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    December 11, 1884

    “Ancient Spiritualism. Saul and the Witch” The Signs of the Times, 10, 47.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Ancient Spiritualism.


    1. When on a certain occasion the Philistine host came against Israel, how was King Saul affected? 1 Samuel 28:4, 5.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.1

    2. To whom did he seek for guidance? Verses 7, 8.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.2

    3. How had Saul previously treated such people? Verses 3, 9.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.3

    4. By what authority had he done so? Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.4

    5. Why had the Lord given such instruction concerning the diviners, consulters of familiar spirits, etc.? Deuteronomy 18:10-12.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.5

    6. With what people were such abominations common? Verses 9, 12.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.6

    7. What had the Lord said it would be the result to those who should seek after such persons? Leviticus 19:31.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.7

    8. Since Saul had obeyed the Lord in putting away those who had familiar spirits, why did he now consult one? 1 Samuel 28:6.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.8

    9. When he went, for whom did he ask? Verse 11.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.9

    10. Why did he not go directly to Samuel? Verse 3.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.10

    11. What can you say concerning the part which the dead are able to act in earthly affairs? Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.11

    12. Give other Scripture testimony concerning the state of the dead.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.12

    13. Then could it indeed have been Samuel himself who carried on the subsequent conversation with Saul?SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.13

    14. Was Saul at this time in favor with the Lord? 1 Samuel 28:6.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.14

    15. Why had the Lord rejected Saul? 1 Samuel 15:22, 23.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.15

    16. When people reject the word of the Lord, what are they left to believe? 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.16

    17.Then since Saul had rejected the word of the Lord, what must his supposed interview with Samuel have been?SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.17

    18. Who is the author of the illusions and lies? John 8:44.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.18

    19. Whom did he then worship? 1 Corinthians 10:20.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.19

    20. When the Israelites turned from the Lord, whom did they worship? Deuteronomy 32:16, 17.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.20

    21. Then what sort of a spirit was it which Saul consulted?SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.21

    22. How is the devil able to make himself appear? 2 Corinthians 11:14.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.22

    23. If he can appear as an angel light, would it not be easy for him to assume the appearance of persons who have died?SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.23

    24. How could Saul hath kept from being deceived?SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.24

    The lesson this week is based on the account of Saul’s visit to the witch of Endor, recorded in the 1 Samuel 28. In order to keep the connection, the entire chapter should be carefully read. It may not be amiss to say that many good people suppose that Samuel did really come and talk with Saul, and thus they are strengthened in their belief of the conscious existence of the dead. We shall follow the subject in the order of the questions in the lesson, and see what we find.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.25

    The scene opens with the Philistine host prepared to fight against the Israelites. So great was the number of the Philistines, as compared with that of the Israelites, that Saul was very much alarmed. As it is forcibly expressed in the text, “his heart greatly trembled.” When David was surrounded by enemies, he said to the Lord, in his prayer, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee;” but Saul was in a pitiable condition, for when he would seek the Lord, he received no answer. In his extremity he had his servants find a woman that had a familiar spirit, and, disguising himself, he went to her for information.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.26

    It was necessary for him to disguise himself, else he could not have gained admittance to the witch’s abode; for in time past, “Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.” This was in accordance with the command of God, and does not mean simply banishment, but death. Thus: “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live.” Exodus 22:18. “A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard shall surely be put to death.” Leviticus 20:27. In Deuteronomy 18:9-12 we learn that witchcraft, and consulting with familiar spirits, was very common among the heathen that inhabited Canaan and before it was conquered by the Israelites. Under direction from the Lord, Moses said to Israel: “When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord; and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.” The woman at Endor was one who had, by some means, escaped the proscription.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.27

    In order to a perfect understanding of this incident, it is very necessary to know the relation that existed between Saul and the Lord. Why would not the Lord listen to Saul? The answer is founded 1 Samuel 15. The Lord had given Saul a commission, and he had not fulfilled it. He deliberately disobeyed the Lord. And this was only one of a long series of disobedient acts. So the prophet Samuel announced the will of the Lord, in these words: “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:23. From that time, we learn that Samuel came no more to see Saul. So we see that Saul’s rejection by the Lord was due to the fact that he himself had first rejected the Lord.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.28

