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    July 30, 1896

    “A Valuable Investment” The Present Truth, 12, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Christ has said that whatever of the things of this world anyone shall forsake, for His name’s sake, shall be returned to him a hundredfold, with the addition of an eternity of possession and enjoyment of that which he has received.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 481.1

    The value of property is always enhanced in proportion to the length of time the title has to run. A freehold is more valuable than a lease for a term of years. But in this case the promised return for the investment is not only to be one hundredfold, with a title which shall run for eternity, but also this has joined with it a clause which states that everlasting life in which to personally enjoy the use of this increased estate is to go with it as an inseparable adjunct. This is indeed much. From this point of view the increase in value upon the original investment becomes not one hundredfold merely, but infinite.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 481.2

    This is qualified, however, by the surprising statement, to a worldly mind, that many that are first shall be last, and the last shall be first. Then in the chapter immediately following (Matt. xx.), the explanation of this is given in the parable of the householder, who went out from time to time during the day and hired labourers for his vineyard, paying them all at the close of the day the same wages, irrespective of whether they had laboured one hour or the entire day. And when those whom he had engaged first, and who had worked the full day, murmured, he answered, “Is it not lawful for to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many be called, but few chosen.”PTUK July 30, 1896, page 481.3

    What does the penny a day represent? The wages of sin is death. The wages in the service of God is eternal life. Is the penny, then, eternal life? If it be so, then would it not be just that those who murmured that others received the same wages should be last, and that the last who went gladly, trusting only that they would receive that which was just, and ready to be satisfied with whatever was given them, should be first?PTUK July 30, 1896, page 481.4

    “Why God Waits” The Present Truth, 12, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Objectors often say, “Why doesn't the Lord, if He has the power, put a stop to evil? Why does He let it go on in the world? The objector does not stop to think that it would go hard with him if God should instantly put an end to evil. God has promised to bring sin and misery to an end, and “the Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. Instead of finding fault with the Lord for waiting, the objector would better hasten to take advantage of God’s longsuffering and desire for his salvation; for while the Lord is longsuffering, He cannot always wait, and “the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.” Then evil will vanish away in the fires that melt the elements and purify the earth in order that it may be renewed and filled with righteousness.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 481.5

    “‘Which Is Your Reasonable Service’” The Present Truth, 12, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    That was a solemn moment when Christ said to His disciples, “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him; and the third day He shall rise again.” Matthew 20:18, 19. The twelve were all there together. Christ had even taken them apart by the wayside, that they might be alone by themselves while He first clearly stated to them in definite words the treachery which He was to meet, and the painful and ignominious death He was to die.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 482.1

    Yet, notwithstanding the clearness of His statement, and the impressive list of the circumstances under which it was given them, they seemed to fail utterly to comprehend it, or to appreciate in any degree its tragic and solemn import. For immediately after this, apparently, the two brothers, one of whom was the affectionate and noble disciple whom Jesus loved, with their mother, came to ask for personal preferment and power. The reply of Jesus, “Ye know not what ye ask,” was apt and expressive. Yet, notwithstanding their error in making such a request, and the fact that it could scarcely have been more ill-timed, He did not reprove them sharply. He only used the incident to illustrate to them all the difference between the administration of heavenly and of worldly affairs.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 482.2

    By the use of this sad misconception and the jealous anger of their fellow-disciples, He would show them, in such a manner as to impress it vividly upon their minds, that it should not be among them as in the world, “But whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.” Then, striving to recall to their minds the solemn words which He had previously spoken, in warning as to what was about to befall Himself, He illustrated what their service should be by what His own had been and was to be to them,-“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.”PTUK July 30, 1896, page 482.3

    “‘What Must I Do to Be Saved?’” The Present Truth, 12, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    It is related that a young man came to the Master and said, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Mark says that the young man came running, and kneeled to Him, and asked Him, “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” It is evident that the youth was a man of high world position, for Luke calls him “a certain ruler.”PTUK July 30, 1896, page 482.4

    The first words of Christ’s reply to him are very striking. It was as if He would challenge him to acknowledge Him to be the Son of God: “Why callest thou Me good? there is none good but One, that is, God.” But, seemingly, without waiting for a reply He reminded the young man that he knew the commandments of God, and that the observance of them was necessary to eternal life. Yet, apparently desiring to know if special stress should be laid upon any particular commandment, the youth asks, “Which?” Christ then enumerates to him some of the ten commandments. And he answers, “All these things have I kept from my youth up; what lack yet?” Upon this, Mark says, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him.”PTUK July 30, 1896, page 482.5

