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Title: The Seventy's Course in Theology, Second Year

Author: B. H. Roberts

Release date: October 13, 2019 [eBook #60490]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by the Mormon Texts Project
(, with thanks to Rachel
Helps and BYU Transcribe


The Seventy's Course in Theology


Outline History of the Dispensations of the Gospel

Compiled and Edited by


Of the First Council of the Seventy

"The things of God are of deep import; and time and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out."—Joseph Smith.

Salt Lake City




The Seventy's Year Book No. II is a series of forty-four lessons on "The Outline History of the Dispensations of the Gospel." As our Year Book No. I was a rapid survey of the whole body of scriptures recognized by the Church, so the present Year Book is a like rapid, general survey of the principle dispensations of the Gospel given to men upon this earth. As the survey of the scripture books was made for the purpose of forming a general idea of the books as a body of sacred literature, and that some idea might be learned of their essential unity; so this present outline survey of the chief dispensations of the Gospel is intended to give some general views of the Gospel not otherwise obtainable, and to fix in the mind of the student the idea of essential unity in the Gospel in all dispensations: Establishing the idea that there is but one Gospel; and that, the "everlasting gospel;" the same through all ages. That it was the plan devised in heaven before the foundations of the earth were laid, and will endure as a means of salvation so long as there are men to be saved.

The Treatment of the Theme: The treatment of the theme is substantially the same as in Year Book No. I. That is to say, an analysis of the subject of the lesson is given, in which the lesson is subdivided under those heads into which the subject naturally falls. For the information, of the student texts and books are cited accompanying usually each subdivision of the subject and these references in every case should be carefully read so far as the books cited can be obtained by the student; and as the books to which citations in the main are made, the four books recognized by the Church as Holy Scripture, each Seventy student should have these. Accompanying each lesson are a series of notes, sometimes detached, but often, in this Year Book, they constitute a brief continuous treatise upon the subject in hand, which should be amplified by wide reading and deep study on the part of the student. In all cases where no citation of authorities is given at the close or in the body of the note, they are written by the compiler and editor or are taken from his works.

In this connection I would say a word in relation to the several les, sons which I have called "A Prelude to the History of the Dispensations." It may be thought that these lessons are difficult, and deal with matters not necessary to the main subject. Of course the author of this Year Book holds a different view or the lessons would not be presented. To him the principles there developed are fundamental and essential to a right understanding of the Dispensations of the Gospel; and should not be omitted because they invite attention to lines of thought somewhat unusual to us in the study of the Gospel. It is the existence of these principles in our Theology that makes "Mormonism" a religion and not a mere sect. They constitute an essential part of the message we have for the world; and the ministry of the Church should master these subjects, though thinking upon them is unusual and the mastery of such themes is slowly acquired. Let it be remembered that "The things of God are of deep import; and time and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thought can only find them out."


Scripture Reading Exercises are to continue throughout the year, though Special Texts printed with each lesson are abandoned in this Year Book, as it is hoped that the advantage of collecting or noting special texts of the scripture, and striking passages from other choice literature, while reading, has been sufficiently demonstrated to now become a habit with those who read good books.


In no case should it be regarded as a complete preparation of the lesson to merely glance over the analysis and read the notes. The lesson as constructed is merely to be regarded as an outline of the particular theme as the whole Year Book itself is to be looked upon as a mere outline tracing of the History of the Gospel in the successive ages through which it sweeps. The lessons indicate a method of treatment that may be followed; but original research by reading, consulting authorities, and thorough thinking should be employed in the preparation of the student; and the Year Book looked upon and used as merely a help and guide in this investigation.

What is said in the Introduction of Year Book, No. I, in relation to Class Teachers, Manner of Lesson Treatment, Home Reading, the Preparation of Lessons, Opening Exercises and Prayer, should be considered standing instructions to the Seventies through the ensuing year in their class meetings. And it will be well to consider these topics in the Introduction of Year Book No. I before beginning the exercises outlined in this year's work, that the minds of the class may be refreshed in those matters and the exercises and preparation work be made to conform to these instructions.

In addition to what is in the Introduction to Year Book No. I, we suggest that from observation of the class work during the past year, the Seventies have not reached the character of work that may be reasonably expected of them in treating topics of the lessons assigned to them. We have a right to expect that members of our quorums when assigned a lesson, or any part of it, will become such masters of the subject, at least of that part of it assigned to them, that they will be able to make an intelligent presentation of it, clear cut, with a beginning, a middle, and a conclusion to it; and something that will be an intelligent statement at least of the subject, instead of being through with an important topic by a two or three minute statement of it, of which half is apology or excuse. These topics certainly require a ten or fifteen or twenty minute exposition that shall be worth while. And while we would not be severe in our criticism of the past, or too demanding for the future, certainly it can reasonably be expected that Seventies will make some exertion that will give the results here alluded to. We want, in the first place, work; in the second place, work; in the third place, work; and then work; and more work; and better work. That program will spell success. There is no excellence without labor, and much of it.


Relative to the text books. All of the books recommended in the Introduction of last year's course are available and necessary as authorities in this present year's course, and in addition to these works of reference, a good, General History will be of great service. That of P. V. N. Meyers, prepared for Colleges and High Schools, (Ginn & Company, Publishers, Boston) being perhaps the most desirable, price $1.50.

In the Apostatic division of our treatise, Part V, numerous references are made to Ecclesiastical histories and works of a theological character, some of which would be difficult to obtain, such as "Mosheim's Institutes of Ecclesiastical History;" Neander's "History of the Christian Religion;" Schaff's "History of the Apostolic Church;" Mosheim's "History of Christianity in the First Three Centuries;" Hefele's "History of Christian Councils;" "Millman's History of Christianity in the First Three Centuries;" Lardner's "Works," and the like. But "The Students Ecclesiastical History," written by Dr. Philip Smith, author of the "Old Testament" and "New Testament Histories," frequently quoted in Seventy's Year Book No. I, and in this, published by Harper Brothers in two volumes, (price $3.00), is within the reach of all; and on the whole is a very fine Compendium of Ecclesiastical History, quite dispassionate in tone, and generally trustworthy, and brings events down to the death of Luther, 1540.

Also there is in print the "Ecclesiastical History" by Eusebius Pamphilus. Bishop of Caesarea, covering the first three Christian centuries. Eusebius is generally styled the "Father of Ecclesiastical History," and those who can obtain this authority are dealing with original sources of information. The work is translated from the Greek, and published and obtainable through any of our book stores. In this connection we urge our members to gradually obtain; but as soon as may be, these reference books, as no workman can get along without tools.

The Improvement Era: We call attention also to the Improvement Era, the Organ of the Seventies and of the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Associations, with its special Seventy's department, The Seventy's Council Table. This magazine affords the First Council opportunity to reach every quorum of Seventy once every month throughout the year—Twelve communications each year, of several pages of printed matter, bearing upon Seventies work;—suggestions in class work; dealing with questions of quorum administration; with questions of doctrine, and history, and exposition of the scriptures. How valuable an adjunct it has become in our work! We enjoin it upon our presidents that they see to it that all subjects in the Era of special interest to their several quorums be brought forth to said quorums by the Presidents, and read for the information of the quorum, that all may be benefited by the instruction. From reports made to the General Secretary, Elder J. G. Kimball, we learn that some two thousand Seventies take the Era, so that with each monthly issue of the Era we are in touch with that many individual Seventies. Many more of our members, however, should subscribe for this magazine, and the Presidents should urge members to subscribe for and read it as one of the best means of keeping in touch with the work of the Seventies.

The Seventy's Course in Theology


Outline History of the Dispensations of the Gospel




(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Intelligences—Existence and Character of.

Pearl of Great Price ch. iii. St. John i:1-14 Compared with Doc. and Cov. sec. xciii 6-31. See the Prophet Joseph's "King Follett Sermon" Apl. 7, 1844, Mill. Star Vol. xxiii, pp. 245-280 and notes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

II. Distinction Between "Intelligences" and "Spirits."

Book of Ether ch. iii:13-16, and the foregoing references of the lesson and notes 1, 7. Also Article in the "Improvement Era," April 1907, on the "Immortality of Man."[A]

[Footnote A: The following appears as a note preceding the article in question, from which article most of the notes in this and in lessons following in Part I are taken: "Elder Roberts submitted the following paper to the First Presidency and a number of the Twelve Apostles, none of whom found anything objectionable in it, or contrary to the revealed word of God, and therefore favor its publication.—Editors."]


1. Intelligencies-Co-Eternal: "If two things exist, and there be one above the other, there shall be greater things above them. * * * * * If there be two spirits, and one shall be more intelligent than the other, yet these two spirits, notwithstanding one is more intelligent than the other, have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist, for they are gnolaum, or eternal." (Book of Abraham ch. 3, 16, 18.)

2. Intelligencies, Eternal, Self-existent: "The soul—the mind of man—the immortal spirit—where did it come from? All learned men and doctors of divinity say that God created it in the beginning; but it is not so: the very idea lessens man in my estimation. I do not believe the doctrine. I know better. Hear it, all ye ends of the world, for God has told me so, if you don't believe me, it will not make the truth without effect. * * * We say that God himself is a self-existent being. Who told you so? It is correct enough, but how did it get into your head? Who told you that man did not exist in like manner, upon the same principles? Man does exist upon the same principles. * * * * * The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal, [co-eternal[A]], with God himself. I know my testimony is true."—Joseph Smith, (Mill. Star, Vol. XXIII, p. 262.)

[Footnote A: It must be remembered that these sermons of the prophet were reported in long hand, and by several persons (See History of the Church, Vol. IV, p. 556-note); and hence verbal inaccuracies may exist, of which the above is doubtless one. The Prophet could not have meant to have taught that the "intelligence" in man was "co-equal with God", except as to being co-equal in eternity with God, since the Book of Abraham teaches that God is more intelligent than all other intelligencies (ch. iii:19) and the Prophet himself, as will be seen in subsequent quotations, teaches the same truth. Hence the insertion of word above in brackets.]

3. The Nature of Intelligencies: There is in that complex thing we call man, an intelligent entity, uncreated, self existent, indestructible, He—for that entity is a person; because, as we shall see, he is possessed of powers that go with personality only, hence that entity is "he," not "it,"—he is eternal as God is; co-existent, in fact, with God; of the same kind of substance or essence with deity, though confessedly inferior in degree of intelligence and power to God. One must needs think that the name of this eternal entity—what God calls him—conveys to the mind some idea of his nature. He is called an "intelligence;" and this I believe is descriptive of him. That is, intelligence is the entity's chief characteristic. If this be a true deduction, then the entity must be self-conscious, and "others—conscious," that is, he must have the power to distinguish himself from other things—the "me" from the "not me." He must have the power of deliberation, by which he sets over one thing against another; with power also to form a judgment that this or that is a better thing or state than this or that. Also there goes with this idea of intelligence a power of choosing one thing instead of another, one state rather than another. These powers are inseparably connected with any idea that may be formed of an intelligence. One cannot conceive of intelligence existing without these qualities any more than he can conceive of an object existing in space without dimensions. The phrase "the light of truth" [Doc. & Cov., Sec. xciii.] is given in one of the revelations as the equivalent for an "intelligence" here discussed; by which is meant to be understood, as I think, that intelligent entities perceive the truth, are conscious of the truth, they know that which is, hence "the light of truth," "intelligence." Let it be observed that I say nothing as to the mode of the existence of these intelligences, beyond the fact of their eternity. But of their form, or the manner of their subsistence nothing, so far as I know, has been revealed, and hence we are without means of knowing anything about the modes of their existence beyond the fact of it, and the essential qualities they possess, which already have been pointed out.

4. Words Used Interchangeably: It is often the case that misconceptions arise through a careless use of words, and through using words interchangeably, without regard to shades of differences that attach to them; and this in the scriptures as in other writings. Indeed, this fault is more frequent in the scriptures perhaps than in any other writings, for the reason that, for the most part, they are composed by men who did not aim at scientific exactness in the use of words. They were not equal to such precision in the use of language, in the first place; and in the second, they depended more upon the general tenor of what they wrote for making truth apparent than upon technical precision in a choice of words; ideas, not niceness of expression, was the burden of their souls; thought, not its dress. Hence, in scripture, and I might say especially in modern scripture, a lack of careful or precise choice of words, a large dependence upon the general tenor of what is written to convey the truth, a wide range in using words interchangeably that are not always exact equivalents, are characteristics. Thus the expressions, "Kingdom of God," "Kingdom of Heaven," "the Whole Family in Heaven," "the Church," "the Church of Christ," "the Church of God," are often used interchangeably for the Church of Christ when they are not always equivalents; so, too, are used the terms "Spirit of God," and "Holy Ghost;" "Spirit of Christ," and the "the Holy Ghost;" "Spirit" and "Soul;" "intelligencies," and "spirits;" "spirits," and "angels." I mention this in passing, because I believe many of the differences of opinion and much of the confusion of ideas that exist arise out of our not recognizing, or our not remembering these facts. Hereafter let the student be on his guard in relation to the use of the words "intelligencies," "spirits," "soul," "mind," etc.: and he will find his way out of many a difficulty.

5. Intelligence Eternal—Not Created: "Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be." (Doc. & Cov., Sec. xciii. 29.)

"I am dwelling on the immorality of the spirit of man. Is it logical to say that the intelligence of spirits is immortal, and yet that it (i. e. the intelligence) had a beginning. The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end. That is good logic. That which has a beginning may have an end. There never was a time when there were no spirits, for they are co-equal (co-eternal) with our Father in heaven. * * * * * I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man—the immortal part, because it has no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man. As the Lord liveth, if it had a beginning it will have an end. * * * * Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle. It is a spirit [A] from age to age and there is no creation about it. * * * * * The first principles of a man are self-existent with God."—Joseph Smith—(Mill. Star, Vol. 23, p. 262.)

[Footnote A: Observe in the above quotation from the Prophet, how he sometimes uses the word "spirit" interchangeably with "intelligence," but mark, he twice uses the expression, "intelligence of spirits."]

6. The Difference Between "Spirits," and Uncreated "Intelligencies:" In the Book of Mormon we have the revelation which gives the most light upon spirit-existence of Jesus, and, through his spirit-existence, light upon the spirit-existence of all men. The light is given in that complete revelation of the pre-existent, personal spirit of Jesus Christ, made to the brother of Jared, ages before the spirit of Jesus tabernacled in the flesh. The essential part of the passage follows:

Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ; * * * * * and never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image. Behold this body which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit, will I appear unto my people in the flesh.

What do we learn from all this? First, let it be re-called that according to the express word of God "intelligences" are not created, neither indeed can they be. Now, with the above revelation from the Book of Mormon concerning the spirit-body of Jesus, before us, we are face to face with a something that was begotten, and in that sense a "creation," a spirit, the "first born of many brethren;" the "beginning of the creations of God." The spirit is in human form—for we are told that as Christ's spirit-body looked to Jared's brother, so would the Christ look to men when he came among them in the flesh; the body of flesh conforming to the appearance of the spirit, the earthly to the heavenly. "This body which ye now behold is the body of my spirit"—the house, the tenement of that uncreated intelligence which had been begotten of the Father a spirit, as later that spirit-body with the intelligent, uncreated entity inhabiting it, will be begotten a man. "This body which you now behold is the body of my spirit," or spirit-body. There can be no doubt but what here "spirit," as in the Book of Abraham, is used interchangeably with "intelligence," and refers to the uncreated entity; as if the passage stood; "This is the body inhabited by an intelligence." The intelligent entity inhabiting a spirit-body make up the spiritual personage. It is this spirit life we have so often thought about, and sang about. In this state of existence occurred the spirit's "primeval childhood;" here spirits were "nurtured" near the side of the heavenly Father, in his "high and glorious place;" thence spirits were sent to earth to unite spirit-elements with earth-elements—in some way essential to a fulness of glory and happiness (Doc. & Cov. Sec. xciii:32-35)—and to learn the lessons earth-life had to teach. The half awakened recollections of the human mind may be chiefly engaged with scenes, incidents and impressions of that spirit life; but that does not argue the non-existence of the uncreated intelligences who preceded the begotten spiritual personage as so plainly set forth in the revelations of God.

The difference, then, between "spirits" and "intelligencies," as here used, is this: Spirits are uncreated intelligencies inhabiting spiritual bodies; while "intelligencies," pure and simple, are intelligent entities, but unembodied in either spirit bodies or bodies of flesh and bone. They are uncreated, self-existent entities, possessed of "self-consciousness," and "other-consciousness"—they are conscious of the "me" and the "not me"; they possess powers of discrimination, (without which the term "intelligence" would be a solecism) they discern between the evil and the good; between the "good" and "the better." They possess "will" or "freedom,"—within certain limits at least [A]—the power to determine upon a given course of conduct, as against any other course of conduct. This intelligence "can think his own thoughts, act wisely or foolishly, do right or wrong." To accredit an "intelligence" with fewer or less important powers than these, would be to discredit him as an "intelligence" altogether.

[Footnote A: We see that this is true as to men as intelligencies. As one remarks: "Within certain temporary material limitations, man is free. He cannot speak if he be dumb, nor see if he be blind; but, mentally and morally, he is always free. He can think his own thoughts, act wisely or foolishly, do right or wrong."—(See Great Questions, p. 21.)]

7. Effect of the Doctrine of the Eternal Existence of Intelligences on Our Terminology: The conception here set forth in the doctrine that intelligencies are co-eternal with God, uncreated and uncreatable, self-existent, indestructible, will be to change somewhat the currently accepted notion in regard to pre-existence of intelligencies and spirits, and in a way the number of estates through which they pass. It is customary for us to say that there are three grand estates of existence through which intelligencies pass in the course of their exaltation to resurrected, immortal, divine beings (See Jacques's Catechism, chap, vi.): first, their pre-existence as spirits, sons and daughters of God, in the spirit world; second, these spirits clothed upon with mortal bodies—earth-life of men and women; third, spirits inhabiting bodies that have been resurrected, immortal beings clothed with imperishable bodies prepared for eternal advancement in the kingdoms of God. But the doctrine of the Prophet and of the scriptures he gave to the world, require us to recognize before the first estate as set forth in the above order, the existence of the self-existent intelligences before they are begotten spirits, sons and daughters of God. So that it could be said that there are four estates in which intelligences exist instead of three; namely; self-existent, uncreated and unbegotten intelligences, co-eternal with God; second, intelligences begotten of God spirits; third, spirits begotten men and women, still sons and daughters of God; fourth, resurrected beings, immortal spirits inhabiting imperishable bodies, still sons and daughters of God, and in the line of eternal progression, up to the attainment of divine attributes and powers. Still, if we have regard to those changes through which intelligences pass, rather than to their status before and after those changes, then we may still say that so far as the matter has been revealed there are three estates or changes through which intelligences pass in the course of their development or evolution into divine beings; and thus preserve the terminology of our sacred literature to which we are accustomed. (See Book of Abraham, ch. iii:22-26. Also Jaques' Catechism, ch. vi.)


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Relationship of Jesus to Other Intelligences.

St. John's Gospel i:1-14; in connection with Doc. and Cov. Sec. xciii: 6-22. King Follet's Sermon, Mill. Star, Vol. XXIII: p. 245-280. Also notes, 2, 3, 4.

II. The Relationship of God and Other Intelligences.

Pearl of Great Price, Book of Abraham, ch. iii:19-23 and note 5.


1. Men and Jesus of the Same Order of Beings: The Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ and men are of the same order of beings; that men are of the same race with Jesus, of the same nature and essence; that he is indeed our elder brother. "For it became him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren." (Heb. ii:10, 11.) Hence while very far removed from us in that the Christ is more perfect in righteousness, and more highly developed in intellectual and spiritual powers than we, yet these differences are of degree, not of kind; so that what is revealed concerning Jesus, the Christ, may be of infinite helpfulness in throwing light upon the nature of man and the several estates he has occupied and will occupy hereafter. The co-eternity of Jesus Christ with God, the Father, is quite universally held to be set forth in the preface of John's gospel, which is so familiar that it need not be quoted here. Moreover, to us who accept the new' dispensation of the gospel, through the revelations of God to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the doctrine of John's preface comes with increased emphasis by reason of the proclaimed extension of the principle of the co-eternity of God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, to other beings, namely, to men; and by asserting also the fact that the intelligent entity in man, the mind, intelligence, was "not created or made, neither indeed can be." The following is from the revelation:

"John saw and bore record of the fulness of my glory * * * and he bore record saying, I saw his glory that he was in the beginning before the world was; therefore in the beginning the Word was, for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation, the Light and the Redeemer of the world, the Spirit of Truth, who came into the world because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men."

Such is the account which Jesus gives of John's testimony; and now Jesus himself:

"And now, verily, I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the first born. * * * * * Ye [referring to the brethren who were present when the revelation was given] were also in the beginning with the Father, that which is spirit, even the spirit of truth. * * * * * Man [meaning the race] was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. Behold here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man, because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them and they receive not the light. And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation, for man is spirit."

Here we have the co-eternity of Jesus and of all men most emphatically stated: "I was in the beginning with the Father. * * * * * Ye were also in the beginning with the Father, that which is spirit;" that is, that part of man that is spirit. "Man," that is all men, the term is generic—"man was in the beginning with God." And then mark what follows: "Intelligence"—the part that was with God in the beginning, the entity of man which cognizes truth, that perceives that which is, mind, say,—"intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be."

2. Jesus as the First Born: Sure it is that God, the Father, is the Father of the spirits of men. "We," says Paul, "have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits and live?"

According to this, then, there is a "Father of Spirits." It follows, of course, that "spirits" have a father—they are begotten. It should be remarked that the term, "spirits" in the above passage cannot refer to self-existent, unbegotten intelligences of the revelations, considered in the foregoing note; and certainly this relationship of fatherhood to spirits is not one brought about in connection with generation of human life in this world. Paul makes a very sharp distinction between "Fathers of our flesh" and the "Father of spirits," in the above. Fatherhood to spirits is manifestly a relationship established independent of man's earth-existence; and, of course, in an existence which preceded earthlife, where the uncreated intelligences are begotten spirits. Hence, the phrase "shall we not be subject to the Father of spirits and live?"

Christ is referred to by the writer of the epistle to the Colossians, as the "first born of every creature;" and the Revelator speaks of him as "the beginning of the creation of God;" and in the revelation already quoted so often (Doc. & Cov. sec. xciii.) Jesus represents himself as being in the "beginning with the Father;" and as "the first born."

The reference to Jesus as the "first born of every creature" cannot refer to his birth into earth-life, for he was not the first-born into this world; therefore, his birth hare referred to must have reference to the birth of his spirit before his earth life.

The reference to Jesus as the "beginning of the creation of God," cannot refer to his creation or generation in earth-life; for manifestly he was not the beginning of the creations of God in this world; therefore, he must have been the "beginning" of God's creation elsewhere, viz. in the spirit world, where he was begotten a spiritual personage; a son of God.

The reference to Jesus as the "first born"—and hence the justification for our calling him "our Elder Brother"—cannot refer to any relationship that he established in his earth-life, since as to the flesh he is not our "elder brother," any more than he is the "first born" in the flesh; there were many born as to the flesh before he was, and older brothers to us, in the flesh, than he was. The relationship of "elder brother" cannot have reference to that estate where all were self-existent, uncreated and unbegotten, eternal intelligencies; for that estate admits of no such relation as "elder," or "younger;" for as to succession in time, the fact on which "younger" or "elder" depend, the intelligences are equal, that is,—equal as to their eternity. Therefore, since the relationship of "elder brother" was not established by any circumstance in the earth-life of Jesus, and could not be established by any possible fact in that estate where all were self-existing intelligences, it must have been established in the spirit life, where Jesus, with reference to the hosts of intelligences designed to our earth, was the "first born spirit," and by that fact became our "Elder Brother," the "first born of every creature," "the beginning of the creations of God," as pertaining to our order of existence. (See note 10, lesson v.)

3. Why God is God: "These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they: I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than them all. * * * * * I dwell in the midst of them all; * * * I rule in the heavens above, and the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligencies thine eyes have seen from the beginning." (Word of the Lord to Abraham, Book of Abraham, ch. iii: 19-21.) "I am more intelligent than them all." By this expression I do not understand the scripture to mean that God is more intelligent than any one of the other intelligencies, but more intelligent than all of them combined. His intelligence is greater than that of the mass. It is this fact doubtless which makes this One, "more intelligent than them all," God. He is the All-Wise One! The All-Powerful One! What he tells other intelligencies to do must be precisely the wisest, fittest thing that they could anywhere or anyhow learn—the thing which it will in all ways behoove them with right loyal thankfulness, and nothing doubting, to do.[A] There goes with this, too, the thought that this All Wise One, will be the Unselfish One, the-All-Loving One, the One who desires that which is highest, and best; not for Himself alone, but for all; and that will be best for Him too. His glory, His power, His joy will be enhanced by the uplifting of all, by enlarging them; by increasing their joy, power, and glory. And because this All Intelligent One is all this, and does all this, the other intelligences worship Him, submit their judgments and their will to His judgment and His will. He knows, and can do that which is best; and this submission of the mind to the most Intelligent, Wisest—wiser than all—is worship. This the whole meaning of the doctrine and the life of the Christ expressed in—"Father, not my will but Thy will, be done."

[Footnote A: The language here is paraphrased from Carlyle's lecture, "The Hero as King."]

5. The Desire of God for the Advancement of Other Intelligences: "The first principles of man are self-existent with God. God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws, to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits. This is good doctrine. It tastes good. I can taste the principles of eternal life, and so can you. They are given to me by the revelations of Jesus Christ; and I know that when I tell you these words of eternal life as they are given to me, you taste them, and I know that you believe them. You say honey is sweet, and so do I. I can also taste the spirit of eternal life. I know it is good; and when I tell you of these things which were given me by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you are bound to receive them as sweet, and rejoice more and more."—Joseph Smith. (Mill. Star, Vol. XXIII, p. 262.)

6. Value of the Doctrine of Eternal Existence: But what is the value of this doctrine of the eternal existence of uncreated intelligences? In what way does it contribute to the better apprehension of that which is, the truth? These considerations, of course, should not be and are not our first concern. Our first consideration should be and has been the truth of the thing. But since that is now settled by what God has revealed about it, we may well, if possible, ascertain what helpfulness there is in the doctrine, for the right apprehension of the general scheme of things. This apprehension, I believe, it affects in a very vital way. As matters now stand, the usually accepted Christian doctrine on the matter of man's origin is that God of his free-will created of nothing the spirits and bodies of men. That they are as he would have them, since in his act of creation he could have had them different if he had so minded. Then why should he—being infinitely wise and powerful and good, for so the creeds represent him—why should he create by mere act of volition beings such as men are, not only capable of, but prone to, moral evil? Which, in the last analysis of things, in spite of all special pleadings to the contrary, leaves responsibility for moral evil with God? God's creative acts culminating thus, the next pertinent questions are: Then what of the decreed purpose of God to punish moral evil? and what of the much vaunted justice of God in that punishment? Wherein lies the just responsibility of man if he was so created as to love evil and to follow it? It is revolting to reason, as it is shocking to piety to think, that God of his own free will created some men, not only inclined to wickedness, but desperately so inclined; while others, he of his own volition created with dispositions naturally inclined toward goodness. In like manner stands it with man in relation to his inclination to faith, and to disbelief: and yet, under the orthodox belief all are included under one law for judgment! Under the conception of the existence of independent, uncreated, self-existent intelligences, who by the inherent nature of them are of various degrees of intelligence, doubtless differing from each other in many ways, yet alike in their eternity and their freedom; with God standing in the midst of them, "more intelligent than them all," and proposing the betterment of their condition—progress to higher levels of being, and power through change—under this conception of things how stand matters? There is the begetting of these intelligences, spirits; the spirits, men; the men, resurrected personages of infinite possibilities; at each change increased powers for development are added to intelligences, yet ever present through all the processes of betterment is the self-existent entity, the "intelligencies," with the tremendous fact of his consciousness and his moral freedom, and his indestructibility;—he has his choice of moving upward or downward in every estate he occupies; often defeating, for a time, at least, the benevolent purposes of God respecting him, through his own perverseness; he passes through dire experiences, suffers terribly, yet learns by what he suffers, so that his very suffering becomes a means to his improvement; he learns swiftly, or slowly, according to \ inherent nature of him, obedience to law; he learns that "that which is governed by law, is also preserved by law, and perfected and sanctified by the same; and that which breaketh law abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself and willeth to abide in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice nor judgment. Therefore they must remain filthy still." (Doc. & Cov. sec. 88:34, 35.) This conception of things relieves God of the responsibility for the nature and status of intelligences in all stages of their development; their inherent nature and their volition make them primarily what they are, and this nature they may change, slowly, perhaps, yet change it they may. God has put them in the way of changing it by enlarging their intelligence through change of environment, through experiences; the only way God effects these self-existent beings is favorably; he creates not their inherent nature; he is not responsible for the use they make of their freedom; nor is he the author of their sufferings when they fall into sin: that arises out of the violations of law to which the "intelligence" subscribed, and must be endured until its lessons are learned.

[Note: To the class teachers. When giving this lesson make your appointment for lesson six, which is a discourse. This will give plenty of time for preparation. The class ought to expect much from him or those who receive the assignment. Make it an occasion.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Purpose of God in the Earth-existence of Man.

Job xxxviii:4-7. Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses, ch. i:27-40. II Nephi ii—the whole chapter, especially verses 22-26. Doc. and Cov. Sec. cxiii:30-35. Notes 1, 2, 3.

II. The Pre-Creation Council in Heaven.

1. Character of Lucifer—his Proposition.

2. Character of Messiah—His Proposition.

Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses, ch. iv:1-4. Ibid, Book of Abraham, ch. iii:22-28. Rev. xii:7-17. II Nephi ii:17, 18. Ibid, ch. ix 8, 9. Doc. and Cov. Sec. xxix:36-39. Ibid, lxxvi:25-29, Jude 6. II Peter ii:4, and note 4.


1. The purpose of God in His Creations: "And it came to pass that Moses called upon God, saying: Tell me I pray thee why these things [the creations of God upon which Moses had looked] are so, and by what Thou madest them. * * * And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things. * * * * * And by the Word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth. And worlds without number have I created; and I also create them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only begotten. And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many. * * * And it came to pass that Moses spake unto the Lord, saying: Be merciful unto thy servant, O God, and tell me concerning this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then thy servant will be content. And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine. And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words. For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."—(Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses, ch. i:30-39.)

2. The Purpose of Man's Earth-Existence: "Q. For What purpose are the spirits of men sent to take bodies upon the earth?

"A. That they may be educated, developed, and perfected; that they may enjoy a fulness of knowledge, power, and glory forever, and thus increase the dominion and glory of God. (Jacques' Catechism, ch. 6.)

"We came to this earth that we might have a body and present it pure before God in the celestial kingdom. The great principle of happiness consists in having a body. The devil has no body, and herein is his punishment. He is pleased when he can obtain the tabernacle of man, and when cast out by the Savior he asked to go into the herd of swine, showing that he would prefer a swine's body to having none."—Joseph Smith, Richards & Little's Compendium—"Gems", p. 288.

3. "Man is Spirit: The elements an eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected receive a fulness of joy; and when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy. The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples." (Doc. & Cov. sec. xciii, 33-35.)

4. All Present at the Pre-creation Council: "The first step in the salvation of man is the laws of eternal and self-existent principles. Spirits are eternal. At the first organization in heaven we were all present, and saw the Savior chosen and appointed and the plan of salvation made, and we sanctioned it."—Joseph Smith, Richard and Little's Compendium, "Gems," p. 288.

5. Council of the Gods:

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

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

  A stature mingling strength with grace.
    Of meek though God-like mien,
  The love-revealing countenance
    Lustrous as lightning sheen;
  Whiter his hair than ocean spray.
    Or frost of alpine hill.
  He spake;—attention grew more grave,
    The stillness e'en more still.

  "Father!"—the voice like music fell,
    Clear as the murmuring flow
  Of mountain streamlet trickling down
    From heights of virgin snow.
  "Father," it said, "since one must die,
    Thy children to redeem.
  Whilst earth, as yet unformed and void,
    With pulsing life shall teem;

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

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

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

  Silence once more. Then sudden rose
    Aloft a towering form.
  Proudly erect as towering peak
    'Lumed by the gathering storm;
  A presence bright and beautiful,
    With eye of flashing fire,
  A lip whose haughty curl bespoke
    A sense of inward ire.

  "Give me to go!" thus boldly cried.
    With scarce concealed disdain;
  "And hence shall none, from heaven to earth,
    That shall not rise again.
  My saving plan exception scorns;
    Man's agency unknown;
  As recompense, I claim the right
    To sit on yonder throne!"

  Ceased Lucifer. The breathless hush
    Resumed and denser grew.
  All eyes were turned; the general gaze
    One common magnet drew.
  A moment there was solemn pause;
    Then, like the thunder-burst,
  Rolled forth from lips omnipotent—
    From Him both last and first:

  "Immanuel! thou my Messenger,
    Till time's probation end.
  And one shall go thy face before,
    While twelve thy steps attend.
  And many more, on that far shore,
    The pathway shall prepare.
  That I, the First, the last may come,
    And earth my glory share.

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

    —Whitney's "Elias," Canto III.

[Note: A careful study of all the scriptural references should be made of all lessons, but particularly of this lesson.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Fact of Agency.

Note 1, definition.

Doc and Cov. Sec. xciii; 30-33. lxxxvi:46, 47: x:63-66; xxix:34-37.

II. Nature of Agency.

Book of Moses—(P. G. P.) ch. iii; iv:3; vi:56.

III. Fact of Free Agency Assumed in Practical Life and in Jewish Scripture.

Book of Mormon II Nephi ii:26-29; x:23; Alma phi ii:26-28; x:23; Alma xiii:3; Helaman xiv:31. Alma xxix:4. also ch xiii; 27.

IV. Effect of the Doctrine of Free Agency Upon the Relationship of God and Other Intelligences.

Notes 2 and 3.

Notes 4 and 5.

Note 3 in Lesson I. Also note 6, Lesson II.


1. Free Agency: First as to the word "free." The authorities define it to mean having liberty to follow ones own views, desires, inclinations, or choice. Possessed of self-initiatory power. Hence exempt from the arbitration, dominion or direction of others. By "free agency" is meant the power or capacity of acting freely, that is, without constraint of the law. A rational agent whose actions are determined by his own unstrained will. Wayland in his University sermons says, man was endowed with the gift of free agency. He has the same power to disobey the law of God as to obey it. If a man is not a free agent he is not the authority of his actions, and has, therefore, no responsibility, no moral personality at all. (Standard Dictionary). The term "moral agent," means practically the same thing as "free agent." "A moral agent is a being that is capable of those actions that have a moral quality, and which can properly be denominated good or evil in a moral sense."

2. Analysis of mind Operations in Free Agency: I believe the student of the subject of the "free agency of intelligences" will find the following analysis on the freedom of the will, summarized from Guizot, helpful.

(a) Power of Deliberation: The mind is conscious of a power of deliberation; before the intellect passes the different motives of action, interests, passions, opinions, etc. The intellect considers, compares, estimates, and finally judges them. This is a preparatory work which precedes the act of will.

(b) Liberty, Free Agency or Will: When deliberation has taken place—when man has taken full cognizance of the motives which present themselves to him, he takes a resolution, of which he looks upon himself as the author, which arises because he wishes it, and which would not arise unless he did wish it—here the fact of agency is shown; it resides complete in the resolution which man makes after deliberation; it is the resolution which is the proper act of man, which subsists by him alone; a simple fact independent of all the facts which precede it or surround it.

(c) Free Will, or Agency Modified: At the same time that man feels himself free, he recognizes the fact that his freedom is not arbitrary, that it is placed under the dominion of a law which will preside over it and influence it. What that law is will depend upon the education of each individual, upon his surroundings, etc. To act in harmony with that law is what man recognizes as his duty; it will be the task of his liberty. He will soon see, however, that he never fully acquits himself of his task, never acts in full harmony with his moral law. Morally capable of conforming himself to his law, he falls short of doing it. He does not accomplish all that he ought, nor all that he can. This fact is evident, one of which all may give witness; and it often happens that the best men, that is, those who have best conformed their will to reason have often been the most struck with their insufficience.

(d) Necessity of Eternal Assistance: This weakness in man leads him to feel the necessity of an external support to operate as a fulcrum for the human will, a power that may be added to its present power and sustain it at need. Man seeks this fulcrum on all sides; he demands it in the encouragement of friends, in the councils of the wise; but as the visible world, the human society, do not always answer to his desires, the soul goes beyond the visible world, above human relations, to seek this fulcrum of which it has need. Hence the religious sentiment develops itself: man addresses himself to God, and invokes his aid through prayer.

(e) Man Finds the Help He Seeks: Such is the nature of man that when he sincerely asks this support he obtains it; that is, seeking it is almost sufficient to secure it. Whosoever feeling his will weak invokes the encouragement of a friend, the influence of wise councils, the support of public opinion, or who addresses himself to God by prayer, soon feels his will fortified in a certain measure and for a certain time.

(f) Influence of Spiritual World on Liberty: There are spiritual influences at work on man—the empire of the spiritual world upon liberty. There are certain changes, certain moral events which manifest themselves in man without his being able to refer their origin to an act of his will, or being able to recognize the author. Certain facts occur in the interior of the human soul which it does not refer to itself, which it does not recognize as the work of its own will. There are certain days, certain moments in which it finds itself in a different moral state from that which it was last conscious of under the operations of its own will. In other words, the moral man does not wholly create himself; he is conscious that causes, that powers external to himself act upon and modify him imperceptibly—this fact has been called the grace of God which helps the will of man, while others see in it the evidences of predestination.

3. Free Agency More Than a Mere Choice Between Alternatives: "When most people talk of believing in moral freedom, they mean by freedom a power which exhausts itself in acts of choice between a series of alternative courses: but, important though such choice as a function of freedom is, the root idea of freedom lies deeper still. It consists in the idea, not that a man is, as a personality, the first and the sole cause of his choice between alternative courses, but that he is, in a true, even if in a qualified sense, the first cause of what he does, or feels, or is, whether this involves an act of choice, or consists of an unimpeded impulse. Freedom of choice between alternatives is the consequence of this primary faculty. It is the form in which the faculty is most noticeably manifested; but it is not the primary faculty of personal freedom itself. That this faculty of the self-origination of impulse is really what we mean by freedom, and what we mean by personality also, is shown by the only supposition which is open to us, if we reject this. If a man is not in any degree, be this ever so limited, the first cause or originator of his own actions or impulses, he must be the mere transmitter or quotient of forces external to his conscious self, like a man pushed against another by the pressure of a crowd behind him. In other words, he would have no true self—no true personality at all." (Mallock, see note 4.)

4. Free Agency in Practical Life—Literature—History: In his work on the "Reconstruction of Religious Belief," (a work by the way, we recommend to our Seventies) W. H. Mallock devotes a chapter to "Mental Civilization and the Belief in Human Freedom," the tenor of which assumes that in the practical affairs of life, in literature and in history, we proceed upon the assumption that man is a free agent and can determine, within certain limits at least, both his physical and moral conduct; and argues that without this power, the life of man would be meaningless. In the matter of love he decides with Shakespeare's Iago that "It is in ourselves that we are thus or thus. Our bodies are the gardens to the which our wills are gardeners." That this is true he holds to be "attested not only by the private experiences of most civilized men, but also by all the great poetry in which the passion of love is dealt with." "Such poetry is," in Shakespeare's words, "a mirror held up to nature; and it is only recognized as great because it reflects faithfully." In the matter of heroism in the face of physical danger, he holds that the same story repeats itself. "A man who for some great end undergoes prolonged peril, and deliberately wills to die for the sake of that end if necessary, is no doubt valued, because such conduct 'originates in the man's conscious self, which he has deliberately chosen, when he might just as well have chosen its opposite and which is not imposed on him by conditions, whether within his organism or outside it." The virtue which arises from forgiveness of sin exists in consequence of recognition of this force we call agency in man. "Forgiveness," says our author, "is an act which, in the absence of a belief in freedom, (free agency) not only would lose its meaning, but could not take place at all. To forgive an injury, implies that bad as the offence may have been, the man who committed it was better than his own act, and was for this reason not constrained to commit it; and while it is only the assumption of the better potential self in him that makes him a subject to whom moral blame is applicable, it is only for the sake of this self that forgiveness can abstain from blaming. The believer in freedom says to the offending party, 'I forgive you for the offense of not having done your best.' The determinist (one who believes that man has not the power of free will) says: 'I neither forgive nor blame you; for although you have done your worst, your worst was your best also.'" Of the great characters of literature, Mr. Mallock also says: "They interest us as born to freedom, and not naturally slaves, and they pass before us like kings in a Roman triumph. Once let us suppose these characters to be mere puppets of heredity and circumstance, and they and the works that deal with them lose all intelligible content, and we find ourselves confused and wearied with the fury of an idiot's tale." Historical characters are placed in the same category. All praise or blame only has meaning as we regard these historical characters as free moral agents: "All this praising and blaming is based on the assumption that the person praised or blamed is the originator of his own actions, and not a mere transmitter of forces. Man's significance for men in the whole category of human experiences 'resides primarily in what he makes of himself, not in what he has been made by an organism derived from his parents, and the various external stimuli to which it has automatically responded." ("The Reconstruction of Religious Belief," W. H. Mallock.)

5. The Fact of Free Agency Assumed in the Jewish Scripture: It will be matter of surprise perhaps to the student that in the scriptural references upon the subject of free agency of intelligencies no references are cited in either the Old or the New Testament. The reason is that so far as the writer knows there is no explicit text in either covering the exact point. The "freedom" of man, however, free agency, power to obey or disobey the law of God, is everywhere pre-supposed throughout both the Old and New Testaments. It is a doctrine nowhere in doubt from the first commandment in Genesis to the last in the Book of Revelation. Of what significance is the commandment in Genesis: "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die"—of what significance, I say, is this law to man if he possesses not the power within himself to obey it or disobey it? Then in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible (as now arranged) it is written: "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. * * * And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely"—of what significance to man is this scripture if he has not the power of his own volition to keep the commandments of God that he may have right to the tree of life; or to accept the invitation of the Lamb and the Bride to come and "take of the water of life freely?" "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely!" What a mockery is here if man cannot "will" to take of the waters of life! Is it thinkable that the "Lamb," the loving Christ, would issue an invitation to man in a matter so important as partaking of the water of life, if man has no power to accept such invitation? Is the Christ capable of such mockery? One could think it of some malicious demon; but of Messiah, never!

I have said that so far as known to this writer there is no passage either in the Old or New Testament that explicitly teaches the free agency of intelligencies of men; but implicitly free agency is taught in many passages throughout the Jewish scriptures of which the above quoted passages are but examples. In lesson IX of Part II of the First Year Book (p. 53) attention is called to the fact that in the Book of Esther the name of Deity does not occur; and yet it may be said to be the general opinion of all Bible scholars that in no book in the sacred collection is the presence of God more felt than in that same Book of Esther! So it is in respect of this doctrine of free agency and the Jewish scriptures. Though this doctrine is nowhere explicitly designated in terms in the Old or New Testament, yet every where throughout the sacred book its presence is felt, and the fact of it is everywhere assumed.

[Note: This is a brief treatise on the spiritual and natural creations, but is too long for insertion in the notes of this lesson. Where available I suggest it be read to the quorums.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Matter—External Existence and Extension of.

Note 1, Definition; notes 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. "Materiality"—See Mormon Doctrine of Deity, p. 254 et. seq. Note—1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, Genesis chs. i and ii. Key to Theology ch. vi, Ed. 1891.

II. Creation—[A]

1. Spiritual.

2. Natural.

Book of Moses. (P. G. P.) ch. i:4, 5, 8, 28-42, also ch. ii and ch. iii:1-15; and note 7 and 8.

Book of Abraham (P. G. P.) ch. iii:24-26. Also ch. iv and v.

Doc. and Cov. Sec. xxix:30-35. "The Gospel" (3rd Edition), pp. 274-284.

III. The Revelations of Scripture Local.

Book of Moses ch. i:27-40. Also ch. ii:1.


[Footnote A: This is to be but a glimpse of a very great subject, which some day may be expanded by the author of this Year Book into a treatise on the "Mormon Doctrine of Creation."]


1. Matter: That of which the sensible universe and all existent bodies are composed; anything which has extension, occupies space, or is perceptible by the senses; body, substance. Matter is usually divided by philosophical writers into three kinds or classes; solid, liquid, and aeriform. Solid substances are those whose parts firmly cohere and resist impression, as wood or stone. Liquids have free motion among their parts, and easily yield to impression, as water and wine. Aeriform substances are elastic fluids, called vapors and gases, as air and oxygen gas. (Webster's International Dictionary.)

2. Matter in Itself: "What matter is, in itself and by itself, is quite hopeless of answer and concerns only metaphysicians. The "Ding an sich" * * * is forever outside the province of science. If all men stopped to quarrel over the inner inwardness of things, progress, of course, would cease. Science is naive; she takes things as they come, and rests content with some such practical definition as will serve to differentiate matter from all other forms of non-matter. This may be done strictly provisionally in this place, by defining matter as that which occupies space and possesses weight. Using these two properties it is readily possible to sift out matter from all the heterogeneous phenomena that present themselves to the senses, and that, in this place, is what we want. Thus, wood, water, copper, oil and air are forms of matter for they evidently possess weight and fill space. But light, heat, electricity and magnetism we cannot consider to fill so many quarts or weigh so many pounds. [Light, heat, electricity—are properties of matter.] They are, therefore, forms of non-matter. In like manner, things such as grace, mercy, justice and truth, while they are existing entities as much as matter, are unquestionably non-matter" [Grace, mercy, etc., are qualities of spirit, which itself is doubtless matter, but of finer quality than that which is recognized by the senses.] ("The New Knowledge," R. K. Duncan, p. 2.)

3. Indestructibility of Matter: "The gradual accumulation of experiences, has tended slowly to reverse this conviction [i. e. that matter may be annihilated]; until now, the doctrine that matter is indestructible has become a commonplace. All the apparent proofs that something can come out of nothing, a wider knowledge has one by one cancelled. The comet that is suddenly discovered in the heavens and nightly waxes larger, is proved not to be a newly-created body, but a body that was until lately beyond the range of vision. The cloud which in the course of a few minutes forms in the sky, consists not of substance that has just begun to be, but of substance that previously existed in a more diffused and transparent form. And similarly with a crystal or precipitate in relation to the fluid depositing it. Conversely, the seeming annihilations of matter turn out, on close observation, to be only changes of state. It is found that the evaporated water, though it has become invisible, may be brought by condensation to its original shape. The discharged fowling-piece gives evidence that though the gunpowder has disappeared, there have appeared in place of it certain gases, which in assuming a larger volume, have caused the explosion." "First Principles," (Herbert Spencer), p. 177, Appleton Edition, 1896.

4. Uncreatability of Matter: "Conceive the space before you to be cleared of all bodies save one. Now imagine the remaining one not to be removed from its place, but to lapse into nothing while standing in that place. You fail. The space which was solid you cannot conceive becoming empty, save by transfer of that which made it solid. * * * However small the bulk to which we conceive a piece of matter reduced, it is impossible to conceive it reduced into nothing. While we can represent to ourselves the parts of the matter as approximated, we cannot represent to ourselves the quantity of matter as made less. To do this would be to imagine some of the constituent parts compressed into nothing; which is no more possible than to imagine compression of the whole into nothing. Our inability to conceive matter becoming non-existent, is immediately consequent on the nature of thought. Thought consists in the establishment of relations. There can be no relation established, and therefore no thought framed, when one of the related terms is absent from consciousness. Hence it is impossible to think of something becoming nothing, for the same reason that it is impossible to think of nothing becoming something—the reason, namely, that nothing cannot become an object of consciousness. The annihilation of matter is unthinkable for the same reason that the creation of matter is unthinkable."—First Principles, p. 181.

5. Conservation of Mass: "This law, known as the law of the conservation of mass, states that no particle of matter, however small, may be created or destroyed. All the king's horses and all the king's men cannot destroy a pin's head. We may smash that pin's head, dissolve it in acid, burn it in the electric furnace, employ, in a word, every annihilating agency, and yet that pin's head persists in being. Again, it is as uncreatable as it is indestructible. In other words, we cannot create something out of nothing. The material must be furnished for every existent article. The sum of matter in the universe is 'X' pounds,—and, while it may be carried through a myriad forms, when all is said and done, it is just-'X' pounds." (The New Knowledge, R. K. Duncan, p. 3, 1905.)

6. Extension of Matter Through Infinite Space: "Through all eternity the infinite universe has been, and is, subject to the law of substance. * * * The extent of the universe is infinite and unbounded; it is empty in no part, but everywhere filled with substance. The duration of the world (i. e. universe) is equally infinite and unbounded; it has no beginning and no end: it is eternity. Substance is everywhere and always in uninterrupted movement and transformation: nowhere is there perfect repose and rigidity; yet the infinite quantity of matter and of eternally changing force remains constant." (The Riddle of the Universe, Erast Haeckel, p. 242.)

Compare the foregoing note with the Book of Moses (P. G. P., chap, i; also chap, vii:30,31; also Book of Abraham chap, iii:1-19.)

7. The Prophet Joseph Smith's Views of Creation: "There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes. We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified, we shall see that it is all matter. (Doc. & Cov. Sec. cxxxi.) * * * You ask the learned doctors why they say the world was made out of nothing, and they will answer, "Don't the Bible say He created the world?" And they infer from that word 'create' that it must be made out of nothing. Now the word create came from the word baurau, which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize, the same as man would organize material and build a ship. Hence we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of—chaos—chaotic matter, which is element and in which dwells all the glory. Elements had an existence from the time He [God] had. The pure principles of elements can never be destroyed, they may be organized and reorganized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning, and can have no end." (Mill. Star, vol. 23, p. 248.)

"The world and earth are not synonymous terms. The world is the human family. The earth was organized or formed out of other planets which were broken up and remodeled and made into the one on which we live. The elements are eternal. * * * In the translation 'without form and void' [Gen. i:2] it should read, 'empty and desolate.' The word 'created' should be 'formed,' or 'organized.'" (Richards & Little's "Compendium," p. 287—"Gems,")

"Professor Luther T. Townsend of Boston University in a new book entitled Adam and Eve, in which he discusses the question as to whether the first chapters of Genesis are history or myth, dealing with the second verse of the first chapter of Genesis—'And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep—' he claims that the literal rendering of it is this: 'And the earth had become (past perfect tense) 'tohu' a wreck and 'lohu' without inhabitant. This desolate and tenantless condition agrees perfectly with what science reports of the general epoch; and there can be little doubt on scientific grounds," continues Prof. Townsend, "that during the break up of the ice age a darkness denser than that of the densest London fogs was upon the face of the floods." (Press Comment, Prof. Townsend's book.)

This sustains the position of the Prophet Joseph stated above.

8. New Theory of Earth Structure:—"In recent years theories of mountain formation have changed like everything else scientific. * * * The new theories hark back to the original formation of the earth. The conception of a hot drop of a world swinging in space, gradually cooling and forming a shell as smooth as a billiard ball, has been partly abandoned. The nebular hypothesis has been modified, the so-called meteoritic hypothesis has been found inadequate; and the more plausible planetesimal theory of Professors Chamberlin and Salisbury has been put forth.

"The latest theory argues the formation of the world by gradual accretions from planetary bodies. It assumes the origin of our solar system in a common spiral nebula—the nebula being in a thin solid or liquid state, as suggested by the spectrum analysis of it. The knots or portions of the nebula showing the most concentration, are the nuclei of future planets, and the thinner haze the portions from which the knots are formed. All these knots move about the central mass (the sun) in elliptical orbits of considerable eccentricity. The planetesimals are gathered in, and through accretions from such a world as ours, by the crossing of the elliptical orbits in the course of their inevitable shiftings." ("The High Alps," by John C. Van Dyke, Scribner's Magazine, June, 1908.)

9. Worlds Organized on Pre-Arranged Plan: "The organization of the spiritual and heavenly worlds, and of spiritual and heavenly beings, was agreeable to the most perfect order and harmony: their limits and bounds were fixed irrevocably, and involuntarily subscribed to in their heavenly estate by themselves, and were by our first parents subscribed to upon the earth. Hence the importance of embracing and subscribing to principles of eternal truth by all men upon the earth that expect eternal life." (Joseph Smith, Conference at Nauvoo, Oct. 8, 1843, Millennial Star, vol. XXII, p. 231.)

10. Our Revelations Local: That is, our revelations in the Scriptures—all four books—pertain to our earth, and its heavens; to those intelligencies, spirits, men, angels, arch-angels, God, and Gods, pertaining to that order of existences to which we belong. I call attention to the fact for the reason that I believe the principle indicated is very important, not only in the discussion in hand, but it has an important bearing upon the whole phraseology and meaning of our scriptures. When God's word says, for instance, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," etc.; and "thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the hosts of them," he has reference not to any absolute "beginning" or absolute "finishing," but only the "beginning" and "finishing" as pertaining to our earth and the order of creation with which it is connected; and the "hosts" that pertain to our order of existence, not absolutely to all existences. The revelations we have received of God, let it be said again, are local, they relate to us and our order of existence; they may not at all, except in the most casual and general way, refer to that order of worlds connected with and governed by the Pleiades, or of Orion, much less to the further removed constellations and their systems of worlds.

We learn from the Pearl of Great Price that when the Lord gave those revelations to Moses by which the prophet was enabled to write the creation story of our earth, the local character of those revelations was expressly stated: "Worlds without number," said the Lord to Moses, "have I created—but only an account of this earth and the inhabitants thereof give I unto you—Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this heaven, and this earth; write the words which I speak. * * * In the beginning I created the heavens and the earth on which thou standest." The subject is too important for treatment in a mere note, but in passing I desired to call attention to the important bearing it has upon the subject in hand, as also upon our whole system of thought and exposition of the scriptures.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)

(A Discourse)


[Footnote A: In lieu of the usual detached notes, in lesson viii and ix, I present an unbroken discussion of the Fall of Adam and the Purpose of Man's Earth Life, which I think will be more satisfactory than any collection of detached notes that I could present to the students upon this very important subject. The students will be under the necessity of selecting from the discussion such ideas and data as wrill apply to the part of the subject assigned to him.

Suggestion to the class teacher: Make your assignment today for Lesson XIII, a discussion and see note on Lesson six.]


1. Suggestion on the Lesson Treatment: No analysis is given to this lesson. It is designed to give those to whom the subject is assigned—and one, two, or even more may be assigned to the subject—an opportunity to make their own sub-divisions and work out their own treatment in their own way. It should be said in passing, however, that it is to be hoped that the treatment will have some relationship to previous lessons in part I of the present Year Book. It could receive such a treatment, for instance, as would lead to the justification of the doctrine set forth in lesson V on the fact of our scripture revelations being local; that is, revelations that pertain to our earth and its heavens as set forth in the Book of Moses, chapters i and ii. Also it could be made to contribute to the reasonableness of the existence of Great and Presiding intelligencies in various parts of the universe, of their controlling and directing their worlds and world-systems in harmony with the great and eternal laws by which the universe is evidently governed. This much to suggest merely that there is a relationship between this subject and the lessons that have preceded it.

2. Sources of Information: Almost any school text book on astronomy will give information on the extent and grandeur of the universe. Especially would I recommend Newcomb's "Popular Astronomy," Harper & Brothers, Publishers, New York; Gillet & Rolf's Astronomy; and "Other Worlds than Ours," by Richard A. Proctor, in which the plurality of worlds studied under the light of recent scientific researches, could be consulted to advantage. "A history of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom," by Andrew D. White, vol. I, chap. 3, could be consulted to advantage; not so much with reference to a description of the extent or grandeur of the universe, as for the light he throws upon the struggle that took place in the development of the ideas which led to the modern conception of the structure of the universe and the laws that governed therein. For a description of the extent and grandeur of the universe, as also for an account of the resistence to scientific ideas in relation thereto, Draper's "Intellectual Development of Europe," Volume II, chapter viii, could be consulted, and the same authors "Conflict Between Religion and Science." Some valuable quotations on the same subject are to be found in "New Witness For God," Chapters xxviii, xxix.