    When Saul came to the witch, he said, “Bring me up Samuel.” Why did he not seek directly to the prophet himself? Because “Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city.” 1 Samuel 28:3. In response to this request the woman told him that she saw an old man, covered with a mantle, coming up out of the earth. Verses 13, 14. The reader will notice that in this case Saul did not seek the apparition at all, but “perceived that it was Samuel,” from the woman’s description. Notice, also, that the pious Samuel was called “up,” and came up “out of the earth,” instead of down from heaven. Saul knew nothing about the doctrine of the good going to Heaven at death, and the heathen, one of whom he was consulting, it had all souls, good and bad alike, in the lower world-in hades.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.29

    Now what reasons have we for saying that Samuel did not converse with Saul on that occasion, and was not there at all? 1. It is not reasonable to suppose that, if Samuel would not during his life-time listen to Saul, whom he loved, when personally urged do so, he would come to him after death, at the solicitation of a despised heathen. 2. It is the height of absurdity to suppose that God, who had rejected Saul, and had refused to answer him in his own appointed way,-by dreams, by Urim, or by prophets,-would communicate with him through one whom he had said should be put to death as an abominable thing. 3. That which settles the matter beyond all controversy, is the word of inspiration: “The living know that they shall die; but the dead know not anything.” “Also their love, and their hatred, and there envy, is now perished.” “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10. Man’s “breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Psalm 146:4. Satan has the power of death; but the Lord alone has life. Satan can seize men, and shut them up in his prison house, the grave; but Satan cannot liberate them; Christ alone has the keys of the grave; he alone can set Satan’s captives free. For these reasons, we say we know that Samuel had no more to do with the occurrence narrated in 1 Samuel 28, than the stones under their feet.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.30

    “If Samuel was not there, who personated him so successfully as to deceive Saul?” Satan, or one of his evil angels. And this also is susceptible of Bible proof. First, we learn that “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14. It was as an angel light, his true form and character concealed, that he came with his temptations to Christ in the wilderness. Had he come as the chief of the powers of darkness, he could not have hoped to make any impression on the Saviour. He hoped to deceive Jesus into thinking that he was an angel sent with a message from heaven. The Lord, however, saw through the disguise at once. But the point is, if Satan may appear as an angel light, how much more may he not personate a human being. To successfully personate another is nothing more than many man are able to do.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.31

    Second, Saul had put himself on the devil’s ground. Long before he had first cast off, and then been cast off by the Lord. Now there is no neutral ground between the Lord and Satan. As soon as Saul was entirely out from under the influence of God, he passed under the influence of Satan. His frenzied attacks on the innocent David showed the influence under which he had fallen. Then what more natural than that he, being under the influence of the devil, should go to the devil for help? A “familiar spirit” is “a demon or evil spirit supposed to attend the call.”-Webster. “Witchcraft” is “intercourse with evil spirits.” See also the definition of “sorcery,” and “enchantment.” This was what the heathen practiced. Their worship was devil worship. “But I say, that the things which the Gentile sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils.” 1 Corinthians 10:20. Whenever the Israelites forsook the Lord, they engaged in devil worship. See Deuteronomy 32:16, 17; Psalm 106:34-37. No wonder that they were an abomination to the Lord. Therefore, since Saul had voluntarily put himself under the devil’s power, we are forced to conclude that the devil deceived him in this instance. Deceived him, indeed he did; for if space permitted, we could show that Saul did not die on the morrow, as was intimated to him.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.32

    “How could Saul have kept from being deceived?” By heeding the word of the Lord. “Strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12), is not sent to men until they reject the truth. And in that case, how could it be otherwise? If a man does not believe the truth, what is there but lies for him to believe? Remember, also, that it is an “evil heart of unbelief” that first leads men away from God, and under the devil’s power. And now we will give a sure rule for detecting all evil spirits. “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20. Christ at once detected Satan’s attempted imposture because he acted contrary to the written word. So when we hear of men who pretend to communicate with the dead, we may know that there is no light in them, because the Bible says “the dead know not anything.” If we strictly adhere to God’s word, we cannot be deceived; if we cast any portion of it aside, we need not hope to stand. E. J. W.SITI December 11, 1884, page 742.33

    “The Lord’s Day. (Continued.)” The Signs of the Times, 10, 47.

