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    December 29, 1887

    “The Decline of Civilization” The Signs of the Times, 13, 50.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The San Francisco Chronicle has the following editorial comment on the way that Sullivan, America’s champion human bull-dog, has been received by royalty in England. The Chronicle’s comparison is a just one; but it seems to forget that Sullivan went to England with the official indorsement of the most cultured city in the United States, and that the bloody sports of the arena are fully as popular in this country as in England. Rome’s decline began with the introduction of gladiatorial shows; why are we not justified in concluding that England and America are going the same way?SITI December 29, 1887, page 785.1

    A London dispatch says, “The Prince of Wales, who was very much prepossessed by the American’s independent, sent his equerry to a well-known jeweler’s in Bond Street and ordered a handsome gold watch to be made, bearing the inscription, ‘To John L. Sullivan, Boston, U.S.A., with best wishes of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales.”SITI December 29, 1887, page 785.2

    Does this carry the reader back at once to the pages of Suetonius and Gibbon, and to the times when the brawny gladiators were the pets and boon companions of the desolute masters and rulers of the Roman Empire? Can we not, in our imagination, se Domitian, given over to those vices which evoked the merciless satire of Juvenal, not the least of which was the emperor’s inordinate fondness for the sports of the arena and the delight at the sight of human blood? Does not this gift from the heir of the British throne to John L. Sullivan, with the best wishes of the giver, unavoidably recall the decadence of the Roman Empire, and conjure up the picture of the times when the sect called Christians were butchered to make a Roman holiday, and when cruelty, luxury, and licentiousness reigned supreme in that city which had been the mistress of the world?SITI December 29, 1887, page 785.3

    And who is the man whom the future king of England so delights to honor, and to whom he extends a token of his admiration and his best wishes? Simply a man who enjoys the notoriety of being the most powerful brute that walks erect; a creature who can strike a harder blow with his fist than any other living animal except the gorilla and the grizzly; a human being who, so far as the record shows, has never done a kindly or manly or generous act in his whole life, who has never used his vast strength for the protection of the weak and feeble, who has never done his country or his kind one moment’s service; but who, on the contrary, has been a rowdy, a bully, a swashbuckler, a terror to women and inoffensive men, a drunkard, and a brawler, and altogether a disreputable and wholly useless member of society. This is the man whom Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the kingly and imperial throne of Great Britain, honors with his presence, and favors with his best wishes.SITI December 29, 1887, page 785.4

    “The Sure Word” The Signs of the Times, 13, 50.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Last week we called attention to Peter’s statement that the word of prophecy is more sure than the testimony of any eye-witness, and quoted a few prophecies that speak of “the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We wish now to quote a few more of the many prophecies concerning this same thing, that the reader may see how important a place it occupies. And we offer no apology for making copious extracts from the sure word. Certainly nothing that man can write can equal in interest and importance the words of inspiration.SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.1

    Turning to the book of the prophet Isaiah, we read as follows, beginning with the tenth verse of the second chapter:-SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.2

    “Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low.... And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In the day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefs of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake the terrible the earth.”SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.3

    This language certainly gives us a vivid idea of the “power and coming” of the Lord. But the holy man of God, whose lips were touched by a coal from God’s own altar, was made the mouth-piece of a still more vivid description of the power that shall attend the coming of the Lord. Again the Holy Spirit moved him to say:-SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.4

    “Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt; and they shall be afraid; pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth; they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.” Isaiah 13:6-13.SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.5

    Once more the Lord speaks through his servant:-SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.6

    “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled; for the Lord hath spoken this word. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” Isaiah 24:1-6.SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.7

    Who these few men are that are left from the general destruction that overwhelms those who have transgressed the laws, is told through the same prophet in these words:-SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.8

    “The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; He shall dwell on high; his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks; bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.” Isaiah 33:14-17.SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.9

    That these righteous ones are the “few men” who are left after the day of the Lord has laid the land desolate, and destroyed the sinners out of it, is evident from our Saviour’s words, recorded in Matthew 7:13, 14: “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.10

