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    December 24, 1896

    “The Lesson of History” The Present Truth, 12, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We do not say “a lesson from history,” but “the lesson of history;” for there is but one great lesson that history teaches, yet it is one that is rarely learned. For want of learning this one lesson, thousands study history in vain; while he who learns the simple, fundamental lesson in the beginning of his study will read to profit.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 817.1

    The reason why the lesson referred to is so almost universally overlooked, is that the records that are usually studied are so crowded with details that the mind becomes confused; history becomes to the student only a mass of occurrences, in which the underlying truth taught by history is lost. This melancholy result would be avoided if people began at the right place to study, taking the simplest history first, and afterwards that which is more complex.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 817.2

    “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” and the Bible is the book that teaches the fear of the Lord; therefore it is in the Bible that the beginning of wisdom is found. It is the simplest book in the world, as would naturally be expected of a book of beginnings. That it is really a book very easy to be understood is proved by the fact that it teaches the way to the kingdom of heaven, which can be entered only by children and those who become like children. See Matthew 18:3. It is manifest, therefore, that the Bible can be understood by children, and consequently must be an easy book. It is the first book that children should study. But the whole of the thing is found in the beginning, just as the entire tree exists in the germ; and so the Bible, which teaches the fear of the Lord, contains the sum of knowledge, and may be studied by the grey-haired sage as profitably as by the little child. Its treasure of wisdom is inexhaustible.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 817.3

    Now for the first lesson in history. Very fittingly it begins with the beginning of time. We will quote a page from it, that we may clearly see what is the simple, underlying truth taught by all history since the creation of the world. Here it is:-PTUK December 24, 1896, page 818.1

    “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female created He him; and blessed them, and called their name Adam [man] in the day when they were created.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 818.2

    “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in His own likeness, after His image; and called his name Seth. And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years; and he begat sons and daughters. And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died. And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos. And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters: and all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died.” Genesis 5:1-8.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 818.3

    Thus the record continues to the end of the chapter, of which we have quoted just one fourth; yet the chapter covers a period of more than fifteen hundred years.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 818.4

    What is the sum of history, as indicated by this record?-Simply this, that man lived a certain number of years, and then died. With this first historical record agree all that have been written since. The whole of history can be summed up in the words, They lived so long, and then they died. The one thing, therefore, that history teaches, is that a man’s life is but “a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Yet this is the thing that is seldom thought of in reading history. Histories written by man are so filled up with accounts of the incidentals,-the things that people did, the battles fought, the kingdoms established, the cities built, and the “glory” gained,-that unless one has begun the historical study of the primary book, that is, the Bible, he will lose the main point.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 818.5

    Secular history alone is sufficient, if one reads it thoughtfully, to show that it is utterly impossible for man to inherit or possess this earth. “For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.” Notwithstanding this, “their inward thought is that their houses shall continue for ever; they call their lands after their own names.” “This their way is their folly; yet their posterity approve their sayings.” Psalm 49:10-13. Each generation imagines that it is an exception, and that its works will stand for ever.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 818.6


    People refuse to learn the lesson of history, even when it is spread out before their eyes. They contemplate the ruins of former greatness, and even while looking, think, “How superior we are to those who lived in ancient times; their empires all vanished, and their cities are in ruins, or utterly extinct.” But that is most short-sighted reasoning. A man might as well claim to have more vitality than Methuselah, because he himself is living, in the possession of full strength, while Methuselah, forsooth, is long since dead! Ah, but wait, my friend, and time will tell a different story. You will not have to wait one-tenth the length of Methuselah’s life, to learn your mistake.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 818.7

    So with the works of which men boast to-day. There are now no structures so massive and so strongly built as many of those of ancient days, that have been utterly demolished by time. Should time continue as much longer as it has already continued, nothing would remain of the glory of the nations that now inhabit the earth, and their names would be forgotten unless some few fragments of stone preserved them.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 818.8

