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    October 5, 1888

    “Hezekiah’s Sickness” The Signs of the Times, 14, 38.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The case of Hezekiah affords an excellent test of the doctrine expressed by the popular hymn, that “Death is the gate to endless joy.” “In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.” Isaiah 38:1. There was no doubt but that he was doomed to die. And how did he receive the news? We are told that “he wept sore.” He loved life more than death. But perhaps there was something in his past life that was wrong, and the thought of this caused him to fear. Let us see. “Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, and said, Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.” Verses 2, 3. He was a very good man; and besides this, the Lord granted him time to set his house in order, and to make any preparation that he might desire. This privilege is not accorded to everyone. And yet Hezekiah did not want to die; did not want to go (according to the popular idea) to be with the One whom he loved and had served so faithfully. We will let him tell in his own words why he did not want to die. After he had recovered, he deliberately wrote as follows: “I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave; I am deprived of the residue of my years.” Verse 10. So instead of his years being lengthened out to all eternity, they would have been cut off. Then he would not have gone to Heaven, but to the grave. But would he not have gone to Paradise, there to praise God? Hear his words again: “For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.” Verse 18. This was at least one reason why Hezekiah did not want to die. He wanted to continue praising the Lord, and he knew that he could not if he died. We will not now consider whether or not he might have honored the Lord more by dying than by living. Had he died at that time he would have avoided at least one sin; but the point is that he could no more have uttered praise to God.SITI October 5, 1888, page 596.1

    But the objector will say, “All this is spoken of his body; of course its functions would have ceased, and it would have decayed; but his soul would have gone to God.” Well, then, we will listen to him once more: “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness; but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption; for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.” Verse 17. So it appears that neither his body nor his soul would have gone to Heaven if he had died, although he was a good man. This case alone is sufficient to disprove the doctrine that the good go to their reward at death.SITI October 5, 1888, page 596.2

    But it may still be urged that Hezekiah lived in the old dispensation, before Christ, and that “life and immortality” had not then been brought to light; that he did not understand the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and that his words are not to be taken as authority. We readily admit that he did not understand the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, as held by the majority nowadays, but will not admit that his words are not authority. Hear what Paul says of the Old Testament writings: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,” etc. Then we may go to the Old Testament to learn doctrine; and in this case we learn a very important doctrinal lesson. These words of Hezekiah stand unrebuked and uncontradicted, as a part of divine revelation. We will then accept them as such, believing that they, with the rest of the Scripture, are necessary in order to make us wise unto salvation. W.SITI October 5, 1888, page 596.3

    “The Apostolic Church. (Concluded.)” The Signs of the Times, 14, 38.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The true church is the body of Christ; it is composed of those who are indeed united to Christ, who draw strength from him, and who walk as he walked. To the Ephesians the apostle Paul wrote of the mighty power of God, “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1:20-23.SITI October 5, 1888, page 598.1

    To the Colossians he wrote thus concerning Christ:-SITI October 5, 1888, page 598.2

    “And he is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18.SITI October 5, 1888, page 598.3

    To the Galatian brethren he wrote, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Galatians 3:27. And to the church at Corinth he wrote:-SITI October 5, 1888, page 598.4

    “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:12, 13.SITI October 5, 1888, page 598.5

    From this text it appears that although literal baptism is the sign of union with the church of Christ, the outward sign may exist without the reality, since the real union is a spiritual union. The one who puts on Christ, and thus becomes a son of God, must be born of the Spirit as well as of water. John 3:5. “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9), no matter what his profession may be. Nor is it sufficient to have once received the Spirit of God. Paul exhorts us not to grieve the Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:20), and warns us against doing despite to it (Hebrews 10:20); and our Saviour himself says:-SITI October 5, 1888, page 598.6

    “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:4, 5.SITI October 5, 1888, page 598.7

    The fruit which the real member of Christ’s body will bear, is the same as that which characterized the life of Christ, for the beloved disciple says: “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” 1 John 2:6.SITI October 5, 1888, page 598.8

