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Title: Spencer's Letters - Letters Exhibiting the Most Prominent Doctrines of the - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Author: Spencer, Orson
Language: English
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LETTERS

EXHIBITING THE MOST

PROMINENT DOCTRINES

OF THE

CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS.



BY ORSON SPENCER, A.B.,

_President of the Church of Jesus Christ of L.D.S., in Europe_.

IN REPLY

TO THE REV. WILLIAM CROWELL, A.M.,

_Boston, Massachusetts_, U.S.A.



"THE WISE SHALL UNDERSTAND."--Daniel.



LIVERPOOL: PUBLISHED BY ORSON SPENCER,

39, TORBOCK STREET.

1848.



LIVERPOOL: PRINTED BY R. JAMES, SOUTH CASTLE STREET.



CONTENTS

THE AUTHOR'S PREFACE

LETTER FROM THE REV. W. CROWEL A. M.

LETTER I.

GENERAL INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

LETTER II.

IMMEDIATE REVELATION

LETTER III.

ON FAITH

LETTER IV.

ON WATER BAPTISM

LETTER V.

THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST

LETTER VI.

APOSTACY FROM THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH

LETTER VII.

THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF AN APOSTOLIC CHURCH

LETTER VIII.

THE TRUE AND LIVING GOD

LETTER IX.

THE PRIESTHOOD

LETTER X.

ON GATHERING

LETTER XI.

THE LATTER-DAY JUDGMENTS

LETTER XII.

ON THE RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS

LETTER XIII.

MISCELLANEOUS REMARKS ON RESTITUTION

LETTER XIV.

SUMMARY AND FINAL APPEAL

FAREWELL ADDRESS

NIGHT OF MARTYRDOM

DEATH OF THE AUTHOR'S WIFE

LINES, ON READING THE AUTHOR'S FIRST LETTER IN THE SERIES, BY MISS E.
R. SNOW



PREFACE.

The Author has, for some time, felt desirous to see the most prominent
subjects of the faith of Latter-day Saints brought before the public in
continuous order, in one volume.

This series of Letters was called forth by the letter of inquiry
prefixed, from the pen of the Rev. William Crowel. This gentleman was
at the time, and still is (for ought I know) Editor of "_The Christian
Watchman_," Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.--a leading paper of the
Baptist denomination in the United States.

The Editor was also a clergyman of high repute for learning and piety
in that denomination of people, and missionary elect to a foreign
land. From the elevated standing of this gentleman, and the nature of
his inquiries being such as have come from many other distinguished
acquaintance, relative to the author's change of views, it seemed
wisdom, after consultation with the Prophet and Patriarch (since
martyred), to publish a brief reply to his minute and interesting
inquiries.

The author was extensively known in the New England and Middle States,
as a Preacher of the Baptist denomination. Reference for his character
is given to his Excellency George N. Briggs, Governor of the State of
Massachusetts, by whom he was once invited to take the pastoral charge
of the church where his Excellency resided, and of which he was a
member; also to G. Read, Esq., Connecticut, and Eliphalet Nott, D.D.,
L.L.D., President of Union College, New York, under whose Presidency he
graduated in 1824; and also to N. Kendrick D.D., President of Hamilton
Literary and Theological College, from whence the author graduated in
1829. The records of both these institutions will show that the author
held the FIRST grade of honourable distinction at the time he left them.

These references are not given from vanity, but from the fact that
almost every man's character is traduced and villified, the moment he
embraces the _faith_ once delivered to the Saints.

The present volume constitutes the third re-print, several thousand
copies having been exhausted in a tract form, the present edition, in
book form, was repeatedly inquired after.

The edition has been got out in the midst of multiplied engagements.
Truth in studied brevity has been aimed at, without seeking the least
embellishment of diction.

If there has, in part of the volume, been the appearance of severity
towards the religions of modern Christianity, it has been prompted
solely by the impulse of truth, in order to demolish error, before the
Destroyer of the Gentiles should expose iniquity with irretrievable
loss to its victims.

Scripture references have been studiously omitted, believing that
honest minds would readily find ample support from the scriptures
for all that is contained in this little volume. It is, therefore,
commended to the faith and cordial reception of all who desire the
salvation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in sincerity and truth.

ORSON SPENCER.

_Liverpool, January_ 1, 1848.



LETTER FROM THE REV. WILLIAM CROWELL, A. M. TO ORSON SPENCER, A. B.

_Boston, October_ 21, 1842.

MY DEAR SIR,--On the confidence of an old acquaintance and kindly
intercourse, I have long wished to address a friendly line to you;
for, I am sure, you have not forgotten the pleasant, though brief,
interviews which we enjoyed at Middlefield. Since I saw you there,
a great change has taken place, as I have been led to believe, in
your religious views, and a corresponding one in your relations and
circumstances; still, I trust, that you have not forgotten the claims
of friendship and acquaintance.

I need not tell you how much I became interested in your family--so
young and so full of promise--nor of the strong confidence which I
reposed in your piety and conscientious regard for the will of God. I
would not allow myself to believe that you would profess what you did
not sincerely believe, nor that you would believe without good reasons;
still the change in your views excited in me no little surprise. I
have, therefore, been desirous to receive from yourself an account
of your views, and the reasons of your change. I am also desirous to
obtain from one in whom I can confide--one who is acquainted with
the facts--and one who is not prejudiced against it at the outset,
some account of the faith which you have embraced; of the personal
character, doctrines, claims, and influence of him who is called the
leader--I mean Joseph Smith.

Does he claim to be inspired? Is he a man of prayer? a man of pure
life? a man of peace? Where is he now? Does he appear at the head of
his troops as a military commander? What is the nature of the worship
among you, and wherein does it differ from that of religious people
with whom you have been acquainted elsewhere?

How many inhabitants has the city of Nauvoo? What is their condition,
occupations, and general character? What are the dimensions of
the Temple, now in course of erection? Do the Mormons suffer much
persecution? if so, from whom? Are the children instructed in learning
and religion? It would give me great pleasure to learn, also, how you
are employed? whether your family are with you? and also your present
views of truth and duty, and in what respects they differ from the
views which you formerly entertained.

Excuse the number and minuteness of these inquiries. I take an interest
in all that affects the welfare of my fellow-men, and especially in
what is so important as their religious views and hopes. I am aware
that the people, and the views which you have adopted as your own,
are peculiarly liable to misrepresentation; but from you I may expect
something more impartial. Now, if you do not find the task too great
a tax upon your time, I should be much gratified in receiving as full
and as speedy an answer to the queries above proposed, with any other
information in your possession, as may be convenient to yourself.

It may be gratifying to you, to learn that a powerful revival of
religion has been enjoyed in Middlefield, within a few weeks past,--an
account of which, Mr. Bestor, the present pastor, has sent to me for
publication in _The Christian Watchman,_ a copy of which I send you. I
visited the town in the summer, and found your old friends well. I also
attended a minister's meeting at Brother Bestor's, and enjoyed a very
pleasant interview. Several of the brethren spoke of you in terms of
kindness.

My best wishes attend you. Present my regards to Mrs. Spencer, and

Believe me,

Very truly yours,

WILLIAM CROWELL.

P. S.--You will understand that I ask for information for my private
benefit and satisfaction. I do not ask for anything to be published,
unless you see fit to give it for that purpose. I wish you to write as
an old friend.

W. C.



LETTERS IN REPLY BY ORSON SPENCER, A. B.



LETTER I.

GENERAL INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.

_Nauvoo November_ 17, 1842.

My Dear Sir,--I received yours of the 21st ult. about a week since, but
many engagements have prevented a more early reply.

Your inquiries were interesting and important, and I only regret that
I have not more time and room to answer them as their importance and
minuteness demand.

I am not at all surprised that my old friends should wonder at my
change of views; even to this day it is marvellous in my own eyes,
how I should be separated from my brethren to this (Mormon) faith. I
greatly desire to see my Baptist brethren face to face, that I may tell
them all things pertaining to my views and this work; but, at present,
the care of my wife and six children, with the labours of a civil
office, forbids this privilege.

A sheet of paper is a poor conductor of a marvellous and controverted
system of theology; but receive this sheet as containing only some
broken hints upon which I hope to amplify in some better manner
hereafter. You have expressed confidence in my former conscientious
regard for the will of God. I thank you for this, because the virtues
of many good men have been disallowed upon some supposed forfeiture of
public esteem. I thank God that you, and many of the churches where I
once laboured, are more liberal.

You, more than common men, know that it is in accordance with all past
history, that men's true characters suffer imprisonment, scourging,
and death, as soon as they become innovators or seceders from
long-established and venerated systems. Many have suffered martyrdom
for literary and also religious improvements, to whom after ages have
done better justice. "Which of the prophets have not your fathers
persecuted, and slain them which told before of the coming of the Just
One?"

It was the misfortune of many of the former prophets, that they were
raised up at a period of the world when apostacy and corruption
rendered their efforts indispensable, although such efforts proved
unacceptable to those who were in fault. Ancient prophets, you know,
did not merely reiterate what their predecessors had taught, but
spoke hidden wisdom, even things that had been kept secret for many
generations; because the spirit by which they were moved had knowledge
of all truth, and could disclose and reveal as it seemed wisdom in God.

The spirits that were disobedient, while once the long-suffering of God
waited in the days of Noah, doubtless despised the prophet that taught
a universal deluge. But Noah had a special revelation of a deluge,
although the religious people of his day counted him an enthusiast. The
revelation given to Moses to _gather_ an opprest people to a particular
place, was equally one side of, and out of the usual course of former
revelations. John came to the literal followers of Abraham and Moses;
but he escaped not persecution and death, because he breathed an
uncharitable and exclusive spirit towards the existing sects of the
day. Still he was a revelator and seer approved of God.

And is it a thing incredible with you, brother, that before the great
sabbatic era, world's rest, or millennium, God should raise up a
prophet to prepare the people for that event, and the second coming of
Jesus Christ? Would it be disagreeable to those who love the unity
of Saints, or improbable or unscriptural to expect such a prophet to
be possessed with the key of knowledge, or endowed, like Peter, with
the _stone_ of revelation? If the many hundred religious sects of this
age should hereafter harmonize into one faith and brotherhood, without
the aid of special revelations, it would constitute an unparalleled
phenomenon. Should they become a bride fit to receive Jesus Christ
at his coming, it could not be according to Paul's gospel. For six
thousand years, apostles and prophets have constituted an essential
part of the spiritual edifice in which God dwells. Paul says it is by
them the church is perfected and brought to unity of faith.

I know that you and I have been taught from our childhood, that the
church can be perfected without prophets; but where, I ask, is the
first scripture to support this view?

As you kindly say, I have always been accustomed to offer a reason for
my faith; but be assured I was confounded and made dumb, when asked
why I taught another gospel than what Paul did--why I taught that
revelation was ended, when Paul did not--or why I taught that prophets
were not needed, when no inspired teacher ever taught such a doctrine.
Error may become venerable by age, and respectable from the number of
its votaries, but neither age nor popularity can ever make it truth.

You give me credit for a conscientious regard for the will of God.
It was _this_ that gave me the victory where many others, I fear,
are vanquished. The spirit of God wrought mightily in me, commending
the ancient gospel to my conscience. I contemplated it with peaceful
serenity and joy in believing. Visions and dreams began to illuminate,
occasionally, my slumbering moments; but when I allowed my selfish
propensities to speak, I cursed Mormonism in my heart, and regretted
being in possession of as much light and knowledge as had flowed into
my mind from that source. When I preached or conversed according to
my best convictions, peace reigned in my heart, and truth enlarged
my understanding. Conviction and reverence for the truth, at such
times seemed to reign in the hearts of those that heard me; at times,
however, some were ready to gnash their teeth, for the truth that they
would not receive and could not resist.

I counted the cost, to myself and family, of embracing such views,
until I could read it like the child his alphabet, either upward or
downward. The expense I viewed through unavoidable tears, both in
public and private, by night and by day; I said, however, the Lord He
is God, I _can_, I _will_ embrace the truth.

When I considered the weakness of the human mind, and its liability
to be deceived, I re-examined and held converse with the most able
opposers to Mormonism, in a meek and teachable spirit; but the ease
with which many, wearing a high profession of piety, turned aside
the force of palpable truth, or leaned on tradition or inextricable
difficulties, that they could not solve into harmony with their
professions, was very far from dissuading me from my new views. What
could I do? Truth had taken possession of my mind--plain, simple, Bible
truth. It might be asked if I could not expel it from my door; yes, I
_could_ do it; but how would that harmonize with a sincere profession
to preach and practice the truth, by way of example to others? It was
a crisis I never shall--I never can forget. I remember it as an exodus
from parents, kindred, denomination, and temporal support. Has any
one ever passed such a crisis, they will say, at least, be careful of
Brother Spencer's character and feelings.

Little as I supposed that I cared about popularity, competence, or
the fellowship of those who were sincerely in error, when I came to
be stretched upon the altar of sacrifice, and the unsheathed blade
that was to exscind from all these hung over me with perpendicular
exactness; then, then, brother, I cried unto the Lord to strengthen me
to pass through the scene with his approbation.

While I was inquiring to know what the Lord would have me to do, many
brethren of different denominations warned and exhorted me faithfully;
but their warnings consisted very much in a lively exhibition of evils
to be endured, if I persisted; or, in other words, they appealed to my
selfish nature. But I knew too well that truth should not be abandoned
through the force of such appeals, however eloquently urged. Some
with whom I conversed, gave glowing descriptions of the obnoxious
character of Joseph Smith, and of the contradictory and unscriptural
jargon of the Book of Mormon, but it was their misfortune usually to be
deplorably ignorant of the true character of either.

Of the truth of this statement many instances might be furnished, if
the limits of my sheet would allow. My own solicitude to know the
character of Mr. Smith, in order to judge of the doctrines propagated
by him, was not so great as that of some others. My aversion to the
worship of man, is both educational and religious; but I said boldly,
concerning Mr. Smith, that whoever had arranged and harmonized such
a system of irresistible truth, has borne good fruit. Some suggested
that it would be wisdom to make a personal acquaintance with Mr.
Smith, previous to embracing his doctrines; but to me the obligation
to receive the truths of heaven seemed absolute, whatever might be the
character of Mr. Smith.

I read diligently the Book of Mormon from beginning to end, in close
connexion with the comments of Origen Bachelor, Laroy Sunderland,
and Dr. Hulburt, together with newspapers and some private letters
obtained from the surviving friends of Mr. Spaulding, the supposed
author of that book. I arose from its perusal with a strong conviction
on my mind, that its pages were graced with the pen of inspiration. I
was surprised that so little fault could be found with a book of such
magnitude, treating, as it did, of such diversified subjects, through
a period of so many generations. It appeared to me, that no enemy to
truth or godliness would ever take the least interest in publishing the
contents of such a book; such appeared to me to be its godly bearing,
sound morality, and harmony with ancient scriptures, that the enemy of
all righteousness might as well proclaim the dissolution of his own
kingdom, as to spread the contents of such a volume among men; and
from that time to this, every effort made by its enemies to demolish,
has only shown how invincible a fortress defends it. If no greater
breach can be made upon it, than has hitherto been made by those
who have attacked it with the greatest animosity and diligence, its
overthrow may be considered a forlorn hope. On this subject I only ask
the friends of pure religion to read the Book of Mormon with the same
unprejudiced, prayerful, and teachable spirit that they would recommend
unbelievers in the ancient scriptures to read those sacred records. I
have not spoken of the external evidence of the truth of the Book of
Mormon, which is now worthy of much consideration; but the internal
evidence, I think, will satisfy every honest mind. As you enquire after
the reasons that operated to change my mind to the present faith, I
only remark that "Steven's Travels" had some influence, as an external
evidence of the truth of the Book of Mormon.

My present view, after which you also enquire, is, that the evidence,
both internal and external, have been multiplied. It may have caused
surprise and wonder to many of my respected and distinguished friends
in New England, how I could ever renounce a respectable standing in the
churches and in the ministry, to adhere to a people so odious in every
one's mouth, and so revolting to every one's natural liking; the answer
in part is this:--As soon as I discovered an identity in the doctrines
of the Latter-day Saints and the Ancient Saints, I enquired whether
the treatment bestowed upon each was also similar. I immediately
began to dig deep to find the foundation and corner-stone of the
true church; I looked at the demeanour and character of those who
surrounded the Ancient Saints. The result of my observation seemed to
be, that even Jesus Christ had many objectionable points of character
to those who observed him. Those who were reputedly most conversant
with Abraham, Moses, and other prophets of the Lord, pronounced him
unfit for the respect and confidence of a pious community; and why
did such men find so many objectionable points in the character and
conduct of Jesus Christ? for substantially the same reasons that men
of high intelligence and devotion find fault with Joseph Smith and his
doctrines. Those who bore down with heavy opposition to Jesus Christ
were honourable men, whose genealogy took in the worthiest ancestry;
they were the orthodox expositors of revealed truth. Those who now
oppose Joseph Smith (a person ordained and sent forth by Jesus Christ),
occupy the same high and respectable standing, and manifest a similar
bearing towards the reputed impostor of the present day. The ancient
worthies were the repositories of learning, and so are the modern
worthies. The ancients taught many things according to truth and
godliness, and verily believed they were substantially right in faith
and practice; this is also true of modern religious teachers.

But, in reply to my own question, why the ancient religionists opposed
Jesus Christ? I answer; in the first place, they mistook his true
character and conduct; in the second place, they were palpably ignorant
of the wisdom and godliness of many things in the character and conduct
of Jesus Christ; they considered that there was absolutely a wide
difference in the views and conduct of Jesus Christ and themselves.
The same is true of many distinguished opposers to Joseph Smith; they
consider that there is an irreconcilable difference between themselves
and Mr. Smith; and Mr. Smith, of course, is in the wrong, and they are
in the right.

Now let us consider, first, wherein the ancients mistook the character
of Jesus Christ, and modern opposers to Mr. Smith do the same of him.
The true character of Jesus Christ was very imperfectly known to those
who opposed him in his own time. Many impostors that had preceded, had
guarded the public mind against a repetition of further abuse. He was
eyed with dark suspicion wherever he went. It may well be supposed,
that sage precaution against him was vehemently urged, lest through his
great subtlety he might mislead even some that were respectable. And
what could he do to disabuse the public mind? Prejudice and calumny
outrun and prepared a thorny reception for him in all places; and so
thick and dark was the fog and cloud of misapprehension and falsehood
that followed him, that dark suspicions and foul inferences would
obtrude upon the minds even of the honest, to weaken their convictions
in his behalf, and shake their conclusions. The tale of calumny never
lost in sharpness and effect by time or distance.

Those who had not the privilege of a personal acquaintance with Jesus,
might be supposed to have no interest in favouring a personage whose
pretensions, if countenanced, would disturb their quietude, and impugn
their motives, and threaten the prosperity of a system that they
supposed as old as the days of Abraham, and teachings as orthodox as
the sayings of Moses. But whatever was said or done by Jesus that
could possibly be construed by prejudiced minds to his disadvantage,
these things were heeded with readiness, and published in the social
circle, and riveted by the butt of ridicule upon every mind; and those
who loved to laugh at the expense of the innocent, could furnish stock
for the purpose, by retailing tales about the supposed impostor, that
had their origin in misapprehension and falsehood; but they were well
received and cheered by those who affected grave reverence for the
Supreme Deity, while they could trample with scorn (unconsciously) upon
the _brightness of His glory in the person of His Son_.

Now let me ask if the character and conduct of Mr. Smith is not equally
misunderstood by modern religionists. Mr. Smith only claims to be a
prophet, raised up to usher in the last dispensation, while Jesus
Christ was more obnoxious in proportion to the superior magnitude of
his claims as the Son of God. How difficult it is for persons, in the
present age, to form a correct estimate of the true character and views
of Mr. Smith. The public mind is always forestalled concerning him. It
is taken to be sound orthodoxy that there is no more need of prophets
or revelations; the canon of scripture is full; consequently the man
that will claim to be a prophet, or revelator, and seer, must be a base
impostor and knave. With this educational prejudice, sanctioned by the
best men for a thousand years past, and riveted by solemn vows to abide
in orthodoxy, they see as though they saw not, and hear as though they
heard not.

If excellent things are taught by Mr. Smith, it is considered by
prejudiced minds as a good bait employed to cover a well-barbed hook;
by many he is considered _more_ detestable and dangerous, because, say
they, if he did not mix so much good with his system, he would not be
so dangerous and so likely to deceive.

Again, can the people of this country obtain a correct knowledge of
the prophet through the religious prints? I apprehend they never will.
Those who control the religious prints, conceive they know in the
premises, that God has not raised up such a prophet, therefore they
will not tarnish the columns of their periodicals by publishing any
thing favourable to him. While they feel bound to withhold whatever
might commend the prophet to the favourable regards of impartial men,
they feel solemnly constrained to advertise the public of all rising
heresies. Thus while our supposed heresies are published from very
questionable data, our real virtues are buried in oblivion. We do not
murmur; if Jesus, the master, could not be known in his true character,
but said with mingled pity and forgiveness, they know not what they do,
we cannot expect better treatment from those who know but little of us,
while they say much to our disadvantage.

Paul did the Ancient Saints much harm, and wasted them greatly,
being ignorant of their true character, and unbelieving as to their
doctrines. It is certain that Latter-day Saints have received much
harm from those who are ignorant of their character, and unbelieving
as to their doctrines. Religious editors, generally, know very little
of us, except what they have learned from our enemies. Jesus Christ
was entirely stript of his reputation by his enemies, and was put to
death by learned, yet ignorant, zealots, who were too self-wise to be
taught by one whom they knew to be an impostor in the start; but those
men were mistaken in the character of our Lord; and so are our enemies
mistaken in the character and views of the modern prophet.

My own personal observation teaches that it is a very difficult matter
to instil into the minds of sectarian churches, a true knowledge of the
faith and practice of Latter-day Saints. Though one should go among
them that was once highly esteemed by them, they are alarmed at his
approach, and his virtues are conceived to render him more deserving
of a repulse. His influence, say they, may be formidable; we must not
bid him God speed, consequently he is not asked to pray in the family
or public meeting. If he can, by great effort, get an opportunity to
preach, it is not thought advisable for any body to go and hear him,
lest they should be led away by his errors.

Thus you see, brother, how difficult in former and latter days to bring
the true faith to the knowledge of men, through prejudice. They have
prejudged a matter of which they are almost wholly ignorant. This same
notion of treating new matters has veiled the sun in darkness, and
hung the Prince of Life in agonies. How long shall this treatment of
the Saints be persisted in? How long shall prophets be persecuted and
slain, without being fully known, and the servants of God be excluded
from an impartial hearing, when they seek to publish good tidings--even
salvation to the inhabitants of the earth?

Now let me ask my former friends in the eastern churches, with whom
I once held sweet intercourse, how it is possible for the Latter-day
Saints to introduce their views among the sectarian churches and the
world, with any more favourable reception than the Ancient Saints
had in introducing theirs? Prejudice and persecution faced them down
always, and so it is in these days. It is certainly a mistaken idea
to suppose that people are much better now than they were anciently,
when the true gospel was misunderstood, and its promoters sincerely
accounted disturbers, and heretics worthy of exemplary punishment.
But, say the wise and great men among the sectarian churches, "we
do understand the true gospel, and have already embraced it, and it
is only error and heresy we oppose; and the weight of our contempt
and ridicule is hurled at impostors and knaves, who palm off gross
deceptions upon the public, and lead captive ignorant zealots by
pretended revelations and spurious miracles." But do they not know that
substantially the same charge was brought against Jesus Christ and the
primitive disciples. Let it be proved that we are what our enemies
call us; let us file our respective pleas and come to a speedy and
impartial trial. To this our opposers will not consent; they intend to
employ all the advantage of education and prejudice to exclude us from
a hearing--so did the opposers of the Ancient Saints: but I solemnly
ask whether it has ever been necessary, in any moral enterprise, for
those who have the truth on their side, especially gospel truth, to
defend that truth by foreclosing discussion, and shunning public
investigation, and then carry on their depredations by the use of such
small arms as ridicule and preconceived objections, that need only be
brought to light to be dissipated like fog in the meridian sun?

Do temperance lecturers, bible and education agents, and other
moral reformers find it necessary to carry on their enterprises by
such means? Do they seek to avoid an open and frank discussion with
the intemperate portions of the community? Do they avoid a manly
investigation because the intemperate portions of the community
combine, in their life and conduct, beastly sottishness, unprovoked
abuse to wives and children, a prodigal waste of competence and ample
fortunes, and the overthrow of intellect, and the dissolution of all
moral ties? No, by no means! They seek the broad day light of public
discussion, because they know the truth and power of that side of the
cause which they have espoused. They know that intemperance cannot
survive the impartial observation of good men. All we ask is that the
word of God may have free course. We wish that it may come distinctly
to the knowledge of men, that they may sit in impartial judgment upon
it.

By the _word_ of God, we mean not only what was revealed for the
ancients especially, but also what is _now_ revealed for this
generation. Oh! says the objector, he wants the word of Joseph Smith to
have a free circulation, and this we oppose, because it is blasphemous
and preposterous. Yes, we want the word of God by Joseph Smith, to be
known and read of all men, because it is written not with ink, but by
the spirit of the living God. What were Peter, Elijah, or Moses, but
earthen vessels, by whom God communicated his own knowledge, power,
and glory? Does not the word by Joseph commend itself to every man's
conscience where it is heard with due candour? I have never seen that
person who had read the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and
Covenants entirely through, with an earnest desire to know whether it
was of God or not, who could raise any worthy objection against them.
A few isolated portions of these books are often selected out and made
to speak some other besides their true meaning, and thereby a dislike
for these books is created; consequently, some refuse to read them at
all, while some others read only to confirm their prepossessions and
prejudices; and superficial inquirers hear with credulity that such a
minister, editor, or professor of some College, has published an exposè
or refutation of Mormonism, that will inflict a fatal wound upon
this glaring and blasphemous heresy.

Now it is well known that the novelties of this age are so many and
so various, that no man has time to examine into them all; and many
consider that a hint from a pious editor, or distinguished reviewer
against Mormonism, is sufficient apology for them not to examine
it. Now under these considerations, it is easy to divine that the
doctrines of the Latter-day Saints must travel through obstacles and
difficulties of the greatest magnitude; and I am ready, dear brother,
to mourn over the prospect, because many bad men, and some good men,
will fight against the faith, not knowing what they do. My bosom heaves
with the deeper concern, because I know this to be the true gospel,
and that it will prevail, even though the foe should be so great and
powerful as the Lord's enemies were in the days of Noah. Pardon my
assurance when I say that those beautiful systems, called benevolent
operations, must come to nought; not because they are not honestly
designed for some good effect, but because they are a mixture of human
device with the wisdom of God, or the gospel perverted. I know, too,
that these beautiful systems, together with the various orders of
sectarianism, cannot well be vanquished without a desperate struggle
ensue. Sectarianism is old and venerable, and having undergone many
costly repairs, without much substantial improvement, it never can be
demolished without violent resistance. There is an air of sacredness
around it that will stimulate its votaries insensibly; and when they
are assailed by the strong hand of Bible truth, rather than see their
fortress taken by the illiterate followers of the despised prophet,
will summon to their aid the worst passions, and push matters to the
greatest extremities. These remarks are amply supported by the history
of the past, both in respect to Former and Latter-day Saints.

See the ancient Jew of our Lord's day--his piety was scrupulously
exact--he knew the worth of his religion by the pains and expense it
had cost him. Every thing had with great trouble been fashioned into
a system of sacredness. They had been striving hard for a beautiful
system of perfection that would commend them to God, and mourned that
any of Abraham's children should teach that there was no resurrection,
&c., and not harmonize with them in bearing heavy burdens in order
to save men's souls. And when an obscure personage sprung up, and
broke over their rules of piety, and mingled with the profane without
ceremonious washing, and was seen to drink wine, probably, and eat with
the boisterous and odious classes, without pretending to wash away
the contagion that accrued, and to travel on the Sabbath day, and to
pluck ears of corn without any signs of confession, and to heap harsh
sounding and heavy anathemas upon the most intelligent and devoted men
of the age, and claim to be a prophet, while he ignorantly conversed
with an adulterous woman. All this, the scrupulous Jew could not,
and would not, bear; and his anger was heightened to madness when he
found that many adhered to the new teacher, and occasionally a person
of wealth and standing was won over to the impostor by his artifice
and jugglery. And as the influence of this odious personage spread,
especially among the common people, who had not sufficient sagacity to
detect his fraudulent tricks; and as the orthodoxy and piety of the
children of Abraham and Moses began to be suspected, and suspicion
even preached in synagogues that were too holy for such pollution, the
devoted children of Abraham became exasperated. If we let him alone,
say they, all men will believe on him. Fearful to use the rod and
power, by reason of the Romans, to the utmost rigour, they, at first,
sought to render him obnoxious to Caesar; but as measures successively
failed, they thirsted for his blood until their pious malice was
glutted in his expiring agonies. Then thought they, every body may know
that his miracles are all a humbug, because he could not save himself.

Now, brother, I ask you to stop and make a full pause by way of
reflection. How do devoted sectarians entertain the Latter-day Saints?
Not surely by a candid exposure of our errors, coupled with a patient
effort to reclaim us. "By no means," said a highly respectable
deaconess, "Brother Spencer, I would rather have heard that you were
dead." She knew in the general that I had embraced Mormonism; but of
the true character of Mormonism she was grossly ignorant; and she was
actually driven into fits when she found I defended the doctrines of
Latter-day Saints. Look at the conduct of devoted sectarians towards
the Latter-day Saints, and mark the resemblance to that of ancient Jews
to former Saints. The same proscriptive spirit reigns now as then,--
the same spirit that dictated expulsion from the synagogue then, now
closes the doors of meetinghouses against us,--the same spirit that
closed men's ears against the burning eloquence of Stephen then,
counsels men not to hear or go nigh Mormon preachers now.

You ask "If the Latter-day Saints are persecuted; if so, by whom are
they persecuted?" The answer is a painful one, because it inculpates
those who were bound to us by many tender ties. As a people we have
been truly persecuted from the beginning.

From the moment we embrace this doctrine, in most cases we are
virtually banished from friends, and rank, and station, and business.
Says the venerated father, "if you have embraced that doctrine, my son,
I never want to see your face any more." Says the partner in trade, "if
you are a Mormon, we must dissolve partnership forthwith." If such an
one occupying an important office of profit and honour does not give
up his Mormonism, we will sue him at the law, and calumniate him, and
embarrass him until he is ousted and broken up, and obliged to leave
our village. We are separated from men's company, while the licentious,
and profane, and intemperate are suffered to dwell in peace; while our
opposers cherish to their bosom the rankest infidels, they repulse _us_
with disdain; though none can point out ought wherein we differ from
the ancient apostles and prophets. Almost daily my eyes behold those
who have suffered too much to mention; but I would rather refer you to
printed documents, than to attempt a description of the sufferings of
our people in Missouri. From forty to sixty of our brethren suffered
death, by violent hands, in Missouri, and as many more, in consequence
of the abuse and privations to which they were exposed by an infuriated
and bloodthirsty mob; and the disappointment, privation, and homeless
condition of survivors was very great. Many widows and orphans knew not
what to do, having just begun to live in a comfortable and thriving
manner. They had almost forgotten their first sorrow of parting from
early friends and possessions, when lo! the hideous mob came upon them;
at one blow their homes were made desolate; in some instances father
and son were no more; their sufferings in planting themselves anew in
this State, without means or friends, though I have often heard them
told, I will not attempt to rehearse.

Perhaps some will say, we understand the Mormons were in fault in
that matter, and brought merited sufferings upon themselves by their
misconduct. The same has always been understood to be true of all
persecuted Saints. The greater part of people probably thought Stephen
deserved the punishment that terminated his life. The same might be
said of John the Baptist, who meddled with the matrimonial concerns
of those who did not acknowledge his ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The
prophet Elijah was designated to death because he troubled Israel.
Daniel refused lawful obedience to the established governor of the
realm. In short, persecutors in every age, have always had a plausible
pretext for their doings, in the popular estimation of their own day
and age.

You ask, "By whom we are persecuted?" In reply I could mention as
instigators of mobs, the names of a Baptist missionary, a Methodist
and Presbyterian minister. You may also be apprised that ex-Governor
Boggs, of Missouri, made affidavit that Joseph Smith was accessory to
an attempt to murder him; and that Governor Carlin, of Illinois, in
the face of superabundant testimony and law, gave a warrant to arrest
him (Joseph Smith) on that affidavit. A heavy reward has been offered
for his apprehension, and bold menaces are occasionally hung over our
heads, that we, as a people, shall be driven from the State. These
things have a tendency to check our prosperity. In one instance some
of our brethren were kidnapped by Missourians from this State, and put
to shame and scourging. The malignant and vexatious lawsuits to which
our people have been subject, are exceedingly numerous; and owing to
our impoverished condition, rendered sometimes distressing. But none
of these things move us, because we know that if they have hated the
master, they will also hate the disciples. Such as are born of the bond
woman, will persecute them that are born of the free woman. But it
seems like a discouraging effort, to attempt to convince our opposers
that we are persecuted, because editors and other philanthropic men are
reluctant to tell to the public our side of the matter. They themselves
would thereby become suspected of espousing our cause. Men are so
sensitive on the subject of our religion, that whoever speaks peaceably
of it, perils his influence and reputation; but hireling editors and
priests will speak and publish against us.

You ask me to give an account of the faith which I have embraced. I
believe that Jesus Christ is God, co-eternal with God the Father; and
that such as have the knowledge of the gospel and believe upon him,
will be saved; and such as believe not, will be damned. I believe the
Old and New Testaments to be the word of God. I believe that every
person should be born, not only of the spirit, but also of the water,
in order to enter into the kingdom of God. There are three that bear
witness on earth, as there are three that bear record in heaven--the
spirit, the water, and the blood, bear concurrent testimony to our
obedience on earth; for the want of any one, or all of these witnesses
on earth, in our favour, there will be no registry of our perfect
acceptance in heaven. Hence the baptism for the dead. The righteous
dead have a merciful provision made for them in the testimony of the
three witnesses on earth, which secures a record of their perfect
acceptance in heaven, without which they cannot attain to the highest
glory. I believe in the resurrection of the dead, the righteous to life
eternal, and the wicked to shame and everlasting contempt. I believe
that repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, are
among the elementary and cardinal truths of the gospel.

In some, and, indeed, many respects do we differ from sectarian
denominations. We believe that God is a being that has both body and
parts, and also passions; also in the existence of the gifts in the
true church spoken of in St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians.

I believe that every church, in gospel order, has a priesthood,
consisting of prophets, apostles, elders, &c., and that the knowledge
and power of a priesthood, ordained of God, as the ancient priesthood
was, is indispensably necessary to the prosperity of the church. I do
not believe that the canon of sacred scripture was closed with the
revelation of John, but believe that wherever God has a true church,
there he makes frequent revelations of his will: and as God takes
cognizance of all things, both temporal and spiritual, his revelations
will pertain to all things whereby his glory may be promoted, and
the temporal and spiritual well-being of his people advanced. Any
people that are destitute of the teachings of prophets and apostles,
which come by immediate revelation, will soon fall into divisions and
strifes, and depart from the truth as it is in Jesus.