    No; this earth is under a curse, and unsuited for man’s dwelling-place. He cannot live here. Do what he will to establish himself here, he is swept away before he can fairly get a foothold. The princes of the earth are brought to nothing, and the judges of the earth are as vanity. “Yea, scarce are they planted, scarce are they sown, scarce hath their stock taken root in the earth, when he bloweth upon them, and they wither, and the whirlwind taketh them away as stubble.” Isaiah 40:24, R.V., margin.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 818.9

    In spite of this truth, which is the one thing that is most evident in all history, men go on planning for this earthly life as though they were able to abide here for ever. We see them throwing all their energies into a political struggle, fiercely excited over the outcome, scrambling and crowding for a place, perfectly oblivious to the fact that even if they succeed in attaining the coveted object, it will disappear, and they themselves with it, almost as soon as they seize it. So it always has been, and so it will be to the end. They are as foolish as children on the beach, fighting over the sand houses they have built, which the next wave of the incoming tide will wash away, and at the same time overwhelm them.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 818.10

    What hope is there then for men?-Much, every way. Go back again to our elementary history book. Surely we can believe the record that is so conclusively substantiated by facts. That tells us that God created the earth not in vain, but to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18), and that when He had completed it, with man upon it, He “saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Genesis 1:31. The critical eye of the Master could detect no flaw, nothing that could be improved, either in man or his condition and circumstances. Everything was as good as God Himself could make it.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 818.11

    Now we know that, “whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever.” Ecclesiastes 3:14. Therefore the condition of the earth in the beginning, and of men as well, is that which is to be through all eternity. God did not place men on the earth in order that they should be swept away like gnats, but that they should possess it for ever, even for ever and ever. Therefore, “We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Peter 3:13. Even though there were not many repetitions of that promise, the fact that in the beginning God placed a perfect man in a perfect earth, is sufficient promise that so it will be. In view of this promise we can confidently say, even when about to be carried away by the flood of time, “God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave; for He shall receive me.” Psalm 49:15.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 818.12

    Who will begin to read history from the beginning, and learn the great lesson that it teaches? Who will cease to chase the bubble that collapses as it is grasped, and begin to plan and live as citizens of a better country, that is, an heavenly, whose capital is a city that has everlasting foundations, whose builder and maker is God?PTUK December 24, 1896, page 818.13

    “The Promises to Israel. Two Laws” The Present Truth, 12, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    From what has preceded, it will be evident that there are two laws just as there are two covenants, occupying the same relation to each other that the two covenants do to each other. One is the shadow of the other, the result of placing the veil of unbelief before the Light of life.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 819.1

    “For the commandment is a lamp, and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” Proverbs 6:23. But Christ is the only Light of the world, the Light of life; so that the true and living law is found only in Him. It is His life, because it is in His heart, and out of the heart are the issues of life. He is the Living Stone, where we find the law in Person, full of grace as well as of truth. Of this, the law on tables was but the shadow, albeit an exact and perfect shadow. It tells us exactly what we shall find in Christ.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 819.2

    Although the law on tables of stone describes the perfect righteousness of God, it has no power to make itself manifest in us, no matter how greatly we may desire it. It is “weak through the flesh.” It is a faithful signpost, pointing out the way, but not carrying us in it. But Christ has “power over all flesh,” and in Him we find the law so full of life that, if we but consent to the law that it is good, and confess that Christ is come in the flesh, it will manifest itself in the thoughts and words and acts of our lives, in spite of the weakness of the flesh.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 819.3

    To those who know the law only as it stands in a book, and who consequently think that it rests wholly on them to do it, it is a law of works, and as such it does nothing but pronounce a curse upon them. But to those who know the law in Christ, it is a law of faith, which proclaims the blessing of pardon and peace.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 819.4

    As known only on tables of stone or in a book, it is a “law of sin and death,” (Romans 8:2), since “the sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.” 1 Corinthians 15:56. But as known in Christ, it is “the law of the Spirit of life,” “because of righteousness.”PTUK December 24, 1896, page 819.5

