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uncleanliness as well as the sickness of the soul. If the person who is baptized is old enough to understand and to remember the meaning and use of baptism, he ought to feel, when he is baptized, and never to forget, that he is taking upon himself the duty of learning the truths of the church, and of applying them earnestly and constantly to the removal of his sins. Some of you were baptized so early that you could not know what was done, and cannot now remember it. Your parents caused you to be baptized then. They did this that you might be in this way introduced into the church; and they did it in the hope that the truths of the church would save you from your sins, and from the spiritual death and misery which follows sinfulness.
You may read in John, thirteenth chapter, fifth verse, as follows: “ After that, He (our Lord,) poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded. Then cometh He to Simon Peter; and Peter said unto Him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus said unto him,
What I do thou knowest not now, but shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto Him, Thou shalt never wash
feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou has no part with Me.” The disciples of the Lord represent and signify those who receive instruction from Him; and these words mean, that the whole purpose and continual endeavor of the Lord is, to wash away the sins of His disciples; and that, if they do not permit Him to wash their sins away, they have no part with Him. That is, you may read all that He has said, you may think yourself very religious, and call yourself so, but if the truths He teaches you are not obeyed by you in
life and conversation, and are not permitted, in this way, to wash away your sins, you have, in fact, no religion, and the truths He teaches do not reach your hearts, and do not belong to you.
You may read further, in the same chapter, " Simon Peter saith unto Him, Lord, not my feet, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith unto him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.” Now, the feet
are the lowest part of the body, and we stand upon them.
But the conduct and the motives together, or what we do and what we feel, make up the whole of us; and of these two parts, conduct, or what we do, is lower than motive or affection; it is the lowest, and upon this we must stand; it is, as the feet; and therefore, by feet, conduct or actions are signified. And if this be washed by the Lord, if our conduct is wholly clean from sin, then are we clean every whit. If our conduct is bad, our motives and affections cannot be good. Our conduct may be good and our motives bad; because we may do what is good or abstain from what is evil, from selfish motives. But then we are not washed by the Lord; that is, we are not led to abstain from evils by the truths He teaches, and because He forbids sins.
You may read further, in the same chapter, “ Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call Me Master and Lord; and ye say well, for so I
If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one anothers' feet. For I have given you an example,
that ye should do as I have done to you.” These words mean, that as it is the continual endeavor of the Lord to give us truths, and to help us to obey these truths, and thus to wash us from our sins, so it should be the continual endeavor of each one of us to give to each other truths, and to remind each other of them when they are forgotten, and when in moments of temptation and trouble they are most needed, and to help each other to obey these truths by every means in our power. We cannot possibly do for each other so great a good in any other way; and the Lord has established society among men, so that they may live together and be able to do each other this good. For this purpose it is that He permits you to live together in pleasant companionship. And whenever you see each other about to be angry, or to be disobedient, or to break any commandment, or do any evil thing,—then, if you bring to mind the truth which forbids the sin, and tell it kindly and tenderly to him or her who just then needs to remember it, and thus prevent the doing of that evil