    It seems that he was a pure and noble character,-such an one as would, in these days, be considered a model Christian man. And it is true that for the beauty and purity of his life Christ loved him; yet he was not perfect. There was one thing still lacking,-that was sacrifice. This was the answer to his question:-“Go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” Mark 10:21.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 482.6

    This was His answer,-that loving invitation,-“Come, take up thy cross, and follow Me!” But the sacrifice which that entailed was too great, for the young man was very rich, and held high social position and authority; he was a ruler. These things he could not give up, and he turned away grieved, and very sad.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 482.7

    His question was, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Did Jesus answer his question? Did he point out to him the way to eternal life, for which he asked? and did the young man accept the reply, and walk in that way, or did he turn from it? Christ is the way and the life. He is the heir, and with Him and through Him alone is the inheritance of eternal life.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 482.8

    “Chinese Chronology” The Present Truth, 12, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Chinese Chronology .-Very often we meet the statement that the Bible cannot be true as the Chinese have records reaching back many thousands of years. The determined unbeliever will always swallow the tallest fable if it only runs contrary to the Bible, whose simple record he claims he cannot believe. It is like the giant who swallowed windmills but was at last choked by a pat of butter. Here is the explanation of this windmill of Chinese chronology:-PTUK July 30, 1896, page 482.9

    “Sceptics have alleged against the Bible chronology the age of the Chinese annals. At length Professor DeLacouperie has found the key to these extravagances. The Chinese themselves were unable to make sense of their oldest books, but this eminent Frenchman has deciphered them, showing that their characters are derived from the Babylonian period in the Chinese list of mythical sovereigns he discovers a reproduction of the first Babylonian dynasty mentioned by Berosus, and in the records which accompany it, some of the facts and legends in Babylonian history. In a paper read before the Royal Asiatic Society, Professor DeLacouperie seems to set these wonderful identifications beyond doubt.”PTUK July 30, 1896, page 482.10

    “‘Whom Jesus Loved’” The Present Truth, 12, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “Whom Jesus Loved.” -The first chapter of the Gospel of John, and the opening verses of the first epistle of John, bear a most interesting resemblance in thought and feeling. In the writings of this epistle the keen and intelligent natural insight of the man seems to show, as well as his affectionate and lovable qualities. Surely, through such a character as this, the inspiration of God could readily work to move mankind to an understanding of His Gospel, and a realisation of His love towards the erring and the lost. How much to-day the Lord’s work needs men of clear minds, simple expression, and loving hearts, like John.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 482.11

    “The Promises to Israel. Israel—A Prince of God” The Present Truth, 12, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Jacob had bought the birthright from Esau for a mess of pottage, and had through deceit obtained the blessing of the first-born from his father. But not by such means may anybody obtain the inheritance which God promised to Abraham and his seed. It was made sure to Abraham through faith, and no one need think to inherit it through force or fraud. “No lie is of the truth.” Truth can never be served by falsehood. The inheritance promised to Abraham and his seed was an inheritance of righteousness, and therefore it could not be gained by anything unrighteous. Earthly possessions are often gained and held by fraud, for a time, but not so the heavenly inheritance. The only thing that Jacob gained by his sharpness and deceit, was to make his brother an everlasting enemy, and to be an exile from his father’s house for more than twenty years, never again seeing his mother.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 483.1

    Yet God had said long before that Jacob should be the heir instead of his elder brother. The trouble with Jacob and his mother was that they thought they could work out the promises of God in their own way. It was the same kind of mistake that Abraham and Sarah had made. They could not wait for God to work out His own plans in His own way. Rebekah knew what God had said concerning Jacob. She heard Isaac promise the blessing to Esau, and thought that unless she interfered, the Lord’s plan would fail. She forgot that the inheritance was wholly in the Lord’s power, and that no man could have anything to do with the disposing of it, except to reject it for himself. Even though Esau had obtained the blessing from his father, God would have brought His own plan about in good time.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 483.2


    So Jacob became doubly an exile. Not only was he a stranger in the earth, but he was a fugitive. But God did not forsake him. There was hope for him, sinful as he was. To some it may seem strange that God should thus prefer Jacob to Esau, for Jacob’s character does not at that time seem any better than Esau’s. Let us remember that God does not choose any man because of his good character. “For we also were aforetime foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Saviour, and His love toward man, appeared, not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which He poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by His grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:3-7 R.V.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 483.3

