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    February 3, 1888

    “The Spirit of Antichrist. No. 7” The Signs of the Times, 14, 5.

    E. J. Waggoner

    But it is urged that the spirits often do good service, giving valuable advice in business matters, healing the sick, etc., and that those who do such things must be good spirits. Again we recur to our rule: “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Do they acknowledge the God of the Bible, and accept Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world? Never. Then they are of the devil. Is it strange that the devil should do a little seeming good for a person, in order more completely to entangle that person in his toils, and to lure scores of others into his net? Does not the libertine often profess the utmost piety, in order that he may win his way into the homes of innocence? If men will steal the livery of the court of Heaven, to serve the devil, is it any wonder that Satan should steal the same livery in order to serve himself?SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.1

    Christ says that just before the end “there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Matthew 24:24. And Paul says that just before the coming of Christ, Satan will work “with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10. The miracles which Satan works are intended to deceive, and since they almost deceive even the saints of God, it is evident that they have the appearance of good. In order to capture professed Christians, Satan is going to profess to be Christ, and he must therefore counterfeit as far as possible the work of Christ.SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.2

    Sometimes men wonder why the Lord should allow Satan to deceive people. He doesn’t allow him to deceive anyone who doesn’t want to be deceived. Only those who receive not the love of the truth, will fall under Satan’s wiles. No matter what garb Satan or his angels may assume, they can always be detected by comparing their words with the plain declarations of the Bible.SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.3

    In previous articles we showed that from the very nature of the case, Spiritualism must tend to immorality; and now we have shown that it denies God, denies Christ, and makes man his own saviour, denies the Bible, and, consequently, the morality of the Bible, makes every man’s desires and natural propensities his own law, and advises men to submit themselves to spirits which it acknowledges are lying spirits. What more is needed to show that Spiritualism is the spirit of antichrist? Yet we give one more quotation. It is from an article in the Golden Gate of August 20, 1887, written by Dr. John B. Wolff, of Washington, D. C., who says that he was a Spiritualist years before the Rochester knockings, and a Methodist minister before he was a Spirtualist. Hence he ought to know whereof he speaks. He says:-SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.4

    “There have been many attempts to unite Christianity and Spiritualism, but they have all been signal failures, and will continue so to be, because there is not enough in common to make the basis of a solid union.”SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.5

    Again he says:-SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.6

    “Spiritualism strikes at the root of every cardinal doctrine of Christianity; hence there can be no conciliation or reconciliation between that and genuine Spiritualism, except at the expense of the latter. The churches have control of public opinion, the press, and the machinery of the governments, and are using all these instruments to crush us out. While this state of facts exists, I do not propose to belittle and stultify myself by any concessions or courtships. I am ready to meet them half-way upon the platform of equality. Till then no compromise in mine. With me Spiritualism must stand alone upon its own facts and doctrines, perfectly discreted from any and all system, past or present. Those who are fond of conglomerates, such as Daniel’s model of iron and clay, can mix to suit their tastes and necessities, but I will have one of it.”SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.7

    Yet in spite of all this, Spiritualism will erelong profess to be the Christianity of the Bible, and as such will be accepted by a very large majority of the people of the earth. It will not change its character in the least, but will still continue to teach doctrines having the same immoral tendencies that it now does. This could not be done if it were not the fact that it is engineered by Satan, the archdeceiver. W.SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.8

    “The Reasonableness of Faith” The Signs of the Times, 14, 5.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Christian’s faith in something that cannot be seen is a source of wonder to the unbeliever, and is often the object of ridicule and contempt. The worldling regards the simple faith of the Christian as an evidence of weakness of mind, and with a complacent smile at the thought of the superiority of his own intellect, he declares that he never believes a thing without evidence; he never jumps at conclusions, and doesn’t believe anything that he cannot see and understand.SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.9

    The saying that the man who believes nothing that he cannot understand will have a very short creed, is as true as it is trite. There is not a philosopher living who can understand the one-hundredth part of the simple phenomena that he sees every day. Scientists have found out by observation that certain kinds of soil are specially adapted to certain kinds of produce; but nobody can tell why.SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.10

