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Treasures

of the Collection

Lorenzo Snow, April 4, 1866

Sermon on Our Divine Potential

Transcribed by LaJean Purcell Carruth

Jesus is Our Example

It should be the height of our ambition to become like our Father who has sent us into the world here, that we might prepare ourselves to receive of his fullness. We have to learn to be simple and plain and seek the truth in simplicity and plainness, to seek after it with all diligence and interest and purpose of heart, preserving our integrity and ourselves pure and holy in all the circumstances around us, … cultivating a close acquaintance with our God, and to know and receive of that spirit which he has promised us to enable us to understand and comprehend and be prepared for the things which lie before us.

There is a beauty in our religion which makes the thing glorious, which has cultivated in me these principles of simplicity, although the greatest men on the earth, [the] greatest that has ever stood on the earth, he was probably the most simple. He told the truth in simplicity with no exhibition of … glory that we see the kingdoms of [the] earth cultivating. He told the people simply that he was the Son of his Father …  He didn’t propose to execute any schemes for any glory of his own, but [was] simply doing what somebody told him to do. The works he was accomplishing was work somebody told him to do. “This is not of me but my Father that sent me. He told me to do so and so, and what my Father reveals to me and tells me to do, that I do.” …

When he saw any possibility of doing any good, he simply endeavored to accomplish that good in all simplicity of his heart. On one occasion, [he was] invited to a feast and he saw the motive that inspired the master of the feast to gather up his friends. He saw it was for popularity. He would have given … him instructions [that would have] been for his good had he been disposed to receive it. When you invite your friends, invite the poor, lame and halt. Don’t invite the rich that invite you again, but invite the poor who can’t return the favor to you again. …

When you invite your friends, invite the poor, lame and halt. Don’t invite the rich that invite you again, but invite the poor who can’t return the favor to you again.

In all occasions of this kind, Jesus simply told of his belief [in] what is right, whether [to] a governor or a Jewish priest, [the] scribes or Pharisees, the intelligent or ignorant, he simply told them those things which pertained to their life and salvation. People went to Jesus. [He] didn’t think it beneath him. He showed to the people, to the high and low, to the rich and to the poor, that he was not [seeking] to accomplish his individual selfishness and glory, but he was to work for another individual. “The will that I have is dictated by my Father. That is, my Father shows me that [which] I [should] do, and all this work and glory and accomplishment of miracles and all these things, my Father tells me to do this, and my Father [is] greater than I am and I have come into the world to do his will.”

Jesus was our Elder Brother. He was on the earth. He passed through a state of probation here to show that the will of man could be subjected to the will of God our Father, and that the laws of God could be accomplished on the earth, notwithstanding the various oppositions. He subjected himself in all things to the will of his Father, however unpleasant they were. He fulfilled the law and honored himself and his God and showed unto all men that the gospel of God, that the laws of God, that the will of the Father could be accomplished on the earth among the children [of men] notwithstanding of all opposition that might be brought to bear. He exhibited this principle unto God his Father, unto angels, unto all generations, that the law of God should be honored [and] could be fulfilled here upon the earth.

He is our copy. He is the individual set before us that we are to copy after, and if we ever expect and anticipate receiving that [which it] is our privilege to receive, we have to conform to this copy. The schoolboy that has his copy placed before him, he has to make his letters in accordance to it. … If he wishes to become a splendid writer, he has to practice after the copy, to make his letters conform with the copy presented before him. Just in proportion as he is successful in this, so he answers the object he has in view. In regard to ourselves, in [the] proportion that we work on the earth in the gospel we have received, … as we work as the Savior [our] Elder Brother works, so we accomplish our wishes [and] conform and accord ourselves to the designs of the Almighty in committing the gospel to you and me.

It is useless for you and me to talk about happiness, exaltation, and glory until we get within ourselves and cultivate within ourselves those principles that can elevate us to happiness and exaltation. We may serve ourselves a variety of pleasing circumstances with mansions, with riches of every kind and character. Those don’t produce happiness. It is the principle that was cultivated by Jesus when he was on the earth that has produced happiness. …

Mansions with riches of every kind and character. Those don’t produce happiness. It is the principle that was cultivated by Jesus when he was on the earth that has produced happiness.

How We Can Become One

It is by cultivating the principles of holiness within us that the law can go forth from us, the same as from the Father, so that we will do the will of our Father, [the] same as Jesus when he was accomplishing his mission on the earth. The law of God ought to be established within us. The principle of acting right ought to be established within us. The foundation of truth and of righteousness and of holiness ought to be in you and me, that nothing but upright[ness] and holiness should proceed from us, and in this way we become one with Jesus, become one together as Brother Kimball was talking about. For these principles are in President Young and in Brother Kimball, [Brother] Wells and the Twelve. [They] shall be one together.

Jesus was one with the Father because the same principles that was in the Father was cultivated and established in the [Son], for it is said of him that he was the Son of God because he received not the fullness at once but received it by degrees, the same as you and I have—not all at once, but grace for grace—and continue[d] to advance in the principles of truth and holiness. [He was called] the Father because he received the fullness [of] the Father, because he was like him. When he received the fullness he was like the Father, and the same was in him as the Father, and they became united and they were one. If the Presidency and the Twelve ever become one, it will be upon the same principle. If we become one together, it will be upon the same principle: by establishing within ourselves a foundation of righteousness. The law of [the] Almighty [will] go from us, the principles of righteousness [will] go from us, that there may be a foundation of truth within us, doing the same as Savior, receiving grace for grace until we receive a fullness.

