Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate/Volume 2/Number 3/Comment on Proverbs 13:15
"Good understanding giveth favor, but the way of the transgressor is hard.—Solomon."
Solomon was called a wise man, and he has left much good instruction on record. Our text informs us that: "The way of the transgressor is hard." This is a fact, we have many samples to demonstrate it to the understanding of any intelligent person. We look over the pages of sacred write and behold, we see that Adam and Eve transgressed, and what followed? in consequence of the trasgression [transgression] of our ancestors, the land was cursed: "the Lord said unto Adam, because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life."
Here followed a heavy curse not only upon man but the serpent did not escape it. In consequence of this transgression the whole human family was excluded from the presence of God: and there is but one way for fallen man to get back again, and this is by being obedient to the commandments which were promulgated for that purpose.—We do not deem it necessary to treat upon that point at present. We will refer you to some more instances: "For in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established." It came to pass in the process of time, that Cain and Abel brought offerings unto the Lord: but God had not respect unto Cain's offering; and for a very good reason, he did not offer the sacrifice required, in consequence of which he was a transgressor. Now when Cain saw that his offering was not accepted, he was wroth and slew his brother. Hear what follows: "Now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand. When thou tillest the ground it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength. A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth." And all this because of transgression. We might bring many more instances to show, that "The way of the transgressor is hard." We will select Judas for our next. After Judas had ate and drank with the Savior about three years, he turned against him and betrayed him. And in consequence of his transgression he went and hanged himself, and his bowels gushed out.
It seems that transgressors always come to some bad end. We read that: "Some men's sins are open before hand going before to judgment and some men they follow after." This is very evident from this fact: some men pass smoothly along without any trouble or affliction; and live upon the luxuries of this world: at the same time they are full of all manner of abominations; While others of equal judgment and advantage, have nothing but sickness, misfortunes, and distress: and yet the Lord hath said: that he will judge every man according to his works.
We will come down to this generation and see how the Lord deals, with us. God has again condescended to give laws and precepts to the inhabitants of the earth: as he did in the days of Noah; and in the days of Moses.— And when ever he had a people on the earth, he gave them revelations and commandments, that were adapted to their circumstances and situation.—Because, what was calculated for salvation in the days of Adam, would not have saved Noah and his family; and what would save Noah and his family; would not save Moses and the children of Israel. The revelations that were given to Moses would not save Elijah, nor Elisha, nor Isaiah, nor Ezekiel neither any of the prophets until John and from John until now.
We learn that the Lord is the same yesterday to day and forever. If the Lord is the same to day as yesterday, why not give revelation to us? the fact is he is more willing to give than we are to receive, if it were not so, would not the inhabitants of the earth be willing to receive what he had already given, and is giving in these last days? Notwithstanding the way of the transgressors is hard, the children of men hearken not to the commandments of the Lord. The Lord has given commandments in these last days and inasmuch as they are transgressed, their specified penalties must be inflicted: and thus the ways of transgressors become hard. There are many that belong to this church of Christ of Latter Day Saints who know this fact, that the way of the transgressor is hard.
It is evident that some are endeavoring to hide their faults; and when they are made manifest they are not willing to confess them. To such we say: Beware for the way of the transgressors is hard: "He that knoweth his masters will and doeth it not, must be beaten with many stripes." We firmly believe that every man will receive according to his works; and that some men's sins go to judgment before hand and other's follow after. This is true: for how could God be a just and merciful being, if he would suffer one man to live his life in pleasures and luxuries, and another in poverty and misery, for the truth's sake, and then bring them together in one kingdom to enjoy like felicities; and not bring the man that lived in transgression and in splendor, to judgment in the world to come?
We know that the wicked and rebellious glide smoothly along, notwithstanding they deny the God that bought them—and trample upon his commandments and precepts, and yet they are prospered in all that they undertake: to all such we will say with Solomon: The way of the transgressor is hard." Although this may sound as an idle tale, yet we would have all men know, they are forming characters in this world, for the next.
For any person to suppose that it will be his privilege to sit down in the kingdom of God, in peace, with Peter and the rest of the apostles, who has not obeyed the gospel, and kept the faith of the same, unto the end of his days, will eventually find that the way of the transgressor is hard.
"I would that ye should learn that it is he only who is saved, that endureth unto the end." According to scripture, those who are not faithful cannot be saved in the kingdom of God, much less those who have never obeyed the first ordinance, for an admission into the kingdom. We may talk of being saved in the kingdom of God, until the day of our death, if we obey not the ordinances of the gospel we can claim no promise;—We know of no promise in holy writ that would give us the most distant hope of being saved in the celestial kingdom of God, save it be by keeping the commandments of the blessed Redeemer, and this to the end of our days. The promises of God are conditional, and if we comply not with the conditions which are made plain to our understanding, we have no claim to the promises made to the adopted family of God: for the promises were made to those who were and are adopted through obeying the plan of salvation laid from before the foundation of the world. If it is the good will of our heavenly Father, to bestow salvation upon any part of his creation, that he had not told us of, we will adore him for that gift, as well as those which he has made known: but at the same time we will remember that: "The way of the transgressor is hard." Inasmuch as, we keep all the commandments of God, we shall be made the partakers of the blessings prefixed to his promises: Deut. V:16 to 21 verse inclusive.
If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me, and keep all my commandments.
Thou shalt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support.
'He that sinneth and repenteth not, shall be cast out of the church.
Thou shalt not be proud in thy heart, let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands, and let all things be done in cleanliness before me.
Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread, nor wear the garments of the laborers.
Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those who have not hope of a glorious resurrection.
Thou shalt pay for that which thou shalt receive of thy brother.
If thy brother or sister offend many, he or she shall be chastised before many. If any one offend openly he or she shall be rebuked openly, that he or she may be ashamed.
Thou shalt take the things which thou has received which have been given unto thee in my scriptures for a law, to govern my church; and he that doeth according to these things, shall be saved, and he that doeth them not shall be damned if he continues.
Here we learn that we are to be governed by the laws of God, and not by the gifts of tongues, or whims and caprices of men. "The Lord trieth the righteous, but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he will rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup."
"Good understanding gaineth favor: but the way of the transgressor is hard."