To the Saints scattered abroad


Elders’ Journal Patten, David Wyman (1799-1838)

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Patten, David W. “To the Saints scattered abroad.” Elders’ Journal of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Far West, Missouri) 1, no. 3 (July 1838): 39–42.

To the Saints scattered abroad;

Dear Brethren:

Whereas, many have taken into hand to set forth the order of the kingdom of God on earth, and have testified of the grace of God, as given unto them, to publish unto you.

I also feel it my duty to write unto you, touching the grace of God given unto me, to youward; concerning the dispensation we have received; which is the greatest of all dispensations.—And has been spoken of by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began.

In this, my communication to you, I design to notice some of these prophecies.

Now the apostle Paul says on this wise, “For I would not brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, (lest you should be wise in your own conceit,) that blindness in part has happened unto Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Sion a Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”

What is that he says! “For I would not have you ignorant,” ignorant of what? why of this mystery, that blindness in part had happened unto Is- [39] rael. And to what end? why, that salvation might come unto the Gentiles.—See the 12th and 13th verses of this 11th chapter to the Romans.

“Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness? “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.”

Now, we are to understand the apostle, as speaking of the return of Israel, when he said, “how much more their fulness,” in their return. “For I would not have you ignorant concerning this matter,” that blindness will depart from them in the day that the fullness of the Gentiles is come in. And the reason is very obvious, because it is said, that out of Zion shall come the deliverer; and for what cause? why, that the word of God might be fulfilled. This deliverer might, through the mercy of God, turn away ungodliness from Jacob.

This work evidently commences at the time God begins to take the darkness from the minds of Israel, for this will be the work of God by the deliverer, for he shall turn away ungodliness from the whole family of Jacob. “For this is my covenant with them, when I shall take away their sins.”

Now then, we can see that this deliverer is a kind of harbinger or forerunner, that is, one that is sent to prepare the way for another. And this deliverer is such an one, for he comes to turn away ungodliness from Jacob.—Consequently he must receive a dispensation and authority suitable to his calling, or he could not turn away ungodliness from Jacob, nor fulfill the scriptures.

But the words of the prophets must be fulfilled. And in order to do this, to this messenger must be given the dispensation of the fulness of times according to the prophets. For Paul says again, in speaking of the dispensation of the fullness of times; Ephesians I, 9. “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he has purposed in himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him.”

And Isaiah says in the 11th chapter and 11th verse, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people.”

Now, this is the time that the deliverer shall come out of Zion, and turn away ungodliness from the house of Israel. Now, the Lord has said that he would set his hand the second time, and we ask for what? but to recover the house of Jacob. From what have they fallen? most assuredly they had broken the covenant, that God had made with their fathers, and through their fathers with them.

For Paul says, Romans 11: 19, 20. “Thou wilt say then, the branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high minded but fear.” Now it is evident, that the Jews did forsake the Lord, and by that means they broke the covenant. And now we see the need of the Lord’s setting his hand the second time to gather his people, according to Ephesians 1: 10. “That the dispensation of the fullness of times” &c. Now I ask, what is a dispensation? I answer, it is power and authorty to dispense the word of God, and to administer in all the ordinances thereof.

This is what we are to understand by it, for no man ever had the Holy Ghost to deliver the gospel, or to prophecy of things to come, but had liberty to fulfill his mission; consequently, the argument is clear, for it proves itself; nevertheless, I will call on the scriptures to prove the assertion. Ephesians 3: 2. “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward. How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; as I wrote in a few words.” And also Collossians 1: 25. “Wherefore I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God.”

It is evident then, that the dispensation given the apostle, came to him by revelation from God. Then by this we may understand, in some degree, the power by which he spake. And also the dispensation of the fullness of times.

Now, this at first thought would appear very small to some, who are not acquainted with the order of God from [40] the beginning: but when we take into consideration the plan of God for the salvation of the world, we can readily see that plan carried out most faithfully in all its bearings.

See after the fall of Adam, the plan of salvation was made known to him of God himself: who in like manner, in the meredian of time revealed the same, in sending his first begotten son Jesus Christ: who also revealed the same to the apostles, and God raised him from the dead to perfect that plan. And the apostles were made special witnesses of that plan; and testified, “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times, that God would gather together in one, all things in Christ, whether they be things in heaven, or things on the earth.”

Now the thing to be known, is, what the fullness of times means, or the extent and authority thereof. It means this, that the dispensation of the fullness of times is made up of all the dispensations that ever have been given since the world began until this time.

Unto Adam first was given a dispensation. It is well known that God spake to him with his own voice in the garden, and gave him the promise of the Messiah. And unto Noah also was a dispensation given. For Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the son of man. And as the righteous were saved then, and the wicked destroyed, so it will be now.

