[From The Mormons by Gunnison, 1852]
IN what has preceded, we have aimed more to give a view of the people of Utah, the Mormons, as they delineate themselves, than to criticise their creed, or controvert their pretensions. During a year's residence among them, there was an opportunity of observing them impartially, and having no knowledge of their doctrines in advance, their whole system became one of study, unuttered by prejudice. Since leaving them, curiosity has led me to investigate the motives of the opposition which they have encountered, both in regard to their religious opinions and political actions.
We find that they are regarded by many as dangerous to the state, and subverters of our holy religion. The system is held up as the result of impudent imposture' and interested knavery. Their miracles, which had so much to do in its early success, are accounted for in the same manner as those of the ~Icsmeric philosopher, or those of a monkish priesthood:the performers of them perhaps deceived themselves and the lookers-on' duped by a deceiving imagination, and led astray by a deluding superstition. They call up historical facts, and exhibit before us similar fanaticism in all ages of the church, in which whole countries and communities have been overwhelmed for a time, aml which passing away, are the wonder of after ages; and we come to the melancholy conclusion that nothing is too absurd when it assumes the name of religion, to have its thousands of votaries.
By this rule of historical evidence,by the facts contemporaneous with the development of Mormonism, are we called upon to test the truth of its origin in heavenly revelation or successful human derivation.
The addition to the Sacred Record, The Book of Mormon, is at the foundation of the scheme, and we will first see how it is proved to be the work of one of sufficient genius to produce it; and then show how it has been made to lay so firm a hold on many minds. Its style and literary merits are not parts of the question at allwe have only to observe that it is the most successful attempt ever made to imitate the Scriptures, not in its composition, but in its pretension to be an inspired text.
There have been several versions of the story, but, after the most mature investigation we have been enabled to give to the subject, the following seems most consistent with the facts yet published. All is established on the most positive testimony of individuals under oath, which is essential to the point at issue. As this will controvert the statements of the " Prophet," Joseph Smith, and his father's family, we ask the opinion of their neighbors whether their assertions are entitled to unquestioned credit. Fifty-one gentlemen of Palmyra, New York, and eleven of Manchester, and several persons who lived near the family residence, and often labored for days in company with them, all testify to the same effect"that they consider them destitute of that moral character, which ought to entitle them to the confidence of any communityand particularly that the senior and junior Joseph; were entirely unworthy of belief in such matters; and addicted to vicious habits." They were visionary men, and believed that hidden treasures were in the vicinity, and often employed themselves in digging for them and money. They used what in Scotland are denominated "Seerstones," through which persons, born under peculiar circumstances, can see things at a distance, or future events passing before their eyes, or things buried in the earth.* Such a stone was dug from a well by one Willard Chase' which was loaned to the prophet Joseph, and retained by him, and with which some of the family declared he read in the Golden Bible.
* Like the Mediaval Crystallomancy.
In after times, he said that he used two stones, set in the two rims of a bow, the Urim and Thummim of the ancients; and probably this seer-stone gave rise to the idea that it would be a sure way of gaining belief. These stones are those spoken of in the Book of Mormon, as the ones touched by the finger of God for the use of Jared in his barges, when he crossed the Pacific to settle America. They became shining lights in his dark vessel. The family also used peach and witch-hazel rods, to detect and drive off evil spirits, when digging for money; and such branches are supposed by many to point out streams of running water beneath the surface; and are used by miners frequently to find the lodes of mineral, for the currents of water are presumed to run parallel with the veins. They take a forked stick, and hold a prong in each hand, the stem pointing upward, and walk about the field jif there are any underground springs, the stick will turn downward toward it in spite of the holder. Tales of such discoveries are told among this people, and firmly believed at present, not alone by them, but by persons in every part of the country.
It has already been mentioned that in 1823, under the preaching of a Methodist elder, the "prophet," as we shall continue to call Joseph, and his father's family, were converted or excited, in a " revival of religion." This resulted in giving a portion to the Presbyterians, but leaving the prophet greatly perplexed among the rival sects, who were striving to enlist the converts under some particular banner. In viewing "this struggle for the spoils of victory," his original mind took the idea that there was but little to choose between them, and that all matters wrangled upon were mere opinions. Yet he could see that there- was a religious element in the human character, which was apt to be swayed by the circumstances surrounding the individual. On that little theatre were shown the scenes attending the preaching of Peter the Hermit, the enthusiasm of the disciples of Matthias of Munster, OD a diminished scale; but enough to exhibit the tendency of fanaticism and mystic feeling in a multitude. And he did not fail to observe that a permanent influence remained when the exciting causes were overthat some would continue their course, and search out reasons to substantiate their notions instead of testing them in-cool judgment, their pride or their vanity being enlistedothers, feeling a depression of spirits, would unite in social gatherings and rouse what they called "a happy feeling," by harangues and vociferous prayersand not a few would join in the popular current to be with their friends, and enjoy variety and novelty.
