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    June 15, 1888

    “Our Position Defined” The Signs of the Times, 14, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A man in Kankakee, Ill., writes to us that he has read everything in the line of Adventist literature, including the SIGNS OF THE TIMES, and says in regard to this paper: “I find three prominent features in your doctrine, but no clear proof to sustain them in the Scriptures. They are, salvation by keeping Saturday, unconscious state of the dead, and future probation.”SITI June 15, 1888, page 358.29

    We confess to a feeling of discouragement at the thought that there are probably very many people who read with as little thought or attention as this man does. Two of the three “prominent features” which he professes to find in the SIGNS OF THE TIMES, are and ever have been most persistently combated in it. We are not at all surprised that a man cannot find any Scripture authority for the unconscious state of the dead, when he reads with so little care as to suppose that we hold to the doctrine of future probation or teach that men are to be saved by keeping Saturday. Perhaps a few plain words as to just what we do and do not believe on the points which our correspondent mentions, may serve to clear up the matter in the minds of others.SITI June 15, 1888, page 358.30

    1. We believe that the seventh day of the week, commonly called Saturday, is the Sabbath of the Lord. We so believe, because the Lord himself has said so. “Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” Exodus 20:9, 10. When we have so explicit a declaration as that, our belief amounts to positive knowledge.SITI June 15, 1888, page 358.31

    2. We believe that it is the duty of every man, woman, and child to keep this Sabbath of the Lord. Why? Because its observance is enjoined by the fourth commandment of the Decalogue, which was spoken by Jehovah from Mount Sinai, in words which shook the earth. Of this law the psalmist says that all of its precepts “stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.” Psalm 111:8. And Christ himself declared that “it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” Luke 16:17.SITI June 15, 1888, page 358.32

    3. These statements grow out of the very nature of the law. It is not an arbitrary thing that the commandments of God have been so unalterably fixed; they cannot be otherwise, because they are the expression of the righteous character and will of God. Says God, speaking through his prophet: “Life up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner; but my salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.” Isaiah 51:6. And then, fixing beyond all possibility of mistake what the Lord means by his righteousness, he adds: “Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law.” Verse 7. Thus we learn that the law of God is his righteousness; it is a transcript of his character.SITI June 15, 1888, page 358.33

    That the law of God is his will is shown by the psalmist, who, speaking prophetically in behalf of Christ, said: “I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8. And Paul said that the Jew knew the will of God, because he was instructed out of the law. Romans 2:18. Now since God is one and unchangeable, it follows that if the Jew could find the will of God in his law, everybody else can, and that that will cannot be found anywhere else. It is from this fact that we know that everybody is in duty bound to keep the law of God, because all are under obligation to do God’s will. And since the fourth commandment is a part of God’s will, it follows that everybody is under obligation to keep the Sabbath of the Lord, which is the seventh day of the week.SITI June 15, 1888, page 358.34

    4. But we do not therefore conclude that salvation comes through the keeping of Saturday. The fourth commandment is only one of ten, every one of which is of equal importance. Take the sixth commandment, for instance. None of the readers of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES will object to the statement that it is wrong for a man to take the life of another. Indeed, we apprehend that they will all take as strong ground on that subject as we do. There is not a church in the land whose doors would be open to receive a red-handed, unrepentant murderer. All will agree that such a person could not enter Heaven. But do they therefore believe that if a man does not kill another he is sure of Heaven? that salvation comes through abstaining from murder? Not by any means; and they would be exceedingly indignant if anyone should make such a charge. They teach that a man must abstain from murder, stealing, lying, swearing, etc., but that this alone will not save his soul.SITI June 15, 1888, page 358.35

    We believe and teach that the ten commandments, including the Sabbath commandment, are the rule of life. But we also believe and teach that all men are sinners, that no man can do anything to take away his sin, and that this can be done by the blood of Christ alone. We teach also, what we find plainly revealed in the Bible, that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth” (Romans 10:4); that “the just shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38); and that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Romans 14:23. This means that without faith in Christ no one can render acceptable service to God; that without Christ we can do nothing; that our utmost exertions would not of themselves gain salvation for us, but that we must be clothed with the righteousness which is by faith of Jesus Christ. Without faith in Christ, no man can even keep the Sabbath as it must be kept in order to be acceptable to God. Those only will be saved whose faith reaches up to the throne where Christ sits at the right hand of God, and brings his own perfect righteousness down to round out and make perfect their own feeble efforts.SITI June 15, 1888, page 358.36

