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    March 16, 1899

    “Incorruptible Seed” The Present Truth 15, 11.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Gospel is just as simple as God can make it. That there may be no misunderstanding about it, He has revealed its principles and working in nature, and the birth and growth of the plants teach us the way of life. “The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” Romans 1:20.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 161.1

    Men are to be born again, as children of God, just as the plants are. The seed which is sown in us is the Word of God. “Being born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and beideth for ever.” 1 Peter 1:23.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 161.2

    It is not credit to the earth that the seed is sown in it, because it is by the will of the sower that it is done. So it is with men. “Oh His own will begat He us with the word of truth.” James 1:18. It is sufficient for us to know that God wills to make us His children. If we feel devoid of all desire to be such, this should not keep us back. If we will only let the seed be sown, we shall be filled with God's will. That does not change. Ours does. Many get discouraged because of their weak, inconstant will to do right. That is because they do not recognise that it is not by their own will that they are born again, or kept, but by God's unchanging purpose.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 161.3

    “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:13. Those who keep this in mind can always be confident, because God's will does not waver. The thought that He is not discouraged or shaken will fill us with courage.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 161.4

    Since then our Christian life is due to the fact that God begets us by the word of truth, how shall we grow? By continuing to hear the Word. “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear.” James 1:19. Be slow to speak, slow to wrath, because these things work not the righteousness of God. Therefore when we are exhorted to be swift to hear, it must be because this does work the righteousness of God. “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness [“Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.” John 15:3], and receive with meekness the engrafted Word which is able to save your souls.” James 1:21.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 162.1

    The only reason why any who make a good beginning in the Christian life fail to keep it up, is because they depart from the simplicity of the way. It is not because the way gets harder, for it does not. At the outset faith came by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17), and that same faith, coming in the same way, will always overcome sin. We are not to be forgetful hearers, but to look into the perfect law of liberty and continue therein, and since faith works, because the living Word works, we shall be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving our own selves.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 162.2

    “Brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” Acts 20:32. All that is possible in Christian life, and the attainment of the inheritance, is for those who hear the Word, and for them alone. The Word itself does the work. If men were required to do it they could not, and this truth is taught us in the growth of the plants. “So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise, night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.” Mark 4:26, 27.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 162.3

    This is not only true, as far as our own experience is concerned, but it applies to anything we may seek to do for others. No one can give anything to another, unless he has it himself, and, because men in themselves are nothing, no man can give anything to another in any other way than he gets it himself. “He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Galatians 3:5.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 162.4

    So it is clear that everything depends upon our hearing the Word of God all the while, not occasionally or in small measure, for man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. “All things are possible to him that believeth” and “faith cometh by hearing.” “Wherefore, let every man be swift to hear.” “Hear, and your soul shall live.”PTUK March 16, 1899, page 162.5

    “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”PTUK March 16, 1899, page 162.6

    “Clothed with Strength” The Present Truth 15, 11.

    E. J. Waggoner

    God does not give as the world gives. His thoughts are not as ours. Therefore it is a mistake for the Christian to take counsel with himself, or his knowledge of the ways of the world, when considering what he may expect from the Lord. Before every believer there are trials and conflicts, but not one of them, however severe, will reveal any weakness in the Divine provision for his continual triumph. All the way along he will find that God does for him exceeding abundantly above all that he can ask or think. The victory over every foe is given him at the outset, and he may shout his triumph just as safely before the battle as after it. Indeed, it he does not there is danger that there will be none to shout over. “For whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 162.7

    The call to those who will hear it is, “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem.” These words are addressed to those who have sold themselves for naught, and whom the Lord redeems without price. Isaiah 52:1-4. It is not His fault, or His intention, that His people lack strength or beauty. These are provided for all who will put them on. Just as the guest who came to the marriage supper, but failed to put on the clothing provided (Matthew 22:11-14), was speechless when asked, “Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?” so would every one be speechless and without excuse to whom the Lord should say, “Why art thou not clothed with strength and beauty?”PTUK March 16, 1899, page 162.8

    The garments are not to be acquired during the course of the Christian's experience. It is true that their beauty is to be made manifest, but this could not be unless it were already there. Too many feel that while the Lord gives them garments of salvation, He expects that they will put into the garments the beauty and the strength by their own efforts. Repeated failures to do this make them discouraged and faint-hearted, whereas the blessed truth is that God gives the beauty and the strength to begin with, and all that the Christian has to do is to let these qualities appear. This is easy enough for the weakest if they are only there, and they are by the Lord's own handiwork.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 162.9

    When the temptation comes to try the faith of the Christian, unless he holds fast his confidence, he is apt to forget that the Lord has clothed him with strength, and to go out trembling against the enemy in his own strength which is but naked weakness. Of course, the tempter prevails, and then tries to instil doubts as to whether there is any real strength in the armour of God, seeing it failed him then. Of course it did. All the armour in the world would not protect a man who did not make use of it. The trouble with the tempted soul was that he did not put on his strength, or rather that he allowed Satan to persuade him to leave it off far a little while.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 162.10

