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    January 21, 1886

    “The Ostrogoths and the Visigoths. (Continued.)” The Signs of the Times 12, 3, pp. 36, 37.


    “AFTER Valens had [A.D. 376] terminated the Gothic war with some appearance of glory and success, he made a progress through his dominions of Asia, and at length fixed his residence in the capital of Syria [Antioch]... He was informed, that the North was agitated by a furious tempest; that the irruption of the Huns, an unknown and monstrous race of savages, had subverted the power of the Goths; and that the suppliant multitudes of that warlike nation, whose pride was now humbled in the dust, covered a space of many miles along the banks of the river. With outstretched arms, and pathetic lamentations, they loudly deplored their past misfortunes and their present danger; acknowledged that their only hope of safety was in the clemency of the Roman Government; and most solemnly protested, that if the gracious liberality of the emperor would permit them to cultivate the waste lands of Thrace, they should ever hold themselves bound, by the strongest obligations of duty and gratitude, to obey the laws, and to guard the limits, of the republic.SITI January 21, 1886, page 36.1

    “These assurances were confirmed by the ambassadors of the Goths, who impatiently expected from the mouth of Valens an answer that must finally determine the fate of their unhappy countrymen. The emperor of the East was no longer guided by the wisdom and authority of his elder brother, whose death happened towards the end of the preceding year [A.D. 375, Nov. 17]; and as the distressful situation of the Goths required an instant and peremptory decision, he was deprived of the favorite resources of feeble and timid minds, who consider the use of dilatory and ambiguous measures as the most admirable efforts of consummate prudence.SITI January 21, 1886, page 36.2

    “The prayers of the Goths were granted, and their service was accepted by the Imperial court: and orders were immediately dispatched to the civil and military governors of the Thracian diocese, to make the necessary preparations for the passage and subsistence of a great people, till a proper and sufficient territory could be allotted for their future residence. The liberality of the emperor was accompanied, however, with two harsh and rigorous conditions, which prudence might justify on the side of the Romans; but which distress alone could extort from the indignant Goths. Before they passed the Danube, they were required to deliver their arms: and it was insisted, that their children should be taken from them, and dispersed through the provinces of Asia; where they might be civilized by the arts of education, and serve as hostages to secure the fidelity of their parents.SITI January 21, 1886, page 36.3

    “During the suspense of a doubtful and distant negotiation, the impatient Goths made some rash attempts to pass the Danube, without the permission of the government, whose protection they had implored. Their motions were strictly observed by the vigilance of the troops which were stationed along the river and their foremost detachments were defeated with considerable slaughter; yet such were the timid councils of the reign of Valens, that the brave officers who had served their country in the execution of their duty, were punished by the loss of their employments, and narrowly escaped the loss of their heads. The Imperial mandate was at length received for transporting over the Danube the whole body of the Gothic nation; but the execution of this order was a task of labor and difficulty.SITI January 21, 1886, page 36.4

    “The stream of the Danube, which in those parts is above a mile broad, had been swelled by incessant rains; and in this tumultuous passage, many were swept away, and drowned, by the rapid violence of the current. A large fleet of vessels, of boats, and of canoes, was provided; many days and nights they passed and repassed with indefatigable toil; and the most strenuous diligence was exerted by the officers of Valens, that not a single barbarian, of those who were reserved to subvert the foundations of Rome, should be left on the opposite shore. It was thought expedient that an accurate account should be taken of their numbers; but the persons who were employed soon desisted, with amazement and dismay, from the prosecution of the endless and impracticable task; and the principal historian of the age most seriously affirms, that the prodigious armies of Darius and Xerxes, which had so long been considered as the fables of vain and credulous antiquity, were now justified, in the eyes of mankind, by the evidence of fact and experience.SITI January 21, 1886, page 36.5

    “A probable testimony has fixed the number of the Gothic warriors at 200,000 men; and if we can venture to add the just proportion of women, of children, and of slaves, the whole mass of people which composed this formidable emigration, must have amounted to near a million of persons, of both sexes, and of all ages. The children of the Goths, those at least of a distinguished rank, were separated from the multitude. They were conducted, without delay, to the distant seats assigned for their residence and education; and as the numerous train of hostages or captives passed through the cities, their gay and splendid apparel, their robust and martial figure, excited the surprise and envy of the provincials.SITI January 21, 1886, page 36.6

