Our minds are capable of receiving and digesting a certain number of
ideas; but we are not able to comprehend a great many at one time. We
can hear all that a speaker is disposed to say; but whether we can
comprehend it, be it much, or, as in many instances, little, is
another and very important consideration. Some minds can comprehend
but very little at a time.
What we have just heard is very good. True, we have been taught those
principles from our youth. There are but very few in Christendom who
have not been taught those principles in childhood by their parents,
and in maturer years by their schoolteachers and priests. The
character of the Savior has been exalted as much as our language will
Brother Joseph Young, in his remarks, frequently quoted the words of
the Savior, as recorded by his Apostle, "And this is life eternal,
that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom
thou hast sent." I would be pleased to see the divine who can
thoroughly acquaint us with that Being whom we call God—the Father of
our Lord Jesus Christ. From our youth, we have heard much in regard to
the Father and the Son, but in a mystified manner, so far as treated
upon by the divines and theologians of the so-called "orthodox"
churches. How many of you can give us sound, sensible ideas relative
to the character of our Father in heaven? If the Elders of Israel,
who speak to us from Sabbath to Sabbath, and who go forth into the
world to preach the Gospel of life, cannot, no man on the earth can.
How much have we learned in regard to it? How far have our
understandings expanded to comprehend the character of that Being we
call God? Or even to comprehend the character of his Son Jesus Christ,
whom we call our Savior?
The character of the Father is plainly portrayed in the Bible, so far
as it is necessary for it to be revealed; but who can tell anything
about him? All that we hear from this one, that one, and the other, is
but very little. We have formerly been in the habit of hearing—"Great
is the mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh," and there
having the subject left. With the world things pertaining to eternity
are such a mystery that all is left in the dark—left with the mantle
of ignorance cast around it. But, God be praised, the veil begins to
be thinner, and will be withdrawn for us, if we are faithful. The work
that God has commenced in this our day is calculated to remove the
veil of the covering from all the face of the earth, that all flesh
may see his glory together. And if the principles of the holy
Priesthood that we have received continue to be carried out by
the people at large, the veil will be taken away, so that we can
comprehend that Being who is such a mystery to the great portion of
the human family.
Jesus was appointed, from the beginning, to die for our redemption,
and he suffered an excruciating death on the cross. A person
possessing the power of the Gods has that power to sustain him in all
his trials and sufferings. He has power and faith to endure unto
sweating blood, to bearing thorns, and to being nailed upon a cross,
as patiently as did our Savior. Is this speaking disparagingly of his
character? Not in the least. Many of our people have suffered unto
death. Could a God do more? He could not. Could he suffer more? Only
in proportion to his intelligence, faith, and power, which also
proportionally sustain him in his sufferings. Many of the Saints have
been pierced with bayonets, riddled with bullets, beaten to death, and
slain in various other ways, for their testimony of Jesus. They paid
the debt. Jesus fulfilled the obligations he had entered into as the
heir of all things pertaining to this earth. He is the King—the Ruler,
and the results of the acts of the people he brings forth, and will
continue to do so, till he reigns King of nations as he now reigns
King of Saints. When he again visits this earth, he will come to
thoroughly purge his kingdom from wickedness, and, as ruler of the
nations, to dictate and administer to them as the heir to the kingdom;
and the Gentiles will be as much mistaken in regard to his second
advent as the Jews were in relation to the first.
The eyes of the Gentiles are like the eyes of the fool, wandering to
the ends of the earth. They are deceived, blinded, and far from
understanding the things of God. All who would understand the things
of God must understand them by the Spirit of God. In reflecting upon
his providences, it often seems singular that every person cannot
understand the things of God; but when you understand the Gospel plan,
you will comprehend that it is the most reasonable way of dealing with
the human family. You will discern that purity, holiness, justice,
perfection, and all that adorns the character of the Deity are
contributing to the salvation of man.
Those who acknowledge the hand of God in all things, and abide in his
commandments, are the only ones who will sustain the principles of
truth and purity. If their influence upon the character is not good
and pure, how will they produce that pure feeling, pure faith, and
pure godliness which prepare a person to dwell in eternal burnings?
Should we not abide in and be influenced by the commandments of God?
We should; for, without the spirit of revelation, no man can
understand the things of God, nor his dealings and designs in relation
to the inhabitants of the earth.
