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    August 3, 1888

    “God Loveth a Cheerful Giver” The Signs of the Times 14, 30, pp. 470, 471.

    “GOD loveth a cheerful giver,” is the statement of Holy Writ. This seems rather a singular expression, in view of the Scripture declarations that God loves all the world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Although this is true that God so loved all the world that while they were yet enemies, he gave his Son to die for them, yet there are certain ones whom he says he loves, which shows that between him and these there is a closer bond of love than that which exists between him and the wide world for whom he even gave his dear Son to die.SITI August 3, 1888, page 470.1

    To illustrate: Jesus said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him.” John 14:23. This shows clearly that, though God loves all men, yet there is a closer bond of love between him and those who love Christ than there is between him and those who do not love Christ.SITI August 3, 1888, page 470.2

    Again: The psalmist says: “A Father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.” Psalm 68:5. Other scriptures show that God is the Father of all, and the Judge of all. And although this is true, yet this text shows that there is that in the condition of the fatherless and the widow, which brings God especially near, and leads him to single out these as special objects of his fatherly and judicial care.SITI August 3, 1888, page 470.3

    And again: One of the twelve is mentioned as “that disciple whom Jesus loved.” But did not Jesus love all of his disciples? Assuredly he did. He loved all men. While beholding the wicked city which was about to take him, and with wicked hands crucify and slay him, his great heart of love burst forth in an agony of grief. And when suspended upon the cross, while they jeered and scoffed at him, his dying love prayed for their forgiveness. Jesus loved all. Then why should this one be spoken of as “that disciple whom Jesus loved”? Because in the spirit of this one there was that which more readily responded to the chords of love that thrilled in the heart of the Saviour. There was a bond of love between him and that disciple that was closer than between him and the others. And when we know the great love of Christ for all, what a world of meaning lies in those words, “that disciple whom Jesus loved.”SITI August 3, 1888, page 470.4

    These scriptures illustrate the meaning of the text, “God loveth a cheerful giver.” Where there is one who sets his heart upon the cause of God, thinks about it, and studies and plans how he may help it forward in the earth, gives to the cause of that which God has bestowed in blessing upon him, and does it cheerfully, that is the man whom the Lord specially singles out as one whom he loves. And although he loves all men as only he can who is Love, yet between the Lord and such a man there is a bond of affection which draws from him the assurance that here is a man whom God loves. “God loveth a cheerful giver.”SITI August 3, 1888, page 470.5

    That which called forth this expression was the fact that there were a number of Christians who had given all they had for the gospel’s sake, to send it abroad to all the world. In a few years a dearth came throughout all the land, and they were found in need. Then those who had been reached by the gospel through their love for it, were called upon to give for the gospel’s sake to those who had made themselves poor for the gospel’s sake. And it was said to them, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7.SITI August 3, 1888, page 470.6

    Now how is it with you, brethren? The cause of the Third Angel’s Message is the cause of the “everlasting gospel.” Revelation 14:6-12. Means is required now, as well as at the first, to send it, according to the great commission, “into all the world,” and “to every nation and kindred and tongue and people.” Money must be furnished to send forth the gospel; this everybody knows; but how do you give it? grudgingly, or of necessity? or do you give it cheerfully? Does the work of the “everlasting gospel” have an important place in all your plans? or is it only the subject of occasional attention? The word of God has formulated a plan by which the work of the gospel shall become an important part of all our business transactions. On this subject this direction is written, “Upon the first day of the week, let everyone of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.”SITI August 3, 1888, page 471.1