    As a matter of fact, faith is one of the commonest things. There is no skeptic who does not have faith to a greater or less degree; and in very many cases they go even farther, and manifest simple credulity. But the element of faith underlies all business transactions, and all the affairs of life. Two men make an appointment to meet at a certain time and place, to transact certain business; each has to trust the other’s word. The merchant has to exercise faith in his employés and his customers. Yea, more, he has to, unconsciously it may be, exercise faith in God; for he will send his ships across the ocean, with confidence that they will return again loaded with merchandise, and yet he must know that their safe return depends on the winds and the waves, which are beyond human control. And even though he never once thinks of the power that controls the elements, he puts confidence in the officers and crew. He will even trust himself on board of one of the ships, whose captain and crew he never saw, and confidently expect that they will bring him to the desired heaven.SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.11

    One of these men who thinks that it is foolish to trust in a God “whom no man hath seen, neither can see,” will go to a little window and lay down a twenty-dollar gold-piece, and in return will receive from a man whom he never saw before, and whose name he does not know, only a little strip of paper which says that he is entitled to a ride to a distant city. He perhaps has never seen that city, and knows of its existence only by the reports of others, yet he steps aboard the cars, gives his bit of paper to another total stranger, and settles down in comfort. He has never seen the engineer, and does not know but that he may be incapable or malicious; yet he is perfectly unconcerned, and confidently expects to be carried safely to the place, the existence of which he knows only by hearsay. More than this, he holds in his hand a piece of paper prepared by some men whom he never saw, which states that these strangers, to whose care he has intrusted himself, will land him at his destination at a certain hour; and so implicitly does this skeptic believe this statement, that he sends word ahead to some other person whom he has never seen, making arrangements to meet him at that specified time.SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.12

    Still further, his faith is drawn upon in the sending of the message announcing his coming. He steps into a little room, writes a few words on a slip of paper, which he hands to a stranger sitting by a little machine, pays the man half a dollar, and then goes his way believing that in less than half an hour his unknown friend a thousand miles away will be reading the message which he left in the station behind him.SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.13

    When he reaches the city, his faith is still further manifested. While on the cars he has written a letter to his family, whom he has left at home. As soon as he reaches the city, he spies a little iron box fastened to a post in the street, and straightway goes and drops his letter into it, and walks off without giving the matter a second thought. He confidently expects that the letter which he has dropped into that box without saying a word to anybody, will reach his wife within two days. And yet this man thinks that it is extremely foolish to talk to God with the expectation that any attention will be paid to the words.SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.14

    But to all this the skeptic will reply that he does not blindly trust in others, but that he has reason to believe that he will be carried safely, that his message will be sent correctly, and that his letter will reach his wife in good season. His faith in these things is based on the following grounds:-SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.15

    1. Others have been carried in safety, and thousands of letters and telegrams have been correctly sent and promptly delivered. Whenever a letter has been miscarried, it has almost invariably been the fault of the sender.SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.16

    2. The men to whom he instrusts himself and his messages, make a business of carrying people and messages; if they should fail to fulfill their agreements, nobody would place any confidence in them, and their business would soon be ruined.SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.17

    3. He has had the assurance of the Government of the United States. The railroad and telegraph companies receive their charter from the Government, which thereby becomes in a measure responsible for their faithfulness. If they do not do as they agree, the Government can revoke their charter. His confidence in the letter-box was due to the fact that he saw upon it the letters “U.S.M.,” and he knew that they mean that the Government has promised safely to deliver any letter placed in the box, if it is properly addressed and stamped. He believes that the Government will fulfill its promises, because if it does not, its existence must soon come to an end. Its existence depends on its power to fulfill its promises, and its integrity in performing them. It is to the interest of the Government to fulfill its promises, just as much as it is to the interest of the railroad and telegraph companies to fulfill theirs. And all these things form a solid ground for his faith.SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.18

