Larger font
Smaller font
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font

    March 2, 1899

    “Spiritual Drink” The Present Truth 15, 9.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.” John 7:37. Suppose that some poor traveller, just arrived in Jerusalem after a long wearisome tramp, all dusty and travel-stained, and parched with thirst, had heard that call, and had taken Jesus at His word; if he had come to Him expecting to find real water, that could actually quench his thirst, would he have been disappointed? Did Jesus mean what He said? Could He have supplied a drink of pure, sparkling water to a thirsty man, and given him real refreshing? His words were, very plain, and He was speaking to a plain people-to the common people, who are accustomed to take things very literally; had they a right to take Him at His Word? Let us see.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 129.1

    The ancestors of this same people were at one time wanderers in a desert, whore there was no water. “Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.” Psalm 107:4, 5. God told their leader to go to a rock and strike it with his staff, saying that water would come forth, so that the people might drink. And it was so. “He smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed.” Psalm 77:20. So the fathers “did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that went with the; and that Rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:4, margin. Jesus Himself stood upon the rock, and it was from Him that the water came. The rock that the people saw was but the visible agent of the invisible Christ. The Christ that furnished that water in the wilderness, real water, which quenched the thirst of man and beast,-was the same Christ that stood in the temple and cried, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.” He was as able to provide water for a thirsty man in the temple as He was to provide it for a thirsty multitude in the desert, for He is “the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 129.2

    Some one will say, “I thought it was spiritual water that Jesus offered; I didn't suppose He meant to be taken literally.” So it was spiritual water that He offered; even as the water that flowed from the rock in the wilderness, to the refreshing of thousands of thirsty men and cattle, was spiritual drink. The spiritual is not imaginary, but very real. It is only by the things that we can see, that Jesus makes known to us the reality of the things that we cannot see. Everything that God has created is designed to teach us the reality of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; “for in Him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible, and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions principalities or powers; all things have been created through Him, and unto Him; and He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Colossians 1:16, 17. He is the image and the fulness of the invisible God, and is wholly spiritual; therefore everything that comes from Him, and is in Him must be spiritual.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 129.3

    Did you never drink water from the same Source that the Israelites drank from in the desert?-No one ever drank water from any other source. God is “the fountain of living waters.” Isaiah 2:18. Stop a moment, and think where the water comes from that you drink. It comes from the earth, from springs, or wells that have been dug. Now when you see a spring of water gushing forth from the rocks, you see just what the children of Israel saw in the desert. They did not see Christ, and few of them ever believed that He had anything to do with providing it. They died in unbelief. They saw no more than you see when you drink water from a spring or a running brook.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 129.4

    Can you not see back of that well or spring? Do you not know that the spring is only the aperture whence the water emerges; it does not furnish the water, any more than does the tap in your bath room. There are bodies of water stored up in the earth, yet the earth does not produce it, and if it were not continually replenished, the stock would be exhausted. The clouds, however, pour out water abundantly upon the earth, and so we have a constant supply. The streams flow on in undiminished rate year after year. But the clouds do not manufacture water; they are simply floating bodies of water gathered together by evaporation and condensation. The earth supplies the clouds, and the clouds supply the earth. You say therefore that there is no new supply of water, but only that which was the beginning.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 129.5

    That which was in the beginning, however, was from Christ, “who is the Beginning.” Colossians 1:18. That which was from the beginning, was the Word of life. 1 John 1:1. Out of Eden there went a river, which, unlike any rivers now on this earth, divided into four parts, going toward the four points of the compass, and so watering the whole earth. That Eden, with its tree of life, is now in heaven, God's dwelling place. There, from the throne of God, flows the pure river of water of life, clear as crystal. Revelation 22:1. It is from this river of God's pleasure (Eden) that God allows those to drink, who seek shelter under the shadow of His wing. Psalm 36:7, 8.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 130.1

    As that river, flowing right from God's dwelling place from God Himself furnished moisture to all the earth, even so it is still. “Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it; Thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water. Thou preparest them corn, when Thou hast so provided it.” Psalm 65:9. So the water that refreshes the earth, and gushes forth from it to renew the life of mankind, is direct from God Himself. We never drink a glass of water without unconsciously complying with Christ's invitation, “If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink!” But because men do not realise whence the water comes, they do not receive the fulness of life that is in it. They drink unworthily, not of faith, not discerning the Lord.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 130.2

    All the visible gifts of God are His means of conveying to us, and enabling us to lay hold of, His invisible gifts. The water of life proceeding from the throne of God and the Lamb, and which Christ offers freely to all who thirst and will come to Him, is the Spirit of God. It is God's own life, for “the Spirit is life.” But “the blood is the life,” Christ gives us His life, in that He sheds His blood for us, and the cleansing through the blood is the salvation by His life, which is but the quickening by the Spirit. See Romans 5:10; 8:10, 11. So “there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and the three agree in one.” 1 John 5:8, R.V. To drink from the water of life, which comes from the throne, is to drink the blood, the life of Christ; for in the midst of the throne is the slain Lamb (Revelation 5:6), from whose side flow the water and the blood that agree in one. But the rain that falls from heaven refreshing the earth, and giving life to all, is from the river of God, we may know that when we receive this gift as God bestows it on us, recognising Him in it, we are receiving the Spirit of life in Christ, and are drinking His precious blood, which cleanses from sin. Thus “the skies pour down righteousness.” Isaiah 45:8.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 130.3