You wish to know, "What is the personal character and influence,
doctrines and claims of him who is called the leader, Joseph Smith?"
Joseph Smith, when the great designs of heaven were first made known
to him, was not far from the age of seventeen; from that time to this
he has had much said about him, both of a favourable and unfavourable
nature. I shall only speak of his character as I believe it to be from
an intimate acquaintance of more than one year, and from an intimate
acquaintance with those who have been with him many years. No man is
more narrowly watched by friends and enemies than Mr. Joseph Smith;
consequently, if he were as good a man as any prophet that has preceded
him, he would have as violent enemies as others have had. But I hasten
to give my own opinion.

I firmly avow, in the presence of God, that I believe Mr. Joseph Smith
to be an upright man, that seeks the glory of God in such a manner
as is well pleasing to the Most High God. Naturally he is kind and
obliging; pitiful and courteous; as far from dissimulation as any man;
frank and loquacious to all men, friends or foes. He seems to employ
no studied effort to guard himself against misrepresentation, but
often leaves himself exposed to misconstructions by those who watch
for faults. He is remarkably cheerful for one who has seen well-tried
friends martyred around him, and felt the inflictions of calumny--the
vexation of lawsuits--the treachery of intimates--and multiplied
violent attempts upon his person and life, together with the cares
of much business. His influence, after which you inquire, is very
great. His friends are as ardently attached to him as his enemies are
violently opposed. Free toleration is given to all opposing religions,
but wherever he is accredited as a prophet of the living God, there
you will perceive his influence must be great. That lurking fear and
suspicion that he may become a dictator or despot, gradually gives
place to confidence and fondness, as believers become acquainted with
him.

In doctrine, Mr. Smith is eminently scriptural. I have never known him
to deny or depreciate a single truth of the Old and New Testaments,
but I have always known him to explain and defend them in a masterly
manner. Being anointed of God, for the purpose of teaching and
perfecting the church, it is needful that he should know how to set
in order the things that are wanting, and to bring forth things new
and old, as a scribe well instructed. This office and apostleship he
appears to magnify; at his touch the ancient prophets spring into life,
and the beauty and power of their revelations are made to commend
themselves with thrilling interest to all that hear.

You inquire, "Does he claim to be inspired?" Certainly he does claim to
be inspired. He often speaks in the name of the Lord, which would be
rank hypocrisy and mockery, if he were not inspired to do it. It seems
very difficult for those who stand at the distance of many generations
from the true prophets, to realize what prophets are, and what ought
to be expected from them. I do not chide them for their ignorance
and folly, however, because I have nothing to boast of, previous
to embracing the faith of the Latter-day Saints. I understand that
prophets may speak as they are moved by the Holy Ghost at one time,
while they may be very far from being moved by the Holy Ghost as they
speak at another. They may be endowed with power to perform miracles
and mighty deeds at one time, while they have no authority, and there
is no suitableness in doing the same at another time.

You ask, "Is he a man of prayer, of a pure life, of peace? Does he
appear at the head of his troops as a military commander?" These
questions I answer, according to the best knowledge I have, in the
affirmative. As a people, we perform military duty as the laws of the
State of Illinois enjoin and require. The legion answers the purpose
to keep the lawless and mobocratic at a respectful distance; and the
more "earthquake and storm" our enemies raise about the Nauvoo Legion,
and a military chieftain like the ancient Mahomet, the greater fear and
dread of us will be conveyed to the minds of the lawless, who watch for
prey, and spoil, and booty. I can assure you, that neither Mr. Smith,
nor any other intelligent Latter-day Saint, ever intends to make one
convert by the sword; neither are we such tee-total peacemakers, that
any savage banditti of lawless depredators could waste our property,
violate virtue, and shed innocent blood, without experiencing from us a
firm defence of law, of right, and innocence. We are to this day very
sensitive to a repetition of past wrongs that we still smart under. The
Lord our God, who was once called (by a man after his own heart) "a
man of war," we trust will be our defence and strong tower in the day
of battle, if our country should ever call us to scenes of carnage and
blood.

You ask, "What is the nature of the worship among you, and wherein
does it differ from that of religious people with whom you have been
acquainted elsewhere?" On the sabbath some person usually preaches a
sermon after prayer and singing, and, perhaps, reading some scripture.
We have, also, frequent prayer meetings, in which all that are so
disposed may join. The gifts are variously exercised, sometimes in the
way of prophecy, or in tongues; sometimes in discerning of spirits, or
interpretation of tongues. The ordinance of baptism, together with the
imposition of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, is administered
as occasion may require. Thus you will perceive that our worship
differs from what we both have been accustomed to in times that are
past.--Anxious seats and inquiry meetings, &c., are not in use at
all with us; although converts to our faith have swelled our numbers
greatly in every year that is past, yet we are very far from employing
any blustering effort to convert men. The spirit of God attends the
truth with sufficient power to save the upright; while those that hold
the truth in unrighteousness, and contend with it, are beyond the
legitimate exercise of divine power to save, and are led captive by the
devil at his will.

Our worship differs from that of other religious people, inasmuch as
we have the knowledge of God, and the true doctrine and order of his
kingdom, beyond all perplexing doubt and diversity of opinion. It is
utterly impossible for intelligent and devoted sectarian clergy to lead
their hearers into any considerable knowledge of God, for this very
potent reason, that they neither know much of him themselves, nor,
indeed, have they the means of knowing him. For this they are not at
all culpable; but the fact is, nevertheless, incontrovertible.

I do not now speak to please men, nor to mortify them, but I know it to
be true, my brother, and therefore speak it boldly. Are you offended?
Will you stop here and throw down my letter with contempt, as though an
ignorant upstart had abused you? If I write plainly, it is with deep
and painful emotions. While writing I can hardly suppress a flood of
tears. I know the dilemma in which many of my religious brethren are
placed, and the extreme difficulty of approaching them; but whether
they hear or forbear, I must tell them that it is out of their power to
attain to any considerable knowledge of the true and living God. But,
say they, have we not got the good old Bible, which makes men wise unto
salvation? You have, indeed, those venerable truths which have many
ages since made men wise unto salvation; and those truths will teach
you, if you take heed to them, that the Gentiles have been broken off
from the covenant favour of God as the Jews were. But these scriptures
cannot impart to you the gifts of the Holy Ghost; they cannot ordain
and qualify you to teach and preach the gospel, and administer the
ordinances; they cannot give you promises and revelations that are
expressly for _you_.

When the apostle Paul was in danger of being shipwrecked with his crew
(see Acts of Apostles), it would have been poor consolation to him
to read the ancient history of Jonah's shipwreck, and pray over the
subject in order to know how the voyage would result to him; but how
much greater his consolation, and how much more certain his knowledge,
when God ministers to him by visions and angels, and promises both him
and the crew preservation. Philip wanted no better assurance of his
duty to go to Gaza, than for an angel of God to tell him to go; but if
he had pored over ancient revelations, with prayerful anxiety, in order
to know the same, it would have been a poor guide. The New Testament
Saints did not lean upon Old Testament revelations for the knowledge of
present duties, or for aid in their present contingencies; they looked
directly to God for present fresh instruction and aid--they obtained
what they looked for.

The ancient Jews (contemporary with Christ), that leaned on the
venerated sayings of Abraham and Moses, and other old prophets, abode
in darkness, and became the prey of foul spirits, while the advocates
of present revelations were mighty through God, in signs and wonders,
and marvellous deeds.

Now, let the religious people of this day depend exclusively upon the
ancient scriptures, rejecting present revelations, and they will be
filled with ignorance, and the spirit of unrighteousness will possess
them; and they cannot act with that certainty and power that those can,
who know for themselves by immediate revelation. But I have said it is
impossible for them to know much of the true God: the careful observer
knows, that what one sect or denomination teaches for doctrine, another
will controvert and deny. There is not that power in the doctrine of
any one sect that gives them much ascendancy over any other sect. The
doctrines of all sects, though adverse to each other, are about equally
weighty and plausible; no one gets any considerable ascendancy; if
there appears to be light in one sect over another sect, it shows an
equal amount of an opposite character.

It is an acknowledged duty of parents, in this church, to teach their
children the elementary principles of religion, training them up in
the way they should go. You ask if they are instructed in learning.
As a people we aim most diligently to give our children learning. Our
persecutions, oppressions, and poverty have operated greatly to the
disadvantage of our children; still we have a chartered University,
that promises much benefit to us; and common schools are extensively
multiplying throughout the city.

The present population of the city is from ten to twelve thousand. You
ask, "What is their condition, occupation, and general character?" The
condition of the people is as prosperous as circumstances will permit.
Many of them, like Jacob of old, have left a good patrimony at home
that they are not benefitted from, by reason of their being every where
spoken against; but though they had nothing but their staff in hand,
and a little bundle upon their back when they came, they have now in
many instances a comfortable cottage, a flourishing garden, and a good
cow. There are many instances of families being subject to privations,
beyond what they were accustomed to in early days; and there are some
instances of deep penury, through sickness, persecution, and other
uncontrollable causes; and there are also instances of wealth; but
be assured, sir, there is not a more contented and cheerful people
to be found. Families will consent to let father and brother go out
preaching, when their daily bread is barely supplied for a few months.

Believing as we do, that these are the last days, and that signal
matters await this generation; and that the harvest must be gathered
soon, if at all, you must not marvel if we do not all at once become
rich, and build large houses, and enclose productive farms. If riches
were our object, we might readily gratify the most ambitious grasp.
We possess every facility for being rich, but we long to behold the
beauty of the Lord, and inquire in his holy temple. The place of his
sanctuary, which we greatly desire to beautify, is a site of surpassing
natural beauty. Upon it stands the incomplete structure of a temple;
in dimensions, a little over one hundred and twenty-eight feet long,
by eighty-eight feet wide, to be elevated in height a little under
sixty feet; the walls are made of a well-wrought handsome stone. The
inhabitants are very industrious, being occupied in agriculture and the
various mechanical arts.

Our people are mostly the working class of the community, from the
United States, and Great Britain and her Provinces. They are a very
intelligent people, especially so far as common sense and a general
knowledge of men and things are concerned.

Our Elders are versed in religious polemics, from discussions in the
pulpit, stage, bar-room, canal, and steam-boat, of the fireside and
highway side: and, perhaps, you are not aware that many, very many, are
from the most enlightened portion of New England; men that have been
rocked in the cradle of orthodoxy and liberty; accustomed to fatigue,
privation, and opposition; and knowing that their religion has more
light and truth, and the power of the Holy Ghost to support it, than
any other that has existed since the days of the apostles, they are
prepared to endure all things with the assurance that their reward is
great in heaven.

You wish to know the general character of the people. There is probably
less profanity, drunkenness, lewdness, theft, fighting, gambling, and
tavern-haunting, than in any other city of the same magnitude.

But I must close my answer to your many and minute inquiries, having
already protracted them beyond my original design. Your letter contains
many important inquiries, similar indeed to what I have received from
other distinguished friends from different parts of the Union. You will
accept my apology for not answering at an earlier date; and though I
design this epistle to be a general answer to all similar inquiries,
yet shall hereafter readily reciprocate all private communications in
the usual method of friendship and affection.

Most sincerely and truly yours,

ORSON SPENCER.



LETTER II.

IMMEDIATE REVELATION.

_Liverpool, May_ 15, 1847.

Reverend Sir,--Agreeable to promise made in my first answer to your
letter, I now resume my pen to inform you, in a series of letters, of
the distinguishing tenets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, according to the faith which I myself do entertain, with all
sobriety and integrity of heart, before God and all good men. I had
hoped, however, that more leisure would have favoured me, not only that
I might more minutely and perspicuously maintain the primitive faith,
but also do it in such conciseness and embellishment of diction, as
both to please and enlighten.

The first subject to which I will invite your attention will be that
of IMMEDIATE REVELATION. It shall be my direct aim to show in this
letter, that no person ever did partake of the gospel of salvation, or
ever will partake of it, without the spirit of _revelation_ dwelling
in his breast. This is the first and also the last round in the ladder
that leads to the perfect knowledge of God. Without the same spirit
of revelation that dwelt in the breasts of prophets, patriarchs, and
apostles in ancient time, no man can _begin_ to know God, neither can
any man or set of men make any _progress_ in the knowledge of God, when
that spirit is withdrawn from him.

A word from the mouth of the Great Arbitrator of all controversy ought
to suffice. HE, THE GREAT GOD AND JUDGE OF ALL, has said that "no man
knoweth the Father but the Son, and no man knoweth the Son but he to
whom the Son revealeth him." Words cannot bear a plainer import. If any
man knows Jesus Christ, it is by _revelation_, and in no other way can
he be known. Will you say that apostles and prophets know him in this
way; while others _may_ know him without themselves being gifted with
the spirit of revelation? Absurd! Others must know him by revelation
as much as apostles and prophets. If they have not the spirit of
revelation, they cannot judge what is a genuine and infallible
revelation when it proceeds from the pen of apostles, or even the
lips of angels, or of God himself; for the things of the Spirit are
correctly judged only by those who have the same spirit; hence all men
must not only be born of the _spirit_, but likewise be baptized into
one and the same spirit.

This spirit is the Spirit of God, and nothing less; and the Spirit
of God is the spirit of revelation, because it is expressly declared
that the spirit takes of the things of God, and shows them unto men:
even the deep things of God are searched out and dispensed to men
for their comfort and the illumination of their minds. Hence Jesus
declared that he would send them another "comforter," even the spirit
of truth; and the office of this spirit of truth was to "lead into all
truth." By this means we perceive that the universal store-house of
all truth is thrown open and rendered available to such as have been
properly baptized into the spirit, as their occasion may demand. Even
the apostles were forbid to go out and preach until they were endowed
with the gift of the Holy Ghost. After they should receive this gift,
it would then become their duty to impart it unto all others freely, by
the imposition of hands, who should obey the gospel. Males and females
were to partake of it, and see in vision things to come, and have
their remembrance of things past quickened into vivid and unambiguous
recollection.

It was this spirit of revelation that gave to the primitive church
the power of godliness; for it was simply the Holy Spirit of God that
rendered the gospel the power of God unto salvation to them that
believed; for therein was the righteousness of God _revealed_ from
faith to faith. The gospel never took any effect upon men's hearts,
unless the Spirit of God attended it. Whenever God takes away from the
church the spirit of revelation, he thereby takes away the light of the
church--the good spirit of the church, and the _truth_ and integrity of
the church, and the comfort of the church, and also the power of it. It
becomes like the branch without sap, or the pale mortal corpse without
the living spirit.

A church that is built upon the principle of revelation by the Holy
Spirit can never be prevailed against while that spirit continues
with it. It then becomes the power of God personified. Mere men and
women--servants and handmaidens--attended by the Holy Spirit of God,
know about men and things, and matters and events, even as God knows;
because they have precisely the same spirit that God has. Things that
never entered the heart of man to conceive, and things that the tongue
could never utter, are revealed by the Spirit of God. As bodily eyes
are to the corporal organization (causing all that wide difference that
exists between him that sees and one that is wholly blind) so are the
eyes of intelligence which the Spirit imparts to a believer, whereby
he comprehends the different spirits of men from time to time, and
sees events in the future as though they were actually and presently
at hand. The daughters of Philip can speak prophetically, with as
much unerring certainty as God himself, according to the measure of
the spirit given them, because they have His Spirit, and consequently
a given measure of intelligence. And the scope of this increase of
intelligence is expanded or diminished as God pleases to suit the
occasion.

When there is occasion to prophecy, or speak with new tongues, or
interpret, or rebuke diseases and cast out evil spirits--His Spirit is
given. And it could be given as well to a beast as to a man for the
same purpose, and the same effect would follow. The beast of Balaam,
when inspired of God, rose immediately above his legitimate sphere of
action, and spoke with a man's voice, forbidding the madness of the
prophet. The same spirit by which he spoke, would have enabled the dumb
ass to rebuke disease, cast out devils, or speak a variety of tongues.
But God might withdraw that spirit, and he would then be only a dumb
ass, fit only to bear burdens, &c. Men are but little more competent
to heal the sick, cast out devils, and discern spirits, or know the
things of God or eternity, and make preparations for the future,
than the beasts, without the Spirit of God. When God wants to punish
a generation or generations, he does it effectually by withholding
His Spirit. The world travels in pain, and groans in bondage, and
oppression, and cruelty, and strife, and bloodshed, and in ignorance,
superstition, and zeal without knowledge, when God shuts out the light
of revelation. The revelations given to the primitive age, bear about
the same relation of benefit to the people of this age, that the gift
of food and manna, to those starving in former ages, bears towards the
supply of such as are in want now. Jesus Christ winds up his sermon on
the mount, by calling him a WISE man that hears and obeys the voice of
revelation, and _he_ shall never "fall." At the same time he calls him
that hears and obeys not the voice of revelation a FOOL, and such a man
will _fall_, and his fall will be great.

We cannot be in any doubt what is meant by the expression "hearing"
Christ, or "these sayings of mine." Jesus says to such servants as he
sends out to preach, (and none but such as are sent by revelation can
preach), he that heareth YOU heareth ME. But while they cannot hear
without a preacher, neither can they hear _with_ a preacher, except
the Father draw them; or, in other words, except they have the Spirit
of God, which is a spirit of _revelation_. How could Peter know Jesus,
when he heard his conversation and preaching? Jesus testifies that, by
the wisdom of flesh and blood, Peter did _not_ know him, but by the
spirit of revelation from God out of heaven; and in order to end all
controversy throughout all ages, he declares that not only Peter, but
NO OTHER MAN, ever _did_ or ever _can_ know God, only as he is revealed
to him from heaven; and that man is "blessed" that has the spirit of
revelation to know the only true God and Jesus Christ. That man is
accounted as a thief and a robber that would know God or Jesus without
the spirit of revelation.

The Spirit of God was sent into the world for the express purpose of
acquainting men with Jesus Christ. By this spirit it was an easy matter
for men to know Jesus Christ, though he was everywhere spoken against,
and the whole country teemed with lies, and the great mass of people,
reputedly good as well as bad, thought that he ought to be _stoned,
mobbed, and crucified_: still it was easy to know him by the spirit
of revelation, and it was impossible to know him without that spirit.
Thus, dear sir, it is easy for you, and all my former associates in
the sectarian ministry, to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the
Lord, sent to prune the Lord's vineyard for the last time.

Says the scripture, "no man, speaking by the Spirit of God, can call
Jesus accursed," although he "hung upon a tree." And I add, sir, with
perfect assurance, that no man can call Joseph Smith "accursed," or an
"impostor," while speaking by the Spirit of God; for the Spirit of God
will never dictate any one to speak against the servant of God; but the
spirit of the world and of Satan, _will_ stir up men to speak against
prophets and saints, and persecute and assassinate them. The scripture
also says, that no man can call Jesus Lord, but by the HOLY GHOST.
Thus, reverend sir, you perceive that NO MAN, in former ages or latter
ages, can call Jesus Lord, but by revelation from the HOLY GHOST. It is
by the person and agency of the HOLY GHOST only, that Jesus promises
to be with his preachers always unto the end of the world, in order to
reveal the truth unto honest hearers, and show them who are prophets
and true ministers of Christ, and also what is true doctrine. The HOLY
GHOST will always attend a true minister of God, and reveal to his
humble honest hearers, his mission and authority beyond all reasonable
doubt.

Now, sir, let me say, distinctly, that the testimony of any number of
men, or of all men together, is no proof either _for_ or _against_ the
authority, doctrine, or mission of a prophet or true minister of God.
For if no _one_ man can know a minister of God without revelation, then
no large body of men can know him; and surely they cannot testify of
what they do not KNOW. No matter what is said against Joseph Smith, or
who, or how many, say it, or however _credible_ the witnesses, they are
not competent to testify, because they have not the gift of revelation.
This position, sir, is invincible, because it is fortified by the voice
of eternal truth, even the word of God, which you profess publicly to
believe, and preach, and print. Flesh and blood cannot reveal spiritual
things, but our Father in heaven. The things of the spirit require
the same spirit to discern them. He that is spiritual can judge all
things, while he that has not the spirit of revelation cannot judge any
spiritual matters correctly, of any name or nature.

Now, my dear friend, I close this second epistle, praying that God
will give you the spirit of understanding, which I assure you He will
do, inasmuch as you are humble and contrite, and seek it with all your
heart.

Your obedient servant,

ORSON SPENCER.



LETTER III.

ON FAITH.

_Liverpool, June_ 1, 1847.

Reverend and Dear Sir,--The next subject to which I will invite your
careful consideration, is that of FAITH.

Do not be surprised that I should attempt the investigation of a
subject so common-place, with the view of imparting any new or useful
instruction. The numerous elaborate treatises that have heretofore been
bestowed upon this subject, have, I boldly aver, been like Goliath's
armour against David--massive and imposing, but, at the same time,
alike inapplicable and ineffectual to the case at issue.

In order that you may be apprised of my position, without needless
circumlocution, I here distinctly observe, that there neither is, nor
ever was, any gospel or saving faith, in former or latter days, but
the faith of miracles, or the faith of _immediate revelation_. Can any
man know God without faith? Certainly not. The gospel of Christ is the
power of God unto salvation. To whom? To the unbelieving? No! but to
them that have _faith_. The gospel of Christ is, then, brought only
to such as have faith. But what faith are they to have in order to
receive it? The answer, is the faith of immediate revelation, or of the
supernatural agency of the Holy Spirit.

Now, sir, I ask you to listen a moment, and hear what the voice of
God says to you and me on this subject. The righteousness of God is
_revealed_ from FAITH to FAITH. Here, it is conceived, my position
is invincibly fortified beyond the power of rational conquest. God's
righteous will is _revealed_ to FAITH. It is written, "The just shall
live by faith." By what faith shall the just live? Surely, nothing less
than the faith of immediate revelation. The fact that God's will was
_revealed_ to the faith of the Saints anciently, does not supersede the
necessity of his will being _revealed_ to your faith and to my faith
now.

The ancients could not _believe_ for us; or, in other words, their
faith could not be a substitute for our faith. "He that believeth not,"
for himself, "shall be damned." Neither could a revelation to them be
necessarily a _revelation_ to us. A revelation to Noah to build an
ark, is not suited to Abraham, or Peter, or Francis Wayland, or Dr.
Chalmers. No man, in this day, can know that God ever revealed himself
to Noah, or Abraham, unless it is now revealed to him from heaven;
and he cannot know that it is revealed from heaven to him now, unless
he has faith unto himself before God; and this faith which he must
exercise for himself, is the faith of _revelation_, or the faith of
miracles.

What ailed the Judaic churches in Christ's day? They certainly believed
on Moses and Abraham, and made habitual sacrifices in support of
their faith. Paul was a bright example of sincerity and fidelity in
support of the Judaic faith. He verily thought that he ought to do many
things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. But was the faith
of Paul, and of the Judaic church generally, the faith of immediate
revelation or the faith of miracles? By no means. Paul originally,
and his associates in the ministry, believed the Mosaic scriptures
from tradition and education, and not from immediate revelation. They,
indeed, believed that Abraham, and Moses, and Samuel, and Noah, had
the faith of miracles, and enjoyed _immediate revelation_, and the
spirit of prophecy, &c. They believed that such an high order of faith
as prevailed in the Mosaic and prophetic days was no longer necessary.
(But, afterwards, Paul concedes that one in his own state was one in
ignorance and unbelief.)

Hence the spirit of prophecy, spoken of by Joel, as poured out in the
apostolic day, was, in their estimation uncalled for. They supposed
the canon of scripture was sufficiently full, when the prophet Malachi
finished his testimony, and closed up the age of miracles! Men may
sincerely believe the Bible, as many of the sects do believe it,
without having it revealed from heaven that the Bible is true, and it
will never save them. They may believe the Bible even without knowing
God; for the simple reason, that no man can know God without God
reveals himself to him. This was the condition of the Judaic church.
Many of them sincerely believed the Mosaic writings, but detested and
rejected the principle of immediate revelation, by which alone they
could know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he had sent. If
they had believed heartily in the doctrine of immediate revelation to
all believers, in all ages, they would have known Jesus Christ to be
the Messiah, as well as Moses, or Abraham, who saw his day, and was
glad. On the same principle, dear sir. Christian denominations, in this
day, believe the apostolic scriptures sincerely, and do many things
accordingly; but rejecting the principle of immediate revelation to
them-ward, they neither know Jesus Christ nor his prophet Joseph, nor
the power of God, as it is revealed from faith to faith in our day.

We, sir, contend for the faith of miracles in our own day; but you and
your associates contend against it. The disciples of Jesus contended
for it, in their day; but the professed followers of Moses and Abraham
contended against it. Now, sir, to which of these sides do you belong?
Can you find that any people, who ever contended against the faith of
immediate revelation and miracles, such as was maintained by Samuel,
Abraham, Barak, Daniel, and Noah, ever prospered. Is there a single
instance in scripture, from Genesis to Revelations, where God manifests
any fellowship for any faith short of a faith of miracles and immediate
revelation? If an inferior kind of faith has been got up since the New
Testament age, is it not well to inquire from whence it has sprung, and
what is the scriptural basis of its support? If such an inferior faith
is not _revealed_ from heaven, it must certainly be from beneath, and,
consequently earthly, and sensual, and devilish. If it springs from
the precepts of men, and not from the direct and positive revelation
of God, it ought surely to be abandoned and forsaken at once. When
men believe the Old and New Testament scriptures from tradition, and
the lips of a ministry that is not sent out and called by immediate
revelation from heaven, their faith is dead; and all such as float in
this broad stream of traditionary faith, are not and cannot be built up
as lively stones to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God.

Hence, sir, the concession of Mr. C. G. Finney, and Nettleton, and of
your own Mr. Knapp, all great Revivalists, and talented and devout
men, that the "sectarian churches need to be converted over again."
And I am constrained to add, without any inviduous feelings, that such
teachers themselves need to be converted from a traditionary faith into
the same faith with the ancient worthies spoken of in the eleventh
chapter to the Hebrews. They themselves cannot _know_ God without that
same ancient faith that secured to its possessors revelation from God,
and the power of working miracles, &c. God has never called men to
testify to the truth of the Old and New Testament, unless the truth
has been revealed to them _personally_ from the heavens. When it is
thus revealed, they will obey like the ancient saints, and the power of
godliness will follow their faith, "even healing the sick, casting out
devils, and speaking with new tongues."

You, sir, will surely admit, that the faith of the ancients was
far superior to modern traditionary faith, and was attended with
a power which this latter faith cannot, in its very nature, ever
attain to. By the ancient faith, or faith of immediate revelation,
men wrought righteousness, subdued kingdoms, stopped the mouths of
lions, and quenched the violence of fire--stayed the sun in the
firmament--sealed up the heavens as brass for the space of three years
and a half, or opened the windows thereof for the rain to descend in
showers or torrents, even to a universal deluge. Surely it will be
no disparagement to such exalted names as yours, and that of my old
acquaintance President Barnas Sears, and my former instructor President
E. Knott, to turn, like Paul, to the banner and standard of such a
faith. By such a faith they are prepared to work the works of God; and
either in time or eternity, to work even far greater works than Jesus
ever wrought on the earth, as his own word declares; for, sir, this
kind of faith shall abide beyond the veil; for God himself made the
world by faith, and the spirits of the just work by faith, and obtain
revelation from God, and minister the same to militant believers on
earth, from the faith of the sanctified in light, to the faith of the
militant here below. "The righteousness of God is revealed from faith
to faith." Surely we may count all things but loss for the excellency
of the _knowledge_ of Christ Jesus our Lord; for he that gets the
knowledge of Christ by revelation to himself, and keeps it, shall never
fall.

Do you not preach, sir, the ancient faith spoken of in the eleventh
chapter of Hebrews, for modern believers to imitate? Or is the
miraculous faith of the ancients to be pourtrayed to men in this day,
only as a beautiful picture to be admired by spectators, and not copied
and imitated as a doctrine of modern practice? If there is such a thing
as _common_ faith, in distinction from the supernatural and miraculous
faith, named in the eleventh of Hebrews, what part of the scriptures
teach it? Please to name the chapter and verse; and when you have
pointed out to me the specific scriptures that teach a faith inferior
to that of prophecying or working miracles, &c., please to tell me
wherein lies the power of such a faith? If it cannot reveal any thing
to the children of men, how can it increase the sum of knowledge with
any reasonable prospect of filling the earth with knowledge, as the
waters cover the bed of the great deep? If it cannot forecast events
beyond the mere common prescience of human minds, how can the wise man
foresee the evil in time to hide himself? Is it not passing strange,
sir, that from Adam to Noah, and from Noah to Abraham, and from
Abraham to David, and from David to Malachi, and from John the Baptist
to John the Revelator, the miraculous faith should be tenaciously
and rigorously contended for; while since that day, men, professing
godliness, not only contend for an inferior faith, but contend against
the antiquated faith that was sustained for more than four thousand
years, giving to God a great and glorious name for all his wonderful
works and mighty deeds.

Why do the modern clergy commend the faith that put to flight the
armies of the aliens--quenched the violence of fire--and staggered
not at promises that required supernatural agency to fulfil, if we
are not to imitate and practice such faith? Why so much time and
labour exhausted in order to define and extol a faith that belonged
exclusively to past ages; and if the scriptures speak of no other
faith that is pleasing to God, would it not be better that mankind
be informed more explicitly what is the nature and effect of that
common and inferior faith of which the Bible illustrations are so
inapplicable? Seeing that the Bible illustrations of faith pertain to
examples of a supernatural order, will you please to give us those that
are of a natural and common order, suited to our age, that is, and,
of a right, ought to be free from supernatural and miraculous deeds,
signs, wonders, and prophecyings? In so doing, and publishing the same
through your widely-circulated paper, you may rest assured that it
shall have prompt insertion in the STAR, and greatly oblige.

Your humble and obedient servant,

ORSON SPENCER.



LETTER IV.

ON WATER BAPTISM.

_Liverpool, June_ 14, 1847.

Reverend and Dear Sir,--You, sir, need no argument to convince you that
WATER BAPTISM is the first ordinance, after faith and repentance, that
initiates the believer into the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God is to be established upon the earth, according to
the pattern of the heavenly order, which is the first principle taught
in the memorable prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ, which prayer will be
pertinent to all believers on earth, until the object of the prayer is
fully achieved and the kingdoms of this world have universally become
the kingdom of God. And if we were to search the kingdom of God from
one end to the other, and from side to side, we should not find a
single adult believer in the whole heaven, who had not been _baptized_
with water.

Do you ask why I make such a bold declaration, and how I know this
seemingly exclusive and uncharitable truth? I know it, sir, by the
voice of God from the heavens, and this voice is to you as well as me,
if you will receive it. Do not you believe the scripture that saith,
"except a man be born of the WATER and of the spirit, he cannot enter
into the kingdom of God?" I know that you believe this scripture, and
am persuaded that your ingenuous mind will not seek to pervert it from
its plain and obvious import.

Whatever an over-jealous mind may fear concerning the state of the
penitent thief on the cross, and of devout and upright men that have
lived and died in every age of the world, still let God's word be
accounted true, and every man that gainsays it be esteemed a liar!
No man ever puts on the uniform of Christ's followers, such as is
worn by subjects of the kingdom of Christ, until he is "baptized into
Christ" for "_remission of sins_." Hereby he "puts on Christ," When
an ambassador of Christ finds a man or woman that heartily repents
of his or her rebellion against the laws of Christ, he baptizes him
unto repentance for "remission of sins." By the ordinance of baptism,
the rebellious subject virtually says, I hereby signify to all men my
repentance; and the lawful administrator as virtually says, on the part
of Jesus Christ, whose Ambassador I am, (being called by revelation,
and being authorized to act in his name and for him), I pronounce this
person's sins _remitted_, according to his genuine repentance and faith
in Christ.

Now, sir, what objection can there be for a man sent from God to remit
sins by baptism, in the name and by the authority of the King of
heaven? If Christ has power on earth to forgive and remit sins, may He
not send forgiveness and remission by another, even by whom he will?
And will not such a remission and forgiveness of sins be as valid as
though He administered the ordinance of baptism himself? Undoubtedly
it will be indisputably valid. And what ordinance is so beautifully
significant as that which expresses both the penitence of the subject
and the cordial acceptance of the Ruler and Lord?

Has not Jesus Christ a right to remit sins by baptism unto repentance?
Who shall say that the penitent believer's sins are not remitted by
baptism? Who shall lay any sins to his charge? Is it not God that
justifies? Has not Christ died? Has he not a right to say who are fit
subjects for baptism? Has he not a right to say by what ordinance sins
shall be remitted? He has never said that repentance and faith shall
secure remission of sins to any one without baptism. It is not in the
power of any man or angel to find a license in the Bible to receive a
person into the kingdom of God without baptism. Jesus Christ has never
given any license, but, on the other hand. He has explicitly said, in
the most unequivocal language possible, that NO MAN can "enter the
kingdom" without water baptism, or being "born of the water."

Do you ask, if I call baptism a saving ordinance? I reply, that
repentance and faith will not save any body in the kingdom of God
without baptism. Some men, whose crimes are unpardonable in this
world, may, and doubtless do, repent and believe; but they cannot be
baptized for the remission of sins, nor forgiven "until the times of
refreshing come from the presence of the Lord in the restitution of all
things." Righteous Noah was "_saved_ by water;" and the apostle Peter,
rehearsing the fact, says that baptism _saved_ believers in his day in
_like_ manner.

You, sir, must be perfectly aware that Jesus Christ has said, by the
mouth of his servant John, that BAPTISM constitutes no less importance
of character than one of the THREE GREAT WITNESESS of adoption and
citizenship into the kingdom of God on the earth--the SPIRIT, the
WATER, and the BLOOD. These three bear witness on the earth and agree
in one. One of these THREE performs the double office of bearing
witness on the earth, and also of bearing record in heaven. Three
witnesses appear to be requisite in order to prove our title good
to a place in the kingdom of God; and the testimony of these THREE,
and nothing less, is recorded in heaven by the Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost. Who will dare to say that the THREE in heaven will accept of the
testimony of the two witnesses on earth, when God has explicitly said
that he requires the testimony of THREE, and nothing less?

Do we forget that all men are to be judged out of the books? And
if the books show the absence of one WITNESS, and the consequent
_disagreement_ of the three before named, can that person that is thus
deficient of testimony, stand acquitted from the books out of which he
is judged? By no means! The THREE witnesses will agree in one; and when
they agree, the Spirit will bear the testimony of the Water and the
Blood to the recording angel, and these united with his own seal, will
be placed on record until the books are brought forward for judging the
nations of the earth.

Furthermore, no man can ever be born of the Spirit until he has first
been born of the water. The Holy Ghost will never condescend to become
the covenant-guide and instructor, and holy comforter of any one,
until he has been baptized or born of water. Have ye received the Holy
Ghost _since_ ye were baptized? Peter told penitent believers that
they might receive the Holy Ghost _after_ they were baptized; so said
John the Baptist to those he baptized. If, in a single instance, the
Holy Ghost was given before baptism, still it was no part of Christ's
instructions to his apostles ever to confer the Holy Ghost until
_after_ baptism--and then it was to be done by the laying on of hands.

Men may receive a measure of the Spirit of God before baptism (even
as a child has in embryo the germ of life before parturition); but no
one has a large measure of the Spirit, nor has any covenant claim to
the Spirit, or, in other words, can be born of the Spirit, until he
has been baptized in water. "Jesus came by water," and was baptized
in water for the remission of the original sin of the world. He knew
that baptism for remission of sin was necessary as an example, and also
that by his "_obedience_ many might be made _righteous_" even as by the
"_offence_ of one, many were made _sinners_." Jesus needed not only the
testimony of water-baptism, but also, _after_ baptism, the testimony
of the other witness--the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost was a personage
inferior in office to himself, but still the Holy Ghost was conferred
upon him, while coming out of the water, in "the form of a dove."

