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    1878

    April 18, 1878

    “The Sermon” The Signs of the Times 4, 15, pp. 113, 118.

    [Delivered by Elder A. T. Jones at Jefferson, Oregon, on Wednesday evening, January 16, 1878, and published by special request.]SITI April 18, 1878, page 113.1

    “THOU shall worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:10.SITI April 18, 1878, page 113.2

    These words were spoken by our Saviour when under the temptation to worship another than God; when Satan offered Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, if He would fall down and worship him, but Jesus repelled his proposition with the words of our text. Certainly it is no more than right that man should worship the Lord his God, and Him only. But there are some even in these days who will stand with ancient Pharaoh, and utter the same sentiments that he uttered as recorded in Exodus 5:2, when Moses told him, “The Lord God of Israel says let my people go,” he made answer as follows, “Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord neither will I let Israel go.” So now there are those who when we read the words of our text will say, “Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice to worship and serve him? I know not the Lord neither will I worship nor serve him.” And not content with making the assertion that they do not know him, which might be taken as an admission that there are some things of which they are ignorant, they will go so far as to say, “There is no God.”SITI April 18, 1878, page 113.3

    Now we wish to show that there is no excuse for any man making such an assertion, for God has taken away every excuse. We read Romans 1:19, 20: Because that which may be known of God, is manifest in them, (margin to them) for God hath showed it unto them, for the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and God-head, so that they are without excuse. Here we see that they are without excuse because God has shown them the things which reveal him and which make his power known. Certainly, if any one shows me a thing I am without excuse for not seeing it. Paul also says that these things are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.SITI April 18, 1878, page 113.4

    “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1. Step out of your house in a clear night, and as Isaiah says, “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number, he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.” Yes, go night after night and you will find them all there “not one faileth.” Whose all this work? We can only reply in the words already quoted it shows the “handiwork of God.”SITI April 18, 1878, page 113.5

    Again we read Psalm 19:2: “Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. Yes, night unto night from the days of Job, the heavens have been showing knowledge; and astronomers who make it the labor of their lives to obtain knowledge of, and from them when their lives close, can only say with Sir Isaac Newton—the prince of Philosophers, if not also the prince of astronomers—when the time came for him to lay down his grand and useful life, “I feel as though I have been but a child gathering shells on the beach of the great ocean.” These may not be his exact words, but they give the sentiment, and they are true for he knew that “night unto night showeth knowledge,” and that he in his whole life had not been able to gain any more from it, comparatively, than a child gathering shells on the ocean’s beach.SITI April 18, 1878, page 113.6

    But we read on, Psalm 19:3-6: “There is no speech nor language where their voice not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chambers and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it; and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” Think a moment of the system governed by the influence of our sun. It consists of eight planets with their satellites (moons) and one hundred and seventeen asteroids (minor planets) ranging in distance from thirty-five millions to two billions, seven hundred and fifty millions of miles from the sun; the nearest one Mercury, is sometimes hidden from view, being completely enveloped in his glorious rays, and the farthest one Neptune is not “hid from the heat thereof.”SITI April 18, 1878, page 113.7

    Think of it, the sun darting his rays two-billions seven hundred and fifty millions miles, and giving heat and light to the inhabitants of that planet and to the planet itself. If the heat is so intense as to penetrate to that distance, why are we not consumed for we are only ninety-one and one-half millions of miles from the sun. True, Neptune receives only one-thousandth as much as we do but the wonder is that it receives any at all. Again: these all revolve round the sun, and they not only revolve round it, but the sun with his whole system, revolves round other grand central systems, and systems of systems till we are overwhelmed with the immensity of the firmament, and these planets and systems rolling in their orbits at a rate of speed that is almost incredible. The earth revolves on its axis at the rate of more than one thousand miles an hour it rolls forward in its course round the sun sixty-four thousand, eight hundred miles in an hour, more than one thousand miles a minute, eighteen miles in a second. To convey a faint idea of this speed, we will say that a rifle balI goes at the rate of about one thousand miles in an hour, therefore, we with the earth, go in one direction as fast as a rifle ball and at the same time in another derection sixty times as fast,SITI April 18, 1878, page 113.8

    (Concluded on page 118.)