    Therefore we do not teach that a man is to be saved through Sabbath-keeping any more than he can be saved through refraining from swearing. But this does not imply that we are at liberty to break the Sabbath or to swear. There is a vast difference between teaching that a man is to be saved by keeping the commandments, and teaching that he cannot be saved if he breaks the commandments. We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ; but Christ saves us from our sins, and not in them. He is not the minister of sin.SITI June 15, 1888, page 358.37

    5. As to the unconscious state of the dead, we do teach that. We have no space in this article to give extended proof, but will be content for the present with one text: “Put not your trust in princes, not in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Psalm 146:3, 4. With us, one plain, unequivocal statement from the word of God is as good as a thousand. It ought to be with everybody. More on this point will be given at another time.SITI June 15, 1888, page 358.38

    6. As to future probation, probation after death or after the coming of the Lord, we have only this to say, namely, that it is a doctrine devised and promulgated by the devil, for the purpose of drawing souls to perdition. There is no doctrine that is more the doctrine of the devil than this one, and of all the doctrines of devils, we believe it to be the worst. We do not except Spiritualism, because the doctrine of future probation is Spiritualism. If anybody else can find any more emphatic language in which to condemn the doctrine of probation after death, we will heartily indorse it. We trust that no one will misunderstand our position on this subject.SITI June 15, 1888, page 358.39

    We might quote Scripture texts by the score in support of all the statements that we have made; but we cannot be expected to give an exhaustive treatise on theology in one short article, and this is amply long enough to let people know what we believe on these points. We shall soon give our readers more in detail the Scripture reasons why we believe concerning them as we do. W.SITI June 15, 1888, page 358.40

    “Thoughts on Psalm 63” The Signs of the Times, 14, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee; my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.” Verses 1, 2. David had correct ideas of his relations to God. He says: “Thou art my God.” Too many imagine that God is far off from them, and that they have to make some great exertions to arouse his interest in them. They forget that God is “not far from every one of us; for in him we live, and move, and have our being.” They forget that God has sought us, and is anxiously waiting for us to seek him. They imagine that God is like a man,-holding off those who have done him a wrong, and refusing to be reconciled. They forget that “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8), and that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,” and that to his ministers he has committed the word of reconciliation, who in Christ’s stead beg of sinners, “Be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:19, 20.SITI June 15, 1888, page 358.41

    Many people remain at a distance from God, because they forget, or have never heard, that he has proclaimed himself “the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression and sin.” Exodus 34:6, 7. “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” Psalm 103:8. “He is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. So willing is he to forgive, that when men seek him, turning from their wicked thoughts and actions, “he will multiply to pardon.” Isaiah 55:7, margin. And so abundant and efficient is his mercy toward them that fear him, that though their sins be as scarlet, “they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18. Why will not men let the goodness of God lead them to repentance. What more could he have done than he has done?SITI June 15, 1888, page 358.42

    “Early will I seek thee.” David knew that that was the time to seek the Lord. “Those that seek me early shall find me.” Is not this an indication that, if seeking the Lord is put off, he may not be found? Isaiah says: “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found.” Then there will be a time when he may not be found.” “Now is the accepted time.” True, this refers to the gospel age, but it is literally true. We have known men, in this age when the gospel is preached, who could not find the Lord. They had once felt the strivings of the Spirit, but now they could feel no interest in divine things. They would acknowledge the truth of God’s word, but they were indifferent to it. Now is the time when the Lord may be found,-just now while you feel that the husks of sin, “the beggarly elements of the world,” are unsatisfying food. Do not stifle the slightest conviction; “quench not the Spirit.” Says Jesus: “Him that cometh to me I will in nowise cast out.” John 6:37.SITI June 15, 1888, page 358.43