    Whoever knows, by believing God's statement, that he is clothed with strength and beauty, will meet the enemy with confidence, knowing that it is God's strength, and “the beauty of the Lord” with which he is clothed. He will not wonder how he can strengthen or beautify his life, because He will know that God has done this for him freely in a measure that he could not ask or even think. It is for him to rejoice and find rest in the accomplished fact.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 162.11

    Jesus counsels us to buy of Him “goId tried in the fire.” Revelation 3:18. The riches that God bestows, whatever they are, do not have to be tested to see whether they will wear; they are already tried in the fire. The Christian need not wonder how long they will last when he receives them, for they endure for ever. They are given just as freely and fully to the believer of a day's standing as to the man who has been in the way for many years, and the former may, by simple trust in their sufficiency, be preserved as safely as the latter can be. It does not matter how severe the tests may be. They will only bring out more clearly the beauty and strength and the riches of the life of Christ, which is given to all who receive Him by faith. “We are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” Hebrews 3:14.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 162.12

    “The Gospel of Isaiah. The Judgment upon Babylon. Isaiah 13:1-22The Present Truth 15, 11.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (ISAIAH 13:1-22, LOWTH'S TRANSLATION.)

    2. Upon a lofty mountain erect the standard;
    Exalt the voice; beckon with the hand;
    That they may enter the gates of princes.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.1

    3. I have given a charge to my enrolled warriors;
    I have even called My strong ones to execute
    My wrath;
    Those that exult in My greatness.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.2

    4. A sound of a multitude in the mountains, as
    of a great people;
    A sound of the tumult of kings, of na-
    tions gathered together!
    Jehovah, God of hosts, mustereth the host for
    the battle.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.3

    5. They come from a distant land, from the end
    of the heavens;
    Jehovah, and the instruments of His wrath,
    to destroy the whole land.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.4

    6. Howl ye, for the day of Jehovah is at hand;
    As a destruction from the Almighty shall it
    come.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.5

    7. Therefore shall all hands be slackened;
    And every heart of mortal shall melt; and
    they shall be terrified;
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.6

    8. Torments and pangs shall seize them;
    As a woman in travail, they shall be pained;
    They shall look upon one another with as-
    tonishment;
    Their countenances shall be like flames of
    fire.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.7

    9. Behold, the day of Jehovah cometh, inexor-
    able;
    Even indignation, and burning wrath;
    To make the land a desolation.
    And her sinners He shall destroy from out of
    her.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.8

    10. Yes, the stars of heaven, and the constella-
    tions thereof,
    Shall not send forth their light;
    The sun is darkened at his going forth,
    And the moon shall not cause her light to
    shine.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.9

    11. And I will visit the world for its evil;
    And the wicked for their iniquity;
    And I will put an end to the arrogance of the
    proud;
    And I will bring down the haughtiness of the
    terrible.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.10

    12. I will make a mortal more precious than fine
    gold.
    Yes, a man than the rich ore of Ophir.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.11

    13. Wherefore I will make the heavens tremble;
    And the earth shall be shaken out of her
    place;
    And in the day of His burning anger.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.12

    14. And the remnant shall be as a roe chased;
    And as sheep when there is none to gather
    them together;
    They shall look every one towards his own
    people;
    And they shall flee every one to his own land.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.13

    15. Every one that is overtaken shall be thrust
    through;
    And all that are collected in a body shall fall
    by the sword.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.14

    16. And their infants shall be dashed before their
    eyes;
    Their houses shall be plundered, and their
    wives ravished.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.15

    17. Behold, I raise up against them the Medes,
    Who shall hold silver of no account;
    And as for gold, they shall not delight in it.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.16

    18. Their bows shall dash the young men;
    And on the fruit of the womb they shall have
    no mercy;
    Their eye shall have no pity even on the
    children.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.17

    19. And Babylon shall become, she that was the
    beauty of kingdoms,
    They glory of the pride of the Chaldeans.
    As the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah by
    the hand of God.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.18

    20. It shall not be inhabited for ever;
    Nor shall it be dwelt in from generation to
    generation;
    Neither shall the Arabian pitch his ten there,
    Neither shall the shepherds make their fold
    there.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.19

    21. But there shall the wild beasts of the desert
    lodge;
    And howling monsters shall fill their houses;
    And there shall the daughters of the ostrich
    dwell;
    And there shall the satyrs hold their revels.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.20

    22. And wolves shall howl to one another in their
    palaces;
    And dragons in their voluptuous pavilions;
    And her time is near to come;
    And her day shall not be prolonged.
    PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.21

    This is “the oracle concerning Babylon which was revealed to Isaiah the son of Amos.” Isaiah 13:1. The lesson may seem to be very long, but the principal point that needs consideration is, What is Babylon? When this point is understood, the chapter as a whole is very simple, for it consists simply in plain statements concerning the fate of Babylon; and therefore we could not well consider it except as a whole.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.22

