I came here this morning anticipating the pleasure of listening to
some of my brethren. But it seems to have fallen to my lot again to
address you, and I do so with pleasure at this time, as upon all such
occasions, and willingly communicate anything that may be imparted
unto me which may be a benefit or blessing to those who may listen.
The great principles of truth are so varied and comprehensive, that it
is difficult to know where to commence our illustrations of a portion
of them, and where to leave off. They reach back into the past, exist
in the present, and stretch forward into the future. In the Gospel of
Jesus Christ is embodied all truth, so far as the salvation of the
human family is concerned; and hence it is spoken of in the Scriptures
as being the everlasting Gospel.
To those who have not reflected seriously upon the dealings of God and
his laws, the Lord appears to be changeable in his way of saving the
human family. In the different dispensations from Adam until Christ,
they suppose that he has adopted as many different ways of salvation.
We are told by Christian divines of the dispensation that existed
before the flood; we are informed of the Patriarchal dispensation, the
Mosaic dispensation, and finally of the Christian dispensation; and it
is a prevailing idea among the uninformed that each of these
dispensations presented a different system of salvation adopted by the
Almighty in teaching the human family, in enlightening their minds,
and in giving unto them correct information in regard to God and
eternity. Hence I have often heard eminent divines refer to the
dispensation before the flood as a day of almost utter darkness; then
to the Patriarchal dispensation as one in which a faint glimmer of
light began to be made manifest; of the Mosaic dispensation as a time
in which the sun began to rise a little above the horizon; and of the
Christian dispensation, as it now exists in the world, as being the
fulness of light and intelligence, or the full blaze of Gospel day.
These views of the different dispensations generally obtain among
professors of Christianity.
I entertain a very different opinion of the Almighty. God, like his
Son, Jesus Christ, is "the same yesterday, today, and forever" —the
same in intelligence, the same in purity, the same in his projects,
plans, and designs. He is, in short, unchangeable. And I apprehend, if
the Saints who had communication with him in ancient days were to
appear on this earth at the present time, they would find the same
medium of communication, the same way of imparting intelligence, and
the same unchangeable Being that existed 1,800, 4,000, or 6,000 years
It is true mankind have not at all times been susceptible of receiving
and appreciating the same degree of light, truth, and intelligence
that they have at other times. God has in certain instances withdrawn
the light of his countenance—his Holy Spirit—the light and
intelligence that proceeds from him, in a certain degree, from the
human family; but his laws are immutable, and he is the same eternal,
The truth does not change. What was true 1,800, 4,000, or 6,000 years
ago, is true today; and what was false in any age of the world is
false today. Truth, like the great Eloheim, is eternal and
unchangeable, and it is for us to learn its principles, to know how to
appreciate it, and govern ourselves accordingly.
As the Gospel is a principle that emanates from God, like its Author,
it is "the same yesterday, today, and forever" —eternal and
unchangeable. God ordained it before the morning stars sang together
for joy, or ere this world rolled into existence, for the salvation of
the human race. It has been in the mind of God, and as often as
developed it has been manifested as an eternal, unchangeable,
undeviating plan by which to save, bless, exalt, and dignify man, and
to accomplish this end by one certain, unalterable method of
salvation, according to its degree or manifestation.
I speak of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness and of the
blessings associated therewith. It is perfect folly to entertain the
idea that the Gospel has only existed about 1,800 years, and yet this
foolish idea is strongly entertained and almost universally believed
throughout Christendom. This mistake is for want of calm reflection
and correct information upon that subject.
It may here be necessary to inquire what the Gospel is. Commentators
tell us it means good tidings of great joy. This language had
particular reference to the announcement of the birth of the Savior
to the shepherds of Galilee, by the angel of God. "And, lo, the angel
of the Lord came upon them (the shepherds), and the glory of the Lord
shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said
unto them, Fear not: for, behold I bring you good tidings of great
joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in
the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." This was
simply the announcement of the birth of Christ. As to its referring to
the Gospel, it might certainly admit of an argument. The birth of our
Savior and the message he came to deliver are two different things.
I do not think the message Jesus came to communicate was at all joyful
to the Pharisees and hypocrites of his day, for he told them they
could not escape the damnation of hell; nor to those individuals whom
he proclaimed to be "like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear
beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all
uncleanness." They looked upon him as an impostor, who said to them,
"He that believeth and is baptized shalt be saved; and he that
believeth not shall be damned." It is not to be supposed for a moment
that those men would receive such an announcement as good tidings of
great joy, which was to be to all people.
