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

Author: B. H. Roberts

Release date: October 13, 2019 [eBook #60491]

Language: English

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


The Seventy's Course in Theology

Fourth Year

The Atonement


Of the First Council of the Seventy

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life."—Jesus.

Salt Lake City




The Seventy's Year Book No. IV, differs from the other numbers in two particulars:

First, in that there are no special lessons suggested as in the three previous numbers; nor are there any suggestions as to the manner of treating a subject. In the three preceding numbers of the Year Book suggestions on "discourse building" were made; for gathering the materials, arranging a plan, beginning the discourse, conducting it, and completing it, (see Year Book No. III Lesson XXXI), together with such side suggestions on "clearness" and "strength"—the two great essentials in the expression of thought—as were considered necessary. It is now concluded that the manner of thought expression, so far as our Year Books for the present are concerned, might be allowed to rest there; leaving it to the student to refer to those suggestions—to which the class teachers at need should direct his attention—and to the consultation of such special works as treat exclusively upon the manner of expression to be found in the current text books on composition and rhetoric, used in our high schools, and academies. I would also suggest in this line Pittenger's little work on "Extempore Speech, How to acquire and practice it;" and also the admirable work of Professor Nelson of the Brigham Young University, Provo, on "Preaching and Public Speaking," a new and revised edition of which has been recently issued by the Deseret News Publishing Company.

Second. Instead of giving an Analysis of each lesson followed by unconnected Notes bearing upon the subjects compiled from a wide range of authorities—a method largely followed in the Year Book No. III—the author has written a connected treatise upon the Atonement, and for that reason has substituted the word "Discussion" for the word "Notes" as being more appropriate to the method of treatment. Other than this the general plan of the work is the same as that followed in the previous Year Books.


It is suggested to all the classes that the first step in dealing with the present Year Book, should be to require every member to read the entire treatise through. This should be done rapidly, not with the thought that such reading will yield a complete and thorough understanding of, or mastery of the subject, but just to get acquainted somewhat with the spirit of the treatise, the scope of the inquiry, the largeness of it, the majesty and glory of the subject. All which will enable the student to be somewhat conscious, as he seeks to master the separate lessons, of the conclusions to which he is being led. Without such preliminary reading, except where students already have clear views of the Atonement, each lesson will be something of a groping forward without always appreciating to what culmination the movement of the respective lessons is tending.

The preliminary reading need not occupy more than one week. No more time than that should be allowed for it. It is supposed that this Year Book will be completed by the first of January, 1912.


The doctrine of the Atonement through the expiatory suffering and death of Christ, can only be rightly understood when considered in its relationship to the Intelligences—i. e., men—that are affected by it. Hence this treatise opens with a consideration of Intelligences as related to the Atonement. Necessarily this will involve the restatement of some of the matter of the Seventy's Year Book No. II, dealing with the "Outline History of the Dispensations of the Gospel, Part I—, "Prelude to the Dispensations" where such subjects as "Intelligences and Spirits," "The Relationship of the Intelligences;" "The Purposes of God in Relation to Man;" "The Free Agency of Intelligences," and the like are discussed. But as the present use of the principles there set forth will be different from the former use of them, the repetition necessary to a clear understanding of the great theme to be developed may not be amiss, but, on the contrary, positively helpful to a fuller appreciation of the principles them selves, as well as a right appreciation of the bearing they have upon the subject of the Atonement.

The writer has approached his theme from a new standpoint. Instead of beginning with the work of the Christ when he appeared on earth as the son of Mary, he has begun with those eternal Intelligences that were to be affected by this earth-life, by the "fall" and the "Atonement," and by "Hope of eternal life which God that cannot lie promised before the world began." (Paul to Titus.) This is followed by consideration of the council in heaven, wherein the order of earth-life for the spirits of men is considered, what shall accrue to them from it; necessarily the fall and plan of man's redemption; the war in heaven, the advent of man on earth; the fall; revelation of the plan for man's salvation; the Atonement in ancient times, through all the ages in fact, and so finally to the consideration of the various elements that enter into the great theme, making up the philosophy of the Atonement.

As to the importance of the subject, need anything be said? It is the very heart of the Gospel from whose pulsations the streams of both spiritual and eternal physical life proceed. It is the fact which gives vitality to all things else in the Gospel. If the Atonement be not a reality then our preaching is vain; our baptisms and confirmations meaningless; the eucharist a mere mummery of words; our hope of eternal life without foundation; we are still in our sins, and we Christian men, of all men, are the most miserable. A theme that affects all this cannot fail of being important. And yet, how our writers upon theology have neglected this subject! Save for the treatise of the late President John Taylor on the "Mediation and Atonement of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," we have no work devoted wholly to the subject. President Taylor's treatise was published twenty-nine years ago (1882); there was but a very limited edition published at the time, and that is not yet sold out! Aside from this treatise—and even that is quite limited in its scope, chiefly a compilation of scripture texts upon the fact of the Atonement—our speakers and writers have treated the theme merely incidentally. It is time, then, that our Seventies—the special witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ, including as a central fact of their testimony the Atonement, should give special and extended study to this theme of themes.


Is the subject difficult? Certainly. But "To Become a Seventy, Means Mental Activity, Intellectual Development, and the Attainment of Spiritual Power." Such men will not be daunted because the subject is difficult, but rather will rejoice at it, even as a strong man rejoices to run a race, or fight a battle, or undertake hard tasks wherein lies adventure and danger and great glory. Such men will remember that as all great things are attended with risk, so the hard is the good; and "truth's a gem that loves the deep." Go and search for it.


In an appendix there will be found a statement of "Other Views of the Atonement" than those set forth in the body of the treatise. These are the views of the Roman Catholic church, the great Protestant divisions of modern Christendom, and of so-called liberal Christendom, the latter comprised of those who accept—speaking broadly—the theory of evolution and higher criticism.

No lessons have been formulated in this division of the work, but the class teachers can readily make lesson formula from the divisions and subdivisions of the matter there presented if they so elect; if not then it may be left for the student's private perusal; or out of the matter may be formulated special lectures, and much advantage gained by putting the views there expounded in comparison and contrast with the doctrines of the regular text of the Year Book.


It is difficult to name books of reference for this subject; such as are available are named repeatedly in the table references given with each lesson, and in the body of the work. Attention should be called to the necessity of each Seventy possessing what in previous Year Books has been called the "Seventy's Indispensable Library." This library is made up of the standard books of the Church on Doctrine, viz.:

The Bible,

The Book of Mormon,

The Doctrine and Covenants,

The Pearl of Great Price, containing the Book of Moses, the Book of Abraham, and some of the Writings of Joseph Smith.

The above books are certainly indispensable to every Seventy, and should be owned by every member of our quorums. The First Council, in their recommendations, added to the above list, "Richards and Little's Compendium of the Doctrines of the Gospel," and called the set the "Seventy's Indispensable Library." Arrangements were made by the First Council to hav these books in suitable sizes and uniform bindings, and obtainable in sets at special prices, and they are still to be had in this form. It is also suggested that to these books be added a good standard dictionary, say either the Students' Standard Dictionary, Funk and Wagnall's; price, $2.50, cloth; or Webster's College Dictionary; price, $3.00. These books are recommended in cases where the unabridged dictionaries of these publishers are considered too expensive; when the unabridged editions can be afforded, they are all the more desirable.

The four books of Scripture referred to above are very frequently quoted in the text of this treatise, and are the main authorities used. Besides these it is recommended that the student obtains

"Mediation and Atonement of Our Lord Jesus Christ," by John Taylor;

"The Articles of Faith," Talmage.

Orson Pratt's Works, Remarkable Visions and the Kingdom of God. (These works are cited for the benefit of those who have them. We regret to say that the Works of this great apostle have been allowed to go out of print.)

"The Gospel," Roberts.

The Improvement Era of January, 1909, Vol. XII, containing the "King Follett Sermon," with explanatory notes by this writer; also the Improvement Era for April, 1907, for Article on Immortality. Same author.

The Seventies should also remember that the Improvement Era is the organ of the Priesthood quorums, and that from time to time supplemental articles will appear bearing upon our current work, and for this reason Seventies should subscribe, if it is possible, for this magazine in order to keep in touch with our work.


The importance of Seventies having a complete set of the Seventy's Year Books cannot be over-emphasized. There is constant reference made in the present Number to previous Numbers; and the student who is not in possession of those books is by so much deprived of the opportunity to complete his inquiry on the division of the subject he may have in hand. As there are now four of the Year Books issued, they could be bound together; or in more convenient form, two numbers can be bound together at a cost of seventy-five cents, postage prepaid, and those desirous of preserving the set would do well to order them in that form.


This exercise is continued in the present Year Book as being too valuable to be omitted from our lessons; and by this time it is our presumption that had it been omitted, instead of continued as a suggestion at the head of each lesson, our class teachers and the members of the classes themselves, would have continued the practice that has now been an interesting feature of the Seventy's lessons through three successful years. The purpose for which this feature of our class exercise was introduced, and the manner of conducting it, the new teachers and students will find explanations of in the Introduction of Year Book No. I, to which attention is hereby directed.

To the Seventies we now commend the great theme of this present Year Book, with the prayer that they may be impressed with its beauty, its effectiveness, and its glory.

The Seventy's Course in Theology.


The Atonement.


Eternal Intelligences and Progress.




I. Intelligence Defined.

Seventy's Year Book, Second Year, Part I. Lessons i and iv; The Truth of Thought, Ch. iv.[A] Psychology, Prof. William James of Harvard, Chs. xi, xii,[B] dealing with "The Stream of Consciousness" and "The Self." Joseph Smith's "King Follett Sermon," Improvement Era, Vol. XII, Jan., 1909.[C] "Immortality," article in Improvement Era, April, 1907; Doc. & & Cov., Sec. 93.

II. Qualities and Powers of Intelligences.

1. Consciousness.

2. Generalization.

3. Perception of a priori principles.

4. Reason.

5. Imagination.

6. Volition.

SPECIAL TEXT: "Intelligence is eternal, and exists upon a self-existing principle. It is a spirit[D] from age to age and there is no creation about it." (Joseph Smith, "King Follett Sermon," April, 1844.)

[Footnote A: This little work (206 pages) is by William Pollard, some years Professor of Rational Philosophy in St. Louis University. It is a short treatise on the "Initial Philosophy," the ground work necessary for the consistent pursuit of knowledge, (1896).]

[Footnote B: I cite the abridged (teachers') edition of the Professor's, "Principles of Psychology."]

[Footnote C: This sermon as published in the "Era" is accompanied by explanatory notes, hence the "Era" is cited. It is also published in "Journal of Discourses," Vol. VI.]

[Footnote D: "A spirit from age to age"—not "Spirit from age to age:" but a "spirit"; that is an entity, a person, an individual. The Prophet's statement here could well be taken as an interpretation of Doc. & Cov. Sec. 93:29. See Lesson II.]


1. Intelligence Defined: The sense in which the term "Intelligence" is to be used in this discussion is that of a mind, or an intelligent being, Milton make's such use of the term as the latter when he represents Adam as saying to the angel Raphael, who has given him a lesson on human limitations:

  "How fully hast thou satisfied me, pure
  Intelligence of heaven, angel serene!"[A]

[Footnote A: "Paradise Lost," viii:181.]

And so Alfred Tennyson:

  "The great Intelligences fair
  That range above our mortal state."[A]

[Footnote A: "In Memoriam," lxxxv.]

God is also sometimes referred to as the "Supreme Intelligence." It is in this sense, then, that I use the term Intelligence; a being that is intelligent, capable of apprehending facts or ideas; possessed of power to think.

2. Intelligence: Consciousness: In other words the term Intelligence is descriptive of the thing to which it is applied. Therefore Intelligence (mind) or Intelligences (minds), thus conceived are conscious. Conscious of self and of not self; of the me and the not me. "Intelligence is that which sees itself, or is at once both subject and object." It knows itself as thinking, that is, as a subject; thinking of its self, it knows itself as an object of thought—of its own thought. And it knows itself as distinct from a vast universe of things which are not self; itself the while remaining constant as a distinct individuality amid the great universe of things not self. Fiske calls Consciousness "the soul's fundamental fact;" and "the most fundamental of facts."[A] It may be defined as the power by which Intelligence knows its own acts and states. It is an awareness of the mind. By reason of it an Intelligence, when dwelling in a body—as we best know it (man)—knows itself as seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching; also as searching, and finding; as inquiring and answering; as active or at rest; as loving or hating; as contented or restless; as advancing or receding; as gaining or loosing, and so following in all the activities in which Intelligences, as men, engage.

[Footnote A: "Studies in Religion," p. 245.]

3. Generalization: By another power or faculty of Intelligence (mind) it can perceive, as connected with the things that sense perceives, something that cannot be taken in by sense perception; that is to say, Intelligence can generalize. Sense can get at the individual, concrete thing only: "this triangle," "this orange" "that triangle," "those oranges," etc. By the consideration of the individual, concrete object, however, the mind can form an idea, a concept, a general notion—"triangle," "orange"—which does not specify this or that individual object, but "fits to any individual triangle or orange past, present, or future, and even the possible oranges that never shall be grown."[A] In other words Intelligence can rise from consideration of the particular to the general.

[Footnote A: "The Truth of Thought," p. 41.]

4. Perception of a priori[A] Principles: Again there are a priori principles, which the mind can perceive to be incontrovertible and of universal application, by mere reflection upon the signification of the principles and without going into the applications.[B] Such for example as that one and one make two. That two and one make three. Also, to continue the illustration above, borrowed from the late Professor Wm. James, for some time Professor of Psychology in Harvard University.—"White differs less from gray than it does from black; that when the cause begins to act the effect also commences. Such propositions hold of all possible 'ones,' of all conceivable 'whites' and 'grays' and 'causes.' The objects here are mental objects. Their relations are perceptually obvious at a glance, and no sense-verification is necessary. Moreover, once true, always true, of those same mental objects. Truth here has an 'eternal' character. If you can find a concrete thing anywhere that is 'one' or 'white' or 'gray' or an 'effect' then your principles will everlastingly apply to it. It is but a case of ascertaining the kind, and then applying the law of its kind to the particular object. You are sure to get truth if you can name the kind rightly, for your mental relations hold good of everything of that kind without exception."[C]

[Footnote A: A priori, from something prior or going before, hence from antecedent to consequent; from cause to effect. See illustrations in the text quoted from James.]

[Footnote B: "Truth of Thought," p. 41.]

[Footnote C: "Pragmatism"—James—(1908), pp. 209, 210.]

5. Imagination: By a mind-power known as imagination, or imaginative memory, Intelligences, as known to us through men, can hold before consciousness, in picture, what has been perceived by an outward sense, and this even when the outward sense has been shut off from the outward world of matter. I once saw an orange tree with a number of ripe oranges scattered through its branches, but on other branches were orange blossoms. What the outward senses then perceived, when I was standing before the tree, has been shut off, but at will I can call before the vision of my mind and hold in consciousness the picture of that tree with its mixture of ripe fruit and fruit blossoms. This power of imagination, is also constructive. Intelligences (men) can put before themselves in mental picture, combinations which are fashioned from the varied stores of memory.[A] As I have elsewhere said: I am this moment sitting at my desk, and am enclosed by the four walls of my room—limited as to my personal presence to this spot. But by the mere act of my will, I find I have the power to project myself in thought to any part of the world. Instantly I can be in the crowded streets of the world's metropolis. I walk through its well remembered thoroughfares, I hear the rush and roar of its busy multitudes, the rumble of vehicles, the huckster's cries, the cab-men's calls, sharp exclamations and quick retorts in the jostling throngs, the beggar's piping cry, the sailor's song, fragments of conversation, broken strains of music, the blare of trumpets, the neighing of horses, ear-piercing whistles, ringing of bells, shouts, responses, rushing trains and all that mingled din and soul-stirring roar that rises in clamor above the great town's traffic.

[Footnote A: "Sensations, once experienced, modify the nervous organism, so that copies of them arise again in the mind after the original outward stimulus is gone. No mental copy, however, can arise in the mind, of any kind of sensation which has never been directly excited from without.

"The blind may dream of sights, the deaf of sounds, for years after they have lost their vision or hearing; but the man born deaf can never be made to imagine what sound is like, nor can the man born blind ever have a mental vision. In Locke's words, already quoted, 'the mind can frame unto itself no one new simple idea.' The originals of them all must have been given from without. Fantasy, or Imagination, are the names given to the faculty of reproducing copies of originals once left. The imagination is called 'reproductive' when the copies are literal; 'productive' when elements from different originals are recombined so as to make new wholes" (Wm. James: "Psychology," p. 302).]

At will, I leave all this and stand alone on mountain tops in Syria, India, or overlooking old Nile's valley, wrapped in the awful grandeur of solemn silence. Here I may bid fallen empires rise and pass in grand procession before my mental vision and live again their little lives; fight once more their battles; begin again each petty struggle for place, for power, for control of the world's affairs; revive their customs; live again their loves and hates, and preach once more their religions and their philosophies—all this the mind may do, and that as easily and as quickly as in thought it may leave this room, cross the street to a neighbor's home, and there take note of the familiar objects within his habitation.[A]

[Footnote A: "Mormon Doctrine of Deity," p. 132.]

6. Ratiocination:[A] "The mind (Intelligence) can combine various general principles or individual facts and principles; and in the combination and comparison of them, it can perceive other facts and principles.[B] In other words, Intelligence is capable of reasoning; of building up conclusions from the data of its knowledge. It has the power of deliberation and of judgment; by which it may determine that this state or condition is better than another state or condition. That this, tending to good, should be encouraged; and that, tending to evil, should be discouraged, or, if possible, destroyed.

[Footnote A: The process of deducing conclusions from premises.]

[Footnote B: "The Truth of Thought," p. 40.]

7. Power of Volition: Intelligence, as embodied in man, is also conscious of the power, within certain limitations, to will, and to perform what he wills to do: To rise up, to sit down; to raise his arm, to let it fall; to walk, to run, to stand; to go to Paris, to Berlin, or to Egypt; to write a book, to build a house, to found a hospital; to control largely his actions, physical and moral; he can be sober or drunken; chaste, or a libertine; benevolent or selfish; honest or a rogue. Having deliberated upon this and that and having formed a judgment that one thing is better than another, or that one condition is better than another, he has power to choose between them and can determine to give his aid to this and withhold it from that. So that volition, within certain limitations at least, seems also to be a quality of Intelligence.[A] It is of course possible to conceive of Intelligence and its necessarily attendant consciousness, existing without volition; but Intelligence so conceived is shorn of its glory, since under such conditions it can make no use whatsoever of its powers. Its very thinking would be chaotic; its consciousness distressing. If active at all its actions would be without purpose and as chaotic as its thinking would be, unless it could be thought of as both thinking and acting as directed by an intelligent, purposeful will external to itself: which would still leave the Intelligence a mere automaton, without dignity or moral quality, or even intellectual value.[B] I therefore conclude that while it is possible to conceive of Intelligence with its necessarily attendant consciousness as without volition, still, so far as we are acquainted with Intelligence, as manifested through men, volition—sometimes named soul-freedom or free-agency is a quality that within certain limitations, attends upon Intelligences and may be an inherent quality of Intelligence, a necessary attribute of its very essence, as much so as is consciousness itself.

[Footnote A: Seventy's Second Year Book, Lesson I and IV.]

[Footnote B:

  "Freedom and reason make us men,
  Take these away, what are we then?
  Mere animals, and just as well
  The beasts may think of heaven or hell."
       —"Latter-day Saints' Hymn Book," p. 263.]

8. Recapitulation: We have found, then,

1. That Intelligences are eternal—self-existing intelligent entities;

2. That they are called Intelligences because intelligence is their chief characteristic;

3. That being intelligent consciousness is in them a necessary quality;

4. That they are both self-conscious, and conscious of an external universe not self;

5. That Intelligences have the power to generalize—to rise from the contemplation of the particular to the general, from the individual to universal;

6. That Intelligences can perceive the existence of certain a priori principles that are incontrovertible—necessary truths—which form a basis of knowledge;

7. That Intelligences as known through men possess a power of imagination or imaginative memory by which they hold pictures of sense perceptions before the mind and may form from them new combinations of thought and consciousness;

8. That Intelligences have power to reason (ratiocination), to deliberate, to form judgments;

9. That Intelligences have volition, physical, mental and moral, within certain limitations—a power both to will and to do; in other words they are free, or free agents.

It should be understood that these brief remarks respecting Intelligence and Intelligences are in no sense a treatise, even brief and cursory, on psychology; they are made merely to indicate some of the chief qualities that are inseparably connected with Intelligence and Intelligences so that when the words are used in this treatise, some definite idea may be had as to what is meant.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Eternal Existence of the Word—the Christ.

Doc. & Cov., Sec. 93; Seventy's Year Book II, Lesson i and iv; Book of Abraham, Ch. iii; Joseph Smith, "King Follett's Sermon," Improvement Era, Jan. 1909; Art. "Immortality," Ibid., April, 1907.

II. Eternal Existence of All Intelligences.

III. Proofs of Eternity.

1. Book of Abraham.

2. Joseph Smith's Writings.

IV. Of Words Used Interchangeably.

SPECIAL TEXT: "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. 93:29.)


1. Eternity of Intelligence: In the preface of St. John's Gospel it is written: "I. the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. * * 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" (John 1:1-4, 14). This is in plain allusion to the Christ, and bears witness, as all are agreed,[A] to the co-eternity of the Word of Christ with God, the Father.

[Footnote A: See "Commentary," Jamieson,—Fauset-Brown on St. John 1:1-4. Also "International Revision Commentary," Schaff—on St. John 1:1-4. The latter contrasting Gen. 1:1 with St. John's "in the beginning," says that the sacred historian (Moses) starts from the beginning and comes downwards, thus keeping us in the course of time. John starts from the same point, but goes upwards, thus taking us into the eternity preceding time. In Gen. 1:1, we are told that God "in the beginning created,"—an act done in time. Here (John 1:1) we are told that "in the beginning the Word was," a very strongly antithetical to "come into being" (verses 3, 14, comp. 8:58), and implying an absolute existence preceding, the point referred to. As that which is absolute self-existent, not created—that which is—is eternal, so the predication of eternity is involved in the clause before us taken as a whole. He who thus "was in the beginning," who, as we afterwards read, "was with God," and "was God," here bears the name of the "Word," Logos, which means both reason—[intelligence?] and word [expression?] For justification of the interpolated words in brackets, I refer to Dummelow's Commentary on the same passage: "Logos has two meanings in Greek: (1) Reason or intelligence as it exists inwardly in the mind; and (2) reason or intelligence as it is expressed outwardly in speech and both these meanings are to be understood when Christ is called the "Word of God." Commentary on John 1:1-4.]

In the Doctrine and Covenants this doctrine of the co-eternity of the "Word" with God is reaffirmed, and also is expressed more explicitly. "John," the Christ is represented as saying, "saw and bore record of the fullness 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'" (Doc. & Cov. Sec. 93:6-9).

2. Extension of the Doctrine of Co-eternity: But not only is the doctrine of the co-eternity of the Christ with God the Father affirmed in this revelation, but that co-eternity is extended to the spirits (Intelligences—of which more later) of men. "Verily I say unto you," the Christ is represented as saying, "I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the first born. * * * Ye, [addressing the brethren present when the revelation was given]—Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is spirit [that is, that part of you which is spirit—i. e., Intelligence—that was in the beginning with God], even the spirit of truth."

3. Extension of the Doctrine of Co-Eternity to all Intelligences: In a subsequent verse this doctrine of co-eternity is extended to the whole race of men; "man [the race] was also in the beginning with God." And that statement is immediately followed with this: "Intelligence, or the light of truth [that which perceives truth], was not created or made, neither indeed can be" (Doc. & Cov. Sec. 93:29). Let us recapitulate: The co-eternity of the Christ and God the Father "in the beginning before the world was," is affirmed. Then the like co-eternity of the spirits of the men present when the revelation was given is affirmed. After which the like co-eternity of "Man"—used in the generic sense, meaning the race, is affirmed; followed by the declaration that "Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be," then of course, it follows that Intelligences are eternal, self-existing things.

It may be urged, however, that the word "Intelligence" in the revelation quoted above is used in the singular, not in the plural form. And hence may refer to "Intelligence" in general, as being uncreated and unbeatable, and not to the eternity of individual Intelligences. But the passage immediately preceding the declaration "Man also was in the beginning with God," stands as an explanation of that declaration. The word Intelligence in the passage quoted is governed as to its meaning by "Man" in the sentence—"Man was also in the beginning with God:" and now, "Intelligence," [the intelligent entity in man, in the race—and surely the Intelligence in each man is a complete and separate entity] "was not created or made, neither indeed can be." In other words, these Intelligences are as eternal as God is, or as the Christ is, or the Holy Spirit. This becomes more apparent when we learn in a subsequent verse of the revelation that "man is spirit" (verse 33). That is, in the inner fact of him, in the power and glory of him, man is not so many pounds avoirdupois of bone, muscle, lime, phosphate, water and the like; but in the great fact of him he is spirit—spirit substance and Intelligence.[A] And so far as human or revealed knowledge can aid one in forming a conclusion, there is no "Intelligence" existing separate and apart from persons, from intelligent entities, from individuals. Either it exists as persons, or as preceding from them, as a power or force, but never separated from them, any more than a ray of light is separated from the luminous body whence it proceeds. So that if any affirm a "universal Intelligence," or "Cosmic Mind," or "Over Soul," in the universe, it is an influence, a power proceeding either from an individual Intelligence or from harmonized individual Intelligences, a mind atmosphere proceeding from them—a projection of their mind power into the universe, as the sun and all suns, project light and warmth into the universe.[B]

[Footnote A: "That is the more real part of a man in which his characteristics and his qualities are. All the facts and phenomena of life confirm the doctrine that the soul is the real man. What makes the quality of a man? What gives him character as good or bad, small or great, lovable or detestable? Do these qualities pertain to the body? Every one knows that they do not. But they are qualities of the mind. Then the real man is not the body, but the living soul" (Samuel M. Warren, "World's Parliament of Religions," Vol. I, p. 480).]

[Footnote B: "Mormon Doctrine of Deity," p. 166-169, where the subject is discussed at some length under the title, "Of God, the Spirit of the Gods."]

4. Proof of the Co-eternity of all Intelligences: In further evidence of the eternal existence of individual Intelligences I quote from the Book of Abraham:

"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 after, for they are gnolaum, or eternal" (Book of Abraham, Chs. 3, 16, 18).

To this may be added the teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith who, in the closing days of his earthly ministry, dwelt much upon this subject and treated it with great emphasis. At the conference of the Church at Nauvoo in April, 1844, in a sermon, he said.

"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 exists in like manner, upon the same principles? Man does exist upon the same principles. * * * The mind or the intelligence which man possess is co-equal, [co-eternal][A] with God himself. I know my testimony is true. * * * 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. * * * Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle. It is a spirit from age to age and there is no creation about it. * * * The first principles of a man are self-existent with God."[B]

[Footnote A: The Prophet could not have intended to teach 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 intelligences (Ch. iii:19), and the Prophet himself taught the same truth. Hence the insertion of the word above in brackets. It must be remembered that the report of this discourse was not stenographic and this was doubtless a verbal error, due to imperfect reporting.]

[Footnote B: King Follett Sermon, April, 1844, "Improvement Era," Vol. XII, Jan. 1909. Also "Journal of Discourses," Vol. VI.]

5. Words used Interchangeably: Here it is necessary to repeat with some additions, what was said in Year Book II, on the use of words 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 in most cases 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 expression, "Kingdom of God," "Kingdom of Heaven," "the Whole Family in Heaven," "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 Holy Ghost;" "Spirit," and "Soul;" "intelligences," and "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 "intelligences," "spirits," "soul," "mind," etc.; and he will find his way out of many a difficulty.

Let the closing part of the quotation from the Prophet's discourse above be considered in the light of the suggestions made here respecting the use of words interchangeably. It is observed that he uses the words "Intelligence" and "spirit" interchangeably—one for the other; and yet we can discern that it is the "intelligence of spirits," not "spirits" entire (see next subdivision) that is the subject of his thought. It is the "Intelligence of Spirits" that he declares uncreated and uncreatable—eternal as God is. The same interchangeable use of the terms is to be observed in the Book of Abraham (Ch. iii:16-28) and in other scriptures.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Differences Between Uncreated Intelligences and Spirits.

Improvement Era, Art. "Immortality," April, 1907.

Seventy's Second Year Book, Lessons i and ii.

II. Men and Jesus of the Same Order of Intelligences.

Book of Abraham, Ch. iii; "King Follett Sermon," Improvement Era, Jan., 1909.

III. Jesus but the First Born of Many Brethren.

Doc. & Cov., Sec. 93.

Joseph Smith's Doctrines Vindicated, Improvement Era, March and April, 1910.

SPECIAL TEXT: "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and to your Father; to my God and your God." (Jesus Christ: St. John xx:19.)


1. Uncreated "Intelligences" and "Spirits": In the Book of Mormon we have the revelation which gives the most light upon the spiritexistence of Jesus, and, through his spirit-existence, light upon the spiritexistence 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 to 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."[A]

[Footnote A: Ether, Ch. iii:14-16.]

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, and in the passages quoted from the Prophet's King Follet's Sermon, 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 "primevil 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 fullness of glory and happiness. "Man is Spirit. The elements are eternal, and Spirit and Element inseparably connected receive a fullness of joy; and when separated man cannot receive a fullness of joy. The elements are the tabernacle of God; Yea, man is the tabernacle of God even temples."[A] Hence spirits are sent to earth, to take on its elements, and to learn the lessons earth-life has to teach. The half awakened recollections of the human mind may be chiefly engaged with scenes, incidents and impressions of that former spirit life; but that does not argue the non-existence of the uncreated intelligences who preceded the begotten spiritual personages as so plainly set forth in the revelations of God.

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov. Sec. 93:32-35.]

The difference, then, between "spirits" and "intelligences," as here used, is this: Spirits are uncreated intelligences inhabiting spiritual bodies; while "intelligences," pure and simple, are intelligent entities, but unembodied in either spirit bodies or bodies of flesh and bone. They are uncreated, self-existent entities; but let it be observed, in passing, that nothing is here said in relation to the form of these intelligent entities, nor anything as to their mode of existence. Indeed, so far as I know, nothing has been revealed in relation to their form or mode of existence; nothing beyond the fact of existence, their eternity and the qualities necessary to them as Intelligences.

2. Jesus and Men of the same Order of Intelligences: 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: [i. e., essence or nature; or, regarding men's spirits, of one Father] for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren."[A] Hence, though the Christ is more perfect in righteousness, and more highly developed in intellectual and spiritual powers than men, 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 coeternity of Jesus Christ with God, the Father, and the extension of the principle of co-eternity of the Intelligences in men with Jesus Christ and God has been already pointed out.[B]

[Footnote A: Heb. ii:10, 11.]

[Footnote B: Lesson II, this treatise.]

Again at the resurrection of the Christ, according to the testimony of St. John, the Master said to Mary of Magdala: "Go to my brethren [the apostles] and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God" (St. John 20:17). Hence we have Jesus and the apostles with the same Father, the same God, and the fact of brotherhood proclaimed. If such relation exists between Jesus and the apostles, then it exists between Jesus and all men, since the apostles were men of like nature with other men. In his great discourse in Mars Hill, Paul not only declares that God "hath made of one blood all nations of men"—but he also quoted with approval the Greek poet Aratus, where the latter says: "For we are also his (God's) offspring;" and to this the apostle adds: "For as much, then, as we are the offspring of God [hence of the same race and nature], we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art after man's device."[A] Our own nature, one might add, in continuation of the apostle's reasoning, should teach those who recognize men as the offspring of God, better than to think of the Godhead as of gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art after man's device, since the nature of the offspring partakes of the nature of the parent; and our own nature teaches us that men are not as stocks and stones, though the latter be graven by art after the devices of men.

[Footnote A: Acts xvii:26-30.]

Paul might also have quoted the great Hebrew poet: "God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the Gods. * * * * I have said ye are Gods; and all of you are children of the Most High."[A]

[Footnote A: Psalms lxxxii:1, 6, 7.]

The matter is clear then, men and Gods are of the same race; Jesus is the Son of God, and so, too, are all men the offspring of God, and Jesus but the first born of many brethren. Eternal Intelligences are begotten of God, spirits; and hence are sons of God—a dignity that never leaves them. "Behold," said one of old, "now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."[A]

[Footnote A: I John iii:2. I am not unmindful of the array of evidence that may be massed to prove that it is chiefly through adoption, through obedience to the Gospel of Christ, that man in the scripture is spoken of as being a son of God. But this does not weaken the evidence for the fact for which I am contending, viz., that man is by nature the son of God. He becomes alienated from his Father and the Father's kingdom through sin, through the transgression of the law of God; hence the need of adoption into the heavenly kingdom, and into son-ship with God. But though alienated from God through sin, man is nevertheless by nature the son of God.]

3. Jesus the First Born of Many Brethren: 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?" (Heb. 12:9).

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 lessons; and certainly this relationship of father 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. Father to spirits is manifestly a relationship established independent of man's earth-existence; and, of course, is an existence which preceded earth-life, and 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" (i:15); and the Revelator speaks of him as "the beginning of the creation of God" (Rev. 3:14); 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 here 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 in 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 Intelligences; 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.

4. Views of Sir Oliver Lodge on the Eternity of Mind: Some scientists also bear testimony to the truth of the principle here contended for. Sir Oliver Lodge, when arguing for the reality of that mysterious, vital "something" which builds up from earth elements an oak, an eagle or a man, closes with the question, "Is it something which is really nothing, and soon shall it be manifestly nothing?" "Not so," he answers, "nor is it so with intellect and consciousness and will, nor with memory and love and adoration, nor all the manifold activities which at present strangely interact with matter and appeal to our bodily senses and terrestrial knowledge; they are not nothing, nor shall they ever vanish into nothingness or cease to be. They did not arise with us; they never did spring into being; they are as eternal as the Godhead itself, and in the eternal Being they shall endure for ever. * * * And surely in this respect there is a unity running through the universe, and a kinship between the human and the Divine; witness the eloquent ejaculation of Carlyle:[A]

[Footnote A: Of Paul, too, and of David before him. See Hebrews ii:6, and Psalms viii:4.]

'What then, is man! What, then, is man!