    As “written and engraven in stones,” it can never be anything else than “the ministration of death.” He who preaches simply the written law, telling people of their duty to keep it, and inciting them to do the best they can to keep it, is but ministering condemnation. But the same law written in fleshy tablets of the heart, “with the Spirit of the living God” (2 Corinthians 3:3), is life and peace; and he who preaches that Christ “is come in the flesh,” (1 John 4:2), and that when He dwells in a man to-day He is as obedient to the law as He was eighteen hundred years ago, is a minister of righteousness.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 819.6

    Known only as a code of rules to which we must make our lives conform-a “law of commandments contained in ordinances”-it is but a “yoke of bondage,” because one’s best efforts to keep it are themselves only sin; “for the Scripture hath concluded [shut up] all under sin;” and with each work “done in righteousness which we did ourselves,” the law but tightens its death grip on us, and strengthens the bars of our prison. But “the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17. Therefore in Christ the law is the “perfect law of liberty.” James 1:25.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 819.7

    When the Jews at Sinai volunteered to work God’s works for Him, they undertook their own salvation. They ignored the history of Abraham, and God’s covenant with him, to which their attention had been specially called. But God is long-suffering, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance; and so, in harmony with His covenant with Abraham, He did not cast off the people, but endeavoured to teach them of Himself and His salvation, even out of their unbelief. He gave them a system of sacrifices and offerings, and a daily and yearly round of ceremonies that were exactly in keeping with the law which they had elected to keep, namely, the law of works.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 819.8

    The faithful among the people understood this well. David said, after he had committed a great sin, “Thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it: Thou delightest not in burnt offering.” Psalm 51:16. And God, through the prophets, taught the people: “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me?” “I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.” Isaiah 1:11. “Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto Me.” Jeremiah 6:20. There was no virtue in them, for the law had only “a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things,” and could “never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” Hebrews 10:1.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 819.9

    It would of course have been better, nay, the very best thing, if the people of Israel had preserved the simple and strong faith of Abraham and Moses, in which case they would have had no tabernacle but the one “which the Lord pitched, and not man;” no High Priest except Christ Himself, “made an High Priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek;” no limit to the priesthood, but every one of them a priest “to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ;” no law but “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ;” in short, only the reality, and not the mere shadow. But since the people did not believe, it was a wonderful exhibition of God’s kindness and love and forbearance, that He gave them what must have served as a continual object lesson. The very “weakness and unprofitableness” (Hebrews 7:18) of the law of works was always apparent to every thoughtful person; and when the soul became awakened, that law whose only profit was conviction, and whose only power was death, directed them to Christ, to whom it shut them up for freedom and life. It made evident to them that in Christ, and in Him alone, they could find salvation. The truth as it is in Jesus, is the truth that sanctifies.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 820.1


    Another point that it is necessary to notice particularly, although it has already been fully covered, is that nobody ever received salvation or the pardon of any sin by virtue of the law of works or the sacrifices connected with it. Moreover, God never caused the people to expect that the law could save, and nobody who truly believed Him ever thought that it could. Samuel said to Saul, “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 820.2

    The prophet king, from a heart melted to contrition by the mercy of God, wrote: “Thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it; thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:16, 17. Through Hosea the Lord, said: “I desired mercy and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6. Instead of the offering of fat beasts, the Lord desired that the people should “let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” Amos 5:24. Recall the chapter on drinking in the righteousness of God.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 820.3

    “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous.” Hebrews 11:4. He did not obtain righteousness by the sacrifice of the firstlings of the clock, but by the faith which prompted the offering. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8. And so it was from the beginning; for “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness,” and the same is affirmed of Enoch and Noah and all the patriarchs and prophets.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 820.4

