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    July 20, 1888

    “Purified by Fire” The Signs of the Times, 14, 28.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Picking up the daily paper this morning, one of the first things that my eye rested upon was this heading: “The Famous Cock-Pit Saloon is Purified by Fire.” It appeared from the item that followed, that a certain notorious cock-fighting resort, which, as a matter of course, had a saloon connected with it, had been burned to the ground. When the alarm was sounded, the usual efforts were made to put out the fire, but the buildings were dry as tinder, and all efforts to stay the progress of the flames were unavailing, until they expired for lack of material upon which to feed. And thus the in famous place was purified.SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.1

    This item with its heading set us to thinking of how fire purifies. The Roman Catholic Church has received and retained as a legacy from its pagan ancestry, the doctrine of a purgatory, in which those who die with some sins upon them may have the stains removed by fire. Thus they rob Christ of healing virtue, and bestow it upon fire, becoming, just to that degree, fire worshipers. True, they say that those who die in mortal sins, will not have the privilege of being cleansed in purgatory, but will be obliged to suffer to all eternity the far more intense flames of hell, forgetting that if the comparatively feeble fires of purgatory can cleanse from “little” sins, the fiercer flames of hell must in time cleanse its victims from their deeper stains, so that universal salvation is the virtual outcome of their doctrine. In this they are but following the lead of Origen, one of the greatest fathers of the abominations of the Catholic Church.SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.2

    But a little observation and thought should suffice to convince all that fire doesn’t purify in that way. How was it in the instance before us? The news editor said that the old saloon that had been the scene of so much cruelty, blasphemy, and drunken reveling, was purified by fire. Are we to understand from that expression that the place will now be used as a church, where songs of praise shall be heard instead of oaths and brutal laughter? Why, no; for the place doesn’t exist; the fire that purified it, turned it into smoke and ashes. That is a peculiarity that fire has. It purifies by removing.SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.3

    As it was with the saloon, so will it be with men. We have heard good people pray, in the innocence of their hearts for the baptism of fire, and heard them sing with real fervor, “Spirit of burning, come.” What did they mean? Why, they wanted the fire to burn away their sins, and to warm them into life. In short, they wanted a sort of Catholic purgatory. They forgot that fire doesn’t always stop with that which it is desired to have burnt. The man who should touch a match to the dry thistles in his stack of wheat, in order to purify the grain, would be very foolish. For wheat is combustible, as well as thistles, and all would be consumed together. Better wait until the machine has winnowed the chaff and foul matter from the grain, and then apply the match to that which is fit only for destruction.SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.4

    This is the Lord’s way. To the mixed multitude of good and bad that stood on the banks of Jordan, the prophet John said:-SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.5

    “He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire; whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:11, 12.SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.6

    The purging is done before the burning. The floor is purged, the wheat is gathered into the garner, and then the chaff is burned with fire unquenchable,-fire that cannot be checked until everything within reach is consumed.SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.7

    So it is in the parable of the wheat and tares. After showing that “the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one,” the Saviour said: “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:40-42.SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.8

    To like intent Christ says: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” John 15:1, 2. How does the husbandman purge the branch that gives prospect of fruit? Is it by kindling a fire under it? Not by any means. That would destroy it. He prunes it, cutting off those things that are unprofitable in themselves, but which would hinder the perfecting of the fruit. But what of the branch which will not bear fruit, even after pruning, and which is taken away? Says Christ: “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:6.SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.9

    Notice that in all these cases the burning is not until after the purging or pruning has been accomplished. The burning is not for the purpose of purifying worthless branches, but for the removal of that which is worthless.SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.10

    “But,” says one, “the prophet speaks of the time ‘when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.’” Isaiah 4:4. To be sure he does, but he does not mean, as you seem to suppose, that the fire is going to burn up the filth and thus make the filthy persons pure; that the fire will “purge the blood of Jerusalem,” and not harm the bloody men, but leave them clean handed. Not at all; that would simply be universal salvation by purgatorial fires, as we stated before concerning the Catholics. The preceding verses must be read in connection with the fourth, and then we shall understand how the fire is going to purify Zion, which here stands for all who profess to know God. We quote verses 2-4:-SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.11

    “In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem; when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.”SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.12

