The Object of a Continuation of Revelation

1841-03-01

The Gospel Winchester, Benjamin, 1817-1901

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Winchester, Benjamin. “The Object of a Continuation of Revelation.” The Gospel Reflector (Philadelphia) 1, no. 5 (1 March 1841): 97–120.

THE OBJECT OF A CONTINUATION OF REVELATION.

( Continued from page 96.)

WE believe that it is our privilege to know the will of God concerning us, as well as it was the privilege of the former-day saints to know the will of God concerning them.

Most unquestionably, the Lord never had a people on earth that he acknowledged to be his own, except he had inspired men among them. Some may ask, if he has not acknowledged many of the Christian societies to be his own. If he has, he has done it by revelation; but if he has given none since the days of the apostles, then he has not acknowledged any society to be his people: for he has no other way of doing it, but by revelation: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secrets unto his servants the prophets.” Where would be the justice in God to make known his will to his ancient saints, by giving revelations, and discovering to them future glories, and removing the intervening vail, and permiting them to gaze upon the hallowed throng of eternity; and also to receive a foretaste of the blessings of the world to come; and then exclude his saints of future ages, from the privilege of receiving such blessings. It is asserted that Christendom of the present age has so much more light, and knowledge than the former-day saints had, that they need no more revelation. We admit that this generation, with regard to arts, and sciences, are far in the advance of any former; but we deny that they have as much knowledge of the things of God as the ancients; for they saw visions, and obtained knowledge [97] from the Lord, and it is inconsistent for any person, who has never received a revelation, or seen a vision, to say that he has as much light and intelligence of the things of God as they. One vision of eternity and future glories, will learn a person more than the reading of volumes. For instance, a man has twelve sons; would it be a just thing for him to to admit six of the eldest into his presence, and to instruct, and bless them with gifts, &c.; and then exclude the other sons from the privilege of entering into his presence; but leave them to trust to their own ingenuity, or economy for a living? Certainly, such a parent would be looked upon as being an unjust one. Would not the ideas of those who deny that it is our privilege to receive revelations (providing we believed them,) lead us to come to the same conclusion with respect to the justice of God? Astonishing inconsistency! Why not believe that God is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever? Why believe that he gave revelations to the apostles; but that it is not the privilege of the people of God in the nineteenth century to receive them also? Surely, he that lacketh wisdom in this our day, can ask God, “who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (See James, i. 5.) Indeed, nothing could be more plain, and explicit from the bible, than that God has one of the most powerful, and majestic works to do in these latter-days, that he has ever done; and if the prophecies are true, miracles, and revelations will be given, such as will be adapted to the great work of God: for the gospel must be preached to all nations as a witness that the coming of the Lord is nigh.—Israel gathered, Zion built, and, in a word, the way prepared for the appearance, or second advent of the Messiah. But Oh! the deep rooted blindness, and superstition that is so interwoven with the traditions of so many who profess Christianity! why say that the day of miracles has passed by, and that we need no more revelations? Hath not the prophets declared that the last days shall be the greatest days for miracles, and revelations that ever was? We answer in the affirmative, which we will now proceed to prove—investigate, and learn from that which is strewed over the face of prophecy, what God has promised to do for his people in this our day and age of world. We will commence with the Book of Mormon and adduce scripture and reason to establish all claims that it makes to inspiration, and antiquity.

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INTRODUCTION TO THE SUBJECT OF THE BOOK OF MORMON.

Now reader we are about to enter into a full investigation, and detail of the claims that the Book of Mormon makes to inspiration, or divine origin, and adduce the testimony of the prophets that is in favour of such a work. But before we proceed to examine the scriptures upon this subject, we will remove some of the most prominent objections that are urged against the idea of a new revelation. [98]

No sooner had the Book of Mormon made its appearance, than priests and professors, began to rage, Madam Rumour began with her poisonous tongues; epithet upon epithet, calumny upon calumny, was heaped upon the few that were first engaged in the cause; mobs raged, and the people imagined a vain thing; a general hue and cry was raised, and reiterated from one end of the country to the other, saying, ‘this people are deluded,’ ‘they are impostors,’ ‘false prophets,’ ‘fanatics,’ ‘deceivers,’—‘have nothing to do with them, for they preach a new gospel,’ ‘they have dug a new bible out of the earth,’ ‘they tell us something about the administration of angels.’—‘Away with them,’ ‘do not let them preach in your houses’—‘you will be deceived.’ Indeed, the clergy have exerted their influence to put a stop to this work, the pen of the learned has been wielded in order to throw a mist of darkness over the principles we hold forth to the world; and in a word, the combined powers of earth and hell, have conjoined to overthrow it; the shafts of the wicked have been leveled against us, the drunkard and the swearer have catched the sound, and have joined with the professor in crying ‘delusion,’ &c. In the midst of this uproar our facilities for spreading the truth were somewhat limited; and had we the tongue of Michael the arch-angel it would have been as impossible for us to reason with the uproarious multitude, as it would have been for any man to reason with the Jews, while Christ was before Pilate, and they were crying, “away with him,” “crucify him,” “crucify him”; or for Paul to have reasoned with the Ephesians in the midst of the uproar, and their crying, “great is the goddess Diana of the Ephesians.” Some that were engaged in the tumult,—opposing the work of God, &c., have stopped, and enquired what was the cause, or meaning of all this uproar; the reply of their conscience was, we know nothing about it—they resolved immediately to investigate the subject for themselves, and the result of their researches was their conviction, and convertion. Others who were free from prejudice, and party spirit, looked into these things as soon as they made their appearance among them; and thus the honest in heart are made to rejoice, and their hearts are swelled with gratitude to God for his condescention, in revealing his word to his people, and causing the light of heaven to dawn once more upon the benighted world.—Sending his heavenly messengers to commission men once more to preach the gospel to all the inhabitants of the earth. Also sending forth the Book of Mormon, which the prophets have said should be one of the instruments in the hand of God to commence the gathering of Israel—the establishment of Zion—that the way may be prepared for the second coming of Christ.—This work of God has rolled on with majesty, and with power; and tens of thousands have received the Spirit of God, which witnesses with their spirits that these things are true. But to the subject.