    After the building of the tabernacle, sacrifices could not be offered in any other place; yet many of the people would necessarily be far away from it. Three times a year they were to assemble to it to worship. But they did not have to wait for those seasons to come, in order to receive forgiveness of the sins that they might have committed in the meantime. Wherever a man might be when he sinned, and became conscious of the plague of his own heart, he could acknowledge the sin to the Lord, who was always at hand, and experience, as well as we can, that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. This is demonstrated in the case of David, when the prophet of God reproved him. David said, “I have sinned against the Lord;” and immediately came the assurance, “The Lord also hath put away thy sin.” 2 Samuel 12:13.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 820.5

    When this had taken place, then the repentant and forgiven soul could “offer the sacrifices of righteousness” (Psalm 4:5; 51:19), which would be acceptable to God. Then would the Lord be pleased with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings upon His altar. And why?-Because they showed the gratitude of the heart, and because they were a recognition of the fact that all belonged to God, and that everything came from Him. In all true sacrifice there is the underlying principle that He who saves the soul is abundantly able to supply all physical needs, even though every vestige of worldly goods should be consumed. It is not the thought that we are giving to God, but that God gives to us, that makes the true sacrifice, since the only real sacrifice is the sacrifice of Christ. This was plainly manifest in every sacrifice that was offered. The people could see that they were not enriching the Lord, for the sacrifice was consumed. Every one who offered intelligently-everyone who worshipped in spirit and in truth-simply indicated that he depended solely on God both for the life that now is and for that which is to come.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 820.6


    The old covenant, therefore, together with the law which pertained to it, was never for one moment of any value whatever for pardon and salvation from sin. It was “made void” even from the beginning. (See Psalm 89:30.) A demonstration of this is furnished by the pleading of Moses with God, when the children of Israel had made and worshipped the golden calf. When God said, “Let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them,” Moses besought the Lord and said:-PTUK December 24, 1896, page 820.7

    “Lord, why doth Thy wrath wax hot against Thy people, which Thou hath brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did He bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from Thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Thy servants, to whom Thou swarest by Thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.” Exodus 32:10-13.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 820.8

    Not a word was there about the covenant that had just been made, but only the covenant with Abraham. No particle of dependence was placed in the promises that the people had made, but only in the promise and the oath of God. If that covenant from Sinai had ever been of any value, it would surely have been when it was first made; but we see that even then it sunk entirely out of sight. It had no more power to save the people than had the parchment on which it was written.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 820.9

    Jeremiah in later years prayed: “O Lord though our iniquities testify against us, do Thou it for Thy name’s sake; for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against Thee.” “We acknowledge, O Lord, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers; for we have sinned against Thee. Do not abhor us, for Thy name’s sake, do not disgrace the throne of Thy glory; remember, break not Thy covenant with us. Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not Thou He, O Lord our God? therefore we will wait upon Thee; for Thou hast made all these things.” Jeremiah 14:7, 20-22. That was all the plea God desired then, as well as now, for He said, “Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause Mine anger to fall upon you; for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God.” Jeremiah 3:12, 13. It was as true then as now, that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.”PTUK December 24, 1896, page 820.10

    God’s power as Creator and Redeemer, and His promise and oath, are all that any really repentant Jew ever depended on for salvation. None of them ever thought of depending upon their own works or promises, as the means of salvation. In short, from the days of Abel until now, there has been but one way of life and salvation; only one way of approaching to God; only one Name under heaven by which men could be saved. Since the day when salvation through the Seed of the woman was made known to Adam and Eve, before they were driven from Eden, there has been no more change in the plan of salvation, nor in God’s requirements for salvation, nor in the number to whom salvation was offered, than there has been in God Himself and His throne in heaven.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 821.1

    Men have changed, but God has not. There have always been men who have trusted in their own words and promises, and in ceremonies; but that does not prove that God wished them to do so. In the days of Moses and of Christ the majority of men trusted mostly in form and ceremony; and so they do to-day. Men have always been more ready to grasp the shadow than the substance. But that does not prove that in the ancient days God expected men to be saved by the law of works, any more than it proves that justification is not by faith now.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 821.2


