« AnteriorContinua »
Young Woman's Journal they would have them. We are all
As we read history we wonder at the narrowness of many of those who professed to be followers of the Christ. We can not understand how the Protestants and the Catholics could wage those wars of carnage and destruction against each other and think they were doing were doing God service by slaying their brothers. We are appalled at the slaughter which took place when the Mohammedans and Christians met in battle. We can not comprehend how those who had been so bitterly persecuted could turn and harass others when they had the power as did the Pilgrims. But are we sure that we do not foster, in a measure at least, the same spirit of intolerance? There are too many still who would like to punish or at least see a visitation of wrath come upon those who do not see, think, and do as
too much inclined to want everyone to fit our mould and to shape themselves according to our ideal pattern. We forget that variety gives. life, that differences of opinion stimulate thought, and that after the differences have been thrashed out the chaff will have been scattered, and the kernels of wheat will remain. It is a good thing to brush up against people of different views and ideas, thus do we grow.
While people today do not fight because they belong to different creeds there is still too much bitterness, not enough toleration. It is natural to suppose that each church member thinks his creed the correct one, the church to which he belongs, the one nearest the pattern set by the Master: if he thought some other were more perfect, to be logical, he would affiliate with it. He should not only be willing to grant to others the same right of choice which he has exercised, but should also be broad enough to respect them in their choice even though their views may be entirely different to his own. There are too many not big enough to do this. They ridicule, slur, and make fun of that which others hold sacred. They tear down rather than build up. Surely such actions do not show one to be the possessor of a greater fulness of light.
There seems to be nothing about which people are more touchy than their politics. Of course the Democrat thinks his political principles the soundest and best, of course the Republican thinks his political creed the one that will best further the country's growth: this is all right and each is not only justified but is in duty bound to work in an honorable, straightforward fight for the triumph of the principles he holds dear, but how narrow, small,
and contemptible is the conduct of many who hurl the bitterest invectives and abuse unjustly those who differ from them. All too often the papers of one party find fault with everything done during the administration of their opponents. The leading men are held up to ridicule and are carricatured when the same men with the same faults and virtues would be held up as their country's stalwarts and ablest defenders if they were only on the other side of the political fence. Surely it would be an excellent thing to inject a goodly portion of toleration into our politics.
Some very close friendships have been formed and have lasted through life between men and women who differed radically about certain things, but they have enjoyed the many views they had in common and were broad enough to respect each other wherein they differed, but too many act like the children in this excerpt: "Elliottson," said his mother, "have you quarrelled with your friend Ticklowell Howjames?" "No, mamma," responded the little Boston boy. Boston boy. "But I do not associate with him
He and I entertain different views regarding the solution of the English sparrow problem." This illustrates the way in which many friendships are severed. People differ about the way certain things should be done, about the solution. of some problem and let that bring about a coldness between them. How can they forget the many things they have in common, the happy hours they have spent together, the beauty of each other's characters and sunder a bond of years' standing just because they' differ about something no weighty than the solution of "the English sparrow problem."
In the home there is need for a
great deal of forbearance. Each member of the household has his own individuality which is very different from that of any other. Things appeal to each in a different light. One feels that certain things are very important, to another they may seem quite trivial. This being true of those reared in the same home, how much more pronounced is it when people come from different homes having had a very different training; so young husbands and wives need to cultivate a spirit of toleration for each other. They are wholly unlike in many things they must learn to yield to each other and modify their extreme desires. A young wife once told me that when she was first married she chafed and fretted because her husband did not do things in the way she thought they ought to be done. Later she decided that perhaps his way was quite as good as hers. "Of course," she said, "we agree on the big important affairs of life but I am perfectly happy to have him do the little things his own way." She had learned one of life's great lessons.
With an intolerant spirit comes discord, dissension, strife, and bitterness. Toleration brings love and peace and good will. Which are you fostering?
"Offer unto God Thanksgiving and pay thy vows unto the most high."Psalms 1:14.
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.-Psalms xxxiii: 12.
While every day should be a thanksgiving and thanksliving day, it is well to have one specially signalled out on which the entire nation can unitedly bow before the
great Jehovah and offer songs of Praise and prayers of gratitude to Him from whom comes every good gift.
On this glad Thanksgiving Day we render unto the God of the harvest thanks and praise for the wonderful and manifold blessings which have been showered upon us during the past year, and earnestly pray that we may be worthy of His loving favor unto the end. We say with the Psalmist "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.-Psalms 1xviii: 19.
"The Great Apostasy."
We are pleased to announce that in the very near future a book will issue from the Deseret News press dealing with the important subject of the apostasy. We take some little pride in the thought that the Y. L. M. I. A. really pioneered the way to a systematic study of this subject among our people by securing the preparation and publication of our current series of les
The question of the apostasy is a vital one to investigators of and converts to the restored Church. As the author of the forthcoming volume expresses the thought in epi gram, "If the apostasy was not, the Church of to-day is not."
Our lessons on "The Apostasy" are in a sense complete in themselves; that is to say, our girls can study the subject as outlined in the lessons, and are not under the actual necessity of buying extra books, aside from the standard works of the Church, to which every member of our Associations is supposed to have access. The liberal citations given in the lessons make posible a fairly comprehensive study of the subject from the columns of
"The Journal" alone. Nevertheless, we urge upon our members a more extensive reading; and the book announced as soon to appear is the best reference we can name.
The treatment in the book is similar in a general way to that of our lessons; but much very valuable information is given in the book which of necessity is excluded from the lessons.
We are given to understand that the book will be published at a very low price, and we commend it heartily to all members of our Associations. The author is Dr. James E. Talmage, which fact is assurance of the value and accuracy of the work; it is to be published by the Church, and beyond this no recommendation is necessary.