    Well, the Christian has a thousand-fold more ground for his faith in the promises of God. Faith is not blind credulity. Says the apostle: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence [ground, or confidence] of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. This is an inspired definition, and therefore we may conclude that the Lord does not expect us to exercise faith except on evidence. Now it can readily be shown that the Christian has the same ground for exercising faith in God, that the skeptic has for his confidence in the railroad and telegraph companies, or in the Government; and a great deal more.SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.19

    1. Others have trusted the promises of God, and have found them to be sure. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews contains a long list of those who have verified the promises of God; who “through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to fight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again.” And this is not confined to the days of old. Anyone who wishes can find abundance of testimony to the fact that God is “a very present help in trouble.” Thousands can testify of prayers answered in so marked a manner as to leave no more doubt that God answers prayer than there is that the United States Government carries the mails that are intrusted to it.SITI February 3, 1888, page 70.20

    2. The God whom we trust makes a business of answering prayers, and of protecting and caring for his subjects. “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” Lamentations 3:22. And “He delighteth in mercy.” Micah 7:18. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11. If he should break one of his promises, men would cease to believe him. This was the ground of David’s confidence. Said he: “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Thy name; and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for Thy name’s sake. Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God?” Psalm 79:9, 10.SITI February 3, 1888, page 71.1

    3. The existence of God’s Government depends on the fulfillment of his promises. The Christian has the assurance of the Government of the universe, that every lawful request that he makes will be granted. Government is especially for the protection of the weak. Suppose now that God should fail to fulfill one of his promises to the very weakest and most insignificant persons in the world; that single failure would destroy the entire Government of God. The whole universe would at once be thrown into confusion. If God should break one of his promises, no one in the universe could ever have any confidence, and his rule would be at an end. So the humble Christian depends on the word of God, knowing that God has more at stake than he has. If such a thing were possible as that God should break his word, the Christian would lose only his life, but God would lose His character, the stability of his Government, and the control of the universe.SITI February 3, 1888, page 71.2

    Moreover, those who put their trust in human government, or in any institution of men, are liable to be disappointed. With the best of intentions, mistakes will be made, because men are but fallible. But to the Christian the firm assurance is given: “There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:26, 27. His power is shown in creation. The things that he has made attest His eternal power and Godhead. The more powerful the Government, the greater the confidence in it. Then what more reasonable than that we should have implicit confidence in the God whom nature and revelation combined declare to be omnipotent, eternal, and unchangeable?SITI February 3, 1888, page 71.3

    If I should express to an infidel my doubts as to the integrity of one of his friends, he would say: “That’s because you don’t know him; just try him, and you will find him as true as steel.” This would be a fair reply; and so we say to the infidel who doubts the promises of God. “O taste and see that the Lord is good; ... there is no want to them that fear him.” Psalm 34:8, 9. What right has anybody to doubt the promises or the power of God before he has given them a fair trial? And in that case, what right has anybody to doubt God, since everybody is testing his power and goodness every moment of his life? W.SITI February 3, 1888, page 71.4

    “A Lesson on Forgiveness” The Signs of the Times, 14, 5.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Commentary.
    Notes on the International Lesson.
    (February 19.-Matthew 18:21-25.)

    The parable which forms the principal part of this lesson is recorded only in Matthew, but the principle which it inculcates is stamped upon every page of the Bible. Peter came to the Lord and asked, “How oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” Doubtless Peter thought that he was stretching the grace of forgiveness to its utmost limit, for he had not then learned so fully of Christ as he afterwards did. Imagine his surprise when Jesus answered, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times; but, Until seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:22.SITI February 3, 1888, page 73.1

    We cannot understand by this that Jesus intended to limit the number of times that one should forgive another to just four hundred and ninety, but that he intended to express an indefinite, unlimited number. As Schaff aptly says: “It is a symbolical expression for never-ending forgiveness. Love is not to be limited by the multiplication table.” Our Saviour’s words recorded in Luke 17:3, 4, convey the same idea: “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” The Christian’s life is to be one constant stream of love; he is never to cease to forgive until offenses cease.SITI February 3, 1888, page 73.2

