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Book of Pearls
1st Endowment
2nd Endowment
3rd Endowment
4th Endowment
5th Endowment
6th Endowment
7th Endowment

Chapter 28

Hagar gives birth to Ishmael – Discord in the tent of Abraham – God chastises Abraham – Circumcision and the covenant – Abiel of Salem visits Abraham – Abiel councils Abraham regarding Sarah and Hagar – The mercies of God are an offense to man – Discourse on priesthood


1  Now Sarah, having despaired because she could not bear Abraham a son, gave him Hagar her handmaiden, according to the custom of her people.

2  And Hagar took seed and bore Abraham a son, and he called his name Ishmael, and he caused that there should be a great feast prepared to honor the child. And before many witnesses Abraham blessed the child and established that he should be as a prince among many people.

3  But Sarah wept sorely at her folly, for she feared that Hagar would take place over her in the heart of Abraham, and she began to ridicule with much sharpness the woman Hagar.

4  Thus with the birth of Ishmael did peace flee from the tent of Abraham, and contentions and disputations dwelt continually beneath the shadow of the terebinth trees by the waters of Mamre.

5  So it came about that in the thirteenth year of Ishmael, the Lord came and stood before Abraham and spoke to him, saying:

6  “Abraham, my son, did I not promise that from your loins would come a multitude of nations?

7  For I will surely make you fruitful; I will make of you many nations, and kings and princes shall come from you; your seed shall I make to become as prophets and priests to many people.

8  With you shall I establish this day a sign of the covenant which I shall establish between me and your seed, and it shall be as a token of remembrance throughout all your generations to come, that they might know that I am the Lord their God, and they shall have no other god before them.

9  And this land shall I covenant unto you forever to be an inheritance unto all the children of your loins, and I will bless the land with abundance for your name’s sake.

10  Now, my son, be diligent to keep all the words of my covenant throughout all the remainder of your days upon the earth, and teach your seed also to follow me in holiness always.

11  For, behold, I am holy. Therefore, shall you be holy also and my grace shall strengthen you against the day when tribulation shall come upon many righteous.

12  Therefore, this shall be the sign of my covenant that I shall cause to be established between me and your seed.

13  You shall take every male child which is born unto you and you shall circumcise him of the eighth day from his birth.

14  And you shall take all the sons which are born of your servants and you shall cause that they should also be circumcised on the eighth day, that I might establish even unto the captive the promise of blessing and release.”

15  Thus spoke the Lord unto his servant, Abraham. And the Lord spoke again, saying: “As for Sarah your wife, I will bless her and she shall bear you a son.

16  For Sarah shall I cause to be as a mother unto many nations, and she shall stand beside you in the kingdom of God.”

17  Now when Abraham heard these words, he spoke to the Lord, saying: “My Lord, I am now a hundred years old and Sarah is ninety. How then shall she bear a son, seeing that she is great with age?

18  Therefore, my Lord, would it not be better to establish the covenant with Ishmael, seeing that he is young and full of vigor?”

19  And Abraham laughed before the Lord. But the Lord answered, saying: “Am I not God? What thing shall there be that shall hinder the fulfillment of all the words which I have spoken to you?

20  Therefore, hear and understand, for by this time next year, Sarah shall conceive and bear you a son and you shall call his name Isaac.

21  With him shall I establish my covenant forever, and with his seed after him shall all my words be brought to remembrance because of the token of circumcision which I have established between you and me.

22  But of Ishmael and his seed after him, hear and consider. For I will surely bless him. I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers.

23  From his loins shall there come forth twelve sons and they shall rule a multitude of people; a mighty nation shall they become in the waste places round about.

24  Now, therefore, take Ishmael the son of Hagar and circumcise him before me, that he might receive to his soul the promise of Abraham his father, that he might be brought to a remembrance of the Lord his God.

25  For my Spirit shall overshadow him and he shall become great and mighty; as a strong man shall he forge together the desert tribes as one and he shall make them as the seed of his loins.

26  But of Isaac shall I establish the covenant of my word which I have spoken unto you this day.

27  Therefore, gather all the men of the house of Abraham, and their sons also, that they may receive in their flesh the token of my word which I shall cause to be established with them forever.”

28  Now when God had finished speaking unto Abraham, he ascended again into Heaven.

29  And Abraham called forth all the men of his household, and with them their sons also. And Abraham circumcised every one of them.

30  Thus was Ishmael, the son of Hagar, circumcised in his thirteenth year, and Abraham when he was a hundred years old received in his flesh the circumcision of the Lord.

31  On the seventh day after Abraham was circumcised before the Lord, there came unto the grove of Mamre, Abiel of Salem, and he was clothed in white raiment and there was upon his countenance the power of endless lives.

