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the carpenter's bench, so Joseph could step down from exalted intercourse with an angel and take up the most common duties. But he did not forget to meet the angel at the place appointed once each year, to receive from him instruction and encouragement. It was to him a sort of yearly passover, a sacred feast of the soul.
It was during this period that he passed out of boyhood into young manhood, and therefore beyond the province of the main portion of this paper.
At this point a description of him as he is portrayed by his friends, may not be out of place. Imagine a young farm hand, with body strengthened but not deformed by toil, six feet tall, straight, with supple, well-formed limbs, and quiet, dignified step; strong, agile,—the best athlete in his neighbor hood; his eyes a mild blue, prominent, and full of expression, as if they could pierce through every character and comprehend all worlds;" his hair brown and wavy, his complexion clear almost to transparency; his general air that of quiet, kingly dignity.-"Born to command, and conscious of his birthright." In mind, dignified as in body, with none of the fawning mountebank, and none of the overbearing autocrat. Quick, intelligent, apt at generalizing, ready at reaching conclusions, and strong in holding them. Generous he was, to a fault; and as to his being virtuous, none who knew him except the unvirtuous, ever pronounced him otherwise. He was intelligent and original, as befitted the work he had to do; while his purity and freshness of spirit fitted him for his constant communion with the heavens. Surely such a youth promised much; yet its promises were no greater than the fulfillments of his manhood.
It would be thought that the continual alarm, the constant harrassing danger, and the increasing hatred and distrust of men toward him, would have produced the effect of moroseness; would have soured his disposition and made him old before his time. On the contrary, it seemed to bring out all the gentleness and the kindness of his nature. pathy was withheld from him, he bestowed a greater measure of it upon others; if worn and depressed by mental cares and physical dangers, mind and body reacted the more readily, springing back to youth and joyousness when the pressure was removed; if forsaken by men and deprived of worldly comfort, he entered with still greater zeal and freshness into communion with God. Thus it happened that he was one of the most companionable of men. He fully understood, even as a boy, the value of human kindness in preparing men for the closest companionship with God. Of the severe, the ascetic, the cynical, there was not a trace in his character.
His was not the mission to call down fire upon his persecutors, to invoke wild beasts against his revilers, to slay the priests of Baal with the sword. It was rather his work, as man and boy, to make cities of refuge for the poor and the oppressed, to minister healing offices to the sick, to proclaim the gospel of peace and salvation to the poor in spirit. This mission he exemplified when he and his wife, at their own table, served with kindness and dignity the brutal captors who had dragged him away from his friends without rocess of law, when he preached the gospel of salvation to the troops who had sworn to kill him; when he expressed himself as equally willing to die for a stranger as for a friend.
He was singularly free-hearted. He was never happier than when scattering money and the comforts it purchases among his friends, or even his enemies. Of joviality he had no lack.
In the midst of cares, which would have crushed one less buoyant, he gave himself up, on occasion to the unrestrained spirit of fun. Whistling, singing, wrestling, playing ball, jumping, hunting, fishing; these were some of his ways of showing to the world that no matter how depressing the troubles he had to endure, his spirit was above the things of earth, and partook of the light and joys of eternity.
“As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form
Eternal sunshine settles on its head." “Since I have worsted you in argument, let us jump at a mark," he said to the ministers who had fallen before him in debate. He would manifest his strength in wrestling and other manly sports, and immediately afterward he could expend that strength in pouring out “healing-virtue,"—the spirit of life, on the innocent children he was called upon to bless.
Thus the life of this great man developed. Prophetic power; authority over men; magnetism through the Spirit of God; majesty of person and of spirit; all these manifested themselves in large measure in his youth, to be ripened and perfected in his manhood. Kingly dignity and power were natural to him. Whether upbraiding a recreant president for his heartless truckling to politicians, or opposing the sophistries of half-hearted statesmen, or rebuking with eagle eye and lion voice his blasphemous prison guards, or an humble, though sublime guest, bringing counsel and wisdom from heaven to earth—he was always a perfect exampler of the mighty power which knows when to act and when to "stand and wait."
The progress of events did not change him, except to produce a greater ripeness of character. Great though the events were which crowded upon him even in his youth, they made him none the less the humble servant of God.
