Page images
PDF
EPUB

The Restoration Accomplished. Joseph Smith Visited by an

Angel. A Vision of the Plates Containing the Fullness of the Gospel

94 Discovery of the Plates. Is Instructed Concerning the Kingdom of God ..

95 Receives the Records, Translates and Returns Them

96 The Priesthood Conferred. The Gospel Made Clear

97 The Ordination of Joseph Smith .

. 97 A Sign of the Restoration. What Is It?

.103 The Book of Mormon. What Is It?

..105 The Book of Mormon Suitable as a Sign

. 106 Time of Its Coming

. 108 Nature of the Book

..111 A Record of the House of Joseph

..112 Joseph Entitled to a Record

. 114 Judah and Joseph Separated. Two Books Required ..115 Descendants of Joseph Located in America

.116 The Stick of Joseph to be Brought Forth in America

.118 How To Be Brought Forth

..119 Recapitulation

.120 Witnesses Testify

121 Evidence of Archæology Literary and Moral Features

.126 Internal Evidence

. 126 The Use and Purpose of the Book of Mormon

..128 The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.. 129 Authors Referred to

133

[ocr errors]

. 124

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

JUST A REMINDER.

Prefaces, as a rule, are not read, and we do not intend to bore the reader with any unaccepted matter.

Perhaps, however, we may be permitted to observe that to arrive at proper opinions concerning any doctrine or denomination it is but fair that we reserve our verdict until it is heard in its own behalf. Rendering a decision previous to this would result in deprivation to self of the information sought, and do injustice to the subject considered.

We are aware that time is valuable and that the sundry essential labors of life, engaging nearly all the attention, make it necessary that whatever time there be to spare should be devoted to the most important questions. It is that which we offer.

We come to you with a message from God.

The Almighty has spoken. He has brought forth that which will not only enlighten but bless in every conceivable way.

The message we bear is the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has come freighted with facts and supplemented by the Spirit.

It is the Old Jerusalem Gospel restored.

We shall not here enter into any examination of the message; the body of the work will do that. We only make a plea for investigation.

In this investigation we trust that no unfair influences, gathered from the maelstrom of popular opinion, will affect the investigator; for, as a matter of fact, popular opinion has always been arrayed against the message and ministry of the Master. By its decree an Elijah was driven from the society of men to the haunts of the wildwood; Jeremiah was thrust into a miry pit, and Isaiah was sawn asunder; Peter was imprisoned, while Paul was persecuted wherever he preached; and the history of all entertaining that message may be summarized in the pathetic saying of the apostle:

"And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourging, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented.”—Hebrews 11: 36, 37.

Indeed, the very Author of that message was despised and rejected of men. The lash of slander and the rod of persecution fell upon him the very moment he undertook to correct the popular religious errors. And shall we, the professed followers of Him who hath said, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake," marvel if his work be misrepresented and his servants abused?

The world, in fact, was always miserably astray in passing upon the merits of divine truth, for “which one of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted,” said Stephen, himself a martyr for the truth. They were not persecuted for any misdemeanor. No! but because of the message they brought pointing out the errors existing, and directing to a higher and purer plane. And with such contempt did our Lord hold the opinion of the public that he did not hesitate to proclaim "woe unto you when all men speak well of

you."

The court of public opinion is as fickle as it is faulty. One day it worshiped Paul in the language of the Lycaonians, "The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.” (Acts 14:11.) The next, it beat him into insensibility with stones, leaving him for dead upon the ground. At one time "all bare him (Christ) witness and wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth," and scarcely had the echoes of his counsel died away when they "rose up and thrust him out of the city and led him to the brow of the hill that they might cast him down headlong.” But truth was just as true when multitudes cried out, "Away with this man and release unto us Barabbas," as it was when thousands were ready to take him by force and make him king.

Freed, then, from these entangling influences, we do not hesitate to commit our case to the honest inquirer, knowing that the more searching the inquiry, the more confirmed will he be in the conclusion that it is the Lord's work, the fullness of the gospel restored.

[ocr errors]

THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

1. A REAL ORGANIZATION. Reader, let me ask your nationality. Is it British, American, French, or what? There's something better than all these. It is to be a citizen of the kingdom of God.

Now don't turn away with the idea that we're going to talk about some imaginative, suppositious institution, existing only in the feelings of the heart. Far from it. We mean by the kingdom of God an actual, tangible organization, just as real as any earthly kingdom.

