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    August 17, 1899

    “Salvation Near” The Present Truth 15, 33.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high if we to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed, The night is far spent, the day is at hand.” Romans 13:11, 12.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 513.1

    Paul's words refer to the “blessed hope” of the church, the return of Jesus Christ and the restoration of all things. At that time the fulness of the salvation is made manifest, in destroying the last enemy, death, and freeing the earth from the curse.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 513.2

    But the rapid approach of that day is only bringing salvation nearer to those who already find it near now. If the church had only believed and realised how near salvation was to them, the fulness of it might have been revealed long ago. The prophecies of Christ's coming are not to lead us to think that there is no time left in which to attempt much. He will come because a highway has been prepared for Him in the desert, and a people has been made ready to meet Him. We are encouraged to put forth every effort possible, knowing that a mighty work can be done in a short time. Christ cannot come until that work is done, and the way prepared for Him in every tribe and tongue and kindred and people; yet His coming is near, “even at the doors.” This is evidence that God is about to work mightily through His servants, and do a short work in the earth.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 513.3

    “Surely His salvation is nigh them that fear Him; that glory may dwell in our land.” Psalm 75:9. So it is possible for glory to dwell in us, because His salvation is not far off, it is near. It is those who sin that come short of the glory of God (Romans 2:23), and the Saviour was named Jesus, because He should save His people from their sins. Therefore His salvation fills men with glory, so they do not come short of it. So we read, “Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it, ... that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having sport or wrinkle or any such thing.” Ephesians 5:25-27.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 513.4

    How near is the salvation? “The church is His body.” “For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.” Ephesians 5:30. It is impossible for it to be any nearer than God has made it. He is one with us. “What nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon Him for?” Deuteronomy 4:7. Jesus said to His Father, “The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” John 17:22. “Surely His salvation is nigh them that fear Him; that glory may dwell in our land.”PTUK August 17, 1899, page 514.1

    We allow ourselves to forget too much how near the salvation is. We feel as though it were in heaven, but we are not to say in our hearts, Who shall go up to heaven to bring it down to us? because it is right in our own lives. This was Paul's strength and rejoicing; it filled his life with glory. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now life in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.” Galatians 2:20.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 514.2

    This was Christ's own strength also. In Him men saw glory, “the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.” It was because He remembered always that salvation was near Him. “I foresaw the Lord always before My face, for He is on My right hand, that I should not be moved.” Acts 2:25. “For the Lord God will help Me: therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set My face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth Me.” Isaiah 50:7.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 514.3

    When we remember that “surely His salvation is nigh them that fear Him,” we will not be afraid of the temptations and evils that gather around. We can say with Christ, “Who will contend with me? Who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.” We will not be afraid, no matter how near the enemies come to us, because “He is near that justifieth me.” The constant recognition of this truth will fill our lives with the glory of God, prepare us to stand in the presence of the Saviour without shame at His appearing, and give us the needed qualifications for turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, and making ready a people prepared for the Lord.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 514.4

    “Notes on the International Sunday-School Lessons. Coming Out of Babylon. Ezra 1:1-11The Present Truth 15, 33.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Ezra 1:1-11

    Two years after the fall of Babylon, Cyrus became ruler over the Persian empire. His accession marked the beginning of a great movement, which had been outlined in prophecy long before Cyrus himself was born. In the Divine plan, which gives to every man, small and great, his life work, Cyrus had been assigned his task. It was to rebuild the city and temple of Jerusalem, and to let the exiles of Israel go free from their captivity in Babylon. Isaiah 46:28; 45:13. The prophet Isaiah had named Cyrus as the one who should do this work, even before the captivity had commenced. Daniel, who was prime minister to Cyrus, understood the prophetic writings which foretold that, at the end of seventy years, Israel should return to their own land (Daniel 9:2), and he would have opportunity to show the king that which was foretold of him. Cyrus obeyed the word, and in his first year issued a proclamation, to every part of his kingdom, declaring that “the Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and He hath charged me to build Him an house at Jerusalem.” The proclamation went on to invite the people of Jehovah to return to Jerusalem and engage in the work of rebuilding the temple.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 514.5

