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    January 13, 1887

    “The Primary Idea of Sunday Observance” The Signs of the Times, 13, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Says the Christian at Work:-SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.1

    “As to Sunday itself, there ought to be no question as to the underlying motive for its maintenance by the State; with the religious features of the day the State has nothing whatever to do; the primary idea is Rest, with a very bit R-Rest for man and beast; that was the fundamental idea of its establishment by divine authority.”SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.2

    The editor of the Christian at Work should occasionally look over the files of his paper to refresh his mind as to what he has said in time past. No longer ago than February 18, 1886, he said:-SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.3

    “We hear less than we used to about the apostolic origin of the present Sunday observance, and for the reason that... it is now seen, as it is admitted, that we must go to later than apostolic times for the establishment of Sunday observance.”SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.4

    And on January 8, 1885, the Christian at Work said editorially:-SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.5

    “We rest the designation of Sunday on the church’s having set it apart of its own authority. The seventh-day rest was commanded in the fourth commandment.... The selection of Sunday, thus changing the particular day designated in the fourth commandment, was brought about by the gradual concurrence of the early Christian church; and on this basis, and none other, does the Christian Sabbath, the first day of the week, rightly rest.”SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.6

    Yet in the face of these candid admissions of fact, the same paper now speaks of the establishment of Sunday “by divine authority.” We would like to ask a few questions: 1. Is “the church” divine authority for anything? 2. If it is, which part of the church has that exaltation? for it is well known that “the church” has many conflicting divisions, or as it is sometimes expressed, “There are many branches of our Zion.” 3. Does the Christian at Work claim that “divine authority” rests in “the church” as a whole, and that, like the infallible Popes of Rome, it can make contradictory opinions equally true? or when it speaks of “the church” does it mean to be understood as referring to the Roman Catholic Church? 4. And if it means this, why does it not adopt all other festivals imposed by the same “divine authority”?SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.7

    The fact is, and the Christian at Work knows it very well, that there is no divine authority for Sunday-keeping. The fourth commandment is the only Sabbath commandment there is in the Bible, and that enjoins the observance of the seventh day of the week, and of no other day. It is also a fact that the Bible is the only “divine authority” in the world, because it is the only revelation of the will of God. Therefore, it is also a fact that Sunday has no divine authority whatever, commanding it as a rest-day of any kind. Moreover, divine commands are never gradually given. The ten commandments were given at one time, by the voice of God. But evil has always come in by the “gradual concurrence” of those who thought their own way preferable to the will of God. The fact that the observance of Sunday instead of the Sabbath was “brought about by the gradual concurrence of the early Christian church,” after the days of the apostles, unmistakably stamps that institution as a product of the great apostasy.SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.8

    But granting the claim that Sunday was established by authority of some kind, let us notice the statement of the Christian at Work, that physical rest is the primary idea of that establishment. If that be the case, then no State has a right to enforce its observance upon those who do not feel like resting. Night is the time for sleep, but no Government has the power to enact that a man shall be forced to sleep, if he is not sleepy. If Sunday is only for physical rest, then the State has no more right to say that a man must rest upon it if he is not tired, than it has to say that a dose of morphine shall be given to every man who does not feel like going to bed at ten o’clock at night. But if the advocates of Sunday shall, in order to avoid this dilemma, claim that there is a religious idea also to the Sunday rest, then we still insist that the State has no right to enforce its observance, for civil Governments have nothing to do with matters of religion. Gallio of old had a just conception of the extent of his power as a civil ruler, when he said to the Jews who wanted him to condemn Paul:-SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.9

    “If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you; but if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters.” Acts 18:14, 15.SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.10

    We leave Sunday worshipers to settle the matter among themselves as to the grounds upon which they observe Sunday, if it is possible to fix upon the “primary idea” of an institution that was established without precept. But for the Sabbath we can say that the primary idea in its establishment is worship, and not physical rest. The Sabbath was made for man, in order that he might know and remember God, and not for his personal ease. And here we will say that the man who labors so hard during the week that physical rest becomes of necessity the primary idea in his Sabbath observance, does not remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. If a man feels in need of physical rest and recreation, there is no objection to his taking it on Sunday; but there is a commandment from the Lord himself, for every man to rest on the Sabbath, and that without regard to the wants of his physical nature. W.SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.11

