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God's Wondrous Work in Utah.
We hear much of the ill-omened and evil in Utah and see far too much of the un-sightly and hateful there—so much as to dis- courage us in the hope that there is a brighter side. Utah is a part of our country. It is ours for our weal or woe. If there are oases in this desert and these are capable of being extended for the relief of Utah's barrenness and the increase of the beauty and fruitfulness of our common country, it is well for us to know it. And the more so because this knowledge stimu-lates us to plan and pray and labor that the possible may become the actual and real, and that the whole land may be as the garden of the Lord.
The good things that Utah already has as a ground on which to build for the better are well set forth in the late Thanksgiving discourse of the pastor of the Congrega-tional church of Salt Lake City, Rev. R. G. McNice, at a union service Thanksgiving Day. The discourse with the above title is found entire in the Daily Tribune of Salt Lake City, Sunday, December 12th last. We are the more drawn to this discourse because the preacher is a son of Vermont, a native of Barnetand a graduate of Dart- mouth College. The Rev. Dr. Leeds of Hanover, who sends us the discourse, says in his note accompaning it, "Mr. McNice is a very strong man and one of the most valued graduates Dartmouth has sent out in my time." Mr. McNice's discourse was from Psalm cv: 5, 6: "O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name ; make known his deeds among the people; sing unto him ; sing psalms unto him; talk ye of all his wondrous works." The introduction is a picture of the hallowed scenes of a New England Thanksgiving, the land where Thanksgiving is native and familiar. There follows this a clear recognition and state-ment of the fact that God rules among the nations, and a brief presentation of the reasons we have for national gratitude and thanksgiving. In this way he comes to the reasons that Utah, destined, as he believes, to be one of the great and powerful States of the Union, has for gratitude.
"First—Are the evidences of a wonderful commercial progress." These he suggests by a brief statement of railroad and mining interests—railroads already built and mines opened. In regard to the latter he quotes high authority, Professor Newbury, who recently stated in a public lecture in New York, that there is no equal area in America that can show such vast wealth of mineral resources as Utah. But the best way to excite gratitude and call out thanksgiving is to look back. "American business men, who think there's little ground for thanksgiving, ought to remember that only twelve years ago they had no liberty to carry on business at all in this city. Special policemen were stationed in front of their doors to prevent people from trading with them, although they had committed no offence except to as-sert their rights as American citizens to think and act for themselves, in harmony with the laws of the land. Happily the days of such arbitrary dictation are ended, and those who once upheld it are heartily ashamed of it, and in favor of liberty now. But the fact that such dictation and oppres-sion existed only twelve years ago, so strong as to drive some of the ablest business men in the city nearly to the verge of bankruptcy, goes to show how great the commercial pro- gress has been, and how large the ground for thanksgiving.
"Second—There are evidences of great social progress. Those who have the best facilities for observation, by traveling through the Territory, know full well that the number of those dissatisfied with, and ashamed of, the peculiar social institution of Utah is increasing very rap-idly. The number of those who are heart-sick because of the blighting curse of polyg-amy upon themselves and their families, and who are attracted continually toward the Christian home system, under which the children gather under one protecting roof and around one common hearthstone; where one true father and one true mother journey hand and hand along the sacred pathway of life, dividing each other's sor-rows and sharing each other's joys, and then, after life's toils and trials are ended, lie side by side in their last resting-place—the number of those who discard the former system and adopt the latter is constantly in- creasing. This is shown by the increasing number of those who, although raised in connection with the former system, apply to Christian ministers and civil officers for Christian marriage instead of going through the abominable Endowment House. It is an encouraging fact that just in proportion as people read and ascertain the facts, and think for themselves, they discard polygamy as a most outrageous swindle instead of a revelation from heaven. And there is more and thinking being done now than ever before. The light is shining in faster than ever before. The dissatisfaction with polygamy is greater than ever. It is becoming exceedingly difficult to find an honest woman, who is at the same time an intelligent woman, who will look you straight in the eye and tell you that she believes polygamy is right. Those who travel up and down the Territory and associate with the people know very well that if it were possible by some decree to abolish polygamy, to-morrow forty-nine out of every fifty wo-men in Utah would rejoice with exceeding great joy.
"Third—There are evidences of political progress in Utah. When the newspaper or-gan comes out, as it has during the last three months, and declares, in substance, that civil and religious liberty for all classes has al-ways existed in Utah, and that it has always been in favor of such liberty, it is a sign of political progress, for it goes to show that civil liberty is on the winning side. When the present head of the dominant church here says, in public, that he's in favor of liberty for all, as I have heard him during the past two years, it's asign of progress. For when Satan comes dut in favor of right-eousness and says that sin is a bad thing we may be sure of one thing, and that is that Satan thinks sin is going to be beaten. Just think of a member of the priesthood standing up here twelve years ago, in the presence of Zion's iron-handed "prophet, seer and revelator" and declare that he was in favor of welcoming to Utah people of all parties and religious denominations ! If such a presuming man, twelve years ago, would not have had the privilege of a lively roasting, so to speak, before the High Council, for the utterance of such a sentiment, it would cer-tainly have been because the scarcity of coal prevented the heating of the griddle. But now such a sentiment is presented as one of the doctrines of the church! Such progress is wonderful.
