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Title: Gospel Themes
       A Treatise on Salient Features of 'Mormonism'

Author: Orson F. Whitney

Release Date: November 22, 2015 [EBook #50536]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Allie Bowen, Mormon Texts Project Intern

Gospel Themes

A Treatise on Salient Features of "MORMONISM"

Written for, and Dedicated to,
the High Priests, Seventies and
Elders of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints

Of the Council of the Twelve Apostles



This little book was written and compiled at the request of the General Priesthood Committee, under the sanction of the First Presidency of the Church, for the use and benefit of the Priesthood Classes, throughout the Stakes and Wards of Zion.

The treatise, "Gospel Themes," represents the best effort I could make under the circumstances in which that effort was put forth. Many interruptions occurred, consequent upon the performance of other duties, and I had no opportunity to submit the manuscript to a committee of revision, prior to publication; the usual course with works of this character. I was barely able to get it ready for the printer within the time allotted for its preparation. But I tried to be accurate, and am not aware that I made any mistakes.

While lacking the help of a revisory committee, I received, and hereby gratefully acknowledge, valuable suggestions from Elders David O. McKay and Edward H. Anderson, members of the Priesthood Committee, and from others whom I consulted. Moreover, Brother Anderson was with me in proof-reading the work, and in engineering it through the press.

My aim has been, not to give exhaustive treatment to any subject, but to throw in sight certain themes, and dwell briefly upon points of doctrine, prophecy, history, and illustration, that I thought would be helpful to the brethren of the Priesthood—those who are studying the Gospel at home, and those who are preaching it abroad. To both classes this volume is affectionately dedicated.

THE AUTHOR.             

Salt Lake City, Christmas, 1913.



Chapter 1.—A Divine Plan for Human Progress

Chapter 2.—Eternal Nature of Gospel Principles

Chapter 3.—The Fall and Redemption

Chapter 4.—The Gods in Council

Chapter 5.—Creation of the Earth

Chapter 6.—Elect of Elohim


Chapter 1.—The Law of Obedience

Chapter 2.—Faith

Chapter 3.—Faith (Continued)

Chapter 4.—Repentance

Chapter 5.—Water and Spirit Birth

Chapter 6.—Purpose and Effects of Baptism

Chapter 7.—Mode and Meaning of Baptism


Chapter 1.—Divine Authority

Chapter 2.—Divine Authority (Continued)

Chapter 3.—The Church Organization


Chapter 1.—Introductory

Chapter 2.—The Adamic Period

Chapter 3.—Enoch and Zion

Chapter 4.—Noah and the Deluge

Chapter 5.—Abraham

Chapter 6.—Moses and Aaron

Chapter 7.—The Lamb of God

Chapter 8.—Dawn of the Last Dispensation


Chapter 1.—A Chosen People

Chapter 2.—Israel's Mission

Chapter 3.—To the Ends of the Earth

Chapter 4.—The Call of the Shepherd

Chapter 5.—The Author to the Reader


The Story of God.


A Divine Plan for Human Progress.

The Gospel Defined.—The English word "Gospel" comes from the Anglo-Saxon "Godspell," or God-story—the story of God. It derives its significance from that great central idea of the Christian faith—the coming of God as the Son of God to redeem and save mankind. The joyful intelligence of the advent of the world's Redeemer, proclaimed by the angels to the shepherds on the Judean hills (Luke 2:10), furnishes another name for the gospel—"good tidings," or, as it is otherwise rendered, "glad tidings of great joy."

God the Savior.—"God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people, and because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God" (Mosiah 15:1,2). prediction by Abinadi the prophet, centuries before the birth of the Savior, had been preceded by a This similar prophecy from King Benjamin, another Nephite seer (Mosiah 3:5). The fulfilment of these foretellings is recorded in the opening verses of the gospel according to St. John, where reference is made to "the Word" that was in the beginning "with God"—the Word that "was God," and was "made flesh" and dwelt among men. In him, as Paul affirms, "dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9).

Foundation and Superstructure.—When we speak of the gospel, therefore, we should bear in mind that the term means something more than faith, repentance, baptism, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and other rituals and requirements in the Church of Christ. We must not isolate "the laws and ordinances of the gospel" from the basic principles upon which they rest—the mighty foundation stones of sacrifice and redemption, without which all this sacred legislation would be aimless and of no effect. Nor can the basic principles which make operative those laws and ordinances be dissociated from the idea of eternal progression, the great and paramount purpose for which the gospel code was framed, the gospel in its fulness instituted.

Fulness of the Gospel.—The phrase, "fulness of the gospel," should be understood in a relative sense, as pertaining to the revealed will of God. There can be no absolute fulness, with man, until all things are made known to him. The fulness of the gospel as delivered to the Nephites and other ancient peoples, and told of in the inspired records that have come down to us, differed from, in that it was not so complete as is the fulness of the gospel which the Latter-day Saints enjoy. Truth is always the same; it never contradicts itself; but more of its principles have been revealed in modern times than at any previous period. Never before, upon this earth, has there been such a gospel fulness as that delivered to the Prophet Joseph Smith. And the end is not yet; for, as he himself said in one of his latest recorded utterances: "Those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this the dispensation of the fulness of times" (D&C 128:18).

It may help the reader to understand how there can be more than one "fulness of the gospel" by bearing in mind what has been made known concerning the final judgment, or the various awards of glory to be meted out to redeemed souls after the resurrection. Their glory shall be that by which their bodies are quickened, and whether quickened by a portion of the celestial, the terrestrial, or the telestial glory, they shall "receive of the same, even a fulness" (D&C 88:28-31). But one fulness can differ from another, even as differ the glories, and even as capacities differ—the power to receive and contain. The absolute fulness of the gospel can only come to a people prepared to receive and make a wise use of it. Until the Latter-day Saints are in that condition, they must be content with a comparative fulness, or all that they can contain of the divine wisdom. Paul the apostle was contemplating this subject when he wrote: "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away" (1 Cor. 13:9,10).

Gospel Features.—The gospel, in its fullest sense, signifies everything connected with the redemptive career of that glorious and divine Being known among men as Jesus of Nazareth, but who was and is no other than Jehovah, the God of Israel (D&C 110:1-4), who "came unto his own" and was rejected by them, was crucified at their instigation, and died to redeem the world. The accounts given by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are properly termed "gospels," because they are narratives of the personal ministry of our Lord; but they are only parts of the complete God-story. The Savior's life, death, resurrection and ascension, with the conditions prescribed by him upon which fallen man might profit further from his sacrifice for human redemption,—these are all gospel features, but not the gospel in its entirety. The full "story" of the Redeemer and Savior—the God who died that man might live—involves events both past and future, events premortal and post-mortal, scenes in which he was chosen to play his mighty part in the great tragedy of human experience, and scenes yet to come in which he will make another and a more glorious appearing upon the stage of time, enacting the illustrious role of King of kings and reigning over the earth a thousand years.

Salvation and Exaltation.—Paul defines the Gospel of Christ as "the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16). He might have gone further, had he so desired, or had it been timely, and shown that the Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto exaltation—a plan devised by Omnipotent Wisdom whereby man, the child of God, may advance from stage to stage of soul development, until eventually he becomes like unto his Heavenly Parent, inheriting eternal thrones and dominions, and receiving "a fulness of joy."

This is exaltation. It is more than salvation, being an extension of that idea or condition—salvation "added upon;" just as salvation is an extension of, or an addition to, redemption. A soul may be redeemed—that is, raised from the dead, and yet condemned at the final judgment for evil deeds done in the body. Likewise may a soul be redeemed and saved, and yet come short of the glory that constitutes exaltation. To redeem, save, and glorify, is the threefold purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Origin and Antiquity of the Gospel.—The gospel originated in the heavens, before this earth was organized, and was revealed to man, out of eternity, at the very beginning of time. It was the means by which Adam, our great ancestor, after his expulsion from Eden, regained the divine presence from which he had been banished. It is the means by which his posterity, such as are obedient to the gospel's requirements, have been or will yet be able to follow him into the heavenly kingdom. The same ladder that Adam climbed, until beyond the reach of the fatal consequences of his transgression, the whole human race, inheriting from him the effects of the fall, must likewise climb, or they will never see the face of God in eternal glory.

The Paramount Purpose.—Let us keep in mind, however, that the gospel, even in a limited sense, is more than a means of escape from impending ills. It is the way of progress, the path to perfection, and as such was devised by the wisdom of the Gods, before this world rolled into existence. The origin of the gospel, and the grand purpose for which it was instituted, are briefly yet clearly outlined by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the following language:

Eternal Progression.—"The first principles of man are self-existent with God. God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with himself, so that they may have one glory upon another."—("Times and Seasons," August 15, 1844; "Improvement Era," January, 1909.)

Power and Benevolence of Deity.—Here are pointed out both the power and the benevolence of Deity. Our Father in heaven is no monopolist. While omnipotent and all-possessing, he is likewise altruistic and philanthropic. Instead of keeping to himself the glory that he found himself possessed of, he used his superior intelligence "to institute laws" whereby the lesser spirits surrounding him might advance toward the lofty plane that he occupies. He proposed to lift them to his own spiritual stature and share with them the empire of the universe.

Plato's View.—Our prophet's simple yet sublime setting forth of the divine power and benevolence, as exemplified in the establishment of a plan for man's eternal progress, is far more pointed and specific than the presentment made by Plato, the Greek philosopher, of a doctrine somewhat similar. Plato, as quoted by Emerson, says: "Let us declare the cause which led the Supreme Ordainer to produce and compose the universe. He was good; and he who is good has no kind of envy. Exempt from envy, he wished that all things should be as much as possible like himself. Whosoever, taught by wise men, shall admit this as the prime cause of the origin and foundation of the world, will be in the truth."—("Representative Men," Lecture II.)

Man's Destiny.—There is a fitness, a propriety, in man's becoming like his Maker—God's child, fashioned in his image and endowed with divine attributes, developing to the fulness of the parental stature, as taught by Joseph; but how the same can be predicated of "all things"—beasts, fish, fowl, trees, plants, etc., as Plato implies, is not so clear. That the lower animals, as well as man, in fact all forms of life, animate and inanimate, are to be perpetuated and glorified, is a plain inference from the teachings of the prophet (D&C 77:2-4) but undoubtedly all will retain their identity, in their respective orders and spheres. No creature of God's, except man, is destined to become like God, in the fullest and highest sense. "As much as possible" is a saving clause, however, and Plato, therefore, is not committed to any contradictory proposition.


Eternal Nature of Gospel Principles.

Gospel Code and Fundamentals.—The gospel, as a code or System of laws and ordinances, is a creation, a work of God; but like all other creations it was organized out of materials already existing. "Intelligence or the light of truth was not created or made, neither indeed can be (D&C 93:29). Truth, "eternal, unchanged, evermore"—such is the gospel in its fundamental principles. These were never created. God did not make them; he "instituted" them, recognizing their worth, their utility, their adaptability to the purposes which he had in view. He saw that these principles were ennobling and exalting in their nature and tendency, and he therefore created a plan embodying them as the most effectual means for man's promotion.

Faith.—Take, for instance, faith—the first principle. Can you conceive of its creation as a principle? I cannot: but I can grasp the idea of its existence as a law, as an essential force, its adoption by divine wisdom, and its adaptation to the purposes of Deity. I can conceive of its bestowal upon man as an endowment from God, its assimilation, cultivation, growth and increase, as illustrated in the Book of Mormon, where it is compared to a seed germinating in the soul (Alma 32:28). But I cannot think of it, in its essential, fundamental nature, as having been called into existence. Faith is a gift from God, both as a law and a manifestation of spiritual power: but it is not a creation—not as a basic principle. The gospel code containing this law, however, may readily be conceived as the work of a divine Creator and Law-giver.

Repentance.—What is true of faith in this respect, is true also of repentance. God did not create repentance as a principle; it already existed as an essential to progress; but he made it obligatory upon sinful man, if he would be saved and put upon the road to perfection, to practice this principle—to turn away from evil and "sin no more."

Baptism.—As for baptism, the idea of washing in order to be come clean is plain enough for a child's comprehension. It is this idea that underlies the baptismal ordinance. God did not create the fact that washing maketh clean—that is fundamental; but he instituted baptism for the remission of sins and made it a part of the gospel plan, because no unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Holy Ghost.—Divine Wisdom did not create the Holy Ghost: he is eternal, without beginning or end—he is God. Nor did it decree light necessary to illumination; that is a self-evident, self-existent truth. But Divine Wisdom instituted the laying on of hands for the gift (giving) of the Holy Ghost, and included it in the great progressive plan, because, without the illumination that comes from the Spirit of the Lord, man cannot be "led into all truth."

Thus we might go on, taking up other features of the gospel, and in each one pointing out some underlying principle upon which this law or that ordinance has been based. The same philosophy will apply to them all. These fundamental principles are not creations—they are eternal truths, applied or adapted to ends foreseen and predestined by the all-wise Ordainer and Giver.

The gospel was instituted for the advancement of God's children, who had probably progressed as far as they could in the spirit at that time, before they were given bodies; and it was made effective for their further progress by the Atonement of Christ, offsetting the fall of Adam, and nullifying the deadly effects of the original transgression.

The Fall.—Right here let me suggest that Adam's transgression, while technically a sin, because of the broken law, should be stressed as the means whereby those spirits obtained their bodies, rather than as an act of moral turpitude. In law, crimes are of two general classes—malum per se and malum prohibitum. Malum per se means "an evil in itself"—an act essentially wrong; while malum prohibitum signifies "that which is wrong because forbidden by law." Adam's transgression was malum prohibitum, and the consequent descent from an immortal to a mortal condition was "THE FALL."

A Prearranged Plan.—It is evident from the revelations of God, particularly in modern times, that everything connected with man's mortal pilgrimage was understood and arranged before that pilgrimage began. Not alone was the gospel instituted: an executor was appointed to put it into effect. In other words, the machinery was constructed, and the power then turned on. The fall being foreseen, the redemption was ordained. Eternal progress and everlasting glory were the objects in view, and over the glad prospect, in spite of the pain and sorrow that must necessarily intervene, "the Morning Stars sang together, and all the Sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 38:7).


The Fall and Redemption.

Essentials to Progress.—The story of God embraces the fall as well as the redemption of man. Both these mighty vicissitudes are steps in the march of human progress. The fall was just as necessary as the redemption, in order to make operative and effective the laws and ordinances of the gospel. In other words, the fall prepared the way for the redemption. How could redemption have been, had there been nothing to redeem? Of what use were a gospel of salvation where nothing needed to be saved?

Innocent Ignorance.—Had the spirits of men, "all innocent in the beginning," remained where they were and just as they were, they would have had no need to exercise faith unto salvation. They would have had no need to repent or to be baptized, having no evil practices to turn away from, and no uncleanness to be washed away. But they would have remained ignorant as well as innocent, and without any further progression. The following passage from the Book of Mormon illustrates this point:

"And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed, he would not have fallen; but he would have remained in the Garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore, they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy" (2 Ne. 2:22-25).

This passage, of course, refers directly to Adam's condition in the Garden of Eden, and not to the spirit life preceding that period of innocent ignorance. But the fact remains that man, in the spirit life, needed experience in mortality, in order to become wiser, as much as he needed a body for purposes of progression and eternal increase.

Adam Not Deceived.—When Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, it was the woman who was beguiled by Satan and induced to go contrary to the divine command. The man was not deceived. Adam was but telling the truth when he answered the Lord, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat" (Gen. 3:12). Those who satirize Father Adam for this reply, imputing to him an unworthy motive, a desire to evade responsibility and "hide behind the woman in the case," take but a superficial view of the subject. Adam was not trying to evade the issue: he was simply stating the fact. The Lord wanted the truth, and no fable would suffice, however polite, in the opinion of shallow wits or would-be chivalrous wisacres, it might have been to invent one, in order to shield the fair transgressor.

A Deliberate Transgression.—Adam, after Eve had transgressed, did likewise in order to carry out a divine command previously given—the command to multiply and replenish the earth (Gen. 1:28). Eve, by her act, had separated herself from her husband, and made it impossible, unless he followed her and also became mortal, to carry out God's original behest. This was Adam's motive. He was facing a dilemma. He must make choice between two divine commands, and doubtless felt that he could not consistently do otherwise than as he did. He disobeyed in order to obey, retrieving, so far as he possibly could, the situation resulting from Eve's disobedience. He did it wittingly, deliberately, undeceived as to the consequences, realizing that in no other way could he carry out God's first command and become the progenitor of the human race. Adam and Eve, with their eyes open, rejoiced over what had befallen them, recognizing it as part of a preordained plan to people the earth with their posterity, and afford to a world of waiting spirits the opportunity, long anticipated, of taking earthly tabernacles and starting out upon their great pilgrimage to perfection.

Adam and Eve Rejoice.—"And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.

"And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient."—("Pearl of Great Price," Book of Moses, 5:10,11.)

"Adam fell that man might be, and man is that he might have joy." But there would be no joy, no progress, no eternal life for fallen man—only pain, sorrow, and everlasting banishment from God's presence, had Christ not died to nullify the ill effects of Adam's act, and lift man up from his fallen condition.

Human Standards and Divine Dispensations.—Why, it may be asked, did God place Adam and Eve in so seemingly contradictory a position? Why were they forbidden to do what they had manifestly come to do, and which had to be done in order to carry out the divine purpose? For that is the problem in a nutshell, as it appears to human eyes. I can only answer in the words of Nephi: "All things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things." Man cannot sit in judgment upon his Maker, nor measure by human standards divine dispensations. The God who gives life, and takes it, without committing murder, can command today and countermand tomorrow, and yet remain consistent and unchangeable. In a world where faith is necessary to progress, and where premature knowledge would prevent progress by swallowing up faith, by destroying the opportunity for its exercise, man must not expect to know all things. That calamities and sacrifices bring forth blessings, is apparent to observation and experience; but the deep why and wherefore of it all remains a mystery. Adam's fall and Christ's atonement were fearful calamities, from the human point of view; but wonderful benefits and advantages accrued therefrom. Just why such sacrifices have to be made, however, in order that such blessings may come, is too profound a problem for the finite mind to solve.

Spiritual and Temporal Death.—The fall brought man into the world—into this state of mortality; but it also brought death, with all its sad concomitants. Not such a death as the righteous now contemplate, and such as both righteous and unrighteous must undergo, as a change preparatory to resurrection. There was no resurrection when Adam fell—not upon this planet—nothing but death, resting like a pall over the prospective human race. Adam and Eve, after the fall, were spiritually dead, and were doomed to the temporal death as well—the dissolution of the body—and they had entailed this fate upon their posterity. Hell had triumphed over man's, or rather woman's, weakness. Life was dead, death reigned, and demons held high carnival.

The World in Pawn.—Adam's transgression had put the world in pawn. The name of the pawnbroker was death, and his claim was twofold. Death held all things in his grasp, and there was no help for it this side of heaven. No part of what had been pledged could be used as the means of redemption. Adam could not redeem himself, great and mighty as he was—in the spirit; for he was no other than Michael the archangel, leader of the hosts of heaven. But this puissant Michael was now a weak, frail, mortal man, under the penalty of a broken law, and powerless to repair the injury that had been wrought. He and the race that was to spring from him were utterly lost, unless the Almighty One would intervene, and do for them what they could not do for themselves. If man could have redeemed himself, it would have been required of him; but because self-redemption was impossible, a Redeemer had to be provided.

The Redemption.—Redemption must come, if at all, through some Being high enough and powerful enough to make an infinite atonement, one fully covering the far-reaching effects of the original transgression. The scales of eternal justice, unbalanced by Adam's act, had to be repoised, and right's equilibrium restored. Who could do this? Who could retrieve the situation, bring good out of evil, mould failure into success, and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat? Where was the Moses for such an exodus? Where the deliverance from this worse than Egyptian bondage—a bondage of which Egypt's slavery was but typical?

The life of a God was the price of the world's freedom, and that price was paid by the God of Israel, who descended from his glorious throne, made himself mortal, an exile of eternity, walked in the dust of his own footstool, and by submitting to death, broke the bands of death, and made it possible for man to live again, and go on to the goal of endless glory. He was the Lamb "without spot or blemish," typified by the lamb of the Passover, and preordained for sacrifice, to "take away the sins of the world." He gave himself as an offering, as a ransom for human redemption, and by the shedding of his own blood, paid the debt of the universe, took the world out of pawn, and became the Author of Salvation for all mankind.


The Gods in Council.

Fore-ordination.—The parts played by Adam and Eve in this sublime tragedy were doubtless cast at the same time that the pre-eminent role was assigned to the Redeemer and Savior. Likewise, is it just as reasonable to infer that other great ones were forechosen for service in the cause of humanity. It is more than an inference; it is a revealed fact. What other meaning can be attached to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah (1:5): "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations"? If this be true of Jeremiah, why not true of other prophets, both ancient and modern? Joseph Smith is on record as saying that men who have such callings to minister to the inhabitants of the world, were "ordained to that very purpose in the grand council of heaven before this world was" ("Compendium," p. 285).

Two Plans Proposed.—In that same Grand Council—the "congregation of the mighty" (Ps. 1:5)—there were two candidates, if we may so designate them, for the redeemership. One was like unto the Father, desiring for the pure love of God's children to uplift them, and at the same time glorify the Great Head, by the sacrifice that he proposed to make. The other was proud, self-willed, and bent upon personal aggrandizement, regardless of consequences. The former stood for freedom—man's agency—and the rewarding of all souls according to their works. The latter proposed coercion, so that not one soul should be lost; thinking, perhaps, that his demanded compensation for proposed service might be made in that way all the more abundant.

Lucifer Rebels.—The first was chosen; the second rebelled, and was cast out, with a third of those then populating the spirit world. That third, following Lucifer, who became Satan, were doomed with him to wander up and down the earth, as fallen spirits, tempting and trying the children of men—those who, as a reward for keeping their first estate, where they "walked by sight," were given a second estate—the privilege of taking tabernacles, and "walking by faith" through the shadowed experiences of mortality.

Upon this subject the Prophet Joseph says: "The contention in heaven was: Jesus said there would be certain souls that would not be saved; and the devil said he could save them all, and laid his plans before the grand council, who gave their vote in favor of Jesus Christ. So the devil rose up in rebellion against God, and was cast down with all who put up their heads for him" ("Compendium," page 285).

Advantage of Having a Body.—Our prophet likewise affirms: "At the first organization in heaven we were all present, and saw the Savior chosen and appointed, and the plan of salvation made, and we sanctioned it. We came to this earth that we might have a body and present it pure before God in the celestial kingdom. The great principle of happiness consists in having a body. The devil has no body, and herein is his punishment. He is pleased when he can obtain the tabernacle of man, and when cast out by the Savior he asked to go into the herd of swine, showing that he would prefer a swine's body to having none. All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not" (Ibid, page 288).

Testimony of Moses.—The following passages from our sacred writings will here find place:

"And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.

"But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.

"Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power: by the power of mine Only Begotten I caused that he should be cast down;

"And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice." (Moses 4:1-4.)

Testimony of Abraham.—Still more comprehensive are the appended paragraphs of a similar glorious revelation:

"Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;

"And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.

"And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;

"And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

"And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon: and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate: and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads forever and ever.

"And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first.

"And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate: and, at that day, many followed after him." (Book of Abr. 3:22-28.)

Truth Speaks for Itself.—What a sublime presentation! What a wealth of doctrine! What a wonderful scope of prophecy! The whole divine scheme for human progress revealed at a glance! Surely the Book of Abraham, whose authenticity has recently been assailed by Christian scholars, and defended by "Mormon" writers and speakers, can stand upon its own merits in refutation of any argument brought against it as a divine record. Who but God could reveal such principles as this marvelous book contains? Who but one inspired of heaven could teach them in so pure a spirit and in such majestic terms? Truth—eternal truth—speaks for itself: it is not dependent upon books or translators. These are but some of the means used in making it known to the world. It is not limited to time and place. Whether in the catacombs of Egypt, or in the mounds of America, whether spoken anciently or modernly,

"Truth is truth, where'er 'tis found,
On Christian or on heathen ground."

"Mormon" Philosophy.—Note the sound philosophy of this revelation—the divine proposition to "make an earth," not out of nothing—an absurdity put forth by Christian theologians in their teachings relative to the creation—but out of "materials" already in existence, eternal spirit and eternal matter, as never-ending as space and duration. Then ask yourself, reader, if the "Mormon" doctrine, set forth in the Book of Abraham, is not the only logical, scientific, common-sense presentation possible or conceivable in the premises.

Note also that it was the design to "make an earth;" the inference being that this was not the only earth that had been created, nor would it be the last.

"And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth" (Abr. 4:1).


Creation of the Earth.

Two Creations.—There were two creations—the first spiritual, the second temporal. This truth is taught inferentially in the first and second chapters of Genesis, King James's Translation; but more plainly and pointedly in the Book of Moses, a reproduction of the Book of Genesis, revised and amplified by the spirit of revelation in Joseph the Seer. Here is the modern rendering of the passages bearing directly upon this point:

As Related in the Book of Moses.—"And now, behold, I say unto you, that these are the generations of the heaven and of the earth, when they were created, in the day that I, the Lord God, made the heaven and the earth.

"And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air;

"But I, the Lord God, spake, and there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

"And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually were they created and made according to my word." (Moses 3:4-7.)

Adam's Incarnation.—In the Book of Abraham the incarnation of Adam is thus described:

"And the Gods formed man from the dust of the ground, and took his spirit (that is, the man's spirit) and put it into him; and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul" (Abr. 5:7).

Plurality of Worlds.—Regarding this earth and other creations, the Lord said to Moses:

"And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.

"And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.

"But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them."

* * * * * * * * * * *

"And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The heavens they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine.

"And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works; neither to my words.

"For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."—Moses 1:33-39.

Purposes of Earth Life.—God's purpose, primarily, in placing man upon the earth, is to give him a body, a mortal tabernacle, which is rendered immortal through death and the resurrection. The spirit and the body constitute the soul. It is the soul that is redeemed from the grave (D&C 88:15,16). It is the soul that goes on to perfection. Man is here also for experience, that he may advance from stage to stage of growth and development, approximating nearer and nearer to the divine ideal voiced by the Savior: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."—Matthew 5:48.

Man on Probation.—There is still another purpose in man's mortal existence, and it is referred to in the Book of Abraham, where the Creator, after announcing to "those who were with him" the proposed making of an earth "whereon these may dwell," says: "And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command." Thus we are shown that man while here is on probation, that he may demonstrate his worthiness to inherit the great things held in reserve for the righteous.


Elect of Elohim.

In solemn council sat the Gods;
From Kolob's height supreme,
Celestial light blazed forth afar
O'er countless kokaubeam;
And faintest tinge, the fiery fringe
Of that resplendent day,
'Lumined the dark abysmal realm
Where earth in chaos lay.

Silence. That awful hour was one
When thought doth most avail;
Of worlds unborn the destiny
Hung trembling in the scale.
Silence self-spelled, and there arose,
Those kings and priests among,
A power sublime, than whom appeared
None nobler 'mid the throng.

A stature mingling strength with grace,
Of meek though God-like mien;
The glory of whose countenance
Outshone the noonday sheen.
Whiter his hair than ocean spray,
Or frost of Alpine hill.
He spake;—attention grew more grave,
The stillness e'en more still.

"Father!"—the voice like music fell,
Clear as the murmuring flow
Of mountain streamlet trickling down
From heights of virgin snow.
"Father," it said, "since one must die,
Thy children to redeem,
From spheres all formless now and void,
Where pulsing life shall teem:

"And mighty Michael foremost fall,
That mortal man may be;
And chosen Savior yet must send,
Lo, here am I—send me!
I ask, I seek no recompense,
Save that which then were mine;
Mine be the willing sacrifice,
The endless glory Thine!

"Give me to lead to this lorn world,
When wandered from the fold,
Twelve legions of the noble ones
That now thy face behold;
Tried souls, 'mid untried spirits found,
That captained these may be,
And crowned the dispensations all
With powers of Deity.

