|Orson F. Whitney|
Monday, August 26, 2019
Savior, Redeemer of My Soul
Savior, Redeemer of my soul,
Whose mighty hand hath made me whole,
Whose wondrous pow’r hath raised me up
And filled with sweet my bitter cup!
What tongue my gratitude can tell,
O gracious God of Israel.
Never can I repay thee, Lord,
But I can love thee. Thy pure word,
Hath it not been my one delight,
My joy by day, my dream by night?
Then let my lips proclaim it still,
And all my life reflect thy will.
O’errule mine acts to serve thine ends.
Change frowning foes to smiling friends.
Chasten my soul till I shall be
In perfect harmony with thee.
Make me more worthy of thy love,
And fit me for the life above.
|The Prophet Joseph Smith|
It matters not how advanced many who embrace the gospel, be in life, the true object of their calling, is to increase their intelligence; to give them knowledge and understanding in all things which pertain to their happiness and peace, both here and hereafter.— And it is therefore required, that they place themselves in a situation accordingly.
Vain are the hopes of those who embrace the gospel, and then suppose, like the ignorant sectarians of the day, they have nothing more to do, but hold on to what they have gotten. Oh indeed! they think, or at least some of them do, that it is very well to have their priest educated, as well as they can; but for the people, they can serve God as well in ignorance as any other way: they can say their prayers, whether there is sense in them or not; and sing Psalms, it matters not whether they are suited to their condition or not; and thus in the most profound ignorance, with a learned blockhead, at their head, blunder on, until they blunder into heaven. But this stupid ignorance cannot exist among the saints.— It will do well enough, for creatures that know not God, and have not obeyed the gospel. But for saints it will not do. The great God when he began to work for his name’s glory, never thought of doing so, by raising up a society of ignoramuses, but of men and women of intelligence; of first intelligence. Of intelligence as high as human nature was susceptable; and by this means glorify himself.
One of the principal objects then, of our coming together, is to obtain the advantages of education; and in order to do this, compact society is absolutely necessary: it cannot be obtained without it, at most only by the few, to the exclusion of the many; which is a principle, at war with the principles of the church of Christ; for the principle of the church is, that what one has, all have; and equal privileges must be granted to all, or else it is not the church of Christ. And if those, on whom the important duty of regulating this matter devolves, should neglect to do their duty in this matter, they will be found transgressors.
We wish the saints then to be apprised of this, that in order to obtain [t]he ends of their calling, they will find [i]t, unavoidably, necessary that they should be gathered into the cities, in as compact order as possible."
- The Prophet Joseph Smith, Elders’ Journal, August 1838
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.
Christians have often disputed as to whether what leads the Christian home is good actions, or Faith in Christ. I have no right really to speak on such a difficult question, but it does seem to me like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary. A serious moral effort is the only thing that will bring you to the point where you throw up the sponge. Faith in Christ is the only thing to save you from despair at that point: and out of that Faith in Him good actions must inevitably come."
(see also the analogy of the woodpile)
Friday, August 16, 2019
“I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow;
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me.”
Thursday, August 15, 2019
|Orson F. Whitney|
In solemn council sat the Gods;
From Kolob's height supreme,
Celestial light blazed forth afar
O'er countless kokaubeam;
And faintest tinge, the fiery fringe
Of that resplendent day,
'Lumined the dark abysmal realm
Where earth in chaos lay.
Silence self-spelled; the hour was one
When thought doth most avail;
Of worlds unborn the destiny
Hung trembling in the scale.
Silence o'er all, and there arose,
Those kings and priests among,
A Power sublime, than whom appeared
None nobler 'mid the throng.
A stature mingling strength with grace,
Of meek though Godlike mien,
The love-revealing countenance
Lustrous as lightning sheen;
Whiter his hair than ocean spray,
Or frost of alpine hill.
He spake;--attention grew more grave,
The stillness e'en more still.
"Father!"--the voice like music fell,
Clear as the murmuring flow
Of mountain streamlet trickling down
From heights of virgin snow.
