“1847,” Ronald D. Dennis, ed., Prophet of the Jubilee (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997), 21–36.
SINCE it is upon this strong axis, namely faith, that even the first and most excellent principle of the revealed religion is founded, and every stone of that heavenly city, “the architect and builder of which is God,” has been built above upon this, it is beneficial for us to research into this precious principle, to properly understand it, and to increase in it, which we will do as well as we can, beginning according to that which Paul says in Heb. xi: 1:—“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.”
What is faith? ask several. Well, here is a very clear answer, namely, that it is that principle which assures or testifies to its possessor the existence of things, places, or persons, besides those that his eyes have seen. When another is heard relating the story of things he has seen, or that he has heard another say, man is of such a composition that he will believe or disbelieve that story to the degree he considers it worthy of his attention. Well, without faith it would be impossible for him to believe or disbelieve; for the innate faculty that is brought into operation by the testimony of someone else, of necessity gives its verdict of acceptance, or of condemnation, of everything it considers. The fact that man believes anything, is proof that he possesses such a faculty; and his dealing with the one thing, is sufficient proof that he can believe the other thing, yes, everything he wishes; or then, if he cannot, his Creator has not given him control over his own powers, which leads to even worse confusion, and makes man a powerless and irresponsible machine. Many in our country say they cannot believe such a thing, when they cannot show one reason why, except that they have no faith. It is obvious that those people do not know themselves, nor can they understand what faith is. It is not possible that one reasoning creature can be without faith, without proving a great defect in his composition! Except that a man have faith, his ears and his tongue would be of no use, for the purpose of the Creator in creating the one and the other, and arranging them so conveniently, is, so that one can hear the testimony of the other; and what use is it to hear that, if it cannot be believed? and how can it be believed, except that such have faith? Perhaps some oppose this, from what the apostle said, “For all men have not faith.” But we would answer him through the words of an apostle that are just as true-”Giving faith to every man,” &c. How can that be, without contradicting each other? I shall answer the last, that the one way through which God has given faith to every man, is, through his endowing him with that innate faculty which is brought into action as a result of believing; and after that, he sends his servants to proclaim “good news,” the sound of the words of those who are effective in bringing that faculty into action, if given fairness. This shows how reasonable it is for Christ to send his servants. “Go and preach,” says he. “Those who believe in me through your speech.” Paul says that “faith comes through hearing the word of God.” Also, “Because our testimony among you was believed,” says Paul. Again, “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe.” “And he that believeth not is condemned.”
The failure to believe how, and to which place, or from which place faith comes when heard, is the cause of the different opinions on this subject, we would suppose. We prove in this way, that it does not come directly from God to the unbelievers. Yet, Paul says that faith comes. Does it not come out of the listeners, in its effects, as streams from a fountain? Reasonable enough; and the cause of its flooding over its banks, is the agitation of the source (the innate faculty) through the testimony of the speaker. The fruits of faith are obedience; and without that, it is foolishness for anyone to claim that he has faith, “for faith without works, is dead.”
Another way that God has given faith to all to be saved, is, through organizing a way for that, by placing a middleman as an equity, and by sending others to invite everyone to believe in that equity; or, in other words, he laid the foundation for his faith to work, or to give birth to obedience. On the other hand, not all those pagan nations to which Paul referred had faith, for they did not bear the fruits of true faith, namely the spiritual gifts, godliness, &c. If it is not like this, it must be that a new faculty is created in man when he believes; and if a faculty is created when he believes in one thing, why is there not an additional one created for everything he believes? It is obvious that it is man’s duty to believe in Christ; proof that a righteous judge may, or that he may not, punish him for not believing. If he does, he has that faculty of faith. And furthermore it is useless for anyone to excuse himself in that way. “I cannot believe,” is a contradiction; “I choose not to believe,” is what such a person means. Not only does man possess faith, but it is impossible for him to do anything temporal, or spiritual, except it be the effects of faith. Yes, I say, faith is the provacative and original cause of every act, and of every effort. Without faith, the body and the mind would lie dormant. Consider, reader, what caused your infant attempts to walk, and to quarrel with your playmates? Why did you try to learn in school, unless you believed that you would become a reader, then a writer; after that you made more and more effort to be a good scholar; and after that, onward from degree to degree in knowledge. What motivated everything, yes, every movement, but faith, namely believing that you could? What causes a man to leave the land of his birth, his relatives, and everything, to cross the Atlantic Ocean, in a small ship, towards the distant west, except the certainty that he has from a testimony, of the existence of America, perhaps, and believing also that he is in a better country, and that he will arrive there to enjoy it? Well, if he did not believe that, he would make no effort to reach it. Would the farmer throw his wheat so carelessly upon the face of the land, unless he believed that he would have it returned a hundredfold in the harvest? Oh, no, he would take his seed to market instead, where he knows he could receive payment for it. Who would send a costly ship, with its cargo, and its sailors, among angry waves of the Indian Ocean, unless he believed that he would return with a great increase? Who would work a day for his fellowman for wages, if he did not have faith that the other would pay him his wages? Who would pay to plant a vineyard, unless he expected to eat its fruit? No one; the cause of this faith in these circumstances is, through practice from age to age; and the first cause was, because of the command of the Chief-president of the elements to do such and such, and such and such would be the consequences, and so it was, and so it will be; and the promise of this indissoluble connection between cause and effect, is the basis of faith, in spiritual things as well as in temporal things. This is the secret of what Jesus Christ said—“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” Mark xvi, 16. Just as we receive all our temporal things by putting our faith into action, so also all our spiritual blessings are enjoyed through faithful efforts in the righteous practices and the appointed methods, and no other methods, for the promise has not been linked to any others; thus faith cannot possibly exist except it be based on the promise, for “faith is the substance of things hoped for,” and “hope that is seen is not hope;” thus it is seen that every man has the ability to believe in himself, and the logic evident to him from the testimony he hears from another, or that he may read, is what stirs his faith to action, and the action, from this principle, is worthy of the effect, and that because of the connection, or the promise given of that. This is the reason why the sick receive health, namely through the faithful use of the means that were organized for that purpose. This is how they enjoyed the spiritual gifts, yes, every promised blessing, as they performed their duties; and through continuing to obey faithfully the divine instructions, they shall enjoy eternal life.
