Essential Parley P. Pratt
Foreword by Peter L. Crawley
Proclamation! To the People of the Coasts and Islands of the Pacific; of Every Nation, Kindred and Tongue
(Published for the author, by C. W. Wandell, Minister of the Gospel [Sydney, 1851])
A NEW DISPENSATION
[p.152]AN APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST, to the people of the coasts and islands of the Pacific, of every nation, kindred, and tongue—
It has pleased the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, who died on a Roman Cross at Jerusalem, one thousand eight hundred and fifty years since, and who arose from the dead on the third day; and, after giving commandments to his apostles, ascended into the heavens, henceforth to reign till his enemies are made his footstool; to send forth his angels in this present age of the world, to reveal a NEW DISPENSATION.
Thus restoring to the earth the fulness and purity of the gospel, the apostleship, and the church of the Saints, with all its miraculous gifts and blessings.
Which gospel, thus restored, with its apostleship and powers, must be preached to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people under the whole heavens, with the signs following them that believe: and then shall the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Messiah and King, descend from the heavens in his glorified, immortal body, and reign with his Saints, and over all the kingdoms of the earth, one thousand years.
Having obtained a portion of this ministry, and being appointed and set apart by my brethren of the apostleship, to take the presidency and especial charge of a Mission to the countries mentioned herein–which includes nearly one-half of the globe–I have, in pursuance of these responsibilities, commenced my mission by sending forth this proclamation; first, in English; and to be translated and published by especial messengers, in due time, in every language and tongue included within the bounds of the Mission.
First of all, (having declared my object, purpose, destination, and commission) I hereby invite, and most earnestly plead with all men to repent, to turn away from their sins, and to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and come with humble hearts and contrite spirits, and be baptized, (immersed) in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins; and they shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the [p.153]hands, in the name of Jesus, of the apostles and elders, who are sent forth by the church of the Saints.
Which Holy Spirit shall bear witness of the truth of this message, and of the remission of the sins of all them who obey the same with full purpose of heart; and shall fill their minds with joy and gladness, and with light and intelligence; and shall also open to their understanding many things which are to come.
While some shall be blessed with visions, with the ministry of angels, with the spirit of prophecy and revelation:
And others, with the gift to heal the sick or to be healed by anointing with oil in the name of the Lord, accompanied with prayer, or the laying on of hands in the name of Jesus.
The deaf shall hear, the dumb speak, the lame walk, and the eyes of the blind see, inasmuch as they have faith sufficient to receive the same. And not many years hence, as faith, knowledge, union, and power increases, the dead shall be raised in some instances; the violence of fire be quenched; the prisons rent, if necessary; and the very elements controlled by the servants of God, in the name of Jesus.
All these gifts are included in the new dispensation, and are to be bestowed upon man in due time, as faith shall increase.
The church being yet in its infancy, its members have not yet attained to all these gifts; but they have progressed with astonishing rapidity, and are in many instances, enjoying many of these gifts in various countries.
I am aware that the astounding declarations contained in this proclamation, of necessity come in contact with the traditions of this and former ages; and also with the various priesthoods, organizations, and ordinances of the world called Christian, as well as with the various religions of the Pagan, Mahomedan, and Jew; but with all kindly feelings and respect for my fellow man, I cannot avoid this contact. I am the friend of man, and the friend of truth.
I, therefore, feel myself bound to bear witness of the truth as it is, and was, and is to come.
The Christian minister will inquire, “What need of a new dispensation, where the old has been perpetuated by an apostolical succession?”
To which I reply, “That I know of no succession of the kind; I acknowledge none; but, for the satisfaction of others, I will point out the way to determine the negative or affirmative of that all-important question.”
Search the sacred writings of the apostles of old for any other order of apostles, ministers, ordinances, gifts, or powers, as constituting the true church, or connected with it, than the order set forth in the [p.154]foregoing pages, and you will search in vain. The New Testament system was a system of inspiration, apostolical powers, miracles, healings, revelations, prophesyings, visions, angels, and all the gifts recorded in that book.