    E. J. Waggoner


    At the close of our article last week, we were considering the charge made against Christ, that he violated the Sabbath. Those who make this charge are doubtless not aware of its real import, and we will therefore show them. The Sabbath commandment is one of the ten precepts of the law of God. It enjoins the observance of the seventh day of the week. Whoever breaks that commandment is guilty of sin, “or sin is the transgression of law.” 1 John 3:4. To say, therefore, that Jesus broke the fourth, or any other of the ten commandments, is equivalent to saying that he was a sinner. It is hardly necessary to quote Peter’s assertion that he “did no sin,” for we do not know of any one that would claim in a direct manner that he did; but it is no worse to say openly that Jesus was a sinner, than it is to charge him with the violation of one of the commandments.SITI December 11, 1884, page 744.1

    Read once more Christ’s words in John 15:10: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” From this we understand that those who do not keep his commandments cannot abide in his love; and the idea which he conveys is that his abiding in his Father’s love was due to the observance of his commandments. It will be said that it is impossible to conceive of such a thing as that Christ should not abide in the Father’s love; this is love, and the reason is that it is impossible to conceive that Christ should in any degree deviate from the will of a Father. See John 6:38.SITI December 11, 1884, page 744.2

    The words of Christ, in Matthew 5:17, 18, while they vindicate him from the charge of commandment-breaking, establish most firmly our conclusion that the seventh day-Saturday-is still the Lord’s day. Remembering that the fourth commandment of the law enjoins the observance of the seventh day, declaring that it is the Lord’s holy day, we read: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” As Christ said on another occasion, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than for one tittle of the law to fail.” Luke 16:17. There is no possibility of mistaking these words. While heaven and earth endure, the law of God cannot be changed to the extent of the mutilation of a single letter. Then the seventh day must be the Lord’s day as long as heaven and earth remain.SITI December 11, 1884, page 744.3

    Lest some one should cavil at John 15:10, and say that we are now to keep the commandments of Christ, and not those of the Father, we repeat that since Christ and the Father are one, their commandments must be the same. Jesus himself answered this objection in advance, not only in Matthew 5:17-19, but in John 6:38: “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me;” and also in John 7:16: “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.” Thus we have again proved that the seventh day is now the Lord’s day, and must remain so until the end of the time.SITI December 11, 1884, page 744.4

    We now turn once more to trace its course through the New Testament. In the 24th of Matthew we have an instance of Christ’s tender regard for his own sacred day. In telling his disciples of the future destruction of Jerusalem, he warned them that when they should see Jerusalem compassed with armies they should flee from the city, and from all Judea. “But pray ye,” said he, “that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day.” Verse 20. On this verse Olshausen says: “In interpreting this it must be observed that Jesus regards the law of the Sabbath as divine, and part of the moral law, yet without sanctioning the rigid notions which prevailed among the Jews concerning the Sabbath law as correct.” Here, again, there can be no doubt that the day to which Christ referred was the seventh day of the week-the day which the Jews kept as the Sabbath. So, then, he recognized the fact that the seventh day would be the Sabbath forty years after his ascension.SITI December 11, 1884, page 744.5

    After the ascension of Christ, when the disciples when about their work of preaching the gospel, we find frequent mention of the Sabbath. Thus Paul and his companions went out of Philippi on the Sabbath to a place of prayer by the river-side, and he spoke to those who assembled there. Acts 16:13. At Antioch, in Pisidia, they “went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down.” Acts 13:14. After Paul had concluded his discourse, and the Jews had gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles “besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.” “And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.” Acts 13:42, 44. Again, at Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews, “Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures.” Acts 17:2. When Paul arrived in Corinth, he made his home with a Jewish family, “And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” Acts 18:4. This practice was kept up as long as he remained there, a year and six months, at least. Verse 11.SITI December 11, 1884, page 745.1