Again: We are told the Gospel is the New Testament. I do not find any
such declaration even in the New Testament itself. There are certain
records in the New Testament giving an account of the birth, life,
suffering, and death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It contains
also an account of the doctrines he taught, the discourses he
delivered, and the moral sentiments he inculcated. It gives us an
account of the organization of his Church, and of the teach ings of his Apostles, and the manner of their administration, &c.
But this is not the Gospel.
The Gospel is a certain living, abiding, eternal principle. That which
is written in the New Testament is like a chart of a country, if you
please; but the Gospel is the country itself. A man having the map of
the United States in his possession would be considered foolish if he
supposed he possessed the United States; and because a man may have
the Old and New Testament in his possession, it does not argue that he
has the Gospel. But is it not written in some of our good Bibles, "The
Gospel according to St. John," "The Gospel according to St. Matthew,"
&c.? Certainly. But what has that to do with it? The Gospels according
to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John describe certain teachings and
instructions which Jesus gave, and among the rest the officers
constituting his Church are named. "And God hath set some in the
church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers,
after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments,
diversities of tongues," &c. These are the living substance of which
they write an account.
Well, but the Gospel is contained in the Old and New Testament. It is
not, nor in the Book of Mormon, nor in the revelations we have
received. These are simply records, histories, commandments, &c. The
Gospel is a living, abiding, eternal, and unchangeable principle that
has existed co-equal with God, and always will exist, while time and
eternity endure, wherever it is developed and made manifest.
We will quote from the Gospel according to St. Paul, and see what he
has to say in relation to this matter—"For I am not ashamed of the
gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every
one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For
therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as
it is written, The just shall live by faith."
Now, I presume Paul knew a little more about the Gospel than some of
our learned commentators, and was better acquainted with its
operations, organization, spirit, and power. In addition to what Paul
has said, I will here assert that the Gospel of Jesus Christ always
was, from the very commencement of this earth, "the power of God unto
salvation to every one that believeth;" and the righteousness of God
was always revealed through the Gospel as specified by this Apostle.
Whenever and wherever the Gospel of Jesus Christ existed, there
the power of God and the knowledge of God existed; and therein at all
times, and in every age, the righteousness of God was revealed through
it from faith to faith. That is an assertion of my own for the time
being, and I do not know but I have as much right to assert that as
Paul had the other.
But as it is proper that men should give a reason at all times for
their statements, this I am willing and ready to do. Before, however,
we enter into the investigation of this subject, we will look at
another for a short time, which seems to be intimately associated with
Paul in his time reasoned about a certain Melchizedek Priesthood, and
about a certain Melchizedek, who he says was greater than Abraham, and
who he said was without father or mother, without beginning of days or
end of years, and abideth a priest continually, and that Christ was "a
priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek." I speak of this
because it will be necessary to refer to it in the argument we may be
led to adduce in relation to this subject.
Who was this man Melchizedek? He was simply a man which the
Bible gives an account of, and he positively had a father and a
mother. It is not really said he had not. I say he had, and can prove
it, if the Bible be true. We might differ so far as words are
concerned, but not in ideas and facts. Paul was talking about a
Priesthood: Melchizedek had this Priesthood. It was the Priesthood of
which he was speaking, and not the man. It was this Priesthood of
Melchizedek that was without beginning of days or end of years. "And
he abideth a priest continually, and ever liveth to make intercession
for us;" that is, the Priesthood continues in the eternal world as
well as in the world of time.
We will now go back to the Gospel and endeavor to show that wherever
the Gospel existed, there existed also the power of God and the
revelations of God, and therein men had a knowledge of God, and
"therein was revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith."
But let me make another remark here concerning the Priesthood. We are
told it holds the mysteries of the revelations of God. These are
sayings we have a right to look into and investigate, to find out upon
what principle they are based.
How did Adam get his information of the things of God? He got it
through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and through this same Priesthood
of which we have been speaking. God came to him in the garden and
talked with him. We are told that no man can see the face of God and
live. How was it that he obtained his knowledge of God? Through the
Gospel; and he was the first man upon this earth that had the Gospel
and the holy Priesthood; and if he had it not, he could not have known
anything about God or his revelations. But God revealed himself to him
and told him what he might do and what he might not do, what course he
was to pursue and what course not to pursue; and when he transgressed
the laws which the Lord gave to him, he was driven from the face of
God, and left in a measure to grope in the dark.
