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    October 12, 1899

    “Our Dwelling Place” The Present Truth 15, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” Psalm 90:1-4.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 641.1

    One of the most minute compositions ever penned, combining the loftiest and sublimest thought with language in the most simple and easily understood. Its rhythm makes it most easy to commit to memory, for it fastens itself in the mind without effort. It is not, however, as a literary production that we are to consider it, but as a comforting uplifting truth.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 641.2

    One thought that is vividly set forth in this passage is the fact that God is the Great Father of all;-not simply of all men, but of all things. This thought is expressed in the words, “Before the mountains were brought forth.” All know that the words “bring forth” are the equivalent of “bear” as applied to the bringing of young into the world, and are very frequent in the Scripture. The Hebrew word in this place is the word meaning “to bear, to bring forth,” and several translations have the clause very literally and correctly rendered, “Before the mountains of were born.” The French of Segond, which is easy of access for verification, has it, “Avant que los montagnes fussent nes.”PTUK October 12, 1899, page 641.3

    The thought is still further carried out in the remainder of the clause, “or ever formed the earth and the world,” although here it is necessarily obscured in the translation. The word rendered “formed” is a Hebrew word meaning “to twist, to turn around,” and hence “to writhe, to be in pain,” and so “to travail, to bring forth,” or, in the passive, “to be born.” In the following text, the words are from this Italicised same Hebrew word as the word “formed” in the text just quoted: “Look unto Abraham your father and the Sara that bare you.” Isaiah 51:2. “When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth.” Proverbs 8:24, 25. “Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills?” Job 15:7. These last two texts indicate that the act is the same for both men and mountains. Among other instances of the same word, are Isaiah 54:1; 66:7, 8; Psalm 29:9; 51:5.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 641.4

    In the second verse we have the terms “the earth” and “the world,” the first referring to the planet on which we dwell, and the second to the habitable earth-the population. It is so used in Psalm 9:9; 96:13; 98:9. The verse might therefore with strict propriety be rendered thus: “Before the mountains were born, or ever Thou hadst brought forth the earth and its people, even from eternity to eternity Thou art God.” This little study of words is certainly not so technical as to disturb anybody in his reading, and it is surely calculated to bring us consciously nearer to God, and to make His presence more real.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 642.1

    Jesus Christ is “the firstborn of all creation.” Colossians 1:15, R.V. This again shows the one common origin of all things animate and inanimate. Jesus was begotten of the Father before there was anything. See Proverbs 8:22-26. “He is before all things.” He is the Only-begotten Son, without whom nothing was made. John 1:3. “For in Him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things have been created through Him, and unto Him; and He is before all things, and in Him all things consist,” or “hold together.” Colossians 1:16, 17, R.V. Christ is “the everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6) of all creation, visible and invisible. There is but one family in heaven and earth, and all its members are named from Him. Ephesians 3:14, 15. Even the inhabitants of this fallen world “are His offspring,” although they are prodigal sons, wandering sheep; “for both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Hebrews 2:11. We are allied to the angels in heaven, yet we are in the closest family relation to the earth on which we tread, for we are but dust. “Out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:19. So while on the one hand we may have the highest aspirations and the most confident hopes, on the other hand we have no more reason to be proud than the clod that is crushed by the ploughman's boot. A proper appreciation of our origin would give to us the greatness of true humility.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 642.2

    God is. That is His name. He is the self-existent One. He is pure life, the Spirit of life. The Word was in the beginning with God, and was God, and “by the Word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” Christ as the everlasting Word, is “I AM.” In Him is life, for He is “the life.” In Him were all things created; from Him, from His very being, His life, all things came. That is why we have redemption through His blood-His life. In giving Himself for us, He gives the life of the universe. Thus He renews our life, and we are born again. “What a wonderful Saviour!”PTUK October 12, 1899, page 642.3

    That is our origin. What a broad and deep meaning this reveals in the words, “Our Father.” God is more really our Father than is the man whose earthly name we bear. The relation between God and the whole human race, and to all creation as well, infinitely closer than that of earthly parents to their children. So the Lord says, “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13); but His parental comfort is as much greater than that of any human mother, as He is greater than any human being. Earthly relationships, at their best, are not merely illustrations, but revelations, of the relation and love of God to mankind.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 642.4

    But we have not yet fathomed the depth of this scripture. Indeed, we have but just begun to explore it. We are bound to God by ties closer than that of any child to its mother. The love of a mother for her child is the highest known among men, but God's is infinitely greater. “Can a mother forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” Isaiah 49:15. The child is formed of the very substance of the mother, and draws its life from her being; yet even for all that, the mother may forget and even hate her child; but God will not. Why not?PTUK October 12, 1899, page 642.5

    Because “in Him we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 17:28. He is our dwelling place the child, once born, can live independent of its mother, but we can never live apart from God. The mother may die the moment the child draws its first breath, and the child may still live the full term of life; but our life depends on God's life every moment. He is our life, and the length of our days. Deuteronomy 30:20. In Him we live. The relation of men to God, even down to grey hairs and throughout eternity, is that of the unborn child to its mother. From the very nature of things the mother cannot forget the creature that she carries beneath her heart, and which she nourishes with her own heart's blood. Its presence day and night is a constant claim upon her thought. Moreover compassion is wrapped up in the thought, for the Hebrew word for “womb” means “compassion, mercy, pity.” There are unnatural parents, it is true. He is the Parent of the whole human race, and every moment He carries us in His bosom. The only begotten Son “is in the bosom of the Father” (John 1:16), and we are in Him. What a safe and quiet dwelling place! How close and tender is our relation to the everlasting Father!PTUK October 12, 1899, page 642.6

