessity of being agreed in all their thoughts, affections, desires, feelings, and acts, that the union may be preserved from all contrary or contending forces, and that harmony may pervade every department of the organized system. Now, to learn all this, there must be a law given of a superior nature to those by which they were formerly governed in their individual capacities as separate particles. A law regulating them when existing out of the organization, would be entirely unsuitable to their new sphere of existence. New laws are wanted, requiring each particle no longer to act in relation to its own individual self, but to act in relation to the welfare and happiness of every other particle in the grand union. All disobedience to this law by any particle or particles in the organization, would necessarily bring its appropriate punishment: and thus by suffering the penalties of the law they would in process of time become martialed and disciplined to perform their appropriate functions in the spiritual system. The appropriate place for this grand school of experience, is in the Heavenly world, where, from the time of their birth as infant spirits, until the time that they are sent into this world to take fleshly tabernacles, the organized particles are instructed and educated in all the laws pertaining to their union, until they are made perfectly ONE in all their attributes and qualities; but not one in substance, for this would be impossible; each particle, though organized, maintains its own identity in the system. The oneness, therefore, can only consist in the sameness of the qualities which are attained by ages of experience through strict adherence to the wise and judicious laws, given to govern them in their united capacity.
87. The particles organized in an infant spirit, before they had learned the necessity of being perfectly agreed might bring themselves into many disagreeable circumstances which, by a perfect agreement, might have been avoided. For instance, one law of the union is, that when any part of the system has ignorantly, or in any other way placed itself in dis-[p.287]agreeable circumstances, the other part shall take warning and endeavor to avoid those circumstances. To illustrate this law, suppose the particles, composing the right hand of a spirit, were placed in contact with certain substances which produced great pain, the perception of this pain is immediately communicated to the particles, composing the left hand, they, being inexperienced, give no heed to the friendly warning, and venture into the same difficulty as those in the right hand; they now feel pained, and learn by experience, or by the things which they suffer, that they have violated one of the laws of their union. This places the particles on their guard, and they learn to respect the communications which any portion of the system conveys to the other; they learn that the same thing which will inflict pain on one part of the system, will also inflict pain upon the particles in any other part; and thus when the communication is made from one part of the system to the other, the particles have confidence in the intelligence conveyed, and act accordingly. This confidence is gained by experience. The particles learn by experience that to violate any law given to govern them in their united capacity brings punishment and misery. It is by experience that they learn to act, and feel, and think, alike; it is by experience that they learn to love and hate alike. However unlike they may be in the degrees of knowledge and experience which they had accumulated previous to their union, they, by being placed in the same organization, are schooled alike, and trained, disciplined, and educated alike, till every particle has the knowledge and experience of every other particle, and thus by experience they learn to be united in all things, and to act with one will in all their operations. To see the perfect union which now exists among the particles, composing our spirits, as manifested in thoughts, feelings, desires, and operations, one would almost think that these were the manifestations of one single being or particle, instead of a plurality of beings or particles. But a little reflection, will correct this false impression, and show us that these are the manifestations of the same attributes or qualities, dwelling in millions of particles but yielding obedience to the same great laws, ordained for the government of the organized union.
88. Besides the laws, given to govern each individual particle in its organized capacity, there are other laws, given to govern the whole body. These again are of a still higher order; for those laws which regulate the different parts of the organization for the general good of the union, are altogether insufficient to govern the body as a whole. For instance, by the laws regulating each particle, the whole system becomes angry at the same time, if a cause exist, exciting that passion; but this law is insufficient to control the passion when it is excited. Another law is required to regulate the action of the whole system while under the passion. Under the first law no one particle has a right to get angry while [p.288]the others are pleased; they are bound by law to all get angry at once, or to all be pleased at once, that there may be a perfect agreement in their feelings. Under the second or higher law, the whole body of particles are required to govern the passions excited, in a certain manner, in accordance with the principles of justice and mercy that exist in the bosom of the one who gave the law. The spiritual body in its infancy is entirely ignorant, as a whole, of the nature of justice and mercy, good and evil, and such like qualities; but laws of justice and mercy, of good and evil, being given, the whole body learns to control itself according to those laws. A violation of any of these laws, immediately brings unhappiness—that is the being is chastized, according to the nature of the offence, and the penalties annexed to the law; in this manner the system learns, by the things which it suffers, to obey this higher law which is very different from any of the preceding laws under which the particles have been educated. The nature of justice and mercy, good and evil, are thus actually learned by experience. Obedience to the laws of justice, and suffering the penalties of disobedience, impart, in the course of time, a sense of justice to the particles in their organized capacity: so likewise obedience to the laws of mercy, and the chastisements, resulting from the infringements of those laws, soon inform the organized particles, concerning the nature of mercy. In like manner, a sense of good and evil, and of all other like qualities, is obtained from the enjoyments resulting from obedience, and the miseries inflicted for disobedience, to the laws given to govern all those qualities and passions. All these qualities, therefore, are gained by experience. The laws, being given and adhered to, discipline and instruct the infant or youthful spirit in the knowledge of things, which previously it was entirely ignorant of.
89. As all the infant spirits are instructed under the same laws, they all acquire the same sense of justice, mercy, good, and evil. It is for this cause, that two or more spirits do not form different ideas of the nature of good and evil; so far as they have been properly educated and taught in the same law, one will not call good, evil; or evil, good; and another have a different idea of the same principles. Of course, there will be spirits, possessing different degrees of intelligence, depending on the obedience which they have rendered to the various systems of laws under which they have acted, during the past ages of eternity, and also depending upon the length of time in which they have been educated and taught in their spiritual organization. But so far as they have acquired knowledge, it has been through the medium of the same laws; consequently the same degree of knowledge in one, cannot differ in its nature from the same degree of knowledge in another.
