Images de page

of others; a bed-ridden invalid, neither alive nor dead; without peace; without enjoyment; it may be, without hope. We count not upon such. "Ihe Christian religion has not for its object the founding of spiritual hospitals, nor the filling them with miserable subjects of spiritual disease and destitution. Such may be in the spiritual king. .dom, and are to be cared for accordingly; but Christianity has for its purpose'to induce the most intimate and lively relations to the spiritual world, to give origin lo spiritual beings, to new creatures, full of spiritual sensibility, life, health, and vigor. The man of faith has closed his eyes upon the world and upon all that is in the world. He is born into another kingdom. His senses are spiritual. To his inward vision another system of things presents itself. He has come to Mount Zion, 10 a heavenly—a spiritual Jerusalem. He cultivates habitually an acquaintance with spiritual existences; with spiritual things. And just as the senses of touch and hearing in the blind, become, by exercise, so acutely sensitive as almost to supply the place of sight, so does the spiritual and inward sensibility of the C:ţistian by degrees attain to such perfection that he becomes keenly alive to a fellowship with spiritual existences and objects of whose very exist.. ence he was formerly wholly unconscious. To be alive to God is to be dead to the world. To be born again,” is to be in a "kingdom of

heaven"-a spiritual system. To be "raised with Christ," is to be occupied with the things that are above." To be "children of God," is to have fellowship and communion with the “King eternal, immortal, and invisible."

Nothing, it would seem to the writer, has been, under Satan, a greater hindrance to that intimate spiritual union, between Christians individually, and between them and God, which is contemplated by Christianity, than the erroneous and conflicting views entertained in reference to the Spirit of God. It is not to be supposed that any ignorance shall exist, or that any error shall be held in respect to the things of the spiritual kingdom, without necessarily involving a loss of spiritual enjoyment, or an entire destruction of spiritual life. It matters not, in this respect, how sincerely ignorant or erroneous men may be. The effect will be the same as though they were wilfully so. Truth is the food of the soul. Ignorance is the want of it. Error the poison which assumes its semblance. He who is ignorant of truth, can derive no benefit from trath, as the animal frame can gain no nourishment from food which it has not received. He who imbibes error, however innocently, will feel the natural effects of it, just as poison will act upon the natural system as certainly according to its nature whether it were taken inadvertently or on purpose. The

[ocr errors]

spiritual man has access to the things of the spiritual world by faith. The extent of his faith is the measure of evidence before his mind. In whatever degree he is unaequainted with the evidence or truth respecting spiritual things, in the same degree these are hidden from him and have to him no real existence. He cannot believe in that of which he has not heard; he cannot call for that in which he has not believed. He cannot enjoy that for which he has made no request.Error, on the other hand, not only leaves the mind devoid of truth, but exerts the most unhappy and deleterious influence opon it in enfeebling its energies and so perverting its powers, that truth, like viands to the sick, becomes nauseous and unpalatable. Now there is no single point in Christianity in respect to which ignorance or error are more dangerous and fatal in their effects than as it regards the Spirit of God, because there is nothing so intimately and immediately connected with that spiritual life which the Christian institution is designed to impart.

It may not be out of place here to particularize some of the prevailing errors to which reference has been made. There is, then, one class who do not believe that there is any spirit received from God or enjoyed by men, in the present day. They look upon the Christian religion as a highly refined system of morality, acting simply by the force of its moral precepts, in proportion as the intellect perceives and appreciates their propriety and their relation to human happiness.-They prefer it therefore to the philosophy of Aristotle or of Epicurus only because it is more sublime, more rational, more practical, and more popular. If they were not called Christians, they would be Stoics, Epicureans, or Academics. They have the reflected light of the sun of Christianity, but not its warmth. - It is the pale and cold rays of the moon which they have mistaken for the golden light of day; and their religion is calm, dim, cold, and quiet as the dewy hours of night, when the moping owl is heard within her secret bower, and the melancholy bat unfolds his dusky wings.