God always does his work in his own way, and at the same time to confound, and bring to naught the wisdom of the wise, and the [99] understanding of the prudent. Men have often marked out a path for God to walk in, and have paved it with their books of divinity, and opinions, but when God works, he works in his own way, he walks in his own path, his course is onward, and straight-forward; so much so that he frustrates all the works of men, and proves their plans to be foolishness with him.

The peculiarity of the works of God in various ages of the world, and also their being so different from what the world in their wisdom expected them, that they have ever been a stumbling-block to the wise, noble, and the learned. For instance, when the Lord commanded Noah to warn the Antediluvians of the flood, and to build the ark; but few believed him. And it may be, that they had never heard of such a thing as a flood; although they may have believed the revelations that Adam, Seth, Enos, Enoch, and others had; but the idea of a flood was something new and derogatory to their feelings.

Perhaps they had no objections to Noah’s preaching concerning the principles of righteousness; but the idea of his building an ark of such huge dimensions, was too preposterous an undertaking, according to their opinions: and perhaps they pointed the finger of scorn at him, and made this the principle objection to all his preaching. Surely, the building of the ark on dry land was something more marvelous for the capacity of man to digest, then that of the singular, and strange manner in which the Book of Mormon was brought to light. Christ said, “as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man.” People in the present age object to any thing new that appears out of the ordinary course of events, and urge their objections because of the singularity of it. The Sodomites had the same reason to object to the testimony of both Lot, and the angel, concerning the conflagration of their city. Those things were new, and altogether different from any thing that they had ever heard before.

Indeed, the Jews or the Israelites were in a habit of believing the revelations of their former prophets; but of stoning those that were contemporary with them, and reject their revelations, because they were new, strange, and different from those of their former prophets. For instance, the Jews persecuted Isaiah; but their children extolled his prophecies to the very heavens, and said, they would not have done as their fathers did; but at the same time, Jeremiah was in their midst, and they lifted their puny arm against him, rejected his prophecies, and cast him into the pit; because he predicted something new and strange. The Jews at the time of the incarnation of Christ lauded the wisdom of the former prophets; but stoned those that were then on earth, Christ said: “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers 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 [100] children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.”—Math. xxiii. 29–32.

The Pharisees and Sadducees, urged many objections against the idea that Jesus was the true Messiah, and thus brought the malice of the people upon his head. They declared they were Moses’ disciples, and said they had Moses, and the prophets; but they scorned the idea of any person being Christ’s disciple. They despised Jesus because of his humble birth; and because he chose illiterate men for his apostles; also because he associated with publicans, and sinners. He was the stumbling-stone, and rock of offence that the prophets mentioned. The apostle Paul says: “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks follishness.”—1 Cor. i. 23. The minds of the learned Greeks with all their wisdom, was not sufficiently large for them to believe the resurrection of Christ. Indeed, no doctrine could have been more unpopular, than that of the resurrection of Christ was, in the days of the apostles. Paul says, the saints were called the filth, and offscouring of all things. They were despised by the noble, and scorned by the learned, martyrdom, imprisonment, banishment, and awful persecutions were the common fate of the believer. But in the course of time the prejudices of kings, and philosophers, that were so awfully excited before, began to wear away, and they began to look into these things, and at length the Christian religion was propagated by the authority of the Roman empire; the gospel, and the resurrection of Christ was now no longer considered a mystery. These things began to be popular, and it was considered an honour to a man to become a Christian. Persecution gradually died away until the believer was no more persecuted for believing in Christ; but the scene was changed, and the Mother church began to persecute the dissenters, or Protestants for heresy.

It has ever been a thing peculiar to the commencement of a particular dispensation, for God to send forth something that was a stumbling-block to the learned, and that appeared as foolishness to the noble. Therefore, we are not astonished that the Book of Mormon has become a stumbling-block to so many; and the fact that the learned, the wise of this world, and the professors of religion, are our vilest persecutors, and most inveterate enemies, does not discourage us, when we consider that Christ himself was a rock of offence to the Jews; and priests and professors, who made higher pretensions to holiness, than any other people on earth, were his most inveterate enemies: and the learned thought it all foolishness, and the poor and the meek of the earth, were the principle part that embraced his gospel. Perhaps, in the course of time the prejudices that are against the Book of Mormon will wear away, and it will not be considered so mysterious as what it is now. If this should be the case, of course the society will become popular, and if wickedness should continue on earth as it now is, then farewell to the spirit of humility, and pure and undefiled religion before God. But the Lord has said, that he will cut [101] his work short in righteousness, in the last days: therefore, as soon as these things are proclaimed to all nations, and Israel gathered; the Lord will come: or before there will be time for these things to become popular among the learned of this world, wickedness will be destroyed. But there are several passages of scripture that are cited to, to countermand the idea of a new revelation, which we will now notice:—there are other objections which we will also notice.

Many assert that there was to be no more revelations after the days of the apostles; and the following is quoted to prove it: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall ADD unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book; and, if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.—Rev. xxii. 18, 19. John in saying this, certainly had no allusion to any other book, or revelations, other than his Apocalypse. The New Testament, compiled as it now is, was not then in existence. Paul’s various epistles, at the time John was upon the Island of Patmos, were scattered among those to whom he directed them. And if he intended to convey the idea, that any man that should attempt to write any more by the inspiration of God, should be cursed; he most unquestionably transgressed, and if his words are true, brought the curse upon his own head; for according to historians he wrote his “Gospel,” and three “Epistles,” after he wrote his book of Revelations, and no one that believes the scriptures, disputes but what he wrote all his writings by inspiration. Mr. Fleetwood, in his history of Christ and his apostles writes thus: “The greatest instance of St. John’s care for the souls of men, is in the writings he left to posterity; the first of which in time, though placed last in the sacred canon, is his Apocalypse or Book of Revelation which he wrote during his banishment at Patmos. Next to the Apocalypse, in order of time, are his three epistles—the first of which is catholic, calculated for all times and places, containing the most excellent rules for the conduct of a Christian life, pressing to holiness and pureness of manners, and not to be satisfied with a naked and empty profession of religion.” “The other two epistles are but short and directed to particular persons; the one to a lady of great quality, the other to the charitable and hospitable Gaius.” “Before he undertook the task of writing his Gospel, he caused a general fast to be kept by all the Asiatic churches, to implore the blessing of heaven on so great and momentous an undertaking.” It is evident that John has reference to his own writings, because he uses the pronoun this, “the book of this prophecy,” this relates to his Apocalypse, and to no other book. We have often heard people apply it, as though it had no allusion to the whole bible; but we impute it to their ignorance of the common import of the language, and also their imbecility. It is inconsistent for any person to suppose that this saying debars God of [102] the privilege to reveal his word when he pleases. Again, it is incompatible with the language of the text to say that it has reference to adding to any book other than Revelation. If this proves that no person has a right to receive revelations, and that the curse of God, will follow them that attempt to write by inspiration, then by the same rule we will prove that all the prophets after Moses were cursed, or incurred the displeasure of God. Moses commanded thus: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”—Deut. iv. 2.