While brother Joseph was referring to the providences of God, I was
led to reflect that there is no act, no principle, no power belonging
to the Deity that is not purely philosophical. The birth of the
Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the
result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood—was begotten
of his Father, as we were of our fathers.
Do you understand yourselves, brethren and sisters? Only to a small
degree; and there are as yet but few who can strictly govern
themselves. The foundation for all intelligence is placed in man to be
developed to produce great and more powerful results than he has ever
thought of. You may place all the world's wisdom in one man, and ask
him whence he received his intelli gence, and he cannot tell.
Ask him, "Do you believe man has a soul? Do you believe his soul lives
when he dies?" He will answer, "Yes; but I cannot tell where." Or
inquire of him, "Do you believe that the soul had an existence
previous to its coming here?" He will reply, "I do not know." Can you
answer such questions? Yes; for you have been taught concerning these
things. Have you been taught the character of the Father? Yes.
Will you improve upon the gifts bestowed upon you? Let me ask you, as
a favor, to bless yourselves and friends by conquering and
controlling yourselves—a principle that you should cultivate; then you
may control others. But unless you control the passions that pertain
to fallen nature—make all your faculties subservient to the principles
God has revealed, you will never arrive at that state of happiness,
glory, joy, peace, and eternal felicity that you are anticipating.
Then learn to govern yourselves.
Were any professed Saints present, and there may be, who indulge in
paltry pilfering, thieving, carousing, tippling, cursing, &c., I would
advise them to contemplate their conduct with shamefacedness. Shame,
also, to those women who run after the Gentiles! Such women are so
corrupt that they are a distress to their sex. Are there any here of
that class? I expect there are a few who will say, "Brother Brigham,
how are you?" and shake hands, and then go and lie with a Gentile. I
don't want such persons to shake hands with me.
Brother Joseph has exhorted you to revere the character of our
Savior. He who does not will sooner or later suffer. The Lord will
bring us to an account for all we do, before that tribunal that will
punish for all disgraceful conduct. Shame to those men and women who
call themselves Latter-day Saints, and act disgracefully! You ought to
be as pure and holy as angels. We are commanded to be pure as Christ
is pure, and holy as he is holy. He passed through the trials, became
sanctified, and prepared himself to dwell with the Gods; and he dwells
in the midst of eternal burnings, where the principles and all that
pertains to the celestial kingdom are a consuming fire to all that is
impure. He has been exalted, crowned, and has received thrones,
principalities, and powers; and he commands us to walk in his
footsteps, in reference to every principle that pertains to eternal
lives. Let us do this, that the whole body, from the crown of the head
to the soles of the feet, may be sanctified. Those who come short of
this will be judged accordingly.
As to the persecution, the slander, and malicious acts aimed at us,
who can expect anything else from the wicked and ignorant? Christ and
Baal are not reconciled; the Lord will hold no fellowship with the
Devil. But Satan will contend until he is driven from the earth. He is
the adversary, the opposer, and accuser of the brethren. He opposes
the Son of God in the great struggle between truth and error. This
victory must be gained in our houses, neighborhoods, towns, counties,
and states; and this common enemy of all Saints will continue to offer
his opposition until driven from the earth, and will contend for every
inch of ground.
Let us walk in the footsteps of our Father and of our Savior, cling
to the principles of life, and live by every word that proceeds from
the mouth of God. Live to purify yourselves, and you will be able to
overcome every power of the enemy. Children are now born who will live
until every son of Adam will have the privilege of receiving the
principles of eternal life.
God bless the Elders who preach to the nations, the sisters
who pray for the kingdom, the men who labor in the fields and
elsewhere, and all who ask Him to bless and build up his Zion, and
bring in the reign of righteousness and peace, that all who desire may
rejoice in the blessings of the government of God among men. God bless
them, and the children of the Saints, in the name of Jesus.
Parents, have you ever noticed that your children have exercised faith
for you when you have been sick? The little daughter, seeing you sick,
will lift her heart with a pure, angelic-like prayer to heaven; and
disease is rebuked when that kind of faith is exercised. God bless the
children! I pray that they may live and be reared up in righteousness,
that God may have a people that will spread and establish one
universal reign of peace, and possess the powers of the world to come.
This is my prayer constantly.
God bless you! Amen.