A Real Representative of the Most High
by Elder E. L. T. Harrison, The Mellennial Star, 20:641-644, Saturday, October 9, 1858
Concerning Jesus Christ, who had studied him (the Father), practiced him, and was then acting him out; so that all who wanted to see what kind of a person the Father was could behold him in the words and actions of the Son. For this same purpose were we ordained to the priesthood. In this ordination was conveyed the condition that we should walk not merely in the authority of the appointment, but in the virtues and qualities that are Christ's.
One thing is certain, authority alone is not sufficient to make us representative sof God. Some men possess that, but nothing else. There is scarecely an attribute of God about them. They walk in the authority of their appointment, but not in the virtue, the grace, or the righteousness of it. Strip such men of their authority, and there is nothing of God left to be counted.
Neither does faithfulness in carrying out the duties of our calling prove we are getting much nearer to God or porgressing toward celestial perfection. Shall the priesthood consider they meet the demand of God simply because they are faithful to the truth? As God lives, we may do all this and have it done well, too, and then be no better than any sectarian who sincerely believes his faith and upholds it.
We are called to be exemplifiers of the very virtues of the eternal God. Jehovah's principles should shine in us, so that seeing us, he may be seen. If we are content to be less than this, we are shams. When a man is called to the priesthood, he is then and there ordained to put down evil. He is not merely called to form part of a splendid organization. The Priesthood has been conferred on us for the express purpose that the Father and Son may have representatives of their Spirit and their actions upon Earth. The world are to comprehend God through us.
Godliness is not going to be loved, understood, or appreciated by the world, buy the preaching of a cold theory of its nature. We have got to make them feel God by the force of his very nature diffused in us. The great thing, the ruling desire with us should not be merely the getting distinction in the priesthood, but the celestialization of the world by the introduction of celestial practices in ourselves and others.
Ordinations do not celestialize; appointments do not elevate: they only authorize us to be channels of light to others and to ourselves, if we will. Our standing in the priesthood, therefore, does not necessarily represent our progress, although there will come a day when it will; for priesthood authority will, finally, only be vested where the eternal attributes of God exist.
It takes intelligence, ruled by meekness, benevolence, justice, mercy, and uprightness in spirit and in deed, to celestialize. This then, is true priesthood--to be images of the living God, to bless, and bless, and bless again, notwithstanding ingratitude in some, building, sustaining, and protecting all the time; to help, the weak, the down-trodden, and the helpless, till helping becomes our natural food, working on all principles that yield nourishment, support, and strength, till our very presence is as the sun, cheering and blessing all.
Then, no good thing shall be withheld from him. He shall save and gain influence over the hearts of men. He shall be as God among his own; and they shall feel the attributes that live within him, till their hearts are stolen from them and linked to him forever. So shall he gain dominion, and increase in strength, and be really, truly, and eternally a representative of the Most High.