Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/178

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166
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

have made, although in this case the assailant accepts with reverence the Christian Scriptures, seeking to found thereon a revelation newer and more complete.

It is somewhat disappointing, if the Book of Mormon is to be accepted as the new revelation, to find it so very inferior, alike in matter and in style, to its great predecessors. Nearly equal in hulk to the Old Testament, it lacks altogether the poetic grandeur and the graphic force of the Hebrew Scriptures, although the Biblical phraseology has been laboriously imitated throughout. It is styled "An Account written by the Hand of Mormon upon Plates taken from the Plates of Nephi. Translated by Joseph Smith, Jr.:"

"Wherefore it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites; written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile; written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation. Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed; to come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof: sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by the hand of Gentile; the interpretation thereof by the gift of God.
"An abridgment taken from the Book of Ether also; which is a record of the people of Jared; who were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people when they were building a tower to get to heaven; which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever; and also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile, that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations. And now if there are faults, they are the mistakes of men; wherefore condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ."

The sacred volume is divided into thirteen books, bearing the names of various prophets, one of whom is Mormon. The last book is that of Moroni, who says:

"Behold I, Moroni, do finish the record of my father, Mormon. Behold, I have but few things to write, which things I have been commanded by my father. And now it came to pass that, after the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah, behold, the Nephites, who had escaped into the country southward, were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed; and my father also was killed by them, and I even remained alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But, behold, they are gone, and I fulfill the commandment of my father. And whether they will slay me, I know not; therefore I will write and hide up the records in the earth, and whither I go it mattereth not. Behold my father hath made this record, and he hath written the intent thereof. And behold, I would write it also, if I had room upon the plates; but I have not; and ore I have none, for I am alone; my father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolks, and I have not friends, nor whither to go; and how long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not. Behold, four hundred years have passed away since the coming of our Lord and Saviour.
"And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge