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    June 22, 1888

    “Spiritualism and Romanism” The Signs of the Times, 14, 24.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Though not generally recognized, it is nevertheless a fact that Spiritualism and Romanism are but different phases of one gigantic system of error. Both are paganism, the former pure and simple, while the latter has a slight admixture of formal Christianity. They are, however, equally antichristian, for the one absolutely denies Christ, while the other gives to the Virgin and to the “saints” the honor which belongs alone to Christ. Both are alike dependent, also, for their very existence upon the doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul; and as is shown by the following quotations from the New York Observer, of May 10, the conscious state of the dead is alike their sole stock and trade:-SITI June 22, 1888, page 371.1

    “Spiritualism enthralls many by its claim to have communication and association with the departed loved ones. Romanism claims to relieve the sufferings of departed loved ones by masses and labors. This degradation of Christianity is not at all realized by those brought up in Protestant communions. The Catholic Mirror, one of the most intelligent Romanist publications in this country, has an editorial urging attention to the Pope’s encyclical which calls for a special mass for the dead on the grandest scale possible in honor of the Jubilee. It says that after death ‘we lose power to contribute to our own salvation’ and are ‘thrown upon the charity of those who are left behind;’ and this religious newspaper thus concludes: ‘It is for this reason that the church never ceases to offer a share of the merits due to every voluntary good work and prayer for the suffering souls of her children in purgatory; and it is for this reason that our Holy Father bids the faithful to unite in a special service offered up for the satisfaction of God’s justice in behalf of the departed, that they may enjoy a share of the blessings and graces so abundantly showered upon the church and the faithful at this time.’SITI June 22, 1888, page 371.2

    “No Scripture-taught Christian believes that those who die in the Lord are ‘thrown upon the charity of those who are left behind.’ What a caricature of the church is that organization which teaches that good works, prayers, and money of the living, can be used as ‘the satisfaction of God’s justice’ in behalf of the dead. But this superstitious idea of helping out of suffering deceased loved ones and others, and ourselves when death has taken us away, serves to comfort many a deluded heart. Like Spiritualism, it takes advantage of strong natural instincts to secure faith in preposterous claims. It is both dangerous and degrading.SITI June 22, 1888, page 371.3

    “For one dollar the Bishop of Montreal offers a share in the spiritual advantages of more than ten thousand masses, nearly a half million communions and ways of the cross, more than a half million rosaries. This is doubtless a very small share, but it is promised to do something at least, however small, to lessen the torments of posthumous suffering on account of sin. This gives but a faint idea of the boldness in which this matter is dealt with by the priests.”SITI June 22, 1888, page 371.4

    “The Law of the Sabbath” The Signs of the Times, 14, 24.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Christian Nation of June 6 contains an extract from a characteristic address on National Reform, by the Rev. M. A. Gault. In that speech he professed to show that the Bible contains all the laws necessary for the government of any nation. Taking the “United States of Israel” as the “model republic,” he pointed out the making and ratification of the Constitution, the formation of “Congress,” etc. But the thing which specially interested us was this:-SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.1

    “The law for the keeping of the Sabbath is defined in Exodus 20:8-11.”SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.2

    Now since Mr. Gault was describing the model of the National Reform Government, and since he and his followers are just now actively engaged in trying to secure a “Sabbath” law as the basis of that Government, we may profitably examine the “law for the keeping of the Sabbath,” to see if they are now acting in harmony with it.SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.3

    The bill which they are trying to get through Congress is designed to promote the observance of the first day of the week as a day of religious worship and rest. The day which they expect to have kept by everybody, when they establish their reformed government, which is to be a republic ruled by a king-a monster-is Sunday. But the law by which they will try all violaters of the national rest day, will be, according to Mr. Gault, the fourth commandment. That commandment reads thus:-SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.4

    “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11.SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.5

    From the commandment itself we learn that it was not the Sabbath institution that was blessed, but the Sabbath day, literally, the day of the Sabbath. The commandment also declares that Sabbath is the name of the seventh day. The seventh day is the Sabbath, because that in it the Lord rested. Turning to the record of creation, to which the commandment refers, we find again that it was not merely the Sabbath as an institution, that was blessed, neither was it an indefinite Sabbath day, but the seventh day. “And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:3.SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.6

    So the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the seventh day. The seventh day of what? The seventh day of the week, as a matter of course. There is no other period of time the days of which can be designated by number without naming the period. Try it, and see. Suppose you design to go to start on a journey on the seventh of August. A friend asks you when you are going, and you tell him that you will start on the seventh day. He will at once conclude that you are going to start on Saturday. If you tell him no, he will not know what you mean. The week is composed of seven days. Each of these days is designated by a certain number. In the Bible they are always named by number. To the seventh day is given the name Sabbath. Indeed, it is utterly impossible for an unprejudiced person to read the fourth commandment without saying at once that the seventh day of the week is the Sabbath. The idea that “the seventh day” of the commandment refers to the seventh day from any point at which a person may choose to begin to count, is of modern date, invented as an excuse for keeping Sunday instead of the Sabbath.SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.7