    This is veritable, living truth, not fancy. In Christ old things are passed away, and all things are become new, so that through the familiar things of this earth we can sea even now the living realities of the now earth. How this should admonish us to take God's good gifts just as He gives them to us in their purity. The life of Christ is perfect; we should therefore avoid those things which savour of the curse, which have in them anything of death. If one takes the pure water that God gives, and puts into it any death-dealing drug, as alcohol in any form, tea, coffee, etc., is he not unconsciously doing despite to the Spirit of God? He is rejecting God's perfect gift, and saying that something less than the perfect life of Christ-some admixture of death-is good enough for him. What a terrible thing it is, how ungrateful, to take God's rich gift of life, and mingle with that which tends to destroy, before we receive it. Let us receive the life just as He gives it to us, and take it by faith, discerning the life, and the victory over death will be ours.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 130.4

    “‘What's in a Name?’” The Present Truth 15, 9.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Few people realise what wonders can be accomplished-in the imagination-by a mere change of name. The story is told of a rascal who proposed to a simple-minded neighbour that they would go and steal a horse. No, indeed; the man would hear nothing of any such proceeding. He was an honest man; he would not steal, not he. Then the wily fellow proposed to him that they go and filch a horse. The other didn't quite like the word; it had a suspicious sound; no, he wouldn't filch for anything. “Well, then,” said the rascal who didn't try to persuade himself that he was anything else, “let's go and nim a horst.” To this the other readily agreed, and they proceeded to take to themselves a horse belonging to another man. But they didn't steal it; oh no! they only nimmed it.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 130.5

    Unto this day the United States of America poses before the world as the pattern of all the national virtues. It would never enter upon a war of conquest, like “the effete monarchies of the Old World.” It is true a good section of the United States once belonged to Mexico, and was acquired at the close of a war in which the latter country was defeated; but then the territory was bought and paid for. To be sure, Mexico was not offering the land for sale, and didn't want to sell; but that made no difference; the United States wanted to buy, and Mexico was not in a condition to refuse. She had to sell out, or else suffer. It was better to sell than to have the property go for nothing, so the bargain was completed. The United States came into virtuous possession of a valuable lot of territory, and continued to read homilies to the wicked nations of the Old World, which would persist in the old way of waging wars of conquest.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 130.6

    At last came the philanthropic war with Spain. The United States had no enmity to the Spaniards, but killed them nevertheless. It was done for the good of the people. The war was entered into with the most disinterested motives, so we are assured, and at its close the United States Government, greatly to the surprise of all the people, found themselves in possession of all the Spanish territory in the West Indies, and of some islands in the Pacific Ocean. These possessions were modestly accepted as the reward of virtue. How could they neglect what Providence had so unexpectedly given them to protect? Thus reasoned the religious press. And so the honour of the country is maintained. Who said anything about wars of conquest.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 130.7

    But now comes a little hitch. The inhabitants of the Philippine Islands were fighting against the Spanish yoke, because they thought themselves capable of self-government, when the United States stepped in and claimed possession. Now the Philipinos object to the United States rule as vigorously as they did to Spanish rule. Will the United States prove false to its traditions, and now enter upon a war of conquest, for the possession of the Philippines? Not by any means. Never shall an American school boy read in his history that his country did such a medi?val deed. President McKinley said in his recent message to Congress: “It will be the duty of the commander of the forces to announce and proclaim in the most public manner that we come not as invaders or conquerors, but as friends.” “All persons who, either by active aid or by honest submission, co-operate with the Government of the United States to give effect to these beneficent purposes will receive the reward of its support and protection. All others will be brought within the lawful rule we have assumed with firmness, if need be, but without severity, so far as possible.” Finally, the assurance is given that “the mission of the United States is one of benevolent assimilation.”PTUK March 2, 1899, page 131.1

    What a nice-sounding term that is! The inhabitants of the Philippines are not to be conquered, but benevolently assimilated. To be sure they object to being assimilated by the United States, and a distinguished citizen of that country has declared that “the Philippine people have long passed that stage in development when civilised nations have a right to appropriate them and their territories, and govern them against their will; “but that makes no difference. Suppose the lamb does object to be eaten by the lion? What can so silly an animal know of what is good for it, in comparison with the king of beasts. Besides, the lion doesn't have any ill-will to the lamb; his object toward it is only one of “benevolent assimilation.” To be sure the lamb disappears in the process, but the lion has gained by the benevolent action. So what if the Philippine people are all destroyed in the process of “benevolent assimilation;” their land will still be left, and that will be sufficient solace to the United States for its disinterested benevolence.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 131.2

    It is with just such cant phrases that many people will seal their own eternal ruin. A form of godliness, nay, even the name, without the power thereof, will be accepted by thousands as an equivalent for the genuine article. Men deify names. Call Sunday the Sabbath, and with the majority of people it is the same as if it were such. By and by Satan, who is transformed into an angel of light, will come professing to be Christ, and thousands will accept him as such, and will share his destruction. “Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.” Isaiah 5:20. Only one name is given under heaven, whereby salvation may be obtained, and that is the name of Jesus. That name saves, because it is the very life of Him who bears it. There is in it nothing of fraud or deceit. Beware of being deceived with names. Sin and oppression are iniquity, no matter what they are called. A profession of virtue will court for nothing if wickedness is practiced under it. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked; whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”PTUK March 2, 1899, page 131.3

    “The Gospel of Isaiah. ‘The Lord My Banner.’ Isaiah 11:10-16The Present Truth 15, 9.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (Isaiah 11:10-16; LOWTH'S TRANSLATION.)

