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´╗┐Title: Divine Authority - Or the Question: Was Joseph Smith Sent of God?
Author: Pratt, Orson
Language: English
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A few days since, Mrs. Pratt and myself, together with some others,
were kindly invited to take tea with a very respectable gentleman of
this town (Liverpool), who, though not connected with our church, yet
was, with his family, sincerely enquiring after the truth. They seemed
to be fully convinced in relation to the most important features of
our doctrine, and were desirous of extending their investigations
still further. We hope that their researches may happily result in a
full conviction of the truth, and that they may obtain that certainty,
so much to be desired, as to the _divine_ authority of the great and
important message _now_ revealed from heaven--a message which must
assuredly prove a savor of _life_ or _death_ to the generation now
living. This message is beginning to awake the attention of the honest,
virtuous, and upright among all classes of society. They seem to be
aroused from the slumber of ages.

A message of simple truth, when sent from God--when published by divine
authority, through divinely inspired men, penetrates the mind like a
sharp two-edged sword, and cuts asunder the deeply-rooted prejudices,
the iron-bound sinews of ancient error and tradition, made sacred by
age and rendered popular by human wisdom. It severs with undeviating
exactness between truth and falsehood--between the doctrine of Christ
and the doctrines of men; it levels with the most perfect ease every
argument that human learning may array against it. Opinions, creeds
invented by uninspired men, and doctrines originated in schools of
divinity, all vanish like the morning dew--all sink into insignificance
when compared with a message direct from heaven. Such a message shines
upon the understanding like the splendors of the noon-day sun; it
whispers in the ears of mortals, saying, "this is the way, walk ye
in it." Certainty and assurance are its constant companions; it is
entirely unlike all plans or systems ever invented by human authority;
it has no alliance, connexion, or fellowship with any of them; it
speaks with divine authority, and all nations, without an exception,
are required to obey. He that receives the message and endures to the
end will be saved; he that rejects it will be damned. It matters not
what his former righteousness may have been--none can be excused.

As a specimen of the anxious inquiry which now pervades the minds of
many in relation to this church, we publish the following extract from
a letter, which was kindly read to us during our afore-mentioned visit,
by the gentleman who received it from his friend in London. We were
struck with the apparent candor, the sound judgment, and the correct
conclusions of the author of the letter, and earnestly solicited the
privilege of publishing it. Permission was granted on condition that
we would withhold names. We here present it to our readers, and shall
endeavor, in the same spirit of candor, to answer the all-important
inquiries contained in it.

 _July_ 15_th_.

 MY DEAR SIR,--I have been expecting, time after time, to be able to
 return you the "Letters" you so kindly left with me. As I informed you
 in my last, I cursorily read through the letters, and then handed the
 book to Mr. --. With him it is at the present time. The impression made
 thereby on his mind is very remarkable, and he requests me to inform
 you, that if you will allow him, he means to keep the book, if you
 will please to let him know the price thereof. He and I concur in our
 view of Mormonism at present. Do you enquire what that view is? I will
 then proceed to state it. We consider that the proofs which Mormonism
 gives of the apostasy are, without question, clear and demonstrative;
 we entirely concur also in the personal appearance and reign of our
 Lord; we are persuaded that all the preachers and teachers of the day
 are without _authority_--that their teachings and interpretations are
 uncertain as to the truth--that the translations of the scripture,
 being done without inspiration, are also uncertain. All is uncertain!
 melancholy thought! a deplorable picture but a true one!--the
 different teachers doing the best they can!--all jarring--all
 contending! The result--division, multiplied division! And they have a
 right if they think proper to divide from an authority _merely human_.
 But their multiplied division is a multiplied proof that they are
 wrong--that they are without that spirit who guides into truth, _and
 truth is_ ONE!

 My dear sir, the "Saints" have made out a strong and irrefragable case
 to show that "_authority to teach_" is no where, if not with them;
 but the proposition that _they have authority to teach, interpret
 &c._, is one that at present does not create a conviction in Mr. --
 or my mind. We admit that it is very reasonable to suppose that,
 under such circumstances, God would raise up and send _one invested
 with authority_. Whether Joseph Smith was such an one is the all
 important question. I also admit, that so far as I am acquainted with
 his history, there is something very remarkable about him; perhaps
 I should be fully convinced if I were more fully read in writings
 relating to him. I wish I lived near to you, and then I would read
 more fully on the subject I confess my mind is much concerned to
 arrive at a clear conclusion upon the point.

 Mr. -- wishes you, if you will be so good, to select a few books that
 you think clearly prove the divine mission of Joseph Smith, and send
 them in a parcel to him with the prices; he will feel much obliged,
 and will send you a post-office order for the amount; he believes
 your selection will be a judicious one. I have heard Mr. Banks twice
 since I saw you, and other individual teachers also. There is much in
 their public services I approve. I am struck with the simplicity of
 their celebration of the ordinances. Mr. Banks and the others _assert
 strongly_ the divinity of Joseph Smith's mission; this is, however,
 not enough: the church of the early saints had proofs to give by
 inspired apostles like Peter, inspired deacons like Stephen, inspired
 evangelists like Philip, inspired prophets like Agabus, and inspired
 prophetesses like Philip's daughters. All this was the result of the
 _Spirit_ being in and with them _in authority and power_. The church
 of the latter day ought to be the same, if having the _same spirit of
 authority and power_. The sects are without these proofs, therefore
 they are sects groping in the dark, and hoping, and thinking, and
 guessing they are right, and all this convinces that they are not
 "the Church, the body of Christ;" bodies they are of their doctors
 and founders sure enough! Now I think the Church of the Latter-day
 Saints must resemble the original, or it is at once proved only a
 sect. One result of my conversation with you and Banks, and perusing
 the Letters, is, that I can be no longer connected with any sect. So
 far as I see, I can without difficulty confound in argument--plain
 scriptural argument--any into whose company I am at any time thrown.
 The Methodist _system_ I am convinced is the worst, because its
 pretensions are highest. I stand, therefore, fully alone. I declare
 I should be glad to be convinced that Mormonism is what it professes
 to be; I would join it to-day if my mind could be convinced that its
 elders had _authority to baptize me for the remission of sins, and lay
 hands on me for the gift of the Holy Ghost_. These sacred ordinances I
 would obey gladly, if I knew men having authority to administer them!
 To have these ordinances administered without divine authority is mere
 child's play. Thus you see my position. A Methodist leader, an old
 friend, said to me the other day, "Are you connected with the church
 of Christ now?--I hear you are not with us now." I answered, "Where
 is the church of Christ?" He replied it is found among the different
 sects. I then inquired, "Are you in the church of Christ? for if you
 are, you must be a member of all the sects." This rather puzzled him.
 I then asked him "Shew me the sect that resembled the church at the
 beginning; does any one of them, or do they all put together resemble
 the church at the beginning?" He said certainly not. I enquired why
 not? He was shrewd enough to be silent and to see that his own mouth
 must condemn his sect and all the sects. Observe, in the absence of
 the spirit, men must do as well as they can. This I am trying to do,
 only I confess that I am poor, and blind, and naked, bereft of the
 glory of the _certainty of the authority and truth of the church of
 Christ_. The sects, however, are satisfied, though "poor, blind,
 and naked," to boast of increase of goods, chapels, rich friends,
 preachers, &c., &c. So much for my present views and standing. I
 suppose by this time you have acted on your convictions, and are
 joined to the Saints; in all honesty you ought, I confess. The moment
 the conviction that _divine authority and certainty of teaching_ is
 with them, that moment will I join them. ***

 Farewell. My respectful regards to Mrs. --, and ever believe me, my
 dear sir, yours very truly,

First.--The author of the above letter has carefully examined the
present state of the world, and declares himself fully convinced of the
awful apostacy which now so universally prevails. He unhesitatingly
admits that all authority to teach--to administer ordinances--to build
up the church of Christ, has entirely ceased from the earth--that
"all is uncertain." He also admits that "it is very reasonable to
suppose, that under such circumstances, God would raise up and send
one _invested with authority_. Whether Joseph Smith was such a one is
the all-important question." Yes, indeed, it is an important question,
and one that involves the fate of the present generation. If Joseph
Smith was not sent of God, this church cannot be the church of God,
and the tens of thousands who have been baptized into this church
are yet in their sins, and no better off than the millions that have
gone before them. _The form_, without the power and authority, is no
better than the hundreds of human forms that have no resemblance to
the ancient pattern; indeed, it is more dangerous, because better
calculated to deceive. Other churches do not profess to have inspired
apostles, prophets, prophetesses, evangelists, &c., hence we _know_,
if the New Testament be true, that they cannot be the church of God.
But the Latter-day Saints profess to have all these officers and gifts
among them, and profess to have authority to administer in every form,
ordinance, and blessing of the ancient church; hence we know, that
so far as the officers, doctrines, ordinances, and ceremonies are
evidence, this Church can exhibit a perfect pattern. In these things,
then, both ancient and modern Saints are exactly alike. By the New
Testament then we cannot be condemned.