"Who blameless bide the spirit state
Shall clothe in mortal clay,
The stepping-stone to glories all,
If man will God obey,
Believing where he cannot see,
Till he again shall know,
And answer give, reward receive,
For all deeds done below.

"The love that hath redeemed all worlds
All worlds must still redeem;
But mercy cannot justice rob—
Or where were Elohim?
Freedom—man's faith, man's work, God's grace—
Must span the great gulf o'er;
Life, death, the guerdon or the doom,
Rejoice we or deplore."

Still rang that voice, when sudden rose
Aloft a towering form,
Proudly erect as lowering peak
'Lumed by the gathering storm;
A presence bright and beautiful,
With eye of flashing fire,
A lip whose haughty curl bespoke
A sense of inward ire:

"Send me!"—coiled 'neath his courtly smile
A scarce concealed disdain—
"And none shall hence, from heaven to earth,
That shall not rise again;
My saving plan exception scorns.
Man's will?—Nay, mine alone.
As recompense, I claim the right
To sit on yonder throne!

"Ceased Lucifer. The breathless hush
Resumed and denser grew.
All eyes were turned; the general gaze
One common Magnet drew.
A moment there was solemn pause—
Listened Eternity,
While rolled from lips Omnipotent
The Father's firm decree:

"Jehovah, thou my Messenger!
Son Ahman, thee I send;
And one shall go thy face before,
While twelve thy steps attend;
And many more on that far shore,
The pathway shall prepare,
That I, the First, the last may come,
And earth my glory share.

"After and ere thy going down,
An army shall descend—
The host of God, and house of him
Whom I have named my friend.
Through him, upon Idumea,
Shall come, all life to leaven,
The guileless ones, the sovereign Sons,
Throned on the heights of heaven.

"Go forth, thou Chosen of the Gods,
Whose strength shall in thee dwell!
Go down betime and rescue earth,
Dethroning death and hell,
On thee alone man's fate depends,
The fate of beings all.
Thou shalt not fail, though thou art free—
Free, but too great to fall.

"By arm divine, both mine and thine,
The lost thou shalt restore,
And man, redeemed, with God shall be,
As God forevermore.
Return, and to the parent fold
This wandering planet bring,
And Earth shall hail thee Conqueror,
And Heaven proclaim thee King."

'Twas done. From congregation vast
Tumultuous murmurs rose;
Waves of conflicting sound, as when
Two meeting seas oppose;
'Twas finished. But the Heavens wept;
And still their annals tell
How one was Choice of Elohim,
O'er one who fighting fell.

("Elias," Canto III, Part One.)

The Way of Salvation.


The Law of Obedience.

Man Helpless.—When Adam and Eve had transgressed the divine command by partaking of the forbidden fruit, it was as if the human race had fallen into a pit, from which they were powerless, by any act of their own, to emerge. They could not climb out, for they did not know how to climb; and even had they known, there was no means by which to climb. Human endeavor, unassisted, could accomplish nothing in the way of deliverance. Man in his mortal condition needed spiritual enlightenment, having forgotten all that he had previously known. In other words, he needed a ladder, that he might climb out of the pit, and that ladder was furnished in the revelation, of the Gospel of Christ. Without it there is no salvation, no exaltation. The Tower of Babel symbolizes the situation: All man's efforts to reach heaven, without divine assistance, must end in confusion and failure.

Redemption by Grace.—The gospel ladder rests upon the rock of Christ's atonement—an act of grace, a free gift from God to all mankind—the wicked as well as the righteous. All profit by it, for, as the result of that atonement, all are brought forth from the grave. And this is eminently just: Adam's posterity were consigned to death for no deed of their own doing. It is fitting, therefore, that their redemption should come unconditionally.

Salvation by Obedience.—But redemption is not salvation, nor salvation exaltation, as already explained. Men must "work out their salvation" (Phillipians 2:12), and gain exaltation by continuous upward striving. Salvation and exaltation, while depending primarily upon the grace of God, are also the fruits of man's acceptance of the gospel, and his steadfast adherence thereto, until it shall have done for him its perfect work. There are degrees of glory—"many mansions" in the great house of God, and the highest are reserved for those who render to the Master of the house the fulness of their obedience.

"Salvation means a man's being placed beyond the power of all his enemies. * * * Until a man can triumph over death, he is not saved. * * * To get salvation we must not only do some things, but everything which God has commanded" ("Joseph Smith's Teachings," pp. 146-150).

Heaven's First Law.—"Order is heaven's first law," says human wisdom. "Not so," says divine inspiration, "obedience is heaven's first law, and order follows as the result." [A] Without obedience, spiritual growth, eternal progress, is impossible. Says Joseph the prophet: "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundation of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated; and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated" (D&C 130:20,21).

Illustrations of Obedience.—That obedience is required from those who become and remain members of the Church of Christ, should not surprise any intelligent student of political science, nor even a casual observer of the everyday life of men and nations. All governments demand from their people obedience to the laws enacted for the general welfare. Without such obedience, there would be no peace, no protection. This is readily conceded by most men as to human governments; but some people think it strange that divine government should be administered upon like principles, and for similar, though higher, ends.

A friend of mine once said to me: "Why do I need to belong to a church, to subscribe to a creed, or to undergo any ordinance, in order to be saved? I have always been truthful, honest, virtuous, benevolent—why will this not suffice to make my peace with God and pave my way to heaven?"

Aliens and Naturalization.—I answered on this wise: "Let me use a comparison to illustrate the point. Suppose you were an alien, born in Great Britain, in Scandinavia, or in some other foreign land, and you came to America desiring to become a citizen of the United States. When told that you must take out citizenship papers, forswear allegiance to every foreign power, and honor and uphold the Constitution and laws of this Republic, suppose you were to reply: `Why, what is the need of all that? I am a good man, I have always done right, and am clean, moral, and upright in conduct and conversation—why is that not sufficient to entitle me to vote, to hold office, pre-empt land, and enjoy all the rights and privileges of an American freeman?' Do you think such a plea would avail? No, you do not. You see its inconsistency as quickly as would the government unto whom it might be made. You would not expect to become a citizen of the United States upon your own terms. Why, then, should you hope for admittance into God's kingdom upon any other conditions than those which the King himself has laid down?"

Man's Proper Attitude.—Truthfulness, honesty, virtue, and benevolence are precious possessions, inestimable treasures. They enrich the soul under all conditions, outside or inside the kingdom of God; but they are not valuable enough to purchase a passport into that kingdom. We must not count upon our personal qualities, however admirable and commendable, to gain us admission into the divine presence. Man's proper attitude, as a seeker for salvation, is one of humility, not of self-righteousness. When the Pharisee and the Publican prayed in the Temple at Jerusalem, the former thanking the Lord that he was better than other men, and the latter meekly murmuring: "God be merciful to me, a sinner," the Savior, pointing to the Publican, said: That man is justified, rather than the other, "for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Luke 18:13,14).

Obedience Better Than Sacrifice.—"Obedience is better than sacrifice." So said obedient Samuel to disobedient Saul. Adam's obedience in offering sacrifice without knowing why, simply because the Lord had commanded him (Moses 5:6) Abraham's obedience in offering Isaac—for the same reason—was far more precious in the sight of heaven than the sacrifice itself. In Abraham's case the will was taken for the deed, and the Father of the Faithful was blessed as abundantly as if the sacrifice had been consummated.

Dead Letter and Living Oracle.—Suppose, however, that Abraham had not obeyed the Lord's second command, "Lay not thy hand upon the lad." In that event he would have been in transgression, and could not have been blessed any more than if he had disobeyed in the first instance. In the face of that second command, he could not have pleaded consistently that he was under obligation to obey the first. "My word is my law," saith the Lord, and his latest word, even though it seem to contradict an earlier behest from the same source, must always be given precedence. The choice in such a case is between the dead letter and the living oracle.

All Blessings Come by Obedience.—It is the rod of power which smites the rock of divine providence, causing it to flow with the waters of human weal.

The Justice of God.—When the Savior uttered his exhortation: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect," and added, "For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matt. 5:45), he did not mean that the Lord makes no distinction between the two classes; but meant that he is just to both—just even to the unjust, upon whom he sends his rain and sunshine, causing their orchards to bloom and their vineyards to bear equally with those of the righteous. Nevertheless, all who receive such blessings must merit them. If the unjust (unjust here) had not kept their first estate, thereby showing some degree of obedience to divine law, they would not have been given a second estate, where the sunlight and the rains could reach them. In this second estate, however, further obedience is requisite, in order that greater benefits may follow.

Blessings Bestowed by Law.—God's blessings are temporal as well as spiritual, and their bestowal is regulated by law. A bad man may be a good farmer or a good artisan, and reap reward for obedience to the law of industry in the exercise of his vocation. But there are greater blessings than those which come from the workshop and the harvest field; and they can be had only by obedience to the higher laws governing their distribution. One cannot become a member of the Church of Christ by being an expert tiller of the soil. It requires more than the skill of a mechanic to get into the kingdom of heaven. There is but one way into that kingdom—a way pointed out by the finger of God—and any person who tries to get in by picking the lock or by climbing over the wall, will be treated as a trespasser, as a would-be thief and robber.

What Must Man Do for Himself?—What particular acts of obedience are required of man, in order that God, who redeemed him, may likewise save and exalt him? What must he do for himself, that he may profit fully by the great things done in his behalf? How shall this alien become naturalized? The ladder having been let down into the pit, how shall the fallen avail himself of the divine assistance offered?

The answer is plain: He must climb, if he would get out. While there was no ladder, he could not, and all his intelligence and skill were unavailing. But now, if he will use his God-given powers and the means provided, he may climb from earth to heaven, round by round. If he refuses to climb, who but himself is responsible for his remaining in the pit?

The Most Important Personage.—This gospel code—this way into the kingdom—what is it? What does it consist of? What are the divine laws of naturalization? What requirements are made of those who would be identified with the Church of Christ—who would be saved in this world and in the world to come? The man who can answer, to the spiritually unenlightened, such questions as these, is easily the most important personage of his generation. Such a man was the Apostle Peter, and such another was the Prophet Joseph Smith.

The Pentecostal Proclamation.—When Peter, on the day of Pentecost, preached "Christ and him crucified," and the conscience-stricken multitude cried out: "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" a question was propounded which the most learned philosophers of that age could not answer. Caesar, sitting upon the throne of the world, would have been mystified had the question been put to him: What shall men do to be saved? Not so Peter, the Galilean fisherman. He knew what men must do, and he straightway told them what to do:

"Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38).

[Footnote A: An idea advanced by President George Q. Cannon.]



The First Requirement.—Faith, however, not repentance, is the first requirement. The probable reason why Peter omitted to mention faith at that time, was because he perceived that the multitude already had faith, already believed what he had told them of the crucified Redeemer. Had it been otherwise, they would not have been "pricked in their heart." and would not have anxiously inquired, "What shall we do?" Belief was the first requirement made by the Savior, through his chosen twelve, when he sent them "into all the world" to "preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:16). He declared salvation dependent on faith and works: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned." For faith is shown by works (James 2:18), and each is dead without the other.

The Foundation of All Righteousness.—Faith, according to the Doctrine and Covenants, is "the first principle in revealed religion, and the foundation of all righteousness." There are few things more lucid in our literature than the Lectures on Faith which form the fore part of that sacred volume—one of the four doctrinal standards of the Church; the other three being the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Pearl of Great Price. Beginning with the text, "Now faith is the substance [assurance] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1), the lecturer goes on to say:

The Moving Cause of All Action.—"If men were duly to consider themselves, and turn their thoughts and reflections to the operations of their own minds, they would readily discover that it is faith, and faith only, which is the moving cause of all action in them; that without it both mind and body would be in a state of inactivity, and all their exertions would cease, both physical and mental."

"Were this class to go back and reflect upon the history of their lives, from the period of their first recollection, and ask themselves what principle excited them to action, or what gave them energy and activity in all their lawful avocations, callings, and pursuits, what would be the answer? Would it not be that it was the assurance which they had of the existence of things which they had not seen as yet? Was it not the hope which you had in consequence of your belief in the existence of unseen things, which stimulated you to action and exertion in order to obtain them? Are you not dependent on your faith, or belief, for the acquisition of all knowledge, wisdom, and intelligence? Would you exert yourselves to obtain wisdom and intelligence, unless you did believe that you could obtain them? Would you have ever sown, if you had not believed that you would reap? Would you ever planted, if you had not believed that you would gather? Would you have ever asked, unless you had believed that you would receive? Would you have ever sought, unless you had believed that you would have found? Or, would have been opened unto you? In a word, is there anything that you would have done, either physical or mental, if you had not previously believed? Are not all your exertions of every kind, dependent on your faith? Or, may we not ask, what have you, or what do you possess which you have not obtained by reason of your faith? Your food, your raiment, your lodgings, are they not all by reason of your faith? Reflect, and ask yourselves if these things are not so. Turn your thoughts on your own minds, and see if faith is not the moving cause of all action in yourselves; and, if the moving cause in you, is it not in all other intelligent beings?" * * * *

A Principle of Power.—"As we receive by faith all temporal blessings that we do receive, so we in like manner receive by faith all spiritual blessings that we do receive. But faith is not only the principle of action, but of power also, in all intelligent beings, whether in heaven or on earth. Thus says the author of the epistle to the Heb. 11:3: `Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God; so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.'

"Had it not been for the principle of faith the worlds would never have been framed, neither would man have been formed of the dust. It is the principle by which Jehovah works, and through which he exercises power over all temporal as well as eternal things. Take this principle or attribute—for it is an attribute—from the Deity, and he would cease to exist.

"Who cannot see, that if God framed the worlds by faith, that it is by faith that he exercises power over them, and that faith is the principle of power? And if the principle of power, must be so in man as well as in the Deity? This is the testimony of all the sacred writers, and the lesson which they have been endeavoring to teach to man. * * * *

"It was by faith that the worlds were framed. God spake, chaos heard, and worlds came into order by reason of the faith there was in him. So with man also; he spake by faith in the name of God and the sun stood still, the moon obeyed, mountains removed, prisons fell, lions' mouths were closed, the human heart lost its enmity, fire its violence, armies their power, the sword its terror, and death its dominion; and all this by reason of the faith which was in him.

"Had it not been for the faith which was in men, they might have spoken to the sun, the moon, the mountains, prisons, the human heart, fire, armies, the sword, or to death, in vain!

"Faith, then, is the first great governing principle which has power, dominion, and authority over all things; by it they exist, by it they remain, agreeable to the will of God. Without it there is no power, and without power there could be no creation nor existence!"

A Negative Opinion.—A Christian minister (a Unitarian) once tried to convince me that faith was anything but an admirable quality. He called it contemptible, declaring that it consisted simply of a willingness to believe anything, however improbable or absurd: it was mere credulity, nothing more. When I spoke of faith as a spiritual force, he said I was attaching to the term a significance that it had never borne, and for which there was no warrant. I reminded him of the Savior's words in Matt. 17:19,20: "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Whereupon he answered flippantly: "Oh, it takes picks and shovels to move mountains."

The Positive View.—I presume he would have conceded, had I pursued the subject further, that there are other ways of removing mountains. I fancy he would have admitted the power of the earthquake in the premises; though he might not have agreed with me that all intelligent action, human or divine, is the result of faith, and that whether mountains are moved with pick-axes or with earthquakes, by man or by his Maker, it is faith that precedes the action and renders it possible. This professed minister of Christ, who denied what Christ had taught, overlooked the fact that the smallest as well as the greatest acts of our lives spring from the exercise of faith.

Faith Fundamental.—God made faith the first principle of the gospel, because that is its proper place. It is the bottom round in the ladder of salvation, the first step in the stairway to perfection. "All things are possible to them that believe."

"As a Grain of Mustard Seed."—When the Savior spoke of the faith that "removes mountains," he was not measuring, either satirically or hyperbolically, the quantity of the faith by the size of the mustard seed. He probably meant that if man would obey the divine law given for his government, as faithfully as the mustard seed obeys the divine law given for its government, he would have infinitely more power than he now possesses. How difficult it seems for man, "the noblest work of God," to live in obedience to the highest principles revealed from heaven for his guidance. Yet the earth, we are told, "abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law" (D&C 88:25).

Faith and Credulity.—Faith, in its incipient stages, may resemble at times mere credulity. The untutored savage who was told by one of the early settlers of New England that if he planted grass seed it would produce gunpowder, believed it, not yet having learned that the white man would lie. He therefore parted with his valuable furs, in exchange for some of the seed, showing that he had faith in the settler's word. But it did not bring the desired result. Faith, to be effectual, must be based upon truth, and though higher than reason, must have a reasonable foundation. The spirit of truth must inspire it. This was not the case with the poor, misguided Indian; he trusted in a falsehood and was deceived. But some good came of it. He ascertained the falsity of the settler's statement. His faith induced him to plant the seed, and though it did not produce gunpowder—that being contrary to its nature—it produced a growth of grass-and a wiser Indian.


Faith, Continued.

Faith Founded on Evidence.—The second of the Lectures on Faith is a discussion of the object upon which faith should rest; that object being God, the evidences of whose existence, as the foundation of all rational belief, are abundantly shown. Lecture Third contains these paragraphs, pertinent to the point now raised:

Essentials for a Perfect Faith.—"Three things are necessary in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation.

"First, the idea that he actually exists.

"Second, a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes.

"Third, an actual knowledge that the course of life which he [man] is pursuing is according to his [God's] will. For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive; but with this understanding it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness, unto the praise and glory of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Possibilities of Faith.—Had the Indian's faith been properly founded—had it been a perfect faith, intelligent, rational, heaven-inspired, he could have produced gunpowder or any other commodity from the all-containing elements around him; and that, too, without planting a seed or employing an ordinary process of manufacture. The turning of water into wine, the miraculous feeding of the multitude, the walking upon the waves, the healing of the sick, the raising of the dead, and other wonderful works wrought by the Savior, the apostles, and the ancient prophets—what were they but manifestations of an all-powerful faith, to possess which is to have the power to remove mountains—without picks and shovels, my skeptical Unitarian to the contrary notwithstanding. Such a faith is not mere credulity; it is a divine energy, operating upon natural laws and by natural processes—natural, though unknown to "the natural man," and termed by him supernatural.

The Universal Mainspring.—Faith is the beating heart of the universe—the incentive, the impulse, to all action, the mainspring of all achievement. Nothing was ever accomplished, small or great, commonplace or miraculous, that was not backed up by confidence in some power, human or superhuman, that impelled and pushed forward the enterprise.

An Impelling Force.—It was not doubt that drove Columbus across the sea; it was faith—the impelling force of the Spirit of the Lord (1 Ne. 13:12). It was not doubt that nerved the arm and fired the soul of Washington, inducing him and his ragged regiments to fight on through heat, frost, and hunger of seven long years, to win their country's freedom. It was not doubt that inspired Hamilton, Jefferson, Franklin, and the other patriot fathers, to lay broad and deep the foundations of this mighty republic. It is not doubt that has caused nations to rise and flourish, and raised up great men in all ages and in all climes, to teach, toil, and sacrifice for the benefit of mankind. It is faith that does such things. Doubt undoes, or hinders, what faith achieves. The men and women who have moved this world were men and women who believed, who were earnest and sincere, even if in part mistaken.

Mahomet and Islam.—Carlyle portrays vividly the wondrous transition from weakness to strength that came over the descendants of Ishmael, when they became a believing nation, abandoning idolatry, and accepting Allah as their god, with Mahomet as his prophet:

"To the Arab nation it was as a birth from darkness into light; Arabia first became alive by means of it. A poor shepherd people roaming unnoticed in its deserts since the creation of the world; a hero-prophet was sent down to them with a word they could believe; see, the unnoticed becomes world-notable, the small has become world-great; within one century afterwards Arabia is at Granada on this hand, at Delhi on that—glancing in valor and splendor and the light of genius, Arabia shines through long ages over a great section of the world. Belief is great, life-giving. The history of a nation becomes fruitful, soul-elevating, great, so soon as it believes. These Arabs, the man Mahomet, and that one century—is it not as if a spark had fallen, one spark, on a world of what seemed black, unnoticeable sand; but lo, the sand proves explosive powder, blazes heaven-high from Delhi to Granada! I said, the great man was always as lightning out of heaven; the rest of men waited for him like fuel, and then they too would flame."—("Heroes and Hero Worship," Lecture II.)

Achievements of Christendom.—Who can doubt that this same philosophy applies to Christendom and its marvelous achievements, all down the centuries? Is it not faith in the divine Nazarene that has caused Christian nations to thrive, that has enabled Christianity, in spite of its errors, to flourish, to survive the wreck of empires and weather the storms of time? Was not Christ indeed as "lightning out of heaven," sent down to kindle and illumine the world, and has not the world been warmer and brighter for his coming? Is it not the faith of any nation, its trust in and reliance upon some power deemed by it divine, that constitutes its main strength?

Faith Must Be Genuine.—But faith must be genuine. Pretense and formalism will not avail. Hypocrisy is the worst form of unbelief. Honest idolatry is infinitely preferable to dishonest worship. Better burn incense to Diana, believing it to be right, than bow down to Christ in hollow-hearted insincerity. Mighty Rome did not fall, until she had ceased to worship sincerely the gods enshrined within her Pantheon. Glorious Greece did not succumb, until she had proved false to her ancient faith, until her believers had become doubters, until skeptical philosophy had supplanted religious enthusiasm, and the worship of freedom, grace, and beauty had degenerated to unbridled license and groveling sensuality. No nation ever crumbled to ruin until false to itself, false to the true principles of success, the basic one of which is to believe.

The Articles of Faith.—What should Latter-day Saints believe? I can think of no better answer to this question than is contained in the Articles of Faith, formulated by the Prophet Joseph Smith soon after the Church of Christ was organized in this dispensation:

"1. We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

"2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

"3. We believe that through the atonement of Christ all men may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

"4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are:—First, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, repentance; third, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

"5. We believe that a man must be called of God by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands, by those who are in authority, to preach the gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

"6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive church, viz.: apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.

"7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc.

"8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

"9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that he does now reveal, and we believe that he will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

"10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion will be built upon this continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth: and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisaical glory.

"11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

"12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates, in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law.

"13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul, We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."



The First Fruit of Faith.—The first fruit of faith is repentance. Repentance follows faith as naturally as kindness follows love, as obedience springs from reverence, as a desire to be congenial with, succeeds admiration for, one whose example is deemed worthy of emulation. God commands all men everywhere to repent. A desire to please him and become acceptable in his sight, leads the soul of faith of repentance.

A Gift from God.—No repentance is possible, however, without the Spirit of the Lord, which "giveth light to every man that cometh into the world" (D&C 84:45-47). This is what makes repentance, no less than faith, a gift from God. When his Spirit ceases to strive with men, they no longer desire to repent, and are delivered over to the buffetings of Satan. They deliver themselves over to those buffetings. They make their choice between the spirit of good and the spirit of evil, both of which are in the world, influencing the spirit of man, and they receive their wages from the master whom they list to obey.

The Spirit of God and the Holy Ghost.—A distinction should be drawn between the Spirit "that enlighteneth every man," and the Holy Ghost, whose gifts are given to members of the Church of Christ. The former is an influence, proceeding from the Divine Presence; the latter a personage, one of the Godhead, concerning whom the Prophet Joseph says: "The Father has a body of flesh and bones, as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us" (D&C 130:22).

The Prophet says further upon this subject: "There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized, which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the gospel, but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, until after he was baptized. Had he not taken this sign or ordinance upon him, the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God would have left him."—("Joseph Smith's Teachings," p.69.)

Real Repentance.—Repentance is not that superficial sorrow felt by a criminal when caught in the act of wrong-doing—a sorrow not for sin, but for sin's detection, for being taken in transgression. Chagrin is not repentance. Mortification and shame, alone, bring no change of heart toward right living or right feeling. Repentance involves remorse; but even remorse is not all there is to repentance. In its highest meaning and fullest measure, repentance is equivalent to reformation—a resolve to "sin no more," backed by conduct consistent with such a determination. "Repentance is a thing that cannot be trifled with every day. Daily transgression and daily repentance is not that which is pleasing in the sight of God" ("Joseph Smith's Teachings," p. 136). "By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins. Behold, he will confess them and forsake them" (D&C 58:43). This is a real, genuine repentance. All who truly repent can be forgiven. These, and these alone, are ready for the cleansing process—baptism for the remission of sins. Without repentance, there is no forgiveness, and consequently no remission of sins.

Damnation No Part of the Gospel.—Damnation is no part of the gospel. Damnation or condemnation is simply the sad alternative, the inevitable consequence of rejecting the means of escape. When men hear the gospel and refuse to obey it, the come under condemnation. This cannot be helped. God would save them, but they will not be saved. They are free agents, and they damn themselves. Says Joseph the prophet: "When God offers knowledge or a gift to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned." Not because God wishes to damn him, but because damnation is inevitable when one rejects the offer of salvation.

Sin, a Wilful Transgression of Law.—A man sins when he goes contrary to light and knowledge—that is, contrary to the light and knowledge that has come to him. One may blunder in ignorance, and suffer painful consequences; but one does not sin unless one knows better than to do the thing in which the sin consists.

Carlyle on Repentance.—"Of all acts," says Carlyle, "is not, for a man, repentance the most divine? The deadliest sin, I say, were that same supercilious consciousness of no sin;—that is death; the heart so conscious is divorced from sincerity, humility and fact; is dead: it is 'pure' as dead dry sand is pure."—"Heroes and Hero-Worship," Lecture II.

Condemnation Measured by Culpability.—They who refuse to repent will be damned; they damn themselves by that refusal. But damnation is not necessarily permanent, and like salvation or exaltation, it exists in degrees. The degree of condemnation is according to the measure of culpability in those condemned. Even the damned, who repent, can be saved.

Some Souls Incapable of Repentance.—Some sinners cannot repent. Their sins are of such a heinous character as to preclude it. The spirit of repentance cannot lay hold upon them. T heir conduct has so grieved it, that it is completely withdrawn. Consequently they cannot repent, and that is what makes their case hopeless. If they could repent, they could be forgiven; but not being able to repent, the pardoning power cannot reach them. There would be no unpardonable sin if all sinners were capable of repentance. Those who cannot repent, who have committed the sin unpardonable, are called sons of perdition.

A Hint from Shakespeare.—Apropos of the inability to repent, Shakespeare gives a philosophic hint in his tragedy of "Hamlet." Claudius, brother to the king of Denmark, has murdered the king in order to obtain his crown and queen. But remorse gnaws at the murderer's conscience—not a godly remorse, leading to repentance, but the terror that guilty souls feel at the prospect of judgment and retribution. Claudius kneels to pray, but can only pray with his lips, his heart being far from God. It is therefore no prayer at all. "The soul's sincere desire" is lacking.

"My words fly up, my thoughts remain below;
Words without thoughts never to heaven go."

So says the murderous monarch, as he rises from his knees. Prior to his ineffectual attempt to supplicate the Throne of Grace, he thus soliloquizes:

"My fault is past. But O what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? 'Forgive me my foul murder?'
That cannot be, since I am still possessed
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardoned and retain the offense?
* * * * * *
"Try what repentance can: what can it not?
Yet what can it when one can not repent?"
("Hamlet," Act. III, Scene III.)

The unpardonable sin involves utter recreancy to divine light and power previously possessed. It is the sin against the Holy Ghost; but one must first receive the Holy Ghost before he is capable of sinning against it. Such a sin can be committed only by men who have been equipped with every qualification for celestial glory.

The Sons of Perdition.—"Thus saith the Lord, concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers there of, and suffered themselves, through the power of the devil, to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy my power—

"They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born,

"For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity;

"Concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come,

"Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father—having crucified him unto themselves, and put him to an open shame.

