Brethren and sisters, it gives me much gratification and joy to have
the opportunity of meeting with you on this occasion. And probably
there is no necessity for me to tell you why I am glad. You may be
enabled to infer that, from what I may say.
I have come not to tell you of any new things, or of any strange
things. And I shall not take a text this evening, for this simple
fact—that I once had a text given me to preach from, to preach on, and
to preach about or to explain to the people; and I have been at work
for the last twenty years, and I have not done preaching yet.
We used to think that a man could preach the Gospel in one sermon, and
explain all the prophecies, besides making a great many new ones. But
I have learned better as I have grown older. I have found out to my
astonishment, that instead of having preached all the Gospel, I have
learned but very little of it yet; consequently I could not preach it
all. I am a pupil in the school, but I have also been engaged by him
who teaches me, to teach those of my fellow pupils, in the school, who
have not advanced farther than I have.
Now, the accomplishment of the objects for which the Gospel is
preached, is a matter that presents itself to our minds. It is of the
greatest importance. For men might preach the Gospel till there is not
a people under heaven who have not heard it; and they might return,
and sit themselves down as having faithfully made this proclamation,
and still there might be but very few saved; and there might have been
but a very small work accomplished: for the extent of their salvation
is in accordance with the amount of principle and truth which they have learned and obeyed.
We talk about men being saved from sin, and then we get a Scriptural
definition of what sin is. It is Scripturally a transgression of the
law. Well, now, this leaves us just as dark as if there had been no
Scripture. Then sin is a transgression of the law; but in order for us
to fully comprehend the matter, we should know what the law is, so
that we might know when we transgress it.
Now, for our information, supposing we leave these things, and what we
have read in books, and what was told us a great many years ago, and,
in our own way of expressing what we do understand, let us reason
together. We will reason together as if we were at the beginning, and
said all that had been said, and done all that had been done.
Well, now, so that we can understand what salvation is, we shall be
enabled to comprehend the way in which we shall have to be saved.
Salvation, like everything else, is something that we cannot make or
create. We are not going to do one particle towards making it.
Then we will lay down this, that we are not going to make anything, or
destroy anything, in becoming saved. There will be no more truth in
the world, after we are saved, than there is now. The sun will rise
and set, and the works of Jehovah continue to be unchanged, and there
will be no difference in things only in what will relate to ourselves.
Jesus is said to be the author of our salvation, having learned
certain things, and having clothed himself with his love of
righteousness and obedience, he came to reveal that salvation to all
the sons of earth, so that all might have an opportunity of deriving
such advantages as it was calculated to bestow; therefore, he was the
author and revealer of the Gospel.
He said, he came unto his own, and his own received him not; but unto
as many as did receive him, unto them gave he power to become the sons
and daughters of God. And he gathered his disciples and Apostles
around him, and taught them the truth that he himself comprehended,
and he sent them forth, even as his Father had sent him forth. He said
that he had come to do the will of his Father, and bear record of the
truth. This was his testimony, and the object of his mission to earth.
He taught his disciples this.
Now, for the accomplishment of what purpose were these things to be
taught? To bring salvation to the lost and fallen sons of earth, and
to bestow upon them the gift of eternal life. Well, what is salvation?
It is that which we learn in our every day life; it is what the
schoolboy learns at school.
One of the old Apostles said, it is eternal life, to know the only
true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.
Well, is this what it takes to become the sons and daughters of God?
Yes. Then, how did the Apostles obtain this knowledge? I will tell
you: Jesus said unto them, "Follow me;" and he took them up into the
mountains, and there in secret he taught them the principles of truth.
And as evidence that he thought they were learning, he enquired of
Peter, and the other Apostles (when they came in; for ought I know,
they had been out preaching, as the "Mormon" Elders do, and probably
had baptized a thousand persons), who do men say that I am? Why, said
they, "Some say that thou art John, others one of the prophets."
But, said Jesus, "Who do you say that I am, ye disciples of mine who
have been laboring in the vineyard?" Says Peter, "Thou art the
Christ, the Son of the living God." Then said he to Peter,
"Thou art blessed, for flesh and blood has not revealed this unto
thee, but my Father who is in heaven."