    It is evident from the record that the influence of Daniel's godly life had not been lost on the people whom he helped to govern. It had won for him and the truth he represented warm friends in every part of the kingdom. This was seen when Cyrus called upon his subjects to further the restoration by rendering the needed assistance to all who desired to return to Jerusalem, and to furnish the travelers with gold and silver, and goods and beasts, “beside the freewill offering for the house of God.” The proclamations which had been sent out by Nebuchadnezzar and Darius, declaring the power and greatness of Jehovah, as manifested in Daniel's behalf, had spread the knowledge of God. Now when the call was made on the people to help “them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the Lord,” we read that “all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered.” When God requires a work to be done, He provides the means. While He was raising the spirit of His people to go up to Jerusalem to build a house for Him, He was also at work on the hearts of the people about them, raising the necessary funds. There is a lesson in this for Christian workers. If we yield ourselves to do God's will, and be sure that it is indeed His work that we undertake, we may rest in the assurance that God will supply all our need.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 514.6

    Cyrus also brought out from his treasure-house, five thousand four hundred vessels of gold and silver, which had been originally taken from the temple at Jerusalem. It as not light thing for a king thus to strip his treasure-house, and the hearty way in which all took hold of the matter showed that a real work had been done for king and people.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 514.7

    The departure from Babylon recalls to mind the exodus from Egypt fifteen hundred years before. But how different was the circumstances! Then, the movement had been carried out in the face of Pharaoh's opposition, and against the strength of Egypt. Now Cyrus was heartily supporting Israel's journey to Jerusalem, and the resources of its empire or placed at their command. Yet only a handful of people, comparatively, went up to Jerusalem, numbering some fifty thousand. The remainder preferred to stay where they were and to merge themselves and their interests with the world around them, rather than face the hardship and uncertainty involved in a return to the ruins of Jerusalem.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 514.8

    When Israel first came out of Egypt, they were not really delivered from the house of bondage because their hearts were still there. This was why they did not enter into rest. They were still in bondage, and most of them died without entering into rest. It is little profit to have the body come out of Egypt and leave the heart in. In bringing His people out of the captivity of Babylon, the Lord desired to give them a perfect freedom, of soul as well as body. So all were left to come out or to stay in. None could be really set free, so long as the very thing that caused them to go into captivity was allowed to enslave their hearts. God was doing a deeper and more lasting work than merely to strike fetters of iron from the limbs of his people. So we are not to judge of the success of this work by the few that then heard the call and came out. As we read the prophecies of Isaiah, concerning the work of Cyrus, we can see that these go on to speak of the work of Jesus, of whom Cyrus was a type. It is Christ who alone can build God's eternal city, and let go His captives, for only He can set men free from the bondage of sin. He is the Good Shepherd who shall perform of God's pleasure. Isaiah 44:28. In the departure from Babylon, in the days of Cyrus, we see the beginning of a work which is not yet completed, and which will not cease until God's people are all set free from every species of spiritual bondage. In the closing call of the Gospel, we find God's last appeal to His people to come out of Babylon. Revelation 13.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 515.1

    But although Christ is the real deliverer, we may have a part in His work, just as Cyrus had. God is no respecter of persons, and to us, if we will receive it, He gives the commission to set the captives free and break every yoke. “He whom the Lord loveth shall perform His pleasure on Babylon. And His arm shall be on the Chaldeans. I, even I, have spoken, yea, I have called him; I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous.” Isaiah 48:14, 15; margin R.V. If we will allow God to speak and live through us the same irresistible power which wrought through Cyrus, and made the lofty walls and brazen gates of Babylon an ineffectual defense against his attacks, will work through us to the casting down of strongholds, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God. The promise given to Cyrus is just as much for us, “I will go before thee and make the rugged places plain; I will break in pieces the doors of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron; and I will give thee the treasures of darkness.” Isaiah 45:2, 3. The souls of men, Satan's treasure, shall be wrested from him by those who fight the good fight of faith.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 515.2

