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    December 27, 1894

    “The New Year” The Present Truth 10, 52.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    The “New Year” is at hand; and the time by common consent sacred to the formation of new resolutions. In most cases, however, the resolutions of the previous year have the dust brushed off from them, and are made to serve again, being just as good as new on account of never having been used.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 817.1

    There is a difference of opinion as to the value of making resolutions at any time. It is not our promises that save us, but the promises of God. Making good resolutions often tends directly against real improvement, since the resolution is taken as a substitute for action. A man makes a resolution and breaks it, and then when he is confronted with his failure, he makes another, or repeats the former one with new emphasis, and straightway his conscience is at rest. The resolution is accepted as an “indulgence.” In saying this we do not in the least discount a fixed choice, nor a firm purpose to cleave to the Lord; but the penitent who makes real progress is the one who comes to the Lord, saying,—PTUK December 27, 1894, page 817.2

    “No preparation can I make,
    My best resolves I only break,
    Yet save me for Thine own name’s sake,
    And take me as I am.”
    PTUK December 27, 1894, page 817.3

    Yet allowing the most that might be claimed for good resolutions, the custom of having one special day for making reformation, out of three hundred and sixty-five, is most pernicious. It is often the case that people wait for months till the New Year to “turn over a new leaf.” This evil habit is fostered by religious papers and teachers who make so much of the New Year as the fit time for reflecting over the past and making a fresh start. From such talk people get the idea that there’s something sacred about New Year’s day.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 817.4

    This evil would be avoided if they would remember that the first day of January is no more the beginning of a new year than is the third of March, the 13th of June, the 19th of October, or any other day of any other month in the year. Every day is just one year from three hundred and sixty-five days before, and so every day begins a new year. Whatever is fit and especially appropriate for the first day of a new year, may be attended to at any time. Are you convinced of the error of your ways, and impressed that you ought to reform? Then never think of waiting for the first day of January to come. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”PTUK December 27, 1894, page 817.5

    One word more as to the date of the New Year. It is purely arbitrary, and is not the same in all parts of the world. In England, until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, in 1752, the legal and ecclesiastical year began at March 25. This was more nearly the original time of beginning the year, as directed by the Lord. The spring of the year is the natural season. To begin a new year in the beginning of winter is as senseless and arbitrary as to begin a new day in the middle of the night. As a matter of convenience in reckoning, and for business purposes, the 1st of January is as good as any other day; but no one should think that any sort of sacredness attaches to it, or that it is any better than any other day for ceasing to do evil and learning to do well.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 817.6

    The false idea concerning the 1st of January, which is due chiefly to the Roman Catholic Church, has led to what are known as “watch night” services by many people. They assemble in a meeting-house on the last day in December, and remain together until after midnight, to “watch the old year out, and the new year in.” There would be something irresistibly funny in this performance, even if the first day of the year were sacred by Divine appointment. For since the last day begins at sunset, it is evident that the new year must also begin at sunset, with the day. So that when people watch till midnight to see the new year in, they are like men who watch for a train that has passed eight hours before.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 817.7

    It is stated on good authority that the term “watch night” originated with Wesley, but not with any reference to the New Year. That godly man was accustomed to spend much time in prayer, and would often, with a company of his people, spend the entire night in prayer. Thus they “watched” the night through. Not that they were watching the hours as they passed, but that they were watching with the Lord. The thought came from the Saviour’s words to His disciples on the night of His betrayal, “Could ye not watch with Me one hour?” and, “Watch and pray lest ye enter into temptation.” If there were more of this sort of watching every day in the year, there would be less superstition concerning one particular day.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 817.8

    “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”PTUK December 27, 1894, page 817.9

    “Instruments of Righteousness” The Present Truth 10, 52.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    All righteousness is from God; for God is the only being able to manifest it. Righteousness is not a finite thing, but infinite; it is perfection in the eye of God, it is doing as well as God can do it; and no one can do that but God Himself. “All unrighteousness is sin,” and, “sin is the transgression of law.” 1 John 5:17; 3:4. The law of God is as perfect as God is, and therefore righteousness,—the keeping of the law,—is the manifestation of infinite perfection of life.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.1

    The Lord would make us instruments of His righteousness. Therefore the Spirit exhorts us, “Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Romans 6:13. When we yield our members thus unto God, He uses them, and manifests His righteousness by making them do His will; for then it is He that worketh in us, “both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.2