Again, Faith is, not only the motivating principle of every movement, but the power, or the strength through which every act in heaven and on earth is fulfilled. Paul proves this in Heb. xi, 3, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God,” &c. The reason that God said the word “Let,” was, because he knew that it would be according to his request, and that because of his omniscience concerning the laws of all the elements; and to the extent that men attain any knowledge, their ability extends to fulfill (through the use of the means that he commanded) their objectives, yes, even that which is considered to be miracles in the opinion of the unbelievers, namely through their unshakable faith prompting them to action, and the fact will make obvious the faith of man, and the power and faithfulness of God according to his promise. Neither unbelievers, nor the disobedient, can use faith to carry out the act, because they do not have the promise.
It is obvious, that because of the faith that God possessed he was able to organize the shapeless and empty chaos, of every good and evil, to be a paradise so beautiful and desirable, that her creator said, “Behold it is good.” Through his faith he placed her on her axes, and they support her until the present day; and through his faith he perfects her and her fulness. And thus, to a corresponding extent he perfects the faith of all her reasonable inhabitants that obey him, for the glory of his name and their benefit.
To this Jesus Christ himself testifies, in Matt. xvii, 20, when his disciples asked him why they could not cast the devil from that man; he answered, “Because of your unbelief; for verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Here it is seen, when the sufferer is not able to have faith, for lack of reason to believe, that that is required not only in the one who ministers, but in the observers also; for Jesus chastised the latter because of the deficiency; see v. 17, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you?” In a similar fashion to this all the inspired writers testify, and they teach the same principle to their contemporaries. “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts.” He had faith to believe that God had commanded that; and on that foundation he obeyed. “By faith was Enoch translated, that he should not see death.” “Before his translation he had this testimony [through his faith], that he pleased God.” “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet [he believed on his word, and behold the act, namely], he prepared an ark to the saving of his house.” By faith Abraham offered Isaac; he believed God, and it was counted [his obedience, namely the act of his belief] to him as righteousness. Had he disobeyed, he would have been condemned, even though he believed. By faith they passed through the Red Sea, the walls of Jericho fell down, the sun and the moon stood still at the command of Joshua, yes, and what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah, of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets, who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness [namely obedience to God], and obtained promises, and stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the foreigners. Women received their dead raised to life again; and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. It is said that all these things were done through faith. Had it not been for Joshua’s faith, he could have spoken to the sun until his tongue stuck to his palate, and on would go the sun as usual; and except for Joshua’s understanding about the laws that governed such things, and their connection with the promise, it would have been impossible for him to get a sufficient foundation for his faith. Faith, then is the agitating principle for every movement, namely the power that fulfills every act. Faith is a required principle that is woven in all things, to a greater or lesser extent; yes, without faith, it is impossible to please God; and thus, let us seek knowledge for its foundations, that it might increase more and more. Let us have sufficient faith to obey the commandments of God, believing in his promises steadfastly; for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, which is thrown and scattered by the wind. Let not such a one expect that he will receive anything from God.
It is so unreasonable and contradictory for the religionists to condemn the Saints for presumption, for they say that they have received approval before God, when, in fact, the Bible does not give us the story of any saint who is destitute of the necessary degree of faith to receive such a witness! “And these all, having obtained a witness through faith, received not the promise.” The key of the mystery of sectarianism, and the axis that binds its associates to its altars, to grope in the darkness like the blind man for the wall, is the lack of faith to receive such a witness from him that they are his children, which proves their impoverishment of the Spirit that co-testifies with the spirit of the saints, through obvious facts, that they are children of God; and this deficiency is caused because the servants of God did not lay their hands upon them for that purpose, and that because they were not baptized for the remission of their sins, and that because they did not request them to do so, bringing forth fruits worthy of repentance; and they did not do that, because they have no faith, or, rather, insufficient faith to show it in deed, namely by walking to the water. And thus it is seen that this principle, namely faith, is a complete remedy, its beginning and its end meeting together, the motivating cause of the first movement, and the acting force to the last hour. Only he that continues in the faith to the end will be saved.