It was a system of ordinances—such as baptism for remission of sins, by immersion in water in the name of Jesus Christ; the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Spirit; the laying on of hands for healing the sick; also anointing with oil for the same purpose; also the administration of bread and wine, in rememberance of the death of Jesus Christ, and the blood of atonement.
Such was the New Testament system. Peter himself had no right to alter it, neither had Paul: in so doing, they would have forfeited their apostolic powers and their Christian standing; and would have been accursed, as it is written by Paul, “THOUGH WE, OR AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN, PREACH ANY OTHER GOSPEL, LET HIM BE ACCURSED.”
This being an undeniable fact, which no man can successfully controvert or deny; the question of apostolical or church succession resolves itself thus:—
Has the foregoing order of things been handed down in purity and power to this day? its apostleship, its powers of vision, revelation, prophecy, miracles, gifts, ordinances, and powers unaltered, unimpaired, unperverted?
If so, we have apostles, church, &c., NOW; without a new dispensation, or a new commission.
If not so, then there is no apostleship, no church, no Christian ministry and gifts on the earth, except commissioned by a new dispensation.
In the latter case, I would inquire, by what standard shall the Millennium, the age of peace, and universal truth, and knowledge be ushered in?
By what standard shall the knowledge of the Lord cover the earth as the waters cover the sea?
By what standard shall there be one Lord, and his name one, and he be the king of all the earth, as saith the prophets?
To what standard shall the Jews and the other tribes of Israel be restored, when the fulness of times is come in? when their times are fulfilled; when the full time arrives for the restoration of the things spoken of by all the holy prophets since the world began?
In which, of all the branches of the so-called Christian church, shall the power and miracles of God be manifested, when he shall make bare his arm in the eyes of all the nations, in the restoration of all the tribes of Israel and Judah?
Will his power and wisdom be displayed to restore them to a broken [p.155]covenant? to doctrines corrupted? to ordinances perverted? to a Church divided, and destitute of the miraculous powers and gifts?
In short, to Christendom, who has ruled all nations with a rod of iron, and made the nations and their rulers drunken with the wine of their abominations?
No, I BOLDLY ANSWER NO!
What then? shall the words of the prophets fall to the ground unfulfilled?
Hence the unavoidable necessity of a NEW DISPENSATION, a new Apostolic commission.
Such commission is now restored; such dispensation is now committed, and is held by the church of the Latter Day Saints, their apostles and elders.
Such the cause in which martyrs have bled, and a whole people been disfranchised, robbed, plundered, dispersed, slandered in every possible way, and driven to the mountains and deserts of the American interior.
Honest, pious, and well meaning Christians (for such there are in every sect under heaven) we hereby solemnly warn you, and intreat you, in the name of the Lord, to come out of every sect, and from all the Christian “Babels;” yea “come out of her my people,” as saith the ancient Apostle, “for her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”
Come out, then, and unite with the church of the Saints, and henceforth devote your faith, your prayers, your strength, and your means to the work of God.
This same invitation is meant for all sincere, well-meaning, and devoted clergymen, whether Roman or Protestant, as well as the other members.
The sincere, zealous, and devoted missionaries and their supporters, who bear the Bible to foreign lands; and who toil amid fields of ice, or burning sands; amid deserts, mountains, or in the solitude of the wilderness; or in the lone and distant isles, surrounded by the infinite expanse of air and ocean, because of their love for Jesus and their fellow man.
To you we bring tidings of great joy!
The latter day glory has dawned upon the world!
The prayers of the faithful of all ages are heard!
The heavens have been again opened!
Angels have descended, bearing a dispensation to man!
The Holy Ghost has been again shed forth!
The fulness of the Gospel is revealed!
[p.156]The sick are healed!
Demons are cast out!
The Kingdom of God has come!
The standard of truth and freedom is reared!
And to those who are in darkness a light has dawned!
And ere long, darkness, ignorance, and oppression shall cease from the earth!
Open your hearts, then, and receive and learn the way of God more perfectly; return fully to the system of that Bible which you publish, and to that God whom you serve.