3. Suggestions Upon the Structure of Discourses and Lectures: In the Seventy's Year Book No. 1, there were six lessons in which suggestions were made on the matter of the formation of lectures, or discourses. The six lessons, however, were really but one. The suggestions then given went no further than to admonish the student to give definite form to his discourse, urging that there should be

1. An Introduction.

2. A Discussion.

3. A Conclusion.

We again call attention to the necessity of adhering to this definite plan, if the discourse is to be instructive or intellectually entertaining.

4. Clearness: The most important concern of a speaker is to make himself understood. If he fails in this he fails in everything. This is true of every speaker. It is doubly true of one who has a message from God to deliver to the world. Clearness then in the expression of ideas is the first quality to be considered. The first essential to clearness in the expression of his ideas is for the speaker himself to have definite knowledge of his subject. Clearness of expression must be preceded by definite knowledge and clear thinking. The chief cause of obscurity in expression is a lack of systematic, clear-cut thinking. Men speak as they train themselves to think. If men will only train themselves to do systematic thinking, speech, or expression of thought, will largely take care of itself. Men generally may not be conscious of it, but it is true nevertheless that the mind is constantly thinking. It seems to be an essential of its nature to do so. One cannot stop thinking even if he would, so long as he is awake and conscious. What we call the mind will think about something, but we usually allow it to drift aimlessly in its thought. It is earned away hither and thither by every passing object, noise, or word that suggests an idea; or else we allow it to be driven to and fro in the realm of our imagination by every passing fancy. No effort is made to control it. We think of everything in general and nothing in particular. What is needed in our intellectual development is mind-control. Obedience of the mental faculties to the will. The mind should be compelled to work out lines of thought upon any subject that is given to it to reflect upon, until it has arranged in orderly fashion all the present knowledge and ideas possessed on the given subject. And thinking, be it remembered, is but arranging knowledge in orderly fashion in relation to our ideas, with the view of arriving at definite conclusions. Elsewhere in illustration of these views, I have said: 'Er. no. I have been a visitor in families where parents have undertaken to put the children of the households on their good behaviour. I have seen the father and mother undertake instanter to make the children polite to each other, considerate to parents, gentle in word and deed; and I have seen the children look up in astonishment and then go on in the same boisterous and quarrelsome way to which they were accustomed. The father and mother on this dress parade occasion could not make their children understand what had not previously been made a habit to them. The children could not understand for the simple reason that perhaps never before, or only once or twice before, with long intervals between, were they corrected in their manners. Parents in order to have their children appear well must give them daily training until politeness and good behaviour become habitual to them. And only in this way can they become ladies and gentlemen—gentle in speech towards father and mother, gentle in conduct towards brother and sister, respectful to strangers and well behaved in all the relations of child life. In order to produce this the training must be continuous. Not harsh or rough but exacting, nevertheless. So it is with the powers of the mind. A man who has never trained his mental powers in logical methods of thought cannot hope to stand before an audience and succeed as a public teacher. To bring together beautiful and logical thoughts that will be instructive to those who listen and satisfactory to himself—this power can only be acquired by thorough and constant mental discipline. It is only to be acquired by earnest effort, by hard work. But remember, to be a Seventy means just that—work, mental activity, leading to intellectual development, and to the attainment of spiritual power.

5. The Cultivation of Thought-Power: Thought upon a subject in any broad sense embraces substantial knowledge of all the facts, and all the reasoning that may be based upon the facts. Education in the proper sense is the cultivation of the power of thought, with the added power of expressing those thoughts in some forceful manner. "How then," asks Mr. Pittinger, whom we so frequently quoted in lessons of this class in Year Book No. l, "How, then, shall thought-power be increased? There is no royal road. Every one of the faculties by which knowledge is accumulated and arranged or digested into new forms grows stronger by being employed upon its own appropriate objects." Mental activity is the means by which the material of knowledge is gathered, and all faculties strengthened for future gathering. Each fact gained adds to the treasury of thought. A broad and liberal education is of exceeding advantage. This may or may not be of the schools. Indeed, they too often substitute a knowledge of words for a knowledge of things. That fault is very serious * * * * * for the only way by which even language can be effectively taught, is by giving terms to objects, the nature of which has been previously learned. But many persons need to speak who cannot obtain an education in the usual sense of the word—that is, college or seminary training. Must they keep their lips forever closed on that account? By no means. A thousand examples, some of them the most eminent speakers the world has produced, encourage them to hope. Let such persons learn all they can. Wide, well-selected, and systematic reading will do wonders in supplying the necessary thought-material. Every book of history, biography, travels, popular science, which is carefully read, and its contents fixed in the mind, will be available for the purposes of public speech. Here a word of advice may be offered, which, if heeded, will be worth many months of technical education at the best colleges in the land; it is this: Have always at hand some work that in its own sphere possesses real and permanent merit, and read it daily until completed. If notes are made of its contents, and the book itself kept on hand for reference, so much the better. If some friend can be found who will hear you relate in your own words what you have read, this also will be of great value. Many persons, especially in our own country, [America] spend time enough in reading the minute details of the daily papers to make them thoroughly acquainted in ten years with forty volumes of the most useful books in the world. Think of it! This number may include nearly all the literary masterpieces. Which mode of spending the time will produce the best results? One newspaper read daily would amount to more than three hundred in a year, and allowing each paper to be equal to ten ordinary book pages, the result would be three thousand pages annually, or six volumes of five hundred pages each. In ten years this would reach sixty volumes! This number, comprising the world's best books in history, poetry, science, and general literature, might be read slowly, with meditation and diligent note-taking by the most busy man who was willing to employ his leisure in that way. * * * * * Neither will the speaker have to wait until any definite quantity of reading has been accomplished before it becomes serviceable to him. All that he learns will be immediately available, and, with proper effort, the facility of speech and the material for speaking will keep pace with each other."


Antediluvian Dispensations.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Dispensation—Definition of.

Note 1.

Gen. ii:26, 27, c. f. ch. ii:4-9. Book of Moses ch. ii:26,27, cf. ch. iii:4-8. Book of Abraham ch. iv:26-31; also v:7-9 and 14-18. Key to Theology ch. vi, Mormon Doctrine of Deity ch. vii. Note 2.

II. Advent of Adam upon the Earth.

Gen. i:28; Book of Moses ch. ii:28. Book of Abraham iv:28. Note 3.

III. The Commandments Given.

1. Be Fruitful.

2. Partake not Forbidden Fruit.

Gen. ii:15-17. Book of Moses ch. iii:15-17; ch. v:8, 9, 11-13. Mormon Doctrine of Deity ch. vii.
    Note 4.


1. Dispensation: A dispensation, without reference to any specific application or limitations of the term, is the act of dealing out or distributing, such as the dispensation of justice by courts, the dispensation of blessings or afflictions by the hand of Providence. Theologically a dispensation is defined as one of the several systems of bodies of law in which at different periods God has revealed His mind and will to man, such as the Patriarchal Dispensation, the Mosaic Dispensation, or the Christian Dispensation. The word is also sometimes applied to the periods of time during which the said laws obtain. That is, the period from Adam to Noah is usually called the Patriarchal Dispensation. From Noah to the calling of Abraham, the Noachian Dispensation; and from Abraham to the calling of Moses, the Abrahamic Dispensation. But the word dispensation as connected with the Gospel of Jesus Christ means the opening of the heavens to men; the giving out or dispensing to them the word of God; the revealing to men in whole or in part the principles and ordinances of the Gospel; the conferring of divine authority upon certain chosen ones, by which they are empowered to act in the name, that is, in the authority of God, and for Him. That is a dispensation as relating to the Gospel.

2. The Advent of Adam on Earth: The earth, "warmed and dried by the cheering rays of the now resplendent sun, is prepared for the first seeds of vegetation. A royal planter now descends from yonder world of older date, and bearing in his hand the choice seeds of the older Paradise, he plants them in the virgin soil of our new born earth. They grow and flourish there, and, bearing seed, replant themselves, and thus clothed the naked earth with scenes of beauty and the air with fragrant incense. Ripening fruits and herbs at length abound. When lo! from yonder world is transferred every species of animal life. Male and female, they come, with blessings on their heads, and a voice is heard again, "Be fruitful and multiply." Earth, its mineral, vegetable and animal wealth, its Paradise prepared, down comes from yonder world on high a son of God, with his beloved spouse. And thus a colony from heaven * * * * * is transplanted on our soil. The blessings of their Father are upon them, and the first great law of heaven and earth is again repeated, "Be fruitful and multiply." Hence, the nations which have swarmed our earth. In after years, when Paradise was lost by sin; when man was driven from the face of his heavenly Father, to toil, and droop, and die; when heaven was veiled from view, and, with few exceptions, man was no longer counted worthy to retain the knowledge of his heavenly origin; then darkness veiled the past and future from the heathen mind; man neither knew himself, from whence he came, nor whither he was bound. At length a Moses came, who knew his God, and would fain have led mankind to know Him too, and see Him face to face. But they could not receive His heavenly laws or bide His presence. Thus the holy man was forced again to veil the past in mystery, and in the beginning of his history assign to man an earthly origin. Man, moulded from the earth as a brick! Woman, manufactured from a rib! Thus, parents still would fain conceal from budding manhood the mysteries of procreation, or the sources of life's everflowing river, by relating some childish tale of new-born life, engendered in the hollow trunk of some old tree, or springing with spontaneous growth like mushrooms from out the heaps of rubbish. O man! when wilt thou cease to be a child in knowledge?"—Parley P. Pratt's "Key to the Science of Theology" chap. VI.

3. "Be Fruitful": It has already been shown (Lesson II) that the purpose of God in the earth-life of man was to bring to him an increase of joy, by enlargement of capacity to enjoy, by adding upon him new powers of self expression; by adding an earth-body to a heavenly-born spirit; "for man is spirit:" but "spirit" in order to receive "a fulness of joy" must be inseparably connected with element (Doc. & Cov. Sec. xciii. 32-35, also note 2 Lesson II); hence the earth-life of Intelligences; hence the advent of Adam and his wife Eve upon our earth; hence the commandment "Be Fruitful;" hence the importance of man obtaining his body (Lesson II note 2); hence the resurrection from the dead, which brings to pass the eternal union of spirit and body (element), to be sanctified as a "soul;" for "the spirit and the body is the soul [the whole] of man." (Doc. & Cov. Sec. xxxviii:15). These principles enlarge the view of the importance of the earth-life of man, and give the idea of sanctity to the commandment, "Be Fruitful." Undoubtedly the most important thing in life is life itself, since there flows from life all other things,—experiences, joys, sorrows, sympathies, achievements, righteousness, honor, power—it is the root, the base of all. To protect and preserve life, whence spring all things else, God has issued his decree, "Thou shalt not kill"—the Everlasting's cannon, fixed alike against self-slaughter and the killing of others; and on the crime of murder is placed the heaviest of all penalties—"whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed;" (Gen. ix; 6); "No murderer hath eternal abiding in him" (I John iii; 15.)

And on the other hand, for the promotion of life, what encouragement has God not given? First, this commandment, "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish [refill] the earth;" second, in making sex desire and love of offspring the strongest of passions, refining both, however, by the sentiment of love, and confining by his law the exercise of these life-functions to the limits of wedlock relations. "Lo, children are no heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate" (Psalms 127:3-5). And when the Lord would give his highest blessing to Abraham, his friend, for his supreme act of obedience, he could but say: "In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." (Genesis, xxii, 17-18.) And to Jacob the Lord also said: "Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people."—(Gen. xlviii, 4.)

In nature, too, this law of life is written, until our philosophers who treat on life in its various forms, declare that the very "object of nature is function"—i. e. life. (Lester F. Ward, Outlines of Sociology, 1904, ch. V.) So superabundant is the fertility of all forms of life, animal and vegetable, that if it were not limited by destructive forces of life, the earth would soon be overwhelmed. "Every being," says Mr. Darwin, "which during its natural lifetime produces several eggs or seeds, must suffer destruction during some period of its life, and during some season or occasional year, otherwise, on the principle of geometrical increase, its numbers would quickly become so inordinately great that no country could support the product. * * * * * There is no exception to the rule that every organic being naturally increases at so high a rate, that, if not destroyed, the earth would soon be covered by the progeny of a single pair. Even slow-breeding man has doubled in twenty-five years, and at this rate, in less than a thousand years, there would literally not be standing-room for his progeny. * * * * * In a state of nature almost every full-grown plant annually produces seed, and amongst animals there are very few which do not annually pair. Hence we may confidently assert, that all plants and animals are tending to increase at a geometrical ratio,—that all would rapidly stock every station in which they could any how exist—-and that this geometrical tendency to increase must be checked by destruction at some period of life."—("The Origin of Species," p. 50, 51, 52.)

What is the significance of this rich endowment with the power of reproduction in all forms of life, animal and vegetable, until it assumes the appearance of actual redundancy? Is it not nature's testimony to the fact of the desirability of life? And hence she has equipped the various species with power to perpetuate life, not withstanding the destructive forces with which life in its great variety of forms has to contend. Is life—especially human life—worth living? Undoubtedly, since nature has so abundantly provided the means for its perpetuation, and God has given the commandment, "Be fruitful and replenish the earth."

4. The Symbols of Life and Death: "The Tree of Life.—so called from its symbolic character as a sign and seal of immortal life. Its prominent position in the midst of the garden where it must have been an object of daily observation and interest, was admirably fitted to keep them [Adam and Eve] habitually in mind of God and futurity."

"Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.—so called because it was a test of obedience by which our first parents were to be tried, whether they would be good or bad, obey God or break his commandments.'

"Thou Shalt not Eat of it. * * * Thou Shalt Surely Die.—no reason assigned for the prohibition, but death was to be the punishment of disobedience. A positive command like this was not only the simplest and easiest, but the only trial to which their fidelity could be exposed." (Commentary Critical and Explanatory of the Old and New Testament, Jamieson-Fossett-Brown.)

In the above symbols, together with the commandment and penalty to follow disobedience, we have assembled the great mysteries of this world—Life, Death, Good, Evil, the fact of man's Agency—power to order his own course, to obey or disobey; continued life for obedience, which is but conformation to the law of life; and death for disobedience, or departure from the conditions on which life is predicated. The Tree of Life was the symbol of eternal life, for later when man had partaken of the fruit of the Tree of Death—the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil—God is represented as saying, in effect, since the man has become as one of us to know good and evil, lest he put forth his hand now and partake also of the tree of life and eat and live forever, let us send him forth from the garden and guard the tree of life by cherubims with flaming sword. And so it was ordered.—(Genesis iii:22-25) See also Alma ch. xii:22-27; also Alma ch. xii, 1-10.

Death was symbolized in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil—in the day thou eatest of it, thou shalt surely die—hence the Tree of Death. Death we learn from other scriptures than Genesis, is both temporal and spiritual. What is here called temporal death is physical death, separation of spirit and body, the dust returning to the earth whence it came; but the spirit, being as we have seen a thing immortal, survives in conscious life and goes to the world of spirits. "Dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return," was not written of the spirit of man. The spiritual death is the breaking of the union of the soul with God, separation, alienation from God. (See Alma, chapters 12, 13, 42.) Man's disobedience to God would break this union of the soul with God, and hence spiritual death. But while partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge would bring death, both spiritual and temporal, yet it would bring also the knowledge that would make men as Gods, to know good and evil; and to this end, doubtless, was planned the whole scheme of man's earth-life. This to be developed in lessons that follow.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Fall—

1. The Temptation and Fall of Adam.

Genesis ch. iii. Book of Moses (P. G. P.) ch. iv. II Nephi ii:14-20. Alma xii:22-27. Also Alma xlii:1-11.

II. Sectarian View of the Fall of Adam.

III. Book of Mormon View of the Fall.

II Nephi; ii Alma xiii and xlii; and the treaties which takes the place of notes.


The Fall of Adam—The Purpose of Man's Earth-Life.

[Footnote A: In Lessons VIII and IX, in place of detached notes a brief treatise is given upon The Fall of Adam; and the Purpose of Man's Creation; recounting the various views entertained upon that subject by the great divisions of Christendom, as also the views set forth in the revelations of God. This treatment is rendered necessary by the nature of the subject.]

In the second book of Nephi occurs the following direct, explicit statement: "Adam fell that man might be, and men are that they might have joy."

This assertion concerns two of the mightiest problems of theology:

1st, The reason for Adam's fall;

2nd, The purpose of man's earth-existence.

Silence of the Creeds.

No where in the creeds of men—the creeds of men! those great crystallizations of Christian truths as men have conceived those truths to he; those embodied deductions of the teachings of Holy Scripture—no where in them, I repeat, are these two great theological questions disposed of on scriptural authority.

Presbyterian View.

The Westminster Confession of Faith, which embodies the accepted doctrine of one of the largest bodies of Protestant Christendom, ascribes the purpose of all the creative acts of God to be "The manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom and goodness."[A] And in an authoritative explanation of this part of the creed it is said, "The design of God in creation was the manifestation of his own glory." And again, "Our confession very explicitly takes the position that the chief end of God in his eternal purposes and in their temporal execution in creation and providence is the manifestation of his own glory. * * * * * The scriptures explicitly assert that this is the chief end of God in creation. * * * * The manifestation of his own glory is intrinsically the highest and worthiest end that God could propose to Himself."[B]

[Footnote A: Westminster Confession, chap, iv—Of Creation—Section 1.]

[Footnote B: In proof of this last declaration the expounder cites Col. i:16; Prov. xvi:4; Rev. iv:11; Rom. xi:36. See Commentary on the Confession of Faith with questions for theological students and Bible classes by the Rev. A. A. Hodge D. D. chapter iv. The reading of the passages quoted will convince any one that the statement of the creed is but poorly or not at all sustained by them.]

The only business I have here with this declaration of the purpose of God in creation—including the creation of man, of course—is simply to call attention to the fact that it no where has the direct warrant of scripture.

Episcopalian View.

The great Protestant body of Christians known as the "Episcopal Church" whose chief doctrines are embodied in "The Book of Common Prayer," is silent upon the two subjects in question, viz. "why" Adam fell; the "object" of man's existence. Their "Articles of Faith," it is true, speak of the "fall" of Adam, and its effect upon the human race, but nowhere do they attempt to say "why" it was that Adam fell; or give a "reason" for man's existence. Their creeds proclaim their faith in God, "the Maker and Preserver of all things, both visible and invisible;" but no where declare the purpose of that creation, and consequently have no word as to the "object" of man's existence.

Roman Catholic View.

The exposition of the Catholic creed on the same point, as set forth in the Douay Catechism is as follows:

"Ques. What signify the words creation of heaven and earth?

"Ans. They signify that God made heaven and earth and all creatures in them of nothing, by his word only.

"Ques. 'What moved God to make them?

"Ans. His own goodness, so that he may communicate himself to angels and to man for whom he made all other creatures."

Speaking of the creation of the angels, the same work continues:

"Ques. For what end did God create them? [the angels].

"Ans. To be partakers of his glory and to be our guardians."

Referring again to man's creation the following occurs:

"Ques. Do we owe much to God for creation?

"Ans. Very much, because he made us in such a perfect state, creating us for himself, and all things else for us."[A]

[Footnote A: Douay Catechism chapter iii.]

From all which it may be summarized that the purposes of God in the creation of man and angels, according to Catholic theology, is—

First, that God might communicate himself to them;

Second, that they might be partakers of his glory.

Third, that he created them for himself, and all things else for them.

While this may be in part the truth, and so far excellent, it has no higher warrant of authority than human deduction, based on conjecture, not scripture; and it certainly falls far short of giving to man that "pride of place" in existence to which his higher nature and his dignity as a son of God entitles him.

Mormon View.

"Adam fell that man might be."

I think it cannot be doubted when the whole story of man's fall is taken into account, that in some way—however hidden it may be under allegory—his fall was closely associated with the propagation of the race. Before the fall we are told that Adam and Eve "were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."[A] But after the fall "The eyes of them both were opened and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons,"[B] and also hid from the presence of the Lord.

[Footnote A: Gen. ii:25.]

[Footnote B: Ibid iii:7. also Lehi: "And now, behold, If Adam had not transgressed, he would not have fallen; but he would have remained in the Garden of Eden. And all things which were created, must have remained in the same state [in] which they were, after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore, they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things." (II Nephi ii:22-24. See also Book of Moses chap v. 11.)]

In an incidental way Paul gives us to understand that Adam in the matter of the first transgression was not deceived, but that the woman was.[A] It therefore follows that Adam must have sinned knowingly, and perhaps deliberately; making choice of obedience between two laws pressing upon him. With his spouse, Eve, he had received a commandment from God to be fruitful, to perpetuate his race in the earth. He had also been told not to partake of a certain fruit of the Garden of Eden; but according to the story of Genesis, as also according to the assertion of Paul, Eve, who with Adam received the commandment to multiply in the earth, was deceived, and by the persuasion of Lucifer induced to partake of the forbidden fruit. She, therefore, was in transgression, and subject to the penalty of that law which from the scriptures we learn included banishment from Eden, banishment from the presence of God, and also the death of the body. This meant, if Eve were permitted to stand alone in her transgression, that she must be alone also in suffering the penalty. In that event she would have been separated from Adam, which necessarily would have prevented obedience to the commandment given to them conjointly to multiply in the earth. In the presence of this situation it is therefore to be believed that Adam not deceived either by the cunning of Lucifer or the blandishments of the woman, deliberately, and with full knowledge of his act and its consequences, and in order to carry out the purpose of God, in the creation of man, shared alike the woman's transgression and its effects, and this in order that the first great commandment he had received from God, viz.—"Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it"—might not fail of fulfillment. Thus "Adam fell that man might be."

[Footnote A: Tim. ii:14.]

The effect of this doctrine upon the ideas of men concerning the great Patriarch of our race will be revolutionary. It seems to be the fashion of those who assume to teach the Christian religion to denounce Adam in unmeasured terms: as if the fall of man had surprised, if indeed it did not altogether thwart, the original plan of God, respecting the existence of man in the earth. The creeds of the churches generally fail to consider the 'fall' as part of God's purpose regarding this world; and, in its way, as essential to the accomplishment of that purpose as the "redemption" through Jesus Christ. Certainly there would have been no occasion for the "redemption" had there been no "fall;" and hence no occasion for the display of all that wealth of grace and mercy and justice and love—all that richness of experience involved in the gospel of Jesus Christ, had there been no "fall." It cannot be but that it was part of God's purpose to display these qualities in their true relation, for the benefit and blessing and experience and enlargement of man; and since there would have been no occasion for displaying them but for the "fall," it logically follows that the "fall," no less than the "redemption," must have been part of God's original plan respecting the earth-probation of man. The "fall," undoubtedly was a fact as much present to the foreknowledge of God as was the "redemption;" and the act which encompassed it must be regarded as more praise-worthy than blame-worthy, since it was essential to the accomplishment of the divine purpose. Yet, as I say, those who assume to teach Christianity roundly denounce Adam for his transgression. "The Catholic Church teaches," says Joseph Faa' Di Bruno, D. D., "that Adam by his sin has not only caused harm to himself, but to the whole human race; that by it he lost the supernatural justice and holiness which he received gratuitously from God, and lost it, not only for himself, but also for all of us; and that he, having stained himself with the sin of disobedience, has transmitted not only death and other bodily pains and infirmities to the whole human race, but also sin, which is the death of the soul."[A]

[Footnote A: Catholic Belief, p. 6.]

And again:

"Unhappily, Adam by his sin of disobedience, which was also a sin of pride, disbelief, and ambition, forfeited, or, more properly speaking, rejected that original justice; and we, as members of the human family, of which he was the head, are also implicated in that guilt of self-spoliation, or rejection and deprivation of those supernatural gifts; not indeed on account of our having willed it with our personal will, but by having willed it with the will of our first parent, to whom we are linked by nature as members to their head."[A]

[Footnote A: Catholic Belief, p. 330.]

Still again, and this from the Catholic Catechism:

"Q. How did we lose original justice?

"A. By Adam's disobedience to God in eating the forbidden fruit.

"Q. How do you prove that?

"A. Out of Rom. v:12. 'By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death; and so unto all men death did pass, in whom all have sinned.'

"Q. Had man ever died if he had never sinned?

"A. He would not, but would live in a state of justice and at length would be translated alive to the fellowship of the angels."[A]

[Footnote A: Douay Catechism, p. 13.]

From a Protestant source I quote the following:

"In the fall of man we may observe, 1. The greatest infidelity. 2. Prodigious pride. 3. Horrid ingratitude. 4. Visible contempt of God's majesty and justice. 5. Unaccountable folly. 6. A cruelty to himself and to all his posterity. Infidels, however, have treated the account of the fall and its effects, with contempt, and considered the whole as absurd; but their objections to the manner have been ably answered by a variety of authors; and as to the effects, one would hardly think any body could deny. For, that man is a fallen creature, is evident, if we consider his misery, as an inhabitant of the natural world; the disorders of the globe we inhabit, and the dreadful scourges with which it is visited; the deplorable and shocking circumstances of our birth; the painful and dangerous travail of women; our natural uncleanliness, helplessness, ignorance, and nakedness, the gross darkness in which we naturally are, both with respect to God and a future state; the general rebellion of the brute creation against us; the various poisons that lurk in the animal, vegetable, and mineral world, ready to destroy us; the heavy curse of toil and sweat to which we are liable; the innumerable calamities of life, and the pangs of death."[A]

[Footnote A: Buck's Theological Dictionary, p. 335.]

In its article on man the dictionary just quoted also says:

"God, it is said, made man upright, (Eccl. vii:29), without any imperfection, corruption, or principle of corruption in his body or soul; with light in his understanding, holiness in his will, and purity in his affection. This constituted his original righteousness, which was universal, both with respect to the subject of it, the whole man, and the object of it, the whole law. Being thus in a state of holiness, he was necessarily in a state of happiness. He was a very glorious creature, the favorite of heaven, the lord of the world, possessing perfect tranquility in his own breast, and immortal. Yet he was not without law: for the law of nature, which was impressed on his heart, God superadded a positive law, not to eat of the forbidden fruit (Gen. ii:17) under the penalty of death natural, spiritual, and eternal. Had he obeyed this law, he might have had reason to expect that he would not only have had the continuance of the natural and spiritual life, but have been transported to the upper paradise. Man's righteousness, however, though universal, was not immutable, as the event has proved. How long he lived in a state of innocence cannot easily be ascertained, yet most suppose it was but a short time. The [Transcriber's note: break in the text here appears to be a printer's error in the original] tion, or rejection and deprivation of those supernatural gifts; not indeed positive law which God gave him he broke, by eating the forbidden fruit. The consequence of this evil act was, that man lost the chief good; his nature was corrupted; his powers depraved, his body subject to corruption, his soul exposed to misery, his posterity all involved in ruin, subject to eternal condemnation, and for ever incapable to restore themselves to the favor of God, to obey his commands perfectly, and to satisfy his justice."[A]

[Footnote A: Buck's Theological Dictionary, p. 182.]

Another Protestant authority says:

"The tree of knowledge of good and evil revealed to those who ate its fruit secrets of which they had better have remained ignorant; for the purity of man's happiness consisted in doing and loving good without even knowing evil."[A]

[Footnote A: Old Testament History William Smith, L. L.D., chap. ii.]

From these several passages as also indeed from the whole tenor of Christian writings upon this subject, the fall of Adam is quite generally deplored and upon him is laid a very heavy burden of responsibility. It was he, they complain, who

"Brought death into the world, and all our woe."

One great division of Christendom in its creed, it is true, in dealing with the fall, concedes that "God was pleased according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit [the fall] having purposed to order it to his own glory."[A]

[Footnote A: Westminster Confession chapter vi, section 1.]

And in an authoritative explanation of this section they say, "That this sin [the fall] was permissively embraced in the sovereign purpose of God." And still further in explanation: "Its purpose being God's general plan, and one eminently wise and righteous, to introduce all the new created subjects of moral government into a state of probation for a time in which he makes their permanent character and destiny depend upon their own action." Still, this sin described as being permissively embraced in the sovereign purpose of the Deity, God designed "to order it to his own glory;" but it no where appears according to this confession of faith that the results of the fall are to be of any benefit to man. The only thing consulted in the theory of this creed seems to be the manifestation of the glory of God—a thing which represents God as a most selfish being—but just how the glory of God can be manifested by the "fall" which, according to this creed, results in the eternal damnation of the overwhelming majority of his "creatures," is not quite apparent.

Those who made this Westminster Confession, as also the large following which accept it, concede that their theory involves them at least in two difficulties which they confess it is impossible for them to meet. These are, respectively:

First, "How could sinful desires or volitions originate in the soul of moral agents created holy like Adam and Eve;" and, second, "how can sin be permissively embraced in the eternal purpose of God and not involve him as responsible for the sin?" "If it be asked," say they "why God, who abhors sin, and who benevolently desires the excellence and happiness of his creatures, should sovereignly determine to permit such a fountain of pollution, degradation, and misery to be opened, we can only say, with profound reverence, 'Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.'"[A]

[Footnote A: Commentary on the Confession of Faith, A. D. Hodge, pp. 105-108.]

These difficulties, however, are the creed's and those who accept it, not ours, and do not further concern our discussion at this point.

Infidels—under which general term (and I do not use it offensively) I mean all those who do not accept the Christian creeds, nor believe the Bible to be a revelation—infidels, I say, quite generally deride the fall of man as represented both in the creeds of Christendom and in the Bible. They regard the tremendous consequences attendant upon eating the forbidden fruit as altogether out of proportion with the act itself, and universally hold that a moral economy which would either design or permit such a calamity as the fall is generally supposed to be, as altogether unworthy of an all-merciful and just Deity. Thomas Paine referring to it says:

"Putting aside everything that might excite laughter by its absurdity, or detestation by its profaneness, and confining ourselves merely to an examination of the parts, it is impossible to conceive a story more derogatory to the Almighty, more inconsistent with his wisdom, more contradictory to his power than this story is."

In their contentions against the story of Genesis, no less than iu their war upon "the fall" and "original sin" in the men-made creeds of Christendom, infidels have denounced God in most blasphemous terms as the author of all the evil in this world by permitting, through not preventing, the fall; and they have as soundly ridiculed and abused Adam for the part he took in the affair. He has been held up by them as weak and cowardly, because he referred his partaking of the forbidden fruit to the fact that the woman gave to him and he did eat; a circumstance into which they read an effort on the part of the man to escape censure, perhaps punishment, and to cast the blame for his transgression upon the woman. These scoffers proclaim their preference for the variations of this story of a "fall of man" as found in the mythologies of various peoples, say those of Greece or India.[A] But all this aside. The truth is that nothing could be more courageous, sympathetic, or nobly honorable than the course of this world's great Patriarch in his relations to his wife Eve and the "fall." The woman by deception is led into transgression, and stands under the penalty of a broken law. Banishment from the presence of God, banishment from the presence of her husband—death, await her. Thereupon the man, not deceived, but knowingly (as we are assured by Paul), also transgresses. Why? In one aspect of the case in order that he might share the woman's banishment from the comfortable presence of God, and with her die—than which ho higher proof of love could be given—no nobler act of chivalry performed. But primarily he transgressed that "Man might be." He transgressed a less important law that he might comply with one more important, if one may so speak of any of God's laws. The facts are, as we have already seen, that the conditions which confronted Adam in his earth-life were afore time known to him; that of his own volition he accepted them, and came to earth to meet them.

[Footnote A: See Ingersoll's Lectures, "Liberty of Man, Woman and Child," where the great orator, contrasts the story of the Pall given in the Bible with that of Brahma in the Hindoo mythology, and extravagantly praises the latter to the disparagement of the former.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Purpose of Man's Earth Life.

Book of Mormon—Nephi ii; Alma xiii and xlii, and the notes of this lesson.

II. Epicurean Doctrine.

III. Book of Mormon Doctrine—Men Are That They Might Have Joy.


The Purpose of Man's Earth-Life.—"Men are that they might have joy."

That is to say, the purpose of man's earth-life is in some way to be made to contribute to his joy, which is but another way of saying that man's earth-life is to eventuate in his advantage.

"Men are that they might have joy!" What is meant by that? Have we here the reappearance of the old Epicurean doctrine, "pleasure is the supreme good, and chief end of life?" No, verily! Nor any form of ancient or modern Hedonism[A] whatsoever. For mark, in the first place, the different words "joy" and "pleasure." They are not synonymous. The first does not necessarily arise from the second. Joy may arise from quite other sources than "pleasure," even from pain, when the endurance of pain is to eventuate in the achievement of some good: such as the travail of a mother in bringing forth her offspring; the weariness and pain and danger of toil by a father, to secure comforts for loved ones. Moreover, whatever apologists may say, it is very clear that the "pleasure" of the Epicurean philosophy, hailed as "the supreme good and chief end of life," was to arise from agreeable sensations, or what ever gratified the senses, and hence was, in the last analysis of it—in its roots and branches—in its theory and in its practice—"sensualism." It was to result in physical ease and comfort, and mental inactivity—other than a conscious, self-complacence—being regarded as "the supreme good and chief end of life." I judge this to be the net result of this philosophy since these are the very conditions in which Epicureans describe even the gods to exist;[B] and surely men could not hope for more "pleasure," or greater happiness than that possessed by their gods. Cicero even charges that the sensualism of Epicurus was so gross that he represents him as blaming his brother, Timocrates, "because he would not allow that everything which had any reference to a happy life was to be measured by the belly; nor has he," continues Cicero, "said this once only, but often."

[Footnote A: "Hedonism: The doctrine of certain Greek philosophers; in ethics, gross self-interest. Hedonism is the form of eudemonism that regards pleasure (including avoidance of pain) as the only conceivable object in life, and teaches that as between the lower pleasures of sense and the higher enjoyments of reason or satisfactory satisfied-respect, there is no difference except in the degree, duration and hedonic value of the experience, there being, in strictness, no such thing as ethical or moral value." Standard Dictionary.]

[Footnote B: In Cicero's description of the Epicurean conception of the gods he says: "That which is truly happy cannot be burdened with any labor Itself, nor can it impose any labor on another, nor can it be influenced by resentment or favor, because things which are liable to such failings must be weak and frail. * * Their life [i. e. of the gods] is most happy and the most abounding with all kinds of blessings which can be conceived. They do nothing. They are embarrassed with no business; nor do they perform any work. They rejoice in the possession of their own wisdom and virtue. They are satisfied that they shall ever enjoy the fulness of eternal pleasure. * * * Nothing can be happy that is not at ease." (Tusculan Disputations, The Nature of the Gods).]

This is not the "joy," it is needless to say, contemplated in the Book of Mormon. Nor is the "joy" there contemplated the "joy" of mere innocence—mere innocence, which, say what you will of it, is but a negative sort of virtue. A virtue that is colorless, never quite sure of itself, always more or less uncertain, because untried. Such a virtue—if mere absence of vice may be called virtue—would be unproductive of that "joy" the attainment of which is set forth in the Book of Mormon as the purpose of man's existence; for in the context it is written, "They [Adam and Eve] would have remained in a state of 'innocence,' having no joy, for they know no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin."[A] From which it appears that the "joy" contemplated in our Book of Mormon passage is to arise from something more than mere innocence, which is, impliedly, unproductive of "joy." The "joy" contemplated in the Book of Mormon passage is to arise out of man's rough and thorough knowledge of evil, of sin; through knowing misery, sorrow, pain and suffering; through seeing good and evil locked in awful conflict; through a consciousness of having chosen in that conflict the better part, the good; and not only in having chosen it, but in having wedded it by eternal compact; made it his by right of conquest over evil. It is "joy" that will will arise from a consciousness of having "fought the good fight," of having "kept the faith." It will arise from a consciousness of moral, spiritual and physical strength. Of strength gained in conflict. The strength that comes from experience; from having sounded the depths of the soul; from experiencing all the emotions of which mind is susceptible; from testing all the qualities and strength of the intellect. A "joy" that will come to man from a contemplation of the universe, and a consciousness that he is an heir to all that is—a joint heir with Jesus Christ and God; from knowing that he is an essential part of all that is. It is a joy that will be born of the consciousness of existence itself—that will revel in existence—in thoughts of and realization of existence's limitless possibilities. A "joy" born of the consciousness of the power of eternal increase. A "joy" arising from association with the Intelligences of innumerable heavens—the Gods of all eternities. A "joy" born of a consciousness of being, of intelligence, of faith, knowledge, light, truth, mercy, justice, love, glory, dominion, wisdom, power; all feelings, affections, emotions, passions; all heights and all depths. "Men are that they might have joy;" and that "joy" is based upon and contemplates all that is here set down.

[Footnote A: II Nephi ii:23.]

Here, then, stands the truth so far as it may be gathered from God's word and the nature of things: There is in man an eternal, uncreated, self existing entity, call it "intelligence," "mind," "spirit," "soul"—what you will, so long as you recognize it, and regard its nature as eternal. There came a time when in the progress of things, (which is only another way of saying in the "nature of things") an earth-career, or earth existence, because of the things it has to teach, was necessary to the enlargement, to the advancement of these "intelligences," these "spirits," "souls." Hence an earth is prepared; and one sufficiently advanced and able, by the nature of him to bring to pass the events, is chosen, through whom all earth-existence, with all its train of events—its mingled miseries and comforts, its sorrows and joys, its pains and pleasures, its good, and its evil—may be brought to pass. He comes to earth with his appointed spouse. He comes primarily to bring to pass man's earth-life. He comes to the earth with the solemn injunction upon him. "Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it." But he comes with the knowledge that this earth-existence of eternal "Intelligences" is to be lived under circumstances that will contribute to their enlargement, to their advancement. They are to experience joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure; witness the effect of good and evil, and exercise their agency in the choice of good or of evil. To accomplish this end, the local, or earth harmony of things must be broken. Evil to be seen, and experienced, must enter the world, which can only come to pass through the violation of law. The law is given:—"Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day thou eatest of it thou shalt surely die." The woman, forgetful of the purpose of the earth mission of herself and spouse is led by flattery and deceit into a violation of that law, and becomes subject to its penalty. But the man, not deceived, but discerning clearly the path of duty, and in order that earth-existence may be provided for the great host of "spirits" to come to earth under the conditions prescribed—he also transgresses the law, not only that men might be, but that they might have that being under the very circumstances deemed essential to the enlargement, to the progress of eternal Intelligences. Adam did not sin because deceived by another. He did not sin maliciously, or with evil intent; or to gratify an inclination to rebellion against God, or to thwart the Divine purposes, or to manifest his own pride. Had his act of sin involved the taking of life rather than eating a forbidden fruit, it would be regarded as a "sacrifice" rather than a "murder." This to show the nature of Adam's transgression. It was a transgression of the law—"for sin is the transgression of the law"[A]—that conditions deemed necessary to the progress of eternal Intelligences might obtain. Adam sinned that men might be, and not only "be," but have that existence under conditions essential to progress. But Adam did sin. He did break the law; and violation of law involves the violator in its penalties, as surely as effect follows cause. Upon this principle depends the dignity and majesty of law. Take this fact away from moral government and your moral laws become mere nullities. Therefore, notwithstanding Adam fell that men might be, and in his transgression there was at bottom a really exalted motive—a motive that contemplated nothing less than bringing to pass the highly necessary purposes of God with respect to man's existence in the earth—yet his transgression of law was followed by certain moral effects in the nature of men and in the world. The harmony of things was broken; discord ruled; changed relations between God and men took place; darkness, sin and death stalked through the world, and conditions were brought to pass in the midst of which the eternal Intelligences might gain those experiences that such conditions had to teach.

[Footnote A: I John iii 4.]

Now as to the second part of the great truth—"men are that they might have joy"—viewed also in the light of the "Intelligence" or "spirit" in man being an eternal, uncreated, self-existing entity. Remembering what I have already said in these pages as to the nature of this "joy" which it is the purpose of earth existence to secure, remembering from what it is to arise—from the highest possible development—the highest conceivable enlargement of physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual power—what other conceivable purpose for existence in earth-life could there be for eternal Intelligences than this attainment of "joy" springing from progress? Man's existence for the manifestation alone of God's glory, as taught by the creeds of men, is not equal to it. That view represents man as but a thing created, and God as selfish and vain of glory. True, the Book of Mormon idea of the purpose of man's existence, is accompanied by a manifestation of God's glory; for with the progress of Intelligences there must be an ever widening manifestation of the glory of God. It is written that "the glory of God is Intelligence;" and it must follow, as clearly as the day follows night, that with the enlargement, with the progress of Intelligences, there must ever be a constantly increasing splendor in the manifestation of the glory of God. But in the Book of Mormon doctrine, the manifestation of that glory is incidental. The primary purpose is not in that manifestation but the "joy" arising from the progress of Intelligences. And yet that fact adds to the glory of God, since it represents the Lord as seeking the enlargement and "joy" of kindred Intelligences, rather than the mere selfish manifestation of his own, personal glory. "This is my work and my glory," says the Lord, in another "Mormon" scripture, "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man;"[A] and therein is God's "joy." A "joy" that grows from the progress of others; from bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of "man." Not the immortality of the "spirit" of man, mark you, for that immortality is already existent; but to bring to pass the immortality of the spirit and body in their united condition, and which together constitutes "man," "the soul"—the whole man; for "the spirit and the body is the soul of man;" and the resurrection of the dead is the redemption of the soul—the whole man. And the purpose for which man is, is that he might have "joy;" that "joy" which, in the last analysis of things, should be even as God's "joy," and God's glory, namely, the bringing to pass the progress, enlargement and "joy" of others.

[Footnote A: Pearl of Great Price i:39.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Problem of Evil.

II Nephi ii:5-30. See Treatise which takes the place of notes.

II. The Law of Opposite Existence.

[Footnote A: As in the case of lesson viii and ix it is thought that the brief treatis which is here given on "The Problem of Moral Evil" will be more serviceable than detached notes, and hence it is given in their stead. It might be well also to assign the subject of the lesson to one of the more experienced of the elders for a discourse, giving ample time for preparation.]


1. The Problem of the Existence of Moral Evil: The existence of evil in the world has ever been a vexed problem for both theologians and philosophers, and has led to the wildest speculations imaginable. It will be sufficient here, however, if I note the recognition by high authority of the difficulties involved in the problem. Of those who have felt and expressed these difficulties, I know of no one who has done so in better terms than Henry L. Mansel in his celebrated Lectures on "The Limits of Religious Thought" (1858), in the course of which he says:

"The real riddle of existence—the problem which confounds all philosophy, aye, and all religion too, so far as religion is a thing of man's reason, is the fact that evil exists at all; not that it exists for a longer or a short duration. Is not God infinitely wise and holy and powerful now? and does not sin exist along with that infinite holiness and wisdom and power? Is God to become more holy, more wise, more powerful hereafter; and must evil be annihilated to make room for his perfections to expand? Does the infinity of his eternal nature ebb and flow with every increase or diminution in the sum of human guilt and misery? Against the immovable barrier of the existence of evil, the waves of philosophy have dashed themselves unceasingly since the birthday of human thought, and have retired broken and powerless, without displacing the minutest fragment of the stubborn rock, without softening one feature of its dark and rugged surface."

This truly great writer then proceeds by plain implication to make it clear that religion no more than philosophy has solved the problem of the existence of evil:

"But this mystery, [i. e. the existence-of evil], vast and inscrutable as it is, is but one aspect of a more general problem; it is but the moral form of the ever-recurring secret of the Infinite. How the Infinite and the Finite, in any form of antagonism or other relation, can exist together; how infinite power can co-exist with finite activity;'how infinite wisdom can co-exist with finite contingency; how infinite goodness can co-exist with finite evil; how the Infinite can exist in any manner without exhausting the universe of reality;—this is the riddle which Infinite Wisdom alone can solve, the problem whose very conception belongs only to that Universal Knowledge which fills and embraces the Universe of Being."

In the presence of these reflections it cannot be doubted, then, that the existence of moral evil is one of the world's serious difficulties; and any solution which may be given of it that is really helpful, will be a valuable contribution to the world's enlightenment, a real revelation "a ray of light from the inner facts of things."

In the Book of Mormon there is such ray of light, a word that is helpful.

The statement of the doctrine in question occurs in a discourse of Lehi's on the subject of the Atonement. The aged prophet represents happiness or misery as growing out of the acceptance or rejection of the Atonement of the Christ, and adds that the misery consequent upon its rejection is in opposition to the happiness which is affixed to its acceptance: "For it must needs be," he continues, "that there is an opposition in all things. If [it were] not so * * * righteousness could not be brought to pass; neither wickedness; neither holiness nor misery; neither good nor bad. Wherefore [that is, if this fact of opposites did not exist], all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it [the sum of things] should be one body, it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing [i. e. the absence of opposite existences which Lehi is supposing] must needs destroy the wisdom of God, and his eternal purposes; and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God."

[Footnote: II Nephi ii.]

The inspired man, however, even goes beyond this, and makes existences themselves depend upon this law of opposites:

"And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness, there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness, there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not, there is no God. And if there is no God, we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things; neither to act nor to be acted upon, wherefore, all things must have vanished away."

This may be regarded as a very bold setting forth of the doctrine of antinomies, and yet I think the logic of it, and the inevitableness of the conclusion unassailable. "The world presents us with a picture of unity and distinction," says S. Baring-Gould, in his excellent work "Origin and Development of Religious Beliefs" "Unity without uniformity, and distinction without antagonism. * * * * * Everywhere, around us and within us, we see that radical antimony. The whole astronomic order resolves itself into attraction and repulsion—a centripetal and a centrifugal force; the chemical order into the antimony of positive and negative electricity, decomposing substances and recomposing them. The whole visible universe presents the antimony of light and darkness, movement and repose, force and matter, heat and cold, the one and the multiple. The order of life is resumed in the antimony of the individual and the species, the particular and the general; the order of our sentiments in that of happiness and sorrow, pleasure and pain; that of our conceptions in the antimony of the ideal and the real; that of our will in the conditions of activity and passivity.[A] The American Philosopher, Emerson, also has something like this. He says: Polarity, or action and reaction, we meet in every part of nature; in darkness and light; in heat and cold; in the ebb and flow of waters; in male and female; in the inspiration and expiration of plants and animals; in the systole and diastole of the heart; in the undulations of fluids and of sound; in the centrifugal and centripetal gravity; in electricity, galvanism and chemical affinity. Superinduce magnetism at one end of the needle, the opposite magnetism takes place at the other end. If the south attracts, the north repels. To empty here, you must condense there.' An inevitable dualism bisects nature, so that each thing is a half, and suggests another thing to make it whole; as, spirit, matter; man, woman; subjective, objective; in, out; upper, under; motion, rest; yea, nay. * * * * * Every sweet hath its sour, every evil its good." (Emerson's "Compensation.")

[Footnote A: "Origin and Development of Religious Belief" Vol. II pp. 22, 23.]

In view of the utterances of the Book of Mormon already quoted I am justified in saying that evil as well as good is among the eternal things. Its existence did not begin with its appearance on our earth. Evil existed even in heaven; for Lucifer and many other spirits sinned there; rebelled against heaven's matchless King, waged war, and were thrust out into the earth for their transgression.

Evil is not a created quality. It has always existed as the background of good. It is as eternal as goodness; it is as eternal as law; it is as eternal as the agency of intelligences. Sin, which is evil active, is trangression of law; and so long as the agency of intelligences and law have existed, the possibility of the trangression of law has existed; and as the agency of intelligences and law have eternally existed, so, too, evil has existed, eternally, either potentially or active, and will always so exist.

Evil may not be referred to God for its origin. He is not its creator, [A] it is one of those independent existences that is uncreate, and stands in the category of qualities of eternal things. While not prepared to accept the doctrine of some philosophers that "good and evil are two sides of one thing." I am prepared to believe that evil is a necessary antithesis to good, and essential to the realization of the harmony of the universe. "The good cannot exist without the antithesis of the evil—the foil on which it produces itself and becomes known." As remarked by Orlando J. Smith, "Evil exists in the balance of natural forces. * * * * * It is also the background of good, the incentive to good, and the trial of good, without which good could not be. As the virtue of courage could not exist without the evil of danger, and as the virtue of sympathy could not exist without the evil of suffering, so no other virtue could exist without its corresponding evil. In a world without evil—if such a world be really conceivable, all men would have perfect health, perfect intelligence, and perfect morals. No one could gain or impart information, each one's cup of knowledge being full. The temperature would stand forever at seventy degrees, both heat and cold being evil. There could be no progress, since progress is the overcoming of evil. A world without evil would be as toil without exertion, as light without darkness, as a battle with no antagonist. It would be a world without meaning." Or, as Lehi puts it, in still stronger terms—after describing what conditions would be without the existence of opposites—"Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it [i. e. the sum of things] should be one body, [i. e. of one character—so called good without evil] it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. Wherefore, it [the sum of things] must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing [the absence of opposites] must needs destroy the wisdom of God, and his eternal purposes; and also, the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God."[B]

[Footnote A: Lest some text-proofer should extort, upon the me and cite the words of Isaiah—"I make peace and create evil"—the only text of scripture ascribing the creation of evil to God—I will anticipate so far as to say that it is quite generally agreed that no reference is made in the words of Isaiah to "moral evil;" but to such evils as may come as judgments upon people for their correction, such as famine or tempest or war: such an "evil" as would stand in natural antithesis to "peace," which word precedes, "I create evil," in the text—"I make peace and create"—the opposite to peace, "The evil of afflictions and punishments, but not the evil of sin" (Catholic Comment on Isaiah 45: 7). Meantime we have the clearest scriptural evidence that moral evil is not a product of God's: "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." That is to say, God has nothing to do with the creation of moral evil; "But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James i: 13-15).]

[Footnote B: Nephi ii:13.]

As there can be no good without the antimony of evil, so there can be no evil without its antimony, or antithesis—good. The existence of one implies the existence of the other; and, conversely, the non-existence of the latter would imply the non-existence of the former. It is from this basis that Lehi reached the conclusion that either his doctrine of antinomies, or the existence of opposites, is true, or else there are no existences. That is to say—to use his own words—"If ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness, there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness, there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not, there is no God, and if there is no God, we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon: wherefore, all things must have vanished away."[A]

[Footnote A: Nephi ii:13.]

But as things have not vanished away, as there are real existences, the whole series of things for which he contends are verities. "For there is a God," he declares, "and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them is; both things to act, and things to be acted upon."

After arriving at this conclusion, Lehi, proceeding from the general to the particular, deals with the introduction of this universal antimony into our world as follows:

"To bring about his [God's] eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, * * * * * it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter; "Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore man could not act for himself, save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.[B] And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose, that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God. And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable for ever he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies; wherefore he said, Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil. And after Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit, they were driven out of the garden of Eden, to till the earth. And they have brought forth children; yea, even the family of all the earth. And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents. And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed, he would not have fallen; but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created, must have remained in the same state in which they were, after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore, they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

[Footnote B: On such a proposition Dr. Jacob Cooper, of Rutgers College, at the head of an article on "Theodicy," the justification of the divine providence by the attempt to reconcile the existence of evil with the goodness and sovereignty of God, says (August, 1903), "There must be an alternative to any line of conduct, in order to give it a moral quality. We have to deal with, not an imaginary, but a real world; not with a state of things wholly different from those by which character is developed. If there are to be such qualities as righteousnesss, virtue, merit, as the result of good action, there must be a condition by which these things are possible. And this can only be where there is an alternative which may be embraced by a free choice. If the work of man on earth is to build up character, if his experience is disciplinary, by which he constantly becomes better fitted for greater good and a wider sphere of action, then he must have the responsibility of choosing for himself a course different from one which appeals to the lower qualities in his nature."]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Family of Adam.

1. Descendants of Cain.

2. Descendants of Seth.

Gen. iv:1, 2. Book of Moses ch. v:1-3. Josephus Antiquities Bk. I, Sec. ii and iii. Book of Moses ch. vi:1-16 Notes 1, 2, 3, 4.

II. The Commandment to offer Sacrifice.

Book of Moses, ch. v:4, 5. Gen. iv:4-6.

III. Explanation of the Sacrifice.

Book of Moses, ch. v:6-8.

IV. A Gospel Dispensation Given to Adam.

Book of Moses, ch. vi:48-69. Note 5.


1. The Descendants of Adam: The account of the family of Adam in the Book of Genesis is painfully brief and gives no idea of the number of sons and daughters born to him. During the first one hundred and thirty years it gives an account of but three sons; Cain, Abel, and Seth. "And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years, and he beget sons and daughters." (Gen. 5:3). Before the account of the birth of Cain is given, however, the sacred historian says: "And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living." (Gen. 3:20). In the Book of Moses (P. G. P.) there is an account of sons and daughters being born to the pair sometime before the birth of Cain, and even an account of their beginning to divide two and two and to till the land and to tend flocks; "and they also begot sons and daughters," all this previous to the birth of Cain. (Book of Moses, ch. 5:2, 3). Even in the Genesis' account of Cain's birth there seems to be something of an inference that sons and daughters had been born to Adam and Eve preceding Cain's birth, because some special hope seems to attach to the birth of Cain, Eve saying, when she bore him, "I have gotten a man from the Lord;" and the Book of Moses adds this conclusion to her words, "Wherefore he may not reject his (the Lord's) words." But alas! how that mother's hopes were to be blighted, for the record just quoted says, "But behold, Cain hearkened not." (Book of Moses, ch. 5:16). And the final result of his rejection of God's counsels are perhaps the saddest of all history.

2. The Wickedness of Cain: The Book of Moses represents the descendants of Adam as being early influenced by the flattery and evil persuasions of Lucifer who had been cast out of heaven to the earth. (Book of Moses, ch. 5:13.) Cain seemed especially subject to his influence and "loved Satan" more than God. (Ibid 28). A league and covenant was made in fact between the pair, and Satan even abdicated his place of bad eminence as chief rebel against God in favor of Cain. "And Satan swear unto Cain that he would do according to his commands. And all these things were done in secret, and Cain said truly, I am Mahan the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain, wherefore Cain wras called Master Mahan and he gloried in his wickedness." (Book of Moses, ch. 5:30, 31.) This throws some light upon an obscure passage in Genesis (IV:7), "If thou doest well,' the Lord is represented as saying to Cain on the latter's displeasure at his offering to the Lord not being accepted, 'shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his [Lucifer's] desire, and thou shalt rule over him." The question is whose desire shall be unto Cain? And who shall Cain rule over? The commentators usually assume that it is Abel who is to have the desires unto Cain, and over whom Cain is to rule, a most absurd conclusion, unless we can believe that God designed to place righteous Abel under the dominion of the evil minded Cain which is unthinkable. The truth of the matter is, that the record in Genesis is evidently imperfect, and should be as we find it in the Book of Moses, which represents that Satan's desires shall be towards Cain; He shall rejoice in Cain because the latter is a wicked man; and to win him completely to his kingdom Satan is even walling to abdicate his throne and consent for Cain to rule over him. All of which indicates the desperate wicked disposition of Cain before he reached the climax of his crimes in the murder of his brother, Abel.

3. Josephus on the Wickedness of Cain and His Descendants: "And when Cain had travelled over many countries, (after God's sentence upon him) he, with his wife, built a city named Nod, which is a place so called, and there he settled his abode; where also he had children. However, he did not accept of his punishment in order to amendment, but to increase his wickedness; for he only aimed to procure everything that was for his own bodily pleasure, though it obliged him to be injurious to his neighbors. He augmented his household substance with much wealth, by rapine and violence; he excited his acquaintance to procure pleasure and spoils by robbery, and became a great leader of men into wicked courses. He also introduced a change in that way of simplicity wherein men lived before; and was the author of measures and weights; and whereas they lived innocently and generously while they knew nothing of such arts, he changed the world into cunning craftiness. * * * * * Even while Adam was alive, it came to pass, that the posterity of Cain became exceeding wicked, every one successively dying, one after another, more wicked than the former. They were intolerable in war, and vehement in robberies; and if any one were slow to murder people, yet was he, bold in his profligate behavior, in acting unjustly, and doing injuries for gain." (Josephus' "Antiquities" Book I chap. II).

4. Seth and His Descendants: Adam was more fortunate in his son Seth and his posterity. It is written that "God revealed himself unto Seth and he rebelled not, but offered an acceptable sacrifice like unto his brother Abel. And to him also was born a son and he called his name Enos, and then began these men to call upon the name of the Lord, and the Lord blessed them. And a book of remembrance was kept, in which was recorded, in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration; and by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled." (Book of Moses, ch. V. 3-6.)

Of the righteousness of Seth's posterity, Josephus himself says: "Now this posterity of Seth continued to esteem God as the Lord of the universe, and to have an entire regard to virtue for seven generations; but in process of time they were perverted, and forsook the practices of their forefathers; and did neither pay those honors to God which were appointed them, nor had they any concern to do justice toward men; but for what degree of zeal they had formerly shown for virtue, they now showed by their actions a double degree of wickedness, whereby they made God to be their enemy."