    It is very easy for us to imagine that we have an existence apart from and independent of God, because we move about freely at our pleasure, and do not see any connection between us and God. That is because we have not our eyes open. But the closest scrutiny does not in the least shake the statement that our relation to God is that of the unborn babe to its mother,-we are carried in His bosom, and nourished by His life. The child in embryo has a circulation of its own, as distinct as that of any living creature. The blood of the mother does not circulate through the child; it simply draws the life-giving property from the blood of the mother. So although we have a complete circulation of blood in our bodies, we nevertheless draw all our life sustenance from the life-the blood-of the Lord. His heart is the heart of the universe. From Him flows the stream of life which keeps all creation in existence. The life is the blood; and by whatever means the life is conveyed to us, whether by the air, the sunlight, food, or drink, it is all some manifestation of the blood of Christ, which not only gives life, but which cleanses from sin.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 642.7

    Yes, God is our dwelling-place; never can we be separated from His being without being blotted from existence. So we may read with new wonder and fresh comfort the promise of God, “My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” Isaiah 33:18. How comforting to know that this sure dwelling place is “from everlasting to everlasting.” When we read that a thousand years are to Him not merely as one day, but as a day gone by, and that we are but as nothing in comparison with His eternal greatness, it is not to belittle us, but to exalt Him, and to give us confidence. Happy the people who can say with the confidence of experience, “God is our refuge and strength.”PTUK October 12, 1899, page 643.1

    “In heavenly love abiding,
    No change my heart can fear;
    And safe is such confiding.
    For nothing changes here.
    The storm may roar without me,
    My heart may low be laid;
    But God is round about me;
    And can I be dismayed?”
    PTUK October 12, 1899, page 643.2

    “The Gospel of Isaiah. The Summons to the Trial. Isaiah 41:1-13The Present Truth 15, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (Isaiah 41:1-13.)

    “Keep silence before Me, O islands; and let the peoples renew their strength; let them come near; then let them speak; let us come near together to Judgment. Who hath raised up one from the east, whom He calleth in righteousness to His foot? He giveth nations before Him, and maketh Him rule over kings; He giveth them as dust to His sword, and as the driven stubble to his bow. He pursueth them, and passeth on safely; even by a way that He had not gone with His feet. Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the last, I am He. The isles saw, and feared; the ends of the earth trembled; they drew near, and came. They helped every one his neighbour, and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage. So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smiteth the anvil, saying of the soldering, It is good; and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 643.3

    “But thou, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham My friend; thou whom I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the corners thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art My servant, I have chosen thee and not cast thee away; fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness. Behold, all they that are incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded; they that strive with thee shall be as nothing, and shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contend with thee; they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of naught. For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”PTUK October 12, 1899, page 643.4


    In studying this chapter and all the chapters that follow, do not forget that we are studying the message of comfort which God sends to His people. These last chapters of Isaiah form one connected whole. Right here, in passing, we might notice a fact which may make it more clear to many that this message applies to us in these days. No one who reads these chapters can fail to notice the words of comfort that appear. Promises of God are strewn as thickly as blossoms in spring. These promises have been the support of many Christians, and have helped to bring many sinners to repentance. No believer hesitates to appropriate them to himself. But it is very plain that if this prophecy was given to the Jewish people alone, and applies only to them, then we have no right to the promises that it contains. That is to say, whoever rejects the reproofs which God sends, and the requirements of His law, must also forego the blessings of the Gospel of forgiveness. Men unconsciously appropriate the promises and put aside the law, forgetting that the reproofs of God are comfort. All God's precepts are promises of fulfilment. He gives all that He asks of us. Whenever the law makes sin to abound, it is only for the purpose of driving us to Christ, in whom “the law of the Spirit of Life” super-abounds as grace.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 643.5


    At every step in our study we shall be reminded of the great trial now on, which was outlined last week. That lesson should be learned so thoroughly that it will be continually in mind without any effort. Those who are using these studies in their Sabbath study should keep the scriptures and the facts set forth in them before them as they study each succeeding lesson. We cannot become too familiar with the fact that a great trial is now taking place, for we have a part in it, and we need to know just what it is. In this chapter we are called to court. The summons is issued to all the world, “the isles,” including the utmost bounds of the earth. The heavens are also called upon in this case. Call to mind the opening words of this prophecy (Isaiah 1:2), and read also Psalm 50:3, 4: “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people.” The whole universe is enlisted in this case. It must be so, because the case concerns God Himself, and He upholds the universe.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 643.6


    “Silence in the Court!” The case is now being tried, and silence is fitting. What is the case? It is to find out who is God. Men have persuaded themselves that they are gods, and better able to manage the affairs of this world than is the God of the Bible. Now God says, “Be still!” What for? “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen; I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10. If men would only keep still, and not put forth so much of merely human speculation, they would have no difficulty in recognising God. Being still before the Lord means more than merely refraining from talking. It means to keep silence in the heart,-to let our own thoughts be held in abeyance, that they may be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. “The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:20. “The Lord's throne is in heaven,” and as long as He is able to maintain His place there He has a right to command the silence of all mankind.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 643.7

    In verses 2 and 3 we have undoubted reference to Christ, whom God has raised up, and to whom He has given all power and authority, setting Him over kings. “Also I will make Him My firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.” Psalm 89:27. “Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” Psalm 2:8, 9. He is the righteous One, whom God has called in righteousness to do His will.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 644.1