    If, however, more is required on this point, we have an inspired comment. Luke tells us that the day on which Christ was crucified was the preparation, the day before the Sabbath; that the women who followed to see where Jesus was buried, “returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.” And then, very early in the morning of the first day of the week, they hastened to the sepulcher, bearing the spices which they had prepared to anoint Jesus. See Luke 23:54-57; 24:1.SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.8

    Now there are but seven days in the week, so that the day before the first day of the week must be the seventh day of the week. Therefore the women rested on the seventh day of the week, and this was the Sabbath day “according to the commandment.” So we are sure that the fourth commandment enjoins the observance of the seventh day of the week. There can be no avoiding this conclusion. Any judge would decide that one who keeps the seventh day of the week has fully complied with the requirements of the law of the Sabbath, because it is a legal axiom that the words of a law must be taken in their usual and ordinary acceptation.SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.9

    Therefore if the National Reformers shall take the fourth commandment as the Sabbath law for their reformed government, the only law-abiding citizens of that government will be the ones who keep the seventh day of the week. We shall carefully treasure this saying of Mr. Gault’s for future reference.SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.10

    It is possible, however, that Mr. Gault and his associates will utterly ignore the plain intent of the commandment as given by the Lord, and will claim to be divinely commissioned to interpret the law, and will fall back on the seventh-part-of-time theory. If they will only be consistent in that interpretation, it is most certain that the observers of the seventh day of the week will never come in conflict with their government, for to keep the seventh day is to keep a seventh part of time. On this point there can be no question. The seventh day of the week is a seventh part of time just as much as is the first day. So, allowing that the commandment enjoins the observance of one-seventh part of time, merely, seventh-day people are still the strictest commandment-keepers, for as a general thing they keep the seventh day more strictly than others do the first day. Let this thought be fixed in mind. If the fourth commandment is taken as the law of the Sabbath in the National Reform mongrel government, and if it be held that that commandment enjoins the observance of simply one-seventh part of time, without specifying which seventh, then each man will be at liberty to decide for himself which day he will keep; and all that the officers of that government can do will be to require that everybody shall keep some day. This will be a hardship to some, but it will not affect those who observe the seventh day.SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.11

    But it is possible, and most probable, that the National Reformers will want uniformity. They will not be satisfied to leave people free to do as they please in matters purely religious, for the foundation-stone of the National Reform movement is selfishness,-the idea that because the National Reform leaders believe a certain thing, everybody else must be compelled at least to act as though they believed it too. So they will decide, in accordance with the law which they are now trying to have enacted, that everybody must keep Sunday, the first day of the week. Still they will adhere to their statement that they are acting in harmony with the fourth commandment, which they have taken as their only Sabbath law. In that case seventh-day people will have a very simple line of defense. When arraigned for violating the human enactment requiring the observance of the first day of the week, they will reply that, according to their most honorable judges, the National Reformers, they have strictly complied with the law requiring them to observe Sunday. And when asked how they can make that appear, they will reply something as follows:-SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.12

    “You, honorable sirs, have taken the fourth commandment as the Sabbath law for this nation; you claim to be yielding strict obedience to its requirements, and we are bound to believe your statement. Yet that commandment emphatically and unequivocally designates the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath, while you keep the first day of the week. We do not know by what hocus-pocus you accomplish this wonderful feat, but simply accept the fact; and we respectfully submit that if you who observe the first day of the week are keeping God’s commandment which requires the observance of the seventh day of the week, we, by the same token, have, by keeping the seventh day of the week, conformed to your commandment as loosely as you interpret God’s commandment, unless you set yourselves and your commandment above God and his commandment.”SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.13

    If there is any fault in any of this reasoning, we shall esteem it a great favor if some of our National Reform friends will point it out to us. We want them to be very explicit, and not indulge in generalities, or we may miss the point. We cannot see how they can even by any possibility convict seventh-day people of wrong-doing, if they take Exodus 20:8-11 as their national law for Sabbath observance. But we know one thing that they can do, and which they will in all probability do. They will determine that they are going to have their Sabbath, the first day of the week, observed any way, no matter what the fourth commandment may be thought to enjoin. And among men might is always stronger than right or reason. W.SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.14

    “An Unrighteous Commandment” The Signs of the Times, 14, 24.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The following request comes to us from an investigator in Washington Territory:-SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.15

    “For the benefit of one who is seeking light on the whole advent doctrine please explain through the SIGNS 1 Timothy 4:3-5. This passage seems to teach that in this dispensation all things of the animal creation-swine not excepted-are pure and good for food, if received with thanksgiving. Does not verse 5 teach that they are now sanctified by God, and that we may receive them with prayer? May not this be one of the ordinances which passed away at the cross, and since that time may not swine’s flesh be pure and good for food?”SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.16

