Joseph A. Benton Journal

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Joseph A. Benton came to California in 1849, during the gold rush. He first settled in Sacramento, where he founded the First Congregation Church in 1851. He was a pastor for many years as well as a professor of Biblical literature at Pacific Theological Seminary. This collection consists of a journal containing outlines of sermons preached on board of the Edward Everett and also in California. **Please note that historical materials in the Gold Rush Collections may include viewpoints and values that are not consistent with the values of the California State Library or the State of California and may be considered offensive. Materials must be viewed in the context of the relevant time period but views are in no way endorsed by the State Library. The California State Library’s mission is to provide credible information services to all Californians and, as such, the content of historical materials should be transcribed as it appears in the original document.

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Cant tell what it is made of. Can only tell what it does. Has a life; but a life distinct from the life of the body. Its life began with that of the body, but we believe it will outlive the body. _ bec. it does not seem made to die. It is alive when the body sleeps; & by calling to it you can wake the body up.

It is sometimes called the heart. But it is not that organ of flesh [blood crossed out] which keeps up the circulation of the blood, & the bodys life. It is the power of feeling & act -ing [illegible]. And, soul, spirit, mind, heart, conse. often mean the same thing.

3. Where is the soul? It is in the body wherever life & feeling are. But its residence is in the head; & through the brain & nerves it keeps us a Telegraphing with all parts of the body, especially with the organs of sensation; that is, with the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, & skins. Like a man in a house, with plenty of servants bring back & forth all the while to tell him what's going on, & carry his commands. to be executed. It is the soul that makes the feet go, the arms move, the fingers bend, the toungue talk, the teeth chew, makes the body crook & straighten, get up & down, all this by sending word from the brain, the house it lives in, through the nerves, as telegraphic wires.

This soul is you - your very self. And it knows all about you that you know about yourself. When you prick your finger, the soul feels the smart. When your tooth aches the soul feels the pain, & the nerves work hard. And sometimes the soul wears the nerves out by using them so hard. In time they will have to give it up anyhow.

You see a watch. How does it go? (Describe & compare it in [illegible] &c with the soul using machinery.)

Spider sitting in his house & waiting for his prey. Gets news at once of everything. Always watching.

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4. What is the soul for? What are you [underlinded] for? Whyh are you here in this world? What is the good of having you here? Ever thought of this? Your Maker did not form you for nothing, surely! Have body, but the soul is chief for all that; body exits for the soul - to live in awhile & to be used for the soul's benefit. Soul is chief, & briefly thought of. You forget this sometimes - & so do your [hearts?] too often, we fear, thinking of the body more than the soul; trying to make something else of it than a good residence, & piece of machinery for the use of the soul.

The sould was made to grow [double-underlinded] - & wants room, & health & strength in the body, & not fine skin, complexion, curls, slender forms, taper fingers, & quirks of fashion. If vital forces don't constrcut the bodily organs well, the soul can't grow well, can't live & thrive. If you don't want to hurt your souls don't abuse your bodies by cramping or abusing them in any way.

The soul is made to act [double-underlinded] - to act right [double-underlinded]. It acts all the time. Whether you play or study, it is acting. It never will be quiet. It was made to do something noble, great, & good. It is capable of that which is Godlike. Its powers may be feeble at first, but it may grow to most wondrous heights. Loving, kindness, &c. [et cetera]

It is made for living [double-underlinded]. Not for today & tomorrow, but for ages, & eternity. It craves life, & will have it. But the soul only really lives when it enjoys, when grasping good. You may destroy its happiness by wrong-doing; by sining, by perverting it to evil. Be careful for the holy life of your souls.

Is made for learning [double-underlinded]. It begins at the beginning. It has everything to gain. Very inquisitive. Can alway find much to acquire that is worthwhile. Now is the time for it to learn -. Does it easily. Don't weary you. These are golden years. You want right [illegible] more than anything else in the world. Get it.

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For its own happiness. All of us made alike in this. For this, we all are striving. But we may mistake. Your parents dont always succeed. They go wrong & are disappointed. You should inquire if they are as wise as they might be. You must search for the true secret of hap.- it is mainly a good cause.

No lasting joy without this good cause.

For God's glory. You will honor god when you do justice to yourselves. You, you are able to glorify G.! He made you to be his & to delight in him; & he will be glorified in you when you try to do all that is right. Every day you may do this. Have not to wait till you are grown. Grown people do not succeed in this any better than youth. If you begin now you will know how all the better, in the coming years.

Remarks -

1. What a wondrous nature you have! The |green?| is wonderful in deed- in growth - in processes - in unfolding |bowers?| in the mighty trees - but you are greater than the trees, & if you develop well - you shall be as much superior to what you now are - as are the great trees of the mountains - 1000 years old - compared with their [gem?].

What a deplorable thing it will be, if you do anything to hinder, hurt, destroy your souls! You have to work out your own salvation. You must repent of evil, forsake all wrong. & love all that is good. No one can do it for you Each for himself is the rule. Everything rests with each one. You have your handy & hearty full of work to do for your souls. Ask God to help: & do it all well !!

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[center] Chil'n 2 [right-justified] June 14; '57. Sac.

[center] Jeremiah 2:22 [double-underlined] "For, though thou wash thee with nitre, & take thee much soap;" "yet thine iniquity is marked befoe me saith the Lord God." [double underline]

Recapitulate & state. Soul made for growing, acting living & learning, for happiness [underlined] in all these processes. The fact is, we do not find that small or great people are doing these things well; nor are they very happy. What is the reason? What is the matter with them? Do their bodies trouble them? Or are their souls in difficulty? 1. [double-underlined] Well, their bodies trouble them somewhat. Some defects are native. Weak, sickly, crippled-- not to blame for these things. Knows, dyspeptic, etc. Some are ailing bec. [because] they eat, drink, & wear what is not good for them; or too much of what is good. Even children do these things & suffer for them. They have headaches, earaches, tooth-aches, & other aches-- bec. [because] their bodies are not well cared for, nor their appetites restrained. So children suffer quite as much as grown people for not taking good care of their bodies & not governing their appetites. Here is one great source of unhappiness. 2. [double-underlined] But, then, people who are not sick & who have few aches + pains of body, are not always happy; nor children. They suffer from shame & mortification; from peevishness, from fretfulness, from anger, from petty annoyances & disappointments. Nothing goes right with them.

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[upper left corner] 2 They never see anything right. They find nothing good. They always complain do what you will. You can not suit them. And there are children that are no better than old folly in these respects. You see something this the matter with them. They are cross & hateful; & of course they are not happy -- & they keep others from being so. They are not sick; their bodies are well enough, they eat & drink & sleep well enough! Whare then is the trouble with them?

Why, their intellects are disordered -- mind, out of gear (watch) their thoughts are bad -- so they are full of fits & starts - and it almost always, sway & blows, rains & hails, & sleets & storms round the house they live in -- & they can't be very happy. This sort are those unhappy by disordered minds, & thoughts.

3. [double-underlined] Again there are people who are well in body & quite sound in mind - very reasonable people in most things who are not happy after all. Their feelings [double-underlined] are not right. They ought to love best, & their love does not make them happy. They love themselves so much, are so selfish that they make themselves miserable, where they think they are going to be very joyful. They love themselves so much they have more for others - don't feel for them -- or if they do feel, feel envious, feel jealousy, feel suspicious, feel hateful; & these bad feelings, I'm sorry to believe are often cherished in the breasts of children -- & sometimes they can't even stay in peace in the same house. Bad passions, bad blood * cherish wrong desires.

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