As liberty was extended this morning to confess our faults and speak
our feelings and our experience, I now avail myself of the privilege
For some length of time I do not know that I have committed any very
grievous sins or serious iniquities. At the same time, I feel that the
light of heaven in me reproves me for many things; and I seek to
receive the admonitions of the Spirit, and profit continually by them.
I am sensible that I am subject to weaknesses, to many foibles and
failings; yet, as I before said, I am not conscious of having
committed any very grievous sin—at least, since the reformation. My desires are to keep the commandments of God, and to
retain in my own bosom his good Spirit. That Spirit was particularly
manifested here this morning; and while it was upon me, I endeavored
to look at myself, and it seemed as though a live coal was in my
heart, that caused it to burn with joy and gladness, with thanksgiving
and praise to our God. Had I given vent to my feelings, without
restraint, I might have made more noise than would have been
acceptable to this congregation. But "the spirit of the prophets is
subject to the prophets, and wisdom is justified of her children."
The counsel we received this morning commends itself to every man's
conscience. The good which we feel, and with which we are often
exercised, may be freely dispensed to others; but the bad feelings
which we sometimes possess should not often be suffered to burden
others, but should be buried—smothered, until they die out. The good
which we possess we may reveal to our friends for their edification
and comfort, but withhold from them our griefs and sorrows, and reveal
them unto God, who bears our sorrows willingly, without endangering
If we never sow gloomy, desponding, or evil principles, we shall not
be likely to reap them. If we sow cheerful, lively, and good
principles, we shall most likely reap an abundant harvest of the same;
for, according to that which a man soweth, that also shall he reap.
Let us learn to restrain every evil feeling; for if we give them
birth, there is no telling the amount of evil they may create, and
when or where they will end their work of death.
The Son of Man sowed good seed in his field; and while men slept, the
enemy came and sowed tares: consequently, there was a mixed crop. Let
us sow pure seed, as did the Son of Man, and watch, lest the enemy sow
bad seed, and cause a great amount of trouble thereby.
A few thoughts have suggested themselves to my mind in connection with
some remarks I made last Sunday in the afternoon. It is not my
province always to say that things are so-and-so; yet, under some
circumstances, it is. But I will now do as I did last Sabbath. I will
suppose a case.
We all acknowledge that we had an existence before we were born into
this world. How long before we took our departure from the realms of
bliss to find tabernacles in flesh is unknown to us. Suffice it to say
that we were sent here. We came willingly: the requirement of our
heavenly Father and our anxiety to take bodies brought us here. We
might be sent on a mission to some foreign country, and feel under
obligation to go, not only from respect to the moral condition of the
people to whom we are sent, but also out of respect to the authority
which required the service at our hands. But if we were to consult our
own feelings, and be allowed our choice to go or stay with equal
approval, we might prefer to remain at home. But we understood things
better there than we do in this lower world. Here, in this world, Paul
says, "For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but
by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope [of return]. The
creature itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption and
brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God."
Then, if it be true that we entered into a covenant with the powers
celestial, before we left our former homes, that we would come here
and obey the voice of the Lord, through whomsoever he might speak,
these powers are witnesses of the covenant into which we entered; and
it is not impossible that we signed the articles thereof with
our own hands—which articles may be retained in the archives above,
to be presented to us when we rise from the dead, and be judged out of
our own mouths, according to that which is written in the books.
We are situated here in various relations, not only to the servants of
God that are given us to guide our energies, but we also stand in
various relations to one another, as husband and wife, parent and
child—which relations are branches of that everlasting covenant,
because they are legitimate and ordained of God. Did we covenant and
agree that we would be subject to the authorities of heaven placed
over us? What do you think about it? Do you think we plighted our
faith and came here with that view and under that covenant? And, in
this respect, is the whole world on the same footing? Yes, verily: "He
that receiveth you receiveth me."
The veil is thick between us and the country whence we came. We cannot
see clearly—we cannot clearly comprehend—we have forgotten! For
instance, when we leave our homes on earth for a long time, and roam
abroad in foreign lands, we forget many of the little incidents of our
nativity, barely recollecting and being impressed that we have a home
in some far-off country, while in others the thought is entirely
obliterated from their memory, and is to them as though such things
had never existed. But our forgetfulness cannot alter the facts.
