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    December 14, 1888

    “Sensuous Religion” The Signs of the Times, 14, 48.

    E. J. Waggoner

    One of the tendencies of a worldly Christianity (?) has ever been to compromise with pagan tradition, and use worldly methods and means which appeal to the sensuous nature, for the propagation of religion among the masses. The evident desire seems to be, not to convert individuals, but to affect the nations. This policy in the early centuries of the Christian era developed the Papacy, which has proved such a curse to the world. We see the same tendency gaining ground again, and it will lead to the same result. Canon Taylor, an eminent English church man, as quoted in the Christian Union of November 8, thinks that missions are a failure under the present methods, and he advocates such methods as were pursued by some of the priests of Rome, who sprinkled into the faith whole congregations at once. He thinks the methods of the Salvation Army, followed already by the Church of England at home, preferable to those of the missionaries, and thus describes the Army’s work:-SITI December 14, 1888, page 757.1

    “Mr. Tacher, their leader, has given proof of his sincerity, by surrendering a lucrative post in the Indian Civil Service. He heads a barefooted regiment of two hundred soldiers, who go for the life, who give up everything they have, who receive no payment, but are content with a bare subsistence. They abstain from the flesh of animals, the slaughter of which is an abomination to the Hindu; they touch no alcohol; their food is a handful of rice and curry, which they beg from day to day from those to whom they minister. Like the natives, they oil their bodies with c elya oil, they go barefoot, with turbans to protect them from the sun, and their dress is a few yards of calico, costing about five shillings. The whole maintenance of each missionary does not exceed two shillings a week, or five pounds a year. Like the successful Moravian missionaries in South Africa or the West Indies, their object is to become natives-to live among the natives exactly as the natives live, simply exhibiting a nobler life and higher aims.... The natives like the drums and tom-toms, the lively singing, and the bright banners and the processions, and follow them in crowds, while they find the church missionary society services on the Islington model dull and slow. It may not be a high ideal of religion, but it appeals to Indians, just as it appeals to the least educated classes at home.”SITI December 14, 1888, page 757.2

    Upon this the Christian Union offers the following remarks, which we heartily indorse, because they are in harmony with the Scriptures:-SITI December 14, 1888, page 757.3

    “We have no acquaintance among the English missionaries, but some among those who have gone out from America. Some of them, doubtless, are as fond of ease as their fellow-laborers at home; but there are many of them who would not hesitate to adopt Salvation Army methods if convinced that these were the best methods to promote the conversion of the world to Christ. But the do not think so; and we share their disbelief. If the world is a wreck, and the function of the church is simply to pack out a few elect struggling wretches who are “saved” when they leave changed their creed or their ritual, have substituted for an ignorant belief in a Hindu Triad a belief nearly as ignorant in the Christian Trinity, or have left following the priestly procession in honor of Brahm for that of the Salvation Army, the method of the Salvationists is a very tolerable method. The tom-tom and the bright banner are more likely to attract them than a sermon. They may not live any better lives for following the tom-tom; but that is no matter, for the object of the Salvation Army is not to teach them how to live, but to prepare them, by a sort of Protestant and unpriestly extreme unction, to die.SITI December 14, 1888, page 757.4

    “We do not so understand Christianity. Christianity is a life, and it is the function of the church to teach men how to live. The missionary who lives as the native lives does nothing to teach him a better life. it is true that we are in danger of mistaking our Western theology for Christian life; true that we are in danger of trying to make men followers of a middle-class Englishman or American rather than of Jesus Christ.... To sprinkle them with water by the hundred or the thousand and call them converts is a pleasant and may even be a pious illusion, but is none the less an illusion. To induce them to abandon filthy habits and live cleanly lives, to cease to be animals and to become as children of God, is a much more difficult and a much slower process. Every civilized home in a pagan land is an object lesson, and it is one which the missionary ought not to abandon for drums and tom-toms.”SITI December 14, 1888, page 757.5

