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Vol. V. No. 7.] CITY OF NAUVOO, ILL. APRIL 1, 1844. [whole No. 91.
HISTORY OF JOSEPH SMITH.
The fore part of September was spent in making preparations to remove to the town of Hiram and re-commence the translation of the Bible. The brethren who were commanded to go up to Zion were earnestly engaged in getting ready to start in the coming October. On the 11th of September I received the following:
A Revelation given in Kirtland, September, 1831.
Behold, thus saith the Lord your God unto you, O ye elders of my church, hearken ye, and hear, and receive my will concerning you; for verily I say unto you, I will that ye should overcome the world: wherefore I will have compassion upon you. There are those among you who have sinned; but verily I say, for this once, for mine own glory, and for the salvation of souls, I have forgiven you your sins.
I will be merciful unto you, for I have given unto you the kingdom; and the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom, shall not be taken from my servant Joseph Smith, jr. through the means I have appointed, while he liveth, inasmuch as he obeyeth mine ordinances. There are those who have sought ocasion [occasion] against him without cause; nevertheless he has sinned, but verily I say unto you, I the Lord forgiveth sins unto those who confess their sins before me, and ask forgiveness, who have not sinned unto death. My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another, and forgave not one another in their hearts, and for this evil they were afflicted, and sorely chastened: wherefore I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another, for he that forgiveth not his brother his tresspasses [trespasses], standeth condemned before the Lord, for there remaineth in him the greater sins. I the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men; and ye ought to say in your hearts, let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds. And he that repenteth not of his sins, and confesseth them not, then shall ye bring him before the church, and do with him as the scriptures saith unto you, either by commandment, or by revelation. And this ye shall do that God might be glorified, not because ye forgive not, having not compassion, but that ye may be justified in the eyes of the law, that ye may, not offend him who is your Lawgiver.
Verily I say, for this cause ye shall do these things. Behold I the Lord was angry with him who was my servant Ezra Booth; and also my servant Isaac Morley; for they kept not the law, neither the comandment [commandment]; they sought evil in their hearts, and I the Lord withheld my Spirit. They condemned for evil, the thing in which there was no evil; nevertheless I have forgiven my servant Isaac Morley. And also my servant Edward Partridge, behold he hath sinned, and satan seeketh to destroy his soul; but when these things are made known unto them, they repent of the evil, and they shall be forgiven.
And now verily I say, that it is expedient in me that my servant Sidney Gilbert, after a few weeks, should return upon his business, and to his agency in the land of Zion; and that which he hath seen and heard may be made known unto my disciples, that they perish not. And for this cause have I spoken these things. And again, I say unto you, that my servant Isaac Morely may not be tempted above that which he is able to bear, and council wrongly to your hurt, I gave commandment that this farm should be sold. I willeth not that my servant Frederick G. Williams should sell his farm, for I the Lord willeth to retain a strong hold in the land of Kirtland, for the space of five years, in the which I will not overthrow the wicked, that thereby I may save some; and after that day, I the Lord will not hold any guilty, that shall go, with an open heart, up to the land of Zion: For I the Lord requireth e [the] hearts of the children of men.
Behold it is called to-day, (until the coming of the Son of Man) and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned (at his coming;) for after to-day cometh the burning: this is speaking after the manner of the Lord; for verily I say, to-morrow all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble: and I will burn them up, for I am the Lord of Hosts; and I will not spare any that remaineth in Babylon. Wherefore if ye believe me, ye will labor while it is called to-day. And it is not meet that my servants Newel K. Whitney and Sidney Gilbert should sell their store, and their possessions here, for this is not wisdom until the residue of the church, which remaineth in this place, shall go up to the land of Zion.
Behold it is said in my laws, or forbidden to get into debt to thine enemies; but behold it is not said at any time, that the Lord should not
take when he please, and pay as seemeth him good: wherefore as ye are agents, and ye are on the Lord's errand; and what ever ye do according to the will of the Lord, is the Lord's business, and he has set you to provide for his saints in these last days, that they may obtain an inheritance in the land of Zion; and behold I the Lord declare unto you, and my words are sure and shall not fail, that they shall obtain it; but all things must come to pass in their time; wherefore be not weary in well doing, for ye are laying the foundations of a great work.-And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.
Behold the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days; and the rebellious shall be cut off out of the land of Zion, and shall be sent away and shall not inherit the land: for verily I say that the rebellious are not of the blood of Ephraim, wherefore they shall be plucked out. Behold I the Lord have made my church in these last days, like unto a judge sitting on a hill, or in a high place, to judge the nations: for it shall come to pass, that the inhabitants of Zion shall judge all things pertaining to Zion: and liars, and hypocrits [hypocrites] shall be proved by them, and they who are not apostles and prophets shall be known.
And even the bishop, who is a judge, and his counsellors [counselors], if they are not faithful in their stewardships, shall be condemned, and others shall be planted in their stead: for behold I say unto you that Zion shall flourish, and the glory of the Lord shall be upon her, and she shall be an ensign unto the people: and there shall be unto her out of every nation under heaven. And the day shall come, when the nations of the earth shall tremble because of her, and shall fear because of her terrible ones; the Lord hath spoken it: Amen.
On the 12th of September, I removed with my family to the township of Hiram, and commenced living with John Johnson. Hiram was in Portage county and about thirty miles south easterly from Kirtland. From this time until the forepart of October, I did little more than to prepare to re-commence the translation of the bible. About this time Ezra Booth came out as an apostate. He came into the church upon seeing a person healed of an infirmity of many years standing. He had been a Methodist priest for some time previous to his embracing the fulness [fullness] of the gospel, as developed in the Book of Mormon, and upon his admission into the church, he was ordained an elder; as will be seen by the foregoing revelations. He went up to Missouri as a companion to elder Morley; but when he actually learned that faith, humility, patience, and tribulation, were before blessing; and that God brought low before he exalted; that instead of "the savior's granting him power to smite men, and make them believe" (as he said he wanted God to do him;) he found he must become all things to all men, that he might peradventure save some, and that too by all diligence, by perils, by sea and land; as was the case in the days of Jesus, which appears in the 6th chapter of St. John's Gospel he said, "verily, verily I say unto you, ye seek me not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled." So it was with Booth, and when he was disappointed by his own evil heart, he turned away and as said before, became an apostate, and wrote a series of letters which by their coloring, falsity, and vain calculations to overthrow the work of the Lord exposed his weakne s [weakness] wickedness and folly, and left him a monument of his own shame, for the world to wonder at.
A conference was held, in which brother W. W. Phelps was instructed to stop at Cincinnati on his way to Missouri, and purchase a press and type, for the purpose of establishing and publishing a monthly paper at Independence, Jackson county, Missouri, to be called the "Evening and Morning Star." The first Sunday in October, Orson Hyde, a clerk in brothers Sidney Gilbert and Newel K. Whitney's store, in Kirtland, was baptized and became a member of the church. As he was soon after designated as one of the chosen men of the Lord, to bear his word to the nations, I feel a desire to notice him as he was and as he is.-He was, in his own words, left in his infancy, an orphan with none to look upon him with a father's eye, and feel for him with a mother's heart. The hand that wiped his infant tears was still; the breast that gave him suck was cold, and slumbered in the arms of death. He was thrust abroad upon the cold and friendless bosom of an unfeeling world, so that for twenty long years, he saw no one in whose veins flowed a drop of kindred blood, and consequently grew up as a wild and uncultivated plant of nature, and now had come into the new and everlasting covenant, to be renewed and receive grace for grace, and put himself under the fatherly care of Him whose yoke is easy, and whose burden is light; and who rewardeth his sons and daughters, who serve him faithfully to the end, with eternal life.