And to those who are only Christians by nation, by birth, or by profession, and not by conduct; I would say by the commandment of the Lord, and also by way of invitation, turn from all your iniquities and abominations, your lyings, deceivings, whoredoms, blasphemies, drunkenness, gambling, idleness, extravagance, pride, and folly.
Also from your murders, theft, and robbery, and from all sin. Cease to take the name of God, the Father of Jesus Christ, in vain. Pledge yourselves by a covenant and a fixed purpose to serve the Lord, and come and be baptized in his name, and you shall receive remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost. And then, if you endure to the end in keeping the commandments of Jesus Christ, you shall be saved in the celestial kingdom of God. You shall also have part in the first resurrection, which will come in a few years, and shall reign, in the flesh, on the earth with the King, the great Messiah, one thousand years.
ADDRESS TO PAGANS.
To those who are not Christian, but who worship the various Gods of India, China, Japan, or the Islands of the Pacific or Indian Oceans, we say—turn away from them; they are no Gods; they have no power. Open your ears and your hearts, and hear the apostles and elders of the church of the Saints. Learn of the true God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, who was dead and is alive, and shall live for evermore; and who is your King, and will soon come down from the more glorious planet where he dwells, and reign as the King of all nations; and your eyes shall see him, your acclamations hail him welcome, while he is crowned Lord of all.
Open your houses and your hearts, and receive and feed the elders who come among you; give them means and aid them in their travels; and verily your sick shall be healed, the evil demons which trouble you shall be cast out, and you shall have good dreams and visions of the Lord, and angels shall minister to some of you, and your hearts shall [p.157]swell with love and gladness; and you will feel to forsake your sins and be baptized by the elders; and in so doing, they shall lay their hands upon you, bearing witness in your hearts of the truth, and enlightening your minds in the same.
ADDRESS TO THE JEWS.
To the Jews we would say—turn from your sins and seek the God of your fathers. Search the prophets, for lo your Messiah cometh speedily, and all the Saints with him. Yea he will descend upon the Mount of Olives near your ancient city, disperse your enemies, defend Jerusalem, and establish his kingdom over your nation and city, and over all the earth.
But what will be your astonishment, when gazing at him and falling at the feet of HIM as your great deliverer, you discover the wounds in his feet, in his hands, and in his side, and inquire, “What are these wounds in your hands and in your feet?”
And he will exclaim, “These are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am Jesus of Nazareth whom your fathers crucified. I am the Son of God your deliverer and your eternal King.” O who can describe the mingled feelings of joy and gladness, and gratitude, and shame, and remorse, and repentance, and amazement, and wonder which will then fill your bosoms. How you will repent and flock to the water, and be baptized in his name for the remission of your sins. With what power the Holy Ghost will fall upon you, when the apostles shall lay their hands upon your heads in the name of that Jesus who will stand in your presence. The big tears of joy will gush forth and stream upon the ground, while many of you will fall upon his neck, or kiss his feet, and bathe them in your tears.
Blessed is he that has seen him and believed; but more blessed are they who have not seen him and yet believed.
If any of you can so far overcome your prejudices and traditions, as to admit the probability, or even possibility, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, and that when your Messiah comes to fulfil your national redemption, and to establish his kingdom over all the earth, it will not be the first time that he has appeared among men, or even to your own nation; why, then, search diligently on the subject, and earnestly pray to Jehovah that you may understand the truth of a subject of such thrilling and vital importance.
After you have carefully reviewed your own prophets, search the New Testament with the same careful and prayerful attention, and then [p.158]obtain a copy of the Book of Mormon, and search that with the same degree of candour and earnestness, and I think your minds will expand, and you will be constrained to say, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ.
If so, then come to the standard of the New Dispensation—to the apostles and elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; for you will readily see that there is no other system now extant, which even resembles, or will compare at all with the system established by him and his former apostles. Yea, come to them, repenting and turning from your sins, and go down into the waters of baptism, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Receive the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. You will then know the truth, and be prepared for less surprise and a more glorious triumph on the Mount of Olives, in the day of your returning King.