    The origin of Babylon is given in the eleventh chapter of Genesis. After the flood the people came to a plain in the land of Shinar, and said to one another, “Let us build a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make us a name lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” The Lord saw what they “imagined to do,” and confounded their language so that they could not continue to build. Thus that which they thought to avoid came upon them: They were scattered abroad. The name of the city which they began to build was called “Babel,” which means “ confusion,” because their language as well as their lofty ideas was confounded. Since Babel, or Babylon, means confusion, it is evident that the term is not limited to a particular spot or city, but that wherever there is confusion there is Babylon.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 163.23

    “Where envy and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” James 3:16. “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise that they are vain.” 1 Corinthians 3:20. He therefore provided the spiritual weapons that are “mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5. God's way is perfect, because His thoughts are perfect and they alone endure to all generations. Only the mind of God can think right thoughts, even as God alone can do righteous acts. “There is no power but of God.” Man has no more power in himself to think than he has in himself to live and to move. Just as every attempt of man to act for himself results in erratic movements, so every attempt of man to think in opposition to God must come to nothing; that is, will be utterly confounded. We see, therefore, that Babylon exists as extensively and as long as there is opposition to God.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 164.1

    As long as the ancient city of Babylon stood, it was the embodiment of boastful exaltation against God. The fourth chapter of Daniel sets forth this spirit. In Isaiah 47:8 we read of Babylon, that she said, “I am, and none else beside me.” This spirit has characterised every nation since the day when Belshazzar's blasphemous boastings were cut short by the destruction of his kingdom by the Medes.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 164.2

    Babylon was a universal kingdom. Daniel 2:37, 38. The kingdom as a name, ceased with the death of Belshazzar and the capture of the city by the Medes; but in reality it has existed to the present day. That this is so is evident from the chapter before us, for it tells of judgments upon Babylon, yet these are evidently none other than the final judgments upon the whole earth. Thus we read that the Lord “mustereth the hosts of the battle from the end of heaven, and the weapons of His indignation to destroy the whole land.” Verses 4, 5. “Behold the day of the Lord cometh, cruel, both with wrath and fierce anger to lay the land desolate, and He shall destroy the sinners out of it.” The Lord says that at the time of this judgment of Babylon, He will punish the world for their evil and the wicked for their iniquity, and will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. He will shake the heavens, and the earth shall be removed out of her place in the wrath of the Lord of hosts and in the day of His fierce anger. Compare this with the second chapter of Isaiah, where we have the account of the judgments of God upon every high tower and every fenced wall when the loftiness of men shall be bowed down and the monuments of men shall be made low and the Lord alone shall be exalted.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 164.3

    By comparing Isaiah 47:8, 9, with Revelation 18:7, 8, we see that the prophet John, a century after Christ, used exactly the same language concerning Babylon that is used by the prophet Isaiah seven hundred years before Christ. This shows that the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah was yet in the future in the days of John, yet the city that was built in the plan of Shinar, had been levelled to the ground long before. We do not need to resort to the idea that one was literal Babylon and the other spiritual or figurative Babylon, for the language of John refers to just as literal a city as does that of Isaiah; but we do see that Babylon was not by any means confined to the city of brick and stone that was embellished by Nebuchadnezzar, nor to the people known as Babylonians. It still exists and its destruction will be the final judgment upon the earth when sin and sinners shall be destroyed out of it, and rebellion against God be made to cease for evermore.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 164.4

    The question may arise, if this threatened judgment upon Babylon, Isaiah 13, refers to the final judgment upon the wicked, how is it that the Medes are referred to as taking part in this retribution? The answer is very simple. It is because judgment upon Babylon began twenty-five hundred years ago, when the Medes captured the city and destroyed Belshazzar in the height of his insolent pride. The desolation of that proud and wicked city is a proof that everything that exalts itself against God shall be destroyed.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 164.5

    With these facts in mind, this chapter is very simple. With a knowledge of what Babylon is, not only this, but a great portion of the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel is made plain. God calls His people to come out of Babylon where they have been to a large extent ever since. They were carried captive because of their haughty rebellion against God. Every one whose soul is lifted up is in Babylon. A man can come out and be free at any time by allowing the mind of the Spirit of God to take the place of his carnal mind, which is enmity against God. Now is the time to hasten from Babylon; for “Her time is near to come, and her day shall not be prolonged.”PTUK March 16, 1899, page 164.6

    “Studies from the Gospel of John. Saved and Kept” The Present Truth 15, 11.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The utter helplessness of men is often insisted upon in the Scriptures, but it is never intended to produce discouragement. The Saviour told His disciples that He sent them forth as sheep in the midst of wolves, but they were not to be alarmed over this, for the assurance is given, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, which hath given them unto Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30. Not their own weakness but the strength of the Father and the Son is the measure of the security which the sheep enjoy.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 164.7