    The whole question, in the mind of our questioner, seems to turn on the matter of swine’s flesh. It is assumed that, in what is called the Christian dispensation, “all things of the animal creation are pure and good for food,”-why not say that therefore the flesh of caterpillars, lizards, snails, snakes, dogs, cats, moles, rats, crows, buzzards, vultures, etc., is good for food? If the gospel has cleansed all animals that were previously unclean, then these creatures must be just as good for food as is the swine. This statement of the case should of itself be sufficient to show the fallacy of such an exposition of the text.SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.17

    The distinction between clean and unclean beasts had no connection whatever with those ceremonial ordinances which passed away at the cross. At the time of the flood, hundreds of years before there was a Jewish ordinance, or even a Jew, we read of clean and unclean beasts and birds. The clean animals were such as could be sacrificed to God (see Genesis 8:20), and therefore the distinction must have existed from the very beginning, and must have been made known to man at least as soon as the fall, when sacrifices were first offered.SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.18

    The gospel deals with men, and not with the brute creation. The brutes have no promise of eternal life; they are incapable of believing and consequently the gospel makes no more change in them than it does with inanimate creation. When God shall make all things new-when upon the new earth new vegetation shall be made to grow as in the beginning-then he will send forth his Spirit and create beasts to roam upon it, subject to the dominion of man. (See Psalm 104:29, 30; Isaiah 11:6-9). Beasts will have a place upon the new earth by a new creation, and not by a resurrection of those beasts which once lived upon it; therefore the nature of beasts on this earth does not need to be changed. But all the human beings who shall dwell upon the new earth will be those who have lived upon this earth; therefore the nature of men must be changed through the gospel. An animal which was unclean in the days of Noah or Moses or David, is unclean to-day.SITI June 22, 1888, page 374.19

    Now for a brief exposition of the text. In the first place let it be understood that no man or class of men has a right to command people to indulge in, or to abstain from, anything. The Catholic Church arrogates to itself the right to command people to abstain from certain things at certain times, but in so doing it assumes power that belongs only to God. No man has a right to command another to abstain even from unclean things which God has forbidden, any more than he has a right to command him to abstain from violating the Sabbath. God makes commandments, and people who do not choose to obey them are amenable to God alone.SITI June 22, 1888, page 375.1

    But notice that the text speaks of those who command “to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving,” etc. This says nothing about commanding to abstain from meats originally unclean, but which the gospel has purified, for there are no such meats. The meat to which it refers are those which God created for food; it has nothing whatever to do with things which God has declared to be unfit for food. Now what did God create for food for man? Read the account. When God made man, he said: “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” Genesis 1:29. The word “meat” does not necessarily mean flesh, but refers to anything that is used for food; and since the meat which God created for man’s use was fruits and grains alone, it is highly probable that the apostle refers to some who should forbid the use of some of the most wholesome articles. The reference may, however, include also the flesh meats which man was afterward permitted to use.SITI June 22, 1888, page 375.2

    The next point to be considered is when this thing shall take place. The apostle says: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils,” etc. The expression, “in the latter times,” may include a very much longer time than the few years immediately preceding the coming of the Lord. “The last days” must include the very last day, but may include the greater part of the last half of the world’s history. In the Bible it is often used of the entire period between the first and the second advent. Thus we read that “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.” Hebrews 1:1, 2. And Peter made the last days include the notable pentecost. See Acts 2:14-18. So for a fulfillment of 1 Timothy 4:1-5 we may look to any time since the days of Paul.SITI June 22, 1888, page 375.3

    That there were those in the church in the days of the apostles who gave heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, is shown by the following: “Little children, it is the last time [“the latter times,” “the last days”]; and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” 1 John 2:18, 19. Paul also, after speaking of “that man of sin” who should oppose God, and exalt himself above God, claiming to be God, said, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” 2 Thessalonians 2:7. Then, since the spirit of antichrist was manifested, and doctrines of devils were taught and believed, very early in the Christian era, we should expect that the forbidding to marry, and the commanding to abstain from certain proper food, would also have found at least fulfillment then.SITI June 22, 1888, page 375.4

    The growth of asceticism in the church forms a most interesting study, but we can do no more here than to refer to it. Perhaps the following quotation from Mosheim will set the subject before the reader in the most comprehensive manner possible in short space:-SITI June 22, 1888, page 375.5