'He endures but for an hour, and is crushed before the moth. Yet in the being and in the working of a faithful man is there already (as all faith from the beginning, gives assurance) a something that pertains not to this wild death-element of Time; that triumphs over Time, and is, and will be, when Time shall be no more."—"Science and Immortality," pp. 160, 161.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Intelligences Differ in Degree of—

1. Intelligence.

2. Nobility.

3. Greatness.

4. Moral quality.

Book of Abraham, Ch. iii; Book of Moses (in Pearl of Great Price), Ch. i:25-38.

New Witnesses for God, Vol. III, pp. 198-207.

II. The "One" "Greater than All"—God.

1. Where Intelligences differ in degree there must be One Most Intelligent of all.

2. His greatness immeasurable.

King Follett Sermon, Improvement Era, January, 1909.

Immortality of Man, Improvement Era, April 1907. Doc. & Cov., Sec. 93 and Sec. 88.

III. Capacity of Intelligences for Progress.

1. Inherent Powers of,

2. Led and helped in Progress by Higher Intelligences.

Seventy's Year Book II, Lessons II and III.

IV. Union of Spirit and Earth-Elements Essential to Progress of Intelligences.

SPECIAL TEXT: "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." (Book of Abraham, Ch. iii:24-26.)


1. The Varying Degrees of Intelligence Among Intelligences: We are already made aware of the fact in the preceding lessons that though Intelligences are equal in eternity of existence, it does not follow that they are equal in degree of intelligence. (Lesson II. Subdivision 4.) "If two things exist," said the Lord to Abraham, and there be one above the other, there shall be greater things above them. * * * 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."[A]

Not only do intelligences differ in regard to the degree of intelligence, but they differ also in moral quality and greatness and nobility.

"Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the Intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born."[A]

[Footnote A: Book of Abraham, Ch. iii.]

The "among all these were many of the noble and great ones;" and "he saw that they were good," clearly manifests that reference is made to capacity, to largeness of mind-power, and to moral quality; and from among these "noble and great ones," shall the "rulers" come. Abraham was a type of the "noble and great ones," and was chosen before he was born, and assigned to the part he took in his earth life, and is known preeminently as the "friend of God," the "Father of the faithful." Similarly was Jeremiah foreknown and foreordained to be a Prophet (Jeremiah i:5); so, too, was St. John, the friend of Jesus, (I Nephi, xiv:18-27). So also the Christ was chosen and his mission appointed—he was "the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the World" (Rev. xiii:8). And in his great prayer, before his passion, he said: "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was."[A]

[Footnote A: St. John xvii:5.]

Varying degrees of intelligence, then, among the Intelligences, as also varying degrees of greatness and nobility of soul and of moral quality are established; and doubtless the variation in the pre-earth existence is as great as it is in earth life.

2. The "One" More Intelligent Than All—God: When it is conceded that among Intelligences there are varying degrees of intelligence, and greatness and nobility and moral quality, then it follows that there may be One who is the most intelligent of all, greatest, noblest, best; most wise and most powerful. And how far this greatest and best may arise above the other Intelligences, who may say? There are no terms of comparison for the superlative. It rises above all comparisons, and how far above that to which it stands next—how far above the "better" the "best" rises—none may say. The same holds as to the "greatest" and the "noblest"—how far "greatest" rises above "great;" how far "noblest" rises above "noble," or "best" above "good," none may say. It may be that the "most intelligent," may mean not only more intelligent than any other one out of the mass of Intelligences, but more intelligent than all combined; and this indeed is the interpretation I place upon the following passage in the Book of Abraham: "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." That is, than "All" combined, and for that reason is He God. "I dwell in the midst of them all," says the Lord to Abraham. "I now, therefore, have come down unto thee to deliver (i. e., reveal, see verses 1-15, Ch. iii) unto thee the works which my hands have made, wherein my wisdom excelleth them all, for I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the Intelligences thou hast seen" (Book of Abraham, Ch. iii:19-21). And to this agrees the following doctrine of the Prophet: "In knowledge there is power. God has more power than all other beings, because he has greater knowledge; hence he knows how to subject all other beings to himself. He has power over all" (Sermon at Nauvoo, April 8th, 1843, Hist, of the Church, Vol. V, p. 340.) And as I have said elsewhere: This Mighty Intelligence, who is "more intelligent than All" is also the All-Wise One; the All-Powerful One! What he tells other Intelligences 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. There goes with this, too, the thought that this All-Wise One is the Un-Selfish One, the All-Loving One, the One who desires that which is highest, and best; not for Himself alone, but for all; and that, too, will be best for Him. 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 Most-Intelligent One is all this, and does all this, the other Intelligencies 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 is the whole meaning of the doctrine and the life of the Christ expressed in—"Father, not my will but Thy will, be done."

3. The Capacity of Intelligences for Progress: If what has been set forth as to the qualities, or attributes of Intelligences be true—that they are conscious of self and of not self; that they have powers of perception, comparison, deliberation, reason, judgment, imagination and volition, (See Lesson I, this treatise) then they have in them the inherent elements of progress. All they need with this inherent equipment for progress is proper environment and action, and the guidance of the Highest Intelligence; at least it must be admitted, as to the last, that progress would be more sure, more rapid when so guided.

4. Purpose in the Earth-Life of Man: To provide the means and opportunity for progress the earth-life of man was planned. As God stood among the Intelligences, he said to those that were with him:

"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."[A]

[Footnote A: Book of Abraham, Ch. iii:24-26.]

That is, interpreting the closing declaration, they shall have the blessings of eternal progress. Progress, then, is the purpose for which the earth life of man was planned—that Intelligences might be "added upon," and that eternally.

"This is my work and my glory," says the Lord, "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man;" (Book of Moses, Ch. i:39, Pearl of Great Price). That is of man as man. Not the immortality of the personal Intelligence or spirit of man, for that is already assured; but the immortality of the spirit and body in their united condition, and which together constitute "man;" or the soul, for, in the revelations of God in this last dispensation, the spirit and the body are said to be the "soul:" "Through the redemption which is made for you is brought to pass the resurrection from the dead. And the spirit and the body is the soul of man. And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul" (Doc. & Cov. Sec. 88:14-16).

Again, "Men are that they might have joy," said the Prophet Lehi.[A] "Men are that they might have joy!" Have we here the reappearance of the old Epicurean doctrine, "pleasure is the supreme good, and chief end of life?" No, verily! Nor any other form of old "hedonism"—the Greek ethics of gross self-interest. 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;" from pain, even, 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. Nor is the "joy" here 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 knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin." 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 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 a "joy" that will arise from a consciousness of having "fought the good fight," of having "kept the faith." It will arises 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 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 realizations 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. (New Witnesses, Vol. III, pp. 199-120.)

[Footnote A: II Nephi ii:25.]

The foregoing considerations discover the purpose of God in the earth-life of man to be the progress and joy of men, kindred Intelligences with God; and with that progress and joy of kindred Intelligences, there must be an ever widening manifestation of the glory of God. "The glory of God is Intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth" (Doc. & Cov. Sec. 93:36); but not "Intelligence" only as it inheres in Himself; but also as it finds expression and development in others.

5. A Union of Spirit and Element Essential to a Fulness of Joy: In this progress of Intelligences there must be movement, action, new environment, estates, experiences through which they pass.—Hence Intelligences are begotten spirits, and spirits are begotten men—the "deathless element"—Intelligence—must be united with earth-element, to learn what earth-life has to teach, and get itself expressed through earth-elements; which also—so far as such elements shall be essential to an added dignity and power to the spirit of man—will be made immortal, become an indissoluble part of the spiritual personage, the spirit and the body thus inseparably united constituting the "soul of man."[A] "Man is spirit."[B] "The elements"—earth elements—"are eternal; and spirit and element, inseparably connected receive a fullness of joy; and when separated man cannot receive a fullness of joy." Hence for man, earth-existence became a necessity to progress, and therefore it was provided.

[Footnote A: "Now, verily I say unto you, that through the redemption which is made for you is brought to pass the resurrection from the dead. And the spirit and the body is the soul of man. And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul;" (Doc. & Cov. Sec. 88, verses 14, 15, 16).]

[Footnote B: Doc. & Cov. Sec. 93:33, 34.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The War Vaguely Alluded to in Hebrew Scriptures.

Luke x:17, 18 and John viii:44.

II. The War More Definitely Described.

Rev. xii:7-12; Jude 6.

III. The Causes of the War.

Book of Abraham, Ch. iii:27-28; Book of Moses (Pearl of Great Price), Ch. iv:4.[A]

[Footnote A: As side reading, I suggest "Milton's Paradise Lost," and Elder Orson F. Whitney's "Elias," Canto III.]

SPECIAL TEXT: "And there was war in heaven: Michael and, his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was there place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out. He was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." (Rev. xii.7-9.)


1. Recapitulatory: The fact of the Eternity of Intelligences, their essential qualities, their capacity for progress, the necessity for union with earth-elements in order to attain a fulness of joy, the purpose of God with reference to man's earth-life—all these subjects having been treated in the preceding lessons; we are now prepared to consider the several steps taken with reference to bringing to pass the earth-life of the spirits of men.

Running throughout the Hebrew scriptures, but more or less vague, there are traces of the pre-earth existence of intelligences, and of strife and struggle in that existence; rebellion and war; failure of certain ones to keep first estates, their being cast out and reserved in chains of darkness to some future day of judgment; some reference also to eternal life that was promised of God before the world was made. Though these lack somewhat in clearness, let me, if they may not be set forth in anything like order, at least mass them, that they may be before us in one view.

2. The Hebrew Scriptures on the War in Heaven: In the very beginning of the Hebrew scripture God, in the creation, is represented as addressing others engaged with him in the creation work: "And God said let us make man in our image, after our likeness."[A] Then after the Fall: "And the Lord God said: Behold the man has become as one of us to know good and evil."[B] Perfectly blending with this idea of a plurality of divine Intelligences engaging in the work of creation is the Lord's question to Job: "Gird up now thy loins like a man, for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me: Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"[C]

[Footnote A: Gen. i:26.]

[Footnote B: Gen. iii:22.]

[Footnote C: Job xxxviii:4-7.]

It seems, then, that there were sons of God before the foundations of the earth were laid, or even the measuring line was stretched upon it. And may it not have been these Sons of God, whom God addressed in the creation work, saying to them: "Let us make man in our image"—"The man has become as one of us?"

On the return of the Seventy whom Jesus sent out on a special mission into every city and place where he himself proposed to go, they said: "Lord, even the devils are subject to us in thy name." To which Jesus answered: "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven" (Luke x:17, 18). As if he would say, "Your victory over evil spirits in my name, is not the first I have won over Satan. I saw him as lightning fall from heaven."[A] One other reference to Lucifer in this same connection is made by the Christ; when addressing contentious Jews, he said: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it."[B]

[Footnote A: There is much confusion among the commentators on this passage c. f. Jamieson—Fausset-Brown with the International Revision Commentary on the passage. Dummelow's Commentary, however, says: "Our Lord poetically compares Satan's discomfiture at the successful mission of the Seventy, to his original fall from heaven." He also regards John viii:44, as referring to the same event.]

[Footnote B: St. John viii:44.]

In the Book of Revelation, however, and also in Jude, this "war in heaven" is more minutely described. In the former it is said:

"And there was a war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ; for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time."[A]

[Footnote A: Rev. xii:7-12.]

And this from Jude: "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day" (Jude 6). Peter also alludes to this event when he says: "God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment" (II Peter ii:4).[A]

[Footnote A: It is upon these declarations of Scripture that Milton has based his gorgeous epic, "Paradise Lost."]

2. Modern Scriptures on the War in Heaven: These are the scripture passages which I said in a vague way represent both the pre-earth existence of Intelligences, and a state of strife, struggle, rebellion, war; attended with the loss of "first estate," and place in heaven, being thrust out into outer darkness. But what the point of controversy, the cause of difference upon which the "war" was based—all this we are left in ignorance of in these scriptures; and even in those other scriptures yet to be quoted, the brevity is painful, and yet they shed great light upon conditions that one feels must have existed in heaven, from the passages of Hebrew scripture massed above. In the Doctrine and Covenants occurs the following passage:

"Behold, the Devil was before Adam [speaking of Adam in the Garden of Eden, and of his temptation], for he rebelled against me, saying give me thine honor, which is my power; also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency; and they were thrust down and became the Devil and his angels. And behold there is a place prepared for them from the beginning, which place is hell."[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov., Sec. 29:36-38.]

Again, in the revelation called the "Vision," or "Vision of the Three Glories," the Prophet says:

"And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son, whom the Father loved, and who was in the bosom of the Father—was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son. And was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him—he was Lucifer, a son of the morning. And we beheld and lo, he is fallen! is fallen! even a son of the morning. And while we were yet in the Spirit, the Lord commanded us that we should write the vision, for we beheld Satan, that old serpent—even the Devil—who rebelled against God, and sought to take the kingdom of our God, and his Christ."[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov., Sec. 76:25-38.]

The Book of Abraham, after representing God's purpose to create an earth in order that the Intelligences in the midst of whom he dwelt might have earth-existence, and be put in the way of eternal progress (Ch. iii:24, 26), then asks: "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, Ch. iii:27-28).

Again in the Book of Moses (Pearl of Great Price), after detailing an experience which Moses had with Satan, the Lord said to him:

"That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying: Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor. But, behold, my beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me, Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever. Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; and he became Satan, yea, even the Devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice."[A]

[Footnote A: Book of Moses iv:1-4.]

This last passage from the Book of Abraham discloses the important truth that this war in heaven was connected with a controversy concerning the redemption of man from conditions in which, apparently, the contemplated earth-life would involve him. The controversy concerned also the choice of One to perform this work of redemption. Two offered themselves, but the terms of one involved at least the sacrifice of two mighty principles; one, the agency of man; the other, the honor and glory of God. "Here am I, Father, send me," said the Christ. Then Lucifer—the Light Bearer, and "one in authority in the presence of God"—said: "Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy Son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor." But the first spake again, saying,[A] "Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever." Whereupon the election fell upon the Christ, and Lucifer rebelled.

[Footnote A: I am presenting the order of events here as they may be implied from the two accounts here presented, one from the Book of Abraham, the other from the Book of Moses. The former is a very brief statement, the latter, more elaborate.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Free Agency of Intelligences.

1. The moral freedom of Intelligences did not begin with earth-life.

2. Freedom, an inherent quality of Intelligences.

3. Freedom follows them through all estates, and in all spheres in which they are placed by God.

Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses, Chs. i-iv.

Doc. & Cov., Sec. 29:36-38.

Seventy's Course in Theology, Year Book II, Lesson iv.

Book of Mormon, Alma xxix:4; II Nephi ii:27.

New Witnesses for God, Vol. III, pp. 207-214.

II. Transfer of the Honor and Glory of God Demanded.

1. The spirit of Lucifer.

2. The spirit of Christ.

SPECIAL TEXT: "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." (Doc. & Cov., Sec. 93.)


1. Of the Nature of Moral Freedom: The controversy in the heavenly council between Christ and Lucifer, gives emphasis to the importance of man's agency—his freedom to will and to do as he shall elect. The choice of the Christ as the Redeemer of the world cannot be regarded as being connected with any event by which the agency or moral freedom of Intelligences was then created. It was the maintenance of that which already existed rather than the creation of any new thing which was involved. Indeed the moral freedom of Intelligences is something which is as eternal as they are. Freedom is an attribute of Intelligences and may not be taken from them without robbing them of all joy and glory and dignity of existence. "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 who receiveth not the light is under condemnation, for man is spirit."[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov., Sec. 93:30-33.]

Whenever God, therefore, speaks of the agency or moral freedom of man,[A] reference is had to the spirit or Intelligence which constitutes the real man, "for man is spirit," that is, mind, Intelligence is the real fact of him. All truth and all Intelligences are independent in that sphere in which God has placed them, to act for themselves, otherwise there is no existence (see above quotation). That is to say, there is no existence where this fact of the freedom of truth and of Intelligences does not obtain. Freedom of man, then, means freedom of the Intelligence which is the chief fact of man; freedom in all estates through which he shall be called to pass, in all spheres in which God shall place him to act, the quality of freedom never leaves him. In obedience or in rebellion against God, it is his freedom that keeps him in either condition, and ministers to his joy or his misery respectively.

[Footnote A: It will be observed that these terms are used interchangeably.]

"I know," says the Nephite Prophet Alma, "that he [God] granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he alloteth unto men, according to their wills; whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction" (xxix:4).

The second Nephi says: "The Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great mediation of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself."[A] Upon these principles it is manifest that God designed that freedom should follow Intelligences into their earth-life.

[Footnote A: II Nephi ii:27.]

2. Moral Freedom to Follow Man in all Estates: When the earthlife was proposed, Intelligences were about to exercise that freedom in a new sphere of existence; in a new environment, under new, and to them, doubtless, strange conditions. The plan Lucifer proposed involved the destruction of his freedom. "Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man," says the Lord. "Here am I," said Lucifer, "send me. I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind that not one soul shall be lost."[A] Under this plan, Intelligences were to have an earth-life in which there would be no losses; a world where there was nothing adventurous and dangerous, a "game" in which there are no real stakes; all that was "hazarded" would be given back. All must be saved; and no price is to be paid in the work of salvation. The last word is to be sweet. All is to be "yes," "yes" in the universe.[B] The fact of "no" was nowhere to stand at the core of things. There could be no seriousness attributed to life under such a plan, since there were to be no insuperable "noes" and "losses;" no genuine sacrifices anywhere; nothing permanently drastic and bitter to remain at the bottom of the cup. "I will redeem all mankind, that not one soul shall be lost," said Lucifer; "and surely I will do it." Man was to have nothing to do in the achievement, all was to be done for him. He was to be passive, merely. Not a thing to act, but something to be acted upon. Such only could be the outcome of a world where all mankind would be saved, "that not one soul should be lost." It would be an utterly meaningless world. Without heroism; listless indifference would claim it. Passage through such an estate would add nothing to Intelligences. And yet, beyond question, there were natures among the Intelligences of heaven that longed for such a scheme of things, so much they dreaded danger, adventure and the stress of life that comes from individual struggle and individual responsibility. "Give us ease, let us have things done for us without our concern and the pain of striving," is their cry. And a third part of the hosts of heaven Lucifer turned away from the Lord in that day, because they made this election, and they became the devil and his angels (Doc. & Cov., Sec. xxix).

[Footnote A: Book of Moses, Ch. iv:4.]

[Footnote B: The expressions here used are a paraphrase of a passage in a lecture of the late Prof. Wm. James, on "Pragmatism" (page 295), on the thought, "May not the notion of a world already saved in toto anyhow, be too saccharine to stand."]

3. The Thoughts of a Modern Philosopher: Mr. Wm. James, in his "Pragmatism," has a very wonderful passage bearing upon the whole thought here dwelt upon; and it is so pregnant with suggestion relative to our theme, so supported by philosophical thought and analysis of human nature, both strong and weak, that one marvels at the idea and thought in it which so parallels our own doctrines advanced in the Book of Moses—the doctrines above considered and given to the Church, in large part, in the very first years of her existence.[A] The following is the passage from Mr. James:

[Footnote A: For full account of the Book of Moses, see Seventy's Year Book. No. I, Lessons v and vi. It was published in full by F. D. Richards in the Pearl of Great Price, 1851, Liverpool, England.]

"Suppose that the world's Author put the case to you before creation, saying: 'I am going to make a world not certain to be saved, a world the perfection of which shall be conditional merely, the condition being that each several agent does its own "level best." I offer you the chance of taking part in such a world. Its safety, you see, is unwarranted. It is a real adventure, with real danger, yet it may win through. It is a social scheme of co-operative work genuinely to be done. Will you join the procession? Will you trust yourself and trust the other agents enough to face the risk?

"Should you, in all seriousness, if participation in such a world were proposed to you, feel bound to reject it as not safe enough? Would you say that, rather than be part and parcel of so fundamentally pluralistic and irrational a universe, you preferred to relapse into the slumber of nonentity from which you had been momentarily aroused by the tempter's voice?[A]

[Footnote A: Of course this proposition of relapsing into "nonentity" is no part of the "Mormon" scheme of thought, since the actual proposition of our revelations was made to Intelligences alike uncreated and uncreatable, and alike indestructible; so that while in the exercise of their freedom these Intelligences might decline participation in the scheme of things proposed, they could not sink back into nonentities.]

"Of course, if you are normally constituted, you would do nothing of the sort. There is a healthy-minded buoyancy in most of us which such a universe would exactly fit. We would therefore accept the offer—'Top! and schlag auf schlag!" It would be just like the world we practically live in; and loyalty to our old nurse Nature would forbid us to say no. The world proposed would seem 'rational' to us in the most living way.

"Most of us, I say, would therefore welcome the proposition and add our fiat to the fiat of the creator. Yet perhaps some would not; for there are morbid minds in every human collection, and to them the prospect of a universe with only a fighting chance of safety would probably make no appeal. There are moments of discouragement in us all, when we are sick of self and tired of vainly striving. Our own life breaks down, and we fall into the attitude of the prodigal son. We mistrust the chances of things. We want a universe where we can just give up, fall on our father's neck, and be absorbed into the absolute life as a drop of water melts into the river or the sea.

"The peace and rest, the security desiderated at such moments is security against the bewildering accidents of so much finite experience. Nirvana means safety from this everlasting round of adventures of which the world of sense consists. The Hindo and the Buddhist, for this is essentially their attitude, are simply afraid, afraid of more experience, afraid of life!

"And to men of this complexion, religious monism comes with its consoling words: 'All is needed and essential—even you and your sick soul and heart. All are one with God, and with God all is well. The everlasting arms are beneath, whether in the world of finite appearance you seem to fail or to succeed.' There can be no doubt that when men are reduced to their last sick extremity, absolutism is the only saving scheme. Pluralistic moralism simply makes their teeth chatter, it refrigerates the very heart within their breast. * * *

"I find myself willing to take the universe to be really dangerous and adventurous, without therefore backing out and crying, no play. I am willing to think that the prodigal son attitude, open to us as it is in many vicissitudes, is not the right and final attitude towards the whole of life. I am willing that there should be real losses and real losers, and no total preservation of all that is. I can believe in the ideal as an ultimate, not as an origin, and as an extract, not the whole. When the cup is poured off, the dregs are left behind forever, but the possibility of what is poured off is sweet enough to accept.

"As a matter of fact, countless human imaginations live in this moralistic and epic kind of a universe, and find its disseminated and strung along successes sufficient for their rational needs. There is a finely translated epigram in the Greek anthology which admirably expresses this state of mind, this acceptance of loss as unatoned for, even though the lost element might be one's self:

  "A shipwrecked sailor, buried on this coast,
      Bids you set sail.
  Full many a gallant bark, when we were lost,
      Weathered the gale."

"It is, then, perfectly possible to accept sincerely a drastic kind of a universe from which the element of 'seriousness' is not to be expelled. Whoso does so is, it seems to me, a genuine pragmatist. He is willing to live on a scheme of uncertified possibilities which he trusts; willing to pay with his own person, if need be, for the realization of the ideals which he frames."[A]

[Footnote A: "Pragmatism" (1908), Wm. James, pp. 290-297.]

4. The Startling Parallel Between the Reflections of the Philosopher and the Doctrines of the Book of Moses: Such the voice of a modern, and, without disparagement of others, I think I may venture to say, our greatest American, philosopher. In this statement, as I said in introducing it, Professor James puts the case of the proposed earth-existence of man, as set forth in the early revelations to the Church, in a way that is startling. The proposition put to Intelligences before the earth was made, in each case; an earth-life full of adventure and danger, safety not guaranteed,[A] in each case; the counter plan proposed that would guarantee safety rejected; and yet the existence of some "morbid minds" among the spirits—found "in every human collection," to whom "the prospect of a universe with only a fighting chance" made no appeal, and accordingly their rejection of it, and their rebellion. But, thank God, the Christ in that great council prevailed, as also he prevailed in the war of the Rebellion in Heaven, which followed upon that Council's decision. The Christ's spirit stood for the freedom of man in that great controversy. He stood for a serious earth-life for Intelligences, in which though there would be some losses, many losses, in fact, yet also there would be much gain and glory. Gain, however, that could not be obtained but through great strivings; the exercise of all the great virtues, of trust and patience, endurance and courage, wisdom and temperance, together with faith and hope and charity. Thank God, I say, that Jesus the Christ, in the pre-existence, stood for all those things which make earth-life worth while and existence itself endurable—for the moral freedom of man.

[Footnote A: "We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these [Intelligences] 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" (Book of Abraham, Ch. iii:24-26).]

5. The Spirit of Lucifer: In the closing paragraph of Lesson V it is stated that two mighty principles were involved in the plan of earth-life for Intelligences. One the agency of man; the other, the honor and glory of God. The first has been considered; the second must now receive attention:

"I will redeem all mankind that one soul shall not be lost; and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor." To this the Christ is said to have replied: "Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever" (Book of Moses, Ch. iv:1, 2). These two propositions represent the spirit of the two characters here in contention. The one, self-seeking, vainglorious, selfish—willing that the agency of man shall be destroyed if only he may be exalted. Willing that Intelligences shall be bereft of freedom—if only he can be Lord. "And surely I will do it," self sufficiency. "Wherefore give me thine honor!" With which would go also the power of God and the glory! (See Book of Moses, Ch. iv:3.) Hence this scheme of Lucifer's contemplated not only the despoliation of man, but the dishonoring of God. Truly the ambition of Lucifer was boundless, as his selfishness was fathomless. Well might the poet make lord Wolsey say:

  "I charge thee, fling away ambition;
  By this sin fell the angels."[A]

[Footnote A: King Henry VIII.]

6. The Christ Spirit: In contrast with Lucifer's characteristics revealed in this controversy, contemplate the plan and character of the Christ. Standing as it does in antithesis to the agency-destroying plan of Lucifer, it must be held to be agency-preserving, hence offers not salvation to all so "that one soul shall not be lost," but predicates salvation upon compliance with some conditions, on obedience, say, to God. Under this agency-preserving plan, then, the Christ said: "Father, thy will be done." Equivalent to saying, Father, let thy freedom-preserving plan obtain, and be carried into effect—"Thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever!" And it was in this spirit that the work of the atonement was wrought out in the earth-life of the Christ. "I came down from heaven," said he, "not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me" (St. John vi:38). "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which sent me" (St. John v:30). Thrice in that hour when the shadows and sorrows due to a world's sin were falling upon him, the Christ prayed, "O, my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me: except I drink it, thy will be done" (Matt. xxvi). And when the betrayer came, and with him the agents of the earthly government, and one drew the sword to resist them, the Christ chided him, and told him to put up his sword, and gave his impulsive follower to understand that his course in submitting to the world's forces was voluntary on his part. "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" (Matt. 26:53, 54.) And so "he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. ii:8). Such the spirit of the Christ—humble submissiveness—

  "Thy will, O God, not mine be done,
  Adorned his mortal life."


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Fall and Its Relation to the Purposes of God.

Book of Moses (Pearl of Great Price), Ch. v:1-2; also Ch. vi:43-68.

II. The Nobility of Adam Manifested in the Fall.

Book of Mormon, II Nephi ii; Alma, Chs. xii, xiii and xlii.

III. The Effects of the Fall Physical and Moral.

Richards and Little's Compendium, Art. "Fall of Adam," pp. 3-5, and all their references.

Seventy's Year Book II, Lesson viii.

IV. The Relation of the Fall to Man's Life as Man.

New Witnesses for God, Vol. III, Ch. xl, pp. 180-192, 214-218; 227-230.

SPECIAL TEXT: "Adam fell that man might be; men are that they might have joy." (II Nephi ii:25.)


1. A Suggested Review: It is suggested to the student that he at this point review, either in class or by private reading, the following lessons in Seventy's Course in Theology, Second Year Book:

Lesson V.—Preparation of the Earth for the Abode of Man.

Lesson VII.—The Adamic Dispensation I.

Lesson VIII.—The Adamic Dispensation II.

Lesson IX.—The Adamic Dispensation III.

I refer the student to those lessons in order that the necessity might be avoided of entering again into detail on those subjects; for here I shall only say respecting the "fall" so much as may be necessary to keep up the continuity of the theme.

2. The "Fall" of Man as Related to the Purposes of God: From what is set forth in Part I of this treatise, it is evident that the "fall of Adam" did not surprise the purposes of God with reference to man's earth life. Nor is it thinkable that it was an accident, or that it in any way thwarted the original purposes of God in respect of man. Indeed the subject as developed up to this point brings us to the fall of man as the next step in the sequence of the purposes of God in regard to man's earth life. There must be a transition from a spirit-existence to a man-existence for those Intelligences in heaven designed for habitation on our earth. There must be brought to pass a change from heavenly conditions to earth conditions if the Intelligences designed for habitation on our earth are to have the experiences that earth life can impart; a life where evil is manifest and active; where the moral harmony is broken; where men must walk by faith, and not by sight. This transition from spirit-existence to man-existence; from a state of moral harmony to one where moral harmony is broken and evil is active is called "the fall;" and was essential to the accomplishment of God's purposes. Of its details, and its processes it becomes one to speak cautiously, for but little is revealed, and beyond what is revealed upon the subject, we have no knowledge.

3. "Adam Fell that Men 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 in a state of innocence; 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," and also hid from the presence of the Lord.[A]

[Footnote A: Gen. iii:7-9.]

In an incidental way Paul gives us to understand that Adam in the matter of this 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 thereof. 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, therefore, it is to be believed that Adam was not deceived, either by the cunning of Lucifer or the blandishments of the woman, deliberately, and with a full knowledge of his act and its consequences, and in order to carry out the purpose of God in the existence of man in the earth, he 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. Hence "Adam fell that men might be."

[Footnote A: "Adam was not deceived, but the woman, being deceived, was in the transgression" III Tim. ii:14.]

4. The Nobility of Adam in the Fall: 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 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, just as essential to the accomplishment of that purpose as the "redemption" through Jesus Christ. Certainly there would have been no occasion for Atonement and 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 man's earth life, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, had there been no fall. It cannot be but that it was part of God's purpose to give man these experiences and display the above named qualities in their true relation, for the benefit and blessing and enlargement and ultimate uplifting 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 Atonement and 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 atonement, 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 the Christian religion roundly denounce Adam for his transgression[A] and especially for the recital of the circumstances of his fall, "The woman thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." In which they seem to find an attempt to shift responsibility for the fall upon woman instead of a plain statement of fact. The truth is, that nothing could be more courageous, sympathetic, or nobly honorable than the course of our world's great Patriarch in his relations to his wife Eve and the fall. The woman by deception of Lucifer is led into transgression, and stands under the penalty of a broken law. Banishment from the presence of God; banishment from Eden and the presence of her husband, if he partakes not with her in the transgression; dissolution of spirit and body—physical death—all await her, and her alone! Thereupon the man, not deceived, but knowingly (as we are assured by Paul), also transgressed. Why? In one aspect of the case in order that he might share the woman's banishment from the dear presence of God, and with her to die—than which no 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.

[Footnote A: See Seventy's Year Book No. II, Lesson VIII.]

5. The Purpose and Effect of the Fall: Adam transgressed, or fell, "that man might be," as the Book of Mormon states it.[D] That is to say, that man might "be" (i. e., exist), in earth life; and not only "be" but "be" as man; an eternal Intelligence begotten a spirit in the heavenly kingdom, and now on earth taking on through painful process and at much hazard eternal elements of matter as a covering, a body, that there might be a fullness of joy, and power, and without which union of spirit and element there could be no fullness of joy or power (Doc. & Cov. Sec. 93).

Also Adam fell that man might "be" in the environment of earthlife; in the midst of broken harmonies, where good and evil are seen in conflict; in a life of adventure and danger; in a life where real losses may have to be sustained; and sorrows as well as joys are realities; where death as well as life is encountered; and where spiritual deaths may be as endless, as spiritual lives may be eternal. To bring to pass these conditions essential to man's earth-experiences, on which is to be builded his future progress, the "fall" must be; which is only another way of saying that the transition from heaven conditions to earth must be made. In no way else could this earth department of God's great university for Intelligences be established. May it not, however, from some points of view be regarded as a misnomer, this "fall?" Certainly it is but an incident in the process of rising to greater heights. It is but the crouch for the spring; the steps backward in order to gain momentum for the rush forward; a descending below all things only that there might be a rising above all things. Such the benefits to arise from the fall; at least to some, and doubtless to the benefit ultimately, of most of the Intelligences that participate in earth-life, though there will be real losses in the adventure.[B] The fall is to eventuate in the advantage of God's children, then, in the main. 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 as a "murder." This is to show the nature of Adam's transgression. It was a transgression of the law—"for sin is the transgression of the law"—that conditions deemed necessary to the progress of eternal Intelligences might obtain. But Adam did sin. He did break the law, which is sin, 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 that 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 real; he did brave the conditions that would be brought into existence by his sin; it 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; moral and intellectual darkness, sin and death—death, the wages of sin—stalked through the world, and made necessary the Atonement for man, and his redemption.

[Footnote A: Elsewhere of this Book of Mormon passage I have said: In the second book of Nephi, chapter ii, occurs the following direct, explicit statement: Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy.

This sentence is the summing up of a somewhat lengthy discussion on the Atonement, by the Prophet Lehi. It is a most excellent and important generalization, and is worthy to be classed with the great generalizations of the Jewish scriptures, such for instance as that in the closing chapter of Ecclesiastes, "Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man;" Paul's famous generalization: "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive;" or the Apostle James' summing up of religion: "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father, is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to kep one's self unspotted from the world." Or the Messiah's great summing up of the whole law and gospel: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all they heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self. On these two commandments hang all the law and all the prophets." I care not whether you regard the literary excellence of this Book of Mormon generalization or the importance of the great truths which it announces, I repeat it, it is worthy in every way to stand with the great generalizations quoted above.]

[Footnote B: A question presses on the optimists, * * * Are the rebellious and the sinful not also on the up grade? Ultimately and in the last resort will not they, too, put themselves in time with the harmony of existence? Who is to say? Time is infinite, Eternity is before us as well as behind us, and the end is not yet. There is no "ultimately" in the matter, for there is no end; There is room for an eternity of rebellion and degradation and misery as well as of hope and love" ("Science and Immortality," Sir Oliver Lodge, p. 291)—and hence, doubtless, real losses to be sustained.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)

THE FALL OF MAN.—(Continued.)



