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 5 of 13)
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life ! with the holy city for its capital, the throne
of God in the midst for its seat of government ;
and watered with a stream, clear as crystal,
called the Waters of Life, issuing from the
throne of Jehovah ; while either side is adorned
with trees of never-fading beauty. " Blessed are
they that do his commandments, that they may
have a right to the tree of life, and may enter
in through the gates into the city." By this time
we begin to understand the words of the Saviour,
" Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the


earth." And also the song which John heard in
heaven, which ended thus : Ci We shall reign on
the EARTH." Reader, do not be startled; sup-
pose you were to be caught up into heaven, there
to stand with the redeemed of every nation, kin-
dred, tongue, and people, and join them in sing-
ins, and, to your astonishnent, all heaven is
filled with joy, while they tune the immortal lyre,
in joyful anticipation of one day reigning on the
earth a planet now under the dominion of
Satan, the abode of wretchedness and misery,
from which your glad spirit had taken its flight,
and, as you suppose, an everlasting farewell.
You might perhaps be startled for a moment,
and enquire within yourself. " Why have I never
heard this theme sung among the churches on
earth ? " Well, my friend, the answer would be,
Because you lived in a day when people did not
understand the Scriptures.

Abraham would tell you, you should have
read the promise of God to him, Gen. xvii. 8,
where God "not only promised the land of Canaan,
to his seed for an everlasting possession, but also
to him. Then you should have read the testi-
mony of Stephen, Acts vii. 5, by which you
would have ascertained that Abraham never had
inherited the things promised, but was still ex-
pecting to rise from the dead and be brought into
the land of Canaan, to inherit them. Yes, says
Ezekiel, if you had read the 37th chapter of my
Prophecies, you would have found a positive pro-
mise, that God would open the graves of the


whole house of Israel who were dead, and gather
up their dry bones, and put them together, each
to its own proper place, and even clothe them
again with flesh, sinews, and skin, and put His
Spirit in them, and they should live ; and then,
instead of being caught up to heaven, they
should be brought into the land of Canaan, which
the Lord gave them, and they should inherit it.
But, still astonished, you might turn to Job ; and
he, surprised to find one unacquainted with so
plain a subject, would exclaim, Did you never
read my 19th chapter, from the 23rd to the 27th
verses, where I declare, I wish my words were
written in a book, saying, that my Redeemer
would stand on the earth in the latter day, and
that I should see him in the flesh, for myself,
and not another, though worms should destroy
this body? Even David, the sweet singer of
Israel, would call to your mind his 37th Psalm,
where he repeatedly declares, that the meek shall
inherit the earth for ever, after the wicked are
cut off from the face thereof. And, last of all,
to set the matter for ever at rost, the voice of the
Saviour would mildly fall upon your ear, in his
sermon on the mount, declaring emphatically,
" Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the
earth.'' To these things you would answer, " I
have read these passages to be sure, but was al-
ways taught to believe that they did not mean so.
therefore I never understood them until now. Let
me go and tell the people what wonders have
opened to my view since my arrival in heaven


merely from having heard one short song It is
true, I have heard much of the glories of heaven
described while on earth, but never once thought
of their rejoicing in anticipation of returning to
the earth." Says the Saviour, " They have
Moses and the Prophets ; if they will not believe
them, neither would they believe although one
should rise from the dead."

We will now return to the subject of the com
ing of the Messiah, and the ushering in of that
glorious day called the Millennium, or rest of a
thousand years. We gather from the field of
prophecy, through which we have passed : first,
that that glorious day will be ushered in by the
personal coming of Christ, and the resurrection
of all the saints ; second that all the wicked
will be destroyed from the earth by overwhelm-
ing judgments of God, and by fire, at the time
of his coming, insomuch that the earth will be
cleansed by fire from its wicked inhabitants, as it
once was by water ; and this burning will include
priests as well as people : all but a few shall be
burned. This burning more especially applies to
the fallen church, rather than to the heathen or
Jews, whom they are now trying to convert.
Woe unto you, Gentiles, who call yourselves the
people of the Lord, but have made void the law
of God by your traditions ; for in vain do you
call Lord, Lord, and do not the things which
Jesus commands; in vain do ye worship him,
teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Behold, the sword of vengeance hangs over you,


