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A Library Tour through Mosiah 4
1. And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of speaking the
words which had been delivered unto him by the angel of the Lord, that he cast his
eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth, for the
fear of the Lord had come upon them.
2. And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust
of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and
apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and
our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created
heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.
3. And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord
came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their
sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had
in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken
4. And king Benjamin again opened his mouth and began to speak unto them, saying:
My friends and my brethren, my kindred and my people, I would again call your attention,
that ye may hear and understand the remainder of my words which I shall speak unto
5. For behold, if the knowledge of the goodness of God at this time has awakened
you to a sense of your nothingness, and your worthless and fallen state --
6. I say unto you, if ye have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and his
matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long-suffering towards
the children of men; and also, the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation
of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should put his trust
in the Lord, and should be diligent in keeping his commandments, and continue in
the faith even unto the end of his life, I mean the life of the mortal body --
7. I say, that this is the man who receiveth salvation, through the atonement which
was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind, which ever were since
the fall of Adam, or who are, or who ever shall be, even unto the end of the world.
8. And this is the means whereby salvation cometh. And there is none other salvation
save this which hath been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man
can be saved except the conditions which I have told you.
9. Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven
and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in
earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
10. And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble
yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and
now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.
11. And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge
of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love,
and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great
joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in
remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and
long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the
depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly
in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
12. And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be
filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall
grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of
that which is just and true.
13. And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and
to render to every man according to that which is his due.
14. And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will
ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another,
and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath
been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.
15. But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach
them to love one another, and to serve one another.
16. And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor;
ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will
not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out
King Benjamin is the only person in the Book of Mormon to use the word “beggar,”
and he used it three times in his life-changing sermon.
Museum docent Marilynn Todd Linford explains the significance of the words in the
Book of Mormon. We say that Mormon “compiled” the record, yet we often assume, without
thinking, that he wrote the words of the history himself. She explains, “Mormon
and Moroni likely performed four major roles in preparing the information to be engraved
on the plates – editor, abridger, compiles, and redactor. An editor does not create
the text but makes technical corrections and checks usage so the words efficiently
convey their meanings. An abridger makes the text shorter. A compiler brings diverse
elements from various documents together.” In all these roles, Mormon would have
used the words of the original speakers or writers, as he found them in his original
records. Only as redactor, or commentator, would he have used his own words.
17. Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore
I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of
my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just --
18. But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to
repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever,
and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
19. For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being,
even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for
gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
20. And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging
for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay;
he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be
filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could
not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
21. And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives
and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right,
in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the
substance that ye have one to another.
22. And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance
that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation
for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom
also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing
which thou hast done.
23. I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him;
and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of
24. And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that
ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not;
I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I
had I would give.
25. And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are
condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.
26. And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you -- that is,
for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk
guiltless before God -- I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor,
every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the
naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and
temporally, according to their wants.
27. And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite
that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that
he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things
must be done in order.
28. And I would that ye should remember, that whosoever among you borroweth of his
neighbor should return the thing that he borroweth, according as he doth agree, or
else thou shalt commit sin; and perhaps thou shalt cause thy neighbor to commit sin
29. And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for
there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them.
30. But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts,
and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue
in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the
end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.