    (Continued from page 113.)

    and in a third, we cannot tell how fast, and with a circuit so vast in extent that it will be millions of years before we shall be again where we now are. The Psalmist says truly: “His circuit is to the ends of heaven.” Now we ask again, who does all this? and again we must say, and most reverently too, it shows the handiwork of God. Aye, there is a God, and ““The Lord he is God.”SITI April 18, 1878, page 118.1

    We wish to ask those persons some plain questions, we shall read them from Job 38:2-6: “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man, for I will demand of thee and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?” Were you there? or can you say that there was no one who did it? “Declare if thou hast understanding.” “Who hast laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest,” If God did not do it, who did? “If thou knowest,” “Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened?” Can you tell? No more than, as all things prove the truth of the words of Job 26:7: “He hangeth the earth upon nothing.” “Who laid the corner-stone thereof; when the morning stars, sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Were you there at the creation that you can say there was no song of joy? or more, that God was not there? No, no. Then cease darkening counsel by words without knowledge. “Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the day spring to know his place?” Have you done or can you do this? You have not, then do not say, “There is no God,” for he might be the one who did it and you not know it. “Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in search of the depth? Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if then knowest it all. Leaving out all the others, we can ask this question, Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? and the answer must be, no. Well, “If thou knowest it all,” you ought to be able to answer that. Therefore as you do not know it all how can you say, “There is no God?”SITI April 18, 1878, page 118.2

    Again, 19th verse: “Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof that thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths thereof? Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born?” Were you there when light was formed? Were you then born, that you can say that “God did not do it?” Or “knowest thou it because the number of thy days is great?” Are you so old that you have seen all these things?SITI April 18, 1878, page 118.3

    Verses 24-27: “By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth? Who hath divided a water-course for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder, to cause it to rain on the earth wherein no man is, on the wilderness where there is no man; to satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?” Who does this if there is no God?SITI April 18, 1878, page 118.4

    And now after compassing the earth with questions that not one of those can answer, He directs our eyes to the heavens, and how much less can they answer now. Verses 31-35: “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzareth in his season or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? Canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may covet thee? Canst thou send lightnings that they may go and say unto thee, Here we are?”SITI April 18, 1878, page 118.5

    And after spanning the heavens with these questions, he comes directly to you with this one, “Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?” On this point we wish to go to chapter 39:13-17. “Gavest thou goodly wings unto the peacocks, or wings and feathers to the ostrich? which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in the dust, and forgeteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them. She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers; her labor is in vain without fear; because God has deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding.” Now we ask in the words of Elihu, Job 35:11. “Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?” How is it that you know more than the ostrich? or how it is that you have more understanding than the beasts? Let the same one answer, Job 32:8: “But there is a spirit in man; and the inspiration the Almighty giveth them understanding.” Yes it is God who giveth these very men wisdom and understanding enough to say, “There is no God,” and deny him. But surely I have used a misnomer when I said that they had wisdom enough to say, There is no God; for I have already read from Psalm 14:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” It is, it must be true, for surely none but a fool would say it.SITI April 18, 1878, page 118.6

    Sometimes, however, by the very force of circumstances they are caused to acknowledge that there is a God, and to call upon him. I shall read from Psalm 107, some instances which illustrate this and doubtless there are many of you who are familiar with such instances: “Fools, because of their transgression and because of their iniquities, are afflicted in their soul abhorreth all manner of meat, and they draw near unto the gates of death. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses, he sent his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” Verses 17-20. How often is this the case, men get into a strait, and think their last moments have come. Then they will pray and cry unto the Lord, help comes, they are delivered, and then instead of doing as the next verse calls upon them to do: “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men, and let them sacrifice the sacrifice of thanksgiving and declare his works with rejoicing,” instead of this, they forget all that the Lord has done for them, and profane his holy name and never thank him.... They go down again to the depths; their soul is melted because of trouble, they reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end, then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses; he maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still, then they are glad because they be quiet; so be bringeth them unto their desired haven.” Then what do they do? render thanksgiving and praise to him, because he has delivered them? often; but instead, they will go off to the theatre, to the ball-room, and all other places of festivity, and never remember the goodness of the Lord. “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men.” Verse 43: “Whoso is wise and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord.” For Psalm 92:1, 2 says: “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name O most High; to show froth thy loving-kindness in the morning and thy faithfulness every night.” See “His loving-kindness in the morning.” Do you do so? do you remember with David, Psalm 4:8, “I will both lay me down in peace and sleep; for thou Lord only makest me dwell in safety.” Know you not that it is his loving-kindness that keeps you?SITI April 18, 1878, page 118.7

    Now we come near to every one, and show that the Lord has not left himself without witness to any one. Acts 14:15. When the Lystrans were about to worship Paul and Barnabas, they said to them, “Sirs why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities, unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, the sea and all things that are therein; who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways, nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” This is also mentioned beautifully in Psalm 65:8, [9]. “They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens, thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice. Thou visitest the earth and waterest it, thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water” &c. See how God sends you rain to nourish the things which you have planted causing them to grow and then blessest the growing thereof that they may bear fruit for the service of man. Oh why will he not observe these things, and give Him “thanks always in all things,” who giveth us so richly all things to enjoy? Will he still say “There is no God?” If you can get along so well without God, why do you not do these yourself?SITI April 18, 1878, page 118.8