    “The Bible, Commentaries, and Tradition” The Signs of the Times, 13, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Last week we gave a few principles of interpretation and promised to add a few more this week. As what we now wish to give is very intimately related with what has already been given, we will first recall those points. We noted first, that the Bible is absolute truth and that anything that disagrees with it in the slightest particular must be false. Second, that the Bible, though composed of many books, is one Book with one Author; that there is perfect harmony in all its parts. Third, that the Bible contains all truth, because that by it a man may be “thoroughly furnished unto all good works;” and that therefore it must be its own interpreter. Fourth, that one part of the Bible cannot be fully understood if taken out of its connection, or without reference to the Bible as a whole. There is no book in the Bible upon which light is not thrown by every other book in the Bible. On this point the following from Dr. P. S. Henson’s introduction to the book, “Christ in the Gospels,” is excellent:-SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.12

    “In what we call the Bible, God has given us many books penned by many writers, each presenting such views of truth as his mental and spiritual nature made him specially adapted to be the vehicle of. Not that anyone of these Scripture writers was left to wander at his ‘own sweet will,’ so that we must largely discount his deliverances on account of his human imperfections and the possibility of his misapprehending what the Lord would have him teach. That were indeed to undermine utterly the authority of the Scriptures, and ‘if the foundations be destroyed what shall the righteous do?’ We do most thoroughly and invincibly believe that ‘holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,’ and that therefore what they spake may be absolutely relied upon. But while we believe that all that each one said was truth, God’s truth, we do not believe it was all the truth. You must have all that all of them said, in order to be sure that you have all the truth. ‘Which things we speak,’ writes the apostle Paul, ‘not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.’ And only by such collation and comparison can God’s truth be comprehended in all the breadth and beauty of its meaning. You cannot obtain any accurate representation of a building by taking only a single view. As the photographer is accustomed to take two pictures, from a little different point of view, and when both these are looked at at once, as in a stereopticon, you see not two pictures, but one, and that not a flat surface such as each of the pictures shows, but a solid that stands out in its massiveness before your eyes. And yet even then you do not see the hinder part, but only half the building. To see it all in its completed symmetry, we should be obliged to have four views, and to look at them all at once. But this is, of course, impossible, inasmuch as we have not four eyes, but only two. But the principle applies, though its application be impossible. Singularly enough there are just four Gospels. The metropolis, lieth four square. Four pictures have we here of the matchless Man of Nazareth,-four pictures, and all so much alike that sometimes captious critics have said that there was only one original Gospel and the other three were copied from that. Four pictures, and yet all so different that other skeptical critics have alleged that there are glaring discrepancies in them that are hopelessly irreconcilable. The pictures, of course, must be alike, for all of them are pictures of Him. The pictures, of course, must be unlike, for each of the portrait painters had his own peculiar point of view. And yet it takes all four to give us the Christ of history in all the completeness of his humanity and divinity.”SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.13

    This is just as true of the whole Bible as it is of the four Gospels. Lastly, we showed that a term used in one place in the Bible must have the same meaning in every other place where it occurs, especially if the same subject is under consideration.SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.14

    Under the third proposition, that the Bible must interpret itself, we wish to say a few words on the use of commentaries. Commentaries may be a great help to the Bible student, or they may be a great curse. No matter how good a commentary may be, if a person relies implicitly upon it, taking all its statements as final upon any subject, he might better never see it, for he simply puts it in place of the Bible. Commentaries may be used only as they throw additional light on a point already established, or when the commentator leads to the understanding of a point, by unfolding to us the Bible evidence upon it. Many persons will quote a decision from Barnes, or Scott, or Clark, or Olshausen, or some other person, and rest satisfied with that. Now allowing that their statement of the case is correct, of what use is it to us if they do not show us the steps by which they arrived at such a conclusion; or how can we know that their statement is correct if we do not have those steps? If the commentary does not lead us to the Bible then it is worse than useless. No matter how great a man may be, his opinion on a matter of Bible doctrine is of no account whatever unless it is backed by Bible evidence. And therefore in teaching others we should never quote commentaries for the purpose of biasing the mind or in any way influencing the judgment, before the Scripture has done its work. If a thing is true it may be proved by the Bible; if it cannot be proved by the Bible, it is of no consequence whatever, no matter who may hold it.SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.15