But notwithstanding the wickedness even among the descendants of Seth, (Book of Moses, ch. VI:15) still there was a line of righteous men preserved through whom the holy priesthood continued in the earth and among them were preachers of righteousness. (Book of Moses, ch. VI:7).

5. The offering of Sacrifices Commanded: No explanation is given in Genesis as to the reason why sacrifice was to be offered. There is simply a statement of fact that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord, but that Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and that the Lord had respect unto Abel's offering, but not unto Cain's. It must be evident that this effort at honoring God was taught by their father, but why they were so taught is not stated. In the Book of Moses (P. G. P.), however, the matter is made very clear. "And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence. And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord." (Book of Moses, ch. V:4, 5). There appears as yet, however, no explanation for this offering of sacrifices. With the fall of Adam there seems to have come a forgetfulness of the plan of salvation devised in the counsels of the Eloheim before Adam's earth-life began. And it needed the aforesaid commandment to Adam to bring to pass the introduction of those symbols which were intended to figure forth the Atonement of the Christ. And though Adam, in his fallen state, had apparently lost his recollection of these things ordained before the foundations of the world, yet he was obedient to the commands of the Lord. "And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me. And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth. Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou dost in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son for evermore. And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and for ever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will." (Book of Moses, ch. VI, 6-9).

6. The Gospel Fully Revealed to Adam: It would seem also that Adam about this time received even more full explanations respecting his redemption than is given in the passage of the Book of Moses, quoted in the foregoing note; for in the passage attributed to Enoch sometime after the event above quoted, it is said: "And he [God] called upon * * * Adam by his own voice, saying: I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh. And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you. And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water? And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden. Hence came the saying abroad among the people, That the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world. And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good. And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves, and I have given unto you another law and commandment. Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in no wise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is His name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous judge, who shall come in the meridian of time. Therefore, I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying: That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory. * * * * And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water. And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man. And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever; and thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity. Behold, thou art one in me, a Son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen." (Book of Moses, chs. VI:51-59, 64-68).

Thus a dispensation of the Gospel was committed unto Adam, and the means of his redemption was clearly made known unto him. He was not left to perish in ignorance of God's purposes in respect of his earth life, and whatever intellectual or spiritual darkness, had come over him as a consequence of his fall and his banishment from Eden it was now dispelled by this dispensation of the gospel given unto him, granting to him a knowledge of that eternal life "which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began." (Titus, i; 2.)


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Rejoicing of Adam and Eve on Receiving a Dispensation of the Gospel.

Book of Moses, ch. v:10-12. Note 1.

II. The Place of Adam in the Divine Economy of the Gospel Dispensation.

Millennial Star, Vol. XVII, pp. 310-311. Also Vol. XVIII, pp. 164-5. Mormon Doctrine of Deity, pp. 243-251. Doc. and Cov. Sec. cvii:53-56.

    Notes 2, 3, 4.


1. Joy in the Gospel: The rejoicing of Adam and Eve on receiving a dispensation of the Gospel, which rejoicing went to the extent of condoning the fact of their fall, (See Book of Moses, V:10, 12) could arise from no other circumstance than that their former knowledge of what was to be accomplished by the earth-life of man had been restored to them. Which knowledge possessed by the pre-existent spirits of man before the foundations of the earth were laid, caused "The Morning Stars to sing together, and all the sons of God to shout for joy." (Job 38:7). Doubtless the contemplation of that "eternal life which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began" (Titus I:2) was sufficient cause for their joy; and it brings home to us the truth, that notwithstanding the presence of evil and sorrow in this world, there has been no blundering in the creation of the earth and the placing of men upon it under circumstances in the midst of which they are called upon to work out their salvation. The purposes of God have not been surprised, nor have they ran awry. On the contrary they are moving forward in majestic procession to the attainment of their end. God is in his world, reconciling it unto himself. Man is here in this world in one of the departments of God's great university to learn of good and evil; of joy and sorrow; to take upon his spirit a clothing of flesh and bone,—elements through which, and only through which, (See Doc. & Cov. Sec. xciii; 33, 34) he may have a larger, nobler and higher life than was possible for him when existing only in spirit form. And the coming in contact with evil and engaging in the struggle with it, brief or more or less prolonged, is but an incident, a means of education, and over evil he will ultimately triumph, and conform his life to the law of God—the law of righteousness. And so, too, will the race, those who succumb permanently to evil will be so few in comparison with those who will triumph, that the calamity of their misfortunes should not weigh against the larger good that shall come to the race, or check the rejoicings of the first pair upon gaining the full vision of God's meaning when he ordained man's earth-existence.

2. The Priesthood of Adam: The Priesthood was first given to Adam; he obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the Creation, before the world was formed, (Genesis i, 20, 26, 28). He had dominion given him over every living creature. He is Michael, the Arch-Angel, spoken of in the Scriptures. Then to Noah, who is Gabriel; he stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood; he was called of God to this office, and was the Father of all living in his day, and to him was given the dominion. These men held keys first on Earth, and then in Heaven. The Priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years. The keys have to be brought from Heaven whenever the Gospel is sent. When they are revealed from Heaven, it is by Adam's authority. Daniel vii, speaks of the Ancient of Days; he means the oldest man, our Father Adam, Michael; he will call his children together and hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He (Adam) is the Father of the human family, and presides over the spirits of all men, and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council. This may take place before some of us leave this stage of action. The Son of Man stands before him, and there is given him glory and dominion. Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ, that which was delivered to him as holding the keys of the Universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family. * * * * * The Father called all spirits before him at the creation of man, and organized them. He (Adam) is the head, and was told to multiply. The Keys were first given to him, and by him to others. He will have to give an account of his stewardship, and they to him. * * * * * how have we come at the Priesthood in the last days? It came down, down in regular succession. Peter, James, and John had it given to them, and they gave it to others. Christ is the Great High Priest; Adam next. Paul speaks of the Church coming to an innumerable company of angels—to God the Judge of all—the spirits of just men made perfect; to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, etc. (Heb. xii. 23.) I saw Adam in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman. He called together his children and blessed them with a patriarchal blessing. The Lord appeared in their midst, and he (Adam) blessed them all, and foretold what should befall them to the latest generation."—Joseph Smith, Millennial Star, Vol. XVII, p. 310-311.

3. Adam in the Land of Adam-ondi-Ahman: The vision alluded to in the closing sentences of the preceding note was doubtless the foundation of the following passage in the Book of Doctrine & Covenants, "Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all High Priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing. And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the Prince, the Archangel. And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him, I have set thee to be at the head—a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a Prince over them for ever. And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation, and notwithstanding he was bowed down with age, being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation. These things were all written in the book of Enoch, and are to be testified of in due time." (Doc. & Cov. Sec. 107, vers. 53-57.)


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)


(A Discourse.)


1. A Suggestion to the Speaker: The discourse is to be argumentative. The form in which the theme is stated necessarily makes it so.

It is expected that the Sectarian views will be fairly presented and considered, after which will come the presentation of the views that arise from what God has revealed to his Church concerning the great Patriarch of our race, and the superiority of those views over the conceptions of the Christian Sects be made to appear.

Let the suggestions respecting speech structure in Lesson VI, and also the same instruction in Year Book I, be remembered and reviewed in the course of preparation.

2. Argumentative Speaking: "In expository and argumentative composition the writer is compelled to think, and to think connectedly. Structure is all-important in these forms of composition. A successful narrative or description may be given without a strict plan or organization, for much depends upon vivid words and happy phrasing, well-turned sentences, and apt details. In exposition and argument, however, a glib use of language, rounded sentences, and good illustration will not save the writer from failure if his thought is not exact and carefully developed." (Composition and Rhetoric, Herrick and Damon.)

Governing Principles in Argumentative Discourse: "The argumentative Discourse is a composition in which the writer lays down a proposition, and endeavors to persuade others that it is true. The statements or reasons used for this purpose are called Arguments. * * * In the conduct of * * * argumentative discourses, six formal divisions were adopted by the ancients: (1) the Exordium or Introduction, (2) the Division, (3) the Statement, (4) the Reasoning, (5) the Appeal to the Feelings, and (6) the Peroration. It is by no means necessary, however, that these six parts should enter into every discourse. To employ them all would inevitably, in some cases, produce an appearance of stiffness and pedantry. Yet, as any of them may be used, we proceed to define and treat briefly of each. The object of the Exordium, or Introduction, is to render the reader or hearer well-disposed, attentive, and open to persuasion. To accomplish the first of these ends, the writer must make a modest opening, and convey to his readers the impression that he is candidly maintaining the position of the truth of which he is himself assured. To awaken attention, he should hint at the importance, novelty, or dignity of the subject. Finally, to make his readers open to conviction, he should endeavor to remove any prejudices they may have formed against the side of the question he intends to espouse. The introduction of a discourse is its most difficult part. If it is important in other compositions to make a good impression at the outset, it is doubly so when we are endeavoring to persuade. The following suggestions will be found generally applicable:

1. An introduction must be easy and natural. It must appear, as Cicero says, "to have sprung up of its own accord from the matter under consideration." To insure there qualities, it is recommended that the introduction should not be composed until the other parts of the discourse are written [prepared], or at least until its general scope and bearing are digested. * * *

2. In the second place, modesty is essential in an introduction; it must not promise too much, and thus raise expectations in the listener which may be disappointed.

3. An introduction is not the place for vehemence and passion. The minds of readers must be gradually prepared before the writer can venture on strong and animated outbursts. * * *

4. Introductions, moreover, should not anticipate any material part of the subject. If topics or arguments afterwards to be enlarged upon are hinted at or partially discussed in the introduction, they lose, when subsequently brought forward, the grace of novelty, and thereby a 'great portion of their effect.

5. Lastly, the introduction should be accommodated, both in length and character, to the discourse that is to follow: in length, as nothing can be more absurd than to erect an immense vestibule before a diminutive building; and in character, as it is no less absurd to overcharge with superb ornaments the portico of a plain dwelling-house, or to make the entrance to a monument as gay as that to an arbor. The "Division" is that part of a discourse in which the writer [or speaker] makes known to his hearers the method to be pursued, and the heads he intends to take, in treating his subject. There are many cases in which the Division is unnecessary; some, in which its introduction would even be improper: as, for instance, when only a single argument is to be used. * * * The third division of a discourse is the Statement, in which the facts connected with the subject are laid open. This generally forms an important part of legal pleadings. The statement should be put forth in a clear and forcible style. The writer [speaker] must state his facts in such a way as to keep strictly within the bounds of truth, and yet to present them under the colors that are most favorable to his cause; to place in the most striking light every circumstance that is to his advantage, and explain away, as far as possible, such as make against him. The fourth division is the Reasoning; and on this everything depends. It is here that the arguments are found which are to induce conviction, and to prepare for which is the object of the parts already discussed. The following suggestions should be regarded:

1. "The speaker should select such arguments only as he feels to be solid and convincing. He must not expect to impose on the world by mere arts of language; but, placing himself in the situation of a hearer, should think how he would be affected by the reasoning which he proposes to use for the persuasion of others."

2. "When the arguments employed are strong and satisfactory, the more they are distinguished and treated apart from each other, the better; but, when they are weak or doubtful, it is expedient rather to throw them together, than to present each in a clear and separate light."

3. "When we have a number of arguments of different degrees of strength, it is best to begin and close with the stronger, placing the weaker in the midde, where they will naturally attract least attention."

4 "Arguments should not be multiplied too much, or extended too far. Besides burdening the memory, and lessening the effect of individual points, such diffuseness renders a cause suspected."

5. "The fifth division is the Appeal to the Feelings. This should be short and to the point. All appearance of art should be strictly avoided. To move his hearers, the speaker must be moved himself. The last division of a discourse is the peroration; in which the speaker sums up all that has been said, and endeavors to leave a forcible impression on the hearer's mind." (Course of Composition and Rhetoric, Quackenbos, pp. 385-89.)

The "Appeal" and the "Peroration," I suggest, should be combined and called "the conclusion," and if in that conclusion there is to be an "appeal" it should, in argumentative discourses, be made to the reason rather than to the feelings, since argument is addressed to the intellect rather than to the emotions.

One other suggestion I offer in the argumentative discourse—let the statement of the theory you intend to overthrow be presented in absolute fairness; so fair that those who are advocates of it could have no possible grounds of complaint against you if they were present and listening to your discourse. Assume that they are present, and so proceed as if they were to answer you. Remember, that not only in argumentative discourse, but also in expository discourse, and in all things else, truth only will endure. Let truth, then, its unfolding, its exposition, its establishment be the object of your endeavor.

Clearness: In Lesson VI. I called attention to the importance of clearness in thought expression, or speech. I now return to the subject. The quality of clearness in the expression of thought "consists of such a use and arrangement of words or clauses as at once distinctly indicate the meaning of the writer" [or speaker] (Quackenbos). "A writer [or speaker] should choose that word or phrase which will convey his meaning with clearness. It is not enough to use language that may be understood; he should use language that must be understood." "Any writer who has read even a little will know what is meant by the word 'intelligible.' It is not sufficient that there be a meaning that may be hammered out of the sentence, but that the language should be so clear that the meaning should be rendered without an effort of the hearer; and not only some proposition of meaning, but the very sense, no more and no less, which the speaker has intended to put into his words." (Principles of Rhetoric, Hill, p. 82.)

Perhaps one of the most forceful writers of English wras Lord Macaulay; remembered chiefly by his History of England, though his essays and speeches in Parliament are well nigh of equal literary value. The one quality of his literary style which stands out more prominently than any other is the quality of clearness: "What he saw at all he saw distinctly; what he believed he believed with his whole strength; he wrote on subjects with which he had long been familiar; and he made lucidity his primary object in composition. For him, in short, there was no difficulty in securing clearness, except that which is inherent in the nature of language. This difficulty he overcame with unusual success, as all his critics admit." (Hill's Rhetoric, p. 83.)

One of the means by which Macaulay secured that clearness which distinguishes all his writings is noted by a later historian. "I learned from Macaulay," says Mr. Freeman, 'never to be afraid of using the same word or name over and over again, if by that means anything could be added to clearness or force. Macaulay never goes on, like some writers, talking about 'the former' and 'the latter;' 'he,' 'she,' 'it,' 'they' through clause after clause, while his reader has to look back to see which of several persons it is that is so darkly referred to. From the point of view of clearness, it is always better to repeat a noun than to substitute for it a pronoun which fails to suggest that noun unmistakeably and at once. No fault is, however, more common than the use of an obscure or equivocal pronoun.

Examples: "I must go and help Alice with the heifer; she is not very quiet yet, and I see her going out with her pail."

Corrected: "I must go and help Alice with the heifer; the heifer is not very quiet yet, and I see Alice going out with her pail."

Example: "Steele's father, who is said to have been a lawyer, died before he had reached his sixth year."

Corrected: "Steele's father, who is said to have been a lawyer, died before his son had reached his sixth year."

Example: "There was also a number of cousins, who were about the same age, and were always laughing, though it was never quite clear what it was about."

Corrected: * * * * "though it was never quite clear what their laughing was about."

Example: "Rasselas was the fourth son of the mighty emperor in whose dominions the Fathers of Waters begins his course; whose bounty pours down the streams of plenty, and scatters over half the world the harvests of Egypt."

Corrected: * * * "the rivers bounty pours down, etc." (Hill's Rhetoric, p. 84-5.)

Let the student, then, remember this the first essential to thought-expression in speech or writing is clearness. It is not enough that one may be understood, one must be understood—less than this is dire failure. To secure the quality of clearness in thought-expression sacrifice anything, everything, seeming elegance, high sounding phrases, harmonious sounding sentences, brave tautology even, but make yourself understood.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)





I. Enoch's Place in the Line of the Patriarchs.

Gen. v:18-24. Jude 14, 15; Hebrews xi:5. Notes 1, 2.

II. The Visions of Enoch.

Book of Moses (P. G. P.) ch v:21-68. Ibid, ch vii.

III. The Founding of the City of Enoch—Translation.

See Article "Enoch," Smith's Bible Dictionary. Also Kitto same title. Josephus' Antiquities, Bk. I, ch. iii.

IV. The Writings of Enoch.

Jude 14, 15. And see Article "Book of Enoch" in Seventy's Bible Dictionary, and Smith and Kitto cited above, on same title. Notes 3, 4.


1. Enoch: Enoch is said to be the seventh from Adam (Jude 14). This is counting both Cain and Abel among the patriarchs. From the time of Seth until the birth and calling of Enoch there was an uninterrupted line of righteous men holding the priesthood, but a special dispensation of the Gospel seems, nevertheless, to have been given unto Enoch. The information we have of this patriarch in the Bible is extremely meagre, the references being found in Gen. v: 18-24, in the brief allusion to him in Jude 14, 15 and in Hebrew xi: 5. Apart from these references the only reliable information we have of Enoch is to be found in the Book of Moses, (P. G. P.) chaps, vi, vii. The occasion for giving the dispensation of the Gospel to Enoch seems to have been the development of very great wickedness among the Antediluvians and the Lord called unto Enoch out of heaven appointing him to prophesy unto the people concerning the impending calamities to fall upon them, and to cry repentance unto them. It is from the Book of Moses, ch. vi that we learn how complete was the dispensation of the Gospel committed unto Enoch; for therein is the cause of Adam's fall, the means of redemption provided, as also an account of Adam's acceptance of the Gospel is set forth in considerable detail. Among the great events of the dispensation committed unto Enoch is, first, the account given by prophecy of great battles between the people of Canaan, who were the descendants of Cain, the murderer, and other inhabitants of the earth, chiefly the people of Shum. Second, the fact that the rest of the descendants of Adam hold aloof from association with the descendants of Cain, who were cursed with blackness and their land made a desert, (Book of Moses, ch. vii). Third, the separation of the righteous following of Enoch from their enemies who fought against God. Fourth, of God taking up his abode in the city of Enoch, Zion, the home of the people of one heart and one mind, called also the city of Holiness, ("for this is Zion, the pure in heart," Doc. & Cov. xcvii). And finally, of the separation of the city of Enoch from the earth by translation; from which circumstance there went forth the saying among the inhabitants of the earth, "Zion is fled." Doubtless among all the dispensations of the Gospel committed to man the dispensation given to Enoch was one of the most glorious.

Of Enoch Josephus says: "Jared lived nine hundred and sixty-two years; and then his son Enoch succeeded him, who was born when his father was one hundred and sixty-two years old. Now he, when he had lived three hundred and sixty-five years, departed, and went to God; whence it is that they have not written down his death." (Josephus' Antiquities, p. 28.)

2. Enoch's Place in History: "According to the Old Testament, he [Enoch] walked with God; and, after 365 years, he was not, for God took him (Gen. v. 24). The inspired writer of the Epistle to the Hebrew says, 'By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had translated him (xi 5). Walking with God implies the close fellowship with Jehovah which it is possible for a human being to enjoy on earth. As a reward, therefore, of his extraordinary sanctity, he was transported into heaven without the experience of death. Elijah was in like manner translated; and thus was the doctrine of immortality palpably taught under the ancient dispensation. The traditions of the Jews have ascribed to Enoch many fabulous qualities. They have invested him with various attributes and excellencies for which the Bible furnishes no foundation. Accordingly, he is represented as the inventor of letters, arithmetic, and astronomy; as the first author, from whom several books emanated. Visions and prophecies were commonly ascribed to him, which he is said to have arranged in a book. This book was delivered to his son, and preserved by Noah in the ark. After the flood it was made known to the world, and handed down from one generation to another. Hence the Arabians call him Edris." (Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature, Kitto, p. 639.)

3. Outline of the Book of Enoch: "I. its present shape the book consists of a series of revelations supposed to have been given to Enoch and Noah, which extend to the most varied aspects of nature and life, and are designed to offer a comprehensive vindication of the action of Providence. It is divided into five parts. The first part, after a general introduction, contains an account of the fall of the angels, and of the judgment to come upon them and upon the giants, their offspring; and this is followed by the description of the journey of Enoch through the earth and lower heaven in company with an angel, who showed to him many of the great mysteries of nature, the treasure-houses of the storms and winds, and fires of heaven, the prison of the fallen and the land of the blessed. The second part is styled 'A Vision of Wisdom,' and consists of three 'parables,' in which Enoch relates the revelations of the higher secrets of heaven and of the spiritual world which were given to him. The first parable gives chiefly a picture of the future blessings and manifestation of the righteous, with further details as to the heavenly bodies; the second describes in splendid imagery the coming of Messiah and the results which it should work among 'the elect' and the gainsayers; the third draws out at further length the blessedness of 'the elect and holy,' and the confusion and wretchedness of the sinful rulers of the world. The third part is styled 'the Book of the Course of the Lights of Heaven,' and deals with the motions of the sun and moon, and the changes of the seasons; and with this the narrative of the journey of Enoch closes. The fourth part is not distinguished by any special name, but contains the record of a dream which was granted to Enoch in his youth, in which he saw the history of the kingdoms of God and of the world up to the final establishment of the throne of Messiah. The fifth part contains the last addresses of Enoch to his children, in which the teaching of the former chapters is made the groundwork of earnest exhortation. The signs which attended the birth of Noah are next noticed and another short writing of Enoch, forms the close to the whole book." (Smith's Bible Dictionary, Hackett, p. 739.)

4. Doctrinal outline of the Book of Enoch: "In doctrine the book of Enoch exhibits a great advance of thought within the limits of revelation in each of the great divisions of knowledge. The teaching on nature is a curious attempt to reduce the scattered images of the Old Testament to a physical system. The view of society and man, of the temporary triumph and final discomfiture of the oppressors of God's people, carries out into elaborate detail the pregnant images of Daniel. The figure of the Messiah is invested with majestic dignity as 'the Son of God,' 'whose name was named before the sun was made,' and who existed 'aforetime in the presence of God.' And at the same time his human attributes as 'the son of man,' 'the son of woman,' 'the elect one,' 'the righteous one,' 'the anointed,' are brought into conspicuous notice. The mysteries of the spiritual world, the connection of angels and men, the classes and ministries of the hosts of heaven, the power of Satan, and the legions of darkness, the doctrines of resurrection, retribution, and eternal punishment are dwelt upon with growing earnestness as the horizon of speculation was extended by intercourse with Greece. But the message of the book is emphatically one of 'faith and truth,' and while the writer combines and repeats the thoughts of Scripture, he adds no new element to the teaching of the prophets. His errors spring from an undisciplined attempt to explain their words, and from a proud exultation in present success. For the great characteristic by which the book is distinguished from the later apocalypse of Ezra (Esdras, 2nd Book) is the tone of triumphant expectation by which it is pervaded. It seems to repeat in every form the great principle that the world, natural, moral, and spiritual, is under the immediate government of God. Hence it follows that there is a terrible retribution reserved for sinners, and a glorious kingdom prepared for the righteous, and Messiah is regarded as the divine mediator of this double issue. Nor is it without a striking fitness that a patriarch translated from earth, and admitted to look upon the divine majesty, is chosen as 'the herald of wisdom, righteousness, and judgment' to a people who, even in suffering, saw in their tyrants only the victims of a coming vengeance." (Smith's Bible Dictionary, Hackett Edition, p. 740.)

The two preceding notes, giving an outline of the Book of Enoch and its doctrines, deal with a version of the writings of Enoch that doubtless have been more or less corrupted; but even in mutilated form one may discern the aim outline of a great and important work dealing with the Gospel of Christ as known to the ancients. A history of the book—so well known and frequently fed by many of the Christian fathers—and its being brought to Europe and translated into the English language will be found in both Kitto and Smith's works.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Noah Before the Flood:

1. Birth, Character, and place in History.

2. Conditions of Society in days of Noah.

3. The calling of Noah and the Nature of the Gospel committed to him.

Gen. v:28-32. Book of Moses viii:8-13. Notes 1 and 2.

Gen. vi:1-13. Note 3.

Book of Moses, ch. viii:13, 15, 17, 19, 23, 24. See also viii:16, 19, and cf. Ibid, vi:43-68.

II. The Flood.

Gen. vii and viii. Josephus Antiquities. Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, Art. Noah.

III. Noah After the Flood.

1. Renewal of the Covenant—Its sign.

2. The Curse upon Canaan.

3. The Seven Precepts of Noah—His Death.

Gen. ix:8-17.

Gen. ix:18-29.

Note 3, 4.


1. Why a Dispensation of the Gospel was Given to Noah: The reason for giving a dispensation of the Gospel to Noah seems to have been the same as that which led to the giving of a dispensation of it to Enoch—viz., the increasing wickedness of the people. There had been no break in the line of righteous men who held the priesthood; but the increasing wickedness of the people, and the necessity of warning them of impending calamities required the dispensation of the Gospel given to Noah. In order to understand how complete the dispensation of the Gospel given to them was, it is necessary that the student compare Book of Moses ch. viii:19, with ch. vi:43-68, as suggested in the references given in the analysis; since it is said that Noah was commanded to "go forth and declare his Gospel unto the children of men even as it was given unto Enoch" (ch. viii:19): and how fully the Gospel was given unto Enoch can only be appreciated by a comparison of the texts given above.

2. The Character of Noah: "That the conduct of Noah corresponded to the faith and hope of his father we have no reason to doubt. The brevity of the history satisfies not human curiosity. He was born six hundred years before the Deluge. We may reasonably suppose that through that period he maintained the character given of him: 'Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord. Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.' (Gen. vi:8, 9.) These words declare his piety, sincerity, and integrity, that he maintained habitual communion with the Father of Mercies, by the exercises of devotion, and that he was an inspired instrument of conveying the will of God to mankind. The wickedness of the human race had long called upon the wisdom and justice of God for some signal display of his displeasure, as a measure of righteous government and as example to future ages. For a long time, probably many centuries, the better part of men, the descendants of Seth, had kept themselves from society with the families of the Cainite race. The former class had become designated as 'the sons of God,' faithful and obedient: the latter were called by a term evidently designated to form an appellation of the contrary import, daughters of men,' of impious and licentious men. These women possessed beauty and blandishments, by which they won the affections of unwary men, and intermarriages upon a great scale took place. As is usual in such alliances, the worst part gained the ascendency. The offspring become more depraved than the parents, and a universal corruption of minds and morals took place. Many of them became 'giants,' the mighty men of old, men of renown (nephilism) apostates (as the word implies), heroes, warriors, plunderers, 'filling the earth with violence.' God mercifully afforded a respite of one hundred and twenty years (Gen. vi:3; I Pet. iii:20; 2 Pet. ii:5), during which Noah sought to work salutary impressions upon their minds, and to bring them to repentance. Thus he was 'a preacher of righteousness,' exercising faith in the testimony of God, moved with holy reverence, obeying the divine commands, and, by the contrast of his conduct, condemning the world (Heb. xi:7); and probably he had during a long previous period laboured in that benevolent and pious work." (Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature, Kitto, vol. II, p. 425.)

3. Conditions of Society in Days of Noah: "Very remarkable. however, is the glimpse which we get [from the Bible] of the state of society in the antediluvian world. The narrative it is true is brief, and on many points obscure: a mystery hangs over it which we cannot penetrate. But some few facts are clear. The wickedness of the world is described as having reached a desperate pitch, owing, it would seem, in a great measure to the fusion of two races which had hitherto been distinct. And further the marked features of the wickedness of the age were lust and brutal outrage. "They took them wives of all which they chose:" and, "the earth was filled with violence." "The earth was corrupt for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. * * And it came to pass when men (the Adam) began to multiply on the face of the ground and daughters were born unto them; then the sons of God (the Elohim) saw the daughters of men (the Adam) that they were fair, and they took to them wives of all that they chose. And Jehovah said. My spirit shall not for ever rule (or be humbled) in men, seeing that they are (or, in their error they are) but flesh, and their days shall be a hundred and twenty years. The Nephilim [the giants] were in the earth in those days; and also afterwards when the sons of God (the Elohim) came in unto the daughters of men (Adam) and children were born to them, these were the heroes which were of old, men of renown." (Smith's Bible Dictionary, Art, Noah.)

4. Of Several Bible Difficulties in the Noachian Dispensation: (1) The name "Noah" has presented a difficulty to Bible Expounders. Noah's father, Lamech, assigns as a reason for giving him the name Noah—"This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed." (Gen. v:29.) This is usually made to refer to the general curse put upon the land because of the fall of Adam (see Art. "Noah" Smith's Bible Dictionary); but the Book of Moses (P. G. P.), explains that "there came a great famine into the land, and the Lord cursed the earth with a sore curse, and many of the inhabitants thereof died." (Book of Moses, viii:4.) This was doubtless the cause of Lamech naming his son Noah, which signifies "rest," in the hope that there would be a "rest," or relief from the famine which had so long distressed them.

(2). The second difficulty is in respect of the passage "When men began to multiply on the face of the earth; and daughters were born unto them, the sons of God saw the daughters of men and they took them wives of all which they chose." Who were these sons of God? Who were these daughters of men? A variety of interpretations has been given, (a) The "sons of Elohim" (sons of the Gods) were explained to mean sons of princes, or men of high rank, who degraded themselves by contracting marriages with the "daughters of men," i. e. with women of inferior position. (b) A second interpretation, not less ancient, understands by the sons of Elohim (sons of the Gods), angels. And a long list of authorities may be cited for the belief that the angels consorted with women of the earth and begot a race of Giants (see Smith's Bible Dictionary Art. Noah, also Kitto same title.) A third interpretation, however, suggests that the sons of Elohim (the Gods) refers to the family and descendants of Seth, and by "the daughters of men," the women of the family of Cain (Smith's Dictionary, Art. Noah). In the Book of Moses, however, is found a complete explanation of the matter; "And Noah and his sons hearkened unto the Lord, and gave heed, and they were called the sons of God." (Book of Moses, ch. viii:13.) This does away with the necessity of believing that angels became the consorts of earthly beings, the daughters of men. Strangely enough the Book of Moses, in the Pearl of Great Price, gives the reverse order of the matter to that related in Genesis. In Genesis it is stated that 'The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; "and they took them wives of all which they chose" (Gen. vi:1-2). In the Book of Moses it is stated that "when these men [the sons of Noah] began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, the sons of men saw that those daughters were fair, and they took wives, even as they chose." (Book of Moses, viii:14.) The facts in the case, however, seem to be that there was a willingness on both sides to this amalgamation of races forbidden to each other. The grand daughters of Noah seemed willing to consort with the descendants of Cain, "the sons of men." (Book of Moses viii:14); and later the sons of Cain, having in mind that they too, were descendants of Adam, through Cain could retort—"We are the sons of God; have we not taken unto ourselves the daughters of men?" The fact is, however, that the other descendants of Adam were forbidden to inter-marry with the seed of Cain—"the sons of men;" (cf. Book of Moses, ch. viii:13-15, 21; with Book of Abraham, ch. i:21-27.) It is gratifying to know that the results of the latest deductions of Biblical scholars favors the views presented in the Book of Moses: "The interpretation, however, which is now most generally received, is that which understands by 'the sons of the Elohim' the family and descendants of Seth, and by 'the daughters of man (Adam),' the women of the family of Cain. So the Clementine Recognitions interpret "the sons of the Elohim." So Ephrem, and the "Christian Adam-Book" of the East: so also Theodoret, Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, Jerome, Augustine, and others; and in later times Luther, Melancthon, Calvin, and a whole host of recent commentators. They all suppose that whereas the two lines of descent from Adam—the family of Seth who preserved their faith in God, and the family of Cain who lived only for this world—had hitherto kept distinct, now a mingling of the two races took place which resulted in the thorough corruption of the former, who falling away, plunged into the deepest abyss of wickedness, and that it was this universal corruption which provoked the judgment of the Flood." (Smith's Dictionary, Art. Noah.)

(3) The third difficulty is found in the passage: "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them." (Gen. vi:5-7.)

If it "repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and grieved him at his heart"—why then did he make him? For surely God's fore-knowledge was such as to fore-know what man would become in the earth. Then why be sorry that he had created him, since God's foreknowledge must have taught him what kind of a being man would be? The matter is set right in the Book of Moses revealed to Joseph Smith, where it is said: "And it repented Noah, and his heart was pained that the Lord had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at the heart. And the Lord said: I will destroy man whom I have created, from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the creeping things, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Noah that I have created them, and that I have made them; and he hath called upon me; for they have sought his life." (Book of Moses, ch. viii:25-26.)

5. A Covenant of the Lord with Noah: Among the first acts of Noah, who may be regarded as the "second father" of the human race, was one of worship, for he built an altar unto the Lord and offered burnt offerings unto him. Renewed communion in fact with God. And the Lord covenanted with him in that day, that while the earth should remain, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night should not cease. (Gen. viii:20-22.) And in token of this perpetual covenant, "I do set my bow in cloud, said the Lord, and it shall be for the token of the covenant between me and the earth. * * * * And I will remember my covenant which is between me and you (Noah) and every living creature of all flesh, and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh." (Gen. ix:13-15.) Of course it must not be supposed that the Lord at this time created the rain-bow for the sign of his covenant, for since ever there was sunshine and rain and dark clouds, there have been rain-bows and will be. But the Lord pointed to this beautiful phenomenon already existing, and made it the sign of his covenant with man.

6. The Seven Precepts of Noah: "It is an old tradition of the Rabbinical Jews, on which they lay great stress, that at this juncture Noah delivered to his children seven precepts, to be enjoined upon all their descendants. These prohibit, 1, idolatry; 2, irreverence to the Deity; 3. homicide; 4, unchastity; 5, fraud and plundering; the 6th enjoins government and obedience; and the 7th forbids to eat any part of an animal still living. Mr. Selden has largely illustrated these precepts, and regards them as a concise tablet of the Law of Nature. Though we have no positive evidences of their having been formally enjoined by the great patriarch, we can have no great reason for rejecting such an hypothesis." (Biblical Literature, Kitto, 427.)

At least one of these precepts is very emphatically set forth in Genesis, given with the penalty of it; namely, the great law against taking human life and the penalty which every where justifies the law of man; namely, "who so sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God made he man." (Gen. ix:6.) Unhappily, however, the law in executing this penalty does it in such manner that the blood of condemned murderers is not shed, since in the majority of countries the death penalty is executed by strangulation instead of by the shedding of blood. The phrase, "for in the image of God made he man" is significant, and is fatal to the claims of those theologians who interpret the scriptural saying, that man wras created in the image of God, to mean that man was created in God's "moral image," a most absurd conclusion. As if there could be a moral image. But the phrase here quoted carries this significance: Thou shalt not kill a man, for he stands in the image of God. And thou shalt not mar that image of God, thou shalt not bring death unto it. It is sacred. It must not be marred by mortal hand.

7. The Death of Noah:—It is said that Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years, but the manner of his life and where he spent it is not given. He must have been alive at the confusion of tongues at Babel, but whether or not he was in the valley of the Uphrates at that time may not be learned. There have been those who seek to identify him with the Chinese character Fohi whose tradition was that Fohi's advent among them was preceded by a flood which wholly covered the earth, but all here is conjecture. (See Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, Kitto's Biblical Literature, Art. Noah.)


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)

(A Discourse)



1. Suggestions to the Speaker: Naturally the subject of this lesson will be something of a review of the period covered by the preceding lessons on the Antediluvian dispensations with Enoch as the central figure, but the matter of these lessons should not be too closely followed. Let those to whom the assignment of this lesson is given draw their own lines of treatment. As the subject is stated in the lesson it would be treated as historical narrative, or as a biography of Enoch. It could, however, be treated in an argumentative form. Thus: The Justice of God Requires that the Gospel should be Revealed to the Antediluvians; or, Was the Gospel Revealed to the Antediluvians? If the historical or biographical form of treatment is decided upon the speaker should bear in mind that his work in the main would be narrative, and the first essentials of narrative, after the truth of it, is movement and method. "A narrative," says A. S. Hill in his Principles of Rhetoric, "should move from the beginning to the end, and it should move with method. If the action haults the listener's attention haults with it. If the action is confused or self-repeating the hearers mind is soon fatigued. Movement and method, the life and the logic of discourse, are then the essentials of a good narrative." In another place our author says, "It is not enough that a narrative should move, it should move forward, it should have method. * * * * * The philosopher may contribute attached sayings (aphorisms) to the general stock of wisdom. An essayist may be charming as he rambles in pleasant fields of thought and gossip with his readers, but a narrator fails as a narrator in so far as he does not go straight on from the beginning to the end."

"A narrator," says another author, "must not spend undue time or space upon any episode in his tale to the disadvantage of other parts. Whatever his scale is, he should follow it. Otherwise he will give emphasis to unimportant events, or slight important ones. The law of climax applies especially to narration, because the interest of the reader in the opening of a story is necessarily slight. When he becomes involved in the plot of the tale, his interest will either grow or disappear. As narrative becomes complex, as one event leads to a number of results, the reader's attention should be engaged more firmly. A weak ending is never so disappointing as in narration. Finally, every narrative should have as a center some one definite topic. (It is for this reason that we give Enoch as the center around which events in the Antediluvian dispensations gathered.) "For example, a history of the discovery of America, containing many hundreds of pages, and relating numerous events, will have but one principal subject—the early explorations upon this hemisphere,—to which all the characters, actions, and events will be made subordinate. * * * * * A good narrative then will move rapidly; action will follow action in close succession. Only significant events will be dwelt upon; much will be passed over with brief mention. Yet the connection of events will be made plain; the reader will never lose the thread." No matter how complex the narration becomes, it will have a simple subject as the center, and will march on with increasing interest to the end." (Composition and Rhetoric for Schools, Herrick and Damon, p. 428-9).

If the subject is treated in an argumentative form, then the speaker should consider what has been already said on the subject of argumentative discourse in Lesson XIII.

3. Another Word on Clearness: In a former lesson (XIII) it was pointed out that Clearness consists of such a use and arrangement of words and clauses as at once distinctly indicate the meaning of the speaker; and pointed out how the obscure or equivocal use of pronouns was destructive of Clearness.

In this lesson attention is called to the omission of words in a sentence necessary to its exact meaning—what the text books call "improper ellipsis."

"Whenever the omission of a word renders the meaning of a sentence unintelligible, the ellipsis becomes improper. A writer in "The Guardian" uses this expression: "He is inspired with a true sense of that function." The meaning is not intelligible till we put in the words improperly left out: "He is inspired with a true sense of the importance of that function." "Arbitrary power," says another, "I look upon as a greater evil than anarchy itself, as much as a savage is a happier state of life than a galley-slave." We can not properly call a savage or a galley-slave a state of life, though we may with propriety compare their conditions. The obscurity is removed by doing away with the ellipsis: "as much as the state of a savage is happier than that of a galley-slave." (Course of Composition and Rhetoric, Quackenbos, p. 285.)

Clearness Depends upon Unity in Sentences: "To be clear, a sentence must have unity; that is, it must not contain incongruous material, and must be so expressed that it gives the reader the impression of being one thought. When a sentence contains incongruous statements, it is said to lack unity of thought. When a sentence fails to present its meaning as one obvious whole, it is said to lack unity of form. Each of the examples cited * * * below, violates unity of thought, or unity of form, or both. Note how much clearer are the corrected sentences.

1. Chaucer began to write at an early age, and as he was a page for some court lady, he went to France when she did.

Corrected: Chaucer began to write at an early age. Being at this time the page of a court lady, he went in her train to France.

2. Once I saw a college President as he walked upon the stage, and he held in his hand a whole basket of diplomas.

Corrected: I once saw a college President walk upon the stage holding a whole basket of diplomas in his hand.

3. A good paragraph must have unity of thought, and the different sentences of which it is composed must be logically connected, and what is most important in the paragraph must be made prominent, and what is of small consequence merely hinted at.

Corrected: A good paragraph must have unity of thought. A paragraph is unified if the different sentences in it are logically connected, and if what is most important is made prominent, what is of small consequence, merely hinted at.


Post-diluvian Dispensations.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Melchizedek and Abraham—Relationship of.

Gen. xi-xxv.

Heb. v. and vii. Psalms cx. Also Doc. and Cov Sec. cvii:1-4. Alma (Book of Mormon) ch. xiii. Notes 1, 2, 3, 4; also Art. Melchizedek and Abraham in Smith's Bible Dictionary and Kitto's Biblical Literature. Seventy's Year Book I, pp. 37-39. Notes 4, 5 and 1.

II. The "Call" of Abraham.

Gen. xii:1-4 Book of Abraham ch. i:15-19; ch. ii:6-11. Note 6.

III. The Gospel Given to Abraham.

Gal. iii:6-8, 19. Book of Abraham (P. G. P.) chs. i-v. Note 7. "The Gospel," (3rd Ed.) ch. xxiii.


1. Melchizedek (king of Righteousness): "Melchisedek, king of Salem and priest of the Most High God, who met Abram in the Valley of Shaveh (or, the level valley), which is the king's valley, brought out bread and wine, blessed Abram, and received tithes from him (Gen. xiv. 18-20). The other places in which Melchizedek is mentioned are Ps. cx. 4, where Messiah is described as a priest forever, "after the order of Melchizedek," and Heb. v., vi., vii., where these two passages of the O. T. are quoted, and the typical relation of Melchizedek to our Lord is stated at great length."

2. Melchizedek in History: "There is something surprising and mysterious in the first appearance of Melchizedek, and in the subsequent references to him. Bearing a title which Jews in after ages would recognize as designating their own sovereign, bearing gifts which recall to Christians the Lord's Supper, this Canaanite crosses for a moment the path of Abram, and is unhesitatingly recognized as a person of higher spiritual rank than the friend of God. Disappearing as suddenly as he came in, he is lost to the sacred writings for a thousand years; and then a few emphatic words for another moment bring him into sight as a type of the joining Lord of David. (Psalms cx). Once more, after another thousand years, the Hebrew Christians are taught to see in him a proof that it was the consistent purpose of God to abolish the Levitical priesthood.[A] (Heb. vii.) His person, his office, his relation to Christ, and the seat of his sovereignty, have given rise to innumerable discussions, which even now can scarcely be considered as settled.

[Footnote A: No; not "abolish" the Levitical priesthood, but supercede it as the dominating power by restoring the Melchizedek Priesthood which holds precedence of it in power and authority; but both may exist together as in the Mosaic dispensation before Moses and the Melchizedek Priesthood was taken from Israel, (cf. Doc. & Cov. Sec. lxxxiv:19-23 and Heb. vii. whole chapter but especially verse 12.)]

3. Conjectures Concerning Melchizedek: "The faith of early ages ventured to invest his person with superstitious awe. Perhaps it would be too much to ascribe to mere national jealousy the fact that Jewish tradition, as recorded in the Targums of Pseudo-Jonathan and Jerusalem, and in Rashi on Gen. xiv in some cabalistic writers, pronounces Melchizedek to be a survivor of the Deluge, the patriarch Shem, authorized by the superior dignity of old age to bless even the father of the faithful, and entitled, as the paramount lord of Canaan (Gen. ix. 26) to convey (xiv. 19) his right to Abram. Jerome in his Ep. lxxiii. (ad Evangelum Opp. i. 438), which is entirely devoted to a consideration of the person and dwelling place of Melchizedek, states that this was the prevailing opinion of the Jews in his time; and it is ascribed to the Samaritans by Epiphanius, (Hae. Iv. 6, p. 472.) It was afterwards embraced by Luther and Melanchthon, by our own countrymen, H. Broughson, Selden, Lightfoot, Jackson, and by many others. It should be noted that this supposition does not appear in the Targum of Onkelos,—a presumption that it was not received by the Jews till after the Christian era—nor has it found favor with the Fathers." (Smith's Bible Dictionary, Hackett Edition, p. 1876.)

4. The Mystery About Melchizedek: Much of mystery is connected with the life and character of Melchizedek. "The Jews," says Kitto, in admitting Melchizedek's official superiority to Abraham, "sought to account for it by alleging that the royal priest was no other than Shem, the most pious of Noah's sons, who according to the shorter chronology might have lived to the time of Abraham." (Biblical Literature, Vol. II, Art. Melchizedek). Others have seen in him Canaan the son of Ham: Ham himself, or even Enoch; while others have held that Melchizedek was no other than the son of God himself under human appearance, and still others take him to have been an angel, the latter being among the wild notions of Origen and his school. (Ibid, as above.) All this of course is conjecture, although it is not unreasonable that he may have been Shem the son of Noah. The Book of Mormon gives this important information concerning him.

"Now this Melchizedek was a king over the land of Salem; and his people had waxed strong in iniquity and abominations; yea, they had all gone astray; they were full of all manner of wickedness: But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the High Priesthood, according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father. Now, there were many before him, and also there were many afterwards, but none were greater; therefore, of him they have more particularly made mention." (Alma xiii.)

From the Doctrine and Covenants we learn this important fact; namely, that the priesthood which Melchizedek held was formally called "the Priesthood after the order of the Son of God;" but in order to avoid a too frequent repetition of the name of Deity "this Holy Priesthood" was called Melchizedek, or Melchizedek Priesthood. (Doc. & Cov., Sec. 107, 1-4.) The mystery connected with Melchizedek arises doubtless from the language of Paul in Hebrew vii, where misapprehension of the language of the Apostle seemingly represents Melchizedek as being "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually." The commentators generally interpret this as meaning that Melchizedek was without a recorded genealogy. The mystery, however, disappears when these descriptive words are applied, not to the man Melchizedek, but to the priesthood which he held, which priesthood is without beginning of days or end of years, that is, it is an eternal thing—"without father, without mother, and without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life," but endureth as a power eternally, even as God from whom said power emanates is eternal. With this interpretation of the language of Paul the necessity for wild conjectures concerning the personality of Melchizedek disappears, and it will be enough if we fix this in the mind concerning him; namely, he was a great High Priest, co-temporary with Abraham, and the one doubtless from whom Abraham received his ordination to the patriarchal office in the priesthood, to which he had a right by reason of his descent from the patriarchs. (See Book of Abraham, chap. I:1-4.)

5. The Book of Abraham: The Book of Abraham, to which reference is made in the analysis, consisting of five chapters, is but a fragment of Abraham's writings and history, and in it is found no reference to his meeting the Melchizedek, but reference is made of his receiving the priesthood. It was conferred upon him, he tells us, "from the fathers; it came down from the fathers from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning or before the foundations of the earth to the present time, even the right of the first born, on the first man, who is Adam, our first father, through the fathers, unto me. I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed." (Book of Abraham, chap, i; 3-4.)

This has reference doubtless to the patriarchal office in the Priesthood, since in the subsequent verses he says, "But the records of the fathers, even the patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers, have I kept even unto this day, and I shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this record for the benefit of my posterity that shall come after me." The manner in which this sacred record "The Book of Abraham" came into the hands of the Prophet Joseph Smith, is to be found in the History of the Church, Vol. II, p. 236, 348-350 and foot note.

6. The "Call" of Abraham: "In that course of God's dealing with man which is traced in the sacred narrative, a new step was taken by the choice of a Family from which the promised seed of the woman was to spring, and which should meanwhile preserve the knowledge and worship of the true God. Jehovah, in the revelation of himself to man, retires, so to speak, from the whole compass of the race of Noah into the inner circle of the family of Abraham. It was a step required by the state of the world, which had relapsed into idolatry and profaneness before the death of Noah. This is clear from the story of the building of Babel, and it is implied in the subsequent history. Joshua expressly says that the family of Terah were idolaters. * * * * * The patriarch whom God made the head of his chosen family was born only two years after the death of Noah. * * * * * He was now seventy-five years old; and this is the period usually assigned to the 'Call' of Abraham; though it was, in fact, the second step of his career. In tracing these stages, it is important to observe the special form of promise and blessing of which each was the occasion. The first of these involves the germ of all the rest, though as yet but vaguely stated:—"I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great, and, thou shalt be a blessing (to others): and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee, and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." The last words already involve the crowning blessing of the Old Covenant, the Promise of the Messiah, and that to the Gentiles, "all families of the earth." (Dr. Smith's Old Testament History, p. 67 and 70.)

7. The Things Which God Revealed to Abraham: First his design to make of Abraham and his posterity in the earth the witness for himself and the truth of the Gospel unto all nations. (Gen. 12:193, Book of Abraham I:16-19, Book of Abraham 2:6-11). "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee," said the Lord; "and in thee (that is in thy priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy priesthood) for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee and in thy seed after thee (that is to say the literal seed or the seed of the body) shall all the families be blessed, even with the blessings" of the Gospel which are the blessings of salvation even of life eternal.

Second, in the dispensation to Abraham he revealed the great doctrine of the eternal existence of intelligences. (Book of Abraham 3:16-23).

Third, he made known to Abraham the covenant of eternal life to man, "which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began," (Titus 1:2). God, according to Abraham's record, standing among the spirits in existence before the world began, said: "We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; and they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever. And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first. And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him." (Book of Abraham, p. 66). From which it appears that the whole Gospel scheme of salvation was revealed to Abraham.

Fourth, he revealed to Abraham, through Urim and Thummin great knowledge of the Universe, its planetary systems and their movements and relations (Book of Abraham, chap. 3); and also gave him an account of the preparation of the earth for man's abode, and the knowledge also of the advent of Adam upon it. (Book of Abraham, chaps. 4 and 5).


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Interim Between Abraham and Moses.

Gen. xxiv-l; and Exodus i. Josephus' Antiquities, Bk. I chs. xviii-xxii. Bk II, chs. i-x.

Note 1, 2 and 3.

II. Birth and Call of Moses.

Exodus ii and iii. Josephus' Antiquities, Bk. II, chs. ix, xii.

III. The Gospel Given to Israel Before The Law. (i. e. the Law of Moses.)

Heb. iii:13-19 in connection with Heb. iv:1, 2 and I Cor. x:1-4. Doc. and Cov. Sec. 84; vers. 20-22. Gal. i:5-8, 16-19, 24. The Gospel, ch. xxiii.


1. From Abraham to Moses: The Bible History of the period intervening between Abraham and Moses has little that indicates specifically the existence of the Gospel among the Patriarchs. Yet the communion of the Patriarchs Isaac, and Jacob as also Joseph, with the Lord, would argue the existence of a knowledge of the means by which such communion could be secured. Also the offering of sacrifices by these patriarchs, by which was figured forth the great Atonement of the future Messiah, bears witness to the same effect—they had the Gospel. The evident existence of the High Priesthood among them undoubtedly argues the existence of the Gospel also as a necessary concomitant of that Priesthood, since said priesthood exists for the purpose of "administering the Gospel," and holds the keys of the "mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God; therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of Godliness is manifest; and without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the Priesthood, the power of Godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; for without this no man can see the face of God and live." (Doc. & Cov. Sec. 84; 16-22.) Therefore where ever this priesthood is found there also will a knowledge of the Gospel be had. If, then, the Patriarchs after Abraham had the Priesthood they undoubtedly had also the Gospel.

2. The Patriarch Joseph's Knowledge of the Covenant of Salvation—the Gospel: It is evident that Joseph, the son of Jacob, had larger knowledge of the covenant of eternal life "which God that cannot lie promised before the world began, but hath in due times manifested his word through preaching" (Titus i:2)—than appears in the Bible history of that patriarch. From the last chapter of Genesis it is evident that God had revealed unto Joseph the fact that he would visit his people Israel, in Egypt, and deliver them from that land, and bring them unto the land which he promised to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, as the land of their inheritance. The Book of Mormon enlarges that view of Joseph's knowledge of the purposes of God, by representing that God not only revealed the fact of a future deliverer of Israel from Egypt, but also promised him "that out of the fruit of his (Joseph's) loins, the Lord would raise up a righteous branch unto the House of Israel. Not the Messiah but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord, that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the Spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light; yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom. * * * * * For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins. * * * * * Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment, that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers. * * * * * And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel. And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt. But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins; * * * * * Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines, and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days; and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord." (II Nephi, chap. 3). The thing which the Lord promised to bring forth by this future Seer, the patriarch Joseph saw would bring salvation unto his people. (II Nephi, chap, iii:15). "And great were the covenants of the Lord which he made unto Joseph." (II Nephi iii:4.)

3. Effect of Israel's Bondage in Egypt: What may have been the effect of Israel's captivity in Egypt in the matter of perpetuating the Priesthood of their fathers and a knowledge of the Gospel cannot be as certained with any degree of certainty from what is written. It would appear, however, that God's chosen people were not without some knowledge of God and of Christ during the period of their captivity; for the Hebrew mid-wives "feared God" and forebore to commit the acts of murder upon the male infants born in Israel as commanded by the Egyptian King (Exodus i:15-22): "Therefore God dealt well with the mid-wives; and the people multiplied and waxed very mighty." (Ibid, verse 20). Moreover Paul says:

"By faith Moses, when he was bom, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the King's commandment. By faith Moses, when he, was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible." (Heb. xi:23-27.)

"Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches," etc. Query.—How could Moses "esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt" if he knew nothing of Christ? Evidently, whatever may have been the status of the Israelites in respect of the Gospel and its administration among them during the period of their captivity, they at least preserved among themselves some knowledge of the Gospel and of Christ who is ever the central figure of it; and this even before the call of Moses.

4. The High Priesthood Held by Others Than the Direct Descendants of Abraham: We learn from the Doctrine and Covenants that the Priesthood existed with others than with Abraham and his direct descendants. For instance, one Esaias is named as being contemporary with Abraham and blessed of Abraham, but that Esaias himself received the Priesthood "under the hand of God." That he (Esaias) conferred it upon Gad; Gad upon Jeremy, and Jeremy upon Elihu, and Elihu upon Caleb, and Caleb, upon Jethro, Jethro, who was the priest of Median with whom Moses sojourned forty years after his flight from Egypt, and whose daughter he married—Jethro conferred the priesthood upon Moses. (Doc. & Cov. Sec. 84, 6-13.) So that Moses himself received the priesthood from a line of men holding it who were not descendants of Abraham. If what we have said in Note I of this lesson holds good; namely, that the Melchizedek priesthood and the Gospel are concomitants of each other, and that the High Priesthood exists for the purpose of administering the Gospel, which conclusion is based on the quotation in that note from the Doctrine and Covenants, (Sec. 84. 17:21), then the existence of the priesthood with this line of men above named, argues also that the existence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ among them: and therefore we have knowledge of the Gospel existing not only with Abraham and his successors, but with this independent line of men also. All of which tends to the conclusion that there was a wider dissemination of the Gospel in those ancient times than has generally been conceded.

Early Proclamation and Wide Diffusion of the Gospel: "The tardy appearance and partial distribution of moral and religious knowledge in the world,". (Mansel, Limits of Religious Thought, Preface) has ever been regarded as one of the great religious difficulties, a difficulty considerably lessened when the view presented in this Outline History of the Dispensations of the Gospel is accepted; for herein it is proven that there has neither a tardy appearance or even partial distribution of moral and religious knowledge in the world, but an early and widespread proclamation of the Gospel from the beginning and in nearly all ages there has been preached that "hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began." Commenting upon the supposed long interval between the fall of man and the proclamation of his redemption (generally supposed to have been withheld from the world until the coming of Christ in the flesh), even a Roman Pope (Leo the Great, A. D. 440-461) said:

"Let those who with impious murmurings find fault with the Divine dispensations, and who complain about the lateness of Our Lord's nativity, cease from their grievances, as if what was carried out in this last age of the world had not been impending in time past. * * * * What the apostles preached, the prophets had announced before, and what has always been believed cannot be said to have fulfilled too late. By this delay of his work of Salvation the wisdom and love of God have only made us more fitted for his call; so that, what had been announced before by many signs and words and mysteries during so many centuries, should not be doubtful or uncertain in the days of the gospel God has not provided for the interests of men by a new counsel or by a late compassion; but He had instituted from the beginning for all men one and the same path of salvation." (Science of Religion, Muller, p. 107.)


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. There Arose not a Prophet since in Israel like unto Moses.

Deut. xxxiv:10-12. The Gospel, ch. xxiii. Note 1.

II. The Promise of a Future Prophet.

Deut. xviii:15-19 Acts, iii:22-23; Acts vii:37. History of the Church, Vol. I, p. 13; also Pearl of Great Price, p. 90. Note 2.

III. What Remained with Israel.

Doc. and Cov., Sec. lxxxviv:17-28. The Gospel, ch. xxiii; pp. 234-5. Notes 3, 4, 5.


