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    November 16, 1888

    “The ‘Epistle of Clement’” The Signs of the Times, 14, 44.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Among the writings of the so-called Christian Fathers are two epistles and several other productions attributed to Clement of Rome, but as the first epistle is the only one that is by anyone regarded as genuine, it is the only one that we need to notice. This epistle opens thus: “The church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the church of God sojourning at Corinth.” This is the only signature it has; but in the catalogue of contents prefixed to the manuscript, the authorship is attributed to one Clement. All that is known of him is that he is supposed to have been the one whom the Catholics claim as the third (by some the fifth) Pope of Rome. It is therefore supposed that this epistle was written about the close of the first century of the Christian era. Following is what Mosheim has to say of this matter:-SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.1

    “Next after the apostles, Clement the bishop of Rome, obtained very high reputation as one of the writers of this century. The accounts we have at this day of his life, actions, and death, are, for the most part, uncertain. There are still extant, two epistles to the Corinthians bearing his name, written in Greek; of these, it is generally supposed that the first is genuine, and that the second is falsely palmed upon the holy man by some deceiver. Yet even the first epistle seems to have been corrupted by some indiscreet person, who was sorry to see no more marks of erudition and genius in a production of so great a man.SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.2

    “The other works which bear the name of Clement, namely, the ‘Apostolic Canons,’ the ‘Apostolic Constitutions,’ the ‘Recognitions of Clement,’ and the ‘Clementina,’ were fraudulently ascribed to this eminent Father, by some deceiver, for the purpose of procuring them greater authority. This, all now concede.... The eight books of ‘Apostolical Constitutions’ are the work of some austere and melancholy author, who designed to reform the worship and discipline of the church, which he thought were fallen from their original purity and sanctity, and who ventured to prefix the names of the apostles to his precepts and regulations, in order to give them currency. The “recognitions of Clement,’ which differ but little from the ‘Clementina,’ are ingenious and pretty fables.”-Ecclesiastical History, book 1, cent. 1, part 2, chap. 2, sec. 13, 19.SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.3

    Neander says:-SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.4

    “After Barnabas, we come to Clement, perhaps the same whom Paul mentions (Philippians 4:3); he was at the end of the first century bishop of Rome. Under his name we have one epistle to the church of Corinth, and the fragment of another. The first was read in the first centuries aloud at divine service in many churches, even with the writings of the New Testament; it contains an exhortation to unity, interwoven with examples and general reflections, addressed to the church at Corinth, which was shaken by divisions. This letter, although, on the whole, genuine, is, nevertheless, not free form important interpolations.”-P. 408.SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.5

    The object in making this quotation is to show how highly the epistle was regarded. There is really nothing striking in the epistle; but when men depart from the light of God’s word, they are in a condition to accept of the most puerile stuff. We make only one extract from this epistle, namely, Clement’s proof of the resurrection:-SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.6

    “Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord continually proves to us that there will be a future resurrection, of which he has rendered the Lord Jesus Christ the first-fruits by raising him from the dead. Let us contemplate, beloved, the resurrection which is at all times taking place. Day and night declare to us a resurrection. The night sinks to sleep, and the day arises; the day (again) departs, and the night comes on. Let us behold the fruits (of the earth), how the sowing of grain takes place. The sower goes forth, and casts it into the ground; and the seed being thus scattered, though dry and naked when it fell upon the earth, is gradually dissolved. Then out of its dissolution, the mighty power of the providence of the Lord raises it up again, and from one seed many arise and bring forth fruit.SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.7

    “Let us consider that wonderful sign (of the resurrection) which takes place in eastern lands, that is, in Arabia and the countries round about. There is a certain bird which is called a phoenix. This is the only one of its kind, and lives five hundred years. And when the time of its dissolution draws near that it must die, it builds itself a nest of frankincense, and myrrh, and other spices, into which, when the time is fulfilled, it enters and dies. But as the flesh decays, a certain kind of worm is produced, which, being nourished by the juices of the dead bird, brings forth feathers. Then, when it has acquired strength, it takes up that nest in which are the bones of its parent, and bearing these it passes from the land of Arabia into Egypt, to the city called Heliopolis. And, in open day, flying in the sight of all men, it places them on the altar of the sun, and having done this, hastens back to its former abode. The priests then inspect the registers of the dates, and find that is has returned exactly as the five hundredth year was completed.SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.8

