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    August 18, 1887

    “The World Is Round” The Signs of the Times, 13, 32.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We do not design to make an argument to prove this statement, for we think that there are so few who would deny it that we can safely take it for granted. And yet we are occasionally led to believe that there are some people to whom this statement is news. We have but recently received a letter from a gentleman in Iowa, who seems to have but just heard that the world is round, and who has not yet fully waked up to a realizing sense of all that that implies. As his letter is a very fair sample of the trouble in which many people find themselves when the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is brought to their attention, we publish it in full:-SITI August 18, 1887, page 502.1

    DEAR EDITOR: I am an occasional reader of your paper. I indorse your position against the worldliness of professing Christians, and temperance reform. I also believe in the near approach of the second coming of Christ. But as yet I cannot accept your views on the fourth commandment. Thus far some physical facts stand in the way of my believing that the seventh day of the week instead of the seventh part of time is intended by that command. As you kindly answer all reasonable questions, giving light to those who sit in darkness, I take the liberty to address you. As the Master did, I will form a parable and state the case, and you will have the goodness to help me out of the difficulty you think I am in.SITI August 18, 1887, page 502.2

    There are three brothers who live in the same town, Peter, James, and John; they are good Adventists, and keep the seventh day as their Sabbath. Peter and James desire to see the world, so they start out to circumnavigate the globe, while John remains at home. Peter starts east and James west. Each keeps his course, counts his weeks, and observes strictly his seventh-day Sabbath till he gets back to his native town. The three brothers meet and talk over the fourth commandment. They discover to their sorrow and astonishment that each is keeping a different day. Each one accuses his brethren of changing the day.SITI August 18, 1887, page 502.3

    Peter, who sailed east and carried his time carefully and correctly, is keeping the first day of our week, or Sunday; James, who sailed west and carried his time carefully and correctly, is keeping the sixth day of our week, or Friday; while John alone is keeping the day they all observed before they parted. Now which one is keeping the right day? If we say John, then why haven’t Peter and James, who observed correctly each succeeding seventh-day Sabbath on shipboard, as much right to their days as John, who observed his on land?SITI August 18, 1887, page 502.4

    If your Sabbath views are correct, these physical facts can be shown to harmonize with them, for all natural truth is in harmony with revealed truth, because all truth is God’s truth. If this harmony cannot be shown, I shall still feel that my first-day Sabbath is as good as yours. Yours for the truth. A. S.SITI August 18, 1887, page 502.5

    We cannot think that we mistake when we judge that this brother has but recently heard that the world was round, for although he speaks in the beginning of his letter of the seventh part of time, the closing sentence shows that the seventh part of time which he observes always comes on the first day of the week. We take it, therefore, that he is a professed Christian and a conscientious observer of Sunday. And yet until he read in the SIGNS OF THE TIMES that the fourth commandment requires the observance of the seventh day of the week, or Saturday, he never imagined that the rotundity of the earth would interfere in any way whatever with the keeping of the first day of the week. How is it that people will keep Sunday all their lives, and will send missionaries to the opposite side of the globe to teach the heathen that they must keep Sunday, but as soon as the Sabbath of the Lord is broached they declare that it cannot be kept because the world is round? Is the world round only when a person tries to keep the Sabbath, and flat at all other times? Is it not just as wrong for the first-day missionary who goes to China, India, or Africa, as it is for the seventh-day keeper who goes around the world? The simple fact that people do keep the first day of the week in every part of the world, should be a sufficient answer to the objection that people cannot keep the Sabbath on a round world. Indeed, it should prevent such an objection from ever being made.SITI August 18, 1887, page 502.6

    But since our brother has used a parable, we feel like adopting it and improving upon it a little. The three brothers of whom he speaks were all born on the same day. With this correction we will adopt a parable as he has given it. Peter has just come home from his journey eastward around the world, and having gained one day is one day older than his brother John, who stayed at home. James, who has just returned from his journey westward around the world, has lost a day and is keeping Friday, and so he is one day younger than his brother John, who stayed at home, and two days younger than Peter, who went around the world the other way. Now if our friend will accept this conclusion of the parable, we shall conclude that he is more puzzled over the fact that the world is round than any person whom we ever saw. But we believe that he will say that it is impossible that Peter should have gained a day on his brother John, and James should have lost one, and that their relative ages must be the same as before they started. But if this is so, his supposition concerning the Sabbath must be abandoned.SITI August 18, 1887, page 502.7

