1854 October 1 Sunday Afternoon Discourse

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1854 October 1 Sunday Afternoon Discourse

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Sermons

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1854/10/01

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George D. Watt

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Discourse by Presedent Brigham Young Octr. 1st 1854 P.M.
The Latterday Saints in their trials, privations, and afflictions often wonder why it is they are called to pass through such heart rending scenes. The reason is very obvious to those who will reflect upon it a moment; those who marvel at it may, in a few moments, answer their own queiries upon this matter, if they will think.
Take for instance <the> those Bro. Job Smith has refered to; clerks, Machanics, and <those> such who have served behind a counter; men who have been raised in the Cities and towns, of the old Counteries; Men who have been in the habit of folling continualy the same rotine of employment, from year to year, in their work shops, factories, and stores; they love the Lord,-- they serve him, and while they are following their employment, they are meditating upon the providences of God, and thus day after day, week after week, and mounth after mounth passes away; but, by and by the scene changes <with them>, and they are called to pass thro' other sercumstances divers from the ones that have surrounded them all their days. Such have been the sercumstances of hundereds who have come to this Valley from disstant Counteries, and many I have no doubt are before me to day. Now I ask you who never saw an ox bow until you came to the Missouri River; When you commenced to work the Cattle, Bro. Elderidge spoke of in the Morning, that were considered by the Missourians so well broke, yet it required two men on horse back to run them down before they could be yoked up; when you were fatigued; when you were sick, and in distress; when pestalence and death was in the camp; when you were plagued with your cattle, run over, kicked and knocked down, did you stop to reflect a moment, and ask the Lord to give you patience; to be calm <to give you> faith to endure; strength to bear up your body, and wisdom to manage your teem? "O, yes," you reply, "We had to pray all the time." <Well supose you>
Well supose you prayed to a being who knew nothing about yoking up wild cattle, could he know how to sympathise with you? If you asked him to give you patience, his reply would be I <know> am unaquainted with the cercumstance you say requires patience, I have no experience in these matters you had better call upon somebody else better aquainted with such things pertaing to life."
To ask a being for succor who could not be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; who could not sympathise with our weaknesses, nor understand the Nature of the difficulties through which we pass in this existance, would be to ask in vain, we should receive no answer to our pititions. We should be left to act upon our own responsibility and faith, having no one to look to for comfort, or for strength to overcome.
A little reflection will show you the necessity of all these things. Talk of hungary people in the old counteries, and those who have suffered in settleing New Countries, and yee tell them to make their complaints, and urge their pititions for help to a God who never had any experience, in the adverse fortunes of mortal life, it would <only> be adding another bitter dissapointment to the catalogue of their sufferings, for instead of receiving from him the thing sought for, they would be left to struggle on <in their afflictions> until death terminated their afflictions.
If you are <in the> called to pass thro' famine, pestalence, and war and b lood shed, and see your freinds and neighbours falling on the right, and on the left; <and> if you lay your hands upon your Bren. or upon your neighbors; or if you bow down in secret to pray to a God to heal their bodies, and to comfort them, who never himself had any experience in these difficulties of life, what would you expect to receive from such a God? Nothing at all. The Lord Jehovah never operates, by blessings, by favors, by Judgement, or by any other one of his providences, beyond his own capacity, and that with which he is well aquainted, <with>, and has passed thro' <himself> and experienced himself. If he has received his exaltation without being hungary, cold, and naked; without passing through sickness, pestalence and disstress, by the same rule We may expect to be exalted to the same crown, to the same glory and exaltation. But if he deals out to us, afflictions, persecutions, pain, disstress, famine, perplexity, blood shed, driving, and privations of every kind, it is the way that leads to the same exaltation he enjoys. o man who is well instructed in the things of God would exclaim; "the God I serve has received his exaltation, without suffering, and earning it by his faithfullness. If God has received his exaltation in this way, he cannot in right, and in justice call upon us to earn it by suffering, for he would then <call upon us> require that of us he himself was not subject to.
