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    June 10, 1886

    “The Franks. (Concluded.)” The Signs of the Times 12, 22, p. 340.

    (Concluded).

    “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. A numerous swarm of Franks and Alemanni were invited [A.D. 351] 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. 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; 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.”SITI June 10, 1886, page 340.1

    In a note Gibbon fixes the date of this permanent entrance of the Franks into Gaul, as follows:—SITI June 10, 1886, page 340.2

    “The paradox of P. Daniel, that the Franks never obtained any permanent settlement on this side of the Rhine before the time of Clovis, is refuted with much learning and good sense by M. Biet, who has proved by a chain of evidence, their uninterrupted possession of Toxandria, one hundred and thirty years before the accession of Clovis.”SITI June 10, 1886, page 340.3

    The accession of Clovis was in A.D. 481; and one hundred and thirty years carry us back to A.D. 351, as dated above.SITI June 10, 1886, page 340.4

    “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. 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.”—Decline and Fall, chap. 19, par. 20, 21.SITI June 10, 1886, page 340.5

    In A.D. 355, Nov. 6, Constantius associated Julian with himself in the rule of the empire, and appointed to his administration the provinces of the West, with the immediate task of driving out these barbarians whom Constantius had invited in with the promise of a grant in perpetuity of all the lands which they should subdue.SITI June 10, 1886, page 340.6

    “After Julian had repulsed the Alemanni from the provinces of the Upper Rhine, he turned his arms against the Franks [A.D. 358], who were seated nearer to the ocean, on the confines of Gaul and Germany; and who, from their numbers, and still more from their intrepid valor, had ever been esteemed the most formidable of the barbarians. Although they were strongly actuated by the allurements of rapine, they professed a disinterested love of war; which they considered as the supreme honor and felicity of human nature; and their minds and bodies were so completely hardened by perpetual action, that, according to the lively expression of an orator, the snows of winter were as pleasant to them as the flowers of spring. In the month of December, which followed the battle of Strasburgh, Julian attacked a body of six hundred Franks, who had thrown themselves into two castles on the Meuse. In the midst of that severe season they sustained, with inflexible constancy, a siege of fifty-four days; till at length, exhausted by hunger, and satisfied that the vigilance of the enemy, in breaking the ice of the river, left them no hopes of escape, the Franks consented, for the first time, to dispense with the ancient law which commanded them to conquer or to die.SITI June 10, 1886, page 340.7

    “The Cesar immediately sent his captives to the court of Constantius, who, accepting them as a valuable present, rejoiced in the opportunity of adding so many heroes to the choicest troops of his domestic guards. The obstinate resistance of this handful of Franks apprised Julian of the difficulties of the expedition which he meditated for the ensuing spring, against the whole body of the nation. His rapid diligence surprised and astonished the active barbarians. Ordering his soldiers to provide themselves with biscuit for twenty days, he suddenly pitched his camp near Tongres, while the enemy still supposed him in his winter quarters of Paris, expecting the slow arrival of his convoys from Aquitain. Without allowing the Franks to unite or deliberate, he skillfully spread his legions from Cologne to the ocean; and by the terror, as well as by the success, of his arms, soon reduced the suppliant tribes to implore the clemency, and to obey the commands, of their conqueror. The Chamavians submissively retired to their former habitations beyond the Rhine; but the Salians were permitted to possess their new establishment of Toxandria, as the subjects and auxiliaries of the Roman Empire. The treaty was ratified by solemn oaths; and perpetual inspectors were appointed to reside among the Franks, with the authority of enforcing the strict observance of the conditions.”—Id., chap. 19, par. 27.SITI June 10, 1886, page 340.8

    From this time onward the power of the Franks in Gaul steadily grew until the time of the establishment of the Visigoths in Aquatain, A.D. 419 (as already related), when they were powerful enough to share with the Visigoths, and the Burgundians, in almost equal proportion the province of Gaul.SITI June 10, 1886, page 340.9

    “The Franks, a loose confederation of German tribes, were in existence in the third century on the right bank of the Rhine, and for a long time showed no wish to migrate into Gaul. By degrees one of these tribes, the Salians, headed by a family called the Merewings or Merwings (the Merovingians), began to take the lead; they soon made themselves formidable by their incursions into Northern Gaul, and established themselves masters of the left bank of the lower Rhine. As the Roman power declined along that district, their authority increased; early in the fifth century they had spread from the Rhine to the Somme.”—Encyc. Brit., Art, France, History, par. 13.SITI June 10, 1886, page 340.10

