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    July 8, 1886

    “The Alemanni. (Concluded.)” The Signs of the Times 12, 26, p. 404.

    IT was “for a short time indeed “that the victories of Julian suspended the inroads of the barbarians.” The Emperor Julian died of a wound June 27, A.D. 363. He was succeeded by Jovian, who reigned only till Feb. 17, A.D. 364, and ten days afterward Valentinian was chosen emperor, and “thirty days after his own elevation, he bestowed the title of Augustus on his brother Valens. “In the castle, or palace, of Mediana, only three miles from Naissus, they executed the solemn and final division of the empire [A.D. 365, spring]. Valentinian bestowed on his brother the rich prefecture of the East, from the lower Danube to the confines of Persia; whilst he reserved for his immediate government the warlike prefectures of Illyricum, Italy, and Gaul, from the extremity of Greece to the Caledonian rampart, and from the rampart of Caledonia to the foot of Mount Atlas.SITI July 8, 1886, page 404.1

    “When the suffrage of the generals and of the army committed the scepter of the Roman Empire to the hands of Valentinian, his reputation in arms, his military skill and experience, and his rigid attachment to the forms, as well as spirit, of ancient discipline, were the principal motives of their judicious choice. The eagerness of the troops, who pressed him to nominate his colleague, was justified by the dangerous situation of public affairs; and Valentinian himself was conscious, that the abilities of the most active mind were unequal to the defense of the distant frontiers of an invaded monarchy. As soon as the death of Julian had relieved the barbarians from the terror of his name, the most sanguine hopes of rapine and conquest excited the nations of the East, of the North, and of the South.SITI July 8, 1886, page 404.2

    “The ambassadors of the Alemanni had been offended [A.D. 365] by the harsh and haughty behavior of Ursacius, master of the offices; who by an act of unseasonable parsimony, had diminished the value, as well as the quantity, of the presents to which they were entitled, either from custom or treaty, on the accession of a new emperor. They expressed, and they communicated to their countrymen, their strong sense of the national affront. The irascible minds of the chiefs were exasperated by the suspicion of contempt; and the martial youth crowded to their standard. Before Valentinian could pass the Alps, the villages of Gaul were in flames; before his general Degalaiphus could encounter the Alemanni, they had secured the captives and the spoil in the forests of Germany. In the beginning of the ensuing year [A.D. 366, Jan.] the military force of the whole nation, in deep and solid columns, broke through the barrier of the Rhine, during the severity of a northern winter. Two Roman counts were defeated and mortally wounded; and the standard of the Heruli and Batavians fell into the hands of the Heruli and Batavians fell into the hands of the conquerors, who displayed, with insulting shouts and menaces, the trophy of their victory.SITI July 8, 1886, page 404.3

    “The standard was recovered; but the Batavians had not redeemed the shame of their disgrace and flight in the eyes of their severe judge. It was the opinion of Valentinian, that his soldiers must learn to fear their commander, before they could cease to fear the enemy. The troops were solemnly assembled; and the trembling Batavians were enclosed within the circle of the Imperial army. Valentinian then ascended his tribunal; and, as if he disdained to punish cowardice with death, he inflicted a stain of indelible ignominy on the officers, whose misconduct and pusillanimity were found to be the first occasion of the defeat. The Batavians were degraded from their rank, stripped of their arms, and condemned to be sold for slaves to the highest bidder. At this tremendous sentence, the troops fell prostrate on the ground, deprecated the indignation of their sovereign, and protested, that, if he would indulge them in another trial, they would approve themselves not unworthy of the name of Romans, and of his soldiers. Valentinian, with affected reluctance, yielded to their entreaties; the Batavians resumed their arms, and with their arms, the invincible resolution of wiping away their disgrace in the blood of the Alemanni.SITI July 8, 1886, page 404.4

