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    November 10, 1887

    “A Pernicious Illustration” The Signs of the Times 13, 43, pp. 679, 680.

    WE have presented several articles on the subject of the fifth commandment, and the relations of parents and children under that commandment. We are sure that we have made it plain by the Scriptures that parental authority must be exercised, and that obedience to it and respect for it on the part of the child, must be insisted on, on the part of the parents. We find an editorial on this subject in the Sunday School Times of September 17, which we have decided to notice, for two reasons: (1) Because the teaching of the article is essentially pernicious; and (2) because the utterances of the Times are so widely received as authoritative, that it is necessary to counteract as far as possible its pernicious teaching on this important subject.SITI November 10, 1887, page 679.1

    The Times had said that “no parent has a right to break his child’s will.” A correspondent replied, asking the Times to tell what it meant by the will, and then what it meant by the expression, breaking the will. The correspondent also argued that if the child’s will be to do foolishly, and he willfully persists in his folly, then that will ought to be broken. We shall not attempt to discuss the metaphysical question of, “What is the will?” nor the discussion of what the Times meant by the expression, “breaking the will.” There is given in the article an illustration which explains the whole matter, and which displays the pernicious error of the teaching. We quote:—SITI November 10, 1887, page 679.2

    “And now to illustrate this by a very simple example. A father says to a little child: ‘Johnny, shut that door.’ Johnny says, ‘I won’t.’ The father says, ‘You shall.’ Johnny responds, ‘I won’t.’ An issue is here made between two wills—the father’s and the son’s. The father is determined not to yield his will to his child’s will. The child is determined not to yield his will to his father’s will. It is the old conflict between ‘an irresistible force and an immovable body.’ ... What then should be done with such a child in an issue like this? ... Let the parent turn to the child in loving gentleness, ... and tell him tenderly of a better way than that which he is pursuing, and urge his wiser, nobler choice.... But if the worst comes to the worst, let the parent say to the child: ‘Johnny, I shall have to give you your choice in this matter. You can either shut that door or take a whipping.’ Then a new choice is before the boy, and his will is free and unbroken for its meeting.... If the boy chooses to be whipped rather than to obey, the father must accept the result so far, and begin again for the next time.”SITI November 10, 1887, page 679.3

    But suppose he follows this advice, then what has he upon which to begin again for the next time? Nothing but a disobedient and stubborn child, confirmed in his stubbornness and in his disobedience, by the weakness of the father in following the pernicious advice of the Sunday School Times. Then when the “next time” comes, the result will be the same, and “the father must accept the result,” and at that rate when shall the child ever learn to obey? Never in the world. For whenever he is told to do a thing which he does not want to do all that he has to do is to say, “I won’t,” and stick to it, and “the father must accept accept the result.” True, the father may whip him, but he must never even attempt to compel him to do what he has chosen not to do, for “that would be to deprive the boy of a choice,” don’t you see—the choice to disobey his parents—and that would never do! The truth is, that if the Sunday School Times had deliberately set about to formulate a rule for the cultivation of stubborn, rebellious, and disobedient children, it would be impossible to formulate a rule more perfectly adapted to the purpose than it has done in the illustration here given.SITI November 10, 1887, page 680.1

    We say again, We refuse to consider, even in this connection, the question of what is the will? or What is it to break the will? or whether the will may rightly be broken. All this is only metaphysical, and unprofitable as well. What we want to consider is the wholly moral, and, to the children intensely important, question, Shall the child obey the parent? or shall the parent yield to the stubborn disobedience of the child? The Times says that if a father tells his son to shut the door, and the son replies, “I won’t,” and sticks to it, and chooses a whipping instead, then the father may whip the son, “accept the result so far, and begin again for the next time.” But who is to shut that door? According to this instruction the father must shut the door, if it is to be shut at all. If the door is not shut by either, then the son will therefore count himself of equal importance to his father in any difference that may arise between them; and he will have a right to so count himself, because the father himself has admitted it. Then what becomes of parental authority? It is surrendered. And just as surely as the father shuts that door, just so surely will that son take to himself the credit of superior importance, and will count his choice as of superior authority, to that of his father; henceforth he will hold his father’s authority (?) in contempt, because of the defeat which that father has confessed; and in the strength and confidence of the victory which he has won, which the father has confessed, and for which he will give himself the fullest credit,—in the strength and confidence of that victory he will confirm himself “for the next time,” and when “the next time” comes he will surely repeat the performance, and so on ad lib. Then what has become of the principle of parental authority? It is not simply surrendered, it is soon annihilated, and the child rules the parent, despising the government in the home, in the school, and at last in the State, and if he doesn’t finally bring up in the penitentiary, it will be because of his good fortune more than because of his desert.SITI November 10, 1887, page 680.2

