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    April 8, 1886

    “The Visigoths in the Western Empire” The Signs of the Times 12, 14, p. 212.

    IT was five years (A.D. 403-408) from the time that the Visigoths retreated from Italy at the first invasion of Alaric, till their return in their second invasion of the Western Empire, from which they never retreated. During these five years, Alaric was strengthening his forces, and the Emperor Honorius was most effectually weakening the empire. And to the efforts of Honorius were added the effects of the invasion of Radigaisus. When the Visigoths, after the battle of Verona, in A.D. 403, had retired into Illyricum,—SITI April 8, 1886, page 212.1

    “Adversity had exercised and displayed the genius of Alaric; and the fame of his valor invited to the Gothic standard the bravest of the Barbarian warriors; who, from the Euxine to the Rhine, were agitated by the desire of rapine and conquest. He had deserved the esteem, and he soon accepted the friendship, of Stilicho himself. Renouncing the service of the emperor of the East, Alaric concluded, with the court of Ravenna, a treaty of peace and alliance, by which he was declared master-general of the Roman armies throughout the prefecture of Illyricum; as it was claimed, according to the true and ancient limits, by the minister of Honorius. The execution of the ambitious design, which was either stipulated, or implied, in the articles of the treaty, appears to have been suspended by the formidable irruption of Radagaisus; and the neutrality of the Gothic king may perhaps be compared to the indifference of Cesar, who, in the conspiracy of Catiline, refused either to assist, or to oppose, the enemy of the republic.—Dec. and Fall, chap. 30, par. 22.SITI April 8, 1886, page 212.2

    The “ambitious design” here referred to was an expedition against Constantinople, which Stilicho had proposed, as Gibbon suspects, more with the purpose of getting Alaric and his barbarians engaged as far as possible from Italy, rather than from any real wish to make the conquest of the capital, or of the provinces of the East. “This design could not long escape the penetration of the Gothic king, who continued to hold a doubtful, and perhaps a treacherous, correspondence with the rival courts; who protracted, like a dissatisfied mercenary, his languid operations in Thessaly and Epirus, and who soon returned to claim the extravagant reward of his ineffectual services. From his camp near Emona, on the confines of Italy, he transmitted to the emperor of the West a long account of promises, of expenses, and of demands; called for immediate satisfaction, and clearly intimated the consequences of a refusal.”—Id.SITI April 8, 1886, page 212.3

    The Senate and Honorius, by the advice of Stilicho, who alone knew the weakness of the empire, granted to the demands of Alaric, a subsidy of 4,000 pounds of gold, which, for the time being, satisfied the avarice of the Visigoths. But now the faithful minister of the emperor, and of the empire, who had twice delivered from the barbarians both the emperor and Italy, and who was still the only stay of falling Rome, Stilicho, was sacrifice to the treacherous ambitition of a crafty rival. “The crafty Olympius,” who exercised a splendid office, and “who concealed his vices under the mask of Christian piety, had secretly undermined the benefactor by whose favor he was promoted to the honorable offices of the Imperial palace.” By representing to Honorius that Stilicho “already meditated the death of his sovereign, with the ambitious hope of placing the diadem on the head of his son Eucherius,” Olympius succeeded in spupplanting Stilicho in the mind of the emperor, and “the respectful attachment of Honorius was converted [May, A.D. 408] into fear, suspicion, and hatred.SITI April 8, 1886, page 212.4