    Some versions of the Bible insert in the margin, as an explanation of verse 2, the word, “Cyrus,” meaning that he is the righteous one whom God has called. It is true that later on Cyrus is called by name, and that in his case the foreknowledge of God is displayed, “calling the generations from the beginning,” but the text here is sufficient to show that Christ is the One referred to. He is the One upon whom the responsibility of this case rests, for He is the One who declares God to man. God's character is in His keeping. Cyrus was called by name before his birth, but Christ “was foreordained before the foundation of the world.” 1 Peter 1:20.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 644.2


    In response to the call the peoples gather. Remember that this case was not called yesterday, but from the very beginning. Every nation under heaven has recognised the fact that a call has been issued to determine who is God, and all have set about the work of making the proof. How do they proceed? They make idols. In the gods that are found in some form in every nation and every tribe on earth, or that has ever existed, there is found proof of the fact that men know that there must be a God, and these idols are their attempts to show who He is. How foolish is their work! The very thing that they depend upon for proof ought to convince them of their folly. They seek to encourage one another, and the carpenter speaks hopefully to the goldsmith, and the founder assures the smith that their work is good and well fastened together. Then to make everything sure, the idol is fastened with nails, so that it may not fall down and be broken to pieces. Note the connection of verses 6 and 7 with verses 18-20 of the preceding chapter.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 644.3


    The counterpart of this picture is found in the case of every man who seeks to justify himself. The man who will not confess that he is a sinner is putting himself against God. God has said that all men have sinned; and it is certain that there is not a man who is not out of harmony with God. The characters of men are by nature unlike that of God. If therefore men be right, if any man on earth be not a sinner, then it must follow that God is in the wrong. Everybody, therefore, who claims that he has not done wrong in any particular wherein God says that he is a sinner, affirms that God is not the true God, but that he himself is. He is making a god of the works of his own hands. The one who maintains that his course is right, and who is therefore willing to rest his hope on what he himself has done, is in reality just as surely a heathen as is the one who makes images of wood and stone or gold and silver, and worships them. In this picture of the gathering of nations, and their mutual encouragement in their efforts to maintain their cause against the Lord, see a parallel to Psalm 2:1-3.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 644.4

    But now God presents His side of the case. He addresses Himself to Israel. Who is Israel? For an answer turn to Genesis 32:24-28. Jacob wrestled with the Lord, and prevailed when in his helplessness he cast himself on the Lord and asked His blessing. Israel is one who overcomes by faith. Israel represents all who trust the Lord. Israel is the seed of Abraham, who is “the father of all them that believe,” and therefore Israel means all who believe.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 644.5


    To Israel, that is, to all who will listen to Him, God says, “I have taken thee from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the corners thereof; I have chosen thee, and have not rejected thee.” The Lord tells us that He is looking about, seeking to save. The devil as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour, while God is searching the world over to find men who will let Him save them. “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Instead of being indifferent to the wants of mankind, God is doing nothing else every moment but watching for chances to save men from the results of their own folly. Go back to the last verses of chapter 40. There is no reason for any to say that God has forgotten them, or that He does not care for their affliction and sorrow. Their way is not hid from the Lord, and their judgment has not passed away from Him. Instead of casting anybody off, God has chosen them, and has gone hunting for them. The Lord says, “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you. John 15:16. The Apostle Paul addressed the Galatians, who had been rescued from heathenism, as those who had known God, and then he corrected himself by saying that they had rather been known of God. They did not find God by searching, but He revealed Himself to them. “For the Lord will not cast off for ever.” Lamentations 3:31.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 644.6


    Abraham is called by God Himself His friend. Just as surely as Abraham was God's friend, God was Abraham's friend. How proud men are to be able to say, “My friend the Duke of _____,” or “My friend Lord So-and-So.” They feel that a distinction is conferred on them in being acquainted with men of high degree, although those men may be in reality a lie; yet how few esteem it an honour to have God for a friend. Ask a man if he knows Lord This, or Colonel That, and he will be grateful for the compliment, even if he knows nothing of them except their names. He feels honoured to know that you think it possible that he moves in such society. Ask the same man if he knows the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, and nine chances to one he will be offended. Is it not strange?PTUK October 12, 1899, page 644.7

    Just think what a high honour it is to have God say to any man, “My friend.” That is what He said of Abraham, and it is what He says of everybody who has the faith of Abraham. Abraham showed his implicit trust in God when he proceeded to offer Isaac on the altar. In that act of faith the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness; and he was called “the friend of God.”PTUK October 12, 1899, page 644.8


    The Hebrew word rendered “friend” in this scripture before us, is from the verb meaning, to love. It is stronger than the ordinary word for friend or companion. It is used of those who are very intimate, as lovers. When God contracts friendship with men, it is of no ordinary kind. Perfect friendship means the perfection of mutual confidence. Such a thing is really unknown among men, for in the closest intimacies there is always some bar to the complete disclosure of one's self to the other. A feeling that our friend could not understand some things in our own lives, because he has never had any similar experience, and his friendship for us might lessen if he knew of some things in our lives, wherein he himself may never have been tried, causes us to withhold a part of our life from him. We instinctively shrink from making known the secrets of our hearts to anybody, no matter how intimate. But with God the most perfect friendship is possible, for He has experienced everything. He has been tempted in all things like as we are, and so He never despises anybody who has been tempted, but is able to help. If we make Him our confidant, telling Him everything about ourselves, that is confessing our sins and weaknesses, He will in turn show us all of Himself, revealing Himself not merely to us, but in us, so that we may have righteousness and strength instead of sin and weakness. More than this, He will prove Himself a true friend, and will never betray our confidence. This is the value of confessing to Him. It is not that we tell Him anything about ourselves that He does not already know; but in confessing our sins, we accept His righteousness to cover them. If we do not confess them, then in the Judgment they will be set forth before the whole world; but when we confess them, He takes them away, so that they can never more be found, for they will no more exist, and He Himself will forget them. He will hide the fact that we have sinned from all creation. He will do this by taking away from us every trace of sin. Is not such a friend worth having?PTUK October 12, 1899, page 645.1