V. The Importance of Life—Be Fruitful and Replenish the Earth.

Same references as in Lesson VII.

VI. The Fall Beneficent.

VII. The Book of Mormon View of the Fall.—Necessary to the Purposes of God.

VIII. Summary of the Subjects of Lessons VII and VIII.

SPECIAL TEXT: "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 which they were [in], after they were created; and they must have remained for ever, 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."


1. Be Fruitful.—Importance of Life: The purpose of God in the earth-life of man already has been considered (Lesson IV, Subdivision 4), and it was found to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man as man; and 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 fullness of joy" must be inseparably connected with element (Doc. & Cov. Sec. xciii:32-35, also note 2, Year Book II, 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 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 an 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).

2. Nature's Testimony to the Value of Life: 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 agencies the earth would soon be overwhelmed. "Every being," says Mr. Darwin, "which during its natural life time 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, notwithstanding 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."

3. "The Fall" Regarded as Beneficent by Adam and Eve: Much that is remarked in the foregoing paragraphs of this lesson on the nature of the fall finds its warrant in the Book of Moses, (Pearl of Great Price) and in the Book of Mormon, in what is said of Adam and Eve, and what is said by them when the fact of the Atonement was expounded to them; for one of the effects the fall seems to have had upon Adam and his spouse—the effect of transition from heaven conditions to earth conditions—was to veil their knowledge, to some extent, as to pre-earth life conditions and purposes of God;[A] hence they lost their knowledge apparently of the earth-life scheme of things, and had to be instructed anew as to the plan of "eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began."[B] And after Adam had been re-instated in a knowledge of the things of God, and made to understand that notwithstanding he had fallen yet could he be redeemed, "and all mankind, even as many as will"—"In that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God. And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient. And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters."[C]

[Footnote A: It will be observed that in speaking of Adam and Eve and their part in the affairs of our earth and the beginning of the human race upon it. I am passing by the evident allegory of Genesis as to the earth origin of Adam and Eve. Our doctrine regard these first parents of the human race as simply coming from another sphere upon a mission to this earth to perform the work assigned them in peopling the earth as prepared for them at their advent. The account in Genesis of man's earth origin, of his being made of the dust of the earth, and woman manufactured from man's rib gives in allegory the process of the generation of human life. But human life is but a continuation of pre-earth existing life which has no beginning and which will have no end, being of the eternal things. So that in the system of philosophic thought that is born of the revelations in which the New Dispensation of the gospel has its origin, man was not moulded from the earth as a brick nor woman manufactured from a rib; but, as well stated by Elder Parley P. Pratt, the earth having been prepared and made ready for the human race, "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." "Key to Theology," Ch. vi.]

[Footnote B: Titus i:2. Also Book of Moses, Ch. v:1-12. For a fuller consideration of the facts of the text see Seventy's Year Book II, Lesson XI. Notes 5 and 6.]

[Footnote C: Book of Moses (Pearl of Great Price) Ch. v. 10-12.]

4. Book of Mormon View of the Fall—Necessary to the Purposes of God: After a most remarkable process of reasoning upon the fact of opposite existences, good and evil, sin and righteousness, and reaching the conclusion that there "must needs be an opposition in all things," the Nephite prophet applies his principles to the fall of Adam in the following passage:

"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. 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. Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy."[A]

[Footnote A: II Nephi ii:15-25. For a treatise on "Opposite Existences," see "New Witnesses for God," Vol. III, pp. 219-227.]

5. Summary of Views of the Fall: I shall depend on the two foregoing passages, to sustain, in large measure, the views of this lesson, viz., that the fall of Adam was not an accident; that it did not surprise the purposes of God with reference to man's earth-life, much less thwart them; that the fall was as much embraced in the sovereign purposes of God with reference to the earth-life of man as was the Atonement; that without the first the second could not be; that the transition from heaven conditions to earth conditions, the fall, in some way was connected with the propagation of the earth-life of man: "Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed" is the declaration of Eve, allowed to stand in the Book of Moses as an undoubted truth. But for the transgression of Adam, as the Prophet Lehi tells us, in the above passage, "all things which were created, must have remained in the same state which they were [in] after they were created; and they must have remained forever and had no end. And they [Adam and Eve] 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 Adam made the necessary transition from a state of mere innocence, he fell that man might be, and that the experiences of earth-life might follow, and eventuate in something better and greater than mere innocence, viz., in virtue; which is goodness, and strength, acquired by conquest of evil.[A]

[Footnote A: See Seventy's Year Book No. II, Part II, Lesson IX, p. 50. On this distinction between mere innocence and virtue, Professor Joseph Le Conte of the University of California says: "It will, I think, be admitted by all that innocence and virtue are two very different things. Innocence is a pre-established, virtue a self-established, harmony of spiritual activities. The course of human development, whether individual or racial, is from innocence through more or less discord and conflict to virtue. And virtue completed, regarded as a condition, is holiness, as an activity, it is spiritual freedom. Not happiness nor innocence but virtue is the goal of humanity. Happiness will surely come in the train of virtue, but if we seek primarily happiness we miss both. Two things must be borne steadily in mind; virtue is the goal of humanity; virtue can not be given, it must be self-acquired. * * * Why could not man have been made a perfectly pure, innocent, happy being, unplagued by evil and incapable of sin? I answer: The thing is impossible even to Omnipotence, because it is a contradiction in terms. Such a being would also be incapable of virtue, would not be a moral being at all, would not in fact be man. We can not even conceive of a moral being without freedom to choose. We can not even conceive of virtue without successful conflict with solicitations to debasement. But these solicitations are so strong and so often overcome us, that we are prone to regard the solicitations themselves as essential evil, instead of our weak surrender to them." (Evolution and Its Relation to Religious Thought—1902—pp. 372-3.)]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The First Promise of an Atonement.

Genesis iii; Book of Moses (P. of G. P.), Chs. v and vi.

II. Adam's Sacrifices and the Atonement.

Hebrews Chs. ix and x. Dr. William Smith's Old Testament History, Chs. ii and Appendix to Book III, Sec. iv—"Sacrifices and Oblations."

III. The Mosaic Sacrifices:

1. The Sin Offering.

2. The Day of Atonement.

Smith's Bible Dictionary (Hackett Edition), Vol. IV, Art. "Sacrifices." Also Kitto's Biblical Literature, Art. "Sacrifices."

IV. The Christian Fathers on the Significance of Ancient Sacrifices.

Mediation and Atonement (Pres. John Taylor), Ch. xvi.

SPECIAL TEXT: "When Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover, he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood and without shedding of blood is no remission." (Heb. ix:19-22.)


1. The Idea of an Atonement of Ancient Origin: From the earliest times the fact of an Atonement for man is foreshadowed. "The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat," said Eve, to the Lord. "And the Lord God said unto the serpent * * * I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."[A]

[Footnote A: Gen. iii:13, 15.]

In this passage Christians with justice have always seen the proclamation of the good tidings of the final victory over sin. "It is in Christ that the seed of the woman crushes the serpent."[A]

[Footnote A: Dummelow's Commentary on Gen. iii.]

2. Atonement Foreshadowed in Ancient Sacrifices: The Atonement is also foreshadowed in the sacrifices of burnt offerings of Adam, his son Abel and the early Bible patriarchs. So meagre is the Bible account of the origin of sacrifices that some have doubted if they bore any relation to the sacrifice to be offered by the Christ, or were at all of divine origin.[A] Our scripture, however, the Book, of Moses, sets the matter at rest for Latter-day Saints; for there it is written:

[Footnote A: "In tracing the history of sacrifice, from its first beginning to its perfect development in the Mosaic ritual, we are at once met by the long-disputed question, as to the origin of sacrifice; whether it arose from a natural instinct of man, sanctioned and guided by God, or whether it was the subject of some distinct primeval revelation. * * * The great difficulty in the theory which refers it to a distinct command of God, is the total silence of Holy Scriptures—a silence the more remarkable, when contrasted with the distinct reference made in Gen. ii to the origin of the Sabbath. Sacrifice, when first mentioned, in the case of Cain and Abel, is referred to as a thing of course; it is said to have been 'brought' by men; there is no hint of any command given by God. This consideration, the strength of which no ingenuity has been able to impair, although it does not actually disprove the formal revelation of sacrifice; yet at least forbids the assertion of it, as of a positive and important doctrine." (Smith's "Bible Dictionary"—Hackett ed.—Art. "Sacrifice," Vol. IV, p. 2770).

Was sacrifice in its origin "a human invention or a divine institution; and whether any of the sacrifices before the law, or under the law, were sacrifices of expiation. Eminent and numerous are the authorities on both sides of these questions; but the balance of theological opinion preponderated greatly for the affirmative in each of them. On the lower point, however, (viz., were the sacrifices sacrifices of expiation) most of those who deny that there was an expiatory sacrifice before the law, admit its existence under the law; and on the first, those who hold that sacrifice was of divine origin, but became much corrupted, and was restored by the Mosaic law, do not in substance differ much from those who hold it to have been a human invention, formally recognized, and remodelled by the law of Moses." Kitto's "Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature," Art. "Sacrifices." The difficulty and doubt in respect of both questions presented by these authorities is overcome by the passage which follows in the text from the Book of Moses.]

"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.[A] And Adam was obedient unto the commandments 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 doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore. 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 forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will."

[Footnote A: This doubtless gives the ground of explanation for the acceptance of Abel's offering for a sacrifice, the firstlings of his flock; and the rejection of Cain's offering, the fruits of the ground (Gen. iv:3-7). The one was brought in compliance with the appointment of God, the other was not of divine appointment, but was an unwarranted deviation from the commandment, hence, "the Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering," but not unto Cain's. In Kitto's article on "Sacrifices" there is another very great reason urged as to why Abel's sacrifice was acceptable and why Cain's was not. It is reasonable, and in harmony with the importance of the whole doctrine of the Atonement, and I have nowhere else found the idea so well expressed. "It amounts then to this—that Cain, by bringing an eucharistic (expressing thanks merely) offering, when his brother brought one which was expiatory, denied virtually that his sins deserved death, or that he needed the blood of Atonement. Some go further, and allege that in the text itself, God actually commanded Cain to offer a piacular [expiatory, atoning] sacrifice. The argument does not require this additional circumstance; but it is certainly strengthened by it. When Cain became angry that Abel's offering was regarded with divine complacency, and his own refused, God said to him, 'Why art thou wroth; and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.' Now the word 'chattah,' translated 'sin' denotes in the law a 'sin-offering' and the word translated 'lieth' is usually applied to the recumbency of the beast. It is therefore proposed to translate the clause, 'sin-offering coucheth at the door; which by paraphrase would mean, 'an animal fit for a sin-offering is here, couching at the door, which thou mayest offer in sacrifice, and thereby render to me an offering as acceptable as that which Abel has presented." (Kitto's "Bible Literature," Art. "Sacrifice.")]

This clearly establishes the divine origin of sacrifices among the antediluvian patriarchs; and, indeed, of all antiquity;[A] and also the fact, that they but foreshadowed the great sacrifice to be made in due time by the Son of God himself. Doctor Wm. Smith, the author of the "Old Testament History," says:

[Footnote A: A strong moral argument in favor of the divine institution of sacrifice, somewhat feebly put by Hallet (Comment, on Heb. xi:4, cited by Magee, "On the Atonement"), has been reproduced with increased force by Faber ("Prim. Sacrifice," p. 183). It amounts to this:

"Sacrifice, when uncommanded by God, is a mere act of gratuitous superstition. Whence, on the principle of St. Paul's reprobation of what he denominates will-worship, it is neither acceptable nor pleasing to God.

"But sacrifice, during the patriarchal ages, was accepted by God, and was plainly honored with his approbation.

"Therefore sacrifice, during the patriarchal age, could not have been an act of superstition uncommanded by God.

"If, then, such was the character of primitive sacrifice; that is to say, if primitive sacrifice was uncommanded by God,—it must, in that case indubitably have been a divine, and not a human institution." (Kitto's "Cyclopedia Biblical Knowledge," Vol. II, Art. "Sacrifice.")]

"The curse upon the serpent and promise to the woman point clearly to a Redeemer, who should be born of a woman, and by his own suffering, should destroy the power of the devil; and here we have the first prophecy of the Messiah. * * * There can be no reasonable doubt that the sacrifice of living animals was now instituted as a prophetic figure of the great sacrifice which should fulfill this promise. Animals must have been slain to provide the skins that clothed Adam and Eve; and wherefore slain, except in sacrifice? This might not seem conclusive in itself; but the whole reason for sacrifice began to exist now; its use is taken for granted in the next chapter (Gen. iv); and it continues throughout the patriarchal age without the record of any other beginning. Thus early, then, man learned that, "without shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin;" that his own forfeited life was redeemed, and to be restored by the sacrifice of the coming "seed of the woman;" and that he was placed by God under a new dispensation of mercy. Nay, even his punishment was a mercy; for his suffering was a discipline to train him in submission to God's will. The repentance of our first parents is nowhere expressly stated; but it is implied here and in the subsequent narrative."[A]

[Footnote A: We must not omit to notice the traces of these truths, which are found among many nations. The Greek legend of Pandora traces the entrance of evil to a woman; the Buddhist and Chinese traditions refer the beginning of sin to eating forbidden fruit and desiring forbidden knowledge; and most systems of mythology make the serpent a type of the power of evil, and a divine personage his destroyer. Delitzch well says, "The story of the Fall, like that of the Creation, has wandered over the world. Heathen nations have transplanted and mixed it up with their geography, their history, their mythology, although it has never so completely changed form, and color, and spirit, that you can not recognize it. Here, however, in the Law, it preserves the character of a universal, human, world-wide fact; and the groans of Creation, the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus, and the heart of every man, conspire in their testimony to the most literal truth of the narrative." The recollection of the tree of life is preserved in the sacred tree of the Assyrians and Hindoos, and in the other Eastern systems of mythology ("Old Testament History"—Wm. Smith—p. 29.)]

The fact of Adam's repentance, however, is clearly set forth in the Book of Moses, and his acceptance of the whole scheme of salvation through the atonement of Christ.[A]

[Footnote A: See Book of Moses (P. of G. P.), Ch. v:4-16 and Ch. vi:48-68.]

3. The Atonement of Christ Foreshadowed in the Mosaic Sacrifices: It is very generally conceded that the sacrifices and oblations of the Mosaic ritual have a direct relationship to the great atoning sacrifice to be made by the Christ. From the ninth and tenth chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrews it is evident that "the law" was "a shadow of good things to come;" the law's sacrifices for sin and reconciliation with God but figured forth the greater and more efficient sacrifice to be made by the Son of God; nay, whatever of virtue there was in the sacrifices of the law were dependent upon the great sacrifice to follow. Of themselves, the sacrifices of the law had no virtue at all unconnected with the sacrifice to be made by the Christ;[A] they were but symbols figuring forth that sacrifice in which the virtue was, the sacrifice of the Christ himself. "For it is expedient," says the Nephite Prophet Alma—"It is expedient that an Atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the eternal God, there must be an Atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the Atonement which it is expedient should be made. Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall be all fulfilled; every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away. And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law; every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God; yea, infinite and eternal."[B]

[Footnote A: Hebrews x:1-10.]

[Footnote B: Alma xxxiv:9, 13, 14.]

The late President John Taylor upon this subject said:

"These sacrifices, which were offered up from the days of Adam until the time of our Savior's advent, were typical of the great expiatory sacrifice which He was to make by the sacrifice of himself. They were so many types, shadows and forms of which he was the great prototype—the substance, the reality prefigured and foreshadowed by the other sacrifices which had been offered up from the beginning.

"When the law was given to Moses, all the forms pertaining to the sacrificial ceremonies were revealed in detail, and the instructions in relation thereto were not simply of a general nature, but they entered into minute particulars in relation to all things connected with those who officiated, the form and pattern of the sacred utensils and of the vestments of the Priesthood, the creatures to be sacrificed, the order of the proceedings, and indeed of all matters associated with the observance of these rites. Almost the whole of the book of Leviticus, and considerable of the book of Numbers, is occupied with these instructions and kindred matters. This Mosaic law, with all its duties, observances, ceremonies and sacrifices, continued in force until Christ's death."[A]

[Footnote A: "Mediation and Atonement" (1882), p. 124.]

4. The Sin Offering of the Mosaic Law: The Author of the Article on "Sacrifices," in Smith's "Bible Dictionary" (Hackett edition), Vol. IV—Rev. Alfred Barry, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, in describing the "Sin Offering of the Mosaic law," says:

"The nature and meaning of the various kinds of sacrifice is partly gathered from the form of their institution and ceremonial, partly from the teaching of the prophets, and partly from the New Testament, especially the Epistle to the Hebrews. All had relation, under different aspects, to a covenant between God and man.

"The sin offering represented that covenant as broken by man, and as knit together again, by God's appointment, through the 'shedding of blood.' Its characteristic ceremony was the sprinkling of the blood before the veil of the sanctuary, the putting some of it on the horns of the altar, incense, and the pouring out of all the rest at the foot of the altar of burnt offering. The flesh was in no case touched by the offerer; either it was consumed by fire without the camp, or it was eaten by the priest alone in the holy place, and everything that touched it was holy. This latter point marked the distinction from the peace-offering, and showed that the sacrificer had been rendered unworthy of communion with God. The shedding of blood, the symbol of life, signified that the death of the offender was deserved for sin, but that the death of the victim was accepted for his death by the ordinance of God's mercy."

5. The Ceremonial of the Day of Atonement: "This [the truth of the preceding paragraph] is seen most clearly in the ceremonial of the 'Day of Atonement,' when, after the sacrifice of the one goat,[A] the high priest's hand was laid on the head of the scape-goat—which was the other part of the sin-offering—with confession of the sins of the people, that it might visibly bear them away, and so bring out explicitly, what in other sin-offerings was but implied. Accordingly we find that, in all cases, it was the custom for the offerer to lay his hand on the head of the sin-offering, to confess generally or specially his sins, and to say, 'Let this be my expiation.' Beyond all doubt, the sin-offering distinctly witnessed that sin existed in man, that the 'wages of that sin was death,' and that God had provided an Atonement by the vicarious suffering of an appointed victim. The reference of the Baptist to a 'Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world,' was one understood and hailed at once by a 'true Israelite.'"[B]

[Footnote A: Two goats were used in this ceremonial, one of which was killed and made a "sin offering" and the other a scape-goat to figuratively bear off the sins of the people.

"And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scape-goat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scape-goat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scape-goat into the wilderness" (Lev. xvi:7-10).]

[Footnote B: Smith "Dictionary," Vol. IV, p. 2774.]

6. The Paschal Sacrifice or Passover: In some respects the Paschal Sacrifice more perfectly than any other, perhaps, foreshadowed the future sacrifice of the Son of God for the deliverance of his people—those who would trust the sign of deliverance in his blood. The institution of the sacrifice and feast was as follows. When all other judgments upon Pharaoh failed to persuade him to let God's people go, then said the Lord to Moses:

"About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: and all the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the first-born of the maid-servant that is behind the mill; and all the first-born of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast; that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel."[A]

[Footnote A: Exodus xi:4-7.]

When this terrible judgment was about to be executed the Lord provided the following means of deliverance for his people: Each family in Israel were commanded at a given time to take a lamb without blemish, a male of the first year, for a Passover Offering, and it was to be killed in the evening.

"And they shall take of the blood and strike it on the two side-posts, and on the upper doorpost of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. * * * And ye shall eat it in haste; it is the Lord's passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast: and against all the gods of Egypt, I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations: ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever."[A]

[Footnote A: Exodus xii.]

Thus was the Passover established. Of it the late President Taylor said:

"It appears, that when the destroying angel passed by the houses of the children of Israel he found the blood of a lamb sprinkled on the doorpost; which was a type of the blood of Christ, the lamb of God. The angel who was the executor of justice could not touch those who were protected by that sacred symbol; because that prefigured the sacrifice of the Son of God, which was provided at the beginning of creation for the redemption of the human family, and which was strictly in accordance with provisions then made by the Almighty for that purpose—'the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world'—and accepted in full as an atonement for the transgressions of mankind, according to the requirements of eternal justice and agreed to by the Savior and his Father."[A]

[Footnote A: "Mediation and Atonement," p. 106.]

Of course it cannot be doubted that this festival of the Passover was instituted as a great memorial of the deliverance from Egyptian bondage, and the birth of the nation of Israel; and there are not wanting those who maintain that this was its primary significance. But the leading feature in the festival, the Paschal Lamb, "a male, without blemish;" the killing of it; the blood sprinkled upon the door post, the sign of safety to God's people; the eating of the lamb in preparation of the journey; the subsequent honoring of this feast by the Christ with his disciples; the substitution of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper for the Passover festival at the very time and on the very occasion of celebrating the feast of the passover among the Jews;[A] together with the subsequent inspired reference to Christ as the Paschal Lamb of the Christians,[B] are circumstances too numerous and too nearly related to doubt of the significance of the Passover festival having reference to the great sacrifice to be made by the Son of God through the shedding of his blood in atonement for the deliverance of his people. Of the Passover being a symbol of the sacrifice of the Son of God, the writer upon that theme in Smith's "Bible Dictionary" says:

[Footnote A: Matt. xxvi and Luke xxii.]

[Footnote B: I Cor. v:7.]

"No other 'shadow of good things to come' contained in the law can vie with the festival of the passover in expressiveness and completeness. Hence we are so often reminded of it, more or less distinctly, in the ritual and language of the Church. Its outline, considered in reference to the great deliverance of the Israelites which it commemorated, and many of its minute details, have been appropriated as current expressions of the truths which God has revealed to us in the fullness of times in sending his Son upon earth."[A]

[Footnote A: Smith's "Dictionary of the Bible" (Hackett's edition), Vol. IV, p. 2355.]

7. The Testimony of Some "Christian Fathers:" Certain of the socalled Christian Fathers agree with this view of the Old Testament sacrifices figuring forth the sacrifice to be made by the Christ, both as to sacrifices in the early patriarchal times and under the law of Moses. Of these, first, is

(a) Eusebius of Caesarea: Born 264 A. D. (about); died 349 (about).

"Eusebius of Caesarea, in a passage too long for quotation, alleges, that animal sacrifice was first of all practiced by the ancient lovers of God (the patriarchs) and that not by accident, but through a certain divine contrivance, under which, as taught by the divine spirit, it became their duty thus to shadow forth the great and venerable victim, really acceptable to God, which was, in time then future, destined to be offered in behalf of the whole human race ("Demonst. Evang." i:8, pp. 24,25)."[A]

[Footnote A: Kitto, Vol. II, p. 661.]

(b) Athanasius: Born 296 A. D.; died 373.

"Next we come to Athanasius, who, speaking of the consent of the Old Testament to the fundamental doctrines of the New, says: 'What Moses taught, these things his predecessor Abraham had preserved; and what Abraham had preserved, with those things Enoch and Noah were well acquainted; for they made a distinction between the clean and the unclean [animals], and were acceptable to God. Thus also in like manner Abel bore testimony; for he knew what he had learned from Adam, and Adam himself taught only what he had previously learned from the Lord" (Synod. Nicen. contr. Haer, Arian, Decret., Opp. i, 403).[A]

[Footnote A: Ibid.]

(c) Augustine: Bp. of Hippo. Born 354 A. D.; died 430.

"Augustine, after expressly referring the origin of sacrifice to the divine command, more distinctly evolves his meaning by saying: 'The prophetic immolation of blood, testifying from the very commencement of the human race the future passion of the Mediator, is a matter of deep antiquity inasmuch as Abel is found in Holy Scripture to have been the first who offered up his prophetic immolation (Cont. Faust. Manich. Onp. vi:145). These testimonies certainly vindicate the opinion of the divine origin of primitive sacrifice from the charge of being a modern innovation, with no voice of antiquity in its favor."[A]

[Footnote A: Kitto, Vol. II, p. 661.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Atonement Considered as a Fact.

St. Luke, Ch. i; also Heb. ix and x, and all the New Testament citations in the text of this lesson—the context of these passages should also be considered.

Richard-Little Compendium, Art. "Atonement," pp. 8-13, and all its references.

Mediation and Atonement (Taylor), Chs. iii, iv, v and vi.

The Gospel (Roberts), Ch. ii (3rd Edition).

II. The Testimony to the Fact.

1. Gabriel;

2. John the Baptist;

3. The Christ;

4. The Judean Apostles:

(a) Paul,

(b) Peter,

(c) John.

SPECIAL TEXT: "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood and without shedding of blood is no remission." (Heb. ix:22.)

[Footnote A: "New Testament Scriptures," as here used means more than the New Testament of the Bible. It means that New Testament of course, but that plus the Book of Mormon books written after the birth of Messiah, beginning with III Nephi, and also the immediate scriptures of the New Dispensation, viz., the Doctrine and Covenants.]


1. The Fact of the Atonement: The important thing to be established in the mind of man concerning the atonement is the fact of it. While it is not the intention of this treatise to avoid the discussion of the philosophy of the Atonement[A]—by which is meant only a discussion of the reasonableness of it—and rest in the mere fact of it as proved from the Scriptures, still I repeat that the fact of it and man's acceptance of it as a fact, is of first importance.[B] This and the following lesson of Part II, therefore, are devoted to grouping the scriptural texts for the fact of the Atonement from "New Testament Scriptures."

[Footnote A: Part III is wholly devoted to that division of the subject.]

[Footnote B: Elsewhere on this theme I have said: How is it that through the sacrifice of one who is innocent salvation may be purchased for those under the dominion of death? I will observe, in passing, that what should most concern us is, not so much how it is that such is the case, but is it a fact? Is it true that God has established such a scheme of redemption, is what should concern us most.

To that question the blood sprinkled upon a thousand Jewish altars, and the smoke that darkened the heavens for ages from burnt offerings, answer yes. For those sacrifices, and that sprinkled blood were but typical of the great sacrifice to be made by the Messiah.

Even the mythology of the heathen nations retains the idea of an Atonement that either has been, or is to be made for mankind. Fantastic, distorted, confused; buried under the rubbish of savage superstition it may be, but it nevertheless exists. So easily traced, so distinct is this feature of heathen mythology, that some writers have endeavored to prove that the gospel plan of redemption was derived from heathen mythology. Whereas the fact is that the gospel was understood and extensively preached in the earliest ages; men retained in their tradition a knowledge of those principles or parts of them, and however much they may have been distorted, traces of them may still be found in nearly all the mythologies of the world.

The prophets of the Jewish scriptures answer the foregoing question in the affirmative. The writers of the New Testament make Christ's Atonement the principal theme of their discourses and epistles. The Book of Mormon, speaking as the voice of an entire continent of people, whose prophets and righteous men sought and found God, testifies to the same great fact, and the revelations of God as given through the Prophet Joseph Smith are replete with passages confirming this doctrine. * * * The evidence here indicated is more than sufficient, it seems to me, to establish the fact of the Atonement beyond the possibility of a doubt: and if there are some things in it not yet within the scope of our comprehension, still there is sufficient foundation for our glorious hope and faith of eternal life through its power: for the evidence proving the fact of that Atonement is sufficient, wanting nothing, either in quality or quantity" "(The Gospel," Ch. ii.)]

2. The Angel's Testimony to the Atonement of Christ: "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: * * * She shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins."[A]

[Footnote A: Matt. i:18, 23.]

Such were the words of the angel to Joseph, the betrothed husband of Mary, the Mother of Christ.

3. John the Baptist's Testimony: "Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world * * * and I saw and bear record that this is the Son of God."[A]

[Footnote A: St. John, Ch. i:29, 34.]

Such John's testimony concerning Jesus of Nazareth, as he saw that more than Prophet coming to his baptism.

4. The Christ's Testimony to the Atonement: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."[A]

[Footnote A: St. John iii:15-17.]

Such the Christ's testimony of himself. And again the Christ:

"When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he[A] [i. e., the one that taketh away the sins of men]."[B] "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me." This he said signifying by what death he should die."[C]

[Footnote A: Ibid viii:28.]

[Footnote B: Ibid, verse 24.]

[Footnote C: St. John xii:32, 33.]

When instituting the sacrament, at the passover supper, celebrated upon the night of his betrayal, as the disciples were eating, "Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it, for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."[A] Mark and Luke practically give the same account of the incident.

[Footnote A: Matt. xxvi:26-28.]

After the resurrection, Jesus, overtaking two of the disciples on their way to Emmaus, engaged them in conversation respecting the crucifixion of Jesus. And in course of their narrative of the missing body of the Christ, the resurrected Messiah interrupted them, saying:

"O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."[A]

[Footnote A: St. Luke xxiv:25-27.]

Subsequently, he was known of these two disciples by the breaking of bread. And after these two astonished disciples returned to Jerusalem and were detailing their experience to the eleven Apostles, and those that were with them, Jesus entered the room where they were gathered:

"And he said unto them: These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."[A]

[Footnote A: St. Luke xxiv:44-47.]

5. Testimony of the Judean Apostles: Turning now to the disciples after the departure of the resurrected Christ from their midst, and the endowment of the apostles with the Holy Ghost, they teach: "Neither is there salvation in any other [name than the Christ's]: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."[A] "Feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood."[B] "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God."[C]

[Footnote A: Acts iv:10-12.]

[Footnote B: Acts xx:28.]

[Footnote C: Rom. iii:23-25.]

"If we believe on him that raiseth up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification."[A]

[Footnote A: Rom. iv:24, 25.]

6. Paul's Testimony to the Atonement: An extended passage in his letter to the Romans, Paul reasons upon the atonement made by the Christ in the following manner:

"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commandeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the Atonement. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many."[A]

[Footnote A: Romans v:6-12, 15. See also Ch. vii.]

All will remember Paul's passage in the first letter to the Corinthians: "Since by man [Adam] came death, by man [the man Christ Jesus] came also the resurrection from the dead. For as in Adam all die; even so in Christ shall all be made alive."[A]

[Footnote A: I Cor. xv:21, 22.]

"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he arose again the third day according to the scriptures."[A]

[Footnote A: I. Cor. xv:3-4.]

"To the praise of the glory of his grace wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved: in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace."[A]

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

"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood; even the forgiveness of sins."[A]

[Footnote A: Col. i:12-14.]

"For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified of in due time."[A]

[Footnote A: I Tim. ii:5, 6.]

"We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels[A] for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that by the grace of God should taste death for every man."[B] "Who needeth not daily as those high priests [i. e., of the Mosaic law] to offer sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he [the Christ] did once, when he offered up himself."[C]

[Footnote A: "A little while inferior to" is the marginal rendering of the passage. See also "Mormon Doctrine of Deity," p. 163—Note—for a discussion of the passage.]

[Footnote B: Heb. ii:8-10.]

[Footnote C: Hebrews vii.]

"But Christ * * * by his own blood * * * entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of the bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctified to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. * * * And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."[A]

[Footnote A: Heb. ix:12-14. 22.]

7. The Testimony of the Apostle Peter to the Atonement: The Apostle Peter is equally emphatic with Paul in testifying of the virtue of the Atonement of Christ in bringing to pass the redemption of man through his death, as witness the following:

"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. * * * Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you."[A]

[Footnote A: I Peter i:2, 18-20.]

Again: "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison."[A]

[Footnote A: I Peter iii:18-19.]

8. The Testimony of John, the Beloved Disciple, to the Atonement: So also John, the beloved disciple, testifies to the same effect: "If we walk in the light as he [God] is in the light, we have fellowships one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."[A]

[Footnote A: I John i:5-7.]

"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."[A]

"And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation: and hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth."[B]

"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him [the dragon—Satan], whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."[C]

[Footnote A: I John ii:1.2.]

[Footnote B: Rev. v:9, 10.]

[Footnote C: Rev. xiii:8.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




III. The Testimony to the fact of the Atonement (Continued).

5. The Book of Mormon as a Witness:

(a) The Testimony of the Christ to the Nephites.

(b) The Testimony of Christian Institutions.

(1) The Ordinance of Baptism.

(2) The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

References same as those in Lesson X, with the citations in the body of this Lesson, and the contexts of the texts, which should be fully considered.

IV. Testimony of the New Dispensation Scriptures—Doctrine and Covenants.

V. The Only Adequate Gospel Sermon—Jesus Christ.

SPECIAL TEXT: "Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. * * * I have come into the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin." (The Christ to the Nephites: III Nephi ix:15, 21.)


1. The Testimony of the Book of Mormon to the Atonement: The third book of Nephi, in the Book of Mormon, may well be called the "Fifth Gospel,"[A] the beginning of the New Testament of the Nephite scriptures. In it is detailed the account of the Christ's visit to the western hemisphere and the circumstances attendant upon the establishment of his Church among the Nephites. The voice of God, which was heard after the great destruction which swept over the land during the entombment of the Christ, said:

[Footnote A: The term was first used by Dr. Paden of Salt Lake. See "Defense of the Faith and the Saints," Vol. 1, pp. 371-399, for full treatment of the subject.]

"Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name. I came unto my own, and my own received me not. And the scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled. And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the Sons of God; and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh, and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled. * * * For behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin."[A]

[Footnote A: III Nephi ix:15-17.]

2. The Testimony of the Resurrected Christ: Then again, upon his appearing among the Nephites after his resurrection and his post-resurrection ministry in Palestine, the Christ said:

"Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified should come into the world: and behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and 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 the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning. * * * And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying: Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world."[A]

[Footnote A: III Nephi xi:10-14.]

3. Evidence of the Atonement in the Symbol of Baptism: Convincing as testimony to the fact of the Atonement is the Christian institution of baptism, the formula of which is given in the Book of Mormon. In it is shown the authority of the Christ in this ordinance of salvation, since in addition to the Holy Trinity being named as authorizing the ordinance, the administrator specifically declares that he has authority from Jesus Christ for performing it. The ordinance itself, providing as it does for the immersion of the candidate, symbolizes the Christ's death and burial for the sinner; and also in bringing forth the baptized from the watery grave, symbolizes the resurrection—all which is done that forgiveness of sin might be granted to those who thus palpably manifest that they do most solemnly accept the Atonement of the Christ of which his baptism is a most beautiful symbol—of his death, burial and resurrection.[A]

[Footnote A: III Nephi xi:10-14. The matter is treated somewhat more in detail in Lesson XXI.]