    “The cause of morality, and indeed of Christianity in general, suffered deeply by a capital error which was received in this century [the second]; an error admitted without any sinister views, but yet with great imprudence, and which, through every period of the church, even until the present time, has produced other errors without number, and multiplied the evils under which the gospel has so often groaned. Jesus Christ prescribed to all his disciples one and the same rule of life and manners. But certain Christian doctors, either through a desire of imitating the nations among whom they lived, or in consequence of a natural propensity to a life of austerity (which is a disease not uncommon in Syria, Egypt, and other Eastern provinces), were induced to maintain that Christ had established a double rule of sanctity and virtue, for two different orders of Christians. Of these rules one was ordinary, the other extraordinary; one of a lower dignity, the other more sublime; one for persons in the active scenes of life, the other for those who, in a sacred retreat, aspired to the glory of a celestial state.... They looked upon themselves as prohibited from the use of things which it was lawful for other Christians to enjoy, such as wine, flesh, matrimony, and trade. They thought it their indispensable duty to extenuate the body by watchings, abstinence, labor, and hunger. They looked for felicity in solitary retreats, in desert places, where, by severe and assiduous efforts of sublime meditation, they raised the soul above all external objects and all sensual pleasures. Both men and women imposed upon themselves the most severe tasks, the most austere discipline; all of which however the fruit of pious intention, was, in the issue, extremely detrimental to Christianity. These persons were called Ascetics.”-Eccl. Hist., book 1, cent. 2, part 2, chap. 3, sec. 11, 12 (Maclaine’s translation).SITI June 22, 1888, page 375.6

    The reader will see in this the beginning of the monk’s orders, whose threefold vow was poverty, chastity, and obedience. Some may wonder how anything harmful could come from efforts to become more spiritual; but we have only to remember that they borrowed their system from the heathen philosophers, and not from the Bible, and the query will be settled. A false idea soon attached to the word “chastity,” so that a priest might indulge in all manner of lewdness provided he abstained from marriage. Nicholas de Clemangis, a Catholic writer of the fourteenth century, and secretary to Pope Benedict XIII., gives the following picture of the monks:-SITI June 22, 1888, page 375.7

    “As for monks, they specially avoid all to which their vows oblige them-chastity, poverty, and obedience-and are licentious and undisciplined vagabonds. The mendicants, who pretended to make amends for the neglect of duty by the secular clergy, are Pharisees and wolves in sheep’s clothing. With incredible eagerness and infinite deceit they seek everywhere for temporal gain; they abandon themselves beyond all other men to the pleasures of the flesh, feasting and drinking, and polluting all things with their burning lusts. As for the nuns, modesty forbids a description of the nunneries, which are mere brothels; so that to take the veil is equivalent to becoming a public prostitute.”-Lea’s History of the Inquisition, Vol. 3, chap. 9, par. 11.SITI June 22, 1888, page 375.8

    In chapter 5, paragraph 17, of the same volume, Mr. Lea, speaking of the Order of Knights Templars, says:-SITI June 22, 1888, page 375.9

    “That unnatural lusts should be attributed to the Order is easily understood, for it was a prevalent vice of the middle ages, and one to which monastic communities were especially subject.”SITI June 22, 1888, page 375.10

    We think that sufficient has been given to show the nature of that against which the apostle gave warning. It is the same thing against which he warned the Colossians. “Which things,” he says, “have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting [punishing] of the body; not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh.” Colossians 2:23. As he said to Timothy, in connection with the passage which we are studying (1 Timothy 4:8), “bodily exercise profiteth little.”SITI June 22, 1888, page 375.11

    That the same vices that characterized the monks of the middle ages, will be common in the very last days, and to a much greater extent than ever before, we have not the slightest doubt. And they will be the outcome of what will at first seem the most innocent, nay, the most necessary, teaching. Just how this will come about we cannot now tell; but we know that Spiritualism is to get a firm hold on all who receive not the love of the truth, and, under the guise of religion, is to sink the world in the most abominable wickedness. And the very people who will commit those abominations, will say, “Is not the Lord among us?” W.SITI June 22, 1888, page 375.12

    “Papal Assumption” The Signs of the Times, 14, 24.

    E. J. Waggoner

    On the 11th inst. the “Most Rev.” Dr. Dwyer, bishop of Limerick, delivered an address to the clergy of his diocese, in which he said some things that are quite interesting, as showing how the Catholics look to the Pope instead of to God. The report says:-SITI June 22, 1888, page 376.1

    “He urged that by the Papal decree the practices of boycotting and plan of campaign as they exist in Ireland stand condemned as a violation of the moral law of charity and justice. ‘This,’ he added, ‘is no longer a matter of opinion. It is now the settled and certain law of the Catholic Church, which all the faithful of this diocese are bound to take from me as their bishop, that these practices are sinful, and it is even more sinful as being against faith to defy or impugn, under any pretext, the right of the Pope to condemn them.’”SITI June 22, 1888, page 376.2

