Volume 4 Chapter 14
Vale 1840—Enter 1841—List of Publications for and against the Church—Whereabouts of the Twelve Apostles—"Election and Reprobation"—Proclamation to the Saints.
The acquittal of R.D. Foster.
Sunday, December 20, 1840.—I was called upon by the High Council to decide the adjourned case of Robert D. Foster. Having heard the witnesses, I decided that he be acquitted of the charges against him, which decision the Council approved. 1
An Objector Put Down.
This is a fair specimen of the wisdom of the nineteenth century that opposes itself to the work of the Most High God.
"Your preacher preaches false doctrine," exclaimed a sectarian in Manchester to one of the Saints. "Ah!" inquired the other, "wherein does he teach false doctrine?" "Why, in telling the people to go to America, to be sure," said the sectarian; "and" continued he, "there is nothing in the Bible that commands people to go to America." "Ah!" replied the other, "and there is nothing in the Bible that commands people to stop in Manchester; so I wonder how you dare stay in so unscriptural a place another night; for certainly no one ought to live in England unless they can find scripture for it, any more than in America."
Monday, 21.—The petition of Elias Higbee, and Robert B. Thompson, under date of 28th November, 1840, was presented to the House of Representatives of the United States, referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and ordered to be printed.
Friday, 25.—Elders Brigham Young and George A. Smith attended a conference at Hanley, Staffordshire Potteries, at which was represented an increase of six Elders, twenty-six Priests, ten Teachers, nine deacons, and three hundred and fifty-six members, since last July Conference; and also ordained six Elders, six Priests, four Teachers, and three Deacons.
Sunday, 27.—Elders Kimball and Woodruff occupied a chapel belonging to the Independents in London. Elder Woodruff preached.
Monday, 28.—There are ninety-five Saints in Edinburgh, Scotland, raised up by Elder Orson Pratt. Elder George D. Watt is now laboring in that place.
Wednesday, 30.—Elder Brigham Young writes from Liverpool:
Brigham Young's Letter to the Prophet Reporting Labors in England.
Beloved Brother:—I write to inform you of a few particulars of my journey to London. I left Manchester November 25th, in company with Elder Kimball; we visited the following places, viz., Macclesfield, Burslem, Hanley, Lane End, West Bromwich, and Birmingham. We traveled by coach and railway, and arrived in London on Monday 30th: found Elder Woodruff in good health. He had baptized three or four persons the day before we arrived. I stayed in London till the 11th December, when I left for Herefordshire. Brothers Woodruff and Williams came with me to the railway station. Elder Kimball stayed in London.
The prospect for the spread of the Gospel brightened up while we were there. Our feelings were very clear and decisive that Elder Kimball had better stay with Elder Woodruff. I was much interested while there with my brethren. I pray the Lord to roll on His work in that great city. I feel much for the people in that place! yea my feelings are exquisite, for why, God knows; but I believe it is for the glory of God, and the good of souls. May His name be glorified.
I arrived in Cheltenham the same day I left London—only about seven and a half hours going one hundred and one miles, thirty-eight of it by coach. I stayed over the Sabbath there; preached twice to a very attentive congregation. In the afternoon the house was full to overflowing. Elder Henry Glover is preaching in this place, and in the region around with much success. I think he is a humble, good man, and will do much good. I attended the Gadfield Elm conference. The minutes of the Garway conference were read, which had been held on the 8th. After this I visited the brethren till the Stanley Hill conference, which was held on the 21st. The church in Garway numbers ninety-five members, one Elder, seven Priests, three Teachers and one Deacon. At Gadfield Elm conference there were seventeen branches represented, three hundred and twenty-seven members, thirteen Elders, thirty-one Priests, nine Teachers. The Stanley Hill conference contains twenty-five branches, which represented eight hundred and thirty-nine members, seventeen Elders, fifty-seven Priests, sixteen Teachers and one Deacon. Including officers there are in these three conferences twelve hundred and sixty-one members, thirty-one Elders, ninety-five Priests, twenty-eight Teachers and two Deacons; making two hundred and fifty-five added since the October conference.
I attended the conference in the Staffordshire Potteries on the 25th; we had a good meeting; but I have not the minutes before me, so I cannot give a particular statement of the church there, yet I can say they are prospering.
In my travels and at the conferences, there were some baptized and many ordained. We can say truly, that the Lord is doing a great work in the land. The Gospel is preached to the poor, and signs follow them that believe. I arrived in Liverpool last evening and expect to tarry here till the Book of Mormon is completed.
I am as ever, your brother in the Kingdom of Patience,
About this time, immense quantities of rain fell which produced a flood in the east and south of France, doing immense damage, carrying with it buildings, bridges and everything in its way. Earthquakes have been felt in divers places the past year; and fearful sights and bloody signs have been witnessed in the heavens, fulfilling the words of the ancient Prophets concerning the last days.
I copy the following from a printed sheet:
Signs in the Sky.
A most wonderful phenomenon was observed last week by the inhabitants of Hull and the neighborhood. A perfectly blood red flag was seen flying in the heavens, which illuminated the horizon for many miles around. At intervals it changed its form, assuming that of a cross, sword and many other shapes. At one o'clock on Friday morning the town was nearly as light as noon-day; the inhabitant were parading the streets; fear and dismay pictured in their countenances. This wonder continued until near three o'clock, when it gradually went to the westward, illuminating the Humber as it seemed to sink in her waters. Then for a few seconds all became total darkness, when from the northwest by north, arose the most beautiful light, which shot away towards the western hemisphere, leaving in its train the most beautiful and varigated colors, and which the eye might readily form into armies drawn up in the order of battle, charging and retreating alternately, and then again all was wrapped in the sable curtain of night. It appears that many signs were seen on the same night in different parts of the kingdom.
