HONORING THE CHURCH BEFORE THE WORLD

As a good member of the Church, you
will seek to honor it in all your intercourse
with those that are without.

You will, of course, endeavor not to dis-
honor it by any wrong conduct. You will
feel that you are its representative, and that
the world will judge of it by your acts, even
as a family is judged from the conduct of
the children that belong to it.

But you will do more than this. You will
speak well of it whenever occasion offers.

It is an easy thing even for a member of
the Church to find things in the Church
which are not as they ought to be, or as he
may desire them to be. It is an easy thing
to find fault, and to open the wounds of the
Church to the gaze of the world. There are
those who find it much easier to whisper the
defects of the Church to the wicked, than to
cover them by the mantle of charity. There
are those who find it more pleasant to pub-
lish the weaknesses of the Church upon the
housetops, than to weep over them in silence
and in secret.

There are persons found standing in the
Church as members, who resemble those
birds which soar and wing their way over
all the beauties of a landscape, admiring no
lovely tree, no fragrant flower, no graceful
stream, no golden field, but eagerly light at
last to gloat upon a horrid carcass! So there
are men who pass over a thousand things in
the Church which they might praise to
others, to feed their morbid spirits on some
weakness and blemish. Like the dragon-
fly, they love sores, and on them will they
feed! Be not you like unto them.

As a good Church member, you will weep
and pray in silence over all the blemishes of
the Church, and speak publicly of all its
excellences. In this way will you do it just-
ice, and commend it to all.

Let not this be regarded as a small thing.
Take any individual, however good he may
be, and speak always and only of his faults,
and you will soon render him odious as far
as your words are believed. But let his
faults charitably alone, and speak of his
excellences, and you prepare the hearts of
others to respect him. So, speak only of the
evil which exists in the Church, and you en-
courage others to dishonor it; speak only
well, and you incite others to respect and
love it. There are always weak and waver-
ing persons, who need to be regulated and
confirmed in their attachment to the Church
by your decided words of praise and encou-
ragement. Ye that are strong ought to sup-
port the weak. This you can do by your
words, as well as by your actions.

Be careful of your words — especially when
you speak of the Church, and of things
sacred. Beware that your words, though
true as you utter them, become not a lie in
the mouth of others. In regard to the evils
existing in the Church, adopt the rule of the
Psalmist: “I will keep my mouth with a
bridle, while the wicked is before me.”

Always take the part of the Church, as
you would of a dear friend when he is as-
sailed. Give not food to the prejudices of
the world against the Church; but teach
all men rather to see and acknowledge the
greater good, than to discover and censure
the lesser evil, that, by reason of earthly
imperfections, is still found in its bosom.

V.

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