I have now shown you the door of admission into the kingdom of God, into which you would do well to enter; and after entering therein, it will be required of you to keep the commandments of Jesus, and to look earnestly and daily for the fulfilment of the prophets which speak of the restoration of Israel and Judah, the downfall of Gentile rule, and the prevalence of that kingdom which shall be universal and have no end.
You would also in the meantime do well to contribute liberally of your means to the elders and missionaries of the church, for they are your brethren; they verily believe the Prophets, and they look, and pray, and labor earnestly for their fulfilment.
ADDRESS TO THE RED MAN.
To the Red Men of America I will next address a few lines. You are a branch of the house of Israel. You are descended from the Jews, or, rather, more generally, from the tribe of Joseph, which Joseph was a great prophet and ruler in Egypt.
Your fathers left Jerusalem in the days of Jeremiah the prophet–being led by a prophet whose name was Lehi.
After leaving Jerusalem, they wandered in the wilderness of Arabia, and along the shores of the Red Sea, for eight years, living on fruits and wild game.
Arriving at the sea coast they built a ship, put on board the necessary provisions and the seeds brought with them from Jerusalem, and setting sail they crossed the great ocean, and landed on the western coast of America, within the bounds of what is now called “Chili.”
[p.159]In process of time they peopled the entire continents of North and South America.
They were taught by prophets from age to age. They were also favored with a personal visit from the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, after he had risen from the dead. His own mouth taught them the Gospel, and his own hand ordained twelve apostles of their own nation, and endowed them with the same powers as the other twelve at Jerusalem. His own teaching opened to them the events of unborn time, and more particularly the future events pertaining to the American continent. His gospel and prophetic instructions were written by his commandment, and by the inspiration of his own Spirit.
In after ages your fathers sinned against all this light and knowledge, and lost the gospel privileges.
Their apostles were destroyed, or taken away and hid from the world. The working of miracles ceased because of iniquity. Civil government was broken up. Terrible and desolating wars ensued, which finally resulted in the darkness, ignorance, the divisions and sub-divisions in which the white man from Europe found you, upwards of three hundred years ago.
Mormon was one of your fathers. He lived about one thousand four hundred years ago, in North America. He wrote an abridgment of your history, prophecies, and gospel, from the records of your more ancient prophets and apostles; engraved the same on plates of gold, which records, at his death, descended to his son Moroni.
This Moroni, is the last of the ancient prophets of America. He completed the records of Mormon on the plates, and made a sacred deposit of the same in a hill called Cumorah, which hill is now included within the limits of New York, United States.
This deposit was made about the year four hundred and twenty of the Christian era.
The plates, thus deposited, were taken from their place of deposit, in the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven of the same era, by Joseph Smith, and were by him translated and published to the world, in English, in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty; the records and their contents having been revealed to him by an angel of God.
Many others saw and handled the plates and the engravings thereon, and have solemnly given their names to the world in testimony of the same, which testimony is published in full in said book.
There were also three other men, who in open day saw the vision; saw the angel of the Lord descend from heaven; heard his voice bear record of the plates and of their correct translation, and were commanded [p.160]by him to bear testimony to the world. Their testimony is also published in full in said book.
Red men of the forest; Peruvians, Mexicans, Guatimalians, descendants of every tribe and tongue of this mysterious race, your history, your gospel, your destiny is revealed. It will soon be made known to you and to all nations—to every kindred, tongue, and people. It has come forth as a standard—a sign of the times of restoration of all things spoken of by all the holy prophets since the world began.
Turn then from your drunkenness, idolatry, murders, wars, and bloodshed—yea, turn from bowing down to images, the work of men’s hands, which have no power to do either harm or good; turn from adultery, fornication, filth, and all manner of abominations; and seek the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who was once dead and is alive, and, behold, he lives for evermore. Seek peace with each other, and with all mankind. And when the elders of the church of the Saints come among you, receive them, feed, lodge, and assist them; and hearken to their voice, for they bring glad tidings of great joy. Put away your sins and be baptized, (buried in the water) in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of the same, and receive the laying on of the hands of the apostles and elders of this church, for the gift of the Holy Ghost. And you will be filled with joy and gladness, with light and knowledge. You will know and bear witness of the truth. Some of you will be able to speak by the gift of the Holy Ghost, in great power. And by signs, and by visions, and by dreams, and by divers healings and miracles, will God confirm his word among you; for, behold, he purposes your restoration as a righteous branch of Israel.