    “‘Seventy Times Seven’” The Signs of the Times, 14, 48.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times; but, Until seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21, 22.SITI December 14, 1888, page 758.1

    Doubtless Peter thought that he had stretched the matter of forgiveness to its utmost limit when he asked if he should forgive his brother seven times; and the reply of Jesus must have astonished him. Seventy times seven is practically without limit, for remember that this is with only one, and there are very few that would be called upon to forgive one brother four hundred and ninety times. Or even supposing a brother were so great an offender as that, where is the soul so mean as to keep tally of every call for forgiveness, so as not to exceed the exact number? One who would do that would not really forgive at all. Surely the Lord has not left any provision for the cherishing of hard feelings.SITI December 14, 1888, page 758.2

    But we have something which makes the case even stronger. Luke (17:4) thus records the words of Christ concerning our dealing with a brother: “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.” Seven times in a day, days without number, are we to forgive the one who trespasses against us, if forgiveness be needed so often. And we cannot help thinking that the text refers especially to the same trespass repeated. Thus, if a brother shall do the same thing seven times in one day, and each time ask forgiveness, we are to grant it freely. If he does not ask it, we are nevertheless to feel like granting it. Whether or not the text contemplates the same act repeated, it certainly includes that.SITI December 14, 1888, page 758.3

    Our object in calling attention to these texts is not exhortation, but encouragement. It is of very little use to exhort a man to forgive, as a matter of duty, if he has not himself felt the touch of divine forgiveness, which is the spring of all tenderness. But we write for the encouragement of those who feel that they have sinned too greatly to be forgiven, or that they have so often asked forgiveness for a single failing, and so often repeated the same fault, that God must be weary of forgiving. God is not a man. Says he to us:-SITI December 14, 1888, page 758.4

    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8, 9.SITI December 14, 1888, page 758.5

    Those who despondently imagine that God cannot forgive their oft-repeated sin, virtually say that God is not so forgiving as he demands that we shall be, and in so doing they greatly wrong God. His infinity is no less in the direction of love and tenderness than it is in that of wisdom and power. Why, we cannot even know how to forgive if we do not learn from him. And whether we know how to forgive or not, the fact remains that we are required to forgive the same brother times without number, even to seven times in one day, for the same offense, and that God is infinitely more willing to forgive than man can be.SITI December 14, 1888, page 758.6

    This is not said for the purpose of encouraging anybody in wrong-doing; and let no one say that the emphasizing of this matter will lead people to think that they can sin with impunity. If the forgiving love of God would tend to confirm men in sin, God would not have made it known. The fact is that nothing but the love of God can turn a man away from sin. The world was in sin, and God manifested to them his infinite love, in order that they might be able to cease from sin. The fact that some will despise the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering, does not cause him to withdraw his love, and should not prevent us from dwelling upon it, for the encouragement of any who may want to do God’s will.SITI December 14, 1888, page 758.7

    But it is not alone by what God requires of us that we may learn what he is anxious to do for us. The death of the Son of God is the pledge of God’s infinite love for us, and of his inconceivable desire to cleanse us from sin by the application of his healing forgiveness. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32. The gift of Christ comprises everything. And trusting in that unspeakable gift, the humblest and most debased sinner may look up from the midst of his sore temptations, and confidently say:-SITI December 14, 1888, page 758.8

    “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39. W.SITI December 14, 1888, page 758.9

    “A Presbyterian on Spiritualism” The Signs of the Times, 14, 48.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In a recent sermon upon Spiritualism, Rev. Dr. Gibson, of the First United Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, said:-SITI December 14, 1888, page 758.10

    “We see modern Spiritualism coming to the front under the garb of religion, with deceptions and impostures, the enormity of which we can scarcely realize; it makes us shudder to think that it dares to assume the holy raiment of religion. Yet such is the case, for it claims to be a religion, and is deceiving a great many under this cloak, and it is therefore the duty of every minister in the land to tear away the veil and expose the evil beneath the covering...SITI December 14, 1888, page 758.11