<Though> You have had the first principles of the Gospel taught you; (I speak to those perticularly who have just arrived here) and in these teachings you have been taught the principles of exaltation, <and> you can also read them in your bibles, which you have perused from your infancy; they have been taught you from the pulpit all the days of your lives; that Christ is our Elder Bro. and God is the father of Our spirits, as well as of the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ; he is the God of the saviour, and he is our God; he is his father, and he is our father, and we are bretheren, and are all one in Christ, if we are his servants; and we shall be exalted to the same power, glory, and exaltation with our elder brother. This has been taught you all your lives. How will you act when you get an exaltation? Like those who are exalted; You will enjoy the same privileges, and act in the same capacity as those who have gone before you; those who have suffered in the flesh; who have been tried and tempted in all points as we are; who know what the sufferings of the world are. Do you expect to have subjects in your kingdom over which you will sway a cepter of righteousness, that is if you receive an exaltation? Yes. this has been taught you in the first discourses, and lessons you received when you <first> embraced the Gospel. You have been taught to anticipate an exaltation in the presence of the Father, and the Son, to be crowned Gods, even the sons of God; to be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, to receive kingdoms, throwns, domaions, principalities, powers and exaltations in the presence of God with your elder Bro. I say these principles have been taught you from the first you heard Mormonisam or the Gospel of Salvation. Then if the Father could pity the son; if he could be with him in every trying hour, and give him grace to overcome, and firmness to endure all he had to endure in the flesh, it proves to men of sound sense that he Knew how to pity the one who was passing through afflictions, for he can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities being in all points tempted as we are. I am not aware that we have any account in the New Testament of his yoking up unruly Cattle; but we do read that he had to deal with the Ass, which is one of the most stuberen race of brutes; that was the kind of animal they had about Jerusalem in the days of the saviour, and he had to do with them if not with the horned tribe. But, whether Jesus Christ had to do with temporal matters of a character that severly vexed his righteous soul is not a <matter> subject I wish <now> to disscuss; but this I want you to understand, for it is a docterine of the Gospel of Salvation to all the decendants of Adam and Eve, that if you know any thing you obtain that knowlege by experience. If you have been hungary you can feel for those who are hungary when you are full. If you have never wanted for food, or been placed in a situation that you could not obtain it, you have not been placed in a situation, or in a position to give you a knowlege of its want; and cannot know how to succer, and feel for those who are hungary, and cannot get food to satisfy the cravings of nature. But if you have obtained this knowlege, it must be by being placed in sercumstance that has given you experience in hungar thirst etc. There is no other rule,-- no other method on this earth by which facts can be demonstrated; it must be by their oposites.
If Adam and Eve had not pertaken of the forbidden fruit, and tasted what sin was, they would have remained in ignorance to all eternity. Unless a persons know what the affects of sin are,-- unless they drink of the bitter cup, it is impossable they can know the sweet. If you had not crossed the plains; if you had not suffered in body and in mind, you might be exalted, and continue to be exalted to all eternity, and you would never know how to pity those who are passing thro' scenes of affliction in a similar manner on other earths. Is it necessary we should suffer? Yes, it is just as necessary that the saints should be persecuted, afflicted, <and> cast down, and suffer as anything else in the providences of God that is dealt out to them. We might as well talk to a person about coulers
who is born blind, as to talk to a person of no exerience <of to> what they <would> feel, and of the sympathy they cherish for beings whose afflictions they have never suffered.
You might as well ask the man stone blind what the sun shine is like; he would be as apt to tell you it looked like the sound of a violin, as to say anything else about it. Or it is as reasonable to ask a person deprived of taste the flavor of fruit or any other kind of food. You see that it is necessary to have experience, for how could you disstinguish coulers through the retina of the eye, is you were blind, or the properties and flavors of vegitables and fruits if you were destitute of taste? If you were destitute of smell you might as well smell at a toadstool as at the most beautiful flavoured peach or aple that ever grew. So, it is just as great a folly to talk about being exalted in the kingdom of God, without passing through all the affliction privation, and disstress that mortal man can pass through on earth. As the eye is necessary to desern coulers, the sense of smell to apreciate the flavors of fruit and flowr,s and the sense of taste that of food, so experience in suffering etc. is necessary to enable us to apreciate and enjoy the exaltation we anticipate. You cannot receive an exaltation without you first know how to apreciate it. If you take <the> an idiot that is so far sunk in idiocy as to be entirely incapable of understanding, seeing, hearing, tasteing, and smelling, and place him upon an earthly thrown, clothed in the robes of state and tell him he has dominion over a great Nation, would he feel any different than he would on a dunghill clothed in filthy raggs? You might as well set him on a stool in the stable, and tell him to count, or play with the straws, and he will experience as much, taste as much, see and here as much, know and enjoy as much as he would seated upon a thrown as the king of a Great Nation. We should be equely as useless, as inactive, and look as foolish seated upon an eternal thrown as <an> everlasting kings without experience in earthly suffering, toil, and fategue.