To continue, in his own figure, he now stood before the world to feed the fowls of the Lord, in the same manner that he had done in early life, to feed the poultry of the gentlemen with whom he had resided; for says he when I
poured the corn upon the ground, the fowls all came together en-masse, but after the corn was exhausted, and the stream stayed, the fowls all turned away, going in different directions, each one singing his own song. So with religion, while God poured out the stream of revelation upon the ancient church, they were all united and ate the living bread, but when he withheld revelations in latter times, because of the unbelief of men, they turned and went their own course, and sung their own song, some a Methodist song, some a Baptist song, some a Presbyterian song, &c; but if they had revelation they would have sung one of the songs of Zion. His further history will come in, in place hereafter. In the fore part of October I received the following:
Revelation on prayer, given October, 1831.
Hearken, and lo, a voice as of one sent down from on high, who is mighty and powerful, whose going forth is unto the ends of the earth; yea, whose voice is unto men, prepare ye the way of the Lord and make his paths straight. The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as a stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth; yea, a voice crying, prepare ye the way of the Lord, prepare ye the supper of the Lamb, make ready for the bridegroom; pray unto the Lord; call upon his holy name; make known his wonderful works among the people, call upon the Lord, that his kingdom may go forth upon the earth; that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in the which the Son of Man shall come down in heaven, clothed in the brightness of his glory, to meet the kingdoms of God which is set up on the earth:-wherefore, may the kingdoms of God go forth, that the kingdom of heaven may come, that thou O God may be glorified in heaven, so on earth, that thy enemies may be subdued; for thine is the honor, power and glory, forever and ever: Amen.
Soon after the above revelation was received I re-commenced the translation of the scriptures, in company with elder Rigdon, who had removed to Hiram to act in his office of scribe to me. On the 11th of October, a conference was held at brother Johnson's, where I was living, at which the elders were instructed into the ancient manner of conducting meetings, of which knowledge most of them were ignorant. A committee of six were appointed to instruct the several branches of the church. Elders David Whitmer, and Reynolds Cahoon were appointed as two of the said committee, with the further duty on their mission, of setting forth the condition of Br. Joseph Smith, jr. and Sidney Rigdon, that they might obtain means to continue translation. This conference was adjourned till the 25th of October, to meet at the house of Serems Burnett, in Orange, Cuyahoga county. On the 21st I attended a special conference to settle a difficulty which had occurred in Kirtland, on account that William Cahoon and Peter Devolve had abused one of brother Whitney's children. Myself and elder Rigdon were appointed to go to Kirtland and settle the difficulty, which we did. At the conference, on the 25th, at Orange, twelve high priests, seventeen elders, four priests, three teachers, and four deacons, together with a large congregation attended. Much business was done, and the four remaining committee, authorized by the conference at Hiram, on the 11th were appointed, and consisted of Simeon Carter, Orson Hyde, Hyrum Smith, and Emer Harris. At the request of William E. McLellen, I inquired of the Lord and received the following
Revelation given October, 1830.
Behold thus saith the Lord, unto you my servant William E. McLellin [McLellen] blessed are you, inasmuch as you have turned away from your iniquities, and have received my truths, saith the Lord your Redeemer, the savior of the world, even of as many as believe on my name. Verily I say unto you, blessed are you for receiving mine everlasting covenant, even the fulness [fullness] of my gospel, sent forth unto the children of men, that they might have life, and be made partakers of the glories, which are to be revealed in the last days, as it was written by the prophets and apostles of days old.
Verily I say unto you, my servant William, that you are clean, but not all; repent therefore of those things which are not pleasing in my sight, saith the Lord, for the Lord will show them unto you. And now verily I the Lord will show unto you what I will concerning you, or what is my will concerning you, behold, verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should proclaim my gospel from land to land, and from city to city, yea, in those regions round about where it has not been proclaimed.
Tarry not many days in this place: go not up unto the land of Zion, as yet; but inasmuch as you can send, send; otherwise think not of thy property. Go unto the eastern lands; bear testimony in every place, unto every people, and in their synagogues, reasoning with this people
Let my servant, Samuel H. Smith go with you, and forsake him not, and give him thine instructions: and he that is faithful shall be
made strong in every place, and I the Lord will go with you.
Lay your hands upon the sick and they shall recover. Return not till I the Lord shall send you. Be patient in affliction. Ask and ye shall receive. Knock and it shall be opened unto you. Seek not to be cumbered. Forsake all unrighteousness. Commit not adultery, a temptation with which thou hast been troubled. Keep these sayings for they are true and faithful, and thou shalt magnify thine office, and push many people to Zion, with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads Continue in these things, even unto the end, and you shall have a crown of eternal life at the right hand of my Father, who is full of grace and truth.-Verily thus saith the Lord your God, your Redeemer, even Jesus Christ: Amen.
I returned from the conference at Orange, to Hiram, and as Oliver Cowdry [Cowdery] and John Whitmer were to start for Independence, Missouri, a special conference was appointed for the first of November, at the which I received the following revelation.
Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high, and whose eyes are upon all men; yea, verily I say, hearken ye people from afar, and ye that are upon the islands of the sea, listen together; for verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape, and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated; and the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow, for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the house-tops, and their secret acts shall be revealed; and the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples whom I have chosen in these last days, and they shall go forth and none shall stay them, for I the Lord have commanded them.
Behold this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my preface unto the book of my commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you O inhabitants of the earth: wherefore fear and tremble, O ye people, for what I the Lord have decreed, in them, shall be fulfilled. And verily, I say unto you, that they who go forth, bearing these tidings unto the inhabitants of the earth, to them is power given to seal both on earth and in heaven, the unbelieving and rebellious; yea, verily, to seal them up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure; unto the day when the Lord shall come to recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure unto every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellow man.
Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear: prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh: and the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth: and the arm of the Lord shall be revealed: and the day cometh, that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets, and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people: for they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken my everlasting covenant; they seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh his own way, and after the image of his own God, whose image is the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall:
Wherefore I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, jr. and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments; and also gave commandments unto others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets: the weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh, but that every man might speak in the name of God, the Lord, even the savior of the world, that faith might also increase in the earth; that mine everlasting covenant might be established: that the fulness [fullness] of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple, unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.
Behold I am God and have spoken it: these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding: and inasmuch as they erred it might be made known: and inasmuch as they sought wisdom, they might be instructed; and inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent; and inasmuch as they were humble, they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time: and after having received the record of the Nephites, yea, even my servant Joseph Smith, jr. might have power to translate through the mercy of God, by the power of God, the Book of Mormon: and also, those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and bring it forth out of obscurity,
out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth. with which I the Lord am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually; for I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance: nevertheless he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord, shall be forgiven, and he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received, for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of hosts.
And again, verily I say unto you, O inhabitants of the earth, I the Lord am willing to make these things known unto all flesh, for I am no respecter of persons, and willeth that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh, the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion: and also the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon Idumea, or the world.
Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophesies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.