    Although the matter of rebuking is not directly in the lesson, it is so closely connected with it that it ought not to be passed without a notice. From the text last quoted, some have supposed that they were not required to exercise forgiveness unless the trespasser expressly asked for it, and that they were warranted in severely censuring anyone who offended them. They do not understand the spirit with which they are to rebuke the offender. Paul explained it when he said to Timothy: “Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2. Still more it is explained in Galatians 6:1: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” And our Lord himself makes it still more plain: “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” Matthew 18:15.SITI February 3, 1888, page 73.3

    These texts show that the object of the “rebuke” is not to irritate the trespasser, and make him feel bitter, but to win him from his evil way. The one trespassed against is to go with a spirit of forgiveness in his heart, utterly forgetful of the fact that he has been injured, but mindful only of the fact that the one before him has by the course which he has taken, wronged his own soul. His object must not be to make the brother feel that he has injured him; self must not appear. He must simply try to win the erring one to the right path.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.1

    The parable which followed our Saviour’s answer to Peter, shows not only the duty of forgiveness, but also the danger of not forgiving. Following is a summary of this familiar parable. A certain man owed the king whom he served, ten thousand talents, about fifteen million dollars. The debtor had nothing with which to meet that debt, so, according to custom, he was commanded to be sold, together with his wife and children, and all that he had. Then the unfortunate man fell down and prayed, “Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.” His lord well knew that he could not pay, but was moved with compassion, and forgave him the debt. Then that same servant went out and found a fellow-servant who owed him a hundred pence, about fifteen dollars. Forgetful of the favor that he had just received, he took his fellow-servant by the throat, and demanded immediate payment of the paltry sum. The poor man made the same plea that the first servant had made to his lord, but the hard-hearted servant, who had been forgiven so much, would not listen to the cry for mercy, and cast his fellow-servant into prison. When the master heard what had been done he said: “O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me; shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.”SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.2

    The first lesson to be drawn from this is the lesson which our Saviour himself emphasized. “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses.” What an awful thought for those who cherish resentment in their hearts, over any real or fancied wrong. It matters not if our sins have been once forgiven; if we so far forget that fact, and lose the influence of it to such a degree, as to refuse to forgive our brother, it will be as though we had never been forgiven. When we pray, we are to say, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” If we do not fully and freely forgive every injury that is done to us, when we repeat the Lord’s prayer we ask the Lord to remember our sins against us. If we refrain from praying the Lord’s prayer, or its equivalent, we cannot have any favor or pardon from God, for “he that asketh receiveth.” So if we do not forgive, there is no hope for us. Jesus himself said, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14, 15.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.3

    This is not an arbitrary decree, that is, a decree depending solely on the will of the maker, but is fixed by the very nature of things. It is like all of God’s decrees, a part of his eternal justice. It would be simply impossible for God to forgive an unforgiving man. Because when God forgives, it is not a mere form, but a cleansing from sin. But God does not cleanse anyone from sin who does not repent of it and desire freedom from it. He does not force forgiveness upon anybody; that would be an impossibility. And the man who will not forgive, cherishes sin, and shows that he does not want forgiveness. He is proud, and would dispute for his “rights” with the Almighty himself.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.4

    But what of the man who has once received pardon from God? He certain must be willing to forgive everybody. If not, he shows that he has no appreciation of the love of God. He shows an utterly selfish disposition, and indicates that he feels that he has received only his just due, in the pardoning love of God. He acts as though everything belonged to him by right. Take the case of the man in the parable. When his debt was forgiven, he virtually received from his master a gift of fifteen million dollars. Now what can we think of a man who has just received fifteen million dollars as a free and unmerited gift, who will refuse to give a needy fellow-creature the paltry sum of fifteen dollars? Language is inadequate to express the meanness of such a man. Surely he is not worthy of the slightest consideration. Well, that which God bestows in forgiving our sins is infinitely greater than anything we can bestow upon our fellows in forgiving their trespasses. If we have really felt the pardoning love of God, the little trespasses of our fellow-men against us will appear as nothing. When we have received so freely of the boundless love of God, it is but a small matter for us to let a little of that love overflow to our fellow-men. And this is what the apostle had in mind, when he wrote: “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.5