List of Books.
The following is a list of books, pamphlets, and letters published for and against the Latter-day Saints during the past year, so far as such have come under my observation:
Fourteen numbers of the Times and Seasons have been issued from the office in Nauvoo, containing two hundred and twenty-four pages, edited by Ebenezer Robinson and Don Carlos Smith, three numbers having been issued during 1839.
Eight numbers of the Millennial Star have been published at 149 Oldham Road, Manchester, England, containing two hundred and sixteen pages, edited by Elder Parley P. Pratt.
A selection of hymns was published about the first of July, in England, by Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Parley P. Pratt, for the use of the Saints in Europe.
The Rev. Robert Hays, Wesleyan minister, Douglas, Isle of Man, published three addresses in pamphlet form, against the Latter-day Saints, which were replied to in the following order:
"An Answer to Some False Statements and Misrepresentations," published by the Rev. Robert Hays, Wesleyan minister, in an address to his society in Douglas, and its vicinity on the subject of Mormonism, by John Taylor, October 7th, 1840.
"Calumny Refuted, and the Truth Defended," being a reply to the second address of the Rev. Robert Hays, by John Taylor, Douglas, October 29, 1840.
"Truth Defended and Methodism Weighed in the Balances and Found Wanting," being a reply to the third address of the Rev. Robert Hays against the Latter-day Saints and also an "Exposure of the Principles of Methodism," by John Taylor, Liverpool, December 7, 1840.
"The Latter-day Saints and the Book of Mormon;" being a few words of warning against the Latter-day Saints, from a minister to his flock. W. J. Morrish, Ledbury, Herefordshire, September.
A second warning by the same W. J. Morrish, October 15th.
"A Few More Facts Relating to the Self-styled "Latter-day Saints,' " by John Simmons, Church of England minister, Dymock, Herefordshire, September 14th.
Several letters written by Mr. Curran, and published in the Manx Liberal, Isle of Man, in October, were replied to by John Taylor.
"Mormonism Weighed in the Balances of the Sanctuary and Found Wanting;" the substance of four lectures by Samuel Haining, published in Douglas, Isle of Man; a tract of sixty-six pages.
Interesting account of several remarkable visions, and of the late discovery of ancient American Records giving an account of the commencement of the work of the Lord in this generation, by Elder Orson Pratt, Edinburgh, September.
The Word of the Lord to the Citizens of London, of every sect and denomination; and to every individual into whose hands it may fall; showing forth the plan of salvation as laid down in the New Testament; namely, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ—Repentance—Baptism for the remission of sins—and the Gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, presented by Heber C. Kimball and Wilford Woodruff, Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
An exposure of the errors and fallacies of the self-named "Latter-day Saints." By William Hewitt, of Lane End, Staffordshire, Potteries.
An answer to Mr. William Hewitt's tract against the Latter-day Saints. By Elder Parley P. Pratt.
Plain Facts; showing the falsehood and folly of the Rev. C. Bush (the Church of England minister, of the parish of Peover, Cheshire); being a reply to his tract against the Latter-day Saints by Parley P. Pratt.
A few remarks by way of reply to an anonymous scribbler, calling himself "a Philanthropist," disabusing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of the slanders and falsehoods which he has attempted to fasten upon it. By Samuel Bennett, Philadelphia.
Mormonism unmasked, and Mr. Bennett's reply answered and refuted. By a Philanthropist of Chester county. Published in Philadelphia.
An Appeal to the American People; being an account of the persecutions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the barbarities inflicted on them by the inhabitants of the State of Missouri, sixty closely printed pages second edition revised by authority of said Church, Joseph Smith, Jun., Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, Presidency.
A Reply to Mr. Thomas Taylor's Pamphlet, entitled "Complete Failure," etc., and also to Mr. Richard Livesey's tract, "Mormonism Exposed" by Parley P. Pratt.
The editor of the London Dispatch, published an article on November 8th, against the Latter-day Saints, containing some of the false statements of Captain D. L. St. Clair, in his tract against them, which was replied to by Elder Parley P. Pratt, in the November number of the Millennial Star.
"The Millennium, and other Poems:" to which is annexed, "A Treatise on the Regeneration and Eternal Duration of Matter," by Parley P. Pratt, New York.
January 1, 1841.—Elders Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, and John Taylor attended a conference in Liverpool.
Elders Heber C. Kimball, and Wilford Woodruff are in London.
Elder Orson Pratt in Edinburgh.
Elder George A. Smith in Burslem.
Elder Willard Richards in Preston.
Elders Orson Hyde and J. E. Page are en route for Jerusalem.
Elder William Smith, at Plymouth, Hancock county, Illinois.
The Millennial Star [No. 9, Vol. I] contains the following communication, which I have read several times. It is one of the sweetest pieces that has been written in these last days. I therefore insert it entire.
Election and Reprobation—by Brigham Young and Willard Richards.
Do you believe in election and reprobation? To prevent the necessity of repeating a thousand times what may be said at once, we purpose to answer this oft-asked question in writing, so that the Saints may learn doctrine, and all who will may understand that such election and reprobation as is taught in the Old and New Testaments, and other revelations from God, we fully believe, in connection with every other principle of righteousness; and we ask this favor of all into whose hands our answer may come, that they will not condemn until they have read it through, in the spirit of meekness and prayer.