    Jeremiah was another “holy man of God,” whom the Holy Ghost moved to speak. Like John the Baptist, he was chosen even before his birth to be a prophet unto the nations. When the Lord announced this fact to him (Jeremiah 1:4, 5), he said: “Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak; for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child; for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” Verses 6, 7. And the prophet continues: “Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.” Verse 9. What better credentials could any man have than this?SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.11

    From lips burning with the touch of the Almighty hand, Jeremiah poured forth the words “which the Holy Ghost teacheth.” And here is a portion of his word concerning “the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:”-SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.12

    “Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled; suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment. How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet? For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding; they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger. For thus hath the Lord said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.” Jeremiah 4:20-27.SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.13

    We next turn to “the burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see,” and read the following word concerning the power of the Lord’s coming:-SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.14

    “God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand; and there was the hiding of his power.” Habakkuk 3:3, 4. Compare with these words 2 Thessalonians 2:8: “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” It is the glory of the Lord,-that glory which he received from the Father in the holy mount, and which he had with him before the world was,-that will destroy the winners out of the earth when he comes. But we turn again to the words spoken through Habakkuk:-SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.15

    “Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood, and measured the earth; he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow; his ways are everlasting.... The mountains saw thee, and they trembled; the overflowing of the water passed by; the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high. The sun and moon stood still in their habitation; at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck.” Habakkuk 3:5-13. W.SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.16

    “Establishment of the Sabbath” The Signs of the Times, 13, 50.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11.SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.17

    If there were no other facts given concerning the Sabbath than those contained in the above commandment, we would still have everything that is needed to guide us to its proper observance. Indeed, since it is the law on the subject, we should expect as much, even without reading it, for a law concerning anything must contain within itself all the affirmation necessary to enable one to obey it understandingly. This is the case with the other precepts of the decalogue. They are explicit, allowing no chance for differences of opinion. The only difference between the fourth commandment and the rest is that it is more full and explicit than any of them.SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.18

    But the wise man has truly said, “God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions;” and for no purpose have “inventions” been more persistently sought out than for the purpose of the evading the plain import of this fourth commandment. Many are not satisfied with the simple reading of the law, vainly thinking that somewhere in the record of God’s dealings with men, they will find that which will warrant them in disregarding his spoken word. It therefore is necessary to consider everything that has a bearing on the subject.SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.19

    It is evident that a law can never mean anything more or less than it did when first pronounced. If the conditions on which the law is based change, or the will of the law-giver changes concerning these conditions, then the law itself may be changed; but such change must be clearly indicated. The terms of the law must be changed, or another law enacted with the express declaration that it is to supersede the first. Until this is done, the original law remains in full force, even though the will of the law-making power should change; for how can the people know the will of the power having authority, unless that will is plainly expressed?SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.20

    Again, if any change in a law is made, the new law must not only be expressed in as clear language as the old, but it must be as widely circulated. All who are subject to the law and are expected to keep it, must be informed of the change, or else they cannot keep it. To punish a person for the violation of a law with which he had been allowed to become familiar, would be an act of injustice. God does not so deal with his creatures. In every instance when the execution of his judgments is recorded, we are plainly informed as to the command which was violated; and a penalty is never threatened in the Bible without an explicit statement being made of what course of action will make one liable to that penalty. With the statements, we will proceed to dissect, as it were, the Sabbath law, to see if it really means what it appears to; and we will also see if it has in any way been modified, or been superseded by another law.SITI December 29, 1887, page 790.21

    It is evident from the reading of the fourth commandment that the Sabbath did not originate at Sinai. For we are referred to the creation of the earth, and told that the conclusion of that work God “blessed” and “hallowed” the Sabbath day. It must, therefore, have been in existence at that time; a thing that has no existence cannot be blessed, neither can it be hallowed.SITI December 29, 1887, page 791.1

