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    March 26, 1896

    “What to Answer” The Present Truth, 12, 13.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 193.1

    This text is often misunderstood, simply because it is not carefully read. Many take it as though it said, “Be ready to argue and dispute with every man you meet, whether he asks you any question or not.”PTUK March 26, 1896, page 193.2

    Others do not pervert it quite so much, but take it for granted that it means to be ready to try to convince a man by argument, and by the presentation of Scripture texts.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 193.3

    But what we are told to do is to be ready to give a reason of the hope that is in us, that is, to tell why we have a hope. In other words it is to give our personal experience in the things of God.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 193.4

    This means, of course, that one should have a clear and living hope. It must be in us and not merely in the Bible. Many a man can present a clear and logical scriptural argument concerning the Gospel, who knows nothing of it by personal experience. It is said that in some of the schools held by missionaries in India, the Hindu students, who have no faith in Christ or His Word, will often present better theses on the evidences of Christianity, than the Christian students do. Such ones tell what they have heard, and not what they know.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 193.5

    The word that is in the Bible alone will do no one any good. Anyone can see that if the Bible were never opened and read, no one would ever be benefitted by it. Even so, though it be read, yet if its words do not come into the heart and life, there is no profit.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 193.6

    Now it is given to Christians to open and present this Word to the world. The men of the world will not do it for themselves. But it must be the living Word that we give them. It is the Word made flesh that saves men. The only argument that the world cannot gainsay or resist, is the argument of living Christianity. The Gospel of Christ is not a theory or a creed, but a life, even the life of Christ Himself.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 193.7

    The Word, just as it stands in the Bible, is to be presented to the world, but it must come as the living Word, through a living channel. “Sanctify the Lord in your hearts.” Let the Word become flesh in you, and then the words of Scripture will come, not as if quoted from a book, but with authority, as from the mouth of the Lord Himself. The only real hope that a man can have, is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Therefore to give the reason for the hope in us, is simply to give the grounds of our personal acquaintance with Christ. When we have that acquaintance, the answer will be with meekness and fear, because those who learn of Him learn meekness and lowliness, for He is “meek and lowly in heart.” Matthew 11:29.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 193.8

    “What Militarism Does” The Present Truth, 12, 13.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The true nature of the spirit of militarism is little suspected by many whose thoughts and lives are under its influence. It must be so else kindly people could not speak as lightly as they do of the accidents and horrors of war. As an illustration of the spirit which militarism engenders even outside of the ranks of active fighters, and as a suggestion of the need that exists for the preaching of the Gospel of peace in all circles, take the following report of an interview with one of the nursing sisters who accompanied the Ashanti expedition:-PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.1

    “It must have been a relief to have no fighting?”PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.2

    “It was the bitterest disappointment to the soldiers. At first the hope of fight kept them from feeling the effects of the climate, but the sick list became very heavy when the depressing certainty of a ‘bloodless’ victory was faced. And the sisters, too, wanted a few broken bones to bind up! Almost to the last the soldiers hoped an attempt would be made by the natives to rescue King Prempeh. But after the Sacred River was passed their spirits went down to zero-in spite of the climate.”PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.3

    Those who express such ideas, and the world is full of the spirit, do not need denunciation, but they do need the Gospel.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.4

    “The Blessed People and the Blessed Day” The Present Truth, 12, 13.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Following is the main portion of a letter recently received from an interested reader. We quote it because the question is one which puzzles others, who will be equally interested in the answer.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.5

    For some time I have perused your publication, PRESENT TRUTH, and have been attracted to the question which is brought so prominently to the front there, namely, Which day should we observe as the day of rest? For my part I am almost persuaded that the majority are wrong. Searching the Scriptures on the subject, I found everything in your favour (in favour of the Sabbath); but there is one text which puzzles me. That is, John 20:19. There we find that the disciples were gathered together on the first day of the week, and Jesus appeared unto them, and said, “Peace be unto you.” Now if the disciples were resting on the wrong day, one would think that Jesus would have reproved them. But instead of that we find that He blessed them; and a person can scarcely conceive of Jesus blessing them if they were doing wrong. Then we have the same thing taking place in the 26th verse.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.6