There is another class who admit the presence of the Spirit of Christ in the Christian, but suppose it to be purely the effect of the word of God the influence which the

otures produce upon the mind of the believer. With them to be under the influence of the word, is to be possessed of the Spirit, just as any effect will follow from its cause.. These, like the first class, are eloqueat apon the influence which motives are supposed to exert upon the mind and heart of man. They are lovers of the scriptures, moral, and even devotional; great opposers of high religious excitement, yet not wholly devoid of warmth; good neighbors; good citizens; good-hearted men, having more morality than religion, and more philosophy than feeling.

There is another class somewhat less philosophical, who, content with the declarations of the scriptures in reference to the fact that the Spirit of Christ himself is in the church, and that the members are to partake of it accordingly; have not been at the pains to bring the subject any nearer home, or to form any conceptions in respect to the real, personal, and individual reception and possession of the Holy Spirit by themselves in particular. They are, indeed, firm believers in the reception of the Spirit in his own person, character, and office; but, having ascertained that the mission of the Spirit is to the church, and that he is to abide in the church forever, they appear to have for the time rested satisfied with these conclusions, and to have failed to carry out the subject, so that each member of the church could make a proper application of the doctrine to himself. In this view of the subject they were guided mainly, if not entirely, by the figure in which the church is represented as a body, and Christ as the head; and the effect of its presentation in this form would appear to have been theoretically congregational only, and neither personal, nor practical. It is always so with generalisms addressed to a congregation. Each one admits them true of his neighbor, but thinks not of himself.— Nevertheless the view here referred to, which is true both in figure and in theory, has been attended by these good effects, that it setiled the minds of many who were inclined to the doctrines of the class preceding, and gave a firm foundation for other figures and theories which at that time were greatly in need of such support. It was useful also in showing that no one could partake of the Spirit while in the world-i. e. out of Christ; or unconnected with the church. is it to be denied that the cordial belief of the doctrine that the Spirit of God is really and truly possessed by the church greatly aided in promoting the spiritual enjoyment of the congregation, and in producing an impression at least of an intimate and peculiar connexion with the spiritual world. Hence this class are more devout, more zealous, more feeling, more spiritually-minded and more fruitful than the former.

There is, however, a fourth class, and one too extremely numerous, who make the reception of the Holy Spirit the first thing and the last; the Alpha and the Omega of Christianity. With them it is the special and immediate operation of the Spirit upon the heart which converts the sinner independently of the word of God, as some suppose; or by means of the word, as others imagine. It is upon their experience of what they conceive to be this special and direct operation of the Spirit, that they depend for their assurance of conversion and of pardon and acceptance with God. It is upon the renewal, during meetings of excitement, of those lively emotions which constituted their first experience, that they depend for religious enjoyment. They are wont to regard the word of God as occupying a very subordinate place in the conversion of men. They conceive it to be a dead letter, and that the sinner himself is dead, and insensible to its influence, until quickened and made alive by the Spirit. As a natural consequence these are sadly ignorant and neglectful of the scriptures. They have more zeal than knowledge, more feeling than faith, and, in its restricted sense, more religion than morality,

Upon certain parts of these various systems it is my design to comment freely, and to expose the sophistry by which they are sustained, whenever it shall be expedient to do so, in order to give greater prominence to the truth. Confident that the subject is one which deserves the deepest consideration, and that it is as yet by no means correctly understood by the majority, I need offer no other apology for thus introducing it to the attention of the reader.

R. R.

MORMONIS M. Extracts from a pamphlet entitled MORMONISM Exposed, continued

from our last. XIV.-Mormonism authorizes the crime of Robbery and Plunder.

