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ine that sacred instrument, framed by the most dangerous character, cal.
numerous children, born unto him the gospel covenant were still obliged by his numerous wives. Moreover, to obey; and until we can find some the Lord, Himself, gave revelation to law of God abolishing and prohibit. different wives, belonging to the same ing a plurality of wives, we are comman, revealing to them the great pelled to believe it a Divine institu blessings which should rest upon tion; and we are, furthermore, com. their posterity; angels also were pelled to believe, that if this institusent to comfort and bless them; and tion be entered into now, under the in no instance do we find them re- same principles which governed the holy Prophets and Patriarchs, that God will approbate it now as much as He did then; and that the persons who do thus practice it conscientiously and sincerely, are just as honorable in the sight of God, as those who have but one wife. And that which is honorable before God should be honorable before men; and no one should be despised when he acts in all good conscience upon any prin.
proved for having joined themselves in marriage to a "Polygamist," In. deed, the Lord, Himself, gave laws, not to prohibit "Polygamy," but showing His will in relation to the children raised up by the different wives of the same man; and further. more, the Lord, Himself, actually officiated in giving David all the wives of Saul; this occurred, too, when David already had several wives which he had previously taken: therefore, as ciple of doctrine; neither should the Lord did actually give into Da- there be laws in any of these States vid's own bosom all the wives of or Territories to compel any indiSaul, He must not only have sanc-vidual to act in violation to the dictioned 66 Polygamy," but established tates of his own conscience: but and instituted it upon a sure founda- every one should be left in all mattion by giving the wives, Himself, ters of religion to his own choice, the same as he gave Eve to Adam. and thus become accountable to God, Therefore, those who are completely and not to his fellow man. divested from the influence of Na. If the people of this country have tional customs, and who judge con- generally formed different conclusions cerning this matter by the word of from us upon this subject; and if God, are compelled to believe, that the they have embraced religions which Plurality of wives was once sanction are more congenial to their minds ed, for many ages, by the Almighty; than the religion of the Saints, we and by a still further research of the say to them that they are welcome to Divine oracles, they find no intima. their own religious views; the laws tions that this Divine institution was should not interfere with the exercise ever repealed. It was an institution, of their religious rights. If we cannot originated under the law of Mo. not convince you by reason nor by ses, but it was of a far more ancient the word of God, that your religion date; and instead of being abolished is wrong, we will not persecute you, by that law, it was sanctioned and but will sustain you in the privileges, perpetuated and when Christ came guaranteed in the great Charter of to fulfil that law, and to do it away American Liberty: we ask from you by the introduction of a better Cove- the same generosity-protect us in nant, He did not abolish the plurality the exercise of our religious rights— system not being originated under convince us of our errors of doctrine, that law, it was not made null and if we have any, by reason, by logical void when that law was done away. arguments, or by the word of God, Indeed, there were many things in and we will be ever grateful for the connection with the law that were information, and you will ever have not abolished when the law was ful- the pleasing reflection that you have filled; as for instance, the ten com- been instruments in the hands of mandments which the people under God of redeeming your fellow beings
from the darkness which you may pute it to the weakness and imper.
All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, See Ye, when He lifteth up an Ensign on the Mountains.-Isaiah xviii, 3.
THE PRE-EXISTENCE OF MAN.
