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    July 14, 1887

    “The Growth of Evil” The Signs of the Times, 13, 27.

    E. J. Waggoner

    There is a growing tendency towards the belief that evil is a necessary thing in this world. This is a fundamental principle in the creed of Spiritualists, and it is gaining ground exactly in proportion to the growth of Spiritualism. Spiritualism professes to be a religion of nature, and sin being natural, it is very evident that the idea that sin is necessary will very easily find a multitude of adherents. The very fact that Spiritualism makes such a claim is sufficient evidence that, despite its pretension to elevate the race to the love of the pure and the beautiful, it can only result in the total degradation of the race; for let men once be assured that evil is in even the slightest degree necessary in this world, and they will be sure to make no efforts to get rid of a thing which is so pleasing to them.SITI July 14, 1887, page 422.1

    A few Sundays ago, Professor Fiske, of Harvard University, lectured before the Unitarian Society of San Francisco. His address was on the nature and origin of evil. Following is a portion of the newspaper report of the address:-SITI July 14, 1887, page 422.2

    “Mr. Fiske then went into a discussion of considerable length to establish the relativity of all knowledge. We know nothing, he said, except by contrast with or relation to something else. If there were only one color in the world, we would be unable to conceive the idea of color at all. If everything were as sweet as sugar, we would not know what taste means. In the same way, evil exists only by contrast-the contrast of a lesser good with a greater. Evil may be defined as a low stage of existence looked at from a higher one. There is ground for the hope that evil may be evanescent in the universe, but it now exists as a necessary condition of the development of man, like the relation of the shadow to the light. Were there no evil in the world, there could be no morality-no man in the highest sense; human beings would be so many puppets, but such a thing as character would be impossible.”SITI July 14, 1887, page 422.3

    With all due respect for the learned Professor, we can think of nothing else, as we read his words, but the apostle’s description of the downward progress of enlightened men toward heathenism: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves; who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Romans 1:22-25.SITI July 14, 1887, page 422.4

    Such teaching as that of Professor Fiske is identical with that which sunk the ancient world into the most licentious idolatry, and it cannot fail to have the same effect now if it is but followed. Our boasted superior enlightenment will be no bar whatever to such a result; for, in spite of our boasting, the ancients were wiser than we, and it was, in fact, their boasted wisdom which led them into such folly and degradation.SITI July 14, 1887, page 422.5

    Take now the statement that evil is necessary, and that without it there can be no morality. Can anyone fail to see that this makes the goodness of God dependent upon evil, and actually denies his absolute goodness? and that this is simply to deny his existence as God, and to degrade him to a level with man? This is identical with what Paul said: “They changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man.” And when men have done that, the changing of it still further into an image like to fourfooted beasts and creeping things, and giving of themselves up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, is only a question of time, and not a very long time, either.SITI July 14, 1887, page 422.6

    The Professor thinks there is ground for hoping that evil may be evanescent; but what necessity is there for such a hope, or what incentive to induce man to eradicate it in himself, if evil is only a lesser good, and consequently no evil at all? Indeed, if it were true that evil is a necessary condition without which there could be no morality, then it would follow that evil ought not to be evanescent; for no matter to what heights of morality man had attained, we would begin to degenerate as soon as the evil was removed! Is it possible to conceive of a more absurd proposition? Yet in spite of its absurdity, it is seriously advanced by men who have committed to them the task of educating the youth of our land.SITI July 14, 1887, page 422.7

    This theory is simply another way of expressing the idea that “whatever is is right;” that man can do no wrong, for really there is no wrong. So, then, whatever a man may do, it is only a necessary step in his development. This is a pleasing thought to the carnal heart, and one that will find adherents without much urging. Now when it is remembered that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked,” and that “from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness” (and these statements may be verified by anyone who knows much of his own heart), it is easy to see how those who think that all the impulses of their nature are only undeveloped good, could plunge into any excess. Public sentiment may act as a restraint upon a man with such an idea; but when the public sentiment is the same, when the majority of people conclude that nothing that they want to do is evil, then there will be no restraint, and the floods of iniquity will cover the earth.SITI July 14, 1887, page 422.8

    “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” 2 Timothy 3:1-4. It now requires no prophet’s eye to see this state of things just ahead. When men occupying the highest positions as moulders of the thought of the rising generation, can without rebuke give utterance to sentiments that directly lead to unrestrained vice, it is surely time for an alarm to be sounded.SITI July 14, 1887, page 422.9

    “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:11, 12. W.SITI July 14, 1887, page 422.10

    “The Sure Word” The Signs of the Times, 13, 27.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19.SITI July 14, 1887, page 422.11