The third witness to adoption is the "Cup of Blessing, or Sacramental
Cup of Wine," which, if men "drink not, they have no life in them."
Now, sir, let us abide strictly by the "law and the testimony," even
as Jesus our pattern has done, and consider nothing unessential which
our lawgiver has both enjoined and exemplified for obedience and
salvation. Who is prepared to say that the faithful will not take the
cup of blessing, even in the heavens, and drink wine in our heavenly
Father's kingdom? Who can say that the river of life that proceeds
from the throne of God in the celestial city, shall not be employed to
perpetuate the remembrance of baptismal water of adoption, and even
perpetuate sinless purity, like the leaves of healing that grow on the
banks of the crystal stream?

Is it a thing incredible with you, sir, that God should remit sins
through baptism? It is with difficulty that I can persuade myself that
you are so distrustful of the power or wisdom of God! You read and
expound the scriptures from Sabbath to Sabbath. You certainly believe
that Naaman's leprosy was washed away by water-baptism in Jordan; you
also must believe that men were healed of mortal diseases, by simply
looking at a brazen serpent lifted up in the wilderness. Do you not
believe that the walls of Jericho fell down under the simple blast of
the rams' horns? and that the simple touch of the hem of a garment,
or of handkerchiefs, was attended with healing virtue to them that
believed?

Why were the learned and devout Judaic churches surprised that Peter
should proclaim to thousands--"be baptized for the _remission_ of your
sins?" and, on another occasion, even _command_ Cornelius, as pious and
devout a believer as yourself, to be baptized in order that he might
be "_saved_"--telling the churches in a general circular epistle, that
baptism would _save_ them as much as water _saved_ Noah? Why should
those same churches withdraw fellowship from Paul because he believed
Annanias, saying to him, "arise and be baptized and wash away thy
sins," even as your church have disfellowshipped me, because I believe
as Paul did, and obey the same gospel which he preached, with all its
miraculous gifts, blessings, and priesthood? The secret and solution of
the whole surprise of the Judaic and modern churches are, that _both_
overlook the efficacious _simplicity_ of Christ's ordinances, and know
not the "power of God," by which a mere look, touch, baptismal rite, or
the imposition of a hand, may secure blessings rich as heaven--power as
great as Gabriel's--knowledge as high as the throne of God--and life
and felicity as endless as eternity!

Greatly blessed, sir, is that man commissioned immediately from the
heavens to administer baptism unto repentance for _remission_ of sins;
and blessed are they who receive remission of sins from the hands of
those who act in "Christ's stead." Hence the grateful acknowledgements
of David, repeated by Paul--"Blessed are they whose iniquities are
forgiven, whose sins are covered." Men who obey the gospel are as well
satisfied that their sins are forgiven through baptism, as you, sir,
would be satisfied of the validity and legality of a deed, signed and
sealed by his excellency the chief magistrate of your State. They
rejoice in the same, without ambiguity or fear of being deceived. The
spirit of bondage and fear (which is in sectarian churches) does no
longer wither up their hope, and blight the joy of their acceptance
with God.

The heavens, that before seem clouded with dismal forebodings and
doubtful omens, that kept the excellent Dr. Payson even, on a
tumultuous sea of mental storms and calms, is now clear and tranquil
all the day and all the year. They rejoice in the Lord ever more;
and they know of a truth, that by keeping the commandments of
God, their peace is like the gentle and ever-onward current of a
river. Driven from "city to city, and from one nation to another
people;" and "every where spoken against," belied, robbed, and
arraigned before "magistrates" for thefts, treason, blasphemy, &c.,
they are distressed indeed, but not with mental doubts and fears.
No; far from it; they are borne down with expulsion from place to
place--burning their houses--despoiling their goods under shadow of
legal prosecution--whippings--priestly and editorial calumnies! These
things, sir, distress their bodies, and cause cold, and nakedness, and
hunger, and an uncertain dwelling place; but do not by any means impair
their peace in believing, or their joy in the Holy Ghost. None of these
things move them.

Yours,

ORSON SPENCER.



LETTER V.

THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST.

_Liverpool, June_ 29, 1842.

Reverend and Dear Sir,--The subject of my fifth letter is one of
surpassing importance. It is, sir, the "GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST," by the
laying on of hands.

The magnitude of the subject warrants me to say, in few words, what
belongs to it, without those copious scripture references which you
can look after at your leisure. If you will honestly listen to my
description of the office-work of the Holy Ghost, you will clearly
perceive, that, since the time Jesus left the earth, it is more
extensive and important than even the work of the other personages of
the Godhead.

The Holy Ghost performs the double office of a WITNESS on earth and a
RECORDER in heaven. Being an unembodied personage, he can move among
men without the danger of being mobbed and killed, as was not the case
with Jesus Christ. He takes up the work of man's redemption, just where
Jesus Christ left it, and has a distinct part to act until the second
coming of Christ, that in due time He also may obtain glory with the
Father, even as Jesus does--yea, a fulness of the Godhead by himself.

According to promise he came on the day of Pentecost, either with a
retinue of sanctified spirits, or in the simple unity and grandeur of
his own potent agency, and filled the house. He then disbursed among
the disciples a variety of tongues--gifts for men which the Conqueror
had promised. With the keys of revelation, peculiar to his office, he
unlocked their understanding (with perfect impunity to himself) and
bore witness that Jesus was Christ. His testimony not only confirmed
the disciples, who had been previously baptized, beyond the shadow of
all further doubt, but convinced some thousands of the sin of unbelief.

He immediately informed Peter, to whom Christ had promised to send the
keys of the presidency over the church by the Holy Ghost (for he could
do nothing till the Holy Ghost should bring them), that He, the Holy
Ghost, would ever be an attendant upon penitent believers that should
be "baptized for remission of sins," whenever his minister should lay
on hands. He authorized him to make a solemn standing PROMISE to this
effect, viz.: that the Holy Ghost's presence as a WITNESS to truth,
should invariably follow the imposition of hands. But he also gave
him to understand, that none should lay on hands or preach but such
as should be called by revelation, even as was Aaron. He assured him
that he would henceforth abide with the church, and enable obedient
believers to work certain miraculous signs, such as healing the sick,
casting out devils, nullifying the properties of poison wickedly
administered, and speaking with new tongues--and these and other
confirmations of the truth should invariably attend the true church
to the end of the world, or as long as true believers continued on
the earth; and if these miraculous signs did not follow believers,
they might know that they were rejected of God, as reprobate silver is
rejected of men.

The Holy Ghost further informed him, that He was the LIVING WITNESS
on earth, in connexion with the WATER and the BLOOD, and sealed up
the testimony of all the witnesses concerning all believers on earth,
and then took them to heaven and recorded them in the BOOKS, by the
mutual agreement of the Father and the Son, against a time of awards
and punishments. He also informed him that he always obtained a perfect
knowledge of Jesus Christ's mind touching all church transactions
on earth, and faithfully communicated the same to chosen men and
believers, according to their capacity to receive and use such
knowledge; and should continue to act in this Office of enlightening
and comforting the church, "until they all come to the unity of the
faith and the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ," which
he possessed before he left the earth. And he would also communicate
Christ's mind concerning the destinies of nations, and the judgments,
famines, and pestilences, &c., with which Jesus Christ would visit the
earth.

The Holy Ghost would also reveal the deep purposes of God, not only
concerning the future glory of the Church, but also concerning
individuals that lived before the foundations of the world, and what
would be their state in worlds that are future. And even all things
that Jesus Christ knew concerning the interest, salvation, and endless
felicity and glory of the church--and the misery and final undoing of
such as obey not God, the Holy Ghost would communicate in visions,
dreams, and revelations. Thus the earth would be filled with knowledge,
and Christ would again return here with all the departed saints, and
literally bring down a celestial city of splendid mansions--even the
New Jerusalem--and God would once more dwell with men in peace.

Let it be understood, that not only apostles, but all obedient
believers in the primitive age had the gift of the Holy Ghost, and,
consequently, the "spirit of prophecy." "He that hath the testimony
of Jesus hath the spirit of prophecy." How do men have the testimony
of Jesus? I answer, through the agency of the Holy Ghost. Let it
be understood, and marked with INDELIBLE EMPHASIS, that the HOLY
SPIRIT is the GREAT WITNESS on earth--that He, the spirit of truth,
has transmitted the mind of Jesus to believers in visions, dreams,
prophecyings, &c. For this purpose Jesus sent the SPIRIT into the
world, that he might reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of
judgment.

The Spirit, though unimbodied, now acts in all the authority,
influence, and power that Jesus himself would do if He were on the
earth in very person. But He acts upon and through the body of Christ,
which is the church; through the Spirit's possession of the church,
it displays the "MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD." Whatever varied and abundant
wisdom Jesus himself possessed, the true Church ever has in a measure,
and is destined to have, even to perfect fulness--"the fulness of his
stature."

But how is the true Church to show forth all the omniscience and
potency of Jesus? I answer, sir, by the Spirit of God that is in the
Church, by "the laying on of hands." By this spirit it is signified
to Paul what shall befall him at Jerusalem; and also that the true
Church shall cease from off the earth, with all its miraculous gifts
and blessings, before the second coming of Christ. By the same spirit,
John saw that an angel would again come in the midst of heaven to
restore the original primitive gospel to the earth. By the same spirit
Zachariah heard and saw the angel that should bring it, speak to a
"young man." Isaiah saw the young man take a "sealed book from the
earth," that should be a "marvellous work and wonder," confounding the
"wisdom of the wise." By this spirit the camp of Israel saw and heard
seventy elders prophecy the very hour and moment that hands were laid
upon them. Paul saw and heard more than twelve disciples speak "with
tongues and prophecy," as soon as the "Holy Ghost" was conferred by
"laying on of hands."

No sooner had Annanias laid his hands on Saul, than the Holy Ghost,
ever faithful to his "promise," filled the person of Saul, and opened
his eyes. The same spirit signified to Philip a mission to Gaza, and
after he had baptized the Ethiopian, caught him away with power. By
it also, Sampson stretched forth an arm of omnipotence and slew a
thousand men; and at another time overthrew a large and capacious
building, being filled with people, besides containing three thousand
men and women upon the roof. And by the same spirit, in this day, the
blind have been made to see, the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear,
and hundreds of persecuted famishing Saints, on the banks of the
Mississippi, have been miraculously fed by quails, as ancient Israel
were fed in the wilderness.

Now, sir, can you tell me why sin and blasphemy against the Holy
Spirit constituted a more heinous and unpardonable offence than sin
against the "Son of Man?" Surely there is an importance attached to the
office-work of this DIVINE AND MARVELLOUS WITNESS on the earth that
deserves attention. If there is no forgiveness of such an offence, it
becomes all men, not only to hear before they judge, but also to judge
"righteous judgment." Jesus Christ has told us that He placed in His
Church apostles and prophets, with gifts of miracles, tongues, &c.
These gifts were the gifts of the spirit; and you will not deny that
the Spirit of God, so far as the New Testament speaks of Him, was a
spirit of almighty power, as displayed in numerous gifts and ways.

Now, sir, what has become of this miraculous and almighty spirit? Has
he ceased wholly from the earth? If so, then the WATER and the BLOOD
are the only witnesses now left on the earth. But perhaps you will say
that the same spirit still remains, without exercising his miraculous
gifts and powers, (seeing they are not now necessary.) Shall we then
understand that this Almighty Spirit is still on the earth, and in the
diversified and conflicting churches, and comparatively silent and
inefficient, withholding from these churches (which are by supposition
the BODY of Christ), his majestic displays of supernatural power in
prophecies, healings, tongues; causing the dumb ass to speak with man's
voice, causing powerful armies to flee before the pursuit of one man;
and yet the world is perishing for lack of knowledge, and christianity
losing ground every day? Might we not as soon think the spirit has
grown old to dotage, or lost his first love, or been beguiled into
other pursuits of less importance? Surely He never wrought so lazily,
or in such imbecility and indifference in any other age, when true
believers or prophets were on the earth? Strange, indeed, sir, that he
should drop off so suddenly his royal robes of prophetic, miraculous
grandeur and power, to become the silent and inefficient inmate of
more than six hundred clashing, contentious churches, that are yearly
subdividing into minute fragments, to the confusion of all common sense
throughout boasting christendom! What a falling off of the spirit's
power, and of the spirit's light and unity! Will the Holy and Eternal
Spirit of God endorse such a powerless distracted state of things,
as being in any way connected with His presence on the earth, or
in any way the result of His doings? No, sir, by no means. For the
honour of this illustrious personage, let us never ascribe to HIM such
a powerless distracted organization of heterogenous ignorance and
imbecility, as modern christianity presents in contrast with ancient
christianity. The heavens may well blush with shame at this modern
picture, purporting to be the kingdom of God on the earth. If it is
the kingdom of God, how shorn of its miraculous strength! How are the
prophets and seers covered!! How dim that fine gold that once shown
resplendent with the celestial lustre of prophetic visions!!! Then men
spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and the sick were healed,
and he that lied to them was paralyzed in instantaneous death, at times.

Orators "boast," as it is written of them in these "perilous times,"
of the spread of christianity. Christianity spreading! Where is the
evidence of its increase of power or knowledge? Where the least signs
of approximation to "unity of faith," and the "full stature measure of
Christ" in "manifold wisdom and power?" Where the ornamental beauty
and symmetry of the Bride that is preparing for the marriage feast of
the Lamb? How many ten thousand years must elapse before it can be said
of christianity, "the Bride hath made herself ready!" "clear as the
sun, fair as the moon, and terrible as an army with banners." Surely,
since her prophets have lost their power "to quench the violence of
fire, and subdue kingdoms, and stop the mouths of lions," and her
servants and handmaids to see visions, &c., the beauty of the Bride has
failed--her breasts have diminished--her face is wrinkled--her eyes are
dim and cannot see afar off; she is no longer a chaste virgin espoused
to one husband--but she has as many husbands as sects, and yet none of
those with whom she is now living can be called her husband.

Now, sir, will the Spirit join with such a _Bride_, and say to Jesus
the Great Bridegroom, "come!" the Bride hath made herself ready! No,
sir, the Spirit of God will say, I never knew you; depart from me, you
pusillanimous, benighted, powerless, contentious christianity. "Thou
Aholibah and Aholibamah, thy lewdness is in all high places;" "thou
hast played the harlot with many lovers--yea, thou hast even hired
lovers" (with human inventions), instead of commanding admiration by
the grace of thy "seers," and the "visions of thy handmaids," and the
"healing power of thine elders." Thou shalt be burned with fire.

In humble assurance of your willingness to see the unsheathed
glittering sword of truth, I have the pleasure to subscribe myself.

Your humble servant,

For Christ's sake,

ORSON SPENCER.



LETTER VI.

APOSTACY FROM THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH.

_Liverpool, July_ 12, 1847.

Reverend and Dear Sir,--The subject of my sixth letter is APOSTACY FROM
THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH.

If modern christianity is only an enlargement of the system of early
apostacy from the true Apostolic Church of Christ, it certainly
deserves the most serious consideration. It shall be my direct object
in this epistle to show, that modern christianity possesses such a
faint resemblance to that system of faith established by Jesus Christ
and his apostles, that it cannot be called a likeness, or a copy, or
even an imitation.

Startle not, reverend sir, if I unhesitatingly declare that a
counterfeit bill of currency, that should have no more resemblance
to a true emission from the bank, than modern christianity does to
the ancient religion, would never be likely to do much harm. Modern
christianity is the very opposite extreme and counterpart of the
ancient order of "apostles and prophets." If you will read patiently, I
will show clearly the proof of my position.

In the Primitive Church, the Holy Ghost, after Jesus left the earth,
came and took possession, and constituted the grand main-spring,
life, light, and power of it. And the apostle Peter (of indisputable
authority) declares, in the Second of Acts, that the _promised gift_
of the Holy Ghost SHOULD CONTINUE even to "all the Lord our God should
call."

But this wonderful agent is not known in modern christianity. His
powerful agency, as foretold by Joel in prophecy, in tongues and
interpretation, in discerning of spirits and in healing, is not now
recognised as being any part of the present christianity. That Spirit
that was to make amends for the departure and absence of Jesus, by
acquainting believers with all truth--past, present, and future--that
they might be comforted with knowledge and light, such as could not
be obtained from books, whether inspired or uninspired, was the great
_sine qua non_ or essential thing in ancient christianity; but in
modern christianity, the fruits of such a spirit would be sneered at,
even by divines! What! exclaims one, prophecy in these days! speak in
tongues now! heal the sick now! have visions of future things, and
even heavenly things like unto the ancients! The exclaimant stands
aghast with astonishment, as a perfect stranger to the most obvious and
conspicuous principles of ancient christianity.

Modern christianity professes to derive all its light, and its various
clashing creeds, from the Old and New Testament. If modern christianity
is, indeed, the offspring of the Bible, it is a prodigy with many
hundred heads; but ancient christianity drew its light from the ROCK of
immediate revelation, and previous scriptures were only confirmatory of
the Spirit's testimony. Illiterate fishermen, like Peter, traditionated
by a corrupt priesthood, could know next to nothing of the written
manuscripts of the Bible. What he learnt was not from flesh and blood,
but from the spirit of revelation; and let it be always in your
mind, sir, that Christ has said, that on "THIS ROCK" of _immediate
revelation_ "He will build His church."

A christianity contained exclusively in a small volume like the Bible,
is an insult to the capacious revelations of the Eternal Spirit of
God, that even searches the deep things of God--a mere drop compared
with the mighty ocean! The full biography of Jesus Christ contained in
the New Testament? Nonsense! Preposterous mockery! You certainly are
not ignorant of the last verse in John's gospel--"_The world itself
could not contain the account, if written, of the acts and doings_ of
Jesus Christ." But shall the knowledge of Christ be buried in oblivion
because his acts and sayings cannot be written? No, by no means; God
forbid! What saith the scriptures? the all-wise "Spirit shall bring
_all things_ to your remembrance, even the deep things of God--things
that the tongue cannot utter nor the heart conceive."

Without the Holy Spirit of revelation, to take of the things of Jesus
and convey them to the knowledge of men, I boldly aver that NO man
can harmonize a consistent system from the Old and New Testament, or
find eternal life. Every man must be born of that spirit which gives
revelation and knowledge of Christ, or he can never see the kingdom
of God. But a prominent feature in the creed of modern christianity
is, that there is no further need of revelation, consequently the
distinct office-work of the Spirit, to bring to mind unwritten acts
and doctrines of Christ, and harmonize those which are written and
scattered promiscuously through the Bible, is abrogated and deemed
superfluous by modern christianity!

O thou benighted advocate of modern christianity, how long shall thy
eye be veiled in reading the New Testament, and thine heart be too
gross to perceive the beauty, and comfort, and power of that blessed
Spirit that gave life and salvation to ancient christianity? Hast thou
lost all admiration for the Spirit's miraculous gifts, power, and
blessing? settled down under reconciliation to a load of doubts and
fears, hoping that death will remove thy tormenting burden? Vain hope!
No longer then do despite to that Eternal Spirit of revelation that
is freely promised to all that will honestly receive it. If Gentile
christians are ashamed of the Jew, because a veil was before their eyes
in reading the Old Testament, has not the Jew equal cause to be ashamed
of the Gentile, that has so soon turned away from the primitive path of
the Spirit's gifts of visions, prophecies, healings, &c., and thereby
been "cut off for not continuing in His goodness," according to the
warning threat of Jehovah against Gentiles.

Where, sir, are the splendid gifts of apostles and prophets,
evangelists, pastors and teachers, that Christ gave to men and set in
his church, forever to continue in the ministry, edifying "the BODY of
Christ till we all come to the unity of faith," and to such a knowledge
of God, and fulness of power and wisdom as dwelt even in Jesus? They
are nowhere to be found in modern christianity! Modern christianity has
the effrontery and shamelessness even to say that she does not need
them; consequently she says that she does not need "to come to unity of
faith," and to that full and potent knowledge of God that Jesus in the
flesh possessed, and had decreed that all Saints should possess and be
like their "elder brother."

Not one of these great and precious gifts are retained. The bare
name of evangelists and pastors is retained in modern christianity,
without the shadow of the power and prophetic knowledge of the Holy
Ghost, with which these officers were _obliged_ to be endued in the
primitive church. She admits, indeed, the form of the office, "denying
the power." She says, indeed, that she can come to "unity of faith,"
&c., without apostles, and without the help of the good old-fashioned
Almighty Holy Ghost.

But how long a time does she want to run for this prize of "unity
of faith, &c.?" She has been running for the stakes nearly EIGHTEEN
HUNDRED YEARS, and is further from the goal than when we started. When
she started, "false apostles and deceitful workers" were her champions.
In order to win the prize, these shed the blood of true apostles, and
the blood of saints was found in their garments. And when her followers
found that she had only the form or name of apostles and prophets
without the power, she said, we have no further need of apostles, they
have done their work and miracles have ceased. Oh, thou blood-guilty,
"lying," Gentile christianity! thy lineage takes hold of the mother of
abominations, clothed in scarlet! How great will be the severity of
God's judgments upon all that are accessory to modern christianity,
except they repent and obey the gospel!

She has also changed the ordinances. Where is now the ordinance of
anointing with oil? Where the ordinance of imposition of hands? The
healing of the sick is given up to medical men, whose reliance is on
anything but the _power_ and established ordinance of God. Is it not
written for the benefit of the sick, that they should call for the
_elders_ of the church, whose duty it is to "anoint the sick with oil
and lay on hands and they _shall recover_?" Now the consequence of
changing this _one ordinance_ of the Bible to the medical nostrums of
men, is the literal death of thousands, who change the ordinance and
contribute to make this whole earth the _burying ground_ of nations.

Sir, may I not significantly ask, will the priests of the day return
unto the Lord and teach his "law and his testimony," or will they with
hearts of stone see the inhabitants of the earth perish under the curse
of "trusting in _medical_ man and making flesh an arm?"

The prophet Isaiah says, the consequence of changing the ordinances
is, to make the earth empty and desolate! But this is not the only
ordinance that is changed. By laying on hands for the gift of the Holy
Spirit, the authority to prophecy, speak with new tongues, and cast out
devils, is conferred. Now, unless boasting christianity has secured
peace and fellowship with the devil, it is of much importance to know
how to cast him out. Unless they have wisdom and power, and the spirit
of prophecy, to supersede the need of the Holy Spirit, it is very
essential to observe the ordinances by which, alone, it is conferred.

But it is certain, that if the Holy Spirit, in all its supernatural
office-work of miraculous omnipotence and wisdom, does not come and
reign on the earth, then the kingdom of God will never come on the
earth as it exists in heaven. But the scriptures assure us that
the kingdom of God will break in pieces all other kingdoms, and be
established on earth, even as it is in heaven, and the palace of God
(tabernacle) be in the midst of the human family.

The Holy Ghost is the grand agent by which the different orders of
priesthood, have all their authority, wisdom, and power, to teach and
administer the laws and ordinances of heaven to men on earth. The
"MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD" flows through these orders of priesthood from
heaven to earth. But modern christianity has abolished these orders of
priesthood, as no longer necessary; consequently, the communications
from heaven to earth have been stopped for nearly _eighteen hundred
years_; and from _this cause_, our race has witnessed the most
appalling picture of the progress of crime and wretchedness, that
has ever pervaded the earth since the dawn of creation. No man has
sufficient knowledge of figures to enumerate THE MILLIONS that have
been slain in war, since the Gentiles were cut off for unbelief. The
pestilence has never slumbered since man rejected the healing ordinance
of God, for the aid of physicians that are of no value. Famine has
locked hands with pestilence, causing _rot_, and _blast_, and _mildew_
to lead many to fear that God had repented himself of the "promised
seed time and harvest."

The social virtues that ought to be and ever would be, under the
reign of God, like salubrious breezes of heaven, have become like the
antagonistic and forked teeth of a _picking cylinder_, that turned
ever so much, will still be _picking_ either in the offensive or
defensive. The number of the oppressed is becoming so fearfully great
and vast, that the captors know not where to find either room or
keepers for their prisoners. The yoke of intolerance must have fresh
iron fastenings of unheard of tenacity and rigour. The oppressor feels
the danger of an awful outbreak from desperation that can be smothered
no longer. The elements of revolution and self-destruction, are sown
deep in every government, and in every religious and social system that
has not for its basis _truth, immediately and continually revealed from
heaven_!

Now, all this direful state of things is because that men have
"forsaken God, the fountain of living waters, and hewn them out
cisterns that can hold no water." "From the crown of the head to
the soles of the feet," modern christianity, whether Protestant or
Catholic, "is full of wounds and bruises, and putrifying sores."

The prophets and apostles foresaw the Gentile apostacy that would
spread over the earth, under the plausible name of christianity,
obliterating the knowledge of God, and "denying the power of God, and
changing his laws and ordinances," till "gross darkness should cover
the people." They saw the "mystery of iniquity" working, and boldly
foretold the "_falling away_"--the exaltation of the man of sin,--the
removal of the priesthood and light of truth from the seven churches
of Asia,--the refusal to "teach all things that Jesus commanded,"--the
irresistible fact, that men would not "_endure sound doctrines_," but
would multiply discrepant teachers to suit "_itching ears_,"--the
introduction of "_damnable heresies_," and the "_doctrines of devils_,"
and the church becoming like a blood-guilty "_harlot_," that had
exterminated the whole order of apostles, and prophets, and spiritual
gifts, and even denied the need of any such order of gifts and ministry
as existed in the primitive church!

The first doctrine of the devil in the garden was that it was not
necessary to obey God concerning a particular tree of the garden;
and the same doctrine of _devils_ has, _by inches and by piece-meal_
removed and broken every command of Christ, and put bishops and doctors
in the seats of apostles and prophets, and the ordinance of sprinkling
infants, in place of baptism; virtually saying, "that God doth know,"
that without the aid of apostles and the gift of the Spirit by laying
on of hands, you can know truth _enough_; and without baptism "_for
remission of sins_," you can be forgiven through prayer at the altar.

Permit me, sir, in the conclusion to remind you of the reproof given
by an inspired wise man. "_Say not thou what is the cause that the
former days were better than these? for thou dost not inquire wisely
concerning this_." The true and only rational revealed cause why
modern christianity is so weak, contentious, discrepant, and so
unlike the majestic, almighty christianity of apostolic days, is,
because _apostate uninspired men_ "HAVE TRANSGRESSED the LAWS, CHANGED
the ORDINANCES, and BROKEN the EVERLASTING COVENANT." Therefore,
_the "earth is defiled under the inhabitants thereof."_ "Gentile"
christianity will yet be compelled to come from the "_ends of the earth
and say, surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things
wherein there is no profit_."

_And God has said, sir, because "your_ (Gentile) _fathers have
forsaken him and have not kept his law," "therefore," says God,
"behold, I will this once cause them to know mine hand and my might,
and they shall know that my name is the Lord." The land shall be
utterly emptied and utterly spoiled; for the Lord hath spoken this
word, the earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth
and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The
earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof, because they
have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, and broken the
everlasting covenant. Therefore, hath the curse devoured the earth, and
they that dwell therein are desolate; therefore, the inhabitants of the
earth are burned, and few men left."_

In view of these things, dear sir, my fervent prayer is, that you
and all my brethren in the sectarian ministry will, from this day
forth, stay their hand and voice from upholding modern _boasting_
christianity--that is a "stink" in the nose of Jehovah--that is
_depopulating the earth and abrogating the laws, and ordinances of
God_, and sin no more, and thereby follow the humble example of

Your obedient servant,

ORSON SPENCER.



LETTER VII.

THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF AN APOSTOLIC CHURCH.

_Liverpool, August_ 28, 1847.

Reverend and Dear Sir,--The next subject in the order of my promise,
contained in my first letter to you, is, THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF AN
APOSTOLIC CHURCH, after the similitude and power of the primitive
church. Such an occurrence as this, truly demands proof of a palpable
and satisfactory order, which, by the help of God, I will proceed to
give you.

The beloved apostle John, who survived many of his fellow-labourers
in the gospel, and saw many damnable heresies coming into the church,
and making havoc of all the faithful, and even the seven most faithful
churches in all the earth probably, right under his own faithful
supervision, yielding to APOSTACY, and going over to Satan. This
apostle, dear sir, in his solitary grief, was shewn, by revelation
from God, the RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF THE TRUE CHURCH, with such wrath
and vengeance following its wake, as should make an utter end of
wickedness, give the righteous a thousand years rest, cleanse the earth
by blood and burning, and bind the devil until the "little season."

Now mark, sir, the emphatic words of this apostle before he left the
earth, concerning what he saw would come in the last days. Hear now
with a fixed ear, and an unbiassed determined purpose to believe, and
abide the declaration of your own apostle John. Now to the momentous
words that cheered the few banished persecuted Saints, that survived
the bloody hand of Gentile apostacy. Says he:--"_I saw another angel
flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to
preach to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people; saying, Fear God
and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come_."

There is no obscurity about this language. It is quite as intelligible
and free from ambiguity as the language that predicted the marvellous
manner of the coming of Christ, which, however, men would not
understand, through prejudice. "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear
a son," &c.

Now, sir, is it at all incredible that an angel should come to men?
Or is it incredible that he should come soaring, or "_flying_ in the
midst of heaven to earth?" You certainly believe, that Jesus Christ and
Elijah soared from the earth up through the air, or visible heavens.
Is it not also credible, that God should employ an angel to carry a
message to the nations? And as God ministered the law by angels to one
man, Moses, for a whole nation, even so the angel that John saw, would
minister his gospel message to some _particular_ man, and that man
should bear it to the nations of the earth.

Now, to what man might we expect an angel would bring such a message of
vast importance? A great and wise man, or obscure and ignorant, or an
old or young man? If we look at the past, we shall find that John was a
boisterous fellow, from the wilderness, that had no fellowship for any
existing religion whatever. He struck the axe deep at the root of every
religious organization, notwithstanding there were, probably, some good
men in every sect, but they were in error. This man, sir, was first and
chief pioneer to the Lord of life.

And who comes next to receive a message for all nations, and hold
the keys of revelation for all nations? Now, reverend sir, fix the
eye of your mind steadily upon him. And who is he? An honest, hardy,
illiterate, bold, rough fisherman, that perhaps never saw the inside
of a gentleman's drawing-room. Here, sir, is the wisdom of God and
confusion for man. But to return. Who is the man, to whom the angel
shall give the gospel message of all nations, in the last days,
according to the vision of John, the revelator? Let God, the Holy One
of all the earth, speak in this matter, and let all the ends of the
earth believe HIS holy word.

The Lord God of all flesh, sir, by the mouth of his servant Zechariah,
tells us precisely what kind of man this angel would speak to, and give
the gospel, in the last dispensation. Speaking of the two great events
(the building of Zion and Jerusalem, in the last days), Zechariah, with
his ear open to the revelation of the same great event as John's was,
says he heard the mandate of the Almighty to the angel, saying, "Go and
speak to that _young_ man."

Here we have it, sir, in the language and testimony of God himself, by
the mouths of his two servants, John, the revelator, and Zechariah.
John saw, after much inquiry before God about the restoration of the
gospel to the earth, in clear vision, the angel in his downward flight
through the heavens to earth, and also heard him proclaim his errand,
and the message of joy and wo to the nations of the last days. The
other servant of God, Zechariah, like John, equally intent to know
whether the true gospel ever would triumph in all the earth, and
wickedness come to an end, had the happiness to see the angel, at the
end of his downward flight, place his feet upon the earth, and witness
the finger of God raised, and pointing the angel to a _young_ man,
saying, "Go speak to that _young_ man."

Now, sir, that you may be convinced beyond controversy, I will beg your
attention to the marvellous coincidence between the matter of fact, as
related by a guileless _young_ man, and the declaration of John and
Zechariah; but first, you must readily admit, that according to the
testimony of two prophets of God, an angel must come down through the
midst of heaven to earth, in _some_ period of the last days, subsequent
to the lifetime of John, with such a gospel as was not on the earth;
and that angel must communicate his gospel message to some certain
_young_ man which the finger of God should point out to the angel.

Now, was the young man Joseph _the_ man, or look we for another? His
testimony concerning the angel that he saw, and the message that he
received, if you will read it, coincides perfectly with what the two
prophets had long since declared should take place. He was, indeed, an
illiterate and obscure youth of seventeen, of humble parentage, from
the mountains of Vermont; but was he any less fit to receive such a
message than any other youth, because he was illiterate or poor, or
obscure, or rough and vulgar? This simple country youth told a tale
of what he had seen and heard, in the face of all the broad blazing
science and christianity of the nineteenth century; but was he any
less likely to be _the_ youth that the prophets saw and spoke of on
that account? Was it a marvellous tale that he told? so likewise was
the tale that the Virgin Mary told about her _offspring as begotten
of God_ the Father. Did the message that Joseph received, lead him to
disfellowship all the religious systems of the day, as incompatible
with the primitive pattern? so did Jesus, with the religions of his
day. But lest some lingering doubt should remain upon your mind,
whether the young man Joseph was the identical youth spoken of by
the prophets just named, you shall have other proofs until reason is
satisfied.

The prophet Daniel being greatly beloved of God, and of great faith,
saw this scene of the visitation of the angel to the _young_ man,
and the laying of the corner-stone of a millennial kingdom, and the
time of its organization, and calculated the same, to a day, as will
be developed in due time. Job wished that his words, or revelations
and history, were written with a pen of iron (the engraver's tool)
and laid in a rock. Now many of the prophets that lived and suffered
on the American continent, and settled that continent about the time
of the destruction of Jerusalem under Zedekiah, also wished _their_
words written and laid in rock or stone. By great faith they obtained
permission to have their records and prophecies laid up in _stone_,
being neatly engraved with a pen of iron, on plates of the most
enduring metal. Daniel saw this _stone_ that contained the records, and
spoke of it. Now this stone, containing the words of these prophets of
that "_other fold_" spoken of by Christ, had been buried about fourteen
hundred years previous to its discovery, probably to a considerable
depth in the earth, in what was then called the mountain of Cumorah.
Daniel's language is very remarkable in regard to the manner in which
this _stone_, with its contents, and connexion with the angelic
message, should come forth "_out_ of the mountain _without hands_." The
stone probably, in consequence of the wear of the elements upon the
earth under the guidance of God, was gradually resurrected from the
depths of its burial, until it was literally _out_ of the mountain, and
visible without the aid of hands.

Oh! how marvellous, literal, and exact the fulfilment of Daniel's
prophecy! THE MOUNTAIN! THE VISIBILITY OF THE LONG BURIED STONE WITHOUT
HANDS! The contents of this stone, long harped upon by commentators,
joined with the whole of the angelic message foreseen by John and
Zechariah, were to lay the foundation of a kingdom that should extend
over the whole earth, and break in pieces all others, and never be
thrown down. Daniel not only saw the stone, and mountain, and _young_
man, and the whole beginning of this latter-day work, and calculated
the precise year and day of the month when the kingdom (not the coming
of Christ) should be set up; but he describes the small and weak
governments into which the four great universal governments should be
divided and subdivided. The governments that should exist on the earth
when this stone should be brought to light, would be, in comparison
with the four universal and potent governments of previous ages, as the
numerously divided toes of a man's feet in magnitude to his body.

When Jesus Christ came to organize the kingdom, the Romish government
was universal, and all the world were required to be taxed for its
support; consequently Daniel did not speak of _his_ organization, which
all the apostles saw and declared would be overcome. But he saw that
the kingdom which Christ would never take from the earth would be set
up, when the image of great kingdoms would be reduced to the simile of
mere toes, or petty kingdoms, just such as exist all over the earth
now--weak and small, and huddled together as thick as some of the
supernumerary toes of the feet of some ancient prodigies.

