THE BOOK OF MORMON AND THE BIBLE.
In Barber's history of New England, we have about two pages (379 and '80) on the Mormons. Speaking of the Mormon Bible, after giving a brief history of Smith, he says :—
"The Book is mostly a blind mass of words, inter-woven with Scriptural language and quotations, without much of a leading plan or design. It is one of the weak-est productions ever attempted to be palmed off as a Di-vine revelation. It is in fact just such a Book as might be expected from a person of Smith's abilities and turn of mind."
Now let us put down just what in substance he ad-duces as a proof of his assertion, and afterwards take the same amount on the side of Jesus and the New Tes-tament, bearing in mind that each superstition is to be regarded in their infancy, and see which assumes the most dignified and commanding form :—
The Mormon.—"The Book of Mormon, an account written by the hand of Mormon upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi. Wherefore it is an abridgement of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, written to the Lamanites which are a rem-nant of the house of Israel, and also to the Jew and Gen-tile, written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they may not be de-stroyed; to come forth by the gift and power of God un-to the interpretation thereof; sealed by the hand of Mo-roni and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in clue time by the way of the Gentile; the interpretation thereof by the gift of God, an abridgement taken from the book of Ether. Also, which is a Record of the People of Jared, which were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, at which time they were building a tower to get to Heaven, which is to show un-to the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done unto our fathers, and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, and that they are not cut off forever; and also of the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God manifesting himself unto all nations. And now if there are faults, it is the mistake of men, whereof condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment seat of Christ."
"Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people unto whom this book shall come, that Joseph Smith, the author and proprietor of this work, hath showed unto us the plates which hath been spoken of which have the appearance of gold ; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did han-dle with our hands, and we also saw the engravings thereof, all of which have the appearance of ancient work and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith hath shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, that which we have seen, and we lie not, God bearing witness of it." Signed, &c.
Joseph Smith was born in Royalston, (Vermont,) of humble parents. He made his religion his business and life. In 1830, he sent forth a mission of three to the Indians, "the Lamanites." In 1833, the number of Mormons amounted to 1200. They were banished Missouri; settled in Illinois, and located a city, Nauvoo; erected a temple, and established fully a civil and re-ligious system of government; gave prophetic commu-nications and instructions; foretold the finishing the tem-ple, his own death, and the scattering his people. It is now 1846. The temple is finished ; he has been put to death; his people scattered, and they are by land and water seeking the farthest west as the Canaan of their present hopes. They teach that they are the latter day saints, the now only true worshippers of God and of his Christ; have all gifts and graces, and are destined to convert and redeem the world.
The Christian.— Now let us take the Christian :—
"The Book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham— and Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called the Christ—so all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, and from David to the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations—Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise : when, as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost— Now Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea—Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most sure-ly believed among us, even as they delivered them un-to us which from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, hav-ing had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed—The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, translated out of the original tongues, and with the former translations diligently compared and revised"—Jesus foretold his death, and it is said that his disciples were scattered throughout Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, &c.
Which of these expositions of a Divine revelation, an infant religion, has the most favorable aspect? As to testimony, we have as much in the Mormon as the Christian; as to matter, the Mormon is far more respec-table. There is some sense in the declaration as a pre-face to the Mormon Bible, but what sense is there in that of Matthew? "The Book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham" ! Luke says, were "eye-witnesses and ministers of the word." Whoever saw the word as an embodiment? The wit-nesses of Smith say we have seen and hefted the plates.
The fact is, the Mormon religion is as much in the ad-vance of what the Christian religion was during the same time, as its pretensions cover a larger space of time, and of course, embracing both the Jew and Christian, con-centrate a more overwhelming religious energy. It is probably destined to become, unless INFIDELITY prevent, the next grand religion of the world, which will sweep Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic into the crucible of per-secution, and then amalgamate them with itself. A broader, deeper, and more permanent foundation could not have been laid. Instead of underrating the ability of Joseph Smith with superstitionists of the clay, we con-ceive him to have been a man of vast comprehension, secretiveness, and sagacity, and of strongly concentra-tive energy. What was his plan? Why, as a new Pro-phet. with a new Revelation of higher pretensions, to cover all other claims to supremacy, and in the end im-mortalize his name on earth! He effected, as far as his instrumentality is concerned, his object. He produced his Old and New Testament, his Book of Mormon, and his Book of Covenants; surrounded himself by fifteen thousand devoted followers ; had the unqualified repu-tation of a Prophet with his people ; swept a space of time and territory from the building of Babel to the per-fection of all things, and from nations, tribes, tongues, and kingdoms, over the far spread wanderers of the wil-derness; had missionaries in all parts of the Christian world, even to the isles in the Pacific!
Who but a man of energy and talent could have done all this? He was put to death. His people have been scattered. The story of his life, sufferings, and death, is just beginning to be told. Every Mormon child has the spirit of a martyr to the cause. It listens to the cir-cumstances of his death. His deeds are praised, his vir-tues eulogized, and it will not be fifty years before the divine "supplanting Artificer" will receive divine hon-ors, and in time be regarded as is now Jesus Christ among the great mass of Christians, Mahomet among his worshippers, and Chrishna among the devotees of Hindostan. Unless prevented by Infidelity, the Mor-mon Superstition will increase and spread, beautify and triumph. Time will come when the weight of philoso-phy, the influence of wealth, the fascination of talent and of beauty, the inspiration of poetry, and the impos-ing splendor and glory of devotion, shall consecrate its temples and reverence its priesthood, prophet, and king. If all this could follow the establishment of the Christian religion, which in its origin was low and insignificant, and in its growth for several centuries small and feeble, why not the Mormon, which is greatly superior to it in both these respects? If mankind must have some su-perstition or religion, as is generally contended, we see no improbability in supposing that the Mormon will one day take the precedence of all others. Tired of old re-ligions, its very novelty will fascinate and subdue the nations of the earth. Nothing can turn back the tide of superstitious delusions, Mormon as well as all the other religious monstrosities, but the spread of INFIDELITY, which substitutes for the ignorance and misery of relig-ious fanaticism, the knowledge and happiness of demon-strated Truth.
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