    “The principal command was declined by Dagalaiphus; and that experienced general, who had represented, perhaps with too much prudence, the extreme difficulties of the undertaking, had the mortification, before the end of the campaign, of seeing his rival Jovinus convert those difficulties into a decisive advantage over the scattered forces of the barbarians. At the head of a well-disciplined army of cavalry, infantry, and light troops, Jovinus advanced, with cautious and rapid steps, to Scarponna, in the territory of Metz, where he surprised a large division of the Alemanni, before they had time to run to their arms; and flushed his soldiers with the confidence of an easy and bloodless victory. Another division, or rather army, of the enemy, after the cruel and wanton devastation of the adjacent country, reposed themselves on the shady banks of the Moselle.SITI July 8, 1886, page 404.5

    “Jovinus, who had viewed the ground with the eye of a general, made a silent approach through a deep and woody vale, till he could distinctly perceive the indolent security of the Germans. Some were bathing their huge limbs in the river; others were combing their long and flaxen hair; others again were swallowing large draughts of rich and delicious wine. On a sudden they heard the sound of the Roman trumpet; they saw the enemy in their camp. Astonishment produced disorder; disorder was followed by flight and dismay; and the confused multitude of the bravest warriors was pierced by the swords and javelins of the legionaries and auxiliaries. The fugitives escaped to the third, and most considerable, camp, in the Catalonian plains, near Chalons in Champagne; the straggling detachments were hastily recalled to their standard; and the barbarian chiefs, alarmed and admonished by the fate of their companions, prepared to encounter, in a decisive battle, the victorious forces of the lieutenant of Valentinian. The bloody and obstinate conflict lasted a whole summer’s day, with equal valor, and with alternate success. The Romans at length prevailed, with the loss of about twelve hundred men. Six thousand of the Alemanni were slain, four thousand were wounded; and the brave Jovinus, after chasing the flying remnant of their host as far as the banks of the Rhine, returned to Paris, to receive the applause of his sovereign, and the ensigns of the consulship for the ensuing year.SITI July 8, 1886, page 404.6

    “The triumph of the Romans was indeed sullied by their treatment of the captive king, whom they hung on a gibbet, without the knowledge of their indignant general. This disgraceful act of cruelty, which might be imputed to the fury of the troops, was followed by the deliberate murder of Withicab, the son of Vadomair; a German prince, of a weak and sickly constitution, but of a daring and formidable spirit. The domestic assassin was instigated and protected by the Romans; and the violation of the laws of humanity and justice betrayed their secret apprehension of the weakness of the declining empire. The use of the dagger is seldom adopted in public councils, as long as they retain any confidence in the power of the sword.”—Id., 25, 16, 17, 18.SITI July 8, 1886, page 404.7

    Valentinian died Nov. A.D. 375, and was succeeded by his son Gratian. When in A.D. 378 the Visigoths in the Eastern Empire had revolted from the authority of Valens, that emperor sent into the West to have Gratian with his legions to join the forces of the East in suppressing the rebellious Goths. Gratian agreed to do so, and as soon as the movement was known to the Alemanni they again poured into Gaul to recover the possessions of which they had been deprived by Julian, and which had been held by Valentinian. But unfortunately for the Alemanni they were too hasty, for the legions of Gratian had not gone so far but that they were recalled; and, having been gathered together in such numbers to assist Valens against the formidable Goths, they were enabled to inflict a severe defeat upon the Alemanni.SITI July 8, 1886, page 404.8

    “After this signal victory, which secured the peace of Gaul, and asserted the honor of the Roman arms, the emperor Gratian appeared to proceed without delay on his Eastern expedition; but as he approached the confines of the Alemanni, he suddenly inclined to the left, surprised them by his unexpected passage of the Rhine, and boldly advanced into the heart of their country. The barbarians opposed to his progress the obstacles of nature and of courage; and still continued to retreat, from one hill to another, till they were satisfied, by repeated trials, of the power and perseverance of their enemies. Their submission was accepted as a proof, not indeed of their sincere repentance, but of their actual distress; and a select number of their brave and robust youth was exacted from the faithless nation, as the most substantial pledge of their future moderation. The subjects of the empire, who had so often experienced that the Alemanni could neither be subdued by arms, nor restrained by treaties, might not promise themselves any solid or lasting tranquillity: but they discovered, in the virtues of their young sovereign, the prospect of a long and auspicious reign.”—Id., 26, 29.SITI July 8, 1886, page 404.9

