On the doctrine of the
Faith being the first principle in revealed
religion, and the foundation of all righteousness, necessarily claims
the first place in a course of lectures which are designed to unfold to
the understanding the doctrine of Jesus Christ.
2 In presenting the subject of faith,
we shall observe the following order:
3 First, Faith itself—what it is:
4 Second, The object on which it
5 Third, The effects
which flow from it.
6 Agreeably to
this order we have first to show what faith is.
7 The author of the epistle to the
Hebrews, in the eleventh chapter of that epistle, and first verse, gives
the following definition of the word faith:
8 Now faith is the substance
-[assurance]- of things hoped for, the evidence of
things not seen.
9 From this we
learn, that faith is the assurance which men have of the existence of
things which they have not seen—that is, with their natural eyes—and
the principle of action in all intelligent beings.
10 If men were duly to consider
themselves, and turn their thoughts and reflections to the operations of
their own minds, they would readily discover that it is faith, and
faith only, which is the moving cause of all action, in them; that without
it, both mind and body, would be in a state of inactivity, and all their
exertions would cease, both physical and mental.
11 Were this class to go back and
reflect upon the history of th[eir]
the period of their first rec ollection, and ask themselves, what principle
excited them to action, or what gave them energy and activi ty, in all
their different avocations, callings, and pursuits, what would be the
answer? Would it not be that it was the assurance which we had of the
ex istence of things which we had not seen, as yet?— Was it not the
hope which you had, in consequence of your belief, in the existence of
unseen things, which stimulated you to action and exertion, in order to
ob tain them? Are you not dependant on your faith, or belief, for the
acquisition of all knowledge, wisdom, and intelligence? Would you exert
yourselves to obtain wisdom and intelligence, unless you did believe that
you could obtain them? Would you have ever sown if you had not
believed that you would reap? Would you have ever planted if you had not
believed that you would gather? Would you have ever asked unless you
had believed that you would receive? Would you have ever sought
unless you had believed that you would have found? Or would you have ever
knocked unless you had believed that it would have been opened unto you?
In a word, is there any thing that you would have done, either
physical or mental, if you had not previ ously believed? Are not all your
exertions, of every kind, dependant on your faith? Or may we not ask,
what have you got, or what do you possess, which you have not
obtained by reason of your faith? Your food, your raiment, your lodgings,
are they not all by reason of your faith? Reflect, and ask yourselves,
if these things are not so. Turn your thoughts on your own minds, and
see if faith is not the moving cause of all action in yourselves; and if
the moving cause in you, is it not in all other intelligent beings?
12 And as faith is the moving cause
of all action in temporal concerns, so it is in spiritual; for the Savior
has said, and that truly, that he that believeth
and is , shall be saved. Mark 16:16.
13 As we receive all temporal
blessings by faith, so we, in like manner, receive all spiritual
blessings.— But faith is not only the principle of action, but of
power, also, in all intelligent beings, whether in heav en, or on
earth. Thus says the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, 11:3:
14 Through faith we understand that
the worlds were framed by the word of God: so that things which are
seen were not made of things which do appear.
15 By this we understand that the
principle of power, which existed in the bosom of God, by which the
worlds were framed, was faith; and that it is by rea son of this
principle of power, existing in the Deity that all created things exist—so
that all things in heav en, on earth, or under the earth, exist by reason
of faith, as it existed in him.
16 Had it not been for the principle
of faith the worlds would never have been framed, neither would man
have been formed of the dust—it is the principle by which Jehovah works,
and through which he exer cises power over all temporal, as well as eternal
things. Take this principle or attribate, (for it is an attribute)
from the Deity and he would cease to ex ist.
17 Who cannot see, that if God framed
the worlds by faith, that it is by faith that he exercises power over
them, and that faith is the principle of power? And that if the
principle of power, it must be so in man as well as in the Deity? This is
the testimony of all the sacred writers, and the lesson which they have
been endeavoring to teach to man.
18 The Savior says, Matthew 17:19,20,
in explaining the reason why the disciples could not cast out the
devil, that it was because of their unbelief: “For ve rily, I say unto
you,” said he, “if ye have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, ye shall say
unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place! and it shall remove:
and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
19 Moroni, while abridging and
compiling the record of his fathers, has given us the following account of
faith as the principle of power: He says, page 563, that it was the
faith of Alma and Amulek which caus ed the walls of the prison to be wrent,
as recorded on the 264th page; that it was the faith of Nephi and
Le hi which caused a change to be wrought upon the hearts of the
when they were immersed with the Holy Spirit, and with fire, as seen on
the 421st page, and that it was by faith that the mountain Ze rin was
removed, when the brother of Jared spake in the name of the Lord. See also
20 In addition to this
we are told in Hebrews, 11:32, 33,34,35, that Gideon, Barak, Samson,
Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, through faith subdu ed
kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained prom ises, stopped the mouths of
lions, quenched the vio lence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out
of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to
flight the armies of the aliens; and that wo men received their dead raised
to life again, &c. &c.