    As a matter of fact, there is no trouble whatever in circumnavigating the globe in any direction. To say that one cannot keep Saturday if he goes to the other side of the globe, is equivalent to saying that they do not have the days of the week over there. But we have evidence from history that people on the other side of the world knew something of the days of the week even before America was discovered. It is true that it is not a given part of the day at the same moment all the world, just as it is true that no man can be all over the world at the same instant. But as the man can only be in one place at a time, all he has to do is keep the Sabbath when it comes to him, wherever he is. If anybody should start out to travel, with the idea that when it is noon in his native town, it is noon at the same instant all over the world, or, in other words, that the sun rises and sets at that same instant all around the globe, he would find out his mistake before he had traveled a thousand miles. He would find that he would have to set his watch ahead a little every day if he were going east, or back if he were going west.SITI August 18, 1887, page 502.8

    The day is formed by the revolution of the earth. So far as the formation of days is concerned, the sun is fixed; but as a given portion of the earth in its revolution from west to east comes into the light of the sun, the sun is said to rise at that place, and when it comes into the shadow, the sun is said to set. Now if the person is traveling westward, he is going with the sun, and so he will see it above the horizon each day longer than if he remained in one place; while the one who goes east, goes with the motion of the earth, and so earth passes into the shade quicker and has less of the sunshine in the day, than if he remained at home. Therefore the one who goes west must set his watch back a few minutes each day, and the one who goes east must set his forward, so that he will be in harmony with the local time wherever he may be. And when both return home, having kept their time accurately, they find themselves perfectly in harmony with those who have remained there. Each one has kept his Sabbath, when he came to it, from sunset till sunset; and this is all that is required. If the commandment required the seventh part of time, this would not meet the demand, for when a man is traveling westward, it is longer from sunset to sunset than when he is traveling eastward. In short, all that the commandment requires is to keep the seventh day of the week wherever a man may be. This can be done in China as well as in America, and it can be done in any intermediate place between America and China, whether we go east or west.SITI August 18, 1887, page 502.9

    If this were an age in which a trip of fifty miles from home would be a great wonder, the objection which our brother has made might seem plausible, but when a trip around the world is a thing so common as not to attract any attention, and is accomplished every year by thousands and tens of thousands of people, and yet no individual has found his reckoning out of harmony with the reckoning of those whom he meets in any part of the world, the objection is simply absurd.SITI August 18, 1887, page 502.10

    To conclude: The Lord made the earth and therefore we cannot doubt that he knew that it is round. He also made man, as the apostle says, “to dwell on all the face of the earth.” Acts 17:26. He also instituted the Sabbath, declaring it to be a fixed, definite day, and commanded men to observe it. Christ says that the Sabbath was made for man (Mark 2:27), meaning all mankind. Therefore we must conclude that God designed the Sabbath to be kept by men on every part of the round world. If God gave mankind such a commandment, knowing all the time that the world was round, it is nothing else but charging God with folly to say that man cannot keep the Sabbath of the Lord on the Lord’s earth.SITI August 18, 1887, page 502.11

    We trust that our friend will cling to his statement that all truth is God’s truth, and that since the God who made the world also made the Sabbath, there can be no physical facts to interfere with the keeping of the day. W.SITI August 18, 1887, page 502.12

    “Punctuation and Inspiration” The Signs of the Times, 13, 32.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Not infrequently we find people who seem to think that everything which may be found between the lives of the Bible is inspired. Some people think that the references under the verses are a sort of inspired comment, forgetting that they only serve as a miniature concordance, and were never put into the Bible until A.D. 1611, and the last of them not till 1785. There are others who think that Usher’s Chronology, which is placed in many Bibles, is inspired, and who would think it heresy to teach that Christ was crucified in the year 31, when the date in the margin of the Bible says 33. Indeed, we have seen some who seem to think that the pictures in the large family Bibles are inspired, and who cannot be made to believe that when Jacob fled from home he was an old man nearly eighty years old, because in the family Bible illustration of Jacob’s dream he is represented as a curly-headed little boy sleeping upon a rock.SITI August 18, 1887, page 504.1

    But the most common error of this sort is in supposing that punctuation of the Bible is inspired. A friend who writes to us from Illinois seems to labor under this misapprehension. He says that he has been reading the SIGNS for some time, and has had the most implicit confidence in it until he read the article in the SIGNS of May 26, entitled, “What and Where Is Paradise?” In that he found that in our quotation of Luke 23:43, we placed, after the comma after the word “to-day,” whereas in the ordinary version it is after the word “thee.” Again he notices that in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 the Revised Version and King James’s Version each have the text punctuated differently, while the text as we quote it is punctuated differently from both. Consequently, our correspondent says, “Now if you are right, it will be easy for you to explain; if you do not explain, the conclusion will be that you have punctuated it to bring out your own idea regardless of truth.”SITI August 18, 1887, page 504.2