    There can be no question but that boycotting is a violation of the moral law, but it is no more so now than it was before the Pope issued his decree. None of these priests had a word to say against it before, however; they did not know that it was immoral until the Pope said so. This is not a very flattering testimony to their moral sense, for any child who ever read the Sermon on the Mount could have told them that boycotting is a sin. But what is the use of one’s having moral sense, when he can go to the Pope to find out what is right?SITI June 22, 1888, page 376.3

    But worse than the fact of ignoring a wrong condemned by the law of God until the Pope declares it to be wrong, is the statement that to disobey the Pope is “even more sinful” than to violate the moral law. That is to say, although boycotting is a sin against the moral law, those who engage in it now are guilty of the greater sin of disobeying the Pope. Thus the Pope is exalted “above all that is called God or that is worshiped.” Could blasphemy go any further?SITI June 22, 1888, page 376.4

    After the commands of the Pope have thus been declared to be more saved than those of God, we are not surprised at the following statement made by the bishop:-SITI June 22, 1888, page 376.5

    “This decree of the Pope’s is final and unalterable, and you might as well expect to put back the sun in its course as to undo it.”SITI June 22, 1888, page 376.6

    The Lord’s decree may be set aside by the Pope, but the Pope’s decree is unalterable. Such is the decision of “good” Catholics. Yet there are many professed Protestants who feel aggrieved if it is intimated that the Papacy is not a part of Christianity. The closing words of the bishop are in keeping with the rest of the address. Still speaking of boycotting he said:-SITI June 22, 1888, page 376.7

    “If it is condemned by the church I will not have it, but accept the decision of our own father, Christ’s vicar, who is placed by his exalted office above the passions and self-interest that often blind us, and who has no motive in all he does but God’s honor and our salvation.”SITI June 22, 1888, page 376.8

    It is a mystery how a man of intelligence could have his mind and conscience so enslaved, but in this we have an evidence that education is not of itself any bar to superstition. It is a proof also of the truth of the Scripture statement. “Souls of men” form part of the merchandise of Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. See Revelation 17:18. W.SITI June 22, 1888, page 376.9

    “Charity Extraordinary” The Signs of the Times, 14, 24.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Oregonian tells of a certain Catholic archbishop recently visited Summerville, Oregon, to lecture-“although,” as the account runs, “there are only half a dozen Catholics there”-and who are called upon by the pastor of the Methodist Church, who tendered him the use of the Methodist house to lecture in. The offer was accepted, and that evening the archbishop addressed a large audience upon “The Value of the Human Soul.” At the close of the exercises the archbishop, “at the request of the pastor, blessed the congregation;” which to judge from the tone of the published account, was looked upon as a great condescension on the part of the archbishop. We are further told that the priest “who accompanied the archbishop, was tendered the use of the church for lectures or masses, at his pleasue.”SITI June 22, 1888, page 376.10

    This we regard as charity extraordinary-not Bible charity, for that does not require any man to countenance that which he believes to be error, but that pernicious liberality which is miscalled charity. “Charity,” says the apostle, “rejoices in the truth;” but certainly the sickly sentimentalism that would open a Christian house of worship for the senseless pagan mummery of the mass, does not rejoice in the truth, but in error.SITI June 22, 1888, page 376.11

    All true Protestants hold Rome to be antichrist, and as such no Christian can bid it Godspeed without denying his Saviour. The Protestant minister who does not know that the celebration of the mass is idolatry, has much to learn before he is qualified to instruct others in the service of God; and the minister who, knowing its true nature, would deliberately throw open his church for its celebration, shows by that act that he cares very much more for the applause of men than for the honor of the truth.SITI June 22, 1888, page 376.12

    “The Commentary. God’s Covenant With Israel” The Signs of the Times, 14, 24.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (July 1-Exodus 24:1-12.)

    There are many covenants mentioned in the Bible, but there are two which stand out prominent, and sustain such a relation to each other that they are called the old covenant and the new. Our lesson has to do with the old covenant, but we shall refer to the new, since both concern the same people and the same thing. The covenant is first introduced in the nineteenth chapter of Exodus, and we must study that in order properly to understand the passage covered by the lesson. The children of Israel had come into the wilderness of Sinai, and the Lord called to Moses from the mountain, saying:-SITI June 22, 1888, page 377.1

    “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine; and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord.” Exodus 19:4-8.SITI June 22, 1888, page 377.2

    This was really the first or old covenant. It was simply a mutual agreement between God and the people, which is all that is usually understood by a covenant. So far as the covenant itself was concerned, the people entered into it here; Exodus 24:1-8 simply records the ratification of the covenant. The reader will notice, however, in the above quotation, that although the people said, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do,” the Lord had not yet told them anything to do, except to keep his covenant. Now ordinarily a covenant implies mutual obligation, but here we have a covenant mentioned which was the Lord’s special property, and which the children of Israel were to keep; and their promise to keep this covenant was their part of the covenant which God made with them. Thus we see that the first covenant with Israel was made concerning something else that is also called a covenant.SITI June 22, 1888, page 377.3

