17 March 1843

Nauvoo School; Red Brick Store, Nauvoo, Illinois

A two-story brick structure with windows surrounding the main entrance

Joseph Smith’s Red Brick Store in Nauvoo, Illinois. Image taken circa 1885 by B. H. Roberts. (Courtesy Church History Library.)

This day clos’d my school, much to my own satisfaction; having the pleasure of the presence of Prest. J [Joseph] Smith, his lady [Emma Smith] Mrs. [Julia T.?] Allred, Mrs. [Elizabeth] Durfee and others. After reading in the hearing of the school several beautiful parting pieces, addressed to myself by the scholars, I read a farewell address which I had prepared for the occasion—and after singing the following parting hymn; Prest. S. closed the school by prayer.

[. . .] [n.p.]

The following is a copy of the Address.

My dear Pupils,

The time has arrived which is to dissolve [n.p.] the tie of relationship with which we are connected to each other, as Instructor and the instructed.

While I feel myself about to be liberated from the <duties, and relieved from the> great weight of responsibility which have rested <devolved> upon me, the thought of a separation from you, impresses my mind with feelings which I cannot describe.

Altho’ most of you were strangers to me at the commencement of the school; the endearing association has created in my bosom, an attachment which cannot easily be eradicated; and the deep interest I feel in your present & future welfare, must be my apology, if any is thought requisite, for my offering you an address on the present occasion. Be assured, the earnest desire which I have felt, and which I still feel for your welfare, will not cease with the termination of my scholastic services.

The business in which I have been officiating is an arduous one—a calling which awakens into exercise every faculty of the mind; and with all fidelity to my patrons, I have endeavored to discharge its duties with uprightness and impartiality, in the fear of God.

Amid all the variety of habits, manners and understandings—amid all the dissimilarity of view & feelings that are huddled together in a large promiscuous school like this, when children are as differently govern’d at home, as the subjects of opposing nations; for a teacher to give universal satisfaction, would be almost an anomaly in literary practice. Of this, I have ever been so well apprized, previous to engaging in the arduous employment, as to fortify my mind in [n.p.] such a manner, as, after having conscientiously officiated according to the best of my ability; to be satisfied with an approving conscience and the sanction of heaven, regardless of human praise or censure.

I take the liberty on this occasion to express my satisfaction and approbation of your conduct in general, while under my charge, and you will please accept my thanks for the respectful attention which, with very few exceptions, you have paid to my instructions.

The progress you have made in your several studies, while under my tuition, is very gratifying to me, and does honor to yourselves. Before relinquishing my care, I wish again to impress your minds with the importance of scholastic pursuits. Altho’ they may appear of little consequence in themselves; they form the laws of civilization, literature and refinement; therefore let them occupy a due share of your youthful attention—let not your time run to waste—let not your early life be trifled away on nonsensical objects; but in all your pursuits, have a wise reference to the future, ever bearing in mind that the manner in which you improve the present period, will have a bearing <upon> on your conditions and characters hereafter, and let the attention and the improvement of your minds and manners engage much of your present attention in order to prepare you for the relations you will be call’d to sustain in the busy scenes of life which are lying before you. You live in a very important age, an age teeming with events, and if your lives are spared, you will each have a part to act in the grand scenery which precedes [n.p.] and is to prepare the way for the second [coming] of the Messiah. You should endeavor to realize the consequence of the period, and to act accordingly. Let your thoughts be elevated—let them rise superior to the superficial glare—the pompous nothingness of the fashion of this world which ever passes away, and study to make yourselves useful. By early habit you will accustom yourselves to blend the useful with the agreeable in such a manner as that the every-day duties of life will be pleasurable; and that course of life which proposes the most usefulness, will conduce most to your individual happiness by contributing most to the happiness of others. How much better—how much nobler the principle of habituating yourselves to derive pleasure by contributing to the happiness of those around you, than to seek it in the indulgence of that little selfishness of feeling which extends no further, and has no other object than mere personal gratification?

Endeavor to cultivate sufficient indipendence of mind, that you will dare to do right—that will inspire you with moral courage enough to stem the tide of evil examples[,] realizing that the eyes of the great God are <continually> upon you, and let his approbation be esteemed the richest reward, regardless of the frowns and the smiles of the vain & unprincipled, who would fain lead you from the paths of rectitude.

Situated as you are in the “City of the Saints,”—the place destined for the gathering of people from every nation, kindred, tongue and people; you must expect to associate with people of widely different dispositions and understandings, and whose habits and manners have been formed under every variety of circumstances. with these expectations it will [n.p.] be peculiarly necessary for you, if you wish either to be happy yourselves or promote the happiness of those around you, to cultivate feelings of philanthropy and consanguinity: accustom yourselves to view the conduct of others in the most favorable light; and always be more ready to find a redeeming apology for inadvertences and failings, than to indulge in severe censures and criticisms: remembering that so long as people are differently educated, and the customs of different places are so very unlike; no individual judgment will be acknowledged as a criterion of propriety; therefore it is better to be indulgent and forbearing especially in all cases which are merely matters of taste, and allow to others every privilege which you wish to enjoy yourselves. After all your utmost exertions in welldoing, do not be discouraged when you learn by sad experience that the world does not appreciate your doings in a manner to meet the expectation of youthful anticipation.