    God chooses men, not for what they are, but for what He can make of them. And there is no limit to what He can make of even the meanest and most depraved, if they are only willing, and believe His Word. A gift cannot be forced upon one, and therefore those who would receive God’s righteousness, and the inheritance of righteousness, must be willing to receive it. “All things are possible to him that believeth.” God can do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,” if we but believe His Word, which effectually worketh in them that believe. The Pharisees were much more respectable people than the publicans and harlots, and yet Christ said that these would go into the kingdom of heaven before they did; and the reason was that the Pharisees trusted in themselves, and disbelieved God, while the publicans and harlots believed the Lord, and yielded themselves to Him. So with Jacob and Esau. Esau was an infidel. He regarded the word of God with contempt. Jacob was no better by nature, but he believed the promise of God, which is able to make the believer a partaker of the Divine nature.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 483.4

    God chose Jacob in the same way that He does everybody else. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Ephesians 1:3, 4. We are chosen in Christ. And since all things were created in Christ, and in Him all things consist, it is evident that we are not required to get ourselves into Christ, but only to acknowledge Him, and abide in Him by faith. There was no more partiality in the choice of Jacob before he was born than there is in the choice of all others. The choice is not arbitrary, but in Christ, and if none rejected and spurned Christ, none would be lost.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 483.5

    “How rich the grace! the gift how free!
    'Tis only ‘ask’-it shall be given;
    'Tis only ‘knock’ and thou shalt
    The opening door that leads to heaven.
    O then arise, and take the good,
    So full and freely proffered thee,
    Remembering that it cost the blood
    Of Him who died on Calvary.”
    PTUK July 30, 1896, page 483.6


    While Jacob believed the promise of God sufficiently to enable him to endeavor to secure its fulfillment by his own efforts, he did not understand its nature well enough to know that God alone could fulfill it through righteousness. So the Lord began to instruct him. Jacob was on his lonely way to Syria, fleeing from the wrath of his offended brother, “and he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took one of the stones1I beg the pardon of the intelligent reader for referring in this connection to the stone in the coronation chair in Westminster Abbey, which is by some supposed to be the stone on which Jacob slept, and which, by its position in the coronation chair, is supposed to identify England with Israel, and to make the Anglo-Saxon race heirs of the promise to Jacob. Saying nothing of the unfounded and unprovable assertion that the stone in question is the one on which Jacob slept, the absurdity of the idea that the possession of it could make any people heirs of the promises to Israel is paralleled only by the medieval superstition that a man could inherit the sanity of a departed saint by wearing his old shirt. of that place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep. “And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac; the land whereon thou liest, to the will I give it, and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south; and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28:11-17, R.V.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 483.7

    This was a great lesson for Jacob. Before this his ideas of God had been very crude. He had supposed that God was confined to one place. But now that God had appeared to him, he began to realise that “God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” John 4:24. He began to realise what Jesus told the Samaritan woman long afterwards, that the worship of God does not depend upon any place, but upon the soul’s reaching out and finding Him, wherever it is.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 484.1

    Moreover, Jacob began to learn that the inheritance that God had promised to his fathers, and which he had thought to get by a sharp bargain, was something to be gained in an entirely different manner. How much of the lesson he grasped at this time, we cannot tell; but we know that in this revelation God proclaimed the Gospel to him. We have learned that God preached the Gospel to Abraham in the words, “In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” Therefore we are sure that when the Lord said to Jacob, “In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed,” He was preaching the same Gospel.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 484.2

    Connected with this statement, was the promise of land, and of an innumerable posterity. The promise made to Jacob was identical with that made to Abraham. The blessing to come through Jacob and his seed was identical with that to come through Abraham and his seed. The seed is the same, namely, Christ and those who are His through the Spirit; and the blessing comes through the cross of Christ.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 484.3

    All this was indicated by that which Jacob saw, as well as by that which he heard. There was a ladder set up on the earth, reaching up to heaven, connecting God with man. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the connecting link between heaven and earth, between God and man. The ladder connecting heaven with earth, upon which the angels of God were ascending and descending, was a representation of that which Christ said to Nathanael, that true Israelite: “Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” John 1:51. The way to heaven is the way of the cross, and this is that which was indicated to Jacob that night. Not by self-assertion, but by self-denial, are the inheritance and the blessing to be gained. “He that will lose his life,” and all that life contains, “shall save it.”PTUK July 30, 1896, page 484.4