    Thus the Franks had northeastern Gaul below the Moselle; the Visigoths held all of southwestern Gaul from the Loire to the Bay of Biscay and the Gulf of Lyons; and the Burgundians possessed southeastern Gaul, now Switzerland, with the country of the Saome and the Rhone clear to the sea.SITI June 10, 1886, page 340.11

    Gibbon states it thus:—SITI June 10, 1886, page 340.12

    “About the same time, in the last years of the reign of Honorius, the Goths, the Burgundians, and the Franks, obtained a permanent seat and dominion in the provinces of Gaul. The liberal grant of the usurper Jovinus to his Burgundian allies, was confirmed by the lawful emperor; the lands of the First, or Upper, Germany, were ceded to those formidable barbarians; and they gradually occupied, either by conquest or treaty, the two provinces which still retain, with the titles of Duchy and County, the national appellation of Burgundy. The Franks, the valiant and faithful allies of the Roman republic, were soon tempted to imitate the invaders, whom they had so bravely resisted. Treves, the capital of Gaul, was pillaged by their lawless bands; and the humble colony, which they so long maintained in the district of Toxandia, in Brabant, insensibly multiplied along the banks of the Meuse and Scheld, till their independent power filled the whole extent of the Second, or Lower Germany.”—Id., chap. 31, par. 39. J.SITI June 10, 1886, page 340.13

    “Fear Ye Not Their Fear” The Signs of the Times 12, 22, p. 343.

    AMONG the things which would particularly mark the nearness of the end of the world, the Saviour named, “distress of nations, with perplexity,” and “men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things that are coming on the earth.” This distress of nations is not merely distress which is common to all nations in all ages, but it is distress with perplexity. To be perplexed is to know not what to do; is to know not which way to turn. A nation may be distressed, but may know perfectly what to do to relieve itself. A nation may be troubled, yet see clearly its way out of the trouble. But when distress with perplexity comes upon a nation, it is troubled indeed. It knows not what to do, and in attempting a remedy it may increase the trouble, or at the best, may be able to relieve the distress only for a time.SITI June 10, 1886, page 343.1

    That there is now among the great nations of the world a state of uneasiness which is not too strongly expressed by the words of Christ, is undeniable. The trouble is not between nation and nation as such, although there are deepening jealousies, which only add to the general tendency; but the distress of each nation is from within itself. In each nation there seems to be a condition of society which might be termed a chronic discontent. This spirit of discontent is growing and deepening everywhere. The following from the San Francisco Chronicle is, we believe, a fair estimate of the question as it stands to-day:—SITI June 10, 1886, page 343.2

    “The feelings of the world at the beginning of the century have been compared to those of one awaking after a night of horrible orgies. There are not wanting signs that another wave of hopelessness is soon to sweep over the world, not, perhaps, attended with such a social upheaval, or followed by such desolating wars, but still terrible in its action and its consequence. The passions of men remain the same. National hatreds were never more bitter. We live here in this corner of the world in comparative quiet, while all Europe sleeps upon its arms. Want and misery increase with augmenting populations. All the avenues of life are full. All streams of discontent are swelled to the brim and ready to overflow.”SITI June 10, 1886, page 343.3

    Thinking men see these things; statesmen have to deal with them; the lower classes feel them and are the principal part of them; and all men fear them. Men’s hearts are failing them for fear, and for looking after those things that are coming on the earth. True, there are some who are determined to have the millennium ushered in at once, who profess to see nothing but that all things are growing better, and that “to-morrow shall be as this day and much more abundant.” But it is simply fatuous to cry peace in the very presence of the most gigantic preparations for war that the world has ever seen,—to cry safety when destruction, hundred-handed, stands before the cabin as well as before the palace. Wickedness is surely as great now as any would wish to see, but it is just as certain that every one who lives will see greater wickedness, as it is that he lives at all. The world is in its last days, and the record of Him who made the world, and who knoweth what is in men, is, “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” As bad as evil men are now, there is yet to be worse, yea, even worse and worse. As great as is deception now, men will yet see greater. It is easy enough for all to see it, and all do see it—except the professed watchmen.SITI June 10, 1886, page 343.4