If the Latter-day Saints are not what they profess to be, one thing is
certain, that no one ever will be able to confute their doctrine by
the scriptures; however imperfect the people may be, their doctrine is
_infallible_. Can this be said of any other people who have existed on
the eastern hemisphere during the last 1700 years? No. Their doctrines
have been a heterogenous mixture of truth and error, that would not
stand the test one moment when measured by a pattern of inspiration;
some disparity could be seen and pointed out--some deviation either in
the organization or in the ordinances of the gospel could be shown to
exist. And now after so many centuries have elapsed, and when human
wisdom has been exerted to its utmost strength, and the most exalted
and gigantic talents displayed to lay a stable foundation whereon to
build, we awake and behold all an empty bubble--a vain show--a phantom
of man's creation, with scarcely a vestige of the ancient _form_, to
say nothing of the _power_. In the midst of all this thick darkness, a
young, illiterate, obscure, and inexperienced man announces a message
from heaven, before which darkness flees away; human dogmas are
overturned; the traditions of ages are uprooted; all forms of church
government tremble like an aspen leaf at its approach, and the mighty
fabric of popular sectarianism is convulsed and shaken to its very
foundation. How happens all this? If Joseph Smith were an impostor,
whence his superior wisdom? What power enervated his mind in laying
the foundation of a church according to the ancient order? How could
an impostor so far surpass the combined wisdom of seventeen centuries
as to originate a system diverse from every other system under heaven,
and yet harmonise with the system of Jesus and his apostles in every
particular? What! an impostor discover the gross darkness of ages,
and publish a doctrine perfect in every respect, against which not
one scriptural argument can be adduced! The idea is preposterous! The
_purity_ and _infallibility_ of the doctrine of this great modern
prophet is a presumptive evidence of no small moment in favor of his
divine mission.

We do not pretend that a _perfect doctrine_ is an _infallible_ evidence
in favour of the _divine authority_ of the one who teaches it. We
can conceive it possible, though not probable, for a man to teach a
doctrine unmixed with error, and yet be without authority to administer
its ordinances. Swedenborg, Irving, and many others taught doctrines
in some respects true, in other respects false; hence their authority
should be rejected, even though they should perform miracles. We have
no examples on the records of history, of a doctrine perfect in every
respect, being taught by any person or persons, unless they were
inspired with divine authority. If Joseph Smith taught a doctrine in
any respect false, he should be rejected as an impostor, though he
should, like the magicians of Egypt, turn rivers of water into blood,
or create frogs in abundance, or even raise the dead like the witch of
Endor. On the other hand, if he taught a true and perfect doctrine, he
might be sent of God, though he himself should perform no miracle, like
John the Baptist, or the Prophet Noah, or many other prophets of the
Old Testament.

In ancient times, many great prophets were sent of God, and we have no
record of their doing miracles, yet their respective messages were of
infinite importance, and could not be rejected without condemnation.
Where is there a man, no matter how great his attainments, that can
show Mr. Smith's doctrine to be false? Did the ancient saints teach
baptism to the penitent believer for the remission of sins? So did
Mr. S. Did they teach the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy
Spirit? So did Mr. S. Did the Former-day Saints teach that apostles,
prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, deacons, bishops, elders,
&c., all inspired of God, were necessary in the church? So did Mr. S.
Did the ancient Saints teach that dreams, visions, new revelations,
ministering of angels, healings, tongues, interpretations, and all
other spiritual gifts were necessary in the church? So did this modern
prophet. Where then is the discrepancy between the ancient and modern
teachings? No where. The teaching of the one is as perfect as the
other; and we again assert that this perfect coincidence in teaching,
in every point, is a strong presumptive evidence that _Mr. Smith was
sent of God_.

Second.--In what manner does Joseph Smith declare that a dispensation
of the gospel was committed unto him? He testifies that an angel of
God, whose name was Moroni, appeared unto him; that this angel was
formerly an ancient prophet among a remnant of the tribe of Joseph
on the continent of America. He testifies that Moroni revealed unto
him where he deposited the sacred records of his nation some fourteen
hundred years ago; that these records contained the "everlasting
gospel" as it was anciently taught and recorded by this branch of
Israel. He gave Mr. Smith power to reveal the contents of those records
to the nations of the earth. Now, how does this testimony of Joseph
Smith agree with the book of John's prophecy given on the Isle of
Patmos? John testifies that when the dispensation of the gospel is
again committed to the nations, it shall be through the medium of an
_angel_ from heaven. J. Smith testifies that a dispensation of the
gospel for all nations has been committed to him by an _angel_. The one
uttered the prediction; the other testifies its fulfillment. Though
Mr. Smith had taught a perfect doctrine, yet if he had testified that
his doctrine was not restored by an angel, all would at once have
known him to be an impostor. How came Mr. Smith, if an impostor, to
not only discover a perfect doctrine, but also to discover the precise
medium through which that doctrine should be restored to the earth?
Did Swedenborg, Irving, Wesley, or any other persons, not only teach
a pure system, but at the same time did they declare that it was
committed to them by an angel from heaven? If not, however pure and
holy their teaching, they were not divinely authorised to administer in
ordinances. If Mr. Smith had professed to have accidentally discovered
those records, and that he was inspired to reveal their contents
through the Urim and Thummim; or if he had professed to have received
a message of the gospel through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, or
the Urim and Thummim, or in any other way but that of the ministering
of an angel, we should, without further inquiry, have known him to be
without authority. How came Mr. Smith, if a deceiver, to think of all
this? Did Martin Luther, Wesley, Whitfield, Swedenborg, or Irving think
of this? Whence his superior intellect--his depth of understanding--his
extensive foresight--that he should so far surpass all former impostors
for 1700 years? John testifies that when the everlasting gospel is
restored to the earth it shall be by an _angel_. Smith testifies that
it was restored by an _angel_, and in no other way. _This is another
presumptive evidence that he was sent of God_.

