I woke this morning with an old hymn running through my mind, Come, Ye That Love the Lord. I grew up in the Methodist Church and its founder, John Wesley, wrote the words.
Although he died before the Gospel was restored, we know from Wilford Woodruff that John Wesley was a good man.
There were, doubtless, millions of good men, who acted according to the best understanding that they had. There were such men as John Wesley (1703–1791) English theologian, Martin Luther (1483–1546) German reformer, Wickliffe (Wycliffe) (1320–1384) English reformer, Zwingli (1484–1531) Swiss reformer, Melancthon (1497–1560) German reformer, and thousands of others, who came forth in their day and preached the Gospel according to the knowledge and understanding they possessed.
“We Are Led by Revelation,” Tambuli, Dec 1978, 15
In 1877, while Pres. Woodruff was a counselor to Brigham Young and also serving as President of the St. George Temple, the first temple completed in Utah, Wesley requested that Pres. Woodruff perform temple ordinances for him.
“The spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, ‘You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we … remained true to it and were faithful to God.’ These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence [of the United States of America], and they waited on me for two days and two nights. … I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon Brother McAllister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others” (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, sel. G. Homer Durham , 160–61).
Wesley was inspired to write the words of this hymn by Jeremiah 31:6, where we see prophesied a future gathering to Zion of those men and women who love the Lord. Jeremiah reveals that the tribe of Ephraim will play a significant role in this gathering. An alternate title for Wesley’s hymn is “Marching to Zion.”
For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God.
Here are a few words from that good man, John Wesley:
There we shall see his face,
And never, never sin;
There, from the rivers of his grace,
Drink endless pleasures in:
Yea, and before we rise
To that immortal state,
The thoughts of such amazing bliss
Should constant joys create.
The men of grace have found
Glory begun below;
Celestial fruit on earthly ground
From faith and hope may grow:
Then let our songs abound,
And every tear be dry;
We are marching through Immanuel’s grounds
To fairer worlds on high.
Come Ye That Love the Lord, words by John Wesley
Through the Atonement of Christ, it is possible for us to begin growing Celestial fruit today.
Below, I have inserted a partial page from the St. George temple records showing the work that Pres. Woodruff performed. This is from the Religion 341-343 manual, page 417.