    At the instigation of Olympius there were massacred of the friends of Stilicho, “the most illustrious officers of the empire; two Pretorian prefects, of Gaul and of Italy; two masters-general of the cavalry and infantry; the masters of the offices; the questor; the treasurer; and the domestics. The intelligence of the massacre of Pavia filled the mind of Stilicho with just and gloomy apprehensions; and he instantly summoned, in the camp of Bologna, a council of the confederate leaders, who were attached to his service, and would be involved in his ruin. The impetuous voice of the assembly called aloud for arms, and for revenge; to march, without a moment’s delay, under the banners of a hero, whom they had so often followed to victory; to surprise, to oppress, to extirpate the guilty Olympius, and his degenerate Romans; and perhaps to fix the diadem on the head of their injured general. Instead of executing a resolution, which might have been justified by success, Stilicho hesitated till he was irrecoverably lost. He was still ignorant of the fate of the emperor; he distrusted the fidelity of his own party; and he viewed with horror the fatal consequences of arming a crowd of licentious barbarians against the soldiers and people of Italy. The confederates, impatient of his timorous and doubtful delay, hastily retired, with fear and indignation.SITI April 8, 1886, page 212.5

    “At the hour of midnight, Sarus, a Gothic warrior, renowned among the barbarians themselves for his strength and valor, suddenly invaded the camp of his benefactor, plundered the baggage, cut in pieces the faithful Huns, who guarded his person, and penetrated to the tent, where the minister, pensive and sleepless, meditated on the dangers of his situation. Stilicho escaped with difficulty from the sword of the Goths and, after issuing a last and generous admonition to the cities of Italy, to shut their gates against the barbarians, his confidence, or his despair, urged him to throw himself into Ravenna, which was already in the absolute possession of his enemies. Olympius, who had assumed the dominion of Honorius, was speedily informed, that his rival had embraced, as a suppliant the altar of the Christian church. The base and cruel disposition of the hypocrite was incapable of pity or remorse; but he piously affected to elude, rather than to violate, the privilege of the sanctuary. Count Heraclian, with a troop of soldiers, appeared, at the dawn of day, before the gates of the church of Ravenna. The bishop was satisfied by a solemn oath, that the Imperial mandate only directed them to secure the person of Stilicho; but as soon as the unfortunate minister had been tempted beyond the holy threshold, he produced the warrant for his instant execution. Stilicho supported, with calm resignation, the injurious names of traitor and parricide; repressed the unseasonable zeal of his followers, who were ready to attempt an ineffectual rescue; and, with a firmness not unworthy of the last of the Roman generals, submitted his neck to the sword of Heraclian.”—Id., chap. 30, par. 23-25.SITI April 8, 1886, page 212.6

    “The incapacity of a weak and distracted government may often assume the appearance, and produce the effects, of a treasonable correspondence with the public enemy. If Alaric himself had been introduced [Sept., A.D. 408] into the council of Ravenna, he would probably have advised the same measures which were actually pursued by the ministers of Honorius. The king of the Goths would have conspired, perhaps with some reluctance, to destroy the formidable adversary, by whose arms, in Italy, as well as in Greece, he had been twice overthrown. Their active and interested hatred laboriously accomplished the disgrace and ruin of the great Stilicho. The valor of Sarus, his fame in arms, and his personal, or hereditary, influence over the confederate barbarians, could recommend him only to the friends of their country, who despised, or detested, the worthless characters of Turpilio, Varanes, and Vigilantius. By the pressing instances of the new favorites, these generals, unworthy as they had shown themselves of the names of soldiers, were promoted to the command of the cavalry, of the infantry, and of the domestic troops. The Gothic prince would have subscribed with pleasure the edict which the fanaticism of Olympius dictated to the simple and devout emperor. Honorius excluded all persons, who were adverse to the Catholic church, from holding any office in the state; obstinately rejected the service of all those who dissented from his religion; and rashly disqualified many of his bravest and most skilful officers, who adhered to the pagan worship, or who had imbibed the opinions of Arianism.SITI April 8, 1886, page 212.7