    Instead of such pernicious teaching as this, gives us the word of God, which commands obedience. “Children, obey your parents,” is the precept of the word of God, and not as the Sunday School Times would have it, children, choose a whipping, if you wish, rather than obey your parents. The word of God is, “I know him [Abraham], that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.” And Abraham was the friend of God, and the father of all them that believe. May men walk forever in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham, and according to the precept of the word of God, in the training of children, rather than in the way of the pernicious metaphysics of the Sunday School Times.SITI November 10, 1887, page 680.3

    There is hardly one child in ten who, having once taken such a position as is here supposed, would not rather take a whipping than to yield. And if, as is suggested by the Sunday School Times, he is to be given the whipping and the matter dropped there, the child will be satisfied—and almost irreparably injured. Whereas if he is given the whipping and compelled to shut the door besides, he may indeed be dissatisfied, but he will also be humbled, and lastingly benefited. J.SITI November 10, 1887, page 680.4

    “The Working of Satan” The Signs of the Times 13, 43, pp. 680, 681.

    LAST week we cited some scriptures upon the important question, “Who shall be able to stand” when the Lord appears? The question is of sufficient importance to justify further consideration, especially as there are many other passages of Scripture that refer to it. The Saviour said that at the time when his coming is at the doors, there will “arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Matthew 24:24. When falsehood shall have gained such power as that, every person who will not be deceived will have to have such a connection with the truth and with its Author, that falsehood, even in its most powerful manifestation, shall not affect him.SITI November 10, 1887, page 680.1

    Paul presents this point in a manner so forcible that we shall make his words the subject of an extended analysis, because (1) it is the key to all the events of the time to which it refers, and (2) as we are now living upon the closest confines of the time to which it refers, its consideration is of the utmost importance to the people now living.SITI November 10, 1887, page 680.2

    In Second Thessalonians, second chapter, Paul, writing particularly of the second coming of the Lord, says, “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” Verses 9, 10. In other words, immediately preceding the coming of the Lord, God will give to men full opportunity to accept the truth, the love of which will save them from deception, and from the destruction that will surely come upon all who do not receive the love of the truth. But many will reject that truth, they will not receive the love of it, and in rejecting the truth they place themselves on the side of falsehood, and in a position where Satan can and will work in them with all deceivableness of unrighteousness. When men reject the truth and will not receive the love of the truth, what then can they receive but lies? what can they love but falsehood?SITI November 10, 1887, page 680.3

    “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Verses 11, 12. God will send them strong delusion, by simply giving them up to their own delusion, by letting them have their own way. This is shown by Paul’s reference to the heathen of old, “who changed the truth of God into a lie,” and “for this cause God gave them up unto vile affections.” “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.” Romans 1:25-31.SITI November 10, 1887, page 680.4

    Now with that read this description of men in the last days: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5.SITI November 10, 1887, page 680.5

    Thus it is seen that in the last days men having a form of godliness will reach the same condition in which stood the heathen of old; and that they reach that condition by the same means as did the heathen of old—they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, so God gave them up to their own vile affections; they would not receive the love of the truth, so God gave them up to their own delusion, that they should believe a lie; they “had pleasure in unrighteousness,” and as “all unrighteousness is sin” this is only to say that they had pleasure in sin, therefore God gave them up to their own wishes and their own ways. As they love sin more than they love God, and then persist in their love of sin by rejecting the very means by which God endeavors to save them, the Lord can do nothing more; it is impossible to reach them; they will have their own way; that way is in the love of sin; and in choosing that way rather than the love of the truth that they might be saved, they give themselves over to Satan, who works in them “with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.”SITI November 10, 1887, page 680.6