The Apostles acquired knowledge as the result of their application to
searching for it. Can you tell what change there was effected in these
men? They were men just as we are now, subject to like passions; then
this is just as interesting as anything we can look at; and we will
not question for one moment in our minds, but that it all transpired
just as the Bible relates it.
Then what was the change in the condition of these men, I ask? When
our Savior called them they were fishing, and they had never made the
acquaintance of the Son of God; they knew nothing of him, or of his
father who had sent him.
It was his request that first attracted their attention, and we learn
that subsequently they were sent forth as messengers to preach the
Gospel to their fellowmen. And what of all that? "Why," says one,
"they had learned the things of God." Well had they any more than
learned them? What had happened to them? Was there any difference with
them, more than they knew a little more than they did before?
The very first salvation that Peter was enabled to treasure up as his
own property, was that he knew that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of
the living God. It was the Spirit of God that revealed this unto him;
and he continued to have the comprehension of truth, in addition to
the truth which he had already learned; and that was all the
difference there was with Peter or the rest of the Apostles.
"But," says one, "did they not speak in tongues?" Yes, but they
not learn anything, unless there was an interpreter present. The
Apostle Paul said, he had rather speak five words, with his
understanding, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
They also prophesied. And did they learn anything by that? Yes,
because something was foretold, and they could understand what was
said; and for this reason the Apostle Paul once said, "That he would
to God that they were all prophets." So he seems to have been a
disciple to this doctrine—that the love and comprehension of truth was
the principle that edified—that it was the principle that would fix
and establish the palpable change in the condition of mankind.
We read of the Apostles being in prison, and we read of their getting
out of prison; but we do not find them telling of anything that
constitutes eternal life, but the comprehending of something.
"Well, but" says one, "is the truth that we comprehend anywhere,
eternal life?" A man might comprehend a truth which would not effect a
delineation of the Gospel; but this is eternal life—to know the only
true God, and His Son Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. Then, according
to this language, the knowing certain personages, or the comprehending
certain truths, constitutes salvation. It is not simply to know that He
exists; for a man might know that He exists, and still not be in a
position to receive eternal life.
Perhaps some of my scholars will get impatient to know what brother
Lyman is wanting to get at. Well, I will comfort you with a little
explanation. I want to show you that it is not merely the labor that
you can perform, that will give you eternal life; I want you to
understand that if you have eternal life, it will be when you
comprehend the truth, so that it becomes your property; so that you
can apply it—the same as it is when you have got money in your pocket,
you can buy bread with it or anything else you want.
You may sing, or pray, or just do what you please, but if you do not
learn the truth, and fully comprehend it, you will fail to obtain
salvation. I want you to understand this, that you may not waste
I know the Saints do a great deal of labor, and they suffer a great
deal at times; but I want to get you posted up in such a manner that
you will see that you need not work and slave yourselves so awfully
hard, thinking that it will bring you salvation; if you do, you will
find after you get through, that you will be as bad as a man who was
endeavoring to become a State's senator (if I mistake not, in
California) in some of the recent political contests. The rival
candidates, in connection with other friends, had used all their
influence in order to gain the day. At length the election came off,
and most of the returns were in, so that they thought the results were
actually known; therefore, the one who imagined himself elected, made
a great dinner, but just about the time the dinner was to come off, it
was proved that his opponent was elected. How bad the poor man felt.
How will it be with us? For we do not expect to live here always. Why,
we shall wake up to the comprehension of the fact, that we have not
obtained the heaven or salvation we expected. Then, you see, we should
have to wait like the Californian did, at least till another election.
I want to have you discriminate between that which is salvation, and
that which is not salvation. There is such a thing in the world as
means, and the object that the means effect. The object and the means
are two different things. I want you to learn this, that it is a
comprehension of truth, treasured up in the mind and soul of man, and
a just application of the same, that will save him. Just as far as you
comprehend and practice truth, you are saved.
"Well," says one, "is this knowledge which you refer to, all that we
have to gain and profit by in order to be saved?" I know of nothing
else; I have nothing else to teach you.
