Parley P. (Parley Parker) Pratt.

A voice of warning and instruction to all people: or, An introduction to the faith and doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints online

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Online LibraryParley P. (Parley Parker) PrattA voice of warning and instruction to all people: or, An introduction to the faith and doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints → online text (page 10 of 13)
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now become the abode of sorrow and toil, of
death and mourning; the earth groaned with ita
production of accursed thorns and thistles ; man
and beast at enmity ; the serpent slily creeping
away, fearing lest his head should get the deadly
bruise ; and man startling amid the thorny path,
in fear lest the serpent's fangs should pierce his
heel : while the lamb yields his blood upon the
smoking altar. Soon man begins to persecute,
hate, and murder his fellow, until at length the
earth is filled with violence, all flesh becomes
corrupt, the powers of darkness prevail, and it
repented Noah that God had made man, and it
grieved him at his heart, because the Lord
should come out in vengeance, and cleanse the
earth by water.

How far the flood may have contributed to
produce the various changes, as to the division
of the earth into broken fragments, islands and
continents, mountains and valleys, we have not
been informed ; the change must have been con-


siderable. But after the flood, in the days of
Peleg, the earth was divided. See Gen. x. 25.
A short history, to be sure, of so great an event;
but still it will account for the mighty revolution
which rolled the sea from its own place in the
north, and brought it to interpose between different
portions of the earth, which were thus parted
asunder, and moved into something near their
present form; this, together with the earthquakes,
revolutions and commotions which have since
taken place, have all contributed to reduce the
face of the earth to its present state ; while the
great curses which have fallen upon different
portions, because of the wickedness of men, will
account for the stagnant swamps, the sunken
lakes, the dead seas, and great deserts ; witness,
for instance, the denunciation of the Prophets
upon Babylon ; how it was to become perpetual
desolations, a den of wild beasts, a dwelling of
unclean and hateful birds, a place for owls ; and
should never be inhabited, but should lie desolate
from generation to generation. Witness also the
plains of Sodom, filled with towns, cities, and
flourishing gardens, well watered ; but Oh, how
changed ! a vast sea of stagnant water alone marks
the place. Witness the land of Palestine, in the
days of Solomon : it was capable of sustaining
millions of people besides yielding a surplus of
wheat, and other productions, which were ex-
changed with the neighbouring nations; whereas,
now it is desolate, and hardly capable of sustain-
ing a few miserable inhabitants. And when I


cast mine eyes over our own land, and see the
numerous swamps, lak^s, and ponds of stagnant
waters, together with the vast mountains, and
innumerable rough places, rocks having been rent,
and torn asunder, from centre to circumference,
I exclaim, Whence all this ?

When I read the Book of Mormon, it informs
me, that while Christ was crucified among the
Jews, this whole American continent was shaken
to its foundation, that many cities were sunk,
and waters came up in their places; that the
rocks were all rent in twain ; that mountains
were thrown up to an exceeding height ; and
other mountains became valleys ; the level roads
spoiled, and the whole face of the land changed.
I then exclaim, These things are no longer a
mystery ; I have now learned to account for the
many wonders, which I everywhere behold,
throughout our whole country. When I am
passing a ledge of rocks, and see they have all
been rent and torn asunder, while some huge
fragments are found deeply embedded in the earth .
some rods from whence they were torn, I exclaim,
with astonishment, These were the groans ! the
convulsive throes of agonizing nature ! while the
Son of God suffered upon the cross !

But men have degenerated, and greatly changed,
as well as the earth. The sins, the abomina-
tions, and the many evil habits of the latter ages
have added to the miseries, toils, and sufferings
of human life. The idleness, extravagance,
pride, coveteousness, drunkenness, and other


abominations, which are characteristic of the
latter times, have all combined to sink mankind
to the lowest state of wretchedness and degrada-
tion ; while priestcraft and false doctrines have
greatly tended to lull mankind to sleep, and
cause them to rest infinitely short of the powers
and attainments which the ancients enjoyed, and
which are alone calculated to exalt the intellectual
powers of the human mind, to establish noble
and generous sentiments, to enlarge the heart
and to expand the soul to the utmost extent of
its capacity. Witness the ancients conversing
with the Great Jehovah, learning lessons from
the angels, and receiving instruction by the
Holy Ghost, in dreams by night, and visions by
day, until at length the veil is taken off, and they
are permitted to gaze, with wonder and admira-
tion, upon all things past and future : yea, even
to soar aloft amid unnumbered worlds, while the
vast expanse of eternity stands open before them,
and they contemplate the mighty works of the
Great I AM, until they know as they are known,
and see as they are seen.

