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    December 31, 1896

    “‘His Time Was Not Yet Come’” The Present Truth, 12, 53.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no man laid hands on Him; for His hour was not yet come.” John 8:20.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 833.1

    How many times they had tried to lay hands on Him. Only in the preceding chapter we learned that “the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him,” but the officers returned without having so much as spoken to Him. At one time the enraged Jews had Him in their hands, “and thrust Him out of the city, and led Him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast Him down headlong. But He passing through the midst of them went His way.” Luke 4:29, 30. All the plotting of the enemies of Jesus availed nothing against Him, until His time came.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 833.2

    Why was it?-It was simply because He had been sent into the world by the Father to do a definite work, and He “was faithful to Him that appointed Him.” Hebrews 3:1, 2. To accomplish the work was His sole thought and life, more to Him than food and drink and rest. See John 4:6-8, 31-34. He knew that the Father, who sent Him, was always with Him, and so He left the management of His case, and the protection of Himself, to the Father. While He was thus devoted to the work of God, always doing those things that please Him, Jesus was as safe from injury as God Himself; for it was God that was working in Him, and it is not possible that God would allow Himself to be hindered or stopped in His work by man.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 833.3

    Jesus therefore needed not to waste one moment in worrying about His own safety; He knew that no one could do Him harm until the Father permitted it, and then when He had finished the work He had been given to do, it was His joy to suffer as well as it was to work.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 833.4

    But of what use is all this to us? Was it written simply as a matter of curiosity? When we have read it, and know the facts, is that the end of the matter? Is there no lesson of encouragement in it for us? Of course there is encouragement for us, for it was written only for our learning, “that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope.” But we often lose the lesson of Christ’s life, because we fail to recognise or to remember the fact that He was a representative man.” In all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren.” Hebrews 3:17. “As He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17. God manifested Himself in the flesh of Jesus of Nazareth, in order to show what He could accomplish in the flesh, not simply of one man, but of all men who will allow Him to dwell in them in His fulness.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 833.5

    Those who regard Christ as being peculiar, an exception among men, lose the benefit of the Divine manifestation in the flesh. True, He was peculiar, just as He gave Himself for us, that He might purify unto Himself a peculiar people. To those who receive Him, He gives power to become sons of God, own brothers of Christ, having equal rights and privileges with Him. John 1:12; Romans 8:16, 17. He sends His disciples forth, even as He Himself was sent forth, assuring them that they are loved by the Father just as much as He Himself is (John 17:18, 23), and that He is always with them. Matthew 28:20.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 833.6

    “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” 1 Peter 4:19. The children of God, who are consecrated to His service, intent only on doing His will, have no more reason to fear than Jesus had, and no more reason to engage in self-defence. If their work is the Lord’s, they may be sure that no man can stay that work, and that they are safe until the portion of it allotted to them is accomplished. Let it be our sole business to finish the work God has given us to do, and resting calmly in the knowledge that our times are in His hand.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 833.7

    “‘An High Look’” The Present Truth, 12, 53.

    E. J. Waggoner

    When one reads of princes as suppliants at the foot of the Pope, and of almost daily pomp and ceremony, it is not difficult to see what the prophet meant when he described the persecuting power that was to rise after the division of the Roman Empire as one “whose look was more stout than his fellows.” Prouder claims were never made by the most arrogant of kings than are made by the priest-king who represents the Papacy.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 833.8

    But stout looks are not peculiar to Roman prelates, nor even to official and officious ecclesiasticism anywhere. Pride is the root principle of the Papacy, and, as pride is natural to every heart, every man needs to be saved from popery. “An high look and a proud heart” are as much an abomination to the Lord in one place as another. The Lord denounces the ecclesiastical Babylon for its pride, and calls upon His people to come out of it, for it shall be “utterly burned with fire.” Revelation 18:8. But that day will devour all pride and self-esteem. “For behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up.” Malachi 3:1.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 834.1

    “And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.” Isaiah 2:17.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 834.2