    The parable shows that God forgives upon conditions. His pardon is on condition that we really and humbly desire it, and that we continue in the same humility. The sin is not blotted out as soon as it is pardoned. If it were, God could not deal with us as the king did with his servant. The merit of Christ’s blood is set down opposite the sins of the one who is forgiven, and if it remains there until “the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19), they will be blotted out. But if the forgiven one shows by his actions that he is unworthy of the grace of Christ, and attempts by his evil course to make Christ the minister of sin, then the favor is withdrawn, and he stands face to face with his sin, the same as though he had never been forgiven. He will then be required to pay all that he owes to the Lord, which will be impossible; for he is not able even to live uprightly and do his duty for the future, and he has behind him a debt, to meet which he has nothing. He must then be eternally a debtor, and must receive eternal punishment. How wonderful is the love of God, which provides free pardon for all! Who can fail to allow the goodness of God to lead him to a thorough repentance? W.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.6

    “The Flood” The Signs of the Times, 14, 5.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Lesson 6.—Sabbath, February 11

    1. When the world became wholly corrupt, what did God determine to do?SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.7

    “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.” Genesis 6:13.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.8

    2. What provision did the Lord make for the preservation of righteous Noah? Genesis 6:14, 17, 18.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.9

    3. Had there ever been anything to indicate the possibility of a flood?SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.10

    “And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew; for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.” Genesis 2:5.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.11

    4. In obeying the command of the Lord to make an ark, what grace did Noah manifest?SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.12

    “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 the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11:7.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.13

    5. After the ark was completed, and Noah and his family had gone into it, what wonderful thing took place to convince the people of the truth of what Noah had preached?SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.14

    “And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, there went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.” Genesis 7:7-9.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.15

    6. How long after this before the flood began?SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.16

    “And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.” Verse 10.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.17

    7. Was it possible then for Noah to do anything more for the people?SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.18

    “And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.” Verse 16.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.19

    8. How long did it rain?SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.20

    “And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.” Verse 12.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.21

    9. What besides rain from heaven helped to make the flood?SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.22

    “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Verse 11.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.23

    10. How extensive was the flood?SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.24

    “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.” 2 Peter 3:6; Genesis 7:17-23.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.25

    11. How long did the waters remain at their height?SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.26

    “And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days.” Genesis 7:24.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.27

    12. How long did Noah have to remain in the ark? Compare Genesis 7:11 with Genesis 8:12-16.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.28

    13. When Noah came out what did he do?SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.29

    “And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet.” Genesis 8:20.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.30

    14. What did the Lord say about floods in the future?SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.31

    “And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.” Genesis 9:11.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.32

    15. What pledge did he give to confirm this promise?SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.33

    “And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations; I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.” Verses 12-15.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.34

    16. What peculiar force is there in the expression, “I do set my bow in the cloud?”SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.35

    “And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone; and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.” Revelation 4:3.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.36

    “As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.” Ezekiel 1:28.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.37

    17. Then how strong was the assurance that there should never be another universal flood?-God has pledged his own glory that it shall not be.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.38

    18. Will this earth never be destroyed by any means?SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.39

    “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.40

    19. What word has decreed this?-The same word that created the earth in the beginning, and that destroyed it once by a flood. Verses 5, 7.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.41

    20. Why will this destruction take place?SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.42

    “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.” Luke 17:26, 27.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.43

    21. What description have we of the wickedness that shall be in the last days?SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.44

    “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.45

    22. Will the earth be filled with violence as it was before the flood? See verse 3.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.46

    23. Who alone will be saved from the destruction that comes because of this wickedness?SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.47

    “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; He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty; they shall behold the land that is very far off.” Isaiah 33:14-17.SITI February 3, 1888, page 74.48