    10. And it shall come to pass in that day,
    The root of Jesse, which standeth for an
    ensign to the peoples,
    Unto Him shall the nations repair,
    And His resting-place shall be glorious.
    PTUK March 2, 1899, page 131.4

    11. And it shall come to pass in that day,
    Jehovah shall again the second time put forth
    His hand,
    To recover the remnant of His people
    That remaineth, from Assyria, and from
    And from Pathros, and from Cish, and from
    And from Shimar, and from Hamath, and
    from the western regions.
    PTUK March 2, 1899, page 131.5

    12. And He shall life up a signal to the nations;
    And He shall gather the outcasts of Israel,
    And the dispersed of Judah shall He collect,
    From the four extremities of the earth.
    PTUK March 2, 1899, page 131.6

    13. And the jealousy of Ephraim shall cease;
    And the enmity of Judah shall be no more
    Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah;
    And Judah shall not be at enmity with
    PTUK March 2, 1899, page 131.7

    14. But they shall invade the borders of the
    Philistines westward;
    Together shall they spoil the children of the
    On Edom and Moab shall they lay their hand;
    And the sons of Ammon shall obey them.
    PTUK March 2, 1899, page 131.8

    15. And Jehovah shall smite with a drought the
    tongue of the Egyptian sea;
    And He shall shake His hand over the river
    with His vehement wind;
    And He shall strike it into seven streams,
    And make them pass over it dry-shod.
    PTUK March 2, 1899, page 131.9

    16. And there shall be a highway for the remnant
    of His people,
    Which shall remain from Assyria;
    As it was unto Israel,
    In the day when he came up from the land of Egypt.
    PTUK March 2, 1899, page 131.10

    The first glance at the text composing this lesson will show the student that he must go back in order to get the connection. “It shall come to pass in that day.” In what day?-Evidently in the day when the rod springs forth out of the stem of Jesse. Let the whole of the eleventh chapter of Isaiah be studied in connection, and it will be seen that it covers the entire period from the first advent of Christ till His second coming and the restoration of all things. The chapter is, however, divided into two sections. The first nine verses cover this entire period, and then, beginning with verse 10 the same period is covered again, with some additional details.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 131.11

    Compare verse 10 with John 12:32: “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.” So the verse before us says that the nations shall repair to “the root of Jesse, which standeth for an ensign to the peoples.” The Lord is the banner, and it is “Christ and Him crucified” that constitutes this ensign, round which the people are to gather.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 132.1

    It is written, “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” Galatians 3:13. The cross was the sign of ignominy and reproach. It was the most humiliating death that could be imposed on anybody. Yet this very ignominious death is Christ's glory. By the cross, which was supposed by the men of His time to be the miserable end of an adventurer, Jesus was elevated to the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. The badge of disgrace was the crown of glory. “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Galatians 6:14.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 132.2

    What is the lesson in this for us?-Just this, that there is the brightest hope for the lowest and most despised of mankind. The banner round which God proposes to gather “the outcasts of Israel” is the Christ crucified, that is, Christ despised and rejected of men. If He took His stand in some exalted place, in a halo of glory, and from there called the poor outcasts to Him, they might well hesitate; but when the very rallying place is the lowest point of degradation, there can be no doubt that “whosoever will” may come. The way is adapted to the lowest and weakest; it must necessarily be in order that none be shut out; but where the lowest and weakest can come in, the highest and strongest cannot possibly be excluded. They can easily humble themselves and come down, if they will; but the others could not possibly life themselves up.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 132.3

    The Jews thought that they were inflicting the most crushing defeat on Christ,-that they were degrading Him to the uttermost,-whereas they were really lifting Him up. He was lifted up from the earth, even to the height of heaven. The way to heaven lies by the cross. This world consists of pride and self-exaltation,-“the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,”-so that the cross does in reality lift one up and away from this earth.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 132.4

    “His rest shall be glorious.” The cross gives rest. Jesus calls, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. This rest is Sabbath rest,-the rest which God took when He had finished the six days’ work of creation. The cross creates: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” or, “there is a new creation.” The cross restores what was lost in the fall. The fall deprived man of the glory of God; the cross restores it. The cross creates anew, doing the same work that God did in the beginning. The cross represents a perfect work completed-for on it Jesus said, “It is finished.” Now finished work means rest; it can mean nothing else, therefore the cross of Christ must give rest to all who come to it.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 132.5

