If religion commands universal charity, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to forgive and pray for all our enemies without any reserve; it is because all degrees of love are degrees of happiness, that strengthen and support the Divine life of the soul, and are as necessary to its health and happiness, as proper food is necessary to the health and happiness of the body.
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We have all of us free access to all that is great, and good, and happy, and carry within ourselves a key to all the treasures that heaven has to bestow upon us. We starve in the midst of plenty, groan under infirmities, with the remedy in our own hand; live and die without knowing and feeling anything of the One only God, whilst we have it in our power to know and enjoy it in as great a reality as we know and feel the power of this world over us; for Heaven is as near to our souls as this world is to our bodies; and we are created, we are redeemed, to have our conversation in it.
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My wife would not speak evil of ... anyone ... without cause. Joseph is a liar and not she. That Smith admired and lusted after many men's wives and daughters, is a fact, but they could not help that. They or most of them considered his admiration an insult, and treated him with scorn. In return for this scorn, he generally managed to blacken their reputations - see the case of... Mrs. Pratt, a good, virtuous woman.
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All that is sweet, delightful, and amiable in this world, in the serenity of the air, the fineness of seasons, the joy of light, the melody of sounds, the beauty of colors, the fragrancy of smells, the splendor of precious stones, is nothing else but Heaven breaking through the veil of this world.
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Follow Christ in the denial of all the wills of self, and then all is put away that separates you from God; the heaven born new creature will come to life in you, which alone knows and enjoys the things of God, and has his daily food of gladness in that manifold blessed, and blessed, which Christ preached on the mount.
The Prophet had made dishonorable proposals to my wife... under cover of his asserted 'Revelation.'... Smith told his wife Jane the Lord had commanded that he should take plural wives, to add to his glory... Joseph asked her to give him half her love; she was at liberty to keep the other half for her husband.
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You may indeed do many works of love and delight in them -- especially at such times as they are not inconvenient to your state or temper or occurrences in life. But the Spirit of Love is not in you till it is the spirit of your life, till you live freely, willingly, and universally according to it.
I cannot tell you how much I love you. But that which of all things I have most at heart, with regard to you, is the real progress of your soul in the divine life. Heaven seems to be awakened in you. It is a tender plant. It requires stillness, meekness, and the unity of the heart, totally given up to the unknown workings of the Spirit of God, which will do all its work in the calm soul, that has no hunger or desire but to escape out of the mire of its earthly life into its lost union and life in God. I mention this, out of a fear of your giving in to an eagerness about many things, which, though seemingly innocent, yet divide and weaken the workings of the divine life within you.
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The Spirit of Love, wherever it is, is its own blessing and happiness, because it is the truth and reality of God in the soul; and therefore is in the same joy of life, and is the same good to itself everywhere and on every occasion. Would you know the blessing of all blessings? It is this God of Love dwelling in your soul, and killing every root of bitterness, which is the pain and torment of every earthly, selfish love. For all wants are satisfied, all disorders of nature are removed, no life is any longer a burden, every day is a day of peace, everything you meet becomes a help to you, because everything you see or do is all done in the sweet, gentle element of Love.
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Let every creature have your love. Love, with its fruits of meekness, patience, and humility, is all that we can wish for ourselves and our fellow creatures. For this is to live in God, united with him, both for time and eternity. To desire to communicate good to everyone, in the degree that we can and to which each person is capable of receiving from us, is a divine temper, for thus God stands unchangeably disposed towards the whole creation.
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God smiles when we praise and thank Him continually. Few things feel better than receiving heartfelt praise and appreciation from someone else. God loves it, too. An amazing thing happens when we offer praise and thanksgiving to God. When we give God enjoyment, our own hearts are filled with joy.
What can you conceive more silly and extravagant than to suppose a man racking his brains, and studying night and day how to fly? ... wearying himself with climbing upon every ascent, ... bruising himself with continual falls, and at last breaking his neck? And all this, from an imagination that it would be glorious to have the eyes of people looking up at him, and mighty happy to eat, and drink, and sleep, at the top of the highest trees in the kingdom.
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All the wants which disturb human life, which make us uneasy to ourselves, quarrelsome with others, and unthankful to God, which weary us in vain labors and foolish anxieties, which carry us from project to project, from place to place in a poor pursuit of we don't know what, are the wants which neither God, nor nature, nor reason hath subjected us to, but are solely infused into us by pride, envy, ambition, and covetousness.
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As a good Christian should consider every place as holy, because God is there, so he should look upon every part of his life as a matter of holiness, because it is offered unto God. The profession of a clergyman is a holy profession, because it is a ministration in holy things, an attendance at the alter. But worldly business is to be made holy unto the Lord, by being done as a service unto Him, and in conformity to His Divine will.
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Reading is good, hearing is good, conversation and meditation are good; but then, they are only good at times and occasions, in a certain degree, and must be used and governed with such caution as we eat and drink and refresh ourselves, or they will bring forth in us the fruits of intemperance.