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    February 17, 1888

    “The Spirit of Antichrist. No. 9” The Signs of the Times, 14, 7.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Christian at Work of February 18, 1886, contained an original story so full of Spiritualist teaching that one would think it was in a Spiritualist paper, instead of an independent Presbyterian journal. That the reader may get the full force of the article, we quote quite largely from it. It opens thus:-SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.1

    “‘Mamma, are you thinking of Jesus?’SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.2

    “‘Yes, dear, she seems to be very near me to-night.’SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.3

    “Bertha drew a low stool to the window by mamma’s side, and asked in hushed tones, ‘Do you indeed think that sister Jessie can sometimes be with us in this room?’SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.4

    “‘I cannot doubt it,’ was the reply. Mamma’s hand was laid caressingly and soothingly upon the bowed head, for Bertha had not yet learned (alas, how few in this weary world do learn!) the quiet repose and steadfast hope of a perfect faith.SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.5

    “After a moment’s silence Mrs. Grey continued: ‘I have been sitting here alone thinking of Jessie’s life among the angels. How happy she must be in her beautiful home! I often wonder in just what way the hopes and aspirations, that made her earth life so pure and true, are finding their perfect realization in the unrestricted possibilities of spiritual life.’SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.6

    “‘But, mamma, what comfort do you find in that?’ cried Bertha. ‘I want her here; she was older and so much wiser and better than I, and she would have helped me so much.’SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.7

    “‘But that is a selfish grief, dear Bertha; is it no comfort to know that Jessie is safe and happy? She knows how much you need her help, and can guide you far more truly now, in her perfect knowledge of the good and true, than she could have done in her earthly existence.’SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.8

    “‘But I cannot see her; I cannot hear her. How can she help me now?’ and Bertha sobbed with the unreasoning abandon of a grief that would not be comforted.SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.9

    “‘Be quiet, my child; Jessie does not wish you to mourn for her in this rebellious way. It can be a help to you always to think in what way your angel sister would rejoice to have you think, and speak, and act. If you seek to do those things that merit her approval, you will surely feel her guiding power. Jessie can both see and hear you; but her spirit is released from its earthly fetters, because the loving Father had need of her among the angels. We cannot hear her voice, but we may feel the holy influence of her angelic presence; we cannot see her face, but we may be cheered and comforted by the thought that her bright spirit is near us, and that she loves us with a love that is purer and holier than earth-love, even as her life in its changed relations is purer and holier.’SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.10

    “Bertha sobbed no more, but listened with eager interest, while her mother talked to her of Heaven and the angels. The gentle voice subdued the rebellious heart. The loving words of faith, submission, and steadfast hope lifted her thoughts from the dark and narrow grave to the beauty and grandeur of the Father’s ‘many mansions.’ Sitting in the moonlight, with her mother’s hand clasped in hers, a strange, sweet peace came upon her. Her heart was filled with an unspeakable joy, born of the thought that Jessie-angel Jessie, might always be unto her an invisible guardian, an intangible, loving presence.”SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.11

    Then follows an account of a dream that Bertha had, in which she seemed to be dead and in the spirit-land, with her sister Jessie and other spirits, all told in the regular Spiritualist style. The story closes thus:-SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.12

    “Suddenly the scene faded from view. In another instant Jessie also had vanished. She felt herself sinking to earth again and was soon conscious of lying in her own bed without the pangs of disease. She opened her eyes to find herself alone in the silence of night, awakened from a beautiful dream. Its calm influence entering her heart taught her that death is indeed life; that God’s angels must far exceed in beauty and power any dream-like conceptions of earth; and that unseen spirits-God’s messengers-may indeed be near us, if the heart be kept pure and true, receiving their whispered counsels and holy influence.”SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.13

