Stephenson Family Ties The Barn Burnt Down
And Now I See The Moon

Sabbath Reflections



The word gospel comes from the classic evengelium, "the joyful news,"  "the glad tidings."

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me
 ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have
 tribulation: be be of good cheer: I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

We are commanded to be joyful because he has borne our sorrows.  He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief so that we need not be.  Our own sins and limitations are the things that make us sad.  If we remain gloomy after what He did for us, it is because we do not accept what He did for us.  If we suffer, we deserve to suffer because there is no need for it if we only believe Him.

But shouldnt we pay the price for our own sins?  Isnt it only right and proper that we do so, and does it not weaken our character to be given something we do not deserve?

In answer to this we might imagine the human race to be in the position of a mountain climber on a precarious ledge.  The man has been climbing mountains all his life; he has never  yet (or else he wouldnt be alive) found himself in a position from which his will and his wit have not been able to extricate him.  But now at last he is in such a position.  Whose fault is it?  Strictly speaking the climber is wholly responsible for getting himself in a "jam," for he took the risk.  Yet it is only by taking such risk- some of which seemed greater even than this one- that he has become the able climber that he is;  his very virtues have led him into a death trap.  It was inevitable that his courage and enterprise should someday lead him to overreach  himself and turn to his destruction.  ....because the 'hero' does not sit at home and vegetate, because he has godlike aspiratins, he is doomed to death.  His very virtues emcompass his destruction, for he has one fatal weakness--he is human.
History has taught us....that man is simply not up to the task of assuring himself a good life on earth, let alone in eternity.  And so after all our planning and toil we find ourselves clinging exhausted to the face of the cliff, forced to admit at last in one terrible flash of insight and despair that our strength is hopelessly inadequate to getting us home again.
Then at this moment a helping hand is reached down to us.  Now the question is, should we refuse the hand for fear of weakening our character?  Will we still, in spite of what we know, insist that we can go it alone- that our own intelligence will be enough to save us?   Should we protest that the appearance of the hand at such a time and place is illogical and highly improbable, or debate whether the owner of the hand has strength enough to give us aid?  Take the advice of the Greeks, who knew  far more about the problems and ambitions of men than we ever will: man can never save himself.   Grasp the helping hand while you have the chance,  and ask questions afterwards.

"Wherefore, all mankind were in a lost and in a fallen
 state, and ever would be save they should rely on this
 Redeemer.  Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for
 sin, to answer the ends of the law; and unto none else
 can the ends of the law be answered."  `1 Nephi 10:6

Our elder brother, Jesus Christ, has proposed that he should help us to rise above ourselves, and this does not weaken our characters since our part of the bargain requires that we take no credit for the achievement, standing upon new heights not as haughty conquerors but with broken hearts and contrite spirits.  We claim no unearned glory for ourselves, but we are the richer for the part we have been allowed to play in our own salvation.

No man knows a thousand years of pain.  As soon as one realizes his position fully, he is ready to be saved from it.  As soon as our climber grasps the  seriousness of his situation, in one clear-sighted instant and repents of his rashness and folly, then he is ready to receive the proferred hand- his pride gives way to himility, and he joyfully accepts salvation.  No need to have him clinging to the rock indefinitely; he has learned  his lesson!!  God does not play cat and mouse with us; our sufferings are not drawn out; they are but for a little moment, says the scriptures, to those who are ready to accept deliverance.

Amen and amen!!
*exerpt from: THe WOrld and the PRophets  by Hugh Nibley

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