During this rivalry of the sects, also, their peculiar views were freely discussed, of course, and to one so observant, their theological notions, supported each by Bible (commentaries, were well digested by Joseph. Could a compounded system be deduces from them that would suit a majority of minds, and their attention joined to it, the task of founding a "new church," would no seem a very great work to one who looked upon each of thou bodies bearing the name, as equally a true one, or only organizations for carrying out human purposes. Judging from what he says in his autobiography, ideas of this kind now took possession of his mind, on which he systematically acted during the remainder of his career. He informs us that he engaged in earnest prayer: for enlightenment. He rose at night and continued his supplications. In September of that year, when all else was hushed it sleep, his prayers were answered by a heavenly vision. An angel in all the splendor of light, radiating from his head, with eyes of lambent flame, and hair like fleecy wools stood before him. Hi message was that Joseph should gird himself for the work of the Lord, and go forth among men and restore His church. No doubt he had a remarkable dream that night, waking or sleepingfor though the vision was repeated in the most resplendent manner and important revelations given concerning the manner of founding a " new church," and information upon the subject of hidden records on plates of gold in the vicinityyet he informs us the he "went about his work as usual on the following morning.' The conception of the plan might well be called his "brilliant glory: " in figurative language original thoughts are visiting angels and mature reflections heavenly counsellors. There was a floating story abroad that a golden Bible had been found in Canada, and many little circumstances conspired soon, to give consistency to what was then planned for a future development.
About this period Joseph leaves his father's residence, and for four years was passing to and fro between Wayne, New York, and Susquehanna counties, Pennsylvania. The first two years are much involved in mystery; the autobiography helps us to little knowledge of the manner in which they were passed on the line of travels and sojourns in the counties of Onondaga and Chenango, though it is asserted that his name can be found on the criminal records, haying been arrested as a vagabond. He acquired great reputation for money-digging. A man by the name of Stowell, in Bainbridge, New York, employed him to dig for hidden treasure in the neighborhood. Some legends of the wandering Spaniards from De Soto's band' and the wealth of the aboriginal inhabitants buried on the banks of the Susquehanna, had fired the imaginations of the old Dutchman, and a company was in search of the untold wealth. The seer-stone and the mineral rod were already familiar to Joseph, and his pretensions and frequent search caused him to be called the " money-digger."
While laboring in his profession at Harmony, Pennsylvania' he became acquainted with Miss Hale' and persuaded her to elope with him, and they were clandestinely married. Previous to this, however, he had made a journey home, and there reported that silver ore was to be had on the Susquehanna, and induced one Laurence to carry him back, promising to share with him in an enterprise to fill a boat with ore, and carry it to Philadelphia. On searching for the mine, it could not be found, and the man went back disappointed. In 1820, Joseph again duped his friend
Stowell, by telling him that he had discovered, near his father's residence, a bar of gold in a cave, and offered to go and cut it off with a chisel' and give him one half of it, if Stowell would move him and wife to Wayne County. Though all former trials had failed, the honest old fellow consented, and with his stout team carried him back; but then Joseph refused to leave his bride among strangers, and the Dutchman returned to his home to cultivate his cabbages, and to regret once more the " golden opportunity" lost. This is the substance of the history of the time between the first angelic apparition and the announcement that the plates had been delivered him by the angel' and the translation begun.
The simple explication of the Book of Mormon hangs on the satisfactory solution of a few obscure points in the following circumstances. A Romance to show the manner of peopling America by some Jews and the "lost ten tribes of Israel;" the wars, and economy of living among their descendants' and the division into tribes as they were found in our Indians at the discovery by Columbus, is known to have been written by the late Rev. Mr. Spalding at Conneaut, Ohio. This was just previous to 1812, and his brother testifies that their " arts, sciences and civilisation were brought into view, in order to account for all the curious antiquities found in various parts of North and South America:"A clear idea of the work can be had from the affidavit of Mr. Henry Lake' given at Conneaut, in 1833' which is corroborated by abundant other testimony.