    The apostle is not comparing one prophecy with another, but he is comparing prophecy with something else. He does not say that we have one word of prophecy that is “more sure” than some other word, but that the word of prophecy is more sure than some other thing. What that other thing is we may learn from the context. In verses 16-18 he speaks of the certainty of Christ’s coming, and the reason why he is so certain in regard to it. He says: “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.” The idea is this: At the transfiguration the apostles saw Christ just as he will appear when he comes in his glory. They also heard the voice of God from Heaven. So when they declared the coming of Christ, they did it on the evidence of both their eyes and their ears. This is accounted the best possible evidence; but Peter says that there is something that is more sure than this. What is it? It is the “sure word of prophecy.” It is possible that a person’s eyes or ears might deceive him, but there is no possibility of doubt in regard to the prophecy. And why not? Because it did not come “by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” The prophecy, therefore, is as reliable as God himself. There are very few things in this life upon which we can depend implicitly; how gladly, then, we ought to receive this sure word, and how eagerly we ought to search it.SITI July 14, 1887, page 422.12


    As noted by Peter, the object of the sure word of prophecy is that we may be more certain in regard to Christ’s coming, for that is the grand event to which all prophecy points. Christ’s first advent was the basis of many prophecies, and it was the most momentous event since the creation of the world. Upon that coming the redemption of the whole human race depended; but even that with its attendant sacrifice would be lost to us if Christ were not to come the second time. Christ came and died that man might be redeemed, to reign with him forever; but those whom he has purchased cannot be with him unless, according to his promise, he comes again to redeem them to himself. There is no other way by which we can go to Heaven. So the redemption of the race depends fully as much upon Christ’s second coming as upon the first. It is no wonder, then, that so much prophecy has been given in regard to so important an event. We will examine a little of it, and we shall see that the coming of our Lord is not so vague and indefinite a matter as some would have us believe.SITI July 14, 1887, page 422.13


    This dream, related in the second chapter of Daniel, is familiar to every reader of the Bible. The circumstances attending it are such as would attract the attention of one who was reading merely for pleasure, for they are highly interesting. But our interest in the narrative is increased a thousand-fold when we learn the object and interpretation of the dream. The object of the dream is told in few words. Daniel said to the king, “There is a God in Heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.” Then it is for us far more than for Nebuchadnezzar.SITI July 14, 1887, page 422.14

    The dream was as follows: A great image, bright in appearance and terrible in form, appeared to the king. Its head was of fine gold, its breast and arms and its feet of mingled clay and iron. While the king looked upon this image, a stone was cut out of the mountain without the aid of human hands. This stone smote the image upon the feet, and instantly the whole image was reduced to fine powder, and was blown away; but the stone immediately became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.SITI July 14, 1887, page 422.15

    The interpretation of the dream occupies but little more space. Daniel, after reminding the king that God has given him universal dominion, tells him that his kingdom is symbolized by the head of gold. The other three divisions of the image, the silver, the brass, and the iron, symbolize three other universal empires. The last one of these is to be divided into ten parts, as is indicated by the ten toes of the image, which shall be distinct from each other. And now comes the closing scene: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” Daniel 2:44, 45.SITI July 14, 1887, page 422.16

    This dream with its interpretation was not given that men might be informed in regard to earthly kingdoms, but for the sole purpose of pointing out the fifth universal kingdom. Then we may know something in regard to the time of its setting up. Let us follow the connection. Babylon was conquered by the Medes and Persians, B.C. 538. Medo-Persia, then, was the empire symbolized by the breast and arms of silver. The Persian Empire in its turn gave away to the Greeks. This took place B.C. 321. Here we have three of the four kingdoms; and since there were to be but four universal, earthly monarchies, the fourth cannot be difficult to locate. There is no doubt but that Rome was symbolized by the iron part of the image. It was at the height of its power at the first advent of Christ, having fully completed the conquest of Greece half a century before. There is no disputing the fact that it was universal in its dominion, and Scripture proof of the fact is found in Luke 2:1. Now we have the four universal empires before us. Where shall we look for the setting up of the fifth. In the days of Christ? No; because Rome was then undivided. It could not be set up until the division of that empire into its ten parts, which was completed A.D. 457. The coming of Christ, and the setting up of his everlasting kingdom, is the next thing brought to our view. And this is in reality the next thing to be accomplished. Certain things must be done by powers that now exist, but when earthly governments again fall, their place will be taken by Christ’s kingdom.SITI July 14, 1887, page 423.1

    Now is not this a sure word of prophecy? Kingdoms have risen and fallen just as predicted by the prophet. He said that the ten divisions of the Roman Empire would seek to consolidate their power, but would be unsuccessful, and so it has been. Every attempt to unite the nations of Europe has ended in failure. And if the past has been fulfilled to the letter, we have the assurance that that which yet remains will as surely be fulfilled. Inspiration did not point out the length of time that these earthly kingdoms should exist, and it has not told when the heavenly kingdom will be set up, but we know it cannot be far distant. The divided state of the image has continued for 1,400 years, much longer than any other division. Other prophecies show more definitely that the end is very near. We learn from this that God’s kingdom is as much a reality as any earthly kingdom, and that those whose interest is in earthly things can have no part in it. Are we fitting ourselves for citizenship in that glorious, everlasting kingdom? W.SITI July 14, 1887, page 423.2

    “Life and Death Everlasting” The Signs of the Times, 13, 27.

