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

Author: B. H. Roberts

Release date: October 26, 2019 [eBook #60575]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by the Mormon Texts Project
(, with thanks to Renah


The Seventy's Course in Theology


The Doctrine of Deity

Compiled and Edited by


Of the First Council of The Seventy

"And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the Only True God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent."—Jesus.

"It is the First Principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God."—Joseph Smith.

Salt Lake City




The Seventy's Course in Theology, Third Year, treats directly of the Doctrine of Deity. In structure and treatment of the theme, it follows the general plan of the First and Second Year Books. Therefore what was said in the Introduction to the First Year Book to "Class Teachers;" and on the "Manner of Lesson Treatment;" "Home Reading and Preparation;" "Scripture Reading and Special Texts;" and on "Lectures," will be available here. As quite a number of the Quorum members will not have First and Second Year Books, it is recommended that the Presidents or Class Teachers bring the suggestions under the above headings to the attention of the classes, and read them in class. An entire class session indeed, could be well spent in consideration of methods of work.

One modification only is suggested in methods of work. Where the Seventies meet in classes that are only fragments of quorums, in instances where the number of meetings does not average more than from three to six or eight, it is thought that better results would be obtained if such a class would convert the occasion into a lesson-study meeting, for three lessons in the month, and instead of trying to deliver the lesson statement in lecture form, remain seated around the table and read the lesson, hunt up the citations given, and discuss the notes—in a word study the lesson together and profit by each other's assistance. Then, on the fourth lesson of the month—when the Seventies are supposed to meet in quorum capacity, the usual quorum methods could be followed.

The importance of the Subject, "The Doctrine of Deity:" Of the importance of the subject treated in this present Year Book, but little need be said, as its importance is largely self-evident; but to minds that do not so conceive it, perhaps its importance will be made apparent by such expressions as these:

"This is life eternal that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent."—Jesus, the Christ.

"It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God; and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another."—Joseph Smith, the Prophet.

Far be it from me to hold that faith in God, and participation in salvation, depends upon a scientific knowledge of the being, and the kind of being, God is. The Soul of man, self-conscious of the being of God, and enlightened, if only in a general way—in a way far from what would be regarded as well-arranged knowledge—may yet have faith in God. So that I am not holding that the very definite knowledge we are seeking through this treatise, is necessary to first steps in what must always be a progressive faith. I do not address the men for whom these Lessons are prepared from the standpoint that I would have them understand in order that they may believe; but rather that they may understand—as clearly as I can help them to understand—that which they already believe. Also that they may more distinctly teach that which they believe, for surely well-ordered knowledge can have no other effect upon faith than to increase it, to strengthen it.

In any event it would be neglect of duty in men if, after coming to belief, they did not study to understand what they believe. It would be doubly a neglect of duty on the part of men who are consecrated by solemn ordination to teach the true doctrine about God, and stand as Witness for him, if they should be indifferent to an understanding of the nature and character of God. The pleas that are sometimes made on the ground of incomprehensibility of the subject, resulting in recommendations that the nature and attributes of Deity had best be left hidden in the mystery supposed to enshroud them; and that God be held as an object of faith rather than of understanding—analyzed, you shall find such views bottomed rather on indifference than in grace or true modesty. What has been revealed about God may be known; beyond that our treatise does not seek to go, except where the treatise deals historically with the doctrines and speculations of theologians and philosophers. If this part of the treatise deals at times with "Thin Thought" and difficult abstractions, two things at least can be said for it, namely: (1) It will furnish good mental exercise; and (2) It will have the effect of making more clear by contrast the simple and beautiful doctrine of Deity as revealed in the person and character of Jesus, the Christ.


There are five special lessons in the course, viz., Lessons V, X, XV, XXIV and XXXI, designed to be given in the form of discourses or lectures, by one or more speakers to each subject as shall be determined upon by the Presidents and Class Teachers. As suggested in previous Year Books these Lessons should be made special occasions by the Quorums; and in order that the work shall be well done, plenty of time should be allowed for preparation by making the assignment for the discourse or lecture, several weeks in advance. For example, at the second session of the classes assignments should be made for Lesson V., and so for each special Lesson, allowing from two to three weeks for preparation, having it understood that something like thorough and intelligent handling of the subject will be expected.

It is further suggested that not more than forty-five or at the outside sixty minutes be devoted to the main question, and then that fifteen or twenty minutes be allowed for criticism and the asking of questions, to be answered by the principal speaker or speakers who have had the subject in hand.

In these special Lessons, and quite aside from the main theme of which they treat are parts of two other lessons, to which the whole class should be required to give attention. These two lessons are first, Delivering a Discourse; and second, On Strength of Expression. The first subject runs through the five special lessons, the second through but four. It has been the aim of the writer to give one lesson on each of these subjects in the five and four parts respectively, into which the lessons are divided; and he entertains the hope that they will be helpful, at least to those just beginning their efforts at public speech.


In Lessons under Part III, "Conceptions of God," it is suggested that the effort of the classes be, simply to master the information contained in the lessons. It will not be found feasible to undertake a discussion of the various conceptions of God presented with any view to reconciliation with each other or with the scripture. Strive only for an understanding of what these conceptions are as presented by the advocates of them.


Where the Lessons are thought to contain too much matter for one session of the class it is quite within the province of the Presidents or Class Teachers to divide them; and it is especially recommended that they do so in Lessons xxxii, xxxiii, xxxiv.


The books of reference used in the following lessons would make an extended list, and in some cases the volumes named could only be found in reference libraries, as they are now out of print; it would therefore be of no advantage to give a complete enumeration of them here. I have given copious and extended notes upon many subdivisions of the lessons, especially where the books quoted would be difficult to obtain. The following named works, however, can be obtained and some of them are indispensable:

The Seventy's Indispensable Library, consisting of the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, Richards and Little Compendium—this set of books in special and uniform bindings can be obtained; and we suggest that it would be a good thing for prospective missionaries among the Seventies to get these books in convenient form and durable bindings, so that when going upon missions they can take books with them with which they are familiar through frequent handling and reading.

Some Standard Dictionary of the English Language, such as is used in high schools and academies, where unabridged Standard Dictionaries cannot be obtained.

A Dictionary of the Bible. (Dr. Wm. Smith's "Dictionary of the Bible," the four-volume edition by Prof. H. B. Hackett, contains, it is said, "the fruit of the ripest biblical scholarship of England").

Smith's Smaller Dictionary of the Bible (one volume) is the same work condensed. In somewhat the same line, owing to its very valuable introductory articles (thirty in number, one of which, "Belief in God," we were permitted by the publishers to reproduce in the January and February numbers of the Era) is Dummelow's "One-Volume Bible Commentary," published by the MacMillan Company, New York.

Some Standard Ecclesiastical or Church History, such as Mosheim's or Dr. Neander's. The former can be had both in one or three volumes. The latter is in six volumes. In this line, and in preference to any other Church histories—after Mosheim's and Neander's—that have fallen under my notice, I recommend for the period it covers—the first ten centuries—Dr. Philip Smith's "History of the Christian Church," two volumes. The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius Pamphilus, covering the first three and one half—nearly—Christian centuries; and the Early Christian Literature Primers, four books, covering the first seven and a half centuries.

The History of Christianity. This is a collection from the writings of Gibbon, chiefly selected chapters from the author's celebrated "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," edited and annotated by Peter Eckler. It is published in one volume, and as a history of Christianity's struggle with Pagan philosophy, and of the paganization of Christianity in the Early Christian Centuries, it is a valuable work.

"A History of Christian Doctrine," by Wm. G. T. Shedd (two volumes), is a valuable work. Written from a sympathetic view-point of orthodox Christianity, but valuable for its history of the development of the orthodox doctrine.

The Nicene Creed, by J. J. Lias, gives detailed analysis of that somewhat famous "symbol of the Christian faith," as it is sometimes called (one volume).

"Story of the World's Worship," by Frank S. Dobbins—1901—(one volume).

"Ten Great Religions," by James Freeman Clarke (two volumes). This work on the general subject, Conceptions of God, would be the best here enumerated.

"History of the Warfare of Science with Theology," by Andrew Dixon White (two volumes).

"Conflict Between Religion and Science," John William Draper (one volume). By the same Author, "Intellectual Development of Europe" (two volumes).

"Science of Religion," by Max Muller (one volume). By the same Author, "Chips from a German Workshop" (two volumes).

The Philosophers: To name the works of the philosophers from Plato to modern times would be to uselessly enumerate a library. The following works, however, could perhaps be obtained by the quorums if not by individuals:

Outlines of Lectures on the History of Philosophy, by Elmendorf (one volume). It is in the nature of an amplified index to the subject, and presupposes some general knowledge of it.

Maurice's "Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy" (two volumes, 1395 pages), a noble work.

"Typical Modern Conceptions of God," Leighton (one volume), 1901.

Cicero's "Tusculan Disputations," (one volume), translated by Yonge.

Spencer's "First Principles," (one volume).

John Fiske's "Studies in Religion" (one volume).

"The Truth of Thought," Poland, (one volume).

"Scientific Aspects of Mormonism," Prof. N. L. Nelson, of Brigham Young University (one volume). A work not yet fully appreciated.

Orson Pratt's Works, "The Kingdom of God."

"Mormon Doctrine of Deity" (Roberts).

Joseph Smith, The Prophet-Teacher. (Roberts).

The Seventy's Course in Theology, Numbers I and II. They can be obtained bound together in cloth, 75c. General Seventy's office.

The Current Volume of the Improvement Era. The organ of the Priesthood Quorums.

The Seventy's Course in Theology.


The Doctrine of Deity.


The Sources of Man's Knowledge of God.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Adamic Tradition.

Doc. & Cov.[1] Lectures on Faith, No. II.

The Gospel (Roberts). Ch. ix, 3d Edition.

Note 1. Note 2.

Note 2.

Note 3. Consider notes 4, 5, 6.

II. Antediluvian.[2]

III. Postdiluvian.[3]

IV. Tradition Reversed--Child to Parent, back to Adam.

SPECIAL TEXT: "Can'st thou by searching find out God? Can'st thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?" Job xi: 7.


1. Tradition as a Source of the Knowledge of God: The first evidence men have of the existence of God comes from tradition, from the testimony of their fathers; and this has been the case from that event known in history as the Fall, until the present. Nor is this evidence unworthy of serious attention; it rests upon a surer foundation than is usually accorded it. Suppose we go back to its beginning, to its first introduction into the world, and observe how well founded it is.

According to the account given by Moses in Genesis, previous to the Fall. Adam associated with God; conversed with Him respecting the works of creation, and gave names to the cattle and all living things upon the earth. How long continued, or how intimate this association was, we are not informed in Genesis; but at all events, it was long enough continued, and sufficiently intimate to fix definitely in the minds of Adam the fact of God's existence. Then when Adam and his wife transgressed God's law, their recollection of his existence did not vanish, but they tried to hide from his presence; and were afterwards visited by the Lord, who reproved them for their sin and pronounced the penalty which would overtake them for their transgression. All I wish to call attention to in this is the fact that they knew positively of the Lord's existence before their transgression, and they did not forget his existence after that event; but, on the contrary, had a lively recollection of what they had seen and heard before they fell. This they related, undoubtedly, to their children, who, in turn, transmitted the knowledge to their children, and so from generation to generation the tradition of God's existence has been handed down until the present time.

2. Antediluvian Tradition of God: It will be remembered that Adam and all the patriarchs previous to the Flood lived to a very great age. Adam lived nine hundred and thirty years, and during that time Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, and Lamech, the father of Noah, were born. Indeed, the last named patriarch was fifty-six years old when Adam died; so that for a number of years he must have had the pleasure of Adam's acquaintance; while the patriarchs between Adam and Lamech all associated with him for hundreds of years, and would learn well the story that the grand Patriarch of our race would have to tell respecting Eden before the Fall.

3. Postdiluvian Tradition of God: We are told in Genesis that when Lamech was one hundred and eighty-two years old he begat Noah; and since Lamech was fifty-six years old when Adam died, Adam had been dead but one hundred and twenty-six years when Noah was born. After the birth of Noah, Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years, so that Noah associated with his father, who had seen Adam, for more than five hundred years; and also with a number of the other patriarchs—with Enos, the grandson of Adam, and son of Seth—with Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared and Methuselah. Then, the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth, all of whom were born before the Flood, would likewise be acquainted with a number of these worthies who had lived with Adam and heard his testimony of God's existence.

Again, Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the Flood; that would give him ample time and opportunity to teach his posterity for several generations the tradition respecting God, which he had received from a number of patriarchs, who lived previous to the Flood, and thus the said tradition became firmly fixed in the minds of men. The chronology here followed is that of the authorized version of the English Bible as summarized in the Second Lecture on Faith. Doctrine and Covenants.

4. The Bible Here Regarded as a Body of Tradition: It may be thought that in the foregoing notes, dealing with tradition, we have been really appealing to Revelation, the Bible—the product of a divine inspiration resting upon men, hence Revelation—not tradition as men commonly understand tradition, viz: something handed down from age to age by oral communication without the aid of written memorials. But the Bible is sometimes regarded in more than one aspect. Commonly it is held to be a volume of inspired writings, revelation indeed; but it is also regarded as a body of traditions crystalized into writing. As such it has been used in preparing the foregoing notes.

5. Reversed Order of Tradition: By this title I ask you to reverse the order of considering tradition. Instead of beginning with Adam and coming down through the generations to our own times, begin with the child of today and go up through the generations of men to Adam. How do children of our generation get their first idea of God? Ordinarily from their fathers. In Christian lands they obtain the "God idea" in childhood at their mothers' knee. And these mothers and fathers from the preceding generation of fathers and mothers; and these again from a preceding generation of fathers and mothers, and so following until the stream of tradition is traced to its source, which the Bible, considered as a body of tradition, now of long standing, represents to be Adam, who was "the first man." It is interesting to note, in passing, that the Bible tradition—when we consider the Bible at no higher value than a volume of tradition—is confirmed in many respects by the tradition of other people than the Hebrews; namely, the Chaldeans, Babylonians, Assyrians, Phoenicians and Egyptians. (See the Seventy's First Year Book, note 2 pp. 24, 25.[4])

6. How True Traditions Degenerated Into Mythology: Traces of that tradition, (of the existence of God) and of these patriarchs connected with it, may be found in nearly all, and so far as I know, in all the mythologies of the world, as well in ancient as in modern times; as well in the mythology of the civilized Greeks and Romans, as in that of India, China, Egypt, and that of the American Indians. The tradition has evidently been corrupted, added to and twisted into fantastic shapes by the idle fancies of corrupt minds, but despite all the changes made in it, traces of this tradition are discoverable in the mythology of all lands. I believe, too, with Crabb, "That the fictions of mythology were not invented, (always) in ignorance of divine truth, but with a wilful intention to pervert it; not made only by men of profligate lives and daring impiety, who preferred darkness to light, because their deeds were evil, but by men of refinement and cultivation, from the opposition of science, falsely so-called; not made, as some are pleased to think, by priests only, for interested purposes, but by poets and philosophers among the laity, who, careless of truth of falsehood, were pleased with nothing but their own corrupt imaginations and vain conceits."

Thus the tradition of the patriarchs was, in time, degraded, by some branches of their posterity, to mythology—a muddy, troubled pool, which like a mirror shattered into a thousand fragments, reflects while it distorts into fantastic shapes the objects on its banks. Still, under all the rubbish of human invention may be found the leading idea—God's existence; and that fact alone, however mis-shapen it may be, proves how firmly fixed in the human mind is the tradition of the fathers; while the universality of that tradition goes very far towards proving its truth. Scriptural evidences that traditions are sometimes made to distort truth, revealed or received from the fathers, may be learned from the following passages: Matt. XV:2; Mark VII:5, 9, 13; Col. 11:8; II Thes. III:6; I Peter 1:18.


1. The abbreviations stand for Doctrine and Covenants throughout. It is expected that the whole lecture will be read as a preparation for the lesson.

2. What is the meaning of Antediluvian?

3. What of Postdiluvian?

4. References to past Year Books will occasionally be made throughout our course, and it should be the desire of every Seventy to have a complete set of these Year Books. Numbers One and Two bound together, in strong cloth, can now be had by application to the General Secretary of the Seventies, price 75c, post paid.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The extent and greatness of Creation.

Psalms xix: 1-6.[1] Rom. 1:18. "Evidences of Theism," pp. 167-175.[2] Dummelow's "Commentary on the Bible." p. xcix-cv.[3]

(1) See Seventy's Second Year Book, Lesson VI, Note 2, for sources of Information.[4] Also Notes 1, 2, 3, this lesson.

(2) Notes 4, 5.

(3) Note 6.

II. The Evidence of Design in Creation.

III. Incompleteness of the Evidences from Creation and Design.

SPECIAL TEXT: "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it...Marvelous are Thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well." Ps. cxxxix.


1. The Testimony of the Creation to the Existence of God: When once the idea of the existence of God is suggested to the mind of man by the testimony of the fathers, and represented as he is by that tradition, as the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and also as the great governing and guiding power throughout the universe—very much is discovered in the marvelous works of nature to strengthen and confirm, almost to a certainty, the truth of that tradition.

Man is conscious of his own existence, and that existence is a stupendous miracle of itself; he is conscious, too, of other facts. He looks out into space in the stillness of night, and sees the deep vault of heaven inlaid with suns, the centers, doubtless of planetary systems, all moving in exact order and harmony, in such regularity that he cannot doubt that Intelligence brought them into being, and now sustains and directs the forces that preserve them. Thus the heavens declare the existence of God as well as His glory. This thought is in harmony with the tradition of his fathers, and he recognizes the identity between the Intelligence that he knows must control the universe, and the God of whom his fathers testify.

Nor is this all: but in the mysterious changes which take place on our own planet, in the gentle Spring, luxuriant Summer, fruitful Autumn and nature-resting Winter, with its storms and frosts—the "mysterious round" which brings us our seed time and harvest, and clothes the earth with vegetation and flowers, perpetuating that wonderful power we call life,—the strangest fact in all the works of nature—in these mighty changes so essential and beneficent, man recognizes the wisdom and power of God of whom his fathers bear record.

As the heavens declare God's existence and glory, so, likewise, do these changes and a thousand other things, connected without earth, until lost in wonder and admiration, one exclaims with Paul,

"The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and godhead." (Rom. 1:20.)

Or else He calls to mind another Scripture, still more sublime—

"The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God. * * * Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these, hath seen God moving in his majesty and power." (Doc. & Cov. Sec. 88.)

  "But wandering oft, with brute unconscious gaze,
  Man marks not thee; marks not The Mighty hand,
  That, ever busy, wheels the silent speres!"—Thompson.

This much we may say, in conclusion, tradition confirmed by the works of creation, lays a broad foundation for an intelligent belief in God's existence, intelligence, power, and glory.

2. The Law of Substance and the Universe. "Through all eternity the infinite universe has been, and is, subject to the law of substance: * * * * *

1. "The extent of the universe is infinite and unbounded; it is empty in no part, but everywhere filled with substance."

2. "The Duration of the world (i. e. universe) is equally infinite and unbounded; it has no beginning and no end; it is eternity."

3. "Substance is everywhere and always in uninterrupted movement and transformation; nowhere is there perfect repose and rigidity; yet the infinite quantity of matter and of eternally changing force remains constant." ("Riddle of the Universe." Ernest Haeckel p. 242. Harper & Brothers, 1900. See his whole chapter xii, on the "Law of Substance." Also Seventy's Second Year Book, Lesson V.)

2. Extent and Greatness of the Universe—The Solar System: The heavenly bodies belong to two classes, the one comprising a vast multitude of stars, which always preserved their relative positions, as if they were set in a sphere of crystal, while the others moved, each in its own orbit, according to laws which have been described. We now know that these moving bodies, or planets, form a sort of family by themselves, known as the Solar System. This system consists of the sun as its center, with a number of primary planets revolving around it, and satellites, or secondary planets, revolving around them. Before the invention of the telescope but six primary planets were known, including the earth, and one satellite, the moon. By the aid of that instrument, two great primary planets, outside the orbit of Saturn, and an immense swarm of smaller ones between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, have been discovered; while the four outer planets—Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune—are each the center of motion of one or more satellites. The sun is distinguished from the planets, not only by his immense mass, which is several hundred times that of all the other bodies of his system combined, but by the fact that he shines by his own light, while the planets and satellites are dark bodies, shining only by reflecting the light of the sun.

"A remarkable symmetry of structure is seen in this system, in that all the large planets and all the satellites revolve in orbits which are nearly circular, and, the satellites of the two outer planets excepted, nearly in the same plane. This family of planets are all bound together, and kept each in its respective orbit, by the law of gravitation, the action of which is of such a nature that each planet may make countless revolutions without the structure of the system undergoing any change." (Newcomb's Popular Astronomy, School Edition, pp. 103-4. Part III of Newcomb's work which deals at length with the Solar System could also be considered with profit.)

3. Number and Distances of the Fixed Stars: "Turning our attention from this system to the thousands of fixed stars which stud the heavens, the first thing to be considered is their enormous distance asunder, compared with the dimensions of the Solar System, though the latter are themselves inconceivably great. To give an idea of the relative distances, suppose a voyager through the celestial spaces could travel from the sun to the outermost planet of our system in twenty-four hours. So enormous would be his velocity, that it would carry him across the Atlantic ocean, from New York to Liverpool, in less than a tenth of a second of the clock. Starting from the sun with this velocity, he would cross the orbits of the inner planets in rapid succession, and the other ones more slowly, until, at the end of a single day, he would reach the confines of our system, crossing the orbit of Neptune. But, though he passed eight planets the first day, he would pass none the next, for he would have to journey eighteen or twenty years, without diminution of speed, before he would reach the nearest star, and would then have to continue his journey as far again before he could reach another. All the planets of our system would have vanished in the distance, in the course of the first three days, and the sun would be but an insignificant star in the firmament. The conclusion is, that our sun is one of an enormous number of self-luminous bodies scattered at such distances that years would be required to traverse the space between them, even when the voyager went at the rate we have supposed." (Newcomb's Astronomy p. 104.) * * * * *

"The total number of stars in the celestial sphere visible with the average naked eye may be estimated, in round numbers, as 5000. The number varies so much with the perfection and training of the eye, and with the atmospheric conditions, that it cannot be stated very definitely. When the telescope is pointed at the heavens, it is found that for every star visible to the naked eye there are hundreds, or even thousands, too minute to be seen without artificial aid. From the counts of stars made by Herschel, Struve has estimated that the total number of stars visible with Herschel's twenty-foot telescope was about 20,000,000. The great telescopes of modern times would, no doubt, show a yet larger number; but a reliable estimate has not been made. The number is probably somewhere between 30,000,000 and 50,000,000." (Ibid. p. 422.)

4. The Design Argument: "The Design Argument is wholly grounded on experience. Certain qualities, it is alleged, are found to be characteristic of such things as are made by an intelligent mind for a purpose. The order of Nature, or some considerable parts of it, exhibit these qualities in a remarkable degree. We are entitled, from this great similarity in the effects, to infer similarity in the cause, and to believe that things which it is beyond the power of man to make, but which resemble the works of man in all but power, must also have been made by intelligence, armed with a power greater than human." (John Stuart Mill. Essay on "Theism," see "Three Essays on Religion," p. 167. The whole essay, if possible, should be read.)

5. The Evidence of a Designer: "The consideration of the external world around him, even in its broadest aspect, leads man up to the thought of an Eternal Cause; the study of its phenomena in detail with its marvelous intricacy of harmonious interaction produces the impression of design, and leads to the thought of a Designer—i. e., of an Eternal Cause that is intelligent and free. * * * * *

"The Design Argument is perhaps the most ancient and the most popular of all. It is never actually formulated in the Bible, for the Bible, as we have seen, never treats God's existence as the subject of argument. But its basis, the marvelous harmony of the created world, is the theme of more than one of the Psalms (cf. e. g. Pss. 19, 104, 147, 148); and St. Paul comes very near to stating the argument in so many words, when he says (Rom. 1, 20) in depreciation of pagan superstitions and immortality, that the 'everlasting power and divinity' of the Creator are clearly discernible from His works.

"Granted that the very existence of the world implies an Eternal Cause, what can we learn about that Cause? The nearest thing to a true first Cause of which I have experience, is my own personality; hence there is a presumption that the world's first Cause will be at least what we know as personal. But that presumption is not all we have to go upon. There are definite indications in nature, when more closely observed, that make it impossible to regard the Eternal Cause as a merely mechanical originator of the world-process, that stamp it—or rather Him—as intelligent and free, a nature like my own rational nature, only far above and beyond it.

"Everywhere in nature we see the teleological principle (as it is called) at work, i. e., we see means adapted to ends, and the present subordinated to the future. This adaptation of means to ends manifests itself in a bewilderingly complex way—in each individual member of the great organism, in the lesser and greater groups, and in the whole. Everywhere, in fact, I see traces of purpose and design—for such adaptation speaks to me irresistibly of these. My only direct experience of like phenomena is in my own personality, and so I am led to infer a Designer." ("Commentary on the Holy Bible." Dummelow, 1909, Art. Belief in God, pp. ci, cii.)

6. Incompleteness of the Evidences from Creation: Some extol the evidences for the existence of God found in creation, out of all proportion to their merit. "The wonderful structure of the universe," said Thomas Paine, "and everything that we behold in the system of the creation prove to us far better than books can do, the existence of God and at the same time proclaim his attributes. It is by exercise of our reason that we are enabled to contemplate God in his works and imitate him in his ways. When we see his care and kindness extended over all his creatures it teaches us our duty towards each other, while it calls forth our gratitude to Him." And again, "the Almighty Lecturer (Deity) by displaying the principles of science in the structure of the universe, has invited man to study and to imitation. It is as if he had said to the inhabitants of this globe we call ours, I have made an earth for man to dwell upon, and I have rendered the starry heavens visible to teach him science and the arts. He can now provide for his comfort, and learn from my munificence to all, to be kind to each other." Far be it from me to say any word that would detract from any class of evidence for the truth of God's existence; and for the evidence to be found in the works of creation, I have the profoundest esteem. They do indeed testify of the existence of intelligence higher than of man and these creations do convey to the mind not only the idea of the existence of these higher intelligences but to some extent they reveal their greatness and majesty and power; and also to some extent the munificence and beneficence of their nature. But the evidences of the works of nature are defective in that they scarcely indicate the relationship of these divine intelligences to man, or man's relationship to them, or the purpose and destiny of the creation. Standing alone on these evidences of the creation one asks in vain for a complete manifestation of God to man. Not so much as to his being—bare existence—but as to the kind of being he is. Is He personal or impersonal? Merely "a power outside ourselves"? or, Is He not only a power outside ourselves, but a power outside ourselves that makes for righteousness? and does He hold personal relations to man, and men definite and personal relations to Him? Why should man obey God? And what is man that God is mindful of him? On these questions the revelations from the works of nature are unsatisfactory, and certainly need the supplemental knowledge that comes from the direct revelations of God to man. Both John Stuart Mill and Dummelow state the weakness or incompleteness of this Design Argument. The former in his "Theism"—"Three Essays" pp. 167 et. seq., and the latter in his "Belief in God." Nearly all our modern writers on the subject of the "design argument" depreciate the treatment of it by Paley in his "Natural Theology."


1. Cf. Abbreviation of the latin Confere, i. e. "Compare."

2. John Stuart Mill, the above title is a subdivision in his "Three Essays on Religion." (1874 Edition.)

3. This Commentary is a fine one-volume work, and gives the very latest results of Modern Scholarship in reference to Bible interpretation. Its article on "Belief in God," cited above, will be published in the Era for January.

4. See foot note from note 5, Lesson I of this Year Book.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Soul's Innate Consciousness of God.

A History of Christian Doctrine (Shedd), Vol. I, Book III, pp. 223-240.

General History of the Christian Religion (Neander), Vol. I Appendix, pp. 557-560.

Confessions of St. Augustine (Oxford Translation), Book X, pp. 186-188. "Theism" (Mill), pp. 161-166[1]

(1) Luke x:21, 22; John xv11.

(2) Acts xvii: 22-28. Notes 4, 5, 6, 7.

II. The Argument from "The General Consent of Mankind."

Special Text: "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms shall destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." Job xix:25.


1. Patristic Arguments: "The Patristic arguments for the Divine Existence rest mainly upon the innate consciousness of the human mind. They magnify the internal evidence for this doctrine. * * * * God was conceived as directly manifesting himself to the moral sense, through that Divine Word or Reason who, in their phraseology, was the manifested Deity. In their view, God proved his existence by his presence to the mind. In the Western Church, particularly, this immediate manifestation and consequent proof of the Divine Existence was much insisted upon. Augustine in his Confessions implies that the Deity evinces His being and attributes by a direct operation—an impinging, as it were, of Himself, upon the rational soul of His creatures." (History of Christian Doctrine (Shedd) Vol. I, pp. 229-30.)

2. The "Heart" Knowledge of God: "This heart knowledge is, after all, to each individual who has it, the most direct form of evidence for the existence of God—the personal intercourse with Him of our personal spirit—the communion in virtue of which we can say, 'I know that there is a God because I know him. I experience in prayer and sacrament and meditation a conviction of His reality and His presence which is quite as real to me as is the conviction that those things exist which I can touch and see. This conviction is clearest and strongest when I am at my best, and I attribute all that is best and highest in my character to such communion, as thousands have done before me.'

"This is the kind of Knowledge of God that cries aloud to us from the Psalms and Prophecies, and underlies the other writings of the Old Testament. And the perfection of this communion is to be found in Jesus Christ as portrayed for us in the Synoptic Gospels (Lk. 10:22; cf. Mk. 13:32), but especially in St. John (5:19 cf. 10:15, 30; cf. 14:11, etc.) and reaches its climax in the great high-priestly prayer of Jn. 17. After our Lord's Ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit, it takes the form, for Christ's members, of a fellowship with the blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. (2 Cor. 13:14; cf. 1 Jn. 1:3.)

"Being, however, in one sense, a purely personal and individual matter, this sense of communion is commonly thought to be too subjective to be adduced as an argument for the existence of God. It is always open to an objector to say, 'You assert that you have this feeling; I am willing to admit your sincerity, but you may be the victim of illusion. All I can say is that I have no such feeling myself.' To such an assertion it seems perhaps inadequate to reply, 'If you will but assume first provisionally (as we have to assume many things in practical life,) that existence which you cannot demonstrate, and then act upon the assumption, conviction will come with experience.' Yet such a reply may be enforced and corroborated with all the weight of more than nineteen centuries of personal experience. Generation after generation of martyrs and saints have testified in the strongest possible manner to their conviction that God is, and is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.' (Heb. 11:6); and have been ready to seal the conviction with their life's blood. ("Belief in God," Dummelow's Commentary, p. c.)

The General Sense of the Divine Existence Deepened by Christianity: "The consciousness of the God in whom we live, move and have our being. This, too, [by reason of Christianity] became, in believers, a more living, a more profound sentiment. They [the Christians] felt more strongly and vividly the all-pervading presence of that God who made himself to be felt by them in nature, and whose existence to the spirit is undeniable. It was to this undeniable fact of consciousness, indeed, they appealed, in endeavoring to lead the pagans away from the gods which they themselves had made to the acknowledgment of the only true God. This appears to us as the one common feature in the mode of expressing themselves on this subject, which prevailed among the church fathers, amid all the differences of form between those whose education had led them through the Platonic philosophy, and such men as Tertullian, who—a stranger and an enemy to philosophical culture—witnessed, in an original manner, of that which had penetrated deeply into the vigorous but stern individuality of his character." (History of the Christian Religion (Neander), Vol. I, pp. 55-66.)

2. The Spirit of Man Intuitively Conscious of Truth: Somewhat akin to this "Heart Knowledge" of God is the following very remarkable passage in one of the revelations of God through Joseph Smith: "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 here is no existence. Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man, because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light. And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation, for man is spirit." (Doc. & Cov., Sec. xciii.) As if the Lord would say: Truth is native to the spirit of man, when unrestrained by man's perverse will—when he has not reached the point where he chooses darkness rather than light because his deeds are evil—then Truth is native to the spirit of man and will, when unrestrained, intuitively rise to meet it as flame leaps toward its kindred flame and unites with it. And it is because the spirit of man refuses to live true to this quality of his spirit that he comes under condemnation when rejecting the truth.

The Prophet Joseph emphasized this doctrine in his public teachings. On one occasion he said: "Every word that proceedeth from the mouth of Jehovah has such an influence over the human mind—the logical mind—that it is convincing without other testimony. Faith cometh by hearing." (Hist. of the Ch. Vol. V, p. 526.)

3. Defect of "Soul Consciousness" Argument: "They [who accept the soul conscious argument] labor under the common infirmity that one man cannot by proclaiming with ever so much confidence that he perceives an object, convince other people that they see it too. If, indeed, he laid claim to a divine faculty of vision, vouchsafed to him alone, and making him cognizant of things which men, not thus assisted, have not the capacity to see, the case might be different. Men have been able to get such claims admitted; and other people can only require of them to show their credentials. But when no claim is set up to any peculiar gift, but we are told that all of us are as capable as the prophet of seeing what he sees, feeling what he feels, nay, that we actually do so, and when the utmost effort of which we are capable fails to make us aware of what we are told we perceive, this supposed universal faculty of intuition is but

    'The dark lantern of the spirit
    Which none see by but those who bear it;'

and the bearers may fairly be asked to consider whether it is not more likely that they are mistaken as to the origin of an impression in their minds, than that others are ignorant of the very existence of an impression in theirs." "Theism" (Mill, p. 162.)

The proper answer to this argument is found in Note 2, this lesson.

4. The Consent of Mankind: "As far back as Cicero in the first century B. C. or even earlier, pagan thinkers had observed that religion in some form or other is a universal trait in human nature. And though in modern days apparent exceptions of 'atheistical tribes' have been adduced to prove the contrary, the trend of anthropological science may be said on the whole to support the judgment of antiquity. There may indeed be savages (though the point has not been proved) among whom no definite trace of religious observance can be discerned; but are they normal representatives even of undeveloped humanity? Is there no such thing as degradation? And have not even these poor savages some vestige at least of the religious faculty? For that is all our argument really requires. The world-wide progress of Christian missions to the heathen seems to testify quite triumphantly that no race or tribe of men, however degraded and apparently atheistic, lacks that spark of religious capacity which may be fanned and fed into a mighty flame.

"Granted, then, that the religious faculty is practically universal among mankind, what is the significance of this fact? From ancient times it has been regarded as an argument—often (wrongly) as a proof that God exists. It is called the argument 'from the general consent of mankind.'" (Belief in God, Dummelow's Commentary, p. ci.)

5. Existence of Gods by Universal Consent: "In the question now before us, the greater part of mankind have united to acknowledge that which is most probable, namely, that there are Gods. * * * * * * Here, then, you see the foundation of this question clearly laid; for since it is the constant and universal opinion of mankind, independent of education, custom, or law, that there are Gods, it must necessarily follow that this knowledge is implanted in our minds, or, rather, innate in us. That opinion respecting which there is a general agreement in universal nature must infallibly be true; therefore it must be allowed that there are Gods; for in this we have the concurrence, not only of almost all philosophers, but likewise of the ignorant and illiterate. It must be also confessed that the point is established that we have naturally this idea, and as I said before, or prenotion, of the existence of the Gods." (Tusculan Disputations (Cicero) Yonge's Translation, pp. 225-6.)

6. Cotta's Comment: On the matter of the foregoing note Cicero represents "Cotta" the Academician, as commenting as follows:

"You have said that the general assent of men of all nations and all degrees is an argument strong enough to induce us to acknowledge the being of Gods. This is not only a weak, but a false, argument; for, first of all, how do you know the opinions of all nations? I really believe there are many people so savage that they have no thoughts of a Deity." (Ibid. p. 231.)

7. Spencer's Comment on Universality of Religious Ideas: "Religious ideas of one kind or other are almost universal. Admitting that in many places there are tribes who have no theory of creation, no word for a deity, no propitiatory acts, no ideas of another life—admitting that only when a certain phase of intelligence is reached do the most rudimentary of such theories make their appearance; the implication is practically the same. Grant that among all races who have passed a certain stage of intellectual development there are found vague notions concerning the origin and hidden nature of surrounding things; and there arises the inference that such notions are necessary products of progressing intelligence. Their endless variety serves but to strengthen this conclusion; showing as it does a more or less independent genesis—showing how, in different places and times, like conditions have led to similar trains of thought, ending in analogous results. That these countless different, and yet allied, phenomena presented by all religions are accidental or factitious, is an untenable supposition. A candid examination of the evidence quite negatives the doctrine maintained by some that creeds are priestly inventions." ("First Principles," Appleton & Co.'s Edition of 1896, pp. 13, 14.)


1. As these works of reference may be somewhat difficult to obtain, copious notes are made for this lesson.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)





I. Definition of Cause.

Theism (Mill) "Three Essays on Religion." pp. 142-154.

John Fisk's "Cosmic Philosophy." Vol. I, Chapter vi on "Causation." "First Principles," Herbert Spencer, pp. 37-44 and pp. 95-96.

(1) Note 1.

(2) Notes 2 and 3.

(3) Notes 4, 5, 6, 7.

(4) Notes 8, 9.

II. Necessity of Causation to Account for the External World.

III. Mind as the Originator of Force.

IV. The Substitution of "Eternal Cause" for "First Cause."

SPECIAL TEXT: Intelligence, or the Light of Truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. (Doc. & Cov., Section cxiii, 30)


1. Definition of Cause: "The power or efficient agent producing anything or event; agent or agency; as gravitation is the cause of the stone's falling; malice is a cause of crime. * * * In a comprehensive sense, all the circumstances, (powers, occasions, actions, and conditions) necessary for an event and necessarily followed by it; the entire antecedent of an event. Efficient Cause, the power or agency producing anything or event; Material Cause, the material out of which by the efficient causes anything is made; Formal Cause, the pattern, place, or form according to which anything is produced by the operation of efficient causes; Final Cause,—God as uncaused and as the original source of all power, change, motion, and life. Styled by Plato and Aristotle the "Prime Mover." (Standard Dictionary, Funk and Wagnall.) The four last forms of the definition are known as "Aristotelian Causes."

2. Evidence of Causation in the External World: "The consideration of the external world around him, even in its broadest aspect, leads man up to the thought of an Eternal Cause; the study of its phenomena in detail with its marvelous intricacy of harmonious interaction produces the impression of design, and leads to the thought of a Designer—i. e., of an Eternal Cause that is intelligent and free.

"Man finds in himself a principle of causality in the light of which he interprets the external world. He cannot help regarding the succession of phenomena which he observes as effects—attributing each to some cause, When he examines that again he discovers it to be no true or absolute cause, but itself the effect of something further back, and so on. He finds in himself the nearest approach to a vera causa. Yet he would recognize the absurdity of calling himself self-caused. And the mind cannot rest in an endless chain of cause-effects. There must be, he feels, if you go far enough back, a real cause, akin, in some way, to man's own power of origination, yet transcending it—a cause that owns no cause—no source of being—but itself." (Belief in God, Dummelow's Commentary, p. ci.)

3. The Mind and the Necessity of Causation: "The mind is compelled to believe in the necessity of causation, and that the cultivated mind, which can realize all the essential conditions of the cause, is compelled to believe in its universality. For what is the belief in the necessity and universality of causation? It is the belief that every event must be determined by some preceding event and must itself determine some succeeding event. And what is an event? It is a manifestation of force. The falling of a stone, the union of two gases, the blowing of a wind, the breaking of wood or glass, the vibration of a cord, the expansion of a heated body, the sprouting of a seed, the circulation of blood, the development of inflammation, the contracting of a muscle, the thinking of a thought, the excitement of an emotion,—all these are manifestations of force. To speak of an event which is not a manifestation of force, is to use language which is empty of significance. Therefore, our belief is that necessity and universality of causation is the belief that every manifestation of force must be preceded and succeeded by some equivalent manifestation. Or, in an ultimate analysis, it is the belief that force, as manifested to our consciousness, can neither arise out of nothing nor lapse into nothing—can neither be created nor annihilated. And the negation of this belief is unthinkable; since to think it would be to perform the impossible task of establishing in thought an equation between something and nothing."

4. The "Eternal Cause": "The argument for a First Cause admits of being (existence), and is, presented as a conclusion from the whole of human experience. Everything that we know (it is argued) had a cause, and owed its existence to that cause. How, then, can it be but that the world, which is but a name for the aggregate of all that we know, has a cause to which it is indebted for its existence?

"The fact of experience, however, when correctly expressed, turns out to be, not that everything which we know derives its existence from a cause, but only every event or change. There is in nature a permanent element, and also a changeable; the changes are always the effects of previous changes; the permanent existences, so far as we know, are not effects at all.[1] It is true we are accustomed to say not only of events, but of objects, that they are produced by causes, as water by the union of hydrogen and oxygen. But by this we only mean that when they begin to exist, their beginning is the effect of a cause. But their beginning to exist is not an object, it is an event, i. e., the uniting of the elements that make the water. If it be objected that the cause of a thing's beginning to exist may be said with propriety to be the cause of the thing itself, I shall not quarrel with the expression. But that which in an object begins to exist, is that in it which belongs to the changeable element in nature; and the outward form and the properties depending on mechanical or chemical combinations of its component parts. There is in every object another and a permanent element, viz., the specific elementary substance or substances of which it consists and their inherent properties. These are not known to us as beginning to exist; within the range of human knowledge they had no beginning, consequently no cause; though they themselves are causes or con-causes of everything that takes place. Experience, therefore, affords no evidences, not even analogies, to justify our extending to the apparently unmutable, a generalization grounded only on our observation of the changeable.

"As a fact of experience, then, causation cannot legitimately be extended to the material universe itself, but only to its changeable phenomena; of these, indeed, causes may be affirmed without any exception. But what causes? The cause of every change is a prior change, and such it cannot but be; for if there were no new antecedent, there would not be a new consequent. If the state of facts which brings the phenomenon into existence, had existed always or for an indefinite duration, the effect also would have existed always or been produced an indefinite time ago. It is thus a necessary part of the fact of causation, within the sphere of our experience, that the causes as well as the effects had a beginning in time, and were themselves caused. It would seem, therefore, that our experience, instead of furnishing an argument for a first cause, is repugnant to it; and that the very essence of causation as it exists within the limits of our knowledge, is incompatible with a First Cause.

"But it is necessary to look more particularly into the matter, and analyze more closely the nature of the causes of which mankind have experience. For if it should turn out that though all causes have a beginning, there is in all of them a permanent element which had no beginning, this permanent element may, with some justice, be termed a first or universal cause, inasmuch as though not sufficient of itself to cause anything, it enters as a con-cause into all causation. Now it happens that the last result of physical inquiry, derived from the converging evidences of all branches of physical science, does, if it holds good, land us, so far as the material world is concerned, in a result of this sort. Whenever a physical phenomenon is traced to its cause, that cause when analyzed, is found to be a certain quantum of Force, combined with certain collocations. And the last great generalization of science, the 'Conservation of Force,' teaches us that the variety in the effects depends partly upon the amount of the force, and partly upon the diversity of the collocations. The force itself is essentially one and the same; and there exists of it in nature a fixed quantity, which, (if the theory be true), is never increased or diminished. Here, then, we find, even in the changes of material nature, a permanent element; to all appearances the very one of which we were in quest. This it is apparently to which, if to anything, we must assign the character of First Cause, the cause of the material universe. For all effects may be traced up to it, while it cannot be traced up, by our experience, to anything beyond; its transformations alone can be so traced, and of them the cause always includes the force itself; the same quantity of force, in some previous form. It would seem, then, that in the only sense in which experience supports in any shape the doctrine of a First Cause, viz, as the primaeval and universal element in all causes, the First Cause can be no other than Force." ("Theism" Mill. "Three Essays on Religion," pp. 142-145.)

5. Of Mind as Originating Force: Mr. Mill in his treatise on Theism, from which the foregoing note is quoted, recognizes the fact that the conclusion with which our quotation ends, is not the last word on the subject. On the contrary, he recognizes the fact that the greatest stress of the argument comes forward at that point. "For," Mr. Mill goes on to say, "it is maintained that mind is the only possible cause of Force; or rather, perhaps, that Mind is a force, and that all other forces must be derived from it inasmuch as mind is the only thing which is capable of originating change. This is said to be the lesson of human experience. In the phenomena of inanimate nature the force which works is always a pre-existing force, not originated, but transferred. One physical object moves another by giving out to it the force by which it has first been itself moved. The wind communicates to the waves, or to a windmill, or a ship, part of the motion which has been given to itself by some other agent. In voluntary action alone we see a commencement, an origination of motion; since all other causes appear incapable of this origination, experience is in favor of the conclusion that all the motion in existence owed its beginning to this one cause, viz, voluntary agency, if not that of man, then of a more powerful Being." ("Theism" (Mill) p. 146.) The fact is, however, that mind, spirit, intelligence (representing one thing) is eternal, not first, since there can be no first. (See Notes 8 and 9.)

6. Mind not the Sole Originator of Force: "This argument," our author suggests, "is a very old one, going back at least as far as Plato, and is still a favorite argument with certain metaphysical defenders of natural theology." But Mr. Mill holds that "if there be truth in the doctrine that the total amount of force in the universe remains constant, i. e., is not diminished nor increased, but remains always the same (the fact is usually called the conservation of force)—then "This doctrine does not change from true to false when it reaches the field of voluntary agency." "The will," he goes on to say, "does not any more than any other causes, create force; granting that it originates motion, it has no means of doing so but by converting into that particular manifestation a portion of force which already existed in other forms. It is known that the source from which this portion of force is derived, is chiefly, or entirely, the force evolved in the processes of chemical composition and decomposition which constitute the body of nutrition; the force so liberated becomes a fund upon which every muscular and even every merely nervous action, as of the brain in thought, is a draft. It is in this sense only, that according to the best lights of science, volition is an originating cause. Volition, therefore, does not answer to the idea of a 'First Cause,' since Force must in every instance be assumed as prior to it; and there is not the slightest color, derived from experience, for supposing force itself to have been created by a volition. As far as anything can be concluded from human experience force has all the attributes of a thing eternal and uncreated.

7. Volition Does Not Answer the Idea of a First Cause: Observe the statement in the above note (6), "Volition, therefore, does not answer to the idea of a First Cause; since force must in every instance be assumed as prior to it." But why must Force "in every instance be assumed as prior" to volition? May not eternal things exist together as the two eternal things, matter and force, co-exist; as duration and space co-exist? Indeed Mr. Mill in a tentative way suggests the co-eternity of will and force as a possibility. "Whatever verdict experience can give in the case," he remarks, "is against the possibility that will ever originates force; yet if we can be assured that neither does force originate will, will must be held to be an agency, if not prior to force yet co-eternal with it; and if it be true that will can originate, not indeed force but the transformation of force from some other of its manifestations into that of mechanical motion, and that there is within human experience no other agency capable of doing so, the argument for a will as the originator, though not of the universe, yet of the cosmos, or order of the universe, remains unanswered." (Theism p. 148.)

8. The "Eternal Cause." In the passage quoted in the above note, Mr. Mill is very near the truth; and if only his term "will" could be dropped for the term "Intelligence," which represents a larger fact than volition merely, then Mr. Mill would be exactly right. Intelligence stands for consciousness, self-consciousness and consciousness of not-self; for reason; for judgment, the power that after ratiocination determines that this state or thing is better than that state or thing; and granting also that volition is a factor of Intelligence, (and one sees not how it can be otherwise), grant this, and also that intelligence is as eternal as force and matter, and you have if not every element of a first cause, at least every element of the "Eternal cause," which stands for the same thing—God!

But Mr. Mill insists, and very truly, that the statement last quoted from him, in so far at least as it holds that "there is within human experience no other agent capable of transforming force from some other of its manifestations into that of mechanical motion," is not conformable to fact. "Whatever volition can do," he says, "in the way of creating motion out of other forms of force, and generally of evolving force from a latent into a visible state, can be done by many other causes. Chemical action, for instance, electricity, heat, the mere presence of a gravitating body; all these are causes of mechanical motion on a far larger scale than any volitions which experience presents to us; and in most of the effects thus produced the motion given by one body to another, is not, as in the ordinary cases of mechanical action, motion that has first been given to that other by some third body. The phenomenon is not a mere passing on of mechanical motion, but a creation of it out of a force previously latent or manifesting itself in some other form. Volition, therefore, regarded as an agent in the material universe, has no exclusive privilege of origination."

So let it be. But this does not diminish the value of that transformation (and in a sense origination) of force by intelligence, by reason of which order is brought forth from disorder—cosmos from chaos. What matters it if great spaces of matter are "without form and void," and "darkness is upon the face of the deep," if only intelligence is there brooding over the mass to give purposive direction to the forces there latent or blindly tumbling in chaotic confusion, until light and orderly development shall bring forth worlds to answer noble ends. And that the 'Eternal Cause' does thus operate upon co-eternal force and eternal matter is witnessed by the orderly universe, everywhere giving evidence of the reign of law. It is this fact of an orderly universe, whose phenomena run backward through a chain of causes that suggest a purposive Eternal Cause, back of it. This necessity for an Eternal Cause makes that cause one of the sources of man's knowledge of God.

9. On the Use of the Phrase "Eternal Cause." It will be observed that in the quotation made from the article "Belief in God," in this lesson, (Note 2) that the term "Eternal Cause" is used instead of "First Cause." It is used by the author of that Article without explanation. Mr. Mill uses the term "First Cause" and "Eternal Cause" interchangeably. The reason for our use of "Eternal Cause," instead of "First Cause" will appear in part from the quotation made from Mill in note 2, where the difficulty of arriving at a cause that is not itself an effect to some preceding cause is pointed out; and where also it is shown that "though all causes have a beginning, there is in all of them a permanent element which had no beginning;" and "this permanent element may with some justice be termed a first or universal cause." In both Mormon Theism and Mormon philosophy, matter is eternal force, the permanent element in all causation, according to the suggestion of Mr. Mill, is eternal; and intelligence, with its power to direct force to purposive ends, is eternal. "Intelligence, * * * was not created or made, neither indeed can be." (Doc. and Cov. Sec. XCIII.) To talk of "beginnings," then, or "firsts," in any absolute sense, in the midst of these eternal things, is to talk nonsense.

As Mr. Herbert Spencer remarks, "We are no more able to form a circumscribed idea of cause, than of space or time; and we are consequently obliged to think of the cause which transcends the limits of our thought as positive though indefinite. Just in the same manner that on conceiving any bounded space there arrives a nascent consciousness of space outside the bounds; so, when we think of any definite cause, there arises a nascent consciousness of a cause behind it; and in the one case as in the other, this nascent consciousness is in substance like that which suggests it, though without form." (First Principles, p. 95-6.)

It may be difficult, then, especially within the range of human experience or even within human power of conception, to posit a cause that is not itself an effect of some antecedent cause, in other words, a "first cause;" but it is not difficult to apprehend an eternal cause, co-existing with eternal matter and force; and by the interaction of these eternal things an orderly universe under the reign of law is the outcome. I say it is not difficult to apprehend an eternal cause. I mean, of course, it is no more difficult to apprehend an eternal cause than it is to apprehend any other eternal thing—matter or force or extension.


1. Such as space, duration, matter, force. See Seventy's Second Year Book, all the notes of Lesson V, pp. 28-32.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




1. The Reason For No Analysis: As in all these special lessons, no analysis of the subject is given in this one, the design being, that helped by the analysis of other lessons, the student will exercise his own ingenuity in planning his treatment of the subject here presented.

2. Suggestions to the Class Teacher: This subject may with profit be allotted to two or even more speakers. Permission should be given members of the class to ask questions which the speakers in these special lessons rather than the teacher should be required to answer. Answering questions will be found to be a most excellent mental exercise.

3. Treatment of the Subject: From the nature of the subject its treatment must be argumentative. See the suggestions as to argumentative discourse, Seventy's Year Book No. II, pp. 68-72.

4. Introduction, Discussion, Conclusion: Each speaker to the above important, and rich-with-opportunity question, should remember our old formula of the First and Second Year Book in relation to speeches, lectures and discourses—viz: In what you say be sure to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. That is to say, an introduction, a discussion and a conclusion. See Seventy's Year Book No. 1, pp. 59-60 and also pp. 86-87.