    The student needs to watch closely here, lest he become confused. The simple facts are these: The “covenant” which the people were to “keep” was the ten commandments, which had not yet been given. It was not a covenant made with them, but God’s own covenant given to them. Moses refers to it as follows: “And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire; ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.” Deuteronomy 4:12, 13.SITI June 22, 1888, page 377.4

    Let the student bear in mind these points, and he will have no difficulty: 1. The ten commandments are God’s covenant. 2. God did not make this covenant with the children of Israel, but he commanded them to do it; they were to keep it. 3. This covenant is entirely different from a covenant in the ordinary sense of the term; for there was no agreement about it; it was God’s will which he commanded the people to do. 4. Notwithstanding the fact that it was the duty of the people to keep God’s law,-his covenant which he commanded them to perform,-God made a covenant with them concerning it. Although he could rightly have required unconditional obedience of them, he condescended to enter into covenant relation with them; if they would promise on their part to keep his covenant,-the ten commandments,-as was their duty, he on his part agreed to grant them peculiar blessings. This mutual promise, this contract, was the covenant which God made with Israel. 5. Observe then that God’s covenant lay behind the covenant which he made with Israel; it was the basis of that covenant, the thing concerning which that covenant was made, but was entirely distinct from that covenant. 6. And, lastly, remember that when they entered into the covenant with God, promising to do all that the Lord commanded, they had not heard God’s covenant which he commanded them to perform. In short, they made a covenant, without knowing what it was which they were promising to do.SITI June 22, 1888, page 378.1

    Three days after this the Lord spoke his law from Sinai “out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice,” which caused the earth to tremble. This was the covenant which he commanded the people to perform, and which they had already promised to keep as their part of the contract. And now that they had heard the words which they had before promised to do, it remained to be seen if they would stand by their agreement. This ratification is a part of the subject of this present lesson, and was on this wise: First, Moses repeated God’s words to the people, and all the people answered with one voice, and said, “All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.” Exodus 24:3. Then Moses wrote all the words of the Lord in a book, and built an altar, and offered sacrifices. Verses 4, 5. Next he took the book and read all the words in the hearing of the people, and again they said, “All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.” Verse 7. Finally he took the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkled both the book and the people, saying, “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.” Verse 8; Hebrews 9:19, 20. Thus was the covenant ratified; the people had emphatically and repeatedly promised to keep God’s commandments, and he had promised to make of them a peculiar treasure to himself, above all people. This was the first covenant.SITI June 22, 1888, page 378.2

    But this covenant was not kept by the people, and so one of two things was necessary: either God must cast off the people, which would have been their eternal ruin, or else a new covenant must be made. Accordingly we read:-SITI June 22, 1888, page 378.3

    “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord; but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34.SITI June 22, 1888, page 378.4

    Notice that this covenant was made with the same people that the first one was,-“with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.” Let this fact be firmly fixed in the mind. Many people imagine that the first covenant was made with the Jews and the second with the Gentiles. But this is a great error. God never made any covenant with the Gentiles, and never gave the Gentiles any promises. Paul says that to the Israelites pertain “the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises.” Romans 9:4. The Jews have everything. Then what is left for the Gentiles? Nothing whatever. Says the same apostle: “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:11, 12.SITI June 22, 1888, page 378.5

    But are the Gentiles shut out from salvation. Yes, as Gentiles. So long as they remain Gentiles, which is but another term for heathen, they have no part in the things of God. Thus being reconciled to God, they are “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19), and their citizenship is in Heaven, from whence they look for the Saviour. Philippians 3:20.SITI June 22, 1888, page 378.6

    Note further that the new covenant is made concerning the law of God. This time, says the Lord, “I will put my law in their hearts.” Then since the new covenant was made with the same people that the first was, and concerning the same thing, why was there any necessity for making it? Why could not they go along under the old one? Simply because the people had broken the first covenant, and there was in it no provision for any such thing. The first covenant was unconditional. The people promised to keep the commandments, and God promised to make them a peculiar treasure unto himself. This was all. It will be readily seen that when the people violated their agreement, as they did almost immediately when they worshiped the golden calf, they had no more claim on the Lord, according to the covenant which they had entered into with him. They couldn’t go on under that covenant any more, for no matter how perfectly they might abide by its terms in the future, the fact would remain that they had once broken it, and that was sufficient to forfeit all the blessings which God had promised. So, since the Lord did not wish to cast off his people, it became necessary to make “a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” Hebrews 8:6.SITI June 22, 1888, page 378.7