    When in A.D. 406, the Suevi, the Vandals, the Alani, and the Burgundians, swept into Gaul, while the Franks, in behalf of the empire, vigorously opposed their passage of the Rhine, the Alemanni remained strictly neutral (Gibbon 30:18, 19); as they did also, it seems, in the raid of Attila (A.D. 453), into Gaul. In all this time however the power of the Alemanni steadily grew until, at the time of the death of Valentinian III., A.D. 455, they held nearly all of Rhetia, and equally with the Franks held all the country from the Rhine to the Seine.SITI July 8, 1886, page 404.10

    “The deaths of Etius and Valentinian had relaxed the ties which held the barbarians of Gaul in peace and subordination. The sea-coast was infested by the Saxons; the Alemanni and the Franks advanced from the Rhine to the Seine; and the ambition of the Goths seemed to meditate more extensive and permanent conquests.”—Id. 36:5.SITI July 8, 1886, page 404.11

    Thus in the year A.D. 455, the Alemanni held all the country above the Moselle, from the Seine to the Rhine, and nearly, if not quite, all of the province of Rhetia; and with such prestige as a nation that a victory which Majorian, master-general of the cavalry and infantry of the empire, had gained over nine hundred of them (cir A.D. 457) was considered sufficiently meritorious to be rewarded with the Imperial power and office.—Gibbon 56:9, note.SITI July 8, 1886, page 404.12

    J.

    “Try the Spirits” The Signs of the Times 12, 26, pp. 406, 407.

    LAST week we inserted a note on the application by the Golden Gate of the text, “Try the Spirits;” we shall now enlarge somewhat upon the subject. Spiritualism has now become such a common thing; and in the last few years, as compared with its earlier history, has behaved itself so exceedingly well, for it; and as the immortality of the soul, the sole foundation of Spiritualism, is made so essential a part of the creeds of all the churches, it has in a measure disarmed the distrust in which it was very properly held in its early day while yet it was a new thing.SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.1

    The source of Spiritualism is above the natural. No man ever yet believed in it because of its accordance with the natural, but solely because its phenomena is contrary to that which is natural. Therefore the only proper and trustworthy test by which the spirits can be tried is something whose source is likewise above the natural; and in the Bible this demand is fully supplied. God spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets; afterward by his Son; and yet afterward by the apostles. Hebrews 1:1, 2. This word came not at any time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:21. Therefore we maintain that the testimony of the Bible is the true and only safe standard by which to try the spirits. To that word we appeal. To that word the appeal must ever be made, if Spiritualism, its phenomena, its tendency, and its final end would be understood at all.SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.2

    It was with direct reference to Spiritualism that the prophet exclaimed, “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” The whole passage is as follows: “And when they shall say unto you, “Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and that matter; should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Most assuredly this scripture is applicable now. On every hand, and among all classes of people from the hovel to the courts of kings and the palaces of queens, they say unto you, “Seek unto them that have familiar spirits.” And when this is so, the word says, “Should not a people seek unto their God?” By seeking unto God, men can learn more about Spiritualism than they can by seeking unto them that have familiar spirits. Then the prophet exclaims in a surprised inquiry, “For the living to the dead?” That is, Shall the living go to the dead to find out that which they wish to know? The living know something; the dead know nothing; and it certainly is matter of surprise that they who know something should go to them who know nothing to find out what they desire to know. Thus at the very threshold of Spiritualism, we are brought face to face with a flat contradiction of “this word” in accordance with which they must speak, or else stand proven to be from the source of darkness.SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.3

    “This word,” the word of God, says: “The living know that they shall die; but the dead know not anything.... Their love, and their hatred, and their envy is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6. But instead of speaking according to this word, these “familiar spirits” with whom Spiritualism deals purport to be people who have died in this world, but who now live in the “spirit world,” and continue to know all and a good deal more about both this world and all others than they did while they lived. That is to say, a person knows a vast deal more when he is dead than when he is alive! In others words, if a man should be struck a moderately heavy blow and merely knocked, as the term is, senseless, he knows nothing, which is a fact; but if he be struck a crushing blow and killed outright, then he knows everything! then his knowledge is almost divine! Such stuff is according to the peeping and muttering nonsense of familiar spirits, but it is in no sense according to the word of God.SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.1