    Of Jacob’s sojourn in the land of Syria, we need not speak particularly. In the twenty years that he served his uncle Laban, he had ample opportunity to learn that deception and sharp dealing do not profit. The course that he had pursued came back upon himself; but God was with him, and prospered him. Jacob seems to have laid to heart the lesson that had been given him, for we see very little indication of his natural disposition to overreach in his dealing with his uncle. He seems to have trusted his case quite fully to the Lord, and to have submitted to all manner of ill-treatment without retaliation. In his reply to Laban’s charge that he had stolen, Jacob said:-PTUK July 30, 1896, page 484.5

    “This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she-goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. That which was torn of beasts, I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. Thus have I been twenty years in thine house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle; and thou hast changed my wages ten times. Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.” Genesis 31:38-42.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 484.6

    This was a calm and dignified statement, and showed that the fear of Isaac, and the same spirit, had actuated him. The preaching of the Gospel had not been in vain in Jacob’s case; a great change had come over him.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 484.7

    Let it be noted here that Jacob gained nothing whatever from the birthright which he had so shrewdly bought from his brother. His property was due to the direct blessing of God. And in this connection we may recall the fact that Isaac’s blessing was to the effect that God would bless him. The inheritance was not one which could be transmitted from father to son, as ordinary inheritances, but one which must be to each one by the direct, personal promise and blessing of God. To be “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise,” we must be Christ’s; but if we are Christ’s, and joint-heirs with Him, we are “heirs of God.”PTUK July 30, 1896, page 484.8


    But Jacob had made a grievous failure in his earlier life, and so God as a faithful Teacher, must necessarily bring him over the same ground again. He had thought to win by guile: he must completely learn that “this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 484.9

    When Rebekah proposed to send Jacob away from home, because Esau sought to kill him, she said, “Now therefore, my son obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; and tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away; until thy brother’s anger turn from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him; then will I send and fetch thee from thence.” Genesis 27:43-45. But she did not know the nature of Esau. He was bitter and unrelenting. “Thus saith the Lord. For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever.” Amos 1:11. (Edom is Esau. See Genesis 25:30; 36:1.) Here we see that, bad as Jacob’s natural disposition was, Esau’s character was most despicable.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 484.10

    Although twenty years had passed, Esau’s anger was as fresh as ever. When Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau, to speak peaceably to him, and to conciliate him, they brought back the news that Esau was coming with four hundred men. Jacob could not hope to make any stand against these trained warriors; but he had learned to trust in the Lord, and so we find him pleading the promises in this manner:-PTUK July 30, 1896, page 485.1

    “O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee; I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth which Thou hast showed unto Thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, I pray Thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. And Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.” Genesis 32:9-12.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 485.2

    Jacob had once tried to get the better of his brother by fraud. He had thought that thus he could become an heir of the promise of God. Now he had learned that it could be gained only by faith, and he betook himself to prayer in order to be delivered from the wrath of his brother. Having made the best possible disposition of his family and flocks, he remained alone to continue his prayer to God. He realised that he was not worthy of anything, and that if left to his deserts he should perish, and he felt that he must still further cast himself upon the mercy of God.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 485.3

    “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when He saw that He prevailed not against him, He touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with Him. And He said, Let Me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me. And He said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And He said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for as a prince hast thou power with God and with man, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked Him and said, Tell me, I pray Thee, Thy name. And He said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after My name? And He blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel; for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Genesis 32:24-30.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 485.4

    People often speak of wrestling with God in prayer, as Jacob did. There is no evidence that Jacob knew that it was the Lord that was wrestling with him, until the morning broke, and his thigh was put out of joint by the touch of his antagonist. Indeed, we very well know that no man would have the hardihood to engage in a contest of strength with the Lord, if he knew Him to be the Lord. The angel appeared to him as a man, and Jacob doubtless thought that he was being attacked by a robber. We can well conceive that Jacob was in sore trouble all night. The time was fast approaching when he must face his angry brother, and he dared not meet him without the full assurance that all was right between himself and God. He must know that he was pardoned for his past wicked course. Yet the hours that he had designed to spend in communing with God, were being spent in wrestling with a supposed enemy. So we may be sure that while his strength was all engaged in resisting his antagonist, his heart was uplifted to God in bitter anguish. The suspense and anxiety of that night must have been terrible.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 485.5