    Now I do not draw attention to these for the purpose of upholding the first day of the week as the day of rest, but merely with the humble desire to get your opinion of them. For, truly, they seem to be the only passages which deter me from being a Seventh-day Adventist. I should be much obliged if you could aid me in this.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.7

    We are most happy to give the desired aid, which we shall do, not by giving our opinion, but by pointing out just what those texts do, and do not, say. Our friend’s difficulty lies in reading into the texts more than they actually say.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.8

    HOW READEST THOU?

    Notice that the texts referred to do not say that the disciples were holding a religious service, or that they were engaged in the act of worship, or that they were in any way whatever observing the day. There is not the slightest hint that they were regarding the day as a day of rest. It is true that this is purely negative, but that is really all that is needed in this case. When a man is deterred from keeping the Sabbath only by two texts which he thinks teach that some of Christ’s disciples kept Sunday, all that he needs is to see that those texts make no shadow of a reference to Sunday rest; and this he can see simply by carefully reading them again.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.9

    First, we read John 20:19, 20: “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when He had so said, He showed unto them His hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.10

    Not a hint is there here about either rest or worship. Therefore this text has no more to do with teaching the observance of Sunday than has the fact that on the same day two of the disciples walked from Jerusalem to their home, about seven and a half miles distant. See Luke 24:13, 28, 29.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.11

    But let us see, just for the sake of gratifying our curiosity, if we can find out what the disciples were doing together that night. In the last chapter of Luke we are told how Jesus appeared to the disciples on their way to Emmaus, and was made known to them as they began to eat supper, and how the two immediately returned to Jerusalem and made known the fact to the assembled disciples.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.12

    “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And He said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I myself; handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have. And when He had thus spoken, He showed them His hands and His feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And He took it, and did eat before them.” Verses 36-42.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.13

    This was the same occasion as that recorded in John 20:19. In this account some additional particulars are given, noticeably the one that Jesus asked for and ate some food before them, to convince them that He was a real being.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.14

    THE HOME CIRCLE

    But how did it happen that the disciples could so readily offer Him something to eat? The answer is found in the account given by Mark. He speaks of the appearance of Jesus to the two who were going into the country, which is recorded at length in Luke xxiv., and then continues:-PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.15

    “Afterward He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen.” Mark 16:14.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.16

    But is it not strange that the disciples should be sitting at meat in a place of worship? It would have been a strange thing if they had been doing so; but they were not in a place of worship. By referring to Acts 1:12, 13, we learn that the eleven disciples had one common dwelling-place in Jerusalem.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.17

    So the supposed religious service of the disciples on the first day of the week, when Jesus came and blessed them, resolves itself into this: They were all, with the exception of Thomas, at home, with the doors securely fastened for fear of the Jews, and were quietly eating their supper when Jesus appeared and said, “Peace be unto you,” which was the common form of salutation. There was nothing wrong in their partaking of a common meal, and so there was nothing for which He could reprove them.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 194.18

    As to the appearance recorded in John 20:26, it is only necessary to point out that it was “after eight days.” That is, it was more than eight days after the appearance on the Sunday night after the resurrection. If it had been only eight days after, it would have been on Monday at the very earliest. So we have in John 20:26 neither a religious meeting nor a Sunday. The disciples were simply again “within,” that is, at home, and Jesus again visited them.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 195.1

    And now that it clearly appears that there is not the slightest intimation of rest or religious observance of any kind on that day, it may be stated that if the Scriptures plainly said that the disciples were holding a prayer meeting that night when Jesus appeared to them, that would not be the slightest proof that Sunday is the Sabbath. The holding of a meeting on a day does not signify that it is the Sabbath. When the fourth commandment plainly sets apart the seventh day as the Sabbath, and Jesus says that not one jot or one tittle can by any means pass from the law, it needs something more than the bare record of even a religious meeting on another day to establish that day as the Sabbath.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 195.2