    But this is by no means the only point in which Spiritualism conflicts with the word of God. In fact there is no agreement at all between them. It is well known that the very first of the first fruits of Spiritualism is to destroy confidence in the Bible. That there is no agreement, but rather direct conflict instead, between the teachings of the Bible, and those of Spiritualism, we have the positive evidence of prominent Spiritualists themselves. In the Religio-Philosophical Journal of April 25, 1885, there was printed an address delivered by Wm. Emmette Coleman, at the Metropolitan Temple, San Francisco, Cal., on the thirty-seventh anniversary of the advent of modern Spiritualism. The address is entitled, “A Comparison of the Scriptural and Spiritual Evidences of Man’s Continued Existence;” but it is the worst kind of a misnomer to call it a comparison, for it would be impossible to show a clearer contrast between any two things than is shown in this address, between Spiritualism and the Scriptures. We are glad to see this contrast so clearly defined by Spiritualism itself; for we propose to present a summary of it, and if we were to draw up such a one ourselves, some might think we were prejudiced even to bigotry.SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.2

    We are sorry that we cannot present this summary in Mr. Coleman’s own words, in full; but the truth is that in his presentation of the Bible side of the case, he sometimes uses language so extravagant, not to say scandalous, that we would not show such disrespect to our readers as to set it in our columns. We shall, however, as nearly as possible, present the matter as he did, only dropping his extravagances.SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.3

    “The Scriptures teach the eternal punishment of wicked mortals and fallen angels in everlasting hell-fire; Spiritualism teaches the non-existence of the fallen angels and the lake of fire, and that there is no eternal punishment.”SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.4

    “The New Testament teaches the existence of a fixed, material Heaven, above the clouds, ruled autocratically by a local, personal God, seated on a throne, attended by hosts of non-human, winged angels; Spiritualism teaches that Heaven is a mortal condition,—happiness, harmony,—not a fixed location, and that in the spiritual world no trace can be found of a masculine potentate, enthroned in solemn awe, and that all angels are human spirits, devoid of wings, who have progressed into a high and pure condition from the lower spheres of the spirit realm.”SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.5

    “Jesus and the apostles evidently conceived Heaven to be created miraculously by the arbitrary fiat of Jehovah; Spiritualism pronounces all spirit-worlds to be evolved from material worlds, or from lower spiritual worlds, through laws eternal as nature.SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.6

    “Christianity and the Bible threaten eternal damnation as a penalty for non-belief in Jesus; while Spiritualism declares that the belief or non-belief in Jesus weighs nothing as against the soul’s seduction, the attainment of Heaven being dependent solely upon the character and aspiration of the individual, independent of all beliefs in speculative doctrines, and that, if any thing, the belief in the supremacy of Jesus, on earth and in Heaven, being an intellectual error, will retard rather than advance the soul’s progress in light and love, purity and wisdom.SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.7

    “The New Testament and Christianity teach that man’s salvation, in a measure, depends upon his submission to the rite of baptism; Spiritualism affirms baptism to be of no avail, a foolish relic of ancient superstition, a belief in its efficacy cramping the mind and dwarfing the powers of the soul, inimical rather than favorable to the soul’s purification.SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.8

    “The New Testament teaches salvation by and through Christ; Spiritualism knows no salvation through Christ or any other person, male or female—the man Jesus being able to save himself only, every soul being its own saviour, assisted of course by other sympathizing souls like Jesus, Paul, and other philanthropists.SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.9

    “Jesus and the apostles appear to have believed that the body and soul of man remained unconscious till the judgment day, when all material bodies would rise from the dead reanimated. Spiritualism affirms that the material body decomposes and is never restored to life, it having no place in the spirit world, it being impossible for purely material things to exist in that realm.SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.10