    This will be still more evident when we consider the meaning of the word “hallow.” Webster defines it thus: “To make holy; to set apart for holy or religious use; to consecrate.” The word in the original is defined similarly. It is the same word that is rendered “sanctified” in Genesis 2:3, and “appoint” in Joshua 20:7. The fourth commandment, then, tells us plainly that God commanded the Sabbath to be kept holy in the beginning.SITI December 29, 1887, page 791.2

    Turning to the first chapter of Genesis we read the record of the first six days of time, in which the heavens and the earth, and all that they contain, were created, the work of each day being specified. At the close of the sixth day God looked for the whole of his creation “and behold, it was a very good.” He was satisfied with his work, because it was perfect. The record continues:-SITI December 29, 1887, page 791.3

    “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:1-3.SITI December 29, 1887, page 791.4

    We have here the record of the first Sabbath commandment. That in Exodus 20:8-11 is the same in every respect, being simply a renewal of the commandment as given at creation. In the institution of the Sabbath there was a three-fold act on the part of God. First, he rested on the seventh day. This made that day Sabbath, for Sabbath means rest. Because the Lord rested, it is called the Sabbath, or rest, of the Lord. But this act did not place man under any obligation to rest on that day. If the record stopped here, we would have no interest in it except as a matter of history. Second, God pronounced a blessing upon the day. It was thus exalted above other days in that it was a Sabbath, and blessed; still these two acts were not sufficient to make its observance obligatory on man. Third, he sanctified the day, that is, set it apart for holy for religious use; he appointed that it should be regarded holy. This was the crowning act which placed man under obligation to keep it.SITI December 29, 1887, page 791.5

    Let it be remembered that it required these three acts to institute the Sabbath in the beginning. It certainly can take nothing less to institute a new Sabbath, should there be such a thing; and therefore whenever we find men claiming that some other day is entitled to recognition as the true Sabbath, we have only to apply these tests: Did God ever rest upon it? Did he ever pronounce a blessing upon it? Did he ever pronounce it holy, and set it apart for sacred observance? If these three questions in regard to any other day cannot be truthfully answered by a simple affirmation, then that day does not approach in honor and sacredness to the original Sabbath of the Lord. Man may rest upon any other day, and that they will thus become his rest, or sabbath; but men cannot pronounce a blessing upon the day, thus elevating it above other days, neither can he sanctify the day; he cannot make it holy, and he has no right to command anybody else to rest upon it. And since there is no record that God ever did these three things for any other day than the seventh, that day stands alone, distinguished above all other days as being the Sabbath of the Lord.SITI December 29, 1887, page 791.6

    We will go even further, and say that it is an absolute impossibility that the Sabbath should be changed from the original seventh day to any other day. God himself could not do this. In so saying, we do not place any limit upon the power of God, save this, which inspiration itself authorizes, that “he cannot deny himself.” The institution of the Sabbath rests upon facts which God himself established. A “fact” is simply something that has been done; and a thing that has been done can never be effaced, so that it will cease to be true that it has been done. The Sabbath rests upon those three facts: (1) In six days God created the heavens and the earth, and rested upon the seventh day; (2) he blessed the seventh day and (3) sanctified, or set it apart as a sacred day for man’s observance. And these last two acts he did “because that in it he had rested from all his works which God created and made.”SITI December 29, 1887, page 791.7

    Now if it can ever be true that the world was not created in six days, and that God did not rest upon the seventh day, and afterwards bless and sanctify it; in other words, if the word of God can be recalled, so that it shall be as though it had never been spoken; and if the wheels of time can be made to roll backward six thousand years and more, and their tracks be obliterated; and if matters can be so effectually annihilated that it will be a truth that it never existed, then, and not till then, can the seventh day cease to be the Sabbath of the Lord. But it needs no argument to show that this can never be; God cannot deny what he has once said and done; much less can he make it true that he never did the things which he has done. “He cannot deny himself,” and so even Omnipotence cannot change the Sabbath of the Lord from the seventh day of the week. W.SITI December 29, 1887, page 791.8

