Voting to Sustain the Authorities of the Church—Appointment of Elder Cannon to Fill Up the Quorum of the Twelve—Remarks to Departing Missionaries

Remarks by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, April 7, 1860.

I have not inquired whether there are any cases of difficulty between brethren or differences in doctrine that should be presented before the Conference. I have heard of none; consequently I have not given an opportunity to present any. I do not expect there is any such business requiring our attention.

We will first present the authorities of the Church; and I sincerely request the members to act freely and independently in voting—also in speaking, if it be necessary. There has been no instance in this Church of a person’s being in the least curtailed in the privilege of speaking his honest sentiments. It cannot be shown in the history of this people that a man has ever been injured, either in person, property, or character, for openly expressing, in the proper time and place, his objections to any man holding authority in this Church, or for assigning his reasons for such objections. Persons have frequently ruined their own characters by making false accusations. Some say they dare not tell their feelings, and feel obliged to remain silent. They, no doubt, tell the truth. Why do they feel so? This, probably, arises from some vindictive feelings against a certain man or men whom they would injure, if they could; and they conclude that their brethren are like them and would seek their injury, if they should avail themselves of the privilege of speaking or acting according to their wicked sentiments and thoughts: therefore they dare not develop the evil that is within them, lest judgment should be meted out to them. They know that they have evil designs; they know that they would bring evil on their brethren, if they had the power; and fear seizes them: they skulk off, and in the midst of the enemies of this people they say they are conscience bound—that they are tied by the influence, power, or authorities of this people. What is it which thus binds them? It is the power of evil which is in their own breasts: that is all that in the least abridges them in their privileges.

When I present the authorities of this Church for the Conference to vote upon, if there is a member here who honestly and sincerely thinks that any person whose name is presented should not hold the office he is appointed to fill, let him speak. I will give full liberty, not to preach sermons, nor to degrade character, but to briefly state objections; and at the proper time I will hear the reasons for any objections that may be advanced. I do not know that I can make a fairer proffer. I certainly would, if it were reasonable to do so. I would not permit contention; I would not permit long argument here: I would appoint another time, and have a day set apart for such things. But I am perfectly willing to hear a person’s objections briefly stated.

The first name I shall present to you is that of Brigham Young, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If any person can say that he should not be sustained in this office, say so. If there is no objection, as it is usual in the marriage ceremony of the Church of England, “Let them forever afterwards hold their peace,” and not go sniveling around, saying that you would like to have a better man, and one who is more capable of leading the Church.

[The names of the authorities and the votes thereon were printed in the Conference minutes.]

The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve have made choice of George Q. Cannon to fill the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve. He is pretty generally known by the people. He has been raised in the Church, and was one of our prominent Elders in the Sandwich Islands. He went upon that mission when he was quite young. He is also known by many as the Editor of a paper which he published in California, called The Western Standard. He is now East, assisting in the transaction of business and taking charge of this year’s emigration. I will present his name to the congregation to become a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Parley P. Pratt. If this is pleasing to you, you will be so kind as to vote accordingly.

[The vote was unanimous.]

As to evil-speaking, I will say that if men will do the will of God and keep his commandments and do good, they may say what they please about me.

[The names of persons selected to go on missions were read, and the President continued his remarks.]

We have at times sent men on missions to get rid of them; but they have generally come back. Some think it is an imposition upon the world to send such men among them. But which is best—to keep them here to pollute others, or to send them where pollution is more prevalent? Ten filthy sheep in a flock of a thousand will so besmear the whole, that, to the eye of a stranger, they all appear to be worthless, when nine hundred and ninety of them are as good as can be, but for the outside smearing by the ten filthy ones. We have tried to turn the filthy ones out of the flock, but they will not always stay out. A few such defile, to outward appearance, the whole flock; and we have it to bear.

I wish the Elders to go and preach the Gospel, instead of begging from the poor their last picayune. I could say a good many things with regard to this subject, but I dislike doing so. My feelings are keen upon this matter. I wish the Elders to go and preach the Gospel, to bind up the brokenhearted, to hunt up the lame, the halt, the blind, and the poor among men, and bring them home to Zion. Do they do this? Not always. My feelings have been sufficiently hurt by a different course; and if the Elders do not stop it, I do not intend to bear it much longer. Perhaps some of them may say—“Brother Brigham, I think our lives and preaching and general deportment will compare very well with yours.” Yes, about as well as white will compare with black, blue, or red. I ask the people of this Church, Who of you have helped me in the days of my poverty? Sometimes a brother or a sister has given me a shilling or a few coppers. The second time I went to Canada, which was after I was baptized, myself and my brother Joseph traveled two hundred and fifty miles in snow a foot and a half deep, with a foot of mud under it. We traveled, preached, and baptized forty-five in the dead of winter. When we left there, the Saints gave us five York shillings with which to bear our expenses two hundred and fifty miles on foot, and one sister gave me a pair of woolen mittens, two-thirds worn out. I worked with my own hands and supported myself.

I have borrowed money, but where is the man I have refused to pay what I borrowed of him? If such a man can be found, let him come forward. I have supported myself and my family, by the help of the Lord and my good brethren. Some of the brethren have helped me very liberally, for which I thank them. After I was ordained into the Quorum of the Twelve, no summer passed in which I did not travel during the summer. I also traveled during much of each winter. Who supported my family? God and I. Who found me clothing? The Lord and myself. I had a large family, and in the States have paid as high as eleven dollars a barrel for flour.

My business is to save the people, not to oppress, plunder, and destroy them. It is also the duty of all the Elders to labor to save the people. Who supported me when I was in England? I was sick and destitute when I started for England, with not a member of my family able to bring me a drink of water. When I was able to walk ten or fifteen yards to a boat, I started. For an overcoat I had a little bed quilt my wife used to put on a trundle bed. When I landed in England, I had six shillings. Who administered to me? The Lord, through good men. The brethren were good and kind to me; but they did not gather me five pounds in this, and a hundred pounds in that Conference, and twenty pounds in another Branch. Have our Elders gathered money in this way? Yes, too often, if not all the time; and I am sick and tired of it; and if they do not stop it, I will expose them.

My practice in England, when I went from my office, was to put a handful of coppers in my pocket to give to the poor. Did I feed anybody there? Yes, scores. Did I help anybody to America? Yes, to the last farthing I possessed. By keeping the office and doing business myself, I had money enough to come home; but brother Heber and brother Willard borrowed money and helped others. When we arrived home, were we flush with means? No; we were nearly destitute. I had a little clothing, and the most of that I gave away to poor brethren. I also had one sovereign, and, by obtaining fifteen cents more, was able to buy a barrel of flour. Brother Joseph asked me what I was going to do. I told him that I did not know, but intended to rest with my family and friends until we ate it up, and then I would be ready to walk in the way the Lord should open before me. Joseph would often ask me how I lived. I told him I did not know—that I did my best, and the Lord did the rest.

Do men get rich by this everlasting begging? No. Those who do it will be poor in spirit and in purse. If you desire to be rich, go and preach the Gospel with a liberal heart, and trust in God to sustain you. If you cannot by such a course come home with shoes, come with moccasins; and if you are obliged to come barefooted, tar the bottoms of your feet: the sand sticking in the tar will form a sole; and thank God that you have arrived here in that way rather than in carriages. But no; many of our Elders must come in carriages: they must have gold, and silver, and fine clothing to enable them to flirt around with their wives.

Let my wives take care of themselves. “But,” says one, “I have gratified and pampered my wives so long, were I to go away, what would become of them?” Leave them to plan and provide for themselves.

Will those Elders I am talking to today take the hint? Or will they follow the practice of too many, and beg, and make that their chief joy and occupation? If you take the hint, go from here without purse or scrip, unless the brethren give you something: leave all you can with your families, and do not beg creation dry. Preach the Gospel, gather the poor, and bring them home to Zion. Return naked and barefoot rather than come in carriages procured with money obtained from the poor and destitute. If the rich give to you, receive it thankfully. Return with a wheelbarrow or handcart, and bring some of the honest poor with you. If you do not pursue this course, I shall conclude that we have made a selection of groveling, worldly-minded men, whose brains, at least in my estimation, are not as they should be.

Government of God—Progressive Character of “Mormonism”—Concentration of the Mind

Remarks by Elder Orson Hyde, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, February 12, 1860.

I did not anticipate speaking to you this morning, brethren and sisters, but expected to be a hearer only. Since my return to the city, I have been so busily engaged that I have not had time [humorously] to prepare a sermon for this morning; and if I had had ever so much time for that purpose, I should, probably, be no better prepared to address you than I am at this moment.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Take no thought beforehand what ye shall say or what ye shall speak, for it shall be given you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” In this doctrine I repose implicit confidence; and being requested to speak to you at this time, I readily comply, and proceed at once to the work before me.

The current of life is made up of small springs, streams, and rivulets, or rather of little incidents which in the aggregate constitute the character of man here on earth. So small a thing as a kind word timely spoken to the sorrowful and afflicted often results in great good, and secures the esteem and gratitude of those to whom it may be addressed, while an ill word may do much harm. My discourse this morning may be made up of small items or incidents.

I want to say a little about the government of God—of the manner and spirit of its administration when infinite wisdom guides its policy. I know no better way to illustrate the administration of this government than to refer you to the government of parents over their children, and to the manner of their teaching and character of their instruction to them. When your child first begins to talk, do you attempt to teach it grammar, algebra, astronomy, or anything else wholly beyond its comprehension or understanding? No. But you adapt your teachings to the capacity of the child, using words and phrases of the very simplest kind to teach and amuse it. By-and-by, when he runs about pretty dexterously and begins to handle things, he attempts, for instance, to take up a bucket of water. You say to it, “Don’t do that; it is too heavy for you; but take the hammer, the doll, the rattlebox, or the toy.” Your words are thus adapted to the ability of the child and to his appreciation of the things that he handles. As his mental powers become developed, you combine a little intelligence in your sayings to him; and then, when his age and strength will allow him, you tell him to bring a bucket of water from the spring or brook. Thus you require him to do the very thing which you once forbade him to attempt. Now, if anyone should charge you with falsehood, because your instructions to your child were not uniform under all circumstances, you would consider the charge very ill-founded. I speak thus to show you that what is suitable to the child at one time may not at all suit it at another.

Many persons who have joined the Latter-day Saints have run well for a season; but, understanding not that the Gospel is a progressive work with those who honor it, they have turned away from the faith—charged the Saints with inconsistency, but yet claim to believe in what they call “ancient Mormonism.” The garment that is made for a child just born must be worn by a man when thirty years of age, is the doctrine of those stereotyped “Mormons.” The Church is now nearly thirty years old; yet this kind of “Mormons” want us now to wear our bibs and diapers, and to be fed on milk and pap as in the days of Joseph. Paul, however, tells us that when he was a child, he spake as a child, he understood as a child; but when he became a man, he put away childish things.

Were I to invite you into my garden at a proper season and show a plant just sprung up out of the ground, you might ask me its name, if you were unacquainted with it. I tell you it is corn. In the course of two months’ time, you see it again when the silk and tassel appear. You then ask me what it is. I tell you that it is corn. You may say that I was mistaken in the first or last instance, as the two are by no means alike. Some two months later you come along and see a basket full of golden ears. You ask me what it is. I tell you that it is corn. But say you, “I do not believe it, for it is unlike either of the others that you told me was corn. You have now contradicted yourself three times, and I will not believe that any of them is corn; I will not believe you at all.” To such conclusions many persons arrive in relation to “Mormonism,” from very similar premises. How very necessary that we increase in intelligence in a ratio equal to the growth or increase of the kingdom of God! If we do not, we fall in the rear, and our eyes become blinded by the god of this world. When we become stereotyped in our feelings, there is an end to corrections, enlargements, and improvements.

To what shall we look as our guide in this our earthly pilgrimage? Shall we look to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or to the Book of Covenants? Answer: To none of them. These sacred and holy records contain the history, teachings, and results in part of the travels of the ancient and modern people of God. They are true, but are not designed to lead the people. Remember that the “letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” We do not want to be killed; but we want life. God has set in his Church, first, Apostles; secondly, Prophets; thirdly, Teachers, &c., to guide his people—the oracles (or in other words, the Holy Ghost), not on paper, bound in calf, sheep, or any other manufactured article, but in the hearts of his chosen servants. Paul says—“We have this treasure (not in a book, but) in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

I will produce an example where the spirit gave life when the letter would have killed. There was, in the days of Christ, a woman taken in the very act of adultery. The self-righteous Jews, by the letter of the law, arrested her and brought her before the Savior; and they said unto him, “Master, Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?” Jesus said unto them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” But they, being convicted in their own conscience, went out, leaving the woman alone with Jesus. He asked her if no man had condemned her. She said, “No man, Lord.” Said he to her, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” The letter of the law would have killed that woman then and there. But the Spirit of God, in the person of his Son, the living oracle, opened her way unto life. It is the living oracles that lead the people of God. In them there is life; but in the letter of the law there is death.

The early commandments of God to his Church and the manner in which we were led at that time will not fit our case in all respects now. We must have teachings and revelations adapted to our present circumstances and condition. Were we never to advance, but remain stationary eternally, then the same code of laws and commandments might with more propriety answer. But in this world of change, where we are required to make advancement, we must have an increase of intelligence to satisfy the craving development of our own mental powers. There is no stopping place for a man of God.

I do not know but that I will now take my text. My sermon, however, will be short. Jesus says—“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

You know that when we want to examine anything very closely—particularly you marksmen and hunters, who are in the habit of using arms, when you want to take deliberate aim, and make sure of the object you desire to hit, you close one eye, and with the other look along the barrel of the gun until the lead rests upon the object. Now, says the Savior, “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

This had reference not only to the natural eye, but to the whole moral powers of man as well. Set it down as granted that if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. Now, let me ask, do we not indulge the hope, if faithful in this life, of being rulers over kingdoms and peoples, and nations, and tongues? Jesus says—“He that is faithful over a few things shall be made ruler over many things.”

Let me ask you how it is with you when you go to prayer. Have you that control and dominion over your own minds that they cannot be caught away by anything that is foreign to the purpose or object that engages your attention? For instance, while we call upon the Lord for his blessings, is it not sometimes the case that we think the old ox may be in the stackyard? Do we not sometimes think we shall be cheated here, and lose that amount of money there? If you have never been aware of this, when you go home and pray again, see if you have power to control your mind and keep it from wandering on something else. Until we discipline our minds, and have the complete control of them, we cannot make that advancement that we ought.

If we cannot discipline and control our own minds, how can we discipline and control kingdoms, nations, tongues, and people?

Suppose any of you mechanics erect a mill, and the stream is a small one—though, if properly and economically applied, it would be quite sufficient to drive the machinery you wish it to; but instead of the water being properly confined to exert the greatest amount of power, it is spread all over the face of the land—has it that amount of force to drive the machinery that it otherwise would have? No. But conduct the water through a narrow channel, and apply it properly on the wheel, then your machinery rolls. It is just so with our minds: when they are scattered on different objects, when we are calling upon the name of the Lord, there is no power in that mind. Why? Because the eye is not single. “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” Again: The agent steam possesses great power when confined and properly applied to shafts and wheels. But let the boiler explode and the steam pass into the atmosphere, what power is there then in that agent? None. Confine it, and it is as it were an almighty power, or it is a portion of almighty power drawn out of the elements that surround us. So it is with the mind: let it be concentrated and applied to any subject, and it has great power. “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” I have wondered a great many times what our Savior could mean when he said, “If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you might say unto this sycamore tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.” Again, he says, “For verily I say unto 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 to you.” What does this mean? I have exercised all the faith, seemingly, that is in my power, and could hardly heal the sick, let alone remove a mountain, or pluck up a sycamore tree, or any other tree. What does it mean? I begin to discover that the Devil comes along when I get my mind set, and throws some object in view to divert it from the thing before me.

“If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” I have an idea that the Devil comes and catches away the word that is sown in our hearts, to defeat the designs the Lord has in sowing it. Whereas, if we could control our minds, and not allow them to be caught away, then our eye would be single, and the whole body would be full of light.

Again: When Moses was leading the children of Israel out of Egypt, they murmured because they had no water to drink. He was grieved with them, but he had power to concentrate his mind. And what power was there in that mind? He smote the rock, and out gushed the water. Did his rod have power to split the rock? No; but the concentration of his mind on that rock did. There was a power in it to split the rock and bring out water to the thirsty thousands. The mind is armed with almighty power; and if we could concentrate its powers, and overcome the power of the Devil, we could remove that mountain as easily as to heal a sick person. It requires only faith as a grain of mustard seed, or a concentrated effort of mind. Solomon was once applied to by two women claiming one child, for his decision in the case. Said Solomon, “Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.” To divide that child would have destroyed it, just like dividing the mind: it destroys its power and efficacy. Let the mind be concentrated, and it possesses almighty power. It is the agent of the Almighty clothed with mortal tabernacles, and we must learn to discipline it, and bring it to bear on one point, and not allow the Devil to interfere and confuse it, nor divert it from the great object we have in view.

It is a good deal of work to preside over our own families and keep all things right side up there. But set a man alone, and it is just as much as he can do to govern his own mind. He has great need to watch and pray; and while he is watching, he must mind and not see any other object but that he is praying for. What could we not do, if our minds were properly disciplined? “For if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” If thine eye were single, thou mightest sometimes see through the veil. We read something about the veil of the covering that is cast over all people being removed.

Sometimes you see the sun covered with a thin fleecy cloud; yet you can see that luminary all the time through that veil. Then again comes up a dark thundercloud, and overcasts the whole sky, so that we cannot see where the sun is. So, if our eye be not single, we do not see clearly; but the veil becomes thick, and we are in darkness; we cannot see the sun of righteousness; we cannot tell the place where he is. But if thine eye be single, although there may be a thin fleecy veil over the sun, we can see it. If we cannot see clearly, we may be able to “see men as trees walking,” at least. The fact is, if our eye be single, and we train it to that, I do not know why mortal man here in earthly tabernacles may not look through the veil, and see as he is seen, and know as he is known.

We have got to learn to discipline our minds. Sometimes, because our children do not do as we want them, when out of our sight, we feel grieved at it; but here we have our own minds to ourselves. Now, the question is, Are they not as bad to control and govern as our children, who are running here and there? If we could control our own minds, we could control our children and our families and the kingdom of God, and see that everything went right, and with much more ease than we can now.

Let it be, then, the labor of our minds to train them when at home, and when we bow down in our families, or in private.

I recollect being once on shipboard; the wind was on her side, and the ship was going very nicely. The captain looked at the compass, and he ripped out something that is not uncommon with seamen, saying to the man at the wheel, “Why do you let her round off? Keep her up.” Do not let the mind run off, but keep it up to the point; then we shall make the port: but if you let it run off the course, it will be found drifting on the lee shore somewhere. We have got to keep it up, and not let it swing off. We must not let the mind depart, but keep it on the true course. “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

May God grant it, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

Concentration of the Mind

Remarks by Elder Orson Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, February 12, 1860.

I have listened with much pleasure to the remarks that have been made by brother Hyde.

The subjects upon which he has dwelt this morning are of great importance to the Saints of the living God. They are subjects upon which I have often meditated, and it rejoices my heart to hear them so nobly illustrated before this congregation.

The subject of the concentration of the mind is one that both old and young are interested in, from the fact that it has not only a bearing on this present life, but upon our future state of existence.

If we should inquire how it is that mankind in this present life are able to accomplish naturally many great and important things, the answer would be—Because they have the power of concentrating their minds upon the subjects that are before them. It is, therefore, not only a subject that interests the Saints, but it is one which interests all intelligent people more or less. Nothing very great can be accomplished without a concentration of mind.

If we had time, we might illustrate this subject still further. We might refer you to some of the great and remarkable examples on record, in relation to those men who are denominated by the world “learned men.” See what they have accomplished. For instance, permit me to refer to Sir Isaac Newton. How was it that he was able to make his important discoveries? Because he had disciplined his mind to that extent that he could concentrate it for a long period of time upon one object. What discoveries did he make by this means? He discovered that peculiar kind of force that holds together the celestial bodies of the universe. He discovered not only the force, but its intensity. He not only discovered the intensity of the force which holds together the planetary bodies of our solar system, but he discovered its variation, depending upon the distance of those bodies one from another. But these were only the very elements of his discoveries. Having, by the concentration of his mind upon these subjects, learned some of the leading characteristics of this force, he was enabled to trace out its results in many of its intricate bearings upon the variety of motions which the different bodies of our system have, explaining them as the results of the force which he had discovered.

What a remarkable concentration of mind there must have been in order to solve a problem of so intricate a nature!

It is true we find in some of our elementary treatises that Newton discovered the law of gravitation by merely observing an apple fall from an apple tree. But I would inquire, was it the first apple that ever fell? No. Was he the first man that ever observed a falling apple? No. Why, then, did not other people discover this universal law, if barely seeing an apple fall was sufficient to open the discovery? Such was not the fact: it was not every man that had disciplined his mind to contemplate the subject of the forces of the universe. It was not every man that had made himself thoroughly acquainted with the dynamical action, or the laws of motion and forces.

