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    August 10, 1888

    “‘That There Be No Gatherings’” The Signs of the Times 14, 31, pp. 487, 488.

    LAST week we referred to 1 Corinthians 16:2, as having a meaning to people in this day. We showed that in that scripture God has established a system of contributions for the support of the gospel; a system of contributions as regular and as constant as are the demands of the gospel as it is sent forth in obedience to the great commission, to “all nations,” “to every creature.” We know that some take refuge from this duty, under the plea that these contributions were for the poor. It is true that the people for whom this money was immediately donated were poor. But the reference in the text is not to making donations to the poor in general. These people were poor; but they had made themselves poor for the gospel’s sake. This contribution was directly for the poor saints “at Jerusalem,” and for the “brethren which dwelt in Judea.” Romans 15:26; Acts 11:29, 30.SITI August 10, 1888, page 487.1

    The record is of these that in the first work of the gospel after Pentecost, “the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul; neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.... Neither was there any among them that lacked; for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” Acts 4:32-35. And when the disciples, all, except the apostles, were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen, and went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8:1, 4; 11:19-21), money from this common fund bore their expenses; and their money therefore helped to send the gospel to all the countries roundabout, even to the Gentiles. Paul says as much. In writing of this very matter of the first-day contributions he says: “For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.” Romans 15:26, 27. And again, in writing to the Corinthians on this subject, he shows that in this contribution to these who had made themselves poor for the gospel’s sake, they were not only distributing to them but to all men. He says: “For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; and by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.” 2 Corinthians 9:12-14. All this shows plainly that that support of the gospel was the purpose of this system of regular laying by on the first day of the week. In doing it they showed the reality of their professed subjection to the gospel, and showed the reality of the grace of God in them, and showed the sincerity of their love for Christ. 2 Corinthians 8:7-9. This being so, thus it follows that as long as the gospel lasts, so long will last this obligation to lay by in store on the first day of the week as God hath prospered us, for the spread of the gospel.SITI August 10, 1888, page 487.2

    There is given also by Paul a reason why this should be systematically and regularly carried out. That is, “that there be no gatherings when I come.” Paul did not wish it to be so that when he came to Corinth he should have to spend his time in urging them to give, and they have to spend their time in getting together that which they should, in response to a powerful appeal, decide to give. More than this, under the influence of a strong appeal, and the example of others pledging, some might be wrought up to pledge more than they were really able to give, and only bring upon themselves a burden and perplexity. Paul did not want that, for he says, “I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened.” 2 Corinthians 8:13. And another thing, he did not want the support of the gospel of Christ to depend upon spasmodic giving. As the work of the gospel is and must be constant, so the support of it must also be constant; and the directions in 1 Corinthians 16:2, if obeyed, will, in addition to the Lord’s tithe, always assure an ample support to the work of sending abroad the gospel of Christ to all nations. There will always be occasional circumstances arising which will demand occasional offerings; but the regular work of the gospel demands regular offerings; and again we say that this demand is provided for in the direction given in 1 Corinthians 16:2, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.”SITI August 10, 1888, page 488.1

    Upon this subject Conybeare and Howson have the following excellent remark:—SITI August 10, 1888, page 488.2

    “Nor ought we ... to leave unnoticed the calmness and deliberation of the method which he recommends of laying aside week by week what is devoted to God (1 Corinthians 16:2)—a practice equally remote from the excitement of popular appeals and the mere impulse of instinctive benevolence.—Life of Paul, p. 464, T. Y. Crowell’s edition.SITI August 10, 1888, page 488.3

    That this should be equally remote from the excitement of popular appeals and the mere impulse of instinctive benevolence, is the real truth of the matter. God wants it to be a matter of principle, and he has made provision that it shall be so, through obedience to his word. If in obedience to this word we make it a matter of principle with ourselves, then our ministers in their visits to the churches can spend their efforts in building up the brethren in the most holy faith, instead of having to make such strenuous efforts to arouse them to such a sense of the needs of both the foreign and home mission work as that they will give something toward helping forward the work. Then we can be cheered with the good reports of the progress the cause is making in foreign fields, and also in seeing the fruits of our own home efforts.SITI August 10, 1888, page 488.4

    There are other important advantages in this. One is that by regular, systematic giving, it soon becomes a habit; and it sits so well upon us that it is actually easier to give than not. Another advantage is that a little given regularly thus, really amounts to more than do considerable sums at odd times. A sum so small as to appear too insignificant, in itself, to give, may be given weekly according to the Scripture, and it will amount to more in the year than that person could well afford to give at any one time in the year. Many people often cheat themselves by failing to give anything because they have but a little to give. They may have but five cents that they can give, but that is too small a sum for them to give. They have more respect for the dignity of the cause of God than to put it off with five cents; they will not give till they can give a larger sum—five dollars or such a matter. But, my brother, five cents that you give is worth a great deal more to the cause of God than is five dollars that you do not give. Please bear this in mind, and when you have but five cents that you can give, give that, remembering at the same time that “if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” But do not cheat yourself with the idea that five cents will answer with a willing mnind when you have five dollars that you can give.SITI August 10, 1888, page 488.5

    Now, brethren, we ask you again, Shall we not every one obey from the heart that scripture that is plainly addressed to “every one.” “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings” when the minister comes.SITI August 10, 1888, page 488.6

    May the Lord help all, that we may all be obedient, and show in reality our professed subjection to the gospel of Christ, and the fruits of the grace of God in us, and the sincerity of our love for Christ, and those for whom he died!SITI August 10, 1888, page 488.7

    J.

