Obrazy na stronie
[blocks in formation]


To be a good member of a "Mutual Improvement Association," implies, that there is a determination to improve, and also a settled purpose to use all the opportunities which such Society gives, that the improvement may be secured.

erence for the former; thereby developing acquaintance with the spirit of intelligence and truth, that the Lord has implanted within them to be their guide and director through the life they are sent here to live. The results will justify the care.


And to improve, each one must understand and know his own peculiar defects. His own personal criticism, as he has opportunities of contrast, will enable him to see more and more plainly where he needs to cultivate, or seek to improve. In listening to a good reader, a poor one discovers how much he lacks in this particular; in hearing a good, ready, fluent speaker, one who is not so feels his imperfection; although there may be fluency without any great manifestation of intelligence, if you couple the two together, fluency and the evidences of thought, ignorance and inability feel at once that they have room for improvement. When a rude and selfish person comes in contact with one who is well behaved, kind in heart and spirit, and studious of the feelings of others, he is a rebuke to the vain and forward, to the rude and unpolished, the thoughtless of man or womankind. Those whose language is vulgar and uncouth, who use slang phrases, swear and take the name of God in vain, are never so much abashed, nor realize their vulgarity, as when in the society of those who are refined in manner, and who, in language full of simplicity and music, express their feelings or their wants.

There is no rebuke so effectual with the skeptic, as the unfaltering trust in God and faith in His providences, which Saints exhibit when trial and sorrow throw a shadow across their line of life.

It is the integrity of the Saints, their devotion to the cause they have espoused which arouses the raillery and inspires the opposition of the enemy. But every well disposed person turns mid these contrasts of life to the brighter-the better side; to the path of improvement, of progress, of education, of refinement, of increased intelligence and consequent power in this life and in the life to come. The members of our Associations should mark all the most desirable qualities which they see exhibited by others, and then seek to emulate these examples, improving in reading, in singing, in composition or writing, in expression as in speaking, in behavior and conduct to wards all around them, in ability to think on religious things, on things which are called secular, such as business matters, social matters, and domestic matters, constantly enlarging their sphere of thought and adding to their stores of knowledge; gathering a little here, a little there, an item from one, a hint from another, and a thought from the next, so "Improvement" will not be a catchword only, but a real, living, accomplished thing. How much more companionable, how much more useful, how much more manly and womanly, nay even how much more God-like might our youth become, if they were but a little more earnest in their desire and search for "Mutual Improvement;" acting upon and also being acted upon by others, supplanting ignorance by intelligence; error by truth; poverty of thought by reflection in many direc tions; rudeness and vulgarity by cultivation and good manners; indifference to God and His worship, by a living faith and abiding testimony; the following of


gentile fashions, by the simplicity of attire as inculcated in the gospel; indulgence in all the stimulants used to the dethronement of reason, the destruction of vital force and the shortening of human life, by a steadfast obedience to every "Word of Wisdom," and the ushering in of such renovating processes as shall favorably affect longevity, until man shall again "Live to the age of a tree;" in other words, overthrowing every institution and influence which in their origin are but of man, and establishing those institutions and spreading those influences which are divine; thus recognizing God and righteousness as the fountain and stream, from whence for "The healing of the nations," and the realization of all the dreams of mutual improvement that


can ever come to Saint or sinner in this probation, or indeed, in any other sphere, where agency purified and enobled by experience and intelligence, shall aspire to the society and glory of the Gods!

Industrious use of all the faculties, mid all the opportunities of life, with a reverential yet earnest seeking for the power of the Holy Ghost, (which is an everpresent inspiration) will enable every member of both sexes, of this and kindred associations to become mighty in the arena of "Mutual Improvement;" aiding ourselves, aiding each other, and aiding the building of the Kingdom of God through that Priesthood, whose watchword is "Onward," and whose lever is and has been "Mutual Improvement." H. W. Naisbitt.


THE great and important duty of preaching the Gospel is of such vital moment, especially in this the last dispensation, that the Elders to whom the labor is entrusted should certainly be willing at all times to take into consideration how they can most effectually perform it to the acceptance of Heaven, and to the salvation of the souls of men. Human nature is pretty much the same all over the world, as regards its main features, attributes and propensities. Conciliatory measures are generally more acceptable, and consequently more successful, than the opposite, in removing prejudice, and promoting confidence. and faith in the doctrine to be advanced. An open warfare need not be declared against the present convictions of an audience, in order to institute a more acceptable and truthful standard of Gospel life and practice. To give a congregation to understand that you mistrust their honesty of heart, their integrity of purpose, or their sound common sense, even if such were actually the case, would not be calculated to arouse the most pleasant reflections, nor to mould their minds into the most congenial humor for receiving the truths we

have to offer for their acceptance. On the contrary, to apparently agree with them on minor and unimportant points, to go with them as far as the tenor of their road leads towards our destination, will better prepare them for going with us, part way at least, when the roads diverge. It is an old axiom, that "if you go with your companion to the forks of the road, you can then take him whithersoever you will."