    Jacob was a man of great physical power and endurance. Watching the flocks night and day for years had demonstrated this, and had, at the same time hardened his frame. So he continued the struggle, and held his ground all night. But it was not thus that he gained the victory. We read that “by his strength he had power with God; yea, he had power, over the angel, and prevailed; he wept, and made supplication unto Him; he found Him in Bethel, and there He spake with us; even the Lord of hosts; the Lord is His memorial.” Hosea 12:3-5. By his power Jacob prevailed with God, but it was not by his power and skill as a wrestler. His strength, was in his weakness, as we shall see. Notice that the first intimation that Jacob had that his opponent was other than an ordinary man, was when his thigh was put out of joint by the Divine touch. That revealed in an instant who his supposed enemy was. It was no human touch, but the hand of the Lord that he felt. What did he then do? What could a man do in his condition? Picture to yourself a man wrestling, where so much depends upon the strength of his legs, and having one of them suddenly dislocated. Even if he were merely walking, or simply standing still, and one of his legs should suddenly be put out of joint, he would instantly fall to the ground. Much more would he fall if he were wrestling. Such would have been the case with Jacob, if he had not at once thrown himself upon the Lord, with a firm grasp. He would most naturally grasp the nearest object for support; but the knowledge that here was the One whom he had been longing to meet, would make his grasp more than an involuntary action. His opportunity had come, and he would not let it slip.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 485.6

    That Jacob did at once cease wrestling, and cling to the Lord, is not only most apparent from the fact that he could do nothing else, but also from the words of the Lord, “Let Me go.” “No,” said Jacob. “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.” It was a case of life and death. His life and salvation depended upon his holding on to the Lord. The words, “Let Me go,” were only to test him, for the Lord does not willingly leave any man. But Jacob was determined to find a blessing indeed, and he prevailed. It was by his strength that he prevailed, but it was by the strength of faith. “When I am weak, then am I strong.” In that hour Jacob fully learned the lesson that the blessing and the inheritance come not by might, nor by strength, but by the Spirit of the Lord.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 486.1


    The new name was a pledge to Jacob that he was accepted. It did not confer anything upon him, but was a token of what he had already gained. Resting upon God, he had ceased from his own works, so that he was no more the supplanter, seeking to further his own ends, but the prince of God, who had fought the good fight of faith, and had laid hold on eternal life. As Israel he was henceforth to be known.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 486.2

    Now he could go forth to meet his brother. He who has seen God face to face has no need to fear the face of man. He who has power with God, will most certainly prevail with men. This is the secret of power. Let the servant of God know that if he would have power with men he must first be able to prevail with God. He must know the Lord, and have talked with Him face to face. To such the Lord says, “I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.” Luke 21:15. Stephen knew the Lord, and held communion with Him, and the haters of truth “were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spake.” What then must have been his power with those whose hearts were open to receive the truth?PTUK July 30, 1896, page 486.3

    In this story of Jacob, we learn anew how the inheritance which God promised to Abraham and to his seed is to be obtained. It is by faith alone. Repentance and faith are the only means of deliverance. By no other means could he hope to have any share in the inheritance. His whole salvation lay in his dependence upon the promise of God. It was thus that he was fully made partaker of the Divine nature.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 486.4


    We learn also who are Israel. The name was given to Jacob in token of the victory which he had gained by faith. It did not bestow any grace upon him, but was a token of grace already possessed. So it will be bestowed upon all those who through faith overcome, and upon no others. To be called an Israelite does not add anything to anybody. It is not the name that brings the blessing, but the blessing that brings the name. As Jacob did not possess the name by nature, so nobody else can. The true Israelite is he in whom is no guile. Such ones alone please God; but “without faith it is impossible to please Him.” So the Israelite is only the one who has personal faith in the Lord. “They are not all Israel, which are of Israel;” “but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” Romans 9:6, 8.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 486.5

    Let every one who would fain be known as an Israelite consider how Jacob received the name, and realise that only so can it be worthily carried by anyone. Christ, as the promised seed, had to go through the same struggle. He fought and won through His trust in the word of the Father, and so He is of right the King of Israel. Only Israelites will share the kingdom with Him; for Israelites are overcomers, and the promise is, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His Throne.” Revelation 3:21.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 486.6

    “Prayers for the Dead and Sunday Observance” The Present Truth, 12, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    At the late annual meeting of the English Church Union the special subjects discussed was that of prayers for the dead, and the Union strongly urged that this custom should be more fully recognised in the services of the Church of England. To this all Protestants are, of course, strenuously opposed. Prayers for the dead, associated with offerings for the dead, known in Catholic phraseology as masses for the dead, come from the ancient pagan custom of sacrificing for the dead and the worshipping of demons, against which the Scriptures specifically warns all. But it is not of the doctrine itself that we shall speak, but of the argument by which those who urge it silence the objections of those in the Church of England, and Protestants generally, who oppose it.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 486.7