    There are no people more familiar with this text than are Seventh-day Adventists. It is a text that is always used by those who advocate the keeping of the first day of the week instead of the Sabbath; and we are constantly being called upon to show that there is in it no shadow of authority for substituting the observance of Sunday for that of the Sabbath. We all know that that is what the text does not mean. But in our duty of showing what the text does not mean, have we not neglected to show what it does mean? Has the text any meaning at all to the people of this age? We are perfectly assured that it has. The epistles of the apostles of Christ were not merely local communications, whose authority and instruction were to expire with the age in which they were written; they are divine communications to the church of Christ in all places and all ages, divine directions for the guidance of the church in all its work in fulfillment of the commission to preach the gospel to every creature. This proposition no Seventh-day Adventist will for a moment dispute. Then is there not something which this text does mean? And if it has any meaning, does it not mean what it says? Does it not mean that on the first day of the week every one of us shall lay by him in store as God hath prospered him, that portion of means which is to be devoted to the work of the church in spreading abroad the truth of God embodied in the everlasting gospel? Who will, say that the text means nothing to us? Not one. Well, then, if the text does mean something to us, it must mean what it says, and is it not high time that we began to obey it? We as a people make a profession of being strictly obedient to the Scriptures as they are written; but do we obey this scripture? Does every one of us lay by him in store, upon the first day of the week, as God has prospered him, a portion of means for the work of the Lord? If not, why not?SITI August 3, 1888, page 471.2

    At the General Conference of 1887, this matter was duly considered, and obedience to this scripture was recommended to the whole body of Seventh-day Adventists, the proceeds to be devoted to foreign missions. Some had already been practicing it for years. Since this action of the General Conference many more have been obeying the scripture. But we know that there are many yet who are not obeying it. We are sorry that it is so, but so it is. These we would ask, How long are you going to continue to disobey? And if you are going to continue in that way at all, what reason have you for it? and how do you expect to meet the Saviour without spot and blameless when he comes? It is only a plain, simple, scriptural, moral, and business proposition. There is the word of God which says, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him.” That word assuredly has a meaning to the church. The meaning is clearly expressed in the words themselves. The only question that remains is one of obedience. Shall we obey this word of God? or shall we not? Who will assume the responsibility of saying that we shall not?SITI August 3, 1888, page 471.3

    Brethren, we pray you to consider this matter in the light of the word and Spirit of God; and then, “every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.”SITI August 3, 1888, page 471.4

    NOTE.—Let no one make the mistake of supposing that obedience in this text is to take the place of obedience to those Scriptures which enjoin the duty of tithing. This means referred to in 1 Corinthians 16:2 is spoke of by Paul as a “contribution.” The tithe is in no sense a contribution; it is the Lord’s already. “All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s; it is holy unto the Lord.” Leviticus 27:30. The tithe is the Lord’s, and not ours, and no man can make a contribution of that which does not belong to him. 1 Corinthians 16; 2 is speaking of our own means, and gives directions how we may give systematically of that which is our own, “to prove the sincerity of our love.”SITI August 3, 1888, page 471.5

    J.

    “Members One of Another” The Signs of the Times 14, 30, pp. 471, 472.

    WE noticed last week those scriptures which set forth the church as the body of Christ, and the members of the church as members of the body of Christ, and therefore members one of another, as they by “joints and bonds” are “knit together in love.” As the members of the church are members of the body of Christ, and also members one of another, how can it be but that there shall be unity in the church. If I am a member of the body of Christ and you are a member of the body of Christ, then if we have any respect for Christ how can it be that we shall have any disrespect for one another? If we love Christ how can we have anything but love for one another? But more than this, we are also members one of another, and as “no man ever yet hated his own flesh,” how then can it ever be that we should not love one another.SITI August 3, 1888, page 471.1

    This is the very test of our love for Christ: “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” 1 John 4:20. No man can appreciate the love of Christ while he is cross and spiteful and cruel to his brother, for whom Christ died. Church-members therefore cannot expect to honor Christ while they dishonor one another. In dishonoring one another they do dishonor Christ, because “we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” But when each one sees in his brother one for whom the Saviour died, and one who is a member of the body of Christ, then each one will treat his brother tenderly, lovingly, as the Saviour is tender and loving. When each one sees in his brother a soul so precious as that Christ died for him, he is not going to treat him slightingly, nor needlessly cause him pain. To cause a brother pain cannot be without causing Christ pain, for we are members of his body, and he is the Head of the body, and it is the head always which is really conscious of any pain in the body. The Scripture would have us realize the closeness, the intricacy, of the relationship between Christ and the church, and between the members one with another in the church.SITI August 3, 1888, page 471.2