"They are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels,

"And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power;

"Wherefore, he saves all except them." (D.&C. 76:31-37,44.)

The Saved and Glorified.—But the saved are rewarded according to their works. The glorified differ like the sun, moon, and stars, typifying, respectively, celestial, terrestrial, and telestial conditions. They who cannot abide any of these conditions, "are not meet for a kingdom of glory," and the utterly disobedient, who will to abide in sin, are fated to "remain filthy still" (D&C 88:22-35).

The Celestial Glory.—The inheritors of celestial exaltation, the highest degree of glory, are they who render to the Great Giver the fulness of their obedience, manifesting a willingness to lay all upon the altar at his bidding. In short, "to do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them" (Abr. 3:25).

"They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given,

"That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power.

"And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.

"They are they who are the Church of the first born.

"They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—

"They are they who are Priests and Kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory,

"And are Priests of the Most High, after the order to Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son;

"Wherefore, as it is written, they are Gods, even the sons of God—

"Wherefore all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ's and Christ is God's. * * *

"These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ for ever and ever.

"These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven, to reign on the earth over his people.

"These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection.

"These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just. * * *

"These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical."—(D.&C. 76:51-59, 62-65, 70.)

The Terrestrial Glory.—They who receive not the gospel here, but receive it hereafter; they who die without law; also "honorable men of the earth, blinded by the craftiness of men;"—

"These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness;

"These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father;

"Wherefore they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the sun.

"These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore they obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God.—(D.& C. 76:76-79.)

The Telestial World.—Concerning the inhabitants of the telestial world, it is written:

"These are they who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus.

"These are they who deny not the Holy Spirit.

"These are they who are thrust down to hell.

"These are they who shall not be redeemed from the devil, until the last resurrection, until the Lord, even Christ the Lamb, shall have finished his work.

"These are they who receive not of his fulness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial:

"And also the telestial receive it of the administering of angels who are appointed to minister for them, or who are appointed to be ministering spirits for them, for they shall be heirs of salvation. * * *

"These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.

"These are they who suffer the wrath of God on the earth.

"These are they who suffer the vengeance of eternal fire.

"These are they who are cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God, until the fulness of times when Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet, and shall have perfected his work. * * *

"And they shall be servants of the Most High, but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end." (D.&C. 76:82-88, 103-106, 112.)

"And the glory of the celestial is one, even as the glory of the sun is one.

"And the glory of the terrestrial is one, even as the glory of the moon is one.

"And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one, for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world." (D.&C. 76:96-98; 1 Cor. 15:40,41.)

A Nautical Illustration.—Thirty years ago I was crossing the Atlantic on an ocean liner. I was a first cabin passenger, and besides myself there were forty or fifty others in that part of the vessel. The second cabin had about twice as many passengers, and in the steerage were several hundred more. I found that the first cabin berths—secured by a fortunate few—were not only the best furnished, but the most favorably situated for comfort, convenience, and safety. The food was of the choicest, every possible courtesy was shown to the passengers, and they had the full freedom of the ship. They might go down into the second cabin, or lower down, into the steerage, at will, and return without hindrance or question. They had paid for these privileges, and were therefore entitled to them. The captain and other officers were their associates.

It was different in the second cabin. There the food was not so good, the berths were not so comfortable, and the privileges were fewer. The passengers there might descend into the steerage, but were not permitted upon the upper deck. In the steerage, conditions were even less favorable. The food was still poorer, and the restrictions yet more rigid. The occupants of that section were not allowed even in the second cabin. Having paid only for steerage accommodations, these were all they could consistently claim.

Viewing the situation, I said to myself, What a striking analogy of the final destiny of the human race, as set forth in the revelations of God! All men rewarded according to their works, and saved according to their merits in the eternal mansions of the Father! And I then and there resolved anew that I would be a first cabin passenger on the good ship Zion, over the ocean of life, into the haven of celestial glory.

Men's Desires a Basis of Judgment.—At a date subsequent to February 16, 1832, when Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon received that wonderful vision, portraying the celestial, terrestrial and telestial glories, the heavens were again opened to the Prophet, who thus describes what he saw:

"I beheld the celestial kingdom of God, and the glory thereof, whether in the body or out I cannot tell. I saw the transcendent beauty of the gate through which the heirs of that kingdom will enter, which was like unto circling flames of fire; also the blazing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son. I saw the beautiful streets of that kingdom, which had the appearance of being paved with gold. I saw Fathers Adam and Abraham, and my father and mother, my brother, Alvin, that has long since slept, and marveled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set His hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins.

"Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying—

"All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God; also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom, for I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.

"And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability, are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven." (History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 380.)

Grades of Celestial Glory.—The Prophet also taught that there are grades of glory, even in the celestial kingdom; his exact language being: "In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees" (D&C 131:1).


Water and Spirit Birth.

The Initial Ceremony.—As faith is the first principle of the gospel of Christ, so baptism is the initial ceremony. Baptism is twofold, corresponding to the soul, its subject, which is both spiritual and temporal. It signifies for that soul rebirth and illumination.

"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

"Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:3,5).

So said the King of that kingdom, the only One empowered to prescribe conditions upon which men might become his subjects, or his fellow citizens, in that heavenly common-wealth where he shines first and foremost among the sons of God.

Jesus to Nicodemus.—Jesus, when he uttered those words, was speaking to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, a Pharisee, and, as some suppose, a member of the Sanhedrim. Favorably inclined toward the unpopular Nazarene, yet too politic to be seen associating with him openly, Nicodemus came to him by night, avowing a belief that he was "a teacher come from God." In response to this confession of faith, Jesus taught Nicodemus the doctrine embodied in the lines I have quoted.

A Subject of Controversy.—"Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Probably no theme connected with the gospel of Christ has caused more controversy than this positive and important declaration, the meaning of which, however plain to Christians anciently, has been a matter of uncertainty to their successors all down the centuries. From the days of the early Greek fathers of the Christian Church, to the days of St. Augustine, the great theologian of the Western or Roman Catholic division of that church; from his time to the time of Luther and Calvin, and thence on into the present age, men have disputed over the significance of those sacred words, over the mystical birth of water and of spirit, declared by the world's Redeemer to be the doorway to his Church, the portal of admittance into his kingdom.

What is Baptism?—Over the general meaning of the phrase, "born of water and of the Spirit," there may have been no serious contention. In all or most of the Christian denominations, Catholic and Protestant, that phrase means baptism, the ordinance whereby a person is initiated into the Church. But what does baptism mean? That is the problem. The significance, form, purpose, and effects of the ordinance, and whether or not it is necessary to salvation—these questions have furnished the backbone of the controversy. And yet they are questions easily answered, problems readily solved, if we take the Holy Spirit for our guide, and wrest not the Scriptures.

The Savior's Example.—The New Testament teaches plainly the necessity of baptism. The words of Jesus, already quoted, may be reinforced by the following passages:

"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

"But John forbade Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

"And Jesus, answering, said unto him: Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him." (Matthew 3:13-15.)

A Universal Requirement.—If it was becoming in the Son of God to be baptized, it is becoming in all who follow in his footsteps and hope to be with him hereafter. They must be baptized with the baptism that he was baptized with—not only the baptism of suffering, through which "the captain of our salvation" was "made perfect," but the baptism of water and of spirit, received by him at the River Jordan, nineteen centuries ago.

King and Subject.—Can you conceive of a kingdom in which the king is required to obey the laws ordained for its government, while his subjects are not required to obey them? Far more likely, is it not, that the king, rather than the subject, would be exempt from such obedience? But the laws of God's kingdom are just and impartial, bearing with equal pressure upon all. "The Son doeth nothing but what he hath seen the Father do;" nor does he require of us what he himself is not willing to render. "Follow me," is the watchward of his mission, and it applies to baptism as much as to anything.

To Fulfil All Righteousness.—True, baptism is "for the remission of sins" (Mark 1:4; Acts 2:38) and Jesus "grew up without sin unto salvation." Hence, there was no sin in him to remit. Why, then, was he baptized? John saw this point when Jesus presented himself for baptism: "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" While we cannot impute sin to the sinless, and say that Jesus was baptized, like an ordinary man, for the remission of his sins, we can and should take him at his word, that it was becoming in him, and is becoming in us, to be baptized, in order "to fulfil all righteousness."

Necessity of Baptism Not Obviated by Christ's Baptism.—Some hold that Jesus was baptized vicariously for original sin, the sin of the world, resulting from the transgression of Adam. That load of guilt, it is argued, had to be remitted, and hence the Savior, who had taken the burden upon him, was baptized that it might be washed away. I cannot vouch for the correctness of that view; but this I know: The baptism of Jesus did not obviate the necessity of baptism, any more than his suffering of the pangs of every man, woman and child (2 Ne.9:21, 22), did away with human suffering. Men still suffer, notwithstanding that infinite atonement—necessary, in order that the resurrection might pass upon all men. And they must still be baptized for the remission of their own sins, notwithstanding the baptism of "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). Christ plainly taught, after his own baptism, the necessity of baptism as a universal requirement, obligatory upon all capable of faith and repentance.

Little Children Exempt.—The only class exempt are infants, or children young enough to be without sin. Obviously they cannot repent, and are therefore not fit subjects for baptism. Jesus said: "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Again: "Except ye humble yourselves and become as this little child, ye shall in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven." This shows not only that little children are sinless, but that they are types of the innocence and purity required of men and women, who, because not sinless, must be baptized and have their sins remitted, before they can enter into that kingdom where no sin, no uncleanness, can come. For this cause—that men and women must "become as little children" before entering there—baptism, the doorway, is compared to a birth, the entry of an infant into life. For this reason also, converts to Christ in ancient times were referred to as "new-born babes." Peter so styled them (2:2); and the first principles of the gospel, those easiest to comprehend, to mentally digest, were termed both by him and by Paul, "the milk of the word," in contradistinction to "the meat of the word"—advanced principles and mysteries (1 Pet. 2:2; Heb. 5:12-14; 1 Cor. 3:2). The effect of baptism is to make men childlike, not in ignorance, nor in physical weakness, but in innocence and humility.

Mormon to Moroni.—Upon this theme Mormon writes thus to his son Moroni, voicing the word of the Lord:

"Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.

"And after this manner did the Holy Ghost manifest the word of God unto me; wherefore my beloved son, I know that it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children.

"Behold, I say unto you, that this thing shall ye teach, repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent, and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children. * * *

"Little children cannot repent; wherefore it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are alive in him because of his mercy. * * * The power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing." (Moroni 8:8-10, 19, 22.)

Children Become Accountable.—As children advance in years, however, they become accountable, and then, like adults, they must yield obedience to the requirements of the gospel. The Lord explained this matter to Adam in these words:

"Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.

"And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves, and I have given unto you another law and commandment.

"Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in no wise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.

"Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying:

"That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;

"For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified." (Moses 6:55-60.)

Early Christian Views.—The earliest Christians did not doubt the necessity of baptism. On the contrary, they strongly insisted upon it, as indispensable to a saved condition. During the Patristic age—that of the early fathers, following the apostles—the conviction that no soul could be saved without baptism was so firm that it led to pedobaptism—the baptism of infants, and to other innovations upon the primitive faith. It was seen that infants could not believe in Christ, nor repent of sins that they had not committed; but it was held that the church, or those who stood sponsor for the little ones, could believe for them, and they were baptized for original sin, the sin of Adam, which they were supposed to have inherited. Peter's words in promising the Holy Ghost: "For the promise is unto you and to your children" (Acts 2:39), were construed to sustain infant baptism. It was even assumed that the Savior authorized it in saying, "Suffer little children to come unto me," the inference being that they could come unto him only by baptism.

Pedobaptism.—Holders of these ideas have never explained why infant baptism did not become prevalent until two or three centuries after Christ, and why such eminent Christians of the fourth century as Gregory, of Nazianzum, the son of a bishop; Basil the Great, of Cappadocia; Chrysostom of Antioch, and Augustine of Numidia—whose mothers were the most pious of Christians—were not baptized until they were over thirty years of age. Paul's affirmation that "children are holy" (1 Cor. 7:14), the Savior's declaration, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven," and Mormon's words to Moroni, already cited, are a sufficient answer to the assumption that children under the age of accountability have need to be baptized. Those who introduced the practice of baptizing infants for original sin, overlooked the fact that Christ atoned for original guilt, and that men are accountable for their own sins and not for Adam's transgression.

Other Innovations.—One innovation led to another, though the next related to adults. What was to become of martyrs, who had shed their blood in defense of the church, or for its sake, but had never confessed Christ nor been baptized? Were they to be damned? Oh, no; for their benefit another doctrine was introduced; they were held to have been baptized in their own blood. Finally, out of deference to the claims of a far more numerous class—worthy men and women, many of whom had lived and died before the Christian Church was founded, while others, though living contemporaneously with it, were never reached by its missionaries—the idea gradually obtained that baptism was not essential to salvation. All of which might have been obviated, and the Church spared much ridicule and skepticism—the result of its ramblings and inconsistencies—had it kept the key to the situation—namely, baptism for the dead.

Gradual Growth of a Heresy.—The idea that baptism is nonessential did not become fixed and popular until many centuries after the apostles fell asleep. Saint Augustine, who figured in the latter part of the fourth and the first half of the fifth century after Christ, and who advanced the notion that water baptism was "the outward sign of an inward grace," the external emblem of internal sanctification, held, nevertheless, that no soul could be saved without it—not even infants; though their condemnation, resulting from non-baptism, would be of the mildest character. Augustine's concept of baptism, with some modifications, is the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, and of the orthodox Protestant churches, at the present time. Luther held baptism to be essential to salvation; Calvin and Zwingli did not; and there, in the sixteenth century, it appears, began the schism of opinion concerning it that divides Christendom today.

Baptism for the Dead.—That baptism is required from all capable of exercising faith and manifesting repentance is shown by the fact that provision is made in the gospel for the baptism of those who pass away without being baptized for themselves. In the spirit world, where the gospel is preached and the powers of the priesthood are exercised, faith and repentance are possible—but baptism is not, it being an outward ordinance, having to do with a temporal element—water—and therefore to be administered in a temporal world. Since it is the soul that is baptized, not the spirit alone, baptism is impracticable in the world of spirits.

Spirits in Prison.—Peter's testimony concerning Christ's preaching to "the spirits in prison" during the interval between his death and resurrection—spirits disobedient in the days of Noah, swept off by the deluge, and immured in eternal dungeons to await a day of deliverance; the apostle's figurative use of the ark and flood as symbols of baptism, that "doth also now save us;" and his further statement that "for this cause was the gospel also preached to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit," are too well known to need dwelling upon (1 Pet.3:18-21;4:6).

Vicarious Baptism During and After Paul's Time.—That baptism for the dead was practiced in the Church of Christ during Paul's time is evident from his oft-quoted words: "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?" (1 Cor. 15:29). That the practice continued after Paul's time, among some of the Christians of Asia, we learn from Epiphanius, a writer of the fourth century. It was forbidden by the Council of Carthage, A. D. 397.

Vicarious work, when authorized of God, is acceptable to him. This should not startle the Christian mind, when it is remembered that the whole fabric of Christianity rests upon the vicarious work done by Jesus Christ for the redemption and salvation of those who were powerless to redeem and save themselves. Men cannot answer by proxy for the deeds done in the body, but there have always been ceremonies in the Church of Christ that one person might perform for another. The priest who ministers in behalf of the people is a type of the Great Mediator, "our only access unto God."

If baptism had not been essential to salvation, Christ would not have told Nicodemus what he did; the apostles would not have been sent to "baptize all nations;" Peter, Paul, and other servants of God, would not have commanded Jews and Gentiles to be baptized, nor would they have emphasized the necessity of baptism in their writings. Moreover, they would not have troubled themselves about baptism for the dead, had it not been necessary for man's eternal welfare.


Purpose and Effects of Baptism.

For the Remission of Sins.—Baptism is the divinely instituted process by which sins, when truly repented of, are remitted; that is, forgiven and washed away. All men have sinned; and in order to bring them back into his pure presence, where nothing sinful can come, it is necessary that they first be cleansed from sin. Water baptism is the beginning of the cleansing process.

Means and Accessories.—Water, of itself, cannot, of course, wash away sin. It was not water that cleansed Naaman of his leprosy. It was his obedience to the prophet who directed him to go and dip seven times in the Jordan. Had he dipped but once, or but six times, his leprosy would still have clung to him. But he did as he was told—dipped seven times, and his faith, shown by his obedience, worked the cure, bringing down the power of God for that purpose. The water was the medium through which the power operated. Likewise, when Christ anointed the eyes of the blind man, causing him to see, it was faith—the power of God—that wrought the miracle; but the clay used was an accessory, as consecrated oil was (James 5:14,15) and is still, in the healing ordinance of the Church.

Water and Spirit.—Baptism cleanses and illumines the soul, and the water and the spirit are divinely appointed means by which the cleansing and the illumination come. And they are indispensable in the process. The sick may be healed without the use of oil, without even the laying on of hands; for it is faith that heals, not instrumentalities employed; but no sinner can be baptized, without the Water and the Spirit. By baptism we are as effectually freed from sin, and our moral status changed, as by death, burial and resurrection we are liberated from mortality and ushered into a new existence. Hence baptism is termed "the washing of regeneration." Regeneration means new birth.

Two fold Nature of Baptism.—Baptism, as already explained, is twofold, corresponding to the soul of man. The body or fleshly part is represented by the water, and the spirit by the Holy Ghost. The water and the spirit are both essential in baptism, because, as previously stated, it is not the body alone, nor the spirit alone, that is baptized, but the soul, body and spirit in one.

The body, I say, is represented by the water. Science tells us that most of the human body is water. Hamlet's plaintive wish that his "too, too, solid flesh would melt—thaw and resolve itself into a dew," was not so very extravagant, therefore, from a scientific viewpoint.

Spirit baptism illumines the soul, making manifest the things of God. "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the great things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God" (1 Cor. 2:9,10). Thus Paul explains the office of the Holy Ghost, in one of its most important functions. The Savior had reference to the same subject when he promised to his disciples "the Spirit of Truth," to reveal things past, explain the present, and show things to come. The importance of this mighty Agent, and the part played by it in baptism, was plainly pointed out by Jesus, when he said: "Except a man be born again, he can not see the kingdom of God."

The Atoning Blood of Christ.—But there are three factors, not merely two, in the process of the soul's regeneration—the spirit, the water, and the blood. By these three man is born into the world, and by these three he is "born again" into the kingdom of God. Ordinarily but two of them are mentioned in connection with baptism, for only two are actually used in baptism; but without the third, the atoning blood of Christ, there would be no baptism for salvation. If his blood had not been shed, there would be no redemption from the fall; the banishment of Adam and Eve and their posterity would have been perpetual, and the grave's victory eternal. There would be no baptism, no remission of sins, no resurrection, but for the shedding of the blood of the Lamb of God. Hence John the apostle says: "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

The Mediator.—The water and the spirit, representing, respectively, earth and heaven, are made effectual by the blood. Man and God are thus reconciled; Christ being the Mediator and Reconciler. There are three that bear record in heaven—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. There are three that bear witness on earth—the spirit, the water, and the blood. Each group corresponds to the other; each three agree in one. Hence, when a soul is baptized, it must be by water and by spirit, made effectual by blood, and in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Three in One.—Spirit, water, and blood-the three elements of baptism—were combined in the person of Jesus when he was baptized by John in the Jordan. Standing upon the river's brink, his sacred form dripping with the waters from which he had just emerged, he was crowned with the Holy Ghost, descending upon him from above. Yet it was necessary that his blood should be shed, that the Spirit might come unto his disciples. Not until the Mediator had hung between heaven and earth, did the Holy Ghost, as the witness of his consummated sacrifice, appear upon the scene. Not till then were the apostles endued with power from on high. Not till then did the Spirit of God move upon the waters of this world, coming, as in the first instance, that there might be a creation, a new birth, a regeneration for the human race.

The Fathers Understood.—The Greek fathers of the Christian Church held correct ideas concerning baptism. This is shown in the terms used by them to describe it—"initiation," from its introductory character; "regeneration," from its being regarded as a new birth; "the great circumcision," because it was held to have superseded the circumcision of the Mosaic law; "illumination," and "the gift of the Lord," with reference to the Holy Ghost. Other synonyms for the sacred ceremonial were "consecration" and "consummation." Those baptized were understood to have consecrated their lives to God, and to have consummated or completed their preparation for communion with the Church of Christ. Only to such as had been baptized was the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper administered.

Early Greek Christians.—The Greek Christians of the early centuries, like the Saints of New Testament times, baptized for the remission of sins. They have been censured by modern critics for magnifying the importance of water baptism, and at the same time insisting on the purely ethical or spiritual nature of the rite; for confounding the sign with the thing signified, the action of the water with the action of the Spirit, in the process of regeneration. But they were not any more insistent upon these points than the apostles themselves.

Augustine's Theory.—St. Augustine is complimented by the same critics for formulating the first strict scientific theory of the nature and effects of baptism. He drew a sharp distinction between what he called "the outward sign"—water baptism—and the inward change of heart resulting from the operation of the Holy Ghost. Yet even he is charged with laying too much stress upon the value of "the outward sign," which he held to be essential to salvation.

Protestant theologians have been commended for keeping the "sign" in due subordination to "the thing signified," for justifying themselves by faith, and ignoring to a great extent outward ordinances.

But the Greek Christians, whatever their defects, were nearer right than St. Augustine; and the Catholic St. Augustine was nearer right than the Protestant theologians who followed him. Baptism, as taught in the New Testament, is not the mere "outward sign of an inward grace." The action of the water and the action of the Spirit are not to be separated in any analysis of the nature and effects of baptism. Both are essential in the soul-cleansing, soul-enlightening, process, modern critics to the contrary notwithstanding.


Mode and Meaning of Baptism.

Use of the Figurative.—When Jesus told Nicodemus that a man must be born again—born of water and of the Spirit—he virtually declared the meaning of the ordinance and prescribed the mode of its administration. Our Savior was not a mere rhetorician, ornamenting his speech for the mere sake of ornament. A true son of the Orient, naturally given to the use of figurative language, he was not a flourisher of phrases, a flaunter of vain show. His parables are poems, but they teach the truth in plainness to the wise; and because he recognized, as all great teachers do, the power of poetic symbolism to illustrate and impress the truth, he used it as a medium of instruction. But symbols are not arbitrarily invented by those who use them. They are already in existence, awaiting recognition. Poetic genius recognizes and applies them—that is all. God has built his universe upon symbols. In every department of creation the lesser symbolizes the greater and leads up to its comprehension.

Like Suggests Like.—What said the Lord to Moses? "All things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me" (Moses 6:63).

Man is a symbol of God, and is destined to become God; Earth is typical of heaven, and will yet be converted into a heaven. "If two things exist, and there be one above the other, there shall be greater things above them" (Abraham 3:16). Plato grasped the idea: "All things are in a scale, and begin where we will, ascend and ascend, and what we call results are beginnings."

The Resurrection Foreshadowed.—It was to prepare the way before a greater and higher principle, that Christ taught and exemplified the principle of baptism. That greater and higher principle was the resurrection, a doctrine difficult for even the apostles to comprehend, and one that he repeatedly impressed upon them, both before and after he arose from the dead. Hence he compared baptism to a birth—the entry, and the only one, into mortal life; and this pointed forward to the resurrection—the entry, and the only one, into immortal glory. Men should therefore be prepared for something suggestive of a birth, of a resurrection, in the ordinance prescribed by him as the means of admittance into his kingdom. That suggestion is fully realized in the true form of the baptismal ordinance—immersion.

Why the Savior was Baptized.—Baptism was made universal, and became the doorway to the Church of Christ, the kingdom of God on earth, because it symbolizes the resurrection, which is also universal, and without which no man can enter into the heavenly Church and Kingdom.

Here we touch, I think, the real reason, or at least one of the principal reasons, why Jesus was baptized. He was the Exemplar of the Resurrection—the first to rise from the grave: and as baptism represents the resurrection, it was fitting and appropriate that he should also undergo that sacred ordinance.

Immersion.—"Born of water" means to come out of the water, and coming out of the water, presupposes going into the water. This is why we are baptized by immersion, which means sinking, dipping, burying, plunging. Immersion is the only mode of baptism that symbolizes a birth. Jesus was baptized by immersion. He must have gone down into the water, for when he was baptized he "went up straightway out of the water" (Matt. 3:16). When Philip baptized the Eunuch, "they went down both into the water." John baptized "in Anon, near to Salim, because there was much water there," a proof presumptive of baptism by immersion, that being the only mode requiring "much water" for its performance.

Paul's Concept.—Paul compared baptism to burial and resurrection: "Buried with him [Christ] in baptism," wrote he to the Colossians (2:12), "wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead." Again—this time to the Romans: "Know ye not that so many of us as are baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection" (Rom. 6:3-5).

Note also Paul's words to the Corinthians, already quoted: "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?" In other words, why use the symbol of the resurrection, if there be no resurrection—if the symbol does not symbolize?

Paul discovered, by symbolical reasoning, or had it revealed to him more directly, that the children of Israel, "our fathers," were all baptized in passing through the Red Sea, on their way to Canaan (1 Cor. 1:2): an idea which suggests that the Brother of Jared and his colony may have been baptized in like manner, for they underwent a similar experience in passing through ocean deeps on the way to their promised land (Ether 6:6).

The New Testament Mode.—That immersion was the mode instituted by John the Baptist and perpetuated by the apostles, is a plain and reasonable inference from the teachings of the New Testament. But, in addition, we have the statements of philologists, archeologists, and historians, who declare that baptism, in the early ages of Christianity, was a dipping or submersion in water. The English word "baptize" comes from a Greek word meaning to immerse. Monumental remains in Asia, Africa, and Europe show that immersion was the act of baptism. The many ancient baptisteries now remaining on those continents were built and used for the purpose of immersion.

The Mode Changed.—The Christian churches of the Orient—Greek, Russian, Armenian, Nestorian, Coptic, and others, have always practiced immersion, and allow nothing else for baptism. The western churches preserved this form of the ordinance for thirteen centuries, and then gradually introduced pouring or sprinkling.

Clinic Baptism.—Baptisms of this kind were exceptional in the early ages of the Christian Church. They were called clinic baptisms, because administered, as a rule, to the sick, who could not be taken from their beds to be immersed: but they were rare, and were regarded only as quasi baptisms. The first recorded case of clinic baptism is mentioned by Eusebius as having occurred in the third century.

Immersion Made Optional.—Baptism by immersion was practiced regularly in the Roman Catholic church, until the year 1311, when the Council of Ravenna authorized a change, leaving it optional with the officiating minister to baptize either by immersion or by sprinkling. Even infants were baptized by immersion, until about the end of the thirteenth century, when sprinkling came into common use.

Luther and Calvin Disagree.—Luther sided with the immersionists, and sought, against the tendency of the times, to restore immersion; but Calvin held that the mode of baptism was of no consequence. Even he admitted, however, that the word "baptism" signifies immersion; and he said: "It is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient Church."

Methods in Various Churches.—Pouring is the present practice in the Roman Catholic church; sprinkling in the Church of England, and in the Methodist church. A choice of modes is permitted by the Presbyterians, though sprinkling is the regular form. The Baptists, as their name implies, are strong advocates of immersion. The Quakers repudiate baptism altogether.

It was the custom in early ages to immerse the candidate three times—once for each name in the Godhead; but heretics took advantage of this practice to argue against the unity of the Trinity, and the three-fold immersion was abolished.

Authorized Practice.—The practice of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in baptism is indicated by the following passages from the Book of Mormon:

"Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them: behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name ye shall baptize them.

"And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying,

"Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

"And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water.

"And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name, for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.

"And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there hath hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there hath hitherto been;

"For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another." (III Nephi 11:23-29.)

Modern Revelation.—The Latter-day Saints derive their knowledge of baptism not mainly from the Bible, nor from the Book of Mormon, nor from any other ancient record of God's dealings with man. That knowledge came directly to Joseph Smith. Through him was restored that which was lost. He brushed aside the cobwebs and dust concealing the precious jewel of Truth, and by new revelation brought back the knowledge of the "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" of the ancients.