He affirms: " I left the state of New York in the year of 1810, and arrived in this place about the first of January following. Soon after my arrival I formed a copartnership with Solomon Spalding * * *. He frequently read to me from a manuscript which he was writing, and which he entitled the " Manuscript Found," which he represented as being found in this town. I spent many hours in hearing him read said writings; and became acquainted with their contents. He wished me to assist him in getting it printed, alleging that a book of that kind would meet with a rapid sale. This book represented the American Indians as the lost tribes, gave an account of their leaving Jerusalem, their contentions and wars, which were many and great. One time, when he was reading to me the tragic account of Laban, I pointed out to him what I considered an inconsistency, which he promised to correct; but by referring to the Book of Mormon, I find to my surprise it stands there, just as he read it to arc then. Some months ago I borrowed a golden Bible, * ~ ~ had not read twenty minutes before I was astonished to find the same p~s~gPs i. it that Spalding had read to me, more than twenty years before, from his "Manuscript Found." Since then, I have more fully examined the said golden bible; and have no hesitation in saying that the historical part of it is principally if not wholly, taken from the " Manuscript Found." I well recollect telling Mr. Spalding that the too frequent use of the words, " Now it came to pass," " And it came to pass," rendered it ridiculous. Spalding left here in 1812, and I furnished him with the means to carry him to Pittsburg, where he said he would get the book printed and pay me. But I never heard any thing more from him, or of his writings, till I saw them in the Book of Mormon."
The same in effect is the evidence of the brotlior of Spalding, that he heard much of the " Manuscript " road, and that, according to his best recollection, "The Book of Mormon is the same as my brother Solomon wrote, with the exception of the religious matter." All this is confirmed' by more than half a dozen other gentlemen, and by the widow and daughter of the author of " Manuscript Found." It was also made known that a change in his original design was made. At first the Romance began, by fitting out the emigrant Jews at Rome, and a quirc of paper was written; but not liking that origin, he started from-Jerusalem with Lehi and his four sons, as the leaders of the enterprise, under divine instruction.
We have followed the Manuscript Found to Pittsburg; its further traces are not so palpable. It has been supposed it was left with the printer Lambdin, and that Sidney Rigdon was employed to edit it for the press; and that, by collusion with Smith, whose money-digging reputation was notorious, the miraculous plan of translation was concerted. Subsequent events discredit this supposition. The author of the Manuscript left Pittsburg in 1814, and two years afterwards died in the southern part of Pennsylvania. His widow, shortly after this event, removed to Onondaga county, New York, near to her early residence, and carried a trunk thither, containing the writings of her deceased husband. She spent much of her time for three years in visiting her friends in adjoining counties, and resided awhile at lIartwick, not far from the home of the Stowell above mentioned. During a part of the time from 1817 to 1820, when she again married and moved to Massachusetts, the trunk, supposed to contain the writings, was at her brother's in Onondaga Hollow, near the residence of the Smith family;.Wayne and Onondaga counties being separated by a narrow township of land.
When the Book of Mormon appeared, and its almost identity with the Manuscript was discovered by those familiar with the latter, enquiry was made for the whereabouts of that paper. It had mysteriously disappeared, and the " Manuscript Found " has ever since been the Manuscript lost. The trunk was hunted up and searched, but only the quire of paper with the Roman c~odus was in it; out of all that it formerly contained, this alone was left. How the Manuscript could have been taken out, and when, remains a mystery, and probably over will remain unknown. Like the history of the first Mormon Seer, the transits of that trunk can hardly now be-traced in those same counties of Chenango, Otsego, and Onondaga,and what process was going on in the interiors of each, is left to conjecture. But a curious coincidence of dates and habitations exists between them, which subsequent developments connect together.
From these circumstances, just hinted at in the above account, it seems fair to conclude, that the Manuscript Found escaped from its prison and perched upon some farmer's shelf; or fell direct, by accident or design, into the hands of Joseph Smith, and opportunely met the mind that could mould it into a religious fiction. Much has been said of his stupidity and illiterate character; but no doubt these qualities, if a negation may be so denominated, are greatly exaggerated. Like the cobbler at his Pilgrim's Progress, people took the profession and scholastic lore of the man as the measure of his genius. But what is genius? and who will venture to define it? Its effects we see, and turd aside from the humdrnm of life to observe how it rivets the attention of many to its artistic creations, and whirls them out of the eddies of their own thoughts and opinions into the onward currentsto think and bclieve in those of the author.
