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THE OUTRAGE IN JACKSON COUNTY, MISSOURI.
From what we can learn relative to this shameful affair up to the latest intelligence, it appears that the mob still persist in their hostile conduct toward their neighbors whom they have, by force of arms deprived of their rights of citizenship, and still continue, when opportunity presents, to commit acts of violence upon those whom they have so inhumanly [inhumanely] driven to wander in this inclement season without the means of subsistence. Where are the feelings of kindness to be found in the bosoms of those who drive helpless women and infants from their peaceable habitations in the dead hours of the night to seek shelter under trees, and the open canopy? Where are the humane principles to be found in the bosoms of those who will drag from their own dwellings and peaceable beds, husbands and fathers, and whip, beat and bruise them in a shocking manner, till their lives are despaired of? What could be the object of these men in killing husbands and exposing to death the lives of infants? That they might gratify their wantonness upon innocent mothers and virgins! for this was their last threat which caused those six on the 23rd of July last, to agree to leave the county of Jackson. Said they, "We will rid Jackson county of the Mormons, peaceably if we can, and forcibly if we must. If they will not go without, we will whip and kill the men; we will destroy the lives of their children, and ravish their women!"
Thus far, we are thankful to a merciful Providence, that all these threats have not yet been put into execution; and we may account it more to the over ruling hand of the Father of the afflicted, than any principle of honor or virtue existing in the hearts of the mob. Every move that they have made from the commencement, from the time that their secret constitution was drawn up and circulated, down to the latest dates, bears the mark of ruthless barbarity far beyond the cruelty and indecency of the savage. The savage, when trampled upon and deprived of his land, has lifted the tomahawk against the innocent because he was heated up to anger with a reflection, that by flattery and intrigue he had been driven from the grave of his father; but in all his ferosity [ferocity] and thirst for the blood of his supposed enemy, the chastity of innocence has been held sacred and never violated, or a threat to that effect. But men, wearing the form, and pretending to the name of Christian, have risen up in a land of laws, in the midst of a wholesome government, without the first instance of robbery or treachery having been committed upon them, or a threat so to do, and sought the lives of men, exposed to starvation helpless infants, and made the bold assertion, that, "We will ravish your women!"
Previous to the time when the printing office was demolished some of the mob sent their negroes to insult and abuse certain young women, who slept in a small cabin adjoining the dwelling where the remainder of the family slept. After repeated attempts to commit insults upon these young women, the parents concluded that it would be unsafe to trust them longer in that situation. Accordingly the young women were put in another bed, and two young men were placed in their stead. After the young men had retired the man of the house was called to the door, and informed by a friend, of the determinations of the mob. This friend also informed him, that as near as he could learn, there would be one or more negroes sent to molest his daughters that night. This was during the excitement while the mob were circulating their secret constitution for signatures. Fortunately, however for the negroes, or their owners, the young men had retired without having this watch-word, and were unprepared with any deadly weapons. In the night they were awoke by the noise occasioned by the negroes whispering and planning without. Directly one made his entrance into the room through the way where the chimney had formerly stood, and was permitted to call the name of one of the young women, and make known his business and intentions when he was seized by the young men, and handled so roughly for a few moments that the demi-infernal when liberated from their grasp, dove head foremost through a wall of stone and bricks that was then remaining of the old chimney.
That the negro did not send himself, is demonstrated from the fact, that whites knew it previous to the time he came, and was informed of by the individual just named. Every person acquainted with the manner in which the blacks are treated in a slave State, know that an act of that kind would cost the slave his own life in an instant, were it possible for the individuals suffering the insult to inflict death: this is no secret among the slaves. And without being encouraged to go, and having a promise of protection from their masters should they be caught, it would be in vain to endeavor to convince the mind, that those blacks would ever attempted an act of so gross a magnitude. And what but an attempt to insult and abuse, could ever prompted any man to encourage any thing of so shameful a nature? What better can we think of a man that will urge his negro to commit unlawful acts, than we could were he to attempt the same himself? But these are the men who make such pretensions to virtuous principles, as to complain that the "Mormons" were about to corrupt their society, by the introduction of free negroes and mulattoes [mulattos] into that country.
These men say in their secret constitution, that, "We believe it a duty we owe ourselves, to our wives and children, to the cause of public morals, to remove them from among us as we are not prepared to give up our pleasant places, and goodly possessions to them, or to receive into the bosoms of our families, as fit companions for our wives and daughters, the degraded and corrupted free negroes and mulattoes [mulattos], that are now inrighted to settle among us." Degraded and corrupted! What a pity, that a society, who are endeavoring by every possible means to abuse and defile the virtuous even by condescending to stimulate negroes to go under cover of darkness and commit the basest crimes, should be corrupted and degraded! It would appear to us as consistent, as it would for Lucifer to accuse one of his angels of being unholy! The cause of public morals! If a people are sunk so low as to be guilty of deeds of this magnitude, we are at a loss to know what they could imagine could be introduced among them to make them any more degraded. For of all things which have ever been charged against any people recorded in the sacred volume, who were cut off from the face of the earth for their wickedness, we know not of many that exceeded them. God destroyed the old world because of their wickedness, and not listening to the preaching of Noah. He overthrew Sodom, Gomorrah, and the cities about them, because they were proud and filled with bread. He also dispersed the Jews for rejecting the Messiah, and scattered them to the four winds; but here is a set of men in danger of having their public morals corrupted, who make a pretence [pretense] to religion, and are so far beneath every thing heretofore extant on earth in the form of wickedness, that they will set their Afric colored population to steal into the dwellings of peaceable neighbors and defile the virtuous! They said, "We will ravish your women!" No promise of mercy, ever so solemnly made, has been observed a moment when they saw an opportunity to abuse the persons of their hatred. But on the other side, every act of abuse which they swore to commit, when ever a possibility presented, it was done or attempted. An attempt was made by a gang of these lawless miscreants to abuse a lady who was in the most delicate situation in life, when a part were pursuing her husband to take his life, and others were engaged in pulling down his dwelling round her in the dead hour of the night! These are facts which will stand recorded upon the pages of the history of the inhabitants of the nineteenth century! A century proud of its liberal laws, and its advance in science and religion! Which is entitled to the appelation [appellation], Civilized? We talk in our country of savages, whose customs and habits, we say, are such that it is necessary that missionaries should be sent immediately to convert them from their idolatry, and teach them the blessings of civilized life. Is it color that constitutes a savage, or is it the acts of men that appear disgustful, and awake in our breasts feelings of pity and compassion for them?
We are confident, that the conduct of these outrageous men cannot find a parallel in the annals of our country, since the days when priestly influence swerved the public mind and bent the prejudices of men with a belief, that consciences ought to be controlled, and made to bow to ecclesiastic authority. We are also confident, that no thinking citizen can for a moment excuse the acts of this banditti, be his sentiments and opinions relative to the reality of religion what they may. If the day has gone by when all classes of our community cannot enjoy the liberties of our constitution, then the day is near when the most powerful party will obtain the ascendancy over our government; and if we may take the Jackson county mob for a pattern, we may unhesitatingly conclude, that the rack and the fagot are the consequent remedies which will be immediately resorted to, to bring men to their proper senses.
And were this the case, no distinction of sects, among the hundreds which are now in being would be tolerated for a moment except the ruling one; and no arm of human power would be considered ought but an enemy, should it be raised, if it did not belong to the predominant party. Facts demonstrating these assertions beyond the power of refutation are abundant in the annals of past ages. So astonishingly blind have been the vain imaginations of men when hurried on by Priests who sought for power and universal rule, that every excess of wickedness was resorted to with a full licence [license] or indulgence, that no acts of cruelty or abuse was sin in the sight of heaven if only inflicted upon the heretics.
We are willing that God should overturn, overturn, overturn it, until he comes whose right it is; and we rejoice in the thought, that Christ has given his ancients a promise, that he will come and reign on the earth, when all things that offend, and that do wickedly will then be cast out; and he set down with his saints to that feast spoken of in the sacred volume, and, as he said in days gone by, partake of the fruit of the vine, new in his kingdom with his elect; but till that time, we do not believe that all people on the earth will see eye to eye in principles of religion; consequently, we do not believe that God ever will authorize one man, or set of men, to exercise an oppressive influence over the mind or conscience of their fellow men. It may be said, that under our present form of government, no one party can have the pre-eminence, and be allowed to exercise any control over the consciences of men; but were it not that an equilibrium of influence existed, if we can calculate any thing from the conduct of past ages, our happy form of government would soon be changed: then wo to the weaker sect! from the strong would proceed fulminations and anathemas! Our constitution, we know guarantees to all the liberty of speech, the liberty of the Press, and the liberty of conscience: but so blind have been the minds of men that when power was obtained, every principle of equality, was lost in a moment, and a spirit prevalent, that to kill all who did not believe with the popular party, would be doing God service. This was the case with the Jews, who vainly thought that the religion of heaven consisted in inflicting death upon the disciples of Jesus. The worshipers of idols thought that if any man refused to worship more than one god, he was an atheist: and from this fact arose some of the most shocking persecutions against the saints which are recorded in history. When the professors of christianity have obtained the ascendancy of power, they too often, for the honor of that glorious name, have overlooked the beautiful principles of that religion, and through ambitious motives brought a stain upon themselves in consequence of persecuting the weaker sect: not a stain upon the religion which heaven has revealed to men for their everlasting happiness, but a stain upon their own characters. Let the pretended professors conduct as they may, these pure principles are equally as pure, and truth as such truth, as it would have been had all men walked in it: it is man that changes, not heaven.