The kingdoms of this world, just precisely like the religions of this
world, are small, very numerous and contentious--all the present
governments of the earth being based on mixed, heterogenous, and
discordant principles, will readily crumble, like dry clay, before
the march of truth, until the dust thereof is carried away, and these
kingdoms and diversified religions are known only in the past. You,
sir, know very well whether the signs of the times fully indicate the
tottering state, and general disruption of all the governments of
the earth. But before I close this part of my subject, I will still
multiply the testimony of the prophets even further upon it.

Omitting Ezekiel, I will next introduce the testimony of Isaiah. This
prophet has probably said more on the re-establishment of the church
in the last days, and the surpassing glory of it than any other, and
deserves rather to be read as a whole than suffer mutilation from a
single extract or two. How any man can read Isaiah's testimony and
not see that an extraordinary scene, just like the one I have been
describing, was in full vision before him, it is difficult to explain,
except their hearts are waxed gross and dull to perceive, and the veil
remains untaken away in reading the Old Testament prophecies.

Instead of citing passages of scripture verbatim, I will here name
topics, which Isaiah distinctly exhibited, bearing directly upon the
subject at issue. First, he speaks unequivocally of an extraordinary
BOOK, and says it would be a "_sealed_ book," that neither the learned
or unlearned could read. Second, in the context, he gives a cutting
rebuke, because there is no prophet or seer to read it; and administers
a most withering reproof to the religious world, that draw near to Him
with their lips, and honour Him with their mouths only; and for lack of
the spirit of _revelation and prophecy_, resort to their own ingenuity
of teaching the fear of the Lord by human precepts. Third, he says, the
"_vision_" of all is become as a BOOK that is sealed which cannot be
read. How is this, sir, that the prophecies and revelations of _all_
are locked up in a book, that neither learned nor unlearned can read,
and the men that uttered them, prophets and seers, are covered--shut
out from the knowledge of mankind?

The visions of the Old and New Testament are so plainly legible in many
books, that he who runs may read. Those who had these latter visions,
instead of being covered or unknown, are well known, and preached every
Sabbath day. Don't shrink from this issue, sir, but meet it like one
who feels his destiny to be suspended on a correct faith in revealed
truth. What mysterious collection of visions, arranged into the form
of a BOOK, that no uninspired man can read, IS THIS? It must be the
visions of _some_ prophets and seers, that have lived and prophesied
to _some_ people, that have now faded from the knowledge of men.
Mankind is ignorant of them. And when the BOOK, that contains their
_records_ is found (taken out of the earth, as I shall show by Isaiah's
testimony), no man can read it or is the wiser for it (unless God
reveals it).

Now, sir, as you are a teacher, professing to be sent from God, I again
ask, whose visions are all these, so curiously wrapped up in a BOOK,
and sealed too, and kept hid from the knowledge of mankind? You will
not deny that the prophet saw a _book_, containing important records
of some certain unknown prophets and seers. But if you believe the
prophet, as I know you do, and humbly acknowledge, that you cannot tell
what this mysterious BOOK of RECORDS means; then, by the spirit and
blessing of God, I will further endeavour to show that it is the same
that the angel announced to the young man Joseph.

This mysterious BOOK of records was found in that identical _stone_,
spoken of by Daniel the prophet. The prophets and seers, whose records
constitute that book, lived among a mighty nation on the American
continent, whose history is as important as that of other continents in
its place.

Another topic dwelt upon by Isaiah is, that "truth" (plainly alluding
to this book of inspired records) should "_speak out of the ground_,
and thy speech shall be low _out of the dust_, and thy voice shall be
as of one that hath a familiar spirit _out of the ground_, and thy
speech shall whisper _out of the dust_."

Is it a marvellous thing that this wonderful book of the visions of all
the American seers should be so skilfully entombed in _stone_, and then
buried in the earth? Where should they have deposited it, so that it
could have answered the purpose intended, so well as in the ground? How
could the STONE, containing it, ever have been CUT OUT OF THE MOUNTAIN
WITHOUT HANDS, if it had never been put _into the mountain_? Isaiah
says, the people should be besieged and brought _low_ (nearly all were
slain), but by the records of their seers should, after a long time,
speak _out_ of the ground, and their records should be as the voice
of a familiar spirit. Who, sir, that has read them does not clearly
perceive that they speak familiarly of things past, present, and to
come? So truly do these records speak of what shall transpire, after
the BOOK has been shewn to them, that many have slanderously said, that
it was written by an eye witness of the things spoken of. It speaks
also of the ruins of cities--of antiquities since discovered on the
American continent, by travellers and antiquarians, that have excited
the curiosity and wonder of the world.

This Book of Mormon, is one of the most unexceptionable and
God-honouring books that was ever published to the world. An uninspired
man might as well attempt to originally compose the Old and New
Testament, as it. Its language (the best butt of cavaliers) is said
not to harmonize with the philological rules of the nineteenth
century. One word in reply. Peter and John were illiterate men, who
spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and their language was
accredited to unlearned men by their hearers. Now, if redundant and
ungrammatical language may be the medium through which the Holy Ghost
communicates by men in speaking, may it not with equal propriety be
employed in _writing_, by a similar class of men? It is not denied,
that there is something wonderful about all this matter. The prophet
Isaiah considered it wonderful, when he calls it a "marvellous work:
a marvellous work and a wonder." "The wisdom of their wise men shall
perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid." All the
learned commentaries of divines, as this gospel advances, shall be
buried in oblivion, as so much rubbish.

God declares, by the same prophet, that he has seen the wickedness of
the wicked, and the oppression of the poor and upright, until he rises
up to "_do his work, his strange work_, and bring to pass his act,
his strange act." He warns men against making a mock of this strange
and marvellous work, lest their "bands be made strong," for he has
"_decreed a consumption upon the whole earth_." This is what John also
says;--"The hour of His judgment" is measurably simultaneous with the
proclamation of the gospel. Habakkuk, the prophet, told men to wait
for this same vision of American prophets, written on tables (tabular
plates), which would be a long time before it made its appearance; but
it would "surely come," because God had promised these seers that a
remnant of their seed, on that continent, should be saved. No pen can
describe the joy and exultation that they must have felt in obtaining
such a promise, or the bliss now experienced by them in the fulfilment
of it. But for the fulfilment of this promise, none of them or their
righteous contemporaries would ever have been made perfect.

Oh! how great the goodness and mercy of God to every nation, without
respect of persons! How great, too, the indebtedness of this generation
to Almighty God for that most precious "_stone_" of prophetic records,
that reveals at once the history of the American continent--a continent
of otherwise unfathomable antiquities and wonders--a land that
embowels the bones of a numerous and mighty race of people, with all
their implements of husbandry and of art! Where, also, are the ruins of
splendid cities, the former glory of which might surpass even gigantic
London! Within that stone, too, was written with a pen of iron, as
infallibly as the marks on Belshazzar's palace, the future destiny of
the American people.

In conclusion, do you ask if the Apostolic Church is again
re-established, where is it? I reply, it is in the mountains where
the Lord's House is to be built in the last days. Driven by the cruel
hand of persecution to the very place where the Lord has declared He
will "_hide_ them till the indignation be overpast." Do you also ask
what kind of organization this Church has? The answer is, the same
as that of the Apostolic Church in the days of Peter, consisting of
Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, &c.; with the gifts of healing,
tongues, interpretation, casting out devils, prophesyings, &c. Do
you ask who has seen any of these miraculous fruits of this Church?
I answer a _hundred thousand_ living witnesses are ready to testify
that the "signs" which Christ said "shall follow them that believe,"
_do_, in very deed, follow believers in _this_ Church. Do you say,
are they credible witnesses? They were generally accounted credible
persons, until they believed and obeyed this gospel. Do their lives
show that they do sincerely believe and love the apostolic gospel which
they profess? Nothing as yet, has been able to separate them from it;
neither home nor country, nor the inheritances of their fathers, nor
penury or reproach, or evil report, or cold, or nakedness, and no
certain dwelling-place for years!

I now close this simple and unembellished statement of truth, being
written in a state of convalescence from severe sickness, hoping a
portion of your inquiries will have been satisfactorily answered,

Your friend and servant,

ORSON SPENCER.



LETTER VIII.

THE TRUE AND LIVING GOD.

_Liverpool, September_ 13, 1847.

Reverend and Dear Sir,--In this epistle I shall endeavour to set before
you a description of the person, abode, and character of THE TRUE AND
LIVING GOD. In so doing I trust it will not be imputed to arrogance if
I borrow my apology from the language of St. Paul:--"As I passed by I
beheld an altar with this inscription, 'To the Unknown God.' Whom ye
ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you."

The people of Paul's day had for several generations been unaccustomed
to receive revelations from the true God, believing, generally, that
revelations from God had ceased with Malachi. They supposed that
the canon of scripture was complete long before their time, and
they considered that the great law-giver, Moses, had established an
immutable code of laws and government, suited to the condition of
people of all ages and circumstances whatever, to the end of time; and
the Jews, to this very day, entertain the same opinion.

Labouring under this most blighting and soul-darkening opinion for
several centuries, without the light of any new revelation, and
without the aid of that immediate inspiration which attended Moses
and the prophets, their foolish hearts became darkened as a necessary
consequence. Inflated with pride, and a false but sincere reverence for
the scriptures of a previous age, they became a conspicuous and warning
example to this generation of ignorance, not only of the scriptures,
which they carefully memorized, but also of all the essential
attributes of the person, character, and doctrine of God.

Now, sir, during the long period of sixteen or eighteen hundred years,
in which the light of immediate revelation has not shone, the religious
world have fallen into similar and even far greater darkness. The true
and living God is not known as I shall proceed to show.

The religious world have an abundance of zeal for God, and diligence in
spreading the scriptures and their missionaries over the face of the
earth; but, alas! the God they profess to worship is an unknown God,
and this ignorance of God is the legitimate consequence of not having
immediate revelation from him, during a _long_ period of near eighteen
hundred years; and unaided by the spirit of inspiration, the ancient
scriptures have become a dark and obscure book--their import has been
warmly debated by a thousand learned disputants, without any prospect
of approximation to unity.

A very general conviction concerning the character of God now is, that
He is a Being without body, or parts, or passions. A greater absurdity
cannot be furnished in all the annals of heathenism. Even images of
wood, and brass, and stone, are scarcely more remote from the picture
of the true God, than the theory of a passionless, matterless God--an
inconceivable sort of chaotic being, that is without form, or void,
or dwelling place! a being whose circumference is everywhere, and his
centre nowhere!

Another theory concerning God, that is entertained by Jewish Rabbies,
though of an opposite character, is not much more extravagant than the
common orthodox theory, viz, the Rabbies suppose that God is a Being of
some "_millions of miles in length_."

Again, the popular notion of modern Jews, as expressed in a recent
number of the _Jewish Chronicle_, is, that the Almighty God is a
Being of such infinite _dimension_, that He cannot _condense_ himself
sufficiently to speak to men, or be tangible or visible by mortals.
Accordingly, when he gives revelation to men, He creates a fictitious
or imaginary messenger, through whom he communicates his will, and this
messenger has no real existence in the eye of God, and _only_ in the
momentary perception of the person addressed.--(See _Millennial Star_
No. 15, also _Jewish Chronicle_.)

From the foregoing it may be seen how grossly ignorant both Jews and
Christians are of the person of God, the Creator and Saviour of the
world! All this, too, in an age of the world boasting of blazing light!
of a millennial dawn! of the unparalleled march of improvement! but,
alas! the very God and Father of us all, who ought to be _truly_ known
in order to be rightly worshipped, is regarded as the most insensible
(a God without "_passion_" must be insensible), and irrational, and
unattractive as to form, of all beings that can be conceived of; and
the most surprising feature in all modern theology in an age of sanity
is, that this notion concerning the person of God, is deducible from
the scriptures of the Old and New Testament.

The New Testament tells us most unequivocally what kind of person God
has, and whether he is a Being having both passion and physical form.
It tells whether he can be so "_condensed_" as to speak to men, and
be seen of them, and talk to them face to face, as a man talks to his
fellow man. The New Testament declares that in Jesus Christ dwelt the
"FULNESS OF THE GODHEAD, BODILY."

Now, if the Godhead dwelt in the body of Christ, then it is certain
that God is not without a _body_. But He has a body; and what is His
body like unto? The New Testament tells us what His body is like. It
is so nearly and exactly like unto the body of Christ, that there is
no difference. Paul says, that Christ was the "_express image of his
person_." It is then beyond all dispute that the body and person of
Jesus Christ and the Father are alike. Language cannot express the
similitude of the Father and the Son in plainer or stronger terms.
Then, if we can show from the New Testament what kind of body or
person Jesus Christ had, we can also tell what kind of body the Father
has, because they are alike. One is the express image of the other.
If one has a fleshy material body, the other has the same. If one
resembles in stature the seed of the woman, the other also wears the
same resemblance. If one can be so "_condensed_" as to speak and walk,
and feel and act like a man, the other can do the same. If one wearing
a body of flesh and bones, in all points like unto his brethren,
is capable of holding all power in heaven and earth, and also of
displaying the brightness of celestial glory, the other can do the same
in a similar body of flesh and bones.

Well, now, what kind of body or person had Jesus Christ, which
looked so much like the Father's person? Was it an airy, invisible,
evanescent, mystical _nothing_, which some would denominate spirit? No,
by no means; very much otherwise. Hearken now, my dear sir, and all ye
readers, that have an honest desire to _know_ the living and true God,
and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, in order that men might know from
the person of the Son what is the personal appearance of the Father.
He, "_the Word, was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld his
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace
and truth_." Jesus had a fleshly form like the seed of Abraham, and
being begotten of the Father he partook of his likeness. Men beheld his
glory in human form, and Paul says that his glory was the glory of the
Father.

It appears from the conduct of some of his disciples, that they, like
sectarian churches now, were tinctured with the idea that Christ, after
his death and resurrection, was purely and exclusively a _Spirit_; but
he tells them to handle him and see that "_a Spirit has not flesh and
bones as ye see me have_." And he eat and drank with them as aforetime
with his resurrected body, and afterwards ascended up from their midst
with the same bloodless body into heaven; and in like manner will he
come again.

Thus, sir, the notion of a God that is exclusively _Spirit_ without
bodily form, was banished from the minds of the disciples that saw
the bodily image of the Father in the person of the Son after his
resurrection. From heaven he will come again in like manner, and every
eye shall see him, and they that have pierced him. But the popular
God of modern times, that has no body or parts, cannot be seen. But,
sir, this popular God that has sprung into fashion, since the age of
revelation, has no resemblance to Jesus Christ, who has both body and
parts, and is the exact image of his Father. Jesus Christ declared
that he could exercise all power in heaven and earth while he was in
the body. His Father could do the same, because they were alike. It
required no extraordinary _condensation_ of the infinity of Jesus in
order to reveal himself to men, or in order that men should behold his
glory.

But we have other proofs that the person of God the Father is like
the bodily form of Christ's resurrected person. God has declared that
man is in his image. Man was created in the image of God, and in the
likeness of God; and the bodies of holy men are destined to be like
unto Christ's own most glorious body; that is as much as to say that
they are like the body of Christ in the heavenly state.

If the foregoing, and many other similar passages of scripture, do not
go to show that the Supreme Being bears a personal appearance like unto
the person of his Son, and consequently like unto any other resurrected
body of a righteous man, then we are in a labyrinth of doubt how to
interpret the most plain and unequivocal language. If the language of
scripture does not bear me out in the conclusion that man is in the
form of God, then there are no infallible way-marks or criteria by
which I can safely interpret scriptures. And the votaries of Vishnoo
have as good scriptural reason to believe in their theory of deific
annihilation, as others have to believe in a God without body, or
parts, or passions.

The scriptures plainly deny both theories, as they do that God is a
person some millions of miles in the height of his stature. Common
sense cannot grasp the idea of any _being_ or _thing_ whatever,
that is without body or parts. Even the most subtle and refined
spirit conceivable, is a _material existence_ as far removed from
immateriality as the east is from the west.

Now, sir, suffer me to entreat you to abandon all such crude theories
concerning God, which are as baseless and unscriptural as the most
extravagant vagaries of the heathen, and confine your faith to the
simple obvious testimony of Jesus and the prophets. And remember that
this is not a subject of little importance; for it is written, that,
_to know God and Jesus Christ is eternal life_. No man can understand
the import of eternal life, nor how it is secured to believers, that
does not _know God_ and Jesus Christ. In God and Christ is eternal
life. This life is not barely the perpetuity of existence, for even the
wicked exist for ever, but it is called in scripture the "_power_ of
endless life." This _power_ of multiplying or creating life emanated in
that Melchizedek priesthood of which Jesus is the head and High Priest.
This is the gift of God to men who keep his commandments, and the
greatest of all gifts. Unsearchable riches accompany this gift. When
God created man, he created him in his own image (male and female), in
order that he too might have the power of multiplying life after the
order of Melchizedek, through obedience.

Now, sir, should it not be a matter of delight to you, that man is
created in the image of God, and crowned with glory and honour through
faith in Christ. Will not Peter and his fellow-desciples rejoice to
recognise that same Jesus who ascended to heaven with a body like their
own, and if Jesus bears the image of the Father, they will be equally
familiar with the Highest. What is there, sir, that contributes more to
the glory of God than his _creative power_, by which he brings myriads
of living intelligences into being, through whom a chaotic universe is
organized into works of beauty, taste, grandeur, and glory? All these
creations are for the righteous pleasure of Him who created them.

We all are the offspring of God, and the loyal offspring of God are the
greatest delight and concern of God. For them he is ever ready to make
the greatest sacrifice possible. Not only is filial reverence displayed
from them to Him, the fountain of life, but by them is shown forth the
manifold wisdom and power of God. And when men, by humble obedience,
become worthy of eternal life, the Almighty bestows upon them the like
precious _creative gift_. But this gift of life is in his Son, and He
never bestows it upon unworthy subjects. Thus by the law of adoption
men become the sons and daughters of the Almighty, and receive the
priestly "_power of endless life_," which is after the order of the
Son of God. Hence the marvellous language of scripture, "I said ye
are God's to whom the word of God came." Jesus virtually said on one
occasion, "If holy men are the sons of God, and consequently heirs
to His throne, privileges, and glory, then marvel not that I (Jesus)
should claim to be a God or the Son of God!" For Paul says, "_there be
in heaven Gods many, and Lords many, yet to us there is but one God.
Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge_."

In conclusion, I will drop a passing remark or two concerning the abode
or dwelling place of God, with a brief hint of his moral attributes.
As Jesus is our light and example, we can learn of the Father's abode
from his Son. The Son ascended up into _heaven_ and to his God and our
God. The scriptures abundantly declare that a place called _heaven_ is
the peculiar dwelling place of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ. Now, if heaven is not a _literal, bona fide place_, but only
an imaginary phantom, then it follows that Jesus went to no place, but
continued to ascend up, till, in his glorious flight, He reached--
shall I call it Nichban--an imaginary phantom--or annihilation!

Be not displeased, dear sir, I am not trifling with your religion,
but am bound by truth and the love of God, to unfold its naked
absurdity, in order that you, my beloved friend, and all good men
may recoil from such gross Gentile vagaries, and exclaim, in the
language of scripture, "_Our Fathers have inherited lies, vanity,
and things wherein there is no profit_." If you will read carefully
the scripture accounts of the visions of holy men, that have been
permitted to look in upon the heavenly residence of God, where Jesus
and all the resurrected bodies of the righteous abide, and eat and
drink, you will be constrained to acknowledge every appearance of a
splendid local abode. Mansions--streets--rivers--trees--precious metals
--thrones--persons--apparel--animals--ministering personages in all the
courtly livery of unspeakable celestial glory! The heaven of all the
holy prophets!

God's holy dwelling place, is literal, local, real, and to its
occupants, it is visible and tangible. It is by no means a matterless,
passionless, mystical region of extatic and endless songs from the
lips of immaterial spirits, offered in praise to some Great Spirit,
equally passionless and immaterially chaotic, spreading infinitely
through all space without centre or circumference. If such is the God
that men expect to adore in heaven, mankind would present but a faint
image of him, yea, even Jesus, who partook of man's likeness, could not
have been the brightness of the Father's glory, and express image of
his person. He declares that He has given us an image and likeness of
himself in the person of man. But who would ever recognise their Father
and Jesus in the person of a boundless, centreless being, of no body or
parts, infinitely expanded.

But it is sometimes urged that man only resembles God in his moral
attributes. Morally, says the divine and doctor, man bears the image
of God. Aye, indeed! The absurdity of such a supposition is still
greater. By moral, I must then understand, that the resemblance
between God and man, consists in their being of like social, civil,
and religious temperament and affection. Other things being equal, a
holy man as Adam originally was, would cherish the same propensities
with God--have a similar sense of justice and truth according to the
measure of knowledge belonging to each. But the absurdity and query
are here: an immaterial, infinitely expanded God, without physical
form and locality, is as unlike to man as light to darkness, or as the
most diverse animals can be supposed to be, and cannot in the nature
of things have those sympathies and moral sensibilities that man has.
Material sensibilities must differ from those which are immaterial, as
much as the elements of land and water differ.

My sheet being full, allow me to subscribe myself

Your friend and servant,

ORSON SPENCER.



LETTER IX.

THE PRIESTHOOD.

_Liverpool, September_ 30, 1847.

Reverend and Dear Sir,--In close connexion with an account of the
character of God, I will proceed to give you a brief and succint
description of THE PRIESTHOOD. It is feared, however, that the present
subject will not be more congenial to your views than the foregoing.
Still it shall be treated according to the spirit of the scriptures of
the Old and New Testament, which you ardently profess to believe.

You will admit that God is the righteous Ruler over all the moral and
intelligent creatures of the universe. His government is both temporal
and spiritual. Not even a sparrow falls to the ground without His
notice. He clothes the lilies of the field; much more doth He watch
over all the varied interests of intelligent beings both in heaven and
upon earth.

I shall then define priesthood to be that order of authoritative
intelligences by which God regulates, controls, enlightens, blesses
or curses, saves or condemns all beings. To it, under God, all things
are subservient in righteousness, whether in heaven, earth, or hell.
God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is at the head of all genuine
priesthood. But as it is His will that all men should honour the Son,
even as they honour the Father, Jesus now stands accredited as the
Apostle and High Priest of our profession. Subordinate priests in the
same apostolic order of the Son of God, are such as he has put in his
church. These are called apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers, &c.

Now, sir, by means of this order, extending from Jesus the High
Priest, to the lowest grade of priesthood in conjunction with the Holy
Ghost, God teaches and governs all things. Out of the line of this
order, there is no power whatever that is acknowledged and approved
of God. Magistrates, rulers, kings, potentates and principalities,
if not legitimately ordained and clothed with the authority of this
priestly order of the Son of God, are usurpers and not of God--for the
scriptures declare that there is no power that is not of God. Even the
angelic order is in the line of subordination to Jesus Christ, and in
the same chain of priesthood with apostles and prophets upon the earth.

The priesthood exhibits a regular gradation of knowledge and authority
from Jesus the great High Priest in heaven, to the lowest description
of ordination in the church below. Jesus said that "all power was given
him in heaven and upon earth." But how did he propose to exercise all
that power which was given him both among the nations of the earth
and in heaven? My answer is, that he proposed to do it through a
delegation of power to the different orders of his priesthood. We are
told distinctly what the priesthood consists of, which is established
on the earth, viz., apostles, prophets, evangelists, &c. The heavenly
order, minister to the authorities of the earthly order. The ruling
object to be accomplished by the latter is, the work of the ministry,
the perfecting of the Saints, the edifying of the body of Christ.

The first object of this priestly order is to teach all nations to
become loyal and good citizens of the kingdom of God, observing all
the commandments of God. One universal commandment of God is, for all
men every where to repent and be baptized, and keep all other laws of
God, as they shall be dispensed from the great High Priest through
the delegated authorities. Now if all men do not obey these commands,
they are liable to be dealt with as transgressors, and punished as
evil doers. The command to obey is imperative upon _all_ men. Hence
whatever orders of civil government--or order of domestic compact--or
order of business transaction--or order of religious worship--or
rule of commercial transaction may contravene the established order
of priesthood, the same must bow to the requisition of the inspired
priesthood of God; and God acknowledges no other power with approbation.

Now, dear sir, it is this imperative attitude of authority and power,
which the Almighty boldly claims, and fearlessly attempts to exercise,
through a chosen priesthood over all mankind, Jews and Gentiles, that
greatly displeases the rebellious portion of our race. They cannot bear
that this "man should reign over them." False notions of independence
and liberty rise against an order of delegated authorities claiming
inspiration and officiality from God. The rebellious profess that they
are ready to obey the Almighty God, but as for these men claiming
priesthood, we will not have _them_, to reign over us.

The abuses practised by an apostate and uncalled priesthood for the
last seventeen hundred years, has wrought an honest but wofully
misguided prejudice against the true priesthood; and a large portion
of mankind demand also, that God shall communicate with themselves
directly, without the intervention of agencies chosen from mere men
like themselves. And this captious spirit of dictation, as to the
manner in which God shall teach and govern them, has been fostered in
their minds by the erroneous notion that God is such a centreless,
boundless spirit of ubiquity, that he can teach and govern all worlds
without the aid of other agencies. We might as well suppose that he
can see without eyes, or hear without ears. But God's being like man,
though infinitely exalted above him, and unspeakably perfected in
every faculty and power, puts to shame these dark vagaries about the
inutility of delegated powers.

During the whole period of the world, God has ever and invariably
attempted to teach and govern mankind by means of an established
priesthood consisting of men; and this priesthood has been as
invariably resisted from the days of righteous Abel till now. By this
priesthood, it is the design of God to establish a Divine government
upon the earth, even as it is established in the heavens. All other
forms of government have proved a complete failure in every nation and
period, in which the experiment has been attempted.

But the most humiliating feature in the whole history of governments
is, that many have sought to ape the Divine government with an
uninspired priesthood. They have thereby made every species of
religious government a stink and confusion in all the earth. Their
uninspired systems have been like a fair woman without discretion,
or like jewels in a swine's snout. Sometimes they have united church
and state, and swayed a sceptre of oppression; at other times they
have been passive and non-resistant, even to the utter extinction of
thousands whose defenceless blood has crimsoned the earth. But the time
for experimenting upon false forms of government, civil or religious,
has nearly gone by never to return, "save for a little season."

A priesthood chosen not of men, but chosen first of God, and inspired
with his wisdom, truth, and power, is now called and ordained to teach
all nations, and fill the earth with the knowledge of God. By means
of this order, and this order alone, the kingdoms of this world,
whether temporal or spiritual, pagan or christian, are all to be merged
in one universal kingdom. And this will be the best and greatest
kingdom ever known this side of heaven. Its constitution, laws, and
method of administration will be after the model of the heavenly
order. It will embrace politics, arts, war, merchandize, science, and
religion--- things temporal and things spiritual. And the energy and
wisdom of Omnipotence will, like the little leaven in meal, increase
and magnify in the priesthood, till the whole world is brought into
happy subordination to this plan of government. The nations of the
earth will then become one family and brotherhood. Kings and rulers,
of all grades, will then be chosen of God through the priesthood, of
which priesthood rulers will be a part and portion; and without being
ordained to the priesthood, no man ever can rule in this great kingdom.

Thus, dear sir, you perceive that I attach great importance to
the priesthood, and consider it the grand instrumentality of
revolutionizing, and saving, and governing the whole earth. But what
harm in all this? Do you think there is too much power invested in
this chosen order of men? Why, certainly not! They have not chosen
themselves; neither have they come to office by the votes of the
unthinking mass; nor by blind hereditary lineage, nor by violence
and the usurper's arts. They have been chosen of God, who knew their
spirits before the foundation of the world. They are a royal priesthood
and holy nation, for God will have no other in his priesthood. Says
Jesus to his apostles, "Ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you."
Whom God approves men should not refuse.

Moses was a priest and lawgiver, and had to do with the temporal and
spiritual affairs of his subjects. Moses sought to unite church and
state, in obedience to the command of God. Joshua was also a priest
and ruler, and united both temporal and spiritual interests in his
government. David was a priest and king, and likewise Solomon, his
son. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were as much directed, by God, in
their temporal concerns or movements as they were in their spiritual
devotions. Jesus Christ came to establish a temporal kingdom fully
as much as a spiritual kingdom. Both Jews and Romans suspected his
designs, and charged him with the crime of treason. They said that he
called himself a King. Some will say that he explicitly declared that
His kingdom was not of this world. True: He did make this declaration;
but what does it prove? It proves simply, that this world was not
the father, author, or origin of His kingdom. His kingdom was from
_heaven_, and He had come here for the very important purpose of
establishing it on the _earth_. He called it kingdom of heaven, in
distinction from kingdoms that were of earthly origin.

It is strange, indeed, that the sectarian clergy should borrow the
idea that His kingdom was not a temporal kingdom as well as spiritual.
It was the prayer of His heart, and the prayer that He taught His
disciples, that God would establish His kingdom on earth, and cause
His will to be done here as it is done in heaven. Consequently, he
organized the kingdom here after the pattern of heaven, with all proper
officers, and laws suited to every temporal and spiritual occasion, and
then gave commandment that all nations should yield allegiance to the
laws and authorities established, and also submit themselves to the
ordinances of His Kingdom. And being in possession of living teachers,
even the word of inspired men, they (all mankind, if they would obey)
would be thoroughly furnished to "_every good word and work_." In
other words, they would know how to act in every calling and sphere of
business, whether temporal or spiritual.

Jesus Christ did not design that his servants should fight one another,
or fight and conquer mankind into allegiance to Him. The world would
act on these principles through disobedience, but his disciples would
not, because they were shown a better way to universal dominion and
government.

The priesthood being an office of great responsibility, is guarded
rigidly against intruders. Man may lawfully desire this office, but
he has no right to take it of himself, but he must first be called
and appointed to it as Aaron was, by God, through a prophetic voice.
Neither is man required to study, and artificially qualify himself for
receiving it. God takes men as they are, and with the gift of priestly
office He bestows the requisite qualifications. The ordination of
heaven put upon the head of any man, however ignorant, is a voucher for
requisite qualification and blessing. Every man is thereby thoroughly
furnished for the discharge of all the duties of his respective
calling. They are not all apostles, however, neither are all prophets
or pastors. But every one has his calling of God, and in the legitimate
sphere of that calling he acts as God, and in the authority of God.

Some have authority only to baptize unto repentance for remission of
sins, as John the Baptist. Such can confer no more authority than
they possess in themselves. Others have authority to bless, and whom
they bless are blessed in very deed. They have similar authority to
curse, and whom they curse are cursed in very deed. Jacob blessed his
sons, and the heavens sealed and confirmed the same upon their heads.
Paul cursed Elymas, the sorcerer, with blindness, and the same curse
was sealed and confirmed upon him immediately. Elisha cursed Gehazi,
his servant, and leprosy cleaved to him from that time. Elijah shut
up the windows of heaven that it rained not for the space of three
years and six months, by the same delegated power, and again they were
opened at his voice. He was a man of like passions with ourselves. All
men are not ordained to this power, and when they are not, they are
wholly incapable of exercising it. It is office that gives recognition
and legality to a deed of conveyance and ownership. It is divine
appointment and official calling that gives efficacy to the priesthood.
But many generations have contented themselves to preach and support
preachers who have no divine appointment.

The consequence is, that men have been self-appointed to the ministry
and spread dissention and confusion abroad. The knowledge of the true
and living God has gradually receded from the earth, and darkness,
even gross darkness, covered the people. The ordinances that impart
healing virtue and the power and light of truth, have either been
changed or abolished. The apostolic office has been counted as a thing
out of date, and the spiritual gifts as being done away. The religious
world has been too much like King Saul. After he had been forsaken of
God, and the power and Spirit of his anointing given to David, this
unhappy monarch resorted to every miserable device, (even to the aid of
witches), in order to obtain knowledge and influence. But the curse of
disobedience followed him to the day of his death.

The religious sects, in like manner, have resorted to seminaries
and the polish of schools--also to the theological comments of
time-honoured fathers, (who were as ignorant as themselves) ever
learning, yet never coming to the knowledge of truth. Bibles have
been translated again and again; learned volumes have been written
in explanation, and even wars have been instigated by the supposed
defenders of the faith, and the earth crimsoned by human gore. All
these evils and curses have arisen from a spurious priesthood.

In view of these things, is it not time, sir, to let God resume the
reins of government and once more establish a holy priesthood, which
shall be after the calling of Aaron, and after the order and power of
endless life. That this may be the unfeigned choice of all who seek
after God, is the continued prayer of

Your old friend and servant,

ORSON SPENCER.



LETTER X.

ON GATHERING.

_Liverpool, October 13_, 1847.

Reverend and Dear Sir,--You have doubtless been ready to ask, time and
again, why this GATHERING together of such large bodies of Saints? Why
can they not stay in their former residences, like other christians?
And may they not do more good to their fellow-men by scattering about
amongst the people promiscuously? Why, go away off to some distant
part of the earth? is not the Almighty God to be found as much in one
place as another? Furthermore, says one, it is exceedingly dangerous to
community at large to allow any large body of people, of the same faith
and doctrine, to assemble themselves in any one place, their influence
being rendered formidable by reason of concentration and union.

My dear sir, have not cogitations like these passed through your
mind, and been reiterated in your hearing more than once, concerning
Latter-day Saints? Delusion! delusion! is reiterated on many sides.
What can these Latter-day Saints mean--selling out their possessions at
so great a sacrifice, and leaving a comfortable and pleasant home for a
far distant land, even crossing the wide Atlantic! Has there been the
like fanaticism since the time of the crusades? On the land, hundreds
of wagons, yea thousands in all, are seen rolling their whitened canvas
over the wide prairies, accompanied by their flocks and herds; and on
the ocean a multitude of ships are wafting the inhabitants of distant
islands and continents to the same destination!

Now, I propose to meet these inquiries and reflections promptly and
fairly. In the first place, if the church is guided by the spirit of
revelation, God, the author of all true revelation, knows what is good
for his people, and He will not require them to _gather_ without good
and sufficient reasons. For the church that is not guided by the spirit
of sacred inspiration, is guided by mammon or the devil; for every
church will serve God or mammon. Well, says one, I don't believe that
God ever did, or ever will, require people to gather together and leave
their country and kindred. Aye, indeed; but you believe the Bible, I
trust, which informs you not only how God _has_ gathered his people
in different periods of the world, but also, that He will gather them
together in the dispensation of the fulness of times.

Do I need to remind you, sir, that God required Abraham to rise up and
leave his country and kindred, and go in search of a country that he
should afterwards show him. He was obedient, and went from one country
to another, the Lord being his counsellor and guide. The ancient
saints and prophets generally were "strangers" in consequence of being
called to leave their home and country. Their obedience to such a
call, through faith, constituted them heirs of an inheritance. Abraham
became an heir of the country which he was not permitted to possess in
time, but he will hold the same in eternity, with a city built upon it
according to the counsel of God.

In the dispensation given to Moses, he was required to gather the
people out of all the land of Egypt, and take them to the land
of Canaan; and what was very remarkable, he was required to slay
and destroy the inhabitants, in order to make room for the great
_gathering_ of the Hebrews. The children of God and the people of this
world cannot dwell together; they are always contrary one to the other.