Compare this intelligence with the low
smatterings of education and worldly wisdom
which seem to satisfy the narrow mind of man in
our generation ; yea, behold the narrow-minded,
calculating, trading, over-reaching, penurious
sycophant of the nineteenth century, who dreams
of nothing here but how to increase his goods,
or take advantage of his neighbour; and whose
only religious exercises or duties consist of going


to meeting, paying the priest his hire, or praying
to his God, without expecting to be heard or
answered, supposing that God has been deaf and
dumb for many centuries, or altogether stupid
and indifferent like himself. And having seen
the two contrasted, you will be able to form
some idea of the vast elevation from which man
has fallen ; you will also learn, how infinitely
beneath his former glory and dignity he is now
living; and your heart will mourn, and be ex-
ceedingly sorrowful, when you contemplate him
in his low estate, and then think he is your
brother ; and you will be ready to exclaim, with
wonder and astonishment, " Oh, man ! how art
thou fallen ! Once thou wast the favourite of
heaven; thy Maker delighted to converse with
thee, and angels, and the spirits of just men
made perfect, were thy companions ; but now
thou art degraded, and brought down to a level
with the beasts ; yea, far beneath them, for they
look with horror and affright at your vain amuse-
ments, your sports, and your drunkenness, and
thus often set an example worthy of your imita-
tion. Well did the apostle Peter say of you,
that you know nothing, only what you know
naturally as brute beasts, made to be taken and
destroyed. And thus you perish, from genera-
tion to generation, while all creation groans
under its pollution; and sorrow and death,
mourning and weeping, fill up the measure of
the days of man." But, Oh my soul, dwell no
longer on this awful scene : let it suffice to have


discovered in some degree what is lost. Let us
turn our attention to what the Prophets have said
should be restored.

The Apostle Peter, while preaching to the
Jews, says, " And he shall send Jesus Christ,
which before was preached unto you, whom the
heavens must receive, until the time of restitution
(restoration) of all things which God hath spoken,
by the mouth of all His holy Prophets, since the
world began." It appears from the above, that
all the holy Prophets, from Adam to Christ,
and those that followed after, had their eyes
upon a certain time, when all things should be
restored to their primitive beauty and excellence.
We also learn, that the time of restitution was
to be at or near the time of Christ's second
coming ; for the heavens are to receive him,
until the time of restitution, and then the Father
shall send him again to the earth.

We will now proceed to notice Isaiah xl. 1-5.
" Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your
God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and
cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished,
that her iniquity is pardoned ; for she hath
received of the Lord's hand double for all her
sins. The voice of him that crieth in the
wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our
God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every
mountain and hill shall be made low; and the
crooked shall be made straight, and the rough
places plain; and the glory of the Lord shall


oe revealed, ami all flesh shall see it together ;
for the mouth of the Lord hath spokeii it."

From these verses we learn, first, that the
voice of one shall be heard in the wilderness, to
prepare the way of the Lord, just at the time
when Jerusalem has been trodden down of the
Gentiles long enough to have received, at the
Lord's hand, double for all her sins, yea, when
the warfare of Jerusalem is accomplished, and
her iniquities pardoned. Then shall this pro-
clamation be made as it was before by John, yea,
a second proclamation, to prepare the way of the
Lord, for his second coming; and about that
time every valley shall be exalted, and every
mountain and hill shall be made low, and the
crooked shall be made straight, and rough places
plain, and then the glory of the Lord shall be
revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for
the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Thus, you see, every mountain being made
low, and every valley exalted, and the rough
places being made plain, and the crooked places
straight that these mighty revolutions will begin
to restore the face of the earth to its former
beauty. But all this done, we have not yet
gone through our restoration; there are many
more great things to be done, in order to restore
all things.