    What were these better promises of the new covenant? Chief among them was the forgiveness of sins. It was in the people that the first covenant was faulty for if the first covenant had not been faulty in this respect, there would have been no place for the second. There was in the first covenant no provision for forgiveness of sins. It was ratified by the blood of beasts, which could never take away sin. But the second covenant was ratified by the blood of Christ which “taketh away the sins of the world.” This covenant is made concerning the same law, but if people break it, they may by repentance obtain pardon, and so still remain in covenant relation with God. This is a wonderful exhibition of the mercy and love of God. First he consents to make a contract with the people, concerning that which it is their duty to do; and then he provides pardon for them when they have not only failed to do their duty, but have also violated their agreement to do their duty. Surely love could go no further.SITI June 22, 1888, page 378.8

    One thought more. Someone may wonder if God didn’t know that the people would break that first covenant. We reply, Yes; he not only knew that they would not keep it, but he knew that they could not keep it. In fact, they had broken the commandments, concerning which the covenant was made, before the covenant was made. It was utterly impossible for the people to keep the commandments by their own unaided efforts, yet that is what they promised to do. Then why did the Lord lead them to make such a promise? For the purpose of showing them their own weakness, and of directing their minds to the second covenant, which already existed, in effect, in the covenant made with Abraham. That covenant “was confirmed before of God in Christ” (Galatians 3:17), and the giving of the law, and the unconditional promise made by the people to keep that law, could not disannul it, that it should make of none effect the promises which it contained. It provided forgiveness for transgression of the law concerning which the covenant was made, and also help to keep the law. And so when the Lord made a new covenant with Israel, he was simply directing their attention to the covenant made long before with Abraham. And the proof of this is found in the fact that all who are heirs of the promises, are children of Abraham. W.SITI June 22, 1888, page 378.9

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 14, 24.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The statements expressed by Ingersoll in his Decoration-day address so deeply moved the Rev. Robert Collyer, of New York, that he declared in a recent sermon before the faculty of Cornell University that he would be willing to receive Ingersoll as a member of his church. We cannot see any objection to Mr. Collyer’ receiving him if he wishes, for we are not unmindful of the fact that between Robert Collyer’s church and the Church of Christ there is a wide difference.SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.1

    We were very much interested in reading the Union Signal’s report of the Prohibition Convention, the chief interest of which centered around the woman suffrage plank in the platform. It is worthy of note that those who oppose the plank were all unparliamentary, and their speeches destitute of force, while those who championed it were courteous, and very considerate of the weakness of their opponents, and their speeches were “packed full of argument.” Queer, isn’t it. From the report one would naturally conclude that the convention itself was “packed.”SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.2

    Great excitement has been occasioned among the Catholics, especially in Europe, but a change in the criminal code of Italy, which will, if rigidly enforced, be likely to lead to the arrest and imprisonment or exile of the Pope. This code is very explicit in its requirement that all ecclesiastics shall in no way interfere with politics nor oppose or criticize in any way the official acts of the Government. Violations of this act are to be punished by imprisonment from three months to a year.SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.3

    The law makes no exception in favor even of the Pope, and as Leo XIII. is an inveterate meddler in political matters, and has for years been engaged in a direct contest with the king of Italy, it is thought to be more than probable that this law may be invoked to silence his “holiness,” in which case a sensation may be expected in Europe.SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.4

    The great error of most Prohibitionists is that they oppose the liquor traffic from the wrong standpoint. They say that liquor-selling is an immoral act, and that it must therefore be suppressed; whereas the State is not the conservator of morals, and has nothing to do with the morality or immorality of an act. There are hundreds of things that are just as immoral in their nature as is liquor-selling, but no one thinks of trying to prohibit them. To think vile thoughts is immoral, but the State cannot prohibit such thoughts. But when those vile thoughts culminate in open assault upon some person, then the State steps in and punishes the offender for the crime to which his immortality led him. The State punishes for the crime only; God punishes for the immortality, the sin.SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.5

    And so while we believe most heartily that the liquor traffic ought to be abolished, we do not think so because it is immoral, but because it is a crime. The liquor-seller ought to be punished for the same reason that the murderer should,-because he commits an outrage upon society. This is reason enough for suppressing his business. If a man should erect a stand upon some street corner and should either sell or give away little packages of poison to whomsoever he could induced to take one, it would not be long before he would be behind prison bars. And people would not talk much about the morality of his deed, although it would be immoral, but they would cry out against the fiendishness of it. They would not wait to see whether or not anybody had taken the poison and died, before they arrested him, but would stop him because his business was endangering the lives of the people. On this ground, and this alone, can prohibition rightly stand.SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.6

    Commenting editorially on the fact that the Mormons have purchased 400,000 acres of land in Chihuahua, Mexico, the Chronicle says that it indicates that the Mormons propose to emigrate to Mexico, and adds that with the Republican party in power in the United States, “Utah can never become a State, save by loss of all that the Mormons hold as vital to the power of their church. In Mexico they would not be troubled by the Government, if they paid their taxes and kept out of politics.” But that is just what they will not do. We say nothing of the payment of taxes, we know that with out political intrigue, the Mormon church would cease to exist. It is a political church, and but for that fact it would never have reached its present proportions. It may be set down as certain that wherever the Mormon Church is, it will, as a church, have a hand in politics.SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.7