"Father," it said, "since one must die,"
Thy children to redeem,
Whilst earth, as yet unformed and void,
With pulsing life shall teem;
"And thou, great Michael, foremost fall,
That mortal man may be,
And chosen Saviour yet must send,
Lo, here am I--send me!
I ask, I seek no recompense,
Save that which then were mine;
Mine be the willing sacrifice,
The endless glory, Thine!
"Give me to lead to this lorn world,
When wandered from the fold,
Twelve legions of the noble ones
That now thy face behold;
Tried souls, 'mid untried spirits found;
That captained these may be,
And crowned the dispensations all
With powers of Deity.
"A love that hath redeemed all worlds,
All worlds must still redeem;
But mercy cannot justice rob--
Or where were Elohim?
Freedom--man's faith, man's work, God's grace--
Must span the great gulf o'er;
Life, death, the guerdon or the doom,
Rejoice we or deplore."
Silence once more. Then sudden rose
Aloft a towering form,
Proudly erect as lowering peak
'Lumed by the gathering storm!
A presence bright and beautiful,
With eye of flashing fire,
A lip whose haughty curl bespoke
A sense of inward ire.
"Give me to go!" thus boldly cried,
With scarce concealed disdain;
"And hence shall none, from heaven to earth,
That shall not rise again.
My saving plan exception scorns;
Man's agency unknown;
As recompense, I claim the right
To sit on yonder throne!"
Ceased Lucifer. The breathless hush
Resumed and denser grew.
All eyes were turned; the general gaze
On one common magnet drew.
A moment there was solemn pause;
Then, like the thunder-burst,
Rolled forth from lips omnipotent--
From Him both last and first:
"Immanuel! thou my Messenger,
Till time's probation end.
And one shall go thy face before,
While twelve thy steps attend.
And many more, on that far shore,
The pathway shall prepare,
That I, the First, the last may come,
And earth my glory share.
"Go forth, thou chosen of the Gods,
Whose strength shall in thee dwell!
Go down betime and rescue earth,
Dethroning death and hell
On thee alone man's fate depends,
The fate of beings all.
Thou shalt not fail, though thou art free--
Free, but too great, to fall.
"By three in heaven, by three on earth,--
By blood that sanctifies,
By water of obedience,
Spirit that justifies;
By every word of mine and thine,
Through toil and travail sore,
Man, God-redeemed, with God shall be,
As God forevermore."
'T was done. From congregation vast
Tumultuous murmurs rose;
Waves of conflicting sound, as when
Two meeting seas oppose.
'T was finished. But the heavens wept;
And still their annals tell
How one was choice of Elohim,
O'er one who fighting fell.
A stranger star that came from far,
To fling its silver ray,
Where, cradled in a lowly cave,
A lowlier infant lay;
And led by soft sidereal light,
The Orient sages bring
Rare gifts of gold and frankincense,
To greet the homeless King.
Oh wondrous grace! Will Gods go down
Thus low that men may rise?
Imprisoned here the mighty one
Who reigned in yonder skies?
Hark to that chime!--a tongue sublime,
That tells the hour of noon.
A dying world is welcoming
Life--light of sun and moon.
"Peace! peace!"--thy voice, eternity!
"Peace!" echoes time's false tone.
"Peace! peace!" Is discord then no more?
Are earth and heaven as one?
Peace, peace, where sparkling hosts proclaim
A monarch manger-born;
There ruler of unnumbered realms,
Here throneless and forlorn.
He wandered through the faithless world,
A prince in shepherd guise;
He called his scattered flock, but few
The voice did recognize;
For minds upborne by hollow pride,
Or dimmed by sordid lust,
Ne'er look for kings in begger's garb,
For diamonds in the dust.
Wept He above a city doomed,
Her temple, walls, and towers,
O'er palaces where recreant priests
Usurped unhallowed powers.
"I am the way, the life, the light!"
Alas! 't was heeded not;
Ignored--nay, mocked God's messenger,
And spurned the truth He taught.
O bane of damning unbelief!
Till now when e'er so rife?
Thou stumbling stone, thou barrier 'thwart
The gates of endless life!
O love of self, and Mammon's lust!
Twin portals to despair,
Where bigotry, the blinded bat,
Flaps through the midnight air.
