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    June 29, 1899

    “The Way of Holiness” The Present Truth 15, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “The winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come.... The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.” Song of Solomon 2:11-13.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 401.1

    “As the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:11.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 401.2

    “For Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy work: I will triumph in the works of Thy hands. The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; to show that the Lord is upright: He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” Psalm 92:4, 12-15.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 401.3

    “Ye are God's husbandry.” 1 Corinthians 3:9. “Every plant, which My heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” Matthew 15:13. “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.” John 15:4.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 401.4

    It will be seen from these scriptures that God is the source of righteousness and not man. This is according to God's plan. He never designed that man should be righteous by his own works, but by receiving, in faith, the righteousness of His Creator, allowing God to work in Him to will and to do of His own good pleasure.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 401.5

    Therefore the question is not whether man shall be found righteous in the judgment, but whether the Lord shall be proved to be righteous in all His works. No man can make himself righteous, but He can let the Lord demonstrate in his life that all His works are righteous. But to do this a man must cease from his own works, so that only the works of God are manifest in him. When the Lord has full control of a man's life, because he abides in Him as the branch abides in the vine, then it will always appear “that the Lord is upright, ... and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”PTUK June 29, 1899, page 401.6

    This means that the Lord will be justified in the judgment. But what of the man? He can “have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17. Such a man is not afraid that the Lord will be condemned in the judgment, and for himself all he needs to know is that he is abiding in the vine. So he is sure of an abundant entrance into “the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”PTUK June 29, 1899, page 402.1

    “Notes on the International Sunday-School Lessons. Daniel in Babylon. Daniel 1:8-21The Present Truth 15, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    FAITHFULNESS TO GOD, AND ITS RESULT

    In order to enter fully into this lesson, we must understand the circumstances. The situation is this: Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had besieged Jerusalem, and had taken it. “The Lord gave Jehoiakim, king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God.” Daniel 1:2. “Surely at the commandment of the Lord came this upon Judah, to remove them out of His sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did; and also for the innocent blood that he shed; for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood.” 2 Kings 24:3, 4. After naming over various nations, including Judah, God said: “Now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant; and the beasts of the field have I given unto him also to serve him.” Jeremiah 27:6. Nebuchadnezzar therefore had the same right to rule that any of the kings of Judah ever had. Because of their sins, the people of Israel had been given over to the king of Babylon. Their captivity was only the outward manifestation of the bondage of sin, into which they had voluntarily gone. Read 2 Chronicles 36:14-21.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 402.2

    Nebuchadnezzar was a broad-minded man, and one who was zealous for the welfare of his kingdom. He could recognise merit wherever he saw it, and had a disposition to make use of it. Accordingly he gave orders that the most promising of the captives of Judah should be trained in the royal schools, to be fitted for responsible places in the kingdom. The chosen ones were “of the seed royal, and of the nobles; youths in whom was no blemish, but well-favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability to stand in the king's palace.” These were to be taught “the learning and tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed for them a daily portion of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank, and that they should be nourished three years; that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.” Daniel 1:3-5. Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. These four seemed to be special friends and companions, with Daniel as the leader among them.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 402.3

    From the record it is plain that the captives were obliged to pass an examination before they could have the benefit of this training; for otherwise it could not be known whether or not they had an understanding in science. At the time when this lesson begins, they had passed their examination and were ready to enter upon their three years’ course of training.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 402.4

    But Daniel was not yet ready to go on with the work. Everything was not as it should be, and although he was a captive in Babylon, he was God's free man. All was not to his liking, and therefore it was wrong, because his liking was God's will. He liked only that which God liked. What was the trouble?-He was not satisfied with the food. That is not so uncommon a thing. There are many young men who find fault with the food that is furnished them both at home and at school. But it is a rare thing to find a student making the complaint that Daniel made. He did not complain that he did not have enough to eat, or that he was used to much better fare at home, and could not live on such a diet; nothing of the kind. His complaint was that the food was, too fine. Verse 8 literally translated is: “But Daniel set (it) upon his heart that he would not defile himself with the king's delicacies.” He wanted plain food. Surely Daniel was a remarkable character. This incident at the beginning of his career stamps him as such.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 402.5

    There was nothing captious about Daniel. Although he had a fixed purpose in his heart as to what he would do, he did not make a scene. He did not parade his scruples, and protest that he would not violate them even for the king. People who have a fixed purpose, and one that is based upon a good foundation, do not need to bluster. People who do that, do it to make up for their lack of stability, and usually they give way when pressure is brought to bear upon them. Moreover, by their very course they make it sure that severe pressure will be brought to bear upon them. But Daniel's purpose was too deep for bluster. He did not intend to eat the food that the king had appointed for him, yet he courteously asked the steward who had charge of their food to give them something else.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 402.6

    “When a man's way, please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7. Daniel's ways and purposes pleased the Lord, and therefore He had “made Daniel to find favour and compassion in the sight of the prince of the eunuchs,” who was disposed to grant any request that Daniel might make, but who feared to do anything contrary to the king's commandment. He could not conceive how anyone could keep in health and strength if deprived of the rich variety provided by the king; and so radical a change as Daniel proposed would, he feared, make the young men so thin and weak that they could not carry out the work assigned them, and so the king's anger would be aroused.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 402.7

