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    January 27, 1888

    “The Spirit of Anti-Christ. No. 6” The Signs of the Times, 14, 4.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In the next place, we know that the spirits that are responsible for the phenomena of modern Spiritualism, are evil spirits, and not the beings who appeared to the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles of old, because they deny the Bible. This is their great work. N. F. Ravlin was for many years a Baptist minister, but is now an ardent Spiritualist lecturer. In the Golden Gate of December 18, 1886, he gave an account of how and why he became a Spiritualist, and also some of his experience since becoming one. Among other things, he said, concerning a message purporting to have come from his father:-SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.1

    “The message of my father contained an epitome of my history for the last thirty years, and closed by a most emphatic indorsement of my recent preaching according to the spiritual interpretation of the Scriptures. He commended my published discourses, which the Baptist denomination have repudiated as heresy.”SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.2

    Farther on in the article he said:-SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.3

    “Nearly half a score of old Baptist preachers, with whom I have been associated in the past, have already come to our home, and explained wherein their former preaching was erroneous. The whole system of biblical interpretation is far away from the truth, as everyone will find when they enter the spiritual world.”SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.4

    The spirits deny God. The following we clipped from an article in the New Thought of January 1, 1886:-SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.5

    “I was told, not long since by a God-worshiping Spiritualist, that they believed that ‘deep down in my heart, I believe in a God.’ I have not only been told that once, but many times; I consider it an insult, both to my intelligence and my honesty. But perhaps they only judge by themselves, and may be, in part, excusable. They may have one belief deep down in their hearts for Sundays, and another nearer the surface for week-day use.SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.6

    “As for me, I have lived without hanging on to a God for a good many years and do not see but that I am as well off as before; though from early training, I was obliged to let go, inch by inch. How can we progress when tied fast to a God idea? To me it looks like tying a calf to a stake; he goes the length of his rope then goes around in a circle, and still thinks he is making progress.”SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.7

    The above seems the more horrible because it was written by a woman. We do not wish to multiply testimony on any point, but we could give many more equally blasphemous extracts from Spiritualist writings. There are some Spiritualist papers that do not contain such bold statements as the above, but there is not one that does not deny God as revealed in the Bible.SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.8

    Light in the Word, a Spiritualist paper published in St. Louis, Mo., contained the following question addressed to a spirit, and the answer of that spirit, in its issue of July 14, 1886:-SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.9

    “‘We are taught that God made man after his own image; consequently, when we think of God we are apt to imagine him a being shaped like ourselves. How is this understood over on your side-are we correct?’SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.10

    “The answer came quickly-SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.11

    “‘It is not correct; it is an error. What you call God is the great creating spirit of the universe. Man is a part of God,-a spark thrown off from the Great Spirit. Imagine, if you please, a great circle. Man is placed upon it an infant, and commences his long journey around it. His first great change is what you call death; from thence he progresses, onward and onward, from sphere to sphere, until he reaches the place of beginning, when he again becomes a part of the Great Spirit, but retains his individuality.’”SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.12

    They deny Christ and the atonement. The editor of New Thought in his issue of September 11, 1886, when writing of Andrew Jackson Davis, a noted Spiritualist, said:-SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.13

    “Jesus was no more of an instrument in the hands of the superior powers than is Mr. Davis.”SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.14

    And in the same paper of June 14, 1887, I find the following, which is a part of an interview between a man and his wife, who was on her death-bed:-SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.15

    “‘It is very true, Maggie, I have done wrong, as we all have; but “the blood of Christ cleanseth from all unrighteousness.” If I have repented and been forgiven for Christ’s sake, you ought to forgive me.’SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.16

    “‘O James,’ said his wife, ‘lean no longer upon this treacherous fallacy. So far as my forgiveness is concerned, you might have it a thousand times. But no forgiveness can change your crimes into virtue; no blood can wash out the guilty deeds deeply graven on your soul. You must atone for your own sins, and work out your own salvation. There is no alternative.’”SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.17