    But he does not stop here. We read Acts 17:24, 25: “God that made the world, and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands, neither is worshiped with men’s hands, as though he needed anything seeing he giveth to all llfe, and breath and all things.” He not only gives you fruitful seasons and all those things, but he gives you life and health to enjoy the things that he so richly bestows. And will you not thank Him? When I was here last winter I heard a story related, of an insane man rushing madly along the streets of one of our cities; and as insane men sometimes say the sanest things, so did he. He suddenly and wildly accosted a man with these words, “Did you ever thank God for your reason?” The man answered, “No!” Then said he, “Well, do so quickly, for I have lost mine.” It would almost seem that, through the wild delirium of this madman, God was trying go bring sane men to their senses. And now we can repeat his words go you. Did you ever thank God for your reason, life, friends, health, home, happiness? if you have not, do so quickly for many, Oh! how many, have lost theirs, and you know not how soon you may be deprived of yours. Therefore you ought go serve the Lord your God, you must serve him, it is right, it is just. Then worship the Lord thy God, and him only serve. Psalm 100:2-5: “Serve the Lord with gladness, come before his presence with singing, know ye that the Lord he is God, it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves, we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise, be thankful unto him and bless his name, for the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting.”SITI April 18, 1878, page 118.9

    But if we do not worship, nor serve him, then what? We will show by reading Isaiah 5:1-7: “Now will I sing to my well beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well beloved, hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill, and he fenced it and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in midst of it, and also made a winepress therein; and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?” Now suppose you should go to a nursery and at great expense, obtain the choice vine, bring it home, set it out, dig round and cultivate, train up and take the best of care of it, finally it bears abundance of fruit, it ripens, you come to gather it, when lo the grapes are both sour and bitter, (for so were the wild grapes of Palestine,) “they cannot be eaten they are so bitter.” All your labor and care have been spent in vain. Now what would you do with that vine? You would let it go, let the weeds, thorns, and briers grow up and choke it, or else cut it down. Well, that is just what the Lord did for he says, verse 5: “And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard; I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down; and I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned, nor digged, but there shall come up briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.” Now he tells us what this means. “For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel and the men of Judah his pleasant plant, and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression, for righteousness but behold a cry.” In Matthew 21:33-43, Jesus explains this parable, he says: “There was a certain householder which planted a vineyard and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country and when the time of the fruit drew near he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruit of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son, but when the husbandmen saw the son they said among themselves, This is the heir come let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner; this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”SITI April 18, 1878, page 118.10

    If these men were miserably destroyed for not rendering the fruits which the Lord had a right to expect in return for the many blessings and great care which he had bestowed upon them, and he has let out his vineyard to us, will he not do the same with us if we do not render him the fruits of righteousness, and righteous judgment between man and man, and not oppression? And if we too, instead of thanks for all his kindness and mercies, return only disrespect, rebellion and profanity shall not we meet the same fate? Most assuredly we shall. Jesus shows this in Luke 13:6-9: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard: and he came, and sought fruit thereon and found none; then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree and I find none, cut it down, why cumbereth it ground?”SITI April 18, 1878, page 118.11

    How long has He waited for fruit from you and waited in vain? all the day long has stretched out His hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people. Would you not have been cut down long ago had not Jesus said as he does, verse 8: “Lord let it alone this year also till I shall dig about it,—and if it bear fruit, well; and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” Ye with all our unthankfulness and evil, Jesus pleads, “Spare them a little longer, O Lord, a little while longer.” But oh! “Woe worth the day,” when our kind and loving Saviour shall step aside and say, “Thou shalt cut it down.” Why will you not bring to the Lord the fruits of the life and loving-kindness, that he so kindly and freely bestows, before he shall pour out his fury upon the heathen that know him not, and upon the families that call not upon his name! Upon how many, many families will his fury be poured out! for how many, many families never call upon his name from the commencement of the year to its close. They lie down at night without remembering his faithfulness during the day. They arise every morning and go about the business of the day without remembering his watchfulness during the night; they come to the table with never a word of gratitude, or thanks to him whose bountiful hand supplies so abundantly their bread. Why is this? With men amongst men, if they at any time receive anything from another, though he be a perfect stranger, without thanking him, they regard it as impolite, if not disrespectful. Then what must God think of our conduct who day after day receive so many benefits from Him with never a word of thanks? Is it not ungrateful? Is it not disrespectful? My friends these things ought not so to be. Heed the words of Paul in “Giving thanks always in all things unto God, and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20. And “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. For it is written, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”SITI April 18, 1878, page 118.12

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