    “But the stipulation, the most offensive to the Goths, and the most important to the Romans, was shamefully eluded. The barbarians, who considered their arms as the ensigns of honor and the pledges of safety, were disposed to offer a price, which the lust or avarice of the Imperial officers was easily tempted to accept. To preserve their arms, the haughty warriors consented, with some reluctance, to prostitute their wives or their daughters; the charms of a beauteous maid, or a comely boy, secured the connivance of the inspectors; who sometimes cast an eye of covetousness on the fringed carpets and linen garments of their new allies, or who sacrificed their duty to the mean consideration of filling their farms with cattle, and their houses with slaves. The Goths, with arms in their hands, were permitted to enter the boats; and when their strength was collected on the other side of the river, the immense camp which was spread over the plains and the hills of the Lower Mesia, assumed a threatening and even hostile aspect.”—Dec. and Fall, chap. 26, par. 13, 14.SITI January 21, 1886, page 36.7

    This immense body of people was the nation of the Visigoths. And although the historian simply speaks of them here by the general title of Goths, it is evident from the previous context that they were the Visigoths. However, in the words which immediately follow, the historian himself makes the point clear and positive that these were the Visigoths alone. He says:—SITI January 21, 1886, page 36.8

    “The leaders of the Ostrogoths, Alatheus and Saphrax, the guardians of their infant king, appeared soon afterwards on the Northern banks of the Danube; and immediately dispatched their ambassadors to the court of Antioch, to solicit, with the same professions of allegiance and gratitude, the same favor which had been granted to the suppliant Visigoths. The absolute refusal of Valens suspended their progress, and discovered the repentance, the suspicions, and the fears, of the Imperial Council.—Id., par. 14.SITI January 21, 1886, page 36.9

    From this it is plain that the positions of the two peoples are now thus: The whole nation of the Visigoths is within the empire, and the nation of the Ostrogoths is yet beyond the Danube. And to resist the reader in keeping the distinction between them clear, we would remark that Fritigern and Alavivus are the united leaders, or judges, of the Visigoths; while Alatheus and Saphrax, the guardians of their infant king, occupy the same position as the leaders of the Ostorgoths. The historian now continues the account of the Visigoths:—SITI January 21, 1886, page 36.10

    “An undisciplined and unsettled nation of Barbarians required the firmest temper, and the most dexterous management. The daily subsistence of near a million of extraordinary subjects could be supplied only by constant and skilful diligence, and might continually be interrupted by mistake or accident. The insolence, or the indignation, of the Goths, if they conceived themselves to be the objects either of fear or of contempt, might urge them to the most desperate extremities; and the fortune of the state seemed to depend on the prudence, as well as the integrity, of the generals of Valens. At this important crisis, the military government of Thrace was exercised by Lupicinus and Maximus, in whose venal minds the slightest hope of private emolument outweighed every consideration of public advantage; and whose guilt was only alleviated by their incapacity of discerning the pernicious effects of their rash and criminal administration.SITI January 21, 1886, page 36.11

    “Instead of obeying the orders of their sovereign, and satisfying, with decent liberality, the demands of the Goths, they levied an ungenerous and oppressive tax on the wants of the hungry barbarians. The vilest food was sold at an extravagant price; and, in the room of wholesome and substantial provisions, the markets were filled with the flesh of dogs, and of unclean animals, who had died of disease. To obtain the valuable acquisition of a pound of bread, the Goths resigned the possession of an expensive, though serviceable, slave; and a small quantity of meat was greedily purchased with ten pounds of a precious, but useless metal. When their property was exhausted, they continued this necessary traffic by the sale of their sons and daughters; and notwithstanding the love of freedom, which animated every Gothic breast, they submitted to the humiliating maxim, that it was better for their children to be maintained in a servile condition, than to perish in a state of wretched and helpless independence.SITI January 21, 1886, page 36.12

    “The most lively resentment is excited by the tyranny of pretended benefactors, who sternly exact the debt of gratitude which they have cancelled by subsequent injuries; a spirit of discontent insensibly arose in the camp of the barbarians, who pleaded, without success, the merit of their patient and dutiful behavior; and loudly complained of the inhospitable treatment which they had received from their new allies. They beheld around them the wealth and plenty of a fertile province, in the midst of which they suffered the intolerable hardships of artificial famine. But the means of relief, and even of revenge, were in their hands; since the rapaciousness of their tyrants had left to an injured people the possession and the use of arms.SITI January 21, 1886, page 36.13