    There has always been a tendency among men to multiply rites and ceremonies. This is the inevitable result of trusting to works for salvation. So it was in the days of Christ, and so it is now. When men get the idea that their works must save them, or that they themselves must do God’s works, they cannot be content with attempting to do no more than God’s commandments. So they teach for doctrines “the commandments of men,” adding to them continually until no man could even enumerate the “good works” that are required, much less could he do them. The yoke which even at first is galling and insupportable, becomes heavier and heavier, until at last religion becomes a matter of merchandise, and men for money or some other consideration buy themselves off from the necessity of doing the works that have been imposed upon them. And since it is even more impossible for men to do the commandments of God by their own efforts than it is to do the commandments of men, God’s law soon sinks in their estimation, even below the precepts of men.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 821.3

    All this is the natural and inevitable tendency of a failure to see Christ in the writings of Moses, and to understand that whatever ceremonies God ever gave were intended by their very emptiness to impress upon the people the absolute necessity of depending only on Christ, in whom alone is the substance.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 821.4


    One word further as to the shadow and the substance. As we have seen, the law delivered to the people in the wilderness of Sinai was but the shadow of the real law, which is the life of God. This is often urged in depreciation of the law; many people seem to think that since the law is but the shadow of good things, therefore we should choose that which is as opposite to it as possible. Not so do men argue in temporal matters. If we have a photograph-a shadow-of a man whom we wish to find, we do not light on a man whose features bear no resemblance to the likeness, and say, “This is the man.” No; we find a man of whom the photograph is the exact likeness, and then we know that we have the one we seek. Now the real law is the life of God, and the law delivered to the children of Israel-the shadow of good things-is the photograph of God’s character.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 821.5

    The one man in all the world who in every particular meets the specifications of that photograph, is, “the Man Christ Jesus,” in whose heart is the law. He is the image of the invisible God, but the living image-the Living Stone. Coming to Him in faith, we also become living stones, having the same law written in us that was in Him, for His Spirit transforms us into the same living image; and the law on the tables of stone from Sinai will be the witness that the resemblance is perfect. But if there is in any particular a deviation from the perfect photograph, lack of resemblance will show that we are not of the true family of God.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 821.6

    “‘I Have Told You Before’” The Present Truth, 12, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    When Jesus warned His disciples against the false Christs and false prophets who should arise in the later times, and should deceive many, He said: “Behold I have told you before.” The continued reiteration of counsel, advice, warning, injunction and exhortation, is a most marked feature of Christ’s conversations with His disciples, as narrated in the Gospels. If this is so true of the few words of His there set down, how very much more true must it have been if one but considered all the daily conversation and teaching of those years together.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 821.7

    All the plan of salvation He laid before them again and again. The strange, tragic mystery of His crucifixion, death and burial, and resurrection, He foretold to them over and over again, and then promised them that after His resurrection He would go before them into the Galilee.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 821.8

    Yet, although they had seen Him call Lazarus from the grave after he had lain there more than three days, they apparently did not comprehend that He would Himself rise from the dead, as He had repeatedly said to them. When He had told them that He would go before them into Galilee (Matthew 26:32), why did they not all, of one accord, go down into Galilee to meet Him? Because they had forgotten that He had said such a thing until the message from the Lord afterwards recalled it to their minds.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 821.9

    Just so they forgot the oft repeated words of the Master regarding the matter of His death and time of His resurrection. Still, though they were such dull students,-learned so slowly the lessons of truth and life and salvation,-even forgot and neglected again and again the simplest details of facts which He presented to them,-still, for all that, Christ loved them and did not turn from them. He scarcely ever reproved them for their slowness of mind and dulness of heart,-He waited for their conversion. He looked forward to the time when they should be converted, as is shown by His words to Peter, “when thou art converted.”PTUK December 24, 1896, page 821.10

