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    June 24, 1886

    “The Alemanni. (Continued.)” The Signs of the Times 12, 24, p. 372.

    IN January, A. D. 275, Aurelian was assassinated. Two emperors followed in quick succession—Tacitus for two hundred days, and Florianus for about three months—and August 3, A. D. 276, Probus succeeded to the purple, and held the Imperial authority till he was murdered—A. D. 282, August.SITI June 24, 1886, page 372.1

    “Instead of reducing the warlike natives of Germany to the condition of subjects, Probus contented himself with the humble expedient of raising a bulwark against their inroads. The country which now forms the circle of Swabia had been left desert in the age of Augustus by the emigration of its ancient inhabitants. The fertility of the soil soon attracted a new colony from the adjacent provinces of Gaul. crowds [sic.] of adventurers, of a roving temper and of desperate fortunes, occupied the doubtful possession, and acknowledged, by the payment of tithes the majesty of the empire. To protect these new subjects, a line of frontier garrisons was gradually extended from the Rhine to the Danube. About the reign of Hadrian, when that mode of defense began to be practiced, these garrisons were connected and covered by a strong intrenchment of trees and palisades. In the place of so rude a bulwark, the emperor Probus constructed a stone wall of a considerable height, and strengthened it by towers at convenient distances. From the neighborhood of Newstadt and Ratisbon on the Danube, it stretched across hills, valleys, rivers, and morasses, as far as Wimpfen on the Necker, and at length terminated on the banks of the Rhine, after a winding course of near two hundred miles.SITI June 24, 1886, page 372.2

    “This important barrier, uniting the two mighty streams that protected the provinces of Europe, seemed to fill up the vacant space through which the barbarians, and particularly the Alemanni, could penetrate with the greatest facility into the heart of the empire. But the experience of the world, from China to Britain, has exposed the vain attempt of fortifying any extensive tract of country. An active enemy, who can select and vary his points of attack, must, in the end, discover some feeble spot, on some unguarded moment. The strength, as well as the attention, of the defenders is divided; and such are the blind effects of terror on the firmest troops, that a line broken in a single place is almost instantly deserted. The fate of the wall which Probus erected may confirm the general observation. Within a few years after his death, it was overthrown by the Alemanni. Its scattered ruins, universally ascribed to the power of the Demon, now serve only to excite the wonder of the Swabian peasant.”—Decline and Fall, chap. 12, par. 20.SITI June 24, 1886, page 372.3

    The overthrow of the wall of Probus opened to the Alemanni the country of Vindelicia, which they soon overran, and established themselves on the right of the Rhine, from the Mein to the Lake of Constance, in possession of the country, known first by the name of Alemannia and afterward by the name of Swabia, which they and their lineal descendants have held till this day. We shall find that they afterward extended their power over other provinces, of some of which they were in later times deprived, but this they never lost. And it will be found that the country of Swabia was among the most important of Europe in the Middle Ages.SITI June 24, 1886, page 372.4

    Probus was succeeded by Carus, who reigned till December 25, A. D. 283, and was then, at his death, succeeded by his two sons Carinus and Numerian. Nuerian died, or was murdered, September 12, A.D. 284, and was succeeded by Diocletian September 17, and Carinus was murdered in the following May. In the reign of Diocletian occurred the next important inroad of the Alemanni. Diocletian re-established the defenses of the empire along the Rhine and the Danube, for protection against the barbarians,SITI June 24, 1886, page 372.5

    “From the mouth of the Rhine to that of the Danube, the ancient camps, towns, and citidels, were diligently reestablished, and, in the most exposed places, new ones were skilfully constructed: the strictest vigilance was introduced among the garrisons of the frontier, and every expedient was practiced that could render the long chain of fortifications firm and impenetrable. A barrier so respectable was seldom violated, and the barbarians often turned against each other their disappointed rage. The Goths, the Vandals, the Gepide, the Burgundians, the Alemanni, wasted each other’s strength by destructive hostilities; and whosoever vanquished, they vanquished the enemies of Rome. The subjects of Diocletian enjoyed the bloody spectacle, and congratulated each other, that the mischiefs of civil war were now experienced only by the barbarians.SITI June 24, 1886, page 372.6