    “The clamors of a multitude, untaught to disguise their sentiments, announced the first symptoms of resistance, and alarmed the timid and guilty minds of Lupicinus and Maximus. Those crafty ministers, who substituted the cunning of temporary expedients to the wise and salutary counsels of general policy, attempted to remove the Goths from their dangerous station on the frontiers of the empire; and to disperse them, in separate quarters of cantonment, through the interior provinces. As they were conscious how ill they had deserved the respect, or confidence, of the Barbarians, they diligently collected, from every side, a military force, that might urge the tardy and reluctant march of a people, who had not yet renounced the title, or the duties, of Roman subjects.SITI January 21, 1886, page 36.14

    “But the generals of Valens, while their attention was solely directed to the discontented Visigoths, imprudently disarmed the ships and the fortifications which constituted the defense of the Danube. The fatal oversight was observed, and improved, by Alatheus and Saphrax, who anxiously watched the favorable moment of escaping from the pursuit of the Huns. By the help of such rafts and vessels as could be hastily procured, the leaders of the Ostrogoths transported, without opposition, their king and their army; and boldly fixed a hostile and independent camp on the territories of the empire.—Id., par. 16.SITI January 21, 1886, page 36.15

    A. T. J.

    (To be continued.)

    “The Commentary. Notes on the International Lesson. Daniel in Babylon. Daniel 1:8-21” The Signs of the Times 12, 3, p. 42.

    (January 31. Daniel 1:8-21.)

    DANIEL was in Babylon in fulfillment of prophecy. More than a hundred years before this, a king of Babylon—Merodach-baladan—had sent an embassy to Jerusalem to congratulate King Hezekiah on his recovery from his sickness, and to inquire about the going backward of the shadow on the sun-dial of Ahaz. Hezekiah was so elated over such a notice of himself that he showed them all his treasures; “there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not.” Then came Isaiah and said to Hezekiah: “Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon; nothing shall be left, saith the Lord. And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” 2 Kings 20:12-18.SITI January 21, 1886, page 42.1

    ACCORDINGLY, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came up and besieged Jerusalem, and took it. “And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.” Daniel 1:3, 4. We know not how many there were chosen to be thus taught; we only know the names of four who were of the company selected to be taught the learning of the Chaldeans; and we would never have known the names of even these four, if they had not had the courage to stand upon principle and firm conviction of truth and duty.SITI January 21, 1886, page 42.2

    THEY were to study three years, and then pass an examination for places in the king’s favor, and it was to be at the king’s expense. “The king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank.” “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank.” It is evident that Daniel was the one who led out in this, and that the other three decided to stand by him. It was Daniel that purposed in his heart that he would not do as was expected by the king, nor as all the students, but his three brethren, were willing to do.SITI January 21, 1886, page 42.3

    AT this time Babylon was in the height of its glory. It contained between two and three million inhabitants, and all the Babylonian plain was teeming with population. Wealth and magnificence, with their inseparable accompaniments—luxury and intemperance—reigned on every hand, and this too, in heathen manners. It was in the midst of such scenes and such influences, that Daniel was placed when only a mere boy. But boy though he was, he purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself by conformity in any way with any of their customs, nor allow himself to be defiled with any of the evil influences that were around him.SITI January 21, 1886, page 42.4

    HE refused the king’s meat and wine, and asked the he might be given pulse to eat and water to drink. In the Revised Version, margin, we have “herbs” as the alternative reading for “pulse;” and “herbs” conveys the correct idea. It was what would be now called a vegetarian diet, the diet that was originally prescribed for man; and those who, even in this day, conform most closely to it, are in every way the better for it. It was not altogether a miracle, that their countenances were found “fairer and fatter” “than all the children which did eat of the portion of the king’s meat.” True, it must have been miraculous that so marked a result was seen in so short a time—only ten days; but that result would not have been seen at all if they had not adopted the diet.SITI January 21, 1886, page 42.5

    GOD works by means which he himself has appointed; and the closer men conform to the Lord’s appointed ways, the more wondrously will be work in their behalf. If the church of God to-day would adopt the principles of Daniel, their power and efficiency would be increased manyfold [sic.]. Daniel was set there to study the learning of the Chaldeans, that he might successfully pass the appointed examination, and stand in the presence of the king. To accomplish this in the best way, he adopted a vegetarian diet. Those who, with him, did so, were approved of God, and succeeded so well that they were ten times better than all the wise men in the realm.SITI January 21, 1886, page 42.6

