This past Saturday, Blondie and I went to some family baptisms. We found it very interesting to witness this important church event from a different perspective. One of the biggest things that I noticed was just how young these 8-year-old children are when being baptized. Do they really know what is going on? To me it looked they were just excited to be there and do what their parents had encouraged them to do since they were a baby. I am curious how many 8-year-old children actually approach their mom and dad and tell them that they do not want to be baptized. I have faint memories of my baptism; the pictures always help. Do you remember your interview with the bishop to see if you were worthy to be baptized? I know I sure don’t.
While we were in the chapel for the services, I thumbed through the hymnbook to see if I could find any interesting hymn that caught my eye. Sure enough, I found hymn # 240 Know This, That Every Soul Is Free. Here is a link to the song and here are the lyrics.
1. Know this that ev'ry soul is free,
To choose his life and what he'll be;
For this eternal truth is given,
That God will force no man to heaven.
2. He'll call, persuade direct a-right,
And bless with wisdom, love, and light;
In nameless ways be good and kind;
But never force the human mind.
3. Freedom and reason make us men:
Take these away, what are we then?
Mere animals, and just as well,
The beasts may think of heaven or hell.
4. May we no more our powers abuse,
But ways of truth and goodness choose;
Our God is pleased when we improve
His grace, and seek his perfect love.
5. It's my free will for to believe:
'Tis God's free will me to receive:
To stubborn willers this I'll tell,
It's all free grace, and all free will.
6. Those that despise, grow harder still;
Those that adhere, he turns their will:
And thus despisers sink to hell,
While those that hear in glory dwell.
7. But if we take the downward road,
And make in hell our last abode;
Our God is clear, and we shall know,
We've plunged ourselves in endless wo.
An interesting song indeed, it was written in 1805 and added to the hymnbook in 1835. Have you ever sung this one in sacrament? The official hymnbook only has the first four verses. Of course, the song ends with those people going to hell who do not choose God correctly. I find verses one and four interesting since it mentions that people are free to choose and powers should not be abused. Looking at the history of the church, I would say that some of that power has been abused.