    “Being with Christ” The Present Truth, 12, 53.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “Then said Jesus again unto them, I go My way, and ye shall seek Me, and shall die in your sins; whither I go, ye cannot come.” John 8:21.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 834.3

    That is easily understood; of course those who die in their sins cannot go to be with the Lord; we all know that, for we have been taught from infancy that it is only the good who go to heaven when they die. Yes; we can well believe that those wicked Jews who persistently sought to take the life of Jesus, could not go to be with Him, if they died unrepentant.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 834.4

    But, hold a minute; not long afterwards Jesus used similar language to an entirely different class of people. Pass to chapter 13, verse 33, and we find Jesus saying to His beloved disciples, whom He tenderly addressed as “little children,” “Yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek Me; and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.”PTUK December 31, 1896, page 834.5

    “Ah, yes,” says one, “but He meant that they could not follow Him then, because they were to live several years after His crucifixion and ascension. Later on He said to Peter, ‘Thou canst not follow Me now; but thou shalt follow Me afterwards.’” Verse 36. Yes, but the next verse shows us that Peter could not follow Him then, even though He should lay down His life for him.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 834.6

    Now read a little further. The words of Jesus, “Whither I go, ye cannot come,” very naturally filled the hearts of His disciples with sorrow. They had indeed left all for Him, and had learned to depend on Him; and now the thought that He was going to leave them alone, troubled them. So Jesus addressed to them these comforting words:-PTUK December 31, 1896, page 834.7

    “Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 834.8

    Now we know what time Jesus referred to when He said “afterward.” The “afterward,” when His disciples should be with Him, is when He comes again, “the second time, without sin, unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:28. He has not yet come again, and therefore no soul has gone to be with Jesus since His ascension. Just as surely as He went away from this earth, so surely will He come again. But it is no more sure that He went away, than that He went away for a definite purpose, and that purpose was to prepare a place for His disciples. The place is not yet prepared, for He has not yet come again. Moreover since He is to return for the express purpose of receiving His disciples unto Himself, it is certain that none are with Him now; for we may be sure that Jesus will not come to earth on a fool’s errand; He will not come to take people to heaven, who are already there; and He would not tell them that He would come for them, knowing all the time that they were to be with Him many years before His return. No; whether a man dies a saint or a sinner, he cannot go to be with the Lord at his death.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 834.9

    The same words of comfort that Jesus spoke to the disciples are those which the Apostle Paul speaks to us all, by the Lord’s authority. “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [go before] them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 834.10

    So shall we be ever with the Lord. How? By the resurrection of the dead, and the translation of the living. The dead do not go before the living. All wait until Christ’s coming, and then all are “changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 834.11

    This change will take place “in the twinkling of an eye.” This will be as true of the dead as of the living. A thousand years of absolute unconsciousness is as no time at all. So to the saint who closed his eyes in death ages before the coming of the Lord, it will be the same as though he closed his eyes and instantly opened them again to behold the glory of the Lord. All the time between will be but as the twinkling of an eye. There will be no disappointment. To the saints who, like Stephen, have in their last moments seen the Lord in glory, it will be the same as though they had that instant gone to be with Him. Their eyelids fell, the dreamless sleep of years is to them no longer than the twinkling of an eye, and they raise their eyelids to see the Lord still standing to receive them. “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”PTUK December 31, 1896, page 834.12

    “Pertinent Questions” The Present Truth, 12, 53.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Pertinent Questions .-Having seen the statement in the New York Independent that there were more than three thousand congregations in the Presbyterian and Congregational bodies and the United States that did not have a single addition by conversion in the last year, Mr. D. L. Moody writes as follows to that paper:-PTUK December 31, 1896, page 834.13

    Is this the result of what they call the “modern criticism” of the Bible? Is this a specimen of the better times, when we would get rid of the old stories about Moses writing the Pentateuch, and the sun and moon standing still, and the fish swallowing Jonah? How much of all this is owing to the politics our ministers have been preaching lately, and the talks on the Labour question, and the stereopticon shows on Sunday evenings, and all these other things that have been driving out the blessed Gospel of Jesus Christ? When ministers go into preludes on current topics, how can they expect any afterludes of conversions?PTUK December 31, 1896, page 834.14

