The Seer/Volume 1/Number 3/Celestial Marriage
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Volume 1, Number 3, Celestial Marriage
|The Seer, Vol. 1, No. 3, March 1853|
In the Revelation on Marriage, we are informed that there is never but one man on the earth at the same time who holds the keys to minister the ceremony of marriage fro time and for all eternity, and to seal the same on earth with authority, so that it may be acknowledged and sealed in heaven. The keys of authority are conferred by revelation, and by the holy anointing, upon the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the Church, who is the President over all the Saints throughout the world. In cases where it is inconvenient for him to attend, he has the authority to appoint others to officiate in his stead. But in all cases of this nature, he must be consulted by the parties, and his sanction be obtained.
When a man who has a wife, teaches her the law of God, as revealed to the ancient patriarchs, and as manifested by new revelation, and she refuses to give her consent for him to marry another according to that law, then it becomes necessary for her to state before the President the reasons why she withholds her consent: if her reasons are sufficient and justifiable, and the husband is found in the fault or in transgression, then he is not permitted to take any step in regard to obtaining another. But if the wife can show no good reason why she refuses to comply with the law which was given unto Sarah of old, then it is lawful for her husband, if permitted by revelation through the Prophet, to be married to others without her consent, and he will be justified, and she will be condemned, because she did not give them unto him, as Sarah gave Hagar unto Abraham, and as Rachel and Leah gave Hilhah and Zilpah to their husband, Jacob.
It is the duty of a man who takes another wife, to look after her welfare and happiness, and to provide for her the comforts of life the same as for the first; for the Scripture, in speaking of such a man, says, “If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.”—Exodus xxi, 10.
There is no particular rule, as regards te residence of the different branches of a family. It is very frequently the case that they all reside in the same dwelling, and take hold, unitedly and with the greatest cheerfulness, of the different branches of household or domestic business, eating at the same table, and kindly looking after each other’s welfare, while the greatest peace and harmony prevail year after year. Their children play and associate together with the greatest affection as brothers and sisters; while each mother apparently manifests as much kindness and tenderregard for the children of the others, as for her own. And morning and evening, when the husband calls together his family to worship the Lord and call upon his name, they all bow the knee, and, with the greatest union of feeling, offer their devotions to the Most High.
It is sometimes the case that the husband provides for his wives separate habitations, as Jacob did for his four wives, each of whom had a separate tent.—See Genesis xxxi, 33. Where all the wives are equally faithful, the husband generally endeavours to treat them all without partiality.
Jealousy is an evil with which the Saints in Utah are but seldom troubled: it is an evil that is not countenanced by either male or female; and should any indulge such a passion, they would bring a disgrace and reproach upon themselves which they could not easily wipe away. And indeed, it is very rare that there are any causes for jealousy; for the citizens of that Territory think more of their virtue than they do of their lives. They know, that if they have any connections out of the marriage covenant, they not only forfeit their lives by the law of God, but they forfeit their salvation also. With such views resting upon the minds of both old and young, the people have the greatest of confidence in each other’s integrity: they can entrust their wives and daughters, without any distrust, to the protection and care of their neighbours. Under the strict and rigid laws of virtue which prevail and are carried into general practice, wives are not in constant fear of the inconstancy of their husbands; parents are not fearful of their children being seduced and their characters being destroyed; neither are they fearful that their children will form contracts of marriage without their consent; for such a thing is not allowed in the whole territory. Such a state of things actually existing, not in theory alone, but in general practice, removes every cause for jealousy, distrust, and want of confidence, and lays a broad and permanent foundation for peach and union. If a man ill-treats any one of his wives, he is looked upon as having violated the law of God, and it is difficult for him to recover from the disgrace.
There are more quarrellings, and jealousies, and disunions, and evil speakings, in one week, among two thousand families, taken at random anywhere in the United States or England, than would be seen throughout all Utah Territory in five years. And there is more unvirtuous conduct practised in one day in New York city, or Albany, or Buffalo, or Cincinnati, or St. Louis, than would be practised in Utah in a thousand generations, unless they greatly degenerated from their present standard of morals.