    We are very happy to explain for the benefit of our brother and others who may be similarly troubled. We will consider the last text first. On this he can certainly have no more fault to find with us than with the revisers, for, as he himself says, the punctuation is not the same in the two versions. We will quote the text just as it is in both of the versions and just as it appeared in the SIGNS; for thereby a point may be illustrated. King James’s Version has it as follows: “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) how that he was caught up in the Paradise,” etc.SITI August 18, 1887, page 504.3

    The Revised Version has it thus: “I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not; or whether out of the body, I know not; God knoweth), such a one caught up even to the third heaven. And I know such a man (whether in the body, or apart from the body, I know not; God knoweth), how that he was caught up in the Paradise,” etc.SITI August 18, 1887, page 504.4

    Although there is some difference in the marks of punctuation used in those two verses, there is no difference in the sense. Punctuation marks are not used so freely as they were formerly, and the colon is seldom used in ordinary sentences. According to modern usage when words are inclosed in parentheses, the necessary marks of punctuation are placed after the marks of parentheses, and not within, and so the New Version conforms to this usage. All the other difference is that the New Version has a comma, instead of a semicolon, after the parenthesis as in the Old. The text as it appeared in the SIGNS was punctuated the same as in the New Version with the exception of the semicolon being used after the parenthesis instead of the comma. But this change was simply incidental, and it was not known at the time that there was any difference; but the matter is of no consequence anyway, as the meaning is not affected in the least by the difference in the punctuation.SITI August 18, 1887, page 504.5

    All the readers of the Bible should understand that at the time that the Bible was written, there were no marks of punctuation, and the words in the sentences were not separated by spaces as we now have them. For example, the first verse of the book of John was something like this:-SITI August 18, 1887, page 504.6


    The American Encyclopedia says: “The modern points came into use very gradually after the invention of printing, the comma, parentheses, notes of interrogation, and period, being the earliest introduced, and the note of exclamation last. It was not till sixteen centuries that an approach was made to the regular system by the Manutii of Venice.”SITI August 18, 1887, page 504.8

    Modern punctuation has been a thing of growth. The marks have been invented and placed were the sense seemed to require them, to make it easier for the reader, and it follows, therefore, that punctuation which vary in some instances according as those who translated the Bible differed in their ideas of its meaning. In some instances the punctuation has been changed. Hebrews 10:12 was formerly punctuated thus: “And this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, forever sat down on the right hand of God.” This would indicate that after making a sacrifice for sins, Christ sat down at the right hand of God never to leave that place. But this idea is contradicted by the whole tenor of the Scriptures, which teach that Christ is going to stand up and come to this earth again, and finally to reign upon this earth; therefore the punctuation has been changed so as to present the true idea, namely, that when Christ had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, that is, a sacrifice once for all, he sat down at the right hand of God. This change has been made not to conform to anyone’s theory of truth, but to the plainly expressed truth of the Bible.SITI August 18, 1887, page 504.9

    Again, Matthew 19:28 was once in some Bibles punctuated thus: “Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” This punctuation would make the text mean that the disciples had followed Christ in the regeneration, that is, that they had followed Christ in being born again; but such an idea is monstrous, as it would indicate that Christ, like the disciples, had been a sinner and had been obliged to be born again, and so in our version the comma is placed after the word “me” instead of after “regeneration,” so that the text expresses what Christ meant, that those who followed him, should in the regeneration, when Christ comes, that is, when all things are made new, sit upon twelve thrones.SITI August 18, 1887, page 504.10

    So in quoting Luke 23:43, we placed the comma after the word “to-day,” not to bring out our own idea regardless of truth, but to make the text express what is evidently the truth, and make it consistent with the plain declarations of Scripture. As it stands in the Authorized Version, it seems to indicate that Christ told the penitent thief that he should be with him in Paradise that very day on which they were hanging on the cross. But this would be to make Christ contradict himself, because three days later he said (John 20:17) that he had not yet ascended to God, and he would not receive the adoration of Mary until he had ascended; but God’s throne is in Paradise, therefore, when Christ said that he had not ascended to the Father, it was equivalent to saying that he had not ascended to Paradise. But since he had not ascended the Paradise, it is very evident that he could not have told the thief that he would meet him there three days before, because he could not tell an untruth.SITI August 18, 1887, page 505.1