Our next is Isaiah, 35th chapter, where we
again read of the Lord's second coming, and of
the mighty works which attend it. The barren
desert should abound with pools and springs of


living water, and should produce grass, with
flowers blooming and blossoming as the rose,
and that, too, about the time of the coming of
their God, with vengeance and recompense, which
must allude to his second coming ; and Israel is
to come at the same time to Zion, with songs of
everlasting joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee
away. Here, then, we have the curse taken off
from the deserts, and they become a fruitful,
well- watered country.

We will now inquire whether the islands
return again to the continents from which they
were once separated. For this subject we refer
you to Revelations vi. 14: "And every moun-
tain and island were moved out of their places. 1 '
From this we learn that they moved somewhere ;
and as it is the time of restoring what has been
lost, they accordingly return and join themselves
to the land whence they came.

Our next is Isaiah xiii., 13th and 14th verses,
where " The earth shall remove out of her place,
and shall be as the chased roe which no man
taketh up " Also Isaiah Ixii. 4, " Thou shalt no
more be termed Forsaken ; neither shall thy land
any more be termed Desolate ; but thou shalt be
called Hephzi-bah,and thyjp"^ "R^ulflh for the
Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be

In the first instance, we have the earth on a
move like a chased roe ; and in the second place,
we have it married. And from the whole, and
various Scriptures, we learn, that the continents


and islands shall be united in one, as they were
on the morn of creation, and the sea shall retire
and assemble in its own place, where it was be-
fore ; and all these scenes shall take place during
the mighty convulsion of nature, about the time
of the coming of the Lord.

Behold I the Mount of Olives rent in twain :
While on its top he sets his feet again.
The islands, at his word, obedient, flee;
While to the north he rolls the mighty sea;
Restores the earth in one, as at the first,
With all its blessings, and removes the curse.

Having restored the earth to the same glorious
state in which it first existed levelling the moun-
tains, exalting the valleys, smoothing the rough
places, making the deserts fruitful, and bringing
all the continents and islands together, causing
the curse to be taken off, that noxious weeds, and
thorns, and thistles shall no longer be produced ;
the next thing is to regulate and restore the brute
creation to their former state of peace and glory,
causing all enmity to cease from off the earth.
But this will never be done until there is a
general destruction poured out upon man, which
will entirely cleanse the earth, and sweep all
wickedness from its face. This will be done by
the rod of His mouth, and by the breath of His
lips ; or, in other words, by fire as universal as
the flood. Isaiah xi. 4, 6-9, '* But with righte-
ousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove
with equity for the meek of the earth ; and he
shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth,


and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the
wicked. The wolf also shall dwell with the
lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the
kid ; and the calf, and the young lion, and the
fading together; and a little child shall lead
them. And the cow and the bear shall feed;
their young ones shall lie down together; and
the lion shall eat straw like an ox. And the
sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the
cockatrice's den. They shall not hurt nor de-
stroy in all my holy mountain for the earth shall
be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the
waters cover the sea."

Thus, having cleansed the earth, and glorified
it with the knowledge of God, as the waters
cover the sea, and having poured out His Spirit
upon all flesh, both man and beast becoming per-
fectly harmless as they were in the beginning,
and feeding on vegetable food only, while nothing
is left to hurt or destroy in all the vast creation,
the Prophets then proceed to give us many
glorious descriptions of the enjoyments of its in-
habitants. '* They shall build houses and inhabit
them; and they shall plant vineyards and eat
the fruit of them; they shall not build and
another inhabit ; they shall not plant and another
eat; for as the days of a tree are the days of
my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the
work of their hands. They shall not labour in
vain, nor bring forth for trouble ; for they are
the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their


offspring with them ; and it shall come to pass,
that before they call I will answer, and while
they are yet speaking I will hear." In this happy
state of existence it seems that all people will live
to the full age of a tree, and this, too, without
pain or sorrow, and whatsoever they ask will be
immediately answered, and even all their wants
will be anticipated. Of course, then, none of
them will sleep in the dust, for they will prefer
to be translated, that is changed, in the twinkling
of an eye, from mortal to immortal ; after which
they will continue to reign with Jesus on the

