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    March 4, 1886

    “Throwing the Bible Aside” The Signs of the Times, 12, 9.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A little over a year ago (Jan. 8, 1885) the Christian at Work used the following language:-SITI March 4, 1886, page 134.1

    “The selection of Sunday, thus changing the particular day designated in the fourth commandment, was brought about by the gradual concurrence of the early Christian church, and on this basis, and none other, does the Christian Sabbath, the first day of the week, rightly rest.”SITI March 4, 1886, page 134.2

    This is not very definite; for the “early Christian church” covers quite a space of time, including the time of Christ and the apostles; and people might be led to think that the Christian at Work claimed apostolic authority for Sunday observance. But that is not the case, as the following from the same paper, Feb. 18, 1886, shows:-SITI March 4, 1886, page 134.3

    “We hear less than we used to about the apostolic origin of the present Sunday observance, and for the reason that while the Sabbath and Sabbath rest are woven into the warp and woof of Scripture, it is now seen, as it is admitted, that we must go to later than apostolic time for the establishment of Sunday observance.”SITI March 4, 1886, page 134.4

    Very true; and we knew it before the Christian at Work said it; for we have read the Bible. But here is a point for consideration. “The Sabbath and Sabbath rest are woven into the warp and woof of Scripture,” we are told. Now what day is it that is thus identified in the Scriptures as the Sabbath? It is the seventh day, and no other. This the Christian at Work admits when it says that “the church” has taken the liberty of discarding the day designated in the fourth commandment, and that this was done this side the time of the apostles. We would ask, then, how it is possible to reconcile Sunday observance with reverence for the Bible. If a man takes the Bible, and that alone, as his guide, he must keep the seventh day of the week; and (according to the above quotations with which we agree), if he accept Sunday he must go directly against the Bible. It ought not to take any candid person long to decide what to do in this matter, for it is evident that “their rock is not as our rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.” And, besides, one who was foremost among the apostles has said: “But though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” E. J. W.SITI March 4, 1886, page 134.5

    “Perpetuity of the Law” The Signs of the Times, 12, 9.

    E. J. Waggoner

    It is impossible to discuss one branch of this great subject of the law without touching more or less upon every other branch. So in considering the nature of the law and its relation to the gospel, we have necessarily shown that it must endure forever. We shall not take up this branch more in detail.SITI March 4, 1886, page 134.6

    The law of God is the righteousness of God. It may not be amiss to review the proof on this point. David, in these words, bears witness to the fact that the commandments are themselves righteousness: “My tongue shall speak of thy word; for all thy commandments are righteousness.” Psalm 119:172. Since there is no righteousness but that of God, the commandments must be his righteousness; but we have still more direct evidence. The prophet Isaiah thus contrasts the things of earth with the righteousness of God: “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner; but my salvation shall be forever; and my righteousness shall not be abolished.” Isaiah 51:6. In the next verse he proceeds to tell what this righteousness is: “Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law.” Because the law is the righteousness of God, it enables those who are instructed in it to “give judgment upon good or evil.”SITI March 4, 1886, page 134.7

    The text says, “My righteousness shall not be abolished.” Since there can be no question but that “righteousness” is here used with reference to the law of God, we may properly substitute “law” for “righteousness,” thus: “The earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner; but my salvation shall be forever, and my law shall not be abolished.” This gives the exact meaning, and is no more positive than we shall find stated elsewhere.SITI March 4, 1886, page 134.8

    God is from everlasting to everlasting. Psalm 90:2. As he cannot exist separate from his nature, or, in other words, separate from himself, and the law is the transcript of his nature, it necessarily follows that the law exists from everlasting to everlasting. And since created beings, who are all subjects of God’s Government, cannot obey an abstract principle, but must have that principle clearly defined, we know that at least from the time that God created intelligent beings as subjects of his Government, the law must have existed in written form or must have been expressed in definite language. And from the beginning of his creation to everlasting ages, it must continue so to exist.SITI March 4, 1886, page 134.9

    This is exactly what we are taught by the words of Christ in the sermon on the mount. Said he: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill (to ratify, establish, or teach). 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.” Matthew 5:17, 18. Here two things are mentioned, the law and the prophets. Christ did not come to destroy either one. He came in fulfillment of prophecy, and also to teach the law, which he did in the sermon on the mount. He did not, however, fulfill all the prophecy; for some of it reaches far beyond his first advent. For instance in Psalm 89:20-29 we read the following prophecy concerning the kingdom of David, over which Christ, as the Son of David:-SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.1

    “I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him; with whom my hand shall be established; mine arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him; and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.”SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.2

    In verses 35-37 we read further:-SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.3

    “Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven.”SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.4