    The law of men, on the other hand, is not righteousness. It may be in the direction of righteousness, and perfectly proper, just, and necessary; but it comes infinitely short of righteousness itself. Why? Because man comes infinitely short of being God. God’s ways are as far from our ways, and His thoughts above our thoughts, as the heavens are above the earth. Isaiah 55:9. Righteousness touches the heart; but the law of man touches only the outward life. But an evil thought, hatred, lust, covetousness, etc., is a violation of the law of God. See Matthew 5:21-28.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.3

    A human law may (and always should) be an instrument of good, to keep men civil in deportment, to make them respect each other’s rights, to preserve outward order and peace. But when it has done this, it has not produced righteousness. It has not touched the heart, producing peace and order there. It is not, like the law of God, “perfect, converting the soul.” No individual has any power to convert another individual and make him righteous. Such power pertains to God alone.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.4

    Very properly, therefore, is the domain of religion, which pertains to righteousness, separated from the domain of human law; for it is thus separated by the decree of God, which is seen in its very nature, as compared with the nature of things human. The utmost that any man can have to do with the production of righteousness, or of an instrument of the same, is to yield himself unto God. Then he will become the instrument; and God, working through His law-manifesting the power His own life-will produce the righteousness.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.5

    “Studies in Romans. The Unspeakable Gift. Romans 8:29-32” The Present Truth 10, 52.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    Our study this week is inseparably connected with that of last week. Only lack of space prevented the verses of each being studied together. The student, however, will read very thoughtfully the preceding verses before beginning this present study, thus preserving the connection. We have learned about our relation to God through the Spirit, and of the help which the Spirit gives us in prayer, as well as of the assurance that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose.” The grounds for that assurance are infinitely strengthened in the verses that follow:—PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.6

    “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:29-32.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.7

    QUESTIONING THE TEXT

    How may we be sure that all things work together for good to them that love God, who are the called according to His purpose.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.8

    “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.”PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.9

    Why did He predestinate them to be conformed to the image of His Son?PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.10

    “That He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.11

    What is said of those whom He thus predestined?PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.12

    “Them He also called.”PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.13

    What of those whom He called?PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.14

    “Them He also justified.”PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.15

    And what of those whom He justified?PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.16

    “Them He also glorified.”PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.17

    What shall we then say to these things?PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.18

    “If God be for us, who can be against us?”PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.19

    What has God done, to show that He is for us?PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.20

    “Spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.”PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.21

    What then must necessarily follow?PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.22

    That He must “with Him also freely give us all things.”PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.23

    FOREKNOWLEDGE AND FOREORDINATION

    “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” The word “predestinate” is the same as “foreordain,” which is found in the Revised Version. Volumes of speculation have been written about these terms, but a few words are sufficient to set forth the facts. With respect to these, as well as the other attributes of God, it is sufficient for us to know the fact. With the explanation we have nothing to do.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.24

    That God knows all things, is plainly set forth in the Scriptures. Not only does He know the things that are past, but He sees the future as well. “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.” Acts 15:18. “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; thou understandest my thought afar off.” Psalm 139:1, 2. Thus God can tell what people even yet unborn will do and say.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.25

    This does not make God responsible for the evil that they do. Some have foolishly thought it necessary to apologise for the Lord and to relieve Him of the charge that if He is omniscient He is responsible for the evil if He does not prevent it, by saying that He could know if He wished, but that He chooses not to know many things. Such a “defence” of God is both foolish and wicked. It assumes that God would be responsible for the evil if He knew it beforehand and did not prevent it, and that in order not to be in a position to prevent it, He deliberately shuts his eyes from it. Thus their “defence” really puts the responsibility for all evil upon God. Not only so, but it limits Him. It makes Him like a man.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.26

    God knows all things, not by study and research as man learns the little he knows, but because He is God. He inhabits eternity. Isaiah 57:15. We cannot understand how this can be any more than we can understand eternity. We must accept the fact and be not only content, but glad, that God is greater than we. All time, past, present, and future, is the same to Him. It is always “now” with God.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 818.27

    The fact that God knew the evil that men would do, even before the foundation of the world, does not make Him responsible for it, any more than the fact that a man can see by means of a telescope what a man is doing ten miles distant makes Him responsible for that other one’s actions. God has from the beginning set before people warnings against sin, and has provided them with all the necessary means for avoiding it; but He cannot interfere with man’s right and freedom of choice without depriving him of his manhood and making him the same as a stick.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 819.1

