Joseph A. Benton Collection

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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 correspondences and sermons dating from 1848 to 1893. 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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(7) [centered]

Leads to despair – wretchedness, suicide. ~ "A people that walketh after his own thoughts. "Word of the L [Lord] is a discerner of t. [the] thoughts & intents of t. [the] heart ~ " ~ 6. Skeptical thoughts ~ Most people will have doubting moods – these should scorned – not cherished. Begins to doubt – will doubt yet more – & get the balist strong on him. Will not finally believe anything till there is no opportunity to escape it. Instead of xxx he doubts all things – holds fast to nothing.

Dwarfs himself – belittles his soul – Goes wandering thro [through] the fields of kn. [knowledge] a shriving, shaking – wavering – quaking – ghost of humanity – –. In morals & Religion he spots of every wind – the believer in in wind – the horror of evening calm ~ "Fool hath secured in his heart there is no God."

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(8) [centered]

Remarks – [centered]

1 See that we may sin without overt action –; voluntary thoughts are the object of law-notice.

The state of the heart is what God takes note of – the intent of the mind –

Beware of sinning even then – God eye sees when man's does not

"Let wicked foresake his way & the righteous man his thot's [thoughts] & let him return &c. [etc.]" ~ – – – – – – – – – –

2 Learn how important it is to govern the thoughts – to banish them that are evil ~

This is our only safety – this we can do – not so successfully at all times; but we soon learn.

Bound to govern them as much as Exter. [external] conduct.

[written horizontally across notes] American Review. Missionary Herald. Home Missionary. ~ Quarterly. New Englander. ~

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[upper left corner] (no. 20.) (Prop. [Proper] Repen [Repentance])

[upper right corner] (1)

Sunday May 14 – [centered] Acts 3:19 ~ [centered]

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out: (When the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord) ~ ~ State some of last sermon. One obstacle taken away – how that was – what the other is – Sinners own wrong state of heart –.

First obstacle was removed by providing a ground of merit – the second by presenting a ground of fitness. Repentance is nec. [necessary] – but not for t. [the] same reason that an aton. [atonement] is –. One supports anthor [another]. – the other puts us in right position – in respect of char [character] ~

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(2) [centered]

I In deference to the holy character of God – We should repent ~

1 Pardon without penitence would show disregard of holiness. Care not what they are in char. [character] – treats sin & holiness alike – Shows him indiff [indifferent] to the highest good of creatures.

2. This w'd [would] show him inconsistent with himself. By his law he showed in majestic forms his love of holiness & hate of sin. Now, for aught you see, in his acts – he love alike. – He commands men to repent & be holy – lent this is to day I don't mean it – I am content if you don't repent – it will make no. diff. [difference] with you.

3. This would destroy his authority ~ Prove him unworthy of trust. These promises & threatenings are not to be relied on. Don't know what he will do. Indicates weakness – vacillation – Soon despise him – trample on him – lose all confidence – Disobey him & justly too ~

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(3) [centered]

II In deference to Christ – or the score of gratitude.

1 By obeying in rep. [repentance] – we sh'd [should] show our ap-prec. [appreciation] of Cs [Christ's] sacrifice for us. His love was great – led to self-denial – "Greater love hath no men than this." &c. [etc.] He says repent – grat. [gratitiude] shd [should] lead lead us to humble ourselves at his feet ~ Loved when enemies. ~ 2 Thus we show that we Bewail sin wh. [which] caused his suffering. We had made it nec. [necessary] – to inflict suffering – our Sins made it nec. [necessary] – C. [Christ] underwent a vast amount – that we might go free # We sh'd [should] be most ungrateful – not to repent of such wrong – & mourn such conduct ~

3. Only thus should we show our intention to become like him. C. [Christ] was pure – he aimed to diminish suffering by removing sin – to have a holy church. If we aim not at same – we are unlike him – Till we repent – begin a new life we cant [can't] engage in building up his kingdom or like him go about doing good ~

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