    But it is not sufficient to simply seek early; some start to seek the Lord, but have not a desire sufficiently to make them persevere. Said David, “My soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee.” He felt that he must have God. He could not be satisfied without God. When a man feels that way, he gets what he wants. Says Christ, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:4. The trouble too often is, that, instead of having an intense desire and longing for righteousness, we are simply passively willing to have righteousness. We ask the Lord to help us overcome some sin, with a mental reservation that we may indulge in it now in a while. We don’t like to say, “I hate the sins that made thee mourn.” “Hate” seems to strong a word; we still cherish a secret love for the sin. We want (so we think) to be righteous, and yet we feel loath to part with that darling sin. That is very far from hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Such half-way desire will never result in anything except final defeat. But when the mind is fixed upon Christ; when he is to the soul “the chiefest among ten thousand,” the one “altogether lovely;” when to be like him is the one absorbing desire; when the thought of being like Christ makes “the pleasures of sin” pale into insignificance,-then will he be found. To such the promise is,SITI June 15, 1888, page 358.44

    “They shall be filled.” Think of that. How much righteousness does that imply? Here is the definition of “fill;” “To make full; to supply with as much as can be held or contained; to put or pour into till no more can be received; to occupy to the whole capacity of.” Now that doesn’t leave any room for anything else. When a man is “filled with the fruits of righteousness,” there isn’t going to be any wickedness cropping out. Such a one “keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.”SITI June 15, 1888, page 359.1

    But is such a condition possible? Let us see. Paul told the Ephesians that he prayed to God, “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19.SITI June 15, 1888, page 359.2

    Do you know anyone who has realized the answer to that prayer? Such a thing must be possible, for Paul prayed for it, and he says that God is “able to do exceeding abundantly, above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Ah! that’s the secret. There is some power working in us that is stronger than we. “That Christ may dwell in your hearts.” Well, Christ was unsullied by the strongest of Satan’s temptations, and if he dwells in our hearts, why may we not likewise repel all of Satan’s advances?SITI June 15, 1888, page 359.3

    Says Paul: “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. No man has strength to resist the devil, but with Christ to strengthen him he can do all things. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4. Not the victory that makes a feeble effort to overcome, and fails; but the victory that does overcome.SITI June 15, 1888, page 359.4

    What has been done may be done. Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth “were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” Luke 1:6. Enoch “walked with God;” and two cannot walk together except they be agreed. Moreover we have the Lord’s own testimony concerning Job that he was “a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil.” It is true that there was “none like him in the earth;” but the fact that there was one such man shows that there might have been more; and if there might have been more, there ought to have been more.SITI June 15, 1888, page 359.5

    Let it be remembered, however, that this is not a gift suddenly bestowed, but is the result of constant, progressive work. Says Daivd: “My soul followeth hard after thee.” Psalm 63:8. It is not enough simply to seek the Lord early, or even to hunger and thirst after him, unless it is kept up. “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.” Titus 3:8. Such a state of righteousness is progressive. “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.” Philippians 1:9, 10. “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18. The Christian can never arrive at a place beyond which there is nothing. Stereotyping is a thing that is not done in Christian experience. The Christian must “act in the living present,” and not think to live on past experience.SITI June 15, 1888, page 359.6

    As a matter of course, walking with God produces humility. “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him.” Habakkuk 2:4. When a man becomes satisfied with his condition, he ceases to hunger and thirst after righteousness; he ceases to follow hard after God, and consequently he becomes empty. Notwithstanding Job’s perfectness, when God revealed himself to him in an especial manner, he said: “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself.” Job 42:5, 6. The nearer one gets to God, the greater will seem the contrast between God and himself. That time can never come. “To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.” That is what David longed for. He had been at times wonderfully impressed, during the service in the sanctuary, with the power of the love of God. He had been greatly blessed. Now he wanted to see the Lord just as he had seen him in the sanctuary. He believed that a person might enjoy just as much of the blessing of God while about his daily business, as when in church. How was it with Daniel? He was prime minister of the kingdom of Babylon, with all the burden of the business of that mighty empire upon him, yet while he was in the palace, doing “the king’s business,” he received a vision from God. See Daniel 8:1, 2, 27. He did not allow business cares to separate him from God. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4. For what purpose was it told what Daniel was doing when he had that vision, except that we might learn that it is possible to “walk with God,” and to have close communion with him, even when burdened with business cares. Daniel had learned to cast his care on the Lord. When a man has learned that, he can say,SITI June 15, 1888, page 359.7

    “Because thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.” He can’t help praising the Lord. “Thus will I bless thee while I live; I will lift up my hands in thy name.” Yes; “they will be still praising thee.”SITI June 15, 1888, page 359.8

    “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips; when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.” Psalm 63:5-7.SITI June 15, 1888, page 359.9