    “Fear not,” God says to the people whom he has chosen, that is, to all who believe and trust Him. Why not fear?-“For I am with thee.” He is greater than all, so that none need fear. Read Psalm 27:1-3 and 46 and Isaiah 12:2. Read in Matthew 14:22-32 and John 6:16-21 the account of the storm on the sea, when Jesus came to the disciples, walking on the water. When they were afraid, He called out, “I am; be not afraid.” It was the same Jesus who said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world.” Because He is, there is no cause for fear; for He is everywhere, and is all things that anyone needs. So as soon as the disciples received Him into the boat, immediately they were at the place where they were going. In Him there is the fulfilment of all that we need. Because He is with us, we need not fear though war should rise up and an host encamp against us. In His presence there is fulness of joy. He says that His presence shall go with us, and give us rest. His rod and His staff comfort us, and He prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies. Do not forget that His rod comforts. We are studying the comfort of the Lord; but too many people think of the rod of the Lord only as an instrument of punishment, an emblem of displeasure. Well, it is true that the Lord does often visit the transgression of His people with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes (Psalm 89:30-32), nevertheless He does not take His loving-kindness from them; the rod of correction is the comfort of the Holy Ghost, who makes known the abounding sin in order to apply the super abounding grace.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 645.2

    The song to be sung in these days is, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2. He strengthens us by His strength. It is interesting to note that the word “taken” in verse 9, “Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,” is from the Hebrew word meaning, “to gird,” “to make strong.” From the ends of the earth God gathers His people, and girds them with strength. He is our strength against the enemy.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 645.3


    Notice the margin in verse 10 in the Revised Version. There we have indicated what is placed in the body of the text in the Danish and Norwegian versions: “Do not look so anxiously around thee.” This is very literal and true. The Swedish expresses the same thought, though not so vividly, “Do not seek help from others.” God would have His people look straight forward. Time is lost when they look around, and besides they cannot walk straight if they do not look straight ahead. Did you ever notice children when they cross the road? Whoever has driven, or ridden a bicycle, through the streets of a town, cannot fail to have marked it. When a child decides to cross the road, it looks neither to the right nor the left, but goes straight for the opposite side. Surely God has a care for children, else hundreds of them would be killed. They have no thought for themselves. Now whoever would enter the kingdom of heaven must become as a little child. We need not be critical, and say that God does not wish us to be careless. Of course He does not; but He wishes us to be trustful. He tells us to seek the one thing, His kingdom and His righteousness, and everything else will be added to us. We spend too much time calculating probabilities, and discussing possible dangers. God's word to us is, “Go forward.” It was when Peter looked around and saw the billows dashing high, that he began to sink. “Looking unto Jesus,” is our motto. “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” Proverbs 4:25, 26. God will hold our right hand, so that even if we stumble, we shall not utterly fall. “The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.” Psalm 145:14. So we can say, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; when I fall, I shall arise.” Micah 7:8.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 645.4

    “Jesuit Casuistry” The Present Truth 15, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The height, or rather the depth, of Jesuitical casuistry seems to have been reached by a leading writer in one of the most widely circulated Protestant journals in England, who defends war as a thing that Christians can consistently engage in, by arguing that force is used everywhere in nature, and that even the non-resistance which Christ enjoined is the opposition of force by force. He says, “When Christ and His followers fought their battle with the will, they were using force in its highest and most concentrated form.” The argument which would make the non-resistance of Christ equivalent to fighting and killing, would make a murdered man as guilty as his murderer, the robbed traveller an accomplice of the thief who robbed him, and would even make Christ equally guilty with the men who bound Him and nailed Him to the cross. Whoever attempts to justify evil must necessarily condemn all goodness.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 645.5

    “Notes on the International Sunday-School Lessons. Ezra's Journey to Jerusalem. Ezra 8:21-32The Present Truth 15, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Ezra 8:21-32.


    For seventy years the city of Jerusalem, with its temple, had lain desolate, in fulfilment of the word of the Lord by the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah. This desolation was a striking evidence of the result of Sabbath-breaking, and also by contrast of the blessings which true Sabbath-keeping ensures; for if the Israelites had been faithful in the observance of the Sabbath, the city would have stood for ever. Jeremiah 17:24, 25. No enemy could have done anything against it. As it was, Jerusalem fell, not because of the superior force of the enemies that besieged it, but by its own weight, since it had rejected the Arm that was its defence and support.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 646.1

    But although Israel had rejected God, He had not cast off His people. Even before the fall of Jerusalem, God had foretold its restoration, and had named the man who should fulfil His pleasure in that respect. Soon after the beginning of the captivity this message came: “Thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:10, 11. It was God Himself who gave Jerusalem into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (Daniel 1:1, 2; Jeremiah 27:1-7), and He did it as the very best thing that could be done for its people. In allowing calamity to come upon them, God had only thoughts of good for them.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 646.2