    THE BLESSING

    One thing is almost always strangely overlooked by those who think to find grounds for Sunday observance in that appearance of Jesus to His disciples. It is this, that the blessing which Jesus pronounced was upon the disciples, and not upon the day. He blessed them, just as He had often done before, and as He did afterwards on the day of His ascension, which was Thursday. There was no reason why He should not bless them, because, as we have seen, they were innocently eating their evening meal. But the blessedness which He imparted to them, had no effect whatever on the day.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 195.3

    The Lord blesses His people every day of the week,-His blessing is upon His people, Psalm 3:8,-but that does not make every day the Sabbath. But in the beginning, at the close of the creation week, “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it; because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:3.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 195.4

    The seventh day was blessed in the beginning, and that blessing has never been removed from it. The seventh day is still the Sabbath day, and is a blessed day. Consequently it always brings a blessing. Those who observe that day “according to the commandment,” have a blessing from it, which can be gained nowhere else. God blesses them on other days,-days which are not blessed,-but the Sabbath day brings a blessing of its own with it, besides the ordinary daily blessing. The fact that God blesses us on the Sabbath day does not lend any additional sanctity to the day; but the fact that the Sabbath-the seventh day-is itself blessed, confers a special blessing upon those who keep it. The day is blessed, and always will remain blessed, whether people receive the blessing or not.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 195.5

    NO BLESSING FOR SIN

    God does not bless sin, but he does bless sinners. He blesses sinners in order that by the blessing of His grace they may cease from sin. Thus we read, “Unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.” Acts 3:26.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 195.6

    It cannot be denied that God has blessed people on the first day of the week. Not only so, but He has blessed them when they were met together for religious worship on that day, and when they supposed that it was the Sabbath day. So likewise He has most signally blessed people on every day in the week, both when they were engaged in religious services, and when they were not.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 195.7

    But nobody ever yet got any blessing from the first day of the week, because it never received any blessing from God, and, consequently it has no blessing to impart. Only one day-the seventh-did God ever bless; and only that one day can impart blessing.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 195.8

    Moreover, nobody was ever yet blessed because he regarded the Sunday as the Sabbath, although many people have been blessed while so regarding it. Wherefore? For this reason:-PTUK March 26, 1896, page 195.9

    1. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 195.10

    2. But there is no word of God concerning the observance of Sunday. The seventh day only is the Sabbath; the other days of the week, including Sunday, are called by the Lord “the six working days.” Ezekiel 46:1. Therefore since there is no word of God requiring Sunday observance, but the contrary, there can be no faith exercised in the keeping of it.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 195.11

    3. But “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Romans 14:23. Therefore the keeping of Sunday is a sin, to be repented of the same as any other sin. This is very evident from the fact that the keeping of Sunday involves the breaking of the Sabbath.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 195.12

    There are none of God’s people who have yet come to the perfect knowledge of all the truth; yet God blesses them. Why does He bless them?-In order that they may “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” who is the Truth. He blesses the sinner, in order that by that blessing he may turn from his iniquities. He richly blesses the man who has just yielded to Him; but that blessing by no means indicates that the new convert has nothing more to learn, and must never advance beyond where he now stands. Let it be understood that God does not give us His blessing as a reward for doing right,-He does not pay us for our service,-but He blesses us in order that we may do right. We experience an increase of blessing in proportion as we yield ourselves to His will; but our best service does not merit pay.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 195.13

    For we are never to assume because God blesses us that we are doing all the will of God, or that we have no ways that ought to be forsaken. So when God blesses men who observe Sunday in all sincerity, supposing it to be the Sabbath, that is not to be taken as indicating that He does not wish them ever to make any further amendment of their ways. The blessing is not for Sunday keeping, which in itself is sin, but to lead them to more intelligence service. God blesses sinners, but not sin.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 195.14

    In like manner, we do not think of citing the fact that God blesses us, as proof that the seventh day is the Sabbath. That is shown by the fact that God rested on it, and blessed it and sanctified it. And because it is thus blessed, we know that it can impart to those who keep it a blessing which can be obtained nowhere else.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 195.15

    “Supplanting Puritanism” The Present Truth, 12, 13.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Under the heading, “Supplanting Puritanism,” the Catholic Times calls attention to the fact that, in the portion of the United States known as New England, where 1746 Catholics were not permitted to dwell, there are now more than two hundred thousand more Catholics than there are Protestants of all denominations combined. The United States has certainly proved to be most congenial soil for the growth of Roman Catholicism.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 195.16

    “Items of Interest” The Present Truth, 12, 13.