    In the same paper, October 22, 1887, we find the following under the heading, “Our Creed“:-SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.18

    “We believe that God does not pardon sin, as is represented in the Scriptures; and we also believe that sin is as much of a necessity as righteousness, so-termed; that sin in the evolution of Nature’s (God’s) laws is converted into righteousness, and vice versus.”SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.19

    This is straight Spiritualist teaching. There is not a Spiritualist in the world who holds any different view of the atonement.SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.20

    The Bible gives the devil the following character: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44. Of course all his angels have the same character. Now that Spiritualism emanates from that source is virtually acknowledged by a Spiritualist of many years’ standing. In the Golden Gate of August 7, 1886, the following appeared as part of an editorial entitled “Misleading Spirits:”-SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.21

    “Whoever surrenders his individual judgment and gives his trust implicitly upon the communications of spirits, as given through promiscuous mediumship, is almost certain to be deceived. It matters not how confident his trust or implicit his faith, nor how sincere or honest he may be in his intentions, he will find the ... spiritual message a veritable broken reed, if he attempts to lean upon it to the exclusion of the staff of his own reason.”SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.22

    Now with the evidence already produced, showing that Spiritualism is of the devil, and with the above admission that the spirits are not to be trusted,-in other words, that they are lying spirits,-read the following from E. A. Brackett’s “Materialized Apparitions“:-SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.23

    “When I had finished my investigations on this point, I found that I stood on the shore of a boundless sea of speculation and uncertainty. I could not help asking myself the question, ‘What are these forms that, for a few moments only, clothe themselves in objective reality, bearing the semblance of my friends, blended with the likeness of the medium? Are these my father, my mother, my wife, my brother?’ ...SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.24

    “In the midst of this perplexity, this whirl of unanswered questions, the voice of my old friend came to me: ‘Don’t stare these sensitive beings out of your countenance, but give them all that you can of your better nature, and you shall have your reward. If there is a possibility of mistake as to identity, if you are in any way deceived, the responsibility is theirs not yours. In all true séances, if the forms are not what they are supposed to be, they are at least beings from another life, seeking strength and comfort from association with you, else they would not come. Let not a shadow of doubt or distrust bar their approach. Have no awe, no reserve, no fear as to what they are, and they will blend into your soul, become a part of your life.’ ...SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.25

    “I decided to follow the course which had been suggested to me. I would lay aside all reserve, and greet these forms as dear departed friends who had come from afar, and had struggled hard to reach me.SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.26

    “From that moment the forms, which had seemed to lack vitality, became animated with marvelous strength. They sprang forward to greet me; tender arms were clasped around me; forms that had been almost dumb during my investigations now talked freely; faces that had worn more the character of a mask than of real life, now glowed with beauty. What claimed to be my niece, ever present and earnest in aiding me to obtain the knowledge I was seeking, overwhelmed me with demonstrations of regard. Throwing her arms around me, and laying her head upon my shoulder, she looked up and said, ‘Now we can all come so near you.’”SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.27

    All Spiritualist writers give advice to the same effect, that the investigator should yield himself to the influence of the forms that come professing to be his dead friends. What a terrible thought that men will voluntarily put themselves into the hands of the devil, allowing him to obtain complete control of them. If the majority of the people on earth should thus submit themselves to his influence, who can imagine the evil that would follow? The only way in which a person can get any just conception of what would follow, is by reading 2 Timothy 3:1-7.SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.28

    “But,” says one, “when we see the forms of our departed loved ones, and hear their voices, and they recall memories of the past, how can we be deceived? Can we not trust the evidence of our senses?” We reply, No; in this matter the senses are not a safe guide. Our only sure guide is the word of God, which declares that “the dead know not anything,” that their thoughts are perished, and that their dearest relatives may come to honor or be ruined, and they will not be affected by it in the least, because they cannot know anything of it. As further evidence that the senses cannot be trusted to determine whether a spirit is the one whom he professes to be, or not, we quote the following. It is from the New Thought of July 16, 1887, in a description of a Spiritualist séance:-SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.29