What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself, and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice, or by the voice of my servants, it is the same: for behold, and lo, the Lord is God, and the Spirit beareth record, and the record is true, and the truth abideth forever and ever: Amen.
To the Editor of the Times and Seasons.
Nauvoo, March, 1844.
Dear sir-On the 25th of October, last, we left this place for Mississippi; we arrived at Vicksburg on the 4th of November, proceeded back in the country fifty miles, where we had the pleasure of getting in company with brother Benjamin L. Clapp, who had just recovered from a long and severe attack of fever. We remained there a few days; three of us then started together; brother Clapp for Tuscaloosa, Alabama; we, for Pleasant Spring, Kemper County, where we arrived on the 20th of November. Brother Clapp stopped with us, intending to stay but a few days, the weather however being very unfavorable and an immense quantity of rain falling; caused trvelling [traveling] impossible; he then come to the conclusion to remain until the weather become more favorable. We began to preach, and had very large and attentive congregations, and more calls in a short time than could possibly be attended to by us. In a few days we had a Methodist minister to make an attack upon us: being ready, determined, and as he thought, able, to put us down, not knowing anything about the doctrine we preached, or the principles we held forth: he came out in full array, and perfectly full of everything but the spirit of God and truth.
He made a perfect failure, as all do, when they come in contact with the truth, by error and falsehood; he however succeeded finally in opening the door of disgrace and falsehood to his heart, and his followers many of them saw it very plain, that he was a wolf in sheep's clothing; and that he had been teaching for hire; that when they heard the true principles of the gospel set before them, by those that were authorized and commissioned to do it, they immediately saw the error of their ways, repented, and were baptized for remission of sins, and hands laid on them for the reception of the Holy Ghost.
We all three continued to preach in the surrounding country, having calls on the right and left, until the last of January. During this time we organized two branches of the church: one consisting of twenty-two members, known as the Kemper county branch at Pleasant Spring, in which we ordained three elders, one priest, one teacher, and one deacon: and also a branch of thirty-seven members; three elders, one priest, one deacon, known as the Running Water Branch, in Noxubee county.
There was a spirit generally manifest through the country to hear preaching. There were some few priests that would stay at a distance and howl, but would not come up like men of God, and if they found they were in possession of errors, trade them off for truth which would make them free.
Notwithstanding many that had embraced the gospel, had evidence to satisfy them of the truth of the work they had embraced, and some enjoying the gifts of the gospel, yet this was not sufficient to convince them of the error of their ways. But we are pleased to be able to say that many more were believing the doctrine, while those that had obeyed were enjoying its blessings.
We left brother Clapp industriously engaged among the people, and with a prospect of many more joining the church. He was of the opinion when we left him, that the prospects were more flattering than he had had in any former mission.
So Sir, you will see, notwithstanding there has been comparatively but few elders as yet
gone south, that the people there are disposed to hear and obey the truths of the gospel, and we hope ere long that many more will have an opportunity of hearing and obeying the fullness of the gospel of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.
Respectfully, your brothers
in the new and everlasting
covenant, W. Huitt,
To the Editor of the Times and Seasons.
Brother Taylor:-I spent with my family the last winter in Tazwell county, Illinois, three miles south of Pekin, where we engaged in spiritual and temporal labors. On the 4th day of February, fifteen came forward for baptism, all in the bloom of life; ten of them young men of first rate abilities. It was a glorious sight and a refreshing season. On the next Sunday three more young men came forward. The branch now numbers forty members, who have resolved to gather, in obedience to the commandments. I now find myself a citizen of your beautiful and prosperous city, on Warsaw street, one block south of Mulholland street, where I indulge a hope of being useful in my profession.
H. TATE, M. D.
Nauvoo, Illinois, April, 1, 1844.
From the Cross and Journal.
BAPTISM BY IMMERSION.
Now for testimony on this subject, we will call on some of the most pious, most learned, and most elevated pædo-baptists that have ever written.
Dr. Witsius, of North Holland-born 1708, learned in the oriental languages. So learned and eminent divine, that he was chosen professor of divinity, 1st, at Franeker, after at Utrecht, last at Leyden. He testifies as follows:
"It cannot be denied that the native signification of baptein and baptizein is to plunge, to dip. So that it is doubtless, more that epipolazein, which is to swim light on the surface: but less than dunein, which is to go down to the bottom, to be destroyed. Yet I have observed, that katadusis is frequently used by the ancients, with reference to baptism. "To baptize means to plunge, to dip; not to swim lightly-not to sink to the bottom, to destroy."-But it means to dip in, and take out again.
Salmasius, an eminent French scholar; educated at Paris Heidleberg-his knowledge of language extensive-succeeded Scaliger in the university at Leyden. Salmasius-Baptism is immersion; and was administered in ancient times, according to the force and meaning of the word. Now it is only rhantism or sprinkling; not immersion or dipping.
Calvin, John, known and read of all men, says "the word baptize, signifies to immerse; and the rite of immersion was observed by the ancient church.
Beza-a Catholic-1543 went to Geneva and publicly abjured popery. After he accepted a Greek professorship in Lausanne, which he filled for ten years, and returned to Geneva. Here he became a colleague to J. Calvin, through whom he was appointed rector and theological professor. He succeeded Calvin, at his decease, in his offices and influence, and was thence considered the head of the Calvinistic church.
Beza says "Christ commanded us to be baptized, by which word it is certain immersion is signified. Baptizesthai in this place is more than Kerniptein; because that seems to respect the whole body, this only the hands. Nor does Baptizein signify to wash, only by consequence; for it properly signifies to immerse for the sake of dyeing. To be baptized in water, which is the external ceremony of baptism. Baptizo differs from the verb dunai, which signifies to plunge into the deep and to drown." So he says it does not mean to drown, but it does mean to immerse.
Calmet. "Generally people (speaking of the Jews) dipped themselves entirely under water; and this is the most simple and natural notion of the word baptism."
Martin Luther. "The term baptism is a Greek word. It may be rendered a dipping when we dip something in water, that it may be entirely covered with water. And that custom be entirely abolished among the generality (for neither do they entirely dip children, but only sprinkle them with a litle [little] water) nevertheless they ought to be entirely immersed, and presently to be drawn out again; for the etymology of the word seems to require it. The Germans call baptism tauff from the depth, which they call tieff in their language: as if it were proper those should be deeply immersed, who were baptized. And, truly, if you consider what baptism signifies, you shall see the same thing required: for it signified, the old man, and our nativity, that is full of sins, which is entirely of flesh and blood, may be overwhelmed by divine grace. The manner of baptism, therefore, should correspond with the signification of baptism, that it may show a certain and plain sign of it."
For the Times and Seasons.
One grand principle in the government of children is, for the parent to have equally as much or more interest for the welfare and happiness of his children, than they themselves have. Another is, to convince them by an example of virtue, and the display of superior wisdom, that he is competent to stand as their counsellor [counselor], and worthy to rule in their conduct: and a third is, to administer justice and judgment with an even temper, and an equal hand in all cases under his parental jurisdiction and power. These are three important principles in the administration of all governments where the good of mankind is contemplated, but more particularly in that of families-and by the exercise of which, children may begin to be influenced to willing obedience, due respect, and living pleasure, in parental authority, even before they are able to lisp their own mother tongue; and thus the more safely led on, in the practice of virtue, and to tread the pathway for usefulness in riper years.