    The kingdom of Babylon bear rule over all the earth, and the work of restoration will not be completed until God's true people are gathered from every tribe and kindred, and people and nation. The work to be done for these is set forth in the 49th chapter of Isaiah. The Lord says, speaking to His servant, “I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people... to make them inherit the desolate heritages; saying to them that are bound, Go forth, to them that are in darkness. Show yourselves... and I will make all My mountains a way, and My high ways shall be exalted. Lo, these shall come from far; and, lo, these from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Sinim.”PTUK August 17, 1899, page 515.3

    The land of Sinim is China. That country, like many another, seems walled in by impenetrable prejudices, but it must be remembered by those who take up the work commenced by Cyrus, that they have the same promise that was made to him; “I will break in pieces the doors of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.” But those who desire to have a part in the grand consummation of the Gospel work, and to claim these promises, must live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. When a man rejects any part of God's Word, he does not really believe even that part which he thinks he is accepting. Every word of God is infinite, and any particular scripture, before it can be appreciated and understood, must be taken with every other word given to man. No man can set others free who is bound himself. The first thing for one who would deliver others from Babylon, which is the kingdom of Satan, is to come out of it himself. And no man can come out alone. Whoever is content to leave a single soul in its bondage, shows that he himself is not free from the selfishness which is its vital principle.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 515.4

    The vessels of the house of God were also taken to Babylon, by Nebuchadnezzar, just as the ark had been taken by the Philistines centuries before. As the ark, when placed in the house of Dagon vindicated the majesty of Jehovah above false gods, so when Belshazzar brought forth the vessels of God's house, wherein he and his lord's might drink wine to the gods of silver, iron and stone, that very hour the fingers of a man's hand traced his death sentence on his palace wall. Cyrus restored the vessels to those who returned to Jerusalem, but the sacred things which those vessels represented, remained in Babylon, for we read of their removal at a future time, when all the nations shall see the Lord's arm made bear, and behold his salvation. “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.” Isaiah 52:11. God's people are His holy vessels (1 Corinthians 3:17), and until they recognise this, and acknowledge Him in all their ways, counting themselves dead indeed, they are still in Babylon. When the Lord gets entire control of human beings, He can do what He pleases in a way that other human beings cannot fail to understand, and thus He can make bear His holy arm in the sight of all the nations. The things of God are foolishness to the natural man, but when the Word of God is made flesh, and translated into every day life, even the flesh can see its working. So we see that those who would have a part in God's great worldwide work must first be clean themselves. This the Word will do for them, when they let it. John 15:3; Ephesians 5:26, 27.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 515.5

    There is one important fact which must not be overlooked in this connection. Israel went into captivity because of their Sabbath-breaking. Jeremiah states this (Jeremiah 17:19-27), and the same thing is repeated in 2 Chronicles 3:6; 20:21, where the reason is given why the captivity was just seventy years in length. It was because the land, and therefore, of course, the people, had not kept the Sabbath. Now this being so, it is evident that no one can escape from the real spiritual bondage of Babylon unless he has ceased to commit the sin of Sabbath-breaking, and it is equally clear that all who come out of Babylon, at the call of God, will come out as Sabbath-keepers. They will not observe the false Sabbath, the Sunday which owes its origin to the king of Babylon, Satan, but will keep the true Lord's day, the Sabbath of the Lord their God. They will bear the sign of God, which is only placed upon those who are His own handiwork, having ceased from their own works and enter into rest. Hebrews 4. This rest remains for all, ever since God ceased from His own works, and entered into rest on the seventh day. Babylon from the beginning has stood for man's works directed against God, and its mark is the most presumptuous of them all, an attempt to substitute a man-made Sabbath for God's own rest day. The Sabbath, on the other hand, calls men to show faith in a living God, by ceasing from their own works. The Sabbath can only be kept by faith, and those who thus keep it share God's works, and bear the seal of the living God.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 515.6