    There are no accidents in the history of this world. God “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.” Ephesians 1:11. Men imagine that they are the makers of history, and that by their counsels and their skill they make and unmake kingdoms; but the truth is that “the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will.” Daniel 4:25, 32. “He removeth kings, and setteth up kings.” Daniel 2:21. Not the smallest and seemingly most insignificant thing takes place without His knowledge and consent. Matthew 10:29, 30. The nations may chafe and rage under God's rule, desiring to break the power of His Government, but God will only laugh at their vain struggles. Psalm 2:1-4. They may hate the righteous, and plot their destruction; but they can have no power except what is given them from heaven. John 19:9, 10. It is therefore to God, and not to any human power, that the people of God are to look for help and protection.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 646.3

    Many years before his birth, and while the temple at Jerusalem was standing in all its splendour, and the city was glorying in its independence, God had named Cyrus, King of Persia, as the one whom Him would use as His instrument in the restoration of true Jerusalem and its temple after the destruction. See Isaiah 44:24-28; 45:1-4. Accordingly “in the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, King of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus, King of Persia, 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, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is the God), which is in Jerusalem.” Ezra 1:1-3. Cyrus himself recognised that in this act he was but the agent of the King of kings.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 646.4

    For a time the work went forward rapidly; but soon the enemies of Israel began to interfere. First they asked to be allowed to help in the work, but this was not allowed. Ezra 4:1-3. The favour of the enemies of the Gospel is worse than their open opposition. Unconverted men in the church are a thousand-fold more dangerous to its prosperity than they could possibly be if fighting it from without. Unfortunately the builders of the temple did not hold fast the beginning of their confidence, but allowed their adversaries to weaken their hands. The Jews had a direct decree from King Cyrus, to restore the city and temple, and this decree could not be changed even by the king himself. See Daniel 6:8, 9, 13, 16. Moreover, they did not receive any contrary decree from the king to whom their adversaries wrote false reports. These adversaries simply received permission to command the Jews to cease work, and the Jews yielded to their power. Ezra 4:7-24.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 646.5

    That the work of building might have gone on in spite of this opposition, is evident from the fact that in the second year of Darius, under the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah, the Jews again began to build, without any further royal decree. The word of the Lord, which had been their warrant in the first place, was sufficient authority. Again their enemies sought to restrain them, and would doubtless have been as successful as before, if the Jews had not been emboldened by the prophets of God. “The eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius.” Ezra 5:5. Then search was made, and the original decree was found, in consequence of which Darius issued a decree to the adversaries of the Jews to “Let the work of the house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in His place. Moreover I make a decree that ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of the house of God; that of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given to these men that they be not hindered.” Ezra 6:7, 8. Thus the wrath of man was made to praise God, and it was demonstrated that all efforts against the truth can result only in its advancement.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 646.6

    From this time the work of restoration went forward, although of course the minds of the evil-disposed ones were not at all change. In the seventh year of Artaxerxes, Ezra, a scribe of the law, was commissioned by the king to go up and complete the work, and was given full power and unlimited command of all necessary funds. It is worthy of remark, however, that in every decree made by the kings of Persia, the God of heaven was especially named as the One whose orders they were carrying out. We have read the decree of Cyrus. Darius, in commanding the adversaries to abstain from hindering the work, referred to God in almost every sentence, and said in closing: “And the God that hath caused His name to dwell there, destroy all kings and people that shall put to their hand to alter it to destroy the house of God which is at Jerusalem.” Ezra 6:12. So likewise Artaxerxes said in his letter to Ezra, “Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven; for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?” Ezra 7:23.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 646.7

    And so Ezra, accompanied by a great company of Jews, found himself on the way to Jerusalem. The river Ahava was appointed as the rallying place, and there He halted for three days to view the people. But there still were many enemies who, although forbidden to interfere with the work of building, would gladly steal upon the company of men, women, and children, and cut them off and plunder their camp. This they could do without their identity being known, and thus they could as effectually hinder the work as before. So we come to the words which contain the substance of this lesson.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 647.1

    These are the words of Ezra: “Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of Him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way; because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but His power and His wrath is against all them that forsake Him. So we fasted and besought our God for this: and He was entreated of us.” Ezra 8:21-23.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 647.2

    What a grand thing it would be if there were more of that same shame now in the leaders of the church. Then, instead of Governments thinking that they are the supporters and protectors of religion, they would know that the ambassadors of Christ are clothed with power infinitely greater than theirs. Every request made by the church and its leaders for Government protection to missionaries, or for any kind of support is a denial of their claim that they are servants of the God who is above all. That which God Himself stirred the king up to do, Ezra would accept as coming from God; but he would not ask armed protection. He knew that ‘it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.” Psalm 118:9.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 647.3

    And he was not disappointed. The account ends thus: “Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem; and the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.” Ezra 8:31. “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.” Psalm 34:7. Notice that the hand of God was upon them, and thus they were delivered. It is common to suppose that the hand of God upon one means some punishment, but we may see that it means deliverance. Therefore whoever can say with the full assurance of faith: “Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it all together. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me” (Psalm 139:3-5), can also say, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear; what can man do unto me?”PTUK October 12, 1899, page 647.4

    “For Little Ones. ‘Wonderfully Made’” The Present Truth 15, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Many creatures, as we told you last week, do not now live as God intended that they should when He first made them. It was His plan that the earth should bring forth food for all living creatures, and not that they should prey one upon another, as so many do now.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 650.1

