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their history, and in contemplating their ecclesiastical features and character as presented among us, we have felt that fraternal spirit of Christian fellowship which the recognition of an ancient and devoted member of the great family of Protestant Christendom is fitted to awaken and inspire. Nor could we suppress the rising regret that so many of their contemporaries, in the land of their origin, had ne. glected to maintain and hold fast those vital principles of religious faith and that form of sound words, which their fathers so nobly and fearlessly espoused and defended.
It is interesting to notice amid the diversity of forms and the various shades of difference on minor points of religious sentiment, which mark the freedom of thought and opinion among Protestant denominations, that so large a proportion of them agree in the essential elements of “ the truth as it is in Jesus.” Although on the great doctrines of the divine decrees, the nature of faith, the efficiency of grace, the believer's perseverance in it, and the sacraments of the New Testament, some unessential difference of views have distinguished the Lutheran from the Calvinist: yet both agree that salvation is of grace alone, and that that grace is sovereign and omnipotent, through an atonement of infinite merit and sufficiency, received and applied by a faith that is of the operation of God, the fruit of his Spirit, all which is represented under the emblems employed in baptism and the Lord's Supper. The cardinal doctrine of the Reformation, justification by faith alone, they both wield, in opposition not only to the Popish doctrine of merit, but also to the native self-righteousness of the unchanged heart, to which the latter doctrine is adapted.
In this age of free inquiry, and of superficial views on the great and essential truths of revelation, when every form of wild conjecture and fanciful speculation is embodied into a theory, and finds numerous advocates and followers; and when, amidst it all, the “ Man of Sin" is looking with renewed courage to this western continent and its heterogeneous population, as the last hope of his toitering throne: it is a matter of gratulation that we have here a remnant of that people who stood foremost in the contest which crippled his power at the maturity of its strength, and liberated mind and empire from his yoke of ignorance, superstition and oppression. May the spirit and zeal of Him whose name they bear, abide with them, and arm them to meet the arrogant demands of Papal Rome in this land of their adoption, as he did in the land of their ancestors. We particularly rejoice in that feature of their ecclesiastical system which provides for the culture of piety in the heart, and for the religious training of the young, particularly of their baptized children. On this point, their example administers a just rebuke on the practice of too many Protestant churches, who with them profess the rite of household baptism, but treat it as a nullity. We trust that with this example before them, in connexion with the exclusiveness of the Romanists towards their children and adults in shutting them out from the light of truth : such churches will not only profess, but act upon the belief, that the baptismal covenant with children imposes upon the parents and the church the duty of their careful and constant religious training.
With her high estimate of the value and necessity of learning in her ministry, the early catechetical instruction of her children, and her strict regard to the vitals of Christian experience, the American Lutheran Church cannot fail to exert a high and holy influence in the cause of truth, and the religious welfare of our nation, and shine as a luminary of the first magnitude in the constellation of our American Zion. We bid her God-speed in her progress onward and upward, till the distinctions of earth are merged in the church of the Firsthorn in heaven, and our mutual toils and conflicts terminated in one triumph, one song, and one everlasting rest.
LATTER DAY SAINTS.
BY JOSEPH SMITH,
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was founded upon direct revelation, as the true church of God has ever been, according to the scriptures (Amos, iii. 7, and Acts i. 2.) And through the will and blessings of God, I have been an instrument in his hands, thus far, to move forward the cause of Zion. Therefore, in order to fulfil the solicitation of your letter of July last, I shall commence with
I was born in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, Vermont, on the 23d of December, A. D. 1805. When ten years old, my parents removed to Palmyra, New York, where we resided about four years, and from thence we removed to the town of Manchester, a distance of six miles.