Newton had trained his mind upon this subject. He had, while in college, concentrated the energies of his mind for many years upon the subject of mathematical and mechanical problems, inventing a new species of geometry. All these studies were calculated to habituate him to a control of his mind. Naturally speaking, there is no study which is so well calculated to give a concentration of mind as that of geometry or mathematics.

If a person follows these studies, he becomes accustomed in time to this habit, and obtains power to abstract his mind from surrounding objects, and to make it bear with all its force on the problem he is trying to solve. In geometry, for instance, he learns to distinguish the relations one part of his diagram has to another. He reasons from known relations to those which are unknown, and thus discovers many new truths.

By this means he not only discovers important geometrical truths, but also at the same time disciplines his mind. The habitual concentration thus acquired enables him to bring all the energies of his intellect to bear upon any other branch of science, or to reason closely upon all subjects which he may have occasion to investigate.

For instance, when he rises before a congregation, if he is accustomed to public speaking, he can bring all his mind to bear on the subject before him, and concentrate his arguments to prove the point he wishes. His mind is more powerful by this discipline and habit than if he had suffered his thoughts to ramble all his previous life.

I make these observations to show what great things have been accomplished by concentration. Therefore, if a man can accomplish so much without the particular aid of the Holy Spirit—that is, in a natural point of view, how much more can he grasp within his comprehension, and how much greater will be the work that he can accomplish in a spiritual point of view? That is, when the Spirit of the living God rests upon him. If a person trains his mind to walk in the spirit, and brings his whole mind to bear upon its opera tions, and upon the principles of faith which are calculated to put him in possession of the power of God, how much greater will be his facilities for obtaining knowledge than those which any natural man possesses.

All those various problems solved by Newton and the great and magnificent discoveries made by him could be learned by a spiritually-minded man in one hundredth part of the time. In what manner? In the manner which has already been pointed out to you by Elder Hyde—namely, by the concentration of mind. By this, we can penetrate, as it were, through the veil, and receive revelations from the heavens—from those superior beings who comprehend not only the discoveries that are made by man upon the earth, but ten thousand times ten thousand more than have ever entered into the heart of man to conceive of. Those beings to a properly concentrated mind can reveal more knowledge in one day than what can be obtained by the learned in a score of years.

Here, then, the Latter-day Saints have the advantage of the present generation. In the first place, we have the same natural facilities that the learned of the world have; we have the same books they have, and the same privilege of searching out knowledge; and, in addition to all those facilities, if we are walking up to our privileges before God, we are entitled to the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is the Spirit of revelation, which, when we properly train our minds according to the law of God, can open to us the hidden mysteries of the works of God—the mysteries of astronomy, chemistry, geology, and ten thousand mysteries which never could be unfolded by the natural reasoning of man.

Let us combine these two together; let us learn to train our minds religiously and scientifically, and in the proper channel. “But,” inquires one, “ought we not sometimes to let our minds rest?” Yes. God has ordained day and night. The night he intended for a season of rest. If we observe the rest God has granted to us, and cast from our minds everything which would trouble them, and sleep sweetly during the shades of night, our minds will be abundantly refreshed, and we shall be enabled in the morning to begin and discipline them anew with fresh vigor.

We can train the mind for several hours during the day, bringing it to bear upon whatever subject is necessary. The Lord had in view, in introducing day and night, not only the rest of our bodies, but also that of our minds.

But many suppose that we have so many temporalities to influence us, and so many causes, perplexities, and anxieties of this world to contend against, that we do not have power to concentrate our minds as we could wish. I am aware of this. But different men have different callings. Some are called to one purpose, and some to another. It is not to be expected that the man who is called to labor at his farming occupation, his mechanical business, or his manufacturing establishment, can discipline his mind in relation to some scientific pursuits to the same degree as another who has more leisure, or whose calling differs. But there is in this thing, generally speaking, too great a neglect, not only in scientific men, but in those who are pursuing other callings.

There are many hours that run to waste which might be profitably employed in training the mind, when the body is not fatigued, which are spent in idleness or foolishness, and which do not tend to benefit you or your generations after you. There are hours and hours which might be profitably spent in disciplining the mind and treasuring up both spiritual and natural knowledge, that often run to waste without benefiting anyone.

The study of science is the study of something eternal. If we study astronomy, we study the works of God. If we study chemistry, geology, optics, or any other branch of science, every new truth we come to the understanding of is eternal; it is a part of the great system of universal truth. It is truth that exists throughout universal nature; and God is the dispenser of all truth—scientific, religious, and political. Therefore let all classes of citizens and people endeavor to improve their time more than heretofore—to train their minds to that which is best calculated for their good and the good of the society which surrounds them.

I do not know when I have been so much interested as I have been in hearing the remarks from Elder Hyde this morning on this subject. It is a subject that has impressed itself on my mind. Last Sunday, in Tooele City, I delivered a discourse, showing the necessity of the concentration of mind in family prayer and in our secret prayers. But these points have been ably handled by Elder Hyde.

In conclusion, I wish to say that it is not only necessary to have a single eye to the glory of God in searching for religious truths, but also in acquiring scientific truths; and in all our researches for truth we should seek the aid of the Spirit of God. Amen.

Union of Spirit and Sentiment—Submission to the Living Oracles of the Church—A Confession, &c

Remarks by Elder Orson Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, January 29, 1860.

I will read a passage of Scripture to be found in Isaiah, 52nd chap., 8th verse—“Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.”

I will, this morning, take the words of the ancient Prophet as the foundation for a few remarks, applying them more directly to myself. And if they should be applicable to the congregation before me, I hope that they, together with myself, will be benefited by the same.

It is very evident from this passage of holy Scripture that there is a period of time to come in the last days, in which all the Elders of Israel and all the watchmen of Zion will understand alike, see alike, and have the same views in regard to doctrine and principles, and all division of sentiment will be entirely done away. Then that scripture will be fulfilled recorded in our Lord’s prayer, where he taught his disciples how to pray—“Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven.”

When I reflect that in heaven there is a perfect union of spirit and feeling among the celestial throng—when I reflect that in that happy place there is no disunion one with another—no different views, but that all will have the same mind and feeling in regard to the things of God; and then reflect that the day is to come when the same order of things is to be established here upon the earth; and then look at the present condition of mankind, I am constrained to acknowledge that there must be a great revolution on the earth. Where are there two men abroad in the world that see eye to eye—that have the same view in regard to doctrine and principle—that are of the same mind? They can scarcely be found. I doubt whether they can be found in the world.

How is it among us, the Latter-day Saints? One thing is true in regard to some few of them—shall I say few? No. I will say many of them: they do actually, in the great fundamental principles of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, see eye to eye. I cannot suppose that in our infancy and childhood we can attain to all this great perfection in a moment, and be brought to see and understand alike. But there is one great heavenly standard or principle to which we must all come. What is that heavenly standard or principle? It is the restoration of the holy Priesthood, the living oracles of God, to the earth; and that Priesthood, dictated, governed, and directed by the power of revelation, through the gift of the Holy Ghost—that is the standard to which all the Latter-day Saints and the kingdom of God must come, in order to fulfil the prophecy I have read in your hearing.

It matters not how much information any man may have before he comes into this Church; it matters not how extensively he may be taught in the arts and sciences of the day—how extensively he may be taught in regard to various branches of learning; it matters not how much natural wisdom he may be qualified with; it matters not whether he has occupied a high station in the eyes of the world, or a low one; it matters not what his prior condition may have been, when he repents before God and enters into a covenant with the Father and the Son and with his brethren, and manifests before them, and the whole world that he forsakes the world and the wisdom thereof (that is, that which is called wisdom by the world)—that he is willing to forsake all things which are of the world that are inconsistent with the character of God, his attributes, his word, and his kingdom—that very moment he comes to that point and goes forward in baptism he becomes subject to a different power from what he had before been subject to. He becomes subject to a certain authority that is different; he becomes subject to an authority which has come from heaven—not an authority ordained of man—not an authority which has been originated by human wisdom or by the learning of mankind—not by inspired or uninspired books, for books never yet bestowed authority, whether inspired or uninspired.

The authority of Jesus Christ sent down from heaven, conferred upon man by his holy angels, or by those that may have previously received Divine authority, is the true and only standard here upon the face of our earth; and to this standard all people, nations, and tongues must come, or be eventually taken from the earth; for this is the only standard which will endure, and this is the only authority which is everlasting and eternal, and which will endure in time and throughout all eternity.

This brings to my mind a revelation which was given in a General Conference on the 2nd day of January, 1831, the Church then having been organized about nine months. All the Saints were gathered together from various little Branches that had been established in the house of Father Whitmer, whose sons became conspicuous in this last dispensation as being witnesses of the Book of Mormon—whose house also became conspicuous as the place where the Prophet Joseph Smith received many revelations and communications from heaven. In one small room of a log house, nearly all the Latter-day Saints (east of Ohio) were collected together. They desired the Prophet of the Lord to inquire of God and receive a revelation to guide and instruct the Church that were then present. Brother Joseph seated himself at the table. Brother Sidney Rigdon, who was at that time a member of the Church, having just arrived from the West, where he embraced the Gospel through the administration of some of the Elders, was requested to act as scribe in writing the revelation from the mouth of the Prophet Joseph. I will read a portion of this revelation—“And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself. For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just? Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.”

This I consider is a very important item—Behold, “I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one, ye are not mine.”

This is very pointed, plain, and definite language, that no man can misunderstand.

Upon what principle are we to be one? It is by hearkening in all things to that eternal and everlasting Priesthood which has been conferred upon mortal man upon the earth. When I say that Priesthood, I mean the individual who holds the keys thereof. He is the standard—the living oracle to the Church.

“But,” says one, “suppose that we hearken to the word of God in the Old and New Testament—suppose that we hearken to the word of God in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants—suppose we hearken to the word of God in the Book of Mormon, and at the same time we feel disposed in our hearts to lay aside the living oracles, what then? I would answer, in the first place, that the premises are false. Why? The very moment that we set aside the living oracles we set aside the revelations of God. Why? Because the revelations of God command us plainly that we shall hearken to the living oracles. Hence, if we undertake to follow the written word, and at the same time do not give heed to the living oracles of God, the written word will condemn us: it shows that we do not follow it according to our profession. This is what I wish to bring home to myself as an individual; and if the same thing will suit any other person in the congregation, I hope that he will take it home to himself.

“But,” inquires one, “how is it that you are going to apply this to yourself?” I will tell you. But first let me quote from another revelation contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. Perhaps I had better read the passage which I wish now to bring to your understanding—“Behold, there shall be a record kept among you; and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, Being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof, and to build it up unto the most holy faith. Which church was organized and established in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and thirty, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April. Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his word shall ye receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.”

Here, then, we perceive what is binding upon the Church of the living God, what was binding upon them thirty years ago, and what has been binding upon them ever since, from the day that it was given, until the day the Prophet was martyred, down until the year 1860, and until the present moment of time. All this time there have been a kingdom and Church of the living God on the earth, and a man placed at the head of that Church to govern, direct, counsel, preach, exhort, testify, and speak the truth to the people, and counsel them in the things pertaining to their duties and pertaining to the kingdom of God.

Now, then, let me get back again.

The great subject before me this morning is the words I have been repeating before you, and how they apply to myself. There have been a few things wherein I have done wrong, wherein I have disobeyed these instructions that are here laid down, wherein, no doubt, I have offended the Lord, and wherein I have, no doubt, grieved the feelings of my brethren; and inasmuch as I have done this, no doubt I have also brought at many times darkness upon my own mind. I want to make a confession today. I do not know that brother Brigham, or any of the rest of the Twelve who have come here this morning, except brother Benson, knew of my intentions. I did tell brother Benson I thought of making a confession this morning, but the others were not aware of this. There are a few things which have been a source of sorrow to myself, at different times, for many years.

Perhaps you may be desirous to know what they are. I will tell you. There are some points of doctrine which I have unfortunately thrown out before the people.

At the time I expressed those views, I did most sincerely believe that they were in accordance with the word of God. I did most sincerely suppose that I was justifying the truth. But I have since learned from my brethren that some of the doctrines I had advanced in the “Seer,” at Washington, were incorrect. Naturally being of a stubborn disposition, and having a kind of a self-will about me, and moreover supposing really and sincerely that I did understand what true doctrine was in relation to those points, I did not feel to yield to the judgment of my brethren, but believed they were in error. Now, was this right? No, it was not. Why? Because the Priesthood is the highest and only legitimate authority in the Church in these matters.

How is it about this? Have we not a right to make up our minds in relation to the things recorded in the word of God, and speak about them, whether the living oracles believe our views or not? We have not the right. Why? Because the mind of man is weak: one man may make up his mind in this way, and another man may make up his mind in another way, and a third individual may have his views; and thus every man is left to be his own authority, and is governed by his own judgment, which he takes as his standard.

Do you not perceive that this would, in a short time, cause a complete disunion and division of sentiment throughout the whole Church? That would never fulfil the words of my text—would never bring to pass the sayings of Isaiah, that their watchmen should lift up their voice, &c.

In this thing I have sinned; and for this I am willing to make my confession to the Saints. I ought to have yielded to the views of my brethren. I ought to have said, as Jesus did to his Father on a certain occasion, “Father, thy will be done.”

“You have made this confession,” says one; “and now we want to ask you a question on the subject: What do you believe concerning those points now?”

I will answer in the words of Paul—“I know nothing of myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.” So far as revelation from the heavens is concerned, I have had none in relation to those points of doctrine.

I will tell you what I have had revealed to me: I have had revealed to me that the Book of Mormon is from God; I have had revealed to me that the Book of Doctrine and Covenants is also from God; I have had revealed to me that this is the Church and kingdom of God; I have had revealed to me that this is the last dispensation of the fulness of times. These things are matters of knowledge with me: I know them to be true, and I do know about many things in relation to God and to future events. But, when I reflect upon the subject, I have very little knowledge concerning many things. What do I know, for instance, about much of what is revealed in the last book of the New Testament, called John’s Revelation? What do I know about much written in the book of Daniel? Some few things are quite plain: but what do I understand in relation to some few of the predictions in the 11th chapter of Daniel? I doubt whether there is a person, unless he has been favored with direct revelation from heaven, who knows but little about John’s Revelation. What do I know about many things in relation to the celestial kingdom? Has the celestial kingdom been opened to my mind? No. Have I gazed upon it in vision? No. Have I seen God sitting on his throne, surrounded by his holy angels? No. Have I knowledge of the laws and order and government and rule which regulate that kingdom? No. If the revelations seem to apparently convey this or that idea, still I may be entirely mistaken in regard to the meaning of those revelations.

There is one thing I will assure you of—God will never reveal anything to me, or to any other man, which will come in contact with the views and revelations which he gives to the man who holds the keys. We never need expect such a thing.

“But,” inquires one, “have you not felt anxious that the Church should follow your ideas as laid down in the Seer?” I have not. If I had, I should have preached them; I should have tried to reason with you to convince you of their apparent truth.

I have always been anxious the Church should be governed by him who has the right to govern it, to receive revelations, and to give counsel for its guidance, through whom correct doctrine comes and is unfolded to the children of men.

God placed Joseph Smith at the head of this Church; God has likewise placed Brigham Young at the head of this Church; and he has required you and me, male and female, to sustain those authorities thus placed over us in their position; and that authority is binding on all Quorums and individuals of Quorums. He has never released you nor me from those obligations. We are com manded to give heed to their words in all things, and receive their words as from the mouth of God, in all patience and faith. When we do not this, we get into darkness. God has placed them where they are, and requires you and me to continue in our faith and patience to receive the truth at their hands. I am going to do it. I am going to repent. I arose this morning to unburden my feelings in regard to these matters.

What is repentance? Is it merely to say we will do thus and so, and then go and do directly to the contrary? When I say I am going to repent of these things, I mean that I am going from this time henceforth, through the grace of God assisting me, to try and show by my acts and by my words that I will uphold and support those whom I do know God has placed over me to govern, direct, and guide me in the things of this kingdom.

I do not know that I shall be able to carry out those views; but these are my present determinations. I pray that I may have grace and strength to perform this. I feel exceedingly weak in regard to these matters.

I know what I have got to conquer. I have to conquer my natural disposition and feelings, and bring them to bow to the authority God has instituted. I see no other way. That is the only way for me and the only way for you. I see no possibility for the words of my text to be fulfilled and brought to pass in any other manner. You cannot devise or imagine any other way. The world have tried for six thousand years to become united, and they never have been, and never will be able to do it, if they should continue to remain as nations, kingdoms, and peoples for six millions of years to come. They never can bring about this oneness of sentiment and feeling by each man being his own standard. No: it never was ordained by the Almighty to be brought about in that way.

The only way for us is to have a true standard, which must be from heaven—a standard ordained of God, which we can follow with the utmost confidence—a standard we can have faith in—a standard to which all human wisdom and human judgment must give way. Such a standard only will be eternal, and will prevail when all other standards will fail.

Do my ideas suit anybody else? It matters not whether they do or not: they suit me, and I am going to put the coat on. I am preaching to myself this morning. I did not come here to preach to the world, nor particularly to preach to the Saints; but I wanted to preach to myself, and see if I could not convert myself; and when I can get converted myself, perhaps I may do some good in preaching to the Saints and to the world.

Inasmuch as there may have been any feelings in the hearts of the Latter-day Saints that are now before me, I desire to do all in my power to bring about a complete reconciliation. I wish the whole Territory were here, and all the good people of England, and all the Saints that have ever seen any of my writings or read my views; I would say to them all, Brethren, I make a confession: I have sinned; I have been too stubborn; I have not yielded as I ought; I have done wrong, and I will try to do so no more. And if the whole kingdom of God can be reconciled with me, I shall be very glad. At least, I will do all I can to obtain their reconciliation.

These are my feelings to brother Brigham. I will make reconciliation to the Presidency, and to the Twelve, and to the Church, so far as it is in my power, so far as I have not yielded to my brethren.

I consider these to be true principles. However imperfect I may have been, it has nothing to do with the principles: the principles are from heaven. Amen.

The Gospel

A Discourse by Elder John Taylor, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, January 15, 1860.

I came here this morning anticipating the pleasure of listening to some of my brethren. But it seems to have fallen to my lot again to address you, and I do so with pleasure at this time, as upon all such occasions, and willingly communicate anything that may be imparted unto me which may be a benefit or blessing to those who may listen.

The great principles of truth are so varied and comprehensive, that it is difficult to know where to commence our illustrations of a portion of them, and where to leave off. They reach back into the past, exist in the present, and stretch forward into the future. In the Gospel of Jesus Christ is embodied all truth, so far as the salvation of the human family is concerned; and hence it is spoken of in the Scriptures as being the everlasting Gospel.

To those who have not reflected seriously upon the dealings of God and his laws, the Lord appears to be changeable in his way of saving the human family. In the different dispensations from Adam until Christ, they suppose that he has adopted as many different ways of salvation.

We are told by Christian divines of the dispensation that existed before the flood; we are informed of the Patriarchal dispensation, the Mosaic dispensation, and finally of the Christian dispensation; and it is a prevailing idea among the uninformed that each of these dispensations presented a different system of salvation adopted by the Almighty in teaching the human family, in enlightening their minds, and in giving unto them correct information in regard to God and eternity. Hence I have often heard eminent divines refer to the dispensation before the flood as a day of almost utter darkness; then to the Patriarchal dispensation as one in which a faint glimmer of light began to be made manifest; of the Mosaic dispensation as a time in which the sun began to rise a little above the horizon; and of the Christian dispensation, as it now exists in the world, as being the fulness of light and intelligence, or the full blaze of Gospel day. These views of the different dispensations generally obtain among professors of Christianity.

I entertain a very different opinion of the Almighty. God, like his Son, Jesus Christ, is “the same yesterday, today, and forever”—the same in intelligence, the same in purity, the same in his projects, plans, and designs. He is, in short, unchangeable. And I apprehend, if the Saints who had communication with him in ancient days were to appear on this earth at the present time, they would find the same medium of communication, the same way of imparting intelligence, and the same unchangeable Being that existed 1,800, 4,000, or 6,000 years ago.

It is true mankind have not at all times been susceptible of receiving and appreciating the same degree of light, truth, and intelligence that they have at other times. God has in certain instances withdrawn the light of his countenance—his Holy Spirit—the light and intelligence that proceeds from him, in a certain degree, from the human family; but his laws are immutable, and he is the same eternal, unchangeable Being.

The truth does not change. What was true 1,800, 4,000, or 6,000 years ago, is true today; and what was false in any age of the world is false today. Truth, like the great Eloheim, is eternal and unchangeable, and it is for us to learn its principles, to know how to appreciate it, and govern ourselves accordingly.