and except you repent it will soon fall upon you,
and it will be more tolerable in that day for the
Jews and heathen than for you. Behold ye flatter
yourselves that the glorions day spoken of by the
Prophets will be uihered in by your modern in-
ventions and moneyed plans, which are got up in
order to convert the Jews and heathen to the
various sectarian principles now existing among
yourselves ; and you expect when this is done, to
behold a millennium after your own heart. But
the Jews and heathen never will be converted, as
a people to any other plan than that laid down in
the Bible for the great restoration of Israel. And
you yourselves are labouring under a broken cove-
nant, and ripening for the fire as fast as possible.
But do not count me your enemy because I tell
you the truth, for God is my witness that I love
your souls too well to keep back any truth from
you, however severe it may seem. The wounds
of a friend are better than the kisses of an
enemy. Now, concerning the signs of the times,
the inquiry often arises, "When shall these things
be, and what signs shall there be when these
things shall come to pass?" I am often asked
the question, whether it is near at hand ; I will
therefore tell you all, whereby you may know for
yourselves when it is nigh, even at the doors, and
not be dependent on the knowledge of others.

Now you behold the apple-tree and all the
trees, when they begin to shoot forth their leaves,
ye know of your own selves that summer is nigh
at hand ; and so likewise when ye shall see great


earthquakes, famines, pestilence, and plagues of
every kind ; the sea breaking beyond its bounds,
and all things in commotion ; the nations dis-
tressed with perplexity; men's hearts failing
them for fear, and for looking for the things which
are coming on the earth ; when you see signs in
the heaven above, and in the earth beneath,
blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke, the sun
turned to darkness, the moon to blood, and stars
hurled from their courses; when you see the
Jews gathering to Jerusalem, and the armies of
the nations gathering against them to battle, you
may know, with a perfect knowledge, that Christ's
coming is near, even at the doors " Verily I
say unto you, this generation shall not pass till
all these things be fulfilled." Heaven and earth
shall pass away, but not one word of all that the
Lord has spoken by the mouth of all His Holy
Prophets and Apostles shall fail. Whoever will
look to the word of the Prophets, and to the say-
ings of Jesus Christ, on this subject, the same
will be convinced that all the signs of which
I have spoken are clearly pointed out as the signs
of His coming. But, notwithstanding all these
things are written, His coming will overtake the
world unawares, as the flood did the people in the
days of Noah. The reason is, they will not under-
stand the Prophets. They will not endure sound
doctrine; their ears are turned away from the truth
and turned to fables, because of false teachers, and
the precepts of men ; and what is still worse, when
God sends ineii with the New and Everlasting


Covenant, and clothes them with boldness to tes-
tify to the truth, they will be treated as the ser-
vants of God have been before them by the fallen
churches; every church will cleave to their own
way, and will unite in saying, " There is no
need of these new things, the good old way is
right; " while at the same time they are walking
in as many different ways as there are sects, and
only agree in persecuting and speaking all manner
of evil against the fishers and hunters whom
God shall send. But, thank Heaven, there
are individuals in every sect who are humbly
seeking the truth, and who will know the voice
of truth, and be gathered out, and planted in
the new and everlasting covenant ; and they
will be adopted into the family of Israel, and
will be gathered with them, and be partakers of
the same covenant of promise. Yea, as Jeremiah
says, in the 16th chapter of his Prophecies, *' The
Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of
the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have
inherited lies, vanities, and tilings wherein there
is no profit." But as the Jews overlooked Christ's
first coming, by not understanding the Prophets,
and fastening their whole expectations on his
glorious coming in the last days, to restore the
kingdom to Israel, and avenge them of their
enemies, and, by this mistake, were broken and
scattered ; so the Gentiles will overlook the pro-
phecies concerning his second coming, by con-
founding them with the last judgment, which is
to take place more than a thousand years after-


ward. But this fatal mistake, instead of causing
the Gentiles to be broken and scattered, will cause
them to be ground to powder.

