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    August 16, 1888

    “One Probation Enough” The Present Truth 4, 16.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    “Let favour be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord.” Isaiah 26:10. This text is of itself sufficient to show the folly of the claims that after death there will be another probation for those who have not accepted Christ in this life. Of course the text does not mean that the grace of God is entirely in vain, and that no wicked persons will turn from their wicked ways, for Paul says that the grace of God does bring salvation (Titus 2:11); and if it were not for the grace of God, as manifested in the gift of his Son, it would be impossible for anybody to repent. But it does mean that those who will not repent in consequence of the ordinary manifestations of God’s favour, would only be hardened still more by greater manifestations of it.PTUK August 16, 1888, page 243.1

    The case of Pharaoh is right to the point. In the first place he had the same call that is extended to all the world: “Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” This call is to all the world, and included Pharaoh. It cannot be said that he had no chance, for the chosen people of God were right in his own land.PTUK August 16, 1888, page 243.2

    Then Moses came to him with a message direct from the Lord, saying “Let my people go.” And in order that he might know from whom the message came, miracles were wrought, showing the power of God. Here he had additional opportunity to acknowledge God, but he refused.PTUK August 16, 1888, page 243.3

    Then God’s judgments began to come, and when the agents of Satan, the magicians, could no longer counterfeit these wonders, the proud king was constrained to beg for the favour of God, whom he had despised. His request was granted, and the frogs were removed: “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them.” Exodus 8:15.PTUK August 16, 1888, page 243.4

    Again the power of God was manifested in judgments, and again the king sent for the servants of the Lord, and begged that the plague of flies might be removed. “And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and entreated the Lord. And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one. And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.” Exodus 8:30-32.PTUK August 16, 1888, page 243.5

    Still closer and closer came the judgments, so that it was absolutely impossible for anyone to doubt the power and majesty of God. The cattle were destroyed, terrible boils broke out upon man and beast, and finally a fearful storm of thunder, hail, and fire, was sent, which destroyed everything in its path. “And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. Entreat the Lord (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer.” Exodus 9:27, 28. “And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto the Lord: and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth. And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the Lord had spoken by Moses.” Verses 33-35.PTUK August 16, 1888, page 243.6

    Here we have a perfect illustration of the truth spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “Let favour be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness.” The more favour was showed to Pharaoh, the more hardened he became. It was not until a plague was sent from which there could be no respite, that he relented long enough to let the people go as the Lord had commanded; and even then, when there seemed to be a prospect of no more judgments, he hardened his heart and rushed forth to his own destruction.PTUK August 16, 1888, page 243.7

    Thus it would be with the wicked if God should grant them a second probation. In this life they have had a chance to see the power of God manifested in both mercy and judgment. Sometimes they have trembled at the near approach of danger, but have hardened their hearts as soon as the danger was past. By and by the Lord will be “revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8. “A fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.” Psalm 50:3. Then “the lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.” Isaiah 2:11. Everyone will then be willing to confess “that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”PTUK August 16, 1888, page 243.8

    Now what would be the result if after all this God should grant the wicked another probation? Both revelation and experience show that they would be worse than they ever were before. To give them another probation, would be worse than casting pearls before swine. The reason for this is, that God never cuts off any sinner while his heart is tender, and when his heart has ceased to be tender, nothing but terrible judgments can make any impression upon him, and the only impression they can make is that of cowardly fear.PTUK August 16, 1888, page 243.9

    It is true that many of the advocates of a second probation claim that it will be granted only to those who in this life have “not had a fair chance.” That this is a direct charge against the justice of God, will be shown at another time; it is sufficient here to remind the reader that a “second probation” necessarily implies a first, and a probation is a trying, a testing. Therefore to say that any will have a second probation, is to admit that they have been tried once and found wanting. In other words, they have “had a fair chance,” and having refused it, they would count any additional favour an evidence of weakness on the part of God, and would deride him for it.PTUK August 16, 1888, page 243.10

    E. J. WAGGONER.

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