As the Gospel is a principle that emanates from God, like its Author, it is “the same yesterday, today, and forever”—eternal and unchangeable. God ordained it before the morning stars sang together for joy, or ere this world rolled into existence, for the salvation of the human race. It has been in the mind of God, and as often as developed it has been manifested as an eternal, unchangeable, undeviating plan by which to save, bless, exalt, and dignify man, and to accomplish this end by one certain, unalterable method of salvation, according to its degree or manifestation.

I speak of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness and of the blessings associated therewith. It is perfect folly to entertain the idea that the Gospel has only existed about 1,800 years, and yet this foolish idea is strongly entertained and almost universally believed throughout Christendom. This mistake is for want of calm reflection and correct information upon that subject.

It may here be necessary to inquire what the Gospel is. Commentators tell us it means good tidings of great joy. This language had particular reference to the announcement of the birth of the Savior to the shepherds of Galilee, by the angel of God. “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them (the shepherds), and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” This was simply the announcement of the birth of Christ. As to its referring to the Gospel, it might certainly admit of an argument. The birth of our Savior and the message he came to deliver are two different things.

I do not think the message Jesus came to communicate was at all joyful to the Pharisees and hypocrites of his day, for he told them they could not escape the damnation of hell; nor to those individuals whom he proclaimed to be “like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” They looked upon him as an impostor, who said to them, “He that believeth and is baptized shalt be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned.” It is not to be supposed for a moment that those men would receive such an announcement as good tidings of great joy, which was to be to all people.

Again: We are told the Gospel is the New Testament. I do not find any such declaration even in the New Testament itself. There are certain records in the New Testament giving an account of the birth, life, suffering, and death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It contains also an account of the doctrines he taught, the discourses he delivered, and the moral sentiments he inculcated. It gives us an account of the organization of his Church, and of the teach ings of his Apostles, and the manner of their administration, &c. But this is not the Gospel.

The Gospel is a certain living, abiding, eternal principle. That which is written in the New Testament is like a chart of a country, if you please; but the Gospel is the country itself. A man having the map of the United States in his possession would be considered foolish if he supposed he possessed the United States; and because a man may have the Old and New Testament in his possession, it does not argue that he has the Gospel. But is it not written in some of our good Bibles, “The Gospel according to St. John,” “The Gospel according to St. Matthew,” &c.? Certainly. But what has that to do with it? The Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John describe certain teachings and instructions which Jesus gave, and among the rest the officers constituting his Church are named. “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues,” &c. These are the living substance of which they write an account.

Well, but the Gospel is contained in the Old and New Testament. It is not, nor in the Book of Mormon, nor in the revelations we have received. These are simply records, histories, commandments, &c. The Gospel is a living, abiding, eternal, and unchangeable principle that has existed co-equal with God, and always will exist, while time and eternity endure, wherever it is developed and made manifest.

We will quote from the Gospel according to St. Paul, and see what he has to say in relation to this matter—“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

Now, I presume Paul knew a little more about the Gospel than some of our learned commentators, and was better acquainted with its operations, organization, spirit, and power. In addition to what Paul has said, I will here assert that the Gospel of Jesus Christ always was, from the very commencement of this earth, “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;” and the righteousness of God was always revealed through the Gospel as specified by this Apostle. Whenever and wherever the Gospel of Jesus Christ existed, there the power of God and the knowledge of God existed; and therein at all times, and in every age, the righteousness of God was revealed through it from faith to faith. That is an assertion of my own for the time being, and I do not know but I have as much right to assert that as Paul had the other.

But as it is proper that men should give a reason at all times for their statements, this I am willing and ready to do. Before, however, we enter into the investigation of this subject, we will look at another for a short time, which seems to be intimately associated with it.

Paul in his time reasoned about a certain Melchizedek Priesthood, and about a certain Melchizedek, who he says was greater than Abraham, and who he said was without father or mother, without beginning of days or end of years, and abideth a priest continually, and that Christ was “a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” I speak of this because it will be necessary to refer to it in the argument we may be led to adduce in relation to this subject.

Who was this man Melchizedek? He was simply a man which the Bible gives an account of, and he positively had a father and a mother. It is not really said he had not. I say he had, and can prove it, if the Bible be true. We might differ so far as words are concerned, but not in ideas and facts. Paul was talking about a Priesthood: Melchizedek had this Priesthood. It was the Priesthood of which he was speaking, and not the man. It was this Priesthood of Melchizedek that was without beginning of days or end of years. “And he abideth a priest continually, and ever liveth to make intercession for us;” that is, the Priesthood continues in the eternal world as well as in the world of time.

We will now go back to the Gospel and endeavor to show that wherever the Gospel existed, there existed also the power of God and the revelations of God, and therein men had a knowledge of God, and “therein was revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith.” But let me make another remark here concerning the Priesthood. We are told it holds the mysteries of the revelations of God. These are sayings we have a right to look into and investigate, to find out upon what principle they are based.

How did Adam get his information of the things of God? He got it through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and through this same Priesthood of which we have been speaking. God came to him in the garden and talked with him. We are told that no man can see the face of God and live. How was it that he obtained his knowledge of God? Through the Gospel; and he was the first man upon this earth that had the Gospel and the holy Priesthood; and if he had it not, he could not have known anything about God or his revelations. But God revealed himself to him and told him what he might do and what he might not do, what course he was to pursue and what course not to pursue; and when he transgressed the laws which the Lord gave to him, he was driven from the face of God, and left in a measure to grope in the dark.

Let us pass on to Enoch’s day. The Bible only gives a very short account of Enoch. We are told that “he walked with God: and was not; for God took him.” Then he had the Gospel, for it is through the Gospel that “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” It is that which holds the keys of the mysteries of the revelations of God. It is that which imparts a knowledge of the Priesthood, and it is by the Gospel that mankind can commune with God: it is that which is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. Enoch had this through the Gospel. Being in possession of this, he was enabled to communicate with God—had revelations from him. And further revelations which have been given in these last days go to show us that Enoch built a city, and that he taught the citizens of that city the great principles of eternal truth as they emanated from God; that God communed with them—taught them correct principles; and that by-and-by, when the people waxed full of iniquity and the earth became ripe for destruction, Enoch and his city were caught up into heaven.

The Bible gives a very short account of this, saying, “Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” Jude also speaks of him—“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Enoch, how did you happen to know about things that should transpire some thousands of years hence—you that lived so far back in the remote ages of the world, that were so dark and benighted, according to the ideas of modern theologians? “I had the Gospel, and the Gospel holds the keys of the mysteries of the revelations of God; and by the spirit of that Gospel I was enabled to look through the dark vista of the future, to draw back the curtain of eternity, and contemplate the things of God, and his purposes concerning the nations of the earth, until I gazed upon the winding-up scene.”

And Jude, how did you happen to know that Enoch prophesied of these things? for we have no account of it in the Bible. Where did you obtain your information? “I had the same Gospel that Enoch had, and the same power of revelation, and the same Spirit that he had, so that I was enabled to develop the same things, and to know precisely what Enoch prophesied about, and have given my testimony in relation to that matter.”

But Joseph Smith, where did you get your information from? “I had just the same Gospel that Enoch had, and the same that Jude had; and I also testified of the same things, and we all agree.”

In tracing out this history, we find it written that God was about to destroy the inhabitants of the earth with a flood. How did he make this known? “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” All flesh had corrupted its way before the Lord, with the exception of a few. There was Noah, who was a man that feared God and worked righteousness, and had in his possession the Gospel and the holy Priesthood; and the Lord God communicated with him, and this he did by revelation, and told him to build an ark to save himself and family from the flood. And he gave Noah the dimensions of the ark—how it was to be constructed, and with what kind of materials. He also told him what kind of animals he was to bring into it, giving him instructions relating to the whole matter. How did you happen to know all this Noah? “I had the Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation; and it proved my salvation and the salvation of my family; and through it I was enabled to understand the designs and purposes of God, and prepare for those great events about to take place on the earth.”

We next come to old Abraham, and we find that the Lord talked with him—“And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day.” And the Lord talked with Abraham and with his wife Sarah, and told her she should have a child at a certain time. They had quite a long conversation. Sometimes the messenger that was sent to Abraham is called an angel, and sometimes the Lord. Suffice it to say that the Lord did reveal himself and communicated his will unto him; and finally he tried and tested him in every variety of way. “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” In this manner the Lord tried Abraham.

The great principle I wish to keep before your minds is, that men in those different ages of the world did have a knowledge of God, and they obtained it through revelation and a knowledge of the Gospel. Through this, Abra ham obtained a knowledge of God—of his purposes and designs; and there was no other way in which he could have a knowledge of God, only in the way here specified; and hence the Gospel to Abraham was a principle wherein the righteousness of God was revealed from faith to faith; and it was to him as much the power of God unto salvation as it was in the days of Jesus Christ and the Apostles, or any other day.

Jesus, in speaking of Abraham, says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.”

Then, Abraham, you saw the day of the Son of God and was glad some two thousand years before the dawn of that day burst upon the earth. How did you happen to see it? Was it not enough for you to know that God spoke to you and gave you certain great and glorious promises concerning your seed? No. You must actually penetrate events that should transpire in after ages. How did you know all this? “By the Gospel.” Do you mean to say that you, too, had the Gospel? “Yes; for life and immortality are brought to light by the Gospel; and the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, and therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; and whoever knows anything about life and immortality and the power of God must know something about the Gospel of salvation.”

“Well,” say some, “we would really like a little more testimony from the Bible on this subject; for we have great confidence in the Bible.” You shall have it. What does Paul say? “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached the gospel before unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”

Then Abraham had the Gospel preached to him, and so had Melchizedek. “How do you prove that?” Paul says, speaking of this ancient king of Salem, that he was “made like unto the Son of God,” and “abideth a priest continually.” And “Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.” “He whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.”

Abraham had the Gospel, and was the father of the faithful; yet Melchizedek was greater than he—greater in the Priesthood and in the Gospel.

We will now inquire a little about Moses—a deliverer that was raised up to Israel, who was set apart to deliver his people from the bondage under which they groaned in the land of Egypt. The Lord spake to Moses and sent him to Pharaoh, and kept sending him from time to time until Pharaoh let Israel go; and Moses was their leader, and led them forth out of the land of Egypt.

How did Moses know about this deliverance? How did he know how to give Israel instruction and revelation? Because he had received it himself. The Lord had spoken to him, and had revealed his will to him, and manifested his purposes to him from time to time. When the Lord first called him, he felt incompetent for the task, and answered the Lord as follows—

“And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And he also cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.”

Thus Moses led the people out from the bondage of Egypt: by visions, by revelations, by the voice of God, by the manifestation of the power of God, with a high hand and outstretched arm, he led them out, and destroyed the Egyptians when they essayed to follow them, after smiting them with plagues and various afflictions that overtook them, in consequence of their rebellion against God and the testimony Moses delivered in their midst.

How was it that Moses understood anything about the will of God in the leading forth of that people? It was because he had the Gospel, which is a principle of revelation, as we have before stated; and through it intelligence was communicated unto him.

But you say you would like to see something from the Bible to prove this. I should think what has been already said in illustration of this great leading principle is sufficient to satisfy anybody. It satisfies me.

But I will give you a little of the Bible touching Moses having the Gospel. Paul says, “But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness?” “So we see that they could not enter into it because of unbelief. Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” Here Paul not only declares they had the Gospel as well as we, but he makes use of them as an example to all unbelievers.

We will now touch upon a lesser dispensation, if you please to call it by that name, and try to find out how that happened to come. I speak of that dispensation that existed previous to the ushering in of the Gospel, as people suppose.

Paul says, “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” “Wherefore then serveth the law? It is added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” He further writes on this subject, saying, “Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, and could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.”

What was the transgression of ancient Israel? They rejected the teachings of Moses. When he came down from the mount, where he had been talking with God face to face, he found the people had made unto themselves a golden calf, and said, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” They had forsaken God, the Fountain of living waters, and hewed out to themselves cisterns—broken cisterns, that could hold no water. And Moses was wroth with them; and so was the Lord, who was about to destroy them: but Moses pleaded with him, and he spared them. But seeing they judged themselves unworthy of eternal life, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and revelations, and communications with him, he placed them under a law of carnal commandments and ordinances, placing a yoke on their necks, which one of the ancient Apostles says, “Neither we nor our fathers were able to bear.” He placed them under ceremonies and forms, and it was said, Do this and live; refuse to do it, and die.

This code of laws and ordinances was given to them under the auspices and direction of the Aaronic Priesthood; and the Melchizedek Priesthood was taken away from them to a certain extent, which deprived them of its succession, &c.

Still the spirit of revelation was among the Prophets that still remained among them; but, as a nation, they were placed under a system of carnal ordinances, because of their transgressions.

What was the law added to? It was added to the Gospel. This we should have known, if Paul had never said a word about it, because Moses held the keys of the revelations of God, could go into the mount of God, and by that power led seventy Elders of Israel into the presence of God, and they saw the God of Israel. I know that the law was added to the Gospel on that principle, because the Gospel always was a power that enlightened the eyes of men, and put them in possession of revelation and communication with God, and that gave them a knowledge of things past, present, and to come.

We will pass by the time when they were under a law of carnal ordinances, consisting of burnt offerings and sacrifices, &c., and come to the time when the Gospel is again restored, and when a Priest after the order of Melchizedek, Enoch, Abraham, Noah, Moses, and Adam, again appeared upon the earth—namely, the Son of God, who was “a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” It was not necessary that he should be enabled genealogically to prove that he was of the seed of Aaron and of the tribe of Levi; but his Priesthood was after the order of Melchizedek, which was without beginning of days or end of years—a Priesthood not indebted directly to human descent, but one that administers both in time and eternity.

At the time Jesus Christ came upon the earth we find the same kind of revelations began to be made manifest—the same Spirit, and the same power, blessing, and the same communications with God. And hence, when he came he went forth baptizing, as John, his predecessor, had done. John said concerning him, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” Did he do this? He did. When he made choice of his Apostles, he breathed upon them and said—“Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” And they began to have visions and revelations, and the power of God was made manifest on them. Paul, in writing of this power, says—“I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” By-and-by, Paul begins to let out some of these things. He says he saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, speaking of the resurrection, and the state of man after death, and the glory that awaits the faithful.

An angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, and set Peter and some others at liberty. The angel of the Lord appeared to Paul in a dream, and comforted him when he was in danger of being shipwrecked, and told him that no one on board should perish. How came they in possession of all this knowledge? And how came they to be such favorites with the heavens? It was all through the Gospel.

We find the Apostle John driven as a poor exile and outcast to the Isle of Patmos, in consequence of his religion, where he had to labor among the slaves in the lead mines, oppressed and bowed down in consequence of the tyranny and severity of his taskmasters. But he was in the spirit on the Lord’s day, and the heavens were opened to his view, and he gazed on the past, on the present, and on the future, contemplating events that should transpire through every subsequent period of time until the winding-up scene. He told of the time when the grave should deliver up its dead, and when the sea should deliver up the dead that are in it, and all nations should stand before God and give an account of the deeds done in the body.

He told of Jesus Christ coming with his holy angels to execute judgment on the ungodly. He told of the New Jerusalem that should descend from God out of heaven as a bride prepared for the bridegroom.

He told of the Millennium, when not only the Saints should burst the barriers of the tomb, but come forth and live and reign with Christ a thousand years on the earth, when righteousness and truth should prevail, and iniquity hide its hoary head, and the power of God be made manifest; and every nation, tongue, and people bow to the scepter of King Immanuel, and all acknowledge him as Lord over all.

How did you know all this, John? “I had the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that restored this power to the earth, which unfolded unto me these things; and I have communicated only part of the things I saw.”

This power was enjoyed not only by the Apostles, as some suppose, but it existed among the Saints; and hence Paul, writing to the Church, says—“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gift of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For the body is not one member, but many,” &c. Consequently, this Spirit extended not only to the Apostles and permanent disciples, but to the whole Church, the Spirit being given to every man to profit withal. And what was that? It was the gift of the Holy Ghost, which Peter told the people, on the day of Pentecost, they should receive; for on that day he told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and they should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Why? Because, says he, “The promise is to you, and your children,” &c.

“To us who are Apostles,” and to whom else? “To you, and to your children.” Whom else? “To all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” You show me a people that the Lord our God does not call, and I will show you a people to whom this promise does not apply.

There is the Gospel, as I understand it; and wherever this principle exists, the principle of revelation and the knowledge of God exists—a principle wherein the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith—a principle that opens a communication between God and man. Wherever this exists, the Gospel exists; and wherever this does not exist, the Gospel does not exist. It is a principle that places man into a legitimate relationship with God, who is our Father. Hence, when Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he said, “When you pray, say, Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” He is the God and Father of the spirits of all flesh, and we are told to approach him as such, and have faith in him. And he says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

“Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

By means of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we are brought into a relationship with God. As one of the ancient Apostles says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” God is our Father, and a medium of communication has been opened between God and us. And inasmuch as we live our religion, we shall be prepared at all times to receive blessings at his hands, and learn to understand correct principles in regard to our salvation as individuals, and the salvation of the human family.

John said, among other things, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” This angel had the same Gospel to preach that Adam possessed, and the same that Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, and the Apostles preached.

Joseph Smith, what did you proclaim? “I called on the Lord and a holy angel appeared to me, and God revealed his will to me, and showed me the true position of the world religiously and every other way; and he told me what I was to do to obtain eternal life, and he told me what his designs and purposes were concerning this earth.” What did he do besides? “He sent some of those who existed in former ages, who held the keys of the everlasting Priesthood, to administer to me and set me apart.” We read in this good book an account of Peter, James, and John being with Jesus on the Mount—“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.” How happens it that you are upon the earth, Moses? for we thought you were dead long ago! “I am not dead, as you suppose; for I drank of that well Jesus spoke of, the water of which, if any man drinks, shall be in him a well of water springing up to eternal life. I hold the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood and the everlasting Gospel, that administers in time and in eternity; and after having got through with this world and its cares, holding still that Priesthood behind the veil, I have come to administer to you, Jesus, James, Peter, and John, on the earth.”

In consequence of the same Priesthood, Elias was translated, and got associated with Moses behind the veil, and became his companion in bringing a message of comfort to Jesus and his companions on the Mount. Peter, who held the Priesthood while he was upon the earth and after he left, could come and administer to Joseph Smith, and impart to him the same blessings and the same power, and reinstate those principles and powers upon the earth that had been lost in consequence of transgression. What is it that we have received? We have received the everlasting Gospel—the same that existed in the days of Jesus; and it is this that has enlightened our minds, enlarged our capacities, and given us a knowledge of the past and of the future; and it has thus revealed to us the purposes of God; and through the order and organization of this Priesthood we are blessed, saved, protected, and upheld as we are at this day.

Why is it that the world rage? Why is it that the priests of the day are angry—that politicians are mad? It is because the Lord has set forth his hand to accomplish his purposes and bring to pass the things spoken of in the holy Prophets.

As one of old has said, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.”

The Lord will bring to pass his strange purpose, and accomplish the thing he has designed. It is for us to live our religion, to fully appreciate the Gospel we possess, and fully obey its requirements, submit to its laws, and yield to its dictations, following the direction of the holy Priesthood, which hold the keys of the mysteries of the revelations of God, magnifying our callings, and honoring our God, that we may be prepared to fulfil our destiny upon the earth, and be enabled to be a blessing to those around us, and to pour blessings upon our posterity, and spread forth the great principles of eternity, which are calculated to bless, enlighten, ennoble, and exalt all who will yield obedience to their dictates.

May God bless you all, and guide you in the way of truth, which I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Submission to the Divine Will—Eternal Life, &c

A Discourse by Elder Erastus Snow, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, January 5, 1860.

I have lately held certain conversations which have caused a train of reflection in my mind this morning, and a few passages of Scripture to float across my mind, which, unless I should be led in another train of thought, I will give to my brethren and sisters: but I desire not my own will, but the will of my Father who is in heaven. That which is meet to me might not be to a mixed multitude of people. God knoweth best that which is suitable unto our circumstances.

If we would do the most good, we must feel the most passive in the hands of our heavenly Father. We must be like a musical instrument in the hands of a skillful performer. Shall the instrument say to him that performs upon it, Why do you play thus? Or shall the law say to him that speaketh it, Why dost thou use me thus?

True, every individual intelligence is possessed of a will, which is a propelling power within himself. Good and evil are placed before us, and we have to choose between them. Light and darkness exist; and if we are not influenced by the one power, we shall be by the other. When we entered into the fulness of the Gospel—into a sacred and holy covenant with God, we virtually agreed to surrender our will to him; we agreed to place ourselves under his direction, guidance, dictation, and counsel, that our will should be merged in his. Hence we are in duty bound, and it is for our best interest to strive to attain to that state of mind and feeling that we shall have no will of our own, independent of the will of our Father in heaven, and say in all things, “Father, not mine, but thy will be done.” Let me speak, therefore, not according to any selfishness that is in me—not to speak simply my own feelings, but that the mind of Christ may be in me, that I may speak as he would, were he in my place this morning, and act as he would if he were in my circumstances. Nor have we the promise of our Father that he will dictate in us, unless we arrive at this state of feeling.