Thus we have traced the Prophets through
the varying scenes which conspire to restore the
earth, and its inhabitants, to that state of per-
fection in which they first existed, and in which
they will exist, during the great sabbath of
creation . Having seen all things restored among
the living, we will now inquire after those who
sleep in the dust; but, in order to understand
precisely the nature of their restoration, we must
ascertain the particulars concerning the resur-
rection of Jesus, for he was an exact pattern
after which all his Saints will be raised. We
recollect First, that he was clothed upon with
flesh, and blood, and bones, like another man,
and every way subject to hunger, thirst, pain,
weariness, sickness, and death, like any other
person with this difference, that he was capable
of enduring more than any other human body.
Second, this same body was hung upon the cross,


torn with nails, which were driven through his
hands and feet, and his side pierced with a spear,
from which there came out blood and water.
Third, this same body, being perfectly lifeless,
like any other corpse, was taken without a bone
being broken, and carefully wrapped in linen and
laid in the tomb, where it continued until the
third day; when, early in the morning, the
women came to the sepulchre, and his disciples
also, and found the linen clothes lying useless,
and the napkin which was about his head care-
fully folded and laid by itself, but the body which
had lain there was gone. From all these cir-
cumstances, we discover that the same flesh and
bones which were laid in the tomb were actually
reanimated, and did arise and lay aside the linen
which was no longer needed. And Jesus Christ
came forth triumphant from the mansions of the
dead, possessing the same body which had been
born of a woman, and which was crucified ; but
no blood flowed in his veins, for blood was the
natural life, in which were the principles of mor-
tality, and a man restored to flesh and blood
would be mortal, and, consequently, again subject
unto death, which was not the case with our
Saviour, although he had flesh and bones after
he rose, for when he appeared to his disciples,
and they were afraid, supposing it was only a
spirit, in order to show them their mistake, he
said, " Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not
flesh and bones, as you see me have." And calling
for something to eat, he was provided with a


piece of broiled fish and honeycomb, and he did
eat. And even afterwards, Thomas was invited
to put his finger into the prints of the nails in
his hands and feet, and to thrust his hand into
his side, from which it was evident that he not
only possessed the same body, but the same
wounds also continued to show themselves for a
witness, and will continue until he comes again,
when the Jews will look upon him whom they
have pierced, and inquire, " What are these
wounds in thy hands and in thy feet?"

O ye hard-hearted, ye ungodly children of men ;
your eyes will very soon behold him who was
crucified for your sins ; then shall ye see that the
resurrection of the dead is a reality, something
tangible, and that eternity is not a land of shades,
nor a world of phantoms, as some suppose.

Among other things which Jesus did after the
resurrection, we find him in the humble attitude
of broiling fish, and calling his disciples to come
and dine. O what simplicity, what love, what con-
descension ! Wonder, O heavens ! be astonished, O
earth ! Behold the Redeemer clothed upon with
immortality, and yet seated by a fire of coals, in the
open air, with his brethren, humbly partaking of a
meal offish, actually prepared by his own hands !
O ye great and noble of the earth, who roll in
luxury and refinement ! O ye priests, who are
loaded with the honours, titles, dignities, riches,
and splendour of the world, here is a lesson for
you, which will make you blush : boast no more
of being followers of the meek and lowly Jesus !


But to return to the subject of the resurrection.
Having proved to a demonstration, that our
Saviour rose from the dead with the same body
which was crucified, possessing flesh and bones ;
that he eat and drank with his disciples ; it puts
the matter for ever at rest respecting the resur-
rection of the Saints. But if more proof were
wanting, we have it in a prophecy of Job.
quoted in a former part of this work, where he
declares that his Kedeemer will stand, in the
latter day, upon the earth, and he should see him
in the flesh, though worms should destroy the
body which he then had. The fact is, the Saints
will again receive their bodies, every joint being
in its proper and perfect frame, and clothed upon
with flesh, sinews, and skin, like as we now are;
the whole being immortal, no more to see corrup-
tion, and clothed with a white robe of fine linen,
suitable for immortality to wear. Well did the
Apostle say, In heaven we have a more enduring
substance (not shadow).