    Here is a prophecy that will be in process of fulfillment as long as the sun and moon endure, even to all the days of Heaven. Now the words of Christ are, that “one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.” Till all what be fulfilled? Evidently till all the prophets be fulfilled, for he is speaking of the prophets, in connection with the law. Then, in view of the prophecy that we just read, we know that not the slightest change can be made in the law so long as Christ reigns on the throne of David; and that will be throughout eternity.SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.5

    Nothing can add to the force of this testimony. We may quote other texts, as, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail” (Luke 16:17), or, “The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness” (Psalm 111:7, 8), but, strong as they are, they do not go beyond what has already been presented. To give all the texts which show the enduring nature of the law, would be to quote a large portion of the Bible. In our consideration of other points connected with this subject, many additional proofs will necessarily be brought in. But right here we wish to introduce a few quotations from eminent authors of different denominations, to show that they have used just as strong language as we have to set forth the holiness and perpetuity of the law. Bishop E. O. Haven said:-SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.6

    “Not only is every one of the ten commandments binding upon all men, [but] every one is often broken by persons who have received Christian instruction. The decalogue is God’s grand compendium of moral philosophy. Whoever obeys it in letter and spirit is a perfect man.”-“Pillars of Truth,” p. 7.SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.7

    Again the same author says:-SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.8

    “This decalogue can never become obsolete. It was designed for all men, and, obeyed, would render all men noble, and worthy of immortal blessedness. It is a kind of concentration of the moral teachings of the Bible.”-“Pillars of truth,” p. 235.SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.9

    The “Speaker’s Commentary,” on Matthew 12:8 says:-SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.10

    “On what principle of legislation can it be maintained that, because laws are imposed by the ruler for the benefit of the subject, therefore they may be dispensed with at his own convenience? This is utterly untenable as regards the laws of man, still more so as regards the laws of God.”SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.11

    Rev. S. P. Sprecher, pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church San Francisco, in a sermon delivered Feb. 18, 1883, and reported in the Occident of Feb. 21, 1883, said:-SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.12

    “When God gave the ten commandments on Sinai, he did not propose that men should obey them if they commended themselves to the natural heart; but that they should obey because they were the voice of God. Truth is not always seen and appreciated at first. It generally requires a certain favorable state of the heart.”SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.13

    On the words of our Lord in Matthew 5:17, “I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill,” we find the following comment by Wesley, in the first volume of his works, sermon 25:-SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.14

    “Some have conceived our Lord to mean: I am come to fulfill this by my entire and perfect obedience to it. And it cannot be doubted but he did, in this sense, fulfill every part of it. But this does not appear to be what he intends here, being foreign to the scope of his present discourse. Without question, his meaning in that place is (consistently with all that goes before and follows after), I am come to establish it in its fullness, in spite of all the glosses of men; I am come to declare the true and full import of every part of it; to show the length and breadth, the entire extent, of every commandment contained therein, and the height and depth, the inconceivable purity and spirituality of it in all its branches.”SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.15

    Rev. W. A. Jarrel (Baptist), in “Old Testament Ethics Vindicated,” pp. 25-27, speaks as follows concerning the law of God:-SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.16

    “The divine will must be what the divine nature is. That the will must be what the nature is, is one of the fundamental truths of all true moral philosophy.... While the law is not the nature of God, it is the effect and likeness of that nature; it is the perfect reflection of his infinite holiness and wisdom. It must, therefore, be as unchangeable as the infinite holiness of the divine nature. Law is the positive enactment of this nature; it is the expression of God’s will.”SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.17

    “Law, then, being the expression of the holiness of the immutable, divine nature, it can never be relaxed or changed. As God’s nature must forever will only moral right, his law can never be other than the expression of moral right.”SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.18

    This will suffice for quotations from religious authors. These quotations show that the idea here presented are no new thing, so that no one need fear to accept them, lest he should be straying from the old paths. They help to confirm the argument that the ten commandments are the “old paths,” into which God calls all men to turn their steps. They are the way of holiness, the eternal way of peace; and human tongue or human pen can never adequately express their purity and their unchanging nature. E. J. W.SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.19

    “Something about Writing” The Signs of the Times, 12, 9.

    E. J. Waggoner

    This is an age when people read; and when everybody reads, somebody must of necessity write. Moreover, if those who read are benefited by their reading, it must be because those who write have written something worth reading, and have written so plainly that the meaning cannot be misunderstood. Now, since reading from which no benefit is gained is a waste of time, it follows that a great responsibility rests upon all who write. We therefore give a few practical hints for the benefit of those who feel it to be their duty to write, but do not know just how to do so to the best advantage.SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.20

    The first thing necessary, if one would write, is to have something to say. Not only should you have something which you think is worth telling, but you must be fully persuaded that it is very necessary that others should know it. You may be mistaken in your convictions, but that is another matter; the point is, if you wish others to be impressed by what you write, you must yourself first be impressed by it.SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.21