4. Evidence of the Atonement in the Symbol of the Lord's Supper: The Christ also established the sacrament of the Lord's Supper among the Nephites and constituted it the symbol of the Atonement. After breaking bread and blessing it, he gave it to his Nephite disciples and said: "This shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you, and it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me, and if you do always remember me, ye shall have my spirit to be with you."[A] So also with the wine which he blessed and gave them to drink, adding, "Ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that you may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me."[B]

[Footnote A: III Nephi xviii.]

[Footnote B: Ibid.]

What may be called the "New Testament"[A] part of the Book of Mormon, then, no less than the New Testament of the Bible testifies to the fact of the Atonement. The same may be said of the immediate scriptures of the New Dispensation, the Doctrine and Covenants.

[Footnote A: Referring to those parts of the Book of Mormon which were written after the birth of the Christ, beginning with the III Nephi.]

6. Testimony of the New Dispensation Scriptures—Doctrine and Covenants: In a revelation to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, given in June, 1829, the Lord said: "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God: For behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance."[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov. Sec. 18:10-12.]

Again, in a revelation to Martin Harris, given through Joseph the Prophet, in March, 1830, the Lord said: "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! yea, 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, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men."[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov. Sec. 19:15-19.]

The declaration that Jesus Christ made an atonement for man is frequently repeated as follows:

"I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God, even one in me as I am in the Father, as the Father is one in me, that we may be one."[A]

"I am Christ, and in mine own name, by the virtue of the blood which I have spilt, have I pleaded before the Father for them; but behold, the residue of the wicked have I kept in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day; which shall come at the end of the earth."[B]

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov. Sec. xxxv:1, 2.]

[Footnote B: Doc. & Cov., Sec. xxxviii:4, 5.]


"Listen to him who is the Advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him, saying, Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed—the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life."[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov., Sec. xlv:3-5.]

7. The One Adequate Gospel Discourse (Brigham Young): Perhaps this branch of our treatise—the fact of the atonement—cannot be more fittingly closed than by quoting a passage from one of the discourses of Brigham Young, setting forth the impossibility of a man adequately preaching a gospel discourse in this our mortal life; and holding that Christ alone, in his creative work under the Fathers direction, in his earth-life, death, resurrection, and the final presentation of the finished work to his Father—this alone is the adequate gospel sermon:

"There is but one discourse to be preached to all the children of Adam; and that discourse should be believed by them, and lived up to. To commence, continue, and finish this gospel sermon, will require all the time that is alloted to man, to the earth, and all things upon it, in their mortal state; that is my idea with regard to preaching. No man is able to set before a congregation all the items of the gospel, in this life, and continue these items to their termination, for this mortal life is too short. It is inseparably connected, one part with the other, in all the doctrines that have been revealed to man, which are now called the various doctrines of Christianity, of which all the professors of religion believe a portion; but severally reject, or desire to reject, other portions of the truth: each sect or individual taking to themselves portions of the Bible, portions of the doctrine of salvation, that are the most pleasing to them, rejecting all the rest, and mingling these doctrines with the tenets of men.

"But let a gospel sermon be preached, wherein all the principles of salvation are embodied, and we will acknowledge, at the end of the mortality of this earth, and all things created upon it—at the closing up scene, at the final consummation of all things that have been from the commencement of the creation of the world, and the peopling of it, unto the latest generation of Adam and Eve, and the final finishing up of the work of Christ—I say, we shall acknowledge that there is the gospel sermon, and that it could not be preached to finite beings in one short life.

"Christ is the author of this gospel, of this earth, of men and women, of all the posterity of Adam and Eve, and of every living creature that lives upon the face of the earth, that flies in the heavens, that swims in the waters, or dwells in the field. Christ is the author of salvation to all this creation; to all things pertaining to this terrestrial globe we occupy.

"He has redeemed the earth; he has redeemed mankind and every living thing that moves upon it; and he will finish his gospel discourse when he overcomes his enemies and puts his last enemy under his feet—when he destroys death, and him that hath the power of it—when he has raised up this kingdom, and finished his work which the Father gave him to do, and presents it to his Father, saying, 'I have done the work, I have finished it; I have not only created the world, but I have redeemed it; I have watched over it, and I have given to those intelligent beings, that you have created by me, their agency, and it has been held with perfection to every creature of intelligence, to every grade of mankind; I have preserved inviolate their agency; I have watched over them, and overruled all their actions, and held in my hand the destinies of men; and I have finished up my gospel sermon,' as he presents the finished work to his Father.

"It takes just such a character as the Savior, to preach one gospel discourse; and this was commenced with the commencement of all men upon this earth or any other; and it will never close until the winding up scene, and all is finished, and the kingdom is presented to the Father."[A]

[Footnote A: Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, pp. 80, 81.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Attributes[A] Ascribed to God—First Group.

1. Eternity;

2. Immutability;

3. Omnipotence;

4. Omniscience;

5. Omnipresence.

Doc. & Cov.: "Lectures on Faith," Lectures III and IV. Catechism (John Jaques), Ch. v; Doc. & Cov. Sec. 20:17-28.

Richards and Little's Compendium: "True and Living God," pp. 187-193.

Also collection of passages in Oxford or Cambridge "Bible Helps," or "Bible Treasury," under captions, "God" and "Attributes." Also the scripture passages quoted and cited in the body of this lesson.

II. The Attributes Expounded—Limitations.

SPECIAL TEXT: "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." (Psalms xc:2.)

[Footnote A: Attribute: A characteristic or distinguishing mark, especially an excellent or lofty quality or trait (Cent. Diet.). "By this word 'attribute' is meant something which is immovable and inseparable from the essence of its subject, as that which constitutes it (Descartes). Attribute is considered a word of lofty significance: Thus, for example, it would be felt as indecorous to speak of the 'qualities' of God, and as ridiculous to talk of the 'attributes' of matter."—Hamilton.]


1. The Attributes Ascribed to God: As the attributes of God are necessarily involved in the philosophy of the Atonement, I think it proper here to make brief allusion to them, especially to those more immediately involved in the Atonement. The attributes usually assigned to God, either upon the ground of scripture or the supposed necessity of his nature are: Eternity, Immutability, Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence, Wisdom, Holiness, Truth, Justice, Mercy, Love.

2. Eternity: By "Eternity," spoken of as an attribute of God, is meant God's eternal existence. We may not in rational thought assume a time when God was not—or when He did not exist. God's eternity is sustained by such scripture as David's 90th Psalm, "Before the mountains were brought forth, or thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God." Also Paul bears the same witness: "And thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands. They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same and thy years shall not fail."[A]

[Footnote A: Heb. i:10-12.]

3. Immutability: God's "Immutability," his unchangeableness, is sustained in such passages of both ancient and modern scriptures as follow: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."[A] "For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."[B] "For God does not walk in crooked paths, neither does he turn to the right hand nor to the left, or vary from that which he has said; therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round,"[C] "Listen to the voice of the Lord your God, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, whose course is one eternal round, the same yesterday, today and forever."[D]

[Footnote A: James i:17.]

[Footnote B: Malachi iii:6.]

[Footnote C: Doc. & Cov., Sec. 3, v. 2.]

[Footnote D: Doc. & Cov., Sec. 35, v. 1.]

4. Omnipotence: By "Omnipotence" is meant all-powerfulness. This attribute is essential to all rational thinking upon God. We may not think upon God and then think upon him as being overruled by a higher power, and still have him remain to our thought as God. The Scriptures in their whole spirit present this view of the Omnipotence of Deity. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. * * * And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. * * * And God said. Let the waters be gathered together in one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so." In this manner the work proceeds throughout the creation periods.[A]

[Footnote A: Gen. i-iii.]

Of this attribute David sings: "The heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord: * * * for who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord? Who among the sons of the Mighty can be likened unto the Lord? * * * O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee? Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves arise thou stillest them. * * * The heavens they are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them. * * * Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand."[A] To the same effect sang Isaiah (Ch. xl:10-15); also Jeremiah (Ch. xxvii:17), and Daniel (Ch. iv:35).

[Footnote A: Psalms lxxxix.]

In the New Testament, the Christ teaches that "with God all things are possible;"[A] and negatively, "with God nothing shall be impossible."[B] The Revelation uses the term "omnipotent" direct: "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and the voice of the mighty thunderings, saying Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."[C]

[Footnote A: Matt. xix:26.]

[Footnote B: Luke i:37.]

[Footnote C: Rev. xix:6. Also "Lectures on Faith," Doc. & Cov., Lecture III. So, too, in Mosiah iii:17, 18, 21.]

5. Omniscience: By "Omniscience" is meant all-knowing. "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world,"[A] said the Holy Spirit-inspired council of the apostles and elders of the early Christian church. "Remember the former things of old. * * * I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient time the things that are not yet done, saying my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure."[B] A sparrow falls not to the ground without the Father's notice.[C] In reasoning with Abraham upon the Intelligences in heaven and the fact that they varied in degree of intelligence, the Lord said that where there were two intelligences and the one was 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."[D] By which is meant, as I think, not that God is more intelligent than any other one of the Intelligences, but more intelligent than all of them together.

[Footnote A: Acts xv:18.]

[Footnote B: Isaiah xlvi:9, 10.]

[Footnote C: Matt. x:29.]

[Footnote D: Book of Abraham iii:17-19.]

6. Omnipresence: "Omnipresence" means everywhere present; and perhaps the best description of this attribute of God is in David's passage—"Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say surely darkness shall cover me: even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee: but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to these."[A] "Will God indeed dwell on the earth," asked Solomon, in dedicating the first temple, "Behold the heaven, and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have builded."[B] And Paul, in teaching the nearness of God to men, said that God had made of one blood all nations of men: and had given to all the privilege of seeking the Lord, if happily they might feel after him, and find him, "though he be not far removed from every one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being."[C]

[Footnote A: Psalms cxxxix:27.]

[Footnote B: I Kings viii:27.]

[Footnote C: Acts xvii:26-28.]

Under the attribute of "Omnipotence"—all-powerful—I include "Power," which is sometimes, and usually, treated separately as an attribute of God: and under "Omniscience" I include "Knowledge," which is also usually regarded separately as an attribute of Deity; but both these terms—"Power" and "Knowledge"—may very appropriately fall under the larger terms—"Omnipotence" and "Omniscience"—which, respectively, include them.

7. Limitation in the Attributes of God: W. may now consider somewhat the limitations of the attributes so far named. The Eternity of God may be regarded as absolute. "I am that I am," the Eternal One, the Self-existent, admits of no modification as to his Eternity.

His Immutability should be regarded as stability, adherence to principle. What stands among men under the name of "constitutional morality," fixed devotion to law; and working through law to the achievement of his divine purposes, rather than by caprice, or by arbitrary, personal action. But God's immutability should not be so understood as to exclude the idea of advancement or progress of God. Thus, for example: God's kingdom and glory may be enlarged, as more and more redeemed souls are added to his kingdom: as worlds and world-systems are multiplied and redeemed and enrolled with celestial spheres, so God's kingdom is enlarged and his glory increased. So that in this sense there may come change and progress even for God. Hence we could not say of God's immutability as we do of his eternity that it is absolute, since there may come change through progress even for God: but an absolute immutability would require eternal immobility—which would reduce God to a condition eternally static, which, from the nature of things, would bar him from participation in that enlargement of kingdom and increasing glory that comes from redemption and the progress of men. And is it too bold a thought, that with this progress, even for the Mightiest, new thoughts, and new vistas may appear, inviting to new adventures and enterprises that will yield new experiences, advancement, and enlargement even for the Most High?[A] It ought to be constantly remembered that terms absolute to man may be relative terms to God, so far above our thinking is his thinking; and his ways above our ways.

[Footnote A: On this point Sir Oliver Lodge has a passage at once advanced and bold, and yet for which he claims Christian warrant. It is, however, far removed from modern Christian orthodoxy, though splendidly true: "The universe is not a 'being,' but a 'becoming'—an ancient but light bringing doctrine when realized,—it is in change, in development, in movement upward and downward, that activity consist. A stationary condition, or stagnation, would be to us simple non-existence: the element of progression, of change, of activity, must be as durable as the universe itself. Monotony, in the sense of absolute immobility, is unthinkable, unreal, and cannot anywhere exist: save where things have ceased to be.

"Such ideas, the ideas of development and progress, extend even up to God himself, according to the Christian conception. So we return to that with which we started: The Christian idea of God is not that of a being outside the universe, above its struggles, and taking no part in the process, solely exalted, beneficent, self-determined and complete; no, it is also that of a God who loves, who yearns, who suffers, who keenly laments the rebellious and misguided activity of the free agents brought into being by himself as part of himself, who enters into the storm and conflict, and is subject to condition as the Soul of it all: conditions not artificial and transitory, but inherent in the process of producing free and conscious beings, and essential to the full self-development even of Deity.

"It is a marvelous and bewildering thought, but whatever its value, and whether it be an ultimate revelation or not, it is the revelation of Christ." ("Science and Immortality," p. 292.)]

The attribute "Omnipotence" must needs be thought upon also as somewhat limited. Even God, notwithstanding the ascription to him of all-powerfulness in such scripture phrases as "With God all things are possible," "Nothing shall be impossible with God"—notwithstanding all this, I say, not even God may have two mountain ranges without a valley between. Not even God may place himself beyond the boundary of space: nor on the outside of duration. Nor is it conceivable to human thought that he can create space, or annihilate matter. These are things that limit even God's Omnipotence. What then, is meant by the ascription of the attribute Omnipotence to God? Simply that all that may or can be done by power conditioned by other eternal existences—duration, space, matter, truth, justice—God can do. But even he may not act out of harmony with the other eternal existences which condition or limit even him.

So with the All-knowing attribute, Omniscience: that must be understood somewhat in the same light as the other attributes considered: not that God is Omniscient up to the point that further progress in knowledge is impossible to him; but that all knowledge that is, all that exists, God knows. He is Universal Consciousness, and Mind—he is the All-knowing One, because he knows all that is known.

So the attribute "Omnipresence"—the Everywhere Present attribute. This must be so far limited as to be ascribed to God's Spirit, or Influence, or Power: but not of God as a Person or Individual; for in these latter respects even God is limited by the law that one body cannot occupy two places at one and the same time. But radiating from his presence, as beams of light and warmth radiate from our sun, is God's Spirit, penetrating and permeating space, making space and all worlds in space vibrate with his life and thought and presence: holding all forces—dynamic and static—under control, making them to subserve his will and purposes.

God also uses other agencies to reflect himself, his power or authority: also his Wisdom, Goodness, Justice and Mercy—angels and arch-angels, both in heaven and on earth; and in the earth prophets, apostles, teachers—all that make for up-lift, for righteousness; all that catch some ray of the Divine Spirit in poem, music, painting, sculpture, state-craft or mechanical arts—all these but reflect God and are a means of multiplying and expressing him, the Divine. And in a special way, as witness for God, and under very special conditions, the Holy Ghost, that Being accounted the Third Person of the Godhead—he reflects and stands for God, his Power, and Wisdom; his Justice, Truth and Mercy—for all that can be, or is, called God, or is God. All these means, direct and indirect, convey God into the universe, and keep him everywhere present in all his essentials of Wisdom, Power and Goodness, while his bodily presence remains at the center of it all.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




III. Attributes Ascribed to God—Second Group.

1. Wisdom:

2. Holiness;

3. Truth;

4. Justice;

5. Mercy;

6. Love.

References same as in Lesson XII. Also Scriptures quoted and cited in the body of this lesson.

IV. The Attributes of God Constitute a Harmony—This Relates Them to the Atonement.

SPECIAL TEXT: "God does not walk in crooked paths, neither does he turn to the right hand nor to the left, or vary from that which he has said; therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round." (Doc. & Cov., Sec. 2:2.)


There is yet to be considered the attributes of Wisdom, Holiness, Truth, Justice, Mercy, Love; and these are the attributes referred to which are more immediately involved in the doctrine of Atonement.

1. Wisdom: Wisdom that arises from knowledge seems essentially an attribute of Deity; as well from the nature of the attribute as from the declaration of scripture. God as un-wise is unthinkable; unpossessed of this attribute, he could not appeal to the consciousness of man as God at all. Therefore it is agreeable to think with Elihu in Job, that God "is mighty in strength and wisdom."[A] Also with David: "O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom thou hast made them all: the earth is full of thy riches."[B] And again David: "Great is our Lord, and great of power; his understanding is infinite."[C] So Paul: "To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever;"[D] "The wisdom of the world is foolishness with God;"[E] He says, so high above the wisdom of men does he esteem the wisdom of God; and even "the foolishness of God is wiser than men."[F] We may fittingly close his testimony with his prayer: "Now, unto the King Eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever, and ever. Amen."[G]

[Footnote A: Job xxvi:5.]

[Footnote B: Psalms cxv:24.]

[Footnote C: Psalms cxvii:5.]

[Footnote D: Rom. xvi:27.]

[Footnote E: I Cor. i:25.]

[Footnote F: I Cor. i:26.]

[Footnote G: I Tim. i:17.]

Worthy to go with this testimony is that of Joseph Smith, in which is found the same spiritual music: "The Lord is God, and beside him there is no Savior; great is his Wisdom, marvelous are his ways, and the extent of his doings none can find out; his purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay his hand."[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov., Sec. 76:1-3.]

2. Holiness: "Holiness," as an attribute of God, is equally indispensable as Wisdom. Equally unthinkable is it that Deity should not possess it. No marvel that Moses sang, "Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods, glorious in holiness?"[A] "I am the Lord your God; * * * ye shall be holy: for I am holy,"[B] was God's word to ancient Israel. Throughout the scriptures God is spoken of as the "Holy One of Israel." "Thou art Holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises in Israel."[C] "Sing unto the Lord * * * at the remembrance of his Holiness."[D] "God that is Holy shall be sanctified in righteousness."[E] "And one cried unto another, and said: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory." Such Isaiah's vision.[F] Both the Old and the New Testaments are replete with the doctrine. In one of the prophets it is written: "O Lord, * * * thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity."[G] And again in the scripture: "I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance;"[H] which perhaps more than any other utterance of holy writ, asserts the Holiness of God.

[Footnote A: Ex. xv:11.]

[Footnote B: Lev. xi:44.]

[Footnote C: Psalms xxii:3.]

[Footnote D: Psalms xxx:4.]

[Footnote E: Isaiah v:16.]

[Footnote F: Isaiah vi:3.]

[Footnote G: Hab. i:12,-13.]

[Footnote H: Doc. & Cov., Sec. i:31: "Nevertheless," continues the passage, "he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven." Showing that while God may not compromise with sin by looking upon it with any degree of allowance, yet he has compassion upon the sinner who repents.]

3. Truth: The attribute of "Truth" is ascribed to God; and here we again come in touch with the absolute, as when speaking of God's Eternity. God can be no other than absolute in this quality. An untruthful God! the thought is blasphemy. "God is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent."[A] "Mercy and Truth shall go before thy face."[B] "A God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he."[C] "Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of Truth."[D] "Abundant in goodness and Truth."[E] So our modern scriptures: "God does not walk in crooked paths, neither does he turn to the right hand nor the left, or vary from that which he has said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round."[F] It cannot be emphasized too strongly—God is a God of Truth; and does not, and cannot lie without ceasing to be God. It would wreck the moral universe for God to lie. He must be, he is TRUTH! "A God of truth, without iniquity, just and right is he."[G]

[Footnote A: Numbers xxiii:19.]

[Footnote B: Psalms lxxxix:14.]

[Footnote C: Deut. xxxii:4.]

[Footnote D: Psalms xxxi:5.]

[Footnote E: Ex. xxxiv:6.]

[Footnote F: Doc. & Cov., Sec. 3:2.]

[Footnote G: Deut. xxxii:4.]

4. Justice: "Justice," as an attribute, is of the same quality as the attribute of Truth—it must be conceived as absolute in Deity. God not just! The thought would be blasphemous. Of course we have scripture warrant for the doctrine: "Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne."[A] "There is no God beside me: a Just God and a Savior."[B] "The Just God is in the midst thereof."[C] "Behold thy King cometh unto thee: he is Just and having salvation."[D]

[Footnote A: Psalms lxxxix:14.]

[Footnote B: Isaiah xv:21.]

[Footnote C: Zech. iii:5.]

[Footnote D: Zech. ix:9.]

5. Mercy: "Mercy" as an attribute of God is in a class with Truth and Justice and Holiness. A God without compassion—only another name for mercy—would be a monstrosity. No, God must be Merciful! Else what shall become of man? God not merciful! It is unthinkable, that is all. The quality of Mercy as an attribute of God is not strained;

  "It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
  Upon the place beneath; it is twice blest;
  It blesses him that gives, and him that takes;
  'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
  The throned monarch better than his crown;
  * * * It is an attribute to God himself!"

"Mercy and truth shall go before his face," is the testimony of the Psalmist.[A] "And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, Merciful and gracious."[B] "But thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful."[C]

[Footnote A: Psalms lxxxix:14.]

[Footnote B: Ex. xxxiv:6.]

[Footnote C: Neh. ix:17.]

6. Love: Love! the crowning glory of all the attributes of God! We may revel in this attribute. "He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is Love!"[A] "God is Love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."[B] "Every one that loveth is born of God."[C] "In this was manifested the Love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins."[D]

[Footnote A: I John iv:8.]

[Footnote B: I John iv:16.]

[Footnote C: St. John iii:16.]

[Footnote D: I John iv:9,10.]

"God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."[A] More perfect evidence than this of love, even God cannot give.

[Footnote A: St. John iii:16.]

7. The Harmony of God's Attributes: These attributes as well as those considered in lesson XII, must be thought upon as constituting a harmony; those with the existences as real and eternal as themselves; these with reference to harmony within or among themselves. Thus Justice may not deny the claims of Mercy. Mercy may not rob Justice. Even Love may not allow God to intrude upon Justice, or Wisdom or Truth. At the same time it must be remembered that Mercy and Love, no less than Justice, are attributes of God and somehow and somewhere must find entrance into the divine economy, must get themselves expressed and that worthily; worthy of their intrinsic nature, and worthy of God in whom they inhere. And while "all must be law" or at least in harmony with law; all "must be love," in harmony with love—for God, from first to last, is Love.

The attributes of God must be preserved in perfect accord if the moral harmony of the universe is to be maintained. It is these considerations which unite the attributes of God with the subject of Atonement. If God's moral government of the universe is, like his physical government, one of law, then Law, not personal, arbitrary, capricious Will must rule.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Government of the Universe—Two Methods Conceived of:

1. By Unvarying Law;

2. By Special Providence.

Doc. & Cov., Sec. 88; also Sec. 130.

A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology (White); Conflict Between Religion and Science (Draper); Natural Law in the Spiritual World (Drummond).

Joseph Smith, the Prophet-Teacher (Roberts), pp. 42-49.

Studies in Religion (Fiske), pp. 158-169, 337, 338.

II. Harmonization of Government by Unvarying Law, and the Existence of Special Providence.

1. Misconception of Unvarying Law; Laws Have Their Limitations.

2. Misconception of "Miracles."

III. The New Dispensation—Its Prophet and Doctrine Committed to the Reign of Law in Both the Physical and the Spiritual World.

[Footnote A: "The fundamental conception of law is an ascertained working sequence or constant order among the phenomena of nature.

* * "The laws of nature are simply statements of the orderly condition of things in nature, what is found in nature by a sufficient number of competent observers.

"And despite the limitations of its sphere on every side, Law is still the largest, richest, and surest source of human knowledge." (Henry Drummond: Natural Law in the Spiritual World, Introduction, pp. 4, 5.)]

SPECIAL TEXT: "There are many kingdoms, and to every kingdom is given a law; and to every law there are certain bounds also, and conditions. All beings who abide not in those conditions [i. e., laws] are not justified." (Doc. & Cov., Sec. 88:37-39.)


1. Government of the Universe—(A) By Unvarying Law: "Two interpretations may be given of the mode of government of the world," says Professor John W. Draper.

"It may be by incessant, divine interventions, or by the operation of unvarying law." The former view is held by Draper to be the view of the Roman religion (pre-Christian); and later of the Roman Christian religion. A priesthood, he holds, will always incline to the theory of "divine interventions," "since it must desire to be considered as standing between the prayer of the votary and the providential act." "Not without reason, therefore," he continues, "did they [the priests] look upon the doctrine of government by 'unvarying law' with disfavor." And then continues in the following manner:

2. Draper's View—Unvarying Law: "The orderly movement of the heavens could not fail in all ages to make a deep impression on thoughtful observers—the rising and setting of the sun; the increasing or diminishing light of the day; the waxing and waning of the moon; the return of the seasons in their proper course; the measured march of the wandering planets in the sky—what are all these and a thousand such, but manifestations of an orderly and unchanging procession of events? The faith of early observers in this interpretation may perhaps have been shaken by the occurrence of such a phenomenon as an eclipse, a sudden and mysterious breach of the ordinary course of events; but it would be resumed in tenfold strength as soon as the discovery was made that eclipses themselves recur, and may be predicted.

"Astronomical predictions of all kinds depend upon the admission of this fact—that there never has been and never will be any intervention in the operation of natural laws. The scientific philosopher affirms that the condition of the world at any given moment is the direct result of its condition in the preceding moment, and the direct cause of its condition in the subsequent moment."[A]

[Footnote A: Conflict Between Religion and Science, p. 229.]

In the remainder of the chapter here quoted, Draper traces the struggle between the idea of government by special Providence and government by "unvarying law." until the latter triumphs in modern thought and science.

3. White's View—Unvarying Law: To the same purpose, Andrew D. White, once professor of History at Cornell University, and President of the University for twenty-five years, published his great work, "A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology,"[A] The title of a few of the chapters will show the drift of the thought: "From Creation to Evolution," "From 'Signs and Wonders' to Law in Heaven," "From Genesis to Geology," "From Magic to Chemistry and Physics," "From Miracles to Medicine," and so following.

[Footnote A: The Work is in Two Volumes, Appleton and Co., 1903.]

4. John Fiske's View—Unvarying Law: Of course John Fiske (and the same may be said practically of all our modern scientists and philosophers) inclines to the same view—government of the universe by "unvarying law." Fiske describes the effect of the modern intellectual movement to be "to discredit more than ever before the Latin idea of God as a power outside of the course of nature and occasionally interfering with it. In all directions the process of evolution has been discovered, working after similar methods, and this has forced upon us the belief in the Unity of Nature. We are thus driven to the Greek conception of God as the power working in and through nature, without interference or infraction of law. We have so far spelled out the history of creation as to see that all has been done in strict accordance with law. * * * So beautiful is all this orderly coherence, so satisfying to some of our intellectual needs, that many minds are inclined to doubt if anything more can be said of the universe than that it is a Reign of Law, an endless aggregate of coexistences and sequences."[A]

[Footnote A: Studies in Religion, pp. 337-8.]

5. Henry Drummond's View—Unvarying Law: Drummond, in 1893, published his "Natural Law in the Spiritual World," with a view, as the title suggests, of bringing the phenomena of the spirit-world into harmony with the modern scientific conceptions that obtain respecting the natural world. His self-imposed task was to "demonstrate the naturalness of the supernatural;" that the natural and the spiritual world are one. Drummond's conception was a noble one, and resulted in the production of a very notable and convincing work, though meeting in some quarters with the impatience that attaches to works of its class, viz., the class that attempts to work out harmony between science and religion; or between the natural and the spiritual world.[A]

[Footnote A: Thus Andrew D. White, in his "Warfare of Science with Theology," speaking of the phases of theological attack upon science, represents the third and the last—as "an attempt" at compromise—"compromise by means of far-fetched reconciliations of textual statements with ascertained fact" (Warfare, Vol. I, p. 218). That Drummond himself was aware that these "attempts at compromise" of the differences between science and religion, or the "natural and spiritual world," is evident from his preface, where he says: "No class of works is received with more suspicion, I had almost said derision, than those which deal with Science and Religion. Science is tired of reconciliations between two things which never should have been contrasted. Religion is offended by the patronage of an ally which it professes not to need; and the critics have rightly discovered that, in most cases where Science is either pitted against Religion or fused with it, there is some fatal misconception to begin with as to the scope and province of either."]

6. Difficulties in the Way of Government by Unvarying Law; (1) Limitations of Laws: The difficulties between the conception of government of the world by "unvarying law," and the facts of man's spiritual or religious experiences, which seems at times to be in contravention of law, answers to prayer, healing the sick through faith, foreknowledge of coming events, and the like, would disappear if only men would recognize the fact that laws have their limitations; and that laws in nature known to us may have their force broken or counteracted by the operation of other forces. For example: the power of ocean currents and the winds to carry objects with them in the direction of their movement is overcome by another force, though no less operating under law, viz., the force found in steam; the force of gravitation by the levitating power of gas; the natural tendency of water to seek its level by evaporation and the absorbing power of the atmosphere, are examples. This principle of "law being governed by law," was taught by Joseph Smith as early as 1832, in a revelation received in that year, and in which it was said: "Unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions." The context of the passage makes it clear that "kingdoms" here are not groups of men or nations over which a monarch reigns; but substances, matter; worlds and world-systems, and their inhabitants under the dominion of law; the universe considered in its divisions and subdivisions. "Verily I say unto you," continues the revelation, "he [God] hath given a law unto all things by which they move in their times and their seasons; and their courses are fixed; even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets."[A] And yet these laws have their metes and bounds, their limitations; fixed, however, by the operation of other laws, not by the arbitrary will of an absolute monarch.

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov., Sec. 88:42, 43.]

(2) "Miracles" Part of the Divine Economy: The criticism of religionists on the conception of the government of the universe by the operation of "unvarying law," is that it bars out of the economy of things any place for the special providences of God; destroys all value in prayer; and eliminates miracles. To which the answer is "Not at all!" The whole seeming difficulty arises from a misconception of the means by which the providences of God are wrought; and the means by which socalled "miracles" are brought to pass. This subdivision of the subject may be treated under a brief discussion of "Miracles" usually defined to be an "event in derogation of the laws of nature." What I have said elsewhere upon this subject will answer my purpose here.[A] There is a general misapprehension of the term miracle. It is usually understood as "an event or effect contrary to the established constitution and course of things, or a deviation from the known laws of nature." Renan defines a miracle to be, "not simply the inexplicable, it is a formal derogation from recognized laws in the name of a particular desire." What is especially faulty in these definitions is this: Miracles are held to be events outside or contrary to the laws of nature. Let us examine this:

[Footnote A: "New Witnesses for God," Vol. I, p. 252.]

Two hundred years ago the only motive powers known to ocean navigators were wind and the ocean currents. Suppose at that time those old mariners had seen one of our modern ocean steamers running against both ocean currents and the wind, and, withal, making better speed, in spite of both wind and tide than the old sailing vessel could match even when running before the wind and the ocean currents in her favor. What would have been the effect on the mind of the old-time sailor? "It is a miracle!" he would have exclaimed; that is, it would have been an "effect contrary to the established constitution and course of things," "a derogation from recognized laws." But is such an effect to us who know something of the force of steam contrary to the laws of nature? No; it is simply the employment of forces in nature of which the old-time mariner was ignorant; and while it would have been a miracle to him, to us it is merely the application of a newly-discovered force of nature, and it is now so common that we cease to look upon it with wonder. So with the things that we in our ignorance call miracles—such as healing the sick, restoring the blind to sight, making the lame to walk, through exercise of faith; and the resurrection of the dead—instead of these things being in "derogation from recognized laws, we shall yet learn that they are done simply by the application of laws of which we are as yet in ignorance."[A] With man's limited knowledge of the laws of nature, how presumptuous it is in him to say that the healing of the sick or even the resurrection of the dead are in "derogation of the laws of nature," or that deviation from those few laws of nature with which he is acquainted will never happen, or is impossible! Better reasoners are they who, like George Rawlinson, say: "Miraculous interpositions on fitting occasions may be as much a regular, fixed, and established rule of his [God's] government, as the working ordinarily by what are called natural laws." In other words, what we in our ignorance call miracles, are to God merely the results of the application of higher laws or forces of nature not yet learned by man. Miracles are to be viewed as a part of the divine economy.

[Footnote A: "In the progress of science, all phenomena have been shown, by indisputable evidence, to be amenable to law, and even in the cases in which those laws have not yet been exactly ascertained, delay in ascertaining them is fully accounted for by the special difficulties of the subject; the defenders of miracles have adapted their argument to this altered state of things, by maintaining that a miracle need not necessarily be a violation of law. It may, they say, take place in fulfilment of a more recondite law, to us unknown.

"If by this it be only meant that the Divine Being, in the exercise of his power of interfering with and suspending his own laws, guides himself by some general principle or rule of action, this, of course, cannot be disproved, and is in itself the most probable supposition." ("Theism," in "Three Essays on Religion"—Mill,—pp. 223-4.)

Shedd treats upon the same theme and much in the same spirit; "The miracle is not contrary to all nature but only to nature as known to us," he represents the Apologists of early Christianity as saying, and then quotes a long and admirable passage from Augustine. ("History of Christian Doctrine," Vol. I, pp. 167-169.)]

3. The New Dispensation Committed to the Reign of Law: The Prophet of the New Dispensation, as we have seen, taught the doctrine of the reign of law in God's universe; and not alone in the physical or natural universe, but as well in the spiritual and moral phases of that universe.

In the revelation already quoted for the reign of law in the physical universe, he also says: "And again, verily I say unto you, that which is governed by law is also preserved by law, and perfected and sanctified by the same. That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice nor judgment. Therefore they must remain filthy still." And again he said: "There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world upon which all blessings are predicated; and when we obtain any blessing from God it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated."[A] The Prophet of the New Dispensation, then, the gospel of that dispensation, its Theology, stand committed to the sublime doctrine that the universe in every way is under the reign of law; and hence, in some way, the Atonement, by and through which man is redeemed; the necessity,—the absolute necessity—for it; the reason why that means, and that means alone, could bring redemption and put man in the way of salvation—all this must be by reason of the existence of some law by which the facts in the case are governed. These laws and an understanding of them are the object of our research.

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov., Sec. 130:21,22.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Effective Quality in Law—Inexorableness.

II. Reign of Law vs. Government by "Arbitrary Will."

Doc. & Cov., Sec. 88: also Sec. 130.

III. Mercy and Special Providence in a Reign of Law.

Drummond's Natural Law in the Spiritual World—Introduction.