    What a lesson of patience all this is to those who strive to present the truths of religion to the world which is so slow to hear, and slower still to accept and act. And yet much more than that it may be a comfort, unspeakable, to all, to realise how tenderly, with patient longsuffering, Christ bore with the errors, failures, ignorance, seemingly hopeless inability to comprehend spiritual things, which so often characterised those whom He had called to His personal discipleship. In our Bibles we have His words,-in all the wide world about us we have the material evidence of the expression of His word of creative power. The reiteration of God’s teachings are even more numerous in our ears and eyes than their repetition to the disciples themselves.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 822.1

    “Need of Teaching Peace Principles” The Present Truth, 12, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    It used to be said that kings and rulers, and not peoples, were responsible for wars, to which the people devoted their treasure and their lives. But growth of constitutionalism and increasing influence of the masses in national affairs has not resulted in lessening the warlike spirit. This is so sedulously cultivated under the name of patriotism that only recently we have seen statesmen resisting popular feeling in the interests of peace. A daily newspaper, commenting on the growth of militarism alongside the growth of democracy, says:-PTUK December 24, 1896, page 822.2

    Modern Europe teaches the significant lesson that in proportion as newspaper and Parliamentary education has advanced, and in proportion as the popular voice has obtained increased power in the government of nations, expenditure of national wealth for military and naval purposes has augmented. This fact is particularly observable in this country. Whilst expenditure votes have increased with increasing population, our military and naval expenditure votes have increased by leaps and bounds.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 822.3

    The facts are deeply significant for Christians. They show how rapidly the spirit of violence is filling the masses, and how great the need of true education and the principles of peace. It is not that the dreadful demon of war can ever be driven out; the Word of God shows that it will desolate the earth to the end. But now, while yet the general, “armed peace” exists, it needs to be made plain that no instructed Christian can have anything to do with designs upon the lives of those to whom he is commissioned by Christ to give the Gospel of life.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 822.4

    “The Bakers’ Sunday Laws” The Present Truth, 12, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The continued prosecutions of bakers for baking bread on Sundays has led to a considerable agitation for the repeal of that section of the Bread Act which prohibits Sunday baking. On the other hand certain organisations of bakers have memorialised Lord Salisbury, urging him to oppose any attempt to repeal that section. As a matter of pure right and justice there cannot be two opinions about that provision of the law. But those who wish and interest it is that it should be retained are far in the ascendancy as regards the numbers and influence; there is scarcely the least likelihood, therefore, that the agitation will affect the removal of that ancient and objectionable feature from the law.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 823.1

    When once an unrighteous law has gained a place in the statute books, the fact of its unrighteousness will militate little for its removal unless it works a hardship to such a majority of the people that a popular clamour is raised against it through the great number of those whose personal interest have suffered thereby.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 823.2

    In this case it would seem that those who prefer that the improper law should be retained, are to those who desire its removal in about the ratio of one hundred to one.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 823.3

    “The Eastern Question Now” The Present Truth, 12, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The oppressive sense of overwhelming danger leads statesmen of all nations to deal carefully with the problems of the Eastern question. Yet they prepare for its eventual solution, little realising that their own destiny is bound up with that of Turkey; and that when the Ottoman Power, which occupies the very territory of the “king of the north,” of the eleventh of Daniel, “shall come to his end, and none shall help him,” it will be the signal for the ending of human history. For years the situation has remained critical, and now it has taken on a new phase, as a result of recent events. The President of Robert College, Constantinople, says of this change:-PTUK December 24, 1896, page 824.1

    “The events of the past two years have introduced a new factor into the Eastern question. England has taken up a new position. She is ready to make an end of the Ottoman Empire, as hopelessly corrupt; and a year ago she not only made this known to the Powers but sent her fleet to the Dardanelles and threatened to send it to Constantinople. No one who is not familiar with the inner working of European diplomacy can imagine the consternation which this action caused on the Continent. The partition of the Ottoman Empire is the one question which the five Powers do not dare even to mention in a whisper. To seriously discuss it would break up both the alliances and bring on a general war.”PTUK December 24, 1896, page 824.2