32  And he approached nigh unto Abraham and spoke, saying: “May the peace of God fall upon all the house of Abraham; may the presence of the Lord dwell upon the friend of God. Behold, I am Abiel of Salem. I have journeyed far to comfort the son of Terah.”

33  But Abraham, despairing, said: “There is no peace for Abraham. But come and refresh yourself. Rest awhile beside me and I shall forget the disputations and contentions which have come to afflict me in my old age.”

34  When Abiel heard the words of Abraham, he sat down beside him, saying: “Grieve not over the perplexities of your soul; neither be disturbed because distress is gathered at the gate.

35  For the God of Abraham is able to comfort in the hour of distress; in the moment of great perplexity he shall deliver the righteous if it so be that they will trust in him.”

36  And Abraham taking heart exclaimed, saying: “I have waited upon the Lord, and he has answered; I have trusted in his word, and he has come forth to deliver.

37  My soul shall not perish, for God is quick to save; my heart shall not despair, for surely he shall restore the song of my joy.

38  Come now, my friend, and refresh yourself in the house of Abraham, for I perceive that God has sent you unto me, that I might find solace in your words, that I might learn wisdom by your counsel.

39  Come and take rest from your journey, for behold, the day is hot and you are worn with travel. Therefore, come and take rest, for I know that you are come from God to comfort me.”

40  So Abiel refreshed himself and he did eat and drink. And he spoke to Abraham, saying: “Come now and tell me: Why is the heart of Abraham made heavy? What sorrow has caused that peace should flee far from you?”

41  So Abraham told Abiel all that had happened, how that Sarah did give him her handmaiden Hagar, according to the custom of their ways.

42  And she bore a son unto Abraham in his old age. Now seeing that Ishmael was made the son of his loins and seeing that God had blessed Ishmael that he should be the father of nations,

43  Hagar did scorn Sarah. For it was given unto Ishmael to inherit all that Abraham possessed upon the land.

44  Now when Abiel heard these words, he spoke, saying: “Consider, Abraham, and answer truly: Is it good to violate the word of God for the sake of your traditions?

45  Behold, in two things did you sin before God. For God delights in the affections of both husband and wife, that unto each the other they might cleave and therein receive the blessings of God.

46  And again, why did you doubt the promises of God to you? Did he not say that you would be the father of many nations? Why did Sarah tempt you before the Lord of Hosts? Will you be made to fall by the way because of those who doubt?

47  Now be wise and take counsel, for God has promised unto Ishmael that he should be the father of nations; from his loins shall come twelve princes to rule over the desert tribes.

48  Therefore, separate from the tent of Abraham the woman Hagar and her son, for the hand of God is upon them and you shall have peace again.

49  For Sarah shall see the good of your heart and cleave unto you, and she shall surely bring forth a son to you, and you shall call his name Isaac.

50  But unto Hagar shall you give a multitude of blessings, for in the days of her youth she bore you a son in your great age.

51  Therefore shall you give her from all your herds and flocks a multitude of increase and you shall give her servants who will attend to all that you shall give her.

52  Thus shall you separate from yourself the woman Hagar and her son Ishmael. And into whatsoever land the Lord shall lead them, even that land shall be unto them as an inheritance.

53  Yet because of your sin, there shall be enmity between the house of Isaac and the house of Ishmael.

54  And there shall arise great disputations between the sons of Abraham until the day of reconciliation, when the Lord shall cause both Isaac and Ishmael to dwell in peace upon the land which he shall give them.

55  For God shall accomplish all his words to you; by the glory of his grace shall he fulfill all the promises which he has spoken to you.”

56  But Abraham was filled with despair and entreated Abiel, saying: “My Lord, all these words which you have spoken to me shall I do, that I might have peace in the land which God has given to me for an inheritance.

57  Yet my soul is filled with sorrow because of my sin before the Lord. For with my own eyes have I seen the face of God, and with my ears did hear the power of his word which he spoke unto my soul.

58  Why then did I doubt the goodness of God to me? Seeing that I have sinned grievously before the God of Heaven, wherewith shall I be made clean again?”

59  Now when Abiel heard these words he was filled with compassion, and he spoke tenderly to Abraham, saying:

60  “Behold, Abraham, even as I speak unto you, shall God reach forth to remove far from you the troubled heart filled with sorrow. By the power of his mercy has he made you whole again.

61  Therefore, take heart and let not your soul despair because of sin. For what man has known the deep mysteries of his righteousness?