Communicated for The Evening and the Morning Star.
FAITH OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST IN THESE
LAST DAYS. NO. I.
As the world has been greatly excited about the things believed by the church of Christ in these last days, being exceedingly in the dark, owing to the many false reports which have been put in circulation by designing men, which have taken the rounds through those papers which delight more in putting falsehoods into circulation than truth, we deem it a privilege to set this matter to rights, and undeceive that part of community who desire to know the truth on all subjects; believing there are many of this class in this generation: As for that part of community who "love and make lies," we leave them to receive their reward in the place appointed for that purpose, even from the days of old.
Such a document is called for, as the church is increasing daily and great numbers are constantly uniting with it in the different parts of our country, and much excitement prevails; many seeking to know what this strange doctrine is of which they hear so much; for there is no small stir in the land at this time about this way, even to the raising of mobs, of spoiling the goods of the saints as in days of old, whipping some, casting some into prison, and killing others; which things must needs take place, that the church of Christ may be made manifest in the last days, as in days of old, so that all who are disposed to understand, may understand and know for themselves; for such things must needs come, that the testimony of the prophets fail not; and that the Lord may in his own time avenge the blood of his saints upon the earth: for as the church of Christ has always been the same in every age of the world, when there was a church of Christ in existence, and as the adversary of all righteousness has never altered in his feelings toward the saints of God, neither those who are under his influence, we may expect to see as much enmity manifested aginst [against] the saints of God in one age as in another; and consequently in the last days suffer as in days of old.
Neither need they expect to escape the misrepresentations, calumnies, nor the false accusations which all their brethren have had to suffer who have gone before them. They must expect to have their virtues transformed into vices, their acts of benevolence into schemes of fraud, their voluntary sacrifices for the truth's sake designing plans to deceive. Should any church in the last days believe and do as the church in Jerusalem in the days of the apostles, that is, sell all that they had and cast it down at the feet of twelve men to be disposed of as they might direct, with what case the religionist of the present day could prove, (in their own estimation,) that it was wrong. They would endeavor to show what an endless train of evils would arise from such a course. They would launch forth into futurity and see such unspeakable evils arising there from as to render it an act of the greatest imprudence; and still, they would declare that they lived under the same gospel, believed in the same order of things as the church of Jerusalem, were directed by the same inspired apostles, were under the influence of the same system of teaching; having the same Lord, the same faith, the same baptism, the same Spirit, the same hope of their calling, and the same God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in them all; and yet the course pursued by one, would be altogether out of place for the other; yes, exceedingly wrong! still God was no respecter of persons; he required no more of one people than he did of another; "his love, his undefiled was one."
All the religious societies in our country, (or nearly all,) will direct us to the Acts of the Apostles, and to the notable day of pentecost for the time that the gospel was first proclaimed; and to Jerusalem for the first gospel church that was organized. They will show us what was required of men in order that they might become christians: That they must repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, and then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. But here that matter ends, even with those who are the most tenacious for the scriptures, and for the order of the new testament, they will follow this church no farther. Instead of following them to a full display of their faith in the equal distribution of their goods, they will fly off in a tangent, and endeavor to prove that this was all the church that so disposed of their property. They are very cautious in the mean time, never to notice what Paul said to Titus: "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldst set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city as I had appointed thee." [See Titus I.5]
But it makes no difference whether the churches in Asia Minor, and in the islands of the Mediterranean were in order or not, so that we can but get an argument to hold on to our houses and lands, and still be Jerusalem churches. Now, every man who desires truth without hypocrisy, would pause, and say, if the churches in those parts were not in order until Titus put them in order, before I hastily draw a conclusion I will enquire [inquire] what that order was in which Titus was to put them; and if on examination they find that there was not a scrape of a pen in all the revelations which are extant to show what that order was, they would be as ready to conclude that it was the same as was in Jerusalem, seeing that was done immediately under the notice of the apostles' eyes, and by their own direction. One thing we think on this subject is certain, that is this, if the account of the church at Jerusalem had read thus: "Then they that gladly received the word were baptized: And all that believed were at their own houses, and every man had his own property; neither gave he to any man unless it semed [seemed] unto himself. And they continued eating and drinking such things as they had in their own houses, and such as they chose; neither gave they to any man beyond their own pleasure, each man as formerly laying up for himself an abundance of the things of time." Had the account of the church of Jerusalem read thus, and there could be no more evidence for laying down their property at the apostles' feet than they can get for doing it from the epistles to the other churches, it would not weigh one feather in their estimation, and the idea that their religion at all effected their property would have been out of the question; but seeing it is the reverse, the arguments are conclusive.
Strange as it may appear, yet it is no less so than true, that even those who profess to be reformers and manifest a great desire to restore the authority of the scriptures, whenever there is any thing in the bible which would put their faith to the test, the plainest things can be reasoned away, and things which are very far from being so plain, both believed and practiced in their stead.
Not long since we were favored with a discourse upon the Holy Spirit, by the Editor of the Evangelist, a paper published in Carthage, Ohio, which is famous for this kind of teaching. Notwithstanding the Editor is a reformer of modern times, and manifests a great fear that the scripture authority will not be restored, and yet with all his apparent anxiety and his constant rebukes to those who will not return to apostolic order; yet, notwithstanding all this when ever he touches a subject, the full development of which would show the weakness of his own system, he falls into the same error of those whom he admonishes with so much zeal.
We have a discourse on the Holy Spirit by the prophet Joel in the second chapter of his prophesy, which says, And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; and also, upon the servants and upon the hand maids, in those days will I pour out my Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and notable day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.
This discourse is quoted by the apostle Peter, and recorded in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles and commented on: And it shall come to pass in the last days, (saith God,) I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams. And on my servants, and on my handmaids I will pour out in those days of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs in the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. In the 33rd verse the apostle says concerning this promise of the prophet Joel, speaking of the resurrection of Christ: Therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which you see and hear. This is the thing which God has promised in the last days. To pour out his Spirit upon all flesh: As much as to say, that when God pours out his Spirit on all flesh, he will pour out the thing which was there seen and heard. And after the three thousand were pricked in their hearts and asked what they should do, Peter said, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you and your children, and all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
I suppose myself to have been one of this congregation, and depending on the apostle for all the information I had on the subject, what would I have expected to receive? The answer is, I would expect to receive a spirit through or by which I should see visions, dream dreams, and prophesy: Nor could any being expect any thing else from both Joel and Peter's discourse on the Holy Spirit. But from the discourse of the Editor of the Evangelist upon the Holy Spirit, no such expectation could be realized. So different is the discourse of inspired and uninspired men on the subject of religion!-Neither would I have expected that congregation to be the only ones; but their children; yea, all that were afar off, even as many as the Lord our God should call.
But this reformer, like all others whom he condemns, takes a part of the sayings of Peter and enforces them on the people, saying to them, that they must be baptized for the remission of sins; but no sooner does he touch the promise that follows, than the people are informed, that though they have a right to expect the Holy Spirit will be received, but not to produce the office which Peter ascribed to it. And notwithstanding Peter said that the promise he made, on conditions of repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, was the gift of the Holy Spirit, by which gift they were to dream dreams, see visions, and prophesy; and that in the last days was to be given to all who complied with the conditions, even as many as the Lord our God
should call. Still, our reformer, by garbling the scriptures, taking a saying from one writer and a saying from another, can persuade the people that notwithstanding this promise was given to all, it only meant a few in the earlier years of christianity. So that we can plainly see, that reformers and non-reformers are all of one.
The reformers of these last days, among those who call themselves reformers are very near a ridiculous farce, possessing scarcely one feature of primitive christianity, and savouring [savoring] very much of Paul's apostasy, that is, a form of godliness without the power. This seems to be the common failing of all the sects in christendom, so called. Any thing among those religionists which can be done without an immediate display of divine power is believed; but any thing to accomplish it, is reasoned away. So that a man among them is an atheist, yea, a fool! who will pretend to believe the bible when it speaks of any thing to be done, which could require the God of heaven to exert his power.
For instance, if I were to profess to believe the sayings of Isaiah in the 11th Chapter, 15 and 16 verses of his prophecy, which read thus: And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt: I would be considered an atheist of the first magnitude, fit for nothing but to be laughed at! Why? Because this would require the immediate power of God. And say they, all miracles have ceased, and consequently, the propht [prophet] does not mean what he says.