My father was a farmer, and taught me the art of husbandry. When about fourteen years of age, I began to reflect upon the importance of being prepared for a future state; and upon inquiring the place of salvation, I found that there was a great clash in religious sentiment; if I went to one society they referred me to one place, and another to another ; each one pointing to his own particular creed as the “summum bonum” of perfection. Considering that all could not be right, and that God could not be the author of so much confusion, I determined to investigate the subject more fully, believing that if God had a church, it would not be split up into factions, and that if he taught one society to worship one way, and administer in one set of ordinances, he would not teach another principles which were diametrically opposed. Believing the word of God, I had confidence in the declaration of James, “If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him."
I retired to a secret place in a grove, and began to call upon the Lord. While fervently engaged in supplication, my mind was taken away from the objects with which I was surrounded, and I was enrapt in a heavenly vision, and saw two glorious personages, who exactly resembled each other in features and likeness, surrounded with a brilliant light, which eclipsed the sun at noonday. They told me that all the religious denominations were believing in incorrect doctrines, and that none of them was acknowledged of God as his church and kingdom. And I was expressly commanded to “go not after them,” at the same time receiving a promise that the fulness of the gospel should at some future time be made known unto me.
On the evening of the 21st September, A. D. 1823, while I was praying unto God and endeavouring to exercise faith in the precious promises of scripture, on a sudden a light like that of day, only of a far purer and more glorious appearance and brightness, burst into the room; indeed the first sight was as though the house was filled with consuming fire. The appearance produced a shock that affected the whole body. In a moment a personage stood before me surrounded with a glory yet greater than that with which I was already surrounded. This messenger proclaimed himself to be an angel of God, sent to bring the joyful tidings, that the covenant which God made with ancient Israel was at hand to be fulfilled ; that the preparatory work for the second coming of the Messiah was speedily to commence; that the time was at hand for the gospel in all its fulness to be preached in power, unto all nations, that a people might be prepared for the millennial reign.
I was informed that I was chosen to be an instrument in the hands of God to bring about some of his purposes in this glorious dispensation.
I was informed also concerning the aboriginal inhabitants of this country, and shown who they were, and from whence they came;—a brief sketch of their origin, progress, civilization, laws, governments, of their righteousness and iniquity, and the blessings of God being finally withdrawn from them as a people, was made known unto me. I was also told where there was deposited some plates, on which was engraven an abridgment of the records of the ancient prophets that bad existed on this continent. The angel appeared to me three times the same night and unfolded the same things. After having received many visits from the angels of God, unfolding the majesty and glory of the events that should transpire in the last days, on the morning of the 22d of September, A. D. 1827, the angel of the Lord delivered the records into my hands.
These records were engraven on plates which had the appearance of gold; each plate was six inches wide and eight inches long, and not quite so thick as common tin. They were filled with engravings in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume, as the leaves of a book, with three rings running through the whole. The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed. The characters on the unsealed part were small and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction, and much skill in the art of engraving. With the records was found a curious instrument which the ancients called “Urim and Thummim," which consisted of two transparent stones set in the rim on a bow fastened to a breastplate.
Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record, by the gist and power of God.
In this important and interesting book the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the tower of Babel, at the confusion of languages, to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian era.
We are informed by these records, that America, in ancient times, has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites, and came directly from the tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem, about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites, of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed, about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians who now inhabit this country. This book also tells us that our Saviour made his appearance upon this continent after his resurrection; that he planted the gospel here in all its fulness, and richness, and power, and blessing; that they had apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists; the same order, the same priesthood, the same ordinances, gifts, powers, and blessing, as was enjoyed on the eastern continent; that the people were cut off in consequence of their transgressions; that the last of their prophets who existed among them was commanded to write an abridgment of their prophecies, history, &c., and to hide it up in the earth, and that it should come forth and be united with the Bible, for the accomplishment of the purposes of God, in the last days. For a more particular account, I would refer to the Book of Mormon, which can be purchased at Nauvoo, or from any of our travelling elders.
As soon as the news of this discovery was made known, false reports, misrepresentation and slander flew, as on the wings of the wind, in every direction; my house was frequently beset by mobs,