Do not overestimate the merit of your own actions, and console your feelings with the idea that the eyes of Him who judgeth righteously are upon you—that the time will come when all will be rewarded according to their work; when the secrets of all hearts will be made known; and endeavor to hold sufficient command over your feelings to be satisfied with the approval of the great God, and patiently await the decision of his tribunal, regardless of the praise and censure, smiles and frowns of those persons who are guided by the preconceived notions of contracted, silly, and selfish minds

The human mind possesses an adhesive quality—it is apt to adhere to, and contract a likeness to that with which it comes most in contact, or with which it is most [n.p.] conversant; therefore it is all important that you should be wise in the choice of your particular associates—Let the good—the honest and the upright, constitute the society in which you familiarize your thoughts and feelings, at the same time, be courteous and affable to all. That kind of haughtiness of manner which many mistake for dignity, which by its repulsiveness is calculated to hold every body at a distance, is a stranger to the amiability which flows from a philanthropic disposition, and genuine goodness of heart.

Court the society of the aged who have trod the path of life before you—those who have accumulated wisdom by length of years and practical experience. Listen respectfully to their instructions, and profit by their counsels. Never treat them with that arrogance and insolence which too much characterizes the manners of the present age. Honor them as they honor God—look up to them with reverence and treat them with kindness and affection; reflecting that, should should you arrive to their years, how gratifying it will be to yourselves to see the children and youth, look up to you with respectful attention, and leaning upon you as the guardians of their virtues, and the protectors of and supporters of their morals, like the tender twig sheltering itself beneath the spreading umbrage of the sturdy and inflexible oak.

Many of you now are in that season of life when the fascinating charms of youth <the> world seem most attractive to the human heart, and when its ten-thousand snares are most liable to attract the unsuspecting and inexperienced feet aside from the paths of virtue, religion and piety; and as many if not all of you [n.p.] are members of the Church of Jesus Christ, let me say to you, remember now your Creator in the days of your youth and serve him with a perfect heart and a willing mind—set your faces as flint to keep the commandments of God, and to live by every word that proceedeth out of his mouth. Turn your backs upon the vanities and follies of the world, and hold them in comparative contempt. Be steadfast without bigotry. If you are faithful and true to the profession you have made, you are to become the companions of angels.

How awkward you would feel to be introduced into the society of beings filled with intelligence and surrounded with glory, if entirely unprepared for such society? Life itself might seem too short for such a preparation. Then diligently seek wisdom and knowledge. Study attentively the revelations which God has given heretofore, and receive & treasure up whatever shall proceed from his mouth from time to time; for we live in a day when he is speaking to his people and to the inhabitants of the earth, through the prophet whom he has raised up for that purpose. If you calculate to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, you must be determined—you must not be afraid to be singular: for though you are privileged above all the world with regard to society by being associated with the Latter-day saints; remember that all are not Israel that are of Israel—that the kingdom of heaven is like a net cast into the sea which gathers of every kind, and even here are some who would entice you from the pure principles of the religion of Jesus. I pray that God will enlighten your minds by his spirit continually, to enable you [n.p.] to judge correctly and distinguish between the false honors of the world, and the honor that comes from God—between those things that are highly esteem’d among men but which are of short duration; and those things that will abide the changes of time and endure eternally, when earthly things shall have measured their sublimary existence and numbered the fleeting moments that defined their being—that you may have wisdom to know the will of God, and integrity and courage sufficient to perform it—that you may be truly the sons & daughters of Zion—that you may be ornaments to the church—patterns of piety and virtue, and prepared for a glorious state of existence, to share in the triumphs over death and the grave when this mortal shall have put on immortality—when the first resurrection shall bring forth the righteous, and thro’ the merits of Jesus give them an eternal victory, and place them on high, above the ruins of divisible and combustible matter.

With the most earnest desires for your present & eternal welfare, praying God in the name of Jesus Christ that you may be blest with the richest of heaven’s blessings—that you may be preserved from the evils that are in the world, and be of that number who, having the harps of God, shall sing the song of Moses and the Lamb and inherit the glory of the celestial kingdom, I bid you all an affectionate farewell! [n.p.]

Source Note

Eliza R. Snow, Journal (1842–1882), n.p., CHL (MS 1439).

Cite this page

17 March 1843, Nauvoo School; Red Brick Store, Nauvoo, Illinois, The Discourses of Eliza R. Snow, accessed May 22, 2024 https://www.churchhistorianspress.org/eliza-r-snow/1840s/1843/03/1843-03-17