Jeremiah while speaking of the gathering of Israel in the last days, says, Thus saith the Lord, again shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast, the voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endureth forever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the Lord. But should any man profess to believe that the Lord would return them at any time as he did at the first, he would be called a mad man, an atheist, if not an imposter [impostor]! Why? Because, if the Lord ever should do so he would have to give more revelations; for by revelation upon revelation he took them into their land at the first; but this religious age say, that revelations have ceased, and consequently the prophet does not mean what he says.
Moses informs us how the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt at the first in the IV, chapter 33 and 34 verses of Deuteronomy: Did ever a people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs; and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched-out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? And should the Lord ever bring Israel again as he did at the first, he would have to do the same things over again. But this cannot be admitted, for this could not be done without both miracles and revelations: Therefore the prophet did not mean what he said.
TO BE CONTINUED.
Millenium. No. III.
As all writers on the Millennium, up to the present time, have failed to present the subject in a satisfactory point of light, the ground still remains to be occupied by any one who has courage sufficient to undertake it. And should they fail in the attempt, they will only do what great men, (so called) have done before them: indeed, there does not appear to be any great hazard in the undertaking at this time, as a failure would only leave the adventurer in company with the great men of the world, not even the Editor of the Harbinger, and his friend Mr. M'Corkle excepted, whom the Editor helped to sea: but ignorance, that adverse wind, and great draw-back to promotion, has helped to shore again. He seems not, However, to have suffered much in the voyage if he did return as empty as he went; without enriching the literary world with one discovery for he finds himself in the same harbor, in safe mooring with others who have attempted the same voyage and have failed in the attempt. Some indeed hoisted all sail and made as though they would be off the first fair wind, leaving all behind: but after examining their rigging and sails they doubted of their sufficiency; and after a little closer examination, they found to their great surprise, that they were entirely wanting in ballast. And after coasting for some time they abandoned the voyage altogether, or until they could increase their ballast; for though they had a great deal of sail, and a little ballast, yet it was found that it was not of the right kind: among whom the Editor of the Harbinger is chief.
In undertaking to present before the public the subject of the Millennium, we do it without claiming any favors, or pleading any excuses. We design to limit ourselves within the limits of the bible, and examine the subject as it has been written by the ancient prophets. If the public should not like the style, let them alter it till it suits them, and if they dislike the statement, our flag is on the outside of the wall, they can have an opportunity of trying their skill and making a better of it.
One thing on this subject is certain, and on which all agree: it is this, that, the Millennium has no existence, nor never had: that, in searching after it, we are searching after a something that the eye of man never saw, nor has any society of men ever enjoyed it. To use the language of Paul, "eye hath not seen it, nor ear heard it," except by the spirit of prophecy and vision. But though it has no existence, yet it may have an essence; for if it has not an essence, it never will have an existence; and if it has an essence, it is only to be found in the purpose of Him who "calleth things that are not, as though they were:" and all the knowledge we have of this purpose is through the medium of prophecy and revelation. It is one of those subjects which is alone to be found in the bible if any where; and it would be pretty hard to tell how the belief in it should be so general among believers in the bible in the different ages of the world, unless there is something said about it in the scriptures. It must be acknowledged by all, that the prophets have said some things, indeed many things, which if ever fulfilled, would produce a very different order of society from any ever on earth before: an order of society in which the saints of God "could worship under their own vine and their own fig tree, and there would be none to make them afraid." Such an order of society has never yet existed; for though the time has been, and now is when a corrupted religion can be tolerated; yet there never was a time, nor is there one now in which the church of Christ can worship undisturbed. Their character, their property, and even their lives are now, as in former days, sought with untiring perseverance by both religious and irreligious, not even reformers excepted. But this period is not only to be marked with this peculiarity, but it is also materially to effect the brutal creation. The lion and the ox are to eat straw together; the bear and the cow to graze the plain in company, and their young ones to lay down in peace: there shall be nothing to hurt or destroy in all the Lord's holy mountain. The lion will be carnivorous no longer; and all the beasts will cease to prey on flesh and blood; for if they do not they will both hurt and destroy, and the testimony of the prophet fail; for if no such day comes, there will be no Millennium. That day promised to the world by the prophets is to be a time of rest, otherwise they have promised nothing; and there is as much said about the rest for the beasts, as about the rest for man; and there remains the same promise for the brutal creation, as for the rational; for the Lord promised by the mouth of Joel, and on the day of pentecost renewed the same promise by Peter, that in the last days he would pour out his Spirit on all flesh. If that promise is ever fulfilled in its full extent, the Spirit of God will have to be poured out on beast as well as man; for they also are flesh. And if there never should be a time when the Spirit of God is poured out on the beast, there never will be a Millennium. And when that day comes, the Spirit of the Lord, when poured out, will make a great revolution on the irrational creation; changing their nature both as to food and habits; for the God of heaven, by that Spirit with which he garnished the heavens, can also change the nature of both the rational and irrational creations, from one end of heaven to the other. One of the great difficulties in all writers who have written on the Millennium, is, that they have tried to prove by making the language of the prophets all figures and metaphors, that, that which alone can be done by a direct exertion of divine power in the way of miracle, is to be produced upon human principles; endeavoring to prove that all things spoken of by the prophets can be fulfilled without miracles; without an immediate exertion of divine power.-Hence all the phenomenas of the heavens are made to mean some thing about kings and priests; kingdoms and churches; (so says Mr. M'Corkle, Mr Campbell's help-mate;) and in this he is not alone; for others long before his day, and who had about as much knowledge of the subject as he had, said the same things in effect, before he was born; but no such rules of interpretation of prophecy would ever have been introduced, was not the religious world in a state of apostasy; having the form of godliness but denying the power thereof. But before the Millennium comes, or ever can come, there will be a day of power, not in a figurative, but in a literal sense, as direct as the power which raised Lazarus from the dead, or else it will never come. And there will not only come a day of power, but a day of revelation also; and that as direct from God as those revelations given by Moses and the prophets; by Jesus and the apostles; and not a few only, but line upon line, and line upon line, precept upon precept, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, meaning many, yea, very many revelations; until the knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. For who does not know, that there is not knowledge enough in all the revelations now extant, together with all the human productions in all languages, in the world, to cover the earth as the waters cover the face of the great deep? but a sufficiency of revelations to do this must come, or else the Millennium will never come.
The prophets in presenting what we call the Millennium, and what John calls the thousand years of Christ's reign on the earth, has shown us an order of things which, when understood, will clearly set forth to every intelligent mind the great apostasy of all the religions of the world; their immense distance from the religion of heaven; the weakness and folly of all the schemes of all ages, since the days of the crusaders, to Alexander Campbell (but he, of all others with his Harbinger, cuts the oddest figure in the world;) an age of incessant revelations, every one knowing the Lord without the need of any teacher: a people of such faith, that it shall be said of the inhabitants, that they are not sick: an age of such power, that the mountains shall flow down and the valleys rise up: crooked things become straight, and rough places smooth: an age of wonder, when the faith of men, like that of Moses, shall make the mountains, not drop water only, but new wine: an age when people shall receive refreshing from the presence of the Lord: an age when there will be so much faith on the earth, that death can have no dominion; but men will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and be caught up: an age when every man shall be his own revelator, prophet, and seer; for all shall know the Lord alike, from the least to the greatest. The day spoken of by Paul when the perfect shall have come, when all prophecies shall have failed; when all former knowledge shall have passed away; when all tongues shall be identified in one: an age when the will of God shall be done on earth as it is done in heaven; and if so, men will have to know as much as angels, or they cannot do the will of God as it is done in heaven. Let a man but for a moment, contemplate this order of things in the light of revelation, as it is justly called by Peter in Acts III chapter, "The times of the restitution of all things of which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began," and then let him take a peep at Mr. Campbell and his Harbinger, making a mighty noise, saying, Reform! crying, (that is, on the title page of his Harbinger,) Millennium! Millennium!! but if we may judge from what he says on other matters, his Millennium is not to possess one property of the Millennium of the prophets and apostles: his is to be a Millennium without power or revelation, and if so, there never will be one!
With regard to the Millennium, let it be remembered, that, it is worse than vain to conjure up a something in our brain that has no existence else where; for if there is ever such a period it will just be what God promised in the scriptures, and nothing else. Nor would Mr. Campbell be at so great a loss as to have to creep out so dishonorably; if it were not that his statements are directly opposed to the Millennium of the bible.-In his sentiments he follows in the train of his fathers, denying all miracles, all revelations and all the peculiar properties which is to distinguish that age from all others; and should he or any other man establish a Millennium of that description, he will put to silence Moses and the prophets: Jesus and the apostles; and all the inspired writers that ever wrote on it since the world began. TO BE CONTINUED.
-> Query.-WHERE is that law mentioned by Malachi IV:4 which says, Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for ALL Israel with the statutes and judgments?-[Editor of the Star.]
THE EVENING AND THE MORNING STAR.
KIRTLAND, OHIO, FEBRUARY, 1834.
THE PROPHECY OF ZEPHANIAH.
Something peculiarly interesting to those who look for the return of the children of Israel in the last days, and their reorganization in the land of their fathers' promised inheritance, that once flowed with milk and honey, occupies the mind when perusing the above prophecy. Favored as they were, with one continued scene of revelation, the prophets of God rising up one after another and delivering his will to them, that they might not go astray and fall into the customs of the heathen, and thereby bring down the wrath and indignation of heaven upon themselves, one might suppose, at first thought, that they would have continued in the strictest course of duty to their God, from that day to the present, and now, instead of remaining under the curse and anger of their Savior, hold a conspicuous part of the eastern world, and be a pattern of wisdom and intelligence to all nations, and serve as a guide to all people to point to them the way of life and salvation: For to them were committed the oracles of God; to them were given the promises; and to their fathers was the oath made, that, in them all the families of the earth should be blessed.
They had the promise from the Lord, that if they obeyed his precepts and walked in his statutes, of being preserved from every pestilence, and protected from the hands of all their enemies. And notwithstanding their country should be crowned with all the luxuries of the world for their joy and satisfaction; yet, the peculiar providence of God toward them should be such, that although they should even go thrice in a year to appear before the Lord their God, the nations round them were to be cast out, and the fear and dread of Israel in their hearts, so that no other people should desire their land or seek to obtain it while they left it in this defenseless situation. Their borders were to be enlarged, and they were to stretch forth to the north, and to the south, and from the river of Egypt to the great river Euphrates. The arm that was stretched out for their deliverance while in Egyptian bondage, was still able to protect them when brought into the promised land. The angel who went before to lead them was still to be near, and defend them against the invasion of every foe: Their baskets were to be filled with plenty, their fats were to overflow with wine and oil, their garners were to be filled with the richest stores, and their children were to rise up and bless the name of the Lord their God.
Nothing was lacking on the part of their great Shepherd to make them the most delightful people on the earth, and render their situation the most pleasing: Every enducement [inducement] that could be given in righteousness to encourage them to be faithful to the commandments of heaven, seemed to be presented and placed within their grasp; and no blessing possible for Omnipotence to bestow upon mankind was withheld from their view. They were not only delivered from Egyptian servitude by the marvelous interposition of providence; but the glory of the Lord was shown forth in a cloud to lead them by day, and to give them light by night: And they had the promise from the mouth of him that could not lie, that if they would obey his voice, and keep his covenant, they should be a peculiar treasure unto him: A kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. [see Exodus XIX, 5 and 6] And even when they had committed abominations in the sight of the Lord and worshiped [worshipped] a molten image, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the similitude of an ox, so that He refused to go up in their midst, yet in his great mercy he sent his angel to bring them into the land that he had promised to their fathers.
All his dealings with them were wisely calculated to inspire their hearts to seek holiness, and depart from their wicked and idolatrous practices; and though they were often reproved and chastened, yet all his rebukes were wisely ordered in his providence for their good; and all his reproofs were given in love, only to remind them of their departure from the true God, and the wrath which must inevitably fall upon them if they persisted in a course of wickedness; for he had respect to his gracious covenant, and in all their afflictions he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: In his love and in his pity he redeemed them, as said the prophet. [see Isaiah LXIII, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14.
In consequence of transgressions they were often brought into bondage to their enemies, after their arrival in the land of Canaan; but from time to time, they were set at liberty, after being compelled to bow to the yoke of affliction, and were permitted to enjoy again their sacred privileges of worshiping [worshipping] God according to the pattern delivered to them from his hand.
The house of Israel [the ten tribes] had been led away captive from their own lands by Shalmanaser [Shalmaneser] king of Assyria: Judah had been brought low and made small by contending with numerous enemies; and frequently the candle of David seemed almost extinguished, before the time when Zephaniah delivered his prophecy. He lived in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah; who, notwithstanding the iniquity of his father, set his mind, even in his youth to seek the Lord and worship him. And though Judah had been afflicted and impoverished by idolatrous kings, the promise of the Lord that he made to David was not forgotten, which says, If thy children take heed to their ways, to walk before me in truth, with all their heart, and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee a man on the throne of Israel. [see 1 Kings II. 4]
Josiah, with propriety may be considered one of the most prosperous kings that ever reigned over the house of Judah after the days of Solomon: God gave him peace in all his realm and multiplied his blessings in all his borders: Wherever he turned his attention his efforts were crowned with abundant success: He threw down the altars of Baalim; he destroyed the groves, he beat the idols and carved images in pieces and ground them to powder, and made dust of them, and strewed it upon the graves of those who had sacrificed to them; he slew the priests of Baal and burned their bones upon their altars; he cleansed Judah and Jerusalem, and caused their inhabitants to forsake the customs of the heathen and worship the Lord their God, according to the law given by the hand of Moses.
From the reign of Solomon to the reign of Josiah, a period of three hundred and forty years, Judah had alternately been governed by idolatrous, and by righteous princes. Some walking in the fear of God, and others debasing themselves by the worship of idols, and stooping to observe the traditions of their neighbours [neighbors], and condescending to pay adoration to stocks and images, which were either made with their own hands, or by cunning workmen in their sight. How it was possible for a people who were so highly fovoured [favored] of heaven, to turn to the worship of dumb idols, after receiving the law of the Lord by his voice in the mighty trump, and continually being reminded of his ways by faithful prophets, rising up early and exhorting them, is peculiarly astonishing, and is one of the greatest samples of the depravity of the human heart and the weakness of man, his folly, and his willingness to depart from the rules of heaven, of any other recorded in the sacred volume. We witness one king rising up and keeping the commandments of God, and prospering. He would put to flight and conquer his enemies, though not a forth part as numerous as they; we witness the prosperity of his subjects in like manner, and the land filled with abundance of the good things of this life. We witness the reign of an idolatrous king, and then we behold trouble like a whirlwind coming upon Israel: wars, pestilence, and famine, consume the seed of Jacob, and lay waste and desolate their beautiful cities. Such was the influence, and such the ascendency [ascendancy] of the kings of Israel and Judah over their people. A sceptre [scepter] swayed in righteousness brought down the blessings of heaven upon all its subjects; but if held in unrighteous hands, destruction surely followed!
The temple of God was defiled from time to time when the kings of Judah forsook his statutes, and instituted idolatrous worship within its consecrated walls. Notwithstanding the glory of the Most High continually overshadowed the mercy seat within the vail, and the high priest being obliged to wash himself, and change his garments when ever he entered into the most holy place, and not then without first offering blood for his own sins, yet the goodly vessels of that house and sanctuary were not unfrequently [infrequently] used to sacrifice to devils and the work of men's hands; and the house stript [stripped] of its gold and goodly gifts to decorate images and idols reared within its courts, in honour [honor] of the gods of the heathen. Such was the situation of the temple, and such the manner of its worship when Josiah was anointed king of Judah.
But he repaired those parts of the house which had been broken down and defaced, and cleansed that part which had been polluted and defiled by former idolatrous kings; he commanded the holy ark to be put into its place again, and the sacrifices of praise and of peace offerings to ascend up once more for a sweet savor before the face of the Lord of hosts, in the house that Solomon had built to his name. He caused the priests, the sons of Aaron to stand and minister according to their courses, as written in the law; he arranged the singers in regular form in their places to praise the Lord, not only with their voices, but with instruments wisely invented by those who were inspired by the Spirit of the Lord.
To witness the sacred ordinances of the law performed in the house reared to the name of Israel's God, after having long been neglected, must have been pleasing to those who had not in their hearts forsook the commandments. To witness the sublime scene of a passover as represented in the Old Testament, must, indeed, fill one's mind with the greatest degree of solemnity. To see the high priest approach the alter of God, and there, not only for himself, offer up sacrifices and the shedding of blood for the remission of his own, but for Israel's sins, clothed in the authority of his priesthood, wrapped in the holy garments consecrated for that purpose by the holy oil, and crowned with a beautiful mitre [miter], and girded with the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, set with the most choice diamonds, with the names of the twelve tribes engraved therein; and the Urim and Thummim set within the same, must inspire the heart to reverence Him who seeth in secret, and who had instituted all these ordinances as types of the great sacrifice of his Only Begotten. The passover was instituted by the immediate direction of heaven to the children of Israel while they were yet in Egypt.-It was the last night they were to tarry in that country where they had served in rigorous bondage four hundred years. The angel of God was to pass over the land that night, and every dwelling that was not marked with the blood of a lamb without blemish upon the posts of the door, its inmates
were to loose their first born. In truth, it may be said, that this ordinance was kept through faith.
Not only was the passover to be observed by the Israelites in Egypt, but they were to teach it to their children after them by their observing the same; and the memorial of the feast of unleavened bread, throughout their generations forever. [see Exodus XII, 14] And such a passover, says the ancient historian, was not kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet to that time, even by all the former kings of Israel, as was kept by Josiah and those that were present with him, the priests, the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. At his death the people mourned, and even the prophet Jeremiah lamented his loss: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of him in their lamentations: and behold, says the historian, they are written in the Lamentations. [see 2 Chr. XXXV, 18 and 25.]