A. Milton Musser.
In the passing of A. Milton Musser the Church loses one of its stalwart members. Bro. Musser labored long and faithfully at home and abroad to further the great latter-day work. One of his noted. achievements was a trip around the world without purse or scrip. At home he has long been an asistant Church historian.
Kindness, gentleness, and helpfulness were three of his strong characteristics. His family and friends will miss him keenly, but his going was not untimely as he lived a long and useful life.
May peace dwell in the hearts of the members of his family and may his children walk in the footsteps of their worthy father, so that when their earthly careers are finished they, too, may receive the welcome plaudit, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
Marcus Aurelius reigned from 161 to 180 A. D. He was noted as one who sought the best good of his people; yet under his government the Christians suffered added cruelties. Persecution was most severe
in Gaul (now France). Among those who met the martyr's fate in this reign were Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, and Justin Martyr, known in history as the philosopher.
With reference to the seeming anomaly that even the best of rulers permitted and even prosecuted vigorous opposition to Christian devotees, a modern writer has said:
"It should be noted that the persecution of the Christians under the pagan emperors, sprung from political rather than religious motives, and that is why we find the names of the best emperors, as well as those of the worst, in the list of persecutors. It was believed that the welfare of the state was bound up with the careful performance of the rites of the national worship; and hence, while the Roman rulers were usually very tolerant, allowing all forms of worship among their subjects, still they required that men of every faith should at least recognize the Roman gods, and burn incense before their statues. This the Christians steadily refused to do. Their neglect of the service of the temple, it was believed, angered the gods, and endangered the safety of the state, bringing upon it drought, pestilence, and every disaster. This was the main reason of their persecution by the pagan emperors." (General History, by P. V. . Myers, edition of 1889, p. 322.)
With occasional periods of partial cessation, the Christian believers continued to suffer at the hands of heathen opponents throughout the second and third centuries. A violent persecution marked the reign of Severus (193-211 A. D.) in the first decade of the third cen
tury; another characterized the reign of Maximin (235-238 A. D.) A period of unusual severity in persecution and suffering befell the Christians during the short reign of Decius, known also as Decius Trajan (244-251 A. D.) Dissensions and lack of faith among the Christians themselves added to the sorrows of the times. As an illustration of the readiness with which many professed believers deserted the Church under pressure of persecution we read:
"Vast numbers lansed into idolatry immediately. Even before men were accused as Christians many ran to the forum and sacrificed to the gods as they were ordered; and the crowds of apostates were so great, that the magistrates wished to delay numbers of them till the next day, but they were importuned by the wretched suppliants to be allowed to prove themselves heathens that very night."" (Milner, vol. I, ch. 8, quoting Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, who lived at the time of the incident described.)
The persecution under Decius is designated in ecclesiastical history as the seventh persecution of the Christian Church. Others followed in rapid succession. Some of these periods of specific oppression we
pass over and come to the consideration of the
Diocletian Persecution, Persecution, which ranks as the tenth great persecution of the Church. Diocletian reigned from 284 to 305 A. D. At first he was very tolerant toward Christian belief and practice; indeed it is of record that his wife and daughter were Christians, though "in some sense, secretly." Later, however, be turned against the Church and undertook to bring about a total suppression of the Christian religion. To this end he ordered a general destruction of Christian books, and decreed the penalty of death against all who kept such books in their possession.
Fire broke out twice in the royal palace at Nicomedia, and on each occasion the incendiary act was charged against the Christians with terrible results. Four separate edicts, each surpassing in vehemence the earlier decrees, were issued against the believers, and for a period of ten years they were the victims of unrestrained rapine, spoliation, and torturous death.
While many renounced all allegiance to the Christian faith and strove to excel in exhibition of idolatrous zeal, others remained faithful in the face of impending death. At the end of the ten years the Church was in a scattered condition. Places of worship had been razed to the ground, sacred records burnt, and every outward evidence of an organized religious body professing Christianity had been destroyed.
Descriptions of the horrible scenes as given by writers of the period are sickening to the soul. A single example must suffice. Eusebius, referring to the persecutions in Egypt, says:
"Thousands, both men, and women,
and children, despising the present life for the sake of our Savior's doctrine, submitted to death in various shapes. Some, after being tortured with scrappings and the rack, and the most dreadful scourgings, and other innumerable agonies which might shudder to hear, were finally committed to the flames; and some plunged and drowned in the sea, others voluntarily offering their own heads to their executioners, others dying in the midst of their torments, some wasted away by famine, and others again fixed to the cross. Some, indeed, were executed as malefactors usually were; others, more cruelly, were nailed with the head downwards, and kept alive until they were destroyed by starving on the cross itself.' (Eusebius, Eccles. Hist., Book 8, ch. 8.)
A modern writer whose tendency ever was to minimize the extent of Christian persecution, is Edward Gibbon. His account of the conditions prevailing during this period of Diocletian outrage is as follows:
"The magistrates were commanded to employ every method of severity which might reclaim them from their odious superstition, and oblige them to return to the established worship of the gods. This rigorous order was extended, by a subsequent edict, to the whole body of Christians, who were exposed to a violent and general persecution. Instead of those salutary restraints which had required the direct and solemn testimony of an accuser, it became the duty as well as the interest of the imperial officers to discover, to pursue, and to torment the most obnoxious among the faithful. Heavy penalties were denounced against all who should presume to save a proscribed sectary from the just
indignation of the gods and the em
perors." (Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. I, p. 481.)
So general was the Diocletian persecution and so destructive in effect that at the end of the decade of terror it was thought that the Christian Church was forever extinct. Monuments were erected to the honor of the emperor. On one of them is an inscription extolling