body of flesh and bones quickened and animated by a living intelligent spirit. It has been supposed that spirit begins to exist within the mortal tabernacle while it is yet in embryo, and that prior to the organization of the body, the spirit had no existence. These are the views of modern christendom. We shall endeavor to prove that this
1. Man in this life consists of a made from the same materials? If they were, then they would, at death, return to dust; but as they are not reduced to dust, like the body, they must be formed of materials far superior to those of the earth. Where did those materials come from? They came from God. Solomon, when speaking upon the subject of death, says, "Then shall the dust return to
view of the subject is incorrect. the earth as it was: and the spirit 2. There is not anything unreason. shall RETURN unto God who gave able in the pre-existence of spirits. it." (Eccles. 12: 7.) According If spirits can exist after death in a to this passage, the spirit has, not an state of happiness or misery, is there earthly origin, but a heavenly one: any reason, why they can not exist it came from God-it returns to God. prior to the organization of the body?" God who gave it," also receives it If they can think, and will, and move back into His presence. after they leave the body, why can 3. Could the spirit return to God, they not exercise these functions be. if it never were in His presence? fore they take possession of the body? Could we return to a place where If the destruction of the body is not we never were before? If, then, the the death of the spirit, then it must spirits of men existed with God, and be admitted that the spirit is in no came from Him to animate mortal way dependant on the body for its ex- bodies, they must either be created istence, and, therefore, it can exist in Heaven at the time the infant prior to the body, as well as after it. tabernacles are being formed, or else The disorganization of the body does they existed before. If the spirit is not deprive the spirit of life, neither formed in Heaven at the time the does the organization of the body earthly house is being prepared for give to the spirit life: it possesses its reception, then God must have life in itself. Life and intelligence are been engaged in the work of creanot the result of organization, but they ting spirits at the rate of about ten are the cause; and, therefore, they millions per year, or about twenty spir. must exist before the effects can fol- its per minute, which is the average low. Our bodies are formed from number born into our world in the the dust of the earth, but are our spirits same time. Now we read that God
made all things, pertaining to our earth in six days, and rested on the seventh. Can we suppose, for one moment, that God neglected the for. mation of spirits in the grand work of creation? Can we suppose that he has been engaged in creating human spirits for this earth, at the rate of one every three seconds, ever since He pronounced the Heavens and the earth and all things therein finished and very good? Such an idea is inconsistant and unscriptural.
of the nature of intelligent beings; in fine, the period of pre-existence must have been sufficiently long to have constituted a probationary state, or the "First Estate" wherein the spirits are on trial, and may fall, and be reserved in chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
6. The pre-existence of man is a doctrine which was believed by the ancients. The disciples of Jesus, when observing a man who had been blind from his birth, put the follow4. Again, would a good and wise ing question to their Master: "Who Being create spirits, and before they did sin, this man, or his parents, that had time to prove themselves by he was born blind?" (John 9: 2.) obeying or disobeying His laws, It is evident, from the nature of this thrust them out of His presence,- question, that the disciples considered banish them from His glorious king. it possible for a man to sin before he dom,-shut them up in earthly taber- was born; and that in consequence nacles, hide His face from them, and of such sin, he might be “born blind.” subject them to temptation, wretch-This passage shows most clearly, edness, and misery? Now, if we that the disciples, not only believed suppose that the spirit is formed in in the pre-existence of man, but beHeaven, while the embryo tabernacle lieved that he was an intelligent is being formed upon the earth, then agent, governed by laws which he it has no time to gain experience in was capable of obeying or disobey. the presence of its Creator; it has ing, and that his sins in his former no time to act upon its agency; it state might be the cause of his being has no time to obey or disobey; but born blind, and that his condition in as soon as it is formed, it is, accord. his present state was affected by his ing to this supposition, banished into acts in the former state. The Sav. dreary exile from the presence of its iour, in replying to this question, says, Father, and from the glory of Heaven," Neither hath this man sinned, nor to linger out a life of sorrow in an his parents: but that the works of earthly tabernacle. Such a supposi- God should be made manifest in him." tion is absurd, and at war with the (verse 3.) Now, if the pre-existence atributes of goodness, justice, and of man were not a true doctrine, niorcy which appertain to the Deity. why did not our Saviour take this opportunity to correct the ideas of his disciples, by telling them that the blind man could not sin before he was born? Why did he merely tell them that his blindness was not the effects of the sins of himself or parents? Why did he still leave the impression upon their minds that the blind man had a pre-existence?
5. Inasmuch as Scripture informs us that the spirit of man existed with God, and came from Him, and returns to Him, it is reasonable to believe that its formation took place at a period anterior to the organization of the body. This period of pre-existence must have been sufficiently long to have educated and instructed the spirit in the laws and order of government, pertaining to the spiritual world; to have rendered itself approved or disapproved by those laws; to have been tried in all points, according to its capacities and know. ledge, and the free agency which always accompanies and forms a part
7. Jesus, himself, believed in preexistence: for he said, "I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me." And, again, he said, "Before Abraham was, I am." (John 8: 42, 58.) Jesus prays thus: "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine