Origin of the moral law of
nature. The operation of Witnesses thereof until Christ's first appearing.
1 Thus saith the Angel; The law
of nature declared by Holy Wisdom, in the preceding chapters, is the law established
by the Creator in the beginning, in the creation of man, as the true order in which they
were to propagate their offspring, and contained that moral law by which they were to be
guided in their conduct towards each other, according to the rules of justice, mercy, good
faith and integrity.
2 Man was created to be the lord of
all things in the natural world; to be the connecting link between the natural and
spiritual world. Thus, by the law of life implanted in his living soul, directed by the
ministration of the Angels of Providence, it became his duty to cultivate and bring into
order, all things in this lower world; and to have dominion over them, and protect them
from the disorderly influences of the powers of evil.
3 Therefore, can any rational mind
suppose that, in this important station, he would be less regular in his own order, in all
his works, than any part of the inferior creation? and especially in the propagation of
his offspring, which was the most important work he could perform in the natural state?
4 Could he be less regular than the
animal or vegetable creation? Must he not, as their lord and protector, be an example, in
this respect, of the order of times and seasons, and of the direction of Divine Wisdom, in
order to be the proper medium to convey the blessing and improving knowledge, from the
heavens of order to the natural world?
5 Yea, truly saith the Angel of
Wisdom; for if man become disordered, nothing could be conveyed by him to the inferior
part of the creation, except through a disorderly medium. But man was endowed with the
power of free agency, and with faculties superior to any other being in the natural world.
Therefore the law and order for his guidance in all things, was given to his rational
soul, and implanted in the constitution of his nature.
6 And had he kept this law, he could
have maintained his dominion over all inferior things. It was his duty, in the propagation
of his offspring, to wait the times and seasons appointed by the Creator, and until the
providential power of God was given to him by the Angels, to enable him to bring forth his
true likeness in proper order.
7 This was the order of his
creation, by which he was to bring forth his likeness, in the proper times and seasons, as
regular as the trees of the field bring forth their fruits, and by the same providential
and directive power, according to his order.
8 In this order, the fire of lust
would have been unknown, which is the seed of the wicked one, received into the
nature of man, from the powers of darkness, for the purpose of propagating their vile
offspring in the natural world.
9 For as man had the faculty of
procreation created in him, after he came to maturity, whenever that faculty was set in
operation, in the male and female, he could generate his offspring according to his then
present state, whether he remained pure or became corrupted.
10 And as he was then in a state of
probation, he could not be prevented from being accessible to the disorderly influences of
the power of evil, that tempted him to act in his own independent will, and prove the
powers of his nature.
11 Therefore, yielding to these
bewitching charms, he received the fire of lust from the fallen spirits, by which his
whole nature was corrupted; and by its power, the faculty of procreation was brought into
operation, before the time appointed of God. Hence it is that all the offspring of man
have been corrupted, by that base and foul propensity, which degrades him below the animal
and vegetable creation.
12 Thus man gave up his power and
dominion to the fallen spirits of evil, by which means they found an entrance into the
natural creation, and set up the kingdom of Satan in the world; for they had become his
ministers. In consequence of this, Satan became the prince of this world, instead of
rational man, to whom it was first given.
13 In this, man lost his right to
the providential power of God, and to the ministration of the Angels of Providence, by
which he would have been enabled to accomplish all his works in proper order; and
especially to procreate his own offspring in the times and seasons of God's appointment;
in a manner acceptable to Him.
14 Therefore he died to the life of
that law and order which his Creator had placed in him; yet the law and order did not die;
but still remained as a living witness, with a flaming sword against him, which turned
every way to guard the way of the tree of life, in that order. There remained then, no
possible way by which he could receive any life of the true order of God, only by
repentance, and in proportion as that corrupt nature which he received from the serpent of
iniquity, is wounded and disarmed of its power: and eternal life can never be obtained
until this is wholly slain.
15 The original powers and faculties
of man's nature did not die; but he could not receive the primary power designed to
propagate his offspring, nor keep the order of times and seasons, without a special
ministration of the Angels of Providence. This God reserved in his own power.
16 The fall of man could not prevent
the Creator from exercising his own power, when He saw fit to administer it, to subserve
his own purposes. Therefore, when man, by his punishment, was sufficiently humbled to
repent, according to the order of that dispensation, which could only be in a figurative
degree, God, by a special revelation, revived the law of nature, so far as respected the
order of times and seasons, in the propagation of man's offspring.
17 And He dispensed sufficient power
through his Angels, to enable the line of the patriarchs, generally, to keep this law, and
also such as were in covenant relation with them, and who were willing to deny themselves
sufficiently. These were called the children of God, in contradistinction to the children
of men, or seed of Cain, who corrupted the earth by their licentious passions, and gave
loose to unbridled lusts, without regard to any times or seasons.
18 Therefore God, in a special
manner, raised up Enoch among the patriarchs, and dispensed his miraculous power through
his Angels to him, whereby he was enabled to govern his nature, to walk with God,
according to that dispensation, and beget sons and daughters, in the manner, and in the
times and seasons of God's appointment.
19 Thus he was both a preacher and
an example of righteousness, according to the law of nature, and the moral law of God to
all the children of men. Therefore, when he had done the work which God had appointed, he
was taken away by the Angels whom he had obeyed, to dwell with them in mansions of
20 In like manner He raised up Noah,
and endowed him with sufficient power to keep the moral law, and to be strictly obedient
to the Angels of Providence, in the propagation of his offspring. For although he waited
till he was five hundred years old for permission; yet he never touched that work until he
was directed so to do, at the proper times and seasons, by his guardian Angel.