IV. Law and Destructive and Constructive Forces.

Fiske's Studies in Religion, pp. 337-340; and the works and passages quoted in the body of this lesson.

V. God No Respector of Persons; Mercy and Special Providence Under Dominion of Law.

[Footnote A: "Inexorable"—literally not to be moved or changed by petition or prayer. Immovable, relentless. See Cent. Dict.]

SPECIAL TEXTS: "Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence [from prison] till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." (The Christ: Matt, v.26.)

"Think not I am come to destroy the law I a. not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." (Matt, v.17, 18.)


1. The Essence of Law: Inexorableness is of the essence of law. There can be no force in law only as it is inexorable. What effect is to cause, in the physical world, that penalty must be to violation of law in the moral and spiritual kingdom. This is what is meant by the inexorableness of law.

The inexorableness of law is at once both its majesty and glory; without it neither majesty nor glory could exist; neither respect nor sense of security, nor safety, nor rational faith. If the idea of the "reign of law" be set aside and there be substituted for it the reign of God by his sovereign will, independent of law, even then we must postulate such conception of the attributes of God that regularity will result from his personal government, not capriciousness, today one thing, tomorrow another. Hence one of old viewing God's government from the side of its being a direct, personal reign of God rather than a reign of God through law, wrote his message from God as follows:

"I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."[A]

[Footnote A: Malachi iii:6. For the notion expressed in the text that Malachi viewed God's government from the side of a personal reign, see the preceding verses of the chapter cited.]

And another occupying the same point of view, said:

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of light—"

And then he adds immediately, "With whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."[A]

[Footnote A: James i:17.]

2. The Quality of Regularity of Law—How Secured: View the matter, then, from which standpoint you may, government of the world by the personal, sovereign will of God, or the government of God through the reign of law, the quality of regularity, that can only come of inexorableness—arising either from the quality of God's attributes, or the inherent nature of law—is necessary to a sense of security, to right mental attitude, to rational thinking and right conduct. All this becomes apparent if the matter is thought upon conversely. If a reign of law is supposed to exist and the law is not inexorable, but may be set aside, suspended, abridged, enlarged, or its penalties annulled; and these changes affected not by the operation of any fixed principle, or by some controlling higher law, but capriciously, through the interposition of some sovereign will, call it special providence or what not, then, of course, you have no reign of law at all; but the reign of a sovereign will that operates independent of law. Under such government—if, indeed, it could be called government—all would be confusion, uncertainty, perplexity, doubt, despair. Happily no such conditions exist; but instead there exists a divine government in the world, operating through a reign of law; and the virtue and value of that government arises from the inexorableness of law.

3. Where, Then, is Mercy? If, however, the exorableness of law is to be insisted upon up to this degree of emphasis, where then does mercy, which is supposed to mitigate somewhat the severity and inexorableness of law; and, furthermore, is supposed in some way to represent the direct and gracious act of God when mitigating the law's severity—where does Mercy appear? At what point does she enter into the moral and spiritual economy? A large question, this, and one not to be considered just yet, except to say that the entrance of Mercy into the economy of the moral and spiritual kingdom, is not in violation of law, but in harmony with it. In fact, as we shall see somewhat later, Mercy takes her part in the economy of the moral and spiritual kingdoms because of the existence of a reign of law, rather than in derogation of it.

4. Destructive Forces Under the Dominion of Law: When a reign of law is conceived as governing in the physical world, then the conception must include the destructive, or disintegrating forces as operating under law as well as the constructive or integrating forces, else your reign of law is not universal.

Moses stood with God and beheld the multitude of his creations: "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. * * * And worlds without number have I created; and I have created them for mine own purpose. * * * Behold there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they with man. * * * 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."[A]

[Footnote A: Book of Moses (P. of G. P.) i:31-38.]

This passage implies constant movement in the universe. The statement, "As one earth shall pass away and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come," corresponds somewhat to the modern scientist's notion of "evolution and devolution;"[A] but the thing to be noted here is that not only is God represented as having created these worlds and world-systems "by the word of his power;" but also that "there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of his power." By which we are to understand that destructive as well as creating forces in the physical world operate under law. So also should we understand that in the moral and spiritual world, where there appears to be a modification of the inexorableness of law, such as comes in a manifestation of Mercy in the modification, or suspension, or the obliteration of the penalty of a law by the forgiveness of sin—for "sin is the transgression of the law"[B]—all this must not be thought upon as capriciousness, the arbitrary act of Deity in the interests of special favorites. No; the manifestation of mercy which seems to set aside the severity of the law, which seems to soften its inexorableness by allowing an escape from its penalty, by forgiveness of sins—this is the result of the operation of law, as much so as when the law proceeds to the utmost of its severity, to the extreme manifestation of its inexorableness in the exaction of the utmost farthing of its penalty. It is not by special and personal favor that men shall have forgiveness of sins, and find shelter under the wings of Mercy. That must be obtained, if obtained at all, under the operation of law governing the application of Mercy in the economy of the moral and spiritual world; by law that operates upon all alike. Forgiveness of sins, like other blessings, is predicated upon the obedience to law, and is not based upon personal favor. "There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundation of the world, upon which all blessings are predicated; and when we obtain any blessing from God it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated"[C]—forgiveness of sins with the rest. It is because we live under this reign of law that the scriptures teach that God is no respector of persons. God "regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward."[D] "Neither doth God respect any person; yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him."[E] "Peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile; for there is no respect of persons with God."[F] "Call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work."[G]

[Footnote A: "While new cosmic bodies arise and develop out of rotating masses of nebula in some parts of the universe, in other parts old, extinct, frigid suns come into collision, and are once more reduced by the heat generated to the condition of nebulae. * * * While minute and then larger bodies are being formed by this pyknotic [condensing] process in one part of space, and the intermediate ether increases its strain, the opposite process—the destruction of cosmic bodies by collision—is taking place in another quarter. The immense quantity of heat which is generated in this mechanical process of the collision of swiftly moving bodies represents the new kinetic energy which effects the movement of the resultant nebulae and the construction of new rotating bodies. The eternal drama begins afresh. Even our mother earth, which was formed of part of the gyrating solar system millions of ages ago, will grow cold and lifeless after the lapse of further millions, and, gradually narrowing its orbit, will fall eventually into the sun." (Ernest Haeckel: "Riddle of the Universe"—1900,—pp. 240, 243).]

[Footnote B: I John iii:4.]

[Footnote C: Doc. & Cov., Sec. 130.]

[Footnote D: Deut. xiv:17.]

[Footnote E: II Sam. xiv:14.]

[Footnote F: Rom. ii:10, 11.]

[Footnote G: I Peter i:17.]

"The collision of suns may have produced nebulae and these nebulae in turn may gradually develop themselves into suns again. It seems reasonably certain that nebulae are the stuff from which the stars are made" ("Science-History of the Universe," Vol. I; "Astronomy," p. 318).]

5. Sense of Security Under a Reign of Law: So here men stand under the reign of Law, before God. No one may hope to escape the penalty due to violation of law through favor; no one will fall under the condemnation of the law-through lack of favor with God, by reason of capriciousness in him, much less through vindictiveness, which is unthinkable in God. God will make no infraction of the law, in the interests of supposed favorites; such "blessings," whether in the providing of permanent opportunities for individuals, families, or races, as may reach through the apparent complexity of things to men; or occasional blessings such as seem to come to some individuals as special acts of providence; all will come in accordance with the laws upon which such blessings were predicated before the foundations of the world were laid; and this notwithstanding inequalities and diversity of fortunes and misfortunes that exist among individuals, families, nations, races of men. Underneath all the diversities and equalities that exist, so difficult to account for in some of their aspects, there law is operating despite all seeming incongruities; and out of all these diversities and complexities of experiences, at the last will come justice—God's justice; and men will be satisfied that it is so.

Meanwhile this reign of law, with all its inexorableness—nay, rather because of it—present and operating as well in disintegrating as in integrating processes; present in the manifestations of mercy and "special acts of providence," as in manifestations of severity in the moral and spiritual world; how splendid it all is! How satisfying! What assurance, what confidence it gives! No wonder that John Fiske, remarking upon the idea of the reign of law, said: "So beautiful is all this orderly coherence, so satisfying to some of our intellectual needs, that many minds are inclined to doubt if anything more can be said of the universe than that it is a 'Reign of Law,' an endless aggregate of coexistences and sequences."

But the deeper and truer view of things will be, not to accept this "reign of law" as God; nor mistake it for Deity—for mistake it would be if confounded with God. Let the reign of law be conceived rather as the means through which God is working to the achievement of his high purposes—God in the world, and working through law;[A] God, the administrative Power in the reign of law.

[Footnote A: It is only just to John Fiske to say that such is his conception of the matter; for, commenting upon the effect upon the thinker who has this conception of the reign of law in the world, he says: "The thinker in whose mind divine action is thus identified with orderly action and reign of law, and to whom a really irregular phenomenon would seem like a manifestation of sheer diabolism, foresees in every possible extension of knowledge a fresh confirmation of his faith in God. From his point of view there can be no antagonism between our duty as inquirers and our duty as worshipers. To him no part of the universe is godless. In the swaying to and fro of molecules and ceaseless pulsations of ether, in the secular shifting of planetary orbits, in the busy work of frost and raindrop, in the mysterious sprouting of the seed, in the everlasting tale of death and life renewed, in the dawning of babe's intelligence, in the varied deeds of men from age to age, he finds that which awakens the soul to reverential awe: and each act of scientific explanation but reveals an opening through which shines the glory of the Eternal Majesty" ("Studies in Religion," pp. 167-8).]

It is this quality of exorableness in law, excellent and essential as it is, that made the Atonement of the Christ necessary to the salvation of man.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Recapitulation of Principles.

II. The Commandment Given—Violated—Effects

Doc. & Cov., Sec. 29; Gen. ii and iii.

III. The Commandment Given as to an Immortal Person—The Penalty Eternal.

Hebrews ix and x.

IV. The Problem Propounded—

1. What can man do?

2. What can God do?

Alma xxxiv and the works and passages cited in the body of this lesson.

V. Redemption by the Sovereign Act of God—Arbitrary Action Under Reign of Law, Inadmissable.

SPECIAL TEXT: "And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice yea the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence." (Book of Alma xlii:14.)


1. Recapitulation: Let us now begin the application of our principles to the Atonement. But first a brief recapitulation of them.

We have seen in preceding lessons—

That Intelligences, though differing in degree of intelligence are all eternal; and are begotten spirits in a heavenly kingdom; and God is their Father;

That the purpose of God with reference to his spirit-offspring is to bring to pass their eternal life and progress and joy;

That to bring to pass possible progress and happiness to the spirits of men, union of the spirits with earth elements is necessary, hence earth-birth and earth-life are provided for man;

That to get an environment bringing man in contact with sin and suffering and death, all which shall give him the experience essential to his progress—the harmony in the "reign of law" must be broken—there must be violation of law, there must be a fall of man;

That the fall of man did not surprise the purposes of God, but furthered them;

That violations of law, however ignorantly done or designedly planned, and that even for right ends, involves destruction nevertheless of the harmony of things, and relations, and also involves the transgressor in the penalties inseparably connected with law, and without which law would be of no force at all;

That the attributes of God, each complete and perfect, must exist in harmony with each other, no one supplanting another or intruding upon its domain;

That a reign of law subsists throughout the universe as well in the moral and spiritual kingdom as in the physical world;

That any manifestations of mercy, or special providence prompted by love must not violate the harmony subsisting in the attributes of God, or be contrary to the conception of the universal reign of law;

That Love and Mercy, however, must enter into the economy of the earth-order of things; they must get themselves in some way worthily expressed; no divine economy can exist without them, and without such expression; even justice crys aloud for their presence.

To get Love and Mercy adequately expressed in the earth-order of things, and in harmony with law, is the burden and mission of the Christ through the Atonement.

This is the point to which our previous lessons have led us; and now to the working out of the application of our principles.

2. The Commandment Given and Violated.—Effects: The commandment is given, saying: "O. every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."[A]

[Footnote A: Gen. ii:16, 17.]

We need not speculate upon the nature of the thing forbidden. It is enough to know here that partaking of the thing forbidden by the commandment led to the knowledge of evil, as well as of good—to knowledge that comes of experience; and though, as I have before argued, the transgression so far from surprising the purposes of God was essential to them, yet when law is transgressed, in the nature of things, penalties must follow, else laws are but a mockery and the reign of law a myth.

Adam transgressed the law, as already detailed;[A] the penalties followed. The nature of those penalties must be found in the events following the "fall" as consequences as well as in the penalty pronounced—"In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." The harmony of things was broken: innocence fled; union with God was severed; God banished man from his presence—spiritual death;[B] physical death also followed; for as to his body, dust man is, and unto dust shall he return, was the decree of God,[C] and all the woes that make up the sum of evil in man's earth life followed.

[Footnote A: Lessons VII and VIII.]

[Footnote B: "The task we have set ourselves is to investigate the essential nature of Spiritual Death. And we have found it to consist of a want of communion with God" (Drummond's "Natural Law in the Spiritual World," p. 158). So that spiritual life consists in a union with God; destroy that union—and sinning against God destroys it—and spiritual death ensues. For this doctrine we have the warrant of revelation:

"Adam * * * partook of the forbidden fruit and transgressed the commandment; * * * whereupon I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the first death, even that same death which is the last death, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked when I shall say, 'Depart ye cursed'" (Doc. & Cov., Sec. xxix:40, 41). "The fall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual death as well as a temporal; that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord" (Alma xlii:9).]

[Footnote C: Gen. iii:19. The several sentences of this chapter pronounced upon man and woman should be included as penalties affixed to the commandment, "Thou shalt not eat of it," as well as "Thou shalt surely die."]

3. The Commandment is Given as to An Immortal Being: This is now the situation: The law is broken. The penalty is incurred. The law is inexorable. The law was addressed to one provisionally immortal—had not man sinned his life would have been eternal. The law was not temporal, but eternal. "Not at any time," said the Lord to Joseph Smith and six elders, in Fayette, September, 1830—"not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither Adam your father whom I created. Behold, I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural, nor temporal, neither carnal nor sensual."[A] The Prophet Joseph also said: "All things whatsoever God in his infinite wisdom has seen fit and proper to reveal to us, while we are dwelling in mortality, in regard to our mortal bodies, are revealed to us in the abstract, and independent of affinity with this mortal tabernacle; but are revealed to our spirits precisely as though we had no bodies at all; and those revelations which will save our spirits will save our bodies. God reveals them to us in view of no eternal dissolution of the body, or tabernacle."[B]

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov., Sec. xxix:34, 35.]

[Footnote B: Sermon of April Conference, 1844—the "King Follett Sermon," "Improvement Era" for January, 1909; published also in "History of the Church," Vol. VI, with notes by the Editor.]

4. The Problem: What, Then, Can Man or God Do? The commandment, then, is given to Adam as to an eternal being, and by violating the law, and doubtless an eternal law, he and the race he shall beget is under an eternal penalty.[A] Under these circumstances what shall man do? Nay, rather, what can he do? What shall God do? Nay, what can he do? Forgive man his transgression out of hand as becomes the true sovereign of the universe? An ancient and, I might say, a time-honored suggestion. Origen the theologian of the third Christian century, and held to be "the greatest Christian mind of the ante-nicene age," at least held forth the possibility of such procedure. For in his views "the remission of sin is made to depend upon arbitrary will, without reference to retributive justice, as is evidenced by his assertion that God might have chosen milder means to save man than he did; e. g., that he might by a sovereign act of his will have made the sacrifices of the Old Testament to suffice for man's sin."[B] "But logic," as Shedd subsequently remarked, "could not stop at this point;" for if the provision for ratifying the broken law is resolved into an optional act on the part of God, it follows that an Atonement might be dispensed with altogether. "For the tribitrary and almighty will that was competent to declare the claims of justice to be satisfied by the finite sacrifice of bulls and goats would be competent also to declare that those claims should receive no satisfaction at all."

[Footnote A: On this particular point the late Elder Orson Pratt wrote: "We believe that all mankind, by the transgression of their first parents, and not by their own sins, were brought under the curse and penalty of that transgression, which consigned them to an eternal banishment from the presence of God, and their bodies to an endless sleep in the dust, never more to rise, and their spirits to endless misery under the power of Satan; and that, in this awful condition, they were utterly lost and fallen and had no power of their own to extricate themselves therefrom" (Pratt's Works, "Remarkable Visions)." Also the Book of Mormon: "Wherefore the first judgment which came upon man [the judgment of death] must needs have remained to an endless duration" (II Nephi ix:7).]

[Footnote B: Shedd, "History of Christian Doctrine," Vol. II, p. 234. He cites Redepenning; Origines II, 409, for his authority.

The views of Origen are all the more surprising from the fact that the Epistle to the Hebrews makes clear the inadequacy of the sacrifices of animals for the satisfaction of the claims of justice for man's transgression of the law (Chs. ix and x). On this point the Prophet Alma is very clear: "Behold. I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon himself the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it; for it is expedient that an Atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the eternal God, there must be an Atonement made or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the Atonement which it is expedient should be made; for it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice. * * * * And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law; every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God; yea, infinite and eternal."]

Abelard (twelfth century) also held that there was "nothing in the Divine nature which necessitates a satisfaction for past transgression antecedently to remission of penalty; like creating out of nothing, redemption may and does take place by a fiat, by which sin is abolished by a word, and the sinner is received into favor. * * * Abelard denies the doctrine of satisfaction and contends that God may remit penalty by a sovereign act of will.[A] Even Augustine, according to Neander, declared that if considered from the point of view of the divine omnipotence" he believed the answer must be in the affirmative; that is, that choice of other means for man's redemption than the Atonement could have been made. "But no other way," Augustine supposed, "would have been so well adapted for man's recovery from his wretched condition," as the one that was adopted in the Atonement of Christ. Not, however, from the "intrinsic nature of the case; not from the daws of the moral government of the world;" but because of the subjective influence that the union of the divine nature with the human—effected in the incarnation and the Atonement by the Christ, would have upon man.[B]

[Footnote A: Shedd, "History of Christian Doctrine," Vol. II, pp. 260, 261.]

[Footnote B: The matter is stated at length in Neander's "History of the Christian Religion and Church," Vol. IV, pp. 497-8. See also Augustine (De Trinitate), Lib. xiii, Ch. x. "This idea of an 'abstract' omnipotence accompanies the history of the doctrine of atonement down from the earliest to the latest times. In the ancient church, Irenaeus (Adv. Haer. III, XX.), Cyril of Jerusalem, Basil, and Ambrose contend for an absolute necessity of Christ's satisfaction; while Athanasius, Augustine, Cyril of Alexandria, Theodoret, and John Damascene assert only a relative necessity. In the mediaeval church, Anselm, and perhaps Hugh St. Victor assert an absolute, while Abelard, Bernard, Lombard, Hales, Bonaventure, and Aquinas (Cont. Gent. IV, liv, lv) concede only a relative necessity. In the seventeenth century, the subject was discussed by Owen, and Twise (the prolocutor of the Westminster Assembly); the former asserting and the latter denying, the absolute necessity of a satisfaction. See Owen's tract, 'On the Nature of Justice'" ("History of Christian Doctrine," Vol. II, p. 302, note).]

It should be remembered, however, that the doctrine of the "reign of law," in the moral government of the world, excludes arbitrary action—action independent of law—even though beneficent; and if that were not true, then God must act in harmony with his own attributes. Mercy must not be at variance with Justice. Even God's Omnipotence must keep step with the attributes of Truth and Wisdom. Satisfaction for violated law, satisfaction to divine justice is a claim that may no more be set aside than the pleadings of Mercy. A way shall be found out of these difficulties, but it must not be by "a schism in the Deity, and an intestine conflict between the divine attributes."[A]

[Footnote A: Shedd's "History of Christian Doctrine," p. 300.]

It can be readily understood that not even God's Omnipotence could make it possible for him to act contrary to Truth and Justice.[A] It ought to be no more difficult to understand that God's Omnipotence could not permit him to set aside a satisfaction to Justice as an arbitrary concession to Mercy. Mere power has not the right to nullify law. Not even Omnipotence has the light to abolish Justice. Might in Deity is not more fundamental than Right. God we must conclude will act in harmony with all his attributes, else confusion in the moral government of the world.

[Footnote A: See closing paragraphs Lesson XII.]

These reflections lead to the inevitable conclusion that there must be a satisfaction made to justice before there can be redemption for man. But how?


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




VI. Repentance and Future Obedience—Ineffectual as Satisfaction for the Past; Atonement Must Equal Offense.

Book of Alma xxxiv; Book of Mosiah xv; St. John x:14-18; also v:19-29.

VII. The Atonement Also a Matter of Power—Ability to Restore that which was Lost.

Mormon Doctrine of Deity—"Jesus Christ the Revelation of God," Ch. iv.

VIII. Man May Not Be Left Under the Sentence of a Broken Law, as that Would Violate God's Promise of Eternal Life.

And the quotations and references in the body of this lesson.

IX. Conditions that Must Be Met in the Atonement of Deity for the Salvation of Man.

SPECIAL TEXTS: "For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself." (St. John v.26.)

"For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will." (St. John v.21.)


1. The Helplessness of Man in the Presence of Broken Law: The preceding lesson closed with the question how can satisfaction be made to justice in order that redemption may reach fallen man. Admittedly man, the transgressor of law, is powerless to make such satisfaction. True, it is conceivable that he might repent of his transgression, and through struggle maintain himself in righteousness for the future. But that does not reach the past. If he should by struggle maintain himself in righteousness for the future, that is no more than he ought to do. Man owes that duty every day in the present and in the future. It is the breach in the law that must be mended. Man is under the sentence of eternal death, spiritual and temporal;[A] for a past transgression of the law of God. Doing what is merely his duty in the present and the future will not make satisfaction for the past. Man is helpless in the presence of that broken law; no act of his can atone for the transgression of Adam or stay the effects of the fall upon the race, or redeem them from the penalty of death.

[Footnote A: "Wherefore the first judgment which came upon man [the judgment of death] must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more" (II Nephi ix:7). Because of the fall of Adam "all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence" (Alma xl ii; 14).]

2. Only Deity Can Satisfy the Claims of Deity: The sin of Adam was a sin against divine law; a sin against the majesty of God. Only a God can render a satisfaction to that insulted honor and majesty. Only Deity can satisfy the claims of Deity.

And hence Alma says, in speaking of the Atonement, and in view of the inadequacy of any atonement man himself can make: "It shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice. * * * And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law; every white pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God; yea, infinite and eternal. * * * The plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world to bring about the plan of Mercy, to appease the demands of Justice."[A]

[Footnote A: Alma xxxiv:10-14; xlii:15. See also II Nephi ix:7]

3. The Atonement Also a Matter of Power to Make It—Capacity: Moreover the Atonement is not only a matter of satisfying the insulted honor and majesty of God adequately by like meeting like, and measure answering measure; but it is also a question of power. Not only must the dishonor towards God be removed by satisfaction, but there must be power over death; there must be a power of life that that which was lost may be restored; and not only as to the spiritual life of man with God; but restored union between the spirit and body of man—physical life upon which the happiness and progress that God has designed for man depends. "Man," it should be always remembered, "is spirit." "The elements [meaning elements of matter] are eternal; and spirit and element inseparably connected receive a fulness of joy."[A] Hence the importance of man's physical life, the union of his deathless spirit with a body that must be made equally immortal; and since the fall brought to man this physical death as well as the spiritual death; his redemption, to be complete, must re-establish that physical life by reuniting the essential elements of the body of man and his spirit, in the resurrection, and the resurrection must be universal; the Atonement in its redeeming effects must be as universal as the fall. As in Adam all die, so through the Redeemer of men must all be made alive,[B] if the redemption is to be complete. It was doubtless these considerations which led some of the Nephite prophets to say that the Atonement "must needs be an infinite atonement;" by which, as I think, they sought to express the idea of the sufficiency of it; its completeness; the universality and power of it to restore all that was lost, both spiritual and physical, as well as to express the rank and dignity of him who would make the Atonement.

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov., Sec. 93:33, 34.]

[Footnote B: I Cor. xv:22.]

The Redeemer, then, must be a Lord of life, hence Deity. He must not only have the power of life within himself, but the power to impart it to others—a God-like power; and to inspire faith in his possession of such power, the manner of the Atonement must be such as to include demonstration of that fact, else how shall men have faith in him? All these considerations lift the Redeemer and the Atonement far above man and what man can do. Truly the redemption of man is to be the work of God.

4. Scripture Warrant for Above Conclusions: And now for the scripture warrant for these conclusions:

"I lay down my life for the sheep [men]. * * * Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.[A]

"Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up; * * * he spake of the temple of his body, when therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them."[B] "Thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day."[C]

"In him was life; and the life was the light of men."[D] "Verily, verily I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth; and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.[E] Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is come and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice. And shall come forth; they have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."[F]

[Footnote A: St. John x:17, 18.]

[Footnote B: Ibid ii:19-22.]

[Footnote C: Luke xxiv:46.]

[Footnote D: St. John i:4.]

[Footnote E: St. John v:19-29.]

[Footnote F: St. John v:25-29.]

5. Man May Not Be Left to Suffer the Course of Justice, As That Would Thwart the Divine Purposes and Promises: But to return now to the thought that God himself must make atonement for man's transgression. And we come back to that thought with increased conviction after considering the necessary element of power in connection with the Atonement, the ability to restore that which was lost—life, spiritual and physical; not the work of man, but the work of a Deity, a Lord of life—God must himself redeem man. That or justice must take its course and the sinner be left to satisfy the justice of God by an endless misery under the sentence of law; without union with God—spiritual death; and subject to the dissolution of spirit and body, without the power of resurrection—physical death. But that would thwart the purpose of God with reference to the earth-life of man, which was designed for his progress, that progress might bring him joy.[A] Moreover, to leave man under the penalty of a broken law, which means to him eternal death, physical and spiritual, would be contrary to the pledge of eternal life "which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began."[B] Under these circumstances justice may not be left to take its course. There must be an atonement made for man and as none but God can make an adequate atonement in the case, then a Deity must make it. And hence one of the Nephite prophets, coming to the same conclusion, wrote: "And now the plan of mercy could not be brought about, except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also"[C] The Atonement, we conclude, must be made by a Deity, in order to be adequate; but it must be made by a Deity living a man's life—hence the incarnation of the spirit of a Deity in the person of Jesus Christ.[D] It must be made by a Deity who will live man's life with all its temptations, yet remain without sin that the sacrifice might be without spot or blemish;" by one who will give to the world the illustration and the one demonstration of a perfect life—a life in which the will is wholly subjected to the will of God Also the Atonement must be made by a Deity living man's life that the satisfaction to the justice of God may be rendered from the same plane on which the offense was offered, and essentially from amid the same conditions. Hence the special temptation of Jesus by Lucifer. The Atonement must be made by a Deity who shall die man's death, but who shall not be holden of it, but break its bands and demonstrate the power of the resurrection of which he is the first fruits, and ever after Lord of life and the power of the resurrection—such, for instance, as was Jesus Christ.

[Footnote A: II Nephi ii:25; Doc. & Cov., Sec. 93:33,34, and I Peter i:18-20.]

[Footnote B: Paul to Titus: Titus i:1, 2; see also Lesson IV.]

[Footnote C: Jesus Christ not only Divine but Deity. See Lecture by the writer, "Mormon Doctrine of Deity," Ch. iv.]

[Footnote D: "Ye know that ye were not redeemed by corruptible things, * * but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot" (I Peter i:18, 19). All the victims in the sacrifices under the law which typified the Christ were required to be perfect, spotless, without blemish, foreshadowing that he, too, who was to atone for man's sin would be without fault.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Scope of the Atonement Broader Than Individual Sins.

Orson Pratt's Remarkable Visions, closing pages. Also The Kingdom of God, part III, subdivision V, Pratt's Works.

The Gospel (Roberts), Chs. ii and iii.

II Nephi ii, and Alma xii and xlii.

And the text and context of passages quoted and cited in this lesson.

II. Distinction Between Adam's Sin and Individual Sins.

1. Free Redemption from the First.

2. Conditional Redemption from the Second.

III. The Same Principle Involved in Both General and Individual Atonement.

IV. The Motive Force of the Atonement.

SPECIAL TEXT: "Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. * * * Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." (Rom. v:12, 18.)


1. The Atonement of Broader Scope than Making Satisfaction for Adam's Sin: So far the Atonement has been considered only with reference to its effect upon the transgression of Adam. It is, however, of much broader scope than that. Not only must the sin of Adam be atoned, but satisfaction must be made for the sins of every man, if the integrity of the moral government of the world is to be preserved. Man is just as helpless with reference to his own, individual sins, as Adam was with reference to his sin. Man when he sins by breaking the laws of God, sins of course against divine law; commits a crime against the majesty of God, and thereby dishonors him. And man is just as helpless to make adequate satisfaction to God, I repeat, as Adam was for his sin in Eden; and is just as hopelessly in the grasp of inexorable law as Adam and his race were after the first transgression. For individual man from the beginning was as much in duty bound to keep the law of God as Adam was; and if now, in the present and for the future he observes the law of God and remains righteous, he is doing no more than he ought to have done from the beginning; and doing his duty now and for the future can not free him from the consequences of his past violations of God's law. The individual man, then, is just as much in need of a satisfaction being made to the justice of God for his individual transgression of divine law, for his violence to the honor of God, for his insult to the majesty of God, as was Adam for his sin.

2. Distinction Between Adam's Sin and Individual Sin: The difference between the sin of Adam and the sin of the individual man is this: First, Adam's sin, which the scriptures call the fall, was racial, in that it involved all the race of Adam in its consequences, bringing upon them both a spiritual and a physical death, the nature of which has already been explained.[A] Man's individual sin is more limited in its consequences though for a time his personal sins may involve the happiness of others in their consequences, yet ultimately they will be narrowed down to personal results; affecting the actual sinner's personal relationship to God, to righteousness, to truth, to progress, to happiness.

[Footnote A: Lesson XV.]

Second. Adam's sin was necessary to the creation of those conditions under which man could obtain the experiences of earth-life necessary to the union of his spirit with earth elements; necessary to his progress as a divine Intelligence; necessary to his knowledge of good and evil in actual conflict; joy and sorrow; pleasure and pain; life and death; in a word, necessary that man might become acquainted with these opposite existences,[A] their conflicts and their values; all which was essential to, and designed for man's progress, for his development in virtue and power and largeness and splendor of existence. But man's individual sins are not necessary to these general purposes of God. That is, the fall of Adam was necessary to the accomplishment of the general purposes of God; but it was not necessary to those purposes that Cain should kill Abel, his brother; or "that every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart" should be "evil continually."[B]

[Footnote A: See II Nephi, ii also "New Witness for God," Vol. III, pp. 219-227.]

[Footnote B: Gen. vi:5.]

The fall of Adam, I say, was necessary to the attainment of these possibilities and hence the atonement made for Adam's sin is of universal effect and application without stipulations or conditions, or obedience or any other act as a condition precedent to participation in the full benefits of release from the consequences of Adam's transgression. Hence it is written: "Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."[A] And again: "Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men to the justification of life."[B] Free redemption then is provided from the consequences of Adam's transgression, because the fall was essential to the achievement of God's purpose with reference to man. Not so, however, with the individual man. His individual sinning is not absolutely necessary to the achievement of God's purposes. All men may sin; nay, all who come to years of accountability, doubtless, do sin; "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."[C] "And so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." "There is none righteous, no not one; * * They are all gone out of the way; * * there is none that doeth good, no, not one."[D] But while all men sin—except those who die in infancy or early childhood—it is not necessary that men should sin, and hence they may be held fully accountable to the justice of God for their individual transgressions of law, and are so held accountable. The penalty for the individual sins of men is a second spiritual death, not a physical death, not a separation of the spirit and the body of man after the resurrection, for what is achieved for man's physical life by the resurrection remains.[E] But for his own individual sins (and this constitutes the third distinction between Adam's sin and the sins of other men) he is subject to a second spiritual death, to banishment from the presence of God; his spiritual union and communion with God is broken, and spiritual death ensues. The Lord, in speaking of Adam and his first transgression, says: "I the Lord caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the first death, even that same death, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked when I shall say—Depart, ye cursed."[F]

[Footnote A: I Cor. xv:21, 22.]

[Footnote B: Rom. v:18.]

[Footnote C: Rom. iii:23.]

[Footnote D: Rom. iii:10-12.]

[Footnote E: "Now, there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death; the spirit and the body shall be reunited again in perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now and have a bright recollection of all our guilt. Now this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free; both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost but all things shall be restored to their perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God, the Father, and the Holy Spirit which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil. Now, behold, I have spoken unto you, concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body; that is from death; even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided. Thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption" (Alma Ch. xi:42-45).]

[Footnote F: Doc. & Cov. Sec. 29:41.]

So Alma, explaining the fall of man, and how God gave unto men commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, saying: "That they should not do evil, the penalty thereof being a second death, which was an everlasting death as to things pertaining to righteousness."[A]

[Footnote A: Alma xii:31, 32.]

Again Alma, describing the impenitent dead before the bar of God, says:

"And now behold I say unto you, then cometh a death, even a second death, which is a spiritual death; then is a time that whosoever dieth in sins, as to a temporal death, shall also die a spiritual death; yea he shall die as to things pertaining unto righteousness; * * * Then I say unto you, they shall be as though there had been no redemption made; for they cannot be redeemed according to God's justice; and they cannot die, seeing there is no more corruption."[A]

[Footnote A: Alma xii:16, 18.]

Samuel the Lamanite prophet says: "The resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord; * * * but whosoever repenteth not * * * then cometh upon them again a spiritual death, for they are cut off again as to things pertaining to righteousness."[A]

[Footnote A: Helaman Ch. xiv:17, 18.]

3. Men as Dependent on the Atonement for Individual Sins as for Redemption from Adam's Sin: As already remarked, men having transgressed the law of God by their own personal violations of it, they are helpless of themselves to make satisfaction to the justice of God;[A] and are just as dependent upon a Redeemer to rescue them from the spiritual effects of their personal transgression of the divine law as from the effects of Adam's fall. Also, under a reign of law, God may not pardon men for their individual sins by arbitrary act of sovereign will. He may no more set aside the claims of justice unsatisfied in the case of men's personal sins than in the case of Adam's first sin. In both cases "a necessary and immanent attribute of Deity" stands in the way of the non-infliction of the penalty due to sin, viz., the attribute of Justice, which not even the attribute of Mercy may displace, or rob of that satisfaction which is due. God must act in harmony with his own attributes.