An erroneous idea popularly entertained is that the Kingdom of God is a kind of elastic, ethereal influence, existing nowhere in particular and yet everywhere in general.

They who hold thus, think to support their delusion by an appeal to the following passage: “The kingdom of God is within you."

A very casual reading of the context, however, reveals the fact that our Lord was addressing a race of proud patriots who were living in daily anticipation of the setting up of the throne of David, with his seed reigning thereon for ever and over all. Questioned by these people as to when this kingdom should appear, Jesus informed them that it was even then in existence and within the borders of Jewish dominions. This is borne out in the marginal reading where it says, "or among you."

It will not do to argue that "within you” should be narrowed down to the limited compass of the heart, else that would be charging these Jewish Pharisees with a possession of a celestial treasure which their life and conduct did not merit nor disclose.

The answer of our Lord greatly astonished his interrogators who had been traditioned to expect the advent of an imperious institution heralded by fire and flame, sword and scepter. The church of Christ appeared otherwise, for “the kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there!"

-Luke 17:20, 21. It did not announce its coming with a display of dignity, nor yet was it attended by a retinue of tinseled unrighteousness. This is evident from the lowly manner in which Christ, the king, made his way to earth, commencing his church, crying aloud, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

That the church of Christ partook of an organization is evident from the following:

I will build my church.—Matthew 16: 18.
Ye are the temple of God.—1 Corinthians 3: 9.

In whom all the building, fitly framed, together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together.-Ephesians 2: 21, 22.

Him [Christ] to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body. -Ephesians 1: 22, 23.

Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular.—1 Corinthians 12: 27.

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted.—Ephesians 4:16.

2. NATURE OF THE ORGANIZATION. An organization of a kingdom character must, in order to give it existence, possess certain fixed and indispensable features. 1. It must have subjects, citizens. 2. It must have a king, a ruler. 3. It must have officers, representatives of the king, to execute his laws and administer oaths of allegiance unto those who would become his subjects. 4. It must have laws for the preservation of order and protection of his citizens. 5. It must have a means of admittance whereby others desirous of becoming citizens of the kingdom may be duly admitted.

Each and all of these features are absolutely necessary to the maintenance of a kingdom. Do away with any and disorder begins. What could we do without the subjects? There would be little use for a king or anything else. It is necessary also to have laws protecting the citizen and holding the kingdom intact. Without them anarchy would ensue. Equally essential is it to have officers to execute those laws, for unless administered they are of no benefit. Then there must be some way of continuing the kingdom, else with the passing of the years it would dissolve with the deaths of its citizens. We must have a means of admitting foreigners who would desire to become citizens, hence an initiatory ordinance is necessary. The king, of course, representing the government, is the head of the kingdom, without which the body could not exist.

The kingdom of God has all these features. It has citizens, commonly called saints, made so not by canons and decrees, but by reason of their citizenship in the kingdom. This is their common name, by which they have ever been known. The name Christian originated at Antioch and was used in derision by those not of the faith. It is found but thrice in all the Bible, while "saint” is referred to some ninety-nine times. Personally we prefer the appointed name rather than a nickname.

It has a king, Christ Jesus the Lord. It has officers, the duly appointed ministry of Christ, “And he gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers."? Other officers mentioned are, deacons, elders, priests, bishops, seventies, etc.

It is not intended that the foregoing list represents their relative importance, for as a matter of fact all are equally essential:

And the eye can not say unto the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.—1 Corinthians 12: 21.

It has a law, "the perfect law of liberty," "converting the soul," the gospel of Jesus Christ. James 1:25; Psalm 19:7; Romans 1:16, 17.

1

2

Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 14: 33; Colossians 1:1, 26; Acts 9:32; 26: 10; Psalm 50: 5.

Ephesians 4:11; Luke 6: 13; 1 Corinthians 12: 28; Acts 15: 32; 13:1; 11:28; 21:8, 9; Amos 3:7; Hosea 12: 13; Matthew 23: 34; Luke 11: 49.

* Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8; Titus 1: 5; Acts 14: 23; 15: 23; 20:17; 1 Timothy 5:1, 17, 19; Hebrews 3:1; 5:5, 6, 10; 1:1; John 17:18, 22; 20: 21; Luke 1:13, 17; 1 Timothy 3:1, 2; Titus 1:7; Luke 10:1, 17.

« PreviousContinue »