Gold Rush Era Letters

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Joseph A. Benton Journal

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[center] S. Sk. 10 - [right justified] Sabbath School [underlined]

[left justified] June 24: 1844 [center] 2 Chron. 9: 21 -- [double-underlined]

"For the king's ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Hiram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish beinging gold, and silver, ivory, and and apes & peacocks".

Tell where Tarshish was situated. Describe the country and its mineral wealth -- the tales of historians and others -- I The Tyrians = the Phenicians were the Saxons & Anglo-Saxons of ancient times. They planted colonies all around the Mediterranean Sea. 2 Greece sprang from them; & ultimately Rome -- and so all the civ-ilization [civilization] & learning of our times. 3 Solomon made affinity with their King - in Commerce, and so in car-rying [carrying] abroad their arts, learning, civilization, & religion. They blessed others while benefitting themselves. II California is now ours. We go in quest of its mineral wealth. 1 We go not as Spaniards went to Peru or Mexico. 2 Not as marauders, hard-hearted & blood-thirsty. 3 We go to be rid of the evils of poverty -- to gain an honest competence. 4 To spread t. [the] views we cherish of freedom vs. slavery. 5 To establish Srew[?] Eng. in-fluence [influence], & institutions along with all else that we desire. If we would do this & show ourselves the men we were taken to be & which we esteem ourselves to be. III We must be submissive to law - ever & always -. 2. Be self pofsefsed [possessed]. Not merely cool [underlined] in danger- but cool in the midst of enticements - and cool in the hour of provocation - amid the heats of pafsion [passion] -- 3. Guard our moral feelings. Not allow them to be blunted & destroyed. All vice bad enough - but licentiousnefs [licentiousness] worst of all. 4. Cultivate our piety. Other safe-guards are well; but this is the only effectual one. Nothing can [underlined] answer as well --

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[center:] S.Sk. 2. Ps. 47:2 - [double-underlined]

[right:] Sab. School

Feb. 11:1849.

"He is a great king in all the Earth."

In these timies much is said & written of human privileges, rights, and duties. The wants & rights of humanity recieve [receive] a generous care. All this is well. But

God has rights more venerable & sacred than these. 1. [right justified:] He deserves respect for (a) The Eternity of his existence. (b) The amount of his being. (c)The wondrous works he has wrought. 2. [right justified:] He deserves obedience for (a) The ability of giving [JC?] the best [illegible] laws. (b) The willingness to do so. (c) Having take the king of [man's?] gov't [government].

3. God, therefore, has rights [underlined] (a) of Proprietorship in all things, in all brings. He formed them of this own discretion - for his own pleasure. (b) of Government - since he only is fitted to reign in glory, as sovereign over all worlds - the Ruler of all rational & moral brings. (c) of Office. Regard & worship, as the most excell., lovely admirable, resplendent, & glorious object of love in the universe.

1 Sh'd [Should] be careful how we speak the name of God. Parents those we respect. 2 Sh'd [Should] be careful how we treat sacred things. Treat friends. 3 Sh'd [Should] be careful about the state of our hearts - feelings, acts, &c [et cetera], -

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Sac. M'ch 14 : 1858.

Chiln. 9~ Proverbs, 20:11.

"Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, & whether it be right."

Possibly your memories are not very retentive xx & that you have forgotten last month's sermon. It was meant to teach how to live so as to gladden the hearts of your parents, & make their lives long, so far as you cold prolong them.

You have heard that man & woman are but children of larger growth - & my text implies as much, because it says we can know & judge little folks, in the same way we do great ones.

Repeat text. Analysis. "Even a child", much more a grown person; but ever a child - i.e. - any child - every child - all children - not merely some children, but all; those that don't come to church, and those who do - those that love school, & those that love play more. "Even a child" "is known". Known? to whom? To God? Yes - but God knows him, & all about him, not only by his doings, but because he looks right into him, & sees his heart; & is aware what he thinks of as well as what he says & does. "Is known" to whom else? To men? Yes. This is all the way they have to find us out & know us. They have to see what we do - then they begin to know us. It is a slow way, it may be, but pretty sure. A child is known to men by his doings. To all man? No! To some persons then? Yes! To what ones? To those that look on, and observe; to neighbors, teachers, & others.