    Have your subject well in hand before you begin to write. Do not take your pen, dip it in the ink, and then wait for the ideas to come and arrange themselves in the proper order. Thoughts are not so obedient as to do that. They will not arrange themselves; you must do it. Before you begin to write, take a pencil and paper, and jot down the various points which you wish to make, the texts which you wish to use, etc. Then arrange them, and your work is half done. As you write, you can alter your plan, adding or omitting thoughts as seems best.SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.22

    Express yourself in the simplest and most direct manner possible. The object of language is to convey thought; therefore the more plainly this thought is expressed, the better is the language. Most younger writers do not seem to understand this, and some writers never learn it. Aim to write so plainly that people not only may understand, but that they must understand.SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.23

    Do not try to be grand, or to soar. In short, do not try to force yourself to write in some particular style. If you do, your lameness will be apparent. There are writers whose eloquent passages and well-rounded periods are a constant delight. You may write as they do, if it is natural for you to do so. But do not sacrifice strength for beauty. A thing may be very pretty, and yet be utterly useless.SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.24

    Of course this means you must not imitate any one style of expression. Be yourself. There is no more reason why you should imitate another’s style of writing than there is that you should imitate his manner of conversation. Saul’s armor was no doubt first class in every respect, but David could not fight in it. Because your neighbor’s coat fits him well, you must not conclude that it will also become you. Your coat may be of an entirely different size and pattern, and yet it may fit you as well as it fits him. So words which are very impressive when uttered by one, may be commonplace when spoken by another. It is just as necessary that the style of expression should fit the individual as it is that his coat should fit him.SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.25

    Above all, don’t plagiarize. This is a word which has much the same meaning as embezzlement, defalcation, etc. In plain English, it means stealing. And don’t steal. If somebody has written something which you think is good, don’t try to get the credit of it by signing your name to it. If you quote it, give the author the credit. If you do not know the author’s name, or do not wish to give it, at least indicate that the quoted passage is not your own. This is the honest way. To do any other way is to be dishonest. The law does not punish a man for appropriating an article that has been written by another, unless the article has been copyrighted; but such an act is no less desirable on that account. “Thou shalt not steal.”SITI March 4, 1886, page 135.26

    Besides the sin of plagiarism, there is another thing about it to be considered, and that is the loss of reputation which it brings. A man steals money because he has none, and does not like to work. It is very natural to imagine that people steal ideas for the same reason. If your ideas are your own, and are expressed in your own style, they may be somewhat crude, but you will get credit for just what you are. But if you take the ideas and expressions of another and pass them off as her own, people will not give you credit for being able to produce anything yourself.SITI March 4, 1886, page 136.1

    Of course it is understood that there is very little absolute originality. We are all mutually dependent. We know nothing that we have not learned; and we have learned somebody new before we did. But we may have combinations of ideas that no one else has, and we may be able to express ideas in a way that has occurred to no one else. This is originality, in the common acceptation of the term. If one has not this originality, if he cannot say anything that has not already been said, there is no occasion for him to write.SITI March 4, 1886, page 136.2

    Don’t attempt to write poetry if you can possibly keep from it. This rule should be written in capital letters, and kept constantly before every young writer. Hundreds of persons who might have been useful, have resigned themselves by starting in with poetry. Many people seem to think that poetry is the simplest and most natural kind of composition. This is a grave error. Composition is not necessarily poetry because each line begins with a capital letter; neither can all rhyme be called poetry. There are not so many poets in the world by a great many thousand as is sometimes supposed. Don’t imagine that you are one of the few, just because you enjoy reading poetry. But if your thoughts will present themselves in rhyme and meter, and you cannot possibly express herself except in verse, then go ahead. The result may be poetry, and it may not be; but it is more likely to be poetry than is a great part of the matter which is called by that name.SITI March 4, 1886, page 136.3

    Finally, if you wish your manuscript to receive speedy attention from any editor, observe the following simple items:-SITI March 4, 1886, page 136.4

    Write on ruled paper.SITI March 4, 1886, page 136.5

    Write only on one side of the sheet.SITI March 4, 1886, page 136.6

    Use pen and ink.SITI March 4, 1886, page 136.7

    Write as legibly as you possibly can. Don’t “dash off” your thoughts, and then ask the editor to excuse poor writing, as you were in a hurry. The chances are that if you were in too great a hurry to write legibly, the editor will be in too great a hurry to attempt to read what you have written. Many valuable thoughts have perished in the wastebasket because of a failure to observe this last rule. Remember that to write poorly is solely the editor’s prerogative.SITI March 4, 1886, page 136.8

    These are by no means all the important points that might be noted; yet if only these are kept in mind, and you write, not for fame, nor for any selfish motive, but with the simple purpose to do good, you will be quite likely to write something worth reading. E. J. W.SITI March 4, 1886, page 136.9

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