To figuratively fight and oratorically cudgel an assembly, would hardly be considered the more certain method of allaying their antagonism to your doctrine, but rather to engender a dislike to the speaker, and through him, a contempt for his principles. A liberality of sentiment concerning the opinions of others, erroneous as they may be, will always induce a greater sympathy towards our own. There is probably nothing so repulsive to an audience as a dogmatical address: an effort to coerce the public mind to our way of thinking by arrogant assertion, instead of convincing by argument, persuading by appeals to reason, and touching the heart by the sweet spirit of inspiration. The warfare of the Gospel is not waged against men,



but against error; and all its administrations are characterized by love for the human race, who are the offspring of God. Its mission is to supplant ignorance by revealing knowledge, to cultivate acceptance of that which is good and true by showing its beauty and consistency.

The mind intuitively reverences that which is holy. The divine in man responds to the divine in principle, when advanced by an inspired speaker. Love begets love. But few there are who will not recognize kindness, and yield to a loving appeal to their hearts or reason, in preference to an attack upon their ignorance, wilfulness or stupidity. Notwithstanding the latter may be most apparent, still wisdom suggests that much should be ignored in the effort to infuse correct principle into a benighted, traditionated and prejudiced mind.

Another thing that should be regarded is: in all our arguments, we should hold the fact prominently before the people, that God has revealed this Gospel from heaven; that it is for this reason it should be believed, rather than that we ourselves are convinced of its Scriptural correctness, or that our investigations have been more profound or our conclusions more just than others. Intelligent audiences do not like to be made to believe a doctrine simply because the preacher is convinced, without hearing the "strong reasons" which induced him to believe. Neither do they always regard his opinion as paramount, because he may claim to have stood well in the community. He may, however, show what opportunities he has had for investigation of the subject in hand. Apt quotations from historical information found in his researches, will always interest and edify, as well as make a point in his argument. People naturally like to hear brief incidents narrated, the truth of which is established by some historical record. These, however, should be made as concise as possible, and directly to the point. Arguments lose force and effect, if we stray off from the subject to tell an out of place story. The 'hottest iron will "cool off" if the

smith stops beating to go out and see a "dog fight." The minds of the audience should be kept intensely interested in our subject; and in order to effect this, their sympathy must be engaged. Illustrations best adapted to meet their own experiences should be used to portray any given idea, and if metaphors are introduced, let them by all means be appropriate and telling. We should never speak for the purpose of display. The individual who yields to this flimsy temptation defeats his own object. It deprives his efforts of that fervor-that warmth of self-conviction, and that earnest desire for the salvation of his hearers which are such aids to the preacher in making converts. Hence the telling effects of a strong testimony to the Gospel, showing not merely belief in the doctrine, but positive revealed knowledge concerning its truth. People may not always believe through hearing our testimony, but they may be led to an investigation and further inquiry into a doctrine so forcibly advanced and sustained. Furthermore, it is our duty to testify of that which we do know concerning this great work, that those who will not heed our teaching may at last have to face our testimony; and thus, by having every opportunity of conversion, be left without excuse before the judgment seat of God.

On the manner of preaching the Gospel, we find a commandment of the Lord, published on the one hundred and twentieth page of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants (n.e.), in a revelation to Martin Harris, given in March, 1830, through Joseph the Seer: "And thou shalt declare glad tidings, yea, publish it upon the mountains, and upon every high place, among the people that thou shalt be permitted to see. And thou shalt do it with all humility, trusting in Me, reviling not against revilers. And of tenets thou SHALT NOT talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost. Behold, this is a great and the last commandment which I shall give you concerning this matter; for this shall suffice for thy daily walk, even unto the


end of thy life. And misery thou shalt receive if thou wilt slight these counsels; yea, even the destruction of thyself and property."

How plainly does this endorse the principle which is the subject of our article! Here is a direct command not to "talk of tenets," showing that attacks upon religious creeds are in the very nature of things calculated to arouse the worst kind of opposition, for Martin Harris was positively warned that misery should come upon him if he slighted these counsels; and that it would end in the destruction of himself and property.

The Gospel revealed from Heaven is so broad and deep and high, that it furnishes ample scope for preaching, without spending time in analysing and attacking the systems of religion that surround us; and when it is preached in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit, its comparative beauties will be apparent to the honest seeker after truth. Let him make his own comparison between the Gospel revealed through Joseph and the creed which he has hitherto believed as divine, and we doubt not the result will be manifest in due time. By taking this course, the speaker will stimulate and promote the healthy action of the hearer's mind, will thus draw upon his good sense instead of arousing his combativeness; and his heart, touched as it were, by the magic wand of eternal truth, yields willing obedience to the behests of Heaven, and blesses the hand that wielded it for his salvation. Millennial Star.


VICE is the extreme opposite of virtue, or virtue violated. Great vices, like great virtues, are not the creation of a day or an hour, but come by the repetition of little acts in our everyday life, as we journey on. Our words and our actions are but the echo of the mind; if our minds are occupied by evil and corrupt thoughts, they will, by persistent indulgence, create habits of life and vices that will bring us to shame and destruction.