    What is it that causes men to be numbered among the sheep? It is the relation they sustain to the Shepherd. They may be like the sheep, naturally stupid, easily led into danger, and entirely unable to look after themselves in the absence of the shepherd, but if, with all these natural weaknesses, they trust implicitly to the guidance and protection of the True Shepherd, they will be delivered from the evils into which they would fail if left to themselves. “My sheep hear My voice... and they follow Me.” So long as they sustain this relation, the promise is theirs: “They shall never perish and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.” That which precludes the possibility of the sheep being last is the fact that they hear the voice of the Shepherd and follow Him. Thus they experience what Christ declares to be the portion of His flock: “I am the good Shepherd; and I know Mine own, and Mine own, know Me, even as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father.” Verses 14, 15. Unspeakably close and tender is the between the Saviour and those who follow Him. Nothing can be compared with it except the wondrous love that unites in one the Father and His only begotten Son.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 164.8

    A great many people who claim for themselves the promise that they shall never perish, show that they have no real appreciation of its meaning, and that they do not know it in the only way it can be known, by practical experience. Yet such generally claim for themselves that they have entered upon a plane of spiritual life, which is far above the average Christian experience. In many instances when the true Sabbath of the Lord is brought to their notice they refuse to listen to the voice which spoke from heaven the ten commandments, although they claim to be His sheep. If it be pointed out to them that disobedience to God's commands is sin (1 John 3:4), and that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), they reply that it will not be so with them, because they have been born again, and Christ has promised that they shall never perish. Thus they take the promises of Christ to strengthen themselves in continuing to transgress His commandment, after the sin has been brought to their knowledge.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 165.1

    Almost invariably the people who use these arguments hold also the view that a person who has once been saved can never be lost, and they base this idea on the words of Christ that no man shall pluck His sheep out of His hand. A young lady who believed thus said recently that it would take away all her peace of mind if she could not believe that whatever she did she would never be finally lost.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 165.2

    This shows a pitifully narrow view of God's character and great work of salvation. This is not of so precarious a commit nature that no one can rejoice in it unless he feels that God has somehow committed Himself, so that He cannot cast a person off even if, on account of subsequent developments, He should wish to. There is assurance enough in God's own love to render salvation secure to anyone who can possibly be saved. The theories we have referred to are an invention of Satan to keep people selfishly content not to know the depth of God's love, which does not need to be tied down to the task of saving a person, but, freely and gladly, does more foe men than they can ask or think. As usual, when men thus pervert the Scriptures, the comfort which they think they get so much more certainly by their own interpretation turns out to be no comfort at all. No one can deny that both in the Scriptures, and in private life, men who have once served God, turn from Him and die impenitent. You ask a believer in the theory of “once in grace, always it, grace,” how he reconciles his views with these undoubted facts, and he will reply, “Oh, they were never really born again, or they could not have fallen away.” “But while they were professing Christians, they themselves and all about them believed that they were born again. How can you be any more sure than they that you are not mistaken and that you also will not fall away? They were as positive as you are now that they were born again.” The divine warning is given, “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.” It is clear, therefore, that this certainty is no certainty at all, and can give no real comfort.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 165.3

    People who take such a position, in doing so give evidence that they are not born of the Spirit, for their very attitude springs from a carnal mind. This same spirit is manifested in many who want to be saved, but who find in the world and the flesh attractions which exceed the drawing power of Christ over their hearts. They wish that the Lord would take them by force and save them all at once, in such a way that they would not have power to yield to temptation in the future. They would give anything if this could be done for them. They would be willing to hand over their future to the Lord if He would deal with it by one operation. They do not like the process of being continually saved from sin, because often their own inclinations are uppermost, and it means a struggle to them to allow the Lord to save them from the sin they want to commit.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 165.4

    But there is perfect freedom with the Saviour. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” The Son makes men free; there is no slavery of any description where He reigns, for He will reign by love or not at all. The Lord never presumes on anything that has gone before. He does not say to Christians, “No, I cannot allow you to commit this sin. I have taken too much pains with you, and suffered too much to think of allowing you to do as you please now, unless you do as I please. You promised to follow Me, and I intend to hold you to your promise now, whether you like it or not.” If a Christian should say, “When I promised to follow you, I did not know how attractive the world could be. I really prefer in this instance to go my own way,” the Lord will not compel an unwilling obedience. In the Lord's service every soul is perfectly free to go on or turn back. Jesus has the satisfaction of knowing that every soul who follows Him, does so simply and solely because He prefers His company to anything else. There are no vows to bind them, after the love has waxed cold. The one tie that unites Christ to His people is love. In this freedom consists the joy of the relationship. The gladdest thought of the redeemed is that they are the chosen of Christ, and as He looks over the hosts of the redeemed, His own infinite love finds satisfaction in the thought that there is not one among them who would not freely sacrifice all for Him.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 165.5