How are you going to get your knowlege if not by your experience? That which you have experienced, you know. There are some things perhapes you do not want want to experience, and which if you do not experience you cannot know. I am one of that class. I do not wish to know all things, nor pass through the experience that will give me that knowledge. I do not wish to know how a man feels who has sinned against the Holy Ghost. I am perfectly satisfied with the exaltation I can get without ever feeling the pains of the damned. That I do not wish to know. There are also some characters I do not wish to see; for instance, Lucifer the son of the Morning, Belsebub, the Devil; <or what ever name> I do not want to see him from this time henceforth, and forever. I am perfectly satisfied with seeing the faces of Good people. I do not yearn for knowlege of this kind. There are a great many other things I do not want to know. Do you ask me if I am willing to know what it is to suffer in the flesh? I answer Yes, if the Lord God will give me grace and sustain me. From the first dawn of reason upon my infant brain to this hour have I ever asked God to turn away affliction from me; I have always felt that I had faith to endure, and that he would sustain me. I have asked the Iord to uphold me in certain places and sercumstances, and to give me grace, and the light of his spirit to enable me to endure faithful to him, but I have never asked him to remove the affliction; neither have I ever asked the Lord to screen this people from being driven from their homes, and inheritances, for I knew it was necessary they should be tried in all things; that they might obtain experience.
In the Iatter days the Lord will reveal the secrets of the hearts of the childeren of men, and that, which <that> has been counseled, and spoken in the secret chambers he will cause to be proclamed upon the house tops. Will he speak it <himself> with his own mouth? Or will he send his angels to enter the secret chambers of the wicked, to learn what they are talking about and then run out to proclaim it on the house top? No. he will bring the people into sercumstances to make them spue out their own iniquity. And the man who has embraced the Gospel of salvation, and is not humble and faithful, the Lord will bring into sercumstances of trial, or else show him favor that will make him apostatise sooner, or later. The time to seperate the sheep from the Goates entirely has not come yet; the wheat and the Tares must grow together until harvest; look out you new comers, for there are a great many tares here, right in the midst of this people, The Kingdom of heaven is likened unto a net, and it gathers of all kinds; and you can find them here. If you want to scour the earth to find the meanest devils there is, come among the Mormons, and there you will find them. We have got all kinds here; you can choose your own society.
As I have touched upon this strain I will go a little further. Look out you new comers, I have published it from the stand, and through the Deseret News; warning all the new comers to take care of their stock. The Bren. who have come in this season I supose are turning their Cattle over Jorden; I wish you to understand that there are theives here all the time, who will assemble with the saints, and partake of the sacrement, and profess to be the best of Latter Day Saints. They will come to you in the camping ground,, and with great civility and loving kindness, wellcome you to the valley, sympathising with youin all your trials and afflictions, until they learn where you have turned out your cattle, and the couler of them, and tomorrow morning these very kind saints drive off your stock, sell them to the passing emagrant, or butchers them for beef. Did you think you was coming out of Babalon to the land of Zion where you would see no more wickedness? If such were your thoughts you will be dissapointed. But recollect if you see such wickedness here that is tolerated in the world by law, you will also see the wringing of Noses,and such scounderels kicked out of the Territory. There is a class here who will meet you like a brotheren; they do not sware before you, but when they are alone or with their companions, it is as it was at Green River with some of our Bren. who went out to attend the Ferry there; there was one man there in perticular that was such an adept at swaring that the greatest swarers among the emagrants felt ashamed of their feeble efforts at that stile of language; He could out sware the meanest wretch that came in his way; but when he is here he is a religious as the Devil. Such men have to keep themselves a little quiet here, for they are afraid that judgement will be laid to the line, and righteousness to the plumet which would be as it ought to be; and the time will come when judgement will be meeted out to such charracters, and we will not sto to find out or prove by the mouths of witteneses they have sworn, gamballed, <or> robbed, or committed any other kind of iniquity they ought to be slain for, but they will be charged with it, and they will not be able to deny it; but <they> will confess it with their our mouths.