    Is this Spiritualism, or is it not? If it is not, can anybody show us the genuine article? We affirm that no more direct Spiritualist doctrine can be found in any Spiritualist paper in the world. It is not Spiritualism simply to the extent that it teaches the intercourse of spirits of the dead with the living, but it carries the thing to the logical conclusion of utterly ignoring Christ. Notice how Bertha’s doubt of the presence of her dead sister is given as evidence that she had not learned “the quiet repose, and the steadfast hope of a perfect faith.” A “perfect faith” in what? in Christ? Oh, no! a “perfect faith” in the doctrine that her dead sister “might always be unto her an invisible guardian, an intangible, loving presence,” and that if she should do the things that merited her sister’s approval, she would always feel her guiding power. Thus the people are taught by a professedly Christian journal to put their trust in the dead, instead of in Christ. Such teaching is not a single degree removed from the ancestral worship of the Chinese, or the hero worship of the ancient Greeks and Romans. When people swallow down such teaching, what is there that is opposed to the Bible, that we may not expect them to accept, if it coincides with their fancy?SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.14

    But we have some more “Christian” Spiritualism. In an article commemorative of Dr. Daniel Curry, in the N.Y. Christian Advocate of September 8, 1887, Rev. J. Pullman, D.D., said:-SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.15

    “And he is gone! We are not to see him on the Conference floor ever again! We are not to see that white head among us, that noble white head, nor to hear that peculiar, strident voice to which we have listened all our lives! And that face, that wonderful face, with its deep-seeing eyes and beetling brows and massive chin-a face as unique and startling in its way as the face of Giotto’s Dante, but kind and tender, and yet the hiding-place of thunder. ‘A soft, ethereal soul looking out so stern, implacable, grim, trenchant, as from imprisonment of thick-ribbed ice.’SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.16

    “But he is not gone. We will not say ‘Good-bye’ to him. We will keep him among us still. Reserve that seat in the front pew of the Conference. Let the old place be kept sacred. He was not the man to leave his friends. In the thick battle, in the time of danger or holy communion, in the solemn hour of crisis, he will be there. ‘Are they not ministering spirits?’ No, thou art not gone from us, beloved friend, and we will love thee till Conference is convened in the presence of the King.”SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.17

    Just before Dr. Curry’s death, one of his Methodist brethren called upon him. As the visitor puts it, it was “as he lay within sight of his triumph.” In answer to a wish that he might live many years longer, Dr. Curry said:-SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.18

    “I had marked out in my mind that I might live on till about eighty-five, perhaps; but when a man has lived and worked till nearly seventy-eight, what is left is not of much consequence. About the future, as I wrote to Brother Smith, there are two things. The first is, I have perfect confidence in the general truth of Christianity (although I expect my conceptions to be changed when I get over there); and the second is, that I know that Christ has taken my case in hand.”-Christian Advocate (N. Y.), August 25, 1887.SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.19

    Some people think it an impossibility that professed Christians should ever as a body deny the doctrine of Christ which they now profess, and which alone holds them to morality. But compare the last two quotations. Dr. Pullman has said that Dr. Curry is not gone, that he would not leave his friends, and that in the thick battle, in the time of danger, he will be there, occupying the front seat which they reserve for him. They will probably not be disappointed. Satan will be most likely to gratify them with the sight of the form of their fallen leader. But before he left, Dr. Curry gave notice that he expected many of his conceptions to be changed when he reached the home “over there.” Therefore when Satan, or one of his angels, does appear to the Methodist Conference in the form of Dr. Curry, and tells them, as Mr. Ravlin’s spirit friends did, that he has learned that his old views of the Bible were all wrong, they will have their minds all prepared to receive whatever he may give them in their stead.SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.20

    The Michigan Christian Advocate of September 1, 1887, contained an address delivered at the funeral of Bishop Harris, in which the following occurs:-SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.21

    “He is not dead-God’s saints don’t die; they only change their modes and forms of life.”SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.22

    At the funeral of Rev. Israel Thrapp, August 29, 1887, Rev. A. S. Fisher delivered an address which was printed in the Methodist Recorder of October 29, 1887, from which we take the following:-SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.23

    “For more than fifty-six years he answered the roll call of his Conference here on earth. He answers now to another call, where the weary are at rest. At rest, but not idle. He cannot be. It would not be Israel Thrapp if he were idle. He was not idle here, and he cannot be there. He will go, if bidden to itinerate as a ministering spirit, and carry help to some who are to be ‘heirs of salvation.’”SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.24