    Ah! now we understand how it is that the filth of the daughters of Zion is to be washed away by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning. It is by burning up those filthy daughters and when that shall have been done, in accordance with judgment previously rendered, then they “that are escaped,” “he that is left,” “he that remaineth in Jerusalem,” even “everyone that is written among the living,” shall be called holy. But will they have been purified by fire? Oh no; their purification will have been accomplished before the fire begins its work. It is the same time of which the prophet speaks, when he says: “Therefore [because the inhabitants of the earth have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant] hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” Isaiah 24:6. But the few men who are left “shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord.” Verse 14.SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.13

    This is the only way that filth can be removed by fire. The saloon of which we read had been defiled by oaths and brutal sport. Could the fire remove those? No; but it could remove the place that had harbored them. Suppose you say that the place was defiled by real, physical filth-whisky stains, tobacco juice, etc. Very well, but fire could not remove even these without consuming also the timber that was thus defiled. So men and women are defiled by sin-sin which is a part of their very natures. Now even allowing that evil deeds and words were combustible, which is not the case, the people who are defiled by them are combustible also, and when fire shall be lighted to consume that filth, it will not go out until it has burned up that which is defiled, together with the defilement.SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.14

    Listen again to the words of the prophet Isaiah:-SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.15

    “The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil.” Isaiah 33:14, 15.SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.16

    Only those who are pure can dwell with the devouring fire. If they were not already pure, the fire would not purify them, but would destroy them. And why does not the fire affect them? Because, being already pure, they are not suffered to feel it. They “shall dwell on high.” They will have washed their robes of character, and made them white, not in the fire, but in the blood of the Lamb, and because they have learned to dwell in secret with God, they “shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.17

    “Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” Psalm 91:9, 10. “Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.”SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.18

    One more text. The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians that “the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” 1 Corinthians 3:13. True, but the fire does not make good any man’s work that is imperfect. If it is wool, hay, stubble, the fire will consume it; only the gold, silver, and precious stones will be untouched. But the fire does not have the power of transmuting wood, hay, and stubble, into gold, silver, and precious stones. If the work is not fine gold, the fire will destroy it.SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.19

    Let no one, then, wait for fire from heaven to come and consume his evil nature. His evil nature is a part of himself, and when it dies he must die too. Let him remember the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, which are set forth for an example. His evil nature must indeed be crucified, and he must be crucified with it; but far better to suffer the painful process now, in Christ, than to suffer it in person, with none to help. Better to be baptized now into Christ’s death, than to be baptized in the lake of fire, from which none can rescue. Let the heart be purified by faith, purified in obeying the truth through the Spirit, and when the fire comes it will find nothing to devour. W.SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.20

    “America’s Wickedness” The Signs of the Times, 14, 28.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “America’s Social Wickedness” is the title of an article written by Rev. Morgan Dix, and published in a late number of the Methodist, showing the terrible state of wickedness which prevails in this country, and especially in our great cities. Of this country, Mr. Dix says: “Nowhere has there ever been a better field for the devil’s double propaganda, and all about us are signs of his activity. True, there are checks which still restrain the evil, but each day some barrier gives way. To keep to the straight and narrow path of settled principle and living and purity of heart is harder now for our young people than it was a quarter of a century ago, because a false sentiment, widely influential, condones their excesses, and even approves of their misdoings.”SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.21

    All of which is true; and it might have been put still more strongly without doing violence to the truth. Sin is no longer called sin, for fear of offending ears polite; and all sorts of evil, instead of being denounced, is excused or even defended. Says Mr. Dix: “It would be painful to inquire what kind of life is developed under the influences at work for the public ruin-to gauge with the line and plummet of God’s word and law the demoralization of society.”SITI July 20, 1888, page 438.22

    Yes, it would be painful, and for that reason, and also because they would lose caste by it, very many whose sacred duty it is to sound an alarm, and cry out against popular sins, speak only “smooth things” and “prophesy deceits.” The time has come “when men will not endure sound doctrine,” but having itching ears they are heaping “to themselves teachers after their own lusts,” and turning away their ears from the truth, they are being turned unto fables.” See 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.SITI July 20, 1888, page 439.1

    “Why Sad?” The Signs of the Times, 14, 28.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Under the heading, “From the Shadow into the Light,” the Golden Gate says:-SITI July 20, 1888, page 439.2

    “The sad news reaches us fro St. Cloud, Minnesota, of the transition to the higher life of the writer’s elder brother.”SITI July 20, 1888, page 439.3