    These texts show the custom of Paul and his companions, but it is not for that purpose that we quote them. We do not plead “apostolic example” in behalf of Sabbath observance or any other good act. That is to say, we do not keep the Sabbath because the apostles did. We know that they did keep the Sabbath, for the same reason that they refrained from worshiping idols, and from theft, because they had regard to regard to the law of God, which enjoins the first act, and prohibits the others, and we do the same for the same reason. Our object in quoting these references to “the Sabbath day,” is to call attention to the use of that term in the New Testament. There can be no question but that in every one of these instances the seventh day is referred to. Now the New Testament, as well as the old, was written by inspiration of God. That is, the Holy Ghost was really the author of the instruction there given. We find, then, that the Holy Ghost calls the seventh day of the week “the Sabbath day,” just the same as when the Old Testament was written. The New Testament was written by Christians and for Christians; and whatever name it uses to designate anything, must be the proper term for Christians to use, and the only proper term. Therefore the proper appellation for the seventh day of the week is “Sabbath,” or “Lord’s day,” for both refer to the same thing.SITI December 11, 1884, page 745.2

    One point more. The New Testament does not recognize any day as the Sabbath, except the seventh day. This may easily be shown. James, in addressing the council at Jerusalem, said: “For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.” Acts 15:21. And Paul, in his discourse at Antioch said: “For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day.” Acts 13:27. Paul and James are both speaking of Jewish worshipers. No one questions the fact that it was conducted on the seventh day of the week, and no one would make the claim that it was ever conducted, excepting occasionally an annual festival, on the first day of the week. Therefore when those inspired apostles said that Moses and the prophets were read in the Jewish synagogue “every Sabbath day,” they most effectively restricted the use of the term “Sabbath” to the seventh day of the week. If something that is read on every successive seventh day, is read on “every Sabbath,” there is certainly no possibility that any other day of the week can be the Sabbath. But the Lord says that the Sabbath is his holy day; therefore every seventh day of the week,-every Saturday, if you please,-is a “Lord’s day.” This statement is made without the slightest fear of successful contradiction. E. J. W.SITI December 11, 1884, page 745.3

    “Who Is Responsible?” The Signs of the Times, 10, 47.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The first number of the Western Churchman, a neat, well-printed eight-page paper, published in Denver, Col., has just come to our table. As its name indicates, it is devoted to the interests of the Episcopal Church in the West. We wish it well, and have no doubt that it will succeed. That which the most attracted our attention, however, was something not peculiar to the journal, but an extract from the catechism. In the Sunday-school lesson occurs the following:-SITI December 11, 1884, page 745.4

    Q.-What did your Sponsors then for you?SITI December 11, 1884, page 745.5

    A.-They did promise and vow three things in my name:SITI December 11, 1884, page 745.6

    “First-That I should renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh. Secondly-That I should believe all the articles of the Christian faith. And thirdly-That I should keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of my life.”SITI December 11, 1884, page 745.7

    This, our readers will understand, is the promise that is made at the baptism (sprinkling) of an infant. As we read it, the thought occurred to us that those who make it take a grave responsibility upon themselves. We do not believe that any realize how great it is. Let us see. The baptism of an individual indicates his death to sin, and his determination to walk, as the apostle says, “in newness of life;” or, as the catechism has it, to “renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh,” and “keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walk in the same,” all the days of his life. Now it is evident that an infant a few days or weeks, or even months old, is not competent to make any such promise. It knows nothing of the sinful works of the flesh, nor of God’s holy will and commandments. This is well understood and therefore his parents, or some other persons of mature age, make a promise for him. These persons are then called that child’s sponsors.SITI December 11, 1884, page 745.8