The Book of Mormon, the record of your fathers, will soon be published among you in English, in Spanish, and in every written language in use among your various tribes and tongues. Messengers will also be sent among you to read, recite, and interpret the contents of said book, as far as necessary, to those who cannot read–so that to say the least you may have the gospel of your forefathers, and some knowledge of their history and prophecies.
GENERAL ADDRESS RESUMED.—ANCIENT RECORDS OF THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE.
Having addressed myself in turn to pious Christians and Christian sinners, Pagans, Jews, and the Red Men of America, I will now return, and again address the whole of the people within the bounds of my mission.
[p.161]The Book of Mormon is destined to be published as fast as possible to every nation, and in every language and tongue.
Its contents more deeply interest the world, and every intelligent, accountable being therein, than that of any other book (save the Jewish Scriptures) which is now extant in the world.
Its history penetrates the otherwise dark oblivion of the past, (as regards America) through the remote ages of antiquity; follows up the stream of the generations of man, till arriving at the great fountain head—the distributor of nations, tribes, and tongues—the TOWER OF BABEL, where it ceases, or is lost in, and sweetly blended with, that great Adamatic river whose source is in Paradise, the cradle of man—whose springs issue from beneath the throne of the Eternal city—and whose secret fountains comprise the infinite expanse, the boundless ocean of intellect, fact, and historic truth, as recorded in the archives of eternity.
Its prophetic vision separating from its history at that definite point, which by its authors might be called the present, opens the events of unborn time, and gives a view of things to come with all the clearness of history.
The Ten Tribes of Israel, the Jews, the white nations of Europe, the red tribes of America—even the proud states of the American Union—may each see themselves and their actions in the prophetic telescope of that book.
Their destiny is there written: and much of it from the mouth of him who spake, and Jerusalem was deluged in blood—wrapped in the flames of desolation and death—and trodden down for eighteen centuries. Who prophesied, and that holy structure, the temple of God, the pride and confidence of a nation, was thrown down and “not one stone left upon another.” Who uttered his voice and a nation withdrew before him, ceased to be, and its fragments made wanderers among the nations, till “the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled.”
The fate of nations; the restoration of Judah and Israel; the downfall of corrupt churches and religious institutions; the end of Gentile superstition and misrule; the universal prevalence of peace, and truth, and light, and knowledge; the awful wars and troubles which precede those happy times; the glorious coming of Jesus Christ as king over all the earth; the resurrection of the saints to reign on the earth, are all predicted in that book: the time and means of their fulfilment pointed out with clearness, showing the present age more big with wonders, than all the ages of Adam’s race which have gone before it.
Its doctrines are developed in such plainness and simplicity, and with such clearness and precision, that no man can mistake them. They are there as they flowed from the mouth of a risen Redeemer, in the liquid eloquence of love, mingled with immortal tears of joy and [p.162]compassion, and as written by men whose tears of overflowing affection and gratitude bathed his immortal feet.
All men are invited and instructed by the doctrines to turn from their sins and live; to believe on his name; to go down into the waters of baptism, in his name, and arise to newness of life, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, enjoying the gifts of the same, and keeping his commandments to the end of their lives. On these conditions they are promised eternal life and exaltation in his presence, where is fulness of joy.
Such is the BOOK OF MORMON, that book of books—that Ensign to the nations, which in twenty-one years has, by the aid of apostolic powers and the gift of the Holy Ghost, diffused its light over half the globe.