    “I charge it with being a curse to moral and social relations and conditions. It is sundering the ties which bind families together. The very foundations of society are being shattered, the sanctity of our homes destroyed, by the degrading influence of the system. It destroys the mind, the body, and the soul. It so acts upon the nerves that harmony of the body is destroyed. As to the mind, go to our asylums and you will see evidences of its work, while it ruins and kills the soul. I tell you that when a person puts his foot inside a séance room he is half an infidel, and when under Spiritualistic influences is wholly one, and he goes to these creatures, who, if not themselves deluded, are ready to delude, and he is destroyed.”SITI December 14, 1888, page 758.12

    This is putting it none too strong; Spiritualism is a monstrous evil; it is imposture and imposition from beginning to end, but not in the sense the Doctor imagines. His idea is that the whole system is one of trickery and sleight-of-hand; whereas the Scriptures teach that it is the work of evil spirits. “They are the spirits of devils, working miracles,” says the divine word, and implicit faith in that word is the only safeguard against their Satanic influences. The churches and ministers may denounce Spiritualism as much as they please; they may point out the evils which attend it; they may show that in many cases it destroys its votaries soul and body, making them not only mental but physical wrecks; but so long as they uphold the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and deny the inspired statement that “the dead know not anything,” just so long will they oppose in vain the progress of this blighting error.SITI December 14, 1888, page 758.13

    Dr. Gibson asks, “What are we to do to meet it?” and then answers his own question thus: “Why hold up the blessed word of God, and people will not want to go elsewhere for consolation, for that lies in the divine word of God. The guiding, the comfort you need, is found in the illumination of the word of God, and not in the sayings and teachings of these debasing creatures, who seek to dupe and lead you to your destruction.” The answer is good so far as it goes, but in applying the remedy the Doctor, as well as thousands of others, stops far short of the root of the matter.SITI December 14, 1888, page 758.14

    The apostle says, “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep,” that is, concerning the dead, and it is to a knowledge of the teachings of the Scriptures regarding the dead, as well as concerning the duties of the living, that we must look for that which will arm us against Spiritualistic influences.SITI December 14, 1888, page 758.15

    No man who rejects the plain testimony of the word of God concerning the dead, and in its stead clings to the vain traditions of men, to the teachings of heathen philosophy, has any reasonable assurance that he will not sometime become a Spiritualist. Says the psalmist: “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” And the only safety for any is to believe just what this text says, and to reject the popular idea that the dead know much more than the living, and that they are hovering around watching over their friends and guarding their interests.SITI December 14, 1888, page 758.16

    “Anarchists in Chicago” The Signs of the Times, 14, 48.

    E. J. Waggoner

    When the five Anarchist conspirators were hanged in Chicago on the 11th of November, 1887, it was generally taken for granted that Anarchy had received its death blow in that city, if not in the entire country. Subsequent events have not, however, shown that to be the case. Indeed, it is asserted by the Chicago News of the 30th ult., that upon the day of the execution of the Anarchists a small band of their friends met in a basement under a saloon not far from Parson’s old home, where they swore to avenge the execution of their leaders, and that ever since these desperate men have been maturing plans for this revenge.SITI December 14, 1888, page 760.1

    Last July a conspiracy was discovered to blow up a number opf prominent men concerned in prosecuting the Haymarket murderers; a little later regularly organized Anarchist Sunday-schools were discovered, and a late dispatch states that these still exist. Only a few days since one of these schools was found to contain one hundred and twenty children, ranging from five to fourteen years of agae, seated on long benches, listening intently to what the teacher was explaining to them about Johann Most. They were told that Spies and Parsons had been murdered by capitalists, and the teachers referred to the dead Anarchists as martyrs.SITI December 14, 1888, page 760.2