Is one of the lesser offices of the Melchizedek priesthood. Apostle is another office in the same priesthood; every apostle is an elder, (2 John i; 3 John i; 1 Peter v, 1;) but an elder is not an apostle; before any man may have this office, he must have come through the door in an orderly fashion, and governed himself as such until he is called through the Spirit of God. See Acts xiii, 2, 3; and after that he is not in the office until he is ordained by some one, or more, who received this office earlier. Tit. i, 5. It is difficult for a man to present to another that which he does not himself possess. A stream cannot run higher than its source. A traveling elder has the right to ordain elders, if he is not within the boundaries of some conference; or if he is, he must do that in an assembly of the conference, Acts xiv, 23; 1 Tim. iv, 14, and then it is expected, that if anyone has anything against him, he must make it known immediately, or forever afterwards not utter a word; he who is called must stand before the church to testify of the hope that he has of his worthiness of the office. The duties of the elders are as follows:—“Baptize, ordain elders, priests, teachers, and deacons, and administer the bread and the cup-the symbolic emblems of the breaking of the flesh and spilling of the blood of Jesus Christ-and confirm those who have been baptized in the church, through the laying on of hands, for them to receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fire, according to the scriptures. [1 Peter v, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Also to preach, expound, explain, exhort, and baptize, and watch over the church; together with confirming the church through the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Ghost, and to preside over all meetings.” 1 Tim. v, 17.
“The elders are to conduct the meetings as they are led by the Holy Ghost, [Acts xiii, 4], according to the commandments and revelations of God.” Doct. and Cov.
Another duty that pertains to this office is, to go to the Saints who are ill, and anoint them with the consecrated oil of they ask him, and lay on hands and pray for the Lord to heal them. See James v, 14. “Is any sick among you? let him call [the duty of the sick person is to call] for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him [then it is not they, but God, as they administer the ordinances, who gives health], anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, (15). And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up [from his bed of affliction], and if he have committed sins [after receiving forgiveness of previous ones through baptism], they shall be forgiven him.” The blessing will not be accepted every time, nor indeed any time if they are guilty of sins, namely transgressions of the laws of the church, and are trying to conceal them; the elder should take care that this not be an obstacle to the sick person in receiving health; for “he that covereth his sins shall not prosper.” Therefore, “confess your faults one to another,” says Paul, “and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
It is a transgression among elders to refuse to do this, and the sick person who neglects this firm commandment, sins against him who gave it. The one and the other must have faith; and indeed how can they do less, since the promise on these conditions is unique; for he who promised the blessing is faithful. It is he who imparts the time he wishes, but not without obeying; the instrument is nothing but the office which binds in heaven and on earth the knot on this rope of three yarns.
We thank God for such an honor and privilege; we conform every time and in all things, so that we will be enveloped with the spirit of our offices, praying always with every prayer and plea in the Holy Ghost, so that we may be temples fit for the spirit of our offices to dwell within us continually.
The office of elder is a very important and glorious one. He is the shepherd of Jesus’s flock: under his care he entrusts his lamps; and the Chief shepherd expects his flock from his hand when he comes to his main fold, when there will be but one shepherd and one fold. He should be watchful over them, loving them as Christ loves them; and with all his strength feed them with the guileless milk of the word, so that they may increase in the most holy faith, so that they may understand the wiles of the devil and his wolves, that they may recognize and follow the voice of their shepherd, that they may have victory over all the temptations of perdition-so that all may be led to work together to perfect his flock. Dear brethren, look therefore upon yourselves, and upon all the flock, upon that which the Holy Ghost has placed you as overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which he purchased with his own blood.
No accusation of any transgression against this office will be accepted except from two or three witnesses, which are in the church, but not from the world; neither will the accusation be accepted from anyone except before a council of the elders; yet, if a brother or a sister sees an elder in transgression, it is their duty to go to him themselves. If they utter a word to others first, they are transgressors. It is better to refrain from saying a word to another about his transgression, unless it derives out of love towards, or from a desire to benefit such, otherwise there is danger of making the divisions even greater: but more on this in “rules of discipline.”
Frequently we are told that no one has the right to lay on hands for giving the Holy Ghost, except for the apostles. I asked one who hung his argument on this hook, whether that Ananias who laid his hands on Paul for him to receive the Holy Ghost, was an apostle? (see Acts ix, 12, 17); and he became mute!
All the elders should meet together in the conferences to organize properly all the matters of the churches. There they shall receive certificates to prove that they hold the office; and no one shall be accepted as such, without such evidence signed by the president. Let everyone make sure of this!