Third.--A revelation and restoration to the earth of the "_everlasting
gospel_" through the angel Moroni would be of no benefit to the
nations, unless some one should be ordained with authority to preach it
and administer its ordinances. Moroni might reveal a book containing
a beautiful and glorious system of salvation, but no one could obey
even its first principles without a legally authorized administrator,
ordained to preach, baptize, lay on hands for the gift of the Holy
Ghost, &c. Did Moroni ordain Mr. Smith to the apostleship, and command
him to administer ordinances? No, he did not. But why not confer
authority by ordination, as well as reveal the everlasting gospel?
Because in all probability he had not the right so to do. All angels
have not the same authority--they do not all hold the same keys. Moroni
was a prophet, but we have no account of his holding the office of an
apostle; and if not, he had no right to ordain Mr. Smith to an office
which he himself never possessed. He no doubt went as far as he was
authorized, and that was to reveal the "_stick of Ephraim_"--the record
of his fathers containing the "_everlasting gospel_." How then did
Mr. Smith obtain the office of an apostle, if Moroni had no authority
to ordain him to such office? Mr. Smith testifies that Peter, James,
and John came to him in the capacity of ministering angels, and by
the laying on of hands ordained him an apostle, and commanded him to
preach, baptize, lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and
administer all other ordinances of the gospel as they themselves did in
ancient days. Did Swedenborg--did Irving's apostles--or did any other
imposters during the long age of darkness--profess that the apostleship
was conferred upon them by those who held it last--by an angel who
held the office himself? No; and therefore they are not apostles, but
deceivers. If Mr. Smith had pretended that he received the apostleship
by the revelation of the Holy Ghost, without an ordination under the
hands of an apostle, we should at once know that his pretensions were
vain, and that he was a deceiver. If an impostor, how came Mr. Smith
to discover this? Why did he not, like the Irvingites, assume the
apostleship without an apostle to ordain him? How came he to possess so
much more wisdom than Irving, as to discover that he could not be an
apostle without being ordained under the hands of an apostle? If Mr.
Smith be a false apostle, it must be confessed that he has exhibited
far more judgment than all the false apostles who have preceded him,
learned and talented as they were. Is not this another presumptive
evidence of _Joseph Smith's divine mission?_ Such a correctness upon
matters of so great a moment, and upon subjects on which millions have
heretofore erred, indicates something more than _human_--it indicates
inspiration of the Almighty. The purity of Mr. Smith's doctrine--the
perfect coincidence of his testimony with that of John's, in relation
to the manner of the restoration of the everlasting Gospel to the
earth, and the consistency of his testimony in relation to the manner
of the restoration of the apostleship, are strong presumptive evidences
that beautifully harmonize with and strengthen each other; the evidence
is therefore accumulative, and increases with every additional
condition or circumstance in a multiplied ratio, and seems almost
irresistibly to force conviction upon the mind.

Fourth.--Joseph Smith not only professes, through the medium of angels,
to have received a dispensation of the gospel, and the power and
authority of the apostleship, but he also professes to have received,
through _revelation_ and _commandment_ from God, a dispensation for
the gathering of the Saints from all nations. Now the doctrine of the
gathering of the Saints in the last days must either be _false_ or
_true;_ if false, then J. Smith must be an impostor. It matters not
how correct he may have been in all other points of his system, if
this one point--the doctrine of the gathering--be false, he _must_ be
a deceiver. Why? Because he professes to have received _this doctrine_
by direct _revelation_ and _commandment_. On the other hand, if the
doctrine of the gathering of the Saints be a _true_ doctrine and
scriptural, this will be another presumptive evidence that Mr. Smith
was sent of God.

Now a doctrine may be _true_ and not be _scriptural;_ as for example,
Newton's doctrine or law of universal gravitation is a _true_ doctrine,
but not a _scriptural_ one; that is, it can neither be proved nor
disproved by the scriptures. So, Noah's doctrine of gathering into
an ark--Lot's doctrine of fleeing out of Sodom--Christ's doctrine
to depart out of Jerusalem and flee to the mountains to escape
destruction, were all _true;_ but neither of them could be proved
or disproved by any scripture given to any of the former prophets.
So likewise Mr. Smith's doctrine of the gathering of the Saints in
the last days might be _true_, even though there should be no former
scripture that predicted such an event; but in this case such a
doctrine would be no evidence that Mr. Smith, who advocated it, was
sent of God; but if such a doctrine can be proved to be a _scriptural_
doctrine, that is, if the gathering of the Saints was predicted in
ancient scriptures as an event to take place in a certain age, in a
certain way, and through certain means, and Mr. Smith comes in _that
age_, professing to have a message to gather the Saints in _such way_,
and by _such means_ as the scriptures have foretold, then the exact and
perfect agreement between the professed message of Mr. Smith, and the
scriptural predictions relating to such a message or work, would be a
presumptive evidence of great weight in favor of his divine mission.

The doctrine of the gathering of the people of God, including Israel,
is one so clearly predicted by the inspired writers, that it seems
almost superfluous to refer to the numerous passages relating to it.
The dispensation in which the people of God were to be gathered in
one, is called by the apostle Paul, "_the dispensation of the fulness
of times_; which he represents as being an event then in the future.
John, nearly one hundred years after the birth of our Saviour, saw
the wonderful events and sceneries of unborn generations displayed in
majestic and awful grandeur before him. He saw the churches of Asia,
then under his own personal watch-care, lukewarm, corrupted, and about
ready to be moved out of their place. He saw the universal apostacy
[sic] that was soon to succeed and hold dominion for ages over all
kindred and tongues, under the name of the Mother of Harlots--the
great Babylon that should make all nations drunk with her wickedness.
He saw that after the nations had been thus overwhelmed in thick
darkness for ages, without the church of God, without apostles, without
prophets, without the ministering of angels, without one cheering
message from heaven, that there would be one more proclamation of
mercy made to all people--one more dispensation of glad tidings from
the heavens, to be ushered in by an angel restoring the everlasting
gospel, which was to receive a universal proclamation to all the
inhabitants of the earth, accompanied with a loud cry, that "_the
hour of God's judgment is come_". He saw the universal proclamation
of this warning message immediately followed by another angel,
proclaiming the complete overthrow and downfall of Babylon. Between
the interval of the flying of these two angels, he "heard another
_voice from heaven_, saying, COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE, that ye be
not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues;
for her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her
iniquities." Remember, that this voice, commanding the people to come
out of Babylon, was to be a "_voice from heaven_." It was not to be
a cunningly devised plan of uninspired man, brought about by human
ingenuity, but it was to be a voice from heaven--a message sent from
God--a new revelation, commanding the Saints to come out of Babylon
previous to its downfall. How came Mr. Smith, if an impostor, to get,
not only all the other particulars which we have mentioned, perfectly
exact, but also to discover that there must be a gathering of the
Saints out of Babylon, and that that work must immediately follow
the introduction of the gospel by an angel? Why did he not say, My
doctrine is true, and if you will embrace it, you can be saved, and
still remain where you are? It matters not how correct his doctrine
might have been in all other points, if he had told his disciples to
remain among the corrupt nations, and not gather together--this alone
would have exposed the cloven foot, and proved him to be a deceiver.
Swedenborg, Wesley, Irving, and a numerous host of others, during the
last seventeen hundred years, have entirely neglected the gathering,
which proves that they were without authority--that a dispensation of
the gospel was never committed to them--that the voice from heaven
to come out of Babylon had never saluted their ears. Previous to the
restoration of the _gospel_ by an angel, God had no people in Babylon,
and therefore could not call them out. An unauthorised, uninspired
priesthood, preaching a perverted gospel, never could raise up a
people of God in Babylon; for they themselves are Babylon, and all
their converts or children are begotten after their own likeness
with Babylonish inscriptions upon their foreheads. It is only when
the gospel, apostleship, and power are again restored in the way and
manner predicted, that a people of God can be raised up among the
nations. It is then, and not till then, that the voice is heard from
heaven, calling that people out from among the nations. Mr. Smith did
not forget this. It is marvellously strange, indeed, that he should
be an impostor, and yet embrace in his system every particular that
was to characterize the great dispensation of the latter times. It
matters not how diverse the points of his doctrine were to the popular
current among the great modern systems of religion. He seems to have
introduced his system without paying the least regard as to what would
be popular or unpopular--as to whether it would suit the learned or the
unlearned--as to whether it would suit the temporal circumstances of
man or not. He did not stop to make the inquiry whether the gathering
of the Saints would be congenial to the feelings of those who occupied
splendid mansions, upon fine farms, surrounded with every luxury of
life. He did not stop to consider any of those things, but spoke as one
having authority; saying, "_thus saith the Lord_," upon every point of
doctrine which he promulgated. Now, for a young man, inexperienced and
illiterate, to profess to give the word of the Lord upon subjects of so
great a moment--to reveal doctrines which were directly opposed, not
only to his own traditions, but to the teachings and doctrines of the
most popular, numerous, and powerful sects of the day, and at the same
time have those doctrines exactly accord, not only with the ancient
gospel, but with every minute prediction relative to the dispensation
of the last days--is an evidence that carries TRUTH upon the face of
it, and leaves a deep and lasting impression upon every reflecting
mind, and we can hardly refrain from assenting in our hearts, that
surely _he must have been sent of God_.

