1855 April 25 Remarks to the Deseret Theological Institute


1855 April 25 Remarks to the Deseret Theological Institute



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John V. Long

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Wednesday evening 7 1/2 P.M. 25th April 1855
(Reported By J. V. Long.)

At a meeting of the Deseret Theological institute. Brigham Young Presiding. Music by the orchestral band-- prayer by Heber C Kimball. Orchestral band sang "How beautiful upon the Mountains" Thoms Bullock Secretary read the Preamble & Constitution of the Institute Prest Young "Naturally it falls my lot this evening to speak to the congregation. <it is> probabley but very little known or been said with regard to this association The Deseret Theological Institute. The constitution is short and <involes perhas> all that we could wish it to. if it is carried out I dont think there will be any lack with regard to the good order and progress of the institution, and above all things I would like to have the last clause of the constitution observed by the officers of the association & its members, and have it most strenuously observed so that they may never do or speak or teach or introduce anything to the association derogatory to the instructions & Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. if this be observed & is carefully carried out there is not danger in the World of the institution being led wrong: but there are many times I will acknowledge that peoples minds may be overcharged through a multitude of business, and they may not feel the same influence of the Divine Spirit that they would under other circumstances. If people are destitute of a full flow of the Spirit of Revelation they should endeavor to act according to their judgment, and the best reasoning faculties they are in possession of, so as to govern and control themselves so as not to do anything derogatory to the Spirit of wisdom I sometimes feel as tho' I could excuse myself upon those grounds for certainly my mind is almost daily overcharged with business: and the heaviest task that is upon me is to talk about that which I should not be called to talk about or observe in the least -- the business of others which I should not be troubled with. I do not think that I was ever tired in my life talking or thinking about any matter of business that really had to be attended to. My body has been wearied many times but I have never felt as though my Spirits were getting weary. I do not think I was ever weary one moment in my life in reflecting conversing, calculating, directing, planning, or doing anything that pertained to the building up of the kingdom of God or anything that that pertained to good and that was my duty to attend to, but when I am flooded with matters that do not belong to me, matters that I should not be troubled with in the least then my mind gets weary, and I get a little perplexed and it makes my head ache, but it never did in my life to do the business that <pertained to me> directly belonged to me to attend to. this is the case with many perhaps that may be perplexed worried and harrassed with unnecessary things.
I design laying before the congregation this evening some of my views that are incorporated in our constitution. to have my mind filled with the same degree of light and inteligence that I otherwise would have, I can excuse myself, thro the multiplicity of little things that are upon me, thousands of questions asked me every day; my mind turned as it were like lightning, from one subject to another and hence it is difficult to bring my mind to bear on any particular subject as I could wish to do. to lay before the congregations things that would be interesting. I will say at least to myself. The foundation of my remarks this evening I wish to be placed in the minds of the congregation, as the foundation of all Theology, and of all knowledge heavenly and earthly which incorporates principalities and powers, thrones and dominions, time space, and time & times, again & of all eternity, & it is simply the words <of> by the apostle where Jesus says, this is eternal life to know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent, it is true we might turn round and ask if evil Spirits, if the prince & power of the air, Lucifer the Devil do not know God. I will merely answer the question briefly by saying if he had known even himself, he never would have risen with the power and influence that he possessed to try & dethrone the almighty God -if he had understood himself the extent of his knowledge, the ability he possed, he never would have presumed to have taken such a course. this satisfies me that he did not know God as much as he would have done had he been obedient to his requirements. To know the only wise God as the apostle directed his speech & the influence thereof to his brethren & to know that God aright that they serve, not in a partial manner, but to the extent that the apostle directed supposes as much as to believe there is a God & that that God did inhabit eternity & did make the worlds. and that he is the supreme ruler of the Universe whom the human family are called upon to acknowledge with their faith with their mouths by their acts and influence. Thousands and millions of our fellow creatures notwithstanding the knowledge they had in the days of the apostles opposed the work that was then commenced. they opposed the people of God from the commencement of the preaching of the Gospel. thousands knew God partially and heard his voice and saw and understood his miracles that were performed amongst them, yet they did not know that God whom to know is life eternal, had they known him, they never
would have opposed him. this subject I realize perfectly when the fulness and the ideas and in the extent they are to be understood by men then that incorporates all savation all inteligence all power every knowle e of evry class & of every degree we have any knowledge of. as for my explaining and sitting this subject before the people in its fulness I do not undertake the task this evening but I wish to hint at a few leading ideas, so that we may learn how to learn, and know God, and what we shall know if we do not know him, still further I wish to hint at a few of the leading principles pertaining to the knowledge of God and the influence of his Spirit upon the people, and they do<n't> not understand it.