    These questions are practical, and may be considered with profit on both sides of the Atlantic.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 834.15

    “The Promises to Israel. Entering the Promised Land” The Present Truth, 12, 53.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “And about the time of forty years suffered He their manners in the wilderness.” Acts 13:18. In these few words the Apostle Paul in his discourse in the synagogue at Antioch disposed of the forty years’ wandering of the Israelites in the wilderness; and for the purpose of our present study we may pass it by nearly as hastily. Their manners were such that God literally “suffered” them. The record is one of murmurings and rebellion. “They believed not in God, and trusted not in His salvation.” Psalm 78:22. “How oft did they provoke Him in the wilderness, and grieve Him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. They remembered not His hand, nor the day when He delivered them from the enemy; how He had wrought His signs in Egypt, and His wonders in the field of Zoan.” Verses 40-43. Although for forty years they daily saw the works of God, they did not learn His ways; wherefore, says the Lord, “I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known My ways. So I sware in My wrath, they shall not enter into My rest.” Hebrews 3:10, 11.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 835.1


    “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” What does that teach us as to the nature of the inheritance to which God was leading His people?-Simply this, that it was an inheritance that could be possessed only by those who had faith-that faith alone could win it. Worldly, temporal possessions may be, and are, gained and held by men who disbelieve, and who even despise and blaspheme God. Indeed, unbelieving men have the most of this world’s goods. Many besides the writer of the seventy-third Psalm have been envious at the prosperity of the wicked; but such feeling of envy arises only when one looks at the things that are temporal, instead of at the things that are eternal. “The prosperity of fools shall destroy them.” God has chosen the poor of this world, “rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him.” James 2:5. That kingdom is “not of this world” (John 18:36), but is “a better country, that is, an heavenly,” for which the patriarchs looked. It was to this country that God promised to lead His people when He delivered them from Egypt. But it can be possessed only by those who are “rich in faith.”PTUK December 31, 1896, page 835.2

    The time had come when God could carry out His purpose with His people. The faithless ones who had said that their little ones would die in the desert had perished, and now those same children, grown to manhood, and trusting the Lord, were about to enter the promised land. After the death of Moses, God said to Joshua: “Arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.” Joshua 1:2, 3.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 835.3


    But the Jordan rolled between the Israelites and the land to which they were to go with all their flocks and little ones. The river was at its height, overflowing all its banks, and there were no bridges; but the same God who had brought His people through the Red Sea was still leading them, and He was as able as ever to do wonders. All the people took their places according to the Lord’s directions, the priests bearing the ark being about a thousand paces in advance of the host. Onward they marched toward the river, whose flood still kept on its way. To the very brink of the stream they came, yet the waters receded not an inch. But this people had learned to trust the Lord, and, as He had told them to go on, they hesitated not for an instant. Into the water they went, although they knew that it was so deep that it could not possibly be forded, and swift enough to carry them away. They had nothing to do with considering difficulties; their part was to obey the Lord and go forward, and His to make the way.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 835.4

    “And it came to pass,...as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, that the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan; and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people passed over right against Jericho. And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.” Joshua 3:14-17.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 835.5

    What a display of faith and trust in God! The bed of the Jordan was dry, it is true, for the people to pass over, but on the right hand was a wall of water, piling still higher and higher, with no visible support. Picture to yourself that mighty heap of water, apparently threatening to overwhelm the people, and you can better appreciate the faith of those who calmly passed over before it. All the time of the passage the priests stood calm and unmoved in the midst of the river bed, and the people marched over without breaking ranks. There was no unseemly scramble to get over quickly, lest the waters should come down upon them; for “he that believeth shall not make haste.”PTUK December 31, 1896, page 835.6


    “At that time the Lord said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time.” “For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord; unto whom the Lord sware that He would not show them the land, which the Lord sware unto their fathers that He would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey. And their children, whom He raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised; because they had not circumcised them by the way. And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole. And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you.” Joshua 5:2-9.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 836.1