90. If one class of spirits were educated under a system of laws which rewarded them for doing that which we call evil, and punished them [p.289]for that which we call good: while another class were educated by laws of an opposite nature. These two classes of spirits, when brought together, would have entirely opposite ideas concerning good and evil. The fact that the spirits have, so far as their knowledge extends, the same ideas concerning the nature of justice and mercy, good and evil, virtue and vice—shows most clearly a cause for this sameness; now that which is preceded by a cause cannot be eternal; hence, there must have been a time, when this sameness of knowledge was acquired by the particles constituting each spiritual body. The capacities of perceiving this knowledge are eternal; but the exercise of these eternal capacities in acquiring knowledge of the laws of good and evil had a beginning. We cannot conceive of millions of beings, having the same idea of the nature of good and evil, without introducing a cause to account for this sameness and likeness; and a cause always implies a beginning to the effects which follow. But if millions of beings eternally possessed the same idea of the nature of good and evil, all causes for this sameness of idea would be excluded: they would possess this sameness by chance: if it were eternal, there would be no reason why even two beings should have the same views concerning anything: but when numberless; millions of beings are perceived to have the same ideas in regard to the nature of different acts, calling one species of acts good, and another evil, it demonstrates, in the most incontrovertible manner, that these beings did not possess these ideas eternally, but that they acquired them from one common cause, which instructed and enlarged the eternal capacities in the same school of laws, that the same ideas, the same views, and the same knowledge might pervade the whole, so far as they are instructed. This sameness of ideas will enable them to act in unison, not only for their own individual benefit, but for the benefit of the whole community or family of spirits with whom each is associated.
91. While we are obliged to admit the eternity of the substance and its capacities, on the other hand, we are compelled to admit a beginning to the organizations of the particles of this substance; there must also have been a time when the eternal capacities began to know good and evil, justice and mercy, love and hatred; for the sameness of these qualities, existing in the minds of all mankind shows that they must be derived qualities and therefore that they could not have possessed them eternally. All must at once see, that the moment a quality or thing is admitted to be eternal, all causes for the nature, or peculiarity, or sameness of the quality, and all causes for the particular magnitude or form of the thing or being, are totally excluded. In regard to that which is eternal, we would have no right to ask the questions, Why it is so? Why it possesses such a quality? Why it has a certain magnitude? Why it exists in a certain form? All such questions imply a cause, and, therefore, a [p.290]beginning. If we were to admit that water was eternal, then it would be entirely inconsistent to ask the question, Why one drop of pure water possessed precisely the same qualities of another? If both drops were eternal there would, in reality, be no cause for one being of the same nature as the other. As there would be no cause for any two drops, out of an infinite number, to be alike, we would have no reason to infer, prior to experience, that they would taste alike, or extinguish fire alike, or that drops of the same size would weigh alike, or that they would quench thirst alike, or that they would manifest any other qualities alike. If, on the examination of the drops, we found them to possess qualities alike, we would naturally inquire, How came they to be alike? The natural answer would be, They were designed to be alike for purposes beneficial to the universe. But if they were designed to be alike, there must have been a period before that design and before they were alike, and consequently their present qualities are not eternal, but acquired or derived from some anterior qualities. So it is in relation to the qualities of the human mind. The very fact that all human minds look upon certain acts to be good, and certain others to be evil, shows that the qualities of the mind are in many respects precisely alike. If they were eternal there would be no cause for any two, out of all mankind, to have any qualities alike: and no one would be able to infer, prior to experience, that any of the rest of mankind possessed qualities at all resembling his own. If the qualities were eternal, he could not with propriety ask the question, Why a man possessed superior qualities to a brute? Or, Why the constitution of human minds resembled each other? But man finds by experience that there is a resemblance or similarity in the constitution of all human minds, and he naturally asks the question, What is the cause of this likeness? The answer naturally occurs to his own mind that, It was thus designed for the general good of man; and consequently there must have been a time before the design took effect, when the constitution of our minds were unlike, and, therefore, that the present qualities of our minds are not eternal, but are the results of the combinations of anterior qualities, which in their turn are again the results of the exercise of the eternal capacities.
92. Thirdly. Having investigated the nature and origin of man’s capacities, let us next inquire into the extent of those capacities. It is almost universally supposed that the capacities of man are finite—that is, limited in their nature, and that it is utterly impossible for man to acquire a fulness of all knowledge. But this is a false supposition, without the least shadow of foundation. We shall proceed to prove that the capacities of man are not finite, but infinite. It may be well for us to define the terms, finite and infinite before we proceed farther. These terms have quite a different sense when used in relation to different things. When used in [p.291]reference to space or duration, finite signifies space or time included within limits; while infinite signifies boundless space or endless duration. When used in reference to numbers, the first means a limited number, and the last a number unlimited or an endless series of numbers. When applied to knowledge, one means to know only in part, while the other is to know in full. When used in reference to capacities, finite signifies a capacity that is stationary or can only be expanded in a limited degree, while infinite signifies a capacity sufficiently great to grasp a fulness of all knowledge, after which expansion ceases for the want of nothing more to be learned. A being may have an infinite capacity, and still have only a finite knowledge. We know of no beings having only finite capacities. Angels, men, beasts, birds, fish, and insects, have finite knowledge, but we have no reason to suppose any of them to be limited in their capacities. For aught we know, each and all of them may have capacities capable of receiving infinite knowledge. If we were to suppose that some of these beings are finite in their capacities, then there must be a certain limit of knowledge, beyond which they can never pass: for if they were capable of passing any assigned limits of knowledge, they would be capable of receiving a fulness of all knowledge which would be infinite.