5. Suggestions to the Speakers: In both the First and the Second Seventy's Year Book, frequent use of suggestions is made from the work of Mr. Pittinger on "Extempore Speech," referring therein to the formation of discourses, methods of preparation, gathering materials, thought-gatherings, and the like. In these special lessons occasion will arise to quote him again on other phases of the art of expressing thought; and I know of nothing now that could be of more benefit to the young student than what he says in relation to the—

6. First Moment of Speech: "Having completed all your preparations, you now anxiously await the commencement of the intellectual battle. This period is often a severe trial. Men who are physically brave sometimes tremble in anticipation of speedily standing before an audience. The shame of failure then may appear worse than death itself. As the soldier feels more of cold and shrinking terror when listening for the peal of the first gun, than afterward, when the conflict deepens into blood around him, so the speaker usually suffers more in this moment of expectancy than in any that follows. You behold the danger in its full magnitude, without the inspiration that attends it. Yet whatever effort it may cost, you must remain calm and collected, for if not master of yourself, you cannot expect to rule others. Your material must be kept well in hand, ready to be used at the proper time, though it is not well to be continually conning over your preparation. That would destroy the freshness of your matter and bring you to the decisive test weary and jaded. You only need such an occasional glance as will assure you that all your material remains within reach. It is seldom possible by any means to banish all fear, and it is to the speaker's advantage that he cannot. His timidity arises from several causes, which differ widely in the effects they produce. A conscious want of preparation, expecially when this arises from any neglect or indolence, is one of the most distressing sources of fear. A species of remorse then mingles with the embarrassment natural to the moment. If the speaker has no other motive than to win reputation—to minister to his own vanity—he will feel terrified, as he realizes that shame instead of honor may be the result of his rashness. That man is fortunate who can say, "I only speak because I feel it to be a duty which I dare not refuse—a work that I must perform whether well or ill. The lawyer who must defend his client, the minister who feels that the hour of service has arrived, the teacher in the presence of his class, are examples of those who speak under the same kind of compulsion that calls a field laborer out into the burning heat of a July noon whether he feels like it or not." (Extempore Speech, pp. 187-8.)


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Definition of Revelation and Inspiration.

1. Seventy's Year Book No. 1, pp. 140-142. Notes 3 and 4 of that lesson should be made part of this. Note 1.

The Gospel (Roberts) Third Edition, Ch. x. (Covers all divisions of this lesson.)

(2) Notes 2, 3, 4, 5.

(3) Note 6.

(4) Note 7.

II. The Revelation of God in the Bible.

III. In the Book of Moses and the Book of Abraham. Pearl of Great Price.

IV. In the Book of Mormon.

SPECIAL TEXT: "No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." Matt. xi:27.


1. Revelation By Divers Means: "Revelation is the name of that act by which God makes communication to men. Inspiration is the name of that influence, that divine influence which operates upon the minds of men under which they may be said to receive divine guidance." (Cambridge Bible Helps). The inspiration may be strong or it may be weak. It may be so over-powering in its character that the person for the time being loses largely his own individuality and becomes the mouthpiece of God, the organ through which the Divine speaks to the children of men. There exist all degrees of inspiration, from human intelligence and wisdom slightly influenced, up to that fulness of inspiration of which I have spoken. Revelations may be made from God to man in various ways. They may be made by God in his own proper person, speaking for himself. On such occasions I take it that the revelation would be most perfect. I know of no more beautiful or complete illustration of such a perfect revelation than that great revelation with which the dispensation of the fulness of times began, when God the Father and Jesus the Christ, stood revealed in the presence of Joseph Smith, when every veil was removed, and the glory of God extended throughout the forest in which the Prophet had prayed; when he heard the Father speak to him as one friend speaks to another, saying:

"Joseph, this is My beloved Son; hear him."

Then followed a conversation with this second Divine personage, to whom he was thus so perfectly introduced, and from whom he received the light and knowledge that laid the foundations of the great latter-day work—Mormonism. There was no imperfection whatsoever in that revelation; it was complete, overwhelming, and one of the most remarkable revelations that God has deigned to give to the children of men. Revelations may be made, and have been made, by the visitation of angels, such as when Moroni came and revealed the existence of the Nephite record, the American volume of scripture, the Book of Mormon; and who afterwards from time to time, met with the Prophet of the last dispensation and gave him knowledge and information as to the manner in which the Church should be organized, and how its affairs should be conducted. Then again, revelations may come through the operations of the Holy Spirit upon the mind of man, as when the Prophet Joseph took Urim and Thummim and with them and by their aid, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, translated the Book of Mormon into the English language. In a similar manner the Lord influences the minds of his servants when preaching the gospel, and thus delivers his word to the Church and to the world.

Through all these various means God speaks, and it is our good fortune to be his witnesses, that he speaks in these various ways as well in modern days as in ancient times.

2. The Bible Revelation of God: "The knowledge of God with which the Bible provides us is of a progressive character. It was revealed 'in many parts and in many modes' as men were able to receive it. We therefore find a fuller knowledge in the New Testament than in the Old, and among the Prophets than among the Patriarchs. Throughout the Bible the existence of God is taken for granted; we are not supplied with arguments to prove it. In earlier days men sometimes had doubts as to whether God felt any interest or took any part in the affairs of men, but they never doubted that He exists. The Bible teaches that the knowledge of God is possible for us, not because he makes himself known unto us; i. e. we are taught that there is such a thing as Revelation, God has come forth, out of the "thick darkness" (I K 8:12) in which he dwells, and has declared himself to His servants in such a way that we may get a true knowledge of His character and of his purposes and of his purposes for the world." (Cambridge Teachers Bible Dictionary.) ("Seventy's Bible," pp. 64-65).

3. The Presence of God in the Bible: "The statements about God in Holy Scripture are uttered with an air of authority, dogmatically; not as the result of a long chain of reasoning: 'The Lord said' this—did that—or more emphatically, in the form of a message, 'Thus saith the Lord,' the teaching of the Bible is not the result of deductive or inductive reasoning. No direct arguments are adduced to prove the existence of God—that is assumed throughout. His attributes may be the subject of argument; His existence, never. His justice, His wisdom, His power may be momentarily obscured by the mystery of evil in the world—as in the book of Job. Incidentally we may get arguments dealing with the nature of the Deity, as e. g. the interesting a fortiori argument from creature to Creator in Ps. 94. 'He that made the eye, shall he not see?' etc., which logically carried out becomes in inference of personality in God from man's personality—there are arguments such as these either stated or suggested in Holy Scripture, but the existence of God never comes within their scope. It lies behind all else; it is the fundamental conception in the light of which all else is viewed. Not only in the Pentateuch and the Prophets and the Psalms, but in the historical narratives—in the brief and apparently barren records of the accession, regnal years, and death of the various kings, it is made clear that God's hand is at work throughout the course of events, and that He is the ever-present Judge by whom the actions of kind and subject alike are weighed. Even in the Book of Esther, in which the divine name never once occurs, no doubt is left upon the mind as to the providential over-rulings of events both great and small. Nay, in those books which are least formally theological—Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, the works of the 'wise man,' the humanists or philosophers of Israel—the thought of God is present from first to last. They do not grope and search after Him like the great pagan thinkers. They set out, not to discover, but to recognize Him; to learn from His dealings with nature and human nature more about that divine personality who is the primary presupposition of all their system, and with whom their heart holds sacred communion even while the intellect stands baffled before the insoluble problems involved in His permission of evil in the world He rules." "Belief in God." Dummelow's Commentary, R. C.

4. The Bible "A Picture of the World With God at Work In It:" The Bible, as we have said, does not offer arguments to prove the existence of the Deity, but it offers something which is far more valuable to most of us than any abstract proof. It gives us a concrete, experimental, descriptive theology. It shows us a picture of the world with God at work in it, which the devout, appreciative soul instinctively recognizes as truth. It offers us, largely in the concrete form of narrative and history, a theory of the universe which, rightly understood, is found to meet the demands of hearts and minds alike; revealing a God whose character is such and whose relation to man is such that in Him both our needs and our aspirations find satisfaction. At the same time it incidentally provides a theory of human nature (see especially Gen. 1-3) that affords the only satisfactory key to the raison d'etre of those needs and aspirations—the explanation of man's actual littleness and his potential greatness."—Ibid. D. C.

5. The Relations of the Testimony of Nature and Revelation: "In the first place, then, the indications of a Creator and of his attributes which we have been able to find in nature, though so much slighter and less conclusive even as to his existence than the pious mind would wish to consider them, and still more unsatisfactory in the formation they afford as to his attributes, are yet sufficient to give to the supposition of a revelation a standing point which it would not otherwise have had. The alleged Revelation is not obliged to build up its case from the foundation; it has not to prove the very existence of the being from whom it professes to come. It claims to be a message from a being whose existence, whose power, and to a certain extent whose wisdom and goodness, are, if not proved, at least indicated with more or less of probability by the phenomena of nature. The sender of the alleged message is not a sheer invention; there are grounds independent of the message itself in his reality; grounds which, though insufficient for proof, are sufficient to take away all antecedent improbability from the supposition that a message may really have been received from him. It is, moreover, much to the purpose to take notice, that the very imperfection of the evidences which Natural Theology can produce of the Divine attributes, removes some of the chief stumbling blocks to the belief of a revelation; since the objections grounded on imperfections in the revelation itself, however conclusive against it if it is considered as a record of the acts or an expression of the wisdom of a being of infinite power combined with infinite wisdom and goodness, are no reason whatever against its having come from a being such as the course of nature points to, whose wisdom is possibly, his power certainly, limited, and whose goodness, though real, is not likely to have been the only motive which actuated him in the work of Creation." "Theism" (Mill). From "Three Essays on Religion." (1874).

The whole work can be studied with great profit as confirmation of many revealed truths of our day to be found in Mr. Mill's deductions; also upon the same line of thought may profitably be consulted, Book III of Shedd's "History of Christian Doctrine," the chapter on "Evidence of the Divine Existence."

6. The Revelation of God in the Pearl of Great Price: The Book of Moses and the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price[1] follow the Bible in the peculiarity of making no argument for the existence of God. That existence is assumed. The opening paragraphs of the Book of Moses plunge one immediately into the very presence of God. Thus: "The words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceeding high mountain, and he saw God, face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses, therefore Moses could endure his presence. And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless? And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease. Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth." (Chapter 1.)

The Book of Abraham with equal force assumes the existence of God, and its opening paragraphs deal with Abraham seeking his rights to the Priesthood of God, and announcing himself as one who was a "follower of righteousness," * * * "and desiring to receive instruction, and to keep the commandments of God;" and so following. The existence of God is a settled question; and the books here considered are chiefly of value because, like the revelations of the Bible, they unfold the nature of God, and his relationship to man, rather than argue for his existence.

7. The Book of Mormon on the Existence of God: The Book of Mormon, like the Bible, takes the existence of God as a thing granted; and only in one remembered instance is the question of God's existence argued. This is in the case of the controversy between Alma, the High Priest, and the desperate Anti-Christ, Korihor. The latter denied the existence of God; Alma affirmed it. Korihor demanded a sign in attestation of the Divine existence. Alma appealed to the consciousness of God in the soul of man as manifest in his own knowledge and the experience of others that were present; to the testimony of the prophets, to the scriptures, and to the creation, as being a witness to the existence of a Creator—"all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it; yea, and its motion; yea, and also the planets which move in their regular form, (order)—* * * * * witness that there is a supreme Creator." And from this basis of testimony he affirms the existence of God, and justifies the Priesthood of God, and the Church, in the course that is pursued in teaching faith in and obedience to God; (Alma XXX: 37-44) and the hope of salvation through the atonement of the Messiah.


1. For the origin, contents, and character of this collection of revelations see Seventy's First Year Book, Part V, Lessons V, VI and VII.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)

IV. REVELATION.—(Continued.)



V. Revelation of God in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Doc. & Cov. Lectures on Faith, Lecture II, also Sec. xx:17-28; also Sec. lxxvi:1-24. Notes 1 and 2.

VI. The Revelation of God to Joseph Smith.

New Witnesses for God, Vol. I, Ch. x. History of the Mormon Church." Americana, Vol. iv, (1909), Ch. v. Pearl of Great Price, Writings of Joseph Smith, Ch. ii. Note 3.

SPECIAL TEXT: I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other: "Joseph, this is My beloved Son, hear Him." Joseph Smith, Pearl of Great Price, p. 85. (Edition of 1902.)


1. The Doctrine and Covenants on the Existence of God: The Doctrine and Covenants in the main is a collection of Revelations given through Joseph Smith. The revelations are not a formal treatise on theology. In all the revelations the existence of God, as would naturally be expected, is assumed. "There is a God in heaven who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting, the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things that are in them." (Doc. & Cov. Sec. XX; 17). This declaration is made in the revelation which directed the organization of the Church to be made, on the 6th day of April, 1830. So all through the revelations, God's existence is proclaimed, but never argued: "Hear, O Ye Heavens, and give ear O Earth, and rejoice ye inhabitants thereof, for 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; from eternity to eternity he is the same and his years never fail. * * * And now after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony last of all, which we give of him, that he lives; for we saw Him, even on the right hand of God, and we heard the voice bearing record that He is the Only Begotten of the Father—that by Him, and through Him, and of Him the worlds are and were created and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God." Doc. & Cov., Sec. LXXVI. This kind of proclamation recurs at times in other revelations.

2. The Lectures on Faith: In the fore part of the Doctrine and Covenants there is a series of six lectures on faith. The lectures, of course, are not on the same level of authority with the revelations. They constitute a treatise on the subject of their title drawn up by a committee appointed from among the Elders of the Church by the High Council at Kirtland, on the 24th of September, 1834. The committee consisted of Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams. (History of the Church, Vol. II, p. 165.) The lectures were first delivered to a class of elders at Kirtland during the winter of 1834-5, under the title of "Lectures on Theology." The Prophet alludes to the circumstance in his journal as follows, under date of December 1st, 1834: "Our school for the Elders was now well attended, and with the lectures on theology, which were regularly delivered absorbed for the time being, everything else of a temporal nature." (Hist. of the Church, Vol. II, pp. 175-6.) On the first of January following he refers to the same subject as follows: "During the month of January I was engaged in the school of the Elders and in preparing the lectures on theology for publication in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants which the committee [above named] appointed last September were now compiling."

The following is a foot note from page 176 of the History of the Church, Volume II: These "Lectures on Theology" here referred to were afterwards prepared by the Prophet, (See p. 180), and published in the Doctrine and Covenants under the title "Lectures on Faith." They are seven in number, and occupy the first seventy-five pages in the current editions of the Doctrine and Covenants. They are not to be regarded as of equal authority in matters of doctrine with the revelations of God in the Doctrine and Covenants, but as stated by Elder John Smith, who, when the book of Doctrine and Covenants was submitted to the several quorums of the Priesthood for acceptance, (August 17, 1835,) speaking in behalf of the Kirtland High Council, "bore record that the revelations in said book were true, and that the lectures were judicially written and compiled, and were profitable for doctrine." The distinction which Elder John Smith here makes should be observed as marking the difference between the Lectures on Faith and the revelations of God in the Doctrine and Covenants. (See also Seventy's First Year Book, Part V, Lesson I, pp. 135-138.)

3. The Objective Reality of Joseph Smith Vision: Did the visions of Joseph Smith have objective reality, or were they purely subjective, mere creations of the mind? This question has been extensively debated. Of course, from the Mormon point of view, the visions had objective reality. That is to say, the Divine personages of the first vision were tangible, bodily persons. One of them, in fact, was the risen Christ, who, when he arose from the dead left a tomb empty; who, to some of his doubting disciples, on appearing to a number of them after his resurrection, said "handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bone as ye see me have." And who in further attestation of the reality of his bodily existence ate of a fish and honey-comb in the presence of these same disciples. And we have warrant even of the Athanasian Greed that "such as the Father is, such is the son;" and conversely it follows of necessity that as the Son is, so is the Father! Hence the Father a tangible reality, a personage of flesh and bone as indeed was and is the Christ.

The Singularity of Joseph Smith's Vision of God: Joseph Smith's vision of God is the most singular of any given to mortal man. The only other vision that approaches it is that of Stephen described in Acts VII. "He being full of the Holy Ghost looked up steadfastly unto heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." Then the Jews cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears that they might not hear his supposed blasphemy, and ran upon him with one accord, and stoned him to death. Stephens's vision of God, however, is not equal to Joseph Smith's vision for distinctiveness of view, and definiteness of revelation of the Father's person. Hitherto it could be said—"And no man knoweth * * * * the Father save the Son, and He to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him (Matt. xi:27); also "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." (John i:18.) The Father according to these sayings—except for the vision of Stephen—had kept in the background of revelation; for the Jehovah of the Jews—God—was but the pre-existent spirit of the Christ of the New Testament. (See also revelation of Moriancumer, the brother of Jared, Ether III.) But when the "dispensation of the Fulness of Times" was being ushered in, it was fitting that a fulness of knowledge of God should be revealed to the first great witness and prophet of that dispensation. Fitting, too, that the Father should introduce the son to that witness and prophet. Nowhere else is there a vision of God so perfect, and glorious as in that vision with which the dispensation of the fulness of times opens—the dispensation in which it is promised that all things shall be gathered together in one—"all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are in earth, even to him. (Eph. I:10).


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Earth and its Relations to the Universe.

Gen. i, ii. Doc. & Cov., Sec. 88:42-61. New Witnesses for God, Vol. I. (Treatise on Joseph Smith.) Chs. xxviii, xxix, xxx. Notes 1, 2, 3, 4.

II. The Revelations of God to Moses Limited to Our Earth and Related Spheres.

Book of Moses, Chs. i, ii. Seventy's Year Book No. II, Lesson V, note 10. Notes, this lesson, 5, 6.

SPECIAL TEXT: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Gen. i:1, 2.[1]


1. View of the Universe, (a) Mediaeval: In past ages what was called the geocentric theory, that is, earth-center theory, respecting the universe prevailed. It was believed that the earth was in shape flat, and the immovable center of the universe; that about it circled sun, moon and stars in regular order. Indeed it was supposed that the specific and only purpose for which the sun was formed was to give light and heat to the earth; and the moon and stars were formed to give light by night in the absence of the sun. Above the earth was bent the vast dome of the blue sky, its edges apparently resting on the supposed circumfluous waters. Above the blue sky was heaven, the abode of God and the blest; and under the earth was the dark region of hell, into which was thrust the wicked—the damned. It was believed that God, about six thousand years ago, created by a word, out of nothing, all this universe—earth, sun, moon, stars, and all things in the earth. That man and all living creatures were moulded from the dust, and then had breathed into them the spirit of life, and so became living creatures. This was the view "authoritatively asserted by the church." (Draper.)

2. Views of the Universe, (b) Modern: The views expressed in note 1, however, by our modern knowledge is changed. The modern view enforced by absolute knowledge respecting the universe is thus stated by John W. Draper: "As there are other globes like our earth, so, too, there are other worlds like our solar system. There are self-luminous suns exceeding in number all computation. The dimensions of the earth pass into nothingness in comparison with the dimensions of the solar system, and that system, in its turn, is only an invisible point if placed in relation with the countless hosts of other systems which form, with it, clusters of stars. Our solar system, far from being alone in the universe, is only one of an extensive brotherhood, bound by common laws and subject to like influences. Even on the very verge of creation, where imagination might lay the beginning of the realms of chaos, we see unbounded proofs of order, a regularity in the arrangement of inanimate things, suggesting to us that there are other intellectual creatures like us, the tenants of those islands in the abysses of space. "Though it may take a beam of light a million years to bring to our view those distant worlds, the end is not yet. Far away in the depths of space we catch the faint gleams of other groups of stars like our own. The finger of a man can hide them in their remoteness. Their vast distances from one another have dwindled into nothing. They and their movements have lost all individuality; the innumerable suns of which they are composed blend all their collected light into one pale milky glow."

"Thus extending our view from the earth to the solar system, from the solar system to the expanse of the group of stars to which we belong, we behold a series of gigantic nebula creations rising up one after another, and forming greater and greater colonies of worlds. No numbers can express them, for they make the firmament a haze of stars. Uniformity, even though it be the uniformity of magnificence, tires at last, and we abandon the survey, for our eyes can only behold a boundless prospect, and conscience tells us our own unspeakable insignificance." Draper's Intellectual Development of Europe, Vol. II, p. 299. New Witnesses for God, Vol. I (Treatise on Joseph Smith) Chapter XXVIII.

3. Larger Worlds and Larger World-Systems than Ours: "These distant suns are, many of them, much larger than our sun. Sirius, the beautiful Dog-star, is (so far as can be judged by its amount of light) nearly 3,000 times larger, and therefore its system of dependent worlds must be so much more important than those which form our solar system. Its planets may far exceed ours in size and revolve at far greater distances; for such a sun would throw its beams of light and heat very much beyond a distance equal to that of our Neptune."—Samuel Kinns, Ph. D., F. R. A. A. S., in "Harmony of the Bible with Science," second edition, p. 238.

"Man when he looks upon the countless multitudes of stars—when he reflects that all he sees is only a small portion of those which exist, yet that each is a light and life-giving sun to multitudes of opaque, and therefore invisible worlds—when he considers the enormous size of these various bodies and their immeasurable distance from one another, may form an estimate of the scale on which the world (universe) is constructed." "Intellectual Development of Europe," Vol. II, p. 279.

4. The Argument Based Upon the Data of Notes One, Two and Three: The argument to be based upon the preceding notes is this: Since our earth, and even our solar system, as presented to us by our modern knowledge, is so insignificantly small and doubtless inferior to the more splendid worlds and world-systems of the universe, it would be ridiculous to suppose that the revelations granted to us in our written scriptures were intended to cover all things pertaining to the limitless universe and its equally limitless sentient inhabitants. It is more reasonable to suppose that the revelations vouch-safed to us through our seers are revelations pertaining to our earth and associate spheres—(its heavens); our God, and those intelligences that pertain to our earth and that order of things with which it is associated.

5. The Vision of Moses: "And it came to pass, as the voice (of God) was still speaking, Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the Spirit of God. And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sands upon the sea shore. And he beheld many lands; and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof. And it came to pass that Moses called upon God, saying: Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them? And behold, the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God, and talked with him face to face. And the Lord God said unto Moses: "For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom, and it remaineth in me. And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth. And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten. And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many." (Book of Moses—Pearl of Great Price—Ch. I).

6. The Limits of Moses' Special Revelation: "But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For 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 unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them. And it came to pass that Moses spake unto the Lord, saying: 'Be merciful unto thy servant, O God, and tell me concerning this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then thy servant will be content.' And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: "The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine. And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words. For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. And now, Moses, my son, I will speak unto thee concerning this earth upon which thou standest; and thou shalt write the things which I shall speak." (Book of Moses—Pearl of Great Price—Ch. I:35-40.)

"And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this Heaven, and this Earth; write the words which I speak. I am the Beginning and the End, the Almighty God; by mine Only Begotten I created these things; yea, in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth upon which thou standest. And the earth was without form, and void; and I caused darkness to come up upon the face of the deep; and my Spirit moved upon the face of the water; for I am God. And I, God, said: Let there be light; and there was light."—Thence the revelation proceeds much as in Genesis, chapters one and two. (See Book of Moses—Pearl of Great Price—Ch. II:1-3.)


1. "In the Beginning:" When the Bible says, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"; and "thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the hosts of them," it has reference not to any "absolute beginning," or "absolute finishing," but only to the "beginning" and "finishing" as pertaining to our earth and the order of creation with which it is connected, and the "hosts" that pertain to our order of existence, not absolutely to all existences.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




III. Revelation Respecting God, Limited to the Divine Presidency of Our Earth and Related Spheres.—Its Heavens.

I Cor. viii:5, 6. Mormon Doctrine of Deity, pp. 156, 159. Ibid. 229-233.[1] Also Sermon of the Prophet, June 16, 1844. Mill. Star, Vol. 24, p. 108 et seq. Notes.

SPECIAL TEXT: "We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called Gods, whether in heaven or in earth (as there be Gods many and Lords many), but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things." I Cor. viii:4-6.


[Transcriber's Note: start of this paragraph appears to be missing due to a printer's error in the original.] the passage from Paul, "We know an idol is nothing in the world and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called Gods whether in heaven or in earth (as there be Gods many and Lords many) but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him." (I Cor. VIII, 5, 6.) Commenting, I say, upon this, the Prophet said: Paul says there are Gods many, and Lords many, * * * * but to us there is but one God—that is, pertaining to us; and he is in all and through all, [i. e., His influence or spirit permeates his dominions.] But if Joseph Smith says there are Gods many, and Lords many, they cry:—"Away with him, crucify him, crucify him! * * * Paul, if Joseph Smith is a blasphemer, you are. I say there are Gods many, and Lords many, but to us only one; and we are to be in subjection to that one. * * * * * * Some say I do not interpret the Scriptures the same as they do. They say it means the heathen's gods. Paul says there are Gods many, and Lords many, and that makes a plurality of Gods, in spite of the whims of all men. You know, and I testify, that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods. I have it from God. * * * I have a witness of the Holy Ghost, and a testimony that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods in the text." (Discourse at Nauvoo, July 16, 1844. Mill. Star, Vol. 24, p. 108, et seq.)

2. The Argument Based on the Data of Note One: The argument to be based upon the data of note one, and the whole subject of Lessons VIII and IX is this: If "pertaining to us" there is only one God to whom we are subject, then the revelations received are concerning him and his relations to our race; and our race's relations to him; they concern themselves with our race's past and future, and its salvation. Those revelations relate to our earth and its heavens or associated spheres. And while in a far off way we may dimly know that other mighty Divine Intelligences exist and preside over and guide the destinies of other worlds, still directly associated with our world, and our race is One Mighty Intelligence whom we recognize as the Father; another whom we recognize as the Son; another intelligence, unbodied in tabernacle of flesh and bone, a personage of spirit, whom we recognize as the Holy Spirit; and these three constitute one presiding council or God-head of our earth and its heavens. It is no more a marvel that we should have a God-head or great Presiding Council for our earth than that we should have a sun for it; and our having a great Presiding Council or God-head for our earth or our world-system would no more be in conflict with like grand councils for other worlds and world-systems than our sun would conflict, disrupt or injure other suns of other world-systems, since all are of the same nature, and act under the universal reign of law that preserves the harmony and nicely balanced forces and processes of the universe. So, too, the divine Intelligences of the universe are of "one nature in manifold persons;" "a system of self-acting beings forming a unity"—a free harmony of individual Divine Intelligences governing their world and world-systems under the universal reign of moral and spiritual laws.

3. The Three Personages of Our God-Head: "Everlasting covenant was made between three personages before the organization of this earth, and relates to their dispensation of things to men on the earth; these personages, according to Abraham's record, are called God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and God the third, the witness or Testator." (Gems, Richard and Little Compendium.)

I have not been able to find this passage in any of our Church annals, except in the "Gems" of the "Richard & Little Compendium." It stands there on the authority of the late Elder Franklin D. Richards, of the Council of the Twelve, and Historian of the Church. It is also in harmony with the whole tenor of the Prophet's teaching on the subject of the God-Head, in the last year of his life.

4. The Pros and Cons of Psalms 82:6 and I Corinthians 8:5, 6:

Mr. Van Der Donckt: "Two of these texts, for instance, have the significant qualification: 'Being called gods.' A man must not be a lawyer to know that the fact that not a few quacks and clowns are called doctors does not make them such. "Although there be that are called gods either in heaven or on earth (for there be gods many and lords many); yet to us there is but one God" (1 Corinthians 8:5, 6). Jesus answered, referring to Psalm 82:6, "Is it not written in your law: I said ye are Gods? If he called them gods to whom the word of God was spoken" * * * (John 10:34, 35). Neither Christ nor Paul say that they are or were gods, but simply that they are called gods.

Mr. Roberts' Answer: One wonders at this argument when he takes into account the evident carefulness of Mr. V. as a writer. Jesus, whom he quotes as saying, the beings referred to as Gods are but called Gods, not that they are so, really fails to give due weight to the Psalm which Jesus quotes: "I have said ye are Gods, and all of you are children of the Most High" (Psalm 82: 6). Of this scripture, Jesus says: "Is it not written in your law, I said, ye are Gods," and he quotes with evident approval these inspired words of David, for he adds—"the scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:33); that is, the scripture of David saying, "ye are Gods," is true, it cannot be gain-said. Nor is this indorsement of David's utterance weakened by the subsequent remark of Jesus, "If he called them Gods unto whom the word of God came," etc.; for, when considered in the light of all the Psalmist said, and all that Jesus said, the "called them Gods" by no manner of means signifies that they were not Gods. David said, "ye are Gods, and all of you are children of the Most High" (Psalm 82:6). The Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy, because he had said he was the son of God (John 10:36); in defense, Jesus quoted the passage from the Psalms where it is said of men, "ye are Gods; and all of you are children of the Most High"—as showing that he was but claiming for himself the relationship that in the law of the Jews was accorded to men—sons of God, children of the Most High, and hence, he was not a blasphemer. In other words, if the Psalmist could say to those he addressed, "all of you are children of the Most High," why should he, the Christ, be considered a blasphemer because he called himself the Son of God?

Surely, also, the gentleman has overlooked Paul's very emphatic declaration in the parenthetical part of the sentence he quotes from him, viz., "There be Gods many and Lords many; yet to us there is but one God." * * * * No wonder that Moses sent ringing down through the centuries that clarion sentence: "Hear, O Israel, Our God is one Lord;" that the Hebrew race stood as the witness of that one God, and fashioned their nomenclature accordingly; or that Paul said, "Though there be that are called Gods, whether in heaven or in earth—as there be Gods many, and Lords many—but to us there is but one God;" or that Joseph Smith, in the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, should take up the same refrain as these ancient servants of God, and say, "Pertaining to us, there is but one God." ("Mormon Doctrine of Deity," Roberts-Van Der Donckt discussion.)


1. This reference may carry the student beyond the immediate point of the subject in hand, but it will be well for him to read the pages of the work indicated, and then extract from them what is there said which bears immediately upon the point in the lesson.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)





1. Suggestion to the Speaker: (a) Suggestions for constructing a discourse or lecture will be found in the Seventy's Year Book, No. I, pp. 59, 60; also 86, 87; and Year Book No. II, pp. 113-115; also 149-150.

(b) The theme of this lesson will call for both expository and argumentative treatment. Of argumentative treatment of a subject something, and doubtless enough, has been said in Seventy's Year Book, No. II, pp. 68-71, and it only remains to say a word on exposition. "Exposition consists merely in explaining the meaning of a proposition or subject, and giving proof and reasons for the explanations made. It consists in defining terms and setting forth a subject in its various relations, or "presenting principles or rules for the purpose of instructing others." A treatise on grammar, for instance, consists principally of exposition. This Year Book is an exposition of the "Doctrine of Deity." "Clearness being the chief object (of exposition), and the nature of the subject excluding ornament, this kind of matter should be presented in a neat, concise style." (Quackenbos Rhetoric.)

2. The First Moment of Speech: In our last special lesson a word was said in relation to the "first moment" of speech. Further suggestions from the same authority then quoted may not be amiss here. "The most formidable and common foe of the speaker's, in these preliminary moments, is a general dread that can neither be analyzed nor accounted for. Persons who have never felt its power sometimes make light of it, but experience will change their views. The soldier who has never witnessed a battle, or felt the air throb with the explosion of cannon, or heard the awful cries of the wounded, is often a great braggart; while "the scarred veteran of a hundred fights" never speaks of the carnival of blood without shuddering, and would be the last, but for the call of duty, to brave the danger he knows so well. There may be a few speakers who do not feel such fear, but it is because they do not know what true speaking is; they have never known the full tide of inspiration which sometimes lifts the orator far above his conceptions, but which first struggles in his own bosom like the pent fires of a volcano. They only come forward to relieve themselves of the interminable stream of twaddle that wells spontaneously to their lips, and can well be spared the pangs preceding the birth of a powerful and living discourse.

"This kind of fear belongs to every kind of speaking, but is most intense on those great occasions, in presence of large audiences, when men's passions run high. In mere instructive address, where the ground has been repeatedly gone over and where the effort is mainly of an intellectual character, it is less noticeable. It resembles the awe felt on the eve of all great enterprises, and when excessive, as it is in some highly gifted minds, it constitutes an absolute bar to public speech. But in most cases it is a source of inspiration rather than of repression." ("Extempore Speech," Pittenger, pp. 188-9.)

The lesson in the above passage is that the young speaker should not be discouraged because he experiences this fear—"man-fearing spirit," it is sometimes called—at the beginning of a discourse. The more frightened he is the more hope is there that, ultimately, he will succeed; for his very fright, or dread, is a sure token that he has the necessary nervous temperament, the sensitiveness, essential to his success in this most wonderful accomplishment of instructive speaking.

3. Strength, Force, Emphasis: In the special lessons in Year Book No. II, the subject of "clearness" in speech was dwelt upon repeatedly. In this and the remaining special lessons in this Year Book, something will be said of "strength or force" in speech, and a few suggestions made as to the things essential to acquire this, after clearness, most desirable quality of expression.

The three terms at the head of this note are used because they are employed by various text books; they mean, however, the same thing.

Strength, as the property of a good style in speaking or writing, consists in such a use and arrangement of words as will make a deep impression on the mind of the reader or hearer.

"The first requisite of strength is the rejection of all superfluous words, which constitutes one of the elements of precision also. Whatever adds nothing to the meaning of a sentence takes from its strength; and, whether it be simply a word, a clause, or a member, should be rejected. In the following passage, the words in black type convey no additional meaning, and, consequently, a regard for strength requires their omission."

Examples: 1. "Being satisfied with what he has achieved, he attempts nothing further."

2. "If I had not been absent, if I had been here, this would not have happened."

3. "The very first discovery of it strikes the mind with inward joy, and spreads delight through all its faculties."

Observe the difference in strength when the unnecessary words are eliminated:

1. Satisfied with what he has achieved, he attempts nothing further.

2. If I had been there, this would not have happened.

3. The very first discovery of it strikes the mind with inward joy.


Conceptions of God.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Antediluvian Knowledge of God; Testimony of— 1. Adam, 2. Enoch, 3. Noah,

Genesis, Ch. iii-x. Book of Moses, Chs. iv-viii, Inclusive. Especially v:4-9, 11, 12; vi:1; 56-58. Doc. & Cov. Lecture on Faith No. II, verses 18-20; also v. 30-36. "The Gospel" (Roberts), Ch. ix (3d Edition), Note 1. Genesis, Chs. iii-x.

II. Postdiluvian Knowledge of God; Testimony of—

Book of Moses as above. Lecture on Faith No. II, 37-56. Ether, Chs. I, II, III.

SPECIAL TEXT: "This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created." (Gen. v:12.)


1. Sources of Information: The sources of information in this lesson are so completely within the reach of all that notes upon the various subdivisions are not considered necessary.

2. Lecture II On Faith: Too much cannot be said of the value of the Second Lecture on Faith in the Doctrine and Covenants. Nowhere else is the manner in which faith in God was brought into the world and preserved among men, so well worked out as in that lecture. It is a very instructive bit of literature, and should be highly prized by the ministry of the Church.

3. Parallel Between Adam and Noah: Each of these great patriarchs occupies a singular relationship to the question of faith in God. Each stood at the head of a great dispensation of the Gospel. Each received the commandment—"Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth," (Gen. I:28, and Gen. IX:1); and as Adam brought with him the knowledge of God for men from beyond the "Fall"—from Eden to this side Eden, so Noah brought the knowledge of God for men from beyond the flood to this side the flood, and is a great witness for God to men. Adam is Michael. (Doc. & Cov. Sec. cvii:54.) Noah is Gabriel. (Hist. of the Church, Vol. III, p. 386); and each was the "Father of all living" in his day.

4. Importance of the Period Covered in this Lesson: To be well versed in the history of the period covered by this lesson, is important. Especially in relation to the knowledge of God that then existed among men; for the knowledge then revealed became the foundation of that belief in God found in subsequent generations of men in the nations of antiquity. Also in this period will be found the roots of those myths and fables in relation to gods, with which some nations and races of men were pleased to amuse, and at last deceive themselves. Believe me, it is not a waste of time to study the historic period from Adam to Noah; and from Noah to Abraham.

5. Testimony of Moriancumer: Let the student also give more than a passing thought to Moriancumer, the Brother of Jared, of the Book of Mormon. He brought the knowledge of God to the Western hemisphere; and the revelation of God to him (Ether: III), was most important, since it was the source of the knowledge of God to that great Jaredite empire which endured for sixteen hundred years in the Western hemisphere, and which was one of the greatest nations of antiquity. (Ether i:42, 43, and xv:2).


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




III. The Course of Ancient Nations in General in Turning from God.

Meditation and Atonement. (President John Taylor) Appendix, pp. 190-205.

History of All Religions (Burder), Introduction. Also Part VI, p. 505 et seq, Notes 1, 2, 3.

Gen., Chs. ix, x, xi. Book of Abraham, Ch. 1. "The World's Worship" (Dobbins), Ch. v. Myers' "General History," Ch. iv. Burder's "History of All Religions," pp. 511-519.

Oxford and Cambridge Bible Helps and "Bible Treasury," Articles on Babylonia and Assyria.

The Book of Daniel, Chs. i-v.

IV. The Nations of the Euphrates Valley.

1. Babylon.

2. Assyria.

3. Chaldea.

4. Babylonian and Assyrian Beliefs in God.

SPECIAL TEXT: "And I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the heathen which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes." Ezekiel xxxvi:23.


1. Early Corruption of the Doctrine of Deity: Believing that the knowledge of God in this world, started with the information which Adam brought with him through the fall, from Eden (See Lesson I, this Book), and with the revelations given in his day, it is believed by the writer that all traditions and conceptions of God which afterwards obtained in very ancient nations were influenced more or less by that knowledge; and that in so far as confusion, mystery and idolatry respecting the being and character of God existed among those nations, it resulted from the early apostasy of men in ancient times from God. On this head the late President John Taylor held the following strong views:

"It is an important fact, holding good of other ancient civilizations as well as that of Egypt, that the farther we trace back their religious beliefs and mythologies, the purer does the creed become, the nearer it approaches to heavenly truth, and the stronger and more evident are the traces of gospel teachings. This fact alone is sufficient to prove that paganism had its origin in the revelations of heaven, from which, in its various diverse branches, it had turned and strayed, and by gradual growth, had become the vile, inconsistent, degrading and loathsome system which is abhorred by all pure-minded, honorable and intelligent people. Had the various forms of ancient, dominant, pagan worship been radically and entirely different, with only those features in common that could reasonably be attributed to accident or the inter-communication of races, the inference would be strong that they had different origins; but when, as is the case, there is a strong family likeness, and that likeness grows stronger the further it is traced back, and continually points to a common parentage, and that parentage is the truth as taught by the early patriarchs and inspired servants of heaven, our conclusions must necessarily be that these correct and God-given teachings were the source from whence the whole sprang, and the differences in development arose from the varied incidents in the history, and the peculiar surroundings of the various races that gave a local hue and tinge to their forms of belief." (Mediation and Atonement, pp. 196-7).

2. On the Great Diversity of Beliefs in God: "A great diversity of religious opinions has prevailed in the world, and different forms of ceremonies have been and still are observed. The religious notions and practices of mankind early diverged from one another,—the 'sons of men' were soon distinguished from 'the sons of God,' the impious from the holy,—and notwithstanding the purgation of the world by a flood, and the subsequent re-establishment of one common faith no sooner did the earth begin to be peopled again, than a diversity of religions took place, each nation and tribe embracing some peculiarity of its own. Such has been the fact, through all the intervening periods of history, to the present day. Each distinct portion of the human family, especially its larger divisions, has had its separate religious dogmas and practices, ranging from pure theism to the grossest idolatry." (Burder's History of All Religions, Introduction, p. 9).

3. On The Cause of Departure From True Conceptions of God: After determining, by extended discussion, that the great diversity in men's beliefs respecting God does not arise from chance, nor external circumstances, nor from any necessity arising from the nature of man's mind, nor from the want of revelation, William Burder, in his great work on the "History of All Religions," finds the true cause of man's departure from the knowledge of God in the radical depravity of the human heart. "Is not that the true cause?" he inquiries. "It seems to us that it can be resolved into no other. Of the depravity of the human heart we are not permitted to doubt, in view of the decisions of the Bible and the results of observation. This, existing and reigning in all men, by nature, would readily dispose them to a diversity of religious views and practices, or rather irreligion under various names. It would readily dispose them to depart from the true belief, and to cast off the restraints of the divine authority. They would be prone to invent many schemes and devices with a view to appease an upbraiding conscience, and to gratify that ceaseless love of novelty, which characterizes the human mind. Except in those in whom the effects of depravity are counteracted by divine grace, there would exist a continual propensity to depart from God and his institutions—to lose sight of religious truth, and become involved in gross darkness and superstition. In such a state, the mind is prepared for every absurdity—

    'Nations ignorant of God, contrive
    A wooden one.'

"Hence have arisen the altars and demons of heathen antiquity, their extravagant fictions, and abominable orgies. Hence we find among the Babylonians and Arabians the adoration of the heavenly bodies, the earliest form of idolatry; among the Canaanites and Syrians, the worship of Baal, Tammuz, Magog and Astarte; among the Phoenicians, the immolation of children to Moloch; among the Egyptians divine honors bestowed on animals, birds, insects, leeks, and onions; among the Persians, religious reverence offered to fire; and among the polished Greeks, the recognition in their system of faith of thirty thousand Gods." (Burder's History of All Religions, p. 12).

4. Babylonia and Assyria: "These were the two great Eastern empires before which all the old states of Syria and Palestine fell. We learn their history partly from the Bible narrative, and also from contemporary monuments written in cuneiform characters and recently deciphered.

"Babylonia or Shinar (Gen. 10:10) is the alluvial country on the lower course of the Euphrates and Tigris, of which Babel or Babylon [the same] was the chief city. Assyria, or Asshur, occupied the Tigris valley to the north of Babylonia. Its center lay on the left bank of the Tigris, where the great city of Nineveh stood, opposite Mosul. Babylon and Nineveh were long rivals, but they had a common civilization, of which the southern alluvium was the original home. Their language was Semitic, but in the southern country the Semites seem to have been preceded by another race from whom they acquired many things in their culture and religion, and to whom the origin of their peculiar cuneiform system of writing is generally ascribed. In process of time Assyria became the stronger power, and after the Egyptians retired from Mesopotamia, it began to push forth beyond its original limits." (Cambridge Bible Dictionary—70's Bible—p. 14).

5. The Second Babylonian Kingdom—Or Chaldea: The supremacy of the Assyrian Empire over the old, or first, Babylonian Monarchy, lasted but little more than a century. It began 728 B. C. and was overthrown 625 B. C. (Myers' General History, cf. pp. 33, 47.)

"Nabopolassar (625-605 B. C.) was the founder of what is known as the Chaldean or New Babylonian Empire. At first a vassal king, when troubles began to thicken about the Assyrian court, he revolted and became independent. Later he entered into an alliance with the Median king against his former suzerain. Through the overthrow of Nineveh and the break-up of the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian kingdom received large accessions of territory. For a short time thereafter Babylon filled a great place in history. Nabopolassar was followed by his son Nebuchadnezzar, whose renown filled the ancient world. One important event of his reign was the taking of the rebellious city of Jerusalem. The temple was stripped of its sacred vessels of silver and gold, which were carried away to Babylon, and the building itself was given to the flames; a part of the people were also carried away into the "Great Captivity, 586 B. C." (Myers' General History, p. 47.)

6. The fall of the Chaldean, or Second Babylonian Empire. (538 B. C.): "The glory of the New Babylonian Empire passed away with Nebuchadnezzar. To the east of the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates there had been growing up an Aryan kingdom, the Medo-Persian, which, at the time now reached by us [558-529 B. C.] had become a great imperial power. At the head of this new empire was Cyrus, a strong, energetic, and ambitious sovereign. Coming into collision with the Babylonian king Nabonidus, he defeated his army in the open field, and the gates of the strongly fortified capital, Babylon, were without further resistance thrown open to the Persians." (Myers' General History, p. 48).

With the fall of Babylon the scepter of dominion, borne so long by Semitic princes, was given into the hands of the Aryan peoples, who were destined from this time forward to shape the main course of events and control the affairs of civilization.

7. The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria: "The religion of the country was a combination of the Shamanistic belief[1] (i. e., a belief that each force of nature had its "spirit," good or bad) of the original Accadian population, along with the nature-worship of the Semitic conquerors. Inscriptions which have been recently deciphered, show that the Babylonians had accounts of the creation and deluge, in many ways similar to those given in the book of Genesis." (Cambridge Bible Dictionary—70's Bible—p. 17).

8. Underlying Principles of Assyrian-Babylonian Beliefs: "The religion of Assyria and Babylonia, was, in its essential principles, and in the general spirit of its conceptions, of the same character of the religion of Egypt, and in general as all pagan religions. When we penetrate beneath the surface which gross Polytheism has acquired from popular superstition, and revert to its original and higher conceptions, we shall find the whole based on the idea of the unity of the Deity, the last relic of the primitive revelation, disfigured indeed and all but lost in the monstrous ideas of pantheism; confounding the creature with the Creator; and transforming the Deity into a god-world, whose manifestations are to be found in all the phenomena of nature. Beneath this supreme and sole God, this great ALL, in whom all things are lost and absorbed, are ranked in an order of emanation corresponding to their importance, a whole race of secondary deities who are emanations from His very substance, who are mere personifications of His attributes and manifestations. The differences between the various pagan religions, is chiefly marked by the differences between these secondary divine beings. * * * * The Chaldea-Assyrian, especially devoted to astronomy, saw in the astral, and especially in the planetary system, a manifestation of the divine being. They considered the stars as His true external manifestation, and in their religious system made them the visible evidence of the subordinate divine emanations from the substance of the infinite being, whom they identified with the world, his work." (The World's Worship—Dobbins—pp. 126, 127).

9. The Supreme God of the Assyrians—Ilu: "The supreme god, the first and sole principle from whom all other deities were derived, was Ilu, whose name signified God par excellence. Their idea of him was too comprehensive, too vast, to have any determined external form, or consequently to receive in general the adoration of the people. * * * * In Chaldea it does not seem that any temple was ever specially dedicated to him; but at Nineveh, and generally throughout Assyria, he seems to have received the peculiarly national name of 'Asshur' (whence was derived the name of the country, Mat Asshur), and this itself seems related to the Aryan name of the deity Asura. With this title he was great god of the land, the especial protector of the Assyrians, he who gave victory to their arms. The inscriptions designate him as "Master, or Chief of the Gods." He it is, perhaps, who is to be recognized in the figure occasionally found on the Assyrian monuments (but probably adopted in later times by the Persians to represent their Ormuzd), representing a human bust, wearing the royal tiara in the middle of a circle borne by two large eagle wings, and with an eagle's tail." (World's Worship,—Dobbins—pp. 126, 127).

10. Doubts of a Supreme God: Myers doubts of there being a conception of a supreme God in the religion of the Bablyon-Assyrian peoples. "At the earliest period made known to us by the native records, we find the pantheon to embrace many local deities (the patron gods of the different cities and nature gods); but at no period do we find a Supreme God. The most prominent feature from first to last of the popular religion was the belief in spirits, particularly in wicked spirits, and the practice of magic rites and incantations to avert the malign influence of these demons. A second important feature of the religion was what is known as astrology, or the foretelling of events by the aspect of the stars. This side of the religious system was most elaborately and ingeniously developed until the fame of the Chaldean astrologers was spread throughout the ancient world." Yet this Historian admits that, "alongside these low beliefs and superstitious practices, there existed, however, higher and purer elements. This is best illustrated by the so-called penitential psalms, dating, some of them, from the second millennium B. C., which breathe a spirit like that which pervades the penitential psalms of the Old Testament." In confirmation of this statement, he quotes one of these psalms, translated by Jastro:

    "O, my god, who art angry with me, accept my prayer!

              * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    May my sins be forgiven, my transgressions be wiped out.
              * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

   (May) flowing waters of the stream wash me clean!
   Let me be pure, like the sheen of gold."
                             (Myers' General History, p. 38.)

"The cuneiform writings on the tablets," says James Freeman Clarke, author of 'Ten Great Religions,' "show us that the Assyrians also prayed." "On an unpublished tablet in the British Museum, is this prayer of King Asshur-da-ni-pal, B. C. 650:

    "May the look of pity that shines in thine eternal face dispel my

    "May I never feel the anger and wrath of the God.

    "May my omissions and my sins be wiped out.

    "May I find reconciliation with Him, for I am the servant of His
        power, the adorer of the great gods.

    "May Thy powerful face come to my help; may it shine like
        heaven, and bless me with happiness and abundance of riches.

    "May it bring forth in abundance, like the earth, happiness and every
        sort of good." (Ten Great Religions, p. 234).

10. The Assyrian Triads—Trinities: "Below Ilu, the universal and mysterious source of all, was placed a triad, composed of his three first external and visible manifestations, and occupying the summit of the hierarchy of gods in popular worship. Anu, the Oannes of the Greek writers, was the lord of darkness; Bel, the demiurgus, the organizer of the world; Ao, called also Bin, that is, the divine 'Son' par excellence, the divine light, the intelligence penetrating, directing and vivifying the universe. These three divine persons esteemed as equal in power and consubstantial, were not held as of the same degree of emanation, but were regarded as having on the contrary, issued the one from the other—Ao from Oannes, and Bel from Ao. Oannes, the "Lord of the Lower World, the Lord of Darkness," was represented on the monuments under the strange figure of a man with an eagle's tail, and for his head dress an enormous fish, whose open mouth rises over his head, while the body covers his shoulders. It is under this form that, Berosus tells us, according to Babylonian tradition, he floated on the surface of the waters of Chaos. Bel, the 'Father of the Gods,' was usually represented under an entirely human form, attired as a king, wearing a tiara with bull's horns, the symbol of power. But this god took many other secondary forms, the most important being Bel-Dagon, a human bust springing from the body of a fish. We do not know exactly the typical figure of Ao or Bin, 'the intelligent guide, the Lord of the visible world, the Lord of Knowledge, of Glory and Light.' The serpent seems to have been his principal symbol; though some other sculptured figures seem to be intended to represent Bin.

"A second triad is produced with personages no longer vague and indeterminate in character, like those of the first, but with a clearly defined sidereal aspect, each representing a known celestial body, and especially those which the Chaldeo-Assyrians saw the most striking external manifestations of the deity; these were Shamash, the sun; Sin, the moon god; and a new form of Ao or Bin, inferior to the first, and representing him as god of the atmosphere or firmament. Thus did they industriously multiply deities and representations of them." (World's Worship—Dobbins—p. 128-9).

11. Observations on This Lesson: The notes on this lesson are copious; made so because it is quite possible that the books quoted may not be within reach of many of the students, and yet, of course, they convey a very incomplete idea of the views of the Babylonian-Assyrians respecting God. It is suggested that some of the members of the class make special preparation on the subject, by a careful study of the authorities cited in the references given in the analysis of the lesson (and other authorities), and deliver a public lecture on the subject. It is really rich in points of contact with the great Latter-day work, which will suggest themselves to any well-informed Elder.


1. Shamanism: "A general name applied to the idolatrous religions of a number of barbarous nations. * * These nations generally believe in a supreme being, but to this they add the belief that the government of the world is in the hands of a number of secondary gods, both benevolent and malevolent toward man, and that it is absolutely necessary to propitiate them by magic rites and spells. The general belief respecting another life appears to be that the condition of man will be poorer and more wretched than the present, hence death is regarded with great dread." (Century Dictionary.)


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




V. Belief of the Egyptians:

1. Origin of the Egyptians.

2.Egyptians a Deeply Religious People.

3. Esoteric and Exoteric Religion in Egypt.

4. Significance of Animal Worship by Egyptians.

Book of Abraham (P.G.P.), Ch. i, 16-31. Hist. of Ancient Egypt (Rawlinson 1882), Ch. iii. Book of Abraham, A Divine and Ancient Record (Reynolds), Ch. iv. Notes 1, 2.

Hist. Ancient Egypt (Rawlinson), Ch. x. Burder's "Hist. of All Religions," Part vi, pp. 505 et seq. "Story of the World's Worship" (Dobbins), Ch. v. Notes 3, 4, 5.

SPECIAL TEXT: "And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord and shall perform it." Isaiah xix:21.


1. Origin of the Egyptians: Speaking of the king of Egypt, who was reigning at the time the Lord called Abraham to be His witness among men, the patriarch said: "Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth. From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land. The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden. When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land. Now, the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal." (Book of Abraham—P. G. P.—Ch. 1; verses 21-26).