    Protestants say that the practice is without Scripture warrant, founded merely on tradition which has always made void the Word. It is so, and the objection is unanswerable. But those who favour prayers for the dead do not take the Scriptures as authority so much as ecclesiastical tradition. They adopt the Catholic position. But then they turn on their objectors and retort that Protestants, while pleading for the Word as the standard, themselves reject the Word and take tradition when it so pleases them. The Dean of Lichfield, Dr. Lucock, in his speech at the meeting of the E.C.U., replied to the Protestant controversialist as follows:-PTUK July 30, 1896, page 486.8

    Just because there is no direct evidence in so many words in Holy Scripture enjoining prayers for the dead, he maintains that as members of the Reformed Church, believing Scripture and Scripture alone, we have no right to revive them. I want to point out to you what inconsistency is involved in this position. Take the case of Sunday as an illustration. There is not a single text in the whole Bible which teaches us in so many words that the seventh day was to be superseded by the first. It is perfectly true that in the New Testament we find religious associations connected with the first day. But if there was a single text directing the change we should not have found in certain portions of the Church in the early centuries both the seventh and the first day observed. In justifying the change, we appeal to the Primitive Church, being perfectly certain that the rulers and Bishops of the Church would never have sanctioned such a revolution as that unless they had received by tradition such directions as they believed to have, from our blessed Lord Himself. What, then, is the rule of authority in the one case must be made the rule in the other.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 486.9

    The Church Times endorses the Dean’s argument editorially, saying, “No distinct direction is given in the Gospel for the observance of the first day of the week in lieu of the Sabbath.” This of course is not a matter of argument. It is a matter of fact. The argument based upon the facts simply amounts to saying, “There is no Scripture for prayers for the dead, neither is there for Sunday keeping; but we do both according to the primitive tradition, which we follow instead of the Word.” The answer silences the Protestant who finds himself keeping the Sunday and refusing prayers for the dead, which practice comes on the same authority as Sunday observance.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 487.1

    It is a fact, everywhere made prominent in ecclesiastical history, that what is called primitive tradition begins after the “falling away” of which the Apostle Paul warned the early church. The apostasy had already begun to work in his day, he told them, and immediately after the days of the apostles the errors which crowd the Roman Church came in as a flood. As Dr. Killen says in his preface to the “Ancient Church“:-PTUK July 30, 1896, page 487.2

    Rites and ceremonies, of which neither Paul nor Peter ever heard, crept silently into use, and then claimed the rank of Divine institutions. Officers, for whom the primitive disciples could have found no place, and titles, which to them would have been altogether unintelligible, began to challenge attention, and to be named apostolic.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 487.3

    It is to these times that men appeal whenever they appeal to primitive tradition in support of doctrines and practices for which they find no warrant in the Scripture. And it is interesting, in this special connection, to note the fact that in the earliest times prayers for the dead, or offerings for the dead, and Sunday observance were associated together. In accounting for these practices, the matter of observing the Sunday, offerings for the dead, and the sign of the cross, Tertullian, who wrote about the year 200, said:-PTUK July 30, 1896, page 487.4

    If for these and other such rules, you insist upon having positive Scripture injunction, you will find none. Tradition will be held forth to you as the originator of them, custom as their strengthener, and faith as their observer. That reason will support tradition, and custom, and faith, you will either yourself perceive, or learn from some one who has.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 487.5

    That was all that could be said for these practices then, and it is all that can be said for them now. But the retort that silences those who cling to one of Scripture practice and object to another, based on the same authority and associated with it in origin, will not silence the protests of those who take the Bible as God’s Word to men, and test all of these perversions of the truth and adaptations of ancient pagan rites and observances by “the law and the testimony.” By this test is seen that “there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 487.6

    Notice how generally this question of the authority of Sunday is being made the test of the authority of the Church aside from the Word. It was on this point that the Council of Trent based its condemnation of the Reformers’ appeal to the Bible alone, as against Church authority. It is just here that the Church of Rome is constantly charging the Protestant world with inconsistency in accepting Sunday observance by authority of the Church, while rejecting that authority in other matters where it pleases them to do so. And the Anglican Catholics are also learning the weak spot in the armour of popular Protestantism. This is why we cannot do otherwise than continually call attention to the Sabbath question. On the side of human authority the Sunday is being made the test and the mark of such authority. On the side of Divine authority and the Word of God the Sabbath is the sign or mark of allegiance to God. Ezekiel 20:12, 20. The issue is joined. It is the Word of God against the word of man. On which side will you choose to stand?PTUK July 30, 1896, page 487.7