The minds of children are more flexible and attractive, while in infancy, and may then be more easily and successfully influenced to the love and practice of correct principles; and no time need be lost for want of age, for all their infant sports and amusements may be made so many instruments of instruction to their tender minds; and their toils and disappointments, and their numerous changes and mischievous experiments to which they often resort, are no less than so many opportunities to begin to plant in their minds the deeds of true nobility and greatness; for it is by the convincing power of experience, in connexion [connection] with appropriate instructions in every passing incident that comes under their notice in these early hours, that their character and notion of things begins to be contracted. The parent, therefore, whose mind is well fortified against the powers of fashion and indifference, by a true sense of his obligation, and a proper understanding of his duty, will in no wise let the golden moment of infancy pass from the head of their offsprings without sealing to their minds every possible token of the faithful discharge of the same.
Parents should therefore, not only possess an interest for their children, but let it be manifest sufficiently to secure their confidence that no good thing will be withholden that is possible for them to have. The performance of this part of parental duty calls for a liberal exercise of the attributes of love and kindness which awaken the spirit of affection and forbearance in the mind, and overlooks the errors and faults of children, and also gives patience an pleasure to listen to their numberless little inquiries, and to serve their innocent demands. The faults of children however, should not always be overlooked, neither should they be put to the whip for encouraging a reckless and petulent [petulant] disposition, and punished when they cannot otherwise be rendered faithful and obedient. When children are punished, it should always be attended with a perfect subjection of the will; and when forgiven, with counsel and reproof; and no fault should be forgiven, that the child will not confess, nor punishment inflicted without a sense of guilt; and thus children will be always penitent when punished, and greatful [grateful] when forgiven, while the tie of parental love and kindness will serve, not as abusing it, to kindle the flame of vanity and dissipation, but as a mighty engine to bind their affections more closely to the arm of correction and the sound of reproof.
Hence appears the necessity of the principle of virtue for example, and of wisdom to direct, without which parental kindness and love could not secure the end intended, for no council would be given, however productive of good, and no pleasure refused, however productive of evil. But when the lenient feelings of the heart are directed by the exercise of wisdom, and polished by the practice of virtue, this danger subsides, and true merit and excellence is seen springing up on every hand.-Where then is wisdom, and where is the virtuous life? Open the doors and come in ye pearls of purest luster, and shake terribly the powers that bind the understanding of the sons and daughters of Adam's line; and break the fetters from their feet. Arise ye children of the blest; ye parents, awake, behold the Lord hath crowned you with blessings; and treasures fill your borders; for, lo, children are an heritage of the Lord, and blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. Awake then, rise up and shake off the trembling power of the fashions, and the binding chains of indifference, and listen to the voice of wisdom, for she crieth in the gates, and her voice is unto the children of men. Hear, for she speaketh excellent things, and the words of her mouth are truth and righteousness, and there is nothing froward [forward ?] or perverse in them. She dwelleth with prudence, and virtue is in her companion, and length of days are in her hand. Wisdom hath builded her house, and her habitation is in the midst of the treasures of knowledge. Blessed are they that walk in her ways; watching daily at her gates for instruction, and refuse it not. Lay hold upon her munition, ye fathers, and resort to her strong hold ye mothers, that your
children may see it, and fly to your arms for safety, and seek your power for protection-that justice and judgment may bring forth-that your labors may be crowned with success. For notwithstanding, that in love and kindness, is possessed the spirit of indulgence and forgiveness; and virtue and wisdom is able to direct and reprove; yet without judgment and justice, all the reproofs and councils, and the forgiveness and indulgences that may be given to children would fall fruitless to the ground; so far as their willing obedience and faithfulness; and their happiness and welfare contemplated: for, the reproofs of the virtuous, and the counsels of the wise would be trampled down with impunity; and the excess of indulgences and pardons, that mercy and affection would lavish out, could find a consummation of their work only in dissipation and ruin. But, by the additional and united exercise of justice and judgment, all the evils consequent from the want of power, would meet with a deserved end; and the judicious allotment of a proper degree of love and kindness, and the councils and reproofs that virtue and wisdom dictate, be aided by the just and legal enforcement of every requirement, until by patient endurance in the faithful exercise of every principle in the line of parental duty, the father may gain the unspeakable reward of living to see his sons rise up and fill their different places of honor and usefulness in society; and the mother to behold her daughters shining like the polished stones of a palace, fitted and adorned with virtue and intelligence, to shed forth the cheering rays of civil and religious prosperity and happiness over the face of the whole earth; and the name, and the glory, and the honor thereof shall roll onward for ages, and ages, and ages to come.
THE LAST HOUR OF THE FALSE PROPHET.
The signs of the speedy fulfilment [fulfillment] of the predictions against Mohammedanism, are multiplying every day. At the present time, anarchy and confusion prevail throughout the Turkish Empire, and the attempts of the European power to support her, hasten her ruin. An intelligent traveler thus writes of his country.
"Turkey is in the agonies of dissolution, and will soon be a mere corpse. One of the provinces under her protection, Servia, has been lately revolutionized, and its reigning prince dethroned. The government at Constantinople acquiesces, because it is too feeble to oppose the revolution. In Syria is the same anarchy. The Druses and Christians of Mount Lebanon are prey to perpetual wars, and obey no superior authority. No law, no safety, no security for property in this unhappy country. What does the Sultan do? He promises to act against the rebels, but does not. Is it not a sign that the last hour has come for the followers of Mohammed?"
TIMES AND SEASONS.
CITY OF NAUVOO.
MONDAY, APRIL 1, 1844
G E N. J O S E P H S M I T H,
EXTRACT FROM A NEW WORK JUST PUBLISHED.
(BY PARLEY P. PRATT.)
In our last, we gave the title of the above work, and promised to insert in this, a few extracts in order to exhibit a specimen of it to our readers.
Elder Pratt in his article on the "Fountain of Knowledge" thus eloquently describes the capacity of the mind.
"Let us contemplate for a moment the mind's capacity, small indeed at first, but capable of infinite expansion, while a boundless field is extended on all sides, inviting inquiry and meditation.
O man! burst the chains of mortality which bind thee fast; unlock the prison of thy clay tenement which confines thee to this groveling, earthly sphere of action; and robed in immortality, wrapped in the visions of eternity, organs of sight, and thought, and speech, which cannot be impaired or weakened by time or use: soar with me amid unnumbered worlds which roll in majesty on high. Ascend the heights; descend the depths; explore the lengths and breadths of organized existence.-Learn the present facts, the past history and future destiny of things and beings: of God and his works; of the organizations of angels, of spirits, of men and animals: of worlds and their fulness [fullness]; of thrones and dominions, principalities and powers. Learn what man was before this life and what he will be in worlds to come. Or seated high on a throne celestial surrounded with the chaotic mass of unorganized existence; search out the origin of master and of mind. Trace them through all the windings of their varied order, till purified and
axalted [exalted], all nature seeks a grand sublime repose and enters into rest, to change no more. Enter the sacred archives of the third heavens; hear with John the seven thunders speak, while forked lightnings flash around thy head; and trumps and voices loud proclaim the mysteries which are not lawful for man on earth to utter. And thus with knowledge stored, return to earth, and attempt to write all thou hast seen, or heard, or know of heaven and earth, of time and eternity, in a book.
You will then realize the truth of the language of poet.