    “Notwithstanding the policy of Diocletian, it was impossible to maintain an equal and undisturbed tranquillity during a reign of twenty years, and along a frontier of many hundred miles. Sometimes the barbarians suspended their domestic animosities, and the relaxed vigilance of the garrisons sometimes gave a passage to their strength or dexterity. Whenever the provinces were invaded, Diocletian conducted himself with that calm dignity which he always affected or possessed; reserved his presence for such occasions as were worthy of his interposition, never exposed his person or reputation to any unnecessary danger, insured his success by every means that prudence could suggest, and displayed, with ostentation, the consequences of his victory.SITI June 24, 1886, page 372.7

    “In wars of a more difficult nature, and more doubtful event, he employed the rough valor of Maximian; and that faithful soldier was content to ascribe his own victories to the wise counsels and auspicious influence of his benefactor. But after the adoption of the two Cesars, the emperors themselves, retiring to a less laborious scene of action, devolved on their adopted sons the defence of the Danube and of the Rhine. The vigilant Galerius was never reduced to the necessity of vanquishing an army of barbarians on the Roman territory. The brave and active Constantius delivered Gaul from a very furious inroad of the Alemanni; and his victories of Langres and Vindonissa appear to have been actions of considerable danger and merit. As he traversed the open country with a feeble guard, he was encompassed on a sudden by the superior multitude of the enemy. He retreated with difficulty towards Langres; but, in the general consternation, the citizens refused to open their gates, and the wounded prince was drawn up the wall by the means of a rope. But, on the news of his distress, the Roman troops hastened from all sides to his relief, and before the evening he had satisfied his honor and revenge by the slaughter of six thousand Alemanni.”—Id., chap. 13, par. 12, 13.SITI June 24, 1886, page 372.8

    While Constantine reigned as Cesar in Gaul (A. D. 306-312) a body of Franks and Alemanni invaded that province. Constantine defeated them, and “several of their princes,” and “a great number of their youth,” “were exposed by his order to the wild beasts in the amphitheater of Treves.”—Id., chap. 14, par. 18. After this, both Franks and Alemanni seem to have remained on their own side of the Rhine till the time of Constantius, the son of Constantine, about 350-351 A.D. In the contest of Constantius with Magnentius, the usurper of Gaul, the emperor gave as a “perpetual grant,” to the Alemanni and the Franks, “all the territories which they should be able to subdue.” They therefore crossed the Rhine, and from its source to its mouth extended their conquests “above forty miles to the west of that river;” and thus the Alemanni obtained possessions which, although defeated in battle time and again, they still held in the time of Charlemagne.SITI June 24, 1886, page 372.9

    “In the blind fury of civil discord, Constantius had abandoned to the barbarians of Germany the countries of Gaul, which still acknowledged the authority of his rival [Magnentius]. A numerous swarm of Franks and Alemanni were invited to cross the Rhine by presents and promises, by the hopes of spoil, and by a perpetual grant of all the territories which they should be able to subdue. But the emperor, who for a temporary service had thus imprudently provoked the rapacious spirit of the barbarians, soon discovered and lamented the difficulty of dismissing these formidable allies, after they had tasted the richness of the Roman soil. Regardless of the nice distinction of loyalty and rebellion, these undisciplined robbers treated as their natural enemies all the subjects of the empire, who possessed any property which they were desirous of acquiring. Forty-five flourishing cities, Tongres, Cologne, Treves, Worms, Spires, Strasburgh, etc., besides a far greater number of towns and villages, were pillaged, and for the most part reduced to ashes.SITI June 24, 1886, page 372.10