    In last week’s lesson we learned the special direction in which the antediluvians sinned, namely, in reference to the seventh commandment. But where this commandment is long and openly violated, there is no regard for any other commandment; and there is no other form of sin that so quickly and so surely deadens all moral sensibility. So we learn that before the time that God had fixed as the limit of man’s probation, “all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth,” and “the earth was filled with violence through them;” “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.” There was not the slightest trace of good left in men; nothing by which the Spirit of God could produce conviction of sin, so that it could not strive with them. The only good that men knew was wickedness. They called evil good, and good evil. See Isaiah 5:20-24.SITI February 3, 1888, page 75.1

    From the flood, and the time just before it, many lessons are drawn for us. We are told that “as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” Luke 17:26. The wickedness of man will be just as great before the coming of the Lord, as it was in the days before the flood. To many this seems incredible, but if it were not so, God would not destroy the earth. Men will be lovers of their own selves, and utterly indifferent to the welfare of others, except as the welfare of others may contribute to their own selfish gratification. They will be incontinent and fierce, and so, through sensuality, violence will fill the earth as it did in the days of Noah. See 2 Timothy 3:1-7.SITI February 3, 1888, page 75.2

    Many think that the spread of civilization and the general diffusion of knowledge will be an effectual bar to any such moral degeneration. But these very things, which may be instruments of the highest good, will be what will bring the world to the condition that it was in before the flood. The Egyptians were the wisest people in the ancient world, yet their idolatry was of the grossest character. The Greeks were the most intellectual people who ever lived; it is doubtful if the civilization of the present day is equal to that of ancient Greece; and it is certain that in the fine arts and in scientific knowledge they were far superior to any nation now in existence. And yet they were heathen, and their worship was often characterized by the grossest licentiousness. No; intellect ever can keep a nation from moral degradation. In fact, it was their knowledge, or rather their trust in their own wisdom, which led to their ruin. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” Nothing but humble faith in Christ, can keep any soul from ruin.SITI February 3, 1888, page 75.3

    The elements that will result in bringing this world into the degraded state that existed before the flood, are working to-day. First, men are trusting to science, and to their own wisdom. Second, many who occupy the highest positions, are teaching that evil is a necessity, and that there is in reality no such thing as evil, but that what we call evil is only a lesser form of good. This position was taken by Professor Fiske, of Harvard College, in a lecture in Oakland, last summer. Anyone can figure out the result of such a theory, if it should become general; and the fact that such men hold it is evidence that it would not require a miracle to make it general. Then there is Spiritualism, a cardinal doctrine of which is that there is no atonement, and that every man is his own judge, and is amenable to no one but himself; that his own heart is the only tribunal before which he is to be judged. Read Mark 7:21-25 and Galatians 5:19-21, and you will find out what will result when men follow the natural promptings of their own hearts. Now bear in mind the fact that the corner-stone of Spiritualism, namely, a belief that man is by nature immortal and cannot die, is part of the faith of the mass of professed Christians, and you will see how the way is prepared for all to accept the teachings of Spiritualism, as soon as Satan shall present to them the forms of their dead, whom they believe are really alive. This is but the barest outline, yet the reader can see from it how easily men may be led into the grossest sins. At the same time they will talk of virtue, and will actually think that they are working for the up-building of humanity. Such power has Satan to blind those who do not receive the love of the truth.SITI February 3, 1888, page 75.4

    It is becoming quite common to say that the flood was limited in extent. Such a statement is directly contrary to the express declarations of Scripture. Peter says that “the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.” 2 Peter 3:6. And the word of God has decreed that the heavens and the earth which followed the flood, shall be destroyed by fire. The flood, then, must have been as extensive as the heavens and the earth which now exist, and as the destruction at the last day. To limit the flood to a small portion of the earth, is virtually to deny that “the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” It is, in fact, to place one’s self among the scoffers who say, “Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” Let all take heed how they receive the word of God. W.SITI February 3, 1888, page 75.5