    “Christ and the apostles taught that at the end of the world a general judgment would take place, with Christ as judge, seated on a cloudy throne, before which throne all that have ever lived on earth would be assembled, in their material bodies; that the records of each life kept by angels would be read, and the entire multitude be separated into two great divisions. Spiritualism shows this to be a fancy sketch,—that no material resurrection or judgment day will ever happen; that immediately after death each human soul enters upon its never-ending pathway through the spheres, upward and onward forever, the day of judgment in our sense taking place at the entrance of each soul into spirit life, and in a more extended sense in every day of the life of every soul, a constant fact in the consciousness of all. Also that Jesus has no connection with the judgment of any soul save his own, in any peculiar or special sense.”SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.11

    “Finally, Jesus taught that there was no marriage in the future life; while Spiritualism teaches that the domestic relations are eternal; that all true marital unions continue in the after life; that all souls have eternal soul-mates, the two being destined in time to be eternally conjoined as one; and that there is no such thing as bachelorhood [sic.] or old-maidism in the spirit country, except in the earlier experiences of some spirits, the very universe itself being redolent of nuptial unions in all departments of being, the sex principle being inherent in the eternal constitution of things.SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.12

    “In no one particular, then, does the description of our future home found in the Bible correspond with the sublime and virtue-inspiring realities of spirit existence open to our gaze in this age of spiritual life and revelation.”SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.13

    Thus in trying the spirits, by the very first test that we apply, by this appeal “to the law and to the testimony,” we find that “there is no light in them.” Next week, if the Lord will, we shall try them further. J.SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.14

    “What Is Death?” The Signs of the Times 12, 26, p. 407.

    SOME time ago the following question appeared in the Christian Union, and the appended answer is by that paper:—SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.1

    “Can you tell me how it is that learned Christian ministers call death the coming of the Lord? Can it be that the terrible ‘enemy,’ the dreaded foe to all our earthly hopes and loves, is the same as the ‘bright appearing’ of the ‘great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ,’ the ‘blessed hope’ everywhere spoken of in the Scriptures as the event of joy, which we are to ‘look for and hasten unto’? Who can say from the heart, ‘O death, come quickly’?SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.2

    AN OLD SUBSCRIBER.

    “The coming of death cannot be said in any sense to fulfill that coming of the Lord which is in the New Testament so much the hope and expectation of God’s children; but to those who believe that death brings them at once into the immediate presence of their Lord, that to depart is to be with Christ, which is far better, death is no longer the dreaded foe he once was, and in a true sense dying is going to the Lord.”SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.3

    What a mixture is here! “The coming of death cannot in any sense fulfill that coming of the Lord which is “the hope of the Christian; but, “in a true sense dying is going to the Lord.” Now if dying is not in any sense the coming of the Lord, but is, on the contrary, a going to the Lord, then how can there ever be any such thing as “that coming of the Lord which is in the New Testament so much the hope and expectation of God’s children”? For if dying is going to the Lord, then as a matter of hope the coming of the Lord is literally destroyed. But all such stuff as that “dying is going to the Lord” is worse than nonsense, it is a positive perversion of the plain word of the Lord Jesus. He said: “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me; and as I said unto the Jews, whither I go, ye cannot come; so not I say to you.” John 13:33. What he had said to the Jews was this: “Ye shall seek me, and ye shall die in your sins; whither I go, ye cannot come.” John 8:21. As he said to those Jews, “Whither I go, ye cannot come,” so now he said to his disciples, “Whither I go, ye cannot come.” Therefore, if there is any one thing that is made positive by the Lord Jesus, it is that no one can go to him by dying. Yet in spite of this, here is an eminent Christian by publication which flatly says, “In a true sense dying is going to the Lord.” But “to the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.4