    We see, therefore, that since in these days God is calling His people out of Babylon, He must also of necessity call them to observe the Sabbath according to His commandment, and thus show their faith in the sufficiency of His power to make them righteous and sustain their life. Yet because this calls for the exercise of faith, many who claim to live by faith, drawback on the ground that they would lose their living if they should keep the seventh day Sabbath. But they miss the point altogether. God is not calling them to starve, but to come out of Babylon. In Ezra's rest time, doubtless many thought that they would starve if they should leave their home and business in Babylon, yet we do not read of any starving because they obeyed the call. On the contrary, they were immediately made stewards of great wealth for the cause of God, “gold and silver, and goods, and beasts, and precious things.” Much more will this be the case in the final departure from Babylon. “The abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the wealth of the nations shall come unto thee.” Isaiah 60:5. Then it was only Cyrus to help the movement, but at its consummation we read, “Kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers; they shall bow down to thee with their faces to the earth, and lick the dust of thy feet.” Isaiah 49:23.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 516.1

    “Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans; with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth; say ye, The Lord hath redeemed His servant Jacob. And they thirsted not when He led them through the desert: He caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: He clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out.” Isaiah 48:20, 21.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 516.2

    “The Gospel of Isaiah. The Last Loud Gospel Cry. Isaiah 40:1-11The Present Truth 15, 33.

    E. J. Waggoner

    1. Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith
    your God;
    PTUK August 17, 1899, page 516.3

    2. Speak ye to the heart of Jerusalem, and cry
    unto her,
    That her warfare is accomplished, that her
    iniquity is pardoned;
    For she hath received at the Lord's hand
    Double for all her sins.
    PTUK August 17, 1899, page 516.4

    3. A voice crieth: In the wilderness prepare ye
    the way of Jehovah!
    Make straight in the desert a highway for our
    PTUK August 17, 1899, page 516.5

    4. Every valley shall be exalted, and every
    mountain and hill shall be made low;
    And the crooked shall be made straight, and
    the rough places a smooth plain;
    PTUK August 17, 1899, page 516.6

    5. And the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed;
    And all flesh shall see together the salvation
    of our God;
    For the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it.
    PTUK August 17, 1899, page 516.7

    6. A voice sayeth, Cry! and I said, What shall
    I cry?
    All flesh is grass, and all its glory like the
    flower of the field;
    PTUK August 17, 1899, page 516.8

    7. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth,
    Because the breath of Jehovah bloweth upon
    Surely the people is grass.
    PTUK August 17, 1899, page 516.9

    8. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth;
    But the Word of our God shall stand for
    PTUK August 17, 1899, page 516.10

    9. Get thee up upon a high mountain, O thou
    that tellest glad tidings to Sion.
    Exalt thy voice with strength, O thou
    that bringest glad tidings to Jerusalem.
    Lift it up; be not afraid;
    Say to the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
    PTUK August 17, 1899, page 516.11

    10. Behold, the Lord Jehovah shall come as a
    Mighty One,
    And His arm shall prevail for Him.
    Behold, His reward is with Him, and His
    work before Him.
    PTUK August 17, 1899, page 516.12

    11. Like a shepherd shall He feed His flock;
    In His arm shall He gather up the lambs,
    And He shall bear them in His bosom; the
    nursing ewes shall He gently lead.
    PTUK August 17, 1899, page 516.13

    In these first eleven verses of the fortieth chapter of Isaiah we have not followed any one translation, but have combined several, in order to present the best and most vivid rendering; for the passage is a very vivid one. The student can compare the variations with his own Bible. Nothing is given that is not strictly literal.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 516.14

    Although we have printed eleven verses at this time, we shall not try to cover them in this lesson. All we propose to do in this lesson is to give an outline, so that we may be perfectly sure of the nature of the message, and the time to which it applies, and may know to whom it is addressed, and who is to give it. We therefore request all who may be using these lessons in Sabbath schools to confine themselves at this time to these things; for the details of the verses will be considered in subsequent lessons.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 516.15

    Not a single reader of the Bible will have any difficulty in connecting this message with the work of John the Baptist, for the connection is plainly made in the Bible. John came preaching “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Luke 3:3-6. Our lesson therefore has direct reference to the work of John the Baptist.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 516.16

    What was the work committed to him?-To prepare the way of the Lord. “Many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:16, 17. Thus spoke the angel Gabriel. John's father, filled with the Holy Ghost, spoke these words to him. “Thou child shalt be called the prophet of the Highest; for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:76-79.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 517.1

