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tences quoted above express, in language suited alike to child and sage, a generalization of deep import-that actions not words alone, works not empty belief, doing not merely knowing what to do, are conditions indispensable to the salvation of the soul.
Many of those who were so signally privileged and blessed as to personally hear the Master were astonished at His doctrine and deeply moved by the simple and convincing presentation: "For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." (Matt. 7:29.) Our Lord was qualified to teach as He did, not only by reason of the sufficing fact that He bore the Father's commission, but because He had done and was doing just what He required of others. The authority of Divine precept was united in Him with that of unimpeachable example. The burden of all scriptural direction relating to the attainment of a place in the Kingdom of God is: Do the works that are prescribed.
Ever consistent, unchangeable as the Father Himself, our Lord affirmed the same necessity of works when He ministered among the Nephites on the American continent soon after His ascension from the Mount of Olives in Palestine. Having declared that His doctrine was the doctrine of the Father, the Resurrected Christ thus proclaimed:
"Whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also, and unto him will the Father bear record of me; for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. . . . And again I say unto you, Ye must repent and be baptized in
my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in no wise inherit the kingdom of God. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this, buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock, but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell standeth open to receive such, when the floods come and the winds beat upon them." (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 11:33-40.)
The accumulated experience of the world sustains the soundness of the principle thus emphasized in the Savior's teachings. An alien immigrant to our shores may desire to attain the full status of citizenship; but desire alone will never enfranchise him. He must first learn the legal requirements, and then comply therewith in every detail.
A student of the Scriptures may have learned, and that to his own complete conviction, that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance of sin, baptism by water and of the Spirit, are the prescribed conditions of citizenship in the Kingdom of God; hut that knowledge serves only to make him the more blameworthy if he fails to act. Even a letter-perfect memorization of all Scripture if unaccompanied by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel is invalid as title to salvation, and does but intensify the guilt incident to wilful neglect.
Opportunity to avail one's self of the saving provisions of the Gospel may not always be within individual reach, for neglect may forfeit the ability to repent. The Word of the Lord to the world today is thus proclaimed: "I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowNevertheless, he that repents and does the com
mandments of the Lord shall be forgiven, and he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts." (Doctrine & Covenants.
Our Place Beyond the Grave
N the course of our Lord's last journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, which proved to be His solemn march to Calvary and the tomb, He threaded the towns and villages of the region, teaching and preaching by the way. Multitudes were impressed by His lofty precepts and His simple exposition of plain, every-day religion; and many questions were submitted to Him, some based on curiosity or even less worthy motives, others inspired by genuine interest.
"Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved?" (Luke 13:23.)
The inquiry was and is of great moment. We observe as a striking and significant fact, that while the Lord nowise treated the query as improper, yet He gave no specific or direct answer. Indeed, so far as the record enables us to judge He purposely left the question unanswered; though He gave a most impressive sermon in connection therewith. Note again the question, and part of the response:
"Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."
As the succeeding verses tell, the instruction was enlarged upon to show that neglect or procrastination in obeying the requirements of salvation may result in dire jeopardy to the soul. Moreover, the people were warned that their Israelitish lineage would not save them; for many who were not of the covenant people would believe and be admitted to the Lord's presence, while unworthy Israelites would be thrust out. So is it that "There are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last." (Verse 30.)
Uplifting and invaluable as this teaching is, it has, nevertheless, but an indirect bearing upon the clean-cut question: Will many or but few be saved? The people to whom Jesus was speaking were incapable of understanding a plain answer to the question, and would have been misled thereby. For, had He said "Few" they would have construed the reply to mean that only a few, and they the Jews, would find a place in "Abraham's bosom," while all the rest would be consigned to sheol. Had the Lord answered "Many" they would have taken His word to mean that the great majority shall attain supreme bliss in the kingdom of heaven, and only a few are to find a place in hell. Either inference is untrue.
Later, on the night of the betrayal, the Lord said to the sorrowful Apostles: "In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you." Here we find conclusive refutation of the old and still current superstition, that but two states, conditions, or places-heaven and hell-are established for souls in eternity. Salvation is graded; and every soul shall inherit the condition for which he is prepared.
Paul comprehended this great truth, as appears from his declaration that in the resurrection some souls shall
be of the celestial order, comparable in glory to the sun; others shall attain but a terrestrial state, of which the brightness of the moon is typical; while the graded conditions of others shall be as the varying light of the stars. See 1 Cor. 15:41, 42. Here we have two kingdoms of glory distinctively specified-the celestial and the terrestrial, and a third to which no name is given.
Modern revelation is in strict accord with Holy Writ of ancient record, and is explicit in affirming the graded conditions that await the souls of men. As made known in 1832 through the prophet Joseph Smith (see Doctrine & Covenants, Sec. 76) there are three main kingdoms or degrees of glory in the hereafter (1) the Celestial, of which the sun is relatively typical, (2) the Terrestrial, as far below the first as the moon is inferior to the sun in effulgence, and (3) the Telestial, which is the kingdom referred to by Paul but without name.
The Celestial inheritance is for those who have accepted the Gospel of Christ and have rendered valiant service in the cause of righteousness; those who have yielded obedience to all the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
Into the Terrestrial order shall enter those who have failed to lay hold on the privileges of eternal life while in the flesh; "honorable men of the earth" perhaps, according to human standard, yet blinded "by the craftiness" of false teachers, false philosophy, science falsely so called. These shall inherit glory, but not a fulness thereof.
The Telestial state is provided for those who have rejected the Gospel and testimony of Christ, and who merit. condemnation. "These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie." Among them shall be varied degrees, even as the stars differ in glory.