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LEAVES FROM THE TREE OF LIFE.

LEAVES FROM THE TREE OF LIFE.

SEVENTH Leaf.

HAVING shown the universal apostasy from the Church established by Christ and His Apostles, we now turn with pleasure from the dark picture of error, strife, confusion and priestcraft, painted in sombre hues during a long succession of centuries, to a more cheering and truly delightful subject.

The same inspired Apostles who foretold the general departure from the "way of truth," also predicted the restoration of the Gospel, the ushering in of a later and final dispensation, and the ultimate triumph of God's kingdom upon the whole face of the earth. After seeing the dominion of the mother of abominations extending to all the kingdoms of the world, John, the beloved, beheld her entire destruction. This was preceded in the vision by the coming of an angel from heaven with the everlasting gospel for every nation, kindred, tongue and people, and the cry from heaven, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues."

We are able to state, with the most positive assurance, that the angel with the Gospel has come, and that the voice from heaven has been uttered as a warning to all nations; that Gospel will be preached and the warning will be sounded, by divine authority, to every tribe and nation and tongue. Joseph Smith was the chosen instrument in the hands of God to receive the glad message and direct its promulgation to all the world. Angels do not travel and preach to mankind in person; when they bring tidings from on high they deliver the heavenly mandates to a chosen man who, in turn, makes them known to his fellows. But though the ministry of angels is not general, all people may know thereof of a surety by obedience to the commandments revealed, which is followed by a divine witness of their truth and of the fact of the manifestation. Thus, while Joseph Smith was selected to receive direct divine communications, every one who in faith obeys them, ob

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tains a satisfactory testimony that the message is true and that the messenger was authorized to declare it.

But receiving the gospel, whether by angelic ministrations or otherwise, is one thing, and obtaining authority to preach it and administer its ordinances is another. Knowledge, light and revelation may be enjoyed, and yet the favored recipient of these blessings may be without any authority to perform any official act in the name of the Lord. Joseph Smith not only received the ministrations of the angel bearing the everlasting gospel, but also obtained the right to officiate in all its ordinances, rites, ceremonies and endowments. He did not receive this authority from man. As we have already shown, it had departed from the earth centuries before. No amount of learning would bring it. No college, prelate, potentate or priest could confer it. All the wealth of the world could not purchase it. It does not come by the will of man. How did Joseph Smith gain it? Holy men of old, who held the keys of this power in former dispensations, came to earth as ministering spirits and ordained him to the same offices which they held in mortality. First came John the Baptist, who was beheaded for the truth's sake, bearing the keys of the Aaronic or lesser Priesthood, and ordained Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to the authority thereof, with the right to preach the gospel of repentance and administer baptism for the remission of sins. But as John did not hold the power when on earth to confer the Holy Ghost, he did not presume to bestow it upon others. Next came Peter, James and John with the keys of the Apostleship, of the holy Melchisedec Priesthood and of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which they conferred upon Joseph and Oliver, giving them authority to ordain others to this ministry and to confirm baptised believers by the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The lesser Priesthood holds the power of the ministration of angels and au

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LEAVES FROM THE TREE OF LIFE.

thority to administer in temporal things. | Prophet, bearing the keys of the turning of the hearts of the fathers to the children and of the children to the fathers, that the link of the broken chain of the Priesthood through the ages might be welded together, and the spirit world be known to men in the flesh. Next came Moses the man of God with the keys of the gathering of Israel, that the remnants might be brought in from their long dispersion and inherit the lands promised to their forefathers. And Raphael and Gabriel and other holy messengers also appeared, each in their order, bearing the keys of their respective ministries when living as men upon the earth, that all the powers needful for the establishment of the great and last dispensation of the fulness of times might be centered upon the head of the man chosen to open it to the world, and that he might bestow them upon others called and chosen by the spirit of revelation.