    If a man relates to us an item of news, we almost invariably ask, “How do you know?” This does not necessarily indicate that we doubt his statement, but that we want to have the same ground for belief that he has. We should not be less anxious for trustworthy information on Bible subjects than we are on the news of the day. If a commentator makes a statement, he is in duty bound to tell us why he makes it, and we should demand this before we accept it. Otherwise we cannot be “thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” If the statement involves some duty, and we perform that duty, not knowing the full reason therefore, we shall be following some man, and not the Bible. The Bible then is the test of whether or not a man is a good commentator. If he proves every statement by comparing scripture with scripture, so that we can see for ourselves the reasonableness of his propositions, then his work becomes a blessing. If he does not, then, even though his statements be true, his work is of no account. He is like a man who climbs to the top of a building, and pulls up after him the ladder by which he ascended, but still expects others to follow him.SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.16

    There is a growing and almost irresistible tendency to depreciate the value of plain Scripture statements. This is seen in the fact that when a direct Bible argument is given on some point that is new to the hearer, the first questions will almost invariably be, “Who believes this? What men have advocated this view?” Those who ask such questions are really exalting the human above the divine. They virtually say that the Bible needs human indorsement. We should have such confidence in the Bible that we will accept what it says no matter who, nor how many persons, may teach to the contrary.SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.17

    Another point that should be firmly fixed, is that tradition should be wholly disregarded in interpreting the Bible. No matter how old a tradition may be, it should not be allowed to bias the judgment in the least. We cannot know whether tradition is true or not until we compare it with the Bible; and since we have to first examine the Bible to ascertain the truth of tradition, it is evident that tradition can be of no help to us in interpreting the Bible. We must first understand the Bible, before we can know what credit to give to tradition.SITI January 13, 1887, page 23.1

    Many people suppose that those who lived nearest to the time when the Bible was written, must have known a great deal more about the Bible than we can. The popular idea of this is expressed by Rev. James Chrystal in his “History of the Modes of Christian Baptism,” chap. 3, where, speaking of the testimony of holy Scripture, he says:-SITI January 13, 1887, page 23.2

    “This is the source of doctrine, but it should ever be interpreted by the historical witness of the earliest ages of the church. In other words, in case a doubt should arise regarding the proper interpretation of a passage relating to a certain doctrine or rite, we should not despise the voice of the early successors of the apostles. It is a principle of common sense as well as of sound criticism that the historical witness of the Christians who lived the nearest the apostolic age, is of the greatest importance in determining the meaning of obscure or disputed passages of the New Testament.”SITI January 13, 1887, page 23.3

    But it should be remembered that the apostles had no “successors.” There have been a great many men who have lived since they did, but they have not been apostles. If nearness to the apostolic age gives extra light on the Bible, then those who lived at the same time that the apostles did ought to be still better guides than those who lived after they did; but we find that some of the gravest errors were taught by men who were contemporaries of the apostles. For a single example, see 2 Timothy 2:17, 18. In closing this brief statement of principles, we would adopt the words of Dr. Killen, who speaks of the early church Fathers as follows:-SITI January 13, 1887, page 23.4

    “It would seem as if the great Head of the church permitted these early writers to commit the grossest mistakes, and to propound the most foolish theories, for the express purpose of teaching us that we are not implicitly to follow their guidance. It might have been thought that authors, who flourished on the borders of apostolic times, knew more of the mind of the Spirit than others who appeared in succeeding ages; but the truths of Scripture, like the phenomena of the visible creation, are equally intelligible to all generations. If we possess spiritual discernment, the trees and the flowers will display the wisdom and the goodness of God as distinctly to us as they did to our first parents; and, if we have the “unction from the Holy One,” we may enter into the meaning of the Scriptures as fully as did Justin Martyr or Irenaeus. To assist us in the interpretation of the New Testament, we have at command a critical apparatus of which they were unable to avail themselves. Jehovah is jealous of the honor of his word, and he has inscribed in letters of light over the labors of the most ancient interpreters, ‘Cease ye from men.’ The opening of the Scriptures’ so as to exhibit their beauty, their consistency, their purity, their wisdom, and their power, is the clearest proof that the commentator is possessed of ‘the key of knowledge.’ When tried by this test, Thomas Scott or Matthew Henry is better entitled to confidence than either Origen or Gregory Thaumaturgus. The Bible is its own safest expositor. ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is use, making wise the simple.’”-The Ancient Church, section 2, chapter 1, last paragraph. W.SITI January 13, 1887, page 23.5