    In order to see the full force of this ceremony at this time we must recall the significance of circumcision, and must also know what is meant by “the reproach of Egypt.” Circumcision signified righteousness by faith (Romans 4:11); true circumcision, whose praise is not of men, but of God, is obedience to the law, through the Spirit (Romans 2:25-29); it is complete distrust of self, and confidence and rejoicing in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:3. In the instance before us we see that God Himself commanded the people to be circumcised, a positive proof that He Himself accepted them as righteous. As with Abraham, so with them, their faith was counted to them for righteousness.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 836.2

    “Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34. Sin was “the reproach of Egypt,” and it was this that was rolled away from the children of Israel; for the true circumcision of the heart, which alone is all that God counts as circumcision, is “the putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” Colossians 2:11. “Thus saith the Lord God: In the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up Mine hand unto the seed of the house of Jacob, and made Myself known unto them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up Mine hand unto them, saying, I am the Lord your God;...then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord your God. But they rebelled against Me, and would not hearken unto Me; they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Eypgt.” Ezekiel 20:58.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 836.3

    It was because they would not forsake the idols of Egypt, that the men who left that country with Moses did not enter into the promised land. A people cannot at one and the same time be both free and in bondage. The bondage of Egypt-“the reproach of Egypt”-was not merely the physical labour which the people were forced to do without reward, but was the abominable idolatry of Egypt, into which they had fallen. It was from this that God would deliver His people, when He said to Pharaoh, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me.”PTUK December 31, 1896, page 836.4

    This freedom the people had at last obtained. God Himself declared that the bondage, the sin, the reproach of Egypt was rolled away from them. Then could it be sung, “Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.” Isaiah 26:2.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 836.5


    “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.” Hebrews 11:30.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 836.6

    “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 836.7

    “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:4.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 836.8

    The children of Israel were in the promised land, but yet to all appearances they were no more in possession than they were before. They still dwelt in tents, while the inhabitants of the land were intrenched in their cities, which were “walled up to heaven,” fully as strong as when the mere report of them caused the children of Israel to lose heart and turn back forty years before. But stone walls and multitudes of armed men avail nothing when the battle is the Lord’s.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 836.9

    “Now the city of Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in.” Joshua 6:1. Jericho was the first city to be taken and the mode of operation which the Lord directed, was one calculated to test to the utmost the faith of the Israelites. All the people were to march round the city in perfect silence, with the exception that the priests who went ahead with the ark were to blow on their trumpets. “Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any noise proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.” Joshua 6:10. As soon as they had completed this silent circuit of the city, they were to go into camp. The same thing was to be done for six successive days, and on the seventh day the circuit was to be made seven times.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 836.10

    Picture to yourself the situation. Tramp, tramp, the whole multitude went round the city, and then went into camp. Again and again they repeated this, with no apparent result. The walls stood as high and as grim as before; not a stone had fallen, not a bit of mortar had been loosened. Yet not one word of complaint was heard from one of the people.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 836.11

    We can well believe that for the first day or two the sight of that great host marching silently about the city filled the inhabitants with dread, more especially as they had previously been terrified by the reports of what God had done for those people. But as the march was repeated day after day, seemingly to no purpose, it would be most natural for the beleaguered ones to pick up courage, and regard the whole affair as a farce. Many would begin to mock, and to taunt the Israelites with their senseless methods. The history of warfare furnished no precedent for such a mode of proceeding to capture a city, and it would have been contrary to human nature if some of the people of the city had not openly ridiculed the marchers outside.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 836.12