Could we with ink the oceans fill,
Was the whole earth of parchment made,
And every single stick a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the whole upon a scroll
Be spread from sky to sky."
In his chapter on the "Immortality and Eternal Life of the Material Body;" he reasons thus:
"If it still be argued that something can be made from nothing, we would inquire how many solid feet of nonentity it would require to make one solid foot of material substance? The very idea is the climax of absurdity.
Therefore we argue that it is a self-evident fact, clearly manifested to every reflecting mind, that elements of matter are eternal. That the earth was formed out of the eternal elements, and man's body out of the earth.-These facts are not only proven from scripture, reason, and philosophy, but are also demonstrated or confirmed by daily experience. The work of creation has been proceeding in every age up to the present time upon the same unchangable [unchangeable] principles. That is, all material organization in our world is produced from the earth, or from its own elements, as we daily witness; while there is not a single instance of a thing, or being, produced from nothing, so far as come within the sphere of man's observation.
Modern discoveries in the science of geology have had a tendency to illustrate and confirm these important facts; and to explode the systems of mysticism, which while they throw a vail [veil] over the whole subject, as if too sacred for investigation, would fain make the world believe, that a God without body or parts, whose centre [center] is everywhere and his circumference no where; originated all things from nothing, some six thousand years since, while at the same time formations are found in the bowels of the earth which indicate an existence of perhaps hundreds of thousands of years."
The following is from an article on "Intelligence and Affection."
"It is true, that, in this life the progress of the mind in intelligence, is not only gradual, but obstructed in various ways. It has to contend, not only with its own prejudices and the errors of an opposing world, but with innumerable weaknesses, temptations, cares, and troubles, with which it is continually beset.
And finally, its organs are weakened by disease, or worn with age, till it sinks into a backward tendency-looses a portion of that which it has been able to comprehend, and partakes of a kind of secondary childhood.
From this fact, some are ready to conclude, that the mind, like the body, has its limits; its point of maturity, beyond which it can never expand; and that arriving at this climax of maturity, like a full grown plant, it is incapable of a further advance. But this is a mistake. It is not the mind itself that is thus limited and confined with a circle so narrow, but it is the circumstances in which it is placed. That is, its bodily organs, once strong and vigorous, are now weakened by disease, or worn with age.-Hence, the mind, while connected with them, and dependent on them, is compelled to partake of their weaknesses. And like a strong traveller [traveler] with a weak companion, or a strong workman with a slender tool, it can only operate as they are able to bear.
What then is the means by which this formidable obstacle can be overcome, and the mind be enabled with renewed vigor, to continue its onward progress in the reception of intelligence?
We will best answer this question by a parable.
A certain child had continued the use of food until its teeth were worn, loosened, and decayed to that final degree that they were no longer able to perform their accustomed office. On this account, its food was swallowed in such a manner as not to digest properly.
This soon caused general weakness and disorder of the system. Some unthinking persons seeing this, came to the conclusion that the child had come to maturity-that it no longer needed its accustomed nourishment, but must gradually sink and die. But in process of time, nature provided its own remedy. The old teeth were shed, and a new set more strong and durable took their place. The system being thus restored in every part to a full, vigorous and healthy action, was enabled to make rapid progress toward perfection, and to receive and digest food far more strong and hard of digestion than before.
So with the organs of the mind. This temporary body, frail and mortal, is to the mind
what the children's teeth are to the system.-Like them it answers a momentary purpose, and like them its organs became decayed and weakened by age and use; so that many truths which present themselves to the mind, cannot be properly digested while being dependent on such weak organs.
But let this feeble and decayed body share the fate of the child's first set of teeth-let it be plucked by death, and the mind set free. Nay, rather let it be renewed in all the freshness and vigor of eternal life; with organs fresh and strong, and durable as the powers of eternal intellect.
And the mind, thus provided with organs, fully adapted to its most ardent powers of action, will find itself no longer constrained to linger on the confines of its former limits, where impatient of restraint, it had struggled in vain for freedom. But like a prisoner, suddenly freed from the iron shackles and gloomy dungeons of a terrible tyrant, it will more [move ?] nimbly onward with a joyous consciousness of its own liberty. It will renew with redoubled vigor its intellectual feast, and enlarge its field of operations amid the boundless sources of intelligence, till earth, with all its treasures of wisdom and knowledge, becomes too small, and the neighboring worlds too narrow to satisfy a capacity so enlarged. It will then, on wings of faith, and by the power of the spirit waft itself far beyond our visible heavens, and "far above earth's span of sky" and explore other suns, and other systems; and hold communion with other intelligences, more remote than our weak minds can possible conceive.
In these researches and discoveries, the mind will be able by degrees to circumscribe the heavens, and to comprehend the heights and depths, and lengths and breadths of the mysteries of eternal truth, and like its maker, comprehend all things; even the deep things of God."
"Man, know thyself,-study thine own nature,-learn thy powers of body-thy capacity of mind. Learn thine origin, thy purpose and thy destiny. Study the true source of thine own happiness, and the happiness of all beings with which thou art associated. Learn to act in unison with thy true character, nature and attributes; and thus improve and cultivate the resources within and around thee. This will render you truly happy, and be an acceptable service to your God. And being faithful over a few things, you may hope to be made ruler over many things.
What then is sinful? I answer, our unnatural passions and affections, or in other words the abuse, the perversion, the unlawful indulgence of that which is otherwise good. Sodom was not destroyed for their unnatural affection; but for the want of it. They had perverted all their affections, and had given place to that which was unnatural, and contrary to nature. Thus they had lost those holy and pure principles of virtue and love which were calculated to preserve and exalt mankind; and were overwhelmed in all manner of corruption; and also hatred towards those who were good.
So it was with the nations of Canaan who were doomed to distruction [destruction] by the Israelites.-And so it was with the Greeks, Romans, and other gentiles in the days of Paul. Hence his testimony against their wicked works, and his warning to the churches to beware of these carnal, sinful, corrupt and impure works of the flesh; all of which were more or less interwoven with their natures by reason of long and frequent indulgences therein. Now it was not because men's natural affections were sinful that all these sins existed; but it was because wicked customs, contrary to nature, had become so prevalent as to become a kind of second nature.
So it is in the present age; men who do not govern their affections so as to keep them within their proper and lawful channel; but who indulge in every vice, and unlawful use of that which was originally good, so far pervert it that it becomes to them a minister of evil; and therefore they are led into the other extreme; and begin to accuse their nature, or him that formed them, of evil; and they seek to change their nature; and call upon God to make them a different being from what he made them at first. In short they seek to divest themselves of a portion of the very attributes of their nature instead of seeking to govern, to improve, and to cultivate and direct their powers of mind and their affections, so as to cause them to contribute to their happiness. All these are the results of incorrect traditions, teachings and practices.
"'There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge in the grave whither thou goest." "As the tree falleth so it lieth." "As death leaves us, so judgment will find us.'
To the first of these we would reply that the spirit never goes to the grave; and the body does not stay in it long. And beyond it, in the regions of eternal life there is abundance of work, knowledge and device. To the second, we would say, that the tree lieth as it falleth until it is removed, and used for some other purpose. And to the third, we reply, that it is a sectarian proverb, instead of a scripture;
and by the by a false one too. For death leaves us in the grave, with body and spirit separated; and judgment finds us risen from the grave, and spirit and body united.