It was the fifteenth of May, 1829. Joseph Smith, with his scribe, Oliver Cowdery, at the little town of Harmony, Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, was translating the plates of the Book of Mormon. Coming upon a passage referring to baptism for the remission of sins—a doctrine well-nigh obsolete in Christendom—they inquired of the Lord concerning it, retiring into a grove for that purpose. While they were praying, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and laying his hands upon their heads, spoke these words:

"Upon you, my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness" (D&C 13).

Restoration of the Priesthood.—The heavenly messenger told the two young men that he was John the Baptist, and that he acted under the direction of the Apostles Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood, which should in due time be conferred upon them. The Aaronic Priesthood gave them authority to baptize with water, but the Melchizedek Priesthood, which was greater, would give them authority to baptize with the Holy Ghost. Agreeable to the angel's direction, Joseph and Oliver immersed each other in water, for the remission of their sins. Subsequently they received, under the hands of Peter, James and John, the higher priesthood, and were themselves ordained apostles and baptized with the Holy Ghost. They in turn baptized others, and this was the beginning of divinely-authorized baptismal work in this dispensation.

The Church Law.—The standing law to the Church upon this subject is as follows:

"Inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents;

"For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized;

"And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands." (D.& C.68:25-27.)

The Laying On of Hands.—The laying on of hands is the divinely-authorized method of administering spirit baptism, in other words, imparting the Holy Ghost. It is plainly taught in the Scriptures. For instance:

"Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost."

"And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostle's hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,

"Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost." (Acts 8:17-19.)

The laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost was an ordinance in the Christian church for centuries. The ordinance remained with the church much longer than did the Holy Ghost. Cyprian mentions it in the third century; Augustine in the fourth. Gradually, however, it began to be neglected, until finally some of the sects repudiated it, while others, retaining the "form of godliness," denied "the power thereof."

So much stress having been laid upon immersion, as the proper mode of baptism, one might be led to inquire, Why are we not immersed in the Spirit, as well as in the water? I answer: How know you that we are not? To which the reply may be: We see the water, and are put under it by the priest: but when we are confirmed or baptized with the Spirit, the elders lay their hands upon our heads and say, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." There is no immersion about that; we are not dipped or plunged: the Spirit is poured upon us.

Be not too sure that there is no immersion about it. The fact that you do not see it is no conclusive argument against the proposition. We see the water because it is a temporal element: but spiritual things are discerned by the Spirit. As to the pouring process—may not enough of an element be poured upon a person to bury him therein? Or must that in which a person is buried necessarily come from beneath? It was not so in the days of Noah, when it rained forty days and forty nights that the earth might be buried in water. As much water came from above as from beneath at that time.

John the Baptist, when proclaiming the Christ, said: "There cometh One mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water; but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost" (Mark 1:7,8). More than one baptism is here mentioned, but it is baptism in each case; and baptism signifies immersion. The candidate for baptism cannot well be dipped or plunged in the Spirit, since the Spirit is above, while the water is beneath; but he may be covered by or "clothed upon" with the Holy Ghost, nevertheless. The essential point in baptism is not the dipping or plunging, but the burying and bringing forth.

Baptism, a Symbol of Creation.—Baptism symbolizes creation. Earth, created for Adam and his seed, was baptized—"born again"—for Noah and his posterity. Baptized with water in that day, it will yet be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire. The laying on of hands and the descent of the Spirit from above, may possibly typify the glorious baptism that earth will yet undergo, when the Spirit is poured out upon her from on high, and she is covered therewith as completely as with water in the days of Noah. "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh," said the Lord by the Prophet Joel (2:28). When that prophecy is fulfilled, earth will receive her spirit baptism, and in due time be ready for her baptism of fire.

Fire and the Holy Ghost.—God "dwells in eternal fire" ("Joseph Smith's Teachings," p. 82), where no mortal could approach him unconsumed. But mortals may receive the Holy Ghost with safety. Again: the inhabitants of the telestial world receive the Holy Spirit through the ministrations of the terrestrial; "but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end." By her fiery baptism, earth will be consumed; her mortal elements will melt with fervent heat, and the purified remains, immortal and in a state of resurrection, will be converted into a celestial sphere, a glorified abode for the righteous.

Baptism Symbolizes Birth.—Every resurrection is a birth, and every birth implies a previous burial. No seed germinates till it dies, or appears to die, and is buried. The farmer plants that there may be a springing forth of new life from the germ of the old. Every seed sown in the likeness of Christ's death shall be in the likeness of his resurrection; that is, if it be a good seed, properly buried in good ground.

Every birth, I say, implies a previous burial. This is true of time in its relations to eternity. Coming into this life involves departure out of a previous life, and burial in this life implies birth into the next. The sun, setting upon the western hemisphere, rises upon the eastern; and sets upon the eastern to rise upon the western. The setting and rising of the sun; sleep followed by waking; winter with its icy fetters and shroud of snow, succeeded by spring in garments of green, with its bright flowers, singing birds, and laughing streams; all these suggest burial, and resurrection—and consequently baptism.

Born of God.—To be "born of God" literally means to come forth from God. "Born of woman" has a like significance. We have a Father and a Mother in heaven, in whose image man was created, male and female. We came forth from them—were begotten and born of them in the spirit, as much so as we were afterwards begotten and born in the flesh; and we must be begotten and born again, in the similitude of those other begettings and births, or we cannot regain the presence of our eternal Father and Mother.

"Children of My Begetting."—Baptism signifies the creation of souls for the kingdom of God. The priest who immerses, or the elder who confirms, is the spiritual progenitor of the person baptized. "Children of my begetting," Paul terms those receiving the gospel through his instrumentality. To baptize is to perform, in a spiritual way, the functions of fatherhood. Motherhood is the sacred symbol of the baptismal font. Hence, baptism must be by divine authority—must have the sanction of heaven upon it. There must first be a marriage, a union between heavenly powers and earthly agents; otherwise the baptism will be unlawful, the birth illegitimate, the act of begetting a crime! Baptisms, like marriages, performed without divine authority, will have no effect when men are dead.

Suggestive Symbolism.—The significance of baptism is suggested by the very career of that Divine Being whose descent from heaven to earth, and whose ascent from earth into heaven, is the sum and substance of the Gospel story. His experience from the time he left his celestial throne, to the time he returned thither, was it not a descending below, and a rising above, all things? Did he not lay down his life and take it up again, as the Father had done before him? Is it not just possible that baptism was instituted to symbolize this mighty birth, this mortal burial, with its immortal resurrection?

When the Gods sat in council to consider the creation and redemption of this planet, what was their great thought and the theme of their deliberations? Was it not a going down and a coming back—not only on their part, for creative and redemptive purposes, but also on the part of their offspring, for purposes of experience and progression? What wonder, then, if in the gospel plan, whereby the spirits of men and women might accomplish this foreordained descent into, and ascent out of, the world, there should be an ordinance symbolical of the vast vicissitude?

Moreover, in the symbolism of the scriptures this world is represented by water. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Here, at the very dawn of creation, are the two principles or elements—spirit and water—with which baptisms are performed—one creative, the other creatable; one representing heaven, the other, earth. Note the reference in Daniel (7) to beasts, representing earthly governments, coming up from the sea. Note the Savior's parable, likening the kingdom of heaven to a net cast into the sea; the sea symbolizing the world, the fishes, the souls drawn out of the world. Note also Revelation (13) where a beast representing anti-Christ, rises out of the sea: and (17) where a woman, the Mother of Harlots, representing a great city reigning over the kings of the earth, is described as "sitting upon many waters"—the waters signifying "peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues."

Much of the body of this world—the physical frame of a spiritual creation—is water, even parts of it that seem solid. Science so affirms, and who can gainsay it? Walt Whitman, that eccentric poetic genius, speaks of "the slumbering and liquid trees." Thales, the founder of Greek philosophy, started out with the proposition: "All things are water." He ascribed to water the powers of creation, supposing that he had found in it the primal element, or great first cause. He omitted the real creative principle—the Spirit of God, which in the beginning "moved upon the face of the waters," or as Milton says, "dove-like sat brooding on the vast abyss." Thales being a physicist, took no account of the spiritual. Geology asserts that the earth was once submerged in water. The scriptures also declare it, and without reference to the deluge. "Let the dry land appear!"—the very words suggest baptism, birth, creation—the emergence of a primitive planet from the womb of the waters. Water, symbolically if not literally, represents the temporal part of creation, including the body or mortal part of man.

Is not baptism, therefore, in its two-fold character and significance, suggestive of the soul's passing out from this watery world, into the spirit world, and thence, by resurrection, into eternal glory? It is only a suggestion, but it seems to emphasize, for me, the reason why the doorway to the Church and Kingdom of God is a double doorway, a dual birth, a baptism of Water and of the Spirit?

Priesthood and Church Government.


Divine Authority.

"Priest" Defined.—The English word "Priest" is generally derived from the New Testament term "presbyter" (Elder), which means "to preside." Aristotle's definition of "Priest" is, "presiding over things relating to the gods." Similar to this is Paul's understanding of the term, as expressed in Heb. 5:1: "Every high priest taken from among men is constituted on the behalf of men, with respect to their concerns with God, that he may present both gifts and sacrifices for sins." In Arabic, the word denotes to prophesy, to foretell, as a soothsayer, also to act as a mediator or middle person in any business. In the earliest families of the race of Shem, the offices of priest and prophet were united, so that the word originally meant both. The Hebrew idiom kept one part of the idea, and the Arabic another. The primary meaning of the Hebrew word is regarded to be the rendering of honorable and dignified service, like that of ministers of state to their sovereign.

Meaning of "Priesthood."—"Priesthood" is the office or character of a priest. The term also denotes the execution of that office, and signifies a class of priests, or the order of men set apart for sacred offices—priests collectively.

So much for human wisdom, and what it has gleaned upon this subject from the literary fields of the past.

To the Latter-day Saints, who owe most of their knowledge concerning it to modern revelation, "Priesthood" means divine authority, conferred upon men chosen of God to officiate in his name and in his stead. It also signifies the men bearing that authority, the possession of which constitutes them legal representatives of the Almighty. "No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron." (Hebrews 5:4.)

Necessity for a Priesthood.—The necessity for a priesthood is as obvious as the necessity for a gospel. The laws of God, like the laws of man, require officers and a government to administer them. God cannot be everywhere in person. He is omnipresent by his Spirit, his power, his authority, and his influence. But in person, being in the form of man, he is subject to certain limitations, imposed by eternal law and the very nature of things. There are some things that even the Omnipotent cannot do. I speak it with all reverence, and for a good purpose—the teaching of the truth in plainness. For instance, he cannot make something out of nothing, though many pious people ascribe to him that power—the power to perform the impossible and absurd. He cannot be in two or more places, at precisely one and the same time—not in person. Therefore, to carry on his work throughout the universe, he must have agents to represent him, and this is the fundamental fact underlying the necessity for a Priesthood and a Church organization.

President Smith's Definition.—When we speak of Priesthood we mean God's authority, and the men holding that authority, to administer the laws and ordinances of the gospel. Let me cite here some remarks made by President Joseph F. Smith, at a general conference of the Church. Said he:

"What is Priesthood? It is nothing more nor less than the power of God delegated to man, by which man can act in the earth for the salvation of the human family, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost; and act legitimately in assuming that authority—an authority that has been given in this day in which we live, by ministering angels and spirits from above, direct from the presence of Almighty God, who have come to the earth and administered the priesthood to the children of men. * * * It is the same power and priesthood that was committed to the disciples of Christ while he was upon the earth; that whatever should be bound on earth should be bound in heaven, and whatever should be loosed on earth should be loosed in heaven."

The Principle of Representation.—Inherent in the Priesthood is the principle of representation. Priesthood, as President Smith affirms, is the delegated authority of God, and so plenary and far-reaching are its powers, that when those holding that authority are in the line of their duty, and have the spirit of their calling, their official acts and utterances are as valid as if God himself were personally present, doing and saying what his servants do and say for him.

A Soul-Searching Admonition.—A tremendous power for frail mortal man to wield! Yes; and to guard against its abuse, the exercise of this divine prerogative by weak human beings is hedged about with certain conditions and limitations, as indicated by the following inspired admonition from the lips of Joseph the Seer:

"Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?

"Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—

"That the rights of the Priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

"That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control, or dominion, or compulsion, upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the Priesthood, or the authority of that man.

"Behold! ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks; to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.

"We have learned, by sad experience, that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

"Hence many are called, but few are chosen.

"No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the Priesthood, only by persuasion, by long suffering, by gentleness, and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

"By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile.

"Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

"That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death;

"Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly, then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God, and the doctrine of the Priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

"The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy sceptre an unchanging sceptre of righteousness and truth, and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee for ever and ever."—(D. and C. 121:34-46.)

An Echo from Eternity.—Can anyone, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, doubt the heavenly origin of such wise and sublime instructions? Are they not virtually an echo from the heights of eternity, where the Gods sat in council before the foundation of the world, and decreed freedom, not tyranny; persuasion, not compulsion; charity, not intolerance, to be the platform upon which the servants of God should stand?

"Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also that I should give unto him mine own power, by the power of mine Only Begotten I caused that he should be cast down." (Moses 4:3.)

A Gold and Silver Shield.—But there is another side to the question. It is a gold and silver shield that we are contemplating. If those bearing the priesthood are careful to confine themselves to the lawful and legitimate exercise of the sacred powers conferred upon them, acting as men of God should act, and doing no other things than those commanded by divine revelation or inspired by the Holy Spirit; what then? In that event the responsibility shifts to other shoulders, and just how weighty the responsibility is, the Savior himself tells in the following prophetic parable:

How God Will Judge the World.—"When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

"And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

"And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

"For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

"Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

"Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

"When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

"Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

"For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

"I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

"Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

"Then shall he answer them, saying. Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

"And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal." (Matthew 25:31-46.)

This, then, is one of the moral standards by which men and nations will be judged: How have you treated my servants whom I sent unto you? Happy the man or the nation who can truthfully reply to the Just and Righteous One in that day: Lord, I rendered unto thy servants the same respect and obedience that I would have shown unto thee, hadst thou been present in person.

Warning and Exhortation.—The Savior's solemn warning to the world may well be supplemented by his servant Joseph's impressive exhortation to the Priesthood and the Church in general. He was addressing the apostles and some of the seventies, prior to their mission to Europe, in the summer of 1839:

"O ye Twelve! and all Saints! profit by this important key—that in all your trials, troubles, temptations, afflictions, bonds, imprisonments and death, see to it, that you do not betray Heaven; that you do not betray Jesus Christ; that you do not betray the brethren; that you do not betray the revelations of God, whether in the Bible, Book of Mormon, or Doctrine and Covenants, or any other that ever was or ever will be given and revealed unto man in this world or that which is to come. Yea, in all your kicking and flounderings, see to it that you do not this thing, lest innocent blood be found upon your skirts, and you go down to hell. All other sins are not to be compared to sinning against the Holy Ghost, and proving a traitor to the brethren." (History of the Church," Vol. III, p. 385.)

Such warnings give added weight to an ancient admonition that comes sounding through the centuries: "Touch not mine anointed; do my prophets no harm."

Agents of the Almighty.—What it means to bear the Priesthood and to officiate therein, is made clear to the comprehension by considering men clothed upon with divine authority as agents of God, sent forth to transact business in his name and in his interest. What kind of men ought they to be, and what is required of them by Him who sent them forth? Such a question can have but one consistent answer: They should be men who will represent him truly and faithfully. They should reflect his intelligence, his goodness, his benevolence, and as diligent, upright agents of the One who commissioned and empowered them to carry on his work, follow closely the instructions that he has given, doing conscientiously and thoroughly what they sincerely believe he would do were he present in his own proper person. Such men should live so near to the Lord, that when the letter—the revealed word—falls short, the Spirit that inspired it, resting upon them as a continual benediction, can readily give "line upon line" of revelation, flash upon flash of inspiration, to illumine and make plain the path they are to tread. This is what it means to be an agent of the Almighty, a representative of God.

"And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost, shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation."—(D. and C. 68:4.)


Divine Authority, Continued.

A Twofold Power.—In an article on Priesthood, prepared by the Prophet Joseph Smith, and read at a conference of the Church in Nauvoo, Illinois, October, 1840, the following sentences occur:

"There are two Priesthoods spoken of in the scripture, viz., the Melchizedek and the Aaronic or Levitical. Although there are two Priesthoods, yet the Melchizedek Priesthood comprehends the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood, and is the grand head, and holds the highest authority which pertains to the Priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom of God, in all ages of the world to the latest posterity on the earth, and is the channel through which all knowledge, doctrine, the plan of salvation, and every important matter is revealed from heaven."—("History of the Church," Vol. IV, p. 207.)

Spiritual and Temporal.—Why there are two priesthoods, or, more properly speaking, two grand divisions of the Priesthood, is because the Church of Christ has to do with temporal as well as with spiritual things. All things, however, are spiritual unto God. The laws and commandments that emanate from him are of that character. He gives no temporal commandment. All his laws are spiritual. As eternity includes time, so the spiritual includes the temporal.

A Divided Jurisdiction.—The Melchizedek Priesthood has general authority and jurisdiction over all things, spiritual and temporal: while the Aaronic or lesser Priesthood, which is an appendage to the higher power, has a limited jurisdiction, its special calling being to administer in temporal things.

"The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right of presidency, and has power and authority over all the offices in the church in all ages of the world, to administer in spiritual things.

"The second priesthood is called the priesthood of Aaron, because it was conferred upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations.

"Why it is called the lesser priesthood, is because it is an appendage to the greater or the Melchizedek Priesthood, and has power in administering outward ordinances.

"The power and authority of the Higher or Melchizedek Priest hood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church. * * *

"The power and authority of the Lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel—the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments."—(D. and C. 107:8, 13, 14, 18-20.)

The Government of God.—The Government of God, with its two great wings of authority, corresponds to the duality of the soul: and the saving of souls, here and hereafter, is the grand purpose for which this government, the Church of Christ, was organized. The necessity for a church,—which some people question, just as some question the necessity for a civil government, or a government of any sort,—ought to be apparent at a glance. It is as plain as that twice two make four. Two men, united, are more capable than one man, the powers possessed by them being equal. Individuals, working separately, however good their intentions, can never accomplish as much as a community of men and women, imbued with a common purpose, and pushing forward the same enterprise. The difference between a single shot and a whole volley, between one rifleman and a regiment, may serve as a sufficient illustration.

The Priesthood and the Soul.—As the spirit and the body constitute the soul, so the Melchizedek and Aaronic priesthoods constitute the government of the Church. As through the medium of the mortal body, with its various members and organs, the tangible things of this life are grasped and utilized, while things pertaining to a higher state of existence are perceived, comprehended, and made practical, by means of the spiritual faculties; so, by this twain of powers, differing in their prerogatives, yet allied, interwoven, and harmonious in their mutual workings, is carried on, in this world and in all worlds, the great cause of truth and righteousness, for the salvation and never-ending progress of God's children.

Furthermore, to continue the analogy, it is the spirit, or higher part of man, that controls, directs, and supplies the motive power for the body, being the vital mainspring of that wondrous piece of machinery, whose functions are forwarded by the animation resulting from union and normal operation. Even so is it the Melchizedek Priesthood, holding the right of presidency, which controls, influences, and directs the entire body of the Church, delegating, however, a portion of its authority to the Lesser Priesthood, that it likewise may possess and wield its legitimate powers, and execute fully the purposes for which it was designed.

The Channel of Revelation.—Speaking of the eternity of the Priesthood, the Prophet Joseph says:

"Its institution was prior to the foundation of this earth, or the morning stars sang together, or the Sons of God shouted for joy,' and is the highest and holiest Priesthood, and is after the order of the Son of God, and all other priesthoods are only parts, ramifications, powers and blessings belonging to the same, and are held, controlled, and directed by it. It is the channel through which the Almighty commenced revealing his glory at the beginning of the creation of this earth, and through which he has continued to reveal himself to the children of men to the present time, and through which he will make known his purposes to the end of time."—("History of the Church," Vol. IV, p. 207.)

Adam's Position.—In another place, the Prophet thus continues:

"The Priesthood was first given to Adam; he obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the creation, before the world was formed [that is, in the spiritual creation, before the temporal world was formed]. He had dominion given him over every living creature. He is Michael the Archangel, spoken of in the scriptures."—("History of the Church," Vol. III, pp. 385, 386.)

Noah Next to Adam.—"Then to Noah, who is Gabriel; he stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood; he was called of God to this office, and was the father of all living in his day, and to him was given the dominion. These men held keys first on earth, and then in heaven."—(Ibid, p. 386.)

An Everlasting Principle.—"The Priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years. The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the gospel is sent. When they are revealed from heaven, it is by Adam's authority.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Succession and Descent.—"The Savior, Moses, and Elias gave the keys to Peter, James and John, on the mount, when they were transfigured before Him. * * * How have we come at the Priesthood in the last days? It came down, down, in regular succession. Peter, James and John had it given to them, and they gave it to others. Christ is the Great High Priest: Adam next."—(Ibid, 386-388.)

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.—Peter, James and John—not as mortal men, but as ministering angels, sent from heaven for the purpose—gave the Melchizedek Priesthood to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery; and prior to the coming of that Priesthood, they received the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist, also acting as an angel. The exact date of the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood is not given in the Church records, but the event must have taken place between May 15, 1829, when the Aaronic Priesthood was conferred upon Joseph and Oliver, and April 6, 1830, the date of the Church's organization, when they were sustained, respectively, as the First and Second Elders thereof.

Spirits Foreordained.—In view of the fact that these ordinations were subsequent to the Prophet's vision, in the spring of 1820, when the Father and the Son appeared to him, some have found it difficult to interpret the divine declaration, that no man without the Melchizedek Priesthood "can see the face of God, even the Father, and live." (D&C 84:19-22.) But the problem is easy of solution, in the light of the Prophet's teachings. Did he not give the key to it when he said that certain men, called to minister to the inhabitants of this world, were ordained to that very purpose before the world was? (Compendium, p. 285.) I have already cited the examples of Abraham and Jeremiah, who were "chosen" and "ordained" before they were born. That Joseph Smith was likewise preordained, seems to me a necessary inference, in view of the facts presented. For if no man without the Melchizedek Priesthood can see the face of God the Father and live, and Joseph Smith, nine years before he received either of the Priesthoods from those heavenly messengers, looked upon the faces of both the Father and the Son and survived, it indicates, in accordance with his own statement and the examples given, that certain spirits are ordained to certain callings before they tabernacle in the flesh, and that he himself held the Melchizedek Priesthood when he saw the face of God at the opening of the last gospel dispensation.

An ordination in the flesh, after an ordination in the spirit, seems perfectly consistent; for the body was not present when the spirit was ordained, and it is the soul, spirit and body, that God is dealing with and acting through, in this stage of existence. That supplemental ordinations are sometimes in order, is evident from the fact that Joseph and Oliver ordained each other, after they had been ordained by the angel, or angels; and that, too, by divine commandment.—("Pearl of Great Price,"—"Writings of Joseph Smith," 2:71.)

Natural and Spiritual Eyes.—There is another interpretation, which holds that the necessity for the Melchizedek Priesthood, in the case of those who look upon the countenance of Deity, applies only to such as behold him with the natural eye, and that it has no reference to those who see God by means of the spiritual vision. Joseph's experience, when he beheld the Father and the Son, was probably a parallel to that of Moses, when he saw God face to face, and testified as follows:

"Mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes; for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me, and I beheld his face; for I was transfigured before him."—(Moses 1:11.)

That this was the way in which Joseph saw God, is virtually affirmed in the following passage:

"We, Joseph Smith, Jr., and Sidney Rigdon, being in the Spirit, * * * by the power of the Spirit our eyes were opened, and our understandings were enlightened, so as to see and understand the things of God * * * whom we saw and with whom we conversed in the heavenly vision."—(D. and C. 76:11, 12, 14.)

In other words, Joseph and Sidney saw God (Jesus Christ) with their spiritual eyes (the eyes of their spirits), reinforced by the all-revealing Spirit of God.

Qualifications for the Priesthood.—The qualifications required in those whom the Lord ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood are thus outlined in the Book of Mormon:

"My brethren," [it is the Prophet Alma who is speaking]. "I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.

"And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.

"And this is the manner after which they were ordained: being called and prepared from the foundation of the world, according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works: in the first place being left to choose good or evil: therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceeding great faith, are called with a holy calling, * * * while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this, they might had as great privilege as their brethren.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"Now they were ordained after this manner: Being called with a holy calling, and ordained with a holy ordinance, and taking upon them the High Priesthood of the holy order, which calling and ordinance and High Priesthood is without beginning or end:

"Thus they become High Priests for ever, after the order of the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father. * * * *

"Now as I said concerning the holy order of this High Priesthood: there were many who were ordained and became High Priests of God: and it was on account of their exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God."—(Alma 13:1-10.)


The Church Organization.

An Incomparable System.—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is conceded to be an almost perfect system, even by men outside its pale. Such a one has said of it: "It is the most perfect organization in existence, except the German army." The eulogy involves an anticlimax—as if one were to affirm: The sun is the brightest luminary in the heavens—except the moon. The German army represents, perhaps, the quintessence of human military wisdom: but like the moon, it borrows its brilliance. The case is different with the Church of God. Like the sun, it shines with original light, with divine intelligence, of which it is the product. Between it and any creation of man's, no comparison is possible.

A Counterpart of the Church in Heaven.—The Church of Christ on earth is a counterpart, so far as conditions will permit, of the Church of Christ in heaven. How it came hither was indicated by Joseph the Seer while giving direction for the organization of the various councils and quorums of the Priesthood. Thus: "And it is according to the vision, showing the order of the seventy, that they should have seven presidents to preside over them."—(D. and C. 107:93.) Mark the words, "It is according to the vision." Evidently the Prophet organized the Priesthood after some model that he had seen in vision: and what more probable than that this model was the Church of the First Born, as it exists in all its perfection in the celestial worlds? While the Church on earth is not yet as perfect as it will one day be, it is approximating toward that perfection, and is destined to attain it. It is doubtful that the Church, in any former dispensation, had so perfect an organization as it possesses at the present time. This admirable and wonderful scheme of spiritual-temporal government was revealed from above and established here below, that the will of God might be done on earth even as it is done in heaven.

The Original Offices.—The original offices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were elder, priest, teacher, and deacon; all, except elder, callings in the Aaronic Priesthood. Other offices, pertaining to the Priesthood of Melchizedek, were evolved as fast as they became necessary. For instance, the first bishops were ordained in 1831, nearly a year after the Church was organized. There was no First Presidency until 1832, and no stake organization until 1834. The twelve apostles were not chosen until 1835, nor the first quorums of seventy. But all these offices and callings were inherent in the Priesthood, conferred upon Joseph Smith before the Church had any organization at all. They who find fault with the Church,—as some who have left it do,—on the ground that the Lord organized it with elders, priests, teachers and deacons, and that men have added such titles and dignities as high priest, president, patriarch, etc., would be no more inconsistent were they to criticize a human being for not remaining a child, for growing up to manhood or womanhood and fulfiling their measure of creation.

First Lesser, then Greater.—As already shown, the first priesthood that came to earth in this dispensation was the Aaronic Priesthood, conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, May 15, 1829. According to the critical wiseacre, that should have ended the matter: there should have been no further ordination, no organization of the Church, no further development in the work of the Lord. But there was to be, nevertheless. As in the case of John the Baptist, who ordained Joseph and Oliver, it is the mission of the Lesser Priesthood to go before the Greater, preparing the way. In due time came the Melchizedek Priesthood, conferred by Peter, James and John, and under this dual authorization the Church was organized, on the sixth of April, 1830. It has had a marvelous history, and a wonderful growth. Never so strong, or so well equipped, as now, its future is rife with glorious promise.