If the Gentile nations consider Patriarchal Matrimony “a mote” which has got into the Saints’ eyes, let them, before they undertake to pluck it out, extricate the great beams from their own eyes; and then they will learn that what they suppose to be “a mote,” is in reality a divine institution, which was practised, by the most holy men that ever lived in ancient times, under the sanction and approbation of the Almighty.
Tradition causes individuals and nations to “strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.” They cry out, as though they were frightened out of their senses, because a territory practises legal and lawful matrimony after the pattern set before them in the Scriptures; but they can swallow down comparatively easy, without scarcely uttering a groan, the polluted, wretched, most filthy sinks of iniquity that prevail to an alarming extent in all the large towns, cities, and sea-ports among the Gentile nations. One such den of pollution, in ancient times, would have brought down the heaviest judgments of the Almighty upon the whole nation of Israel, until they eradicated the evil, root and branch, from their midst. Yes, even for one caseof adultery, almost the whole tribe of Benjamin were destroyed, and that, too, by the command of God. (See xix, xx, xxi, chapters of Judges.) But now, tens of thousands of public prostitutes may be found in one city such as New York, and ninety thousand in another like London, and yet the United States and England call themselves Christian nations, and pretend to worship God with all these abominations under their notice. Are the nations justified who suffer such great wickedness in their midst? Verily no.
Can any one suppose that God has changed so that he does not look upon adulterous and unvirtuous practices now with the same degree of abhorrence as he did anciently? If for one sin of this description, twenty-five thousand Benjaminites, together with their wives and little children, were destroyed by the command of God, what must be the fierce wrath and terrible judgments laid up against modern Christendom, who have suffered these abominations to prevail among them, not in a few isolated cases existing for a moment, but in hundreds of thousands of cases, where public prostitutes, swarming forth from their deathly, hellish dens, like so many venomous serpents, have corrupted nations and generations for centuries and for ages?
Let this nation put these evils from their midst; let them enact strict laws to protect the virtue of the country; let the heaviest penalties be inflicted upon all public prostitutes, and upon all those who encourage the same, either by precept or example; let the priests and the people, the rulers and the ruled, clothe themselves in sackcloth and weep before the Lord for the sins of the nation, which have reached unto the heavens and cry aloud for vengeance; let them cleanse the land and wipe out of existence these soul-destroying abominations: then let them teach Utah virtue, and their precepts will be heard, and their admonitions received; then will the valiant-hearted sons and daughters of the Mountain Territory believe that there is virtue still left in the land; and then shall the nation find favour in the sight of heaven, and rise up in strength, in power, in glorious majesty, and extend their dominions east, west, north, and south, and shall rule in triumph and everlasting honour unto the ends of the earth. But until then, let them hide their faces in shame, and blush in deep silence, at the floodgates of iniquity which pour forth their torrents of corruption and death in all parts of the land.
Why do the Saints marry for all eternity as well as for time? Because both male and female expect to have a resurrection from the dead, and wish to enjoy each other’s society in the capacity of husbands and wives in the eternal worlds. Do the Saints believe that all those who have been husbands and wives in this life, will enjoy that relationship after the resurrection? No; they do not believe that any will enjoy that privilege, excepting those who have been married by the word of the Lord, and by His authority, for eternity. When a man and woman enter into matrimonial contracts, and covenant to be each other’s companion until death, they have claim upon each other for this life only; when death comes, their marriage contracts and covenants expire; and in the resurrection, however much they may desire to enjoy themselves in all the endearing relationships of husband and wife, they will find that their contracts and covenants which were made for time only, give them no title to each other in eternity. Therefore, they will to be permitted under any conditions whatever to live together as husband and wife. But can they not renew their contracts and be married again in that life? No; for Jesus says, “In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.”—(Matthew, xxii, 30.) Those who have not secured their marriage foreternity, in this life, can never have it attended to hereafter; therefore if they should through faithfulness even be saved, yet they would be no higher than the angels, and would be compelled to live separately and singly, and consequently without posterity, and would become servants to all eternity for those who are counted worthy to become kings and priests, and who will receive thrones and kingdoms, and an endless increase of posterity, and inherit a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Such will need myriads of servants, as their kingdoms and dominions increase; and the numbers requisite will be found among those who kept not the higher law, but still rendered themselves worthy of an inferior reward.