    Freedom to do right implies freedom to do wrong. If a man were made so that he could not do wrong, he would have no freedom at all, not even to do right. He would be less than the brutes. There is no virtue in forced obedience, nor would there be any virtue in doing that which is right if it were impossible to do wrong. Moreover, there could be no pleasure or satisfaction in the professed friendship of two persons if one associated with the other just because he could not avoid it. The joy of the Lord in the companionship of his people is that they of their own free-will choose him above all others. And that which is the joy of the Lord is the joy of his people.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 819.2

    The very ones who rail against God for not preventing the ills that He foresees since He is all-powerful, would be the very first to charge Him with cruelty if he did arbitrarily interfere with their freedom and make them do that which they do not choose. Such a course would make everybody unhappy and discontented. The wisest thing for us to do is to stop trying to fathom the ways of the Almighty, and accept the fact that whatever he does is right. “As for God, His way is perfect.” Psalm 18:30.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 819.3

    WHAT ABOUT PREDESTINATION?

    The text shows that “whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren.” God’s thoughts toward men are thoughts of peace, and not of evil. Jeremiah 29:11. He ordains peace for us. Isaiah 26:12. We read nothing about men being foreordained to destruction; the only thing that God has predestinated is that men should be conformed to the image of His Son.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 819.4

    But it is only in Christ that we become conformed to His image. It is in Him that we come “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13. Therefore it is that men are foreordained or predestinated only in Christ. The whole story is told in the following passage of Scripture:—PTUK December 27, 1894, page 819.5

    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good-pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.”PTUK December 27, 1894, page 819.6

    Everything is in Christ. We receive all spiritual blessings in Him; we are chosen in Him unto holiness; in Him we are predestinated unto the adoption of children; in Him we are accepted; and in Him we have redemption through His blood. “God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 819.7

    That is God’s purpose and foreordination concerning man. Still further, “whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.” Whom did He foreknow? There can be no limit; He must have foreknown all. If there were any exception, then God would not be infinite in knowledge. If He foreknows one person, then He foreknows every person. There has not been a person born into the world whose birth God did not foreknow. “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Therefore, since every person has been known to God even before the foundation of the world, and those whom He foreknew He predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, it follows that God has purposed salvation for every soul that has ever come into the world. His love embraces all, without respect of persons.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 819.8

    “Then everybody will be saved, no matter what He does,” some one will say. Not by any means. Remember that the purpose of God is in Christ. It is only in Him that we are predestinated. And we are free to choose for ourselves whether we will accept Him or not. Man’s will has been forever set free, and God Himself will not presume to interfere with it. He holds sacred the choice and will of each individual. He will not carry out His own purpose contrary to man’s will. His will is to give man whatever man decides will best please Him. So he sets before man life and death, good and evil, and tells him to choose which he will have. God knows what is best, and has chosen and prepared that for man. He has gone so far as to fix it beyond all possibility of failure, that man shall have that good thing if he chooses it. But the wonderful kindness and courteousness of the great God is seen in this, that He defers in everything to man’s wishes. If man, in his turn, will but defer to God’s wishes, there will be the most delightful and loving companionship between them.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 819.9

    CALLED, JUSTIFIED, GLORIFIED

    “Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them be also glorified.” This is completed action. We need not stumble over it, if we will but remember that everything is in Christ. In Christ we have already been blessed with all spiritual blessings. All men are called to that which God has prepared for them, but none are “the called according to His purpose” unless they have made their calling and election sure by submitting to His will. Such ones are predestinated to be saved. Nothing in the universe can hinder the salvation of any soul that accepts and trusts the Lord Jesus Christ.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 819.10

    And all such are justified. The death of Christ reconciles us to God. “He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2. His death has secured pardon and life for all. Nothing can keep them from salvation except their own perverse will. Men must take themselves out of the hand of God, in order to be lost. Much more, then, those who accept the sacrifice, are justified. “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”PTUK December 27, 1894, page 819.11

    “And whom He justified, them He also glorified.” Have we not read in the prayer of Christ for His disciples, not only for those who were with Him in the garden, but also for all them that should believe on Him through their word and therefore for us, “The glory which Thou gavest me, I have given them”? Peter said that he was a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. God has left nothing undone. Everything that Christ has we have if we accept Him. All that remains is that it should be revealed. “The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” When God asks concerning His people, “What could have been done more to My vineyard, that I have not done in it?” who shall presume to say that there is something that he has overlooked?PTUK December 27, 1894, page 820.1