But in order to illustrate this subject still fur-
ther, we will carefully examine Ezekiel xxxvii.,
which we have touched upon before. In this
vision the Prophet is carried away in the Spirit,
and a valley of dry bones is presented before him,
and they are very numerous and very dry ; and
while he stands musing and contemplating the
awful scene, a very wonderful question is proposed
to him : " Son of man, can these dry bones live ? "
and he answered, " Lord God, thou knowest."
And the Lord said. " Son of man, prophesy upon


these bones, and say, O ye dry bones, hear the
word of the Lord." So he prophesied as he was
commanded, and as he prophesied there was a
noise, and behold, a shaking, and the bones came
together, bone to his bone, and the sinews and
the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered
thorn. And again he prophesied to the winds,
snying, " Come from the four winds, breath,
and breathe upon these slain, that they may live; "
and the breath entered into them, and they lived
and stood upon their feet, an exceeding great
army. We have heard many comments upon
this vision ; some compare it to sinners being
converted, and some to the body of Christ, the
Church, when dead as to the spiritual gifts ; but
the Church becoming dead can no longer be said
to be the body of Christ ; as when she abides in
the (rue vine she lives and bears fruit, and is not
dead, and when she does not abide in him she is
cut off as a branch, withered and burned, instead
of rising again. But did you ever hear the Lord's
own explanation of this vision, in the same
chapter? It so far surpasses all other comments,
I am inclined to believe it ; I will therefore write
it in preference to any other, and run the risk of
becoming unpopular by so doing. The Lord says,
" Son of man these bones are the whole house of
Israel ; behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and
our hope is lost ; we are cut off for our parts.
Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thussaith
the Lord God, Behold, O my people, I will open
your graves, and cause you to come up out of


your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel ;
and ye shall know that I am the Lord, when
I have opened your graves, O my people, and
brought you up out of your graves, and shall put
my Spirit in you, and ye shall live ; and I shall
place you in your own land. Then shall ye know
that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it,
saith the Lord." Thus you have the whole vision
unfolded plainly, if the Lord's authority can once
be allowed, which is seldom the case in this age
of wisdom and learning. The fact is, all the seed
of Israel are to be raised from the dead, and are
to be brought into the land of Israel, which was
given to them for an everlasting inheritance. And
in order to do this, their old dry bones are to be
brought together, bone to its bone, and every
part of their bodies is to be reinstated ; and it will
make a great noise, and a wonderful shaking,
when they come together ; and surely when they
stand upon their feet they will make an exceeding
great army.

This just explains the promise so oft repeated
in Scripture, 4t My servant David shall be their
prince for ever ; " indeed this same chapter makes
the promise to them, that his servant David shall
be raised up, and shall be a prince among them,
while the Lord shall be their King ; while both
they that are alive, and they that are dead, shall
be restored, and become one nation in the land,
upon the mountains of Israel ; while David comes
forth and reigns as a prince and shepherd over
them for ever ; and the Lord Jesus reigns as King


of kings, and Lord of lords, in Mount Zion, and
in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.

O Glorious day t O blessed hope I
My soul leaps forward at the thought ;
When in that happy, happy land,
We'll take tho ancients by the hand;
In love and union hail our friends;
And death and sorrow have an end.

I now no longer marvel, when I call to mind
that Abraham counted himself a stranger and
pilgrim, seeking a better country, and a city whose
builder and maker is God. It seems after this
restoration there will be but one more change
necessary, in order to fit the earth for man'ii
eternal inheritance ; and that change is to take
place at the last day, after man has enjoyed it in

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Online LibraryParley P. (Parley Parker) PrattA voice of warning and instruction to all people: or, An introduction to the faith and doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints → online text (page 10 of 13)