Let us pass on to Enoch's day. The Bible only gives a very short
account of Enoch. We are told that "he walked with God: and was not;
for God took him." Then he had the Gospel, for it is through the
Gospel that "the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to
faith." It is that which holds the keys of the mysteries of the
revelations of God. It is that which imparts a knowledge of the
Priesthood, and it is by the Gospel that mankind can commune with God:
it is that which is the power of God unto salvation to every one that
believeth. Enoch had this through the Gospel. Being in possession of
this, he was enabled to communicate with God—had revelations from him.
And further revelations which have been given in these last days go to
show us that Enoch built a city, and that he taught the citizens of
that city the great principles of eternal truth as they emanated from
God; that God communed with them—taught them correct principles; and
that by-and-by, when the people waxed full of iniquity and the earth
became ripe for destruction, Enoch and his city were caught up into
The Bible gives a very short account of this, saying, "Enoch walked
with God: and he was not; for God took him." Jude also speaks of
him—"And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these,
saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, To
execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among
them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and
of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against
Enoch, how did you happen to know about things that should transpire
some thousands of years hence—you that lived so far back in the remote
ages of the world, that were so dark and benighted, according to the
ideas of modern theologians? "I had the Gospel, and the Gospel holds
the keys of the mysteries of the revelations of God; and by the spirit
of that Gospel I was enabled to look through the dark vista of the
future, to draw back the curtain of eternity, and contemplate the
things of God, and his purposes concerning the nations of the earth,
until I gazed upon the winding-up scene."
And Jude, how did you happen to know that Enoch prophesied of these
things? for we have no account of it in the Bible. Where did you
obtain your information? "I had the same Gospel that Enoch had, and
the same power of revelation, and the same Spirit that he had, so that
I was enabled to develop the same things, and to know precisely what
Enoch prophesied about, and have given my testimony in relation to
But Joseph Smith, where did you get your information from? "I had just
the same Gospel that Enoch had, and the same that Jude had; and I also
testified of the same things, and we all agree."
In tracing out this history, we find it written that God was about to
destroy the inhabitants of the earth with a flood. How did he make
this known? "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the
earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was
only evil continually." All flesh had corrupted its way before the
Lord, with the exception of a few. There was Noah, who was a man that
feared God and worked righteousness, and had in his possession the
Gospel and the holy Priesthood; and the Lord God communicated with
him, and this he did by revelation, and told him to build an ark to
save himself and family from the flood. And he gave Noah the
dimensions of the ark—how it was to be constructed, and with what kind
of materials. He also told him what kind of animals he was to bring
into it, giving him instructions relating to the whole matter. How did
you happen to know all this Noah? "I had the Gospel, which is the
power of God unto salvation; and it proved my salvation and the
salvation of my family; and through it I was enabled to understand the
designs and purposes of God, and prepare for those great events about
to take place on the earth."
We next come to old Abraham, and we find that the Lord talked with
him—"And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he
sat in the tent door in the heat of the day." And the Lord talked with
Abraham and with his wife Sarah, and told her she should have a child
at a certain time. They had quite a long conversation. Sometimes the
messenger that was sent to Abraham is called an angel, and sometimes
the Lord. Suffice it to say that the Lord did reveal himself and
communicated his will unto him; and finally he tried and tested him in
every variety of way. "And it came to pass after these things, that God
did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold,
here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom
thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there
for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee
of." In this manner the Lord tried Abraham.
The great principle I wish to keep before your minds is, that men in
those different ages of the world did have a knowledge of God, and
they obtained it through revelation and a knowledge of the Gospel.
Through this, Abra ham obtained a knowledge of God—of his
purposes and designs; and there was no other way in which he could
have a knowledge of God, only in the way here specified; and hence the
Gospel to Abraham was a principle wherein the righteousness of God was
revealed from faith to faith; and it was to him as much the power of
God unto salvation as it was in the days of Jesus Christ and the
Apostles, or any other day.
Jesus, in speaking of Abraham, says, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to
see my day: and he saw it, and was glad."