Epitome of Church Government.—The Aaronic Priesthood administers in all outward ordinances, such as baptism, the sacrament of the Lord's supper, etc. The higher ordinances, such as confirmations, sealings, adoptions, and other ceremonies of the Temple, must be administered by the Priesthood of Melchizedek.

The offices of the Aaronic Priesthood, graded upward, are deacon, teacher and priest, and the presidency of that priesthood is the bishopric. The bishop has charge of the Church property, and he receives and disburses the tithes, fast offerings, and other revenues, under the direction of the higher authorities. There is a presiding bishopric, who have general charge of the funds provided for the support of the poor, for the building of temples, and for other purposes. They also have in custody the general financial records of the Church. A bishop must either be a lineal descendant of Aaron, in which event he can act without counselors, or he must be a high priest after the order of Melchizedek, having as his counselors two other high priests of that order. Under the jurisdiction of the presiding bishopric, in temporal matters, are the bishoprics of the wards. The ward is a division of the stake, as the stake is a division of the Church.

A stake, in territorial extent, often corresponds to a county, though in populous districts there may be several stakes in one county. There are four stakes in Salt Lake City. Each stake has a presidency of three and a high council of twelve, and these have jurisdiction over all members and organizations in the stake, including the ward bishoprics. The ward bishopric constitutes a court for the trial of members who transgress the Church laws and regulations. From the decision of the bishop's court either party in the case may appeal to the high council; and from a decision of the high council an appeal may be taken to the First Presidency, who review the evidence, and if any injustice has been done, they remand the case for a new trial. If a President of the Church were tried, it would have to be before "the common council of the Church," assisted by "twelve counselors of the high priesthood." The extreme penalty imposed by any Church tribunal is excommunication.

The Melchizedek Priesthood comprises, in an ascending scale, the offices of elder, seventy, and high priest. There are also the callings of patriarch, apostle, and president, who must all be high priests after this order. Each specific body of high priests, seventies, elders, priests, teachers, or deacons, is called a quorum, but most of the general priesthood organizations are termed councils.

The Council of the First Presidency is composed of three, one of them the President, and the other two his first and second counselors. These three high priests preside over the entire Church. The President is prophet, seer and revelator, and likewise trustee-in-trust for the Church, holding the legal title to its property.

Next in authority to the First Presidency is the council of the twelve apostles, whose special mission is to preach the gospel, or cause it to be preached, in all nations. The apostles have the right to regulate and set in order the Church throughout the world, but they act under the direction of the First Presidency, and exercise presidential power only in the absence of the higher council. The death of the President of the Church dissolves the First Presidency, rendering necessary a new organization of that council. It is the privilege of the apostles to nominate the President of the Church, who then chooses his two counselors.

Next to the twelve apostles stands the presiding patriarch; it is his duty to bless the Church, to give individual blessings to its members, and comfort them with spiritual ministrations. He also assists the apostles in visiting the stakes, attending conferences, and performing other duties as required.

Presiding over the great body of the seventies, are seven presidents, known as the first council of the seventy. They are next in authority to the council of the twelve. These seven, with the senior presidents of the first sixty-three quorums of seventy, form a council equal in authority to either of the two higher councils: but they can exercise authority to the extent of presiding over the Church, only in the absence of the First Presidency and the twelve apostles.

Next comes the presiding bishopric, already mentioned, composed of three high priests, having jurisdiction over the temporalities of the Church. The First Presidency, the twelve apostles, the presiding patriarch, the first council of the seventy, and the presiding bishopric, constitute the general authorities. The names of all general officers, from the President down, are submitted to the general conference, held twice a year, to be voted upon by the members of the Church. They are also presented at the stake conferences, held quarterly, to be voted upon, with the stake officers, in like manner.

Under the presidency and high council of each stake, are one or more patriarchs, whose ministry, so far as blessings are concerned, is similar to that of the presiding patriarch. They minister, however, only in their own stakes. Each stake has a quorum of high priests, indefinite in number, presided over by three of its members. The high priesthood holds the inherent right of presidency, and it is from the high priests that presidencies are selected, such as the First Presidency, the council of the twelve, a stake presidency, or a bishopric. While the seventies, as an entire body, are presided over by their first council, they are divided into quorums of seventy, each quorum having seven presidents of its own. The special duty of the seventies is to assist the apostles in preaching the gospel, and they labor under the direction of the twelve. Unlike the high priests, elders, and lesser priesthood, the seventies are independent of the jurisdiction of the stake presidency, as quorums, though not as individual members. They are the "minute men" of the Church, subject to sudden calls into the mission field. A stake has one or more quorums of elders, each composed of ninety-six members, three of whom preside. Each ward should have one or more quorums of priests (forty-eight), teachers (twenty-four), and deacons (twelve), each with a presidency of three. A ward bishopric presides in a general way over all the quorums of the Aaronic Priesthood in the ward, and over all Church members, as individuals, residing therein. The bishop of the ward is ex-officio president of the priests' quorum.

The elder's office is the lowest in the Melchizedek Priesthood proper. The duties of an elder are similar to those of a seventy, though they are exercised more at home than abroad. Next under the office of elder, is that of priest, the high est office in the Aaronic Priesthood, excepting the bishop, who, however, is a priest, and officiates as such when sitting as a judge, but as a high priest, in presiding over his ward. The priest may preach, baptize, and administer the sacrament, but has not the right to lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. That is a function of the Melchizedek Priesthood, to be exercised only by the elders and those above them. The teacher is a peace-maker. It is his duty to settle difficulties arising between Church members in his district, or, if he cannot settle them, to report them to the bishop under whose jurisdiction he labors. A ward is divided into districts, and in each district two or more teachers labor regularly. It is incumbent upon them to visit from house to house, to see that no iniquity shall exist among the members, that they attend their meetings faithfully, and do all things required by the laws and regulations of the Church. The teachers report monthly, or as often as required, to the bishopric. The deacons have charge of the ward property, and are to assist the teachers, as the teachers assist the priests, when necessary.

There are at present sixty-five stakes of Zion, all located in the region of the Rocky Mountains. Two of these stakes are in Canada, and until recently there was another in Mexico. The stakes organized in Ohio, Missouri, Illinois and Iowa, were abandoned when the Saints were compelled to flee from their former homes. In addition to the sixty-five stakes, there are twenty-one outside missions, comprising most of the countries of the globe. There is also a central bureau of information, at Salt Lake City, the headquarters of the Church. The Latter-day Saints, in all the world, number about half a million.

All the organizations named are strictly within the place of the Priesthood: but in addition there are auxiliary organizations, such as Relief Societies, Sabbath Schools, Young Men's and Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Associations, Primary Associations, and Religion Classes. The Relief Societies, which form a vast net-work over all the stakes, wards, and most of the missions, are women's organizations, for the care and comfort of the sick and the needy. The Deseret Sunday School Union has a membership of over 150,000. The Mutual Improvement Associations are what their name implies: the sexes meet separately, except in monthly conjoint sessions, and study systematically religion, history, philosophy, and the arts and sciences. The Primaries are for the training of children too young for membership in the Mutuals; and the Religion Classes are for special instruction to the youth of both sexes. Church schools exist in many of the stakes, the most notable being the Brigham Young University of Provo, the Brigham Young College of Logan, and the Latter-day Saints University of Salt Lake City. Old folks' committees, for the entertainment of the aged, regardless of sect or creed, are another institution of the Church, and are found in most of the stakes and wards throughout Zion.

For further information on Priesthood and Church government, the reader is referred to D&C 20,68,84,107,112, and 114 of the Doctrine and Covenants; also to the "History of the Church," Volume III, page 385: and Volume IV, page 207.

The Gospel Dispensations



One Plan of Salvation.—As there is but one Savior, so is there but one plan of salvation. There never was, and there never can be, another "I marvel," wrote Paul to the back-sliding Galatians, "that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel; which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."—(Galatians 1:6-8.)

For All Men.—The Gospel of Christ is not of any one place, nor of any one period. Neither is it for the salvation of any class, to the exclusion of other classes. It is for all men, and was made plain and simple, that it might appeal to all. At the same time, it is the mightiest, the sublimest, and the most profound system of philosophy that the world has ever known. It is not a child of earth, nor a product of human wisdom. It came out of eternity, from the very bosom of God, and has been upon the earth at different times and places. It is the Everlasting Gospel, the same yesterday, today, and forever, and all true principles of religion, science, or philosophy, now popular in the world, are but parts of it—broken off fragments of this grand Rock of Ages. Or, to change the figure, they are as pools of water, caught in the clefts and hollows of time, when the great flood of Truth, in one or more of its visitations, swept by on its way back to the eternal ocean.

All Truth Divine.—Every religion in existence that has benefited its believers, must have possessed at some period a portion of divine truth; and that truth is what perpetuated it, not the errors associated therewith. These are as cobwebs and dust, the accumulated rubbish of false tradition, in which the precious jewel is wholly or in part concealed. Yes, every religion, Christian or Pagan, that has proved a real blessing to its votaries, is as a cistern holding within it waters once wholesome and pure,—waters that fell originally from heaven, in one of those grand spiritual showers, called dispensations of the gospel, when the flood gates of eternity were lifted, that the world might be refreshed.

The Arab and the Caliph.—But spiritual waters, like the waters of earth, will lose their sweetness and purity, if separated too far and too long from their fountain-head. They will become stagnant and unwholesome, like the water carried for many days by the poor Arab in his leathern bottle, from the sparkling spring in the desert to the distant palace of the Caliph, who magnanimously rewarded the giver, not for the rank draught presented for his acceptance, but for the goodness of his motive, the sincerity of his soul.

God's Word Apportioned.—How every tribe and nation receives its portion of the divine word, is thus told in the Nephite record:

"O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people:

"Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance, and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.

"But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.

"I ought not to harrow up in my desires the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, according to their wills; whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction.

"Yea, and I know that good and evil have come before all men; or he that knoweth not good from evil is blameless; but he that knoweth good and evil, to him it is given according to his desires; whether he desireth good or evil, life or death, joy or remorse of conscience.

"Now seeing that I know these things, why should I desire more than to perform the work to which I have been called?

"Why should I desire that I was an angel, that I could speak unto all the ends of the earth?

"For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word; yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true."—(Alma 29:1-8.)

An Oft-Restored Religion.—The Gospel of Christ did not make its first appearance upon this planet at the time of the Savior's crucifixion. While it seemed a new thing to that generation—for they were "astonished at the doctrine" of the Nazarene, who taught them the return of good for evil as a better rule of conduct than the Mosaic law of retaliation—in reality it was older than all the ages, older than the earth itself. It might have said, with its divine Author: "Before Abraham was I am"—with reference to the mortal life of Abraham. Originating in the heavens, before this world was created, the gospel, prior to its preaching in the meridian of time, had been revealed to man in a series of dispensations, beginning with Adam and extending down to that day. The ancient apostles of our Lord preached a restored gospel, just as much as do the apostles, seventies, and elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"Dispensation" Defined.—It is time to ask, and to more fully answer the question, What is meant by the term "dispensation"? To dispense is to deal out or distribute, as when the sacrament of the Lord's Supper is dispensed to a congregation. "Dispensation of Providence" is a phrase used to describe some dealing of God with man, either for joy or sorrow to the object of the visitation. In theology the term "Dispensation" signifies the method or scheme by which God has at different times developed his purposes and revealed himself to man. It also denotes a period marked by some particular development of the divine purpose and revelation, such as the Mosaic dispensation, lasting from Moses to Christ: or the Christian dispensation, ending in a universal apostasy which rendered necessary the latter-day restoration of the gospel and the Priesthood.

Seven Periods.—It is held by many that there are seven gospel dispensations, seven distinct periods, during which the plan of salvation, restored from heaven to earth, has been administered to the children of men; the intervals of spiritual darkness between those periods of light resulting from the world's unworthiness. Revelation, so far as I am aware, is silent as to the number of the dispensations; but I am among those who incline to the belief that seven is correct; a belief probably founded, in part, upon the scriptural or symbolical character of that number, and upon the Prophet Joseph's teaching relative to the seven periods, answering to the seven seals of the mystical book seen by John the Revelator in his vision on Patmos.—(Rev. 5 and 6.)

The Apocalyptic Book.—Section Seventy-Seven of the Doctrine and Covenants is a key to John's revelation, consisting of a series of questions and answers; those germane to this subject being as follows:

"What are we to understand by the book which John saw, which was sealed on the back with seven seals?"

"We are to understand that it contains the revealed will, mysteries, and works of God; the hidden things of his economy concerning this earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence."

"What are we to understand by the seven seals with which it was sealed?"

"We are to understand that the first seal contains the things of the first thousand years, and the second also of the second thousand years, and so on until the seventh."

* * * * * * * * * * *

"What are we to understand by the sounding of the trumpets, mentioned in the 8th chapter of Revelations?"

"We are to understand that as God made the world in six days, and on the seventh day he finished his work, and sanctified it, and also formed man out of the dust of the earth; even so, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, and shall redeem all things, except that which he hath not put into his power, when he shall have sealed all things; and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels, are the preparing and finishing of his work, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years;—the preparing of the way before the time of his coming."

Whether or not these seven periods are looked upon as gospel dispensation, it is interesting to consider them as covering the same ground, paralleling, or extending through, the same mighty stretch of duration, and dealing with events, epochs, personages and principles connected with those dispensations.

The World's Real History.—Concerning "the book which John saw," the Prophet says in effect that it represents the real history of the world—what the eye of God has seen, what the recording angel has written. The seven thousand years, corresponding to the seven seals, are as seven great days, during which Mother Earth will fulfil her mortal mission or probation, laboring six days, and resting upon the seventh, her period of sanctification. We are not to understand, however, that these seven thousand years include the time during which the earth was in process of creation and of preparation for man. The phrase "temporal existence" shows that the reckoning began, not before, but after, time had been decreed.

Earth Obedient to Law.—That this planet is indeed upon probation, and capable of obeying law, is plainly taught in modern revelation:

"And again, verily I say unto you, the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law.

"Wherefore it shall be sanctified; yea, notwithstanding it shall die, it shall be quickened again, and shall abide the power by which it is quickened, and the righteous shall inherit it."—(D. and C. 88:25-26.)

The Sea of Glass.—The key to the Apocalypse, already quoted, begins with this question concerning earth's glorious future: "What is the sea of glass spoken of by John, 4th chapter, and 6th verse, of the Revelation?" And the answer is: "It is the earth, in its sanctified, immortal, and eternal state."

One Day as a Thousand Years.—That the seven thousand years are indeed as seven great days, is virtually set forth in the Book of Abraham, where the patriarch, who was deeply learned in astronomy, and taught that science to the Egyptians, tells of a mighty governing planet nearest to the throne of God—a planet named Kolob, revolving once in a thousand years. (Abr. 3.) It is evident that such a day figured in the warning given to Adam: "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17) for Adam, having eaten of the forbidden fruit, lived on to the age of 930 years. In the Book of Abraham (5:13), it is explained that the day in question was "after the time of Kolob; for as yet the Gods had not appointed unto Adam his reckoning."

The Saturday Evening of Time.—According to received chronology, four thousand years, or four of the seven great days given to this planet as the period of its temporal continuance, had passed before Christ came, while nearly two thousand years have gone by since. So that the sixth day is now drawing to a close, and we stand at the present moment in the Saturday evening of human history. Morning will break upon the Millennium, the thousand years of peace, the Sabbath of the world.

Dispensations Inter-Related.—Whatever their number, or the names by which they may be properly known, it is certain that the gospel dispensations are inter-related. They are as the links of a mighty chain, representing God's dealings with man, and extending from the dawn of creation down to and beyond the present time.

Symbolical and Prophetic.—Those dispensations are likewise symbolical and prophetic in character, pointing forward and finding their culmination, their prospective and complete fulfilment, in the great and final dispensation that is destined to bring about "the restitution of all things." This is "Mormonism's" mission upon earth—"Mormonism," a nick-name for the Everlasting Gospel, brought back once more for the purpose of completing the Lord's work as pertaining to this planet, binding in one the dispensations, and merging them into the last and greatest of all—the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times.


The Adamic Period

Adam Holds the Keys.—The Prophet Joseph Smith treats thus the theme of the Gospel dispensations:

"Commencing with Adam, who was the first man, * * * the first and father of all, not only by progeny, but the first to hold the spiritual blessings, to whom was made known the plan of ordinances for the salvation of his posterity unto the end, and to whom Christ was first revealed, and through whom Christ has been revealed from heaven, and will continue to be revealed from henceforth;—Adam holds the keys of the dispensation of the fulness of times; i.e., the dispensation of all the times have been and will be revealed through him from the beginning to Christ, and from Christ to the end of all the dispensations that are to be revealed."—("History of the Church," Vol. IV, pp. 207, 208.)

"All Things in Christ."—Having cited Paul (Ephesians 1:9,10), as showing how God "purposed in himself, that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth," the Prophet goes on to say:

"Now the purpose of himself, in the winding up scene of the last dispensation, is that all things pertaining to that dispensation should be conducted precisely in accordance with the preceding dispensations.

"And again, God purposed in himself that there should not be an eternal fulness until every dispensation should be fulfiled and gathered together in one, and that all things whatsoever that should be gathered together in one in those dispensations unto the same fulness and eternal glory, should be in Christ Jesus; therefore he set the ordinances to be the same forever and ever, and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"This, then, is the nature of the Priesthood: every man holding the presidency of his dispensation, and one man holding the presidency of them all, even Adam; and Adam receiving his presidency and authority from the Lord, but cannot receive a fulness until Christ shall present the kingdom to the Father, which shall be at the end of the last dispensation."—(Ibid, pp. 208-209.)

Distinctive Features.—Each dispensation stands for some particular development of God's work. Each period possess certain distinguishing characteristics, to point out which, rather than to give an exhaustive narration of events and happenings, is the aim of the present article. In the Adamic dispensation, or the period during which Adam lived upon the earth, in addition to the Creation and the Fall, already treated in previous chapters, we find the following distinctive features:

(1) The institution of the law of sacrifice, foreshadowing the Atonement that was to be made by the Lamb of God.

(2) The introduction and first promulgation of the Gospel, as a means of redeeming mankind from the effects of the Fall.

(3) The original exercise of the evangelical power and authority by Father Adam, the patriarch of the human family.

Sacrifice Instituted.—Respecting the law of sacrifice, it is written:

"And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.

"And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.

"And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.

"And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.

"Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son for evermore."—(Moses 5:4-8.)

Revelation Necessary.—Adam knew all about the law of sacrifice—knew all about it in the spirit; for he was one of those who had sat in the eternal councils, where the plan of salvation was framed, and the choice made of a Redeemer and Savior. He helped to form that plan, and to choose the One who would put it into effect. Adam knew all about the Lamb of God, slain in theory from the foundation of the world, and yet to be slain literally upon the earth, an event symbolized by the sacrifice that he was in the very act of offering, perhaps, when the angel accosted him. But he had forgotten it all, so great is the change that comes over the spirit in passing from pre-mortal into mortal conditions. Hence the necessity of such a visitation, to enlighten him. Hence, also, the necessity of revelation by the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, bringing things past to remembrance, showing things to come.

The Gospel's Introduction.—The introduction of the Gospel is thus narrated:

"And the Lord God called upon men by the Holy Ghost everywhere and commanded them that they should repent."—(Moses 5:14.)

* * * * * * * * * * *

"And he called upon our father Adam by his own voice, saying: I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh.

"And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; asking all things in His name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.

"And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.

"And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost."—(Moses 6:51, 52, 62, 64-66.)

* * * * * * * * * * *

"And thus the Gospel began to be preached, from the beginning, being declared by holy angels sent forth from the presence of God, and by his own voice, and by the gift of the Holy Ghost.

"And thus all things were confirmed unto Adam, by an holy ordinance, and the Gospel preached, and a decree sent forth, that it should be in the world, until the end thereof; and thus it was. Amen."—(Moses 5:58, 59.)

Adam as Patriarch.—Concerning Adam's patriarchal ministry, we are thus enlightened by Joseph the Seer:

"I saw Adam in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman. He called together his children and blessed them with a patriarchal blessing. The Lord appeared in their midst, and he (Adam) blessed them all and foretold what should befall them to the latest generation."—("History of the Church," Vol. III, p. 388.)

Patriarchal Order and Descent.—Respecting the patriarchal order, the Lord says:

"The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made.

"This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage in the following manner:

"From Adam to Seth, who was ordained by Adam at the age of 69 years, and was blessed by him three years previous to his (Adam's) death, and received the promise of God by his father, that his posterity should be the chosen of the Lord, and that they should be preserved unto the end of the earth.

"Because he (Seth) was a perfect man, and his likeness was the express likeness of his father's, insomuch that he seemed to be like unto his father in all things, and could be distinguished from him only by his age.

"Enos was ordained at the age of 134 years and four months by the hand of Adam.

"God called upon Cainan in the wilderness, in the fortieth year of his age, and he met Adam in journeying to the place Shedolamak. He was 87 years old when he received his ordination.

"Mahalaleel was 496 years and seven days old when he was ordained by the hand of Adam, who also blessed him.

"Jared was 200 years old when he was ordained under the hand of Adam, who also blessed him.

"Enoch was 25 years old when he was ordained under the hand of Adam, and he was 65 and Adam blessed him.

"And he saw the Lord, and he walked with him, and was before his face continually; and he walked with God 365 years, making him 430 years old when he was translated.

"Methuselah was 100 years old when he was ordained under the hand of Adam.

"Lamech was 32 years old when he was ordained under the hand of Seth.

"Noah was 10 years old when he was ordained under the hand of Methuselah.

"Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all High Priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and the re bestowed upon them his last blessing.

"And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the Prince, the Archangel.

"And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him, I have set thee to be at the head—a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a prince over them for ever.

"And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation, and not withstanding he was bowed down with age, being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation."—(D. and C. 107:40-56.)

The Ancient of Days.—Here is given, by the Prophet, a glimpse of the glorious sequel:

"Daniel, in his seventh chapter, speaks of the Ancient of Days; he means the oldest man, our Father Adam, Michael; he will call his children together and hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He (Adam) is the father of the human family, and presides over the spirits of all men, and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council. This may take place before some of us leave this stage of action. The Son of Man stands before him, and there is given him glory and dominion. Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ, that which was delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family."—("History of the Church," Vol. III, p. 386.)

Place of the Council.—The place of the council mentioned in the foregoing paragraph, is thus pointed out by the finger of the Lord:

"Revelation to Joseph the Seer, given near Wight's Ferry, at a place called Spring Hill, Davis County, Missouri, May 19th, 1838, wherein Spring Hill is named by the Lord,

"Adam-ondi-Ahman, because, said he, it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet."—(D. and C. 116.)

Adam-ondi-Ahman.—At that very spot, Spring Hill, Davis County, Missouri, in the year 1838, the Latter-day Saints, by direction of the Prophet, began to build a city, naming it Adam-ondi-Ahman, afterwards abbreviated to Diahman. While engaged in making the survey, some of the brethren came upon the ruins of an ancient altar, which the Prophet, on beholding, declared to be the identical altar upon which Adam offered sacrifices after he was expelled from Eden. The Garden of Eden, Joseph said, was in Jackson County, Missouri, from which part the Saints had been driven, as if to typify reminiscently the original expulsion. In both instances, the tree of disobedience bore the same bitter fruit. In Jackson County the New Jerusalem is to be built, and a people prepared for the glorious coming of the Lord. That America is the Old World, not the New, science now affirms; but the fact was first proclaimed by revelation, whose other name, in this case, is Joseph Smith the Prophet.

Cain and Abel.—Adam's offering of sacrifice was acceptable to the Lord, being in accordance with the divine command, and because it truly symbolized the Lamb of God, who was to come. Abel, Adam's son, offered a similar sacrifice—"the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof, and the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering" (Gen. 4:4). But Cain, Abel's eldest brother, who had also been taught the law of sacrifice, took it upon himself to deviate from the divine instruction, and instead of a lamb, he "brought of the fruit of the ground," an offering in no way typical of the Savior. Hence, his offering was rejected. The Prophet Joseph, commenting upon these facts, says: "God will not acknowledge that which He has not called, ordained, and chosen." He quotes Paul (Heb. 11:4): "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and by it he being dead, yet speaketh"—and then asks:

"How doth he yet speak? Why, he magnified the priesthood which was conferred upon him, and died a righteous man, and therefore has become an angel of God by receiving his body from the dead, holding still the keys of his dispensation; and was sent down from heaven unto Paul to minister consoling words, and to commit unto him a knowledge of the mysteries of godliness."

* * * * * * * * * * *

"The power, glory and blessings of the priesthood could not continue with those who received ordination only as their righteousness continued; for Cain also being authorized to offer sacrifice, but not offering it in righteousness, was cursed. It signifies, then, that the ordinances must be kept in the very way God has appointed; otherwise their priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a blessing."—("History of the Church," Vol. IV, pp. 208, 209.)

Inter-Relation Shown.—It was after the episode of Cain and Abel, including the murder of the latter by the former, that Adam called the righteous residue of his posterity into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there gave them his farewell benediction, foretelling what should befall the human race down to the end of time. That great patriarchal blessing, considered in connection with Adam's coming as the Ancient of Days, to call his children before him in a grand council upon the precise spot where he uttered his wonderful world-covering prediction, clearly shows the relationship between the First Dispensation and the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times.


Enoch and Zion

"The Seventh from Adam."—Enoch was contemporaneous with Adam, and was ordained and blessed by him (D&C 107:48). The period in which Enoch figured was prolific of wonderful events, but the two standing out most prominently are:

(1) The successful practice of the law of consecration, resulting in the founding of Zion, the City of Holiness, which was taken into heaven by translation.

(2) Enoch's vision of the future—past Noah and the deluge, past Christ and the crucifixion, down even to the last days, when the coming of the Lord in his glory would usher in the millennial reign of rest.

What Enoch Beheld.—Some of the sweetest and sublimest passages in the writings of Moses, as reproduced by Joseph the Prophet, are those in which he tells the story of Enoch and his city, and portrays the marvelous events made visible to the eye of the ancient Seer. Here are some of the more notable passages:

"And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"And it came to pass that the Lord showed unto Enoch all the inhabitants of the earth; and he beheld, and lo, Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven. And the Lord said unto Enoch: Behold mine abode forever.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?

"And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?

"And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever;

"And thou hast taken Zion to thine own bosom, from all thy creations, from all eternity to all eternity; and nought but peace, justice, and truth is the habitation of thy throne; and mercy shall go before thy face and have no end; how is it thou canst weep?

"The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these * * * * which thine eyes are upon shall perish in the floods; and behold, I will shut them up; a prison have I prepared for them.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"And Enoch also saw Noah, and his family; that the posterity of all the sons of Noah should be saved with a temporal salvation.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"And behold, Enoch saw the days of the coming of the Son of Man, even in the flesh; and his soul rejoiced, saying: The Righteous is lifted up, and the Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world; and through faith I am in the bosom of the Father, and behold, Zion is with me.

"And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying: Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face?

"And when Enoch heard the earth mourn, he wept, and cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, wilt thou not have compassion upon the earth? Wilt thou not bless the children of Noah?

* * * * * * * * * * *

"And the Lord said unto Enoch: As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance, to fulfil the oath which I have made unto you concerning the children of Noah:

"And the day shall come that the earth shall rest, but before that day the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve;

"And righteousness will I send down out of heaven, and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.

"And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other;

"And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest.

"And it came to pass that Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, in the last days, to dwell on the earth in righteousness for the space of a thousand years."—(Moses 7:18-64.)

A fuller account of Enoch's ministry as prophet, seer, and preacher of righteousness, may be found in that chapter of the Book of Moses from which the foregoing paragraphs are taken.