    But not a single word of retort came from those ranks. Patiently the children of Israel bore whatever taunts may have been hurled at them. Not a voice was heard saying, “What is the use of all this?” “What kind of general is this man Joshua?” “Does he suppose that by our measured tread we can set the walls to vibrating so that they will fall down?” “What’s the use of tiring our legs and wearing out our shoes in this child’s parade?” “Well, I am tired of this fooling, and shall stay in my tent until we can do something worth the while.” Anyone who knows anything of human nature knows that these and similar expressions would freely be uttered under such circumstances by the most of people; and it would be remarkable if there were not open revolt against the proceedings. This would have been the case with the children of Israel forty years before; and the fact that they patiently and quietly marched around the city thirteen times, seemingly with no object, is proof of the most remarkable faith that the world has ever known. Think of an entire nation among which there was not one fault-finder, not one to utter a word of complaint when put to inconvenience which he could not understand, and which was apparently useless.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 836.13

    The seventh day was nearly gone, and the thirteenth round of the city was completed. Everything remained just as at the beginning of their march. Now came the last, the crowning test of faith. “And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city.” Joshua 6:16.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 837.1

    Why should they shout?-Because the Lord had given them the city; they were to shout the victory. But what evidence was there that the victory was won? they could see no gain. Oh, faith is “the evidence of things not seen.” The victory was theirs, because God had granted it to them, and their faith claimed it at His word. Not a moment did they hesitate; their faith was perfect, and at the word of command a triumphant shout rose from that vast assembly. “And it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat.” Joshua 6:20.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 837.2

    The promise to those people was the very same that God now extends to us; and all things recorded of them are for our learning. “They got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them” (Ps. xliv.), but the Lord’s right hand saved them. Even so will He grant unto us that we shall “be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us,” that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life. Luke 1:68-75. This deliverance is through Christ, who is now, as well as in the days of Joshua, the “Captain of the Lord’s host.” He says, “In the word ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. “And ye are complete in Him, which is the Head of all principality and power.” Colossians 2:10. Therefore “this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 837.3

    “‘Could Ye Not Watch with Me?’” The Present Truth, 12, 53.

    E. J. Waggoner

    When the last supper was prepared, and, in the evening, Christ and the twelve had seated themselves and were eating, He said to them, “Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me.” Later, when they had finished this, their last meal together, and their hearts were warm and tender from the loving acts of service from the Master, which followed the supper, they sang a hymn and went out upon the mount of Olives. Then Christ said to them, “All ye shall be offended because of Me this night.” But Peter replied, “Though all men should be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended.” Whereupon Christ foretold to him the thrice repeated denial of Him which he should make before the morning light. This roused Peter to the still stronger assertion. “Though I should die with Thee, yet will I not deny Thee.” All the disciples, also, said the same thing.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 838.1

    They were apparently very positive,-it seemed that they spoke with absolute assurance. Nothing, not even the fear of an immediate and ignominious death, could influence them to deny Him. But when they had come to Gethsemane He said to them, “Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.” And selecting Peter, James, and John, for a more special test of their love and tenderness toward Him, and additional opportunity for its expression, He went with them on yet a little farther and there left them with the request that they stay and watch with Him. The words with which He prefaced this request were enough to have filled their hearts with such a tender earnestness of anxious affection as to have driven sleep from their eyes,-“My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” Yet, in both mind and heart, they so failed to realise and appreciate His anguish and its cause, that they not only did not watch and pray with Him, but slept. Three times He repeated to them their opportunity, and yet they still slept,-returning, then, to the others, they all were sleeping. They had all forsaken Him, already, in their ignorance and self-assurance. They were positive in their assertions that they would never deny or forsake Him.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 838.2

    But all their protestations had been made purely in the assumption that each was able to carry out his intention in his own strength. Here was lacking entirely the humility of faith and trust in the power of God to supplement their expression of their intention to be faithful with the necessary strength and wisdom to remain so indeed. The truth is they were still unconverted men. They did not yet realise the weakness of man,-nor yet understand the power of God. They had not yet distinguished things material from things spiritual. That they were so dull of heart and soul of understanding increased their sorrows and multiplied their trials, while it deprived them of the joy, almost supernal, which might have been theirs to have been in loving sympathy with the Master in those last hours of agony. They must have afterwards felt that the utter self-abrogation and service of their whole after lives could not atone for any one of the lost moments of watching and prayer which they allowed to pass so carelessly then.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 838.3