Here is a book that takes fast hold of the minds of hundreds of thousands, and so skilfully arranged on the model of the true Bible, and so garnished with versions and extracts of ~ its text, that it becomes to them a verisimilitude of the Holy Book itself. Such wonderful influence is not due to those extracts alone, which constitute one eighteenth part of the whole; but rather to the ingoDious arrangement of its plot, and the decided non-committalism to any sect of Christians or prominent doctrine; if ore except the mode of administering the rite of baptism in the Nephite churches.
Nor was that a stupid man who could wield the powers of lily and death over a multitude in an enlightened age and community, and cause his memory to be revered by the sincere, and gain in their estimation the proud position of being "the most perfect man and powerful mind we ever saw;" for such an eulogium have we often heard.
He had a religious turn of mind, and at the "great revival" an impression was surely made, the stamp of which was never effaced from his character. He emerged from the conflicting wavc.s of various religions opinions and visionary speculations raging around him; and sought to arrange a system that would suit all minds, and draw them into one communion. His associations were vulgar, but such as made him acquainted with the weak side of humanity. Ile early saw that numbers were of more consequcncc than intellectual attainments in the sects, in point of illflUCHCC. It is a prime point to enlist the less cultivated many, which at last invariably carries the unstable part of the cultivated few; who, if they do not yield a full acquiescence, are willing to be reckoned of the host, and think to lead by non-resistance.
The first idea must have been to make a book that should account for the peopling of America, and the ruins that are spread over much of its surface, showing evidences of a former civilisation. Various theories were afloat on this mysterious subject. That of Jewish origin is an old one. The traditions collected from the Indians and compared with the Asiaticthe disappearance of the ton tribes, and Hebrew notions among the aboriginesthe discovery of ruined cities and temples in Central Americathe relics of pottery, bricks, and stumps of axe-cut trees, buried far beneath the surface of the Mississippi valleyall had conspired to arouse curiosity. The book that should gain the credit of elucidating these subjects would be highly remunerative.
But some slight incidents occurring while such thoughts were revolving in his mind, gave a further and wider grasp to the plan. The biblical language of the manuscript, and the report then abroad that a gold Bible had been dug up in Canada, suggested the idea of calling it a Bible. In crossing a swampy grove, he found some pure white sand one day, left by a retiring freshet; and he wrapped up a specimen in his frock, and carried it home. The family were at dinner. He announced to them that he had found a gold Bible. They seemed to believe him, and asked to see it. He gravely said that the angel forbade, for the person who should look upon it without authority should die. He was credited, and a few days after told a neighbor that he " had fixed the fools, and would have some fun." By this he saw the family were ready for any imposture.
The plan being laid, and the manuscript in his possession in some way that he did not fear detection, he must then have determined to alter it to suit his own conceptions, from which a golden harvest was anticipated. It must have been with him, and secreted at the first visit to his father's house in 1826; for, at that time, all of them set various rumors afloat, and very contradictory ones indeed, about a book found in the groundand the complete history of its supernatural origin was not given until after its publication. The lucky accidents might well be considered by him as his providences, and the kindness of a good angel.
The next attempt was on the credulity of Martin Harris, a miserly, visionary man, who had been a member successively of several denominations. Meeting him, he abruptly told him that the Lord had commanded him to advance fifty dollars to begin the work of translation, and represented the great rewards to follow. Harris's cupidity gave credit, if his judgment of the divine mission was staggered. With this money the last visit to Harmony was made, and on his return the work commenced, and Harris became the scribe for a few weeks; and like Baruch for Jeremiah, "he wrote the words as he pronounced them with hi mouth." Harris became fully committed, furnished the mean. of publication, by which he was pecuniarily ruined, preached the doctrine three years, and finally deserted what to him was . foundered ark. Harris was shortly substituted by a better scholar, Oliver Cowdery, a schoolmaster, who wrote out the five hundred octavo pages, and became one of the witnesses to it divine origin, though he too failed and dissented in after times.