    “Prisoners and Freemen” The Signs of the Times, 13, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Being unable to furnish the current Sabbath-school lesson for the Commentary Department this week, we occupy a portion of the space answering the following questions which we have received:-SITI January 13, 1887, page 27.1

    “Who is addressed in Isaiah 40:8, 9? Who are the prisoners, and when and from what are they to be freed? P. B.”SITI January 13, 1887, page 27.2

    The verses referred to read thus:-SITI January 13, 1887, page 27.3

    “Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.” Isaiah 49:8, 9.SITI January 13, 1887, page 27.4

    By reading the preceding verses in connection with these, we readily learn who is addressed. “And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him.” Verse 5. “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” Verse 6. These passages show unmistakably that Christ is the one addressed. Compare with verse 6 Luke 2:29-32. The eighth verse itself shows that Christ is addressed, in the words, “I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people.” Compare with this Isaiah 55:4, 5.SITI January 13, 1887, page 27.5

    The “day of salvation” is the entire time during which God’s mercy to man is manifest in the gospel. In this day-this acceptable time-Christ is heard in behalf of the people, and is given for the objects mentioned in verses 8 and 9. One of these objects is the opening of the prison, and saying to the prisoners, Go forth. It might appear to some, from the words that immediately follow (verse 10), that this has reference to the opening of the graves at the last day; but from almost identical language used elsewhere in prophecy, and applied by our Lord himself, we are obliged to place the opening of the prison within the “day of salvation.” We quote Isaiah 61:1, 2: “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”SITI January 13, 1887, page 27.6

    When our Lord went into the synagogue at Nazareth and read this much of the prophecy, he closed the book, and said to the people: “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Luke 4:16-21. The fact that he said this, and that he refrained from reading the next clause,-“and the day of vengeance of our God,”-shows that all that he read is fulfilled in the day of grace. But the dead are not raised until the day of mercy is past. Therefore the “opening of the prison to them that are bound” must be during the “day of salvation.”SITI January 13, 1887, page 27.7

    Then we have to inquire, Who are bound, and what is their bondage? The following verses will set us in the way of the correction answer: “They [the wicked Jews] answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man; how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house forever; but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:33-36. From these words we learn that sin is a bondage, and that it is from this bondage that Christ sets men free. To further show that sin is a bondage we need only to refer to Romans 7:14 and 2 Peter 2:19, out of a multitude that might be quoted.SITI January 13, 1887, page 27.8

    Again, we know that Christ’s special work is to save people from sin. See Matthew 1:21. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15. “Looking for ... our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:13, 14.SITI January 13, 1887, page 27.9

    Both these points, namely, that sin brings men into bondage, and that Christ releases them from this prison, are brought out in the following passage:-SITI January 13, 1887, page 27.10

    “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit; by which [i.e, by the Spirit] also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing.” Christ, by the Spirit, went and preached unto the spirits in prison; this was in the days of Noah, while the long-suffering of God waited. God’s long-suffering waited one hundred and twenty years, and during this time his Spirit was striving with the wicked antediluvians. See Genesis 6:3. Those wicked men were in the bondage of sin; Christ was ready and anxious to give them freedom,-the same freedom that Noah had, namely, the righteousness which is by faith,-but they refused to be made free, and were therefore destroyed.SITI January 13, 1887, page 27.11

    Still further: We have seen that men are bound in prison because of sin. Said Paul, “The law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin.” Romans 7:14. Now “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4), and therefore it is the transgressed law that shuts men up in prison. David said, “I will walk at liberty; for I seek thy precepts.” Psalm 119:45. But when he turned aside from the commandments he was at once bound as a criminal.SITI January 13, 1887, page 27.12