If our spirits are inclined to be stiff and refractory, and we desire continually the gratification of our own will to the extent that this feeling prevails in us, the Spirit of the Lord is held at a distance from us; or, in other words, the Father withholds his Spirit from us in proportion as we desire the gratification of our own will. We interpose a barrier between us and our Father, that he cannot, consistently with himself, move upon us so as to control our actions. He may set bounds around us and hedge us in round about, that beyond a certain point our will cannot be gratified. When he cannot influence our wills in any other way, by bringing a combination of circumstances to bear upon us to circumscribe us, he may eventually bring our wills into subjection, like we would corral a wild horse, or one that has grown cunning and is unwilling to be caught and bridled, and keeps out of the way of his pursuers. They are under the necessity of taking him by guile, by alluring him into some large field or corral, to gradually hem him in, until he is brought into a small compass, where, before he is aware of it, he finds himself taken. Our Father operates in a similar way.

I might say also that our Adversary profits by a similar example, understanding the same policy to a degree. When he would involve us in his snares, he is careful to do it in a way we shall not know it until our feet are in. This arises from our limited capacity—from our weakness, and the weaker power becomes a prey to the greater.

Our Father in heaven is laboring for our exaltation; his work forever and ever is doing good: good is the part he has chosen; evil he escheweth. He seeks to unite and concentrate the faith and feelings of intelligent beings to improve them, to teach them the benefits of doing good, and the consequences resulting from doing evil, that the one principle tendeth to dissolution and to eternal death and disorganization, while the other principle tendeth to life, to perpetuate the organization which has already been effected, and bring it to the highest state of perfection; or, in other words, to secure to intelligent beings the boon they most earnestly desire—namely, the continuation of lives.

What desire has been planted in the human breast that is equal to the desire of life? What will a man not give in exchange for his life? To us, the words of the Savior—“For what is a man profited, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” What man under the sentence of death for a breach of law that would not give all he possessed of earthly substance to atone, if his life could only be spared? How few there are that would not be willing to give the whole world, if they possessed it, for their lives.

Why is this universal desire planted in the human breast to live? It is a law ordained in nature for good. We may call it instinct, or by what name we please—it is a universal law in all intelligent beings to seek to retain the organization they possess. Hence when sickness assails us, an enemy appears in deadly array with a show to lay us low in death; every faculty of the soul is aroused to repel it, and we use all the means in our power to stay the progress of disease.

The Scriptures inform us that the greatest gift of God is eternal life. Is this a gift of God in deed and in truth? Yes; I understand it to be, to all intents and purposes, the gift of God. Yet eternal life is not attained without compliance on our part with those principles that lead to the attainment of it. I will illustrate this by what we see daily in our natural life. We understand, by what we learn daily, that there are certain things that tend to destroy this tabernacle; and there are other things which, if we deserve, have a tendency to prolong the organization of this tabernacle and our temporal existence.

For example, we have learned, by numerous observations and examples, that if an individual cast himself into the sea, without having any means of floating, he will sink in the water and under it, and he cannot live. A certain thing is necessary to his existence, which is the pure, wholesome air inhaled into the lungs. Anything that cuts us off from this supply terminates our earthly existence: the machinery of this tabernacle cannot be kept in motion without it. We have also learned that excessive heat or excessive cold will stop this machinery of life. There are various other causes which stop the machinery of life in our mortal tabernacles. If we would prolong our organization for any certain number of years, we must carefully guard against those evils that endanger our tabernacles. Excesses of every kind have a tendency to weaken, and ultimately to destroy the tabernacle of man. An excessive appetite, if encouraged with rich viands, and this persisted in, will make the possessor a glutton, and shorten his mortal career.

If a person having a strong desire for stimulants, such as spirituous liquors, tea, coffee, tobacco, opium, &c., that stimulate the nervous system to excess, and continues to gratify this appetite, will soon destroy the elasticity of his nervous system, and become like a bow that is often bent almost to breaking. If a bow be kept strung up to its utmost tension, it loses its power and strength, until it is of little or no use.

So in nature: the more any powerful stimulant is made use of in the human system, the sooner the human machinery will be worn out. It follows, then, if we will secure life and preserve the organization of this tabernacle, we must observe the laws of life—we must abstain from intemperance of every description. We must neither indulge in excessive eating, excessive drinking, nor in excessive working, whereby to overtax our physical energies or our nervous system. Perhaps no kind of labor will so rapidly weaken the power of life within us, or strength of these tabernacles, like excessive mental labor, because it has a more direct influence upon the nervous system. The nervous system seems to be a sort of connecting link between our spirit and our tabernacles. Yet a proper amount of labor, physical and mental, be comes necessary to the proper development of the faculties of both body and soul.

The child that has never faith to attempt to walk, as a matter of course, will never learn to walk. When he first begins to exercise his feet and legs to walk, they are weak, and scarcely capable of supporting his little frame; but the more he exercises them, the more he receives strength. And so with every other portion of the tabernacle. The same may be said of all mental gifts and endowments. The mind that is naturally stupid, dull, and inactive, and no outward circumstances are brought to bear upon it, to impel it to exercise—that mind remains comparatively undeveloped; that spirit does not improve, nor increase in strength and capacity.

The more the mental faculties are brought into exercise, if it is not immoderate exercise, the more these faculties receive strength, and the greater powers of research are developed in that spirit; and where shall the end thereof be?

There is no end to its increase of knowledge and truth, unless we turn round and go the other way; in other words, unless we persistently pursue the path of death and violate every law, both physical and mental, until we become dissolved.

If we cease temperate habits, and give ourselves up to the gratification of our lusts and appetites, and pursue this course from year to year, we shall find ourselves steadily going down to the chambers of death, and no power can hinder it: it is a fixed law of our physical existence. Can the Lord change it? I will not stop to inquire whether he can or not. I will say, however, I never heard of his doing it on any other condition than that individual repenting of his evil course. When he does this, and observes the laws of life and health, God will add his blessing to his efforts, and he will begin to ascend the hill again, and he may regain in some measure that which he has lost. But as long as he continues that course of evil, no power can redeem him.

What I say, therefore, in regard to the mortal body is equally applicable to the eternal life of the soul.

There is no such principle as saving a man in his sins, neither physically nor spiritually. Our Savior has never offered himself as an atonement for mankind to redeem and save them in their sins. I regard this as an utter impossibility.

Some of my friends who may have been reared up in the old straightjacket school of modern theology may be startled with the idea of anything being impossible with God. But I conceive it to be a fixed axiom that two and two make four, whether the addition is made by man or God.

It is just as impossible for God to add two and two together and make ten of it as it is for me or you. Mathematical truths are as true with God and angels as they are with man. I understand that what has exalted to life and salvation our Father in heaven and all the Gods of eternity will also exalt us, their children. And what causes Lucifer and his followers to descend to the regions of death and perdition will also lead us in the same direction; and no atonement of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can alter that eternal law, any more than he can make two and two to mean sixteen.

One may ask wherein the atonement of Jesus Christ has affected us. Through his atonement is granted unto us repentance and remission of sins. He came from the Father to sojourn in the flesh among men, to take upon him the infirmities of the flesh and the weaknesses of human nature, subjecting himself to the contradiction of sinners, exposing himself to all the physical ills that prey upon the human system, and to all the powers of darkness that prey upon the intellectual faculties of man, exposing himself to the temptations of the hosts of hell. He had to combat all these contending powers, to resist Satan and all his armies, and to resist every other evil flesh is heir to, and set forth an example of purity and perfection to the human family. In the language of sacred writ—“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”

Thus he demonstrated to human beings that it is possible for them to live without sin, that our God might be just in condemning sin in every form, and in every place, and in every being; so that in truth he might say, as he says in the preface of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, that he cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. We can understand also why he is of a merciful and forgiving spirit, exercising a fatherly tenderness over us, to pardon our follies and weaknesses; yet he cannot justify them in the least degree.

Should we seek to become like him, to be actuated by the same principle, striving to ascend to the same glory? We should: we should imitate his example. And while we exercise the same unbounded mercy and compassion over the weakness of our fellows, yet in no case whatever should we look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, or in any manner justify it. However much may be said in palliation of the faults of mankind, nothing can be said in justification of them. The Scriptures say that our Savior was tempted in all things like we are, yet without sin. And in order that he might be tempted in all things like we are, he was born of a woman as we were, possessing like passions with ourselves, and was exposed to the same kind of temptations to which we are exposed in life. Yet he withstood them all.

The Scriptures say he tasted death for every man. Did he taste death for every man with a view that every man should be saved from death? No. If so, it would destroy the principle I have been speaking of, and would save the children of men in their sins. But while death had passed upon all mankind because of sin, there was no power that could avert it; yet, by offering himself an offering for sin, he opened a way for mankind to be raised again from the dead, and forever afterwards be set free from its power.

His death has also opened up a door of repentance unto us, giving unto us a hope of redemption through his blood. Has it given us a hope of salvation in our sins? Not to me. I hope not to be able to eat fire with impunity, and still prolong my days. I have no such promise that I can have melted lead running down my throat instead of wholesome diet, and expect it is going to be converted into lifegiving food in my system. I have no better grounds to hope that I shall, by the death of Christ, be saved from the consequences of persisting in a wicked course of life.

The consequences of our transgressions must fall upon us. Yet Christ has placed before us the principles of faith, hope, and charity. If we will exercise faith in him, we may have hope of redemption through his blood, on condition that we repent of our sins and turn about and pursue the path of life. We and our fathers before us have so far partaken of the elements of death that we cannot save our mortal tabernacles from that change that awaits them.

This promise we have—that when the time comes that is written of in the Scripture, that Satan shall be bound, and shall cease to exercise his power and dominion over the hearts of the children of God for the space of a thousand years, the children that shall grow up unto the Lord shall not taste of death; that is, they shall not sleep in the earth, but they shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and they shall be caught up, and their rest shall be glorious.

I thus distinguish between them and us, because at that time they shall grow up with a more complete and perfect understanding of the laws of life and health, and they will observe them. And the temptations and evils that surround us on every hand shall be removed from them. The elements that are now under the control of the prince and power of the air, and charged with death, which we are constantly brought in contact with, will then be removed; the elements will be sanctified, the curse will be removed from the earth and its surrounding atmosphere, and the powers of darkness that rule in the atmosphere will be confined to their own region, and the tabernacles of the children of men shall grow up without sin unto salvation.

Hence their tabernacles shall not be subject to pain and sickness like unto ours. There will be no pain and sickness, because there will be no breach of the laws of life and health. There will be no intemperance of any kind, because there will be no evil spirit at the elbow continually ready to allure and draw into sin. But the Spirit of the Lord will be with every person to guide him constantly, and the law of the Lord will be written in his heart, so that one will not need to say to another, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” There will be no Devil to tempt on the right hand and on the left, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Thus having this good influence continually around them to keep them in the straight path, they will grow up without sickness, pain, or death.

There will be a change wrought in their tabernacles, which is equivalent to death and the resurrection; but they will not sleep in the dust of the earth. Their tabernacles shall not molder back into corruption; but they shall be like Jesus Christ’s most glorious tabernacle, who never knew sin; and he is the only being we read of whose tabernacle did not see corruption, except a few who obtained beforehand the privilege of translation.

We read—“Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” The Apostle Paul says he was translated. The revelation given through Joseph Smith teaches that a great many others in Enoch’s day obtained the same blessing.

We read in the Book of Mormon of three Nephites, upon whom the Lord wrought a change, that their bodies should not see corruption; but that change was in itself equivalent to death and the resurrection. Whether the complete change took place in that day, or whether a still greater change remains to take place with them, we are not informed positively. But Mormon, writing about it, gives it as his opinion, and says it was so signified to him by the Spirit, that there remained for them a greater change in the great day when all should be changed.

Suffice it to say that because of the fall of Adam, the elements of the earth of which we partake have sown the seeds of mortality in the earthly tabernacle, so that it becomes necessary they should all undergo the same change, whether by returning to the dust, and being raised again, or by that change which takes place in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.

The principle to me is inevitable, that the penalty of our transgressions must fall on us, and that salvation and full redemption from our sins is only to be obtained by ceasing to do evil, and learning to do well—by turning from the path that leads to death, and taking the road that leads to life. In this way we secure to ourselves the blessings of the atonement, which opens the door of salvation to all such, and points out the way of life which he himself has entered.

Let us follow him. As it is written, “I am the true shepherd. The true shepherd entereth in at the door, but a thief climbeth up some other way.” He is also denominated “The captain of our salvation,” “The Great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, to show our feet the way.”

There is one precious privilege which the Gospel of Jesus Christ has extended to those that believe and obey it—their sins go to judgment beforehand. It is written, “Some men’s sins go to judgment beforehand, while others follow after.” Who is it that has the privilege of being judged beforehand? And who is it whose sins follow after? All who repent of their sins and turn to the living God, their sins go to judgment beforehand. “What, immediately at the time they repent?” Yes. When they repent and pursue the course that is marked out to them by which to obtain pardon, their sins go to judgment beforehand; that is, they obtain pardon to the extent they are capable of receiving it.

Do I obtain pardon for my transgressions, so that I shall escape the penalty of death? No, I do not. I may so far obtain forgiveness by faith in Christ that the sentence of death may be commuted, and life prolonged, like it was with Hezekiah of old, whose life was lengthened out fifteen years.

There are hundreds and thousands before me here and in this Territory who have had their lives lengthened out through obedience to the Gospel of peace, who were languishing upon beds of death, under the sentence of death, and they were on the verge of the grave; but, through repentance, and the Elders of Israel administering to them, the power of death was stayed, and their lives were prolonged: yet the sentence of death was not revoked, but it must pass upon all mankind. Through the exercise of faith we may gain a reprieve for a few days longer, or at the farthest for a few years, to live and do good. And some might possibly attain to that glorious privilege Enoch and others obtained, that they should not sleep in the earth, but be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and pass from mortal to immortality, by which means the penalty is executed and the law satisfied.

But it pleased God our Father that the Savior should be subjected to all the temptations and pangs to which flesh is heir. I will say that his grief and sorrow was not that which is unto death, but it sprang from his sympathies for his blood relatives; I mean his Father’s family that is here on the earth, for whom he came to suffer. He bore our sorrows and carried our griefs. He took upon him the sicknesses of us all and felt our infirmities. No blind man or leper cried to him for help in vain; but he felt their infirmities, and stretched forth his hands and helped them, and exerted himself to ameliorate their sufferings. Did he suffer hunger and fatigue? Yes. And when his hour was coming, and he felt his end was nigh at hand, all the infirmities of the flesh, as it were, crowded upon him, and he felt even to shrink from drinking that bitter cup; and said three times, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

It pleased our Father that he should be clothed in mortality, that he might be subjected to all these sensations and feelings of our infirmities, that he might fully comprehend them all to the extent that henceforth, in his mediatorial services for mankind, he might of a truth be touched with the feelings of all our infirmities, understanding them most perfectly, in order that he might be filled with compassion, not to justify our sins, but to have mercy and compassion upon our infirmities. Thus, by his atonement, he has opened a door, that, after we have paid the penalty, which is death, we may be raised again from the dead.

This is the salvation that is wrought out for us; this is the hope which was begotten in the disciples of Jesus Christ by his resurrection from the dead, which Peter alludes to in his Epistle, 1st chapter, wherein he says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.”

Here is a promise that the faithful should receive immortal tabernacles—an enduring inheritance in the world to come. But they were never authorized to hope that the penalties of their transgressions should never be inflicted upon them: but after they had suffered the penalty of the law, then they might find redemption, that the eternal death should not pass upon them.

“Blessed and holy are those that have part in the first resurrection,” saith the Scriptures; for “on such the second death hath no power.”

“The second death,” what is that? In this we are more directly interested, for this mortal tabernacle must die; and we have a sure and certain hope it shall be raised again from the dead. I can endure this: I can pass through the momentary afflictions I am called to suffer in this life; and I will try not to complain, if I see there is a prospect of not being again subjected to that second death. What is it? There are some sayings in the Revelation of St. John in reference to the lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death, where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched, where there is no end to their torment. There are a great many sayings in the Scripture of the same import, which is denominated, “the second death.”

There is a revelation in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which, to my mind, is more explicit than any I find in the Old and New Testament on this subject. It is in that revelation in which our Father speaks unto us concerning the transgression of Adam, and death that passed upon him because of his transgression. He partook of a spiritual death. That which was spiritual was first, and afterwards that which was temporal. Again, says the revelation, “The last shall be first, and the first shall be last.”

The spiritual death is that which shall be passed upon the wicked when he shall say unto them, “Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” You can read this revelation in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants when you go home.

I understand that the second death is a spiritual death. Is it meant that the spirit shall die? Each of you can draw your own conclusions as well as I. Your traditions may be such that your thoughts do not run in the same channel with mine in this respect. But I can conceive of no other spiritual death than dissolution. I understand, when applied to the mortal tabernacle, it alludes to the dissolution of that tabernacle: it ceases to act in its functions, being dissolved, to return to its native element.

I conceive that the same term is applicable to the spirit in like manner. Whether it be a dissolution, or whether it be an eternal preservation of that spirit in a state of torment and misery, which I do not admit, one thing is certain—that the hope of redemption and eternal life is past forever from those who are the subjects of the second death.

I understand this to be a curse upon those who give themselves up altogether to work wickedness and abominations, who have sinned so far that they have no longer any part in life: they have sinned that sin which is unto death, for which there is no redemption or forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come.

Some people entertain the idea from the sayings in the Revelation of St. John, that those wicked ones are to be preserved in a literal liquid lake of fire and brimstone, to suffer the torments of fire forever and ever, without the possibility of being consumed or changed. I do not so understand the meaning and intention of the sacred writers. The Savior says—“Fear not him that is able to destroy the body only, but rather fear him that is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” “Hell” may be an analogous term, and applicable in different places to different things; but in this passage it is evident he implies the destruction of the soul as well as the body.

These reflections of mine I do not teach as doctrine, binding your consciences, but as views which I have of the sacred Scriptures, referring to the second death.

One thing is taught clearly in all the revelations, ancient and modern, that there is a class on whom the second death shall pass; and the thought of their returning to their native element is the thought which all intelligent beings shrink from. The instinct within us is to cleave to life—to cleave to our organization; and the greatest joy we feel is in the certain hope of a resurrection from the dead. The idea of the second death, or dissolution of the spirit, is that which is the most terrifying to the soul. But our Father has so ordained that our spiritual organizations, as well as our tabernacles, can only be maintained and perfected through obedience to the laws of eternal life.

Blessed is the child that is corrected, for he shall learn wisdom. Blessed is the man who is called to an account for his sins from day to day. Blessed is the congregation of the Lord and all Saints who are permitted to have the Holy Ghost manifested on them, and through the servants of the Lord, to call them to account for their sins, reproving them for their transgressions, that they may be corrected. This is far better for us all, that our sins be brought to judgment in this life, than to have them put off to a future day.

May the Lord help us to repent day by day, and to receive the chastisements of the Almighty, that we may attain to everlasting life. Amen.

Oneness of the Priesthood—Independence of Zion—Time and Eternity—Evil Habits and Practices, &c

Remarks by President Heber C. Kimball, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, January 1, 1860.

Excuse me, brethren and sisters, if I appear before you with my head covered, as the day is cold and uncomfortable. I deem it necessary to adopt every means in my power to ward off death, and remain as long as possible in this state of existence. We cannot live too long, if we live our religion, worship the Lord our God in the way that pleases him, and continue to be his friends.

How can we be the friends of God? We are acquainted with but one way. We cannot approach his presence so as to see him in person, while in the flesh and unchanged; but we can approach him and see him in his representatives. Then, to become the friends of God, it is plain that we should be the friends of his legally authorized representatives on the earth—the men whom he has placed to lead his people—the men who hold the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

There are many, no doubt, who do not believe that the servants of God possess any greater power and authority from him than other men. Such persons have a perfect right to their belief, and must risk the consequences of it.

I know that President Brigham Young holds those keys and power to seal on earth and in heaven—to loose on earth and in heaven. I know also another thing—that I hold that authority in connection with him; and not only do I, but hundreds of others. All those who do should be one with him, the same as the branches are one with the trunk and the roots of a vine. For it is impossible for a branch to continue in the vine and bear fruit, if it is not one with the vine. I think you understand the simple and beautiful comparison used by Jesus Christ where he says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away and every branch that beareth fruit, he pruneth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” This applies particularly to this principle of oneness.

Jesus Christ spoke very frequently by comparison, and no doubt used that style of language because it is the most impressive. I speak a great deal by comparison, and know of no better way to express myself and make plain to my hearers the idea or principle that is on my mind.