The manner of writing was as follows: Smith would place hi pseudo gold plates in a hat, and take the stones, Urim and Thummim, which he affirmed had been delivered to him at the hill Cumora, in Palmyra, by an angeland, raising a screen of cloth between himself and the scribe, proceed to look through the stones and the words, in reformed Egyptian characters, would change to his vernacular; and "pass before his eyes by the power and gift of God." He either concealed portions of the manuscript, or committed them to memory before beginning the day's work, and thus dictated id his amanuensis.
He gives us a graphic account of the first persecution by his neigh bore, who tried to capture the "gold plates"and to escape from this, he concealed them in a barrel of beans and started for Pennsylvania again. A writ for debt was served on him under a pre fence, and he was overtaken and searched by the sheriff, but the functionary of the law was not bright enough to penetrate among the beans, or we should probably have to record a successful discovery of the Spalding manuscript. In Harmony, the translation was pursued vigorouslyand in three years the work was sent to the press. This time includes the ten months' suspension, on account of the abstraction of several sheets of the work by Mr E Harris, who could not be induced by threat or cajolement to give them up. In order to evade this, the work is pot what was first intended by the Lord:and he received commandment to bans late from an abridgment of the Plates of Nephi, instead of those of Lehi. It was revealed to him, that if he retranslated from the same plates, Satan would alter the first and publish them and being different, it would discredit the performance; but he was severely reprimanded for negligence in a revelation, and Cowdery sharply rebuked for impertinent curiosity, in wishing to see the golden plates, which was the prophets' privilege only.
But let us return to the consideration of the plan in view by this great work. There was a higher object than the making of money by it;and another purposes beyond harmonising the Christian world.
The grand scheme was to convince the Jews in all the world that "Jesus is the Christ," their long-expected Messiah, as foretold by their ancient prophets. Accordingly, we find the prophecies here made perfectly plain. As Cyrus is spoken of in Isaiah by name long before his advent, so the name and office of the Savior is declared by the Nephite seers.
Nor was this all. The Indians throughout the length and breadth of the land were to be informed of their origin,the cause of the divine wrath explained which had sunk them in degradation;and that " in the last days " they could recover pristine favor, and again become a "fair and delightsome people," enjoying temporal salvation and eternal happiness. Could he succeed in making these two peoples believe in his book as a divine record, their conversion to Christianity was certain to follow. Nor was this thing beneath a soaring ambition, and its success would now place its author on the pinnacle of fame,and the object to have been obtained was therefore a good one, whatever we may think of the deception attempted to be practised.
Even now do the Mormon missionaries apply to Jewish Rabbis, and ask them to listen to the voice of the gentile prophet, whose blood they aver has sealed the truth of his mission; We have lately seen the account of such a meeting at Amsterdam, but the Jew stands yet unconvinced and holds to his traditions; the Indian listens to '`the talk" about the Great Spirit, and returns to the chase unconverted;all these seem to view the matter as the fiction of an enthusiast.
The idea of founding a church with the new Seer as chief, does not, however, appear to have been entertained, until just before the printing the Book of Mormon. This was issued in 1830, and purports to give additional revelations of the dealings of God with his people, in the records that had been "hid up some fourteen hundred years before for preservation, but written for the Lamanites [Indians] a remnant of the house of Israel, and for Jew and Gentile, by the spirit of prophecy and revelation; to come forth, in due time, by way of Gentile * * * to the convincing of Jew and Gentile, that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God." This extract from the preface shows fully its character and purpose.
On the Utb of April of this year, the church, out of the Gentiles, was organised. There were but six members thus formed into the society, of which were, his father, and two brothers, and Cowdery, his scribe. From that time forth the Smith family rose from poverty to opulence. But nothing has fallen under our notice to show that the present hierarchy was then contemplated. Joseph was the first Elder, and Cowdery the second. In progress of time this expanded into two priesthoods; namely, the Melchisedek the Eternal one, which had two orders, the high priests and priests out of which was taken the Apostles and Council;and the Aaronic, arranged into the various orders of elders, bishops, deacons, teachers, and so on. This is now the asserted imitation of the Primitive Apostolic Church, but if there is any resemblance of the office attached to the like names, we have seen no proof yet given.