    “Do we then deem it any great and wonderful thing for the Maker of all things to raise up again those that have piously served him in the assurance of a good faith, when even by a bird he shows us the mightiness of his power to fulfill his promise?”-Epistle I, chap. 24, 25, and 26.SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.9

    Every Bible student knows that both the Old Testament, and also the New, abound in references to the resurrection. With the apostle Paul, especially, it is a prominent theme. Now, we ask if it is at all probable that any man who was familiar with the Bible would pass by its wealth of testimony on the subject of the resurrection, and produce as proof of it only a ridiculous fable? Whether this epistle was written by Clement, or by somebody who lived later and who forged his name, one thing is certain, and that is, that as a book of Christian doctrine it is not worth the paper on which it is written. We are totally at a loss to understand the reverence with which so many people regard this stuff. But we would especially ask the reader to form in his mind a picture of the condition of churches that took it down week after week as inspired teaching. The inevitable result of feeding upon such vapid stuff must have been mental degeneration, and an inability to distinguish real argument from fancy. W.SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.10

    “The Papacy. (Continued.)” The Signs of the Times, 14, 44.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots; and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” Daniel 7:7, 8.SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.11

    The name of this fourth kingdom is not given, but we have the data by which it may easily be ascertained. The four universal kingdoms, with the kingdoms into which the fourth was to be divided, cover the history of the world until the end of time, when the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which “shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” Daniel 2:44. Now, since there are but four universal monarchies form the days of Nebuchadnezzar till the end of time, and we have the names of three of them, it is evident that if anywhere in history we find mention of a universal kingdom, other than one of the three already found, it must be the one sought for, namely, the fourth. And here, as in the case of the other kingdoms, the Bible furnishes the desired information. In Luke 2:1, we read: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” The name Cæsar Augustus at once brings Rome to mind, and in Rome we find the fourth universal monarchy, the one represented by the “dreadful and terrible” beast of Daniel 7:25.SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.12

    After the death of Alexander, his empire was divided into four parts, namely, Macedon, Thrace, Syria, and Egypt. The history of these divisions of the Grecian Empire, for the next two hundred years, is one of continual warfare for the supremacy. All this time Rome was developing, and enlarging her borders. The year 171 B.C. found Rome engaged in war with Perseus, king of the Macedonian division of the Grecian Empire. The war continued three years, and its result is thus described by Prof. Arthur Gilman:-SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.13

    “In 168 the Romans met the army of Perseus at Pydna, in Macedonia, north of Mount Olympus, on the 23rd June, and utterly defeated it. Perseus was afterward taken prisoner and died at Alba. From the battle of Pydna the great historian Polybius, who was a native of Megalopolis, dates the complete establishment of the universal empire of Rome, since after that no civilized State ever confronted her on an equal footing, and all the struggles in which she engaged were rebellions or wars with ‘barbarians’ outside of the influence of Greek or Roman civilization, and since all the world recognized the Senate as the tribunal of last resort in differences between nations.”-Story of Rome (G. P. Putnams Sons, New York), pp. 163, 164.SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.14

    In “Prideaux’s Connexion” (part 2, book 3) we find testimony to the same effect. In the record of the year 168 B.C. Prideaux tells of the embassy which the Roman Senate sent to command Antiochus to desist from his contemplated war upon Egypt. Popillius, the chief of the embassy, met Antiochus near Alexandria, and delivered to him the decree of Rome. “Antiochus having read the decree, told Popillius he would consult with his friends about it, and speedily give him the answer they should advise; forthwith drew a circle round him [Antiochus] in the sand with the staff which he had in his hand, and required him to give his answer before he stirred out of that circle; at which strange and peremptory way of proceeding Antiochus being startled, after a little hesitation yielded to it, and told the ambassador that he would obey the command of the Senate.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.15