    Perhaps it will be less objectionable if, instead of saying that we changed the punctuation of the verse, we imagine ourselves living before the art of punctuation was invented. Let us strike out all punctuation from the verse, and then we shall have it just as it was written in the inspired historian. Literally thus:-SITI August 18, 1887, page 505.2


    Now we read it through, and, being acquainted with the teaching of the Bible, namely, that Christ did not ascend to Paradise until three days after the crucifixion, and, moreover, that he could not have ascended until the third day, when he rose from the dead, because the dead know not anything and have no power of locomotion, we know better than to place the comma after the word thee. We therefore consider the circumstances under which the words were uttered. We consider that Christ was hanging upon the cross, condemned as a malefactor, despised by almost everybody, and his teachings doubted even by his own disciples, with no earthly prospect that any of his predictions could ever be verified, and we see how natural that Christ in making the promise to the thief should put emphasis upon the word “to-day,” Verily I say unto thee to-day, notwithstanding these untoward circumstances, and that all my hopes and predictions seem to have come to naught, even to-day, I say unto you, that ye shall be with me in Paradise. But this, the only natural and consistent view of the text, would force us, in punctuating it, to place the comma after the word “to-day,” because the voice, following the obvious meaning of the passage, makes a pause there whether one is indicated or not.SITI August 18, 1887, page 505.4

    It is unfortunate that the translators of the Bible did not have a perfect and consistent view of its teachings. And yet we do not know but that it was providential, for there are but only a few passages where the meaning is in any way obscured by the translation or by the punctuation, and the meaning of those few can be easily determined from parallel passages; and the fact that the nature of man, the sleep of the dead, the seventh-day Sabbath, and similar unpopular truths, stand forth in bold relief in a Bible translated by those who believed none of those truths, makes it far more evident that they are unquestioned Bible truths, than if the Bible had been translated by men predisposed in favor of them. W.SITI August 18, 1887, page 505.5

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 13, 32.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Elder E. J. Waggoner, and Mrs. Jessie F. Waggoner, the Secretary of the State Sabbath school association, left Oakland August 10, for Eureka, Cal., to attend the Humboldt County camp-meeting.SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.1

    Prussia’s hobnobbing with the Papacy has begun already to bear the unfailing fruit of a legal recognition of Romanism. A Lutheran minister in Prussia was recently sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment for “insulting” the Romish Church. The insult consisted in publishing a pamphlet in which he remarked that the Romish apostasy is “built upon superstition and idolatry.” And for such “insulting” remarks as this, to prison for nine months their author had to go. And this in the land of Luther! Let Prussia be called no more a Protestant country. She has been surrendered bodily to the Papacy, and Rome rules there, and that in Rome’s own wicked way.SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.2

    We sometimes hear the expression used that “good may come out of evil.” This is very true, if we see the word “evil” in the sense of trouble, and not in the sense of sin. Affliction and trouble are often called evil, and in this sense good may come out of evil, “for our light of affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Again we read that “tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope;” and that chastisement which at the time is very grievous, afterwards yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them who are exercised thereby. And again, that “all things work together for good to them that love God.” But from evil which is sin no good can possibly come. Sin has no manner of connection with good. From sin only sin can come. So none need console themselves with the thought, if they have done wrong, that good may come out of it. There is a mercy for the sinner, and where sin of bounds, grace does much more abound, and so good may come after evil, if the sinner exercises repentance towards God, and faith in his Son Jesus Christ. But the good can come only after the sin has been put away, and it comes not because of the evil, but in spite of it. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid.”SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.3

    An exchange says:-SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.4

    “The law cannot make a man moral, but it can make him dreadfully uncomfortable when he is immoral.”SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.5

    Well, that depends. It is true that the law cannot make a man moral; but if it is the law of the land that is referred to, as we suppose it is, then we know that a man may be terribly immoral without suffering the least inconvenience from the law. The trouble is, people have a very low standard of morality. If a man does no open violence, or cause any serious inconvenience to his neighbor, he is called a moral man; whereas, a man may do nothing for which the law could molest him, and still be as corrupt as the grave. It should be understood that civil laws cannot make men moral, and are not for the purpose of punishing immortality, but simply for the purpose of protecting the rights of people; in short, to deter men from acting in an uncivil matter.SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.6