What a pleasure it would be to us to see every Elder of Israel partaking freely of the Spirit and power of God, being clothed with the power and realizing the responsibility of his calling, and separating himself from the wickedness of the world, that we might be one in Christ, as he is one with the Father, that the Holy Ghost might take up his abode with us, and abide with us continually, showing us things to come, and bringing things to our remembrance.

All those who possess this Spirit cannot help becoming Prophets, and it would be as much in their nature to prophesy, as it is in the nature of the fountain of City Creek to give out its constant supply of water; and that fountain depends upon another for its supplies. So the Holy Ghost taketh of the things of the Father, and revealeth them unto us. There never was a fountain that had not itself a fountain from which it drew its supplies; and so it is with the creation of all things in heaven and in earth. It always was and always will be.

There are some people in our community who feel very much discouraged for fear we shall have to leave the valleys and flee into the mountains. Supposing we have to flee into the mountains, what of it? I care not. I would as readily go into the mountains as stay in the valleys, if it were the will of God. But we never shall be forced into such circumstances, if we do right. I have told you, President Young has told you, and hundreds of others have told you that we never should leave this country until the Lord wanted us to.

There was a man here a few days ago, who has been in the Church nearly as long as I have, who told me we should have to leave the valleys and flee into the mountains—into the secret chambers, and close our doors around us. I told him the mountains were nothing more than sloping masses of Mother Earth—that we were now in the chambers, and should not yet go on to the roof. You need not trouble yourselves upon that matter.

Let us be more diligent than ever in building and improving, in cultivating the earth, and raising from it wheat, corn, flax, cotton, fruit—everything necessary for our comfort and the sustenance of life—sheep, and cattle, and horses, and all kinds of useful animals. Cease to cultivate the earth, and it is impossible for us to exist in life. It supplies us food and clothing, silver and gold, and precious stones; yea, everything to comfort and bless our mortal existence—everything to adorn, beautify, and embellish. Let us, then, by a diligent and judicious cultivation of Mother Earth, and by a careful husbanding of her products, work our way into permanent independence as a people. Industry and true economy are the elements of the independence of any people. If every man in this kingdom would pursue this wise and profitable course, there would not exist among us much more trouble.

The United States and all the nations of the earth are about to have as much to do as they can attend to, without troubling us. Not many years will pass away before we will build our temple here, and the sons and daughters of the Almighty will enter into it and receive the endowments and blessings that are in store for the faithful. But do not expect that I shall prophesy that that house will be built without hands. Though the kingdom that was to be set up in the last days, according to the Prophet Daniel, was compared by him to a stone that was cut out of the mountain without hands, we cannot suppose that temples can be built without hands. The Prophet had reference, no doubt, in this comparison to a block of rock detached by an invisible power from a mountain side, which commenced in its rough and unpolished state to roll down to the plains beneath.

Joseph Smith, in his day, used similar comparison when speaking of men who are polished. He compared them to a smoothly polished stone, which, when set to rolling, would lose all its fine polish, and turn up marred and bruised, without even leaving a line to mark its course. On the other hand, set a stone to rolling that is unpolished and rough from the mountain side, and it will do great execution in its course, and leave a visible path behind it, and become smoother as it rolls. Joseph compared himself to a rough stone. What is the use of polishing stones for building purposes before they are taken out of the mountains?

It is not always the outward appearance that shows the true man. That man who has a good heart is very apt to manifest outwardly good fruits. There are thousands in this place who are nearly as good as they can be at the present time, though the next minute it is possible for them to be better.

People talk much about time and eternity, and they say they do not care so much for eternity as they do for time. And again, others say they do not care so much about time as they do about eternity. They do not think for a moment what they are talking about. What is time? (striking the pulpit.) That is all there is about it. That little circumstance of my striking the pulpit is in eternity. It is eternity on the right and on the left, behind and before, and the time being, as it appears to us, is the center of it. So we pass on from time to eternity every day we live. We are in eternity, in eternity. Civilized nations have divided a portion of eternity into seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years for their own convenience, to mark their passage through time.

The uncivilized, or savage tribes of men, the American Indians, for instance, have no other calendar than incidents in nature, such as the rising and setting of the sun—hence they count by so many sleeps; the full and dark of the moon—hence they count by so many moons. In short, the only idea we have of time is gathered from natural phenomena in eternity. We might introduce here a beautiful comparison of a ship in the middle of the Atlantic. Is it not a pathless waste of waters all around to the passengers on board, except on the frail timbers where they stand? So it is with eternity, with this difference—eternity is shoreless.

Let the brethren and sisters come to the conclusion that now is the time to set out anew, and then continue from this time henceforth and forever in doing right. If any of you have been in the practice of drinking spirituous liquors to excess, cease at once the wicked and destructive practice. If such a practice is committed, it has its time, and makes its mark on the broad face of eternity: if you cease the practice, no time is given to it, and it cannot leave its trace on eternity from that instant until you again commit the same wrong. This reasoning will apply to every other wrong committed by the children of men.

Let us spend time in doing right, and we shall receive in the Lord’s time right for right, grace for grace. If we do not associate with the wicked world any more than is unavoidably necessary for the time being, do you think they will have anything in common with us in eternity, or we with them? No. This is all I have to say now about time and eternity.

If we were to take the right course, it would not be long before we should be nearly independent of supplies from abroad. It would not be long ere we should be able to sustain ourselves independently, and then with greater ability bring about the purposes of our God; and this would make all men amenable to him and to his rule. A man will give all he has to save his natural existence for the time being; at the same time he can neglect with perfect impunity the things that pertain to his eternal existence and interests.

Is it not better for us with one accord to determine to be Saints indeed—to live our religion every moment by serving our God and keeping his commandments? How can a man keep the commandments of God and suffer himself to be dishonest, to be deceitful, to steal, and take the advantage of his neighbor in every possible way, and lie to him to gain a dollar? A man cannot both be a Saint and be dishonest. No doubt the dispositions of the parents have some influence in laying the foundation of the character of the child, morally and physically; and God, in one of his revelations to Joseph Smith, has said, “But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten; Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given to Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me; For it is given unto them even as I will, according to mine own pleasure, that great things may be required at the hands of their parents.” And Jesus said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

How do people become dishonest? By, in the first place, yielding to temptation, and suffering the spirit which is in them to become contaminated by the power of the evil one. Men become confirmed drunkards by nourishing a depraved appetite for spirituous liquor, and thus they become slaves to a destructive habit.

If men by their organizations were compelled to steal, to murder, and do a thousand other evils, they could not be held accountable, and the agency of man would be destroyed. Satan tempts men to evil, and they have power to resist the temptation. The more sin is cultivated, the stronger it grows, until it binds down men with strong chains.

Satan whispers in the ears of those who list to obey him, “Lie a little, deceive a little, take the advantage of your neighbor a little, drink whiskey a little: it will not harm you”—leading them along, as it were, with silken cords, until he binds them with his strong chains, and readily leads them down to destruction.

Do you inquire whom I mean? I mean those who are guilty. Are there any of this character here? Yes; I see some of them now. Are they to be seen disgracing themselves in the public streets? Yes: you may go down into “Whiskey Street,” and you can see them every day. How does it appear in the eyes of good men and in the eyes of God and angels, when they see those professing to be Saints and Elders in Israel, holding the Priesthood of God, drinking whiskey and swaggering with those who hate God and his people, who, if they had the power, would kill President Young, and me, and Daniel, and any of our friends who are determined to uphold and sustain righteousness?

The scene that occurred down that street on Christmas day is still fresh in our minds. O heavens! What a celebration of the day on which Christ the Savior of the world was born! O horrible example! For men professing to be Saints and friends of God, with murder in their hearts, to thirst for each other’s blood! The duty of the Seventies and Elders of this Church is plainly defined. I would separate all such unprofitable branches from the vine, and let them wither and be burned. I say unto you Seventies—ye authorities of the Church of God, You are not doing your duty if you do not do this.

President Young has cried unto you loud and long, ye Elders of Israel; and he has shaken his garments, and the responsibility is upon you. It seems as though you cannot prune the vineyard, in the righteousness of your calling, unless he shall step forward and do it at the peril of his own life. Hear this, ye Bishops and Elders, for I will tell you of it. Why do not you do your duty? “Why,” some of you, perhaps, can say in great truthfulness, “I was drunk myself last week, and dare not, for fear of being told of it.” Then go forward and repent of your sins before the people, and then step forward and separate; take the diseased sheep from the rest of the flock.

O ye Elders of Israel! How long are you going to sit under these things in tame inactivity and let the wickedness of the world debauch and lead away this people? How long shall we wait for you to go forward in the faithful performance of your duties? Shall we have to wait until the Spirit shall say, “Cut off the unprofitable servants?”

In the few remarks I have made, I have expressed my feelings very pointedly, and mean what I say.

I am now near sixty years of age, and I have no need of spirituous liquor. I do not use it. I feel much better without it than with it. Without it, I enjoy the natural exercise of the functions of my nature; whereas, were I to use it, the opposite would be the case.

I look upon men who keep whiskey shops, and vend it, in the same light as I do those who frequent such places, and get drunk, and swear, and wallow in the mire. A few days ago a drunkard was severed from the Church; and it will not be long before more of them will be, if they do not repent.

Would I suffer a wicked man to hire any house to sell whiskey in? No. If I did, the moment he went out of it I would put fire to it, and clean the whole thing out.

There are men whom we have nourished and cherished in our midst, and purchased their goods, and comforted them, invited them to our parties, and blessed them, and made them rich; and for the space of nine years and over they have been lurking like an adder in our path. Will I still feed them? Yes, when they are hungry and destitute. But will I cherish them to cut my throat? That is what you are doing. You are nourishing men who would cut our throats the very first opportunity. Why do you do it? Because they sell goods a little cheaper than they can be manufactured here. Let us send for our own goods, and raise in our own country, as much as possible, all the staple articles of our own consumption.

Let us love according to the order of God, according to the principles of righteousness and truth. It is not the tabernacle that I love, but the spirit that dwells in it—not the tenement, but the tenant. Why should I love the poor, sickly, frail body that is daily going back to the dust? Let us place our affections upon spiritual and heavenly things, that endure forever, and not upon things that are earthly and perish with the using; but let us regard them in the light for which they were created by the Great Creator and Ruler of the universe.

Money was not made to worship, but to be a convenience. You cannot eat it, but you can buy bread with it, which will keep you from starvation. When I was in London, I used to think I was well off if I could get two penny loaves a day and a little water. The pennies were of no use to me, only to buy the bread. So with all earthly things. As I have already said, Let us love heavenly things; let us place our affections upon the things that are eternal. I honor, love, and reverence the spirit of a good man who honors his calling. I do not care if he has but one eye, one arm, or one leg.

You may take away almost any member from the body, and the head can live, though it may not accomplish the same amount of good as it could if all the members were healthy and in active usefulness. The head is the mainspring of the body, the center of light and intelligence. Take away the head, and the natural body ceases to live and to be intelligent. If the man who leads us was destroyed, it would very materially affect the body. But if every one of this people should turn away but him, he holds the Priesthood and power of God just the same. All those who hold the Priesthood and honor their callings can put it upon others in every part of the earth where they may be in the discharge of their duties.

May God bless you, brethren! Peace be upon you! The peace and blessing of God be multiplied upon all the righteous here—upon all the righteous that are in the east, in the west, in the north, and in the south, throughout the extension of the whole earth! May this blessing be upon the righteous, and upon their righteous seed after them for ever!

May he help you to withdraw yourselves from unrighteousness and cleave to righteousness in time, and then you are eternally in it. May the Lord comfort the righteous, and help them to overcome the little evils. It is the little frivolous disputing and contention in families that creates the greatest difficulties and troubles, and hinders us from merging into the blessings of God, and from that communion with the Holy Ghost we might enjoy. Now, ye Elders of Israel, step forward and do as you have been told in righteousness and truth. If you are not righteous, repent and begin anew. Amen.

The Gospel of Salvation, &c

A Discourse by Elder Amasa M. Lyman, Delivered in the Ninth Ward School House, Great Salt Lake City, December 25, 1859.

I feel very much to appreciate the privilege and blessing extended to me, and this opportunity of meeting with the brethren and sisters in this Ward, and also to have the opportunity, for a little time, to discuss with you those things that are of interest to us as Saints.

There are a great many things connected with the publishing of the Gospel, and its being believed on the part of the people, and being received by them as a rule of practice, that is interesting for us to consider. There is a great deal of variety connected with it, although its principles are ever the same, and the truth is unchangeable. Yet truth never, even with us, puts on all its beauty, until we comprehend it fully, and realize the great influence that the views we entertain with regard to the truth may exercise over our actions. It becomes important, then, that we should learn to think correctly, and that we should learn to adopt correct views about things which we believe; for as we think of a matter, so we will treat it. If we adopt such views of the Gospel that will lead us to conclude that a large amount of all that has to be done for our benefit and salvation is the work of some other individuals besides ourselves, it would be very natural for this, in its tendency, and in the influence it would have and exert over us, to lead our minds from that which would tend to our emancipation from sin and iniquity.

There are certain prominent things connected with the Gospel as it is generally treated, and as it has been revealed to us. The Son of God, the Savior of the world, in the way that it has been taught to us, is made to have a great share in it and a great deal to do with it. Some suppose that he has done so much, and has made such peculiar kinds of provisions for our wants and necessities, that there is but little left for us to do—little more, perhaps, than to attend to a few ordinances that are instituted for us: this is about all; but that the great plan and work that bring salvation are things that belong to the mission of Jesus Christ. If this is correct, it is what we ought to believe; if it is not, it is that which we should expose; and we should labor to undeceive the people; for we certainly ought to begin to entertain correct views. If there is a work left for us to do, it will be accomplished as the result of our exertions.

When we cling to what Jesus Christ has done for us, do you not see that our part will never be done? We may pray and sing, and pay Tithing, and go to church, and attend to all the outward forms of religion, and attend to all those things that thousands believed in doing, and then we shall find that our salvation will not be wrought out.

Now, I am not myself very much in favor of preaching long sermons about things that are a great way from home. Some people interest themselves at times by telling and undertaking to explain how Gods are made, and what they are made of, and all about it. There is only one way that I have any idea of knowing anything about Gods. There is only one class of them that I have had the privilege of forming an acquaintance with; and I would only wish, on the present occasion, to allude to this matter with a view to bring it down to our capacities—to our circumstances, as a matter that is practical.

We entertain various notions with regard to the Savior of the world. Now, whether this excellence that he possessed constituted him the Son of God—the heir of all his Father’s vast dominions, whether there were any of them that he inherited, or whether he acquired all the great and glorious qualities that he possessed, we will not now stop to inquire. Now, if Jesus is regarded as God, and if we wish to learn his history, let us read it as it is developed in the Scriptures; and if he is God, and you would know the history of the Father, learn it in the Son; for he assures us that he came to do the works which he saw his Father do. Of Jesus it was said, “He was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows,” and for this reason—“he loved righteousness, and hated iniquity.”

This is the way matters look with us—the way we examine everything that is presented to us. We are promised a victory over sin, if we will break off our iniquities and our sins by turning to God. There is no remarkable difference between us and Jesus, if he was anointed because he loved righteousness. What is the difference? We have the promise of becoming heirs of God, and joint heirs with him to all those extensive domains possessed by the Father, upon the conditions that we are as obedient to the commandments of God as Jesus was. Jesus was anointed and preferred before others, from the simple fact that he loved righteousness better than others, and hated iniquity more. And hence it is written—“For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Heb. ii. 10.)

We are told, you perceive, in the history of the Son of God, that he was made perfect through sufferings; and therefore we must conclude that if he was made perfect, he must at some time (no matter when that time might have been), have lacked that perfection which he appears to have gained by the sufferings he experienced. “Well, but,” says one, “of what practical benefit is that to us?” Simply this: We learn that Jesus—the individual whom we have been taught to adore from our infancy—to worship and revere—God our Father, possessed of an infinitude of power, ability, and capacity for happiness and glory, and for the accomplishment of his own will and pleasure, was once as we are. Then to think that the same opportunity is extended to us, that we may become all that he is that is great and good—to think that, with all our faults and weak nesses—with all the temptations that hang around us, the same privilege that is extended to him of attaining salvation is also extended to us—that it is simply salvation that was extended to Jesus, and that the same as that which is extended to us. That heaven of glory and perfection which is offered to us in the Gospel is the same that was offered to Jesus; and the right to the possession of all those riches and this great glory that was attained by him are equally open to us. This is encouraging to me. Why? Because I am not only contemplating myself as a mortal worm—a creature that is annoyed with the faults and follies of fallen humanity, but I view myself in connection with this principle that is associated with the work that is to prepare us to be associated in that better condition, in which we view the Savior of the world as existing in that perfect sunshine of bliss, enjoying the rich reward of the saved and sanctified in the presence of God.

This view of the subject should create within us an ardent wish for the same glory, remembering that this is the door—this the salvation that is offered to us in the Gospel that we have received. But upon what principle shall we avail ourselves of these blessings? Has Jesus done anything that will bring salvation to you and me? The chief of what he has done is that he has revealed the plan of the Gospel—the scheme of human redemption, and manifested himself among his brethren; and we may say he has done a great deal more, for he has shed his blood for it. So have others shed their blood. But whose blood has cleansed you and me? It is said that the blood of Jesus cleanses from all sins. Then why is it that we remain sinners? It is simply because the blood of Jesus has not cleansed us from sin—because it has not reached us. What is the reason? It is because we have not been found in that perfect path of obedience that ensures us a freedom from sin.

One of the old Apostles boasts of having been made a king and priest, washed in the blood of Jesus. What was required of Jesus? He was required to be baptized the same as you and I. He was required to walk in the path of obedience, in order that he might be an example of that obedience which is required of you and me, by which we may be cleansed from sin.

We will suppose that Jesus had come into the world and died on Calvary as he died, but that he had not left the principles of life in the world. Suppose he had never called the humble fishermen and endowed them, how much wiser would the world have been? Who would have been delivered from sin? Who would have realized the blessings of the Gospel of salvation? But Jesus lived, and Jesus died. Then what is it that should make us rejoice? It is that Jesus, who was here, has returned to the heavens—that his work is done. We should also be thankful for the truths that he taught, for the many good things that he said, for the Priesthood he left, through which the Gospel is revealed, and a medium opened through which you and I could be brought to the knowledge of the truth, accomplish that which will produce a deliverance from sin.

Then let us not rejoice altogether because Jesus lived, or that he died in the world, but that coming into the world he brought with him the Priesthood—that he brought with him the power, the right to officiate as well as to teach the Gospel of life; and by virtue of his appointment he had power to appoint others to act in his name. When he was crucified, and for a few days left this state of existence, it was to open the door of salvation to a fallen world. Well, then, it is the Gospel, after all, for which we respect Jesus. There was nothing about Jesus but the Priesthood that he held and the Gospel that he proclaimed that was so very singular. But he died for the world. Yes; and what man that ever died for the truth, did not die for the world? Prophets have died in our day. Men have testified to the truth, and for that truth have died; but has their blood redeemed us from the sin and transgression we were previously guilty of? Have we found redemption through them? As far as we have obtained it, it has been by walking in the truth. Jesus, who was the bright and full reflection of the character of his Father, was himself a perfect pattern of obedience. He not only recommended to the world obedience, but was himself a living pattern and example of that obedience which he taught, and through that obedience merited that which was conferred upon him. Hence we read that he was exalted above his brethren, simply because he loved righteousness and hated iniquity; and it is that same principle that saves you and me. We may talk of men being redeemed by the efficacy of his blood; but the truth is that that blood has no efficacy to wash away our sins. That must depend upon our own action.

Can Jesus free us from sin while we go and sin again? What is it that frees us from sin? Did not Jesus preach the word of life? Yes. But who is it that shall believe—that shall be benefited and instructed? It is we that are to be redeemed. Jesus could preach of heaven, of the works of Omnipotence, and the vastness of his creations, because he understood them. And if we were only a little more enlightened, we could probably understand a great deal more than we do; but in our present darkness we need further instruction. Truth exists all around us to a vast infinity, yet we pass on in our darkness from year to year, and add folly to our transgressions, and still continue to hope that yet, through Jesus, we shall be redeemed; but it will be when, by our own actions, we shall be released from the thralldom of sin.

“Well,” says one, “you do not think much of Jesus.” Yes, I do. “How much?” I think he was a good man. “But,” says the inquirer, “I think that is a very low estimate of him.” What, then, would you have him to be better than a good man? What and who is he? “Why,” says one, “he is the Lord from heaven.” Who are the characters or beings of whom the Apostle spoke, when he said—“There are gods many and lords many?” I suppose them to be good men. Jesus himself, when speaking in these last days, and explaining to the Prophet of this great and last dispensation, says, “Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name.” Well, what does this all show? Simply that Jesus was a man. We also learn that his Father was a man.