The greater Priesthood holds the power of
communion with the Highest and of at-
tending to all things, spiritual and tem-
poral, for the salvation and exaltation of
man till he reaches the actual presence of
the Eternal God, and shines forth in the
fulness of the attributes of his Almighty
Father. Thus power was restored to
rebuild the Church of Christ; to preach
the true gospel; to baptise penitent
believers for the remission of sins; to
bestow upon them the Holy Ghost, bear-
ing witness of the Father and the Son
and of acceptance with them; to appoint
and
ordain all the various ministers
necessary for the publishing of the truth
to all nations, the work of the ministry,
the perfecting of the Saints and the
edifying and government of "the body
of Christ."

So the Church was set up in these latter times. Humble believers received the word with gladness, and, obeying it, obtained from God the witness of its truth. The signs promised to believers followed them. They spoke in other tongues, prophesied, saw visions, dreamed divine dreams and enjoyed all the gifts of the Church as did the Saints of old. The sick were healed by the laying on of hands, devils were cast out, the deaf heard, the eyes of the blind were opened, the lame leaped for joy, the tongue of the dumb was loosed, the heavens were opened to human view, and the Holy Ghost, as on the day of pentecost, rested down in power upon the Saints of the new dispensation. Then they knew for themselves. Doubt had fled, the darkness was dispersed, Satan trembled, priestcraft raged, and while the glad tidings of the restored gospel caused joy in heaven and praise on earth, the powers of evil in and out of the flesh conspired to fight the truth, make war upon believers and persecute the servants of God unto death.

But the Lord strengthened the hands of His people and poured forth light and knowledge from on high. The hidden things of ages were brought forth. Revelation after revelation was multiplied to the Church. Then came Elijah the

Glory to God in the highest! The straight and narrow way is opened. The silence of ages is broken. Jehovah speaks from out the bosom of eternity. Angels again come down from the abodes of bliss. Communication is restored between man and his Maker. The Holy Ghost again comforts, reveals and bears witness. The sacred gifts are once more enjoyed. All earth shall hear the glad tidings. Every soul shall be warned. And though Joseph the chosen seer and many of his brethren have become martyrs for the truth's sake, and the bosom of mother earth is stained red with the blood of the persecuted Saints, the Church re-established, the Priesthood restored, the truths now revealed shall never be taken from earth again, but they shall spread and increase and prevail and triumph until darkness and evil and sin and Satan shall give way, and this planet, ransomed and redeemed shall be crowned with the glory and presence of its rightful king, Jesus the anointed, the sinless son of the omnipotent God.

It is more disgraceful to distrust one's friends than to be deceived by them. Our mistrust justifies the deceit of others.

TRAVELS IN ITALY.

TRAVELS IN ITALY.

SIGHTS OF FLORENCE.
VII.

THE proud position occupied by Florence, in the progress of art, science and literature, during the whole period of her existence, is warmly attested by the magnificent memorial monuments and tombs that crowd her churches and piazzas. The illustrious names thus commemorated are very numerous, representing all departments of intellectual life and culture; names of writers and philosophers, painters and sculptors, whose fame has survived the lapse of centuries and whose works live in the hearts of all generations.

In the piazza Santa Croce, one of the largest open squares in Florence, and one to which many interesting events of her early history attach, is the celebrated and beautiful monument of Dante. This great writer, father of the modern Italian language, author of the Divine Comedy and foremost literateur of his time, was born in Florence A. D. 1265, was banished in 1302, and died at Ravenna, 1321. On the six hundredth anniversary of his birth, May 14, 1865, the Italian people assembled in great solemnity in the piazza Santa Croce, to celebrate the unveiling of this beautiful monument, executed by Pazzi. It consists of a white marble statue, nineteen feet in height, on a pedestal twenty-three feet high, the corners of which are adorned with four lions, each bearing a shield upon which is inscribed the titles of four of his most important works. Around the pedestal below are the armorial bearings of the principal cities of Italy, all of which thus testify to their appreciation of the great man to whose wonderful genius they owe their language.

In the adjoining church of Santa Croce, a cruciform edifice nearly five hundred feet long, is an honorary tomb to the memory of Dante, his remains being at Ravenna. Within the same noble sanctuary, which, on account of the many illustrious persons whose memory is preserved there, is called the Pantheon of Italy, are buried the ashes of Michael Angelo.

