Kirtland, Ohio, December, 1836.
THE SAINTS AND THE WORLD.
The opinions entertained by the world respecting the saints, are such as to excite feelings of no
ordinary kind, in the mind of those who are enlightened in any degree to understand the nature of
their religion, and the extent of their privileges as saints of the last days; concerning whom so
much has been said by the prophets of former times.
The world being ignorant of what the Lord was to do, after the Gentiles had corrupted the religion
of the New Testament so as to deprive themselves of the kingdom of heaven, have compounded together
a little of the religion of Abraham, and of Moses, and of the new testament, seasoning it pretty well
with heathenism, and making to themselves thereby both a religion, and a god, which is neither the
religion nor the God of Abraham, nor Moses, nor the apostles, but something widely different from them all.
And such has been, and now is the influence of this strange commixture of unamalgamated materials,
that all people have been confused, and darkened by it; and the very wisest of them have been thrown
into difficulty, and derangement, on the subject of their future interest; so much so, that when the
saints themselves receive the everlasting gospel, it takes them a long time to get rid of their
prejudices, so as to understand their privileges, and enter into that course of life which is plainly
marked out by the prophets, as the course which alone can accomplish the object for which they are called.
For instead of their immediately pursuing the course intended by the God of heaven to build them up and
establish them in honor, and power, they are difficultied by an attempt to subject them to some antiquated law, either of revelation or tradition, which is not at all suited to their condition of life, nor to their situation as the saints of the last days.
The Lord always has an order of things or a dispensation of things suited to the times and seasons, and
the same dispensation or order of things will not suit at all periods of the world. Hence the order of
things introduced in the days of Abraham, would not suit in the days of Moses, and the order of things
in the days of Moses, had to give way in the days of the apostles. And the order of things established
by the apostles, must cease when the dispensation of the fulness of times comes in. See Eph. 1st chapt.
10th verse. -- For the dispensation in the days of Moses, was intended for regulating the saints in
circumstances different from that in the days of Abraham, and that in the days of the apostles, different
from that of Moses, and the dispensation of the fulness of times different from all.
So that every dispensation must have laws differing from each other, and the laws which would be good
and wholesome under one dispensation, would be injurious and destructive under another; and instead of
their tending to good they would tend to evil. Because they would not at all tend to accomplish the
object for which the dispensation was introduced.
The purposes of God in relation to this world, must be accomplished, and the different dispensations
necessary must be introduced, in order that they may be accomplished, otherwise the testimony of the
prophets must fail, and the glory of God be tarnished forever.
It is not my intention in writing this treatise, to occupy the attention of my readers, with remarks on
the dispensations preceding my own day, only as occasion may require, but to invite their attention to
the one under which we live.
And the first item, is the fact that a dispensation was to be introduced in the last days, different from
all that had gone before; that was neither the dispensation of Abraham, of Moses nor yet of the apostles
of the new testament (so called.) For proof of this we quote Eph. 1:10. "That in the
dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which
are in heaven and which are on earth, even in him."
Here, then, there is not only a dispensation mentioned, but the features of it so clearly set forth as
to preclude the necessity of mistake. For we are told in so many words that it was to be a dispensation
of gathering together all things which are in Christ Jesus whether the things to be gathered, were on
earth or in heaven, they were all to be gathered together. It wants but a moment's reflection to see
that the dispensation mentioned in this verse, is neither the dispensation of Abraham, of Moses, nor
yet of the apostles; for neither of those dispensations nor the laws and regulations pertaining thereto,
had power neither were they designed to gather together all things in Christ. This must be the work of
the last dispensation which will be introduced in the world.
The apostle Peter calls this dispensation by another name, in the 3rd chapter of the Acts of the apostles
and 1st verse. He there calls it the times of the restitution of all things. Every observer of the ways
of men and things knows that the present order of things in the world is not the restitution of all
things. The apostle further says of this restitution of all things, that it has been spoken of by the
mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began. So that it has been a matter of public notoriety
among the saints of all ages and of all generations. It is with this dispensation of things with which
we have to do in the days in which we live.