Oh ! my brethren according to the flesh, my
soul mourns over you, and had I a voice like a
trumpet, I would cry, Awake, awake, and arouse
from your slumbers, for the time is fulfilled, your
destruction is at the door, "for I have heard from
the Lord God of Hosts, a consumption, even
determined upon the whole earth." Prepare to
meet your God ! And again, Awake, O ! house of
Israel, and lift up your heads, for your redemption
draweth nigh ; yea, depart ye, depart ye, go ye
out from hence, gather home from your long dis-
persion, rebuild your cities ; yea go ye out from
the nations, from one end of heaven to the other;
but let not your flight be in haste, for the Lord
shall go before you, and the God of Israel shall
be your rearward. And, finally, I would say to
all, both Jew and Gentile, Repent ye, repent ye,
for the great day of the Lord is at hand ; for if
I, who am a man, do lift up my voice, and call
upon you to repent, and ye hate me, what will ye
say when the day cometh, when the thunders
shall utter their voices to the ends of the earth,
speaking to the ears of all that live, saying,
" Repent, and prepare for the great day of the
Lord " ? Yea, again, when the lightnings shall
streak from the east unto the west, and shall
utter forth their voices unto all that live, and
make the ears of all that hear to tingle, saying
these words, " Repent ye, for the great day of the


Lord is come." And again, the Lord shall utter
his voice out of heaven, saying, " Hearken, O ye
nations of tho earth, and hoar the words of that
God who made you : O ye nations of the earth,
how often would I have gathered you together,
as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,
but ye would not ! How often have I called upon
you by the mouth of my servants, and by the
ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and
by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of
lightnings, an* I by the voice of tempests, and by
the voice of earthquakes and great hailstorms,
and by the voice of famine and pestilences of
every kind, and by the great sound of a trumpet,
and by the voice of judgments, and by the voice
of mercy, all the day long, and by the voice of
glory and honour, and the riches of eternal life,
and would have saved you with an everlasting
salvation, but ye would not 1 Behold, the day
has come, when the cup of the wrath of mine
indignation is full."



"Seek first the Kingdom of God."
THIS was the command of the Saviour, while on
the earth, teaching the children of men.

Having taken a general view of the Prophecies,
Past and .Future, we shall now proceed to fulfil


this command, and search out the kingdom of
God. But, before we advance, I would again
caution the reader not to accompan}' me in this
research, unless he is prepared to sacrifice every
thing, even to his good name, and life itself,
if necessary, for the truth ; for if he should
once get a view of the kingdom of God, he will
be so delighted, that he never will rest satisfied
short of becoming a subject of the same. And yet
it will be so unlike every other system of religion
now on earth, that he will be astonished that any
person, with the Bible in his hand, should ever
have mistaken any of the systems of men for the
kingdom of God. There are certain powers,
privileges, and blessings, pertaining to the king-
dom of God, which are found in no other kingdom,
nor enjoyed by any other people. By these it was
ever distinguished from all other kingdoms and
systems, insomuch that the inquiring mind,seeking
the kingdom of God, and being once acquainted
with these peculiarities concerning it, need never
mistake it, or be at a loss to know when he has
found it. But before we proceed any farther in
our research, let us agree upon the meaning of
the term. The Kingdom of God, or the sense in
which we will use it; for some apply this term to
the kingdom of glory above, and some to the indi-
vidual enjoyments of their own souls, while others
apply it to His organized government on the
earth, Now, when WE speak of the kingdom of
God, we wish it to be understood that we mean
His organized government on the earth.