    “Strikes” The Present Truth, 12, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Strikes .-Strikes are not only becoming more frequent in the industrial world, but violence is more frequently resorted to in conducting them. Such contests, attended with violence, necessitating the calling out of troops have recently been reported from the Continent, England, and America. The inequalities of social life, with increase of both riches and wretchedness, are being more keenly felt, and men seem to have less patience to endure. There are often two sides to these labour disputes, but the Scripture gives advice to the Christian labourer which is equally good whether it is the covetousness of the employer or of the employed, or both, which leads to bad feeling and a struggle on each side to overcome the other. The prophet warns the rich in these days who have “heaped treasure together for the last days” by keeping back the hire of the labourer. James 5 But anticipating the violence to which these things would lead, the prophet says to the Christian, “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” It is incompatible with the character of the Christian servant to fight even for that which may be rightfully due, and as injustice increases and is met by increasing violence on the part of the oppressed, the Christian is to stand apart from strife and wait patiently for the grand event which is to bring oppression to an end and right all wrong for ever.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 487.8

    “Items of Interest” The Present Truth, 12, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    -Native risings are reported from Formosa. The Japanese are said to be hard pressed.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 494.1

    -A boundary dispute between Chili and Argentina is to be arbitrated by Queen Victoria in case of necessity.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 494.2

    -The Young Men’s Christian Associations own buildings and other real estate to the value of ?3,600,000.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 494.3

    -Appeals are being made for funds in relief of Cretans, both Christian and Moslem, who are suffering by the insurrection there. Both seem to have suffered equally, one side being as savage as the other.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 494.4

    -Mount Vesuvius continues active, considerable streams of lava flowing down. Mauna Loa, in the Sandwich Islands, is again throwing out great quantities of molten rock after a long period of inactivity.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 494.5

    -The University of Jena has conferred the honorary Degree of Medicine upon Prince Bismarck. He also holds the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Law, Doctor of Biblical Science and Doctor of Theology.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 494.6

    -On the first Sunday that all the London museums were thrown open they were visited by 10,650 persons. Of these, 2,437 went to the National Gallery, 3,173 to the South Kensington Museum, and 1,644 to the British Museum.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 494.7

    -Teheran, the Persian capital is held by troops called Cossacks and officered by Russians. Russia dictates Persian policy, and the new Shah is more Russian than his father in his sympathies. It is said that northern Persia is Russian in all but name.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 494.8

    -A French expedition for the Upper Nile region is said to be working its way from the Congo regions. Doubtless this is one reason why the advance on Dongola was planned. Central Africa still belongs to the first one who can get it, and all the powers are after it.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 494.9

    -An ordinance prohibiting the opening of public-houses within two hundred feet of a building occupied for school purposes has been passed by the City Council of New York, and upheld by the courts. It is said that this will necessitate the closing of at least five hundred public-houses.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 494.10

    -The value and importance of the commerce of the great lakes of North America is shown by the fact that Cleveland, Ohio, is the second greatest ship-building port of the world, the Clyde being first, and that the traffic through the ship canal at Sault St. Marie is greater than that of the Suez Canal.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 494.11

    -The Pope advised members of Parliament that the Deceased Wife’s Sister’s Bill was not agreeable to him, and now we hear that it is to be dropped. In the United States the party platform upon which the late Republican nomination for the presidency was made, as at first drafted, contained a clause against the appropriation of public money for sectarian uses. Archbishop Ireland objected and the clause was expunged.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 494.12

    “Back Page” The Present Truth, 12, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A leaflet on foreign missions states that 40,000,000 people in Great Britain have one preacher to every 1,000. But 1,000,000 heathen have but one foreign missionary to every 200,000 souls. The average contributions of members of churches in England for foreign missions is 1? d. per month.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 496.1

    A certain church committee were discussing how they could best raise some necessary funds for church repairs. A satirical elder said: “And now, brethren, let us get up a supper and eat ourselves rich. Buy your food, then give it to the church. Then go buy it back again. Then eat it up, and your church debt is paid.”PTUK July 30, 1896, page 496.2

    A missionary, riding home from Madagascar, says that under the rule of the French many material improvements are being made in the capital and the island generally. But “there are evils which seem inseparable from the presence of a large number of soldiers of whatever nationality. There is a great increase of drinking among the Malagasy, as well as of licentiousness.”PTUK July 30, 1896, page 496.3