    But Daniel combined the wisdom of the serpent with the harmlessness of the dove, He did not argue the matter with the officer, but proposed a practical test. He said: “Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before and the countenance of the youths that eat of the king's meat; and as thou seest deal with thy servants.” No objection could be made to so reasonable a request as that. All the king desired was that the youths should have such attention as would keep them in the best condition for study and work. Ten days could not make a great deal of difference, and if at the end of that time the experiment proved a failure, then the young men could soon pick up again under the king's generous provision. Still, the fact that the experiment was made, shows the hold that Daniel had on the king's officers.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 402.8

    What was the result?-“At the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh, than all the children which did eat of the king's meat. So the steward took away their meat (delicate food), and the wine that they should drink, and gave them pulse.” Now the question arises, Why was this written? The answer is that it was “written for our learning.” And what can we learn from it?-This, that a very simple diet is the best for man. That this is the chief reason why this incident is recorded, it very evident. Some may say that the lesson we should learn is that God honours those who are moved by principle. That lesson is very prominent, but it only enforces the other, for the principle for which Daniel was standing was that of plainness in diet. Daniel was not making a sacrifice in abstaining from the king's delicate food; he did not desire it, because he knew that it was not good for him, and he had been trained to prefer that which was best for him. The result showed that the simplest fare is the best for practical purposes.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 403.1

    Some may think that God wrought a miracle in behalf of the four Hebrews who chose the simple food. It may be that He did, but if so that only makes more emphatic the fact that a simple diet, with little variety, is the best for hard work, especially for mental labour. God would not work a miracle to enforce a wrong idea, therefore we have the testimony of the Lord in favour of simple food. The dealing of God with the children of Israel in the wilderness, when He fed them on manna, is a standing testimony. Daniel had read that history to profit.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 403.2

    The test of the value of food is what it will do for man. Food is for the purpose of renewing strength. “Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!” Ecclesiastes 10:17. People cannot always determine the goodness of any food by its taste, because almost everybody has a perverted taste. God, however, designs that food shall please the taste, and has given us the sense of taste, so that we may derive pleasure from eating. But the very best food will taste insipid to a perverted palate, and therefore we need to educate our taste. Whatever will keep the body in the best health, and give muscular strength, and mental vigour, and will also enable one to endure privation, is the best food, and we should accustom ourselves to enjoy it. When the palate has been trained for a while in the right way, rich and fancy dishes and flesh meats will be distasteful, and simple but wholesome food will, be eaten with a hearty relish. The poor man, with simple fare, is not to be pitied. The rich, or any others, for that matter, who are slaves to an appetite that demands rich food, and who do not know the pleasure of perfect health and of abstinence, are the ones to be pitied.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 403.3

    But there was a further result of Daniel's choice. “As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning find wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. And at the end of the days which the king had appointed for bringing them in, the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore stood they before the king. And in every matter of wisdom and understanding, concerning which the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” Daniel 1:17-20. Surely that was a result worth even making a sacrifice for; but as we have seen, Daniel had not made a sacrifice; he had been eating and enjoying that which was good. It is not a sacrifice to be in a state of constant enjoyment.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 403.4

    Was this a miracle?-Most certainly, but only such a miracle as may be wrought at anytime and for anybody. The attainment of wisdom is a miracle; “for the Lord giveth wisdom; out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6. Daniel and his companions had given themselves fully into the hands of the Lord, and He in turn gave them Himself. God is willing und anxious to give every man wisdom and understanding. God's desire for men is expressed in the inspired words of the Apostle Paul, when he prayed “that your love may abound yet more and more, in knowledge and in all judgment.” Philippians 1:9. And also, “that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being, fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:9, 10. The trouble with the most of us is that we throw obstacles in the way of this result. We clog our systems with unwholesome food, and with too great a quantity, thus reversing the proper order of things; for whereas food ought to be only a support to the body, we impose on the body the task of trying to dispose of food that is utterly useless to it. Thus instead of eating to live, we actually live to eat. It is very evident that while we are in that state, the Holy Spirit of God cannot control us, and enlighten us. How can we expect God to give us clear perception, and strength of intellect, when we deliberately do that which benumbs the sensibilities? It is like putting our hands into the fire, and expecting that God will keep our fingers from being burned.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 403.5

    Whence did Daniel and his follows get their wisdom? Read the record, and see. God gave it to them. The amount of wisdom that God can give a man of what is called “ordinary ability” is not dreamed of, because He is so seldom given the opportunity to demonstrate it. Those Hebrew youths were at school in Babylon, with the wisest men of the kingdom for instructors; but they did not derive their knowledge from those wise men. How do we know?-From this fact, that at the end of three years they knew ten times more than all the wise men in the king's realm, and that of course included the man who wore over the school which Daniel attended. They placed themselves in harmony with God's law, and He filled them. Thus they experienced what the psalmist said: “I have more understanding than all my teachers; for Thy testimonies are my meditation.” Psalm 119:99. “I understand more than the ancients; because I keep Thy precepts.” Verse 100.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 403.6

    Here is something that ought to claim the earnest attention of everybody. In these days the idea that men can learn more from God and His Word than from man is almost unheard of. This is no disparagement upon anything that anybody knows. Whatever wisdom any man has, whatever he really knows, is good, because it comes from God, from whom every good and perfect gift comes. And men may help their fellow-men in the way of knowledge. Nevertheless the fact remains that no one is a teacher like unto God. Job 36:22. In obedience to all the commandments of God, and perfect submission to the perfect life of God, there are unlimited possibilities of wisdom. “The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28. And this is not fanciful, visionary, intangible, wisdom. It is such wisdom as can be recognised as wisdom even by those who do not know the secret of it. “Behold I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and shall say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” Deuteronomy 4:5, 6. See this verified in the case of Solomon. 1 Chronicles 1:7-12; 9:1-6. But this wisdom does not come from God without any effort on the part of the man. In Proverbs 2:1-9 we may read the experience of Solomon, and find the royal road to learning.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 403.7