"But," says one, "I thought it was the doing of my duty that would
save me; for instance, I am required to pay my tithing, whether
ecclesiastical or municipal, or any other; besides this, I have to
labor a considerable portion of my time; and I have to go and preach
the Gospel, and call upon sinners to obey the truth; I verily thought
that this had something to do with my salvation." Well, this has
something to do with your salvation, but I do not want you, because
you have been preaching the Gospel, and have returned again, to think
that you are saved.
Can we not understand that millions of men are laboring with all their
powers, though they are not carrying out "Mormonism." They labor as
much, and suffer as much as we do, and then they go down into the
earth by thousands and millions, still there is not a soul of them
that has gained eternal life; not a soul of them has gained salvation
for their self-martyrdom; for many of them have been martyred.
Well, now, what is the reason if suffering will exalt and save the
Latter-day Saints, that it will not save and exalt the suffering
millions who never knew anything about "Mormonism?" As I heard a
Universal preacher say (the saying struck me when I heard it), that if
we could find a plan that would save one man, we could find a plan
that would save all men. Well, this is what we want; for if we can
find a plan that has saved one, we can find the plan that has saved
all that have been saved.
If there is not developed in us the comprehension and correct practice
of the truth, we shall fail to be saved. Our baptism for the
remission of sins, followed by the laying on of hands, and our
washings and anointings will not avail anything, if they are not
followed by this development.
If the lamp of eternal truth is not lighted in us—is not planted
here—does not receive its strength here, all our efforts will be in
vain. If the knowledge and light of eternal truth does not follow as
the result of our toil, the ordinances that we receive, and all that
is done to us will not save us. We may build cities with gold, adorned
with splendor and magnificence, fit to receive the Son of God; it will
be all the same.
Nebuchadnezzar built a magnificent city, but was it the principle of
salvation with him, or among his people? Was there one soul of them
saved who built that great city? No, and instead of Nebuchadnezzar's
going into heaven, he went into the pasture to feed with the cattle.
And this is the way that it will be with you, if you do not toil
right; instead of going into heaven, you will have to go into the
pasture, as he did.
This is a truthful illustration. Nebuchadnezzar held the command of
millions of men, and he built magnificent cities and palaces; and we
go to work on the same principle, and build cities; but we build them
with coarse materials; of one portion we make a wall and of another
portion we make a house. We are progressing to the splendor of what
Nebuchadnezzar did, but we cannot look up to heaven and say, here are
a great many cities that we have made; but we can say, here are a
great many cities that we have commenced; but we are far richer than
the king; for we have got that which will make us wise unto salvation.
This is a part of my sermon, I have not preached to you about baptism
for the remission of sins, and about the laying on of hands, and
prophecy, and so forth.
You can read about these things at home; consequently, you have no
need for me to come here, and wear myself out in talking about them. I
want to teach you something that you cannot read. If I had you in a
school, I would not take more liberty with you. You are not saved by
the truth till you know and obey it. In "Mormonism" there is A and B.
Well, then, you will have to learn A and B and so forth. Do any of you
remember learning your letters at home which your mother taught you?
She would get some old book or other and say, well, my son, what is
the first letter in this book? Why, he could not name it; she might
just as well have asked the boy about the sun, as to ask him about
The mother would say, well, that is A; then the little fellow would
try to say so. After a little she would ask him to tell her again what
A is, but the little fellow is just as dumb as before. Well, she tries
him again, and after she has told him what it is, he says A; now he
has learned something; he has learned to know the formation of the
letter before him.
I suppose I was not born into the world with a knowledge of my
letters; hence I have had to learn them like the rest of you. Well, I
want you to know that this is the way that we shall have to get
The revelations tell us that intelligence was not created, neither can
it be. Hence, what we have to do is to comprehend that which does
exist. This explains the propriety and truth of the Lord's prayer.
Now, says the Lord; "When you pray, pray in this manner—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."
Well, what about this? Why, in the first place, we do not suppose that
simply the using of these words would save anybody; for fathers and
mothers very frequently teach their chil dren this prayer,
almost before they can talk, and they will repeat it till they are old
enough to run away.