    Picture the scene-Antiochus fully armed, at the head of a vast army, surrounded by his generals, yet obeying the decree that was brought him by an unarmed citizen of Rome! How can such weakness be accounted for? Prideaux answers:-SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.16

    “That which made him [Popillius] so bold as to act with him after this peremptory manner, and the other so tame as to yield thus patiently to it, was the news which they had a little before received of the great victory of the Romans, which they had gotten over Perseus, king of Macedonia. For Paulus Æmilius having now vanquished that king, and thereby added Macedonia to the Roman Empire, the name of the Romans after this carried that weight with it as created a terror in all the neighboring nations; so that none of them after this cared to dispute their commands, but were glad on any terms to maintain peace, and cultivate a friendship with them.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.17

    These quotations also serve to corroborate the conclusion already arrived at, that Rome was the fourth universal empire. A very few quotations, out of the many at hand, will suffice to show the extent and power of Rome. Says Gibbon:-SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.18

    “A modern tyrant, who should find no resistance either in his own breast, or in his people, would soon experience a gentle restraint from the example of his equals, the dread of present censure, the advice of his allies, and the apprehension of is enemies. The object of his displeasure, escaping from the narrow limits of his dominions, would easily obtain, in a happier climate, a secure refuge, a new fortune adequate to his merit, the freedom of complaint, and perhaps the means of revenge. But the empire of the Romans filled the world, and when that empire fell into the hands of a single person, the world became a safe and dreary prison for his enemies. The slave of imperial despotism, whether he was condemned to drag his gilded chain in Rome and the Senate, or to wear out a life of exile on the barren rock of Scriphus, or the frozen banks of the Danube, expected his fate in silent despair. To resist was fatal, and it was impossible to fly. On every side he was encompassed with a vast extent of sea and land, which he could never hope to traverse without being discovered, seized, and restored to his irritated master. Beyond the frontiers, his anxious view could discover nothing, except the ocean, inhospitable deserts, hostile tribes of barbarians, of fierce manners and unknown language, or dependent kings, who would gladly purchase the emperor’s protection by the sacrifice of an obnoxious fugitive. ‘Wherever you are,’ said Cicero to the exiled Marcelics, ‘remember that you are equally within the power of the emperor.’”-Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, chap. 3, paragraph 37.SITI November 16, 1888, page 694.19

    De Quincey says:-SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.1

    “That imperatorial dignity... was undoubtedly the sublimest incarnation of power, and a monument the mightiest of greatness built by human hands which upon this planet has been suffered to appear.”-Essays on the Cæsars, chap. 6, last paragraph.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.2

    But Daniel was not completely satisfied with the general answer given by the angel, that the four beasts were four kingdoms. He wanted to know more than this and said, “Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; and of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.” Daniel 7:19, 20.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.3

    The fourth beast was the fourth kingdom,-Rome,-and the ten horns, it is plainly stated, “are ten kings that shall arise,” that is, the parts into which the Roman Empire should be divided. This division is mentioned in Daniel 2:41. It was effected by the incursions of the barbarous tribes which dismembered the Roman Empire in the fourth and fifth centuries, the history of which is so graphically described by Gibbon.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.4

    After the division of the Roman Empire was completed, which was in A.D. 476, another power was to arise, and in its rise was to pluck up three of the first kingdoms by the roots. There is so general an agreement by all commentators in regard to this “little horn” which had “eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things” (Daniel 7:8), that we risk nothing in saying at once that it represents the Papacy. The characteristics given in Daniel 7:8, 20, 21, 25, are met in the Papacy, and in no other power. It uprooted three kingdoms to make room for itself; and as if to show the fulfillment of the prophecy, the Pope’s tiara is a triple crown. Such a crown is worn by no other ruler. The three kingdoms that were plucked up will be named a little further on.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.5

    “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” Daniel 7:25.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.6

    If we find that these three specifications apply to the Papacy, then it will be useless to look further for an application for the little horn. We will consider them in detail.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.7