The first marriage we have on record, is that of our first parents. After the Lord had formed Eve, He “Brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.”—(Gen. ii, 22, 24) Here was a marriage in which the Lord in person officiated—a marriage between two immortal beings. Both Adam and Eve were so organized that death had no dominion over their bodies; they were capable of living forever and ever. Death was not in the organization; it came into the world by transgression; it was an enemy—a usurper—an evil which man brought upon himself, or as Paul says, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.”—(Rom. V, 12.) If sin had not entered our world, death never would have been known in this creation; consequently our first parents would have been living this day as fresh, and as fair, and as full of all the vigour and strength of immortality, as in the morn of creation; millions of ages would have produced no effect upon their immortal systems; they would have been as durable as the throne of Jehovah, and as lasting as eternity itself. Remember, then, that when the Lord gave eve to Adam, He gave an immortal woman to an immortal man: He made them one flesh, not for time, not for any definite period of duration, not till death—for that monster was not in the creation which was then newly formed and pronounced “very good”—but He joined them in one, as one flesh, to be indissolubly united while eternal ages should roll on, or God himself endure.
But man, through disobedience, opened the gates to the enemy; death enters the armed with horrible vengeance, and with a ghastly smile seats himself upon the throne of the new world, and clad with frightful majesty proclaims himself “The Kin of Terrors.” All things feel his withering touch; all nations and generations are prostrated in the dust; ruin and desolation follow in his train; the whole creation groan beneath the grasp of his tyrant hand. Under his direful reign our first parents were banished from the presence of their Creator—were disinherited from the garden of Eden—were subjected to labour and toil to procure food from the ground cursed for man’s sake. The seeds of death were combined with the very soil; they organized themselves in every vegetable; they were mixed in all species of food derived from the ground; all the animal creation, with man himself, partook thereof; and death thus took a firm hold upon every living being; the immortal bodies of Adam and Eve received the fatal curse—they yielded—they sank—they died—their bodies returned to dust.
But what was lost by the fall, was restored through Jesus Christ. Did the original sin bring a curse upon the earth? The atonement redeems from that curse, and restores this creation to its primeval beauty, goodness, and glory. Did that sin tear asunder body and spirit, destroy the immortal workman-ship of the Creator, prostrate it low in the dust? The redemption which is in Christ will restore “bone to bone,” limb to limb, and joint to joint; while flesh, sinews, and skin, will be restored to their original position; the spirit be restored to its body, and the body be restored to immortality. Did death tear asunder husband and wife, divorce that which God had joined together as “one flesh,” immortal and eternal in its nature? The atonement of Christ will repair the breach, will restore the immortal Eve to the immortal Adam, will join them again as one flesh, never more to be separated, and will again let the lawful husband enjoy the society of his lawful wife.
This restoration of Eve to Adam in the resurrection will require no new ceremony of marriage; for they were never legally divorced; the fall was not a divorce, for they lived for centuries in their mortal state as husband and wife; the death of the body was not a divorce, but only a separation for a season; consequently, they were husband and wife in the spiritual state between death and the resurrection: there is nothing connected with the resurrection which is calculated to divorce: on the contrary, the resurrection, instead of being a divorcing or separating power, is a restoring or uniting power: therefore, Adam and Eve will not need to be married after the resurrection, for there never will be one moment, from the time of their marriage in the Garden of Eden to the endless ages of eternity, that they will cease to be legally husband and wife.
If the Lord had waited until after the fall before he solemnized the marriage of our first parents, and then had joined them as husband and wife only until death; when the time run out and death came, the marriage contract would have been no longer binding, and they would have ceased from that moment to be lawfully husband and wife; and as there is no marrying after the resurrection, they would have remained to all eternity in a single state.
