History, 1834–1836

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
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repentance and baptism for the remission of sins, warned the people of the consequen ces of eniquity, and declared that the kingdom of heaven was at hand—All this was too  much! To see one dressed so rediculously eating no common food, neither drinking  wine like other men; stepping in advance of the learned and reverend Pharisees,  wise doctors, and righteous scribes, and declaring at the same time, that the  Lords kingdom would soon appear, could not be borne—he must not teach—he  must [not] assume—he must not attempt to lead the people after him—“He hath a devil!”
The Jews were willing, (professedly so) to believe the ancient prophets, and follow  the directions of heaven as delivered to the world by them; but when one came  teaching the same doctrine, and proclaiming the same things, only that they were  nearer, they would not hear. Men say if they could see they would believe, but  I have thought the reverse, in this respect—If they cannot see they will believe.
One of two reasons may be assigned as the cause why the messengers of truth  have been rejected—perhaps both. The multitude saw their imperfections, or  supposed ones, and from that framed an excuse for rejecting them, or else in  consequence of the corruption of their own hearts, when reproved, were not willing to  repent, but saught to make a man an offender for a word: or for wearing  camels hair, eating locusts, drinking wine, or showing friendship to publicans  and sinners!
When looking over the sacred scriptures we seem to forget that they were  given through men of imperfections, and subject to passions. It is a general belief that  the ancient proptets [prophets] were perfect—that no stain, or blemish ever appeared upon  their characters while on earth, to be brought forward by the opposer as an  excuse for not believing. The same is said of the apostles; but James said that Elias  -[Eligah]- was a man subject to like passions as themselves, and yet he had that power with  God that in answer to his prayer it rained not on the earth by the space of three  years and a half.
There can be no doubt but those to whom he wrote looked upon the ancient  prophets as a race of beings superior to any in those days; and in order to be  constituted a prophet of God, a man must be perfect in every respect.—
The idea is, that he must be perfect according to their signification of the word.  If a people were blessed with prophets, they must be the individuals who were  to prescribe the Laws by which they must be governed, even in their private  walks. The generation following were ready to suppose, that those men who  believed the word of God were as perfect as those to whom it was delivered supposed  they must be, and were as forward to prescribe the rules by which they were  governed, or rehearse laws and declare them to be the governing principles of  the prophets, as though they themse[l]ves held the keys of the mysteries of the heaven,  and had searched the archives of the generations of the world.
You will see that I have made mention of the Messiah, of his mission into [p. 56]
repentance and baptism for the remission of sins, warned the people of the consequences of eniquity, and declared that the kingdom of heaven was at hand—All this was too much! To see one dressed so rediculously eating no common food, neither drinking wine like other men; stepping in advance of the learned and reverend Pharisees, wise doctors, and righteous scribes, and declaring at the same time, that the Lords kingdom would soon appear, could not be borne—he must not teach—he must [not] assume—he must not attempt to lead the people after him—“He hath a devil!”
The Jews were willing, (professedly so) to believe the ancient prophets, and follow the directions of heaven as delivered to the world by them; but when one came teaching the same doctrine, and proclaiming the same things, only that they were nearer, they would not hear. Men say if they could see they would believe, but I have thought the reverse, in this respect—If they cannot see they will believe.
One of two reasons may be assigned as the cause why the messengers of truth have been rejected—perhaps both. The multitude saw their imperfections, or supposed ones, and from that framed an excuse for rejecting them, or else in consequence of the corruption of their own hearts, when reproved, were not willing to repent, but saught to make a man an offender for a word: or for wearing camels hair, eating locusts, drinking wine, or showing friendship to publicans and sinners!
When looking over the sacred scriptures we seem to forget that they were given through men of imperfections, and subject to passions. It is a general belief that the ancient proptets [prophets] were perfect—that no stain, or blemish ever appeared upon their characters while on earth, to be brought forward by the opposer as an excuse for not believing. The same is said of the apostles; but James said that Elias -[Eligah]- was a man subject to like passions as themselves, and yet he had that power with God that in answer to his prayer it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and a half.
There can be no doubt but those to whom he wrote looked upon the ancient prophets as a race of beings superior to any in those days; and in order to be constituted a prophet of God, a man must be perfect in every respect.—
The idea is, that he must be perfect according to their signification of the word. If a people were blessed with prophets, they must be the individuals who were to prescribe the Laws by which they must be governed, even in their private walks. The generation following were ready to suppose, that those men who believed the word of God were as perfect as those to whom it was delivered supposed they must be, and were as forward to prescribe the rules by which they were governed, or rehearse laws and declare them to be the governing principles of the prophets, as though they themselves held the keys of the mysteries of heaven, and had searched the archives of the generations of the world.
You will see that I have made mention of the Messiah, of his mission into [p. 56]
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