Let me here remark, that the religion of Abraham, of Moses and of the apostles, have all ceased to
exist; they are no where found in the world, neither do men believe that they will ever return to the
earth. Ask any of the professors of religion of the different denominations, if that religion which
consisted in inspiring apostles, prophets, evangelists, and also in mighty works, such as healing the
sick, casting out devils, raising the dead, &c. is now in the world, and they will answer you in the
negative, and will further assure you, that it will never return again.
So, when I say that the religion of the former dispensations is no more, I have the concurrence of all
the professing world, of all parties and of all religions. And that any of them will return to the world
in the form in which they once existed has yet to be proven to my mind, for as yet I do not so understand
the scriptures. That they may yet return to the world, in part, or in whole, as forming a part of the
dispensation of the fulness [fullness] of times, I am now not disposed to dispute, but shall leave it
for further investigation. But as the apostle has told us that the dispensation of the fulness of times
or the times of the restitution of all things, has been spoken of by the mouth of all the holy prophets
since the world began; to them we shall look for its features. And this becomes the more necessary, as
it is with this dispensation we of the last days have to do.
There will be no dispute among correct biblical students, that under this dispensation our heavenly
Father will bring about the deliverance of his people, fulfill his covenants which he made
with the fathers since the world began, and bring about rest and peace on the earth: so that songs of
everlasting joy will crown the heads of the righteous, and peace reign within their borders.
And I presume that it will also be admitted, that the saints of the last days must be a people of a
character on whose heads such blessings can descend. In all investigations of this kind, we should
remember that we are speaking or writing of men, not of heavenly messengers; and we must, therefore,
enquire, what kind of people they must be in order that they may inherit the blessings of
the last days? and through whom the Lord can accomplish what he has designed to accomplish by them.
The prophet Jeremiah in speaking of the dispensation of the fulness of times in which all things in
Christ were to be gathered in one; says, "Therefore behold, the days come, saith the Lord,
that it shall no more be said, the Lord liveth that brought up the children of Israel out of the land
of Egypt; but the Lord liveth that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of the north, and
from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave
to their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and
after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill,
and out of the holes of the rocks." Jer. 16:14, 15, 16.
These expressions of the prophet, give us an idea of what kind of people the people of the Lord will
be in the times of the restitution, or gathering. That they will be a people of most daring courage,
and of untiring perseverence [perseverance], otherwise they will never fish Israel, and hunt him from
every mountain, and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. It is a well known fact, that Israel
is widely scattered, and that they help to people almost every division of the earth with which we are
acquainted, and must people some parts with which we are not acquainted, or else the ten tribes are not
in existence on the earth, and if that is the case, the testimony of the prophets is surely false; and
they will be found false witnesses for Israel; for Jeremiah has declared in the third chapter of his
prophecy that Judah and Israel shall walk together: and Ezekiel has said they shall be one nation on
the mountains of Israel, and shall be two nations no more. Jer. 3:18. Ez. 37:20, 21, 22.
So then it comes to this, that the Lord's fishers and hunters, have to visit the mountains, the hills,
and the rocks, of all nations, in order that the word of the Lord need not be spoken in vain. This
surely will require enterprise and perseverence [perseverance] and patience too, will need have her
perfect work in order that they may do the will of their Lord and master, and gather Israel according
to his decree.
And it will not require much reflection to see that previous to the time of gathering the scattered
remnants of Jacob, and the outcasts of Israel, that the saints will have to use a vast of exertion,
in order that they may be able to bear up under the heavy burden which is placed upon them; for it
will require great wealth to visit every nation, and gather up, in many instances, a poor and ignorant
people, as those must be who are found in holes of the rocks, and in the mountains, and bear all the
expense of taking them to their own land, that which was given to their fathers; and there build them
up. Who does not know that all this will be attended with great expense, and who is to bear this expense,
the answer is the fishers, and the hunters; if so then, how great must be their exertion and their
enterprise? to obtain all the wealth necessary to accomplish so great an undertaking: And how liberal
too must they be, when after so great exertion to obtain so great wealth, they will be willing to spend
it in thousands; yea, in millions to gather together, and to build Israel in order that the word of the
Lord fail not.