If the Lord should fail to restore to Adam his wife after the resurrection, then the redemption through Christ would not be as broad as the fall. That which was joined as “one flesh” by the Lord himself, was put asunder, but not divorced by the enemy death; if Christ does not restore that which the enemy has taken away, then the redemption is incomplete; then death would have greater power than He who holds the “keys of death,” which would be unscriptural and absurd. Christ has power over the devil, and the devil has power over death. (See Heb. ii, 14.) And Christ will destroy the works of the devil from the earth, and death and hell will be banished to the lake of fire and brimstone; and our first parents, being delivered from these enemies, will be as immortal as they were on their bridal day.
The union of these two immortal beings in the marriage covenant, was for the purpose of lawfully multiplying their species; for the first great command given to man was to “be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth.” And it pleased God that man should obey this important command only through the marriage ordinance. All other associations of the sexes, as we have already proved, were, under the severest penalties, forbidden. It must be recollected that when this great command was given, and when they were joined as one flesh for the purpose of obeying it, they were immortal both body and spirit. They did not obey this command while in their immortal state; they fell from immortality to mortality, after which they began to multiply their fallen species upon the earth. If they had complied with the command before the fall, it would have been impossible for them to have raised up children of mortal flesh and bones, subject to death. Mortal children could not spring from immortal parents.
Is it possible for immortal beings to multiply? If it is not, then why didGod give such a command to the immortal male and female? It may be said that they fulfilled the design embraced in the command after they through transgression became mortal: but did God command them to sin, and fall, and become mortal, in order to raise up mortal posterity, that the first command might be obeyed and made honourable? Would He command them to disobey one law in order to keep another? If they could not have multiplied while immortal, it was absolutely necessary that they should break one law to obey another. But, on the other hand, if they could have multiplied while immortal, then their posterity would of necessity have been immortal also; otherwise, death would have entered the world without sin, which no one for a moment could believe. Who then cannot easily see that the very existence of mortal man on this earth depended on the fall? Who so dull of apprehension that he cannot perceive that if our first parents had not fallen, we, as mortal beings, could have had no existence? Mortal children of flesh and blood could not have been born.
After our first parents had become fallen, and consequently mortal, it was impossible for them to obey the command to multiply, as immortal beings, and raise up immortal children. It is true, they could offer a substitute of a mortal posterity, subject to death, instead of an immortal one; but would the Lord accept such a substitution, as sufficient to answer the ends of the great command given to them as immortal beings? Would He consider the command honoured and fulfilled, by being presented with a fallen, deathly, corrupt, mortal race, instead of an immortal, heavenly race, blooming in all the freshness of eternal life? If God will not be satisfied with such a substitution, would it be anything more than reasonable that He should devise a plan by which our first Parents could be restored to immortality, and to the earth, and again be placed in a condition to multiply their species as immortal beings? Can they ever obey that law, so as to answer the end and design for which it was given, unless they shall, as immortal beings, “Multiply and Replenish the earth” with an immortal posterity? God will not suffer the fall of man to thwart the great and eternal purpose he had in view in that command. The redemption through Christ was intended to restore both male and female to immortality, that what they lost by the fall might be regained. If the fall deprived them of the power of raising up an immortal posterity, the redemption will restore that privilege, or else it will be incomplete. Adam must, therefore, have restored to him his beloved wife—his immortal Eve; and they must be placed upon the New Earth, redeemed from the effects of their transgression, where they will “Multiply and Replenish” the same with immortal children—as they were commanded to do in the first place, but failed, because of transgression. Thus will God show to all his creations, that the enemy has not defeated His designs and purposes, but that they will all be fulfilled and accomplished, and that the Devil, who sought to overthrow them, has, himself, been defeated and banished from this creation into his own place.
If our first Parents were married for eternal ages, for the purpose of multiplying an immortal offspring, we cannot for one moment suppose that there will ever a period arrive throughout all future duration, when they will cease to obey this command. Hence their own sons and their own daughters, aside from their grandchildren, will be as numerous as the dust of the earth, or in other words, there will be no end to their increase. At the average rate of one per year, in a thousand million of years, they would people an earth as large as this, with their own sons and daughters: and if we let our minds stretch still furtherinto the future ages of eternity, we can say with confidence, that the period will arrive when their own children, without reckoning their (the childrens’) descendants, will be sufficiently numerous to people as many worlds as have been discovered by the aid of the most powerful telescopes; and we can say of them that “Of the increase of their government,” or of their kingdoms, “there will be no end.”