Thus organized a new, we are prepared to enter upon a life of business and usefulness, in a sphere vastly enlarged and extended.-Possessing a priesthood after the order of Melchesideck; or, after the order of the son of God; which is after the power of an endless life, without beginning of days or ending of years, a priesthood which includes a scepter and kingly office; we are more fully than ever qualified to teach, to judge, to rule and govern; and to go and come on foreign missions. The field of our labors may then extend for aught [ought] we know to the most distant worlds-to climes where mortal eye never penetrated. Or we may visit the dark and gloomy regions of the spirits in prison, and there, like a risen Jesus, preach the gospel to those who are dead; 'that they may be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.'
Or we may be called upon, with the other sons of God to shout for joy, at the organization of new systems of worlds, and new orders of being; over which we may reign as kings, or to whom we may minister as priests."
TO THE ELDERS ABROAD
We very frequently receive letters from elders and individuals abroad, inquiring of us whether certain statements that they hear, and have written to them, are true: some pertaining to John C. Bennet's spiritual wife system; others in regard to immoral conduct, practiced by individuals, and sanctioned by the church; and as it is impossible for us to answer all of them, we take this opportunity of answering them all, once for all.
In the first place, we cannot but express our surprise that any elder or priest who has been in Nauvoo, and has had an opportunity of hearing the principles of truth advanced, should for one moment give credence to the idea that anything like iniquity is practiced, much less taught or sanctioned, by the authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
We are the more surprised, since every species of iniquity is spoken against, and exposed publicly at the stand, and every means made use of that possibly can be, to suppress vice, both religious and civil; not only so, but every species of iniquity has frequently been exposed in the Times and Seasons, and its practicers and advocates held up to the world as corrupt men that ought to be avoided.
We are however living in the "last days;" a time when the scriptures say "men shall wax worse, and worse; deceiving, and being deceived;" in a time when it is declared, "if it is possible the very elect should be deceived." We have in our midst corrupt men, (and let no man be astonished at this for "the net shall gather in of every kind, good and bad;") these corrupt men circulate corrupt principles, for a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit; these spread their pernicious influence abroad, "they hatch cockatrices eggs, and weave the spider's web; he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper;" their words eat as doth a canker; the poison of asps is under their tongue, and the way of peace they have not known." Such men not unfrequently [infrequently] go abroad and prey upon the creduly [credulity] of the people, probably have clandestinely obtained an ordination, and go forth as elders, the more effectually to impose upon the public. Some have got horses, and others money, under specious pretences [pretenses], from the unwary and unsuspecting, among the newly formed branches who have not had all the sagacity to detect them.
There are other men who are corrupt and sensual, and who teach corrupt principles for the sake of gratifying their sensual appetites, at the expense and ruin of virtue and innocence. Such men ought to be avoided as pests to society, and be frowned down upon with contempt by every virtuous man and woman.
All of the above, of whatever name or nature, are "reprobate concerning the faith;" if the [they] write, they write corruptly; if they speak, they speak corruptly. They are such as the apostle speaks of, they speak "great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration."-They are high and lifted up, and would trample upon the humble, and the meek, and the unassuming, and are not afraid to teach for the commandment of God, their own corrupt, and devilish doctrines, and principles; let no man therefore, be deceived by them, let no man harbor them, nor bid them God speed; dont [don't] be partakers of their evil deeds.
If any man writes to you, or preaches to you, doctrines contrary to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the book of Doctrine and Covenants, set him down as an imposter [impostor]. You need not write to us to know what you are to do with such men; you have the authority with you.-Try them by the principles contained in the acknowledged word of God; if they preach, or teach, or practice contrary to that, disfellowship them; cut them off from among you as useless and dangerous branches, and if they are belonging to any of the quorums in the church, report them to the president of the quorum to
which they belong, and if you cannot find that out, if they are members of an official standing, belonging to Nauvoo, report them to us.
Follow after purity, virtue, holiness, integrity, Godliness, and every thing that has a tendency to exalt and enoble [ennoble] the human mind; and shun every man who teaches any other principles.
A PATTERN FOR THE SAINTS.
A writer in the New York American states that 'there was one feature connected with the disasterous [disastrous] event on board the Princeton which forcibly presented itself to my attention, and which I think is worthy of notice.
In such a throng of visitors moving and pressing about in all directions, it could scarcely be regarded as singular that entire order as to stations of officers and crew should not be completely preserved, even if no accident had occurred-but this was not the fact.
I remarked on going on board and when the men were 'piped down' from 'mauning yard'-that in getting up the anchor-making sail and firing a salute, all went on in great order and regularity, although at the belaying pin of every brace, bowline and halyard, a lady, a senator, or some dignitary of state, would be courteously requested to move a little, to give Jack a chance to do his duty. As the wind was fair on going down the river, sails were used, and occasionally the engine was in motion; but on returning all sails were furled and the engine used exclusively.
Immediately after the accident occurred when, of course, great excitement and rushing followed among the crowd of visitors, I particularly remarked that every officer and man on duty kept his station until ordered by the officer of the deck to go elsewhere; and just where I saw that officer before the explosion there I found him afterwards, giving his directions with no other evidence of excitement than is generally discovered in a sudden squall.
A gentleman considerably excited at the moment said to me, 'I wonder if anyone is attending to the engine?' This enquiry [inquiry] for a moment started [startled ?] me, but hearing, at the next instant, the man at the helm calling out in his usual tone, the depth of water, and to my surprise seeing the flag at half mast already-a conviction at once took entire possession of me, that although a scene of devastation was presented on the forecastle, it had not for a moment put aside perfect order and discipline elsewhere about the ship-and we proceeded safely, though with melancholy feelings, to an anchorage off Alexandria."
If the officers and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, could at all times keep the conduct of these officers in view, it would afford them a pattern which they would find it to their advantage to imitate.
When the vessel is sailing in deep water with no wind, and a serene sky, it is very easy for every man to keep his place; but when the winds begin to rise, the billows roll, and the reefs present themselves, that is the time for every man to be found at his post; and as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints launched forth into the broad ocean of the world, it becomes necessary for all the members, as well as the officers, to be on the look out-to understand their duty, and to do it;-and when the clouds gather blackness, the wind whistles, and the billows roll, we ought the more assiduously to adhere to our post; then is not the time for us to attend to others, for every man has enough to do to attend to his own affairs; and if a great gun should burst, and not only destroy its own usefulness, but scatter its shattered fragments around, and threaten desolation and death, let every man still attend to his own business; let the helmsman, the engineer, and every other officer and man attend to his own affairs, and the ship will move majestically through the waves, she will outstride every storm, and land all her passengers in a secure heaven.
DISSERTATION UPON CHRIST'S PARABLE OF THE LABORERS AND THE VINEYARD
(See Mat. 20th Chap.)
As a general thing, it would seem that parables are designed to illustrate and convey with force, ideas connected with the subject to which they refer, and not as some vainly suppose, to throw a mantle of mystery over it. In this sense we regard the parable of the laborers and the vineyard as the most exquisite illustration of the subject of the dispensations of God and his dealings with the human family, from the morning of creation to the present time;-but to proceed.
"For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a householder, which went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into the vineyard." It is evident that the term "vineyard" should be applied in the broad sense, to the whole world, and the "laborers" to the prophets, apostles, and servants of God.