Then, Abraham, you saw the day of the Son of God and was glad some two
thousand years before the dawn of that day burst upon the earth. How
did you happen to see it? Was it not enough for you to know that God
spoke to you and gave you certain great and glorious promises
concerning your seed? No. You must actually penetrate events that
should transpire in after ages. How did you know all this? "By the
Gospel." Do you mean to say that you, too, had the Gospel? "Yes; for
life and immortality are brought to light by the Gospel; and the
Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,
and therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith;
and whoever knows anything about life and immortality and the power of
God must know something about the Gospel of salvation."
"Well," say some, "we would really like a little more testimony from
the Bible on this subject; for we have great confidence in the Bible."
You shall have it. What does Paul say? "And the scripture, foreseeing
that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached the gospel
before unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham."
Then Abraham had the Gospel preached to him, and so had Melchizedek.
"How do you prove that?" Paul says, speaking of this ancient king of
Salem, that he was "made like unto the Son of God," and "abideth a
priest continually." And "Now consider how great this man was, unto
whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils." "He
whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham,
and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction
the less is blessed of the better."
Abraham had the Gospel, and was the father of the faithful; yet
Melchizedek was greater than he—greater in the Priesthood and in the
We will now inquire a little about Moses—a deliverer that was raised
up to Israel, who was set apart to deliver his people from the bondage
under which they groaned in the land of Egypt. The Lord spake to Moses
and sent him to Pharaoh, and kept sending him from time to time until
Pharaoh let Israel go; and Moses was their leader, and led them forth
out of the land of Egypt.
How did Moses know about this deliverance? How did he know how to give
Israel instruction and revelation? Because he had received it himself.
The Lord had spoken to him, and had revealed his will to him, and
manifested his purposes to him from time to time. When the Lord first
called him, he felt incompetent for the task, and answered the Lord as
"And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither
heretofore nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow
of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the anger of the Lord was
kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy
brother? I know that he can speak well. And he also cometh forth to
meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his
heart. And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and
I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what
ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he
shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt
be to him instead of God."
Thus Moses led the people out from the bondage of Egypt: by visions,
by revelations, by the voice of God, by the manifestation of the power
of God, with a high hand and outstretched arm, he led them out, and
destroyed the Egyptians when they essayed to follow them, after
smiting them with plagues and various afflictions that overtook them,
in consequence of their rebellion against God and the testimony Moses
delivered in their midst.
How was it that Moses understood anything about the will of God in the
leading forth of that people? It was because he had the Gospel, which
is a principle of revelation, as we have before stated; and through it
intelligence was communicated unto him.
But you say you would like to see something from the Bible to prove
this. I should think what has been already said in illustration of
this great leading principle is sufficient to satisfy anybody. It
But I will give you a little of the Bible touching Moses having the
Gospel. Paul says, "But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it
not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the
wilderness?" "So we see that they could not enter into it because of
unbelief. Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of
entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the
word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them
that heard it." Here Paul not only declares they had the Gospel as
well as we, but he makes use of them as an example to all unbelievers.
We will now touch upon a lesser dispensation, if you please to call it
by that name, and try to find out how that happened to come. I speak
of that dispensation that existed previous to the ushering in of the
Gospel, as people suppose.
Paul says, "And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed
before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty
years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none
effect." "Wherefore then serveth the law? It is added because of
transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was
made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator." He
further writes on this subject, saying, "Which was a figure for the
time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices,
and could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to
the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers
washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of
What was the transgression of ancient Israel? They rejected the
teachings of Moses. When he came down from the mount, where he had
been talking with God face to face, he found the people had made unto
themselves a golden calf, and said, "These be thy gods, O Israel,
which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." They had forsaken
God, the Fountain of living waters, and hewed out to themselves
cisterns—broken cisterns, that could hold no water. And Moses was
wroth with them; and so was the Lord, who was about to destroy them:
but Moses pleaded with him, and he spared them. But seeing
they judged themselves unworthy of eternal life, and the Gospel of
Jesus Christ, and revelations, and communications with him, he placed
them under a law of carnal commandments and ordinances, placing a yoke
on their necks, which one of the ancient Apostles says, "Neither we
nor our fathers were able to bear." He placed them under ceremonies
and forms, and it was said, Do this and live; refuse to do it, and
This code of laws and ordinances was given to them under the auspices
and direction of the Aaronic Priesthood; and the Melchizedek
Priesthood was taken away from them to a certain extent, which
deprived them of its succession, &c.