[Footnote A: The late Elder Orson Pratt, put this doctrine of the helplessness of man to escape the penalty of his own sin in the most forcible manner. He said: "We believe that all who have done evil, having a knowledge of the law, or afterwards in this life coming to the knowledge thereof, are under a penalty, which is not inflicted in this world but in the world to come. Therefore such in this world are prisoners, shut up under the sentence of law, awaiting with awful fear for the time of judgment, when the penalty shall be inflicted, consigning them to a second banishment from the presence of their Redeemer, who had redeemed them from the penalty of the first law. But, enquires the sinner, is there no way for escape? Is my case hopeless? Can I not devise some way by which I can extricate myself from the penalty of the second law and escape this second banishment? The answer is,—if thou canst hide thyself from the all-searching eye of an Omnipresent God, that he shall not find thee, or if thou canst prevail with him to deny justice its claim, or if thou canst clothe thyself with power, and contend with the Almighty, and prevent him from executing the sentence of the law, then thou canst escape. If thou canst cause repentance, or baptism in water, or any of thine own works, to atone for the least of thy transgressions, then thou canst deliver thyself from the awful penalty that awaits thee. But be assured, O sinner, that thou canst not devise any way of thine own to escape, nor do anything that will atone for thy sins, therefore, thy case is hopeless, unless God hath devised some way for thy deliverance" (Remarkable Visions, Orson Pratt's Works).]

4. Identical Principles Operative in Man's Individual Sins as in Adam's Sin: In the case of man's individual violations of law, as in Adam's sin, the inexorableness of law holds good.[A] Thus satisfaction to justice in the case of individual sins like the satisfaction to justice for Adam's sin, must be rendered by God to God, "since only Deity can satisfy the claims of Deity." There is the same act against the honor of God; hence the same question of rank and dignity in the one who makes the Atonement. The same necessity for one not only willing but capable of making the Atonement, by suffering the penalty due to the sins of all men. He must suffer for them; for the ground work of their forgiveness and restoration to union with God must be that the penalty due to their sin has been paid. This or Justice goes unsatisfied—Mercy robs Justice or else the law must take its course and punishment be actually inflicted upon the transgressors which leaves man to a life of eternal misery, alienated from God, separated from the source of spiritual life and light; no longer in union with the power divine that could uplift and direct him to sublime heights of moral and spiritual excellence—man, under such circumstances, would indeed be spiritually dead, and dead eternally, since he is helpless to extricate himself from such conditions, as a sinner can not justify his sin, nor a criminal pardon his own crime. But to leave the punishment to be actually inflicted upon man would thwart the purpose of God with reference to man's earth-life; for God designed that mail's earth-life should eventuate in his happiness, in the union of man with God. "Men are that they might have joy." By other Book of Mormon teachers the plan for man's redemption is called "the plan of happiness," "the great plan of happiness;"[B] and as this happiness depends upon union and communion with God, it is proper to think of the gospel as contemplating the spiritual union of man with Deity.

[Footnote A: Behold justice exerciseth all his demands. * * * What! do ye suppose that mercy-can rob justice? I say unto you, nay; not point urged by the Nephite writer is that God will act in harmony with his attributes, see the context—the whole chapter.]

[Footnote B: Alma xlii:8, 15.]

We conclude then that for man's individual sins as for Adam's sin, though differing in some respects already noted, involves the same necessity of Atonement to the honor of God by one equal with God—hence God.

There is the same inexorableness of law; the same helplessness on the part of man to make satisfaction for his sin, hence man's dependence upon a vicarious atonement, if he is to find redemption at all. There is the same need for capacity in the one making the atonement to make full satisfaction to the justice of God by paying the uttermost farthing of man's obligations to the law; the idea of satisfaction necessarily involves that of penal suffering, coupling together those two ideas, satisfaction and expiation; or satisfaction to Justice through expiation. The Deity who redeems man must pay the penalty due to sin by suffering in man's stead.

5. Motive Force of the Atonement: And what shall prompt a Deity to make such an atonement? Two attributes of the Deity now a long time kept in the back ground, viz., Love and Mercy. We have seen and considered at some length the helplessness of man in the midst of those earth conditions necessary to his progress; God saw it from the beginning; and—

"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish but have everlasting life.

"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved."

"He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."[A]

[Footnote A: St. John iii:16-19.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Source of Redemption.

The references of Lesson XVIII.

Also Taylor's Mediation and Atonement, Chs. xix, xxiv, xxv; and the text and context of the passages of scriptures quoted and cited in this lesson.

II. Antiquity of the Plan of Redemption.

III. Vicarious Work of the Christ.

IV. The Balancing of the Claims of Justice and Mercy.

V. Man's Part in the Scheme of Redemption—Repent or Suffer.

VI. The Advent of Mercy—Alternatives.

VII. The Justice, Wisdom and Mercy of God.

SPECIAL TEXT: "The law entered that sin might abound. But when sin abounded, grace did more abound that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness, unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. v:20, 21.)


1. Manner of the Christ's Atonement Foreshadowed: This lesson continues with the truth with which the last one concluded, viz., "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life." This declaration is preceded in the testimony of John with the following:

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life."[A]

[Footnote A: St. John iii:14, 15.]

Showing the manner of Christ's atonement.

Peter the chief of the Judean apostles, and hence chief of the witnesses for the great truth of salvation through Christ, says: "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God."[A]

[Footnote A: I Peter iii:18.]

2. Source of Redemption: Inexorableness of Justice: The Nephite writers are even more explicit. Lehi says:

"The way is prepared and salvation is free, and men are sufficiently instructed that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law, no flesh is justified; or, by the law, men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law, they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever. Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth. Behold he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered."[A]

[Footnote A: II Nephi ii;4-7.]

So also Jacob, brother of the first Nephi, said: "And he [the Christ] cometh into the world that he may save all men, if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men; yea the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam."[A]

[Footnote A: Ibid ix:21.]

3. Antiquity of the Plan of Man's Redemption: After explaining that it was appointed unto men to die, "and after death they must come to judgment;" and that God saw that it was expedient that men should come to a knowledge of these things and accordingly, from early time,[A] "sent angels to converse with them, who caused men to behold the glory of God"—Alma says:

[Footnote A: Book of Moses—P. of G. P—Ch. v:6-8, 58.]

"And they began from that time forth to call on his name; therefore God conversed with men, and made known unto them the plan of redemption, which had been prepared from the foundation of the world; and this he made known unto them according to their faith and repentance, and their holy works; wherefore he gave commandments unto men, they having first transgressed the first commandments as to things which were temporal and becoming as Gods, knowing good from evil, placing themselves in a state to act, or being placed in a state to act according to their wills and pleasures, whether to do evil or to do good; therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, that they should not do evil, the penalty thereof being a second death, which was everlasting death as to things pertaining unto righteousness; for on such the plan of redemption could have no power, for the works of justice could not be destroyed, according to the supreme goodness of God. But God did call on men, in the name of his Son, (this being the plan of redemption which was laid) saying, 'If ye will repent, and harden not your hearts, then will I have mercy upon you, through mine only begotten Son; therefore, whosoever repenteth and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have a claim on mercy through mine only begotten Son, unto a remission of his sins; and these shall enter into my rest. And whosoever will harden his heart, and will do iniquity, behold, I swear in my wrath that he shall not enter into my rest."[A]

[Footnote A: Alma xii:29-35.]

4. The Vicarious Work of the Christ and Its Purpose: Again Alma:

"Behold I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it; for it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the eternal God, there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law; every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God; yea, infinite and eternal; and thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; and this being the intent of this last sacrifice to bring about the bowels of mercy, which over powereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance. And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircle them [the penitent sinners] in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance, is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption."[A]

[Footnote A: Alma xxxiv:8, 9, 14-16.]

5. The Counter Claims of Justice and Mercy—Mercy Triumphant: And again Alma:

"All mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God which consigned them for ever to be cut off from his presence. And now the plan of mercy could not be brought about, except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also. * * * But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth: otherwise justice claimeth the creature, and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God. But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works; according to the law and justice; for behold justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus none but the truly penitent are saved. What! do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God. And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal purposes which were prepared from the foundation of the world. And thus cometh about the salvation and the redemption of men, and also their destruction and misery."[A]

[Footnote A: Alma xlii.]

The revelations given through Joseph Smith are equally explicit: "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; for, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him."[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov. Sec. 18:10, 11.]

6. Man Must Repent or Suffer: And again:

"And surely every man must repent or suffer, for I, God, am endless; wherefore, I revoke not the judgment which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping wailing and gnashing of teeth, yea, to those who are found on my left hand; nevertheless it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment. * * * 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! yea, how hard to bear ye 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, and 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."[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov. Sec. 19:4-6, and 15-20.]

7. The Advent of Mercy—Summary: From the doctrines of these scriptures, how like a flood comes rushing into this world-scheme of things the Love and Mercy of God! The Justice of God, as we have seen, has been exacting—otherwise it would not be Justice, the very nature of Justice is to be exacting—demanding all that is its due satisfaction for the injured honor and majesty of God; and the penalty due to broken law. But once these claims are satisfied, Justice is silent, and Love and Mercy have free range to bring to pass the complete redemption of man.

Let us for a moment contemplate our theme from this view-point though at the cost of iteration.

God, loving always the spirits of men, desires their progress and their eternal happiness.[A]

[Footnote A: See Lesson IV where the doctrine is worked out in detail.]

To achieve this the union of spirit and earth-elements are necessary, that the spirit may get more perfect self expression, and attain to higher manifestations and power than would otherwise be possible.[A]

[Footnote A: See Lesson IV where the doctrine is developed somewhat in detail.]

Also to achieve this end, the experience of earth-life amid broken harmonies is necessary; the experience of viewing opposite existences in conflict—good and evil; faith and doubt; hope and despair; victory and defeat; freedom and bondage; joy and sorrow; perfect health and physical pain; life and death.[A]

[Footnote A: The subject is discussed at length in Lesson VII.]

To bring to pass these broken harmonies that the rich lessons and necessary experiences they teach may be available to man, there must needs be "a fall of man," a violation of law, else there can be no broken harmonies.

Man falls; Adam transgresses law and the earth-life of man begins among all the conditions essential to his instruction and experience with opposite existences in conflict.

But this violation of law, though necessary to these ends, is nevertheless a violation of law, for which a satisfaction must be made and that the broken harmonies may be restored.

Not only did Adam transgress law in order to bring to pass the conditions necessary to man's instruction and consequent progress, but man—all men—coming to years of accountability, also violate law—sin on their own account and incur the consequences due to sin.

In both cases men are unable to restore that which was lost—give satisfaction to the injured honor and insulted majesty of God, or create grounds of justification for the pardon of man's sin; either for Adam's transgression—the fall—or for man's personal sins.

8. Alternatives—But One Admissable: This creates a situation that can only be met in one of two ways if justice is to be maintained, the integrity of the moral government of the world perpetuated, and the harmony of God's attributes remain unbroken;

First: Justice must take its course, the punishment must be inflicted upon the actual sinner, leaving man to satisfy justice by an endless misery; or

Second: God must satisfy his own claims against man; he must make a satisfaction to justice, there must be a vicarious Atonement made for man, since, as we have seen, man himself is helpless.

The adoption of the first of these alternatives would thwart the general purpose of God with reference to man, the bringing to pass his progress and the possibility of his eternal happiness; and also it would violate the covenant of God with man, made before the world began, the promise of eternal life.[A] This alternative, is impossible, then, and may be dismissed without further consideration.

[Footnote A: Titus i:2.]

The second alternative is all that remains. God must make a vicarious Atonement for man; a Deity must satisfy the claims of God's honor. God must satisfy the demands of justice, that Mercy may assert her claims and redeem man.

And that order of things is in force; that is "the great plan of happiness"—the Gospel—"Glad tidings;" "Glad tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people."[A] Back of it, underlying it, is the great Love of God for man; Love manifested in great acts of mercy; for Mercy is but Love active.

[Footnote A: Luke ii:10.]

This Love prompts God to make reparation to God's honor, and satisfy Justice by undergoing the penalty due to Adam's sin, that he might bring to pass the resurrection from the dead; and make it possible for man spirit and body united, to resume his union with God.

This Love prompts God to suffer for the individual sins of men; to pay the penalty due to each man's sin, that there might be ground for man's justification under the law. That Mercy might claim the sinner upon conditions that Love may prescribe.

9. The Justice, Wisdom, and Mercy of God: In view of all this is it any marvel that men coming to a full consciousness of the balanced claims of Justice and Mercy in ecstasy exclaim—as Jacob the brother of Nephi did—

"O the greatness and the justice of our God! For he executeth all his words, and they have gone forth out of his mouth, and his law must be fulfilled. * * *

"O the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy One of Israel! for he delivereth his saints, from that awful monster the devil, and death and hell."[A]

"O the wisdom of God! his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more, our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more."

"And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the Father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents; who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder, and all manner of secret works of darkness."[B]

[Footnote A: II Nephi ix:17, 19.]

[Footnote B: II Nephi ix:8-9.]

Or else with Paul declare—

"By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God."[A]

"The law entered that sin might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did more abound; that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness, unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."[B]

[Footnote A: Eph. ii.]

[Footnote B: Rom. v:20-21.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Two Effects of the Atonement.

Book of Mormon: II Nephi ix; Doc. & Cov., Sec. 19; Alma xi.

The Gospel (Roberts), Ch. iii.

Orson Pratt's Kingdom of God, Part III, Subdivision V. Works

Taylor's Mediation and Atonement, Chs. xxi and XXV.

The texts and contexts of the scriptures quoted in the body of this lesson.

II. The Necessity of Man's Co-operation in Individual Salvation.

III. Sanctification as Well as Justification.

IV. Spiritual and Moral Growth.

V. Free Redemption of Little Children and Those Who Die without Law.

SPECIAL TEXT: "Wherefore the rather brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure." (II Peter i:10.)


1. The Atonement as Related to Adam's Transgression, and Man's Individual Sins: As already observed a difference is to be noted between the results flowing out of the Atonement for Adam's first sin—the fall; and the results derived from the satisfaction made by the Christ for man's individual sins.

The difference consists in this: First, from the consequences of Adam's transgression, there comes full and free redemption—salvation unconditional and universal. "By Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man, came Jesus Christ even the Father and the Son;[A] and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man. And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep, from which sleep all men shall be awakened by the power of God when the trump shall sound; and they shall come forth, both small and great, and all shall stand before his bar, being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death, which death is a temporal death."[B]

[Footnote A: For explanation see Doc. & Cov. Sec. xciii:1-6.]

[Footnote B: Book of Mormon, Ch. ix:12, 13. Also II Nephi Ch. ix. Both chapters are devoted to the idea of the text above, and should be studied carefully; they are too long for quotation here.]

To this may be added Paul's great generalization: "Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection from the dead; for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."[A]

[Footnote A: I Cor. xv:21, 22.]

The universal physical death is overcome by the equally universal resurrection.[A] The universal banishment of men from the presence of God, the spiritual death, is overcome by the universally established possibility of reunion with God; and all will be brought back into the presence of God at the day of judgment; but their right and power to remain in that presence and maintain union with God, will depend upon conditions to be considered later. Second, redemption from the consequences of man's individual sins, the penalties for which the Christ has expiated, are granted to men only upon compliance with certain conditions. "By grace are ye saved through faith"[B] "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved."[C] "Wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God; for salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ."[D] "He shall take upon himself the transgression of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else."[E] "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."[F] "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal life unto all them that obey him."[G]

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov. Sec. xix:26-29, 41. Matt. xxv:31-46. Alma xi:40, 41.]

[Footnote B: Eph. ii:8.]

[Footnote C: Mark xvi:16.]

[Footnote D: Mosiah iii:11, 12.]

[Footnote E: Alma xi:40, 41.]

[Footnote F: Doc. & Cov. Sec. xix:16-19.]

[Footnote G: Heb. v:9.]

2. Man's Co-operation With God in Working out Man's Salvation, Grounded in Necessity: These scriptures establish the truth that for redemption from the consequences of man's individual sins the co-operation of man is required, his faith, his repentance; in a word his obedience.

The Gospel so far as the individual man is concerned, is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes and obeys the same. In the difference between the redemption from the transgression of Adam and redemption from man's personal sins, the one being free, unconditional, universal; and the other being free, possible to all, but conditional, and therefore limited to those who comply with the conditions, there is to be observed nice discriminations in the justice of God. Free and universal redemption comes from the consequences of Adam's fall because that fall is absolutely necessary to the accomplishment of the purposes of God with reference to man; without it nothing may be done for his progress, therefore since that fall is necessary to these ends Justice demands that there be provided free and universal and complete and unconditional redemption from its consequences. But in the case of man's personal sins they are not absolutely necessary to the accomplishment of the general purposes of God. Of course the earth-environment of man, including the broken harmonies as we find them, including the self-wilfullness, and even the personal sins of men, with the consequent suffering and sorrow, may be necessary to the experience of man; but all that will abundantly come once men are at the same time free to choose, and good and evil is set before them. But what is here meant is that it is not absolute necessity that individual men should sin, or that they sin without limit. Men can refrain from sin if they will; the power is in them. They are able to stand, "yet free to fall." They have power to choose good and to follow that instead of evil if they so elect. Therefore, while it is eminently proper that the Atonement of the Christ should be made to include satisfaction to Justice for the personal sins of men, and the debt of suffering due to them should be paid vicariously,—especially since man is powerless to offer expiation himself—for it is needful that ample provision be made for the justification of man's pardon; yet it is also in accordance with Justice that man shall co-operate with God in bringing about the blessed result of his deliverance from the consequences of his personal sins; and that conditions shall be required as necessary to participation in the forgiveness provided; such conditions as belief in and acceptance of the terms of Atonement; repentance of sin, and a hearty co-operation with God in overcoming evil and its effects in the human soul.

3. The Work of Salvation a Work of Sanctification as well as of Justification: Moreover, this salvation from the effects of personal sins is not only a matter of forgiveness of past sins; a matter of justification before God; a matter of re-establishing union with God, which is spiritual life; but it is a matter of sanctification of the soul; and of power to maintain the renewed spiritual life with God. It is a matter that involves human desires and human will. Surely it is unthinkable that God would hold man in union with himself against his desire, or against his will. Such a condition would not be "union" but bondage. The co-operation of man then in this work of his personal salvation becomes an absolute necessity, and hence the conditions of individual salvation already noted, and which may be summed up in the doctrine of man's self-surrender unto God, manifested by his obedience to God under the law; and the declared intention of that obedience by receiving the symbols of the Atonement, to be found in the ordinances of the Gospel, especially in baptism and the sacrament of the Lord's supper.

4. Spiritual and Moral Growth: The attainment of this condition of Christian righteousness, however, becomes a matter of character building under the favorable conditions provided by the gospel; and character building, even under favorable conditions is a matter of slow, self-conquest, It means to follow the admonition of the chief Judean apostle, and "add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you and abound," said he, "they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."[A]

[Footnote A: II Peter i.]

To be fruitful in that knowledge means to be growing in grace, in knowledge of the truth, in righteousness. It means development according to the type of the Christian spiritual life, which is Christ Jesus. "If you wish to go where God is," said the Prophet Joseph, "you must be like God, or possess the principles God possesses." All of which, of course, may not be possessed without divine help, as well as human effort. "He that lacketh these things"—the virtues above enumerated by Peter, and the disposition to build them up by his own effort, as well as by divine grace, "is blind and cannot see afar off," continues that apostle, "and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."[A]

[Footnote A: II Peter i:9-11.]

5. Phase of the Atonement Peculiar to "Mormonism:" It may be remarked in passing that the difference noted in the foregoing paragraphs of this lesson on applying the Christ's Atonement to Adam's sin and man's personal sins—in the first case unconditional, and in the second conditional—is a doctrine, in modern times, peculiar to "Mormonism;" or, to speak more accurately, to the New Dispensation of the Gospel revealed to Joseph Smith; and is derived almost wholly from the teachings of the Book of Mormon.[A] In that distinction the beauty and glory of the Atonement, the balanced claims of justice and mercy shine forth as no where else, even in holy writ,—much less in the uninspired writings of men. It may be regarded as the "Mormon" contribution to views of the Atonement of Christ, for it is to be found no where else except in Mormon literature.

[Footnote A: See II Nephi ii. Ibid ix. Alma xxxiv and xlii. Mormon ix.]

7. The Free and Complete Redemption of Little Children: From the foregoing difference in the application of the Atonement to the sin of Adam and the individual sins of men there arises another important matter viz.: If redemption from the consequences of Adam's fall is to be absolutely unconditional, and universal, and that entirely through the Atonement of the Christ and without the co-operation of man, then it logically follows that if man himself remains absolutely without sin, he would stand in need of no satisfaction being made for his sin and no forgiveness of sins, since in the case supposed they have no existence; and therefore the Atonement of the Christ for the sin of Adam, would be all sufficient to redeem man from the power of death and restore him to union with God. It follows that if any part of the human race die in this state of personal innocence then they are redeemed by virtue of the Atonement of Christ without any other consideration whatsoever. Hence Mormon said:

"Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but the sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick! wherefore little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them. * * * Little children need no repentance, neither baptism. * * * Little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world."[A]

[Footnote A: Moroni viii:8-12.]

No less explicit is the word of the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith:

"But, behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine only Begotten, wherefore they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me."[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov. Sec. xxix:46, 47.]

8. The Redemption of Those Who Die Without Law: Moreover, it appears that Mercy has special claims upon those men and women, and also upon nations and races who know not the Gospel. The first Nephi in speaking of the Atonement of Christ and its effects where proclaimed and rejected, says:

"Wherefore he [God] has given a law; and where there is no law given there is no punishment; and where there is no punishment, there is no condemnation; and where there is no condemnation, the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim upon them because of the atonement; for they are delivered by the power of him [Christ]; for the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, that they are delivered from that awful monster, death and hell, and the devil, and the lake of fire and brimstone [See Alma xii:17],[A] which is endless torment; and they are restored to that God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel."[B]

[Footnote A: The torments of the ungodly sinners are likened unto a lake of fire and brimstone by this writer, Nephi. Not that the sinners are plunged into a lake of fire and brimstone as so-called orthodox Christians teach. Indeed, in the above passage there is a definition of what the lake of fire is—it is "endless torment," which ever exists for the punishment of impenitent sinners—each one partaking of it to such a degree and for such time as is necessary to satisfy the demand of justice. In this very chapter above quoted Nephi says of the wicked: "And their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flames ascend up for ever, and have no end."]

[Footnote B: Nephi ix:25, 26.]

And so Moroni:

"For the power of redemption cometh on all they that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing."[A]

[Footnote A: Moroni viii:22.]

To this also agrees the teachings of Paul:

"For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law:[A] and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law."[B]

[Footnote A: I venture the suggestion, basing it on the sense of the whole passage, that it should read: "Shall also be judged without the law."]

[Footnote B: Rom. ii:12.]


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Two Great Christian Symbols.

All the texts and contexts of this lesson, and also

Matt. xi:26-29; Luke xxii; I Cor. xi:23-30.

Doc. & Cov., Sec. xx.

Moroni ix, v.

II. Baptism.

1. Introduction and Formula.

2. Symbolism of Atonement in Baptism.

3. Realities Give Virtue to Symbols.

III. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper—Eucharist.[A]

1. The Prayer of Consecration—Formula of.

2. Symbolism of the Atonement in the Eucharist.

3. Realities Back of Symbols.

[Footnote A: The commemoration of the sacrifice of our Lord is often and I may say generally called 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 the blood of Christ" (Funk & Wagnall Dic.).]

SPECIAL TEXT: "Except a man be born of the water and of the spirit he can not enter into the kingdom of God." (St. John iii:5.)

"For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come." (I Cor. xi:26.)


1. The Two Great Christian Symbols: The two great Christian institutions of baptism and the sacrament of the Lord's supper have already been alluded to as evidence of the fact of the Atonement.[A] They are now to be considered as symbols of the Atonement. I take up baptism first, as introduced by the Christ himself among the Nephites, because there more perfectly than elsewhere we have this symbol set forth, and only there, in ancient scripture, is the exact formula of the ceremony given. The account of it in the Nephite record stands as follows:

[Footnote A: Lesson XI which see.]

2. Introduction of Baptism Among the Nephites—Its Formula:

"And he said unto them, on this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you. Verily I say unto you that who so repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize him; behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them. And now, behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying:

'Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.'

And then shall we immerse them in the water and come forth again out of the water."[A]

[Footnote A: III Nephi xi:22-26.]

3. The Symbol of the Atonement in Baptism: In this ordinance we have recognized first of all Jesus Christ in whose authority the administrator acts—"Having authority given me of Jesus Christ," etc.

"I baptize you * * * then shall we immerse them in the water and come forth again out of the water." By this immersion in the water is symbolized the death and burial of the Christ, the Atonement he made for the sins of man. In the coming forth again out of the water, is symbolized the resurrection of the Christ, his triumph over death, the victory side of the Atonement; death is conquered, life is triumphant; Christ is the first fruits of the resurrection and through him all men participate in the resurrection. "For since by man came death by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.'"[A]

[Footnote A: Cor. xv:21, 22.]

Nor is this all; but in baptism is symbolized the forgiveness of sins to the baptized. John preached "the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins."[A] Peter commanded the multitude on the day of Pentecost to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.[B] "Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins."[C] "Come unto me and be baptized in my name that ye may receive a remission of your sins."[D] "Thou shalt declare * * * remission of sins by baptism."[E] "Preach repentance and remission of sins by way of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ."[F]

[Footnote A: Mark i:4. Luke iii:3.]

[Footnote B: Acts ii:38.]

[Footnote C: Acts xxii:16.]

[Footnote D: III Nephi xxx:2.]

[Footnote E: Doc. & Cov. Sec. xix:31.]

[Footnote F: Doc. & Cov. Sec. iv:2.]

"Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection."[A]

[Footnote A: Rom. vi:4, 5. See also "The Gospel"—Third Edition, Ch. xvi.]

Baptism then not only becomes a symbol of the Christ's death, burial and resurrection to newness of life; but also the death and burial to sin of the baptized; and his resurrection to a newness of moral and spiritual life. To him it is a birth to righteousness.

Water baptism is completed by the baptism of the spirit, by which man is placed in union with God, through the reception of the Holy Ghost, foreshadowing that more complete union which shall come when man shall dwell in the very presence of God the Father, and God the Son after the resurrection.[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. & Cov. Sec. xxvi.]

And thus the symbols of the Atonement of Christ to the very uttermost are found in this Christian institution of baptism.

4. Realities Give Virtue to Symbols: Let it be said here, however, and because following the above presentation of baptism it may be seen better than in any other connection, that it is not the physical fact of being immersed in water that brings remission of sins, nor the physical fact of the imposition of hands that re-established the union with God through the medium of the Holy Ghost. These as we have tried to explain are symbols of the deeper and greater realities that produce the results of forgiveness of sins and union with God. Back of the physical fact of baptism is the Atonement of Christ, wrought out by his making satisfaction to the injured honor of God, occasioned by sin, and bringing to pass the resurrection from the dead, because a Lord of life, and having the power to impart life to others, to the dead. Back of the physical fact of the immersion of a man in water, in order to a remission of his individual sins, is the fact that Jesus by his own suffering paid the penalty due to that and every other man's sins in the world, and thus brought all men within the claims of Mercy, and made it possible for the sins of men to be forgiven without violence to the Justice of God. This ordinance of baptism supplies the symbols of these realities; it is, however, in the realities instead of the signs or symbols of the realities whence arises the power of God unto salvation. Still the symbols of the realities may not be dispensed with; they are necessary to the perpetuation, in palpable form, of the realities behind them, hence the Church teaches and will always teach the necessity of conforming to or obeying them; they are but the signs and seals of our salvation, however, rather than the ground of it; and they would have no virtue at all except for the existence of the realities which they image forth to outward senses, and witness to the world the covenant which those who accept the gospel make with God.

5. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper as a Symbol of the Atonement: This, like baptism, is a permanent Christian institution; and also like baptism it is best set forth in the Nephite scriptures,[A] the Book of Mormon; for there, and no where else in ancient scripture, is the formula of the institution as given by the Christ to be found. The prayer of consecration of these symbols is of the highest value, and one of the noblest monuments of Nephite or any other Christian literature extant. I give the prayers of consecration together with the introductory remarks of Moroni which declare their origin.

[Footnote A: The best New Testament account of the introduction of the Lord's Supper is (1) That given by Matthew; and (2) by Paul. The first of these is as follows: "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples and said, Take eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew Ch. xxvi:26-28).

The second in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians: "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 of 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. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself not discerning the Lord's body" (I Corinthians, Ch. xi:23-29).]


"The manner of their 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 prayed to the Father in the name of Christ, saying:

Prayer of Consecration over the Broken Bread—the Body:

"O 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 they may always have his spirit to be with them. Amen."

"The manner of administering the wine. Behold they took the cup, and said:

Consecration of the Wine—the Blood:

"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."[A]

[Footnote A: Book of Moroni, Chs. iv and v. Of these formulas I have elsewhere said what Archdeacon Paley has said of the Lord's prayer, when appealing to its excellence as evidence of its divine origin—"For a succession of solemn thoughts, for fixing the attention on a few great points, for suitableness, for sufficiency, for conciseness without obscurity, for the weight and real importance of their petitions, these prayers are without an equal." The composition of them in excellence arises far above any performance that Joseph Smith could be considered equal to; and, in a word, carry within themselves the evidence of a divine authorship. Such passages as these need no argument in support of their divine origin. We may trust entirely to the self-evidence which breathes through every sentence" ("New Witnesses for God," Vol. III, p. 489).]

6. Exposition of the Symbols of the Atonement in Holy Sacrament: In these prayers, the whole scheme of man's salvation is generalized and symbolized. There is a more solemn and awe-inspiring title used in addressing the Deity than is used in the Lord's prayer, but that is wholly warranted from the nature of the prayer of consecration which is to follow—"O, God, the Eternal Father." And this is repeated in the body of both prayers in a second appeal to God the Father. But this does not fall under the head of "vain repetition," since it is the repetition of emphasis, of deep solemnity, as any one will determine if he considers it with attention and will allow for both the solemnity and greatness of the occasion. But not only is God the Eternal Father recognized in this prayer, but the Son also—"We ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ," etc. And not only is the Father and Son recognized but the Holy Spirit also—"That they may always have his Spirit to be with them." This prayer of consecration, then, is a confession of faith in the Holy Trinity.

"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." * * * "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." The broken bread is the symbol of the broken or wounded body of the Christ, broken for sinful man. The wine is the symbol of the blood—the blood shed for the sins of men: and the sincere Christian eats of the one and drinks of the other in grateful remembrance of what the Christ has done for him—the suffering he underwent in order to establish justification of man and the forgiveness of his sin under a reign of law, without violence to the Justice of God or the exclusion of Mercy from our earth-scheme of things. In all this the Atonement is recognized and celebrated most beautifully, and its benefits accepted and appropriated by the celebrants. Moreover, they witness in the act of eating and drinking these emblems of the body and the blood of the Christ, "that they are willing to take upon them the name," of the Christ, become "Christians." "And always remember him;" and who could remember him and not with gratitude in view of what he had done for mankind! "And keep his commandments which he hath given them"—a solemn covenant of obedience upon which, as we have seen, depends the reception of the benefits of the Atonement made for man's individual sins—"he [the Christ] became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him." And to what end does all this lead—this covenanting to take upon them the name of Christ; to always remember him; to keep his commandments—to what culmination does all this conduct the celebrant? To union with God, the one thing most important; the climax is "that they may always have his spirit to be with them!" Just as the several steps of faith, repentance and baptism culminate in possession of the Holy Ghost.[A]

[Footnote A: Acts ii:38, 39. Heb. vi:1-6.]

Thus in two paragraphs, making less than fifteen lines of printed matter is given the story of man's redemption, in this symbol of the Atonement—the Lord's Supper. As in the case of baptism, however, I would remind the student that the virtue is not in the symbols, but in the realities they represent; in the actually broken body of Christ—broken by nail-wounds, by crown of thorns, by spear thrusts in the side; by suffering of mental and spiritual agony that made blood-sweat for the body, and torture for the sin-burdened spirit—vicariously suffering for the sins of all men. By these realities was our salvation purchased; and the virtue lies in them, not in the symbols of them. The symbols we use in remembrance of the realities, and without mistaking them for the realities themselves.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Could Other Means than the Atonement Have Been Provided for Man's Salvation?

1. The Evidence from the Fact of Divine Institution.

2. The Evidence of Scripture.

The texts and contexts of scriptures quoted and cited in the body of this lesson.

History of Christian Doctrine (Shedd), Book V, Ch. ii; Anselm's Theory of Satisfaction; Neander's History of the Christian Religion and Doctrine, Vol. IV, pp 49-511.

Taylor's Mediation and Atonement.

II. The Severity of the Atonement Justified.

1. By the Value of the Things Purchased.

2. On the Ground that it was a Voluntary Sacrifice.

3. By the Lessons it Teaches Man.

SPECIAL TEXT: "Put up thy sword into its place. 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?" (Matt. xxvi:52, 54.)


1. Could Other Means than the Atonement Have Been Devised for Man's Salvation: The question, could any other plan have been devised for the redemption of man than the Atonement as made by the Christ, was discussed, in part, in a previous lesson when considering the question of possible redemption by the sovereign act of God.[A] It is a question that has been often asked, and oftener in our own day perhaps than at any previous time, since our age is pre-eminently critical, and questions the rationality of the Atonement as set forth in the scriptures and also as taught by the Catholic and the Protestant churches. Shedd propounds the question in this form:

[Footnote A: See Lesson XVI.]

"Does the necessity of expiation in order to pardon arise from the nature of the case, or from an arbitrary arrangement? Could the Deity have dispensed with any or all satisfaction of Justice, or is Justice of such an absolute and necessary character, that it would be impossible to save the guilty without an antecedent satisfaction of this attribute [Justice] as it would be for God to lie?"[A]

[Footnote A: "History of Christian Doctrine," Shedd—Vol. II, p. 223.]