    But that which Christ said to them, He still says, and to all,-Watch! Pray! Carry My Gospel to the people! It is just as possible for us to lose the great opportunities offered us now, as it was for them then. The victories to be gained over self and Satan are just as great now as then. The work to be done, in our own hearts, and in the world, is no less-but there is less time in which to do it. Yet, at the same time, the love of God is the same, without diminution or variance, and to Him all things are possible, so, therefore, to us, through His love and omnipotence.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 838.4

    The disciples failed pitifully when they thought they were able, in their own strength, even to profess Christ only, to the world. The lesson to us is that we should fall into no such error, but, asking, receive from Him day by day the necessary strength and wakefulness in which to watch, and pray, and work with Him until the end.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 838.5

    “The Lesson of Calamities” The Present Truth, 12, 53.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “When Thy judgments are in the earth,” says the prophet, “the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” Indifference to eternal things is the sin of all ages. Men rush on after the unabiding things of this world and the ears are closed to any message of the abiding truths of the Gospel. But as the coming of the Lord draws near, and as Satan works with greater power to destroy, and as men withdraw themselves more and more from the protection of the Lord, increasing calamities will startle many into giving attention to those things which concern their salvation. On the other hand, the great mass of mankind will refuse to allow the very judgments of the Lord to turn them from the pursuit of temporal profit and pleasure. For the prophet continues, “Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord.” Isaiah 26:9, 10.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 838.6

    The Review of Reviews describes some of the great calamities which marked the year just past, and which follow us into the new year. After referring to the Indian famine, it says:-PTUK December 31, 1896, page 838.7

    “If Asia has been scourged by the land refusing to yield a harvest owing to the heavens denying the fruitful showers, without which the most fertile loam is as barren as alkali, her sister continent has this year suffered from a disaster hardly less appalling. The rinderpest, said to have been introduced into Abyssinia by plague-smitten cattle sent to supply the Italian army with food, found Africa as virgin soil for its ravages. From the mountains of Rasselas it began its march southward, eating up as it went nine-tenths of the hoofed beasts, wild and tame, of the African Continent. The herds upon which the natives of the interior depend so largely for their sustenance were mown down as the meadow-grass falls before the scythe, only the fringes being spared. Nor does the rinderpest discriminate between the domesticated and the wild cattle. The savage buffalo wallowing in the marsh found no method of escape from the invisible Death. Nor were swift-footed antelope able to elude the swifter darts of the deadly archer. Three out of five species of antelope died like rotten sheep. The others, for some cause not yet discovered, seem to be immune.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 838.8

    For some time it was hoped that the broad waters of the Zambesi would offer an insuperable barrier to the southerly-marching rinderpest. But the subtle contagion leapt the might river and began its ravages in Rhodesia. It is the fashion to speak of war as the sum of all evils. The war in Matabeleland was a picnic to the horror of the cattle plague. It is computed that out of 200,000 cattle in Rhodesia it has not left 15,000 alive. The milk, the beef, the leather, and the transport of the country were all destroyed. Faring southward, the rinderpest struck Khama’s country, a land which is far richer in beeves than Rhodesia. The Bechuanas and Bamangwato were mighty herd-men. They numbered their cattle at one million. When the rinderpest left them, 800,000 beast lay dead on the veldt, and Khama rejoiced that the percentage of mortality was, comparatively speaking, so low. From Bechuanaland the deadly scourge is travelling to Cape Colony, where it is expected it will eat up the cattle down to the sea. So terrible a visitation, extending over so wide an area, is almost unknown in the annals of Africa. The grievous murrain that smote the herds of Pharaoh was but a parochial epidemic compared with this continental catastrophe.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 839.1

    “Items of Interest” The Present Truth, 12, 53.

