Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Harmonious Hymns

January 14, 2009

I get inflammatory information sent to me occasionally, as I've said. Sometimes it comes through my email inbox. Sometimes it is in the current newspaper, or on TV. Such material initially elicits very strong, emotional reactions.

However, as time marches on, and I get little older (and wiser, too, I hope), I am less prone to jump into an angry tirade, or judge another person without hearing other points of view.

In connection with this short anecdotal thought, the topic in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday was mercy and forgiveness. We sang a couple excellent hymns - #235, "Should You Feel Inclined to Censure," #273, and "Truth Reflects Upon Our Senses."

The lyrics are sublime. I hope to pattern my life more along the feelings conveyed in the verses:

Should you feel inclined to censure
Faults you may in others view,
Ask your own heart, ere you venture,
If you have not failings, too.
Let not friendly vows be broken;
Rather strive a friend to gain.
Many words in anger spoken
Find their passage home again.

Do not, then, in idle pleasure
Trifle with a brother's fame;
Guard it as a valued treasure,
Sacred as your own good name.
Do not form opinions blindly;
Hastiness to trouble tends;
Those of whom we thought unkindly
Oft become our closest friends."
(Hymns, #235, Text: Anonymous
emphasis added)

Jesus said, "Be meek and lowly,"
For 'tis high to be a judge;
If I would be pure and holy,
I must love without a grudge.
It requires a constant labor
All his precepts to obey.
If I truly love my neighbor,
I am in the narrow way.

Once I said unto another,
"In thine eye there is a mote;
If thou art a friend, a brother,
Hold, and let me pull it out."
But I could not see it fairly,
For my sight was very dim.
When I came to search more clearly,
In mine eye there was a beam.

Charity and love are healing;
These will give the clearest sight;
When I saw my brother's failing,
I was not exactly right.
Now I'll take no further trouble;
Jesus; love is all my theme;
Little motes are but a bubble
When I think upon the beam.
(Hymns, #273, Text, Eliza R. Snow, 1804-1887
vs. 2,3,5, emphasis added)

As I read the words to these two hymns, I then remembered a superb talk by the late President Gordon B. Hinckley entitles, "Slow to Anger." In the talk, President Hinckley refers to the hymn, "School Thy Feelings." This hymn is marvellous, as well:

School thy feelings, O my brother;

Train thy warm, impulsive soul.
Do not its emotions smother,

But let wisdom’s voice control.

School thy feelings; there is power

In the cool, collected mind.

Passion shatters reason’s tower,

Makes the clearest vision blind. …

School thy feelings; condemnation

Never pass on friend or foe,
Though the tide of accusation
Like a flood of truth may flow.
Hear defense before deciding,
And a ray of light may gleam,
Showing thee what filth is hiding
Underneath the shallow stream.

School thy feelings, O my brother;

Train thy warm, impulsive soul.
Do not its emotions smother,
But let wisdom’s voice control.
(“School Thy Feelings,” Hymns, no. 336,
Text, Charles W. Penrose, 1832-1925)

I hope I can be more wise in my judgments in the future, as I follow the Godly counsel in these hymns.

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