    E. J. Waggoner

    When we read the words of the Lord concerning the wicked, “For the Lord God of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land;” “for yet a little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction” (Isaiah 10:23, 25), and say that the Lord never designed to keep the wicked alive to all eternity suffering torture, we are told that if we limit the suffering of the wicked we have no assurance that the righteous will have everlasting happiness.SITI July 14, 1887, page 423.3

    This idea is based upon the erroneous idea of what is to constitute the reward of the righteous and the punishment of the wicked. It is true that the wicked are to suffer torment, and the righteous to have fullness of joy evermore at the right hand of God; but neither of these constitute the reward promised to the two classes. All that is promised to the righteous is life. Said Christ, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10. “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” John 5:10. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:1.SITI July 14, 1887, page 423.4

    To the wicked, death is threatened, “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23. “But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8. “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19. “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Romans 8:13.SITI July 14, 1887, page 423.5

    We find that everywhere the choice is between life and death. The reward of the righteous and the punishment of the wicked are exactly opposite. As we said, all that is primarily promised to the righteous is life, but that comprehends everything else. The man who has unlimited life may have all things. Then, too, that promised life is really life. It is not partial life, as is our short life, but perfect life in every organ, so that there will be no sickness to interfere with plans. Therefore we say that this promise of life comprehends all blessings that may be desired.SITI July 14, 1887, page 424.1

    But how long will it last? To all eternity, for the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. “But,” says one, “you limit the punishment of the wicked, which the Bible declares will be eternal, and why may you not as well limit the reward of the righteous?” That is a mistake; we do not put a limit to the punishment of the wicked. It will be everlasting, that is, without end. It will be just as long as the reward of the righteous. “These [the wicked] shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” Matthew 25:46. But this does not say that the wicked shall be in eternal torment. As we have seen, the punishment of the wicked is not primarily suffering, but it is death. They will suffer torment, and doubtless for a very long time, but until death shall have ensued they will not have received their punishment. Since their punishment is death, and it is also eternal, it follows that the punishment of the wicked is eternal death. And this agrees exactly with the words of Paul, who says that they “shall be punished with everlasting destruction.” 2 Thessalonians 1:9.SITI July 14, 1887, page 424.2

    There is no life except in Christ. The righteous have the promise of life which is in Christ. Their life is hid with Christ in God. And when they, in common with all men, are redeemed from the death which came upon them as the result of their inherited mortality, they will live as long as Christ does. The wicked, however, after having their mortal life restored to them, shall be punished with death for the sins which they have committed, and when they go down to the grave the second time there is no way by which they can be rescued, and they “sleep a perpetual sleep.” W.SITI July 14, 1887, page 424.3

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 13, 27.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The last Australian steamer brought meager news from the laborers there, owing to the fat that it sailed a little sooner than was expected. A brief note from Elder Daniels states that the church in Auckland now occupy their own house of worship, and that a missionary society of forty members has been organized.SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.1

    Subscriptions to the American Sentinel are now coming in a way to delight the hearts, not only of the publishers, but of all who believe that the Sentinel has an important work to do. Every mail brings in scores, and some hundreds of subscriptions. That it does occupy a position second to none in importance is conceded by all who are awake to the issues of the day. Let its friends rally to its support.SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.2

    One of the main points in a recent address delivered by George W. Cable, in Nashville, Tenn., was that “the ideal government must be by a minority, elected by the majority, whose will is to be appealed to frequently, administered in harmony with the higher law of God.” Of course it is understood that the majority are to decide what is in harmony with that higher law of God; and there you have National Reform governments in a nutshell.SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.3

    The Truth Seeker, which is the inappropriate name of the chief infidel organ in this country, has a correspondent who has been studying Spiritualism in Boston. As the result of his investigations he reports that all the Spiritualists are infidels, but that not all infidels are Spiritualistic. He is undoubtedly correct, but if he should make his investigations a few years from now he would have to change the last part of his report, for all the infidels will then be Spiritualists. But they will still be infidels.SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.4