    “Job and His Friends” The Signs of the Times, 13, 50.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Human nature in the days of Job was just the same as it is now. We have proof of it in the way that Job was treated by his friends. He himself tells how he was regarded in the days when he was “the greatest of all the men of the East,” when the rock poured him out rivers of oil. He says: “The young men saw me, and hid themselves; and the aged a rose, and stood up. The princes refrained talking, and laid their hands on their mouth. The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaves to the roof of their mouth.” Still further he shows how ready men were to fawn over him, and how glad to be noticed by him: “Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel. After my words they spake not again; and my speech dropped upon them. And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain. If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down.”SITI December 29, 1887, page 793.1

    That was when he was wealthy; but now that he had lost everything, and was afflicted, his friends had changed. He says: “But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock.” The friends of his prosperity had gone, and the vilest of men heaped contempt upon him. More than this, he says, “My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.” But this state of things did not always last, for “the Lord turned the captivity of Job;” “also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” Now read what happened when this turn had taken place in Job’s fortunes:-SITI December 29, 1887, page 793.2

    “Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house; and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.”SITI December 29, 1887, page 793.3

    Plenty of friends now. “All they that had been of his acquaintances before” came to see him, “and did eat bread in his house.” They had no doubt eaten bread in his house before; they knew how hospitable he was, and what a good table he always set, and so they were wonderfully rejoiced to learn of the restoration of his fortune. “And they bemoaned him.” Yes, they were very ready to bemoan him then; but if they had come when Job was suffering the greatest poverty and affliction, their comfort would no doubt have been more acceptable. Doubtless they have a plausible excuse for not coming to his aid when he was in distress; they were “very sorry that circumstances made it impossible for them to come,” etc., but they would now show that their affection for him had not waned in the least, by everyone giving him a piece of money, when he had no earthly need of it.SITI December 29, 1887, page 793.4

    The story of Job and his friends is true to life. Job must have known more of human nature after his affliction then he did before. The friends of his prosperity do not commend themselves to us anymore than do those of his adversity. But we do not read that Job became sour and cynical over this revelation of human fickleness. He didn’t jump at the conclusion that there was ‘not an honest man in the world.” Many people say that or its equivalent; yet there never was a man who said it, who believed it. Every man who said so mentally accepted himself. But while Job learned much of human nature he had also learned much of the divine nature, and he knew there were many in whom the image of God was not wholly obliterated. So we can believe that since Job had seen that “the Lord is very painful and of tender mercy,” he had learned to have a charity for the failings of others. The man who allows affliction to make him sour and morose, fails to learn a great lesson which affliction is designed to teach. If the love of God is shed abroad in the heart, tribulation works only patience. W.SITI December 29, 1887, page 793.5

    “Creation” The Signs of the Times, 13, 50.

    E. J. Waggoner

    THE COMMENTARY.

    LESSON 1.—SABBATH, JANUARY 7

    1. What did God do in the beginning?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.1

    “In the beginning God created the heaven and earth.” Genesis 1:1.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.2

    2. By what means was this accomplished?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.3

    “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:6, 9.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.4

    3. Are we to understand from these words that the matter of the earth was not in existence before he spake?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.5

    “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Hebrews 11:3.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.6

    4. Who was the active agent in creation?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.7

    “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” Hebrews 1:1, 2.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.8

    5. Is there anything that the Son did not make?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.9

    “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Colossians 1:16, 17.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.10

    6. Since it was by the Son that the Father created all things, what is his rightful title?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.11

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word God.” “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:1, 3.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.12

    7. How has the Father addressed the Son?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.13

    “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands friends.” Hebrews 1:8, 10.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.14

    8. Then how should he be regarded by all creatures?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.15

    “And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” Hebrews 1:6.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.16

    9. In what condition was the earth when it was first spoken into existence?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.17

    “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:2.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.18