93. The constitution of our minds is such, that we cannot easily conceive of a being who is capacitated to perceive one truth, but unable to perceive another. It is true, there may be obstacles in the way by which this being is prevented from acquiring a second truth; but remove all obstacles and place the being in a favorable condition, the question is, Could it not perceive a second, a third, a fourth, or even any number of truths, as well as the first? We can see no possible hindrance to its advancement in knowledge only by interposing obstacles in the way. If the capacity have an existence, which it must have in order to perceive one truth, we cannot conceive how that it could possibly be limited, so as never, under any circumstances, to be able to perceive another. We do not see why a faculty that is capable of discerning that two are more than one, cannot also discern that three are more than two. Some truths are more difficult to be perceived than others, but this is owing, not to the want of capacity, but to the obstacles which intervene between the capacity and the truth to be perceived. Let the intervening obstacles be removed, and the capacity that is able to perceive one truth could perceive all truth. Therefore, wherever a being exists that has any knowledge, however small the amount, that being has infinite capacities, capable of perceiving all things past, present, and to come, just as soon as the intervening barriers are removed. We are aware that this idea is in opposition to the views of almost all mankind: they have been taught that the capacities, as well as the knowledge of all beings, but God, [p.292]were finite; and from these false premises they have drawn the conclusion that no beings could ever attain to all the fulness of the knowledge of God. If the premises were granted, the conclusions would be just: but the premises are without foundation, and are evidently false. The capacities of man are not only eternal, but infinite, and he is capable of receiving infinite knowledge. And without infinite knowledge his capacities never will be satisfied.
94. It is frequently said by philosophers, that knowledge which is finite can never be increased so as to become infinite; but this is in direct opposition to fact. Our Saviour, when He came into the world, possessed only finite knowledge; hence He is represented as increasing in wisdom and stature. To increase in wisdom evidently proves that He was not at that time in the possession of all wisdom. His wisdom and knowledge were finite. But He afterwards attained a fulness, and as Paul says, “In whom (Christ) are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” And again, “in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Col. 2:3, 9.) “It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” (Col. 1:19.)John the Baptist bore record that he beheld his glory, and that he was “full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14.) At the time his Father gave him the Holy Spirit, he, no doubt, received a fulness: for John soon after speaks thus of him: “God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hands.” (John 3:34, 35.) All the treasures of wisdom, knowledge, and truth, were hid in him; he was full of them: the fulness of the Spirit, the fulness of the Godhead, and the fulness of power, dwelt in him: all things were given into his hand. There was no wisdom, nor knowledge, nor power, nor dominions, that the Father possessed, but what Jesus possessed also. In fine, he was one in all the fulness of the attributes and perfections of the Father. It was for this reason that Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30.) Here, then, we have an example of finite knowledge, wisdom, and power, increasing until the same became infinite.
95. As we have one example of finite knowledge being increased to infinity, we have reason to believe that it may be the case in other instances. If the First Born or oldest brother has received a fulness, we see no impropriety in believing that the younger brethren may also receive the same fulness. Paul prayed that the Saints “might be filled with all the fulness of God.”—(Eph. 3:19.) And Jesus prayed that they all might be made perfect in one, as he and the Father are one.—(John 17.) When these prayers are answered, they will know as much as the Father and Son know. They will be in the Father and Son, and the Father and Son will be in them, and the Father and Son and all the Saints will be made perfect in one. Hence John says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, [p.293]and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him.”—(1 John 3:2.) Not only like him in body, but also in mind. For then he “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” (Phillipians 3:21.) Then we shall be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect—(Math. 5:48): then shall we be pure as He is pure, and holy as He is holy: then shall we know as we are known, and see as we are seen: then shall we be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ in the inheritance of all things: then shall knowledge in part be done away, and we shall know in full: then there will be no knowledge, or truth, or wisdom in the heights above or in the depths beneath, or in the Heavens, or in the Heaven of Heavens, or in the immensity of space, or in the eternal ages of duration, but what we shall comprehend and know; then there will be no Being or Beings in existence that will know one particle more than what we know: then our knowledge, and wisdom, and power, will be infinite; and cannot, from thenceforth, be increased or expanded in the least degree: then we shall be Gods, because all the fulness of God will dwell within us.
96. It has been most generally believed that the Saints will progress in knowledge to all eternity: But when they become one with the Father and Son, and receive a fulness of their glory, that will be the end of all progression in knowledge, because there will be nothing more to be learned. The Father and the Son do not progress in knowledge and wisdom, because they already know all things past, present, and to come. All that become like the Father and Son will know as much as they do, and consequently will learn no more. The Father and Son, and all who are like them and one with them, already know as much as any Beings in existence know, or even can know.
97. In the twenty-second paragraph of this article we showed that there could not possibly be but one God, so far as the attributes are concerned, but so far as it regards persons, that there were an immense number of Gods. Now we wish to be distinctly understood that each of these personal Gods has equal knowledge with all the rest; there are none among them that are in advance of the others in knowledge; though some may have been Gods as many millions of years, as there are particles of dust in all the universe, yet there is not one truth that such are in possession of but what every other God knows. They are all equal in knowledge, and in wisdom, and in the possession of all truth. None of these Gods are progressing in knowledge; neither can they progress in the acquirement of any truth.