    Surely the Methodists stand in grand array on the side of Spiritualism. W.SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.25

    “No ‘Perhaps’” The Signs of the Times, 14, 7.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In the first chapter of second Corinthians, verses 18-20, we find the following positive statements: “But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.”SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.26

    In this fact alone can the sinner find any confidence in approaching to God. “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever,” is the sinner’s only hope. It is not to taunt them, nor to glory in disappointing them, that the gracious call is given to men. “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Isaiah 55:1.SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.27

    Says Jesus, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37); and Paul says that “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.” Hebrews 7:25. And the same apostle also says:-SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.28

    “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16.SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.29

    Again we read: “But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6. Faith, then, and boldness, are characteristics that the Lord wants those to manifest who come to him. Our mind was forcibly turned to this line of thought a few days ago, by reading an old hymn, the first three stanzas of which are as follows:-SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.30

    “Come, humble sinner, in whose breast
    A thousand thoughts revolve;
    Come, with your guilt and fear oppressed,
    And make this last resolve:-
    SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.31

    “I’ll go to Jesus, though my sins
    Like mountains round me close;
    I know his courts, I’ll enter in,
    Whatever may oppose.
    SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.32

    “Prostrate I’ll lie before his throne,
    And there my guilt confess;
    I’ll tell him I’m a wretch undone
    Without his sovereign grace.”
    SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.33

    That is good; no better resolve could possibly be made; it is just what God wants every sinner to do. He says:-SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.34

    “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:6, 7.SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.35

    This is the language of positive assurance. What then shall we say to the sentiment expressed in the fourth stanza of the hymn above referred to? It reads thus:-SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.36

    “Perhaps he will admit my plea,
    Perhaps will hear my prayer;
    But if I perish, I will pray,
    And perish only there.”
    SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.37

    Such language might be excusable in one who knew nothing of God; but uttered by one who has known God, or, rather, is known of God, it can be regarded only as a libel upon God’s word. The sinner is exhorted to resolve to throw himself prostrate before God, to confess his sins, and plead for mercy, and then is “encouraged” with the thought that perhaps God will hear his prayer, and admit his plea. Not in that manner does God encourage those who are sick of sin. Says the beloved disciple, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. He promises that he will “have mercy” upon and “abundantly pardon” those who turn to him confessing and forsaking their sins.SITI February 17, 1888, page 102.38

    There is no such thing as “perhaps” with God. His promises to the penitent, and his threats to the impenitent, are equally positive. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:16. To the straying he says: “Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:12, 13. Again he says: “I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain; I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.” Isaiah 45:19.SITI February 17, 1888, page 103.1

    Christ says: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:28, 19. There is no “perhaps” about this.SITI February 17, 1888, page 103.2

    “God is love;” he has revealed himself to us as a God that “delighteth in mercy.” The surety of this is found in the fact that Jesus died for us. “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. And “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. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” 1 Timothy 1:15. Since he came for this express purpose, how can there be any doubt about his receiving those who come humbly to him?SITI February 17, 1888, page 103.3

    When Queen Esther was implored to go in before Ahasuerus, to beg for the life of her people, she at first refused, because it was death to go before him without being summoned; but finally she yielded, saying: “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day; I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16.SITI February 17, 1888, page 103.4

    Ahasuerus (Xerxes) was a heathen king, and an unreasonable despot. In going before him, the queen took her life in her hand. But our God was held out his scepter to us; he wants us to come, and entreats us to come. “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” Ezekiel 33:11.SITI February 17, 1888, page 103.5

    We said that there is no such thing as “perhaps” with God. James says that with him is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” Then those who come to him, doubtful if they will receive what they ask for, must displease him, because they reflect upon his truthfulness. That God is displeased with the one who doubts, is evident from Hebrews 11:6, and also from the following words:-SITI February 17, 1888, page 103.6

    “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” James 1:5-7.SITI February 17, 1888, page 103.7