What fellowship hath Christ with Belial, or believers with unbelievers?
The Egyptians could have no fellowship with the Hebrews after they
were told that a prophet had sprung up among them. The Hebrews told
a marvellous tale about the Lord appearing to Moses in the "burning
bush." They pretended to have revelation and work miracles as in the
early days of Potipher and Joseph; but this pretension to angels,
prophets, and miracles, speedily sundered all ties of harmony and
fellowship, and it was necessary for the Hebrews to leave the country.
God required it of them, and even ordered them into an unpromising
wilderness, to be subject to hunger, and thirst, and many hardships.

The same spirit of opposition to miracles, prophets, and angels exists
now; and the righteous can no more keep the ordinances and commandments
of God now, without persecution even to death from the world, than the
Hebrews could do it. For the same reason Lot _gathered_ out of Sodom
--even angels could not stop a night in Sodom without being mobbed;
accordingly, the Lord commanded him to gather up so many as would
go with him and flee to the mountain. His reason for the gathering
in this case was, that He could not properly punish the Sodomites,
unless the righteous were gathered out of the city in the first place.
Likewise, when Jerusalem was about to be destroyed, Jesus instructed
his disciples to flee to the mountain.

It was persecution that scattered the primitive Saints abroad in the
days of Jesus. Jesus had taught Paul and Peter, that the Saints could
not be preserved on the earth, and the kingdom built up, without the
Saints were gathered together in one. He told them, absolutely and
unequivocally, that he should gather the disciples in the day of
restitution. Such was their sense of the immediateness of gathering,
and of the second coming of Christ, that they were troubled when the
disciples were _gathered_, lest the day of the Lord was at hand; but
Paul disabused them, and told them that there must be a "falling away"
before the notable day of the Lord should come.

Paul informed his brethren, that in the dispensation of the fulness of
times, God would gather together in one, all things both in heaven and
upon earth and under the earth. John speaks of the same, probably as
the day of the great battle of God Almighty, Jesus signified that He
would gather his people, the elect, even if he had to send his angels
to the four corners of the earth to bring them, after the manner in
which he sent to Sodom to bring Lot out of it to a place of safety. He
declared he would gather the wheat into the garner, and the tares into
bundles to be burned. The prophets, too, long before the meridian of
time, saw with enrapturing vision, the sons coming from afar, and the
daughters from the ends of the earth.

Isaiah says, "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.
Then shalt thou see and flow together, and thine heart shall fear and
be enlarged, because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto
thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. Who are these
that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? Surely the
isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy
sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name
of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel. And the sons of
strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto
thee, that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles. 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 corners
of the earth."

The gathering of Saints to one place is necessary in order to preserve
their genealogies, and to secure to them those inheritances, the title
to which must be substantiated by legitimate records, kept in the
archives of the house of God. Whenever God has had a people. He has
been careful to instruct them to keep an accurate record of marriages
and the issues of marriage; from Adam to Noah, and from Noah to
Abraham, and thence to David down to Jesus Christ, the genealogy must
necessarily be preserved. Says David, "God setteth people in families
as a flock." "He arrangeth them in families." But if these families
intermarry with those who do not keep the laws of God, nor conform to
his ordinances, the records of genealogy are soon obliterated from the
knowledge of men, and the proof of a legitimate title to inheritance is
thereby extinct; and unless Saints are gathered out from the midst of
unbelievers, they are more liable to intermarry and become alienated
from the ordinances and covenants of the Lord. If Isaac and Ishmael
have no records of parentage, how can one claim rights of lineage above
another? God will assign rewards to men according to the _records_ of
their deserts, and one great pre-requisite to the final restitution
of all things, is the reviving and establishing of proper records of
genealogy, and covenants, and promises, and patriarchal blessings.

In one instance God had to rescind the marriages of a numerous people,
because such marriages, by their issue, would tend to frustrate the
grace of God to the righteous, and entail blessings upon a strange
people that God designed to curse. The ordinances of the church and
institutions of God's house cannot be carried into execution in a land
belonging to "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel;" because aliens
from God will not have the Lord to rule over them. They consider that
the laws of God set two against three, and three against two, the
father-in-law against the son-in-law, &c.; and so do they have this
effect, and always will have it, until the Saints are separated from
their adversaries. Before there can be anything like a true, godlike,
peaceful millennium, a separation must take place between the righteous
and disobedient; even as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats,
even so must God's will be done with friends and foes on earth, like as
in heaven.

Had the Jews received Jesus Christ, He would have set up just such a
kingdom on earth as in heaven, and the honest from all nations would
have been _gathered_ to his standard. But seeing they would pierce the
Shepherd, and scatter the sheep through a long cloudy day, as it had
been prophesied of Him and his followers; He, nevertheless, assured his
disciples that his people should be _gathered_, in the latter days, as
wheat into the garner. John says to the Saints in the last days, that
are scattered among the confused nations of the whole earth:--"_Come
out of her my people, and be not partakers of her sins, that ye receive
not of her plagues_." Here the reason why Saints should come out of
other nations is distinctly avowed--"to escape her plagues." The same
reason that was assigned why Lot should go out of Sodom.

The idea prevalent that God would inflict all his judgments in one
great tremendous DAY, is as absurd as the notion is universal. The
famine and dearth were at the command of Elijah. The earthquake that
swallowed up Dathan and the company of Abiram, was at the command of
Moses. Moses also stretched out his hand as a signal to the accumulated
seas to overwhelm the Egyptians, and they obeyed his mandate. But I
will not multiply proofs. God will pour out his vials of wrath, and
distress the nations till they will learn and practice righteousness;
and his people must flee to their appointed hiding place till the
indignation is overpast, otherwise they have no guaranty for their
safety. The Hebrews were obliged to mark their houses, lest the
destroying angel should slay both them and the Egyptians. The Lord
God has decreed a consumption upon the whole earth, therefore let the
righteous flee to the strongholds of Zion, that are preparing in that
land that was promised to the Patriarch Joseph, while it is an accepted
time, and the evil days come not.

Jesus cautioned Jerusalem saints to beware of imitating the silly and
dilatory part of Lot's wife. The righteous are no more secure from
approaching judgments than the wicked, except they obey the commands
of God. Even a prophet was once slain by a lion, because he dared to
disobey the Lord. No man should neglect any means by which he can be
removed, and help to remove others, from those nations that are as
inevitably doomed to destruction for rebellion, as the Canaanites of
former times.

Sir, we feel the very same extraordinary interest in depositing our
very bones in the land of Zion, that the patriarchs formerly felt when
they commanded that their bones should be removed, to the country and
burying place which God had designated. If there is enthusiasm in this
sentiment, sir, it is the enthusiasm of patriarchs and prophets that
kept the divine mandates, and knew well the order of the resurrection,
and the necessity of having their bones laid on the identical land that
should afterwards be their possession and inheritance for ever and
ever. Did not the Lord apportion off the land of Canaan to the twelve
tribes to be their inheritance for ever? and shall not the one hundred
and forty-four thousand in the latter days be equally tenacious to
possess the very inheritance that was promised them to be a perpetual
possession in time and eternity? There, their bones, like the precious
valley of dry bones, will be the guardian care of angels, and in the
resurrection stand up like a consolidated army, while the disobedient
and ungodly shall be scattered and driven as chaff before the wind.

The aged and infirm among us, fervently desire to carry their bones,
while animated with life, to the land of Zion, as an expression of
their faith in the promise of God, that he will resurrect them and
plant them in that same "heavenly" country which they now seek. What
Canaan was to ancient saints and prophets, the land of Joseph will be
to the saints and prophets of the last days, and more abundantly. If
men have not the spirit of gathering they are blind and cannot see afar
off, and are nigh unto burning. The gathering is one great test of
faith, by which you may know who is on the Lord's side. Kindred spirits
long to congregate together.

The language of Ruth is expressive of the desires of God's people in
all ages. "Thy people is my people, and their God is my God, and where
thou goest I will go, and where thou lodgest I will lodge." Her sister
Orpah could forego the society of saints and the ordinances of God
sooner than part with her native country and kindred. A portion of
Lot's family saw no wisdom in the _gathering_ until it was too late.
Sir, the _gathering_ is the great universal national _preacher_ of the
last days. It speaks in trumpet tones out of every nation where it has
been commenced. As birds retire before a storm, and fowls before the
darkness of night, so the multitudes that go out by sea and land is a
practical warning that cannot be mistaken by those that remain.

The nations wonder at the spectacle of such multitudes going out of
their midst under the warning voice of Jehovah, and are ready to cry
out, who are these that fly as clouds and as doves to their windows?
Who are these Latter-day Saints? What is their doctrine, and whither
are they fleeing? The sound of the gathering goeth into all the earth.
The fear and dread of approaching calamities take possession of the
nations. The righteous are being withdrawn apart, in order that the
Almighty may stretch out his chastening hand, and inflict his sore
judgment upon rebellious nations. There is no room to mistake the faith
and sincerity of those whose gathering together is without a parallel
for magnitude of enterprise. The Israelites performed a journey that
might have been compassed in about forty days, but the Latter-day
gathering brings sons and daughters from the ends of the earth.

The great design of Jesus in bringing the righteous to _unity_ of
faith and the knowledge of God, is wonderfully facilitated by bringing
the righteous together in one place. The ancient Jews were taught of
God to build up Jerusalem as a place of _gathering_; and those whose
circumstances forbid them to locate there, either from political or
agricultural interests, were required to visit Jerusalem at least
three times a year, where they could interchange hospitalities and
friendships, and contract matrimonial alliances, &c. Also, in addition
to these facilities of union, their baptisms were to be performed in
the national font; their marriage rites, and records of genealogy, were
to be performed and deposited in the archives of the great Temple of
the Lord at Jerusalem.

In this great city of gathering, their frequent and splendid national
festivals were to be held from generation to generation. By these
multiplied means, the union of Jews became proverbially strong; and
their attachments to their nation and kindred, and national rights and
usages, became as enduring as their existence. If, perchance, they
should be scattered amongst the remote nations of the earth, still the
recollection of their journeyings to Jerusalem in social groups--their
splendid festivals at the national capitol--their royal affinity with
the great and good of God's people--vibrated through their minds with
resuscitating power. There it was that the Almighty condescended to
reveal his acceptance of their sacrifices, and bless the people from
the greatest to the least, and even speak to the people through their
High Priest at least once a year.

Now, when God shall build up Zion and his Holy House in the tops of
the mountains, and all nations flow into it, will He not appear in his
glory? Such a measure of union, and strength of attachment to the Lord
and his people, the last days will exhibit as was never before realized
on the earth; then will Zion rise and shine, her light being come, and
the glory of God being risen upon her--yea, be an eternal excellency
and the praise and joy of the whole earth!

Who, sir, can contemplate the glory of Zion, when God shall have
gathered his people from the four corners of the earth, and made
of them a great nation, an "innumerable company," and blessed them
with his own laws and ordinances, binding them together in a new and
everlasting covenant, without the most thrilling emotions of love,
gratitude, and joy in believing. Break out, O thou inhabitant of
Zion, and sing for the glory that shall shortly be revealed; when the
kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of Christ, and the
stakes thereof shall no more be thrown down for ever!

Now, sir, in conclusion, may I not say, with all deference to the
misguided teachers of modern christianity, that the Lord is performing
a marvellous work and a wonder in the greatest of all gatherings since
the foundation of the world. He is gathering his righteous hosts from
the nations of the earth to one place, and setting his forces in battle
array against the powers of darkness, and against all flesh that exalts
itself against the knowledge of God. And by truth, and by judgments, he
will thoroughly cleanse the earth, and overthrow more wickedness in ten
years to come, than blind, boasting, self-righteous modern christianity
can in ten thousand years.

Please to accept my warmest desires for your present and everlasting
peace and welfare.

Your humble servant,

ORSON SPENCER.



LETTER XI.

THE LATTER-DAY JUDGMENTS.

_Liverpool, October_ 28, 1847.

Reverend and Dear Sir,--THE LATTER-DAY JUDGMENTS, the subject of my
present letter, deserve a careful consideration among the topics
peculiar to Latter-day Saints.

You must be already aware that it is a part of my faith that God
designs to set up his kingdom _on the earth_, in order that the meek
may inherit the _earth_ as their celestial abode; and as He will not
employ His enemies to administer even temporal affairs within the
bounds of His kingdom, His kingdom will consequently be a temporal
one, and wholly and exclusively conducted by His own loyal subjects,
according to His righteous will. He will proceed from conquest to
conquest, until all other kingdoms are overthrown and merged in
one--even His own kingdom.

The means by which he will subdue and overcome the nations of the
earth are two, viz.. TRUTH and JUDGMENT. He explicitly declares,
that He will lay _judgment_ to the line and _righteousness_ to the
plummet. His latter-day proclamation is, "Fear God and give glory to
Him, for the hour of His judgment is come." The salvation that He
offers is temporal, spiritual, and eternal; and the judgments which He
will inflict are also similar. As a supreme lawgiver, He claims the
submission of all the inhabitants of the earth. Nor is it necessary that
His servants should be for ever preaching the gospel on the earth, in
order to effect a universal reconciliation of all men to their God. All
men will not obey the truth, therefore what the truth will not save
through faith, God's judgments will destroy through their unbelief. And
these judgments will be executed speedily, even as in the days of Noah
and Lot. God formerly gave the inhabitants timely warning before the
deluge came, and before the fire descended from heaven.

The gospel must first be preached, and then the judgments will follow
in quick succession. Even as a chalk-line makes an impression for
the saw and the chisel, so God's judgments will make an impression,
sensible and summary. The day of vengeance has long been in His heart.
A day when His jealousy and wrath shall burn like fire, even to the
lowest hell. The wicked and diabolical spirits will be pursued, even
to their dens of darkness, and there scourged and bound. The righteous
veterans that have long since fought and bled, in order to establish
a reign of righteousness and truth on the earth, and prayed with
uplifted hands for this day of truth and judgment, their language is,
"How long, O Lord, wilt thou not avenge our blood on them that dwell
on the earth?" But God, who is long-suffering--not willing that any
should perish, but rather that they should repent and be saved--has
nevertheless reserved the worst spirits to the day of wrath and the
revelation of the righteous judgment of God. That day is even now
dawned. God has commenced to reveal his wrath against all them that
obey not the gospel. It is a day of revelation and prophecy.

The righteous are timely advised to gather out and separate themselves
from those that will not obey the gospel. They are not disobedient to
the great revelation of mercy to them that obey, and of wrath to them
that are contentious and obey not the truth. The winds and waves are
wafting thousands to the land of refuge. The prairies and wilderness
reverberate with the songs of the outcast but chosen and elect ones
of God. A more intelligent, enterprising, and bold race of Saints,
perhaps, has never been summoned to the help of the Lord against the
mighty, since the foundation of the world. Their fortitude, patience,
and invincibility are indelibly written in their bloodstained pathway
through Missouri and Illinois. The old arts of tormenting the sick
by burning their houses, and of famishing the robust by plundering
their crops, and forcing the sale of property by threats of murder and
arson, are fruitless. Prison walls and tragic scenes of assassination
and expatriation have spent their fury to no purpose. The daring
sons of Pharaoh, Cain, and Judas are baffled and confounded at such
godlike firmness. Occasionally a priest, goaded on by the loss of his
flock, has dared to act as champion, and throw the gauntlet for public
discussion, but the inevitable discomfiture that has followed, has
taught him the superior policy of evading discussion. But, dear sir, no
man can long be a neutral in this warfare. He must choose his side. If
truth fails to bring down high looks, judgments will not fail. Those
judgments which begun at the house of God, in Kirtland, Independence,
and Nauvoo, have been seriously felt by the Saints of God. But if the
righteous scarcely escape, where shall the sinner and ungodly appear?
The latter-day judgments that shall befall their enemies will be far
more insupportable and abiding.

There was no part of the United States ignorant of the murderous doings
of their countrymen towards the Latter-day Saints. The news spread over
the continent, and reached even the remote islands of the Pacific with
almost telegraphic speed. Nobody that loved justice, or felt the bowels
of humanity, had the least need to be ignorant of the distress, and
famine, and sickness, and nakedness that were inflicted on the innocent
worshippers of the only true God by their countrymen. Presidents and
governors, judges and lawyers, priests, physicians, and common people,
all were made acquainted with the diabolical outrages. They were not
only warned but _forewarned_. What has been the consequence? For the
last sixteen years the fluctuations of business have been like the
troubled ocean. Panic and depression have been as successive as light
and darkness, with the exception of incalculable irregularity and
confusion. In the place of wealth there has followed bankruptcy; for
peace, national war; and for the blood of one murdered servant of God,
there has been tens, and even hundreds, laid weltering in their gore.
Some of the best blood of the nation (so accounted) has been demanded
by Him that said, touch not my prophets and do my anointed no harm. The
word of the Lord to all Israel, on the eve of the Carthage tragedy,
was, if they (the enemy) begin to shed blood, the sword shall waste the
blood of the nation. And how are the sons of the mighty fallen? What
wailing and lamentation are heard from high places over distinguished
slaughtered Americans! And the end is not yet.

But what shall I say of time-honoured orthodoxy? Poor creature! Her
glory is being fast turned into shame. Many of her lovers are forsaking
her, and the balance are too sleepy to wake up. They refuse to be
fascinated, notwithstanding all her meritricious arts. Education,
tracts, missions, and moral reform, are a vain thing for strength. The
Lord is a jealous God, and will not give His glory to another gospel;
but he will curse all the systems of men that are built upon human
precepts merely, without the authority of immediate revelation. The
various systems of modern christianity are cursed already, wherever the
true gospel is proclaimed. That sincerity, fidelity, and zeal, which
your churches and your preachers once had, is taken away from them; and
your preachers have no longer power to preach with effect. The reason
and cause of all this is, the true light has come; consequently, they
have no longer any apology for upholding systems of error and false
religions. The Spirit of God will be withdrawn from your ministry and
your churches, just in proportion as the true light shines and the true
gospel is rejected.

When the devout Jews rejected the novel doctrines of Jesus and his
apostles, the virtues which they previously possessed either withered
up or were withdrawn from them, and communicated to Infidels or
Gentiles. So it is now. While the devout priests and churches reject
the gospel ministered by an angel to Joseph, and confirmed by the signs
following, their former virtuous principles forsake them. They become
filled with the spirit of envy, hatred, and malice towards the Saints.
They retail groundless slanders, and often are foremost in instigating
mobs, refusing common civilities and hospitality to the servants of
the Most High; and so sanguine is their opposition, that they even
believe it would be well for the cause of religion, if the Saints
were exterminated and put to death. So believed the devout Jews, who
persecuted the prophets and slew the Holy and Just One. Thus, by step
after step, the professedly pious are brought to become accessory to
blood-guiltiness, and bring upon themselves all the blood that has been
shed from the days of righteous Abel till now.

Oh! my much-loved friend, will you not shudder at the sight of such a
catastrophe before the modern churches? What an awful curse! Given up
by God to believe Saints to be sinners, and then to war against them
even to blood-guiltiness! Strange and deplorable infatuation! One would
think that the snares and pitfalls into which God precipitated ancient
persecutors, would prove an effectual warning to modern persecutors
to beware how they plunged themselves into a worse destruction! Oh,
how great the severity of God towards them that strive with their
Maker, and spurn the faith once delivered to the Saints as no longer
needed! The very _religion_ of modern christianity is now about as
great a curse as can be inflicted upon its possessors, without doing
violence to their power of agency. It is the prolific cause of judicial
blindness and hardness of heart. A false religion is worse than no
religion, because it is a lure and a lullaby, that excludes true
religion from taking effect.

Modern religion rejects immediate revelation; consequently, all that
knowledge that flows from visions and dreams, and the ministry of
angels, and the prophetic inspiration of the Holy Ghost. A greater
curse cannot well be conceived. There never was a people that lived
a hundred years, or even fifty years, without immediate revelation
from God, but they fell into gross darkness and contention, and those
hurtful lusts that drown men's souls in perdition. There never was a
people that survived the gift and blessing of immediate revelation
any considerable length of time, except they fell into idolatry and
worshipped strange gods; and their sorrows shall be multiplied that
hasten after strange gods. All Israel fell into the worship of Baal,
and hundreds of them became prophets to Baal. They, indeed, were
the descendants of the mightiest Saints that ever lived, such as
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Moses, &c. They had in their possession
the writings and traditions of their fathers, but still they were
cursed because they rejected the knowledge of God through immediate
revelation. They became like blind men groping in the dark. They taught
their children to rebel against prophets and miraculous gifts.

Modern christians, with the Bible in their hands, are in as gross
darkness as the worshippers of Baal. The god they worship is no more
like the person of Christ, or the person of a man, than Baal was.
Their order of church authorities and church gifts, and ordinances of
healing and anointing, are probably about as remote from the apostolic
pattern, as the worship of Mahomet or Vishnu is. Do not believe, sir,
for a moment, that I intend, by this humiliating remark, any disrespect
to the supporters of modern christianity. No: God forbid. As good a
man as Paul the apostle was once as vehemently opposed to immediate
revelation and spiritual gifts as you are, or any other abettors of
modern christianity; but, by timely repentance, he escaped that awful
curse of aversion to the only means of knowing the only true and living
God. But multitudes of his countrymen still adhered to the belief that
the gift of revelation had ceased, and prophets and miracles were no
longer necessary. And you firmly believe that the curse indescribable
has followed them to this day. Oh! how astonishing it is that you, sir,
and your high-minded associates in modern christendom, should plunge
into the same doleful abyss--reject the same doctrines and ordinances,
as no longer necessary, and entail the same curse upon your children
for generations to come! In this you are fighting against Jehovah.
Every year and every day while you persist, the darkness of your minds
will become more gross, and you will bring the worst passions into the
field of conflict against the Saints. God will withdraw his Spirit
from you, and you will ultimately be forced, through weakness and
multiplied divisions and contentions, to unite the scattered fragments
of sectarianism on some common platform of anti-scriptural invention.
On this platform, and with this consolidated power of anti-Christ, the
great battle is destined to be fought that shall silence the spirit of
anti-revelation for a thousand years!

Alas! the deplorable destiny of those that war against prophets and
apostles, and the spirit and power of primitive godliness! Such, in all
former ages of the world, have been cursed with wars, conflagration,
famine, pestilence, and the vagaries of an oppressive superstition.
But, in the latter days, God has decreed a consumption upon the whole
earth. The religion that is not based on the immediate interposition of
the wisdom and power of God, from day to day, and time to time, will
not, cannot, and shall not stand, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken
it, and let all the inhabitants of the earth hear it. Yea, sir, such
religions shall be as the chaff which the wind driveth away, even as
the small dust of the threshing-floor. God despises the religion that
professes to flourish without the aid of constant revelation from the
heavens; and he will shoot out the hot arrows of his wrath against it,
until there is not a vestige or semblance of it left on the face of the
whole earth. The potsherds may strive with the potsherds of the earth,
but wo unto him that striveth with his Maker!

Alas the day, when God shall withdraw his Spirit from all flesh! Then
confidence between man and his fellow, will give place to distrust; and
jealousy, evil surmising, hatred, robbery, and blood-guiltiness will
spread their direful influence through all communities! The cords of
domestic union will be severed! The weak will be compelled to bow to
the yoke of the strong--might will become the strongest pretext for
right! The carcases of the poor and infirm will bleach uncovered upon
the earth! The stench of putrefaction will impregnate the atmosphere
with poisonous pestilence; insects and noisome creatures will breed
innumerably to the annoyance of man! "The sword shall devour from
one end of the earth to the other,--the earth shall be soaked in
blood,"--the rivers shall become bloody, and the fountains of water
shall no longer be pure. Many that lie down at night shall not awake
in the morning. The fruitful field shall become sterile and barren,
because no man knoweth for whom his fruits are growing. "The earth
becometh empty and desolate." The master and servant are brought to a
level. The priest is as void of consolation as the people. Paleness and
fear are depicted on every human face. Traffic in merchandize, as a
business, is wholly abandoned. Men cease to sow and to plough, in hope.
Never before did the Almighty commence such an awful warfare against
the inhabitants of the earth; never before was there witnessed such a
succession of plagues and dire calamities amongst men!

After peace is taken from the earth, an agent, by the name of Death
(probably invisible except to spirits and such as have the spirit
of revelation) will go forth on the face of the earth and destroy
one-fourth part of mankind. In the midst of this destruction of
one-fourth of mankind, martyred Saints will ask the Lord to hasten
the work of human destruction. An earthquake, and the lapse of stars
from heaven, then begin to destroy the frail tenure of human hope; and
even the great men, and mighty and chief captains become desperate,
like the most effeminate and pusillanimous. Every successive plague
is increasingly awful and unendurable. The plagues that fell upon
Egypt will sink into insignificance and fade out of memory before the
plagues which were shown to the revelator John, and which shall usher
in the final consummation of the "mystery of God." The opening of
the "bottomless pit" is followed with three woes which are inflicted
upon men, and which are suited to the incorrigible condition of such
obdurate spirits as no inferior engines of torment and destruction
could subdue. But neither the torment inflicted by the sting of the
locusts, like unto scorpions; nor that which is inflicted by the horses
of that great army of two millions, whose mouths emit fire, smoke, and
brimstone, and whose tails, being like serpents having heads, destroy
both before and behind wherever they go; yet none of these things will
lead these latter-day enemies to new revelations, unto repentance.

Now, sir, in conclusion, I have endeavoured, briefly, to direct
your mind to the vortex of indescribable calamities into which the
sentiments of modern christianity are calculated to precipitate all
who know not God (by immediate revelation), and obey not the gospel
revealed from heaven in this our day--a day of mercy and judgment.

With fervent desires that you and your posterity may escape the day of
wrath, and seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, I subscribe
myself

Your old friend and servant,

ORSON SPENCER.



LETTER XII.

ON THE RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS.

_Liverpool, November_ 14, 1847.

Reverend and Dear Sir.--THE RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS, is a subject
deserving rather a volumious treatise than the contracted limits of a
single letter; still some out-standing features of this very prominent
part of scripture revelation shall be briefly touched upon. _The
apostle says that the heavens must receive (Jesus) until the times of
the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of
all his holy prophets since the world began_.

By the term restitution, the scriptures mean putting all things on a
permanent and righteous basis. All things are not, and never have been
on a righteous basis since the fall of Adam.

After the expulsion of Lucifer and his associates from heaven, order
and harmony were restored, and the everlasting system of progressive
intelligence and felicity again established on an immutable basis, so
far as heaven was concerned. And even among the third part of heaven,
drawn away by the apostacy of Lucifer, there might possibly have been
some persons capable of ultimate restoration in the interminable ages
of futurity. Of this, however, it may, perhaps, be said that no man
knoweth. No man, surely can know unless it is revealed to him from
heaven. The possibility, however, of redeeming all flesh from the
transgression laid upon mankind in this mortal state, through obedience
to the gospel, is abundantly revealed in the scriptures. However wrong
may have been the conduct and opinions of the inhabitants of the earth,
obedience to the gospel will reinstate them in the course of permanent
felicity, intelligence, and righteousness.

There are _particular_ and _set times_ for the restitution of all those
things which God has spoken of by the prophets. God hath spoken of the
subject of restitution by _all_ the prophets since the world began;
indeed there never was a prophet on the earth whose business did not
engage him more or less in the work of restitution. But long periods
have elapsed on the earth in which no prophets have been known. During
such periods the work of restitution has invariably ceased. Iniquity
and misery have been made to abound, and gross darkness has spread over
all people. But at _particular_ periods God would raise up prophets,
and then the work of restitution would commence and continue until the
prophets were slain or otherwise removed from the earth. It is during
such particular _times_ of restitution in the latter days, that even
Jesus himself may appear from the heavens, in order to give direction
and mighty impulse to the work of restitution. Noah was raised up
to stay the progress of wickedness and build up the waste places.
Wickedness was swept off the earth according to his prophecyings and
teachings, and a race of righteous men put in the place of the wicked
to people the earth. It was also a time of restitution when Abraham
was commissioned to reform mankind by truth and judgment, teaching
them to walk in the old paths of revelation and immediate and constant
intercourse with the heavens.

Again, in mercy God raised up Moses, and recommenced the same work of
restitution which was subsequently undertaken by John the Baptist,
under the immediate supervision of Jesus himself. But it was not
competent for any one prophet, in the short period of his ministry on
the earth, to set _everything_ right that was wrong; but each did what
he could, under existing circumstances, with the people with whom he
had to do. The spirit of revelation rested upon each successive prophet
to perform that work which was most fit and necessary to the age in
which he lived. No one could attend to all things; and many things are
yet to be revealed that have been kept secret since the foundation of
the world. No man has ever understood all those measures and principles
by which the human family can be brought to the highest degree of
perfection. The angels probably do not know them, and even the Son
himself did not know them, but the Father only.

The reign of a thousand years of righteousness will probably do much
to correct, ennoble, and exalt mankind, and beautify the works of his
hands, and felicitate all flesh. Whatever principles and measures
can contribute to exalt and felicitate mankind in the sight of the
heavens, is yet to be done. The profound philosophy and science of
the highest intelligences, with all the embellishments which art, and
taste, and genius can secure, are destined to become tributary to the
righteous; and when these things shall take place in the _times_ of the
restitution of _all things_, God will be crowned with ineffable glory
and honour, blessing and dominion, for ever and ever. Amen.

The spirit of apostacy has stripped and shorn true religion of all its
luscious and beautiful fruit, and left nothing scarcely but the naked
withered hulk of false _spirituality_. Religion has been taught, by
protestant dissenters, as a science almost wholly abstracted from civil
government--from political, social, and domestic institutions, and also
from the useful and fine arts. It has been circumscribed to the most
revoltingly contracted limits.

In the zeal of its advocates to put down an illegitimate and bastardly
union of church and state, that had long darkened the moral atmosphere
of the earth, and made nations groan under oppression, and sigh and
mourn that religion was the wedded ally of the civil sceptre, they
pushed off into the opposite extreme of imbecile, naked, and sterile
spirituality; thereby proving, plainly, that any religion that is not
based on constant and immediate inspiration of the Holy Ghost, can
neither walk long with or without the crutches of governmental aid and
support. It will not only become a stink in the nostrils of Jehovah,
but soon cause great dissatisfaction and fall into merited contempt and
ignominy.

The best biographies of such men as David Brainard and Edward Payson,
is a fair exhibition of internal mental turmoil, and fitful commotion
of spirit, and servile bondage to a law that neither they nor their
fathers could keep. Poor misguided but honest men! How happy might they
have been had they known the true primitive gospel that Paul preached,
by the infallible light of inspiration! How joyful the intelligence to
the honest but misguided, when the glad news of _restitution_ shall
reverberate in their prisons, and cause the captive exile to haste into
light and liberty! Not only will the hopes and faith of men be set
right in the times of restitution, but the earth itself will undergo
an important change, and the heavenly bodies or planetary system.
The islands shall flee, and continents be united, and the waters be
restored to their proper bounds, no more to break over their proper
barriers. The curse shall be clean removed from the earth, and the air
shall become salubrious and delightful. The animal race shall cease
from their animosity and virulence of temper. The lion and the lamb
shall lie down together; and there shall nothing hurt or destroy in
all God's holy mountain. In short, all things that are now wrong shall
be set right. Human life shall be prolonged: the infant shall die an
hundred years old. The power and perpetuity of life will be secured
to the ultimate extinction of death from off the earth. Death, the
last enemy, will be conquered and swallowed up in victory. When every
form and power of sin ceases, may we not expect that death will also
cease? Death hath passed upon all men in that all have sinned. Sin is
the sting of death and the cause of it. It is true that Jesus died,
although he never sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression;
but he took upon him Adam's nature, and became sin for us, though he
knew no sin. But it was not possible for him to be holden of death, or
to see corruption, because he was holy.

When a holy seed shall be raised up from the loins of the righteous,
which know no sin (which will be the case when the devil is bound),
then their bodies will not see corruption. They shall not all sleep
(or die), but they shall be changed. Those who partake of the curse
of Adam will be changed in a moment, without knowing corruption; but
the posterity of such as are changed will be the legitimate heirs of
sanctified bodies, upon whom death has no conceivable claim. Death
will not pass upon them because they have not sinned. Their bodies
are generically spiritual and holy, like Christ's own most glorious
body. Then will the seeds of death become extinguished from the human
body, and man will stand as holy and pure as in his pristine creation,
blooming with health, vigour, and immortality. Then he is prepared to
hold intercourse with the heavens, and to reign with Christ on the
earth.

You will perceive, sir, a difference in the liability of such persons
as are born during the reign of righteousness, who do not sleep
or die, and those who must die by reason of sin. The former know
not the dominion or sting of sin, but are as trees of the Lord's
planting--righteous. The latter must needs die and be resurrected.
Jesus was the first fruits of them that slept. In the case of all
others, corruption followed death; and a longer period must elapse
before their bodies could be resurrected by reason of corruption. But
Jesus was first and foremost to ripen into immortality. Corruptibility
did not pertain to him, of course it was not necessarily pre-requisite
to his resurrection and immortality; but with all others, down to the
period when it is said that they should not sleep, corruption must
precede the resurrection.--If the body of Jesus did not corrupt and
moulder back to dust, then it is evident that he had substantially the
same sort of corporal frame after his resurrection that he had before.
The spirit resting upon him without measure, animated and resuscitated
his body with no other material change than that of loss of blood. He
shewed his disciples his body, and told them to handle him and see of
what material it was: "a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me
have." He shewed them, demonstratively, in his own person, a proper
specimen of a living resurrected body. He shewed them that a spirit did
not possess flesh and bones as a resurrected body did. He also proved
another thing, viz.: that a resurrected body retains probably all the
five senses common to a mortal body. He eat and drank with them, and
shewed them that his person was identically the same as before his
death.--Here there is a specimen of corporal immortality. In this
person we may see what all resurrected bodies will be, for we shall be
like him. Life and immortality are brought to light in the example of
Christ's resurrected body. Such is the organization of a resurrected
body, in consequence of the expulsion of the seeds of death, the last
enemy, that decay and disease have no further power or influence.

The immediate resurrection of Jesus, after the lapse of only three
days, was one of the greatest blessings and honours that could be
conferred. In addition to all the faculties and powers which he
possessed previous to his death, he also had those of an immortal
being; instead of lingering a long time, with barely the circumscribed
and limited powers and privileges of a disembodied spirit, he was
blessed in _body_, _soul_, and _spirit_ united. The key to innumerable
lives and boundless dominions was given him on the third day after his
death. It was his sole prerogative to say how long the dead should
sleep before they should be resurrected. All the innumerable privileges
of a resurrected body--privileges unspeakable and even unlawful to
be uttered by reason of the hardness of men's hearts--were conferred
upon him! He held the key of death and hell. No one could come forth
from the tomb without his orders--none could felicitate his spirit by
possessing his own body till Jesus should grant permission. His friends
could all be called forth at his pleasure, and be reinstated on the
earth as he had been, with all their friends and posterity after them,
but no enemy could resuscitate the slumbering ashes of his tomb, till
Jesus should speak the word and grant permission.

His attention would be especially directed to the speedy and early
restitution of such as had been beheaded for his sake and the
gospel's. They should be the very first to be raised, and others in
their time and order; but the wicked enemies! alas, how long they
must lie unnoticed! A _thousand_ years, at least, must roll slowly
away before their mouldering bodies could be allowed to have a living
re-organization! Long and doleful banishment from the joys of life and
immortality! In the meantime the righteous are restored to their own
bodies, now immortalized for ever; they are reinstated on the earth in
the company of kindred spirits, while their enemies are trodden down as
so much dust under the soles of their feet.