    This bondage in which the transgressed law holds its victims until they accept freedom in Christ, is most forcibly indicated by Paul in the following words: “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” Galatians 3:22, 23.SITI January 13, 1887, page 27.13

    It is well known that human law casts its violators into prison. The sheriff who arrests the criminal, the judge who sentences him, and the jailer who locks him up, are only the agents of the law. The massive bolts and prison walls simply represent the outraged law. Now notice the parallel in the case of a transgressor of divine law. Having willfully sinned, he is justly accounted guilty of a violation of the whole law. James 2:10. For a time he is unconscious of his bondage. aid Paul, “I was alive without the law once.” The office of the Spirit is to make men conscious of this bondage. See John 16:8. It does this by bringing the word home to their hearts, for the Bible is the Spirit’s sword. Some, it is true, resist the influence of the Spirit, and never become conscious of their need until it is too late. But we will consider the case of one upon whom the Spirit works effectually. As the truth is impressed upon his heart, his prison walls seem to contract about him. Whereas before he thought he had unlimited freedom, he now finds that he is in a narrow cell, the walls of which are the ten commandments. He resolves that he will be free, and starts out in one direction. But he has taken the name of the Lord in vain, and the third commandment says, You can’t get out here. He turns in another direction, but he has borne false witness, and the ninth commandment presents an effectual barrier to his escape in that direction. Whichever way he turns, a commandment, stronger than any earthly prison wall, drives him back. He is shut in on every side. But Christ is the door that ever stands open. Toward this door the inclosing walls seem to drive him, and he is shut up to it as the only avenue of escape. At last he escapes through this door, and becomes in Christ a free man. In Christ he is as though he had never sinned, and in him he is, “made the righteousness of God.” That is, he becomes a commandment-keeper, and therefore continually walks at liberty. He has now only to stand fast in the liberty wherewith God has made him free.SITI January 13, 1887, page 27.14

    One more point. Christ is the tower of the flock, “the stronghold of the daughter of Zion.” Micah 4:8. Now turn to the exhortation of the prophet: “Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope; even to-day do I declare that I will render double unto you.” Zechariah 9:12. The blood of the covenant (verse 11) is still offered before the throne of God, and is powerful enough to set every prisoner free. Therefore we are all prisoners of hope. We may all be free if we will. No matter how high our sins may seem to be piled up against us, backed by the law of God, we need not despair, for the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin; and where sin abounds, grace doth much more abound.” W.SITI January 13, 1887, page 27.15

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 13, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner

    On the morning of the 8th inst., Brother and Sister W. C. Sisley and child arrived in Oakland on the steamer from Portland, Oregon, where they had spent a few days on their way from Battle Creek, Mich. They would have arrived the day before, but for the fact that the steamer was delayed by fogs. Sister Sisley comes to take charge of the missionary instruction in the Healdsburg College, in which work she has had long experience, and Brother Sisley will devote a little season to the recovery of his health, which is very much impaired. We heartily welcome this addition to our force of laborers on the coast.SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.1

    Now that the holidays are over, we may expect to find something in our religious exchanges besides stories of feasting and gormandizing. One would almost suppose that the majority of the people of the United States had been kept on a starvation diet for several months before Christmas, and could think of nothing during the holiday season but something to eat. And this also is a sign of the last days; “for as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, .... and knew not until the flood came and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.2

    Quite recently three lodges of the Knights of Pythias, at Little Rock, Arkansas, united in a service of sorrow and season of prayer for the dead of their order. This was in accordance with a law of the Grand Lodge, enacted in 1884, making it obligatory to hold such a season of prayer for the dead once a year. At the service referred to, the hall was crowded, and the service was said to have been solemn, yet, “resplendent with beauty and pure thought for those who have gone, and for those who have yet to cross the dark river.” It is said also that “the deep strains of the organ seem to tell those who heard it that there was a great beyond.” We can heartily endorse the following comment by the Christian Standard:—SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.3