    WE are set in the school of Christ to study the word of God, that we may successfully pass the appointed examination and stand in the presence of the King of kings. If such a course would accomplish such results in the study of heathen learning, why would it not accomplish much more in the study of the wisdom of God, as given in his sacred word? Without hesitation we say that it would. But where are the Daniels of to-day? Where are they to-day, even in the church, who will put themselves upon a strict regimen that they may have clearness and strength of mind to discern the precious wisdom of God. The clearer the brain, the clearer the thoughts; the purer the blood, the clearer the brain; the purer the food, the purer the blood; therefore the purer the food that we eat, the better will be our power to think, and the more clearly we can discern the truth on any point. How many ten thousands are singings, “Dare to be a Daniel”! But alas! how many tens can be found who do really dare to be Daniels?SITI January 21, 1886, page 42.7

    IT is said of these four Hebrews, that by this course their countenances were “fairer” than all the others. In this lesson is a proved prescription which we commend to all young ladies who wish to have a fair complexion. It is better than all the paints and powders in Christendom. We once heard the question asked Dr. Simms, in a large audience, “What is the best means of preserving a fair, beautiful complexion?” He answered, “Avoid tea, coffee, pork, oysters, fish, etc. Use a vegetarian diet.” That is the truth, and it is a truth that is taught in this lesson from the first chapter of Daniel. This very lesson in Daniel 1:8-21, is of the first importance to all people in this our day. We say indeed, in every sense, “Dare to be a Daniel.”SITI January 21, 1886, page 42.8

    THE following by Dr. Geo. P. Hayes, in “Half Hours with the Lessons,” is exactly to the point:—SITI January 21, 1886, page 42.9

    “When Daniel made up his mind not to defile himself with the king’s meat, it was purely a question of principle.... It seemed utterly foolish. King Nebuchadnezzar and Melzar both believed that the popular opinion of the day was all right in saying that wine and fat meat were necessary for a clear complexion and a quick brain. The same false notion is widely held now about lager beer and tonics. Is it true? Ask the health records.... Gout, liver complaint, and the hundred-faced dyspepsias are Nature’s protest against mince-pies, fruit-cakes, brandy-puddings, and gluttony... You may not wish to obey Nature’s health-laws, but you cannot defy them and escape. Just now the papers are reviving the discussion of the value of the Mosaic law on food, as a law of health. The health and brain-power of the Jews would teach the Gentiles a lesson, if the Gentiles were not so heedless. Many will doubt this statement and stick to Melzar’s notion, that if they restrict themselves to Daniel’s diet they will soon become ‘worse-liking’ than others which are ‘of their set.’ Well, why not take Daniel’s way of settling it? Just try it.”SITI January 21, 1886, page 42.10

    A. T. J.

    “The Throne of David” The Signs of the Times 12, 3, pp. 42, 43.

    ZEDEDIAH was the last king of Judah and Jerusalem, the last king upon the throne of David. To him it was that the prophet wrote the message from God: “And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown; this shall not be the same; exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it; and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.” Ezekiel 21:25-27. There can be no question as to who is the One “whose right it is” to sit upon the throne of David, to put on the kingly crown, and to wear the royal diadem. There can be but one,—He who is the aim of all the prophecies and the subject of all the promises. And when the fullness of the time was come when He should appear in the world, the annunciation was: Thou “shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:31-33.SITI January 21, 1886, page 42.11

    This promise is itself a prophecy of what should be in the future, “the Lord God shall give” etc.; but there is nothing in it to signify when this event might be looked for. However, it was said to Zedekiah, “I will overturn, overturn, overturn it.” It was to be overturned three times, and then, “be no more till he come whose right it is,” and then it shall be given him. Now by turning to Daniel, who had been carried captive to Babylon with the first that were taken—about B.C. 606—we find that he has recorded in the second chapter what was seen by King Nebuchadnezzar in a dream; and in the seventh chapter what himself saw in a dream. There it is said that there were four great kingdoms to be in succession from Nebuchadnezzar to the end of the world; the fourth was to be divided into ten kingdoms, “and in the days of these kings shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom.” These answer to the three overturnings that were spoken of to Zedekiah. The kingdom of Judah was then subject to the kingdom of Babylon; when that was overthrown by Medo-Persia, there was the first overturning; when Medo-Persia was destroyed by Grecia, there was the second overturning; and when Grecia was succeeded by Rome, there was the third overturning, and then it should be no more till He come whose right it is, and it shall be given Him. All these overturnings are in the past; long centuries have gone since the kingdom of Judah was no more; and soon, very soon will He come whose right it is, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. Isaiah 9:7.SITI January 21, 1886, page 43.1

    A. T. J.

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