Now, reader, we launch forth into the wide field
before us in search of a kingdom. But stop, let
us consider What is a kingdom ? I reply that
four things are required in order to constitute any
kingdom in heaven or on earth ; namely, first, a
king; secondly, commissioned officers duly quali-
fied to execute his ordinances and laws ; thirdly,
a code of laws by which the subjects are govern-
ed ; and fourthly, subjects who are governed.
Where these exist in their proper order and regu-
lar authority, there is a kingdom, but where
either of these cease to exist, there is a disorgani-
zation of the kingdom; consequently an end of it.
until reorganized after the same manner as before.
In this respect the kingdom of God is like all
other kingdoms ; wherever we find officers duly
commissoned and qualified by the Lord Jesus,
together with his ordinances and laws existing in
purity, unmixed with any precepts or command-
ments of men, there the kingdom of God exists,
and there His power is manifest and His blessings
are enjoyed as in days of old.

We shall now take a view of the setting up of
the kingdom of God in the days of the Apostles.
The first intimation of its near approach was by
an angel to Zecharias, promising him a son, who
should go before the King to prepare his way.
The next manifestation was to Mary, and finally
to Joseph, by a holy angel, promising the birth of
the Messiah ; while at the same time, the Holy
Ghost manifested unto Simeon, in the temple, that
he should not die until he bad -oon the Saviour.


Thus, all these, together with the shepherds and
the wise men from the east, began to rejoice with
a joy unspeakable and full of glory, while the
world around them knew not the occasion of their
joy. After these things, all seemed to rest in
silent expectation, until John had grown to man-
hood, when he came bounding from the wilderness
of Judea, with a proclamation strange and new ;
crying, " Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is
at hand," baptizing unto repentance, telling them
plainly that their King was already standing
among them, on the point of setting up his king-
dom. And while he yet ministered, the Messiah
came, and was baptized, and sealed with the
Spirit of God, which rested upon him in the form
of a dove ; and soon after he began the same pro-
clamation as John, saying " Repent ye, for the
kingdom of heaven is at hand." Then after choos-
ing twelve disciples, he sent them forth into all
the cities of Judea, with the same proclamation,
" The kingdom of heaven is at hand ; " and after
them he sent seventy, and then another seventy,
with the same news, so that all might be well
warned and prepared for a kingdom which was
soon to be organized amongst them. But when
these things had produced the desired effect, in
causing a general expectation, more especially in
the hearts of his disciples, who daily expected to
triumph over their persecutors by the coronation
of this glorious personage, while they themselves
were hoping for a reward for all their toil and
sacrifices for his sake, by being exalted to dignity


near his person, what must have been their disap-
pointment when they saw their King taken and
crucified, having been mocked, derided, ridiculed,
and finally overcome and triumphed over, both by
Jew and Gentile ? They would gladly have died
in battle to have placed him upon the throne ; but
tamely to submit without a struggle, to give up all
their expectations, and sink in despair from the
highest pitch of enthusiasm to the lowest degra-
dation, was more than they could well endure.
They shrank back in sorrow, and returned every
man to his net, or to their several occupations,
supposing all was over ; probably with reflections
like these : "Is this the result of our labours ?
was it for this we forsook all worldly objects, our
friends, our houses and lands, suffering perse-
cution, hunger, fatigue and disgrace ? and we
trusted it should have been He who would have
delivered Israel ; but alas, they have killed him,
and all is over. For three years we have awak-
ened a general expectation through all Judea, by
telling them that the kingdom of heaven was at
hand, but now our King is dead, how shall we
dare to look the people in the face? " With these
reflections, each pursuing his own course, all WHS
again turned to silence, and the voice had ceased
to be heard in Judea, crying, " Repent ye, for the
kingdom of heaven is at hand." Jesus slept in
the arms of death ; a great stone, with the seal of
state, secured the tomb where he lay, while the
Roman guard stood in watchful silence to see that
all was kept secure ; when, suddenly, from the