    But how do we know that now is the time in which this danger is more imminent than it has been at any other time? We shall explain. In the first letter to the Thessalonians Paul wrote so much and spoke so plainly of the coming of the Lord, that the brethren, not keeping in mind what he had preached to them when he was there, had drawn from his letter the erroneous conclusion that the coming of the Lord was then immediately at hand. This erroneous conclusion had been strengthened by the pretended revelations of some, and even by forged letters as from Paul, that it was so. And some had even gone so far wrong that they thought the coming of the Lord was so near that they need do no more work. 2 Thessalonians 3:11. Now the second letter to the Thessalonians was written expressly to set the disciples right on this point. But so far is he from covering up, or toning down, the reality, the greatness, or the importance of that event, that the first thing after the address, he introduces the coming of the Lord Jesus, “revealed from Heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Then after that he takes up the direct purpose of this letter.SITI November 10, 1887, page 680.7

    He says: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?SITI November 10, 1887, page 680.8

    It is plain from this that when Paul was at Thessalonica he talked to them, and told them, about this falling away, and the development of the man of sin, and the self-exaltation of this son of perdition, and his opposition to the Lord. But where did Paul get his knowledge of these things? Upon what authority did he present these things for their acceptance? We read: “When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews; and Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures.” Acts 17:1, 2. Where, then, in the Scriptures did Paul learn anything of the rise of a power which he might fitly describe as “that man of sin” (lawlessness, or transgression of the law) and “the son of perdition” (utter destruction), which should exalt himself so highly and oppose God and his law? In the scriptures of the book of Daniel, and in that alone, he found the basis and the authority for his argument on this subject.SITI November 10, 1887, page 680.9

    In Daniel 7:7 he found the prophecy of the rise of a great and terrible beast, which represented Rome. He found that the beast had ten horns, representing ten kingdoms which should rise upon the fall of Rome. After the rise of these ten kingdoms and among them, and by the destruction of three of them, he found another power that was to arise, diverse from the others. He found that this power would “speak great words against the Most High” (“opposeth himself” against God), and “wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws” (the man of sin, the lawless one, exalting himself above God). He found there also the prophet saying, “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit; ... the Judgment was set and the books were opened... I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame;” and therefore, with the authority of the word of God, Paul could speak and write to the Thessalonians, that after the falling away, “that Wicked” should “be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming;” and so could very appropriately call this power “the son of utter destruction.”SITI November 10, 1887, page 680.10

    Again, in Daniel 8. Paul would read of a “little horn which waxed exceeding great,” and which covered the whole work and period of both the beast and the “little horn” of Daniel 7. In this eighth chapter he would read of this little horn that he should “magnify himself in his heart,” “Yea, he magnified himself even to the Prince of the host,” “it cast down the truth [the word of God] to the ground,” and “he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes, but he shall be broken without hand.” Daniel 8:25, 11. Therefore Paul could speak and write the Thessalonians that after the falling away, then should arise that man of sin, “the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God,” and that when he should be revealed and run his wicked course, then the Lord would consume him with the spirit of his mouth and destroy him with the brightness of his coming; “whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”SITI November 10, 1887, page 681.1

    There can be no shadow of doubt that these scriptures from the book of Daniel are the basis of Paul’s words in Second Thessalonians, second chapter. Nor can there be any just doubt that both these scriptures from the book of Daniel and from Second Thessalonians refer specifically to the Papacy. The “little horn” power of Daniel 7 was to continue a time, times, and the dividing of time—1,260 years—then the Judgment should sit, and they should take away his dominion to consume and destroy it unto the end, and then “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” Daniel 7:26, 27. The time of Papal supremacy—the 1,260 years—ended in 1798, at the time the world entered upon the time called in the prophecy, “The time of the end.” Daniel 8:17; 11:35, 40; 12:4. The Judgment was set in 1844. His dominion has been taken away to consume and to destroy it unto the end. Soon He shall come whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; and who shall consume “that Wicked” with the spirit of His mouth and destroy him with the brightness of His coming. But before He comes, Satan is to work “with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” Therefore it is certain that we are now living in the time when this working of Satan is to be looked for, and also the time when the truth is to be given, the love of which will save men from the falsehood and deception of the working of Satan.SITI November 10, 1887, page 681.2

    In our next we shall definitely locate the place where this working of Satan should arise, and the power through which it will be most prominently manifested.SITI November 10, 1887, page 681.3

    J.

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