    The man who thinks that “perhaps” God will hear his prayer, thinks that “perhaps” he will not; such an one cannot ask in faith, nothing wavering, and consequently cannot receive anything. The only way to come is to come boldly. The violent take the kingdom of Heaven by force.SITI February 17, 1888, page 103.8

    One thought more. God is pleased to have us come to him with confidence, because it shows that we believe what he says; and his own glory depends on the fulfillment of his promises. Says Paul: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7. That is, God intends to exhibit us throughout eternity, as an evidence of the exceeding riches of his grace; the souls that are saved will be an everlasting trophy of his unchanging goodness; how then can it be imagined that he will not hear the prayer of the contrite soul, with whom he has said that he delights to dwell?SITI February 17, 1888, page 103.9

    Have you repented of your sins? do you hate them, and long for a better life? Have you confessed them? Then take the assurance of God’s word as evidence that your sins are forgiven, and that you are entitled to peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Then you may say with the prophet: “And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee; though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:1, 2. W.SITI February 17, 1888, page 103.10

    “Call of Abraham” The Signs of the Times, 14, 7.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Commentary.


    1. Where did Abraham live when the Lord first appeared to him?SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.1

    “And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran.” Acts 7:2.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.2

    2. What did the Lord say to him?SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.3

    “And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee.” Verse 3.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.4

    3. What promise did the Lord then make to him?SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.5

    “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee; and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing; and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.6

    4. What did Abraham then do?SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.7

    “Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.” Acts 7:4.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.8

    5. How old was he when he went to the land of Canaan?SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.9

    “So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him; and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.” Genesis 12:4, 5.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.10

    6. Did he know before he started where he was going? Genesis 12:1; Acts 7:3.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.11

    7. In thus going from his home, what did he manifest?SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.12

    “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Hebrews 11:8.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.13

    8. What promise did the Lord afterward make him?SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.14

    “And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward; for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.” Genesis 13:14, 15.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.15

    9. To whom besides himself was the promise made? Verse 15.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.16

    10. How numerous did the Lord say that his seed should be?SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.17

    “And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth; so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.” Verse 16.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.18

    11. Had Abraham any children at this time?SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.19

    “And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus.” Genesis 15:2.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.20

    12. What did the Lord again say as to the number of his posterity?SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.21

    “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them; and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.” Verse 5.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.22

    13. How did Abraham regard the word of the Lord?SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.23

    “And he believed in the Lord.” Verse 6, first clause.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.24

    14. How did God regard Abraham’s faith?SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.25

    “And he counted it to him for righteousness.” Verse 6, last clause.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.26

    15. What is meant by faith being counted for righteousness?-The forgiveness of sins. See Romans 4:5-8.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.27

    16. Through whom were the promises confirmed to Abraham?SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.28

    “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” Galatians 3:17.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.29

    17. And who are the promised seed?SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.30

    “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Verse 29.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.31

    18. What is the inheritance of which they, with him, are heirs?SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.32

    “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” Romans 4:13.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.33


    In the promises to Abraham we have an instance of the necessity of the New Testament as a commentary on the Old Testament. The casual reader would hardly draw from those promises, that the whole world was to be the inheritance of Abraham, yet Paul tells us (Romans 4:13) that they included nothing less than that. Still, a careful student should see that the promises, “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed,” and, ‘I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth,” could not be fulfilled except in the possession of the whole earth by his seed.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.34

    “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” What was involved in this? Nothing less than the forgiveness of sins,-the imputing of righteousness without works. Paul, after stating that Abraham’s faith was counted to him for righteousness, says that David describes the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputes righteousness without works, but solely on account of faith, in the following words: “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Romans 4:7, 8. This counting a man righteous without works is the stumbling-stone over which so many fall. Some say that it is impossible, while others go to the other extreme and say that it at once and forever releases the believer from all obligation to make any effort. But it is done, and it does not release the individual from obligation to put forth continued effort.SITI February 17, 1888, page 105.35