    Moreover, since redemption is identical with creation,-is creation,-restoring that which was lost, it is evident that the rest which it brings is identical with the rest which followed the finished work of creation in the beginning. In the cross of Christ we find the Sabbath, the rest, of the Lord. See how people have reversed God's order. They find in God's Sabbath only a cross; to rest on the seventh day of the week, “according to the commandment” when the majority of men make it the busiest day of the week, seems to them too great a cross to be borne. Well, if that is the way they look at it, they will find no rest in it. But let them come to the cross of Christ, accepting it without any reservation. Let them not take a part of it, rejecting another portion, but let them take the cross with the whole life of Jesus; then they will find perfect rest-God's Sabbath. And then it will be a joy to indicate the perfect rest which Christ gives, by resting from their labours on the day which He has given as the memorial, the sign of His power to redeem.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 132.6

    “It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people.” This will not be a small affair, but will be a gathering “from the four corners of the earth.” And since it is “the remnant” that are to be gathered, it is evident that this work is the last thing that will be done in connection with the people of God. This is the closing work of the Gospel. It is by the Gospel that God's Israel-overcomers-are to be gathered. On this matter of the setting of God's hand “the second time” to gather His people, read the first article entitled: “The Time of the Promise,” which appeared on the first page of PRESENT TRUTH for December 29, 1898, in connection with the first of lessons in Isaiah.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 132.7

    The last verses of this chapter indicate the power that is to accompany the closing work of the Gospel. “There shall be an highway... like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.” Read the account of God's wonderful leading then. It was not by any human strength, but by the strength of Almighty God, that the deliverance was effected. Think of the marvellous miracles in Egypt, and the dividing of the Red Sea. Yet while all this was but the manifestation of God's own power it was all accomplished through a human agent. He led His people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron. Psalm 77:20. It was always by the stretching out of the rod in the hand of Moses, that these signs were wrought. Now just that answer must be manifested in the presence of the Gospel before the Lord comes. The power that divided the Red Sea and will be seen in the work when the Sabbath-the sign of Jehovah's creative power-is given its rightful place among God's people. God's rest will be seen to be glorious, and by it the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 132.8

    “Studies from the Gospel of John. How Not to Believe” The Present Truth 15, 9.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A wonderful contrast is presented in the ninth chapter of John between the simplicity of faith and the bewildering windings of unbelief. A man who had been born blind had had his sight given to him by Jesus, and the short work that this man made of all the sophistries and arguments of the Pharisees, showed that Christ's miracle had given him clearness of mental as well as physical vision. The spirit which rested upon Jesus, making Him “of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:3), was the same spirit by which He was anointed for the “recovering of sight to the blind” (Luke 4:18). Christ's work for man is not a partial one. All manner of blindness is the work of Satan, and “for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”PTUK March 2, 1899, page 133.1

    As Jesus, with His disciples, passed the blind man, they asked Him, saying, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”PTUK March 2, 1899, page 133.2

    We may learn from these words why sickness or infirmity is allowed to come upon men. It all comes because of sin, but not in any spirit of vengeance or retaliation. The object is not to punish, but in order that the works of God should be made manifest in us. This appears clearly in the case of the blind man. The works of God were finished from the foundation of the world (Hebrews 4:3, 4), and one of those works was to cause the light to shine out of darkness. What made the light shine in the beginning? We have the answer in John's record, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” But in being the light of the world, Jesus was working the works of Him that sent Him; therefore, we know that when God said, “Let there be light,” the light shone because God Himself is light.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 133.3

    That same light is not only for the eyes but for the spiritual sight also. The same “God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6. And in both cases, the operation it performed in the same way. God Himself is light, therefore He shines, Whoever sees the sunlight sees the light which shone out of darkness, and so sees the shining of God. “The heavens declare the glory of God.” But whoever recognises the shining of God in the light opens his heart to the same shining, and it shines in his heart as spiritual light. But God is a Spirit, therefore is spiritually discerned; so that whoever worships Him in spirit and in truth, goes as much more in the shining as the spirit excels the flesh in the ability to discern God. While the natural eye can only see the brightness, the shining into the heart gives “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Thus is realised the blessed truth that it is Jesus Christ who is the light of the world. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1:6, 7.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 133.4

    All this was given to men when the light shone out of darkness in the beginning, for the works were finished from the foundation of the world, but because of unbelief men failed to enter into the rest which the completion of God's works secured to them; therefore it was necessary, over and over again, “that the works of God should be made manifest.” Just as God commanded the light to shine out of darkness, by letting the shining of His own life appear, so in all His works He was simply revealing Himself. The work of creation was simply the fuller manifestation, to created intelligence, of His own existence. Therefore all that Christ had to do to work the works of God was to live the life of God.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 133.5

    All His wonderful works were simply the revelation of that life. So when He gave sight to the blind man, He simply showed what He was, the light of the world. Thus only can we work the works of Him who has sent us into the world, as He sent Jesus Christ. The Jews said to Jesus, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” John 6:28, 29. To believe on is to receive. Let Jesus abide in you, and you, too, just as He did, will do the works of God. Be sure that He dwells in your heart by faith,-and you may be sure, for He stands at the door of every heart and knocks for admittance,-and the works of God will certainly appear. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.” John 1:12.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 134.1