    Continual remembrance of God must result in praise and thanksgiving; and praise to God is a powerful help in overcoming. Says David: “So will I sing praise unto thy name forever, that I may daily perform my vows.” Psalm 61:8. Meditation upon God reveals his goodness, and this calls for praise; praise is but an expression of confidence in God “and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” W.SITI June 15, 1888, page 359.10

    “Significant Resolutions” The Signs of the Times, 14, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We give the following resolution, comments, and all, just as we find it in the Chicago Advance of May 24:-SITI June 15, 1888, page 359.11

    “The millennium is coming. At a large Catholic mass-meeting held in the Nineteenth Ward of this city last Sunday afternoon the following resolution was enthusiastically adopted by a rising vote:-SITI June 15, 1888, page 359.12

    “‘Resolved, That the Catholic people of this parish and the Catholics of the entire city are of one heart and mind, and in full accord with their brethren of every religious denomination-with all decent, self-respecting, order-loving citizens-in denouncing and insisting that the whisky-shop and saloon shall not be permitted to offend public decency in front of the churches dedicated to the worship of God, nor alongside our schools to contaminate and imperil the innocence of our children. And we, moreover, believe that we have the right to claim protection from the same unwelcome intrusion in residence neighborhoods from the pest which threatens and menaces our home, peace, and property interests.’SITI June 15, 1888, page 359.13

    “The meeting then demanded that the saloons should be closed at least during the hours of worship on Sunday, and also that the alderman of the ward should either vote to keep the saloon away from the church and school or resign. This pronounced action is largely due to the good work done by the Tribune in calling attention to the fact that the nineteen Catholic aldermen always vote on the side of the saloons.”SITI June 15, 1888, page 359.14

    Now we know just what is necessary to the ushering in of the millennium, according to the Advance. It is to have Catholics, unite with Protestants in “demanding” that the saloons shall be closed “at least during the hours of worship on Sunday.” Truly that will be a glorious millennium! It will be akin to the time in the Dark Ages when the Catholic Church had supreme control, when, as Lea in his “History of the Inquisition” so tersely puts it, “society, as long as it was orthodox and docile, was allowed to wallow in all the wickedness which depravity might suggest. The supreme object of uniformity in faith was practically attained, and the moral condition of mankind was dismissed from consideration as of no importance.” It was so in the days when the Jews made void the commandment of God by their traditions. They tithed mint, and anise, and cumin, but neglected the weightier matters of the law.SITI June 15, 1888, page 359.15

    Yet in the face of such declarations as the above, people ask us to believe that the effort to enforce Sunday liquor laws is solely a temperance movement. We trust that the unprejudiced, thinking persons will not think us very obtuse if we say that we can see in it nothing whatever but a scheme to compel people to attend church for want of any other place to go. The saloon is becoming too formidable a rival of the church, and therefore it must be suppressed. It seems almost uncharitable to intimate such a thing, but they leave us no alternative; church zeal and determination to have Sunday observed at all hazards form ninety-nine one-hundredths of the so-called temperance enthusiasm to-day.SITI June 15, 1888, page 359.16

    “An Important Question” The Signs of the Times, 14, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    On one occasion Jesus said to the Jews, “What think ye of Christ?” This is a question that may well be addressed to every person. A great deal depends upon the answer that is given to it. The one who thinks of Christ as a mere man, has not the slightest knowledge of him. He might as well deny that there is or ever was such a person as Christ. The one who regards Christ as more than man, as one of the angels, does not know him either, since Christ has “by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they,” Hebrews 1:4. The one who regards him as one of God’s creatures to whom power was delegated as representative of God, has not yet such a knowledge of him as will make him partaker of the divine nature. But he who can say with all his heart, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” who regards him in his earthly ministry as God manifest in the flesh, has such a knowledge as will enable him with all confidence to lay hold on the hope set before him. Whoever has not this knowledge, should obtain it; and he who has it should not rest content, but should “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”SITI June 15, 1888, page 360.1

    “The Commentary. Review and Temperance” The Signs of the Times, 14, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    NOTES ON THE INTERNATIONAL LESSON.
    (June 24.-1 Corinthians 8:1-13.)

