Gold Rush Era Letters

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Joseph A. Benton Journal

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Sac. July 18, 1858.

Chil'n 11. Exodus 2:8.

"And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go! And the maid went & called the child's mother..."

You have to imagine = make a picture in your mind of = several things. A broad valley quite level - a wide river, low banks & easily overflowed, reeds growing in the shallow water near shore. A fine city, not far away, built of stone & brick, peculiar architecture. In suburbs & along close to river, collections of small low buildings, set up high from earth, where poor people lived, & such as had to do all the hard duty & cruel work, without much pay, and without any means of getting up in the world.

Have to think of a great number of such villages all swarming with poor oppressed people, so that there were more of them within a few miles than all the people in Cal. Org. & Wash. together. Many of them were more than 100 years old, & great hosts of them were young children. The rulers, rich & great men, were afraid they should never be able to manage them if these hosts all grew up and [?] took their places. So we must think of them as so cruel as to resolve that all these poor people's children -

Last edit 28 days ago by hannahb25
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[center:] S.Sk. 3. Prov. 20:29- [double-underlined]

[left:] Feb. 25: 1849

[center] "The glory of young men is their strength". [swirly underline]

The great problems of Existence have been the study of the noblest minds. They greatly interest all young men-- should be deeply pondered by them. [tab] Persons of your age are justly thought the most important class of society. [tab] The primary [underlined] thought of the Text is of muscular strength &c. -- But we may take it in a wider sense. 1 [double-underlined] The glory of such consists in their strength of Position [underlined]. (a) Interest [underlined]: he feels - felt in him. (b) Affection [underlined]; heart full of feeling ; not yet calloused, nor hard. (c) Hope [underlined]: world all before him - not soured by disap[t]- [illegible] buoyed up- springs elastic. (d) Confidence [underlined]; in his fellows - in man; in society; in power of success in the goodness that appears [underlined]-- Has never seen the world's depravity. (e) Power of Endurance [underlined]: Can withstand, bear, suffer. Feels that there is force[?] within says ever -- "Oh faith[?] not so." 2 [double-underlined] It Consists in their Force of Rt. Mor. Character. (a) Firmness [underlined]. Knowing and doing the right, true, &c. Not blustering- but ever on hand where required. (b) Self-Reliance [underlined]. Making most of one's self- most of one's powers - his own way in the world. Determination to be somebody. (c) Virtuous Principle [underlined]. Steady resistance of wrong-taking all cheerfully. Looking on the heavenly side of all that comes up. Remembering what temptation is for- slid[?] by principle - not desire. (d) Faith in God and goodness [underlined]. Sure God is true, faithful, good. God will clear himself. Good will prevail at last. The right & just must triumph,-- 1. What young man, then, will not consider what he is? 2. Who of us will not remember what he may & ought to be? 3.Who will not bear in mind the worlds of one of our own poets? "Tell me not"

Last edit 27 days ago by California State Library
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4.

4. How it works. Has a way of its own. Poisons our pleasures; disturbs our rest; & takes away our comfort, when we sin. Keeps us thinking of our evil so we cant forget it when we wish to; & it tries to make us undo our mischief, & restore what is not our own, & ask forgiveness of our faults.

I knew a boy - now a minister - who stole &c. A great point in his life - decided him forever. Learn to give consc. always the victory - not to resist.

5 Will it work always? Not always so vigorously. Sometimes is dull & sleepy, & not very vigilant. But it is only resting, & is not idle. Sees & remembers, & by & by takes its time. O, how it rages, & smites, & tears, wounding, stinging, inflicting smarts & pains!

Those men down in Egypt - in the prison room - conscience found them there after 20 years - it had often reminded them before - but not it would not be put off -= it put them in torment, & forced them to confess. That is the way it works. Haven't got rid of cause. - when we think we have concealed our crimes. It wont be put off so, very long.

Now I say, whatever else you do - keep on good terms with your consc. Don't wrong it. Dont make it your enemy. Dont let it become your tormenter. And you can do this only by keeping right, true, & good. Then it will be one of the best friends of your life,

Last edit 24 days ago by hannahb25
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Sac. Sept. 12 : 1858.

Chil'n 13 Genesis 22:7.

"And he said. Behold the fire, and the" "wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"

California & Palestine much alike in climate, scenery, & seasons. 4000 years ago was not very different from what Cal. was 12 years ago.

Describe Beersheba & region (Dan to Beersheba - what?) around. The family dwelling there - herds, flocks, servants, tents, & other surroundings. What sort of life the patriarch led - his age, his family, his prospects. Character of the man - whence he came - what he believed about his position & prospects. In what light he looked on his child.

Amid his peace, plenty, & joy came strange communications to him. They were words from God. When he saw they were so, he went to doing them; and did hesitate about obeying bec. they seemed so strange to him, & bec. he did know what was to be the consequences of his obedience.

But though he did not see beyond what he was going to do; he could believe that if he did God's will it would all be well. And when men think so they have faith in God.

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This patriach set out early one morning to go to the place he had been told of - in order to do what he had been directed to do when he got there. There wwere in the train 2 young men-servants - several beasts to ride on & carry their burdens of tents, utensils, & provisions - since they would be gone several days - besides the old man & his youthful son.

On the third day they came into the region they sought. There was a hill there which the old man was looking for. He had been told about so well, it was so exactly described, that he knew it as soon as he saw it; though he had never been in that region before, that we know of.

They camped in a valley by an afterward famous brook, & refreshd themselves. Then the patriarch told the servants to remain where they were. He & the land were to go by themselves awhile to engage in sacred matters. And the servants did not wonder at it at all; for they knew the good old man was accustomed to go away into the woods & hill-tops to worship God. (All servants don't know so much - & for a very good - or bad - reason.)