    Paul sets this forth as follows:—SITI August 3, 1888, page 471.3

    “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary; and those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need; but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked; that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.SITI August 3, 1888, page 471.4

    In this it is shown that in the church—the body—of Christ, the members make up the body, as in the human body the eyes, the hands, the feet, etc., form the body. And as in the human body the different members are joined one to another, each in its proper place, to form the perfect body, so also is the body of Christ. And God hath “set the members every one in the body as it hath pleased him.” and as in the human body one dislocated member disconcerts and deforms the whole body, so also is it in the body of Christ. As in the human body each member can properly fulfill its function only by working in the place in which it belongs, so also is it in the body of Christ. For each member to know his place, and keep it, in the church, is just as essential to the efficient working of the church as that each member of the human body shall properly be set in its proper place, in order to the easy, comfortable working of the human body. But “all members have not the same office;” and cannot be hands, all cannot be eyes, all cannot be feet. Let the eye and the hand change places, and the good of both would be destroyed, and each would be an evil to the whole body. Let the hands and the feet change places, and the efficiency of all would be destroyed. But with all the members—eyes, hands, and feet—in their proper places, each can be efficient in its own place, and all working together can do that which the hand finds to do. The eye sees that which is to be done, the feet carry us within reach, and the hands perform the task, and each is essential to the working of the other. Except they all work together no task can be efficiently executed. “The eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary.” To no part of the body can any other part of the body say, “I have no need of you.”SITI August 3, 1888, page 471.5

    Thus it is with the human body, as everybody knows; and thus it is with the body of Christ, the church—as everybody ought to know. Each member of the church, in his place, is necessary to every other member of the church. Yea, even “those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary.” And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, upon these we should bestow more abundant honor. Christ has honored them with a place in the church, shall we despise them? “The members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.” Or as it is said in another place: “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” Hebrews 13:3. “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” And, oh, that everyone who is a member of the church would realize how sacred is the relationship into which he has entered! Then indeed would the disciples of Christ be one, and the world would believe that God sent him.SITI August 3, 1888, page 471.6

    For the edifying—the building up—of the church, the Lord has placed certain gifts in the church. “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:8, 11-13. In another place it is written of these gifts, “God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:28. Thus we see that the gift of teaching the word of God is only third in importance of the gifts of the Spirit of God to members of the church. It is second only to the gift of prophecy, and is before miracles, or gifts of healings, or diversities of tongues. Paul expressed the matter thus: “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all; yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” 1 Corinthians 14:18, 19.SITI August 3, 1888, page 471.7

    But though all could speak with the tongues of men and of angels, if they have no charity—the love of God—they are but as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. Though all had the gift of prophecy, and the gift of wisdom to the understanding of all mysteries and all knowledge; and though all had faith that could remove mountains, if they have not charity they are nothing. And though all were so benevolent as that they would bestow all their goods to feed the poor; and though they were all so perfectly assured of what they believe that they would die at the stake as witnesses to it, if they have not charity it will profit nothing. Charity is love. It is the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost. It is that love which keeps the commandments of God, “for this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments;” and “love is the fulfilling of the law.” Therefore, though all have all these wondrous powers, and have not the keeping of the commandments of God, they are nothing. “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” But if there be in the church the love of God, keeping the commandments of God, then all these gifts, working together with charity, build up the body of Christ, make increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love, and increase it with the increase of God.SITI August 3, 1888, page 472.1

    How long shall it be ere the church of the living God comes up to the fullness of its high privilege?SITI August 3, 1888, page 472.2

    J.

    “The Third Angel’s Message. The Development of the Beast” The Signs of the Times 14, 30, p. 473.