Now, elders of the Latter-day Saints, you know your circuits; remember that it is to you that this grace has been entrusted, the stewardship of the “eleventh hour”—the keys of salvation of your contemporaries—”the ministry of the covenant”—namely this treasure in clay vessels, that has been given to you by God, who has called you with a holy calling, not according to your works, but according to his own purpose and his grace. Preach this form of doctrine that has been given to you by the holy apostles; be instant in season, and out of season; convince, reprove, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine; do not dispute about words, something that is beneficial only to overwhelm listeners; be diligent and honest workers, properly imparting the word of truth. Beware of foolish and unlearned questions, for they give rise to disputations, and a servant of the Lord should not dispute, but is to be courteous to everyone, edifying, patient; in meekness teaching those who oppose, to see that God may give them some time for repentance to recognize the truths you teach, so they may come to righteousness out of the snare of the devil. Put on the girdle of love, persuade even your enemies, while knowing the love of Christ, who when reviled, did not revile in return: pull them along with the cords of love. You know that you have received part in the dispensation of the fulness of times, in which all things will be gathered together in Jesus Christ. You are the ones he has sent to the high roads and the fields, to persuade all to come in to the feast. Oh, persuade honestly, before closing the door: consider the worth of souls, the privilege you received of coming in yourselves, and may the loss and the danger of being outside prompt you to diligence. It is better to be without the office (the talent), than to hide it after receiving it. Remember the fate of the one who misused the “one talent:” he was thrown into outer darkness. How, then, was the one dealt with who neglected the “five talents?” Remember these things always, teaching your flock to deny ungodliness and worldly appetites, and to live soberly, and justly, and devoutly, in the world that is now; waiting for the blessed hope, and the appearance of the glory of the mighty God, and our Lord Jesus Christ; so that you may be able to give your accounting joyfully, and hear the invitation, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Until then, brethren, these things speak, counsel, and persuade, according to the power and authority of your office, trusting in him who has entrusted your offices to you for the necessary qualifications to fulfill them. Since God is on our side, it matters not who is against us; from him is our sufficiency. Watch and pray, so that he who initiated this good work in us may finish it in the day of Jesus Christ, when those who turn many to righteousness will shine like the stars of heaven forever in glory, so that we may say to the Lord of the harvest, Here am I with my sheaves gathered into the barn, and to the Chief shepherd, Here am I with the flock thou gavest me to watch over-I lost not one. This is our privilege and our duty. May the Spirit of God strengthen us to fulfill it.
“Defense of the Mormons”
THE FOLLOWING is a copy of that which was sent, under the above name, to the Congregational Treasury, which is published by the Rev. J. T. Jones, in Carmarthen:—
MR. EDITOR,—Since you published, in the June issue of the Treasury, an article by one Didymus ab Gwilym, the truth of which is testified to by Thos. Hopkins and Evan Davies from Ystradgynlais, containing that which they named “Profession of Faith of the Mormons;” I hope that the same medium will continue to be as “Independent” as to allow me, in behalf of the “Mormons,” as they are called, to inform your readers that we do not believe such things as that “profession” contains. There is nothing except one tenth of that, that is not considered by us as erroneous; and I shall say, having had greater opportunities than anyone we know in this country to know what Mormonism is, I have not read, nor have I heard from any of them, such errors as the aforementioned “profession” contains. But, despite that, we do not wish your correspondent and his witnesses to think that I am accusing them of deliberate misrepresentation; and yet, I am sure that either they have received a misrepresentation, or they have greatly misunderstood, and it is not impossible that that “profession” is the fruit of the one and the other. We do not profess perfection: yet, we do not admit to our having seen any of us so imperfect as to give such a misrepresentation as that of our faith; and we admit also, if we get hold of such a man, that we will endeavor to instruct him better. Nevertheless, it is unfair for the repute of any society to suffer such an injustice because of the misrepresentation of any one person. The “shibboleth” of that profession testifies clearly that its father and that of the little anonymous treatise published in Merthyr, and which was proved to be utter, hateful slander, are one and the same. The profession of faith of the Latter-day Saints, in a word, is read in the Testament.
As for the “Apostle” your correspondent mentions, we know nothing; but we are certain that there is no one in Wales, having anything to do with us, who claims nor has that high repute. But, lest I weary you with length, I shall not venture to note the other great differences that exist between the “profession” in question, and the doctrine that we profess, rather I shall simply direct those of your readers who wish that information to the various books that have been published by us in Welsh, which can be obtained from our brethren in general, yes, even in YSTRADGYNLAIS itself; and no doubt your correspondent and his witnesses saw them there, and knew better than that hideous profession! If they wish to understand our “profession” in them, why do they not believe it in our own words, instead of the words of our enemies? Who knows best?
I am yours humbly,
This defense was sent to the Treasury, and the “reverend” Editor admitted to having received it; and what use did he make of it? According to the normal custom of the biased and slanderous editors of our land, rather than give fair play to the truth, to us, and to his own readers, by publishing it, he accuses us of “boorishness!” But we cannot find it thus, nor any other man who may be sober, we would suppose. If true what is heard less than a hundred miles from Carmarthen, more “boorishness” was delivered by a drunk from the pulpit, yes, to the point that he had to be escorted out; and his “reverend” does not find fault with a word of such a thing as that. But, Oh, the Treasury has become too saintly for an entire denomination of believers to be able to defend the religion through which they hope to obtain life—yes, against the disgraceful and ungodly false accusations that the same Editor of the same Treasury published, of filthiness against them without foundation! He was excused the first time to some extent, thinking that he could be sufficiently dull as to believe that the Saints believed such a “profession;” but now he knows better, and he does not let his readers know; which is what proves that false accusations and slander satisfy his taste better than the truth. Let the innocent and the truth suffer a strong blow from his bow; and it is good that they are just rush arrows. Let his readers judge him.