    ALL THINGS OURS

    But we have anticipated the apostle. Hear him: “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”PTUK December 27, 1894, page 820.2

    How shall He not? That is, How can He avoid giving us all things? In giving Christ for and to us, God could not do otherwise than give us all things, “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.” Colossians 1:16, 17.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 820.3

    “Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” 1 Corinthians 3:21-23. This, then, answers the question, “Who can be against us?” Everything is for us. “All things are for your sakes.” 2 Corinthians 4:15.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 820.4

    A general once telegraphed to the seat of government, “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.” This is what every child of God is privileged to say. “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57. “This is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4. This is what makes us know that all things work together for good to them that love God. No matter how dark and forbidding the things may seem, if we are in Christ, they are for us, and not against us.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 820.5

    “‘His Holiness’” The Present Truth 10, 52.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Pope is designated, throughout the religious world, Protestant and Catholic alike, by the adulatory title, “His Holiness.” How well the designation befits him may be seen by a reference to the apostle of whom he claims to be the successor. Upon this claim his pretensions to super-human sanctity and authority rests. Peter, as any reader of Scripture knows, was never addressed by such a title as the above. But Peter at one time had the spirit of the Papacy in his heart,—the spirit of self-exaltation. All the disciples had it; for they disputed among themselves which should be the greatest. And that contest, happily abandoned by them, was afterwards revived in the Church and finally settled in favour of the Bishop of Rome. Since that time he-as Pope-has been the “greatest,” claiming authority and power superior to all his fellows, and making himself God on earth.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 820.6

    At that time when Peter possessed this spirit, the Saviour addressed him by a peculiar but not a flattering title. Jesus had been telling His disciples “how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, Be it far from Thee, Lord; this shall not be unto Thee.” Matthew 16:21, 22. What prompted Peter to do this? The reason is plain; he wanted his Master to set up a glorious earthly kingdom, where he himself would be given an exalted place. His selfish mind may have pictured a position of splendour and power not unlike that occupied by his pretended successors in the Papacy’s palmy days. The idea that Christ was to be put to death rudely dispelled this pleasing vision, and Peter set himself against it, as if by his opposition he might turn the course of the events in another way.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 820.7

    But Jesus “turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind Me, Satan; thou art an offence unto Me; for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” The pretended successor of Peter, animated by the same spirit, only more fully developed, which Peter then had, has the same claim to the title “His Holiness” that the unconverted disciple had, and no more.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 820.8

    “The Kingdom of Babylon” The Present Truth 10, 52.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    “Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldee’s excellency.” Isaiah 13:19.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 821.1

    At the time when the book of Daniel opens, the Jewish nation was subject to the Babylonians, and many of the Jews were in Babylon. A few years before (about 610 B.C.), the king of Egypt had deposed Jehoahaz, king of Judah, and placed Eliakim, whom he named Jehoiakim, on the throne. 2 Chronicles 26:2-4. In the third year of his reign (Daniel 1:1) Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The city was taken, Jehoiakim was bound with fetters, and some of the vessels of the house of God were carried to Babylon. Some of the people, also, among whom were Daniel and his fellows, were carried to Babylon at this time.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 821.2

    Jehoiakim, however, was allowed to remain in Jerusalem, where he reigned eight years longer. He was then succeeded by Jehoiachin, his son, who, after a reign of three months, was taken by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon. With him were also taken all the royal family, the wealthy people, and artisans, so that only the poorest people of the land were left in Judah. This was about B.C. 599. Nebuchadnezzar then placed Mattaniah on the throne of Judah, and changed his name to Zedekiah. After a few years’ reign Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, who again came to Jerusalem, and in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign (about B.C. 538) he succeeded in capturing the city. Zedekiah was carried to Babylon, and with him all the people who had before been left, and the walls and palaces of Jerusalem were burned to the ground. 2 Chronicles 36:11-21. This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah (chap. 17:27), and completed the overthrow of the Jewish nation.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 821.3

    It will be well to notice at this point the fulfilment of a prophecy concerning Zedekiah. The prophet Ezekiel, who was then in Babylon, was directed to bring his stuff out of his house, in the day-time, in the presence of the people, and to dig through the wall and carry this stuff through at evening, and cover his face at the same time, so that he should not see the ground. Ezekiel 12:3-6. Then he was directed to say to the people of Israel:—PTUK December 27, 1894, page 821.4