Thus Moses forbid any to add to his words. But notwithstanding this command the prophets wrote many revelations which added to the canon of scripture, or the common library of religious intelligence; but at the same time they did not add to Moses’ commandments, or enlarge them, or in other words they did not encroach upon them.

Each prophet wrote his own revelations; but interfered with no others. Solomon made a similar assertion: “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”—

Prov. xxx. 5, 6. If we are authorized from this saying of John to reject all subsequent revelations then from Moses, and Solomon, we are authorized to reject the prophets.

Another passage that is applied as testimony to prove that there is no necessity for any more revelations, is as follows: “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Tim. iii. 15. Says one, what necessity is there for any more inspired writings, seeing that there was enough in Timothy’s day to make a man wise unto salvation? The New Testament writings were not in existence at the time Timothy was a child. The writings of John were not written until after Paul made this expression. It is evident that it was the Old Testament scriptures that were able to make Timothy wise unto salvation; and if we by this saying reject all revelations subsequent to those of the apostles, we certainly by the same passage will be under the necessity to consider the New Testament scriptures useless.

Again Christ said while on the cross, “that all things were now accomplished, that the scriptures might be fulfilled.”—John, xix. 28. Christ in saying this did not intend to convey the idea that the work of revelation was accomplished; for if he did, then the apostles were engaged in a superfluous work, that is, it was superfluous for them to receive, and write revelations after all was accomplished!

Some may opine that the following is proof, to countermand the idea of a continuation of revelation: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision [103] and prophecy, and to anoint THE MOST HOLY.”—Dan. ix. 24. It is certain that Daniel here has an allusion to the close of the vision, and fulfilment of prophecy that relates to the first coming of Christ. But to say that there was to be no more prophecies, visions, &c., subsequent to the time that Christ was cut off for the sins of the world, is repugnant to the writings of the New Testament. Indeed, the Spirit of God was more generally diffused among the saints after the crucification than it was before, and instead of the gift of prophecy coming to an end, it was more generally bestowed upon the saints, and there were more prophets in the Christian Church, in primitive times, than there was at any time previous. That Paul both prophesied, and saw visions, no one disputes. John wrote a book of Revelation, and in it it is said: “And he said unto me, thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.”—Rev. x. 11. It is supposed by the majority of professors in Christendom, that when John concluded his writings the volume of inspiration was closed, and all was written that God ever intended that the human family should have, for say they, the canon of scripture is complete. But we contend that if God ever inspired his servants to write, their writings are of importance, and not to be hid in the labyrinth of darkness for ever. Indeed, if the bible itself is true, it is but a portion of the inspired writings that God intended for the world.

The bible quotes more than twelve books, which are not to be found in it—most, if not all of which, were written by prophets or seers, whose inspiration the Bible itself acknowledges. We will here mention a few of them.

Book of Jasher,…………………………………………………….....……. Joshua, x. 13.

Book of the Acts of Solomon,……………………………………...………1 Kings xi. 41.

Book of Nathan the Prophet,……………………….…………………}1 Chron. xxix. 29.

Book of Gad the Seer,……………………………………......…..…...}1 Chron. xxix. 29.

Book of the Prophecy of Ahijah,…….............……………………........} 2 Chron. ix. 29.

Book of the Visions of Iddo the Seer,……………………………..……} 2 Chron. ix. 29.

Book of Shemaiah the Prophet,……………………………….……….} 2 Chron. xii. 15.

Book of Iddo the Seer,…………………………………………………} 2 Chron. xii. 15.

“Written in the story of the prophet Iddo.”—2 Chron. xiii. 22. If necessary we could produce quotations in the bible for several other books, some in the Old Testament, and some in the writings of the apostles referring to epistles, which are not to be found among the sacred writings. If so many books are left out of the bible, and yet actually quoted in it; there may have been hundreds of others of which we have no account.

Where are the predictions of the prophets who prophesied in the camp of Israel at the time Moses exclaimed “Would to God the Lord’s people were all prophets”? Peter said:

“Whom the heaven must receive until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”—Acts, iii. 21.

From this, we learn that all the prophets from Adam to Peter prophesied of this restitution; but we have the writings of but a few. Christ speaking of Abel called him [104] a prophet, and where are his predictions? In a word there is nothing in the scripture to justify any man in believing that there was to be no more revelations, and that it is repugnant to the will of God to receive any subsequent to the acknowledged sacred volume, or to disprove the Book of Mormon; but on the other hand there is an abundance of evidence in them, to convince every lover of truth, that God in the last days will add to the general library of religious intelligence, till the knowledge of God covers the earth, as the waters cover the sea—that no one will have it to say to his neighbour, know ye the Lord, for all shall know the Lord from the greatest unto the least. There is also sufficient evidence to prove that the Book of Mormon was to come to light in the last days, or another book of the same description, which we will now proceed to examine.

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THE CLAIMS OF THE BOOK OF MORMON ESTABLISHED—IT ALSO DEFENDED.