    How much more encouraging is the promise that Christ actually makes to His sheep. The foregoing is not written to minimise in the least the confidence which the Christian may feel in his final salvation, but only to show how much more secure God's promises make it than men's ideas can. There is no lack of assurance for the future. Paul declares that neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:38, 39. “For all things are yours; whether Paul or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s.” 1 Corinthians 3:22, 23. But the Scriptures also make known that the hope of these things is a living hope. Therefore the life of them is now ours to enjoy, and whatever power the future will reveal in the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him, that power is for us now, if we lay hold of the hope. Thus among the things which go to make up the privileges of the Christian, we read of “the powers of the world to come.” Hebrews 6:5.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 165.6

    So we read concerning Christ's sheep, “I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish.” To perish is the very opposite of having eternal life. God gave His Son that believers should not parish but have eternal life. John 3:16. How does Christ give the eternal life? “The words that I speak unto you they are Spirit and they are life.” John 6:63. “My sheep hear My voice.” In speaking to us, Christ gives us eternal life, and those who thus receive eternal life shall never lose it, “they shall never perish.” In this way we may know for certain whether we have eternal life, for we may know whether we receive His Word or not. And just as long as we want to retain eternal life, we may be sure that we are retaining it by continuing to hear His voice.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 166.1

    Men do not value the Word of God as they should, because they do not sufficiently appreciate how different it is to all human speech. Unlike the words of men, it is full of eternal life and power. This is why it is able to build us up and give us an inheritance among the sanctified. Acts 20:32. Those who receive it as it is, not a human word but the all-powerful Word of God, find that it works mightily in them. They, by receiving the Word, receive into themselves the power of God, so great that none can pluck them out of His hand. Only the reversal of the process which brought them into the Father's hand can take them out of that protection. Unbelief will hide the power of God from them, and leave them helpless, but self-doomed victims to Satan.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 166.2

    In the hand of God men are safe from all harm. That hand will lead them and hold them in safety and righteousness. It is so strong that it does not need to grip them in a vice-like clutch to preserve them from evil. Its clasp is an infinitely tender and loving one. “Yea, He loved the people; all His saints are in Thy hand: and they eat down at Thy feet; every one shall receive of Thy words.” Deuteronomy 33:3.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 166.3

    Mourning over present troubles makes us forget past blessings.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 166.4

    “Confession” The Present Truth 15, 11.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A motion was lately made in the House of Lords that a report be provided showing the number of cases in which confessional boxes have been introduced into the Church of England. Lord Salisbury, while agreeing to the request, pointed out that whatever steps were taken by the Government, they were powerless to deal with any spiritual evil. He said:-PTUK March 16, 1899, page 167.1

    If there are any means of repressing or discouraging the practice of habitual confession they would deserve all our consideration. I fear, however, that you are undertaking an effort to coerce consciences, which greater powers than the British Parliament have failed to effect, and that you are more likely to increase the disease than to stop it. But allow me to point out that this return will not tell you one hundredth part of the evil. If there is to be confession, which I most earnestly deprecate, I would rather have the open box in the church than the secret interview in the vestry. It is between these two that you have to choose, and my fear is, in the first place, that you will not get an accurate return of the boxes there are, because everybody who returns the existence of a box returns a confession that he has broken the law. You will not get people to do that; they will simply put your circular in the fire. And beyond that you will be giving a vicious stimulus to a certain mistaken spirit of religious courage which will most undoubtedly, and I think unfortunately, induce a more extended practice of the evil which you so justly deprecate. I greatly fear that if men wish to confess to men or-perhaps I should put it more accurately-if women wish to confess to men, all the power this Parliament possession will not avail seriously to arrest the process. It is for them to teach their flocks-they cannot do it too earnestly and too often-the evils which may attend habitual and systematic secret confession. But let us be careful lest we hinder their work, and prevent them from doing that which it is their proper charge to carry out, by bringing in the arm of the flesh which never yet beat down a religious error, and has often made the evil worse than before.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 167.2

    Lord Salisbury recognises that it is the work of the Church to attend to matters of religion, and that the “arm of flesh” never yet mended matters. If the Church is corrupt and powerless for good, it is only by reason of its unlawful connection with the world, and the first step in reform must be a separation from this entangling and corrupting alliance. If the Church neglects its work, the State cannot take it up. It should not be necessary for a statesman to remind the Church of this truth.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 167.3

    A merely political disestablishment will not suffice to correct the evil. The forbidden connection with the State arises out of a lack of faith in the power of the Word, and a sinful yielding to worldly influences. The friendship of the world is enmity with God (James 4:4.), and the duty of every believer in the Church is to repent and do the first works, not trusting in the arm of flesh, but returning to her first love. Revelation 2:4, 5. Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it, and the Church which loyally recognises its obligation to its Lord will, forsaking all others, cleave only to Him, content with the riches and the power which He bestows.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 167.4

    The fragrance of Christianity is not disseminated by force.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 167.5

    A common task may become a holy service by doing it to please God.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 167.6

    “Little Folks. The Gospel of the Spring. Some Warning Lessons” The Present Truth 15, 11.