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The names of Boccaccio, Macchiavelli, Galileo, Danieli Manin and others equally celebrated are also found upon the monuments that adorn its walls.

Near the church of San Lorenzo, and attached to it, are the New Sacristy and Princes Chapel of the Medici family. The former is a quadrangular building of fine proportions, designed and constructed It contains the by Michael Angelo. world famed monuments and master piece sculptures of the great sculptor. Among them the mausoleum of the Duc de Nemours, son of Lorenzo di Medici; over it are the celebrated statues Day and Night. The latter is especially admired for its marvelous expression and reality. It is the figure of a woman in the decline of life. Day is represented by a strong, vigorous man in his prime. Opposite these is a statue of Lorenzo di Medici, grandson of Lorenzo the magnificent, represented in profound meditation, and hence often called "the pensive." Below the statue is his tomb, with the figures of a youth and maiden, admirably carved to represent Evening and Dawn, being companions to Day and Night, by the same great artist.

The chapel of the Princes, containing the tombs of the grand dukes of the Medici family, from Cosmo I, who died in 1564, to Giovanni Gaston, the last of the family, who died in 1737. The building is octagonal in form. Its erection and embellishment with the tombs and statues,cost the enormous sum of twentytwo million lire, about five million dollars.

Near the great cathedral of Florence is the Campanile, or square tower, from the top of which a magnificent view is obtained, and the Baptistery. The latter is an eight sided structure, surmounted with a dome, which is claimed to have afforded the architects of the cathedral, and of St. Peters at Rome, with the model for the wonderful canopies of those famous churches. The most interesting features of the Baptistery, which was founded in the eleventh century, is the three bronze doors, which were added in the middle of the fifteenth century.

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The first door was completed by Pisano | able, smooth-faced bishop, clothed in the after twenty-two years arduous labor. The scenes represented are from the life of St. John. The second door is the most remarkable, and is considered a marvel of art. It was executed by Lorenzo Ghiberti, about 1450, and represents ten scenes from scripture history, as follows: 1. Creation and expulsion from Paradise; 2. Cain slaying his brother and Adam tilling the earth; 3. Noah after the flood and his intoxication; 4. Abraham and the angels, and the sacrifice of Isaac; 5. Esau and Jacob; 6. Joseph and his brethren; 7. Promulgation of the law on Mount Sinai; 8. The walls of Jericho; 9. Battle against the Ammonites; 10. The Queen of Sheba. This door is so beautifully carved representing the subjects in so skillful a manner that Michael Angelo said of it, that it deserved to form the entrance to Paradise. Over the door is a carving to represent the Baptism of Christ.

The third door, by the same artist, is in twenty-eight sections, representing the history of the Savior and the Apostles. The delicate tracery and other decorations about all of these doors is in exquisite taste, and adds much to their appearance.

Passing from the Baptistery into the cathedral near by, we were impressed with the solemn grandeur of the old structure, and its wonderful size. It is over five hundred feet long, by three hundred and fifty wide, across the transept. The dome which surmounts it, is the loftiest in Europe, being over three hundred feet high. The choir is placed directly under the dome, and at the time of our visit,during high mass, the effect of its position was admirably attested by the solemn music, which, rising from the army of choristers present, filled the entire building with the refrain. There are few things more imposing than the exercises of the Catholic church, to be met with in the world. On the occasion of which we write, a special service was being performed, it being a fete day of some kind, and we were much interested in the proceedings.

The presiding functionary was a vener

cathedral robes, which were of crimson velvet, with fine deep lace trimmings, and bespangled with precious stones. The figure of the cross was embroidered on the back of the handsome garment, which reached in ample folds to the floor, and from thence a train about six feet long would have trailed in the dust, but for four little pages, whose duty was to hold it up. These little fellows were dressed in black velvet, their hair was clipped all around and a spot the size of a quarter of a dollar was clean shaved on their crowns. Following these, as they entered the church from the cloisters of the transept, came in pairs, about a score of gorgeously robed priests, each carrying a relic or some article of treasure from the church treasury. Behind them came a troop of choir boys, led by two small children, with two a little larger after, and so on gradually increasing until upwards of a hundred singers had joined their voices in the weird chanting, that seemed indeed to belong to some other sphere than this.