THE Book of Mormon was found in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, in Ontario county, New York. Was translated and published in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty. It contains the history of the ancient inhabitants of America, who were a branch of the House of Israel, of the tribe of Joseph; of whom the Indians are still a remnant; but the principal nation of them having fallen in battle, in the fourth or fifth century, one of their prophets, whose name was Mormon, was commanded by the Lord to make an abridgement of their history, their prophecies and their doctrines, which he engraved on plates; and afterwards being slain, the record fell into the hands of his son Moroni, who being hunted by his enemies, was directed to deposit the record safely in the earth, with a promise from God that it should be preserved, and brought to light in the latter-days, by the means of a Gentile nation, who should possess the land; and that it should be one of the instruments in the hands of God to commence his great work—the gathering of the House of Israel, and the establishment of Zion. This deposit was made about the year four hundred and twenty, on a hill then called Cumora, now in Ontario County, where it was preserved in safety, until it was brought to light by no less than the ministry of angels, and translated by inspiration: and the Great Jehovah bore record of the same to chosen witnesses, who declare it to the world. This translation was executed by Joseph Smith, who is a native of the State of Vermont, subsequently removed to Manchester, near the place where this record was deposited. But says the objector, there is so much marvellousness about this that my capacity is not able to digest it without substantial evidence. To this we say there is sufficient evidence both circumstantial, and scriptural, to establish the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. But to hasten. [105]

We shall now proceed to prove; first, from various relics of antiquity, that America has been inhabited by an enlightened people, far in advance of the savage state of the red men of the forest; second, that they were a branch of the House of Israel; third, that it was their privilege to receive revelations, and write them for the benefit of future generations; fourth, by the predictions of prophets, that they were of the tribe of Joseph; fifth, that they were to receive revelations, which were to be deposited in the earth to come forth in the latter times, and unite, in testimony, with the Jewish scriptures; sixth, that the gathering of Israel will soon follow, or succeed the coming forth of this work.

Having thus planned our work,—we will investigate each particular separately.

Now when the antiquarian traverses the Western wilds, he has the privilege to behold the relics of a once enlightened nation, who understood arts and sciences to some extent. He there can walk upon the ruins of once magnificent cities abounding in wealth and prosperity, but now depopulated, and lying in heaps of massive ruins. And if he is onward with his researches—he gazes upon numerous forts, mounds, obelisks, and catacombs, which he marks with wonder and amazement. When he surveys the Southern part of North America—he there can feast his mind upon the works of antiquity until it is absorbed in contemplating the scenes of destructien that have come upon this nation of the dead, and leveled their cities in ruins. In Guatemala he can survey the ruins of a once splendid, beautiful, and populous city, perhaps as ever was on the globe; (we allude to the city of Otolum near Pulenque,) and while wandering through these heaps of massive ruins, he beholds the remains of large temples, and palaces, which exhibit the work of human ingenuity. With a more close observation he discovers a fine display of architectural genius in the construction of these once splendid edifices. In viewing with more avidity still he beholds in these huge buildings the works of science—an immense quantity of hieroglyphics. Hence he no longer doubts but what America was inhabited by an enlightened nation anterior to its discovery by Columbus. While in the midst of these ruins, he reflects, he ponders upon the fate of cities, and empires. He reflects upon Babel, and the imaginations of the inhabitants of the plains of Shinar. One stroke of Omnipotence was sufficient to frustrate all their designs, and cause Babel to moulder in ruins. He thinks of ancient Thebes, that abounded with so many splendid edifices, and whose inhabitants boasted of their intelligence, and supposed it to be the queen of cities; but no sooner had it risen to the zenith of its glory, than the Great God showed that his power was greater than that of man, by causing it to be crushed to ruins; and thus remain a monument of wonder for future ages. He thinks of the once mighty city of Babylon, which was so powerfully fortified; but as soon as it had ascended to the height of its grandeur, and its inhabitants been the means of humbling the pride of other nations, the God of Israel raised [106] up another nation to humble their pride and bring them to naught—at length the city was destroyed. Thus by the power of the Omnipotent God Babylon was destroyed and left in ruins, and hid in obscurity that its exact place of location is not known to the present generation. He thinks of Jerusalem the place which God chose to have a magnificent temple built in honour to his name, the land of Christ’s nativity, the place where angels ministered to the prophets, and where much of the sacred volume was written. Once called the holy city; but God has abandoned it for centuries past: and the romantic scenery of its lonesome ruins, and evacuated suburbs, first strikes the eye of the traveller; and the dreariness of its adjacent valleys constrains him to cry out, surely, there is a God that ruleth, and when a nation keeps his commandments they prosper; but when they transgress he brings destruction upon them. He also thinks of Rome, once the queen of cities; but now in ruins.

After reflecting upon the scenes of antiquity in the Old world, his mind again settles upon those of the New. He then bursts forth from his soliloquy, and exclaims unto his comrade, I see here standing monuments of refinement, and arts to a degree of prefection; and the beautiful walks where the fair sons and daughters of a powerful nation, prided and amused themselves in viewing the beautiful works of the city; but now they are no more, and no one is left to tell their origin, and how they were destroyed.

Surely, there is an Omnipotent God that reigneth, both in heaven, and on earth. He can raise up kingdoms, and suffer them to sway their sceptres over all the earth, and when they have airsen to the very zenith of their glory, and exhausted their wisdom in fortifying their cities, He has come out of his hiding place, and with one stroke of his power, He has caused empires to tremble and totter to pieces, and their cities to be leveled to the earth, and to become wild desolations—howling wildernesses, places for wild beasts.

After viewing these works of antiquity he is anxious to learn their origin: for which he searches for something that will disclose the secret—but in vain. Again he hears of the discovery of some other city with numerous writings, or inscriptions on stones; at this he takes new courage and sets out for the place, hoping to find something that will divulge the secret.—Vain hope—He sinks in despair; his mind is still left in the wide field of conjecture, doubt and uncertainty. He cries out and says, as yet we must ask in vain, who were the founders of these cities of the dead? Alas! their names have faded into oblivion. The remembrance of their deeds remains not even in tradition or legendary song. Oh! that some mighty genius like that of Belzoni would arise and remove from these cities of the world called new, the vail that conceals their origin. But stop, kind reader didst thou know that one mightier than Belzoni has removed the veil—broke the long silence and made known the origin of this people. Yes Jehovah who is the revealer of secrets has devulged this secret—the light of heaven [107] has dawned with its refulgent rays—the angel of God directed to the place. In Cumora’s lonely hill it was concealed—the meek rejoiced and the poor among men tuned their joyful lyres—heaven reechoed, back the same. But to proceed.

To prove the foregoing statements with regard to American antiquities, we extract the following from different authors. First, Rev. A. Davis in his lecture on the discovery of America by the Northmen says: “The ruins of a city in Central America are among the most striking of such. This city, called Palenque (the name of a town not far off: other antiquarians call it Otolum) lies two hundred and fifty miles from Tobasco, lat. about 15°

N.” “And there were discovered not such buildings as those erected by the Druids, of rough and misshapen stones; but such as those in which kings dwell—built of hewn stones. The appearance of these ruins shows a nation once existed there highly skilled in mechanical arts, and in a state of civilization far beyond any thing that we have been led to believe of the aborigines, previous to the time of Columbus. A distinguished antiquarian of New York has received from this city a beautiful specimen of the fine arts—an idol of pure gold. This has emphatically been called the Thebes of America. In surveying its ruins, the traveller is led to believe that it was founded at as early a period as the renowned cities of Egypt.

How immense this city! It is supposed to have been sixty miles in circumference, and that it contained a population of nearly three millions. Great were its commercial privileges—even now the broad and beautiful Otolum rolls along its desolated borders.”

“One of the principal structures revealed to the eye of the antiquarian is the teaculi or temple. Its style of architecture resembles the Gothic. It is rude, massive and durable.

Though resembling the Egyptian edifices, yet this and the other buildings are peculiar, and are different from all others hitherto known. The entrance of the temple is on the east side by a portico more than one hundred feet in length, and nine feet broad. The rectangular pillars of the portico have their architraves adorned with stucco work of shields and other devices.” “The antiquity of this city is manifest not only from its nameless hieroglyphics and other objects; but from the age of some of the trees growing over buildings where once the hum of industry and the voice of merriment were heard.

The concentric circles of some of these trees were counted, which showed that they were more than nine hundred years of age.” “The antiquities of America spread from the great lakes of the North and the West to Central America, and the Southern parts of Peru on the South; from the Alleghany Mountains on the East, to the Rocky Mountains on the West, and even from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.”

The following is an extract from Priest’s history of American antiquities.

Speaking of the before mentioned city he says: “This account which partly describes the ruins of a stone city seventy-five miles [108] in circuit (length 32 English miles, greatest breadth 12 miles,) full of palaces, monuments, statues, and inscriptions: one of the earliest seats of American civilization about equal to Thebes of Egypt, and well calculated to inspire me with hopes that they would throw a great light over American History, when more properly examined.” We might multiply a catalogue of extracts from different authors upon this subject; but we forbear, believing that enough has already been said to convince every candid mind that America has been inhabited, previous to its discovery by Europeans, by an enlightened and civilized race of people. However, if any one should wish to learn farther concerning the antiquities of America, we recommend him to A. Davis’ “Discovery of America by the North-men.” J. Priest’s “American Antiquities,” Mr. Hill’s Do.; and Baron Humboldt’s “Travels in South America.”

It is evident from the following extracts that the aborigines of this continent are descendants of the House of Israel. But lest the reader should misunderstand, we will here state, that the Book of Mormon professes to have been written by a nation that has been destroyed; but they, and the present race of Indians were of the same origin, or sprung from the same father; therefore, when we prove the one to be a branch of the House of Israel, we prove the other to be of the same origin.

First, says Mr. Boudinot: “It is said among their principal or beloved men, that they have it handed down from their ancestors, that the Book which the white people have, was once theirs: that while they had it they prospered exceedingly, &c. They also say, that their fathers were possessed of an extraordinary Divine Spirit, by which they foretold future events, and controlled the common course of nature; and this they transmitted to their offspring, on condition of their obeying the sacred laws; that they did by these means, bring down showers of blessings upon their beloved people; but that this power for a long time past had entirely ceased.” Colonel James Smith, in his Journal while a prisoner among the natives, says: “They have a tradition, that in the beginning of this continent, the angels, or heavenly inhabitants as they call them, frequently visited the people, and talked with their forefathers, and gave directions how to pray.”

Mr. Boudinot, in his able work, remarks concerning their language: “Their language in its roots, idiom, and particular construction, appears to have the whole genius of the Hebrew, and what is very remarkable, and well worthy of a serious attention has most of the peculiarities of that language; especially those in which it differs from most other languages. There is a tradition related by an aged Indian, of the Stockbridge tribe, that their fathers were once in possession of a sacred Book, which was handed down from generation to generation, and at last hid in the earth, since which time they had been under the feet of their enemies. But these oracles were to be restored to them again; and then they would triumph over their enemies and regain their an- [109] cient blessings, together with their rights and privileges.” Mr. Boudinot, after recording many traditions similar to the above, at length remarks: “Can any man read this short account of Indian traditions, drawn from tribes or various nations; from the West to the East, and from the South to the North, wholly separated from each other, written by different authors of the best character, both for knowledge and integrity, possessing the best means of information, at various and distant times without any possible communication with each other; and yet suppose that all of this is the effect of chance, accident, or design, from a love of the marvellous or a premeditated intention of deceiving, and thereby running their well established reputation? Can any one carefully, and with deep reflection, consider and compare these traditions with the Ten Tribes of Israel, without at last drawing some presumptive inferences in favour of these wandering natives being descended from the Ten Tribes of Israel?”

The following is extracted from Priest’s American Antiquities: “Joseph Merrick, Esq., a highly respectable character in the church at Pittsfield, Mass., gave the following account: that in 1815, he was leveling some ground under and near an old wood shed standing on a place of his, situated on an Indian hill. He ploughed and conveyed away old chips and earth to some depth. After the work was done, walking over the place, he discovered, near where the earth had been dug the deepest, a black strap as it appeared, about six inches in length, and one and a half in breadth, and about the thickness of a leather trace to a harness. He perceived it had, at each end, a loop of some hard substance, probably for the purpose of carrying it. He conveyed it to his house, and threw it into an old tool box.” “After some time, he thought he would examine it; but in attempting to cut it, found it as hard as bone: he succeeded however in getting it open, and found it was formed of two pieces of thick raw-hide, sewed and made water tight with the sinews of some animal, and gummed over; and in the fold was contained four folded pieces of parchment. They were of a dark yellow hue, and contained some kind of writing. The neighbours coming in to see the strange discovery, tore one of the pieces to atoms, in the true Hun and Vandal style. The other three pieces Mr. Merrick saved, and sent them to Cambridge, where they were examined, and discovered to have been written with a pen, in Hebrew, plain and legible. The writing on the three remaining pieces of parchment were quotations from the Old Testament. See Deut. vi. 4–9, Deut. xi. 13–21, Ex. xiii. 11—16, to which the reader can refer, if he has the curiosity to read this most interesting discovery.”

It is evident from the foregoing that the ancient inhabitants of America, together with the present race of Indians, are a branch of the House of Israel, which we infer from the peculiarity of their traditions, and the singular fact that a writing was found written in the Hebrew.