1. There Arose Not a Prophet Since: In whatever light we view this extraordinary man, the eulogy pronounced in these inspired words will appear just. No Hebrew prophet or ruler equalled him in character, official dignity, as well as knowledge of God's will and opportunities of announcing it. (Commentary—Jameson-Fausset-Brown.)

2. The Lord Thy God Will Raise up Unto Thee a Prophet: "The insertion of this promise, in connection with the preceding prohibition, (not to harken to soothsayers, verse 9-14) might warrant the application which some make of it, to that order of true prophets whom God commissioned in unbroken succession to instruct, to direct, and warn His people; and in this view the purport of it is, 'There is no need to consult with diviners and soothsayers, as I shall afford you the benefit of divinely-appointed prophets, for judging of whose credentials a sure criterion is given.' (vs. 20-22). But the prophet here promised was preeminently the Messiah, for He alone was 'like unto Moses (see on ch. 34. 10) in his mediatorial character; in the peculiar excellence of his ministry; in the number, variety, and magnitude of his miracles; in his close and familiar communion with God; and in his being the author of a new dispensation of religion.' This prediction was fulfilled 1500 years afterwards, and was expressly applied to Jesus Christ by Peter (Acts 3, 22, 23), and by Stephen (Acts 7, 37)." (Commentary—as above.)

3. The Gospel Plus the Law: After making the statement that the Gospel was preached to Abraham, Paul asks the question, "Wherefore then serveth the law?" That is, if the Gospel was preached to Abraham how came the law of Moses into existence: why was it given to ancient Israel and binding on them? To which the apostle replies:

"It was added because of transgression, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made. * * * * * Wherefore the law was our school master to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."

The matter is still more plainly set forth in the Doctrine and Covenants. In speaking of the priesthood and the ordinances belonging thereto—through which ordinances "the power of godliness is manifest; and without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; for without this"—that is without the priesthood and its ordinances—"no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live" (Doc. & Cov. Sec. lxxxiv:20, 21, 22.)—the Lord says: "Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God; But they hardened their hearts, and could not endure his presence; therefore the Lord in his wrath (for his anger was kindled against them) swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fullness of his glory. Therefore he took Moses out of their midst, and the holy priesthood also; And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory Gospel; Which Gospel is the Gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John." (Doc. & Cov. Sec. lxxxiv:23-27.)

The above is confirmed by the Jewish scriptures also; for it is written in the concluding chapter of Deuteronomy—

"There arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.

"In all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt." (Deut. xxiv:10-12.)

Of the things we have spoken respecting the Gospel being presented to ancient Israel, this is the sum: the Lord gave them the Gospel, but because they would not observe its sacred requirements, he took it, that is in its fullness, from among them, and also the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood; but left with them the lesser or Aaronic Priesthood; which holds "the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory Gospel" (see above), "to minister in outward ordinances, the letter of the Gospel—the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins," (Doc. & Cov. Sec. cvii, 20.) and to the part of the Gospel which remained, viz., faith in God, repentance and baptism for the remission of sins, was added the law of carnal commandments, which was to educate Israel for the fullness of the Gospel when Messiah should come with it. (The Gospel, pp. 233, 234, 235.)

4. Gospel Rites Among the Jews: In addition to the evidence supplied by the Scriptures in the above argumentative note, in the Article on baptism in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, it is said:

"There is an universal agreement among later Jewish writers that all the Israelites were brought into covenant with God by circumcision, baptism, and sacrifice, and that the same ceremonies were necessary in admitting proselytes. Thus Malmonides (Issure Biah, cap. 13); "Israel was admitted into covenant by three things, namely, by circumcision, baptism, and sacrifice. Circumcision was in Egypt, as it is said, 'None uncircumcised shall eat of the passover.' Baptism was in the wilderness before the giving of the Law, as it is said, 'Thou shalt sanctify them today and to-morrow, and let them wash their garments.'" And he adds, "So, whenever a Gentile desires to enter into the covenant of Israel, and place himself under the wings of the Divine Majesty, and take the yoke of the Law upon him, he must be circumcised, and baptized and bring a sacrifice; or if it be a woman, she must be baptized and bring a sacrifice." The same is abundantly testified by earlier writers, as by the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmud, although no reference to this custom can be found in Philo, Josephus, or the Targum of Onkelos. Its earliest mention appears to be in the Targum of Jonathan on Ex. xii. 44. "Thou shalt circumcise him and baptize him." It should be added, that men, women, and children, were all baptized, and either two or three witnesses were required to be present. Some modern writers—Lardner, Ernesti, De Wette, Meyer, Paulus, and others—have doubted or denied that this baptism of proselytes had been in use among the Jews from times so early as those of the Gospel; but it is highly improbable that, after the rise of Christianity, the Jews should have adopted a rite so distinctively Christian as baptism had then become." (Smith's Bible Dictionary, Art. "Baptism," Vol. I, p. 233, 234.)

In addition to the evidence cited in Smith's Dictionary, we may add as a convincing fact that before the advent of Jesus as a religious teacher, John the Baptist came to Israel crying repentance, and both teaching and administering baptism for the remission of sins. (See Matt, iii; Mark i; Luke iii; John i.) Which established the fact that this Gospel rite of baptism, was a well established institution among the Jews under the law of Moses and existed in connection with those ceremonies and sacrifices which figured forth the redemption to be wrought out by the Christ. Jesus also bears witness to the same effect in his conversation with Nicodemus, [John iii] where he teaches to that worthy man the mysteries of the second birth, saying that, "except a man be born of water [i. e. baptized] and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." And when Nicodemus could not Comprehend this doctrine "Jesus answered and said unto him. Art thou a Master of Israel and knowest not these things?" Clearly proving that Jesus was not advancing any new doctrine, but referring to the 'well established Gospel doctrine in Israel.

5. The Book of Mormon Testimony: The Book of Mormon bears most important testimony upon the subject of the Mosaic rites and ceremonies figuring forth the atonement to be made by Messiah and of the existence of the knowledge both of the coming and the mission of that Messiah. Also a knowledge that the law of Moses was of no efficiency in securing salvation for man only as it was associated with, and finally would be completed in, the coming and atonement of the Christ.

The late President John Taylor in his work "Mediation and Atonement," has grouped in small compass the facts that are set forth in the Book of Mormon, bearing on this subject as follows:

"From the Bible we turn to the Book of Mormon wih a view to discover to what extent the law of sacrifice, as a type of the offering up of the promised of Israel which God planted on this continent. In perusing the pages of this sacred record, we shall find several important facts and ideas, in connection with this subject, presented very prominently by the ancient Nephite historians: among them—

First, that the law of Moses, with all its rites, ordinances and sacrifices was strictly observed by the faithful Nephites from the time of their arrival on the promised land until it was fulfilled in Christ, and by his command ceased to be observed.

Second, that when the Nephites brought any of the Lamanites to the knowledge and worship of the true God, they taught them to observe this law.

Third, that those who apostatized from the Nephites, as a general thing, ceased to observe this law.

Fourth, that the true import of the law of Moses, and of its ceremonies and sacrifices, as typical of the atonement yet to be made by our Lord and Savior was thoroughly taught by the Priesthood among that people and very generally understood by them.

Fifth, that associated with the observance of this law, there were continued admonitions given that salvation was in Christ and not in the law, which was but the shadow and type of that of which he was the prototype and reality.

Sixth, that temples were erected of the same pattern as that of Solomon at Jerusalem, evidently for the reason that they were to be used for the same purposes.

Seventh, that the Gospel was preached in connection with the law, and churches were established and organized according to the Gospel requirements, and that the higher Priesthood, although not fully organized in all its parts, ministered to the Nephites as well as the lesser.

Eighth, it appears indubitable from the two records, the Bible and the Book of Mormon, that the intent and true meaning of the law of Moses, of its sacrifices, etc., were far better understood and comprehended by the Nephites than by the Jews. But in this connection, it must not be forgotten, that a great many most plain and precious things as the Book of Mormon states, have been taken from the Bible, through the ignorance of uninspired translators or the design and cunning of wicked men."

The above are the opening paragraphs of chapter XIV of President Taylor's work. The remainder of the chapter is devoted to elaborate quotations from the Book of Mormon bearing out the several propositions in the above quotation. One admirable passage bearing upon the subject, argumentative, too, in its nature, is not quoted by President Taylor, and I herewith supply it. It is from the Nephite prophet Alma's instruction to his son Corianton:

"And now, my son, I would say somewhat unto you concerning the coming of Christ. Behold I say, that he cometh to declare glad tidings of salvation unto his people. And now my son, this was the ministry unto which you were called, to declare these glad tidings unto this people, to prepare their minds; or rather that salvation might come unto them, that they may prepare the minds of their children to hear the word at the time of his coming. * * * Behold, you marvel why these things should be known so long beforehand. Behold, I say unto you, Is not a soul as precious unto God, as a soul will be at the time of his coming? Is it not as necessary that the plan of redemption should be made known unto this people, as well as unto their children? Is it not as easy at this time, for the Lord to send his angel to declare these glad tidings unto us, as unto our children; or as after the time of his coming?" (Alma ch. 39:15-19.)


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)


(An Argumentative Discourse.)

TEXT: "In hope of Eternal Life, which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began; but hath in due times manifested his word through preaching." (Titus i:2, 3.)



I. Numerous Dispensations.

Peter i:18-25. Rev xiii:8, xv:8. Job xxxviii:4-6.

II. The Gospel Revealed to Adam.

Titus i:1, 2. Book of Moses (P. G. P.) ch. v:6-8. Ibid, 56-59.

III. Establishment of the Ancient Church.

Book of Moses, ch. vi:48-52. Gen. v:24. Heb. xi:5. Alma ch. xiii. Book of Moses ch. vii:69.

IV. The Gospel Plus the Law.

Heb. vii. I Cor. x:1-4. Heb. iii:14-19 and Heb. iv:1, 2,[B] and Gal. iii.

V. From Moses to John the Baptist.

Doc. and Cov., Sec. lxxxiv:19-29.

VI. Of the Origin of the Gospel.

[Footnote A: Such is the importance of this subject—a subject which perhaps more than any other differentiates the view-point of Latter-Day Saints as to the Gospel of Jesus Christ from that of sectarian Christendom, that I here depart from the usual lesson formula to introduce in place of detached notes an unbroken presentation of the subject. This lesson may be regarded as a review of those that have preceded it in the present rear Book, also as an illustration of argumentative discourse The reference opposite the Analysis are those on which the argument is based.]

[Footnote B: This cites the close of one chapter and the opening verses of an other, but it should be remembered that Paul did not divide his epistle into chapters and verses; and this awkward division is but one of many that exist in the Scriptures.]


1. Numerous Dispensations of the Gospel Given: That there have been many dispensations of the Gospel, many times that divine authority has been conferred upon men, is apparent from the Scripture narratives of such events. And yet, strange as it may seem, in the face of such Scripture narratives, there are those among professing Christians who hold that the Gospel had no earlier origin than the time of Messiah's ministry in the flesh. As a matter of fact, however, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has existed from the very earliest ages of the world. There are, indeed, certain passages of Scripture which lead us to believe that even before the earth was made or ever man was placed upon it the Gospel had been formulated and was understood by the spirits which inhabited the kingdom of the Father; and who, in course of time, would be blessed with a probation on the earth—an earth-life. If this be not true, of what significance is the Scripture which speaks of Jesus as the Lamb ordained before the foundation of the world, but revealed in this day for the salvation of men. What of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world? And further: "They that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world." "Where wast thou," asked the Lord of Job, "when I laid the foundations of the earth? * * * * * When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" There is evidence in these expressions found in Scripture that before the foundations of the earth were laid the sacrifice necessary to the redemption of men was understood, and the "Lamb" for the sacrifice was chosen, Jesus, the Messiah. There is evidence in these expressions from Scripture of the pre-existence of the spirits of men, and the names of some of them at least were written in the "Book of Life" from the foundation of the world, and it is not unlikely that the shouting of all the sons of God for joy, at the creation of the earth was in consequence of the prospects which opened before them because of the earth-life and the salvation that would come to them through the Gospel—even in the prospects of that "eternal life, which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began." (See the text of this discourse.)

The Gospel, then, is of great antiquity. Older than the hills, older than the earth; for in the heavenly kingdom was it formulated before the foundations of the earth were laid.

2. The Gospel Revealed to Adam: Nor were men left in ignorance of the plan of their redemption until the coming of the Messiah in the flesh. From the first that plan was known. Our annals are imperfect on that head, doubtless, but enough exists even in the Jewish scriptures to indicate the existence of a knowledge of the fact of the Atonement and of the redemption of man through that means. Abel, the son cf Adam, is the first we read of in the Jewish scriptures as offering "the firstlings of his flock" as a sacrifice unto God. How came he to offer sacrifice of the firstlings of his flock? Doubtless behind Abel's sacrifice, as behind similar offerings in subsequent ages, stood the fact of the Christ's Atonement. In it was figured forth the means of man's redemption—through a sacrifice, and that the sacrifice of the first-born. But where learned Abel to offer sacrifice if not from his father, Adam? It is reasonably certain that Adam as well as Abel offered sacrifices, in like manner and for the same intent; and to Adam, though the Jewish scriptures are silent respecting it, God must have revealed both the necessity of offering sacrifice and the great thing of which it was but the symbol. And here, to some advantage, may be quoted a passage from the writings of Moses, as revealed to Joseph Smith, in December, 1830. From what was then made known to the great Latter-Day Prophet of the writings of Moses, it appears that our book of Genesis does not contain all that was revealed to Moses respecting the revelations of God to Adam and his children of the first generation. According to this more complete account of the revelation to Moses, after Adam was driven from Eden, God gave commandments both to him and his wife, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks for an offering unto the Lord, and Adam was obedient unto the commandment:

"And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why doest thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me. And the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth. Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son for evermore."

After some time elapsed and men multiplied in the earth and wickedness increased; after Abel, the righteous, was slain and Cain was a vagabond in the earth for the murder; after Lamech had also become a murderer and Satan had great power among the disobedient—then, it is written:

"And God cursed the earth with a sore curse, and was angry with the wicked, with all the sons of men whom he had made; for they would not hearken unto his voice, nor believe on His Only Begotten Son, even Him whom He declared should come in the meridian of time, who was prepared from before the foundation of the world. And thus the Gospel began to be preached, from the beginning, being declared by holy angels sent forth from the presence of God, and by His own voice, and by the gift of the Holy Ghost. And thus all things were confirmed unto Adam, by an holy ordinance, and the Gospel preached, and a decree sent forth, that it should be in the world, until the end thereof."

Establishment of the Ancient Church:

As the Gospel was thus preached there were those among the children of Adam who obeyed it, and a record of those men was kept, and they constituted the ancient Church of God. Enoch was of the number of righteous ones, and a preacher of righteousness. In these revealed writings of Moses he is represented in the course of his ministry as referring to the manner in which the Gospel was taught to Adam:

"And he said unto them: Because that Adam fell, we are and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe. Behold Satan hath come among the children of men, and tempteth them to worship him; and men have become carnal, sensual, and devilish, and are shut out from the presence of God. But God hath made known unto our fathers that all men must repent. And He called upon our father Adam by His own voice saying: I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh. And He also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized even in water in the name of mine Only Begotten Son who is full of grace and truth which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in His name and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you."

Adam was obedient to the commandments of the Lord, and taught them to his children, any of whom believed them obeyed, and became the sons of God.

Enoch, we are told, "walked with God; and he was not; for God took him." Paul, in speaking of him, says: "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him." But the writings of Moses, as revealed to Joseph Smith, and from which I have been quoting, give information that not only was Enoch translated but the Saints inhabiting his city, into which he had gathered his people, and this city was called Zion; "And it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into His own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is fled."

The Gospel Plus the Law:

Thus the Gospel was taught to the ancients. Noah was a preacher of it as well as Enoch. So, too, was Melchizedek, priest of the Most High God, King of Salem, who met Abraham in his day and blessed him. Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, bears unmistakable testimony to the fact that the Gospel was preached unto Abraham; and also that it was offered to Israel under Moses before "the law of carnal commandments" was given. "I would not that ye should be ignorant," he says, "how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ."

Referring again to the fact of the presentation of the Gospel to ancient Israel, Paul says that the Gospel was preached unto ancient Israel, as well as unto Israel in his day; but the preaching of the Gospel to ancient Israel was not profitable to them, because they received it not in faith, and as a result displeased God by their unbelief, and the rebellious perished in the wilderness.

Paul's great controversy with the Christian Jews was in relation to the superiority of the Gospel to the law of Moses. Many of the Christian Jews, while accepting Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah, still held to the law with something like superstitious reverence, and could not be persuaded that the Gospel superceded the law, and was, in fact, a fulfillment of all its types and symbols. This controversy culminated in Paul's now celebrated letter to the Galatians, wherein he says:

"Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He sayeth not and to seeds, as of many; but as one. And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. * * * Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. * * Wherefore the law was our school-master that faith is come, we are no longer under a school-master. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."

From Moses to John the Baptist:

In greater clearness, however, than in these sayings of Paul gathered up from his writings like scattered rays of light from a prism's reflection, the antiquity of the Gospel, as far as it concerns ancient Israel, is stated in a revelation of God to the Prophet Joseph Smith. And not only the antiquity of the Gospel, but in greater clearness also is stated the reasons why, after the Gospel was first preached to ancient Israel, the law of carnal commandments was "added" to the Gospel, or given in its place to act as a school-master to bring Israel unto Christ. And by the knowledge imparted in that revelation the time between the Mosaic dispensation and the coming of John the Baptist, to prepare the way for the coming of the Christ, is spanned by a statement so rational, that the truth of it cannot be reasonably questioned. Speaking of the Melchizedek Priesthood and its powers in administering the ordinances of the Gospel, and how it came to disappear as an organization in Israel, the passage in question says:

"This greater Priesthood administereth the Gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God; therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest; and without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the Priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; for without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live. Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God; but they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence, therefore the Lord in His wrath (for His anger was kindled against them) sware that they should not enter into His rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fullness of His glory. Therefore He took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also; and the lesser Priesthood continued, which Priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory Gospel; which Gospel is the Gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in His wrath, caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb; for he was baptized while he was yet in his childhood, and was ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews, and to make straight the way of the Lord, before the face of his people, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, in whose hand is given all power."

As before remarked, this passage spans the interval of time between Moses and John the Baptist, and gives a fuller explanation than can be found in the writings of Paul or elsewhere, for the reason why and in what manner the law was added to the Gospel; and what measure of the Priesthood remained with Israel unto the coming of John; in what the mission of John consisted, and in what manner he was qualified to fulfill that mission.

6. Of Origin: It is a question that has been much discussed whether Christianity has been derived from the mythologies of heathen nations, or the mythologies of heathen nations—wherein they seem to be related to Christian Gospel ideas,—derived from a very early revelation of the Gospel, say in the patriarchal age. Dr. John W. Draper at the conclusion of an exhaustive review of the conclusions of Greek and Oriental philosophies, says: "On this point we may therefore accept as correct the general impression entertained by philosophers, Greek, Alexandrian, and Roman after the Christian era, that, at the bottom, the Greek and Oriental philosophies were alike, not only as respects the questions they proposed for solution, but also in the decisions they arrived at. As we have said, this impression led to the belief that there must have been in the remote past a revelation common to both, though subsequently obscured and vitiated by the infirmities and wickedness of man." (Intellectual Development of Europe, p. 224.)

Later the Dr. remarks: "Indeed, so complete is the parallel between the course of mental evolution in Asia and Europe, that it is difficult to designate a matter of minor detail in the philosophy of the one which cannot be pointed out in that of the other. It was not without reason, therefore, that the Alexandrian philosophers, who were profoundly initiated in the detail of both systems, time to the conclusion that such surprising coincidences could only be accounted for upon the admission that there had been an ancient revelation, the vestiges of which had descended to their time." (Ibid, p. 237.. )

The author of the "Intellectual Development of Europe," however, does not acquiesce in this conclusion, but offers the following as an explanation: "In this, however, they judged erroneously: the true explanation consisting in the fact that the process of development of the intellect of man, and the final results to which he arrives in examining similar problems, are in all countries the same." (p. 237.) Which is a most lame and impotent conclusion, and one not borne out by the facts of the history of ideas. Much juster is the conclusion presented by the late President John Taylor, who, at the end of a some what extended review of traditions respecting the mythologies of various races, wherein seemed to be reflected essential Christian facts and ideas, says:

"The fact is clearly proved, instead of Christianity, deriving its existence and acts from the ideas and practices of heathen mythologists, and from various false systems that had been introduced by apostacy, unrecognized pretensions and fraud, that those very systems themselves were obtained from the true Priesthood, and founded on its teachings from the earliest ages to the advent of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: that those holy principles were taught to Adam, and by him to his posterity; that Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and the various Prophets had all borne testimony of this grand and important event, wherein the interest and happiness of the whole world was concerned, pertaining to time and to eternity. The Gospel is a system, great, grand and comprehensive commencing in eternity, extending through all time, and then reaching into [Transcriber's note: break in text here appears to be a printer's error in the original.]

Concluding Reflections:

The view here presented of the antiquity of the Gospel, as remarked in the foot note at page 100, differentiates the viewpoint of the Latter-day Saints from that of sectarian Christendom, concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It presents that Gospel as "The hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began." Jesus is "the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world." The sons of God shouted for joy when "the foundations of the earth were laid," in prospect of that eternal life promised through the Gospel of the Christ. It is of greater antiquity than the earth itself, then. Older than the hills, or the mountains, or the sea. Is it not older than the stars, since it comes of the love of God, also the Christ love for man; answered by the love of man for God, and or Christ, and or fellow man? In all worlds and in all world-systems does not the same Gospel prevail? Is not eternal law maintained by its constant and eternal vindication, what some call the maintenance of Justice? Does not violation of law involve intelligences in suffering in all worlds? Everywhere, as here in this world, may not one suffer for another, because bound together in that mysterious sympathy, which proclaims the universal kinship of intelligences, and emphasises the truth that no man lives unto himself alone? If the implied answer to these questions be true, will there not in some form be an expression of the Christ-love that will offer itself a ransome for others that the element of mercy may be brought into God's economy of things, even as it was brought into the moral economy of this our world by such an offering? And out of these fundamental realities and universalities will there not grow up all those relations of Redeemer and redeemed; Teacher and the taught; penitent and Forgiver? Will not God be in such worlds reconciling them to himself through the Christ and the Christ spirit that shall be made every where to abound?

To all this I answer undoubtedly. And as in the last analysis of things there is one God-nature into which Intelligences who are sons of God arise, and in which they live; for there is one Justice and one Mercy and one Love and one Plan of Salvation which saves all worlds—one Gospel and that is from eternity. I say nothing of the forms through which that one Gospel may receive its manifestations in other worlds. I only know the forms through which it is expressed in this world, and that only because of the revelations that God has given in the various dispensations granted to this world, and that is enough. But I am sure that in the last analysis of things the essential principles of the Gospel that are ordained to save our world is the Gospel that will redeem all worlds; for the principle of our Gospel stripped of local coloring are in their nature permanent and universal and hence, not only of great antiquity, but eternal, it is the "Ever Lasting Gospel."


The Meridian Dispensation. (Note 1)


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Ministry of the Baptist.

1. John's Special Message.

2. The Baptism of Jesus.

3. His Testimony of the Divinity of Jesus.

St. John i:6-36; also iii:23-36[A] Matt. iii. Mark i. Luke iii:1-23. Notes 4, 5.

II. The Ministry of Jesus.

1. The Call of the Twelve.

2. Messiah's Precepts.

3. The Manner of His Teaching.

Luke iv:1-23. Mark i:14, 15.

Matt, iv:12-25. John i:35-61.

Matt, v-vii. St. John vi-viii. Note 6.

[Footnote A: St. John's Gospel gives the most complete account of John the Baptists' ministry, and hence is given precedency here. The same method is followed on other topics; that is, the evangelist or authority giving the fullest or most important information is given precedence.]


1. Meridian Dispensation: Meaning really the middle dispensation: the one that comes some where near midway between the first and the last. The first opened with Adam, the last closes with the triumph of the Christ. It would be more agreeable to the writer to call the Dispensation here to be treated the "Christian Dispensation," because Christ is not only the central figure of it, but in it also he lives his earth career, manifests God in the flesh, and opens the way of the resurrection. But since it is imperative that we recognize the real presence of the Christ in every dispensation, from the very first to the very last, it might lead to confusion to call this Meridian Dispensation the Christian Dispensation, and hence the less satisfactory name is used.

2. Treatment of the Meridian Dispensation: It is not the purpose of the lessons covering the period of this Meridian Dispensation to deal either in detail or succinctly with historical events. The general scheme of our present year's work precludes any such attempt. Equally distant is it from our purpose to attempt to treat exhaustively of Christian doctrine, or even the divinity of Christ. The intention of the lesson is merely to present sufficient historical and doctrinal matter as will hold the thought present to the mind that a dispensation of the Gospel was again given to men under the ministry of John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Christ, and in the birth, life, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. The aim of the Lessons dealing with this dispensation is merely to treat it as one of many dispensations of the Gospel given to men: not to emphasize its glory, or importance, or treat it as a culmination of ages, or of divine purposes. For that culmination of ages and purposes—"the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times," which will witness gathered together, "in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him;" the age in which the Christ shall be entirely triumphant is an age and dispensation future from the Meridian Dispensation, as we shall fully see before this division of our work closes. Here it is thought necessary only to guard the student against disappointment by cautioning him not to expect too much.

3. Literature of the Meridian Dispensation: "The history of the Meridian Dispensation divides itself into two chief parts: (1) The Revelation of the Gospel by Jesus Christ, including the accomplishment of his work of redemption; and (2) the Propagation of the Gospel, and full establishment of the Christian Church, after his ascension. The former history is written in the "Gospels," of the "Four Evangelists," the respective openings of which furnish us with four different, but almost equally important, starting-points for all that follows. St. Matthew, who writes with the most constant reference to the fulfillment of prophecy, begins by showing that Jesus Christ was, by his reputed father Joseph, the son of David, and the son of Abraham; the predicted king of the royal line of Judah; the promised seed, in whom all kindreds of the earth were to be blessed; the great object of Covenants made by God wih Abraham and with David. St. Mark, commencing at once with the public proclamation of Christ, dates "the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God" from the ministry of John the Baptist as his forerunner. St. Luke places in the forefront of his narrative its practical purpose, for the instruction of a convert to Christianity, and begins "to write in order" from the birth of John the Baptist, and of Christ himself. St. John, having his mind imbued with the mysteries revealed to the "disciples whom Jesus loved," goes hack to a "beginning" antecedent to all time, and displays the eternal and divine glory of that "Life and Light," which were, manifested by Christ when he appeared on earth.

And what is true of the beginning of the Gospel history applies to each step of its subsequent development. Critics may speculate on some common remoter source of the narratives of the four evangelists, till they learn to abandon the unprofitable search; harmonists may pursue their useful labors so far as to be in danger of confounding the separate characters, the four documents, in the artificial compound of their own making; but the student who rightly appreciates the purpose of God's providence, in entrusting the record to four writers instead of one, will trace the distinct spirit of each as really his own, and will find the truest harmony in the concordant spiritual impression they produce, under the guidance of the inspiration of the Holy Ghost." (Dr. Smith's New Testament History, p. 178.)

The Literature of the second part of the Meridian Dispensation, viz. "The Propagation of the Gospel" is found in the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles and treatis that make up the balance of the New Testament. History says:

"St. Luke's "Second Treatise" or Discourse, (The Acts) addressed to Theophilus, bears a title apt to mislead the reader; a title certainly not given it by its author. It contains no full account of the "Acts of the Apostles." Most of them are never mentioned even by name, after the list given in the first chapter; and the history of St. Paul is not brought down to his death. Its true subject is the fulfillment of the promise of the Father by the descent of the Holy Spirit, and the results of that outpouring, in the diffusion of the Gospel among Jews and Gentiles. It deals only with the beginning of this great theme; and, having shown us the full establishment of Christ's Church, first in the Holy Land, then in those Eastern and Grecian provinces of the Roman empire which the Jews were wont to regard as representing the whole Gentile world, and finally at Rome; it leaves all the future progress of the Gospel to be recorded by the Church itself.

"And the point where the sacred history thus breaks off is marked by a most striking change in the character of the records. There is a great gulf between the last verses of the 'Acts' and the last allusions in the Epistles of St. Paul, and the earliest authentic chapters of what is called 'Ecclesiastical History.' The chasm is only bridged over by traditions of uncertain value, in which even the martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul is disfigured by childish legends, and worldly principles are already seen at work in the kingdom of Christ." (Ibid, p. 378.)

It will greatly aid in understanding the doctrinal development of this dispensation if it is remembered that the Gospels of the New Testament were not written first, nor even the Acts of the Apostles; that most likely some of the epistles of Paul form the older written documents of the Meridian Dispensation (for the probable order in which these epistles were written see Seventy's Year Book, No. I. note, pp. 88-9); and, that while the Apostle of the Gentiles had the personal, verbal narratives of some of the Apostles who were companions of the Master to aid him in forming his conceptions of the Life and Mission of Christ, he had no such written treasury as we now have in the four-fold story of the Evangelists.

The literature of the Meridian Dispensation on the Western hemisphere is found in the Book of Mormon. Prophetically (and it should be remembered that prophecy is but reversed history) in the record on the small plates of Nephi (the first 157 pages of the book), as also in the abridged records of Mormon, more especially the Book of Alma (12, 13 and 42nd chapters); and Historically in III Nephi, which has not inappropriately been called "The Fifth Gospel," and "The American Gospel" (See Lecture on the subject, "Defense of the Faith and the Saints" pp. 371-399), because it details the ministry of the Christ in the western hemisphere, and adds largely to views of the world-mission of the Christ, the Christ.

4. The Spirit of the Age at the Opening of the Meridian Dispensation: The Editor of Dr. Jortin's "Remarks on Ecclesiastical History," in a foot note, Commenting on the remark of his author to the effect that it had often been observed that Christianity made its appearance in the most proper time, and under a favorable concurrence of circumstances, says: "With respect to the fitness of the time at which Christianity made its appearance, the civilization, which everywhere accompanied the progress of Roman conquest, was favorable to the extension of a religion which the arms of the Caesars had now achieved. The tendency of the Pagan superstitions to degrade the human mind, and the demoralizing effects of the prevailing Epicurism,—against which the severities of the Stoics and refinements of the Platonists exercised, if any, the most trifling influence,—had yet contributed to arouse all but the most abandoned to the necessity of a reformation, and thus to prepare the way for the reception of the doctrines of the Gospel, at a period when the union of so many nations under one power would facilitate their propagation. It has been said, indeed, that the gradual development of the powers of the human understanding resulted, as it were, spontaneously in the Christian system; but the time, however, fitted for the reception of the Gospel, was altogether inadequate to its production. Not only was Christianity before the age in which it appeared, but it has remained in advance of the highest moral perfection to which the mind of man has yet attained, or, without its aid, is capable of attaining." (Jortin on Ecclesiastical History, p. 1).

5. The Greatness of John the Baptist's Mission: "Among those that are born of women, there hath not arisen a greater prophet than John the Baptist: nevertheless, he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."

How is it that John was considered one of the greatest Prophets? His miracles could not have constituted his greatness.

Firstly. He was intrusted with a divine mission of preparing the way before the face of the Lord. Whoever had such a trust committed to him before or since? No man.

Secondly. He was intrusted with the important mission, and it was required at his hands to baptize the Son of Man. Whoever had the honor of doing that? Whoever had so great a privilege and glory? Whoever led the Son of God into the Water of baptism, and had the privilege of beholding the Holy Ghost descend in the form of a dove, or rather the sign of a dove, in witness of that administration? The sign of the dove was instituted before the creation of the world, a witness for the Holy Ghost, and the Devil cannot come in the sign of a dove. The Holy Ghost is a personage, and is in the form of a personage. It does not confine itself to the form of a dove, but in sign of a dove. The Holy Ghost cannot be transformed into a dove; but the sign of a dove was given to John to signify the truth of the deed, as the dove is an emblem or token of truth and innocence.

Thirdly. John, at that time, was the only legal administrator in the affairs of the kingdom there was then on earth and holding the keys of power. The Jews had only to obey his instructions or be damned, by their own law; and Christ himself fulfilled all righteousness in becoming obedient to the law which he had given to Moses on the mount, and thereby magnified it and made it honorable, instead of destroying it. The son of Zachariah wrested the keys, the kingdom, the power, the glory from the Jews, by the holy anointing and degree of heaven; and these three reasons constitute him the greatest Prophet bom of a woman.

Second question: How was the least in the kingdom of heaven greater than he?

In reply, I asked—Whom did Jesus have reference to as being the least? Jesus was looked upon as having the least claim in all God's kingdom and was least entitled to their credulity as a Prophet, as thought kingdom, and was least entitled to their credulity as a Prophet, as though he had said—"He that is considered the least among you is greater than John—that is, myself." (Mill. Star, Vol. XX, pp. 455-6.)

6. The Manner of Christ's Teaching: "Next to what our Saviour taught may be considered the manner of his teaching; which was extremely peculiar, yet, I think, precisely adapted to the peculiarity of his character and situation. His lessons did not consist of disquisitions; of any thing like moral essays, or like sermons, or like set treatises upon the several points which he mentioned. When he delivered a precept, it was seldom that he added any proof or argument; still more seldom, that he accompanied it with, what all precepts require, limitations and distinctions. His instructions were conceived in short, emphatic, sententious rules, in occasional reflections, or in round maxims. I do not think that this was a natural, or would have been a proper method for a philosopher or a moralist; or that it is a method which can be successfully imitated by us. But I contend that it was suitable to the character which Christ assumed, and to the situation in which, as a teacher, he was placed. He produced himself as a messenger from Cod. He put the truth of what he taught upon authority. In the choice, therefore of his mode of teaching, the purpose by him to be consulted was impression; because conviction, which forms the principal end of our discourses, was to arise in the minds of his followers from a different source, from their respect to his person and authority. Now, for the purpose of impression singly and exclusively. (I repeat again that we are not here to consider the convincing of the understanding), I know nothing which would have so great force as strong ponderous maxims, frequently urged, and frequently brought back to the thoughts of the hearers. I know nothing that could in this view be said better, than 'Do unto others as ye would that others should do unto you.' The first and great commandment is, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God; and the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. It must also be remembered, that our Lord's ministry, upon the supposition either of one year or three, compared with his work, was of short duration; that, within this time, he had many places to visit, various audience's to address; that his person was generally besieged by crowds of followers; that he was, sometimes, driven away from the place where he was teaching by persecution, and at other times, thought fit to withdraw himself from the commotions of the populace. Under these circumstances, nothing appears to have been so practicable, or likely to be so efficacious, as leaving, wherever he came, concise lessons of duty. These circumstances at least show the necessity he was under of comprising what he delivered within a small compass. In particular, his sermon upon the mount ought always to be considered with a view to these observations. The question is not, whether a fuller, a more accurate more systematic, or a more argumentative, discourse upon morals might not have been pronounced; but whether more could have been said in the same room, better adapted to the exigencies of the hearers, or better calculated for the purpose of impression. Seen in this light it has always appeared to me to admirable. Dr. Lardner thought that this discourse was made up of what Christ had said at different times, and on different occasions, several of which occasions are noticed in Saint Luke's narrative. I can perceive no reason for this opinion I believe that our Lord delivered this discourse at one time and place, in the manner related by Saint Matthew, and that he repeated the same rules and maxims at different times, as opportunity or occasion suggested that they were often in his mouth, and were repeated to different audiences and in various conversations.

"It is incidental to this mode of moral instruction, which proceeds not by the proof but upon authority, not by disquisition, but by precept, that the rules will be conceived in absolute terms, leaving the application, and the distinctions that attend it to the reason of the hearer. It is likewise to be expected that they will be delivered in terms by so much the more forcible and energetic, as they have to encounter natural or general propensities. It is farther also to be remarked, that many of those strong instances, which appear in our Lord's sermon, such as, 'If any men will smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also:' 'If any man will sue thee at law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also:' 'Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain;' though they appear in the form of specific precepts, are intended as descriptive of disposition and character. A specific compliance with the precepts would be of little value, but the disposition which they inculcate is of the highest. He who should content himself with waiting for the occasion, and with literally observing the rule when the occasion offered, would do nothing or worse than nothing; but he who considers the character and disposition which is hereby inculcated, and places that disposition before him as the model to which he should bring his own, takes, perhaps, the best possible method of improving the benevolence, and of calming and rectifying the vices of his temper.

"If it be said that this disposition is unattainable, I answer, so is all perfection; ought therefore a moralist to recommend imperfections? One excellency; ought therefore a moralist to recommend imperfections? never mistaken, or never so mistaken as to do harm. I could feign a hundred cases in which the literal application of the rule, 'of doing to others as we would that others should do unto us,' might mislead us; but I never yet met with the man who was actually misled by it. Not withstanding that our Lord bade his followers not to resist evil, and 'to forgive the enemy who should trespass against them, not till seven times, but till seventy times seven,' the Christian world has hitherto suffered little by too much placability or forbearance. I would repeat once more, what has already been twice remarked, that these rules were designed to regulate personal conduct from personal motives, and for this purpose alone.

"I think that these observations will assist us greatly in placing our Saviour's conduct, as a moral teacher, in a proper point of view; especially when it is considered, that to deliver moral disquisitions was no part of his design,—to teach morality at all was only a subordinate part of it; his great business being to supply, what was much more wanting than lessons of morality, stronger moral sanctions, and clearer assurances of a future judgment." (Paley's View of the Evidences of Christianity, pp. 151, 2, 3.)

For further reflections upon the excellence of the manner of the Messiah's teaching, and especially for the consideration of added strength and beauties to the principles of the Sermon on the Mount, in the Book of Mormon, see Lecture on the Fifth Gospel (III Nephi) Defense of the Faith and the Saints, pp. 383-389.



(A Discourse[A])

[Footnote A: This is a subject usually treated at great length in nearly all Ecclesiastical Histories; so that information is abundant. See "Mosheim, Ecclesiastical Institutes": also the same author's "History of Christianity in the First Three Centuries;" Schaff's "History of the Apostolic Church"; Neander's "History of the Christian Religion" Vol. I; Milman "History of Christianity" Vol. 1; Edersheisn's "Life and Times of the Messiah"; Vol. I, Introduction and Book I, Dr. Smith's "New Testament History," Book I, especially Appendix to Book I. Robert's "Outlines of Ecclesiastical History," Sec. II and notes.]


1. Suggestions to the Teacher: This subject could to advantage be divided and assigned to two or even three speakers. Say I, The Political state of the World: II, The Political Status of the Jews at Messiah's Birth: III, The Religious state of heathen nations and of the Jews at Messiah's Birth. Members should be urged to give something of completeness to their treatis upon these and all subjects assigned to them as lectures, or discourses.

2. Suggestions to the Speaker: On the Importance of a Plan: On the subject of constructing a plan for a discourse, Mr. Pittinger who was quoted so frequently in our first Seventy's Year Book, says:

"No part of a speaker's work is more important than that of constructing a good plan. If this is not well done the fullest success is impossible. In speech all thoughts are expressed by the slow process of successive words. If these are badly chosen and so arranged as to carry forward the current of thought in the wrong direction, almost endless hindrance and distraction may follow. And as these words, in extempore speech, are given forth on the spur of the moment, it becomes necessary to make such an arrangement that the proper idea to be dissolved into words shall always be presented to the mind at the proper time. In some cases this disposition of parts is very easy. A course indicated by the very nature of the subject will sometimes spring into view and relieve us of all further embarrassment. * * * * * But more frequently this portion of the speaker's task will both require and repay severe thought." ("Extempore Speech," p. 166.)

Do not forget our old formula in the matter of plans—an Introduction, a Discussion, a Conclusion.

Of the Different Kinds of Plans: Our author, speaking of those plan he considers of practical importance, says:

(a). The first of these may be called the narrative method. It is most frequently used when the recital of some history forms the principal part of the discourse. Certain leading events, either grouped together according to their nature or following the order of time, furnish the primary divisions. This kind of a discourse follows the same laws, in the arrangement of the different parts, as histories, romances, and narrative poems. The order of time is the most obvious method of constructing it, but this order should not be adhered to when the story can be better and more dramatically told by varying from it. Both introduction and conclusion should be very carefully selected—the former to arouse attention and direct it in the right course; the latter to leave the strongest impression and the one most in harmony with the object of the speaker.

(b). The second method is the textual, and is especially though not exclusively adapted to sermons. In it a verse from the Bible, a motto, a sentence used by an opponent, or some definite form of very significant words, affords a basis for each part of the discourse. The order of the discourse may, however, be different from that of the words in the text, any change being allowable which secures more of the advantages of the narrative or logical methods. When the text is itself well known, a plan based upon it has an obvious advantage in assisting the memory both of speaker and hearer, by suggesting each part of the discourse at the proper time. When any lecture or oration has a formal motto which sums up and fairly expresses the subject discussed, the textual plan will be as well adapted to it as to a sermon.

(c). The logical or mathematical method is the third and probably the most symmetrical form the plan may assume. A topic is taken, and after the introduction, which may be the mere statement of the subject, or of the relations of the speaker or of the audience to it, that subject is unfolded with all the precision of a proposition in geometry. Each thought is preliminary to that which follows, and the whole ends in the demonstration of some great truth and the deduction of its legitimate corollaries. This method is the best possible in those cases adapted to it—particularly those in which some abstruse subject is to be unfolded and proved.

(d). The last method we will describe proceeds by divisions and subdivisions. It is the military method, for in it the discourse is organized like an army, into corps, brigades, and regiments; or it is like a tree, which divides into two or three principal branches, and these again subdivide until the finest twigs are reached. All the detached items that have been selected are brought into related groups each governed by a central thought, and these again are held in strict subordination to the supreme idea. A subject will many times arrange itself almost spontaneously into several different parts, which thus form the proper divisions, and these again may be easily analyzed into their proper subdivisions. Even when this is not the case, we will see, as we examine the jottings we have made while gathering our materials, that a few of the ideas stand out in special prominence, and with a little close study of relations and affinities all the others may be made to group themselves around these. The individual ideas we put down on the first study of the subject usually form the subdivisions, and some generalization of them. It is not well to make the branches of a subject too numerous or they will introduce confusion and fail to be remembered. From two to four divisions with two or three subdivisions under each, are in a majority of cases better than a large number. The tendency to multiply them to a great extent, and then to name them in the moment of delivery, in their order of firstly, secondly, etc., is in a great measure responsible for the popular estimate of the dryness of sermons, where this kind of plan prevails more than anywhere else." (Extempore Speech, pp. 167-9.)

(e). Of the several kinds of discourses here alluded to no better examples may be formed of the historical discourse than that of the Christian martyr Stephen, Acts, vii; of the logical or argumentative discourse Peter's Discourse on the Day of Pentecost. The nearest approach to the Discourses based upon a text in the New Testament is Paul's speech in Mars Hill, at Athens, Acts xvii:22-31.

Clearness in Speeches: This subject has been referred to in Lesson VI, XIII, XVI, and what is there said should here be reviewed not only by those assigned especially to this lesson, but by the whole class. One of the chief faults opposed to clearness is ambiguity. This is defined as follows: "The term 'ambiguity' comes from the Latin ambiguos, which means "wavering" or "uncertain," and an ambiguous sentence is one containing a word, a phrase, or a clause, capable of two or more interpretations." (Composition and Rhetoric, Herrick and Damon, p. 302.)

As example of ambiguity the authority just quoted gives the following:

Example: 1. We hold a grand raffle Friday for the benefit of William Miller who lost his foot for a fine clock last week.

Corrected: We hold a grand raffle Friday for a fine clock, for the benefit of William Miller who lost his foot last week.

Example: 2. Then he came into the room talking about the relations between Smith and Johnson, and he said that if he didn't stop that sort of thing very soon, he was sure to get into trouble.

Corrected: Then he came into the room talking about the relations between Smith and Johnson, and said that if the former didn't stop irritating Smith very soon, he was sure to get into trouble.

Example: 3. I only thought that he wouldn't go unless I bought him off, not that he wouldn't go at all.

Corrected: I thought only that he wouldn't go unless I bought him off, not that he wouldn't go at all.

Example: 4. The banker, though he trusted the teller, as is apt to be the case with men of his sort, yet felt that the loss occurred at his desk.

Corrected: Though the banker, as is apt to be the case with men of his sort, trusted the teller, yet he felt that the loss had occurred at the latter's desk.

Commenting on the above our author says: "The first sentence seems to say that Miller gave his foot in exchange for a fine clock. Sentence two leaves in doubt whether the one who is to get into trouble is the speaker, Smith, or Johnson. In three, "I only" might be taken to mean "I alone." In four, it is uncertain whether such men as the banker commonly trust all tellers, or whether this teller is the sort of man whom most people trust."

It will be observed that the ambiguity of the above sentences are chiefly the result of a bad arrangement of words or clauses rather than the wrong use of words. The effort of the speaker, therefore, should be to make such an arrangement of words and clauses in his sentences as to clearly express his meaning.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Divinity of Jesus Established:

1. Called God in the Scriptures.

2. Jesus declares Himself to be God—the Son of God.

3. Jesus Christ to be worshiped, hence God.

4. Jesus Christ the Creator, hence God.

5. Jesus Christ equal with God, the Father,—hence God.

Isiah vii:14 in con. with Matt, i:23; Isaiah ix:6. Doc. and Cov., Sec. 93:1-18. Heb. i:8.

St. John v:19 and x:33-38. Matt, xxv:63, 44; and Matt, xxviii:18, 19. Note 1.

Heb. i:5,6; Phil. ii:9, 10.

St. John i:1-4, 14; Col. i:12-17; Rev. xiv; 7. Matt, xxviii:18, 19; Phil, ii:6. Heb. iii:3. II Cor. iv:4. 4. Col. i:5, 19, also ii:9.

On all sub-divisions of the subject see "Mormon Doctrine of the Deity," pp. 187-194, and the notes in this lesson.


1. Relationship of Jesus to God, the Father: It is to be observed in passing that Jesus himself came with no abstract definition of Cod Nowhere in his teachings can you find any argument about the existence of God. That he takes for granted; assumes as true; and from that basis proceeds as a teacher of men. Nay more; he claims God as his Father. It is not necessary to quote texts in proof of this statement; the New Testament is replete with declarations of that character What may be of more importance for us at the present moment is to call attention to the fact that God himself also acknowledged the relationship which Jesus claimed. Most emphatically did he do so on the memorable occasion of the baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan. You remember how the scriptures, acording to Matthew, tell us that as Jesus came up out of the water from his baptism, the heavens were opened, and the Spirit of God descended like a dove upon him; and at the same moment, out of the stillness came the voice of God, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." On another occasion the Father acknowledges the relationship—at the transfiguration of Jesus in the mount, in the presence of three of his apostles, Peter and James and John, and the angels Moses and Elias. The company was overshadowed by a glorious light, and the voice of God was heard to say of Jesus, "This is my beloved Son; hear him.. Of this the apostles in subsequent years testified, and we have on record their testimony. So that the existence of God the Father, and the relationship of Jesus to him, is most clearly show in these scriptures." (Mormon Doctrine of Deity, p. 12, 13.)

2. Jesus Declared to be God: "But Jesus himself claimed to be the Son of God and in this connection there is clearly claimed for him divinity, that is to say, Godship. Let me read to you a direct passage upon that subject; it is to be found in the gospel according to St. John, and reads as follows:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. * * * * * And 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.

The identity between Jesus of Nazareth—"the Word made flesh"—and the "Word" that was "with God from the beginning," and that "was God," is so clear that it cannot possibly be doubted. So the Son is God, as well as the Father. (Ibid, pp. 13, 14.)

3. The Godhead—Composed of Three Distinct Persons: "These three, the Father. Son, and the Holy Ghost, it is true, are spoken of in the most definite manner as being God, but the distinction of one from the other is also clearly marked in the scriptures, or illustration take the circumstances connected with the baptism of Jesus. There we may see the three distinct personalities most clearly. The Son coming up out of the water from his baptism: the heavens opening and the Holy Spirit descending upon him; while out of heaven the voice of God is heard saying "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Here three Gods are distinctly apparent. They are seen to be distinct from each other. They appear-simultaneously, not as one, but as three, each one being a different thing, so that however completely they may be one in spirit, in purpose, in will they are clearly distinct as persons—as individuals. In several instances in the scriptures these three personages are accorded equal dignity in the Godhead. An example is found in the commission which Jesus gave to his disciples after his resurrection, when he sent them out into the world to preach the Gospel to all nations. He stood in the presence of the eleven, and said:

All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Each of the three is here given equal dignity in the Godhead.

Again in the apostolic benediction:

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all. * * * * * These three personages then are of equal dignity in the Godhead, according to the teachings of the New Testament, and each is equally divine—equally God. Hence Jesus is God equally with God the Father, and with the Holy Ghost." (Ibid, pp. 15-6, 7.)

4. What Think Ye of Christ? "Said Jesus to the Pharisees. What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. He saith unto them. How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord, saying: The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool. If David then call him [that is, the Christ] Lord, how is He his son. And no man was able to answer him a word."

It seems to me that we have right here, what we might regard as the beginning of the proclamation of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. And here let me say, in passing, that the world is waking up to something of a comprehension of the necessity for affirming the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have here a note in manuscript, that I will read to you, a declaration from one of the first scientists of our age, a Christian man who stands well advanced on the far-flung line of modern Christian thought. Having called attention the humanity of Jesus Christ, to His unity with the human race, and emphasizing the fact that He is human, one of our race, after setting forth that doctrine, this learned man says:

"The conception of Godhead formed by some devout philosophers and mystics has quite rightly been so immeasurably vast, though still assuredly utterly inadequate and necessarily beneath reality, that the notion of a God revealed in human form—born, suffering, tormented, killed—has been utterly incredible. 'A crucified prophet; yes; but a crucified God! I shudder at the blasphemy,' is a known quotation which I cannot now verify; yet that apparent blasphemy is the soul of Christianity. It calls upon us to recognize and worship a crucified, an executed, God. * * * The world is full of men: What the world wants is a God. Behold the God! The divinity of Jesus is the truth which now requires to be re-perceived to be illumined afresh by new knowledge, to be cleansed and revivified by the wholesome flood of scepticism which has poured over it; it can be freed now from all trace of groveling superstition, and can be recognized freely and enthusiastically; the divinity of Jesus, and of all noble and saintly souls, in so far as they too have been inflamed by a spark of Deity—in so far as they too can be recognized as manifestations of the Divine." (Sir Oliver Lodge in Hibbert Journal for April, 1906, Art. "Christianity and Science.")

I say the world is waking up to the consciousness of their need of having in concrete form a conception of God that appeals to the understanding of men, and that is to be found in the revelations of God. Paul was right when he said

"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest ["manifested" is the marginal reading] in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

This in plain allusion to the Christ, of course.

5. God Revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ: "This completes the survey I intended to make of this field. [Reference is made to a review of prevailing ideas about God in the world at the advent of Jesus.] Nowhere have we found a knowledge of the true and living God. Nowhere a teacher who comes with definite knowledge of this subject of all subjects;—a subject so closely related to eternal life, that to know God is said in the scriptures to be life eternal; and of course, the cor-life. We can form no other conclusion from the survey we have taken of the world's ideas respecting the existence and nature of God, than that forced upon us—the world stood in sore need of a revelation of God. He whom the Egyptians and Indians sought for in their Pantheism, must be made known. God, whom Confucius would have men respect, but keep at a distance, must draw near. The "Alfader" of the Goths, undefined, incomprehensible to them, must be brought out of the northern darkness into glorious light. The God-idea that prevailed among the Greek philosophers must be brought from the mists of their idle speculations and made to stand before the world. He whom the Jews were seeking to deny and forsake must be revealed again to the children of men. And lo! when the vail falls from the revelation that God gives of himself—what form is that which steps forth from the background of the world's ignorance and mystery? A Man, as God lives! Jesus of Nazareth—the great Peasant Teacher of Judea. He is God revealed henceforth to the world. They who thought God impersonal, without form must know him henceforth as a person in the form of man. They who have held him to be without quality, must henceforth know him as possessed of the qualities of Jesus of Nazareth. They who have regarded him as infinitely terrible, must henceforth know him also as infinitely gentle. Those who would hold him at a distance, will now permit him to draw near. This is the world's mystery revealed. This is God manifested in the flesh. This is the Son of God, who comes to reveal the Father, for he is the express image and likeness of that Father's person, and the reflection of that Father's mind. Henceforth when men shall say, Show us the Father, he shall point to himself as the complete revelation of the Father, and say, "He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father also." Henceforth, when men shall dispute about the "being" and "nature" of God, it shall be a perfect answer to uphold Jesus Christ as the complete, perfect revelation and manifestation of God, and through all the ages it shall be so; there shall be no excuse for men saying they know not God, for all may know him, from the least to the greatest, so tangible, so real a revelation has God given of himself in the person and character of Jesus Christ. He lived his life on earth—a life of sorrow and of gentleness, it's pathway strewn with actions fraught with mercy, kindness, and love. A man he was, approved of God among men, by miracles, and wonders and signs which God did by him. Being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, men took and by wicked hands crucified and slew him, but God raised him up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be holden of it; and exalted him on high at the right hand of God, whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead." (Mormon Doctrine of Deity; pp. 185-6.)


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Ordinances:

1. Baptism.

2. Confirmation.

3. Eucharist.[A]

Heb. vi:1[B]; Acts ii:37-38. Acts viii:4-20. Note 1 and 2.

Matt, xxviii:19. Mark xvi:16. John iii:3-5. Heb. vi:2; II Cor. iii:6 cf. Acts xix:6; II Tim. i:6; Acts viii:15-20. Notes 3, 4.

Matt, xxvi:26-28. Mark xvi:22-24. Luke xxii:19, 20. John xiii. I Cor. xi. 23-25. Note 5, 6.

[Footnote A: Eucharist. The Lord's Supper, a solemn rite commemorating the dying of Christ for the salvation of men; the holy sacrament; the communion of the body and blood of Christ. (Funk & Wagnall Diet.)]

[Footnote B: On all the above subdivisions the Bible Dictionaries, Kitto's Biblical Literature, Smith's New Testament History, etc., can be consulted to advantage, though it should always be remembered that the utterances of these authorities are to be carefully weighed.]


1. The Baptism of John and Christian Baptism: "The relation of the baptism of John to the Christian baptism gave rise to a sharp controversy in the sixteenth century. Zwingle and Calvin were in favor of the essential equality of the two; while Luther, Melanchthon, and the Catholic church (Concil. Trent. Sess. vii), maintained the contrary. The only difference Calvin allowed was, that John baptized in the name of the future Messiah, while the apostles baptized in that of the Messiah already come. But this difference could be of little moment; the less so, since a step towards the manifestation of the Messiah was already made in the appearance of John himself (comp. John i. 31). On the other hand, Calvin considers the most important point of equality between the two to exist in the fact, that both include repentance and pardon of sin in the name of Christ." (Kitto's Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature, p. 283.) Kitto's whole article may be studied with profit.

The fact is that there was no difference between the baptism administered by John and Christian baptism, except, as allowed by Calvin, according to the above; one baptized in the name of a future Messiah, and the other in the name of one already come. But general baptism was for the same purpose in all dispensations—it was Christian baptism—i. e. baptism for the remission of sins—baptism to which the atonement of the Christ gave efficacy whether administered in view of his anticipated coming or in realization of the fact of his having come and completed his work of atonement.

2. Baptism of the Disciples of Jesus: "Whether our Lord ever baptized has been doubted. The only passage which may distinctly bear on the question is John iv. l, 2, where it is said "that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples." We necessarily infer from it, that, as soon as our Lord began his ministry, and gathered to Him a company of disciples, He, like John the Baptist, admitted into that company by the administration of baptism. Normally, however, to say the least of it, the administration of baptism was by the hands of his disciples. Some suppose that the first-called disciples had all received baptism at the hands of John the Baptist, as must have pretty certainly been the case with Andrew (see John i. 35, 40); and that they were not again baptized with water after they joined the company of Christ. Others believe that Christ himself baptized some few of his earlier disciples, who were afterwards authorized to baptize the rest. But in any case the words above cited seem to show that the making of disciples and the baptizing of them went together; and that baptism was, even during our Lord's earthly ministry the formal mode of accepting his service and becoming attached to his company." (Smith's Bible Dictionary, p. 235.)