After these came orders of priests, six of each order, two abreast. The first six were clothed in white robes, not a particle of color being visible about them but their black, shaven-pated heads. Next to them were six in scarlet robes, then six in purple, six in black and six in yellow. They were followed by about a hundred nuns, half of them dressed in white robes with black bonnets, the remainder in black robes with white bonnets, each surpassing the others in ghostliness. All these arranged themselves about the high altar, before which the bishop knelt and rose and turned around in great state and solemnity, while the cup bearers swung their incense to and fro, filling the church with sweet and sickening odors. The choiresters sang long and dismally, changing their position from time to time, but never moving out of time nor tune; their solemn dirge varying in intensity with their measured tread as they passed before the altar and about the steps of the elevated choir.

There was no sermon nor any intel

THE NEPHItes under THE JUDGES.

ligible exercise. The church became filled with people of all classes, the kneeling, rising and turning of the priest, bowing, crossing and solemn looks of the others, and reverential inclinations of the heads of all, as sacred names were uttered, with the never ceasing chanting of the choir, and the rising fumes of incense continued for about an hour, when in the same grand order as they entered, the brotherhood of priests and the sis

terhood of nuns, with the chanting choiristers, filed in slow and measured tread out of the building, through the arched doorway by which they had entered, and the great crowd of worshipers and spectators dispersed. We learned afterwards that we had simply witnessed the saying of prayers for the repose of the soul of a certain dignitary, who had died many years ago, leaving his vast fortune to "holy mother church." De Vallibus.

THE NEPHITES UNDER THE JUDGES.

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VII.

ON the death of the elder Pahoran, the third Chief Judge, a contention arose amongst his three sons (Pahoran, Paanchi and Pacumeni) as to who should be his successor. Pahoran, the younger was chosen by the people (B. C. 52) but Paanchi would not accept the result of the vox populi, and raised the standard of revolt. For this crime he was arrested, tried and executed. It was amongst the unsuccessful followers of Paanchi that the Gadianton band appears to have had its origin in the midst of the Nephites. Kishkumen, one of their boldest leaders, in order to avenge the condemnation of Paanchi, assassinated the newly elected Chief Judge as he sat on the judgment seat, and so complete was his disguise, So unexpected his act and so speedy his flight,that he was not recognized nor captured by those who pursued him, and when once out of their reach he was protected by his brother conspirators.

The oaths, signs and tokens of this iniquitous association, by which they recognized their members and protected each other in their villainies-their murders, rapine, whoredoms, etc.—were the same terrible imprecations which had been put by Satan into the heart of Cain, when he murdered his brother Abel, and which developed into the overwhelming wickedness that brought upon the groaning earth the cleansing waters of the flood which also were implanted into the hearts of the impious creatures who sought to build the tower of Babel.

These same Satanic organizations found place, grew and flourished amongst the Jaredites and ultimately brought about their utter destruction. Again, the great enemy of mankind whispered these same accursed things into the ears of Gadianton, Kishkumen and others, and they, swearing by their everlasting maker, bound themselves to aid in the despoilation of virtue, the overthrow of good government, and in the carrying out of all the secret sins that their evil passions might suggest, or their corrupt hearts desire. Such an organization was like a cancer eating into the vitals of the Nephite body-politic, and without its speedy and thorough eradication by the most vigorous means, would infallibly end in national death, which it did.

The confusion and lack of confidence

brought about by the murder of Pahoran, proved very disastrous to the Nephites, for in the next year, the Lamanites taking advantage of their internal troubles, made a sudden irruption into the centre of their country, surprised and captured the city of Zarahemla (on which occasion Pacumeni, who had succeeded his brother as Chief Judge, was slain), and then pushed rapidly and victoriously northward, with the intention of taking possession of the northern continent. However, they did not sufficiently keep

up their line of communication in the rear; the Nephite general, Lehi, checked their advance, and when they attempted to return to their own territory they were surrounded by the Nephite forces, their

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