Fifth.--What else besides the "everlasting gospel" does the Book of
Mormon profess to contain? It professes to contain a brief but faithful
history of a small branch of the _tribe of Joseph_, and the revelations
given to them both before and after Christ, written by a succession of
prophets who were the literal descendants of Joseph; hence it professes
to be, in the full sense of the word, the _writings or records of
the tribe of Joseph_. It contains numerous and pointed predictions,
shewing expressly that the age in which their records should, by the
power of God, be revealed to the nations, should also be the day in
which Israel should be gathered; and that their records, in conjunction
with the records of the Jews, should be the powerful instruments in
the hands of the servants of God in bringing about that great work.
Now, how does this accord with the word of the Lord to Ezekiel upon
the same subject? Ezekiel was commanded to write upon two sticks, one
for Judah, and the other for Joseph; after which he was commanded to
join them together into one. And when the children of Israel should
make enquiry what these two united writings of Judah and Joseph meant,
he was to say unto them, that the Lord God would join the writings of
Joseph with those of Judah; immediately after which he would take the
children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they were gone, and
would gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
and that he would make them one nation in the land upon the mountains
of Israel; and that one king should be king to them all; and that they
should no more be two nations or kingdoms. Ezekiel testifies that the
_writings of Joseph_ should be joined with the _writings of Judah_.
Mr. Smith presents this generation with a book, consisting of several
hundred pages, professing to be the sacred writings of the inspired
prophets of the tribe of Joseph, who anciently inhabited the great
western hemisphere. Ezekiel testifies that Israel should be gathered,
never again to be scattered, immediately after the union of these
two records. The professed record of Joseph, brought to light by Mr.
Smith, testifies in the most positive language, that this is the age
in which Israel shall be gathered through the instrumentality of the
word and power of God, contained in the two records. Ezekiel uttered
the prediction. Mr. Smith presents a professed fulfilment. This is
another presumptive evidence in favor of the divine authority of his
mission; for if the gathering of Israel had not been included in the
mission of Mr. Smith, as an important part of the great work of the
last dispensation, all would have had good reason for rejecting him
without further inquiry. The ministering of an angel--the restoration
of the gospel--the conferring of the apostleship--the setting up
of the kingdom of God--the gathering of the Saints--the revelation
of the record of Joseph, and its union with the Jewish record--and
the restoration of all the house of Israel to their own lands, are
the wonderful events to be fulfilled in the great "dispensation of
the fullness of times." Whatever person or persons are divinely
commissioned to usher in that dispensation, must have the keys of
authority to perform every work pertaining thereunto. If Joseph Smith
had included all these remarkable events in his mission, _excepting
one;_ then that _one_ exception would be sufficient to prove him to be
acting without authority. But where, we ask, is there one exception?
What particular event or circumstance pertaining to the dispensation,
of which he professed to hold the keys, has he excluded from his
system? Did John predict the restoration of the gospel by an angel? It
is included in Mr. Smith's system. Did John predict that the Saints
should receive a message from heaven, commanding them to come out of
Babylon? It also is included in the system of Joseph Smith, and the
Saints are now obeying it. Did Ezekiel predict the final gathering
of Israel as an immediate result of the union of the two records of
Joseph and Judah? Mr. Smith also includes this in his system. The two
records are already united in their testimony, and will soon accomplish
the purpose for which they were sent forth. What then is lacking? Is
there any of the prophets, or inspired writers of ancient times, who
have pointed out some other way for the latter day dispensation to be
brought about? Can any man show that the gospel will not be restored
by an angel, or that the Saints will not be called out of Babylon
by a message from heaven? or that the record of the tribe of Joseph
will not be joined with the Jewish record--the Bible? or that Israel
will not be gathered to their own lands through the instrumentality
of more revelation? or that the kingdom of God will not be set up
in the latter days to break in pieces all other kingdoms? or that
apostles and prophets will not be restored to the earth as in ancient
times? If all these things are possible, probable, and scriptural--if
all these events must come to pass in their time, and in the manner
predicted--can any one show that this is not the time? that the Book
of Mormon is not the record of Joseph, about which Ezekiel prophesied?
Can any one show any cause why Joseph Smith should not receive the
ministering of an angel? why he should not be ordained an apostle,
or prophet, or receive revelations and commandments from God? If the
gospel is to be restored by an angel, it must be restored at the first
to some person. Why not that person be Mr. Smith? If the records of
two different tribes are to be joined in one, why not the Book of
Mormon and the Bible be the two records? and why not Mr. Smith be the
instrument in the hands of God in fulfilling this prophecy? If these
things are not not the fulfillment of those ancient predictions,
will the generation that lives when they do come to pass be any more
believing than they are at present in this work? Will they be any
more ready to receive new revelations, visions, angels, or ancient
sacred records than they are now? When God sets up his kingdom, will
mankind be any more willing to receive the apostles, prophets, and
inspired officers of that kingdom, than they are now? One thing is
certain; if the angel has not come--if the gospel is not restored--if
the records of Joseph are not revealed--then there is no kingdom of
God on the earth, no authority to preach or administer the ordinances
among men; all is gross darkness--all is uncertainty--and our only
alternative is to wait till the voice of the angel is heard, till the
great work of the last dispensation is ushered in. But will we then
receive it? Will not our prejudices be as great then as they are now
against Mr. Smith? Are there any qualifications that Mr. Smith should
possess that he did not possess? Were there any doctrines which he
advocated adverse to scriptural doctrine? Were there any principles
connected with his system inconsistent with the prophecies? If then
perfection characterizes every doctrine embraced in the great scheme
of this modern prophet, who can say that he was not sent of God? Who
dare oppose so great and perfect a system, without the least shadow of
evidence to prove its falsity? Who so lost to every sense of reason and
sound judgment, as not to perceive an overwhelming evidence flowing in
from every quarter to establish the divine mission of Joseph Smith? Who
that has examined his mission or system impartially, can bring even
one evidence against it? Are we not bound then to yield, at least, our
faith on the side of evidence? What excuse then can the learned, and
great, and wise of the earth, render for opposing a work of so great
importance with nought but ridicule, and slander, and vile reproaches?
Let them bring forth their strong reasonings, or else let them hear,
and say, it is TRUTH.

Sixth.--The perfect agreement between the prediction of Isaiah (chap.
xxix) and Mr. Smith's account of the finding and translation of the
Book of Mormon, is another collateral proof that he was divinely
commissioned. Mr. Smith testifies that the plates from which that book
was translated were taken _out of the ground_, from where they were
originally deposited by the prophet Moroni; that the box containing
them was composed of stone, so constructed as to exclude, in a great
degree, the moisture of the soil; that with the plates he discovered a
Urim and Thummim, through the aid of which he afterwards was enabled to
translate the book into the English language. Soon after obtaining the
plates, a quantity of the characters were correctly transcribed, and
sent to some of the most learned individuals in the United States, to
see if they could translate them. Among the rest, they were presented
to Professor Anthon, of New York city. But no man was found able to
read them by his own learning or wisdom. Mr. Smith, though an unlearned
man, testifies that he was commanded to translate them, through the
inspiration of the Holy Ghost, by the aid of the Urim and Thummim,
and that the Book of Mormon is that translation. Now, Isaiah says
to Israel, "_Thou shalt be brought down, and shalt 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_."