2. Confirmation of Statements From Book of Abraham on Origin of Egyptians: The student will find the origin of the Egyptians, according to standard secular histories upon the subject—Bunsen, Rawlinson, Wilkinson, and the Encyclopaedia Articles—wrapped in mystery. These facts, however, may be gathered from the authorities referred to above, that tend to confirm the important information given in the Book of Abraham quoted in note 1, with reference to the Egyptians: "Although located in Africa [they] were not an African people (i. e., not an indigenous race). * * * * The Egyptian language, while of a peculiar type, has analogies which connect it both with the Semitic and with the Indo-European forms of speech, more especially with the former. We must regard the Egyptians, therefore, as an Asiatic people, immigrants into their own territory, which they entered from the East." (History of Ancient Egypt—Rawlinson—Vol. I, Ch. III). The theory that the Egyptians immigrated from the South—Ethiopia—down the Nile, is discussed by these writers, but usually discredited. Josephus, when speaking of one of the ancient Egyptian kings Sethosis, says, upon the authority of Manetho, that "Sethosis was called 'Egyptus,' and that the country also was called from his name, 'Egypt'" (Against Apion, Book I:15). Which circumstance, doubtless, is but a confusion of the more ancient facts related in the Book of Abraham with reference to "Egyptus," wife of Ham, son of Noah, whose descendants inhabited Egypt. Her name, "Egyptus," signifying "that which is forbidden," proclaims her race, a descendant of Cain, the murderer, with whose seed the descendants of Adam, through Seth—to whom pertained the covenants and promises of the priesthood,—were forbidden to inter-marry. But Ham, it appears, violated that injunction, and married into Cain's race. His wife's name was 'Egyptus,' signifying "forbidden"; and their daughter, who discovered the valley of the Nile and settled her sons in it, was also called "Egyptus" (Cf. v. 23 and 25, Ch. i. Book of Abraham), and her name, following or, perhaps, one had better say, originating the custom of ancient nations in naming lands and cities after the persons discovering them, or founding them, or who were prominently connected with their history, (see New Witness for God, Vol. III, pp. 139-42),—her name was given to the land she discovered and settled.

3. Ancient Egyptians Essentially A Religious People: The "Egyptians," said Herodotus, writing in the middle of the fifth century before our Era—"The Egyptians are religious to excess, far beyond any other race of men." "Religion permeated the whole being of the people," writes Rawlinson; and then quoting Lenormant, says: "Writing was so full of sacred symbols and of allusions to mythology, that it was scarcely possible to employ it on any subject which lay outside the religion." Then again: "To understand the Egyptians, it is thus absolutely necessary to have something like a clear idea of their religion. The subject is, no doubt, one of great complexity and considerable obscurity; the views of the best authorities with respect to it still differ to no small extent; but a certain number of characteristic features, belonging to the inner life, seem to have obtained general recognition while there is a still more complete agreement as to the outward presentation of the religion in the habits and actions of the people." (Rawlinson's History of Ancient Egypt, Vol. I, pp. 322-3).

4. Dual Nature of the Egyptian Religion: "It appears to be certain that the Egyptian religion, like most other religions in the ancient world, had two phases or aspects: One, that in which it was presented to the general public or vast mass of the population. The other, that which it bore in the minds of the intelligent, the learned, the initiated. To the former, it was a polytheism of a multitudinous, and, in many respects, of a gross character. To the latter it was a system combining strict monotheism with a metaphysical, speculative philosophy on the two great subjects of the nature of God and the destiny of man, which sought to exhaust those deep and unfathomable mysteries. Those who take the lowest views of the Egyptian religion, admit that 'the idea of a single, self-existent deity,' was involved in the conceptions which it set forth, and is to be found not unfrequently in the hymns and prayers of the ritual. It is impossible that this should have been so, unless there were a class of persons who saw behind the popular mythology, understood its symbolical or metaphysical character, and were able in this way to reconcile their conformity to the established worship with the great truths of natural religion which, it is clear, they knew, and which they must have cherished in their heart of hearts."

5. Esoteric Doctrine of the Egyptians: "The primary doctrine of the esoteric religion undoubtedly was the real essential Unity of the Divine Nature. The sacred texts taught that there was a single Being, 'The sole producer of all things both in heaven and earth, Himself not produced of any'—'the only true, living God, self-originated'—'who exists from the beginning'—'who has made all things, but has not Himself been made.' This 'Being' seems never to have been represented by any material, even symbolical, form. It is thought that He had no name, or, if He had, that it must have been unlawful either to pronounce or write it. He was a pure Spirit, perfect in every respect—all-wise, almighty, supremely good.

6. The Gods of the Egyptian Popular Mythology: "The gods of the popular mythology were understood, in the esoteric religion, to be either personified attributes of the Deity, or parts of the nature which He had created, considered as informed and inspired by Him Num, or Kneph, represented the creative mind, Phthah the creative hand, or act of creating; Maut represented matter, Ra the sun, Khons the moon, Seb the earth, Khem the generative power in nature, Nut the upper hemisphere of heaven, Athor the lower world or under hemisphere; Thoth personified the Divine wisdom; Ammon, perhaps, the Divine mysteriousness or incomprehensibility; Osiris (according to some) the Divine goodness. It is difficult, in many cases, to fix on the exact quality, act, or part of nature intended; but the principle admits of no doubt. No educated Egyptian priest certainly probably no educated layman, conceived of the popular gods as really separate and distinct beings. All knew that there was but one God, and understood that when worship was offered to Khem, or Kneph, or Phthah, or Maut, or Thoth, or Ammon, the one God was worshipped under some one of His forms or in some one of His aspects. It does not appear that in more than a very few cases did the Egyptian religion, as conceived of by the initiated, deify created beings, or constitute a class of secondary gods who owed their existence to the supreme God. Ra was not a Sun-Deity with a distinct and separate existence, but the supreme God acting in the sun, making His light to shine on the earth, warming, cheering, and blessing it; and so Ra might be worshipped with all the highest titles of honor, as indeed might any god, except the very few which are more properly called genii, and which corresponded to the angels of the Christian system. Such is Anubis, the conductor of souls in the lower world, and such probably are the four "genii of the dead," Amset, Tuamutef, Hapi (Apis), and Kebhsnauf, who performed so conspicuous a part in the ceremonial of Amenti." (For Notes 4 to 6 inclusive, see Rawlinson's History of Ancient Egypt, Vol. I, pp. 323-326).

7. Significance of Animal Worship By Egyptians: "To exhibit in some symbol their ideas of their gods, was the very essence of Egyptian religion. This brought about the grossest of superstitious worship. To set forth in symbol the attributes, qualities and nature of their gods, the priests chose to use animals. The bull, cow, ram, cat, ape, crocodile, hippopotamus, hawk, ibis, scarabaeus, were all emblems of the gods. Often the head of one of these animals was joined to the body of a man in the sculpture. But let it be remembered, that the Egyptians never worshipped images or idols. They worshipped living representations of the gods, and not lifeless images of stone or metal. Their sculptures were never made for worship. They chose animals which corresponded as nearly as possible to their ideas of the gods. Each of these sacred creatures was carefully tended, fed, washed, dressed, nursed when sick, and petted during its whole life. After death, its body was embalmed. Certain cities were set apart for certain animals, and apartments of the temples were consecrated to their use. Priests were appointed to attend them. Not every animal of every kind was worshipped, only a few of each sacred kind were considered as sacred. A few of the whole number were supported at the expense of the state, and were attended by great personages. Certain animals were worshipped in parts of Egypt and detested in other parts. Thus the hippopotamus was worshipped in Papaemis alone; while the Thebans worshipped the crocodile; in other places they were hunted to death.

"Popularly, these animals were regarded as gods, and were really worshipped. By the Priests they were regarded simply as the representatives of the gods. If a man killed certain of the sacred animals, by the laws of Egypt he must die; if, however, in regard to some of them the killing was accidental, then he might escape by paying a heavy fine. (Dobbins" "World's Worship," pp. 101-2.)

"The ancient Egyptians had a tradition, that, at a certain period, men rebelled against the gods, and drove them out of heaven.[1] Upon this disaster taking place, the gods fled into Egypt, where they concealed themselves under the form of different animals; and this was the first reason assigned for the worship of these creatures. But there was another reason assigned for the worship of these animals, namely, the benefits which men often received from them, particularly in Egypt.

"Oxen, by their labor, helped to cultivate the ground; sheep clothed them with their wool; dogs, among many other services, prevented their houses from being robbed; the ibis, a bird somewhat resembling a stork, was of great service in destroying the winged serpents with which Egypt abounded; the crocodile, an amphibious creature, was worshipped because it prevented the wild Arabs from making incursions; the ichneumon, a little animal, was of great service to them in different ways; he watches the crocodile's absence and breaks his eggs, and when he lies down to sleep on the banks of the Nile, which he always does with his mouth open, this little creature jumps out of the mud, and leaping down his throat, forces his way down to his entrails, which he gnaws, then he pierces his belly, and thus triumphs over this most dreadful animal."—(Burder's "History of All Religion," pp. 507-8.)

8. Disparagement Between Moral Code and Egyptian Practice: "In morals, the Egyptians combined an extraordinary degree of theoretic perfection with an exceedingly lax and imperfect practice. It has been said that the forty-two laws of the Egyptian religion, contained in the 125th chapter of the 'Book of the Dead,' fall short in nothing of the teachings of Christianity, and conjectured that Moses, in compiling his code of laws, did but 'translate into Hebrew the religious precepts which he found in the sacred books' of the people among whom he had been brought up. Such expressions are no doubt exaggerated; but they convey what must be allowed to be a fact, viz., that there is a very close agreement between the moral law of the Egyptians and the precepts of the Decalogue." (Rawlinson's History of Ancient Egypt, Vol. I, p. 108).

This high praise for the moral law of the Egyptian religion is borne out by answers that the spirit of man must make before Osiris in the judgment hall, where the decisive sentence is pronounced, either admitting the candidate to happiness, or excluding him forever.

"The deceased is obliged to give proof of his knowledge; he must show that it is great enough to give him the right to be admitted to share the lot of glorified spirits Each of the forty-two judges, bearing a mystical name, questions him in turn; he is obliged to tell each one his name, and what it means. Nor is this all; he is obliged to give an account of his whole life."

"I have not blasphemed," says the deceased; "I have not stolen; I have not smitten men privily; I have not treated any person with cruelty; I have not stirred up trouble; I have not been idle; I have not been intoxicated; I have not made unjust commandments; I have shown no improper curiosity; I have not allowed my mouth to tell secrets; I have not wounded anyone; I have not let envy gnaw my heart; I have spoken evil neither of the king nor my father; I have not falsely accused anyone; I have not withheld milk from the mouths of sucklings; I have not practiced any shameful crime; I have not calumniated a slave to his master."

"The deceased does not confine himself to [merely] denying any ill conduct; he speaks of the good he has done in his lifetime: 'I have made to the gods the offerings that were their due; I have given food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, and clothes to the naked.' We may well, on reading these passages, be astounded at this high morality, superior to that of all other ancient people, that the Egyptians had been able to build up on such a foundation as their religion. Without doubt it was this clear insight into truth, this tenderness of conscience, which obtained for the Egyptians the reputation for wisdom, echoed even by Holy Scripture." (Dobbin's World's Worship, pp. 110, 111).

Yet notwithstanding this profound knowledge of high moral truth, "the practice of the people," remarks Rawlinson, "was rather below, than above the common level. The Egyptian women were notoriously of loose character; and, whether as we meet with them in history, or as they are depicted in Egyptian romance, appear as immodest and licentious. The men practiced impurity openly, and boasted of it in their writings; they were industrious, cheerful, nay, even gay, under hardships, and not wanting in family affection; but they were cruel, vindictive, treacherous, avaricious, prone to superstition, and profoundly servile." (Rawlinson's History of Ancient Egypt, Vol. 1, p. 109).

Is not the fact of this disparagement between the moral code and Egyptian practice, explained by the Book of Abraham, in its account of the origin of the Egyptian religion?

"Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal. Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom, and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood." (Book of Abraham, Ch. i; 25-6).

The moral law of the Egyptian religion, then, was doubtless copied from the true religion of the Antediluvian patriarchs by this wise and righteous Pharaoh; but being left in the hands of a people who soon fell away from righteous principles to the practice of gross sensualism, the divergence between moral theory and moral practice soon set in and drifted ever wider and wider apart, until we have the result observed and commented upon by the authorities above quoted.

9. Observations on this Lesson: Read Note II, Lesson XII, and accept explanation there made as to copious notes for this lesson. Also adopt suggestion as to larger treatment of this lesson.


1. This is, doubtless, the "War in heaven" of the Hebrew Scriptures, with the results reversed.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




VI. Beliefs of the Phoenicians and Their Colonies.

1. The Phoenicians.

2. Their Principal Deities.

Myers "General History." Ch. vii. "Mythologies of All Nations" (Crabb), Chs. lv and lvi. "The Story of the World's Worship" (Dobbins), p. 142 et seq.

Myers' "General History," Ch. viii. Book of Daniel, the Prophet. Burder's "History of All Religions," p. 519 et seq.

Ten Great Religions (Clarke), Ch. 1, and the

VII. Persian Ideas of God, and Worship.

1. The Persians.

2. Persian Religion and Worship.

SPECIAL TEXT: "Thus saith the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus: * * * * I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside Me; I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me." (Isaiah xlv:1, 2, 3.)


1. The Phoenicians: "Ancient Phoenicia embraced a little strip of broken seacoast lying between the Mediterranean Sea and the ranges of Mount Lebanon. * * * The Phoenicians were of Semitic race. Their ancestors lived in the neighborhood of the Persian Gulf. From their seats in that region they migrated westward, like the ancestors of the Hebrews, and reached the Mediterranean before the light of history had fallen upon its shores. The various Phoenician cities never coalesced to form a true nation. They constituted merely a sort of league or confederacy, the petty states of which generally acknowledged the leadership of Tyre or of Sidon, the two chief cities. The place of supremacy in the confederation was at first held by Sidon, but later by Tyre.

"The greatest of the Phoenician colonies was Carthage, on the northern coast of Africa, founded by Dido, a Tyrian princess, 878 B. C. For awhile, Carthage contested the mastery of the world with Rome." (Myers' General History, p. 54.)

2. The Gods of the Phoenicians: "The Phoenicians had somewhat the same religious notions as the Babylonians, and worshipped some of the same gods, Baal for instance" (Crabb Ch. lv.). "Baal was the supreme male divinity of the Phoenician and Canaanitish nations. Ashtoreth was their female divinity. The name Baal means lord. He was the sun-god. The name is generally used in connection with other names as Baal-Gad, that is Baal the Fortune-bringer; Baal-Berith or Covenant-making Baal; Baal-Zebub, the Fly-god. The people of Israel worshipped Baal up to the time of Samuel, at whose rebuke they forsook this iniquity for nearly a hundred years. The practice was introduced again in the time of Solomon, and continued to the days of the captivity." (Dobbin's World's Worship, p. 142).

It was with the priests of Baal, on Mount Carmal, that Elijah had his great contest, in which Jehovah was vindicated as God. (See I Kings, xviii.)

3. The Worship of Moloch: Saturn was most honored by the Carthaginians a colony of the Phoenicians, be it remembered; and Saturn was the Moloch of the Jewish scripture.

"This idol was the deity to whom they offered up human sacrifices, and to this we owe the fable of Saturn's having devoured his own children. Princes and great men, under particular calamities, used to offer up their most beloved children to this idol. Private persons imitated the conduct of their princes, and thus, in time, the practice became general; nay, to such a height did they carry their infatuation, that those who had no children of their own purchased those of the poor, that they might not be deprived of the benefits of such a sacrifice, which was to procure them the completion of their wishes. This horrid custom prevailed long among the Phoenicians, the Tyrians, and the Carthaginians; and from them the Israelites borrowed it, although expressly contrary to the order of God.

"The original practice was to burn these innocent children in a fiery furnace, like those in the valley of Hinnom, so often mentioned in Scripture; and sometimes they put them into a hollow brass statue of Saturn, flaming hot. To drown the cries of the unhappy victims, musicians were ordered to play on different instruments—and mothers—shocking thought!—made it a sort of merit to divest themselves of natural affections while they beheld the barbarous spectacle. If it happened that a tear dropped from the eyes of a mother, then the sacrifice was considered as of no effect; and the parent who had that remaining spark of tenderness was considered as an enemy to the public religion. In later times they contented themselves with making their children walk between two slow fires to the statue of the idol; but this was only a more slow and excruciating torture, for the innocent victims always perished. This is what, in Scripture, is called the making their sons and daughters pass through the fire to Moloch; and barbarous as it was, yet those very Israelites in whose favor God had wrought so many wonders, demeaned themselves so low as to comply with it." (II Kings, xvi and xxi.) (Burder's History of All Religions, pp. 510, 511).

4. The Persians: "In remote times some Aryan tribes, separating from the other members of the Aryan family, sought new abodes on the plateau of Iran (East of the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, and between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf). The tribes that settled in the south became known as the Persians, while those that took possession of the mountain regions of the northwest were called Medes. The names of the two peoples were always very closely associated, as in the familiar legend, 'The law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.' The Medes were at first the leading people. But the leadership of the Median chieftains was of short duration. A certain Cyrus, king of Anshan, in Elam, overthrew their power, assumed the leadership of both Medes and Persians, and soon built up an empire more extended, so far as we know, than any established before his time." (Myers' General History p. 59).

5. Persian Literature: "The literature of the ancient Persians was mostly religious. Their sacred book is called the Zend-Avesta. The religious system it teaches is known as Zoroastrianism, from Zoroaster, its supposed founder. This great reformer and teacher is believed to have lived and taught about six centuries before our era.

"Zoroastrianism was a system of belief known as dualism. Opposed to the "good spirit," Ormazd (Ahura Mazda), there was a "dark spirit," Ahriman (Angro-Mainyus), who was constantly striving to destroy the good creations of Ormazd by creating all evil things;—storm, drought, pestilence, noxious animals, weeds and thorns in the world without, and evil in the heart of man within. From all eternity these two powers had been contending for the mastery; in the present, neither had the decided advantage, but in the near future Ormazd would triumph over Ahriman, and evil be forever destroyed.

"The duty of man was to aid Ormazd by working with him against the evil-loving Ahriman. He must labor to eradicate every evil and vice in his own bosom, to reclaim the earth from barrenness, and to kill all noxious animals—frogs, toads, snakes, lizards—which Ahriman had created. Herodotus saw with amazement the priests armed with weapons and engaged in slaying these animals as a pious pastime." (Myers' General History, p. 63).

6. The Religion of the Persians: "The religion of the Medes and Persians was of great antiquity, and probably taught by one of the grandsons of Noah, who planted colonies in those parts, soon after the confusion of languages. Noah had taught his children the knowledge of the true God; and that they were to trust in His mercy, through the mediation of a Redeemer. In Persia, the first idolaters were called Sabians, who adored the rising sun with the profoundest veneration. To that planet they consecrated a most magnificent chariot, to be drawn by horses of the greatest beauty and magnitude, on every solemn festival. The same ceremony was practiced by many other heathens, who undoubtedly learned it from the Persian and other Eastern nations.

"In consequence of the veneration they paid to the sun, they worshipped the fire, and invoked it in all their sacrifices, in their marches they carried it before their kings, and none but the priests were permitted to touch it, because they made the people believe that it came down from heaven. But their adoration was not confined to the sun; they worshipped the water, the earth, and the winds, as so many deities. Human sacrifices were offered by them; and they burnt their children in fiery furnaces, appropriated to their idols. These Medes and Persians at first worshipped two gods, namely, Arimanius, the god of evil, and Oromasdes, the giver of all good. By some it was believed that the good god was from eternity, and the evil one created; but they all agreed that they would continue to the end of time, and that the good god would overcome the evil one. They considered darkness as the symbol of the evil god, and light as the image of the good one. They held Arimanius, the evil god, in such detestation that they always wrote his name backward. Some ancient writers have given us a very odd account of the origin of this god Arimanius, which may serve to point out their ignorance of divine things. Oromasdes, say they, considering that he was alone, said to himself, 'It I have no one to oppose me, where, then, is all my glory?' This single reflection of his created Arimanius, who, by his everlasting opposition to the divine will, contributed against inclination to the glory of Oromasdes." (Burder's History of All Religions, pp. 520, 521).

7. Persian Worship: "The great monarchy of Persia, founded by Cyrus 100 years before, is now at this period (430 years before Christ), already tending toward its decline. A hundred years later, it is to fall before the triumphant march of Alexander and his Macedonians. But now it still retains the ancient faith of Zoroaster, though modified by the developments of a thousand years. Herodotus describes it as it existed at the period of which we speak. In his insatiate desire for knowledge, he had gathered up all that he could learn of Persia, and says: 'It is not customary for the Persians to have idols, temples, or altars. They offer sacrifices on the summits of mountains, not erecting altars or kindling fires, but they carry the animal to a pure spot, and there the sacrificer prays for the prosperity of the empire, the king, and all others.' * * * * * 'The Persians believe fire to be a god.'

"Herodotus we find to be correct. Here are no temples, no altars, no idol worship of any kind. The Supreme Being is worshipped by one symbol—fire, which is pure and purifies all things. The prayers are for purity, the libation the juice of a plant. Ormazd has created everything good, and all his creatures are pure. Listen to the priest chanting the litany, thus: 'I invoke and celebrate Ahura Mazda, brilliant, greatest, best. All perfect, all-powerful, all-wise, all-beautiful, only source of knowledge and happiness; he has created us, he has formed us, he sustains us.' 'He belongs to those who think good; to those who think evil he does not belong.' He belongs to those who speak good; to those who speak evil he does not belong. He belongs to those who do good; to those who do evil he does not belong.' This is the religion of the great race who founded the Persian Empire.

"To these worshippers life did not seem to be a gay festival, as to the Greeks, nor a single step on the long pathway of the soul's transmigration, as to the Egyptians; but a field of battle between mighty powers of good and evil, where Ormazd and Ahriman meet in daily conflict, and where the servant of God is to maintain a perpetual battle against the powers of darkness, by cherishing good thoughts, good words, and good actions." (Ten Great Religions—Clarke—pp. 11, 12)

8. Changes in the Persian Religion: "The religion of the Persians underwent a variety of very remarkable revolutions; for the Sabians, having fallen into disgrace, they were succeeded by another sect, called the Magi; who, on account of their pretensions to superior knowledge and sanctity, became extremely popular among the vulgar. Nay, such was the respect paid to them, that no king could take possession of the throne till he had been first instructed in their principles; nor could they determine any affair of importance till it had received their approbation. They were at the head both of religion and philosophy; and the education of all the youth in the kingdom was committed to their care.

"It is the general opinion, that the founder of the Magian religion was one Zoroaster, who lived about the year of the world 2,900; and it continued to be the established religion of the country for many years after. The priests kept up continual fires in their temples; and standing before these fires with mitres on their heads, they daily repeated a great number of prayers. The name of their chief temple was Amanus, or Namanus, which signifies the sun; and is the same with what we find under the name of Baal in Scripture. Their great reputation induced people to visit them from all parts of the known world, to be instructed by them in the principles of philosophy and mythology; and we are assured that the great Pythagoras studied many years under them." (Burder's History of All Religions, p. 521).


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)





1. The Adoption of Previous Suggestions: The previous suggestions and explanations in these special lessons (Lessons V and X), may be adopted here both by the Teachers and those to whom this lesson shall be assigned.

2. The Jaredite Empire: This nation was contemporary with those nations whose religions and gods we have been studying thus far. Indeed, it had its origin about the same time that Babylon, Assyria and Egypt had; as well as to run its course with them. It will be of undoubted interest to the students to bring together in the form of a lecture so much as may be learned of the religion and worship of this Western-world-contemporary of Babylon, Assyria and Egypt.

3. Sources of Information: The chief source of information for the proposed lecture will be Moroni's Abridgment of the writings of Ether in the Book of Mormon, and those casual references made to the Jaredite people in other parts of the Book of Mormon, all of which should be carefully sought out, as they throw important light upon the character of this ancient people and Empire of the Western world. Also the student will find help by consulting Roberts' New Witnesses for God, Vol. II, Ch. x; also Chs. from xxiv. to xxix; and Vol. III, Ch. xxxi. Reynolds' Dictionary of the Book of Mormon, Art. "Jaredite," "Jared," "Jared, Brother of," etc.

4. Suggestions to Speakers: We renew our topic, "Suggestions to Speakers," last dealt with in Lesson X. We are still dealing with the "First Moments of Speech," and again quote Mr. Pittenger:

First Moments of Speech: "There is a strange sensation often experienced in the presence of an audience. It may proceed from the gaze of the many eyes that turn upon the speaker, especially if he permits himself to steadily return that gaze. Most speakers have been conscious of this in a nameless thrill, a real something, pervading the atmosphere, tangible, evanescent, indescribable. All writers have borne testimony to the power of a speaker's eye in impressing an audience. This influence, which we are now considering, is the reverse of that picture—the power their eyes may exert upon him, especially before he begins to speak; after the inward fires of oratory are fanned into flame the eyes of the audience lose all terror. By dwelling on the object for which we speak, and endeavoring to realize its full importance, we will in a measure lose sight of our personal danger, and be more likely to maintain a calm and tranquil frame of mind.

"No change should be made in the plan [of the speech] at the last moment, as that is very liable to produce confusion.[1] This error is often committed. The mind has a natural tendency to go repeatedly over the same ground, revising and testing every point, and it may make changes, the consequences of which cannot be in a moment foreseen. But the necessary preparation has been made, and we should now await the result calmly and hopefully. Over-study is quite possible, and when accompanied by great solicitude, wearies our mind in advance, and strips the subject of all freshness. If the eye is fixed too long upon one object with a steadfast gaze, it loses the power to see at all. So the mind, if exerted steadily upon a single topic for a long period, fails in vigor and elasticity at the moment when those qualities are indispensable. That profound thinker and preacher, Frederick W. Robertson, experienced this difficulty, and was accustomed to find relief by reading some inspiring paragraphs upon some totally different theme from that he intended to speak about. The energy and enthusiasm of our minds in the moment of speech must be raised to the highest pitch; the delivery of a living discourse is not the dry enumeration of a list of particulars; but we must actually feel an immediate and burning interest in the topics with which we deal. This cannot be counterfeited.

"To clearly arrange all thoughts that belong to the subject, lay them aside when the work is done until the moment of speech, and then enter confidently upon them with only such a momentary glance as will assure us that all is right—this is the method to make our strength fully available. This confidence, while in waiting, seems to the beginner very difficult, but experience rapidly renders it easy. M. Bautain declares that he has been repeatedly so confident in his preparation as to fall asleep while waiting to be summoned to the pulpit!

"Those who mis-improve the last moments by too much thought and solicitude, are not the only class of offenders. Some persons, through mere indolence, suffer the fine lines of preparation which have been traced with so much care to fade into dimness. This error is not infrequently committed by those who speak a second or third time on the same subject. Because they have once succeeded, they imagine that the same success is always at command. No mistake could be greater. It is not enough to have speech-material in a position from which it can be collected by a conscious and prolonged effort, but it must be in the fore-ground of the mind. There is no time at the moment of delivery of reviving half obliterated lines of memory.

"The writer once saw a notable case of failure from this cause. A preacher, on a great occasion, was much engrossed with other important duties until the hour appointed for his sermon had arrived. With perfect confidence he selected a sketch from which he had preached a short time before, and with the general course of which he was no doubt familiar. But when he endeavored to produce his thoughts, they were not ready. He became embarrassed, talked at random for a short time, and then had the candor to tell the audience that he could not finish, and to take his seat. Probably half an hour given to reviewing his plan, would have made all his previous preparation fresh again, and have spared him the mortification of failure.

"In this last interval it is also well to care for the strength and vigor of the body, as its condition greatly influences all mental operations. It is said that the pearl-diver, before venturing into the depths of the sea, always spends a few moments in deep breathing and other bodily preparations. In the excitement of speech, the whirl and hurricane of emotion, it is advisable to be well prepared for the high tension of nerve that is implied. Mental excitement exhausts and wears down the body faster than bodily labor. We must carefully husband our strength that we may be able to meet all demands upon it. * * * * * * * * * * * Having now done all we can in advance, nothing remains but to rise and speak. Preparation and precaution are passed. Actual work—the most joyous, thrilling, and spiritual of all human tasks—is now to be entered upon." (Extempore Speech, pp. 190-195).

5. Another Word on Strength: The definition of "Strength" as a property of good style in speaking or writing, was given in Lesson X (Note 3), and the first requisite to its attainment was considered. We now consider the second, which is taken from Lockwood's Lessons in English:

6. Words of Connection: "The strength of a sentence is increased by careful use of the words of connection.

"(a) Avoid 'stringing' clauses together loosely with and as a connective.

"(Example:) They were soon at home and surrounded by the family, and plied with questions as to what they had seen and what they had heard, and soon the neighbors came in and then the whole story had to be told again.'

"In this sentence, there is lack of unity as well as lack of strength. In a sentence containing a series of words or expressions in the same construction, insert conjunctions between each two words or expressions if the intention is to make the mind dwell upon each particular.

"(Example:) 'And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell; and great was the fall of it.'

"But when the author's object is to give a many-sided view of a subject, or to convey the idea of rapid movement, the conjunction should be omitted.

"(Example:) 'Charity beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.'

    'One effort, one, to break the circling host;
    They form, unite, charge, waver,—all is lost!'

"(b) Do not weaken the sentence by the omission of the relative pronoun. Such omissions are allowable in familiar conversation, but rarely in careful writing or speaking.

"(Example:) 'The idea (which) he is working on is fraught with great possibilities.'

"(c) Do not have two prepositions govern the same noun. This awkward construction is called 'splitting particles.'

"(Example:) 'He ran by but did not look into the windows.' (Better) He ran by the windows, but did not look into them. (Lessons in English—Lockwood—pp. 200, 201).

"This fault occurs in the following sentence: 'Though virtue borrows no assistance from, yet it may often be accompanied by, the advantages of fortune.' No one can read these lines without perceiving their decided lack of strength and harmony. A slight change will greatly improve their effect: 'Though virtue borrows no assistance from the advantages of fortune, yet it may often be accompanied by them.'

"Avoid, on ordinary occasions, the common expletive 'there,' as used in the following sentence: 'There is nothing which disgusts us sooner than the empty pomp of language.' The sentiment is expressed more simply and strongly thus: 'Nothing disgusts us sooner than the empty pomp of language.' This expletive form is proper only when used to introduce an important proposition." (Quackenbos Rhetoric, p. 295).


1. This should be understood, so far as the Elders of the Church are concerned to refer only to ordinary cases of delivering announced lectures or discourses. But in the course of an Elder's ministry, when preaching the Gospel, he should respond to the promptings of the Spirit in his ministry, even to violating the rule here laid down by Mr. Pittenger.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




VIII. Beliefs of the Greeks and of the Romans.

1. The Origin of the Greeks and Romans.

2. Mythology of the Greeks and Romans.

3. Classification of the Greek and Roman Deities.

Myers' "General History," Chs. x, xii, xxiv-xxvi.

Burder's "Hist. of All Religions," p. 527 et seq. "Myths and Myth-Makers" (John Fiske); "Mythology of All Nations," Ch. i, et seq. "The World's Worship" (Dobbins), Chs. viii and ix. The notes of this lesson.

SPECIAL TEXT: "Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, 'To the Unknown God'; whom ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you." (Acts xvii:22, 23.)


1. The Greeks: "The ancient people whom we call Greeks, called themselves Hellenes and their land Hellas. But this term 'Hellas' as used by the ancient Greeks embraced much more than modern Greece. 'Wherever were Hellenes there was Hellas.' Thus the name included not only Greece proper and the islands of the adjoining seas, but also the Hellenic cities in Asia Minor, in Southern Italy, and in Sicily, besides many other Greek settlements scattered up and down the Mediterranean and along the shores of the Hellespont and the Euxine. Yet Greece proper was the real home-land of the Hellenes, and the actual center of Greek life and culture. (Myers' General History, p. 71).

"The historic inhabitants of Greece were called by the Romans Greeks; but * * * * * * they called themselves Hellenes, from their fabled ancestor Hellen (King in Phthia in Thessaly). They were divided into four families or tribes—the Achaeans, the Ionians, the Dorians, and the Aeolians. The primitive inhabitants of Greece are supposed to have been the descendants of Javan, the son of Japhet (son of Noah), and hence Greece was called by the Hebrews, 'Javan.'" (Anderson's General History, p. 34.)

2. The Romans: "There were in early times three chief races in Italy—the Italians, the Etruscans, and the Greeks. The Italians, a branch of the Aryan family, embraced many tribes (Latin, Umbrians, Sabines, Samnites, etc.), that occupied nearly all Central, and a considerable part of Southern Italy. Their life was for the most part that of shepherds and farmers.

"The Etruscans, a wealthy, cultured, and seafaring people of uncertain race and origin, dwelt in Etruria, now called Tuscany after them. Before the rise of the Roman people they were the leading race in the peninsula. Certain elements in their culture lead us to believe that they had learned much from the cities of Magna Graecia. The Etruscans in their turn became the teachers of the early Romans, and imparted to them at least some minor elements of civilization, including hints in the art of building, and various religious ideas and rites. Through the medium of these cultured communities, the Romans were taught the use of letters, and given valuable suggestions in matters of law and constitutional government. Most important of all, the Italian peoples were the Latins, who dwelt in Latium, between the Tiber and the Liris. These people, like all the Italians, were near kindred of the Greeks, and brought with them into Italy those customs, manners, beliefs and institutions which seem to have been the early common possession of the various Aryan-speaking peoples." (Myers' General History, pp. 196-7).

3. Greek and Roman Mythology: "The term mythology comes from mythos, a fable, and logos, a discourse, signifies a fabulous account of things, particularly of such things as regard false gods and their idolatrous worship." (Crabb Mythology of all Nations, Introduction).

"The mythology of the Greeks was, as to the most important particulars, confessedly borrowed from the Egyptians. Their philosophers, Anaxagoras, Phythagoras, Thales, and others, traveled into Egypt, where they gathered all the notions there current concerning the gods, the transmigration of souls, a future state, and other points, which they modeled into a system that was afterwards enlarged and adorned by all the charms and embellishments that poetry and art could furnish."

Thomas Dew, also, in his "Digest of Laws, Customs, Manners and Institutions of Ancient and Modern Nations," says, on the origin of the Greek religion,—"Supposed to have been derived in great measure from the religion of the Egyptians. * * * Still, large portion was of Grecian origin, and that even though taken from Egypt, became Grecian in character." (p. 54.) Burder in his History of All Religions, says (p. 527): "The Greeks are supposed to have derived many of their deities from the Egyptians as well as no small number of their religious ceremonies. The Egyptians, no doubt, at an earlier period, believed in one Deity as supreme, and the Maker and Ruler of all things; but after that they worshipped the sun, moon, and stars, under various forms, as well as living creatures and lifeless things."

4. Religion of Greeks and Romans Identical in Essentials: "The basis of the Roman religious system was the same as that of the Greek. At the head of the pantheon stood Jupiter, identical in all essential attributes with the Hellenic Zeus. He was the special protector of the Roman people. To him, together with Juno and Minerva, was consecrated a magnificent temple upon the summit of the Capitoline hill, overlooking the city.

"Mars, the god of war, was the favorite deity and the fabled father of the Roman race, who were fond of calling themselves the 'Children of Mars.' They proved themselves worthy offspring of the war-god. Martial games and festivals were celebrated in his honor during the first month of the Roman year, which bore, and still bears, in his honor, the name of March.

"Janus was a double-faced deity, to whom the month of January was sacred, as were also all gates and doors. The gates of his temple were always kept open in time of war and shut in time of peace.

"The fire upon the household hearth was regarded as the symbol of the goddess Vesta. Her worship was a favorite one with the Romans. The nation, too, as a single great family, had a common national hearth in the temple of Vesta where the sacred fires were kept burning from generation to generation by six virgins, daughters of the Roman state." (Myers' General History, pp. 203-4).

"The Greeks and Romans had many deities in common, particularly the superior gods, arising partly from adoption, on one side or the other, but more especially from the circumstance that the two countries were peopled by different branches of the same family, descended from one common ancestor, Japhet. At the same time it is evident, from the difference in the names of the Greek and Roman deities, and in their primary attributes, that they drew their mythology from different sources, which may be easily imagined, when it is considered that they were cut off from all intercourse with each other on their first settlement, and mingled with different tribes in the course of their migration. The Tuscans or Etrurians had, as is generally admitted, their mythology as well as their language, from their Pelasgian ancestors, long before the Grecians and Romans were known to each other; but in after ages, when the intercourse between these two people became intimate, the Romans, without doubt, borrowed many of the fables of the Greeks, to which their poets and historians, who are very ample in their descriptions of the gods, added much of their own invention." (Crabb's Mythology, p. 6.)

5. The Action and Reaction Involved in the Roman Conquest of Greece: The fact of there being much in common in the religion and worship of the Greeks and the Romans, while accounted for in part by a large infusion of Hellenes into the south part of Italy and the Island of Sicily—by reason of which the ruder Latin tribes of the north were brought into contact with Greek culture and civilization—still there was a larger cause for this identity of religion and worship; and that cause arises out of the reaction of Greek learning upon the Roman conquerors of Greece. The Roman conquests in Western Europe was the subjugation of peoples in a low state of civilization "and destitute of any element of strength in their social and national life;" and their conquerors treated them, for the most part, as inferiors. "But in the East the case was different. There the Romans met with a civilization more advanced than their own which they had already learned to respect, and an elaborate system of civil government and social usages, which could not be set aside without undermining the whole fabric of society. Hence the Greeks, while subjected to the Roman administration, were allowed to retain a great part of their institutions, together with their property and private rights, and, from their superiority to the other conquered peoples, remained the dominant power in the East. Even in Asia the despotism of Rome was much modified by the municipal system of the Greek colonies and by the influence of Greek culture. Thus it came to pass that, while the Western nations were assimilated to Rome, in the East the Roman empire became Greek, though the Greek nation in name became Roman. The effects of this are visible at every turn in the subsequent history, and to this cause must be referred many anomalies which are traceable at the present day in the condition of Eastern Europe." (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

6. The Classification of Greek and Roman Deities: "The Greek and Roman deities are distinguished into three classes; namely, the Superior Gods, the Inferior Gods, and the Demi-gods.

"The Superior Gods otherwise called Dii Majorum Gentium, that is, gods of the superior houses or families, answering to the patricians or nobility of Rome, were so named because they were believed to be more eminently employed in the government of the world. They were also styled the 'Select Gods,' of whom twelve were admitted into the council of Jupiter, and on that account denominated 'Consentes.'

"The images of these twelve gods were fixed in the Forum of Rome, six of them being males, and six females; their names are given in the following distich by the poet Ennius:

'Juno, Vesta, Minerva, Ceres, Diana, Mars, Mercurius, Jove, Neptunus, Volcanus, Apollo.'

"These twelve gods were supposed to preside over the twelve months; to each of them was allotted a month: January to Juno, February to Neptune, March to Minerva, April to Venus, May to Apollo, June to Mercury, July to Jupiter, August to Ceres, September to Vulcan, October to Mars, November to Diana, December to Vesta. They likewise presided over the twelve celestial signs. If to these twelve be added the eight following, namely, Janus, Saturnus, Genius, Sol, Pluto, Bacchus, Terra, and Luna, there will be twenty of the first class, or superior gods. These superior gods were likewise distinguished, from their usual place of residence, into Celestial, Terrestrial, Marine, and Infernal gods.

"The Inferior Gods comprehended what Ovid called the 'Celestial Populace,' answering to the plebeians among the Romans, who had no place in heaven, as the Penates, Lares—rural-deities, etc.

"The third class, or Demigods, was composed of such as derived their origin from a god or goddess and a mortal, or such as by their valor and exploits had raised themselves to the rank of immortals. Of this class was Hercules, Aesculapius, Castor, Pollux, Achilles, etc.

"To the list of the Roman gods, might be added a fourth class, called 'novensiles,' which the Sabines brought to Rome by the command of King Tatius. They were so named because, as some suppose, they were the last of all that were reckoned among the gods. Of this class also were the deities by whose help and means, as Cicero says, men are advanced to heaven, and obtain a place among the gods, namely, the moral virtues, as mercy, chastity, piety, etc." (Crabb's Mythology, pp. 6, 7).


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




IX. Origin of the Greek and Roman Deities.

The World's Worship, Ch. xiii. "Mythology of All Nations" (Crabb), Ch. ii. "The World's Worship" (Dobbins), Chs. viii and ix.

Burder's "History of All Religions," Part vi., pp. 527-575.

Myers' "General History," Chs. xii and xxvi, and Encyclopaedias, and Notes of this Lesson.

X. List and Character of the Chief Greek and Roman Deities.

XI. The Greek and Roman Parthenon.

XII. Greek and Roman Worship.

SPECIAL TEXT: "The Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness. But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." 1 Cor. i:22-24.


1. The Generation of the Gods: (a) The Greeks: "Chaos (void space) was first: then came into being 'broad-breasted' Earth, the gloomy Tartarus and Love. Chaos produced Erebus and Night, and this last bore to Erebus Day and Ether.

"Earth now produced Uranus (Heaven), of equal extent with herself, to envelop her, and the mountains and Pontos (Sea). She then bore to Uranus a mighty progeny—the Titans; six males and six females. She also bore Hottos, Briareus and Gyges. These children were hated by their father, who, as soon as they were born, thrust them out of sight in a cavern of mother Earth, who, grieved at his conduct, produced the substance of hoary steel, and, forming from it a sickle, roused her children, the Titans, to rebellion against him; but fear seized on them all except Kronos, who, lying in wait with the sickle with which his mother had armed him, mutilated his unsuspecting sire. The drops which fell to the earth from the wounds, gave birth to the Erinnyes, the Giants and the Mehan nymphs; and from what fell into the sea, sprang Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty.

"Earth finally, after the overthrow of the Titans, bore by Tartaros her last offspring, the hundred-headed Typhoeus, the father of storms and whirlwinds, whom Zeus precipitated into Tartarus.

"Rhea was united to Kronos. Kronos, having learned from his parents, Heaven and Earth, that he was fated to be deprived by one of his sons of the kingdom which he had taken from his father, devoured his children as fast as they were born. Rhea, when about to be delivered of Zeus, besought her parents to teach her how she might save him. Instructed by Earth, she concealed him in a cavern of Crete, and gave a stone in his stead to Kronos. This stone he afterward threw up, and with it the children whom he had devoured. When Zeus was grown up, he and the other children of Kronos made war on their father and the Titans. The scene of the conflict was Thessaly; the former fought from Olympus, the latter from Othrys. During ten entire years the conflict was undecided; at length, by the counsel of Earth, the Kronids released the Hundred-handed and called them to their aid. The war was then resumed with renewed vigor, and the Titans were finally vanquished and imprisoned in Tartarus, under the guard of the Hundred-handed. The Kronids then, by the advice of Earth, gave the supreme power to Zeus, who, in return, distributed honors and dominion among the associates of his victory." (The World's Worship—Dobbins—pp. 154-5).

(b) The Romans: "The Romans appear to have borrowed their fictions respecting the creation of the world from the same source as the Greeks. Ovid expressly calls Chaos, rudis indigestaque moles, 'a rude indigested heap'; or, as Moses says, "The earth without form and void;" after which the poet goes on in a strain very similar to what has already been set forth.

"The Etruscans, who were among the original settlers in Italy, gave, according to Suidas, the following account of the creation. 'God,' says a philosopher of that nation, 'created the universe in six thousand years, and appointed the same period of time to be the extent of its duration. In the first period of a thousand years, God created the heavens and the earth; in the second, the visible firmament; in the third, the sea and all the waters that are in the earth; in the fourth, the sun, moon, and stars; in the fifth, every living soul of birds, reptiles, and quadrupeds, which have their abode either on the land, in the air, or the water; and in the sixth, man alone.' Now, when it is considered that in another part of Scripture it is said, that 'one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,' it is easy to explain the origin of this fiction." (Crabb's Mythology, Ch. ii).

2. A Brief List of Some of the Chief Greek and Roman Deities: (a) Jupiter: "Jupiter, the father of gods and men, is said to have been born in Crete, or to have been sent there in infancy for concealment. He was the son of Saturn, the god of Time, and of Cybele, otherwise called Rhea. He was the most powerful of all the gods, and everything was subservient to his will. His father, Saturn, had received the kingdom of the world from his brother Titan, on condition of destroying all the sons who should be born to him. Saturn, therefore, devoured his children immediately after birth. This may be considered as having an allegorical meaning; namely, that time destroys all things.

(b) Apollo: "Apollo was the son of Jupiter and Latona, and brother of the goddess Diana. He was born in the island of Delos, where his mother fled to avoid the jealousy of Juno. He was the god of all the fine arts; and to him is ascribed the invention of medicine, music, poetry and eloquence. He presided over the Muses, and had the power of looking into futurity. His oracles were in general repute over the world. Apollo had various other surnames. He was called Delius, from the island where he was born; Cynthius, from a mountain in that island; Delphinius, from the city of Delphi, in Boeotia; Didymaeus, from a Greek word, signifying twins; Nomius, which means a shepherd; Paean, from his skill in shooting arrows; and Phoebus, from the swiftness of his motion."

It is generally supposed that by Apollo the sun is to be understood; for which reason he was called Sol by the Latins.

(c) Mars: "Mars was the god of war, and son of Jupiter and Juno. He was educated by the god Priapus, who instructed him in every manly exercise. His temples were not numerous in Greece, but from the warlike Romans he received unbounded honors. His priests were called Salii.

(d) Mercury: "Mercury was the son of Jupiter and of Maia, the daughter of Atlas. He was born in Arcadia, upon Mount Cyllene, and in his infancy was intrusted with the care of the seasons. He was the messenger of the gods, and more especially of Jupiter. He was the patron of travelers and shepherds. He conducted the souls of the dead into the infernal regions, and not only presided over merchants and orators, but was also the god of thieves and of all dishonest persons.

(e) Bacchus: "Bacchus was the god of wine, and the son of Jupiter and Semele. Semele was the daughter of Cadmus, celebrated as the inventor of the alphabet, and of Hermione, the daughter of Mars and Venus. She was destroyed by the jealous cruelty of Juno. It is probable that Bacchus was an ancient conqueror and lawgiver. He was born in Egypt, and educated at Nysa in Arabia. He taught the culture of the grape, the art of converting its juice into wine, and the manner of making honey. He was on that account, honored as a god by the Egyptians, under the name of Osiris.

(f) Vulcan: "Vulcan was the son of Juno; he was the god of fire, and the patron of all those artists who worked in iron or other metals. He was educated in heaven; but Jupiter being offended with him, hurled him from Olympus. He lighted on the island of Lemnos, and was a cripple ever after. He fixed his residence there, built himself a palace, and raised forges to work metals. He forged the thunderbolts of Jupiter, and the arms of the gods and demi-gods.

(g) Juno: "Juno was the queen of heaven, the sister and wife of Jupiter, and the daughter of Saturn and of Ops, otherwise called Rhea. She was born in the isle of Samos, and resided there till her marriage with Jupiter; her children were Vulcan, Mars, and Hebe. The poets represent Juno with a majesty well befitting the empress of the skies.

(h) Minerva: "Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, and is said to have sprung, completely armed and full-grown, from the brain of Jupiter. She was immediately admitted into the assembly of the gods, and became Jupiter's faithful counselor; she was the most accomplished of all the goddesses. The countenance of Minerva, as generally represented, was more expressive of masculine firmness than of grace or softness.

(i) Venus: "Venus was the goddess of beauty, the mother of love, and the queen of laughter, grace and pleasure. She is said to have risen from the froth of the sea, near the island of Cyprus. The Zephyrs wafted her to the shore, where she was received by the Seasons, the daughters of Jupiter and Themis. As she walked, flowers bloomed beneath her feet, and the rosy Hours dressed her in divine attire.

(j) Cupid: "Cupid, the son of Venus, and god of love, was represented as a beautiful boy, with wings, a bow and arrows, and generally with a bandage over his eyes. He had wings, to show his caprice and desire of change. He is described as blind, because we are apt to shut our eyes to the faults of those we love.

(k) Ceres: "Ceres was the goddess of corn and harvests, and the daughter of Saturn and Vesta. The most celebrated festivals in honor of Ceres were held at Eleusis. They were called the Eleusinian Mysteries, on account of the secrecy with which they were conducted. Those who were admitted to these solemn assemblies were called the initiated." (Burder's History of All Religions, pp. 528-533).

4. The Greek Pantheon: "At the head of the Greek pantheon there was a council of twelve members, comprising six gods and as many goddesses. The male deities were Zeus, the father of gods and men; Poseidon, ruler of the sea; Apollo, or Phoebus, the god of light, of music, and of prophecy; Ares, the god of war; Hephaestus, the deformed god of fire, and the forger of the thunderbolts of Zeus; Hermes, the wing-footed herald of the celestials, the god of invention and commerce.

"The female divinities were Hera, the proud and jealous queen of Zeus; Athena, or Pallas,—who sprang full-grown from the forehead of Zeus,—the goddess of wisdom and the patroness of the domestic arts; Artemis, the goddess of the chase; Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty born of the white sea foam; Hestia, the goddess of the hearth; Demeter the earth mother, the goddess of grains and harvests.

"These great deities were simply magnified human beings. They surpassed mortals rather in power than in size of body. Their abode was Mount Olympus and the airy regions above the earth." (Myers' General History, p. 86).

5. The Delphian Oracle: "The most precious part, perhaps, of the religious heritage of the historic Greeks, from the misty Hellenic foretime, was the oracle of Apollo at Delphi. The Greeks believed that in the early ages the gods were wont to visit the earth and mingle with men. But even in Homer's time, this familiar intercourse was a thing of the past—a tradition of a golden age that had passed away. In historic times, though the gods often revealed their will and intentions through signs and portents, still they granted a more special communication of counsel through what were known as oracles. These communications, it was believed, were made sometimes by Zeus, but more commonly by Apollo. Not everywhere, but only in chosen places, did these gods manifest their presence and communicate the divine will. These favored spots were called oracles, as were also the responses there received.

"The most renowned of the Greek oracles, as we have intimated, was that at Delphi, in Phocis. Here, from a deep fissure in the rocks, arose stupefying vapors, which were thought to be the inspiring breath of Apollo. Over this spot was erected a temple in honor of the Revealer. The communication was generally received by the Pythia, or priestess, seated upon a tripod placed above the orifice. As she became overpowered by the vapors, she uttered the message of the god. These mutterings of the Pythia were taken down by attendant priests, interpreted, and written in hexameter verse. Some of the responses of the oracle contained plain and wholesome advice; but very many of them, particularly those that implied a knowledge of the future, were made obscure and ingeniously ambiguous, so that they might correspond with the event, however affairs should turn.

"The Oracle of Delphi gained a celebrity wide as the world. It was often consulted by the monarchs of Asia and the people of Rome in times of extreme danger and perplexity. Among the Greeks, scarcely any undertaking was entered upon without the will and sanction of the Oracle being first sought." (Myers' General History, pp. 86, 87).

6. Oracles and Divination Among the Romans: "There were no true oracles at Rome. The Romans, therefore, often had recourse to those among the Greeks. Particularly in great emergencies did they seek advice from the celebrated Oracle of Apollo at Delphi. From Etruria was introduced the art of the haruspices, or sooth-sayers, which consisted in discovering the will of the gods by the appearance of the entrails of victims slain for the sacrifice." (Myers' General History, p. 204).

7. Worships and Temples: "In the first ages of the world, men had neither temples nor statues for their gods, but worshipped in the open air, in the shady grove, or on the summit of the lofty mountains, whose apparent proximity to the heavens seemed to render them peculiarly appropriate for religious purposes. Ignorantly transferring to the works of the Supreme Being that homage which is only due to their Author, they adored the sun as a god, who, riding on his chariot of fire, diffused light and heat through the world; the moon, as a mild and beneficent divinity, who presided over night and silence, consoling her worshippers for the departure of the more brilliant light of day.

"It is thought that the Greeks received from the Egyptians the custom of building temples, which were erected, some in valleys, some in woods, and others by the brink of a river, or fountain, according to the deity who was destined to inhabit them; for the ancients ascribed the management of every particular affair to some particular god, and appropriated to each a peculiar form of building, according to his or her peculiar character and attributes. But when temples were first erected, the ancients still continued to worship their gods, without any statue or visible representation of the divinity.

"It is supposed that the worship of idols was introduced among the Greeks in the time of Cecrops, the founder of Athens, in the year 1556 B. C. At first these idols were formed of rude blocks of wood or stone, until, when the art of graving, or carving, was invented, these rough masses were changed into figures resembling living creatures. Afterwards, marble, and ivory, or precious stones, were used in their formation, and lastly, gold, silver, brass, and other metals. At length, in the refined ages of Greece, all the genius of the sculptor was employed in the creation of these exquisite statutes, which no modern workmanship has yet surpassed. Temples, statues, and altars, were considered sacred, and to many of them was granted the privilege of protecting offenders." (Burder's History of All Religions, pp. 227-8).


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




XIII. The Greek and Roman Religion.

Outlines of Ecclesiastical Hist., (Roberts), Sec. ii, pp. 22-25. "The World's Worship" (Dobbins), Chs. viii, ix. Notes 1 and 2.

Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy (Maurice), Vol. I, Chs. vi and vii. Myers' "General Hist.," Chs. xxiii. Dr. Smith's "History of Greece," Ch. xiii. "Mormon Doctrine of Deity," Ch. iv.

Cicero's Tusculan Disputations (Yonge's Translation), pp. 209-355. "Intellectual Development of Europe" (Draper), Chs. v and vi.

XIV. Roman and Greek Schools of Philosophy.

1. Stoics.

2. Epicureans.

3. Academics.

SPECIAL TEXT: "Behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach His word; yea, in wisdom, all that He seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true." (Book of Alma, Ch. xxix:8.)


1. Religion of the Greeks: General View: "The religious system of the Greeks is the embodiment of beauty. No other worship that has ever existed so encouraged the taste for art as this. Its literature, its mythological stories, its idols and its temples still control and, to a great extent, shape the art ideas of the world. Its devotees have, above all other people, possessed a perception of beauty of form and a fondness of representing it.

"The people of Greece appear to have originally come from the northwestern part of Asia Minor. They were called the Hellenes. The worship which they brought from Asia was the worship of the 'Heaven-Father,' the unseen one who dwells in ether, whose temple is the sky, and whose altar is properly placed upon the mountain top. The Hindus called the same being Dyaus-pitar; the Romans, Diovis-pater or Jupiter; the Greeks, Zeus-pater. One can readily see the resemblance between these names, and the evidence they bear to the fact that these nations all came originally from one common stock. As the primal Greek race separated into various parts of Greece, different forms began to arise. As sailors from other lands arrived on their shores, they brought their own gods with them, and thus many new gods were introduced into Greece.

"The lively imagination of the Greeks, and the out-door life of their primitive state, produced a number of tales and legends about the gods. Some of these were based on the tales with which their forefathers were familiar in their early home in Asia. The people lived in separate villages. Wandering minstrels and merchants carried these tales of gods and heroes from village to village. Poets then caught them up and adorned them with the touches of a livelier fancy. Thus, soon, a rich and luxuriant system of legendary lore was in possession of the whole people.

"Just as is the case with other nations, the beings called gods by the Greeks are but the personifications of the powers and objects of nature, and the legends but represent the courses of nature and its operations. To these primitive notions imagination afterwards added, and poetry clothed the whole with a warm glow. Thus was formed the popular Greek faith" (The World's Worship—Dobbins—pp. 150-157).

2. Religion of the Romans: General View: "Long before Rome was founded, Italy was peopled with an industrious class of farmers. But we have scarcely any records of those early times. Some of their gigantic buildings, lakes and canals remain, but these are almost all that is left. The religious ideas of these early settlers entered into and, to a great extent, moulded the religion of the Romans. The people of Italy did not have the same vivid imaginations and lively fancies as the people of Greece. Their early worship seems to have been of a more serious character than that of the Greeks. Their gods were freer from moral taint, and virtue rather than vice was required in followers of the Roman religions. The poetic art was little cultivated among them, or for that matter, in Rome of a later day. But Rome soon began to borrow from Greece, and to appropriate her gods, heroes and myths. There are no Italian-myths corresponding to those of Greece. In Virgil and Ovid, a few adventures of the Italian gods are related, but these are plainly limitations, or slight modifications, of the Greek stories." (The World's Worship, pp. 173-4).

3. Zeno: "Zeno, founder of the celebrated school of the Stoics, lived in the third century before our era (about 340—265 B. C.). He taught at Athens in a public porch (Stoa in Greek), from which circumstance comes the name applied to his disciples. The Stoics inculcated virtue for its own sake. They believed—and it would be difficult to frame a better creed—that 'man's chief business here is to do his duty.' They schooled themselves to bear with composure any lot that destiny might appoint. Any sign of emotion on account of calamity was considered unmanly. Thus a certain Stoic, when told of the sudden death of his son, is said merely to have remarked, 'Well, I never imagined that I had given life to an immortal.'

"Stoicism became a favorite system of thought with certain classes of the Romans, and under its teachings and doctrines were nourished some of the purest and loftiest characters produced by the pagan world." (Myers' General History, pp. 185-6).

4. Epicurus: "Epicurus (341—270 B. C.) taught, in opposition to the Stoics, that pleasure is the highest good. He recommended virtue, indeed, but only as a means for the attainment of pleasure; whereas the Stoics made virtue an end in itself. In other words, Epicurus said, "Be virtuous, because virtue will bring you the greatest amount of happiness;" Zeno said, "Be virtuous, because you ought to be."

"Epicurus had many followers in Greece, and his doctrines were eagerly embraced by many among the Romans during the later corrupt period of the Empire. Many of these disciples carried the doctrines of their master to an excess that he himself would have been the first to condemn. Allowing full indulgence to every appetite, their whole philosophy was expressed in the proverb, 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.'" (Myers' General History, p. 186).

5. The Stoics: The Stoics believed, (1) that there were gods; (2) they undertook to define their character and nature; (3) they held that the universe is governed by them, and (4) that they exercise a superintendency over human affairs.

The evidence for the existence of the gods they saw primarily in the universe itself. "What can be so plain and evident," they argued, "when we behold the heavens, and contemplate the celestial bodies, as the existence of some supreme, divine intelligence by which these things are governed?" "Were it otherwise," they said, "Ennius would not with universal approbation have said,

    'Look up to the refulgent heavens above
    Which all men call unanimously Jove—
    * * * Of gods and men the sire.'"

Of the nature of the Deity, they held two things: First of all, that he is an animated though impersonal being; secondly, that there is nothing in all nature superior to him. "I do not see," says one well versed in their doctrines, "what can be more consistent with this idea and preconception, than to attribute a mind and divinity to the world, the most excellent of all beings."

That is to say, the Stoics held the universe to be a deity; and Cicero represents Zeno as reasoning in the matter in this wise: "That which reasons is superior to that which does not; nothing is superior to the world; the world, therefore, reasons." By the same rule the world may be proved to be wise, happy, and eternal; for the possession of all these qualities is superior to the want of them; and nothing is superior to the world; the inevitable consequence of which argument is, that the world is a deity. He goes on: "No part of anything void of sense is capable of perception; some parts of the world have perception; the world, therefore, has sense." He proceeds, and pursues the argument closely—"Nothing that is destitute itself of life and reason can generate a being possessed of life and reason; but the world does generate beings possessed of life and reason; the world therefore, is not itself destitute of life and reason."

He concludes his argument in his usual manner with a simile: "If well-tuned pipes should spring out of the olive, would you have the slightest doubt that there was in the olive-tree itself some kind of skill and knowledge? Or if the plane-tree could produce harmonious flutes, surely you would infer, on the same principle, that music was contained in the plane-tree. Why, then, should we not believe the world is a living and wise being, since it produces living and wise beings out of itself?"

Again, reverting to this subject, Cicero in representing the doctrines of the Stoics, says: "Now, we see that there is nothing in being that is not a part of the universe; and as there are sense and reasons in the parts of it, there must therefore be these qualities, and these too, in a more, energetic and powerful degree, in that part in which the predominant quality of the world is found. The world, therefore, must necessarily be possessed of wisdom; and that element, which embraces all things, must excel in perfection of reason. The world, therefore, is a God, and the whole power of the world is contained in that divine element."

"Besides these (i. e., the universe and the stars, as part of that universe of course), there are many other natures," Cicero goes on to say, "which have, with reason, been deified by the wisest Grecians, and by our ancestors, in consideration of the benefits derived from them; for they were persuaded that whatever was of great utility to human kind must proceed from divine goodness, and the name of the Deity was applied to that which the Deity produced, as when we call corn Ceres, and wine Bacchus; whence that saying of Terence,

    'Without Ceres and Bacchus, Venus starves.'

And any quality, also, in which there was any singular virtue was nominated a Deity, such as Faith and Wisdom, which are placed among the divinities in the Capitol; the last by Aemilius Scaurus, but Faith was consecrated before by Atilius Caltatinus. You see the temple of Virtue and that of Honor repaired by M. Marcellus, erected formerly, in the Ligurian war, by Q. Maximus. Need I mention those dedicated to Help, Safety, Concord, Liberty, and Victory, which have been called Deities, because their efficacy has been so great that it could not have proceeded from any but from some divine power? In like manner are the names of Cupid, Voluptas, and of Lubentine Venus consecrated, though they were things vicious and not natural. * * * * Everything, then, from which any great utility proceeded was deified; and, indeed, the names I have just now mentioned are declaratory of the particular virtue of each Diety."

The God of the Stoics is further described as a corporeal being, united to matter by a necessary connection; and, moreover, as subject to fate, so that he can bestow neither rewards nor punishments. That this sect held to the extinction of the soul at death, is allowed by all the learned. The Stoics drew their philosophy mainly from Socrates and Aristotle. Their cosmology was pantheistic, matter and force being the two ultimate principles, and God being the working force of the universe, giving it unity, beauty and adaptation.

6. The Epicureans: The Epicureans held that there were Gods in existence. They accepted the fact of their existence from the constant and universal opinion of mankind, independent of education, custom or law. "It must necessarily follow," they said, "that this knowledge is implanted in our minds, or, rather, innate in us." Their doctrine was: "That opinion respecting which there is a general agreement in universal nature must infallibly be true; therefore it must be allowed that there are Gods."

"Of the form of the Gods, they held that because the human body is more excellent than that of other animals, both in beauty and for convenience, therefore the Gods are in human form. All men are told by nature that none but the human form can be ascribed to the Gods; for under what other image did it ever appear to anyone either sleeping or waking?" Yet these forms of the Gods were not "body," but "something like body," "nor do they contain blood, but something like blood." "Nor are they to be considered as bodies of any solidity, or reducible to number." "Nor is the nature or power of the Gods to be discerned by the senses but by the mind." They held, moreover, that the universe arose from chance; that the Gods neither did nor could extend their providential care to human affairs.

The duty of worshipping the Gods was based upon the fact of their superiority to man. "The superior and excellent nature of the Gods requires a pious adoration from men, because it is possessed of immortality, and the most exalted felicity; for whatever excels has a right to veneration." Yet "all fear of the power and anger of the Gods should be banished; for we must understand that anger and affection are inconsistent with the nature of a happy and immortal being. These apprehensions being removed, no dread of the superior power remains." On the same principles that the existence of the Gods was allowed, that is, on the pre-notion and universal belief of their existence, it was held that the Gods were happy and immortal, to which the Epicureans added this doctrine: "That which is eternally happy cannot be burdened with any labor itself, nor can it impose any labor on another; nor can it be influenced by resentment or favor; because things which are liable to such feelings must be weak and frail."

It was generally held by the opponents of Epicurus that, as a matter of fact he did not believe in the existence of the Gods at all; but dared not deny their existence for fear of the Athenian law against impiety, and because such denial would render him unpopular. But after becoming acquainted with his views as to the nature of the Gods, one is prepared to accept the criticism of his doctrines which Cicero puts in the mouth of Cotta, in his Tusculan Disputations, viz., "Epicurus has allowed a deity in words but destroyed him in fact."

7. The Sensualism of Epicureanism: Whatever apologists may say, it is very clear that the "pleasure" of the Epicurean philosophy, hailed as "the supreme good and chief end in life," was to arise from agreeable sensations, or whatever gratified the senses, and hence was, in the last analysis of it—in its roots and branches—in its theory and in its practice—"sensualism." It was to result in physical ease and comfort, and mental inactivity—other than a conscious, self-complacence—being regarded as "The supreme good and chief end of life." I judge this to be the net result of this philosophy since these are the very conditions in which Epicurus describe even the gods to exist; and surely men could not hope for more "pleasure," or greater happiness than that possessed by their gods. Cicero even charges that the sensualism of Epicurus was so gross that he represents him as blaming his brother, Timocrates, "because he would not allow that everything which had any reference to a happy life was to be measured by the belly; nor has he," continues Cicero, "said this once only, but often."

In Cicero's description of the Epicurean conception of the gods, he says: "That which is truly happy cannot be burdened with any labor itself, nor can it impose any labor on another, nor can it be influenced by resentment or favor, because things which are liable to such failings must be weak and frail. * * * Their life [i. e., of the gods] is most happy and the most abounding with all kinds of blessings which can be conceived. They do nothing. They are embarrassed with no business; nor do they perform any work. They rejoice in the possession of their own wisdom and virtue. They are satisfied that they shall ever enjoy the fulness of eternal pleasure. * * Nothing can be happy that is not at ease." (Tusculan Disputations, The Nature of the Gods, pp. 266-268).

8. The Academicians: The Academicians can scarcely be regarded as a school of philosophy, though they refer their origin to Plato (Smith's Student's History of Greece, p. 596.). Their name stands for a method of thought rather than for a system of truth. They had no philosophy, but rather speculated about philosophy. They advocated nothing; they were the agnostics of their time—that is, they were people who did not know, and like our modern agnostics, had a strong suspicion that nobody else knew. They represented merely the negative attitude of mind in their times. Still, they numbered in their following some of the most considerable men of Rome, Cicero being among the number. The academy is said to have exactly corresponded to the moral and political wants of Rome in the days of Cicero. "With no genius for speculation, the better Romans of that day were content to embrace a system which, though resting on no philosophical basis, and compounded of heterogeneous dogmas, offered notwithstanding, a secure retreat from religious scepticism and political troubles." "My words," says Cicero, speaking as a true Academician, "do not proclaim the truth, like a Pythian priestess; but I conjecture what is probable, like a plain man." And again: "The characteristic of the Academy is never to interpose one's judgment to approve what seems most probable, to compare together different opinions, to see what may be advanced on either side, and to leave one's listeners free to judge without pretending to dogmatize." (Ency. Brit. Art. Academy.) I believe this description warrants what was said at the beginning of this note, viz; that the name Academician stood for a method of thought rather than for a school of philosophy.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




XV. Religions of Northern Europe—

1. The Scythians;

2. The Scandinavians;

3. The Druids;

Draper's "Intellectual Development of Europe," Ch. viii, pp. 240 et seq.

The World's Worship, (Dobbins), Ch. x.

Burder's "History of All Religions," Part VI, Sec. vii, p. 524 et seq.

Mormon Doctrine of Deity, Ch. iv.

Crabb's "Mythology of All Nations," Chs. lxii, lxiii, lxiv, lxv.

SPECIAL TEXT: "I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the heathen; which ye [Israel] have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes." Ezekiel xxvi:23.


1. The Scythians: "The Scythians inhabited a large tract of country to the north of Europe and Asia. In early times their religion was very simple; it taught the belief of a Supreme God, to whom were attributed infinite power, knowledge, and wisdom; it forbade any representation of this being under a corporeal form, and enjoined the celebration of his worship in consecrated woods. Under him, a number of inferior divinities were supposed to govern the world, and preside over the celestial bodies. The doctrine of a future state formed an important part of the mythology of these people; and their fundamental maxims were, to serve the Deity with sacrifice and prayer, to do no wrong to others, and to be brave and intrepid. But in the course of time, the religion of the Scythians degenerated, a multitude of other divinities were introduced amongst them, and as they were a warlike people, they made the god of battles their favorite deity; to him they consecrated groves of oak, which were held so sacred that whoever injured them was punished with death. A Scimitar raised upon the summit of an immense wooden altar was the emblem of this God, to whom they sacrificed horses, and every hundredth man taken in battle; the first fruits of the earth, and a portion of the spoils gained in war, were the offerings made to the other divinities. The principal Scythian deities were: Tabite, the Vesta of later times; Papius, the Jupiter; Apia, or the Earth, the consort of Papius; Stripassa, the Venus; Oestasynes, the Apollo; Thamimasides, the Neptune.

"The Scythians venerated fire, as the principle of all things; and the wind and the sword, as the cause of life and death; a being called Zamolxis, was supposed to have the charge of conducting departed spirits to their respective abodes; and sacrifices were made to him by the friends of deceased persons on their behalf." (Burder's History of All Religions, pp. 524-5).

2. The Scandinavian Mythology: "The Gothic Mythology is so called from the Getae; or Goths, a tribe of Scythians, who, at an early period passed over into Scandinavia, whence they over-spread all Sweden, Denmark the islands of the Baltic, and the neighboring parts. Their mythological scheme is explained in a work called the 'Edda,' which was compiled by Snorro Sturleson, in the thirteenth century, from the poems of the Scalds or bards particularly one bearing the same name, and a still older one, called the 'Voluspa.' The Goths, like the Indians [American] believed in a supreme being, to whom they ascribed many of the divine attributes, but offered him no worship, which they paid only to the subordinate deities. This being they designated by the name of 'Alfader,' that is 'Father of all.' They believed that giants existed before the gods, the chief of whom, named Odin, was the offspring of one of them. After this, according to their fables, which agree with that of the Greeks, a war ensued between the gods and the giants, which terminated in the destruction of the latter. The gods then proceeded to the work of creation, and fashioned the globe out of the body of one of the giants, named Ymir. Before all this, however, we find from the Voluspa, that in accordance with the Mosaic account, 'In the beginning, there was neither shore nor sea; the earth was not to be found below, nor the heavens above.' Besides Odin, before mentioned, who was the god of war, and is supposed to be the Buddha, or Bood, of the Hindoos, the gods of the Gothic mythology were Frigga, the wife of Odin, and Thor, their son, who, from the legends told of them, correspond to the Osiris, Isis, and Orus, of the Egyptians. Among the other children of Odin, were Balder, a powerful god; Boder, the blind; Vidar, the god of silence, who walked on the waters and in the air; Vali, the archer; Uller, who presided over trial by the duel; Forsette, the arbiter between gods and men; Iduna, the queen of truth, who presided over witnesses and oaths; Lofen, the guardian of friendship; Synia and Snootra, who presided over wisdom and discretion. To these may be added, Heimdall, the son of nine virgins, and sentinel of the gods; Braga, the god of poetry; Niord, the god of winds and the sea; Tyr, the god of might; Eica, the goddess of medicine; Freya, the wife of Holder, and goddess of love; Gna, the messenger of Frigga; Tylia, the goddess of beauty, secrecy, and chastity; Siona and Soona, presiding over marriage; and the Valkyries, virgins, who always attended Odin in battle. Among their evil spirits was Loke, the spirit of evil and contradiction who was always opposing the gods. Besides the giants and gods, the Goths, like the Greeks and Romans, had their Genii; like the Arabians, their fairies; and, like the Indians, their dwarfs or pigmies. The genii presided over the destinies of man, of whom there were three principal—Urda, Verdandi and Skulda, answering to the Parcae. [I. e., the Fates of Roman Mythology.] They had their evil as well as good genii, of whom Surtur was the prince.

"That they worshipped the sun and moon may be inferred from two days in the week being sacred to them, namely, Sonndag and Mondag, that is, Sunday and Monday. The heaven of the Goths was in the highest regions of the earth, and consisted of two abodes, namely, the Valhalla, or hall of Odin, where warriors only were admitted; and a higher abode, called Gimle, where the good and virtuous, in general, were to be admitted. They had also two abodes for the wicked, namely, Nifleheim, or Evil home, and Nastrond, or the shore of the Dead. Nifleheim consisted of nine regions, over whom Hela, or Death, held absolute sway. Mention is also made of two gods of this hell, instead of the single Cerberus among the Greeks and Romans.

"The Goths also held that Valhalla and Nifleheim were both perishable abodes; and that at the last day, the respective inhabitants of these two places were to be consigned by Alfader, either to Gimle or to Nastrond, both of which would be eternal; a fable evidently borrowed from the Scripture account of the day of judgment. They denominated this the Twilight of the Gods." (Crabb's Mythology, pp. 165-167).

3. Religion of the Old Europeans: "The religion of the barbarian Europeans was in many respects like that of the American Indians. They recognized a 'Great Spirit'—omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent. In the earliest times they made no representation of him under the human form, nor had they temples; but they propitiated him by sacrifices, offering animals, as the horse, and even men, upon rude altars. Though it was believed that this 'Great Spirit' might sometimes be heard in the sounds of the Forests at night, yet, for the most part, he was too far removed from human supplication, and hence arose, from the mere sorcerous ideas of a terrified fancy, as has been the case in so many other countries, star worship—the second stage of comparative theology. The gloom and shade of dense forests, a solitude that offers an air of sanctity, and seems a fitting resort for mysterious spirits, suggested the establishment of sacred groves and holy trees. Throughout Europe there was a confused idea that the soul exists after the death of the body; as to its particular state there was a diversity of belief. As among other people, also, the offices of religion were not only directed to the present benefit of individuals, but also to the discovery of future events by various processes of divination and augury practiced among the priests." (Intellectual Development of Europe, Draper, p. 240).

4. Chief Divinities of the Scandinavians: "The Scandinavians sacrificed human victims, and sometimes offered up even their kings, to appease the gods in times of public calamity. Their chief divinities were Odin or Wodin, Frea or Friga, and Thor. Odin or Wodin is generally supposed to have been a deified war-like prince; he was the god and father of war, and was thought to adopt as his children all who died in battle; he was also worshipped as the god of arts and sciences, from his having in some degree civilized the countries which he subdued. The fourth day of the week was consecrated to him, and was called 'Odin's day,' which now is corrupted into our 'Wednesday.'

"Frea or Friga, the consort of Odin, was the most amiable of all the Scandinavian goddesses. She was also called Vanadis, or the goddess of Hope; and under the name of Hertha she was considered as a personification of earth. Virgins of high birth devoted themselves to her service; and Friday, the sixth day of the week, was named after her.

"Thor, the eldest and bravest of the sons of Odin and Frea, was the god of the aerial regions; prayers were addressed to him for favorable winds and refreshing showers; and Thursday, the fifth day of the week, was dedicated to him.

"In the earliest times, the Scandinavians performed their rites in groves; but they afterwards raised temples to their gods, the most magnificent of which were at Upsal and Drontheim.

"The inferior deities of the Scandinavians were: Niorder, who presided over the seas, navigation, hunting and fishing; Isminsul, or the column of the universe; Surtar, prince of the genii of fire; Balder, son of Odin; Tur, the dispenser of victory; Heimdal, the guardian of the heavens; Norder, the blind, a son of Odin; Vidar, the god of silence, a son of Odin; Braga, the god of poetry; Vati, the formidable archer; Uller, presiding over trials by duel; Hela, the dreadful goddess of death; Torset, decided the differences of gods and men; the Valkyries were goddesses of slaughter; Iduna, the queen of youth; Saga, the goddess of waterfalls; Vara, the witness of oaths; Lofen, the guardian of friendship; Synia, the avenger of broken faith." (Burder's History of All Religions, pp. 525-6).

5. Scandinavian Notions of Hell: "The notions the Scandinavians entertained of hell were very remarkable; it was called Niflheim, and consisted of nine vast regions of ice, situated under the North Pole, the entrance to which was guarded by the dog of darkness, similar to the Grecian Cerberus. Loke, the evil genius, who was the cruel enemy of gods and men, with his daughter Hela, the goddess of death; the giantess Angherbode, the messenger of evil; the wolf Femis, a monster, dreaded by the gods, as destined to be their destruction, and the equally formidable serpent, resided in this gloomy abode; which has been described by Gray, in his 'Descent of Odin.'

"The Scandinavians believed that what formed their highest enjoyments in this world, would likewise constitute their happiness in the next. They imagined that the souls of heroes who had fallen in battle would pass their days in hunting shadowy forms of wild beasts, or in combats with warriors; and at night would assemble in the hall of Odin, to feast, and drink mead or ale out of the skulls of their enemies whom they had slain in their mortal life. This view of happiness in a future state of existence has prevailed amongst all nations." (Burder's History of All Religions, pp. 525-6).

6. The Druids: "We have reason to believe that the Britons inhabited England not long after the days of Noah. We might therefore expect to find resemblances between their religion and the religion of other ancient peoples; and we are not disappointed. There is a striking correspondence between the system of the ancient Britons and those of the Hebrew patriarchs, the Brahmins of India, the Magi of Persia, and the Greek priests. It was one system that was finally conveyed to these different parts of the globe. Take, as a single instance of the many points of comparison, their idea of God. Among their names for the supreme God which they had in use before the introduction of Christianity, were terms which have been literally translated, "God," "Distributor," "Governor," the "Mysterious One," the "Eternal," "He that pervadeth all things," "the Author of Existence," "the Ancient of Days." These expressive appellations sufficiently indicate their views of the moral character and attributes of God." (The World's Worship—Dobbins—p. 188).

7. Druid Priesthood: "The Celtic priests were called Druids. All the Celtic nations, like the early Scythians, performed their religious ceremonies in sacred groves; and they regarded the oak, and the mistletoe growing upon it, with peculiar reverence. Their principal deities were: Teulates, the god of war; Dis, the god of the infernal regions, and the Pluto of after times; and Andate, the goddess of victory. The god of war was the divinity of the greatest importance; upon his altars human victims were sacrificed; and though criminals were deemed the most acceptable offerings, innocent persons were frequently immolated.

"Druid is derived from the word deru, which in the Celtic language signified an oak; because their usual abode was in woods. These priests were most highly reversed; they were referred to in all civil, as well as religious matters; and so great was their influence in the state, that even kings could not ascend the throne without their approbation. They were divided into four classes,—druids, bards, sarronides, and vates or eubages; the first were the supreme chiefs, and so highly reverenced, that the inferior orders could not remain in their presence without permission to do so. The bards, whose Celtic name signifies a singer, celebrated the actions of heroes in verse which they sang, and accompanied on the harp. The sarronides had the charge of instructing youth whom they were enjoined to inspire with virtuous sentiments; and the vates or eubages had the care of the sacrifices, and applied themselves particularly to the study of nature. The Druids enjoyed great privileges; they were exempted from serving in war and paying taxes.

"Numbers aspired to gain admission into this order of society, for it was open to all ranks; but this was rather difficult, as the candidates were obliged to learn the verses which contained the maxims of their religion and political government. It was unlawful to commit the Druidical doctrine to writing; and therefore they were taught, and transmitted from generation to generation, entirely by the poems recited by the Druids, who required a period of fifteen, or even twenty years, to acquire an adequate knowledge on that subject. The Druids considered the mistletoe as a special gift from the divinity to the oak, and the gathering of this plant was the most sacred of their ceremonies." (Burder's History of All Religions, pp. 526-7).

8. Druid Worship: "They worshipped in the open air; it being a maxim with them, that it was unlawful to build temples to the gods, or to worship them within walls and under roofs. Their favorite place was a grove of oaks, or the shelter of a majestic tree of this kind. Here they would erect stone pillars in one or two circular rows; and in some of their principal temples, as particularly that of Stonehenge, they laid stones of prodigious weight on the tops of these perpendicular pillars, which formed a kind of circle aloft in the air. Near to these temples they constructed their sacred mounts, their cromlechs or stone tables for their sacrifices, and every other necessary provision for their worship. These sacred places were generally situated in the center of some thick grove or wood, watered by a consecrated river or fountain, and surrounded by a ditch or mound, to prevent intrusion." (The World's Worship, p. 190).


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




XVI. Beliefs of India:

1. The Vedas.

2. Doctrines of the Vedas.

3. Chief Gods of Hinduism.

Chips from a German Workshop (Max Muller), 2 Vols. Science of Religions (Max Muller), 1 vol. Chiefly deals with Buddhism.

Article in Encyclopaedia Britannica—"Buddhism."

Vedanta Philosophy (1899), by Swami Vivekananda.

Dobbins' "World's Worship," Chs. xi-xiii.

Draper's "Intellectual Development of Europe," Vol. I, Ch. iii, and Notes of this lesson.

SPECIAL TEXT: "Their idols are silver and gold; the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; they have ears, but they hear not; . . . . they that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them." Ps. cxv.


1. The Vedas: "Vedas means, originally, knowing or knowledge, and this name is given by the Brahmans not to one work, but to the whole body of their most ancient sacred literature. Veda is the same word which appears in the Greek, 'I know,' and in the English, 'wise,' 'wisdom.' The name of Veda is commonly given to four collections of hymns, which are respectively known by the names of 'Rig-veda,' 'Yagur-veda,' 'Sama-veda,' and 'Atharva-veda;' but for our own purposes, namely, for tracing the earliest growth of religious ideas in India, the only important, the only real Veda, is the Rig-veda. The other so-called Vedas, which deserve the name of Veda no more than the Talmud deserves the name of Bible, contain chiefly extracts from the Rig-veda, together with sacrificial formulas, charms, and incantations, many of them, no doubt, extremely curious, but never likely to interest any one except the Sanscrit scholar by profession." ("Chips from a German Workshop" (Muller), Vol. I, p. 8).

2. Doctrine of the Vedas: "The Vedas, which are the Hindo Scriptures, and of which there are four, the Rig, Yagust, Saman and Atharvan, are asserted to have been revealed by Brahma. The fourth is, however, rejected by some authorities and bears internal evidence of a later composition, at a time when hierarchical power had become greatly consolidated. These works are written in an obsolete Sanscrit, the parent of the more recent idiom. They constitute the basis of an extensive literature.

"The Vedas are based upon an acknowledgement of a universal Spirit pervading all things. Of this God they therefore necessarily acknowledge the unity; 'There is in truth, but one Deity, the Supreme Spirit; the Lord of the universe, whose work is the universe.' 'The God above all gods, who created the earth, the heavens, the waters.' The world, thus considered as an emanation of God, is therefore a part of him; it is kept in a visible state by his energy, and would instantly disappear if that energy were for a moment withdrawn. Even as it is, it is undergoing unceasing transformations, everything being in a transitory condition. The moment a given phase is reached, it is departed from, or ceases. In these perpetual movements the present can scarcely be said to have any existence, for as the Past is ending, the Future has begun.

"In such a never-ceasing career, all material things are urged, their forms continually changing, and returning, as it were, through revolving cycles to similar states. For this reason it is that we may regard our earth, and the various celestial bodies, as having had a moment of birth, as having a time of continuance, in which they are passing onward to an inevitable destruction, and that after the lapse of countless ages similar progresses will be made, and similar series of events will occur again and again." (Draper, Intellectual Development of Europe, Vol. I, pp. 58-60).

3. The Hindu Pantheism: "But in this doctrine of universal transformation there is something more than appears at first. The theology of India is underlaid with Pantheism. "God is one because he is All." The Vedas, in speaking of the relation of nature to God, make use of the expression that he is the 'Material as well as the Cause of the universe,' 'the Clay as well as the Potter.' They convey the idea that while there is a prevading spirit existing everywhere of the same nature as the soul of man, though differing from it infinitely in degree, visible nature is essentially and inseparably connected therewith; that as in man the body is perpetually undergoing changes, perpetually decaying and being renewed, or, as in the case of the whole human species, nations come into existence and pass away, yet still there continues to exist what may be termed the universal human mind, so forever associated and forever connected are the material and the spiritual. And under this aspect we must contemplate the Supreme Being, not merely as a presiding intellect, but as illustrated by the parallel case of man, whose mental principle shows no tokens except through its connection with the body; so matter, or nature, or the visible universe, is to be looked upon as the corporeal manifestation of God." (Draper, Intellectual Development of Europe, Vol. I, pp. 58-60).

4. The Two Aspects of Pantheism: "Pantheism, speaking in a general way, is of two kinds: First, the Pantheism that sinks all nature into one substance, one essence, and then concludes that that one substance or essence is God. Such Pantheism as this is the purest Monism—that is, the one-substance theory of existence; and is spoken of by some of our philosophers as the purest Theism—that is, faith in one God. Indeed, Pantheism, in this aspect of it, is looked upon as a sort of exaggerated Theism; for it regards "God" as the only substance, of which the material universe and man are but ever-changing manifestations. It is the form of Pantheism which identifies mind and matter, the finite and infinite, making them but manifestations of one universal being; but in effect it denies the personality, by which I mean the individuality, of God. This was, and, for matter of that, is now, the general belief of many millions in India.

"Second, the Pantheism which expands the one substance into all the variety of objects that we see in nature, and regards those various parts as God, or God expanded into nature, is the second kind of Pantheism referred to a moment since. This leads to the grossest kind of idolatry, as it did in Egypt, at the time of which I am speaking. Under this form of Pantheism, men worshipped various objects in nature; the sun, moon, stars; in fact, anything and everything that bodies forth to their minds some quality, or power, or attribute of the Deity. This was the Pantheism of Egypt; and led to the abominable and disgusting idolatry of that land." (From "Mormon Doctrine of Deity,"—Roberts—pp. 173-4).

5. Chief God—The Hindoo Trinity: "The three idols sculptured on the walls of Elephanta Cave are found all over India, and constitute the chief gods which are worshipped by the Hindus. All the human race is said to have come from the highlands of Central Asia, and the worship of these, our Aryan forefathers, was at first exceedingly simple. Their manner of life brought them into close contact with nature, and we learn from the hymns then written, many of which are still preserved in the Vedas (the sacred book of the Hindus), that they regarded the powers of nature as manifestations of gods. In the storms, they supposed these rival gods were quarreling. In the Vedic hymns, frequent mention is made of the chief god, called Dyaus, the 'Heavenly Father.' Also Aditi, the 'Infinite Expanse,' is called the mother of all gods. Next comes Varuna, the 'Sky in its Brightness,' then Indra, the God of the 'Atmosphere;' so running through the whole list. After a time, the names of the gods are somewhat altered, and a sort of trinity is formed. Agni, god of fire, becomes Brahma; Surya, the sun-god, becomes Vishnu, and Indra, the atmosphere-god, becomes Siva. These constitute what is called the Tri-murti, and are generally said to represent one god as Creator, Preserver or Destroyer. Hindus often write in their honor verses like the following:

  'In those three persons the one God was shown—
  Each first in place, each last—not one alone;
  Of Siva, Vishnu, Brahma, each may be
  First, second, third, among the Blessed Three.'

"As to which of the three gods is to be called the Supreme Being, opinions differ." (Dobbins' "The World's Worship," pp. 215-216).


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




XVI. Beliefs of India—(Continued):

1. Brahaminism—General View.

2. Buddha—Gautama.

3. Buddhism.

Chips from a German Workshop (Max Muller), 2 vols. Science of Religions (Max Muller), 1 Vol. Chiefly deals with Buddhism.

Article in Encyclopaedia Britannica—"Buddhism."

Dobbins' "World's Worship," Chs. xi-xiii.

Burder's "History of All Religions," pp. 634-672.

Vendanta Philosophy (1899), by Swami Vivekananda.

Draper's "Intellectual Development of Europe," Vol. I, Ch. iii; and notes of this lesson.

SPECIAL TEXT: "All the gods of the nations are idols; but the Lord made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary." Ps. xcvi:5.


1. Brahminism: General View: "Brahminism grew out of what is called the Vedic religion. Before Abraham's day, the people living in Central Asia, being a simple race, addressed their prayers to the powers of nature, as, for example, to the storms, the clouds and the sun, seeing the Deity in each of these. Hymns were written to these gods, and this forms the earliest of all sacred books, only excepting those from which Moses wrote his account of the early history of the world in Genesis. This people moved south into India. The priesthood arose, and the other Vedic books of ceremonies, sacrifices and liturgical forms were prepared. Great commentaries were written on these books, and all were declared to be inspired.

"The priests quarreled with the civil chiefs, but their sacred character was increased by the conflict, and caste is the result. The priests are the highest caste (or class); next come the warriors, then the merchant, the farmer, etc; last of all the tanners, buriers of the dead, etc. These classes never intermarry or intermingle in any way; it is contaminating to sit together even. About this time idols appear, and Gods multiply until they reach the number of 330,000,000. Men groaned under this stupendous system of oppressive idolatry. Buddha tried in the seventh century before Christ, to reform it, but he failed, though he succeeded in establishing a new faith which has numbered its converts by the hundreds of millions. But Brahminism continues to be the religion of India, even until today. Starting from the Veda, Hinduism has ended in embracing something from all religions, and in presenting phases suited to all minds. It is all-tolerant, all-compliant, all-comprehensive, all-absorbing. It has its spiritual and its material aspect, its esoteric and exoteric, its subjective and objective, its rational and irrational, its pure and impure. It has one side for the practical, another for the severely moral, another for the devotional and imaginative, another for the sensuous and sensual, and another for the philosophical and speculative. Those who rest in ceremonial observances find it all-sufficient; those who deny the efficacy of works and make faith the one requisite, need not wander from its pale; those who are addicted to sensuality may have their tastes fully gratified; those whose delight is in meditating upon the nature of God and of man, or the relations of matter and of spirit, the mystery of separate existence, or upon the origin of evil, may here indulge their love of speculation. And this capacity for almost limitless expansion causes almost numberless sectarian divisions even among the followers of any given particular line of doctrine. Yet there remains much of the old nature-worship, or more correctly speaking, of the old devil-worship, among the Hindus even at this late day." (Dobbins' "World's Worship," pp. 211-213).

2. Buddha: "The Enlightened," the title of Siddhartha, or Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. "He was born between 562 and 552 B. C. The Buddhist narratives of his life are overgrown with legend and myth. Senart seeks to trace in them the history of the sun-hero. Oldenberg finds in the most ancient traditions—those of Ceylon—at least definite historical outlines. Siddhartha, as Buddha was called before entering upon his great mission, was born in the country and tribe of Sakhyas, at the foot of the Nepalese Himalayas. His father, Suddhodana, was rather a great and wealthy land owner than a king. He passed his youth in opulence at Kapilavastu, the Sakhya capital. He was married and had a son Rahula, who became a member of his order. At the age of twenty-nine he left parents, wife, and only son, for the spiritual struggle of a recluse. After seven years he believed himself possessed of perfect truth, and assumed the title of Buddha, 'the enlightened.' He is represented as having received a sudden illumination as he sat under the Botree, or 'tree of knowledge,' at Bodhgaya or Buddha-Gaya. For twenty-eight or, as later narratives give it, forty-nine days, he was variously tempted by Mara. One of his doubts was whether to keep for himself the knowledge won, or to share it. Love triumphed, and he began to preach, at first at Benares. For forty-four years he preached in the region of Benares and Behar. Primitive Buddhism is only to be gathered by inference from the literature of a later time. Buddha did not array himself against the old religion. The doctrines were rather the outgrowth of those of certain Brahmanical schools. His especial concern was salvation from sorrow, and so from existence. There are 'four noble truths': (1) existence is suffering; (2) the cause of pain is desire; (3) cessation of pain is possible through the suppression of desire; (4) the way to this is the knowledge and observance of the 'good law' of Buddha. The end is Nirvana, the cessation of existence. Buddhism was preached in the vulgar tongue, and had a popular literature and an elaborately organized monastic and missionary system. It made its way into Afghanistan, Bactriana, Tibet, and China. It passed away in India not from Brahman persecution, but rather from internal causes, such as its too abstract nature, too morbid view of life, relaxed discipline, and overgrowth of monasticism, and also because Shivaism and Vishnuism employed many of its own weapons more effectively. The system has been variously modified in dogma and rites in the many countries to which it has spread. It is supposed to number about 350,000,000 of adherents, who are principally in Ceylon, Tibet, China, and Japan." (Century Dictionary, Art. Buddha).

3. The Original Elements in Buddhism: "What was original and new in Buddha was his changing a philosophical system into a practical doctrine; his taking the wisdom of the few, and coining as much of it as he thought genuine for the benefit of the many; his breaking with the traditional formalities of the past, and proclaiming for the first time, in spite of caste and creeds, the equality of the rich and the poor, the foolish and the wise, the 'twice-born' and the outcast. Buddhism, as a religion and as a political fact, was a reaction against Brahmanism, though it retained much of that more primitive form of faith and worship. Buddhism, in its historical growth, presupposes Brahmanism, and, however hostile the mutual relation of these two religions may have been at different periods of Indian history, it can be shown, without much difficulty, that the latter was but a natural consequence of the former." "Chips from a German Workshop" (Muller), Vol. I, p. 234.

4. Absence of God in Buddhism: "Buddhism has no God; it has not even the confused and vague notion of a Universal Spirit in which the human soul, according to the orthodox doctrine of Brahmanism, and the Sankhya philosophy, may be absorbed. Nor does it admit nature, in the proper sense of the word, and it ignores that profound division between spirit and matter which forms the system and glory of Kapila. It confounds man with all that surrounds him, all the while preaching to him the laws of virtue. Buddhism, therefore cannot unite the human soul, which it does not even mention, with a God, whom it ignores; nor with nature, which it does not know better. Nothing remained but to annihilate the soul; and in order to be quite sure that the soul may not reappear under some new form in this world, which has been cursed as the abode of illusion and misery, Buddhism destroys its elements, and never gets tired of glorying in this achievement. What more is wanted? If this is not the absolute nothing, what is Nirvana?

"Such religion, we should say, was made for a madhouse. But Buddhism was an advance, if compared with Brahmanism; it has stood its ground for centuries, and if truth could be decided by majorities, the show of hands, even at the present day, would be in favor of Buddha. The metaphysics of Buddhism, like the metaphysics of most religions, not excluding our own Gnosticism and Mysticism, were beyond the reach of all except a few hardened philosophers or ecstatic dreamers. Human nature could not be changed. Out of the very 'nothing' it made a new paradise; and he who had left no place in the whole universe for a Divine Being, was deified himself by the multitudes who wanted a person whom they could worship, a king whose help they might invoke, a friend before whom they could pour out their most secret griefs. And there remained the code of a pure morality, proclaimed by Buddha. There remained the spirit of charity, kindness, and universal pity with which he had inspired his disciples. There remained the simplicity of the ceremonial he had taught, the equality of all men which he had declared, the religious toleration which he had preached from the beginning. There remained much, therefore, to account for the rapid strides which his doctrine made from the mountain peaks of Ceylon to the Tundras of the Samoyedes." (Ibid, pp. 250-1).


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




XVII. Beliefs of China:

1. The Empire.

2. Religious Teachers and Literature.

3. General Character of Chinese Religious Faiths.

4. Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism.

Myers' "General History," Ch. ix.

Dobbins' "World's Worship," Ch. xxxiii.

Burder's "History of All Religions," Part VI, Sec. viii.

Science of Religion (Muller).

Chips from a German Workshop, Vol. I, Chs. x-xiii.

SPECIAL TEXT: "Do not to another what you would not have him do unto you. Thou needest this law alone. It is the foundation of all the rest." Confucius.[1]


1. China: "China was the cradle of a very old civilization, older perhaps than that of any other lands save Egypt and Babylonia; yet Chinese affairs have not until recently exercised any direct influence upon the general current of history. All through the later ancient and mediaeval times the country lay, vague and mysterious, in the haze of the world's horizon. During the Middle Ages the land was known to Europe under the name of Cathay.

"The government of China from a remote period has been a parental monarchy. The emperor is the father of his people. But though an absolute prince, he dare not rule tyrannically; he must rule justly and in accordance with the ancient customs." (Myers' General History, p. 67.)

2. The Teachers Confucius and Mencius: "The great teacher of the Chinese was Confucius (551-478 B. C.). He was not a prophet or revealer; he laid no claims to a supernatural knowledge of God or of the hereafter; he said nothing of an Infinite Spirit, and but little of a future life. His cardinal precepts were obedience to parents and superiors, and reverence for the ancients and imitation of their virtues. He himself walked in the old paths, and thus added the force of example to that of precept. He gave the Chinese the Golden Rule, stated negatively: "What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others." The influence of Confucius has been greater than that of any other teacher excepting Christ, and perhaps Buddha.

"Another great teacher of the Chinese was Mencius (372-288 B. C.). He was a disciple of Confucius and a scarcely less revered philosopher and moral teacher." (Myers' General History, p. 68).

3. Chinese Literature: "The most highly-prized portion of Chinese literature is embraced in what is known as the Five Classics and the Four Books, called collectively the Nine Classics. A considerable part of the material of the Five Classics was collected and edited by Confucius. The Four Books, though not written by Confucius, yet bear the impress of his mind and thought, just as the Gospels teach the mind of Christ. The cardinal virtue inculcated by all the sacred writings is filial piety.

"It would be difficult to exaggerate the influence which the Nine Classics have had upon the Chinese nation. For more than two thousand years these writings have been the Chinese Bible. But their influence has not been wholly good. The Chinese, in strictly obeying the injunction to walk in the old ways, to conform to the customs of the ancients, have failed to mark out any new footpaths for themselves; hence one cause of the unprogressive character of Chinese civilization." (Myers' General History, p. 69).

4. The Religion of China: Turn your attention now northward from India, and take into account those great masses of our race inhabiting China; and you will find there, according to the statement of Max Muller:

"A colorless and unpoetical religion; a religion we might almost venture to call monosyllabic, consisting of the worship of a host of single spirits, representing the sky, the sun, storms and lightning, mountains and rivers; one standing by the side of the other without any mutual attraction, without any higher principle to hold them together. In addition to this, we likewise meet in China with the worship of ancestral spirits, the spirits of the departed, who are supposed to retain some cognizance of human affairs, and to possess peculiar powers which they exercise for good or evil. This double worship of human and natural spirits constitutes the old and popular religion of China, and it has lived on to the present day, at least in the lower ranks of society, though there towers above it a more elevated range of half religious and half philosophical faith, a belief in two higher Powers, which, in the language of philosophy, may mean Form and Matter, in the language of ethics, Good and Evil, but which in the original language of religion and mythology are represented as Heaven and Earth.

"It is true that we know the ancient popular religion of China from the works of Confucius only, or from even more modern sources. But Confucius, though he is called the founder of a new religion, was really but the new preacher of an old religion. He was emphatically a transmitter, not a maker. He says himself: 'I only hand on; I cannot create new things. I believe in the ancients, and therefore I love them.'" (Science of Religion—Muller—pp. 61-62).

Such was the ancient religion of China; and such, to a very large extent, is the religion of China to this day. It must be remembered that the great Chinese philosopher Confucius did not disturb this ancient religious belief. He did not, in fact, profess to be a teacher of religion at all, but was content if he could but influence men to properly observe human relations. On one occasion he was asked how the "spirits could be served," to which he made answer, "If we are not able to serve men, how can we serve the spirits?" On another occasion he said to his followers, "Respect the gods, and keep them at a distance."

5. Buddhism in China: "Buddhism spread in the south to Ceylon; in the north to Kashmir, the Himalayan countries, Thibet, and China. One Buddhist missionary is mentioned in the Chinese annals as early as 217 B. C.; and about the year 120 B. C. a Chinese general, after defeating the barbarous tribes north of the Desert of Gobi, brought back as a trophy a golden statute, the statute of Buddha. It was not, however, till the year 66 A. D. that Buddhism was officially recognized by the Emperor Ming-ti as a third state religion in China. Ever since, it has shared equal honors with the doctrines of Confucius and Lao-tse, in the celestial empire." (Chips from a German Workshop—Muller—Vol. I, pp. 253-4).

6. The Three Chinese National Religions: "A Chinaman may at the same time be an adherent of all three of the national religions. The mass of the Chinese people accept the three, and see no inconsistency in so doing. It is somewhat as if we Americans were at the same time Protestant, Romanist and skeptic. The Chinese support the priests of all religions, worship in all their temples, and believe in the gods of each and all. These three religions differ from each other, however, Dr. Edkins has so well defined this difference that we give his words:

'Confucianism speaks to the moral nature. It discourses on virtue and vice, and the duty of compliance with the law and the dictates of conscience. Its worship rests on this basis. The religious veneration paid to ancestors—for that is the worship of this system—is founded on the duty of filial piety. The moral sense of the Chinese is offended if they are called on to resign this custom.

'Taoism is materialistic. Its notion of the soul is of something physical, a purer form of matter. The soul it supposes to gain immortality by a physical discipline, a sort of chemical process, which transmutes it into a more ethereal essence, and prepares it for being transferred to the regions of immortality. The gods of Taoism are also very much what might be expected in a system which has such notions as these of the soul. It looks upon the stars as divine. It deifies hermits and physicians, magicians and seekers after the philosopher's stone and the plant of immortality.

'Buddhism is different from both. It is metaphysical. It appeals to the imagination, and deals in subtle argument. It says that the world of the senses is altogether unreal, and upholds this proposition by the most elaborate proofs. Its gods are personified ideas. It denies matter entirely, and concerns itself only with ideas. Most of the personages adored by the Buddhists are known to be nothing but fictitious impersonations of some of these ideas. The Buddhist worship is not reverence paid to beings believed to be actually existing; it is a homage rendered to ideas, and it is only supposed to be reflex in its effects. Their worship is useful as a discipline, but not effectual as prayer. The Buddhist, if he can obtain abstraction of mind from the world in any other mode, need not pray or worship at all.'

"These three systems, occupying the three corners of a triangle—the moral, the metaphysical and the material—are supplemental to each other, and are able to co-exist without being mutually destructive. They rest each on a basis of its own, and address themselves each to different parts of man's nature. It was because Confucianism 'knew God, but did not honor Him as God,' that the way was left open for a polytheism like that of the Buddhists. In the old books of China, God is spoken of as the 'Supreme Ruler.' He is represented as exercising over mankind an infinitely just and beneficent providence. But the duty of prayer is not enjoined. No worship of God by the people is permitted. It was only by the emperor acting vicariously for the people that the Deity was adored in that country. The system of Confucius, wanting this, was more a morality than a religion.

"Buddhism came to fill this vacancy. Individual faith in God, with a rational mode of worship to accompany it, could not be a result of the religious teaching which preceded it in China, nor were they inculcated by it. In Buddhism, the Chinese found objects to adore of mysterious grandeur, and richly endowed with the attributes of wisdom and benevolence. The appeal thus made to their religious faith was strengthened by a pompous form of worship. Processions and the ringing of bells, fumes of sweet-smelling incense, prayers, chanting and musical instruments were their aids to devotion. No wonder that these additions should prove welcome to the religious susceptibilities of a nation which had hitherto been restricted within the bounds of a system almost exclusively moral, and which discouraged the worship of God by the mass of the people." (Dobbins' World's Worship, pp. 419-421).


1. Cf. Matt. vii;12. also II Nephi, xxix;11-14; and Alma xxix; 8.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




XVIII. Belief of Mohammedans.

1. Arabia and Its People.

2. Mohammed—Birth; Appearance; Character; Mission.

3. Mohammedanism-The Creed.

The Koran[1] of Mohammed (Sales's Translation), Preliminary Discourse, pp. 1-132, and Koran, Chs. iii and xxx.

Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of Rome," Vol. VI, Ch. 50.

Draper's "Intellectual Development of Europe," Vol. I, Ch. xi.

Hero and Hero Worship (Carlyle), Lecture II.

Dobbins' "World's Worship," Ch. xxxv, xxxvi and the notes of this lesson.

SPECIAL TEXT: "O Lord our Lord, how Excellent is Thy Name, in all the earth!" Ps. viii.


1. Arabia—The Land: "The Arabs, and the country they inhabit, which themselves call Jexirat al Arab, or the Peninsula of the Arabians, but we Arabia, were so named from Araba, a small territory in the province of Tehama; to which Yarab the son of Kahtan, the father of the ancient Arabs, gave his name, and where, some ages after, dwelt Ishmael the son of Abraham by Hagar. The Christian writers for several centuries speak of them under the appellation of Saxons; the most certain derivation of which word is from 'shark,' the east, where the descendants of Joctan, the Kahtan of the Arabs, are placed by Moses, and in which quarter they dwelt in respect to the Jews.

"The name of Arabia (used in a more extensive sense) sometimes comprehends all that large tract of land bounded by the river Euphrates, the Persian Gulf, the Sindian, Indian, and Red Seas, and part of the Mediterranean; above two-thirds of which country, that is, Arabia properly so-called, the Arabs have possessed almost from the flood; and have made themselves masters of the rest, either by settlements, or continual incursions; for which reason the Turks and Persians at this day call the whole Arabistan, or the country of the Arabs.

"But the limits of Arabia, in its more usual and proper sense, are much narrower, as reaching no farther northward than the Isthmus, which runs from Aila to the head of the Persian Gulf, and the borders of the territory of Cufa; which tract of land the Greeks nearly comprehended under the name of Arabia the Happy. The eastern geographers make Arabia Petraea to belong partly to Egypt, and partly to Sham or Syria, and the Desert Arabia they call the deserts of Syria. * * * *

"This country has been famous from all antiquity for the happiness of its climate, its fertility and riches, which induced Alexander the Great, after his return from his Indian expedition, to form a design of conquering it, and fixing there his royal seat; but his death, which happened soon after, prevented the execution of this project." (Koran—Sales—Preliminary Discourse, pp. 1, 2).

2. The Arabians: "The Arabians, the inhabitants of this spacious country, which they have possessed from the most remote antiquity, are distinguished by their own writers into two classes, viz., the old lost Arabians, and the present.