Jesus came to do the will of his Father, and none other work than that which he saw his Father do. And we, through our obedience, became brethren and sisters with him, and joint heirs to the rich inheritances that he is heir to. Why, the practicability of this principle is demonstrated in the case of Jesus himself. He came to this earth as a living example of the truth—of the fact that it was possible that man, though weak and feeble, can be exalted, saved from his ignorance, and exalted to the capacity of a God—that we, poor worms of the dust, partakers of the evils and afflictions that trouble and torment mortality—that we could be exalted—that we could come into this low condition, and pass from that low state of ignorance that we were in, and thereby gain an experience that would fit us for exaltation. Then the Gospel comes to us as a source of encouragement and comfort: therefore it should give us strength in our weakness, when the way may appear dark and almost without hope—when afflicted through the perplexities and hardships that we have to encounter; for Jesus has traveled on the way himself: he has traveled it, step by step, and piece by piece, and degree by degree, and has experienced all the grievous afflictions that flesh is heir to. Has he been exalted by it? We shall all say that he has. He has been exalted from that degree of imperfection in which we exist to his present condition, with power, might, and excellence, even all that is possible for him to enjoy. Then if it is possible for you and I to travel this same road, let us begin to inquire if we are doing it; for be assured that if we obtain that victory and exaltation that he possesses, it will be by doing as he did. He was obedient to the truth. He did not even presume to shrink from the bitter cup, though his feeling, as a man, rather inclined him to the seat of life. Hence, said he, Father, I would a little rather that this cup pass by; but on reflection he said, “Father, not my will, but thine, be done.”

Well, now, how would we have distinguished between this offering and one similar to the natural eye, but different in its design? Suppose a thing of this kind had transpired with us—supposing that it would have taken place in our midst, would we have any idea that it was a good man, a man of integrity, that died? How could we have known this? When he gives his own account of himself, he simply says, “Man of Holiness is my name.” He did not wish to have it understood that there was any being in existence, no matter by what majesty, might, and power he might be surrounded, that could go beyond the good men—the holy men.

What view does this lead us to take of the Gospel that this Jesus has led us to look into? Simply that it is a practical system of piety, purity, holiness, and truth—truth that is to be exhibited in our actions, purity that is to extend to all our motives and designs, and holiness that is to be a characteristic of our lives, and to extend to all there is connected with our lives, our actions, and all that we do and say; for the action of the mind is considered. If these thoughts be correct—be pure, the actions that will reflect those thoughts will be good and beneficial, and the body that sees it will be correspondingly pure.

Then where is this purity to be wrought out—this propriety of thought—this perfection of holiness? Where is it to be read of, that we may be benefited by it—that we may travel in the way that Jesus has traveled—that we may follow in the example that he has set? Can we get our neighbor in the way to be the holy man, the righteous man, for us, and we reap the reward in heaven? Oh no. We must be the obedient men and women ourselves. We must be the patient men and women, and feel all that forbearance and mercy, that loving kindness and charity ourselves; we must be the men and the women that will put on the habiliments of truth—the garments of holiness, and wear them for ourselves. We must wear them day by day, month by month, year by year, and forever.

I want you to see this, and to comprehend that the whole matter of your salvation is your own business and work. What else has Jesus done? What did he require of man? You examine principle in the Gospel as it is taught to you, and what requirement of that Gospel has been obeyed for you? None.

We are required to be obedient from the beginning unto the practice of every virtue that the Gospel can open out. This is what is required of you and me, that we may be saved and become just like Jesus. Then you see that it is entirely a practical affair with every one of us. We may theorize as much as we please, and talk about purity and holiness; and as long as we theorize about them, we shall find that they will do us no good—never, until we reduce them to practice and adopt that kind of holiness that is acceptable to God. How can we know that one great principle of obedience, excepting we comply with the requirements of the Gospel? How can we know what is good for us, excepting we be tried in these things? The Almighty is gratified when his purposes are accomplished, and when we are preparing ourselves to be exalted and admitted into his presence, that we may be prepared by that education to be filled with that knowledge and clothed with power as himself—be filled with that infinitude of capacity that he himself enjoys, and that those principles may be so implanted in our being and sought by us during our existence upon the earth, that we shall increase our own greatness and the glory and power of our God.

“Well, but,” says one, “where does this power come from? Does it come from God?” We should answer, “Yes.” Well, then, where did He get it from? Did he inherit it? No, he did not. When we talk of the Father and of Jesus, we can say they did not inherit it. Why do we say that Jesus did not inherit this greatness and glory? Because he is recommended to us as one who came to do nothing but what he had seen his Father do (who, like Jesus, had once been imperfect), and that, like him, he had risen to might, majesty, and power, and clothed himself with the truth and with knowledge that endowed him with power to act and to be acted upon, to design and to execute those designs. Well, then, the power of God is—what? Why, it is the Gospel; and the Apostle said that the Gospel was “the power of God unto salvation;” and it is the salvation of every individual and everything that is clothed with it.

Who is saved? Why, the individual that has power; and the individual that possesses knowledge has power. It is just as the Apostle says—he was not ashamed of that Gospel that was the power of God unto salvation, that was revealed by Him that loved righteousness and hated iniquity.

The Gospel, then, as preached unto us, is the power of God that saves. What does it do? It enlightens that which is dark; it gives us power where all is weakness before; it endows us with capacity where before there was no capacity, and where there was no strength.

This is what the Gospel does for us: it is that which saves and fills our minds with that which we need not be ashamed of; and it is the simple fact that we should carry to our home, to our firesides, to correct the evils that exist between man and man, between parents and children, husbands and wives: but it is, nevertheless, the power of God that saves. It is that which tranquilizes the power of the soul that is not wholly under the principles of truth. It is not like the empty proclamation of enthusiasm, but it is deliverance to the captives; it is freedom to the sick soul—to the soul that is in the dark, that knows not the truth, that has no hope that reaches into the vast future, and opens up prospects for the immortality and the salvation of the souls of men. This is the way that the Gospel opens to us in regard to the salvation of the soul: it will make everything in the soul tranquil as the blest in heaven. It is that which must abide constantly within us; it is that which must be developed in our homes. Why? That all the members of that home may become legitimate lovers of the truth, be truthful in all they do and say, and be calculated by their good works to subserve the ends of righteousness and peace, and to bring about the purposes of God. “Why,” says one, “the Gospel seems to be a great matter to be carried to the simple circles of our homes, and for it to enter into the trivial affairs of our everyday life; it seems to be a small matter to that vast infinitude of greatness and glory in its fulness that we seek to enjoy in a future state.”

Brethren and sisters, what greatness you expect to enjoy, what you intend to enjoy in the fountain of bliss that lies before the Saints! The origin of all this, the region where it must be commenced is in the soul, at the firesides, within the circle of your family. Where is it to come from? If the blessings developed that constitute the happiness of the saved and sanctified, that enrich the pleasures of those that have passed away, are attainable, why have we not been blessed? Why has not the Gospel brought salvation to our firesides and to our homes? Why, we have naught but imperfections of our own. But these could not stand in the way; for the blood of Jesus could have cleansed us from sin, aside from our own works, according to the feelings of some. Then why is it that we are these slaves of sin, and are afflicted with the consequences thereof? Why is it that the sanctuary of home is deprived of these blessings? The Gospel that saved Jesus, that clothed him with power, that bestowed upon him all the perfections that he possessed as a God, why has it not wrought out its work with us? Our firesides have not been blessed with the harmony and bliss that is affected by its purity and hallowed influence. We would not inquire where is heaven, or say how far it is from us, from our homes; for there would be a fountain of bliss to anyone who would partake of the food that angels feed upon—who would partake and realize the perfection in which they dwell, and the harmony by which they are associated, and those that dwell with them. Then it would be no matter of uncertainty with us; neither should we care whether heaven was a little way off, or at a vast or immeasurable distance; for then in our homes, within our own family circles, would be that heaven and happiness for which we are seeking. There would be perfection; there would be the beauty of holiness in spirit and in truth.

Now, this is the religion that should be developed at home; it should be of domestic manufacture as well as the clothes that we wear; and their beauty, you know we are told, should consist in the beauty of the workmanship of our own hands.

If we realized that our salvation depended upon our living in peace at home with our wives and children, and upon our cherishing the principles of virtue, of holiness, and of purity, do you suppose that we should ever be at a loss for an opportunity of doing some good? Do you suppose we should ever be at a loss to do something that would save the cause of truth? Our homes and our heaven would ever be with us. The constitution and establishment of our homes in peace, and making that happiness, and giving that satisfaction which will produce it, constitute the burden of our labor at home and abroad.

But we are called to go and preach the Gospel to distant nations, simply that the honest may be gathered together and have homes like you and I, until a nation shall be imbued with the principle of that heavenly government that we talk and read so much about, that the will of God may be done on earth as it is done in heaven.

According to this, then, the object is the same, whether you labor at home or abroad. I want this riveted on your memories—to have you think upon it every day. I do not want you to think that you can live your religion while you are quarrelling with your wives every day; I do not want you to think that you are traveling the road to salvation while you are quarrelling with everybody around you. What is the difficulty? What causes this quarrelling? “Why,” says the man, “my wife has a contentious spirit: she is not going to heaven; she is not going on the road to those perfections that will bring her to a perfect and sanctified state: she has put far from her the day of sanctification.” Then, as ministers of righteousness, I want you to go to work at home. Why? Simply because home is the place where you should live your religion.

“But,” says one, “I am going to wait until I go on a mission; then I will devote all my time to serving the Lord.”

If you wait till then, when you are gone thousands of miles away, what will your wife and children do? Who, having wife and children, and having labored to bring them here, and lived with them here from year to year, will neglect to develop in them the principles that will save and make them happy in time, and exalt them in eternity? I want you to save them by implanting in them correct principles; and then, if you are called to go abroad, you can teach the people the principles that will save, for you will have learned them at home. Then, if they should apostatize when they have been gathered here, as some do, to our own sorrow and to theirs too, you would have the confidence and consolation of knowing that your own family were saved, because you had taught them the principles of salvation while you were with them. Then why do some seem so anxious to live their religion abroad, while they neglect to teach and practice it at home? It is evident that they do not enjoy the spirit of the Gospel; and if they have not within them the principles of purity and holiness, and do not live their religion at home, what assurance have we that they will live it when they get thousands of miles from their friends?

I want you to go to work in your own circles, and cultivate the principles of righteousness, and let the world go their own way. Do not trouble about how your neighbors are getting along, but seek to make your own home the dwelling place of God; seek to make it a sanctuary where the richest blessings of God shall be enjoyed—where the truth shall be kept in rich stores to bless you and yours. Then that point will become a point of attraction to which your affections may repair with feelings of satisfaction. And if you go abroad, your peace will be increased with the reflection that you have left your family stationed upon the immutable and sure basis of eternal truth; and while time passes, and the angels of heaven carry you safely along, your friends and connections at home are still wending their way onward to the haven of peace and rest, where all is right—where peace and joy flow like a river to those who are sanctified through the truth.

Now, do not excuse yourselves because you are Seventies, and are therefore called to go abroad as special witnesses to the nations; for we are called to save our own: that is our first duty. It is true we can do a great deal towards bringing others to a knowledge of the truth; and if we can preach to the world—to those that are afar off, we can also preach to those that are near to us, and save them; and how? Do as much to save them as Jesus has done, and then we shall have done our duty. What is it that he has told us? He told us how to save ourselves with the principles of virtue, righteousness, and peace; and let us so live that those principles may be in the young men that are growing up around our hearths. There is nothing that is important to some except it is a great way off. But the foundation of purity should be at our homes: there God should dwell; there God should reign in all the greatness of his glory, and in all the perfection of his attributes. Where will this be? Why, wherever there is a good man—a man devoted to the truth, whose affections are identified with it and for it, and who loves righteousness and hates iniquity, as Jesus did. This is the way I want you to live, and then there will be less wickedness—fewer lies told—less tattling by the fireside about your neighbors. The husband and wife will have less difficulties of a character and kind that are unendurable. If we can come down from the exaltedness of our feelings and humble ourselves, we can avoid most of the evils that are common among mankind.

Who have these kinds of difficulties to which I have alluded? People that are very religious—people that go to church—people that are favored in various ways, and who preach long sermons for the benefit of such as themselves. What is the reason that they are not saved? Why, simply because they never have time to live their religion—because they never had an idea that to live their religion was to be at peace at home—that the paying their Tithing was offering an offering that would be acceptable to God; and those who did think so, had an idea that that of itself would save them. I want you to understand that it is all nonsense to take the latter position. “What,” says one, “should we not pay our Tithing?” Should we not pray? Yes, pray, and pay your Tithing. But this is not all: I want you to pray God Almighty to bless you with strength, with forbearance, with charity, that you may be merciful to each other’s weaknesses, and that you may look with tender compassion upon one another, as God looks upon us, his children, all the day long. This is what I want you to pray for. And husbands, if your wives speak harsh words, don’t speak another in return. “But,” says one, “how can I bear it?” Why, hold your tongue. You talk of ruling nations, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, and yet cannot hold your tongue! What wise rulers you would make!

I suppose, when the Bishop was made or ordained, you all thought that you ought to have been made Bishops—you were so clever, so accomplished, and so well qualified to rule, in your own estimation. I want you to prove that you are capable of being Bishops, by keeping your mouths shut when a storm of passion arises within you. Let it die. Never let the world hear the breath of heaven wafting away the ill-spoken word—the hasty declaration. No, never. Why not? Because, if hell is within you, keep it there. “Why,” says one, “is it not just as bad to think of hell as it is to speak it out?” No—not half as bad. Why? Because, if you thought of killing me, and were not to do it, I should not be hurt. But, if you took away my life, then I should be hurt. Hence, then, you see, there is a difference between thinking and doing. I want you husbands and wives to carry this home with you, and learn to hold your tongue, when you have nothing but some miserable, provoking thing to say. “Well, but,” says one man, “my wife acts so like the Devil that I cannot get along with her. I thought I was married to an angel, but I have found out I was deceived, and that she is a fiend.” If you were such a fool as to marry a wife of that kind, you ought to learn a little by experience.

Now, knowledge is power; and if you have married a woman that does not answer your expectations, that is not an angel, that does not abound in goodness, and that is not the very quintessence of perfection, what will you do? I will go and get a divorce. Then what will you do? Live single? No. You will marry another, then? You answer, “Yes.” Then you will live with her, conquer her, and control her, I suppose? “Yes,” says one, “that seems like the idea; and I will go home and let my wife know that she has got to mind me and obey me.” Why, what are you going to do? “If she don’t obey me, I will chastise her; I will beat her.” I presume you mean to treat her in the way that some of us are accustomed to treat our mules? “Yes,” says the man, “I will let her know that she has got to obey me.”

You poor miserable souls who think thus, if you go home and whip your wives because of what I say to you tonight upon family government, the sin shall lie at your own door, and the lash that will be upon you shall be far more severe than anything that you can inflict upon your poor wives.

I want you to go home and let them know that you are better men, that you are improving, that you are better than they, and that you are improving in righteousness faster than they are. Then, if your wife is disposed to quarrel, she will soon get tired of it; she will turn to righteousness and follow your holy example. Then let me urge upon you the necessity of proving to your wives that there is more consistency in your conduct than there is in theirs, and that you are capable of living without saying harsh things yourselves.

Brethren, this is the way I want you to govern your wives, and in ninety-nine cases out of every hundred you will succeed in governing them in righteousness; they will be faithful and true to you, and to the Gospel that has been revealed in this dispensation. And if you get a little mortified with something that may transpire, which is often the case, your wife would adopt the course that she has seen adopted by you: she would hold her tongue, unless she could say some very pleasing thing; and in this way there will be peace established in your home. Whenever there is peace, and the home circle lives in peace and quietude, the blessings of heaven and the revelations of the Holy Spirit will be there; its inspiration will be there, and it will be like a burning, never-dying flame within you, and you will walk together in peace and in harmony. You won’t stumble and die in the way; there will be no difference of feeling; but the twine of family affection will grow stronger, day by day, and year by year; and the passing year will add intensity to that affection that is within you, and you will have an increased determination to live your religion.

Then your children would see in their parents an example for speaking the truth and acting truthfully to each other. Then there would be an example before them, and they would, no doubt, obey the truth, and regard you as truthful and sincere in all your expressions, whether in regard to the things of God or those of a more trivial character. They would then see that you struggled not only to speak of the truth, but to exhibit it in all the actions of your lives.

This is the way I want you to live your religion in this Ward; this is the way I want you to sustain your Bishop, that he may not be taxed with all the little difficulties of your domestic circles. He is a little man, and it is enough for him to be taxed with the general business of the Ward. I want you to understand that he has need of what you promised him. Did you not promise him that you would sustain him by your works as well as by your faith? I want you to redeem that promise; for if it had not been necessary for you to do this, it would not have been asked. Then sustain your Bishop, and uphold him. “But,” says one, “I do not know that it is my business. If he is not smart enough, let the proper authorities put in another.” Why, bless you, the authorities did not want the smartest men; but they wanted to prove to the world that the Lord could make those smart whom he called and ordained. “Why,” says one, “you do not think much of our Bishop; you do not appear to estimate him very highly.” Yes, I do; but I want you to understand that he has got his own weaknesses and faults to contend with, the same as other men, and just as much of yours as you put upon him. I want you that are smart men to resolve yourselves into bishops, and to play the Bishop’s part at home, and to adopt the principles that he inculcates in your home circles. How very few there are who do this! But it is not too late to learn to judge righteously—to create quietude and peace, virtue and holiness, at your own homes. Then who will there be to annoy the Bishop with their troubles? Who will be sending to the President for a divorce, when you all get your little wards at home thoroughly disciplined? This you can do, by being united, more effectually than he can; for he cannot be always with you. Then you can bring out your little wards, and let him have the advantage of a leaf out of your books.

But if you cannot do this, hold your tongues and be ashamed, and just conclude that you will fulfil the promise that you made, and strengthen him, and simply because he needs strength; and aid him all you can; afford him all the comfort you can; and this will bring you together in the principles of truth: it unites you in one, so that your action will be one; your feelings and your spirit will be one, and you will walk in the same path together and be agreed.

Take this course in regard to living your religion, and you do well. But possibly you do not need any of this instruction. If you do not, I am very glad of it. And if you have qualified yourselves and cultivated your minds to that degree of perfection that you do not need it here, you may just pass it over to your neighbors. Let righteousness be developed in this Ward, and let that unanimity of feeling be manifested that will cause the instructions of your Bishop to be warmly received; and let faith be exercised for him, that he may be full of knowledge and power, and have influence among the people for whose good he labors day by day. This is the way I want you to act in regard to this matter; and, to do this effectually, you must make all things right at home. Do not leave this great work for the Bishop alone, but let it be the duty of every man in the home circle, and there will be unanimity throughout the Ward; and to the Bishop will be given what is required in his official capacity, and he will have power and strength, and he will be estimated to some extent by the influence which he exercises over the men that are in his Ward.

Well, then, what else shall we do? you may now inquire. There is another matter I want to engage you in. I want your help in a cautious, but effectual crusade against stealing. “Well, but,” says one, “the President said we could not stop stealing.” This is not what I was going to ask you to do; but I want every good man in this Ward to consider himself a missionary and a minister. I want you to get hold of the young men, and to advise them as fathers should advise them. “Well, but,” says one, “the young men here in this Ward have fathers; and if I should presume to give them advice, their fathers will be displeased.” I do not suppose they would. At least, I think you may venture to carry out my advice.

The spirit of thieving stalks abroad in our land, and it has its advocates among the people. It gets hold of the unguarded youth, and causes them to steal from their neighbors, being unguarded by the truth. You fathers, do you know this to be true? “Yes,” say some, “we hear that there is stealing done over yonder (pointing towards the west), and that it is Bill Hickman and his gang that do it. But do you know that there is a thief who visits your son and corrupts his morals, and who is making him believe there is no harm in stealing from a Gentile?

“Oh, to be sure,” say you; “I know that such a man visits my son. I don’t know exactly where my son is now, but he is about the city somewhere.” This is what I want you should know. Make it your business to know where your sons are, for they have only to go into some of the streets of the city to meet with thieves who tell them there is no harm in stealing from the Gentiles, and who tell them that the Presidency of the Church say so. This is the way the lies were told about us, to lead the unwise and unwary from the truth. Do you want to save yourselves from the scorn and disgrace that will cover your son wherever he goes? If you do, watch over your sons and also over the associations that they form. To you that have daughters, I would say, Watch over them, or by-and-by you will come to your friends with a pitiful face, saving, O my poor daughter, she is gone! Where? To Camp Floyd, to the States, and to the Devil. O my daughter, that we have raised carefully, and we thought she would live to honor us; but, alas, she has gone!