    The day following the discovery of this school of crime, the Executive Committee of the newly organized local Anarchist society, known as the Arbiter Band, issued a circular calling a large mass-meeting for the purpose of devising means by which to found Anarchist schools for children throughout the city. The circular was widely distributed. As the meeting was held on the 2nd inst., the day of closing this paper, we cannot give the results.SITI December 14, 1888, page 760.3

    The same day that the circular was distributed, the Anarchists and their sympathizers had a meeting in the suburb of Lake View, which had been advertised as a free entertainment. After gymnastic exercises and singing, the curtain over the stage went up, disclosing tableaux. A prominent feature was a white bust of Spies. In the rear was a female personating the Goddess of Liberty. To her right was another representing Justice, with sword and scale in hand, but her arm was held by a little girl, who sneeringly pointed at the Goddess of Liberty. Next was a man in black representing Law. His hands were thrown up, and a typical Anarchist held a sword to his breast. In front was another Anarchist, armed with an ax. Beneath his feet were the stars and stripes, and over his head waved the crimson flag. Several citizens of Lake View manifested their disapproval of the tableaux, and left the hall, but the majority of those present applauded wildly.SITI December 14, 1888, page 760.4

    Certainly Anarchism is far from being dead in Chicago, and there are good reasons for believing that the condition of affairs is not much better in a number of other large cities in various parts of the country.SITI December 14, 1888, page 760.5

    “European War-cloud” The Signs of the Times, 14, 48.

    E. J. Waggoner

    It is only a few weeks since the world was assured that the war-cloud which for some time had been hanging like a dark pall over Europe had been lifted, and that there was a great probability that a general disarmament would soon take place. Now, however, there has been a change, and men are again discussing with the utmost sang-froid the possibilities of a conflict, which, when it comes, must in the very nature of things be the most terrible which the world has ever witnessed.SITI December 14, 1888, page 760.6

    A few days since, after referring to demands of the Austrian Government for increased appropriations for military purposes, to the sums required for a like purpose in Belgium, to the increased activity in military preparations in France, to the increasing enlistments in Germany, and to the new vessels which are commenced to be built for the navy in Great Britain, a secular paper said:-SITI December 14, 1888, page 760.7

    “With all these things in view we may well ask, What is to be the end of all this? It is not credible that these powers should go on accumulating military stores, raising the size of their armies, making ready for mobilization of reserves, making new and improved cannon and small arms, simply for the purpose of having them. There must come a time, and that soon, when the people will demand from their respective Governments a reason for all this military and naval preparation, and to such a demand there can be but one answer.”SITI December 14, 1888, page 760.8

    “This activity in preparing for war does not necessarily imply that war is imminent. Still, all this must come to an end, and it must end in one of two ways, war or disarmament. Of the two, a general war is the more probable.”SITI December 14, 1888, page 760.9

    Yes, from a human standpoint war “is the more probable,” and we know from the sure word of prophecy that it is certain to come, and that long ere this the conflict would have begun had it not been for the restraining power of God. The fiat has gone forth, “Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” And until that work has been accomplished, the ambition of grasping ... will be curbed; but when the winds are loosed, when the passions of wicked men are no longer restrained by the power of God, not all the statecraft in the world can avert the terrible catastrophe for a single day.SITI December 14, 1888, page 760.10

    “School Meetings on the Sabbath” The Signs of the Times, 14, 48.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A correspondent asks: “What is a Sabbath-keeper’s duty where they hold school meetings upon the Sabbath? We hold that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath, and as our children’s interests are involved, why is it not right to attend such meetings even on the Sabbath?”SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.1

    It is not for us to say what is right or what is wrong; the law of God must settle all such questions, and it would seem that that law does answer this question in no uncertain way. “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,” is the divine command, and it ought not to be difficult for those who profess to honor the Sabbath to decide whether attending school meetings would be keeping it holy or not. If the interests of one man’s children require him to attend to such business on the Sabbath, why may not the interests of another man’s children require that he work upon the Sabbath in order that they may be as well fed and as comfortably clothed as his neighbor’s children? In short, what should be the standard of our actions, self-interest or the law of God?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.2