I am aware of the prejudice of “Christians” in favor of the Bible, and against all other books claiming to be of divine origin; but I also know perfectly, and bear record that their prejudice is founded in ignorance, and is without any real or reasonable foundation. Such traditions and such prejudices grow out of the same narrow views which, in the days of Columbus, would not let the geographical knowledge of man expand, or his aspirations or thoughts to reach beyond the boundaries of the old world, lest the very thought should be blasphemy—lest a world should be discovered where the Jewish apostles had not been, and thus render their commission to preach the gospel to every creature, an inconsistency.
I would ask such narrow minds the following questions:–
Are there more countries than one?
Are there more nations than one?
Did the Great Father of all, create those several countries?
Did he people them with intelligent beings, candidates for immortality and eternal life?
Did he love those beings without respect to nation or country?
Did his Son Jesus Christ shed his blood for all?
Did he partake of death, and mourning and sorrow?
Did all stand in need of the knowledge and comfort brought to light by his resurrection, and triumph over death, hell, and the grave?
Is it reasonable, right, and consistent, that all nations should have the good news of so glorious an event, and be comforted and taught?
Was Jesus Christ in his resurrected body, capable of overstepping the physical barriers of ocean and desert, and of paying a personal visit to the other hemisphere?
Were his angels capable of overcoming the wave and winds, and of bearing the glad tidings to the remotest lands?
Did they mean it when they said to the shepherds of Judea, “We bring glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people?”
[p.163]I think a candid man will answer all these questions in the affirmative.
If so, I would still inquire whether a risen Saviour and his angels, in visiting the Western hemisphere, had a right to command the people there to write the facts of their ministry, and to record their doctrines? Whether his Spirit had a right to inspire and indite those writings? And after being so written, they would constitute a book; a holy scripture; a volume or volumes of the word of God?
I would further inquire, whether the risen Jesus and his angels, have not the right and the power to reveal such records to the world; when, where, and by whom it seemeth them good?
If so, when should we look for them to come to the knowledge of the world, if not in the dawn of the restoration of all things which God hath spoken by the mouths of all his holy prophets since the world began?
I beseech you, dear reader, whoever you are, to ponder well these questions, and they will swell and enlarge your heart.
I now solemnly predict, in the name of the Lord God of Israel, that in a few years, the world shall bring together and compare ancient records, as sacred and as true as the words of Jesus Christ—as holy as the Bible. Records which unfold the gospel of the Son of God, revealed, at least, to three distinct nations of the earth, by his own ministry in his glorified body.
I will also name these records: as follows:—
Records of the Jews, (the Bible) written in Asia.
Records of the remnant of Joseph, the Nephites, (Book of Mormon) written in America.
Records of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel: country not yet revealed.
These three national records will be familiarly known among the nations, in a few years: will be demonstrated as to their truth; and each of them will contain an account of the ministry of Jesus Christ to their respective countries, as he did really appear to them after his resurrection. The words which he spake, the doctrine he taught, the gospel and ordinances as he set forth and commanded, will be written in each record.
In Judea, he chose and ordained twelve apostles, viz., Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholemew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Simon Zelotes, and Judas Iscariot.
In America, he chose and ordained twelve apostles, viz., Nephi, Timothy, Jonas, Mathoni, Mathonihah, Kumen, Kumenonhi, Jeremiah, Shemnon, Jonas, Zedekiah and Isaiah.
In the country of the Ten Tribes, he, of course, chose other twelve, whose names will appear in due time.
Besides these records of his personal ministry, there were many of [p.164]other countries and nations, (which held no communication with the nations where these administrations were had, and these quorums chosen) which received a knowledge of his death and resurrection, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. They have, also, written an account of the same.
Now, all these records which are saved, and which contain the word of God, will come to light and be revealed. There is nothing hid which shall not be made known; neither is there anything secret which shall not be revealed and come abroad, in connection with the “times of the restoration of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouths of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
The Jews shall have the words of the Nephites; and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews. And the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.” And thus the word of God shall be brought together and embodied. And the Nations who have written it, shall be brought together and embodied also. And the things of all the Nations shall be revealed; and the earth be overwhelmed with the knowledge of the Past, the Present and the Future; and darkness, bigotry, superstition, and falsehoods of every description, shall flee away as the fleeting shadow of a cloud, from off all the earth.