    Now it is evident from the texts which we have quoted, that the professed church is not necessarily identical with the church which is the body of Christ. There are many who profess Christ, and who teach in his name, whom Christ does not recognize. Matthew 7:21-23. The gospel net is cast into the sea, and gathers “of every kind.” Matthew 13:47. But it is not for us always to decide who are and who are not really members of Christ’s body; and therefore for convenience sake we speak of the body of professed believers as “the church.” Let it be understood that when this term is used, it is not necessarily synonymous with “Christians.”SITI October 5, 1888, page 598.9

    But these men of whom we have just read in the Bible, were all in “the church;” the evil practices to which they gave themselves were all performed in “the church;” and many of their false doctrines were put forth as the doctrines of “the church” with which they were connected. Now, if we set out to follow “the church,” we have no more right to reject the doctrines and practices of these men, than we have to reject any doctrine or practice of “the church.” To be sure there were many, at this time no doubt a majority, of those in the church who condemned these men and their ways. But these men also condemned the other class, even casting them out of the church; and all together helped to form “the church.”SITI October 5, 1888, page 598.10

    It is true that our Saviour himself said (Matthew 18:17) that whoever would not hear the church should be considered “as an heathen man and a publican.” But this does not in the least militate against what has just been said about following the church. The action of the church of Christ is indeed ratified in Heaven, and no man should lightly esteem its counsels; yet this is an entirely different thing from taking a human model. Christ said to the apostles, “Neither be ye called masters; for one is your Master, even Christ.” Matthew 23:10. We are not to follow “the example of the apostles,” but the example and words of Christ. He who would continue in the Christian life must ever be “looking unto Jesus.”SITI October 5, 1888, page 598.11

    Jesus is our pattern; the members of his church become members of his church simply that they may learn of him. A boy goes to school to learn to write, and his teacher writes a line in a beautiful hand, at the top of a page, for him to copy. While he is making his first line, he closely scans the master’s line, and does very well. The next time he looks less closely at the copy, and that line is a little poorer than the other. With each successive line he looks less at the copy, and more at his own work, until by the time he is half way down the page he is following, not the master’s beautifully written copy, but his own scarcely legible scrawl, and each line is a little worse than the one preceding it. Those lines are a fitting emblem of the lives of those who follow the learners in the school of Christ, instead of following only the life of the great Master himself.SITI October 5, 1888, page 598.12

    But since there is no man who in life we may take as a model, it is very evident that we cannot follow the entire professed church. To do so would be an impossibility, for even in apostolic times there were in some churches factions that were directly opposed to one another. Therefore if it were claimed that, although it is not allowable to follow the practice of any man, we may follow the belief of the professed church in any age, one important question would have to be settled, and that is, Which portion of the church shall be followed? for the entire professed church has never been a unit in matters of belief. We must know which portion has been in the right, for we do not wish to be led astray. The Bible alone can decide this matter. That alone can tell us what is right and what is wrong. And since we must go to the Bible to determine what part of the professed church was following in the footsteps of Christ, and what part was bringing in damnable heresies, it necessarily follows that the Bible itself, and not “the church,” or any part of it, is our only guide. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105. And it is for the purpose of emphasizing this important truth that we have asked the reader to look for a moment at the dark side of the church in the days of the apostles. W.SITI October 5, 1888, page 598.13

    “A Gloomy Picture” The Signs of the Times, 14, 38.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In a recent lecture Cardinal Manning drew the following gloomy picture of London: “It is a desolation beyond that of any city in the Christian world. Four millions of human beings, of whom 2,000,000 have never set foot in any place of Christian worship; and among these 2,000,000 God only knows how few have been baptized, how few have been born again of water and the Holy Ghost. London is a wilderness. It is like Rome of old-a pool into which all the nation of the world streamed together, and all the sins of all the nations of the world were continually flowing. Such is London at this day.” And such New York City fast is becoming; and not that city alone, but all other cities in proportion to their size. When we remember that it is the large cities that control the nation politically and socially, and give color to it morally, it is evident that England and the United States are approaching the condition of heathen nations much faster than they are that of Christian nations.SITI October 5, 1888, page 598.14

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 14, 38.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Want of room compels us to lay over till next week several editorial articles intended for this paper, also a report of the Indiana camp-meeting, and report of labor from the North Pacific Conference, together with other interesting matter.SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.1

    A leading religious paper in New York speaks of the Sunday as “the most sacred and eminent symbol of our holy religion,” and in the same article pleads for legislation to compel all men to observe it. Yet thousands think that the passing of Sunday laws is not religious legislation.SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.2