    God's Word of power, “Let the earth bring forth,” is still waiting to-day changing the dust of the ground into living forms. And then in the plants which He thus forms from the dust, He is working to prepare food for all His creatures, and so He fulfils that other Word which He spoke of that which the earth produces, “To you it shall be for meat.”PTUK October 12, 1899, page 650.2

    So His Word is still carrying on His work of creation, doing just what He did in the beginning when “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.” But instead of doing this immediately, as He did with Adam and Eve, He works by a slower process, through what we call the laws of Nature.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 650.3

    You eat when, and because, you are hungry, and drink when you are thirsty; but do you ever think of the wonderful work of God with which you are connecting yourself by these acts? Think how His power and wisdom have been waiting beforehand to prepare food to form your body and sustain your life! Read David's words of wonder and praise as he thought upon this work of God's hands:-PTUK October 12, 1899, page 650.4

    “I will give thanks unto Thee; for I am fearfully
    and wonderfully made;
    Wonderful are Thy works;
    And that my soul knoweth right well.
    My frame was not hidden from Thee,
    When I was made in secret,
    And curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the
    Thine eyes did see mine unperfect substance,
    And in Thy book were all my members written,
    Which day by day were fashioned,
    When as yet there was none of them.”
    PTUK October 12, 1899, page 650.5

    Think how wonderfully is the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord, to whom all His works are known from the beginning. Before you came into this world so that you could be seen by others, your “frame was not hidden from Him,” but He was “making you in secret,” preparing “in the lower parts of the earth” the dust of the ground that was to form your body. At last, when His time came, the same beautiful psalm tells us, “Thou didst knit me together.” All the members of the body were perfectly fashioned and brought forth, so that others could see what He had seen from the beginning.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 650.6

    And then your body is constantly changing. As you grow God adds to your substance by His power working in you to change the food that you eat, (which we have found is the prepared dust of the ground), into the same substance as your body, just as He works in the plant to change the dust into the same substance as the plant.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 650.7

    This wonderful process we call assimilation,-from two Latin words, ad, to; and similis, like-meaning, to make like unto. It is the same life in all these things, but the life of God can take just whatever form He pleases.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 650.8

    And besides the substance that you need for growth, your whole body is constantly being changed,-giving off little particles of dead material, and taking up new substance in the place of it. Thus you are continually being re-formed, or made new, by the power of God taking the dust of the ground and rebuilding your body.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 650.9

    For this wonderful work God is making a constant preparation, still forming you in secret, preparing your substance in the lower parts of the earth, and knitting your body together by the constant renewal of His life in you through food, water, and air. You know what takes place when these things can no longer be assimilated,-death, desolution,-the body does not hold together any longer, but crumbles back into the dust out of which God formed it.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 650.10

    Will you not, as you eat and drink that which your Heavenly Father provides for you in this wonderful way, thank Him for His constant, loving thought of you, and ask Him to make you by His power still working in you, just what He wants you to be?PTUK October 12, 1899, page 650.11

    “Temperance. The Spreading Plague” The Present Truth 15, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner

    That the danger from plague is real, and not a mere shadow, may be seen from the following editorial in the Daily Chronicle of a fortnight ago:-PTUK October 12, 1899, page 653.1

    It may be doubted whether many people have yet realised the startling fact that in this present month of September more or less serious visitations of bubonic or pneumonic plague, mostly of an exceptionally virulent character, have been reported from at least ten countries in the civilised world. The plague is raging, to begin with our own empire, in several districts of India, and we have it on the authority of Lord Sandhurst that its ravages are extending from day to day. We know from dire experience what an Indian plague may mean. It almost invariably brings panic and fanaticism in its train, and amongst the most recent familiar symptoms we must count the attempt to murder an English colonel at Khoispur, who had committed the crime of fighting this fell disease. At Mauritius, out of the fifty-nine cases no fewer than thirty-nine were fatal. At Hong Kong, more than nine-tenths of the reported cases have ended in death. At Alexandria, where we have made ourselves responsible for sanitary as well as for political measures, the visitation has been comparatively light, but it has declared itself none the less. Russia has had an experience not dissimilar to our own. In Astrakhan there have been several distinct cases; and the Government, which seems to be thoroughly alive to its duty in the matter, has announced the existence of the plague in the Liacsong peninsula and in several parts of Manchuria. France admits the plague in Madagascar; there is an exceptionally violent outbreak at Magude, in the neighbourhood of Delagoa Bay; and it is not altogether foreign to our subject to mention the rapid rise of the death-rate from yellow fever in the unhealthy zone between New Orleans and Key West.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 653.2

    After this long and significant list we come to the serious and protracted visitation at Oporto; and we are constrained to ask ourselves what are our own guarantees against the plague, after it has thus persistently smouldered for months in a great European city. Is our sanitation so perfect, is our system of public medical organisation so far above criticism, that we can hold ourselves absolutely safe from the more dire of all diseases at a moment when it has suddenly sprung to light in more than a dozen isolated regions of which four or five are within the confines of the British Empire? We may say without much fear of contradiction that the plague germs are practically certain to find an entrance into British ships and British ports. It depends on ourselves, humanly speaking, whether they are to create a fatal epidemic. We have great confidence in the public officials and men of science whose business it is to watch over the health of the nation; but it is quite conceivable that confidence may lull us into the belief that our security is more complete than is actually the case. If precaution were relaxed for a single week, there might be a rude awakening in store for us. English doctors are amongst those of other nations who are carefully studying the symptoms of the plague at Oporto, and the measures which have been taken to combat and isolate it. That is something to the good, and we look with anxiety for the reports of the various commissions of inquiry. It seems to be the general conclusion of the doctors that the epidemic is of the distinct bubonic, or “Indian,” type; and there is also a consensus of opinion that it may display more activity and virulence as the rainy season sets in. Oporto has suffered severely from police restrictions, commercial depression, crowds of people who have lost their work, and the inevitable panic with its accompaniment of violence. These troubles may be outside the scope of our reasonable apprehensions, but it is, at any rate, wise that we should face the possibility of an outbreak of plague on our own shores.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 653.3