98. Some have gone so far as to say that all the Gods were progressing in truth, and would continue to progress to all eternity, and that some were far in advance of others: but let us examine, for a moment, the absurdity of such a conjecture. If all the Gods will be eternally pro-[p.294]gressing, then it follows, that there must be a boundless infinity of knowledge that no God ever has attained to, or ever can attain to, throughout infinite ages to come: this boundless infinity of knowledge would be entirely out of the reach and control of all the Gods; therefore it would either not be governed at all, or else be governed by something that was infinitely Superior to all the Gods—a something that had all knowledge, and consequently that could not acquire more. Have we any right to say that there is a boundless ocean of materials, acting under such Superior laws that none of the Gods to all ages of eternity can be able to understand them? We should like to know what Law Giver gave such superior laws. If it be said that the laws were never given, but that the materials themselves eternally acted according to them. This would not in the least obviate the difficulty; for then there would be a boundless ocean of materials, possessing knowledge of laws so infinitely superior to the knowledge of all the Gods, that none of them, by progressing for eternal ages, could ever reach it. This is the great absurdity, resulting from the vague conjecture that there will be an endless progression in knowledge among all the Gods. Such a conjecture is not only extremely absurd, but it is in direct opposition to what is revealed.
99. We shall now show from the revelations given through JOSEPH, the SEER, that God and his son, Jesus Christ, are in possession of all knowledge, and that there is no more truth for them to learn, and show also that the Saints will attain to the same fulness and know as much as they know. First, we will give Enoch’s testimony concerning God, the Father: “And it came to pass that the God of Heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and He wept; and, Enoch bore record of it, saying, how is it the Heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as rain upon the mountains? And Enoch said unto the Lord, how is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity? and were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, and millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there and thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever; thou hast taken Zion to thine own bosom, from all thy creations, from all eternity to all eternity, and nought but peace, justice, and truth, is the habitation of thy throne; and mercy shall go before thy face and have no end: how is it that thou canst weep?” Connected with the reply, the Almighty said to Enoch, “Behold I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name also. Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also.” (See Joseph Smith’s inspired translation of the Book of Genesis, published in “The Pearl of Great Price.”) The Being whom Enoch [p.295]here addressed, and who conversed with him, is represented in the same connection as the Father of Christ. This Being is declared to be “from all eternity,” and the creations that He had made were so immensely numerous, that the particles of dust in a million of earths like this, “would not be a BEGINNING to the number.” This shows that His creations are endless, or in other words infinite in number. Now a finite number cannot, in one sense, be a beginning to an infinite number. The vast number of particles contained in millions of worlds, is still only a finite number, and is therefore limited; but an endless series of worlds is not limited, and therefore can have no beginning; and no finite number, however great, can be the beginning of something that has no beginning. This endless number of worlds are all held and controlled by the power of God, the Father of Christ. And to show that He has a full knowledge of them all, He exclaims, “Mine eye can pierce them also.” The perceptive powers of His vision must be infinite or he could not look upon an infinite number of creations. It shows still further that His “eye can pierce them” all at the same instant; for if He were obliged to withdraw His vision from one in order to look upon another, He never could have time to behold them all. If He were to observe each only for the short period of one second, He could not behold even a beginning of the endless number in as many millions of ages, as there are particles of dust in the visible universe; but as His “eye can pierce them” all, He must necessarily have the power of beholding them all at the same instant. Moreover, He is present with them all, for Enoch, in speaking to the Lord in regard to the immensity of the numbers of His creations, exclaims “Thou art there, and thy bosom is there.” Being present in all, beholding them all, and governing them all, He must necessarily have a knowledge of them all. And as the number of worlds are infinite, His knowledge must be infinite, and, therefore, He knows all things, and can know no more. This agrees with what this same Being said to Moses.
“And God spake unto Moses, saying, Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name, for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this Endless? And, behold, thou art my son, wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands, but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease; wherefore no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh. And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Saviour, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God besides me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.” (See “Pearl of Great Price.”) Here the Father of Christ declares [p.296]that His “works are without end,” that “all things are present” with Him, and that He knows them all.
The same idea is conveyed in another revelation, as follows: “Judgment goeth before the face of Him who sitteth upon the throne, and governeth and executeth all things; He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before Him, and all things are round about Him; and He is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by Him, and of Him, even God, forever and ever.” (Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 7, par. 10.) As “He comprehendeth all things,” His knowledge must be infinite; therefore, the vague conjecture that God, the Father, can progress eternally in knowledge, is, as we have shown, not only absurd, but directly opposed to the revelations which He has given.