    1. WHAT did we find in the preceding lesson was the determination of the bishops of the fourth century?—To make use of the power of the State for the furtherance of their own aims.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.1

    2. What was one of the principal aims of the Western bishops, especially the bishop of Rome?—The exaltation of Sunday.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.2

    3. What did they secure from Constantine?—An edict, in A.D. 321, in favor of Sunday—the first Sunday law that ever was.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.3

    4. What was this law?SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.4

    “Let all the judges and town people, and the occupation of all trades, rest on the venerable day of the sun; but let those who are situated in the country, freely and at full liberty attend to the business of agriculture; because it often happens that no other day is so fit for sowing corn and planting vines; lest, the critical moment being let slip, men should lose the commodities granted by Heaven. Given the seventh day of March; Crispus and Constantine being coequals each of them for the second time.”—History of the Sabbath, chap. 19.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.5

    5. Who convened the council of Nice?—Constantine, A.D. 325.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.6

    6. What was one of the two principal decisions rendered by that council?—That Easter should always and everywhere be celebrated on Sunday.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.7

    7. Under what authority were its decrees published?SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.8

    “The decrees of these synods were published under the imperial authority, and thus obtained a political importance.”—Neander, vol. 2, p. 133.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.9

    8. Who was bishop of Rome during twenty-one years and eleven months of Constantine’s reign?—Sylvester, January 31, 414, to December 31, 415.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.10

    9. What did he do with his “apostolic authority” shortly after the Council of Nice?SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.11

    “He decreed that Sunday should be called the Lord’s day.”—History of the Sabbath, p. 450.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.12

    10. What was commanded by the Council of Laodicea, A.D. 363 to 364?—That if Christians should rest on the Sabbath, “let them be accursed from Christ;” and that they should rest on Sunday.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.13

    11. Did Constantine’s Sunday law apply to all classes?SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.14

    12. Were other laws demanded by the bishops, which should be more general?SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.15

    “By a law of the year 386, those older changes affected by the Emperor Constantine were more rigorously enforced, and, in general, civil transactions of every kind on Sunday were strictly forbidden. Whoever transgressed was to be considered, in fact, as guilty of sacrilege.”—Neander, vol. 2, p. 300.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.16

    13. What petition was made to the emperor by a church convention in A.D. 401?SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.17

    “That the public shows might be transferred from the Christian Sunday and from feast days, to some other days of the week.”—Ib.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.18

    14. What was the object of all these State laws?SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.19

    “That the day might be devoted with less interruption to the purposes of devotion.” “That the devotion of the faithful might be free from all disturbance.”—Ib., pp. 297, 301.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.20

    15. What was it that so much hindered the devotion of the “faithful” of those times?SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.21

    “Owing to the prevailing passion at that time, especially in the large cities, to run after the various public shows, it so happened that when these spectacles fell on the same days which had been consecrated by the church to some religious festival, they proved a great hindrance to the devotion of Christians, though chiefly, it must be allowed, to those whose Christianity was the least an affair of the life and of the heart.”—Ib., p. 300.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.22

    16. How was their “devotion” disturbed?SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.23

    “Church teachers... were, in truth, often forced to complain, that in such competitions the theater was vastly more frequented than the church.—Ib.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.24

    17. What does Neander say of all this?SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.25

    “In this way, the church received help from the State for the furtherance of her ends.... But had it not been for that confusion of spiritual and secular interests, had it not been for the vast number of mere outward conversions thus brought about, she would have needed no such help.”—Ib., p. 301.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.26

    18. When the church had received the help of the State to this extent did she stop there?SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.27

    No, she demanded that the civil power should be exerted to compel men to serve God as the church should dictate.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.28

    19. Which of the fathers of the church was father to this theory?—Augustine, who lived from A.D. 434 to 480.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.29

    20. What did he teach?SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.30

    “It is indeed better that men should be brought to serve God by instruction than by fear of punishment or by pain. But because the former means are better, the latter must not therefore be neglected.... Many must often be brought back to their Lord, like wicked servants, by the rod of temporal suffering, before they attain to the highest grade of religious development.”—Schaff’s Church History, sec. 3; Augustine Epistle 185 and Bonfaciana, sec. 21:28.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.31

    21. What does Neander say of this?SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.32

    “It was by Augustine, then, that a theory was proposed and founded, which... contained the germ of that whole system of spiritual despotism of intolerance and persecution, which ended in the tribunals of the inquisition.”—Church History, vol. 5, p. 147.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.33

    THUS was formed the union of Church and State out of which grew the Papacy. Thus was developed “the beast,” which made war with the saints of God, and wore out the saints of the Most High.SITI August 3, 1888, page 473.34

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