    Remarking on the late train robbery on the Southern Pacific Railroad, the San Francisco Chronicle says the robbers were successful “mainly, it would seem, because of the lack of resistance on the part of the engineer.” So far as the Chronicle’s own report in the same paragraph, that the robbers had turned the switch which threw the engine off the track, turned it over, and threw the engineer and fireman down an embankment fifty feet, we are rather inclined to think the engineers “lack of resistance” to the robbers was identifiable, and that the Chronicle was extravagant in its demands. If the editor of the Chronicle was in charge of an engine which should be upset by robbers and be thrown fifty feet down a bank, we have an idea that just at that particular moment even his resistance to the attacking robbers would not be particularly vigorous nor exceptionally gallant. “It would seem” so at least. The Chronicle went a long way to find something to find fault with.SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.7

    About the middle of July, Mrs. Logan, the widow of General John A. Logan, was thrown from a buggy. The first dispatches stated that she was not seriously hurt, but a late report from her physician shows it to have been a very painful accident. He says: “Mrs. Logan’s injuries are very serious. On the 25th ult., for the first time since the injury, she was turned upon her right side, with soft pads under her injured left arm. Her left shoulder was crushed by the wheel of the buggy running over it. The whole arm to the elbow is blackened from bruises, and the forearm to the wrest is slightly injured. Her head was stepped upon on its top and left side, the horse’s shod foot tearing the scalp loose in a concentric shape, making a wound three and a half inches in length to the skull. The skull is uninjured. She has suffered exceeding pain at the shoulder and along the course of the arm. We rejoice to say she is improving in every respect.”SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.8

    Nearly every Protestant paper in the country, whether religious or secular, has confessed it to have been the duty of Dr. McGlynn to go to Rome when he was commanded by the Pope to do so, to answer for his opinions that were already condemned. The truth is, that if he had gone to Rome, he could, and no doubt would, have been kept there forever, and that too in a dungeon, just as likely as not, unless he should have recanted. And even had he recanted he would never have been allowed to return to a free America. The chances are ten to one that had Dr. McGlynn gone to Rome he would never have been directly heard of more. The Christian Advocate (N.Y.) has come nearer to the truth in the matter than any other paper we have seen. It says:-SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.9

    “Once in Rome he could have been kept there indefinitely. He could be assigned to duty in any part of the world; could be cut loose from his life-work, and removed from all his association and centers of influence, and be compelled to begin a new career under a ban.”SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.10

    But Mr. McGlynn knows Rome’s methods too well to be caught in the toils of the Romish Inquisition, and he still breathes the free air of yet free America. But how long America shall remain free from Rome’s pernicious power is a question. With the National Reform Party and its allies endeavoring to create a constitutional basis for religious legislation in national affairs, and bidding for Rome’s influence to help secure it; and with the press of the country siding with Rome in a controversy involving the right of free thought and free speech of an American citizen; the prospect is not very reassuring.SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.11

    The Inquiry columns of the religious papers furnish some rather queer matter occasionally. Here is a question and answer that appeared in the Christian Advocate of August 4-J. M. Buckley, D. D. editor:-SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.12

    Q. 2435.-Can the dead perceive what is going on upon the earth?SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.13

    A.-If we knew, we should hasten to publish the information, for we should be the only possessor of it on earth.SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.14

    P.S. The Bible says that there is joy in the presence of the angels in heaven over the conversion of sinners, but no details are given as to how the information reaches them.SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.15

    “If we knew.” But why is it that he does not know? The Bible says as plainly as language can be expressed, “The dead know not anything... Neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.” And again, “his sons, to honor and he knoweth it not; they are brought low and they perceiveth it not of them.” Here then is this correspondent’s question directly and plainly answered, but the Advocate can only answer, “If we knew.” Again we say, why is it that the editor does not know? Is it because he does not know that these verses are in the Bible? or is it because he does not believe these words even though they be the word of God? We are inclined to think it is the latter, because the doctrine of the immortality of the soul does not allow a consistent belief of the words of the Bible.SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.16

    So much for the Advocate’s “answer;” but what is meant by the “P.S.”? A correspondent asks, “Can the dead perceive what is going on upon the earth?” And he is informed that “there is joy in the presence of the angels in Heaven over the conversion of sinners.” Does the Advocate mean to convey the idea that dead people are angels? or that the company of the angels is made up of dead people? What a queer idea that questioner must have had, in the first place, to ask, “Can the dead perceive?” If a person can perceive at all, it seems to us that that would be pretty good evidence that he is not dead.SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.17

    A religious exchange says: “Unless the churches in the United States gain as much as ten million members during the year 1887, there will be more unconverted people among us January, 1888, than there are now.” There probably will be anyway; for unconverted people are coming to this country, as well as growing up in this country, continually, and, unfortunately, the making of church members is not necessarily equivalent to the making of converts.SITI August 18, 1887, page 512.18

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