Imagine an old man, with a great knife in his sheath; with a piece of decayed wood in his hand, that carried fire, & beside him a lad, with a bundle of

Last edit 24 days ago by hannahb25
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of sticks brought all the way with them, & hung over his shoulder going up the hill together. It was a solitary region; rocky, not very fertile, but partly covered with trees, & thickets of undergrowth - like many similar spots in Cal.

The names of this patriarch & his son you may recall. They have become great; & this was one of the great days of their lives. On the way the lad noticed a want, & called the attention of the father to the fact. He knew very well, it seems, what was to be done. He had been with the parent before when he made a sacrifice & an offering to God of a lamb or a kid. And he thought that something had been forgotten.

But when the altar is built of earth & stones & the wood is all arranged - then it is all explained to him, & the land perceive that he had come himself for a victim. O what a scene it was, when that man abound the son of his love & hope with cords, & he did not resist; & proceeded to lay him on the wood, & to make him answer in the room of a slain beast!

God had given him the son, & God had a right to take him - in his own way & time. And they both agreed that the command of God ought to be regarded - let come what would - ; & thus they consented to act their parts in the sacrifice - at the peril of their own dear lives!!

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all the boys certainly - should be killed, so there should be no more, after a few years, any small boys.

Must think now of a small adobe, with some vines running over it, not far from the river, lived in by a man & his wife, & 3 little children - one, a boy of ten; a girl of six, and an infant, not able to sit alone. This infant born after the rule was in force about killing the newborn. The names, [Ameran?], [Jochebed?], Aaron, Miriam, Moses. Mrs Jochebed managed not to have it known; but c'd do so only a few weeks. What would she do then?

Imagine her, the little thing asleep, out in sight getting reeds & then making a cradle without rockers of rushes & pitch. No boxes, [?], or anything of that sort had she. Floats they off with child in it - must lose him anyhow - but tried to have him kept alive.

There was a little girl in the care also. All was explained to her - & she was told to keep along the bank, as if playing, and to see what happened. Out some time - toward evening ladies came to bathe at the houses here & there - & some of them afterward strolled among the trees, & along the bank. While the little girl as far off as she c'd be, & see, watched them as they came & went. By & by one of them noticed the ark among the flags. She must know what it was. She ordered one to step in, & bring it; it was close to home. Imagine wehat she thought, when she looked in! Well - beautiful - sympathy - would not order it thrown back.

Meanwhile think of the girl crossing up to the group -

Last edit 28 days ago by hannahb25
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[center] S. Sk. 4.

[left:] March 18: 1849. [center] Job 14:14. [double-underlined]

"If a man die, shall he live again?" [swirly underline]

[right-justified] These are two grand, grand [underlined], questions which meet us. (a) Shall I live after death? (b) Will my conduct here affect my condi-tion hereafter? Shall now answer the first inquiry. Immortality vital to true manliefs[?] - to all suicre[?] piety, & religion. The Bible rather implies [underlined] than afserts (asserts?) it; as with respect to the being of God. 1. Change does not involve destruction [underlined]. Thus[?]- by pers-identity, [?] sleeping, swooning, [?], drowning ie[?]. 2. Question of the soul's immateriality, of itself, not decisive. [underlined] God can perpetuate whatever he will- without need to [?]. 3. Argument is a moral one. [under-lined] (a) From the [?] of its nature. (a^2)Not like the soils [?] ie, in nature, (b^2) Not[?] like the vegetables. (c^2) Is above all the brute creation. (d^2) [?] image of God. State this ie[?] (b From its powers + capacities. Can know the universe, can [?] abstract, un-derstand [?], moral [?]; knows God; read forth to infinities. (c) Will not God cause it to [?] to suds[?]? If so, will he not perpetuate its being for sure? He does so with all else, why not with man? Can we dispute that truth without impeading God? Will the soul plunge into everlasting nothing? Will it tumble into an-nihilation, with every dog in the streets?

Last edit 23 days ago by California State Library
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S.S.K.3. April 8:1849 Proverbs 3:13-18 13."Happy is the man that findeth wisdom + the man that getteth understanding ++++++++ 17 Her ways are ways of pleasanthelp, and all her paths are peace" All men eagerly ask - "Who will show us any good? The bible answers--in the text--

Last edit 2 months ago by kratzbrianna
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Aug. 9, '57. Sac. Chiln. [?] Romans 9:16th. "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that receiveth, but of God, that sheweth mercy..." Have told what the soul is - have mismanaged how hardened Everywhere - in all ages - a similar state of things - men going wrong, doing wrong, feeling wrong. All this God saw. What was to be done? Suppose you are from home. Father hears you don't do quiet so well as you ought. Will he not write you a letter, or send some message by on that will see you. Won't he try to correct you? God is the world's father. Saw how badly it was doing - + he sent messages to the people by patriarchs + prophets - warning, instructing, encouraging in the right. Then he sent books, letters, + messages together + tried all methods of persuasion to keep them from doing wrong, + induce them to do right. Did this of his own accord; + because he pitied the people that were in so bad a state. Sometimes children go a good ways from home to school. When they get letters - they know they shall get them - they can tell whether they are father's letters or not, can't they? If they get books - just such as they want - they say of course father sent them - nobody else knew what we wanted. So the people in thy world have received many communications - messages of various sorts reach them - but they can tell God's messages from others - just as you can your father's letters from the messagse other people send you.

Last edit 23 days ago by California State Library
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