The bestowal of the plates; the translation of the Book of Mormom; the restoration of the priesthood; the organization of The Church; the restoration of the Book of Abraham; the building of temples; the founding of cities; the goverment of his people by “correct principles;" his candidacy for the highest office in the government; all these events came into his young life without ruffling its even current, so much greater was he than the events. Pains, tortures, sorrows continually he often experienced, but despair, never. And when even death, the supreme test of all, came to him, he met it with a smile, “like an infant hushed to sleep."
Samuel Smiles, in his excellent work, “Self-help,” gives a list of men who have acheived their great work in advanced life. He makes mention of Spelman, Franklin, Dryden, Scott, Alffeni, Dr. Arnold, Hall and Handel. There have been others whose work was accomplished in their youth. Among these may be named Alexander, Napoleon, Joan, Burns, and many others. Prominently among these is Joseph Smith. He was essentially a "young character in history." His first vision at fourteen; his second at seventeen; the delivery of the plates at twenty-one; their translation at twentythree; the restoration of the priesthood and the organization of The Church at twenty-four; Zion's camp at twenty-eight; candidacy for the presidency at thirty-nine, and martyrdom a few months later. Surely, if time is counted by heart-throbs, by suffering, by extent of labor, by greatness of influence, the youth of Joseph Smith was more than the "three score years and ten" of ordinary existence. For he passed not out of youth in life; “by death his youth was made perpetual.”
This tribute is paid to the Prophet Joseph Smith, not by an irresponsible enthusiast, pledged to praise against his own judgment. It is the sober, heart-felt tribute of one who for some years has had the opportunity of studying and teaching the life of the man whose work the world will yet acknowledge as among the greatest. Such as it is, the tribute is lovingly laid upon the memorial urn of a man of God. And it is fitting that the series of articles on the youth of great men should close with the consideration of the noblest and greatest of all purely human "young characters in history."
LIFE SKETCH AND ENGRAVING OF PRESIDENT
In his life time President Wilford Woodruff expressed the wish that at his demise there should be published by the Church Historian, a brief account of his life, labors and travels as an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The wish of the departed president has been carried out by his personal friend, fellow apostle and historian of the church, Elder Franklin D. Richards, who is now the president of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles. That sketch together with a fine half tone engraving of the late president, is published in this issue of the ERA. The engraving is from one of the latest photographs of the late president, taken by Fox & Symons within a month of his death, and engraved especially for the Era by Manz of Chicago. The likeness is a striking one, and will preserve in the memory of generations to come the fine old face, and benevolent expression of one who for so many years was known in every household of Israel; and who for nearly sixty years was an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ—a witness for God and Christ.
The Era is proud to publish the official sketch of the life of President Woodruff-proud to present to its readers the fine half tone engraving from his latest photograph. It is fitting that it should be published in the Young Men's Magazine, for he was the General Superintendent of the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Associations throughout the world, and held that position since the 6th of April, 1880 -more than eighteen years. It was an institution in which he was always interested, a work of which he was always proud, and at no time more so than in the later years of his life. It is fitting, therefore, that his life's labors be recorded in the magazine which is the organ of that institution of which he was the honored head.
Following is a tribute of respect to the late ProphetSuperintendent, prepared by a committee appointed by the General Board, comprised of Junius F. Wells, Nephi L. Morris and Willard Done:
TRIBUTE FROM THE YOUNG MEN'S
TIONS OF ZION.
TO WILFORD WOODRUFF, GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF
THE ASSOCIATIONS FROM APRIL 6TH, 1880, TO
THE TIME OF HIS DEATH, SEPT. 2, 1898.
The young men of Zion feel that from them is due a tribute of love and gratitude to the memory of their revered Superintendent, Wilford Woodruff, who felt it a privilege to stand at the head of this great organization and who filled the position with honor, in the face of advancing years. He was peculiarly fitted, even in bis old age, to lead the Young Men's Mutual Improvement work, because in mind and soul he was always young and full of active zeal, a true exemplar of the activity of youth, as well as the ripe wisdom of age.
The life of every good man preaches a sermon; and of the many truths taught by the life-sermon of Wilford Woodruff we shall name but a few, that seem to us he would most desire should find a lodgement in the hearts of the youth of Israel:
He was a pioneer, not only in the wilderness of rugged nature, but pre-eminently in the more stubborn and intractable wilderness of human nature. A world of humanity, unbelieving and unloving, lay before him, which it was his mission to convert and bring into harmony with God's will. As Elijah drew from heaven rain to moisten the parched earth, so he from heaven's fountain of grace drew down distilling dews of repentance, which softened the hearts of men and made them prolific soil for the seeds of faith and virtue.