Do you not think it is necessary to have an experience in all things pertaining to life, which will enlarge the capacity of man for a higher sphere of action. If you do not think so, solve the following problem. Why did the Lord Almighty have Lucifer <in> in heaven to contend with him. Many such problems might be put; but Lucifer was cast down. They did not have to do then as we do in this world. Here the sheep and Goats must run together; but when Lucifer and company <they> declared themselves oposed to the powers, and principles that controle the eternities, war was at once sprung into existences, a battle was fought and the enemy was cast out. If they fought there, think it not strange if the saints should fight on the earth by and by.
But they are not righteous enough to fight yet. It is better for them to be driven from their homes, to be mobbed, tarred and feathered, to be whiped, to suffer cold and hungar, and perish by the way side, and fall before their enemies, than it is for them <now> to lay judgement to the line, and righteousness to the plumet, because they are not righteous enough, they do not know enough. It is necessary we should arrive at the knowlege by experience; consequently we have to drive oxen, and mules, work in the Canyons, and makefarmes, build houses, <and> gather arround us associations in life, and then have to part with them. What is all this for? That we may become righteous. How Can we become righteous unless we know what righteousness is, -- can dissern between the righteous<ness>,and the wicked<ness> the things that are of God, and the things that are not of God. Is it actualy necessary you should have this experience? Yes. Supose we had kept Mr. Job Smith at home here the five years he has been gone; do you supose <he> the valley would have <felt and> looked so well to him as <he> it does now? He has learned to understand, the vision of his mind is opened, and the spirit of God has epened unfolded <opened> <to up> to his comprehension the great purposes of heaven touching the saints in the last days. Had he remained here, he might have been like many others looking somewhere else for salvation, than in the quarter where it alone can be found. it is necessary for man to be brought to a knowlege of the truth through experience, and suffering, or his eye would be like the fool's eye, looking after that which is at the antipodes, which <that> he cannot obtain; continualy reaching after that <they> cannot quite reach.
It is good for us to be afflicted; to be deprived of our families and freinds; and pass through cholera, sickness, pain, and death, that we may know how to succor those whome we may see in like sercumstances, when we have power to help them. If we are faithful the whole tener of the Gospel of life and salvation is, that we shall be exalted, and gain the victory over ourselves, over the world, and over the powers of darkness. And when we have entered into our reward thro' faith in the name of Jesus Christ, and shall sway a cepter, we shall know how to pitty, sympathise with, and rescue those who are passing through the same difficulties. If we are sent as angels and ministering spirits to strengthen the disstressed, or if any of the subjects over which we may reign are passing thro' the same scenes we have encountered, we can be touched with the feeling of their infirmities. The only key to open the door of knowlege is experience; then you see it is necessary that we pass through scens of trial to gain experience.