    “I am your sign; like as I have done, so shall it be done unto them; they shall remove and go into captivity. And the prince that is among them shall bear upon his shoulder in the twilight, and shall go forth; they shall dig through the wall to carry out thereby; he shall cover his face, that he see not the ground with his eyes. My net also will I spread upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare; and I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there.” Ezekiel 12:11-13.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 821.5

    About 589 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem and besieged it. For nearly two years the siege was carried on, until “the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land. And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king’s garden; (now the Chaldees were against the city round about); and the king went the way toward the plain. And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho; and all his army were scattered from him. So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him. And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.” 2 Kings 25:3-7. Thus was Ezekiel’s prophecy literally fulfilled, and Jerusalem was left in ruins.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 821.6

    Among the Jews who were carried to Babylon at the first siege of Jerusalem, was Daniel, who was of the royal line. He and his fellows were chosen to go through a three years’ course of study and training, in order that they might be fitted to fill offices of trust in the Babylonian kingdom. They were chosen because of their superior mental abilities; and so rapidly did they improve that at the end of the three years, when they went before Nebuchadnezzar to be examined, “in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” Daniel 1:20. God had given “knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom” to these faithful servants of His, “and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.”PTUK December 27, 1894, page 821.7

    In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign as sole ruler of Babylon, but the fourth year after he had begun to reign conjointly with his father, he dreamed a dream which troubled him greatly, and the more so because he could not remember what it was. He sent for the magicians, astrologers, and sorcerers, and demanded of them that they should tell him the dream. They replied: “O king, live for ever; tell thy servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.” But Nebuchadnezzar could not tell the dream, any more than they could tell the interpretation without the dream, and after parleying with them for a while, he ordered that all the wise men of Babylon should be destroyed.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 821.8

    Although Daniel was not among those to whom the king had applied for an interpretation of his dream, the command was to destroy all the wise men of Babylon, and so it included him and his companions. It seems that the first intimation Daniel had of the whole affair was when the officers came to take him to the place of execution. He immediately went to the king and asked for a little time, promising that he would tell the dream and the interpretation.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 821.9

    Daniel did not use the respite granted to him in incantations, as the magicians would have done, but went to his house, and, with his three companions, prayed to the God of Heaven. “Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of Heaven. Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever; for wisdom and might are His; and He changeth the times and the seasons; He removeth kings, and setteth up kings; He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding; He revealeth the deep and secret things; He knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with Him. I thank Thee, and praise Thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of Thee; for Thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.” Daniel 2:19-23.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 821.10

    In this action of Daniel’s we have an example of true faith in God. As soon as the secret was revealed to him in the night vision, he began to praise the Lord. He did not wait to see if the king would recognise what had been revealed to him, as being his dream, but was positive that the Lord had given him just what he asked for. He evidently acted in accordance with the words of the Saviour: “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Mark 11:24. If this injunction were followed by all those who seek the Lord, how much praise there would be to God for blessings conferred.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 822.1

    It was a trying occasion when Daniel went before the king to make known to him his forgotten dream, and one well calculated to cause a young man to tremble. If he failed, one word from the haughty monarch, who had once been disappointed, and who now believed that all his professedly wise men were knaves, would have cost him his head. But we may be sure that Daniel did not tremble, because he knew that he should not fail. He modestly disclaimed the possession of any natural wisdom more than other men, and said: “The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, show unto the king; but there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.” Daniel 2:27, 28.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 822.2

    Then without any hesitation he proceeded to tell the dream. Said he:—PTUK December 27, 1894, page 822.3

    “Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them; and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” Daniel 2:31-35.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 822.4

    These verses contain in outline the history of the world from the days of Nebuchadnezzar until the end of time. Immediately after relating the dream, the prophet addressed the king as follows: “Thou, O king, art a king of kings; for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath He given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.” Verses 37, 38.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 822.5

    [For a brief historical sketch of the kingdom of Babylon, and the glory of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, we shall have to wait until next week.]PTUK December 27, 1894, page 822.6

    “Choosing a Guide” The Present Truth 10, 52.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    Choosing a Guide.—“I say, hold fast by your Prayer Book, and do your duty.... That Prayer Book I have been studying all my life, and I study it still. Let it be the guide-book.” This was the reply of a venerable Archdeacon of the Church of England, to the question, “What would you have the young clergyman take as his guide?” No wonder that Rome is making such headway in England; for when a human production, no matter how good, is taken as the guide-book, thus displacing the word of God, the Papacy is the inevitable result. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto, according to Thy word.” “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” Psalm 119:9, 11.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 822.7