    If anything were needed to convince any reader that we have the Gospel in Isaiah, we have it here. It is that Gospel which preaches the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, and makes known salvation through this remission; it brings men from the darkness of death to the light of life, guides their feet in the way of peace and righteousness, and prepares them for the coming of the Lord. And that is just the Gospel for this time.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 517.2

    Then it would seem as though the work of John the Baptist did not end with his death. Most certainly it did not; and the scripture before us teaches us that it did not. Indeed, it was only begun when he died. Most people have obtained the idea that John's work was simply to prepare the way for and announce the coming of Jesus as a Preacher and Teacher in Galilee and Judea; but it was much more than this. The same portion of scriptures which tells us of his work, to prepare the way of the Lord, says, “Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.” Now compare this with Revelation 22:12, where Christ says, “Behold I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be,” and we cannot fail to see that the work of John the Baptist reaches to the second coming of Christ in glory; “for the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then shall He reward every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:27.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 517.3

    Notice that this message is to be given with a loud voice. The voice that cries is to be lifted up with strength, and the crier is to get up upon a high mountain, in order that the sound may reach to the furthest possible extent. Now read Revelation 14:6, 7: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come; and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” This message, as might be expected from its nature, is followed by the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven to reap the harvest of the earth, which is the end of the world. Revelation 14:14-16; Matthew 13:39.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 517.4

    Every message of importance must be earnestly proclaimed. One cries with a loud voice in order to make many people hear; and this message preparing the way for the coming of the Lord is to be proclaimed so extensively that all the world shall hear. The Gospel of the kingdom is “for all people,” and is to be “preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14; Luke 2:10. But the nearer one comes to the end, the louder must the message be proclaimed. If you saw a man approaching a precipice, you would cry out, to warn him of his danger. If he did not pay any attention, you would cry louder; and the nearer he approached, unconscious of his danger, the louder you would cry. Even so the nearer we come to the end of the world, which will be the destruction of those who are not looking for it, the louder and more clear must the Gospel message announcing it ring forth. So the scripture which we are studying has a more direct application to the people of this time than to any other people that ever lived. It is emphatically present truth.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 517.5

    Who shall give this message?-“Let him that heareth say, Come!” Revelation 22:17. Remember that John the Baptist was but a voice. “The Word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.” Luke 3:2. John was called “the prophet of the Highest.” A prophet is one who speaks for another. Compare Exodus 4:14-16 and 7:1. A prophet of God is therefore the mouthpiece of God, proclaiming the Word of God. Every one to whom the Word of the Lord comes is to sound it forth, that people may be saved from their sins, and be ready for the second coming of Christ.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 517.6

    From this it follows that the last message of the Gospel is preeminently a prophetic message. It is given by the power of the Spirit of God, which is the Spirit of prophecy. God's people are “a kingdom of priests,” and the holy wish for them is that all the Lord's people might be prophets, and that “the Lord would put His Spirit upon them.” Numbers 11:26-29. Those who proclaim the Gospel and the coming of the Lord, must do so with authority as the oracles of God.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 517.7

    But there must be the most perfect unity, and there will be when the true message is given; for it is nothing but the unchangeable Word of God that is to be given. The voice is God’s; the people furnish only the mouth; so that although there be tens of thousands of mouths, only one voice is heard. In the days of the coming of the Lord the admonition of the Apostle Paul will be perfectly heeded: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 1:10. “Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.” Isaiah 52:8.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 517.8

    Let us now sum up what we have learned from this first part of the fortieth chapter of Isaiah. 1. It is the message of John the Baptist. 2. It is the Gospel of the kingdom, the Gospel of salvation. 3. It prepares the way for the coming of the Lord, even for His coming in glory, that is, to the end of the world. 4. This part of the scripture has special reference to the last days, because then the imminence of the coming of the Lord makes a loud cry especially imperative. 5. It consists simply of the preaching of the Word of God. 6. It is to be proclaimed by every one who hears it, if he will. 7. There are many mouths concerned in the proclamation, but only one voice. 8. The Spirit of prophecy is in it, and it goes with power.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 517.9