3. Confirmation: "The Laying on of Hands" was considered in the ancient church as the 'Supplement of Baptism.' 1. Imposition of hands is a natural form by which benediction has been expressed in all ages and among all people. It is the act of one superior either by age or spiritual position towards an inferior, and by its very form it appears to bestow some gift, or to manifest a desire that some gift is symbolically bestowed, as when guiltiness was thus transferred by the high-priest to the scape-goat from the congregation (Lev. xvi. 21); but, in general, the gift is of something good which God is supposed to bestow by the channel of the laying on of hands. Thus, in the Old Testament, Jacob accompanies his blessing to Ephraim and Manasseh with imposition of hands (Gen. xlviii. 14); Joshua is ordained in the room of Moses by imposition of hands (Num. xxvii. 18; Deut. xxxiv. 9); cures seem to have been wrought by the prophets by imposition of hands (2 K. v. ii); and the high priest, in giving his solemn benediction, stretched out his hands over the people (Lev. ix. 22). The same form was used by our Lord in blessing and occasionally in healing, and it was plainly regarded by the Jews as customary or befitting (Matt. xix. 13; Mark viii. 23, x. 16). One of the promises at the end of St. Mark's Gospel to Christ's followers is that they should cure the sick by laying on of hands (Mark xvi. 18); and accordingly we find that Saul received his sight (Acts ix. 17) and Publius's father was healed of his fever (Acts xxviii. 6) by imposition of hands. In the Acts of the Apostles the nature of the gift or blessing bestowed by Apostolic imposition of hands is made clearer. It is called the gift of the Holy Ghost (viii. 17, xix. 6) * * * By the time that the Epistle to the Hebrew was written we find that there existed a practice and doctrine of imposition of hands, which is pronounced by the writer of the Epistle to be one of the first principles and fundamentals of Christianity, which he enumerates in the following order: (1) The doctrine of Repentance; (2) of Faith; (3) of Baptism; (4) of Laying on of Hands; (5) of the Resurrection; (6) of Eternal Judgment (Heb. vi. 1, 2). Laying on of Hands in this passage can mean only one of three things—Ordination, Absolution, or that which we have already seen in the Acts to have been practiced by the Apostles, imposition of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost on the baptized. The meaning of Ordination is excluded by the context. We have no proof of the existence of the habitual practice of Absolution at this period nor of its being accompanied by the laying on of hands. Everything points to that laying on of hands which, as we have seen, immediately succeeded baptism in the Apostolic age, and continued to do so in the ages immediately succeeding the Apostles. * * * The Fathers, says Hooker, "everywhere impute unto it that gift or grace of the Holy Ghost, not which maketh us first Christian men, but, when we are made such, assisteth us in all virtue, armeth us against temptation and sin. * * * The Fathers therefore, being thus persuaded, held confirmation as an ordinance Apostolic, always profitable in God's Church, although not always accompanied with equal largeness of those external effects which gave it countenance at the first." (Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. I, p. 242-244.)

4. The Time of Confirmation: "Originally Imposition of Hands followed immediately upon Baptism, so closely as to appear as part of the baptismal ceremony or a supplement to it. This is clearly stated by Tertullian (De Bapt. vii, viii), Cyril (Catech. Myst. iii. I), the author of the Apostolic Constitutions (vii. 43), and all early Christian writers." (Smith's Bible Dictionary, pp. 242, 3, 4.)

5. Eucharist: Paul's account of the establishment of this Christian institution is perhaps the earliest written and the most complete: "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood; this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come."

Comment on the Above: From Paul's description of the ordinance, it is clear that the broken bread was an emblem of Messiah's broken body; the wine an emblem of his blood, shed for sinful man; and his disciples were to eat the one and drink the other in remembrance of him until he should return; and by this ceremony show forth the Lord's death. It was designed as a memorial of Messiah's great Atonement for mankind, a token and witness unto the Father that the Son was always remembered. It was to be a sign that those partaking of it were willing to take upon them the name of Christ, to always remember him, and keep his commandments. In consideration of these things being observed, the saints were always to have the Spirit of the Lord to be with them. In this spirit and without great ceremony the sacrament was administered for some time in the early Christian church.

7. Prayer of Consecration Given to the Nephites: "The manner of the Elders and Priests administering the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church. And they administered it according to the commandments of Christ; wherefore we know the manner to be true; and the Elder or Priest did minister it. And they did kneel down with the church, and pray to the Father in the name of Christ saying, 'Oh God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that he may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen." (Moroni iv. 3.)

"The manner of administering the wine. Behold, they took the cup, and said, O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee, in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them, that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen." (Moroni v. 12.)

Comment: Of the above prayer I may say what Arch Deacon Paley has so well said of the Lord's Prayer: "For a succession of solemn thoughts, for fixing the attention upon a few great points, for suitableness, for sufficiency, for conciseness without obscurity, for the weight and real importance of its petitions"—this prayer so far as I am aware is without an equal excepting, perhaps, the Lord's prayer.

8. Eucharist in the Second Century. "When the Christians celebrated the Lord's supper, which they were accustomed to do chiefly on Sundays, they consecrated a part of the bread and wine of the oblations, by certain prayers pronounced by the president, the bishop of the congregation. The wine was mixed with water, and the bread was divided into small pieces. Portions of the consecrated bread and wine were commonly sent to the absent and the sick, in testimony of fraternal affection towards them. There is much evidence that this most holy rite was regarded as very necessary to the attainment of salvation." (Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, p. 137.)


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




II. Organizations:

1. The Church.

(a) Preliminary Steps, Gathering and instructing Disciples.

(b) Call of the Twelve.

(c) Appointment of the Seventy.

(d) The Completed Organization.

2. The Mission of the Church.

Matt. iv:12-25. Matt. v-vii, and note 1.

Matt. iv:17-25. Mark i:14-22. Luke v:13-16. Luke x:1-11, 17-20. cf. Seventy's Year Book I, pp. 3, 4. I Cor. xii:27-30. Seventy's Year Book, No. I, pp. 2, 3. Notes 2, 3.

I Cor. xiii:27-30. Eph. iv:1-6., and note.

Seventy's Year Book No. I, pp. 13-4, notes 2, 3, 4, 5. See also note 4 Lesson xxiv.


2. The Church: I. order to propagate the gospel, and teach, encourage, instruct, preserve, and finally perfect those who accepted it, Messiah organized his Church. He bestowed upon its members certain great and precious spiritual gifts and graces, such as the power to speak in new tongues and interpret them; to receive revelation, to prophesy, to see visions, receive the visitation of angels, to possess the gift of wisdom, knowledge, faith, discernment of spirits, and healing the sick. The description of the Church organization in the New Testament is extremely imperfect, owing, no doubt, to the fragmentary character of the Christian annals. While the distinctions between the respective offices in the Priesthood, and the definition of the duties of each officer are even less satisfactory; still there is enough written to enable us to get an outline of the wonderful organization. Messiah, during his personal ministry, organized a quorum of Twelve Apostles, to whom he gave very great powers and authority, even to be witnesses of him among the people, to build up his Church by the proclamation of the gospel, to heal the sick, open the eyes of the blind, raise the dead, and cast out devils. He likewise organized quorums of seventies, unto whom he gave similar powers to those bestowed upon the apostles (c. f. Matt, x, with Luke x). After his resurrection, Messiah was with his apostles and disciples forty days, during which time he was teaching them all things concerning the kingdom of God. Hence we have these men after his ascension organizing branches of the church wherever they found people who received their testimony. In some instances they ordained elders to preside over these branches; and in other instances bishops were appointed. Paul, in giving a description of the organization of the church, says: "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers; after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? The implied answer is that all are not apostles, nor prophets, nor teachers, etc., in the church of Christ, but that the whole body is fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth. Undoubtedly the whole organization grew out of the instruction Jesus imparted to the Apostles, but it required time for its foil development.

3. The Church as Described in the New Testament: "The derivation of the word 'church' is uncertain. * * * The word occurs twice, each time in St. Matthew (Matt. xvi. 18, "On this rock will I build my Church;" xviii. 17, "Tell it unto the Church.") In every other case it is spoken of as the kingdom of heaven by St. Matthew, and as the kingdom of God by St. Mark and St. Luke. St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John never use the expression kingdom of heaven. St. John once uses the phrase kingdom of God (iii. 3). St. Matthew occasionally speaks of the kingdom of God (vi. 33, xxi. 31, 43), and sometimes simply of the kingdom (iv. 23, xiii. 19, xxiv. 14). In xiii. 41 and xvi. 28, it is the Son of Man's kingdom. In xx 21, thy kingdom, i. e., Christ's. In the one Gospel of St. Matthew the Church is spoken of no less than thirty-six times as the Kingdom. Other descriptions or titles are hardly found in the Evangelists. It is Christ's household (Matt. x. 25). the salt and light of the world (v. 13, 15), Christ's flock (Matt. xxvi. 31; John x. 1), its members are the branches growing on Christ the Vine (John xv); but the general description of it, not metaphorically, but directly, is that it is a kingdom. * * * The means of entrance into it is Baptism (Matt, xxviii. 19). The conditions of belonging to it are faith (Mark xvi. 16) and obedience (Matt, xxviii. 20). Participation in the Holy Supper is its perpetual token of membership, and the means of supporting the life of its members (Matt. xxvi. 26; John vi. 51; Cor. xi. 26). Its members are given to Christ by the Father out of the world, and sent by Christ into the world; they are sanctified by the truth (John xvii. 19); and they are to live in love and unity, cognizable by the eternal world (John xiii. 34. xvii. 23)." Smith Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 1., p. 453.

4. Definitions of the Church: The Greek Church gives the following: "The Church is a divinely instituted community of men, united by the orthodox faith, the law of God, the hierarchy, and the Sacraments" (Full Catechism of the Orthodox. Catholic, Eastern Church, Moscow, 1839). The Latin Church defines it as, "The company of Christians knit together by the profession of the same faith and the communion of the same sacraments, under the government of lawful pastors, and especially of the Roman bishop as the only Vicar of Christ upon earth." (Bellarm. De Eccl. Mil. iii. 2; see also Devoti Inst. Canon. 1, iv. Romae, 1818.) The Church of England, "A congregation of faithful men in which the pure word of God is preached, and the Sacraments he duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite of the same." (Art. xix.) The Lutheran Church: "A congregation of saints in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the sacraments rightly administered." (Confessio Augustina, 1631, Art. vii.) The Confessio Helvetica: "A congregation of faithful men called, or collected out of the world, the communion of all saints." (Art. xvii.) The Confessio Saxonica: "A congregation of men embracing the Gospel of Christ, and rightly using the Sacraments." (Art. xii.) The Confessio Belgica: "A true congregation, or assembly of all faithful Christians who look for the whole of their salvation from Jesus Christ alone, as being washed by his blood, and sanctiled and sealed by his Spirit." (Art. xvii.) (Smith's Dictionary of the Bible Art Church.) (For our definition of "The Church," see Seventy's Year Book, No. 1, p. 13.)

4. Inadequacy of Foregoing Definitions: "These definitions show the difficulty in which the different sections of the divided Church find themselves in framing a definition which will at once accord with the statements of Holy Scripture, and be applicable to the present state of the Christian world. We have seen that according to the Scriptural view the Church is a holy kingdom, established by God on earth, of which Christ is the invisible King; it is a divinely organized body, the members of which are knit together amongst themselves, and joined to Christ, their Head, by the Holy Spirit, who dwells in and animates it; it is a spiritual but visible society of men united by constant succession to those who were personally united to the Apostles, holding the same faith that the Apostles held, administering the same sacraments, and, like them, forming separate, but only locally separate, assemblies, for the public worship of God. This is the Church according to the Divine intention. But as God permits men to mar the perfection of his design in their behalf, and as men have both corrupted the doctrines and broken the unity of the Church, we must not expect to see the Church of Holy Scripture actually existing in its perfection on earth. It is not to be found, thus perfect, either in the collected fragments of Christendom, or still less in any one of these fragments more than another may approach the Scriptural and Apostolic ideal which existed only until sin, heresy, and schism had time sufficiently to develop themselves to do their work." (Smith's Bible Dictionary, p. 458.)


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Conspiracy Against the Christ.

Matt, xxvi; xxvii:1-25. Mark xiv; and xv:1-15. St. John xxii and xxiii:1-27. St. John xviii.

II. Death and Resurrection of the Christ.

St. John xix and xx:1-18 Notes 2, 5. Luke xxiii and xxiv. Mark xv and xvi:1-8. Matt, xxvii and xxviii. Matt, xxviii:11-20. Mark xvi; St. John xx:19-31. Luke xxiv:13-53. Acts i:1-14.

III. Post-Resurrection Ministry of Messiah.

1. In Judea.

2. On the Western Hemisphere.

3. Among the "Lost Tribes."

III Nephi chapters xi to xxx inclusive, cf. John x:15, 16. "The Fifth Gospel," Defense of the Faith and the Saints, pp. 373-399.

III Nephi, chs. xv-xvi-xvii.


1. The Agony in Gethsemane: "(Matt, xxvi; vers. 36-46, parallel passages: Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46.) This conflict presents our Lord in the reality of His manhood, in weakness and humiliation, but it is impossible to account for it unless we admit His Divine nature. Had he been a mere man, His knowledge of the sufferings before Him could not have been sufficient to cause such sorrow. The human fear of death will not explain it. As a real man, He was capable of such a conflict. But it took place after the serenity of the Last Supper and sacerdotal prayer, and before the sublime submission in the palace and judgment hall. The conflict, therefore, was a specific agony of itself. He felt the whole burden and mystery of the world's sin, and encountered the fiercest assaults of Satan Otherwise, in this hour this Person, so powerful, so holy, seems to fall below the heroism of martyrs in His own cause. His sorrow did not spring from His own life. His memory or His fears, but from the vicarious nature of the conflict. The agony was a bearing of the weight and sorrow of our sins, in loneliness, in anguish of soul threatening to crush His body, yet borne triumphantly, because in submission to His Father's will. Three times our Lord appeals to that will, as purposing His anguish; that purpose of God in regard to the loveliest, best of men, can be reconciled with justice and goodness in God in but one way; that it was necessary for our redemption. Mercy forced its way through justice to the sinner. Our Lord suffered anguish of soul for sin, that it might never rest on us. To deny this is in effect not only to charge our Lord with undue weakness, but to charge God with needless cruelty. 'Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. ... He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.' Isa. 53: 4,5." (International Commentary, Matthew, p. 359.)

2. The Cruelty of Crucifixion: "Crucifixion was a most disgraceful and cruel punishment introduced into Judaea by the Romans and inflicted only on slaves and the worst of criminals. Constantine the Great abolished it. The Jews often hanged those who had been stoned to death, but the corpse must be buried the same day, so as not to pollute the land (Deut. 21:22, 23). The Romans permitted the crucified to die slowly; and the sufferings sometimes continued for three days. Their flesh was given to the birds or other wild animals. As, according to Jewish custom, the bodies must at once be taken down and buried, death was hastened by the crucifragium, the breaking of the legs, to which was sometimes added a mercy-stroke, that is, the piercing of the body. If they were already dead, the latter alone was given, to make the matter sure. The physical sufferings of the victims were fearfully great Dr. Richter, a physician, thus describes them: 1. On account of the unnatural and immovable position of the body and the violent extension of the arms, the least motion produced the most painful sensation all over the body, but especially on the lacerated back and the pierced members. 2. The nails caused constantly increasing pain on the most sensitive parts of the hands and feet. 3. Inflammation set in at the pierced members and wherever the circulation of the blood was obstructed by the violent tension of the body, and increased the agony and an intolerable thirst. 4. The blood rushed to the head and produced the most violent headache. 5. The blood in the lungs accumulated, pressing the heart, swelling all the veins, and caused nameless anguish. Loss of blood through the open wounds would have shortened the pain, but the blood clotted and ceased flowing. Death generally set in slowly, the muscles, veins, and nerves gradually growing stiff, and the vital powers sinking from exhaustion. (From Lange on Matt. pp. 522 sq.) By the crucifixion of our Lord the cross of the bitterest sufferings and cruel death has been changed into a tree of life, that bears the richest fruits of penitence and gratitude. From the moment He was lifted on the cross He began to draw all men unto Him (Comp. John 12: 32)." (Commentary, Matthew, pp. 389-90).

3. Death of the Christ Voluntary: Unbelievers delight to represent God, the great Law Giver, as unspeakably cruel in demanding such an atonement as Christ made for the salvation of the children of men. But let it be born in mind that he who made the atonement did so voluntarily. Testifying to his disciples respecting the matter, he says: "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." When his enemies gathered about him,—a former friend betraying him with a kiss,—and Peter prepared to defend him with the sword, he chided him for his rashness, commanding him to put up his sword, and added: "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" Thus down to the very last moment, it appears that Jesus could have been delivered from the sacrifice had he so willed it. But the principle which was the guiding star of his life—"Father, not my will, but thy will be done"—influenced him in this instance, and he drank of the cup given him of his Father, and wrung out the dregs in agony; but he did it voluntarily, and that, too, out of his great love for mankind. (Outlines, Eccl. Hist. Roberts, pp. 93-4.)

"It is manifest, from the history of the death of Christ, that he spake most truly when he said, No man taketh my life from me, but I lay it down of myself. John x. 18. For how easy would it have been for him, even without a miracle, to have avoided falling into the hands of his enemies? The insidious designs of the Jewish pontiff and chief priests were well known to him; and it is plain that he was no stranger to the treacherous intentions of his perfidious disciple Judas, since he expressly alludes to them on more than one occasion. On the other hand, it appears that he had several great and powerful friends, on whom he could have depended for support. Would he but have quitted Jerusalem, and returned into Galilee, every scheme that had been formed against him must have fallen to the ground. Indeed, even this was not requisite: for his safety would have been completely secured had he merely changed the place of his nightly resort, and, lest Judas should have discovered it, dismissed that wicked and deceitful man from his society. Besides these obvious means, there were others to which he might have had recourse, and which would have proved equally efficient in defeating and bringing to naught the evil councils and designs of the Jewish priests and elders. But it should seem that he disdained, or at least voluntarily neglected to avail himself of any of those precautions, which a very moderate share of human prudence would have suggested to any man under similar circumstances. He remained in Jerusalem; he permitted Judas to continue about his person, in the character of an intimate friend; he continued to pass his nights in the usual and accustomed place. All these circumstances being considered, who is there but must readily perceive that Christ voluntarily subjected himself to the punishment of death, and offered up his life to God as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind?" (History of Christianity, Mosheim. p. 98.)

4. The Vicarious Work of the Christ: "Therefore. I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not! How exquisite you know not! Yes, how hard to bear you know not! For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent. But if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I, which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit; and would that I might not drink the bitter cup and shrink. Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men; wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power, and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my spirit." (Doc. & Cov. Sec. xix:15-20.)

5. The Appearance of Jesus After His Resurrection: "There are some slight discrepancies in the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in respect to the order of the appearance of Messiah after his resurrection, as indeed there is in respect to the order of the events connected with his trial, condemnation and death; but the following, because of the fragmentary character of the four gospels, may be regarded as being as nearly correct as may be ascertained. First, to Mary Magdalene, in the garden where the tomb in which he was laid was located; second, lo the women returning from the sepulchre on their way to deliver the angel's message to the disciples; third, to two disciples going to Emmaus; fourth, to Peter; fifth, to ten apostles in an upper room; sixth, to the eleven apostles, also in the upper room; seventh, to seven apostles at the sea of Tiberias; eighth, to eleven apostles in a mountain in Galilee; ninth; to above five hundred brethren at once; tenth, to James; and finally to Paul while on his way to Damascus." (Outlines of Ecclesiastical History, p. 65.)

6. The Christ's Post-Resurrection Ministry in Judea: "In all Jesus was with his disciples on the eastern hemisphere for forty days after his resurrection, during which time he taught them all things pertaining to the kingdom of heaven, and authorized them to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever he had commanded them; and promised that he would be with them even unto the end of the world. * * * Having thus taught the gospel to the people of the eastern hemisphere, organized his church and commissioned his apostles to teach the gospel to all nations, he prepared to depart from them. It was most probably at Bethany that this solemn parting occurred. His forerunner, John the Baptist, had promised that he who should come after him, Jesus Christ, would baptize them with the Holy Ghost, and just previous to Messiah leaving the apostles he told them that the promise was about to be fulfilled. He therefore commanded them to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endowed with that power from on high. Then he lifted up his hands and blessed them, after which he was parted from them, and a cloud received him out of their sight. As they were still looking steadfastly toward heaven, two men.—angels—in white apparel, stood by them, and declared that this same Jesus whom they had seen go into heaven, should come in like manner, that is, in the clouds of heaven, and in great glory." (Outlines of History, Roberts, pp. 66, 67.)

7. Advent of Messiah on Western Hemisphere: I now turn to a passage I shall read to you from III Nephi, describing the appearance of Jesus on this land (America.) After fearful cataclysms had taken place, a company of men, women and children in the land Bountiful, numbering some 2,500 souls, were assembled together near a temple that had escaped destruction, and they were speaking of the great events of the recent past and the change that was apparent in the whole face of the land. As they were speaking of these signs that had been given of Messiah's birth and death, and conversing concerning Messiah himself, they heard a voice. What was said they could not at first determine, and whence the voice came they could not tell. It grew, however, more and still more distinct, until at last they heard the voice say:

"Behold my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name; hear ye him."

And it came to pass as they understood, they cast their eyes up again towards heaven and behold, they saw a man descending out of heaven: and he was clothed in a white robe, and he came down and stood in the midst of them, and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.

And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto them people, saying:

Behold, I am Jesus, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world;

And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.

And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, the whole multitude fell to the earth, for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven." (Defense of the Faith and the Saints, pp. 382-3.)

8. Subject of Messiah Teaching in the Western Hemisphere: "Complaint is made that in his ministry among the Nephites Messiah merely repeated the ideas, and for that matter the words of his sermon on the mount; so wanting in originality, claim those who object to the Book of Mormon, were the authors of the book that they could not trust themselves to give Jesus the opportunity of preaching an original discourse to the inhabitants of this western part of the world. I ask these Christian objectors to consider this: Suppose the Book of Mormon were not in existence at all; suppose that we begin to reflect on the empires and nations which beyond all question did occupy this land of America in ancient times, and were civilized, intelligent people—God's children; suppose that it began to occur to some of our Christian friends that it would have been a grand idea if the Son of God had come and made proclamation of the Gospel to a people who were destined to be for so many centuries separated from the eastern hemisphere, where the gospel had been planted. Now, then, suppose these conditions, and suppose further that Jesus came here, what would be the nature of his mission? What should he first do? What truth do these Christian critics hold to be the most important truth to mankind? Would it not be the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of the world, the one who is to bring life and immortality to light through the Gospel? Would not that be the most important thing to have declared? I believe all Christians must necessarily say yes. Well, that is just what happened. The voice of God broke the stillness of this western world, and said to a company of people, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." Then Jesus stands forth and declares himself and his mission, the most important truth that the Christian mind, at least, can conceive. The Fifth Gospel starts with that sublime, important truth. Then alter that, what would be the next most important thing? Would it not be to teach man his moral duty? His relationship to God and to the Savior having been fixed by the first revelation, what next? Why, the ethics of the gospel of Christ, the moral law, which is to take the place of the old Mosaic law—confessedly inferior to the Gospel law, being but the "schoolmaster" to bring Israel to the Christ. Christian principles, then, for light living was what Messiah imparted to the Nephites after his relationship to them was settled. And so Messiah starts out with the same doctrine that he taught upon the mount There are not wanting respectable Christian authorities for the assertion that that discourse called the sermon on the mount was not a single discourse, but that into it was crowded from the recollection of the apostles all the great ethical truths that Jesus had taught from time to time, and that here they are grouped together and appear as one discourse. Moreover, the Savior declared to the Nephites while he was yet with them that these truths which he had been teaching them were the same that he had taught in Judea. "Behold," said he, in the course of his explanations, "ye have heard the things which I have taught before I ascended unto my Father." (Defense of the Faith and the Saints, pp. 384-5.)

[Note: To the Teacher: It is suggested that you make the appointment at this lesson for Lesson XXX—a discourse on "The Greatness and Influence of the Meridian Dispensation." One or more speakers may be appointed, and an effort should be made to give the subject a masterly treatment. It could also be made the occasion of a review of the eight lessons devoted to the theme, which may be conducted by questions after the speakers have concluded.

On such occasions as these a very fitting thing to do would be to invite brethren of other quorums, Elders and High Priests, as also the local authorities of the Ward or Stake to witness such exercises. Make it a special occasion and put those who are to treat the theme on their mettle and get the best out of them that it is possible for them to give.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Among the Jews—Pentecost—the Church at Jerusalem.

1. Among the Gentiles:

(a) Opening the Door of the Gospel to the Gentiles by Peter.

(b) Paul's Labors among the Gentiles.

Matt, xxviii:16-20; Mark xvi; 16: Acts i:1-9. Acts ii: ix, note 1 and 2.

Acts x, xi. Notes 3, 4 and 5. Also New Testament History, (Smith) pp. 426-29, 633-643.

Acts xxii-xxviii. Note 6.

II. The Apostolic Age.

Note 7 and 8; also Smith's New Testament History and Dictionaries heretofore quoted.


1. The Acts of the Apostles: The student should regard the whole book, "Acts of the Apostles," as the book of first importance in the history of the propagation of the Gospel in the Meridian Dispensation. It gives an account of the conflicts and conquests of the Gospel from the ascension of Messiah to the imprisonment of Paul in the city of Rome (33-63 A. D.), a period of sixty years. "It is the earliest manual of Church History, and the only one treating of the age of the apostles which has come down to us from the first century." (See note Seventy's Year Book, No. I, p. 85, notes 6, 7.) "True," as remarked by Dr. William Smith, "New Testament History," "the Book of Acts contains no full account of the acts of the apostles;" for "most of them are never mentioned even by name after the list given in the first chapter;" and the history of Paul which fills so large a space in the book is not brought down to his death." Still, it is the most important book of the Apostolic age treating of the Christian origins.

2. Characteristics of the Acts: "The Acts makes prominent the agency of the Holy Spirit. He is referred to by name fifty times, or more frequently than in all the four Gospels together. The promise of the Spirit was emphasized by Christ just before his ascension. (1:5, 8.) He descended in tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost (2:1-13). Early believers (4:31) and preachers, like Stephen (6:5) and Barnabas, were 'filled with the Holy Spirit,' and the Apostles were sent forth to their work (13:4), or the elders appointed by Him (20: 28). It is a book of beginnings. The Holy Spirit begins his new and promised activity; the Apostles inaugurate their labors; churches are founded in many cities. * * * * * * * The Acts is eminently a hopeful book. It is the book of Joshua among the books of the New Testament, fresh as with the life of Spring. Old terms acquire a new significance, like 'believer,' 'brother' (9:17), 'the Way' (19:9), etc. There is no cant. Christianity goes forth conquering and to conquer, and the world is the heritage of Christ. It dwells much upon the resurrection, and looks forward with expectancy to the Second Coming. It is animate with the spirit of joy. In this respect, the Acts is set in the same major key as the Gospel of Luke. Confident of the presence of the Master and conscious of the power of salvation, the Apostles even rejoice that they were counted worthy to suffer for him (5:41). The tidings which they preach, like those the angels brought, are 'good tidings' (13: 32). Paul and Silas sang in prison (16:25), and the acceptance of the Gospel is everywhere attended with great joy (8:39; 13:52; 15:3; 16: 34, etc.). It is a book of missionary activity. Intensity of purpose and effort pulsates through it. It has no morbid tone. Much stress is laid upon the efficacy of Christ's death, but only the deaths of Stephen and James are mentioned, and the deaths of Paul and Peter are entirely passed over. This silence * * * * indicates that it matters everything how a Christian lives; little how he dies. Christianity advances with a steady and rapid progress from Jerusalem to Antioch, Antioch to Corinth, and Corinth to Rome. There are references to the numbers of the believers (2:40; 4:4), and constant statements that they were increasing rapidly (2:47; 5:14; 6:7; 12:24; 16:5). Besides the more formal notices, there are incidental allusions to the churches in Samaria and Phoenicia (15:3), Syria and Cilicia (15:23), Troas (20:6, 7), Tyre and Ptolemais (21:1-7), and other cities. The book is the missionary's best companion on the frontier and in foreign lands. The Acts is animated with the universal aims of the Gospel. It has a Gentile ring. Palestine was only the birthplace of Christianity, not its exhaustive theatre. Peter catches this tone in his speech on the day of Pentecost (2:39), whose various tongues were themselves a type, and witnesses a figurative representation of it in the vision on the housetop of Joppa. Stephen's eye takes in this larger horizon, and Paul, who uttered the significant words in Antioch of Pisidia, 'Lo, we turn to the Gentiles' (13:46), looks out to Rome itself when he insists, 'I must also see Rome' (19:31; 20:22). The motto of the Acts is the command of the ascending Saviour, 'to the uttermost part of the earth' (1:8), and continues to be the motto of the Church. The Acts of the Apostles is not yet a closed book." (The Acts of the Apostles, by J. S. Howson and H. D. M. Spence, p. xix and xx. International Commentary, Introduction.)

3. The Gospel Taken to the Gentiles: The Apostles, being Jews themselves, appear to have shared the common prejudices of their race against the Gentiles; and treated them for a time as if they had no lot nor part in the gospel of Christ. It was not the design of the Lord, however, to thus restrict the application of the gospel. Jesus, himself, while he had said that he was "sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel," had also said: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me;" and the commission of the risen Christ to the Apostles sent them to "all nations." (Matt. xxviii:19; Acts i:8.) Hence, when Cornelius of Caesarea, a devout man, one that feared God, though a Gentile, sought the Lord by prayer and good works, he found him; for an angel was sent to Cornelius, who told him his prayers and alms were accepted of God, and that he had come to direct him to send men to Joppa for Simon Peter, who would be able to tell him what he ought to do. The devout Gentile immediately started the messengers to find the Apostle. Meantime Peter himself was prepared by a vision to go with the gospel unto one whom both he and all his race regarded as unclean. In vision he thought he beheld a great net let down from heaven, filled with all manner of four-footed beasts, fowls of the air, and creeping things. And a voice said to him, "Rise, Peter, kill and eat." "Not so. Lord," was his reply, "for I have never eaten anything that was common or unclean." "What God hath cleansed," said the voice, "that call not thou common or unclean." This was done thrice, and as he was yet pondering what the vision could mean, the messengers of Cornelius were at the gate enquiring for him; and he was commanded by the Spirit to go with them, doubting nothing, for God had sent them. Peter was obedient to the inspired commandment, and went to the house of Cornelius, where he found many of the devout Gentile's friends and kinsmen gathered together in anticipation of his coming. Cornelius having informed the apostle how he came to send for him, Peter exclaimed: "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted with him." He then proceeded to preach the gospel to Cornelius and all present. As he did so the Holy Ghost fell upon them, to the astonishment of all the Jews who had accompanied Peter; for they heard them speak in new tongues and magnify God. Cornelius and his friends were baptized and thus the door of the gospel was opened to the Gentiles. (Outlines Ecclesiastical History, pp. 81, 2.)

4. Peter's Mission to the Gentiles: "This event was the crown and consummation of Peter's ministry. He, who had first preached the resurrection to the Jews, baptized the first converts, and confirmed the Samaritans, now, without the advice or co-operation of any of his colleagues, under direct communication from heaven, first threw down the barrier which separated proselytes of the gate from Israelites; first established principles which issued in the complete fusion of the Hebrew and Gentile elements in the Church. The narrative of this event, which stands alone in minute circumstantiality of incidents and accumulation of supernatural agency, is twice recorded by St. Luke. The chief points to be recorded are, first, the peculiar fitness of Cornelius, both as a representative of Roman force and nationality, and a devout and liberal worshiper, to be a recipient of such privileges; and, secondly, the state of the apostle's own mind. Whatever may have been his hopes or fears touching the heathen, the idea had certainly not yet crossed him that they could become Christians without first becoming Jews. As a loyal and believing Hebrew, he could not contemplate the removal of Gentile disqualifications without a distinct assurance that those enactments of the Law which concerned them were abrogated by a divine legislator. The vision could not, therefore, have been the product of a subjective impression; it was strictly objective, presented to his mind by an external influence. Yet the will of the Apostle was not controlled; it was simply enlightened. The intimation in the state of trance did not at once overcome his reluctance. It was not until his consciousness was fully restored and he had well considered the meaning of the vision, that he learned that the distinction of cleanness and uncleanness in outward things belonged to a temporary dispensation. It was no mere acquiescence in a positive command, but the development of a spirit full of generous impulses, which found utterance in the words spoken by Peter on that occasion, both in presence of Cornelius and afterward at Jerusalem." (Dr. Smith's New Testament History, pp. 428-9.)

5. Rapid Growth of the Work: The knowledge once established in the minds of the Apostles that God granted to the Gentiles repentance unto life, seemed to unshackle those who were to preach the gospel, and gave a broader meaning in their minds to their commission to "Go unto all the world and preach the gospel unto every creature." Evidently before this they did not comprehend it in its fullest sense. The Apostles appear to have remained in Jerusalem a number of years—twelve years, tradition says—presiding over the Church and directing the labors of those preaching the gospel. Churches, or, more correctly speaking, branches of the Church were built up in Antioch, Damascus and other cities of Syria. The work also spread into Asia Minor, Greece and Rome; and everywhere great success attended the preaching of the elders, until the gospel was firmly established in various parts of the Gentile world. So extensive was the preaching of the ambassadors of Christ in those early days of the Church that we have Paul saying (about thirty years after the ascension of Messiah) that it had been "preached to every creature under heaven." (Outlines Ecclesiastical History, p. 83.)

6. Personal Appearance and Character of Paul: "We have no very trustworthy source of information as to the personal appearance of St. Paul. Those which we have are referred to and quoted in Conybeare and Howson. (Vol. i, ch. vii. end.) They are the early pictures and mosaics described by Mrs. Jameson, and passages from Malalas, Nicephorus, and the apocryphal Acta Pauli et Theclae. They all agree in ascribing to the Apostle a short stature, a long face with high forehead, an aquiline nose, close and prominent eyebrows. Other characteristics mentioned are baldness, grey eyes, a clear complexion, and a winning expression. Of his temperament and character, St. Paul is himself the best painter. His speeches and letters convey to us, as we read them, the truest impressions of those qualities which helped to make him The Great Apostle. We perceive the warmth and ardor of his nature, his deeply affectionate disposition, the tenderness of his sense of honor, the courtesy and personal dignity of his bearing, his perfect fearlessness, his heroic endurance; we perceive the rare combination of subtlety, tenacity and versatility in his intellect; we perceive also a practical wisdom which we should have associated with a cooler temperament, and a tolerance which is seldom united with such impetuous convictions. And the principle which harmonized all these endowments and directed them to a practical end was, beyond dispute, a knowledge of Jesus Christ in the Divine Spirit. Personal allegiance to Christ as to a living Master, with a growing insight into the relation of Christ to each man and to the world, carried the Apostle forward on a straight course through every vicissitude of personal fortunes and amid the various habits of thought which he had to encounter. The conviction that he had been entrusted with a Gospel concerning a Lord and Deliverer of men was what sustained him and purified his love for his own people, while it created in him such a love for mankind that he only knew himself as a servant of others for Christ's sake." (Dr. Smith's New Testament History, p. 633.)

7. The Apostolic Age: "The Apostolic Age naturally falls into three periods: (1) The time when the labors of the Apostles were confined to Jerusalem; (2) the time during which their ministrations were performed in all of Palestine, and (3) the time when they "went into all the world" (the Roman Empire) in obedience to the Saviour's behest (Matt, xxviii:16-20; Mark 16:15). * * * * * * * There is scarcely a movement, religious or otherwise, in the history of the world which can be compared, in quickness of development, with the first thirty years of the spread of Christianity. Up to the year 33 A. D. the name of Christ had scarcely been heard outside of a region no greater than one of the larger counties of Utah; over all the civilized world beside, paganism and Judaism held undisputed sway. Yet, by the year 63 A. D., through the active zeal of our Lord's followers, His name and the doctrines He came to establish had spread over Syria, Asia Minor, Arabia, Greece, Italy, and, we doubt not, some regions farther west. The Christians, as the followers of Jesus were called in derision first in Antioch (Acts 11:26), were everywhere known, and everywhere spoken evil against. Opposed by the combined forces of the two widely accepted religions above mentioned, the Gospel of Christ had spread "to the ends of the earth," and had been accepted by Jews and pagans everywhere." (Y. M. M. I. Manual, 1898-9.)

8. State of the Church at Close of Apostolic Age: "A. the close of the first century, the Church was in a sadly demoralized condition. According to our best authorities, all the Apostles but John were dead, no attempt (for any great length of time, apparently) having been made to maintain the quorum. If so important a body was allowed to become extinct, there is no reasonable doubt that other quorums fell into decay and that the Church organization lost its original identity. With the disorganization of the quorums of Priesthood there was an opportunity for the predicted rise of false teachers, under whom occurred changes in the ordinances of the Gospel. These changes afterward increased materially, until, in connection with the loss of true and the usurpation of false authority, they produced a complete change both in the organization and the ordinances of the Church. Persecution and internal corruption and dissension had also done their work, until at the close of the century, when John wrote his Epistles and the Revelation, but few of the branches of the Church retained enough of their identity and faithfulness to be recognized by him. The deplorable condition of the Church can well be gathered from the warnings and threats given to the saints at Ephesus in the second chapter of Revelation. A full discussion of this subject will be found in Roberts' New Witnesses for God, chapters 2-7. From the evidences there presented, it cannot be doubted that at the close of the first century the high authority of the Church had fallen into decay, and the Apostolic Age was at an end."


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Questions Respecting the Meridian Dispensation and the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times Considered.

1. The Largeness and Glory of the Meridian Dispensation.

2. Identity of the Meridian Dispensation and the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times Considered.

(a) Joel's Prophecy of the Dispensation of the Last Days Considered.

The Authorities quoted in the notes are all the References the Editor and Compiler has to offer in this Lesson.


1. The Greatness of the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time: With the period between Moses and John the Baptist spanned, we come to the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time. This dispensation begins with the preaching of John the Baptist in the wilderness. It was made glorious by the personal ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God; by His suffering and death, for the redemption of mankind; by His glorious resurrection from the dead; by His subsequent ministry among His followers, and His final ascension into heaven to the throne of His Father; by the faithful ministry of His Apostles, by whom the good tidings of man's salvation were published to the world; by the establishment of the Church as an agency through which the Gospel was to be more widely proclaimed, and those who accepted the Gospel more thoroughly instructed in its doctrines, guarded from error, and finally perfected in the Christian life. An inspired volume of Scripture, the New Testament, was also brought into existence, from the teachings of the inspired Apostles, in which the great fundamental truths of the Gospel were embodied and cast in a form that would be enduring, and to which men could appeal through all the ages to come, as an authoritative statement, not only of what Jesus said and what He did, but also a statement of what doctrines are to be believed; what precepts to be practiced; what ordinances to be observed. By thus embodying the chief doctrines of Christ in a volume of Scripture that should live forever, and be published in all the languages of the world, provision was made for such a dissemination of the knowledge of God, that the world would never again be wholly without that knowledge; and though the Church might become corrupted, as it afterwards did; though men ambitious of distinction and power might usurp authority and establish churches in which they taught for doctrines the commandments of men, as they certainly did; still in this volume of Scripture men henceforth would have at hand a standard of truth by which to test the utterances of would-be teachers, while at the same time it would keep above the horizon of a world's knowledge the great truths of the Gospel—the existence and character of God; the manifestation of Him through the person and character of Jesus of Nazareth; the relationship existing between God and man; the fall of man, and the redemption provided for him in the atonement of Jesus Christ. All this was achieved in the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time; a mighty work accomplished by the Son of God and His associates; a work sealed not only by the blood of Jesus Christ, but by the blood also of many faithful witnesses, which shall make their testimony of force in the world.

2. The Identity of the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time and the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times Considered: Owing to the phraseology of certain passages of Scripture, making reference to the coming of Messiah in the flesh, and to the work of God in those days, the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time is mistaken for the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. In Mark's Gospel, for instance, John the Baptist is represented as saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel."[A] The words in black type are usually understood to make reference to the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. Again it is written: "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law." [B] The words, "when the fullness of the time was come," are supposed to refer to the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. Other passages of Scripture referring to the days of Messiah's personal ministry among men in the flesh, speak of them as the "last days." Paul, in the opening sentence of his letter to the Hebrews, does this: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things."[C]; So St. John, in addressing the Saints in his day: "Little children, it is the lost time: and as ye have heard that anti-Christ shall come, even now are there many anti-Christs; whereby we know that it is the last time."[D] These, with two other special passages of Scripture, to be separately considered, constitute the authority upon which the Meridian Dispensation is confounded with the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. And yet all these passages are susceptible of quite a different and more natural rendering. Without controversy it will be conceded that the Lord had an appointed time for His Son Jesus to come to earth in the flesh and perform the mission that had been assigned Him; to suffer; to die; to arise again from the dead. And when the fullness of this time was come, God indeed sent forth His Son into the world. As for those inspired writers who speak of the "last days," and the "last times"—they speak relatively; that is, with reference to former days and times; and, of course, the days and times in which they lived to them were the last days, and the last times; but they were not the last days of the earth's temporal existence; they were not the last days in any general sense at all, as there have been now some two thousand years of days since then. They were not the "last days" that are understood as immediately preceding the glorious coming of the Son of God.

[Footnote A: Mark i:15.]

[Footnote B: Gal. iv:4.]

[Footnote C: Heb. i:1, 2.]

[Footnote D: John ii:18.]

3. Joel's Great Prophecy of the Dispensation of the Last Days: Of the special passages before referred to, and which I said would receive separate consideration, the first is Peter's quotation from the Prophet Joel, concerning the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon "all flesh in the last days." This quotation from Joel is regarded as identifying the days in which the Apostle was speaking, as "the last days;" and the dispensation in which he was living as the Dispensation of the Last Days and of the Fullness of Times. The conditions existing when Peter was speaking, and the prophecy of Joel, however, admit of no such interpretation. The circumstances were as follows: The Holy Ghost in an extraordinary manner rested upon the Apostles and gave them the power of speaking in other languages than those they had learned. Some in the listening multitude attributed this singular manifestation to drunkenness, whereupon the Apostle Peter arose and refuted the slander, saying: "These are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy; and I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."[A] "For," to finish the passage as it stands in Joel, but which is not in Peter's quotation, "for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call."[B]

[Footnote A: Acts ii:15, 21.]

[Footnote B: Joel ii:28-32.]

Because Peter, referring to the Spirit that was then resting upon the Twelve Apostles, said, "this is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel," etc., the very general opinion prevails that Joel's prophecy was then fulfilled; and hence the last days were come. This is an entire misapprehension of the purpose of Peter in making the quotation; as also of the quoted passage itself. Beyond all controversy, Peter meant only: This Spirit which you now see resting upon these Apostles of Jesus of Nazareth is that same Spirit which your Prophet Joel says will, in the last days, be poured out upon all flesh. Obviously he did not mean that this occasion of the Apostles receiving the Holy Ghost was a complete fulfillment of Joel's prediction. To insist upon such an exegesis would be to charge the chief of the Apostles with palpable ignorance of the meaning of Joel's prophecy. On the occasion in question the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Twelve Apostles, who were given the power to speak in various tongues; Joel's prophecy for its complete fulfillment requires that the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Ghost, shall be poured out upon all flesh; and undoubtedly refers to that time which shall come in the blessed millennium, when the enmity shall not only cease between man and man, but even between the beasts of the forests and of the fields; and between man and beast, as described by Isaiah in the following language:

"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp; and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrices' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."[A]

[Footnote A: Isaiah xi:6-9.]

Compare these conditions so vividly described with what Joel himself says of the period when the Spirit of the Lord shall be poured out upon all flesh, and it will at once be clear that the two Prophets are dealing with the same period, and not only dealing with the same period, but that the period itself is certainly far beyond in time the days of Peter; in fact, is still in the future; for the sum has not yet been turned into blackness; nor the moon into blood; nor have the stars withdrawn their shining. It is obvious that the events upon the day of Pentecost did not fulfill the terms of this prophecy, except in those particulars already pointed out. The mention in this prophecy, however, of those special signs which Jesus refers to as immediately preceding His own second and glorious coming, clearly demonstrates that Joel was speaking of the last days indeed, and not of a circumstance that occurred in connection with a period more properly designated as the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time. Immediately following his prediction of the outpouring of God's Spirit upon all flesh, Joel represents the Lord as saying: "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come." And later: "The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel."

Compare this with the Saviour's description of conditions in the earth that will precede His own second coming:

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."[A]

[Footnote A: Matt. xxiv:29-31.]

The same wonders in heaven and earth; the same changes in sun, and moon, and stars; the same promises of the gathering of God's people as are found in the prophecy of Joel. There can be no question, then, but that the prophecy of Joel refers to the same "last days" that Jesus here alludes to—the days of the coming of the Son of Man—and not to the days of Peter and the other Apostles in the meridian of time.

The sum of the matter then is, that Peter was not living in the "last days;" that the prophecy of Joel was not in its entirety fulfilled in the outpouring of God's Spirit upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost; that at no time subsequent to the days of the Apostles has there existed such conditions in the earth as amount to a complete fulfillment of Joel's prophecy; therefore in some time future from the days of the Apostles we may look forward to a universal outpouring of God's Holy Spirit upon all flesh, resulting in a universal peace and wide-spread knowledge of God, brought about, unquestionably, by a subsequent dispensation from that in which Peter wrought—the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, in which God promises to "gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; even in Him."[A]

[Footnote A: Eph. i:10.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Questions Respecting the Meridian Dispensation and the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times Considered.

The Authorities quoted in the notes are all the references the Editor and Compiler has to offer in this Lesson.

II. Daniel's Prophecy of the Rise of the Kingdom of God in the Last Days.


1. Daniel's Prophecy of the Rise of the Kingdom of God in the Last Days: The second special Scripture to which I have promised a separate consideration is the prophecy of Daniel relative to the succession of the great earth empires; and the final establishment of the Kingdom of God, which in "the last days" shall fill the whole earth and remain forever. By an error on the part of Christian writers, Daniel's prophecy concerning the Kingdom of God to be set up in "the last days" is supposed to have been fulfilled by the founding of "The spiritual kingdom of Christ" in the days of Messiah's earthly ministry; and therefore the conclusion is drawn that those days were "the last days," and the dispensation then ushered in, the final dispensation of the Gospel. It is my purpose here to refute that error.

The prophecy in question is familiar, and comes from Daniel's interpretation of the king of Babylon's dream of the great image, whose "brightness was excellent, whose form' was terrible." The head of the image was-of gold; his breast and arms were of silver; the body and thighs of brass; the legs of iron; and the feet and the toes part of iron and part of clay. The king in his dream also saw a little stone cut out of the mountain without hands, that smote the image upon the feet of mixed clay and iron, and broke it to pieces—until it became like the chaff of the summer thrashing floor, and the wind of heaven carried it away, that no place was found for it; but the little stone cut from the mountain without hands, which smote the image on the feet and ground it to dust, became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. This is the dream; and this the prophet's interpretation, addressed to the king of Babylon:

"Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven, hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall rise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands., and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold, the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure."[A]

[Footnote A: Dan. ii:37-45.]

As understood by the learned, Daniel's interpretation stands thus:

"(1) The Golden Head—The Assyrio-Babylonish monarchy (the 6th and 5th century B. C.);

"(2) The Silver Breast and Arms—The Medo-Persian empire (from 538 B. C. to about 330 B. C.);

"(3) The Brazen Belly and Thighs—The Greco-Macedonian kingdom, especially after Alexander, those of Egypt and Syria (from about 330 B. C. to 160 B. C.);

"(4) The Legs of Iron, the power of Rome, bestriding the east and west, but broken into a number of states, the ten toes, which retained some of its warlike strength (the iron), mingled with elements of weakness (the soft potters' clay), which rendered the whole imperial structure unstable.

"(5) The Stone cut without hands out of the Living Rock, dashing down the image, becoming a great mountain, and filling all the earth—The Spiritual Kingdom of Christ."

The last phrase—"The Spiritual Kingdom of Christ"—meaning, of course, the "Christian churches" which have existed from the time of Christ, and that now exist, and which, taken together, form Christ's spiritual kingdom.

On the foregoing exegesis, which is the one commonly accepted by orthodox Christians, I make the following several observations:

First: The phrase with reference to the little Stone, "cut out of the Living Rock," is one introduced by Dr. Smith, from whose "Old Testament History"[A] the above analysis of Daniel's interpretation is taken. The language of the Bible is, "cut out of the mountain without hands." Why it is changed by the Doctor one may not conjecture, unless it is to lay the foundation of an argument not warranted by the text of Daniel's interpretation. It is enough here to note that the change in phraseology is wholly gratuitous and unwarranted.

[Footnote A: Edition of 1878, page 622.]

Second: The claim that the "little Stone cut from the mountain without hands," is the "Spiritual Kingdom of Christ"—if by that "spiritual kingdom" is meant not a real kingdom, actually existing, visible and tangible—is an assumption of the Doctor's. It is not the language of the Bible, nor is there any evidence in Scripture for believing that "the kingdom," represented by "the stone cut out of the mountain without hands," is any less a material kingdom than those which preceded it. The differences between this kingdom of God and the other kingdoms of the vision are not in the kingdom being "spiritual," but in these: (1) That the kingdom which God shall set up will never be destroyed; (2) never left to another people; (3) will break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms; (4) it shall fill the whole earth; (5) and stand forever. We are warranted in the belief, however, that it will be a tangible, bona fide government of God on earth, consisting of a king; subordinate officers; laws; subjects; and the whole earth for its territory—for its dominion. The coming forth of such a government, the founding of such a kingdom, is in harmony with all the hopes of all the saints, and the predictions of all the prophets who have touched upon the subject. It is the actual reign of Christ on earth with His Saints, in fulfillment of the hopes held out to them in every dispensation of the Gospel. It is to be the burden of the song of the redeemed out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, that Christ has made them unto their God kings and priests—"and we shall reign on the earth."[A] It is to be the chorus in heaven—"the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever."[B] And the elders in heaven shall say:

[Footnote A: Rev. v:10.]

[Footnote B: Rev. xi:15.]

"We give Thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to Thee Thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldst give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldst destroy them which destroy the earth."[A]

[Footnote A: Ibid. xi:17, 18.]

And still again:

"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."[A]

[Footnote A: Ibid. xx:6.]

It should be observed respecting the last passage and the one preceding it, that "the reign on earth" of the kingdom of God is connected with the resurrection of the righteous saints; so that it will be in the "last days" indeed—not in the days of the Roman empire. And this reign of the saints on earth, this kingdom of God which they shall constitute, shall be a reign of righteousness, but a veritable kingdom nevertheless.

Third: The orthodox exegesis under consideration omits one important matter of fact, viz., that instead of four great dominant political powers symbolized in the image which Nebuchadnezzar saw, and which Daniel interpreted, there are five, viz.: (1) The Head of Gold—Babylonish kingdom; (2) the Chest and Arms of Silver—the Medo-Persian monarchy; (3) the Brazen Belly and Thighs—the Greco-Macedonian empire; (4) the Legs of Iron—Rome; (5) the Feet and Toes mixed of iron and clay—the modern kingdoms and states of the world.

This failure to recognize the fifth political power represented by the feet and toes of Daniel's image leads to serious errors with respect to this prophecy. It has led the theologians to assign the setting up of God's kingdom spoken of in the prophecy to the wrong period of the world's history. They say the kingdom represented by the stone cut from the mountain without hands is "the spiritual kingdom of Christ;" and that the said kingdom was set up in the days of Messiah's earthly ministry in the meridian of time. This, however, cannot be correct; for the Church which Jesus established by His personal ministry and which, it is granted, is sometimes spoken of as the Kingdom of God, was founded in the days of the Roman empire, the fourth world power of Daniel's prophecy; and at a time, too, when imperial Rome was at the very zenith of her glory and power. Whereas the terms of Daniel's prophecy require that the kingdom which God shall establish, and which was represented by the stone cut from the mountain without hands, shall be set up in the days of the fifth political world power—in the days of the kingdoms represented by the pieces of iron and clay in the feet and toes of the image. The language of the prophecy on this point is: "And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom (i. e., the political power so represented, and that succeeds the fourth power or Roman empire) shall be divided; but there shall be in it the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, * * * * they (i. e., the kingdoms represented by the pieces of iron and clay) shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings (not in the days of the Roman empire)—in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed."

Fourth: One of the peculiarities of the kingdom of God of Daniel's prophecy is, that when it is established among men it will not only never be destroyed, but "the kingdom shall not be left to other people." By which saying we can only conclude that when the kingdom of God shall be set up by the Lord in the last days, it will not be taken from the people to whom it shall come, and be given to, or left, to another people. But how stands it with the institution which arose from the preaching of the Gospel in the days of Messiah's earthly ministry, the church, sometimes called the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of heaven? Was it not "left to other people?" Messiah Himself said of the Jews, "Therefore say I unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof."[A] This passage comes, too, as a conclusion to the parable of the householder who let both his house and his vineyard to unworthy husbandmen, who successively beat, stoned, and slew the servants, and even the son and heir whom the master sent to collect his portion of the fruit of the vineyard. "When the Lord of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?" asked Jesus of His hearers. "He will miserably destroy these wicked men," they replied, "and will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their season." They had pronounced judgment upon themselves. The parable presented the case of the Jews to whom Jesus was speaking, exactly, and Jesus quickly made the application of the judgment—"Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given unto a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." There can be no mistaking the meaning of the parable or its application; and some years later we have Paul saying to the contradicting and blaspheming Jews of Antioch in Pisidia: "It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourself unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us."[B] And so it came to pass that as Israel in those days rejected the Gospel of the kingdom which was first offered to them, so God also rejected them; and they have stood rejected to this day; smitten and trodden under foot of the Gentile races, a scoff, a hiss, and a byword in every land that they have inhabited; while the kingdom of God first offered to them was left to other people, to the Gentiles, who, for a season, brought forth the fruits thereof. But the fact that the kingdom then preached to the Jews was taken from them and given to another people, is proof positive that it was not the kingdom which was to fulfill the terms of Daniel's great prophecy.

[Footnote A: Matt. xxi:43.]

[Footnote B: Acts xiii:46, 47.]

Fifth: Another characteristic of the kingdom of God of Daniel's prophecy is, that it will never be destroyed, but will break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms, and stand for ever. This is not true of that institution brought into existence by the preaching of Messiah and the Apostles, sometimes called the kingdom of God, but more properly the Church of Christ. Saddening as the thought may seem, the Church founded by the labors of Jesus and His Apostles was destroyed from the earth; the Gospel was perverted; its ordinances were changed; its laws were transgressed; its covenant was, on the part of man, broken; and the world was left to flounder in the darkness of a long period of apostasy from God. For the reason, then, that the institution founded by the preaching of the Apostles was destroyed in the earth, as well as for the other reasons considered, the conclusion is forced upon the mind that the Church founded by Jesus and the Apostles was not the fulfillment of Daniel's great prophecy respecting the kingdom which God promised to set up in the last days: and hence we may look for another dispensation beyond the times of the Apostles, which will culminate in subduing the kingdoms of this world and making them the kingdoms of our God and His Christ, followed by that reign of righteousness and peace of which all the prophets have spoken.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)


(A Discourse.)


1. Suggestion to the Teacher: See foot note in Lesson XXII, Note 1.

2. Suggestion to the Speakers: Here is a great theme, and one little dwelt upon in the Church, because the ministry and members have been absorbed in the later dispensation with which they are immediately connected. It affords excellent opportunity for truth-grouping, and infinite variety in treatment. (See notes in Lesson XVI and XXII). Many features of this great dispensation are untouched by the foregoing lessons, because of an enforced brevity necessary from our plan of treatment. The speaker, as far as possible, should develop these omitted features, that more knowledge may be imparted to the classes than that given in the lessons. No speaker should be content merely to repeat the subject matter of the lessons when there is so much left untouched outside of them. The lesson affords a scope for large and deep thinking; for wide research and masterful expression. Do your very best upon the subject; it will be worthy of all the effort you bring to bear upon it.