In the first place to know God is a subject of deep interest we turn and say it is very intricate, it is so in our feelings, it is hard for us to know our God and after we have talked about it & talked again and heard ministers preach about it, & read their writings, & the views of the best theologions of our day: we read the history of those in ancient days their views upon the subject we have the history or a portion of the history of this very God, by those that did actually see and so journey with him in the flesh, did talk, and eat, and drink and travel and sleep with him, heard him preach, teach, and did converse with him from day to day and from month to month and from year to year: they knew him in his birth, childhood youth, and in his ministry, and they said we are acquainted with his brothers and Sisters in the flesh, and this is their God pertaining to the
incarnation, of this very character, as far as the son ship is concerned, and the relationship and the understanding of the son to the father, we have the knowledge of that very character which if we do him and understand him is to us eternal life. We turn round (that is the enquirer) and say we do believe that Jesus Christ the son of God was upon the earth, but who knows the father well now let me answer this question right here in simplicity, for Jesus did tell his disciples when speaking to them when he said he that hath seen me hath seen the father also. I turn round and say who understood that language Jesus says in another place I am in the father and the father in me and I and I my father are one & whosoever hath seen me hath seen the father, for he is in me & I in him.
You know the Sectarian world have explained this away and have made out that the Father came and died but if we can learn what he (Jesus) was upon the earth and in eternity we will know what the father was. When I let these subjects rest on my mind, and I contemplate upon them, I will say for your satisfaction & for mine that when these subjects are before me & the light that I have in me, the Spirit that rests on me. apparently I understand just as well what Jesus wished to convey to his apostles as I do when I talk to you, and see you before me. it appears to me I understand his mind and character & who he is, & who he came from, and we can learn who he is from the Prophets. & what character he was at the time of his incarnation, and when he went to his father.
But this is for you to beleive or disbeleive as you please, for if I were to say who he was I have no doubt but there would be many that would say perhaps it so, and perhaps it is not. Well I am so liberal that I wish every person could have the privilege which they certainly enjoy of learning Jesus Christ whom the father has sent. This can be learned by a close application to the science of theology. No man can understand theology unless that man is filled with the light of eternity. They may study till doomsday, and then not understand, for when they study they mix in all the superstitions of the world, instead of being ruled and controlled by that spirit that inhabits eternity.
If I should undertake to tell the people what I beleive in my heart, and what seemeth to me, (I do not say it is so,) but what seemeth to me to be eternal truth, how would they know unless they had the spirit of revelation to say to them whether it was a truth or an untruth.
We can read the history of Adam and eve in the garden of eden, and that after they transgressed the Lord came along and they run scampering away into the bushes. How did they know it was him? Just as well as my family know mine, for they had lived with him, and had had a long experience with him. Just as soon as my family hear my footsteps they know that I am coming, and so did Adam and eve know the footsteps of the Iord. Just as quick as they heard his footsteps they knew as well who was coming as though they had seen his face, because they were acquainted with him. But this is no knowledge to you and I. He came along and said where are you? Wnat have you been doing? They had hid themselves. It is evident from this that they knew his footsteps, but what advantage is that to you? Would you know the footsteps of the Lord if you heard them coming into this Hall from merely reading this account? The Lord is capable of coming in at that door and sitting down, and should it was some stranger.