Such, in short, is the character of the man who reigned over Judah in the days of Zephaniah; and it may justly be said, the last of the house of Jacob that has ever swayed the scepter in Jerusalem long in peace. Jehoahaz his son reigned three months, and was deposed by Necho and carried into Egypt. Jehoiakim, or Eliakim his brother was made king in his stead, and reigned eleven years, who was then bound in fetters and carried captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. After him reigned Jehoiakim his son, three months and ten days, and was then carried to Babylon also. Mattaniah his father's brother was made king in his stead, whose name was changed to Zedekiah; and he reigned eleven years [see 2 Chr. XXXVI and 2 Kgs. XXIV and 17.] Making in all from the death of Josiah, four kings, who reigned twenty two years, six months, and ten days. But these might with propriety be considered nominal; for they held their offices generally by appointment from foreign kings, and all except the first were made or created by them, and not by the voice of the poople [people,] and were deposed at pleasure by their masters. In fact, they were very little if any better than the rest of the heathen; nor were the people over whom they reigned, except individuals: all seemingly forgetting the prosperity of their former king, and also his righteous acts.
None except those who were filled with the spirit of prophecy, could for a moment imagine, or conceive the possibility of so great a change in the affairs of the remnants of the house of Israel, as suddenly transpired after the death of Josiah. But the prophets, taught by the voice of inspiration, seemed to be aware of this fact; and even in the days of peace and prosperity, rose early at the commandment of the Lord, and lifted their voices in the hearing of the people; warning them of approaching desolations, which at some future period, were to come upon that country. They saw in vision that calamity and destruction would overtake the remnants of Jacob who were yet left in the land: They saw that the rising generation would not walk after the Lord, and consequently must be dispersed: They knew that God had borne with that people, and suffered them to trample under their feet his law and the testimony of his prophets till justice from him was about to overtake them: Among these was to be found the prophet Zephaniah.
In his prophecy are many sayings very peculiar, and are to be met with, or expressions similar, over the writings of the most of the prophets of Israel. The introduction, though, easy, has been rendered more interesting, if possible, in consequence of its fulfillment, by which fact we may draw a conclusion that, if any part of his prophecy is not yet fulfilled according to its literal reading, it yet remains to be fulfilled; and with propriety we may expect it will be, as much so as the former. If there are doubts upon the mind relative to the certainty, whether this prophet designed to be understood as he spake, all that remains to settle the question is, to carefully compare his sayings with the subsequent history of the Jews; for in the midst of the prosperity of Judah he comes forth with boldness, and proclaims: I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the Lord. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heavens, and the fishes of the sea; and the stumbling-blocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the Lord. I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. That this notable prophecy was shortly after fulfilled, none, we presume, who are acquainted with the history of the Jews, will hesitate for a moment to admit. For they were shortly after carried captive to Babylon, except the poor, and they soon fled into Egypt, and left Jerusalem truly an astonishment, with her walls demolished and her palaces burned with fire, until her land had rest and enjoyed her Sabbaths seventy years. Notwithstanding the prophet declared that the day of the Lord was near, and that the Lord had prepared a sacrifice and bid his guests; and even a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, when a sound of alarm should be heard against the fenced cities, and against the high towers, was also near, when all the land should be devoured by the fire of his jealousy; yet all seemed to pass by unobserved and unnoticed by many of the people, who said in their hearts, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil.
But if his prophecy was not observed by the rising generation, that fact did not make it untrue; nor did it fall to the ground unfulfilled because it was not heeded by the people in whose ears it was spoken. God who had power to speak from the heavens, had power to look from that holy place; and though his word was regarded but lightly, or esteemed of no worth by those to whom it was delivered; yet in due time he brought it all to pass, and established it forever, by fulfilling it upon the heads of a rebellious people, at a time when repentance with them was too late to escape his chastening hand! He who had power to bare Israel upon eagles' wings; bring them to himself, and show them his glory; give them his law and commandments by his own voice in the hearing of all; had power also to chastise them sufficiently if they forsook him, to bring them to a remembrance of his ways again, and to seek his face! He who had power to raise up prophets and send unto them to turn them from their iniquities, had power also to fulfil [fulfill] all that he caused to be spoken by the mouths of these prophets; and if those things which he caused to be spoken by them by the power of the Holy Spirit was rejected or esteemed lightly, he had power to lay waste their cities, and make their houses desolate, until they were afflicted in captivity by the hands of their enemies, consumed by pestilence, or famine, or brought to unfeigned repentance for all their sins! And thus it was with the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the days of these kings, who rejected the words of the prophets.
Nor is the vision of the prophet confined alone to the subject of the dispersion of the Jews. Though justice required that they should be shastened [chastened] because of their transgressions after receiving such particular manifestations of the favor of heaven, and rejecting its teachings. The greater the blessing bestowed upon any people and disregarded, the more severe the chastisement from the hand of the Lord. Israel was exalted with favors, and Jerusalem filled with blessings; and the heathen were cast out. Consequently, then, when these favors were lightly esteemed, and the precepts of heaven rejected, the wrath of God must inevitably fall upon them first, according to the pattern of all his dealings with mankind: for Judgment firstly begins at his house.
Although the house of Jacob were to be afflicted becauce [because] they had forsaken the Lord, yet the heathen could not escape! And though at the distress of Israel they could look on and mock, yet the time was near when sorrow should overtake them suddenly, and calamity as a thief in the night! And though they could hiss at their desolations, and wag their heads because of their destructions, and glut themselves with their spoils; slay their young men and abuse their virgins, and destroy their children, yet the time was soon coming when the Lord in his wrath would overtake them also, and in his fury they should be consumed!
The eye that could behold Israel when he was in a desert land and in a waste howling wilderness, could look down upon him still, though he were carried captive to the remotest corners of the earth, or placed in the midst of the heathen, among a people that knew not God. That arm that was able to make the sea a path for Israel was still sufficient to protect him that his posterity perish not nor his name become extinct. That hand that fed him in the desert was able still to feed him, and bring him forth again, though he were hid in the mountains, and in the holes of the rocks, and lay the earth waste for his sake!
Zephaniah was assured of the destructions which were to come upon the surrounding nations also. God, after showing him the calamity which was to come upon his people, also showed him the utter overthrow and end of many of their enemies. He says, after warning those who had been righteous, to seek for a hiding place against the day of the Lord's anger, For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a dessolation [desolation]; they shall drive out Ashdod at noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up. Why? That even the sea costs [coasts] might be for the remnant of the house of Judah, that they might feed there upon in safety; and lie down in the house of Ashkelon in the evening: For says he, the Lord their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.
No circumstance relating to the temporal situation of the surrounding nations, was withheld from the mind of the prophet while wrapped in the vision of the Lord, and clothed with the spirit of prophecy. Men without a divine influence to touch the heart, could suppose, that all things were to pass smoothly along, and that their generations were to rise up successively and inherit the earth undisturbed till the world was filled with their posterity, or like other mighty nations, had subdued surrounding countries to make room for their spreading glory. But the man of God, swallowed up in the power and spirit of inspiration, could understand what should befall them for years to come, and in generations unborn; he could discover their increasing glory until it had arisen to its zenith; and he could behold their gradual decline until they ceased to have a name; or else by some revolution, or by a power superior to themselves, they were sunk in obscurity, led captive by their enemies, or slain with the sword.
The prophet continues, and says that the Ethiopians also should be slain with the sword of the Lord; and that he would stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria; and make Ninevah a dessolation [desolation], and dry like a wilderness. Nineveh, the pride of Assyria, the glory of Assur, which had stood for ages, and whose praise had been sung by thousands from century to century, by succeeding generations, should be laid waste and become a fold for flocks! Why? Because she had magnified herself against the Lord! she had touched his anointed! she had afflicted Israel and but a short time previous, her king had led the ten tribes captive from the land of their fathers! [TO BE CONTINUED.]
-> By the direction of a conference of the elders of the church of Christ, assembled in this place on the nineteenth of this month, notice is hereby given to the traveling elders and brethren abroad, that a general conference will be held in Saco, Maine, commencing on Friday, the thirteenth of June, next, and continue as long as business may require, or it may be found proper. This appointment at Saco, has been made in answer to a special request of the church in that place, through the medium of a letter from one of the elders now laboring in that vicinity. If circumstances are such as to permit, it may be expected that one or more elders will be appointed to attend from this place. All who are laboring in the vineyard, whose arrangements will allow, should attend the general conferences abroad, as much instruction may be given on such occasions, which, if heeded, may prove a lasting benefit to all. Each laborer in the glorious gospel of our Lord's kingdom can there have an opportunity of learning the success of his brother, and all may rejoice with the full expectation of receiving an adequate compensation for all their toils and persecutions: not in the goods of this life, but in the riches of that eternal kingdom where "moth nor rust doth not corrupt." No trifling excuse should deter our brethren from attending. [Editor of the Star.]