A very easy way, and far too common, for authors who may be ashamed to show their faces after doing wrong, is for them to escape through the back door, shouting “Blasphemy” at everything that exposes their shame: so it is with this one also who escapes to his hole, by announcing on the wrapper that the above defense is “BLASPHEMY!” He knows much better; and this trick is too old and well-known to succeed, by now. Expecting that, we kept this copy; and let the reader judge which is the “blasphemy” or the “boorishness” that it contains. We waited for month after month for that “profession” to find its own sink hole, namely the Baptist—the source of every filthy stream—the father of all the false accusations, and the messenger that tells every false story about us; yes, to be sure, we gave our word to several at the time, that either the Baptist would find this carcass through its foul taste, or the skeleton would crawl as far as Cardiff to be buried; we did not know how in the world, but it was either through the ravens of this rookery, or somehow, we believed that its fate before the end of its course would be to have a welcome in its mother nest, namely the Baptist; and when we were about to admit that our prophecy was false, here it is in the Baptist, sure enough, like a shooting star! But who does not understand the tricks of this Editor? Not any of his readers, we should think. A short time ago these two “reverend” Editors and their factions were at loggerheads with each other; but now, here is an excellent way of removing the barrier between them, and mutually reconcile themselves to persecute the Saints, and that which one accuses will be verified by the other!
As for the Editor of the Baptist, we did not intend to lower ourselves any more to take notice of his odiferous rubbish; but for yet one more time, we shall take a glance at his unfairness. He had refused a defense one time, but after delivering his lies about us, he shouted that he would have nothing to do with us, and he promised to leave us in peace, but he discharged the filthy story that appeared in the next issue; then he closed his press against any defense, &c. Yes, even in the issue before this one that contains that “profession,” he refuses shamelessly to allow some Gwilym of Monmouth to defend the Saints, against the false accusations of David Williams, Abercanaid. (See the Wrapper.) “We do not wish to see these two quarrel with each other with respect to the Saints,” he says. Oh, no, certainly not, if Gwilym of Monmouth quarrels a word in their favor, or if he points out a word of his dear partner’s deceit; but hey Davey! ho David! you and everyone else can quarrel against them all you wish through the Baptist, and if they quarrel back, I shall put coal on their mouths, as much as I can. This has been his language and his behavior and his drivel for years. “Now you shall, now you shan’t,” is his vain talk.
Oh no, dear reader, that “profession” is nothing more than one of the bug-bears that make our enemies prone to persecute, like all the other things published against us in the sectarian chronicles and treasuries of the country. Do not believe them, lest you be deprived of the truth. It is obvious that they do not want their readers to understand our principles, otherwise they would use that which we believe from our own books. Is it we, or rather our enemies, who can explain our tenets most correctly, I wonder? If we believed the aforementioned “profession,” would there be any reason for us to deny it publicly? Would we not be judged liars by those who come to us from every faction? and I wonder if they would then stay with us by the hundreds, through every scorn and persecution, as they are doing?
A surprise is such inconsistency—which has been formed,
Without a line as an answer;
After long experience with his foolishness,
Owens has gone lower than anyone.