    A barber of Sheffield has been fined five shillings under the Lord’s Day Observance Act, for carrying on his business on Sundays. The action was brought by a local hairdressers’ association for the purpose of compelling the acceptance of the time of work agreed upon by the association. An appeal was taken to a higher court. In the same town a milkman was convicted for publicly crying milk for sale on Sunday. The old law still has vitality enough, and the disposition to use it is being manifested more than formerly.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 496.4

    Not only in Armenia and Crete is the Eastern Question raised by violence and outrage on the part of both Muslims and “Christians,” but now the Macedonian frontier is ablaze, and a troop of Greeks has destroyed a company of Turkish troops in that region. It is for every Christian to pray that the winds of strife may be held in check until the message of the everlasting Gospel is brought to those who are waiting for it in these regions.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 496.5

    Forty villages are said to have been destroyed in the late disturbances in the region of Van. Even correspondents whose attitude is consistently hostile to the Turkish Government say that there is no doubt the Armenian revolutionists precipitated the conflict. When will the churches of Christendom learn that when they magnify into a virtue political revolution, and breathe out nothing but the spirit of hatred and violence against the Turkish Government, they are taking a terrible responsibility for the loss of life-the innocent suffering with the guilty-which accompanies political insurrection in Turkey.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 496.6

    A newspaper, commenting on the need of such work as Dr. Bernardo is doing for the children of the streets, says: “In London there are generally about 100,000 persons living in open profligacy, 20,000 professed beggars, 3,000 receivers of stolen goods, 20,000 children living in destitution and sin; 12,000 children living under regular training for vice; 30,000 thieves. It is heart-breaking to think of the misery and crime in London. But the picture is not all dark. Owing to the work of men animated with the spirit of Christ, there are spots of blue.”PTUK July 30, 1896, page 496.7

    The Society of Christian Endeavour, which has a large membership here and is said to number nearly three millions in the United States has had an international meeting in Washington. With much zeal in truly Christian endeavour it is much to be regretted that it is being drawn in the direction of political reform, expecting to advance religion by political methods. It is the temptation which comes with numbers-the hope of securing the kingdoms of this world by some easier way than the Cross. When Jesus was tempted in this way He chose the Cross, and that is the only way of salvation.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 496.8

    “Rooted in Him” The Present Truth, 12, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Rooted in Him .-The reason why many are not “rooted and built up in Him,” is that they do not abide in Him sufficiently long to get rooted. No plant will root itself firmly in the soil if it is pulled up every day. Just so many who think they want to be rooted in Christ, are variable and changeable, here and there, never settled and established in the truth, and do not abide in Him so that they may be rooted in Him.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 496.9

    “Getting the Preciousness” The Present Truth, 12, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Getting the Preciousness .-The Revised Version brings out the thought in 1 Peter 2:7 very clearly: “For you therefore which believe is the preciousness.” God has given exceeding great and precious promises, but the preciousness of the gift of God is only for those who believe. The way and the service of God seem dull and barren to the unbeliever; he cannot see the joy there is in God. Of course he cannot see what is in the promises of God, because he does not take it. He does not taste and see that the Lord is good, but stands without, fearing to let go of the hollowness of life for fear the Lord has nothing good for him. What a mistake to stand afar off and refuse to enter in, or to follow so slavishly and unbelievingly that one gets only the hardness of the way, and the crosses, without the life and power of the cross! Unto those that believe is the preciousness. No one ever yet ventured their all upon the promises of God without finding them precious indeed, “exceeding great and precious.”PTUK July 30, 1896, page 496.10

    “By What Life?” The Present Truth, 12, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    By What Life? -By what life are we saved?-By the life of Christ, and He has but one. Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, and to-day and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8. It is by His present life that we are saved, that is, by His life in us from day to day. But the life which He now lives is the very same life that He lived in Judea eighteen hundred years ago. He took again the same life that He laid down. Think what was in the life of Christ, as we have the record in the New Testament, and we shall know what ought to be in our lives now. If we allow Him to dwell in us, He will live just as He did then. If there is that in our lives that was not in His then, we may be sure that He is not living it in us now.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 496.11

    “Russian Censorship” The Present Truth, 12, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Russian Censorship .-The infinite pains taken by officials in Russia in shutting out what they regard as heresy is something wonderful. Even the PRESENT TRUTH does not escape. A reader in St. Petersburg a few weeks ago received the paper with a portion cut out by the censor’s scissors, and other portions blacked out with ink. It is a very common thing for newspapers to be thus dealt with for their political criticisms, but when the shortest of notes in a religious journal are detected and obliterated, it shows how close is the scrutiny of the officials.PTUK July 30, 1896, page 496.12

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