"The former were very numerous, and divided into several tribes, which are now all destroyed, or else lost and swallowed up among the other tribes, nor are any certain memoirs or records extant concerning them; though the memory of some very remarkable events and the catastrophe of some tribes have been preserved by tradition, and since confirmed by the authority of the Koran. * * * * * * * * * * * *

"The present Arabians, according to their own historians, are sprung from two stocks, Kahtan, the same with Joctan the son of Eber, and Adnan descended in a direct line from Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar; the posterity of the former they call al Arab al Ariba, i. e. naturalized or insititious Arabs, though some reckon the ancient lost tribes to have been the only pure Arabians, and therefore call the posterity of Kahtan also Motanreba, which word likewise signifies insititious Arabs, though in a nearer degree than Mostareba; the descendants of Ishmael being the more distant graft. * * * * *

"The posterity of Ishmael have no claim to be admitted as pure Arabs; their ancestor being by origin and language an Hebrew, but having made alliance with the Jorhamites, by marrying a daughter of Modad, and accustomed himself to their manner of living and language, his descendants became blended with them into one nation. The uncertainty of the descents between Ismael and Adnan, is the reason why they seldom trace their genealogies higher than the latter, whom they acknowledge as father of their tribes; the descents from him downwards being pretty certain and uncontroverted." (Ibid, pp. 4, 6, 7).

3. Mohammed, Birth and Ancestry: "Mahomet, or more properly Mohammed, the only son of Abdallah and Amina, was born at Mecca, four years after the death of Justinian, and two months after the defeat of the Abyssinians, (A. D. 569) whose victory would have introduced into the Caaba the religion of the Christians. In his early infancy he was deprived of his father, his mother, and his grandfather; his uncles were strong and numerous; and, in the division of the inheritance, the orphan's share was reduced to five camels and an Ethiopian maid-servant. At home and abroad, in peace and war, Abu Taleb, the most respectable of his uncles, was the guide and guardian of his youth; in his twenty-fifth year he entered into the service of Cadijah, a rich and noble widow of Mecca, who soon rewarded his fidelity with the gift of her hand and fortune. The marriage contract, in the simple style of antiquity, recites the mutual love of Mahomet and Cadijah; describes him as the most accomplished of the tribe of Koeish; and stipulates a dowry of twelve ounces of gold and twenty camels, which was supplied by the liberality of his uncle. By this alliance the son of Abdallah was restored to the station of his ancestors; and the judicious matron was content with his domestic virtues, till, in the fortieth year of his age, he assumed the title of prophet, and proclaimed the religion of the Koran." (Gibbon's "Decline and Fall," Vol. VI, pp. 218-219.)

4. Mohammed's Personal Appearance: "According to the tradition of his companions, Mohammed was distinguished by the beauty of his person, an outward gift which is seldom despised, except by those to whom it has been refused. Before he spoke, the orator engaged on his side the affections of a public or private audience. They applauded his commanding presence, his majestic aspect, his piercing eye, his gracious smile, his flowing beard, his countenance that painted every sensation of the soul, and his gestures that enforced each expression of the tongue. In the familiar offices of life he scrupulously adhered to the grave and ceremonious politeness of his country; his respectful attention to the rich and powerful was dignified by his condescension and affability to the poorest citizens of Mecca; the frankness of his manner concealed the artifice of his views; and the habits of courtesy were imputed to personal friendship or universal benevolence. His memory was capacious and retentive; his wit easy and social; his imagination sublime; his judgment clear, rapid, and decisive. He possessed the courage both of thought and action; and, although his designs might gradually expand with his success, the first idea which he entertained of his divine mission bears the stamp of an original and superior genius. The son of Abdallah was educated in the bosom of the noblest race, in the use of the purest dialect of Arabia, and the fluency of his speech was corrected and enhanced by the practice of discreet and seasonable silence. With these powers of eloquence, Mahomet was an illiterate barbarian; his youth had never been instructed in the arts of reading and writing; the common ignorance exempted him from shame or reproach, but he was reduced to a narrow circle of existence, and deprived of those faithful mirrors which reflect to our mind the minds of sages and heroes. Yet the book of nature and of man was open to his view; and some fancy has been indulged in the political and philosophical observations which are ascribed to the Arabian traveler. He compares the nations and the religions of the earth; discovers the weakness of the Persian and Roman monarchies; beholds with pity and indignation the degeneracy of the times; and resolves to unite under one God and one king the invincible spirit and primitive virtues of the Arabs." (Ibid, pp. 219-221.)

5. The Character of Mohammed: "Mohammed possessed that combination of qualities which more than once has decided the fate of empires. A preaching soldier, he was eloquent in the pulpit, valiant in the field. His theology was simple: "There is but one God." The effeminate Syrian, lost in Monothelite and Monophysite mysteries; the Athanasian and Arian, destined to disappear before his breath, might readily anticipate what he meant. Asserting that everlasting truth, he did not engage in vain metaphysics, but applied himself to improving the social condition of his people by regulations respecting personal cleanliness, sobriety, fasting, prayer. Above all other works he esteemed almsgiving and charity. With a liberality to which the world had of late become a stranger, he admitted the salvation of men of any form of faith provided they were virtuous. To the declaration that there is but one God, he added, "and Mohammed is his Prophet." Whoever desires to know whether the event of things answered to the boldness of such an announcement, will do well to examine a map of the world in our own times. He will find the marks of something more than an imposture. To be the religious head of many empires, to guide the daily life of one-third of the human race, may perhaps justify the title of a messenger of God." (Draper: "Intellectual Development," Vol. I, pp. 330.)

6. Mohammed and Supernatural Appearances: "Like many of the Christian monks, Mohammed retired to the solitude of the desert, and, devoting himself to meditation, fasting, and prayer, became the victim of cerebral disorder. He was visited by supernatural appearances, mysterious voices accosting him as the Prophet of God; even the stones and trees joined in the whispering. He himself suspected the true nature of his malady, and to his wife Cadijah he expressed a dread that he was becoming insane. It is related that as they sat alone, a shadow entered the room. "Dost thou see aught?" said Cadijah, who, after the manner of Arabian matrons, wore her veil. "I do," said the prophet. Whereupon she uncovered her face and said: "Dost thou see it now?" "I do not." "Glad tidings to thee, O Mohammed!" exclaimed Cadijah; "it is an angel, for he has respected my unveiled face; an evil spirit would not." As his disease advanced, these spectral illusions became more frequent; from one of them he received the divine commission. "I," said his wife, "will be thy first believer"; and they knelt down in prayer together. Since that day nine thousand millions of human beings have acknowledged him to be a prophet of God." (Ibid, pp. 330-1.)

7. Mohammedan Creed: "There is no God but God, the living, the self subsisting; he hath sent down unto thee the book of the Koran with truth, confirming that which was revealed before it; for he had formerly sent down the law, and the gospel, a direction unto men; and he had also sent down the distinction between good and evil. Verily those who believe not the signs of God shall suffer a grievous punishment; for God is mighty, able to revenge. Surely nothing is hidden from God, of that which is on earth, or in heaven; it is He who formeth you in the wombs, as he pleaseth; there is no God but he, the mighty, the wise. * * * * * * * * * * It is God who hath created you, and hath provided food for you; hereafter will he cause you to die; and after that will he raise you again to life. Is there any of your false gods, who is able to do the least of these things? * * * * * * It is God who sendeth the winds, and raiseth the clouds, and spreadeth the same in the heaven, as he pleaseth; and afterwards disperseth the same; and thou mayest see the rain issuing from the midst thereof; and when he poureth the same down on such of his servants as he pleaseth, behold, they are filled with joy. * * * * * *

"It is God who created you in weakness, and after weakness hath given you strength; and after strength, he will again reduce you to weakness and grey hairs; he createth that which he pleaseth; and he is the wise, the powerful." (Al Koran, Chs. iii and xxx.)

8. Comment on the Creed of Mohammed: "The faith which under the name of Islam, he preached to his family and nation, is compounded of an eternal truth and necessary fiction. That there is only one God, and that Mahomet is the Apostle of God. It is the boast of the Jewish apologists, that, while the learned nations of antiquity were deluded by the fables of polytheism, their simple ancestors of Palestine preserved the knowledge and worship of the true God. The moral attributes of Jehovah may not easily be reconciled with the standard of human virtue; his metaphysical qualities are darkly expressed; but each page of the Pentateuch and the Prophets is an evidence of his power; the unity of his name is inscribed on the first table of the law; and his sanctuary was never defiled by any visible image of the invisible essence. After the ruin of the temple, the faith of the Hebrew exiles was purified, fixed and enlightened by the spiritual devotion of the synagogue; and the authority of Mahomet will not justify his perpetual reproach that the Jews of Mecca or Mediana adored Ezra as the son of God. But the children of Israel had ceased to be a people; and the religions of the world were guilty, at least in the eyes of the prophet, of giving sons, or daughters or companions to the Supreme God. * * * * * * * *

"The creed of Mahomet is free from suspicion or ambiguity; and the Koran is a glorious testimony to the unity of God. The prophet of Mecca rejected the worship of idols and men, of stars and planets, on the rational principle that whatever rises must set, that whatever is born must die, that whatever is corruptible must decay and perish. In the author of the universe his rational enthusiasm confessed and adored an infinite and Eternal Being, without form or place, without issue or similitude, present to our most secret thoughts, existing by the necessity of his own nature, and deriving from himself all moral and intellectual perfection. These sublime truths, thus announced in the language of the prophet, are firmly held by his disciples, and defined with metaphysical precision by the interpreters of the Koran." (Gibbon: "Decline and Fall," Vol. VI, pp. 222-3).

"A philosophic theist might subscribe the popular creed of the Mahometans; a creed too sublime perhaps for our present faculties. What object remains for the fancy, or even the understanding, when we have abstracted from the unknown substance all ideas of time and space, of motion and matter, of sensation and reflection? The first principle of reason and revelation was confirmed by the voice of Mahomet; his proselytes, from India to Morocco, are distinguished by the name of Unitarians; and the danger of idolatry has been prevented by the interdiction of images. The doctrine of eternal decrees and absolute predestination is strictly embraced by the Mahometans; and they struggle with the common difficulties how to reconcile the prescience of God with the freedom and responsibility of man; how to explain the permission of evil under the reign of infinite power and infinite goodness.

"The God of nature has written his existence on all of his works, and his law in the heart of man. To restore the knowledge of the one, and the practice of the other, has been the real or pretended aim of the prophets of every age; the liberality of Mahomet allowed to his predecessors the same credit which he claimed for himself; and the chain of inspiration was prolonged from the fall of Adam to the promulgation of the Koran. During that period some rays of prophetic light had been imparted to one hundred and twenty-four thousand of the elect, discriminated by their respective measure of virtue and grace; three hundred and thirteen apostles were sent with a special commission to recall their country from idolatry and vice; one hundred and four volumes have been dictated by the Holy Spirit; and six legislators of transcendent brightness have announced to mankind the six successive revelations of various rites, but of one immutable religion. The authority and station of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Christ, and Mahomet, rise in just gradation above each other; but whosoever hates or rejects any one of the prophets is numbered with the infidels. The writings of the patriarchs were extant only in the apocryphal copies of the Greeks and Syrians; the conduct of Adam had not entitled him to the gratitude or respect of his children; the seven precepts of Noah were observed by an inferior and imperfect class of the proselytes of the synagogue; and the memory of Abraham was obscurely revered by the Sabians in his native land of Chaldea; of the myriads of prophets, Moses and Christ alone lived and reigned; and the remnant of the inspired writings was comprised in the books of the Old and the New Testament. The miraculous story of Moses is consecrated and embellished in the Koran, and the captive Jews enjoy the secret revenge of imposing their own belief on the nations whose recent creeds they deride. For the author of Christianity, the Mahometans are taught by the prophet to entertain a high and mysterious reverence. "Verily, Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, is the apostle of God, and his word, which he conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit proceeding from him; honorable in this world, and in the world to come; and one of those who approached near to the presence of God."[2] (Gibbon: "Decline and Fall," Vol. I, VI, pp. 223-226.)

9. Islam: "Mahomet had been wont to retire yearly, during the month of Ramadhan, into solitude and silence; as indeed was the Arab custom, a praiseworthy custom, which such a man, above all, would find natural and useful. Communing with his own heart, in the silence of the mountains; himself silent; open to the 'small still voices'; it was a right natural custom! Mahomet was in his fortieth year, when having withdrawn to a cavern in Mount Hara, near Mecca, during his Ramadhan, to pass the month in prayer and meditation on those great questions, he one day told his wife Kadijah, who with his household was with him or near him this year, that by the unspeakable special favor of Heaven he had now found it all out; was in doubt and darkness no longer, but saw it all. That all these Idols and Formulas were nothing, miserable bits of wood; that there was one God in and over all; and we must leave all idols, and look to Him. That God is great; and that there is nothing else great! He is the Reality. Wooden idols are not real; He is real. He made us at first, sustains us yet; we and all things are but the shadow of Him; a transitory garment veiling the Eternal Splendor. 'Allah Akbar, God is Great;' and then also 'Islam,' that we must submit to God. That our whole strength lies in resigned submission to Him, whatsoever He do to us. For this world, and for the other! The thing He sends to us, were it death and worse than death, shall be good, shall be best; we resign ourselves to God." (Hero Worship, Lecture II).


1. "The syllable 'Al' in the word 'Alkoran' (sometimes also written 'Alcoran') is only the Arabic article signifying 'the'; and therefore ought to be omitted when the English article is prefixed."—Sale, Alkoran, p. 40.

2. Koran, Ch. iii.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)





1. Judaism and Ancient Conceptions of God: It may be thought strange that I have not devoted one lesson at least to Judaism among the lessons on the "Ancient Conceptions of God." My reason for omitting consideration of it here, where it would so fittingly take rank among the ancient faiths, is that when the ancient and modern conceptions of God shall have been considered, we then take up "True Conceptions of Deity," and in doing so it is desirable that the whole range of revelation to sustain the true doctrine and argument—including the revelation which God gave of himself first to Abraham, and afterwards to his descendants, Israel—both for the existence and the nature of God, be available under one heading. To introduce the doctrine of Deity as made known to ancient Israel would be to deal now with "True Conceptions of God," and thus precipitate before its time the main question of our treatise. And so we give Judaism place at this point only by inviting the student's attention to it through this special lesson.

2. An Argumentative Discourse: I have suggested in the title of this lesson that it be considered as an argumentative discourse; and in the main this is inevitable; but it can be made to combine both expository and argumentative discourse. The first part of the title—"The Special Calling of Israel as a Witness of the True God," necessarily calls for exposition—the fact must be established that Israel received such a mission. The second part of the title makes necessary the argumentative form of treatment. An explanation of Expository discourse will be found in Lesson X, Note 1 of this Year Book. Argumentative discourse is treated in Seventy's Year Book No. II, pp. 68-72. For treatise on "thought gathering," see Year Book No. I, pp. 147-150; on "Constructing a plan," etc. See Year Book No. II, pp. 113-115, also pp. 149-151.

3. Sources of Information: Trace the subject through the Bible by means of a concordance, beginning with Deuteronomy XXVI, especially verses 16-19. Also Deuteronomy XXVIII and XXIX, and trace out the prophecies to their fulfillment. See on these chapters the Commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown. Also "The Gospel" p. 85, footnote (third Ed.). Josephus of course; and where it can be had Leslie's "Short and Easy Method with the Jews," sub-division XI. It is published in "Christian Evidences" (1853). Edersheim's Life and Times of Messiah, Vol. I, Chs. i-iv inclusive. Conybeare & Howson's Life of St. Paul, Ch. I. Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy, Vol. I, Ch. i. Mormon Doctrine of Deity, pp. 179-185. Also History of Christianity in the First Three Centuries (Mosheim) Vol. I, pp. 52-55.

4. Suggestions to the Speaker: In the last Special Lesson (Lesson XV), under the title of this note we said the last word on the "First Moments of Speech," we brought the speaker upon his feet facing his audience. It now remains to carry him through the speech beginning with the Introduction; and I shall follow the same master who has before instructed us, Mr. Pittenger; and here let me say that we may keep in mind the old formula of a well conducted speech: Introduction, Discussion and Conclusion.

The Introduction: "A good introduction is exceedingly valuable, and is to be sought for with great solicitude, if it does not spontaneously present itself. Some kind of an introduction is inevitable, for there will always be a first moment when silence is broken, and our thoughts introduced. The subsiding murmur of the audience tells the speaker that the time of his trial has come. If he is very sensitive, or if he has seldom, if ever, spoken before, his pulse beats fast, his face flushes, and an indescribable feeling of faintness and fear thrills every nerve. He may wish himself anywhere else, but there is now no help for him. He must arise, and for the time stand as the mark for all eyes and the subject of all thoughts.

"There is a vast difference between reciting and extemporizing in these opening moments, and the advantage seems to be altogether on the side of recitation. Every word is in its proper place and the speaker may be perfectly calm and self-collected. He is sure that his memory will not fail him in the opening, and encouraged by that assurance, will usually throw his whole power into his first sentences, causing his voice to ring clear and loud over the house.

"The extemporizer is in a far more difficult position. He is sure of nothing. The weight of the whole speech rests heavily upon his mind. He is glancing ahead, striving to forecast the coming sentences, as well as carrying forward those gliding over the tongue, and, distracted by this double labor, his first expressions may be feeble and ungraceful. Yet this modesty and timidity is no real loss; it goes far to conciliate an audience and secure their good-will. We can scarcely fail to distinguish memorized from extemporized discourses by the introduction alone.

"To avoid the pain and hesitancy of an unelaborated beginning, some speakers write and memorize the opening passage. This may accomplish the immediate object, but it is apt to be at the expense of all the remainder of the discourse. The mind cannot pass easily from reciting to spontaneous origination; and the voice, being too freely used at first, loses its power. The hearers, having listened to highly polished language, are less disposed to relish the plain words that follow, and the whole speech, which, like the Alpine condor, may have pitched from the loftiest summits, falls fast and far, until the lowest level is reached. A written introduction may be modest and unpretending, but unless it very closely imitates unstudied speech, painful contrasts and disappointments are inevitable. * * * * * * *

"It is only the substance and not the words of the introduction that should be prepared. A single sentence may be mentally forecast, but much beyond would be harmful; and even this sentence should be simple and easily understood. Anything that needs explanation is very much out of place. Neither should the introduction be so striking as to be the part of the discourse longest remembered. Rather than permit the attention to be distracted in that manner, it would be better to have no introduction."

As to Apologies: "A speaker gains much if he can at the outset arrest the attention and win the sympathy of his hearers and then carry these over to his proper subject. But it may be assumed as certain, that no kind of an apology will accomplish this object—unless, indeed, the speaker is such a favorite that everything in regard to his health or position is an object of deep solicitude to his audience. A popular speaker who happens to be late and apologizes for it by explaining that he had just escaped from a terrible railroad accident would make a good introduction. A loved pastor, in his first sermon after serious illness, might properly begin by talking of his amendment and his joy at addressing his flock again. But these are rare exceptions. The speaker about to make any kind of an apology or personal reference as an introduction, may well heed Punch's advice to persons about to be married: 'Don't!'" * * * * * *

The Mortification of Inattention: "Some inattention may be expected and patiently borne with [by the speaker] at first. Part of the opening words may be lost by an additional reason for not making them of capital importance to the address. It is useless to try by loud tones and violent manner to dispel indifference. If the speaker's words have real weight, and if his manner indicates confidence, one by one the audience will listen, until that electric thrill of sympathy, impossible to describe, but which is as evident to the practiced speaker as an accord in music, tells him that every ear is open to his words, and that his thoughts are occupying every mind." * * * *

Subjects for Introductions: "There are two or three general subjects available for introduction which every speaker would do well to study carefully, and which will do much to furnish him with the means of properly approaching his theme. We will mention the most useful of these, premising that no one mode should be depended upon to the exclusion of others.

"A good mode of introduction consists in a compliment to an audience. When a truthful and manly compliment can be given it is a most agreeable step toward the good-will of those we address; but if used on all occasions indiscriminately, it is meaningless; if transparently false, it is repulsive and disgusting; but when true, there is no reason why it should not be employed." * * * * * * (For example of such introductions see Acts, Ch. xxiv and xxvi).

"Effective introductions can also be constructed from those topics of the day which may be supposed to fill all minds. A few words on such subjects, falling in with the general current of thought, may easily lead up to the speaker's special topic. The newspapers may thus furnish us, especially while some striking event is yet recent, with the means of arresting the attention of newspaper readers at our first words.

"Another good mode of introduction is that of locality. The people of any town may be presumed familiar with the objects or events of interest for which their own place is celebrated;" and a happy reference to one or more of these can scarcely fail to be of interest.

"Another mode of introduction which may be very useful under proper restrictions is that of citing some relevant remark made by an author whose name carries great weight, or so pointed in itself as to at once arrest attention. A great picture, some feature of a landscape, a great historical event, may be cited in the same way. This method of citation is capable of very wide application. If the sentiment or impression made by the citation is directly opposite to that which the speaker wishes to produce this will increase rather than diminish interest, as the enjoyment of contrast and controversy is very keen; but the speaker should feel confident of his ability to overcome the influence of the citation when thus hostile." * * * * * *

Calamity From a Bad Introduction: "A great calamity may come to a speaker from a bad introduction. Speakers who are great in everything else often fail at this point. Some make their introductions too complicated, and thus defeat their own end, as surely as the engineer who gives his railroad such steep grades that no train can pass over it. Others deliver a string of mere platitudes and weary their audience from the beginning.

"When from these or other causes an address is mis-begun, the consequences may be serious. The thought settles upon the speaker with icy weight that he is failing. This conviction paralyzes all his faculties. He talks on, but grows more and more embarrassed. Incoherent sentences are stammered out which require painful explanation to prevent them from degenerating into perfect nonsense. The outline of his plan dissolves into mist. The points he intended to make which seemed strong and important now look trivial. With little hope ahead he blunders on. The room grows dark before him, and in the excess of his misery he longs for the time when he can close without absolute disgrace. But alas! the end seems far off, and he searches in vain for some avenue of escape. There is none. His throat becomes dry and parched, and command of voice is lost. The audience grow restive, for they are tortured as well as the speaker, and if he were malicious and had time to think about it, he might find some alleviation in that. No one can help him. At length, in sheer desperation, he does what he ought to have done long before—simply stops and sits down—perhaps hurling some swelling morsel of common-place, as a parting volley, at the audience—bathed in sweat, and feeling that he is disgraced forever! If he is very weak or foolish, he resolves never to speak again without having every word written out before him; if wiser, he only resolves, not only to understand his speech, but how to begin it." ("Extempore Speech"—Pittenger—Ch. vii).

This treatise upon the Introduction to a speech has trespassed somewhat upon the space of this lesson, but one can see no suggestion here set down that could well be eliminated, so instructive is it. Especially could not the concluding topic "Calamity from a Bad Introduction," be sacrificed. But the wisdom underlying the elaborate discussion of this topic by Mr. Pittenger was forcefully and tersely expressed in one of the early revelations to the Ministry of the Church—1831—when the Lord in reference to preaching, said that the Elders should teach as directed by the Spirit; "and the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith, and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach!" (Doc. & Cov. Sec. 42; 12-14).

5. Strength: Still another word on strength of expression. We have already noted two means of promoting strength of expression—(1) by the rejection of superfluous words (Lesson X); and (2) a careful use of words of connection. And now Quackenbos:

"A third means of promoting the Strength of a sentence is to dispose of the important word or words in that place where they will make the greatest impression. What this place is, depends on the nature and length of the sentence. Sometimes, it is at the commencement, as in the following from Addison: 'The pleasures of the imagination, taken in their full extent, are not so gross as those of sense, nor so refined as those of the understanding.' In other cases, it will be found of advantage to suspend the sense for a time, and bring the important term at the close of the period. 'On whatever side,' says Pope, 'we contemplate Homer, what principally strikes us is his wonderful invention.' No rule can be given on this subject; a comparison of different arrangements is the only means of ascertaining, in any particular case, which is the best." (Rhetoric, Art. "Strength.")

The following suggestion is given by Lockwood:

"The mind naturally dwells upon the last part of a sentence. Care should, therefore, be taken to have the last word a forcible one. Avoid closing a sentence with an insignificant word or phrase, as, for example, an adverb or a preposition or such a phrase as to it, by it, etc."

"Example: 'That is a danger which young children are exposed to.' The sentence should read, That is a danger to which young children are exposed.

"Example: 'None but capital letters were used formerly.'

"The idea is more forcibly presented if we say, Formerly, none but capital letters were used."


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Patristic Period.

Library of the Christian Fathers Anterior to the Division of the East and West, Oxford Edition (42 Vols.).

Early Christian Literature Primers, Edited by Geo. P. Fisher; Apostolic Fathers; Fathers of the Third Century; Post-Nicene Latin Fathers; Post-Nicene Greek Fathers.

Mosheim's and Neander's Church Histories; also Smith's Student's Ecclesiastical History, Vol. I.

History of Christian Doctrine (Shedd), 2 Vols. Intellectual Development of Europe" (Draper), Vol. I, chapter on Greek Age of Faith.

Gibbon's "Decline and Fall," Vol. III, Ch. xxi.

Mormon Doctrine of Deity (Roberts), Chs. ii and iii, and Notes of this Lesson.

II. The Prevailing Philosophers.

III. The Christian Doctrine of Deity— The Trinity.

IV. Patristic Arguments for the Divine Existence and the Trinity.

V. The Apostles' Creed.

SPECIAL TEXT: "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and opposition of science falsely so called." I Tim. vi,20.


1. The Patristic Period: The patristic period is usually recognized as extending from the close of the Apostolic period and ending with the death of the last of the Apostles, supposed to have occurred about 95 or 96 A. D.—to A. D. 750. The Patristic period of the Church is followed by what is called the Mediaeval period. "The line between these two Christian ages," says George A. Jackson in his Introduction to "The Apostolic Fathers," "cannot be sharply drawn; but, speaking in a general way, the epoch of the Fathers was, in the Western Church, the first six centuries. In the Eastern Church, the patristic age may be extended to embrace John of Damascus (A. D. 750). The writers may be arranged, not unnaturally, in four groups. 1. (A. D. 95—180). The Apostolic Fathers and the Apologists, or writers contemporary with the formation of the New Testament canon. These all wrote in Greek. 2. (A. D. 180—325). The Fathers of the third century; or writers from Irenaeus to the Nicene Council; partly Greek, partly Latin. 3. (A. D. 325—590). The Post-Nicene Latin Fathers. 4. (A. D. 325-750). The Post-Nicene Greek Fathers." (Apostolic Fathers, Jackson, p. 11).

Our notice of the conceptions of the Fathers respecting God, can only be very brief, and consequently it will be imperfect. Only such passages from them will be quoted as are most largely representative; and from such Fathers as most influenced the thought of their times.

2. Philosophy Which Most Affected Christian Doctrine: The secular philosophies which exerted most influence upon Christian doctrine, were Platonism and Aristotelianism. It is said of them that "they have exerted more influence upon the intellectual methods of men, taking in the whole time since their appearance, than all other systems combined" (History Christian Doctrine—Shedd—Vol. I, p. 52); and further, that they contain more of truth than all other systems that do not draw from them, or are opposed to them" (Ibid, p. 53). It is conceded that neither of these philosophers is free from error; but it is claimed by Christian writers that the "Greek theism as represented in these two systems, notwithstanding its defects, affirmed the existence of God, and of one supreme God, and taught a spiritual theory of man and human life." (Ibid, p. 55-56). It is also held that upon this point of the Divine Existence, or "Being," however much the two philosophers differ in their methods of thought and explanation, there is really no great difference between them (Ibid, pp. 56-58; and foot notes where a number of authorities are quoted to the same effect with Shedd). It should be remembered, that for myself, I limit the practical concurrence of the two simply to the existence of the Supreme Being; and in this conclusion I find the support of Maurice, who, in describing the efforts of Pico (15th century) to reconcile the Metaphysics of Plato and Aristotle, says:

"Those who professed themselves Platonists pure and simple, insisted that Unity [Oneness] had been distinguished from Being by Plato, and had been exalted above Being; that on the contrary Being, according to Aristotle, is identical with Unity. This was the point on which the philosophers were supposed to disagree. . . . . . Dealing only with the ontological, or as we call them, the metaphysical treatise, of the great master [Aristotle], he [Pico] has little difficulty in showing that he was no disparager of Unity, any more than Plato was a disparager of Being . . . . . . . . . . He is able to maintain with great plausibility and force, that Aristotle, no less than Plato, regarded Being and Unity as meeting in God, and as vital objects for human search because they meet in him." (Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy—Maurice—Vol. II, pp. 80-81).

3. The Christian Doctrine of God: In order to understand the Patristic conceptions of God, I find it necessary to state, even if ever so briefly, the doctrine of God as taught by the Messiah and the Apostles; and for this purpose I use a statement of that doctrine from Year Book II; Lesson XXXVI.

"The existence of God both Jesus and the Apostles accepted as a fact. In all the teachings of the former He nowhere seeks to prove God's existence. He assumes that, and proceeds from that basis with His doctrine. He declares the fact that God was His Father, and frequently calls Himself the Son of God.[2] After His resurrection and departure into heaven, the Apostles taught that He, the Son of God, was with God the Father in the beginning; that He, as well as the Father, was God; that under the direction of the Father He was the Creator of the world; that without Him was not anything made that was made.[3] That in Him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily;[4] and that He was the express image of the Father's person.[5] Jesus Himself taught that He and the Father were one;[6] that whosoever had seen Him had seen the Father also;[7] that it was part of His mission to reveal God, the Father, through His own personality; for as was the Son, so too was the Father.[8] Hence Jesus was God manifested in flesh—a revelation of God to the world.[9] That is, a revelation not only of the being of God, but of the kind of being God is.

"Jesus also taught (and in doing so showed in what the 'oneness' of Himself and His Father consisted) that the disciples might be one with Him, and also one with each other, as He and the Father were one.[10] Not one in person—not all merged into one individual, and all distinctions of personality lost; but one in mind, in knowledge, in love, in will—one by reason of the indwelling in all of the one spirit, even as the mind and will of God the Father was also in Jesus Christ.[11]

"The Holy Ghost, too, was upheld by the Christian religion to be God.[12] Jesus ascribed to Him a distinct personality; as proceeding from the Father; as sent forth in the name of the Son, as weeling love; experiencing grief; as forbidding; as abiding; as teaching; as bearing witness; as appointing to work; and as interceding for men. All of which clearly establishes for Him a personality." (Mormon Doctrine of Deity—Roberts—Ch. iv.).

4. The Trinity of the Christian Doctrine: "The distinct personality of these three individual Gods (united however into one Godhead or Divine Council), was made apparent at the baptism of Jesus; for as He, God the Son, came up out of the water from His baptism at the hands of John, a manifestation of the presence of the Holy Ghost was given in the sign of the dove which rested upon Jesus, while out of the glory of heaven the voice of God the Father was heard saying, 'This,' referring to Jesus, 'is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' The distinctness of the personality of each member of the Godhead is also shown by the commandment to baptize those who believe in the Gospel equally in the name of each person of the Holy Trinity. That is, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Matt. xxviii, 19-20.) And again, also in the Apostolic benediction, viz., 'The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.' (II Cor. xiii, 14.)

"These three Personages constitute the Christian Godhead, the Holy Trinity. In early Christian theology they were regarded as the Supreme Governing and Creating Power in heaven and in earth. Of which Trinity the Father was worshipped in the name of the Son, while the Holy Ghost bore record of both the Father and the Son. And though the Holy Trinity was made up of three distinct persons, yet did they constitute but one Godhead, or Supreme Governing Power.

"The foregoing doctrine of God, taught to the Christians in Apostolic times, awakened their pious reverence without exciting their curiosity. They dealt with no metaphysical abstractions, but were contented to accept the teachings of the Apostles in humble faith, and believed that Jesus Christ was the complete manifestation of Deity, and the express image of God His Father; and hence a revelation to them of God; while the Holy Ghost they accepted as God's witness and messenger to them." (Ibid, Ch. iv.).

5. Patristic Arguments for the Divine Existence: The main argument of the Christian Fathers for the Divine Existence, as already stated (Lesson 3, note 11), rested upon the innate consciousness of the human mind. "But," says Shedd, in his History of Christian Doctrine (Vol. I, p. 230):

"But whenever a formal demonstration was attempted in the Patristic period, the a posteriori[13] was the method employed. The physico-theological argument, derived from the harmony visible in the works of creation, was used by Irenaeus to prove the doctrine of the unity and simplicity of the Divine Nature, in opposition to Polytheism and Gnosticism—the former of which held to a multitude of Gods, and the latter to a multitude of aeons. The teleological argument, derived from the universal presence of a design in creation, was likewise employed in the Patristic theology." (Shedd's History of Christian Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 267).

6. The Trinity of the Apostolic Fathers: "The Apostolic Fathers lived before the rise of the two principal Anti-Trinitarian theories described in a previous section, and hence attempted no speculative construction of the doctrine of the trinity. They merely repeat the Biblical phraseology, without endeavoring to collect and combine the data of revelation into a systematic form. They invariably speak of Christ as divine; and make no distinction in their modes of thought and expression, between the deity of the Son and that of the Father. These immediate pupils of the Apostles enter into no speculative investigation of the doctrine of the Logos, and content themselves with the simplest and most common expressions respecting the trinity. In these expressions, however, the germs of the future so-called scientific statement may be discovered; and it is the remark of Meier, one of the fairest of those who have written the history of Trinitarianism, that the beings of an immanent trinity can be seen in the writings of the practical and totally unspeculative Apostolic Fathers."[14] (Shedd, Vol. I, 261-265.)

7. The Patristic View of the Divinity of the Christ: "The following extracts from their writings are sufficient to indicate the freedom with which the Apostolic Fathers apply the term 'God' to the second Person, who is most commonly conceived of as the God-man, and called Jesus Christ by them.

"'Brethren' says Clement of Rome (Ep. II, Ch. 1), 'we ought to conceive of Jesus Christ as of God, as of the judge of the living and the dead.' Ignatius addresses, in his greeting, the church at Ephesus, as 'united and elected by a true passion, according to the will of the Father, and of Jesus Christ our God.' Writing to the church at Rome, he describes them, in his greeting, as 'illuminated by the will of Him who willeth all things that are according to the love of Jesus Christ our God'; and desires for them 'abundant and uncontaminated salvation in Jesus Christ our God.' He also urges them (Ch. 3), to mind invisible rather than earthly things, for 'the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal. For even our God, Jesus Christ being in the Father, (i. e., having ascended again to the Father) is more glorified' (in the invisible world than when upon earth). He enjoins it upon the Trallian[15] Church (Ch. 7), to 'continue inseparable from God, even Jesus Christ'; and says to the Smyrnaean Church, 'glorify Jesus Christ, even God, who has given you such wisdom." (Shedd, Vol. I, pp. 265-6).

8. Patristic Allusion to the Trinity: "The following allusions to the trinity occur in the Apostolic Fathers: Clement of Rome, in his first epistles to the Corinthians (Ch. 46), asks, 'Have we not one God, and one Christ? Is there not one Spirit of Grace, who is poured out upon us, and one calling in Christ?' Polycarp, according to the Letter of the Smyrna Church (Ch. 14), closed his prayer at the stake with the glowing ascription:

"For this, and for all things, I praise Thee, I bless Thee, I glorify Thee, together with the eternal and heavenly Jesus, Thy beloved Son; with whom to Thee, and the Holy Ghost, be glory, both now, and to all succeeding ages. Amen." Ignatius, in his epistle to the Magnesians (Ch. 13), places the Son first in the enumeration of the three persons in the trinity; 'Study, that whatsoever ye do, ye may prosper both in body and spirit, in faith and charity, in the Son, and in the Father, and in the Holy Spirit,' * * * following in this particular St. Paul in 2 Cor. 12:12. Barnabas (Epist. Ch. 5) finds the trinity in the Old Testament. 'For this cause, the Lord endured to suffer for our souls, although He was Lord of the whole earth, to whom He (the Father) said before the making of the world: 'Let us make man after Our own image and likeness." (Shedd, Vol. I, p. 267).

9. Origin of Christian Creeds: It is quite possible that the origin of creeds expressing the doctrine of Deity, grew out of certain declarations made by the Apostles, and the felt need of fixing upon some definite conception of God as a ground of Christian faith and membership in the Church. Perhaps the now famous confession of St. Peter was the first step in this direction. "Whom do ye say that I am?" inquired Jesus of the Apostles. "And Simon Peter answered and said: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Whereupon the Master declared that the Father had revealed this truth to the Apostle, and that upon it He (the Christ) would build His Church. (Matt. xvi, 13-21).

As an instance of the felt need of a confession warranting entrance to the Church, take the case of the officer of the court of Queen Candace. After being instructed of Philip, he inquired—"What doth hinder me to be baptized?" "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest." And the officer answered—"I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." The chariot was halted straight way, and the baptism was performed. (Acts. viii).

10. "The Apostles' Creed:" It is doubtful if the creed bearing the Apostolic title was formulated by the Apostles. Dr Mosheim doubts of the Apostles formulating it, in the following language. "There is indeed extant, a brief summary of Christian doctrines which is called the 'Apostles Creed'; and which from the fourth century onward, was attributed to Christ's Ambassadors themselves. But at this day, all who have any knowledge of antiquity, confess unanimously that this opinion is a mistake and has no foundation." (Institutes Cent. I, Part 2, ch. 3). To this, also, substantially agrees Dr. Neander (Gen'l. History of the Christian Religion and Church, Vol. I, pp. 306-307).

But while the simple formula may be of doubtful origin, it unquestionably belongs to the Patristic period, and doubtless to the period of the Apostolic Fathers, and would not be altogether unworthy of the Apostles themselves. The Creed follows:

"I believe in God, the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Ghost, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, buried, arose from the dead on the third day, ascended to the heavens, and sits at the right hand of the Father; whence he will come, to judge the living and the dead; and in the Holy Spirit; the holy church; the remission of sins; and the resurrection of the body."

11. Comment on the Apostles' Creed: As already observed, the statement of the Christian faith as formulated in the Apostles' Creed, so far as its doctrine of the Godhead is concerned, might well be accredited to the Apostles, so unexceptional is it in the plain statement of truth respecting the doctrine of God, as that doctrine may be gathered from the scriptures. But the matter in the Patristic period did not stop here, and perhaps it could not stop with the statement of this first formula of a creed. Not only had the existence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to be affirmed, but the nature of that existence had to be declared, and the relationship of the persons of the Trinity also had to be stated. Moreover, the relationship of this Christian doctrine to the Greek and Oriental philosophies had to be explained. If in harmony with these preceding philosophies which dealt with God—for knowledge of God, or the "Supreme Being," is always the object of philosophy—then it must be stated in what the harmony consists; if in antagonism to them, the points of antagonism must be stated and justified, and the superiority of the Christian doctrine vindicated. It may be all very well for safe and formal men to state a truth within the lines of common-place facts, and say "We will be content with this and beyond it we will not go;" but a creed or book once formulated and published to the world, remains no longer the possession of those who published it. It belongs to the world, and the world will have its way with it. If there are defects in it, from any cause whatsoever, the world will find them out, let the defects be what they may—under-statement of the truth, over-statement of the truth, misstatement of the truth, or exact statement of the truth—all will come out, and Time, the arbitrator for truth, will pronounce his judgment, resulting in condemnation or justification.

So it proved to be with this first formulated Christian Creed. It was all very well to say, "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son," and so following. But the adult question came, and it was inevitable that it should come—"What is the nature of this 'Father Almighty,' and of this 'Son,' and what their relationship?" (For greater detail of consideration of this line of questioning, see Year Book II, Lesson 37, note 2). Seeking an answer to these questions, brought the Christian Fathers of our period in contact with both Oriental and Greek philosophy; and soon the tendency to harmonize the facts of Christian doctrine with Pagan philosophies set in, resulting eventually in the paganization of the Christian doctrine. (For further discussion on this head see Year Book II, Lesson 37).


1. "Patristic: Of or pertaining to the fathers of the Christian Church: a patristic theology; patristic writings." (Cent. Dictionary.)

2. John x; Matt. xxvii; Mark xiv: 61, 62.

3. For all of which see John i: 1-4, 14; Heb. i: 1-3.

4. Col. i: 15-19, and ii: 9.

5. John xiv: 9, II Cor. iv: 4: and Heb. i: 3. Col. i: 17.

6. John x: 30, xvii: 11-22.

7. John, xiv: 9.

8. John xiv: 10, 11, 19, 20; also John xvii.

9. Tim. iii: 16.

10. John xvii.

11. Eph. iii: 14-19.

12. Acts v: 1-14. To lie to the Holy Ghost is to lie to God, because the Holy Ghost is God.

13. From a consequent to its antecedent, from effects to causes.

14. Clement of Rome; Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch; Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna; Barnabas (not Paul's companion), see Mosheim Inst., Vol. I, p. 77; Hermas, and Papias, Bishop of Hieropolis.

15. In ancient geography, Tralles was a city of Asia Minor, situated near the Menander, 228 miles east—southeast of Ephesus.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




VI. The Nicene Creed.

All the authorities cited in Lesson xxv. Also "Plato's Republic" and "Timaeus." Outlines of Lectures on the History of Philosophy (Elmendorf's) Art. on Plato and St. Augustine, Chs. iv, v, vi, vii.

Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy (Maurice). Art. Plato. St. Athanaus and St Augustine, Vol. I. For Orthodox Explanation of Nicene and Athanasian Principles, see Hodge's "Commentary on the Confession of Faith" (Presbyterian), Ch. ii. Also "The Nicene Creed, a Manual for Candidates for Holy Orders" (J. J. Lias, M. A.), Chs. i-iv.

A History of Christian Councils, From Original Documents, by C. J. Hegele, D. D. Translated from the German by Wm. R. Clark.

VII. Creed of St. Athanasius.

VIII. The Arian Controversy.

IX. Origin of Metaphysical Difficulties.

X. Methods of Arriving at the Conception of "Pure Being."

XI. Patristic Doctrine of God of Pagan Origin.

SPECIAL TEXT: "There shall be false teachers among you who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them." II Peter ii, 1.


1. The Nicene Creed: The next official formulation of alleged Christian doctrine after the "Apostles Creed," was the creed drafted at the council of Nicea, in Bithynia, 325 A. D., as follows:

"We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, creator of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, only-begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of the same substance with the Father, by whom all things were made in heaven and in earth, who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, was incarnate, was made man, suffered, rose again the third day, ascended into the heavens, and He will come to judge the living and the dead; and in the Holy Ghost. Those who say there was a time when He was not, and He was not before He was begotten, and He was made of nothing (he was created), or who say that He is of another hypostatis, or of another substance (than the Father), or that the Son of God is created, that He is mutable, or subject to change, the Catholic church anathematizes."[1]

2. Creed of St. Athanasius: Nearly all Ecclesiastical writers doubt of Athanasius being the author of the creed accredited to him; but all agree, nevertheless, that it is an orthodox explanation of the Nicene Creed. "This creed was evidently composed long after the death of the great theologian whose name it bears, and after the controversies closed and the definitions established by the councils of Ephesus (A. D. 431), and Chalcedon (A. D. 451). It is a grand (?) and unique (!) monument of the unchangeable faith of the whole Church as to the great mysteries of Godliness, the Trinity of the Persons in the one God, and the duality of natures in the one Christ." (Commentary on the confession of Faith—Presbyterian—by Rev. A. A. Hodges, D. D., 1870. Designed for Theological Students, ch. i, pp. 6, 7.) The creed follows:

"We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is all one; the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet there are not three eternals, but one eternal. As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreate, but one uncreate and one incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Ghost almighty; and yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty. So the Father is God, the Son, is God, and the Holy Ghost is God; and yet there are not three Gods, but one God."

"So, likewise, the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For likewise as we are compelled by the Christian verity: to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord. So are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say: There be three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father; not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.

"And in this Trinity none is afore, or after, other; none is greater, or less than another; but the whole three Persons are co-eternal together, and co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped. He, therefore, that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.

"Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation; that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess: that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Substance of his Mother, born in the world; perfect God, and perfect man; of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting; equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching his Manhood. Who, although he be God and Man, yet he is not two, but one Christ; one, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God; one altogether, not by confusion of Substance, but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ; who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty; from whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At Whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works." (Common Prayer, Church of England.) (For comment upon this creed, see Year Book II, Lesson xxxvii.)

3. Pro Et Con of the Arian Controversy: The orthodox doctrine of deity for the Patristic period, is found in the last two creeds quoted, still it is well enough to give each side of the controversy, out of which the creeds were born, opportunity to state its own case. Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, Egypt, states the orthodox side. He first represents Arius, leader of the opposition, as:

"Denying the divinity of our Saviour, pronounced him on a level with all other creatures. He says that they held, there was a time when the Son of God was not; and he who once had no existence, afterwards did exist; and from that time was, what every man naturally is; for (say they) [the Arians] 'God made all things of nothing, including the Son of God, in this creation of all things, both rational and irrational; and of course, pronouncing Him to be of a changeable nature, and capable of virtue and of sin.'" Then, affirmatively, Alexander gives his own views as follows:

"We believe, as the Apostolic Church does, in the only unbegotten Father, who derived his existence from no one, and is immutable and unalterable, always the same and uniform, unsusceptible of increase of diminution; the giver of the law, and the prophets, and the gospels; Lord of the patriarchs and apostles, and of all saints; and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, not begotten from nothing, but from the living Father; and not after the manner of material bodies, by separations and effluxes of parts, as Sabellius and Valentinian supposed, but in an inexplicable and indescribable manner, agreeably to the declaration before quoted: 'Who shall declare his generation?' For His existence is inscrutable to all mortal beings, just as the Father is inscrutable; because created intelligences are incapable of understanding this divine generation from the Father—'No one knoweth what the Father is, but the Son; and no one knoweth what the Son is, but the Father.'

"He is unchangeable, as much as the Father; lacks nothing; is the perfect Son, and the absolute likeness of the Father, save only that He is not unbegotten. * * * Therefore, to the unbegotten Father, His proper dignity must be preserved. And to the Son, also, suitable honor must be given, by ascribing to Him an eternal generation from the Father."

Arius, making complaint that he is persecuted by Alexander—states first the position of his adversary thus: Arius and his friends are persecuted—"Because we do not agree with him, publicly asserting that God always was, and the Son always was; that He was always the Father, always the Son; that the Son was of God himself." Then stating his own position affirmatively, he says:

"We have taught, and still teach, that the Son is not unbegotten, nor a portion of the unbegotten, in any manner; nor was He formed out of any subjacent matter, but that in will and purpose, he existed before all times and before all worlds, perfect God, the only begotten, unchangeable; and that before He was begotten, or created, or purposed, or established, He was not; for He was never unbegotten. We are persecuted, because we say, the Son had a beginning, but God was without beginning. We are also persecuted, because we say, that He is from nothing; and this we say, inasmuch as He is not a portion of God, nor formed from any subjacent matter. Therefore we are persecuted. The rest you know." (Mosheim, Vol. I, p. 288—Notes).

The Differences Summed Up: Summing up the differences between the two parties, Murdock, the able translator and annotator of Mosheim, says: "According to these statements, both the Arians and the orthodox considered the Son of God the Saviour of the World, as a derived existence, and as generated by the Father. But they differed on two points. (1.) The orthodox believed His generation was from eternity, so that he was coeval with the Father. But the Arians believed there was a time when the Son was not. (2.) The orthodox believed the Son to be derived of and from the Father; so that He was of the same essence with the Father. But the Arians believed that He was formed out of nothing, by the creative power of God. Both, however, agreed in calling Him God, and in ascribing to Him divine perfections. As to His offices, or His being the Saviour of sinful men, it does not appear that they differed materially in their views." (Ibid).

4. Origin of These Metaphysical Difficulties: Undoubtedly it was contact with Oriental and Greek philosophical vagaries, and seeking to harmonize the facts of revelation, with these vagaries, that led to the intellectual difficulties of patristic Christianity. The temptation to seek such harmony, was strong. Already a similar work had been done for the Jews at Alexandria, under the leadership of Philo. He found, in the lofty speculations of Plato, the wisdom of Moses and of Solomon; and in the second century of the Christian Era, Numenius could ask "What is Plato but Moses talking Attic?" "The arms of Macedonians," remarks Gibbon," diffused over Asia and Egypt the language and learning of Greece"; and with that language and learning, and as part of the latter, went the philosophy of Plato, until among the learned and influential it was largely the ground plan of their thinking. The Christians, in the first three centuries of their existence, had been despised sectaries, with no standing among those who made any pretensions to learning; so that when there came opportunity to show identity between the holy trinity of the Christian faith, and the supposed trinity of Plato's philosophy; and identity of the "word" of John's Gospel with the "Logos" of Plato's divine "being," it was seized upon with avidity, not alone, it is to be feared, because of the semblance of truth that was seen in the two things, but also because of the advantages that struggling Christianity would secure by linking the theology of the church with the philosophy of the Academy. "The lofty speculations," says Gibbon, "which neither convinced the understanding nor agitated the passions of the Platonists themselves, were carelessly overlooked by the idle, the busy, and even the studious part of mankind. But after the 'Logos' had been revealed as the sacred object of the faith, the hope, and the religious worship of the Christians, the mysterious system was embraced by a numerous and increasing multitude in every province of the Roman world. Those persons who, from their age, or sex, or occupations, were the least qualified to judge, who were the least exercised in the habits of abstract reasoning, aspired to contemplate the economy of the divine nature; and it is the boast of Tertullian, that a Christian mechanic could easily answer such questions as had perplexed the wisest of the Grecian sages. Where the subject lies so far beyond our reach, the difference between the highest and the lowest of human understandings may indeed be calculated as infinitely small, yet the degree of weakness may perhaps be measured by the degree of obstinacy and dogmatic confidence." What more is necessary to know upon this topic, can be learned from the note entitled "Patristic Doctrine of God of Pagan Rather than of Christian Origin," and Lesson xxxvii, in Year Book II.

5. The Manner of Apprehending "That Which Is"—God: The manner of apprehending God—"that which is"—by the Christian Fathers, is very similar to the method of the pagan philosophers in apprehending "being"—or the "absolute." Take two examples of this process; the first from Plato's "Republic," a conversation between teacher and pupil; the second from the confessions of Augustine; where the father describes how he came to his apprehension of God:

It is necessary first to remind the student that in Plato's philosophy the "supreme being" is "being absolutely bare of quality." Of Him it can only be said that he is not what he is. In Timaeus, Plato says: "We say, indeed, that 'he was,' 'he is,' 'he will be,' but the truth is that 'he is;' alone truly expresses him." (Jowett's Translation, Vol. 2, p. 530.) And now as to the method of arriving at the apprehension of the "infinite being," or the "absolute," through the medium of finite or relative things; and which, in the case here quoted from Plato, is from "relative beauty" to "absolute beauty"; the same process, however, may be followed from "finite being" to "infinite being."

"This is the distinction which I draw between the sight-loving, art-loving, practical class, and those of whom I am speaking, and who are alone worthy of the name of philosophers.

"How do you distinguish them? he said.

"The lovers of sounds and sights, I replied, are, as I conceive, fond of fine tones and colors and forms, and all the artificial products that are made out of them, but their mind is incapable of seeing or loving absolute beauty.

"That is true, he replied.

"Few are they who are able to attain the sight of absolute beauty.

"Very true.

"And he who, having a sense of beautiful things, has no sense of absolute beauty, or who, if another lead him to a knowledge of that beauty, is unable to follow—of such an one, I ask, Is he awake or in a dream only? * * * *

"I should certainly say that such an one was dreaming.

"But take the case of the other, who recognizes the existence of absolute beauty, and is able to distinguish the idea from the objects which participate in the idea, neither putting the objects in the place of the idea nor the idea in the place of the objects—is he a dreamer? or is he awake?

"He is the reverse of a dreamer, he replied.

"And may we not say that the mind of the one has knowledge, and that the mind of the other has opinion only?


And how Augustine, the Christian father, spoken of as "the brightest, clearest, most comprehensive" of Christian philosophers. ("Lectures on the History of Christian Philosophy"—Elmendorf—p. 92):

"And I inquired what iniquity was, and found it to be no substance, but the perversion of the will, turned aside from Thee, O God, the Supreme, towards these lower things, and casting out its bowels, and puffed up outwardly.