Who cannot perceive the perfect harmony between Isaiah's prediction
and Mr. Smith's testimony? Isaiah, as if to impress it upon the
minds of those who should live in future generations, gives no less
than four repetitions of the same prediction in the same passage,
informing us, in the most definite language, that after Israel should
be brought down, they should speak in a very familiar manner "_out of
the ground_," and whisper "low out of the dust." Mr. Smith has been an
instrument in the hands of God of fulfilling this prediction to the
very letter. He has taken "_out of the ground_" the ancient history
of one half of our globe--the sacred records of a great nation of
Israel--the writings of a remnant of the tribe of Joseph, who once
flourished as a powerful and great nation on the western hemisphere.
The mouldering ruins of their ancient forts, and towers, and cities
proclaim their former greatness, in mournful contrast with their
present sad condition. They have been brought down like all the rest
of Israel; but the words of their ancient prophets "_speak out of the
ground_," and "whisper out of the dust" to the ears of the present
generation, revealing in a very "_familiar_" manner the history of
ancient America, which before was entirely unknown to the nations.
Isaiah says, that Israel should "_speak out of the ground_." Mr.
Smith says, that he obtained the writings of Joseph from "_out of the
ground_." Now, if Mr. Smith had professed that he had got his book as
Swedenborg obtained his, or as the Shakers obtained theirs; that is,
if he had professed to have obtained this book to usher in this last
dispensation in any other way but "_out of the ground_," we should have
had reason to suppose him a deceiver, like Swedenborg and thousands
of others. Again, Isaiah says, that "the vision of all is become
unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to
one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I
cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is
not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not
learned. Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near
me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed
their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the
precepts of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous
work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the
wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their
prudent men shall be hid." All this was fulfilled before Mr. Smith was
aware that it had been so clearly predicted by Isaiah. He sent the
"WORDS _of a book_" which he found, as before stated, to Professor
Anthon. But it was a sealed writing to the learned professor--the
aboriginal language of ancient America could not be deciphered by him.
He was as much puzzled as the wise men of Babylon were to interpret
the unknown writing upon the wall. Human wisdom and learning, in this
case, were altogether insufficient. It required another Daniel, who
was found in the person of Mr. Smith. What a marvellous work! What
a wonder! How the wisdom of the wise and learned was made to perish
by the gift of interpretation given to the unlearned! If the Book of
Mormon is what it professes to be--a sacred record--then it must be the
very book mentioned in Isaiah's prediction; for the Prophet Nephi, one
of the writers of the Book of Mormon, who lived upwards of 2400 years
ago, informs us that their writings should be brought to light in the
last days, in fulfillment of Isaiah's prediction; he also delivers a
prophecy in relation to the same book, and predicts many events in
connexion therewith, which are not mentioned by Isaiah. We here give an
extract from his prediction, as also his quotations from Isaiah:

 Behold, in the last days, or in the days of the Gentiles; yea, behold
 all the nations of the Gentiles, and also the Jews, both those who
 shall come upon this land, and those who shall be upon other lands;
 yea, even upon all the lands of the earth; behold, they will be drunk
 with iniquity, and all manner of abominations; and when that day
 shall come, they shall be visited of the Lord of Hosts, with thunder,
 and with earthquake, and with a great noise, and with storm and with
 tempest, and with the flame of devouring fire; and all the nations
 that fight against Zion, and that distress her, shall be as a dream
 of a night vision; yea, it shall be unto them, even as unto a hungry
 man, which dreameth, and behold he eateth, but he awaketh and his soul
 is empty; or like unto a thirsty man, which dreameth, and behold he
 drinketh, but he awaketh, and behold he is faint, and his soul hath
 appetite: yea, even so shall the multitude of all the nations be that
 fight against mount Zion: for behold, all ye that do iniquity, stay
 yourselves and wonder, for ye shall cry out, and cry, yea, ye shall
 be drunken, but not with wine; ye shall stagger, but not with strong
 drink: for behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you, the spirit of
 deep sleep. For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected
 the prophets, and your rulers, and the seers hath he covered because
 of your iniquity.

 And it shall come to pass, that the Lord God shall bring forth unto
 you the words of a book, and they shall be the words of them who have
 slumbered. And behold the book shall be sealed: and in the book shall
 be a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the
 ending thereof. Wherefore, because of the things which are sealed up,
 the things which are sealed shall not be delivered in the day of the
 wickedness and abominations of the people. Wherefore the book shall
 be kept from them. But the book shall be delivered unto a man, and
 he shall deliver the words of the book, which are the words of those
 who have slumbered in the dust; and he shall deliver these words unto
 another; but the words which are sealed, he shall not deliver, neither
 shall he deliver the book. For the book shall be sealed by the power
 of God, and the revelation which was sealed, shall be kept in the
 book until the own due time of the Lord, that they may come forth:
 for, behold, they reveal all things from the foundation of the world
 unto the end thereof. And the day cometh that the words of the book
 which were sealed, shall be read upon the house-tops; and they shall
 be read by the power of Christ: and all things shall be revealed unto
 the children of men which ever have been among the children of men,
 and which ever will be, even unto the end of the earth. Wherefore, at
 that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom I have
 spoken, the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the
 eyes of none shall behold it, save it be that three witnesses shall
 behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be
 delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book, and the
 things therein. And there is none other which shall view it, save it
 be a few, according to the will of God, to bear testimony of his word
 unto the children of men: for the Lord God hath said, that the words
 of the faithful should speak as if it were from the dead. Wherefore,
 the Lord God will proceed to bring forth the words of the book; and in
 the mouth of as many witnesses as seemeth him good, will he establish
 his word; and wo be unto him that rejecteth the word of God.

 But behold, it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall say unto
 him to whom he shall deliver the book, take these words which are not
 sealed, and deliver them to another, that he may show them unto the
 learned, saying: read this, I pray thee. And the learned shall say,
 bring hither the book, and I will read them: and now, because of the
 glory of the world, and to get gain, will they say this, and not for
 the glory of God. And the man shall say, I cannot bring the book, for
 it is sealed. Then shall the learned say, I cannot read it. Wherefore
 it shall come to pass, that the Lord God will deliver again the book
 and the words thereof to him that is not learned; and the man that
 is not learned, shall say, I am not learned. Then shall the Lord God
 say unto him, the learned shall not read them, for they have rejected
 them, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore, thou shalt read
 the words which I shall give unto thee. Touch not the things which are
 sealed, for I will bring them forth in my own due time: for I will
 shew unto the children of men that I am able to do mine own work.
 Wherefore, when thou hast read the words which I have commanded thee,
 and obtained the witnesses which I have promised unto thee, then
 shalt thou seal up the book again, and hide it up unto me, that I may
 preserve the words which thou hast not read, until I shall see fit in
 mine own wisdom, to reveal all things unto the children of men. For
 behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will shew unto the
 world that I am the same yesterday, to day, and for ever; and I work
 not among the children of men, save it be according to their faith.

 And again it shall come to pass, that the Lord shall say unto him that
 shall read the words that shall be delivered him, forasmuch as this
 people draw near unto me with their mouth, and with their lips do
 honor me, but have removed their hearts far from me, and their fear
 towards me is taught by the precepts of men, therefore, I will proceed
 to do a marvellous work among this people; yea, a marvellous work and
 a wonder: for the wisdom of the wise and learned shall perish, and
 the understanding of their prudent shall be hid. And wo unto them
 that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord. And their works
 are in the dark; and they say, who seeth us; and who knoweth us? And
 they also say, surely, your turning of things upside down, shall be
 esteemed as the potter's clay. But behold, I will shew unto them,
 saith the Lord of Hosts, that I know all their works. For shall the
 work say of him that made it, he made me not? Or shall the thing
 framed say of him that framed it, he had no understanding? But behold,
 saith the Lord of Hosts, I swill shew unto the children of men, that
 it is not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a
 fruitful field; and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest.
 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book; and the
 eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness; and
 the meek also shall increase, and their joy shall be in the Lord;
 and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For
 assuredly as the Lord liveth, they shall see that the terrible one is
 brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch
 for iniquity are cut off; and they that make a man an offender for a
 word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn
 aside the just for a thing of nought. Therefore thus saith the Lord,
 who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not
 now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. But when he
 seeth his children, the work of my hands, in the midst of him, they
 shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall
 fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to
 understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.