The Lord (Jehovah) hath spoken through Isaiah (13:1), saying, "Behold my servant whom I uphold—mine elect in whom my soul delighteth;" evidently referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, chosen, or elected by the Father. (1 Peter 1:20). "Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by Him do believe in God to serve Him in the redemption of the world, to be a covenant of the people (Isaiah 42:6), for a light to the Gentiles, and the glory of His people Israel, having ordained Him to be the judge of the quick until dead (Acts 10:42), that through Him forgiveness of sins might be preached (Acts 13:38), unto all who would be obedient unto His Gospel." (Mark 16:16-17).
Every High Priest must be ordained (Heb. 5:1), and if Christ had not received ordination, He would not have had power to ordain others, as he did when He ordained the Twelve (Mark 3:14), to take part in the ministry which He had received of His Father; also, (John 15:16): "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit; (Heb. 5:4), for no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron (v:5), so also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an High Priest; but He that said unto Him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten Thee." No being can give that which he does not possess; consequently, no man can confer the Priesthood on another, if he has not himself first received it; and the Priesthood is of such a nature that it is impossible to investigate the principles of election, reprobation, &c., without touching upon the Priesthood also; and although some may say that Christ, as God, needed no ordination, having possessed it eternally, yet Christ says, (Matt. 28:18), "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth;" which could not have been if He was in eternal possession; and in the previously quoted verse we discover that He that said unto Him [i.e. His Father] glorified Him to be made an High Priest, or ordained Him to the work of creating the world and all things upon it, (Col. 1:16), "For by Him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth," &c., and of redeeming the same from the fall, and to the judging of the quick and dead, for the right of judging rests in the Priesthood, and it is through this medium that the Father hath committed all judgment unto the Son (John 5:22), referring to His administration on earth. It was necessary that Christ should receive the Priesthood to qualify Him to minister before His Father, unto the children of men, so as to redeem and save them. Does it seem reasonable that any man should take it upon him to do a part of the same work, or to assist in the same Priesthood, who has not been called by the spirit of prophecy or revelation as was Aaron, and ordained accordingly? And can it be expected that a man will be called by revelation who does not believe in revelation? Or will any man submit to ordination for the fulfillment of a revelation or call, in which he hath no faith? We think not.
That we may learn still further that God calls or elects particular men to perform particular works, or on whom to confer special blessings, we read, (Isaiah 45:4),"For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee [Cyrus] by thy name," to be a deliverer to my people Israel, and help to plant them on my holy mountain, (Isaiah 65:9, see connection) "for mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there," even on the mountains of Palestine, the land of Canaan which God had before promised to Abraham and his seed; (Gen. 17:8), and the particular reason why Abraham was chosen or elected to be the father of this blessed nation, is clearly told by the Lord, (Gen. 18:19), "For 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;" and this includes the general principle of election, i.e. that God chose, elected, or ordained Jesus Christ, His Son, to be the creator, governor, savior, and judge of the world; and Abraham to be the father of the faithful, on account of His foreknowledge of their obedience to His will and commandments, which agrees with the saying in 2 Tim. 2:21, "If a man therefore purge himself from these [i.e. iniquities], he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work."
Thus it appears that God has chosen or elected certain individuals to certain blessings, or to the performance of certain works; and that we may more fully understand the movements of the Supreme Governor of the universe, in the order of election, we proceed to quote the sacred writers, (Rom. 8:29-30), "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified." And whom did He foreknow? Those that loved Him, as we find in the 28th verse of the same chapter—"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." And "who are the called according to His purpose?" Those whom He foreknew, for He foreknew that those who loved Him would do His will and work righteousness; and it is vain for men to say they love God, if they do not keep His commandments. Cain found it so when he presented an unrighteous offering, for God said unto him, (Gen. 4:7), "If thou dost well, shalt thou not be accepted?" And yet he was not accepted. "But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; and hereby know we that we are in Him," (1 John 2:5), or, that we "are the called according to his purpose."
The principles of God's kingdom are perfect and harmonious, and the Scriptures of truth must also agree in all their parts, so that one sentiment thereof shall not destroy another, and when we read that, "whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate;" and that "known unto God are all His works;" so that it might appear from an abstract view thereof, that God foreknew all, and consequently predestinated all "to be conformed to the image of His Son;" we ought also to read, (Mark 16:16), "He that believeth not shall be damned;" and (John 8:14), "If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins;" also (Matt. 25:41), "Depart from me, ye cursed, * * * for I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat," &c.
Paul, referring to the Saints, (Rom. 1:7), calls them beloved of God, called to be Saints; and says, (Rom. 8:1), "There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," and goes on to show in his epistle to the Romans, that the law (the law of carnal commandments given to the children of Israel, the covenant people), could not make the comers thereunto perfect (see also Heb. 10:1), but was given for a schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ (Gal. 3:24); so that when He had come and offered Himself without spot unto God (Heb. 9:14), the sacrifice of the law should be done away in him, that the honest in heart all might come unto the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25); or the Gospel of Christ, walking no longer after the flesh but after the spirit, and be of that number who love God and keep His commandments, that they might be called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28); and these were the individuals referred to, whom God foreknew; such as Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Melchisedek, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Caleb, Joshua, the harlot Rahab, who wrought righteousness by hiding the servants of God, when their lives were sought by their enemies, Gideon, Barak, Sampson, Jeptha, David, Samuel, and the Prophets; (Heb. 11), "Who through faith, subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, and turned to flight the armies of the aliens." These all died in faith, having kept the commandments of the Most High, having obtained the promise of a glorious inheritance, and are waiting the fulfillment of the promise which they obtained; (Heb. 11:40), "God having provided some better things for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."