    “How can any enlightened Christian have fellowship with such superstition and mockery? If we are to trust what we have seen with our own eyes, these Knights of Pythias had better bestow their sympathies on the parents of the living of their order, that they may be kept from patronizing saloons and drinking freely of beer on their gala days.”SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.4

    On the evening of November 28, while the General Conference was in session at Battle Creek, Mich., Dr. J. H. Kellogg, superintendent of the Sanitarium, delivered an address on “Social Purity,” to an audience of over one thousand persons in the tabernacle. The substance of that address we have before us in a neat pamphlet of forty pages, which was published in accordance with the unanimous request of those who listened to it. That the subject of social purity is one which urgently demands attention must be acknowledged by anyone who reads even the head lines of the daily papers, or who knows anything of human nature. In this pamphlet the subject is presented in an earnest and faithful manner. The dangers existing at the present time are vividly set forth, and the means of escaping these dangers is clearly indicated; yet nothing is said that could shock the most fastidious, or in any way tend to awaken an impure thought. The address should be in the hands of everybody who reads anything. Single copy, ten cents; liberal discount on large orders. Address, Health Publishing Co., Battle Creek, Mich.SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.5

    It is claimed by Sunday observers that Sunday should be kept in honor of Christ’s resurrection. Then the same people will urge that laws ought to be made compelling all classes of people to rest on Sunday. This would, of course, include infidels and atheists. That is, they would have Christ’s resurrection commemorated by those who do not believe in Christ. What else would that be but enforced hypocrisy? But some will say that by enforcing the memorial, as they claim, belief would eventually follow. That is to say, that if all the merchants in town should hang out signs advertising hardware for sale, their stores would in time fill themselves with hardware.SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.6

    Says the Oakland Tribune:-SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.7

    “The year 1886 will long be remembered for its labor troubles and strikes. But, notwithstanding the universal strikes over the country, we have yet to learn of anything being gained by the strikers. We cannot recall a single instance where any advantage has been gained by a strike which might not have been obtained by negotiation.”SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.8

    There is truth in this. A little consideration will show any thinking man that strikes and boycotts are not only violation of the golden rule, but they are disastrous to the parties engaging in them. Even when men succeed in getting an increase of wages by a strike, it will almost invariably be found that the increase does not compensate for the loss sustained in getting it. The grasping individual, as well as the grasping monopoly, usually overreaches to his own detriment.SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.9

    In speaking of the main argument in favor of the “new theology,” namely, that it is demanded by “the spirit of the age,” the New York Christian Advocate, under the heading of “a cause for alarm,” states the following fact, which is worth noting as a sign of the times:-SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.10

    “Nevertheless, the stubborn fact stands out too boldly to be denied-the church of Christ is so deeply infected by the peculiarity of the times as to be made weak thereby. Hence, instead of being able to authoritatively oppose, to successfully counteract, to effectually neutralize it, she is in danger of being shorn of her strength and robbed of her spiritual beauty by its subtle and continuous working.”SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.11

    As was to be expected, the Andover professors who have been teaching the “new theology,” that the probation of man does not cease at death, have the sympathy of all Spiritualists. The “new theology” is, in fact, only one form of Spiritualism, and its advocates will surely find it that ism ample scope for the exercise of their talents. It should be understood that the Andover professors are not being persecuted for their “advanced” ideas. The simple fact is that they have agreed, as a condition of having a position in the college, to teach in harmony with certain doctrines, and have violated their agreement. Probably some of the theories which they agreed to teach our as unscriptural as is their new departure, still that does not alter the fact that they have broken their pledge. But not withstanding the strictness of Andover rules, we venture the prediction that both accusers and accused will erelong be standing together again in the fold of Spiritualism.SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.12

    “Sunday or no Sunday?” Is the way the advocates of a rigid Sunday law put the case. It is a very common thing to hear that “we have no Sabbath in California,” since the Sunday law was repealed. Such expressions are simply admissions of the fact that the Sunday institution derives its support solely from human enactments, and that without such support there would be no Sunday sabbath. It is indeed a truth that those who ignore the Sabbath of the Lord, as enjoined in the fourth commandment, have now no sabbath in California, for the only thing which gave Sunday its religious character in this State has been withdrawn. But we have never heard any complaints from those who keep the seventh day of the week, “according to the commandment.” Such ones find no difficulty in keeping the Sabbath, although there has been no civil law whatever enforcing the observance of that day; the law of God is found to be all-sufficient. If Sunday-keepers had so good a law in support of their institution, they would never clamor for an inferior one made by man.SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.13