Answering these questions from the point of view developed in this treatise, it would be necessary to say (1) that the necessity of expiation in order to pardon does arise from the nature of the case and not from arbitrary arrangement; (2) that the Deity could not dispense with any or all satisfaction to Justice since Justice as an attribute of God is of such an absolute and necessary character that it would be as impossible to save the guilty without an antecedent[A] satisfaction as it would be for God to lie. The attribute of Justice is as necessary to maintain in Deity as the attribute Truth.

[Footnote A: Or pre-determined satisfaction, that ultimately must be realized in fact. I make this qualification of "antecedent" satisfaction in the interest of the great truth that the effects of the Atonement were realized by the ancient saints previous to the coming of Christ to earth and hence previous to his actually making the Atonement; but that was because the Atonement for man's sins, the satisfaction to Justice, had been pre-determined upon, and this fact gave virtue to their faith, repentance and obedience to ordinances of the Gospel. (See Seventy's Year Book II, Lesson XX. "Antiquity of the Gospel.")]

2. (a). The Evidence of Scripture: Considered from the standpoint of scriptural evidence, there can be no doubt of the absolute necessity of the Atonement as it was wrought out in the suffering and death of the Christ. The two disciples overtaken on their way to Emmaus by the unrecognized, risen Savior, gave him an account of the crucifixion and the reported resurrection of Jesus. They also voiced their own great disappointment in the seeming anti-climax of the events which had resulted in the crucifixion by saying: "But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel;" but it was now three days since the crucifixion, and consequently their hopes were disappointed. Then said the Christ unto them:

"O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?"[A]

[Footnote A: Luke xxiv:13-27.]

The same evening Jesus appeared to a company of his disciples and gave the most palpable demonstration of his resurrection, and said to them:

"These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets and in the Psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding that they might understand the scriptures. And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."[A]

[Footnote A: Luke xxiv:44-47.]

If, then, "all things must be fulfilled" which are written in Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms concerning Christ; and if it "behoved Christ thus to suffer and to rise from the dead * * that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations;" then it would seem that there must have been absolute necessity for that order of procedure followed in the events which make up and attend upon the Atonement as we now know it. To this evidence there must be added the thrice repeated, agonized prayer of the Christ, in Gethsemane, when contemplating the approaching climax of his passion:[A] "O, my Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me! nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt."[B]

[Footnote A: Passion—Any suffering or endurance of imposed or inflicted pain * * especially the suffering of Christ between the time of the last supper and his death—especially in the garden and on the cross. (Webster.)]

[Footnote B: Matt. xxvi:39.]

The silence of God in the presence of that prayer tells us that it was not possible for other means to be devised for man's salvation. And when the officers and the rabble led by Judas came upon Jesus and his friends in the garden and Peter drew the sword in defense of the Master, the latter said:

"Put up thy sword into its place; * * 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?"[A]

[Footnote A: Ibid, verses 52-54.]

"Thus it must be," confirms again the absolute necessity of the Atonement as the Christ made it.

3. (b). Evidence of Necessity from the Fact that God Instituted It: The opinions of some of the early Christian fathers upon the possibility of other and perhaps milder means being used to save men than the Atonement, have already been considered, as connected with the suggestion that God might arbitrarily forgive sin by the virtue of his Omnipotence. Also a list was given of both the principal early Christian fathers and the medieval Christian doctors and the views they respectively supported;[A] and from the necessity of the principles involved, the conclusion was reached that the Atonement as made by Christ was absolutely necessary. It might be argued with great force that since God instituted the Atonement it must have been necessary or it would never have been ordained; especially if milder means could have been made to answer or the satisfaction to justice could have been set aside, and man's reconciliation with God brought about by an act of pure benevolence; for it is inconceivable that either God's Justice or his Mercy[B] would require or permit more suffering on the part of the Redeemer than was absolutely necessary to accomplish the end proposed.

[Footnote A: Lesson XVI.]

[Footnote B: Ibid, p.— and note —]

On the influence of pain and suffering Baring-Gould has the following fine passage:

"There was no necessity, some theologians have taught, for Christ to have died but as S. Bernard says, "perhaps that method is best, whereby in a land of forgetfulness and sloth we might be more powerfully and vividly reminded of our fall, through the so great and so manifold sufferings of Him who repaired it." Then quoting Oxenham:

"'Pain is one of the deepest and truest things in our nature; we feel instinctively that it is so, even before we can tell why. Pain is what binds us most closely to one another and to God. It appeals most directly to our sympathies, as the very structure of our language indicates. To go no further than our own, we have English words, such as condolence, to express sympathy with grief; we have no one word to express sympathy with joy. So, again, it is a common remark that, if a funeral and wedding procession were to meet, something of the shadow of death would be cast over the bridal train, but no reflection of bridal happiness would pass into the mourners' hearts. Scripture itself has been not inaptly called 'a record of human sorrow.' The same name might be given to history. Friendship is scarcely sure till it has been proved in suffering, but the chains of an affection riveted in the fiery furnace are not easily broken. So much, then, at least, is clear, that the Passion of Jesus was the greatest revelation of sympathy: 'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.' And hence fathers and schoolmen alike conspire to teach, that one reason why he chose the road of suffering was to knit us more closely to himself. For this he exalted his head, not on a throne of earthly glory, but on the cross of death. It is, indeed, no accident of the few, but a law of our present being, which the poet's words express:

  'That to the Cross the mourner's eve should turn
  Sooner than where the stars of Christmas burn.'

For in all, in their several ways and degrees, are mourners. The dark threads are woven more thickly than the bright ones into the tangled skein of human life; and as time passes on, the conviction that it is so is brought home to us with increasing force.' I (Oxenham: "Doctrine of the Atonement, 1869, pp. 290-292.)

"The Incarnation is the manifestation of perfect love, but perfect love cannot halt at anything short of the extreme disintegration wrought by the fall. Christ must sacrifice Himself wholly to man, or his love is not sufficient to draw man to him. He must enter into man's joys and man's woes, to meet him at every turn of the winding lane of life. Love is not satisfied till it has made every sacrifice that is in its power to make and no more complete sacrifice can be imagined than that of honor, ease, and finally life.

The narrative of Christ's life is, therefore, one of continuous sacrifice, of emptying himself of everything in the overflowing Passion of his love, counting all as nought if only he might catch man's eye and draw him towards himself.

"He came to seek and to save that which was lost. Such is reported by the Evangelist to be the account he gave of his mission." * * * "Pain is the deepest thing we have in our nature, and union through pain has always seemed more real and more holy than any other.[A]

[Footnote A: "Origin and Development of Religious Beliefs," Vol. II, pp, 305, 307, 330.]

4. The Severity of the Atonement Justified from the Value of Things Purchased by It: The severity of the Atonement may be justified if viewed with reference to what it purchased for man, and the effect it was doubtless designed to have in forever fixing the values upon certain great things, in the mind of man. When the plan of redemption is contemplated with reference to what it cost the Christ, then we must have exalted notions ever after of the majesty and Justice of God, for it was to make ample satisfaction to that majesty and Justice of God that the Christ suffered and died; we must have exalted conceptions of the value of that stately fabric known as the moral government of the world, for it was for the preservation of its integrity that the Christ suffered and died; we must hence forth have a higher regard for God's attribute of Mercy, for it was that Mercy might be brought into the earth-scheme of things, and claim her own, that the Christ suffered and died; we must set a higher value even upon physical life hereafter, for it was in order to bring to pass the resurrection of man to physical life, and to make that life immortal, that the Christ suffered and died; new glory must attach hereafter to spiritual life,—perpetual union between soul of man and soul of God,—for to bring to pass that spiritual life, that indissoluble union with God on which it depends for existence, that the Christ suffered and died; we must henceforth have a deeper reverence for the Love of God and the Love of the Christ for man,—and a higher regard for man himself since God so loved him—for it was to give a manifestation of that Love, that the Christ suffered and died.

If it be true, and it is, that men value things in proportion to what they cost, then how dear to them must be the Atonement, since it cost the Christ so much in suffering that he may be said to have been baptized by blood-sweat in Gethsemane, before he reached the climax of his passion, on calvary. "Behold he suffereth the pains of all men; yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam;"[A] "surely every man must repent or suffer [i. e., the eternal consequences of sin]. * * * 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."[B] Advantages to be realized in eternal life purchased at such a cost as this, should indeed be regarded by men as pearls of great price, to obtain which a man would be justified in selling all that he hath, that he might buy them.

[Footnote A: II Nephi ix:21.]

[Footnote B: Doc. & Cov. Sec. xix:4, 16-18.]

But on the other hand if high values for the great and important things enumerated above could only be secured by the severity of suffering that attended upon the Atonement made by the Christ, then, I say, and I trust with becoming reverence, that they were worth all that even the Christ by his blessed suffering paid for them.

5. The Atonement a Voluntary Offering: Another thing may be urged in justification of the severity of the plan of redemption through the Atonement—it was a voluntary act; and no one was compelled to undertake the terrible mission unless he himself elected to do so. "Whom shall I send," asked God the Father, after he had explained the necessity of a Redeemer for man in the earth-scheme of things.[A] "Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of man, saying, 'Here am I, send me.'" The act was voluntary. Indeed the glory of the Atonement as well as the justification for its severity depend upon its being so. "Therefore doth my father love me," said the Christ, "because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father."[B] And when one would have defended him by physical force the Christ bade him put up his sword, saying, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my father and he shall give me more than twelve legions of angels?" That is, to deliver him from his captors. "But," he added, after declaring the possibility of his deliverance by legions of angels, "how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?"[C]

[Footnote A: See Lesson VI.]

[Footnote B: John x:17, 18.]

[Footnote C: Matt. xxvi:53, 54.]

6. Lesson Taught by Severity of the Atonement: Let the severity of the Atonement impress men with one very important truth, viz., that breaking up the harmony of the moral government of the world is a serious, adventurous, and dangerous business, even though when necessary to bring about conditions essential to the progress of Intelligences; and more serious when man in his presumption and apostasy from God, of his own perverse will, to gratify his ambition, or pride or appetite or passions, violates the law of God and breaks the union between himself and Deity. That is serious; and how difficult it is to re-establish that union, to purchase forgiveness for that sin! How hard it is to make amends to the majesty of God, dishonored by man's individual transgression of divine law—let the severity of the Christ's Atonement for man's sin bear witness; for it required all that the Christ gave in suffering and agony of spirit and body, to lay the grounds for man's forgiveness and reconciliation with God.

The severity of the Atonement should impress men with the fact that we live in a world of stern realities; that human actions draw with them tremendous consequences that may not be easily set aside if the actions in which they have their origin are wrong.

Moral laws have their penalties as physical laws have their consequences; there could be no moral laws without penalties; and penalties of laws must be enforced, else laws are mere nullities. Violations of moral law are attended by shame and suffering; suffering is the consequence or the penalty of violating divine, moral law; and the penalty must be paid, either by the one sinning or by another who shall suffer vicariously for him.

This brings us to one of the great questions inseparably connected with the Atonement. Can there be such a thing as vicarious suffering? And can the vicarious suffering of an innocent victim pay the debt to justice due from one who is guilty of the transgression of law?


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Law of Righteousness.

The texts and contexts of the scriptures quoted and cited in the body of this lesson.

II. Possibility of the Spirit Suffering.

III. The Suffering of Men.

1. Because of Their Own Sins.

2. Because of the Sins of Others.

3. With Each Other on Account of Sin.

4. Willingness of Men to Suffer for Others and what it Suggests.

IV. Vicarious Suffering the Doctrine of Christ.

V. The Reign of Law and Love.

SPECIAL TEXT: "He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. * * * Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the Propitiation for our sins.

"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." (I John iv:8-11.)


1. The Law of Righteousness: All sin against moral law is followed by suffering. At first glance that statement may not be accepted without qualification; but it is true. "Sin is transgression of the law," is scripture definition of sin.[A] No difficulty will arise from that definition, but there might arise difference of opinion as to what constitutes "moral law," which to violate would be sin. Of course moral law, varies among different races, and nations; and indeed varies in the same race and nation in different periods of time; but no matter how variant the law may be, between different races or nations; or how variant it may be between individuals, the principle announced that suffering follows sin will hold good. Of course between the Christian whose conscience is trained in the moral law of the doctrine of Christ, and the heathen, "who know not God," there is a wide difference. Many things which are sin to the Christian conscience are not sin to the heathen races, unenlightened by the ethics of the Christian religion; but, nevertheless, what I say is true; and if heathen peoples do not have the same moral standards that prevail in Christian lands, they have some moral standards; and whenever they violate what to them is the "rule of righteousness," it is followed by chagrin, by sorrow, by mental suffering for them; and so with the Christian people who are instructed in the high, moral principles of the Christian religion. When they fall below their ideals, when they consciously violate their rule of righteousness, it is followed by suffering, by sense of shame, by sorrow; and, indeed, the great bulk of the sorrows of this world spring from sin, the transgression of the moral law, and there is no escaping its penalty—suffering.

[Footnote A: I John iii:4; and Rom. iv:15.]

2. Possibility of the Spirit Suffering: It is just as real, this suffering of the spirit for the violation of the moral law, as the suffering of physical pain that comes from the violation of some physical law. The mind no less than the body may be hurt, wounded as deeply as the body, and carry its scars as the evidence of its wounds as long. Mental suffering is as real and poignant as physical pain; and he who sins suffers. "And it often happens," says Guizot, "that the best men, that is, those who have best conformed their will to reason, have often been the most struck with their insufficiency, the most convinced of the inequality between the conduct of man and his task between liberty and law;" and therefore have they suffered most. It is possible, then, for men to suffer because of their own sins.

3. Men Suffer Because of the Sins of Others: This we know, also, it is possible for men to suffer because of the sins of others, and they often do it. You can scarcely conceive of a man being so far isolated, so far outside the sympathies of the world, that it can be said of him that he lives unto himself alone; that his sinning and his suffering concerns only himself. We are so knit together in a net work of sympathies—not seen, but real nevertheless—that we suffer because of each other. It is easily proven. Take the case of an honorable father and mother who have led we will say—and there are such fathers and mothers—ideal lives. They have lived in honor; they have met their obligations to the world with reasonable fidelity; they have lived lives of righteousness; they have set good examples to their children; they have taught the Christian truths at the fireside; they have surrounded their family with every advantage that would prepare them for honorable stations among men. They have taken pride as they have seen their children grow from infancy to manhood, and their souls have hoped that a sort of immortality would subsist in the perpetuation of their race through their children. Then out of this family group, over which the parents have watched with such anxious solicitude, there comes forth a reprobate youth, in whom there seems to be scarcely any moral sense. He violates all the conventions of society, and of moral living; he destroys his intellect by his excesses, and he becomes a vagabond and outcast among men, a degenerate, perhaps finds his way through the sewers of sin, into the prison house, and at last, perchance, may go to the very gallows itself.

And what is the condition of that righteous father and mother the while, when they look upon this sad mischance in their household? Sorrow! The one who has led the shameful life, though he may suffer somewhat for his sins, has not suffered the one-thousandth part of the shame and humiliation and disgrace that has been experienced by this father and mother. They suffer because of the sins of this wayward son. They illustrate in their experience the fact that men can suffer because of each other; the innocent are involved in the sins and crimes of the guilty.

From this confessedly extreme case all down the line of human experiences and relationships in constantly varying degrees men suffer because of each other.

4. Men Suffer With Each Other on Account of Sin: Then men suffer with each other? An outsider, looking at this scene I have presented —I mean one not a member of the grief-stricken family—witnessing the sorrow of the father, and the inconsolable grief of the mother; the mental distress and shame experienced by brother and sisters; the stranger witnessing all this, weeps with the sorrowing father and mother; he suffers with them.

5. Willingness of Men to Suffer for Each Other: There is still another phase of this suffering on account of sin, and one that draws very near to the point I am trying to reach. There is among men, and especially among men of highly sensitive natures, a willingness to suffer for others. Take the case, for instance, of David and Absolom. Absolom was the most worthless of all David's many worthless sons; he had planned rebellion against the grand old king; he would have clutched the crown from the hoary head of David and put it upon his own. In every way he had warred against the honor and the interests o. his noble father. Yet when news was brought to the king that the worthless young man had been caught in the battle and slain, the old king was stricken with sorrow, and gave vent to the parent-cry that rings through all the ages—"Oh Absolom, my son! my son! would to God I had died for thee!" In this experience of David's we see the willingness of one to suffer for another. Nor is this willingness confined to parents alone who would so often and so willingly take upon themselves the consequences of their children's sins, though those consequences involved death. The same willingness exists on the part of the children, but perhaps is less frequently manifested, to suffer for their parents. The same is true also as to brothers and sisters, and among friends, where no tie of consanguinity exists; and even among strangers, on the occasion of great, imminent danger, this impulse in man, this willingness to risk his own life for others is frequently manifested. Such experiences make up the history of heroism, which is the chief glory of our human race.

6. The Great Principle Suggested by the Foregoing Facts: Does this fact of willingness to suffer for others, so abundantly attested in human experiences, bear witness to the existence of no great and eternal principle, that may be of incalculable benefit in the moral economy of the world? Is it meaningless? I think not. On the contrary it suggests the existence of a great and effective truth, namely, that the Intelligences of the universe are so bound together in sympathetic relations that at need they can suffer for each other, as well as with each other, and because of each other. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."[A] This is true because when a man lays down his life for a cause or for a friend he has then given all he has to give; for with life goes all things else; he can give no more. Shall those Intelligences we must needs think of as Divine, as making up David's "congregation of the Mighty," the Gods among whom God the greatest of all the Intelligences, standeth and judges,[B] shall these be denied the privilege of love-manifestation which goes with this giving of all? And shall this suffering for others have no benefiting effect upon those others for whom the suffering is endured? Shall this love-force of men and of divine Intelligences be mere waste of the highest and most refined of all forces—spiritual force? Not so, if reason answers the question. Certainly not so if scripture answers it. "Here by perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us."[C] "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life."[D] "For Christ hath also once suffered for sin, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God."[E] "When we were yet without strength in due time Christ died for us. * * * Being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. * * * When we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his son * * *."[F] The scriptures then abundantly confirm the declaration made that divine Intelligences are not denied the power of giving the highest love manifestation for others by suffering for them; and in that love-manifestation giving all they can give even to taking upon themselves the consequences of the sins of others and making Atonement for them; suffering that others might have placed within their reach the means of escape from suffering, if only they would accept such means and apply them. Otherwise, of course, the sinners themselves must suffer all the consequences due to their sins; for nothing is clearer in the revealed word of God, developed in this treatise, than that satisfaction must be made to Justice whenever the domain of Justice is trespassed upon, else all is confusion in the moral government of the world; so that if men will not avail themselves of means which Mercy provides for their redemption, then they themselves must meet the inexorable demands of Justice.

[Footnote A: St. John iii:15.]

[Footnote B: Psalms lxxxii.]

[Footnote C: I John iii:16.]

[Footnote D: St. John iii:16.]

[Footnote E: I Peter iii:16.]

[Footnote F: Rom. v:6-10.]

7. Vicarious Suffering. Its Reality and Its Effectiveness is the Doctrine of the Christ: This, then, is the especial doctrine of the Christ on which his earth-life's mission is based. One Intelligence at need can suffer for others. It is possible for one to stand responsible for another; a man can be his brother's keeper, and vicariously endure even suffering for another's sins; make a satisfaction to justice, and bring the quality of Mercy into the moral economy of things, and give it legitimate standing under a reign of law, softening somewhat the otherwise harsh aspect of things.

8. The Reign of Law and Love: To this then our inquiry and discussions lead us; to recognize in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the central truth of which is the Atonement, a reign of Law and Love; and that to preserve this Law, and to manifest this Love was the purpose of the earth-life's mission of the Christ. To teach and to demonstrate, first of all, God-love for man, by a sacrifice that tasks God that man might be saved;[A] and second, to inspire man-love for God, by the demonstration that God first loved man, and how deeply God loved man;[B] and third, to teach man-love for man. "For beloved," said the apostle whom Jesus loved pre-eminently—"If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."[C] In this love for one another the children of God are manifest, he contends. "Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. * * We know that we have passed from death into life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. * * Here by perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."[D] It is not to be marveled at that this same apostle declared that "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love,"[E] or that Paul, accepting the same principles, should say, "he that loveth another, hath fulfilled the law. * * * Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."[F]

[Footnote A: St. John iii:16, 17.]

[Footnote B: "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins" (I John iv:9, 10.)]

[Footnote C: I John iv:11.]

[Footnote D: I John iii:10-16.]

[Footnote E: I John iv:8.]

[Footnote F: Rom. xiii:8, 10.]

Jesus, however, teacheth the matter most perfectly. Accepting the love of God for man as assured, then the great commandment for man is—

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."[A] "Love is the fulfilling of the law"[B]

"All's Love, yet all's Law."[C]

[Footnote A: Matt. xxii.]

[Footnote B: Rom. xiii:10.]

[Footnote C: Browning.]

Love exists in the earth-scheme of things, in the moral government of the world, as we have seen, in harmony with the universal reign of law. It is not born of some caprice, or mere impulse, howsoever beneficent; but interwoven it is into the very web of things, and is immanent in them, an indestructible Presence. It is because love reigns in harmony with law that we mortals can be so sure of it; and rest so secure in it. For as it was not born of caprice, so, too, it will not depart from the world, nor from individuals on caprice; but will endure as space itself endures—from the very nature of it; as truth abides; as law itself subsists; as God lives; for it is of the Eternal Things—the Things that do not pass away.


Other Views of the Atonement.



[Footnote A: Soteriology is that branch of theological science which treats of the work of the Redeemer, or of the divine agency in the salvation of the soul (Die. Funk & Wagnall). This brief historical statement of soteriology is either condensed or quoted from Shedd's work on the "History of Christian Doctrine," and is not mine.]

Not even an epitome of the history of the doctrine of the Atonement may be attempted here. The title is written out, not to attempt a summary of the history of this branch of theological science; but merely to make a few remarks about that history.

It is quite generally conceded that the doctrine of the Atonement developed slowly. "Taking the term Atonement in its technical signification to denote the satisfaction of divine justice for the sin of man, by the substituted penal sufferings of the son of God, we shall find a slower scientific unfolding of this great cardinal doctrine than of any other of the principal truths of Christianity."[A]

[Footnote A: "History of Christian Doctrine" V. "History of Soteriology," Vol. II, p. 204.]

Heretical Views During the First Two Christian Centuries: There were two views of the atonement held to be heretical during the two first Christian centuries, the Gnostic[A] and the Ebionite,[B] respectively.

[Footnote A: The Gnostics were a sect which arose in the Christian Church in the first century, flourished in the second, and had almost entirely disappeared by the sixth. The Gnostics held that knowledge rather than faith was the road to heaven, and professed to have a peculiar knowledge of religious mysteries. They rejected the literal interpretation of the scriptures, and attempted to combine their teachings with those of the Greek and Oriental philosophies and religions. They held that God was the unknowable and the unapproachable; that from him proceeded, by emanation, subordinate deities termed "eons," from whom again proceeded other still inferior spirits (Cent. Dict.—Gnostics).]

[Footnote B: The Ebionites were a party of Judaizing Christians which appeared in the church as early as the second century and disappeared about the fourth century. They agreed in (1) the recognition of Jesus as the messiah; (2) the denial of the divinity; (3) belief in the universal obligation of the Mosaic law, and (4) rejection of Paul and his writings The two great divisions of Ebionites were the Pharisaic Ebionites, who emphasized the obligation of the Mosaic law, and the Essentic Ebionites, who were more speculative and leaned toward Gnosticism (Cent. Diet.—Ebionites).]

The Gnostic heresy as affecting the Atonement brought against the scripture doctrine on that subject two contradictions; the first by one Basilides (A. D. 125), who affirmed only a human suffering in the Redeemer, which was not expiatory for the reason, first, because as merely human it was finite, and inadequate to atone for the sins of the whole world; and, second, because the idea of substituted penal suffering is inadmissible. "Suffering for the purposes of justice," their teacher said, of necessity implied personal criminality in the sufferer," and therefore can never be endured by an innocent person like Christ." "The principle of vicarious substitution, in reference to justice, he held to be untenable.

The other contradiction of Gnosticism was made by Marcion (A. D. 150). He affirmed a divine suffering in the Redeemer, which was but apparent, however, because the "Logos," or "Word"—Christ—having assumed a phantom, not a real body, only a seeming suffering could occur, and could not, of course, be expiatory. "It was merely emblematical—designed to symbolize the religious truth, that man, in order to attain his true and highest life must die to his earthly life."

"If now we examine these Gnostic and Judaizing theories," says Shedd, from whom I am condensing this account, "we find that they agree in one capital respect, viz., in the rejection of the scripture doctrine of a real and true expiation of human guilt."

2. Soteriology of the Apostolic Fathers: In the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, we obtain the views of the Church upon the doctrine of the Atonement during the first half century after the death of the last inspired apostle (A. D. 100-150). Examining them, we find chiefly the repetition of Scripture phraseology, without further attempt at an explanatory doctrinal statement. There is no scientific construction of the doctrine of Atonement in the writings of these devout and pious disciples of Paul and John; yet the idea of vicarious satisfaction is distinctly enunciated by them."

Our author then quotes from the Apostolic Fathers in proof of the above statement.[A]

[Footnote A: See "History of Christian Doctrine," Vol. II, pp. 208-212.]

3. Early Patristic Soteriology:[A] One characteristic of the early Patristic Soteriology which strikes the attention is the important part which the doctrine of Satan plays in it. The death of Christ is often represented as ransoming man from the power and slavery of the devil. Such passages as Colossians ii:15, and Hebrews ii:14: "Having spoiled principalities and powers (Satanic dominion), he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. * * * That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil,"—were made the foundation of this view. The writer who exhibits it more plainly and fully than any other is Iranaeus (+200?) As an illustration of his sentiments, we quote a passage from the first chapter of the fifth book of his important work, "Adversus Haereses:" "The Word of God (the Logos), omnipotent and not wanting in essential justice, proceeded with strict justice even against the apostasy or kingdom of evil itself, redeeming from it that which was his own originally, not by using violence, as did the devil in the beginning, but my persuasion, as it became God, as that neither justice should be infringed upon, nor the original creation of God perish."

[Footnote A: This period extends into the last quarter of the 2nd century.]

All true scientific development of the doctrine of the Atonement it is very evident, must take its departure from the idea of divine justice. This conception is the primary one in the Biblical representation of this doctrine. The terms, "propitiation" and "sacrifice," and the phraseology, "made a curse for us," "made sin for us," "justified by blood," "saved from wrath," which so frequently occur in the revealed statement of the truth, immediately direct the attention of the theologian to that side of the divine character, and that class of divine attributes, which are summed up in the idea of justice. And as we follow the history of the doctrine down, we shall find that just in proportion as the mind of the Church obtained a distinct and philosophic conception of this great attribute, as an absolute and necessary principle in the divine nature, and in human nature, was it enabled to specify with distinctness the real meaning and purport of the Redeemer's passion, and to exhibit the rational and necessary grounds for it.

Now, turning to the writings of the Patristic period, we shall see that sufferings and death of the Redeemer are, in the main, represented as sustaining their most immediate and important relation to the justice of God. It is not to be disguised that the distinctness with which this is done varies with different writers. We shall find in this period, as in every other one, some minds for whom the pollution of sin is more impressive than its criminality, and in whose experience the doctrine of justification[A] is less formative than the doctrine of sanctification.[B]

[Footnote A: Justification, as here used, is the act of God by which the sinner is declared righteous, or justly free from obligation to penalty, and fully restored to divine favor.]

[Footnote B: Sanctification, the act of sanctifying or making holy. In Theology the act of God's grace, coupled with the efforts of man, by which the affection are purified and the soul is cleansed from sin and consecrated to God.]

4. Soteriology of Athanasius and the Greek Fathers: "Athanasius (373) is distinct and firm in maintaining the expiatory nature of the work of Christ. He recognizes its relations to the attribute of divine justice, and has less to say than his predecessors respecting its relations to the kingdom and claims of Satan. The more important bearings of the doctrine of vicarious satisfaction, it is evident, were now beginning to receive a closer attention, while less stress was laid upon its secondary aspects. We can find in the representations of Athanasius the substance of that doctrine of plenary satisfaction of eternal justice by the theanthropic sufferings of Christ which acquired its full scientific form in the mind of Anselm, and which lies under the whole Protestant church and theology."

"Athanasius composed no tract or treatise upon the Atonement and we must consequently deduce his opinions upon this subject from his incidental statements while discussing other topics. In his discourses against Arians, there are frequent statements respecting the work of Christ, in connection with those respecting his person and dignity, and from these we select a few of the most distinct and conclusive: 'Christ as man endured death for us, inasmuch as he offered himself for that purpose to the Father.' Here, the substitutionary nature of his work is indicated. 'Christ takes our sufferings upon himself, and presents them to the Father, entreating for us that they be satisfied in him.' Here, the piacular[A] nature of his work is taught, together with his intercessory office. 'The death of the incarnate Logos is a ransom for the sins of men, and a death of death.' 'Desiring to annual our death, he took on himself a body from the Virgin Mary, that by offering this unto the Father a sacrifice for all, he might deliver us all, who by fear of death were all our life through subject to bondage.' 'Laden with guilt, the world was condemned of law, but Logos assumed the condemnation and suffering in the flesh gave salvation to all.' Here, the obligation of the guilty world is represented not as relating to Satan but to law; and the Redeemer assumes a condemnation, or in modern Protestant phraseology becomes a voluntary substitute for the guilty, for purposes of legal satisfaction."

[Footnote A: "Piacular"—expiatory.]

"If we examine the soteriology of the Greek church during the last half of the fourth and the first half of the fifth centuries, we meet with very clear conceptions of the atonement of Christ. The distinctiveness of the views of Athanasius upon this subject undoubtedly contributed to this; for this great mind exerted as powerful an influence upon the Eastern doctrinal system, generally, as Augustine exercised over the Western."

5. Soteriology of Augustine and Gregory the Great: "Augustine (430): Augustine's view of the work of the Christ is essentially that of the fathers who had preceded him, neither falling short nor making any marked advance in scientific respects. * * * 'All men,' he says, 'are separated from God by sin. Hence they can be reconciled with him, only through the remission of sin, and this only through the grace of a most merciful Savior, and this grace through the one only victim of the most true and only priest.' In another place, alluding to our Lord's comparison of his own crucifixion with the lifting up of the serpent by Moses, Augustine thus expresses himself: 'Our Lord did not, indeed, transfer sin itself into his flesh as if it were the poison of the serpent, but he did transfer death; so that there might be, in the likeness of human flesh, the punishment of sin without its personal guilt, whereby both the personal guilt and punishment of sin might be abolished from human flesh.'

"These passages, and many others like them, scattered all through his writings, prove indisputably that Augustine held the doctrine of vicarious satisfaction."

Gregory, the Great, Bishop of Rome (604): Gregory, in his writings, lays great stress upon the idea of a sacrifice offered in the death of Christ. He starts from the conception of guilt, and from this derives immediately the necessity of a theanthropic[A] sacrifice. "Guilt," he says, "can be extinguished only by a penal offering to justice. But it would contradict the idea of justice, if for the sin of a rational being like man, the death of an irrational animal should be accepted as a sufficient atonement. Hence, a man must be offered as the sacrifice for man; so that a rational victim may be slain for a rational criminal. But how could a man, himself stained with sin, be an offering for sin? Hence a sinless man must be offered. But what man descending in the ordinary course would be free from sin? Hence, the Son of God must be born of a virgin, and become man for us. He assumed our nature without corruption. He made himself a sacrifice for us, and set forth for sinners his own body, a victim without sin, and able both to die by virtue of its humanity, and to cleanse the guilty, upon grounds of justice."

[Footnote A: Theantropic—both divine and human; being or pertaining to the God-man.]

6. Anselm's Theory of Satisfaction: A. Anselm's views of the Atonement (1109 A. D.) are fundamentally those of Protestant Christendom, it is important that they be stated in sufficient detail to make the leading principle clear.

The fundamental position of Anselm is that "the Atonement of the Son of God is absolutely or metaphysically necessary in order to the remission of sin. Anselm concedes by implication, throughout his work, that if it cannot be made out that the vicarious satisfaction of divine justice by the theanthropic suffering of Jesus Christ is required by a necessary and immanent attribute of the Divine Nature, then a scientific character cannot be vindicated for the doctrine; for nothing that is not metaphysically necessary is scientific. Hence, in the very beginning of the tract, he affirms that a mere reference to the divine benevolence, without any regard to the divine justice, cannot satisfy the mind that is seeking a necessary basis in the doctrine of atonement. For benevolence is inclined to dispense with penal suffering, and of itself does not demand it.

"It is not the attribute of mercy, but the attribute of justice, which insists upon legal satisfaction, and opposes an obstacle to the salvation of a sinner. Setting aside, therefore, the divine justice, and taking into view merely the divine compassion, there does not appear to be any reason why God should not by an act of bare omnipotence deliver the sinner from suffering and make him happy. This conducts Anselm to that higher position from which the full-orbed nature and character of the Deity is beheld, and he proceeds to show that compassion cannot operate in an isolated and independent manner in the work of redemption, and that if anything is done for the recovery and weal of the transgressor, it cannot be at the expense of any necessary quality in the divine nature, through the mere exercise of an arbitrary volition, and unbridled omnipotence.

"The leading positions, and the connection of ideals, in this exceedingly profound, clear, and logical tract of the eleventh century are as follows:

"Beginning with the idea of sin, Anselm defines this as the withholding from God what is due to him from man. Sin is debt. But man owes to God the absolute and entire subjection of his will, at all times to the divine law and will. This is not given, and hence the guilt, or debt, of a man to Deity. The extinction of this guilt does not consist in simply beginning again to subject the will entirely to its rightful sovereign, but in giving satisfaction for the previous cessation in so doing. God has been robbed of his honor in the past, and it must be restored to him in some way, while at the same time the present and future honor due to him is being given. But how is man, who is still a sinner, and constantly sinning, to render this double satisfaction, viz.: satisfy the law in the future by perfectly obeying it, and in the past by enduring its whole penalty? It is impossible for him to render it; and yet this impossibility, argues Anselm, does not release him from his indebtedness or guilt, because this impossibility is the effect of a free act, and a free act must be held responsible for all its consequences, in conformity with the ethical maxim, that the cause is answerable for the effect. But now the question arises: Cannot the love and compassion of God abstracted from his justice come in at this point, and remit the sin of man without any satisfaction? This is impossible because it would be irregularity and injustice. If unrighteousness is punished neither in the person of transgressor, nor in that of a proper substitute, then unrighteousness is not subject to any law or regulations of any sort; it enjoys more liberty than righteousness itself, which would be a contradiction and a wrong. Furthermore, it would contradict the divine justice itself, if the creature would defraud the creator of that which is his due, without giving any satisfaction for the robbery. Since there is no attribute more just and necessary than that primitive righteousness innate to deity which maintains the honor of God. This justice, indeed, is God himself, so that to satisfy it, is to satisfy God himself.