Through these, gloom-wrapt Gethsemane!
Thy glens of guilty shade
Grieved o'er the sinless Son of God,
By gold-bought kiss betrayed;
Beheld Him unresisting dragged,
Forsaken, friendless, lone,
To halls where dark-browed hatred sat
On judgment's lofty throne.
As sheep before His shearers, dumb,
Those patient lips were mute;
The clamorous charge of taunting tongues
He deigned not to dispute.
They smote with cruel palm a face
Which felt yet bore the sting;
Then crowned with thorns His quivering brow,
And mocking, hailed him "King!"
Transfixt He hung,--O crime of crimes!--
The God whom worlds adore.
"Father, forgive them!" Drained the dregs;
Immanuel was no more!
No more where thunders shook the earth,
Where lightnings, 'thwart the gloom,
Saw that unconquered spirit spurn
The shackles of the tomb.
Far-flashing on its wings of light,
A falchion from its sheath,
It cleft the realms of darkness and
Dissolved the bands of death;
Hell's dungeons burst, wide open swung
The everlasting bars,
Whereby the ransomed soul shall win
Those heights beyond the stars.
- Orson F. Whitney, from "Elect of Elohim" in Elias, an Epic of the Ages
(see here for a reading of the poem set to music)
Sunday, August 11, 2019
|The Prophet Joseph Smith|
"The Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence. It is more powerful in expanding the mind, enlightening the understanding, and storing the intellect with present knowledge, of a man who is of the literal seed of Abraham, than one that is a Gentile, though it may not have half as much visible effect upon the body; for as the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seed of Abraham, it is calm and serene; and his whole soul and body are only exercised by the pure spirit of intelligence; while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham (naturally) must have a new creation by the Holy Ghost. In such a case, there may be more of a powerful effect upon the body, and visible to the eye, than upon an Israelite, while the Israelite at first might be far before the Gentile in pure intelligence."
Sunday, August 4, 2019
WHEN the lessons and tasks are all ended,
And the school for the day is dismissed,
And the little ones gather around me,
To bid me good night and be kissed;
O the little white arms that encircle
My neck in their tender embrace!
O the smiles that are halos of heaven,
Shedding sunshine of love on my face!
And when they are gone, I sit dreaming
Of my childhood, too lovely to last;
Of love that my heart will remember
When it wakes to the pulse of the past,
Ere the world and its wickedness made me
A partner of sorrow and sin,—
When the glory of God was about me,
And the glory of gladness within.
All my heart grows weak as a woman’s,
And the fountains of feeling will flow,
When I think of the paths steep and stony,
Where the feet of the dear ones must go;
Of the mountains of sin hanging o’er them,
Of the tempest of Fate blowing wild;
O, there ’s nothing on earth half so holy
As the innocent heart of a child!
They are idols of hearts and of households;
They are angels of God in disguise;
His sunlight still sleeps in their tresses,
His story still gleams in their eyes;
O, these truants from home and from heaven,—
They have made me more manly and mild;
And I know now how Jesus could liken
The kingdom of God to a child!
I ask not a life for the dear ones,
All radiant, as others have done,
But that life may have just enough shadow
To temper the glare of the sun;
I would pray God to guard them from evil,
But my prayer would bound back to myself;
Ah! a seraph may pray for a sinner,
But a sinner must pray for himself.
The twig is so easily bended,
I have banished the rule and the rod;
I have taught them the goodness of knowledge,
They have taught me the goodness of God.
My heart is the dungeon of darkness,
Where I shut them for breaking a rule;
My frown is sufficient correction;
My love is the law of the school.
I shall leave the old house in the autumn,
To traverse its threshold no more;
Ah! how shall I sigh for the dear ones
That meet me each morn at the door!
I shall miss the “good nights” and the kisses,
And the gush of their innocent glee,
The group on its green, and the flowers
That are brought every morning to me.
I shall miss them at morn and at even,
Their song in the school and the street;
I shall miss the low hum of their voices,
And the tread of their delicate feet.
When the lessons of life are all ended,
And death says, “The school is dismissed!”
May the little ones gather around me,
To bid me good night and be kissed!