Literary DCGD #2: Praise ye the Lord

January 6, 2013 | no comments
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The second Doctrine and Covenants lesson makes the point that this modern scripture talks and teaches of Christ. That focus was easy to find in many Mormon poems and hymns, but the following poem has the advantage of talking about the Lord for what He has done for the Latter-day Church. Eliza R. Snow probably needs no introduction for most members, as her poetry still appears frequently in our hymnals. And in this poem her combination of praise for the Lord with references to the latter-day work makes this a good match for the lesson.

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Praise ye the Lord

by Eliza R. Snow

Great is the Lord: ’tis good to praise
His high and holy name:
Well may the saints in latter days
His wondrous love proclaim.
To praise him let us all engage,
That unto us is giv’n:
To live in this momentous age,
And share the light of heav’n.
We’ll praise him for our happy lot,
On this much favored land;
Where truth, and righteousness are taught,
By his divine command.
We’ll praise him for more glorious things,
That language can express,
The “everlasting gospel” brings,
The humble souls to bless.
The Comforter is sent again,
His pow’r the church attends;
And with the faithful will remain
Till Jesus Christ descends.
We’ll praise him for a prophet’s voice,
His people’s steps to guide:
In this, we do and will rejoice,
Tho’ all the world deride.
Praise him, the time, the chosen time,
To favor Zion’s come:
And all the saints, from ev’ry clime,
Will soon be gathered home,
The op’ning seals announce the day,
By prophets long declar’d;
When all, in one triumphant lay,
Will join to praise the Lord.

Messenger and Advocate, v1 n11, August 1835, p. 176

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As with much of early Mormon poetry there is a strong millenarian element here, especially in the final two stanzas. But even the rest of the poem concentrates on elements that are current to us today—the reference to “this momentous age” in the second stanza, to “this much favored land” in the third stanza, the claim that the Comforter “with the faithful will remain” in the fifth stanza and the importance of the prophet’s voice mentioned in the sixth stanza all are very much “latter-day” elements you would expect to see in the Doctrine and Covenants.

If this poem is missing anything it is a clear reference to the atonement and the saving role of our Savior. That is mentioned in the Doctrine and Covenants (as it is in the rest of the scriptures), but Snow’s purpose in this poem doesn’t really cover that, instead concentrating on praise for the Lord’s role in our dispensation.

But I think this poem is a good fit for this lesson because it does praise the Lord for what has happened in our day.

 

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