3. Of Completing a Plan for a Discourse: The student should review what is said on the importance of a plan for a discourse in Lesson XXII. On the work of finishing a plan, Mr. Pittinger remarks: "When we have accumulated our materials, stricken out all that is unfitted or superfluous, and determined the general character of our discourse, the remainder of the work of finishing the plan must be left to individual taste and judgment. No rules can be given that will meet every case. We might direct to put first those statements or arguments which are most easily comprehended, and those which are necessary for understanding other portions of the discourse, and also whatever is least likely to be disputed. Something strong and impressive should be held well in reserve. It will not be according to the principles of that highest art which is the best mirror of nature if we exhaust interest in the opening and then close tamely. Beyond these obvious considerations little help can be given to the speaker in this part of his work. He must form his own ideal and then work up to it. We do not advise any one to borrow other men's outlines for the purpose of filling them up and then speaking from them as if the work was original. [That would be execrable!] This is a most profitless kind of plagiarism. Such sketches may be useful to the very young speaker, merely as indications of the kind of excellence in plans or sketches at which he should aim. And when he hears good discourses he may look beneath the burning words and criticise the merits of the framework upon which they rest. This may render him less satisfied with his own plans, but such dissatisfaction ever affords the best hope for future success. The true mode of improving your plans is to bestow a great deal of time and thought upon them, and to make no disposition of any part for which you cannot give a satisfactory reason. This direction relates only to the beginner. In time the formation of plans will become so natural that any variation from the most effective arrangement will be felt as keenly as a discord in music is felt by a master in that art. From such carefully constructed plans, firm, coherent, and logical discourses will result." (Extempore Speech, Pittinger, pp. 170, 171.)

Essential Elements of a Plan: "There are certain general characteristics that each plan should possess. It must fully indicate the nature of the proposed discourse and mark out each of its successive steps with accuracy. Any want of definiteness in the outline is a fatal defect. You must feel that you can rely absolutely on it for guidance to the end of your discourse, or be always in danger of embarassment and confusion. Each clause should express a distinct idea, and but one. This should be repeated in no other part of the discourse; otherwise we fall into wearisome repetitions, the great vice, as it is often claimed, of extempore speakers. A brief plan is better, other things being equal, than a long one. Often a single word will recall an idea as perfectly as many sentences, and it will burden the memory less. We do not expect the draft of a house to equal the house in size, but only to preserve a proportionate relation to it throughout. The plan cannot supply the thought, but, indicating what is in the mind, it shows how to bring it forth in regular succession. It is a pathway leading to a definite end, and, like all pathways, its crowning merits are directness and smoothness. Without these qualities it will perplex and hinder rather than aid. Each word in the plan should suggest an idea, and be so firmly bound to that idea that the two cannot become separated in any exigency of speech. You will find it sorely perplexing if, in the heat of discourse, some important note should lose the thought for which it previously stood and become an empty word. But with clear conceptions condensed into fitting words, this cannot easily happen. A familiar idea can be expressed very briefly, while a strange or new conception may require more expansion. But all thoughts advanced by the speaker ought to be familiar to himself as the result of long meditation and thorough mastery, no matter how strange or startling they are to his hearers. Most skeletons may be brought within the compass of a hundred words, and every part be clearly indicated to the mind that conceived it, though perhaps not to any other." (Extempore Speech, Pittinger, pp. 171-2-3.)

* * * * * *

Clearness in Speech: We turn again to the consideration of the quality of clearness in speech. In Lesson XXII the fault of ambiguity was dealt with to some extent, and here consideration of the same fault is renewed.

"Ambiguity from the Use of Too Many Pronouns: Ambiguity may be produced by a too free use of pronouns. A student who wishes to tell how Dr. Livesey, of Treasure Island fame, threatened the pirate, Billy Bones, writes:

"The Doctor told him he was a dirty old scamp, and that he was a doctor and a magistrate, so that if he ever caught him doing anything like that again, he would run him out of the district."

It lakes time to discover to which man the various pronouns refer. To remove the obscurity we shall have to make part of the passage a direct quotation:

Dr. Livesey told Bones that he was a dirty scamp, and warned him if he did anything like that again, he would be run out of the district. "For," said the Doctor, "I am not only a physician, but a magistrate, too."

Often when the report of a speech in the third person is ambiguous, we must resort to this device of direct quotation. Usually, however, the question is merely one of finding nouns to take the place of pronouns. By decreasing the number of pronouns, the confused sentence, "Walters and Foster didn't agree with them, but thought as we did, and so they were forced to give up their intention," becomes the clear one, "Walters and Foster didn't agree with their old-time adversaries, but agreed with us, and so the latter were forced to give up their intention." In getting rid of ambiguous pronouns it may be necessary to repeat a word. When clearness demands it, the best writers are never afraid to use a word twice. The repetition may, by serving as a sort of echo of the previous thought, even increase the coherence. So Mr. Bryce writes:

"Yet, after all, it (the influence of the Speaker of the House of Representatives) is power, power which in the hands of a capable and ambitious man becomes so far-reaching that it is no exaggeration to call him the second, if not the first political figure in the United States."—(Bryce: American Commonwealth.)

This device of repetition is used in transforming the incoherent sentence below into a coherent one.

Incoherent: This policy is not the best one; it is false, and we know it, and shun it accordingly, even if it is not to our interest.

Coherent: This policy is not the best policy; it is false, we know it to be false, and though shunning it is not to our interest, shun it we do. (Composition and Rhetoric for Schools. Herrick and Damon, p. 304-5.)


The Apostatic[A] Period.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Characters of the Early Christians.

The Student will find a Treatise upon the subject of Apostasy in the Writer's "Outlines of Ecclesiastical History" as also in his "New Witness for God," Vol. I, as well as in the notes that follow.

II. Controversy and dissentions among the Apostles and Elders.

III. Schisms--Defections--and Church wide Demoralization among the Saints.

[Footnote A: "Apostatic: Pertaining to an apostate or apostasy."—Dictionary.]


The Subject Proposed: It now becomes m. melancholy task to trace through the early Christian centuries the decline of the Christian religion. By this phrase I mean that a really unchristian religion was gradually substituted for the beautiful religion of Jesus Christ; that a universal apostasy from the Christian doctrine and the Christian Church took place. So tracing the decline of Christianity, I shall establish the truth of the first great message with which the modern prophet, Joseph Smith, came to the world; and shall also prove the fact that a necessity existed for the establishment of such a work as he claims, under God, to have founded, and which will bring us to the culmination of the ages—to the completion of all the dispensations of the gospel in the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, in which will be "gathered together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and earth, even in him." (Eph. i:10.)

Character of the Early Christians: First of all, it should be remarked that the early Christians were not so far removed from the possession of the common weaknesses of humanity as to preclude the possibility of apostatizing from the Christian religion. Owing to our being so far removed from them in time, by which many of their defects are obscured, and the exaggerated celebration of their virtues, extravagant ideas of the sanctity of their lives and the holiness of their natures has very generally obtained; whereas a little inquiry into the character of the early saints will prove that they were very human, and men of like passions with ourselves.

Ambitious Controversies of the Apostles: The mother of Zebedee's children exhibited a rather ambitious spirit, and the two brethren themselves gave much offense to their fellow apostles by aspiring to sit the one on the right hand of Jesus and the other on His left when He should come into His Kingdom.[A] Even Peter, the chief Apostle, exhibited his full share of human weakness when he thrice denied his Lord in the presence of his enemies, through fear, and even confirmed that denial by cursing and swearing.[B] It was rather a heated controversy, too, that arose in the early Christian Church as to whether those who accepted the Christian faith were still bound to the observances of the law of Moses, and more especially to the rite of circumcision. Although there seems to have been an amicable and authoritative settlement of that question by the decision of what some learned writers have called the first general council of the Church, held by the Apostles and Elders at Jerusalem,[C] yet the old difficulty broke out again and again, not only between the Jewish saints and the Gentile converts, but even among the Apostles themselves, leading to serious accusations one against another, the straining of friendship between fellow-workmen in the ministry, through criminations and recriminations.

[Footnote A: Matt. xx:20-24.]

[Footnote B: Matt. xxvi:69-75.]

[Footnote C: Acts xv.]

After the settlement of this very question of circumcision by the council at Jerusalem, Peter went down to Antioch and at first mingled unreservedly with both Jew and Gentile converts without distinction, accepting both Jew and Gentile in perfect fellowship, departing entirely from the restraints placed on a Jew by the law of Moses, which rendered it unlawful for one who was a Jew to have such unrestricted fellowship with the Gentiles. But when certain ones came down from James, who resided in Jerusalem, then Peter, fearful of offending "them which were of the circumcision," suddenly withdrew his social fellowship from the Gentile converts. Other Jewish brethren did the same; Barnabas, the friend of Paul, being among the number. Whereupon Paul, as he himself testified, withstood Peter to the face, directly charging him before all the brethren with dissimulation, saying: "If thou being a Jew livest after the manner of Gentiles and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?"[A] Yet this same Paul, notwithstanding his loyalty to the Gentile converts on that occasion, his zeal for the decision which had been rendered by the council of the Church at Jerusalem, and notwithstanding his usually strong moral courage, subsequently showed by his conduct that he, too, was not beyond the weakness of "becoming all things to all men;" for a short time after the incident with Peter at Antioch, when in the province of Galatia, and he desired Timothy to be his companion in the ministry, Paul took him and circumcised him, because it was well known that while his mother was a Jewess, his father was a Greek, and all this for fear of the Jews.[B]

[Footnote A: Galatians ii.]

[Footnote B: Acts xvi:1-4.]

This question continued to be a cause of contention even after this sharp disputation at Antioch; for though the decision of the council at Jerusalem was against the contention of the Judaizing party, yet they continued to agitate the question whenever opportunity presented itself, and seemed especially to follow close upon the footsteps of Paul in his missionary journeys; and in Galatia, at least, succeeded in turning the saints of that province from the grace of Christ unto another gospel, perverting the Gospel of Christ.[A] This question continued to agitate the Church throughout the Apostolic Age, and was finally settled through overwhelming numbers of Gentiles being converted, and taking possession of the Church, rather than through any profound respect for the decision of the council at Jerusalem.

[Footnote A: Gal. i:6, 7.]

The withdrawal of John Mark from the ministry while accompanying Paul and Barnabas on their first mission in Asia Minor, and which withdrawal grew out of a faltering of his zeal or a misunderstanding with his companions, will be readily called to mind.[A] Subsequently, when Paul proposed to Barnabas that they go again and visit the brethren in every city where they had preached while on their first mission, a sharp contention arose between them about this same John Mark. Barnabas desired to take him again into the ministry, but Paul seriously objected; and so pronounced was the quarrel between them that these two friends and fellow yokemen in the ministry parted company, no more to be united. It is just possible, also, that in addition to this misunderstanding about John Mark, the severe reproof which Paul administered to Barnabas in the affair of dissimulation at Antioch had somewhat strained their friendship.

[Footnote A: Acts xiii:13.]

Schisms Among the Early Christians: Turning from these misunderstandings and criminations among the leading officers of the Church, let us inquire how it stood with the members. The Epistle of Paul to the church at Corinth discloses the fact that there were serious schisms among them; some boasting that they were of Paul, others that they were of Apollos, others of Cephas, and still others of Christ; which led Paul to ask sharply, "Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you?"[A] There were endless strifes as well as divisions among them, which caused Paul to denounce them as carnally minded.[B] Among them also was such fornication as was not named among the Gentiles, "that one should have his father's wife!" And this shameful sin had not humbled the church at Corinth, for Paul denounced them for being puffed up in the presence of such a crime, rather than having mourned over it.[C] They were in the habit of going to law one with another, and that before the world, in violation of the teachings of Jesus Christ.[D] They desecrated the ordinances of the Lord's Supper by their drunkenness, for which they were sharply reproved by the Apostle.[E] They ate and drank unworthily, "not discerning the Lord's body; for which cause many were sickly among them, and many slept" (that is, died). There were heresies also among them,[F] some denying the resurrection of the dead, while others possessed not the knowledge of God, which the Apostle declared was their shame.[G] It is true, this sharp letter of reproof made the Corinthian saints sorry, and sorry, too, after a godly fashion, in that it brought them to a partial repentance; but even in the second epistle, from which we learn of their partial repentance, the Apostle could still charge that there were many in the Church who had not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they had committed.[H] From this second letter, also, we learn that there were many in the church at large who corrupted the word of God;[I] that there were those, even in the ministry, who were "false prophets, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ."[J]

[Footnote A: I Cor. i:12, 13.]

[Footnote B: I Cor. iii:3, 4.]

[Footnote C: I Cor. v:1-3.]

[Footnote D: I Cor. vi:1-20; and Matt, xviii:15, 17.]

[Footnote E: I Cor. xi:2-22 and 29, 30.]

[Footnote F: I Cor. xi:19.]

[Footnote G: I Cor. xv:12-34.]

[Footnote H: II Cor. xi. 21.]

[Footnote I: II Cor. ii:17.]

[Footnote J: II Cor. xi:12-14.]

Of the churches throughout the province of Galatia it is scarcely necessary to say more than we have already said concerning the invasion of that province by Judaizing Christian ministers, who were turning away the saints from the grace of Christ back to the beggarly elements of the law of carnal commandments; a circumstance which led Paul to exclaim: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that had called you unto the grace of Christ, unto another gospel; which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ."[A]

[Footnote A: Gal. i:6, 7.]

That there were two distinct parties in the Church at this time, between whom bitter contentions arose, is further evidenced by the letter of Paul to the Philippians. Some preached Christ even of envy and strife, and some of good will. "The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely," says Paul, "supposing to add affliction to my bonds; but the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the Gospel."[A] "Beware of dogs," said he again to the same people; "beware of evil workers; beware of the concision."[B] "Brethren, be followers of me," he admonishes them, "and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example, for many walk of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly things."[C] To the Colossians, Paul found it necessary to say: "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. * * * * Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind."[D]

[Footnote A: Phil. i:15, 16.]

[Footnote B: Phil. iii:2.]

[Footnote C: Phil. iii:17, 19.]

[Footnote D: Col. ii:8, 18.]

Defections Among Paul's Converts: But it is in Paul's pastoral letters that we get a deeper insight into corruptions threatening the early church, and even beginning to lay the foundation for that subsequent apostasy which overwhelmed it. The Apostle sent Timothy to the saints at Ephesus to represent him, that he might charge some to teach no other doctrines than those which he had delivered to them: "Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith," for some had turned aside from the commandment of charity, out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned, unto "vile jangling, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor whereof they affirm."[A] Others concerning faith had made shipwreck, of whom were Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom Paul had delivered unto Satan that they might learn not to blaspheme.[B] Others had "erred concerning the faith" and had "given heed to vain babblings, and opposition of science falsely so called."[C] In his second letter to Timothy, Paul informs him that all the saints in Asia had turned away from him, of whom were Phygellus and Hermogenes.[D] He admonishes Timothy again to shun "profane and vain babblings," "for," said he, "they will increase unto more ungodliness, and their word will eat as doth a canker; of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus, who, concerning the truth, have erred, saying that the resurrection is passed already, and overthrow the faith of some."[E] Demos, once a fellow-laborer with Paul, had forsaken him, "having loved this present world;"[F] and at Paul's first answer, that is, when arraigned before the court at Rome, no man stood with him, but all men forsook him; he prays that God will not lay this to their charge.[G]

[Footnote A: I Tim. i:3-7.]

[Footnote B: I Tim. i:19, 20.]

[Footnote C: I Tim. vi:20, 21.]

[Footnote D: II Tim. i:15.]

[Footnote E: II Tim. ii:16, 18.]

[Footnote F: II Tim. iv:10.]

[Footnote G: II Tim. iv:16.]

Paul admonished Titus to hold fast to the faith, for there were many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision; who subverted whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake; and were giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men and turning from the truth.[A]

[Footnote A: Titus i:9-14.]

The Demoralization of Christians Widespread: Peter also had something to say with reference to the danger of heresies and false teachers which menaced the Church. He declared that there would be false teachers among the saints, "who privily would bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." "And many," said he, "shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you; whose judgment now for a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them unto chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment"—he argued that the Lord would not spare these corrupters of the Gospel of Christ, who, like the dog, had turned again to his own vomit, and the sow who was washed to her wallowing in the mire.[A] He charged also that some were wresting the epistles of Paul, as they were some of the "other scriptures," unto their own destruction.[B]

[Footnote A: II Peter ii.]

[Footnote B: Ibid. iii; 16.]

John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, also bears testimony to the existence of anti-Christs, false prophets, and the depravity of many in the early Church. "It is the last time," said he, "and as ye have heard that anti-Christ shall come, even now there are many anti-Christs, whereby we know that it is the last time;" * * * * * * "They went out from us * * * * * * that they might be manifest that they were not all of us."[A] "Try the spirits," said he, in the same epistle, "whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world."[B] Again; "Many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver, an anti-Christ."[C]

[Footnote A: I John ii:18, 19.]

[Footnote B: I John iv:1.]

[Footnote C: II John vii:5.]

Jude also is a witness against this class of deceivers. He admonished the saints to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints;" "for," said he, "there are certain men crept in unawares, * * * * ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."[A] The rest of the epistle he devotes to a description of their wickedness, comparing it with the conduct of Satan, and the vileness of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.

[Footnote A: Jude 3, 4.]

Object of the Review: I have not given this review of the condition of the Church of Christ in the Apostolic Age with the view of establishing the idea that the Church at that time was in a complete state of apostasy; nor have I dwelt upon the weaknesses and sins of the early saints for the purpose of holding them up for contempt. My only purpose has been to dispel, first of all, the extravagant ideas that obtain in many minds concerning the absolute sanctity of the early Christians; and secondly, and mainly, to show that there were elements and tendencies existing in the early Church, even in the days of the Apostles, that would, when unrestrained by Apostolic authority and power, lead to its entire overthrow.

We have no good reason to believe that there occurred any change for the better in the affairs of the Church after the demise of the Apostles; no reason to believe that there were fewer heresies or fewer false teachers, or false prophets to lead away the people with their vain philosophies, their foolish babblings, and opposition of science falsely so called On the contrary, one is forced to believe the prediction of Paul, viz., that evil men and seducers would wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived;[A] for who, after the Apostles were fallen asleep, would stand up and correct the heresies that were brought into the Church, rebuke the schismatics, the false teachers and false prophets that arose to draw away disciples after them? If false teachers insinuated themselves into the Church, brought in damnable heresies by reason of which the way of truth was evil spoken of, and the pure religion of Jesus Christ corrupted even while inspired Apostles were still in the Church, it is not unreasonable to conclude that all these evils would increase and revel unchecked after the death of the Apostles.

[Footnote A: II Tim. iii, 13.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Existence of False Teachers in the Church.

    The Works cited in the Last Lesson and the authorities cited in the notes.

II. Promulgation of False Doctrines.


The Rise of False Teachers: I cannot, of course, here enter into even a brief history of false teachers in the early Christian centuries. That of itself would be matter for a volume. I shall therefore content myself with making quotations from reliable authorities that will directly establish the fact of the rapid increase in the number of false teachers, and the pernicious effect of their doctrines upon the Christian religion.

Position of the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches, Respectively, on the Question of Early Christian Apostasy: It should be said before making these quotations, however, that Protestant writers are interested in maintaining that the Christian religion was perpetuated, even through the ages of apostasy, and given back to mankind by the agency of the so-called "Reformation" of the' sixteenth century. Hence in their writings, when stating the corruptions of the early Church, they are especially guarded lest too strong a statement would lead to the belief that the Christian religion had been utterly subverted. Indeed, it is well known that Milner wrote his Church History—which should be regarded not so much as the history of the Church as the history of piety—to counteract the influence of Mosheim's "Institutes of Ecclesiastical History," which work Milner considered too frank in its statements of perversions and abuses of religion. The Protestant writers must need set forth the theory that the Christian religion survived all the abuses and corruptions of it through ages of apostasy, else they would have no logical ground for the sixteenth century "Reformation" to stand upon. They seem not oblivious to the fact, though never mentioning it, that if the Christian religion was displaced by a paganized religion—a false religion—as is fully predicted, as we shall see later, in the New Testament prophecies, and of which the works of Protestant writers go far toward proving—then the only possible way in which the true Christian religion and the Church of Christ could be restored would be by a reopening of the heavens and the giving forth of a new dispensation of the Gospel, together with a renewal of divine authority to preach it, and administer its ordinances of salvation. Catholics hold that there has been no great apostasy in the Church. Their theory is that there has been a constant, unbroken perpetuation of the Christian Church from the days of the Messiah and His Apostles until now; and that the Roman Catholic Church is that very Church so perpetuated through the ages. Catholic writers admit that there have been very corrupt periods in the Church, and many wicked prelates, and some vile popes; yet they hold that the Church has persisted, that the Christian religion has been preserved in the earth.

Declension of Excellence in Early Christian Writers: With these remarks on the position of the Protestant and Catholic churches respecting their attitude on the subject of the perpetuation of the Christian religion, I proceed with the quotations promised; and, first, a passage from Neander's History of the Christian Religion and Church, on the very great difference between the writings of the Apostles and the writings of the so-called Apostolic Fathers; and the suddenness of that transition, to the disparagement of the productions of the Fathers:

"A phenomenon, singular in its kind, is the striking difference between the writings of the Apostles and the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, who were so nearly their contemporaries. In other cases, transitions are wont to be gradual; but in this instance we observe a sudden change. There are here no gentle gradations, but all at once an abrupt transition from one style of language to another; a phenomenon which should lead us to acknowledge the fact of a special agency of the Divine Spirit in the souls of the Apostles. After the time of the first extraordinary operations of the Holy Ghost followed the period of the free development of human nature in Christianity; and here, as in all other cases, the beginning must be small and feeble before the effects of Christianity could penetrate more widely, and bring fully under their influence the great powers of the human mind. It was to be shown, first, what the divine power could effect by the foolishness of preaching. The writings of the so-called Apostolic Fathers have unhappily, for the most part, come down to us in a condition very little worthy of confidence, partly because under the name of these men, so highly venerated in the Church, writings were early forged for the purpose of giving authority to particular opinions or principles; and partly because their own writings which were extant became interpolated in subservience to a Jewish hierarchical interest which aimed to crush the free spirit of the Gospel."[A]

[Footnote A: Vol. i, pp. 656, 657.]

There is no authority of Scripture for the supposition made here by Dr. Neander that the extraordinary operations of the Holy Ghost were to be confined to the Apostles; the whole tenor of Scripture authority is to the contrary. It is the theory of the Gospel itself that all who receive it, and particularly its ministers, shall have the divine Spirit as a special agency working in their souls, through all time, and there is no warrant for the belief that its operations were to be confined to those who first received it and became its first ministers. Therefore, this sudden transition in the matter of excellence and truthworthiness between the writings of the Apostles and the writings of the Apostolic Fathers indicates not only a deterioration in the character of the teachers in the Church and what is taught, but more specially indicates the progress of the "mystery of iniquity" which was at work subverting the Christian religion and destroying the Church of Christ.

On the question of forged books and writings mentioned in the passage from Neander, Dr. Nathaniel Lardner refers to a dissertation written by Dr. Mosheim, which shows the reasons and causes for the many forged writings produced in the first and second centuries, and then adds: "All own that Christians of all sorts were guilty of this fraud. Indeed, we may say it was one great fault of the times; for truth needs no such defenses, and would blush at the sight of them."[A]

[Footnote A: Lardner's Works, vol. viii. p. 330.]

Eusebius, quoting Hegesippus on the subject of false teachers and referring to the condition of the Church about the close of the first century, says:

"The Church continued until then (close of the first century) as a pure and uncorrupted virgin, whilst if there were any at all at that attempted to pervert the sound doctrine of the saving Gospel, they were yet skulking in dark retreats; but when the sacred choir of Apostles became extinct, and the generation of those who had been privileged to hear their inspired wisdom had passed away, then also the combinations of impious errors arose by the fraud and delusions of false teachers. These also, as there were none of the Apostles left, henceforth attempted without shame to preach their false doctrine against the Gospel of truth."[A]

[Footnote A: Eus. Ec. Hist., bk. iii. ch. 32.]

Dr. Mosheim has the following on the same subject:

"Not long after the Savior's ascension, various histories of His life and doctrines, full of impositions and fables, were composed by persons of no bad intentions, perhaps, but who were superstitious, simple and piously fraudulent; and afterwards various other spurious writings were palmed upon the world, falsely inscribed with the names of the holy Apostles."[A]

[Footnote A: Institutes, bk. i, cent. 1, part ii, ch. ii.]

This condition of things with reference to the writers in the centuries under consideration, naturally leads one to the reflection that if there was so much of fraud, and so many forged writings, what must have been the state of the Church at this time with reference to oral teaching? We are justified in believing, I think, that bad as was the state of things with reference to the writings of these early teachers of the Church, the discourses of such as preached may be depended upon as being much worse. In this view of the case, one can readily understand that the "authority of antiquity" so generally urged as a reason for accepting the testimonies of the Fathers, that "handmaid to Scripture," as "antiquity" is sometimes called, the whole body of it, written and oral, may indeed "be regarded," as Dr. Jortin remarks, "as Briarean, for she has a hundred hands, and these hands often clash and beat one another."[A]

[Footnote A: Jortin's Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, vol. i. p. 248.]

Moreover, it often happens that those who are condemned by some of these Fathers as heretics were not only censured for their heresies, but sometimes for the truths which they held. For example: Papias, a Bishop and Christian Father in the second century, is condemned by Eusebius for saying that he received from Apostolic men—meaning thereby men who were associated with the Apostles—the fact that there would be a corporeal reign of Christ on earth with the saints, after the resurrection, which would continue through a thousand years.[A]

[Footnote A: Eusebius, bk. iii, ch. 39.]

Prodicus is censured by Clement of Alexandria for holding that men are of nature the children of Deity.[A]

[Footnote A: Lardner Works, vol. viii, p. 418.]

Controversy Over Baptism for the Dead: Marcion, besides being condemned for his many errors, is also censured by Irenaeus for believing in salvation for the dead, concerning which, it must be acknowledged, Marcion did bold peculiar views; but that is no reason why the general principle should be condemned.[A] He taught that Jesus Christ went to Hades and preached there, and brought hence all that believed on him. "The ancients," continues Irenaeus, as quoted by Lardner, "being of opinion that eternal life is not to be obtained but through faith in Jesus Christ, and that God is too merciful to let men perish for not hearing the Gospel, supposed that the Lord preached also to the dead, that they might have the same advantage with the living." He further adds, "In the language of Marcion and the fathers, hell does not necessarily mean the place of the damned; in that place is Tartarus, the place of torment, and Paradise, or the bosom of Abraham, a place of rest and refreshment. In that part of Hades, Jesus found the just men of the Old Testament. They were not miserable, but were in a place of comfort and pleasure." "For Christ," he continues, "promiseth the Jews after this life, rest in Hades, even in the bosom of Abraham." This far the doctrine of Marcion is in strict agreement with the New Testament, though denounced as blasphemy by his opponent. The unfortunate part of Marcion's doctrine on this head is that he taught that Cain and the wicked of Sodom and the Egyptians, and in fact all the nations in general, though they had lived in all manner of wickedness, were saved by the Lord; but that Abel, Enoch, Noah, and the patriarchs and prophets and other righteous men who walked with God and pleased Him in their earth-life, did not obtain salvation, because they suspected that in the preaching of Christ in the spirit world there was some scheme of deception to lead them away from their present qualified believe in Him, for which reason, as he says, "their souls remained in Hell."[B]

[Footnote A: Lardner Works, vol. viii, 449; also I Peter iii:18-21; Ibid, iv:6; I Cor. xv:29.]

[Footnote B: Ibid, p. 460.]

Marcion is also condemned for believing in the eternity of matter.[A] So, too, Hermogenes is censured by Tertullian for the same cause, and for arguing that God made the world out of matter and could not have made it out of nothing.[B]

[Footnote A: Ibid. p. 581-2.]

[Footnote B: Lardner, vol. viii, p. 345.]

And so throughout there is censure and counter censure between the orthodox and the heretics, and it is difficult at times to determine which are the orthodox and which the heretics, so frequently do they change places. Nor was there any improvement in the ages that succeeded these that have been briefly considered. The editor of Dr. Jortin's learned work on Ecclesiastical History, William Trollope, on a passage of Jortin's on the early fathers, says of the fathers of the fourth century:

"After the council of Nice,[A] a class of writers sprung up, greatly inferior to their predecessors, in whatever light their pretensions are viewed. Sadly deficient in learning, prejudiced in opinion, and inelegant in style, they cannot be admitted for a moment into competition with those who were contemporary with the Apostles and their immediate successors."[B]

[Footnote A: Held in 325 A. D.]

[Footnote B: Jortin, vol. i, p. 166, note.]

The whole tenor of his remarks is to the effect that while the fathers of the second and third centuries are not to be relied upon in their interpretations of Scripture, were frequently deceived in opinions, and not always to be depended upon in matters of tradition, yet they were greatly to be preferred in all respects to the fathers of succeeding centuries.

II. The Development of False Doctrines After the Death of the Apostles: Here, too, I shall rely very largely upon the conclusions of the learned Dr. Lardner, referring to the development of the heresies, the seeds of which were sown in the days of the Apostles, says:

"Eusebius relates that Ignatius, on his way from Antioch to Rome, exhorted the churches to beware of heresies which were then springing up, and which would increase; and that he afterwards wrote his epistles in order to guard them against these corruptions, and to confirm them in the faith. This opinion that the seeds of these heresies were sown in the time of the Apostles, and sprang up immediately after is an opinion probably in itself, and is embraced by several learned moderns, particularly by Vitringa, and by the late Rev. Mr. Brekel of Liverpool."[A]

[Footnote A: Lardner, vol. viii, p. 344.]

Conditions of the Church in the First Three Centuries: A certain Mr. Deacon attempted to refute the Mr. Brekel referred to by Dr. Lardner, and to maintain the purity of the Church of the first three centuries. On this Mr. Brekel observed that "If this point were thoroughly examined, it would appear that the Christian Church preserved her virgin purity no longer than the Apostolic age, at least if we may give credit to Hegesippus." Relying upon the support of the ecclesiastical history of Socrates, a writer of the first half of the fifth century, Mr. Brekel also says: "To mention the corruptions and innovations in religion of the four first centuries, is wholly superfluous; when it is so very notorious that, even before the reign of Constantine, there sprang up a kind of heathenish Christianity which mingled itself with the true Christian religion."[A]

[Footnote A: Lardner, vol. viii, p. 345.]

Of the impending departure from the Christian religion immediately succeeding the days of the Apostles, Dr. Neander says:

"Already, in the latter part of the age of St. Paul, we shall see many things different from what they had been originally; and so it cannot appear strange if other changes came to be introduced into the constitution of the (Christian) communities, by the altered circumstances of the times immediately succeeding those of St. Paul or St. John. Then ensued those strongly marked oppositions and schisms, those dangers with which the corruptions engendered by manifold foreign elements threatened primitive Christianity."[A]

[Footnote A: Neander's History of the Christian Religion and Church vol i p. 191.]

Dr. Phillip Smith, the author of the "Students' Ecclesiastical History," in speaking of the early corruptions of the Christian religion, says:

"The sad truth is that as soon as Christianity was generally diffused, it began to absorb corruptions from all the lands in which it was planted, and to reflect the complexion of all their systems of religion and philosophy."[A]

[Footnote A: Eccles. Hist., vol. i, p. 49.]

Dean Milman, in his preface to his annotated edition of Edward Gibbon's great work, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," and commenting upon that great author's attitude respecting the Christian religion, says:

"If, after all, the view of the early progress of Christianity be melancholy and humiliating, we must beware lest we charge the whole of this on the infidelity of the historian. It is idle, it is disingenuous, to deny or dissemble the early depravations of Christianity, its gradual but rapid departure from its primitive simplicity and purity, still more from its spirit of universal love. It may be no unsalutary lesson to the Christian world, that this silent, this unavoidable perhaps, yet fatal change, shall have been drawn by an impartial, or even an hostile hand."[A]

[Footnote A: Gibbon's Roman Empire, Preface by Dean Milman, p. 15.]

Dr. Mosheim, in his "Institutes," deals at length with the abuses which arose in the Church in the second and third centuries, which I abridge to the following, and first as to the second century: Many rites were added without necessity to both public and private religious worship, to the great offense of good men; and principally because of the perversity of mankind, who are more delighted with the pomp and splendor of external forms and pageantry than with the true devotion of the heart. There is good reason to believe that the Christian bishops purposely multiplied sacred rites for the sake of rendering the Jews and pagans more friendly to them. For both these classes had always been accustomed to numerous and splendid ceremonies, and believed them an essential part of religion. In pursuance of this policy, and to silence the calumnies of the pagans and the Jews against them—to the effect that the Christians were pronounced atheists, because destitute of temples, altars, victims, priests, and all that pomp in which the vulgar suppose the essence of religion to consist—the Christian leaders introduced many rites, that they might be able to maintain that they really had those things which the pagans had, only they subsisted under different forms. Some of these rites—justified, as was supposed, by a comparison of the Christian oblations with Jewish victims and sacrifices—in time corrupted essentially the doctrine of the Lord's supper, and converted it into a sacrifice. To add further to the dignity of the Christian religion, the churches of the east feigned mysteries similar to those of the pagan religions; and, as with the pagans, the holy rites of the mysteries were concealed from the vulgar:—"And they not only applied the terms used in the pagan mysteries to the Christian institutions, particularly baptism and the Lord's Supper, but they gradually introduced also the rites which were designed by those terms." This practice originated in the eastern provinces of the empire, and thence, after the times of Adrian (who first introduced the Grecian mysteries among the Latins), it spread among the Christians of the west. "A large part therefore, of Christian observances and institutions, even in this century, had the aspect of the pagan mysteries." In like manner many ceremonies and customs of the Egyptians were adopted.[A]

[Footnote A: Institutes, vol. i, cent, ii, part ii, ch. iv.]

Speaking of the third century, the Doctor says that all the monuments of this century show that there was a great increase of ceremonies in the Church, owing to the prevailing passion for the Platonic philosophy. Hence arose the public exorcisms, the multiplication of fasts, the aversion to matrimony, and the painful austerities and penances which were enjoined upon offenders.[A]

[Footnote A: Ibid. cen. iii, part ii, ch. iv.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Revolution of the Fourth Century.

See the References to Authorities given in the notes.

II. Conversion and Character of the First Christian Emperor.


The Revolution of the Fourth Century: Constantine: It will be observed that I have so far confined my quotations concerning the corruptions which arose in the Church to the first three centuries of the Christian era. I have done so purposely; and chiefly that I might show by such quotations that the forces which were to bring about the destruction of the Christian Church were active during those ages; and also because an event took place in the first part of the fourth century that culminated in the triumph of those forces. This event was the establishment of Christianity as the state religion of Rome.

Parentage and Station of Constantine: Constantine the Great was the emperor under whose reign this unlooked for revolution took place. He was the son of Constantine Chlorus, emperor of the West in the preceding reign; which reign he had shared with Galerius Maximianus, who ruled the East. Constantine was an "emperor bora of an emperor, the pious son of a most pious and virtuous father," is the flattering announcement of his parentage on the paternal side, by his contemporary, Eusebius, the church historian; though he neglects to mention the obscure origin and humble vocation (that of inn keeper) of Constantine's mother, Helena, whom her husband repudiated when raised to the dignity of "Caesar" in the reign of Diocletian.

Constantine was proclaimed emperor by the army in Britain on the death of his father at York, 306 A. D.; but civil strife raged through the empire for eighteen years, occasioned by the contending aspirants for the imperial dignity. The future patron of Christianity, however, overcame all his rivals and reigned sole monarch of Rome from 323 A. D. to the time of his death, fourteen years later.

The policy of Constantine's father towards the Christians in his division of the empire (the West) had been one not only of toleration, but also of friendship; and this policy the son followed from the commencement of his career as emperor. The fact of both his own and his father's friendliness toward the Church on the one hand, and the hostility of his rivals against the Church on the other, brought to him the united support of the Christians throughout the empire; and though they were not so numerous as they are frequently represented to be, yet it cannot be denied that the Christians were important factors in determining the course of events in the empire at this time; and truly they were faithful allies to Constantine, and he, on his part, neglected not to meet their anticipations of reward.

A careful study of his life and character will force the conviction upon the mind that Constantine was a most suitable head for the revolution which ended by establishing a pseudo-Christianity as the state religion of the decaying empire. A professed Christian for many years, if we may believe Lactantius and Eusebius, he postponed his baptism, after the fashion of his times, until the very last year of his life, in order that, purified at once from all the stains of sin by means of it, he might be sure of entering into bliss. Such the explanation of those who would defend this delay of the emperor's; but one cannot fail to remember that it was quite customary at this time among many professing the Christian religion to put off baptism as long as they dared that they might enjoy a life of sin, and then through the means of baptism, just before death, as by magic, obtain forgiveness.[A] On the motives that prompted Constantine's acceptance of Christianity, our historians are not agreed. According to Eusebius, his conversion was brought about through seeing in the heavens a luminous cross at midday, and above it the inscription: "By this Conquer." This miraculous sign was supplemented on the night following by the appearance of Jesus Christ to the emperor in a dream, with the same symbol, the cross, and directed Constantine to make it the ensign of his banners and his protection against the power of the enemy.[B] According to Theodoret, the emperor was converted through the arguments of his Christian mother.[C] According to Zosimus, it was through the arguments of an Egyptian Christian bishop—supposed to be Hosius, Bishop of Corduba—who promised him absolution for his crimes, which included a number of murders, if he would but accept Christianity.[D]

[Footnote A: Neander Ch. Hist., vol. i, p. 252. Decline and Fall., vol. ii, chap. xx.]

[Footnote B: Eusebius' Life of Constantine, bk. i, 27.]

[Footnote C: Hist. Eccles., vol. i, bk. i, ch. 17.]

[Footnote D: Zosimus, bk. ii, p. 104.]

The Conversion of Constantine: It is as difficult to settle upon the time of Constantine's conversion as it is the means and nature of it. Neander inclines to the opinion that he was early influenced in favor of Christianity through the example if not the teachings of his parents, who, if not fully converted to the Christian faith, were at least tolerant of it; and may be reasonably counted among the number who at least admitted Christ to the pantheon of the gods. By an act of his in 308 A. D., after the death of his father, and he himself had been proclaimed emperor of the West, shows that he was at that time still respected the pagan forms of worship; for hearing that the Franks, who had been inclined to rebel against his government, had, on his preparations to make war upon them, laid down their arms, he offered public thanks in a celebrated temple of Apollo, and gave a magnificent offering to the god.[A]

[Footnote A: Neander's Ch. Hist., vol. ii, p. 8.]

The story of Constantine's conversion, as related by Eusebius, would fix that event in the year 312 A. D.; and surely if the open vision of the luminous cross and the subsequent appearing of Christ in his dream were realities, Constantine had sufficient grounds for a prompt and unequivocal conversion to the Christian faith. But after that, if we consider the conduct of the emperor, we shall find him, however astonishing it may seem, still attached to pagan ceremonies of worship. As late as 321 A. D., nine years after the visitation of Christ to him, we find him accused of artfully balancing the hopes and fears of both his pagan and Christian subjects by publishing in the same year two edicts; the first of which enjoined the solemn observance of Sunday; and the second directed the consultation of the Haruspices[A]—the soothsayers of the old pagan religion. Of this circumstance, Neander, who is disposed to palliate the conduct of Constantine as far as possible, after intimating that this lapse might be accounted for on the grounds of state policy, says: "Yet the other hypothesis, viz., that Constantine had actually fallen back into heathen superstitions, may indeed be regarded as the more natural."[B] Five years after his supposed miraculous conversion "we find marks of the pagan state religion upon the imperial coins."[C] "A medal was struck," says Dr. John W. Draper, doubtless referring to the same thing, "on which was impressed his (Constantine's) title of 'God,' together with the monogram of Christ." "Another," he continues, "represented him as raised by a hand from the sky while seated in the chariot of the Sun. But more particularly the great porphyry pillar, a column one hundred and twenty feet in height, exhibited the true religious condition of the founder of Constantinople. The statue on its summit mingled together the Sun, the Savior, and the Emperor. Its body was a colossal image of Apollo, whose features were replaced by those of Constantine, and around the head, like rays, were fixed the nails of the cross of Christ, recently discovered in Jerusalem."[D] While on the day Constantinople was formally made the capital of the empire, he honored the statue of Fortune with gifts. In view of all these acts, ranging as they do over the greater part of the first Christian emperor's life, and through many years after his supposed conversion, I think Gibbon is justified in his remarks upon this part of Constantine's conduct: "It was an arduous task to eradicate the habits and prejudices of his education, to acknowledge the divine power of Christ, and to understand that the truth of his revelation was incompatible with the worship of the gods."[E]

[Footnote A: Gibbon, Decline and Fall, vol. iii, ch. xx.]

[Footnote B: Neander Ch. Hist., vol. ii, p. 21.]

[Footnote C: Neander Ch. Hist., vol. ii, p. 21.]

[Footnote D: Intellectual Development of Europe, vol. i, p. 280.]

[Footnote E: Gibbon, Decline and Fall, ch. xx.]

The Character of Constantine. Turing from the consideration of the equivocal conduct of the emperor to his character, we have a subject about which there is less disagreement among authorities; for even Christian apologists are compelled to admit the wickedness of this first Christian emperor. "Relying with presumptuous confidence," says Neander, "on the great things which God had done throug him, for the advancement of the Christian Church, he found it easy to excuse or extenuate to his conscience, many a wrong deed, into which he had suffered himself to be betrayed by ambition, the love of rule, the arbitrary exercise of power, or the jealousy of despotism."[A]

[Footnote A: Neander Ch. Hist., vol. ii, p. 24.]

"It is indeed true that, Constantine's life was not such as the precepts of Christianity required," Dr. Mosheim remarks, but softens the statement against the emperor by saying that "it is but too notorious that many persons who look upon the Christian religion as indubitably true, and of divine origin, yet do not conform their lives to all its holy precepts."[A]

[Footnote A: Mosheim's Institutes, vol. i, p. 214.]

Dr. Lardner, after drawing a most favorable outline of Constantine's person and character, and citing the flattery of contemporary panegyrists as a description of the man, says: "Having observed these virtues of Constantine, and other things, which are to his advantage: a just respect to truth obligeth us to take notice of some other things, which seem to cast a reflection upon him."[A] And then in the most naive manner he adds: "Among these, one of the chief is putting to death so many of his relatives!" He enumerates the victims of the first Christian emperor as follows: "Maximian Herculius, his wife's father; Bassianus, husband of his sister, Anastasia; Crispus, his own son; Fausta, his wife; Licinius, husband of his sister, Constantia; and Licinianus, or Licinius, the younger, his nephew, and son of the forementioned Licinius."[B] The last named victim was a mere lad when put to death, "not more than a little above eleven years of age, if so much," is Dr. Lardner's own description of him. Fausta was suffocated in a steam bath, though she had been his wife for twenty years and mother of three of his sons. It should be remembered that this is the list of victims admitted by a most learned and pious Christian writer, not a catalogue drawn up by pagan historians, whom we might suspect of malice against one who had deserted the shrines of the ancient gods for the faith of the Christians. But this rather formidable list of murdered victims admitted by Dr. Lardner shakes not his faith in the goodness of the first Christian emperor. Some of these "executions" he palliates, if not justifies, on the ground of political necessity; and others on the ground of domestic perfidy; though he almost stumbles in his efforts at excusing the taking off of Crispus, the emperor's own son; Fausta, his wife, and the lad Licinius. "These are the executions," he says, "which above all others cast a reflection upon the reign of Constantine; though there are also hints of the deaths of some others about the same time, with whom Constantine had till then lived in friendship."[C] After which the Doctor immediately adds—in the very face of all the facts he adduces, and after reciting the condemnation of both heathen and Christian writers of some of these murders—the following: "I do by no means think that Constantine was a man of a cruel disposition; and therefore I am unwilling to touch upon any other actions of a like nature: as his making some German princes taken captive, fight in the theatre; and sending the head of Maxentius to Africa, after it had been made a part of Constantine's triumphal entry at Rome." When one finds a sober Christian writer of the eighteenth century who can thus speak of Constantine; and further remembers that to this day a priest of the Greek Church seldom mentions the name of the "imperial saint," without adding the title, "Equal to the Apostles;" one is not surprised that while he lived and at his court a Christian bishop could be found who "congratulated him as constituted by God to rule over all, in the present world, and destined to reign with the son of God in the world to come."[D] Or that Eusebius, who is spoken of as one of the best bishops of the imperial court, "did not scruple for a moment to ascribe to the purest motives of a true servant of God, all those transactions into which the emperor, without evincing the slightest regard to truth or to humanity, had suffered himself to be drawn by an ambition which could not abide a rival, in the struggle with Licinius; when he represents the emperor, in a war which, beyond a doubt, had been undertaken from motives of a purely selfish policy, as marshaling the order of the battle, and giving out the words of command by divine inspiration bestowed in answer to his prayer."[E]

[Footnote A: Lardner, vol. iv, p. 39.]

[Footnote B: Lardner, vol. iv, p. 39.]

[Footnote C: Lardner, vol. iv, p. 44.]

[Footnote D: Neander Ch. His., vol. ii, p. 25.]

[Footnote E: Neander Ch. Hist., vol. ii, p. 25.]

Concluding Reflections Upon Constantine: Enough of this. Let us look no longer at this first of the Christian emperors through the eyes of churchmen seeking to extol his virtues and hide his crimes, all for the honor of the Church. So odious had he become in Rome for his many murders that a pasquinade, which compared his reign to that of the detested Nero, was nailed to the palace gates. "The guilty emperor," says one, "in the first burst of anger, was on the point of darkening the tragedy, if such a thing had been possible, by a massacre of the Roman populace who had thus insulted him." His brothers were consulted on this measure of vengeance, however, and the result of their counsel was a resolution to degrade Rome to a subordinate rank, and build a metropolis elsewhere, and hence the new capital of the empire rose on the shores of the Bosphorus.

Reflecting upon the career of Constantine from the days of his young manhood, which had in it something of the quality that makes the successful leader of men, to the time when he fell under the influence of the false priests of a corrupted religion, Draper says:

"From the rough soldier who accepted the purple at York, how great the change to the effeminate emperor of the Bosphorus, in silken robes, stiffened with threads of gold; a diadem of sapphires and pearls, and false hair, stained of various tints; his steps stealthily guarded by mysterious eunuchs, flitting through the palace; the streets full of spies, and an ever-watchful police! The same man who approaches us as the Roman imperator retires from us as the Asiatic despot. In the last days of his life, he put aside the imperial purple, and, assuming the customary white garment, prepared for baptism, that the sins of his long and evil life might all be washed away. Since complete purification can thus be only once obtained, he was desirous to procrastinate that ceremony to the last moment. Profoundly politic, even in his relations with heaven, he thenceforth reclined on a white bed, took no further part in worldly affairs, and, having thus insured a right to the continuance of that prosperity in a future life which he had enjoyed in this, expired."[A]

[Footnote A: Draper, Intellectual Development, vol. i, p. 283.]

And so Gibbon:

"The sublime theory of the Gospel had made a much fainter impression on the heart than on the understanding of Constantine himself. He pursued the great objects of his ambition through the dark and bloody paths of war and policy; and, after the victory, he abandoned himself, without moderation, to the abuse of his fortune. Instead of asserting his just superiority above the imperfect heroism and profane philosophy of Trajan and the Antonines, the mature age of Constantine forfeited the reputation which he had acquired in his youth. As he gradually advanced in the knowledge of truth, he proportionately declined in the practice of virtue; and the same year of his reign in which he convened the council of Nice, was polluted by the execution, or rather murder, of his eldest son (Crispus). * * * * * At the time of the death of Crispus, the emperor could no longer hesitate in the choice of religion; he could no longer be ignorant that the church was possessed of an infallible remedy (baptism), though he chose to defer the application of it, till the approach of death had removed the temptation and danger of a relapse. * * * * * * * The example and reputation of Constantine seemed to countenance the delay of baptism. Future tyrants were encouraged to believe that the innocent blood which they might shed in a long reign would instantly be washed away in the waters of regeneration; and the abuse of religion dangerously undermined the foundations of moral virtue."[A]

[Footnote A: Decline and Fall, ch. xx.]

The First "Christian" Emperor: Such, then, was the first Christian emperor. He uplifted "Christianity" from the condition of a persecuted religion, and made it the state religion of Rome; and also provided means for its wider acceptance. If for this it shall be claimed, as it is, that much in his evil life should be overlooked, it would still be pertinent to ask whether his acts in connection with Christianity did not debase rather than exalt it; and if his provisions for its wider acceptance did not tend rather to the corruption of what remained true in the Christianity then extant, than to the establishment of true religion.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Transposition of the Attitude of Christianity and Paganism.

1. Persecution of the Pagans.

2. Persecution of the Heretics.

See the Authorities cited in the notes.


The Edict of Milan: The edict of Milan, by which was intended no more than the establishment of religious liberty in the empire, and which was issued in 313 A. D., by Constantine and his colleague, Licinius, was well enough. Freedom to teach and practice the truth is all the Christian Church could ask or expect. Had Constantine stopped here, his action in this particular would have met with universal applause. But he went beyond this. He not only protected the Christians by his laws, but prohibited by express edicts the free exercise of religion to the pagans. His proscriptions were mild at first, going no further than to prohibit sooth-saying and divination in private houses or anywhere in secret. Later, however, if we may believe the words of Eusebius, he placed the pagan religion under the ban of the laws. Eusebius says:

"The emperor proceeded to act with great vigor, gave the government of the provinces chiefly to Christians, and when any Gentiles were made governors they were prohibited to sacrifice. Which law comprehended not only presidents of provinces, but also higher officers, and even the praetorian praefects. If they were Christians, they were required to act according to their principles. If they were otherwise disposed, still the practice of idolatrous rites were forbidden. * * * * * * And soon after that were two laws published at one and the same time, one prohibiting the detestable rites of idolatry hitherto practiced in cities and country places; and that for the future none should erect statues to the gods, nor perform the vain arts of divination, nor offer up any sacrifices. The other law was for enlarging Christian oratories and churches, or for rebuilding them more grand and splendid."[A]

[Footnote A: Life of Constantine (Eusebius) I, ii, ch. 44.]

A Contrast Between Christian and Heathen Methods: When contrasting the course of the first Christian emperor with the pagan emperors, Eusebius says: "They commanded the temples to be magnificently adorned; he demolished them to the foundation, especially such as were most respected by superstitious people."[A] Later he expressly says that "throughout the whole Roman empire, the doors of idolatry were shut to the commonalty and to the soldiery;" and that "every kind of sacrifice was prohibited." Again, he says, that there were several laws published for these purposes, forbidding sacrifices, divinations, raising statues, and the secret mysteries or rites of initiation. And he says further, that "in Egypt a sort of priesthood, consecrated to the honor of the Nile, was entirely suppressed."[B] I am not unmindful that some respectable authorities question if Constantine really departed from the policy of toleration announced in his edict of Milan; and that even Gibbon is inclined to believe in his toleration of paganism. The statement here made by Eusebius, the contemporary and biographer of Constantine, however, together with reference to the edicts of suppression quoted by his son, Constans, in the succeeding reign, and which is quoted by Lardner,[C] establishes beyond question the policy of intolerance of Constantine toward Paganism. Especially when what Eusebius has said is supplemented by the fact that the emperor destroyed a number of heathen temples, and peremptorily ordered the closing of the others. Among the heathen temples destroyed was one at Aegae, in Cilicia, erected to Aesculapius, celebrated for the number of sick that had been healed there, and held in high esteem by men of the better class among the pagans and philosophers. It is said that by its destruction and the public exhibition of certain images of the gods, many tricks of the priests were exposed and became objects of sport to the populace.[D] But while this may have been the conduct of some insincere pagans, those who remained heathens, as LeClerc has well said, "were no doubt extremely shocked at the manner in which the statues of their gods were treated; and could not consider the Christians as men of moderation. For, in short, those statues were as dear to them as anything, the most sacred, could be to the Christians."[E] Eusebius taunted the philosophers about the destruction of the temple, without any interference on the part of the god to whom it had been erected, apparently all unmindful of the fact that just such taunts had been hurled at the Christian martyrs in the days that the kingdom of God suffered violence, and the violent took it by force. "Had not Eusebius," remarked Lardner, "often heard with his own ears, and read in the history of ancient martyrs, the insults and triumphs of the heathens over the Christians, that they professed themselves the worshippers of the great and only true God, and yet everybody, that pleased, was able to molest and destroy them, as he saw good?"

[Footnote A: Ibid, ch. 54.]

[Footnote B: Life of Constantine (Eusebius), iv, ch., 23, 25.]

[Footnote C: Lardner, vol. viii, p. 169.]

[Footnote D: Neander Ch. Hist., vol. ii, pp. 26, 27.]

[Footnote E: Lardner Works, vol. iv. p. 49.]

The Policy of Constantine Indefensible: The zeal of Christian writers has done all in its power to excuse or palliate the conduct of Constantine in his acts for the suppression of the pagan religion and worship; but after all is said by his apologists that can be said, after every allowance is conceded for the times in which he lived, and the previous conduct of the pagans through two centuries of violence towards the Christians, the fact remains that the first Christian emperor did by his edicts put the ancient religion of the empire under the ban of the law, and by acts of violence destroyed some of its temples and closed the rest by imperial decree, that the pagan gods might not be worshiped; and this, doubtless, with the approval—and it would not be difficult to believe, under all the circumstances, at the suggestion—of Christian bishops who thronged his court. On the foundation of intolerance thus laid by him, others hastened to build. In the succeeding reign, among the first laws enacted, was this one against pagan sacrifices:

"Let superstition cease; let the madness of sacrificing be abolished. For whoever shall presume contrary to the constitution of our father, a prince of blessed memory, and contrary to this command of our clemency, to offer sacrifices, let a proper and convenient punishment be inflicted, and execution presently done upon him."[A]

[Footnote A: Lardner, Works, vol. viii, p. 169.]

This edict was supplemented a few years later[A] by the following edict:

[Footnote A: In 353 A. D., according to Gothford.]

"It is our pleasure that in all places and in all cities the temples be immediately shut, and carefully guarded, that none may have the power of offending. It is likewise our pleasure that all our subjects should abstain from sacrifices. If anyone should be guilty of such an act, let him feel the sword of vengeance; and after his execution, let his property be confiscated to the public use. We denounce the same penalties against the governors of the provinces, if they neglect to punish the criminals."[A] It is not necessary to pursue the subject much further. It will be sufficient to say that during the fourth century, by following the policy of suppression inaugurated by this first Christian emperor, Christianity was changed from a persecuted to a persecuting religion. Without restraint from the ecclesiastical authorities, the Christian emperors issued edicts against the pagan religion, proscribed its followers, destroyed its temples, and confiscated its property to the uses of the rival religion. Even Neander, speaking of this revolution, and constrained as he is to say all that he can for the honor of the Christian Church, is compelled to admit that "the relations of things had become reversed. As in former times the observance of the pagan ceremonies, the religion of the state, had appeared in the light of a civil duty, and the profession of Christianity in that of a crime against the state, so now it was the case, not indeed that the outward profession of Christianity was commanded as a universal civil duty, for against this the spirit of Christianity too earnestly remonstrated; but that the exercise of the pagan religion was made politically dangerous."[B] In the pages of this eminent Christian historian one may read that before the close of the century which witnessed the elevation of Christianity to the dignity of the state religion of the empire, wild troops of Christian monks were undertaking campaigns, especially in the country, for the destruction of the heathen temples in which sacrifices were alleged to have been performed; of bishops who not only superintended the destruction of heathen temples at the head of bands of soldiers and gladiators, but paraded through the streets of the cities the symbols of the heathen faith, provoking civil conflicts, which Christian emperors did not hesitate to take advantage of for the more complete suppression of paganism.[C] Meantime, a pagan apologist, Libanius, arises to plead the cause of religious toleration, and in the course of his address to the Christian emperor, Theodosius, he puts to shame the Christianity then in vogue, by showing the emperor how far the Church had departed from the spirit of the Christian religion, by saying: "Force is said not to be permitted, even according to the laws of your own religion; persuasion is said to be praised, but force condemned by them. Why, then, do you wreak your fury against the temples, when this surely is not to persuade, but to use force? Thus, then, it is plain you would transgress even the laws of your own religion."[D] Lardner calls attention to the fact that as under pagan emperors previous to Constantine, Christianity had been in a state of persecution, so now, after Constantine, he proceeds to show that paganism under Christian emperors was all along in a state of persecution—"However, I would hope, not so severe and vigorous as that of the Christians in the foregoing period of near three hundred years."[E] And so LeClerc, as quoted by Lardner:

[Footnote A: The law is extant in the Theodocian Code.]