Here it will at once be perceived that the Book of Mormon is actually
the book predicted by Isaiah, or else it must be an imposture. The
book mentioned by Isaiah was to have every characteristic which seems
to accompany the Book of Mormon. Did Isaiah predict that the "deaf
should hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind see out
of obscurity, and out of darkness?" It has been fulfilled by the
coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Did Isaiah say that in the day his
predicted book should speak out of the ground, then those who "erred
in spirit should come to understanding, and they that murmured should
learn doctrine?" It has been fulfilled to the very letter through the
instrumentality of the Book of Mormon. Tens of thousands of honest
men, who erred in spirit because of the doctrines and precepts of men,
have come to understanding. Many points of doctrine which had been in
controversy for ages are made perfectly plain in the Book of Mormon;
hence those who have murmured because of the darkness and obscurity
thrown over the scriptures by human wisdom and learning, have "_learned
doctrine_." Did Isaiah prophecy that when the predicted book should
make its appearance, that then "the house of Jacob should no longer be
made ashamed, neither should the face of Jacob any more wax pale?" The
Book of Mormon has come, declaring that the time is at hand for the
gathering of the house of Jacob, no more to be scattered. Did Isaiah
predict that in the day of the revelation of a certain book, "the
terrible one should be brought to nought, the scorner be consumed, and
all that watch for iniquity be cut off;" and finally that "all the
nations who should fight against Mount Zion, should pass away as the
dream of a night vision, and be destroyed by earthquake and the flame
of devouring fire?" The Book of Mormon comes testifying that the hour
of these judgments is at hand. And finally, there is no circumstance
mentioned by Isaiah, connected with the revelation and translation of
the book he mentions, but what is connected with the Book of Mormon.
If Joseph Smith was an impostor and wished to palm himself off upon
the world as the great prophet who was to usher in the preparatory
dispensation for the coming of the Lord, how came he to discover all
these minute particulars contained in Isaiah's prophecy, so as to so
exactly and perfectly incorporate in his great scheme of imposture
each and every one of them? If this illiterate youth was a deceiver,
he has far outstretched all the learned divines or impostors of the
last eighteen hundred years--he has made his great and extended scheme
to harmonize in every particular, not only with the ancient gospel
but with the ancient prophecies, and this, too, so perfectly, that no
one can detect the delusion. Reader, does not such a scheme savour
very strongly of the truth? Does it not require a greater effort of
mind to disbelieve such a scheme than it does to believe it? If such a
scheme can not be credited, where is there a scheme or system in the
whole world that can be credited? Can you find a scheme more perfect
than the one introduced by Mr. Smith? Can you find one equal to it in
perfection? Can you find one that contains the one-twentieth part of
the truth which his system contains? If, then, you doubt the authority
of Mr. Smith, how much more ought you to doubt the authority of every
other man now on the earth? If Mr. Smith's perfect scheme should be
rejected, surely all other schemes or doctrines, which can be shown to
be ten times more imperfect, should also be rejected. If any are to be
received, surely that one should be received which seems to contain
all the elements of a true doctrine, and in which there cannot be
detected the least evidence of imposture. To invent a scheme apparently
every way suited to the last dispensation or preparatory work for
the second advent of our Lord--to have that scheme agree in every
minute particular with the endless circumstances and numberless events
predicted by the ancient prophets, bespeaks a wisdom far superior to
that of man: it bespeaks the wisdom of God. This endless train of
circumstances--all harmonizing--all combining--all concentrating as
it were into one focus--carries with it such irresistible evidence of
truth that it is almost impossible for the careful investigator to
reject the divinity of Joseph Smith's mission. Like investigating the
works of nature, the more he examines the more he perceives the wisdom
of the Deity enstamped upon every sentence.

Seventh.--According to the Book of Mormon, all of the great western
continent, with all the valleys, hills, and mountains, riches and
resources pertaining thereunto, was given to the remnant of Joseph,
as their "_land of promise_." The Almighty sealed this covenant and
promise by an oath, saying, that the land should be given unto them
for ever. The western world, including both North and South America,
is the "_land of promise_," to the remnant of Joseph, in the same
sense that the land of Palestine is a promised land unto the twelve
tribes of Israel. Now this testimony of the Book of Mormon agrees most
perfectly with the prophetic blessing placed upon the head of Joseph by
the patriarch Jacob; who, just previous to his death, called together
his sons and predicted upon each what should befall them or their
tribes "_in the last days_." The blessing upon the tribe of Joseph is
as follows:--(Genesis xlix chap.) "Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a
fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over the wall: the archers
have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him; but his bow
abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the
hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the
stone of Israel:) even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee;
and by the Almighty who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven
above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts
and of the womb: _the blessings of thy father have prevailed above the
blessings of my progenitors, unto the utmost bound of the everlasting
hills_: they shall be the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head
of him that was separate from his brethren." In the preceeding chapter,
when blessing the two sons of Joseph, he says, "let them grow into a
multitude in the midst of the earth." And again, "his seed shall become
a multitude of nations." From these predictions it will be perceived
that Jacob prevailed with God, and obtained a greater blessing in
behalf of the tribe of Joseph than what Abraham and Isaac, his
progenitors, had obtained. While the blessing of Jacob's progenitors
was limited to the land of Palestine, Joseph had confirmed upon him a
blessing or country above, or far greater than Palestine--a country
at a distance, represented by "_the utmost bounds of the everlasting
hills_." Some of the "_branches_" of the "_fruitful bough_" of Joseph
were to spread far abroad from the parent tree--they were to "_run over
the wall_" of the mighty ocean--they were to "_become a multitude of
nations in the midst of the earth_." There, among the "_everlasting
hills_," they were to be "_made strong by the hands of the mighty God
of Jacob_." It was to be there, among the "_multitude of nations_" of
the posterity of Joseph, that the "_Shepherd--the stone of Israel_"
was to establish a kingdom, which should break in pieces all other
kingdoms, and "_fill the whole earth_."

In America there is a "_multitude of nations_," called by us
"_Indians_." These Indians evidently sprang from the same source as
is indicated by their color, features, customs, dialects, traditions,
&c.; that they are of Israelitish origin is also evident from their
religious ceremonies, their language, their traditions, and the
discovery of Hebrew inscriptions, &c. If America is not the land given
to a branch of Joseph, where, or in what part of the globe shall that
tribe receive the fulfillment of Jacob's prediction? where, if not
in America, has a land been peopled by a multitude of the nations of
Joseph? Can a multitude of the nations of Joseph be found in Europe,
Asia, or Africa, or in any of the adjoining islands? If not, then
America seems to be the only place where that great prediction could
receive its accomplishment. The Book of Mormon testifies that America
is "_the land of Joseph_," given to them by promise. Is not this an
additional evidence that _Mr. Smith was sent of God?_ If Mr. Smith was
an impostor, how came he to discover that the tribe of Joseph was to be
favored so much above all the other tribes of Israel? Perhaps it may
be replied, that it was easy to discover _that_ from the scriptures;
but, we ask, why did not Swedenborg, Wesley, Irving, or some of the
other impostors of former times, make this scriptural discovery, and
incorporate it in their pretended dispensations? It would be, at
first, thought far more natural to suppose the American Indians to be
the ten lost tribes of Israel; indeed, this is the opinion of many
of the learned at the present day. Why did not this modern prophet,
if a deceiver, form his deceptive scheme more in accordance with the
opinions of the learned? or why should he choose a remnant of the
tribe of Joseph to people ancient America? Out of the twelve tribes of
Israel, why did he select only a branch of one tribe to people this
vast continent? All can _now_ perceive why the Book of Mormon should
profess to be the history of a remnant of one tribe, instead of being
the history of the ten tribes. All can see, why America should be
represented as a promised land to Joseph, instead of being given to
Reuben, Simeon, or any of the other tribes. All can _now_ see, though
it was not seen at the first, that if the Book of Mormon was different
from what it now is; that is, if it professed to contain a history of
the ten lost tribes; or if it had given the great western continent
to any other people, or to any other tribe than that of Joseph, that
it would have proved itself false--it would not have been the book or
record which the prophets predicted should come forth to usher in the
great work of the last days. An impostor would be obliged to take into
consideration all these minute circumstances, many of which are in
direct opposition to the established traditions of the day; yet none of
them could be neglected without proving fatal to his scheme. But Mr.
Smith, with all the accuracy of a profound mathematician, has combined
all the minute elements of both doctrine and prophecy in his grand and
wonderful scheme--nothing is wanting. Whatever department of his system
is examined it will be found invulnerable. What an invaluable amount of
evidence to establish the _divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith!_