regions of glory, a mighty angel descended, at whose
presence the soldiers fell b *ck as dead men, while
he rolled the stone from the door of the sepulchre,
and the Son of God awoke from his slumbers,
burst the bonds of death, and soon after appearing
to Mary, he sent her to his disciples with the
joyful news of his resurrection, and appointed a
place to meet them. When, after seeing him, all
their sorrow was turned into joy, and all their
former hopes were suddenly revived, they had no
longer to cry, u The kingdom of heaven is at hand,"
but were to tarry at Jerusalem until the kingdom
was established ; and they prepared to unlock the
door of the kingdom, and to adopt strangers and
foreigners into it as legal citizens, by adminis-
tering certain laws and ordinances, which were
invariably the laws of adoption,and without which
no man could ever become a citizen. Having
ascended up on high, and having been crowned
with all power in heaven and on earth, he again
comes to his disciples, and gives them their au-
thority, saying unto them. " Go ye into all the
world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved ;
but he that believeth not shall be damned. And
these signs shall follow them that believe : In my
name shall they cast out devils ; they shall speak
with new tongues ; they shall take up serpents ;
and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not
hurt them ; they shall lay hands on the sick, and
they shall recover." Mark xvi. 15-18. Now, I
wish the reader not to pass over this commission


until he understands it, because, when once under-
stood, he never need mistake the kingdom of God,
but will at once discover those peculiarities which
were for ever to distinguish it from all other king-
doms or religious systems on earth. Lest he
should misunderstand, we will analyse it, and
look at each part carefully in its own proper light ;
first they were to preach the Gospel, or, in other
words, the glad tidings of a crucified and risen
Redeemer, to all the world ; secondly, he that be-
lieved and was baptized, should be saved ; thirdly,
he that did not believe what they preached should
be damned; and fourthly, these signs should follow
them that believed, first, they were to cast out
devils ; second to speak with new tongues ; third
to take up serpents; fourth, if they drank any
deadly thing, it should not hurt them ; fifth, they
were to lay hands on the sick and they should

Now. it is wilful blindness, or ignorance of the
English language, that has ever caused any mis-
understanding here. For some tell us that those
signs were only to follow the Apostles ; and others,
that they were only to follow believers in that age.
But Christ places the preaching, believing, salva-
tion, and the signs that were to follow, all on an
equal footing ; where one was limited, the other
must be ; where one ceased, the other did. If the
language limits the signs to the Apostles, it limits
faith and salvation also to them. If no others were
to have these signs follow them, then no others
were to believe, and no others were to be saved.


Again, if the language limits these signs to the
first age or ages of Christianity, then it limits sal-
vation to the first ages of Christianity, for one is
precisely as much limited as the other ; and where
one is in force, the other is ; and where one ends,
the other must stop. And as well might we say,
preaching of the Gospel is no longer needed ;
neither faith nor salvation ; these were only given
at first to establish the Gospel ; as to say, the signs
are no longer necessary, they were only given at
first to establish the Gospel But says the asto-
nished reader, " Have not these signs ceased from
among men?" I reply, prove that they have ceased,
and it will prove that the Gospel has ceased to be
preached, that men have ceased to believe and be
saved, and that the world is without the kingdom
of. God ; or else it will prove that Jesus Christ
was an imposter, and his promises of no effect.

Now, having analyzed and understood this com-
mission,let us still pursue the subject of the organi-
zation of the kingdom of God in the days of the
Apostles. The Saviour having given them their
authority, commands them to tarry, and not
undertake their mission, until they were endowed
with power from on high. But why this delay ?
Because no man was ever qualified, or ever will
be, to preach that Gospel, and teach all things
whatsoever Jesus commanded him, without the
Holy Ghost ; and a very different Holy Ghost,
too, from the one now enjoyed by men who are
not inspired, for the Holy Ghost of which Jesus
spake would guide into all truth, bring all things


to remembrance, whatsoever he had said unto
them, and show them things to come not to
mention that it would enable them to speak in all
the languages of the earth. Now, a man who
preaches needs that Holy Ghost very much ; first.
to guide into all truth, that he may know whsit
to teach ; second, to strengthen his memory, lost
he might neglect to teach some of the things which
were commanded them ; and, third, he needs to
know things to come, that he may forewarn his
hearers of approaching danger, and that would
constitute him a Prophet. From this the reader
may see how careful Jesus was that none should
preach his Gospel without the Holy Ghost. He
may also learn how different the Spirit of Truth
is from the spirits now abroad in the earth,
deceiving the world under the name of the Holy

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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 5 of 13)