    This chapter was not written for no purpose. We have no right to read it as an idle tale, as merely a curious item of history. It stands there to teach us the way of knowledge, yet how few of us think of it! It is a constant witness against our foolishness. If we do not have knowledge, how can we excuse ourselves with that record before us? The God who is no respecter of persons will give us understanding, as well as He did to those youths, if we but place ourselves unreservedly in His hands, to do His will. If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know. This story ought to be committed to memory, and meditated upon daily. Shall we not give ourselves to the acquirement of true wisdom?PTUK June 29, 1899, page 404.1

    Two or three other lessons ought to be noted while we have the chapter before us. Daniel was a captive in Babylon, with the rest of the Jews, yet he was a pious youth. The Jews were sent into captivity because of their sins, yet Daniel is one of the few men without a shadow of wrong-doing charged against them in the Bible. Thus we see that good people may be brought into trouble in this life through the evil-doing of others.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 404.2

    But the fact that good men are brought into difficulties through the sins of others is no ground for complaint. A righteous man cannot be made a captive, even though he be bound with chains. Daniel in Babylon was a free man. When God allows His servants to suffer hardships through the evil-doing of others, it is always for a good purpose. God had work for Daniel in Babylon, as He always has for His servants, wherever they are. Compare the case of Joseph in Egypt. Daniel was free from the Babylonian spirit, which was pride and the exaltation of self above God, and therefore he was free in Babylon. Jesus said, “If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:31, 32, 36.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 404.3

    There is never any need for one to compromise his principles. Surely Daniel was in as close a place as anyone ever can be. Many think that if they are guests of some great man, courtesy demands that they should drink his wine, and partake of his dainty meats. So they will lay aside their principles for fear of giving offence. Perhaps they will go so far as to state that they do not believe in eating and drinking such things, but that they will do so “just on this occasion,” thereby making the case worse than if they said nothing. But Daniel was not merely a guest, free to go away if he chose; he was a captive, subject to the orders of an absolute monarch, whose word was law, and who could with an inclination of the head send one who displeased him to execution. If ever a youth had cause for compromising his principles, Daniel had; but he did not. He knew what was right, and what would please God: and that was what he purposed to do, no matter what the consequences might be. Because of this loyalty to truth and right, God made the way clear for him. When God sends or allows one of His servants to get into a difficult place, where the truth is not regarded, it is in order that He may have a witness for the truth in that place.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 404.4

    Firmness of character, and loyalty to principle are esteemed even by the world. Daniel's course was such that he could not fail to be noted, and his prominence was only the advancement of truth. The fact that he made the request that he did, would call attention to him, and when it was seen that there was sound wisdom in his choice, the truth was exalted. The man who is recreant to the trust that God has placed in him in a critical time, is of no use. He is passed by as one of the common herd. And the man who feebly makes known what he calls his principles, but puts them aside “on this occasion,” brings contempt on himself, and causes his associates to think that there is no power in truth. May the God of Daniel make us all as faithful as he was! This He will do if we are willing that He should, and have enough confidence in Him.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 404.5

    “Resisting the Devil” The Present Truth 15, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”PTUK June 29, 1899, page 404.6

    How thankful every Christian should be for this scripture; for it gives hope where otherwise there would be utter discouragement.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 404.7

    Strong as Satan is, the weakest Christian who steadfastly resists him need not be overcome; for it is beyond his power to force the human will.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 404.8

    Satan came to Christ with flattering and tempting offers at a time when the flesh was weak; but the Saviour's command, “Get thee hence,” drove him from His presence. Immediately the record says, “Angels came and ministered unto Him.”PTUK June 29, 1899, page 404.9

    Now when we are confronted with temptations, it lies with us, whether we or the devil shall overcome. When, in the strength of Christ, we resist the first enticing whisperings of the evil one, the first inclination to yield to his seductive arts, we are where we can say with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.1

    But a half-hearted resistance-simply a desire to do right, will not conquer Satan. The devil is persistent, and more so now than ever, “because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” He did not give up the warfare after just one defeat when he tempted the Saviour, neither will he be content with one failure to entrap us. He is an untiring, vigilant, personal foe; and everybody ought to realise it, and then, having realised it, lay hold of that strength that is able to save to the uttermost.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.2

    “The Gospel of Isaiah. Dwelling with Consuming Fire. Isaiah 33:2-16The Present Truth 15, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (ISAIAH 33:2-16, LOWTH'S TRANSLATION.)