    In giving light to the world God gives Himself, but men ignore the gift, so that it becomes necessary for Him to manifest it more emphatically. He does not withdraw the gift because His goodness is contemptuously despised, but seeks to impress men with the value of that which He bestows. Therefore men are permitted sometimes to experience the horrors of darkness, that they may be led to appreciate mare highly the inestimable blessing of light. The man in this lesson was born without sight that he might one day see with joy the light which his countrymen would blind their eyes to. Had it not been for his many years of blindness, be, like them, might have despised the light of the world; but, as it was, the wonderful work of God was made manifest in him.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 134.2

    Notice how the stubborn unbelief of the Jews entrenches itself behind the unanswerable question, “How did Jesus make the blind man to see?” They could rot deny the fact, although they sought to do so, but again and again, they brought up the same difficulty, which was no difficulty at all. “How was it done?” See verses 10, 15, 19, 26. It was the same with Nicodemus, “How can a man be born when he is old.” No man can know how God works. If we were infinite, we would know how the world was created, and how the Son of God became a babe, and rose again from the dead, but not being infinite we cannot tell how any of God's works are done. We cannot tell how the grass grows, and we cannot tell how God can dwell in human hearts, but we may know that He does it. We may be like the man in the lesson: “One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see.” We cannot know how God shines into our hearts the light of the knowledge of His glory in the face of Christ, but since He has so shined unto all, and only the minds of those that believe not are darkened (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4), every one may know surely that He has so shined; and that whereas we were blind to that wonderful light, now we see.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 134.3

    The faith that God asks of men is reasonable, for it deals with facts. God does not ask us to exercise what some people understand by faith, a mysterious form of mental exercise which is supposed to be able to evolve something out of nothing. He just asks us to accept existing facts, to rest on the works which were finished from the foundation of the world. It is unbelief that is unreasonable. If some clever satirist had attempted to depict the follies of unbelief, he could not possibly have heaped more ridicule upon it than the Jews, who figure in the ninth chapter of John, heaped upon themselves for evermore when they sought to overthrow the simple fact that Christ had given sight to the blind. As a lesson in how not to believe, it stands unsurpassed. If any wish to escape the clearest evidences of truth, they may be recommended to this example, and to the arguments employed on this occasion.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 134.4

    Observe how thoroughly the ground was covered. First, the Pharisees asked how the miracle was done. When told of the means employed, they pronounced the miracle impossible because the Healer was out of harmony with their conceptions of God, and the proper observance of the Sabbath. Then when the man expressed his belief that Christ was a prophet, it suggested doubts of his veracity, and they refused to believe that he had been born blind. Having agreed to excommunicate whoever should confess that Jesus was the Messiah, they next questioned the man's parents, but these, although declining to commit themselves as to the work of Christ, were clear that their son had been blind and was now able to see. Assuming a deep piety, and recognising at last that the miracle was beyond question, they again saw the man and endeavoured to inspired in him a holy horror of the sinner who had restored his sight. But sinner or no, he had a decent gratitude to his benefactor, and queried why they should so anxiously concern themselves unless they intended to become Christ's disciples. “Then they reviled him.” The light that had shone into this man's life was Christ Himself, and this was made manifest, for this man spoke with the clearness and wisdom that Christ Himself displayed. Then the Pharisees used their last, crowning argument, and excommunicated the man. The light was revealing itself in him, but they hated the light, and banished it from them.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 134.5

    If any man chooses darkness rather than light and desires to know how to encourage and strengthen unbelief, let him be like the Jews. Refuse to acknowledge any fact, however indisputable, unless the means can be explained to your satisfaction. Believe nothing that you cannot understand. When others, in their simplicity, believe the Word of God and find, in it healing and power, refuse to accept their testimony unless they call explain how it was done. If this does not shake their confidence, then revile them. It is probable that they will not be affected by this, and, if not, as far as your power extends, excommunicate them. There will always be plenty to side with you, indeed you may safely reckon on a majority of the disputers and the wise of this world, and when you finally discover yourself with the “unbelieving” (Revelation 21:8; 22:15), on the wrong side of the “wall great and high,” which surrounds the city of God, you may find a last consolation in the reflection that the redeemed inside the city cannot explain how it is that they are there.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 134.6

    “Little Folks. The Gospel of the Spring. Bees” The Present Truth 15, 9.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all those that have pleasure therein.” So let us look a little closer at the flowers, about which we were talking last week, and seek out some more of the secrets of His love that our heavenly Father has hidden there for us.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 138.1

    See how busily the little bee gathers the sweet store of honey that God has put thereon purpose for it to feed on! But there is something even more sweet and precious hidden there for you,-the loving thoughts of God, which show how “His tender mercies are over all His works.”PTUK March 2, 1899, page 138.2

    The Psalmist sang, “How precious are Thy thoughts unto me, O God.” And as he thought upon the ways of God which His works made known to him, he said, “My meditation of Him shall be sweet; I will be glad in the Lord.”PTUK March 2, 1899, page 138.3

    Let us learn from the bee to gather all that we can of the sweet secrets of God's love, from the flowers and all His other works, and store them up in our hearts to supply not our own needs only, but those of others also.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 138.4