The inquiry will be, What are the evidences upon which rests the truth of the Book of Mormon? To which I answer: Search the book and learn for yourselves. You will find,
First—The testimony of the witnesses.
Second—The consistency, harmony, and evident truthfulness of its history and prophecies.
Third—The simplicity and purity of its doctrines.
And last, and best of all—The gift of the Holy Spirit of truth, which bears witness to the heart of every honest, prayerful man, who desires to know and do the truth.
Truth is light.
Light is spirit.
Light cleaveth unto light.
Truth embraceth truth.
Intelligence comprehendeth intelligence.
Spirit recognizeth spirit.
Like embraceth like in all spiritual things.
These are some of the laws of nature in the spiritual world, and are as true, and as capable of demonstration, as any physical law of the universe.
Two balls of quicksilver placed in contact, immediately recognize and embrace each other. Two blazes of fire, placed in near contact, will immediately spring toward each other and blend in one. Two drops of [p.165]water placed upon a table will remain in a round or globular form, until they are enlarged so as to expand their circles; when, as they mutually touch each other, they will instantly mingle and become one globular form. So it is in spiritual things. There is in every man a portion of the spirit of truth; a germ of light: a spiritual test or touchstone, which, if strictly observed, studied, and followed by its possessor, will witness to him; and will, as it were, leap forward with a warm glow of joy and sympathy, to every truthful spirit with which it comes in contact: while by a shudder of disgust, it will recognize a false spirit, a lie. Call this spiritual magnetism, or what you please; it is so, and is a law of nature.
Herein consists the mystery of the agency of man.
This is the reason why a man is under condemnation for rejecting any spiritual truth; or, for embracing any spiritual error.
A man’s deeds are evil. His monitor is unheeded; his good angel, and the good spirit within, is grieved: and, after many admonitions which are not heeded, they retire, and leave him in the dark. He loves his own. He cleaves to a lie—he rejects the truth—darkness still increases: the world, the flesh, and the evil demons allure him onward, till death closes the scene, and ushers his spirit from the rudimental state of man, into the next sphere. When his evil demons and companions in darkness surround him, and dwell with him. Each contributes his portion of the darkness; till cloud mingled with cloud, envelopes the whole in black despair, obscures the vision, forbids the eye to behold, the tongue to utter, or the pen to describe.
On the other hand, a man’s deeds are good; as saith the Scriptures—”He that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God.”
He obeys this monitor within him. He welcomes to his bosom every true and holy principle within his reach—he puts it into practice, and seeks for more: his mind expands: the field of intelligence opens around, above, beneath him: wide and more widely extends the vision: the past, the present, the future, opens to his view. Earth, with its tribes; heaven, with its planets and intelligences; the heaven of heavens, with its brilliant circles of suns, and their myriads of angels and sons of God, basking in sun-beams of pure intelligence; and streams of light and love. Each adding to, and mingling in the light of the other, till the whole enlightens the vast universe, both spiritual and physical; and the vision loses itself in its very immensity, on the confines of its own infinitude.
Let a person look back on his past life, carefully review and examine the days of his innocent childhood, his first approaches to temptation, immorality, or crime. Does he not remember to have felt a disagreeable burning in his bosom; a disgust, a trembling of nerve and muscles, a hesitation; in short a something disapproving of the act he [p.166]was about to commit? And, if he still persisted, did not this burning and uneasy feeling increase almost to a fever.
Well, reader, this was your monitor. The Spirit of God within you. Had you heeded it, it would have kept you from every temptation and crime.
On the other hand, do you not remember, many times in the course of your life; of a fire, a warm glow of joy; a pleasing burning or sensation of pure light and pleasure, in your bosom, approving of a good act, or prompting you to do the same? In short, a feeling of pure good will, kind sympathy, and boundless love to all good intelligences, and to man? A purifying of heart and sentiment, as if you could wish to do good continually, and never sin?
