Eliza Snow poem: “What It is to Be a Saint”

After some online written attacks on Joe’s work this past week, it was soothing to read Eliza’s poem this morning:


My heart is fix’d — I know in whom I trust.

‘Twas not for wealth — ’twas not to gather heaps

Of perishable things — ’twas not to twine

Around my brow a transitory wreath,

A garland deck’d with gems of mortal praise,

That I forsook the home of childhood: that

I left the lap of ease — the halo rife

With friendship’s richest, soft, and mellow tones;

Affection’s fond caresses, and the cup

O’erflowing with the sweets of social life,

With high refinement’s golden pearls enrich’d.


Ah, no! a holier purpose fir’d my soul;

A nobler object prompted my pursuit.

Eternal prospects open’d to my view,

And hope celestial in my bosom glow’d.


God, who commanded Abraham to leave

His native country, and to offer up

On the lone altar, where no eye beheld

But that which never sleeps, an only son;


Is still the same: and thousands who have made

A covenant with Him by sacrifice,

Are bearing witness to the sacred truth–

Jehovah speaking has reveal’d His will.


The proclamation sounded in my ear —

It reach’d my heart — I listen’d to the sound–

Counted the cost, and laid my earthly all

Upon the altar, and with purpose fix’d

Unalterably, while the Spirit of

Elijah’s God within my bosom reigns,

Embrac’d the Everlasting Covenant;

And am determin’d now to be a Saint,

And number with the tried and faithful ones

to stand unwavering, undismay’d,

And unseduc’d, when the base hypocrite,

Whose deeds take hold on hell, whose face is garb’d

With saintly looks drawn out be sacrilege,

From the profession; but assum’d and thrown

Around him for a mantle, to enclose

The black corruption of a putrid heart:

To stand on virtue’s lofty pinnacle,

Clad in the robes of heavenly innocence,

Amid that worse than every other blast,

The blast that strikes at moral character,

With floods of falsehood foaming with abuse:

But yet, to be a Saint requires

A noble sacrifice– an arduous toil–

A persevering aim; the great reward

Awaiting the grand consummation will

Repay the price, however costly; and

The pathway of the Saint the safest path

Will prove; though perilous: for ’tis foretold,

All things that can be shaken, God will shake:

Kingdoms and Governments and Institutes,

Both civil and religious, must be tried–

Tried to the core, and sounded to the depth.


Then let me be a Saint, and be prepar’d

For the approaching day, which like a snare

Will soon surprise the hypocrite– expose

The rottenness of human schemes– shake off

Oppressive fetters–break the gorgeous reins

Usurpers hold, and lay the pride of man–

The pride of nations, low in the dust!


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