In those days, the words of Isaiah will most assuredly be fulfilled, that "The vile person
shall no more be called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful," Isaiah 32:5. They
will try every man's work of what kind it is. No man can live among a people whose souls are sufficiently
enlarged, to undertake an enterprise of so daring a character as this, and yet be a churl: depend upon
it, in those days the vile person will not be called liberal, nor the churl bountiful, for liberality
and enterprise must be the motto of every saint, or so gigantic a work will never be accomplished.
But in addition to the gathering together of Israel, we have many things said of the Zion of the last
days, which shew [show] unto us what kind of a people the saints of the last days must be; for who does
not know that the Zion of the last days mentioned by the prophets, is the place where the people are
to be gathered, when the fishers and the hunters fish and hunt them, from every mountain, and every
hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.
The Psalmist David says of Zion, in Psalms 48th Ps. and 2d ver. that she is beautiful, the joy of the
The prophet Isaiah has the following interesting sayings in the 62d chapter of his prophecy: commencing
with the first verse we read as follows: "For Zion's sake I will not hold my peace, and
for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the
salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings
thy glory, and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt
also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God."
He further says, in 6th and 7th ver. of the same chapter, ["]I have set watchmen upon
thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the
Lord, keep not silence. And give him no rest till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise
in the earth.["]
In the 60th chapter of Isaiah, we have one of the most beautiful descriptions given of the Zion of
the last days, that can be given of any place by the pen of man. Any person who will give himself the
trouble to read this chapter, must see that the Zion here spoken of, is one which is built up by the
gathering together of the righteous from the different parts of the world where they are found. As the
chapter is too long to quote, we shall make some extracts from it; though we would solicit our readers
to take their bibles and read the whole chapter carefully through, as it contains matter of great
consequence to the saints.
In the 6th verse, in speaking of Zion, he says: "The multitude of camels shall cover thee,
the dromedaries of Midian and Ehpah, all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense;
they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord" 7th verse, "All the
flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee; the rams of Nabaioth shall minister unto thee,
they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory"
-- 9th verse, "Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish, first to
bring thy sons from afar, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God,
and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee" -- 13th and 14th verses,
"The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box tree
together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. The sons
of them also that afflicted thee, shall come bending unto thee: and all they that despise thee shall bow
themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, the city of the Lord, the Zion of
the holy one of Israel."
We have made these quotations in order to find out what kind of people the people of the Lord shall be
in the last days. This we proposed to do in our own minds, by ascertaining what they had to do, and out
of hundreds of quotations which we might make out of the prophets to the same effect, we shall be content
with the few which we have made, as being sufficient to give an idea of what sort of people the Lord will
have in the last days.
For though great things are to be accomplished, still those things are to be accomplished by the agency
of men. It will be found to be a fact, that if the the Lord ever does fulfill the testimony of
the prophets, it will be by the faith and agency of his saints.
But to return to the sayings of the prophets, as quoted above.
From these sayings we learn some very important things. We learn first, that the Zion of the Lord is to
be built up by gathering his saints together, from all places, even from the islands of the sea. Let us
quote two more verses from the 60th chapter of Isaiah, the 3rd and 4th which reads thus: "And
the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and Kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round
about, and see, all they gather themselves together, they come: thy sons shall come from far, and thy
daughters shall be nursed at thy side." In the 43rd chapter of this same prophecy of Isaiah
and the 6th verse, the prophet thus expresses himself, speaking of this same gathering together of the
people, "I will say to the north, give up; and to the south, hold not back, bring my sons
from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth." This quotation gives us a pretty
clear idea of the nature and extent of the gathering spoken of in the 60th chapter 3rd and 4th verses,
that it is to be from the ends of the earth. And the prophet says that they shall be gathered unto thee;
what thee, I ask is this? This question is answered in the 14th verse, and the thing or place which is
called thee in the 3rd and 4th verses, is called the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy one of Israel.
So there can be no doubt that the place where the saints are to be gathered, is the Zion of the last days
mentioned by the prophets.
Concerning this Zion, we have the following sayings:
First. She is beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth. Ps. 48:2.
Second. That the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto her, and the abundance of the sea shall be
converted unto her.