    10. After the creation of the substances of the earth, what was the first thing done?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.19

    “And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.” Verse 3.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.20

    11. What next?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.21

    “And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.” Verse 4.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.22

    12. What did God call the light and the darkness?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.23

    “And God called a light day, and the darkness he called night. And the evening and morning were the first day.” Verse 5.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.24

    13. What do a period of darkness and a period of light together constitute? See verse 5.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.25

    14. Which always comes first in the formation of a day? The darkness. Can you explain why? See notes.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.26

    15. What was done on the second day?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.27

    “And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.” Genesis 1:6-8.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.28

    16. How is this day’s work referred to by Job?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.29

    “He bindeth up the waters in his thick cloud; and the cloud is not granted under them.” Job 26:8.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.30

    17. What was done on the third day?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.31

    “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so. And God called the dry land earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he seas; and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind; and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day.” Genesis 1:9-13.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.32

    18. What was made upon the fourth day?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.33

    “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” Verse 14.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.34

    19. What were these lights to govern?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.35

    “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also.” Verse 16.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.36

    20. Then what kind of days were these days of creation?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.37

    21. Does the sun make the day, or simply rule the day?SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.38

    22. Tell what makes the day, and how there could be days before the sun was.SITI December 29, 1887, page 794.39

    NOTES

    The reverent reader of the Bible, who accepts the historical portion of the Old Testament, as a narrative of what actually took place, and not as a fiction, can arrive at no other conclusion than that the days of creation were literal days of twenty-four hours each. They were days composed of an evening and a morning,-a period of darkness and a period of light; and there were such days as are governed by the sun and moon. Now in order that there should be any show of reason in the claim that the days of creation were long, indefinite periods of time, those who make such a claim ought to be able to point to some time when the sun ruled such days is that. That, of course, would be an impossibility, and so is it an absurdity to claim that the days of creation were anything other than literal, twenty-four hour days. Nobody can get any other idea from the text.SITI December 29, 1887, page 795.1

    But the question is presented, “How could there be days before there was any sun?” Such a question implies ignorance, or at least forgetfulness, of what forms the day. The day is made by the revolution of the earth on its axis. Each complete revolution makes one day. As a matter of fact, the sun has nothing whatever to do informing the day. If it should suddenly become a body of darkness, instead of a body of light, it would be days just the same, and they would be just the same length that they now are. So there were days before the sun was appointed to rule the day. This appointment was not made until after the earth had completed three revolutions, or until three days of time had passed. The very statement that God set the two great lights in the firmament, “to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness,” shows that there were days independent of the sun. These great lights were to rule in the day and then the night, which had been arranged before they were given their office.SITI December 29, 1887, page 795.2

    When does the day begin? At evening, according to the record in Genesis 1; and Leviticus 23:32 we read that the Jews are directed to celebrate their Sabbaths “from even unto even,” and this could not be unless they regarded other days as beginning at the same time. But why is this? Is it an arbitrary requirement? or is there a fixed reason why the day begins at evening? It is not an arbitrary matter, but the natural day begins at evening because it cannot by any possibility begin at any other time. With the earth was created “darkness was upon the face of the deep.” The phrase, “in the beginning,” marks the beginning of time, as distinguished from God’s eternity. The speaking of the matter of the earth into existence, marked the beginning of the first day of time.SITI December 29, 1887, page 795.3

    But darkness covered the chaotic mass, and consequently the first day of time began in darkness. Before the earth had completed its first revolution, however, light was created. “And God said, Let there be light; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness he called night. And the evening [the darkness] and the morning [the light] were the first day.” Genesis 1:3-5. The first revolution of the earth was completed just at the dividing line between light and darkness; and so, just as the first day began in the unbroken darkness, the second day began with the darkness that had been separated, and put within bounds. And as a matter of necessity, this order must always follow. To make the day actually begin at any other time than evening, would involve a change in the earth’s revolution; and in order to count the day as beginning at midnight, a portion of time had to be ignored. Thus it is evident that the present popular mode of reckoning time is not of God’s arrangement. W.SITI December 29, 1887, page 795.4