    In this lesson there are several points noted for review, only one of which we wish to notice. It is called “The Atonement on the Cross.” When we say that this is a mistaken idea, and that the atonement was not made upon the cross, some may think that the statement is almost equivalent to a denial of the Bible; but we beg then to hold their decision in reserve until they read farther. The Bible nowhere states that the atonement was made on the cross, and we think that we can very readily demonstrate that it was not then made.SITI June 15, 1888, page 362.1

    In the first place we wish it to be remembered that the Jewish tabernacle and temple service was a type of Christ’s service in the real work of taking away sin. The victims that were brought to the altar and slain, could not take away sin, but were simply types of the Lamb of God, who alone can take away the sin of the world. This needs no argument, as it will be conceded by everybody. Now we ask, Was an atonement made for the sins of any man, at the time when he brought his offering to the priest, confessing his sins upon it? The answer must be, No, since the tenth day of the seventh month was the day of atonement for the whole congregation. If an atonement had been made in the case of each individual, when he confessed his sins, then there would have been no necessity for a general day of atonement. Whenever a man brought an offering, and confessed his sins, he was forgiven, but the atonement was not then made, even in figure.SITI June 15, 1888, page 362.2

    We come then to the day of atonement. The sixteenth chapter of Leviticus contains a description of this event. After the high priest had made an atonement for himself, he was to take one of the two goats that had previously been selected, and proceed as follows:-SITI June 15, 1888, page 362.3

    “Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat; and he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins; and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.” Leviticus 16:15-17.SITI June 15, 1888, page 362.4

    From these verses we learn that the atonement for the people was made in the sanctuary with the blood of the goat that had been slain outside the sanctuary. The atonement was not made when the victim was slain, but was made afterwards with its blood, which was taken into the sanctuary for that purpose. Now those priests served “unto the example and shadow of heavenly things” (Hebrews 8:5), and, therefore, from the figurative atonement we must be able to trace the real. In the one sacrifice of Christ, all the daily sacrifices, and the sacrifices of all the yearly atonement days, found their complete fulfillment. Christ was offered “once for all.” But since in the figure the atonement was not made when the offering was slain, but was made with his blood afterwards, so it must be in the reality. The death of the offered victim was only the preparation for the atonement; it furnished the means by which the atonement could be made; and as in the figure the blood was taken into the sanctuary, in order to make the atonement, so Christ has entered into the holy places in Heaven, with his own blood to make an atonement for his people. We cannot here go into the particulars of the atonement, but can merely show that the atonement was only begun and was not completed on the cross.SITI June 15, 1888, page 362.5

    If it were true that the atonement was completed on the cross, then the doctrine of election and foreordination as taught by the ultra-Calvinists, or else universal salvation, would necessarily be true. There would be no escape from one or the other. For if the atonement were made and completed on the cross, then nothing that anybody can do can change his condition as there fixed. It must necessarily follow that those for whom the atonement was made cannot fail of salvation, and that those for whom it was not made cannot obtain salvation, no matter what course they pursue. But nobody can really believe this doctrine, no matter what his printed creed may say; and so many have gone over to the other logical extreme, namely, that everybody will be saved. We say that this is a logical conclusion from the premise that the atonement was made on the cross; for since Christ died for all, it necessarily follows that if the atonement was made when he died, all must be saved. But we need not adopt either of these conclusions. Christ died in order that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Whosoever will may come and find pardon for his sins, and have them finally blotted out.SITI June 15, 1888, page 362.6

    The remaining portion of the lesson, which headed “Temperance,” is the eighth chapter of First Corinthians. It is rather farfetched for a temperance lesson, and in fact cannot justly be made to serve in any way as a temperance lesson; for in this chapter Paul shows the necessity of abstaining from a thing that is in itself perfectly harmless, in order to avoid injuring the conscience of some weak brother, while intoxicants should be let alone, not because some weak brother may take license from our example, but because they are in themselves injurious. They can produce nothing but harm, no matter what may be the conscience of the man who indulges in them. Since this is not primarily a temperance chapter, we shall simply make a few comments upon it of a general nature.SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.1

    “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” To edify means to build up. So the text really means: “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity buildeth up.” There is a vast difference between being puffed up and being built up. We must not understand that the apostle means a depreciate knowledge, but that he wishes to show that knowledge alone will not amount to anything. Read what he says in 1 Corinthians 13:1, 2: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” Such a person would be puffed up, and might, like a drum, make a great noise, and many people might therefore think him to be of great importance, but he would lack solidity, and be in reality nothing. From the apostle’s statements we must conclude that knowledge which does not have true charity as a basis, is a worthless thing. It serves simply to puff up, to glorify the possessor, but not to build up anything.SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.2