    Where have the bees been biding all through the cold winter months? You have not seen any flying about, for there have been no flowers, and so no honey for them to gather. They have been safe and warm in their hives, where they have been drowsily resting, and feeding on the honey stored up in the wonderful little cells of wax of which their combs are made.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 138.5

    But no sooner does the mild spring weather cause “the flowers to appear on the earth,” than the bees appear also, fresh and bright after their long rest, and ready for another year's work.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 138.6

    “To give you some idea of how well
    “the little busy bee
    Improves each shining hour,“
    PTUK March 2, 1899, page 138.7

    a gentleman who has made a special study of them, and watched them very carefully, tells that “if you bring a bee to some honey, she feeds quietly, goes back to the hive, stores away the honey, and returns with or without companions for another supply. Each visit occupies about six minutes, so that there are about ten in an hour, and about one hundred in a day.” And another, to show us how quickly the bees work, says that he has watched them visit twenty flowers in a minute.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 138.8

    In the long summer days the bees work overtime, to make up for the months when they do not work at all. Right up in the North, where the winters are longest, the summer when it does come is almost continual daylight, and the bees are able to work nearly all the time while the warm weather lasts. A gentleman who lately visited Finland, says that he noticed the bees out gathering honey at ten o'clock at night.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 138.9

    We spoke last week of the beauty and fragrance of the flowers, but now we can see something of their usefulness also. For through them God is providing food for the bees, butterflies, ants, flies, and millions of tiny insects. And even we ourselves like to make use of the stores that the bees have gathered from the flowers, for “What is sweeter than honey?”PTUK March 2, 1899, page 138.10

    But while it is true, and has always been easily seen, that the bees need the flowers and could not live without them, it is just as true, though not so easily seen, that the flowers need the bees just as much, and many kinds would die out altogether if it were not for the bees, butterflies, and other insects.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 138.11

    Some seed from the Red Clover plant was taken over to New Zealand and planted, but no seed came from it, and it died out. At last some Humble Bees were taken over and some fresh clover planted, and from that time it flourished and bore seed just like it does here. So you see that the life of the clover depended on the Humble Bees. Do you wonder how this can be? Let us see.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 138.12

    You must have noticed in a full-blown rose, the golden heart of the flower made up of little yellow grains, and in almost every flower you will notice something like this. Sometimes the yellow dust from the flowers is blown about, by the wind. You have often seen it, but did you know what it is, and what it is for?PTUK March 2, 1899, page 138.13

    This fine yellow flower dust is called “pollen,” and though you may have thought it only useless dust, the very life of the plants depends upon it. For if some of the little grains should not reach the newly formed seeds in the little pod at the bottom of the flower, the seeds would not be any use at all, as they would have no power to bring forth say new plants and flowers. This dust is to fertilise the seeds to make them fruitful.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 138.14

    The strongest and best plants come from the seeds which have been fertilised by the dust or pollen from another flower of the same kind, and so in many plants it is not possible for the dust of a flower to fall upon its own seed.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 138.15

    But just when the pollen is ripe and ready to fall, a part of the flower is filled with sweet honey, which attracts the bee or butterfly. As he pushes his way in to vet it, he brushes against the part of the flower that holds the dust, and carries some of it away with him to the neat flower that he visits, where he leaves it behind to make the little seeds able to bring forth new plants.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 139.1

    You will see that this is not for the good of the plant only, for if there should be no more flowers, what would the bees do next year? So the Lord is really using them to help to provide the honey for another year. But they know nothing of all this. They go on their busy way, doing their day's work without any idea of how much depends on it, for the flowers, for themselves, for the baby bees at home in the hive, and for us, for what would the earth be without its flowerw?PTUK March 2, 1899, page 139.2

    The bees like bright colours and sweet scents. These attract them to the flowers, and the stripes and bands show them just where to find the honey, and so save their time. The largest blossoms, with the brightest colours and sweetest perfumes, are sure to be visited and fertilised by them.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 139.3

    The gardener improves the flowers of the garden by taking seed from the finest flowers, and the bee is an unconscious little gardener, helping to make the woods and fields beautiful by taking the dust from the finest flowers to the seeds of the finest flowers, so that the new plants shall be strong and healthy.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 139.4

    You will soon hear the hum of many bees in the gardens, fields, and woods, and as you hear them and watch them at their work think of all these things, and as much more as you can find out of all that God is doing through these tiny insects.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 139.5

    Think of this wonderful little circle of blessing and helpfulness,-a wheel within a wheel,-the flower giving its honey to the insects, and thus really working for its own fruitfulness and increase; the bee serving and fertilising the flower, and thus providing a future store of honey for itself and other bees.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 139.6

    Then besides the sweet lesson of the love and wisdom of God who is really doing all this, who puts the honey in the flower and guides the bee to it, I am sure you will learn at least this lesson also: Our own greatest blessing, happiness, and prosperity, come through letting God use us to bring blessing and happiness to others.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 139.7

    “Nothing in Vain” The Present Truth 15, 9.