    The question now arises, Suppose that the child, as he approaches manhood, does not manifest any disposition to fulfill the vow made for him by his sponsors, who is responsible? Such a case frequently happens. We have personally known many who have been baptized (?) in infancy, who courted “the pomps and vanities of this wicked world,” and revealed in “all the sinful lusts of the flesh.” It is barely possible that they nominally believed the “articles of the Christian faith;” but their faith was not indicated by works, for they lived and died in open violation of “God’s holy will and commandments.” Now in such cases are not those who made the vow responsible for its non-fulfillment? The very name that is applied to them-“sponsors”-indicates that they are.SITI December 11, 1884, page 745.9

    A sponsor, according to Webster, is “one who binds himself to answer for another, and is responsible for his default.” Then those who make the vow above recorded virtually say, “I bind myself as surety that this vow shall be fulfilled in the future life of this infant; if he shall fail to fulfill it, I will do it myself, or will suffer the consequences of such failure.” But this, as all can see, involves difficulties that cannot be overcome.SITI December 11, 1884, page 745.10

    1. It becomes necessary, in case the child approves faithless, for the sponsor to do his duty for him, as well as his own. This, however, is an impossibility, for no man can do more than his own duty. It is upon the supposition that a man may do more than his own duty that the Catholics base the monstrous doctrine of indulgences. Christ says: “When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do.” Luke 17:10.SITI December 11, 1884, page 745.11

    2. “The wages of sin is death;” and since the child lives and dies in sin, the one who has pledged himself to become responsible for his failure to live a Christian life, must die in his stead. But here more difficulties present themselves. (a) What is to become of the one in whose stead the sponsor dies? He cannot be saved, for he has never accepted Christ, and “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. Then to men must die for the offense of only one. This would be injustice, and therefore cannot be, for God is just. (b) The sponsor has, no doubt, lived a life of humble obedience, and faith in Christ; then according to the promise (Romans 10:9; Revelation 22:14), he must be saved. And thus it happens that he must both live and die! His own reward is eternal life, but on account of the sins of the one for whom he became surety, he must suffer eternal death. Impossible.SITI December 11, 1884, page 745.12

    3. While there can be no doubt that the sponsor really pledges himself to one or the other of the above-mentioned impossible things, the Bible settles the matter thus: “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine; the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Ezekiel 18:4, 20.SITI December 11, 1884, page 745.13

    Thus we see that in no way is it possible for sponsors to fulfill the vow that they make at the so-called baptism of an infant. Their action is nothing else than a solemn farce. But does this relieve them entirely from responsibility? By no means. It is not a light thing for one to promise that which he can by no possibility fulfill. If for “every idle word that man shall speak they shall give account thereof in the day of Judgment,” how much more shall they be held to answer if those idle words are in the form of solemn vows.SITI December 11, 1884, page 745.14

    The conclusion which any one can see should be drawn is that such promises are sinful. God never requires men to make promises that involves such contradictions, and that cannot be fulfilled. “But the child cannot promise for himself to forsake the ways of sin, and what shall be done?” Wait until he is able to make his own choice. If the child is not old enough to make an intelligent choice for himself, he cannot know what sin is, and therefore needs no baptism. “But the Saviour says, ‘Suffer little children to come unto me,’ and how dare we disobey that command?” You need not. “Suffer,” that is, allow them to come. Do not throw any obstacle in their way, and you will be obeying it. You may invite them to come, you may urge them to come; but do not think that you can come in their stead. The most that you can do in that line is to set a godly example for them; if this is done, they will undoubtedly come.SITI December 11, 1884, page 745.15

    These remarks apply to all who practice what is called infant baptism. The inconsistencies herein shown up, should convince them of the folly of such a practice. We have not begun to enumerate the evils that grow out of it; their name is legion. For all of these, we ask, Who is responsible? With what words will those who practice infant baptism answer, when the Judge shall ask, “Who hath required this at your hands?” E. J. W.SITI December 11, 1884, page 745.16

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