100. We shall next prove by the new revelations that the Only Begotten Son is in possession of equal knowledge with the Father. “And I, John, saw that He (Christ) received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace; and He received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until He received a fulness, and thus He was called the Son of God, because He received not of the fulness at first.” (Doc. and Cov., Sec. 83: Par. 2.) What was this fulness here mentioned? Jesus answers this question, “I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying, He received a fulness of truth, yea even of ALL truth.” But what is truth? “Truth is the knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.” (Par. 4.) John was not satisfied with telling us that Jesus received a fulness of truth, but repeats the idea, “yea, even of all truth,” or in other words, He received a fulness of the knowledge of all “things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.” No power of language could be able to express the idea in clearer or more forcible terms. And now we ask, is there any other truth or knowledge in existence that Jesus could learn? We fearlessly answer, No. A fulness of all truth embraces, first, a knowledge of all “things as they are” in their present condition, or in other words, a knowledge of all the worlds that now exist throughout the boundless immensity of space, and of all the materials of nature, whether organized or unorganized, and of all their relations, and dependencies, and laws, and operations, whether animate or inanimate, intelligent or unintelligent; it embraces a knowledge of every thought and desire, of every feeling and emotion that exists among all the countless swarms of living beings in all worlds; it grasps within its infinite capacity the present state of every individual particle, its properties and qualities in all planets and suns, and systems, and universes in the boundless heights and depths of infinity itself. But this is not all; it takes in the past as well as the present; a fulness of all truth, embraces an endless duration that is past—a bound-[p.297]less ocean of space—an infinity of materials—the eternal and unceasing operations of each particle—a knowledge of the exact condition of the universe as a whole, and in all its parts in every successive instant from the present back through endless ages without beginning. But we must not stop here; the fulness of all truth embraces a knowledge of all things to come; of all worlds that shall be organized, redeemed, and glorified; of all the eternal laws, operations, and changes of every particle of substance in existence in every successive moment throughout eternal ages that will have no end. This, in connection with the present and the past, is what constitutes “all truth”—this is, the infinite knowledge dwelling in Christ; and this is what He received when a fulness was given unto Him. John informs us of the period when this fulness was granted. “And I, John, bare record, and lo! the Heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon Him in the form of a dove, and sat upon Him, and there came a voice out of Heaven, saying, this is my beloved Son. And I, John, bare record that He received a fulness of the glory of the Father; and He received all power, both in Heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with Him, for He dwelt in Him.” (Par. 2.) It is this fulness of truth that is God, and that is personified and called by the different names which the Lord has appropriated to Himself: it is this fulness of truth that constitutes the one only true and living God, and besides Him there is no God. He dwells in countless myriads of temples, and is in all worlds at the same instant. He is in all, and over all, and through all things, and the power by which they are governed. He is in the personage of the Father in all of his fulness, even the Spirit of truth. God is Truth, and Truth is God, and the material universe is His tabernacle; men are designed to be his tabernacles or temples, if they will receive Him. Jesus says, “I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one: the Father, because He gave me of His fulness.” (Par. I.) Jesus was called the Son “because he received not of the fulness at the first;” and he was called the Father because he afterwards did receive it. Thus the name of Father is given to the Son not because of the tabernacle, but because of the fulness of truth, which is the Father dwelling therein.
101. We shall now proceed to show from new revelations that the Saints are to have equal knowledge with the Father and Son. We now only know in part; so far as truth dwells in us, so far the Father and Son dwell within us. Hear what Jesus says: “Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me; and none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost: and the Father and I are one: I am in the Father and the Father in me; and [p.298]inasmuch as ye have received me, ye are in me and I in you. Wherefore I am in your midst, and I am the good Shepherd, and the Stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall, and the day cometh that you shall hear my voice, and see me, and know that I am.” (Doc. and Cov., Sec. 17: Par. 8.) We are in this revelation represented as only little children, not able, as yet, to bear all things, but are commanded to grow in grace and in truth; and are told that inasmuch as we had received Him we were in Him, and He in us. As the Father and Son are called Truth, inasmuch as we receive truth, they dwell within us. Where only a small degree of light and truth dwells within us, there only a small portion of the Father and Son abide in us; as we increase from grace to grace, and from truth to truth, so do we in like manner inherit greater, and still greater, portions of God, and when we receive a fulness of all truth, then all the fulness of God dwells in us, even the Father and Son. The fulness of all Truth in us will make us Gods, equal in all things with the Personages of the Father and the Son; and we could not be otherwise than equal, for He is the same God who dwells in us that dwells in them; instead of dwelling in two tabernacles, under the names of the Father and Son, He will then dwell in the additional tabernacles of the Saints. And wherever He dwells in fulness, there would necessarily be equality, in wisdom, power, glory, and dominion.
102. We will quote another extract in order to show how we are to attain this fulness. “And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful, you shall receive the fulness of the record of John. I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of His fulness, for if you keep my commandments you shall receive of His fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace.” (Doc. and Cov., sec. 83: par. 3.) The fulness is to be obtained on condition of keeping His commandments. That we are to receive a fulness in the same sense that He received it, is evident from the fact that when we obtain that blessing, Jesus says, that we should be glorified in Him as He was in the Father. In the next paragraph we have a still stronger evidence, Jesus says, “John bore record of me saying, He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth, and no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth His commandments. He that keepeth His commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.” This is as plain as language can make it. When this promise is realized, the Saints will know all things past, present, and to come, and there will be no Being in existence that will be in advance of them in knowledge and wisdom. Again, Jesus says, “If your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no [p.299]darkness in you, and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.” And still again, “The day shall come when you shall comprehend even God; being quickened in Him and by Him.” (Doc. and Cov. 7:12, 18.) It is not necessary to multiply passages, for the revelations, both ancient and modern, are very full upon this point. Enough has been quoted to demonstrate that the light of the Saints will grow brighter and brighter until the perfect day at which time their light will be full and cannot from thenceforth be increased in brilliancy. How much more satisfactory it is to the mind to contemplate millions on millions of glorified worlds, each peopled with myriads of Beings filled with all the fulness of God or Truth, than it is to suppose them all progressing in knowledge without a possibility of ever attaining to a fulness worlds without end. This perfection and equality in knowledge among the Gods of all ages and worlds, serve to produce a perfect oneness among them all. Having equal knowledge, they would of course have equal wisdom and equal power, and would act with the most perfect union, and harmony, and consert in all things. But what inextricable difficulties and confusion there would be, if they differed in knowledge and all of them were progressing. The oneness, so necessar
103. An infinite quantity of self-moving intelligent matter, possessed of infinite capacities, and existing eternally, must have been engaged in an endless series of operations. It matters not how far we may, in the imagination of our minds, go back into the infinite depths of past duration, we are still obliged to admit, that every particle of matter which now exists, existed then: that it was then capable of self-motion; that it was then capable of exercising the eternal capacities of its nature, and of progressing onward and upward, until it should be perfected in all the fulness of wisdom, knowledge, and truth. An endless series of operations excludes a first operation. If it be assumed that there was a period when matter first began to act, then the succession of acts would be finite and not endless, and there would have been an endless duration, preceding that first act, during which, all things would have been in a quiescent state, or state of absolute rest. To suppose that all the spiritual matter of the universe, which is now so powerful and active, has once been eternally at rest, would seem to be absurd in the highest degree. Every thing now is in motion; every thing is highly active: every thing is acting under some law, or guided by some motive or will. Such a thing as an inactive particle of matter is not known in the universe. If all [p.300]substance once existed eternally without action, what prompted it to make the first effort? How came the first particle to move itself? Why, after an endless past duration, should it all at once, conclude to move? Why should intelligent thinking materials, capable of self-motion, have existed from all eternity without exercising their capacities? No one, therefore, upon candid reflection, can suppose, for one moment, that there was a beginning to the operations or actions of substance. There could not have been a first act or first operation. The succession of acts and operations must have been endless.