That was the promptings of the spark of divinity within you. It was the teachings, inspirations, and whisperings of that light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. It is sweeter than honey; more harmonious than music; more pure than the drops of dew on the roses of Paradise; more tender than the apple of thine eye; and more valuable than the gold of Australia. Blessed are they who cultivate and nourish it in their bosoms, and carry it out in their lives; for it is an emanation from the fountain of eternal life: and those who follow up from whence it came, will arrive at that fountain, as surely as a sunbeam leads upward to the centre of light.
ON LAWS AND GOVERNMENTS.
Having borne my testimony, as a faithful and true witness, of the gospel, and of things past, present, and to come; I will now give some information on the subject of the laws and governments of men; and the duties we owe to them, and the duties we sustain to them, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ in all the world.
Every government of man is permitted by the Lord, and is needful, until he reigns whose right it is to reign; and until he subdues all enemies under his feet.
We are not sent forth to revolutionize the world in a political sense; but to warn the world of approaching events, instruct the ignorant, and call sinners to repentance.
The laws of every land will be your law, in a civil and political sense of the word.
We are in duty bound to obey magistrates, judges, rulers, governors and kings, who hath the legitimate rule in the various countries where we live, or where we travel or sojourn.
[p.167]If the spirit of modern European and American institutions, pertaining to liberty of conscience; and a free interchange of intercourse, thought, and speech, marches onward from conquest to conquest; and thus opens the way for all nations to diffuse their light and interchange their knowledge; then let us rejoice in the same, and improve the opportunity to declare the testimony of Jesus, and publish the gospel of salvation, the good news of eternal life; wherever the foot of man has made an imprint; wherever sorrow and tears, and mourning and death, have cast their shadows of despair.
If the still advancing improvements in steam navigation, of railroad conveyance, and electric communication, follow universally in the wake of freedom’s triumphs and conquests; then O ye saints of the Most High! ye elders and apostles of Israel
Let fly your thoughts on the lightning car,
With the speed of light to the realms afar.
Mount, mount the car with the horse of fire,
Outstript the wind! he will never tire.
Let the wild-bird scream as he lags behind,
And the hurricane a champion find.
Search the darkest spot where mortals dwell,
With a voice of thunder the tidings tell.
Proclaim the dawn of a brighter day,
When the King of Kings will his sceptre sway.
Bid pain, and anguish, and sorrow cease,
And open the way for the Prince of Peace.
He will conquer death–bid sorrow flee,
And give to the nations a jubilee.
As you travel from one nation to another, you will find their laws, religions, ordinances, ceremonies, institutions, domestic arrangements, marriages, &c., &c., widely clashing, and at variance with each other, and with the laws of God.
But, remember that yours is a universal commission, of peace on earth and good will to man.
Yours is a proclamation of universal reformation and repentance. You are sent forth as the ambassadors of the King, the Lord Jesus Christ; to command all persons who have arrived to the years of accountability, to repent and be baptized in his name, for the remission of sins. You are sent forth to administer the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands in the same holy name.
[P.168]You are sent forth to bear witness of the truth of this dispensation, and of a crucified and risen Saviour. You are sent forth to prophecy, and warn the world of things to come.
You are sent forth to lay your hands on the little children of the members of the church, and bless them, and confirm upon them their Christian names, as members and heirs of the covenant of promise.
You are sent forth to baptize the nations, and thus prepare the way for the coming of the Son of God. You are sent forth to lay your hands on the sick the lame, the blind, the deaf, the afflicted of every description, who believe in your testimony, and have faith to be healed. Yea, verily, to lay your hands on them and anoint them in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
You are sent forth to command demons, devils, and unclean and foul spirits of every kind, in the name of Jesus Christ, to depart from the tabernacles of persons afflicted by them.
You are sent forth to preach deliverance to the captive, to bind up the broken hearted, and to comfort all who mourn; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God.
You are not sent forth to intermeddle with the civil, political, or domestic institutions, established by law, and rendered sacred by antiquity, or long established usage; except in so far, as those institutions come in contact with liberty of conscience; and the commandments of Jesus Christ. When the latter is the case, you must obey God rather than man, and take the consequences, or flee to another place.