    Now we should like to know why that writer should call that sad news, which announces that his brother has gone from the shadow into the light? Is this writer sorry that his brother has gone into the light? Would this writer count it sad news if he were informed that his brother had had a transition from the sphere of a common citizen to the higher sphere of a Senator or President of the United States? Assuredly not. Then why does he call it sad news, when it announced to him that his brother has made the transition to the higher life, which, according to the doctrine of the Golden Gate-Spiritualist-is as much more excellent than to be a Senator or President as eternity is greater than time? If this Spiritualistic transition to a higher life, and from the shadow into the light, is such a glorious thing as the Spiritualists try to make out, then it seems to us one of the queerest things about the phenomena of Spiritualism that they should be sorry when it happens to one of their friends, and sad when they get the news. The truth of the whole matter is that human nature is stronger than all their finely-spun theories. And the very consciousness of every human soul bears witness that death is an enemy, however it may be passed off as a friend. Accordingly, in spite of the Golden Gate writer’s theory, which demands that he should be glad, his own heart confesses that he is sad, at the news of the death of his brother.SITI July 20, 1888, page 439.4

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 14, 28.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Brother W. H. Saxby writes that work in the Washington, D.C., mission is progressing favorably. A hall for meetings has been secured for a year, at 1630 Fourteenth Street N.W. Several new workers are expected at the mission soon, and altogether the outlook is very encouraging.SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.1

    According to the terms of the treaty recently entered into between the Vatican and the United States of Columbia, the Romish clergy have entire control of the Government schools and universities, all church property is exempt from taxation, and the protection of Roman Catholicisim as the State religion is guaranteed.SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.2

    It is reported from Europe that the Pope contemplates withdrawing from Rome at an early day, owing to the attitude recently assumed by the Italian Government. But inasmuch as all the Italian Government asks is that the Pope attend to his own affairs and let the Government alone, it does not appear that the “successor of St. Peter” has any just ground of complaint. The threat to the throne is not original with Leo XIII.; Pius IX. made the same bid for sympathy, and had probably just as much intention of leaving “the eternal city” as has the present Pope, and no more.SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.3

    Some time ago a young hoodlum of San Francisco shot and killed a young girl on the street. He was immediately arrested, and after the usual delay was tried and convicted. The usual technicalities were interposed, and the case was twice appealed to the Supreme Court of the State, and afterwards to the Supreme Court of United States, where it was refused a hearing. As a last resort, one of the lawyers, a man holding high office in the State, appeal to the Governor to let the young assassin loose upon society. The Governor refused to interfere in the just findings of law, and administered the following deserved rebuke:-SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.4

    “I desire in this connection to say that there seems to be an evident effort to shield criminals from suffering the responsibility which follows in the path of crime-a desire which is on the increase instead of diminishing. So far as I am concerned, I will not tolerate or sanction it. In this modern dispensation of justice, the criminal labors under the idea that he is an injured member of society, and that everything should be done to render his pathway to a point of escape from the penalty of the crime committed, easy and sure, but little thought being given to the victim of his lust, cowardice, and passion. I will never be party to the deification of crime or criminals.SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.5

    Governor Waterman is deserving of all honor. Criminal lawyers need to be given to understand that the object of law is not to protect criminals and foster vice, but to protect society by the punishment of criminals. The duty of the attorney for a murderer is simply to secure a fair trial; if he goes beyond this, he makes himself a party to the crime.SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.6

    According to a recent dispatch to the New York Evening Post, the famous annual racing event on Derby day in England is made the occasion of wicked revelry, which is anything but creditable to the boasted civilization, of this enlightened age. The dispatch says: “From the Sunday preceding the race, at Epsom and its neighborhood, the scene is disgraceful until Saturday. ‘There are few places on the face of the globe,’ says a competent eye-witness, ‘where more sin and wickedness are perpetrated in a single week than here.’” It is also stated that the Prince of Wales is still a patron of these races; and that the princess also witnesses them.SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.7

    One of the Eastern religious weeklies devoted some space to the consideration of the question, “Was Methuselah a good man?” After several paragraphs of conjecture, it winds up with a quotation from Matthew Henry, preceded by the remark “Matthew Henry stands in doubt as to the character of Methuselah.” Well, why shouldn’t he inasmuch as the Bible says not a word concerning the character of Methuselah, nor of several other of the patriarchs mentioned in the fifth chapter of Genesis. The strange thing, however, is that people should go to the writings of Matthew Henry, or any other man, to find out the character of a Bible personage of whose character the Bible itself says nothing. Unfortunately, too much of what is called explanation of the Bible is nothing but speculation concerning something which the Bible has not revealed.SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.8