The Prophet Alma bears a similar testimony to the other Prophets concerning election, in his 9th chapter [Book of Mormon] saying, "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 have chosen good, and exercising exceeding great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such; and thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, 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 have had as great privilege as their brethren. Or in fine, in the first place, they were on the same standing with their brethren; thus, this holy calling being prepared from the foundation of the world for such as would not harden their hearts, being in and through the atonement of the only begotten Son, who was prepared; and thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach His commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into His rest: this high priesthood being after the order of His Son, which order was from the foundation of the world: or, in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge of all things. (Rom. 9:11-12), "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth; it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger." As we have before shown why God chose Abraham to be the father of the faithful, viz., because He knew Abraham would command his children and his household after him; so now we see, by this, why the purposes of God, according to election, should stand, and that for His oath's sake. (Gen. 22:16-18), "By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of 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 because thou hast obeyed my voice." Here the Lord Jesus, coming through the seed of Abraham, is again referred to, through whose sufferings and death, or in whom all the nations of the earth were to be blessed, or made alive, as they had died in Adam. (1 Cor. 15:22). In this, election is made manifest, for God elected or chose the children of Israel to be His peculiar people, and to them belong the covenants and promises, and the blessings received by the Gentiles come through the covenants to Abraham and his seed; for through the unbelief of the Jews (Rom. 11:17) they were broken off, and the Gentiles were grafted in; but they stand by faith (Rom. 11:20), and not by the oath of election; therefore it becometh them to fear lest they cease quickly to bear fruit and be broken off (verse 21) that the Jews may be grafted in again; for they shall be grafted in again (verse 23), if they abide not in unbelief.
The Gentiles became partakers of the blessings of election and promises, through faith and obedience, as Peter says, writing to the strangers scattered abroad (1 Peter 1), who were the Gentiles, the "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the spirit unto obedience;" (1 Peter 2:9) for "ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, (verse 10) which in time past were not a people, but now are the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy."
Why were they a peculiar people? Because God had chosen that generation of Gentiles, and conferred on them the blessings which descended through the Priesthood, and the covenants unto the house of Israel, or grafted them into the good olive tree (Rom. 11:17); and thus the house of Israel became the ministers of salvation to the Gentiles; and this is what the house of Israel was elected unto, not only their own salvation, but through them salvation unto all others; (John 4:22) "For salvation is of the Jews," (Rom. 11:11) and "through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles."
Among the promised seed we find Jesus Christ neither last nor least, but the Great High Priest and head of all, who was chosen to lay down His life for the redemption of the world, for without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sins (Heb. 9:22). (Deut. 7:6-9,) Moses bears a similar testimony with Peter and Paul to the principles of election—"For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the Lord loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh, King of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;" which proves the long continuance of the blessings of this highly favored people.
And the Lord said unto her, (Rebecca, Gen. 25:23) "The elder shall serve the younger." And why? Because that Isaac, the father of Esau and Jacob, the husband of Rebecca, and the son of promise to Abraham, was the heir; and as Esau was the elder son of his father Isaac, he had a legal claim to the heirship; but through unbelief, hardness of heart, and hunger, he sold his birthright to his younger brother Jacob (Gen. 25:33); and God knowing beforehand that he would do this of his own free will and choice, or acting upon that agency which God has delegated to all men, said to his mother, "The elder shall serve the younger;" for as the elder son Esau, has sold his birthright, and by that means lost all claim to the blessings promised to Abraham; those blessings and promises must have failed, if they had not descended with the purchased birthright unto the younger son, Jacob, for there was no other heir in Abraham's family; and if those blessings had failed, the purposes of God according to election must have failed in relation to the posterity of Israel, and the oath of Jehovah would have been broken, which could not be though heaven and earth were to pass away. (Rom. 9:13) "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." Where is it written? (Mal. 1:1-2). When was it written? About 397 years before Christ, and Esau and Jacob were born about 1,773 years before Christ, (according to the computation of time in Scripture margin), so Esau and Jacob lived about 1,376 years before the Lord spoke by Malachi, saying, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated," as quoted by Paul. This text is often brought forward to prove that God loved Jacob and hated Esau before they were born, or before they had done good or evil; but if God did love one and hate the other before they had done good or evil, He has not seen fit to tell us of it, either in the Old or New Testament, or any other revelation: but this only we learn that 1,376 years after Esau and Jacob were born, God said by Malachi—"Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated;" and surely that was time sufficient to prove their works, and ascertain whether they were worthy to be loved or hated.