    It is safe to say that no Sabbath keeper can attend a school meeting upon the Sabbath, and retain either the approval of his own conscience or the respect of his Sunday-keeping neighbors-two very important things, the first because if his own heart condemn him he knows that God is greater than his heart and will condemn him also (1 John 3:20); the second, because our influence for good is dependent upon the respect in which we are held by those who know how our lives correspond with our profession.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.3

    “Future Probation” The Signs of the Times, 14, 48.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Bishop Taylor, of Africa, whose work among the heathen enables him to speak with the assurance of positive knowledge, preached a discourse recently in Dr. Talmage’s Church, Brooklyn, N.Y., in which he showed not only from Scripture, but from the facts as they exist, the absurdity of the idea of a future probation for the heathen, on the ground that in this life they have not had a chance. The Independent says:-SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.4

    “He spoke of the readiness of the heathen in Africa to listen to Christian teachings, and of the remarkable evidence given by this unenlightened race of the prevailing belief, among all the tribes there, in a ‘great ruler’ and ‘creator,’ to whom they must give an account at death. These poor heathen, he declared, had sufficient light to teach them that right living would meet with a reward in the future, and wrong-doing with severe punishment. He gave some remarkable instances illustrating the correctness of this assertion. He denounced the doctrine of future probation, and declared there was no Scripture foundation for it.”SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.5

    “The true Light, that lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9), enables every creature to know that some things are right, and that others are wrong, and to have the approval of conscience when they do the right, and a sense of shame or fear when they do wrong. See Romans 2:14, 15. This life is every man’s chance; and he who does not improve it will find that his only chance has gone. God has no other plan of salvation for those who reject this.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.6

    “The Commentary. Second Epistle of Peter, 2 Peter 3:13-18” The Signs of the Times, 14, 48.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (Lesson 10. Sabbath, Dec. 29.)

    1. Give a statement of some of the things that will take place in the day of the Lord.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.7

    2. To what condition will the earth be reduced?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.8

    “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. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” 2 Peter 3:10-12.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.9

    3. Notwithstanding this, for what may we confidently look?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.10

    “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” Verse 13.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.11

    4. Where is this promise recorded?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.12

    “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” Isaiah 65:17.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.13

    5. What is said of the beauty of the new earth?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.14

    “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.” “For the Lord shall comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” Isaiah 51:3.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.15

    6. What class of people shall live in it?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.16

    “Thy people also shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.” Isaiah 60:21.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.17

    “Nevertheless we, according to his promise look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Peter 3:13.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.18

    7. How long will they possess it?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.19

    “Thy people also shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.” Isaiah 60:21.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.20

    “The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever.” Psalm 37:29.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.21

    “But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.” Daniel 7:18.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.22

    8. Will they be troubled by disease?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.23

    “And the inhabitants shall not say, I am sick; the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.” Isaiah 33:24.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.24

    9. What change will be wrought in the righteous ones who now are afflicted?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.25

    “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” Isaiah 35:5, 6.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.26

    10. What is said of the peace and quiet of that land?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.27

    “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.” “When it shall hail, coming down on the forest; and the city shall be low on a low place.” Isaiah 32:17, 19.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.28

    “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shalt thou be established; thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” Isaiah 54:13, 14.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.29

    “Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.” Isaiah 60:18.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.30

    11. How will the people stand related to the great Source of wisdom and peace?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.31

    “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” Isaiah 54:13.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.32

    “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:3, 4.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.33

    “And there shall be no more curse; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him; and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” Revelation 22:3, 4.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.34

    12. Seeing we look for such glorious things when Christ comes, what should we do?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.35

    “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” 2 Peter 3:14.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.36

    13. How should we regard the fact that God has so long delayed the great consummation?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.37

    “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” “And account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you.” Verses 9, 15.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.38