There are various other accounts of American Antiquities that we [110] might insert; but we pass by them in order to hasten to the field of prophecy, knowing that the testimony of prophets, who wrote by the inspiration of God, is better than tradition, or the testimony of uninspired men.

That America has been inhabited by an enlightened nation anterior to Columbus, no one that has the slightest acquaintance with American antiquities disputes; but the question arises in the mind whether or not, they had the privilege to receive revelations direct from God, which is a thing that can be determined in no other way, but by the sacred scriptures.

The apostle Paul said; “And [God] hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, AND FIND HIM though he be not far from every one of us.—Acts, xvii. 26, 27.

From the above we learn that God has decreed that men should dwell on all the earth; of course America not excepted, and that it was, and is the privilege of all nations to call on his name, or feel after him and find him. And now we ask, if men have found God, how did they do it? The answer is, by revelation: “For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God.” But this part of the subject is plain; and if it was the privilege of the ancients of this land to receive revelations, they certainly had the liberty to write them; and their knowledge of science shows that they had power to do it: and of course, if written by inspiration, it would be sacred scripture, as much so, as though it had been written in Asia. We would just as soon believe revelations given in America, providing we could be persuaded that they are of divine origin, as we do those written among the oriental nations. There is no difference; for God is the same, and he is just as near to one part of the globe as another. Again, it is not improbable but that the ancients of this continent kept a record of their national affairs; if they did not, they were different from other nations who were not any better skilled in science than they were. Indeed, we are led to infer from the numerous hieroglyphics, and writings that they were in the habit of writing much,i f not, a history of their national affairs. The accounts of large temples, evidently places of worship, together with the fact that Hebrew writings have been found, gives us a clue to the origin of this people: and thus, after wandering through the field of conjecture and doubt, light now begins to dawn equal to that of twilight; and the veil that has covered these things in mystery begins to rend. But reader, do not stop here; let us be onward in our march, and pursuit of knowledge upon this subject, until the day star arises, and we immerge forth into the light, and learn who built these cities of the dead, and whose fingers have so curiously marked these temples with various inscriptions that have so much puzzled the antiquarian. But says one, where shall I go? from whence shall I obtain the information? Let the testimony of prophets, and patriarchs speak, and let us believe. [111]

Now it was customary with the ancient patriarchs to call their children together, previous to their death, and bless them with a patriarchal blessing. Jacob whom the angel named Israel was a distinguished patriarch; hence he called his sons to him before his decease, and blessed them, and predicted what should befal their posterity. But it will be remembered that the birth-right, in case there was no transgression, lawfully belonged to the eldest son. But because of the transgression of Reuben the birth-right fell to the sons of Joseph; hence it is written: “Now the sons of Reuben the first-born of Israel; for he was the first-born; but, for as much as he defiled his father’s bed his birth-right was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birth-right. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler: but the birth-right was Joseph’s.”—1 Chron. v. 1, 2. The blessings that were conferred upon the sons of Joseph, and prophecies concerning their posterity, are recorded in the xlviii of Genesis. First, Jacob said to Joseph: “Now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in Egypt, before I came unto thee, are mine: as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.” Thus they had the blessing of the birth-right conferred upon them, or in other words, Jacob conferred his particular or choicest blessing upon them; and it will be remembered that those to whom the birth-right belonged were entitled to the particular, or choicest blessing. “And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand towards Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand, toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near unto him. And Israel stretched out his right hand, laid it upon Ephraims’ head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the first-born. And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my father Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long, unto this day, the angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; AND LET THEM GROW INTO A MULTITUDE IN THE MIDST OF THE EARTH.” From this we learn that Ephraim and Manasseh were to grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth, and Jacob’s name was to be named upon them. Therefore the prophets made a distinction, and distinguished the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, by saying, the House of Jaco b; and the other tribes by the House of Israel. However, sometimes all were included under the one head. “And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head. And Joseph said unto his father, not so my father for this is the first-born; put thy right hand upon his head. And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, AND HIS SEED SHALL BECOME A MULTITUDE OF NATIONS.” Put the latter part of this quota- [112] tion with the one before it, “AND LET THEM GROW TOGETHER INTO A MULTITUDE IN THE MIDST OF THE EARTH,” and we discover that Ephraim, and Manasseh were to become a multitude of nations in the midst of the earth. “And he blessed them that day, saying, in thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim, and as Manasseh; and he set Ephraim before Manasseh. Thus they had the choice blessing of Jacob; and after that, when any one of the children of Israel prayed for his friend and blessed him, he said: “God make thee as Ephraim and Manasseh,” believing that no greater blessing in time, could be conferred upon him.

Jacob blessed Joseph as follows: “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over the wall. The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob: (from thence is the Shepherd, the stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts and of the womb: the blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors, UNTO THE UTMOST BOUND OF THE EVERLASTING HILLS; they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.”—Gen. xlix. 22–26. First, we learn from the above quotation that Joseph was a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches were to run over the wall.

This was spoken no doubt to suit the capacity of the ancient oriental nations, who considered the sea as a wall that hemmed in the land, or Eastern continent: for this reason it may be read with propriety “over the sea.” Second, the blessing that Jacob blessed Joseph with prevailed above the blessing of his progenitors, unto the utmost (farthest off,) bounds of the everlasting hills. Jacob’s progenitors were Abraham, and Isaac; and their blessing upon him, as far as an earthly inheritance was concerned, was the land of Canaan; but Joseph’s was to prevail above this, or extend to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills.

Now reader imagine yourself standing in Egypt where Jacob then stood, and then search for the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills, and you will find them in America.

Match this prophecy concerning Joseph, “his branches (prosterity) shall run over the wall,” and reach unto (or inherit,) “the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills,” with that of Ephraim, and Manasseh, “let them grow together into a multitude of nations in the midst of the earth,” and we find that they were to inhabit the farthest off land from Egypt, and there become a multitude of nations.

Now the scriptures cannot be broken, therefore, these predictions must apply to America, for the most obvious reason, they cannot be applied with any propriety to any other land. And let the world search from one end of the earth to the other, and they will not find [113] a multitude of nations, who have sprung from Ephraim and Manasseh, unless they find them in America. They may search Asia, Europe, and Africa, and they will not find them; that is, a multitude of nations inhabiting land to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills. But here is an almost boundless country, which was secluded from the Old World, and inhabited by a race of men evidently of the same origin, although as evidently divided into many nations. Hosea speaking of the children of Ephraim says, “when the Lord shall roar, then the children (of Ephraim) shall tremble from the West.”