    E. J. Waggoner

    -Fresh gold discoveries are drawing people to West Australia.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 206.1

    -Floods have been doing immense damage along the Danube.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 206.2

    -The capital invested in railways in the United Kingdom is ?1,000,000,000.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 206.3

    -No fewer than 1,000,000 of men, women, and children, it is said, die yearly in India from starvation.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 206.4

    -It is said that the Dervishes have a force of 10,000 men in Dongola, toward which the Egyptian expedition is proceeding.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 206.5

    -Newfoundland has had a terrible winter, snow piling up ten or fifteen feet in some parts, blocking roads and causing much suffering.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 206.6

    -Throughout Chili, despatches say, a series of earthquakes has spread terror and dismay. The shocks have been the longest and strongest felt for years.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 206.7

    -When the Negus of Abyssinia reviewed his troops in the presence of the Italian envoy, who visited his camp after the battle, over 100,000 men marched past.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 206.8

    -During a recent snowstorm which swept over the Russian province of Orel, 130 persons were frozen to death in one night, while numbers of cattle and horses perished.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 206.9

    -The British Empire now embraces an area of 8,500,000 square miles, and contains a population of some 350,000,000 people. Nearly one person out of every four on the earth owes allegiance directly or indirectly to the Queen.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 206.10

    -Some time ago the deepest sounding in the ocean was that of 27,930 feet off the Japanese coast. Recently, however, a depth of 29,409 feet was measured near the Friendly Islands, when the sounding wire gave out before the lead touched the bottom.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 206.11

    -In Hungary a Jewish gentleman owns an entire district, and thus has the livings of sixty Christian churches in his gift. In Austria, Germany, and France Jewish financiers are buying up estates and becoming the greatest landholders. And it is asserted that two-thirds of the whole press of these countries are controlled by Jews.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 206.12

    -Doctor Bell, of the Canadian Geographical Survey, has recently reported the discovery of a previously unknown river emptying into the southern extremity of Hudson Bay. The river flows through a densely wooded country, about two hundred and fifty miles in a north-northwesterly direction, and for a considerable distance is deep enough to be navigable for steamers.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 206.13

    -The hatred between Moslem and the population falsely called “Christian” in Syria is stirring up trouble. A despatch says: Serious disturbances are occurring daily at Beyrouth, and 15,000 armed Christians have paraded the streets as a warning to the Moslems that they are ready to protect themselves if the latter mean mischief. The Sultan has himself sent a telegram to the Vail of Syria requesting him to preserve order.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 206.14

    “Back Page” The Present Truth, 12, 13.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Japanese purpose erecting a gigantic statue of Buddha at Kyoto, to commemorate their victory over the Chinese, who, by the way, are also Buddhists.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 208.1

    Eastern Question.-This number closes the series on “The Eastern Question.” We will again remind our readers of the fact that the first two papers in the series are reprinted in pamphlet form at one penny.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 208.2

    News from Malta states that the Papal authorities are strongly protesting against the decision of the Privy Council recognising the validity of marriages not celebrated by the Church of Rome in that island.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 208.3

    There are two publishing houses devoted to the work of our Society in the United States, one in Michigan, the other in California. At the annual meeting of the Michigan house it reported sales of publications during the year over ?60,000, at retail value.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 208.4

    A newspaper says that the two great elements of disturbance in Italy are the Republicans and the Clericalists. The appointment of a great friend of the Pope as Minister of Justice is looked upon as a step to reconcile the Vatican to the Government. What a change in the situation since the days when Paul exhorted the church in Rome to be subject unto the powers that be. But that was before bishops forsook the power of the Word and aspired to earthly power.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 208.5