-> LETTERS.-WE are happy to learn from letters frequently received, that the word is preached with success in many parts of our country, and some among the thousands who hear are willing to be reproached for the sake of Christ, and the reward which is sure to the faithful when he comes to make up his jewels. By a letter from brother Z. Pulcifer of Spafford, N. Y. we learn that a small church has lately been established in Richland, on the shores of Lake Ontario; and another from brother D. Evans, says that he has baptized, last summer and fall, seventy four persons, and thirty in one day: We can say, may God roll on his glorious work. Other letters to brethren in this place give pleasing intelligence, and we hope that the elders will not forget to write us from time to time of their prosperity.
Last fall, two of the elders of this church made a short journey into Canada, and were successful in planting the word of truth in that country. During their stay in the place, which was short, they baptized thirteen; since then, as appears by the following to one of the brethren who was there, the work has been gradually increasing. This gospel has been preached in the province of Canada, previous to last fall; but never as far west, as we have been informed. The other is from the far east, and will show something how the work is received in that part of our country.-[Editor of the Star.]
Wendhom, Dec. 29, 1833.
I have long been expecting to receive a letter from you, but as yet have received none: I received one from brother Joseph, a short time since, who informed me that you had returned safe to your friends and families, which I was happy to hear. Your labors while in Canada have been the beginning of a good work: there are 34 members attached to the church at Mount Pleasant, all of whom appear to live up to their profession, five of whom have spoken in tongues, and three sing in tongues; and we live at the top of the mountain! For my part, I feel that I cannot be thankful enough for what I have received: the scriptures have been opened to my view beyond account, and the Revelation of John is become quite plain: I discover the monster there described in his true colors and by his right name.
Your friends in Canada often speak of you and brother Joseph . Mr, and Mrs. Beamer, are seriously enquiring [inquiring] after the truth: they often speak of brother Sidney and Joseph; and all the people with whom I am acquainted, or have talked with upon the subject of religion, appear to be much engaged: Some for, and the remainder against; but I find those blessed promises to be verified, that God's grace shall be sufficient for our day and time of need. I find that those places where I thought the cross was a going to be the hardest, is often the lightest, and then I often obtain the greatest blessings.
If you can send a couple of preachers out here; as soon as you receive this you would do us a kindness; for brother Freman is often called from home, and it is necessary that some one should be there: Send those that you have confidence in or none: the work requires competent workmen; for the harvest is truly great. I feel thankful that I have been spared to see this time. I shall be up to see you in the spring, if the Lord will. Remember me in your devotions, that I may prove faithful in the cause of Christ, that we may come off more than conquerors, and be counted worthy, that we may receive the crown laid up for those that continue to the end.
Brother Jackson and wife were up to see us from Hamelton a short time since and we had a time of refreshing from the Lord; and brother J. went home with less prejudice than he came. I think there is a great opening in that place. Please write soon after the receipt of this, and let me know how it is with you and yours. Tell the brethren in the Lord, that they are near and dear to us in Canada; for I can truly say, that I do love the children of God.
From your brother in the bonds of the gospel.
M. C. NICKERSON.
Saco, Me. January 20, 1834.
BRETHREN IN THE LORD:
I improve a few moments to inform you that I am well, that the Lord is present with me; his Spirit warms my heart; gives life to my soul; is my friend among enemies; my joy among friends; my comforter when alone; my companion in trouble; brings a hope like an anchor; makes the crown look near; and insures the victory by an endurance of faith unto the end.
The 15th No. of the Star arrived here a few days since which was gladly received; but it caused some painful emotions to read of the dreadful persecution at the west, yet there is a secret joy, for we can lift up our heads and rejoice, knowing that our redemption draweth nigh: for Jesus said, in the world ye shall have tribulation, but in me ye shall have peace.
Agreeably to your request, I would inform you that I have been laboring in this part of the vineyard for some time to lay before the people the new and everlasting covenant and the glorious things of the kingdom that God has been pleased to reveal in these last days.
I have baptized about forty in this section, and there is more convinced of the truth but are still lingering on the threshold of the church, and I think the Lord will gather some of them into his kingdom.
Brother E. M. Green labored with me from the 16th of Jan. 1833, till the October following. While we were together we baptized about one hundred and thirty; then at a council at Rowley, Mass. it was decided that he should travel with brother H. Cowan to Kirtland. Accordingly they started on their mission, and I went to Boston and visited the church in that place and baptized one. I then returned to this place and organized this branch of the church. The members in this place are strong in the Lord and are rejoicing in the new and everlasting covenant. O! that God would rend the heavens and come down to deliver his saints; that the mountains might give way before him, and flow down at his presence; that the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour [Savior] Jesus Christ might roll forth till it fills the whole earth! I long to see the time when the saints of the most high God shall take the kingdom, and possess it for ever.
Finally brethren, pray for me that I may have words of wisdom, and a door of utterance to declare the whole counsel of God, and rightly divide the word of truth; giving to every man his portion in due season. For my determination is, with the stick of Joseph in one hand, and the stick of Judah in the other, to labor diligently in this world that my skirts may be clear from the blood of all men, and I stand acquitted before the bar of God. I am yours in Christ.
JOHN F. BOYNTON.
-> PERSECUTION.-It is to be lamented by every thinking man, that from those who condemn the Jews for persecuting the Messiah and his disciples, we not infrequently see them manifest the same spirit toward those who are not of their faith. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes, were, perhaps, equally zealous in their religious belief, and yet none of them agreed, except in this one thing, to persecute, even to death the Lord and his saints. Was this the pure doctrine of heaven? How astonished must be those poor deluded beings when they are cast out of that Kingdom which they so warmly contended that they were heirs to, and see those whom they dispised [despised] and put to death, crowned to enjoy it forever! Does the religion of the Savior consist in persecution, or does it not?-[Ed. Star.]
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.
At a conference of elders of the church of Christ, convened at Geneseo, Livingston county, N. Y. on the 31st of December, 1833, EZRA LINDON, formerly an elder in said church, was silenced by the voice of said conference for promulgating unscriptural principles, and refusing to give proper satisfaction for his conduct. His credentials were demanded by the conference, but they were denied. According to the rules and regulations of the church, he was then excommunicated from this body. LYMAN JOHNSON, Moderator
ORSON PRATT, Clerk.
-> We copy the following from "THE DAY-BOOK," printed at Mount Vernon, Ohio. We are not sorry to discover that the EDITOR has not only a just sense of the liberty of conscience, but a proper regard for the letter of the Constitution. We have no comments to make on the article, further, than to say that it is correct; and we are rejoiced to learn that there are yet men in our country who are untrammeled by the power of the clergy.-[Ed. Star.]
Governor Dunklin of Missouri, has issued an Executive Letter directed to several leading men of the Mormon persuasion directing them to appeal to the courts of law, which are bound to render them satisfaction for the late outrageous assault upon their rights and liberties as peaceable citizens. The Governor says, "in the event that the laws cannot be executed, and that the fact is officially made known to me, my duty will require me to take such steps as will enforce a faithful execution of them."
We may infer from this declaration, that justice is to be rendered to that much abused people, the mormonites, who have been punished on account of their Religion. If this kind of proscription is permitted, the sacred bonds of friendship are sundered, and savage customs must be restored with all their bloody rites! It is in vain to deny, that sectarian influence has nothing to do in this matter-the stake and the fagot was anciently used to burn heretics, and if they are to be revived again, we may bid adieu to liberty equality, and the rights of man! If we may judge, from what has transpired in Missouri, a strong party of fanatics (not mormonites,) are determined to carry their accursed blue laws into effect, the same laws that were enforced in New-England, during the age of Puritan misrule.
-> We copy the following article from the NORTH STAR, printed in Danville Vermont, by E. EATON, headed, "The Mormons,-We have received the first number of the Mormon 'Morning and Evening Star,' [The Evening and the Morning Star,] resuscitated in Kirtland, Ohio. It is the same assuming, mysterious publication of its original."
Perhaps our patrons will not be surprised on reading the above remarks of the Editor of the North Star, when they are informed, that in his columns he advocates both politics and religion very warmly, frequently complaining of all who are not of his principles; and that he has been considerably troubled previous to this, in consequence of the everlasting gospel being proclaimed in his vicinity. On perusing his paper, we were ready to ask, whether, to make the "tempest" which is so fast gathering at Washington, "burst in its fury" sooner, and accomplish the desired object, he had not better call on all his neighbors of the "Blue Law" order, march to Washington, surround the capitol, and proclaim a government of church and state, erect an ecclesiastic tribunal, and put to the rack all who will not embrace his creed? Would this be any sin?
Observing that the Editor took no notice of the HORRID persecution against an unoffending community, in Jackson county, Missouri, by a party of religionists, we were ready to conclude, that, if a plain unvarnished relation of facts are assuming, then, certainly, Mr. EATON has found an ASSUMING publication; and if truth to him is mysterious, he has also, in this life, if not till now, found a large quantity of MYSTERIES!