Third. The multitude of camels shall cover her, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah. All they of Sheba
shall come with their gold and incense.
Fourthly, The isles shall wait for her, and the ships of Tarshish, to bring her sons from far, their
silver and their gold with them.
Fifthly, The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee; the fir tree, the pine tree and the box tree together,
to beautify the place of the Lord's sanctuary, and to make the place of his feet glorious.
Now let me ask the saints of the last days, what kind of people must you be, in order that you may
accomplish so great a work? -- That you may bring to the Zion of your God (the foundation of which is
now laid, in spite of the powers of earth and hell combined; for surely their utmost exertion has been
used to prevent it, but it has been used in vain) the forces of the Gentiles, to obtain for to enrichen
her, the abundance of the sea; the camels in sufficient abundance to cover her; the dromedaries of
Midian, and of Ephah; the gold and silver of Sheba.
To put into requisition the ships of Tarshish, or in other words, great ships, that the Lord's sons may
come from far, and his daughters from the ends of the earth; to bring unto her the fir tree, the pine
tree, and the box tree together, in order that you may beautify the Lord's sanctuary, and make the place
of his feet glorious, and by all kinds of refinement, and learning, make Zion the joy and praise of the
whole earth, until the kings of the earth shall come to the brightness of thy rising. Will not the
accomplishment of so great a work as this, require exertion and enterprise? Surely it will.
May I not again ask, how is Zion to become the joy and the praise of the whole earth, so that kings
shall come to the brightness of her rising? Surely, it will be by her becoming more wise, more learned,
more refined, and more noble, than the cities of the world, so that she becomes the admiration of the
great ones of the earth. And by what means is this to be obtained? -- The answer is, by the superiority
of her literary institutions, and by a general effort of all the saints to patronize literature in our
midst, so that the manners of the saints may be properly cultivated, and their habits correctly formed.
In addition to this, her buildings will have to be more elegant, her palaces more splendid, and her
public houses more magnificent; otherwise, she will not be the joy and praise of the whole earth, and
kings will never come to the brightness of her rising.
Neither are we to leave out of the question, the dress of the saints, for this supplies a place also
in effecting this great object; the beauty and neatness of their dress in characteristic of the degree
of refinement, and decency of a society. The nobles of the earth would not be likely to admire
disgraceful apparel, untastefully arranged; but the very reverse: indeed, if ever Zion becomes the joy
and praise of the whole earth, the saying of the Psalmist must be literally fulfilled. -- That our sons
must be as plants grown up in their youth; our daughters as corner stones, polished after the similitude
of a palace. Psalms 144:12.
If these things should not take place, then surely the voice of the prophets is of no avail, and the
purposes which God hath proposed to himself will come to nought.
From this the saints may have something of an idea unto what they are called; that they are called unto
glory, and virtue, or in other words, to enterprise and courage; that in order to fulfill their calling,
there must not be an idler in all their ranks, but that they must cultivate the habits of industry,
and of enterprise, so that they can be prepared to visit all lands, and acquit themselves like men,
in the presence of all people; the wise, and the learned, and even the nobles, and the kings of the earth
Let not any of the saints be deceived by the ignorant of this age, neither let them be led astray by
design, to have their minds confused by an attempt to subject them to laws, either of revelation or
tradition, which are not in accordance with their calling, and the dispensation under which we live;
it matters not what might have been the laws which regulated the saints under other dispensations, it
belongs to us, to be regulated by the order of things which has been introduced for our benefit and
salvation, and though it could be shewn that there were regulations among the former day saints,
which were opposed to the order which regulates us, it would only prove that at different times and
ages, God had different things to accomplish, and that it required different orders of things to
I am well aware of the wild chimeras of the human brain. There has been a notion prevailing amongst a
great many people, that the nearer a man got to his God the less enterprise he should exert, that
he should shew [show] forth his righteousness by his rags, and his holiness by an utter contempt of
the rules of decency: Indeed among some that would be called wise, to this day, they think that the
cut of their coat and the shape of their hat is of great importance and has a considerable to do with
their salvation; hence we have to this day the broad brimmed hat and the long tailed coat, and the vest
with skirts, worn as a badge of righteousness; but let the saints know assuredly that their righteousness
does not consist in putting on some old antiquated dress: but in enterprise in accomplishing the will
of God and building up a city to his name, in beautifying his sanctuary and making the place of his
Let the saints, therefore, acquit themselves like men. Let them seek learning and wisdom, refinement
and elegence [elegance]. Let industry and enterprise be encouraged, not merely as appendages of our
religion; but as an identity with it, as part of it, without which the other parts would be of little
consequence; yea, may I not say, let them get riches; however some might be ready to say in opposition
to this, that it is impossible for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven; admit it, but does
this argue that those who have sacrificed their all for the kingdom of heaven's sake and entered in,
should not get rich after they got there, no verily; for the Savior has said in language not to be
misunderstood, "That he that forsaketh father or mother, wife or children, houses or
lands, for my sake and the gospel's shall have in this world an hundred fold, and in that which is to
come eternal life."
So then the saints who have first sought the kingdom of heaven and the righteousness thereof, may
calculate the addition of all things; yea, even an hundred fold. And may I not say if we fail of
getting the earthly promise, what hope can there be of our getting the heavenly? for it is as assuredly
said we shall have an hundred fold in this life, as it is said we shall have eternal life in the world
Again let us observe in order that Zion may become the joy and praise of the whole earth, it is necessary
that the saints should cultivate the principles of honesty and integrity in all their intercourse with
the world, so much so that those who have dealings with them, will have to say, that their intercourse
is honorable above all others. The saints must become notorious for this, so that all men will be willing
to deal with them, and rather do it than with any others, for this is one of the ways by which they will
obtain wealth, without which they will never be able to fulfill the end of their calling.
Once more, in order that Zion may become the joy of the whole earth, -- the saints must practice holiness
in the fear of the Lord; for without this, no man can see the Lord, neither will he prosper them unless
they do it.-They must attend punctually to the orders of his house, every head of a family must see that
his or her house is kept in order before the Lord, so that in their midst the name of the Lord may be had
in reverence, and his commandments regarded with veneration, and his worship respected as of the first
In so doing, the saints may anticipate the blessings of heaven to attend them more abundantly, and with
every increase of wealth and honor an increase of blessings, until as the prophet Malachi has said,
"The earth will not be able to contain it."
Let the saints then consider the nature of their high calling, lest any man deceive them with fair
pretenses and with vain tradition after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ. Let them
remember that God has called them, that they may distinguish themselves by the boldness of their
enterprises; by the magnificence of their schemes, and by the greatness of their industry, and by their
untiring perseverance, and by their patience and indefatigable zeal. Let them be patient in all things
till they overcome the world, the devil and the flesh, and Zion becomes the joy and the praise of the
The apostle Paul has a valuable saying in his epistle to the Hebrews, 10:36. "For ye have
need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise."
The saints would do well to give heed to this saying, that they may never get weary in well doing.
Let them recollect that after they have done the will of God they have need of patience in order to
inherit the promise. How many may have done the will of God, and yet for want of patience to wait upon
the Lord have lost the promise altogether; when if they had had patience to wait on the Lord, they might
have received it to the joy and gratitude of their hearts.
Remember then ye saints of the last days!! that you are called upon by the great God to be ministers
of righteousness in the last days to all people, languages and kindreds of the earth; ye are called upon
to visit every nation under heaven; to waft yourselves over every sea and every ocean: to stand in the
presence of kings and of princes and of the nobles of the earth; to gather up of all nations, tongues
and languages under heaven, and of them to build up the Zion of the last days to the Most High. And
nothing of all this can fail if you are faithful in your calling and consider the nature and the end
thereof; for great is he who has called you, and none of his promises can be broken, neither can his
Arm yourselves, therefore, like men, ye elders of Israel; store your heads with knowledge and your hearts
with grace, and as the heads of the Israel of the last days go forth without fear; for strong is he who
hath called you; and omnipotent is the arm of him who sustains you; fear not and your peace shall be
like a river and your righteousness as an overflowing stream. Rejoice upon the hills and shout hosannah
upon the mountains; until you shall bring the last stone of the building of your God with the shout of
grace, grace, unto it.