How remarkable a contrast between the righteous and the wicked! They
that sowed to the Spirit are reaping the fruits of the Spirit, which
are life everlasting. They inherit the earth and multiply upon it, and
build cities and temples, and their posterity are as numerous as the
sands upon the sea shore. How glorious the rich reward of keeping the
commands of God! but, alas! where are the wicked all this time? Where
are those who have sown to the flesh during this long and glorious
reign of the righteous on the earth? Poor wretched creatures! they
are reaping corruption, just according to what they sowed. Once they
scorned the righteous, and oppressed the hireling, and sneered at
prophets, and said they needed no revelations in their day and age. But
where are they now? Their bodies mingle with the dust of the streets
and of the field, that men tread upon daily. Their memories are nearly
faded from remembrance. Their posterity can no where be found on the
earth. When the wicked return from their banishment (so many as do
return, for they shall be visited after many days) they have become
an inferior race of beings: the righteous have outstripped them in
knowledge, and happiness, and power, and dominion, and glory, and
honour.

The resurrection will bring about a great restitution both to the
righteous and to the wicked. The righteous will receive the reward of
righteousness, and the wicked will receive the wages of sin. When the
wicked are swept off the earth, the books will be opened and examined
in order to know whose names are recorded; and those "that are found
written in the book shall be delivered;" and such shall be resurrected
immediately, and shine as the brightness of the firmament on account
of the illustrious part they had taken in Christ's service. But the
wages of the wicked shall be paid off in a long night of death before
they rise; and when they rise, it shall be to shame and everlasting
contempt. If their long banishment and death is followed by a subdued
and humbled spirit of loyalty to truth, still their late resurrection,
with all its doleful accompaniments, will be an eternal stigma on
their name. It will always be known that they were once banished
and trod under foot a thousand years at least, in consequence of
their disgraceful rebellion against the laws and ordinances of God's
government. Neither they nor their posterity can ever wipe off the
disgrace; they may repent and reform, and become truly loyal to God,
still their former rebellion against immediate revelation and prophets,
will stand on record eternally, and crimson their face with shame, and
furnish occasion for contempt to their name at the retrospect. Many
ancient Saints endured "tortures, not accepting deliverance, in order
that they might obtain a better resurrection."

The domestic tie is the strongest bond of union, and the most prolific
source of virtue and happiness that appertains to mankind on earth
or in heaven. Hence the promise made to Abraham of an innumerable
domestic confederation, and to all others also, who should be heirs of
the same faith with faithful Abraham. But the wicked are disembodied
spirits, without flesh and bones, and cannot partake of the blessings
of domestic union, and that friendship and fellowship that the whole
_family_ of God in heaven and upon earth enjoy. Poor desolate spirits,
that once despised prophecyings and forbid to speak in tongues, ye are
now left without the sweet ties of parentage, and the endearing bonds
of filial and conjugal affection! The social circle in which you move,
and the government under which you are organized, have lost their most
lovely and essential ligaments of union and strength. How gladly would
wicked spirits accept the bodies of the inferior animals as their
tabernacle, might they be permitted to do so; even the swine would be a
desirable habitation rather than none at all.

The angels that kept not their first estate are reserved in chains
(have not the liberty of embodied spirits) to the far distant period of
final judgment, when death and hell shall be judged after the lapse of
a thousand years and "little season;" even then death and hell, with
all others whose reprieve is not found written in the book, must fall
victims to the second death. Oh! dreadful consequence of sin! How oft
would I have _gathered_ you, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her
wing, but ye would not; but now, your house is left unto you desolate!

But, alas! sir, how many attach no more importance to the resurrection,
than merely the fact of its being an evidence that we shall survive the
dissolution of death? but blessed are those who understand and have
part in the _first_ resurrection, for on such the second death hath no
power. Sir, my heart swells with deep concern that all men might obey
the only true gospel, that entitles to a part in the first resurrection!

The limits of my letter forbid me to exhort; but suffer me to say,
unless you have the same faith with Daniel and Elijah, and the same
spirit of revelation with Peter, Abraham, and Moses, you can never
associate with resurrected bodies, neither with holy angels, nor with
God. In your _flesh_ you never can see God. All former Saints were
united with the spirits of the just, and angels, and Christ, and God
the judge of all: and if you are not united to the same by supernatural
faith, and the spirit of vision and revelation, you may bid farewell
to every endearing social tie, and launch forth among the disembodied
powers of the air; and there with bitter regret and wailing, lament
over that fallen and lost bodily image of your Maker, laid low in
corruptible ruins through your transgression and hatred of the ministry
of the prophet of the last days. There, this spectacle of your
rebellion against prophets (monument of your shame) must lie till your
self-righteous spirit is subdued, or be raised only to encounter the
mortal grasp of a second death.

Yes, sir, while the restitution will elevate the righteous to their
proper level in the scale of being, where the wicked cannot molest,
it will also depress the wicked to their humiliating level. It will
separate them to their own place, and the want of bodies will prove
an impassable gulf between them and happiness. In this state they
may, indeed, contemplate what they have lost, without the power of
recovering it. Oh, tantalizing state of keen despair! Dreadful chains!
Cruel death holds that once noble image of thy Maker fast in mouldering
ruins, as a monument of thy contempt of prophets! Now, thou needest
supernatural power to restore to thee that lost image of thy Maker!
Now, thou needest a new name and key to resurrecting power! but thou
hast despised these things, and saidst thou hadst no need, therefore
thy light is put out and clean gone! Now, angels offer to minister to
thee, and prophets to become thy teachers, but thou wouldst have none
of these; therefore they will withdraw from thee for a long and dreary
night, in which thou wilt often cry out with bitter wailing, "Would God
it were morning!"

Now, sir, may a consideration of these truths lead you to choose the
good and refuse the evil, and stand on the immutable basis of every one
that is taught of God, is the unceasing desire of

Your humble servant,

ORSON SPENCER.



LETTER XIII.

MISCELLANEOUS REMARKS ON RESTITUTION.

_Liverpool, November_ 30, 1847.

Reverend and Dear Sir,--A question has sometimes been asked concerning
infants--with what bodies will they come forth? Will they be raised in
the stature of manhood or adult size? We believe not; but as they fall,
so will they rise again--the size of their stature when they rise, will
be the same as when they fell asleep in death. Little children are the
subjects and residents of the kingdom of heaven. Their angels do always
behold the presence of our Father in heaven.

It is not the size of a person's stature that constitutes any certain
mark of the measure of one's capacity, either to exercise power or
enjoy felicity. Jesus possessed all power in a mere stature of human
size. Still, nothing is fully perfect till it has attained the measure
of the grand Designer, and accomplished the end of its creation. Hence
it may, with some probability, be inferred, that children will mature
and come to their full stature after the resurrection; this, however,
is more a matter of opinion than of any direct revelation that has come
to my knowledge.

It will, of course, from what has been said, be discovered that the
righteous will enjoy a happy recognition of each other in every
endearing relation that is common to mankind in their present mortal
state. Their familiarity will be that of perfect innocence and
felicity. Children, in the millennium, or after the first resurrection,
will need the same paternal care, tutorage, and guidance, which is
required by them now. In the absence of their proper parents they will,
doubtless, receive adopted parents, or an equivalent guardianship
of the angels of God. Such is the established order of progressive
intelligence, through the medium of living teachers, that all the
redeemed of heaven and earth, are under the special guardianship of the
ministering authorities of God.

Oh, how happy and blessed are those parents and children--husbands and
wives--who shall meet in the palaces of the just, and recognize each
other after so long an absence! Unspeakably joyful that day and hour
when friends, that have been long separated, shall again strike hands
together, and celebrate their re-union in the courts above. To die
is gain, because the righteous are exalted and introduced to higher
orders of intelligence. New fields of discovery and enjoyment are
constantly opening, to intensify their interest and swell their bosoms
with the liveliest emotions. They may and do remember their righteous
friends that are left behind, for a little season, with kind desires,
and cannot advance in knowledge and glory very advantageously without
them; still it is the knowledge which they possess of superlative
glories ahead, that principally occupy their minds. Truths and keys,
explanatory of the boundless and skilful works of God, and facilitating
their progress towards dominion and power, and blessing, and salvation,
are continually warming up their hearts and inciting them to onward
deeds. The valiant and faithful that have fought a good fight and kept
the faith, are hailed with delight and thanksgivings on their reception
to the heavenly courts, and most cordially welcomed to the embrace of
the great and venerable progenitor of our race.

Thrice happy are those who keep their present estate, and secure
an imperishable inheritance on this planetary portion of their
interminable existence; and equally deplorable, on the other hand,
the condition of those who, filled with the delusive spirit of
anti-revelation, keep not their present estate, and prefer the
darkness of _no revelation_, in their day; because they have changed
the ordinances, and transgressed the laws, and broken the everlasting
covenant.

Again, it may be asked, will not those who have died without the
knowledge of the gospel, during many centuries past, perish for want of
the gospel? And where is the justice of leaving persons to perish, for
want of that which it is not in their power to obtain?

Were not many of our ancestors, that have died in past generations,
good people, yet as the gospel was not revealed in their day, and they
could not enter the kingdom by being born of the water and of the
Spirit, have they perished? These, indeed, are interesting inquiries.
To the first inquiry I respond--they have not perished, in the sense
or manner in which those have perished who have rejected the offers
of the gospel; not having known the gospel, they have never rejected
it. They have not disobeyed laws and ordinances of which they have not
heard, or which were never imposed upon them. They are neither rewarded
or punished according to gospel laws; but such as have lived without
law will be judged without law. Where there is no law there is no
transgression--where there is nothing given, there is nothing required;
but it is required according to what a man hath. Whatever light they
have had, by _that light_ will they be judged; and whatever privileges
and blessings the _law_, under which they have lived, can confer, such
will be awarded to them. Still our fathers, who have died without the
gospel, are in a condition far inferior to those who have received and
obeyed the gospel.

This condition of theirs is consequent upon the early transgression of
their progenitors. The condition itself may not be blameworthy. Their
conduct, in a pre-existent state, may have deserved for their bodies in
this world to be without the privilege of the gospel; or withholding
gospel privileges from them in this world, may be followed with future
blessings compensatory for their loss, when they shall prove themselves
worthy of a better condition. The gospel martyr sustains a great loss,
but the magnitude of his reward is designed to overbalance his loss.

Our devout and worthy fathers that have died without the gospel,
cannot, indeed, enter the celestial kingdom of Jesus Christ without
conformity to the identical laws and ordinances of his kingdom.
But provision is made for them, whereby they can conform to the
requirements of the gospel, not altogether in their own persons
alone, but through proxy, or the obedience of others, provided they
voluntarily accept of that obedience rendered by others for their
benefit.

Startle not, my dear sir, at this idea that is so repugnant to the
prejudice of protestants. The principle of substitution is at the
foundation of the great work of redemption, and forms a chain of
gratitude and obligation of the purest and noblest metal. Jesus died
for others, because they could not have saved themselves without his
obedience for them. The preachers of righteousness pass through many
tribulations, and sacrifice houses, lands, and country, in order that
others may become rich both temporally and spiritually; without this
order of suffering, the just for the unjust, no man could be saved.

Paul says, I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which
is _behind_ of the afflictions of Christ, in my flesh, for his body's
sake, which is the Church. Every man that has the priesthood of
Christ may suffer in his measure and degree a propitiatory sacrifice,
according to the degree of priesthood with which he is clothed. He may
become a subordinate saviour to his fellow-men, Christ being, however,
the CAPTAIN of all men's salvation. Hence, the prophets plumply call
men SAVIOURS who shall be raised to officiate in Mount Zion.

Paul also instructs Timothy how he can _save_ men and himself. This
distribution of _saving_ gifts, instead of eclipsing Jesus of the
glory of salvation, magnifies his glory, because He is the spring and
source of all salvation. God the Father reigns over all, and Jesus
under him, and men reign under Jesus as kings and priests. Kingdoms
rise up within kingdoms, but Christ is the _King_ of kings. Peter tells
how the devout and honourable dead may be saved, who never heard the
gospel on earth. He says, the living may be baptized for them, and
then they can be judged according to men in the flesh. Says he, "else
why are ye baptized for the dead?" Baptism for the dead was better
understood in Peter's days than the doctrine of the resurrection.
Doctrines are sooner obliterated from the mind than ordinances. But
after the destruction of the Temple, and the baptismal font, baptisms
for the dead must of course cease, because there was no longer an
acceptable place for this ordinance to be ministered. Peter explicitly
declares, that the gospel was preached to _the dead_, by which also
he went and preached to the Spirits in prison. Now if the gospel was
preached to the dead, then mercy, and deliverance, and salvation, were
preached to the dead; but these could not be preached to them without
the ordinances, because the ordinances of baptism, and gift of the Holy
Ghost, are a part of the gospel; for except a man is born of water and
of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. But if a righteous
man is baptized for his departed friend, the law requiring baptism is
magnified, and God can justify the departed spirit that believes, and
accepts the same.

Baptism for the dead, however, only takes away the disabilities
under which they labour; unless this is done for them they cannot be
redeemed, however penitent they may become. The blood of Christ took
away the disabilities of all the human family, so that all mankind can
now be saved through faith and obedience. But no man is saved by the
blood of Christ, without faith and obedience; and if they count His
blood an unholy thing, and sin against the Holy Ghost, there is no
more sacrifice for sin, neither is there forgiveness for such in "this
world, nor in the world to come." No person will be led by the Spirit
to be baptized for any such description of persons; no person that is
the friend of Christ will ever lend a helping hand towards redeeming
such obdurate spirits. Many worlds must pass away before they can be
fit subjects for the visitation of God's mercy. But there are those
who will prove their lineage to be descended from those who slew the
prophets, and "fill up the measure of their fathers," and some will
even shed innocent blood--for whom there is no resurrection, only
to be plunged into a lake of fire, and writhe under the gnawings of
the worm that never dies. Among those in former ages who were of the
lineage of the murderers of prophets, priests and high-minded divines
are distinctly noticed by Jesus Christ, and their pedigree flatly
exposed; and, sir, if you will allow me any credit for veracity, and
attach any weight to the most palpable and irrefutable proof, you may
assuredly know, that preachers of modern christianity have occupied a
conspicuous part in the tragic scenes of Missouri and Illinois.--I
will admit that many distinguished divines do eloquently extol the
ancient prophets--speak in glowing diction of the faith of Daniel,
Abraham, and Sampson, and of illustrious miracles, and beautifully
portray the crucifixion, agony, and triumph of Jesus. But, alas! with
the next breath, and while soaring aloft with the ardent sympathies of
their hearers, they prove their pedigree to be that of the self-same
murderers of the very prophets they affect to eulogize. Electrified
and warmed up in the pseudo atmosphere of Calvary, and the story of
redeeming love for a cloak of maliciousness, their words, though
smoother than oil, are sharper than drawn swords. The innocent Saints
feel their piercing thrusts from pulpits that bear the cognomen of St.
Peter, and St. Paul, and St. Jude.

Lewd men of the baser sort catch the Lethean fire, and throughout the
nation the righteous poor feel the Upean blast that sprung from the
sacred desk. Thousands are thrown out of employment--writs, and every
species of oppression are poured out like a storm of hail upon them.
Property is sacrificed--the Saints flee, homeless and shelterless, to
seek an asylum in the wilds of the everlasting hills.

Again, I will invite your attention to the union of the fathers and
the children, and a faint outline of the innumerable kingdoms that are
to rise up in the boundless dominions of the Supreme King. No king
on earth or in heaven is so omnipotent or omnipresent as not to need
subordinate ruling agencies, in order to control innumerable subjects.
Hence the Lord God of all the earth has a host of holy angels that
communicate his will, and minister his pleasure among the hosts of
heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. From the highest heaven, even
his own peculiar dwelling-place, to the lowest heaven, and from thence
to the earth, this order of delegated authorities is maintained. His
dominions extend through all space, and the number of his constantly
increasing subjects cannot be computed.

How, then, are these innumerable kingdoms governed? Every organization
has its own president or ruler, from the orbit of countless millions to
the smallest division that convenience may require--from the ruler of
many cities to the ruler of the smallest ward of a city. A man's gift
maketh room for him, and bringeth him into the presence of great men.

Now, the strongest tie of government, of union, strength, and happiness
in any confederation whatever, either in heaven or on earth, is that
which springs from parentage, or the paternal tie. The first lesson
of address which God teaches his subjects is to call him Father--our
Father, &c. The father feels the strongest of all attachments to his
children; for them he toils and provides, and to them he gives the
fruit of his labours, and the wisdom and knowledge that flows from his
lips. Every father is expected to look after his own progeny. If it
were not that the hearts of the fathers were turned to the children,
in the last days the earth would be smitten with such a sore and
heavy curse that no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake,
and for the sake of the fathers who have obtained promises concerning
their posterity in the last days, the earth will be preserved as an
inheritance for righteous men. From the dust of mother earth has arisen
a sufficient number of righteous men to secure the endless perpetuity
of its existence among the worlds that God has made. Glory and honour
be to God for this unspeakable favour! Some worlds have passed away and
are not, doubtless because they abode not in the law given them.

According to promise, God has sent Elijah just in the dawn of the
great and notable day of sweeping the wicked with the besom of his
wrath, to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers. The children
are told of kindred ties between them and such as once held the true
priesthood, and wrought righteousness on the earth, and of their
consequent heirship to thrones and dominions through faith. Through
the gift of the Spirit they respond to the same, as good tidings of
great joy. The Spirit of God works in them mightily, that they may
come to the knowledge of their ancestors, that were once in honourable
remembrance before God for their faith and priesthood. By revelation,
and by records and traditions, and by the spirit of adoption, they
will learn their relationship to the heavens; and the vacant links of
lineage between them and their forefathers in the priesthood, will be
sought after on earth, and under the earth, and in the heavens, in
the set times of restitution; for God will gather together in one in
Christ, all things in heaven and upon the earth and under it, in the
dispensation of the fulness of times.

The different federative unions of the whole family of heaven and
earth, when organized according to the law of adoption, have their
own respective patriarch or president to represent them in the grand
council of the just, Jesus Christ being head over all things to the
Church, in all ages, worlds without end. Every dispensation under Him
has its own presidency and grand council, from whence emanate all the
laws that spring from the Apostle and High Priest of our profession in
the heavens.

By the federative laws of adoption, a representation may be had in the
grand council of each dispensation, with more practical facility and
order than otherwise. Jesus is an advocate for the whole human family
before the Father; "and every High Priest taken from among men is
ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both
gifts and sacrifices for sins."

A mediatorial and intercessoral work pervades the priesthood according
to the measure of the grace bestowed. The union of families, not
according to the capricious and changeable institutions of men, but
according to the laws of heaven, upon the basis of virtuous affection,
and upon the confidence of permanent security in righteousness, will
form a solid phalanx against the intrusion of discord and the spirit
of alienation from God. The righteous will be bound together, by the
ties of adoption and kindred, in the "bundle of eternal life." This
united confederation of strength and affection will be peculiarly
needed, in order to endure the shock which society must receive both in
heaven and upon earth, and under the earth, in the last dispensation;
for every tree that the Eternal Father hath not planted shall be hewn
down, and the institutions of men shall come to nought. Every man's
hand shall be against his fellow; and while distrust and discord shall
insinuate their baneful influence into the secret chambers of the most
familiar acquaintance, the Saints shall have peace like a river, and
their union and joy shall abound. Then the nations that have sneered
at prophets will be filled with disquietude and fear! Violence and
rapine will stalk abroad with a bold front! Innocence, and integrity,
and virtue will hide in confusion or be utterly banished! But the
Church--"the pillar and ground of the truth"--will be quiet and
undisturbed! Virtue and innocence, truth and wisdom, will abound within
her gates! She will come up from her tribulations like sheep from the
washing--fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army
with banners!

And when the victory of truth over error is won, all nations will fear
the name of the Lord our God. "The law shall go forth from Zion, and
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." The Jews shall be gathered to
Jerusalem, and the city shall have been built in troublesome times. The
outcasts of Judah shall re-occupy their own land; and the gatherings
of Israel shall be commemorated in everlasting songs and festivals,
because the greatness of the work shall surpass any deliverance
that Israel has ever experienced before from the hand of the Lord.
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 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. 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. I will cause them to know mine hand and my might, and they
shall know that my name is the Lord. And Satan shall be bound on the
face of the whole earth; and for the first time in the lapse of more
than six thousand years, there shall be made a perfect demonstration
of the majesty and glory of the kingdom of God on the earth; and the
purity, efficiency, and wisdom of his laws.

Jesus Christ shall come in like manner as he went up. He shall set his
feet upon Mount Olives, and the earth shall quake at his presence.
His nation shall acknowledge their Lord and their God, whom their
fathers had crucified. The city of the New Jerusalem shall come down
out of heaven, even the city of the great King. In this city will be
displayed the skill of the great architect of the world,--the builder
and maker is God. The names of the twelve tribes, and of the twelve
apostles of the Lamb will not be the least distinguishable in this most
extraordinary city that was ever revealed to man.

This vision of the future residence of the apostles and patriarchs,
appears to have been unfolded to the apostle John, in a kind of
farewell visit, and must have ravished his heart with unspeakable
delight and ecstacy. His soul was suffused with joy and rapture, and he
fell prostrate with feelings of worship toward the messenger of such
tidings. Jesus had, indeed, told the apostles that he would go away and
prepare mansions for them. And that there were many mansions. But never
before, probably, had he described the celestial state and residence so
beautifully and minutely as now. The height, and length, and breadth of
the city, and the names of some of the most distinguished personages
who should occupy mansions therein, together with the gates of pearl,
and the foundation walls of all manner of precious stones, were
distinctly shown to him.

The future residence of the Saints, we perceive, is not an ideal thing
without reality. They will need houses for their persons, and for their
families, as much in their resurrected condition as in their present
state; they will be as sensible of the works of art, taste, beauty and
grandeur there as now, and far more so.

In this identical world, where they have been robbed of houses and
lands, and wife and children, they shall have an hundred fold. The
nations of the earth shall bring their glory into the city of their
immortal residence. And the diversified wisdom of Solomon, displayed
above all earthly kings, shall be but a miniature picture of the
visible and tangible glories that will be exhibited to the eyes and
ears of resurrected Saints on the very erarth where they once suffered.
If ever an earthly sovereign sat upon a throne, and swayed a royal
sceptre, and wore a glittering crown of surpassing richness and beauty,
then shall men and women who have suffered loss and shame for the
gospel's sake, be seated upon thrones in the city of the New Jerusalem,
and their mandates shall be heard and obeyed to the ends of the earth;
and the riches, and dominion, and power, and blessing, and glory, that
shall encircle them, no tongue can describe. Oh! wonderful transition,
from darkness to light, and from the degrading bondage of Satan into
the liberty of the sons and daughters of God! Glorious emancipation!
Who can contemplate the recompense of reward without ample satisfaction
for all the withering scorn, and piercing sarcasm, and bloody hatred,
that have been endured? Give me a name that shall never perish,--a
habitation among heaven's kings,--a seat in the council of the just,
where the fairest among the sons of men shall sometimes minister in his
own person, and it shall suffice for having fought a good fight, and
kept the faith once delivered to the Saints. Oh, enchanting prospect of
rapturous delight!

  The thought of such amazing bliss
  Should constant joys create!

But grovelling unbelief will ask, how can such an immense city be let
down to the earth, or suspended over it, and contiguous to it? I reply,
How can the earth be suspended in vacant space? How could Jesus ascend
up till the eye could see his person no longer? How could Elijah go up
in the chariot of Israel? How could the angel fly through the midst of
heaven, that the prophets Zechariah, John, and Daniel saw speaking to
the young man Joseph? How can Christ come with his ten thousand Saints,
and descend with a shout? How will Saints, by tens of thousands and
millions, be caught up to meet him in the air? How do birds fly in the
air, and vast planets hang on nothing? Oh! marvellous unbelief! shall
not He who organized worlds out of their chaotic state, reorganize
them at His pleasure, so as to suit the capacity and pleasure of
immortalized bodies, that have kept their second estate, and have
obtained right and title to enter the pearly gates of the royal city?

Isaiah says, that the Lord's work, in the last days, shall be a
marvellous work and a wonder. The changes wrought in the condition of
the earth will be very great. The face of its surface will be greatly
changed. There are many islands and lofty barren mountains, and sunken
pestiferous valleys, and sterile plains, that will be revolutionized.
Indeed, far the greatest part of the earth stands covered with water.
The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunken man, and shake terribly
before the coming of the Son of Man. It shall even be turned upside
down; and the approach of Christ shall be indicated by a succession of
great events and changes. But a most extraordinary appearance in the
heavens shall be distinguished, and known as the _sign_ of the coming
of the Son of Man. Whether this sign of the Son of Man will be some
planetary body of an imposing aspect, first making its appearance in
the heavens and gradually approximating to the earth, or whether it
shall be stationary, is not, and probably, will not, be fully revealed,
except to the children of revelation, for that day shall come upon the
nations as a snare.

But it is revealed that an extraordinary sign in the heavens shall make
its appearance, announcing, with sublime and terrific grandeur, the
near approach of the Son of Man. The calamitous state of the nations,
convulsed with the sword, pestilence and famine, with which God will
plead with all flesh before the Son of Man shall come; followed also
with great convulsions of nature, will lead many to practise wild and
visionary impositions, pretending that Christ _has_ indeed come, and
that he has been seen in the wilderness, or in the secret chamber,
&c. But let it be understood distinctly, that even as a remarkable
_star_ escorted the Son of Man in his first advent, and became not only
visible but stationary over the very point of earth where Jesus was
born--marvellous indeed!--even so, and much more visible will be his
second coming.

The brilliancy of the lightning, extending over the whole heaven, from
east to west, will not be more manifest to the inhabitants of the earth
than the approach of the Son of Man at his second coming. Still many
will behold, wonder, and despise, and perish; because it is written,
that whosoever shall reject that prophet shall be destroyed from
among the people. The false signs and wonders that shall be got up in
opposition to the true, will deceive and harden the nations, and they
will not discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth him
not.

Even the sign of the coming of the Son of Man may be contemplated by
multitudes, barely as an unaccountable phenomenon; and familiarity
with the sight of it will beget indifference, hardness of heart, and
contempt for all such like things.

Your humble servant,

ORSON SPENCER.



LETTER XIV.

SUMMARY AND FINAL APPEAL.

_Liverpool, December_ 13, 1847.

Reverend and Dear Sir,--Having given you an epitomised view of the
doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a
short series of Thirteen Letters, I now make this SUMMARY AND FINAL
APPEAL to you, and to all persons to whom the foregoing Letters may
come.

Before parting with you, I will endeavour to obviate some objections
that might be supposed to arise, and give some further confirmatory
proof of the truths that have been advanced.

You may be ready to inquire with great earnestness, can it possibly be
that the religious world have been so grossly mistaken and actually
deluded for so many centuries? can so many divines of celebrated
learning and devotion have been all this time in error? Is it possible
that that illiterate young man, Joseph Smith, should be the first,
after the lapse of so many ages, to break the spell of darkness,
and pierce the clouds of error, and let in the sunshine of eternal
truth upon the whole world? Is it possible that he whom we have been
accustomed to regard as the blackest impostor--about whose moral
character there hang so many shades of suspicion? can _he_ be, in very
deed, a true prophet of God?

I do not wonder at your inquiries; but I do marvel that any good man
should have a lingering doubt. Your inquiries and objections I will
briefly answer.--Why should not the religious world be mistaken? do
not the great mass of the human family profess to be religious? are
not the millions of China and Asia religious? Here is nearly one half
of the human family ardently devoted to their religion--they are
sincerely devoted to their religion--the multitudes of their pagodas,
and the great expense and sacrifice attending their worship, prove
incontestibly their sincerity; and the long antiquity of their religion
has rendered it venerable as yours.

You readily say, that the myriads of Asia are deceived and mistaken.
But may they not retort upon you and say--how is it that we, whose
religion is so ancient and so universally believed, should be (all of
us) in such gross error? Now, may not the reply that would fit them
be applicable to the advocates of modern christianity? They are all
the children of Adam as much as you, and as much the offspring of our
common parent. Their rulers and divines are as respectable among their
own countrymen as yours are among your countrymen. It is no worse for
modern christendom to be in error than for paganism. Paganism can
boast of more learning and oratory, and of more universal, enduring,
and mighty governments than modern christianity! Paganism can boast of
more union and stability than modern christianity. But I am no advocate
of either paganism or modern christianity. I believe that the whole
world lieth in darkness, in consequence of transgressing the laws of
God. Modern christianity has had a fair trial for success. Kings and
potentates with vast and populous dominions, have been arrayed on
its side. _Eighteen hundred years_ have testified to its ragged and
crippled march. The sovereigns of Europe and rulers of America are
on its side. But what a haggard picture of union does the theatre
of modern Christianity present! A garment of as many colours as the
various religious creeds of modern christianity, would constitute a
phenomenon fit to be carried about as a curiosity.

In Catholic countries there is the largest share of unity of creeds.
In Protestant countries every city, town, and village presents the
picture of religious collision and jargon. Now, these contending parts
must necessarily be wrong, for God is not the author of confusion, but
of peace. And if the constituent parts are wrong, the aggregate must
also be wrong. But whether the balance of wisdom and virtue lies with
Christians or Pagans, one thing is certain, that no man, by searching,
can find out God or know the Almighty unto perfection! The world by
wisdom know not God. No man can ever know God unless God reveals
himself to him. Those whom God selects to communicate revelations to
men are not the wise and mighty, but rather such as are accounted
weak, and foolish, and unholy. This is the description of men that
God generally chooses to do his work on the earth. Again, it is said
that the doctrines of the Latter-day Saints may be good enough, but
their characters are too reprehensible. Testimony from many reliable
sources is against them; and we have seen with our own eyes a want of
that fervent piety that ought to distinguish a people entrusted with
the ordinances and gifts of salvation.--This, I think, is the most
weighty and popular objection that is urged by the opposers of the
Latter-day Saints:--if they were a respectable people, their doctrines
could better be endured. Now I propose to consider this objection,
and canvass it thoroughly, in order that no man shall ever raise the
same objection again, with any hope of success; but before I try their
character, let us inquire what is the proper standard or rule by which
character is to be tested.

Some people consider that no man can have a good character who is
not religious,--this is a common opinion among religious people. An
infidel, say they, is odious, and feels no responsibility; and no one
is religious unless his faith harmonizes with their own religious
creed. In some countries, what would be accounted moral and virtuous,
would in others be stamped as immoral, unvirtuous, and sacrilegious.
Another, more plausible, says, "let all men do as they would be done
by," and then their characters will be good. This, however, is a very
vague rule indeed; for instance, the Emperor Charles Fifth of Germany,
says: "If I were as great a heretic as Martin Luther or John Calvin,
I ought to be banished, or even put to death." Thus the Emperor
conscientiously carries out the rule, and orders the famous Reformer
(heretic) to be put to death. The above rule, unaccompanied by the
spirit of revelation, is often defective and made the pretext for deeds
of blood-guiltiness. What, then, is the true and infallible standard of
character? I answer, it is revealed in the Gospel. God is the only good
being and standard of goodness; such as comply with his revealed will
are good, and do good, and there is no iniquity in them.

Compliance with the divine will is the only true standard of character.
To this test, then, let us bring the character of the Latter-day
Saints, and that of their opposers. What is the faith of each? Let us
inquire. According to their faith, so will be their works or their
character. Says James, I will show my faith by my works. You may not
only know a man's faith by his works, but his works are also known by
his faith. If his faith is bad, his works will be also bad; and if his
works are bad, his character is bad.

It was the faith of Christ to receive the revelations of God his father
unto obedience in all things. This faith led him to work the works of
God, which were healing the sick, prophecying, casting out devils,
speaking in tongues, and doing many miracles, and revealing the will of
his Father. But the pious Jews, chief priests, &c., had another sort
of faith: they believed in the God of Abraham and Moses, but believed
that the age of miracles was past, and they forbid to prophecy and
speak with tongues. Their faith was, that there was no further need
of new revelation, and that the canon of Scripture was full. They
believed that the Sanhedrim established by Moses was sufficient for
the perfection and government of the Church, without apostles, and
prophets, and various gifts. Their faith was not the faith of God,
nor of immediate revelation (although they said they believed in old
revelations); neither was it the faith of miracles, and prophecyings,
and tongues, and healing.

What, then, was the faith of those pious men that sent their
missionaries over sea and land, and preached eloquently, and wept
copiously over the pathetic doctrines of Abraham and Moses? Why, to
be plain, sir, it was the faith of devils; and their anti-revelation
doctrines were the doctrines of devils. Their works were of the devil,
because their faith was opposed to immediate revelation, and their
character was like their works--bad and abominable in the eyes of God,
and saints, and holy angels; and yet these same pious Jews claim that
they were the only true Christians! What a pity (thought they) that
this arch impostor should succeed in misleading and deluding so many
followers. It was due to his wickedness that he got killed, and it was
a pity that his doctrines did not die with him. Doubtless some Solomon
Spaulding story was current to prove that he was born of a harlot, and
her husband, like another Judge Hale, was ready to swear that he was
not the father of the child.

Now, sir, from the foregoing thirteen Letters, you will see plainly
what is the acknowledged faith of the Latter-day Saints. It is
precisely the same with the faith of the ancient apostles and prophets.
They have proved before the face of mankind, and in the sight of
angels, that they believe the doctrines set forth in these Letters and
in the Scriptures, by persecutions, banishment, loss of goods, houses,
and lands; yea, even of life itself; for they are a spectacle unto all
men, and their characters are good in the sight of God, and angels, and
saints, because they keep the commandments and ordinances of God, even
unto death--not counting their lives dear unto them, in order that they
may be found in the same faith for which apostles and prophets have
contended earnestly and bled freely.

Their character is that of _compliance with the revealed will of God_,
the only true standard of character. They have preached the word to
the nations of the earth, under privations, and abuses, and perils
hitherto unknown, since the days of the apostles. It is no vanity to
say, there is none like them in all the earth. They fear God and work
righteousness.

If any class of people were ever entitled to a good character, it is
the Latter-day Saints. They have earned a title to it by conformity to
the only true rule and standard of character that was ever revealed to
man, viz., compliance with the doctrines and ordinances of heaven. On
this platform, sir, I am willing to try the character of Latter-day
Saints before any tribunal of impartial justice; and it is on this
platform alone that all men must be tried, who have ever heard the
gospel of Christ. When the Saints and their opposers are brought
before this tribunal of high heaven, think you not that our accusers
will not be filled with shame at their groundless accusations? This
people, during the last seventeen years (since 1830) have endured
the fatigue and expense of emigrating from their former homes; built
cities, and towns, and farms, and been robbed of them. Many of them
have journeyed, making their own bridges and roads, traversing prairies
and mountains, and some have emigrated by ships around the greater
half of the globe. They have preached the gospel to many nations, and
brought some hundreds of thousands into obedience to it. In doing
this, they have been unaided by any missionary funds or salary--been
compelled all the time to face an incessant and pitiless storm of
scandal and vituperation. The pulpit, and the bar, and the medical
faculty have poured out upon them their grape and canister shot, and
caused their combustible shells to burst thick around their pathway;
still they survive, and the truth floats over every ocean, and converts
to their standard are multiplying beyond the aggregate increase of
long venerated denominations. What but the power of God could have
secured these great and blessed results in the very teeth of boasting
christendom? Pure, eternal, and almighty truth has done it.