    The camp-meeting held in this city from September 20 to October 2, though scarcely as large as the meeting last year, was a season of great spiritual profit to all who place themselves in a position to receive God’s blessing.SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.3

    We hope to give next week some account of the meeting, for the benefit of those who were not privileged to attend.SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.4

    Statistics of the Jesuit missions show that in the Balkan peninsula there are 45; in Africa, especially in Egypt and the eastern coast, 223; in Asia, 699, 192 been in China alone; in Oceana, 270; in America, North and South, 1,130; total, 2,377. These figures certainly ought to be sufficient to discourage believers in a temporal millennium. The world never can be converted to Christ with so many Jesuit missionaries in it.SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.5

    In view of the advanced age and the great infirmity of Leo XIII. the question, “Who will be the next Pope?” is being made the subject of considerable interesting speculation. It is of course quite impossible to answer the question; but one thing is certain, that the next Pope will be some wily old priest with a effrontery enough to claim infallibility, and probably with sagacity enough to make the kings of the earth his tools and vassals.SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.6

    Thursday, September 27, Elder E. J. Waggoner started East to attend the meeting of the General Conference, soon to be held in Minneapolis. Brother Waggoner was accompanied by his wife, who goes especially in the interests of the Sabbath-school work. They expect to spend a few days at Battle Creek, Mich., and will then go to Minneapolis in time for the institute which is to precede the session of the Conference. They will probably be absent about six weeks.SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.7

    The insidious, insinuating methods of the liquor traffic are, it seems, to be fully exemplified in the wine crusade recently undertaken by Miss Field. The San Francisco Chronicle is authority for the statement that she will not lecture, as has been supposed, “but will depend mainly on her social abilities and prestige. Her method will be to hold receptions at the homes of leading social lights in the principal Eastern cities, and on these occasions she will discuss the question of wine-drinking in informal talks, taking the ground in its favor. Being a journalist, she will use the press as far as possible to spread her sentiments, and thus she will reach many more hearers than if she spoke in crowded halls.”SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.8

    The Chronicle also states that missed field is to receive $2,500 for her services. It remains to be seen what sort of a reception “leading social lights” in the East will give to a paid drummer of the California wine dealers.SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.9

    We have an apology to offer for the length of the “Conference Address” published in our Missionary Department, but we do ask for it a careful reading. We are sure that it will be of interest to all who desire the prosperity of the cause of present truth. God has done great things for the California Conference, for which we are thankful, and we believe that he will continue to send prosperity, not only in this State, but wherever faithful, honest work is done for the good of souls.SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.10

    The reform movement in India against the hateful custom of infant marriages has received a mighty impetus from a most unexpected quarter. Through the influence of Colonel Walker, the agent of the British Government in Rajpootana, all the Rajpoot States except one have agreed to a proposition to change the age of marriage for boys to eighteen and four girls to fourteen. The importance of this reform can be realized only by those who have some idea of the wretchedness of child widowhood in India.SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.11

    A medal is soon to be struck it will commemorating the Jubilee of Leo XIII. On one side is to bear the portrait of the Pope; on the reverse are to be represented the five continents prostrated before him. The legend in Latin will express: “The homage and congratulations of the whole world.” The Cynosure suggest that “these metals will probably be carefully distributed among the Protestant rulers, who humble themselves and abased their religious professions by sending presents to Rome last spring.”SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.12

    Elder S. N. Haskell, who has been laboring in England for over a year, reached the Oakland camp-meeting on the 26th ult., and at the same afternoon delivered a stirring discourse on “Foreign Mission.” He brings a good report of the work in England, and in other parts of the world, and as he talked faith and courage, all who had the privilege of hearing him seemed to catch the same spirit. The fields are everywhere white to the harvest. Let us not only pray that laborers may be sent forth into the harvest, but let us each conscientiously ask, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.13

    Now that Prince Bismarck has been there, and knows the way, and how to do gracefully, and he seems to rather enjoy going to Canosa; and appears to fear nothing so much as to displease the Pope. He has recently felt called upon to explain to that turbulence subject of King Humbert that the only object of the Emperor’s proposed visit to Rome is to make secure the Alliance between Germany and Italy, and thus, in case of war, secure an addition of half a million men to the German army. “The pope,” it is said, “seems disposed to remove all difficulties in the way of the imperial visit.” And why shouldn’t he seems so dispose? He has been consulted, and what more could any reasonable man ask, especially of a Protestant (?) prince who professes to zero no allegiance to Rome?SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.14