    “The Third Angel’s Message. The Development of the Beast” The Signs of the Times 14, 31, p. 489.
    THE THIRD ANGEL’S MESSAGE. THE MAKING OF THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST

    (Lesson 8. Sabbath, August 25.)

    1. WHAT Government have we proved to be represented by the second beast of Revelation 13?SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.1

    2. What power is to be exercised by this beast?SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.2

    “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him.” Verse 12, first clause.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.3

    3. For what purpose does he use this power?SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.4

    “And causeth the earth and then which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” Remainder of same verse.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.5

    4. What is said by him to them that dwell on the earth?SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.6

    “Saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” Verse 14, last part.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.7

    5. What power is represented by the first beast?—The Papacy.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.8

    6. What have we found to be the great characteristic of the Papacy?—The union of Church and State—the Church using the power of the State for the furtherance of its own aims.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.9

    7. For what then are we to look in this nation?—For the religious power to exalts itself to that place, where it shall dominate the civil, and deploy the power of the State for the furtherance of its own ends.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.10

    8. Is there any effort even now being made in this direction?—Yes, a large and influential organization is working to this very end.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.11

    9. What, according to their own words, is the object of the association?SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.12

    “To secure such an amendment to the Constitution of the United States as shall suitably express our national acknowledgement of Almighty God as the source of all authority in civil Governments; of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Ruler of nations; and of his revealed will as of supreme authority; and thus indicate that this is a Christian nation, and place all the Christian laws, institutions, and usages of the Government on an undeniable legal basis in the fundamental law of the land.”SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.13

    11. Of what does the organization consist in itself?SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.14

    Of a president, the names of about one hundred and twenty vice-presidents, a recording secretary, a corresponding secretary, a treasurer, seven districts secretaries (at present), and the Reformed Presbyterian Church as a body.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.15

    12. Who are some of the prominent men actively engaged in favor of it?SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.16

    Joseph Cook, Herrick Johnson, D.D., Julius II. Seelye, president of Amherst College; Bishop Huntington, of New York; Hon. Wm. Strong, ex-justice of the United States Supreme Court, and many others.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.17

    13. Of what other important bodies has it gained the support.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.18

    The “principal” churches, the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and the prohibition party in many States.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.19

    14. What was the prevailing theory of the church leaders in the time of constant theme?—“The theocratical theory.”SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.20

    15. What is the theory of the National Reformers?SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.21

    “Every government by equitable laws, is a government of God; a republic thus governed is of him, and is as truly and really a theocracy as the Commonwealth of Israel.”—Cincinnati National Reform Convention, p. 28. “ A true theocracy is yet to come, [and] the enthronement of Christ in law and law-makers, and separate devotedly as a Christian patriot, for the ballot in the hands of women.”—Monthly Reading, W.C.T.U.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.22

    16. What had the church leaders determined to do in the days of Constantine?—“To make use of the power of the State for the furtherance of their own aims.”SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.23

    17. What have these in our day determined to do?—The same thing.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.24

    18. What came of that in the fourth century?—The Papacy.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.25

    19. What will come of this in the nineteenth century?—The image of the Papacy.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.26

    20. Of what other bodies is the National Reform Association diligently working to secure the support?—The workingmen and the Catholic Church.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.27

    21. What does this Association say of the Catholic Church?SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.28

    “We cordially, and gladly, recognize the fact that in the South American republics, and in France and other European countries, the Roman Catholics are the recognized advocates of national Christianity, and stand opposed to all the proposals of secularism.... Whenever they are willing to co-operate in resisting the progress of political atheism, we will gladly join hands with them. In a World’s Conference for the promotion of National Christianity—which ought to be held at no distant day—many countries could be represented only by Roman Catholics.”—Christian Statesmen, December 11, 1884.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.29

    22. What are all Catholics commanded by the pope to do?SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.30

    “All Catholics should do all in their power to cause the constitutions of States and legislation to be modeled on the principles of the true church; and all Catholic writers and journalists should never lose sight, for an instant, from the view of the above prescription.”—Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII., 1885.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.31

    23. Then is not the National Reform Association aiming to form a government modeled after the principles of the Papacy?SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.32

    24. Then, if professed Protestants under the leadership of the National Reform Association succeed in this, what will there be erected in this Government?—An image of the Papacy.SITI August 10, 1888, page 489.33

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