    “Unreliable” The Signs of the Times, 13, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner

    To the editor of the Golden Gate (Spiritualist) says:-SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.14

    “Whoever surrenders his individual judgment, and places his trust implicitly upon the communications of spirits, as given through promiscuous mediumship, is almost certain to be deceived. It matters not how confiding his trusts, or implicit his faith, nor how sincere or honest he may be in his intentions, he will find the average spiritual message a broken reed, if he attempts to lean upon it to the exclusion of the staff of his own reason.”SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.15

    This is just what students of the Bible could tell any Spiritualist. The spirits which they consult are lying spirits, because “they are the spirits of devils.” There must be to Spiritualists great comfort in listening to what they know to be lies. We prefer to listen to what we know to be truth.SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.16

    “Salvation Army Methods” The Signs of the Times, 13, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Boston correspondent of the Christian Union, in reporting the visit of General Booth to that city, makes the following criticism upon the methods of the army. We think the criticism is entirely just. And as the National Reform party is now courting the Salvation Army, it can very readily be seen what a worthy accession the National Reform will gain when it shall have won the army. But the accession will be entirely worthy of the cause:-SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.17

    “The criticism which I make is not against his methods so much as against the positive way he asserts the salvation of those who go to his anxious seat to be prayed for. All the force of the meeting is directed to get sinners forward to be converted on the spot, even if they are half intoxicated. If they feel right, and submit, they are called ‘saved.’ They sing ‘I am saved, I am saved.’ The soldiers are taught to proclaim their own salvation. If they were called new recruits and the Salvation Army, and the process of beginning were called enlisting, it might not be offensive, but the positive assumption that one has been saved during the five or ten minutes of a special prayer, the scene having much that is outre and intensely exciting, is an exercise of the knowledge that only Omniscience has the right to assume. I am not criticising the fact that God can save men instantly when they turn to him in penitence and love, but only the great danger there is in the positive declaration that this peculiar process, which seems to me to have large admixtures of the mechanical, transplants men into assured salvation. After listening to General Booth, I almost regretted that I remained to witness the closing scene. The army is always demonstrative whenever the preacher alludes to those who have just been saved. To break new converts on a public platform with banners and march them through the streets as those who are ‘saved’ seems to me an arrogance that the Salvation Army should not encumber itself with. I recognize the power there is in their methods of appeal to the low and degraded, but the gospel inculcates modesty and humility, and converts ought not to be inflated by supercilious ideas concerning themselves, made boastful and left in danger of rushing headlong into spiritual pride, which is the most insidious foe to the Christian life.”SITI January 13, 1887, page 32.18

    “The Sure Word (Concluded.)” The Signs of the Times, 13, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner


    The third chapter of the second epistle of Peter contains some positive evidence concerning the sure word of prophecy, which, as we have seen, points out the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The chapter opens with the statement that the epistle is written for the purpose of stirring the brethren up to take heed to “the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets.” There is special reason for this admonition, because just before the end, the darkness will be more intense, as the apostle Paul says, “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3:13. And these evil men will scoff, saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” 2 Peter 3:4. That this is a falsehood, and that they ought to know better if they do not, Peter declares in the next two verses, saying:-SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.1

    “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water; whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.”SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.2

    The phrase “the earth standing out of the water and in the water,” does not at all express the idea of the original. The Greek word which in the Authorized Version is rendered “standing,” should, as the margin indicates, be rendered “consisting.” Robinson’s “Lexicon of the New Testament,” says of the word: “To place together parts into a whole, i.e., to constitute, to create, to bring into existence. Hence, in the N.T., intransitive, to be constituted, created; to exist,” as in Colossians 1:17, “by him all things consist.” Wakefield translates the passage thus: “A heaven and earth formed out of water and by means of water.” Bloomfield says: “The earth... being formed out of water, and consisting by means of water.” Murdock’s translation of the Syriac has it: “The earth rose up from the waters, and by means of water, by the word of God.” The meaning is that the earth in its chaotic state was simply a watery mass, as indicated by Genesis 1:2: “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.”SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.3