Thus admitting that the ancients of America, together with the present race of Indians are the descendants of Joseph, the prophecies concerning his posterity have been fulfilled to the very letter. And as the birthright fell to his sons; consequently, their blessings with regard to an earthly inheritance excelled those of their brethren. It is evident also from what Moses said, that the blessing of Joseph, with regard to an earthly inheritance, was greater than those of his brethren: “And of Joseph he said, blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, and for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush; let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.”—Deut. xxxiii. 13–16.

Christ said: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”—Math. xv. 27; and speaking to the Jews he said: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice: and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”—John, x. 16. He could not have alluded to the Gentiles as being his other sheep which were not of the same fold with the Jews, because he personates himself as being the one to go and bring them. The Book of Mormon says, that Christ after the resurrection visited the people on this continent, and established his gospel among them, which indeed, was a remarkable fulfilment of this singular saying of Christ. The prophet speaking of the conversion of the House of Israel in the last-days: “From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughters of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.”—Zeph. iii. 10. If we stood on the land of Canaan where this prophet stood, and then should set out in search of a land beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, we would pass through the Barbary States, formerly called Ethiopia, and over the rivers of the same country; but as soon as we should get beyond them, we would come to the Atlantic Ocean, and if we should still pursue our journey, we would come to America—a land beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, and here find a branch of the House of Israel—the Red men of the forest. Zephaniah continues his predictions, verse 11th: “For I will take away out of [114] the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride; and thou shalt no more be haughty because of mine holy mountain.” It is a peculiar trait in the character of the Western Indians to be haughty—but they shall be so no more, because God will send his truth unto them, and establish his Zion, and they will rally around his standard. From what has been said, the reader will discover that the land of America is a promised land to the tribe of Joseph, as much so, as Canaan to the House of Israel in general; and we might refer to many other passages of scripture which are corresponding testimony in favour of the same; but brevity admonishes us to hasten.

The point at issue is, whether or not the ancients of this land received revelations; and if they did, whether or not, they were to be preserved to come to light in the last days.

But, “to the law and the prophets, if a man speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in him.”

Jacob said while blessing Joseph: “Even the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above,” &c. Now we ask what may be called the blessings of heaven, or the choice blessings of God?

Surely, the precious blessings of heaven are his word, Spirit, revelations, administration of angels, gospel of Christ, &c. Moses prophecies of the same; “Blessed of the Lord be Joseph’s land [America] for the precious things of heaven.” The posterity of Joseph, the prophets have said, while dwelling in Palestine were rebellious, following after other gods; therefore, it was in this land that they have been blessed with the precious things of heaven. Hosea puts this matter beyond successful contradiction; the Lord speaking through him of Ephraim, says: “I have written to him the great things of my law; but they were counted as a strange thing.”—Ho. viii. 12. The Book of Mormon is counted a strange thing to this day.

Now if this people received revelations, and had inspired writings among them, we have reason to believe from what David says, that God has preserved them to come forth in the last days to help fill up the measure of knowledge, that it may cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. “The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation FOR EVER.”—Ps. xii. 6, 7. Thus if they had inspired writings, they were to be preserved, not in oblivion for ever, but to come to light; for said Jesus:

“For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid that shall not be known and come abroad.”—Luke, viii. 17.

It is evident from the following that this writing of the tribe of Joseph, was to come forth, and be united with the Jewish scriptures: “The word of the Lord came again unto me saying, moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick and write upon it, for Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and [115] write upon it, for Joseph the stick of Ephraim, and for all the House of Israel his companions: and join them one to another into one stick: and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, wilt thou not show us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, thus saith the Lord God, behold,

“I WILL TAKE THE STICK OF JOSEPH, WHICH IS IN THE HAND OF EPHRAIM, and the tribes of Israel his followers, and will put them with him, EVEN WITH THE STICK OF JUDAH, AND MAKE THEM ONE STICK, and they shall be one in mine hand.”—Eze. xxxvii. 15–19. It anciently was customary with the Jews to write their writings upon parchment, and roll them upon sticks; hence they used the term the stick of the law, the stick of Isaiah’s prophecy, &c. The Jews use the term to this day. Therefore, nothing can be more plain than the above prophecy: there is presented two sticks with writings on them, the one to Ephraim, or Joseph, the other to Judah. That of Ephraim was to be brought forth by the Lord to unite with that of Judah, and they were to become one in his hand, or agree in testimony. It is plain that the stick with the writing upon it for Judah was a figure or sample representing the Old and New Testaments, or Jewish scriptures and it is equally evident that the one for Ephraim has no allusion to them; but to a writing that was to be brought forth by the power of God just in time to gather Israel. The Jewish scriptures were not written by the tribe of Joseph; therefore, this writing for Ephraim has reference to a separate work from the Old and New Testaments; although agreeing in testimony: and it was to be brought forth, or united to them by the power of God. But says the objector, this prophecy can be otherwise explained, and shown to have been fulfilled at any time previous to this. We deny that it can be with propriety explained in any other way, or shown to have been fulfilled a long time previous to this. The following verses of the same chapter settles this point: “And say unto them, thus saith the Lord God, behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen whither they be gone and will gather them on every side, and bring them unto their own land; and will make them ONE nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them; so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them: and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.”

Now reader go to the land of Canaan, and if you find the tribes of Israel gathered upon that land no more to be divided into two nations for ever, living without sin, and a David reigning over them, then we will admit that this prophecy is fulfilled; but if you do not find them [116] in this situation, then with us you will irresistibly come to the conclusion that its fulfilment is in the future; that is the gathering of Israel;—but this writing was to come forth as one of the instruments in the hands of God to gather Israel: consequently it is one of the antecedents. And now we testify that the Book of Mormon has come forth in fulfilment of this prophecy concerning the uniting of the two sticks or writings; and that it is a record of the descendants of Joseph upon this continent.