    2. O Jehovah, have mercy on us; we have
    trusted in Thee;
    Be Thou our strength every morning;
    Even our salvation in the time of distress.
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.3

    3. From Thy terrible voice the peoples fled;
    When Thou dist raise Thyself up, the na-
    tions were dispersed.
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.4

    4. But your spoil shall be gathered as the locust
    gathereth;
    As the caterpillar runneth to and fro, so shall
    they run and seize it.
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.5

    5. Jehovah is exalted; yea, He dwelleth on
    high;
    He hath filled Sion with judgment and
    justice.
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.6

    6. And wisdom and knowledge shall be the
    stability of thy times,
    The possession of continued salvation;
    The fear of Jehovah, this shall be thy
    treasure.
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.7

    7. Behold, the mighty men raise a grievous cry;
    The messengers of peace weep bitterly.
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.8

    8. The highways are desolate; the traveler
    ceaseth;
    He hath broken the covenant; he hath re-
    jected the offered cities;
    Of men he maketh no account.
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.9

    9. The land mourneth, it languisheth;
    Libanus is put to shame, it withereth;
    Sharon is become like the desert;
    And Bashan and Carmel are stripped of
    their beauty.
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.10

    10. Now will I arise, saith Jehovah;
    Now will I lift up Myself on high; now will
    I be exalted.
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.11

    11. Ye shall conceive chaff; ye shall bring forth
    stubble;
    And My Spirit, like fire, shall consume you.
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.12

    12. And peoples shall be burned, as the lime is
    burned;
    As the thorns are cut up, and consumed in
    the fire.
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.13

    13. Hear, O ye that are afar off, My doings;
    And acknowledge, O ye that are near, My
    power.
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.14

    14. The sinners are struck with dread;
    Terror hath seized the hypocrites;
    Who among us can abide this consuming
    fire?
    Who among us can abide these continued
    burnings?
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.15

    15. He who walketh in perfect righteousness, and
    speaketh right things;
    Who detesteth the lucre of oppression;
    Who shaketh his hands from bribery;
    Who stoppeth his ears to the proposal of
    blood;
    Who shutteth his eyes against the appearance
    of evil.
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.16

    16. His dwelling shall be in the high places;
    The strongholds of the rocks shall be his
    lofty fortress;
    His bread shall be duly furnished; his waters
    shall not fail.
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.17

    MERCY TO THE TRUSTING

    The prayer with which this lesson opens is not a vain one, for we are assured, “He that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.” Even in sinful man, the very fact of being trusted makes one kindly disposed; we cannot help being drawn to one who manifests confidence in us; it put us, as it were, on our honour. What then shall be said of God, whose nature is love, and who delights in mercy! He also cannot do otherwise than do kindness to them that trust Him.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.18

    EVERY MORNING NEW

    This mercy endureth for ever, and is unlimited. We may draw on it at will. We are continually recipients of it, for “it is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed;” “they are new every morning.” Lamentations 3:22, 23. Yet we ourselves determine to a great extent how much of it we will enjoy. We often claim but little, although the amount that we may enjoy is limited only by our willingness to receive. Here is a prayer inspired by the Holy Spirit. “Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in Thee.” Psalm 33:22. “The eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy.” Verse 18. Whatever the Spirit of the Lord tells us to ask for, we may be sure will be granted, for when “we know not what we should pray for as we ought,” the Spirit comes to our aid. Romans 8:26. Do you want unbounded mercy? then trust in the Lord without reservation.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.19

    THE MERCY OF THE DAYSPRING

    “Trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” Yea, for the mercy of the Lord is strength. “As the heaven is high above the earth, so powerful is His mercy toward them that fear Him.” Psalm 103:11. So as the Lord's mercies are new every morning, He is our strength every morning. Now “through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us.” He gives the knowledge of salvation unto His people “by the remission of their sins.” Luke 1:77, 78. Therefore every morning's dawn is an assurance to us that God is merciful to our unrighteousness. As the light springs forth from the east, it should be a reminder to us of “the dayspring from on high.” The beams of the morning sun are to remind us of “the Sun of righteousness,” who arises with healing in His wings. Malachi 4:2. So every morning God in His endless mercy gives us the assurance of forgiveness of sin, and of overcoming grace. “Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.” Ecclesiastes 11:7.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 405.20

    THE LORD OUR ARM

    The word rendered “strength,” in verse 2, is literally “arm.” So the inspired prayer is, “Be Thou our arm every morning.” What a wonderful promise! for every inspired prayer is a promise of God. God's mercies are new every morning, and His mercy is strength; but He does more than merely to strengthen our arm: He Himself promises to become our arm. Truly, “they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.” “It is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13. God has “a mighty arm;” His hand is strong (Psalm 139:13); but think of the courage with which one could go forth to his work in the morning, who knew that God was not only at his right hand, but was indeed his arm. Well, this is only saying in another way what we learned in Isaiah 12:2: “The Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation.”PTUK June 29, 1899, page 406.1

    It will not be difficult for us to see how literally true this is, if we but stop to consider the conditions of our life. God is our life, and the length of our days. Deuteronomy 30:20. We have no life in ourselves; everything comes from above. We eat the Word of God, even the very life of Christ, in the grains and fruits. Thus all the strength that anybody has is the strength of God; for He alone has power. He is the Almighty. All power in heaven and earth is Christ’s. Our lack of strength, therefore, is due to our failure to live by faith in God-to eat and drink the flesh and blood of Christ by faith. The prayer, “Be Thou our arm every morning,” should be prayed every morning, and that would mean that we propose to live only by the Word of God, as, like the manna, it comes to us fresh every morning. Thus our every-day life becomes to us the pledge of eternal salvation. “While there's life there's hope,” because life itself is hope.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 406.2

    “WISDOM IS A DEFENCE”

    “Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times.” Knowledge is indeed power, provided it is right knowledge. Wisdom is certainly power, for Christ, the wisdom of God, is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:24. “Wisdom is a defense, and money is a defense; but the excellency [the advantage] of knowledge is that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.” Ecclesiastes 7:12. How much stability does wisdom give?-Consider the heavens and the earth, the works of God, and you will see; for “He hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by His discretion.” Jeremiah 10:12. The last message, the last proclamation of the Gospel, calls upon men with a loud voice to give glory to God, “and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Revelation 14:7. We are to recognise God in His works, to trust the power and the wisdom that are manifested in the tiniest flower or the smallest insect, as well as in the shining orbs of the sky. The knowledge of God is wisdom and strength and riches. Jeremiah 9:23, 24. That wisdom which made and upholds them will also sustain us, if we trust it.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 406.3