And from Noah to Abraham; and from Abraham to Moses; and from Moses to Elias; and from Elias to John the baptist; and from John to Jesus Christ; and from Jesus Christ to Peter, James and John. The apostles all having received in their time, a dispensation by revelation from God, to accomplish the great scheme of restitution, spoken of by all the holy prophets since the world began. The end of which is the dispensation of the fullness of times. In the which, all things shall be fulfilled, that has been spoken of since the earth was made.

Now the question is, unto whom is this dispensation to be given? or by whom to be revealed?. The answer is, to the deliverer that was to come out of Zion, and given to him by the angel of God. Rev. 14: 7. “And I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth. And to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, fear God, and give glory to him for the hour of his judgement is come; worship him, that made Heaven, and Earth, and the Sea, and the fountains of water.”

Now observe, this angel delivers the everlasting gospel to man on the earth, and that too when the hour of the judgements of God had come on the generation, in the which, the Lord should set his hand the second time, as stated above.

Now we have learned that this deliverer must be clothed with the power of all the other dispensations, or it could not be called the fullness of times.—For this is what it means, that all things shall be revealed, both in heaven and on earth. For the Lord said, there was nothing secret that should not be revealed, or hid that should not come abroad, and be proclaimed upon the house top. And this may, with propriety, be called the fullness of times.

The authority connected with the ordinances, renders the time very desirable to the man of God, and renders him happy, amidst all his trials, and afflictions. To such an one, through the grace of God, we are indebted for this dispensation, as given by the angel of the Lord. But to what tribe of Israel was it to be delivered? we answer, to Ephraim, because to him were the greater blessings given. For the Lord said to his father Joseph: “A seer shall the Lord raise up of the fruit of my loins, and he shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins; yea, he truly said: Thus saith the Lord, a choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins, and he shall be esteemed highly; and unto him will I give commandment, that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with their fathers. And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him; and I will make him great in mine eyes, for he shall do my work, and he shall be great like unto Moses; and out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall com- [41] mence among all people, unto the restoring of the house of Israel, saith the Lord.

And thus prophesied Joseph—saying, Behold, that seer will the Lord bless, and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded. Behold I am sure of the fulfillment of this promise, and his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father; and he shall be like unto me, for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand by the power of the Father, shall bring my people unto salvation.

Thus prophesied Joseph—I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses.’ 2nd Book of Nephi, 2nd chapter.

And again, Jesus says, as recorded in the book of Mormon, 526th page, 2nd edition, ‘Behold my servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted, and shall be esteemed, and be very high. As many as were astonished at thee, so shall he sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at him, for that which had been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.’

Upon this servant is bestowed the keys of the dispensation of the fullness of times.—That from him, the priesthood of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, might be given to many, and the order of this dispensation established on the earth. And to the church he has said by commandment—(See book of Commandments, 46th section, 2nd paragraph.) “Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words, and commandments, which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me: for his word ye shall receive as from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith, for by doing these things, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.

Now my readers, you can see in some degree, the grace given to this man of God, to us ward. That we, by the great mercy of God, should receive from under his hand, the gospel of Jesus Christ: and having the promise of partaking of the fruit of the vine, on the earth with him, and with the holy prophets and patriarchs our fathers. For those holy men are angels now. And these are they, who make the fullness of times complete with us. And they who sin against this authority given to him—(the before mentioned man of God,)—sins not against him only, but against Moroni, who holds the keys of the stick of Ephraim. And also, with Elias, who holds the keys of bringing to pass the restitution of all things, or the restoration of all things. And also John, the son of Zacharias which Zacharias Elias visited, and give promise that [?] should have a son, and his name should be John, and he should be filled with the spirit of Elias, which John I have sent unto you, [?] servants Joseph Smith Jr. and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you to this first priesthood, even as Aaron. And also Elijah who holds the keys of committing the power, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, that the whole earth may not be smitten with a curse.

And also Joseph, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, your fathers, by whom the promises remain. And also Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days. And also, Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you, and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry, and of the same things I revealed unto them: unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last time, and for the fulness of times.—In the which I will gather together in one all things, both which are in heaven or which are on earth.

Therefore, brethren, beware concerning yourselves, that you sin not against the authority of this dispensation, nor think lightly of those whom God has counted worthy for so great a calling, and for whose sake he hath made them servants unto you, that you might be made the heirs of God, to inherit so great a blessing, and be prepared for the grand assembly, and sit there with the ancient of days, even Adam, our father, who shall come to prepare you for the coming of Jesus Christ, our Lord: for the time is at hand, therefore, gather up your effects and gather together upon the land which the Lord has appointed for your safety.


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