Why should you marvel at the success of this religion, seeing it is
based on the same principles as the religion of all the prophets ever
since the foundation of the world. The Bible recognises no other
religion than that of prophets and supernatural faith, and miracles,
and immediate revelation. It is not possible to point out a single
pious man or woman, whose name or piety is recorded within the lids of
the Bible, that did not profess the same religion--the same gifts of
supernatural faith, prophecyings, healings, tongues, that Latter-day
Saints profess. Ancient saints believed in a similar administration
by angels--ancient saints knew nothing of any religion that did not
embrace immediate intercourse with God and angels, or that did not
communicate the gifts of healing, tongues, and prophecyings. They knew,
indeed, what it was to smart under the lash of false religions; but the
ancient saints regarded no man as pious or acceptable to God, who did
not profess to believe in the ministration of angels, and the immediate
inspiration of the Holy Ghost. John, and Jesus, and the apostles, laid
the axe at the root of all religions but their own; and they believed
fully and heartily in these and such like things. And the great bone of
contention between them and their pious adversaries was mainly about
the gifts and blessings of a supernatural order;--the latter making a
mock of tongues, and despising prophecyings, and miracles, as being
needless in that day and age of the world;--the former maintaining
that the faith of Daniel, Sampson, and Noah, were as necessary to
salvation as they ever had been in the early age of the world. Indeed,
if you will look through the whole Bible, you will find that every
man of Bible piety believed in prophets, and angels, and visions, and
miracles; and any one who did not believe as they did were accounted
rebels, or hypocrites, and excommunicated accordingly.

I know, indeed, that out of the lids of the Bible, you may find
pious creeds, that set aside all further revelation, and the
further ministration of angels, and prophets, and represent the
supernatural faith of Moses and Elijah as no longer needed; but no such
representation can be drawn from any part of the contents of the Bible.
Men of _supposed_ splendid piety can be found in modern churches, who
know nothing of the gift of the Holy Ghost in prophecying and tongues,
or healing, and who never dreamed of having the ministration of an
angel; and would sneer at the whole system of prophets and angels, and
present miracles. And what I ask of them is, that they will abandon
all pretext of Bible authority for such piety. The Bible recognises no
such piety, neither does it entertain any fellowship for it; but down
to the day when the last revelation was uttered, it never breathed an
intimation that the faith of miracles would cease, or the gifts of
healing, except through transgression; but the ancient faith of Abraham
and Moses was strenuously contended for, till the last man sealed his
testimony with his blood.

The advocates of old revelations, and old prophets, and former day
miracles, were very numerous in Paul's day; but they hated new
revelation and the power of the Mosaic and Samsonic faith as they did
poison.

The doctrine of constant revelation in the true Church, left them as
barren of Bible piety as the fallen angels. Go back to whatever part
of the history of Bible piety you will, you will never be able to
glean up anything in the shape or likeness of modern piety; but you
will pick up the hot indignation of apostles and prophets against all
such pretended piety. The Bible wages an uncompromising war against
modern piety that wears the mask of friendship for ancient revelations
and miracles, while it resists the same faith and power in its own
day. It is no new thing to have revelation and miracles cease: they
were discontinued in consequence of transgression in several different
periods of the world. Previous to the days of John the Baptist, and
before the days of Moses and Abraham, revelation had ceased. These
men were raised up as so many new revelators, in order to overthrow
the false and discordant religions, and establish the knowledge of
the true God on the earth. As soon as prophets have ceased to reveal
the will of God, people have turned into jangling about creeds.
The old revelations have been distorted and pulled all to tatters;
manuscripts have been picked up; and uninspired men, with all pomposity
and pedantry, have set themselves to adjudicate and determine what
was genuine, and what was spurious revelation. You might as well set
blind men without a telescope to examine the propriety of the local
relationship of the starry bodies in the heavens. Alas! the eager folly
of biblical researches! Send one, as well, in the darkness of midnight
to search a hay-mow for a cambric needle! as though the Almighty could
not hide himself from the gaze of transgressors, and withhold the
key of knowledge from those that "despise prophecyings." But I turn
from the vain and sickening labours of the erudite religionist. His
pathway is a mazy labyrinth--the further he goes, the more inextricable
his difficulties! The cost of his wearisome and fruitless labours
overpowers the remnant of his veracity, and he seeks an inglorious
reward for his labours in decoying others, as foolish as himself, into
the same learned labyrinths of error. He tells what this man has said,
and that man has written; but from God, the fountain of all truth,
he has obtained no intelligence--he has heard nothing. Having felt a
little of the mesh cords of this entanglement, in pity I turn away.

The faith of visions, miracles, angels, revelations, and prophets, is
the only religion of the Bible. With what contempt would Abraham look
upon the religion that immediately preceded the days of Moses? With
what indignation would Moses and Elijah look upon the religion that
immediately preceded John, and denied any further revelation!

How abhorrent to apostles must be the conduct of those who, having
persecuted and slain the defenders of the faith of miracles, then
turned round and said, "We need no more such faith,--miracles are
done away." Their posterity approve their sayings, and teach the same
theology. Blush, O, thou foul prince of darkness, at the consummate
folly and credulity of thy followers! What would the revelator John
say, to a grave assembly or synod of divines, that should meet together
in solemn council to devise means how to check the doctrine of new
revelation and miracles? After showing them that he was identified with
the self same obnoxious advocates of such a doctrine, and that _his_
banishment, and the martyrdom of his fellow apostles, had sprung from
the same spirit of anti-revelation and anti-miracles, that now convenes
this grave council of bishops; with mingled pity and indignation
he concludes a most touching remonstrance against their unhallowed
opposition to prophets, by pointing the assembly to the tragic scenes
of Calvary, where anti-revelation had matured a full cup. When men come
to the knowledge of God through the principles of immediate revelation,
and the power of the Holy Ghost, nothing can separate them from the
love of God but their own transgressions; neither sword, nor famine,
nor peril, nor principalities, nor powers, can separate them from
the gospel. They know in whom they believe. Who could convince Jacob
of the fallacy of visions, after what he experienced at Bethel? Who
could dissuade Peter from the faith of miracles, after witnessing the
lame man healed at the gate of the temple? Would David or his mighty
men doubt the power of God, after a single individual had lifted up
his spear and slew _eight hundred_ at one time? Would mobbing and
imprisonment force Sampson to abandon his supposed delusion, after
he had put to flight an army of thousands? No; vain hope of all the
adversaries to miracles!

How long shall men wage a war of scandal, extermination, and massacre
against the advocates of miracles? Yet the nineteenth century--blush
to hear the undeniable charge!--yea, the christendom of the nineteenth
century has espoused the old persecutor's warfare, as keenly as the
persecutors of Stephen, Daniel, and Moses. Are they so forgetful of
all sacred and profane history as not to know that they are fighting
the battles of Cain, Esau, Jannes and Jambes, Judas and Herod, over
again. The former persecutors fought against new revelations, and
latter persecutors do the same--the former Saints were called lying,
blasphemous impostors, and the Latter-day Saints are called the same.
There always was an attempt to crush former saints by scandalizing
their character, robbing and slaying them--the same luckless attempt is
again renewed in the nineteenth century.

Almost anything can be tolerated sooner than the admission that the God
of miracles and angels reigns again on the earth. Bible saints never
lived in any other age than an age of miracles, visions, and angels.
They knew that true saints never would live in any other age. They knew
that the gospel _could not_ be communicated to any people of any age
without revelation; for therein is the righteousness of God _revealed_
from faith to faith. A gospel without revelation is _no gospel_. A
gospel without the gifts and power of the Holy Ghost, and the ministry
of angels, is no gospel. There cannot be found the first instance of a
true minister of God, throughout the whole record of inspiration, who
did not possess the gift of inspiration and the spirit of prophecy.
_No man_ can say that Jesus is the Christ, but by the Holy Ghost; and
the Holy Ghost leads every man, who is loyal to his dictates, into
all truth sooner or later. The deep things of God, and the keys of
divine power, are available to him. By obedience he is sure to reach
the measure of the power and wisdom attained by Christ himself--the
_manifold_ wisdom of GOD, even, is to be possessed and shown forth by
the Church.

Bible saints were always familiar with the ministration of angels. And
it is only such as are wholly unlike Bible saints who are not familiar
with the ministration of angels. Those who are unlike Bible saints
have always, in all ages, denied the ministry of angels, and gift of
prophecy and healing, in their own day. And it is a certain test and
evidence, that a man is not born of the spirit when he denies these
things; for no man that has the Spirit of God can speak lightly of God;
but he will extol his power for himself, and not for another. Men that
have not the Spirit of God may tell what great things faith wrought
in former ages, but can tell nothing from their own experience of the
same power. It is, indeed, a marvellous thing, that men should affect
to regard "Bible piety" as a standard or copy, which all are bound to
imitate, and at the same time adopt an inferior rule of piety that
discards and abrogates all the more conspicuous and powerful features
of primitive piety! How they can have the temerity and effrontery to
impose upon community a system of religion, that is the counterpart of
Bible piety, I am at a loss to conceive. A gospel without immediate
and accompanying revelation! Who ever heard such a thing, except from
transgressors sitting in the region and shadow of death? No Bible saint
ever saw such a thing in his day. Neither Abel or Enoch, Abraham or
Moses, David or Peter, ever saw such a gospel in their day. The only
gospel that these men ever knew of or fellowshipped, was a gospel
distinguished by revelations, visions, and angels. Such a gospel
rejoiced their hearts, because it was the power of God, and wisdom of
God. It nerved the arm of Sampson, so that scores and hundreds of men
could no more stand before his might than before a volcanic eruption,
or an avalanche from the mountain. It gave elasticity to David, so
that he could leap a wall, or rush through a troop. It struck with
blindness the mobbers of Sodom; opened prison gates to Peter; cursed
Elymas with blindness; enabled men to walk unsinged through the fiery
burning of the furnace, heated sevenfold hotter than usual! This, sir,
is _the_ gospel, and the only gospel. It exhibits the power of God and
the wisdom and might of God. Any other gospel is a curse to men, and
a stink in the nose of God. Angels have once tried to preach another
gospel; and what has been the result of their efforts? They have been
hurled down and are even now reserved in chains under darkness, to the
judgment of the great day; and those who _first_ began to preach modern
christianity have doubtless shared a doom scarcely less awful.

The first step stone to modern christianity was laid on the smoking
ruins of primitive christianity. The christian enemies to new
revelations and miracles, actually waded through the blood of apostles
and prophets, in order to establish the system of anti-revelation. And
did their descendants and abettors realise the bloody and accursed
origin of that system that wars against new regulations and prophets,
and angels, many of them would shudder at their blind zeal and
self-righteousness! God winks at the conduct of the latter, because
they know not what they do; but He commands all men every where to
repent, else He will hold them guilty of all the blood that has been
shed from the days of righteous Abel till now. God is my witness that I
speak the truth in Christ Jesus and lie not.

The history of modern christianity, from the day when the first martyr
fell under its bloody hatred, is a history of contention, persecution,
and massacre, that causes all heaven to weep. Rivers of blood have
flowed in its wake. Crimination and re-crimination from the pulpit
and the press, have agitated the people, from the throne down to the
otherwise peaceful cottage. The battle field has been soaked with the
blood of its victims, and it is difficult to tell whether Catholic
or Protestant domination can count the most victims, except as one
may have held a longer and stronger ascendency than the other. The
first two or three centuries were bloody beyond description. All
denominations recoil at the history of their pedigree during this
early and bloody period. The links in the chain of supposed apostolic
succession are so bloody, that even the "dark ages" cannot conceal
their crimson hue. The period when this famous chain of succession
has not been coloured with human gore, is short. The records of the
suffering Waldenses, in the valleys of Piedmont, will always tell a
tale of wo, at which humanity must blush. The history of the protestant
reformation in Germany and England, including the massacre of sixty
thousand protestants in France, at one time, is a serious comment on
the pseudo apostolic line of priesthood. But when protestantism came
into power, under Henry and Elizabeth, it proved to a demonstration
that the protestants had the same priesthood handed down through seas
of human gore; excommunicating, torturing and killing catholic heretics
in like manner as the catholics had previously done to others.[A]

[Footnote A 1. It was death to make a new Catholic priest within the
kingdom. 2. It was death for a Catholic priest to come into the kingdom
from abroad. 3. It was death to harbour a Catholic priest coming from
abroad. 4. It was death to confess to such a priest. 5. It was death
for any priest to say mass. 6. It was death for any one to hear mass.
7. It was death for any one to _deny_ or not to _swear_, if called on,
that this woman (Elizabeth) was the head of the church of Christ. 8. It
was an offence punishable by heavy fine _not_ to go _to the Protestant
church_, £250, equal to £3,250 of present English money.--_Penal
Statutes passed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth_.]

The United States of America were first settled by fugitives from the
intolerance and bigoted persecution of the mother country; and it now
becomes no wonder that after all this tragic drama of inhuman and
brutal outrages for near eighteen hundred years, that the children
of them that slew the prophets, should deny the need of any further
revelation, and also of any more apostles and miracles! But, sir, the
Heavens are more compassionate. The Heavens feel the need to give
further revelation, lest the whole earth be speedily destroyed through
the abomination of this mother of harlots and her numerous progeny.

There are thousands of honest hearted people that deserve a
better destiny than to be made the deluded prey and spoil of such
abominations, under the flattering name of christianity. It is to
such these letters are designed to be a benefit. It is in vain for
Protestants to charge the bloody axe of persecution against the
Catholics, or for one sect of Protestants to charge and vilify another
sect. Knox and Calvin were relentless, if not actually murderous
enemies of the Catholics: and there is scarcely a consequential
Protestant sect in England, or the United States of America, that
has not proven out their shameful and bloody pedigree by acts of
banishment, hanging, confiscation of property, or proscription of cast.

These charges against the christianity that has sprung up since the
days of revelation, are capable of the most undeniable proof. It is
no marvel that intelligent and high-minded men in every country have
become so sceptical towards the prevailing religions of the day. The
scepticism of France was a misnomer; it was not in reality a warfare
against the true Bible, but against the horrid impositions supposed to
be deducible from the Bible. If the Bible had been fairly represented
by the true church, France would never have waged such a bloody war
against it as it did in the days of its revolution. The illuminati of
France had sense enough to detect the fooleries and impositions of
priestcraft, and the nonsensical notion of a God without body or parts,
and in their misguided rage they mistook the Bible to be the source of
these false religions.

The foregoing is only a cursory hint of the bloody character of
modern christianity, from the time when it slew the apostles who held
the keys of revelation, and has ever since denied the need of any
further revelation; for a hundred volumes of the size of the Bible,
would not suffice to detail each instance where men and women have
been whipped, hung, ripped open, or gibbeted, or burnt, or their
ears bored, and their faces branded with hot irons. The massacres
of France, half-murdered Ireland, Germany, and England, if written
in detail, would make an imposing library. Fortunate for humanity's
sake, that no one religious power has any greater predominance than
it has; else the want of religious checks and balances would even
now be as fatal to the minority as the exhalations of the Upas. Yet,
after all this, christianity claims to be tolerant and catholic; and
her bishops, enthroned in a salary of more than £27,000 sterling per
annum, claim a regular succession from St. Peter. They might better
have said from the murderers of St. Peter. Oh, shame on the cry of
apostolic succession! What a transformation Peter must have undergone
by this chain of succession! His gifts of discernment and healing
gone! The spirit of prophecy and tongues have left him! The power to
open prison doors, and of converse with angels, have left him impotent
as other men! Marvellous falling off of every thing but salaries and
pomp and persecution! Many suppose that Christ's Church must have been
perpetuated on the earth, because it is said that the gates of hell
should not prevail against it. Strange and fallacious argument for the
continuance of the Church! Can it be supposed for a moment, that the
Church is prevailed against, because it is removed from the earth?
Jesus was removed from this life and gave up the ghost, but was he
therefore prevailed against? Did he not triumph over death, and ascend
up on high, and lead captivity captive? Did he not thereby acquire the
possession of all things in heaven and upon earth?

It should not be supposed, that because all the saints were put to
death, or became extinct from the earth, that they have any less
dominion over wicked men and fallen angels; on the other hand, by
removal they increase in power and glory, and have authority increased
upon their heads. The generations of the wicked have been prevailed
against, ever since the Church left the earth. The curses that have
followed the Jewish and Gentile enemies of the Church, from the days of
the primitive Church till now, are perfectly visible to any but such
as have eyes and see not, and ears and hear not. The Jews and Gentiles
are like two inebriates, each sees clearly how very drunk the other
is, but discovers not his own intoxicated and besotted condition. The
Gentiles say that the Jews, through transgression, have lost the Urim
and Thummin, and Ephod and Teraphim, and been proscribed and banished,
and thousands killed and scattered, as a bye word and proverb, among
all nations. On the other hand, the Gentiles have lost the gifts and
blessings of the Spirit, with all the holy order of apostles and
prophets; and wiping the slush from their bloody hands, say they have
no need of them.

Alas, sir, when shall the veil that covers all nations (both Jews and
Gentiles) be removed, and self-righteous religionists confess that
their sins have separated, between them and their God, and hid his
face from them? When will the sectarian priesthood that now arrogantly
say, we are rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing,
have humility enough to confess that they are blind, and naked, and
destitute of all things, seeing that they are without the gifts of the
Spirit, and the key of knowledge (revelation) and the authority of the
priesthood.

I know it is very difficult to convince sectarians that they are not
a pious people. Why, say they, do we not manifest much more fervency
of spirit, and studied sacredness of deportment, and punctilious
exactness, in observing the Sabbath than Latter-day Saints? Do we
not show to all men great self-abasement in confessing our sins to
be like crimson and scarlet, and our iniquities to be like mountains
in magnitude. Are we not scrupulously guarded against all levity and
trifling conversation? Are not our preachers very grave, and apparently
devoted and holy in their bearing? Do not their frequent sighs and
insuppressible groans, as their spirits are weighed down under the
conviction of the worth of souls, and the vast responsibility of the
Lord's watchmen, indicate profound piety? Do they not fast often and
pray much? Are they not orthodox and evangelical, insisting much upon
the new birth and a radical change of heart? How can it be that a
people of this description are not pious and exceedingly holy? The
preachers speak, and even walk in measured carefulness and peculiarity
of manner, so that a preacher is generally known by his walk, and
dialect, and sober, grave countenance.

Now, sir, when I have conceded most liberally to the above, what
does it all prove? Why, sir, one act of obedience to God is better
than the most rigid conformity to all the precepts of men. The more
devoted and sincere people are in error, so much more agreeable to the
prince of darkness. What a meagre atonement does a demure countenance,
and sanctimonious sighs and groans, and self-loathings make, for
transgressing the law of God, and changing an ordinance. Take, for
instance, the ordinance of laying on of hands for healing the sick. Had
this ordinance been perpetuated in the Church, millions upon millions
of the human family might have been saved from premature death. Through
this ordinance, Jesus Christ has said, "_they shall recover_." Through
the sceptical abandonment of this ordinance countless millions have not
lived out half of their days. How much compensation does it afford to
the countless victims of disobedience, for men to assume a grave long
face, and strive to elongate the name of God by gracious sounds, as
though the name of God was too short without being stretched for such
holy lips.

Take another ordinance, viz., the gift of the Holy Ghost, by laying
on hands. What a flimsy and miserable equivalent for the absence of
the Comforter, and spirit of prophecy and revelation, are seminaries
of learning, and a multitude of oblations, and prayers, and frequent
fasting! It is too much, sir, like the drunken boy, who, having broken
his master's bottle, boastingly claimed credit for saving the cork!

Neglect of the weighty matters of laws and ordinances are to be
atoned for, by pious breathings in private journals for posthumous
publication; and by elaborate sermons and comments, they make plain
things profoundly obscure; and every year increases the necessity of
additional learning, in order to disentangle the profound knottiness of
theological disquisitions and exegetical comments. The very religious
opposers of Jesus Christ, whose hands were accessory to his death, had
a most fervent and devout spirit, and were eminently pious; but the
doctrine of new revelations, and the gifts of healing, tongues, and
prophecyings, disturbed the equanimity of their devout hearts, and
their rage rose to the pitch of desperation and blood-guiltiness.

No matter how much men confess, and pray, and sacrifice,--no matter how
sincere and conscientious they are in error, if their religion does not
lead them to keep the commands and ordinances of the true and living
God, their worship is vain and their faith is vain. Except they hearken
to the law of God and the testimony of God, there is no light in them.
Sincerity is nothing without obedience; both wicked men and devils are
sincere in many things which God abhors. A man coming to the forks of
four roads might pray months and years to be guided in choice of the
right road, but if he would not believe the testimony of the Lord's
servant who should tell him the only true road, he would still remain
in doubt and fear.

Well, says a very strenuous objector, now to end all controversy, just
show us one real genuine miracle, and I will thereupon believe, and
be baptized, and for ever after hold my peace. Aye, indeed! a very
common sentiment, but a strange one coming from the lips of a professed
believer in the Bible. He that is no hypocrite, but a true believer in
the Bible, has the explicit promise of God's own word, that miraculous
signs _shall_ follow them that _believe_. Now, if they do not follow
believers, then God is a liar, and no longer worthy of confidence; but
if God is true, and the signs do not follow, then your faith is vain,
and will not save from damnation. But, says the objector, miracles were
anciently wrought to prove the divine mission of the servants of God.
Now prove to me that you are a servant of God, by the attestation of
an indisputable miracle, for in apostolic days, even wicked men said,
a notable miracle hath been done, and we cannot deny it. Yes, very
true, and other wicked men have testified to the same in these days,
and sometimes they would deny it, and alternately confess it, according
to the spirit that was upon them. Saul, the king, could tell the truth
about David at one time, and at another deny it--at one time worship
the youthful supplanter, and at another thirst for his blood. Miracles
may sometimes have been the occasion of leading persons to believe the
word of God, but their prominent design was never in any age of the
world to introduce new revelation.

Moses was a believer before God spoke to him in the burning bush.
John the Baptist, who introduced the christian dispensation, and was
the harbinger of Christ, probably never saw any miracle, except at
the descent of the dove, at the baptism of Jesus. "John wrought no
miracle." Joseph Smith was a believer before the angel which John and
the other prophets spoke of, ever visited him. Miracles may confirm the
faith of such believers as have the Holy Ghost confirmed upon them,
whereby they are able to distinguish between true and false miracles.
To others they often prove a snare and a trap.

While miracles confirmed the Hebrews in the faith of God, miracles
also confirmed the Egyptians in the faith of satan. Many who witnessed
the miracles of Jesus were as keen for mobocracy and murder as the
bloodiest. This parade about miracles, being designed to introduce
christianity, and confirm and attest all genuine revelation, is a
humbug that has always been started whenever a new revelation was given
to man. The pious Jews insisted constantly that the disciples should
prove their authority by miracles. It was about the first and last
thing that they ever said to Jesus: WORK A MIRACLE! come down from the
cross and we will believe. He told them, in language of the keenest
rebuke, that they should not be seeking after "signs." He told them
that it indicated a wicked and adulterous spirit to ask him to give
them miraculous signs. The devil and devout Jews fairly made game of
Christ and his disciples, because when they were asked to do miracles
they refused. But still the devil, and many ministers and churches,
continued to demand signs and miracles, and stormed and raged greatly
because these men would never work miracles in a way to satisfy them.

These sagacious and pious adversaries of Jesus were always able to
detect some flaw--some cunning artifice or trick of the devil--in
whatever Christ or the apostles did (as they said). Now modern divines
and churches, taking up this old cudgel against the saints, have even
asked Latter-day Saints to drink a cup of poison. Drink it, says
one--now drink it, or we will not believe you are sent of God. Aye, now
we know you are not sent of God to preach! Forgetting that the first
sign-seeker once said, if you are the Son of God, "cast thyself down
from this pinnacle, for it is written, that he shall give his angels
charge concerning thee."

Now, sir, if irony were admissible on a subject of this nature, I would
tauntingly add--how satan did trap this impostor! He drove him into an
extremity for pretending to work miracles; didn't he? But I forbear;
let him that hath ears to hear, hear what the Spirit saith unto the
sign-seekers!

It may seem marvellous to some if I should say that satan can work
signs and wonders far surpassing the greatest knowledge of men. The
power of satan has probably never been fully exhibited to men on the
earth. The grand adversary of heaven and earth has not warred against
even the throne of the Eternal God, without acquiring some acquaintance
with those powers and keys of knowledge with which he has been baffled
by the Almighty from the beginning. If believers had to contend _only_
with flesh and blood, or mere men in mortal flesh, they might rejoice
in the hope of a far more speedy victory; but, on the other hand, they
have to contend against principalities and powers of a supernatural
order. Spirits as much superior in power and cunning to the worst men
in the flesh, as the full grown man is to the slender child. Men have
acquired some knowledge of the laws that govern fire, air, and water;
and some imperfect knowledge of the laws that govern minds, or the
spirits of men; but the knowledge of fallen angels and outcast spirits,
is sufficient to astonish and confound the wisest of men that are
not inspired with the wisdom of God. The satanic powers have always
excited the greatest wonders contemporaneous with the wonders wrought
by the servants of God. In the days of Moses, and also of Jesus Christ,
men were inspired by satan with more than mere human powers; and in
this last dispensation, wicked men that yield themselves to become
the willing instruments of unrighteousness to the devil, will again
acquire skill in cunning and deceivable arts, whereby they will bring
down fire from heaven, and confound all those who know not the laws
and powers of spirits, and the extensive influence that the prince of
the power of the air has over the natural elements. Men who do not
need power from God to cast out devils, will find themselves made fast
in his chains, beyond the power of extricating themselves. But while
the saints have not power of themselves to detect the lying wonders of
satan, and withstand them--yet, through faith, and the keys and gifts
of revelation from God, they will be able to stand and overcome; and
the power of God will be greater than the cunning of the devil. But
sign-seekers and the enemy of new revelations will be arraigned under
the banner of the father of lies, and believe a lie that they may be
damned. Jesus found foul spirits and devils so thick, in his days,
that he had occasion frequently to cast them out of persons, and also
to empower others to cast out devils. Some instances are recorded
where many of these fallen spirits took possession of a single person
at one and the same time. No less than seven occupied one female. Now
modern christianity must be highly favoured, if they are so much better
than primitive saints, that they can escape the annoyance of these
multiplied and troublesome spirits.

How is it, sir, that devils do not trouble modern churches, as they did
the primitive saints? Are _they_ done away too? Miracles and devils
done away! The canon of the scriptures closed! miracles and devils
ceased! Happy christianity; thy warfare has ceased,--thy troubles are
ended! Blessed rest! Joyful reign of righteousness! As many ways to
heaven now, as there are eyelets in a seive! Oh, brother, blush for
thy theology, and for the doleful conclusions to which thy creeds have
brought thee!

The reign of Satan, for near eighteen hundred years, has almost effaced
every relic of Bible truth from the earth. Every thing that is valuable
and powerful in the ancient system of prophets is done away, and the
devil himself is supposed, by many, to be merely the evil passions of
men. But, sir, the devil is not dead nor done away. But the gospel of
apostles will rouse him up again; and knowing that his time is short,
he will show his spite again on those bodies from which he shall be
expelled by the apostolic priesthood, in choking, tearing, and casting
them down to the ground. And who shall be able to stand, when deceptive
miracles, and lying wonders far greater than have ever been known since
the foundation of the world, shall be practised, and deceive many?

Now, sir, before I close this appeal, suffer me to allude to the
intolerant and cruel persecution of the Saints, in Illinois. The
nineteenth century, and the great republic of the United States of
North America, must have the pages of its history blackened with the
record of a persecution that classes with the bloody acts of Nero and
Caligula. From fifteen to twenty thousand citizens of the United States
were forced in an illegal, violent, and inhuman manner to forsake
their homes and possessions in the state of Illinois, the greater
part of them during the inclemency of the winter of 1846. A large and
populous city of eleven thousand and thirty-five souls of men, women,
and children, has been compulsorily evacuated, under the dread of
inevitable massacre if they persisted to occupy their firesides and
homes.

Continued acts of house-burning and mid-day assassinations, and
midnight murder, and large gatherings of armed and lawless forces, with
heavy pieces of artillery necessitated this numerous people to leave
their flourishing city, merchandise, and farms, in the most inclement
period of the year, for the purpose of self preservation.

This glaring act of expatriation, robbery, arson, and assassination,
was not done in a corner. It did not occur among the barbarous and half
civilized portions of the globe. It did not transpire in the dominions
of the Ottoman, where the Coran and Islamism must father such inhuman
deeds. It was not done in the jungles of Africa, where kidnapping and
inhuman enslavement of men have called forth the repudiating censure of
all nations. It was not done by clannish wandering Arabs, whose hands
are proverbially against every man as a profession. Neither was it done
in Papal dominions, or under the despotic sway of the sublime Porte or
the autocrat of Russia.

Neither did the red men of the wilderness spring from their thicket
with a warwhoop, and tomahook, and scalping knife, to perpetrate this
bloody outrage! But hold still, modern christianity! The inquisitor of
blood is in pursuit of thee, even to the gates of thy stronghold. Thou
canst not cover thy hiding place with the screen of papacy, for she was
not there. Thou canst not say that the autocrat of the Greek religion,
with iron despotism cast these men into prison for teaching the Bible.
Neither was it the sword of the Mussulman propogating his religion.
There was no Mahometanism in Illinois. Neither canst thou charge it
upon the Monarchical Institutions of Europe or established Episcopacy.
"Thou art the man." Free Republican Christianity; you did it! In thy
youthful beauty, the rising pride and envy of nations; thou didst it!
Thy priests and laymen rose from their devout knees, and lighted the
fagot and torch of the incendiary.--The sick man and (gravis) mother
begged for God's sake, and for humanity's sake, you would spare their
humble cottages which their brawny hands had reared in the midst of
loneliness, want, and insalubrity of climate. Yet their cries were
unheeded. Thev had but one alternative, either to be thrust out upon
miasmatic ground, or remain and burn with their habitations. The man
that persisted to watch his stack of grain against the incendiary, was
shot dead in the act. Durfee's blood crimsons the skirts of republican
christianity in Illinois. Where were the rulers and governors? Did they
hear of it? Oh! it's nobody but Mormons! Where was the legislature
of Illinois when the Smiths were shot in prison, in the sight of all
Carthage, by hundreds in a painted gang? The governor threatening to
destroy the city in person if they did not keep the peace, and deliver
the Smiths for trial? What did the supreme legislature, delegates from
more than four hundred thousand people of Illinois, in fresh review
of these scenes of assassination, do? They repealed the city charter
of Nauvoo. The mob made one gap in the law by assassination, and the
state government following the example, threw down the whole enclosure
that guarded the rights and privileges of thousands by repealing the
charter. Where were the Illinois priests of modern christianity at
that time? A distinguished clergyman of the city of Quincy, in their
defence, said to the writer, we (the clergy) had nothing to do with
those scenes in Hancock. Aye, indeed! neither had the pharisaic priests
any thing to do with the robbed and wounded man, but the good Samaritan
picked him up and carried him to an inn, and paid his bill. But Jesus
Christ had to do with making an eternal record of the difference
between the conduct of the good Samaritan, and the hypocrite of high
priestly profession. Even a priest commanded the mob force in the final
attack upon the city that expelled the remnant of Saints that were too
poor to get away sooner. This remnant were left shelterless and sick,
famishing upon the west bank of the Mississippi, where the quails of
heaven actually fed them as they lay upon their couches, and in their
wagons, in the sight of both friends and foes. Hear it! thou stronghold
of modern christianity! Say not what great things you would do if you
were not trammelled by the despotic shackles of monarchical government!
A puritan christianity planted the tree of liberty on the solitary soil
of America, from choice seed of her own selection. After being long
nursed and watered by her numerous and learned priesthood. These are
the full grown fruits of it; kidnapping, robbery, rapine, arson, and
murder.--Systematic efforts were made, more than once, to prevent the
influx of provisions into Nauvoo, in order that famine in a land of
plenty, might coerce the inhabitants to flee their city, in building
which they had sweat and toiled, and many had died. Time and again,
steam boats were hailed and searched, in order to stop barrels of flour
from going to Nauvoo, that had been purchased by our citizens in a
time of scarcity at St. Louis. And provisions and other necessaries,
had actually to be freighted for Madison and other river towns, in
order to escape detection. Teams loaded with pork from inland counties
were arrested, and turned to other markets, as though it were an
acknowledged siege for the purpose of causing starvation. I know these
things to be true, and my blood warms with mingled pity and indignation
at the recollection of scenes of which I have been an eye witness.

At this time, and in this day of revivals, where were the ten thousands
of priests that officiate at the altar? Where were the innumerable
converts to modern christianity? What part did they all take towards
regulating public opinion and preventing human slaughter? The sons and
daughters of the puritans were there in affliction for the gospel's
sake; and no less than two venerable pensioners, Hatch and Hinsdale,
that fought in the revolutionary struggle for American Independence,
were there, and were driven from their country for maintaining the
right of conscience.

Now, who ever heard in all America of a priest pleading publically
against these outrages, and importuning the throne of God in behalf of
these suffering sons and daughters of God? Modern American christianity
must redouble her gracious sanctimonious looks, in order to cover up
this horrid indifference to lawless violence and suffering humanity.

The statesman that fears not God, nor regards man, may have some
semblance of apology for his indifference; but American churches have
none. But, where were the statesmen that make high professions of
patriotism, and sensitive regard for the national honor of the United
States? Could no disgrace accrue to the nation, when twenty thousand
peaceable industrious citizens were violently robbed of millions of
property without a shadow of requital? What security can foreign
emigrants have for colonizing on the western lands, if whole cities
and towns may be depopulated at a single blast of the popular caprice
with impunity? What regard can American statesmen be supposed to
entertain for the sacred and inalienable rights of the people, while no
man ever opened his mouth either in the halls of Congress or of state
legislatures against the most palpable and gross infractions of the
constitution that ever transpired since the existence of the United
States government.

The constitution guarantees to every man the right to worship God
according to the dictates of conscience, and without molestation.
It promises the right of property and the defence and protection of
peaceable and unoffending citizens; but millions of property have been
illegally plundered, and thousands of patriotic and worthy citizens
have been deprived of the liberty of common citizens, and forced into
the wilds of the mountains in the most inhuman manner. Had any foreign
nation committed a small part of this damage upon their commercial
interests, would not the national executive have demanded redress for
spoliations, even at the mouth of the canon?

But I would not have you think, sir, by these remarks, that I entertain
any acrimonious feelings towards my country. No; far from it. I love
my native land, though cruelly exiled from it, because it is in that
land that liberty is destined to flourish above all lands. That land
has been set apart in the councils of eternity, and dedicated as the
nursery of virtue and religious liberty. That is emphatically a land of
promise. Its very soil is hallowed above all others, for the literal
production of truth. There the blessings promised to Joseph are to be
first displayed and enjoyed. There the ensign is to be first lifted
up to all nations; and all nations, or the upright of all nations,
are to flow together there. Every description of product and variety
of climate is there. Notwithstanding the degeneracy and corruption of
the civilized portions of that land, there is more toleration in the
government and constitution, and more facilities for the introduction
and spread of gospel truth in that land, than any other under the
whole heaven. It is the very place, and probably the only place on
this planet, where the true and eternal kingdom of God could get a
footing, and survive the blasts of persecution, and the rage of fallen
and apostate spirits of men and devils. Hitherto the Saints of God have
been slaughtered, or compelled, like the city of Enoch, to forsake the
earth.

But the Book of Mormon, and the angelic message to the young man
Joseph, have dug the grave of apostacy, and laid the axe at the
root of false religions. The earth is destined to enjoy a reign of
righteousness, and a happy period of rest. Truth must and will prevail,
and the kingdom of our God will be established in the mountains of
Israel, just where all the prophets that have spoken of it, have seen
it rise and flourish, never more to be thrown down.