    Finally, let it be noted that the whole of the remaining portion of the book of Isaiah is but the continuation of this message. Therefore as we proceed in our study let us not forget the setting of any portion of the text. There is no part of Scripture more important at this time than this book, and none that can more thoroughly furnish the student to good works, and fit him for the presence of the King in His beauty.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 518.1

    “Little Folks. The Gospel of Life” The Present Truth 15, 33.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Shall we read together this week, dear children, another chapter in the wonderful Gospel of life which God has written for us in His works? The truths which He tells no in His Word are working out all about us in the things that He has made, for He is “the Truth,” and He “fills all things.” This world is full of disease and death, because it is full of sin. Yet there is a pure, sweet, healthy, life-giving influence coming to us from God. Still His life comes to fill all things, and everywhere His Spirit is working to destroy and overcome the deadly influences of sin which surround us. If it were not for this, we could not live a moment here in this earth where the curse and blight of sin have fallen.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 522.1

    You will remember that last week we were talking about the air, and how wonderfully, by the power of His breath, God is cleansing and renewing our bodies continually, burning up the poisons and impurities that are formed there. In this way we are experiencing with every breath we draw, the cleansing power of God's life, and how it destroys whatever is hurtful to us, when it is allowed to circulate freely through no.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 522.2

    The sunlight also destroys and burns up impurity. Sunshine is nature's disinfectant, for it destroys the deadly germs by which disease is spread. The healthiest rooms in the house are those into which the sun shines freely, bringing purity and life.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 522.3

    This is the light of God's countenance, so you see that in this He is showing us just what He tells us in His Word: that “He is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity,” and “evil cannot dwell with Him.” Everything impure and evil coming into the pure and powerful light of His eyes, cannot exist there; it vanishes away, and ceases to be.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 522.4

    Fire, condensed sunshine, we know is a most powerful purifier. You have read in your histories of the Great Plague of London in 1665, and of the Great Fire that followed it. This great fire, coming at the time it did, is looked upon as a special blessing; for it destroyed the germs of the plague with which the city was infested, and so stamped it out. Otherwise it might have lingered, and broken out from time to time, even to the present day.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 522.5

    Think, too, of the cleansing properties of water, which has been called “The World's Great Cleanser.” With it we wash our bodies, our clothes, our houses, our streets, and all the filth of our cities is carried into the rivers upon which they are built. Yet at some distance from the city the water will be found perfectly fresh and clear, without a trace of the impurity that it carried away.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 522.6

    How is this? Where has it all gone to? It has disappeared completely, for it has been swallowed up and destroyed by the power of God's life that is in the running water. It is all blotted out.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 522.7

    Now what a beautiful lesson there is in this for us, and how clearly God is teaching us in it what He is able to do with our sins, with our sicknesses, with everything that would soil the purity of His life that fills all things.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 522.8

    He is showing us the power of His Cross,-how He has taken upon Himself the curse of our sins, and blotted them out “by the power of His endless life,” so that mortality might be swallowed up of life,” “death is swallowed up in victory.”PTUK August 17, 1899, page 522.9

    God tells us in His Word of a time when the iniquity of His people “shall be sought for, and shall not be found,” for “there shall be none,” because He has blotted it all out. If we let His pure and Holy Spirit of life now fill us, its power will blot out and destroy all traces of sin in us, so that they shall not be found even though they may he sought for.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 522.10

    But if we will not do this we shall be like the wicked of whom we read in the thirty-seventh psalm: “Yet he passed away; and lo, he was not; yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.” If we cling to our sins, and do not let the life of Jesus cleanse them away from us, when He blots them out at last, as He will all sin from His universe, we also shall be blotted out, and “shall not be found.”PTUK August 17, 1899, page 522.11

    “For yet a little while and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.”PTUK August 17, 1899, page 522.12

    “Jottings” The Present Truth 15, 33.