    14. What apostle besides Peter has said much about the second coming of Christ? Verse 15, last part.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.39

    15. How extensively does Peter say that Paul has spoken of these things?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.40

    “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” Verse 16.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.41

    16. Is there one of Paul’s epistles which does not refer to the second coming of Christ and the Judgment?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.42

    17. What epistles contain a mention of this event in every chapter?-The epistles to the Thessalonians.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.43

    18. In view of the glorious future that is promised to the righteous, and the great wickedness that will prevail just before the Lord comes, of what should we beware?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.44

    “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.” Verse 17.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.45

    19. In view of the failure of God’s people in the past, what warning is given us?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.46

    “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.47

    20. How alone can we keep from being led away by the error of the wicked?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.48

    “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.49

    21. To whom and for what should we ascribe glory?SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.50

    “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.” Jude 24, 15; 2 Peter 3:18.SITI December 14, 1888, page 761.51


    In the epistles of Paul there are “some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction.” Notice that it is not said that there is anything in Paul’s epistles that is impossible to be understood. It is only “hard to be understood.” But that which is hard to be understood may be understood by hard study. Moreover it is only the unlearned and unstable that wrest them to their own destruction. The double-minded, or unstable, will take the strongest statements concerning the law and the gospel, and will construe them so as to make them teach the abolition of the law and consequently of the gospel. It is only the “unlearned,” those who do not look beneath the surface, who do this. Those who delight in the law of God, and who know Christ, “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” have a key with which they may unlock any of the mysteries of that most profound writer. Notice further, also, that those who wrest the words of Paul out of their legitimate meaning, do the same thing also to the other scriptures.SITI December 14, 1888, page 762.1

    “But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” This text is misquoted in two ways. A very common misquotation is, “Grow in... knowledge of the truth.” There is no such text to be found in the Bible, although this text amounts to the same thing, because Christ is the truth, as well as the way and the life. John 14:16. The poet says of Christ:-SITI December 14, 1888, page 762.2

    “In thy life the law appears
    Drawn out in living characters.”
    SITI December 14, 1888, page 762.3

    He was the law personified. If one wishes to know just how much righteousness the law of God requires, he has only to study the life and character of Christ. All the beauty and holiness of Christ were simply the manifestation of the law of love which prompted every act. It is in the life and death of Christ that we can get more exalted ideas of the holiness and majesty of God’s law. If we do not grow in knowledge of Christ, we can never have the law written in our hearts, for it is only in him that we can be made the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21.SITI December 14, 1888, page 762.4

    Another misquotation is sometimes heard in prayers to Christ, that we may “grow in grace and in thy knowledge.” The idea seems to be that we must grow in the knowledge that Christ has, so as to approach him in wisdom. But this is not the proper idea. We are simply and literally to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. We must know him intimately. He must sup with us, and we wit him; but he must be a constant companion, and not a transient guest. And in proportion as we know him intimately, know him as a friend, loving and true, know him as the “chiefest among ten thousand, and the one altogether lovely,” we shall develop that purity of heart which will enable us to see God; for Christ cannot be comprehended except as we become like him.SITI December 14, 1888, page 762.5

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 14, 48.

    E. J. Waggoner

    As this paper goes to press, blank petitions to both Houses of Congress, asking them not to pass any bill concerning a day of rest and worship, are being circulated. Letters explaining how to use the petitions are being sent with them, so that all who receive them will know just what to do. The friends of true liberty ought not to let Congress legislate on matters of religion, without making a protest. When the petition comes to you act at once. If you do not receive any, write to Pacific Press, Oakland, Cal., or Review and Herald, Battle creek, Mich., asking for one.SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.1