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 14, 5.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Several of the large cities of the East are being canvassed for the American Sentinel, with good results. Over four thousand yearly subscriptions to that paper have been received within the past month, and the canvass has just begun. Let the work go on, for we believe it is a good one. As one subscriber says of the Sentinel, “every voter in the United States should read it.” And those who are not voters should read it too.SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.1

    A brewery in New York City is called, because of its location, “Hellgate Brewery.” A more fitting name could not be devised, not only for that particular brewery, but for every brewery, distillery, and liquor shop, in the land. Every one of them is a gate to hell and destruction. If everything in this world were called by its true name, there are some things that would have less patronage. Even with man’s natural tendency to evil, the devil finds it necessary to glid sin to a great degree, in order to catch the multitude, and so those gateways to hell are made to appear very attractive.SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.2

    We have received from James A. O’Connor, publisher, Bible House, N.Y., the fourth bound volume of The Converted Catholic, a monthly magazine specially designed for the conversion of Roman Catholics to evangelical Christianity. This magazine is not only good for Christians to read, that they may learn the evangelical way of salvation, but all Protestants will be interested in its contents. It is boldly and aggressively opposed to the Roman Catholic Church, but as Luther said, it was not with men but with the doctrines of that church. Rev. James A. O’Connor, the editor, was formerly a Roman Catholic priest, and is now doing a good work in New York. The subscription price is only $1.00 per year.SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.3

    A bright, readable paper, and one that we can heartily recommend, is Our Dumb Animals, published monthly, by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 19 Milk Street, Boston, Mass. It is devoted to teaching how to make the lives of our domestic animals more comfortable, and to arousing a healthy sentiment concerning the treatment in general of those of God’s creatures who cannot speak for themselves. It is neatly gotten up, well illustrated, and the matter is adapted to the comprehension of the young, who would certainly be benefited by its perusal. Kindness to animals is as essential to true Christianity as is kindness to men, and we bid the publishers of the little sheet Godspeed in their work.SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.4

    A tree is known by its fruits. “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” Judged by this tree standard, the liquor traffic is evil, and only evil. A dispatch of recent date, from Kingston, Ontario, says:-SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.5

    “In retaliation for the hard fight being made by the temperance people of Leeds County, eleven buildings have been burned at Irish Creek. The Methodist Church and a tannery have been burned at Kemptville, and five constables have been stoned and assaulted. Dr. Ferguson, Member of Parliament, and three others, one of them a minister, were assaulted and threatened with murder, and two deacons of the Baptist Church have been warned to dismiss their ministers or have their church burned.”SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.6

    This is the kind of fruit that the liquor traffic bears. It manufactures criminals, and then commits crime on its own account, in order to perpetuate its own existence. And yet it has the effrontery to seek the protection of the laws. No man who loves law and order will ever be found pleading for it, and so it is begotten in crime, it lives by crime, and begets only crime and misery. It is for this reason, and this alone, that it should be suppressed.SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.7

    The Banner of Light says:-SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.8

    “All things are preparing the way for the advent of the new age that is fast coming in. it is to be the higher age, because the more spiritual one. The scoff at spiritual realities that is now heard from the materialist on the one hand, and the religionist on the other, will be silenced before the resistless power of that great wave which is to overwhelm the world as a tide from Eternity’s ocean.”SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.9

    Thus the devil is seeking to prepare the minds of men for the strong, overmastering delusions, when he will attempt to counterfeit the coming of the Lord. And all the time that the poor souls who are taken captive by him at his will, are talking about the “higher age,” and “spiritual life,” and imagining that they are approaching the divine ideal, they will be going deeper into degradation. The exceeding deceitfulness of sin is such that vice itself may appear to be virtue.SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.10

    The Review and Herald in its first issue for 1888, gives some interesting statistics concerning the progress of the work of Seventh-day Adventists for the past year. The gain shown by figures is fourteen ministers, sixteen licentiates, ninety-one churches, 2,790 members, and $45,784.21 in Conference funds. The Central Publishing Association located at Battle Creek, Michigan, has printed of books and tracts 65,611,008 pages, periodicals 22,771,080 pages. The total number of pages printed up to November 1, 1887, was 481,718,747. The sales in 1887 amounted to over $98,000.SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.11