    “Desperately Wicked” The Present Truth 10, 52.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    Quite likely we should be offended and shocked if any of our friends were to tell us that we were desperately wicked persons, or if someone should represent us as such to the public. We know some people who are wicked,—perhaps some of whom we consider desperately wicked; and we have read of such persons in history and in the accounts of crime which fill the columns of the newspapers; and we would not wish to be classed with them. We belong to the “respectable” class of people,—that class who are not just as good as they might be, but who do not do anything very bad. It would certainly be a gross libel to point us out as desperately wicked.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 823.1

    Would it? Let us look up this matter a little. The Lord has said something on the point, and He does not libel people, but tells every one the exact truth. We turn to the book of Jeremiah and read, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Jeremiah 17:9. Whose heart is it? Ah, there are no particular persons specified in the statement; its application is general; it means your heart and mine. Neither does it say the heart may become deceitful and desperately wicked, but is so. There is no getting around it; the Lord says our hearts are deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. No matter about our respectability and standing in society; if the human heart rules within us, we are desperately wicked. And it is only because our hearts are so deceitful that we do not realise the fact. Yes; there is murder there; there is adultery, there is theft, there is blasphemy, there is that dreadful crime which shocked us as we read it in the paper, and which sent a man to the gallows; there is everything of which lawless men are guilty, and which is contrary to the ten commandments. The Lord says so; for He says, “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 823.2

    To how much of the law of God is the carnal mind not subject? Can it be subject to part of that law, and not subject to the remaining part? Certainly that could not be. The heart must either be subject to the law in its entirety, or not subject to it; and the carnal heart, as the text declares, “is not subject to the law of God.” This carnal nature is the nature we get by birth, and this nature we must retain, no matter what our station and occupation among men, until we allow the Lord to transform our hearts by the power of His grace. And therefore every person in whom this natural, or carnal, heart exists is at enmity with every precept of the Divine law. He is not only at enmity with the command which says, “Thou shalt not covet,”—as very respectable persons can be-but he is also not in harmony with those commands which say, “Thou shalt not kill,” and “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” He may not feel the enmity stirring him up to commit some shocking deed; but nevertheless, it is there.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 823.3

    Do we know, even the best of us, what is in our hearts? How often do circumstances discover there evils of which we do not dream! Let our natures become suddenly ruffled, and words and deeds spring forth which cause us surprise and shame. Men do not start out in life to become murderers or adulterers or embezzlers. Such ones would be horrified if told at the outset to what the developments of later years would bring them. Their nature was the same as ours: yet the evil deeds were there.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 823.4

    There is no use denying what the Lord tells us. If mere “respectability” could decide the question the devil would have the advantage of us, for he is “transformed into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), which power we do not possess. None of us can compete with the devil in point of a good appearance. The Lord sees us just as we are, and the sooner we see ourselves as He sees us, the better. When we become convinced that we are really desperately wicked, we shall see the necessity of getting rid of our inherited natures altogether, instead of trying to make them presentable to God by some efforts at patching up. We shall be ready to accept the new heart and new nature which God gives us on condition of perfect submission to Him, even the nature of Jesus Christ, who dwells in the heart by faith.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 823.5

    We shall see also that the apostle told the truth when he said, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” Romans 2:1. The germs which developed (and so suddenly) into the evil deeds which we condemn in others, are in our own natural hearts, in the enmity which such hearts have to the law of God. When we have the nature of Christ, we shall be on this point as Michael the Archangel, who against Satan himself would not bring a railing accusation. Jude 9. It is for us to choose between a nature that is desperately wicked, and one that is infinitely good.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 823.6

    “News of the Week” The Present Truth 10, 52.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    -The Bulgarian ministry has resigned.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.1

    -M. Brisson has been elected President of the French Chamber of Deputies.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.2

    -It is reported that a movement is on foot for the entrance of Servia into the Triple Alliance.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.3

    -Tamatave, a seaport in Madagascar, has been occupied by the French almost without fighting.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.4

    -A telegram from Apia, Samoa, dated Dec. 8, announces the death of Robert Louis Stevenson, the novelist, from apoplexy.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.5

    -Dec. 16 an Italian torpedo boat ran aground near Brindisi. The crew were saved, but the boat is considered a total loss.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.6

    -A Bill imposing a tax on the unimproved value of land has been passed by the Legislative Assembly of Victoria, after an all-night sitting.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.7