    But charity builds up. Why? Because charity is “the bond of perfectness;” it is “the fulfilling of the law.” Our minds naturally revert to the words of Christ at the close of the sermon on the mount: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.” Matthew 7:24. The sermon on the mount was simply an expansion of “the law and the prophets.” Those who heed Christ’s words will keep the law, and will consequently build up a perfect character. They will have rock foundation, and the pillars of their super-structure will be the pillars of truth. It has been said that “a little learning is a dangerous thing;” as a matter of fact, any learning, little or great, is a dangerous thing, unless it is the wisdom that cometh from above which is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” James 3:17. See also 1 Corinthians 13:4-6. And this is the wisdom which comes from obedience to the commandments. W.SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.3

    “Suggestions for Quarterly Review” The Signs of the Times, 14, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    LESSON 26.—SABBATH, JUNE 30

    1. Give a brief Bible description of the character of Abraham.SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.4

    2. What was the foundation of Abraham’s righteousness?SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.5

    3. Tell how Abraham’s faith was tested.SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.6

    4. What made this such a test of his faith?SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.7

    5. How did Jacob come to leave his father’s house?SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.8

    6. Relate the dream which he had while on his journey.SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.9

    7. What vow did he make?SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.10

    8. Give proof that it is right for us to make such vows.SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.11

    9. Where is this narrative recorded?SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.12

    10. Relate the circumstances of Jacob’s wrestling with the angel.SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.13

    11. Who was the angel?SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.14

    12. What was the cause of Jacob’s importunity, and what did he receive?SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.15

    13. For what purpose was this narrative recorded?SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.16

    14. What led to Joseph’s being sold into Egypt?SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.17

    15. How did he suffer there, and what for?SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.18

    16. What subsequent position did he occupy?SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.19

    17. What was the real cause of Joseph’s prosperity?SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.20

    18. Show how God overruled the purposes of wicked men for good.SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.21

    19. How did the Israelites come to settle in the land of Eygpt?SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.22

    20. After they became very numerous, what was done to them?SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.23

    21. Tell how Moses was fitted for the work of delivering the people.SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.24

    22. Relate the circumstances of his call to return to Egypt to deliver Israel.SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.25

    23. What was God’s special object in delivering his people?SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.26

    NOTES

    Character is what a man is; reputation is what others say that he is. What Abraham’s reputation was among the heathen with whom he dwelt we are not informed; but we are told in so many words (Genesis 15:6) that the Lord counted him righteous; not because Abraham had never sinned, and was perfect in himself, but because of his faith. All have sinned (Romans 5:12), and Abraham was no exception to the rule, but he “believed in the Lord,” and his faith was counted “unto him for righteousness;” that is, his sins were forgiven and the righteousness of Christ was imputed to him.SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.27

    Faith was the foundation of Abraham’s righteousness, as indeed it is of all righteousness. The apostle tells us (Hebrews 11:6) that without faith it is impossible to please God; but we know that God is pleased with righteousness, and with those who are righteous; therefore, without faith it is impossible to be righteous. And this is just what the Saviour meant when he said: “He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5.SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.28

    But these words of our Saviour suggest another thought, namely, that being merely justified for past transgressions is not enough; the man who is justified must, if he would retain his justification, abide in Christ by a living faith. This is aptly stated elsewhere by the same apostle who recorded the words of our Saviour just quoted. He says: “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” 1 John 2:6. There must be a growth, a development; the Christian must bring forth fruit. Paul tells us (Galatians 5:22, 23) what some of these fruits are, and in 2 Peter 1:9 we are assured that “he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” The professed Christian who is not giving all diligence to add to his faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity, may well doubt the genuineness of his faith.SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.29

    Bible faith is not simply a passive belief of the declarations and promises of God, but it is an active, living principle which permeates the whole being, rules the life, and incites its possessor to action. We know that Abraham’s faith was of this character, for the Lord himself said to Isaac: “Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” Genesis 26:5. And the apostle James says, “Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” James 2:17. In proof of this proposition the apostle cites the case of Abraham, thus: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?”SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.30