    “The barbarians of Germany, still faithful to the maxims of their ancestors, abhorred the confinement of walls, to which they applied the odious names of prisons and sepulchers; and fixing their independent habitations on the banks of rivers—the Rhine, the Moselle, and the Meuse—they secured themselves against the danger of a surprise, by a rude and hasty fortification of large trees, which were felled and thrown across the roads. The Alemanni were established in the modern countries of Alsace and Lorraine; [A.D. 351] the Franks occupied the island of the Batavians, together with an extensive district of Brabant, which was then known by the appellation of Toxandria, and may deserve to be considered as the original seat of their Gallic monarchy. From the sources, to the mouth of the Rhine, the conquests of the Germans extended above forty miles to the west of that river, over a country peopled by colonies of their own name and nation: and the scene of their devastations was three times more extensive than that of their conquests. At a still greater distance the open towns of Gaul were deserted, and the inhabitants of the fortified cities, who trusted to their strength and vigilance, were obliged to content themselves with such supplies of corn as they could raise on the vacant land within the enclosure of their walls. The diminished legions, destitute of pay and provisions, of arms and discipline, trembled at the approach, and even at the name of the barbarians.SITI June 24, 1886, page 372.11

    “Under these melancholy circumstances, an unexperienced youth was appointed to save and to govern the provinces of Gaul, or rather, as he expressed it himself, to exhibit the vain image of Imperial greatness. The retired scholastic education of Julian, in which he had been more conversant with books than with arms, with the dead than with the living, left him in profound ignorance of the practical arts of war and government; and when he awkwardly repeated some military exercise which it was necessary for him to learn, he exclaimed with a sigh, ‘O Plato, Plato, what a task for a philosopher!’”—Id., chap. 19, par. 20, 21.SITI June 24, 1886, page 372.12

    J.

    “What Do You Call It?” The Signs of the Times 12, 24, p. 375.

    GOD gave commandment by his prophet that men should “call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable.” He attached a rich promise to the duty thus enjoined. Thus saith the Scriptures: “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isaiah 58:13, 14. And God said, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.”SITI June 24, 1886, page 375.1

    Yet to-day the most of men, even of those who profess to be God’s people, instead of calling the Lord’s Sabbath “a delight,” call it a burden ad a token of bondage. Instead of calling it “the holy of the Lord,” they call it “the old Jewish sabbath.” Instead of its being called “honorable,” it is despised and made a subject of reproach to those who would count it honorable. Surely there must be something wrong with the people, when the word of God is so reversed; when the day upon which he put honor, is persistently and intentionally dishonored; when the day which he blessed is cursed. But it would be well for all to remember the words of Balaam: “Behold I have received commandment to bless; and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.” Numbers 23:20. Behold all men have received commandment to call the Sabbath a delight; God hath made it a delight, it was a delight to him (Exodus 31:17); and men cannot reverse it. God hath given commandment to call the Sabbath the holy of the Lord, and to keep it holy unto the Lord; and he hath made it holy; and men cannot reverse it. God hath given commandment to call the Sabbath honorable; and he hath put honor upon it; and men cannot reverse it.SITI June 24, 1886, page 375.2

    Why should men attach disparaging epithets to that which God commands them to honor? Why should they call that the old Jewish sabbath, which God has commanded them to call “the holy of the Lord”? There can be but one answer; there can be but one explanation of it; and that is the explanation that the Scripture gives: “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God.” Romans 8:7. The carnal mind supposes that by making the Sabbath of the Lord the “Jewish sabbath” it can accomplish the feat of making the heathen Sunday the “Christian sabbath.” But it can do the one no easier than it can do the other.SITI June 24, 1886, page 375.3