Well how can we learn by reading the history of Adam and eve to know the Lord? If you were to hear the footsteps of the Lord would you know from the history of Adam and eve that it was the Lord coming? They knew his voice and his footsteps, for they had lived with him, and been in eternity with him. And what I have upon this subject I now say, Adam had been with the Lord, and had lived with him upon an earth like this, and had been faithful and overcome, and had received his body and was resurrected, and was well acquainted with the Lord, and was one of his mess mates he had eaten and drunk with him, and had lived with him from generation to generation, and in many worlds, probably while many had come into and gone out of existence. And he helped to make the earth and brought the seeds with him that you see springing up spontaneously, and when he called the elements came rolling together.
Well you see from this that when you and I have been with and
lived with the Lord we shall know his voice. li father Adam were to come into this house and you were to see him go back and forth would you know him? No you would never mistrust it was him unless he revealed himself. But by the time that you have lived with him as long as Adam had before he came here you will know him and recognize his footsteps, but regading the history will not teach you these things, consequently I come right down to ourselves and say we cannot know the only wise God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent. No man can have this knowledge, but those to whom God reveals it. Has he revealed it to you who he is, what he has to do with this world, and the relationship that he sustaines to it? You must not be astonished when I tell you that the whole world, with the exception of the Latter-day saints, for they do know something about God, but the whole world besides are as far from that knowledge as the east is from the west. Though they read it in the bible, yet it never enters into their hearts that the apostle told the truth when he says there is but one living and true God the father of our spirits. Well now who is the father of our spirits?
I do not design to go into any mysteries, or to take up worldly sciences to any very great extent. But suppose I were take up a few of them I should be like the rest of you tell what I know, according to what I understand and beleive, and then if I am wrong I should be glad if God or some man upon the earth would correct me and set me right and tell me what it is and how it is.
I did take the liberty to tell this once, and I told it in a way that it did not get to their understandings, and suppose I take the same course this evening, and you do not understand, but you have the spirit of the Almighty with you to enable you to appreciate, or shall I talk it right it right out as one man talketh and reasoneth with another, and in this manner communicate to you my ideas upon the subject. For instance we begin with the father our Lord Jesus Christ, and of our spirits who is he? Do you know anything about him? Can you find out who he is? Suppose we go to the scriptures and enquire there who he is. At one time he says "I am that I am," at another time when the question was proposed by somebody he replied "I am the Lord your God"; at another time he is spoken of as a man of war, a general and so on. You may trace the scriptures through, and you will find that he is known to one people one title to day, and tomorrow by another, and the next day by another, and there he leaves it. If I were to set before you the principle, directly to the truth, and yet precisely as I understand pertaining to him with whom we have to do I have no question or doubt but it would be opposed to your traditions, and the feelings of many of you.
I will tell you what I think about some who will have something to do with us by and bye, when Michael blows his trumpet and calls the world together we shall then be before him, and we shall be perfectly satisfied that he can pass all the judgment that we shall want, and that the dominions of the wicked will want and I have no doubt but the saints that live and have lived from the days of Adam will be satisfied that he can give them kingdoms and powers, thrones and dominions, and influence in eternity. And when they get all that he can give they will be satisfied and say it enough. If we can get to him the ancient of days whose hair is like wool, a man of age, a man of experience, and can learn of him to understand I am that I am, we shall then hear him say I am your father and leader, I will be your front and your rearward. I understand what this world is. I understand all about it; I have the government of the world in my hands, although to a certain extent my opposer, my enemy has gained a certain influence in the world. You will hear him say I am in the worldwind, at my pleasure I ride upon the storms, and I govern worlds. I set up one king and put another down, and organize empires and overthrow them at my pleasure, I the Lord do all these things.
When we come to that great and wise and glorious being that the children of Israel were afraid of, whose countenance shone so that they could not look upon him, I say when we get to him whom they could not look upon, to that man, that is I conclude he was a man for it says that he had hands and you know men have in hands, and it says that he put his hands out before Moses in the clift of the rock until his glory passed by, and would not suffer Moses to see his face, but his parts only. Seeing then that he had parts I conclude that he was a man. When we can see that very character and talk and live with him in our tabernacles, if we are so fortunate as to get there into his society then we can say that to us there is but one living and true God, and he is the father of our Lord Jesus Christ and of our spirits. And when we get back to him and learn that he is actly our father we shall not feel any anxiety to call upon anybody else for the blessings we are in need of. It is a subject I am aware that does not appear so clear to our understandings at present as we could wish it or as it will some day, and it is one that should not trouble us at all, all such things will become more clear to your minds by and bye.