    E. J. Waggoner

    -India is threatened with a drought extending over a considerable area.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.1

    -Over 1,000 people die every year of delirium tremens in England alone.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.2

    -In consequence of the Tsar's action in Finland, over a thousand persons, all young and healthy, have left Finland for other countries.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.3

    -Advices from Honolulu report that Hawaii has been visited by a terrible earthquake, accompanied by volcanic eruptions. Two hundred people were killed.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.4

    -The Wesleyan Conference at its late sitting rejected a resolution stigmatising as un-Christian those engaged in the manufacture or sale of its intoxicating liquor.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.5

    -A popular Episcopalian minister of New York City has ceased to preach for pay. He has rented a site opposite the Moody Mission, and has erected an immense tent, in which he holds services, and for a livelihood has opened a restaurant, where he acts as cashier. He claims to be setting an example that all minister should follow.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.6

    -There is only about two-thirds as much water in the Thames this year as there was last at the same time.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.7

    -There is a newspaper published in Pekin over 1,000 years old. More than 1,900 of its editors have been beheaded.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.8

    -The President of the Santo Domingo Republic has been assassinated, by the son of a man whom he condemned to death thirteen years ago.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.9

    -A disease hitherto unknown in the district has attacked the wheat crop in Alfold, the grainery of Hungary, as it is called. The ears and stalks turn white and then wither.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.10

    -In case of a non-peaceful settlement of the Transvaal question, arrangements have been made to transport 10,000 men from India. Several of the Colonies have offered their services if needed.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.11

    -Experiments with liquid air have been carried on by eminent physicians of New York with surprising results. It is claimed to be a cure for shingles, soiatics, and intercostal and facial neuralgia.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.12

    -Scientists have discovered that the memory is stronger in summer than in winter. Among the worst foes of the memory are too much food, too much physical exercise, and strangely enough, too much education.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.13

    -A bill is introduced into Parliament providing for the expenditure of over ?6,000,000 on new works, a large part of it to be used in building five new docks for the accommodation of the British war ships.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.14

    -General de Negrier, one of the most popular officers of the French Army, has been relieved of his duties as army inspector and member of the Superior Council of War for insubordination over the Dreyfus affair.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.15

    -The Russian Minister of Finance is projecting the adoption of measures to promote the extension of trade between Russia and Afghanistan in such a way as to nullify the importation of British manufactured articles into that country.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.16

    -Since coming into office in 1887, Sir William White the chief Naval Construction, has spent on the British navy, exclusive of money laid out and armaments, over ?66,000,000. He is responsible for a fleet of 212 ships, armed with 2,000 guns.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.17

    -A new disease has broken out among the sheep in Australia, affecting particularly the lymphatic glands. Seventy per cent. of some flocks are affected. The news should be of interest, if not of value, to consumers of Australian mutton.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.18

    -An Old-Age Pensions scheme, to be established at a cost of ?10,000,000 has been considered by the Parliamentary Committee charged with the matter, and it is understood that most of the members have agreed to recommend it to the Government.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.19

    -Wireless telephony is now claimed to be practicable. A Russian professor has invented an apparatus which will, he says, allow a person in London to converse with one in New York. This sounds impossible, but so did wireless telegraphy a little while ago.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.20

    -Another engineering strike is probable. The Amalgamated Society of Engineers has given fourteen days’ notice to Lincolnshire employers that the men will leave work unless a shilling increase per week is given, as promised provisionally in April. The employers say that business does not warrant any advance.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.21

    -A new explosive has been invented by an English chemist which is pronounced more destructive than dynamite, less dangerous to handle, and absolutely smokeless. It has been adopted by the Russian and German governments, and England, France, Austria, and the United States are experimenting with it.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 526.22

    “Back Page” The Present Truth 15, 33.

    E. J. Waggoner

    After taking nearly three months to consider the matter, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have deliver judgment against the use of ceremonial incense and the carrying of lights in procession. These are declared to be illegal practices, at present, in the Church of England.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 528.1

    We know that heaven is deeply interested in the doings of men. There is joy among the angels over one sinner that repenteth, but there is no ground given us in the Scripture for supposing that the angels behold with joy the spectacle of a church divided over the question of whether it should burn incense or not in it services. The incense that God desires is the fragrance of a Christian life, and the light that He wishes to see is the word of life held out to a crooked and perverse generation, by those whom He has made lights in the world.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 528.2

