« PreviousContinue »
shall come forth from the grave craving the unholy gratification to which it has been trained. Teach the stomach or the nervous system to love the exhilaration of drunken excitement, or the orgies of sexual sin, surely shall the resurrected frame crave the stimulus and the gratification to which it has been inured; the grave cannot kill those unholy passions; the body does not forget.
We talk of "second nature;' tis a misleading term; we have but one nature, and that the algebraic sum of the habits to which we have accustomed ourselves. The microscopic cells, the fibres of the muscles, the tissues of brain and nerves, all are subject to the influences of education for righteousness or for evil. Not an act ends with itself be it good or bad; its reflex action will be manifest in the tendency to repeat, the tissues concerned will remember their lesson, and, apt pupils as they are, will be the more ready to put the example into practice.
'Twould be a flattering unction for the sinful soul if the past were truly past; but the effects of the past are persistently present with us. And the future has in store a day in which even the details of the past are to be reproduced—the uncovering and renewal of the palimpsest of the brain which every one will have to acknowledge. For a time we may fail to recollect; eventually everyone of us will remember the past to our honor or to our condemnation.
The skeptic has sneered and scoffed at the idea of a recording angel registering the acts of men; why, the very cells of the bodies of men record the experiences through which they have passed. Not a fibre forgets, not a cell loses its memory. It is likewise true that in inanimate matter no less than in living tissues is the record of the past preserved. Consider the following forceful words of a writer whose name I do not at this moment recall
“De minibus non curat lex”—[the law does not concern itself with trifles] “is a legal maxim; but in the vocabulary of Nature, 'little' and 'great' are terms of comparison only. She knows no trifles, and her laws are as inflexible in dealing with an atom as with a continent or a planet. No atom can be disturbed in space, or undergo any change of temperature, of electrical condition, or of other material condition, without affecting the surrounding atoms; by the same law these again transmit the influence to other atoms, and the
influence thus given extends through the whole material universe. Every human movement, every organic act, every volition, passion or emotion, every intellectual process, is accompanied with atomic disturbance; and hence, every such act or process affects all the atoms of universal matter. Though action and reaction are equal, yet reaction does not return atoms to their former place and condition; consequently, the effects of the least material change are not cancelled but are in some way perpetuated. Hence there exists, not alone in the human conscience or in the omniscience of the Creator, but in external, material nature, an ineffacable imperishable record of every act done, every word uttered, nay, of every wish and thought conceived by mortal man from the birth of our first parents to our final end. Thus the physical traces of our most secret sins shall last till Time merges into that Eternity, of which not science but religion alone assumes to take cognizance."
Did you ever examine the fossils which the geologist has dug out of the rocks of by-gone ages? What a story they tell! How perfectly they testify to past conditions! The foot-print in the hardened sandstone may reveal the existence of bird, reptile, or mammal, long since disappeared; the stony page may be read by him who has learned the language of its inscription, and may tell of rainstorms and rippling seas long past. Note the words of Winchell, suggested and inspired by the sight of fossil foot-tracks in hardened stone:
“It is a solemn and impressive thought that the footprints of dumb and senseless creatures have been preserved in all their perfection for thousands of ages.
The solitary biped which stalked along the margin of a New England inlet, before the human race was born, pressed foot-prints in the soft and shining sand which the rising and sinking of the continent could not wipe out."
And further, ponder these lines from Emerson's pen:
"Everything in Nature is engaged in writing its own history; the plant and the pebble are attended by their shadows; the rolling rock leaves its furrow on the mountain side, and the river its channel in the soil; the animal its bones in the stratum; the fern and leaf inscribe their images on the rock; the falling drop sculptures its story on the sand and the stone-in the foot-step on
the snow or in the ground, we trace in characters more or less enduring, the record of progress."
Not even the rocks of earth forget their past; shall it be said that the human soul is less retentive? No! the fossils of by-gone days are brought forth to testify to what once was present and vital. Grateful may we be that there is a possibility of making the later records tell of progress and advancement, that thereby the errors and sins of earlier days may be offset and cancelled though they cannot be obliterated. Habits are the accumulated effects of separate acts, and every act leaves its record in body, mind, and soul. Like a scroll is the history of the past rolled up; as a scroll will it be spread, open, and wide on the judgment day. No! we do not, cannot forget.
FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD; LOVE FOR THE LIVING.
BY SARAH E. PEARSON.
Oh, who was there, among the friends of yore,
Remembered that the friend,
LIFE AND LABORS OF SIDNEY RIGDON.
BY JOHN JAQUES, ASSISTANT CHURCH HISTORIAN.
On Monday, August 5, 1844, "Elders Parley P. Pratt, W. Richards, J. Taylor, Geo. A. Smith, Amasa Lyman and Bishop Whitney waited upon Elder Sidney Rigdon in the morning. He said he would meet them in council at Elder Taylor's after dinner.
"They accordingly met in council, and when Elder Rigdon came in, he paced the room and said, 'Gentlemen, you're used up; gentlemen, you are all 'divided; the anti-Mormons have got you; the brethren are voting every way, some for James, some for Deming, some for Coulson, and some for Bedell; the anti-Mormons have got you; you cannot stay in the country; everything is in confusion; you can do nothing; you lack a great leader; you want a head, and unless you unite upon that head you are blown to the four winds; the anti-Mormons will carry the election-a guardian must be appointed.'
"Elder George A. Smith said, 'Brethren, Elder Rigdon is entirely mistaken, there is no division; the brethren are united; the election will be unanimous, and the friends of law and order will be elected by a thousand majority. There is no occasion to be alarmed, President Rigdon is inspiring fears there are no grounds for.
“Elder Rigdon said he did not expect the people to choose a guardian on Thursday, but to have a prayer meeting and interchange of thought and feeling, and warm up each other's hearts."
Several of the Twelve having arrived at Nauvoo, there was a
meeting of the Twelve Apostles, the High Council, and the High Priests at the Seventies' Hall, on the 7th, at 4 p. m.
President Brigham Young called upon President Rigdon to make a statement to the Church concerning his message to the Saints, and the vision and revelation he had received.
President Rigdon said:
The object of my mission is to visit the Saints and offer myself to them as a guardian. I had a vision at Pittsburg, June 27th. This was presented to my mind not as an open vision, but rather a continuation of the vision mentioned in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.
It was shown to me that this Church must be built up to Joseph, and that all the blessings we receive must come through him. I have been ordained a spokesman to Joseph, and I must come to Nauvoo and see that the Church is governed in a proper manner. Joseph sustains the same relationship to this Church as he has always done. No man can be the successor of Joseph.
The kingdom is to be built up to Jesus Christ through Joseph; there must be revelation still. The martyred Prophet is still the head of this Church; every quorum should stand as you stood in your washings and consecrations. I have been consecrated a spokesman to Joseph, and I was commanded to speak for him. The Church is not disorganized though our head is gone.
We may have a diversity of feelings on this matter. I have been called to be a spokesman unto Joseph, and I want to build up the Church unto him: and if the people want me to sustain this place, I want it upon the principle that every individual shall acknowledge it for himself.
I propose to be a guardian to the people; in this I have discharged my duty and done what God has commanded me, and the people can please themselves whether they accept me or not.
President Brigham Young said he did not care who led the Church, but one thing he must know, and that was what God said about it. He said:
I have the keys and the means of obtaining the mind of God on the subject.
I know there are those in our midst who will seek the lives of the Twelve as they did the lives of Joseph and Hyrum. We shall ordain others and give the fullness of the Priesthood, so that if we are killed, the fullness of the Priesthood may remain.
Joseph conferred upon our heads all the keys and powers belonging