    In this general uneasiness and discontent, in this fear which causes men’s hearts to fail, whether they realize the cause or not, it is only to be expected that there will be efforts made on all hands for protection. But the efforts made for protection will not protect. All the trade unions and labor leagues that can be formed, and all the boycotts that can be laid, will not better the condition of the laboring man one white. With all the unions and leagues and organizations of whatever kind there may be that have ever been formed for the purpose of promoting the welfare of the laboring man, his condition is no better than it was before there was ever any such union formed. As a matter of fact the troubles and difficulties of the laboring man are increased with the increase of the leagues. It is impossible that it should be otherwise, when in becoming a member of a union, he has to literally sell himself to an irresponsible despotism. But it is because of the uncertainty, the uneasiness, the fear that pervades all, that all these confederacies are formed. But relief will never be found in any of these things, nor by any of these methods, but rather in the opposite of all these.SITI June 10, 1886, page 343.5

    “For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.” A league is a confederacy. All these leagues, unions, etc., that are now so abundant, are confederacies. They are formed, even as the prophet says, because of a fear which pervades the people, leading them to say, “A confederacy, a league must be formed, and that will relieve us.” But it will do nothing of the kind. The evil is inherent; it lies in the very nature of things. It is growing, and will grow “worse and worse,” and the only safety is to separate from it all, and from all the confederacies that are formed because of it. The Lord instructs us that we should not walk in the way of this people. The Lord says to us, “Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy.” The Lord says, “Neither fear ye their fear, now be afraid.” But “sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary.” Isaiah 8:13, 14.SITI June 10, 1886, page 343.6

    There is the way and the only way of relief. God is over all and above all. If he be made the dwelling place, in his truth he made the shield and buckler, we shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil. That these words of the prophet were written for this time is plain; for in the same connection, he says: “I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.” These things therefore will come to pass when the time is to wait and look for the Lord. And this is exactly in accordance with the word of Christ, when, in giving these things as signs of his coming, he said: “When ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” For the next thing that follows the “distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things that are coming on the earth,” is “the powers of heaven shall be shaken, and then shall they see Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Luke 21:25-28.SITI June 10, 1886, page 343.7

    The heaven will depart as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island will be moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond man, and every free man, will flee to the rocks and the mountains; and “they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” Revelation 6:14, 15, Isaiah 2:19.SITI June 10, 1886, page 343.8

    “When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done”—“two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof”—“they shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord, they shall cry aloud from the sea.” Isaiah 21:13, 14; 17:6. They shall say, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Isaiah 25:9.SITI June 10, 1886, page 343.9

    “Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” And then, though the untied winds shall hurt the earth, the sea, and the trees (Revelation 7:1-3).SITI June 10, 1886, page 343.10

    —“Though the yesty waves
    Confound and swallow navigation up;
    Though bladed even be hedged, and trees blown down;
    Though castles topple on their warders heads;
    Though palaces and pyramids do slope
    Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure
    Of nature’s germins tumble altogether,
    Even till destruction sicken;“
    SITI June 10, 1886, page 343.11

    “He shall be for a sanctuary;” “the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” “Blessed are all they that wait for him.”SITI June 10, 1886, page 343.12

    J.

    “Notes on the International Lesson. Jesus and Abraham. John 8:31-38, 41-59” The Signs of the Times 12, 22, pp. 346, 347.

    (June 20.—John 8:31-38, 41-59.)

    “IF ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” Jesus “became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Hebrews 5:9. Are we his disciples? If we continue in his word we are; if we bring forth much fruit we are. John 15:8. A disciple is a learner. A disciple of Christ is one who learns of Christ. And this is the Saviour’s command, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me.” In him is a field of study that can never be exhausted. “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:9. Would we learn meekness, we must learn it of Christ. Would we learn gentleness, we must learn it of Christ. Would we learn of righteousness, we must learn it of Christ. Would we learn holiness, we must learn it of Christ. Would we learn of charity, we must learn it of Christ. Would we learn anything at all but that which is earthly, we must learn it of Christ; for “of God he is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” If thus we study the divine Saviour, and learn of him and continue in his word, then are we his disciples indeed. He that heareth the sayings of Christ and doeth them is the man who has built his house upon the rock; while he that heareth these sayings and doeth them not has built his house on the sand. Alas! how many there are even to-day as of old to whom the words of Christ come, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46.SITI June 10, 1886, page 346.1