    “Among other new demonstrations of spirit power was the transfiguration of Maud. Sitting right in her chair in the full gas-light, she assumed several transformations which were marvelous. At one time she assumed almost the exact image of Mrs. Woodard, then in an instant she represented old Mrs. Graves, then her light brown hair and blue eyes and petite form was changed into a stout, full-chested lady with very dark eyes, and almost black hair, unknown to the circle. The, again, she appeared a young man whom Calvin recognized as a college classmate. All this time she was semi-conscious.”SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.30

    The apostle Paul says: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. In view of the testimony both of the Bible, and of Spiritualists themselves, none need be in doubt as to the source of Spiritualistic manifestations, or as to the identity of materialized forms. “They are the spirits of devils working miracles.” Revelation 16:14. W.SITI January 27, 1888, page 54.31

    “The Earth Corrupted” The Signs of the Times, 14, 4.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Commentary.


    1. When men became very numerous on the earth, what did they do?SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.1

    “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” Genesis 6:1, 2.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.2

    2. What commandment then was specially disregarded?-The seventh.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.3

    3. In pursuing this wicked course, what good influence were they resisting?SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.4

    “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” Genesis 6:3.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.5

    4. What is the special office of the Spirit in connection with sinners?SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.6

    “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” John 16:8.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.7

    5. By what means does the Spirit reprove the world of sin?SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.8

    “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.9

    6. What two things always necessarily work together in producing a perfect character?SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.10

    “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 1 Peter 1:22.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.11

    7. Then how must the Lord have striven with the antediluvians by his Spirit?-By keeping continually before them the right way.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.12

    8. By whom was the right way presented to them?SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.13

    “And spared not the old, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” 2 Peter 2:5.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.14

    9. How long did God say that he would bear with them? Genesis 6:3.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.15

    10. At the end of that time, how great was the wickedness of men?SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.16

    “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Verse 5.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.17

    11. What was the condition of the whole earth?SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.18

    “And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” Verse 12.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.19

    12. With what was it filled in consequence?SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.20

    “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” Verse 11.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.21

    13. What was the only consistent thing that God could then do?SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.22

    “And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” Verse 13.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.23

    14. Upon whom alone did the Lord look with favor?SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.24

    “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Verse 8.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.25

    15. Why did the Lord regard Noah with special favor?SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.26

    “These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” Verse 9; see also chap. 7:1.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.27

    16. Upon what alone does the Lord look in his estimation of men?SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.28

    “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh upon the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.29

    17. How was it possible for Noah to remain upright in the midst of universal corruption?SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.30

    “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:9, last clause.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.31

    18. What is the extent of God’s requirement of man?SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.32

    “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.33

    19. What effect did Noah’s godly life have upon the world?SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.34

    “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11:7.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.35


    And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not always strive with men, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” Genesis 6:3. “The long-suffering of God” (see 1 Peter 3:20) was abundantly manifested here. Men were recklessly plunging into vice, disregarding the marriage relation, and violating the seventh commandment, and with that every other one, yet the Lord said that he would bear with them one hundred and twenty years. “The long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah.” Waited because God “is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.36

    The Lord does not wait for sinners to desire pardon, before he makes an effort to save them, but he “commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. So he says through the prophet Isaiah: “I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not; I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts.” Isaiah 65:1, 2. At least two lessons should be learned from this. One is a lesson of hope and courage, because of God’s intense longing for the salvation of sinners. We should also learn a lesson of forgiveness, for Paul exhorts us to forgive one another even as God hath for Christ’s sake forgiven us. Ephesians 4:32. That is, willingly, gladly, and without reserve. More than this we are to be willing to forgive, to long to forgive, before the one who has offended makes any sign of repentance or of wishing to be forgiven,-from the very moment that the offense is committed. That utterly excludes all malice or hard feelings from our hearts. We have no right to entertain such feelings for a moment.SITI January 27, 1888, page 56.37