104. Having shown in the preceding paragraph, that there must have been an endless series of operations among the self-moving intelligent materials of nature, let us next inquire into the nature of these operations. These operations may have been extremely simple, or they may have been abstruse and intricate in their nature: they may have been the effect of each individual particle, acting at random under no particular system of laws, or they may have been the results of a combination of large masses of substances acting under wise and judicious laws: they may have acted in a disorganized capacity, or they may have acted in the capacity of organized worlds, and personages, and beings, something similar to what now exists. Simple operations at random without law, would exhibit but a small degree of intelligence; while operations such as now exist, would show something that had infinite wisdom, knowledge, and power; in other words, it would prove the existence of a God. If this endless series of operations has always been conducted with the same wisdom and power which now characterize the workings of the universe, then there must have always been a fulness of knowledge and truth existing somewhere, either in organized or disorganized substances. We cannot prove from the present appearances of nature that there has always been a God. The present exhibitions of nature only prove that there is now a God, and that there has been a God for many ages past, which is clearly proved by His works, many of which can be proved to be many thousand years old. But when we go back to ages still more remote in antiquity, nature does not inform us whether there was in those ages a God, having a fulness of knowledge, or not. We have been informed in preceding paragraphs, that men, through obedience, attain to the fulness of all knowledge and become Gods. Now there is a time before each man obtains this fulness which constitutes him a God. Personal Gods, then, have a beginning: they exist first as spirits, then as men clothed with mortal flesh, then as Gods clothed with immortal tabernacles. If one God can have a beginning, the question arises, May not all other Gods have had a beginning? The operations and appearances of the universe only teach us that there has been a God for a few ages past; and if we had no other light, the question would very natu-[p.301]rally occur, was there not a first God? And if so, at what period of time did he attain to a fulness of truth and become God? What was the condition of the universe before any of the substances of nature attained this fulness? In the absence of revelation in regard to the past eternity of God, such questions as the foregoing would unavoidably arise in the mind.
105. If there ever were a period when none of the substances of nature, possessed a fulness of truth, then previously to that period the universe would have been governed by laws inferior to those which now obtain. But it seems altogether unlikely that among an infinite quantity of materials, possessing infinite capacities, there should be none which had perfected themselves in knowledge and truth, though they had had an endless duration in which to have accomplished it. It seems far more consistant to believe that infinite knowledge has from all eternity existed somewhere, either in organized personages or in disorganized materials.
106. We shall now prove by revelation given through JOSEPH, the SEER, that there has been a God from all eternity; or in other words, that there is a God who never had a beginning. One revelation commences thus: “hearken and listen to the voice of Him who is from all Eternity to all eternity, the Great I AM, even Jesus Christ, the light and the life of the worlds.” (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 59: Par. I.) Here then is positive proof that Jesus Christ is from all Eternity. We are aware that there are some who consider that the words “all Eternity” have reference to a definite limited period of time. Such suppose that there have been many eternities succeeding each other: if this supposition be correct, then the period expressed by the words “from all Eternity” could not have beginning. But it is evident to our mind that the words were intended to convey the idea of an endless past duration; or in other words, a duration that had no beginning, when speaking in reference to the light and truth that dwelt in Him. That this is the true idea intended to be conveyed, is evident from other declarations of Christ; one of which reads as follows: “Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I AM, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins.” Among the things revealed in this revelation, Jesus says, “Unto myself my works have no end, NEITHER BEGINNING.” (Doc. and Cov., Sec. 10: Par. 1 and 8.) No language could more plainly prove that Jesus Christ had no beginning. His “works have no end, neither beginning.” There never was a period when Christ began His works: there never was a first work that He performed. A series that has no beginning can have no first term. A past succession of works that is endless necessarily excludes a first work. As there could not be a first act, it shows most clearly that Jesus Christ must have existed during an endless succession of ages, and that there could not be a [p.302]first age of His existence. This past endless existence of Christ has reference to the fulness of Truth, and Light, and Knowledge which now dwell in His person. These attributes are personified and called God: these had no beginning, while His person did have a beginning in its organized capacity, being the “First Born of every creature.” The attributes of Jesus Christ, or in other words, the fulness of Truth, existed for endless ages before His person was formed. Before the spiritual body or personage of Christ was born in the heavenly world, there were innumerable worlds in existence, each peopled with myriads of personages, and each were filled with all the fulness of Jesus Christ, or the fulness of Truth, which is called by various names, such as, God, the Great I AM, the Father, the Son, Jesus Christ, &c. All these names, as well
107. Having proved that Jesus Christ, or the Fulness of Truth, had no beginning, let us next inquire, Whether there always have been personages in which this fulness dwelt? or whether it or He dwelt in the unorganized particles of substance prior to there being any personages formed? These are rather difficult questions to answer. It is quite probable, that it has been from all eternity about the same as at present; that there has been an endless succession of substances, both organized and unorganized, which have been exalted and glorified, and have received a fulness. It is altogether likely, that there has been an endless succession of worlds, and an endless succession of inhabitants who have peopled those worlds. If so, then there could not be a first world, nor a first person. Though each world, and each person would have a beginning, yet there would be no beginning to the grand chain of succession or genealogy. This may be exemplified, by conceiving the existence of endless straight lines in boundless space: conceive each of these lines to be divided or graduated into an endless number of yards. All can at once see, that there would be a beginning to each of these yards, but there would be no beginning to the endless succession. So, likewise, of [p.303] endless duration; we can conceive of its being divided into an endless succession of minutes; each of these minutes would have a beginning, but there would be no beginning to the succession. We have already learned from revelation that the works of Jesus Christ had no beginning. Now let us suppose that each successive work was the organization of a world and the peopling of the same. All will at once admit that each world and the inhabitants thereof would have a beginning; but His works, being without a beginning, there could not be a first world in this endless succession, nor a first Father in the endless genealogy.