"And I wondered that I now loved Thee, and no phantasm for thee. And yet did I not press on to enjoy my God; but was borne up to Thee by Thy beauty, and soon borne down from Thee by mine own weight, sinking with sorrow into these inferior things. This weight was carnal custom. Yet dwelt there with me a remembrance of Thee; nor did I any way doubt, that there was One to Whom I might cleave, but that I was not yet such as to cleave to Thee; for that 'the body which is corrupted, presseth down the soul, and the earthly tabernacle weigheth down the mind that museth upon many things.' And most certain I was, that 'Thy invisible works from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even Thy eternal power and God-head.' For examining whence it was that I admired the beauty of bodies celestial or terrestrial; and what aided me in judging soundly on things mutable, and pronouncing, 'This ought to be thus, this not'; examining, I say, whence it was that I so judged, seeing I did so judge, I had found the unchangeable and true Eternity of Truth above my changeable mind. And thus, by degrees, I passed from bodies to the soul, which through the bodily senses perceives; and thence to its inward faculty, to which the bodily senses represent things external, whitherto reaches the faculties of beasts; and thence again to the reasoning faculty, to which what is received from the senses of the body, is referred to be judged. Which, finding itself also to be in me a thing variable, raised itself up to its own understanding, and drew away my thoughts from the power of habit, withdrawing itself from those troops of contradictory phantasms; that so it might find what that light was, whereby it was bedewed, when, without all doubting, it cried out:

"'That the unchangeable was to be preferred to the changeable'; whence also it knew That Unchangeable, which, unless it had in some way known, it had had no sure ground to prefer it to the changeable. And thus with the flash of one trembling glance it arrived at That Which Is. And then I saw 'Thy invisible things understood by the things which are made.'"

6. Patristic Doctrine of God of Pagan Rather Than of Christian Origin—Data Not in the Old Testament: The data for the doctrine that God is "pure being," "being absolutely bare of all quality," are not found in the Old Testament, for that teaches the plainest anthropomorphic ideas respecting God. It ascribes to Him a human form, and many qualities and attributes possessed by man, which, in the minds of orthodox Christian philosophers, limit Him who must be, to their thinking, without any limitation whatsoever, either as to essence, or form, or passion, or quality; and ascribes relativity to Him who, according to their conceptions, must not be relative but absolute. The passage usually depended upon as giving the data for this "being absolutely bare of quality," and that is held to identify the ground plan of the philosophy of Moses and Plato—"I am that I am"—the God who appeared to Moses in the burning bush; and Who replied when the Hebrew prophet asked what he should say when the Egyptians and Israel should ask who had sent him—"Say, I Am sent me;" that is the Self-Existing One sent me. This passage, I say, does not furnish the data for the Orthodox Christian conception of God, that He is "being, absolutely free from all quality"; not material (the "without body" of the creeds), without parts, and without passions; for to be self-existent does not demand the absence of quality; indeed, to be without quality, run to its last analysis, would mean non-existence.

Data Not in the New Testament: The data for the doctrine of God's absolute "simplicity," or, "being absolutely without quality," do not come from the New Testament; for the writers of that volume of scripture accept the doctrine of the Old Testament respecting God, and even emphasize its anthropomorphic ideas, by representing that the man Christ Jesus was in the "express image" of God, the Father's person; was, in fact, God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3: 16); "the image of the invisible God" (Col. 1: 5); God, the Word, who was made flesh, and dwelt among men, and they beheld His glory (St. John 1:1-14). Hence the Orthodox Christian doctrine of God's "simplicity" cannot claim the warrant of New Testament authority.

Data Found in Pagan Doctrines: It is easy, however, to trace this doctrine to Pagan sources. Plato, in his Timaeus (Jowett's translation, p. 530), incidentally referring to God, in connection with the creation of the universe, says: "We say indeed that 'he was,' 'he is,' 'he will be,' but the truth is that 'he is' alone truly expresses him, and that 'was' and 'will be' are only to be spoken of generation in time."

Here, then, is the Orthodox Christian doctrine of "pure being," "most simple," "not compound."

Again: "We must acknowledge that there is one kind of being which is always the same, uncreated and indestructible, never receiving anything into itself from without, nor itself giving out to any other, but invisible and imperceptible by any sense, and of which the sight is granted to intelligence only." (Ibid. p. 454). Here the Orthodox Christian may find his God, 'who cannot change with regard to his existence, nor with regard to his mode of existence.' Also his God who can only be seen with the 'soul's intellectual perception, elevated by a supernatural influx from God.' Dr. Mosheim, in his account of Plato's idea of God, says: "He considered the Deity, to whom he gave the supreme governance of the universe, as a being of the highest wisdom and power, and totally unconnected with any material substance." (Mosheim's "Historical Commentaries on the State of Christianity, During the First Three Hundred Years," Vol. 1. p. 37).

To the same effect, also, Justin Martyr (second Christian century) generalizes and accepts as doctrine what may be gathered from the sixth book of Plato's "Republic," with reference to God. To the Jew, Trypho, Justin remarks: "The Deity, Father, is not to be viewed by the organs of sight, like other creatures, but He is to be comprehended by the mind alone, as Plato declares, and I believe him. * * * * Plato tells us that the eye of the mind is of such a nature, and was given us to such an end, as to enable us to see with it by itself, when pure, that Being who is the source of whatever is an object of the mind itself, who has neither color, nor shape, nor size, nor anything which the eye can see, but who is above all essence, who is ineffable, and undefinable, who is alone beautiful and good, and who is at once implanted into those souls who are naturally well born, through their relationship to and desire of seeing him."

Athanasius (third Christian century) quotes the same definition (Contra Gentes, ch. 2), almost verbatim. Turning again to the Timaeus of Plato, this question is asked: "What is that which always is and has no becoming; and what is that which is always becoming and has never any being? That which is apprehended by reflection and reason [God] always is; and is the same; that on the other hand which is conceived by opinion, with the help of sensation without reason [the material universe], is in a process of becoming and perishing but never really is. * * * * Was the world [universe], always in existence and without beginning? or created and having a beginning? Created, I reply." In this, the orthodox Christians may find their God of pure "being," that never is "becoming," but always is; also the creation of the universe out of nothing.

Pagan Origin of Doctrine of God Admitted: "In his great work on the 'History of Christian Doctrine,' Mr. William G. T. Shedd says (Vol. I, p. 56): "The early Fathers, in their defenses of Christianity against their pagan opponents, contend that the better pagan writers themselves agree with the new religion in teaching that there is one Supreme Being. Lactantius (Institutiones, 1, 5), after quoting the Orphic Poets, Hesiod, Virgil, and Ovid, in proof that the heathen poets taught the unity of the supreme deity, affirms that the better pagan philosophers agree with them in this. 'Aristotle,' he says, 'although he disagrees with himself, and says many things that are self-contradictory, yet testifies that one supreme mind rules over the world. Plato, who is regarded as the wisest philosopher of them all, plainly and openly defends the doctrine of a divine monarchy, and denominates the supreme being, not ether, nor reason, nor nature, but as he is, God; and asserts that by him this perfect and admirable world was made. And Cicero follows Plato, frequently confessing the deity, and calls him the supreme being, in his Treatise on the Laws.'"

"It is conceded by Christian writers that the Christian doctrine of God is not expressed in New Testament terms, but in the terms of Greek and Roman metaphysics, as witness the following from the very able article in the Encyclopedia Britannica on 'Theism,' by the Rev. Dr. Flint, Professor of Divinity, University of Edinburgh: 'The proposition constitutive of the dogma of the Trinity—the propositions in the symbols of Nice, Constantinople and Toledo, relative to the immanent distinctions and relations in the Godhead—were not drawn directly from the New Testament, and could not be expressed in New Testament terms. They were the product of reason speculating on a revelation to faith—the New Testament representation of God as a Father, a Redeemer and a Sanctifier—with a view to conserve and vindicate, explain and comprehend it. They were only formed through centuries of effort, only elaborated by the aid of the conceptions, and formulated in the terms of Greek and Roman metaphysics.' The same authority says: 'The massive defense of theism, erected by the Cambridge school of philosophy, against atheism, fatalism, and the denial of moral distinctions, was avowedly built on a Platonic foundation.'" (See note).

Guizot, the eminent stateman and historian of France, in one of his lectures of which this is a sub-division of the title—"Of the Transition from Pagan Philosophy to Christian Theology"—says, in concluding his treatment of this theme: "I have thus exhibited the fact which I indicated in the outset, the fusion of Pagan philosophy with Christian theology, the metamorphosis of the one into the other. And it is remarkable, that the reasoning applied to the establishment of the spirituality of the soul is evidently derived from the ancient philosophy, rather than from Christianity, and that the author seems more especially to aim a convincing the theologians, by proving to them that the Christian faith has nothing in all this which is not perfectly reconcilable with the results derived from pure reason."

"In method of thought also, no less than in conclusions, the most influential of the Christian fathers on these subjects followed the Greek philosophers rather than the writers of the New Testament. 'Platonism, and Aristotelianism,' says the author of the 'History of Christian Doctrine,' exerted more influence upon the intellectual methods of men, taking in the whole time since their appearance, than all other systems combined. They certainly influenced the Greek mind, and Grecian culture, more than all the other philosophical systems. They reappear in Roman philosophy—so far as Rome had any philosophy. We shall see that Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero exerted more influence than all other philosophical minds united, upon the greatest of the Christian Fathers; upon the greatest of the Schoolmen; and upon the theologians of the Reformation, Calvin and Melanchthon. And if we look at European philosophy as it has been unfolded in England, Germany and France, we shall perceive that all the modern theistic schools have discussed the standing problems of human reason, in very much the same manner in which the reason of Plato and Aristotle discussed them twenty-two centuries ago. Bacon, Descartes, Leibnitz, and Kant, so far as the first principles of intellectual and moral philosophy are concerned, agree with their Grecian predecessors. A student who has mastered the two systems of the Academy and Lyceum, will find in modern philosophy (with the exception of the department of natural science) very little that is true, that may not be found for substance, and germinally, in the Greek theism."

"It is hoped that enough is said here to establish the fact that the conception of God as 'pure being,' 'immaterial,' 'without form,' 'or parts or passions,' as held by orthodox Christianity, has its origin in Pagan philosophy, not in Jewish nor Christian revelation." (Mormon Doctrine of Deity—Roberts—pp. 114-119).


1. For a brief account of the Arian controversy which resulted in the formulation of this creed, see notes in Year Book II, Lesson xxxvii; also note 3, this Lesson.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Mediaeval Period and Schools of Thought.

The works cited in Lessons xxv and xxvi will be helpful in this Lesson under the topics of the analysis; and of course the authorities cited in the notes of this lesson.

II. Definitions.

III. Representative Doctors of the Various Schools of Thought:

1. Erigena, Extreme Realist.

2. Roscelina, of Compiegne, Extreme Nominalist.

3. Anselm, Realist.

4. Thomas Aquinas, Properly Neither Realist nor Nominalist, Scholastic.

5. Eckhart, Mystic.

SPECIAL TEXT: "And without controversy, great is the mystery of Godliness." I. Tim. iii, 16.


1. The Mediaeval Period: The Patristic Period, according to our announced grouping of the Christian Fathers, extended to 750 A. D. and included in the enumeration of the fathers John of Damascus. The Mediaeval Period will extend from the above date to the middle of the sixteenth century, which brings us to the establishment of Protestantism, and the commencement, theologically, of the modern world. This gives us a period of eight hundred years. "Of this period," says Shedd, "not more than four centuries witnessed any great activity of the theological mind."

The "Orthodox Christian" doctrine of God for this period, and for matter of that, for all subsequent periods, was fixed by the Nicene Creed and the creed of St. Athanasius, quoted in Lesson 26. The effort of the Christian scholars of the Mediaeval Period was to maintain, first, the truthfulness of these creeds against skepticism and doubts within the Church itself; and, second, to reconcile the creeds with reason, and develop patristic philosophy into something like system (History of Philosophy—Elmendorf—p. 102). However, "As there is never a proper end to reasoning which proceeds on a false foundation," to quote Cicero, the efforts of the schoolmen were not very successful, and resulted in multiplying systems of philosophy, rather than in bringing the patristic doctrine into harmony with reason. The systems of thought developed by these efforts may be classed under three heads: Realism, Nominalism, and Mysticism. A brief definition of each will be necessary.

2. Definitions—"Realism:" Realism divides into two classes, extreme and moderate. (1) "Extreme realism taught that universals were substances or things, existing independently of and separate from particulars; this was the essence of Plato's ideas." (Cent. Dict.) The thinking process of the realist is admirably depicted in Note 5, Lesson xxvi, where St. Augustine describes his rise from the conception of the "changeable" to the "Unchangeable," and "thus with the flash of one trembling glance," arrived at the conception of "that which is"—to the real—to the universal—to the apprehension of "God."

"Moderate Realism also taught that universals were substances, but only as dependent upon and inseparable from individuals, in which each inhered; that is, each universal inhered in each of the particulars ranged under it. This was the theory of Aristotle, who held that the individual thing was the first essence, while universals were only second essences, real in a less complete sense than first essences. He thus reversed the Platonic doctrine, which attributed the fullest reality to universals only, and a participative reality to individuals." (Cent. Dict.)

Elmendorf represents moderate realism as recognizing that "the universal has objective reality, as to its contents, in individuals"—(i. e., the universal is expressed through individuals).

Nominalism: Nominalism also divides into two classes, extreme and moderate. "Extreme nominalism taught that universals had no substantive or objective existence at all, but were merely empty names or words. Moderate nominalism or 'conceptualism' taught that universals have no substantive existence at all, but yet are more than mere names signifying nothing; and that they exist really, though only subjectively, as concepts in the mind, of which names are the vocal symbols." (Cent. Dict.).

Mysticism: "Mysticism is a phase of thought, or rather perhaps of feeling, which from its very nature is hardly susceptible of exact definition. It appears in connection with the endeavor of the human mind to grasp the divine essence or the ultimate reality of things, and to enjoy the blessedness of actual communication with the Highest. More specifically, a form of religious belief which is founded upon mysticism, spiritual experience, not discriminated or tested and systematized in thought. 'Mysticism and rationalism' represent opposite poles of theology, rationalism regarding the reason as the highest faculty of man and the sole arbiter in all matters of religious doctrine; mysticism, on the other hand, declaring that spiritual truth cannot be apprehended by the logical faculty, nor adequately expressed in terms of the understanding." (Cent. Dict.). Mysticism may also be regarded as the result of "a despair of reason, a refuge in higher intuitions." (Elmendorf.) These definitions may be regarded as difficult, but I know of no way by which the ideas considered can be more simply explained. The definitions should be discussed until mastered. Perhaps they will grow in clearness after considering the rest of the notes of this lesson.

3. Explanatory: Limiting our inquiry concerning the philosophy of this mediaeval period to the doctrine of God, and selecting an expression of that doctrine from an illustrious representative of each school of thought, may be of assistance in forming a clearer understanding of the definitions given in previous notes, and likewise represent the leading conceptions of God that obtained in the period under consideration.

4. John Scotus Erigena: Extreme realist, and something of a Mystic; "Man finds not God, but God finds himself in man," (Elmendorf) is the keynote of this philosopher's teaching. Erigena was born in Ireland, 800 A. D. Made a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Plato and Aristotle A. D. 825; "and indulged the hope of uniting philosophy and religion in the manner proposed by the ecclesiastics who were studying in Spain."

"From Eastern sources, John Erigena had learned the doctrines of the eternity of matter, and even of the creation, with which, indeed, he confounded the Deity Himself. He was therefore a Pantheist, accepting the Oriental ideas of emanation and absorption, not only as respects the soul of man, but likewise all material things. In his work 'On the Nature of things,' his doctrine is, 'That, as all things were originally contained in God, and proceeded from Him into the different classes by which they are now distinguished, so shall they finally return to Him, and be absorbed in the source from which they came; in other words, that as, before the world was created, there was no being but God, and the causes of all things were in Him, so after the end of the world, there will be no being but God, and the causes of all things in Him. This final resolution he denominated deification, or theosis. He even questioned the eternity of hell, saying, with the emphasis of a Saracen, 'There is nothing eternal but God.' It was impossible under such circumstances, that he should not fall under the rebuke of the Church." (Draper's "Intellectual Development," Vol II, p. 9.)

5. Roscelin of Compiegne: Extreme Nominalist. Sometimes credited with being the originator of the system; but he was "not the originator of the system," says Elmendorf, "but its clearest exponent and sharpest defender in the eleventh century." The same authority says that he regarded "universals" as "merely universal names." A title "for the totality of things. This be applied to the doctrine of the Trinity in the form of tritheism. There are three divine essences or substances, like one another; for only individuals have a real existence"—(Hist. of Philosophy—Elmendorf—pp. 105-6.) "Roscellinus taught that whatever exists as a real thing or substance, exists as one self-identical whole, and is not susceptible of division into parts. This was the part of his teaching which created so much scandal when applied to the doctrine of the Trinity. Roscellinus maintained that it is merely a habit of speech which prevents our speaking of the three persons as three substances, or three Gods. If it were otherwise, and the three persons were really one substance or thing, we should be forced to admit that the Father and the Holy Spirit became incarnate along with the Son. Roscellinus seems to have put forward this doctrine in perfect good faith, and to have claimed for it at first the authority of Lanfranc and Anselm. In 1092, however, a council convoked by the Archbishop of Rheims, condemned his interpretation, and Roscellinus, who was in danger of being lynched by the orthodox populace, recanted his error. As his enforced penitence did not prove lasting, his opinions were condemned by a second council (1094), and he himself fled to England. Forced by a fresh persecution to return to France at a later date, he taught at Tours and Loc-menach in Brittany (where he had Abelard as a pupil), and resided latterly as canon at Besancon." (Ency. Brit.).

6. St. Anselm, Realist: Born at or near Aosta, Italy, 1033, A. D.; died at Canterbury, 1109. Credited with being the founder of scholastic theology. He held that faith is not the pre-requisite, and the regulator of knowledge, but leads to it. Also that "God can be known through reason, attempts ontological, a priori proof, from the concept of the objective existence. That than which a greater cannot be conceived cannot exist in intellect alone; for then a greater can be conceived." His doctrine is set forth in detail by Shedd: "The human mind possesses the idea of the most perfect Being conceivable. But such a being is necessarily existent; because a being whose existence is contingent, who may or may not exist, is not the most perfect that we can conceive of. But a necessarily existent Being is one that cannot be conceived of as non-existent, and therefore is an actually existent Being. Necessary existence implies actual existence. In conceiving, therefore, of a being who is more perfect than all others, the mind inevitably conceives of a real, and not an imaginary, being; in the same manner as in conceiving of a figure having three sides, it inevitably conceives of a figure having three angles." (History of Christian Doctrine—Shedd—Vol. I, pp. 231-2.)

This argument of Anselm's was attacked by a Catholic Monk of the name of Gaunilo, whose main point is that the existence of an idea of a thing does not prove the existence of the thing itself. Shedd, in order to exhibit the strength of Anselm's argument, suggests throwing it into dialogue form, thus:

Anselm: "I have the idea of the most perfect being conceivable."

Guanilo: "True; but it is a mere idea, and there is no being corresponding to it."

Anselm: "But if there is no being answering to my idea, then my idea of the most perfect being conceivable is that of an imaginary being; but an imaginary being is not the most perfect being that I can conceive of. The being who corresponds to my idea must be a real being. If, therefore, you grant me my postulate, namely, that I have the idea of the most perfect being conceivable, you concede the existence of an actual being correspondent to it." (History of Christian Doctrine—Shedd—Vol. I, p. 237.)

One feels, however, that this is but playing with and upon words, and is much of kith and kin with that other abstraction, that "the thought of God makes God." Maurice remarks upon this argument of Anselm's for the divine existence, as follows: "In the present day, when the arguments for the Divine existence from the constitution of the visible world have displaced all others in the minds of theological advocates, and when these are in their turn exposed to the severest criticism from philosophers, such a subtlety as this of Anselm's would be dismissed by both parties with indifference or scorn. Without participating in either feeling, or pre-judging the question whether the argument is tenable in itself, we may express our opinion, that in a time of clubs and newspapers, it would be a serious moral offense to introduce into discussion, upon a subject of the greatest interest to all men, that which must appear to nine out of ten a play upon words, or a conjurer's trick." (History of Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy, Vol. I, 524.)

7. Abelard, Peter: A moderate nominalist, and usually regarded as the founder of "Conceptualism." Born in Brittany, 1079. Moderate nominalist. "Inspired by Aristotle, he taught * * * * that nothing exists apart from the individual, and in it the individual only." (Elmendorf History of Philosophy, p. 108.) Abelard also held that there is "no believing antecedent to scientific understanding, and consequently that the degree of posterior faith depends upon the degree of anterior science." "Knowledge is prior to faith," was his dictum. (See Shedd, Vol. I, pp. 163, 186 et seq.)

8. St. Thomas Aquinas: Scholastic par-excellence. Born at Acquino, in the kingdom of Naples, 1225. His great effort was to reconcile faith and reason. Called the "Aristotle of the middle ages." His doctrine respecting God, condensed by Elmendorf, is:

"In God is no composition of matter or form, nor any other. He is pure actuality; for potentiality, in any sense, would imply an actuating cause.

"In Him essence and being are one.

"In Him is no imperfection, because no potentiality; all perfections which earthly things possess, being from Him, are in Him, one and indivisible.

"From God as Absolute Intelligence, follows, necessarily, the concept of God as Absolute Will. He wills what is not Himself freely, because it is not necessary to His perfection and beatitude. From this follows His Omnipotence.

"His Providence is the ordering of all things, both universal and singular, with reference to an end, for it extends as far as His knowledge and causality.

"The casual is with respect to a particular cause, not to the universal.

"Ills, corruptions, defects, are permitted in particular things, contributing to the greater good of the whole." (History of Philosophy—Elmendorf—p. 121.)

"The system of philosophical theology set forth in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, is of supreme importance in Ecclesiastical History, not only as intellectually perhaps the most perfect work of the Scholastic age, but because it has been adopted as the authoritative standard of doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church. Such pre-eminence is reported to have been assigned to Thomas by the saying of his great master, Albert, that he had "put an end to all labor even unto the world's end." * * *

"In the great controversy of the schools, Aquinas cannot be ranked strictly with either the Realists or the Nominalists; his position has been described as an Aristotelian Realist. Like the orthodox in general he ranged himself with the modern section of the Realists, who while holding that Universals—namely, genera and species—are more than mere mental abstractions, and have a real existence, yet limited them to an existence in the individual, and refused to attribute to them any antecedent or independent existence." * * * *

"In this work of buttressing authority by philosophy, and vindicating orthodoxy by the light of nature, as the way was led by Albert, so his greater pupil carried it on to perfection; and the consequence has been that the stately edifice of Systematic Theology, reared in the Church of the West by the labors of the Schools, repose on the foundation laid by the great luminary of Pagan Greece." (Smith's Students' Ecclesiastical History, Vol. II, pp. 512-515.)

Eckhart, Mystic: Born, it is thought, at Strasburg, 1250 A. D. Taught and preached through Germany. Follows to some extent Erigena, tending, unconsciously, to emanistic pantheism. "The inner ground of man's soul is Divine, a 'spark' of Deity; knowledge is a real union of subject and object. The soul's highest power is an immediate intuition of the 'Godhead' transcending the determinate.

"The Absolute is impersonal, concealed even from thought; of the 'Godhead' no predicates may be used; it is hidden in eternal darkness. In the act of self-knowledge, God is developed as the Trinity, the form of 'Godhead' which beholds itself with love;—the subject is the Father, the object is the Son, the love is the Holy Spirit. * * * *

"God is the essence of all essences, which are ever in Him; in sending forth His Son, He sends forth all things (ideal world). In space and time, natura naturata, are the Three Persons of the Trinity, eternal as the world is, but in natura non naturata is only the 'Godhead.'

"Apart from God, the world is nonentity; God is in all things, and is all things, for creatures have no essence except God. Yet He is not nature, but above it, for the world of space and time is created out of nothing. The motive of God's goodness, which necessarily extends itself; and, by the same necessity, creation is continuous, eternal. Different from this, as the realizing of the ideal by the artist, is the creation out of nothing, in time." (History of Philosophy—Elmendorf—pp. 136-137.)


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. The Period—State of Philosophy.

Many of the authorities cited in Lessons xxv, xxvi and xxvii will be available in this; also the works of Bacon, Locke, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Hamilton, Berkeley, Hume, Mill; also Kant, Fichte, Hegel and Spencer.

It may be that the works of these masters may only be available to those within reach of reference libraries. The following, however, are one-volume works that would be of great service in studying this lesson: John Fiske's Studies in Religion; History of Philosophy, Elmemdorf; "The Conception of God"—Royce, Leconte, Howison, Meze; "Typical Modern Conceptions of God," Leighton; Haeckel's "Riddle of the Universe;" ditto, "Wonders of Life," and J. S. Mills' "Theism and Berkeley," and Roberts' "Mormon Doctrine of Deity."

II. Modern Schools of Philosophy:

1. Empiricism;

2. Idealism;

3. Rationalism;

4. Pantheism;

5. Materialism;

6. Monism;

7. Mormonism—Eternalism.

SPECIAL TEXT: "Gird up now thy loins like a man * * * 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? Whereon are the foundations thereof fastened, or who laid the cornerstone thereof?" Job xxxviii.


1. The Period: The Modern period extends from the establishment of Protestantism, in the middle of the sixteenth century, until the present time. Necessarily the limits imposed upon our treatise can admit only of a very limited presentation of the conceptions of God during that important thought-revolutionary period, covering something over 250 years. In this period philosophy occupies a most independent position. It is no longer dominated by the Church; nor are its efforts consecrated to the advocacy of the defense of "orthodox Christian" dogma In fact, little is heard of that dogma. "Highest truths," writes Elmendorf in his "History of Philosophy," "were to be determined by reason alone; not even an appeal for verification to Christian revelation (was) recognized. Ancient systems were reconstructed without any reference to the teaching of the Church, or it was maintained that philosophic truth might be false according to faith and conversely. * * * * The sixteenth century was a period of transition, of confusion, without settled method or principle; there was no predominating school, no originality, but a vague following of every ancient school. Greek thinkers were now read in the original, and men, no longer scholastics, were Platonists, Peripatetics, etc.; but rather as scholars, classicists, than with any comprehensive or productive grasp of the principles which they professed.

"Without great names, there was a widening of the sphere of philosophy; it was popularized, but the influence of classicism made the culture of mere form as extreme as the neglect of it among the later schoolmen; but philosophy at the same time exerted, particularly through the 'humanists', a more manifest influence on general literature, science, and social life. * * * The invention of printing, together with the increase of wealth in the free cities, widened immensely the interest in philosophy, and brought it sensibly into general literary culture and political life." (History of Philosophy—Elmendorf—pp. 142-3.)

There was a reversion in Europe to the speculations of Plato and Aristotle, and the intellectual battles of the two Greeks were fought over again in Europe, with sometimes one and sometimes the other prevailing.

The effort of philosophical thinking, as already remarked, was not now to either sustain or disprove the Divine Existence or the mode of that existence, as expressed in the Orthodox Christian creeds; but its aim was more especially to set forth the modes of divine existence independent of theological conceptions. Is the Absolute to be apprehended as "Will," "finding its completion in the intuition of perfect attainment?" Or "Reason," "comprehending itself as the eternal process of the world and finding that all is Good?" Or "Feeling," "which apprehends the unity of things in a single and immediate act of self-consciousness?" Or merely "Blind Energy," "which seems in a cross-section of time, as viewed by the average spectator, to have a definite direction, but which in reality has neither a "whence nor whither;" and no other goal than the meaningless eternal oscillation between states of motion and states of rest." ("Typical Modern Conceptions of God"—by Joseph Alexander Leighton—1901—Introduction, p. 8.)

2. Modern Schools of Philosophy: So extensive is the period now under consideration, and so numerous the voices to be heard, that one cannot hope in three lessons—to which space it is necessary that we limit ourselves—to convey, even by quotation from typical philosophers of the period, an adequate idea of the conceptions of God that have obtained. It will be necessary for the individual student personally to take up the subject in private study if he feels the necessity of wide knowledge on the speculations of men on the Supreme Being and His modes of existence.

Meantime, the numerous teachers of this period may be grouped under general descriptive terms which relate either to their methods of thought or the result of their thinking, sometimes to both.

"In the wave of philosophical inquiry which swept over Europe in the middle of the seventeenth century, and is regarded as the beginning of a new, scientific age of the world, there were two controlling, but divergent forces, those, namely, represented by Bacon and Descartes, the first the founder of the experimental, and the latter the idealistic or dogmatic method of philosophizing. From the former (Bacon), we may trace a continuous influence through Locke, Berkeley, Hume down to Mill, Spencer, Darwin and Huxley; from the latter (Descartes), the development of the modern idealism represented by Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Lotze." (Introduction to the Works of Spinoza, p. 5.)

From this it will appear that our modern philosophers are mainly divided, as to their methods of thought, into Empirics and Idealists.

(a) Empiricism: "The empirical character, or method; reliance on direct, and especially individual, observation and experience, to the exclusion of theories or assumed principles, and sometimes of all reasoned processes, inductive or deductive. The doctrine that all knowledge is derived from the senses, or experience through the senses, or at least from the perception of simple historical fact; experientialism; opposed to intuitionalism. Empiricism, as its name imports, affirms that all our knowledge comes from experience, and is therefore subject to all the imperfections and limitations of experience." (Standard Dictionary.)

(b) Idealism: "Idealism—that explanation of the world which maintains that the only thing absolutely real is mind; that all material and all temporal existences take their being from mind, from consciousness that thinks and experiences; that out of consciousness they all issue, to consciousness are presented, and that presence to consciousness constitute their entire reality and entire existence." (Prof. Howison, Conceptions of God,—1902—p. 84.)

(c) Rationalism: In philosophy means, "the doctrine that reason furnishes certain elements that underlies experience, and without which experience is impossible; opposed to empiricism or experientialism." (Standard Dictionary.) "In metaphysics, the doctrine of a priori cognitions; the doctrine that knowledge is not all produced by the action of outward things upon themselves, but partly arises from the natural adaption of the mind to think things that are true.

"The form of Rationalism which is now in the ascendant, resembles the theory of natural evolution in this, that the latter finds the race more real than the individual, and the individual to exist only in the race; so the former looks upon the individual reason as but a finite manifestation of the universal reason." (Cent. Dict.)

(d) Rationalistic Elements and Methods: A fine description of rationalistic elements and method of philosophizing, is given in one of Ernest Haeckel's latest works.

"We must welcome as one of the most fortunate steps in the direction of a solution of the great cosmic problems, the fact that of recent years there is a growing tendency to recognize the two paths which alone lead thereto—experience and thought, or speculation—to be of equal value, and mutually complementary. Philosophers have come to see that pure speculation—such, for instance, as Plato and Hegel employed for the construction of their idealist systems—does not lead to knowledge of reality. On the other hand, scientists have been convinced that mere experience—such as Bacon and Mill, for example, made the basis of their realist systems—is insufficient of itself for a complete philosophy. * * *

"True knowledge is only acquired by combining the activity of the two. Nevertheless there are still many philosophers who would construct the world out of their own inner-consciousness, and who reject our empirical science precisely because they have no knowledge of the real world. On the other hand, there are many scientists who still contend that the sole object of science is 'the knowledge of facts, the objective investigation of isolated phenomena;' that 'the age of philosophy' is past, and science has taken its place. This one-sided over-estimation of experience is as dangerous an error as the converse exaggeration of the value of speculation." (Riddle of the Universe—1900—pp. 18-19.)

(e) Pantheism: "The metaphysical doctrine that God is the only substance, of which the material universe and man are only manifestations. It is accompanied with the denial of God's personality." (Cent. Dict.) God and the universe are identical—the universe is the only reality. (See also note 4, Lesson xx.)

(f) Materialism: "The metaphysical doctrine that matter is the only substance, and that matter and its motions constitute the universe. Philosophical materialism holds that matter and the motions of matter make up the sum total of existence, and that what we know as physical phenomena in man and other animals, are to be interpreted in an ultimate analysis as simply the peculiar aspect which is assumed by certain enormously complicated motions of matter." (Cent. Dict.)

(g) Monism: "The doctrine which considers mind and matter as neither separated nor as derived from each other, but as standing in an essential and inseparable connection." Any system of thought which seeks to deduce all the varied phenomena of both the physical and spiritual worlds from a single principle. (Standard Dictionary, F. W.)

Ernest Haeckel, Monism's most illustrious disciple, if not its founder thus defines it: "All the different philosophical tendencies may, from the point of view of modern science, be ranged in two antagonistic groups; they represent either a dualistic or a monistic interpretation of the cosmos. The former is usually bound up with teleological and idealistic dogmas, the latter with mechanical and realistic theories. Dualism, in the widest sense, breaks up the universe into two entirely distinct substances—the material world and an immaterial God, who is represented to be its creator, sustainer and ruler. Monism, on the contrary (likewise taken in its widest sense), recognizes one sole substance in the universe, which is at once "God and nature;" body and spirit (or matter and energy) it holds to be inseparable. The extra-mundane God of dualism leads necessarily to theism; and the intra-mundane God of the monist leads to pantheism.

"The different ideas of monism and materialism, and likewise the essentially distinct tendencies of theoretical and practical materialism, are still very frequently confused. As this and other similar cases of confusion of ideas are very prejudicial, and give rise to innumerable errors, we shall make the following brief observations, in order to prevent misunderstanding:

"1. Pure monism is identical neither with the theoretical materialism that denies the existence of a spirit, and dissolves the world into a heap of dead atoms, nor with the theoretical spiritualism (lately entitled 'energetic' spiritualism by Oswald) which rejects the notion of matter, and considers the world to be a specially arranged group of 'energies,' or immaterial natural forces.

"2. On the contrary, we hold, with Goethe, 'that matter cannot exist and be operative without spirit, nor spirit without matter.' We adhere firmly to the pure, unequivocal monism of Spinoza: Matter, or infinitely extended substance, and spirit (or energy), or sensitive and thinking substance, are the two fundamental attributes or principle properties of the all-embracing divine essence of the world, the universal substance." (Riddle of the Universe, pp. 20-21.)

(h) Mormonism—Eternalism: As a philosophical system, Mormonism may not be classed under any of the titles so far employed. Eternalism, I should select as the word best suited for its philosophical conceptions. It is dualistic, but not in the sense that it "breaks up the universe into two entirely distinct substances, the material world and an immaterial God." (Haeckel, see note 8.) It is also monistic, but not in the sense that in the last analysis of things it recognizes no distinctions in matter, or that matter (gross material) and spirit (mind, a finer and thinking kind of material)[1] are fused into one inseparable "sole substance," which is at once "God and nature." (Haeckel, note 8.) Its dualism is that which while recognizing an "infinitely extended substance"—the universe, "unbounded and empty in no part, but everywhere filled with substance" (Haeckel's Law of Substance)—holds, nevertheless, that such substance exists in two principal modes, having some qualities in common, and in others being distinct. (1) Gross material, usually recognized as matter, pure and simple. (2) A finer, thinking substance, usually regarded, by other systems of thought, as spirit, i. e., immaterial substance. These kinds of matter have existed from all eternity, and will exist to all eternity in intimate relations. Neither produces the other, however; they are eternal existences. They constitute the Book of Mormon "things to act, and things to be acted upon." (2 Nephi, ch. 2 14.)

The Monism of Mormonism, while recognizing the universe as infinitely extended substance, matter, and hence, in this respect monistic, yet it also recognizes this substance as of two kinds; one gross material; the other finer, or thinking material—mind; having some qualities in common, with gross matter, and in others being distinct. After these distinctions are made, and if constantly held in consciousness, so that there shall not be a loss of distinction in things, we may hereafter use the terms "Intelligence" and "Matter" as naming the two modes in which for Mormonism, the eternal and infinitely extended substance—the Universe—exists. To say that intelligence dominates matter, and produces all the ceaseless changes going on in the universe, both of creation and demolition[2] (or evolution and devolution)—is simply to say that the superior dominates the inferior; that that which acts is greater than that which is acted upon; that mind is the Eternal Cause of the "ever becoming" in the universe—the Cause and Sustainer of the cosmic world. It is also to say that mind is power; that mind is thought, and will, and life, and love.

—Modes of Existence of the Infinitely Extended Substance—The Universe: As the gross material exists ultimately in final particles—atoms, or something smaller, if you will—uncreated and uncreatable; so the finer or thinking substance, intelligence, exists in ultimate entities—uncreated and uncreatable.[3]

And as the gross material atoms exist some in organized worlds and world-systems—the cosmos—and also others in chaotic mass; so the finer or thinking substance—the intelligent entities, exist in somewhat analogous states; some in the form of perfected, exalted men, clothed upon with immortal bodies, participating in a nature that is divine, having won their exaltation through the experiences, through stress and trial in the various estates, or changes through which they have passed. Other intelligencies exist in spirit-bodies, less advanced than the first class, possessed of less experience and of power and of dignity; still they are in the way of progress through other estates, yet to be experienced by them. Other intelligent entities exist as intelligences merely, not yet the begotten spirits, not yet united with elements on the grosser substance, union with which is essential to the highest development of intelligences.[4]

Such the Mormon view of the universe and the modes of existence in it—briefly outlined. These existences, both of the thinking substance, and the grosser materials, are subject to infinite changes and developments, in which there are no ultimates. Each succeeding wave of progress may attain higher, and ever higher degrees of excellence, but never attain perfection—the ideal recedes ever as it is approached, and hence progress is eternal, even for the highest existences.

As to methods of thinking, Mormon philosophizing is bound by no rules prescribed by any of the schools of thought. Both idealistic and empirical methods it employs; it recognizes both experience and thought as avenues to knowledge; and "both channels of knowledge as mutually indispensable." These subjects are somewhat elaborately discussed in the writer's book "Joseph Smith, The Prophet Teacher."


1. I use the modifying terms of the brackets instead of "ponderable" and "imponderable substance" (sometimes used in describing the ether), because I am not sure as to "spirit substance" being without weight, which it must not possess if it be described as "imponderable." Also I use "gross material" and "finer material," because they are terms most nearly suited—and indeed suggested—in the distinction made by Joseph Smith when announcing, in the passage which follows, that "All spirit is matter." "There is no such thing as immaterial matter [substance]. All spirit is matter, but is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes. We cannot see it [now]; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter." (Doc. & Cov., sec 131; 6-8.)

2. "There are many worlds that have passed away by the word of My power. And there are many that now stand. * * * And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come; and there is no end to My works." (The Lord to Moses, Pearl of Great Price, pp. 6-7.) Hence the "creation and demolition," or evolution and devolution of the text.

3. "Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be." (Doc. & Cov., Sec. 93; 29.)

4. "The elements [i. e., of the gross material] are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected [as in resurrected persons], receive a fulness of joy; and when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy." (Doc. & Cov., Sec. 93.)


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Typical Views of God—Philosophers:

1. Spinoza:

2. Locke;

3. Berkeley;

4. Fichte;

5. Kant.

The works cited in Lessons xxvii and xxviii, will be available in this lesson; also the works quoted in the notes. The notes of this lesson aim to convey in condensed form the generalized view of each Philosophers quoted. They make difficult reading, but—well, master them.

SPECIAL TEXT: For these philosophers one might say: "Oh that I might know where I might find Him! That I might come even to His seat * * * * * Behold I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; on the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him. He hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him." Job xxiii.


1. Spinoza—Pantheist: Born in Amsterdam 1632, of Jewish parents, who were refuges from the Spanish persecution of that period. He states his conceptions of God in the following passages:

"By God, I mean a being absolutely infinite—that is, a substance consisting in infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality.

"Explanation: I say absolutely infinite, not infinite after its kind; for, of a thing infinite only after its kind, infinite attributes may be denied; but that which is absolutely infinite, contains in its essence whatever expresses reality, and involves no negation. * * * * * * "God is a being absolutely infinite, of whom no attribute that expresses the essence of substance can be denied, and he necessarily exists: If any substance besides God were granted, it would have to be explained by some attribute of God, and thus two substances with the same attribute would exist, which is absurd; therefore, besides God, no substance can be granted or consequently, be conceived. If it could be conceived, it would necessarily have to be conceived as existent; but this (by the first part of this proof) is absurd. Therefore, besides God, no substance can be granted or conceived.

"Some assert that God, like a man, consists of body and mind, and is susceptible of passions. How far such persons have strayed from the truth, is sufficiently evident from what has been said. But these I pass over. For all who have in anywise reflected on the divine nature, deny that God has a body. Of this they find excellent proof in the fact, that we understand by body a definite quantity, so long, so broad, so deep, bounded by a certain shape, and it is the height of absurdity to predicate such a thing of God, a being absolutely infinite. But, meanwhile, by the other reasons with which they try to prove a point, they show that they think corporeal or extended substance wholly apart from the divine nature, and say it was created by God. Wherefrom the divine nature can have been created, they are wholly ignorant; thus they clearly show, that they do not know the meaning of their own words. I, myself, have proved sufficiently clearly, at any rate in my own judgment (Coroll. Prop. 6, and note 2, Prop. 8), that no substance can be produced or created by anything other than itself. Further, I showed (in Prop. 14) that besides God no substance can be granted or conceived. Hence, we drew the conclusion that extended substance is one of the infinite attributes of God."

2. Locke's View of God and Spirit: Locke regards God as an infinite, immaterial spirit, present in all duration and as filling immensity. Men derive their best knowledge of God, not by reason of innate ideas of Him, but by thought and meditation. "It seems to me plainly to prove the truest and best notions men had of God were not imprinted, but acquired by thought and meditation, and a right use of their faculties; since the wise and considerate men of the world, by a right and careful employment of their thoughts and reason, attained true notions in this, as well as other things; whilst the lazy and inconsiderate part of men, making far the greater number, took up their notions by chance, from common tradition and vulgar conceptions, without much beating their heads about them." * * * * "God, every one easily allows, fills eternity; and it is hard to find a reason why anyone should doubt that he likewise fills immensity. His infinite being is certainly as boundless one way as the other; and methinks it ascribes a little too much to matter to say, where there is no body there is nothing." * * * * "Motion cannot be attributed to God; not because he is an immaterial, but because he is an infinite spirit." (Locke's Works, Vol. I, pp. 195, 319.)

In discussing the nature of man's spirit, Locke had not excluded the idea of its being a thinking, material substance. Whereupon the Bishop of Worcester took him to task about it; to which Locke said in his own defense—and in his reply something further may be learned in relation to his idea of God:

"Perhaps my using the word spirit for a thinking substance, without excluding materiality out of it, will be thought too great a liberty, and such as deserves censure, because I leave immateriality out of the idea I make it a sign of. I readily own, that words should be sparingly ventured on in a sense wholly new, and nothing but absolute necessity can excuse the boldness of using any term in a sense whereof we can produce no example. But in the present case, I think I have great authorities to justify me. The soul is agreed, on all hands, to be that in us which thinks. And he that will look into the first book of Cicero's 'Tusculan Questions,' and into the sixth book of Virgil's 'Aeneid,' will find that these two great men, who, of all the Romans, best understood philosophy, thought, or at least did not deny, the soul to be a subtle matter, which might come under the name of aura, or ignis, or ether, and this soul they both of them called spiritus; in the notion of which, it is plain, they included only thought and active motion, without the total exclusion of matter. Whether they thought right in this I do not say—that is not the question; but whether they spoke properly, when they called an active, thinking, subtle substance, out of which they excluded only gross and palpable matter, spiritus, spirit? * * * * * I would not be thought hereby to say, that spirit never does signify a purely immaterial substance. In that sense the Scripture, I take it, speaks, when it says 'God is a spirit'; and in that sense I have used it, and in that sense I have proved from my principles that there is a spiritual substance, and am certain that there is a spiritual, immaterial substance; which is, I humbly conceive, a direct answer to your lordship's question in the beginning of this argument, viz: 'How we come to be certain that there are spiritual substances supposing this principle to be true, that the simple ideas, by sensation and reflection, are the soul-matter and foundation of all our reasoning?' But this hinders not, but that if God, that infinite, omnipotent, and perfectly immaterial spirit, should please to give a system of very subtle matter, sense and motion, it might with propriety of speech be called spirit, though materiality were not excluded out of its complex idea. Your lordship proceeds: 'It is said, indeed, elsewhere, that it is repugnant to the idea of senseless matter, that it would put into itself sense, perception, and knowledge.' But this doth not reach the present case, which is not what matter can do of itself, but what matter prepared by an Omnipotent hand can do. And what certainty can we have that He hath not done it? We can have none from the ideas, for those are given up in this case, and consequently we can have no certainty, upon these principles, whether we have any spiritual substance within us or not." (Works, Vol. II, pp. 388-9).

3. Berkley's Views of the Doctrine of Diety: George Berkley was born at Killkrin, Ireland, 1684; died at Oxford, 1753. I follow Locke with Berkley because he stands somewhat in contrast with him, although he was, like Locke, an experimentalist in method; but he regarded Locke as a materialist, and he runs to the opposite extreme, as will appear in what follows:

"Locke had allowed to pass the hypothesis that matter can think. Berkley justly argued that if this were allowed, we could not affirm the immateriality and perpetuity of the thinking principle in man. For, with the disintegration of the matter there must be an end to the individual. If it be allowed that matter can think, then, as Locke offers no proof to the contrary, it might be inferred that our thinking principle, the substratum of our thoughts, is but matter. This, Berkeley undertook to combat. But how did he do so? By trying to establish that there is no matter, that we can not affirm its existence; and, hence, as something at least, is, as we do exist, that the thinking principle in us, the soul, must be immaterial." (Truth of Thought—Poland—pp. 24, 25).

"To counteract the influence of Locke's quasi-materialism, Berkley crossed to the other extreme, in the exaltation of spirit which, of course, he held to be immaterial. "The possibility that hereafter this exaltation of spirit might lead to a denial of any Being higher than man—that the universe might appear to him his own creation—scarcely presented itself to the mind of Berkley. It was not the peril of his time. A creator was not denied by any of the minute philosophers with whom Berkeley contended. What he desired to impress them with was, the belief that the Being who made the outward world was a Spirit, who took cognizance of the thoughts and intents of the heart; that the words to the poor woman who drew water at the well ascended above the philosophy of the eighteenth century; that they were real and scientific, that it was conversant with phantasies and shadows." (Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy—Maurice—Vol. II, p. 457).

4. Fichte's Conception of God—God as Will: Born 1762; died 1814. There seems to be something of a distinction between Fichte's earlier and later views. In his earlier writings he appears to hold to the doctrine that God was manifest in "Will" alone, which was the cause of the moral order. "The living and working moral order is God himself, and we can conceive no other." He quotes with approval a passage from Schiller, saying that it expressed his own views:

  "And God is!—a holy Will that abides,
  Though the human will may falter;
  High over both Space and Time it rides,
  The high Thought that will never alter;
  And while all things in change eternal roll,
  It endures, through change, a motionless soul."

For these views Fichte was charged with atheism, which he resented: "He contends," says Leighton, "that his opponents regard God as a particular substance. Substance means with them 'a sensible being existing in time and space.' This God, extended in time and space, they deduce from the sense-world. Fitche claims that extension or corporeality cannot be predicated of the Diety. The sensuous world is only the reappearance of the supersensuous, or moral world, through our attempt to grasp the latter by means of our sensuous faculty of presentation. The sensuous, is mere appearance, and can furnish no ground for the existence of God. The Diety is not to be understood as the underlying ground of phenomena, for, so conceived, he is made a corporeal substrate. He is an order of events, not a substance. The sensuous predicate of existence is not to be applied to Him, for the supersensuous God alone is. He is not dead Being, but rather pure action, the life and principle of the supersensuous World-Order. * * * * * To characterize God as a spirit, is of negative value in distinguishing Him from things material. It gives us no positive information, for we know as little wherein the being of a spirit consists as wherein the being of God consists. Inasmuch as all our thinking is limited, God is inconceivable. To determine him is to make him finite. If personality and consciousness are to be denied of God, it is only in the sense in which we conceive ourselves as personal and conscious. God is wider consciousness than we are, a pure intelligence, spiritual life and actuality. He is neither one nor many, neither man nor spirit."

In his later views he seems to add "Intelligence" to his "will," or moral order. Leighton, summing up both the earlier and later views of the philosopher, says: "When we put together what Fichte said at different times and from various points of view, his doctrine becomes a unity, and his thought exhibits a consistent development. He always conceived God as immanent in the moral universe—the only universe which he recognized. He consistently held that the human mind could not conceive God in His transcendence. But he did not deny that transcendence; and, indeed, in his later writings he emphasized it by his doctrine of the 'Absolute Being.' While in his innermost nature he [God] is beyond the reach of thought, God manifests Himself eternally as active intelligence or Will, and by the free act of his own intelligence, man can rise to an intuitive knowledge of God and enter into union with Him. In the earlier form of the 'Science of Knowledge', the Absolute I is the expression of God. In the final form which his philosophy assumes, Fichte emphasizes the doctrine that God is more than the Absolute I. The idea of God is more fully defined. Beyond His manifestation of Himself, He exists as Absolute Being. He alone is. But this Being is not an abstract motionless One. Fichte says again and again, in the 'Way to the Blessed Life,' that the nature of Being is to manifest itself, that it is ever-active, ever-living and loving. 'Being and Life are one and the same.' 'The Divine is thinking and living in one organic unity.' Being becomes conscious of itself in Existence. The universal form in which the Divine Essence appears, is 'Knowing, the Concept, Freedom,' and these are all equivalent expressions. Knowing is the first image or scheme of the Divine Being. We have not yet reached self-consciousness. But free Knowing, or the Concept, understands or becomes conscious of itself in life, and Life appears in the Multiplicity of finite, self-conscious individuals." (Conceptions of God—Leighton—pp. 27-28).

5. Kant: Born at Konigsburg, 1724; died 1804. It is said that Kant's influence in the world of thought is second only, if second, to Aristotle's (Elmendorf).

"Kant's Organon—[a code of rules or principles for scientific investigation—Kant uses the term to denote the particular rules for acquiring the Knowledge of a given class of objects.—Cent. Dict.] is immeasurably more severe than Aristotle's or than Bacon's. At times, everything which we think we have gained when we entered upon this division of our subject, appears again to be slipping from us. God—Immortality, Freedom—these we find to be the ideas or postulates of the reason. We have them; they are with us. But what are they? Can we proceed to reason from them, to build any conclusions upon the fact that such ideas are? If we do, we at once involve ourselves in contradictions. They are ideas assuredly—fundamental principles; but they cannot be treated as realities external to the mind. They are only within it. If the Atheist, or the denier of immortality, begins to dispute with me, I can defy him to prove a negative. But I can go no further. I cannot make that into an object which exists in me, the subject. If I do, I shall invest it with some of the conditions and limitations of my own nature, or I shall call in experience to represent to me that which is above experience.

"Are, then, senses, understanding, reason, all equally at fault? Are they, all alike, prone to deception, all alike, unproductive? If that is the case, let no one dream that he can help out our weakness by speaking of a divine communication—a revelation from above. We have nothing which can receive such a communication; nothing which can turn it to any account. The voice may speak, there is no ear which can take it in. But Kant does not leave us in this utter desolation of heart and hope. No results can follow from trying to speculate with those ideas of the reason. They will only turn round and round upon us; we can never get them outside of us to act upon us. But let us look at them practically. I have the idea of freedom, and I want a law over me—over me, this being who has this demand for freedom. A law; that is, something which commands me—something which I did not make for myself. If it is not imperative, it is nothing; if I may alter it according to some taste or fancies of mine, it is nothing. Yet, it must be the law of a free being; this idea of freedom, if it is only negative, affirms so much. And the law must tell me what is right—what I, with my freedom, ought to do. The freedom calls for the law, the law respects the freedom. Now contemplate those other ideas of God and Immortality in this light, and see whether they remain ineffectual and barren. The idea of God becomes that of the lawgiver; the lawgiver who commands what is right. But such an idea involves an actual Being—one who is right—one who is not under our limitations in the exercise of right—one who will make right prevail. The idea of immortality combines itself with this idea of God. The limitations of our mind interferes with the full accomplishment of His purpose. We demand an unlimited range for the success of the right will, for the attainment of what is implied in our freedom and in our sense of law. God stands out before us as the eternal and absolutely good Being. The happiness of man must consist in the pursuit of that goodness, in the conformity to it. Happiness in any sense but this, in any sense which it is merely identical with eudaemonism[1]—good luck or good fortune—never can be the end of any creature constituted as man is constituted.

"We have thus been driven—fairly driven—to a ground beyond those conditions which appear to limit all our knowledge, our acts, and our hopes. Let the reader observe carefully how Kant has been led to transgress those boundaries which no one had so rigorously defined as himself, which it was part—this should always be kept in mind—of his function as a transcendental philosopher to define. It is not from any passion for the excesses of the reason; it is not from any weariness of the restraint of laws. He is in the act of prohibiting the excesses of the reason when the discovery of this necessity bursts upon him. He accepts it, because he can find no laws that are adequate to hold fast human creatures, if he does not. He has listened to the discussions and demonstrations of those who think they can establish the existence of a Creator of nature from the facts of nature. They appear to him feeble and unsatisfactory; but, were they ever so strong, such a Creator, so setting in motion the machinery of the universe, could not satisfy him. He has examined the metaphysical reasonings which lead to the same conclusion, or which are urged in support of the immortality of the soul. He can make nothing of them; but if he could, what God, what immortality, would they establish? Leaving, then, dogmatists and skeptics to conduct these controversies, and to arrive at any results they can—being convinced inwardly that they will arrive at no result, that each can say just enough to make the conclusions of the other untenable—he falls back upon this moral law, this law for free creatures. Once admitting that, he can, nay, he must, recognize all nature as subject to the same Righteous Being; he must contemplate the world as a moral world, the universe as designed for a good end." (Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy, Vol. II, pp. 631-633.)