Also, Joshua, in the sight of all Israel, bade the sun and moon to stand
still, and it was done. Josh. 10:12.
22 We here understand, that the
sacred writers, say, that all these things were done by faith—It was by
faith that the worlds were framed—God spake, chaos heard, and worlds
came into order, by reason of the faith there was in him. So with man also—he spake by faith in the name
of God, and the sun stood still, the moon obeyed, mountains removed,
prisons fell, lions’ mouths were closed, the human heart lost its
en mity, fire its violence, armies their power, the sword its terror,
and death its dominion; and all this by rea son of the faith which was in
23 Had it not been for the
faith which was in man, they might have spoken to the sun, the moon,
the mountains, prisons, lions, the human heart, fire, armies, the
sword, or to death in vain!
Faith, then, is the first great governing principle which has power,
dominion, and authority over all things: by it they exist, by it they are
upheld, by it they are changed, or by it they remain, agreeably to
the will of God. Without it, there is no power, and without power
there could be no creation, nor existence!
Question.—What is theology?
Answer.—It is that revealed science which
treats of the be ing and attributes of God—his relations to us—the
dispensa tions of his providence—his will with respect to our
actions— and his purposes with respect to our end. -[Buck’s
Theologi cal Dictionary, page 582.]-
Q. What is the first principle in
this revealed science?
-[§ i. ¶ 1.]-
Q. Why is faith the first principle
in this revealed science?
Because it is the foundation of all righteousness. Heb. 11:6. Without
faith it is impossible to please God. 1st. John, 3:7. Little children, let
no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness, is righteous, even as he
-[God]- is righteous. -[§
i. ¶ 1.]-
Q. What arrangement should be
followed in presenting the subject of faith?
A. First, Should be shown what faith
is: -[§ i. ¶ 3.]-
Second, The subject upon which it
rests; and -[§ i. ¶ 4.]-
Third, The effects which flow from
it. -[§ i. ¶ 5.]-
Q. What is faith?
A. It is the assurance of things
hoped for, the evidence of things not seen: Heb. 11:1. That is, it is the
assurance we have of the existence of unseen things. And being the
assu rance which we have of the existence of unseen things, must be
the principle of action in all intelligent beings. Heb. 11:3. By faith we
understand the worlds were framed by the word of God. -[§
i. ¶ 8,9.]-
Q. How do you prove that faith is the
principle of action in all intelligent beings?
A. First, By duly considering the
operations of my own mind; and secondly, by the direct declaration of
scripture.— Heb. 11:7. By faith Noah, being warned of things not seen
as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house;
by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness
which is by faith. Heb. 11:8. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go
out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed;
and he went out not knowing whither he went. Heb. 11:9. By faith he
sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange coun try, dwelling in
tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.
Heb. 11:27. By faith Moses forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the
king: for he en dured as seeing him who is invisible. -[§
i. ¶ 10,11.]-
Q. Is not faith the principle of
action in spiritual things as well as in temporal?
A. It is.
Q. How do you prove it?
A. Heb. 11:6. Without faith it is
impossible to please God. Mark 16:16. He that believeth and is baptized,
shall be saved. Rom. 4:16. Therefore, it is of faith, that it might
be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed:
not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which i[s] of the faith of Abraham,
[who is the father] of us [all.]— -[§
i. ¶ 12,13.]-
Q. Is faith any thing else beside the
principle of action?
A. It is.
Q. What is it?
A. It is the principle of power,
also. -[§ i. ¶ 13.]-
Q. How do you prove it?
A. First, it is the principle of
power in the Deity, as well as in man. Heb. 11:3. Through faith we
understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things
which are seen were not made of things which do appear.—
-[§ i. ¶
It is the principle of power in man also.
Mormon, page 264. Alma and Amulek are delivered from prison.
D[itt]o. page 421. Nephi and Lehi, with the
Lamanites, are immersed with the Spirit. Do.
page 565. The mountain Zerin, by the faith of the brother of Jared, is
removed. Josh. 10:12. Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the
Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he
said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou
Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. Josh. 10:13. And the sun stood still, and
the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves of their enemies.
Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the
midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. Mat.
17:19. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could
not we cast him out? Mat. 17:20. And Jesus said unto them, Because of your
unbelief: for verily I say un to you, if ye have faith as a grain of
mustard-seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder
place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto
you.— And Heb. 11:32. And what shall I say more? for the time would
fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah,
of David also, and Samuel, and of the proph ets. Heb. 11:23. Who through
faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped
the mouths of lions, Heb. 11:34. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped
the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed
valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Heb. 11:35.
Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured,
not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.
-[§ i. ¶
Q. How would you define faith in its
most unlimited sense?
A. It is the
first great governing principle, which has pow er, dominion and authority
over all things. -[§ i. ¶
Q. How do you
convey to the understanding more clearly, that faith is the first great
governing principle, which has pow er, dominion, and authority over all
A. By it they exist, by
it they are upheld, by it they are changed, or by it they remain,
agreeably to the will of God; and without it there is no power; and
without power there could be no creation, nor existence! -[§
i. ¶ 23.]-