108. Looking at things through our imperfect minds, we have been accustomed to suppose that all things which are connected by a chain of causes and effects, must eventually terminate in a First Cause and in a First Effect: for instance, in tracing genealogies, we go back from the son to the father, then to the grandfather, then to the great grandfather, and thus we trace the lineage back from generation to generation until we naturally look for a first father pertaining to the human race on this creation, so, likewise, when we trace the genealogy of our spirits. We were begotten by our Father in Heaven; the person of our Father in Heaven was begotten on a previous heavenly world by His Father; and again, He was begotten by a still more ancient Father; and so on, from generation to generation, from one heavenly world to another still more ancient, until our minds are wearied and lost in the multiplicity of generations and successive worlds, and as a last resort, we wonder in our minds, how far back the genealogy extends, and how the first world was formed, and the first father was begotten. But why does man seek for a first, when revelation informs him that God’s works are without beginning? Do you still seek for a first link where the chain is endless? Can you conceive of a first year in endless duration? Can you grasp within your comprehension the first mile in an endless right line? All these things you will readily acknowledge have no first: why, then, do you seek for a first personal Father in an endless genealogy? or for a first effect in an endless succession of effects?
109. The Fulness of Truth, dwelling in an endless succession of past generations, would produce an endless succession of personal Gods, each possessing equal wisdom, power, and glory with all the rest. In worshipping any one of these Gods we worship the whole, and in worshipping the whole, we still worship but one God; for it is the same God who dwells in them all; personages are only His different dwelling places. After the resurrection, when the Fulness of Truth or God dwells in us, it can then be said of us, as is now said of Christ, that we are “from all eternity to all eternity;” it can then be said of us, that our “works have no end, neither beginning;” it can then be said of us, that we are “in all things, and through all things, and round about all things;” it can then [p.304]be said of us, that the number of worlds which we have created are more numerous than the particles of dust in a million of earths like this; yea, that this would not be a beginning to the number of our creations; it can be said of us, that we are there in all these infinity of worlds, and that our bosom is there. How, inquires the astonished Saints, can all these things be? How can we be from all eternity? How can we be omnipresent? How can our works be without beginning? We reply, that this will be true in regard to the fulness of God that dwells within us, but not true in regard to our persons; neither is it true in regard to any other persons. God is the light and the life of all things. Our life and our light are now only a part of God, but then, in that glorious day, they will be the whole of God, animating, and quickening, and glorifying a new tabernacle. Then we can say one to another, I am in you and you are in me, and we all are one, even one God, “from everlasting to everlasting.” The Light and Intelligence and Truth which each Saint will then possess in fulness, was not created, neither, indeed, can be, but they were from all eternity; and they assisted in the formation of all worlds, and are present in all worlds, governing and controlling the same. Do we realize that our very life and being is constituted and composed of eternal principles? that the beings which we call ourselves are only parts of one eternal whole? that the attributes of our nature are God’s attributes in embryo, placed in new tabernacles where they are required to improve and perfect themselves by cleaving unto the great fountain of which they are a part? Every additional portion of light which they receive is an additional portion of God; when they are filled with light, they are filled with God—that is, God is in them in all of His fulness, and wherever God is, there is Almighty power, and Infinite wisdom and knowledge, and all things are subject unto Him, and He possesses all things, and all dominions and worlds are His, for He made them all. It is for this reason that each of the Saints will inherit all things, and be equal not only in power and glory, but also in dominion. All things present, and all things to come, will be theirs. All things present, include all the infinity of worlds which have been created, redeemed, and glorified from all eternity: all things to come include all the worlds which will be created, redeemed, and glorified to all eternity. Each one of the Saints who receive a fulness of God will be joint heirs with all the rest in this great common stock inheritance: each one possessing the whole. Consequently, they will be equal in dominion as well as equal in knowledge, power, and glory. This is so fully revealed in revelations, both ancient and modern, that we deem it unnecessary to multiply quotations. Indeed, Why should not the same God in one tabernacle inherit just as much as He does in every other tabernacle? If men are tabernacles, and God is the Being who dwells within them, then this One God [p.305]in each tabernacle must of necessity possess all things; for He made them all.