    1. “He shall speak great words against the most High.” It is a notorious fact that the Pope is styled the “Vicar of the Son of God,” indicating that he fills the office of Christ. Paul, speaking of the Papacy, which he calls the “man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4), says that he “exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped.” This is a parallel to Daniel 7:25. It is fulfilled in the Pope’s claim to have power to grant indulgences, a thing which God himself has never promised to do. Further, it is fulfilled in the Papal dogma of infallibility. This dogma was ratified by the council of 1870, and the following is a portion of the decree:-SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.8

    “And since by the divine right of apostolic primacy the Roman pontiff is placed over the universal church, we further teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful, and that in all causes, the decision of which belongs to the church, recourse may be had to his tribunal, and that none may reopen the judgment of the apostolic see, than whose authority there is no greater, nor can any lawfully review its judgment.”-The Vatican decrees, by Dr. Philip Schaff.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.9

    Although this dogma was ratified in 1870, it has been held for centuries, as is shown by the following monstrous assertion in one of the Roman decretals:-SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.10

    “If the Pope should become neglectful of his own salvation, and of that of other men, and so lost to all good that he draw down with himself innumerable people by heaps into hell, and plunge them with himself into eternal torments, yet no mortal man may presume to reprehend him, forasmuch as he is judge of all and to be judged of no one.”-Quoted by Wylie, History of Protestantism, book 5, chap. 10.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.11

    Monsignor Capel, who was private chaplain to Pope Pius IX., in a pamphlet entitled “The Pope; the Vicar of Christ; the Head of the Church,” gives a list of titles and appellations that have been given the Pope in various church documents, and from this list we select the following:-SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.12

    “Most Divine Head of all Heads.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.13

    “Holy Father of Fathers, Pontiff Supreme over all Prelates.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.14

    “The Chief Pastor; Pastor of Pastors.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.15

    “Christ by Unction.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.16

    “Melchizedek in Order.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.17

    “High Priest, Supreme Bishop.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.18

    “Key-Bearer of the Kingdom of Heaven.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.19

    “Supreme Chief; Most powerful Word.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.20

    “Vicar of Christ.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.21

    “Sovereign Bishop of Bishops.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.22

    “Ruler of the House of the Lord.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.23

    “Apostolic Lord and Father of Fathers.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.24

    “Chief Pastor and Teacher and Physician of Souls.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.25

    “Rock, against which the proud Gates of Hell prevail not.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.26

    “Infallible Pope.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.27

    “Head of all the Holy Priests of God.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.28

    “Chief of the Universal Church.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.29

    “Bishop of Bishops, that is, Sovereign Pontiff.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.30

    These titles, and many others equally blasphemous, including “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah,” the Pope receives as his own by right. In our own enlightened age, this title has been given to Pope Leo XIII., by his servile flatterers, in whose eyes “His Holiness” is a divine being. No other power on earth has ever so opposed and exalted itself against all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that the Pope sitteth in the temple of God, “setting himself forth as God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4, revised version. W.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.31

    (To be continued.)

    “The Commentary. Second Epistle of Peter” The Signs of the Times, 14, 44.

    E. J. Waggoner

    2 Peter 2:1-10.
    (Lesson 6, Sabbath, Dec. 1.)

    1. What obstacles hindered the progress of truth “in old time”?SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.32

    “But there were false prophets also among the people.” 2 Peter 2:1, first clause.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.33

    2. What did Peter say there should still be among the people?SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.34

    “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” Same verse.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.35

    3. What does he say of the character and work of these false teachers? Same Verse.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.36

    4. Is it necessary that these false teachers who deny the Lord should be avowed disbelievers in him?SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.37

    “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” Titus 1:6.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.38

    5. What does Christ say will be the fate of such?SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.39

    “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:22, 23.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.40

    6. How much following will such ones have?SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.41

    “And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” 2 Peter 2:2.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.42

    7. What will be the result to the truth? Same verse.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.43

    8. What principle is it that leads these men to cover their licentiousness with the garb of religion?SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.44

    “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you; whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” Verse 3.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.45

    9. When such ones flourish the most, what may we know concerning the time of retribution? Verses 1 and 3, last part of each.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.46