A few words more perticularly to those who have lately come <here> to this city. Bren. and Sisters; what did you come for? You answer, "to be with the Saints. Are you with the Saints? "Well" says one, "I declare I do not know about that, for I have seen the conduct of some here that is anything else but saintship". If you have any doubts as to this being the place for you to come to ask God whether it is or not, and get an answer from him before you decide upon it yourselves. If he tells you, you have come to the right place, your next buisnes is to find our whether you are a saint before you inquire wheter <about> any body else is or not.--before you inquire whether brothers Brigham, Jedediah, Heber, Elder Hide or anybody else is. If you find it out that you are a saint, then all is right with you; your heart is comforted, it is lighted up, and you feel cheerful and happy, and you will meet with your Bren. with a joyful countenance. Have you an experience in this? How does the spirit of the Lord make you feel? Does it make you feel cheerful or sad? gloomy and cast down and mellancholy. You recolect our old religion; I do not mean the Yanky religion, that is made of rum and Mollases. Our old religion requires a man to go with his head bowed down. When I see a man of this kind, I say "now Brigham look out, keep your pockets buttened". If you trade horses with that man, he will not be satisfied with taking the hair off, but he will shave the skin off you from head to foot. Do you know what it is that make men and women sorry long and gloomy faces? I can tell you, it is a guilty consciense. There is not a man or woman, on this earth, whose peace is made with God, and who are associated with holy beings, and seeking after holy principles, but their countinences are lit up with a lamp of divine cheerfulness. If a person is guilty of serving themselves,and the devil every day, and seem to serve the Lord on Sunday when they come to you with a most solemn look, extending their hand, saying, "how do you do, it is good to be here etc. you be on the watch. What is the matter with him? Where he to confess the truth he would say, "I cheated my brother yesterday, and my consciense condemns me," or I hired a man to work for me for a bushel and a half of corn per day, and I cheated him in the measure, and my consciense condemns me. This make me think of an anacdote. In Vermount a man was measuring Rye; something or another spoke behind him saying, "the old man you are measuring that Rye for has just steped out, take a little out of the measure". Said he. "Mr Devil, get out of my Barn or I will heap up every measure every time" So when you want to screw, and cheat your neighbor a little tell the devil to get out of your house, or you will heap up every measure, and give your wood and flower to the poor until you have not a dime left.
Again. You new comers have heard considerable about the Gold Regions. Some of your bretheren who was brought here by the Perpetual Emagration Fund have writen to you as to their prosperity in accumaling property, that they have got as good a house as this or that man refering to those you know; <that> that they have got so many cows, and so many oxen, and ride about half their time, etc; you read this intellegence, until the steam rises in the old pipe, and your brain begins to reel with anciety <to> to reach <get rich also to> the valley to get rich, there are thousands of things of this kind I might notice, but I do not want to name them; but I will come to the point; if you are here in search of the riches of this world you had better go on to Callifornia where they digg Gold out of the earth If you have not come to this valley exclusively to build up the kingdom of God, I want you to pack uu your traps and continue your journey westward. I am like the old Docter n such characters. He had a patient he could not cure, a child, but" said he, "I can throw it into fits, and I am hell on fits. Some of your Bren. who have come from the old counteries, when you wish them to work, they must be shure of receiving five dollars per day for their services. One of our painters charged one hundered and fifty dollers for painting an old omnibus, and for painting a sign for a Gentleman over here sixty dollars. Now I understand painting, if you will give me fifteen dollars for painting a sign that would cost from forty five to fifty dollars here it would pay me to sell my mills, and turn painter. For staining a little Glass, we must pay eighty dollars. Now Do you supose there are no land sharks here? I dare venture to forfiet, what? An old chaw of <tobaco> tobacho, if you ask them where their brains are they cannot tell you whether they are in their heads or in their heels. I speak plain that you may understand, and remember my words. I say to such men go to Callifornia, for we do not want you here.
I will tell <you> the New Comers how to get rich. I only mention these few instances, <there are> among thousands such I could refer to. Will I paternise such men? No; but I will paternise the farmer, the Machanic, <and> the Docter, and the lawyer, who come here, and are willing to go into my Garden, and shovel manure or dig the ground, and when I ask them what they wants for their labor, they will answer, "We do not know, we came here to live among the rest of you, give me what you please. In the first place lay up <your> treasures in heaven, and whether you live in adobie house, <or> in a log house, or under the bows of a waggon it will matter not to you, because your treasures are in heaven, and your hearts are there also. That is the way to get rich, whether you possess much or little. Do you expect to get rich in this world, and have fine mansions, splendid horses, and carriages in any other way? If you do your hope will be vain, and misery and woe awaits you, if your confidence is not in God, and your treasure in heaven. Whether in poverty, and disstress, travaling accross the plains, or in any other sercumstance you should be able to say' "my mind is set upon redeeming Zion, and building it up; I do not care whether I have a horse, a carriage, a house, a wife or a child, if the Lord pleases to take them from me, I am contented to pass through the dark shadows of the grave alone; if the Lord will raise me in the resurrection it is all right with me". If your hearts are not fully set in you thus to build up Zion, pick up your duds and leave for Callifornia. If I were to make a prayr to have it answered, it would not be to have the wicked seperated from the Saints, but that the first work you get to do may be digging potatoes,cutting corn, or making fences. Now you lawyers, artists, clerks, and macanics every body, you may just as well digg in the earth as any other man. If you have not got enough to last you through the winter say you are on hand to do anything. If you do not know how to do work of this kind, learn, or you will never be able to teach it to anybody else. Do you know how to chop wood? If you do not learn, <or> you will never be able to teach others. Do you know what the Canyons are? Yes you have been in them; then you are not afraid to go into them again. Can you work in a garden? O no. I have always been behind a counter handling silk says one. Well Docter do you know how to digg potatoes? "No sir, I know nothing but how to make pills, and sit them up on end." Well, now leave your old pill bag and go to work at digging potatoes; and learn what natural life is; learn how the bread you <have> eat<et> <all your lives> grows, how the silk, and flax grows, and how to make them into waring aparel. There are men among us, if you ask them to go to work, they are quite shocked, and will exclaim "Work!! I am a lawyer," I have studied law twelve years, and I have my sheep skin with me. Mr Young here is my letters of recomendation. I tell you if you ever get into the kingdom of God, you will have no kind of buisness there. What in the world shall we set you at, I know of nothing, except it be to tan sheep skins, to serve as credentials for them that are coming after youu How will you ever learn, or know about building Temples, and forming worlds, you poor helpless, miserable creatures.
