Jacob 7:26-27 — LeGrand Baker — Jacob’s farewell
26 And it came to pass that I, Jacob, began to be old; and the record of this people being kept on the other plates of Nephi, wherefore, I conclude this record, declaring that I have written according to the best of my knowledge, by saying that the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days.
27 And I, Jacob, saw that I must soon go down to my grave; wherefore, I said unto my son Enos: Take these plates. And I told him the things which my brother Nephi had commanded me, and he promised obedience unto the commands. And I make an end of my writing upon these plates, which writing has been small; and to the reader I bid farewell, hoping that many of my brethren may read my words. Brethren, adieu (Jacob 7:26-27).
There are so many places in the Book of Mormon where age and maturity speak with wisdom and sophistication far beyond the years of the young Prophet Joseph when he translated it. These verses are an example: “… the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream,” When one has accumulated many years, he looks back to the days of his youth as though they were not quite real. The person who was then, no longer is. The world in which the boy and youth once roamed has disappeared. The adults who dominated his young existence no longer live. The ambitions, fears, hopes and frustrations he felt then, have been modified by time so they are matured into reality, or else they are no longer relevant. Thoreau once observed that as one grows older, one does not change, he only becomes more like himself. To the degree that is good and true, to that degree, one’s life has been a success. To the degree that one has violated the law of one’s own being, his life is a failure. I once heard an old man ask, Do you want to know what will happen to you on judgement day, I will tell you how. Close your eyes, move back in the time where your mind can find a little boy, yourself when you were about 8 years old. Reach out to that little boy and lift him up on your lap. Open your soul to him and let him look inside. Tell him who you are, what you have become, and how you came to be that way. Watch his face. Does he like you. Have you personified his sense of what is good and right. If that innocent little boy smiles, and embraces you as a friend, then you will know this: on judgement day, God will do the same, and you may count your life a success.
Jacob’s life is that way. The things which are obscured as in a distant dream are only the unhappy things.
… we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days.
But for Jacob, there is a reality which is neither negated nor diluted by his old age or pending death:
I make an end of my writing upon these plates, which writing has been small; and to the reader I bid farewell, hoping that many of my brethren may read my words. Brethren, adieu.
The sorrows and frustrations of his life, as a dream, may pass away, but his testimony remains indelible, unaffected by either space or time.