A Terrestrial Ministry.—"Now this Enoch," says the Prophet Joseph, "God reserved unto himself, that he should not die at that time, and appointed unto him a ministry unto terrestrial bodies, of whom there has been but little revealed. He is reserved also unto the presidency of a dispensation. * * * He appeared unto Jude, as Abel did unto Paul (Jude 14,15). * * * Paul was also acquainted with this character, and received instructions from him: "By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had translated him" (Heb. 11:5).

* * * * * * * * * * *

"Now the doctrine of translation is a power which belongs to this Priesthood. There are many things which belong to the powers of the Priesthood and the keys thereof, that have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world; they are hid from the wise and prudent to be revealed in the last times.

"Many have supposed that the doctrine of translation was a doctrine whereby men were taken immediately into the presence of God, and into an eternal fulness, but this is a mistaken idea. Their place of habitation is that of the terrestrial order, and a place prepared for such characters, he held in reserve to be ministering angels unto many planets, and who as yet have not entered into so great a fullness as those who are resurrected from the dead."—("History of the Church," Vol. IV, pp. 209, 210.)

Enoch's City to Return.—Enoch's city, according to this teaching, is now in terrestrial glory, awaiting its return to earth, when the season is ripe, and preparations are complete for its reception. The change wrought upon its inhabitants by translation not being equivalent to resurrection, they will have to undergo a further change, to prepare them for celestial glory. Doubtless their case is similar to that of the Saints mentioned by Paul, who will not "sleep" in death, but be changed "in the twinkling of an eye" to complete immortality, at the time of the coming of the Son of God.—(I Cor. 15:51, 52.)

Zion Above and Zion Beneath.—The Zion of Enoch was undoubtedly a foreshadowing of the Zion of the last days, with which it will blend, and the following glorious picture then be realized:

"The Lord hath brought again Zion:
The Lord hath redeemed his people, Israel,
According to the election of grace,
Which was brought to pass by the faith
And covenant of their fathers.
The Lord hath redeemed his people,
And Satan is bound and time is no longer:
The Lord hath gathered all things in one:
The Lord hath brought down Zion from above.
The Lord hath brought up Zion from beneath.
The earth hath travailed and brought forth her strength:
And truth is established in her bowels:
And the heavens have smiled upon her:
And she is clothed with the glory of her God:
For he stands in the midst of his people:
Glory, and honor, and power, and might,
Be ascribed to our God; for he is full of mercy,
Justice, grace and truth, and peace,
For ever and ever. Amen."—(D. and C. 84:99-102.)


Noah and the Deluge

The Son of Lamech.—Noah was the son of Lamech, who was a grandson of Enoch, and after him "the next great grand patriarch who held the keys of the priesthood." Lamech was ordained under the hand of Seth, the third son of Adam, who received from his father a blessing similar to the one afterwards pronounced upon Abraham, to the effect that his posterity should be the chosen of the Lord. Seth seems to have succeeded to the position held by Abel, whom Cain slew (Gen. 4:25). He is described as "a perfect man," the express likeness of his father. Noah's patriarchal ordination came from Methuselah, the father of Lamech. Noah was but ten years old when his grandfather thus blessed and ordained him.—(D. and C. 107: 42, 43, 48, 51, 52.)

"And Noah was four hundred and fifty years old, and begat Japheth; and forty-two years afterward he begat Shem of her who was the mother of Japheth; and when he was five hundred years old he begat Ham.

"And it came to pass that Noah prophesied, and taught the things of God, even as it was in the beginning.

"And the Lord said unto Noah: My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for he shall know that all flesh shall die; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years; and if men do not repent, I will send in the floods upon them.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"And the Lord ordained Noah after his own order, and commanded him that he should go forth and declare his gospel unto the children of men, even as it was given unto Enoch.

"And it came to pass that Noah called upon the children of men that they should repent, but they hearkened not unto his words;

* * * * * * * * * * *

"And God saw that the wickedness of men had become great in the earth; and every man was lifted up in the imagination of the thoughts of his heart, being only evil continually.

"And it came to pass that Noah continued his preaching unto the people, saying: Hearken, and give heed unto my words;

"Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, that ye may have all things made manifest; and if ye do not this, the floods will come in upon you; nevertheless they hearkened not.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"And God said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before me, for the earth is filled with violence, and behold I will destroy all flesh from off the earth."—(Moses 8:12, 16, 17, 19, 20, 22-24, 30.)

End of the World Foreshadowed.—Noah's period was prophetic of the end of the world. This is apparent from the words of the Savior, when prophesying over Jerusalem, and foretelling the end of the Jewish commonwealth, an event also typical of the final destruction of the wicked. Speaking of the social conditions that prevailed while Noah was preaching the Gospel and delivering his warning message, Jesus said:

"As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.

"For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark.

"And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be."—(Matt. 24:3 7-39.)

Earth's Baptism of Fire.—The deluge that destroyed the wicked "with the earth" (that is, with water, representing the earth) and which God covenanted with Noah never to repeat, is to be paralleled by another deluge, in which the wicked will be consumed by fire from heaven; and as unexpectedly as came the watery flood in which our planet was once immersed, will come the fiery baptism that is destined to cleanse it from all unrighteousness and prepare it for celestial glory.

A Second Adam.—Noah, who is Gabriel, and stands next to Adam, or Michael, in the priesthood, typifies the great patriarch, in that through him and his immediate family—eight souls in all—Earth was repeopled after the flood. Hence Noah is sometimes called "the second Adam."

Japheth, Shem and Ham.—Noah's eldest son, Japheth, peopled Europe; Shem, Asia; and Ham, Africa. Noah's blessing upon Shem and Japheth, and his curse upon Ham, through Canaan, Ham's son, are thus recorded in the Hebrew scriptures:

"And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

"And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

"God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant."—(Gen. 9:25-27.)

Noah's Curse Upon Canaan.—Part of the curse that fell upon Canaan was "a blackness," which came upon all his posterity, causing them to be "despised among all people" (Moses 7:8)—a blackness similar to that which had been placed upon the "seed of Cain" (Moses 7:22). The curse also deprived the Canaanites of the priesthood.—(Abraham 1:26.)

Just why a whole race had to be punished for a sin committed by one of its ancestors, is a mystery almost as great as that of the vicarious atonement, demanded by eternal justice for Adam's transgression. We may be sure, however, that right was vindicated in both cases, and revelation will eventually make the matter plain. Every effect has a cause. Canaan was not cursed, nor his posterity deprived of the priesthood, for nothing. It must be that the spirits taking those dark bodies, and passing through the experiences ordained for them, have done something to merit their fate. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." This principle applies to the spirit life, no less than to the mortal life.

Shem's and Japheth's Blessing.—From Shem came Abraham, the Father of the Faithful; and from Japheth sprang the Gentiles, the founders of the most civilized and enlightened nations of modern times, including Great Britain and the United States of America. Let me add, here, that the term "Gentile" is not an opprobrious epithet, as some suppose. It comes from "Gentilis," signifying "of a nation," and is used in sacred history to designate the people that were not of Israel. Ham, through Canaan, was the progenitor of the negro race, long held in slavery in this and in other Gentile countries. The Ethiopian also served the Semite, just as Noah had predicted.

The Tents of Shem.—How Japheth has "dwelt in the tents of Shem," is partly shown by the history of Palestine, which has long been dominated by the Gentiles, particularly the Turks, who still possess it. Japheth's remarkable blessing has also been realized in the history of our own country, America, the land of Joseph, which the Gentiles now inhabit, and where, according to the Book of Mormon, they are to assist in gathering Israel and building the New Jerusalem. It is their privilege to share, if they will, in all the blessings promised to the chosen people. The Gentiles who receive the gospel, and are faithful to its requirements, shall be as the seed of Abraham (Abraham 2:9-11). "The tents of Shem" may be interpreted to mean the lands of Israel, the homes of the people of God, who are lineally descended from Shem, through Abraham.

Another Parallel.—"As it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be also at the coming of the Son of Man." For this, his own rendering of Matt. 24:41, the Prophet Joseph finds another fulfilment thus:

"He [Jehovah] continued to him [Noah] the keys, the covenants, the power and the glory with which he blessed Adam at the beginning; and the offering of sacrifice, which also shall be continued at the last time; for all the ordinances and duties that ever have been required by the Priesthood, under the directions and commandments of the Almighty in any of the dispensations, shall all be had in the last dispensation; therefore, all things had under the authority of the Priesthood at any former period, shall be had again, bringing to pass the restoration spoken of by the mouth of all the holy prophets."—("History of the Church," Vol. IV, pp. 210, 211.)



The House of Israel.—The Abrahamic period was signalized by the founding of the house of Israel, of which Abraham is the earthly head; Christ, or Jehovah, the God of Israel, being its heavenly head. This house was established upon the earth that the Savior of the world might have a fitting lineage through which to come, and that the Lord might have a worthy people through whom to promote his wise and benevolent purposes toward the whole human family. The Israelitish subject is reserved for fuller treatment in future pages. I shall merely point out here some of the greater events for which the dispensation of Abraham is distinguished.

The Law of Tithing—Melchizedek.—In connection with the career of the Hebrew patriarch, the first mention is made in the Bible of the law of tithing, and also of the high priest, Melchizedek, to whom Abraham gave tithes:

"And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine; and he was the priest of the most high God.

"And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all."—(Gen. 14:18-20.)

Paul refers to the same event in the following language:

"For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;

"To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation king of righteousness, and after that also king of Salem, which is king of peace;

"Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

"Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils."—(Heb. 7:1-4.)

The Priesthood Renamed.—So great was he that the Priesthood was renamed for him. Before his time, it was called The Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God. Its present name, the Melchizedek Priesthood, was bestowed, as we are informed, for reverential reasons, to avoid a too frequent repetition of the name of Deity.—(D. and C. 107:1-4.)

Abraham's Test.—The offering of Isaac, Abraham's son of promise, symbolized the offering, by the Eternal Father, of his Only Begotten Son, for the redemption and salvation of mankind. This crucial trial of Abraham's faith is thus related by the sacred historian:

"And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham; and he said, Behold, here I am.

"And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

"And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went into the place of which God had told him.

"Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

"And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

"And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.

"And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son, And he said, Behold the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

"And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering; so they went both of them together.

"And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

"And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

"And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

"And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him; for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

"And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son."—(Gen. 22:1-13.)

Jehovah's Promise to His Friend.—Then followed the Lord's promise to the tried and proven Father of the Faithful:

"In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

"And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Ibid, 17, 18).

How that promise was fulfiled, will be shown in the concluding part of this volume.


Moses and Aaron

"The sons of Moses, and also the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord, which house shall be built unto the Lord in this generation, upon the consecrated spot, as I [the Lord] have appointed;

"And the sons of Moses and of Aaron shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, upon Mount Zion in the Lord's house, whose sons are ye; and also many whom I have called and sent forth to build up my church;

"For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies;

"They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God."—(D. and C. 84:31-34.)

Israel and the Exodus.—The principal events of the Mosaic dispensation were the exodus from Egypt and the establishment of Israel as an independent nation, under the leadership of their great prophet and lawgiver, Moses. Both these events foreshadowed greater ones, namely: the world's deliverance from the bondage of sin and death, and the establishment upon earth of the Kingdom that shall stand forever.

The Passover.—The exodus was commemorated by the Feast of the Passover, instituted to perpetuate in the minds and hearts of the children of Israel their deliverance from slavery, and at the same time to foreshow the mightier redemption of which that exodus was typical. The Passover was kept as follows: On the night before the departure out of Egypt, each Israelitish household, obedient to God's command through Moses, took a lamb "without blemish," and slew it, sprinkling the blood upon the posts and lintels of their doors. It was promised that the Angel of Death, who had been sent to afflict the cruel nation for its oppression of the Lord's people, by slaying the first-born of every Egyptian household, would pass over every Israelitish dwelling upon which this blood was sprinkled. Not a bone of the lamb was to be broken, nor a fragment of it left to decay; for it was intended to symbolize the Lamb of God, whose body was not to see corruption (Ps. 16:10). Neither was any bone of him to be broken.

Symbolism Realized.—In a most remarkable manner was this symbolism realized; for when the Roman soldiers came to Calvary to remove the three bodies from the crosses erected there, they put an end to both the malefactors by breaking their legs; but finding Jesus already dead, this additional indignity was not put upon him. Pierced with five wounds, yet not a bone of him broken, the Lamb of God answered to the prophetic likeness of the paschal lamb, and was laid away in the rocky tomb, from which he came forth upon the third day, his perfectly preserved body—the tabernacle of the Holy One—glorified in immortality.

The Paschal Ceremony.—In the ceremonial of the Passover, the flesh of the lamb was roasted, and partaken of with bitter herbs and with unleavened bread, or bread hastily prepared; the former typifying the bitterness of the bondage that was about to end, and the latter the haste attendant upon the departure out of Egypt. To emphasize this fact still further, the members of the family, while partaking of the feast, then and thereafter, were clad as if for a journey.—(Exodus 12.)

Shadow and Substance.—This sacred memorial, a reminder to God's people of what he had done, and would yet do, was observed in Israel, by divine appointment, until the coming of Christ. The night before he was sacrificed, he, the great Paschal Lamb, after partaking of the ancient feast with his disciples, instituted in its stead the Lord's Supper, commanding them to observe it thenceforth. The Supper and the Passover were both designed to commemorate the Savior's atonement; but in the Passover the pointing was forward, to an event yet to come, while in the Supper the indication is backward, to an event that has already taken place. It was about the same hour of the day when the paschal lamb was offered in the temple at Jerusalem, that Christ died on Calvary, the substance and the shadow thus corresponding.

The Great Deliverer.—The lamb of the Passover symbolized the Lamb of God, the universal Deliverer, and Moses, who led the Lord's people out of Egypt, was also a type of the world's Redeemer. Jesus, whose mission the career of Moses foreshadowed, is repeatedly described in the sacred writings as "like unto Moses;" and Moses, the type of Christ, was reputedly "the meekest of men."

How Moses Obtained the Priesthood.—Moses was of the tribe of Levi, and son-in-law to Jethro, from whom he received the Priesthood.

"And Jethro received it under the hand of Caleb;

"And Caleb received it under the hand of Elihu;

"And Elihu under the hand of Jeremy;

"And Jeremy under the hand of Gad;

"And Gad under the hand of Esaias;

"And Esaias also lived in the days of Abraham, and was blessed of him—

"Which Abraham received the Priesthood from Melchizedek, who received it through the lineage of his fathers, even till Noah;

"And from Noah till Enoch, through the lineage of their fathers;

"And from Enoch to Abel, who was slain by the conspiracy of his brother, who received the Priesthood by the commandments of God, by the hand of his father Adam, who was the first man."—(D. and C. 84:7-16.)

Jethro, Priest of Midian.—An account of the relations between Moses and his father-in-law, Jethro the Midianite, may be found in the second, third and eighteenth chapters of Exodus. The Midianites were descendants of Ishmael, son of Abraham.

The Call of Aaron.—Moses, having received the Melchizedek Priesthood, organized, by divine direction, the Lesser Priesthood, with Aaron, his brother, at its head. It was in the wilderness of Sinai, fourteen hundred and ninety-one years before the coming of the Savior. The children of Israel, in their exodus from Egypt, after the miraculous passage of the Red Sea, whose retiring waters had rolled over the heads of their enemies, were encamped at the foot of the famous eminence, ever since a sacred way-mark in the history of the Hebrew nation.

The Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, "in the sight of all the people," and from the midst of thunders, lightnings and thick clouds, which caused the mountain to quake and obscured his glorious presence from the gaze of the unsanctified multitude, he summoned Moses up into the top of the Mount, and delivered unto him, among other charges, the following:

"Take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazer and Ithamar, Aaron's sons.

"And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, for glory and for beauty.

"And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office."—(Exodus 28:1-3.)

The Ten Commandments—Sacred Patterns.—The Lord also gave to Moses the Ten Commandments, which He had previously spoken in the hearing of all Israel, with other parts of the Law, afterwards embodied by the prophet in his famous code. Also the pattern of the Ark or Sanctuary, the symbol of the covenant that God had made with his people; and of the Tabernacle or holy tent where the Ark was deposited, where the priests offered sacrifice and made atonement for the sins of the nation, and where the Lord communicated by angels or by Urim and Thummim with those chosen to represent him in that sacred capacity. He instructed him minutely as to the fashioning of the priestly robes, the materials to be used in them, and the persons who should make them, likewise prescribing the manner in which these things should all be consecrated to his service.

Elders in Israel.—It seems that there were more elders than one in Israel, at the time Aaron and his sons were called to minister in the priest's office; a fact shown by the following reference to an event somewhat earlier than the one in question:

"Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:

"And they saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

"And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand; also they saw God, and did eat and drink."—(Exodus 24:9-11.)

I assume, of course, that the title "elder" had the same significance then that it has now—that it was an office in the Melchizedek Priesthood. If this be correct, and I see no reason why it should be doubted, then there were at least "seventy elders" in Israel at that time. Nay, more, for these seventy were "of the elders of Israel," one of whom, of course, was Moses, who had doubtless ordained the others. It is even probable that Aaron and his sons likewise held the Melchizedek Priesthood when they were called to act as priests; for they were among those who "saw God," which they could not have done, with safety, had they held only the Aaronic Priesthood. Aaron's call to preside over the priests, was probably similar to a call that might now be made upon a high priest to officiate as presiding bishop.

The Golden Calf.—How were Aaron and his sons, on the eve of their setting apart to these sacred honors, conducting themselves, during the absence of their leader? Forty days and nights had passed since Moses, accompanied by faithful Joshua, went up into the Mount to commune with the Almighty. Alarmed at his protracted stay, unable to account for it, and no doubt apprehensive as to their own safety without super-natural guidance, the people, not yet free from taint of contact with idolatrous Egypt, and forgetful of the covenant they had made with God on the day the Ten Commandments were thundered from the mountain top, "gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him: Up, make us gods which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him."—(Exodus 32:1.)

Obedient to their wishes, and perhaps fearful of consequences if he refused, Aaron took of their golden earrings and made for them a molten calf, after the Egyptian god Apis, and having finished it, and built an altar before it, he proclaimed: "These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." He also announced "a feast to the Lord" in its honor on the morrow.

"Who's on the Lord's Side?"—In this sensuous and blasphemous worship the Israelites were engaged, when Moses came down from the Mount. The shouts of revelry had reached his ears far up the height, insomuch that Joshua, who was still with him, suggested "a noise of war in the camp." Moses, however, recognized the sound of singing. He had been warned by the Lord of what was taking place, and on coming nearer the whole revolting truth burst upon him. The golden god on high—the people, chosen Israel, feasting and dancing before it in their nakedness! Such was the soul-sickening spectacle presented to his gaze. In his hands he held the "tables of the testimony"—the divine decalogue, written by the finger of God. Before his eyes was being violated the very first of those ten commandments. His righteous anger knew no bounds. Casting from him the stone tablets, which shattered as they fell, he burst like a storm upon the guilt-stricken idolators. Demolishing their idol, grinding it to powder, and scattering it to the winds and waters, he called for all who were "on the Lord's side" to rally round him.

Expiation for Idolatry.—The sons of Levi responded to a man. Moses, directed by the Lord, commanded them to take their swords and go in and out from gate to gate, and slay every man his son, brother and neighbor; that they might consecrate themselves before the Lord, and make atonement for the great sin that had been committed. The stern behest was obeyed, and there fell that day in Israel about three thousand male souls.

Organization and Consecration.—The expiation complete, Moses proceeded to organize the priesthood, as he had been directed, and also to construct the tabernacle and the ark according to the pattern that God had shown him. The garments of the priests and the appurtenances of the sanctuary were fashioned to conform with the divine instruction, and Aaron and his sons, the ark, the tabernacle, and everything connected with the sacred ceremonial, were then sanctified and dedicated, with solemn and impressive ceremonies, to the service of the God of Israel.

The Levites.—Prior to the false worship of Apis, the Lord had chosen unto himself the firstborn males of every household in Israel, as a parallel act to the destruction of the firstborn throughout the land of Egypt, and had sanctified and set them apart for some peculiar purpose. He now altered his original design, and taking the tribe of Levi, instead, made of them the sacerdotal class of the nation. This selection was no doubt a recognition and a reward for the zeal they had displayed in wiping out the stain of idolatry from Israel.

"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him."

* * * * * * * * * * *

"And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron and to his sons: they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel."

* * * * * * * * * * *

"Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel, instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel; therefore the Levites shall be mine;

"Because all the firstborn are mine, for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast; mine they shall be; I am the Lord."

* * * * * * * * * * *

"And thou shalt take the Levites for me (I am the Lord), instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel; and the cattle of the Levites, instead of all the firstlings among the cattle of the children of Israel."

* * * * * * * * * * *

"And for those that are to be redeemed of the two hundred and three score and thirteen, of the firstborn of the children of Israel, which are more than the Levites:

"Thou shalt even take five shekels apiece by the poll, after the shekel of the sanctuary shalt thou take them; the shekel is twenty gerahs.

"And thou shalt give the money wherewith the odd number of them is to be redeemed, unto Aaron and to his sons.

"And Moses took the redemption money of them that were over and above them that were redeemed by the Levites.

"And Moses gave the money of them that were redeemed unto Aaron, and to his sons, according to the word of the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses."—(Numbers 3.)

Thus were the Levites given as "a gift for the Lord," to have charge of the tabernacle and the sanctuary—though not to officiate there as did the priests—and to "do the service of the congregation." So that Aaron, who was now high priest, or bishop over the lesser priesthood, had under him, not only his sons, in the priests' quorum, but also a great body of Levites (were they not as teachers and deacons?) to officiate in the minor quorums. Hence the origin of the term Levitical, as applied to this priesthood.

Slain for Offering Strange Fire.—Soon after this organization and selection, Nadab and Abihu were slain by the Lord for "offering strange fire" before him, or officiating when he "commanded them not," and Eleazer, Aaron's third son, then took the senior's place. He was made "chief over the chief of the Levites," having oversight of those who had charge of the sanctuary. Thus, while Eleazer presided over the Levites, Aaron presided over both priests and Levites; Moses, by virtue of his superior calling, retaining the controlling power or presidency over the whole.

The Law and the Testimony.—Eleven months and twenty days the Israelites had sojourned in Sinai. During this period they had celebrated their second Passover, or feast of unleavened bread. Two other annual feasts they were commanded to keep, namely the feast of Pentecost, or the promulgation of the law, and the feast of Tabernacles, or tents, commemorating their sojourn in the wilderness. The laws of Moses were now promulged and codified; the tables of the testimony, having been renewed, were placed, with other sacred relics, in the ark for safe keeping; and the sublime system of heaven-revealed religion was set in motion.

On to Canaan!—The civil and military wings of this nomadic power, springing as if by magic from an unorganized rabble, without laws, institutions, or prescribed method of worship, into a compact and powerful nation, were now in full equipment and discipline. "On to Canaan!" was the national cry. And so, on the twentieth day of their second year, or about May 20, 1490 B. C., the Camp of Israel struck their tents, and guided by the cloud and pillar of God, which had been with them since the memorable night when the fetters of two centuries were stricken off and the power of Egypt submerged, they began their march through the Sinaitic desert toward the wilderness of Paran.

A Nation on the March.—The order of this remarkable procession was as follows: Foremost, rose aloft the standard of Judah, the future kingly power of the tribes, and following them were the tribes and armies of Issachar and Zebulon. Then came the sons of Gershon and Merari (first and third sons of Levi), bearing the components of the Tabernacle, which it was their duty to set up and take down, as the camp rested or resumed its journey. The standard of Reuben was next advanced, and immediately in his rear marched Simeon and Gad. Then the Ark of God appeared, borne in the center of the moving host, on the shoulders of the sons of Kohath. The half tribes of Joseph—Ephraim and Manasseh—went next, the standard of Ephraim being their rallying center, and also for the sons and daughters of Benjamin. Then set forward the standard of Dan; his tribe and the tribes of Asher and Naphtali bringing up the rear.

The Camps of Israel.—This mighty host, comprising an army of over half a million, and a total population of nearly three million souls, was divided into four camps, of three tribes each, exclusive of the Levites; Joseph being twice numbered, in Ephraim and Manasseh, to make up, in the tribal count, for the absence of the sacred class from secular enumeration. When the cloud rested, indicating their stopping place, the tents were set surrounding the Tabernacle of the Congregation; the camp of Judah on the east, that of Reuben on the south, Ephraim on the west, and Dan upon the north. The Levites encompassed the tabernacle immediately about, to prevent the unsanctified from approaching too near and purposely or inadvertently defiling it—an offense punishable by death. When the ark set forward, Moses exclaimed: "Rise up, O Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee!" When it rested, he said: "Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel!"

The Two Leaders.—Thus it was that Moses and Aaron became the leaders of Israel, representing, respectively, the two priesthoods that administer the government of God; the lesser priesthood, "confirmed upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations," and the greater priesthood, "which is after the holiest order of God."

Power of the Greater Priesthood.—"And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God;

"Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest;

"And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;

"For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.

"Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;

"But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence, therefore the Lord in his wrath (for his anger was kindled against them) swore that they should not enter into his rest, while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.

"Therefore he took Moses out of their midst, and the holy priesthood also.—(D. & C. 84:19-25.)

From Moses Until John.—"And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;

"Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb:

"For he was baptized while he was yet in his childhood, and was ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power, to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, in whose hand is given all power.—(Ibid, 26-28.)


The Lamb of God

A stranger Star that came from far
To fling its silver ray
Where, cradled in a lowly cave,
A lowlier Infant lay;
And led by soft sidereal light,
The Orient sages bring
Rare gifts of gold and frankincense,
To greet the homeless King.

O wondrous grace! Will Gods go down
Thus low that men may rise?
Imprisoned here the Mighty One,
Who reigned in yonder skies?
Hark to that chime!—What tongue sublime
Now tells the hour of noon?
O dying world, art welcoming
Life's life—Light's sun and moon?

Proclaim him, prophet harbinger!
Make plain the Mightier's way,
Thou sharer of his martyrdom!
Elias? Yea and Nay.
The crescent Moon, that knew the Sun
Ere Stars had learned to shine;
The waning Moon, that bathed in blood
Ere sank the Sun divine.

"Glory to God, good will to man!—
Peace, peace!" triumphal tone.
Why peace? Is discord then no more?
Are Earth and Heaven as one?
Peace to the soul that serveth him,
The Monarch manger-born;
There, ruler of unnumbered realms;
Here, throneless and forlorn.

He wandered through the faithless world,
A Prince in shepherd guise;
He called his scattered flock, but few
The Voice did recognize;
For minds upborne by hollow pride,
Or dimmed by sordid lust,
Ne'er look for kings in beggar's garb,
For diamonds in the dust.

Wept he above a city doomed,
Her temple, walls, and towers,
O'er palaces where recreant priests
Usurped unhallowed powers.
"I am the Way, the Life, the Light!
"Alas! 'twas heeded not.
Ignored—nay, mocked; God scorned by man!
And spurned the truth he taught.

O bane of damning unbelief!
When, when till now, so rife?
Thou stumbling stone, thou barrier 'thwart
The gates of endless life!
O love of self, and Mammon's lust,
Twin portals to despair,
Where bigotry, the blinded bat,
Flaps through the midnight air!

Through these, gloom-wrapt Gethsemane!
Thy glens of guilty shade
Grieved o'er the sinless Son of God,
By gold-bought kiss betrayed;
Beheld him unresisting dragged,
Forsaken, friendless, lone,
To halls where dark-browed hatred sat
On judgment's lofty throne.

As sheep before his shearers, dumb,
Those patient lips were mute;
The clamorous charge of taunting tongues
He deigned not to dispute.
They smote with cruel palm a face
Which felt yet bore the sting;
Then crowned with thorns his quivering brow,
And, mocking, hailed him "King!

"Transfixt he hung—O crime of crimes!—
The God whom worlds adore.
"Father forgive them!" Drained the dregs;
Immanuel—no more.
No more where thunders shook the earth,
Where lightnings tore the gloom,
Saw that unconquered Spirit spurn
The shackles of the tomb.