    Sabbath means rest. The Sabbath day is the rest day; and “God did rest the seventh day from all his works.” Hebrews 4:4. When God says, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.... The seventh day is the Sabbath;” it is simply saying, Remember the rest day to keep it holy.... The seventh day is the rest of the Lord thy God. As therefore the seventh day is the day upon which God rested, that is the only day of that can be the rest day. God rested no other day of the week, therefore no other day of the week can be the rest day. Whenever anybody applies to Sunday the term sabbath—rest—it is simply to apply to it a false title, so far as the institution of God is concerned, for God did not rest on the first day of the week. It was the seventh day alone upon which God rested and it is the seventh day alone that can ever be the rest—the Sabbath—day of the Lord. And so long as it remains the fact that “God did rest the seventh day from all his works,” so long it will be the truth that the seventh day is the Sabbath. This discovers the utter absurdity of the idea that is so prevalent, and which is so much talked, and printed, and spread abroad, that “the Sabbath has been changed.” To speak of a real change of the Sabbath, is but to say that the rest of God has been changed from the day upon which he rested to one upon which he did not rest. In other words it is to say that the Lord rested upon a day upon which he did not rest. But that, it is impossible for even the Lord to do, for to call that a rest day upon which he worked would not be the truth, and it is impossible for God to lie.SITI June 24, 1886, page 375.4

    The seventh day, the Sabbath of the Lord, rests upon facts, and it is impossible to change facts. Fact is from factum—that which is done. When a thing has been done, it will remain a fact to all eternity. To all eternity it will remain the truth that it was done. It may be undone yet the fact remains, that it was done. It is a fact that in six days God created the heavens and the earth and all things that are therein. This can never cease to be a fact. The universe might be relegated again to chaos, yet the fact would remain that in six days God did created it. It would likewise remain a fact that the Lord worked each of the six days. And as long as this universe stands, which was created in these six days, so long will it remain impossible truthfully to call any one of these six days the Sabbath, that is, the rest day, because there stands the fact that the Lord worked, and, we repeat, he himself cannot call a day in which he worked, a rest day. It is likewise a fact that God did rest the seventh day. And as long as the creation stands, so long the truth stands that the seventh day is the rest day, the Sabbath of the Creator; and that none other can be. Therefore it is the simple, plain, demonstrated truth that the seventh day of the week, and that day only of all in the week, is the Sabbath of the Lord; and that while creation stands it cannot be changed.SITI June 24, 1886, page 375.5

    There is, however, a way, and only one conceivable way, in which the Sabbath could be changed; that is, as expressed by Alexander Campbell, by creation being gone through with again. Let us take Mr. Campbell’s conception and suppose that creation is to be gone through with again for the purpose of changing the Sabbath; and suppose that the present creation is turned once more to chaos. In creating again, the Lord could of course employ as many, or as few, days as he pleased, according to the day which he designed to make the Sabbath. If he should employ nine days in the work of creation, and rest the tenth day, then the tenth day would be of course the Sabbath. Or if he should employ eight days or seven days in creation, and rest the ninth or the eighth, as the case might be, that day would be the Sabbath; or, employ four days, and rest the fifth; or three days, and rest the fourth; or two days, and rest the third; or one day, and rest the second; then the fifth, the fourth, the third, or the second, day, as the case might be, would be the Sabbath.SITI June 24, 1886, page 375.6

    But suppose, to please the Sunday keepers and to conform to their will, it be designed by the Lord to change the Sabbath to the first day of the week. Could he do it? Not possibly. For suppose all things were created in one day, the day on which creation was performed would necessarily, and of itself be the first day, and the rest day, the Sabbath, therefore, could not possibly be earlier than the second day. The first day could not possibly be both a working day and a rest day. It matters not though only a portion of the day should be employed in the work, it would effectually destroy the possibility of its being a rest day. For that could not be truthfully called a rest day when a portion of it had been employed in work. So upon the hypothesis of a new creation, and upon that hypothesis alone, it is conceivable that the Sabbath could be changed; but even upon that hypothesis, it would be literally impossible to change the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day.SITI June 24, 1886, page 375.7

    People will talk and write glibly about the change of the Sabbath, never pausing to consider what is involved in the idea; never considering that heaven and earth would have to be removed before such a thing could be done. Even as Christ said, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” And, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law.” In the prophecy which foretold this attempt to change the Sabbath, the word is not that he should change the law, but that, “He shall think to change times and laws” of the Most High. This might be expected of the power that should oppose and exalt himself above God (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4); and it is perfectly in keeping with his character that in his thought to change the Sabbath of the Lord, he should pitch upon the very day to which, above all others, it would be impossible for the Lord himself to change it.SITI June 24, 1886, page 375.8

    J.