And why did He love the one and hate the other? For the same reason that He accepted the offering of Abel and rejected Cain's offering. Because Jacob's works had been righteous, and Esau's wicked, and where is there a righteous father who would not do the same thing? Who would not love an affectionate and obedient son more than one who was disobedient, and sought to injure Him and overthrow the order of His house? (Objection). But God seeth not as man seeth, and He is no respecter of persons. (Acts 10:34). True, but what saith the next verse, "He that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted of Him;" but it does not say that he that worketh wickedness is accepted, and this is a proof that God has respect to the actions of persons; and if He did not, why should He commend obedience to His law? For if he had no respect to the actions of men, He would be just as well pleased with a wicked man for breaking His law as a righteous man for keeping it; and if Cain had done well, he would have been accepted as well as Abel (Gen. 4:7), and Esau as well as Jacob, which proves that God does not respect persons, only in relation to their acts, (see Matt. 25:34 to the end) "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," &c.; and because that God blessed Abel and Jacob, this would not have hindered His blessing Cain and Esau, if their works had been righteous like unto their brethren; so God's choosing one nation to blessing does not doom another to cursing or make them reprobate, according to the reprobation of God, as some suppose; "But by resisting the truth they became reprobate concerning the faith" (2 Tim. 3:8); and are "abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate" (Titus 1:16); consequently, are not fit subjects for the blessings of election.
Rom. 9:15, "For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." (See Exod. 33:13-19) "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest, * * * for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name, and I will make all my goodness to pass before thee, * * * and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy" (Rom. 9:16). "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy;" having His eye at the same time directed towards His covenant people in Egyptian bondage. For the Scripture saith unto Pharoah (Exod. 9:16-17), "And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. As yet exaltest thou thyself, against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?"
God has promised to bring the house of Israel up out of the land of Egypt at his own appointed time; and with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and great terribleness (Deut. 26:8). He chose to do this thing that His power might be known and his name declared throughout all the earth, so that all nations might have the God of heaven in remembrance, and reverence his holy name; and to accomplish this it was needful that He should meet with opposition to give Him an opportunity to manifest His power; therefore He raised up a man, even Pharaoh, who, He foreknew, would harden his heart against God of his own free will and choice, and would withstand the Almighty in His attempt to deliver His chosen people, and that to the utmost of his ability; and he proved himself worthy of the choice, for he left no means unimproved which his wicked heart could devise to vex the sons of Abraham, and defeat the purposes of the Most High, which gave the God of Abraham an opportunity to magnify his name in the ears of the nations, and in sight of this wicked king, by many mighty signs and wonders, sometimes even to the convincing of the wicked king of his wickedness, and of the power of God, and yet he would continue to rebel and hold the Israelites in bondage; and this is what it meant by God's hardening Pharaoh's heart. He manifested Himself in so many glorious and mighty ways, that Pharaoh could not resist the truth without becoming harder; so that at last, in his madness, to stay the people of God, he rushed his hosts into the Red Sea and they were covered with the floods.
Had not the power of God been exerted in a remarkable manner, it would seem as though the house of Israel must have become extinct, for Pharaoh commanded the midwives to destroy the sons of the Israelitish women as soon as they were born (Exod. 1:15-16), and called them to account for saving the men children alive (verse 18), and charged all his people saying, "Every son that is born, ye shall cast into the river" (verse 22), and yet God would have mercy on whom He would have mercy (Rom. 9:18); for he would have mercy on the goodly child, Moses, when he was hid and laid in the flags (Exod. 11:3) by his mother to save him from Pharaoh's cruel order, and caused that he should be preserved as a Prophet and deliverer to lead His people up to their own country; and whom He would He hardened, for He hardened Pharaoh by passing before him in mighty power and withdrawing His Spirit, and leaving him to his own inclination, for he had set task-masters over the Israelites to afflict them with their burdens, and caused them to build treasure cities for Pharaoh, and made them to serve with rigor; and made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar and brick and all manner of service in the field (Exod. 1); besides destroying the men children, thus proving to the God of heaven and all men that he had hardened his own hard heart, until he became a vessel of wrath fitted for destruction (Rom 9:22); all this long before God said unto Moses, "I will harden his (Pharaoh's) heart" (Exod. 4:21).
Are men, then, to be saved by works? Nay, verily, "By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8); "Not of works, lest any man should boast" (v. 9); "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us" (Titus 3:5): and yet faith without works is dead, being alone (James 2:17). Was not Abraham, our father, justified by works (v. 21)? Shall we then be saved by faith? Nay, neither by faith nor works, but by works is faith made perfect (v. 22); but "by grace are ye saved" (Eph. 2:8); "And if by grace, then it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace; and if it be of works, then it is no more grace; otherwise works is no works" (Rom. 11:6); "Ye see then how that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only" (James 2:24).
Rom. 10:3-4, "For they (Israel) being ignorant of God's righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God; for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Thus the righteousness of God is made manifest in the plan of salvation by His crucified son; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved," but the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (Acts 4:10-12); but of this the Jews were ignorant, although they themselves crucified Him; and they have been going about wandering among all the nations of the earth ever since, for the space of eighteen hundred years, trying to establish their own righteousness, which is of the law of Moses, which law can never make the comers thereto perfect (Heb. 10:1); yet notwithstanding their darkness and long dispersion, there is a remnant, according to the election of grace (Rom. 11:5); whom God will gather from among all people whither they are scattered and will be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen; then shall they dwell in their land which God gave to His servant Jacob, and they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses and plant vineyards; "Yea, they shall dwell with confidence when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about; and they shall know that I am the Lord their God" (Ezek. 28:25-26; Isaiah 11:11-16); and when this gathering shall be completed, "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 the 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" (Jer. 16:14 to the end).