    In his report of the Presbyterian General Assembly, at which he delivered the historical address commemoratives of the centennial of Presbyterianism in America, Dr. Cuyler says: “Four-fifths of the members seem to carry grey heads; the leaders of our church were there in full force. The custom of audible applause, which was borrowed from foreign religious bodies, has become confirmed, and the late meeting was often as demonstrative as a political gathering.” It was Chrysostom who first introduced the custom of applauding discourses. That was shortly before religion became part of the politics of the nation. Are not religious assemblies preparing for a repetition of the same thing? When religion and politics become united, we must expect to see religion conducted according to political methods.SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.8

    Twice this year has the German nation been called upon to mourn the death of their emperor. Frederick III. was always a favorite with his people while he was Crown Prince, and in the short time that he was emperor he gave every indication that he would make a wise and faithful ruler. It was well known that although he was a soldier, and was brought up under the military regime that characterized his father’s rule, he was a lover of peace, and was in favor of relieving the people as far as possible from the burdens that had been imposed upon them. In other words, he proposed to make Germany something besides a military camp. His bravery and unselfish patriotism are shown in that through all his illness, to the very last, his thoughts and plans were all for the welfare of the country, and not for himself. It is not expected that his son, who takes the throne as William II., will adopt Frederick’s pacific policy.SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.9

    A London dispatch to the Chronicle says:-SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.10

    “The papers here devote much space to experiments in America with the dynamite gun, and quote its tremendously destructive qualities as being in the interest of universal peace and arbitration. The influence of this gun already will give great weight to America in future diplomatic dealings. No European nation would dream of sending a navy against the United States with these guns threatening its approach.”SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.11

    According to that philosophy, the surest way to keep peace in the community is to have everybody become a pugilist. The only trouble with the theory is, that it doesn’t correspond to the facts. Fighters usually fight. As to no European nation during to attack the United States in the face of these dynamite guns, it is simply nonsense. They would have some of the same kind of guns or some they would think as good or better, and so the balance would be maintained. Since the world began, preparation for war has never been a preventive of war.SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.12

    In an article entitled “Saloons on Sunday,” the New York Observer says:-SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.13

    “The saloons do so much damage six days of the week that we may fairly claim their suppression on Sunday.”SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.14

    It is beyond comprehension how religious bigotry will blind the minds of men. The Observer is a clean, straightforward, high-class religious journal, and yet it deliberately proposes a bargain by which the saloon may pursue its nefarious course six days in the week, if Sunday be left free. It doesn’t say so in so many words, but that is what it means. So intent are the Prohibitionists on preserving the “American Sabbath,” that they are virtually making a bargain with the rum power, by which it can do its work unmolested six days in the week if it will give them Sunday. Thus they cease to be prohibitionists. If that is what is meant by a prohibition, then it may well be said that prohibition doesn’t prohibit.SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.15

    “An Abomination” The Signs of the Times, 14, 24.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In this year of our Lord 1888, we shudder at the iniquity of the antediluvians, and think it a shame, even to speak of those things which were done in Sodom; and yet, as a people, a commonwealth, we are fostering among us an evil which will go very far toward so corrupting the minds of the rising generation as to make true honesty a rarity, and impure thought the rule. We refer to the abominable practice of advertising by means of lewd pictures. In the past, liquor-dealers, tobacconists, and dive-keepers have pretty nearly had a monopoly of this disreputable business of corrupting the morals of our youth by means of indecent pictures for the sake of gain, but recently some unscrupulous manufacturer of chewing-gum has attempted the same method, and seeks to make his wares attractive by facing each five-cent package of his gum with pictures not fit to be described.SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.16

    Here in the city of Oakland, famed for its schools and churches, and for the morality of its inhabitants, first-class candy stores exhibit in their show windows, and offer for sale, the gum, and of course the abominable pictures with which it is adorned. This is far worse than selling the pictures with cigarettes, since gum-chewing is practiced by little girls and boys who do not smoke. The creatures who prepare these things seem determined that no means be left untried to corrupt every child that is out of its mother’s arms. Do the parents of this city know, or do they care, that their children are being lured to their moral ruin by the shameful pictures, photographs of nearly nude forms of lewd women?SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.17

    This is a matter that comes properly within the scope of civil legislation. To stamp out this abomination is ten times as practicable as to close of liquor saloons; and would be done if parents were only awake to their children’s interests. We cannot think that the majority of parents would quietly endure the evil if they fully realized it; but in such a case as this, the fact that they do not realize it argues criminal negligence.SITI June 22, 1888, page 384.18

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