Query.-We ask, whether Mr. EATON is not of the same faith of a certain sect in olden times who thought it no sin to whip, tar and feather, and drag through the streets the Baptists, hang the Quakers, and pass PUBLIC STATUTES, that no one should feed, lodge, or harbor an Adamite, or a Heretic?
THE ELDERS OF THE CHURCH IN KIRTLAND,
TO THEIR BRETHREN ABROAD.
Dear brethren in Christ, and companions in tribulation:
When we call to remembrance the ties with which we are bound to those who embrace the everlasting covenant, and the fellowship and love with which the hearts of the children of our Lord's kingdom should be united, we cherish a belief, that you will bear with us, when we take this course to communicate to you some of the many thoughts which occupy our minds, and press with continued weight upon our hearts, as we reflect upon the vast importance and responsibility of your callings, in the sight of the Master of the vineyard. And though our communications to you may be frequent, yet we believe they will be received on your part with brotherly feelings; and that from us your unworthy brethren, you will suffer a word of exhortation to have place in your hearts, as you see the great extent of the power and dominion of the prince of darkness, and realize how vast the numbers are who are crowding the road to death without every giving heed to the cheering sound of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Consider for a moment, brethren, the fulfillment of the words of the prophet; for we behold that darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the inhabitants thereof-that crimes of every discription [description] are increasing among men-vices of every enormity are practiced-the rising generation growing up in the fulness [fullness] of pride and arrogance-the aged losing every sense of conviction, and seemingly banishing every thought of a day of retribution-intemperance, immorality, extravagance, pride, blindness of heart, idolatry, the loss of natural affection, the love of this world, and indifference toward the things of eternity increasing among those who profess a belief in the religion of heaven, and infidelity spreading itself in consequence of the same-men giving themselves up to commit acts of the foulest kind, and deeds of the blackest dye; dying, blaspheming, stealing, robbing, murdering, defaming, defrauding, blasting the reputation of neighbors, advocating error and opposing the truth, forsaking the covenant of heaven, and denying the faith of Jesus-and in the midst of all this, the day of the Lord fast approaching when none except those who have on the wedding garment will be permitted to eat and drink in the presence of the Bridegroom, the Prince of peace!
Impressed with the truth of these facts, what can be the feelings of those who have been made partakers of the heavenly gift, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come? Who but those who can see the awful precipice upon which the world of mankind stand in this generation, can labor in the vineyard of the Lord with a feeling sense of their deplorable situation? Who but those who have duly considered the condesension [condescension] of the Father of our spirits, in providing a sacrifice for his creatures, a plan of redemption, a power of atonement, a scheme of salvation, having as one of its great objects, to bring men back into the presence of the King of heaven; crown them in the celestial glory, and make them heirs with his Son to that inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and which fadeth not away-can realize the importance of a perfect walk before all men, and a diligence in calling upon all men to partake of these blessings? How indescribably glorious are these tidings to mankind! Of a truth they may be considered tidings of great joy to all people; and tidings too what ought to fill the earth and cheer the heart of every one when sounded in his ears.-And the reflection, that every one is to receive according to his own diligence and perseverance while in the vineyard, ought to inspire every one who is called to be a minister of these glad tidings, to so improve upon their talent that they may gain other talents, that when the Master sits down to take an account of the conduct of his servants, that it may be said, Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will now make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.
Some may presume to say, that the world in this age is fast increasing in righteousness; that the dark ages of superstition and blindness have passed over, when the faith of Christ was known and practiced only by a few, when ecclesiastic power held an almost universal control over christendom, and when the consciences of men were held bound by the strong chains of priestly power; but now, the gloomy cloud is burst, and the gospel is shining with all the resplendent glory of an apostolic day; and that the kingdom of the Messiah is greatly spreading, that the gospel of our Lord is carried to divers nations of the earth, the scriptures translating into different tongues, the ministers of the truth crossing the vast deep to proclaim to men in darkness a risen Savior, and to erect the standard of Emmanuel where light has never shone, and that the idol is destroyed, the temple of images forsaken; and those who but a short time previous followed the traditions of their fathers and sacrificed their own flesh to appease the wrath of some imaginary god, are now raising their voices in the worship of the Most High, and are lifting their thoughts up to him with the full expectation, that one day they will meet with a joyful reception into his everlasting kingdom!
But, a moment's candid reflection upon the principles of these systems, the manner they are conducted, the individuals employed, the apparent object held out as an inducement to cause them to act, we think, is sufficient for every candid man to draw a conclusion in his own bosom, whether this is the order of heaven or not. We deem it a just principle, and it is one the force of which we believe ought to be duly considered by every individual, that all men are created equal, and that all have the privilege of thinking for themselves upon all matters relative to conscience. Consequently, then we are not disposed, had we the power, to deprive any one from exercising that free independence of mind which heaven has so graciously bestowed upon the human family as one of its choicest gifts, but we take the liberty, (and this we have a right to do,) of looking at this order of things a few moments, and contrasting it with the order of God as we find it in the sacred scriptures. In this review, however, we shall present the points as we consider they were really designed by the great Giver to be understood, and the happy result arising from a performance of the requirements of heaven, as therein revealed, to every one who obeys them; and the consequence attending a false construction, a misrepresentation, or a forced meaning that was never designed in the mind of the Lord when he condescended to speak from the heavens to men for their salvation.
Previous to entering upon a subject of so great a moment to the human family, there is a prominent item which suggests itself to our minds which, here, in few words we wish to discuss: All regularly organized and well established governments, have certain laws by which, more or less, the innocent are protected and the guilty punished. The fact admitted, that certain laws are good, equitable and just, ought to be binding upon the individual who admits this fact, to observe in the strictest manner an obedience to those laws. These laws when violated, or broken by that individual, must, in justice convict his mind with a double force, if possible, of the extent and the magnitude of his crime; because he could have no plea of ignorance to produce; and his act of transgression was openly committed againts [against] light and knowledge. But the individual who may be ignorant, and imperceptibly transgresses or violates these laws, though the voice of the country requires that he should suffer, yet he will never feel that remorse of conscience that the other will, and that keen-cutting reflection will never rise in his brest [breast] that otherwise would, had he done the deed, or committed the offence [offense] in full conviction that he was breaking the law of his country, and having previously acknowledged the same to be just. It is not our intention by these remarks, to attempt to place the law of man on a parallel with the law of heaven; because we do not consider that it is formed in that wisdom and propriety; neither do we consider that it is sufficient in itself to bestow any thing in comparison to the law of heaven, even should it promise it. The law of men may guarantee to a people protection in the honorable pursuits of this life and the temporal happiness arising from a protection against unjust insults and injuries; and when this is said, all is said, that can be in truth, of the power, extent, and influence of the law of men, exclusive of the law of God. The law of heaven is presented to man, and as such guarantees to all who obey it a reward far beyond any earthly consideration: it does no promise that the believer in every age should be exempt from the afflictions and troubles arising from different sources in consequence of wicked men on earth; though in the midst of all this there is a promise predicated upon the fact that it is the law of heaven, which transcends the law of man, as far as eternal life is prefferable [preferable] to temporal; and the blessings which God is able to give, greater than those which can be given by man! Then, certainly, if the law of man is binding upon man when acknowledged, much more must the law of heaven be. And as much as the law of heaven is perfect, more than the law of man, so much greater must be the reward if obeyed The law of man promises safety in temporal life; but the law of God promises that life which is eternal, even an inheritance at his own right hand, secure from all the powers of the wicked one.
We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the more conspicuous are his views, & the greater ;his enjoyments, until he has overcome the evils of this life and lost every desire of sin; and like the ancients, arrives to that point of faith that he is wrapped in the glory and power of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment: he must have been instructed into the government and laws of that kingdom by proper degrees, till his mind was capable in some measure of comprehending the propriety, justice equity and consistency of the same. For further instruction we refer you to Deut. XXXII, where the Lord says, that Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye, &c. which will show the force of the last item advanced, that it is necessary for men to receive an understanding concerning the laws of the heavenly kingdom, before they are permitted to enter it; we mean the celestial glory. So dissimilar are the government of men, and so divers are their laws, from the government and laws of heaven, that a man, for instance, hearing that there was a country on this globe called the United States of North America, could take his journey to this place without first learning the laws of this government; but the conditions of God's kingdom are such, that all who are made partakers of that glory, are under the necessity of first learning something respeting [respecting] it previous to their entering into it. But the foreignor [foreigner] can come to this country without knowing a syllable of its laws, or even subscribing to obey them after he arrives. Why? Because the government of the United State does not require it: it only requires an obedience to its laws after the individual has arrived within its jurisdiction.