110. How very different in their nature is light and truth from substance. A substance can only be in one place at a time: while intelligence or truth can be in all worlds at the same instant. A substance cannot be divided, and a part be taken to some other place, without diminishing the original quantity from which it was taken: while different portions of light and truth may be imparted to other beings in other places without diminishing in the least the fountain from which they are derived. Substances, organized into different persons on separate worlds, become a plurality of substances or persons: while a truth may be imparted to each one of these personages, and still it is but one truth—a unity and not a plurality of truths. However great the number of truths which may be imparted equally to an infinite number of personages, still the truths are not increased in number by their increased number of dwelling places. In all these characteristics truth and substance widely differ from each other. As God is Light and Truth, and Light and Truth is God, all the characteristics which belong to one, belong to the other also. An infinite number of tabernacles filled with Truth, contains no more than one filled with the same: so likewise an infinite number of tabernacles filled with God knows no more than one knows. Truth is one Truth though dwelling in millions, so likewise God is one God though dwelling in countless numbers of tabernacles. This is the reason why we are so repeatedly told in both ancient and modern revelation, that there is but one God. And whenever a plurality of Gods is mentioned we may always know that the expression has reference only to the number of tabernacles where this one only true and living God dwells.
111. We have dwelt upon this subject rather longer than what we, at first, intended, because we consider it a principle which should be well understood by the Saints, not only for our own benefit, but that we may be able to teach others correctly; that when we are asked for a reason, why we believe in a plurality of Gods, we may be able to set forth our views clearly and plainly in accordance with the revelations which God has given of Himself. It is for this purpose that we have dwelt so long upon the pre-existence of man in order that we may the more clearly understand, not only our heavenly and God-like origin, but the grand system of laws by which God originates and prepares tabernacles for His own residence in which the fulness of His wisdom, power, and glory, are manifested. O how great, and how marvelous are the ways of God, and His plans which He has adopted for the salvation and glorification of His intelligent offspring! Who can understand these things without rejoicing by day and by night! And who can understand the works of [p.306]our God and the mysteries of His kingdom, unless he is enlightened by the light of the Holy Spirit! Well did the apostle Paul say, “the natural man knoweth not the things of God, because they are spiritually discerned;” “but God hath revealed them unto us by His spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, even the deep things of God.” Well did our Saviour say, that the Spirit of Truth should guide his disciples into all Truth—should take of the things of the Father and should show them unto his people—should show them things to come, and thus make them revelators and prophets. O that mankind would consider upon these things! O that they would come unto God like men in days of old, and learn of Him now, as they did then! O that they would reflect upon their heavenly origin, and what may be their future destiny, if they would only claim, through obedience and faith, the high privileges set before them! O that they knew what belongs to their peace and welfare both here and hereafter! but they know not—they are like the beast that perisheth, for whom slaughter is prepared, and he knoweth it not: even so, it is with this generation; they know nothing only what they know naturally; they have denied the necessity of present revelation, therefore, all spiritual light and heavenly knowledge are withheld from them, and they will bring swift destruction upon themselves and perish in their sins, and this causes my heart to be sorrowful; and I mourn over the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds by day and by night; and I labor and toil, and also my brethren, to recover them, but their hearts are fully set within them to do evil, and they must soon be ripened for the destructions decreed upon the nations in the latter days.
112. We have in this article on pre-existence traced man back to his origin in the heavenly world as an infant spirit; we have shown that this spirit was begotten and born by celestial parents long anterior to the formation of this creation. We have shown that the great family of spirits had a probation and trial before they came here—that a third part of them fell and were cast out of Heaven and were deprived of fleshly bodies; while the remainder have come forth in their successive generations to people this globe: we have shown that, by keeping this their second estate, they will be perfected, glorified, and made Gods like unto their Father God by whom their spirits were begotten. The dealing of God towards his children from the time that they are first born in Heaven, through all their successive stages of existence, until they are redeemed, perfected, and made Gods, is a pattern after which all other worlds are dealt with. All Gods act upon the same great general principles; and thus, the course of each God is one eternal round. There will, of course, be a variety in all His works, but there will be no great deviations from the general laws which He has ordained. The creation, fall, and redemp-[p.307]tion of all future worlds with their inhabitants will be conducted upon the same general plan; so that when one is learned, the great fundamental principles of the science of world-making, world-governing, and world-redemption, will be understood.
113. The Father of our spirits has only been doing that which His Progenitors did before Him. Each succeeding generation of Gods follow the example of the preceding ones: each generation have their wives, who raise up from the fruit of their loins immortal spirits: when their families become numerous, they organize new worlds for them, after the former patterns set before them; they place their families upon the same who fall as the inhabitants of previous worlds have fallen; they are redeemed after the pattern by which more ancient worlds have been redeemed. The inhabitants of each world have their own personal Father whose attributes they worship, and in so doing all worlds worship the same one God, dwelling in all of His fulness in the personages who are the Fathers of each. Thus will worlds and systems of worlds, and gorgeous universes, be multiplied in endless succession through the infinite depths of boundless space; some telestial, some terrestrial, and some Celestial, differing in their glory, as the apparent splendor of the shining luminaries of Heaven differ. All these will swarm with an infinite number of living, moving, animated beings from the minutest animalcules that sport by millions in a single drop of water, up through every grade of existence to those Almighty, All wise, and Most Glorious Personages who exist in countless numbers, governing and controlling all things.