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 13, 50.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We will send the index of volume 13 to anyone who will send a stamp to pay postage. Of course those who keep their papers on file will want the index.SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.1

    The President’s Jubilee gift to the Pope is a copy of the Constitution of the United States, beautifully engrossed, and richly bond in book form. Now let somebody send him a copy of the ten commandments, and his library will be complete.SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.2

    We may now expect the Pope to take a more active part than ever in the controversy between England and Ireland. A Catholic priest has been sentenced to imprisonment for one month in Ireland, and a prominent Irish official has gone to Rome expressly to enlist the Pope on the side of Ireland.SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.3

    In the discussion of the paper on the “Necessity of Co-operation in Christian Work,” at the late meeting of the Evangelical Alliance, many sweet things were said about union, etc., but Dr. Washington Gladden looked at the matter from the hard common-sense rather than the sentimental standpoint. Said he: “There is too much talk, too much gush, and not enough practice. Profession should halt till practice catches up.” He also said that he did not think much of union revival meetings. He compared such “wholesale evangelization” to trying to warm a great city by a bonfire in a public square instead of by fires in the houses. This comparison may be meditated upon with profit.SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.4

    The Hebrew Journal, speaking of the first advent of Christ, says:-SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.5

    “The Jews of that time, full of the conceit of their own goodness, and contempt for the Gentiles’ wickedness, expecting, too, a warrior Saviour, rejected him; but what if he came now, when we can appreciate, understand, and rightly value of the sweetness, usefulness, nobility, and elevation of his teachings?”SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.6

    Yes, what if he should? Why, they would accept him, of course. No, indeed they would not, if he should come in the same way that he came eighteen hundred years ago. But the National Reformers are planning for a coming of Christ such as they will accept. They are going to have him come just as the ancient Jews wanted him to come, and it will involve no self-denial to accept him. Indeed, all the self-denial that will be called for will be on the part of those who refuse to enroll themselves in the National Reform kingdom.SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.7

    At the Howard Street M. E. Church, Rev. Dr. Harcourt preached a sermon Christmas-day on the immortality of the soul, which question he settled to his own satisfaction, as follows:-SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.8

    “The great question that concerns us is, ‘Does death end all?’ Has man ceased to be, when the physical is destroyed? The conclusions of the materialists we cannot accept. They are neither reasonable nor religious. It is impossible to account for the existence of an organized brain without a pre-existing mind through and by which it was produced and developed.”SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.9

    From his conclusion we should suppose that the question was not, “Does death end all?” But, “Does birth begin all?” His argument makes solely for the pre-existence of souls, and not only that, but it makes the soul the creator of the physical organism in which it dwells. In other words, it is but the old Platonic theory that men are gods. It is an evidence of the fact that the doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul cannot be argued without the use of pagan arguments. The doctrine does away with the necessity for one God, the Creator of all things; it tends only to paganism, and to pagan morality, which is immortality.SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.10

    The Christian Advocate (N. Y.) tells of a Presbyterian minister in New Jersey who opposed raffling in church fairs, and “his action made so much disturbance that he announced a few days ago that he should lay his resignation before the Presbytery.” We have no doubt that there was quite a disturbance also in the temple when Jesus drove out the money-changers and them that sold doves. But he drove them out nevertheless. And yet their traffic was entirely decent and honorable as compared with raffling. Theirs were legitimate transactions anywhere except in the house of God, while raffling is nothing but gambling anywhere. Query: If that which was legitimate business anywhere else, made the house of God a den of thieves when transacted there, then what does that which is thieving everywhere make the house of God when conducted there?SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.11

    The following is a translation of an item that appeared in El Pueblo, of October 13, a paper published in Chihuahua, Mexico:-SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.12