    E. J. Waggoner

    -The cholera epidemic In Bombay continues to increase.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 846.1

    -The Spanish forces in the Philippines heavily engaged the rebels last week, and were repulsed with severe loss.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 846.2

    -A ton of the water of the Dead Sea, when evaporated yields 187 pounds of salt; a ton of the water of the Atlantic Ocean, 81 pounds; a ton of water of the Pacific, 81 pounds.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 846.3

    -The longest distance to which a projectile has been thrown was at Shoeburyness, on April 15, 1888, when a Longridge wire-bound gun threw a shot 21,858 yards, or 12 miles 238 yards.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 846.4

    -The word “dun” is said to owe its origin to one Joe Dun, a famous bailiff about 1500. He is said to have been so shrewd and dexterous in the collection of dues that his name became proverbial.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 846.5

    -The Czar is presenting the Emperor of Abyssinia with a complete collection of musical instruments horn grand piano down. Russia is making efforts to get a footing along the Red Sea, so as to act as protector of Abyssinia.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 846.6

    -In the Russian Army two days a week are observed as partial fasts-Wednesdays and Fridays-on which days all the soldier gets in the way of food is lentil soup and black bread, and a drink consisting of water in which rye bread has been absorbed.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 846.7

    -An Imperial Bourse law comes into operation in Germany on January 2, 1897, which is very strict in its terms and is intended to do away with the dealing in “options” and “futures,” and make all stock gambling hereafter more difficult and less profitable.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 846.8

    -The world’s production of gold in 1896 will reach at least ?44,000,000. The output is unprecedented. It is over twice as large as that of 1886, nearly equal to that of gold and silver combined in that year. Furthermore, the indications all point to a steady increase in the world’s production for years in the future.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 846.9

    -One of our missionaries in India says: “In the province of Bengal alone there are to-day 1,641,519 pupils in the schools. Of this number, 152,414 are in English colleges and schools. If the same proportion holds throughout India, there are at the present time more than six million scholars, over half a million of whom are in English schools. There are supposed to be five million English speaking natives in this country, and this number is rapidly increasing year by year.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 846.10

    -It is estimated that the people of these British isles spend during the Christmas season an extra amount yearly, over and above what their ordinary expenditure would be, of ?16,000,000. Of this immense sum the statistics of trade show that by far the larger amount goes in extra food and drink. One large firm takes on an extra Christmas stock, which it expects to dispose of during the holidays, of 15,000 dozens of champagne; 80,000 gallons of spirits; 1,350,000 cigars; 2,950,000 cigarettes; and 12,000 pounds weight of tobacco.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 846.11

    “Back Page” The Present Truth, 12, 53.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A little while ago I placed a large lump of coal on the grate. If I had attempted to break it in pieces before putting it on the fire, it would have required several sharp blows of the hammer; yet now, behold, by the quiet action of the fire, without any noise or display of force, there are deep fissures through it in every direction, and with the slightest touch it falls to pieces. Thus the Word of God acts upon hard hearts, when they are brought into contact with it, and left to it alone. “Is not My word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:29.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.1

    “In Argentina” The Present Truth, 12, 53.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In Argentina .-One of our workers in Argentina says of the conditions there:-PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.2

    Locusts appear by the millions, and they look like great clouds in the distance. Whole fields of wheat have been destroyed, and yet they continue to come. In addition, caterpillars are adding their forces in cutting down whole fields of wheat. The Lord is taking away the things in which man is so liable to trust. These misfortunes are having a good effect; for some are led to inquire what they shall do to be saved.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.3

    He reports most encouraging results following a preaching tour in Northern Argentina. Many are hungry for the word.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.4

    “Bargaining with the Lord” The Present Truth, 12, 53.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Bargaining with the Lord .-There are wonderful promises in the Word of what God will do to sustain those who trust Him. But the man who says, “Now I will trust God, and see if He will not give me something,” is only experimenting, not trusting, and can get nothing. So, too, the man that reads God’s promises and says, “Now I will serve the Lord in order to get what He promises,” is not serving God and cannot claim the promises. He reasons that if he will do this or that God will give him something. He is trying to make a bargain over the counter with the Lord, and will make a sad failure. The man who finds his reward in the joy of the knowledge of God and His salvation can never be disappointed.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.5

    “Vain Confidence” The Present Truth, 12, 53.