[Footnote B: Neander, vol. ii. p. 34]

[Footnote C: Neander Ch. Hist., vol. ii, pp. 88-110.]

[Footnote D: Ibid., p. 67.]

[Footnote E: Lardner, Works, vol. viii, p. 164.]

"Thus it was that the Christians continued to return to the pagan what they had suffered from them during the first three centuries, instead of gaining them by patience and mildness, which they had so much recommended when they were the weakest. This conduct was proper to make the pagans more obstinate, by teaching them that the Christians affected to speak of humanity and moderation from interest only, and not from a principle of religion as they pretended. At least it is certain that thereby they lost the right to complain of the manner in which the pagans had treated them in times past, or to boast of the mildness of their religion, which they effectually disparaged by those persecutions. * * * * * * * Nor ought we to imagine that the penalties laid by Christians upon the pagans were light. If a sacrifice was offered in a private place, with the knowledge of the proprietor, the place was confiscated; if not, they were to pay a fine of twenty pounds of gold, as much as if it had been done in a temple; and in some cases the penalty of death was appointed. We may look into the oration of Libanius for the temples, where that orator sustains the same character before Theodosius as the Christians had formerly done before pagan emperors. I must acknowledge that this phenomenon, if I may so call it, gives me pain: for I could wish that they who defended the truth had preserved to themselves the honor of being the only persons that were persecuted for religion."[A]

[Footnote A: Lardner Works vol. viii, p. 276.]

Persecution of "Heretics:" Once started upon the policy of suppressing by force those of a different religion, Christianity did not stop with the persecution of the pagans; bad and un-Christian as that was, still more serious results occurred from the persecutions inflicted upon so-called heretics in the Church by those who were considered orthodox. It is true that there were heretics in the Church before the days of Constantine; much progress had been made in the matter of paganizing Christianity, and more or less tolerance was manifested by Christian sects towards each other; but it was the policy and example of this first Christian emperor that laid the real foundation for that monument of shame and disgrace to the Christian name which rises upon the plains of Christian discord and strife and war waged against heretics in the name and for the glory of Christ. It is this which constitutes the most melancholy page of ecclesiastical history.

In his office of supreme pontiff in the old pagan religion, which he held by virtue of being emperor of Rome, Constantine may naturally have supposed that the supreme headship of the religion he had protected and the Church he had elevated fell to him for the same reason; and with it the right to reconcile differences, compose factions, and determine what should be the orthodox faith. At any rate, we find him acting somewhat in this capacity. When contending church parties appealed to him he at first was indifferent to their disputes, and tried to shame them into harmony by referring to the conduct of the Greek philosophers, who never discussed difficult questions before ignorant multitudes, who could "maintain their arguments without losing their temper; and assert their freedom without violating their friendship."[A] His efforts at reconciling the differences that arose among Christians over what is known as the Arian controversy were of no avail; and after six years of bitter strife the emperor summoned the bishops of the Church to Nicea in Bithynia. After long deliberation, Arianism was condemned, and orthodox Christianity was established by decree of the council, ratified by the emperor, to which all Christians must conform. Those who resisted the divine judgment of the synod must prepare themselves for immediate exile.[B] How effectual the argument, "belief or banishment," even among the bishops at the council, was, may be determined from the fact that "the opposition to the decision of the council was almost instantly reduced from seventeen to two."[C] In his zeal to enforce orthodoxy, the emperor forgot his former moderation, and in 326 A. D.—the year following the council at Nicea—he issued a general edict against heretics, in which, after condemning his own past forbearance as occasioning men's being seduced, he says to the various heretical parties:

[Footnote A: Decline and Fall, ch. xxi.]

[Footnote B: Decline and Fall, ch. xxi.]

[Footnote C: Decline and Fall, ch. xxi.]

"Wherefore, since this your pernicious wickedness is no longer to be presume to meet together. And we have given orders that all those places where you are wont to hold assemblies should be taken away. Yea, our concern for this matter is such that we not only forbid you to assemble in any public place, but we likewise forbid all assemblies of your foolish superstition in private houses, and in all private places whatever. All of you, therefore, who have any sincere love of truth, come to the Catholic church. And that this remedy may have its full effect, we ordain that all your superstitious conventicles, I mean oratories of all heretics, if it be fit to call such houses oratories, be forthwith taken away, and without any opposition delivered to the Catholic church: and that the rest of your places be adjudged to the public."[A]

[Footnote A: Lardner Works, vol. iv. p. 36.]

"Thus the dens of heretics were laid open by the imperial edict," exultantly exclaims Eusebius, the Christian bishop, "and the wild beasts, the ring leaders of their impiety, were scattered."[A] And thus the paganized Christian Church launched upon that career of persecution of heretics within the Church, as well as upon the policy of persecuting those of a different religion; a policy that has filled the world with religious wars and deeds of cruelty which would better become the reign of a Nero than Christian rulers of Christian nations. It is a terrible arraignment which Gibbon draws against apostate Christendom in the concluding paragraph of his review of the persecutions which had been endured by the followers of Christ in the Christian centuries preceding Constantine. He says:

[Footnote A: Life of Constantine, Eusebius, p. 66.]

"We shall conclude this chapter by a melancholy truth, which obtrudes itself on the the reluctant mind; that, even admitting, without hesitation or inquiry, all that history has recorded, or devotion has feigned, on the subject of martyrdom, it must still be acknowledged that the Christians, in the course of their intestine dissensions, have inflicted far greater severities on each other than they have experienced from the zeal of infidels. During the ages of ignorance which followed the subversion of the Roman empire in the west,[A] the bishops of the imperial city extended their dominion over the laity as well as the clergy of the Latin church. The fabric of superstition which they had erected, and which might long have defied the feeble efforts of reason, was at length assaulted by a crowd of daring fanatics, who, from the twelfth to the sixteenth century, assumed the popular character of reformers. The church of Rome defended by violence the empire which she had acquired by fraud; a system of peace and benevolence was soon disgraced by proscriptions, wars, massacres, and the institution of the holy office; and as the reformers were animated by the love of civil as well as religious freedom, the Catholic princes connected their own interest with that of the clergy, and enforced by fire and sword the terror of spiritual censures. In the Netherlands alone more than one hundred thousand of the subjects of Charles the Fifth are said to have suffered by the hand of the executioner; and this extraordinary number is attested by Grotious, a man of genius and learning, who preserved his moderation amidst the fury of contending sects, and who composed the annals of his own age and century, at the time when the invention of printing had facilitated the means of intelligence and increased the danger of detection. If we are obliged to submit our belief to the authority of Grotious, it must be allowed that the number of protestants who were executed in a single province and a single reign far exceeded that of the primitive martyrs in the space of three centuries, and of the Roman empire!"[A]

[Footnote A: This event occurred about 476 A. D.]

[Footnote B: Decline and Fall, ch. xvi.]

Both Guizot and Milman, eminent Christian scholars, annotated the work of Edward Gibbon, the former in French, the latter in an English edition; and at every point where they could modify a statement or soften a passage apparently unjust to Christianity, they did so; but in the presence of the important and terrible passage just quoted, they remain absolutely silent! Nor has any other Christian writer since their day, so far as I know, attempted to contradict the statement of Mr. Gibbon. It is proper to say, however, that in a note Mr. Gibbon himself cites the fact that Fra Paola, an Italian writer, places the number of Belgic martyrs at fifty thousand; but even that computation would still leave the conclusion of Mr. Gibbon's reflections unimpaired.

The circumstance of the Church elevated by Constantine becoming a persecuting Church is a strong evidence of its paganized state; for the true Christian religion is not a persecuting religion; the true Church of Christ is not a persecuting Church. When the Samaritans would not receive the Messiah, some of the Apostles would have them consumed by fire from heaven; but the Master turned and rebuked them, saying, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."[A] It is true that Messiah said: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household."[B] This, however, is but a prediction of the effect of the proclamation of the Gospel, not an authorization to force the acceptance of Christianity by the sword; nor does it authorize the Church to invoke the arm of the civil authority to execute by force her doctrinal decrees. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is true, did not bring peace, but a sword; the sword, however, was found in the hands of those who rejected the Gospel, not in the hands of those who accepted and preached it. And when the Church departed so far from the spirit of Christ that she grasped the sword in her own hands, or dictated the civil authority to wield it in her behalf, and that became the policy of the Church, the adoption of that policy proclaimed her apostate condition to the world, in a manner to be known and read of all men.

[Footnote A: Luke ix:54-56.]

[Footnote B: Matt. x:34-36.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Moral Requirements of the Gospel.

Authority cited in the notes.

II. Moral Decline in the First Three Christian Centuries.

Christianity Before and After Constantine: I think sufficient has been said to justify the belief that the reign of Constantine marks the period when the paganization of Christianity had become complete. I do not mean by this that there is any particular date which one may set down to show that here true Christianity ceases, and there apostate Christianity begins; which is a point frequently insisted upon by those who contend for the unbroken perpetuity of Christianity from the days of Messiah. They demand to know on what night it was that the whole collection of Christians, of different nationalities and languages, went to bed sound in the Christian faith, to awaken the next morning all pagan.[A] I claim no such sudden revolution brought about the apostasy which I am sure took place. We have seen by what has already been said, that even in the time of the Apostles, there was a tendency on the part of the Christians to depart from the religion of Jesus Christ; that after the days of the Apostles there was a steady increase in the number and influence of false teachers; an insidious introduction of heresies; a multiplication of rites and ceremonies well known in the pagan celebration of religious mysteries, but entirely foreign to the Gospel; and an amalgamation or pagan doctrines with Christian principles. It remains to be shown that there was a steady increase of immorality among the professing Christians; a marked loss of spirituality; a rapid growth of pride and worldliness on the part of Christian bishops and other church leaders; and, at last, an utter departure from the true and living God, and Jesus Christ, whom He had sent, and the establishment of a system in its place as debasing to men as it was dishonorable to God.

[Footnote A: End of Religious Controversy, Milner, Letter 26.]

Taking then the reign of Constantine as the period beyond which the true religion of Christ did not extend, nor the true Church of Christ exist, let us consider Christianity before his reign and after it. Here I shall ask the reader to take into account as part of the consideration of Christianity previous to Constantine what I have already set before him in this treatise concerning the tendency to diversions and heresies which existed in the Church in the days of the Apostles; and also those quotations I have made from eminent Christian authorities, which give evidence of the early corruptions of Christianity, and which too plainly testify that it was in a state of steady decline through the second and third centuries, until it was fit only for such enthronement as a Constantine could give it, when he made it the state religion of a corrupt empire, hastening to its decay. If the reader will do this, it will obviate the necessity of my referring to these matters again.

Decline in Moral and Spiritual Living Among Christians: It will be conceded that the Gospel of Jesus Christ commands a very high order of moral and spiritual living and that the Apostles enjoined this moral law upon the early saints as essential to the favor of God. Others, also, after the days of the Apostles, followed in the same admonition, and, indeed, the sharp contrast that existed between the lives of converts before and after their acceptance of Christianity was a matter of pride not only to St. Paul,[A] but to Justin Martyr, of the second century, who, in reference to the change produced in the lives of Christian converts, said:

[Footnote A: Cor. vi:9-11.]

Moral Status of Christians of the Second Century: "WE who were once slaves of lust, now have delight only in purity of morals; we, who once practiced arts of magic, have consecrated ourselves to the Eternal and Good God; we, who once prized gain above all things, give even what we have to the common use, and share it with such as are in need; we, who once hated and murdered one another, who on account of differences of customs would have no common hearth with strangers, do now, since the appearance of Christ, live together with them; we pray for our enemies; we seek to convince those that hate us without cause, so that they may order their lives according to Christ's glorious doctrine, and attain to the joyful hope of receiving like blessings with us from God, the Lord of all."[A]

[Footnote A: Neander Ch. Hist., vol. I, p. 250.]

It was not long, however, before there was a marked departure from this high moral level among the Christians. In tracing that decline I shall use chiefly the History of the Church, by Joseph Milner, published in 1794. My reason for doing so is this, as I have already stated in this writing, he wrote what some regard as his great history of the Church to counteract the influence of Dr. Mosheim's splendid "Institutes of Ecclesiastical History," which is evidently by some regarded as too much a history of the perversions and abuses of religion. Milner plainly informs his readers that he intends to write the history of those only who have been real, not nominal, Christians, irrespective of the external Church to which they belonged, proceeding upon the theory that these good men constitute the Church of Christ. His history, in other words, is a history of piety, not of the Church. It will be his purpose, therefore, to exalt the morality of the Christians of all ages, and I quote his work respecting the moral deterioration of the Christians that I may not be charged with quoting authorities who some think have made too much of Christian shortcomings. Milner says that a gloomy cloud, concerning moral conditions, hung over the close of the first century, and proceeds to argue that the first impressions made by the effusions of the spirit are the strongest; that human depravity overborne for a time arose afresh; particularly in the next generation, and hence the disorders of schisms and heresies in the Church. Neander does not agree with the philosophy of Milner. He says: "Christianity, since it first entered human nature, has operated, wherever it has struck root, with the same divine power for sanctification; and this divine power cannot be weakened by the lapse of ages. In this respect, therefore, the period of the first appearance of Christianity could have no advantage over any of the following ages of the Christian Church."[A] And he follows this declaration with a. statement that the change which Christianity produced in the lives of those who accepted it appeared so strongly marked, by the contrast it presented with what they had previously been when pagans. The correctness of the philosophy I shall leave these two great Christian authorities to settle between themselves. I am concerned more particularly with the facts in the case.

[Footnote A: Neander Ch. Hist., vol. I, p. 259.]

In consequence of the prominence that has been given to the persecutions of the Christians during the first three centuries, the impression very extensively prevails that the early Christian Church was constantly under the hard pressure of continuous and relentless persecution. This, however, is not the case. There were many periods of peace granted to the Christians. Indeed, their periods of persecution were only occasional, and it is a question if these periods of peace were not more detrimental to Christianity than the seasons of persecution. Milner, under the authority of Origen, says that the long peace granted the Church in the third century, during the reigns of the several emperors, from about 260 A. D. to the opening of the fourth century, produced a great degree of lukewarmness and religious indecorum. "Let the reader," he says, "only notice the indifference which Origen here describes and the conduct of the Christians both in the first and second centuries, and he will be affected with the greatness of the declension." Then he quotes Origen: "Several come to church only on solemn festivals, and then not so much for instruction as diversion. Some go out again as soon as they have heard the lecture, without conferring or asking the pastors questions. Others stay not till the lecturers ended, and others hear not so much as a single word, but entertain themselves in a corner of the church."[A]

[Footnote A: Ibid.]

Coming to the middle of the third century, just previous to that severe persecution inaugurated by the Emperor Decius, and speaking of Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, Milner exclaims: "A star of the first magnitude, when we consider the time in which he lived! Let us recreate ourselves with the contemplation of it. We are fatigued with hunting for Christian goodness, and we have discovered but little, and that little with much difficulty. We shall find Cyprian to be a character who partook, indeed, of the declensions which we have noticed and lamented, but who was still far superior, I apprehend, in real simplicity and piety, to the Christians of the East."[A] This same Cyprian, in whom Milner delights speaking of the effects of the long peace upon the Church which preceded the Decian persecution, says:

[Footnote A: Milner's Ch. Hist. vol. I, cent. iii. ch. vi.]

Each had been bent on improving his own patrimony, and had forgotten what believers had done under the Apostles, and what they ought always to do. They were brooding over the arts of amassing wealth; the pastors and the deacons each forgot his duty; works of mercy were neglected, and discipline was at the lowest ebb; luxury and effeminacy prevailed; meretricious arts in dress were cultivated; fraud and deception practiced among brthren Christians would unite themselves in matrimony with unbelievers; could swear, not only without reverence but even without veracity. With haughty asperity they despised their ecclesiastical superiors! They railed against one another with outrageous acrimony, and conducted quarrels with determined malice. Even many bishops, who ought to be guides and patterns to thhe rest, neglected the peculiar duties of their stations, gave themselves up to secular pursuits. They deserted their places of residence and their flocks; they traveled through distant provinces in quest of pleasure and gain; have no assistance to their needy brethren, but were insatiable in their thirst of money. They possessed estates by fraud and multiplied usury. What have we deserved to suffer for such conduct? Even the divine word hath foretold us that we might expect: "If his children forsake my law and walk not in my judgments, I will visit their offenses with the rod and their sins with scourges." These things had ben denounced and foretold, but in vain. Our sins had brought our affairs to that pass, that because we had despised the Lord's directions, we were obliged to undergo a correction of our multiplied evils and a trial of our faith be severe remedies.[A]

[Footnote A: Ibid.]

Referring to the long reign of peace in the closing decades of the third century, Milner says:

This new [the toleration of Christianity by a pagan government] did not prove favorable to the growth of grave and holiness. In no period since the Apostles was there ever so great a general decay as in this. Not even in particular instances can we discover during this interval much of lively Christianity.[A]

[Footnote A: Milner's Ch. Hist., vol. I, cent, iii, ch. xvii.]

Here I drop Milner to take up Eusebius, who was an eyewitness of the moral declension among the Christians previous to the last great pagan persecution under the emperor Diocletian. Referring to the long period of peace which the Church had enjoyed—a period of forty years—he says:

But when, by reason of excessive liberty, we sunk into negligence and sloth, one envying and reviling another in different ways, and we were almost, as it were, upon the point of taking up arms against each other with words as with darts and spears, prelates inveighing against prelates, and people rising up against people, and hypocrisy and dissimulation had risen to the greatest height of malignity, then the divine judgment, which usually proceeds with a lenient hand, whilst the multitude were yet crowding into the Church, with gentle and mild visitations began to afflict the episcopacy; the persecution having begun with those brthren in the army. But as if destitute of all sensibility, we were not prompt in measures to appease and propitiate the Deity; some inded like atheists, regarding our situation as unheeded and unobserved by a Providence, we added one wickedness and misery to another. But some that appeared to be our pastors deserting the law of piety, were inflamed against each other with mutual strifes, only accumulating quarrels and threats, rivalship, hostility and hatred to each other, only anxious to assert the government as a kind of sovereignty for themselves.[A]

[Footnote A: Eusebius' Eccl. Hist., bk. viii, ch. i.]

Here I shall avail myself of some reflections upon this condition which I have elsewhere expressed:[A] Let it be remembered that what is said in the foregoing quotation is from a writer contemporary with the events, and who says, in the very chapter following the one from which I have just quoted, that it was not for him to record the dissensions and follies which the shepherds of the people exercised against each other before the persecution. He also adds: "We shall not make mention of those that were shaken by the persecution, nor of those that suffered shipwreck in their salvation, and of their own accord were sunk in the depths of the watery gulf."[B] Then in his Book of Martyrs, referring to events that occurred between the edicts ordering the persecution, he says: "But the events that occurred in the intermediate times, besides those already related. I have thought proper to pass by; I mean more particularly the circumstances of the different heads of the churches, who from being shepherds of the reasonable flocks of Christ, that did not govern in a lawful and becoming manner, were condemned, by divine justice, as unworthy of such a charge, to be the keepers of the unreasonable camel, an animal deformed in the structure of his body: and condemned further to be the keepers of the imperial horses. * * * * * Moreover, the ambitious aspirings of many to office, and the injudicious and unlawful ordinations that took place, the divisions among the confessors themselves, the great schisms and difficulties industriously fomented by the factions among the new members, against the relics of the Church, devising one innovation after another, and unmercifully thrusting them into the midst of all these calamities, heaping up affliction upon affliction. All this, I say, I have resolved to pass by, judging it foreign to my purpose, wishing, as I said in the beginning, to shun and avoid giving an account of them."[C] Hence, however bad the condition of the Church is represented to be by ecclesiastical writers, we must know that it was still worse than that; however numerous the schisms, however unholy the ambition of aspiring prelates, however frequent and serious the innovations upon the primitive ordinances of the Gospel; howsoever great the confusion and apostasy in the Church is represented to be, we must know that it is still worse than that, since the Church historians contemporaneous with the events refused to record these things in their fullness, lest it should prove disastrous to the Church; just as some of our modern scholars, professing to write Church history, express their determination to close their eyes to the corruption and abuses which form the greater part of the melancholy story of ecclesiastical history, for fear that relating these things would make it appear that real religion scarcely had any existence.[D]

[Footnote A: New Witness for God, pp. 75, 76.]

[Footnote B: Eusebius' Eccl. Hist., bk. viii, ch. ii.]

[Footnote c: Book of Martyrs, ch. xii.]

[Footnote D: See Milner's Introduction to his Church Hist., vol. I.]

Constantine's Nicean Plan of Propaganda: I shall say no more upon the matter of moral declensions among Christians, except this. If there was such moral declension among Christians as is represented by the foregoing high authorities on Christian affairs in the centuries preceding Constantine, what moral declension must have prevailed when from a proscribed religion Christianity was exalted to the dignity of the state religion of the empire; and her prelates and clergy were recalled from exile and suffering, poverty and disgrace, and loaded with the wealth and honors that the lord of the Roman world could bestow? Consider, in this connection, the propositions of Constantine at the council of Nicea for the propaganda of Christianity, and pass a candid judgment upon the moral or rather immoral effect they would produce upon the Church. Neander thus states them:

"The heathen would be most easily led to salvation, if the condition of the Christians were made to appear to them in all respects enviable.

"They (the bishops) should consider, that the advantage to be derived from preaching could not belong to all.

"Some, he said, might be drawn to the faith by being seasonably supplied with the means of subsistence.

"Others were accustomed to repair to that quarter where they found protection and intercession (alluding to the intercessions of the bishops).

"Others would be won by an affable reception.

"Others by being honored with presents.

"There were but few who honestly loved the exhibitions of religious doctrine; but few were the friends of truth (therefore but few sincere converts).

"For this reason they should accommodate themselves to the characters of all, and like skillful physicians, give to each man that which might contribute to his cure, so that in every way the saving doctrine might be glorified in all."[A]

[Footnote A: Neander's Ch. Hist., vol. ii, pp. 29-30.]

The effect of adopting such methods for the more rapid propagation of Christianity, as is here proposed by the emperor to the bishops assembled at the council at Nicea, must be apparent to all, and is quite universally lamented by Christian writers of later ages. "A course of proceeding upon such principles," remarks Neander himself, "must entirely have thrown open a wide door for all manner of hypocrisy. Even Eusebius, the panegyrist of Constantine, blinded as he was by the splendor which the latter had outwardly cast over the Church—even he is obliged to reckon among the grievous evils of this period, of which he was an eye witness, the indescribable hypocrisy of those who gave themselves out as Christians merely for temporal advantage, and who, by their outward show of zeal for the faith, contrived to win the confidence of the emperor, which he suffered them to abuse." [A] "The piercing eye of ambition and avarice," says Gibbon, "soon discovered that the profession of Christianity might contribute to the interest of the present as well as of a future life. The hopes of wealth and honors, the example of an emperor, his exportations, his irresistible smiles, diffused conviction among the venal and obsequious crowds which usually fill the apartments of a palace. The cities, which signalized a forward zeal by the voluntary destruction of their temples, were distinguished by municipal privileges and rewarded with popular donatives. * * * * As the lower ranks of society are governed by imitation, the conversion of those who possessed any eminence of birth, of power, or of riches, was soon followed by dependent multitudes. The salvation of the common people was purchased at an easy rate, if it be true that in one year twelve thousand men were baptized at Rome, besides a proportionable number of women and children; and that a white garment, with twenty pieces of gold had been promised by the emperor to every convert."[B]

[Footnote A: Neander's Ch. His., vol. ii, p. 30.]

[Footnote B: Decline and Fall, ch. xx.]

Under all these circumstances it is small wonder if men exclaimed as Augustine did somewhat later in his commentary on St. John—"How many seek Jesus only that He may benefit them in earthly matters! One man has a law suit, so he seeks the intercession of the clergy; another is oppressed by his superior, so he takes refuge in the Church. Others are seeking, one in this way and another in that, to be interceded for in some quarter where they have but little influence themselves. The Church is daily full of such persons. Seldom is Jesus sought for Jesus' sake!"[A] After nicely balancing the possibility and probability of those who came into the Church for present worldly advantage being converted in time to a true faith in the Christian religion, Neander says: "Beyond all doubt the number was far greater of those who grew hardened in that worldly sense by which from the first they had profaned a holy profession, and who were thus the means of introducing into the Church a great mass of corruption."

[Footnote A: Augustine on St. John, tract 25, ch. 10.]

"Unhappily," he adds, "there were bishops whose only wish was to make the conversion to Christianity a right easy thing for the pagans. * * * * * Hence they baptized even those who lived in open sin, and who plainly enough manifested that it was not their purpose to forsake it. They imagined that when these were only baptized and introduced into the fellowship of the Church, it was then time enough to admonish them against sin."[A]

[Footnote A: Neander's Ch. Hist., vol. ii, p. 120.]

The Evil Effects of the Nicean Program: Surely it was not difficult among such a mass of unconverted members thus brought into the Church to find elements that would foster the errors, both in ethics and in doctrine, which about this time arose in the Church. It is small wonder that it was well nigh publicly adopted in this age—as we are informed by Mosheim—"That to deceive and lie is a virtue when religion can be promoted by it, and that error in religion ought to be visited with penalties and punishments." The first of these evils resulted in the accumulation of that mass of myth and fable that burdens the annals of the dark ages; the second established the "holy inquisition," alike the shame of the Roman Catholic church and the so-called Christian civilization she has influenced. "It is almost incredible," continues Mosheim, speaking of the first evil referred to, "what a mass of the most insipid fables, and what a host of pious falsehoods have, through all the centuries, grown out of it, to the great detriment of true religion. If some inquisitive person were to examine the conduct and the writings of the great and most pious teachers of this century, I fear he would find about all of them infected with this leprosy." "Those idle fictions," he adds, "which a regard for the Platonic philosophy, and for the prevailing opinions of the day had induced most theologians to embrace, even before the time of Constantine, were now in various ways confirmed, extended and embellished. Hence it is that we see, on every side, evident traces of excessive veneration for departed saints; of a purifying fire for the soul when separated from the body; of the celibacy of the clergy; of the worship of images and relics, and of many other opinions, which in process of time almost banished the true religion, or"—and here the Doctor perhaps remembered that he was a Protestant and that his position as such would not admit of conceding the utter subversion of the Christian religion, and hence added—"or at least very much obscured and corrupted it." Genuine piety was supplanted by a long train of superstitious observances, which originated partly from opinions inconsiderately embraced, partly from a preposterous disposition to adopt profane rites and combine them with Christian worship, and partly from the natural predilection of mankind in general for a splendid and ostentatious religion.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Spiritual Gifts.

1. Nature and Enjoyment of them by Early Christians.

2. Loss of them during the second and third Centuries.

See the Authorities cited in the notes.

II. The Christian Doctrine of Deity.

On the Christian Doctrine of Deity, see a Lecture "Jesus Christ the Revelation of God," in Mormon Doctrine of Deity, ch. iv.


The Loss of Spiritual Gifts: Not only did the moral declensions in the Church which started soon after the demise of the Apostles, proceed with accelerated pace after Constantine became the patron of the Church, and with such resulting evils as I have pointed out, but there was a like declension in the enjoyment of spiritual gifts in the Church. It is well known that the Apostles promised the Holy Ghost to those who received the Gospel, and the enjoyment of those supernatural gifts which go with it. Indeed, Jesus Himself said in His last commission to His disciples:

"Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."[A]

[Footnote A: Mark xvi:15-18.]

Paul, in speaking of the spiritual gifts promised in the Gospel, says:

"Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another diverse kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues; but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will."[A]

[Footnote A: I Cor. xii:1-11.]

It is well known that the spiritual gifts here enumerated were enjoyed by the saints in the early Christian centuries; and especially in Apostolic enjoyment of these gifts of the Spirit among the saints. Nor is there any intimation of the discontinuance of them. On the contrary it is reasonable to conclude that so long as the saints shall continue in the enjoyment of the Holy Ghost, that long also will they enjoy the spiritual gifts which proceed from a possession of Him. Moreover, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."[A]

[Footnote A: Gal. v. 22-24.]

Effects of the Holy Spirit Upon Man: Such are the effects of the operations of the Holy Ghost upon the nature of man. These fruits of the Spirit indicate the change that the Spirit of God may effect in human nature; by which that which is corrupted through sin may be conformed to that which is pure and holy, according to the working whereby the Spirit is able to subdue all things unto Himself, in them that give place for His indwelling in their souls. This effectual working of the Spirit in the souls of men, by which they were transformed from vileness to holiness, was the boast of the early saints. And upon reflection all will concede that the victories of the Spirit in reforming the lives of men and making them in their very nature conform to the likeness of Christ in righteousness, are more to be desired and more to be celebrated than those victories which are physical or intellectual merely in their nature. Indeed these latter fruits of the Spirit derive their chief value from the extent to which they contribute to the production of the former—that is, to the extent that they establish men in the faith, enable them to crucify the flesh with the lusts thereof, and help them to live in harmony with the sweet influence of the Spirit of God. When men live in harmony with that Spirit there will righteousness obtain; there will love abound; there will the Gospel of Christ appear triumphant. Where these fruits do not appear, there the Gospel of Christ is not; there the powers of darkness for the time being, are triumphant. Yet notwithstanding this promise concerning the enjoyment of the spiritual gifts of the Gospel, the evidence is abundant and conclusive that when all the Apostles were deceased, then there was a marked declension in the manifestations of the spiritual powers of the Gospel. "With the close of the New Testament records," says Dr. Phillip Smith, author of The Student's Ecclesiastical History, "and the death of the last surviving Apostle, the history of the Church passes from its sacred to its purely human phase. The miraculous gifts which attested the divine mission of the Apostles ceased; not indeed by any formal record of their withdrawal, but by the clear evidence that they were possesed no longer."[A]

[Footnote A: Students' Ecclesiastical History, vol. i, p. 62.]

Dr. Jortin bears witness to the same fact. He says:

"The words of Eusebius intimate that he thought those extraordinary powers to be, at least, not very common afterwards—(i. e., the beginning of the second century). 'They went about,' says he, 'with God's co-operative grace, for even then the divine Spirit performed many miracles by them.' * * * * * This brings the probability of miracles down to the beginning of the second century, in the middle of which Justin Martyr says: 'There are prophetic gifts among us even until now:' and amongst these gifts he reckons up miraculous powers, as healing the sick, casting out evil spirits, etc. His words imply an opinion that such gifts were not only exercised in his time, but had been continued down to his time, and he may be justly supposed to speak the sense of his contemporary Christians; and that is all that I cite him for. It seems probable that if we had a full and authentic history of the propagation of the Gospel, from the time of the Apostles to the middle of the second century, composed by eye witnesses and by the preachers of Christianity, we should find miracles wrought for the conversion of the pagans. But from A. D. 70 to 150 is a dark interval, and we have very short accounts of the transactions of those days, unless we should accept the groundless rumors and frivolous tales."[A]

[Footnote A: Jortin's Eccl. Hist., vol. I, pp. 134-6.]

Spiritual Gifts in the Second Century: So, also, Dr. Mosheim, speaking of the second century, and after commenting on the extent to which the extraordinary divine gifts contributed to the extension of the limits of the Church, says: "The gift of foreign tongues appears to have gradually ceased, as soon as many nations became enlightened with the truth; * * * but the other gifts with which God favored the rising Church of Christ were, as we learn from numerous testimonies of the ancients, still conferred upon particular persons here and there." And when writing of the fourth and succeeding centuries, he, too, bears witness of the declension and final cessation of these spiritual powers among the Christians; and, indeed, the most of our ecclesiastical writers form the same conclusion.

Thus the Christians lost the enjoyment of the spiritual gifts of the Gospel, such as inspired dreams, prophecies, healings, speaking in new tongues, ministering of angels, and, most to be lamented of all, direct revelation from God, by which the will of God might be made known to His people and His Church preserved from error, from decadence, and from destruction: and by the absence of these spiritual gifts and powers among the Christians of the third and fourth centuries, we may know that a mere man-made religion, having indeed a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, had succeeded to the spiritually gifted religion of Jesus Christ, wherein the power of God is ever present and outwardly as well as inwardly manifested.

The Christian Doctrine of God: In nothing perhaps was there a wider departure from the real truth of Christianity than in the doctrine concerning God defined by the general council of the Church held within the lifetime of Constantine, and which, in fact, he assembled upon his own authority. This was the celebrated Council of Nicea in Bithynia, Asia Minor, held in 325 A. D. The main purpose for which the first general Council of the Church was assembled was to settle a dispute between one Arius, a presbyter of Alexandria, and his bishop. Alexander, of the same city, respecting the doctrine of the Godhead. The dispute proved to be far-reaching in its effects, and for three hundred years the rivalry of the contending factions disturbed the peace of Christendom. We shall have clearer conceptions of the subject, however, and be better able to judge of the extent to which there was a departure from the true doctrine respecting the Godhead, by the definitions formulated and enforced upon the Church by the Council of Nicea, if we first consider the doctrine of the Godhead as found in the Testament.

The existence of God both Jesus and the Apostles accepted as a fact. In all the teachings of the former He nowhere seeks to prove God's existence. He assumes that, and proceeds from that basis with His doctrine. He declares the fact that God was His Father, and frequently calls Himself the Son of God.[A] After His resurrection and departure into heaven, the Apostles taught that He, the Son of God, was with God the Father in the beginning; that He, as well as the Father, was God; that under the direction of the Father He was the Creator of world; that without Him was not anything made that was made.[B] That in Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead body;[C] and that He was the express image of the Father's person.[D] Jesus Himself taught that He and the Father were one;[E] that whosoever had seen Him had seen the Father also;[F] that it was part of His mission to reveal God, the Father, through His own personality: for as was the Son, so too was the Father.[G] Hence Jesus was God manifested in flesh—a revelation of God to the world.[H] That is, a revelation not only of the being of God, but of the kind of being God is.

[Footnote A: John x; Matt, xxvii; Mark xiv:61, 62.]

[Footnote B: For all of which see John i:1-4, 14; Heb. i:1-3.]

[Footnote C: Cor. i:15-19, and ii:9.]

[Footnote D: John x:30; xvii:11-22.]

[Footnote E: John xiv:9.]

[Footnote F: John xiv:1-9; John i:18.]

[Footnote G: Tim. iii:16.]

[Footnote H: John xiv:10, 11, 19, 20; also John xvii.]

Jesus also taught (and in doing so showed in what the "oneness" of Himself and His Father consisted) that the disciples might be one with Him, and also one with each other, as He and the Father were one.[A] Not one in person—not all merged into one individual, and all distinctions of personality lost; but one in mind, in knowledge, in love, in will—one by reason of the indwelling in all of the one spirit, even as the mind and will of God the Father was also in Jesus Christ.[B]

[Footnote A: Eph. iii:14-19.]

[Footnote B: Acts v:1-14. To lie to the Holy Ghost is to lie to God, because the Holy Ghost is God.]

The Holy Ghost, too, was upheld by the Christian religion to be God. Jesus ascribed to Him a distinct personality; as proceeding from the Father; as sent forth in the name of the Son, as feeling love; experiencing grief; as forbidding; as abiding; as teaching; as bearing witness; as appointing to work: and as interceding for men. All of which clearly establishes for Him a personality.

Distinct Personalities of Father, Son and Holy Ghost: The distinct personality of these three individual Gods (united however into one Godhead, or Divine Council), was made apparent at the baptism of Jesus; for as He, God the Son, came up out of the water from His baptism at the hands of John, a manifestation of the presence of the Holy Ghost was given in the sign of the dove which rested upon Jesus, while out of the glory of heaven the voice of God the Father was heard saying, "This," referring to Jesus, "is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The distinctness of the personality of each member of the Godhead is also shown by the commandment to baptize those who believe in the Gospel equally in the name of each person of the Holy Trinity. That is, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.[A] And again, also in the Apostolic benediction, viz., "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all."[B]

[Footnote A: Matt. xxviii:19, 20.]

[Footnote B: II Cor. xiii:14.]

These three personages constitute the Christian Godhead, the Holy Trinity. In early Christian theology they were regarded as the Supreme Governing and Creating Power in heaven and in earth. Of which Trinity the Father was worshiped in the name of the Son, while the Holy Ghost bore record of both the Father and the Son. And though the Holy Trinity was made up of three distinct persons, yet did they constitute but one Godhead, or Supreme Governing Power.

The Doctrine That Man Was Made in the Image of God: This outline of the doctrine of God, derived from the New Testament, represents Him as anthropomorphic; that is, like man in form, and possessed of human characteristics. It reaffirms the old doctrine found in the book of Genesis, viz., that man is created in the image of God, and after His likeness. The outline of New Testament doctrine of God also ascribes to Him what are called human attributes and feelings; but as in the foregoing we first say that God is represented as being in human form, and then to get the exact truth say: "Or, rather, man was created in the image and likeness of God," so in this latter case, when we have said that the doctrine of the New Testament ascribes human attributes and feelings to God, to get the exact truth we should say: "Or, rather, man possesses the attributes of God"—the attributes of knowing, willing, judging, loving, etc.—though it should be stated, of course, that man does not possess these attributes in their perfection, as God does. The same may also be said of the physical perfections. While man has been created in the image and likeness of God, yet our bodies in their present state of imperfection—sometimes stunted in growth, diseased, subject to sickness, wasting, decay and death—cannot be said to be like God's glorious, perfect physical body; yet we have the Divine word that our bodies shall be like His:

"For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself."[A]

[Footnote A: Phil. iii:20, 21.]

So also the attributes of the spirit of man—the attributes of the mind —now imperfect, impure, unholy, and limited in the range of vision and apprehension of things, owing largely to the conditions in which man finds himself placed in this earth-life (and all for a wise purpose in God's economy); yet the time will come that it will be with the spirit as with the body; for God shall change our vile spirit that it may be fashioned like unto His own glorious spirit, "according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself." That whereas now we see only as through a glass, darkly, then we shall see as we are seen; that whereas now we know but in part, then we shall know even as we are known.[A]

[Footnote A: The foregoing doctrine of God, taught to the Christians in Apostolic times, awakened their pious reverence without exciting their curiosity. They dealt with no metaphysical abstractions, but were contented to accept the teachings of the Apostles in humble faith, and believed that Jesus Christ was the complete manifestation of Deity, and the express image of God His Father; and hence a revelation to them of God; while the Holy Ghost they accepted as God's witness and messenger to them.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Early Pagan Views of Deity.

See Mormon Doctrine of Deity ch. iv; also authorities cited in the notes.

II. Adoption of Pagan Views by Early Christians.

III. The Paganization of Christian Doctrine Expressed—Creed of St. Athanasius.


Pagan Trinities: Christianity, as is well known, came in contact with other doctrines concerning Deity. It was almost immediately brought in touch with the mysticism of the Orient and also with the philosophies of the Greeks, who took so much delight in intellectual subtleties. In the Oriental philosophies, and in the Greek philosophy, there was conceived the idea of a trinity in Deity; an idea which possibly may have come down from the doctrines revealed to the patriarchs concerning the Godhead, but which had been corrupted and rendered unintelligible by the vain philosophizings of men. In some of the Oriental systems the trinity or Trimurti consisted of Brahma, the Creator; Vishnu, the Preserver; and Siva, the Destroyer. It will be seen, however, that this trinity is not necessarily one of persons, or individuals, but may be one of attributes, qualities, or even a trinity of functions in one being; and in this way it is usually understood.[A]

[Footnote A: See Shedd's History of Christian Doctrine, vol. i, p. 342, et seq. and note.]

Plato's trinity is sometimes stated in the terms, "First Cause; Reason, or Logos; and Soul of the Universe;" but more commonly in these: "Goodness, Intellect, and Will." The nature of the Greek trinity has long been a matter of contention among the learned, and one indeed that is not settled to this day. Is there indicated in his system "a true and proper tri-personality, or merely a personification of three impersonalities," a trinity of attributes or functions? The answers to these questions are varied, and would require too much space for consideration here. Christians having been taught to accept the New Testament doctrine of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as constituting one Godhead, Christianity no sooner came in contact with the philosophies of the Greeks and Egyptians than there was an effort made to identify the Christian trinity with that of the Greek and other philosophies. The temptation to do this was very great. Christianity was a proscribed religion and its followers detested. Whenever it could be shown, therefore, that under new symbols the Church really taught the same doctrines that the old philosophers—who were held in esteem—did, it was regarded as a distinct gain to Christianity.

Early Christian Disputation on the Doctrine of Deity: The mere fact of Christianity teaching a trinity of any kind was a sufficient basis of comparison, under the temptation offered, and hence in a short time we have the alleged followers of Christ involved in all the metaphysical disputations of the age. The chief difficulty in those speculations was to define the nature of the Logos, or Word of God; a title that is given to our Savior by the Apostle St. John, be it remembered. Adopting absolute "being" as the postulate of their conception of God, absolute oneness, and therefore absolute singleness, their difficulties arose in trying to reconcile the existence of three persons in the Godhead to the postulate of unity. The disputations were carried on chiefly concerning Christ, the "Word." in His relationship to the Godhead; and the disputants concerned themselves with such questions as these: "Is Jesus the Word?" "If He be the Word, did He emanate from God in time or before time?" "If He emanated from God, is He co-eternal and of the same, that is identical, substance with Him, or merely of a similar substance?" "Is He distinct from the Father, that is, separate from Him, or is he not?" "Is He made or begotten?" "Can He beget in His turn?" "Has He paternity, or productive virtue without paternity?" Similar questions were asked as to the other Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit.

The Arian Controversy: These questions were violently agitated at Alexandria by the bishop of that city, Alexander, and one of the presbyters, Arius, 318-321 A. D. The controversy spread throughout Christendom, and culminated finally in the Council at Nicea, 325 A. D. Arius held the doctrine that the Logos or Word was a dependent or spontaneous production created out of nothing by the will of the Father; hence the Son of God, by whom all things were made, begotten before all worlds; but there had been a time when the Logos was not; and also He was of a substance, however similar it might be, different from the Father. This doctrine, in the minds of the opponents of Arius, detracted from the divine nature of Christ; in fact, denied Him true Deity and relegated Him to the position of a creature, against which the piety of a large number of Christians rebelled. After six years of hot disputation and frequent appeals by the contestants to the emperor, the Council of Nicea was assembled and the mysteries of the Christian faith submitted to public debate, a portion of the time, at least, in the presence of the emperor, who, to some extent, seemed to exercise the functions of president over the assembly. The doctrine of Arius was condemned, and after "long deliberations, among struggles, and scrupulous examinations," the following creed was adopted:

"We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, creator of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, only-begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of the same substance with the Father, by whom all things were made in heaven and in earth, who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, was incarnate, was made man, suffered, rose again the third day, ascended into the heavens, and He will come to judge the living and the dead; and in the Holy Ghost. Those who say there was a time when He was not, and He was not before He was begotten, and He was made of nothing (he was created), or who say that He is of another hypostatis, or of another substance (than the Father), or that the Son of God is created, that He is mutable, or subject to change, the Catholic church anathematizes."[A]

[Footnote A: Hist. Christian Councils (Hefele), p. 294.]

Arius himself was condemned as a heretic and banished into one of the remote provinces; Illyricum, his friends and disciples, branded by law with the idious name of "Porphyrians," because it is supposed that Arius, like Porphyry, had sought to injure Christianity. His writings were condemned to the flames and a capital punishment was pronounced against those in whose possession they should be found. Three years later, however, through the influence of the women at the imperial court, Constantine softened in his demeanor towards Arius and his followers. The exiles were recalled and Arius himself was received at court and his faith approved by a synod of prelates and presbyters at Jerusalem; but on the day that he was to be publicly received in the cathedral church at Constantinople, by the order of the emperor, who, by the way, received the sacrament at the hands of Arius, he expired under circumstances which have led many to believe that other means than the prayers of the orthodox against him were the cause of his death. The leaders of the orthodox party, Athanasius of Alexandria. Eustathius of Antioch, and Paul of Constantinople, were now to feel the wrath of the first Christian emperor. They were deposed on various occasions and by the sentence of numerous councils, and banished into distant provinces. In fact, so far from the adoption of the Nicean creed ending the conflict which had arisen, it was more like the opening of that controversy which agitated Christendom for so long, and resulted in so many shameful conflicts. Councils were arrayed against councils, and though they never could convince one another of error, they never failed, in the spirit of such Christian charity as was then extant, to close their decrees with curses. Votes were bartered for and purchased in those councils, and the facts justify the latent sarcasm in Gibbon's remark, that "the cause of truth and justice was promoted by the influence of gold." There were persecutions and counter-persecutions, as now one party and then the other prevailed; there were assassinations and bloody battles over this doctrine of Deity, the accounts of which fill, as they also disgrace, our Christian annals. The creed which was adopted at Nicea, however, became the settled doctrine of orthodox Christendom, and remains so to this day.

The Athanasian Creed: It is difficult to determine which is really the worst, the creed itself or the explanations of it. At any rate, we do not clearly see the impiety of its doctrines until we listen to the explanations that have been made of it. Athanasius himself has left on record a creed explanatory of the one adopted at Nicea. True, among the learned, many doubt Athanasius being the author of the creed which bears his name; but, however much doubt may be thrown upon that question, no one hesitates to accept it as the orthodox explanation of the doctrine of Deity, and, in fact, it is accepted as one of the important symbols of the Christian faith, and is as follows:

"We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is all one: the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet there are not three eternals, but one eternal. As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreate, but one uncreate and one incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Ghost almighty; and yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God; and yet there are not three Gods, but one God."

As already stated, this creed of St. Athanasius is accepted as one of the symbols of the orthodox Christian faith. It is understood that these two creeds teach that God is incoporeal; that is to say, an immaterial being. The Catholic church says: "There is but one God, the creator of heaven and earth, the supreme incoporeal, uncreated being, who exists of Himself and is infinite in all His attributes."[A] While the Church of England teaches in her articles of faith "that there is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body,[B] parts, or passions, of infinite power, wisdom and goodness." This view of God as an incoporeal, immaterial, bodiless, partless, passionless being is now and has been from the days of the great apostasy from God and Christ, in the second and third centuries, the doctrine of Deity generally accepted by apostate Christendom. The simple doctrine of the Christian Godhead, set forth in the New Testament is corrupted by the meaningless jargon of these creeds, and their explanations; and the learned who profess a belief of them are wandering in the darkness of the mysticisms of the old pagan philosophies. No wonder that Athanasius himself, whom Gibbon with a quiet sarcasm calls the most sagacious of the Christian theologians, candidly confesses that whenever he forced his understanding to meditate on the divinity of the Logos (and which, of course, involved the whole doctrine of the Godhead), his "toilsome and unavailing efforts recoiled on themselves; that the more he thought, the less he comprehended: and the more he wrote, the less capable was he of expressing his thoughts!" It is a fine passage with which Gibbon closes his reflections upon this subject, and hence I shall give it place here:

[Footnote A: Catholic Belief (Bruno), p. 1.]

[Footnote B: i.e., without materiality.]

"In every step of the inquiry, we are compelled to feel and acknowledge the immeasurable disproportion between the size of the object and the capacity of the human mind. We may try to abstract the notions of time, of space, and of matter, which so closely adhere to all the perceptions of our experimental knowledge; but as soon as we presume to reason of infinite substance, or spiritual generation; as often as we deduce any positive conclusions from a negative idea, we are involved in darkness, perplexity, and inevitable contradiction."[A]

[Footnote A: Decline and Fall, ch. xxi.]

Recurrence to the New Testament doctrine of God, and a comparison of it with the doctrine of Deity set forth in the Nicean and Athanasian creeds, will exhibit the wide departure—the absolute apostasy—that has taken place in respect of this most fundamental of all doctrines of religion—the doctrine of God. Truly "Christians" back in those early Christian centuries denied the Lord that brought them,[A] and turned literally to fables. They enthroned a conception of a negative idea of "being," which can stand in no possible relationship to man, nor man to it; and to this they ascribe divine attributes and give it title, knee and adoration which belong to God alone. Small wonder that the angel whom John saw flying in the midst of heaven having the everlasting Gospel to commit to the earth in the hour of God's judgment, in the last days, should cry aloud to the inhabitants of the earth, saying, "Fear God and give glory to Him; * * * * * * and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of water"[B]—small wonder, I repeat, that such should be part of his great message, for truly the whole world had departed from the worship of the true and living God.

[Footnote A: II Peter ii:1.]

[Footnote B: Rev. xiv:6, 7.]




I. The Christian Church.

I Cor. xii: Eph. iv. The Gospel ch. xxii. Outlines of Ecclesiastical History, Section viii, 15-31 and note 5 and 6 in that section. See also authorities cited in notes New Witness for God, ch. iv.

II. The Roman Hierarchy.

III. Corruption of the Ministry.


The Necessity of a Church: The departure from the form and spirit of church government was no less marked than the moral and spiritual declension among the Christians of the early centuries of the era, or the departure from the true doctrine of Deity. Beyond filling the vacancy in the council of the Twelve Apostles, occasioned by the fall of Judas, there is no clear and satisfactory evidence that other successors of the Apostles were ever chosen, though the fair implication is that the organization of the Church, with Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Seventies, Bishops, Teachers, etc., was to be perpetuated as at first established. At least this organization was given for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, until the saints should come to a unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God;[A] so that the plain inference is that as long as there are saints to be perfected, or edified, or united, or brought to the knowledge of God; as long as there is work for a ministry, or the necessity of a Church, through the agency of which the truth is to be taught to the world, and the lives of those who accept the truth perfected, so long will it be necessary to perpetuate the organization given of God for the achievement of those high purposes. To say that man could devise a better organization for the accomplishment of these several objects would be to challenge the wisdom of God. To say that any of these means provided in the Church organization could be dispensed with, would be to contradict the plain teaching of Scripture, which, in this very connection forbids the eye to say to the hand, I have no need of thee; or the head to the feet, I have no need of you; that is, one officer of the Church may not say to another officer, I have no need of thee.[B] The doctrine of Scripture is that all the officers of the Church, together with their several gifts, are essential to the Church of Christ; essential to its perfection; essential to the performance of the sacred functions assigned to it. Yet it must be conceded that the organization described in the New Testament did not survive the last of the Apostles; or preserve much beyond that time the spirit which the Master impressed upon it.[C]

[Footnote A: I Cor. xii; Eph. iv.]

[Footnote B: Cor. xii.]

[Footnote C: Matt. xx.]

Central Authority in the Christian Church: The Apostles, while they lived, exercised a general jurisdiction over the Church, to which all submitted without question. In the exercise of their general authority they organized branches of the Church, appointed Elders or Bishops to take the oversight of them, and instructed them in Church government, and discipline, and doctrine. After the demise of the Apostles, there seems to have been left no central authority to exercise the functions of general supervision or presidency over the entire Church, such as the Twelve had exercised. That center of unity, together with the power thereof, seems to have vanished from the Church with the Apostles. The Bishops and some subordinate officers remained, it is true, but these were local, not general authorities. The Church in each city or district of country after the Apostolic age seems to have been regarded as a sort of independent republic of itself, without any bond of consociation with any other church beyond that which was the result of possessing a common faith in Christianity, which bond was one of sympathy merely, not of hierachical association.

Rise of the Roman Hierarchy: The rise of the hierarchy, with the centralization of its powers in the Bishop of Rome, and which ultimately dominated the whole Church, and not only the Church but, directly and indirectly, the western civilized world, came later, and was of gradual development; and when it was finally established, it was not the organization described in the New Testament, the Church with an inspired Priesthood of Apostles, and Prophets, Evangelists, Seventies and Pastors, etc., but a hierarchy fashioned by man out of such remnants of Church organization as survived Apostolic times. As the number of Christians increased, the bishops of large cities organized new branches of the Church in the suburbs of their cities, and in the towns and villages adjacent, and ordained for them a ministry. It was but natural perhaps that the officers of these new branches of the Church, both the bishops and subordinate clergy, should look to the one who had brought them into existence as a source of general presiding authority over them. And hence in time arose what were called metropolitan bishops, bishops who had under their direction the bishops of neighboring towns and villages—bishops of the "suburbs and the fields," they were sometimes called—and perhaps of the entire province of which the metropolitan city was recognized as the center. As the bishop of the metropolis, or of a province, became the center of ecclesiastical unity for that province, so too in time, the bishops of cities which were the capitals of the three great divisions of the empire—Antioch, Alexandria and Rome—asserted a superior dignity over metropolitan bishops. It was in these cities that the exarchs of the empire resided, and if we may trust the authority of Neander. the bishops of these cities also, at first, took that title, but later made choice of the more ecclesiastical name of Patriarch.[A] In addition to the importance attached to these cities as the capitals of the great divisions of the empire, a superior dignity in the minds of Christians attached to the Churches founded by the Apostles as the surest depositories of the Apostolic teaching and doctrine; and as Apostolic origin could be claimed for the churches in the three cities named, it is not surprising, when their political importance is added, that the bishops of those cities claimed superior dignity for their office, and united under their jurisdiction the metropolitan bishops of the respective three great divisions of the empire. Subsequently the same title was granted to the bishop of Jerusalem, and to the bishop of Constantinople; to the former it was granted in virtue of the peculiar sanctity which attaches to Jerusalem, and the fact that the first Christian Church was planted there; to the latter, because it was made the capital of the empire, "New Rome;" and because it was peculiarly the city of the first imperial patron of Christianity. Thus five patriarchates were established.

[Footnote A: Neander Ch. Hist. vol. ii, p. 196.]

Through circumstances too numerous and intricate to detail here, the bishops of Rome changed the primacy of mere precedence which had been accorded them among associated brethren, to a primacy of power and jurisdiction, which resulted in the bishops of Rome becoming recognized as the supreme head of the Christian Church; and the papacy entered upon that marvelous career which by the impartial can but be regarded as the shame of the Christian name.

Corruption of the Ministry: Attention has already been called to the corruptions which prevailed in that period of peace in the closing decades of the third century, where bishops are represented as being full of pride and ostentation; as deserting the law of piety and being inflamed against each other with mutual strifes, only accumulating quarrels, threats, rivalships, hostilities, hatreds towards each other, and only anxious to assert the Church government as a kind of sovereignty for themselves. And all this when Christianity was a proscribed religion; and when the Church, and especially its leaders, the bishops, were liable to severest persecution. Reason and a due consideration of human nature both combined to fix upon us the conviction that the bitterness of rivalry, of hatred, of ambition, must have greatly increased when metropolitan and patriarchal bishops, formerly proscribed and hunted like wild beasts, rose to the dignity of civil princes, and took upon them more and ever more of the spirit of worldliness as wealth and honor and popular applause were made the accompaniments of their ecclesiastical offices. History confirms what reason and a knowledge of human nature suggests; for the history of the Church after the elevation of proscribed Christianity to the dignity of the state religion of the Roman empire, is but the melancholy history of unholy ambition, jealousies, strifes, contentions, murders, and wars between rival bishops and their adherents on the one hand; and equally unholy struggles for worldly advantages with kings and rulers of this world on the other. The spirit that actuated the bishops of the Church after their elevation through the policy of Constantine is admirably illustrated by a remark of Gregory of Nazianzus, made in Constantinople, 380 A. D., when deploring the evils of the Church. He says:

"Would to heaven there were no primacy, no eminence of place, and no tyrannical precedence of rank; that we might be known by eminence of virtue alone. But, as the case now stands, the distinction of a seat at the right hand or the left, or in the middle; at a higher or a lower place; of going before or aside of each other, has given rise to many disorders among us, to no salutary purpose whatever, and plunged multitudes in ruin."[A]

[Footnote A: This remark is quoted by Neander, Ch. Hist., vol. ii, p. 198.]