    Yet though God is so long-suffering, stretching out his hands to a rebellious people, it will not do to be presumptuous, and to continue in sin, in order that he may have an opportunity to display his mercy. There will come a time when God will leave the rebellious to themselves. He will cut them off because nothing else can be done with them. But if they are cut off, it is solely their own fault. Because they deliberately reject God’s gracious invitation, and choose the evil, “Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.” Proverbs 1:31, 32.SITI January 27, 1888, page 57.1

    It is by his Spirit that God strives with men. This striving is not the producing of a vague, uncertain impression, but is a conviction of sin. In this work the Spirit uses a sword “Which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17), a sword which is “quick living and powerful,” “piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12. From this we learn that conviction of sin is produced by the Spirit bringing to our remembrance, and keeping before the mind, the truth of God, which condemns our evil course.SITI January 27, 1888, page 57.2

    But some will imagine that the Spirit sometimes, at least, works independently of the truth of God as revealed in his word, because many persons who have not had the Bible, have been convicted of sin. Paul explains this, when he says: “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.” Romans 2:14, 15. That is, everybody by nature knows something of right and wrong, from the traces of the law that remain in their hearts. The natural tendency is to forget, but the Spirit keeps it before the mind as much as possible, so that conviction of sin may be produced. The antediluvians had the truth brought to them by Noah, “a preacher of righteousness.” 2 Peter 2:5.SITI January 27, 1888, page 57.3

    We said above that the natural tendency of men is to forget the truth. So the Spirit of God has to strive with them. Some persons will submit themselves to God, and willingly yield to the influence of the Spirit. In such will be perfected “the fruit of the Spirit.” See Galatians 5:22, 23; Ephesians 5:18; Philippians 1:11. But to by far the greater number of people it might be said as Stephen said to the Jewish Sanhedrim: “Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost.” Acts 7:51. With such the Spirit finally ceases to strive, because there comes a time when the law is entirely obliterated from their hearts, and they become insensible to all appeals, being unable to see any difference between right and wrong. While the Spirit is striving with them, Satan is also working through their own natural inclinations to fasten them in sin. So Paul says of those who have pleasure in unrighteousness, that strong delusion shall come upon them, that they should all be damned. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-21. Men cannot live under a continued conviction of sin; they must obtain peace of mind in some way. Those who do not obtain true peace from God (See Romans 5:1; 8:1; Isaiah 48:18), try to get peace of mind by resisting the strivings of the Spirit, and putting from them the sense of their sin. When they have succeeded in this, they feel perfectly easy, but it is a fatal ease. It is the case which the man feels who is benumbed and about to perish with the cold. And so it often happens with the wicked that “there are no bands in their death.” Psalm 73:4. A seemingly peaceful death is not by any means a sure sign of acceptance with God.SITI January 27, 1888, page 57.4

    “Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:9. The man who walks with God must be a perfect man, for God is perfect, and two cannot walk together except they be agreed. Amos 3:3. The man who walks with God, must forsake his own ways, and adopt the ways of God. See Isaiah 55:7-9. David speaks thus of those who walk with God: “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity; they walk in his ways.” Psalm 119:1-3. Then to walk with God is to keep the commandments of God. Those who walk in the way of his commandments, must be perfect, for “the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” Psalm 19:7. The law of God is the righteousness of God (Isaiah 51:6, 7); it is his will (Romans 2:17, 18; Psalm 40:8); it is a transcript of his character, a description of the ways of God. All that God requires of men is that they should do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with him. And in order that they may know what justice and mercy are, and what they must do to walk with him, he has described himself and his way in his law.SITI January 27, 1888, page 57.5

    The life of the man who thus walks with God, is the best sermon that can be preached to the ungodly. Such a life can be lived only by faith, for without faith it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:6. They who seek righteousness in any other way than by faith, will come short of it. And so it was by faith that Noah obeyed God and condemned the world. W.SITI January 27, 1888, page 57.6

    “Jesus and the Little Ones” The Signs of the Times, 14, 4.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (February 12.-Matthew 18:1-11.)