    The secular papers tell of a man in San Luis Obispo County, this State, who won at a church raffle which was represented as a Jersey cow. The animal proved, however, to be only common stock, and so old as to be almost worthless. The man it seems feels that he was imposed upon, and he is getting considerable sympathy from some quarters. But it is not easy to see that he is entitled to any pity whatever. The man who gambles must expect to be cheated, whether he takes his chances in a dive or in a church. Gambling is no better in the latter place than in the former, and if there is any difference, the gambler who wears the cloak of religion is a more dangerous person than the one who makes no such profession.SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.2

    Many newspapers are little more than gossip mongers, and it is but natural that they should be such, since gossip forms the bulk of ordinary conversation, and newspapers are just like the people who make and read them. The London Star recently excused itself for printing a bit of baseless scandal, by saying: “No confirmation is at hand; so we give publicity to the rumor, so that if it is false it may be checked before it spreads any further.” That is to say, We think that this thing is not true, and so we circulate it, in order that somebody may have an opportunity of contradicting it. Doubtless many people who like to persuade themselves that their vices are virtues, will be glad to learn of this way of relieving their minds of any possible qualms.SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.3

    The real object of the Blair Sunday Bill may be learned from the following remark by W. F. Crafts, before the Illinois Conference, recently in session in Chicago:-SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.4

    “The post-office is open at the very hour of church; and a man must choose between going to church and going to the post-office to get his mail.”SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.5

    So a law is designed that will compel that post-office to be closed on Sunday, in order that the people may attend church. Thus is appears that the desired law is wholly in the interest of church attendance on Sunday; and if that law should fail to fill the churches, then the next thing would be a law to compel the indifferent ones to go to church. The National Reformers and their allies are determined that this shall be a “Christian nation.”SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.6

    The publisher of a Spiritualistic infidel paper writes to us to know how he may find out what is the word of God. He professes to have great difficulty because there are so many translations, differing, he claims, materially. We have to say simply this: The various translations of the Bible are not materially different. The differences are mainly differences of expression, and are no more than would be expected in translation from one language into another by different persons, when several different words expressing different shades of meaning may be used in the rendering of a single word in the original. Then there is one thing more that is essential, and that is that the reader must have a sincere desire to worship God rather than himself; for “if any man do his will, he shall be known of the doctrine.”SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.7

    We would again call attention to the pamphlet containing the Sabbath-school lessons for the Senior Division for the first six moths of 1889. It is a neat pamphlet of sixty-four pages, and will prove we think, a great convenience to the Sabbath-school scholars.SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.8

    One great advantage of having the lessons in pamphlet form is that the student can so readily review previous lessons at any time. In a series of Bible lessons this is of the greatest value, since the study of any one lesson often throws light on some preceeding lesson, making it profitable and even necessary to re-study that lesson. Knowing this, we have made arrangements that we can furnish not only the lesson pamphlet for the first six months of 1889, price 10 cents. but can also furnish, in any quantity, the two pamphlets containing the lessons for 1888. Price for the two, 25 cents. taken together they contain a great amount of light on some most important subjects.SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.9

    The Christian Nation that was issued the day before Thanksgiving said that for the first time in the history of the day the Catholics would join in the observance of Thanksgiving. It adds: “Official circulars were sent out to this effect, and of course it was not done without the knowledge and consent of the Pope. This event is worth considering. What does it mean?”SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.10

    It is indeed worth considering; but few of those who consider it will realize what it means. It means a coming together of Protestant and Catholic. It means that the time is fast approaching when the Catholic Church will be generally considered as the true church of Christ, and the honored mother of the Protestant churches of Christendom. It means, in short, the approach of the time when there will be no Protestant churches, except perhaps in name, and when it will be thought heretical to speak against the Catholic Church, and when the Reformation will be called a burst of fanaticism.SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.11

    In a recent Illinois Sunday Convention, Dr. Herrick Johnson, in a speech against Sunday newspapers and special Sunday trains, exclaimed: “Oh, for the breath of the Puritan! Oh, for a little of the Puritan Sabbath!” When it is remembered that in the days of the Puritans everybody was compelled to attend church on Sunday, it will be seen that our conclusion that the Blair Sunday Bill is in reality a bill to increase the attendance at church, is fully warranted. The following items from the laws of the Puritans of Connecticut will show what may be expected when the churches, under the leadership of such men as Dr. Johnson and Dr. Crafts, combine to revive Puritan customs and the Puritan Sabbath:-SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.12

