Minutes and Discourses, 6–7 April 1844, as Published by Times and Seasons

  • Source Note
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things have been spoken by concerning the early history of this church. There is no individual who has searched the oracles of eternal truth, but his mind will be touched with the remarks made by our venerable friend which unfold the dispensation of Jehovah, and have a tendency to produce the most thrilling feelings in the bosoms of many who are this day present, and to promote our general edification; he traces with pleasure on the historic page the rise of nations, kingdoms and empires. Historians dwelt with great minuteness on the heroic deeds, the chivalrous acts, the dangers and deliverances; the tact, bravery and heroism of their chieftains, generals and governments. We as republicans, look back to the time when this nation was under the iron rule of Great Britain, and groaned under the power, tyranny and oppression of that powerful nation. We trace with delight, the name of a Washington, a Jefferson, a La Fayette and an Adams, in whose bosoms burnt the spark of liberty. These themes are dwelt upon with delight by our own legislators, our governors and presidents; they are subjects which fire our souls with patriotic ardor. But if these things animate them so much, how much more great, noble and exalted are the things laid before us. They were engaged in founding kingdoms, and empires that were destined to dissolution and decay, and although many of them were great, formidable and powerful, they now exist only in name. Their “cloud capped towers, their solemn temples, are dissolved,” and nothing now remains of their former magnificence, or ancient grandeur, but a few dilapidated buildings and broken columns, a few shattered fragments remains to tell to this and to other generations, the perishable nature of earthly pomp and worldly glory.— They were engaged in founding empires and establishing kingdoms, and powers that had in themselves the seeds of destruction, and were destined to decay. We are laying the foundation of a kingdom that shall last forever;— that shall bloom in time and blossom in eternity. We are engaged in a greater work than ever occupied the attention of mortals; we live in a day that prophets and kings desired to see, but died without the sight. When we hear the history of the rise of this kingdom, from one who has been with it from its infancy, from the lips of our venerable friend who has taken an active part in all the history of the church, can we be surprised that he should feel animated, and that his soul should burn with heavenly zeal? We see in him a man of God who can contemplate the glories of heaven; the visions of eternity, and who yet looks forward to the opening glories which the great Eloheim has manifested to him, pertaining to righteousness and peace; a man who now beholds the things roll on which he had long since beheld in prophetic vision. Most men have established themselves in authority, by laying desolate other kingdoms, and the destruction of other powers. Their kingdoms have been founded in blood and supported by tyranny and oppression. The greatest chieftains of the earth have obtained their glory, if glory it can be called, by blood, carnage and ruin.— One nation has been built up at the expense and ruin of another, and one man has been made at the expense of another, and yet these great men were called honorable for their inglorious deeds of rapine. They have slain their thousands, and caused the orphans to weep and the widows to mourn. Men did these things because they could do it, because they had power to desolate nations and spread terror and desolation. They have made themselves immortal as great men. The patriots of this country had indeed a laudable object in view, a plausible excuse for the course they took.— They stood up in defence of their rights, liberty and freedom; but where are now those principles of freedom? Where the laws that protect all men in their religious opinions? where the laws that say a man shall worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience? What say ye, ye saints, ye who are exiles in the land of LIBERTY. How came you here? Can you in this land of equal rights return in safety to your possessions in ? No!— You are exiles from thence, and there is no power, no voice, no arm to redress your grievances. Is this the gracious boon for which your fathers fought, and struggled, and died? Shades of the venerable dead, could you but gaze upon this scene and witness tens of thousands of Americans in exile on Columbia’s soil, if pity could touch your bosoms, how would you mourn for the oppressed; if indignation, how would you curse the heartless wretches that have so desecrated and polluted the temple of liberty. “How has the gold become dim, and the fine gold, how has it changed?” Let it not be told among the heathen monarchs of Europe, lest they laugh and say ha! ha! So would we have it, Ye saints, never let it go abroad, that ye are exiles in the land of liberty, lest ye disgrace your republic in the eyes of the nations of the earth; but tell it to those who robbed and plundered, and refused to give you your rights; tell your rulers that all their deeds of fame are tarnished, and their glory is departed. Are we now indeed in a land of liberty, of freedom, of equal rights? Would to God I [p. 578]