    A correspondent of the New York Evangelist in describing a days’ scene at one of India’s famous places of pilgrimage, A says, “A strange mixture of religion.... and of pleasure, was this mela crown! ... For the children and young people amusements were provided, and for the devout Hindu nothing was lacking that could prove in any way and ‘aid to devotion.’”SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.15

    But that was in a heathen land and among heathen worshipers; now read an item relative to a “Christian Convention” (Campbellite camp-meeting) held near Irvington, Cal. This item was evidently furnished by someone on the ground and was published in one of the Oakland dailies under “Jottings in Camp.” it says:-SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.16

    “Between the sessions of the convention, and late in the evening, the cooks and waiters entertain themselves and other lovers of the banjo and plantation songs with mirth and music.”SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.17

    Is not this a far more “strange mixture of religion and pleasure”? For the crooks, waiters, and “other lovers of the banjo and plantation songs,” “mirth and music;” for the devout, hymns, purse, and sermons! Surely such sandwiches are well-pleasing to the enemy of all righteousness.SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.18

    “At a reception to a State Editorial Association, a given at Boise City, Idaho, recently, one of the visitors made the following speech: ‘Men of Idaho, there are but two things I object to in your beautiful capital: one is the number of Chinamen, the other is the quality of your whisky. Now let me suggest how you can of factually get rid of the former-turn over the whisky to them to-night, and there will not be one of the drinkers alive in the morning.’”SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.19

    That was the speech of an unthinking political demagogue. His proposition would not work, for the Chinamen wouldn’t use the vile liquor, if it were turned over to them. The Chinese have many vices, but they lack the peculiar vice of civilization, that of getting drunk and reeling through the streets or rolling in the gutter. When they get drunk, as they do on opium, they keep out of sight. A sensible proposition, if it is desired to exterminate any class of people, would have been to turn over the vile whisky to the vendors thereof. There are fewer Chinese in this country than there are whisky sellers, and one whisky seller does more injury to the workingmen than do a hundred Chinese. We do not believe in unlimited Chinese immigration any more than we believe in the political clap-trap that is uttered concerning them.SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.20

    We have before stated our belief that the church is the divinely-appointed agency for carrying on all moral reforms, and that nothing else can do its work. Therefore we hardly indorse the following from a pastor who writes to the New York Evangelist:-SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.21

    “Here again is the comparatively new order known as the ‘Society of Christian Endeavor,’ just as if the church itself was not a Society of Christian Endeavor. The multiplication of this new species of organizations has been very rapid of late, and there are many who hailed this as a sign of health and Christian vigor. So in some cases it may be. But we think a word of warning and caution is needed. These Societies of Christian Endeavor continually include a large number of the younger members of the church; but they also include any who choose to subscribe to their rules who are not members of the church, and are not professed Christians of all. So at least we understand the case.SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.22

    “Now is there not peril here in several directions? In the first place, the very formation of such societies within the church, appears to imply that the members of it were not already, by their church vows, and any solemnly pledged to all ‘Christian endeavor.’ it is a kind of reflection on the church, or a confession that the church covenant rest very lightly upon the conscience. Again, is there not a danger that these young persons who are not professors of the faith in Christ, will often, when they have become members of this new society, think that they are already pretty comfortably Christianize, and that it will be no great matter if they stay on the level they have reached, and never receive baptism nor come to the Lord’s table? Are they not in the charmed circle of ‘Christian Endeavor,’ singing, working ..., joining in a campaign of excellent work? Who can venture to find fault with them if they go no further?”SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.23

    This is just the point. The Young Men’s Christian Associations have had an immense influence in lessening the sense of obligation to church membership. While there is without doubt much good done in a certain way by these societies, to reiterate our belief that no real Christian reformation can be accomplished outside the church of Christ. If it be said that these societies are necessary because the church does not do the work that it ought to do then it simply shows that a reformation is needed in the church.SITI October 5, 1888, page 608.24

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