    “These measures, so advantageous to an enemy, Alaric would have approved, and might perhaps have suggested; but it may seem doubtful, whether the Barbarian would have promoted his interest at the expense of the inhuman and absurd cruelty which was perpetrated by the direction, or at least with the connivance of the Imperial ministers. The foreign auxiliaries, who had been attached to the person of Stilicho, lamented his death; but the desire of revenge was checked by a natural apprehension for the safety of their wives and children; who were detained as hostages in the strong cities of Italy, where they had likewise deposited their most valuable effects. At the same hour, and as if by a common signal, the cities of Italy were polluted by the same horrid scenes of universal massacre and pillage, which involved, in promiscuous destruction, the families and fortunes of the barbarians. Exasperated by such an injury, which might have awakened the tamest and most servile spirit, they cast a look of indignation and hope towards the camp of Alaric, and unanimously swore to pursue, with just and implacable war, the perfidious nation who had so basely violated the laws of hospitality. By the imprudent conduct of the ministers of Honorius, the republic lost the assistance, and deserved the enmity, of thirty thousand of her bravest soldiers; and the weight of that formidable army, which alone might have determined the event of the war, was transferred from the scale of the Romans into that of the Goths.”—Id., chap. 31, par. 1.SITI April 8, 1886, page 212.8

    A. T. J.

    (To be continued.)

    “‘The Abiding Sabbath’” The Signs of the Times 12, 14, p. 216.

    UNDER the title of “The Change of Day,” the author of “The Abiding Sabbath” devotes a chapter to the denial of the right of the seventh day to be considered the Sabbath; and he starts with the attempt to make a distinction between the Sabbath as an institution, and the Sabbath as the name of a day. He says:—SITI April 8, 1886, page 216.1

    “Let it be urged that the Sabbath as an institution, and the Sabbath as the name of a day, are entirely distinct.”—P. 201.SITI April 8, 1886, page 216.2

    This is a turn that is quite commonly taken by those who deny that the seventh day is the Sabbath, but we wish that some of those who think they see this distinction, would describe what they call the “institution.” We wish they would tell us what it is. We wish they would tell us how the “institution” was made, and how it can be observed distinct from the day. For says Mr. Elliott:—SITI April 8, 1886, page 216.3

    “The particular day is no essential part of the institution.”—P. 203.SITI April 8, 1886, page 216.4

    If, therefore, the day be no essential part of the institution, it follows that the institution can be observed without reference to the day; and so we say we should like for Mr. Elliott, or someone else who thinks the proposition correct, to tell us how that can be done. But Mr. Elliott does not believe the proposition, nor does anyone else whom we have ever known to state it. In his argument under this very proposition that, “The particular day is no essential part of the institution,” Mr. Elliott says:—SITI April 8, 1886, page 216.5

    “Without doubt, the spiritual intent of the Sabbath will fail of full realization except all men unite upon one day.”—Id.SITI April 8, 1886, page 216.6

    Then what his argument amounts to is just this: The particular day is no essential part of the institution, yet the institution will fail of proper realization unless all unite upon a particular day. In other words, the particular day is an essential part of the institution. And that is exactly where everyone lands who starts with this proposition. But it is not enough to say that the day is an essential part of the institution. The day is the institution, and the institution is the day. And if the particular day be taken away, the institution is destroyed. The commandment of God is not, Remember the Sabbath institution, to keep it holy. Nor is it merely, Remember the Sabbath, as though it were something indefinite. But it is plainly, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8. The word of God is not that he blessed the Sabbath institution, and hallowed it. But the word is, “The Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:11.SITI April 8, 1886, page 216.7

    Nor is it left to men to select, and unite upon, some “one day” to be the Sabbath. The Lord not only commands men to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, but he also tells them, as plainly as language can tell, that “The seventh day is the Sabbath.” It is the seventh day that God blessed at creation. It is the seventh day that he then sanctified. It is the seventh day upon which he rested. Genesis 2:2, 3. It was the rest, the blessing, and the sanctification of the seventh day that made the institution of the Sabbath. And it is simply the record of a fact, when the Lord wrote on the table of stone, “The seventh day is the Sabbath.” Suppose the question should be asked, What is the Sabbath? As the word of God is true, the only true answer that can be given is, “The seventh day is the Sabbath.” Therefore it is as plain as words can make it, that apart from the seventh day there is no Sabbath; and that apart from the seventh day there is no Sabbath institution.SITI April 8, 1886, page 216.8

