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The work which God purposed to do in the latter days, was not to be according to the systems of human invention known and understood among men; but was to be a strange work; and the act which he intended to bring to pass, was to be a strange act, even a marvellous work and a wonder. Neither was Christ to come in order to establish any of those systems of man's building that should be found on earth at his appearing; but in the progress of his strange work, he will most certainly consume them all. Therefore said the prophet, “ Be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth." And hence the warning of the apostle : “ Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you."

In the time of Christ's first appearing, the Jews, who called themselves God's chosen people, were looking for a Saviour to appear in royal splendor, surpassing all temporal monarchs ; but behold, he appeared in a man, and took on him the form of a servant. Again, those who called themselves Christians, expected him to appear in the form of a man, far surpassing all earthly beings, in pomp and grandeur, and warlike power; and behold, the humble Saviour was manifested in the form and likeness of a woman, and assumed the appearance of an handmaid.

Thus, as the heavens are high above the earth, so are the thoughts and imaginations of man above all that is called God; and as far as virtue is below vice in the eyes of the wicked, so far is the way of God below all the ways that ever man contrived, by which all the works and inventions of man must be supplanted ; and therefore, in the eyes of man, the real work of God must appear strange and unaccountable.

Sixty years have now passed, since the beginning of this work in England-Twenty-eight years since it began in America-Twenty years since the gathering of the Church and sixteen years since the Church was established in her present order and spirit of government. And in all this time of sixty years, the testimony has been verbal, and those who were faithful in it, have increased in further light and understanding, and in power and harmony from time to time, without any written creed, or form of government relating to themselves, or any written testimony in defence of their cause, or for the public information of others. learned cannot comprehend the learning of the learned, unless they are taught by those who are learned ; so neither can the learned nor unlearned comprehend the work of God, unless they are taught by those who are in it. Our princi pal aim has been to open matters so as to be understood, and we think this sufficient to satisfy every candid enquiring mind.

Nor is this present publication to be considered as any creed or form of government, to influence the faith or practice of the Church; but as the first public testimony in writing, containing a true statement of the fundamental principles and reasons of our faith and practice, given through the order and appointment of God, by the joint union of the body, according to the measure of our present light and understanding.

Whatever is written on any subject, must have respect to some foundation or first principles ; and as the living power of God was first ministred, in this latter day, for the purpose of destroying the false foundation and pernicious principles of Antichrist ; so the work itself appeared like madness and folly to such as stood on that foundation. And iu no better light, would any written account of it have appeared, nor in truth, could any thing satisfactory be written, until this nce cessary work of preparation was accomplished, and the substance of what was to follow had come to a sufficient degree of maturity.

But since the subjects of the work have been broken off from their false foundation, and built upon the foundation of the present revelation of Christ, and are raised up in the order of a spiritual house, to that degree of righteousness, peace and union, which they visibly manifest, every thing hath assumed a different appearance : so that time and cir.

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cumstances have rendered it proper to state those different operations and degrees of the work in their true nature.

And, as those first operations of the power of God, in destroying the foundation of error and vice, exhibited many outward appearances which looked like confusion and wild disorder, owing to the mixture of human depravity, both in the subjects of the work, and in spectators, and gave occasion to innumerable false conjectures and groundless reports, which may have obtained some degree of credit at a distance ; it therefore seemed necessary, at this time, to give this public testimony of facts, that the truth of things may be established, and every necessary satisfaction be afforded to mankind, upon the authority of those who have had a perfect understanding of the work, from its carliest rise, either from their own certain knowledge, or from their most intimate acquaintance and near relation with those who were eye and ear witnesses of all the most important matters from the beginning

The present publication may serve to convey a general information to the unprejudiced mind, yet certain it is, that the true knowledge and internal power by which we are saved from the torrent of human depravity, cannot be conveyed by letters, so as to be comprehended by the wisdom of man ; neither can any attain that treasure through any other medi. um than that which is given of God in the order of his grace.

Although we do not despise the rules of rhetoric established among the learned, yet we have taken no pains to adapt cither our manner or style to the refined taste of the present age. If any chuse to criticise or find fault on this account, they are at liberty, we intend neither vindication nor defence on this ground : nor do we suppose that any but vain cavillers will be carried away with empty speculations of that nature, so long as the matter is clear, and the language such as sufficiently conveys our ideas. As the un

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The matters of fact which we have stated, are confirmed by three kinds of evidence : First, the holy scriptures; second, the general consent of ecclesiastical history ; and third, the testimony of living witnesses, in the present day. And as all that took place from the beginning, had respect to the latter day; so it is a matter of the highest importance to know what God hath actually accomplished, in the present day; and therefore the testimony of living witnesses, is considered of the higlicst authority, and superior to any written record whatever.

We are far from expecting, or even wishing any of our writings to supercede the necessity of a living testimony, or in any wise to prevent a further increase of light and understanding in the things of God. As far as the builder is superior to the thing which he builds, so far the living subjects of the knowledge of God, stand forever superior to any thing that they can possibly comprise in letters. The living testimony of God is not of the letter, but of the spirit : for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

And as it is certain that the work of the latter day, spoken of by all the prophets, hath verily commenced ; therefore we have not the least doubt that the true knowledge of God will increase, from one degree to another, until the full manifestation of his glory. And for this purpose God wiil continue to raise up chosen witnesses, to give the knowledge of salvation to those who sit in darkness, until the whole of his work be accomplished. Therefore, for the more clear and perfect understanding of many things, which are here but briefly hinted at, we refer the candid reader to those who keep the commandments of God, and have the Testimony of Jesus Christ.

DAVID DARROW,
JOHN MEACHAM,

BENJAMIN S. YOUNGS. Lebanon, Miami-Country, State

of Ohio, 1st of Dec. 1808.

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Note. David DARROW, now in the 59th year of his age, was among

the first in America who received the testimony of the gospel, in the year 1780. JOHN MEACHAM (being then a youth, under the care of his father JOSEPH MEACHA M, in union with the family) received the testimony the same year, 1780, and is now in the 39th year of his age. BEYJAMIN S. Youxos received the testimony in the year 1794, and is now in the 35th year of his age.

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