    The danger is real, yet the plagues that are now on the earth are but the precursors of still more terrible ones. Is there no remedy against them? Yes, there is a sure protection: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust; His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.... Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” Psalm 91:1-10.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 653.4

    This promise is very real and practical. Whoever heeds the message, “Behold your God,” and learns to discern and live upon the Lord's body, will find that God is more real than anything else in the world, seen or unseen, and “a very present help in trouble.”PTUK October 12, 1899, page 653.5

    “Items of Interest” The Present Truth 15, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner

    -By the sinking of artesian wells, an area of 460,000 square miles in Queensland has been thrown open to grazing.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.1

    -On account of a failure to come to an agreement regarding the Budget of expenditures, the Spanish Premier has placed before the Queen the resignation of the whole cabinet.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.2

    -The Paris Post Office authorities have decided as an experiment to use motor cycles for the clearance of the letter boxes. This is said to be the first instance of the kind on the Continent.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.3

    -The disaster at Darjeeling is found to be much greater than at first reported, both as regards the destruction of property and loss of lives. The official estimate of the number of lives lost is 500.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.4

    -Owing to the failure of the crops in the Province of Santa Clara, Cuba, many families in the district around Trinidad are said to be starving, cats and dogs, and even snakes being eaten by them.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.5

    -The new battleship London has just been launched from Portsmouth. It cost over ?1,000,000. At the same time, a new Cunard liner, Ivernia, the third largest steamer in the world, was launched at Tyne.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.6

    -Japan is rapidly increasing her navy. An English firm has just completed a torpedo boat destroyed for that country, which has been pronounced highly satisfactory. The present navy has in its service 20,000 men.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.7

    -On account of the small rise in the River Nile, which is the least even known in its history great loss is sustained by the agriculturalists in its vicinity. Nearly a quarter of a million acres usually cropped will be useless this year owing to the lack of water to irrigate it.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.8

    -The latest information concerning the earthquake which occurred at and around Aidin, Asia Minor, a short time since, is to the effect that 11,000 buildings were destroyed, and 50,000 persons are rendered homeless. The earthquake was accompanied by a sinking of the surface of the land, in some parts as much as sic feet. Immense chasms have formed in places, through which springs are welling up and flooding the surrounding land.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.9

    -Five women recently died at Liverpool after eating salt fish and potatoes at a stall. The inquest jury reported that death came from contamination, and the matter was reported for further investigation by the city authorities.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.10

    -According to the calculations made by the Vatican Secretary of State, at least 1,200,000 pilgrims will visit Rome next year, it being “Holy Year.” It is reckoned that these will bring Peter's Pence to the Pope to the amount of ?2,000,000.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.11

    -During the past year there were killed in the working of the railways of the United Kingdom 1,179 persons, and 6,343 were injured. This is the largest since 1889, but is considered a small percentage. The death rate is only one passenger in nearly 7,000,000 passenger journeys.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.12

    -Six motor omnibuses have just been introduced in London on one of the main thoroughfares, the speed to be from eight to ten miles an hour. London is behind every other metropolis in the world as regards her street railway service, and it is hoped that this innovation is but the beginning of better days in this respect.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.13

    -One hundred samples of milk were recently procured at Hackney, by Dr. Stevenson, an analyst, and twenty-one were found to be infected with tuberculous germs. This is almost startling considering the fact that tubercule bacilli in milk are very difficult of detection. No milk should be used without its first being sterilised, and it would be better not to use it at all.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.14

    -Several cases of typhoid fever in South Devon have been traced directly to the eating of cockles, taken from the mud in Kingsbridge estuary. This should not surprise us, for shelled fish of all kinds are but scavengers, and when feeding on the sewage from the cities and towns, they could hardly fail to become contaminated with disease germs. Why not discard them entirely, and live on the original diet of man-grains, fruits and nuts?PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.15

    -An apparatus has been designed at Budapest, said to be capable of transmitting 80,000 words an hour. An interesting trial was made on the 29th ult. on the line between Berlin and the Hungarian capital, with the result that 250 words were accurately transmitted in ten seconds. With this invention a great amount of time may be saved on the wire itself, but before the message is sent, it must go through a process of being perforated on tape, a process already applied by some cable lines.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.16

    -From the late report of the Commissioners of prisons in England and Wales, we learn that of the 160,000 criminals convicted, nearly 20,000 were “youthful offenders”-that is, under twenty-one years of age, and forty-two boys and one girl were under twelve years. Only three per cent. of those committed to prison could read or write well, and twenty per cent. could neither read nor write. One in every two hundred of the inhabitants is a criminal. It is urged that the best safeguard against crime is education.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.17

    -The Dominion liner Scotsman was wrecked in the Straits of Belle Isle on the 28th ult., by running on a rock in a dense fog. The vessel is a total loss. There were over three hundred passengers on board, who were safely got into the lifeboats, but before they landed, through exposure, capsising of one boat, etc., fourteen lost their lives. The shameful part of the catastrophe is the fact that during the panic after the vessel struck the crew looted the cabins and stole everything in the way of jewellery, money, watches, etc., that they could get their hands on. As much as ?2,000 in cash alone was stolen. As soon as they reached ports, about forty of these miscreant sailors and firemen, were arrested, charged with looting and stealing on the high seas.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 654.18

