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    July 1, 1886

    “When Is It Sunset?” The Signs of the Times, 12, 25.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A Colorado correspondent sends us the following statement of fact and question:-SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.1

    “I live a mile from the base of the mountain which is three to five thousand feet higher than where I live. As the mountain is west of us it hides the sun from our view and casts a shadow over us long before it is sunset east of us. Is it sunset when the shadow comes on us while the sun is shining east of us?”SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.2

    No; it is not sunset until the sun has gone down. When we say that the sun has gone down, we do not mean that it has gone behind a cloud, or that some intervening obstruction keeps its rays from coming direct to our eyes; but we mean that the sun is below the horizon and no longer sheds light upon the part of the earth where we live. If a man should spend the entire day on the east side of a barn, he would not think of calling it sunset at two o’clock in the afternoon, just because he could not see the body of the sun, but he would have as good reason to do so as he would under the circumstances indicated by our correspondent.SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.3

    If we were to go on the principle that the sun has set when we no longer receive its direct rays, a man living in a deep canon would have a very short day. As a matter of fact, the sun sets to such a man at exactly the same time that it does to his neighbor who lives on the plain. He can tell when the sun sets, just the same as the man on the plain can when the day is so cloudy that he cannot see the sun at all. The sun sets when it sinks below the horizon, and not when it passes behind a barn or a mountain.SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.4

    “The Second Commandment” The Signs of the Times, 12, 25.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “I wish to know how you understand the second commandment. Does not ‘graven image’ include statues and busts? and are not all pictures, photographs, or paintings, ‘likenesses’? and does not the commandment say in plain words, ‘Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of the any thing’? If you believe in taking the fourth commandment as it reads, why not the second?”SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.5

    We understand the second commandment just “as it reads.” In this respect we make no difference between it and the fourth. But our correspondent has not quoted it just as it reads. He has omitted an essential part of the commandment. The prohibitory part of the commandment reads thus:-SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.6

    “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bowed down thyself to them, nor serve them.” Exodus 20:4, 5.SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.7

    If the commandment said, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing,” and said no more, it would certainly prohibit paintings, photographs, etc. not only so, but would prohibit also the hewing of timbers for houses or ships, the cutting of garments, the coining of money, the drawing of plans by architects, or the printing of books and papers from types. In fact it would prohibit nearly everything that is done for the support of civilized life. But the commandment does not prohibit these things. On the contrary, immediately after the command was given, God instructed Moses to build a tabernacle according to a pattern, and on the walls and curtains of the tabernacle were made, by God’s order, figures of cherubim, and two images of cherubim were placed upon the ark. If the second commandment had been designed to prohibit the making of any image or likeness, God would not have immediately charged the people to do that very thing.SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.8

    The commandment concerning images is not complete without these words: “Thou shalt not bowed down thyself to them, nor serve them.” This shows under what circumstances it is wrong to make images and likenesses. It is wrong to make them for the purpose of offering them even the slightest measure of worship or reverence. It is wrongto show reverence to images that others have made. It is wrong to bow down to any image, even though the worship of the heart is directed to the true God. This the commandment plainly teaches; and no one has a right to make it teach something different, by quoting only a portion of it.SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.9

    “Practical Thoughts on Psalm 63” The Signs of the Times, 12, 25.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.” Verses 1, 2. David had correct ideas of his relation to God. He says: “Thou art my God.” Too many imagine that God is far off from them, and that they have to make some great exertions to arouse his interest in them. They forget that God is “not far from every one of us; for in him we live, and move, and have our being.” They forget that God has sought us, and is anxiously waiting for us to seek him. They imagine that God is like a man,-holding off those who have done him a wrong, and refusing to be reconciled. They forget that “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8), and that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world of himself,” and that to his ministers he has committed the word of reconciliation, who in Christ’s stead beg of sinners, “be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:19, 20.SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.10

    Many people remain at a distance from God, because they forget, or have never heard, that he has proclaimed himself “the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin.” Exodus 34:6, 7. “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” Psalm 103:8. He is “long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. So willing is he to forgive, that when men seek him, turning him from their wicked thoughts and actions, “he will multiply to pardon.” Isaiah 55:7, margin. And so abundant and efficient is his mercy toward them that fear him, that though their sins be as scarlet, “they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18. Why will not men let the goodness of God lead them to repentance. What more could he have done than he has done?SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.11

    “Early will I seek thee.” David knew that that was the time to seek the Lord. “Those that seek me early shall find me.” Is not this an indication that, if seeking the Lord is put off, he may not be found? Isaiah says: “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found.” Then there will be a time when he may not be found. “Now is the accepted time.” True, this refers to the gospel age, but it is literally true. We have known men, in this age when the gospel is preached, who could not find the Lord. They had once felt the strivings of the Spirit, but now they could feel no interest in divine things. They would acknowledge the truth of God’s word, but they were indifferent to it. Now is the time when the Lord may be found,-just now while you feel that the husks of sin, “the beggarly elements of the world,” are unsatisfying food. Do not stifle the slightest conviction: “Quench not the Spirit.” Says Jesus: “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37.SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.12