    “That hand which bears creation up,
    Shall guard His children well.”
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 406.4

    A VITAL QUESTION

    “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” One would naturally say that such a thing is impossible; but the Lord says that some can and will do it. Who are they? It is the one who walks in righteousness, even “the righteousness which is of God, by faith” (Philippians 3:9), who speaks right things, who will have nothing to do with anything gained by fraud, who cannot be bribed, and who will not hear of bloody deeds, or look upon evil. Such an one can live in eternal fire, and be at ease amid the devouring flame.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 406.5

    NO FUTURE FOR THE WICKED

    Take particular notice that only the righteous can dwell with everlasting, devouring fire. The wicked will suffer the vengeance of eternal fire,-they will be cast into the fire that never shall be quenched,-but they cannot abide there; the fire will consume them as chaff. “As thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire.” There is therefore no eternity for the wicked. “The transgressors shall be destroyed together; the end [literally, “the future time”] of the wicked shall be cut off.” Psalm 37:38. So to the oft-repeated question, “Where will you spend eternity?” there can be but one answer. Those who spend it anywhere will spend it in the presence of God, dwelling in Him and His light; those who do not live in His righteousness, dwelling in the secret place of the Most High, will spend eternity nowhere. “They shall be as though they had not been.” Obadiah 16. “For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.” Psalm 38:10. “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” Malachi 4:1. Yet the righteous will dwell in that same fire in safety, and will bask in its grateful warmth throughout eternity.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 406.6

    THE FIRE OF GOD'S PRESENCE

    By comparing Isaiah 33:14-16 with Psalm 15:1-5 and 24:1-5, it will be seen that the people who dwell with the devouring fire and the everlasting burnings, are the same people that “ascend into the hill of the Lord,” and abide in His tabernacle. Thus it must be that the everlasting, devouring fire is in the tabernacle, the secret place, of God. That is exactly the case. Let us collect a few texts of Scripture that show this.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 406.7

    Verse 11 of this chapter, according to Lowth's reading, says, “My Spirit, like fire, shall consume you.” This agrees with Isaiah 11:4: “He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked,” and 2 Thessalonians 2:8, which says that the Lord shall consume “that wicked” “with the Spirit of His mouth.”PTUK June 29, 1899, page 406.8

    “Our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:29. He descended on Mount Sinai in fire (Exodus 19:18), and spoke to the people “out of the midst of the fire.” Deuteronomy 4:12; Verse 22. “From His right hand went a fiery law for them.” Deuteronomy 33:2.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 406.9

    The Lord “sitteth between [or upon] the cherubim.” Psalm 99:1. When He drove Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden, “He placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Genesis 3:24. This was the indication of His own presence; to this place Adam and his family came to worship, and from here Cain went out from the presence of the Lord.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 407.1

    The Lord reigns in righteousness, and “a fire goeth before Him, and burneth up His enemies round about,” and the hills melt like wax at the presence of the Lord. Psalm 97:1-5. So when Christ comes, it is “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:8. So at the last, when the wicked are all gathered together to do battle against God and His people, fire comes down from God out of heaven, and devours them. Revelation 20:8, 9. In Isaiah 30:33 we have read that “the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone” kindles Tophet.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 407.2

    God covers Himself with light as with a garment (Psalm 104:2), and dwells in light that no man can approach unto. 1 Timothy 6:16. When Isaiah saw the Lord, sitting on His throne, “the house was filled with smoke” (Isaiah 6:4.), indicating the presence of fire; and this is still further indicated by the fact that the beings that stand above His throne are the “Seraphim,” that is, “the burning ones.” Remember also that God went before Israel, to guide them, in a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 407.3

    In this Presence, amid this fire, the saints of God will dwell throughout eternity, but in order that they may do this, they must here become accustomed to the glory of God, of which the whole earth is full. By beholding it they become changed into the same image “from glory to glory,” even by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18. The presence of the Lord consumes everything that is evil, and so their dwelling with God in this time fits them for His unveiled glory. The sunlight, which destroys disease germs, is a daily proof to us of the fact that the glory of God consumes evil. But those who refuse to recognise God as He is now revealed, will not be able to abide the day of His coming, and will be consumed.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 407.4

    So it is indeed eternal fire that consumes the wicked, but it is not fire specially created for that purpose, nor does the fact that it is eternal prove that those who suffer from it will live eternally, but just the opposite. All, both saints and sinners, will be in the midst of it, so that all will be treated alike, and God cannot be accused of injustice; but the nature of the individual will determine how the fire will affect him. Only those who have become transformed into the likeness of God, who have His life as their life, so that they are partakers of the Divine nature, sharers of the glory, will be able to come through the fire unscathed, and, in fact, to continue dwelling in it. They are of the same nature as the devouring flame, and hence can dwell in it and not be consumed. All others will perish. The mercy of God endures for ever, and that which perpetuates the existence of those who become assimilated to it, ends the existence of the rebellious. How pertinent, therefore, the message, “Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come.”PTUK June 29, 1899, page 407.5

    “One-Sided Education” The Present Truth 15, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Daily Chronicle raises an interesting question as to what becomes of Senior Wranglers, and others who attain to high collegiate distinction in their early days.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 409.1