Yes; but you did not know, while she was with you, that she was forming an acquaintance with habits and making associations with those things that have succeeded in removing her beyond your reach. “True, she went to every dancing party,” says the unsuspecting father; “but how could I refuse her the privilege?” Perhaps the Bishop was called to go and pray for them, in order to sanctify the affair; and perhaps she went with the son of your neighbor whom you regard; and hence you will say, How can I refuse and offend my brother? Yes, offend your brother; for that is worth less than the salvation of your child. “But,” says one, “shall we not let our children go to parties?” Yes, let them go; I would not dare to advise you not to let them go. And why? Because it would not do any good.

If your daughters associate with those that have no interest in the truth, advise them to discontinue their intimacy with such persons, and enjoin upon them the necessity of pursuing that course that will preserve them in purity and keep them in the truth. If your daughter will go, what then? Why, let her go. Do not break her neck to keep her, for she would not be in heaven if her neck was broken.

I allude to this simply to elucidate the truth, and to show the way those things are accomplished of which I have been speaking. Perhaps your daughters have not associated with Gentiles, you may say. I would as soon my daughter would associate with some Gentiles as with many that profess to be Saints, especially those who have nothing to talk about but balderdash, and nothing in their minds but the wicked plans concocted by corrupt hearts.

I allude to these things thus pointedly and minutely, because they will affect your happiness and well-being, as well as that of your children. Do not undertake to crowd things to extremes, to obtain any of the blessings I have alluded to. Do not commit a greater evil than those that already exist, by creating others.

I pray that you may so strive to cultivate a love for the Spirit of God, and a love for his people, that you may constantly be under the guidance of that Spirit, and always have it abiding in you, that you may do everything in favor of the truth, dwell happily beneath its influence, and lead your children in the way of life. That this may be your happy lot, through diligence and obedience in the Gospel, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Gospel—Tithing—Religion in the Home Circle

A Discourse by Elder Amasa M. Lyman, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, December 25, 1859.

I am glad this morning, brethren and sisters, to enjoy the privilege again of meeting with you, with the opportunity that is afforded me of occupying a portion of time devoted to worship; and I would indulge a hope that the little time we are together may be so devoted as to be a benefit to us all. To effect this, I know of nothing better than to have our attention called again, as it has so often been, to a consideration of the principles of our religion.

One might suppose that all had been said that could or that need be said upon this subject. The necessity for our attention being called to the consideration of the principles of our religion must exist until such time as we properly and fully comprehend those principles, and from comprehending them are unable to reduce them to practice; for it is not until they are reduced to practice that they yield to us the fruits of salvation. Hence we shall have to refer to the principles of the Gospel again and again, that they may be kept before our minds, that we shall not lose sight of them in the multiplicity of things that exist around us to engage our attention.

When we consider the great amount of wrongs that are to be corrected by the Gospel, in connection with our being in the world, and then the amount of opposition against which we have to receive and practice the truth, a little reflection will lead us to conclude that the consummation of our work is far in the future.

When we consider the condition of the mind, influenced as it is by the prejudices of education, by the influences of those habits of thought and reflection which have been established in the mind, which is the result of the influences of circumstances with which we have been surrounded, we find that there is but a very small portion of the powers of our minds that are faithfully, patiently, and undividedly devoted to the consideration of the principles of our religion.

We have fallen into a habit of fashion with regard to the preaching of the Gospel, that if we say but a very little—preach but very short sermons, they must generally extend over a large extent of country. Comparatively speaking, we travel over earth and heaven frequently, when in our notions of things we have made these places to be a great way apart: we travel often over the extreme of degradation, wretchedness, misery, and ignorance in which we ourselves exist, to that better condition of things that we hope for in the vast future, when sin, with all its concomitant train of evils, shall cease to afflict us, or to oppose an obstacle to our enjoyment of the happiness and blessings promised by the Gospel.

This is the way, in short, in which we look at the subject, when the Gospel is presented to us as a remedy for all the evils that afflict us—a sovereign balm for all our ills. We only think of what we are now, and of what we shall be when our salvation is consummated.

A moment’s reflection will satisfy you, as well as myself, that this view of the matter leaves all that extensive and unexplored region that intervenes between our present sinful and our future saved and happy condition out of the question.

In order that we may be saved by the Gospel we have embraced, it becomes indispensably necessary that we should reduce the principles of that Gospel to practice. In order to do this, we must, for a little while, leave out of the question this general view of things, and perhaps refrain from the gratification of our feelings in the contemplation of that brighter picture of what we may be by-and-by, to contemplate in the light of truth our present condition, and learn how to apply the principles of the Gospel that will save us to the details of life.

We may say the Gospel will save us from all that afflicts us—from all that to us is a source of trouble and annoyance of any kind whatever. That embraces a great deal; it covers all the ill feelings that may ever be again awakened in the human bosom—every unholy passion and every evil in the soul, resulting from the influences of any corrupt habit that may have been formed from the education that we have received. I say it covers all this: it promises to remove all this; but in what way?

There are certain generalities in our religion that we all seem to become acquainted with more or less—those things that are preserved to us as requirements—that are placed before us in a form that is defined so that we can comprehend them. Those things we understand to be binding upon us to attend to as a people.

We consider it right and proper to observe the institution of the Sabbath. We regard it to be right and proper to observe the institution of Tithing. In short, we regard it as being right to observe sacredly every duty that is defined and pointed out to us; so that we, like the people of old, are particular about paying our Tithing, although perhaps not any more than we should be. But this duty we can think of; we can remember it. “It is not right,” says one. Yes, it is right. But as it was with the people of old, so it is a little with us Latter-day Saints: we think that the Tithing of what we produce by our labor will open to us the gates of celestial bliss and happiness—that it will bring us to that redemption from sin that we look for, when the Savior has declared simply and plainly, and in a manner that it would seem no one needs be mistaken, that “it is eternal life to know God,” &c.

Now the thing to which I would direct your attention is this, that you should remember your Tithing; but be sure at the same time to remember the object for which you are required to pay Tithing. “Well,” says one, “is it not to support the poor?” That is one thing. You suppose, then, that, if the Tithing goes to feed the poor, build up temples and houses of worship, to establish institutions of learning, to forward the cause of education in our midst, that the great object of its institution is reached. If this were all, then probably Jesus might have said that this is eternal life, to pay your Tithing punctually and faithfully: but he did not say this.

What is the greater object for which this institution was ordained? I speak of this because it is before all the people. The reason for this institution is simply the same as that for which the institution of the preaching of the Gospel, as it is denominated, was ordained of God.

Why was the Gospel taught to you in your scattered condition among the different nations of the earth? For the simplest of all reasons—the preaching of the word became an ordinance of the Gospel; that is, that it is necessary mankind should be enlightened, and for that very reason are the Saints gathered together, and for that very reason are they surrounded by institutions ordained to preserve them together.

By the preaching of the Gospel you will discover, by a reference to the course you are induced to take, following the direction indicated by it, that you all walk in the same path. In gathering you are brought to the same place, and you are supposed to receive the same instructions: the same principles are taught, the same advantages are extended to you, and the same blessings promised to you all, through your faithfulness.

What, then, can be plainer to the mind than that the great object was to bring mankind to the knowledge of the truth? For this cause you are required to pay Tithing, to favor the accomplishment of this great object. For what should the poor be nourished? For what should the Priesthood be sustained? For what should temples be built, and educational establishments be reared in our midst? Simply for the accomplishment of this great work of educating the human mind in the knowledge of the principles of truth—for the correcting, as a matter of course, of every error that may have found place in their minds.

This, then, is the object for which we are brought together; and here we are taught from time to time what is denominated the Gospel. We are told to live our religion. What does this embrace? Everything. It extends to every duty that devolves upon us in the accomplishment of the work that is before us. It is to give the principles of the Gospel that application to ourselves and to our actions that will leave in us and with us no error that shall not be corrected—no wrong principle whose deformities shall not be dragged into the light that we may see it and turn away from it, that we may be able to substitute in its place a view of things that is correct and fully consistent with the accomplishment of the object for which we labor.

What I would wish with regard to the Saints is simply this, that they may learn to apply the principles of the Gospel to the details of life—to the small matters in our moral existence, which, when associated together, constitute the great sum of all that fills up our time.

I want you to pay Tithing faithfully, and respond with an affection that is undivided to every requirement. For what? For contributing to that amount of means that is necessary and requisite for the accomplishment of this work that has for its object the emancipation of our race from the ignorance that has bound them. But remember that it is to learn to know God that we are associated together, and that all these institutions are established around us and in our midst.

I want you to learn that to live your religion is to apply the Gospel to the regulation of your actions in every department of human life. I do not wish you to think that you are living acceptably before God, and in the manner that he requires you to live when you pay your Tithing, and are doing other things that you know to be wrong, and that you are fully aware are not acceptable in his sight or conducive to your own happiness!

I want you to remember that the Gospel must have its application at home. I might preach to you here for forty years to live your religion. Is it possible, while doing this, there are people who would listen that length of time to the proclamation, day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, and then practice in the circle at home things that are directly opposed to all good principles, to good, and to happiness?

Who is it that commits sin in all Israel today? Do the best among the people? Do the most faithful and the most humble and the most contrite in spirit? Are they afflicted with any evils? Are they afflicted with any temptations to do wrong? Do they in any case whatever do wrong?

Who are they that do wrong chiefly? Those who have been taught, perhaps, for a quarter-of-a-century to do right. This has been sounding in their ears continually from year to year—“Do right, live your religion, break off your sins, be righteous, and forsake your iniquities by turning to God.”

Why is it they are yet afflicted with sin? Is it because they have not paid their Tithing? Perhaps they have been punctual in paying it. They may have been constant in their observance of the institution of the Sabbath, in attending meeting, and of ceasing all unnecessary labor on that day; yet once in a while a very curious thing gets out in the wind. What is it? “Brother So-and-so has done wrong; sister So-and-so has done wrong. Why—would you believe it?—they have actually had a little family disturbance, or what we sometimes call a quarrel!” Why is it? I know of no reason only that that religion, to the institution of which they have been paying so strict attention for so many years, has failed as yet to have an application—to what? To that portion of their lives and actions that pass within the circle at home. They come here and pray, and, for aught I know, they go home and pray as much as they can for the ill-feelings they have.

The point that I would like to impress upon your minds today is that to live our religion acceptably before God, and in a manner that will be conducive to our happiness and salvation and permanent exaltation in the kingdom of God, we must give it an application to the details of life. The minutest of life’s details must be rendered holy, just, true, and proper, by its application to them.

I do not want men and women to consider they are living their religion when they indulge in quarrelling at home. Husbands and wives living at variance with each other in their feelings at home are not living their religion. They are not applying the principles of the Gospel around their hearths and within the home circle.

Says one, “If we pay our Tithing, do you not think we shall get to heaven, though we do quarrel, &c.?” It will be a peculiar kind of heaven! It would be, as a matter of course, that heaven where men and women quarrel, simply because it is the only one for which they are prepared and adapted. If they were in any other, they would be rendered wretched to a certain extent. Why? They would want to get mad and have the old difference of feeling, to gratify a disposition to say a rash word for a rash word, instead of adopting the old scriptural maxim which is so good and heavenly—“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”

Perhaps people may suppose it is none of my business to allude here to matters that are transpiring within your home circle. If it is not, then I have nothing to do with your salvation. Is there no obligation resting on me as a servant of God—as a minister of righteousness in the midst of the people, to administer the words of truth to them in a way to save them, that they may have the advantage through an application of the truth to the regulation of their actions of deliverance from sin?

Then if this is the case, and I find a dark spot in your lives which is not developed in the public congregation, when you meet with the assembled thousands to hear the principles of righteousness treated upon in a general way, what must be done? Simply to require, in a spirit of kindness, a disposition to discharge faithfully the duties that rest upon us in these dark portions of your lives, if they exist; and if they do not, no one will be hurt.

Were you to bring to this assembly the feelings and the actions that evidence the existence of these feelings all through the week, we should have a very different assembly, so far as appearance, condition, and spirit are concerned, from what we generally have here. “Would you want to have us bring them here?” No.

I want to give you a few plain, direct hints, that you may take home with you as a sort of Christmas present, that you may give them an application around your hearth, that you may become better men and women, better husbands and wives, and become there the ministers of righteousness and truth, to correct the evils that exist there, if there are any; and if there are none, you can go home and rejoice, and thank God that you are delivered so far from the power of sin.

We have been taught, with regard to the Gospel, in general terms, what we are to do, and how we are to act; and we are told again and again to live our religion. I want husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, and their children that have arrived at years of accountability, to understand that the great place of places where the principles of our religion should be applied, where they should be treasured, where they should produce their own legitimate fruit, is the circle of home. It is around the fireside in every home where the principles of right eousness must be developed, where the principles that will give stability, power, and eternal endurance to the kingdom of God and to its institutions, must be in full force and daily application: they must there obtain a place within the affections of the persons associated in those circles.

We may talk about attending to the generalities of religion; but so long as we neglect its details that enter into the home circle, that are concentrated around our fireside—so long as we neglect the cultivation of the principles of heaven and happiness there, so long we shall fail to enjoy the fulness of what the Gospel promises to us. Here is where heaven must have its beginning—where its foundation must be laid, not only for our present happiness, but for its eternal perpetuity.

What do these home circles make? They make what I see around me today. They constitute the people, the community, the nation. If the principles of the Gospel are developed at home, when you come to the place of public assembly, you bring them with you: you bring with you the spirit of heaven, the spirit of peace and harmony. It is that principle which will lead to the consummation of that great work, the object of which is to bring about that condition of things wherein the will of God will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.

If you could do all this with a reference to those little things that disturb the peace at home, that plant a thorn where a rose should be planted, that cultivate principles of strife where quietude and harmony should prevail, great would be our happiness as a people, both at home and in our public assemblies.

If you neglect the cultivation of these virtues, their opposite will prevail and exert a deleterious influence over the minds and actions of men and women, which are made evident in their lives.

Would we live to enjoy the Spirit of God? This we are exhorted to do. If we would secure this inestimable blessing, there is no better way than to cultivate in the home circle that frame of mind and feeling that will render the Holy Spirit a constant and welcome visitor there; and not only a welcome visitor, but he might be changed to a constant guest that would be present ever to impart that knowledge which is life, that understanding that causes the soul to be fruitful in the elements of peace, happiness, and glory.

But while that little circle of home is distracted by broils, quarrels, dissension, and strife, by a lack of that affectionate regard for the principles of truth that should characterize all the children of God devoted to the principles and interests of his kingdom, the Spirit of Truth cannot find a resting place there. The soul may complain that it is barren and unfruitful in that happiness it fain would enjoy.

Here, then, is the great field of our labor. If we have thought, in our own extended views of the work of God, that we should go from one end of the earth to the other to publish salvation and save men, we find here a field is opened at our very homes—a field that should engage the attention of every man, woman, and child that has arrived at years of understanding in all Israel.

Here is a field for the Seventies. “Should the Seventies engage in this field?” says one. “They are called to preach in all the world.” Yes; and because they are called to preach the Gospel in all the world, they seem to have no idea that Salt Lake—the place of their homes—is any part of the world. They never seem to have the spirit of their calling, unless they are called to go away from home. Why is it so? I know of no reason only because they do not court that spirit at home—that they do not make their homes the same field of faithful, honest, and persevering exertions that they would make in the field away from home.

If the same prayers were to ascend to God with the same degree of fervency—with the same attention paid to the propriety of examples that are set—with the same word of wisdom and truth and goodness and virtue constantly flowing from them in the midst of the home circle that might characterize all their labors abroad, then the misery at home would become prolific in truth, in which plants of righteousness would spring up and yield the fruits of peace.

“I am a Seventy, and consequently have nothing to do here! There is a First Presidency here, a High Council, and a whole host of Bishops. I shall only be regarded as guilty of meddling with other men’s business, if I should say anything.” Then you will not even presume to talk to your wife at home—to call your sons and your daughters around you to advise with them and explain to them the parental anxiety and care you have for them, by making them acquainted with the duties that they are strangers to, by placing them above that which would lead them from the path of virtue, that they may escape the evils that surround them.

I want to say to the Seventies, High Priests, Elders and Apostles, Prophets and Presidents, It is your privilege and duty to extend the principles of righteousness in the field at home. You need not tell me, you Seventies, that you are qualified to preach salvation to the people of distant nations, when you cannot preach it around your own hearth at home. You must be a Saint, an Elder, a Seventy, an Apostle, &c., around your fireside, in the circle of your home, in the midst of the Saints gathered home. The best and most conclusive evidence that you can tell the truth abroad, and show an example worthy of acceptation, is to do it at home. If I am satisfied a man can tell the truth and live it at home, I have no fear of him anywhere else.

I want to say to all Israel, Wake up to your interests at home. “But how can this condition of things exist among us when the great mass of our community here are ordained to public service—to service abroad?” I want you to carefully consider one thing—that your calling, whatever it may be, was not to neglect your home and the cultivation of the principles of salvation within the home circle.

You may never be called to go abroad. “But,” says one, “I was ordained to be a Seventy, to preach in all the world.” Some that have been thus ordained die before they fulfil their mission, and some apostatize—which, by-the-bye, is a matter that can be most effectually remedied by simply adopting my little advice I have thrown out this morning—to cultivate perseveringly and faithfully those principles that are calculated to emancipate the soul from the thralldom of sin, misery, and death.

Cultivate this in your homes, and you will become ministers of salvation indeed, whether you go abroad or not. You will then discharge the duty you owe to God, to mankind, to yourselves, and to your families around you.

I want the Seventies to remember that this is a part of all the world where we now live. And if an evil exists in our streets here, it is as much an evil as though it existed a thousand miles from this place.

Is there a benighted soul here that can be enlightened by the words of instruction imparted by the servants of God? If so, why wait until you travel ten thousand miles? Make that benighted soul that lives here the object of your care. If you win it through the words of truth and knowledge, it is a soul saved, as much so as though you had brought it ten thousand miles.

What would be the result of this course of procedure? Vice, folly, and wickedness would receive a constant and firm rebuke, and no great noise would be made about it. We would simply be minding our own business in a quiet way. The young, in whose minds the habit of thought and reflection are being formed, could be corrected; their footsteps could be directed in the paths of truth and virtue; and there would be less inclination to steal, and less corruption of the youth in our midst.

“But,” says one of the Seventies, “Is all this lawful for the Seventies to do? Would we not be found fault with if we were to make it our business to talk with our neighbor, old or young, in the street, touching these things?” I do not think you would be taken up for treason by the authorities of the Church, at any rate; and I do not think the civil authorities in this country would take any exception to the preaching of honesty, virtue, and truth. But, above all, try to preach it in that most effectual way by your own truthful example. If you would preach to the wayward to restrain themselves from their folly, show an example yourselves of circumspection in your conduct—of propriety, consistency, and truth. Would you win the wayward to paths of rectitude, address them in a spirit of kindness, charity, compassion, sympathy, and love.

If this principle is good in a public and general way, apply it also at home. And before you go away on that distant mission you anticipate among distant nations that may occupy years of time, try to develop the principles of righteousness in the home circle, and establish them there, that they may be growing thriftily there—that in your absence the fruits of heaven may be developed—that blessings of peace and harmony may have their existence there: then your home circle is the seat of heaven—the nursery of truth, where all the perfections must originate that will constitute all your future greatness and glory.

Seek to make your heaven in your home; seek to develop its perfections there; seek to develop its truthfulness there. Why? Simply because you cannot make it anywhere else. It is not possible, because home is the nursery where all the constituent principles of heavenly bliss and glory are to be developed. Why, then, think of finding them in your wanderings over the face of the earth, when home is the only place where they are to be found, and where they must be developed. You bring the people from distant nations, that homes of this character may exist—homes that shall be rich in treasures of heavenly bliss developed and perfected in their circles.

This is the way I look at and think of our religion, and this I consider to be the right, the proper way for us to patiently, faithfully, and properly live our religion. We are afflicted in our country with a great deal of evil: there are evils of an outdoor character that are very troublesome and annoying, aside from those things that annoy us at home, when, if we lived our religion at home effectually, there would be less inclination of the youthful mind to vice, folly, and nonsense.

Now, that we may, as a people and as individuals, be wise, prudent, humble, and faithful in prosecuting this work of ours to its final consummation, is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Diligence in Preaching to the World—Providences of God Around the Saints—Charity—God’s Spirit Distributed Among All Mankind—Trials, &c

A Discourse by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, December 18, 1859.

My greatest desire to my Father and God is that I may so speak that my remarks will be acceptable to him and beneficial to those who hear me.

I do not know that I have the first desire to please myself or any earthly being in the remarks I may make. I do not know that I have any other purpose in view but the salvation of the people; and I wish the people to have only one ruling desire—namely, to do the will of their God.

If my mind is led this morning in a channel to instruct the Saints—to encourage them—to give them new life and vigor—to so strengthen them in their faith as to better prepare them to pursue the journey of life, God be thanked.