    In studying this lesson, particular attention should be given to the parallel passages in Mark 9:33-50 and Luke 9:46-50, for only by so doing can all the circumstances be learned. In Matthew we read: “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven?” From Mark’s account we learn that something had preceded this question. Jesus had first asked them what they had been disputing about by the way, and, ashamed to acknowledge that they had been disputing as to who should have the supremacy, they held their peace. Doubtless some of the other disciples who had not been so prominent in the discussion, but who were equally anxious with the rest that the question should be settled, asked the question which Matthew records.SITI January 27, 1888, page 57.7

    “And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-4. Mark says that before this he said, “If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” How different the kingdom of Heaven is from this world. Here the man who wishes to be first, and accounted great, must push his claims. No man could hope for any political preferment if he did not “work” for position. But just the opposite must be done by the one who wishes to be great in Christ’s kingdom. He must entirely forget himself, and must prefer that others should be honored rather than himself. Otherwise he cannot be the follower of the Son of man, who “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28. It is evident that Christ must be the greatest one in his own kingdom. His whole life was one of self-denial and humble service to others, and on the night in which he was betrayed, he washed his disciples’ feet. Now the man who should esteem himself too exalted to perform such menial service, would esteem himself greater than Christ, and consequently could not enter his kingdom. Such an one would want to divide honors with Christ, as did Satan, in Heaven. “The servant is not greater than his Lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” John 13:16.SITI January 27, 1888, page 57.8

    Christ did not mean, when he said that they must be as a little child, that children are sinless. The seeds of sin are in the heart of every child that is born. Solomon says that “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” But there are characteristics of childhood that must also be exhibited in the man who expects to enter the kingdom of Heaven. The child is trustful, accepting everything that is told it as literally true. It has not learned “the wisdom of the world,” which is doubt. So the one who would share Christ’s kingdom must believe, without any mixture of doubt, whatever God says. When the Lord made a promise to Abraham, which was so great as to be incomprehensible, and was contrary to all natural law, the simple record is, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3.SITI January 27, 1888, page 58.1

    In childhood there is naturally a lack of self-consciousness, which means an absence of pride. It is pride that leads us continually to wonder what others are thinking of us, and often to imagine that we are the center of observation, when nobody is thinking of us. The child has not this morbid care for what others think, because it does not think of itself. Again, the child does not harbor resentment. It is utterly foreign to a little child’s nature to hold a grudge. To cherish animosity is something that the child learns only after repeated ill-usage unaccompanied by Christian training. So we, if we would be followers of Christ, must love even those who use us despitefully. In a word, artless simplicity, loving confidence, and an entire absence of self-seeking, must characterize the candidate for heavenly honors. He must “put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness” (Colossians 3:14), and “charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.” 1 Corinthians 13:4, 5.SITI January 27, 1888, page 58.2

    The student will lose much if he fails to connect this answer of Christ as to who should be greatest in the kingdom of Heaven, with his words on the same subject in the sermon on the mount: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19.SITI January 27, 1888, page 58.3

    In one case he said that he who would be greatest must humble himself as a little child; in the other he said that the one who should do and teach the commandments of God, should be great in the kingdom of Heaven. Therefore we must conclude that these two things go together, and that true humility and the keeping of the commandments are identical. For further proof, read the following text: “Now the end [object, or design] of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” 1 Timothy 1:5. We have already read the description of charity, in 1 Corinthians 13:4, 5. So we find that the design of the commandment is to make a man long-suffering, kind, free from envy, or malice, and humble. It is to make a man love God with all the powers of his being, and his neighbor as himself. Such a man cannot be a self-seeker.SITI January 27, 1888, page 58.4