"Having in this manner carried the discussion into the very heart of the divine nature, and shown that a necessary and immanent attribute of the Deity stands in the way of non-infliction of punishment and the happiness of the transgressor, Anselm proceeds to consider the possibility of satisfying the claims of justice—the claims of Satan being expressly denied. There are two ways, he says, in which this attribute can be satisfied. First, the punishment may be actually inflicted upon the transgressor. But this, of course, would be incompatible with his salvation from sin, and his eternal happiness, because the punishment required is eternal, in order to offset the infinite demerit of robbing God of his honor. It is plain, therefore, that man cannot be his own atoner, and render satisfaction for his own sin. A sinner cannot justify a sinner, any more than a criminal can pardon his own crime. The second, and only other way in which the attribute of justice can be satisfied is by substituted or vicarious suffering. This requires the agency of another being than the transgressor. But here everything depends upon the nature and character of the being who renders the substituted satisfaction. For it would be an illegitimate procedure to defraud justice by substituting a less for a more valuable satisfaction. It belongs, therefore, to the conception of a true vicarious satisfaction, that something be offered to justice for the sin of man that is greater than the finite and created, or, in Anselm's phrase, is 'greater than all that is not God.' In other words, an infinite value must pertain to that satisfaction which is substituted for the sufferings of mankind. But he who can give and has the right to give, out of his own resources, something that is greater than the infinite universe, must himself be greater than all that is not God, or than all that is infinite and created. But God alone is greater than all that is not in God, or the created universe. Only God, therefore, can make this satisfaction. Only Deity can satisfy the claims of Deity.

But, on the other hand, man must render it, otherwise it would not be a satisfaction for man's sin. Consequently, the required and adequate satisfaction must be theanthropic, i. e., rendered by a God-Man. As God, the God-Man can give to Deity more than the whole finite creation combined could render. Furthermore, this theanthropic obedience and suffering was not due from the mere humanity of Christ. This was sinless and innocent, and justice had no claims, in the way of suffering, upon it. And, moreover, only a man's obedience, and not that of a God-Man, could be required of a man. Consequently this Divine Human obedience and suffering was a surplusage, in respect to the man Christ Jesus, and might overflow and inure to the benefit of a third party—in other words, to the benefit of the transgressor for whom it was voluntarily rendered and endured.

"This satisfaction made by incarnate Deity to meet the claims of one of his own attributes, Anselm represents as even more than an equivalent for the sin of mankind."

This brings us to the point where now the view of the Atonement by Catholics and Protestants respectively may be stated.



Original Sin:[A] "Original sin is distinguished from actual, or personal sin, because actual or personal sin is the sin which we personally with our own free will commit, whilst original sin is that sin which our human nature has committed with the will of Adam, in whom all our human nature was included, and with whom our human nature is united as a branch to a root, as a child to a parent, as men who partake with Adam the same nature which we have derived from him, and as members of the same human family of which Adam was the head. The difference that exists between original and personal sin is, that the latter is committed with the will physically our own, whilst original sin is committed with a will physically of another, and only morally our own, because it forms with that other (Adam), who is our head, one moral body.

[Footnote A: I take the Catholic doctrine of the Atonement from "Catholic Belief," by Very Rev. Joseph Faa Di Bruno, D. D., which is based, of course, upon the decisions of the Council of Trent, held from 1545 to 1563, and which among other things declared what the Catholic doctrine was upon "Original Sin" and "Justification."]

"If our hand strike a fellow-creature unjustly, though the hand has itself no will, yet it is considered guilty, not indeed as viewed separately by itself, but inasmuch as it is united to the rest of the body, and to the soul, forming one human being therewith, and thus sharing in the will of the soul with which it is connected.

"Also the sin committed inwardly by the human will, by a bad desire, belongs to the whole human being.

"Of the original sin in which we are born we are not personally guilty with our own personal will, but our nature is guilty of it by the will of Adam, our head, with whom we form one moral body through the human nature which we derive from him. * * * The Catholic Church teaches 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.

"The teaching of the Council of Trent (Session V) is confirmed by these words of St. Paul: 'Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned' (Rom. v:12).

"Surely the early Christians believed in original sin, as it can be gathered from what St. Augustine said to Pelagius, opposing him on the matter: 'I did not invent original sin, which Catholic faith holds from ancient time; but thou, who deniest it, thou, without doubt, art a new heretic" (De nuptiis, lib. xi, c. 12).

"It may be said that this belief is as old as the human race, for traces of this ancient tradition are spread in all nations, insomuch that Voltaire had to confess that 'The fall of man is the base of the theology of nearly all ancient people' (Philosophic de l'histoire, chapter xvii).

"Beside the guilt of original sin, which is that habitual state of sinfulness in which we are born (because our human nature is justly considered to have consented in Adam to the rejection of original justice), there is also in man the stain of original sin, entailing the privation in the human soul of that supernatural lustre which, had we born in the state of original justice, we all should have had.

"As neither Adam nor any of his offspring could repair the evil done by his sin, we should ever have remained in the state of original sin and degradation in which we were born, and we should have been forever shut out from the Beatific Vision of God in Heaven, had not God, in his infinite mercy, provided for us a Redeemer."

The Incarnation of God the Son: Respecting this great mystery, Catholics believe that the Holy Trinity, out of infinite mercy, decreed to provide for us a Redeemer, who could suffer, and suffer as an individual of the human race, and at the same time be in himself so exalted as to be able to give infinite value to his sufferings; because sin, being an offense against the infinite majesty of God could only be atoned for by an expiation of infinite value.

"To accomplish this end, God the Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity, the Eternal Word, chose the Blessed Virgin Mary of Nazareth, to become his Mother, and on receiving her consent, he, by the supernatural agency of the Holy Spirit, took human flesh from her, and thus became man, and his holy name is Jesus Christ.

"By becoming man the Eternal Word did not lay aside his divine nature, but, remaining what he had ever been from all eternity, took upon himself human nature without a human personality, so that from the first moment of his incarnation there was in him, and there ever will be, not one only but two natures, the divine and the human, united in his divine personality, the person of God the Son.

"The divine nature of Jesus is one and the same as that of the Eternal Father and of the Holy Spirit, and his human nature is in all things like ours, sin and tendency to sin excepted. He is equal to the Father as to his Godhead, and less than the Father as to his manhood.

"Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died in his human nature on Mount Calvary, and thereby effectually interposed his atonement between his eternal Father and man, and thus made a plentiful expiation and paid a full ransom to the Eternal Justice for the sins of the whole world. * *

"Jesus Our Only Mediator of Redemption: "Catholics believe that our Lord Jesus Christ is alone the great Centre of the Christian religion, the Fountain of all grace, virtue, and merit as in the natural world (if the comparison may be allowed), the sun is the centre and enlivening created source of light, heat, and growth.

"This grand truth they believe to be the vital, essential part of Christianity, 'for other foundation no man can lay but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus' (I Corinthians iii:11).

"They hold that to be united to Jesus Christ is the highest and noblest aim of man, and that only the holy Catholic church supplies the means for the closest union with Jesus Christ; and they are convinced that the yearning to possess this closer communion with Christ has, by divine attraction, drawn thousands of earnest minds to seek in the Catholic church this, the highest happiness to be enjoyed on earth.

"They believe that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, because he has redeemed us from the bondage of Satan, with the ransom of his most precious blood; that he alone is our Savior because he saves us from stain, the guilt, and the curse of sin; that he is our only mediator of redemption and salvation, because he alone, by his own merits, has efficiently interposed between God and man, to obtain the full pardon of our sins through the sacrifice of himself: 'There is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself a redemption for all' (I St. Timothy ii:5, 6). Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to man, whereby we must be saved' (Acts iv:12).

"They believe that Jesus died on the cross to purchase mercy, grace, and salvation for all men—'Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth' (I St. Timothy ii:4). And that since Adam's fall, mercy, grace, and salvation can be obtained by man only through the passion and death of Jesus Christ.

"Believing that Jesus Christ is truly God, they hold that the homage of supreme adoration is due to Him, the God-man, as well as to God the Father, and to God the Holy Spirit."

Catholic View of Justification: "Justification is a divine act which conveys sanctifying grace, and by that grace communicates a supernatural life to the soul which by sin, whether original or actual, had incurred spiritual death: that is to say, justification is a change in the human soul or translation from the state of sin into the state of grace.

"It is a gift of Almighty God, a ray, as it were, coming direct from the divine goodness and filling the soul, which makes those who receive it pleasing to God and justified in his sight.

"The grace of justification produces a change affecting the soul of the regenerate by its presence, elevating and perfecting it. By this grace the likeness of God is brought out in them, and they are raised to a state of friendship with him, and of divine sonship.

"The Catholic church teaches that the grace of justification not merely covers sin, but blots it out; that is, blots out the guilt and stain arising from sin, and remits the everlasting punishment due to it.

"Justifying is not dressing splendidly a dead man's body, it is vivifying it. It is not covering a leprosy with a beautiful shining dress, it is curing it thoroughly. It is not gilding a piece of coal, leaving it inwardly black, but it is transforming it into a brilliant diamond.

"What unspeakable regrets it would leave in the justified man if he had ever to see his soul, indeed magnificently arrayed, still in itself stained with sin, deformed, corrupt, black, and horrible as before.

"Merely covering sin is a human way of forgiving, which consists in passing over the crime of a sinner, and in treating him outwardly as if he had not committed it, and as if no stain were in the soul in consequence of it, though the guilt and the stain are still there.

"God's way of pardoning a sinner is very different, and wholly divine. It is a way worthy of his infinite goodness, sanctity, omnipotence and worthy too of the immense efficacy of Christ's blood, and of his superabundant redemption, and of his infinite merits.

"God's way of pardoning is to cleanse away entirely the guilt and stain of sin, so that instead of it, God sees in the pardoned sinner the "charity of God poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost" (Rom. v:5), which, like a fire, has destroyed all the dross of sin, and rendered man pure, upright, and holy.

"Hence the justification of a sinner is represented in Scripture as the putting on of the new man who is "created in justice, and holiness of truth" (Ephesians iv:24): the "renovation of the Holy Ghost" (Titus iii:5).

"In the case of the grown-up persons, some dispositions are required on the part of the sinner in order to be fit to obtain this habitual and abiding grace of justification. A man can only dispose himself by the help of divine grace, and the dispositions which he shows do not by any means effect or merit justification, but only serve to prepare him for it; and for that reason are simply called dispositions or preparations. This is the teaching of the Council of Trent, which declares: "We are said to be justified gratuitously, because none of the things which precede justification, whether it be faith or good works, can merit this blessing for us." (Session VI, chapter viii.) The same holy council declares that sins are remitted gratuitously by the mercy of God through the merits of Jesus Christ (Session VI, chapter vii).

"The principal dispositions required for justification are the following acts, which can only be made by the assistance of God's actual grace, namely, an act of faith or belief in revealed truths, of fear of God, of hope, and of charity; an act of repentance for past sins, with a purpose to avoid sin in future, and to keep the commandments: a desire of receiving baptism for those who have not yet been baptized, and for those who have fallen into sin after baptism, a resolution to approach the sacrament of penance (Council of Trent, Session VI, chapter vi).

"Justification may be lost by wilfully violating a commandment of God, either by doing what is forbidden, or by not doing what is commanded. Justification is a talent or gift which should be made to bear fruit, or we shall be punished for the neglect.

"By justification we are raised to the dignity of Sons of God, heirs of his kingdom; and this entails upon us the duty of acting in a way becoming to so high a dignity. If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments,' said the Lord (St. Matt. xix:17). By justification we are incorporated with Christ, like a branch growing on a vine; but if the branch produces no fruit it will be cut off and cast into the fire (St. John xv:6). Hence the grace of justification is compared by our Savior, not to a pond, but to a fountain, whose waters reach unto heaven: 'But the water that I will give him shall become in him a fountain of water springing up into life everlasting" (St. John iv:14).

"How Christ's Redemption is Applied to Men that They May Be Justified and Sanctified: "Jesus Christ died for all mankind; he truly died that 'he might taste death for all' (Hebrews ii:9). Yet we know that all men will not be saved but only those who do his will, for we read in St. Paul: 'And being consummated, he became to all that obey him the cause of eternal salvation' (Hebrews v:9). And so, notwithstanding Christ's redemption, it is stated in the gospel that some 'shall go into everlasting punishment' (St. Matt. xxv:46). St. Paul did not say that God will save all men, but, 'who will have all men to be saved' (I Timothy ii:4), implying thereby that for salvation, man's will and co-operation is required to fulfill the conditions, and use the means appointed by God himself for the purpose.

"Only those who "have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Apocalypse [Rev.] vii:14), that is, who have the merits of Christ applied to them, and who persevere to the end in doing what is commanded, will be saved.

"The direct means instituted by Christ himself for applying his infinite merits to the souls of men are the holy sacraments, which are so many channels instituted by Jesus Christ to convey to men his grace purchased for us at the price of his most precious blood.

"The Holy Sacraments: "The Catholic church teaches that there are truly and properly seven, and only seven sacraments of the new law, instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord, and necessary for the salvation of mankind, though not all of them necessary for every person, as, for instance, holy order and matrimony.

"These seven sacraments are:

"1st, Baptism, by which we are made Christians, children of God, and members of his holy church..

"2nd, Confirmation, by which we receive the Holy Ghost, to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.

"3rd, Holy Eucharist, which is the true body and blood, with the soul and divinity, of Jesus Christ, under the appearances of bread and wine.

"4th, Penance, by which the sins that we commit after baptism are forgiven.

"5th, Extreme Unction, which in serious or dangerous illness, comforts the soul, remits sin, and restores health of body, if God sees it to be expedient.

"6th, Holy Order, by which bishops, priests, and other ministers of the Church are ordained.

"7th, Matrimony, the sacrament which sanctifies the union by marriage of man and woman.

"Each of these has the three conditions necessary for a sacrament understood in the strict sense of the word, namely, the outward sign, the inward grace, and the institution by Jesus Christ, who alone has the power to institute sacraments, that is, outward signs as means of grace."



There are some slight variations in the views of the leading subdivisions of Protestant Christendom in relation to the Atonement; but these do not so much concern the nature of the Atonement itself as the manner of appropriating or receiving its benefits. At any rate their views of the Atonement are so nearly alike that they may be stated with sufficient clearness from any one of the standard works of these subdivisions.[A] The statement here used to represent the views of the leading subdivisions of Protestant Christendom is from the "Westminster Confession of Faith" of the Presbyterian church.

[Footnote A: "At the time of the Reformation, we have seen that both Lutheran and Calvanistic theologians adopted the Anselmic theory of a strict satisfaction. This soteriology enters into all the Lutheran and Calvanistic symbols of the continent, and into the Episcopalian, Presbyterian, and Congregational symbols of England and America. So far, therefore, as the principal Protestant creeds are concerned, the theory of an absolute necessity of atonement, and a strict satisfaction of justice by the suffering of Christ, is the prevalent one" ("History of Christian Doctrine," Shedd, Vol. II, p. 349).]

Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof: Section I.—Our first parents being seduced by the subtlety and temptation of Satan, sinned in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory.

"Section II.—By this sin they fell from their original righteousness, and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all faculties and parts of soul and body.

"Section III.—They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation.

"Section IV.—From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.

"Section V.—This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.

"Section VI.—Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, doth, in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal.

"Of God's Covenant with Man: Section I.—The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.

"Section II.—The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon, condition of perfect and personal obedience.

"Section III.—Man by his fall having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace: whereby he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.

"Section IV.—This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in the Scripture by the name of a testament, in reference to the death of Jesus Christ the testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.

"Section V.—This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel: under the law it was administered by promises, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all fore-signifying Christ to come, which were for that time sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation: and is called the Old Testament.

"Section VI.—Under the gospel, when Christ the substance was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are, the preaching the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper: which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity and less outward glory, yet in them it is held forth in more fulness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy, to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the New Testament. There are not, therefore, two covenants of grace differing in substance, but one and the same under various dispensations.

"Of Christ the Mediator: Section I."—It pleased God in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten Son, to be mediator between God and man; the Prophet, Priest, and King; the Head and Savior of his Church; the Heir of all things; and Judge of the world: unto whom he did from all eternity give a people to be his seed, and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.

"Section II.—The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance, and equal with the Father, did, when the fulness of time was come, take upon him man's nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin; being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the Manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.

"Section III.—The Lord Jesus, in his human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit above measure; having in him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in whom it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell: to the end that being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth, he might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator and Surety. Which office he took not unto himself, but was thereunto called by his Father; who put all power and judgment into his hands, and gave him commandment to execute the same.

"Section IV.—This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake; which that he might discharge, he was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfil it endured most grievous torments immediately in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body; was crucified, and died; was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption. On the third day he arose from the dead, with the same body in which he suffered; with which he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father, making intercession; and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.

"Section VII.—Christ, in the work of mediation, acteth according to both natures; by each nature doing that which is proper to itself; yet by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.

"Section VIII.—To all those for whom Christ hath purchased redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same: making intercession for them; and revealing unto them, in and by the Word, the mysteries of salvation; effectually persuading them by his Spirit to believe and obey; and governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit; overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power and wisdom, in such manner and ways as are most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable dispensation" (Westminster Confession of Faith).



The difference between the Soteriology of these great divisions of Christendom—Catholic and Protestant—consists chiefly in the conception of the mode in which the Atonement of the Son of God became available to the believers. Shedd, in pointing out these differences, states that the decisions of the Council of Trent, which, as we have seen, formulated the church's doctrine on "Original Sin," and "Justification," "makes inward holiness in conjunction with the merits of Christ the ground of justification. The unintentional confounding of the distinction between justification and sanctification," which Shedd admits appears occasionally in the writings of some of the Christian Fathers—Augustine especially—"becomes a deliberate and emphatic identification in the scheme of the papal church." He then sets forth the Protestant view as follows:

The Protestant Position: "The Anselmic and Protestant soteriologies mean by the term 'justification,' that divine act, instantaneous and complete, by which sin is pardoned. If we distinguish the entire work of redemption into two parts, a negative and a positive, justification in the Pauline and in the Reformed sanctification would include the former and would include nothing more. Justification is the negative acquittal from condemnation, and not in the least the positive infusion of righteousness, or production of holiness. This positive element, the Reformers were careful to teach, invariably accompanies the negative; but they were equally careful to teach that it is not identical with it. The forgiveness of sin is distinct and different from the sanctification of the heart. It is an antecedent which is always followed, indeed, by its consequent; but this does not render the consequent a substitute for the antecedent, or one and the same thing with it."

In a foot note our author quotes the Westminster Confession on the distinction of justification and sanctification:

"The Westminster Confession thus states the distinction between justification and sanctification. 'Although sanctification be inseparably joined with justification, yet they differ, in that God in justification imputeth the righteousness of Christ; in sanctification, his Spirits infuseth grace, and enableth to the exercise thereof: in the former, sin is pardoned; in the other it is subdued; the one doth equally free all believers from the revenging wrath of God, and that perfectly in this life, that they never fall into condemnation; the other is neither equal in all, nor in this life perfect in any, but growing up to perfection" (Larger Catechism, Q. 77).

Shedd, continuing the discussion of the differences between the Catholics and Protestants upon this subject, says:

"The Council of Trent resolved justification into sanctification, and in the place of a gratuitous justification and remission of sins through the expiation of the Redeemer, substituted the most subtle form of the doctrine of justification by works that has yet appeared, or that can appear. Man is justified and accepted at the bar of justice by his external acts of obedience to the moral or the ecclesiastical law. This is, indeed, the doctrine that prevails in the common practice of the papal church, but it is not the form in which it appears in the Tridentine canons. According to these, man is justified by an inward and spiritual act which is denominated the act of faith; by a truly divine and holy habit or principle infused by the gracious working of the Holy Spirit. The ground of the sinner's justification is thus a divine and a gracious one. God works in the sinful soul to will and to do, and by making it inherently just justifies it. And all this is accomplished through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ; sot that, in justification there is a combination of the objective work of Christ with the subjective character of the believer. This statement is the more subtle, because it distinctly refers the infused grace or holiness to God as the author, and thereby seems to preclude the notion of self-righteousness. But it is fundamentally erroneous, because this infused righteousness, or holiness of heart, upon which remission of sins rests in part, is not piacular.[A] It has in it nothing of the nature of a satisfaction to justice. So far forth, therefore, as infused grace in the heart is made a ground and procuring cause of the pardon of sin, the judicial aspects and relations of sin are overlooked, and man is received into the divine favor without any true and proper expiation of his guilt."

[Footnote A: "Piacular," expiatory, atoning.]

Our author quotes Hooker as in substantial agreement with the above views as follows:

"Then what is the fault of the church of Rome? Not that she requireth works at their hands which will be saved: but that she attributeth unto works a power of satisfying God for sin" (Hooker "On Justification," Works II, 538).

Another Statement of the Protestant Attitude: "It was in their profound sense of the reality of sin, and of its dominion in the human will, that the Protestants laid the foundation of their theology. The body of the Reformers rested on the Anselmic idea of satisfaction [in the Atonement] which likewise formed a part of the opposing [i. e., the Roman Catholic] creed. The point of difference was on the vital question how the soul, burdened with self-condemnation, is to obtain forgiveness of sins and peaceful reunion to God in the character of a reconciled father. In the teachings, injunctions, services, ceremonies of the Church, the Reformers had sought for this infinite good in vain. They found it in the doctrine of gratuitous pardon, from the bare Mercy of God, through the mediation of Christ; a pardon that waits for nothing but acceptance on the part of the soul—the belief, the trust, the faith of the penitent. Everything of the nature of satisfaction or merit on the part of the offender is precluded, by the utterly gratuitous nature of the gift, by the sufficiency of the Redeemer's expiation. Every assertion of the necessity of works or merit on the side of the offender, as the ground of forgiveness, is a disparagement of the Redeemer's Mercy and of his expiatory office. Faith, thus laying hold of a free forgiveness and reconnecting the soul with God, is the fountain of a new life of holiness, which depends not on fear and homage to law, but on gratitude and on filial sentiments. Christ himself nourishes this new life by spiritual influences that flow into the soul through the channel of its fellowship with him. Justification is thus a forensic[A] term; it is equivalent to the remission of sins. To justify, signifies not to make the offender righteous, to deliver him from the accusation of the law by the bestowal of a pardon. Saving faith is not a virtue to be rewarded, but an apprehensive act; the hand that takes the free gift. Such, in a brief statement, was the cardinal principle of the Protestant interpretation of the Gospel. The Christian life has its centre in this experience of forgiveness. Virtues of character and victories over temptation grow out of it. Christian ethics are united to Christian theology by this vital bond.

[Footnote A: A term used in argumentation or discussion.]

[Footnote: This idea of justification is the keynote in Luther's "Commentary on the Epistle to the Gallatians," and Malancthon's "Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans." It is the distinctive feature of the Protestant exegesis of the writings of Paul" (Fisher).]

The Authority for Protestant Conclusions: But to what authority could the Reformers appeal in behalf of their proposition? What assurance had they of its truth? How did they arrive at the knowledge of it? They had found this obscured and half-forgotten truth recorded as they believed with perfect clearness, in the Scriptures. The authority of the Scriptures was fully acknowledged by the church in which they had been trained, however it might superadd to them other authoritative sources of knowledge, and however it might deny the competence of the individual to interpret the Bible for himself. That Christ spoke in the Scriptures all admitted. What his voice was the Reformer could not doubt; for the truth that he uttered was one of which they had immediate, spiritual recognition. Their interpretation verified itself to their hearts by the light and peace which that truth brought with it, as well as to their understandings on a critical examination of the text. The church then denied their interpretation and commanded them to abandon it, was in error; it could not be authorized, infallible interpreter of Holy Writ. Thus the traditional belief in the authority of the Roman church gave way, and the principle of the exclusive authority of the Scriptures, as the rule of faith, took its place. By this process the second of the distinctive principles of Protestantism was reached. That the meaning of the Bible is sufficiently plain and intelligible was implied in this conclusion. Hence, the right of private judgment is another side of the same doctrine" ("The Reformation," by Geo. P. Fisher, D. D.—Scribners—pp. 460-462).

The Roman Catholic Side of the Controversy: On the Roman side of the controversy it is but proper that the statement of the Council of Trent on essential points at issue should be quoted:

"Justification is not the mere remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renovation of the inward man through the voluntary reception of grace and gifts of grace; whereby an unjust man becomes just, the enemy a friend, so that he may be an heir according to the hope of eternal life. * * * The only formal cause of justification is the justice * * * of God, not that by which he himself is just, but that by which he makes us just—that namely by which we are gratuitously renewed by him in the spirit of our minds, and are not only reputed, but really are and are denominated just, receiving justice into ourselves each one according to his own measure, which the Holy Spirit imparts to each as he pleases, and also, according to each one's own disposition and co-operation. * * *

* * * When the Apostle asserts that man is justified by faith and gratuitously, his language is to be understood in that sense which the constant agreement of the Catholic church has affixed to it; in such a manner, namely, as that we are said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God (Heb. xi:6). And we are said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things which precede justification, whether faith or works, merits the grace itself of justification."[A]

[Footnote A: Canones Concilii, Tridentini: De Justificatione vii, viii.]

The contrast between Protestant and Catholic views on justification are even more distinctly seen when the anathematizing clauses of the Trent Council utterances are considered, and which are added to guard the Catholic faith. They follow:

"If any one shall say that the sinner is justified by faith alone, in the sense that nothing else is required which may co-operate towards the attainment of the grace of justification, and that the sinner does not need to be prepared and disposed by the motion of his own will: let him be accursed.

"If any one shall say, that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the righteousness of Christ, or by the sole remission of sin, to the exclusion of that grace and charity which is shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit, and which inheres in them, or shall say that the grace whereby we are justified is merely and only the favor of God: let him be accursed.

"If any one shall say that justiying faith is nothing but confidence in the divine mercy remitting sin on account of Christ, or that this faith is the sole thing by which we are justified; let him be accursed."

Protestant Rejoinder: Upon this statement Shedd makes the following comment, with which, we think, not even Catholics would be displeased, as it but emphasizes their position on justification:

"It will be perceived from these extracts that the Tridentine theologian regarded 'justification' as prospective and not retrospective, in its essential nature. It is not the forgiveness of 'sins that are past,' but the cure and prevention of sins that are present and future. The element of guilt is lost sight of, and the piacular [expiatory] work of Christ is lost sight of with it; and the whole work of redemption is interpreted to be merely a method of purification. Thus the Tridentine theory implies, logically, that sin is not guilt, but only disease and pollution. Furthermore, according to the papal theory, justification is not instantaneous, but successive. It is not a single and complete act upon the part of God, but a gradual process in the soul of man. For it is founded upon that inward holiness or love which has been infused by divine grace."[A]

[Footnote A: History Christian Doctrine—Shedd—Vol. II, p. 326.]



There is still another class of Christians entertaining views upon the Atonement whose ideas ought to be presented and yet are extremely difficult to classify, as they may neither be called Protestant nor Catholic. They are a modern product, accepting the conclusions of what is called "higher criticism," and the doctrine of evolution. They make a wide departure from the old conception of the doctrine of Atonement as of all things else in the old Christian theological schools, and yet retain a respect and I may say a veneration for the Christ, and seek to give him place in the order of things as conceived by them. For want of a better title I have called their conception of the work of Christ, "The Modern Liberal View," which, while it may not be as perfectly descriptive as could be desired, will not, I trust, be offensive, and will serve the mere purpose of classification.

Perhaps the most complete statement, in concise form, of this Liberal View is made by Dr. Lyman Abbott in his "Theology of an Evolutionist," published in 1897. I begin his statement with what he says of sin.

"Innocence, Temptation, Fall, Sin: This is the biography of every man, save only Him who passed from innocence to virtue through temptation, yet without sin. Man cannot grow from innocence to virtue without temptation; he cannot experience temptation without a possibility of sin,—that is, of yielding to temptation; and yielding to temptation is fall. Every man when he yields to temptation and sins falls from a higher to a lower, from a spiritual to an animal condition. He falls back from that state from which he had begun to emerge. It is true that the animal man is worse in his animalism than the animal from which he has emerged or is emerging. The ferocity of the tiger is no match for that of the ferocious man; the intemperance of the brute is far less than that of the brutalized man. How can it be otherwise when the higher powers which God has conferred upon him are subordinated to and made the instruments of his animalism?

"Sin, then, is not a means to good. It is not "good in the making." The fall is not a "fall upward." Every yielding to temptation is a hindrance, not a help, to moral development; but every temptation offers what, rightly employed, is an indispensable means of moral development. For all moral development is through temptation to virtue. There can be no virtue without temptation; for virtue is victory over temptation. An untempted soul may be innocent, but cannot be virtuous, for virtue is the choice of right when wrong presses itself upon us and demands our choosing. How can we have courage, unless there is danger and apprehension of the danger? How can we have patience, unless there are burdens? How can we have fidelity, unless there is some trust to be maintained, and some temptation calling on us to leave the trust and be false to it? The scorn of "goody-goody" is justified, for "goody-goody" is innocence, not virtue; and the boy who never does anything wrong because he never does anything at all is of no use in the world. Temptation is struggle, and virtue emerges from struggle. And we cannot have the choice of right without the possibility of doing wrong; and choosing wrong is sin; and sin is fall; because it is choosing the animal from which we are emerging rather than the spiritual condition into which we have partially emerged.

The Means of Salvation: Saved by the Blood—i. e., The Life of the Christ: "Vicarious sacrifice is not an episode. It is the universal law of life. Life comes only from life. This is the first proposition. Lifegiving costs the life-giver something. That is the second proposition. Pain is travail-pain, birth-pain; and it is a part of the divine order—that is, of the order of nature—that the birth of a higher life should always be through the pain of another.

"This is the law of God,—that is, the nature of God. For the laws of God are not edicts promulgated; they are the expressions of Himself; and the law that life comes only by the pouring out of life through suffering is an expression of the divine nature. This is the meaning of Paul's teaching in the eighth chapter of Romans: first, that it is the universal law that all life is by impartation of life; and, secondly, that this is universal because it is divine; that God Himself is the great Life-giver, and gives by His own suffering His life to the children of men.

"This, too, is what is meant by that statement so dear to some and so shocking to others,—that we are saved by the blood of Christ. Let us try for a moment to disabuse our minds of traditional opinions and see what that phrase means looked at in the light of history. Is 'the blood of Christ' the blood which flowed from Him at the crucifixion? His was almost a bloodless death; a few drops of blood only trickled from the pierced hands and feet; for the blood and water that came from the side when the spear pierced it came after death, when the suffering was all over. Blood, the Bible itself declares, is life; we are saved by the blood of Christ when we are saved by the life of Christ, by Christ's own life imparted to us, by Christ's life transmitted; and by Christ's life transmitted, as life alone can be transmitted, through the gateway of pain and suffering. The suffering of Jesus Christ was not a single episode,—one short hour, one short three years: the suffering of Jesus Christ was the revelation of the eternal fact that God is from eternity the Life-giver, and that giving life costs God something as it costs us something."

Meaning of Revelation and the Struggle for Righteousness: "Knowledge of the truth, clearness of apprehension and tenacity of grasp upon it, are developed by struggle with error. Revelation is not a divine contrivance for saving men from struggle, but a divine incitement to and encouragement in struggle! Virtue is developed by struggle with temptation. Grace is not an easy bestowment of virtue on an unstruggling creature, but such aid as is necessary to inspire the courage of hope and give assurance of victory. But struggle is for others as well as for self: the struggle of love as well as of self-interest; the struggle of parents for their offspring, of reformers for the state, of martyrs for the church. And these struggles all point to and are prophetic for the service and the sacrifice of the Son of God. For this struggle of love is divine. It belongs not to the infirmity of humanity, but is an essential element in that process of evolution which is God's way of doing things.

"It is only by human experiences that we can interpret the Divine. * * * * We shall never enter into the mystery of redemption unless we enter in some measure into these two experiences of wrath and pity, and into the mystery of their reconciliation. We must realize that God has an infinite and eternal loathing of sin. If the impure and the unjust, the drunkard and the licentious, are loathsome to us, what must be the infinite loathing of an infinitely pure Spirit for those who are worldly and selfish, licentious and cruel, ambitious and animal! But with this great loathing is a great pity. And the pity conquers the loathing, appeases it, satisfies it, is reconciled with it, only as it redeems the sinner from his loathsomeness, lifts him up from his degradation, brings him to truth and purity, to love and righteousness; for only thus is he or can he be brought to God. The Old Theology has, it seems to me, grievously erred in personifying these two experiences; in imputing all the hate and wrath to the Father and all the pity and compassion to the Son. But the New Theology will still more grievously err if it leaves either the wrath or the pity out of its estimate of the divine nature, or fails to see and teach that reconciliation is the reconciliation of a great pity with a great wrath, the issue of which is a great mercy and a great redemption. * * * * *

"There are many in the Church of Christ who think of God as a just and punitive God, who must be satisfied either by penalty laid on the guilty, or by an equivalent for the penalty. That is one form of paganism. There are many who, reacting against that conception, think of God, as an indifferent, careless God, who does not care much about iniquity, does not trouble Himself about it, is not disturbed by it! That is another form of paganism. And there are many who try to solve the problem by thinking of two Gods, a just God and a merciful God, and imagining that the merciful God by the sacrifice of Himself appeases the wrath of the just God. That also is a modified form of paganism. The one transcendent truth which distinguishes Christianity from all forms of paganism is that it represents God as appeasing His own wrath or satisfying His own justice by the forth-putting of His own love. But He saves men from their sins by an experience which we can interpret to ourselves only by calling it a struggle between the sentiments of justice and pity."