    There remains always the question what becomes of the Senior Wranglers who year after year are turned out of the University mill. Not many achieve the eminence of a Justice Romer or a Fletcher Moulton in after life, and more and more seem to shun active work in the world, and settle down to University tutorships and professorships. It is a curious thing; this comparative failure in life of the Senior Wrangler. Is it that in the tremendous struggle for this academic prize he tires his brain, and that, his training parlance, he has become “stale” for the race of life? Or is it that his perceptive and reflective powers have been brought to such a pitch of critical efficiency that he finds himself a thing apart, above and beyond the rest of mere ordinary humanity? Certain it is that relatively few succeed in the storm and stress of everyday life, and that many drift into the leisurely existence of an academic career, and are rarely heard of outside University circles.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 409.2

    While it does not follow by any means that a quiet and obscure career is a useless one, it is well to observe that the intellectual development which produces a Senior Wrangler is supposed by the world to unfit a man for active life. This is another respect in which we need to learn from the Lord what true education is. Christ had such training of the mind as none other ever hid, hut it did not alienate His sympathies from men, or unfit Him for a life of active benevolence. When the world confesses that its best results are one-sided, those who want to be well-educated will do well to distrust worldly methods, and confide their training to One who, in the days of His flesh, proved Himself perfect in wisdom and knowledge.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 409.3

    “Temptation” The Present Truth 15, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We are commanded, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.” Christians would often be saved the ignominy of defeat in their battle with the devil, if their strength were only employed to keep out of temptation, instead of being employed in trying to resist when they have voluntarily placed themselves with its grasp.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 409.4

    “Little Folks. Lessons from the Trees” The Present Truth 15, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    GOOD AND BAD FRUIT

    All of you, dear children, are little trees that God has planted in His garden. You know that all trees are not alike, but we can tell the nature of the tree by the kind of fruit that it bears. “The tree is known by its fruit.”PTUK June 29, 1899, page 410.1

    Jesus says, “He that abideth in Me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.” This fruit is shown in the life; if we abide in Jesus, His life will be in us and we shall live as He did when He was upon the earth Himself. So “he that saith he abideth in Him, ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.”PTUK June 29, 1899, page 410.2

    If there is a tree in the orchard that you do not know the name of you will watch to see what kind of fruit grows on it, and then you will know. If it is an apple tree, it ought to have apples on it, and at the right time of year it will, if it is a good tree.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 410.3

    “Ye shall know them by their fruits, Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”PTUK June 29, 1899, page 410.4

    If we are rooted in Jesus by faith, believing in and loving Him, we shall draw His sweet life into us continually, and give it out in good fruit. But God's Word tells us of another root, the root from which those bad trees spring that bring forth evil fruit. Satan is this deadly root, the one from whom comes all the had fruit that is found in the lives of the people in this world.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 410.5

    Very early in the history of the world we find these two kinds of fruits growing here. Look at the first two brothers who ever lived in this earth, and see what kind of fruit they bore.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 410.6

    Almost the first thing that we learn of Cain, the first-born son of Adam, is that he was jealous of his brother Abel. And this feeling of jealousy that he let Satan put into his heart, was the bad seed that brought forth the hatred that led him to kill Abel.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 410.7

    Envy, hatred, murder,-you will find these all mentioned in the list of bad fruits given in the fifth chapter of Galatians, contrasted with the good sweet fruits of the Spirit of Jesus of which we learned last week. Then what sort of a tree was Cain? From what root did he come? You will find the answer in the third chapter of the first epistle of John:PTUK June 29, 1899, page 410.8

    “In this the children of God are manifest and the children of the devil, Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning; that ye should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother.”PTUK June 29, 1899, page 410.9

    Of all such tress which are of the wicked one, and so can bring forth only the bad fruit that comes from this root, we are told what the end will be:PTUK June 29, 1899, page 410.10

    “For behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” Satan, the root, and his followers the branches, will be destroyed, and only those who abide in Jesus and bear good fruit will remain.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 410.11

    But of Abel, the brother of Cain, we are told that “by faith” he offered unto God an acceptable sacrifice. Faith, you will remember is one of the good fruits of the Spirit, and the one which brings to us all the other fruits, love, joy, peace, gentleness, and goodness. For it is faith which brings Christ Jesus to dwell in our hearts, so that His life may flow out in all these good fruits.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 410.12

    These two, Cain and Abel, were brothers, living in the same home, having the same teaching from their father, and the same blessings from God. Yet one became a bad tree bearing evil fruit, while the other was a good tree bringing forth the fruits of righteousness.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 411.1

    Have you noticed how the life-giving sunlight shines on every part of the land, and how the gentle, refreshing rain falls all over the earth on all the trees and bushes and plants. Yet some will bring forth only thorns and thistles, briers and poison berries, while others will bear beautiful, fragrant blossoms and good useful fruit.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 411.2

    And it is just so in the Lord's garden where His human trees are planted. His gentle, loving, tender Spirit comes to each one, pleading with all, seeking an entrance into their hearts and drawing them to God. Those who yield to His movings, and open their hearts to His movings, and open their hearts to His sweet influence, He will fill with good fruits, just as the rain and the sunshine load the trees with fruitfulness.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 411.3

    But those to whom He comes in vain, who harden their hearts by refusing to let Him in, will bring forth only thorns and briers and bad fruits, “whose end is to be burned.”PTUK June 29, 1899, page 411.4