    “Back Page” The Present Truth 15, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The only part of the Word of God that can do any man any good is that which he gets within him. The way to get it there is to receive it, and submit to it. There is power in it to keep us for ever.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 656.1

    If all the money that is being spent in connection with the America cup races, not for the reporting of the result, but merely to gain a few moments of time in the announcement, were devoted to the spread of the Gospel, great things might be done. But then, money is of no use in the Gospel, without earnest consecration of soul to the work; and if Christians manifested one-half the enthusiasm in the saving of souls that is shown over the yacht races, the world would say that their heads were turned, and would begin to talk of insane asylums.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 656.2

    In a letter to his wife, Edward Irving, the famous preacher, wrote thus: “Now, as concerneth speaking, I am fully persuaded, by experience, that is the proper exercise of lungs, and, being taken in measure, it is always good for me.” This witness is true. It is not by the use, but by the abuse of the voice, that men get diseases of the throat and lungs. He who breathes properly, and who speaks from the lungs, can use his voice continually without injury. That the throat is injured by speaking, and that the brain is injured by sound, hard thinking, are two erroneous ideas that ought to be eradicated.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 656.3

    And now another physician has died by his own hand, but this time not through taking his own medicine. This one had a less honourable departure. He had just finished his preparations for the journey to the Transvaal, where he was to offer his services to the Government as a surgeon in cases of necessity, when he was discovered dead on his bed. His medicine bottles were all sealed, and the contents were intact, so that the cause of his death was a mystery until the autopsy revealed some large pieces of meat in his windpipe, the contents of a luncheon of which he had partaken. It is not pleasant to think of such a departure from this world, and yet there are thousands whose food causes their death surely as his did. How sad it is that eating, which is designed as the sustainer of life, should be the cause of so many deaths. It need never be so, but so it is.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 656.4

    Peace and war tremble in the balance as between England and the Transvaal. Troops and munitions of war are being hurried to the scene of difficulty, and every indication goes to show that hostilities will soon be declared, if they have not begun before these lines reach the readers. Once begun, the most hopeful shake their heads dubiously as to the outcome. And all this has come so soon after the Peace Congress! It is with astonishment that we see, in the face of the present condition of the world, many professed ministers of the Gospel declaring that we are now entering the period when “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”PTUK October 12, 1899, page 656.5

    It is not only interesting, but reassuring, to hear that at the re-opening of the medical schools connected with the London hospitals, one of the leading physicians said that the tendency of the present age is to enlist in the service of medicine the forces of the external world, rather than to place the chief reliance upon the druggist. That is, fresh air, pure water, good food, clear sunlight, are to be depended upon more than heretofore. This is good. If people would only learn to use the means to health, which God has freely provided, they might wholly dispense with physicians.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 656.6

    The Daily Mail says that “the enthusiasm with which Americans of all shades of opinion have welcomed Admiral Dewey's return is proof at once of the patriotism of the average American citizen, and of the deep root which Imperialism has now taken across the Atlantic.” This is true, and shows that the high position taken by the founders of that Government, has been abandoned, and that it differs in no respect from “the effete monarchies of the old world,” over which it boasts so much.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 656.7

    “War and Christianity” The Present Truth 15, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner

    It is an undeniable fact that no nation can hold its place in this world without war, or at least the means of carrying on war. Each nation must fight for its existence. If a single nation should totally disarm, and should determine that under no circumstances would it engaged in war, there is not the slightest doubt but it would soon cease to exist as a nation. It would be seized upon and swallowed up by the others. So war is a necessity to the existence of nations in this world.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 656.8

    But all this does not make war right. Least of all does it justify the words of the Bishop of St. Asaph, who recently said that war is sometimes necessary, when men see that they are about to be trampled under foot; and that to say that because we are Christians force is not to be employed is to “do violence to the truest Christian instincts.” That such language can be used by a high dignitary in the church, one to whom the people look for religious instruction, is evidence that there is great need of missionary work in England, and that even the leaders in the church need instruction in the first principles of Christianity.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 656.9

    The Gospel proclaimed “peace on earth.” Christ commanded His followers not to resist even when trampled upon and beaten, and to suffer the loss of all their goods rather than use violence against any man. He Himself set the example. The instinct which prompts one to fight when insulted or misused, is common to all men, but it is not a Christian instinct; it is wholly of the devil. A Christian can no more fight and yet retain his Christianity, than he can steal, and still be an honest man.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 656.10

    How is this reconcilable with the first statement made? Simply by the fact that nations are not and cannot be Christian. “But then if all professed Christians should act according to that statement of Christianity, it would leave the carrying on of Governments chiefly in the hands of those were not Christians.” Exactly, and would therefore hasten the coming of the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Unfortunately there will always be plenty of people with fighting instincts, which they will follow, so that force will never be lacking to uphold national “honour” as long as the world stands. But no one need fear the result of Christians attending solely to the business of their Master, and leaving the management of earthly governments wholly in the hands of unbelievers; for when that time comes, as it surely will, the work of the Gospel, and calling out from the world a people loyal to God, will have been completed, and Christ will come to destroy the kingdoms of this world, and to set up His own everlasting kingdom of peace.PTUK October 12, 1899, page 656.11

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