Gold Rush Era Letters

Pages That Need Review

Joseph A. Benton Journal

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2 Somthing will show you that Father wrote them for you; [?], no one else could know so well what you needed to know - or write about just what you wanted to hear. And in God's communications to the world there is always something of God; some peculiarity - which marks them as having come from heaven. We have one large book - made up many smaller ones, that have appeared in different times + lands - been sent to various sets of children - + we know that it is from God, much as we know a set of books comes to us, [when't?] school, from a parent. Nobody else would have thought of sending them; nobody else w'd have taken the pains if he had thought; nobody else c'd have sent them; might have sent something - but not such books as these. In this way, we know, the Bible is from God; and that of his goodness he sent it to us. Again, when children are away at school, or elsewhere, Father very likely will send them drawings of trees, or hills, or [?] pictures, or some keepsakes - so that they will never forget home, nor how it looks, + so that they may learn something of how home looks, if they went away so young as not to remember it. So God has done for his offspring in this world. He has given them institutions, memorials, - keepsakes; and the finest of all is the church. Moses was told how to build his outward tabernacle so as to be like the true + heavenly. And so God has a ch. + [?] on earth like those in heaven.

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All this is of God; + all things out of his mercy to man; and bec. he desired to keep men from wrong things, + specially from hardening their hearts against him, + refusing to have him for their father + God.

But it turned out that but few of God's offspring here on the earth have got his messages - heard his prophets - had his books - or saw his institutions + memorials; or knew anything about a chosen people, + a holy temple. And many who were the most favored were not much benefitted, they hardened their hearts, or concluded they were so wise there was nothing for them to learn, + they were ready for heaven. Those that were ignorant of God - + had fallen into heathenism + its vices, of course did not love their heavenly father; + those that did remember something about him, did not love him; + some that pretended to love him loved themselves more. And half the world instead of doing as well they knew how, were just waiting to see what the great Father wd do next. So children, when told to do something, if they don't like to do just, that wait to see if parents won't change, + call them off to something else.

Though it was so bad, God pitied the world too much to leave it in that state. There was now more that he could do, + more he could say; bc the time had come, + the world was old enough. There are many things your parents can't tell you about till you are older - + every year you can learn somethings better. Leaders + kings, prophets + [?], Judges + priests, speaking for God had done what they could to keep the people right; but they were not enough.

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4.

Now God sent his son into the world. Not to drive prophets, teachers, Bibles, Sabbaths + meetings out of the world; but to tell them do what they had done but not well enough, before. He came into the world - not to destroy - but to fulfil = fill out. Not to condemn world but to save it. Men are earthly children - C. the heavenly son, of God - + being such a son he can speak in the father's name, + tell his earthly brothers how the Father feels - what he wishes - + what he proposes.

If you who are small were away at school - if your Father sh'd send the eldest, grown to be a great men - take pains + trouble to send him to visit you - would it not be a favor? + would you not think he had a right to advise you, + speak to you in the Father's name?

God showed the world mercy. He sent his Son. The son came to do the Fathers will, though it was not wholly a pleasure to him. To tell the children of the earth - all was true which was in the law, + the prophets + Psalms, + to teach them the good news of the gospel - bring life immortality to light. And by all these ways, he came to draw near to the love of God, + to the happiness of serving God. He said, "Come, weary" +c. - Came to [?] the bad work of sin - to soften [?] hearts, to show us how to live, + grow better + not worse, all the time; how to live in this world so as to live with him in glory by + by.

More of C. + his mission to the world next time.

1. The world has a father = God.

2. He is a merciful Father + has done every possible thing.

3 Children of earth have a brother; + He is the Son of God.

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Sept. 13, '57. Sac.

Chiln, 5.

Acts 10:38.

"Now God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost + with power; who went about doing good, + healing all that were oppressed of the devel; for God was with him."

Recapitulate. What souls are. The state they were in. What the Father of the world did for his earthly children - in sending them letters, messages, + books - prophets + teachers - + finally his Son. The Son of God came into the world.