    IF thus we learn of Christ, we shall know the truth, for he is the Truth. He came to “bear witness unto the truth.” The word of God is truth, and Christ is the word of God personified. We shall know the truth and the truth shall make us free; for “he that doeth truth cometh to the light that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” The people who enter in through the gates of the eternal city, are those who have kept the truth. “In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.” Isaiah 26:1, 2. Jesus tells us what is meant by the truth in this place; he says: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14. And David says: “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.” Psalm 119:142. It is only through Christ that we can keep the truth, the commandments of God. And Christ the Truth, must make us free from our obedience to the truth,—the law of God,—before we can do the truth.SITI June 10, 1886, page 346.2

    “WHOSOEVER committeth sin is the servant of sin? Sin is the master and the sinner is the servant. The wages that the servant receives is death; “for the wages of sin is death.” Sin is a cruel master, and pays a cruel price for the service that is rendered. He holds his servants in cruel bondage, with mighty strength, for the strength of sin is the law of God. “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The wages of sin is death, but Christ died for all. God “made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.” “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” He came to set at liberty them that are bound under the bondage of sin. He has conquered and condemned sin; he has broken the power of death. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” And he longs to make free all the servants of sin. “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour.” “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit; for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1, 2.SITI June 10, 1886, page 347.1

    “IF ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.” This is Christ’s testimony of Abraham: “Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Abraham believed God, and obeyed God; and those men, while asserting with all their power that they were the children of Abraham, were denying all the evidences that God could bring before them and in their rebellion were only waiting for a chance to kill the One whom God had sent, the promised seed of Abraham, in whom all the world should be blessed. If they had believed on Christ, they would have been indeed the children of Abraham, and would have been blessed with faithful Abraham. For “if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” If they had been indeed the children of Abraham, they would have rejoiced to see the day when Jesus stood in the world, for Abraham rejoiced to see that day, and he saw it and was glad. Abraham rejoiced to see it even afar off, and by faith; while they would not see it before their eyes and present to their senses.SITI June 10, 1886, page 347.2

    IN seeking to kill Christ, they were but doing the deeds of their father the devil, for “he that committeth sin is of the devil,” and the devil was a murderer from the beginning. Jesus thus laid bare their wicked hearts, and the more they resisted the truth the more he exposed their hypocrisy, until their baseness became so glaring before all that the only thing they could do to hide it was to kill him who so persistently and so unscathingly exposed it. A similar instance of their wickedness was shown in the case of Lazarus. After Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, many by seeing Lazarus believed on Jesus, so to prevent this the chief priests proposed to kill Lazarus. John 12:10, 11. And it was all brought about by their resistance to the truth in the first place. If they had received his word at the beginning; if they had diligently weighed his profession, and fairly examined his works with honesty of purpose to know the truth, they would have seen in him that which he really was. But because his appearance did not suit them, because he did not come as they thought the Messiah ought to come, they set their minds against him at once. And though he besought them not to judge according to appearances, but to judge righteous judgment, and though they believed not him, to believe the works yet it was all to no purpose. They had decided that they would not believe he was the Christ, and nothing should alter that decision. We should never condemn any doctrine, nor any profession, simply because it does not meet our opinion. Our opinion may be wrong, and if the doctrine be the truth, we wrong ourselves by rejecting it. “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.” Bring everything to the test of the word of God, if it will not bear that test, it is wrong, and then cast it away as such. If it will bear the test of the word of God, then we dare not reject if, for it is the truth of God, and it is by knowing and continuing in the truth that we become Christ’s disciples indeed. Be careful with the truth. Exalt it and it shall promote thee. Those that hate it love death.SITI June 10, 1886, page 347.3

    AGAIN Jesus put them in a strait by the question, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” Convince here signifies to convict. Which of you convicts me of sin? Here he throws the question of men in the fairest possible way, and it still remains so. Let the world be summoned, and who of the inhabitants can convict Jesus Christ of sin? Who can point to a single word ordered of wrong import? He has stood thus challenging the world for more than eighteen centuries; but as, with the Jews at the first, so has it ever been, no man can say, “I.” And upon this comes, as the logical consequence, the question that he asked of them: “If I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?” If he cannot be convicted of sin, his whole course was that of truth. Why then do you not believe him? Do you not want to believe the truth? The challenge of Christ places upon every person the alternative of either believing that he is the Christ, or of refusing to believe the truth.SITI June 10, 1886, page 347.4

    “BEFORE Abraham was, I am.” Yea, before all things, he is; for he is “the beginning and the ending, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8.SITI June 10, 1886, page 347.5

    J.

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