    The accessions to our ranks form no criterion by which to judge of the progress of the work. The work is not to gather out a multitude, but it is to go to all the world; and the best evidence that it is very rapidly accomplishing this is seen in the broadcast sowing of the printed page.SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.12

    The Review says: “We turn our eyes to the future. The prospect, year by year, grows clearer, the cadence surer, that we have not followed cunningly devised fables in making known the soon coming of the Lord. Prophecies are converging to their fulfillments. Events are moving with accelerated velocity. The word of God is demonstrating its claim to truthfulness, and comforting every humble believer with the thought that the hope that is built upon his word can never fail.SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.13

    The Christian Union is devoting considerable attention to the matter of Sunday railroad trains. In an issue of January 5 there is an article giving the result of interviews with railroad men, all of whom say that no more trains are run on Sunday than are absolutely demanded by the public, and that much less freight is handled on Sunday than on any other day. A letter to the editor, from a prominent railroad man, says that the traffic will be substantially the same per week, whether moved in 178 hours or 144, and that it can be moved in 144 hours per week. He says: “The roads and the public will be put to temporary inconvenience in conforming to this service, but the roads will soon be convinced that it is feasible, and the public will acquiesce.” And the Christian Union itself, in an extended editorial, says:-SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.14

    “Nearly all railroads run a Sunday mail train, and nearly all the Sunday newspapers take advantage of the lines of the railroad. Now, for this, not the railroad, but the people of the United States are to blame. If we do not want Sunday mail trains distributing Sunday newspapers, we have simple to produce such a state of public opinion, that Congress will pass a law that no newspaper mail shall be carried on Sunday, and the reform is accomplished. The Christian Union promises its co-operation in such a reform.”SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.15

    We have been requested by friends at the Rural Health Retreat to state that G. C. Foye is not now employed at that institution. The reason for the statement is that he has been borrowing money from the brethren, on the strength of his having been connected with the Retreat. Any who help him will do so at their own risk, and we fear to the loss.SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.16

    “‘Pearl of Days’” The Signs of the Times, 14, 5.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Such is the title of a new monthly published in New York City and “devoted to the maintenance of the Lord’s Day,” so-called. In noticing this new journal and its mission, the Occident, a good Presbyterian paper in San Francisco, takes occasion to say of Sunday that it “is indeed the pearl of days,” and that “every thoughtful Christian in our country, and perhaps especially in California, must often tremble lest this day shall be lost to us.” But why this fear? The Occident answers: “We have in this State no human law for its protection. Every man doeth on this, as on other days, that which seemeth right in his own eyes.”SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.17

    The expression, “no human law,” would seem to imply the existence of a divine law for the protection of this so-called “pearl of days;” but can the Occident cite any such law? Is there, or has there ever been, any such law? If there be no such law, and everybody who knows anything about the matter knows that there is none, will the Occident please explain why every man should not do “on this, as on other days, that which seemeth right in his own eyes”?SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.18

    It would be vain for the Occident to appeal to the fourth commandment; indeed it would not be honest in it to do so, for everybody knows that that commandment says nothing of the first day of the week, except as one of the days upon which God requires us to work, that like him we may rest upon the seventh day, which “is the Sabbath of the Lord,” and upon which we are commanded not to do any work.SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.19

    Behold! as we write, our eye catches the last paragraph of the Occident’s article, and utterly inconsistent though it be, there a part of the fourth commandment is quoted to enforce Sunday-keeping! Surely ‘tis more than passing strange that professedly Christian men, ministeres, and editors of religious papers, will, with the open Bible in their hands, labor so persistently and untiringly to foist upon the consciences of their fellows the keeping of a day, the observance of which is nowhere even hinted at in the Bible, and at the same time teach men to disregard a day for the keeping of which there is a plain “Thus saith the Lord.”SITI February 3, 1888, page 80.20

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