    E. J. Waggoner

    About one hundred years ago, a German named Sprengel noticed a number of very small hairs inside the flower of a certain kind of geranium. He began to wonder what these tiny threads could be for, for he was sure that “the wise Author of nature would not have created even a hair in vain.”PTUK March 2, 1899, page 139.8

    As he was one of those who “have pleasure” in the great works of God and seek them out, he set himself to find out the use of these hairs, and found that God had put them there to protect the honey from rain.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 139.9

    Now that Sprengel's attention had been called to this, he carefully examined numbers of other flowers, and this led to his discovery of the wonderful way in which God uses the bees to fertilise the flowers.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 139.10

    Other naturalists noticed that the meadows which were visited by numbers of bees had healthier and finer glowers than those where the bees did not go. They also noticed that the honey was found in the flowers just about the time that the seeds were getting ripe; but they did not know how to put these things together and explain the wonderful and beautiful work of God that was really going on.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 139.11

    So you see that what really led to this discovery was Sprengel's knowledge that “God had made everything for its own end”-that each thing He has created, even a tiny hair, has its own special use.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 139.12

    As far as you are able, try to find out the meaning of everything that you see of the works created around you. Ask Him for His Holy Spirit to “guide you into all truth,” and He will show you “great and mighty things that you know not.”PTUK March 2, 1899, page 139.13

    “Jottings” The Present Truth 15, 9.

    E. J. Waggoner

    -The Swedish mile is the longest mile in the world, being exactly 11,700 yards.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 142.1

    -At the beginning of the eighteenth century people were hanged in Great Britain for the manufacture of salt.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 142.2

    -The lightest tubing ever made is of nickel aluminium. Three thousand feet of this tubing weighs only one pound.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 142.3

    -Only two rulers of Russia since Peter the Great have died a natural death-Catherine II., and the father of the present Czar.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 142.4

    -An awful train accident is reported from Brussels. Several carriages filled with passengers were smashed to pieces, the engine falling on the top of them. Twenty-one were killed and about 100 injured. The spectacle was simply appalling.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 142.5

    -Notices, with illustrative diagrams, have been posted in all Paris barracks, warning the soldiers of the evils of alcoholic indulgence.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 142.6

    -According to the Supplementary Estimates lately before Parliament, the combined cost of the Army and Navy exceeds ?50,000,000 for the current year.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 142.7

    -Funeral horses come mostly from Holland, where they are bred. About 800 come over to this country every year, and cost on an average ?16 apiece.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 142.8

    -A conflict has occurred between the Russian and Chinese at Tallenwan. About a hundred of the Chinese were killed. The question of taxes is reported to have led to the collision.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 142.9

    -The present year forms the centenary of the imposition of the Income-Tax. It was started in 1799 at 2s. in the ?, and realised six millions. Last year a tax one-third of that rate brought in 181 millions.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 142.10

    -Owing to differences which at present appear to be irreconcilable, the Anglo-American Conference has adjourned. It may re-assemble as mid-summer. The Alaskan boundary dispute one of the principal causes of disagreement.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 142.11

    -Sir Robert Gillen, in a paper read by him at the Colonial institute, said the British Empire was a territory of 11,500,000 square miles, or 13,000,000, if Egypt and the Soudan were included; and in that territory was a population of 407,000,000, or 420,000,000, reckoning Egypt. Of these 50,000,000 were of English speech and race.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 142.12

    -Owing to the sudden death of the President of the French Republic, a new President was elected last week. As he returned to Paris, he was met with roars of abuse, and loud shouts of “Resign!” The President was hooted all the way to this official residence. Rioting followed in which fifty people were wounded and women were trampled under foot.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 142.13

    -A Russian paper has had its privilege of street sale cancelled for publishing an address to the Czar which referred to the possibility of a failure of the Peace Conference. This, and many other like incidents, tend to show how peace will be secured, if it comes at all. The Roman empire compelled almost universal peace, but it took more fighting to secure it than the peace was worth.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 142.14

    -Russia has taken action in Finland which is taken to mean thee all Finnish rights of home government are destroyed, and that the country is to be completely absorbed by Russia. One Scandinavian paper says: “The Russian giant is now in closest touch with Scandinavia. It is high time that Sweden and Norway should cease to quarrel and prepare to defend their liberty.” In view of the Czar's action, it is generally thought in Sweden that his invitation to the Peace Conference should not be accepted.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 142.15

    -A serious epidemic of influenza is raging. In London last week the deaths directly attributed to the malady numbered 74. At Crewe there are 700 cases. The troops are suffering severely at Aldershot. In Vienna every family is infected, and all the hospitals are full. The Lancet, describing the malady, says the symptoms often set in very abruptly with characteristic pains followed by prostration. One great point in the treatment is the thorough ventilation of the sick-room and the house in which cases occur.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 142.16

    -The claim of the Pope to he represented at the Peace Conference is placing the Dutch Government in a dilemma. As host it has to issue the invitations. If they invite the Pope Leo will decline an invitation. If they do not invite him they will be regarded by the Vatican, assuming an attitude of active hostility towards the Pope... wishes to shift the responsibility on to the ... of Russia, and regard itself simply as the agent of Russia in the matter, but Russia persists in regarding Holland as setting on its own initiative.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 142.17

    “Back Page” The Present Truth 15, 9.