Did we covenant to be subject to the authority of God in all the
different relations of life—that we would be loyal to the legitimate
powers that emanate from God? I have been led to think that such is
the truth. Something whispers these things to me in this light. Again,
for instance, the husband and wife unite their destinies under the
seal of this everlast ing covenant, for this covenant covers all the
just transactions of the legitimate authorities and powers that be on
earth. We therefore regard marriage as a branch of the everlasting
What did we agree to before we came here? If to anything, I suppose
the very same things we agreed to since we did come here, that are
legitimate and proper. The husband agreed to be a faithful servant of
God, to do his duty to all that were placed under his charge. The
wife, on her part, covenants that she will be a faithful and devoted
wife, and will obey her husband in the Lord in all things. If this
were so, it is all right; for it is just as we are taught on the
But the question is, Did we subscribe to any such doctrine as this on
the start? I will not say that we did; yet I have had such thoughts,
and they whisper strongly in my heart.
Children agreed to obey their parents, as parents agreed to obey their
superiors in the kingdom of God; and parents were brought under
obligation to train their children in the way they should go. This is
written in the Bible, if nowhere else. How many of us look upon the
rearing and training of our children, and the correction of their
wrongs, as about the least duty that is enjoined upon us? There are
too many that look upon it in this point of view. Do you ask what
evidence I have of that fact? When I go among the children of the
city, and hear them use profane and unbecoming language, there we have
the evidence not only of their parents' neglect, but of their shame
and dishonor. It is said, "Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy
days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." What
is it to honor thy father? Is it to say, "Oh, father, how I love
you!" or, "Oh, how I love you, mother! How glad I am to see
you! I really feel glad and happy to be with you!"
As far as these go, they are all very well. But suppose the child
would never lie—would never curse and swear, but observe the rules of
propriety; do you not see that he honors his parent? And the observer
comes to the conclusion that the fountain is pure. The tree is known
by its fruit. The children are our fruit, and the character of the
children is an index, more or less, to the quality of the tree that
bore them. It appears so to me.
I find that after covenants have been entered into among the Saints,
as, for instance, between husband and wife, there are sometimes
divorces called for, and the covenant is broken. When we go back
whence we came, to give an account of our stewardship, what apology
can we plead before the King of kings and Lord of lords? If either
party have been guilty of adultery, then divorce may be justifiable;
but upon what other ground? I await the answer. Will the plea of the
hardness of hearts meet with favor at the final bar?
Look, for instance, at the person who renounces his faith, and goes
again to the spirit and practices of the world. He has broken the
terms of the everlasting covenant, and is gone whoring after other
gods, and is consequently divorced. What kind of an account can he
render, if he repent not? How is he going to meet it in a coming day,
when the veil shall be rent asunder, and he shall see his own
handwriting subscribing to the everlasting covenant produced against
him. Is it not written in the beautiful song sung by brother
McAllister this morning, that "Angels above us are silent notes
taking?" and was not that song inspired by the Spirit of God, and just
as true as any line in the Bible, and just as faithful?
Well, then, it stands us in hand, brethren and sisters, to look well
to ourselves, and be sure that neither the husband nor the wife is the
transgressor; for the one that is really in the fault, when weighed in
the balance, will be found wanting; and I fear for such.
It is well for us to look at these things, and make ourselves fully
acquainted with the obligations we are under one to another, to
discharge them in the fear of God; and I know not how we can discharge
them, unless we have the Spirit of the true and living God; for that
is what gives life—what gives energy and animation, and should inspire
us in all our ways.
In relation to the wickedness that is alleged to exist among the
Saints, I will tell you what conclusion I have come to. When I have
seen persons that I thought were out of the way, if a convenient
opportunity offered, and I have felt it was wisdom, I would reprove
them. At the same time I say, Let me take that as an admonition to
regulate my own conduct, and see that I do not go astray, that I may
not be swamped in the spirit of evil—in the spirit and pride of this
world. Let me take care of number one, and keep him clear of all
iniquity, free from a spirit of murmuring or faultfinding.
Some suppose that because men in higher authority than themselves do
so-and-so, they can do so-and-so with less impunity. It is immaterial
to us what So-and-so does; it gives no license to us to do wrong; and
we may plead that argument before God and angels, but it will avail us
nothing. Our own improprieties and unwise course will be so plain in
our minds that we shall never think of giving utterance to any such
If we have good, let us distribute it as we have heard this morning.
Let us sow good. It is immaterial what others do, so far as
we are concerned. If we sow good, we shall reap good.
I do not feel to prolong my remarks. There is one word more I want to
say, however; and that is, I feel that there is good near at hand for
this people; and I have felt so for a number of weeks and months.
Now, for heaven's sake, let us go to and regulate ourselves, and
prepare for it, lest, peradventure, by postponing to do this, our dish
may be bottom-side up when it comes. I tell you, Good is coming to
those whose dish is right side up. May God bless the faithful! Amen.