    It is quite fashionable to speak slightingly of the ten commandments, as adapted for a low state of civilization, serving only to give people some crude ideas of holiness, but as unfitted for the mature Christian. Some have said that the man whose life is no better than the ten commandments require a man’s life to be, cannot be much of a Christian. Such ones have no conception of the depth and the breadth of God’s love. It stops not with outward acts but covers “every work, with every secret thing.” There is not a grace which the angels of God possess, that will not be exhibited in the life of the one who keeps the commandments perfectly. The beautiful character of Christ, “who went about doing good,” and his life of sweet humility, and tender, self-denying love, was due to the fact that the law of God was in his heart. Every act of his life was simply the natural working of the law of God. If anybody wants to know just how much is required by the ten commandments, let him study the life of Christ. It requires no less of love and mercy and justice than was manifested in the character of Jesus. As Isaac Watts beautifully expressed it:-SITI January 27, 1888, page 58.5

    “My blest Redeemer and my Lord,
    I read my duty in thy word;
    But in thy life the law appears,
    Drawn out in living characters.”
    SITI January 27, 1888, page 58.6

    “It must needs be that offenses come.” Matthew 18:7. Not because God wills that they should come, but because of the perverseness of human nature. “But woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!” If offenses were necessary, that is, if it were fixed by fate that certain men should commit certain evils, then it would be unjust to pronounce a woe upon them. But the “offenses” here spoken of are stumbling-blocks. The idea is that in this world it is impossible but that there will be things tending to make Christians stumble in the way; but the one who shall be a cause of such stumbling is in a sad case. This should teach extreme carefulness in every act of life “lest that which is lame be turned out of the way.” Hebrews 12:13.SITI January 27, 1888, page 58.7

    Right here we may express this thought with the first part of the lesson, concerning the law of God as the rule of humility which will make one a sharer in the kingdom of Heaven. Offenses are stumbling-blocks; offenses will come, and some will fall, yet not all. Says David: “Great peace have they which love thy law; and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165. That is, those who love and adhere to the law, shall not stumble. This is what the same writer says of the righteous in Psalm 37:31: “The law of God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.” But we have learned that the keeping of the law produces humility, and lowliness of heart. Now what is more evident than that a humble man will not fall? “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18. “When pride cometh, then cometh shame; but with the lowly is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2. So here again we see that Christian humility is simply conformity by the aid of Christ, to the ten commandments. The fact that those who humble themselves and keep humble cannot fall, is thus aptly expressed by Bunyan:-SITI January 27, 1888, page 58.8

    “He that is down need fear no fall;
    He that is low, no pride;
    He that is humble ever shall
    Have God to be his guide.”
    SITI January 27, 1888, page 58.9

    “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 18:10. Much misapprehension has existed in regard to this text. It does not refer exclusively to literal little children, but to all who have been converted and have become as little children. It is thus that the beloved disciple uses it in his epistle. 1 John 3:7; 5:21. The expression “their angels” indicates that each follower of Christ has an angel to whose special care he is intrusted. Compare Hebrews 1:14. “Their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in Heaven.” This does not teach that they always remain in Heaven, looking at the face of God; for then they would not be “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation.” But it means that they always have access to the throne of God. There is no business so pressing but that it can wait while God gives audience to one of his messengers who comes with a plea for one of his stricken children. What a wonderful thought! and how full of encouragement, and at the same time of warning! W.SITI January 27, 1888, page 58.10

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 14, 4.

    E. J. Waggoner

    An old law is still extant in Virginia, which imposes a fine of fifty pounds of tobacco on a man if he absents himself from church one month without a valid excuse. What the church does with the tobacco is not stated.SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.1

    In one neighborhood in Philadelphia, ten churches, representing no less than seven denominations,-Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, German Reformed, Episcopal, Congregational, and Presbyterian,-are making preparations for a union in evangelistic services next month. After that effort is over, the evangelist who conducts it is to go to Providence, where six churches, of three different denominations, are to unite in services. The New York Mail and Express says of this movement: “Whatever may be thought of the ultimate possibility of the organic union of the church of Christ in this country, these evidences of common purpose and of a desire to sink differences and to unite now, on essentials, in the face of a common enemy and a common peril, are indications that there is to be a practical union, good enough for all immediate purposes, right away.”SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.2