    E. J. Waggoner

    It has become quite popular during the last few years for ministers and other, to declare what would happen “if Christ came to London.” One noteworthy feature of all these excursions into the realm of imagination is that they seem to utterly ignore what Christ did do when He came to this earth. The latest “unauthorised programme” of this kind was given at Finsbury Park the other day when the minister, after enumerating some of the social and political reforms in which the Saviour would engage, saidPTUK March 2, 1899, page 144.1

    He would summon the nations of the earth to a round-table conference over the Czar's Rescript and lay His doom solemnly on all those who wished for war.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 144.2

    In the first place, none of the nations wish for war. They would be only too glad to know that there was no danger of it. The nations arm themselves in self-defence and because they dare not trust themselves to the tender mercies of the others. But it is not long since there were those who wished for war. Ministers of religion made the country ring with their urgent appeals to the Government to declare war against the Turk, and by their own admission this desire for war deserved a solemn condemnation.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 144.3

    But Jesus knew better than to gather the nations of the earth to a round-table conference when He wished to accomplish, anything. The Concert of Europe is not the most potent weapon of reform, or the most venerated institution, known to modern history. Jesus was not deceived by the idea that, while one man may be nothing of himself, if multiplied by a million He becomes something. “All nations before Him are as nothing; and they are counted to Him less than nothing, and vanity.” Isaiah 40:17. Jesus came to give peace, but He did it by giving Himself. The nations were then, as now, fired with the lust of conquest. They had no peace in themselves, and so could not give it. It could not have helped matters to denounce them for not diffusing what they lacked. It is the work of Christ's followers still to proclaim peace to all who will hear the message. Those who do not know that this is their work, and who are calling upon the nations to do it, show by their misconception of the Saviour's commission that “if Christ came to London,” they themselves would reject Him as the religious leaders of Jerusalem did.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 144.4

    A correspondent sends us a clipping which some one has handed to him far the purpose of demonstrating that it is impossible to keep the Sabbath of the Lord. The extract asserts that the expression “a month of Sundays” is founded on fact because “Christians worship on Sunday, Greeks on Monday, Persians on Tuesday, Assyrians on Wednesday, Egyptians on Thursday, Turks on Friday, and the Jews on Saturday.” Assuming that these statements are correct, what have they to do with obeying the Fourth Commandment? It is a strange anomaly that men can keep their own so-called “holy days” without difficulty on any day of the week, but when confronted, with the duty of remembering to keep holy the day which God Himself has sanctified, the seventh day of the week, a multitude of arguments and difficulties springs up to justify disobedience. The essence of the true Sabbath is that it is God's rest (Exodus 20:11), and neither Christian, Jew, nor Greek, nor any other division of the family of man far whom God made the Sabbath (Mark 2:27), can transfer God's rest day from the day on which He rested to 9, day on which He did not rest.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 144.5

    In the same clipping, the statement is made that there may be three sabbaths in a week because one man travelling round the world eastward would gain a day, another travelling westward would lose a day, and both arriving at, say London, on the same day would find the inhabitants keeping a day which did not coincide with either of their reckonings. If a large majority of the inhabitants of the world were in the habit of circumnavigating the earth once a week, of course this would be a serious difficulty, but inasmuch as the course of the day, with its beginning and end, have long been established by unanimous agreement, no one can travel round the world in either direction without finding numerous opportunities far adjusting his reckoning of time.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 144.6

    We notice these objections by request, not because there any argument of weight in them, but because we know that, lacking any real ground of opposition, they are just the kind of excuses that too many frame to excuse their disregard of God's gift of the Sabbath. Instead of seeing in this what it is, the very substance and crowning revelation of the Gospel of Christ's work in them, they regard it as a grievous infliction to be evaded on any pretext. Yet such difficulties fire never urged against the observance of Sunday, although they have every whit as much application to the first day as the seventh. The time draws near when every one shall give account of himself to God, what he has done with the blessings offered to him. No one will dare then to urge the flimsy arguments which so easily content them now. They will be without excuse. So let no one now be content with any excuse which cannot present with confidence in the hour of judgment, “Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be, good, or whether it evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 144.7

    That which brings men into bondage is fear. It is not that they are bound, for they are not. Christ died that He might “deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage,” Hebrews 2:15. Since He died for all and rose again that we might live also, death conquered for all, and there is no occasion to fear it. But all the weakness and evil consequences that come from sin are summed up in death. Therefore since Christ has delivered us from death there is nothing left to fear, and all the disheartening experiences and forebodings need discourage us no longer. Christ came preach deliverance to the captives, the opening of the prison to them that bound, and so no kind of bondage can chain the believer. “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”PTUK March 2, 1899, page 144.8

    No man is bound by anything stronger than his own unbelief. If he will listen to the Word of God and believe it, he may be free. If he prefers to sit in darkness and in the shadow of death it is his privilege to do so, but it is entirely unnecessary. That light shineth in darkness, and death, is conquered. For those who know this to be true, the shadow of death has no power nor terror. The human weakness that is the shadow cast by death serves but to show the perfection of Christ's strength.PTUK March 2, 1899, page 144.9

    Larger font
    Smaller font