    10. What three great events of the past assure us that God will not allow them to go unpunished?SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.47

    “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; and delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked.” “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” Verses 4-7, 9.SITI November 16, 1888, page 695.48

    11. When will there be a parallel to the wickedness of men in the days of Noah and Lot?SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.1

    “And as it was in the days of Noe, 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 Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” Luke 17:26-30.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.2

    12. In what did the great sin of the people in those times consist?SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.3

    “That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” “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.” “And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” Genesis 6:2, 5, 12.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.4

    “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Jude 7.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.5

    13. What does Peter say of these last-day false professors?SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.6

    “But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government.” 2 Peter 2:10, first part.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.7

    14. To what time are all the wicked reserve for punishment?SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.8

    “And delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” “And to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” Verses 4 and 9, last part of each.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.9

    15. What was the character of those who escaped the judgments that have been brought upon the earth in the past?SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.10

    “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.” Verses 5, 7, 8.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.11

    16. What encouragement can the righteous find in the account of past judgments?SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.12

    “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation.” Verse 9, first part.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.13


    In 2 Peter 2:4-9 three events of the past are brought to view as evidences that God will surely punish the wicked, and deliver the godly out of temptation. First, “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell;” second, he “spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;” and third, he turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, “making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly,” but delivered just Lot. Now, says Peter, if God did these three things, he knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. The fact that God has done these things in the past (and that he has, all the wicked may know if they will) is sure evidence that God will finally punish all the wicked, and will thereby deliver the godly out of temptation.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.14

    And here it may be noticed that the punishment of the wicked is necessary to the complete redemption of the righteous. The loyal angels could not have been delivered from temptation if God had not cast out from among them the angels that kept not their first estate. Jude 6. Lot’s righteous soul was vexed from day to day by the filthy acts of the Sodomites, and the same must have been the case with Noah, when every imagination of the thoughts of the hearts of men was only evil continually. God destroyed the wicked race, preserving Noah alive. So, when wickedness abounds over the whole earth, and men totally reject God’s Spirit, the safety of God’s loyal people, no less than outraged law, demands the destruction of the wicked.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.15

    “Notes on the International Lesson. The Covenant Renewed. Joshua 24:19-28” The Signs of the Times, 14, 44.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (November 25.-Joshua 24:19-28.)

    The time of the events recorded in these verses was B.C. 1426, or sixty five years after the making of the covenant and the giving of the law at Mount Sinai. The covenant made at Sinai was an agreement between the Lord and the people relative to the law of God. The children of Israel had come into the wilderness of Sinai and the Lord called unto Moses from the mount, saying:-SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.16

    “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people.” “And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.” See Exodus 19:4-8.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.17

    This was the covenant; but at this time the people had not yet heard the law; they had promised to keep a law of which they had as yet only an imperfect knowledge. Three days later, however, the Lord spoke his law in the audience of all the people, and again the people promised that they would obey. See Exodus 24:3. “And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord” and the promise of the people in a book and read it to the whole congregation, and after the people had again promised to obey (verse 7) “he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people” (Hebrews 9:12), “and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.” Exodus 24:8. This was the first covenant ratified: the people had repeatedly promised to keep the law of God, and God had promised that if they did so he would make them a peculiar treasure unto himself above all people.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.18

    But the people did not keep this solemn covenant. Their history during all these years was little but a history of backsliding; and now after they had entered upon the possession of the land promised unto their fathers, Joshua calls upon them to put away their strange gods and serve the Lord.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.19

    “And,” said Joshua, “if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods; ... therefore will we also serve the Lord; for he is our God.” Joshua 24:15-18.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.20

    “And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord; for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.” “And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.21