But was the command to multiply limited to our first Parents? No; it extended to their posterity also. If the command required immortal Parents to multiply, it surely would require the same things of the children; but it may be said, that through the transgression of the Parents the children are born mortal, and therefore, that they have not the privilege of raising up an immortal posterity. But it must be recollected, that the same sin which prevents the children, also prevented the first parents from fulfilling that command; and the same redemption which redeems the parents, also redeems the children, and restores them all to immortality. Therefore, if the children have been married for eternity, as well as for time, by the authority of God, the same as their first Parents were, they will, with them, raise up, after the resurrection, an endless posterity of immortal beings. In this manner, the children, as well as the parents, are placed in a redeemed condition, wherein they can eternally obey the command to multiply.
But those who do not, in this life, enter into the eternal covenant of marriage, after the pattern set by the first immortal pair, can never obey the first great command. If any shall say that they obey that in this life, to them we reply, that a fallen, corrupt, mortal posterity, will never be accepted, as sufficient to answer the ends of that great law which was given to man in his immortal state. Immortal beings only can obey that law acceptably, according to the read design and purpose which the Lord had in view. They, therefore, who enter not into the everlasting covenant of marriage, can never obey that law; and because they have not placed themselves in a condition to obey it, they will find in the resurrection, that they have no lawful companions, and cannot enjoy the same fullness of glory as their first Parents, and as others who have been joined by the Lord eternally as one flesh. They, therefore, must be numbered with the angels who do not keep the law; while those who do keep it, will sit upon thrones of judgment and will judge those angels and make them their servants, and they shall serve them throughout endless generations forever and ever, for angels have no power to enlarge themselves by an increase of posterity. But to those who keep the law through the eternal covenant of marriage, shall honor, and glory, and dominion, and eternal lives, be added, to endless ages in worlds without end. By such shall worlds be people with their own sons and daughters; and their eternal kingdoms shall be multiplied as the stars of Heaven, which no man can number. By such shall God be glorified in the continuation of His works, in the extension of the Universe, in the redemption and glorification of worlds, and in the increase of intelligent, immortal, godlike beings who inherit all the fullness of His own great perfections.
No uninspired man has authority from God to join together the male and female in the marriage covenant. Marriage is an ordinance of God, and we read that “what God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.”—Matthew xix, 6. Where man usurps authority to officiate in the ordinance of God, and joins together the sexes in marriage, such unions are illegal in the sight of God, though they may be legal according to the laws and governments of men. The power to officiate in the ordinance of God has not been upon the earth since the great apostacy, until the present century. Somethinglike seventeen centuries have passed away since the authority was lost on the eastern hemisphere to administer in any of the ordinances of God. During that long period marriages have been celebrated according to the customs of human governments, by uninspired men, holding no authority from God; consequently, all their marriages, like their baptisms, are illegal before the Lord. Point out to us a husband and wife that God has joined together, from the second century of the Christian era until the nineteenth, if any can. Such a phenomenon cannot be found among Christians or Jews, Mahometans or Pagans. All are without prophets or inspired men—all are without divine authority: none have had power to seal on earth the marriage covenant, that it might be sealed in heaven; none during that long period have heard the voice of the Lord commanding them to officiate in those sacred ordinances.
Marriages, then, among all nations, though legal according to the laws of men, have been illegal according to the laws, authority, and institutions of Heaven. All the children born during that long period, through legitimate according to the customs and laws of nations, are illegitimate according to the order and authority of Heaven. Those things which are performed by the authority of men, God will overthrow and destroy, and they will be void and of no effect in the day of the resurrection. All things ordained of God, and performed and sealed by His authority, will remain after the resurrection. That which is of man, will be of no force or authority after death; that which is of God, will endure forever. Republics and kingdoms, thrones and empires, principalities and powers, and all things else of human origin, shall be cast down and destroyed, and vanish away like “the dream of a night vision;” but all things sealed on earth and in Heaven, shall abide forever and have no end.