I tell you this as my beleif about that personage who is called the Ancient of Days, the prince and so on, but I do not tell it because that I wish it to be established in the minds of others, though to me this is as clear as the sun, it is as plain as my alphabet, I understand it as I do the path to go home. I did not understand so until my mind became enlightened with the spirit and by the revelations of God, neither will you understand until our father in heaven reveals all these things unto you. To my mind and to my feelings those matters are all plain and easy to be understood.
Now this is the foundation for my remarks, and which I consider to be all that I wish to hear lectured upon in this society.
Now if I could hear lectures, say every evening in the week from persons and they will actually speak their feelings upon whatever subject they may treat upon, we will say it is a joiner and he commences to lecture and give us an explanation of what he knows, and then we bring up a Mason, after the joiner has given us his lecture on archetecture, and he takes up his portion and lectures on that, and finally the farmer comes up, and by and by we will find a man that will give us a lecture upon Physiology and anatomy, and then we call upon the Machinest and have him set before the people the principles of machining, and next we find a lecturer that will tell us how to bottle up lightening and carry it about with us in our pockets, and another will tell us how to ut up a railroad about the tenth of an inch in diameter, and he will tell how that by putting up certain wires he can speak with men on the other side the world, and that
by extending those wires round the whole earth, he could bring intelligence from the remotest part of this earth in a second or second and a half. Again get a man amongst us that will give us a lecture upon Mechanics, and a lecture upon Chemistry; another will tell us when the first Carding Machine, and the first spinning machine were invented, and by and by all the inventions of men upon the whole earth will be brought into this society and we will get each man up to speak according to his trade or profession, and in that way every man will shine in the sphere in which he acts, for every man will, if he understands his business, shine best in his own orbit.
Suppose we get a mechanic up to lecture and tell the origin of our moon or some of the planets would he be a proper person to throw light such a subject?
Then you take a person that understands for instance how to manufacture Aprons from the raw material, and then go along from him that can cut the cloth into this shape or the other, till you come to the man who can make copper, take <the> it out of the native bed, and tell you how to make saucepans, kettles and platters, &c. Then he goes on and tells how to take the metals from the native bed and convert and make it into every thing that is wanted, almost. So It has been from the days of Adam to the present time things have been revealed to man, each in its time and in its season; one man making one discovery and another one another: one man taking the iron ore and making it into railroads, then another man making the telegraph from here to the States or China or back to England, and by it sending messages as quick as light. One lecture to us upon one, according to his talent, another upon another and so on, and when they had explained all these I would turn round and say these are all embraced in our text "To know God" circumscribes the whole of it, but when this knowlledge or the discoveries that have been made or that is given to the children of men they have in every instance taken the honor and glory to themselves. It is said that such a man, a a philosopher, has made this discovery, O yes they have discovered so much that they can take this earth and go millions and billions and octillions and every other kind of "tillions" of miles up into space, and weigh the planets, and all these great and important discoveries are attributed to the knowledge of those learned and wise men.
No man knew anything about those worlds, or astronomy, mechanics, mathematics nor any thing else only what he had learned. You never knew anything but what you learned from some sourse. I have heard a great many men and women say when they have heard a man lecture or speak upon some subject what a deep and eloquent and sublime discourse, what a very learned man he must be. I would like to know if he had not borrowed it from somebody else; O but says one he has brought it out himself, we expect it is his own production. Well now let me tell you that I have no knowledge and you have none but what we have received from others. You have no knowledge of this earth, or the elements that compose it, or of its resources, none but what you have learned from others. Did you know this? Why yes a moments reflection will tell you this; it is easily seen if you only consider for a short time. I look to those things, and as things appear to me the source, the influence by which we learn all things is one,