    E. J. Waggoner

    When God's great Book of Nature, out of which we have lately been learning these beautiful lessons of the Gospel of the Spring, was first made, it did not have in it all the things that are now to be found there.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 170.1

    Here is a picture that never would have been seen if sin had not brought destruction and death into the world. For if the spider weaved his beautiful silken web in the beginning, it was certainly not for catching flies and other insects to kill and eat them.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 170.2

    No; at that time all was sweet peace and harmony, for every living thing was filled with and guided by the Spirit of God,-the Spirit of love, for “God is love.”PTUK March 16, 1899, page 170.3

    “Perfect love casteth out fear,” and so no living creature was afraid of any other, but all lived peacefully and happily together. This was because “love seeketh not her own,” but is always seeking to do good to others.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 170.4

    So every creature lived and worked, not for its own good, but for We service and good of others. As long as this happy state lasted, the Book of Nature taught but the one sweet lesson of love, the love of God, which was the life of every living thing.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 170.5

    Why, then, do we now see such a different state of things, the earth full of fear and violence, the animals preying one upon another, and even the tiny insects taking the lives of others to preserve their own.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 170.6

    It is because there is another spirit working and ruling in the earth, the spirit of Satan, which is the spirit of selfishness. When this first got into the heart of man, he began at once to look out for himself, instead of for others, to try to exalt himself. And as he was the king and ruler of everything in the earth, all living things soon began to be ruled by this same spirit of selfishness; each began to “seek its own,” instead of the good of others. This has been so plainly seen ever since that it has passed into a saying that “self-preservation is the first law of nature.”PTUK March 16, 1899, page 170.7

    Because the whole Book of Nature is so changed and marred by sin, we cannot rightly read it, and see God's law of love so plainly written there, as in the beginning. So God has given us His Holy Word to guide us in our study of it. But those who try to read God's wonderful Book without His written Word for their guide, are sure to go astray, and to be deceived by that other spirit, and the spirit of Satan, that is working there.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 170.8

    But when we let the Word and Spirit of God guide us, even in the saddest pictures and the darkest pages of His Book of Nature He will teach us the most precious lessons of His love.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 170.9

    Then, too, since Satan began his work of death in the earth, God's children have needed other lessons than they would have if it had not been for this. So in letting the curse come upon all His works, God is making each one of them teach us just the lessons that we now need. He is letting us see Satan's ways of working, and the sad results of them, so that we may learn wisdom, may learn to be on our guard, and to take refuge in Him from all the Snares of Satan.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 170.10

    Even in these little insects that we have been learning about, there are many warning lessons for us. There is the caterpillar, we talked about him last week you will remember, and how he is gradually changed by the power of God into a beautiful butterfly.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 170.11

    It was noticed that some caterpillars instead of changing into butterflies, seemed to give birth to numbers of little flies which flew out from the dead caterpillar. This was a great puzzle to naturalists for some time, but by close watching it was found that these flies really came from eggs which a certain fly, called the ichneumon fly, deposited in the caterpillar's body, piercing a hole through the skin for this purpose.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 170.12

    When these tiny eggs are hatched, the little grubs that come from them feed on the caterpillar's body, and eat up what would be the butterfly, and keep it from changing into the perfect creature that was meant for.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 170.13

    Think well over this, and see what you can learn from it of Satan's work in the hearts of little children like you. Is he not always trying to drop little seeds of evil into your hearts, that will grow, and eat up and crowd out all that is good and pure so that you can never be changed into the perfect and beautiful image of Jesus. Watch, and ask Jesus to keep you, so that he may not take you unawares, and get these deadly seeds into your heart.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 170.14

    But even it he has already done so, you know there is something in your heart that Satan has put there, something that is keeping down and destroying the good that the Spirit of Jesus has put within you Jesus can save you from it even now if you ask Him, for He has “power over all the power of the enemy.”PTUK March 16, 1899, page 170.15

    Then there is the cunning spider, using the wisdom and the wonderful powers that God has given her, to lay traps and snare to catch and devour other little living creatures that are not on their guard against her. And lest the poor little struggling fly should escape after all, and how she binds it with thread after thread until it has no power left, even to struggle.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 170.16

    What a picture this is of Satan, who God made God made “full of wisdom, and perfect beauty, yet who has bent all the powers of his master mind” to deceive and ensnare and destroy. He is still busy weaving webs in which to catch little boys and girls, as well as men and women.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 170.17

    Sometimes he makes his web look very bright and pretty, as the spider's web does when the sun is shining on it, so that you may be tempted to go near to look; but before you know it he will have you tied up in it, with no help but in the power of Jesus to come and set you free.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 171.1

    We shall not be able to talk this week about these webs that he is weaving for you, but you will be able to think of some of them yourself, and if you ask your mamma she will tell you of others.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 171.2

    “Jottings” The Present Truth 15, 11.