    Quite a stir has been made of late over the charge that Canon Fleming, of the Church of England, had appropriated one of Dr. Talmage’s sermons, and had preached it as his own. The Canon now admits the deed, and confesses that he was guilty of an “inadvertence.” This is the latest euphemism for stealing. What with “defalcations,” “shortages,” “failures,” “appropriations,” “inadvertances,” etc., we shall soon have no such thing as stealing. Then will all the world be honest! But it will be honesty that will correspond to the chastity of the ancient Spartans, among whom, we are told, it was impossible to find an adulterer, and that they knew not what the name adultery meant. This, however, was solely because what is now universally known as adultery was exceedingly common, and was sanctioned by law. This seeking to relieve a thing of the odium attached to it, by changing its name, is indirectly encouraged by those who think to avoid the imputation of breaking the fourth commandment calling the first day of the week the seventh.SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.5

    The tithe question is making no small stir in Wales. The case stands thus: The Church of England being a State church, derives its income from the country, just the same as the general Government. The tithe is the tax which the church imposes for the support of its ministers. Now many of the farmers of Wales are dissenters, and while they may be willing to give even more than a tithe for the support of the gospel, they do not wish to be forced to pay, nor to pay tithe at all for a religious establishment with which they have no sympathy. Accordingly the English Government proceeds to sell their property for delinquent church taxes, and the farmers rebel. The same thing would be done in this country if the National Reformers had their scheme in running order. Everybody, Jew, Gentile, and Christian, would be compelled to pay for the support of the ministers of the State religion, just as they now have to pay for the support of the civil Government which protects them, no man ought to be compelled to contribute for the support of any religion. And the injustice is increased when the support is demanded of one who is not in sympathy with the ecclesiastical establishment. But justice in any particular is not to be expected when religion is made a matter of politics.SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.6

    “To What Profit?” The Signs of the Times, 13, 27.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Speaking of the study of the Sunday-school scholars and teachers, during the past six months, the Congregationalist says:-SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.7

    “We doubt if the Old Testament has ever been studied with more eager interest, or with greater profit and delight.”SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.8

    And yet the lesson for June 5, on the falling of the manna, a copy of which now lies before us, has the following questions and answers, exactly as we here insert them:-SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.9

    Question—“How often did they gather it?”SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.10

    Answer-“Every day except Sunday.”SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.11

    Q.-“Could they keep it overnight?”SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.12

    A.-“Only Saturday nights.”SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.13

    Q.-“Why was this?”SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.14

    A.-“So they need not break the Sabbath.”SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.15

    So ho! The children of Israel kept Sunday for Sabbath did they? We know that there has never been a more “eager interest” to make out that Sunday is the Sabbath than there is now, and it may have been a source of great “delight” for the lesson writers to corrupt the word of God that it might be made to appear so to the Sunday-school scholars; but when the day of reckoning comes, we think that they will not find it so profitable as they now imagine it to be. With what eager interest indeed the Scriptures must have been studied, especially by those who wrote the lesson helps, to learn from it no better than to teach that the manna did not fall on Sunday, and that it would keep only on Saturday night. It is hard to see how the writers of these lessons can escape the just imputation of turning the truth of God into a lie. For how else shall the shameful thing be characterized? If that is not the proper charge, we wish somebody would tell what would be proper in the premises.SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.16

    “Only the Living Give” The Signs of the Times, 13, 27.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Among the resolutions adopted at the recent meeting of the American Home Mission Society, was the following:-SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.17

    “That legacies shall be appropriated and expended the year after their receipt, to the end that the society shall always have on hand some resources commensurate with its ever-enlarging work. We urge especially in this transition period, a great increase in the gifts of the living.”SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.18

    The last sentence is the one that particularly caught our attention. When we read the plea for an increase in “the gifts of the living,” the thought instantly arose, Who else but the living ever give anything? Careful thought has not enabled us to find any other givers. “But,” says one, “you seem to forget the great legacies that have been left by people who are dead.” No, we do not forget the legacies, but they are not given. That word “left” expresses the situation exactly. No matter how much a man has, he leaves it all when he dies. But how much credit is a man entitled to for leaving that which he cannot by any possibility carry with him? When a man gives of his means as he goes along, we know that he has an interest in something besides himself; but when a man with large wealth clings to it just as long as he possibly can, is it altogether uncharitable to suppose that if it were possible he would cling to it after death?SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.19

    No matter how benevolent a person may have been in his life-time, we still insist that he does not in any just sense give that which he leaves. He may indicate in his will that he wishes a certain institution to have that which he leaves, but if the institution gets it, it is only after a severe struggle. So in reality his “giving” amounts to this statement: “This money is of no more use to me, and you may have it if you can get it.” The moral is, If you want to give, and thus lay up treasure in Heaven, don’t wait until you die, when you cannot give.SITI July 14, 1887, page 432.20

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