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19 March 1855


Polysophical Society; Lorenzo Snow’s Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory

A large white house surrounded by trees

Lorenzo Snow’s home on South Temple Street in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo taken circa 1920. (Courtesy Church History Library.)

Address———No. 4,

The Ultimatum of Human Life.

The sun had set, and twilight’s shady mood,

Spread a brown halo, ting’d with solitude.

As day’s last glimmer flitted down the West,

Life’s stirring scenes demurely sank to rest—

Soft silence lent its contemplative charm

And all conspir’d the mental pulse to warm—

From world to world, imagination wander’d,

While thought, the present, past and future, ponder’d.

As I was musing, with desire intense,

That some kind guardian angel might dispense

Instruction; lo, a seraph form appear’d—

His look—his voice, my anxious spirit, cheer’d.

It was the Priesthood—that which olds the key

T’unlock the portals of Eternity;

And with o’erflowing heart, I took my seat,

An enter’d student at the Instructor’s feet.

‘What wouldst thou me?’ The Seraph gently said:

‘Tell me; and wherefore hast thou sought my aid?’

I then replied, long, long I’ve wish’d to know

What is the cause of suff’ring here below—

What the result of human life will be—

Its ultimatum in Eternity.

With firm, attentive mind—with list’ning ear,

I watch’d and waited, every word to hear,

As thus he said: ‘’Tis not for you to pry

Into the secrets of the worlds on high—

To seek to know the first—moving Cause— [n.p.]

Councils, decrees, organizations, laws,

Form’d by the God, pertaining to this Earth

Ere your great Father, from their courts, came forth,

The routine of his ancestors to tread—

Of this new world, to stand the royal head.

But thou <then>, the more immediate cause of this

World’s degradation, and its wretchedness,

Is disobedience: Sorrow, toil and pain,

With their associates, follow in its train.

This life’s an ordeal, and design’d to prove

Fraternal kindness and parental love.

This earth’s your Father’s workshop: What is done—

All that’s attain’d, and all achievements won,

Is for the Parents: all things are their own —

The children now, hold nothing but by loan.

Whatever some may claim, in proud pretence;

No one, has yet, obtain’d inheritance—

E’en Abraham has no possession gain’d

Of what, that’s' <by> promise, he thro’ faith obtain’d;

And all that greedy hands accumulate,

Is yet the Father’s, not the child’s estate.

Then shame, O shame on all the strives you see

Here in the cradle of life’s nursery—

The green-eyed jealousies, the gelid hate

Which carnal, avaricious thoughts create.

How vain that phantom of mortality,

The mimic form of human dignity!

’Tis soon enough for infant lips to talk

Of pow’r and greatness, when they’ve strength to walk—

’Tis soon enough for children to be great, [n.p.]

When they can bost a self-posses'd estate.

It will not matter whatsoe’er is gain’d,

Or, what on earth, may seem to be obtain’d,

But 'tis important that each one prepare

To be with Christ, a joint, an equal heir.

Faith & obedience and integrity,

Will the grand test of future heirship, be.

If true and faithful to the Father’s will,

It matters not what station here you fill;

As you prepare yourself in Time, will be

Your place—your portion in Eternity.

As disobedience fill’d the world with pain,

Obedience will restore it back again.

The base perversions of my pow’rs, produce

All the strong engines satan has in use,

And qualify the sons of men to dwell

With his dark majesty, the prince of hell.

All that obey the pow’rs of darkness, go

With those they follow, to the world below.

Then list to me—my precepts all obey—

The Gods have sent me in this latter-day,

Fully commission’d, all, to upward lead,

Who will my counsels and instructions heed—

Who seek, in every circumstance and place

To bless and benefit their fellow race—

Who seek their Father’s int’rests to enhance—

His glorious cause upon the earth t’advance.

Whether <in time> below , they much or little, claim,

If they exalt and magnify His name,

And in His service labor faithfully,

They’ll have a fulness of His legacy. [n.p.]

Each faithful saint is an acknowledg’d heir;

And as his diligence, will be his share,

When God, a patrimony, shall bestow,

Upon His sons and daughters here below.

Adam, your God, like you, on earth has been

Subject to sorrow, in a world of sin;

Thro’ long gradation, he arose to be

Cloth’d with the Godhead’s might & majesty.

And what to Him, in His probative sphere,

Whether a Bishop, Deacon, Priest, or Seer?

Whate’er His offices and callings were,

He magnified them with assiduous care;

And by obedience He obtain’d the place

Of God and Father of this human race. 1

Obedience will the same bright garland weave,

As it has done for your great Mother Eve,

For all her daughters on the earth, who will

All my requirements, sacredly fulfil.

And what to Eve, tho’ in her mortal life

She’d been the first—the tenth, or fiftieth wife?

What did she care, when in her lowest state,

Whether by fools, consider’d small or great?

’Twas all the same with her—she prov’d her worth—

She’s now the Goddess and the Queen of Earth.2

Life’s ultimatum, unto those that live

As saints of God, and all my pow’rs receive,

Is still the onward, upward path to tread—

To stand as Adam and as Eve, the head

Of an inheritance—a new-form'd Earth [n.p.]

And to their spirit-race, give mortal birth—

Give them experience in a world like this,

Then lead them forth to everlasting bliss,

Crown’d with salvation and eternal joy,

Where high perfection dwells without alloy.’

Thus said the Seraph: Sacred in my heart,

I cherish all his precious words impart;

And humbly pray, I ever may, as now,

WIth holy def’rence, in his presence, bow.

The field of thought he open’d to my view,

My wonder rous’d, and admiration too:

I marvel’d at the silly childishness

Of saints, the heirs of everlasting bliss—

The candidates for Godheads and for worlds,

As time on time, Eternity unfurls.

I left my littleness, and though, henceforth

I’ll be myself, the humblest saint on earth;

And all that God shall to my care assign,

I’ll recognize and use as His—not mine.

Wherever He assigns to me a place,

That, will I strive, with diligence to grace;

And, for my Parents, wheresoe’er my lot,

To work with all my might, and murmur not:

I’ll seek their highest interest, till they come,

And, as a faithful daughter, take me home.

As thus I mus’d, the lovely queen of night,

’Neath heav’n’s blue canopy, diffus’d her light:

Still brighter beams, o’er earth’s horizon play,

A cheering prelude to approaching day,

When Truth’s full glory will o’erspread the skies,

And the bright “Sun of righteousness, arise.” [n.p.]

Source Note

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

See also Eliza R. Snow, “Instructions of the Priesthood,” Deseret News 5, no. 50 (20 Feb. 1856): 394.