    “Interpretation against Obedience” The Signs of the Times 12, 24, pp. 375, 376.

    THE editor of the California Christian Advocate has been to Healdsburg lately. Of the Seventh-day Adventists there he writes as follows:—SITI June 24, 1886, page 375.1

    “The Seventh-day Adventists have a strong colony here, and a college. The buildings are frame, but well proportioned and kept, and consist of a college building for school purposes, and a large, fine-looking house for a boarding-hall and dormitories. The Adventists are frugal, industrious, prosperous, and clannish. They do not mingle much with general society, and their devotees are kept strictly to their own work. They are building a large, fine church in a beautiful site. They, of course, keep Saturday for the Sabbath, and this causes breaks in business, and results in supreme disregard of the Christian Sabbath. The Adventists do not often attend services at other churches, and so missed hearing Dr. Briggs’s unanswerable argument against their interpretation of the law of the Sabbath.”SITI June 24, 1886, page 375.2

    We thank the Doctor for his excellent notice. It is very fair indeed. We would, however, make a remark or two. He says our course in keeping the Sabbath “results in supreme disregard of the Christian Sabbath.” Now we, Seventh-day Adventists, are Christians. We love and honor every Christian institution. We desire ever to do so, and that all our works may result in supreme regard for all Christian institutions, ordinances, and principles. Now we urgently request the editor of the Advocate to tell us by the Scriptures what is the “Christian Sabbath,” and how it became such. He certainly ought to be willing, and even glad, to do so good a work in the interests of regard for the “Christian Sabbath.”SITI June 24, 1886, page 375.3

    We are sorry that our people at Healdsburg did not hear that “unanswerable argument against their interpretation of the law of the Sabbath.” We are certain, however, that we can give the reason for their not hearing it. That reason is, there was no advertisement, nor public announcement, that the said argument would be made. If we are wrong in this, the Advocate can set us right. We assure the Doctor, that if such an announcement had been made known, the Seventh-day Adventists of Healdsburg would have filled the house. We know they would have been glad to hear it. In regard to the day of the Sabbath, we deny that Seventh-day Adventists have any interpretation of the law of the Sabbath, or that there is any such interpretation allowable. Interpretation is “an explanation of what is unintelligible, not understood, or not obvious; translation; construction.” We deny that the law of the Sabbath is unintelligible; we deny that it needs any translation; we deny the right of any construction; therefore we deny the right of any interpretation.SITI June 24, 1886, page 375.4

    The law of the Sabbath says: “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work.” That is not unintelligible. It is plain, and needs no interpretation. Before ever it can be interpreted, it must be made unintelligible; and that is exactly what is done by every advocate of the Sunday sabbath. The plain, definite expression, “the seventh day,” they make “a seventh part of time,” “one day in seven, and no difference what day,” or some other equally unintelligible conception, and then they can interpret it. And in no other way can there be an interpretation of the law of the Sabbath. “When words are plain in a written law there is an end to all construction. They must be followed.” That is law. To follow the plain words of a written law, as they are written, is neither interpretation nor construction; it is obedience. We hope the editor of the Advocate will never fall into the error that Doctor Briggs did, of making “an unanswerable argument” against Seventh-day Adventists’ “interpretation” of the law of the Sabbath. We don’t interpret it; we obey it. And we leave to those who disobey it the task of justifying their disobedience by an interpretation.SITI June 24, 1886, page 376.1

    J.

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