    The church in Christ's day was occupied with questions of detail and ritual, but was omitting the weightier matters of the law. Thus their eyes were blinded to the spiritual truths that Christ presented to them, and in their hatred of his simple, spotless life they crucified Him. Satan is still working in the same way. Men become very zealous in disputing over worthless trifles, but reject the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. While they think they are doing God service, they are unconscious the becoming members of the synagogue of Satan, and yielding themselves to work out his evil purposes.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 528.3

    People who wish to excuse themselves from obeying the fourth commandment as it reads, will often say that Sunday commemorates the work of redemption, because Christ rose on the first day of the week, while the seventh day commemorates creation, and since redemption is greater than creation, it is better to observe the first day than the seventh.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 528.4

    So far as the argument in this is concerned, it is not worth notice, especially as no one who has really accepted redemption would make use of it. The very thing that we are redeemed from is that which caused the fall of angels and of men, all lawless spirit of way in God's commands against human imaginations or desires. But it is worth notice that redemption is comprised in creation, so that the two are really the same thing. Further, since creation and redemption are identical, it becomes evident that no one can honour the redemption unless he keeps the Sabbath which commemorates the creation. It is the Sabbath which reveals the oneness of Creation and redemption.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 528.5

    “We which have believed do enter into rest.” Hebrews 4:3. Paul is referring to Christians who have been purified from dead works, who believe and therefore enter into rest. Now it is certain that the works, the completion of which makes it possible for the Christian to rest, must include redemption. It is in that that the believer rest. But every work in which the believer rests was “finished from the foundation of the world.” Therefore redemption was finished from the foundation of the world. In other words, creation is redemption. “For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day, on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all His works.” Verse 4.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 528.6

    So we read of Christ as a “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Man and all things were created by the Word of God. But the Word was God. John 1:1-3. So that Christ, who was the Word, in the beginning shared His life with His creatures. The work of redemption simply revealed this truth in all its wonderful depth of meaning. Christ showed that He was one with us, and despite our fall, was “not ashamed to call us brethren.”PTUK August 17, 1899, page 528.7

    Because the Word of God has creative power, and endureth for ever, God could rest from His works. That Word still upholds all things. Hebrews 1:3. Therefore, the rational thing for us to do is to rest upon it. The same Word which sustains our life has power to save and sanctify us. Therefore we may rest from our own labours and trust the Word. The creative Word “is the Word by which the Gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1:25. The power and the agent in creation and redemption are the same.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 528.8

    The Word is able to make us perfect, and to keep us so. Acts 20:32. All our labour is to be directed, not to sanctifying ourselves, but to entering into rest. Hebrews 4:11. But we cannot really rest unless we know that that in which we trust will not disappoint us, but will perform perfectly the work which we have dropped. This evidence we see in the creation, where the perfect and unbroken working of the Word shows it to be entirely trustworthy. So we may rest, with our minds kept in perfect peace, even counting ourselves dead, because the Word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 528.9

    Every excuse that men make for disregarding the Sabbath shows that they have not entered into rest. They claim to be believers, yet are afraid to rest on the seventh day for fear of losing their living. By this they plainly show that they do not believe that God has finished all His works. They say, in effect, “If we trust to that we shall starve. God has not provided for us. We must do it for ourselves.” If the Sabbath question had not come to them, they would always have supposed that they were believers, but now they find they are not. Still even they may enter straightway into rest and have a real experience instead of a sham one, for faith comes by the Word of God (Romans 10:17), and the Word is living and powerful enough for all needs. The Sabbath comes as a touchstone to test man's faith. Those who have faith are led by it into a fuller light and deeper rest. Those who are strangers to real faith reject the Sabbath, and trust in their own works for salvation.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 528.10

    The sufferings of mankind are often looked upon as punishments, visited by the Creator. This has a tendency to keep men in ignorance with reference to the transgression of the laws of health which has brought about this condition. God's relation to the sinner is not merely that of an executor of the judgment against sin. He simply leaves the rejectors of His mercy to themselves. The sinner is left to reap the results of his own transgression. The prophet, in speaking to disobedient Israel, said: “Thou hast destroyed thyself, for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.” Isaiah 13:9. “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee.” Jeremiah 2:9.PTUK August 17, 1899, page 528.11

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