Far-flaming light, a sword of might,
A falchion from its sheath,
It cleft the realms of darkness, and
Dissolved the bands of Death;
Hell's dungeons burst, wide open swung
The everlasting bars,
Whereby the ransomed soul shall win
Those Heights beyond the Stars.
—("Elias," Canto Three, Part One.)

The Consummation.—It was finished!—not the work of the Lord, nor the revelation of his word and will to man; but the sacrifice, the immolation of the Spotless One, whose acceptable offering, the ransom of a lost creation, made it possible for redeemed humanity, by faith and good works, to lay hold upon eternal life, the greatest gift that Divinity can bestow.

Commission of the Twelve Apostles.—"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

"And these signs shall follow them that believe: in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

"They shall take up serpents: and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."—(Mark 16:15-18.)

"All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

"Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."—(Matt. 28:18-20.)

Such was the commission given by the Savior to the chosen Twelve, after his resurrection, and prior to his ascension into heaven.

Knowledge and Belief.—The Twelve Apostles were the special witnesses of the risen Redeemer. They knew that he had risen, for they had seen and heard him. They had even been permitted to feel of him, that they might know beyond all question that he was indeed the Resurrection and the Life. This was their privilege, but not the privilege of all men. The world at large was required to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that salvation might come to them; they were to believe what the apostles told them regarding his resurrection, and the principles he had taught. They were to receive in faith from his servants the message he had commanded them to deliver.

The Case of Thomas.—Thomas, one of the Twelve, believed because he had seen (John 20:29) and as a special witness, he had the right to see, in order that he might know, not merely believe, whereof he and his brethren testified. "But blessed are they," said the Savior, "who have believed and have not seen." Why? For the reason, no doubt, that this life was instituted for the exercise of faith. Mortal man must "walk by faith." "The just shall live by faith," reaching after God, as a flower after the sunlight. Exercise of faith brings spiritual development—a factor, and the most important one, in man's eternal progress. Knowledge swallows up faith, removing the opportunity for its exercise, thus hindering the process of advancement. Therefore, until faith shall have done its perfect work, it is better to believe than to know. Premature knowledge is fatal to joy, and fetters progress.

A Message Simple and Sublime.—Obedient to their Lord's behest, the apostles and their fellow laborers, having been endued with power from on high (Acts 2), went forth to preach the gospel to every creature. "Christ and him crucified," was the slogan they sounded; faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, the principles they proclaimed. A simple message, plain enough for a child to comprehend. And behold in this one proof of its divinity! Christ died for all men, and his gospel is for all men, not merely for a clique, a cult, a school, or a coterie, learned or otherwise. It had to be plain, that the common people might understand it, that the poor and lowly, as well as the high and mighty, might be attracted to it, and be saved by it. It is at once simple and sublime, capable of making men godlike, and of lifting them to the highest heaven, if they will receive it and live it "as a little child."

On Both Hemispheres.—The plan of salvation was proclaimed, and the Church of Christ organized, on both hemispheres; the risen Savior, after confirming the faith of his Jewish disciples, visiting the Nephites for a similar purpose, and departing thence to pay like visits to other branches of the house of Israel, whose whereabouts were as unknown to the descendants of Lehi as was the existence of the latter to their brethren in and around Jerusalem.—(III Ne. 15, 16.)

Unto His Own.—Jesus Christ is the Savior of the whole world, but not to every people in the world are vouchsafed his personal ministrations. The God of Israel "came unto his own"—that is, unto the house of Israel, and through Israel he ministers for the salvation of mankind. That is why he appeared to the Jews, to the Nephites, and to the "other sheep" not of those folds; while the Gentiles were visited by the Holy Ghost, which the Son of God had promised to his disciples, and which came, first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles, after he had re-ascended into heaven.

The Lord's Supper.—Both in Judea and in the Land Bountiful, the Savior instituted, among those who had received his gospel, the Lord's Supper, superseding the Passover, as a memorial of his sacrifice, once prospective, now retrospective, once a prophecy, and now a fulfilment. It was while eating the Passover, just before his crucifixion, that Jesus instituted the Supper. Concerning this incident the New Testament says:

"As they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

"And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

"For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."—(Matthew 26:26-28.)

The institution of the Sacrament among the Nephites, unlike its institution among the Jews, was after the Redeemer's resurrection. It is thus described in the Book of Mormon:

"And it came to pass that Jesus commanded his disciples that they should bring forth some bread and wine unto him.

"And while they were gone for bread and wine, he commanded the multitude that they should sit themselves down upon the earth.

"And when the disciples had come with bread and wine, he took of the bread, and brake and blessed it; and he gave unto the disciples, and commanded that they should eat.

"And when they had eaten and were filled, he commanded that they should give unto the multitude.

"And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the disciples, behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread, and bless it, and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name.

"And this shall ye always observe to do, even as I have done, even as I have broken bread, and blessed it, and gave it unto you.

"And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shewn unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father, that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me, ye shall have my Spirit to be with you."—(III Ne. 18:1-7.)

"The Real Presence."—Uninspired "private interpretation" has maintained, and still maintains, that when Jesus said, "Eat, this is my body; drink, this is my blood," he intended his words to be taken literally; and from this has sprung the doctrine of transubstantiation, with its twin heresy, consubstantiation, the former a Roman Catholic, the latter an unorthodox Protestant, tenet relating to the Eucharist. Men and women have been condemned as heretics, and put to death, in ages past, for denying "the real presence"—the actual flesh and blood of Christ—in the elements of the Lord's Supper.

Figurative, not Literal.—But no Latter-day Saint need go astray as pertaining to this matter; for the Spirit that inspired the writing of the Scriptures is present in the Church of Christ to interpret them; and by that Spirit, the source of all divine revelation, we know that the language of Jesus, when he instituted the Lord's Supper at Jerusalem, was not literal, but figurative. When he said, of the bread and wine, This is my body and my blood, he simply meant, These are the emblems of my body and my blood.

To Illustrate.—In elucidation of this subject, I have known the following comparison to be used. Suppose one were to go into an art gallery, and the attendant in charge, pointing to a statue of Julius Caesar, should remark, This is Caesar; or, indicating a portrait of George Washington, should say, That is Washington; would the visitor be apt to conclude that Caesar and Washington were actually there before him? Would he be under any obligation to think so, even if a priest were to tell him it was true? Instead of that, would he not infer, and would it not be his right and duty to maintain, if need be, that the statue and the painting were merely representations of those august personages? Then why strain the simple metaphor, "This is my body," in an ineffectual attempt to make it mean more or less than the Savior intended it should mean?

Water Instead of Wine.—In ancient days wine was used in the Sacrament, though some of the early Christians used water instead. The Savior authorized the use of wine, both among the Jews and among the Nephites. But the Latter-day Saints have been commanded of God not to use wine under present conditions; water is used instead.

"It mattereth not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory; remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins;

"Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine, neither strong drink, of your enemies;

"Wherefore, you shall partake of none, except it is made new among you; yea, in this my Father's kingdom which shall be built up on the earth.

"Behold, this is wisdom in me; wherefore, marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth."—(D. and C. 27:2-5.)

Meanwhile the use of water, and the disuse of wine, must continue, until the change predicted in this revelation shall have been divinely ordered; for that is the law governing the Latter-day Saints in this matter—not the law given to other peoples in former dispensations.

Signs of the Second Coming.—Jesus prophesied to the Nephites, as he had prophesied to the Jews, concerning the last days and the signs of his second coming. Those who would be wise upon this subject, or who desire to refresh their memories in relation thereto, should read the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, especially Joseph Smith's rendering, as it appears in the Pearl of Great Price. Read also the fifteenth, sixteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first chapters of Third Nephi.

Consecration.—The Savior having ascended into heaven, his servants, bearing the priesthood, and filled with the Holy Ghost, carried forward the mighty work he had inaugurated. The Gospel was preached, and the Church built up, as he had commanded, upon both hemispheres. Among Jews and among Nephites was introduced and practiced the law of consecration, the permanent establishment of which, in the days of Enoch, had resulted so gloriously. The Jewish record tells us:

"And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul; neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. * * *

"Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

"And laid them down at the apostles' feet; and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need."—(Acts 4: 32, 34, 35).

The Book of Mormon thus testifies:

"And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another;

"And they had all things common among them, therefore they were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift."—(IV Ne. 1:2, 3.)

The Apostasy.—Then came the universal apostasy—a departure from the pure, primitive faith, as general and as worldwide as the known promulgation of its principles; and the Gospel and the Priesthood were taken back to heaven, to await the decreed time of their final restoration. This apostasy, foretold by Paul and other apostles, is represented symbolically in the Revelation of St. John, the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of which are particularly pertinent in this connection.


Dawn of the Last Dispensation


Wake, slumbering world! Vain dreamer, dream no more!
The shadows lift, and o'er night's dusky beach
Ripple the white waves of morn. Awake! Arise!

Ocean of dispensations—rivers, rills,
Roll to your source! End, to thine origin!
And Israel, to the rock whence ye were hewn!
For He that scattered, gathereth his flock,
His ancient flock, and plants their pilgrim feet
On Joseph's mountain top and Judah's plains;
Recalls the Children of the Covenant
From long dispersion o'er the Gentile world,
Mingling their spirits with the mystic sea
Which sent them forth as freshening showers to save
The parched and withered wastes of unbelief.
Japheth! thy planet pales, it sinks, it sets;
Henceforth 't is Jacob's star must rise and reign.

* * * * * * * * *

Time, mighty daughter of Eternity!
Mother of centuries—seventy, seven-crowned!
Assemble now thy children at thy side,
And ere thou diest teach them to be one.
Link to its link rebind the broken chain
Of dispensations, glories, keys, and powers,
From Adam's fall unto Messiah's reign;
A thousand years of rest, a day with God,
While Shiloh reigns and Kolob once revolves!

Six days thou, Earth, hast labored; and the seventh,
Thy Sabbath, comes apace!—Night's sceptre wanes,
And in the East the silvery Messenger
Gives silent token of the golden dawn.

* * * * * * * * *

A living Prophet unto dying Time,
Heralding the Dispensation of the End,
When Christ once more his vineyard comes to prune,
When potent weak confound the puny strong,
Threshing the nations by the Spirit's power,
Rending the kingdoms with a word of flame;
That here the Father's work may crown the Son's,
And Earth be joined a holy bride to Heaven,
A queen 'mid queens, crowned, throned, and glorified.

Wherefore a Noble of the Skies came down,
In strength divine, a stirring role to play
In Time's tense tragedy, whose acts are seven.

His part to fell the false, replant the true,
To clear away the debris of the past,
The ashes of its dead and dying creeds,
And kindle newly on earth's ancient shrine
The Light that points to Life unerringly;
Crowning what has been with what now must be,
A mighty still bespeaking Mightier.

Earth rose from wintry sleep, baptized and cleansed,
And on her tranquil brow, that seemed to feel
The holy and confirming hand of Heaven,
The warm light in a wealth of glory streamed;

Nature's great floor green-carpeting anew
For some glad change, some joyful happening,
Told in the countless carolling of birds,
Gilding the foliage, brightening the flowers,
Mirroring mingled hues of earth and sky.

Glad happening, in sooth, for ne'er before,
Since burst the heavens when Judah's star-lit hills
Heard angel choristers peal joy's refrain
Above the mangered Babe of Bethlehem,
Had earth such scene beheld, as now within
The bosom of a sylvan solitude,
Hard by the borders of a humble home,
Upon that fair and fateful morn was played.

Players, immortal Twain, and mortal one,
Standing but fourteen steps upon life's stair;
Boy and yet man, thinker of thoughts profound,
Boy and yet man, dreamer of lofty dreams.
Not solemn, save betimes, when hovered near
Some winged inspiration from far worlds,
Some great idea's all-subduing spell;
Not melancholy—mirthful, loving life,
And brimming o'er with health and wholesome glee.
A stalwart spirit in a sturdy frame,
Maturing unto future mightiness.

Bowing to God, yet bending to no creed,
Adoring not a loveless deity,
That saved or damned regardless of desert,
Ne'er reckoning the good or evil done;
Loving and worshiping the God of love,
The gracious God of reason and of right,
Long-suffering and just and merciful,
Meting to every work fit recompense,
Yet giving more, far more, than merit's claim;
Bowing to Him, but not to man-made gods,
And shunning shameful strife where peace should dwell,
He holds aloof from those degenerate sects,
Bewildering Babel of conflicting creeds,
And pondering the apostolic line,
"Let any lacking wisdom, wisdom ask,"
In childlike faith, godlike humility,
Resolves to prove the promise by the test.

What pen can paint the marvel that befell?
What tongue the wondrous miracle portray?
Than theirs, the Vision's own, what voice proclaim
Whose dual presence dimmed the noonday beam,
Communing with him there, as friend with friend,
And giving to that prayer reply of peace?

Tell how, as Moses on the unknown Mount,
From whom in rage fled baffled Lucifer,
Who fain had guised him as the Son of God,
And won the worship of that prophet pure;—
Tell how with gloom he strove ere glory dawned,
And black despair met bright deliverance.
Tell how, in heart of that sweet solitude,
Within the silent grove, sequestered shade,
While spirit hosts unseen spectators stood,
Watching the simple scene's sublimity,
Eternity high converse held with Time.

Time, parent of the hovering centuries,
Mother of dispensations, travailing,
And bringing forth her last and mightiest child;
Heaven's awful Sire, through him both Sire and Son,
There blazoning the beginning of the End.

* * * * * * * * *

"'Twas from below!" Thus Bigotry in rage.
"Nay, from above," Faith's simple, firm reply.
"No vision is there now—the time is past."
"But I have seen," affirms the youthful Seer.
"God is a mystery, unknowable."
"God is a man—I saw Him, talked with Him."
"Man?" "Ay, of holiness—Exalted Man."

A strife of words, of warring tongues, now waged,
And weapons vied with words the truth to slay;
Nor truth alone, but her brave oracle,
A boy, by men, by neighborhoods, oppressed.
The wrangling sects forgave—well nigh forgot
Their former feuds and fears and jealousies;
And, joining hands, as Pilate Herod joined,
One guilty day when God stood man-condemned,

In friendly reconcilement's cordial clasp,
They doomed to death and hell "this heresy."
None sought, from "Satan's wile," a soul's reclaim,
But all were bent his humble name to blast;
And pious, would-be murder led the van
Of common hatred and hostility.

But Truth, thou mother of the living thought,
The deathless word, the everduring deed!
What puny hand thy giant arm can stay?
When crushed, or backward held, thine hour beyond?
Can bigot frown or tyrant fetter quell
Thy high revolt, O light omnipotent!
When God would speak with man, who tells him nay?
Can hell prevent, when heaven and earth would join?

Still through his soul the solemn warning rang;
Still from his mouth the startling message flamed:
"No church the Christ's! None, therefore, can I join.
All sects and creeds have wandered from the way.
Priestcraft, in lieu of Priesthood, sits enthroned,
Dead forms deny the power of godliness.
Men worship with their lips, their hearts afar.
None serve acceptably in sight of heaven.
Wherefore a work of wonder shall be wrought,
And perish all the wisdom of the wise."
—("Elias," Canto V.)

A Decreed Consummation.—The Gospel dispensation introduced by the Prophet Joseph Smith was rendered necessary by the apostasy of the Christian world from the ancient Faith, as delivered to the Saints in the Meridian of Time. Nevertheless, according to the foreknowledge of God, and in consonance with his all-wise purposes, this great, all-comprehending dispensation had been preordained from the beginning, as the "winding up scene," or final development, in the divine plan, having for its object the salvation of the sons and daughters of Adam.

"It is necessary, in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times; which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories, should take place and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time; and not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this the dispensation of the fulness of times."—(D. and C. 128:18.)

Joseph Smith's Work.—So wrote the Prophet, in the month of September, 1842, less than two years prior to his martyrdom. He had looked upon the face of God, as did Enoch, Moses, and other seers, in times of old. He had communed with angels, and received the Everlasting Gospel, as taught in the Book of Mormon, as well as in the Bible and in other ancient records of God's dealings with man. Empowered by the Priesthood, he had organized, after the heavenly pattern, the Church of Christ, the forerunner of the Kingdom never to be thrown down nor given to another people. He had gazed upon the glories of eternity, and portrayed in burning eloquence the final destiny of the human race, setting forth at the same time the conditions of salvation and exaltation in worlds to come. He had preached, and caused to be promulgated, in the two greatest nations of modern times, the United States and Great Britain, the Gospel message, for the gathering of Israel, the redemption of Zion, the building of the New Jerusalem, and the preparation of a people to greet the coming of the Lord. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." So declared the Savior of mankind. "Zion is the pure in heart," said Joseph Smith—"every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God." He had written concerning the ultimate goal of all righteous endeavor:

"This is why Adam blessed his posterity; he wanted to bring them into the presence of God. * * * Moses sought to bring the children of Israel into the presence of God, through the power of the Priesthood, but he could not. In the first ages of the world they tried to establish the same thing; and there were Eliases raised up who tried to restore these very glories, but did not obtain them; but they prophesied of a day when this glory would be revealed. Paul spoke of the dispensation of the fulness of times, when God would gather together all things in one, etc.; and those men to whom these keys have been given, will have to be there; and they without us cannot be made perfect. * * * All these authoritative characters will come down and join hand in hand in bringing about this work."—("History of the Church," Vol. III, pp. 388, 389.)

Keys Committed.—Already, when the Prophet wrote those words, had this phase of the Latter-day work begun; he having received, under the hands of heavenly messengers, the keys held by them as presiding authorities over past dispensations. The following record of visions manifested to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, in the Kirtland Temple, April 3, 1836, tells its own wonderful story:

"The vail was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened.

"We saw the Lord standing upon the breast work of the pulpit, before us, and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold in color like amber.

"His eyes were as a flame of fire, the hair of his head was white like the pure snow, his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun, and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying—

"I am the first and the last, I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain, I am your advocate with the Father.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us, and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.

"After this, Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying, that in us, and our seed, all generations after us should be blessed.

"After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us, for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said—

"Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi, testifying that he (Elijah) should be sent before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come,

"To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse.

"Therefore the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands, and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors."—(D. and C. 110:1-4, 11-16.)

Elijah's Mission.—"Why send Elijah?" asks the Prophet, and he answers his own question thus: "Because he holds the keys of the authority to administer in all the ordinances of the Priesthood; and without the authority is given, the ordinances could not be administered in righteousness." In the same connection he informs us that "Elijah was the last prophet who held the keys of the Priesthood."—("History of the Church," Vol. IV, p. 211.)

Salvation for the Dead.—The mission of Elijah—the turning of the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, to the end that past and present might be bound together, and the dead as well as the living saved and glorified, was the all-engrossing thought in the mind of the Prophet, as his last day on earth drew near. From his place of retirement, during a period of trouble and persecution, he wrote thus to the Saints upon this all-important theme:

"Verily thus saith the Lord, let the work of my temple, and all the works which I have appointed unto you, be continued on and not cease."

* * * * * * * * * * *

"When any of you are baptized for your dead, let there be a recorder, and let him be eye witness of your baptisms: let him hear with his ears, that he may testify of the truth, saith the Lord.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"You may think this order of things to be very particular, but let me tell you, that it is only to answer the will of God, by conforming to the ordinance and preparation that the Lord ordained and prepared before the foundation of the world, for the salvation of the dead who should die without a knowledge of the gospel.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"Whatsoever you record on earth, shall be recorded in heaven; and whatsoever you do not record on earth, shall not be recorded in heaven; for out of the books shall your dead be judged, according to their own works, whether they themselves have attended to the ordinances in their own propria persona, or by means of their own agents.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"To be immersed in the water and come forth out of the water, is in the likeness of the resurrection of the dead, in coming forth out of their graves; hence this ordinance was instituted to form a relationship with the ordinance of baptism for the dead, being in likeness of the dead.

"Consequently the baptismal font was instituted as a simile of the grave, and was commanded to be in a place underneath where the living are wont to assemble.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"And now, in relation to the baptism for the dead, * * * I will give you a quotation from one of the prophets, who had his eye fixed on the restoration of the Priesthood, the glories to be revealed in the last days, and in an especial manner this most glorious of all subjects belonging to the everlasting gospel, viz., the baptism for the dead; for Malachi says, last chapter, verses 5th and 6th, 'Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.'

"I might have rendered a plainer translation to this, but it is sufficiently plain to suit my purpose as it stands. It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curse, unless there is a welding link of some kind or other, between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other, and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead. For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect."—(D. and C. 127, 128.)

A Gathering Dispensation.—The mission of the Everlasting Gospel in the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times is the gathering together of all things in Christ—things in heaven, and things upon the earth; the consummation decreed concerning the sanctification and glorification of this planet. It is distinctively the day of gathering—the spiritual harvest—time of all the ages.

The Ensign Lifted.—The founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lifted the Ensign for the gathering of scattered Israel, a step preliminary to the mightier achievements that are to follow; and it devolved upon Joseph Smith, a lineal descendant of Joseph of old, to raise the standard and begin the work, particularly that portion of it affecting the fortunes of the children of Ephraim. For thus saith the Lord:


Dispersion and Gathering of Israel.


A Chosen People.

History and Destiny.—"He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd doth his flock." In these words of Jeremiah the Prophet, are summarized the past and future, the history and destiny, of God's chosen people; a people from whom the Latter-day Saints claim lineal descent.

"Prince of God."—The name "Israel" means "Prince of God," and is first used in the Scriptures as the surname of Jacob, grandson of Abraham, and father of the twelve patriarchs, from whom sprang the twelve tribes of Israel. Returning from Padan-Aram, whither he had fled from the jealous wrath of his brother Esau, Jacob came to the ford Jabbok, where "there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day." We are left to infer that Jacob believed this "man" to be God; for he "called the name of the place Peniel," saying, "I have seen God face to face."

"Let me go," demanded the heavenly visitant, "for the day breaketh."

"I will not let thee go," said Jacob, "except thou bless me."

The "man" then blessed him, and changed his name from Jacob to Israel, "for," said he, "as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed."—(Genesis 32:28.)

Jacob's Blessing Confirmed.—Subsequently the name Israel was confirmed upon Jacob at Bethel, where the Lord appeared to him and blessed him, promising that a nation and a company of nations should be of him, and that kings should come out of his loins."—(Gen. 35:10, 11.)

The Father of the Faithful.—But while this was the origin of the name Israel, as applied to Jacob, it was not the origin of the race of which he was the titular head. It was the four wives of Jacob, with their twelve sons, that did "build the house of Israel;" but the foundation of that house had already been laid by Abraham, the Father of the Faithful Jehovah's promises to Jacob and to his father Isaac, concerning their posterity, were virtually repetitions of promises that had been made to their great ancestor. Those promises are couched in the following language of scripture:

"Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

"And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."—(Gen. 12:1-3.)

Definition of "Hebrew."—Abraham, or, as he was then called, Abram, was a dweller in Ur of the Chaldees, a city of Mesopotamia, which means "between the rivers." One of these rivers was the Tigris, and the other the Euphrates. Abram had to cross the Euphrates in order to reach Canaan, the land that the Lord showed him. Because he came from beyond the Euphrates, he was called by the Canaanites a "Hebrew," which signifies "one from beyond the river." Some of the Jews, however, hold that the name Hebrew comes from Heber, or Eber, one of the ancestors of Abraham.

God's Promise to Abraham.—Mesopotamia was the fountainhead of idolatry in Western Asia. On that account, and because the Lord wished to raise up a people who would worship him, and him only, Abram was required to separate himself from his idolatrous surroundings. After his removal from Chaldea to Canaan, and the trial of his faith in the offering of Isaac, the Lord gave to him this promise:

"In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies:

"And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."—(Gen. 22:17, 18.)

Why was Abraham Blessed?—It will be observed that the blessing formerly pronounced,—"In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed,"—is here expanded to: "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." Before showing how this great promise was fulfiled, let us inquire into the cause or causes why it was made. Why was Abraham, with his seed, chosen for such a mission? What had he done to deserve it? For he must have done something: God rewards men according to their works, and not even an Abraham would have received from him an honor that was unmerited.

Some may suppose that the sacrifice involved in the offering of Isaac was the sole and sufficient reason; and it is proverbially true that "sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven." But this promise was made to Abraham before he had offered Isaac, and was repeated and enlarged after the offering had been made. Others may hold that it was Abraham's fidelity to God among the idolatrous inhabitants of Chaldea, and his obedience to the divine behest to leave his country and kindred and migrate to another land, that caused him to be chosen. "Because thou hast obeyed my voice," is a reason assigned by the Almighty for his promise. Such acts were undoubtedly to Abraham's credit; but how could they be placed to the credit of his posterity?—not merely Isaac and Jacob, but the millions that were to "come of them." "In thee and in thy seed shall all the families or nations of the earth be blessed." His posterity, as well as himself, must have deserved well of the Lord in this connection.

The Problem Solved.—The patriarch himself helps us to a solution of the problem. In the Book of Abraham it is written:

"Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;

"And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them: thou wast chosen before thou wast born."—(Abraham 3:22, 23.)

Noble and Great.—Here, then, is given the reason, the main reason, why Abraham was chosen; the time, also, when the divine choice was made. He was chosen before he was born, and it was because of his nobility and greatness—manifested, of course, by obedience, the only principle upon which blessings can come to anyone.

Pre-Mortal Judgment.—The intelligences shown unto Abraham were the pre-existent spirits of the human race, waiting for an earth to be made, that they might pass through a mortal probation; a step necessary to their further progress and development. They were to be rewarded according to their works—not only after this life, but in this life, at its very beginning. For rewards and punishments are not all deferred until the final judgment at the end of the world. There is a judgment passed upon the spirits of men before they are permitted to tabernacle in mortality. "Did this man sin, or his parents, that he was born blind?"—asked the disciples of the Savior, who had probably taught them the principle involved in the question—namely, the possibility of sinning in a former state of existence.

Sowing and Reaping.—"Whatsoever a man soweth," in this world or in any other, "that shall he also reap." Justice was not done away in Christ, who taught it, with emphasis, even while inculcating charity and mercy. "Vengeance is mine," saith the Lord, "I will repay." We are required to forgive all men, for our own sakes, since hatred retards spiritual growth; but all men must answer, just the same, for the deeds done in the body or out of it; justice and mercy each claiming its own. The principle of sowing and reaping is plainly taught in other passages of the Book of Abraham:

"And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;

"And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

"And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever."—(Abraham 3:24-26.)

First and Second Estates.—The "first estate," as already explained, means the pre-existence, in which the spirits of men "walked by sight;" while the "second estate" signifies life on earth, where these same spirits—"added upon" by being given mortal bodies, with opportunities for development, are required to "walk by faith," with their knowledge of the past temporarily obscured; a greater test of integrity, and one that results, to those who overcome, in a far more glorious reward than any previously bestowed.

Reward and Punishment.—In my opening theme, "The Story of God," it was shown how Lucifer and his legions rebelled over the choice of the Christ, and were cast down. Failing to keep their first estate, they could not be "added upon." This was their punishment—that they should not have bodies, by means of which spirits become souls, capable of eternal progression. All the rest—two-thirds of the population of the spirit world—were given bodies as a reward for keeping their first estate, and were promised a glorious resurrection after death, as a further reward, if they succeeded in keeping their second estate.

All Not Alike.—All who kept the first estate were added upon; but not all alike. The rewards were not the same in every case, though they were undoubtedly just and appropriate. Some of those "intelligences" were more deserving than others; some nobler and greater than others; and because of their superior merit and larger capacity, they were made "rulers" over the rest. And Abraham, "thou art one of them: thou wast chosen before thou wast born"—chosen to bear the priesthood, the divine right to rule, and to stand at the head of a dispensation, ministering in holy things for the salvation of mankind.

Such is "Mormonism's" presentation, in part, of the Abrahamic or Israelitish problem.