    We are not to suppose that Joshua intended to discourage the people and deter them from the service of the true God, but he did nevertheless state the truth when he said, “Ye cannot serve the Lord;” that is, they could not keep the covenant which they had made at Sinai. That covenant was an unconditional agreement on the part of the people to keep the law of God, but the people did not live up to their agreement; and it will be readily seen that when they broke the covenant, as they did almost immediately when they worshiped the golden calf, they had no more claim on the Lord, according to the covenant which they had entered into with him. They could not go on under that covenant, for no matter how perfectly they might abide by its terms in the future, the fact would remain that they had once broken it, and that was sufficient to forfeit all the blessings which God had promised. In fact, the old covenant was no longer of any service to them; they could repent of their sins and receive pardon, but not by virtue of the covenant made at Sinai; for forgiveness of sins they must look to Christ, or we might say to the second covenant, which, though called the “second” because it was ratified after the covenant at Sinai, was in point of fact the first covenant, for it was made with Abraham (Galatians 3:19), and was the covenant under which Abraham’s faith was counted unto him for righteousness. Genesis 15:6.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.22

    This Abrahamic covenant is the one “established upon better promises” (Hebrews 8:6); and chief among these “better promises” is the promise of the forgiveness of sins. It was in respect of the promises that the first covenant was faulty. If the first covenant had not been thus faulty, there would have been no place for the second. There was in the first covenant no provision for forgiveness of sins. It was ratified by the blood of beasts, which could never take away sin. But the second or Abrahamic covenant was ratified by the blood of Christ, which “taketh away the sins of the world;” and though not ratified for nearly 1,500 years after the covenant at Sinai, it was “confirmed of God in Christ” to Abraham by an oath. See Hebrews 6:13-18. This covenant is made concerning the same law; but if people break it, they may by repentance obtain pardon, and so still remain in covenant relation with God. This is a wonderful exhibition of the mercy and love of God. First, he consents to make a contract with the people concerning that which it is their duty to do; and then he provides pardon for them when they have not only failed to do their duty, but they also violated their agreement to do their duty. Surely love could go no further.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.23

    But some may wonder if God did not know that the people would break that first covenant. We reply, Yes; he not only knew that they could not keep it. In fact, they had broken the commandments, concerning which the covenant was made, before the covenant was made. It was utterly impossible for the people to keep the commandments by their own unaided efforts, yet that is what they promised to do. Then why did the Lord lead them to make such a promise? For the purpose of showing them their own weakness, and of directing their minds to the second or Abrahamic covenant, which already existed. This covenant was a covenant concerning Christ, and provided forgiveness for transgression of the law concerning which the covenant was made, and also help to keep the law. And so, when the Lord made a new covenant with Israel, he was simply directing their attention to the covenant made long before with Abraham. And the proof of this is the fact that all who are heirs of the promises are children of Abraham.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.24

    Thus it appears that the words of Joshua were strictly true; they could not serve the Lord in the sense of keeping the covenant made at Sinai; they could serve him only by availing themselves of the help promised in the second covenant, and becoming not only in name but in fact “children of Abraham,” by faith in Christ, the promised seed of Abraham. Galatians 3:7.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.25

    We would not be understood as teaching that it was impossible to serve God just as well in the days of Joshua as it is now, but that it was impossible to serve him without the aid of divine grace, and that while that grace was not promised in the covenant made at Sinai, it was given to Abraham and to his spiritual seed both before and after the making of what is called the first or old covenant, and that it was always to be obtained through faith in the promised Saviour. God’s promise to Abraham that he should be a great nation and that in his Seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed, was a promise of Christ; and Abraham so understood it, and it was that faith that was counted unto him for righteousness, and no man has ever been accounted righteous in any other way.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.26

    The idea that under the first covenant people were saved by keeping the law, and that now they are saved by faith without obedience, is contrary alike to reason and scripture. God has provided but one Saviour and but one plan of redemption, and in every age the conditions of salvation have been faith and obedience. Abraham was a man of faith, but his faith did not excuse him from obedience. Said the Lord to him: “I am the almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and I will multiply thee exceedingly.” Genesis 17:1, 2. And in describing the people of God down in the last days, the seer of Patmos says: “Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.27