The Fatal Gift of a Christian Emperor: Matters in Church government did not mend with time, but grew worse and worse. Pride increased; rivalship between contending prelates grew more imbittered; ambition mounted higher and ever higher in the breasts of the shepherds of the flock of Christ. In His association with His Apostles—to whom He committed the keys of His kingdom—the Master had discouraged ambition and had said that he who would be great among His followers must be their minister; and whosoever would be chief among them, was to be their servant; and the government of His Church was to be distinct in these particulars from the governments of this world.[A] But all in vain were the instructions of Messiah to the worldly; ambitious prelates of an apostate Christianity had gradually supplanted the religion of Jesus Christs; and henceforth we may see in that hierarchy which usurped the place of the Church of Christ from the time of Constantine, all the spirit of pride, envy, jealousy, contention, strife, selfishness, bitterness, and unholy ambition which characterized the princes and rulers of this world; attended, too, with all the evils that wait upon these passions of rulers when once let loose, viz., secret plottings, usurpations of authority, corrupt elections, cruel imprisonments, banishments, secret and public murders, and wars; all undertaken, of course, in the interest of the gentle religion of Christ, and the maintenance of that authority which is based on love, and whose control over men is through the means of persuasion and the teaching of true knowledge. Is it not evident that the kingdom of peace, wherein was to dwell righteousness and truth, had become merely one of the kingdoms of this world? And were not the Fratriceli of the thirteenth century, though denounced as heretics, right when they loudly proclaimed their conviction that "the fatal gift of a Christian emperor had been the doom of the true Christian religion?"

[Footnote A: Matt. xx:26, 27.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Predictions of the New Testament Prophets.

Besides the authorities cited in the notes see "Outlines Ecclesiastical History," Section vii. New Witness for God, chapter vi.

II. Paul's Great Prophecy to the Thessalonians.

III. The Prophecy of Isaiah on Breaking the "Everlasting Covenant."

IV. Concluding Reflections on the Whole Subject of the Dispensations.


What is Prophecy but History Reversed: "What is prophecy but history reversed?" Nothing. Prophecy is a record of things before they take place. History is a record of them after they have occurred; and of the two prophecy is more to be trusted for its accuracy than history; for the reason that it has its source the unerring inspiration of God; while history—except in the case of inspired historians—is colored by the favor or prejudice of the writer, depends for its exactness upon the point of view from which he looks upon the events; and is likely to be marred in a thousand ways by the influences surrounding him—party considerations, national interest or prejudice; supposed influence upon present conditions and future prospects—all these things may interfere with history; but prophecy is free from such influences. Historians are self-constituted, or appointed by men; but prophets are chosen of God. Selected by divine wisdom, and illuminated by that spirit which shows things that are to come, prophets have revealed to them so much of the future as God would have men to know, and the inspired writers record it for the enlightenment or warning of mankind, with out the coloring or distortion so liable to mar the work of the historian. Thus Moses recorded what the history of Israel would be on condition of their obedience to God; and what it would be if they were disobedient. Israel was disobedient, and historians have exhausted their art in attempts to tell of their disobedience and suffering; but neither in vividness nor accuracy to the histories compare with the prophecy. So with the prophecy of Daniel in regard to the rise and succession of the great political powers that should dominate the earth, and the final triumph of thhe Kingdom of God. So with well nigh all of the prophecies. With these observations upon the trustworthiness of prophecy it is my purpose to show that prophecy no less than the facts of history, sustains the conclusion arrived at on the apostasy from the Christian religion, and the destruction of the Christian Church." (New Witness for God, pp. 113-4).

Testimony of Prophecy to the Universal Apostasy: Clear as the fact is made in this historical review that there was a complete and universal apostasy from the religion established in the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time; and clear as is the proof from the same review that the Church of Christ then established was destroyed, there is yet another line of evidence pointing to the same solemn fact that I cannot altogether omit, though often used in our literature, viz., the testimony of prophecy to the apostasy from the Christian religion, and the destruction of the Church of Christ.

The Apostles themselves through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost were fully aware that such an apostasy would take place, as the following several predictions bear witness: Paul passing through Ephesus admonished the Elders of that Church to take heed to thhe flock "over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers; * * * * * for I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."[A]

[Footnote A: Acts xx:28-30.]

Paul's Predictions: TO Timothy Paul said: "The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats."[A] And again: "I charge the to preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts they shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."[B]

[Footnote A: I Tim. iv:1, 2, 3.]

[Footnote B: II Tim. iv:1, 2, 3, 4.]

And still again he said to Timothy: "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."[A]

[Footnote A: II Tim. iii:1-5.]

Peter's prophecy concerning the rise of false teachers among the saints, who privately would bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and by reason of whom the way of truth would be evil spoken of, we have already quoted.[A]

[Footnote A: See page xlviii, and II Peter i:3.]

Paul's Prophecy to the Thessalonians: Paul, in his second epistle to the Thessalonians, gives utterance to a prophecy which covers the whole ground of the absolute and universal apostasy of Christendom. A prophecy which, if the apostasy of so-called Christendom has not been complete and universal, proves beyond all question that the great Apostle of the Gentiles is a false prophet; or if fulfilled, then it proves that the Church of Christ, so far as it existed in the earth, was to be destroyed; that another and different religion was to be substituted for the Christian religion; that another church, one founded by men, was to take the place of the Church of Christ, a worldly church dominated by the very spirit of Lucifer, who, under its rule, would oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God; and sit in the temple of God, showing himself, so far as this world is concerned, that he is God. Moreover, Paul declared in this very prophecy I am about to quote that the forces which would ultimately bring to pass this universal apostasy from the Christian religion—"the mystery of iniquity"—was already at work even in his day. With this introduction, which is also to be considered as my comment upon and interpretation of the passage, I quote Paul's great prediction on the universal Apostasy.

Now we beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the Son of Perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember yet not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (hindereth) will let (hinder), until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceiveableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in uprighteousness.[A]

[Footnote A: II Thes. ii:1-12.]

Isaiah's Great Prophecy: A more ancient prophet than Paul also predicted a like condition of the world in the last days. "Behold," says Isaiah, "the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest. * * * * * 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 ordinance, 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."[A]

[Footnote A: Isaiah xxiv:1-16.]

Clearly all this prophecy of Isaiah's has not yet been fulfilled; for the earth, however much it may have been defiled under the inhabitants thereof, has not yet been burned, and but few men left. That is a judgment that still hangs over the world; and will come upon it as sure as the Lord has spoken the word; and that, too, because men have transgressed the laws; because they have changed the ordinances; because they have broken—not the covenant made with Moses, or with Abraham—but because they have broken the everlasting covenant; of which covenant the blood of Christ is the sign and seal.[A] in other words, they have broken the Gospel covenant—departed from the Gospel faith—hence the predicted judgment.

[Footnote A: Heb. xiii:10.]

Yet a few shall escape. As the prophet in another place in this remarkable chapter says—referring to the general desolation of the earth and its inhabitants—"When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning of grapes when the vintage is done. They shall lift up their voices, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord, they shall cry aloud from the sea. From which it is to be understood that there will be a few even in those disastrous times, whose righteousness will call down the favor of God. And though the earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and the transgressions thereof shall be heavy upon it; though the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth; though as prisoners they shall be gathered into the pit, and will not be visited for many days; though the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, yet shall the Lord of Hosts reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously." (Isaiah xxiv:20-23.)

If I did not think these two great prophecies foretold completely the universal apostasy of Christendom, I should be tempted to enter into the consideration of the great prophecies to be found in the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation, and show how to both of these prophets, as well as unto Paul and other New Testament writers, the Lord revealed the rise of an earth-power that would not only open his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name and them who dwell in heaven;[A] who would speak great words against the Most High, and so magnify itself as to stand up against the Prince of princes—[B] but who would also make war with the saints and "prevail against them;"[C] who would "wear out the saints of the Most High;"[D] "destroy the mighty and the holy people;"[E] "make war with the saints and overcome them."[F] But believing that the two passages quoted at length entirely cover the subject prophetically, I shall not here enter into further prophetic proofs either of the corruptions of the Christian religion or the destruction of the Christian Church, deeming that what has already been set forth sufficient on that head.

[Footnote A: Rev. xiii:6.]

[Footnote B: Dan. vii:25; viii:25.]

[Footnote C: Dan. vii:21.]

[Footnote D: Dan. viii:25.]

[Footnote E: Dan. viii:24.]

[Footnote F: Rev. xiii:7.]

Notwithstanding the above remark I think it will be to the advantage of the student to have placed before him in parallel form the predictions of St. John and Daniel, to which allusion is made.

John. Daniel.
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seen seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.—(Rev. xiii:1.) Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast.—And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, * * that had eyes and a mouth that spake very great things.—(Dan. vii:19-20.)
And the Dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.—(Rev. xii:2.) And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power—(viii:2.)
And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemy; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.—(Rev. xiii:5.) And he shall speak great words against the most high; and think to change times and laws, and they shall be given unto his hand until a time times and the dividing of time.—(vii:25.)
And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God to blasphemy His name and they who dwell in heaven.—(Rev. xiii:6.) And he shall magnify himself in his own heart. He shall also stand up against the Prince of Princes,—(viii:25.)
And it was given unto him to make war with the Saints, and to overcome them.—(Rev. xiii:7.) I beheld and the same horn made war with the Saints and prevailed against them.—(vii:21.) He shall wear out the Saints of the most High.—(viii:25.) And he shall destroy the Mighty and the Holy people.—(viii:24.)

Concluding Reflections on the Whole Period Covered by the Dispensations as Far as Developed: The sum of the whole matter, thus far, is:—The purpose of man's creation and the plan of his redemption, were known to God and the immense host of the spirits of men before the creation of the earth. Adam came to the new creation, the earth, under the divine commandment to people it with his offspring. From Adam to Messiah numerous dispensations of the Gospel were given to men; but these dispensations were limited in their effectiveness, owing to the proneness of men to reject the truth, and to walk in darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. Yet God left not Himself without witnesses in the earth; for there were a few in all dispensations that honored Him and his righteous laws. Finally, when the appointed time was come, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, came and made the appointed Atonement for the sins of the world and brought men under the dominion of His mercy, as well those who lived before his coming, as those who lived after that event. He taught the Gospel; He brought life and immortality to light; He brought into existence His Church, and then ascended on high to His Father. For a time the Gospel in its purity was preached in the world by the chosen Apostles, though even in their days men began to mar it with their vain philosophies, their doctrines of science, falsely so called; and when the Apostles were all fallen asleep, then corruptions ran riot in the Church, doctrines of men were taught for the commandments of God; a church made by men was substituted for the Church of Christ; a church full of pride and worldliness; a church which, while it clung to forms of godliness, ran riot in excesses and abominations—until spiritual darkness, fell like a pall over the nations; and thus they lay for ages. In vain men sought to establish reforms, and through them bring back the religion of Jesus Christ, and the Church of Christ. To do that, however, was beyond the power of these men, however good their intentions. The Gospel taken from the earth, divine authority lost, the Church of Christ destroyed, there was but one way in which all these could be restored, viz.: By reopening the heavens and dispensing again a knowledge of the Gospel; by once more conferring divine authority upon men, together with a commission to teach all the world, and re-establish the Church of Christ on earth. In a word, it would require the incoming of the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times to restore all things, and gather together in one all things in Christ, both in heaven and in earth. Such a Dispensation is promised of God, as we have seen; and it now only remains to add that such dispensation was committed to the Prophet Joseph Smith; and this brings us to the outline development of that dispensation in Part VI.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)


(A Lecture.[A])

[Footnote A: Of all the abused terms in our "Mormon" vocabulary, perhaps this term "lecture" is the most abused. It is defined in the Dictionaries as "a discourse read or pronounced on any subject: especially, a formal or methodical discourse used for instruction." It includes the idea of careful preparation and literary excellence; but we style the most ordinary effort of our public speakers "lecturers." An error that should be corrected. When a "lecture" is announced, it should be understood that a treat is in store for the Quorum and their invited guests. See suggestion in a former lesson.]


Suggestions to the Speaker: In Lesson XXX some suggestions as to "plans" for discourses were considered. Continuing the subject, we quote from the authority (Mr. Pittinger) so often cited in these pages. On the undesirability of allowing the plan of the discourse to appear, he says:

"There may be occasions when a speaker is justified in announcing his divisions and subdivisions, but such cases are exceptions. Hearers do not care how a discourse is constructed, so it comes to them warm and pulsating with life. To give the plan of a speech before the speech itself is contrary to the order of nature. We are not required first to look upon a grisly skeleton before we can see a graceful, living body. There is a skeleton inside each body, but during life it is well hidden, and there is no reason that the speaker should anticipate the work of the tomb. It is hardly less objectionable to name the parts of the discourse during the progress of the discussion, for—continuing the former illustration—bones that project through the skin are very unlovely. The only case, I presume to think, where it is justifiable to name the parts of a discourse, either before or during its delivery, is where the separate parts have an importance of their own, in addition to their office of contributing to the general object. Much of the proverbial "dryness" of sermons arises from the preacher telling what he is about to remark, firstly, before he actually makes the remark thus numbered. Whenever we hear a minister read his text, announce his theme, state the parts into which he means to divide it, and then warn us that the first head will be subdivided into a certain number of parts, each of which is also specified in advance, we prepare our endurance for a severe test. What great speeches require are deep, strong appeals to the hearts of the people, through which shines the radiance of great truths and the lightning of intense convictions. These can all find their place in the most logically constructed address if the logic be not brought out and paraded in its offensive nakedness. No matter if the orator's mode of work is less understood. A tree is far more beautiful and impressive when covered with waving foliage, even if some of the branches are hidden. Let the tide of eloquence flow on in an unbroken stream, bearing with it all hearts, but giving no indication of the manner in which it is guided; or, better still, let it move with the impetus of the cannon-ball, but without proclaiming in advance the mark toward which it is flying. The plan should go just as far as the intended speech, that we may know exactly where to stop. Then we can arise with confidence, for we are sure that we have something to say; we know what it is, and, most important of all, we will know when it is finished. Most of the objections urged against extempore speaking apply only to speeches that have no governing plan. But when a firm and clear plan is prearranged, there is no more danger of saying what we do not intend, or of running into endless digressions, than if every word was written. Indeed, there is no better way of guarding against undue discursiveness in a written speech than by arranging such a plan before beginning to write. But it may be urged that this laborious preparation—this careful placing of every thought—will require as much time as to write in full. It may at first. The mind needs to be drilled into the work, and it will be of great value even as a mental discipline. No study of logic or of metaphysics will give such practical insight into the nature of the mind's workings as this prearrangement of thoughts and words to frame a speech. But the work grows continually easier with practice, until the mature speaker will save three-fourths or even more than that proportion of the time consumed by the speech-writer. The speech is now clearly indicated. A plan has been prepared that fixes each item in its proper place. There is no further danger of the looseness and desultoriness with which extempore speech has been reproached. Yet there is abundant room for the inspiration of the moment. It is possible, in all the fire of utterance, to leave the beaten track and give expression to any new ideas that may be called up by the ardor of speech. But a sure foundation is laid—a course is marked out which has been deeply premeditated, ant which gives certainty to all we say." (Extempore Speech, Pittinger. pp. 173-4-5-6.)

* * * *

Clearness in Speech: In Lesson XXX we dealt with ambiguity of speech through the use of too many pronouns: in this Lesson we propose to show the ambiguity that arises from the uncertainty of antecedents of pronouns.

Pronouns Must Have Unmistakable Antecedents: "A pronoun may be used a great number of times without destroying coherence, if it refers always to the same antecedent. In the following passage from Macaulay, "he" is used twelve times; yet the passage is firmly coherent:

"The situation of William was very different. He could not, like those who had ruled before him, pass an Act in the spring and violate it in the summer. He had, by assenting to the Bill of Rights, solemnly renounced the dispensing power; and he was restrained, by prudence as well as by conscience and honour, from breaking the compact under which he held his crown. A law might be personally offensive to him: it might appear to him to be pernicious to his people: but, as soon as he had passed it, it was, in his eyes, a sacred thing. He had, therefore, a motive, which preceding kings had not, for pausing before he passed such a law. They gave their word readily, because they had no scruple about breaking it. He gave his word slowly, because he never failed to keep it." (Macaulay: History of England.)

There is much danger that in some way the antecedent of a pronoun will be left uncertain. If the antecedent is shifted, if the pronoun stands without any antecedent, or with only a vague antecedent, or if the word to which it refers grammatically is not the word to which it refers in sense, ambiguity surely results. The following sentences are cases in point:

"Either way will be difficult, for the President will want the Secretary of War to be inferior in rank to the commanding general, as he will be more of a personal appointee, and so he will have a better control over the army."

Corrected: "Either way will be difficult, for the President will want the Secretary of War to be inferior in rank to the commanding general, because then the former will be more of a personal appointee, and he himself will so gain a better control over the army."

The first "he" refers to the Secretary of War, the second to the President; the shift in antecedent produces complete obscurity.

No doubt Banquo was ambitious, but it did not master him as it did Macbeth.

Corrected: No doubt Banquo was ambitious, but ambition (or the craving for advancement) did not master him as it did Macbeth.

In the original form, "it" is without an antecedent, because a pronoun may not refer grammatically to an adjective. The reader is left to supply the noun "ambition" from the use of the adjective "ambitious."

We went to the Capitol determined to vote against him, but got there too late for our votes to count, which seemed to our adherents a most unwise policy.

Corrected: We went to the Capital determined to vote against him, though this determination seemed to our adherents a most unwise policy, but we got there too late for our votes to count.

"Which" is here ambiguous, because its antecedent is vague. Speaking strictly, it has no antecedent, for "which" may not refer grammatically to a phrase or a clause, but, like all pronouns, must have one word as its antecedent. Disregarding, however, the grammatical fault, we may still condemn the sentence, because "which" may mean either the determination to cast a negative vote or the carelessness of coming late.

1. They (the Danes) did not care for grammar, and, consequently, their influence unsettled the inflections of the language and prepared the way for their complete disappearance.

Corrected. They (the Danes) did not observe the rules of grammar, and, consequently, their influence unsettled the language and prepared the way for the complete disappearance of inflection.

2. General Johnson's father, also a soldier, died in battle before his twentieth year.

Corrected. General Johnson's father, also a soldier, died in battle before his son was twenty.

In the first sentence, "their" refers grammatically to "the Danes," in sense to "inflections;" in the second, "his" refers grammatically to "father," in sense to "General Johnson." Be careful to make a pronoun refer grammatically to the word it modifies in sense. In all these cases, rewriting has increased the number of words, but when clearness is at stake, to think of the number of words is a "penny-wise, pound-foolish policy." (Composition and Rhetoric, Herrick and Damon, pp. 305-7.)


The Dispensation of the Fullness of Times.



(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Joseph Smith's Vision.

Pearl of Great Price--writings of Joseph Smith--"History of the Church," Vol. I, ch. i. Doc. & Cov. Sec. i.

II. Status of the Christian World Announced.

New Witness for God, ch. x, note 3.

III. The American Scriptures Revealed and Translated.

History of the Church. Vol. I, ch. ii; Vol. IV. ch. xxxi. Pearl of Great Price, p. 81 et seq, and note 5.


1. Dispensation of the Fullness of Times: A "dispensation," in a general way, has been already defined (Lesson VII, note I.) By "Dispensation of the Fullness of Times" is meant the dispensation which includes all others; and gathers to itself all things which bear any relation whatsoever to the work of God. Also it is the last dispensation, the one in which will be gathered together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; even in Him. It is the dispensation which will see fulfilled all the decrees of God respecting the salvation of men and the redemption of the earth itself; and bears such relation to all other dispensations of the Gospel as the ocean does to all earth's streams. It receives and reunites them all in itself. (History of the Church, Vol. I, pp. 25-6.)

2. The Announcement of the Universal Apostacy: It is a most startling announcement with which the Prophet Joseph Smith begins his message to the world. Concerning the question, he asked God—"Which of all the sects is right, and which shall I join?" he says:

"I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in His sight: that those professors were all corrupt: that 'they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; they teach for doctrines the commandments of men: having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof."[A]

[Footnote A: History of the Church, Vol. I, p. 6.]

This is a tremendous arraignment of all Christendom. It charges a condition of universal apostasy from God; especially upon Christendom that was dwelling in a fancied security of being the farthest removed from the possibility of such a charge was it severe. Each division of the so-called Christian Church felicitating itself with the flattering unction that its own particular society possessed the enlightened fullness of the Christian religion. While the boldness of this declaration of the young Prophet is astounding, upon reflection it must be conceded that just such a condition of affairs in the religious world is consistent with the work he, under the direction of divine Providence, was about to inaugurate. Nothing less than a complete apostasy from the Christian religion would warrant the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Of sects there were already enough in existence. Division and subdivision had already created of confusion more than enough, and there was no possible excuse for the introduction of a new Christian sect. But if men through apostasy had corrupted the Christian religion and lost divine authority to administer the ordinances of the Gospel, it was of the utmost importance that a new dispensation of the true Christian religion should be given to the world. It should also be observed at this point, that Joseph Smith, then but a boy, scarcely removed from childhood, was not himself pronouncing judgment upon the status of Christendom. It was not he who declared the sects to be all wrong, their creeds an abomination, and the professors thereof corrupt. He of all persons, both on account of his extreme youthfulness and his lack of general information, was among the least qualified to pronounce upon such a question. Indeed, he himself confesses his unfitness for such an office. His seeking knowledge from God upon this very question—"which of all the sects is right?" is a confession of his own inability to determine the matter. No human wisdom was sufficient to answer that question. No man in all the world was so pre-eminent as to be justified in proclaiming the divine acceptance of one church in preference to another, or God's rejection of them all. Divine wisdom alone was sufficient to pass judgment upon such a question; and there is peculiar force in the circumstance that the announcement which Joseph Smith makes with reference to this subject is not formulated by him nor by any other man, but is given to him of God. God has been the judge of apostate Christendom, Joseph Smith but His messenger, to herald that judgment to the world.

3. Far Reaching Effect of First Direct Revelation in Modern Times: "How little that fair-haired boy, Joseph Smith, standing there in the unpruned forest, with the sunlight stealing through the trees about him, realized the burden placed upon his shoulders that morning by reason of the visitation he received in answer to his prayer!

Here is not the place for argument, that is to come later; but let us consider the wide-sweeping effect of this boy's vision upon the accepted theology of Christendom.

First, it was a flat contradiction to the assumption that revelation had ceased, that God had no further communication to make to man.

Second, it reveals the errors into which men had fallen concerning the personages of the Godhead. It makes it manifest that God is not an incorporeal being without form, or body, or parts; on the contrary, he appeared to the Prophet in the form of a man, as he did to the ancient prophets. Thus after centuries of controversy the simple truth of the Scriptures, which teach that man was created in the likeness of God—hence God must be the same in form as man—was reaffirmed.

Third, it corrected the error of the theologians respecting the oneness of the persons of the Father and the Son. Instead of being one person as the theologians teach, they are distinct persons, as much so as any father and son on earth; and the oneness of the Godhead referred to unity of purpose and of will; the mind of the one being the mind of the other, and so as to the wrill and other attributes.

The announcement of these truths, coupled with that other truth proclaimed by the Son of God, viz., that none of the sects and churches of Christendom were acknowledged as the church or kingdom of God, furnish the elements for a religious revolution that will affect the very foundations of modern Christian theology. In a moment all the rubbish concerning theology which had accumulated through all the centuries since the Gospel and authority to administer its ordinances had been taken from the earth, was grandly swept aside—the living rocks of truth were made bare upon which the Church of Christ was to be founded—a New Dispensation of the Gospel was about to be committed to the earth—God had raised up a Witness for himself among the children of men." (New Witness, pp. 173-4.)

4. Joseph Smith's Description of the Book of Mormon: "The records (in plates of the Book of Mormon) were engraven on plates which had the appearance of gold, each plate was six inches wide and eight inches long, and not quite so thick as common tin. They were filled with engravings, in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume as the leaves of a book, with three rings running through the whole. The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed. The characters on the unsealed part were small, and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction, and much skill in the art of engraving. With the records was found a curious instrument, which the ancients called "Urim and Thummim," which consisted of two transparent stones set in the rim of a bow fastened to a breast plate. Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record by the gift and power of God.

In this important and interesting book the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the Tower of Babel, at the confusion of languages, to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian Era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites, and came directly from the Tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem, about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites, of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country. This book also tells us that our Saviour made His appearance upon this continent after His resurrection; that He planted the Gospel here in all its fullness, and richness, and power, and blessing; that they had Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers, and Evangelists; the same order, the same priesthood, the same ordinances, gifts, powers, and blessings, as were enjoyed on the eastern continent, that the people were cut off in consequence of their transgressions, that the last of their prophets who existed among them was commanded to write an abridgment of their prophecies, history, etc., and to hide it up in the earth, and that it should come forth and be united with the Bible for the accomplishment of the purposes of God in the last days." (History of the Church, Vol. IV, pp. 537-8.)


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood.

Pearl of Great Price, pp, 98-151 and note.

II. Restoration of the Melchisedek Priesthood.

History of the Church, Vol. 1 ch. v. See Note 1.

III. Power and Authority of Priesthood.

History of the Church. Vol. ch. v and note at pp. 40-42.

IV. Organization of the Church.

Doc. and Cov. Sec. vii:20 and Ibid 18, 19. Also Sec. 84.

History of the Church, Vol. 2 chs. viii, ix. Doc. and Cov. Sec. xx. Outlines of Ecclesiastical History, pp. 316-334 and note.


1. Priesthood: "Priesthood is power which God gives to man, by which man becomes an agent of God; an authorized officer in his kingdom, with the right and power to teach the laws of the kingdom, and administer the ordinances by which foreigners and aliens are admitted to citizenship. It gives man the right and power to act in God's stead,—thus: If a man endowed with the proper degree of the priesthood takes one who believes the gospel and baptizes him for the remission of sins in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the act of that authorized servant of God is just as valid as if the Lord Jesus Christ himself did it, and remission of sins will follow. So also if an authorized servant of God lays on hands to impart the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost will be given, inasmuch as all is done as the law of the Lord directs. So in preaching, exhorting, warning; whether it be by God's own voice, or the voice of his servants, it is the same. Man through receiving the priesthood becomes God's agent; and the Lord is bound to recognize the ministrations of his agents so long as they act in accordance with the terms by which they hold that agency. Such is priesthood." (Outlines, p. 364.)

"The power and authority of the Higher or Melchisedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church—To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven—to have the heavens opened unto them—to commune with the general assembly and church of the first born, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant. The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel—the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments." (Doc. & Cov. Sec. 107, vers. 18-20.)

2. Reflections on the Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood: The same qualities of directness and simplicity, are to be observed in the ordination of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to the Aaronic Priesthood, by John the Baptist. This is the more surprising when the circumstances connected with that event are taken into account. The Aaronic Priesthood had not been upon the earth for many centuries; it is to be restored by the great forerunner of Messiah, whose business it is to prepare the way before him; he descends out of heaven in a pillar of light, and appears to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and lays his hands upon them—I am bold to affirm it as my steadfast belief that any mere enthusiast or imposter would have taken advantage of these really dramatic circumstances to have indulged in something theatrical in the ceremony of ordination that was to follow. Some reference to the long absence of the Priesthood from the earth; some glowing words relative to its importance; the awful solemnity of conferring part of God's power on men; the honor these men received in having it bestowed upon them—the temptation to the mere enthusiast or imposter to have indulged in some extravagant expression would have been simply irresistible. But hear what the angel said:

Upon you, my fellow-servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels and the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness. That was all, except that the messenger explained that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, that a higher Priesthood would later be conferred upon them, and commanded them each to baptize the other.

The simplicity, directness and appropriateness of this ordination in the presence of such temptation to introduce pomp and ceremony, stamp it with the seal of truth. It is just such an ordination as we would expect—upon due reflection—an angel to make, full, covering all necessary ground, but simple and direct." (New Witness for God, pp. 225-6.)

The Line of the Restoration of the Meichisedek Priesthood: The promise to confer upon Joseph and Oliver the Melchisedek Priesthood was fulfilled; but as there is no definite account of the event in the history of the Prophet Joseph, or, for matter of that, in any of our annuals, the evidences of the fact of their ordination to the higher or Melchisedek Priesthood promised them by John the Baptist, are presented now, together with a consideration of the place where, and the time when, the great event occurred.

The Prophet Joseph, in a communication to the Church, under date of September 6, 1842, makes undoubted allusion to the restoration of the Melchisedek Priesthood in the course of an ecstatic review of the great things God had revealed to him. He said: "And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah; Moroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfillment of the prophets—the book to be revealed. A voice of the Lord in the wilderness of Fayette, Seneca county, declaring the three witnesses to bear record of the book. The voice of Michael on the hanks of the Susquehanna, detecting the devil when he appeared as an angel of light. The voice of Peter, James and John in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna river, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times." (Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. cxxviii:20.)

In one of the early revelations given to the Prophet Joseph, the Lord makes most direct reference to the restoration of the higher Priesthood through the ministration of Peter, James and John. The subject matter of the revelation is the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper; and in the course of it the Lord promises to "drink of the fruit of the vine" with his servants on earth to whom the revelation is addressed; "and with Moroni, * * * * and also Michael, or Adam, the father of all. * * * * * and also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto yon, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be Apostles, and special witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry, and of the same things which I revealed unto them: unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the Gospel for the last times; and for the fullness of times." (Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. xxvii.) This revelation was given some time early in August, 1830, but only the first four verses were written at that time. The rest of it was written in September of that year. (See chapters xi of this volume.) These two allusions—the one by the Prophet and the other by the Lord—to the restoration of the Melchisedek Priesthood not only make clear the fact that the Melchisedek Priesthood was restored in accordance with the promise of John the Baptist when conferring the Aaronic Priesthood, but they make it possible to fix upon the place where, and approximately the time when, the event occurred. Undoubtedly the place where the ordination was performed was on the banks of the Susquehanna river, in the wilderness between Colesville, in Broome county, New York, and Harmony, in Susquehanna county Pennsylvania; for it is there the Prophet says the voice of Peter, James and John was heard declaring themselves as "possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the Fullness of Times;" for which appearing and declaration there could be no other occasion than the ordination of Oliver and Joseph to the Melchisedek Priesthood in fulfillment of the promises made by John the Baptist. The time at which the ordination took place was evidently between the 15th of May, 1829, and August, 1830. The last named date is the one under which the Lord so definitely referred to the circumstance of having sent Peter, James and John to ordain Joseph and others to be Apostles, even special witnesses of His name, and unto whom he had committed the keys of the kingdom. Hence the time of the ordination must have been between those two dates.

From information contained in other revelations, however, this period within which the Melchisedek Priesthood was restored may be considerably reduced. In April, 1830, a revelation was given concerning the organization and government of the Church, and in that revelation the Lord said: "Which commandments (i. e. to organize the Church) were, given to Joseph Smith, Jun., who was called of God, and ordained an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the first Elder of this Church; and to Oliver Cowdery, who was also called of God, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the second Elder of this Church, and ordained under his hand." (Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. xx:2, 3.) This allusion to the ordination of these men to the apostleship reduces the time of their ordination to the period between the 15th of May, 1829, and April 6, 1830.

But the time within which the ordination took place may be still further reduced. In a revelation bearing the date of June, 1829, making known the calling of the Twelve, the Lord said: "I speak unto you, even as unto Paul mine Apostle, for you are called even with that same calling with which he was called." As this could scarcely be said of men who had not been ordained to the same holy apostleship as that held by Paul, and consequently to the Melchisedek Priesthood, the conclusion is reasonable that the ordination promised by John the Baptist, doubtless occurred some time between May 15, 1829, and the expiration of the month of June of that same year. (History of the Church, vol. I, pp. 40-41, note.)

3. The Organization of the Church of Christ: In all things, the two young men, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, waited for direction from the Lord, and hence did not undertake to organize the church until he commanded them. It was in obedience to a commandment from the Lord, therefore, that they appointed the sixth day of April, 1830, as the time to organize the church. Several persons who had been baptized, and a few of their friends, met at the house of Peter Whitmer, Sen., in Fayette, Seneca county, in the state of New York, to affect that organization. The meeting was opened by solemn prayer after which, according to previous commandments, the Prophet Joseph called upon the brethren present to know if they would accept himself and Oliver Cowdery as their teachers in the things of the Kingdom of God; and if they were willing that they should proceed to organize the church according to the commandment of the Lord. To this they consented by unanimous vote. Joseph then ordained Oliver an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ; after which Oliver ordained Joseph an Elder of the said church. The sacrament was administering and those who had been previously baptized were confirmed members of the church and received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Some enjoyed the gift of prophecy, and all rejoiced exceedingly. (See Note 4, end of section.)

While the church was yet assembled a revelation was received from the Lord, directing that a record be kept in the church, and that in it Joseph be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church; and the church was commanded to give heed to all his words and commandments which he should receive from the Lord; accepting his word as the word of God in all patience and faith. On condition of their doing this the Lord promised them that the gates of hell should not prevail against the church; but on the contrary he would disperse the powers of darkness from before them and shake the heavens for their good.

4. The Voice of God and the Voice of the People in Church Government: Thus the church was organized; and in that organization we see the operation of two mighty principles—the voice of God; the consent of the people. At the time that Joseph and Oliver received instruction to ordain each other to be elders of the church, they were told to defer their ordination until such time as would be practicable to get their brethren who had been and who would be baptized assembled together: for they must have the sanction of their brethren before they ordained each other elders of the Church; and their brethren must decide by vote whether they would accept them (Joseph and Oliver) as spiritual teachers. Thus, notwithstanding Joseph and Oliver had been ordained apostles under the hands of Peter, James and John, and had doubtless re-ordained each other as already stated, yet when it came to being ordained Elders of the church, and made the spiritual leaders of it, it must be done by the common consent of the church; and thus early we see enforced that law which says: All things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith. But no sooner was the church organized than a prophet, a seer, a translator, is appointed and the church commanded to give heed to his words, and to receive them as coming from the mouth of the Lord himself. Here in the very inception of the church organization is clearly established the great truth, the grand principle, that in the government of the church there is to be a union of the voice of God and the consent or voice of the people. Not vox populi, vox Dei; nor vox Dei, vox populi; but vox Dei et vox populi.[A] (Outlines, pp. 319-21.)

[Footnote A: The voice of God and the voice of the people.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Name of the Church:

1. The Church of Christ.

2. The Church of the Latter Day Saints.

3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

History of the Church, Vol. II p. 79, 62—See title of minutes as also minutes and footnote; also Ibid pp. 79, 249. Doc. & Cov. Sec. cxv. and History of the Church Vol. III, pp. 23-4 and note 2, note 1.

II. The first officers of the Church:

1. Elders.

2. Priests.

3. Teachers.

4. Deacons.

Doc. & Cov. Sec. xx. New Witness for God, ch. xxiv.

III. Subsequent additions of officers and Councils.

1. The Presidency of the Church.

2. High Priests.

3. Bishops.

4. Standing High Councils.

5. Councils of the Seventy.

Doc. & Cov. Sec. xx; 65-67. Also Ibid Secs, lxxxiv, cvii; cxxiv, (Presidency.)

Doc. & Cov. Sec. xx; 2, 3. History of the Church Vol. I pp. 76-78. Ibid 243 and foot note. Ibid p. 267. Ibid p. 334 (Doc. & Cov. Sec. xc; 6. And Vol. II p. 176. Doc. & Cov. Sec. cvii-22.)

History of the Church Vol. I pp. 175-6 and foot notes.

Doc. and Cov. Sec. xli; 9 and foot note lxxii; 1-15.

Doc. & Cov. Sec. cii. History of the Church, Vol. II ch. ii.

Doc. & Cov. Sec. xviii, also Sec. cvii. History of the Church, Vol. II, ch. xiii. And the foot notes. Also Seventy's Year Book No. 1, Lesson i, ii, iii.


1. Development of the Church and its Doctrine: Only the merest outline can be indicated on the Doctrinal and Organic development of the Church in this and the succeeding (which is the concluding) LESSON of this Year Book. It should be understood, however, that we have been merely led up to the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, not into it. These sketches are merely traced to give something like completeness to our outline History of the Dispensations, but it should be remembered of course that they are outlines throughout, and that these of the last dispensation, the most incomplete.

2. The Evolution of the Name of the Church: "For thus shall my Church be called in the last days, even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." It will be observed that the Lord gives to the Church its official name, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Previous to this the Church had been called "The Church of Christ," "The Church of Jesus Christ," "The Church of God," and by a conference of Elders held at Kirtland in May, 1834, (see Church History, vol. 2 pp. 62-3), it was given the name "The Church of the Latter-day Saints." All these names, however, were by this revelation brushed aside, and since then the official name given in this revelation has been recognized as the true title of the Church, though often spoken of as "The Mormon Church," the "Church of Christ," etc. The appropriateness of this title is self evident, and in it there is a beautiful recognition of the relationship both of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the Saints to the organization. It is "The Church of Jesus Christ." It is the Lord's. He owns it. He organized it. It is the Sacred Depository of His truth. It is His instrumentality for promulgating all those spiritual truths with which He would have mankind acquainted. It is also His instrumentality for the perfecting of the Saints, as well as for the work of the ministry. It is His in all these respects. But it is an institution which also belongs to the Saints. It is their refuge in principle, doctrine; and they have joint ownership in it with Jesus Christ, which ownership is beautifully recognized in the latter part of the title. "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," is equivalent to "The Church of Jesus Christ;" and "The Church of the Latter-day Saints." (History of the Church, vol. III, p. 24.)

3. The Presidency: The idea of Presidency of the Church like all things else seems to have passed through a course of development. At the first organization effected on the 6th of April, 1830, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were sustained as the First and Second Elders of the Church (Doc. & Cov. Sec. xx and Sec. xxi, History of the Church, vol. I, pp. 76-78.) Subsequently on the 25th of January, 1832, Joseph Smith was ordained President of the High Priesthood at a conference at Amherst, Ohio; in which position he was sustained by a general conference of the Church held in Zion (Independence, Mo.), on the 26th of April, 1832. On March 8th, 1833, a revelation was given announcing Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams to be equal with the Prophet in holding the keys of the kingdom (Doc. & Cov. Sec. xc:6); on the 18th of the same month, these brethren expressed the desire to be ordained to their office. "Accordingly," remarked the Prophet, "I laid my hands on Brother Sidney and Frederick, and ordained them to take part with me in holding the keys of this last kingdom and to assist in the Presidency of the High Priesthood, as my counselors." (History of the Church, vol. I, p. 334.)

On the 5th of December, 1834, Oliver Cowdery was brought into the Presidency of the High Priesthood—which is also the Presidency of the Church—taking his place as "Second Elder" of the Church (see History of the Church vol. II, p. 176 and foot note). In pursuance of this arrangement it will be found on the title page of the "Doctrine and Covenants" Issued at Kirtland in August, 1835, that these four brethren are set forth is the Presiding Elders of the Church, as follows:

Compiled by

Joseph Smith, Junior,

Oliver Cowdery,

Sidney Rigdon,

Frederick G. Williams,

(Presiding Elders of Said Church).

On March the 28th, 1835, however, a revelation was received in which it is said: "Of the Melchisedek Priesthood, three presiding High Priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the conference, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the church." (Doc. & Cov., Sec. 107, ver. 22.) And to this law the matter of Presidency of the High Priesthood and of the Church, the latter always goes with the former, has been conformed.

4. The Evolution of Church Government: Next to the evidence of divine authority furnished by the spirit of church government is the manner in which that government was brought into existence. "Governments," remarks Herbert Spencer, "are not made, they grow." A remark which is as true of ecclesiastical as of civil government: and although the growth of the church government founded by Joseph Smith was rapid, it was, nevertheless, a growth, a development; it was not made. What I mean is there was no plan more or less elaborate formed by the prophet, a mental creation of officers with duties assigned, powers defined and authority limited, and then an organization effected in accordance with such a plan. On the contrary the organization at the beginning was extremely simple. Before the church was organized both the Melchisedek and Aaronic Priesthood had been conferred on Joseph Smith, but the only officer known to the church at its organization, April 6th, 1830, were elders, priests, teachers and deacons. It was not until the 4th of February, 1831, that a bishop was appointed, and then of course by revelation. Then in November following it was made known that other bishops were to be appointed. The first high council in the church was not organized until February 17th, 1834. The quorum of the Twelve Apostles and quorums of Seventy were not organized until the winter of 1835. Thus throughout, an officer was appointed today and his duties defined; another officer was appointed tomorrow or next year and an explanation given of his duties and perhaps a limit fixed to his authority, Thus line was given upon line, precept upon precept: the prophet and those co-operating with him being apparently unconscious that they were gradually developing a system of government, each part of which was beautifully adjusted to every other part and to the whole. This gives evidence that if there was no general plan for this organization in the mind of Joseph Smith, there was a plan in the mind of God who through the instrumentality of this man was founding his church. Joseph Smith, under God's direction, was building better than he knew. He as well as others associated with him were called upon to lay the foundation of a great work—how great they knew not. One may stand so close to a mountain that he perceives neither the vastness of the pile nor the grandeur of its outlines. Not until one recedes from it some distance does the magnificence of its snow-capped peaks, the solemnity of its rugged cliffs, and deep ravines stir the sensibilities of the soul. So with this work established through the labors of Joseph Smith and his associates. They stood too close to it to comprehend its greatness; too absorbed in its parts to contemplate much less fully understand the meaning and harmony of the whole. It was not until the work was well advanced towards its completion, and men had receded some distance from it in time that they began to be aware that out of the parts given to them developed so sublime a system of ecclesiastical government, the like of which was not to be found in all the world." (A New Witness for God, pp. 255-7.)


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




IV. Organization of Stakes of Zion.

1. Zion.

2. Stakes of Zion.

Book of Mormon, III Nephi, ch. xxi:20-25. Missouri Persecutions, chs. ii, iii. Doc, & Cov. Sec. lvii:1-5. History of the Church, Vol. I, pp. 188-191.

History of the church, Vol. II, pp. 513-514 and note.

V. Doctrinal Growth.

New Witness for God, chs. xiv and xv. See also History of the Church, Vol. IV. Introduction, pp. xxxiii-xli and note.

VI. The Order and Presidency of all Dispensations.

History of the Church, Vol. IV Introduction, pp. xxxix-xli; Mormon Doctrine of Deity, pp.


Zion: The word Zion is variously employed: "This is Zion, the pure in heart." (Doc. & Cov.) In this instance the word refers to a people who are declared to be the pure in heart. In the south part of Jerusalem is a hill frequently spoken of in Jewish scripture as Zion, or Mount Zion. Then Enoch the seventh from Adam gathered the righteous and built a city, "that was called the city of Holiness, even Zion." The Lord in speaking to Enoch about the great events to take place in the last days, in which He would come to the earth in His glory, said He would with righteousness and truth sweep the earth as with a flood to gather His elect to "an holy city. * * * and it shall be called Zion, a new Jerusalem." The Nephite prophet, Moroni, tells us that Ether in vision saw the days of the coming of the Son of Man, and that "he spake concerning a new Jerusalem upon this land (America)," that was to built up unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph. (Ether xiii.) Jesus also after his resurrection, when He visited the Nephites on the American continent, told them that He would establish them upon this land, and if the Gentiles would not harden their hearts, but would repent of their sins, they should be included in the covenant, and should assist in building up the city New Jerusalem. (III Nephi xx.) The word Zion, then, is applied to a people; it is the name of a hill in the south part of Jerusalem; it is the name of a city built by Enoch and his people; it is to be the name of a city built in the last days by the saints of the Most High upon the continent of America. (Missouri Persecutions; also Outlines of Eccl. History, pp. 349-50.)

The Land of Zion: "When the Book of Mormon was revealed and it became known that the Americas were precious lands of promise, and that God had such a high destiny for the two continents as is described in the Book of Mormon, that among other things America was the place where the Zion of God should be built in the last days, the brethren in those early days very naturally became anxious to know where the city of Zion would be located. After much striving for the knowledge, the place of Zion was at last revealed to them. The Lord indicated the place for the commencement of the building of Zion, and the place for the temple upon which the glory of God should rest by day and by night. This place was declared to be near Independence, Jackson county, Missouri. The site for the temple and the land around about was dedicated under the supervision of the prophet, and the Saints in the eastern states were commanded to gather to this place. They did so, and lived there some three years when their enemies rose up against them and expelled them from the land under circumstances of great cruelty and hardship. The Saints, who had been driven from their homes, accounted themselves exiles from Zion, and there was much disappointment in Israel because, apparently the promises of God had failed them; for they looked forward to an unbroken possession of the land, notwithstanding the word of the Lord to the contrary. (See Introduction to Volume III of the History of the Church, pp. xxxii-xxxix.) Shortly after this, three years later, a still further removal was made into the counties of northern Missouri, and finally, as you know, the entire Church was expelled from the state of Missouri and had to take refuge in Illinois. The prophet with his usual activity began the establishment of stakes of Zion in Illinois, especially at Nauvoo and vicinity. Meantime the Saints were questioning much concerning Zion, and the privilege of dwelling therein. At the April conference, preceding his martyrdom, the prophet alluded to these disappointments, and he spake of Zion at considerable length. I want to read to you his words on that occasion. The Saints had too narrow a conception of Zion, and of the purpose of God with reference to her; and hence the prophet, in the course of his remarks, said:

"You know there has been a great discussion in relation to Zion, where it is, and where the gathering of the dispensation is, which I am now going to tell you. The prophets have spoken and written upon it, but I will make a proclamation that will cover a broader ground. The whole of America is Zion itself, from north to south, and is described by the prophets who declared that it is Zion, where the mountain of the Lord shall be, and it shall be the center of the land. I have received instructions from the Lord that from henceforth wherever the elders of Israel shall build up churches and branches unto the Lord, throughout the states (having reference to the United States, of course) there shall be a stake of Zion. In the great cities, as Boston, New York, etc., there shall be stakes. It is a glorious proclamation, and I reserved it to the last, and designed it to be understood that this work shall commence after the washings and anointings and endowments have been performed here (i. e. in Nauvoo)."

The martyrdom of the prophet and the exodus to the mountains consequent upon that martyrdom made it impossible to carry out this policy of building up stakes of Zion in Boston, New York and other eastern cities. The Church found that it had all it could do in establishing itself in the valleys of the Rocky mountains, where it might fulfill the predictions of the prophet of this dispensation, to the effect that the Saints would become a great and powerful people in the midst of the Rocky mountains. Sometimes, however, I have wondered if we have not too much set our hearts upon these valleys, upon this state of Utah and these surrounding states; and if—like the Saints in the earlier history of the Church, when inhabiting Jackson county, we have not limited our conceptions of Zion by lines that are altogether too narrow. Last fall, as I journeyed through the eastern states, through New England, and in the south, and realized that in the southern states there are more than 10,000 of our people, and in the Eastern States mission more than 3,000, and in the Northern States mission a still greater number than in the Eastern States, I wonder if it would not be possible to establish stakes of Zion in the eastern and southern states as well as in Canada, in Mexico, in Oregon, in Arizona, or Colorado. Would it not be just as legitimate to establish stakes of Zion in South Carolina, in Florida, in Vermont or New York, as it is to establish stakes of Zion in these other places I have named? The whole land of America, the two great continents, is Zion, the land of Joseph; and I believe that the elements are forming, that God is so tempering the minds of men, so making them receptive of the truth, that by a strong, intelligent proclamation of the gospel, that God has entrusted to His Church, it may become possible for stakes of Zion to be established all over this land." (Defense of the Faith and the Saints, pp. 437-440.)

A Stake of Zion: A Stake of Zion is a division of the church territorially that embraces several wards[A] and branches. There is no set number of wards or branches necessary to constitute a Stake. That is arranged according to convenience. The Stake is presided over by a president, who is a High Priest, assisted by two other High Priests as counselors. They constitute the Presidency of the Stake, and preside over the organization in that Stake much in the same way that the President of the Church presides over the entire church; but is subject of course to the general authorities of the church.

[Footnote A: Wards: The Stakes are divided into ecclesiastical wards, presided over by a bishopric, consisting of a bishop aided by two high priests as counselors, unless the bishop is a literal descendant of Aaron, in which event he has authority to act as bishop without counselors. The bishopric has a direct general presidency over the quorums of the lesser priesthood in his ward, and presides even over those holding the Higher Priesthood as members of his ward; but not over the quorums of the Higher Priesthood as quorums.]

In each Stake is a Standing High Council, over which the Presidency of the Stake—or the President or either one of the counselors, when circumstances render it impossible or inconvenient for all to be present—preside. This forms the highest judicial tribunal in the Stake.

One or more Patriarchs are appointed to confer upon the people patriarchal blessings within the Stake. The High Priests are organized into a quorum with a presidency over them as already explained. The Elders are organized into one or more quorums, according as they are numerous enough for one or a number of quorums; and with the High Priests constitute the standing ministry in the Stake. (Outlines, pp. 374-375.)

Fitness in Doctrine Development: "Not only did our Prophet start right but he continued right. He not only received the gospel through the ministration of an angel; but he received his authority to preach it, administer its ordinances and build up the Church of Christ from those who last held the keys of that authority on earth. From John, who when on earth was called the Baptist, now raised from the dead and become an angel of God, he received the Aaronic Priesthood, which gave him power to preach repentance and baptize for the remission of sins, from Peter, James and John, the three chief apostles of the dispensation ushered in by the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus, he received the keys of the Melchisedek Priesthood—the Holy Apostleship, which gave him power to establish the church of Christ to the uttermost and regulate all its affairs; from Moses he received the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four quarters of the' earth and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north; from Elijah the keys of the priesthood to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, according to the prediction of Malachi. Thus he was called and ordained of God through divinely appointed agents as was Aaron, and therefore fulfilled the law which provides that those who minister for men in things pertaining to God, must be called of God as Aaron was, by prophecy and revelation. In this development of the work of God, one sees a fitness of things. Look for a moment at the work God has proposed to himself to accomplish: The time has come for the restoration of the Gospel; for the re-establishment of his church; for the ushering in of the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times in which he has promised to gather together in one all things in Christ, "both which are in heaven, and which are on earth." A reign of peace, a reign of righteousness is about to be inaugurated—the Millennium which the scriptures promised—long looked for by earth's troubled children—despaired of—given up—is about to be realized! The remnant of Israel is to be gathered to Zion; Jerusalem is to be established, no more to be thrown down; the nations are to beat their swords into plow-shares, and their spears info pruning-hooks and nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more—the earth is to rest from its wickedness. To bring this to pass, the cooperation of man is necessary—his obedience, his righteousness. To secure that obedience, that co-operation, faith is needed; and as faith is based on evidence, God proceeds to create the evidence by bringing a witness into existence who can not only testify of God's existence, but also of his purposes. He then enlarges the evidence by bringing forth the Book of Mormon, the voice of entire nations of people speaking out of the dust of ages, testifying that the Lord is God, that Jesus in the Christ, that the gospel is the power of God unto Salvation; and by thus increasing the evidence the foundation for faith was enlarged; and by establishing faith in the hearts of men the seed of obedience was planted. For faith is the incentive to action, the cause of obedience, and the foundation of all righteousness. When the work reached that stage of development that men could be taught repentance, and receive baptism for the remission of sins, who so qualified or who with more propriety could be sent to deliver the keys of the priesthood that is especially appointed to cry repentance and administer baptism than the teacher of repentance and the Baptists? Or, when the time came for the restoration of the apostleship, who could restore it save those who last held the keys of it on earth—Peter, James and John? Who so fit to restore the keys of the gathering of Israel and leading the ten tribes back from the north as Moses, the great prophet of Israel? Who so fitting to restore the keys of the priesthood which should turn the hearts of the fathers and children, towards each other as Elijah, of whom it was prophesied that he would do that work? Thus throughout there was a fitness in the development of the great work of God in the last days—an appropriateness to be observed in the personages employed to restore the keys of authority which opened up the several departments of the great dispensation. And it is to be observed, too, that this fitness of things as here pointed out was not the result of working to a well-matured plan in the mind of Joseph Smith; he was too young and too inexperienced to preconceive it all and then set himself at work to unfold it in such beautiful order. It was of course working to a well-matured plan, but the plan existed in the mind of God; and it was given to Joseph Smith piece-meal—incident followed incident without an apparent suspicion in his mind that each incident was a step in the progress of the mighty march of events matured in the mind of God—each key of authority, or part of the gospel but a fragment of a mighty and consistent whole that God was unfolding. The consistency and appropriateness of the development Joseph Smith never spoke of; it was left for others to note these things after the work was well advanced in he course of its development. The Prophet received the messengers God sent to him, and under their instruction proceeded with the unfoldment of the purposes of the Lord, and left it to others to admire the work and note the evidences of God's directing hand in the order of the events and the appropriateness of the parties entrusted with the introduction of the various departments of it." (New Witness for God, p. 219-222.)

Adam the President of All Dispensations to Our Earth: The following remarks of the Prophet respecting man and his relation to God, and the relationship of certain leading men to each other, in the several dispensations of the Gospel which have been given, cannot fail to be an interesting and instructive contribution and conclusion to this lesson. The remarks under division I are taken from a discourse by the Prophet delivered in June, 1839, in answer to some inquiries concerning Priesthood. The Prophet's remarks under division I appear in the Millennial Star, Vol. xxvii, pages 310, 311. Those in division II are from an article on Priesthood prepared by the Prophet, and read by Robert B. Thompson at the general conference of the Church held at Nauvoo, October 5, 1840, and are to be found in the Millennial Star, Vol. xviii, pages 164, 165.


The Priesthood was first given to Adam; he obtained the First Presidency and held (holds) the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the creation, before the worlds were formed, as in Genesis 1:20, 26, 28. He had dominion given him over every living creature. He is Michael, the Archangel, spoken of in the Scriptures. Then to Noah, who is Gabriel; he stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood; he was called of God to this office, and was the Father of all living in his day, and to him was given the dominion. These men held keys first on earth, and then in heaven. The Priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years. The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent. When they are revealed from heaven it is by Adam's authority. Daniel vii, speaks of the Ancient of Days; he means the oldest man, our Father Adam, Michael; he will call his children together and held a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He (Adam) is the father of the human family and presides over the spirits of all men, and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council. This may take place before some of us leave this stage of action. The Son of Man stands before him, and there is given Him glory and dominion. Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ, that which was delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family. * * * * The Father called all spirits before him at the creation of man, and organized them. He (Adam) is the head, and was told to multiply. The keys were first given to him, and by him to others. He will have to give an account of his stewardship and they to him. * * * * * I saw Adam in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman. He called together his children and blessed them with a patriarchal blessing. The Lord appeared in their midst, and he (Adam) blessed them all, and foretold what should befall them to the latest generation. (Mill. Star, Vol. xviii, pp. 310, 311; see Doc. & Cov. Sec. cvii:53, 56.) This is why Abraham blessed his posterity; he wanted to bring them into the presence of God. They looked for a city, etc., Moses sought to bring the children of Israel into the presence of God, through the power of the Priesthood, but he could not. In the first ages of the world they tried to establish the same thing; and there were Eliases raised up who tried to restore these very glories, but did not obtain them, but they prophesied of a day when this glory would be revealed. Paul spoke of the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, when when God would gather together all things in one, etc., and those men to whom these keys have been given, will have to be there, and they without us cannot be perfect. These men are in heaven, but their children are on earth. Their bowels yearn over us. God sends down men for this reason (Matt. 13:41). "And the Son of Man shall send forth his angels," etc. All these authoritative characters will come down and join hand in hand in bringing about this work.


Commencing with Adam, who was the first man, who is spoken of in Daniel as being the "Ancient of Days," or in other words, the first and oldest of all, the great grand progenitor, of whom it is said in another place he is Michael, because he was the first and father of all, not only by progeny, but the first to hold the spiritual blessings, to whom was made known the plan of ordinances for the salvation of his posterity unto the end, and to whom Christ was first revealed, and through whom Christ has been revealed from heaven, and will continue to be revealed from henceforth. Adam holds the keys of the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, i. e. the dispensation of all the times, have been and will be revealed through him from the beginning to Christ, and from Christ to the end of all the dispensations that are to be revealed: Ephesians, 1st chap., 9th and 10th verses—"Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, acording to his goon pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in him." * * * * * And again: God purposed in himself, that there should not be eternal fullness until every dispensation should be fulfilled and gathered together in one, and that all things whatsoever that should be gathered together in one in those dispensations unto the same fullness and eternal glory, should be in Christ Jesus; therefore he set the ordinances to be the same forever, and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them; Hebrews I:14—"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation," These angels are under the direction of Michael or Adam, who acts under the direction of the Lord. From the above quotation we learn that Paul perfectly understood the purposes of God in relation to his connection with man, and that glorious and perfect order which he established in himself, whereby he sent forth power, revelations, and glory. * * * * * This then, is the nature of the Priesthood; every man holding the presidency of his dispensation, and one man holding the presidency of them all, even Adam; and Adam receiving his presidency and authority from the Lord, but cannot receive a fullness until Christ shall present the Kingdom to the Father, which shall be at the end of the last dispensation." ("The Mormon Doctrine of Deity," pp. 243-248.)