Still the spirit of revelation was among the Prophets that still
remained among them; but, as a nation, they were placed under a system
of carnal ordinances, because of their transgressions.
What was the law added to? It was added to the Gospel. This we should
have known, if Paul had never said a word about it, because Moses held
the keys of the revelations of God, could go into the mount of God,
and by that power led seventy Elders of Israel into the presence of
God, and they saw the God of Israel. I know that the law was added to
the Gospel on that principle, because the Gospel always was a power
that enlightened the eyes of men, and put them in possession of
revelation and communication with God, and that gave them a knowledge
of things past, present, and to come.
We will pass by the time when they were under a law of carnal
ordinances, consisting of burnt offerings and sacrifices, &c., and
come to the time when the Gospel is again restored, and when a Priest
after the order of Melchizedek, Enoch, Abraham, Noah, Moses, and Adam,
again appeared upon the earth—namely, the Son of God, who was "a
priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." It was not necessary
that he should be enabled genealogically to prove that he was of the
seed of Aaron and of the tribe of Levi; but his Priesthood was after
the order of Melchizedek, which was without beginning of days or end
of years—a Priesthood not indebted directly to human descent, but one
that administers both in time and eternity.
At the time Jesus Christ came upon the earth we find the same kind of
revelations began to be made manifest—the same Spirit, and the same
power, blessing, and the same communications with God. And hence, when
he came he went forth baptizing, as John, his predecessor, had done.
John said concerning him, "I indeed baptize you with water unto
repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose
shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy
Ghost, and with fire." Did he do this? He did. When he made choice of
his Apostles, he breathed upon them and said—"Receive ye the Holy
Ghost." And they began to have visions and revelations, and the power
of God was made manifest on them. Paul, in writing of this power,
says—"I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the
body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God
knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a
man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God
knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard
unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter."
By-and-by, Paul begins to let out some of these things. He says he saw
the dead, small and great, stand before God, speaking of the
resurrection, and the state of man after death, and the glory that
awaits the faithful.
An angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, and set Peter and some
others at liberty. The angel of the Lord appeared to Paul in a dream,
and comforted him when he was in danger of being shipwrecked, and told
him that no one on board should perish. How came they in possession of
all this knowledge? And how came they to be such favorites with the
heavens? It was all through the Gospel.
We find the Apostle John driven as a poor exile and outcast to the
Isle of Patmos, in consequence of his religion, where he had to labor
among the slaves in the lead mines, oppressed and bowed down in
consequence of the tyranny and severity of his taskmasters. But he
was in the spirit on the Lord's day, and the heavens were opened to
his view, and he gazed on the past, on the present, and on the future,
contemplating events that should transpire through every subsequent
period of time until the winding-up scene. He told of the time when
the grave should deliver up its dead, and when the sea should deliver
up the dead that are in it, and all nations should stand before God
and give an account of the deeds done in the body.
He told of Jesus Christ coming with his holy angels to execute
judgment on the ungodly. He told of the New Jerusalem that should
descend from God out of heaven as a bride prepared for the bridegroom.
He told of the Millennium, when not only the Saints should burst the
barriers of the tomb, but come forth and live and reign with Christ a
thousand years on the earth, when righteousness and truth should
prevail, and iniquity hide its hoary head, and the power of God be
made manifest; and every nation, tongue, and people bow to the scepter
of King Immanuel, and all acknowledge him as Lord over all.
How did you know all this, John? "I had the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
that restored this power to the earth, which unfolded unto me these
things; and I have communicated only part of the things I saw."
This power was enjoyed not only by the Apostles, as some suppose, but
it existed among the Saints; and hence Paul, writing to the Church,
says—"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you
ignorant. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to
profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom;
to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another
faith by the same Spirit; to another the gift of healing by the same
Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to
another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues;
to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that
one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he
will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the
members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
For the body is not one member, but many," &c. Consequently, this
Spirit extended not only to the Apostles and permanent disciples, but
to the whole Church, the Spirit being given to every man to profit
withal. And what was that? It was the gift of the Holy Ghost, which
Peter told the people, on the day of Pentecost, they should receive;
for on that day he told them to repent and be baptized in the name of
Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and they should receive the
gift of the Holy Ghost. Why? Because, says he, "The promise is to you,
and your children," &c.