As we previously remarked, we do not attempt to place the law of man on a parallel with the law of heaven; but we will bring forward another item. to further urge the propriety of yielding obedience to the law of heaven, after the fact is admitted, that the laws of man are binding upon man. Were a king to extend his dominion over the habitable earth, and send forth his laws which were of the most perfect kind, and command his subjects one and all to yield obedience to the same; and annex as a reward to those who obeyed them, that at a certain period they should be called to attend the marriage of his son, who in due time was to receive the kingdom, and they should be made equal with him in the same and annex as a penalty for disobedience that every individual should
be cast out at the marriage feast, and have no part nor portion with his government; and what rational mind could for a moment accuse the king with injustice for punishing such rebellious subjects? In the first place his laws were just, easy and perfect: nothing was required in them of a tyrannical nature; but their very construction was equity and beauty; and when obeyed would produce the happiest situation possible to all who adheard [adhered] to them, beside the last great benefit of sitting down with a royal robe in the presence of the king at the great grand marriage supper of his son, and be made equal with him in all the affairs of the kingdom.
When these royal laws were issued, and promulgated throughout the vast dominion, every subject, when interrogated whether he believed them to be from his sovereign answered, Yes, I know they are, I am acquainted with the signature , for it is as usual, THUS SAITH THE KING! This admitted, the subject is bound by every consideration of honor to his country, his king, and his own personal character, to observe in the strictest sense every requisition in the royal edict. Should any escape the search of the embassadors [ambassadors] of the king, and never hear these last laws, giving his subjects such exalted privileges, an excuse might be urged in their behalf, and they escape the censure of the king. But for those who had heard, who had admitted, and who had promised obedience to these just laws no excuse could be urged, and when brought into the presence of the king, certainly, justice would require that they should suffer a penalty! Could that king be just in admitting these rebellious individuals into the full enjoyment and privileges with his son, and those who had been obedient to his commandments? Certainly not. Because they disregarded the voice of their lawful king; they had no regard his virtuous laws, for his dignity, for the honor of his name; neither for their own country's sake, nor their private virtue! They neither regarded his authority enough to obey him, neither did they regard the immediate advantages and blessings arising from these laws if kept, to observe them, so destitute were they of virtue and goodness; and above all, they regarded so little the joy and satisfaction of a legal seat in the presence of the king's only son, and to be made equal with him in all the blessings, honors, comforts, and felicities of his kingdom, that they turned away from an anticipation of them, and considered that they were beneath their present notice, though the had no doubt as to the real authenticity of the royal edict.
We ask, again, would the king be just in admitting these rebels to all the privileges of his kingdom, with those who had served him with the strictest integrity? We again answer, No! such individuals would be dangerous characters in any government, good & wholesome laws they dispised [despised]; just and perfect principles they trampled under their feet as something beneath their notice, and disregarded those commands of their sovereign entirely which they had once acknowledged to be equitable! How could a government be conducted with harmony if its administrators were possessed with such different dispositions and different principles? Could it prosper? Could it flourish? Would harmony prevail? Would order be established, and could justice be executed in righteousness in all branches of its department? No! In it were two classes of men as discimilar [dissimilar] as light is from darkness, virtue from vice, justice from injustice, truth from falsehood, and holiness from sin! One class were perfectly harmless and virtuous: they knew what virtue was for they had lived in the fullest enjoyment of it, and their fidelity to truth fairly tested by a series of years of faithful obedience to all its heavenly precepts. They knew what good order was, for they had been orderly and obedient to the laws imposed on them by their wise sovereign, and had experienced the benefits arising from a life spent in his government till he had now seen proper to make them equal with his son.-Such individuals, would indeed adorn any court where perfection was one of its main springs of action, and shine far more brilliant that the richest gem in the diadem of the prince.
The other class were a set of individuals who disregarded every principle of justice and equity, whatever: and this is demonstrated from the fact, that when just laws were issued by the king, which were perfectly equitable, they were so lost to a sense of righteousness that they disregarded those laws, notwithstanding an obedience to them would have produced the happiest result possible, at the time as regarded their own personal comfort and advantage. They were entirely destitute of harmony and virtue, so much so that virtuous laws they dispised [despised]. They had proven themselves unworthy a place in the joys of the prince, because they had for a series of years lived in open violation of his government. Certainly, then, those two clases [classes] of men could not hold the reins of the same government at the same time in peace; for internal jars, broils, and discords would rack to the center, were such a form of government to attempt to exist under such a system. The virtuous could not enjoy peace in the constant and unceasing schemes and evil plans of the wicked; neither could the wicked have enjoyment in the constant perseverance of the righteous to do justly. And that there must be an agreement in this government, or it could not stand, must be admitted by all. Should the king convey the reins into the hands of the rebellious the government must soon fall; for every government, from the creation to the present; when it ceased to be virtuous, and failed to execute justice, sooner or later has been overthrown. And without virtuous principles to actuate a government all care for justice is soon lost, and the only motive which prompts it to act is, ambition and selfishness. Should the king admit these rebels into his house to make them equal with the others, would be condescending beneath his character; because he once issued virtuous laws which were received by a part of his subjects, and the reward annexed was a seat at the marriage feast, and in adoption into his own family as lawful heirs. So should he now offer any thing differently he would blast forever his own reputation, and destroy forever that government which he once so diligently labored to establish and preserve, and which he once had wisdom to organize. Such individuals as the last named, would be a bane to a virtuous government, and would prove its overthrow if suffered to hold a part in conducting its helm!
We take the sacred writings into our hands and admit that they were given by direct inspiration for the good of man. We believe that God condescended to speak from the heavens and declare his will concerning the human family: give to them just and holy laws to regulate their conduct, and guide them in a direct way, that in due time he might take them to himself, and make them joint heirs with his Son. But when this fact is admitted, that the immediate will of heaven is here contained, are we not bound as rational creatures to live in accordance to all its precepts? Will the mere admission that this is the will of heaven ever benefit us if we do not comply with all its teachings! Do we not offer violence to the Supreme Intelligence of heaven, when we admit the truth of its teachings, and do not obey them? Do we not condescend beneath our own character, and the better wisdom which heaven has endowed us with, by such a course of conduct? For these reasons, if we have direct revelations given us from heaven, surely these revelations were never given to be trifled with, without the triflers incurring displeasure, and assuring vengeance upon their own heads, if there is any justice in heaven; and that there is, must be admitted by every individual who admits the truth and force of its teachings; its blessings and cursings, as contained in the sacred volume.
Here, then, we have this part of our subject immediately before us for consideration. God has in reserve a time, or period appointed in his own bosom, when he will bring all his subjects, who have obeyed his voice and kept his commandments, into his celestial rest. This rest is of such perfection and glory, that man has need of a preparation before he can, according to the laws of that kingdom enter it and enjoy its blessings. -This being the fact, God has given certain laws to the human family, which, if observed, are sufficient to prepare them to inherit this rest. This, then, we conclude, was the purpose of God in giving his laws to us: if not, why, or for what were they given? If the whole family of man were as well off without them as they might be with them, for what purpose or intent were they ever given? Was it that God wanted to merely show that he could talk? This would be nonsense, to suppose that he would condescend to talk in vain; for it would be in vain, and to no purpose whatever: because, all the commandments contained in the law of the Lord, have the sure promise annexed of a reward to all who obey; predicated upon the fact, that they are really the promises of a Being who cannot lie, and who is abundantly able to fulfil [fulfill] every tittle of his word: and if man were as well prepared, or could be as well prepared, to meet God without their ever having been given the first instance, why were they ever given? for certainly, in that case they can now do him no good.
As we previously remarked, all well established and properly organized government have certain fixed and prominent laws for the regulation and management of the same.-If man has grown to wisdom and is capable of discerning the propriety of laws to govern nations, what less can we expect from the Ruler and Upholder of the universe? Can we suppose that he has a kingdom without laws? Or do we believe that it is composed of an innumerable company of beings who are entirely beyond all law? Consequently have need of nothing to govern or regulate them? Would not such ideas be reproachful to our Great Parent, and an attempt to cast a stigma upon his glorious character? Would it not be asserting, that we had found out a secret beyond Deity? that we had learned that it was good to have laws, and yet He, after existing from eternity, and having power to create man, had not found out the fact, that it was proper to have laws for his government! We admit that God is the great source and fountain from whence proceeds all good; that he is perfect intelligence, and that his wisdom is alone sufficient to govern and regulate the mighty creations and worlds which shine and blaze with such magnificence and splendor over our heads, as though touched with his finger and moved by his Almighty word. And if so, it is done and regulated by law; for without law all must certainly fall into chaos. If, then, we admit that God is the source of all wisdom and understanding, we must admit that by his direct inspiration he has taught man that law was necessary in order to govern and regulate his own immediate interest and welfare: For this reason, it is beneficial to promote peace and happiness among men: And as before remarked, God is the source from whence proceeds all good; and if man is benefitted [benefited] by law, then certainly, law is good; and if law is good, it, or the principle of it emanated from God; for God is the source of all good; consequently, then, he was the first Author of law, or the principle of it, to mankind.
TO BE CONTINUED.
The Evening and Morning Star
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