    -The Bluefields difficulty which has for some time engaged the attention of England and the United States, is now thought to he practically ended by the action of the Mosquitos, who have formally incorporated their reserve with Nicaragua.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.8

    -The front pages of all the Russian journals still appear with mourning borders. They will continue to do so for twelve months from the date of the late Czar’s death.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.9

    -It is reported that there is increasing excitement amongst the Russian Armenians concerning the outrage in Sassoun, and that frequent encounters take place between the Turkish and Armenian villagers.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.10

    -England, France, and Russia have notified the Porte of the appointment of delegates to ac-company the Turkish Commission of Inquiry which will probably hold its sittings at Moosh. Germany and Austria still hold aloof.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.11

    -The sudden prorogation of the Italian Parliament has created in Italy a profound and unfavourable impression. Signor Giolitti and another Deputy will be prosecuted for forgery in connection with the Sancta Romana scandals.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.12

    -The war in the East still goes on, the fighting being now mainly in Manchuria. The Japanese continue to be uniformly successful. Elaborate preparations are being made for the detente of Pekin, under the supervision of European officers.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.13

    -Large match factories at Milan, Turin, Moncaliori, Rimini and Udine, have been closed in consequence of the announcement that a fresh tax would be placed on matches, and thousands of workmen have thus been thrown out of employment.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.14

    -A new automatic hanging apparatus has just been, successfully tried in Connecticut, U.S.A., doing away with the disagreeable office of hangman. The clergy however have condemned it on the ground that it makes the criminal his own executioner, which amounts to suicide.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.15

    -The application of the Public Prosecutor to take criminal proceedings against Herr Liebkneckt and other Socialist Deputies for not rising to cheer the Emperor was supported in the German Reichstag by the Chancellor Prince Hohenlohe, and after discussion was rejected by 108 votes to 58.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.16

    -Berlin newspapers report an extraordinary case of wholesale poisoning at Freiberg, in Saxony. No fewer than 150 persons have been taken seriously ill through eating breakfast rolls obtained from a certain bakery in the town, and a child has already died. The authorities have instituted an inquiry into the matter.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.17

    -Reports of rich mineral discoveries in Matabeleland continue. The latest discovery has been made on the banks of the Lebangwe River, a tributary of the Zambesi, where there have been found large copper deposits, indications of diamond-bearing ground, and enormous coal beds. Twenty seams were exposed, varying in thickness from nine inches to four feet.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.18

    -From official statements just published in the Sibirski Vesinik, it appears that only 45,000 emigrants from Russia arrived in Siberia during the present year. As the figures of last year were reported at 70,000, and those of 1892 at 60,000. It would seem that emigration to Siberia does not present a rosy prospect to the peasants, oven of the most congested districts of European Russia. Most of the emigrants come from the central provinces of Kursk, Poltava and Chernigor.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.19

    -The mercantile marine of France is on the decline. It fell from 9,704,191 tons in 1891 to 8,382,311 tons in 1893, a loss of 13.6 per cent., but if from this be deducted the tonnage of the subsidised lines, whose ships are obliged to come and go without regard to cargo, the diminution is 16.5 per cent. This year the decadence has still continued. Compared with 1891, the loss is 17 per cent. The decrease is principally with respect to European countries and the Mediterranean. In one year more than one-fourth of the tonnage engaged in navigating to these places has passed away from the French flag.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.20

    -A despatch from Buenos Ayres, dated Nov. 22, gives the following particulars of a severe earthquake recently experienced in Argentina. “Advices received at San Juau from Inglesias report that earthquake shocks were frequent, and that nothing was left standing, all the buildings being in a mass of ruins. While the shocks lasted, a water of black colour rushed up through cracks in the ground. The Agna Negra mountain, in the vicinity of Cruz de Piedra and San Roque, split right in two from summit to base, and quantities of earth and pebbles were projected into the air. In Cumillengo and Potreres de Tueuman the ground had opened, and volumes of water continued to be thrown up. On the road from Jachal to San Juan there was one large crack it the ground over three miles in length.”PTUK December 27, 1894, page 830.21

    “Back Page” The Present Truth 10, 52.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    Fresh outrages are reported from Armenia. A score or more of additional villages have been burned, and the people scattered or murdered.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 832.1

    The gambling season is at its height in Monaco, and Reuter’s agency reports that the frequent suicides are causing a painful impression among the visitors and townspeople.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 832.2