I sometimes think that perhaps I have not that fervent desire to preach to unbelievers that I ought to have. But one thing I can say—My garments are clear and pure from the blood of all men. I will briefly state why this is. For nearly thirty years I have sought to know the truth, and to properly understand the principles of the holy Priesthood revealed from heaven through the Prophet Joseph; and I have ceased not, when I have had an opportunity, at the proper time and in the proper place, to present those principles to my fellow men. And if those who have heard me had been as faithful and diligent as I have been since I embraced the truth, in distributing the truth to their neighbors, long before this time every family upon the face of the earth would have heard the Gospel of the Son of God and the warning voice of his servants, and have had the opportunity of believing or rejecting it, solely through my preaching and its results. This frees me from all blame on the score of preaching to the world. Blame upon that point cannot be attached to me by any man upon the face of the earth. If people of other nations rise up in the judgment and say, “If you, Brigham, had been faithful in preaching to us, we also could have been prepared for the day we now see,” my answer will be—“There is no such sin resting upon me.” That sin will fall, if anywhere, upon those who have heard me and have witnessed that I have told them the truth, but have not themselves been faithful in disseminating it to their neighbors. You may call this an apology, if you please, for not feeling that anxiety to preach to unbelievers that some may suppose I ought to feel; but I trust this matter with my God. I feel anxious for those who are disposed to believe the truth: I feel after the Saints. The facts I have related, touching myself, will also apply to hundreds of the Elders of Israel—to men who are now sitting in this stand and in this congregation. My desires daily and hourly are that those who profess to be Saints actually be Saints in truth and verity; and my constant prayer is for their welfare.

I remember the poor and the needy; though I can say (and the remark may astonish many of my brethren), I never pray for the people to be rich. I do not pray for gold and silver. I have never done so. I have never had so much as a desire for this people to become wealthy in gold and silver, in houses and lands, in goods and chattels. I do not know that I ever offered a petition to a being superior to myself to give me worldly riches and worldly honor and fame; but I have prayed, O Lord, give me the power, the knowledge, the wisdom and the understanding to secure to myself eternal life.

We have the promise, if we seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, that all necessary things will he added to us. We should not be distrustful, but seek first to know how to please our Father and God—seek to know how to save ourselves from the errors that are in the world, from darkness and unbelief, from the vain and delusive spirits that go abroad among the children of men to deceive, and learn how to save and preserve ourselves upon the earth, to preach the Gospel, build up the kingdom, and establish the Zion of our God. Then there is not the least danger, and there should not be the least doubt but what everything necessary for the comfort, convenience, happiness, and salvation of the people will be added to them.

True, we see many of this people that are poor. We have seen them in their persecutions and sore privations. We have seen them flee from city to city, from county to county, and from state to state. We have seen them naked and barefooted on the way to these valleys. In the companies that came here in 1847-8 and 9, probably not one in ten had good shoes or clothes to keep them comfortable in moderate weather; and but few had breadstuff sufficient to last them over four months. They came here, and here they stayed and labored; and what they brought with them had to answer until they raised enough to supply their wants. We can still see many who are not so comfortable as they desire to be.

Who among this people can discern the hand of God in all these circumstances, and that it is necessary that afflictions should come upon them to prove whether they will be Saints or not—whether they will be the friends of God, or turn away from the holy commandments, forsake their God and their religion, return to the beggarly elements of the world—to the vain fashions and foolish spirits that are abroad deceiving the children of men? My desire is that the Saints should understand—that they should be wise, having eyes that see, ears that hear, and hearts that understand as God understands us, that they may not be ignorant of the providences that attend them. At present my fervent desire is for the Saints. Doubtless, if, in the providences of God, I am again called to preach the Gospel to the world, I shall have as fervent a desire for them as I have ever had for the Saints. But I now feel to strengthen and comfort the Saints, inasmuch as I have the ability, and the Spirit bearing witness with yours that we should live our religion and be Saints indeed, and feel that affinity one to another that becomes the Saints of the living God.

I have no desire, at this time, to address you upon any particular point of doctrine, or to select a text upon which to expound or explain. I merely wish to inquire whether the Latter-day Saints understand the eventful day in which they live—whether they appreciate and understand the peculiar providences of God that are cast around them—whether they partially comprehend the nature of their own being, and the great object of their existence and place upon the earth. If they understand and rightly practice upon all this, every soul of them will keep the faith. After the existence of the Deity, his supremacy, his right to rule, his knowledge, his power, and his great plan of salvation for the children of men have been proved beyond the power of truthful contradiction; and after tens of thousands have bowed to the truths of the Gospel, been baptized for the remission of sins, and received the ordinances of the holy Priesthood, and run well for a season, it is lamentable to see so many turn away, forsake their covenants, and lose sight of all holiness and purity of life, becoming like a ship upon the great waste of waters without a compass, sail, rudder, or any means for guiding their course, and being wafted hither and thither with every wind that blows, not seeming to have the least idea of directing their own course. This is a matter of deep regret.

I ask intelligent men—those in whose bosoms the spirit of revelation continually abides, whether their souls do not mourn to see the neglect, the weakness, the blindness, and stupidity of those who have received the words of eternal life—who have received the promises and covenants of God, and have had the rights and privileges of receiving the revelations of Jesus Christ to guide and direct them in the path of truth and holiness, so that they could make sure to themselves salvation and eternal lives in the celestial kingdom of our Father and God. Is it not painful? Are you not astonished to see people who have received the Holy Spirit of promise, the Holy Ghost—who have received visions—who have been endowed with faith and with the knowledge of God—who have had power to lay hands upon the sick, and diseases have departed at their command, and foul spirits at their word, turn away and forsake their covenants and their God?

If there should not be another meeting of the Latter-day Saints until the winding-up scene, it would be astonishing that any man or woman of good sound sense and judgment should ever forsake their faith. I do not know that a comparison strong enough can possibly be framed to exhibit the folly of such a proceeding. Were I to say to a son, The whole earth is in my hands to dispose of as I will: I can make you the sovereign of the universe—the possessor of the gold, the silver, the mountains, the valleys, the rivers, the lakes, the seas, and all that float upon them and that live upon the face of the whole earth; for it is mine to give to you, my son, if you will serve me one month faithfully. I require nothing of you that will give you the least pain: all I require is strict obedience to my law. My son faithfully serves me during twenty-nine days, and on the thirtieth day, for the value of a straw, or for a mess of pottage, he sells his right and title to all I had promised him. This comparison falls very far short of showing the loss a Saint sustains when he turns away from his God and his religion.

There is one virtue, attribute, or principle, which, if cherished and practiced by the Saints, would prove salvation to thousands upon thousands. I allude to charity, or love, from which proceed forgiveness, long-suffering, kindness, and patience. But the shortsightedness and weakness in some are marvelous. To make this a little plainer, I will ask, Do any of your neighbors do anything wrong? They do. People come here from different parts of the earth to make this their adopted country, and the old residents expect them to at once conform to and adopt their manners, customs, and traditions, or they think the newcomers are not worthy of their fellowship. In other words, “If every man, woman, and child does not act, think, and see as I do, they are sinners.” It is very necessary that we have charity that will cover a multitude of what we may suppose to be sins. It is written in the Scriptures, “For charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” In its wording this is not literally correct, for charity does not cover up, hide, or justify actual iniquity. It covers up a multitude of improprieties and weaknesses that some are inclined to suppose to be sins.

In a community, and even in a family of children that have sprung from the same parents, you can find a great difference in the dispositions and temperaments of individuals. You observe an endless variety in the dispositions of mankind. I will give you an example.

Some Christian nations lately went to war with each other. What for? Pride—to please a selfish, worldly, carnal, wicked heart. And the priests, the majority of them being of the same faith, on both sides of the line of battle prayed to the same God for success in slaying the opposing army. If they can have the Spirit of the Lord thus to pray, they can have it there and then as well as anywhere else. They could have it as well as the English and Americans in the revolutionary war. When they went to battle, they prayed fervently, each side praying, “Lord, save my countrymen, preserve our armies, direct every ball that is discharged from our guns directly to the hearts of our enemies, until they are completely used up.”

God distributes his Spirit to all, both Christian and Pagan. This to some may appear very strange, but it is true; for there is not a Christian or Pagan nation, family, or individual upon the whole earth, to whom the Lord has not more or less at times dispensed his Spirit. The Pagan is as fervent in his desires to his god for a good and holy influence to attend him in the worship of his idols, as we are to the God of heaven—the Father of us all—the Being who has brought all mankind into existence and sustains them by his providence and fatherly care. He bestows blessings upon all his children, and enlightens them more or less by his Spirit, and guides the affairs of all nations, states, countries, and peoples. His kind benevolence and influence, by the power of his Spirit, are over them all. In this Territory are people gathered from almost all nations, where they have been differently educated, differently traditioned, and differently ruled. How, then, can we expect them to look, to act, and to have sentiments, faith, and customs precisely alike? I do not expect to see any such thing, but I endeavor to look upon them as an angel would, having compassion, long-suffering, and forbearance towards them. How many times can I forgive a brother? I do not know, for I have never been particularly tried upon this point; but I think I could forgive a brother seventy times seven in one day, if I had not learned that he had a design to commit evil. He might commit overt acts every half minute in the day; and if he felt to sincerely repent, I could forgive him. Everybody should do so, and especially the Saints.

How many of us charge evil upon our neighbors, or upon members of our families, when they have desired, according to the best of their ability, and striven, according to the best of their knowledge, and as fervently as they could, to do right! Where, then, is our charity, our benevolence, long-suffering, and patience? We should overcome all unfriendly desires to overthrow each other, and strive to inculcate these principles that pertain to eternal life. Men are greedy for the vain things of this world. In their hearts they are covetous. It is true that the things of this world are designed to make us comfortable, and they make some people as happy as they can be here; but riches can never make the Latter-day Saints happy. Riches of themselves cannot produce permanent happiness: only the Spirit that comes from above can do that. If we are compelled to eat our morsel under a rock in the wilderness, or in a log cabin, we are happy, so that we possess that Spirit. If a man drinks at the fountain of eternal life, he is as happy under the broad canopy of heaven, without a home, as in a palace. This I know by experience. I know that the things of this world, from beginning to end, from the possession of mountains of gold down to a crust of johnnycake, makes little or no difference in the happiness of an individual. The things of this world add to our national comfort, and are necessary to sustain mortal life. We need these comforts to preserve our earthly existence; and many suppose, when they have them in great abundance, that they have all that is needed to make them happy. They are striving continually, and with all their might, for that which does not add one particle to their happiness, though it may add to their comfort, and perhaps to the length of their lives, if they do not kill themselves in their eagerness to grasp the gilded butterfly. But those things have nothing to do with the spirit, feeling, consolation, light, glory, peace, and joy that pertain to heaven and heavenly things, which are the food of the ever-living spirit within us.

Hundreds and thousands of the Latter-day Saints, while passing through persecutions, have gone to their graves for want of a little medicine, or that kind of nourishment most proper in their condition. They could not obtain such things, their strength gradually gave way to the diseases that preyed upon them, and they sunk into death for want of the comforts of life. But did they go to their graves mourning, and bewailing their situation? I will venture to state that they felt better than many who die on downy beds with all things around them that earthly riches can command, or heart desire. In those times of severe trial we laid our hands upon the sick, and tried to encourage them all we could; but we had no earthly comforts in the shape of food, clothing, medicine, &c., to impart, nor any physical comfort designed to sustain life. We laid our hands upon hundreds, and saw fathers, mothers, and children sinking and dying. Was there nothing that could help them? Yes; if we could have made them some chicken broth, or given them a little wine, it probably would have turned the disease, and they might have lived; but we did not have such articles to give. How did they die? Rejoicing that their pilgrimage was over, saying, “I am happy within.” If the question had been asked, “Do you not think that if you had this or that, it would make you happy?” their answer would have been, “No: I am happy without them. They might increase my bodily health, but they have nothing to do with my happiness.” Yet how overanxious the great majority of mankind are for the vain and foolish things of this life!

Are the people mourning for anything now? And do they think this to be a day of trial and darkness? In the spring of 1857 we moved from our homes at a time when it was pleasant for living out of doors and lying upon the ground; but hundreds now present have had to leave their homes in the dead of winter, with no habitation to shelter them. The revelations declare that this people shall be tried in all things. If we were not tried in the things that now try us, we should not be tried in all things. We have had the trial of burying our friends: we have been driven from our homes, leaving our possessions, our goods, our farms, our houses, orchards, gardens, and furniture standing in our houses. We gathered up teams, a little food and clothing, and left. We have been tried in losing our fathers, our mothers, our children, our sisters, and brethren. We have been tried in having a mob butcher our brethren before our eyes, shooting them down as deliberately as a mountaineer would shoot a wolf.

It is necessary that we should be tried, in order to prove whether we can be still in prayer time. You know that it is sometimes necessary to correct our children for making a noise in prayer time. It is now prayer time with us. Can we keep still, or shall we be found making a disturbance in the family? Let us, as children, keep still, or our Father may use the rod of correction. What a trial, to keep still in prayer time! Oh, how this people are tried!! Those who turn away from the holy commandments will meet trials that are trials indeed. They will feel the wrath of the Almighty upon them. Those who are still and are good children will receive the rich blessing of their Father and God. Be still, and let your faith rest on the Lord Almighty. He is at the helm; he is in the midst of this people, and guides the ship Zion. Be good children until our Father has taught us our present lesson, and be ready to answer every call, to render obedience to every requirement, and have compassion upon each other. But if you should happen to see John or Lucy climb up into a chair in prayer time, and yet have no evil design in so doing, let charity cover that impropriety. Do not tell Father that John was a naughty boy. Do not be so full of religion as to look upon every little overt act that others may commit as being the unpardonable sin that will place them beyond the reach of redemption and the favors of our God.

Some come to me saying, “Oh, brother Brigham, it does seem that all the people are going to the Devil!” I can foretell a few things. Those who are good children, and behave themselves until prayer time is over, will by-and-by sit down to supper and have a joyful season. Some may say, “I fear there will be but few left to eat supper, there are so many going astray.” Be patient: there are more than seven thousand in this city who have not bowed the knee to Baal, without numbering those of other cities who are ready and anxious to do right, and none of them will be lost. “But some are stealing.” Can you at present prevent it? “No. But do you not think that it ought to be stopped?” Yes, if we had the power; but we have not now the power. If I had the power, I would send every thief to his long home. I will promise thieves, drunkards, and other offenders against good order, morality, and the well-being of society, that if I can learn of their committing such sins, I will cut them off from the Church. I will not knowingly fellow ship thieves, liars, and drunkards, nor any abominable character. But can I prevent men from committing those crimes? No: neither can you. Could the Lord? Yes, if he wished to. He could lead them to some of our large streams, cause them to think that they could cross over dry-shod, and then drown them as he did the Egyptians; but he does not feel to do so.

I do know that some people are wanting in understanding when they charge others with sin, which they do not suppose to be sin. They have been differently educated, and consequently each party feels justified in doing that which the other party would feel condemned in; and hence they condemn each other. You may inquire how far a person can go and be justified, and pray and receive a portion of the Spirit of the Lord. Can he go so far as to steal? Yes; because, through his traditions and customs, he would not deem that he had stolen, though I might think he had. I presume there are those who would take your axe or mine, if they found it in a road or canyon, even though the owner’s name was upon it, and take it home and keep it. Will they pray to God, while they do such things? Yes, as fervently as those who do not. Will they have the Spirit of the Lord? Yes, a portion of it. Could I do so? No. But there are those who have been thus traditionated, and the Spirit of the Lord will find its way to their hearts as it would to the heart of an Indian.

The very Indians who massacre men, women, and children on the plains, have their religious ceremonies and pray to their God for success in killing men, women, and children. The French and Austrians meet and slay one another by hundreds and thousands; and thousands of women and children who were not engaged in battle are also sacrificed by the folly of those Christian wars. The instigators of those wars are just as guilty of murder, before God, as the Indians are for killing the men, women, and children who are passing through their country. What is the difference in the eyes of our Father and God? It is just as much murder to kill unjustly a million at a blow as it is to kill one, though Dr. Young has stated that, “One murder makes a villain; millions makes a hero.” Were I to make war upon an innocent people, because I had the power, to possess myself of their Territory, their silver, gold, and other property, and be the cause of slaying, say fifty thousand strong, hale, hearty men, and devolving consequent suffering upon one hundred thousand women and children, who would suffer through privation and want, I am very much more guilty of murder than is the man who kills only one person to obtain his pocketbook.

Our traditions have been such that we are not apt to look upon war between two nations as murder; but suppose that one family should rise up against another and begin to slay them, would they not be taken up and tried for murder? Then why not nations that rise up and slay each other in a scientific way be equally guilty of murder? “But observe the martial array, how splendid! See the furious warhorses, with their glittering trappings! Then the honor and glory and pride of the reigning king must be sustained, and the strength and power and wealth of the nation must be displayed in some way; and what better way than to make war upon neighboring nations, under some slight pretext?” Does it justify the slaying of men, women, and children that otherwise would have remained at home in peace, because a great army is doing the work? No: the guilty will be damned for it.

Let this people called Latter-day Saints examine themselves and be sure that they are right before God, and do as they should in all things, and hurt not the oil and the wine. Never pray for riches; do not entertain such a foolish thought. In my deep poverty, when I knew not where I could procure the next morsel of food for myself and family, I have prayed God to open the way that I might get something to keep myself and family from dying. Those who do more than this are off more or less from the track that leads to life eternal. When you obtain eternal riches, and the true and living faith within you, and the visions of your mind are opened to understand and see things as they are, you will then be made aware that the riches of this world are disposed of by a Supreme Power, and that all that is necessary will be added to you. If it is to die while you are hunting out an asylum for the poor persecuted Saints, die. If, while a missionary to the nations of the earth, you should be shipwrecked on a desolate island and starve to death, die like a man.

Let the providence of God take its course. Ask for that which will make you happy and prepare you for life or death. What is that? Food for the mind, to feed the intelligent part of the creature. The Lord has planted within us a divinity; and that divine, immortal spirit requires to be fed. Will earthly food answer for that purpose? No; it will only keep this body alive as long as the spirit stays with it, which gives us an opportunity of doing good. That divinity within us needs food from the Fountain from which it emanated. It is not of the earth, earthy, but is from heaven. Principles of eternal life, of God and godliness, will alone feed the immortal capacity of man and give true satisfaction. But it is very lamentable to observe how so many grovel in darkness, seeming not to understand anything beyond what they can feel with their hands, see with their eyes, and hear with their ears. They seem to feel, “Let me eat and drink today, for tomorrow I am not.” Where are you tomorrow? “Gone into nonentity—passed away like a vapor, for aught I know. My life, existence, intelligence, my organism, the whole man has passed into the great chaos of nature, never to be again reorganized to reflect, see, think, understand, enjoy, or endure: it is all gone forever.” Like brutes they live, and like brutes they die. Like the unconscious bullock that is led to the slaughterhouse, they know nothing until the knife drinks the lifeblood and they sink into death.

My feelings are—O that men would understand the purpose of their existence! Our organism makes us capable of exquisite enjoyment. Do I not love my wife, my son, my daughter, my brother, my sister, my father, and my mother? And do I not love to associate with my friends? I do, and love to reflect and talk on eternal principles. Our salvation consists in knowing them, and they are designed in their nature to cheer and comfort us. Is that eternal existence in me that feeds upon eternal truth organized to be destroyed? Is that organism ever to come to an end, so long as it lives upon eternal truth? No. Let me eternally enjoy the society of those I love. Let our associations in time and in eternity never be destroyed.

In this life we are full of pain, disappointment, and worldly trouble. This gives us a chance to prove to God that we are his friends. Seek unto the Lord for his Spirit, without any cessation in your efforts, until his Spirit dwells within you like eternal burnings. Let the candle of the Lord be lighted up within you, and all is right. Until prayer time is over, be still, keep quiet, and all is right. For the present, let the world go, for they have been repeatedly preached to. It is necessary that all have the privilege of receiving or rejecting eternal truth, that they may be prepared to be saved, or be prepared to be damned.

I pray that what I have said this morning may do you good, and do no person any harm, and that your hearts may be comforted and made steadfast in the truth. If you wish to know what you shall do, to do right, I answer—Do all that you know to be good. Pray to the Father to guide you in righteousness, and never permit yourselves to do that which you know is evil. And if you do evil ignorantly and in good faith, I promise you it shall result in good.

By-and-by, when prayer time is over, many of those whom you think are nearly gone to the Devil will feel and express their sorrow for their foolishness, and promise henceforth to be good children. But you may as well try to stop with sand the gushing streams that flow down our canyon gorges as to stop a man from committing sin who is determined to sin. We can cut such persons off from our fellowship, which I am determined to do. We will not fellowship the old, dead, dry limbs.

May the Lord bless you, brethren! Amen.