    If Congress shall admit Utah into the Union as a State, polygamy will be forever intrenched in this country. It is true that the Constitution that has been prepared, declares polygamy a misdemeanor, and provides for the punishment of polygamists; but since a majority of the citizens of Utah are Mormon polygamists, that clause would be repealed about as soon as the Territory had been admitted. The clause which declares that the Constitution shall not be amended or revised in any way, unless such amendment or revision shall receive the approval of Congress, has not a particle of validity. Congress has no power to interfere in any way with the Constitution of any State, when once it is a part of the Union. This clause is simply a trick by which the Mormons hope to be able to fasten their polygamy upon the Government.SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.3

    The following news item, which we clip from the Union Signal will be a difficult one for the advocates of high license to explain:-SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.4

    “At a conference of distillers recently held in Chicago, it was declared that the business was never in a better condition, and the trade did not need any legislation at the hands of Congress this winter. They protested against the reduction of the present high license, even the representatives from Nebraska, which has a $1,000 saloon license.”SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.5

    License for the liquor traffic, whether high or low, is just what the liquor men want, and the higher the license is, the more profit will there be for those who can afford to pay the license, because a few men will sell the same amount of whisky that with low license was sold by a great many. But nobody ever heard of such a thing as distillers and brewers pleading that prohibition might be allowed to continue.SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.6

    There is a fiction with which many people of the United States amuse themselves, namely that the laws of this country are made in the Congress at Washington. It is true that they first appear to the public view from that place, but their ultimate source is the saloons in the large cities. Gen. Clinton B. Fisk says: “Two hundred thousand dramshops control our politics.” And ex-Secretary Windom says:-SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.7

    “In my judgment there is no other evil in our politics comparable with the liquor power. It is the deadly foe to all that is sacred in free institutions. It destroys the home and desecrates the ballot. It is the chief cause and instrument of political corruption. Its shameless boast of controlling elections and Legislatures by the use of money, is without a parallel in political effrontery. It breeds ignorance and crime for pay. It saps the foundation of public confidence and destroys respect for law, by polluting the sources of political power. It is the arch enemy of intelligence, purity, morality and social order. It costs the country in taxation, waste of money, property and productive power, as much to support our two hundred thousand saloons as it did to support the Union army. Their fatal weapons are as destructive of American life as were the shot and shell of both armies during the Rebellion.”SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.8

    The Cincinnati Commercial Gazette has of late contained considerable correspondence on the Sabbath question, a few pleading for the Bible Sabbath, but most upholding laws prohibiting Sunday labor. In its issue of January 8, the Gazette speaks editorially, under the heading, “Loosening the Fourth Commandment,” and says: “Public writers who have not the infallibility which is conferred by the D. D., have often to admire and envy the free way which some of these endowed writers have in dealing with the Scriptures.” And then after reviewing some of the arguments that its correspondents have made, it adds the following, which needs no comment:-SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.9

    “The commandment is, by its terms, fixed unalterably to the six days’ work of creation and the seventh day of rest from that labor. Can any other than He that pronounced it repeat it? Can human authority abolish it as to the seventh day, and then re-enact it for the first day? Has any authority done either of these? Where is it recorded? All can assent to the beneficence of a weekly day of freedom from compulsory work, to be spent as is best for each one’s well being; but reason has to inquire into the authority for the playing fast and loose with the Sabbath commandment?”SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.10

    “Sunbeams of Health and Temperance” is the title of a book recently put out by the Health Publishing Company, Battle Creek, Mich. Its evident object is to interest and instruct old and young in the important subjects mentioned in the title, by giving a knowledge of right principles and an “account of the health habits of all nations.” This account is given in brief articles, original and compiled, ... a great variety of information, which is presented in a most interesting style. The author plainly disapproves of the use of condiments in eating and drinking, and yet he has served up to his readers a feast of the very best reading, and he ha snot “left out the spice.”SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.11