    How else can a man gain acceptance with God? He cannot do good deeds to make up for his past sins, for it is impossible for him to do more than his duty at any one time. Besides, an evil deed cannot be canceled by a good one. If he gets rid of the sins that he has committed, they must be taken away as an act of free grace on the part of God. Faith is the condition on which they will be removed. Take Abraham as an example. The Lord made a promise to him, that would have staggered most men, it was so great, so incomprehensible. But Abraham “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God,” and was fully persuaded that what he had promised he was able also to perform; “and therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:20-22. The Lord made a great promise; Abraham said, I believe; and the Lord, in return for that simple faith, declared his sins forgiven. Thenceforward Abraham lived by faith, and thus it could be said by the Lord, “Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” Genesis 26:5. He could not have done this without faith, for without faith it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:6.SITI February 17, 1888, page 106.1

    In what did Abraham have faith? In just the same thing that we are required to have faith if we would obtain the forgiveness of sins and eternal life,-that is, in the death and resurrection of Christ. Paul says that the promise to Abraham was confirmed in Christ. Galatians 3:17. Therefore Abraham’s faith was of the same nature that ours must be. He believed in Christ, “whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” Romans 3:25. No one can possibly have more perfect or more intelligent faith, than Abraham had, for he is “the father of all them that believe.” “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it [righteousness] was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Romans 4:23-25.SITI February 17, 1888, page 106.2

    But why is it that this faith does not tend to presumption, and to looseness of life? The reason is this: The possession of such faith as Abraham had, indicates humility, and submission to the will of God. Faith and humility are co-existent. Neither can exist without the other. “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4. The man who will implicitly trust God’s word, even against his own judgment, shows that he believes that God knows more than he does; he has put himself into God’s hands, to be guided as God shall think best. Then of course as long as he retains that faith, he will gladly do the will of God. Thus true faith always leads to obedience. Abraham’s faith was shown to be perfect by his works. W.SITI February 17, 1888, page 106.3

    “Christ’s Last Journey to Jerusalem” The Signs of the Times, 14, 7.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (March 4.-Matthew 20:17-29.)

    The other accounts of the events recorded in this lesson are found in Mark 10:32-45 and Luke 18:31-34. Luke does not record the request for the two sons of Zebedee. As they were going up to Jerusalem, where Jesus was to be offered as a sacrifice for sinners, he tried to prepare the minds of his disciples for the terrible trial before them; but they could not comprehend his words. Jesus told them everything that should take place,-that he should be betrayed into the hands of the chief priests and scribes who would condemn him to death, and then deliver him to the Gentiles, who in turn would mock him, and scourge him, and spit upon him, and finally put him to death by crucifying him, and that on the third day he should rise again. But although he told them only what had been written by the prophets, “they understood none of these things; and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” Luke 18:34. It was not until all these things had been accomplished, and Christ had “expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself,” that they could understood. So difficult is it for preconceived opinions to give way for truth.SITI February 17, 1888, page 106.4

    “And the third day he shall rise again.” More needless controversies have been waged over the length of time that Christ lay in the grave, than over almost any other Scripture event. In answer to the request of the scribes and Pharisees for a sign, Jesus had said that no sign should be given them but the sign of the prophet Jonah: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:40. Taking their stand on this text, some will claim that it wasn’t fulfilled, because from Friday, when Jesus was crucified, till Sunday morning when he rose again, was not three days and three nights; while others claim that he must have been in the grave seventy-two hours, and that therefore he must have been crucified earlier in the week than Friday. Neither position is correct.SITI February 17, 1888, page 106.5

    The simple fact of the matter is that Christ was crucified on Friday, the preparation day, the day before the Sabbath, and that he rose very early in the morning of the first day of the week, and still he was in the heart of the earth three days and three nights, in the sense in which Christ spoke those words. Christ said that he should be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights; he also said that he should be crucified, and “the third day should rise again.” Therefore we must conclude that these two expressions mean the same thing. When the two disciples on the way to Emmaus recounted the betrayal and crucifixion of Christ, they said: “To-day is the third day since these things were done.” Luke 24:21. That the expressions three days and three nights, and the third day, were used interchangeably with reference to the same period of time, is proved by a passage in the book of Esther. When Esther had decided to go in before the king, she sent to Mordecai, saying: “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day; I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16. And the record says that “on the third day” Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, etc. Esther 5:1.SITI February 17, 1888, page 106.6