I want you to see that here is one of the guideboards of the Gospel.
We say, our Father who art in heaven. Now, what does this language
imply? Why, it tells us that we have a Father in heaven, and that we
are His children. The next tells us that He is holy: "Thy kingdom
come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven." We pray
this, simply because we want His will to be done here, as it is done
But we have only read one side of the guideboard yet. Well, then, we
now come to the asking of the Father for a peculiar favor; and we now
say to Him, "Father, forgive us of all our sins, as we forgive those
who trespass against us." Now, do you want to know how much He will
forgive you? If you curse your neighbor because he has trespassed
against you, get down and pray for your Father to curse you.
Why, "But," says one, "I would not like to pray for God to curse
I suppose you did not think that the Lord's prayer meant so much as
this. Well, now, as you would have God deal with you, so deal with
Now, we all would like the man on whom we trespass to forgive us, and
then we suppose that God would forgive him, just as he has forgiven
us. Our Savior said that we should forgive men when they trespass
against us. And why? Because that is the way that God will do with us.
We ought not to forget or neglect the first principles of the Gospel,
but at the same time go on unto perfection.
But have you left off your practical sins? For theory will do you no
good; you may have all the knowledge you please, but it will do you no
good until it defines the divinity of its character, until it becomes
indelibly fixed in your minds. I want that you should learn this.
Says one, "Is it not good for us to be baptized?" Yes. And it is also
good to use the Lord's prayer; and when you ask forgiveness, the
example given tells you the very course that you should adopt towards
God, and towards all with whom you have anything to do. There is
nothing you ought to be more particular about than this; when you say,
father, forgive me, just make yourselves certain that you have
forgiven your brother; and, if you have not forgiven your brother,
when the expression is just about to fall from your lips, shut your
mouth—make it a prisoner.
Perhaps you will accuse me and say, "Why, we thought brother Lyman
would tell us something new, that would entertain us." Well, I think I
have been good company anyhow.
When Jesus Christ came down here, he came as a character to be
followed; he came in the character of a God; not as a simple boy, but
to preach the Gospel. Well, then, what comes next? Did he tell the
people to go to work and lay up bread for a year, or for ten years?
Or, did he tell them to ask for bread for tomorrow? No, he did not.
Why? Because that is a day we know nothing about. Supposing we had
been without bread for eight or nine days, and were to ask him for
bread for tomorrow; what would He think of us? Why, just what you
would think of your children, if they were to ask you for bread, with
their hands full, and their mouths full.
Then, if we have no bread, we ought to ask for this day our daily
bread; for we do not know whether we shall want it tomorrow or not.
Yesterday is past, and today is all that a man lives.
Well, then, what comes next? "Thine be the power, and the glory, for
ever and ever. Amen." We have now got through with the Lord's
prayer, but I do not want you always to get through with it so soon; I
do not care if you are a week about it. Most of you teach your
children this form of prayer, before they can appreciate it. You can
appreciate it, but they cannot. You teach them to say, "Our Father
who art in heaven," without their having any rational supposition who
He is, or whether He is anybody or nobody.
There are some other things I want you to take into consideration. The
ordinance of baptism is abused by a great many. Some of you get
baptized a great many times; and what do you get baptized for? As long
as I see you getting baptized for the remission of sins, I shall
conclude that you are not saved.
Well, now, you go down into the ordinance of baptism, and it is said
that you are buried. Are you buried alive? A burial, of course,
presupposes that somebody is dead. It is also said, that we are to
put off the old man of sin—the old garment that we have worn; and from
that grave we are to rise unto newness of life, as toucheth the former
conversation. We are not to act as we once acted and do as we once
Well, then, we are to be dead; but we are not to die as people
generally die; for when they are dead, do they come back, and build
cities, and do as they did before? It formerly took butter and cheese,
and these good things to keep them alive; but when they die, this
Well, then, how shall it be with us in relation to our former
existence? We were not Saints then; we said and did things which were
wrong often, because we did not know that which was right. We should
die unto sin and darkness, and learn the light, and live in it, and be
dictated and governed by it.