    Of the object of the book we cannot speak too highly, and we judge form a brief examination that the book is well adapted to its object. It is in a popular and convenient form, and is beautifully illustrated. It contains 216 quarto pages, and several full-page engravings and colored plates. The book will be sold by subscription, and we predict that the arduous efforts of the author will be rewarded by a wide circulation of the work with its unique and useful contents.SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.12

    There are some exceedingly fine points made occasionally by courts and lawyers in regard to Sunday laws. Pennsylvania has a law which absolutely prohibits secular pursuits on the first day of the week, and does not even exempt form its provisions those who religiously observe the seventh day. Some years since, however, one of the courts of that State decided that cigars might be sold as they were “a necessity;” but under the same law men were fined and imprisoned for following their usual avocations as mechanics and farmers, after having conscientiously refrained from labor on the seventh day, in obedience to the fourth commandment.SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.13

    Only about a year ago a barber was arrested and fined in Massachusetts for doing business on Sunday; the case was appealed to the Supreme Court and that tribunal sustained the lower court, holding that the law was constitutional. But only a week or two since the same court decided that the bill of a certain barber for work done on Sunday must be paid because that, under certain circumstances, shaving on Sunday “is essential to health and cleanliness.”SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.14

    Taking both these decisions of the same court into consideration, it would seem that before a Massachusetts barber can lawfully shave a man on Sunday he must determined whether under the circumstances, “health and cleanliness” demand that he be shaved! If, perchance, the knight of the razor should err in his diagnoses of his customer’s case, or if he should incorrectly estimate the amount of dirt in the man’s beard, and shave one whose “health and cleanliness” did not demand it, he would be liable to a fine; but if, on the other hand he should refuse to shave a man whose “health and cleanliness” did require it, then we suppose he might be mulcted in damages for refusing to serve a customer who was legally entitled to his services. Such are some of the mysteries of Sunday laws. Cigars may be sold because they are a “necessity;” and men may be shaved because that, under certain circumstances, “health and cleanliness” require it; but men who keep the Sabbath of the Lord cannot be allowed to work on Sunday for the support of their families, because-well because the majority of the people don’t want them to.SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.15

    “White Slave Labor” The Signs of the Times, 14, 4.

    E. J. Waggoner

    If anything were needed to show the inherent wickedness of strikes, it is furnished in the recent strike of bakers in San Francisco and Oakland. Seven men, employed by a large restaurant firm, had a grievance because they were obliged to work extra hours. Thereupon the union ordered a strike of all the bakers in San Francisco. No other bakers had any special grievance, but the union “bosses” compelled them to quit work. In several instances strikers invaded restaurants, and drove out bakers and waiters who did not feel inclined to obey the edict of the union. But this was not enough, so the union ordered all the bakers in Oakland to quit work. Thus there are nearly 2,000 bakers lying idle, and losing an aggregate of $5,000 a day in wages, just to satisfy the whims of a few men. For a few days restaurants and boarding-houses had to go without bread, but now enough new hands have been secured to supply actual necessity. In some instances the bakers went to their places of employment, and with full knowledge that they were ordered to strike, set the sponge for the day’s baking, and then left it to spoil, thus deliberately causing their employers to lose barrels of flour.SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.16

    The very men who did this thing will rail by the hour at the danger that this country is in from monopoly. So it is, but a monopoly of capital is less to be dreaded than a monopoly of labor. It is bad enough to think of men enslaved against their will, and driven about by the lash of the taskmaster; but it is pitiable indeed to see thousands of men driven to and from their legitimate work by “labor bosses” who probably never lift their hands in honest toil; and what makes this so pitiable is that the sensibilities of the men who consent to be thus driven, are so blunted that they imagine that they are free men, and not slaves.SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.17

    If those who order these strikes were the ones to suffer, no pity would be wasted upon them; but the families of those who are thus thrown out of employment have to suffer. The strikers are now beginning to be taken back, but their old employers refuse to receive them unless they leave the union.SITI January 27, 1888, page 64.18

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