    “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.” When God gathered the waters together into one place, and made the dry land appear, he evidently stored large quantities of water in the interior of the earth. This is indicated in the second commandment, by the phrase, “the waters which are under the earth,” and by Psalm 136:6: “To him that stretched out the earth above the waters,” and also by Psalm 24:1, 2. In the flood which destroyed the earth in the days of Noah, the waters in the interior of the earth united with the rain from heaven, as the record says: “The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Genesis 7:11. The idea of the passage in Peter’s epistle is that the very element from which the earth was formed, was made to contribute to its destruction. Having disproved the assertion that all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation, the apostle draws a parallel, thus:-SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.4

    “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:7. Instead of “are kept in store reserved unto fire against the day of Judgment,” a better translation would be “stored with fire, reserved unto the day of Judgment.” Now the comparison is at once apparent. By the word of God, the earth, in the beginning, was formed from the watery mass which God had spoken into existence. Part of this water was stored up in the earth, and by the word of God was afterward caused to overflow the earth and contribute to its destruction. And the same word of God, which performed this, has stored the interior of this present earth with fire, and is keeping it till the day of Judgment, when, as in the case of the waters of the flood, the fire within the earth, uniting with that which comes down from God out of Heaven (Revelation 20:9), will destroy it.SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.5

    Particular attention should be given to the word “kept.” Instead of all things continuing as they were from the beginning of the creation, the earth has within it the elements of its destruction, and it is only the power of God that stays the catastrophe.SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.6

    Some have fancied that this chapter teaches that the earth will be annihilated at the Judgment-day. This is a mistake. This earth will be destroyed in the same sense that the original earth “perished” by the waters of the earth. It was all broken up, and the face of it was changed, so that the earth after the flood had no resemblance to the earth before the flood. This was the last and greatest curse caused by sin, and completed the desolation of the earth. But the matter which composed the earth was not destroyed. So by the fires of the last day “the elements shall melt with fervent heat,” but they will not be annihilated. From those melted elements, “new heavens and a new earth” will be formed, which will have no more resemblance to this sin-cursed earth than this earth does to Eden, the garden of God. The people that shall dwell in it will all be righteous (Isaiah 60:21); and “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.” Isaiah 35:1, 2.SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.7

    The “sure word of prophecy” tells us again and again that this earth shall be destroyed by fire, and that in that fire the ungodly shall be burned up. Scoffers say that they see no evidence that any such event will ever take place; but the apostle Peter assures us that the instrument of the earth’s destruction is already prepared, and is stored within it. Just as surely as the earth was once destroyed by water, so surely will it again be destroyed by fire.SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.8

    “But these prophecies were spoken hundreds, and some of them thousands, of years ago, and there is no more evidence of their fulfillment now than there was when they were uttered.” Thus argues the scoffer; but it is a vain argument; (1) because it is not true, and (2) because of the following statement:-SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.9

    “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Peter 3:8.SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.10

    God “inhabiteth eternity.” The flight of time makes no difference with his plans. Compared with his eternity, the entire 6,000 years of earth’s existence are but a span. Says the psalmist, “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” Psalm 90:4. Therefore the apostle concludes that “the Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness.” That which seems to men forgetfulness of the promise, is only a kindly delay to allow dilatory men to secure the promise. In God’s reckoning, it is only as the three days grace which men allow for the payment of a promissory note.SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.11

    It should not be forgotten that while a thousand years is with the Lord as one day, one day is as a thousand years. This is too often overlooked. While he may take a thousand years for the fulfillment of a promise, and then it will be the same as though performed the next day, he can do in one day the work of a thousand years. Therefore there is no warrant for settling down to carnal ease, thinking that it will necessarily be a long time yet before the work of God on earth can be accomplished. “For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness; because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.” Romans 9:28.SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.12

    Having now examined some of the prophecies concerning “the power and coming” of the Lord, we will next turn our attention to some of the prophecies that mark the progress toward the fulfillment of the promise. W.SITI January 13, 1887, page 22.13

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