It is related that Cowdery first baptised the prophet, and then the church had one commissioned to act;and in the Book of Clovepants the sponsors given are no less than the angels or spirits of Moses and Elias, and the Presidency of the first Christian church' Peter, James, and St. John in his own body, as he has never died. The "commissioned" prophet, now baptised and " commissioned " Elders, who began their enthusiastic preaching, and converted several visionary characters persons without settled notions of theology, and likely to be carried away by the last fervid, popular harangue that should be addressed to them. Whole families were thus captivated, and the " New Revelation " and Revival of the Old Church made much noise in the neighboring counties; and in a few months branches were organised in Fayette and Colesville, bodies which were mere associations however.
In the following August a Campbellite preacher, and one of some notoriety in Ohio, who was preaching notions and holding views of prophecy, restoration of the children of Israel and the Millennium, similar to those still taught in the Mormon society, made a visit to the State of New York and accidentally met with the Book of Mormon, and became convinced of its authenticity. This was the eloquent speaker, the pious song-poet, the enthusiastic Apostle, Parly P. Pratt. He is the author of many books of doctrine and history of persecutions among his people; and among those books is the " Voice of Warning to all Nations," which has done more in giving texts and establishing Mormonism than all the other publications of that people. This man is at present the chief of the " Stakes " in the Pacific islands. On his return to Ohio he presented the new bible to the still more enthusiastic and famed "Reformed Disciple," the ingenious and versatile Sidney Rigdon. He too adopted the new system; visited the Prophet and returned to call his society together, and then in a two hours' discourse of fervid eloquence, eloquent to those hearers, he expostulated, instructed, explained, and converted them;he wept tears of sorrow and of joy over them' fell into swoons several times, and related visions of heaven to them. They became real fanatics.
It must be noted here that Rigdon had for three years already taught the literal interpretation of scripture prophecies, the gathering of the Israelites to receive the second coming, the literal reign of the Saints on earth, and the use of miraculous gifts in the church. From that visit of his to Joseph, do we date the Mormon organisation of a church. In the conversations with Rigdon, the dawn of the morning gave place to the full light of the Sun, in the mind serf its founder. Nothing yet had been written which forbade any method of discipline deemed expedient for the society, nor concerning doctrines which might not be interpreted to suit any circumstances. Accordingly we find " the Revelations " assuming a definite form. Rigdon is appointed expounder, and assigned an important post in the church; and soon is made the second person and great counsellor. But, in fact, he was the first in matters of theology, and wrote the Lectures on Faith, which preface the Book of Covenants and Doctrines, which were adopted by Smith, who purports to be the author, on the title-page. Since the apostasy of Rigdon, the faithful declare that he was once mighty in the faith, and a bright star in Zion, but, like Lucifer, has awfully fallen.
The conference of those two peculiar minds, spoken of above, was held in the autumn. In January following, a revelation is given, commanding those in the east to remove to the place which Rigdon had long since declared was on the borders of the "inheritance of the Saints, which extended thence to the Pacific." The prophet and his people removed to Kirtland, Ohio, where Pratt and Rigdon had already a society of over a thousand to receive them. New ardor and energy were infused, and such wonderful tales of visions, voices, and miracles were spread abroad, that people flocked from all parts of the lake region to witness and judge of this new thing. There were extaciesmen and women falling to the floor in the public assemblies, wallowing, rolling, and tossing of handspointing into the heavens at the "cloud of witnesses"uttering Indian dialects, and declaring that they would immediately convert themthere was swooningrushing out of doors and running to the fields, some would mount stones and stumps, and speak in loud "tongues;" some would pick up the stones and read *om characters of writing, which were miraculously made, and then suddenly disappearedothers found pieces of parchment falling upon them, which they declared were sealed with the seal of Christ, and which they no sooner copied than they vanished. The utmost excitement prevailed in their meetings, and it was all attributed to "the outpouring of the Spirit." The prophet himself seems to have become alarmed lest the "vision" should pass from him, and the vocation of Seer and Revelator become equally that of all. Accordingly he began to preach moderation, and finally informed them that it was the work of the devil, who was counterfeiting the gifts of the Spirit; and the faithful were cautioned to beware. Another revelation soon followed. This made the spiritual duties of the " Seer " so onerous, that he was told that strength to work would not be given him. He was to live "by the church," and through him alone was to come all the counsel of wisdom, and ghostly strength for the enlightenment of the same. He was privileged to converse with angels. All must obey him as the voice of the Most High, when the message was with the prefix "Thus saith the Lord," under the penalty of the Divine wrath.