Eighth.--In the Book of Mormon are given the names and locations of
numerous cities of great magnitude, which once flourished among the
ancient nations of America. The northern portions of South America,
and also Central America, were the most densely populated. Splendid
edifices, palaces, towers, forts, and cities, were reared in all
directions. A careful reader of that interesting book, can trace the
relative bearings and distances of many of these cities from each
other; and if acquainted with the present geographical features of the
country, he can, by the descriptions given in that book, determine,
very nearly, the precise spot of ground they once occupied. Now since
that invaluable book made its appearance in print, it is a remarkable
fact, that the mouldering ruins of many splendid edifices and towers,
and magnificent cities of great extent, have been discovered by
Catherwood and Stephens in the interior wilds of Central America, in
the very region where the ancient cities described in the Book of
Mormon were said to exist. Here then, is _a certain and indisputable
evidence_ that this illiterate youth--the translator of the Book of
Mormon, was inspired of God. Mr. Smith's translation describes the
region of country where great and populous cities anciently existed,
together with their relative bearings and approximate distances from
each other. Years after, Messrs. Catherwood and Stephens discovered
the ruins of forty-four of these very cities and in the very place
described. What, but the power of God, could have revealed beforehand
this unknown fact, demonstrated years after by actual discovery?

Ninth.--The fulfillment of a vast number of prophecies delivered by Mr.
Smith is another infallible evidence of his divine mission. Out of the
many hundreds of fulfilled predictions uttered by him, we select the
following as examples.

1. Soon after Mr. Smith found the plates, he commenced translating
them. He had not proceeded far before he discovered from his own
translation of the prophecy of Nephi, as before quoted, that "THREE
WITNESSES," besides himself, should behold the book by the power of
God, and should know and testify of its truth. Some length of time
after this, or in the month of June, A.D. 1829, the Lord gave a
revelation, through Mr. Smith, to Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and
Martin Harris, promising them that if they would exercise faith, they
should have a view of the plates, and also of the Urim and Thummim.
This prediction was afterwards fulfilled; and these three persons send
forth their written testimony, in connexion with the Book of Mormon,
to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, declaring that an
angel of God descended from heaven, and took the plates and exhibited
them before their eyes; and that, at the same time, the voice of the
Lord from the heavens testified to them of the truth contained in Mr.
Smith's translation of these records. Now an impostor might indeed
predict the raising of "THREE WITNESSES," but he could never call down
an angel from heaven, in the presence of these "WITNESSES," to fulfill
his prediction.

2. Before the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" had any
existence upon the earth, the prophecy of Moroni was translated and
printed in the Book of Mormon. It is expressly predicted in this
prophecy, that in the day that that book should be revealed, "_the
blood of the Saints should cry unto the Lord from the ground_," because
of the wickedness of the people, and that the "_time should soon come
when_," because of the cries and mourning of "_widows and orphans_"
whose husbands and fathers should be slain by wicked hands, "_the Lord
should avenge the blood of his Saints_." And again, in August, 1831,
the word of the Lord came to Mr. Smith, saying that "_the Saints should
be scourged from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue_," and
that but "FEW" of those then in the Church should "_stand to receive
an inheritance_."--(See Book of Doctrine and Covenants, page 151 [sec.
63.]) The blood of many hundreds of Saints who have been slain and
martyred in this church, is an incontrovertible evidence of the truth
of the prediction. Surely Mr Smith must have been a prophet of God to
have foreseen not only the rise of the church of the Saints, but that
their blood should cry aloud from the ground for vengeance upon the
nation who should perpetrate these bloody deeds. No human foresight
could have seen the bloody sceneries that were to take place after the
rise of the church. All natural appearances in the United States were
against the fulfillment of this dreadful prediction. Every religious
society throughout the whole country was strongly guarded against
persecution and religious intolerance by the strong arm of the civil
law. The glorious constitution of this great and free people proclaimed
religious freedom to every son and daughter of Columbia's soil: yet,
in the midst of this boasted land of freedom and religious rights,
where universal peace seemed to have selected her quiet dwelling
place, the voice of the great prophet is heard predicting the rise of
the Latter-day Church, and the bloody persecutions that should follow
her "from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue." Never were
there any prophecies more literally and palpably fulfilled since the
creation of the earth. If the foretelling of future events that could
not possibly have been foreseen by human wisdom--events, too, that to
all outward appearances were very unlikely to come to pass: if the
predicting of such events and their subsequent fulfillment constitute a
true prophet, then Joseph Smith must have been a true prophet, and, if
a true prophet, _he must have been sent of God_.

Tenth.--There are many thousands of living witnesses who testify
that God has _revealed_ unto them the truth of the Book of Mormon,
by dreams, by visions, by the revelations of the Holy Ghost, by the
ministering of angels, and by his own voice. Now, if Mr. Smith is an
impostor, all these witnesses must be impostors also. Perhaps it may
be said, that these witnesses are not impostors, but are deceived
themselves. But, we ask, can any man testify that he KNOWS a false
doctrine to be true, and still not be an impostor? Men frequently are
deceived when they testify their _opinions_, but never deceived when
they testify they have a _knowledge_. Such must either be impostors,
or else their doctrine must be true. Now, would it not be marvellously
strange indeed, if even three or four men who were entirely
disconnected, being strangers to each other, should all undertake
to deceive mankind by testifying that an angel of God had descended
before them, or that an heavenly vision had been shown to them, or that
God had in some other marvellous way manifested to them the divine
authenticity of the Book of Mormon? If the testimony of three or four
impostors would appear marvellous, how infinitely more marvellous would
appear the testimony of tens of thousands of impostors in different
countries, widely separated from each other, and who never saw each
other's faces, and yet all endeavouring to palm upon the world the same
great imposition! If many thousands of witnesses do testify boldly,
with words of soberness, that God has revealed to them that this is his
church or kingdom that was to be set up in the last days, then we have
an overwhelming flood of collateral evidence to establish the divine
mission of Joseph Smith.