In what condition did he find it? It was nearly all dark. The torches kindled by prophets + teachers had burnt out, or been put out + no new ones lighted. People did not like that sort of light, or they would have kept it burning. There was a great deal of learning, + a great deal of power, + a great deal of talent, in some quarters, but the mighty of the earth knew of God, nor wished to. They were resting from wars + conquests, + were waiting for something new. Some in Judea were wise + knew what they were waiting for. They believed what God had promised long before - a great Deliver - + now it was time for him to appear. They were longing, + hoping, + watching. You know how people feel when they are expecting a friend soon with presents, + gifts; how they harken, go to the window, can't sit still, can't readd + compose the story at all. So there were some looking + waiting for the Messiah to come. Part of these knew him when he came - Simeon + Anna + [?] - but others were so disappointed - he was not at all the sort of person they thought they should see. They expected a prince, + here was a beggar, almost - So many would not believe he was the Messiah; he did not seem to them like the Son of God. So he found the world, generally, dark + ignorant; + of those who know something about him, most were unwilling to have anything to do with him, + lent him no help.

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3.

3 What was it that he tried to do? Why, the will of Him that sent him. And that will was that he should lose more that were given him - i.e. - that he should save all that w'd come unto him. He tried to get the world to believe him - to believe that he was God's Son, that he came on purpose to save them - & that he was able to save them. He tried this all the time, & everywhere he could go, & among all sorts of persons whom he could get access to.

He tried to obtain their confidence in order to save them; not from all trouble, labor, & sorrow in this world; not from all sickness, pain, & death - he could promise; not deliverance from all these evils at once - but help in bearing them. He tried to save them from a great of [misery?] & - [?] in this world, by saving them from sinning; & from the way of the lost in the next world, by procuring for them reconciliation.

He tried to bring about a reconciliation. There you have it all. The Father is displeased - the children are estranged, they are sullen & gloomy & unwilling. So you have seen children, it maybe, not loving their father - have done wrong to him - he is in the right - but they don't like to confess - they want much persuading before they will go & frankly own up, & ask to be restored to father's favor.

C. came to try to induce men to return to God & be reconciled. Did not try any artifice, or deceit. He attempted to heal the [breach?] by leaving it as it was - & leading the party that was in the wrong to own that they were to blame. You know there is always the difficulty. If such as are in the wrong, & sometimes both are - would one of them could no [long?] [quarrel?].

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4. How did he attempt all this? Had a way of course - + one of his own - + one that was wise + good - good as could be. And his way was, as intext, who went about doing good to. He brought his credentials with him from heaven; showed his peeples [sic]; showed that he was entitled to a hea?ing, to respect, to esteem. His peeples [sic] = testimonials were chiefly his miracles + wonders - which showed that he came from God, + that God was with him. Many acknowledged that he was from God. Some who would not admit this, tried to say that he was from Beelzebub. Some, a glutton + a winebibber. Some, friend of publicans + sinners. So there was a variety of opinions. But, in general, it was admitted that he did good. He showed men how to be good; + how to be useful. In this way he gained their confidences, then their love, then their obedience, then their faith in his doctrines, + then their hope in him as the anointed of God, + the Savior of the world. He drew man to him, + then he led them toward God for reconciliation. All knew that he was the Friend of God, + when he convinced men he was their friend - he was the known friend of both parties, + could reconcile them. To show himself Friend of God + friend of sinners - that was his way; + then to assure all that God was able + willing to forgive + save, all that would be friends to himself, + willing to follow him.

1 God has been more than a father to the world. 2 The world has a blessed Redeemer. 3 Children have a kind + faithful Friend.

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[center] Chil'n 6. [double-underlined] [right corner] [center] Nov. 8, 1854. Sac. Matt 19 - 13 [underlined] "Then were brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them & pray. And the disciples rebuk-ed [rebuked] them. 14. But Jesus said, "Suffer etc."

Recapitulate from the preceeding pages, i.e., - the latest ones. 1. Jesus was in the world, to save it. It was no easy thing -- the world -- i.e. -- the people -- were in such a bad way. So full of their own schemes -- so in love with earthly horrors & pleasures -- that it was not easy to get them to think of heaven, & preparation for it. And it very much so now. Men don't quite forget there is a heaven, but they imagine one they are going to; & when you inquire into it, you find it's a heaven a good deal like the earth, into which they will enter & take all this world with them, pretty much. But Jesus told of a diff. heaven -- one for wh. they must be ready to give up all the follies of this world -- & you may be sure most of them didn't like it. So of course they didn't pre-pare [prepare] for it, & never got there. Men don't go to places they don't like, in any world; & C. don't drive people to heaven like cattle; ut he invites them, urges them, to follow him & get there. They can do as they will about following him. He tells us what he came to do -- what we have to do -- what troubles are in the way -- he is honest & plain with us -- & then he asks if we are willing just to keep in sight of him, & go safely to his Father's house in the heavens. And if any of eve get to those blessed mansions it will bec. he found us out, & requested us to go with him.