From the testimony of Sampson Avard, before referred to:“Smith said, on some occasions, that one should chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight; that he considered the United States rotien. He compared the Mormon church to the little stone spoken of by the Prophet Daniel; and the dissenters first, and the state next, was part of the image that should be destroyed by this little stone. The council was called on to vote the measures of Smith; which they did unanimously. On the next day Captain Patten (who was called by the Prophet Captain Fearnaught) took command of about one hundred armed men, and told them that he had a job for them to do, and that the work of the Lord was rolling on, and they must be united. He then led the troops to Gallatin, saying he was going to attack the mob ihere. . He made a rush into Gallatin, dispersed the few men there, and took the goods out of Strolling's store, and carried them to Diahmon, and I afterwards saw the storehouse on fire. When we returned to Diahmon, the goods were deposited in the Lord's storehouse, under the care of Bishop Vincent Knight. Orders were strictly given that all the goods should be deposited in the Lord's storehouse. No individuals were to appropriate any thing to themselves until a general distribution should be made. Joseph Smith, Jr., was at Adam on Diahmon, giving directions about things in general connected with the war. When Patten returned from Gallatin to Adam on Diahmon, the goods were divided or apportioned out among those en

gaged; and these affairs were conducied under the superintendence of the first presidency. A part of the goods were brought to Far West. On their arrival, under the care of Captain Fearnaught, President Rigdon shouted three hosannas to the victors. On the day Patten went to Gallatin, Colonel Wright went to Millport, as I understood. I saw a great many cattle, beds, furniture, &c., brought into our camp by the Mormons. After we returned to Far West, the troops were constantly kept in motion, and there was a council held at the house of President Rigdon, to determine who should be chiefs.” Cong. Doc. No. 189, p. 3, 4.

“George M. Hinkle, a [Morinon) witness for the state, produced, sworn, and examined, deposeth and saith:

“There was much mysterious conversation in camps, as to plundering and house-burning; so much so, that I had my own notions about it; and, on one occasion, I spoke to Mr. Smith, Jr., in the house, and told him that this course of burning houses and plundering, by the Mormon troops, would ruin us; that it could not be kept hid, and would bring the force of the state upon us; that houses would be searched, and stolen property found. Sinith replied to me, in a pretty rough manner, to keep still; that I should say nothing about ii; that it would discourage the men; and he would not suffer me to say any thing about it.

"I saw a great deal of plunder and bee-stands brought into camp; and I saw many persons, for many days, taking the honey out of them; I understood this property and plunder were placed into the hands of the Bishop at Diahmon, named Vincent Knight, to be dividsd out among thein, as their wants might require.

“There were a number of horses and cattle drove in; also, hogs hauled in dead with the hair on; but whose they were I know not. They were generally called consecrated property. I think it was the day Gallatin was attacked. I saw Colonel Wright start off with troops, as was said, to Millport; all this seemed to be done under the Inspection of Joseph Smith, Jun. I saw Wright when he returned; the troops from Gallatin returned about the same iime; and I heard Smith find fault with Wright for not being as resolute as to serve Millport as they had served Gallarin; this was remarked to me alone.” Ib. p. 21, 22.

“Allen Rathbun, a witness for the state, produced, sworn, and examined, deposeth and saiih:

"On the day before the battle with Bogart, I was in Far West; and early in the morning Daniel Carn, one of the defendants here, asked me to help him grease his waggon. I did so, and asked him where he was going. He said he was going out to Raglin's, in Daviess county; that there were about forty bee-stands there that they were going for. Directly after, I was down in Morrison's store, in Far Wesi. There was a company of ten or a dozen men there, with two or three waggons. I heard Mr. Huntingdon ask for brimstone. Some of the company said they had two pounds. Huntingdon said that would do Mr. Hunter, of the defendants, here gave the word of command, and they marched off. Mr, Daniel Carn was in the waggon with them. Late that evening I saw Mr. Carn's wagyon at his grocery down in Far West. I saw Carn and Huntingdon unloading it. The waggon

« PrécédentContinuer »