The Parable of the Lambs and the Beasts
On a lovely summer morning, we see some old, infirm mule wending his way along the road, foraging along the sides until he comes next to a lush and lovely meadow, in which there were a number of innocent lambs grazing, and since hunger was cramping his stomach, he broke through the hedge, and he ate his fill of the lucious grass. And after that, we see him trampling the rest under his feet; and raising his hornless head in the air, with his large ears sticking straight up, he opened his huge mouth, and he began to bray and shriek like a mule. I understood that his objective was to frighten the lambs and stir up the animals of the neighboring forest to come there to prey upon them. The resounding of his shrieks served the purpose of bringing them all from their caves, but the wisest of them understood that it was just the braying of a donkey, and they returned to their caves; but the wolves, the foxes, the owls, and all the monkeys took fright at their own voices, and they gathered together; and at that behold a huge lion from the eastern corner of the forest came in a big hurry, his huge head and his tail held high, roaring after his prey; he invited the jackals and all the other petty beasts to follow behind him to the meadow, from where he could hear the telltale sounds of prey. And despite how cruel their expedition, and how frightful their bleatings, we cannot help but laugh seeing the lively monkeys chasing each other from the branches of the trees to the ground, their teeth chattering, and pulling faces in their eagerness to follow behind this zoological retinue, into battle. But when they came to the meadow, they saw to their great dismay that the shepherd, who had heard the noise of the donkey, and expected the effect that that would have on the beasts, had preceded them, turned the donkey back to the road, and stood in defense of the lambs. When this spotted lion saw this, and fearing the scorn in the sight of the petty beasts who followed him if he were to flee, he went ahead after the lambs, inviting the others to follow him; then they were given a voice like the voice of men, and they threatened to prey on the lambs for causing such an uproar, and for causing them the trouble of coming there. Then the shepherd showed them that the poor lambs had not caused any disturbance to them or anyone else, but merely grazed quietly in the green meadow where they had been put, but that it was the mule he had turned back to the road that was the cause of the false alarm, and let it be between you and him, he said. At this some dropped their heads down in shame, while the rest reproached each other. They had been so foolish to let the braying of a mule make them the laughing stock of all the other beasts, that they could not expect from a mule anything better than braying, whether there was a reason for it or not! The majority turned back to the forest in shame, with their tails dragging along the ground. But the lion had become more and more infuriated by now, and he encouraged the others to take revenge on the poor, old mule, threatening that they would see their chance to prey upon the lambs after the departure of the shepherd. The next thing we see is the lion dragging the mule by its tail; the others, some by its ears, some by its feet, and others by the skin of its stomach, till they brought him braying himself hoarse to the ditch of the hedge, with his feet up! Then they turned their backs to him, and they buried him as if he were a carcass; and each one returned back to his den. The parable is true, and already more than half fulfilled, and the following interpretation is its key:-
“The lambs, are the Latter-day Saints. “The lush meadow,” is their church. “Their pasture”—the spiritual gifts. “The mule”—that execrable thing that has trampled their pasture, and brayed through the Baptist. (See the October issue, &c.) “Lion of the East”—the lion with the teeth of iron and the nerves of brass, that echoes the braying of every mule, wolf, fox, and owl, from Cardiff, to Holyhead, and invites every filthy creature of the forest to follow them to get revenge on the lamb! “The wolves”—The persecuting preachers and autors throughout the principality, whose dens are in Dowlais, Abercanaid, Cardiff, Llanelli, Carmarthen, Dolgellau, Liverpool, and other caves. “The monkeys”—are the jacks who echo the howlings of the wolves and the lion in the taverns and the chapels from Llanfaircaereinion, to the ends of the principality. “The burial of the mule’s carcass,” has not been completed until now, but will be shortly. Amen.
Signs of the Times
TO THE Saints, those who are looking for the promised signs of the last times, one need only refer them to the remarkable and multitudinous forerunners who fly so swiftly on the wings of the elements to every corner of the world, to remind them of their responsibilities to watch and pray, since the day of their deliverance draws nigh, that their God has set forth to battle, to fight as he fought in the day of the battle, and that the destroyer of the nations is on his way.
Our Messiah, while he was on the earth, gave undeniable proofs of his foreknowledge, and his goodness to his children in the detailed description of the signs, the wonders, the wars, the diseases, pestilences, the plagues, and the judgments, the earthquakes, the revolutions, and the famine; the hearts of men will fail them with fear and trembling because of the things that will come upon the earth. The lightning, the thunderings, the sea with its waves roaring and overflowing its shores; furthermore, there would be warnings of the astronomical beings like an angelic clarion witnessing to the world, that their King is coming as a conqueror of conquerors, to visit, with his steadfast and mighty sword, with the kings of the earth on the earth, and to execute his vengeance upon all the ungodly of the earth, and all who did not acknowledge God, and who did not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be gathered as prisoners in a dungeon, and they will be imprisoned—when the mountains will leap like rams, and the hills like lambs; and the earth will be moving and swaying like a drunkard, and she will shake like a shack; and her transgression will weigh heavily upon her, and she will fall, and she will not rise again. O wondrous time! The Apostle appropriately called it the “perilous times of the last days;” yet it is obvious from the words of Christ that men do not realize that regardless of how clearly they see, feel, and suffer under these judgments, they will not return to give the glory to God, rather they will blaspheme him because of the plagues, the pestilences, &c. But “as the days of Noah were, so shall also the days of the coming of the Son of man be.” They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, and casting far away the dreadful day, until the day that Noah entered into the Ark. “Thus” it is now. “Where is the promise of his coming,” they say. And they did not know until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and took them all away. Despite how clear the signs of the times are, yet no one except for the children of God understand them now, any more than they were understood by the children of the world in the ancient days, for they in their wisdom count them as effects of some causes that they see as entirely natural; they comfort themselves from time to time that there is no danger, for such things have happened many times before, they say. Peace, peace, is always their cry. “Then he cometh as a thief in the night,” or “like sudden destruction upon them all.” But “you,” says the Apostle, are not children of darkness, that that day should overtake you, rather ye are children of the light.