The doctrine of Kant, summed up by Elmendorf, stands: "God the moral ruler of nature, and reconciler of it with reason, giving that harmony to happiness and morality which nature does not provide. This postulate also necessary to morality. These postulates are given by practical reason, not as cognitions, not in the relations of phenomenon and noumenon, but as realities serving practical ends. Rational faith is a necessity of man's nature."

From all which, it appears that according to Kant, and especially according to his treatise, "Critique of Practical Reason"—1788—the ideas of "God, Human Liberty and Immortality, are postulates of practical reason."


1. "The type of utilitarian ethical theory that makes the pursuit enjoyment and production of happiness the supreme end in moral conduct."—(Standard Dictionary.)


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Typical Views of God—Philosophers:

6. Schleiermacher;

7. Hegel;

8. Schelling;

9. Spencer;

10. Fiske.

The works cited in Lesson xxvii and xxviii, will be available in this lesson; also the works quoted in the notes of this lesson.

The notes aim to convey in condensed form the generalized view of each Philosopher quoted. They make difficult reading, but—master them.

SPECIAL TEXT: "I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven; this sore travail hath God given to the sons of men to be exercised therewith." Solomon: Ecclesiastes, Ch. i, 13.


1. Schleiermacher's Conception of God: Schleiermacher was born at Breslau, 1768; died at Berlin, 1834. The primary thought of God for Schleiermacher, is that of Feeling, which apprehends the unity of things in a single and immediate act of consciousness. "He regards the God-consciousness as immediate. The direct organ of the Knowledge of God is feeling." * * * * "The infinite is not outside the world of phenomena. On the contrary the latter exists within the 'Infinite One.' The 'Infinite One' is the completion of the series of conditioned existences, and not something separated from them. 'The Infinite exists in the finite.' The Infinite One 'is a living Spirituality, dynamically conceived, in which thought holds the primacy.'" (Modern Conception of God—Leighton—p. 93).

Schleiermacher is contrasted with Spinoza, by one author, in the following manner (For Spinoza views see note I, Lesson XXIX.):

"Spinoza's Absolute is the static indifference-point of an infinite number of attributes, of which two, thought and extension, are known to us. Moreover, Schleiermacher's most original and important philosophical doctrine, that of the worth of individuality, separated him from Spinoza. Whilst the latter holds that Body and Soul are related only in and through the Divine substance, Schleiermacher regards every human individual as a unique manifestation of the unity of the ideal and the real, of thought and being. Hence, human individuality is with him a sacred and significant manifestation of the Absolute." (Ibid, p. 94).

2. Hegel—Extreme Idealist: Born at Stuttgart, 1770. "Hegel gives to idealism its full systematic development" (Elmendorf). He conceives the Absolute "as wholly immanent in the temporal world of human experience. He labors to subjugate all spheres of existence, every phase of human experience to the dominion of the immanent Divine Reason" (Leighton, "Typical Modern Conceptions of God," Introduction). "A reason-derived Knowledge of God is the highest problem of philosophy." (Wallace, "The Logic of Hegel," p. 73). "God is for him [Hegel] the self-conditioning, self-centered totality of all that is, i. e., the ultimate unity" (Leighton, "Typical Conceptions of God," p. 35). "Truth, for him, is the agreement of a thought content with itself; i. e., self-consistency" (Ibid, p. 36). "Hegel analyzes the notion of self-consciousness, and puts it forward with courageous anthropomorphism as the ultimate explanation of the universe" (Ibid, p. 42). "The task of philosophy is to know God. * * * * Immediate Knowledge tells us that God is not what he is. But if God is not an empty Being beyond the stars, He must be present in the communion of human spirits, and, in His relation to them, He is the One Spirit Who pervades reality and thought. Hence, there can be no final separation between our immediate consciousness of Him and our mediate Knowledge of reality" (Ibid, pp. 46-47). "The three aspects of God are treated respectively under the realm of the Father; the realm of the Son; the realm of the Spirit; God is the absolute eternal Idea Who exists under these aspects" (Ibid, p. 50). "The question has been raised as to whether Hegel's God is not better described as a society than as a single person. Now, Hegel's God is certainly not an individual spirit, existing in single blessedness apart from all the contents of His universe. He therefore is not a single person in the sense in which we are individuals. But He is forever the unity of the society of individual finite spirits. In Him the scattered rays of light which issue from the multitude of finite selves, converge to a single point—to the unstained purity and translucency of an absolute self-consciousness. God, then, is the unity of spirits. The society of finite individuals exists as the object of his thought. Without them his life would be blind. Without Him they would be chaos, and anarchy, and naught."

In brief, "God," in Hegel's philosophy, "is the universal self-consciousness which comprehends within itself all concrete differences, men and things—'God is a spirit in His own concrete differences, of which every finite spirit is one.' Man truly knows God when he sees nature and himself as manifestations of God, and recognizes himself as the highest of these manifestations, capable of grasping in thought the whole of which he is a part.

"It has been doubted whether there is any place in Hegel's system for individuals. It seems to me that the most insistent note in Hegel's writings, is the emphasis on the concrete individual. He never wearies of attacking abstractions like 'being' and 'substance.' The movement of the 'Logic' is towards the category of individuality." (Modern Conceptions of God, pp. 65-66.)

3. Schelling Conceptions: Born in Wurtemburg, 1775; died 1854. The philosopher of "identity"—i. e., he identifies subject and object as one. Schelling is best understood by being placed in contrast with Fichte. I quote from Maurice: "Fichte, combining the enthusiasm of the French revolution with a cordial acceptance of the lessons he had learned in Konigsberg, was, from the beginning of his life to the end of it, asking what was needful to make him a free man—to enable him to do the work which he had to do—to be what he was meant to be. He was sure that he could find the answer to that question. He said boldly that neither he nor any man could find the answer to any other. What was not himself he must leave. It sounded like atheistical doctrine. People said it was atheistical doctrine. But in demanding what was needful to make him true, he found that he needed a true God. His rivals charged him with inconsistency. He had taken into his doctrine that which did not belong to it—he was borrowing from them. That did not signify. He must have what he required. That was his consistency. He was happy, not only in the nobleness of his life, but in the opportunity of his death. He died just as his country became free—before it was again reduced into slavery by monarchs and system-mongers. Schelling was the thinker who most denounced Fichte's methods and Fichte's departures from his own maxims. For he had been led to feel profoundly the worth of that which Fichte ignored—the worth of a method which he [Fichte] thought impossible. He [Schelling] could not start from that which he is, or thinks, or knows, or believes. He could not forget that a whole world is presented to us. He must proceed from that which is given; he must see how that affects the man, meets the demands of man, prevents him from losing himself in himself. He must have a nature-philosophy. That Schelling thinks, will include all things, be the end of all things. Is not that atheism? cry his opponents. Is not Nature taking the place of God? He replies to them vehemently, contemptuously. He does not want to make all the shifting forms of nature into God. There is a Being working through these, working behind them. To know that Being is what man requires. He must have an object for all his search. That Object cannot only be an Object. It must be a subject—thinking as well as thought of. In that confession of a Subject-Object is a depth which a Nature-philosophy might disclose, but which it could not contain. It must, as some of Schelling's critics said—at first exciting only his scorn by the remark—lie beyond the bounds of philosophy; it must be that which philosophy asks for. Perhaps Schelling may have discovered afterwards, or partly discovered, that they were right. If he did, it was by faithfully pursuing his inquiry as far as it would go, by holding fast to the thought that man's first demand is for a revelation of something. If of a Subject-Object, perhaps 'something' does not exactly meet the demand; perhaps the thing will not be able to reveal itself, or to make persons know what is revealed. We are not careful to inquire what the conclusions were at which Schelling ultimately arrived. He often angrily discouraged the attempts of his disciples and of his opponents to explain those conclusions; not unnaturally or unreasonably, it seems to us, if he felt that the explanations were to be fitted into a compact system, and if he knew that what he had done, supposing he had done anything, was to point to that which is, or to Him Who is, above all systems—to the only ground, as well as the only end, of knowledge.

"It is clear, at all events, that we are once more in that ocean of Being, which our guides of the eighteenth century were so anxious that we should avoid. Being and Not Being, Being and Becoming, are, as in the days of Plato, the watchwords which will be rung in our ears; to which we may shut our ears if we please, but which will encounter us when we least expect them." (Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy—Maurice—Vol. II, pp. 655-6).

"God" for Schelling, says Elmendorf, "is the absolute indifference of contraries; the unity of being and thought, of subject and object, of ideal and real; this is the potentiality of the actual from which the two opposites differentiate themselves without losing their unity in the absolute." (History of Philosophy, p. 257).

4. Herbert Spencer: God unknown, and unknowable, would be the description of Spencer's conception of the "Absolute Being." "Spencer's primary doctrine is evolution, both in psychical and physical phenomenon"; evolution he describes as a change from 'an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity, to a definite coherent heterogeneity.'" "This principle is an induction from experience, of which no further account can be given, for the absolute in any form is unthinkable, although there is an ultimate reality in which subject and object coincide; yet our concept of the Absolute is positive though indefinite." (Elmendorf).

Spencer's own declarations of our inability to know the "unknowable," is as follows:

"Every religion, setting out, though it does, with the tacit assertion of a mystery; and so asserts that it is not a mystery passing human comprehension. But an examination of the solutions they severally propound, shows them to be uniformly invalid. The analysis of every possible hypothesis proves, not simply that no hypothesis is sufficient, but that no hypothesis is even thinkable. And thus the mystery which all religions recognize, turns out to be a far more transcendent mystery than any of them suspect—not a relative, but an absolute mystery.

"Here, then, is an ultimate religious truth of the highest possible certainty—a truth in which religions in general are at one with each other, and with a philosophy antagonistic to their special dogmas. And this truth, respecting which there is a latent agreement among all mankind, from the fetish-worshipper to the most stoical critic of human creeds, must be the one we seek. If Religion and Science are to be reconciled, the basis of reconciliation must be this deepest, widest, and most certain of all facts—that the Power which the Universe manifests to us is utterly inscrutable." (First Principles, pp. 47-48).

On this passage from Spencer, Leighton justly remarks:

"This, certainly is a species of knowledge unique in kind. How can we know that we can know absolutely nothing about a conceivable object of knowledge? Mr. Spencer's knowledge of the unknowability of the ultimate reality is, so far as it goes, very positive. And, furthermore he knows that the Unknowable is a Power, "an infinite and Eternal Energy from which all things proceed. The certainty that such a power exists, while, on the other hand, its nature transcends intuition, is the certainty towards which intelligence has from the first been progressing. Furthermore, we know the modes in which this inscrutable Power manifests itself. 'The Power manifested throughout the universe distinguished as material, is the same Power, which in ourselves, wells up under the form of consciousness.' (Principles of Sociology, 3, p. 174). "Notwithstanding the antinomies which Mr. Spencer finds to be involved in thinking 'Infinite' and 'Eternal' and notwithstanding that the deepest nescience is the goal of human thought, he confidently asserts that 'amid the mysteries which become the more mysterious the more they are thought about, there will remain (to man) the one absolute certainty, that he is ever in the presence of an Infinite and Eternal Energy, from which all things proceed.'

"The positiveness of this conclusion, when compared with Mr. Spencer's declaration of the impotence of knowledge when it is confronted with ontological problems, is sufficient of itself to awaken doubts as to the legitimacy of his procedure." (Modern Conceptions of God, pp. 104-105).

5. John Fiske: I select John Fiske to represent what I take to be the most recent conception of God in the Ultra intellectual world; and it is to be noted that he marks a drift of thought (gradually being emphasized by more recent writers), from what I shall call ultra anti-anthropomorphic conceptions toward at least a thin anthropomorphism. His most definite conception of God is found in the following statement:

"We may hold that the world of phenomena is intelligible only when regarded as the multiform manifestation of an Omnipresent Energy that is in some way—albeit in a way quite above our finite comprehension—anthropomorphic or quasi-personal. There is a true objective reasonableness in the universe; its events have an orderly progression, and, so far as those events are brought sufficiently within our ken for us to generalize them exhaustively, their progression is toward a goal that is recognizable by human intelligence; 'the process of evolution is itself the working out of a mighty teleology, of which our finite understandings can fathom but the scantiest rudiments' (Cosmic Philosophy, Part 3, ch. 2); it is, indeed, but imperfectly, that we can describe the dramatic tendency in the succession of events, but we can see enough to assure us of the fundamental fact that there is such a tendency; and this tendency is the objective aspect of that which, when regarded on its subjective side, we call Purpose. Such a theory of things is Theism. It recognizes an Omnipresent Energy, which is none other than the living God."

"It is this theistic doctrine which I hold myself, and which in the present essay I have sought to exhibit as the legitimate outcome of modern scientific thought." * * * * * * "As to the conception of Deity, in the shape impressed upon it by our modern knowledge, I believe I have now said enough to show that it is no empty formula or metaphysical abstraction which we would seek to substitute for the living God. The infinite and eternal Power that is manifested in every pulsation of the universe is none other than the living God. We may exhaust the resources of metaphysics in debating how far his nature may fitly be expressed in terms applicable to the psychical nature of Man; such vain attempts will only serve to show how we are dealing with a theme that must ever transcend our finite powers of conception. But of some things we may feel sure. Humanity is not a mere local incident in an endless and aimless series of cosmical changes. The events of the universe are not the work of chance, neither are they the outcome of blind necessity. Practically there is a purpose in the world whereof it is our highest duty to learn the lesson, however well or ill we may fare in rendering a scientific account of it. When from the dawn of life we see all things working together toward the evolution of the highest spiritual attributes of Man, we know, however the words may stumble in which we try to say it, that God is in the deepest sense a moral Being. The everlasting source of phenomena is none other than the infinite Power that makes for righteousness. Thou canst not by searching find him out; yet put thy trust in Him, and against thee the gates of hell shall not prevail; for there is neither wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Eternal." ("Studies in Religion," pp. 93-94, 209).


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)





1. Character of the Proposed Discourse: For suggestion in relation to expository and argumentative discourses, see Lesson XXV, note 2, and the references there given to Seventy's Year Books Nos. I and II.

2. Sources of Information: For the Christian Doctrine of God, see, of course, New Testament, especially the Fourth Gospel. Seventy's Year Book No. II, Lesson XXXIV; notes 4, 5 and 6 (pp. 190-193). All of Lesson 37; also Year Book III, Lesson XXV. Mormon Doctrine of Deity (pp. 114-119); Also chs. 4 and 5 Orson Pratt's works, "The Kingdom of God," Subdivision, "The Nature and Character of the King." Outlines of Ecclesiastical History (Roberts), Part II, Section 5.

3. Suggestions to the Speaker: In previous lessons under this topic we have dealt with the "First Moments of Speech" and the "Introduction." Having done with these, we come now to the main part of the work—to the discussion of the subject. This can only be considered in part in this lesson. I quote from Pittenger: "The passage from the introduction to the discussion should be made smoothly and gradually. To accomplish this, and to strike the subject at just the right angle, continuing all the interest previously excited, is a most important achievement. A definite object is a great assistance in this part of the work. If the object is clearly in view, we go right up to it with no wasted words, and the people follow our guidance because they see that we are not proceeding at random. But with no strong purpose, we are apt to steer about our subject without ever being quite ready to enter upon it. The more brilliant the introduction, the more difficult this transition will be. But all these difficulties may be overcome with the aid of a well-constructed plan."

4. Must be a Controlling Purpose in Discourse: "The whole discourse must be animated with some controlling purpose, and in its general character, tend upward, until its close. The law of climax ought to be carefully considered by the speaker. There may be more than one culmination of interest in an address, separated by an interval less absorbing and powerful, but this decline should only be allowed in order to prepare a second or third climax, grander than all before. To violate this rule and have a speech 'flatten out' toward its close, is a fearful error. Better reduce the length of the whole by one-half or three-fourths, and maintain interest and attention to the end."

5. Of Diffuseness: "Diffuseness is often supposed to be a necessary quality of extemporaneous speech. Many speakers do fall into it, but they need not. They are diffuse because they are unwilling or unable to say exactly what they mean, but come near it, and continue their efforts until they are satisfied. They furnish no clear view of any idea, but only a kind of twilight illumination. This serious fault may be overcome in spontaneous speech as readily as in writing. He who thinks clearly and forcibly will talk in the same manner. Exquisite finish and elaborate verbal arrangement are not to be looked for in off-hand speech, but each idea may be expressed with great force, vigor, and accuracy of shading.

"This ability to say precisely what we mean in few words, and at the first effort, constitutes one of the great beauties of a spoken style. The hearer is filled with grateful surprise when some new and living idea is suddenly placed before him, clothed in a single word or sentence. A diffuse speaker gives so many premonitions of his thought that the audience have guessed it, and may even come to believe that they have always known it, before he has made his formal presentment. Of course, they are wearied, and never give him credit for an original conception.

"If troubled with this fault, frequently forecast what to say; drive it into the smallest number of vivid, expressive words; then, without memorizing the language, reproduce the same briefly in the hurry of speech. If not successful in making it as brief as before, repeat the effort. This exercise will, in time, give the ability to condense. But to exercise it, the temptation to fine language must be overcome. No sentence should be introduced for mere glitter or sparkle; a single unnecessary word may require others to justify or explain it, and thus may ruin a whole discourse. The danger of showy language in speech is far greater than in writing, for if the writer be drawn too far away from his subject, he can strike out the offending sentences and begin again, while the speaker has but one trial. If beauty lies in his way, well; but if not, he should never abandon his course to seek it."

Concluding the Speech: "There are three principal ways of concluding a speech. (1). One of the most graceful is to condense a clear view of the whole argument and tendency of the address into a few words, and leave the summing up thus made to produce its own effect. Discourses aiming principally to produce conviction may very well be concluded in this manner.

(2). "Another and very common mode is to close with an application or with practical remarks. When the address is a sermon, this form of closing is frequently termed an exhortation, and the whole speech is made to bear upon the duty of the moment.

(3). "A third method of closing is to simply break off when the last item is finished. The full development of the discourse is thus made its ending, care being taken that the last item discussed shall be of weight and dignity. This is by no means the easiest form of conclusion but rightly managed it is one of the most effective.

(4). "A conclusion should always be short and contain no new matter. Few things are more disastrous than the practice of drawing toward an end and then launching out into a new discussion. All good things that have been said, all previous favorable impressions, are obliterated by this capital fault." (Extempore Speech, Pittenger, ch 8).

4. Strength: We have already considered three means of promoting strength of expression. The third suggestion was, that care be taken to have the last word of a sentence a forcible one. The same holds good as to the members of a sentence: "Strength requires that, when the members of a sentence differ in length, the shorter should have precedence of the longer; and, when they are of unequal force, that the weaker be placed before the stronger. Both of these principles are violated in the following sentence:

Example: "In this state of mind, every employment of life becomes an oppressive burden, and every object appears gloomy."

Corrected: How much more forcible does it become when the shorter and weaker member is placed first: "In this state of mind, every object appears gloomy, and every employment of life becomes an oppressive burden."

This arrangement of the members of a sentence constitutes what is defined among the rhetorical figures as Climax. What is most emphatic is brought last, in order that a strong impression may be left on the reader's mind.

"This principle, also, requires us to avoid terminating a sentence with a succession of unaccented words; such as, 'with', 'it', 'in it', 'on it', etc.

Example: "This is a proposition which I did not expect; and I must ask time for privilege of reflecting on it."

Corrected: The last member would be more forcible thus: "This is a proposition which I did not expect; and I must ask time for reflection." (Quackenbos' Rhetoric.)


The True Doctrine of Deity.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Evidences for the Divine Existence Found In—

1. Tradition;

2. Creation, the Evidence of Design in Nature;

3. Innate Consciousness of God in the Human Soul;

4. The General Consent of Mankind;

5. The Necessary Presence of an Eternal Cause in the World;

6. Revelation—Limitation of Revelation.

Part I. Ten Lessons.

Lesson i. References and Notes.

Lesson ii. References and Notes.

Lesson iii. References and Notes.

Lesson iv. References and Notes.

Lessons vi, vii. References and Notes.

Lessons viii, ix. References and Notes.

Lesson x.

SPECIAL TEXT: "The Scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, the earth and all things that are upon the face of it; yea, and its motion; yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form [order], do witness that there is a Supreme Creator." Alma, Ch. xxx.


Owing to the volume of information supplied in Part I—Ten Lessons—on the various subdivisions of this lesson, it is not thought necessary to add more notes here.


1. It is suggested that this lesson be made simply a review of Part I, and that two sessions of the class could be profitably used for this purpose.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Jesus Divine-Hence God.

1. Dependent Upon Revelation for Knowledge of Form and Nature of God.

2. World's Need of a Revelation of God.

3. Scripture Evidence of the Divinity of Jesus:

—Jesus Christ is Called God in Revelation—Hence God;

—Jesus Declares Himself to be God—The Son of God;

—Jesus is to be Worshipped—Hence God;

—Jesus Christ is Creator—Hence God;

The New Testament and Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants.

Psalms xix, Rom. i, Note 1.

Note 2.

See collection of passages of Scripture, Richards and Little's Compendium title, "True and Living God," pp. 187-191.

Note 3 and contexts of passages of Scripture cited.

Note 4.

Note 5.

Note 6.

Note 7.

Hebrews i and Notes 8, 9, 10, 11 and the Scripture References within the notes.

II. Jesus the Express Image of the Father's Person.

SPECIAL TEXT: "For it pleased the Father that in Him [the Christ] should all fulness dwell. * * * For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Colossians.


The notes of this Lesson are taken from two discourses by the author: one the "Mormon Doctrine of Deity"; the other "Jesus Christ, the Revelation of God," hence the personal character and direct address style that appears in the notes.

1. Need of Revelation for Definite Knowledge of God: We are dependent upon that which God has been pleased to reveal concerning Himself for what we know of Him; especially as to His form, nature and attributes. While it is true, in a certain sense, that the heavens declare God's glory; and "the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world," in a certain sense, "are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made"; and while the spirit in man may be intuitively conscious of the being of God; while the general consent of mankind may confirm man's own consciousness of the divine existence, yet nothing definitely is learned or can be learned concerning the form, nature, or attributes of God from these sources. Now, as of old, man by searching cannot find out God. He cannot "find out the Almighty unto perfection." (Job II, 7.) This can only be learned by revelation. It is the revealed law of the Lord that is perfect, "converting the soul;" it is the statutes of the Lord that are right, "rejoicing the heart;" it is the commandment of the Lord that is pure, "enlightening the eyes;" it is the judgments of the Lord that are "true and righteous altogether." "More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honey comb. Moreover, by them is My servant warned, and in the keeping of them there is great reward." (Psalms 19.)

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

Mark you, in all this there is not a word about the mysterious, ineffable generation of the Son of God from the Father, together with all the mysteries that men have gathered together in their learned disquisitions about God. No question is raised as to whether Jesus was made out of nothing or begotten by ineffable generation from the substance of the Father. Whether He is consubstantial, that is, of the same substance with the Father, or only of a similar substance. Nor is there any question raised as to whether Jesus was "begotten before or after time began." All these and a hundred other questions arose after the Christian doctrine of Deity began to come in contact with the Greek and other philosophies. Jesus accepted the existence of God as a settled fact, and proclaimed Himself to be the Son of God: offending the Jews by so doing, for they saw that He made Himself equal with God, (John v, 18) and being a man, held forth Himself to be God (John v: 30-33.) Slow, indeed, were they to learn the great truth plainly revealed in Jesus Christ, that God is a perfect man. Such was Jesus Christ, and He was God manifested in the flesh. "Was," did I say? Nay, "is," I should have said; and such will He remain forever; a spirit He is, clothed with an immortal body, a resurrected body of tangible flesh and bones made eternal, and now dwelling in heaven with His Father, of whom He is the express image and likeness, as well now as when He was on earth; and hence the Father also must be a personage of flesh and bones, as tangible as the exalted man, Christ Jesus the Lord.

3. Jesus Is Called God In the Scriptures: "The first proof I offer for this statement, is from the writings of Isaiah. You remember, perhaps, my former quotation from Isaiah, wherein that prophet says, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel," (Isaiah vii: 14) the interpretation of which name is, according to Matthew "God with us." (Matt. i: 23.) So that this man-child, born of a woman, and called "Immanuel," is God; and, moreover, is "God with us"—that is, with men. The same prophet also says: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." (Isaiah ix: 6.)

All concede that this is in plain allusion to Jesus Christ, and the scriptures here directly call Him "The Mighty God." He is also called God in the testimony of John. Mark this language, for it is a passage around which many ideas center, and to which we shall have occasion to refer several times. In the preface to his Gospel, John says: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. * * * And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth."

There can be no question but direct reference is here made to the Lord Jesus Christ, as being the "Word;" and the "Word," or Jesus being with the Father in the beginning, and the "Word," or Jesus Christ, also being God. The "Word," then, as used here by John, is one of the titles of Jesus in his pre-existent estate. Why called the "Word" I do not know, unless it is that by a "word" we make an expression; and since Jesus Christ was to be the expression of God, the revelation of God to the children of men, he was for that reason called the "Word."

4. Jesus Declares Himself to be God—the Son of God: Jesus was crucified on the charge that He was an imposter—that he, being a man, said that "God was His Father, making Himself equal with God." (John v:18.)

And again: "For a good work we stone Thee not, but for blasphemy, and because that Thou being a man, makest thyself God." (John x:33.)

Again: when accused before Pilate, who declared he could "find no fault in Him," the Jews answered him, "We have a law, and by our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God." Moreover, the high priest, in the course of the trial before the Sanhedrim of the Jews, directly said to Jesus, "I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless, I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." (Matt. xxvii: 63, 64.)

And finally, when Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples after His resurrection, He said unto them, "All power is given unto Me, in heaven and in earth, go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." (Matt. xxviii: 18, 19.) A clearer proclamation of his divinity could not be made than in the statement, "all power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth," especially when it is followed by placing Himself on equal footing with the Father and the Holy Ghost, which He does when he commands His disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Nothing can be added to this, except it be the words of God the Father directly addressed to Jesus, when he says, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." (Heb. i:8.)

5. Jesus Christ to be Worshipped, Hence God: Jesus Christ is to be worshipped by men and angels; and worship is an honor to be paid only to true Deity. The angels of heaven refuse the adoration we call worship. You remember when the Apostle John was on the Isle of Patmos, and God sent a heavenly messenger to him, how the Apostle, over-awed by the brightness of the angel's glory, fell upon his face to worship him, and the angel said: "See thou do it not; for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: Worship God." (Rev. xix:10.) So you see the angels refuse divine honors. But the scriptures prove that Jesus was especially to be worshipped; hence He must be Deity:

"For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou are My son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to me a Son. And again, when He bringeth in the First Begotten into the world, He saith, let all the angels of God worship him." (Heb. i: 5, 6.)

The same doctrine is taught in the epistle to the Philippians: "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil. ii: 9, 10.)

There are other passages to the same effect, but it is perhaps unnecessary for me to turn to each of these, since the ones here quoted will be sufficient to establish in your minds the fact contended for.

6. Jesus Christ is the Creator Hence God: Jesus Christ is the Creator. Evidence of this is found in the testimony of John from which I have already quoted: "In 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 any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men." (John i: 1-4.)

Again in the epistle to the Colossians: "The Father * * * hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son. * * * Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him." (Col. i: 12-17.)

Again in Hebrews: "God, Who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds." (Heb. i: 1.)

Now we begin to see the relation of the Father and the Son; for though the "Word" be God, though "Immanuel" is God, that is, "God with us," He does not displace God the Father, but stands in the relationship of a son to Him. Under the direction of the Father, He created worlds, and in this manner is the Creator of our earth, and the heavens connected with the earth. And everywhere the scriptures command that men should worship the Creator. In fact, the burden of the cry of that angel who is to restore the gospel in the hour of God's judgment is: "Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come; and worship Him that made heaven and earth and the seas and the fountains of waters." (Rev. xiv: 7.)

7. Jesus Christ Equal with God the Father, Hence God: After the resurrection, Jesus appeared unto His disciples, and said to them, as recorded in the closing chapter of Matthew: "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." (Matt. xxviii: 18, 19.)

Observe that the Lord Jesus Christ is placed upon a footing of equal dignity with God the Father, and with the Holy Ghost. This brings to mind the scripture of Paul, where he says, speaking of Jesus: "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God." (Phil. ii: 6.)

So also is Christ given equal station with the Father and with the Holy Ghost in the apostolic benediction over and over again. "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all."

In these several passages we have Jesus Christ, after His resurrection, asserting that all power had been given unto Him, both in heaven and in earth; He is placed upon a footing of equal dignity with God the Father in the holy Trinity—in the Grand Triumvirate which constitutes the Presiding Council or Godhead reigning over our heavens and our earth—hence God.

I now wish to give you the proof that Jesus Christ is the express image of the Father; the express image of His person, as well as the revelation of the attributes of God.

Following that language in Hebrews where Jesus is spoken of as having created worlds under the direction of the Father, it is said: "Who being the brightness of His [the Father's] glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Heb. iii: 3.)

So Paul to the Corinthians: "The God of this world hath blinded the minds of those which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (II Cor. iv: 4.)

So also, in his letter to the Colossians, when speaking of Christ, Paul says: "Who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature." (Col. i: 5.)

Being "the express image of His person," then the "image of the invisible God," Jesus becomes a revelation of the person of God to the children of men, as well as a revelation of His character and attributes. Again, you have the scriptures saying: "For it pleased the Father that in Him [Christ Jesus] should all fulness dwell. * * * For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." (Col. i: 19; ii: 9.)

All there is, then, in God, there is in Jesus Christ. All that Jesus Christ is, God is. And Jesus Christ is an immortal man of flesh and bone and spirit, and with His Father and the Holy Spirit will reign eternally in the heavens, verily the Godhead.

8. God Created Man in His Own Image: Let us now consider the form of God. In those scriptures which take us back to the days of creation, when God created the earth and all things therein—God is represented as saying to someone: "Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. * * * So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him, male and female created He them." (Gen. i: 26, 27.)

Now, if that were untouched by "philosophy," I think it would not be difficult to understand. Man was created in the image and likeness of God. What idea does this language convey to the mind of man, except that man, when his creation was completed, stood forth the counterpart of God in form? But neither philosophers nor theologians have been willing to let it stand so. They will not have God limited to any form. They will not have Him prescribed by the extensions of His person to some line or other of limitation. No: He must needs be in His person, as well as in mind or spirit, all-pervading, filling the universe with His "being," with a center nowhere, with a circumference everywhere. We must expand the person of God out until it fills the universe. And so they tell us that this plain, simple, straightforward language of Moses, which says that man was created in the image of God—and which everybody can understand—means, not the "full length" image of God, but God's "moral image!" Man was created in the "moral image" of God, they say.

The meaning of this language from the 26th and 27th verses of the first chapter of Genesis, is made perfectly clear when compared with the third verse of the fifth chapter of Genesis, where it is written: "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth." What do these words imply, but that Seth was like his father in features, and also, doubtless, in intellectual and moral qualities? And if, when it is said Adam begat a son in his "own likeness, after his image," it simply means that Seth, in form and features, and intellectual and moral qualities, was like his father—then there can be no other conclusion formed upon the passage that says God created man in his own image and likeness, than that man, in a general way, in form and feature, and intellectual and moral qualities, was like God.

9. Bodily Form May Not be Excluded from Being "In God's Image": It is rather refreshing, in the midst of so much nonsense that is uttered upon this subject, in order to hide the truth and perpetuate the false notions of a paganized Christianity, to find now and then a Christian scholar who rises out of the vagaries of modern Christianity and proclaims the straightforward truth. Let me read to you the words of such an one—the Rev. Dr. Charles A. Briggs. It may be said, of course, by Presbyterians that Dr. Briggs is a heretic; that he has been cast out of their church. Grant it; but with open arms he has been received by the Episcopal church, and ordained into its priesthood; and has an influence that is considerable in the Christian world. But however heretical Dr. Briggs' opinions may be considered by his former Presbyterian brethren, his scholarship at least cannot be challenged. Speaking of man being formed in the image and likeness of God, he says:

"Some theologians refer the form to the higher nature of man [that is, to that 'moral image' in likeness of which it is supposed man was created]; but there is nothing in the text or context to suggest such an interpretation. The context urges us to think of the entire man as distinguished from the lower forms of creation—that which is essential to man, and may be communicated by descent to his seed.—The bodily form cannot be excluded from the representation." (Messianic Prophecy, p. 70.)

I say it is rather refreshing to hear one speak like that, whose scholarship, at least, is above all question. And yet still another voice; and this time from one who stands high in scientific circles, one who has written a work on the "Harmony of the Bible and Science," which is a most valuable contribution to that branch of literature. The gentleman I speak of is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and principal of the College at Highbury New Park, England. On this subject of man being created in the image of God, he says: "I think the statement that man was made in the Divine image is intended to be more literal than we generally suppose; for judging from what we read throughout the scriptures, it seems very clear that our Lord, as well as the angels, had a bodily form similar to that of man, only far more spiritual and far more glorious; but which, however, is invisible to man, unless special capabilities of sight are given him, like that experienced by Elisha's servant when, in answer to the prophet's prayer, he saw the heavenly hosts surrounding the city of Dothan."

After discussing this question at some length, and bringing to bear upon it numerous Biblical illustrations, this celebrated man—Dr. Samuel Kinns—whose scientific and scholarly standing I have already referred to, speaks of the effect of this belief upon man, and thus concludes his statement on that head: "I am sure if a man would only consider a little more the divinity of His human form, and would remember that God has indeed created him in His own image, the thought would so elevate and refine him that he would feel it his duty to glorify God in His body as well as in His spirit."

10. Captain of the Lord's Host—A Deity: But we have higher and better authority to which we can appeal—the scriptures. And here I pass by that marvelous appearance of God unto Abraham in the plains of Mamre, when three "men" came into his tent, one of whom was the Lord, who conversed with him, and partook of his hospitality, and disclosed to him His intention with reference to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Gen. xviii.)

I come now to that marvelous revelation of God to Joshua, when Joshua drew near to Jericho and saw a person in the form of a man standing with sword in hand. Joshua approached him and said: "Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?" "Nay," replied the person, "but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come." And Joshua bowed himself to the very earth in reverence, and worshipped that august warrior. (Joshua v: 13, 14.) Do not tell me that it was an "angel"; for had it been an angel, the divine homage paid by Israel's grand old warrior would have been forbidden. Do you not remember the time when John, the beloved disciple, stood in the presence of an angel and, awed by the glory of his presence, he bowed down to worship him, and how the angel quickly caught him up and said: "See thou do it not; for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God!" (Rev. xvii: 8, 9. Also Rev. xix: 10.) The fact that this personage, before whom Joshua bowed to the earth, received without protest divine worship from him, proclaims trumpet-tongued that He indeed was God. Furthermore, that personage bade Joshua to remove the shoes from his feet for even the ground on which he stood was holy.

I call attention to that marvelous vision given of the Son of God to the pagan king of Babylon. This king had cast the three Hebrew children into the fiery furnace, and lo! before his startled vision were "four men" walking about in the furnace, "and," said he, "the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." (Dan. iii: 25.)

The great Apostle to the Gentiles, writing to the Colossian saints, speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ, "in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins," as being in the "image of the invisible God." (Col. i, 15.) Again, writing to the Hebrew saints, and speaking of Jesus, he says: "Who, being the brightness of his [the Father's] glory, and the express image of his [the Father's] person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Heb. i: 1, 2.)

In the face of these scriptures, will anyone who believes in the Bible say that it is blasphemy to speak of God as being possessed of a bodily form? We find that the Son of God Himself stood among His fellows a man, with all the limitations, as to His body, which pertain to man's body; with head, trunk, and limbs; with eyes, mouth and ears; with affections, with passions; for He exhibited anger as well as love in the course of His ministry; He was a man susceptible to all that man could suffer, called by way of pre-eminence, the "man of sorrows," and one "acquainted with grief"; for in addition to His own, He bore the world's sins, and suffered that men might not suffer if they would but obey His gospel.

11. "What Think Ye of Christ?" What think ye of Christ? Is he God? Yes. Is he man? Yes—there is no doubting it. His resurrection, and the immortality of His body, as well as of His spirit that succeeds His resurrection, is a reality. He Himself attested it in various ways. He appeared to a number of the apostles, who, when they saw him, were seized with fright, supposing they had seen a spirit; but He said unto them, "Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; handle Me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have." (Luke xxiv: 36-39.) Then, in further attestation of the reality of His existence, as if to put away all doubt, He said, "Have ye here any meat?" And they brought Him some broiled fish and honeycomb, and "He did eat before them." (Luke xxiv: 41-43.) Think of it! A resurrected, immortal person actually eating of material food! I wonder that our spiritually-minded friends, both philosophers and theologians, do not arraign Him for such a material act as that after His resurrection!

But not only did the risen Messiah eat in the presence of His disciples, but with His resurrected hands He prepared a meal on the seashore for His own disciples, and invited them to partake of the food which He, with His resurrected hands, had provided. (John xxi: 9-13, and Acts x: 41.) Moreover, for forty days He continued ministering to His disciples after His resurrection, eating and drinking with them (Acts x: 41, and Acts i: 2, 3); and then, as they gathered together on one occasion, lo! He ascended from their midst, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. Presently two personages in white apparel stood beside them and said. "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." (Acts I:11.) What! With His body of flesh and bones, with the marks in His hands and in His feet? Shall He come again in that form? The old Jewish prophet, Zechariah, foresaw that He would. He describes the time of His glorious coming, when His blessed, nail-pierced feet shall touch the Mount of Olives again, and it shall cleave in twain, and open a great valley for the escape of the distressed house of Judah, sore oppressed in the siege of their great city, Jerusalem. We are told that "They shall look upon Him Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him as one mourneth for his only son," and one shall look upon Him in that day and shall say, "What are these wounds in Thy hands and in Thy feet?" and He shall answer, "These are the wounds that I received in the house of my friends." (Zech. the 12th, 13th and 14th chapters).

What think ye of Christ? Will that resurrected, immortal, glorified man ever be distilled into some bodiless, formless essence, to be diffused as the perfume of a rose is diffused throughout the circumambient air? Will He become an impersonal, incorporeal, immaterial God, without body, without parts, without passions? Will it be? Can it be? What think ye of Christ? Is He God? Is He an exalted man? Yes; in the name of all the Gods He is. And one wonders why Christian ministers arraign the faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because they believe and affirm that God is an exalted man, and that He has a body, tangible, immortal, indestructible, and will so remain embodied throughout the countless ages of eternity?—And since the Son is in the form and likeness of the Father, being, as Paul tells us, "in the express image of His [the Father's] person"—so, too, the Father, God must be a man of immortal tabernacle, glorified and exalted: for as the Son is, so also is the Father, a personage of tabernacle, of flesh and of bone as tangible as man's, as tangible as Christ's most glorious, resurrected body (See article in Improvement Era for March, 1910, for further treatment of this theme).


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Humility.

Note 1, and the Scripture references within the note.

Note 2 and the Scriptures quoted.

Note 3, and citations in the note.

Notes 4 and 5.

Note 6, and citations of Scriptures in the notes.

Note 7.

Note 8, and Lectures on Faith, Doc. & Cov., Lecture III.

II. Obedience.

III. Compassion and Impartiality of God:

1. Ministration to Rich and Poor Alike;

2. His Treatment of Sinners;

3. His Mercy and Toleration.

IV. His Love Manifested in the Atonement.

V. The Justice and Severity of God.

VI. The Revelation of God Complete in Jesus Christ.

SPECIAL TEXT: "God was manifested on the flesh (margin), justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." I Tim. ii:16.


The notes of this Lesson are taken from two discourses by the author: one the "Mormon Doctrine of Deity"; the other "Jesus Christ, the Revelation of God," hence the personal character and direct address style that appears in the notes.

1. The Humility of God Manifested Through Jesus Christ: First of all, I call your attention to the deep, the profound humility of God; His great condescension in living among men, as He did, for their instruction; and from that circumstance would draw to your attention the lesson of humility His life teaches. The heights of glory to which Jesus had attained, the power and dignity of His position in the heavenly kingdom, of course, cannot be comprehended by us in our present finite condition, and with our limited knowledge of things. Great and exalted as we might think Him to be, you may depend upon it He was exalted infinitely higher than that. Then when you think of one living and moving in the courts of heaven and mingling in the councils of the Gods, consenting to come down to this earth and pass through the conditions that Jesus passed through, do you not marvel at His humility? To be born under such circumstances as would enable wicked man to cast reflection upon His very birth! (St. John viii:41.) To be born, too, in a stable, and to be cradled in a manger! To grow up a peasant, with a peasant's labor to perform, and a peasant's fare to subsist upon from childhood to manhood—do you not marvel at this great humility, at this great condescension of God? And by His humility, are not men taught humility, as they are taught it by no other circumstance whatsoever?

2. The Obedience of God Manifested Through Jesus Christ: Of His youth, we know but little; but the little we know reveals a shining quality, either for God or man to possess. You must remember, in all our consideration of the life of Messiah, one great truth, which comes to us from the scriptures in an incidental way, viz., that "In His humiliation His judgment was taken from Him." (Acts viii:33.) As the veil is drawn over our minds when our pre-existent spirits come into this world and we forget the Father and mother of the spirit world, and the positions we occupied there, so, too, with Jesus; in His humiliation His judgment was taken from Him; He knew not at first whence He came, nor the dignity of His station in heaven. It was only by degrees that He felt the Spirit working within Him and gradually unfolding the sublime idea that He was peculiarly and pre-eminently the Son of God in very deed. When at Jerusalem, about twelve years of age, He began to be conscious of the suggestions of the Spirit within Him, that he had a work to do in the world for His Father, and hence allowed the caravan with which He had come from distant Galilee to Judea to start upon the return journey without Him, much to the perplexity and sorrow of His supposed father, Joseph, and His mother, Mary. They missing Him, returned and found Him in the temple disputing with the doctors and lawyers. They reprimanded Him, as they would reprimand any boy guilty of similar conduct; but when they reproved Him, He answered, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business." He began to understand His mission. The spirit promptings were at work in His soul. And while ultimately the spirit was given without measure unto Him (John iii:24), it was not so at first, for "He received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace." (Doc. and Cov., Sec. 93: 12, 13.) The child Jesus "grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. * * * And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." (Luke ii; 40, 52.) But notwithstanding, Jesus, at twelve years of age, and earlier, began to experience the operations of the Spirit calling His soul to His mission, still we are told that He returned with His parents to Galilee, "and was subject unto them," He who had given the law, "Honor thy father and thy mother," in this act exemplified the honor that He entertained for that law, in His practice of it.

We next see Him coming to the banks of Jordan, where a prophet of God is baptizing—one of those strange, eccentric men, who lived for the most part in the wilderness, whose food was locusts and wild honey, and whose clothing was the skins of wild animals; and yet through all this eccentricity, through all this oddness of character, shone the divine powers of God in this messenger, and multitudes of people were gathered by his preaching to the Jordan, where he baptized them for the remission of their sins. By and by, Jesus comes and demands baptism at this man's hands; and as he enters the water, the prophet stays Him, and says, "I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?" Already, doubtless, shining through this "expression of God,"—this Jesus of Nazareth,—the servant of the Lord, in attune, through the spirit of inspiration, with the very God who was approaching Him, felt the divinity of His presence, and would fain acknowledge His own inferiority. What was the reply? "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness." He Who had said that men must be baptized for the remission of sins, though Himself sinless, would honor that law by obedience unto it. Thus we learn that God not only gives law, but He obeys law.

3. The Compassion and Impartiality of God: Jesus was possessed of infinite compassion. The incidents that I shall relate to you, in support of this statement, are in quotations that are free, and yet, I think, justified by the spirit of the several occasions. After all, it is the spirit that giveth life; the letter killeth; so let us look at these things in the spirit of them. You see Him one day with some of His disciples approaching the little village of Nain, "His raiment dusty and His sandals worn." As they draw near, the gate is opened and a funeral procession marches out. The mother of the young man whose body is being borne by his neighbors to the final resting place, walks feebly and weeping beside the bier, desolate in her loneliness. As Jesus saw that poor woman in the midst of her sorrow, His heart—I pray you think of it, for we are speaking of God when we speak of Jesus Christ, the Creator of heaven and earth—the heart of God is moved with compassion towards this woman. He stops the bier, takes the dead by the hand, and says, "Young man, I say unto you, Arise." And he arose. Jesus Christ gave this woman back her son. It was an act of beautiful compassion, one of many, which illustrates how tender and sympathetic is the heart of our God!

Nor was His ministry confined exclusively to the poor, to the widows, to the lonely. He despised not rulers, nor the rich, because they were rich; but was willing, if only they could put themselves in a position to receive the manifestations of His compassion—He was willing to minister unto them. This is proved in the case of Jairus, one of the rulers of the Jews, and a man of great wealth. You will remember that he came running to the Master with his sorrow—his daughter was lying dangerously ill at home; and such was his faith that if the Master would but speak the word, she would be healed. While yet he spake, one of his servants came running, saying, "Thy daughter is dead: trouble not the Master." But Jesus heeded not the word of the servant. He had heard Jairus' cry of faith, and responsive to that faith-cry, he made His way to the home of the ruler, put out those who were unbelieving, and taking the maid by the hand, gave her back to the gladness of life, into the arms of the joyous father. The faith of that rich man was as great as the faith of any we meet with in all the ministry of the Lord. So, wealth is not necessarily a hindrance to faith. God is as close to the faithful rich as to the faithful poor, and as ready to grant them his mercy, according to their faith. I sometimes think we make a mistake when we would flout those who are rich and put them outside the pale of God's mercy and compassion because of what may be nothing but a prejudice—which in reality may be envy—of the rich.

While on the way to the ruler's house, another incident happened that is very remarkable. A woman in the throng, a long time afflicted with a grievous ailment, said in her heart as she saw Him pass, "If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole." Accordingly, she crowded her way forward, dropped upon her knee, clutched the garment, and received the divine power from Him which cleansed her body and healed her completely. Jesus, observing that something had happened to him, turned to the apostles, and said, "Who touched Me?" They replied, "Master, the multitude throng Thee and press Thee, and sayest thou, Who touched ME?" as if that was not to be expected in such a crowd. But, said Jesus, but "I perceive that virtue is gone out of me." What was it? Simply that through this poor woman's faith—who supposed herself so far removed from God that she dare not come into His presence and ask for the blessing she desired, but undertook to obtain it by indirect means—through her faith and touching the garment of the Lord—the healing virtues passed from God to her in such a tangible manner that He felt their departure, just as some of you elders, when administering to one who was full of faith have felt your spiritual strength and life go out from you, leaving you weak and almost helpless, but giving healthful life to the afflicted. I speak to men who have experience in these things, and I know that scores of you could bear witness to the truth of this phenomenon. If our lives can but touch the life of God, such is His nature that we shall partake of the virtues that go out from Him.

What shall I say of lepers that crowded into Messiah's presence, and who, notwithstanding the loathsomeness of their disease, found sympathy and help from contact with him? What of the blind, the lame, the halt? Why, let us not speak of them; for though it is a great thing that their bodies should be healed, and they should go through the community singing the praises of Him who had restored them, there are better things to speak of—the healing of men's souls, the purifying of their spirits.

4. God's Treatment of Sinners: Let us ask, rather, how did Jesus Christ—God—deal with sinners? I take one incident that has always appealed very strongly to me, and illustrates the spirit in which Christ deals with sinners; for this God of ours is peculiarly the friend of sinners, not because of their sins, however, but in spite of them; and because of His compassion upon those so unfortunate as to be under the bondage of sin. The over-righteous Pharisees of Christ's time would not on any account come in contact with sinful men, lest they themselves should be polluted. They gathered the robes of their sanctity about them, and considered themselves in such close relation with God that they could afford to despise His poor, unfortunate, sinful children, instead of holding out the hand that would bring them from the kingdom of darkness into the brightness and glory of the kingdom of God. But not so with Jesus Christ. When He was accused by this class of men of mingling with publicans and sinners, His answer to them was, "They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." As if He had said, you who are righteous and have no need of healing for sin, stand by yourselves; My mission is not to you, but to those who have need of God's help. Such was the spirit of His answer. The incident to which I refer as illustrative of His compassion for sinners, is this: The Jews were always on the alert to entrap the Messiah's feet and bring Him into contradiction with the law of Moses. The law of Moses, as first given to Israel, was that if any should be found in adultery they should be stoned to death; but the Rabbis, by nice discriminations of words, practically had rendered that law a dead letter, by reason of which the adulterers in Israel escaped the punishment that God had decreed against them. Therefore, they thought if they could take a person who unquestionably had been guilty of this crime and bring him or her into the presence of Jesus, they would either bring Him in conflict with the law of Moses, or with the tradition of the elders, and in either case would have sufficient cause to denounce Him before the people. So they found a woman, caught in the act; they dragged her through the streets, and cast her at His feet. "Master," said they, "this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned; but what sayest Thou?" He replied, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." One by one they slunk away, until the woman was left alone with Jesus. When Jesus looked around and saw none but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?" "No man, Lord," she said. Then Jesus said: "Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more." That is how God deals with sinners. It is written that God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, and that is true, he cannot; but how about the sinner? Why, He may look upon the sinner with infinite compassion. While sin must always be hateful, yet will He help and love the sinner, if he will but go his way and sin no more. Such is our human weakness, and so nearly the level upon which we all move, that there is none of us but will plead mightily for mercy; and, thank God, we shall not plead in vain; for, while our Judge cannot look upon sin with any degree of allowance, his heart goes out in compassion and love to men, and He will help them to overcome sin, to fight a good fight, to keep the faith, and at last enable them to win the crown of righteousness in the kingdom of God.

5. God's Toleration: Jesus, moreover, was tolerant. You will recall the circumstance of His having to go through Samaria, and you remember that the Samaritans hated the Jews, and Jesus was a Jew. Some of His disciples went into a village of Samaria, through which Jesus would have to pass, and sought to make arrangements for the Master to stay over night; but the Samaritans closed their doors against Him. They had heard of Him; He was a Jew; and in the narrowness of their minds they would not admit the hated Jew into their homes. This very much angered the disciple John, who loved Jesus dearly. He was one of the "sons of thunder," and possessed of a spirit that could love; and being strong in love, as is often the case—I was going to say as is always the case—he was likewise strong in hating. He was the type of man that does both heartily. Hence, he went to the Master and asked Him if he might not call down fire from heaven upon those Samaritans for thus rejecting the Master. Jesus replied: "Ye know not what spirit ye are of. The Son of Man came to save, not to destroy." A broadness, a liberality truly glorious.

Jesus was properly broad minded—liberal. On one occasion some of the disciples found one casting out devils in the name of Jesus, and they forbade him, because he followed not the Master. When they came into the presence of Jesus, they reported this case and told what they had done. Jesus said, "Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in My name, that can lightly speak evil of me." Then He gave the other half of that truth, "He that is not for Me is against Me," by saying, "For he that is not against us is for us." Thus He corrected the narrow-mindedness of His own apostles.

6. The Love of God: "He that loveth not, knoweth not God: for God is love:—and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God and God in him." (I John iv: 8-16).

"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." (John iii: 14-18).

I can think of no greater evidence of God's love than that exhibited in the act of permitting his Son, Jesus Christ, to come to the earth and suffer as He did for the sins of the world, that they might not suffer if they would but conform to His laws, and thus accept the terms of Salvation. (Doc. & Cov., Sec. 19). It would seem, too, that the same attribute of love exists in the breast of the Son, for the sacrifice He made for the redemption of the world was a voluntary act. He was not compelled to make the Atonement, but of His own free will He volunteered to become our ransom. (Pearl of Great Price, p. 41.) He himself testified: "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." (John x: 17, 18.)

Thus, the atonement of Jesus, for the children of men, was a voluntary act; and His death and suffering for the world, was the strongest expression of love it is possible to conceive—"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John xv: 13).

7. The Justice and the Severity of God: "Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy Throne." (Psalms lxxxix:14.) "A just God and a Savior." (Isaiah xlv: 21). "Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold thy king cometh unto thee: He is just and having salvation." (Zach. ix:9). "A God of Truth, and without iniquity, just and right is He." (Deut. xxxii:4).