    Again, the word Sabbath means rest, and with this Mr. Elliott agrees; he says:—SITI April 8, 1886, page 217.1

    “The word ‘Sabbath’ is the one used in the fourth commandment; it means ‘rest,’ and it is the substantive form of the verb employed in Genesis 2:2, 3, also Exodus 31:17, to describe the divine resting after creation.”—P. 202.SITI April 8, 1886, page 217.2

    But God did not bless the rest, he blessed the rest day; he did not hallow the rest, he hallowed the rest day. That rest day was the seventh day, the last day of the week. “And he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Did God rest any day of the week but the seventh day? Assuredly not. Then is not the seventh day the rest day of God? Most certainly. Then whenever anybody calls any day the Sabbath but the seventh day—the last day of the week—he not only contradicts the plain word of God but he also contradicts the very language in which he himself speaks, because he gives the title of “rest” to that which by no possibility can truthfully bear it. The word of God is the truth, and it says, “The seventh day is the Sabbath [rest] of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work.”SITI April 8, 1886, page 217.3

    Yet in the face of his own reference to Genesis 2:2, 3, and Exodus 31:17, the author of the “Abiding Sabbath” has the assurance to write the following:—SITI April 8, 1886, page 217.4

    “As a human monument the particular day has value, but it has no bearing on that divine ordinance of rest and worship which comes to us out of eternity and blends again with it at the end of time.”—P. 203.SITI April 8, 1886, page 217.5

    “As a human monument?” How did the particular day—the seventh day—in Genesis 2:2, 3 become a human monument? What human being had anything to do with the erection of that monument? It was God who set up that monument, and when an institution established by the Lord himself, can be called a human monument, we should like to know how much further a five-hundred-dollar prize would not justify a man in going.SITI April 8, 1886, page 217.6

    And again, “The particular day has no bearing upon that divine ordinance which comes to us out of eternity.” This, too, when the particular day is that divine ordinance. If the particular day has no bearing upon that divine ordinance of rest and worship which comes to us out of eternity, then what is the ordinance, and how can it be observed? This brings him again to the important concession that, “all men must unite upon one day,” or else the Sabbath will fail of its proper realization. But we would ask, Did not the Lord know that when he made the Sabbath? Did he not know that it is necessary that all men should unite upon one day? We are certain that he did, and that he made ample provision for it. He himself selected the day which should be the Sabbath. He rested a certain definite day, he blessed that day, and he set it apart from the other days of the week, and he commanded man—the human race—to remember that day, and to do no work therein. That day is the last day of the week, the seventh day, and not the first day of the week. But the day which the Lord has chosen to be the Sabbath; the day which he has put honor upon; the day which he has by his own divine words and acts set apart from all other days; the day which he by his own voice from Heaven has commanded to be kept holy; that day which he has called his own—is to be set aside by men as not essential, and a heathen institution, by the authority of a heathen commandment, exalted to the place of the Lord’s day, and as all-essential. But it is wickedness.SITI April 8, 1886, page 217.7

    As for us, we choose to obey the word of God rather than the word of men. We choose to rest the day in which he has commanded us to rest. We choose to hallow the day which he has hallowed. We choose to keep holy the day which he has made holy, and which he has commanded all men to keep holy.SITI April 8, 1886, page 217.8

    Reader, “God did rest the seventh day from all his works.” Hebrews 4:4. What are you going to do? God says, Remember the rest day, to keep it holy. Exodus 20:8. What are you going to do? God says, “The seventh day is the Sabbath [the rest] of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work.” Exodus 20:10. What are you going to do?SITI April 8, 1886, page 217.9

    “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” “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.SITI April 8, 1886, page 217.10

    A. T. J.

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