Rom. 11:7. "What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it." And why have they not obtained it? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law, for they stumbled at the stumbling stone; as it is written, "Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense" (Rom. 9:32-33); "to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble" (Isaiah 8:14-15); but "have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid; but rather through their fall, salvation is come unto the Gentiles" (Rom. 11:11). "And Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luke 21:24); and when the house of Israel shall be restored to their possessions in Canaan, it may truly be said, the election hath obtained it; for the fulfillment of God's oath of election to Abraham as the father of the faithful, and the promises to His children will obtain that for Israel, which he has sought for in vain by the law of Moses.
This is the election that we believe in, viz., such as we find in the Prophets and Apostles, and the word of the Lord Himself, and as we have not room to give all the quotations in full, in relation to election in this epistle, we would invite the Saints to examine the Scriptures, in connection with these quoted; and whenever they find election, or any other principle or blessing, given or applied to the house of Israel, let those principles continue with the house of Israel, and not apply that to Esau which belongs to Jacob; or to the churches of modern times which belong to the ancient covenant people; and always ascertain how the Lord, the Apostles and Prophets have applied their words, and ever continue the same application, and knowledge and wisdom will be added unto you; and in the words of the beloved Peter and Paul, we would exhort you to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:12-13); "Giving all diligence to make your calling and election sure" (2 Peter 1:10); for this is that sealing power spoken of in Ephesians (1:13-14)—"in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth; the gospel of your salvation, in whom also, after that ye believed ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, until the praise of His glory" (2 Peter 1:11); "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Amen.
Friday, January 8.—Elder Parley P. Pratt wrote President Sidney Rigdon, from Manchester, England, in part as follows:
* * * * * As to the progress of the work of God in this county, it is increasing at every step. It is now prospering in Ireland and in Wales, as well as in Scotland and England. It is spreading into various new places in England. We have several hundred faithful preachers, and the spirit of inquiry seems to be more generally awakened. The clergy of the Church of England, the Methodist priests, the Baptist ministers, and Unitarians, are all in arms, as it were, against the Saints.
The country is flooded with pamphlets, tracts, papers, &c., published against us. * * * * * I must now inform you of the fact that we have reaped the first fruits of Campbellism in England, at a place called Nottingham.
A Proclamation of the First Presidency of the Church to the Saints Scattered Abroad, Greeting:
Beloved Brethren:—The relationship which we sustain to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, renders it necessary that we should make known from time to time, the circumstances, situation, and prospects of the Church, and give such instructions as may be necessary for the well being of the Saints, and for the promotion of those objects calculated to farther their present and everlasting happiness.
We have to congratulate the Saints on the progress of the great work of the "last days," for not only has it spread through the length and breadth of this vast continent, but on the continent of Europe, and on the islands of the sea, it is spreading in a manner entirely unprecedented in the annals of time. This appears the more pleasing when we consider, that but a short time has elapsed since we were unmercifully driven from the state of Missouri, after suffering cruelties and persecutions in various and horrid forms. Then our overthrow, to many, seemed inevitable, while the enemies of truth triumphed over us, and by their cruel reproaches endeavored to aggravate our sufferings. But the Lord of Hosts was with us, the God of Jacob was our refuge, and we were delivered from the hands of bloody and deceitful men; and in the state of Illinois we found an asylum, and were kindly welcomed by persons worthy the character of freemen.
It would be impossible to enumerate all those who, in our time of deep distress, nobly came forward to our relief, and, like the good Samaritan, poured oil into our wounds, and contributed liberally to our necessities, and the citizens of Quincy en masse, and the people of Illinois, generally, seemed to emulate each other in this labor of love. We would, however, make honorable mention of Governor Carlin, Judge Young, General Leech, Judge Ralston, Rev. Mr. Young, Col. Henry, N. Bushnell, John Wood, J. N. Morris, S. M. Bartlett, Samuel Holmes, and J. T. Holmes, Esquires, who will long be remembered, by a grateful community, for their philanthropy to a suffering people, and whose kindness, on that occasion, is indelibly engraved on the tablets of our hearts in golden letters of love.
We would likewise make mention of the legislators of this state, who, without respect to parties, without reluctance, freely, openly, boldly, and nobly, have come forth to our assistance, owned us as citizens and friends, and took us by the hand, and extended to us all the blessings of civil, political, and religious liberty, by granting us, under date of December 16, 1840, one of the most liberal charters, with the most plenary powers ever conferred by a legislative assembly on free citizens, "The City of Nauvoo," the "Nauvoo Legion," and the "University of the City of Nauvoo."
The first of these charters (that for the "City of Nauvoo") secures to us, in all time to come, irrevocably, an those great blessings of civil liberty which of right appertain to all the free citizens of a great civilized republic; it is all we ever claimed. What a contrast does the Proceedings of the legislators of this state present when compared with those of Missouri, whose bigotry, jealousy, and superstition, prevailed to such an extent as to deny us our liberty and our sacred rights. Illinois has set a glorious example to the whole United States, and to the world at large, and has nobly carried out the principles of her Constitution, and the Constitution of these United States, and while she requires of us implicit obedience to the laws, (which we hope ever to see observed) she affords us the protection of law, the security of life, liberty, and the peaceable pursuit of happiness.