When thousands that now compose the Church, and who have proved before
the American people that the cords of their union cannot be sundered
by the hottest thunderbolts of persecution, are assembled in the
remote, extensive, and fertile valley of the almost unknown mountain,
they will be for ever invincible. With their peaceable and inoffensive
habits, which have characterised their movements from the beginning,
no people will ever be likely to assail them again, till their numbers
and strength will be too forbidding. The accessions to this people
have never been so great as during the last six months. The certainty
that this people will survive all opposition, and triumph over every
obstacle, was never so palpably manifest as at this very moment. Famine
and war, pestilence, bankruptcy, treachery, and distrust, are causing
panic and fear among the nations. Those who love peace and retirement,
and abhor contention, crime, and revolution, must seek an asylum among
the Saints, for it cannot be found elsewhere on the earth. The Lord God
himself will stir up the nations to anger and strife, and thrash them
as with a flail, and sift them as with a sieve. And the honest in heart
will flee to the Lord's hiding place, in ships and in companies, even
as clouds and as doves to their windows.

While the unity of great and powerful nations is undergoing a rapid
conversion into fractional weakness, the strength of Israel is
accumulating and augmenting beyond all former precedent. The materials
of which this body of people is composed are not like the heterogenous
masses that constitute other nations; but they are select and chosen
ones out of every nation whose views--religious, political, social,
and pecuniary--are previously all cast in the mould of unity; like
the materials of Solomon's temple, they are all fitted for their
place and destination before they are brought together. The ten
millions of Mexico could not stand even before the ten thousand of the
United States; because the latter were united and subject to orderly
discipline; while the former were distracted and divided. The hosts
of Israel have never yet offered the first forcible resistance to the
violent and lawless assaults of their enemies; yet the principles of
self-defence are alike compatible with their feelings and their faith,
and by no means obnoxious to the practice of Abraham, Joshua, or David,
or even Jesus Christ.

When governments become too weak or perverse to protect their
subjects, it then becomes the divine and inalienable right of all men
to protect themselves by all lawful and just means. Whatever lessons
of forbearance and non-resistance Jesus Christ might have left on
record, suited to particular circumstances, there is a predominance
of scriptural instructions in favour of self-defence, and innumerable
examples to prove that the "Lord is a man of war." Time would fail to
make mention of Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Sampson, David, and Barek. The
prayer of Sampson was, that he might destroy his enemies; and God not
only heard his prayer, but gave him strength to fulfil his request: out
of an opposing army, God even commissioned one of his angels (not so
holy a personage as some modern Christians) to kill _one hundred and
eighty-five thousand_ in one night! Indeed! say you; could God do such
a bloody deed? Surely; and he that causelessly strikes the second cheek
will be repaid, for "the day of vengeance is in his (God's) heart;" but
those who proudly say, that they have no further need of revelation,
will find that day to come upon them unawares, even as a "thief in the
night."

Sir, Zion is from henceforth and for ever invincible--she has run the
gauntlet and is safe. After being submerged in a series of sufferings
for seventeen years, she now stands purified, tried, and made white;
"she has passed the baptismal ordeal of suffering, and power is given
unto her to withstand and overcome;" she has put on her beautiful
garments, and the mighty God of Jacob is her strength; the keys of
power are given unto her, and the angels of God camp around about her;
she is entrenched in the munition of rocks, even the everlasting hills;
by her the ensign of truth and liberty is lifted up to all nations;
the pure and wise of all nations may safely rally around her standard,
and go up to the house of the God of Jacob and learn his ways. God
called his Son out of Egypt after persecutors had shot out the arrows
of their wrath in vain. If God's people have been able to stand under
persecutions while in the midst of their enemies, much more may they
expect to abide when separated by the distance of months' journeyings,
and by lofty mountains covered with perpetual snow. The mightiest
nations already heave with convulsive throes, and travail in great
pain; they have enough to do without wasting their blood, and treasure,
and unprovoked wrath upon the Saints; and God will soften the hearts of
the nations for the good of his people, from time to time, until their
palaces and towers will be the admiration and delight of all the ends
of the earth. The nucleus of the mightiest nation that ever flourished
on the earth is planted; the rapidly rising greatness of this people
will constitute one of the greatest wonders of the age; all the
elements of a great and mighty people have been clearly demonstrated
to belong to this people. Union, it is said, is strength; this has
already become proverbially a distinguishing feature of the Saints.
Driven, and scattered, and robbed in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois,
they have readily re-assembled and re-united. Knowledge is said to
be power; knowledge has been acquired in the practical school of
experience; they are almost universally familiar with the undisguised
operations of the hearts of their fellow men. No people ever had the
same opportunity to learn the diversified motives that govern the minds
of men and women; no people, as a body, ever had the acquaintance
with the laws, government, and religion, and usages of civilized and
barbarous nations, which has been enjoyed by the Latter-day Saints. No
people of modern ages ever had their ingenuity and physical ability
so extensively taxed in order for self-support, and the acquisition
of knowledge, and propagation and defence of the truth. The moral
virtues of forbearance, long-suffering, fortitude, love to enemies,
and self-command under fiery temptations, have been stretched to their
utmost tension; indeed, they are a tried people--the word of the Lord
has tried them. They have kept the commandments of God, and are not
found wanting.

This, sir, is Zion, the care of angels, and the delight of the Holy One
of Israel! Those who love righteousness and retirement from the din
of war, and from the plague, and assassin, and incendiary, will seek
her peaceful gates, out of every nation under the whole heaven. None
can injure this people or war against them with impunity, for the Lord
is their shield and defence. When ancient Israel entered the land of
Canaan, it is said that the Lord caused the fear of them and the dread
of them, to rest upon all the nations round about. The same God now,
will again cause all nations to dread the opposition of the people of
the Saints of the Most High.

Sir, it need not be disguised that the armies of heaven are leagued
with the Saints in the covenant of everlasting union. You are not
ignorant of God's judgments at the Red Sea, or of the destruction of
the companies of fifties, and of his interposition in behalf of Israel
in the valley of Gibeon. Neither is his arm shortened now, that he
cannot save; His wonders have been multiplied on every hand in this
day, according to the observation of thousands who are ready to attest
that the blind have been made to see, the deaf to hear, and the palsied
have been made sound, and many blasphemous opposers have been visited
with as swift and utter destruction as Ananias and Sapphira.

Now, sir, what more shall I say, in order to convince you and all
honest men, that God has set up his kingdom against which no power can
possibly prevail?

You kindly acknowledge that my testimony is credible; all my numerous
acquaintance must concur with you in this acknowledgement. I have told
you the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, and as I expect to meet it at
the final bar of righteous retribution. My sufferings and expatriation
for the gospel's sake, are the seal of my testimony in Christ. I have
literally sacrificed wife, and houses, and lands, for the truths which
I have inculcated in this volume. My motherless children are now in the
wilderness in their solitary cabin, surrounded with savage tribes, and
subject to privations that make a father's heart to bleed. Better men
of whom the world is not worthy have suffered even more in the same
cause. I know this to be the true gospel revealed from the heavens for
the salvation of this generation; and all those whom it does not save
through faith, it will damn through unbelief. If you have read these
truths carefully, your final destiny will hang on the decision you may
make--it is to you the voice of God, and the warning of the servant
of God. Wait not for an angel of God to speak in your ear, or for one
to come from the dead; if you hear not the servant of God, neither
will you be persuaded though one rose from the dead. Not only your
own salvation, but the interests of your family and your kindred will
probably be seriously affected by the decision you now make.

When the devout Jews, with reckless obstinacy, said, his blood be upon
us and upon our children, you know what afterward ensued down to this
day. With the knowledge which this gospel communicates, you cannot
be a neutral. The blood and sufferings not only of the Saints of the
nineteenth century, but also of all others from the days of righteous
Abel till now, will be chargeable to you if you obey not this gospel;
if you reject this gospel, your children's children, to the latest
generation, will for ever bewail the choice you may make. You stand
in some measure as the representative of your posterity, therefore
ponder well the decision you may make. I know that you are surrounded
by a knot of priests, distinguished for the wisdom of schools and
seminaries; and the obstinate creeds and usages of modern christianity
hold over you a threatening rod of proscription and slaughter; but
except you have courage to escape, and sufficient love of truth to
induce you to peril even all things for the gospel, your die is cast,
and your doom is with the lost and damned for ever.

I do not expect to coerce you by motives of fear, but I know that
judgments will and do follow this gospel; and knowing the terror of the
Lord, I persuade--I dare not say less; I would say more if the power
of utterance were given me. All is not right with you; you acknowledge
that you do not understand the prophets and the apocalypse; also that
modern christianity is weak, divided, and contentious--not having the
power and order of ancient prophets and apostles. Pause and consider
well before you reject the only light that can save this generation!
Your old friend and acquaintance asks you to pause. The deplorable
prospect of your kindred for generations to come, who may be involved
in the consequences of your rebellion, require you to pause; the
interests of the denomination that look to you for spiritual guidance,
require you to consider well the decision you may make. I know that you
are in a strait place; Paul was once in a similar condition; but the
sterling integrity of his heart saved him. He burst off the shackles
of false religions, and overleaped the religious usages of ages, and
received counsel and baptism at the hands of the most despised people
that ever lived.

But enough, perhaps, has been said; what I say to you, I say unto all
men--rulers and subjects, priests and people! I have set before you
life and death. If you reject the gospel, I am innocent of your blood;
if you receive it, glory, and honour, and immortality await you. The
apostolic fathers and the angels of God watch to record your decision.
With sentiments of high respect, I subscribe myself,

Your humble servant,

ORSON SPENCER.



FAREWELL ADDRESS.

_Liverpool, December_ 20, 1847.

Americans and countrymen!--Farewell! I have been exiled from your soil
for cherishing the inalienable rights of man. The principles of liberty
and heaven-born truth have been the exclusive cause of the lawless
banishment of thousands, of which number I am one. My wife and worthy
brother have fallen victims to this cruel violation of constitutional
rights. For nearly two years my six motherless children, between the
tender ages of six and fifteen, have been inhumanly forced into the
solitary wilderness--nine months of the time dwelling in a tent, and
the remainder in a floorless log-cabin--often without flour, meal,
or meat, and surrounded by savages of the fiercest tribes. From easy
competence reduced to want, banishment, and the severest inclemencies
of a northern climate! This is a faint outline of the picture of tens
of thousands who have fallen victims to the unprovoked cruelty of an
ungrateful country!

My honoured father, at the age of eighteen, mustered into his country's
service, under the united command of Generals Washington and Lafayette,
and was a youthful soldier at the siege of Yorktown, in the capture of
Lord Cornwallis. My grandsire was bankrupted of thousands of dollars,
held in promissory notes against the Continental government, which
the great expense of the war of revolutionary freedom disqualified
them ever to pay. My mother's sire was mustered among the superanuated
veteran soldiers at the siege and capture of General Burgoyne.

Of myself: many of my early associates are in the highest legislatures
of the nation, and among the roost distinguished citizens of the desk
and bar. To them, and to my countrymen at large, I offer this farewell,
and this monitory counsel. Americans! your sympathy for Greece, and
your liberality to Ireland, and your response to the liberal efforts
of the Pope, are relieved by a sad counter-check of cruel indifference
and bigoted violence to your best, most peaceful, and industrious
citizens at home. The shades of Washington, Henry, and Adams are ready
to burst their tombs with burning indignation, at the contempt cast
upon the sacred principles of liberty which they fought to establish.
The lofty scorn manifested towards the outraged innocence of your
suffering countrymen, cannot escape the pity and rebuke of all patriots
and freemen. By such foul deeds of inhumanity your country is mortgaged
and ready to be sold. The day of final redemption will soon be passed,
except a vigorous and mighty effort is made to roll back the crimson
tide of lawless misrule and popular outbreak.

Before our people experienced their sad disasters in the state of
Illinois, they took the timely precaution, dictated by the force of
alarming circumstances, to _forewarn_ every governor of the several
States, and many other distinguished citizens, of the necessity of
timely succour from our countrymen and rulers. Our property, liberty,
and lives were in danger from systematic organization of rapacious and
blood-thirsty citizens of Illinois and Missouri. The stormy clouds,
which we distinctly foresaw were ready to burst in desolating fury
upon our innocent heads, were distinctly pointed out to the nation. We
respectfully petitioned for an asylum, in any one of the States that
would grant us this boon of protection and citizenship, for which our
fathers had fought and bled in the war of independence. Our petitions
were barely answered, and coolly slighted. We were accounted as a
people too clannish, like the ancient Hebrews, and too peculiar and
exclusive, like the apostles of Palestine.

We had no alternative but to commend ourselves to the God of the
oppressed, and take precipitate refuge, in the dead of winter, in the
wild valleys of the mountains. To the God of justice, and the great
Arbiter of the destinies of nations, we look to avenge our wrongs, and
chasten the nation that has been deaf to the voice of her suffering
and loyal citizens. He will hear our cries and avenge our wrongs. The
time has come to set judgment to the line and righteousness to the
plummet. The last and noblest experiment of popular self-government,
and uninspired worship, has been tried in the young and giant Republic
of America! The eagle of liberty has fled to the mountains, and
there perched aloft to behold the desolation of nations. Proud and
enterprising nation! out-stripping all other nations in lofty bearing
and onward progress, your foot has stumbled in a hand's breadth of the
prize! Angels might weep at the spectacle of so sudden a fall; but God
is just, and the nation that will not serve Him shall be brought low.

You are weighed in the balances, and from henceforth, until you break
the rod of the oppressor and redress the wrongs of the injured, your
councils will be distracted, and your greatest chieftains will be
at variance. Hand to hand, and toe to toe, every one against his
fellow--your struggles will be sanguinary and obstinate. The people
whom you have trodden down in your pride, and banished by tumultuous
acts of violence, though comparatively few and but partially known,
happen to be the choice ones of all the earth and the favourites of
heaven. Their cause is espoused in the courts of the Lord of Hosts,
even the God of all the earth. Other people, in different ages,
have suffered as much, or even more than this people, but the time
of recompenses had not come. The time to end all controversy, and
establish a government that all nations could safely confide in, had
not come. It has now come. The land of Columbus, and the promised land
of Joseph, must be cleared of the briars and thorns, in order to make
room for the upright of all nations to assemble themselves together,
and enjoy a government of peace for a thousand years.

To the mountains, oh ye who would escape the convulsive throes of a
perplexed nation, and the indignant blasts of the Almighty, in these
years of "recompenses!" "Come out of her my people!" Patriots of
America--friends of peace--advocates of justice! all ye that fear
God and tremble at his word, separate yourselves from the tents of
wickedness, and flee to the strongholds of Zion. For the day of the
Lord cometh that will burn as an oven. The Lord reigns in the heights
of Zion. From thence his voice will go forth as in days of old, when
Sinai quaked under his feet. He will plead with all flesh. He is risen
up as a strong man to run a race, or as one that is full of wine. The
seeming insignificance of the Saints may tend to conceal the Almighty
arm that is about to be made bare, not merely to redress their wrongs,
but to humble all flesh. The light of your priesthood thickens the
darkness and gloom that overhang the nation, and their efforts minister
a soporific that renders the necks of your countrymen passive to the
executioner's axe.

Descendants of Washington and Franklin! is there no hope? Must the
best constitution, ever given to any uninspired nation, be made the
sport of traitors and demagogues? Must the loftiest efforts at freedom
and splendid nationality he crushed by a perplexing concentration of
every thing humiliating to national pride and human ambition? Must
the sons of venerated puritans so soon be covered with the inglorious
gore of assassinations and belligerent carnage? Must thy cities be
laid waste, whose lofty spires rival the mountain-tops, in courting
the earliest sunbeams of the morning? Must thy daughters, the fairest
workmanship of their Maker, be given to rapine and violence, when the
eye of pity is turned away, and the aegis of angelic guardianship is
reluctantly withdrawn? Except you bind up the broken in heart, and make
restitution for robbery and rapine, and unprovoked banishment of loyal
citizens, who poured out their blood as water at the voice of your
governors and the mandates of your laws,--the vials of wo are in store
for your unhappy country! No intercessor can stay the blast of divine
indignation when the Almighty rises up to make inquisition for blood.
The Most High solemnly interdicted any man to show mercy to Canaan when
the cup of her iniquity was full. Jerusalem, the queen of cities! whose
Temple was the pride and admiration of nations, having rejected the
Saints, was made a heap of ruins under the curse of heaven.

Yet there is hope for America: let her senators teach wisdom, and her
officers exact righteousness, and undo the heavy burdens, and redress
the wrongs of her banished. Then the fruitful field shall not become
barren, nor every man's hand be turned against his fellow; and the
voice of mirth shall supersede the voice of mourning.

Land of my birth, and home of my fathers! my earliest impressions
were devoted to your praise and glory. In my riper years I have never
infringed your laws or quenched the spirit of your philanthropy. You
have robbed me of my houses, and my farms, and martyred my dearest
friends, and stripped me of reputation, and expelled me from your
borders, without the shadow of impeachment, or of trial by jury.
Contrary to my strongest predilections and educational attachments, you
have sought to eradicate every vestige of my patriotism, and render
frigid my warmest love to everything that endeared me to the friends
and citizens of the country that was ever my pride and boast! My heart
still yearns fondly over the land that was marked out in the council
of Heaven to be the nursery of freedom, enterprise, and genius. And
now, as I recede from your borders, and from the scenes of my toils and
fond attachments with my desolate family, through extensive wilds to
the mountains for safety and a home, my heart overflows and bursts with
the sentiment--"Oh, that thou hadst known in this thy day the things
that belong to thy peace!" In the meridian of life I go from the tombs
of my fathers to build and plant, where the eagle of liberty soars
aloft in the sunbeams of truth! My associates are called, and tried,
and chosen; they are the virtuous and honourable of all the earth; the
refuse of all nations, but accepted of God and escorted by his angels.
Their bosoms beat high with every noble impulse of philanthropy and
virtue; they are a magnanimous people, fitted to foster and garner up
the scattered virtues of the human family, and open up a safe asylum
to the oppressed of all nations; they have stood in the Thermopylae,
and passed the Rubicon. The Roman Mutius could deliberately burn his
hand to cinders as a token of the courage of his companions; so this
people have proved, indisputably, that they possess all the elements
of endurance and triumph. Their most arduous and perilous conflict is
passed; and millions comforted, enlightened, and redeemed will reap the
reward, and enter into _their_ labours. They are worthy. They have paid
the last debt which the angel informed John must be liquidated in the
blood of latter-day prophets, when the just could be avenged. Judgment
is given unto them, and the richest benedictions of Heaven now await in
Zion the upright and noble of all nations.

With sentiments of pure benevolence, I subscribe myself

Your exiled friend and humble servant,

ORSON SPENCER.



NIGHT OF MARTYRDOM.

The following articles, on the Night of the Prophet's and Patriarch's
Martyrdom, together with the suffering exit of the author's lamented
wife, are inserted in this volume in order to perpetuate the memories
of the "just," and render to the heavens a tribute of gratitude for
their manifest interest in the tried condition of Saints on earth:

Twenty-seventh of June, 1844. Eventful period in the calendar of the
19th century! That awful night!! I remember it well--I shall never
forget it! Thousands and tens of thousands will never forget it! A
solemn thrill--a melancholy awe comes o'er my spirit! The memorable
scene is fresh before me! It requires no art of the pencil, no
retrospection of history to portray it. The impression of the Almighty
Spirit on that occasion will run parallel with eternity! The scene
was not portrayed by earthquake, or thunderings and lightnings, and
tempest; but the majesty and sovereignty of Jehovah was felt far
more impressively in the still small voice of that significant hour,
than the roaring of many waters, or the artillery of many thunders,
when the spirit of Joseph was driven back to the bosom of God, by an
ungrateful and blood-guilty world. There was an unspeakable something,
a portentous significancy in the firmament and among the inhabitants
of the earth. Multitudes felt the whisperings of wo and grief, and the
forebodings of tribulation and sorrow that they will never forget,
though the tongue of man can never utter it. The Saints of God, whether
near the scene of blood, or even a thousand miles distant, felt at
the very moment the prophet lay in royal gore, that an awful deed was
perpetrated. O, the repulsive chill! the melancholy vibrations of the
very air, as the prince of darkness receded in hopeful triumph from
the scene of slaughter! That night could not the Saints sleep, though
uninformed by man of what had passed with the Seer and Patriarch,
and far, far remote from the scene; yet to them sleep refused a
visitation--the eyelids refused to close--the hearts of many sighed
deeply in secret, and enquired why am I thus.

One of the Twelve Apostles, while travelling a hundred miles from the
scene of assassination, and totally ignorant of what was done, was so
unaccountably sad, and filled with such unspeakable anguish of heart,
without knowing the cause, that he was constrained to turn aside from
the road and give utterance to his feelings in tears and supplications
to God. Another Apostle, twelve hundred miles distant, while standing
in Fanuel Hall, Boston, Massachusetts, with many others, was similarly
affected, and obliged to turn aside to hide the big tears that gushed
thick and long from his eyes. Another, president of the high priests,
while in the distant state of Kentucky, in the solitude of midnight,
being marvellously disquieted, God condescended to show him, in a
vision, the mangled bodies of the two murdered worthies, all dripping
in purple gore, who said to him, we are murdered by a faithless state
and cruel mob.

Shall I attempt to describe the scene at Nauvoo on that memorable
evening? If I could, surely you would weep, whatever may be your faith
or scepticism, if the feelings of humanity are lodged in your bosom;
all prejudice and mirth would slumber, till the eye of pity had bedewed
the bier, and the heart had found relief in lamentation. Before another
day dawned, the messenger bore the tidings into the afflicted city;
the picquet guards of the city heard the whisper of murder in silent
amazement, as the messenger passed into the city. There the pale muslin
signal for gathering the troops hung its drooping folds from the
temple spire (as if partaking of nature's sadness), and made tremulous
utterance to the humble soldiery to muster immediately. As the dawn
made the signal visible, and the base tone of the great drum confirmed
the call, fathers, husbands, and minor sons all seized the broken
fragment of a dodger, or a scanty bone, for the service that might be
long and arduous before their return, or swallowed some thickened milk
(as might be the case) and fled to the muster ground; the suspicious
mother and children followed to the door and window, anxious to see
the gathering hosts emerge from their watch-posts and firesides,
where rest and food were scanted to the utmost endurance. The troops
continued to arrive, and stood in martial order, with a compressed lip
and a quick ear. They waited with deathly but composed silence, to hear
the intelligence that _mournful spirits_ had saddened their hearts
with during the night. The speaker stood up in the midst, not of an
uniform soldiery of hirelings, for they had no wages; their clothing
was the workmanship of the diligent domestic--the product of wife and
daughters' arduous toil; their rations were drawn from the precarious
supplies, earned in the intervals between preaching to the states and
nations of the earth, and watching against the intrusions and violence
of mobs. The speaker announced the martyrdom of the Prophet and
Patriarch, and paused under the heavy burden of the intelligence.

But here I must pause; my pen shall touch lightly, as it must feebly,
that hallowed--that solemn and ever memorable hour! The towering
indignation; the holy and immutable principle of retribution for crime
that dwells eternally in the bosom of God, insensibly impelled the
right hand almost to draw the glittering sword, and feel the sharpness
of the bayonet's point and its fixedness to the musket's mouth. But
the well planted principle of self-command, and also of observing the
order of heaven and the council of the priesthood, soon returned the
deadly steel to the scabbard; and the victorious triumph of loyalty
to God, in committing evil doers to Him that judgeth righteously,
and who hath said, "vengeance is mine and I will repay," prevailed
over the billows of passion; and in the transit of a fleeting moment
the holy serenity of the soldiery, depicted by an occasional tear,
showed to angels and men, that the tempest of passion was hushed, and
wholly under the control of the spirit of wisdom and of God. It was
the most unearthly and morally sublime scene that I ever witnessed.
Contemplate a city and community of 20,000 people, whose love for
their leader, the Prophet of the Lord, was warm and abiding as the
love of David and Jonathan, in an evil moment betrayed by a sovereign
State! Under his instructions they had been taught the ways of truth
and salvation--they had been gathered from remote parts, even distant
islands and continents, that they might hear the word of the Lord from
his lips, and build up a city where _gambling_ and _lewdness, theft_
and _drunkenness_ should have no admittance! And the life of Joseph
was considered so necessary to the work of God and the welfare of the
human family, that many thousands could readily have died in his stead,
if that could have preserved his life. But the Governor of Illinois,
the Commander-in-Chief of 80,000 organized militia, threatened the
speedy demolition of the whole city of Nauvoo, if Joseph was not
delivered up to him for trial on the _antiquated charge_ of treason!
He made the most solemn assurance, and pledged the sacred faith of the
State, that he should be kept safe and unharmed until he could have
a fair and impartial trial. But oh! the cruel perfidy of that modern
Nero, the governor! and the bloody butchery of the soldiery (some of
whom had been disbanded and others had not), that could deliberately
murder innocent and helpless men, that had surrendered at discretion,
after all the strongest assurances of protection! The soldiery in
Nauvoo numbered near four thousand, while those in alliance with the
bloody perpetrators in the country, were not more than one-half the
number. They would have been an easy prey to the merited revenge of
the outraged force at Nauvoo; but that force bore the outrages with
coolness and wisdom that has never been equalled by uninspired men.
They governed themselves under circumstances the most extraordinary,
and hearkened calmly to the voice of wisdom, when their pain and grief
were almost insupportable. The soldiery on the Temple square heard, but
felt that there was no adequate victim for vengeance in the county,
or even in the destruction of the whole State. Some, least tender in
their hearts, found relief in tears. In the houses of the Saints,
aside from the soldiery, females, less competent to bear the news than
husbands and fathers, in some instances lost their sanity of mind for a
season; but as the sun arose and the people congregated on the green,
after being exhorted to give their enemies into the hands of Him that
judgeth righteously, tranquillity and order ensued. But not so with the
mob. During all the bloody night their houses were hastily deserted
by men, women, and children. So great was the consternation and so
precipitate the flight, that even females fled in their nightclothes,
almost naked, and continued their flight amid imprecations and shrieks
for the distance of even fifty miles, where, exhausted and frightened,
they alarmed villages, and the city of Quincy to the ringing of bells,
and the speedy gathering of every person that could bear arms for their
defence; but no man pursued, though "the wicked fled."



DEATH OF THE AUTHOR'S WIFE.

Catherine Curtis Spencer died on the 12th of March, 1846, at Indian
Creek, near Keosaqua, Iowa territory, at the age of thirty-five
years, wanting nine days. In one month from the time of her departure
from Illinois to the wilderness, she fell a victim to the cares and
hardships of persecution. The youngest daughter of a numerous family,
brought up in affluence and nurtured with fondness and peculiar care
as the favourite of her father's house; her slender, though healthy
frame, could not endure the privation of sleep and rest, and the
inclemency of the winter season (the thermometer below Zero for ten
days). The change from the warm rooms of brick and plaistered walls, to
that of mere canvass ceiling and roof, floored with snow and icy earth,
was too much for her fragile form to endure. When, through unforseen
hindrances in travelling, there was no place where sleep could visit,
or food suited to the demands of nature could be administered to her
or her six little children (from the age of thirteen and under), she
would cheer her little innocents with the songs of Zion. The melody
of her rare voice, like the harmony and confluence of many virtues
in her mind, contributed on that memorable epoch of the church, to
render her the glory of her husband, and the solace and joy of her
children. When asked if she would go to her distant friends that were
not in the church, who had proffered comfort and abundance to her and
her children, she replied, "no, if they will withhold from me the
supplies they readily grant to my other sisters and brothers, because I
adhere to the Saints, let them. I would rather abide with the church,
in poverty, even in the wilderness, without their aid, than go to my
unbelieving father's house, and have all that he possesses." Under the
influence of a severe cold, she gradually wasted away, telling her
children, from time to time, how she wanted them to live and conduct
themselves, when they should become motherless, and pilgrims in a
strange land. To her companions she would sometimes say, "I think you
will have to give me up and let me go." As her little ones would often
inquire at the door of the waggon, "how is ma'? is she any better?" she
would turn to her husband, who sat by her side endeavouring to keep the
severities of rain and cold from her: "oh, you dear little children,
how I do hope you may fall into kind hands when I am gone!" A night or
two before she died, she said to her husband, with unwonted animation,
"A heavenly messenger has appeared to me to-night, and told me that I
had done and suffered enough, and that he had now come to convey me
to a mansion of gold." Soon after, she said she wished me to call the
children and other friends to her bedside, that she might give them
a parting kiss, which being done, she said to her companion, "I love
_you_ more than ever, but you must let me go. I only want to live for
your sake, and that of our children." When asked if she had anything to
say to her father's family, she replied emphatically, "_Charge them to
obey the gospel_."

The rain continued so incessantly for many days and nights, that it was
impossible to keep her bedding dry or comfortable; and, for the first
time, she uttered the desire to be in a house. The request might have
moved a heart of adamant. Immediately, a man of the name of Barnes,
living not far from the camp, consented to have her brought to his
house, where she died in peace, with a smile upon her countenance, and
a cordial pressure of her husband's hand about an hour previous.

Many tributes to her memory, from the Twelve, and other distinguished
friends, expressive of her worth and the amiableness of her life, have
been communicated to the writer, which conjugal relationship forbids
_me_ to insert, but which are still a comfort to the bereaved in his
pilgrimage through mortality. Though prepossessing in her manners, her
confiding and generous mind always made permanent the friendship that
she once obtained. Her unceasingly affectionate and dutiful bearing
to her husband, and her matronly diligence in infusing the purest and
loftiest virtues into the minds of her children, not only exemplified
the beautiful order of heaven, but made the domestic circle the
greatest paradise of earth. Said a member of the high council, after
her death, who had often observed her in the temple of the Lord, where
she loved to linger and feast on the joys of that holy place, "I never
saw a countenance more inexpressibly serene and heavenly, than hers."

  "'O! she was young who won my yielding heart,'
  No power of genius nor the pencils' art
  Could half the beauties of her mind portray,
  E'en when inspired; and how can this my lay?
  Two eyes that spoke what language ne'er can do,
  Soft as twin violets moist with early dew.
  In sylph-like symmetry her form combin'd,
  To prove the fond endearments of the mind,
  While on her brow benevolence and love
  Sat meekly, like to emblems from above,
  And every thought that had creation there,
  But made her face still more divinely fair."

Her remains were conveyed to the city of Nauvoo, and there, after a few
neighbours had wept, and sung, "Come to me; will ye come to the Saints
that have died," and expressed their condolence to the deeply afflicted
husband, buried, in the solitude of the night, by the side of her
youngest child, that had died near six months before.

The writer does not mourn for his dead as those that die without hope,
knowing they are taken from many evils to come. He desires to dedicate
the above faint sketch to his children, now in the wilderness, for the
testimony of Jesus, lest time should obliterate from their young and
tender minds the recollection of her person and some of her virtues,
and thereby perpetuate the memory of the just, while that of the wicked
shall rot. He desires the prayers of all Saints for himself and his
children; and may the blessing of Almighty God rest upon all who love
our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.



LINES,

_Suggested on reading the Author's first Letter in the Series_.

BY MISS E. R. SNOW.

  "My heart is fix'd"--I know in whom I trust.
  'Twas not for wealth--'twas not to gather heaps
  Of perishable things--'twas not to twine
  Around my brow a transitory wreath,
  A garland deck'd with gems of mortal praise,
  That I forsook the home of childhood; that
  I left the lap of ease--the halo rife
  With smiling friendship's soft and mellow tones--
  Affection's fond caresses, and the cup
  O'erflowing with the sweets of social life,
  Where high refinement's richest pearls were strew'd.

     Ah no! a holier purpose fir'd my soul--
  A nobler object prompted my pursuit:
  Eternal prospects open'd to my view,
  And hope's celestial torch within me burn'd.
  God, who commanded Abraham to leave
  His native country, and to offer up
  On the lone alter, where no eye beheld
  But His who never sleeps, an only son,
  Is still the same; and thousands who have made
  A covenant with him by sacrifice.
  Are bearing witness to the sacred truth.
  Jehovah speaking? Yes, as heretofore.

     The proclamation sounded in my ear--
  It touch'd my heart--I hearken'd to the sound.
  Counted the cost, and laid my earthly all
  Upon the altar; and with purpose fix'd
  Unalterably, while the spirit of
  Elijah's God within my bosom reigns,
  Embrac'd the "Everlasting Covenant;"
  To be a Saint among the faithful ones
  Whose race is measur'd by their life--whose prize
  Is everlasting, and whose happiness
  Is God's approval, and to whom 'tis more
  Than meat and drink to do his righteous will.

     It is no trifling thing to be a Saint
  In very deed. To stand upright, nor bow
  Nor bend beneath the weighty burthen of
  Oppressiveness.--To stand unscath'd amid
  The bellowing thunders and the raging storm
  Of persecution, when the hostile pow'rs
  Of darkness stimulate the hearts of men
  To warfare: to besiege, assault, and, with
  The heavy thunderbolts of Satan, aim
  To overthrow the kingdom God has rear'd
  To stand unmov'd beneath the with'ring rock
  Of vile apostacy, when men depart
  From the pure principles of righteousness--
  Those principles requiring man to live
  By ev'ry word proceeding from the mouth
  Of God.--To stand unwav'ring, undismay'd,
  And unseduc'd, when the base hypocrite
  Whose deeds take hold on hell, whose face is garb'd
  With saintly looks, drawn out by sacrilege
  From a profession, but assum'd and thrown
  Around him for a mantle to enclose
  The black corruption of a putrid heart.--
  To stand on virtue's lofty pinnacle
  Clad in the heav'nly robes of innocence,
  Amid that worse than every other blast--
  The blast that strikes at moral character,
  With floods of falsehood foaming with abuse.--
  To stand, with nerve and sinew firmly steel'd,
  When in the trying scale of rapid change,
  Thrown side by side and face to face with that
  Foul hearted spirit, blacker than the soul
  Of midnight's darkest shade, the traitor,
  The vile wretch that feeds his sordid selfishness
  Upon the peace and blood of innocence--
  The faithless, rotten-hearted wretch, whose tongue
  Speaks words of trust and fond fidelity,
  While treach'ry, like a viper, coils behind
  The smile that dances in his evil eye.
  To pass the fiery ordeal, and to have
  The heart laid open--all its contents prov'd
  Before the bar of strictest scrutiny.
  To have the finest heart-strings stretch'd unto
  Their utmost length to try their texture. To
  Abide, with principle unchang'd, the wreck
  Of cruel, tott'ring circumstances, which
  Ride forth on revolution's blust'ring gale.

     But yet, altho' _to be a Saint_, requires
  A noble sacrifice--an arduous toil--
  A persevering aim; the great reward
  Awaiting the grand consummation, will
  Repay the price however costly; and
  The pathway of the saint, the safest path
  Will prove, tho' perilous: for 'tis foretold,
  All things that can be shaken, God will shake:
  Kingdoms, and Institutes, and Governments,
  Both civil and religious must be tried--
  Tried to the core and sounded to the depth.

     Then let me be a Saint, and be prepar'd
  For the approaching day, which like a snare
  Will soon surprise the hypocrite--expose
  The rottenness of human schemes--shake off
  Oppressive fetters--break the gorgeous reins
  Usurpers hold, and lay the pride of man,
  And glory of the nations low in dust!

  THE END.

* * * *

Liverpool: Printed by R. James, 39, South Castle Street.





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