“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”
But there is no reason for us to think that all these things will come to pass at the same time, rather beginning gradually, this year in this corner, and afterwards in some other corner of the world, increasing more and more, hotter and hotter, and more frequently, and more insufferable to the same extent that the nations, the kindreds, and the tongues, have had opportunities to obey the important message that God sent them through the mouths of his servants, for it would not be just to destroy them before offering to them a way of deliverance; and there is no way of deliverance except through obedience to the “eternal gospel.” And that is as it is preached by the messengers of God “in the power of God to salvation,” temporal and spiritual; and we are not aware that God has judged the world in any age, without providing temporal as well as spiritual deliverance, if they obey his call, and thus in the dispensation of the fulness of times he gathers together everything that is in Christ Jesus, either to Mount Zion, or to Jerusalem, for only there will there be deliverance from the plagues of great Babylon; and let the Saints remember that it is through obedience to the call, namely, “Come out of her, my people, &c.,” that deliverance is promised. How can they expect to escape if they remain within, then? And in order to warn the Saints to prepare, God shows through remarkable signs these tumultuous and dreadful times, that he remembers his covenant with the fathers, “he will cut short his work and he will do it quickly in righteousness,” and all these things are like a number of witnesses that the hour of his judgment has already begun on the disobedient inhabitants of the earth, and his sword will not return to its sheath until the intentions of his heart are fulfilled.
John says that the red horse would follow quickly on the heels of the white horse; and are not the whinnies of the red horse the sound of wars and the thunder of weapons resounding from the steep cliffs of Circassia, Russia, and Poland? Was it not his steps that trampled to dust hundreds of our fellow countrymen, and thousands of the Chinese, the Hindus, and the Bengalis, lately? Did he not gallop from there through Africa to Portugal, leaving thousands lying in their blood? And behold him now having put the western continent like a boiling cauldron under his feet. Santa Ana rode him for years through the states of the patriots, &c. Now, horse against horse, and steel against steel, and thousands of the Americans thirst after the blood of men. And all this so quickly after the white horse, namely the ETERNAL GOSPEL which was brought by the angel to men in the year 1830. Why can we not expect the third horse, namely the black one, with his cruel famine to follow on their heels? Will the two come so clearly, and the third not follow them? What is the lament, the mourning, and the groaning that are heard throughout the world? We see, we hear, or we read the news of the age. Food—Food—Famine, is their cry, until all the kingdoms of Europe are racing to engage in clever competition for food from the far countries, and are preparing for famine. In Poland, Russia, &c., the people are greedy for the rotten potatoes, the unripened corn and the hay, and are living on animal feed in order to stay alive.
But it has come still closer than that! Yes; his whinny can be heard loudly from his black nostrils in Ireland, and his severe wound can be seen on the face of our sister island next to us. It is grievous to hear through the newspapers of our country, from here and there, about strong and once fit men-wives and mothers, together with children, by the hundreds making their way along the roads, like shadows of what they were, their outward appearances proof all too obvious that hunger grips their stomachs and who are still without hope for any remedy. Thrown together by the tortures of famine, the people swarm together in some places by the thousands, and they storm the food shops, rushing in to snatch a loaf of bread, or any food they can get their hands on; and the government has sent an army to defend houses, shops, and the very lives of the upper classes lest they be killed and destroyed before the ravenous appetites of the perishing. Neither the carts of the bakers nor the butchers travel along the roads except they be defended by soldiers. Some are killed there every day, either in their homes, on the roads, or else trying to defend their storehouses.
In the city of Dublin, over a thousand of these wretches walked the streets under the name of “The starving rioters;” and the feast they got was the imprisonment of twenty-two of them by the soldiers, and the others were chased away to die of starvation, or to survive if they could.
In Tipperary, it was feared that the food which the government intended to present to the town was too late to save the lives of many, as they were dying of starvation daily; and at times it is impossible to get food for money. From Cork one reverend writes that sixteen have died from starvation during one week in his neighborhood-that over 600 families are without work or food, and the children as well as their parents are starving; and for the sake of filling their cups with wormwood the tenants have to sell their furniture and their possessions for the rent, and they are turned out to die of exposure, with hardly any kind of bed to lie on, or any shelter over their heads except for the clouds. In the Poorhouse in Dungarvan, eight hundred have been squeezed in, over two hundred more than the house is suitable to hold; yet, if it were four times as big, it would not hold the applicants who come to it to save their lives. In Mayo so many are dying that not enough coffins are to be had to bury them all! Over sixteen, says another, have died of starvation in his own parish in ten days. We could quote similar reports from the newspapers from every corner of Ireland or deaths because of starvation, murders for food, and dreadful massacres of this black horse. But we add the following as an example of the tortures and pangs of hunger. In Bautry, and its environs, there were hungry rioters who had become so cruel as to kill several who opposed them. The soldiers chased them to the mountains, &c., but to no avail, until hunger finally forced their leaders, one by one, to come to the town and give themselves up to the Police, confessing that they did not expect anything less than their hanging, but they would choose that in preference to the death by starvation that stared them in the face if they remained any longer, with any hope of food gone, and that they would have to die somehow! They had come to look so thin and weak that their old friends did not recognize them unless they made themselves known. Other infections and diseases are beginning from lack of food, clothing, and shelter, as natural consequences; and nothing less can be expected in Ireland than a great many more dying this way. To the potato plague, most particularly, is this hunger attributed. It is said that there are shortages of turnips and corn, especially wheat, in places. Who can foretell the results when other elements of our diet increasingly fail, from one year to the next! Who considers and understands this? The prophet spoke the truth,—”The wicked will go before them worse in their wickedness; but the wise will understand the signs of the times, and they shall lift up their heads in hope, for the time of their deliverance is nigh.” No one considers that it is because of their rejection of the white horse and their contempt for him, that the red horse and the black horse take their revenge on them; and before long the pale horse, in his turn, will also come, to kill with the sword, and with famine, and with the beasts of the earth.