    Again, the Union says: “To those who believe that death brings them at once into the immediate presence of the Lord ... death is no longer the dreaded foe he once was.” Now the Scripture is the word of God, and that word declares death to be an “enemy,” pictures him armed with a dreadful “sting,” and calls him “the king of terrors.” He was one of the most eminent Christians who ever lived, who declared death to be an “enemy” (1 Corinthians 15:26); and it was in portraying the victory of the triumphant Christian that he pictured this enemy as having the fatal “stine” (1 Corinthians 15:15-57). He was a perfect and upright man, “one that feared God, and eschewed evil;” one who, out of the fullness of a sublime faith, could exclaim, “I know that my Redeemer liveth;” he it was who described death as “the king of terrors” (Job 18:12-14). And however much authoritative leaders of theological thought may draw upon pagan mythology and heathen superstition for material with which to dress it up in the beautiful flowing robes of a royal friend; yet as the word of God is true, it has been, and is, and ever will be, the truth, that death is an “enemy” and “the king of terrors.” We repeat, “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20. “Lo they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them”? Jeremiah 8:9.SITI July 8, 1886, page 407.5

    J.

    “The Death of Lazarus. John 11:1-16” The Signs of the Times 12, 26, pp. 410, 411.

    The Commentary

    NOTES ON THE INTERNATIONAL LESSON

    (July 18.—John 11:1-16.)

    JESUS had often found the rest that his weary human nature required at the house of Lazarus, in Bethany. His first visit there was when he and his disciples were weary from a toilsome journey on foot from Jericho to Jerusalem. They tarried as guests at the quiet home of Lazarus, and were ministered unto by his sisters, Martha and Mary. Notwithstanding the fatigue of Jesus, he continued the instruction which he had been giving his disciples on the road, in reference to the qualifications necessary to fit men for the kingdom of Heaven. The peace of Christ rested upon the home of the brother and sisters. Martha had been all anxiety to provide for the comfort of her guests, but Mary was charmed by the words of Jesus to his disciples, and, seeing a golden opportunity to become better acquainted with the doctrines of Christ, quietly entered the room where he was sitting, and, taking her place at the feet of Jesus, drank in eagerly every word that fell from his lips.SITI July 8, 1886, page 410.1

    The energetic Martha was meanwhile making ample preparations for the entertainment of her guests, and missed her sister’s help. Finally she discovered that Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus, and listening with rapt attention to what he was saying. Martha, wearied with many cares, was so vexed to see her sister calmly listening thus, that she forgot the courtesy due to her guests, and openly complained of Mary’s idleness, and appealed to Jesus that he would not permit all the domestic duties to fall upon one.SITI July 8, 1886, page 410.2

    Jesus answered these complaints with mild and patient words: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things; but one thing is needful, and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” That which Jesus indicated that Martha needed, was a calm, devotional spirit, a deeper anxiety to learn more concerning the future immortal life, and the graces necessary to spiritual advancement. She needed less anxiety for earthly things, which pass away, and more for heavenly things, which affect the eternal welfare of the soul. It is necessary to faithfully perform the duties of the present life, but Jesus would teach his children that they must seize every opportunity to gain that knowledge which will make them wise unto salvation.SITI July 8, 1886, page 410.3

    One of the dangers of the present age is devoting too much time to business matters and to unnecessary cares, which we create for ourselves, while the development of Christian character is neglected. Careful, energetic Marthas are needed for this time, who will blend with their prompt, decisive qualities that “better part” of which Christ spoke. A character of such combined strength and godliness is an unconquerable power for good.SITI July 8, 1886, page 410.4

    A dark cloud now hung over this quiet home where Jesus had rested. Lazarus was stricken with sudden illness. The afflicted sisters sent a message to Jesus: “Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.” They made no urgent requirement for the immediate presence of Jesus, for they believed that he would understand the case and relieve their brother. Lazarus was a firm believer in the divine mission of Jesus; he loved him ardently and was in turn beloved by the blessed Master, whose peace had rested on his quiet home. The faith and love which the brother and sisters felt toward Jesus encouraged them to believe that he would not disregard their distress. Therefore they sent the simple, confiding message: “He whom thou lovest is sick.”SITI July 8, 1886, page 410.5