Notwithstanding all God's mercy, as manifested through the Christ, His tolerance, His patience and gentleness, there were times when He Who was so infinitely merciful, could also be infinitely just; He Who was so infinitely compassionate, could be infinitely severe. I give you an instance of it. He had struggled long and hard with those hypocrites, the Scribes and Pharisees; and finally the voice of justice and reproof, as it is to be found in God, speaks forth through Jesus Christ, and this is what He said: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation." (Matt. xxiii:13, 14.)

That is not so gentle: Listen again: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? * * * Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, if we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up, then, the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Matt. xxiii:15-33).

And this from that gentle, compassionate man! The voice of God in its severity speaks through these tones, and bids us understand that it must be a terrible thing to fall under the displeasure of God. Think of the infinite difference between that sweet compassion which He has for the penitent sinner, and this severe but just arraignment of those who persist in their sins! A warning to all men to beware of the justice of God, when once it shall be aroused!

8. God Completely Revealed Through Christ: Jesus Christ is God manifested in the flesh, proved to be so from the scripture; the character of God is revealed in the wonderful life that Jesus, the Son of God, lived on earth; in it we see God in action; and from it we see the gentleness, the compassion, the love, and also the justice and severity of God. Jesus Christ is God; and He is also man; but I deplore those sectarian refinements which try to tell us about the humanity of Jesus being separate from the divinity of Jesus. He Himself made no such distinctions. He was divine, spirit and body, and spirit and body was exalted to the throne of His Father, and sits there now with all the powers of the Godhead residing in Him bodily, an immortal, glorified, exalted man! The express image and likeness God of the Father; for as the Son is, so is the Father. Yet when the Latter Day Saints announce to the world that we believe God to be an exalted man, we are told that we are blasphemers. But as long as the throne of Jesus Christ stands sure, so long as His spirit remains in His immortal body of flesh and bones, glorified and everlasting, shall keep His place by the side of the Father, so long will the doctrine that God is an exalted man hold its place against the idle sophistries of the learned world. The doctrine is true. It cannot be unthroned. A truth is a solemn thing. Not the mockery of ages, not the lampooning of the schoolmen, not the derision of the multitude, not the blasphemy of the world, can affect it; it will always remain true. And this doctrine, announced by Joseph Smith to the world, that God is an exalted man, that Jesus Christ is the revelation of God to the world and that He is just like his Father, and that those who are His brethren may become as He is, when they have walked in His footsteps—that is a doctrine that will stand sure and fast as the throne of God itself. For Jesus Christ was God manifested in the flesh. He was the revelation of God to the world. He was and is and ever will remain an exalted man. He is, and always will remain, God.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. Plurality of Persons in the Godhead.

The notes of this Lesson and Scriptural references in the notes, 1 to 5.

The references in Richards and Little's Compendium, Art. "Plurality of Gods," p. 184.

The notes, and Scripture citations within them, this Lesson.

Also "Avatars of God," Improvement Era for March, 1910.

II. Plurality of Divine Intelligences.

SPECIAL TEXT: "God standeth in the congregations of the mighty; he judgeth among the Gods. * * * I have said ye are Gods; and all of you are children of the Most High."


The notes of this Lesson are taken from two discourses by the Author: one the "Mormon Doctrine of Deity"; the other, "Jesus Christ, the Revelation of God," hence the personal character and direct address style that appears in the notes. The discourses referred to will be found in "Mormon Doctrine of Deity."

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

2. The Son: Jesus, Himself, claimed to be the Son of God, and in this connection there is clearly claimed for Him divinity, that is to say, Godship. Let me read to you a direct passage upon that subject; it is to be found in the gospel according to St. John, and reads as follows: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. * * * And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth." (John i:1-3.)

The identity between Jesus of Nazareth—"The Word made flesh"—and the "Word" that was "with God in the beginning," and that "was God," is so clear that it cannot possibly be doubted. So the Son is God, as well as the Father. Other evidences go to establish the fact that Jesus had the Godlike power of creation. In the very passage I have just read, it is said: "All things were made by Him [that is, by the Word, Who is Jesus]; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men." (John i: 3-4.)

One other scripture of like import, but perhaps even more emphatic than the foregoing, is that saying of Paul's in the epistle to the Hebrews: "God, Who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds." (Heb. i: 1-3.)

Not only one world, but many "worlds," for the word is used in the plural. So that we find that the Son of God was God the Father's agent in the work of creation, and that under the Father's direction He created many worlds. There can be no question then as to the divinity, the Godship, of Jesus of Nazareth, since He is not only God the Son, but God the Creator also—of course, under the direction of the Father.

3. The Holy Spirit: Again, the Holy Ghost is spoken of in the scriptures as God. I think, perchance, the clearest verification of that statement is to be found in connection with the circumstance of Ananias and his wife attempting to deceive the apostles with reference to the price for which they had sold a certain parcel of land they owned, which price they proposed putting into the common fund of the Church; but selfishness asserted itself, and they concluded to lie as to the price of the land, and only consecrate a part to the common fund. It was an attempt to get credit for a full consecration of what they possessed, on what was a partial dedication of their goods. They proposed to live a lie, and to tell one, if necessary, to cover the lie they proposed to live. When Ananias stood in the presence of the apostles, Peter put this very pointed question to him: "Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?" * * * "Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." (Acts v.) To lie to the Holy Ghost is to lie to God, because the Holy Ghost is God. And frequently in the scriptures the Holy Spirit is spoken of in this way.

4. The Holy Trinity: These three, the father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, it is true, are spoken of in the most definite manner as being God—one; but the distinction of one from the other is also clearly marked in the scriptures. Take that circumstance to which I have already alluded—note 1—the baptism of Jesus. There we may see the three distinct personalities most clearly. The Son coming up out of the water from His baptism; the heavens opening and the Holy Spirit descending upon Him; while out of heaven the voice of God the Father is heard saying, "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased." Here three Gods are distinctly apparent. They are seen to be distinct from each other. They appear simultaneously, not as one, but as three, each one being a different person, so that however completely they may be one in spirit, in purpose, in will, they are clearly distinct as persons—as individuals.

5. Each of the Three Equal in Dignity: In several instances in the scriptures these three personages are accorded equal dignity in the Godhead. An example is found in the commission which Jesus gave to His disciples after His resurrection, when He sent them out into the world to preach the gospel to all nations. He stood in the presence of the eleven, and said: "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." (Matt. xxviii:18-20.)

Each of the three is here given equal dignity in the Godhead. Again, in the apostolic benediction: "May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all."

In one particular, at least, Jesus came very nearly exalting the Holy Ghost to a seeming superiority over the other personages in the Godhead; for He said: "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." (Matt. xii:31, 32.)

I take it, however, that this seeming superior dignity accorded to the Holy Ghost by the Son of God, is owing to the nature of the third personage in the Trinity, and the kind of testimony He can impart unto the soul of man because of His being a personage of spirit—a testimony that is better than the seeing of the eye, more sure than the hearing of the ear, because it is spirit testifying to spirit—soul communing with soul—it is the soul of God imparting to the soul of man; and if men, after receiving that Witness from God, shall blaspheme against Him, farewell hope of forgiveness for such a sin, in this world or in the world to come!

These three personages, then, are of equal dignity in the Godhead, according to the teachings of the New Testament. Each is equally divine—equally God; hence Jesus is God equally with God the Father, and with God the Holy Ghost.

This simple Christian teaching respecting the Godhead gave birth to what, in ecclesiastical history, is called "The Apostles' Creed." A vague tradition has it that before the Apostles dispersed to go into the world to preach the gospel, they formulated a creed with respect of the Church's belief in God. Whether that tradition be true or not, I do not know, and for matter of that, it makes little difference. Suffice it to say that the so-called "Apostles' Creed," for two centuries, expressed the faith of the early Christians upon the question of God, and is as follows: "I believe in God, the Father, Almighty; and in Jesus Christ, His Only Begotten Son, our Lord, Who was born of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Ghost, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, buried, arose from the dead on the third day, ascended to the heavens, and sits at the right hand of the Father, whence He will come, to judge the living and the dead; and in the Holy Ghost."

6. Plurality of Divine Intelligences: We have already shown that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are three separate and distinct persons, and, so far as personality is concerned, are three Gods. Their "oneness" consists in being possessed of the same mind; they are one, too, in wisdom, in knowledge, in will and purpose; but as individuals they are three, each separate and distinct from the other, and three is plural. Now, that is a long way on the road towards proving the plurality of Gods. But, in addition to this, I would like to know from our friends—the critical sectarian ministers who complain of this part of our faith—the meaning of the following expressions, carefully selected from the scriptures:

"The Lord your God is God of Gods, and Lord of Lords." (Deut. x:17.) That is from Moses.

"The Lord God of Gods, the Lord God of Gods, He knoweth, and Israel He shall know." (Josh. xxii:22.) That is from Joshua.

"O give thanks unto the God of Gods! * * * O give thanks to the Lord of Lords!" (Psalm cxxxvi: 2, 3.) That is David.

"And shall speak marvelous things against the God of Gods." (Daniel xi: 36.) That is Daniel.

"The Lamb shall overcome them; for He is Lord of Lords, and King of Kings." (Rev. xvii:14.) That is the beloved disciple of Jesus—John the Revelator.

Had I taken such expressions from the lips of the pagan kings or false prophets, who are sometimes represented as speaking in the scriptures, you might question the propriety of making such quotations in support of the doctrine I teach; but since these expressions come from prophets and recognized servants of God, I ask those who criticize our faith in the matter of a plurality of Gods, to explain away those expressions of the scriptures. Furthermore, there is Paul's language, in his letter to the Corinthians, already quoted, where he says, "that there be Gods many and Lords many, whether in heaven or in earth." Had his expression been confined to those that are called gods in earth, it is possible that there might be some good ground for claiming that he had reference to the heathen gods, and not true Gods; but he speaks of those that "are Gods in heaven" as well as gods in earth. Right in line with this idea is the following passage from the Psalms of the Prophet David: "God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; He judgeth among the Gods." (Psalm lxxxii:1.) These, undoubtedly, are the Gods in heaven to whom Paul alludes, among whom the God referred to stands; among whom He judges. This is no reference to the heathen gods, but to the Gods in heaven, the true Gods.

In this same Psalm, too, is the passage which seems to introduce some telling evidence from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, viz.: "I have said ye are Gods, and all of you are the children of the Most High." You remember how on one occasion the Jews took up stones to stone Jesus, and He called a halt for just a moment, for He wanted to reason with them about it. He said: "Many good works have I shown you from the Father; for which of these works do ye stone me?"

Their answer was: "For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God."

What an opportunity here for Jesus to teach them that there was but one God! But He did not do that. On the contrary, He affirmed the doctrine of a plurality of Gods. He said to them: "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are Gods? If He called them Gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of Him, Whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not. But if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe the works."

Higher authority on this question cannot be quoted than the Son of God Himself.

7. Further Evidence for a Plurality of Divine Intelligences: I find a word on the subject fitly spoken by the late Orson Pratt, in a discourse delivered in 1855, in Salt Lake City. He said: There is one revelation that this people are not generally acquainted with. I think it has never been published, but probably it will be in the Church History. It is given in questions and answers. The first question is, "What is the name of God in the pure language?" The answer says, "Ahman." "What is the name of the Son of God?" Answer, "Son Ahman, the greatest of all the parts of God, excepting Ahman." "What is the name of men?" "Sons Ahman," is the answer. "What is the name of angels in the pure language?" "Anglo—man." The revelation goes on to say that Sons Ahman are the greatest of all the parts of God excepting Son Ahman, and Ahman, and that Anglo-man are the greatest of all the parts of God excepting Sons Ahman, Son Ahman and Ahman, showing that the angels are a little lower than man.[1] What is the conclusion to be drawn from this? It is that these intelligent beings are all parts of God. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, p. 342.)

This, it will be said, is a bold doctrine; and indeed it is bold. I love it for its boldness, but not so much for that, as for the reason that it is true. It is in harmony with another revelation given through Joseph Smith, wherein it is said:

"Man was also [as well as Jesus] in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. * * * For 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 in the tabernacle of God, even temples" (Doc. and Cov., sec. 93: 29-35).

Nor is the doctrine less in harmony with the Jewish scriptures:

"For it became him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren."

In this same chapter of Hebrews, Jesus, as well as man, is spoken of as being made "a little while inferior to the angels" (verses 7 and 9 marginal reading); and he is spoken of by the same apostle in another place as being but "the first born among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29). Also 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,[2] 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" (Acts 17: 26-30). The nature of our own being, 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.

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" (Ps. 82: 1, 6, 7); and though he adds, "But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes," it does not detract from the assertion, "and all of you are children of the Most High;" for Jesus died, even as men die; but he was the Son of God, nevertheless, and he himself a Deity.

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. "Beloved," 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 [Christ] shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (I John 3:2). For additional matter on this point see "Avatars of God" in March and April Nos. of Improvement Era, 1910.

8. Of God the Spirit of the Gods: From the presence of the Gods goes out the influence and power men sometimes call God, or the Spirit of God; from whose presence David could not flee:

"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. Yea the darkness hideth not from thee; but the light shineth as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to thee" (Ps. 139: 7-12).

This Spirit is that "Something sacred and sublime," which men recognize as moving "wool-shod" behind the worlds; "weighing the stars; weighing the deeds of men." (Edward Markham.) This that Spirit that permeates all space; that makes all presence bright; all motion guides; the Power "unchanged through time's all-devastating flight;" that upholds and sustains all worlds. Hence it is said, in one of the most beautiful of the revelations God has given in this last dispensation:

"As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made. As also the light of the stars and the power thereof by which they were made. And the earth also and the power thereof; even the earth upon which you stand. And the light which now shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space. The light which is in all things; which giveth light to all things; which is the law by which all things are governed: even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things; * * * The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God. * * * Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these, hath seen God moving in his majesty and power" (Doc. and Cov., sec. 88 8-13 and 45, 47).

This, then, is God, who is not far removed from every one of us; in whom we live, and move, and have our being. This is God immanent in nature.

And as we dwell in him, so, too, dwells he in us; and, as man more expands towards divinity, more and more of the divine enters into his being, until he attains unto a fullness of light and truth; of power and glory; until he becomes perfectly one in God, and God in him. This the meaning of the Messiah's prayer, made for all those who become his disciples—"That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee: that they also may be one in us" (John 17: 21).

To the same effect Paul also prayed:

"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all Saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3: 14-19).

Then again he said: Let this mind be in you which was also in Jesus Christ: who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God (Philippians 2: 5, 6).

It is possible for the mind of God to be in man, to will and to do, as seemeth [God] good. The nature of the Whole clings to the Parts, and they may carry with them the light and truth and glory of the Whole. Moreover, by appointment, any One or Three of the unit Intelligences may become the embodiment and representative of all the power and glory and authority of the sum total of the Divine Intelligences; in which capacity either the One or the Three would no longer stand only in their individual characters as Gods, but they would stand also as the sign and symbol of all that is divine—and would act as and be to all intents and purposes The One God. And so in every inhabited world, and in every system of worlds, a God presides. Deity in his own right and person, and by virtue of the essence of him; and also by virtue of his being the sign and symbol of the Collectivity of the Divine Intelligences of the universe. Having access to all the councils of the Gods, each individual Deity becomes a partaker of the collective knowledge, wisdom, honor, power, majesty, and glory of the Body Divine—in a word, the embodiment of the Spirit of the Gods whose influence permeates the universe.

This doctrine of Deity teaches a divine government for the world that is in harmony with our modern knowledge of the universe; for, as I have remarked elsewhere in effect: (New Witness for God, pp. 473-5.) An infinitude of worlds and systems of worlds rising one above another in ever-increasing splendor, in limitless space and eternal duration, have, as a concomitant, an endless line of exalted, divine men to preside over and within them, as Priests, Kings, Patriarchs, Gods! Nor is there confusion, disorder, or strife in their vast dominions; for they all govern upon the same righteous principles that characterize the government of God everywhere. These Divine Intelligences have attained unto the excellence that Jesus prayed for in behalf of his apostles, and those who might believe on their word, when he said: "Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are." I say Divine Intelligences have attained unto the excellence of oneness that Jesus prayed his disciples might possess, and since they have attained unto it, and all govern their worlds and systems of worlds by the same spirit, and by the same principles, there is a unity in their government that makes it one even as they are one. Let worlds and systems of worlds galaxies of systems and universes, extend as they may throughout limitless space, Joseph Smith has revealed the existence of a divine government which, while characterized by unity, is co-extensive with all these worlds and world-systems.


1. It may be thought, at the first reading of this statement, "the angels are a little lower than man," is in conflict with the scripture, "Thou madest him [man] a little lower than the angels" (Heb. 2: 7). But I call attention to the marginal rendering of the passage in King James' translation, "Thou madest him a little while inferior to the angels." Without stopping here to consider which is the better translation of the passage, it may be said of the latter that it is in better harmony with the context of the passage as it stands here in Hebrews, and also in Psalms, than the preferred rendering of it in the regular text; for in both places it says of man, "Thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all things in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him." Moreover, we see the same thing is said of Jesus that is said of man: "We see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor" (Heb. 2: 9). Surely "made a little lower than the angels," when said of Jesus could be but for "a little while inferior to," etc.; and that only in the matter of "the suffering of death." So, too, with man; he is made "a little while inferior to the angels," after which period he would rise to the dignity of his place, when it would be seen, as said in the text with which this note deals, "the angels are a little lower than man," that is, of course, when man shall have attained unto his exaltation and glory.

2. He was a poet of Cilicia, of which province Tarsus, Paul's native city, was the capital. He wrote about four hundred years before Paul's time.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




I. God Is a Spirit, Hence Not Material—Without Form or Body.

The Mormon Doctrine of Deity—Roberts-Van Der D Discussion. Chs. i, ii, iii and the notes of this Lesson.

Also Chapter v in the above work. It is a Collection of Passages from leading Elders of the Church, setting forth "Mormon Views of the Deity."

II. God Is Invisible—Hence Immaterial, Without Body or Form.

III. Anthromorphic Appearances and Descriptions of God Only Used to Make Plain Spiritual Things.

IV. The Answers.

SPECIAL TEXT: Stephen, "being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God." Acts vii: 55, 56.


These notes are taken from the Roberts-Van Der Donkt Discussion on Deity. The Catholic Father states the objections and presents the argument for them; Elder Roberts gives the answers, and argues for their accuracy and efficiency. The debate in full is found in "Mormon Doctrine of Deity," chs. ii and iii.

1. The First Objection—God is a Spirit—Hence Immaterial: "God is a Spirit" (John iv., 24). "Another strong and explicit statement is: 'Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona, because flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father who is in heaven.' (Matt. xvi). "As the Christ has asked, what[1] do men say the Son of Man is (Matt. xvi, 16, 17), there is an evident antithesis and contrast between the opinions of men and the profession of Peter, which is based upon revelation. The striking opposition between men, flesh and blood, and the Father, evidently conveys the sense that God hath not flesh and blood like man, but is a Spirit (Roberts-Van Der Donckt Discussion—Mormon Doctrine of Deity—p. 45).

2. God is Invisible, Hence Immaterial: It is also held that God is described as being "invisible," in the Bible. Then it is added: "All material beings are visible. Absolute invisible beings are immaterial or bodiless: God is absolutely invisible, therefore God is immaterial or bodiless. * * * * * * Tertullian, (A. D. 160-245), Ambrose (330-397), Augustine (354-430) and other Fathers, whose deep scholarship is acknowledged by Protestants and Catholics alike, informs us that God the Father is called invisible because He never appeared to bodily eyes; whereas the Son manifested Himself as an angel, or through an angel, and as man, after His incarnation. He is the eternal revelation of the Father. It is necessary to remark that whenever the eternal Son of God, or angels at God's behest, showed themselves to man, they became visible only through a body or a material garb assumed for the occasion (see Cardinal Newman's "Development of Christian Doctrine," 9th edition, pp. 136 and 138)." (Ibid.)

3. The Purpose of Anthropomorphic Appearances and Descriptions of God: "Again, Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of this wickedness"—Eph. vi: 12—Could plainer words be found to teach that angels both good and bad, are spirits devoid of bodies. Now, the Creator is certainly more perfect than His creatures, and pure minds are more perfect than minds united to bodies (men). ["The corruptible body is a load upon the soul, and the earthly habitation presseth down the mind" (Wis 9:15.) "Who shall deliver me from this body of death?" (St. Paul).] Therefore, the Creator is a pure spirit.

"It is a well known fact that all men, after the example of the inspired Writings, make frequent use of the figure called anthropomorphism, attributing to the Deity a human body, human members, human passions, etc.; and that is done, not to imply that God is possessed of form, limbs, etc., but simply to make spiritual things or certain truths more intelligible to man, who, while he tarries in this world, can perceive things and even ideas only through his senses or through bodily organs." (Ibid).

4. The Answers: The whole fabric of this objection and argument, is built upon the assumption that "spirit" is immaterial. I say "assumption," because it is nowhere declared in revelation that "spirit" is immaterial. On the other hand, whenever spirits have been seen, or God has been revealed, they have appeared to the eyes of the beholder in human form. They were tangible to human sight; they had configuration; they occupied space; and as form and extension are qualities of matter, spirits must be material, albeit of finer substance than the bodies tangible to the senses in normal states of consciousness. The argument quoted in the preceding notes of the lesson, were treated in part in the following manner:

5. Of God Being a Spirit: "Mr. Van Der Donckt's first premise is that "God is a Spirit," quoting the words of the Savior (John 4: 24); and Paul's words, "The Lord is a spirit," (II Cor. 3: 17.) He then argues that a spirit is different from a man, and quotes the remark of Jesus to His disciples, when He appeared to them after His resurrection: "A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have" (Luke 24: 37-39). Also the words of Jesus to Peter, "Flesh and blood hath not revealed it [that is, that Jesus is the Christ] unto thee, but My Father Who is in heaven." (Matt. 16: 17.) The gentleman, in all this, sees a striking contrast between men, flesh and blood, and the Father; which "conveys the sense that God hath not flesh and blood like man, but is a spirit." * * * * With reference to the passage—"Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father Who is in heaven," and the Reverend gentleman's remarks thereon, I wish to say, in passing, that the antithesis between man and God in the passage, extends merely to the fact that the source of Peter's revelation was God, not man; and is no attempt at defining a difference between the nature of God and the nature of man. Here, also, I may say, that the Latter-day Saints do not hold that God is a personage of flesh and blood, but a personage of flesh and bone, inhabited by a spirit, just as Jesus was after His resurrection. Joseph Smith taught, concerning the resurrection, that "all [men] will be raised by the power of God, having spirit in their bodies, and not blood." Again, in speaking of the general assembly and church of the first-born in heaven (Heb. 12:23), he said: "Flesh and blood cannot go there; but flesh and bones, quickened by the Spirit of God, can." So it must be remembered, throughout this discussion, that the Latter-day Saints do not believe that God is a personage of flesh and blood; but a personage of flesh and bone and spirit, united. * * * * * * * * But now for the "Mormon" exposition of the text. Is Jesus Christ God? Was He God as He stood there among His disciples in His glorious and, to use Mr. V's own word, "sacred," resurrected body? There is but one answer that the Reverend Catholic gentleman or any orthodox Protestant can give, and that is in the affirmative—"yes, Jesus is God." But "God is a spirit!" True, He is; but Jesus is a spirit inside a body—inside an immortal, indestructible body of flesh and bone; therefore, if Jesus is God, and God is a spirit, He is an embodied spirit, just as the Latter-day Saints teach.

Mr. Van Der Donckt endeavors to anticipate the "Mormon" answer to this argument by saying: "I am well aware that the Latter-day Saints interpret those texts as meaning a spirit clothed with a body, but what nearly the whole of mankind, Christians, Jews, and Mohammedans, have believed for ages, cannot be upset by the gratuitous assertions of a religious innovator of this last century."

At this point, I will not appeal to or quote the "gratuitous assertions of a religious innovator of this last century"—meaning Joseph Smith. There is no need of that. If I were an unbeliever in the true Deity of Christ, I might take up the gentleman's argument in this way: You say God is a spirit, and hence bodiless, immaterial? His answer must be, "Yes." But Jesus says, "a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have."—Hence Jesus is not God, because He is a personage of flesh and bone, in the form of man—not bodiless or immaterial. (This refers to the Christ after his resurrection when he was a resurrected man and immortal in that state). This, of course, is not my point. I merely refer to it in the beaten way of good fellowship, and by way of caution to my Catholic friend, who, I am sure, in his way, is as anxious to maintain the true Deity of the Nazarene as I am; but his method of handling the text, "God is a spirit," might lead him into serious difficulty in upholding the truth that Jesus was and is true Deity, if in argument with an infidel.

6. Of God Being Invisible: Mr. Van Der Donckt thinks he sees further proof of God's being a "Spirit," and therefore immaterial or bodiless, in the fact that He is spoken of in the Bible as being "invisible." Moses "was strong as seeing Him that is invisible," (Heb. 11:27); "No man hath seen God at any time" (I John 4: 12). "The King of kings—whom no man hath seen nor can see," (I Tim. 6: 16); are the passages he relies upon for the proof of his contention.

Of course, Mr. V. is aware of the fact—for he mentions it—that these passages are confronted with the explicit statement of scripture that God has been seen by men. Moses saw Him. At one stage of his experience, the great Hebrew prophet was told that he could not see God's face; "for," said the Lord, "there shall no man see Me and live." But even at that time, Moses was placed in a cleft of the rock, "and thou shalt see My back parts," said the Lord to him; "but My face shall not be seen" (Exodus 23: 18-23). On another occasion, Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, saw God. "And they saw the God of Israel; and there was under His feet as it were, a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink." (Ex. 24: 9-11).

Isaiah saw Him: 'I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple.' At the same time the seraphims proclaimed His holiness, saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory." Then said Isaiah: "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." (Isaiah 6: 1-5).

To harmonize these apparitions of God to men with his theory of the invisibility of God, Mr. V. appeals to the writings of some of the Christian fathers, and Cardinal Newman, from whose teachings he concludes that God the Father is called "invisible" because "he never appeared to bodily eyes; whereas the Son manifested Himself as an angel, and as a man after His incarnation. * * * Whenever the Eternal Son of God, or angels at God's behest, showed themselves to man, they became visible only through a body, or a material garb assumed for the occasion!" "Surely Tertullian, Ambrose, Augustine, the great English Cardinal of the Roman church, and Mr. V. are in sore straits when they must needs take refuge in the belief of such jugglery with matter as this, in order to reconcile apparently conflicting scriptures. And what a shuffling off and on of material garbs there must have been, as from time to time hosts of angels and spirits appeared unto men! It is but the materialization of the spiritualist mediums on a little larger scale. But there is a better way of harmonizing the seeming contradictions; and better authority for the conclusion to be reached than the Christian fathers and Cardinal Newman. I mean the scriptures themselves." (The argument in illustration of the last statement is too extended to quote here. See Roberts-Van Der Donckt Discussion, pp. 80-84.)

7. Of Anthropomorphism and Understanding the Bible Literally: I must say a word upon Mr. V's remarks respecting the plain anthropomorphism of the Bible, and the matter of understanding that sacred book literally. With reference to the first he says: "All men, after the example of the inspired writings, make frequent use of the figure called anthropomorphism, attributing to the Deity a human body, human members, human passions, etc., and that is done, not to imply that God is possessed of form, limbs, etc., but simply to make spiritual things or certain truths more intelligible to man."

I would like to know upon what authority Mr. V. adjudges the "inspired writings" not to imply that God is really possessed of form, limbs, passions, etc., after attributing them to Him in the clearest manner. The "inspired writings" plainly and most forcibly attribute to Deity a form like man's, with limbs, organs, etc., but the Bible does not teach that this ascription of form, limbs, organs and passions to God, is unreal, and "simply to make spiritual things or certain truths more intelligible to man." On the contrary, the Bible emphasizes the doctrine of anthropomorphism by declaring in its very first chapter that man was created in the image of God: "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him." The explanation is offered that it was necessary to attribute human form, members and passions, to God, in order to make spiritual things intelligible to man; but what is the reason for ascribing the divine form to man, as in the passage just quoted? Was that done to make human beings or certain truths more intelligible to God? Or was it placed in the word of God because it is simply true?

The truth that God in form is like man, is further emphasized by the fact that Jesus is declared to have been in "the express image" of the Father's person (Heb. 1: 3); and until Mr. V. or some other person of his school of thought, can prove very clearly that the word of God supports his theory of the unreality of the Bible's ascription of form, organs, proportions, passions and feelings, to God and other heavenly beings, the truth that God in form is like man, will stand secure on the foundation of the revelations it has pleased God to give of His own being and nature.

8. "The Morbid Terror of Anthropomorphism": Dean Mansel, in his "Limits of Religious Thought," administers a scathing reproof to the German philosophers Kant and Fichte (and also to Professor Jowett, in his note xxii in Lecture 1) for what he calls "that morbid terror of what they are pleased to call anthropomorphism, which poisons the speculation of so many modern philosophers, when they attempt to be wise above what is written, and seek for a metaphysical exposition of God's nature and attributes." These philosophers, while holding in abhorrence the idea that God has a form such as man's—or any form whatsoever—parts, organs, affections, sympathies, passions or any attributes seen in man's spirit, are, nevertheless, under the necessity of representing God as conscious, as knowing, as determining; all of which, as pointed out by Dean Mansel in the passage which follows, are, after all, qualities of the human mind as well as attributes of Deity; and hence the philosophers, after all their labor, have not escaped from anthropomorphism, but have merely represented Deity to our consciousness, shorn of some of the higher qualities of the human mind, which God is represented in the scriptures as possessing in their perfection—such as love, mercy, justice. (The very extended passage from Mansel's work will be found as foot note in "Mormon Doctrine of Deity," pp. 85-88.)

9. Angels Bodiless Beings: According to Mr. Van Der Donckt's doctrine, "Angels as well as God are bodiless beings." Angels, both good and bad, are spirits, devoid of bodies. The Creator is more perfect than His creatures, and pure minds [minds separated from bodies] are more perfect than minds united to bodies. * * * Therefore the Creator is a pure spirit." But where does this leave Jesus? Was and is Jesus God—true Deity? Yes. But Jesus is a spirit and body united into one glorious personage. His mind was and is now united to and dwelling in a body. Our Catholic friend says, "pure minds [i. e., minds not united to bodies] are more perfect than minds united to bodies." He also says, "Angels, both good and bad, are spirits (i. e., minds) devoid of bodies." Therefore, it must follow from his premises and argument, that angels are superior to Jesus, since His spirit is united to a body, while they are minds not united to bodies! I will not press the point, that the same conclusions could be drawn from his premises and argument with reference even to bad spirits, whom he says are bodiless, and hence, upon his theory, superior to minds or spirits united to bodies, for that would be ungenerous upon my part, and would lay upon his faulty argument the imputation of awful blasphemy, which I am sure was not intended, and would be as revolting to him as it would be to myself. Mr. V., I am sure, would contend as earnestly as I would that Jesus is superior to the angels, though it is perfectly clear that He is a spirit united to a body.


1. The Catholic priest, Van Der Donckt, who is stating this objection, uses the word "what," although that word is not used in either the common English version, nor in the Douay (Catholic) Bible. "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" Then to the apostles "But whom say ye that I am? (Matt. xvi, 13-14). This is from the common English version. The Douay Bible gives the same passages, "Who do men say that the son of man is?" and "Who do you say that I am?" So really the question is not what the son of man is, but who; hence there is no significance added to the matter from the questions asked.


(Scripture Reading Exercise.)




V. Objection: The Unity of God Excludes the Idea of Plurality of Gods.

The same as in Lesson xxxvi.

VI. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost Are One and the Same Identical Divine Essence of Being—Not Three Separate Individuals.

VII. The Answers.

SPECIAL TEXT: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen." II Cor. xiii:14.


These notes are taken from the Roberts-Van Der Donckt Discussion on Deity. The Catholic Father states the objections and presents the argument for them; Elder Roberts gives the answers and argues for their accuracy and efficiency. The Debate in full is found in "Mormon Doctrine of Deity," Chs. ii and iii.

1. Unity of God: Mr. Van Der Donckt says: The first chapter of the Bible reveals the supreme fact that there is One Only and Living God, the Creator and moral Governor of the universe. As Moses opened the sacred Writings by proclaiming Him, so the Jew, in all subsequent generations, has continued to witness for Him, till from the household of Abraham, faith in the one only living and true God has spread through Jerusalem, Christianity and Mahometanism well-nigh over the earth.[1] Primeval revelations of God had everywhere become corrupted in the days of Moses, save among the chosen people. Therefore, the first leaf of the Mosaic record, as Jean Paul says, has more weight than all the folies of men of science and philosophers.

While all nations over the earth have developed a religious tendency which acknowledged a higher than human power in the universe, Israel is the only one which has risen to the grandeur of conceiving this power as the One Only Living God. If we are asked how it was that Abraham possessed not only the primitive conception of the Divinity, as He had revealed Himself to all mankind, but passed through the denial of all other gods, to the knowledge of the One God, we are content to answer, that it was by a special divine revelation.[2]

The record of this divine revelation is to be found in the Bible: "Hear, Israel: Our God is one Lord." "I alone am, and there is no other God besides me" (Deut. 6:4 and 32:39). "I am the first and I am the last, and after me there shall be none" (Isaiah 44:6; 43:10.) "I will not give my glory to another" (Isaiah 42: 8; 45: 5, etc., etc.)

And as Mr. Roberts admits that our conception of God must be in harmony with the New Testament, it as well as the Old witnesses continually to One True God. Suffice it to quote: "One is good, God" (Matthew 19: 17;) "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God" (Luke 10: 27); "My Father of whom you say that he is your God" (John 8: 54). Here Christ testified that the Jews believed in only one God.

"The Lord is a God of all Knowledge" (I Kings 2). ("Mormon" Catechism v. Q. 10 and 11). "Of that day and hour no one knoweth, no not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone" (Matthew 24: 36). No one knoweth who the Son is but the Father (Luke 10: 22). Therefore, no one is God but one, the Heavenly Father.

In another form: The All-knowing alone is God. The Father alone is all-knowing. Therefore the Father alone is God[3]

From these clear statements of the Divine Book it is evident that all the texts quoted by Mr. Roberts do not bear the inference he draws from them; on the contrary, they directly make against him, plainly proving the unity of God.

First, then, if God so emphatically declares, both in the Old and in the New Testament, that there is but one God, has anyone the right to contradict Him and to say that there are several or many Gods? But Mr. Roberts insists that the Bible contradicts the Bible; in other words, that God, the author of the Bible, contradicts Himself. To say such a thing is downright blasphemy.

The liability of self-contradiction is characteristic of human frailty. It is incompatible with God's infinite perfections. Therefore, I most emphatically protest that there is no real contradiction in the Bible, though here and there may exist an apparent one."

2. "The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost Are One and the Same Identical Divine Essence or Being: 'I and the Father are one.' (John 10-30.) Christ asserts His physical, not merely moral, unity with the Father.

"My sheep hear My voice * * * and I give them everlasting life; and they shall not perish forever, and no man shall pluck them out of My hand."

The following argument, by which Christ proves that no man shall pluck His sheep from His hand, proves His consubstantiality, or the unity of His nature or essence with His Father's:

"My Father who gave Me the sheep is greater than all men or creatures (v. 29), and therefore no one can snatch the sheep or aught else from His hand. (Supreme or almighty power is here predicated of the Father.)

"Now, I and the Father are one (thing, one being), (v. 30). (Therefore, no one can snatch the sheep or aught else from My hand.)

To perceive the full meaning and strength of Jesus' argument, one must read and understand the original text of St. John's Gospel, that is, the Greek; or the Latin translation: Ego et Pater unum sumus.

If Christ had meant one in mind, or one morally, and not substantially, He would have used the masculine gender, Greek eis, (unus)—and not the neuter en, (unum)—as He did. No better interpreters of our Lord's meaning can be found than His own hearers. Had He simply declared His moral union with the Father, the Jews would not have taken up stones in protest against His making Himself God, and asserting His identity with the Father. Far from retracting His statement or correcting the Jews' impression, Jesus insists that as He is the Son of God, He has far more right to declare Himself God than the scripture had to call mere human judges gods, and He corroborates His affirmation of His physical unity with His Father by saying: 'The Father is in Me, and I am in the Father,' which evidently signifies the same as verse 30: 'I and the Father are one and the same individual being, the One God.'

The preceding argument is reinforced by John xiv:8-11: 'Philip saith to him: Lord, show us the Father. * * * Jesus saith: So long a time have I been with you and thou hast not known Me. Philip, he that seeth Me seeth the Father also. How sayest thou: Show us the Father. Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I speak, I speak not of Myself. But the Father Who abideth in Me, He doth the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. What things soever the Father doth, these the Son also doth likewise. (John v:19.)

These words are a clear assertion of the physical unity of the Son and the Father. It is plain from the context that Christ means more than a physical resemblance, no matter how complete, between Him and His Father. Of mere resemblance and moral union could never be said that one is the other, and that the words uttered by one are actually spoken by the other. To see the Son and the Father at the same time in the Son, the Son and the Father must be numerically one Being. Now, Christ says: 'He that seeth the Father.' Therefore, He and the Father are numerically one Being."

3. The Holy Ghost: There remains to prove that the Holy Ghost is inseparably one with the Father and the Son. There are three who give testimony in heaven, and these three are one. (1 John v:8.) As Christ proved His identity and unity with the Father by texts quoted: 'The words that I speak, I speak not of Myself. But the Father Who abideth in Me, He doth the works,' so He now shows His unity with the Holy Ghost by almost the selfsame sentences: 'When the Spirit of Truth will have come, He will teach you all truth; for He will not speak of Himself, but He will speak whatever He will hear, and will announce to you the things to come. He will glorify Me, because He will receive of mine and announce to you: whatever the Father hath are Mine. Therefore, I said: because He will receive of Mine and announce it to you.' (John xvi:13-15.)

That the Holy Ghost is one with the Son, or Jesus, is proved also by the fact that the Christian baptism is indiscriminately called the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, the Baptism in or with the Holy Ghost and the Baptism of or in Jesus: 'He [Christ] shall baptize in the Holy Ghost and fire' (that is, the Holy Ghost acting as purifying fire) (Matthew iii:11); 'have you received the Holy Ghost? We have not so much as heard whether there be a Holy Ghost.' He said: 'In what, then [in whose name, then] were you baptized?' Who said: 'In John's baptism * * * Having the instrument of the Father? heard these things they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 2:9). All we who are baptized in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 6:3).

4. The Answers: Of the Unity of God: The Latter-day Saints believe in the unity of the creative and governing force or power of the universe as absolutely as any orthodox Christian sect in the world. One cannot help being profoundly impressed with the great truth that creation, throughout its whole extent, bears evidence of being one system, presents at every point unity of design, and harmony in its government. Nor am I unmindful of the force there is in the deduction usually drawn from these premises, viz.: that the Creator and Governor of the universe must necessarily be one. But I am also profoundly impressed by another fact that comes within the experience of man, at least to a limited extent, viz.: the possibility of intelligences arriving at perfect agreement, so as to act in absolute unity. We see manifestations of this principle in human governments, and other human associations of various kinds. And this, too, is observable, viz.: that the greater and more perfect the intelligence, the more perfect can the unity of purpose and of effort become: so that one needs only the existence of perfect intelligences to operate together in order to secure perfect oneness, whence shall come the one system evident in the universe, exhibiting at every point unity of design, and perfect harmony in its government. In other words, "oneness" can be the result of perfect agreement among Many Intelligences, as surely as it can be the result of the existence of One Only Intelligence. Also, the decrees and purposes of the perfectly united Many can be as absolute as the decrees and purposes of the One Only Intelligence. One is also confronted with the undeniable fact that inclines him to the latter view as the reasonable explanation of the "Oneness" that is evidently in control of the universe—the fact that there are in existence many Intelligences, and, endowed as they are with free will, it cannot be denied that they influence, to some extent, the course of events and the conditions that obtain. Moreover, it will be found, on careful inquiry, that the explanation of the "Oneness" controlling in the universe, on the theory that it results from the perfect agreement or unity of Many Intelligences,[4] is more in harmony with the revelations of God on the subject than the theory that there is but One Only Personal Intelligence that enters into its government. This theory Mr. Van Der Donckt, of course, denies, and this is the issue between us that remains to be tested.

5. The Meaning of Elohim: The Reverend gentleman affirms that the first chapter of the Bible "reveals the supreme fact that there is but One Only and Living God." This I deny; and affirm the fact that the first chapter of the Bible reveals the existence of a plurality of Gods.

It is a matter of common knowledge that the word translated "God" in the first chapter of our English version of the Bible, in the Hebrew, is Elohim—plural of Eloah—and should be rendered "Gods"—so as to read, "In the beginning the Gods created the heavens and the earth," etc. * * * The Gods said, "Let there be light." * * * The Gods said, "Let us make man," etc., etc. So notorious is the fact that the Hebrew plural, Elohim, is used by Moses, that a variety of devices have been employed to make the first chapter of Genesis conform to the "One Only God" idea. Some Jews, in explanation of it, and in defense of their belief in One Only God, hold that there are several Hebrew words which have a plural form but singular meaning—of which Elohim is one—and they quote as proof of this the word maim, meaning water, shamaim, meaning heaven, and panim, meaning the face or surface of a person or thing. "But," says a Christian Jewish scholar,[5] "if we examine these words, we shall find that though apparently they may have a singular meaning, yet, in reality, they have a plural or collective one; thus, for instance, 'maim,' water, means a collection of waters, forming one collective whole; and thus again 'shamaim,' heaven, is also, in reality as well as form, of the plural number, meaning what we call in a similar way in English 'the heavens'; comprehending all the various regions which are included under that title."

Other Jewish scholars content themselves in accounting for this inconvenient plural in the opening chapter of Genesis, by saying that in the Hebrew, Elohim better represents the idea of "Strong," "Mighty," than the singular form would, and for this reason it was used—a view accepted by not a few Christians. (The argument on the plural Elohim continues through eight more pages in "Mormon Doctrine of Deity," from p. 139 to p. 147. It is too elaborate to be reproduced here.)

6. Of the Father Alone Being God: Referring to the admission in my discourse that conceptions of God, to be true, must be in harmony with the New Testament, Mr. Van Der Donckt proceeds to quote passages from the New Testament, in support of the idea that there is but one God:

"One is good, God (Matt. xix:17). Thou shalt love the Lord thy God (Luke x:27). My Father, of whom you say that He is your God (John viii:54). Here Christ testified that the Jews believed in only one God. The Lord is a God of all knowledge (1 Kings ii). ("Mormon" Catechism V. Q. 10 and 2, 11). Of that day and hour no one knoweth, no, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone (Matthew xxiv:36). No one knoweth who the Son is but the Father (Luke x:22). Therefore, no one is God but one, the Heavenly Father. In another form: the All-knowing alone is God. The Father alone is all-knowing. Therefore, the Father alone is God."

In the conclusion of the syllogism, "Therefore, the Father alone is God," Mr. V. himself seems to have become suddenly conscious of having stumbled upon a difficulty which he ineffectually seeks to remove in a foot note. If it be true, as Mr. V. asserts it is, that the Father alone is God, then it must follow that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, is not God; that the Holy Ghost is not God! Yet the New Testament, in representing the Father as addressing Jesus, says—"Thy throne, O God, is forever and forever" (Heb. i:8). Here is the positive word of the Father that Jesus, the Son, is God; for He addresses Him as such. To say, then, that the Father alone is God, is to contradict the Father. Slightly paraphrasing the rather stern language of Mr. V., I might ask: If God the Father so emphatically declares that Jesus is God, has any one the right to contradict him by affirming that the Father alone is God? But Mr. V. insists that the Bible contradicts the Bible; in other words, that God, the author of the Bible, contradicts himself: "To say such a thing, is downright blasphemy!" But Mr. V. will say he has explained all that in his foot note. Has he? Let us see. "Therefore, the Father alone is God," is the conclusion of his syllogism; and the foot note—"To the exclusion of another or separate divine being, but not to the denial of the distinct divine personalities of the Son and the Holy Ghost in the One Divine Being." But that is the mere assumption of my Catholic friend. When he says that the Father alone is God, it must be to the exclusion of every other being, or part of being, or person, and everything else, or language means nothing. Mr. V.'s foot note helps him out of his difficulty not at all.

7. "The All-Knowing Alone is God": (See note 1 this Lesson). The creed to which Mr. Van Der Donckt subscribes—the Athanasian—says: "So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God." Now, if the quality of "all-knowing" is essential to the attributes of true Deity, then Jesus and the Holy Ghost must be all-knowing, or else not true deity.

But what of the difficulty presented by Mr. V's contention: "The All-knowing alone is God, the Father alone is All-knowing, therefore, the Father alone is God?" Mr. V. constructs this mighty syllogism upon a very precarious basis. It reminds one of a pyramid standing on its apex. He starts with the premise that "The Lord is a God of all knowledge:" then he discovers that there is one thing that Jesus, the Son of God does not know—the day and hour when Jesus will come to earth in his glory—"Of that day and hour no one knoweth; no, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone (Matt. 24: 36)—therefore, the Father alone is God!" In consideration of facts such as are included in Mr. V's middle term, one is bound, in the nature of things, to take into account time, place and circumstances. In the case in question, the Twelve disciples had come to Jesus, and among other questions asked him what should be the sign of his own glorious coming to earth again. The Master told them the signs, but said of the day and hour of that coming no one knew, but his Father only. Hence, Jesus did not know, hence Jesus did not possess all knowledge, hence, according to Mr. V., Jesus was not God! But Jesus was referring to the state of matters at the particular time when he was speaking; and it does not follow that the Father would exclude his Son Jesus forever, or for any considerable time, from the knowledge of the time of the glorious advent of the Son of God to the earth. As Jesus rose to the possession of all power "in heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28: 18), so also, doubtless, he rose to the possession of all knowledge in heaven and in earth; "For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that he himself doeth" (John 5: 20), and, in sharing with the Son his power, and his purposes, would doubtless make known to him the day and hour of the glorious advent of Christ to the earth.

8. Of the Oneness of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Is it Physical Identity: I next consider Mr. Van Der Donckt's argument concerning the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost being "the same identical Divine Essence." Mr. V. bases this part of his argument on the words of Messiah—"I and my Father are one (John 10:30); and claims that here "Christ asserts his physical, not merely moral, union with the Father." * * * * * * I shall test Mr. V's exegesis of the passage in question, by the examination of another passage involving the same ideas, the same expressions; and this in the Latin as well as in the English. Jesus prayed for His disciples as follows:

"Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as We are. * * * * Neither pray I for these [the disciples] alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one: * * * that they may be one, even as we are one." (St. John 17:11, 20, 21, 22.)

In Latin, the clauses written in the above, stand: Ut sint unum, sicut et nos (verse 11), "that they may be one, just as We." So in verse 22: Ut sint unum, sicut et nos unum sumus; "that they may be one in Us, even as We one are." Here unum, "one," is used in the same manner as it is in St. John, 10:30—"Ego et Pater unum sumus." "I and Father one are." Mr. V. says that unum in the last sentence means, "one thing," one essence; hence, Christ's physical union, or identity of substance, with the Father; not agreement of mind, or concord of purpose, or moral union. Very well, for the moment let us adopt his exposition, and see where it will lead us. If unum in the sentence, Ego et Pater unum sumus, means "one thing," "one substance, or essence," and denotes the physical union of the Father and Son in one substance, then it means the same in the sentence—ut sint unum, sicut et nos; that is, "that they [the disciples] may be one [unum] just as We are." So in the other passage before quoted where the same words occur.

Again, to Messiah's statement: "Ego et Pater unum sumus"—"I and my Father are one."—Mr. V. thinks his view of this passage—that it asserts the identity or physical union of the Father and the Son—is strengthened by the fact that it is followed with these remarks of Jesus: "The Father is in Me, and I am in the Father." "Which evidently signifies," says Mr. V., "the same as verse 30 (John 10); I and the Father are one and the same individual being, the one God."

But the passage from the prayer of Jesus concerning the oneness of the disciples with the Father and the Son, is emphasized by well-nigh the same words in the context, as those which occur in John 10:30 and upon which Mr. V. lays so much stress as sustaining his exposition of the physical union, viz: "The Father is in Me, and I in Him" (verse 38). "Which evidently signifies," Mr. V. remarks, "the same as verse 30: I and my Father are one." Good; then listen: "Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one as We are: * * as thou Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they may be one in Us." There can be no doubt now but what the union between the disciples and the Father and Son, is to be of the same nature as that subsisting between the Father and Son. If the Father and Son are physically one substance or essence, so, too, if the prayer of Jesus is to be realized—as surely it will be—then the disciples are to be physically united with God, in one essence or substance—not just the Twelve disciples, either, for whom Jesus immediately prayed, but those, also, in all generations who shall believe on Christ through the words of His first disciples; that is, all the faithful believers, through all generations, are to become physically united with God, become the same substance or essence as God Himself! Is Mr. Van Der Donckt prepared to accept the inevitable conclusion of his own exposition of John 10:30? If so, then what advantage has the Christian over the Hindoo, whom he has called a heathen, for so many generations? The sincerest desire of the Hindoo is to be "physically united with God," even if that involve "a blowing out," or the attainment of Nirvana—annihilation—to encompass it.[6] Of course, we had all hoped for better things from the Christian religion. We had hoped for the immortality of the individual man; for his persistence through the ages as an individual entity, associated with God in loving converse and dearest relations of moral union; but not absorbed, or lost, in absolute physical union with Him. But if Mr. V's exposition of John 10:30 be correct, and a physical union is meant by the words—"I and my Father are one," then all Christians are to be made physically one with God under the prayer of Christ—"That they may be one, as we are"—i. e., as the Father and Son are one. * * * * * *

My point is, that the text, "I and my Father are one," refers to a moral union—to a perfect union of purpose and will—not to a unity or identity of substance, or essence: and any other view than this is shown from the argument to be absurd.

But Mr. Van Der Donckt would cry out against the physical union of man with God. Both his interpretation of scripture and his philosophy—especially the latter—would require it. Man and God, in his philosophy, are not of the same nature. God is not physical, while man is. God is not material, but spiritual, that is, according to Mr. V., immaterial, while man is material. Man is finite, God infinite; nothing can be added to the infinite, therefore, man cannot be added to the infinite in physical union. "The nature of the parts would cling to the whole," and the infinity of God would be marred by the physical union of finite parts to Him; hence, the oneness of Christians with Christ and God the Father, is not a physical oneness. But if the union of the Christians with Christ and God is not to be physical, then neither is the union of Christ and God the Father physical, for the oneness in the one case, is to be the same as the oneness in the other—"that they all may be one; as thou Father, are in me, and I in thee, that they may also be one in us * * * * that they may be one even as We are one." (John 17:21, 22).

The doctrine of physical union between the Father and the Son, contended for by Mr. V., must be abandoned. There is no help for it, unless he is prepared to admit also the physical union of all the disciples with God—a thing most repugnant to Mr. V's principles. With the doctrine of physical identity gone, the "oneness" of the Father and the Son, that Mr. V. contends for, goes also, and two separate and distinct personalities, or Gods, are seen, in the Father and the Son, whose oneness consists not of physical identity, but of agreement of mind, concord of will, and unity of purpose [the same holds also as to the Holy Ghost]; a oneness born of perfect knowledge, equality of power and dominion. But if a perfect oneness, as above set forth, may subsist between two persons, [or three] it may subsist with equal consistency among any number of persons capable of attaining to the same degree of intelligence and power, and thus there would appear some reason for the prayer of the Christ, that all His disciples might be one, even as He and the Father are one. And thus one may account for the saying of David: "God standeth in the congregation of the mighty: He judgeth among the Gods" (Psalm 82: 1); for such congregations existed in heaven before the foundations of the earth were laid; and such a congregation may yet be made up of the redeemed from our own earth, when they attain to perfect union with God and Christ.


1. "Hours with the Bible," by Geikie, Vol. I, Chapters i, ii.

2. "Chips From a German Workshop," by Max Muller, vol. 1, pp. 345-372.

3. To the exclusion of another or separate divine being, but not to the denial of the distinct Divine Personalities of the Son and the Holy Ghost in the One Divine Being.

4. John Stuart Mill, in his Essay on Theism, in speaking of the evident unity in nature, which suggests that nature is governed by One Being, comes very near stating the exact truth in an alternative statement to his first remark, viz.: "At least, if a plurality be supposed, it is necessary to assume so complete a concert of action and unity of will among them, that the difference is, for most purposes, immaterial between such a theory and that of the absolute unity of the Godhead." (Essays on Religion—Theism, p. 133.)

5. This is Rev. H. Highton, M. A., and Fellow of Queen's College, Oxford. I quote from his lecture on "God a Unity and Plurality," published in a Christian Jewish periodical called "The Voice of Israel," February number, 1844.

6. Max Muller, "Chips From a German Workshop," Vol. 1, p. 285.