"To us who are Apostles," and to whom else? "To you, and to your
children." Whom else? "To all that are afar off, even as many
as the Lord our God shall call." You show me a people that the Lord
our God does not call, and I will show you a people to whom this
promise does not apply.
There is the Gospel, as I understand it; and wherever this principle
exists, the principle of revelation and the knowledge of God exists—a
principle wherein the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to
faith—a principle that opens a communication between God and man.
Wherever this exists, the Gospel exists; and wherever this does not
exist, the Gospel does not exist. It is a principle that places man
into a legitimate relationship with God, who is our Father. Hence,
when Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he said, "When you pray, say,
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name." He is the God and
Father of the spirits of all flesh, and we are told to approach him as
such, and have faith in him. And he says, "Ask, and it shall be given
you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and
to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
"Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will give
him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye
then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how
much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to
them that ask him?"
By means of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we are brought into a
relationship with God. As one of the ancient Apostles says, "Beloved,
now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall
be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for
we shall see him as he is." God is our Father, and a medium of
communication has been opened between God and us. And inasmuch as we
live our religion, we shall be prepared at all times to receive
blessings at his hands, and learn to understand correct principles in
regard to our salvation as individuals, and the salvation of the human
John said, among other things, "And I saw another angel fly in the
midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them
that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue,
and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him;
for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made
heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." This
angel had the same Gospel to preach that Adam possessed, and the same
that Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, and the Apostles
Joseph Smith, what did you proclaim? "I called on the Lord and a holy
angel appeared to me, and God revealed his will to me, and showed me
the true position of the world religiously and every other way; and he
told me what I was to do to obtain eternal life, and he told me what
his designs and purposes were concerning this earth." What did he do
besides? "He sent some of those who existed in former ages, who held
the keys of the everlasting Priesthood, to administer to me and set me
apart." We read in this good book an account of Peter, James, and John
being with Jesus on the Mount—"And after six days Jesus taketh Peter,
James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain
apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the
sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared
unto them Moses and Elias talking with him." How happens it that you
are upon the earth, Moses? for we thought you were dead long ago! "I
am not dead, as you suppose; for I drank of that well Jesus
spoke of, the water of which, if any man drinks, shall be in him a
well of water springing up to eternal life. I hold the keys of the
Melchizedek Priesthood and the everlasting Gospel, that administers in
time and in eternity; and after having got through with this world and
its cares, holding still that Priesthood behind the veil, I have come
to administer to you, Jesus, James, Peter, and John, on the earth."
In consequence of the same Priesthood, Elias was translated, and got
associated with Moses behind the veil, and became his companion in
bringing a message of comfort to Jesus and his companions on the
Mount. Peter, who held the Priesthood while he was upon the earth and
after he left, could come and administer to Joseph Smith, and impart
to him the same blessings and the same power, and reinstate those
principles and powers upon the earth that had been lost in consequence
of transgression. What is it that we have received? We have received
the everlasting Gospel—the same that existed in the days of Jesus; and
it is this that has enlightened our minds, enlarged our capacities,
and given us a knowledge of the past and of the future; and it has
thus revealed to us the purposes of God; and through the order and
organization of this Priesthood we are blessed, saved, protected, and
upheld as we are at this day.
Why is it that the world rage? Why is it that the priests of the day
are angry—that politicians are mad? It is because the Lord has set
forth his hand to accomplish his purposes and bring to pass the things
spoken of in the holy Prophets.
As one of old has said, "Why do the heathen rage, and the people
imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the
rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his
anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away
their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the
Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his
wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure."
The Lord will bring to pass his strange purpose, and accomplish the
thing he has designed. It is for us to live our religion, to fully
appreciate the Gospel we possess, and fully obey its requirements,
submit to its laws, and yield to its dictations, following the
direction of the holy Priesthood, which hold the keys of the mysteries
of the revelations of God, magnifying our callings, and honoring our
God, that we may be prepared to fulfil our destiny upon the earth, and
be enabled to be a blessing to those around us, and to pour blessings
upon our posterity, and spread forth the great principles of eternity,
which are calculated to bless, enlighten, ennoble, and exalt all who
will yield obedience to their dictates.
May God bless you all, and guide you in the way of truth, which I ask
in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.