    The Canadian House of Commons has passed the second reading of the Bill for restoring the Catholic schools in Manitoba. As Manitoba is strongly opposed to maintaining separate Catholic schools at public expense and has once refused to yield to the orders of the Dominion Government, the persistence in the demands may very likely lead to trouble. The Roman Catholics hold the balance of power in the Eastern provinces, while Protestants are strong in the West, and at the last Manitoban election, which turned on the school question, they pronounced emphatically against maintaining Catholic schools.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 208.6

    The last days are described in Scripture as “perilous.” A time of special trial and tribulation, and yet we are told that “the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion.” They sing because the Lord gives joy and gladness even amidst trial.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 208.7

    A new feature in the work of our Society in Italy is the opening of a ship mission in Genoa. The workers represent the Italian, French, German, and English languages, and hope to do good amongst the sailors of this large port, and amongst immigrants, many of whom are constantly leaving Italy for North and South America.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 208.8

    No one can fail to remark the fact that in all the world councils of State are being forced to give more and more attention to religious questions. In school questions and general politics religious feeling and rivalry is a factor that frequently demands more consideration than any other. It is an evil omen, and nothing adds such rancour and passion to political life as religious controversy, and nothing causes religion to degenerate so rapidly as making it a subject for majorities and political controversy.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 208.9

    “Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his refuge.” Psalm 14:6. Thus it is with the majority of men. To trust one’s case wholly to the Lord, seems to them the height of folly. So the Jews mocked Christ, saying, “He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now.” And God did deliver Him, for His soul was not left in the grave, and His flesh did not see corruption. Then let the unbelievers scoff; “the Lord redeemeth the soul of His servant; and none of them that trust in Him shall be desolate.”PTUK March 26, 1896, page 208.10

    It is pitiful to read of the efforts of the seceding portion of the Salvation Army in America, under Ballington Booth, to curry favour with the thoughtless masses by waving the American flag and appealing to national prejudices. So also the old Army, which remains loyal to headquarters, waves the flag to show its loyalty to American institutions. No spiritual life can come from such appeals. The lifting up of Christ is the only thing that can draw men to Him. What have national flags, symbols of war and earthly powers, to do with the Gospel of salvation which recognises neither Jew nor Greek, bond or free, barbarian or Scythian, male or female?PTUK March 26, 1896, page 208.11

    When in trial the Lord often seems to a weakened faith to be far away, and the enemy close at hand. But in trial Christ said, “He is near that justifieth Me; who will contend with Me.” Isaiah 1:8. With Jesus’ faith and trust, which we are told to “keep,” we shall know that God is near in trouble to deliver.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 208.12

    The South African Sentinel says that encouraging reports are heard from our mission in Matabeleland. The mission farm is about thirty miles from Buluwayo. The company of workers include one minister, a competent physician, and several farmers and their families.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 208.13

    Catholic members of Parliament are continually pressing Catholic claims. It is for Catholic chaplains, in army or navy, one day, and something else another. A Protestant Church of England paper says, “Protestant M.P.’s would do well to take a leaf out of Mr. Dillon’s book in matters concerning their religion.” It is precisely because professed Protestants have consented to rest their case on Parliamentary power in the past that Catholics are able to press their demands so successfully. Why will not Protestants acknowledge Gospel principles, and put away the temptation to appeal to earthly powers?PTUK March 26, 1896, page 208.14

    The Wesleyan London Quarterly declares that “what is dearest to the hearts of Christian Englishmen, the opportunity to give all the world the Gospel,” depends “upon our maritime supremacy.” “The best ally,” it says, is the “Almighty arm,” “and after that,” the navy. The Church Quarterly also declares that in the superiority of the navy lies the hope of doing the work “God has given us to do.” As political maxims these would not be surprising, but when even the churches identify Gospel work and its necessities with the exigencies of political and commercial enterprise, what wonder that “the nations are angry.”PTUK March 26, 1896, page 208.15

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