"Fourth—There are evidences of a wonderful moral progress in Utah. This is in-dicated by the increasing number, strength and power of Christian churches and schools. Few people know the wonderful progress and power of these grand agencies. Most people need to be cheered with the informa-tion that there are in Utah twenty-five Pro-testant churches, twenty-seven ministers, thirty-seven mission schools, seventy-five teachers and three thousand pupils, who are taught to fear God, hate despotism and love their country. And the encouraging feature of this great work is that the demand for Christian teachers and ministers in the towns and villages of Utah is so great it cannot be met. As I like to put it, these schools constitute the skirmish line. Back of this line are the Christian churches with the resistless artillery of the gospel. And back of all is the grand army of all the Christian hosts in America, before whose mighty tread all forms of civil and religious error and oppression are fleeing away. Are not these the 'wondrous works' of God ? And are they not amply sufficient to induce us 'to give thanks unto the Lord ; to call upon his name; to make known his deeds among the people ?' But this should be not simply an hour of great thankfulness for the past, but of serious purpose for the future. And so let us glance very briefly at two or three things to be guarded against, if we would have still greater cause for future thanks-givings :
"First—Let us, amid our peculiar sur-roundings, guard against the idea that the accumulation of wealth is the great object of life. There is great danger that this will be one of the curses of this community, for already there seems to be a tendency to let the possession of great wealth out rank vir-tue and patriotism and character. People, in general, pay such deference to the rich for no other reason than because they are rich, that the young are getting the impression that money is sufficient to outweigh all sorts of meanness in their character and conduct. They put this idea into practice when they grow up. And hence, during the past few weeks, we have had the edifying spectacle on this western coast of two millionaires competing with each other in the attempt to buy a legislature, as though it were some- thing just as legitimate as the purchase of a mine. Now, there ought to be some way of making it so hot, in every community, both for the man who has the shameless au-dacity to buy his way into civil office, and for the man who has the audacity to subor-dinate the duties of the office he has ac- cepted to unlawfu lgreed for gain—there ought to be some way of making it so hot for such a man that he would beglad to join the first exploring expedition and go up to enquire the price of house rent in the vi-cinity of the North Pole. And this can be done if honest and patriotic men will let their voices beheard.
"Second—In our endeavors to Americanize Utah, let us guard against confounding the honest and innocent victims of a bad system with the system itself and its deceiving, anti-American leaders. Let us, as Ameri-cans, do everything in our power to show the masses of the people that we are their true friends, ready to do everything in our power to secure to them, against a despotic and swindling priesthood, the civil and re-ligious liberty which Americansen joy.
"Third—Let us guard against losing faith in the ultimate and speedy success in Utah of those American ideas regarding the sep-aration of Church and State which have con-tributed so greatly in other portions of the republic both to individual liberty and civil progress and stability.
"Fourth—Let us guard against losing sight of the fact that it is the patriotic duty of all Americans in Utah, irrespective of creed or party, to stand firmly together and labor with enthusiasm for the speedy triumph of these American ideas over every form of priestly despotism.
"Finally—Let us guard against forgetting the most important fact of all, that the chief glory of the past history of the American people, and the only well-founded hope of their future glory, is due to the fact that this is a Christian nation. The grand, ennobling and life-giving principles of the Christian religion lie at the basis of the only laws, and the only social, educational and civil institutions, which are likely to abide until the rock- ribbed mountains shall bow their tottering heads to the plain and the stars shall cease to be the glory of the night.
"None knew better than the great states-man who sleeps beneath the Marshfield elms that the Christian religion is one of the corner-stones of the Republic. Hence in his immortal oration at Plymouth in 1820, he said : 'Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian re-ligion. * * They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their so-ciety, and to diffuse its influences through all their institutions, civil, political or liter-ary.' And in speaking of the American Revolution, in the first of his two masterly orations at Bunker Hill, he said : 'And we all know that it could not have lived a sin- gle day under any well-founded imputation of possessing a tendency adverse to the Christian religion.' (Little & Brown's edi- tion of Webster's Great Speeches, page 51, 132.)
"And let it never be forgotten by any American that the men who have done most to impart unfading glory to our country's history, the invincible leaders in war and peace, the peerless jurists, matchless schol-ars, the undying historians, and the immor- tal poets, have either been Christian men, trained to moral greatness in Christian homes, or else in hearty sympathy with that Christianity which gave them the principles and the character on which rests the ada-mantine pillar of their immortal renown.
"Cherishing to our latest breath these Christian principles and these American ideas, standing up bravely and firmly, but magnanimously and good-naturedly, in their maintenance, in the field and the shop, the counting-room and the office, the editorial room and the pulpit, and trusting to the God of our fathers for guidance and bless-ing, I have the faith to believe that ere a decade shall pass the majority of the people of Utah will be in sympathy with American ideas, ready upon the return of the National Thanksgiving to assemble as true patriots in their places of worship in all the hamlets and towns of this vast territory, 'to give thanks unto the Lord, to call upon his name and make known his deeds among the people.' "
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