    As the conditions for covenant relation with God are the same as in the past, so the reasons for serving him to-day are identical with the reasons for choosing his service in the days of Joshua. No doubt the people had a deep realization of their obligations to God as they renewed their vows of loyalty to him. The remembrance of his longsuffering and tender mercy toward them, his care that had borne them as an eagle beareth her young, his solicitude, his manifest providences in leading them, in subduing their enemies, in bringing them into the land flowing with milk and honey, in making them the repository of his law, and in revealing himself to them as the covenant-keeping God, the living God who could do exceeding abundantly above what they were able to ask or think,-all this must have given fervency to their response in choosing him who had only wrought them good. Perhaps, too, the thought of their backsliding, their indifference, their frequent rebellion and transgression, served to arouse them to a more intense determination to walk in the commandments of the Lord.SITI November 16, 1888, page 696.28

    Joshua presented before them the awful consequences of forsaking Jehovah. To forsake him and serve other gods means only despair and loss, both now and forever. The Lord describes the condition of those who leave his service in the pathetic words of the prophet, “They have forsaken me, the foundation of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” And again he cries, “Turn ye, turn ye; for why will ye die?” “O that thou hadst harkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 697.1

    We were created to serve God, not from constraint, but willingly. No service but that which springs from love is fulfilling the purpose of our creation. Nothing but this can be accounted as service. John writes, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” But it can be no pleasure to him whose nature is love, to have the unwilling, grudging offering that is sometimes designated as service to God.SITI November 16, 1888, page 697.2

    In all the service of Christ to his Father his language was, “I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, they law is within my heart.” And this condition of true service is provided for in the new covenant. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” Love to God and love to fellow-men measures the infinite scope of the law that is exceeding broad, and that discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart. In seeing something of the depth of the commandment, we behold our own utter inability to keep it without divine aid; but our weakness has been provided for. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own son, in the likeness of sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 697.3

    While sin has brought us helpless and condemned before God, yet his grace, through the merits of the Lamb of God, and through the might of his spirit, has availed to cleanse and strengthen us, that the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us, “who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit;” for under the provision of the new covenant, the law is written in our minds and affections. The truly consecrated heart can say, his yoke is easy, and his burden is light; for Christ, abiding in the soul, brings every thought into subjection, and the language of the Christian is like his. “I delight to do thy will, O my God.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 697.4

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 14, 44.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Speaking of the American system of common schools, the Student’s Workshop truthfully says: “It is true that the system has the facts, but it has been and still is a mighty agency for good, and the only real objection that the Papists have against it is that it fails to make Catholics, whatever they may assert to the contrary.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 704.1

    We trust that the lack of the usual amount of editorial matter in the paper is compensated for by our synopsis of the proceedings of the General Conference and the minutes of the third and fourth meetings of the recent session of the International Sabbath-school Association. Next week we will give some account of the doings of the International Tract and Missionary Society.SITI November 16, 1888, page 704.2

    The Rome correspondent of the London Chronicle says that the Pope refused to comply with Count Herbert Bismarck’s request to use his influence in behalf of the Government candidates in the election for the Langtag. Hence the coolness between Germany and the Vatican. The successor of St. Peter (?) is evidently not in politics-at least he is not when he cannot get well-paid for his influence.SITI November 16, 1888, page 704.3

    Elder E. P. Daniels, who was for some weeks engaged in revival work in Fresno, is now conducting a series of meetings in the Seventh-day Adventists Church, corner of Twelfth and Brush Streets, in this city. These meetings opened Sabbath, November 10, and although it is too early to give results we are thankful to be able to say that everything points to the accomplishment of a good work for the Oakland church. A general invitation is extended to all who can do so to attend these meetings.SITI November 16, 1888, page 704.4

    We are requested by Elder J. H. Cook to announce a general meeting for Fresno, Cal., beginning Friday evening, November 16, at 6 o’clock, and continuing over Sabbath and Sunday. Brother Cook writes: “We wish our brethren to get better acquainted with the wants of the cause and with each other. We want to have full representations from every church in this district, so we may know of their conditions and wants and provide for the same. Preparations will be made to entertain all who come to attend this meeting. Elders Loughborough, Bartlett and myself will be in attendance.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 704.5