This is what baptism should teach us. Have you so read the
guideboard? Simply telling us that we should die unto darkness and
corruption, that we might live to immortality and eternal life, will
not save us. If you have not read the guideboard so, you have not
read it right. Those who have not been buried with Christ in baptism,
and risen unto newness of life, and put off the old man of sin, they
are living without the light; they are those who have never left the
sable shades of darkness; they think wrong, they act wrong, and they
go wrong, because they have not the light. They do not know the
difference between that which is pure, and that which is not pure.
Perfection is not at the guideboard, but we can read it there, that
this is the way that leads to it. But supposing you were to stay
there, what would you accomplish? You would be perfectly bewildered,
without any possibility of ever getting right. How foolish it would be
for us to stay there and say, why, I cannot leave this; it first
pointed out to me the way of life; and can I leave it now? No, I will
live by it, and die by it.
Is there any such a thing as this in "Mormonism?" No.
gives a man more than one wife. Ah! say some poor, half-hearted
"Mormons," talk about a man's having more wives than one; now we
know that the Church has all apostatized, and Brigham and the Twelve are
all going wrong. Such poor wretches have got to the guideboard, and
they want to stay there.
The Saints who have the Spirit of light and truth, would shame to own
that they are of the same race. As brother Kimball sometimes says,
"Such persons are all puckered up; there is not as much of them as
there used to be." All the difference there is between that kind of
"Mormon" and us is, that we have passed beyond the first guideboard,
and they have not.
I want you to realize that there is a time
for everything; there is a time for you to be baptized, and there is a
time for you to put away things of childhood, and become men and
women. There is a great difference between the guideboard which leads
to salvation, and salvation itself. Says one, "I guess we understand
it pretty well." I hope you do.
Some years ago a text was given me to preach from, but I have not
learned it all yet; but I am learning it as fast as I can, and
preaching it; this is my mission. Other men might have missions of
Says one, "Were you always an Apostle?" No. "Were you ordained an
Apostle?" Yes. "What did that do for you?" It only connected me with
twelve men; it did not give me any more knowledge, or make me any
I have come to preach you the Gospel; and if I had thought that there
was no necessity for so doing, and that you understood all about it, I
would have stayed at home, or up at brother Allred's here, and enjoyed
myself at the fireside.
It is my right to ordain people, but I shall not ordain you, but I
will give you all a mission to teach this Gospel, that I have preached
to you tonight, to your neighbors, and to yourselves; and examine
yourselves, and see if you live the truth.
I will tell you how to know. Do you know how much you would give for
the truth last year? Says one, "I would give a tenth last year." Would
you give any more now? "I do not really know. Why, I thought they only
asked me for my tithing, and that that was all it was worth."
Then you do not think it worth more now than you thought it worth last
year. Well, now, what are you going to do? Are you going to swindle
somebody out of nine-tenths of their salvation? You gave a tenth. What
for? Why, you thought "Mormonism" worth that much; you considered it
worth your tithing. Well, what are you going to get? You are going to
get a tenth.
I came into this kingdom to identify myself with all that I have, and
all that I expect to have. You have given a tenth, and you expect to
get a dollar, do you? Now, is there any good hard sense about that?
"Well," says one, "what do you mean by treating the subject in this
way?" Why, I want you to think of this, and not deceive yourselves by
thinking that you will get a full salvation for paying a tenth; if you
devote yourselves and all that you have for the cause of truth, you
will merit the whole.
I want you to learn that "Mormonism" is worth everything; that it is
all there is of life—that it is all there is of truth—that it is all
there is of everything that is worth having; and you will then
comprehend, as I do, that to merit it, you will have to throw in all
that you have got.
You cannot do more for the truth than it is worth: then come forward
and consecrate your property. Says one, "What will it do for me, if I
do?" Do you not say, that "Mormonism" is worth everything? Yes; but
you will only pay a tenth for it. Then here you have got the bars up.
May God bless you and me with His Holy Spirit, that we may be led into
all truth, and fully comprehend and appreciate that salvation which
we seek, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
- Amasa M. Lyman