Original Excellence.—What had given Abraham his superior standing in the heavens? Had he always been noble and great? Was it an original or an acquired excellence, or both? That there is such a thing as original excellence, with different degrees of intelligence among pre-existent spirits, appears from the teachings in this very Book of Abraham—not only the passages cited, but others, in which the Lord is represented as saying:

"If there be two spirits, and one shall be more intelligent than the other, yet these two spirits, notwithstanding one is more intelligent than the other, have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end; they shall exist after, for they are gnolaum, or eternal. * * * These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all."—(Abraham 3:18, 19.)

"I Know Abraham."—Was it not Abraham's worthy conduct in a previous life that caused the Lord to say of him while in the flesh: "I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him?"—(Gen. 18:19.) Who can doubt that the Father of the Faithful was one of the choice spirits whom Alma had in mind when he said concerning the priests whom "the Lord God ordained":

"And this is the manner after which they were ordained; being called and prepared from the foundation of the world, according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore, they, having chosen good, and exercised exceeding great faith, are called with a holy calling."—(Alma 13:3.)

The Foreknowledge of God.—The authors and compilers of "The Compendium," Elders Franklin D. Richards and James A. Little, commenting upon these words of Alma, relative to the priests thus ordained, have this to say: "Their calling and preparation from the foundation of the world, was evidently based on their faith and good works previous to their being called, and not on the possibilities of their future good conduct." In other words, the foreknowledge of God has history as well as prophecy for a foundation.

Abraham Not Alone.—Abraham was not the only priest called and prepared in that manner. There were "many of the noble and great ones." Israel was "a kingdom of priests," "a holy nation," and as such must have been called and prepared even as was Abraham. We have seen that Jehovah, the God of Israel, "the great High Priest of our profession," was fore-ordained to be the Savior; and that his servant Jeremiah, before being formed in the flesh, was known to God in the spirit, and sanctified and ordained "a prophet unto the nations." Undoubtedly the same could be said of others, and Paul doubtless had them in mind when he wrote: "For whom he did fore-know, he also did predestinate, to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren."—(Romans 8:29.)

Princes and Servants.—If the name Israel means "prince of God," when applied to Jacob, may it not mean princes of God, when applied to his posterity? Jacob was told that kings should come out of his loins. And have they not come?—princes and priests and kings, the nobility of heaven, though not always recognized and honored upon the earth. The greatest among them was not recognized even by "his own;" for when he came unto them, they "received him not." The wise Solomon was never wiser than when he said: "I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth" (Ecc. 10:7). Even the God of heaven, the mighty. Prince of Peace, walked unknown, unhonored, by his own servants, in the dust of his own footstool.

Degrees of Greatness.—There are degrees of greatness in heaven as upon earth, choice spirits and choicer. But all God's servants are noble. No position in the Church of Christ is insignificant. David was right in saying: "I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." It is greater, infinitely greater, to hold the humblest office in the priesthood, than to reign, an alien from God, over all the kingdoms of the world.

Israel's Pre-existence.—In view of what the prophets have spoken, are we not justified in believing that the house of Israel was chosen in the heavens for the mission it had to perform, and is still performing, upon the earth? What other inference can be drawn from these words of Moses:

"Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: * * *

"When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.—(Deut. 32:7-8.)

The period here mentioned, when the sons of Adam were separated, and the nations received their inheritance, evidently antedated by many generations the times of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Those events were probably much earlier, and certainly no later, than the days of Japheth, Shem, and Ham, by whose families the nations were "divided in the earth after the flood" (Gen. 10:32). It looks very much as if Moses, when he wrote those words, had in mind, not a temporal Israel, unborn at the early period indicated, but a spiritual Israel, according to whose numbers, known in the heavens before they had taken bodies upon the earth, the boundaries of "the people" were determined.


Israel's Mission.

Privileges and Requirements.—It was intended that the children of Israel should have "room to dwell;" and it was of the utmost consequence that they should have. They were to be the oracles of God, the custodians and dispensers of heavenly wisdom. Upon them devolved the high duty of keeping alive on faith's altar the fire of divine truth. They were not to worship idols, as did the heathen nations around them, but were to worship the true God, the invisible Jehovah, "walking by faith," where others, less worthy, "walked by sight," believing only when they could see. The children of Israel were not to intermarry with other nations, lest they might worship their gods, practice their vices, and pollute the noble lineage through which was to come, in due time, the Savior of the world. The Lamb of God, when he came, was "without spot or blemish," physically as well as spiritually; a condition partly due, no doubt, to the choice parentage and ancestry that had been provided for him.

Christ the Seed of Abraham.—This brings us again to the divine promise given to Abraham: "In thee and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." Undoubtedly that promise was fulfiled in the coming of the Son of God as the Redeemer and Savior. In the body he was a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and in more ways than one he has been a blessing to all nations.

The Gem and Its Setting.—In treating this great theme, however, it is not enough to consider that such a personage as Jesus of Nazareth lived and labored and died. We must not separate the gem from its setting. We must not isolate the central fact of the Savior's personal ministry from the related facts that went before and followed after. Christ came to save the world; but the house of Israel prepared the way for his coming, gave him a proper lineage through which to come, and after his crucifixion carried on the work he had inaugurated. This is especially true of the patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles, and others bearing the Priesthood; but it is also true, in a general way, of the whole house of Israel.

The Salt of the Earth.—While there is but one Savior in a universal sense, and in the sense of the atonement and the resurrection, that Savior has many assistants, sent to play subordinate parts in the great drama of salvation. Did not Jesus tell his disciples that they were "the salt of the earth"—the saving or preserving element among men? And did he not warn them against allowing "the salt" to "lose its savor"—its power to save and preserve? For how could they save others, if their own feet were not firmly planted upon the Rock of Salvation?

Followers of the Lamb.—John of Patmos saw a Lamb standing upon the Mount Zion, "and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads" (Rev. 14:1). And he heard a voice from heaven saying, "These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth." Then they follow him in the work of salvation, not only in this world, but also in the spirit world, where he ministered while his body was lying in the tomb.

Who are these 144,000? They are not the whole house of Israel, which numbers millions; but they are "of all the tribes of the children of Israel," twelve thousand of every tribe. The Prophet Joseph says: They "are high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the Everlasting Gospel; for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, by the angels to whom is given power over the nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come to the Church of the First Born" (D&C 77:11). They are not the entire army of the Lord, but might well be termed the flower of that army, the body-guard of the great Captain of Salvation.

Keystone and Arch.—Christ is the keystone of an arch, and that arch is, or is in, the house of Israel; a circlet of gold upon the forearm of Omnipotence, a setting of satellite gems, from the midst of which the supreme jewel, the Signet of Salvation, sends forth its lustre.

Overruling Providence.—Under Jesus Christ, the Savior, the great house of which he is the spiritual head also has a mission of salvation. And, strangely enough, the children of Israel have accomplished that mission, not only when obedient to God, but while disobedient and suffering the consequent calamities that came upon them. A notable instance of the power of overruling Providence, bringing order out of chaos, light out of darkness, success and victory from seeming failure and defeat.

Calamity and Compensation.—The compensations of calamity—a theme treated philosophically by Ralph Waldo Emerson, in one of his noblest essays—are apparent in some of the mightiest events of human history. For instance, to Adam it was said: "The day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." He ate, and death came into the world; a terrible calamity, but not without its compensation; for the fall of man proved to be the means of peopling the earth, according to a divine plan, ordained before the creation of the world. Christ's martyrdom, the preordained means of man's salvation, was an overwhelming calamity to his terror-stricken disciples, who were disconsolate until they looked upon it in its true light, acknowledging God's hand in the awful tragedy. Even so, Israel's dispersion, that dire calamity under which the chosen people have suffered for ages, and from which they are just beginning to emerge, has been overruled for good, and made the means of fulfiling the Lord's purpose and promise in the blessing of all nations.

Moses Predicts the Dispersion.—Prophecies of this calamity were made as early as the time of Moses, fifteen hundred years before the coming of the Savior. The twelve tribes, the most notable of whom were Judah and Joseph—the latter represented in Ephraim and Manasseh—had been in Egypt for several centuries when Moses led them out of bondage and brought them to the borders of Canaan, the land which the Lord had given to their forefathers when he promised to make of them "a great nation." The leader of Israel told his people, who were about to possess themselves of the land of Canaan, that so long as they served Jehovah and kept his commandments, they should be prospered and remain an independent nation; but if they forsook Jehovah and served other gods, He would scatter them among all people, from one end of the earth even unto the other.—(Deut. 28:64.)

A Martyred Nation.—They were commanded, as Adam and Eve had been, not to do a certain thing, and a punishment was to come upon them if they disobeyed; and yet it must have been foreseen, as in the case of our first parents, that they would disobey, and the transgression was overruled for good. The dispersion of Israel, like the fall of Adam, like the crucifixion of Christ, seems to have been part of a mighty plan for the progress and salvation of the human race. Adam fell that man might be; Christ died to burst the bands of death; and Israel was scattered among all nations, that the gospel of the Redeemer, which was to follow, might make its way more readily among those nations. As in the fall, as in the crucifixion, and in every instance where some great service has been rendered to humanity, there was sacrifice, suffering, martyrdom, in order that blessings might come. The history of the house of Israel is the history of a martyred nation, suffering for the good of other nations—whatever may be said of transgressions that justified God in bringing upon his chosen people the calamities that were doubtless among the "offenses" that "must needs come."

"'Tis sorrow builds the shining ladder up,
Whose golden rounds are our calamities."


To the Ends of the Earth.

A Decadent Empire.—Joshua, succeeding Moses as the leader of Israel, conquered the land of Canaan and divided it among the twelve tribes. Then followed the reigns of the Judges, during which period Israel began to depart from God, and to invite, by rebellious conduct, the national calamity that had been predicted. The glories of the monarchy founded by Saul, David and Solomon being past, the curse, long suspended, fell, and the Israelitish empire hastened to its decay.

Ahijah's Prophecy.—In the reign of Rehoboam, the successor to Solomon, ten of the twelve tribes revolted, and choosing Jeroboam to be their ruler, set up the kingdom of Israel (in the north), distinct from the kingdom of Judah (in the south), over which Rehoboam continued to reign. During the days of Jeroboam, who had made idolatry the state religion of the northern kingdom, the dispersion of Israel was again predicted; the prophet Ahijah then voicing the word of the Lord to his disobedient people:

"The Lord shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river."—(I Kgs. 14:15.)

Amos and Hosea.—Another prophet who foretold the dispersion was Amos, who said that Israel should "surely go into captivity," and be "sifted among all nations" (7:11, 17; 9:9). Still another was Hosea, who, substituting rhetorically the past for the future, said: "Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people" (7:8).

Beginning of the Scattering.—In the year 721 B. C., soon after the time of Hosea's prophecy, and while a monarch of the same name was reigning over the kingdom of Israel, the Assyrians, under Shalmaneser, came against that kingdom and began to destroy it. In a series of deportations they carried away the ten tribes (Ephraim and all) into captivity.

The Lost Tribes.—These are the famous "lost tribes," concerning whom very little is known. Josephus, the Jewish historian, who wrote during the first century after Christ, says that the ten tribes were then beyond the Euphrates, the "river" referred to by Ahijah in his prophecy. Esdras, in the Apocrypha, declares that those tribes went a journey of a year and a half into the north country.

The Cairns of Scandinavia.—Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, returning from Scandinavia, have told of rude monuments—cairns or piles of stones—in that northern region, concerning which tradition says that they were erected many centuries ago by a migrating people. Whether or not these were the tribes of the Assyrian captivity, it is interesting to reflect that it was an Israelitish custom to raise such monuments in commemorating events, especially the migratory movements of the nation.

Other Ancient Monuments.—If it be objected that monuments erected by the Ten Tribes, 721 B. C., could not have lasted down to this day, how will the objector account for the perfectly preserved monuments of Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, and other ancient empires, whose remains have been uncovered by modern archaeology? Such a theory will not stagger the faith of the Latter-day Saints, when they recollect that the ruins of Adam's altar are still to be seen in the State of Missouri, where they were identified by the Prophet Joseph Smith, A. D. 1838.

To Return from the North.—At all events, it is from "the north country" that the ten tribes are to return, according to ancient and modern prophecy; and it is also a fact that from Scandinavia and the nations of Northern Europe has come much of the blood of Israel—the blood of Ephraim now within the pale of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Are the Ten Tribes Intact?—A much mooted question among our people, particularly since the discovery of the North Pole, where theorists have insisted upon locating the ten tribes, is whether or not those tribes have lost their identity. The fact that no such people were found at the pole by Peary and other explorers, shatters the exact location theory; but does it dispose of the main issue—the supposed existence of the ten tribes as a distinct people, somewhere "in the land of the north?" Such a supposition might be well founded, and yet much of the blood of Ephraim be among certain northern nations. Some of the pilgrims might easily have "mixed" with peoples encountered on the way, while journeying to their ultimate destination. Beyond this suggestion, I have no theory to advance. A tradition of the Church has assigned to John the Revelator the mission of leading the ten tribes from the land of the north.—(D. and C. 77:14.)

The Babylonian Captivity.—After the predictions of Amos, Hosea, and others, in relation to the kingdom of Israel, came the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah, foretelling the fate of the kingdom of Judah. This kingdom, about 585 B. C., was destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar, and the Jews were carried into captivity.

Lehi and His Colony.—Just before that disaster, Lehi and his colony left Jerusalem, and crossed over to this land—America—which, by them and by Mulek's colony that came later, was peopled with the descendants of Joseph and of Judah, both of whom are represented, in a degenerate state, by the American Indians.

Israelitish Characteristics.—Look at the features of the Indian. Are they not Jewish? Quite as strikingly so as that many of his customs and traditions are Israelitish. Who, than the savage Lamanite, better understands the Mosaic law of retaliation—"an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth"? Nor does he care whose eye or whose tooth it is, whether that of the person who injured him, or one of the latter's tribe or nation. He is too much of an Israelite to object to proxies and substitutes.

Jerusalem Rebuilt.—The Babylonian captivity lasted seventy years. Some of the Jews, under the permissive edict of Cyrus, then returned and rebuilt their city and temple. Only a remnant came back, however, a colony of fifty thousand, led by Zerubbabel and Joshua. The rest remained in their scattered condition. The Jews who rebuilt Jerusalem were those to whose descendants Christ came, and predicted, after their rejection of him, that their "house" should be "left unto them desolate" (Matt. 23:37, 38).

Twelve Tribes Scattered.—Before the Savior's time, however, the prophets Ezekiel and Zachariah,—the former in exile among the Babylonians, the latter at Jerusalem after the restoration by Cyrus,—had added their predictions to those already uttered relating to the dispersion of Israel. That the fated nation was pretty well dispersed in the days of the apostles, is evident from the Epistle of James, who addresses himself "to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad."

Dispersion by Titus.—But there were to be other acts of dispersion. One of the most notable occurred in the year 70 A. D., when Titus the Roman came against Jerusalem, besieged and captured it, and sold the inhabitants, such as had survived the horrors of the siege, into slavery, or scattered them through different parts of the empire. To follow the fortunes of this branch of the house of Israel, in all their subsequent wanderings and scatterings, would fill volumes.

The Blood that Believes.—Next, let us consider the question: In what way did these calamities upon Israel prove a blessing to the human race? How, by the dispersion of the children of Abraham, was the promise to the patriarch fulfiled, that in him and in his seed should all the nations of the earth be blessed? I answer, that by this dispersion the blood of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the blood of faith, the blood that believes—with choice spirits, answering to that blood, and selected for that purpose, were sent into those nations where the Gospel was afterwards preached; spirits capable of recognizing the truth, and brave enough to embrace it regardless of consequences; thus setting an example to others and influencing them in the same direction. Manifestly this was of far more importance than the carrying by the captive Israelites of their laws and traditions into those nations; though this would also help to prepare the way for greater blessings to follow.

Spread of Christianity.—And such things told in after years. One of the marvels of history is the rapid spread of Christianity in the days of the apostles, who, unlettered as most of them were, and in the midst of the fiercest persecution, planted the gospel standard in all the principal cities of the Roman Empire, spreading the tidings of Christ crucified, from India on the East to Britain on the West, and from Scythia on the North to Ethiopia on the South; all within the short space of fifty years.

"Mormonism's" Growth.—A similar marvel is the spread of "Mormonism"—ancient Christianity restored—through the Gentile nations of modern times, a work yet in its infancy. Villages and congregations converted at a sweep, as in Lancashire and Herefordshire, England; in America the gospel preached to white men and red, and the Church established in the tops of the Rocky Mountains, with nearly half a million souls for a nucleus, and others continually coming from the various nations of the earth. And then—the extraordinary attention attracted by the Latter-day Saints—altogether out of proportion to their numbers; for after all, they are only a handful, compared with the hundreds of millions of earth's inhabitants. What more strikingly fulfils the prophetic picture drawn by the Savior: "Ye are as a city set upon a hill, which can not be hid."

How could such things be, had not Divine Wisdom prepared the way by sending the blood of Israel, with spirits answering to that blood, among all nations, prior to pouring out upon them the spirit of the gospel and of the gathering?

Many Nations Sprinkled.—Others before Abraham had shown their faith by their works; but this does not invalidate his claim to the title, "Father of the Faithful." Neither does it prove that the believing blood, even in the veins of the Gentiles, is not Abraham's blood, with which God has "sprinkled many nations." The Latter-day Saints themselves are of a mixed lineage—Gentile and Israelitish; most of them having descended from Ephraim, who "mixed himself among the people."

The Centurion's Faith.—Was not the blood of Abraham in the veins of the Roman centurion, whose faith caused even the Savior to marvel? The centurion's daughter was sick nigh unto death, and her father said to Jesus: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter beneath my roof, but speak the word and my daughter shall live." "Be it according to thy faith," was the reply, and straightway she was healed. This incident caused the Son of God to say: "Such faith I have not found in Israel." Moreover, it formed the basis of a prediction, that many should come from the East and from the West, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God, while the children of the kingdom, such as were degenerate,—salt that had lost its savor,—would be cast into outer darkness.

Other Gentile Believers.—Other cases in point are those of Cornelius and the woman of Samaria—Gentiles, in whose veins was the blood that believes, "the salt of the earth," sprinkled over the world for its preservation. The Moabite maiden, Ruth, who was numbered among the ancestors of Jesus Christ, is another example of the same kind. They are of Abraham who do the works of Abraham.

According to Their Faith.—God works among men according to their faith. Jehovah, as Jesus, came unto his own, and his own received him not. He could not do many mighty works among the Jews, "because of their unbelief," at which he marveled, as much, no doubt, as he marveled over the faith of some of the Gentiles. And so, leaving the latter to be converted by the Holy Ghost, he who had been sent to the lost sheep of Israel, turned from Judah unto Joseph, from the Jews unto the Nephites, whose faith was greater, and among whom, in consequence, more if not mightier miracles were performed.

The "Other Sheep."—From the Nephites, the Savior went to "other sheep," not of the Nephite fold, nor of the Jewish fold, but still of the house of Israel, and therefore entitled to his personal ministry. These may have been "the lost tribes," or they may have been other scattered sheep, unknown to man, but known unto God, "keeping watch above his own," in the mystical and remote regions whither his judgments had driven them.


The Call of the Shepherd.

"Come out of her, my people."—(Rev. 18:4.)

All in Christ.—The Savior's personal visits to the various branches of the house of Israel were preliminary to a general gathering of the sheep into one fold, with himself as the Shepherd over all. The prophets who predicted the dispersion, likewise foretold the return of God's people to their own lands, after "the times of the Gentiles" should be fulfiled. It was to be in the latter days, when God has purposed to "gather together in one all things in Christ." The most notable prophecies pertaining to the gathering of Israel are here presented:

Moses.—"The Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee."—(Deut. 30:3.)

David.—"Gather my Saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice."—(Psalms 50:5.)

Isaiah.—"And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

"And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."—(Isaiah 2:2, 3.)

"And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

"And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

"The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.

"But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines to ward the west."—(Ibid, 11:11-14.)

"And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt."—(Ibid, 11:16.)

"Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;

"I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth."—(Ibid, 43:5, 6.)

"And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

"Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side."—(Ibid, 60:3, 4.)

The Ensign.—According to the faith of the Latter-day Saints, the "ensign" referred to by Isaiah was set up, when the Church of Christ was organized on the sixth of April, 1830. Thus far, however, only a portion of the half tribe of Ephraim has been gathered out from the nations.

Shoulders of the Philistines.—"The shoulders of the Philistines" are understood to be the steamships, railroads, and other facilities of the Gentiles, whereby the gathering Saints have been and are being carried westward to American shores and into the tops of the Rocky Mountains.

The Highway.—"And there shall be a highway," etc. This part of Isaiah's prophecy seems to have reference to the tribes that were carried into captivity by the Assyrians, and in connection with whose return a miracle is promised similar to the dividing of the waters of the Red Sea, in the days of Moses, that Israel might go over dry shod.

Jeremiah.—"Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you; and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion;

"And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding."—(Jeremiah 3:14, 15.)

"Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;

"But, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them; and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.

"Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.

"For mine eyes are upon all their ways; they are not hid from my face.

"The Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit."—(Ibid, 16:14-17, 19.)

"Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together; a great company shall return thither.

"They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

"Here the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock."—(Ibid, 31:8-10.)

One of a City.—Jeremiah's prediction concerning "one of a city and two of a family" has been literally fulfiled in the experience of many Latter-day Saints, turned out of doors by their own parents or guardians, despised and persecuted by former friends and associates, because they dared to be "one of a city," or "two of a family," in espousing so unpopular a cause.

A Stanza on Freedom.—A few lines from an American poet—James Russell Lowell—seem appropriate here. The poem from which they are taken is entitled "Stanzas on Freedom:"

"They are slaves who fear to speak
For the fallen and the weak;
They are slaves who will not choose
Hatred, scoffing, and abuse,
Rather than in silence shrink
From the truth they needs must think;
They are slaves who dare not be
In the right, with two or three."

A Marvel and a Wonder.—Wonderful as has been the work of the gathering, thus far, judging from the words of Jeremiah, it is destined to be more marvelous still.

Ezekiel.—"As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

"And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.

"I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be."—(Ezekiel 34:12-14.)

The Christ.—"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."—(Matthew 24:14.)

"And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."—(Ibid, 24:31.)

John the Revelator.—"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people."—(Rev. 14:6.)

"* * * And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."—(Ibid, 18:4.)

Enoch.—One of the most ancient prophecies on the gathering, is that recorded in the Book of Moses—a portion of the Lord's word to Enoch concerning the latter days:

"And righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.

"And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there * * * and there shall be mine abode."—(Moses 7:62-64.)

Keys of the Gathering Restored.—Moses held the keys of Israel's gathering, and he committed them to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, in the Kirtland Temple, April 3, 1836. (D. and C. 110:11.) The record says: "Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the North."

Query.—Why this explicit reference to the ten tribes, following a general allusion to "the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth," if the ten tribes are no longer a distinct people?

Joseph Smith.—"And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord, and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves, and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence.

"And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep.

"Their enemies shall become a prey unto them,

"And in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water; and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land.

"And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim my servants.

"And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence.

"And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim:

"And they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy.

"Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the tribes of Israel, and the richer blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows.

"And they also of the tribe of Judah, after their pain, shall be sanctified in holiness before the Lord to dwell in his presence, day and night, for ever and ever."—(D. and C. 133:26-35.)

Book of Mormon Predictions.—The Book of Mormon contains many predictions of the gathering of Israel; the more notable being those of Ether the Jaredite, and of first, second, and third Nephi. We learn from them that the City of Zion, New Jerusalem, to which, as well as to Old Jerusalem, the children of Israel will gather, is to be built upon this continent; the precise place, as pointed out by the Prophet Joseph, being Jackson County, Missouri. There, in the summer of 1831, a site for the New Jerusalem was consecrated. There shall yet stand the City of God, the central point for the gathering of the tribes of Israel, all except Judah, which tribe, with its fellows, are to reinhabit the land of Palestine. Until Zion is redeemed and the city built at the place appointed, the gathering will continue unto the Stakes of Zion.

Jesus to the Nephites.—"Verily, I say unto you, I give unto you a sign, that ye may know the time when these things shall be about to take place, that I shall gather in from their long dispersion, my people, O house of Israel, and shall establish again among them my Zion."—(III Nephi 21:1.)

"Therefore, when these works, and the works which shall be wrought among you hereafter, shall come forth from the Gentiles, unto your seed, which shall dwindle in unbelief because of iniquity:

"For thus it behoveth the Father that it should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may shew forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause, that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel;

"And when these things come to pass, that thy seed shall begin to know these things, it shall be a sign unto them, that they may know that the work of the Father hath already commenced unto the fulfiling of the covenant which he hath made unto the people who are of the house of Israel.

"And when that day shall come, it shall come to pass that kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

"For in that day, for my sake, shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.

"But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.

"Therefore it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, whom the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said,) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.

"And my people who are a remnant of Jacob, shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"But if they will repent, and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant, and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance.

"And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also, as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem;

"And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem.

"And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst;

"And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day, even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people. Verily I say unto you, at that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people; yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem.

"Yea, the work shall commence among all the dispersed of my people, with the Father, to prepare the way whereby they come unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name;

"Yea, and then shall the work commence, with the Father, among all nations, in preparing the way whereby his people may be gathered home to the land of their inheritance."—(III Nephi 21:5-12, 22-28.)


The Author to the Reader.

And now, a word to the brethren—particularly the young brethren—who will read this book. I have endeavored to impress upon you the relationship that you bear to heaven and to earth, the duty that you owe to God and to your fellow men. You are among the chosen spirits that constitute the house of Israel. You are of the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and consequently lawful heirs to all the promises made to your great progenitors. You are of Ephraim, most of you—Ephraim, "the first born," the first branch of the Israelitish tree to bear the fruits of faith and obedience in modern days; the first to receive the Gospel, and to officiate as its ministers in the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. Your lineage is noble—I care not how obscure your earthly origin, how meager your possessions, how limited your opportunities for education and advancement. You are of a royal race, and your conduct should be royal to comport with it.

This does not mean that you should be proud and arrogant. Pride and arrogance are no proofs of gentility; they betoken the upstart; they are the badges of the base-born. Faith and humility must be your watchwords, and the insignia of your mission, as saviors of mankind. Much is required of you, for much has been committed to you. As children of Abraham, you must do the works of Abraham, and keep yourselves unspotted from the sins and follies of a sordid, pleasure-loving, money-worshiping generation. You must not bow down to the gods of the Gentiles, nor pander to the lusts of the flesh. It is not given unto you to live after the manner of the world. Whenever tempted to intermarry with those not of your faith, and to wander away from the fold, think of the great purpose for which you were placed upon the earth; remember that you are children of the covenant, and that these are the days of the gathering, not the scattering, of the blood of Israel.

The same general obligations now resting upon you, rested up on your ancestors; and neglect and disobedience brought upon them all the calamities that befell them as a nation. The salt, sent to preserve, lost its savor, and was therefore cast out and trodden under foot of men. Invite not a repetition of those evils. What was done in the green tree, must not be done in the dry. There is no time, no necessity, for another dispersion of Israel. It would be as inappropriate and superfluous as the flooding of soil already soaked by the waters of irrigation, or the sowing of a field already "white unto the harvest," waiting for the reaper's sickle. No good could come of it—nothing but waste and destruction. The children of the covenant have been called home, and the blood that believes must now flow back to its fountain.

"Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.

"Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.

"For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody."—(Isaiah 51:1-3.)

The night of dispersion is past; the day of gathering has dawned. The tempests that broke above the heads of our ancestors have spent their fury, and the clouds have parted and rolled away. The barren ground, refreshed by the fearful visitation, is clothed with verdure and covered with flowers. The freshening and revivifying rains, having fulfiled their mission, must now return to the ocean whence they came. This is the meaning, the symbolism, of the dispersion and gathering of Israel.

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