    The blindness of the disciples, and their slowness to believe that Christ did not intend to establish an earthly monarchy at that time, are shown by the fact that immediately after Christ had told them of his soon-coming sufferings, the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus, saying, “Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on the right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.” Matthew 20:21. Mark says that James and John made this request (Mark 10:35-37); but from Matthew’s account we are to understand that they made the request through their mother.SITI February 17, 1888, page 106.7

    In this request we have an exhibition of pride and ambition for position. It was this same spirit that caused the fall of Satan in Heaven. Isaiah 14:12-14. The same ambition instilled by him into the heart of Eve, resulted in the fall of our first parents. When Satan said to Eve, “In the day that ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be like God,” she took of the fruit. It is evident, therefore, that such a spirit must be entirely banished from the hearts of those who will share the kingdom of Heaven. If places in that kingdom were distributed as they are in earthly kingdoms, confusion and ruin would ensue.SITI February 17, 1888, page 106.8

    Jesus did not say whether James and John should or should not occupy the places which they desired; but he showed them what they must pass through. “Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.” Bold language this. They were bold because they were ignorant. They had no idea of what Christ was about to endure. If they had realized it, they would probably have been less confident; for we find that when they were brought face to face with the sufferings of Christ they forsook him and fled. Yet afterwards they did drink of the same cup, and were made partakers of his sufferings, even as Christ foretold. What made this change? Simply this: They had learned of Christ. They had learned that Christ’s kingdom was not temporal, but eternal, and that the way to it lay through tribulation.SITI February 17, 1888, page 106.9

    In Matthew 20:23 the translators have made an unnecessary insertion. They have supplied the words, “it shall be given to them,” in the sentence: “But to sit on my right hand, and on my left is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.” It seems that a plain translation of the Greek, without supplying anything, would be much better. Then it would read thus: “To sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but for whom it’s prepared of my Father.” That is, he could give it to none, except to those for whom it was prepared, and that meant those who were prepared for it, through self-denial and suffering.SITI February 17, 1888, page 107.1

    When the ten heard the request that James and John had made “they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.” This would indicate that they had the same spirit that the two brethren had. They wanted to occupy as high places as there were, and they were indignant to think that these two had been trying to get ahead of them. James and John would have made admirable politicians, with the same spirit that they then had; they would not lose any opportunity to advance their own interests.SITI February 17, 1888, page 107.2

    “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you; but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant; even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28. Here we have the road to true honor and greatness laid out before us. Paul taught the same thing when he said: “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” Romans 12:10. And again when he wrote: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3.SITI February 17, 1888, page 107.3

    The wisdom of this world would call that foolishness; but the wisdom of this world would therein exhibit its own foolishness. Actually, the plan laid down by Jesus and Paul would, if carried out, result in the greatest possible good for all men. As it is now, each man looks out for himself, and for nobody but himself. In order for a man to build himself up, it is often necessary for him to pull somebody else down; and thus the whole world is peopled with Ishmaelites. Now in such a case it is evident that a man can get no more than his own strength or wisdom will bring him, and often not so much as that, since others may prevail against him. But where the divine rule is followed, everybody gets far more than he could if each one were looking out simply for himself. If there are a hundred men in a community, and each one esteems every other one better than himself, and seeks the honor of others, each man will have the strength of a hundred put forth in his behalf. Each one forgetting himself, would find his interests advanced far more than they could be if he had devoted his entire attention to himself. So it appears that the manner of life necessary to fit one for Heaven, is really the best for men’s temporal welfare, if they would but follow it. For “godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 1:8. W.SITI February 17, 1888, page 107.4