As I have said to the Bren. heretofore, here are <these w> the elements of every production in the atmosphere we breath, and in the water we drink, and in the food we eat. Here are elements to form the finest of silk. It is for us to produce and learn how to manufacture what is necessary to adorn ourselves, and not run to china, and other counteries for that which is here all arround us in abundance.
What use can there be in the kingdom of heaven for pill makers and lawyers? I will relate an anocdote that showes how they will be dissposed of. Down in boston there were <to> two men a docter and a lawyer, one was named Root, and the other Stone. One day as they walked along, they <met> saw a Preist aproaching them, so they concluded to ask him what kind of a place the kingdom of heaven was.
They put the question to the Preist, and smooth as oil he said, "I will describe it to you the best way I can. It is like an extended, level, beautiful plain, covered with every kind of <delicious> fragarent flower, and delicious fruit you can imagin, and there is Not a Stone, nor a Root in it." There is none of these poor filthy, lazy curses there. What must be done with them? Why, they must learn useful trades if they ever go there, and then be lakies to all eternities. Excuse my plain and homely manner of expressing myself, I am endeavouring to talk so that you can understand me. Were I to use a smooth, silky sectarian tone, you could not remember a word of it.
What ever your hands find to do go and do it. If you are a merchant, and has handled silk all your life go and digg potatoes, and do not name what you want for digging them, but say, "I have come to eat and drink with you, to live with you, and die with you."
Many of the Bren. here have known me thirty years, and they know I have got rich by building up the kingdom of God and attending to nothing else. If you will do likewise God will bless you. But the moment you get a fine span of horses, and an elegant carriage, and your affections begin to be glued upon them, so that you dream about them, and they are the first thing in your thoughts in the morning, and the last at night you are apostatising in your feelings, and affections from the Lord. When you find your affections thus drawn out after earthly things that perish, tell the devil, and the world to stand out of your way; disspose of the idle and give it to the poor. As Jesus said to the rich young man, go and sell that thou hast and give it to the poor, and you shall possess eternal riches. You cannot possess eternal riches upon any other principle, and if you place your affections upon, and seek after the things of this world with any other object in veiw but building up the kingdom of God you will not be found worthy to reign with the saints in his presence
I have said enough to day. Conference is nigh, and you will receive much instructions then. I want all the bretheren who have newly came in to tarry here until after Conference, and every person who has been brought here by means of the Perpetual Emagrating Fund, will be provided with places to go to. The Bren. from the disstant settlements will bring Waggons to take the New comers <them> and their affects to their houses, and employ them until another year dawns upon us. Provisions will be made for every man woman and child. We should have done the same thing in previous years, but we were not in sercumstances to do it. <Every time> From the first of our entering this valley, trains of saints have gathered to this place every year; but until this year we could not send out waggons loaded with flower to overflowing, and oxen to assist in the trains more than was wanted. Thanks to the God of Isreal; you are blessed beyond your fellows. Now try to improve upon your blessings, and may the Lord God of Isreal bless all his people Amen.