    “No one shall be a freeman, or give a vote, unless he be converted, and a member in full communion of one of the churches allowed in this dominion.”SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.13

    “No man shall hold any office who is not sound in the faith and faithful to this dominion; and whoever shall give a vote to such a person shall pay a fine of one pound. For a second offense he shall be disfranchised.”-Clarke’s History of Intolerance.SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.14

    That is a picture of the final result of the legislation which Senator Blair has introduced; the people who read this will not have to live many years before they see the reality.SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.15

    The Rev. W. F. Crafts has received a letter from Cardinal Gibbons indorsing heartily the great petition to Congress for a law forbidding Sunday work in the mail and military service and inter-State commerce. The Cardinal’s position virtually places the entire Catholic Church in the United States on the side of the Sunday law, and the names of all of its communicants will doubtless be added to the six and a quarter millions that have already been affixed to the petitions. The Catholic Church usually succeeds in whatever political scheme it sets itself to carry out; and with even its tacit approval of a measure that is backed by the most popular Protestant churches, and labor organizations, there is certainly great cause for fear that Senator Blair’s bill may soon become laws. Let those lovers of truth and liberty who read this know that now it is high time to awake out of sleep.SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.16

    A writer in the Christian Nation of November 8, in describing the “native” preachers among the mountains of the South, says that many of them “are the blindest leaders of the blind. I think a majority of them cannot read, and those who can are densely ignorant and totally unfitted to give their people any kind of instruction. They inculcate as doctrines the absurdist superstitions, and their practices are such as bring discredit upon the true type of the gospel minister that “is now inflicted upon not less than two millions of the native-born population in the very heart of our country.” The query forces itself upon us, How are these any worse off than another class who as blindly follow those who are wise above what is written, who in the wisdom of the world know not God? Both cases are pitiable; it is difficult to say which is more so. As a consequence of both, it can truly be said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6.SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.17

    “Do you approve of Adventists celebrating Christmas by family gatherings and Christmas trees and giving presents?” is a question which comes to us from one of our readers. For an answer we can do no better than to refer to 1 Corinthians 10:31. If these things can be done to the glory of God they are proper for Christians, but not otherwise. Feasting and gormandizing are not to be indulged in at any time, and they are generally connected with “Family gatherings,” especially upon holiday occasions. If presents are given at all, they should be wisely chosen, so that they shall not minister to depraved appetites, nor to the pride of the natural heart. It would certainly be much better if instead of following the example of the world, and devoting the holiday season to festivities, we should set our hearts the more earnestly to seek God. We should hold ourselves in readiness at all seasons to give to the cause of God and to the needy around us as we are able, and not wait till Christmas, and then spend in useless gifts means which might better be devoted to spreading the truth or to feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.18

    We have received from a physician the following letter, which explains itself:-SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.19

    “EDITOR SIGNS OF THE TIMES: I saw in your last paper an editorial notice of incestuous marriages authorized by the head of the Romish Church, and that someone in Baltimore denies that such things are done. We had here in Phoenix, Arizona, thirteen years ago, an old Spanish gentleman who was married to his brother’s daughter on a dispensation from the Pope.”SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.20

    It would be interesting to know the consideration for which Pius IX. (for it must have been he who granted the dispensation) sanctioned the abomination referred to by our correspondent. The price paid only a few months since by the Duke of Aosta to Leo XIII. for a similar privilege (?) was, we believe, $20,000. It seems, however, that the amount of gold required to gild sin depends somewhat upon the state of the Papal treasury and the wealth of the party seeking the indulgence.SITI December 14, 1888, page 768.21

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