    “Items of Interest” The Present Truth, 12, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    -Along the Macedonian frontier the people said to be gathering arms and ammunition in expectation of a rising against Turkish rule in the spring.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 830.1

    -The Spanish arms seem to have had some alight successes in Cuba. It is taken as a true re-port that the leader of the insurgents, Macao, is dead. Ho was a half-breed Cuban, of great ability it is said.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 830.2

    -It is estimated that England pays a million pounds a year for toys for its fifteen millions of children. ?600,000 worth of these toys are imported from abroad,-Germany, Holland, France, Belgium, etc.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 830.3

    -The Hamburg dock strike has been long continued. Lately the strikers have engaged in some violence. Rumours of troubles in all ports are passing about, but as yet the situation is critical only in Hamburg.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 830.4

    -One Rhodesian chief, near Salisbury, is still defiant, and more fighting is expected. An old settler in Matabeleland declares that even now the prospects of long-continued peace with the natives are not reassuring.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 830.5

    -When the “P. & O.” liner capsised in the Thames last week, one of the seven men who were drowned in the tanks, where they were working, might have saved himself, but gave way to a younger man, who was the last to escape through the man-hole.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 830.6

    -The latest returns show that 331,000 persons are employed on the relief works in India. The sufferings amongst the women and children in the famine-stricken districts is said to be most distressing, and a relief fund has been opened in this country. The plague shows no signs of abating in Bombay, and there has been a large exodus of natives from the city.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 830.7

    -The immense estates left by brewers, at their death, is an evidence of where much of the people’s money goes. A brewer has just died whose personalty alone has been declared at two million pounds sterling,-two died in 1893 whose personalty figured up, the one ?2,876,731, the other ?361,568,-yet another died in 1894, whose personalty was declared at ?1,018,375.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 830.8

    -Emigration to America has created so great a dearth of labour in the agricultural districts of Germany that Chinese coolies are now being imported for field work in the provinces of Silesia, East Prussia, Posen, and Pomerania. Coolies are content to work for tenpence a day, and if they continue to arrive in large numbers emigration of German peasants will likely receive a great impetus.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 830.9

    -For more than a year the Russian military authorities have been storing large quantities of grain and ammunition in the extensive granaries and other buildings recently erected in the vicinity of Kars, in the Caucasus; the garrisons of this world-famous fortress and other towns near the frontier have been largely added to, and it is calculated that the Russian army south of the Caucasus numbers quite 100,000 men.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 830.10

    “Back Page” The Present Truth, 12, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    On Sunday, the 22nd day of November, for the first time in more than four hundred years, the ringing of a bell sounded forth from a Catholic church in Copenhagen.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 832.1

    If it be asked, “Why do you publish a paper, and write articles for it?” the reply is, The object of the Present Truth is to lead people to the Word, and to open it to them. We have heard that once and again it has been objected that our paper contains nothing that cannot be found in the Bible. It is our desire that this may always be said with truth. If we can give people such a taste of “the good word of God” that they will long for more, and will be induced to eat and drink freely from the great storehouse, we shall be happy.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 832.2

    “Attention to Bible-reading” The Present Truth, 12, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Attention to Bible-reading .-If you want to be strong Christian people, hide the Bible in your heart. You make a tremendous mistake, for your own soul’s sake, if your religious reading consists in what people have said and thought about Scripture more than in the Scripture itself. Why should you dip your cans into the reservoir, when you can take them up to where the spring comes gushing out of the hillside, pure, and limpid, and living?-Dr. Maclaren.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 832.3

    Exhortations of this kind cannot be too often repeated or too strongly emphasised. It is a deplorable fact that most people who profess an interest in the Bible, will go almost anywhere except to the Book itself, to find out what it teaches. One might as well expect to grow strong by reading treatises on the nutritive value of various foods, as to grow wise unto salvation by reading comments on the Bible. He who would grow stronger must keep the real food, and so with the Word of God which is living bread and water.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 832.4