    The Catholic Review rejoices at the evidences of the “failure of the Reformation.” “First and most striking,” it says, “is the fact of the disposition generally manifested among Protestants to take the back track, and even to claim the hitherto obnoxious title of Catholic.”PTUK December 27, 1894, page 832.3

    Jesus said, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” It was not merely as a teacher and healer that Jesus worked, but for many years He laboured as a carpenter. Even in that He was revealing the character of the Father to men. Whoever therefore is ashamed to labour would be ashamed of the company of God the Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 832.4

    The young Czar seems bent on making changes. He proposes doing away with the secret police who, to the number of 1,000, have been guarding the Imperial family. He also contemplates adopting the Gregorian calendar, which would bring the Russian calendar into harmony with the rest of the world. The Russian year now begins twelve days later than our own.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 832.5

    The Stundists, or Russian Baptists, have been declared to be one of the most harmful sects in Russia. A motion to this effect was brought forward in 1873, but the new sect had not been sufficiently watched, and it was not till July 4, 1894, that the report of the Ecclesiastical Department and the Ministry of Internal Affairs received Imperial confirmation. It is declared that the Stundists are undermining the root and foundations of the true “orthodox” faith and of Russian nationalism. The principle grounds for this declaration seem to be the fact that the Stundists reject all church ceremonies and sacraments, and do not believe in war.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 832.6

    The Japanese are probably no vainer than other men, but they excel in the childish simplicity with which they exhibit the national conceit. Count Okuma, the leader of the Progressionist party recently declared that the European powers are in a decline, and their place, said he, “will be taken by our descendants.” Bishop Ninde, of Japan, says that such talk reflects the sober sentiments of the great body of intelligent Japanese.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 832.7

    “It is natural enough,” says a contemporary, “for every one to demand his own right; but it is Christianity that teaches us to recognise the rights of others.” This is true; but Christianity goes further still-it teaches us to yield our own rights, and give them up. The only rights which the Christian is bound to maintain are the Divine rights of the Lord Jesus Christ. He has the right to claim our service in obedience to His word, and these rights the Christian never can yield without yielding up His Lord.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 832.8

    Work is not a curse, but a blessing. Labour was appointed to man in Eden. The only thing connected with labour that came with sin, is weariness. Weariness, not labour, is a part of the curse. So when man is redeemed and restored to the earth made new “they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.” They “shall enjoy the work of their hands.” Amos 9:13-15; Isaiah 65:17-22. The inhabitants of the world to come will all be workingmen.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 832.9

    The commandment “Honour thy father and thy mother,” is too often thought to be limited to children, and to require simply that they render obedience while their parents are living. But it should be remembered that the commandment says, “honour,” and not “obey.” It includes obedience, and much more. A man grown may bring dishonour upon his parents. The commandment requires that such a course be pursued as will honour them. A man of integrity and uprightness reflects honour upon his parents. Through him, people who never saw them will respect them. So though a man’s parents be dead, and he himself live to be fourscore years old, there is never a moment in his life when the fifth commandment does not apply to him.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 832.10

    Outside of the truth, there is nothing but error. Therefore when people reject the truth, there is no limit to the wickedness they may commit. They have nothing to hold them back. The Jewish priests were the religious leaders of the people, the patterns of virtue; yet when they had rejected Christ,—the Truth,—they persecuted Him to the death. And not content with seeking His life, they sought to kill Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead, in order that they might destroy the evidence of His power. Yet even while applauding the death of the innocent, they doubtless would have indignantly spurned the suggestion that they were murderers. They thought that their course was justified by the needs of their country. Sin has a terribly blinding power.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 832.11

    “Pitched toward Sodom” The Present Truth 10, 52.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    Pitched toward Sodom.-We read that Lot journeyed eastward over the fertile plain of Jordan, and “pitched his tent toward Sodom.” Lot was not a wicked man, but he was attracted by the sight of worldly riches. He did not by this confess, as did Abraham, that he was a stranger and a pilgrim on the earth, looking for a better country, that is, an heavenly. And there are many to-day who are taking the same course. Is your time and strength being spent to gain the wealth of earth? Is that the object of your best endeavours? Beware; your tent is pitched toward Sodom, and do not flatter yourself that the history of that bad choice will not be repeated if you persist. For the world, with all that is of it, is reserved by the word of God unto a fate precisely such as that which overtook Sodom and Gomorrah. The only wise choice now, as then, is to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, trusting Him to add unto you all such temporal things as your best good requires.PTUK December 27, 1894, page 832.12

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