things have been spoken by concerning the early history of this church. There is no individual who has searched the oracles of eternal truth, but his mind will be touched with the remarks made by our venerable friend which unfold the dispensation of Jehovah, and have a tendency to produce the most thrilling feelings in the bosoms of many who are this day present, and to promote our general edification; he traces with pleasure on the historic page the rise of nations, kingdoms and empires. Historians dwelt with great minuteness on the heroic deeds, the chivalrous acts, the dangers and deliverances; the tact, bravery and heroism of their chieftains, generals and governments. We as republicans, look back to the time when this nation was under the iron rule of Great Britain, and groaned under the power, tyranny and oppression of that powerful nation. We trace with delight, the name of a Washington, a Jefferson, a La Fayette and an Adams, in whose bosoms burnt the spark of liberty. These themes are dwelt upon with delight by our own legislators, our governors and presidents; they are subjects which fire our souls with patriotic ardor. But if these things animate them so much, how much more great, noble and exalted are the things laid before us. They were engaged in founding kingdoms, and empires that were destined to dissolution and decay, and although many of them were great, formidable and powerful, they now exist only in name. Their “cloud capped towers, their solemn temples, are dissolved,” and nothing now remains of their former magnificence, or ancient grandeur, but a few dilapidated buildings and broken columns, a few shattered fragments remains to tell to this and to other generations, the perishable nature of earthly pomp and worldly glory.— They were engaged in founding empires and establishing kingdoms, and powers that had in themselves the seeds of destruction, and were destined to decay. We are laying the foundation of a kingdom that shall last forever;— that shall bloom in time and blossom in eternity. We are engaged in a greater work than ever occupied the attention of mortals; we live in a day that prophets and kings desired to see, but died without the sight. When we hear the history of the rise of this kingdom, from one who has been with it from its infancy, from the lips of our venerable friend who has taken an active part in all the history of the church, can we be surprised that he should feel animated, and that his soul should burn with heavenly zeal? We see in him a man of God who can contemplate the glories of heaven; the visions of eternity, and who yet looks forward to the opening glories which the great Eloheim has manifested to him, pertaining to righteousness and peace; a man who now beholds the things roll on which he had long since beheld in prophetic vision. Most men have established themselves in authority, by laying desolate other kingdoms, and the destruction of other powers. Their kingdoms have been founded in blood and supported by tyranny and oppression. The greatest chieftains of the earth have obtained their glory, if glory it can be called, by blood, carnage and ruin.— One nation has been built up at the expense and ruin of another, and one man has been made at the expense of another, and yet these great men were called honorable for their inglorious deeds of rapine. They have slain their thousands, and caused the orphans to weep and the widows to mourn. Men did these things because they could do it, because they had power to desolate nations and spread terror and desolation. They have made themselves immortal as great men. The patriots of this country had indeed a laudable object in view, a plausible excuse for the course they took.— They stood up in defence of their rights, liberty and freedom; but where are now those principles of freedom? Where the laws that protect all men in their religious opinions? where the laws that say a man shall worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience? What say ye, ye saints, ye who are exiles in the land of LIBERTY. How came you here? Can you in this land of equal rights return in safety to your possessions in ? No!— You are exiles from thence, and there is no power, no voice, no arm to redress your grievances. Is this the gracious boon for which your fathers fought, and struggled, and died? Shades of the venerable dead, could you but gaze upon this scene and witness tens of thousands of Americans in exile on Columbia’s soil, if pity could touch your bosoms, how would you mourn for the oppressed; if indignation, how would you curse the heartless wretches that have so desecrated and polluted the temple of liberty. “How has the gold become dim, and the fine gold, how has it changed?” Let it not be told among the heathen monarchs of Europe, lest they laugh and say ha! ha! So would we have it, Ye saints, never let it go abroad, that ye are exiles in the land of liberty, lest ye disgrace your republic in the eyes of the nations of the earth; but tell it to those who robbed and plundered, and refused to give you your rights; tell your rulers that all their deeds of fame are tarnished, and their glory is departed. Are we now indeed in a land of liberty, of freedom, of equal rights? Would to God I [p. 578]
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