    E. J. Waggoner

    At this season of the year the religious journals feel it their duty to tell what wonderful advance the world has made since the day when the angels sang, “Peace on earth, good will to men,” and it is right that people should know what ground there is for such optimism. The following extracts from an article in the Spectator show the exact facts of the case:-PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.6

    The Continental world is positively crushed down with armaments; every new discovery in explosives cost millions in new artillery and new rifles; while the outlay on ironclads and quick-firing marine-guns advances as if the nations believed that the one which voted the last shilling must inevitably be the victor....PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.7

    So deep is the fear, so imperfect the self-reliance, that a change of the smallest moment in one country is instantly imitated in another; that forces and guns are counted down to half-dozens; that the portentous news, “Herr Krupp is making experiments,” excites a thrill in half a dozen first-class capitals, and, if confirmed, will set all dealers in destructive chemicals agog. It is a certainty that if anyone invented a rifle 10 per cent. better than those new used, the whole of Europe would adopt it, whatever the cost, and would believe sincerely that the Power which obtained its supply first would instantly invade the others, probably without a declaration of war....PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.8

    That single fact, that in every city of the Continent the rough populace will seize and maltreat or kill any strange artist seen sketching any portion of a fortress, is a measure of the depth of the fear which, however it may be veiled, universally prevails....PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.9

    All Europe is in the state in which the women of our southern counties were when Bonaparte was widely expected to land, a state compounded of fury, nerves, credulity, and a very clear idea how terrible the results of an invasion actually would be....PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.10

    The cure? The very worst of the situation is that there is no cure.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.11

    But the trouble is not limited to Europe. The New York Independent, one of the most optimistic of religious journals, in its outlook upon the future, says:-PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.12

    In a word, there is discontent in this country of the most perilous kind; and it has been created, not by the natural laws of trade, but by corrupt politics, directed by men who have made and expended fortunes in “exploiting the imperfections of the law.”PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.13

    Yet on the preceding page from the foregoing, the same journal indulges in the following rhapsody:-PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.14

    The Prince of Peace has come down again to earth, He dwells in His Church. He is possessing the hearts of parliaments and kings. His are the forces of civilisation, through locomotive and steamship and dynamo know it not. His peaceful army is preparing to possess and rule the twentieth-century.... Blessed are the eyes that shall see the middle of the twentieth-century; blessed are our eyes that we see the Lord already returned to earth, and setting up His kingdom among His saints.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.15

    It sounds like irony, but it is not; the men who write these prophecies of peace actually believe them. Why?-because “they are drunken, but not with wine.” The vision of the prophet is to them a sealed book, and they see no danger in the gathering clouds. The worst of it is that the ungodly, instead of being awakened, are being lulled into a false security-dancing on a burning ship.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.16

    The Gospel has not failed, and will not fail, although evil men and seducers wax worse and worse, and nation rises up against nation and kingdom against kingdom. The Lord has given us no warrant to look for general peace in this world, but has assured us that the universal war, instead of universal peace, would be the last seen in the drama. Nevertheless the announcement of “Peace on earth” is winning souls to the ranks of the Prince of Peace, and in the new earth, wherein righteousness shall dwell, the meek “shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.17

    “Periodical Goodness” The Present Truth, 12, 53.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Periodical Goodness .-In an article on the use of the Sunday before Christmas as “Peace Sunday,” we read: “As Christmas Day approaches, every Christian should carefully cast out of his heart every form of vindictiveness and ill-will.” Everybody likes to be good-at certain times; and if people were only as good all the time as they imagine they are at those special seasons, it would certainly be well with them. Unfortunately this periodical goodness is only imaginary goodness. Evil is cast out of the heart only by the presence of Christ dwelling within, and the Christian is the one who does not limit the indwelling of Christ to Sundays and holidays. The Gospel knows no such thing as holiday religion. An apostate Church has invented and adopted many days and seasons for special goodness; the Lord says: “If any man love Me, he will keep my words; and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” John 14:23.PTUK December 31, 1896, page 848.18

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