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[left-corner] 2. 2. [double-underlined] Jesus was more than a great Teacher -- he was a giver of life; the world's Restorer. He was to deliver men's souls from sin & misery. first -- then to restore them to the highest & best condition. He was to restore to them their bodies, in due time, purified & immortal. And he gave assurance of this by taking back his own body from the grave, and returning with it to the realms of Glory. He is called in one place the First Adam -- bec. he restores from death, what the First Adam forfeited to death. Contrast first & second Adam. xxx Now it was this Jesis, the great Life-giver who spake as in my text. He describes himself as "the way the Truth, & the Life". And so it is the most glorious person the world ever saw, that speaks & acts as the text represents. 3. [double-underlined] He had something to do with, & for children. He was glad to do something for them, part of the time. Maybe he was tires sometimes, & fisgusted with the older people, they were so careless, & worldly, & so unmindful of him, & was glad to get among the children. We know he was glad when some were brought to him & he blamed those that tried to keep them away from him. Just as he blames those now, who neither will teach children, nor try to get them to S.S, not do anything to help it on, & so are as bad as those disciples who undertook to keep the children from Jesus. Their example, & influence are vs. the S.S., & not for it -- & we suppose they forget how much C. would blame them if he were to speak to them. It is very strange. But you must come where Jesus is; & never, never, let anybody or anything, keep you away -- for Jesus has

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[right corner] 3. something to say & do for you; & great blessings, we hope, to give. 4. [double-underlined] What did he do? Put his hands on them. Was sitting, called them. Took them in his army. Placed his hands on their heads; & prayed; & pronounced his blessing on them. This was the old way of bestowing good. The Patriarchs did it. Beautiful & solemn. Not a mere thing - has it was new for them so so young. Perhaps they were too young to know what it meant. But they would soon be older, & the thing would not be forgotten. Blessings may fall on the un-conscioys [unconscious] as readily as curses. And they that suffer ills ere they know their cause, may be richly blessed ere they can tell whence the blessing is. And children may now be placed in the Savior's arms before they reaguise the fool. 5. [double-underlined] What was the blessing Christ conferred? We prayed for them -- he blessed them -- but we are to be no more. Those who brought them believed, at least, that Jesus was a great & holy person, if not the Messiah. Believed in the efficacy of the prayers of such -- believe that their benediction was the sure to [?] of God's favor. Nor were they mistaken. The prayer of C. was not an unanswered prayer -- his blessing not an empty & barren one. Those choldren were saved children. They grew up into the love of God & faithe of C. ; or if they grew not up, they were ta-ken [taken] to heaven. Holy hadns had been on them -- & holy prayers had gone up for them -- & holy lips had blessed them; and so it was made certain they were kept from the sin & woe of a fallen, base, & wicked life. If it did not come to this, the good they sought for the children, was scarely worth the suking [?]

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[left corner] 4.

6. What does our God signify by these things? Why, that children cannot be brought to him too soon -- that it may be done before they are old enough to come of themselves. That we are not only to punish them to come, but to help them to come. He unites, you children, to come close to him. He wants to take you in his army, to set you unfouliy[?] knees, to tell you of heaven, to teach you the way, to show you how to pray, & to start you on your little life-journey with his grace flowing round you, & his blessed words sounding in your ears.

Jesus came, taught, lived, & died for you as truly as for your people. He noticed & cared for children more than ever did any other teacher of holy things. He meant to have you learn his word. He wished to lhave you in his church or earth & in that in heaven He invites you now. He has wel-comed [welcomed] some of you when your parents brought you, & you belong to him, & must not think he is a stranger to you.

And here is signified to us all that heaven is largely peo-pled [peopled] with those who were never on earth but little children. I know not how they are the majority there; & that is literally true, of such, in the greatest past, is the k[?] of heaven.

1. If your parents have dedicated you to C. they have done much as those did of old. AAnd you should be thankful. 2. And more that you are old enough to go to C. for your-selves [yourselves], & ask that he will pray for you, & bless you, O, see to it!

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