The name of our city (Nauvoo) is of Hebrew origin, and signifies a beautiful situation, or place, carrying with it, also, the idea of rest; and is truly descriptive of the most delightful location. It is situated on the east bank of the Mississippi river, at the head of the Des Moines Rapids, in Hancock county, bounded on the east by an extensive prairie of surpassing beauty, and on the north, west, and south, by the Mississippi. This place has been objected to by some on account of the sickness which has prevailed in the summer months, but it is the opinion of Doctor Bennett, that Hancock county, and all the eastern and southern portions of the City of Nauvoo, are as healthful as any other portions of the western country, to acclimatized citizens; whilst the northwestern portion of the city has experienced much affliction from fever and ague, which, however, Doctor Bennett thinks can be easily remedied by draining the sloughs on the adjacent islands in the Mississippi.
The population of our city is increasing with unparalleled rapidity, numbering more than 3,000 inhabitants. Every facility is afforded, in the city and adjacent country, in Hancock county, for the successful prosecution of the mechanical arts and the pleasing pursuits of agriculture. The waters of the Mississippi can be successfully used for manufacturing purposes to almost an unlimited extent.
Having been instrumental, in the hands of our heavenly Father, in laying a foundation for the gathering of Zion, we would say, let all those who appreciate the blessings of the Gospel, and realize the importance of obeying the commandments of heaven, who have been blessed of heaven with the possession of this world's goods, first prepare for the general gathering; let them dispose of their effects as fast as circumstances will possibly admit, without making too great sacrifices, and remove to our city and county; establish and build up manufactures in the city, purchase and cultivate farms in the county. This will secure our permanent inheritance, and prepare the way for the gathering of the poor. This is agreeable to the order of heaven, and the only principle on which the gathering can be effected. Let the rich, then, and all who can assist in establishing this place, make every preparation to come on without delay, and strengthen our hands, and assist in promoting the happiness of the Saints. This cannot be too forcibly impressed on the minds of all, and the Elders are hereby instructed to proclaim this word in all places where the Saints reside, in their public administrations, for this is according to the instructions we have received from the Lord.
The Temple of the Lord is in process of erection here, where the Saints will come to worship the God of their fathers, according to the order of His house and the powers of the Holy Priesthood, and will be so constructed as to enable all the functions of the Priesthood to be duly exercised, and where instructions from the Most High will be received, and from this place go forth to distant lands. Let us then concentrate all our powers, under the provisions of our magna charta granted by the Illinois legislature, at the "City of Nauvoo" and surrounding country, and strive to emulate the action of the ancient covenant fathers and patriarchs, in those things which are of such vast importance to this and every succeeding generation.
The "Nauvoo Legion" embraces all our military power, and will enable us to perform our military duty by ourselves, and thus afford us the power and privilege of avoiding one of the most fruitful sources of strife, oppression, and collision with the world. It will enable us to show our attachment to the state and nation, as a people, whenever the public service requires our aid, thus proving ourselves obedient to the paramount laws of the land, and ready at all times to sustain and execute them.
The "University of the City of Nauvoo" will enable us to teach our children wisdom, to instruct them in all the knowledge and learning, in the arts, sciences, and learned professions. We hope to make this institution one of the great lights of the world, and by and through it to diffuse that kind of knowledge which will be of practicable utility, and for the public good, and also for private and individual happiness. The Regents of the University will take the general supervision of all matters appertaining to education, from common schools up to the highest branches of a most liberal collegiate course. They will establish a regular system of education, and hand over the pupil from teacher to professor, until the regular gradation is consummated and the education finished.
This corporation contains all the powers and prerogatives of any other college or university in this state. The charters for the University and Legion are addenda to the city charter, making the whole perfect and complete.
Not only has the Lord given us favor in the eyes of the community, who are happy to see us in the enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of freemen, but we are happy to state that several of the principal men in Illinois, who have listened to the doctrines we promulgate, have become obedient to the faith, and are rejoicing in the same; among whom is John C. Bennett, M. D., Quartermaster-General of Illinois. We mention this gentleman first, because, that during our persecutions in Missouri, he became acquainted with the violence we were suffering while in that state, on account of our religion; his sympathy for us was aroused, and his indignation kindled against our persecutors, for the cruelties practiced upon us, and their flagrant violation of both the law and the Constitution. Amidst their heated zeal to put down the truth, he addressed us a letter, tendering to us his assistance in delivering us out of the hands of our enemies, and restoring us again to our privileges, and only required at our hands to point out the way and he would be forthcoming, with all the forces he could raise for the purpose. He has been one of the instruments in effecting our safety and deliverance, from the unjust persecutions and demands of the authorities of Missouri, and also in procuring the city charter. He is a man of enterprise, extensive acquirements, and of independent mind, and is calculated to be a great blessing to our community.
Dr. Isaac Galland also, who is one of our benefactors, having under his control a large quantity of land, in the immediate vicinity of our city, and a considerable portion of the city plat, opened both his heart and his hands, and "when we were strangers, took us in," and bade us welcome to share with him in his abundance, leaving his dwelling house, the most splendid edifice in the vicinity, for our accommodation, and partook himself to a small, uncomfortable dwelling. He sold us his large estates on very reasonable terms, and on long credit, so that we might have an opportunity of paying for them without being distressed, and has since taken our lands in Missouri in payment for the whole amount, and has given us a clear and indisputable title for the same. And in addition to the first purchase, we have exchanged lands with him in Missouri to the amount of eighty thousand dollars. He is the honored instrument the Lord used to prepare a home for us, when we were driven from our inheritances, having given him control of vast bodies of land, and prepared his heart to make the use of it the Lord intended he should. Being a man of extensive information, great talents, and high literary fame, he devoted all his powers and influence to give us a standing.
