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The free redemption from the consequences of Adam's transgression through the atonement of Jesus Christ, is clearly sustained by the great authority of Paul when he says: "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.' And again he says in concluding a long argument on the subject, “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men to justification of life."| Hence The Church teaches in her articles of faith:
"We believe that all men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression."
It follows as a literal sequence of these doctrines that if man himself so lives that he commits no sin, the redemption wrought out by Jesus Christ would be all-sufficient without repentance or any other works on the part of man to insure his complete salvation. Therefore all who die in a state of innocence (this includes surely all who die in infancy) are completely redeemed and saved in the kingdom of God.
By the atonement of Jesus Christ affecting men individually, mentioned above, I mean that The Church teaches that through Messiah's suffering and atonement the way was opened for salvation from the consequences of man's individual sios by absolute obedience to conditions prescribed in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence The Church teaches that:
“Through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.”
And she teaches that the principles to be accepted and the ordinances to be obeyed are, first, faith in God the Father, in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost: second, repentance of sin, which is contrite sorrow for sin, leading to a resolution for the future to forsake it: third, baptism by immersion, which represents the burial of the Lord Jesus Christ and his resurrection to a newness of life, and is accompanied by forgiveness of sin: fourth, the recep
*I. Cor. XV: 21-22.
tion of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands, by which to men is imparted the power to walk within the circle of the influence of the Holy Ghost, and to have access to him as the Man of their Counsel, Comforter, Companion and Guide.
That the order of these principles and ordinances of the gospel are in strict accord with the scriptures have been so frequently demonstrated in our literature that I do not undertake in this writing to point out that fact, but I wish to call attention to the reasonableness and logical order that exists in this presentation of the gospel.
Faith is not regarded by us as the first principle of the gospel because of any arbitrary arrangement, but because of the nature of the thing itself. “He that cometh to God must believe that he is” (that is, that he exists), is the language of Paul; and the truth of his words is self-evident: for if men do not believe in the existence of God it is very evident that they will not consider themselves under obligation to be obedient to him and without obedience to God no progress whatsoever can be made towards man's salvation. The strength of this conclusion may be more clearly seen when it is looked at from the negative side, and the questions asked: Why is it that the atheist does not come to God? Why is it that he does not repent of sin in response to the commandment of Jesus Christ? Why is he not baptized for the remission of his sins? In each case the answer is because he does not believe in the existence of God, or that Jesus was the son of God, and lience he does not account himself under obligation to yield obedience to the laws of salvation prescribed by them.
Faith, therefore, is the first principle of the gospel from necessity, because of the nature of the thing itself. It is the incentive to all rational action, and by reason of that becomes the foundation of all righteousness, and the first principle of revealed religion.
Faith in God once established it is not difficult to convince men that they have lived in violation of the righteous laws of God; that they have trampled under their feet the righteousness commanded in the law of heaven; and as a result of this conviction of sin, sorrow takes hold of them and leads them
unto repentance, the full fruition of which is a reformation of life.
No sooner does sorrow for sin take hold of one than he desires forgiveness of past offenses. Many times in the midst of his groanings over sins he says in his heart: “I would give five, ten, or twenty years of my life, or life itself, if such and such an act could only be obliterated and become as if it never had been; or if it could be forgiven so that there could be reconciliation between me and God, between me and my conscience; that I might again feel that sense of innocence which I knew before I plunged into wrong-doing. These are the natural longings of the human heart when the spirit of repentance takes possession of it, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the logical sequence of its teaching rises to meet this condition and tells the sinner that though his sins be as scarlet yet, since he has faith in God and sincere sorrow for sin, by baptism in water, in the name of the Holy Trinity, his sins may be washed white as wool—the past forgiven, and reconciliation with God effected.
But after forgiveness of past sins the human weakness still remains, human inclination to sin still drives man on toward error, and his imperfect judgment is not sufficient to guide him aright; his human strength alone is not sufficient to make him equal to the task of living in harmony with the divine law. God knew this would be the condition of man and hence provided in his gospel even a better baptism than that in water, the baptism of the Holy Ghost; by which man's life is brought in touch with the life of God, and some of God's strength imparted to him by reason of which he may hope to overcome the world, the flesh and the Devil. He receives in the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and the privilege of perpetually walking within the circle of his influence, an unction from the Holy One, by which he may know all things, an anointing which, if it abide upon him, will teach him all things. * Under this companionship and its influence man begins the work of character-building, which at the last shall prepare him to dwell with God. It is not an easy task, nor one that can be completed instantaneously.
*I. Joho II: 20-27.
It means constant watching, fervent prayer, the practice of self-restraint, the purging out of iniquity and grafting in of virtues; it means learning line upon line, precept upon precept, acquiring of virtue here a little, and there a little, and so on through all the years of man's life—and continues in eternity we know not how long; but certainly until all unworthiness, under the help of God, is purged out; and all which makes for truth, for righteousness, for holiness, is brought in; and the whole man through the grace of God coupled with his own desires and self-effort is made fit for the heavenly kingdom.
This is not an easy plan of salvation, that is, when compared with some theologies which define the scheme of man's redemption from his fallen state; but it is the easiest in reality, for the reason that it is the only true gospel, and is the plan devised in heaven for man's salvation, and the one which all men must at the last accept, for there is no other. This is the everlasting gospel, the same through all ages and dispensations. Those who have lived on the earth in periods of time when this gospel was not taught and divine authority was not on earth to administer its sacraments must assent to it in their minds and accept it in their hearts wherever they may be; while the outward ordinances thereof must be performed on this earth by those authorized to act for and in behalf of them. This acceptance of the gospel applies to all those who have not died in a state of perfect innocence. Those who have died in their innocence are saved to the uttermost by virtue alone of the atonement of Jesus Christ on such justice has no claim whatsoever. They rest secure in the arms of God's mercy.
This is the teaching of the Holy Church of Jesus Christ -the gospel she is teaching to the living, the sacraments of which she is administering both to the living and for the dead; for having received through her first great prophet, Joseph Smith, the keys of divine authority, and especially those which pertain to the salvation of the dead, she is carrying on the work of redemption both in this and in the spirit world; and her especial mission is to unite all dispensations that are passed with this present dispensation of the Fullness
of Times, of which she is the exponent. Her mission is to link family with family, and generation with generation, until all the chains are complete which shall bind the whole race of men and women in bonds of love and salvation to our Father and our God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Heaven!-0 beautiful and boundless sky!
O gentle heaven!