    But it is not sufficient to simply seek early; some start to seek the Lord, but have not a desire sufficiently strong to make them persevere. Said David: “My soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee.” He felt that he must have God. He could not be satisfied without God. When a man feels that way, he gets what he wants. Says Christ: “Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6. The trouble too often is, that instead of having an intense desire and longing for righteousness, we are simply passively willing to have righteousness. We ask the Lord to help us overcome some sin, with a mental reservation that we may indulge in it once in a while. We don’t like to say, “I hate the sins that made thee mourn.” “Hate” seems too strong a word; we still cherish a secret love for the sin. We want (so we think) to be righteous, and yet we feel loth to part with that darling sin. That is very far from hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Such half-way desire will never result in anything except final defeat. But when the mind is fixed upon Christ; when he is to the soul “the chiefest among ten thousand,” the one “altogether lovely;” when to be like him is the one absorbing desire;-then will he be found. To such the promise is.SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.13

    “They shall be filled.” Think of that. How much righteousness does that imply? Here is the definition of “fill.” “To make full; to supply with as much as can be held or contained; to put or pour into till no more can be received; to occupy to the whole capacity of.” Now that doesn’t leave any room for anything else. When a man is “filled with the fruits of righteousness,” there isn’t going to be any wickedness cropping out. Such a one “keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.”SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.14

    But is such a condition possible? Let us see. Paul told the Ephesians that he prayed to God, “that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19.SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.15

    Do you know anyone who has realized the answer to that prayer? Such a thing must be possible, for Paul prayed for it, and he says that God is able “to do exceeding abundantly, above all that we ask or think, according to the power of that worketh in us.” Ah that’s the secret. There is some power working in us that a stronger than we, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts.” Well, Christ was unsullied by the strongest of Satan’s temptations, and if he dwells in our hearts, why may not we likewise repel all of Satan’s advances?SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.16

    Says Paul: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. No man has the strength to resist the devil, but with Christ to strengthen him he can do all things. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4. Not the victory that makes a feeble effort to overcome, and fails; but the victory that does overcome.SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.17

    What has been done may be done. Zecharias and his wife Elisabeth, “were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” Luke 1:6. Enoch “walked with God;” and two cannot walk together except they be agreed. Moreover we have the Lord’s own testimony concerning Job that he was “A perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil.” It is true that there was “none like him in the earth;” but the fact that there was one such man shows that there might have been more; and if there might have been more there ought to have been more.SITI July 1, 1886, page 390.18

    Let it be remembered, however, that this is not a gift suddenly bestowed, but is a constant work. Says David: “My soul followeth hard after the.” Psalm 63:8. It is not enough simply to seek the Lord early, or even to hunger and thirst after him, unless it is kept up. “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed God might be careful to maintain good works.” Titus 3:8. Such a state of righteousness is progressive. “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be blameless till the day of Christ.” Philippians 1:9, 10. “The path of the just is says the shining light, that shineth more and more on to the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18. The Christian can never arrive at a place beyond which there is nothing. Stereotyping is a thing that is done in Christian experience.SITI July 1, 1886, page 391.1

    As a matter of course, walking with God produces humility. “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not up right in him.” Habakkuk 2:4. When a man becomes satisfied with his condition, he ceases to hunger and thirst after righteousness; he ceases to follow hard after God, and consequently he becomes empty. Notwithstanding Job’s perfectness, when God revealed himself to him in an especial manner, he said: “I had of heard of thee with the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself.” Job 42:5, 6. The nearer one gets to God, the greater will seem the contrast between God and himself. If it were not so, there would come a time when he would cease to say, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain,” and would ascribe worthiness to himself. That time can never come.SITI July 1, 1886, page 391.2

    “To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.” That is what David longed for. He had been at times wonderfully impressed, during the services in the sanctuary, with the power of the love of God. He had been greatly blessed. Now he wants to see the Lord just as he had seen him in the sanctuary. He believed that a person might enjoy just as much of the blessing of God while about his daily business as when the in church. How was it with Daniel? He was prime minister of the kingdom of Babylon, with all the burden of the business of that mighty empire upon him, yet while he was in the palace, doing “the king’s business,” he received a vision from God. See Daniel 8:1, 2, 27. He did not allow business care to separate him from God. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4. For what purpose was it told what Daniel was doing when he had that vision, except that we might learn that it is possible to “walk with God,” and to have close communion with him, even when burdened with business cares. Daniel had learned to cast his care on the Lord. When a man has learned that, he can say,SITI July 1, 1886, page 391.3

    “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips praise thee.” He can’t help praising the Lord. “Thus will I bless thee while I live; I will lift up my hands in time name.” Yes; “they will be still praising thee.”SITI July 1, 1886, page 391.4

    “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips; when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.” Verses 5-7.SITI July 1, 1886, page 391.5

    Continual remembrance of God must result in praise and thanksgiving; and praise to God is a powerful help in overcoming. Says David: “So will I say praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.” Psalm 61:8. Meditation upon God reveals his goodness, and this calls for praise; praise is but an expression of confidence in God, “and this is the victory that overcometh the world, and even our faith.” W.SITI July 1, 1886, page 391.6

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