"And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the market place, and said unto them, go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right, I will give you;
and they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right that shall ye receive."
It is evident that the term "hour," here stands for a noted epoch of the world, or the commencement of an important dispensation; and the 'day for the whole time of the world's existence in its present state. For instance, in the morning of the creation, the Lord sent laborers into the vineyard, in the days of Noah and Abraham he sent others into it, and also at the commencement and duration of the Mosaic dispensation. These may answer to the first, third and sixth hours, for it is plain that in each of these periods the Lord performed a work adopted to the peculiarities of the age, or in other words, that he committed a dispensation to his people. At the opening of the Christian, which corresponds to the "ninth hour," he had a great work to do; therefore, he sent many into the vineyard. But in the latter days, which corresponds to the "eleventh hour," he will commission and send other servants into his vineyard.
That the term "hour" in this parable refers to a noted epoch of time in the history of the world, is plain from the following: Verily, verily I say unto you the hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear them shall live;" John v:25. Christ here certainly alludes to the resurrection from the dead, and should we apply the term "hour" here used, in its literal sense, as meaning but sixty minutes of time, we would make a contradiction of terms, for he surely alludes to two resurrections, or periods at which a resurrection shall take place. No resurrection took place during the literal hour in which he said this; but in that age or epoch of the world, for proof of which we refer the reader to Mat. xxvii, 52, 53: The "hour that is coming" refers to the resurrection that is yet to transpire.
Having, as we trust, satisfactorally [satisfactorily] settled the question, relative to the term hour, we will now examine the manner in which the Lord called men to work in his vineyard at these respective periods. He had a particular work to perform in the days of Noah; the consequence was, he called him to perform it, and gave revelations adapted to the same, which were to proclaim the law of righteousness, and construct an ark for the saving of himself and family. These revelations did not conflict or infringe upon any item of the law of God which was previously given to Adam, Enoch and others; but were such as were absolutely necessary to suit the peculiar circumstances of Noah and his family, but not those of another age.
Abraham lived in what is generally termed the patriarchal dispensation. He was called by revelation, and authorized to perform the work that the Lord had to do in this age. Had Abraham taken the position that many of the religionists of the present time have, he would have contended that his ancestors who lived at the opening of the patriarchal dispensation received revelations which were sufficient for him and his posterity after him. Suppose that Lot, after the angel appeared to him, and warned him to flee from Sodom and Gomorrah, had replied that the revelations that were given to those who lived before, were all sufficient; or in other words, instead of acting in accordance with the express command to flee to Zoar, had undertaken to build an ark to save himself and family from the awful conflagration; would not the result have been his distruction [destruction]? An ark answered the purpose of Noah, but it would not that of Lot.
(To be Continued)
THE MANNER IN WHICH THE ANCIENT CHRISTIANS WERE CALUMNIATED.
We extract the following from "Milner's Church History," that our readers may compare the slanderous imputations that were lavished upon the former day saints, with those of the latter days.
"The extracts from Celsus, who wrote in the latter end of the second century, preserved in Origen's work against him are very valuable which I have stated. I shall select a few passages, partly from the collections of others, and partly from such as I have noticed myself. The reader must be prepared to hear bitter things. A more spiteful calumniator hardly ever existed; but he may serve a purpose which he never intended: when the following extracts have been seriously considered, the just inferences to be drawn from them, concerning the nature of the gospel, and the characters of its professors, cannot fail to present themselves to the mind of every candid inquirer after truth.
'When they say, do not examine, and the like, in their usual manner, surely it is incumbent on them to teach what those things are which they assert, and whence they are derived.'
'They say; Wisdom in life is a bad thing, but folly is good.'
'Christ was privately educated, and served
for hire in Egypt: he got acquainted with miraculous arts there; he returned; and, relying on his power of working miracles, declared himself God.'
'The apostles were infamous men, publicans, and abandoned mariners.'
'Why should you, when an infant, be carried into Egypt, lest you should be murdered? God should not fear being put to death.
'Ye say that God was sent to sinners; but why not to those who were free from sin; what harm is it not to have sinned?'
'Ye encourage sinners, because ye are not able to persuade any really good men; therefore ye open the doors to the most wicked and abandoned.'
'Some of them say, do not examine, but believe, and thy faith shall save thee.'
With a sneer he makes the Christians say, 'These are our institutions: Let not any man of learning come here, nor any wise man, nor any man of prudence; for these things are reckoned evil by us. But whoever is unlearned, ignorant, and silly, let him come without fear.' 'Thus, they own that can gain only the foolish, the vulgar, the stupid slaves, women and children. They, who conversed with him when alive, and heard his voice, and followed him as their master, when they saw him under punishment and dying, were so far from dying with him or for him, or from being induced to despise sufferings, that they denied that they were his disciples: but now ye die with him.'
'He had no reason to fear any mortal now, after he had died, and, as ye say, was a God; therefore, he should have shown himself to all, and particularly, to him that condemned him,'
'He pursuaded [persuaded] only twelve abandoned sailors and publicans, and did not persuade even all these.'
'At first, when they were but few, they agreed: But when they became a multitude they were rent again and again; and each will have their own factions; for they had factious spirits from the beginning.'
'They are now so split into different sects that they have only the name left them in common.'
'All wise men are excluded from the doctrine of their faith: They call to it only fools and men of a servile spirit,'
He frequently upbraids Christians for reckoning him, who had a mortal body, to be God; and looking on themselves as pious on that account.
'The preachers of their divine word only attempt to persuade fools-mean and senseless persons-slaves-women and children. What harm can there be in learning, or; in appearing a man of knowledge? What obstacle can this be to the knowledge of God?'
'We see these itinerants showing readily their tricks to the vulgar, but not approaching the assemblies of wise men; not daring to show themselves there: but where they see boys-a crowd of slaves, and ignorant men-there they thrust in themselves and puff off their doctrine,'
'You may see weavers, tailors, and fullers, illiterate and rustic men, in their houses, but not daring to utter a word before persons of age, experience, and respectability: it is, when they get hold of boys, and of silly women, privately, that they recount their wonderful stories; it is then that they teach their young disciples that they must not mind their fathers or their tutors, but obey them: Their fathers and guardians, they tell them, are quite ignorant and in the dark, but themselves alone have the true wisdom. And if the children take this advice, they pronounce them happy; and direct them to leave their fathers and tutors, and to go, with the women and their play-fellows, into the chambers of the females, or into a tailor's or fullers, shop that they may learn perfection.
'In other mysteries, the cryer [crier] used to say.-Whoever has clean hands, and a good conscience, and a good life, let him come in. But let us hear whom they call. Whoever is a sinner, a fool an infant, a lost wretch, the kingdom of God will receive him. An unjust man, if he humble himself for his crimes, God will receive him; but a just man, who has proceeded in a course of virtue from the beginning, if he look up to him, he will not be received.'
He compares a Christian teacher to a quack, who promises to heal the sick, on condition that they keep from intelligent practitioners, lest his ignorance be detected.
'Ye will hear them, though differing so widely from one another, and abusing one another so foully, making that boast-the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.'
'The same things are better said by the Greeks, and withont [without] the imperious denunciation of God, or the Son of God.'
'If one sort introduce one doctrine, another, another, and all join in saying, Believe, if ye would be saved, or depart; what are they to do, who desire really to be saved? Are they to determine by the throw of a die? Where are they to turn themselves, or whom to believe?'