    Miss Kate Field has written to the California Viticultural commission that she has commenced her “missionary” operations in behalf of California wines. She says that she has secured the commendation and co-operation of some prominent people, among them D. Hammond, the famous Philadelphia physician, but adds, rather sadly and in a sort of surprised way, that the temperance papers are opposing her efforts to enlighten the Eastern mind upon the benefits accruing from a “wise and well-regulated” use of California wines.SITI November 16, 1888, page 704.6

    It seems really too bad that temperance papers should not be willing to surrender their principles at the behest of the California wine interests, especially when the will of the wine dealers is made known through the medium of a talented lady! But then there probably always will be people who will be influenced more or less by the words of Solomon: “Look not doubt upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 704.7

    Miss Field is unfortunate in having to combat Scripture, human experience, and common sense; but then she has a powerful ally in depraved appetite, and will no doubt meet with much more success than she should, and very much more than will be for the good of those who are so unfortunate as to be deceived by her honeyed words in praise of “California’s noblest industry.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 704.8

    The October number of the Students’ Workshop, published by the Healdsburg College Press, has been received. We notice many improvements in its appearance, indicative of ability and painstaking on the part of those having it in charge. Both in its literary and mechanical make-up, it is a credit to Healdsburg College, the educational principles of which it presents in a clear and forcible manner.SITI November 16, 1888, page 704.9

    The result of the election of the 6th inst. was a surprise alike to Democrats and Republicans. The former were confident of victory, while the latter, if they did not fear defeat, at most hoped only to secure a bare majority in the electoral college. As was expected, the South, with the exception of West Virginia, was solid for the Democratic ticket, but in only two of the Northern States were the Cleveland electors successful. The Republicans carried California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia, thus securing 239 electoral votes, 38 more than are necessary to a choice. At the time of this writing the Republicans are confidently claiming a majority in the Fifty-first Congress. The Prohibitionist vote was not as large as was anticipated.SITI November 16, 1888, page 704.10

    It is announced that the Sabbath (Sunday) Association if Illinois will hold its first annual meeting in the Methodist Church Block, Chicago, Ill., on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 20 and 21, 1888. In connection with this meeting the National Committee of Sabbath (Sunday) Observance will hold its first meeting.SITI November 16, 1888, page 704.11

    Among the speaker expected from abroad are Dr. John Hall, New York; Dr. Crafts, New York; Dr. Knowles, Newark; Col. Elliott F. Shepard, New York; Dr. R. O. Post, Springfield, and others. “All persons interested,” says the Union Signal, “in securing a Sabbath of rest for the hundreds now compelled to never-ending toil are urged to attend this meeting.” It is understood that a strong and determined effort will be made in Illinois to secure the passage of a stringent Sunday law in that State, at the next session of the Legislature.SITI November 16, 1888, page 704.12

    Speaking of missionary operation the Christian at Work says:-SITI November 16, 1888, page 704.13

    “No less than three different places have monuments originated among the Jews that have led them toward Christ and the New Testament. It is all the more notable that these have been inaugurated entirely independent of each other. Of the Kishner agitation in Southern Russia, and to the leadership of Rubinowitch, the papers have made repeated mention. Yet it seems not generally to be understood that this is a peculiarly Jewish-Christian movement, i.e., the converts do not want to cease to be Jews, but at the same time they want to become Christians. Their models are the Jewish-Christian churches of the apostolic age. They retain Jewish faith, and worshiped whatever they regard as reconcilable with a fuller acceptance of the fundamentals of Christianity. They practice circumcision, keep the Sabbath, celebrate the Passover as heretofore, but they place all their trust and hope of salvation in Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of Moses and the prophets. Accordingly none but Rubinowitch have been as yet baptized, although others are seeking baptism.”SITI November 16, 1888, page 704.14

    We suppose that the principal objection to the baptism of these believing Jews is the fact that they keep the Sabbath. Probably very few would object seriously to their keeping the Passover and practicing circumcision, so long as they did not rely upon those things in any measure for salvation; but undoubtedly a large majority of so-called Christians of the present-day would agree with the Council at Laodicea (A.D. 364), and forbid the keeping of the Sabbath under an anathema.SITI November 16, 1888, page 704.15

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