    The apostle does not teach that works can by any means take the place of faith, but that real faith will work. Abraham obeyed God because he had faith; and in the very act of obedience his faith was strengthened. This is well explained by these words of the apostle John: “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” 1 John 3:21, 22. It is thus that “by works was faith made perfect” in the case of “the father of the faithful.” And it is thus that faith must be perfected in each one of our cases. Faith is implicit trust in, or confidence towards, God; but if our hearts condemn us, as they certainly will if we are living in sin, we cannot have this confidence, and consequently no true faith, but, like the devils, we also will believe only to tremble.SITI June 15, 1888, page 363.31

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 14, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Here is an item clipped from America, which ought to stop some of the glorification of high license by professed temperance reformers:-SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.1

    “A prominent liquor dealer of Chicago complained the other day that the license was not high enough. ‘If it were only $5,000,’ he said, ‘all the cheap shops would be closed, and the higher-class places would be benefited.’”SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.2

    Strangely enough, the paragraph from which this was taken contained a plea for high license!SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.3

    Two National Political Conventions have already met, done their work, and adjourned. The Prohibitionists assembled at Indianapolis declared in favor of women’s suffrage and a Sunday law, and nominated Gen. Clinton B. Fisk, of New Jersey, for President, and John A. Brooks for Vice-President. The Democratic Convention at St. Louis nominated Grover Cleveland for President, and Judge Thurman, of Ohio, for Vice-President.SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.4

    It seems that the Anti-Poverty Society is becoming an Anti-Pope Society. A few days ago Dr. McGlynn spoke to more than 1,500 people, most of whom were Catholics, on the “Pope in Irish Politics.” His denunciations of the Pope received with cheers. Not content with repeating the common saying, “All the religion you please from Rome, but no politics,” he went farther, and said that “what is true in religion comes from God, and not from Rome.” Although this is Protestant doctrine, Dr. McGlynn and his followers are a long way from being Protestants.SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.5

    We are glad to see a protest in the New York Observer against applying the title “his Holiness” to the Pope. Is quite common to see him referred to in that manner, not only in secular journals, but also in Protestant papers. The title sometimes appears in these columns, and quotations from other journals, but we never use it. Even when we see it in our columns and quotations from others, it makes us feel as though we were guilty of sacrilege in so degrading the word “holiness.” As a representative of the power designated in the Scriptures as “that Wicked,” and “the man of sin,” “his wickedness” would be a much more appropriate title to give the Pope.SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.6

    In his address to the National Reform Convention in Philadelphia, Rev. J. A. Wylie said that Sunday laws cannot be oppressive, since they bind all alike, and make no discrimination in favor of any. This he illustrated by saying:-SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.7

    “Like the pressure of the atmosphere of the human body, no injury is produced, because all parts are affected alike. In regard to those who observe some other than the first day of the week as a day of sacred rest, the law should not prohibit this, and if their consciences require that they should observe a different day, they may thank the law which secures to them an additional Sabbath every week.”SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.8

    But what becomes of his figure concerning equal pressure of the air? He must have forgotten that. So long as the air presses equally on every portion of the body, there is perfect ease; but just let one portion of the body be subjected to double pressure, and there will be a continual sense of discomfort. To one who should complain because he was subjected to double pressure, the National Reformers would say, “You ought rather to thank the man who has secured to you twice as much air as other people have.” He would doubtless fail to appreciate the kindness, and would prefer to take his air just as the Lord provided it for him, without having it tampered with by man. So long as men have Sabbath laws as God fixed them, there is no an equal pressure; but when they attempt to improve upon his plans they make trouble.SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.9

    A private letter received a few days since at this office brings the welcome intelligence that Brother A. LaRue has reached Hongkong, China, in safety after a pleasant voyage of forty-two days from Honolulu, H.I. At the date of writing, May 6, Brother LaRue had not yet commenced work, having but just secured suitable room; but being well supplied with publications, and, above all, being fully imbued with the spirit of the message, he has doubtless entered upon his work long ere this. Indeed, he began his work long before he reached land, and so faithfully did he perform it that the mate of the vessel accepted the truths of the Third Angel’s Message, and is now keeping the Sabbath. May the blessings of the Lord of the harvest attend Brother LaRue in his foreign field.SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.10

    At a meeting held by the common council of the city of Kankakee, Ill., May 14, the following ordinance was passed, which was approved by the mayor, May 21:-SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.11