Eleventh.--The miracles wrought by Joseph Smith are evidences of no
small moment to establish his divine authority. In the name of the
Lord he cast out devils, healed the sick, spoke with new tongues,
interpreted ancient languages, and predicted future events. Many
of these miracles were wrought before numerous multitudes of both
believers and unbelievers, and upon persons not connected with
our church. And again, the numerous miracles wrought through the
instrumentality of thousands of the officers and members of this
church, are additional evidences that the man who was instrumental in
founding the church _must have been sent of God_. The thousands of sick
that have been miraculously healed in all parts of the world where
this gospel is preached, give forth a strong and almost irresistible
testimony that Mr. Smith's authority is "_from heaven_." Although the
great majority of mankind consider miracles to be an _infallible_
evidence in favor of the divine authority of the one who performs
them, yet we do most distinctly dissent from this idea. If miracles be
admitted as an _infallible_ evidence, then all that have ever wrought
miracles must have been sent of God. The magicians of Egypt wrought
some splendid miracles before that nation; they created serpents and
frogs, and turned rivers of water into blood. If miraculous evidence
is _infallible_, the Egyptians were bound to receive the contradictory
messages of both Moses and the magicians as of divine authority.
According to this idea, the witch of Endor must have established her
divine mission beyond all controversy by calling forth a dead man from
the grave in the presence of Saul, king of Israel. A certain wicked
power described by John (Rev. viii chap.) was to do "great _wonders_"
and "_miracles_," and cause "_fire to come down from heaven on the
earth in the sight of men_." If miracles were infallible evidences,
surely no one should reject the divine authority of John's beast. Again
(in Rev. chapter xvi) John "_saw three unclean spirits like frogs_,"
which he expressly says, "_are the_ SPIRITS OF DEVILS WORKING MIRACLES,
_which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world to
gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty_." The
learned divines and clergy of the nineteenth century boldly declare
that "_miracles are an_ INFALLIBLE _evidence of the divine mission
of the one who performs them_." If so, who can blame "_the kings of
the earth_," and these learned divines, and all their followers for
embracing the message of these divinely inspired devils? For according
to their argument, they should in no wise reject them, for they
prove their mission by evidences which they say are infallible. We
shall expect in a few years, to see an innumerable host of sectarian
ministers as well as kings, taking up their line of march for the
great valley of "Armageddon," near Jerusalem, and thus prove by their
works that they do really believe in the _infallibility of miraculous
evidence_. Devils can work miracles as well as God, and as they have
already persuaded the religious world that miracles are infallible
evidences of divine authority, they will not have much difficulty among
the followers of modern christianity in establishing the divinity
of their mission. But the "Latter-day Saints" do not believe in the
infallibility of miraculous evidence. We believe that miraculous gifts
are absolutely necessary in the church of Christ, without which it
cannot exist on the earth. Miracles, when taken in connexion with a
pure, holy, and perfect doctrine, reasonable and scriptural, is a very
strong collateral evidence in favour of that doctrine, and of the
divine authority of those who preach it. But abstract miracles alone,
unconnected with other evidences, instead of being _infallible_ proofs
are no proofs at all: they are as likely to be _false_ as true. So
baptism "_for the remission of sins_" is essential in the church of
Christ, and when taken in connexion with all other points of doctrine
embraced in the gospel, is a presumptive evidence for the divine
authority of the person who preaches it. But baptism "for the remission
of sins," unconnected with other parts of the doctrine of Christ, would
be no evidence either for or against the divine authority of any man.
The many thousands of miracles wrought in this church, being connected
as they are with an infallible doctrine, and with a vast number of
other proofs, have carried an almost irresistible conviction to the
minds of vast multitudes, who have, in consequence, yielded obedience
to the message, and become in their turn the happy recipients of the
same power of God, by which they themselves can also heal the sick and
work by faith in the name of the Lord; thus demonstrating to themselves
the truth of the Saviour's promise, viz:--that certain miraculous
"_signs shall follow them that believe_." (See Mark, chap. xvi.)

There is one thing connected with Joseph Smith's message which will
at once prove him to be an impostor or else a true prophet. It is a
certain promise contained in a revelation which was given through him
to the apostles of this Church in the year 1832. It reads as follows:
"Go ye into all the world, and whatsoever place ye cannot go into,
ye shall send, that the testimony may go from you into all the world
unto every creature. And as I said unto mine apostles, even so I say
unto you, for you are mine apostles, even God's high priests; ye are
they whom my Father hath given me--ye are my friends; therefore, as
I said unto mine apostles, I say unto you again, that every soul who
believeth on your words, and is baptized by water for the remission of
sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost. And these signs shall follow them
that believe. In my name they shall do many wonderful works; in my name
they shall cast out devils; in my name they shall heal the sick; in
my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of
the deaf; and the tongue of the dumb shall speak; and if any man shall
administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them; and the poison of
a serpent shall not have power to harm them. * * * Verily, verily, I
say unto you, they who believe not on your words, and are not baptized
in water in my name, for the remission of their sins, that they may
receive the Holy Ghost, shall be damned, and shall not come into my
Father's kingdom, where my Father and I am. And this revelation unto
you, and commandment, is in force from this very hour upon all the
world." (Doctrine and Covenants, page 86. [Sec. 84:62-75]) Here, then,
this great modern prophet has presented himself before the whole world
with a bold unequivocal promise to every soul who would believe on
his message--a promise, too, that no impostor would dare to make with
the most distant hope of success. An impostor might indeed make such
a promise to his followers, but they never would realize a fulfilment
of it. If these miraculous signs have not followed according to the
above promise, then the tens of thousands who have complied with the
conditions would know Joseph Smith to be an impostor, and with one
accord would turn away, and that would be the end of the imposition.
But the very fact that vast multitudes are annually being added to
the Church, and continue therein year after year, is a demonstrative
evidence that the promise is fulfilled--that the Holy Ghost is given,
and the miraculous signs also. Dare any other societies in all the
world make such a promise unto the believers in their respective
systems? No, they dare not; they know full well that it would be the
speedy downfall and utter overthrow of their vain, unauthorized, and
powerless religions. O, what a wide and marked difference between
the religion of Joseph Smith and that of Protestant and Catholic
religion--between his authority and that of sectarian divines! The one
promises all the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost to his followers,
the other is as powerless as the dry stubble prepared for the burning.
While the followers of this great prophet cast out devils, speak with
new tongues, heal the sick, open the eyes of the blind, cause the
lame to walk, obtain heavenly visions, and converse with angels, the
followers of those unauthorized, deluded, and crafty sects not only
deny these great and glorious gifts, or impute them in these days to
the power of the devil, but they grasp the sword, and fire-arms, and
deadly weapons, to kill off the Saints, and drive them from the face
of what they call civilized society. While the one class are suffering
martyrdom by scores for their testimony, the other class are rolling in
all the luxuries and splendors of Great Babylon, with fat salaries of
from ten to twenty-seven thousand pounds sterling per annum.

As we have briefly examined into the nature of the evidences in favour
of Joseph Smith's divine mission, it may be well at the close of this
number to give a short summary of the proofs and arguments contained in
the foregoing.

1. Joseph Smith's doctrine is reasonable, scriptural, perfect, and
infallible in all its precepts, commands, ordinances, promises,
blessings and gifts. In his organization of the church, no officer
mentioned in the New Testament organization is omitted. Inspired
apostles and prophets are considered as necessary as pastors, teachers,
or any other officer.

2. Joseph Smith's account of the restoration of the gospel by an
angel--of his taking out of the ground the sacred records of the tribe
of Joseph--of their subsequent translation by the gift of God--and of
the great western continent's being given to a remnant of Joseph, where
they have grown into a multitude of nations, are all events clearly
predicted by the ancient Jewish apostles and prophets, together with
the minute circumstancess connected therewith. The times and season
in which these events should transpire, and the purposes which they
should accomplish are also all plainly foretold. Joseph Smith presents
the world with the fulfilment at the predicted time--in the predicted
manner--and for the predicted purpose as anciently specified.

3. Joseph Smith incorporates in his mission the gathering of the
Saints out of Babylon, and every other predicted event that was to
characterise the great preparatory dispensation for the second advent
of our Lord.

4. The revelation in the Book of Mormon, pointing out the location
of man [sic] ancient cities, the ruins of which were subsequently
discovered by Catherwood and Stephens--the direct and palpable
fulfilment of many of the prophecies of Joseph Smith, which no human
sagacity could have foreseen, all natural appearances and circumstances
being entirely against their expected fulfillment--the raising up
of numerous other witnesses who also testify to the ministering of
angels and the manifestations of the power of God confirmatory of this
message--the performance of many splendid miracles by Mr. Smith and his
followers, and the bold unequivocal promise of the miraculous gifts to
all who should believe and embrace this message, are all evidences such
as no impostor ever has given, or ever can give. They are evidences
such as will prove the salvation of every creature that receives the
message, and the damnation of every soul that rejects it.

15, Wilton Street, Liverpool, September 30th, 1848.


R. James, Printer, 39, South Castle Street, Liverpool

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