"Is known". Known for what? What gets known about him, by hi sdoings? Clothes he wears & likes best; sort of room & bed he

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sleeps in, what he studies, what school he goes to, & what sports he enjoys most? No! not these exactly. Cant know every little thing about children by their doings.

But this is it. A child by what he does often, frequently, commonly, becomes known to those who observe in his character - it is understood just what he is in his heart - his inmost being is seen through - & his peculiar nature is discerned; & by peculiar, I mean what belongs to him, & no one else.

Sometimes it is thought children are alike & have no peculiar character. But it can't be so. You know what the poets say - "Just as the twig is bent." "Tall oaks from little acorns grow." "The boy is father of the man". And the Bible - "Train up xxx not depart". The tree is in the germ, the seed, all complete. So the man is the boy - the woman is the girl. May grow larger, but will continue same. You have each one, a character. I may not know it, but some people do. Only the other day - at work - little boy 5 years old. Tell. So you have a character already - some people know what it is - and they know bec. they know, & see you.

"Even a child, then, is known". But how comes he to be known? Where do people learn so much? Why "a child is known, by his doings". "Doings?" You fancy you have never done anything. You may think your doings are all to be future - that you won't do anything till you are grown - then, yes then what a sight of things, great things, you are going to do! But, is it so? If you are doing nothing as children, you will do the same by & by. I tell you - do nothing children

(Doing some of the greatest things now, you will ever do.)

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make do - nothing grown people. Doings now sow the seeds of doings hereafter. Do you not see that?

What are children's doings? What the text means by refering to them? What are grown people's doings, I ask? The Savior says a tree is known by its fruit, & a man by his works. This don't refer to his trade, or business, exactly. xxxx. It refers to his conduct when he can do right or wrong - as he pleases. It is doings of the heart, & things that come out the heart which are meant. A man's hands maybe doing well enough - while his heart-doings are eveil. Does a man love God, worship him, pray to him, keep the Sabbath, read the Bible, pray in his house, love his neighbors, do them all the good he can, keep himself honest & just, keep his tongue from evil, try to save man from sinning, and never tempt them to do wrong? - his doings are pure, right, & good.

Now, are there no such doings as these among children? Certainly - you will say, there are. Doings of this sort, then, make you known, as truly as they do larger folks. You can judge a small tree by its fruits as well as you can a larger one. And if a tree bears but 5 apples you can tell what sort of a tree it is as well as if it bore five bushels. It is not so much the number and quantity of your doings, as it is the kind & quality of them, that we want to know; though, if they be pure & right, the more they are, the better.

The question returns, what are those doings of children, by which they may be known? well, I say: those doings which prove that they ahve pure, right, & good hearts. You may run faster, jump

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higher, lift more, ride better, & play with more skill than other boys, & still do worse than they, & show bad hearts. You may have handsome features, wear richer clothes, live in finer houses, & recite longer lessons than other girls, & still show worse hearts than they.

A child's doings include his habits of body, mind, & heart; his tempers, dispositions, & feelings; his thoughts, words, & acts! O, you say, we are full of these! To be sure! just as I said; you have plenty of "doings" by which you are known.

Bible says, "As one thinketh in his heart, so is he". Thoughts go to make character. Never the same after any thing as before. Are worse, or better. Don't know your thoughts while you are thinking them; but we see their influences on your Character. So with the feelings you cherish. Soon we see what they have been. Like the measles - they will break out. You are cleanly, & regular in your personal habits, or not; in your sleeping, eating, & drinking careful & wise, or not; in your reading, studying, & learnings you are diligent, or not; in your dispositions & tempers you are amiable, loving, & lovely, or else selfish quarrelsome, & obstinate; in your words you are moderate & truthful, or rash & deceitful; in your conduct you are obedient & generous, or rebellious & crooked; in your actions you are true, dutiful, just, & right, or you are false, careless, unfair, & wrong; in your hearts you love God and admire the Savior, & delight in all that's good, or you do not. In all these particulars, & more, are your "doings"; and by your doings, according to kind you are known; whether your work be pure, right.