21 Thus he was "a just man, and
perfect in his generations," according to all that the Lord had commanded him, so did
he in this, and in all other cases. Therefore he was a preacher and an example of
righteousness, to all the children of men; and by his example condemned the whole world.
22 For in his days the sons of God,
or those that walked in covenant relation with the patriarchs, and in a good degree kept
the moral law, and paid regard to the order of times and seasons, rapidly fell away, and
began to mingle with the children of men, or seed of Cain, and took them wives of all they
chose of their lewd daughters, and went in unto them, according to the dictates of their
own lusts, without any appointment of God, or any regard to the order of times and
23 This continued until all the
children of men forsook the moral law, and the earth was filled with violence, bloodshed
and carnage, and every species of wickedness, and their licentious debauchery knew no
bounds. By giving loose to unbridled lust, was the primary cause, that all flesh corrupted
its way before God: In consequence of which the protection and forbearance of God was
withdrawn, until He sent a flood of waters and destroyed them all.
24 Noah only, was found perfect in
that generation: and though he often warned them, that if they persisted in their
wickedness, God would send a flood of waters, and sweep them from the earth; yet they
heeded him not, until his warnings were fulfilled by their terrible destruction.
25 But Noah, by his obedience to
that law, which the children of men had violated, found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and
God established his covenant with him, and he was saved with his wife and family, in the
ark, from the flood, and became the father and patriarch of the new world.
26 This was a figure of the
salvation which shall be obtained in the gospel Ark, from the floods of destruction which
will roll upon, and destroy the world of the ungodly. This salvation will be effected
through Christ, manifested in the order of the heavenly Parentage, in the new creation of
27 The cases of Enoch and Noah were
instances of that power which God in wisdom, had reserved to be displayed in his own time,
to raise up instruments among men, who should be witnesses and representatives, by precept
and example, of his original law and order for man, while remaining in a state of nature.
28 So also was Abraham, in the
generation of Isaac, to whom after waiting many years for the fulfillment of the promise
of a son, the Angel said, "I will certainly return unto thee, according to the time
of life, and lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son, at this set time, in the next
year." And though Sarah was past bearing, according to the course of nature; yet this
promise was fulfilled.
29 Thus should Adam have waited, and
thus would he have received permission and power at the appointed time. Isaac and Rebecca
were also representatives of the same order, in the birth of Jacob and Esau, which could
not be produced until permission and power were granted by divine direction. So also was
Manoah and his wife, in the case of Samson; and also Zechariah and Elizabeth, in the case
of John the Baptist; and many others have been representatives of the same law and order.
30 Again hearken, saith the Angel;
Notwithstanding the awful destruction of the inhabitants of the earth by the flood, the
posterity of Noah, when they began to multiply upon earth, soon began also to forget the
hand of the Lord: for they disregarded the moral law, and the law of times and seasons, in
the propagation of their offspring.
31 But they were led by their lust
and ambition, insomuch that the earth was again filled with violence, and every species of
licentious obscenity, debauchery and abomination, until they became more ungodly than the
antediluvians. For to their other abominations they added this: They forsook the Lord, and
most universally worshipped gods after the imaginations of their own hearts. In this
abominable worship they far exceeded those destroyed by the flood.
32 Therefore God raised up a
peculiar people, to be his witnesses to the world, that He was God. To these He gave his
laws, according to the work and order of that age and dispensation, which was only
figurative of the substance of the good things which were yet to come.
33 This law was added by reason of
the gross transgressions and corruptions of the inhabitants of the earth, and was given to
maintain the knowledge and worship of the one true God, and to restrain the licentious and
lawless passions of man within some bounds; so that the earth need not be so corrupted,
that the inhabitants thereof must be destroyed before the time of the end.
34 The law of Moses was, in a good
degree, a transcript of the original law of God, especially that contained in the ten
commandments; but it was not perfectly so; for in some cases the law of Moses allowed war
and bloodshed, to cut off the wicked corrupters of the earth. It also allowed involuntary
servitude, and some other things which were not according to the original law of God.
35 Nor was the law of Moses the
perfect law of nature: for it did not prohibit a plurality of wives, not the putting away
of their wives, to marry again some woman upon whom their lust was placed. These
indulgences were all contrary to the true law of nature, given in the beginning.
36 The law of Moses was adapted to
the state of the world in that age, and according to the work of that dispensation, which
was imperfect, being but a shadow of a more perfect work; therefore it could not
"make the comers thereunto perfect," even as to the law of nature, and much less
as to the law of grace.
37 But for the hardness of their
hearts, many indulgences were allowed therein, which were not according to the moral law
and order of nature. For had they been fully reined up to that law, they, as a body, would
have rejected it, and joined themselves entirely to the nations of the earth, in idolatry,
and there would have been no people to maintain the witness and the worship of the true
38 Yet many in Israel, in all the
ages of their existence, as God's covenant people, through the light of the law, and the
instructions handed down from their fathers, saw a glimpse of the perfect moral law and
order of nature. These, forsaking those indulgences, were witnesses, in a good degree,
both by precept and example, of the perfect law and order of nature, in its original
state; at least so far as respected the order of times and seasons, and the keeping the
law of mercy and justice.
39 Among these were the prophets,
generally, and many others, particularly the Essenes of the latter times of the Jewish
dispensation, who prefigured the work manifested through Christ. And no age nor nation has
been wholly destitute of such witnesses. All such were noticed and blessed of God, and
were a blessing in their day and generation, wherever they were; yea, and such were the
first witnesses of Christ when he appeared.
40 Such were good Simeon and the
prophetess Anna, who had then wholly consecrated themselves to the Lord; And such was
Nathaniel, of whom Jesus testified, "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no
guile." And among his first followers there were many such; and such, in general,
were the devout men of every nation under heaven, who first received and obeyed the
doctrines of the apostles.