    Dear children, which will you be? You may choose now if, you will let the Spirit of Jesus fill you with His Iife and make you a good tree that brings forth only good fruit, or if you will grieve Him away, and quench the sweet sunshine of His presence, and so bear no fruit to His glory.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 411.5

    “I would not be a fruitless tree
    With foliage o'er and o'er,
    On which the Master's eye might find
    But leaves and nothing more.
    On which the Master's curse might fall
    And wither root and branch and all.
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 411.6

    “I would not be a fruitless branch
    Of Christ, who is the Vine,
    And cast abroad my deadly shade
    Where sunlight ought to shine,-
    The which the Husbandman must spurn
    And cast into the fire to burn.
    “I would not be a barren ground,
    Refusing aught to yield
    But choking thistles, thorns and tares,
    A bad and worthless field,
    From which the Lord would turn away
    And leave it ever waste to lay.”
    PTUK June 29, 1899, page 411.7

    “Example and Precept” The Present Truth 15, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The religion of Jesus Christ is one of love. To be drawn to Him, one must first become acquainted with Him, and the only way many have of knowing Him is what they see of Him in His representatives. “I if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me.” Many homes where only one member professes to know Jesus, would be far different if in that one the Saviour was really lifted up in his daily life. Example is better than precept.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 412.1

    “Jottings” The Present Truth 15, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    -Owing to a collision between two steamers on the river Oder, fifty persons were drowned.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 414.1

    -It is reported that the British Government has decided upon reinforcing the troops at the Cape to a total increase of 40,000.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 414.2

    -A submarine boat of a new type, to displace divers, has been successfully tested at Cherbourg. It sank to a depth of 100 feet, manned by three men.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 414.3

    -A new fuel has been invented by a German workmen, which is said to have three times the heating power of the best coal, while its cost is only one half.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 414.4

    -The Khalifa, with a force of 3,000 hunting men, has been raiding villages on the White River. Owing to the state of the river, the gun-boats can not get at him.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 414.5

    -The bodies of three men who lost the trail or their way to Klondyke have been discovered. One of them had been partly eaten. The pockets of all three men were full of gold.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 414.6

    -The voting on the Federation question in New South Wales has resulted in a decisive majority in its favour. This being so, the Federation will shortly be an accomplished fact.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 414.7

    -According to the report of the American Tract Society, that organization has distributed during the past year 1,380,892 copies of the Bible more than half of which were distributed to foreign lands.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 414.8

    -The United States is suffering from severe drought and excessively hot weather. Insect pests are destroying the wheat and small fruit crop in some parts to such an extent that the farmers will suffer heavily.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 414.9

    -Advices from East Africa show that the famine existing along the coast between Mombasa and Zanzibar is worse than any previous visitation, in some places the mortality being so great that many of the dead remained unburied.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 414.10

    -At the Caledonia Coal Mine, Cape Breten, Nova Scotia, there occurred on the 16th inst. a sad disaster. By an explosion 160 miners were entombed, eleven of whom were killed. A hundred horses that were in the mine perished.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 414.11

    -The King of Samoa has issued the following order; “No spirituous, vinous, or fermented liquors or intoxicating drinks whatever shall be sold, given, or offered to be bought or bargained by any Samoan or other islander resident in Samoa.”PTUK June 29, 1899, page 414.12

    -No less than 5,000,000, people in eastern Russia are in a condition bordering on starvation. The chairman of a relief committee now at work among the distressed people writes that ?2,000,000 is needed to keep the people alive until the next harvest.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 414.13

    -Before 1873 it was death to a Japanese to receive Christian baptism, and a penal offence to sell an English Bible. Now there are forty thousand Protestant church members in Japan, and the Bible translated into Japanese is freely circulated.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 414.14

    -The difficulty in Samoa has been arranged for the present Malietoa, the English and American nominee for the throne, was declared to be king, but immediately abdicated in favour of the Commissioners, who have appointed a Provisional Government composed of the Consuls of England, Germany, and the United States. The arrangement seems to satisfy everybody.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 414.15

    -The Minister of Agriculture at the Cape has been visiting the native Kaffir districts, and says that one of the native agricultural shows he saw was much superior to a show by Europeans in the same district. Moreover, be found the natives expert at keeping their flocks clean and healthy. Altogether the Minister has come back greatly impressed with the possibilities of native farming, where, as in the Transkel, the native can be kept to himself.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 414.16

    -Another “patent medicine” exposure has been made in a Coroner's Court. The evidence showed that deceased had suffered from epileptic fits and was in the habit of taking a mixture, the price of which was eleven shillings a bottle. The mixture was found to consist of chloroform water, with burnt sugar, and a few grains of bromide of potassium. The doctor who analysed it said that while the stuff might not be absolutely harmful, it could not do any good. It was worth about threepence a bottle.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 414.17

    “Back Page” The Present Truth 15, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In the Peace Conference the Russians have brought forward the proposal, the Emperor's of course, that military war budgets and the effective strength of land forces shall remain as they are for a period of five years. This scheme is not to apply to colonial forces.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 416.1

    A recent number of the Daily Mail contained an article on the war strength of the Boers, showing the superiority of the Transvaal over British South Africa, in the matter of artillery. After giving the details, the writer continued: “No cause is more responsible for the insane war spirit that has lately come to a head among the young Boers than the knowledge that they possess this powerful artillery force.”PTUK June 29, 1899, page 416.2

    Most naturally, yet people insist that the great war preparations by the Powers of Europe is the beat guarantee of peace. But it does not work that way. Put a pistol into the hands of a boy, and he cannot be content without firing it off. Train a man as a pugilist, and he cannot rest without challenging somebody to a test of skill and strength. So when weapons of war are accumulated, and men are trained in their use, and the army is exalted as affording the most honourable career for a young man, a desire for war is inevitable.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 416.3

    One sin prepares the way for another, not only by the one who has committed it, but by somebody else as well. Nothing is more common than to hear a person seek to excuse some sin of his own by pointing out a similar, or what he considers a worse one, in some other person. For instance in the last number of the Catholic Times and Catholic Opinion, a writer, in defending betting on races, says:-PTUK June 29, 1899, page 416.4

    If it is wrong for a man to take part in a sweepstake or to make a wager on a horse race, what are we to think when, on entering a church bazaar, we are Invited to the roulette table? And yet we find people who condemn the one and tolerate the other!PTUK June 29, 1899, page 416.5

    Well, what are we to think?-Why, that gambling in a church is just as sinful as gambling on a race course. The fallacy of the supposed argument lies in the supposition that the thing done in the church must be right.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 416.6

    Sin is sin, no matter where or by whom committed. “The church” cannot license or sanctify evil. It is no excuse for sin, to say, “Well, you do the same thing,” even though it be the reprover who is doing it. John Bunyan was convicted of the sin of swearing by a reproof administered by one of his profane associates. The fact that somebody else does worse than we do, does not excuse us for doing wrong.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 416.7

    We hear much about the value of the theatre and the novel, in which the worst side of human nature and society is set forth, the claim being that they in some way educate people away from evil, the idea seeming to be that they are an exception to the rule that people are moulded into the fashion of that which they associate with and study. The real facts in the case are unconsciously set forth by the Chronicle in a review of a new novel, whose author, now dead, has succeeded in “making financial intrigue interesting.” The reviewer says:-PTUK June 29, 1899, page 416.8

    It is not only in the hero, the daring and unscrupulous adventurer, that Mr. Frederic has interested us, but the very progress of the enterprise itself holds us breathless. We know well enough that it is all wrong-we realise fully that it is a piece of arrogant knavery, skillfully organised expedition of plunder-and yet we enthusiastically desire its success.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 416.9

    When such is the effect upon an educated man, with habits fully fired, what must be its effect on immature and untrained minds, who are not quick to discern right from wrong? A crop of rascals can be the only result of sowing such seed.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 416.10

    “Pagan Festivals in the Church” The Present Truth 15, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Church Family Newspaper of the 16th June contains the following bit of information appropriate to the season:-PTUK June 29, 1899, page 416.11

    The near approach of Midsummer Day calls to mind the fact that that day and the preceding eve, now dedicated to St. John the Baptist, have been regarded as a holy season even from remote pagan times. There seems to be little doubt that one custom which was observed in our own time, and may be still in remote parts of Ireland and Scotland-that of lighting, fires on the hills on Mid-summer Eve-has come down to us from the time when the sun-god Bel, or Baal, was worshipped in these islands. Such fires were common over the greater part of Europe-from the cold borders of Lapland to the Levant.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 416.12

    The same custom is continued till the present time in Norway and Sweden, where Midsummer Day is quite a holiday. In connection with the foregoing, the following from the same paper, with regard to Stonehenge in Salisbury Plain, fits very well:-PTUK June 29, 1899, page 416.13

    There is now no doubt of the character of this mighty ruin. Baal worship was at one time almost the universal religion, and this was one of the great temples. It was oriented so that the rays of the rising sun at midsummer should fall upon its sacred altar. It would be rash to guess its age for it may be older than the time of Elijah. Very little is known of the religious teaching of the Druids, but they were believed to have been Baal, that is, sun worshippers.... Sixty years ago I heard boys sing in the streets a song which is a portion of a Druidical hymn to the rising sun. In English it sounds like nonsense, and they had no idea what they were saying; it was a wonderful survival of pagan Britain, and Elijah may have heard this chorus, sung by the priests of Baal, three thousand years ago. In one or two remote parts of Britain, the custom of commemorating the triumph of the sun on June 21st still continues, with dancing and bonfires. The peasants are probably innocent of the origin of this custom.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 416.14

    Many people are observing pagan customs, wholly ignorant of their origin, thinking indeed that they are Christian because “the Church” has adopted them and sanctions them. How many realise the connection between Christmas and Midsummer Day? The observance of the latter is admitted to be solely of pagan origin. Sun worshippers celebrated it as the day of the greatest triumph of their god, the day on which the sun was longest and highest above the horizon. Just six months later, after a period of progressive daily decrease of sunshine, when the sun seemed to be going away, they celebrated the time of the beginning of its return, its birth, as they called it.PTUK June 29, 1899, page 416.15

    Now when the bishops of the early church, more anxious to secure a large following than to win men from the superstitions of paganism, saw how firmly the heathen were wedded to these sun-festivals, they resolved to adopt them, so that the heathen could profess Christianity without making any violent change in their habits and customs. But of course it would not do to continue them as emblems of the worship of the ruler of the day. So, remembering that Jesus was just six months younger than John the Baptist, they hit on the plan of calling Midsummer Day the birthday of John the Baptist, and the winter celebration the birthday of Jesus, quieting their consciences, if they had any conscience in the matter, by the fact that Jesus is “the Sun of righteousness.” So we have Christmas, a purely heathen festival, firmly fixed in the Church. When so much of sun worship had been adopted, it was but a short step to the adoption of Sunday, “the venerable day of the sun.”PTUK June 29, 1899, page 416.16

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