1. Don't think your doings nothing. You are making char. & doing work.

2. Do not suppose people know & think nothing about you.

3. Take care to be pure & do right; & pray God to aid you to do a good work.

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Sac. June 14. '58.

Chiln 10. Proverbs 28:26~ "Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, & saith, "It is no transgression;" the same is the companion "of a destroyer."

You have heard of countries where there are robbers that watch their opportunity, & plunder travellers. I have read of Pirates that infest the seas. Remember the parable of the Samaritan, & the man that fell among thieves. You abhor their wicked & lawless conduct. You think good people do right, to imprison, or hang them, when they can catch them. They are destroyers of property & life; & it is well to stop them by putting them out of the way, when it is possible.

[?] says those that rob parents are companions of such - like such - on a level with them, and so deserving of just such treatment.

1 It is very wrong to steal from anybody anything that is his - or take, without consent, what we know belongs to some one else.

All stealing is robbery. It is forbidden in that commandment that comes soon - after the one requiring us to honor our parents. no doubt you feel an abhorrence of stealing, & would despise yourselves & others if guilty of it.

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2 But stealing from our parents - why you think no one would be guilty of that.

If one wants to steal let him role some one else rather than his parents.

It is worse to steal from them, than from others. Not that the stealing, in itself, is any worse; but you add another sin to the sin of stealing - viz. the sin of ingratitude - a very black sin.

3. But there may be robbery that is not literally stealing, & I don't suppose i need tell you not to steal from your parents. I take it for granted you will never be guilty of so vile & wicked a thing.

You may not think you are robbing your parents, when really you are doing it.

(a) If you should go to a store or shop & get things without your parents kn. & leave the debt for them to pay - that w'd be robbing them.

(b) If you should throw away your clothes, or books, or play things; or carelessly destroy, or injure, them, so that they are obliged to buy more than w'd otherwise be nec. that is another way in which, you may fall into bad habits, & rob them of the money they very much needed for some other purposes. You ought not to tax parents so heavily.

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(c) You may be so troublesome at home, require so much attention - want so much care, that you rob your parents of their time, which they need for other things. Time is moeny - time is limited - none can afford to waste any, or throw it away - & if you demand more than is necessary you rob others of what is valuable.

(d) You may be so wanting in content, control, self management, power [?] & care for yourselves as to be running to your parents every minute, about every trifle - giving them scarce a quiet moment, when you are in reach of them - & in ways like these, you may rob your father & mother of peace & patience, & worry them even into their graves.

(e) You maybe so fond of play, so idle, so wild, so truant, so vicious, & so much in love with evil, as to sadden & discourage your parents & rob them of all the fond hopes they have been cherishing for years - that you would be studious, scholarly, & would rise to greatness & honor in the world.

(f) You may remain so ignorant of books - become so rude, so boisterous, so ill-mannered, so awkward in your notions, & so blundering in your speech, as to rob your parents of all pleasure in your society & to make them ashamed in all decent company.

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(g) You may become so bad - so hardhearted, so profane, so filthy, so base, & so wicked in many ways, as to empty your parents' hearts of every joy in you; & rob them of all the comfort & hope, they might have in you, if you were loving, pure, & dutiful. Thus you see it is poss. that even some s.s. children should, in one way or another, rob their parents; even if they should never think of breaking the 8th commandment.

How can this robbery be prevented? Getting new fastenings to keep the windows shut? Getting a safe, & iron shutters on? Chaining dogs at the gates? Getting policemen to be on the lookout nearby?

No; this sort of robbery will go on in spite of all those things, I'm afraid. They don't answer the purpose - not just the thing. You admit, this ought not to go on this robbery ought to be stopped.

What will prevent it? How many here will do all they can to stop it? Where do you learn how to treat your parents rightly. What book is a good guide? Where do you learn what is in it? From whom do you hear most about that which shall make you good & wise - now & forever?

Well if you stick to the Sunday School till you're 50 years old - will be sure of you - that you'll never be the compt. of destroyers.

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