    E. J. Waggoner

    -Fifteen hundred miners have come out on strike at Bllbao, Spain, and there have been serious disturbances.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 174.1

    -It is stated that 90 per cent. of the common contagious diseases are carried from house to house by the domestic pets of the world.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 174.2

    -Three Prussian officers accomplished a balloon voyage of 420 miles in six hours, which is the quickest rate of speed ever attained by a balloon.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 174.3

    -The doctors of Sweden never send bills to their patients, the amount of their remuneration being left entirely to the generosity of the latter.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 174.4

    -There would not be sufficient space London cemeteries to bury London's dead for the next five years if each person were buried in a single grave.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 174.5

    -The Government proposes to compete with the National Telephone Company, and will attempt to popularise the use of the telephone by charging only ?3 per annum, and a small additional fee for every call.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 174.6

    -Italy's application to China for the lease of Sanmun Bay has been refused, the Italian Minister's note being returned to him. By way of reply the Italian warships have landed several companies of marines, who have practically taken possession of the bay.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 174.7

    -A professor in a German Catholic University who has been teaching and writing views which were not in harmony with the dogmas of his church, had his writings placed on the Index Expurgatorius. It was expected that the professor, who had been expounding his views to crowded audiences, would prove firm, but he has quickly abandoned his defiant attitude, and promised to bring his teaching into harmony with the Church of Rome. He maintained that independent scientific investigation was consistent with orthodoxy, and that the Scriptures should be placed freely in the hands of laymen.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 174.8

    -A boot-blacking machine has lately been patented, the model of which shows a suitable framework, a rest for the foot, a reservoir to contain liquid blacking, and brushes that automatically apply it to the boot. The machine can be worked by electricity, or with a spring, or on the penny-in-the-slot principle.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 174.9

    -Owing to the increase of feeling against England on the Continent, special precautions are being taken to secure the Queen's safety during her visit to Nice. A large number of detectives will watch all suspected persons in the vicinity, and if thought advisable expel them temporarily. During the two past years while the Queen was at Cimiez, more than one hundred suspects were ordered to leave the town.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 174.10

    -The Act recently passed in the French Chamber to bring the Dreyfus case before the whole Court of Appeal has again come into operation. This time the appellant is a sailor, who was sentenced to a month's imprisonment for desertion. The report on the case came before the Criminal Chamber, but as that tribunal was unable under the new law to deal with it, the whole forty-six judges of the court will have to meet.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 174.11

    -The anti-Romanist movement, which aims at securing German protection for some of the German-speaking provinces of Austria, is making great progress. Recently 2,500 Catholics in one, Bohemian parish declared their conversion to Protestantism. In another several hundred Catholics signed a similar declaration. The movement meets with great sympathy in the German Fatherland, and is largely fostered, particularly in clerical circles. Subscriptions are arranged clandestinely, and secret emissaries with funds are sent to Austria to support the agitationPTUK March 16, 1899, page 174.12

    -Forty tons of smokeless gunpowder exploded in a magazine at Toulon, killing over fifty persons. The scene of the explosion looked as if a volcanic eruption had occurred. For two miles the country was swept almost bare, the fields were devastated and covered with stones and fine black dust. A carriage which was nearly 100 yards away was blown into the sea and two of the occupants were drowned. The discovery of some dynamite on carriages in the neighbourhood has given rise to the belief that the explosion was an Anarchist outrage.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 174.13

    -The press in Finland is now subject to the strictest censorship, and the cases of censure have increased fivefold. A writer who defends Russia's action says that the exemptions and privilege enjoyed by the Finns were a standing grievance to the other Russian provinces. He continues: “The building of an empire is at times necessarily hard upon the minor States absorbed into the mass, but the minor State in the end often benefits by its incorporation. The major State certainly does, and it is not likely to forego its great advantage in order to consider what may or may not be of advantage to the minor.”PTUK March 16, 1899, page 174.14

    -Still another “trust” is announced from New York, more gigantic than any that have gone before. This time it is a proposal to buy up all the mining railroads. The capital is to be ?180,000,000. A report from Washington says, “The extent to which new trusts are being formed is so tremendous as to attract general attention. Not day passes without an announcement of from one to half a dozen new trusts. To-day the papers announce the formation of five new trusts, with an aggregate capital of nearly ?40,000,000, with several other trusts in process of formation. Every trust is capitalised at fully double its actual value, which means that dividends have to be earned on millions of watered stock. Conservative financiers fear that the country has gone trust mad, and that in a few months there will be a frightful smash, which will produce widespread ruin.”PTUK March 16, 1899, page 174.15