When a young man first launches out


into the world, he sees some people who shine, and who seem to be admired and esteemed; he discovers, on acquaintance, that they carry many vices, that they are genteel drunkards, gamblers, etc., upon which he adopts their way of living, mistaking their defects for their perfections, and thinking that they owe their lustre to those genteel vices, whereas it is exactly the reverse; for they have acquired their good reputation by their parts, their learning, their good breeding, and other real accomplishments, and are blemished and lowered in the opinion of all reasonable people, and of their own, in time, by their vices, which at first appear essential to their splendor.

Vanity, the source of many of our follies, and of some of our crimes, has sunk many a man into company in every light infinitely below himself, for the sake of being the first man in it. There he dictates, and is applauded, admired; and, for the sake of being the Coryphæus of that wretched chorus, disgraces and disqualifies himself soon for any better company. Depend upon it, you will sink or rise to the level of the company which you commonly keep; people will judge of you, and not unreasonably, by that. There is good sense in the Spanish saying, "Tell me whom you live with, and I will tell you who you are." Therefore, be extremely careful in the selection of companions. The adoption of vice has, I am convinced, ruined ten times more young men than natural inclinations. When a man considers the state of his own mind, he will find that the best defence against vice is preserving the worthiest part of his own spirit pure from any great offence against it. There is then a magnanimity in him which makes him look upon himself with disdain, if he is ever betrayed by a sudden desire or temptation, into the gratification of lust, covetousness, rage or pride.

If a man would preserve his own spirit, and his natural approbation of higher and more worthy pursuits, he could never fall into this littleness, but his mind would be still open to honor and virtue in spite of infirmities and re



lapses. Every step that a man takes beyond moderate and reasonable provision for his interests in any direction, is taking so much from the worthiness of, his own spirit; as he that is entirely set upon making a fortune, is all that while undoing the man. He must grow deaf to the wretched, estrange himself from ! the agreeable, learn hardness of heart, disrelish everything that is noble, and terminate all in his dispicable self. Indulgence in any one immoderate desire or appetite engrosses the whole creature, and his life is sacrificed to that one desire or appetite; but how much otherwise is it with those that preserve alive in them something that adorns their condition, and shows the man, whether a prince or a beggar, above his fortune.

It is necessary to an easy and happy life, to possess our minds in such a manner as to be always well satisfied with our own reflections. The way to this state is to measure our actions by our opinions, and not by those of the rest of the world. The sense of other men might prevail over us in things of less consideration, but not in concerns where truth and honor are engaged.

John A. Hellstrom.


THE COMPARATIVE EDITION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. Both Versions in one book. Published by Porter & Coates, Philadelphia, and for sale by James Dwyer, Salt Lake City. Price, cloth extra, $1.50.

This is a very neat and handy edition of the new translation, showing in opposite columns the two versions, which may readily be compared as one reads. Of the new version a great deal may be said in its favor, but we are of the opinion that it will be many years before it will be generally adopted, and not then fully, as it at present reads. Perhaps when the learned translators who are engaged on the Old Testament complete their labors, some of the popular objections to certain passages of the New may be considered and the version improved accordingly. We would be glad to see the Bible text in every respect rendered according to

the original, but until men inspired by the spirit in which it was written, shall undertake its revision we shall view the efforts of classical scholars with a degree of apprehension and doubt.

CAMPBELL'S HAND-BOOK OF SYNONYMS AND PREPOSITIONS. For sale at Jos. H. Parry's Book Store. Price 50 cents.

This is a handy reference book for writers. It contains forty thousand words, and is so simply arranged that the right word in the right place can always be found on consulting it.

LA POLIGAMIA MORMONA Y LA MONOGAMIA CRISTIANA COMPARADAS. A defense of Polygamy, written and published in Spanish. by Elder Moses Thatcher, Mexico.

This is a very ably prepared pamphlet which shows from Scriptural, Philosophical and Natural Laws, the superiority of the Divine Law of Plurality of Wives, over the man made monogamic system of modern Christendom.

Spanish scholars of this city state that the work has been most carefully and excellently prepared. It must therefore take its place among the writings of the inspired servants of God, and its testimony stand as a witness against those who cannot be reached by other means.

WILD FLOWERS of DesereT. By Augusta Joyce Crocheron. Published at Juvenile Instructor Office. Price, Leather, $1.50.

This is a new collection of poetic writings, by one of the most talented of our home poets. Mrs. Crocheron's contributions to the Woman's Exponent, to whose Editor she dedicates her book, have won for her the interest and affection of many readers, who will greet her beautiful little volume with delight. The "wild flowers" that are strewn upon its pages are varied in their color and fragrance, and will entertain and refresh not only the dwellers in Deseret, but many who live beyond the guardian ranges of our "hidden desert land.”

Silence is just as far from being wis dom as the rattle of an empty wagon is from being music.

« PoprzedniaDalej »