We should cultivate a higher tone in our religion. We should be more carefully searching the mind of the spirit and [seeking to] understand its whispering. In the first place, we receive instruction and revelation from God. The religion we have received has come from him. It will bring us to him. We know this. We received this knowledge. We are satisfied. We should be willing then to cultivate a willingness within ourselves to do what is required at our hands until we have received this fullness. We have to do as the Savor, … do that which is commanded [of] us to do. We [must] do the will of our God.

He was the Son of God because he received not the fullness at once but received it by degrees, the same as you and I have—not all at once, but grace for grace.

When the disciples went forth under the ordinations of the Savior they could surely say, “We do the will of him that sent us,” that is the Savior. “We do his will. He sent us to baptize, to lay hands upon the people, to bless the people, to tell them that if they would repent of their sins they might receive the Holy Ghost, and a knowledge of these things.” They could say, “We do the will of Jesus that sent us.” Well in doing this, they were doing the mind and will of the Almighty that was established in the Savior. And so those that the Apostle[s] sent. … So long as they followed the counsel of the Apostles they were doing the will [of the] Almighty in heaven, and continued to do this until they received knowledge upon knowledge, intelligence upon intelligence, grace for grace, until they received of the fullness.

We might exhort the people the same as the Apostle [Paul] on [a] certain occasion exhorted the saints, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Jesus Christ, [who] having found himself in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” That is a very singular principle, … [a] very singular exhortation to let the same mind be in you that Christ had before he was crucified for the sins of the world, who having found that he possessed the image of his Father and the same [principle], having found that he did receive grace for grace, and [the] fullness of his Father, or in other words, having found that he was in the image and form of God he didn’t think it taking anything from the Father in seeking to be like him. … The Father might make the same remark as Moses did. [A] person came to him in great agitation of mind. “So and so is prophesying in the camp.” Moses replied, “Would to God that all the people were prophets.” Moses saw at once it [was] not going to destroy the object the Almighty had in bringing the people out of Egyptian bondage that the man prophesied. If they were all prophets, they would not turn around to stone him but they would have seen eye to eye and would [have] been willing to do anything for the purpose of accomplishing the will of God and going to in possessing the land of Canaan. Had they all possessed the Holy Ghost they would have had the mind of God, and known it and been disposed to perform the mind and will of God, and been one together.

Saints Gathered for Protection

I would really like to see ourselves a little more energetic and ambitious in our religion, in establishing the principles of holiness within ourselves. The Lord is very good to us, very kind to us. Had we been in the United States and not been called in this mountain house, [the] saints that are sitting around us, some of them would have been destroyed and instead of seeing [a] congregation as we now see them, we would see them with an arm shot off, [or] maimed. We would see them with a leg shot off, see them with their face disfigured, and much more so. There was a man [who] spoke by the power of the Almighty: “Flee to the valleys of the mountains, for you are my people, the people of the Almighty. The Lord says, ‘Go forth, O ye my people, and go to the place of refuge, where ye [shall] preserve and sustain my work and where my holy principles shall be shown forth and where they shall be protected from [the] evils that are coming upon the earth.’” He has brought us here to save us from [the] evil that has come upon the nations and is still coming upon them.

The Lord has been very kind to us, very good to us. Thousands and tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of people are … in a state of beggary. they don’t know where they [will] get a meal of victuals, a night’s lodging, and [are] driven from place to place. You and I are here, undisturbed and unmolested and will be if we hold in holiness the principles of the Almighty given to us, and do that which is right before God, and be willing to sacrifice anything and everything for our God, that the will of God may be done in us and through us, the same as [it is] done in heaven and the same as Jesus done it when he was on the earth. The Lord requires, when a man comes to him, his whole heart and soul, … to serve him with his whole heart, mind and strength and soul, and when that is done there is no condemnation. Everything that such an individual desires for his happiness and exaltation he will obtain in time.

Sacrifice All for the Gospel

Men ought to have an understanding of those things [that] pertains to their duty and ought to be willing to sacrifice every thing for the sustenance and support of the holy principles God has given to us. Men of the world will give up their lives sometimes for their country and for the preservation of those laws and institutions they have received in a natural way. A man that is not willing to give up his life and everything he possesses when he comes to [a] knowledge of what God has done for us, he is not worthy of the kingdom and exaltation and glory. There are blessings for us, but the Lord likes to see a man that is ambitious. He likes to see a woman full of energy to work in the work of the Almighty in all truth and holiness. …

It is immaterial to us the sacrifices we make. If God gives me positions to occupy I will occupy them so far as he gives me strength to do, let it cost what it will. I will sustain these principles so far as God gives me ability and power. When I received the gospel of Jesus Christ my first idea was to receive a knowledge of it, and when I did I was prepared to sacrifice every thing to render myself worthy of it. So we ought to cultivate the principles of Almighty within us so strongly that we [will] be willing to do as Jesus [has] done. … “Let this cup pass. Don’t let me endure it if possible, but if it is your will I submit. Not my will, but yours be done.”

When I received the gospel of Jesus Christ my first idea was to receive a knowledge of it, and when I did I was prepared to sacrifice every thing to render myself worthy of it.

Conclusion

Well, I have occupied as much time as I have to occupy. I pray brothers and sisters that we may know a little more of our religion, that we may walk up unto the spirit of it more fully, that we may inquire of God to know what we want of him and be more faithful in these principles we have received, that we may render ourselves worthy to [escape] from the evil that is in the world, amen.

 

The full transcription of this sermon is available in the Church History Catalog. Learn more about our Lost Sermons editorial method.