David is very plain upon this subject, speaking of the gathering of Israel, and the great work of God in general in the last days, says: “Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven. Yea the Lord shall give that which is good: and our land shall yield her increase. Righteousness shall go before him, and shall set us in the way of his steps.”—Ps. 1xxxv. 10–13. Christ praying for his disciples said:

“Sanctify them through thy truth—thy word is truth. From these we learn that the word of the Lord was to spring out of the earth, while righteousness looks down from heaven. The next thing that was to follow was Israel set in the way of his steps partaking of the blessings of the land. The Book of Mormon, as we have before mentioned was deposited in the earth, and we believe that it has come to light in fulfilment of this prophecy.

We will now turn to the xxix of Isaiah; and from that we shall learn that a book was to come forth precisely like the Book of Mormon; but before we commence let us examine what the prophet had in view. In the xxviii, he exclaims as follows: “For the Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act. Now, therefore, be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth.” Thus having his eye fixed upon this great work of God, as the prophetic vision rolled before his mind, he saw intervening things, which he also used as a comparison, as follows: “Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year; let them kill sacrifices.

Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: and IT shall be unto me as Ariel.” According to the particular construction of the above, the word IT does not stand for Ariel; but for some other city or nation; that was to be destroyed with a like destruction, as Ariel. It is not improbable, but that the prophet had reference to the Ephraimites, mentioned in the 28th chapter, whom he said were drunkards, “whose glorious beauty is a fading flower which are on the head of the fat valleys.” This no doubt has an allusion to the Ephraimites dwelling in the various valleys of America, whose particular failings since the time the Lord withdrew the greater portion of his Spirit from them, have been rioting, drunkenness, &c. The prophet [117] mentions the destruction that was to come upon them: “Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and destroying one, which, as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm,” &c. “The crowd of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet.” The Book of Mormon gives a full account of this destruction, which was similar to that the prophet described that came upon Ariel. Hence he says: “And thou shall be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.” This cannot have reference to the destruction of Ariel, or the city where David dwelt: for the speech of the Jews has never whispered out of the ground, or from low out of the dust; but the ancients of America have been visited with destruction, and as we have before quoted, “trodden under feet,” their writings, revelations, or their speech has been buried in the earth; but strange to tell, it has come forth, or whispered out of the dust. But to hasten:

The prophet resumes the subject, and mentions the particular destructions that were to come upon Ariel, and says: “And the multitude of all nations that fight against her and her munitions, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision.” The Romans when they destroyed Jerusalem supposed that it never would be built again; but all their thoughts of obliterating the name, were like those of a dream; for God shall cause the city to be reared again. He then turns the subject and prophecies of the latter-day work of God: “It shall even be as when an hungry man dreameth, and behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against mount Zion.” From this we learn that those who fight against Zion, or the work of God in the last days, shall be visited with like destructions that Ariel was;—such as the sword, with thunder, earthquakes, tempests, and with fire; and when they shall make efforts to destroy Zion, and think to put a stop to the progress of the work of the Lord, all their thoughts and efforts shall comparatively be like dreams. This Zion here mentioned no doubt is what the prophet alluded to where he says: “The Lord will do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act;” and the destruction that is to come upon those that fight against Zion, is the “consumption determined upon the whole earth.” But says one, this Zion is synonymous with Ariel. If it is, then the prophet uttered incomprehensible nonsense: for in the first place he speaks of Ariel as being the object of a destruction; second, the nations that fight against Zion were also to be the objects of destruction, and not Zion.

The following establishes the idea that this Zion is a latter-day work: “But thou, O Lord, shall endure for ever, and thy remembrance unto [118] all generations. Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.

For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof;” “When the Lord shall build up Zion he shall appear in his glory.”—Ps. cii. 13–16. It is plain from the scriptures that the Lord has not yet appeared in his glory in fulfilment of this prophecy; for when he will appear in his glory, he will be accompanied with his saints and angels: therefore, Zion is not yet built. Furthermore all the Zion that ever was established at Jerusalem was in existence at the time David composed this Psalm. But he says: “This shall be written for a generation to come; and the people which shall be created.”—

Isaiah, lx, speaking of the building of Zion, describes the materials that are to be used: for instance, such as the Pine-tree, Fur-tree, &c. He also says: “For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” Some have supposed that the prophet here alludes to heaven; but we cannot receive such an idea, because he says, that the ships of Tarshish shall bring the people from far, and their gold and silver with them, to beautify the Lord’s sanctuary. Men do not go to heaven in ships neither do they take their gold or silver with them!! He further adds: “Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls salvation, and thy gates praise. The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory; the sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.” The above is so plain that it needs no comment whatever.

It is certain from the reading of the prophets that they all looked forward with joyful anticipations to the time when God should set his hand the second time to gather his people Israel from among the heathen, and from the North countries, and elsewhere; and when he will establish his Zion for the Millennium, and cause the walls of Jerusalem to be reared again, to the joy of the saints. Indeed, the prophets have said, that Zion and Jerusalem shall be places of deliverance at the time the judgments of God shall go forth among the nations. “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.”—Joel, ii. 32. But to return to the subject of the Book of Mormon.

Isaiah after clearing the way before him by describing the establishment of Zion, or the great work of God, and the manner that those who mock, or oppose it, shall be destroyed, describes the generation in which it will commence; he then particularizes the instrument [119] that God would bring forth as the antecedent to prepare the way. Hence, he breaks out with the following words: “Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger but not with strong drink.” When was there ever a time that men staggered more at the promises of God than they do at the present time? “For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.” Surely, darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people. When Christ was on earth there were some few inspired men: for instance John the Baptist, Simeon, &c.; but since the apostacy prophets, and seers have been covered; therefore, he has reference to a generation, or generations, after the beginning of the Christian era, and of course to some one as late as the present; therefore, he says: “And the vision of all (the one that shall first salute their ears) is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which man delivered to one that is learned, saying, read this I pray thee; and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed.” When the Book of Mormon first came to light, words or characters were copied from the plates which contained the original, and sent to learned men; but they said, they could not fully decipher them: “And THE BOOK is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, read this I pray thee: and he saith I am not learned. Wherefore the Lord said, forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their hearts far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precepts of men: therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” Now we testify that this prophecy has been fulfilled in the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and if it is not the right book, then another one must come forth in the same way, and exactly like it. That it was to be a latter-day work, is evident from the following: “Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field?” Lebanon is not yet turned unto a fruitful field; but after this work was to come to light, it was to be but a little while before it should be: “And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.”

( To be continued.) [120]

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