    “Whoever shall, on Sunday, keep open, or permit to be kept open, his or her place of business, or shall do any work, or pursue any occupation, within said city (except as otherwise provided), shall, on conviction thereof, be fined not less than two dollars nor more than twenty-five dollars for each offense; Provided, that this section shall not be applicable to cases of necessity or charity, nor to hotels, eating-houses, livery stables, common carriers of passengers, or drug stores; nor to butcher shops being kept open to the hour of nine o’clock A.M. of said day.”SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.12

    The effort to pass a State Sunday law in Illinois failed, and whether the city ordinance would amount to anything in the face of that failure, we do not know; but it serves to show the tendency to enact iron-clad Sunday laws.SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.13

    We would again call attention to the pamphlet containing the Sabbath-school lessons for the last half of this year. It is now printed, and orders can be filled to any extent as fast as received. The pamphlet contains three-fifths more matter than the one containing the lessons for the first six numbers of the year. This increase is due to the notes that have been prepared for the lessons, which the student will find a great help to him in learning the lesson. When we say that this pamphlet will be much more helpful than the other, we are sure that none who use it will fail to secure this. At least every officer and teacher ought to have one. To those who are traveling constantly, it is a necessity, for without it they could not keep track of the lesson so as to join in the recitation wherever they may be. Send in your orders to Pacific Press. Price per copy, fifteen cents.SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.14

    In the Christian Union of May 31 there is a short editorial concerning the case of Dr. Woodrow, who has been under trial for teaching that evolution is not inconsistent with the teaching of Scripture. In that editorial occurs the following passage, which, to say the least, is peculiar, as coming from a professedly religious journal:-SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.15

    “One thing seems to us very clear. When we reflect that the traditional doctrine of the fall of man is directly inculcated only in two passages of Scripture, if there-the fifth chapter of Romans and the third chapter of Genesis-that the first passage is a parenthesis which is of doubtful interpretation and might be omitted entirely without interfering with the apostle’s argument, while the second is regarded by many of the ablest Hebrew scholars as a poem or allegory, is quite evident that the prosecutors of Dr. Woodrow are lifting up the doctrine of the fall into a position, which it does not occupy in Scripture, and are giving it a prominence and importance for which they can find no warrant in revelation, however they may be supported by traditional theology or ecclesiastical authority.”SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.16

    We can’t imagine what kind of gospel Dr. Abbott preaches; for if man never fell, he certainly doesn’t need salvation. Aside from the tendency to minimize the authority of Scripture statements, which appears in the extract, the thoughtful reader will see in it doctrine very closely allied to Spiritualism. Christianity without the doctrine of the fall, is Christianity without Christ, and that is paganism. It is the indorsement of the line by which Satan induced Eve to disobey God, telling her that instead of falling she would rise to a more exalted position. It is just such teaching as that of the Christian Union that is preparing the way for the almost universal adoption of Spiritualism.SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.17

    “Good News for Pitcairn” The Signs of the Times, 14, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The following is from the Philadelphia Record of May 23. We know that many of our readers will be interested to learn that there is so good a prospect of direct communication with the good people of Pitcairn:-SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.18

    “The clipper ship, Josephus, now lying at the old navy yard wharves, is bound to Pitcairn Island, the home of the descendants of the mutineers of the English ship Bounty. She will first proceed to San Francisco, where she will discharge the cargo now on board and take a lot of dry goods and cattle, the gifts of Captain Knowles, a retired whaler, who, while master of the ship Wildwave, was wrecked on one of the outlying reefs near Pitcairn, and with difficulty reach the latter Island with $26,000 in gold. This he eventually saved with the assistance of the islanders, and delivered to the owners of the ship. Recently, while on the passage to the city from California, he stopped off the island, where he was visited by twenty-five men and women, who reported that there are one hundred and fifteen souls at Pitcairn. The Josephus will take from this city many valuable presents, which have been donated by prominent citizens from the different parts of the United States, to be delivered by Captain Rogers to the islanders. When the Josephus was thirty days out from San Francisco bound toward Philadelphia the island was first seen. In a short time the vessel was boarded by the islanders. As the natives were religiously inclined, and worship on the seventh day of the week, no business was done until after six o’clock, when their Sunday ended, after which they brought on board oranges, bananas, pine-apples, and water-melons, with sufficient eggs and fowls to last the vessel to her port of destination. About one year ago the islanders adopted the doctrine of the Seventh-day Adventists, which form of worship now prevails there exclusively.”SITI June 15, 1888, page 368.19

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