Several of the pastors of the people deny that all this is the hand of God, but through other happenings they confess God; and they take courage, but not to search out whether the foundations of their beliefs are divine, and based on the word of God, rather they take that for granted from the traditions of their forefathers; and all the judgments of God have no effect except to bind them more tightly in their nets, and to cleave closer to their beliefs. Then they proclaim fasting and prayer, yes, all the conflicting religions, as if God would accept all in their own ways. Prayer and fasting are good in their appropriate time; but we think it would make more sense for the papist priests to proclaim a feast than to proclaim further fasting, to the wretches who are already fasting of necessity, to the point of dying by the scores!
But why must we talk so much of the sound of the black horse so far away as Ireland! It draws closer to us still! Yes; it has crossed the channel already, and it is galloping through the chief towns of England, grating on our ears with the groans of the wretched, too numerous to count. He who holds his reins will tighten his bridle, and keep him from rushing upon us, the Welsh, unprepared!
Baptisms by the Saints in January 1847
Merthyr.—Baptized by the Saints in January, only 31. One for every day!
Penydarren.—In this branch, not as successful as usual. Only three were baptized last month.
Dowlais.—Namely the chief den of the father of our persecutors, eighteen were baptized in January, and additional hosts believe, and are at the door. Now as they scrutinize us, instead of looking at the false portrayals of our persecutors, the people are coming to understand who we are, and what we believe. Hosts will yet come.
Cardiff.—Under the nose of the Baptist that slanders us, ten were baptized in January, several from the Baptists there, with others daily promising to obey. Great will be their blessings.
Nantyglo.—For quite some time in this place there has been a fiery war with “believers” persecuting the Saints, gathered in their houses, throwing stones at the doors and windows-following them to the water of baptism, shouting and mocking, throwing dogs and stones, &c., into the water at them; some threatened with being cut off if they go to listen or if they associate with the Saints; yes, even if they are close relatives to them! There is constant preaching against them. Several have been turned away from the door for obeying the gospel! Nevertheless, the spirit of their God comforts his children, and adds to their numbers-their love and their gifts wondrously. Eighteen were baptized there in January. Despite everything, the Valley is ablaze with a longing for the truth. May they soon grasp it.
Cwmbach.—Seven were baptized in January, which are rejoicing in their privileges.
Blackwood.—Five were baptized last week, and more will follow soon.
[There are several others besides those mentioned, such as four or five in Rhymni, but we will not count those until we receive a report from the hand of the one who baptized them. We know that there is an increase of over one hundred per month, but we do not know of any other denomination in the country that is not decreasing, by their own admission. It is with the Saints that God is.]
Assignments of the Preachers
ELDER John Morris went on a mission to Pembrokeshire; there was a call from there from eight of the same place who wished to be baptized.
Elder Thomas Pugh, and priests Evan Rees, David Matthews, and Thomas John, moved from Cwmbach to Cwmbychan, and we are glad to hear that they have begun to proclaim their important mission there already. Success to them.
Elder Hopkin Matthews has moved to Treforris and is preaching in those environs with hopeful signs of success.
Elder Benjamin Jones went to the town of Carmarthen to live, and great is the joy of the church there because of that. They have been under more disadvantages and privations than they will be from now on, we hope. Several are about to obey there.
Elder Abel Evans began on his journey through the North to visit the churches throughout the various northern counties.
Elders John Phillips and Dafydd Rees have moved, with their families, to Cyfyng, near Ystradgynlais, for the sake of the gospel, and may God be with them.
Elder William Hughes and his family have gone to live near Llanelli, Carmarthenshire in order to preach the gospel in those environs.
Elder William Henshaw has gone to preside over the Garway conference.
Elder Jacob Watkins and priest John Carver have gone there with him.
Elder William Evans, Dihewyd, has gone to Pontypridd, and others with him; and the gospel is being preached there weekly.
Elder Ebenezer Morris is about to move to Llantrisant soon; and several preachers, in addition to those named, are preparing to move to other places soon in order to be able to sow the good seed more abundantly.
In the aforementioned places, and many other places, there are thousands of immortal souls who have not heard the word of the eternal gospel, rather unfounded stories of the preachers and sectarian authors against it; and in every place there are beyond argument those who are honest in their principles, of good intent, and who will embrace the gospel as soon as they have the opportunity.
Dear brethren, since this treasure has been entrusted to us in such poor vessels, we will trust in its giver, we will be faithful, and he will crown our labor with success; but woe betide us if we are slothful stewards. The accounting will come shortly. The foregoing brethren wish for an interest in the prayers of the Saints, and we all say Amen.
Prophet of the Jubilee