    America’s Rome correspondent writes that among the multitude of presents received by the Pope this year were “a row-boat, a boot-blacking ... and a bicycle. His holiness should have been supplied with a pair of boxing-gloves, and a... mask to make his outfit complete. The Pope is reported as preferring money to useless gifts, which are valuable only as curiosities. If he received the money equivalent of his presents he could purchase what his necessities require and keep the rest for a rainy day. While his holiness was the recipient of many ridiculous presents, probably nothing could be more ridiculous than presenting him the Constitution of the United States, and lest we except the Declaration of Independence, both of which documents are the representative of thoughts diametrically opposed the doctrines of the Vatican.”-America.SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.9

    “An International Question” The Signs of the Times, 14, 28.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We have received from Brother LaRue, who is in China, a copy of the Hongkong Daily Press, of June 19, 1888, which contains an important item showing that there is a prospect that the Sunday Law question will soon be an international one. It appears that there is no Sunday law which embraces the port of Hongkong. The Rev. A. Gurney Goldsmith, seaman’s chaplain, addressed a communication to the Chamber of Commerce, asking its support to petition the governor of the colony of Hongkong, humbly submitting, “that the time has now arrived when some decisive step may be taken, and respectfully solicit that their day of rest may be assured to them by legislation or otherwise.” The Chamber of Commerce replied that:-SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.10

    “The objects sought are worthy of every encouragement, but, in view of the many conflicting interests involved, the committee do not see their way to support legislation to compel total cessation of Sunday work in the harbor, and unless an unyielding law applicable to all classes and nationalities of vessels be passed, it would be unfair.”SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.11

    This shows clearly that just as soon as the Sunday-law agitators secure the national Sunday laws which they now demand, they will then be open for an international Sunday law. And when that time comes, then look out for the Pope to assume his place as the grand international Sunday boss. Then will be fulfilled the Scripture, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb.” Revelation 13:8.SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.12

    “A Wild Project” The Signs of the Times, 14, 28.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The latest phase of the Jerusalem craze is a proposition to rebuild the city, as a recent New York dispatch says, “in harmony with the prophetic description of the Bible,” whatever that may mean. A certain Rev. Dr. Silvertha, of Chicago, is at the head of this movement, and recently sailed for Europe in the interests of his project. The Doctor thinks that a large immigration from Europe and America will flow into Palestine early in the autumn; and that as only about one-sixth of the proposed population will be Jews, the rest being English and American, as soon as there are people enough to form the nucleus of a new nation, the powers of Europe will unite in declaring Palestine independent.SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.13

    Of course all of this seems a little visionary to sober-minded, common-sense people, especially if they happen to be Bible students and able to distinguish between prophecies relating to the earthly Jerusalem, and those relating to the heavenly city; but to the minds of quite a number of age-to-come enthusiasts, who flatter themselves that they are doing the Lord a wonderful service, the plan of the Chicago man no doubt seems practical enough.SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.14

    It may not be just to the point to refer to Abraham in this connection, for he lived a long time ago and didn’t own a foot of land in the city which it is now proposed to restore; and possibly he was a little old-fogyish anyway, but inasmuch as he was “the friend of God” and the “father of the faithful,” and didn’t seem to care much about earthly cities, but “looked for a city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God,” it might not be a bad thing for those who now aspire to be his children to follow his example, instead of speculating on corner lots in Jerusalem, and intriguing for place and power in Palestine.SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.15

    “‘The Abiding Sabbath and the Lord’s Day’” The Signs of the Times, 14, 28.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The pamphlet with the above name is a review of the two most recent and popular books on the Sunday question. In this work Elder Jones has shown in a brief, pointed way, some of the artifices used to do away with the “Sabbath of the Lord.” A wide circulation of this book will do much to enlighten thousands as to the merits of the Sabbath question.SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.16

    This review is different from others published in several particulars: 1. The high authority of the works reviewed. 2. It does not follow the author into every obscure point, but strikes boldly at the main issue. 3. Its style is such as to interest a large class of thinking people.SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.17

    A copy of this review should be in the hands of every editor in this country. See notice on page 4 of this paper.SITI July 20, 1888, page 448.18

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