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 14, 7.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The new universal language “volapuk,” seems to be growing in the favor of the learned. The University of Munich has voted to permit Dr. J. E. Meiss to lecture upon it in the university. Volapuk has been studied by over 100,000 persons in Europe, and eleven journals are devoted to it. Whether it will ever become in fact the “world language,” remains to be seen.SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.1

    “The Lutheran Church Consistory of Dresden, Saxony, has passed a resolution that persons known to be adherents of Spiritualism shall not be admitted to the Holy Communion.” But if they should pass a resolution excluding from the communion all who are really Spiritualists, because of holding the fundamental doctrines of Spiritualism, the number of communicants would be reduced a great deal more than Gideon’s army was.SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.2

    The “grand Christmas number” of the Messenger of Wisdom and Israel’s Guide has been sent to us. Like most papers of the class indicated by its name it hails from England. It is devoted, not professedly, but actually, to the work of confusing the minds of the people concerning the prophecies, and of arousing prejudices in the minds of sensible people against the doctrines of the second advent of Christ. The only satisfactory thing about such papers is that they are usually written in such obscure jargon that nobody can understand what they are trying to teach.SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.3

    It is stated that in two London churches actors have been invited to read the lessons for several successive Sundays, lately, and have given great satisfaction to the audiences. We see no reason why they should not; as a general thing actors can read better than ministers can, and when the service consists merely of music, and the reading of a set “lesson,” the best reader must give the best satisfaction. From this little circumstance anybody ought to be able to see how a liturgical service naturally tends to make moral character and biblical knowledge minor qualifications for a minister.SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.4

    Some people are consoling themselves with the idea that President Cleveland’s gift to the Pope had no political significance,-that he did not make it officially, but as a private person. But we are very certain that the President did not so regard it, and that the Pope did not receive it as from a private person. In return for it, he sent his blessing to the President, and to the country of which he is the head. It is worth noting that the kingdom of Italy and the united kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, are the only civilized nations of any importance in the world, that honored themselves by not honoring the Pope with presents on the occasion of his jubilee.SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.5

    A few days ago, we saw a report of a revival sermon that was preached by an evangelist now holding meetings in San Francisco. The report was intended to be complimentary to the evangelist, and the statement was made in the most matter-of-fact manner that the discourse the preceding evening was on the visit of Nicodemus to Jesus, recorded in the third chapter of John, and that it was enlivened and illustrated by many humorous stories. We have no doubt of the truth of the report, for we once heard the same speaker tell some humorous stories in a revival sermon. But who that has read the third chapter of John, would consider it suggestive of humorous stories? And what can be the quality of that man’s reverence, who can read that chapter and tell jokes in the same breath? And what will be the quality of the converts which he makes by such sermons? Will they not be “funny” Christians? Where has reverence gone? The next thing that we may expect is that some “revivalist” is eliciting roars of laughter by a sermon on the crucifixion of Christ.SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.6

    Speaking of the story that has been going the rounds of the secular press, and has found its way into not a few professedly religious papers, namely, that the Seventh-day Adventists of Battle Creek, Mich., had fixed the time for the Lord to come, and had disposed of their property, and prepared ascension robes, the Bible Banner says:-SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.7

    “The facility with which such a yarn about white robes can be started and made to be credited in this year of grace, and of abounding newspapers, accounts for its persistent existence forty years ago as a smutch on a people who expected Christ, and relieves any nervous souls from feeling any need to attempt to refute it in future. The race of liars is not dead, and it is as foolish as ever to run after foolish liars to contradict them.”SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.8

    That is all that need be said about the matter, except that the number of people who make and love a lie seems to be on the increase, and that this age of “abounding newspapers” wonderfully increases the facility for circulating such yarns; for while hundreds of papers will readily publish a falsehood concerning religion or a religious body, very few will publish a correction-unless the religious body has political influence.SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.9

    In a recent speech in New York, Dr. McGlynn said of the Papal authorities at Rome:-SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.10

    “I will go on, and if they try to crush me, then I will proceed to expose them, and I can give facts that will make the country too but to hold some of them. It will be part of prudence for them to let me alone.”SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.11