62  Where is the man who has comprehended the holiness of that God who breathed into man the breath of life?

63  For the mercies of God are an offense to man. For the long suffering of the Father they will not understand, neither will they perceive the greatness of his love towards the children of men, nor will they endure the word of the Lord to them.

64  Consider how the children of men are made to worship gods fashioned of wood and stone. For they have made their gods like unto themselves; that even as they are filled with anger, so then is the god of their understanding made angry also.

65  As they are filled with hate and loathing, so then have they fashioned god; as they are made subject unto wrath and vengeance, so have they made subject unto like passions the god of their understanding, that in nowise might the god of their creation rise above their own image and likeness.

66  Surely the god of their hands have they made most jealous, that he might follow hard after the ways of men.

67  For this cause did Nimrod, king of Babel, seek to kill the friend of God, lest the inhabitants of the land follow after the God of Abraham, and the gods of Nimrod would have no claim upon the people.”

68  And Abraham, hearing these words, spoke unto Abiel, saying: “Teach me, my Lord, how shall men come to a knowledge of God, that they might have his holiness to come upon them?

69  By what means shall the children of men take upon themselves the countenance of God, that they might be made after his likeness and not another?”

70  And Abiel answered, saying: “Hear and understand all the words which I shall speak to you for your learning.

71  For, behold, through the covenant of priesthood are the children of men, both male and female, made imitators of God. By his holiness are the children of men made partakers of his glory, that they might receive unto their souls the very presence of God and live.

72  Now consider how that the children of men are separated from God by reason of their many follies. By great sin is there made a gulf wide and deep, which would separate forever the Father from the children of men.

73  Seeing, therefore, that God desires that he should restore unto himself the children of his soul, he has prepared a way by which the children of men might approach nigh unto the Father; which way is sure and safe, having been founded in the holiness of God.

74  For whosoever obtains this priesthood, whether male or female, shall find unto their soul an abundance of strength; they shall mount the wind as an eagle; they shall run and not be weary; in the pathway of his righteousness shall they walk and not faint.

75  In them shall God put forth the hand of blessing unto all the children of men, that all who should have desire might come to a knowledge of God.

76  Therefore, unto whatsoever person God shall grant the power of this priesthood, even that one shall have power to make intercession for the children of men, that all might come to an understanding of the mercies of God.

77  Unto them shall the bearers of priesthood go. And they shall lay themselves down, even as a sure pathway in a lone and weary land where no safety is, that all who should walk therein might find to their greater joy the deliverance of God.

78  And to all those who shall be faithful to do the works of priesthood shall God fulfill the promise of every good thing, for he shall grant unto them both exaltation and increase in the kingdom of the Father.”

79  And Abraham entreated, saying: “Tell me, Lord, how shall I obtain for myself the priesthood of God, that I might bring safely to the Father the children of his soul?”

80  And Abiel answered, saying: “In the city of Salem reigns the King of Heaven, before whom all things are made to stand, even the King of Peace and Righteousness, into whose keeping the priesthood forever dwells.

81  From his hand is priesthood come. Therefore, whosoever desires to do the work of God, which work is righteousness always, even unto that one shall God grant the power of priesthood.”

82  Now Abraham spoke, saying: “Tell me, Lord, where is this Salem that perchance I might go before the King of glory and partake of his righteousness?

83  Unto what place shall I journey forth, that I might cleave to the promise of the Father, that I might bring forth to the children of men the presence of God?”

84  Abiel answered, saying: “The holiness of the Father dwells not among the children of men, for this cause is priesthood given, that the presence and glory of God might be made to shine forth by the ministering of the righteous unto whom priesthood is given forever.

85  Yet wherewith shall you journey, seeing that the holy city is not made to dwell upon this earth? For the city of the King is found only upon a celestial earth which God has called Jeruel.

86  Therefore, hear, O Abraham, the word of God which I bring you this day. For in the beginning, before the foundations of this earth were laid, God your Father, even Emmanuel, called you forth before the heavenly hosts and ordained that you should be the bearer of his priesthood.

87  Wherefore, seeing that you did plead before the Fallen One for the sake of the righteous, that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah be not destroyed, and seeing that you did make intercession for the wicked that they might not perish in iniquity;

88  God has put forth his hand to confirm in you the priesthood forever. Now rejoice and be glad. Broaden the borders of your soul that the peace of the Lord might dwell richly upon you.”

89  But Abraham spoke, saying: “My Lord, seeing that God has sent you from the city of Salem to the tent of Abraham his servant, how came you forth to me, seeing that in the heavens you are made to dwell continually?”

90  And Abiel answered, saying: “Concern not yourself over that which you have no need. Go now and prepare yourself, for soon the King of Heaven shall grant unto you and your seed after you the promise of every good thing.”