After having thus exerted himself for our salvation and comfort, and formed an intimate acquaintance with many of our people, his mind became wrought up to the greatest feelings, being convinced that our persecutions were like those of the ancient Saints, and, after investigating the doctrines we proclaimed, he became convinced of the truth and of the necessity of obedience thereto, and, to the great joy and satisfaction of the Church, he yielded himself to the waters of baptism, and became a partaker with us in our sufferings, "Choosing rather to suffer afflictions with the people of God than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season."
In connection with these, we would mention the names of General James Adams, judge of probate, of Sangamon county; Dr. Green of Shelby county, R. D. Foster, and Sidney Knowlton, of Hancock county; Dr. Knight, of Putnam county, Indiana; many others of respectability and high standing in society, and nearly all the old settlers in our immediate neighborhood. We make mention of this that the Saints may be encouraged, and also that they may see that the persecutions we suffered in Missouri were but the prelude to a far more glorious display of the power of truth, and of the religion we have espoused.
From the kind, uniform, and consistent course pursued by the citizens of Illinois, and the great success which has attended us while here, the natural advantages of this place for every purpose we require, and the necessity of the gathering of the Saints of the Most High, we would say—let the brethren who love the prosperity of Zion, who are anxious that her stakes should be strengthened and her cords lengthened, and who prefer her prosperity to their chief joy, come and cast in their lots with us, and cheerfully engage in a work so glorious and sublime, and say with Nehemiah, "We, His servants, will arise and build." It probably would hardly be necessary to enforce this important subject on the attention of the Saints, as its necessity is obvious, and is a subject of paramount importance; but as watchmen to the house of Israel—as shepherds over the flock which is now scattered over a vast extent of country, and the anxiety we feel for their prosperity and everlasting welfare, and for the carrying out the great and glorious purposes of our God, to which we have been called, we feel to urge its necessity, and say—Let the Saints come here; this is the word of the Lord, and in accordance with the great work of the last days. It is true, the idea of a general gathering has heretofore been associated with the most cruel and oppressing scenes, owing to our unrelenting persecutions at the hands of wicked and unjust men; but we hope that those days of darkness and gloom have gone by, and, from the liberal policy of our state government, we may expect a scene of peace and prosperity we have never before witnessed since the rise of our Church, and the happiness and prosperity which now await us, is, in all human probability, incalculably great. By a concentration of action, and a unity of effort, we can only accomplish the great work of the last days which we could not do in our remote and scattered condition, while our interests, both temporal and spiritual, will be greatly enhanced, and the blessings of heaven must flow unto us in an uninterrupted stream; of this, we think there can be no question.
The greatest temporal and spiritual blessings which always flow from faithfulness and concerted effort, never attended individual exertion or enterprise. The history of all past ages abundantly attests this fact. In addition to all temporal blessings, there is no other way for the Saints to be saved in these last days, [than by the gathering] as the concurrent testimony of all the holy Prophets clearly proves, for it is written—"They shall come from the east, and be gathered from the west; the north shall give up, and the south shall keep not back." "The sons of God shall be gathered from far, and His daughters from the ends of the earth."
It is also the concurrent testimony of all the Prophets, that this gathering together of all the Saints, must take place before the Lord comes to "take vengeance upon the ungodly," and "to be glorified and admired by all those who obey the Gospel." The fiftieth Psalm, from the first to the fifth verse inclusive, describes the glory and majesty of that event.
"The mighty God, and even the Lord hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth (that He may judge the people). Gather my Saints together unto me; those that have made covenant with me by sacrifice."
We might offer many other quotations from the Scriptures, but believing them to be familiar to the Saints, we forbear.
We would wish the Saints to understand that, when they come here, they must not expect perfection, or that all will be harmony, peace, and love; if they indulge these ideas, they will undoubtedly be deceived, for here there are persons, not only from different states, but from different nations, who, although they feel a great attachment to the cause of truth, have their prejudices of education, and, consequently, it requires some time before these things can be overcome. Again, there are many that creep in unawares, and endeavor to sow discord, strife, and animosity in our midst, and by so doing, bring evil upon the Saints. These things we have to bear with, and these things will prevail either to a greater or less extent until "the floor be thoroughly purged," and "the chaff be burnt up." Therefore, let those who come up to this place be determined to keep the commandments of God, and not be discouraged by those things we have enumerated, and then they will be prospered—the intelligence of heaven will be communicated to them, and they will, eventually, see eye to eye, and rejoice in the full fruition of that glory which is reserved for the righteous.
In order to erect the Temple of the Lord, great exertions will be required on the part of the Saints, so that they may build a house which shall be accepted by the Almighty, and in which His power and glory shall be manifested. Therefore let those who can freely make a sacrifice of their time, their talents, and their property, for the prosperity of the kingdom, and for the love they have to the cause of truth, bid adieu to their homes and pleasant places of abode, and unite with us in the great work of the last days, and share in the tribulation, that they may ultimately share in the glory and triumph.
We wish it likewise to be distinctly understood, that we claim no privilege but what we feel cheerfully disposed to share with our fellow citizens of every denomination, and every sentiment of religion; and therefore say, that so far from being restricted to our own faith, let all those who desire to locate themselves in this place, or the vicinity, come, and we will hail them as citizens and friends, and shall feel it not only a duty, but a privilege, to reciprocate the kindness we have received from the benevolent and kind-hearted citizens of the state of Illinois.
Presidents of the Church.
Nauvoo, January 15th, 1841.