'Do you not see, that any man that will, may carry you away and crucify you and your demon: The Son of God gives you no help.'"
How often it is, we hear individuals indulging in the most harsh kind of epithets against
Mr. Joseph Smith, and the whole society of Latter Day Saints. Again, how frequently it is, that a large portion of the community form their opinion about a man, or a society, from the assertions and opinions of some learned philosopher, or pretended religious champion. The history of the present age affords us a very striking example of this woful [woeful] state of affairs; for no sooner does the sound of calumny, and the cry of delusion, imposter [impostor] , and a score of other equally harsh imputations, proceed from the lips of some famous individual, than thousands immediately join in the vulgar cause, and reiterate these epithets from one end of our country to the other.
And now we ask, what has Mr. Smith, or the society of Latter Day Saints done, or what does the world know of either, that should in the least, militate against their characters? We answer, no more than the Jews knew against Christ and his disciples. What kind of men were leaders of primitive church? We reply; that they were virtuous, honorable, untarnished in the sight of heaven, and uncorrupted with the schemes of intrigue, and plans of wickedness, that the great men were daily inventing; and who were their calumniators?-We answer, the high priests of the Jews, doctors of the law, learned rabbies [rabbis], kings, philosophers, and statesmen. Who was this Celsus, that wrote so many bitter things against the Christians? One of the literati of Rome, which nation at this time, in regard to literature stood foremost in the world; one who held an influence over the whole nation. Who was the celebrated Porphyry, that wrote so much against Christians in the third century? A Roman philosopher.
Indeed, we are inclined to believe that when our enemies pour down upon us such a torrent of epithets, and put in circulation a battalion of falsehoods about us, that but little do they think, they are the same that was lavished upon the primitive Christians. It is a poor rule that will not work both ways. If the Latter Day Saints should be discarded because the tide of slander, abuse, and the false imputations of the learned, set in against them, then by the same rule we should set it down, that all the ancient Christians should be look [looked] upon as deceivers.
Minutes of a conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, held at Batavia, Gennessee county, N. Y., March 2, 1844, according to previous appointment.
Nathan Haskins was called to preside, and R. L. Young appointed clerk.
After prayer by the president, and singing by the audience, the president proceeded to examine the officers of the different branches.
Seventies present, three; Elders, 17; one priest.
The representation of branches was then called for, which were as follows:
Batavia branch, represented by J. L. Bartholf; has 25 members, including eight elders; two added since last conference.
Alexander branch, represented by A. Sheffield, has 28 members, including 10 elders; two cut off since last conference.
Atica branch, represented by R. Shadboll, has 16 members, including three elders.
Hume branch, represented by P. Weaver, has 20 members, including three elders and one priest.
Weatherfield branch, represented by R. L. Young, has 12 members, including two elders, four added since last conference.
In Cataraugus county, there are 10 members, represented by William Hyde.
Brother G. Thompson, who had been excommunicated from the Alexander branch and who had taken an appeal to the Batavia conference, was examined, and the proceedings of the branch decided to be illegal. He was reinstated to his former standing.
Conference adjourned till next morning, 10 o'clock, which was the first day of the week .
Met agreeable to adjournment.
Elder William Hyde was called upon to preach. He addressed the meeting on the coming of the Son of Man. Elder Redfield followed him in the afternoon on different parts of the scripture, and exhorted the members to be faithful. Some other remarks were made appropriate to the occasion, and the audience seemed much humbled and edified.
Voted that this conference be adjourned to the neighborhood of brother Weaver and Wight, in Hume, Alleghany [Allegheny] county, to be held on the first Saturday and Sunday in July next.
Resolved, That these minutes be sent to Nauvoo for publication.
The Gennessee conference consists of many more branches and members, but none of them being present, it was thought best to say nothing about their numbers.
NATHAN HASKINS, Pres.
R. L. Young, clerk.
THE WIDOW OF NAIN
BY N. P. WILLIS.
The Roman sentinel stood helmed and tall Stood thickly on his brow, and the worn
Beside the gate of Nain. The busy tread And simple latchets of his sandals lay,
Of comers to the city mart was done, Thick the white dust of travel. He had come
For it was almost noon, and a dead heat Since sunrise from Capernaum, staying not
Quiver'd upon the fine and sleeping dust, To wet his lips by green Bethsaida's pool,
And the cold snake crept panting from the wall, Nor wash his feet in Kishon's silver springs,
And bask'd his scaly circles in the sun. Nor turn him southward upon Tabor's side
Upon his spear the soldier lean'd, and kept To catch Gilboa's light and spicy breeze.
His idle watch, and, as his drowsy dream Genesareth stood cool upon the east,
Was broken by the solitary foot Fast by the sea of Galilee, and there
Of some poor mendicant, he rais'd his head The weary traveler might bide till eve;
To curse him for a tributary Jew, And on the alders of Bethulia's plains
And slumberously dozed on. The grapes of Palestine hung ripe and wild:
Yet turn'd he not aside, but gazing on,
'Twas now high noon. From every swelling mount, he saw afar
The dull, low murmur of a funeral Amid the hills the humble spires of Nain,
Went through the city-the sad sound of feet The place of his next errand, and the path
Unmix'd with voices-and the sentinel Touch'd not Bethulia, and a league away
Shook off his slumber, and gazed earnestly Upon the east lay pleasant Galilee.
Up the wide streets along whose paved way
The silent throng crept slowly. They came on, Forth from the city-gate the pitying crowd
Bearing a body heavily on its bier, Follow'd the stricken mourner. They came near
And by the crowd that in the burning sun, The place of burial, and with straining hands,
Walk'd with forgetful sadness, 'twas of one Closer upon her breast she clasp'd the pall,
Mourn'd with uncommon sorrow. The broad gate And with a gasping sob, quick as a child's,
Swung on its hinges, and the Roman bent And an inquiring wildness flashing through
His spear point downwards as the bearer past The thin gray lashes of her fever'd eyes,
Bending beneath their burthen. There was one- She came where Jesus stood beside the way.
Only one mourner. Close behind the bier He look'd upon her, and his heart was moved.
Crumpling the pall up in her wither'd hands, "Weep not!" he said, and as they staid the bier,
Follow'd an aged woman. Her short steps And at his bidding laid it at his feet,
Falter'd with weakness, and a broken moan He gently drew the pall from out her grasp
Fell from her lips, thicken'd convulsively And laid it back in silence from the dead.
As her heart bled afresh. The pitying crowd With troubled wonder the mute throng drew near,
Follow'd apart, but none spoke to her. And gazed on his calm looks. A minute's space,
She had no kinsmen. She had lived alone- He stood and pray'd, Then taking the cold hand,
A widow with one son. He was her all- He said "Arise!" And instantly the breast
The only tie she had in the wide world- Heav'd in its cerements, and a sudden flush
And he was dead. They could not comfort her. Ran through the lines of the divided lips,
And with a murmur of his mother's name,
Jesus drew near to Nain as from the gate He trembled and sat upright in his shroud.
The funeral came forth. His lips were pale And while the mourner hung upon his neck,
With the noon's]sultry heat. The beaded sweat Jesus went calmly on his way to Nain.
The Times and Seasons,
Is printed and published about the first and fifteenth of every month, on the corner of Water and Bain Streets, Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, by
JOHN TAYLOR, EDITOR AND PROPRIETOR.
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