    We have no doubt that Dr. McGlynn can tell some pretty damaging things about the Romish authorities. He has been behind the scenes, and has been in their confidence. From his remakrs, it would seem that he knows of some gross crimes that they have perpetrated; and it would not surprise us at all to find out that this is so. But the question is, Why does he make the exposing of them a matter of revenge? If he were a true reformer, he would not rest his actions on such low ground. If he would tell what he knows, calmly, and with the desire of keeping as many innocent people as possible from being duped, it would have much more weight.SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.12

    From the publisher, A. B. Deming, 121 Post St., San Francisco, we have received a copy of Naked Truths about Mormonism, which we understand is to be published monthly. It contains a great many facts about the rise of Mormonism, and there are affidavits from respectable persons now living, testifying to the frauds by which the “Book of Mormon” was foisted upon the people as a revelation from Heaven. While we like to see frauds exposed, we have no idea that such exposure will affect Mormonism in the least. The Mormon leaders well know the fraudulent character of their pretensions; and their converts are made mostly from the ignorant and the depraved in this country, and from those in foreign countries who could not be reached by any exposure published in the English language. So long as there are people who love and make a lie, lies will be believed by many in preference to the truth; and that will be until the Lord comes.SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.13

    The Christian Union says of Mr. C. A. Berry, who recently declined the pastorate of Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, that when he was in this country, he left the impression of being a man of executive force, of individuality and independence of character, and a preacher of more than ordinary skill and attractiveness. A man who apprehends the drift of modern thought and life.” And it adds that this age needs a message of hope, “and it needs this message broadly and rationally interpreted, so that it shall be accordant with the best modern thought and credible by a man’s whole nature.”SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.14

    In this last statement the Union has made just one mistake. It should have said that this age wants such a message, not that it needs it. A person must be wonderfully ignorant of human nature, and blind to the prevailing drift of the day, who thinks that a message which accords with an’ nature, and with the “drift of modern thought and life,” can have any real elevating power. One who preaches such a message would doubtless be very acceptable to those who “will not endure sound doctrine,” but who will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts.SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.15

    “A Good Place” The Signs of the Times, 14, 7.

    E. J. Waggoner

    This expression is emphatically true of the Rural Health Retreat, near St. Helena, Cal. It is a good place for the sick to go in order to get well, and for the well to go in order to get better. The old epitaph, “I was well; I wanted to be better; I took physic, and died,” can never be written by the well man who goes to the Health Retreat, in order to get better; for there he will take only nature’s remedies under the most favorable circumstances.SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.16

    Great improvements have been made at the Retreat. The main building has been enlarged to more than double its former capacity, so that now a family of one hundred can be well provided for. The building is four stories in height with a well-lighted room and a promenade upon the fifth floor which is the roof. An elevator run by water, of which the Retreat has now an abundant supply, provides easy access to every floor. Besides this, the rise of the mountain is such that one can step from every floor, and also from the top of the building, directly out upon the ground.SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.17

    The view from the Retreat is most delightful, and from every spot of ground in the neighborhood round about, a different landscape s resented to sight. The climate is so mild that invalids can, even at this season of the year, take comfort in sitting out upon the verandas. The variation of temperature is not great, and what Eastern people would call cold weather is never known there.SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.18

    As for the fare, we can say that the tables are provided with everything that is good. The only difficulty any one will find will be to restrain his appetite when so great a variety of nourishing and toothsome food is spread before him.SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.19

    Genial managers and kind attendants combine to make the sum of happiness complete for the invalid or the wayfarer. Given the bracing air, the mild and equable climate, the medical attendance and the good treatment, the rest, alternated with judicious exercise, either active or passive, according to the strength of the patient, and the nourishing diet found at the Retreat, and if a sick person cannot recover his health there, it is because recovery is impossible; while the professional man who feels worn out with close confinement to his office and the daily routine of business, will find his spirits wonderfully revived by a week’s stay at the Retreat. In short, the place is what its name implies, a quiet home where one can retreat from the noise and bustle of the world, and find the blessing of health.SITI February 17, 1888, page 112.20

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