    When Jesus received the message, he said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” He accordingly remained where he was for two days. After the messenger was sent, Lazarus grew rapidly worse. The sisters counted the days and hours that must intervene between the sending of the message and the arrival of Jesus to their aid. As the time approached when they should expect him, they anxiously watched the travelers who appeared in the distance, hoping to discover the form of Jesus. All their efforts for the recovery of their brother were in vain, and they felt that he must die unless divine help interposed to save him. Their constant prayer was, Oh! that Jesus would come! He could save our beloved brother!SITI July 8, 1886, page 410.6

    Presently their messenger returns, but unaccompanied by Jesus. He bears to the sorrowing sisters the words of the Saviour, “This sickness is not unto death.” But the hearts of the sisters fail them, for lo, their brother is already wrestling with the fierce destroyer, and soon closes his eyes in death.SITI July 8, 1886, page 410.7

    Jesus, at the end of the two days, proposed to go to Judea, but his disciples endeavored to prevent him from doing so. They reminded him of the hatred manifested toward him when he was last there. Said they, “The Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?” Jesus then explained to them that he must go, for Lazarus was dead, adding, “And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe.” Jesus did not delay going to the relief of Lazarus through want of interest in the stricken family; but he designed to make the sorrowful event of the death of Lazarus an occasion to give undoubted proof of his divine power, and unite his disciples to him in a faith that could not be broken. Already some among them were questioning in their minds if they had not been deceived in the evidences of his divine power; if he was really the Christ would he not have saved Lazarus whom he loved? Jesus designed to work a crowning miracle that would convince all who would by any means be convinced that he was the Saviour of the world.SITI July 8, 1886, page 410.8

    The danger attaching to this expedition into Judea was great, since the Jews were determined to kill Jesus. Finding it was impossible to dissuade him from going, Thomas proposed to the disciples that they should all accompany their Master, saying, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Therefore the twelve accompanied the Saviour. On the way, Jesus labored for the needy, relieving the suffering and healing the sick as was his custom. When he reached Bethany he heard from several persons that Lazarus was dead, and had been buried four days.—Mrs. E. G. White, in Great Controversy.SITI July 8, 1886, page 411.1

    JESUS said “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth.” “Jesus spake of his death.” “Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.” John 11:11-14. Yet nowadays there is hardly anything that will excite the opposition of the majority of professed Christians more quickly than to preach, according to these very words of Christ, that the dead are asleep. In these days to speak of death as sleep is to subject yourself to the bigoted epithet of “soul-sleeper,” “materialist,” “teach of infidelity,” and what not. But here we have the plain record of the word of Christ, that when speaking of the death of a certain person he said, he “sleepeth,” and then to make the matter certain that such is his meaning he said plainly, “Lazarus is dead.” Nothing could be plainer than that the doctrine of the Lord Jesus is that the dead are asleep.SITI July 8, 1886, page 411.2

    WITH this agrees the word of his apostles. Paul said that David, after he had served his own generation, “fell on sleep and was laid unto his fathers and saw corruption.” This however is only what had been written before of the death of David: “David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.” 1 Kings 2:10. “And he died in a good old age.” 1 Chronicles 29:28. In writing to the Thessalonians Paul said, “We would not have you ignorant brethren concerning them which are asleep.... For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent [go before] them which are asleep.” Why? For “the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17. Thus the dead in Christ are those who sleep in Jesus. To the Corinthians he said, “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.” 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52. In relating the death of Stephen, Luke says, “He fell asleep.” Acts 7:60.SITI July 8, 1886, page 411.3

    WITH all this, and more, agrees the word of the prophets, and other writers of the Old Testament. Twenty-five times the record made of the kings of Israel and Judah is, “He slept with his fathers and was buried,” etc. Job says if he had died then he “should have slept;” and that, “man lieth down, and riseth not; till the heavens be no more they shall not awake nor be raised out of their sleep.” Job 3:11, 13, 14:12. Daniel says, “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.” Daniel 12:2. That the dead are asleep, and they awake at the sound of the trump of God at the coming of Christ, and come forth at the resurrection of the dead, is the straightforward doctrine of the Bible. And however much men may sneer at it, as “soul-sleeping,” “materialism,” etc., it is the truth of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ. And it is the love of the truth by which we are saved.SITI July 8, 1886, page 411.4

    J.

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