    “Strength Now” The Present Truth, 12, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Strength Now .-Some time you intend to be strong, and do better; when this weakness is overcome the strength will come. This thought that sometime the overcoming power will come makes many content to be weak. But God is strong now. We are weak; well, “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.” Isaiah 40:29. It is a wrong idea of how strength comes that leads one to go on in weakness expecting some day to get strong. “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might,” is God’s command. It is not to the strong, but to the weak that He gives strength. Confess the weakness, not as an excuse for continuing in it, but as the reason for laying hold of God’s strength now.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 832.5

    “The Unsteady Earth” The Present Truth, 12, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Unsteady Earth .-On Thursday morning, the 17th, at about half-past five, a sharp earthquake shock was felt nearly all over England. In some places crockery was thrown to the floor and church bells are said to have been rung by the vibration. No material injury resulted, except that in Hereford a lady with a weak heart was frightened to death.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 832.6

    Although there have been earthquakes in England that have wrecked buildings, yet they are so infrequent that this one has caused widespread comment. The Chronicle closes a “leader” upon it with these words:-PTUK December 24, 1896, page 832.7

    Fortunately for us there is not much temptation to study earthquakes in this country. They occur so rarely, and in such tempered form that we almost welcome them as excellent subjects for light conversation.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 832.8

    Such remarks as the foregoing are certainly very light indeed. One need not be a wild alarmist, to think seriously over the occurrence of earthquakes. Our Saviour spoke of the rise of nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and the occurrence of famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places, as “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:7, 8), connected with the final dissolution and subsequent renewing of the earth. When the solid earth begins to move, it is always a serious matter.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 832.9

    “The Root of the Matter” The Present Truth, 12, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Root of the Matter .-It is an encouraging sign when those who are labouring for reform recognise the cause of the evil which they seek to remove or minimise. Lady Henry Somerset, when asked how she accounted for the marked increase of drunkenness, especially among women, gave heredity as the prime cause. The present generation is suffering the accumulated effects of many generations of drunkenness. Then she added:-PTUK December 24, 1896, page 832.10

    Other causes are insufficient food, bad air, and dreary surroundings. Temperance workers too often refuse to recognise these facts. They go around asking the people to sign the pledge, but they never seek to deal with the causes which lie at the root of drunkenness, especially in the case of women-causes which no mere written promises can remove. Consider the hopeless dullness of the lives of Englishwomen in the working classes.... . The wife of the English workingman has nothing but sordid, dismal, unrelieved monotony. Is it any wonder that too often she seeks relief in drink?PTUK December 24, 1896, page 832.11

    This touches the root of the matter, and shows that the only practical way to deal with the drinking habits of a people is to improve their habits of eating and general living. This of course is only a portion of what is needed; before the victory can be won, the poor souls must be brought to think of something besides themselves; and for lifting people out of themselves there is nothing that can take the place of Christ and His Gospel.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 832.12

    “The Good Way” The Present Truth, 12, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Good Way .-The Chinese missionaries, in the region of Foochow, have given a good lesson to missionary boards, which are so prone to demand punishment of offenders and the exaction of compensation whenever heathen passion results in the destruction of mission property. The Christian says:-PTUK December 24, 1896, page 832.13

    An important memorandum has been sent home by seventy missionaries in the neighbourhood of Foochow, in China, to their respective boards at home, pointing out that a conspicuous example of disinterestedness has been shown by no compensation having been sought for the massacres of missionaries in August, 1895. Now, in answer to prayer, there is a widespread and general movement towards Christianity among all classes of the population and in all parts of the province, hundreds having joined the local churches, a fact which has aroused the authorities, and brought more persecution.PTUK December 24, 1896, page 832.14

    If it had been left to the missionaries, we hope, there would also have been no demand for the execution of the ringleaders for the murder of the missionaries who lost their lives. What an awful thing for professing Christians to demand that men fighting against the Gospel shall be launched red-handed into eternity!PTUK December 24, 1896, page 832.15

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