    “Last Sunday a bull-fight was given by amateurs for the purpose of devoting the receipts to the interior adornment of the parish church. The assemblage were pleased and satisfied; with reason, if some persons were bruised.”SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.13

    The Independent says that this series of performances has been kept up on Sunday afternoons. It says also:-SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.14

    “A few months ago in Southern Mexico a bull-ring was dedicated with religious ceremonies conducted by a priest. It is by no means an unknown thing for a Mexican priest to live openly with his mistress and his children about him in the residence near the church edifice.”SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.15

    And this is a fair specimen of the morality of Catholic countries. Catholics are fond of pointing to the wonderful educational facilities which they provide for their people in this country, as evidence of the progressive nature of Catholicism, but that proves nothing; the only way we can properly understand what Catholicism is, and what it does for the people, is to look at it in countries where it has full swing. Mexico has been under Catholic control for more than three hundred years; if Catholicism has in it anything of an elevating nature, and is so great an educator and civilizer as is claimed, Mexico ought to be in advance of the United States. But the fact is, Catholicism in the United States is brought in contact with enlightened Protestantism, and is forced to make a show of advancement in sheer self-defense.SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.16

    While we speak thus disparagingly of Catholicism we say nothing whatever of individual Catholics. There are thousands of honest men in the Roman Catholic Church, and many of them will yet renounce its errors. But Roman Catholicism, as a system of religion, can do nothing to elevate men, for it is but the “mystery of iniquity,” and many men who under other circumstances would have been upright, moral men, have been ruined simply because of their connection with the system.SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.17

    The White Cross movement is bound to be a prodigious success now! Social purity is now in a fair way to be fully assured to all the world! for the devil has espoused the cause, and nowadays when that very respectable dignitary endorses a thing it is pretty apt to be very generally received. Sunday evening, December 18, in San Francisco, W. J. Colville, one of the leading Spiritualists of the country, the leading “inspirational speaker,” and the leading teacher of the Spiritualistic “science,” gave an “inspirational” discourse on the White Cross movement, in which the author of his inspiration set forth sentiments in which he made himself to appear almost as an angel of light. He said it was intended to become so universal as to reach into every civilized country and people. It is altogether likely that it will, but wherever it may reach, the indorsement of Spiritualism will be its worst curse and the heaviest burden that it will ever be called upon to bear.SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.18

    “The Promoter of Sin” The Signs of the Times, 13, 50.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The author of the “Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation” truly says: “All happy obedience must arise from affection, exercised toward the object obeyed. Obedience which arises from affection, blesses the spirit which yields it, if the conscience approve of the object obeyed, while, on the contrary, no being can be happy in obeying one whom he does not love. To obey a parent, or to obey God, from interested motives would be sin. The devil might be obeyed for the same reason. All enlightened minds agree to what the Bible confirms, and what reason can clearly perceive without argument, that love for God is essential to every act of religious duty. To tender obedience or homage to God, while we have no love for him in our hearts, would be dishonorable to the Maker, and doing violence to our own nature.”SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.19

    Than this we know of no paragraph in all literature that more clearly reveals the essential wickedness of all enforced conformity to religious duties, and therefore the wicked cruelty of all State interference in religious things. “No being can be happy in obeying one whom he does not love.” Therefore for Governments to compel men to conform to duty toward God, while bearing in their hearts no love for him, is only to compel men to sin, because, saith the Scriptures, “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” While for the State to offer inducements to men, that would lead them to conform to religious duties from interested motives, would also be sin. “To tender obedience or homage to God while we have no love for him in our hearts, would be dishonorable to the Maker, and doing violence to our own nature.” Now such is precisely what the National Reform scheme proposes to do to the people of this nation. The National Reformers propose to compel men to tender obedience and homage to God, while they have no love for him in their hearts. Therefore the direct result of the triumph of National Reform principles will be to compel men to dishonor their Maker and do violence to their own natures, and thus vastly to increase the ratio of sin in the nation and hasten its destruction.SITI December 29, 1887, page 800.20

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