    “Back Page” The Present Truth 15, 11.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In spite of the supplementary estimates for naval defence, which were approved last August in view of Russia's proposed expenditure, Mr. Goschen's estimates for the coming year show a further increase of nearly ?3,000,000. The reason given for the increase is that other countries are increasing their naval budgets. Mr. Goschen said,PTUK March 16, 1899, page 176.1

    I have thus far seen no reference to the approaching conference in the naval or military estimates or programmes of any of the great countries of the world. I have examined the programmes of other Powers, and that study has not been very reassuring. I have caused to be added up the amount of warships under construction by the six chief naval powers, and I find that there are 685,000 tons of men-of-war building, besides 225,000 tons which are projected.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 176.2

    England is willing to cry a halt if the other Powers will do the same, but otherwise the struggle must go on to the bitter end.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 176.3

    I have now to state on behalf of Her Majesty's Government that it the other great naval Powers should be prepared to diminish their programmes for shipbuilding, we should, on our side, be prepared to most such a procedure by modifying can.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 176.4

    The International Peace Conference has now been appointed to most on May 18th, at the Hague. The prospects of peace are worse than ever, and even if the English army should be disbanded, and should go so far as to enter the Church, it would find ample occasion for all the fighting spirit it had. To judge by the daily papers, and the correspondence in the religious journals, the different sections of the Church regard each other as deadly enemies.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 176.5

    People sometimes find fault with Christianity because it declares that there is only one Name given among men whereby we must be saved. They say, Look at such an one who made no profession of religion, yet he did more good than many who are called Christians. This only illustrates the impossibility of judging anybody. God doss not accept professions. He, “without respect of persons, judgeth according to every man's work.” 1 Peter 1:17. The name of Christ is not a mere formula, the utterance of which will save men. It is a life; and it will manifest itself as such, or by its absence grove that the assumption of the Name was an empty form.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 176.6

    Yet it may be that many men who have done good works will not inherit eternal life. It must be remembered that there is none good but One, that is, God; therefore whatsoever good appears in any man's life is not due to goodness, inherent or cultivated, in the man, but to God's working in him. He upholdeth all, and giveth life to all, and His Spirit strives with every man, trying to get control of the life. Men yield to good impulses, and think that these spring from themselves, but they are due to the striving of the Spirit which seeks to possess the whole life.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 176.7

    If a man, in whom a great deal of good has appeared, shall finally be lost, it will not prove that God is unjust. It will merely show that the man decided against God in the face of great light, and therefore is more blameworthy than others in whose life but little of the Spirit's working was manifested. God's life is light (John 1:4), and the man who chooses the way of death rather than of life, sins against light. The more of the life there was, shown in him, the greater the light rejected.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 176.8

    “Business Corruption” The Present Truth 15, 11.

    E. J. Waggoner

    An unpleasant light has been thrown on present-day business methods by the report of a special committee of the London Chamber of Commerce. It would seem from the report that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, in almost all trades, for the manufacturer, to obtain orders without bribing the “buyers” of commercial establishments. Goods of inferior quality, and incorrect invoices, are passed, if the person whose duty it is to check these is “squared” to his satisfaction. The bribes are often given unwillingly, and against the voice of conscience, but those who do not like the system say that if they stood out against it they might as wall go out of business as try to compete with other houses which give these secret commissions. The same evil is said to be firmly established in all the professions.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 176.9

    It may seem to some that civilisation has vastly improved business conditions and commercial honesty, but every now and then some evidence of deep-rooted and wide-spread corruptness breaks through the surface, and shows the worthlessness of all life that is not hid with Christ in God. Instead of becoming more and more free from the evils which cursed the world before the gloss of civilisation was used so much to cover them up, men are fast hastening to the condition foretold by the prophet: “The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net. That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man he uttereth his mischievous desire so they wrap it up. The best of them is sharper than a thorn thorn edge.” Micah 7:2-4.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 176.10

    What shall the Christian merchant do under such circumstances as these? Shall he follow a multitude to do evil and give Satan a chance to utter his old taunt, “Doth this man serve God for naught?” The Lord calls for faithful witnesses, men like Caleb who will serve Him wholly, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” The closeness of the contest between good and evil shows that the climax is fast approaching. It will come when the decree is made “that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:17. The time is very near then when those who had gotten the victory over these things are seen, standing on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. Revelation 15:2.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 176.11

    No one need feel that the contest against the organised forces of Satan is a hopeless one. The fight may be severe, but the victory is sure for the faithful. When it is no longer possible to live on this earth, and live righteously, Christ will come to take to the mansions in His Father's house the remnant “that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” To those who feel that they cannot separate themselves from the corrupt practice of the world, for fear of losing their business, the solemn question is addressed, “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and loss his own soul?”PTUK March 16, 1899, page 176.12

    “Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.” This is a word to be remembered in times of discouragement There is no failure for the one who commits his way to God. In the darkest circumstances he may rejoice to know that those are working together for good.PTUK March 16, 1899, page 176.13

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