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    March 2, 1888

    “The Spirit of Antichrist. No. 11” The Signs of the Times, 14, 9.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Even now the restraints of God’s law are being thrown off, and the flood-gates of iniquity are being opened. In the summer of 1887, Professor John Fiske, of Harvard University, delivered a lecture in Oakland, Cal., of which the following is a portion of the synopsis given in the Oakland Enquirer of June 27:-SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.1

    “Mr. Fiske took as the text for his remarks the fifth verse of the third chapter of Genesis, ‘For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’ The legend from which this sentence is taken, Professor Fiske said, is borrowed from one of the books of the Zorastrian Scriptures. All the evidences indicate that it was incorporated in the book of Genesis at a late date, after the Babylonish captivity. None of the earlier prophets or the writers of the historical books of the Bible have left a record that they knew the story of the garden of Eden. It is a real Persian myth. In intention it is one of the attempts which theologians have made from the earliest times to reconcile the existence of evil in the world with the theory of the goodness of God.SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.2

    “Mr. Fiske then went into a discussion of considerable length to establish the relativity of all knowledge. We know nothing, he said, except by contrast with or relation to something else. If there were only one color in the world, we would be unable to conceive the idea of color at all. If everything were as sweet as sugar, we would not know what taste means. In the same way, evil exists only by contrast-the contrast of a lesser good with a greater. Evil may be defined as a low stage of existence looked at from a higher one. There is ground for the hope that evil may be evanescent in the universe, but it now exists as a necessary condition of the development of man, like the relation of the shadow to the light. Were there no evil in the world, there could be no morality-no man in the highest sense; human beings would be so many puppets, but such a thing as character would be impossible.”SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.3

    Just think of it! A professor in one of the leading universities in America,-an institution that moulds the thought and character of thousands of the young men of our country,-openly teaching that sin is a necessity! that evil is only undeveloped good! And for this he is not rebuked, but rather applauded. Let no one say that it is impossible that the world should ever again become as it was in the days of Noah and Lot. The time will come when in “Christian” America vice will be counted virtue. With such teaching as the above, from so high a source, it would seem that that day is not far distant. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9. We have known of such a thing as an adulterer quoting the seventh commandment to his paramour, in justification of their crime. In the days of Jeremiah the professed people of God would steal, and murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and would then go to the temple and stand before the Lord, and say, “We are delivered to do all these abominations.” Jeremiah 7:9, 10. The man who knows the human heart, will not be surprised at any wickedness that any man may do. It is not strange that men fall; but it is a miracle of saving grace that any walk uprightly.SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.4

    It may be said that the teaching concerning evil, which we last quoted, is from a Unitarian source, and therefore cannot strictly be charged to “orthodoxy.” That really makes no difference, since “culture” is fast becoming the religion of the day; but take the following from Dr. Lyman Abbott, editor of the Christian Union:—SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.5

    “Each disciple of Christ is to judge for himself how far the law is thus fulfilled in his own character; and is at liberty to cease to regard any provision of the law which has ceased to be useful in the development of character.”-Christian Union, August 11, 1887.SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.6

    The italics are Dr. Abbott’s. Again he says in the same article:-SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.7

    “If any man is living in sympathetic fellowship with God, if his impulses, his desires, his aspirations, are divine in their origin and character, he is no longer under rules and regulations.”SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.8

    That agrees exactly with what we have quoted from Spiritualist writers. They simply claim that there is “a continuous divine inspiration” in all men, and consequently that every man is a law unto himself. To the same intent Dr. Abbott further says:-SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.9

    “Just in the measure in which he is at one with God in character he is free from all laws external to himself. The law is not destroyed; but when it has accomplished its purpose in him it is fulfilled.”SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.10

    When such teaching appears in such a paper as the Christian Union, and from such a man as Dr. Lyman Abbott, it may be taken for granted that it is quite popular. Unfortunately we do not have to take it for granted. The idea that the law of God is abolished, or, what is the same in effect, that each disciple is to be his own judge as to how much of the law he will keep, and what provisions he may cease to regard, has been openly taught for years from many professedly Christian pulpits, and in many professedly religious journals. W.SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.11

    “Praying in Public” The Signs of the Times, 14, 9.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We have received a letter from a subscriber in the East, who challenges the custom of praying in public. We have not space for the entire letter, but will state his points. He claims that there is not only no command for any such practice, but that it is a positive violation of our Saviour’s directions in Matthew 6:6; that it is a custom of man’s devising, because it is in harmony with the whole world, and that therefore the one who prays in public is the friend of the world, and the enemy of God. We do not think there are many who hold such views, but the few who do are quite active in talking them to others; and while they may not make many converts to their theory, they may cause many timid souls to rest all the more easily when they deprive themselves of the blessings of the prayer-meeting. So we think it worth while to give the matter a little attention.SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.12

    In the first place, it is not true that the habit of public prayer is “in harmony with the world,” for it is not the custom of the world to pray. Neither is it true that the custom is one of man’s devising, as anyone must know who has read the Bible, and as we shall show. When we find that the apostles, and our Lord himself, prayed in public, we know without any question that public prayer is not in opposition to our Saviour’s words in Matthew 6:6.SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.13

    In the eighth chapter of 1 Kings we have not only the recorded fact that Solomon prayed at the dedication of the temple, but we have the prayer repeated in full. Read verses 22-54. Now turn to 2 Chronicles 6:13-42, where you find the same account, and then read this additional statement: “Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house.” 2 Chronicles 7:1. Here we find that God heard and accepted that prayer. This he would not have done if Solomon had been a hypocrite; for the Lord does not pay any attention to the prayers of hypocrites. See John 9:31; Job 27:8, 9.SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.14

    In this prayer we find the following petition: “And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house; then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers.” 2 Chronicles 6:24, 25. Here Solomon showed that he expected the people to make united prayer in the temple, in any time of trouble. But this prayer is a part of inspiration, and therefore it teaches us that public prayer is right. Moreover the Lord made a specific answer to this request, as we learn from the following:-SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.15

    “And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.” 2 Chronicles 7:12-15.SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.16

    This is in harmony with the words of God through the prophet: “For mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” Isaiah 56:7. The temple was built for this very purpose, and there were set times for prayer in the temple. Acts 3:1.SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.17

    What we have already given is sufficient to settle the question, but we will bring more evidence. In the seventeenth chapter of John we have a wonderful prayer of our Lord, which was uttered in the presence of the eleven. If this was not a public prayer, we should like to know how many persons must be present, in order that a prayer uttered in their presence may be public. In this prayer, too, there are all the elements of prayer,-supplication, thanksgiving, and praise. But if it is thought that there were too few present for this to be called a public prayer, then turn to our Saviour’s prayer at the grave of Lazarus, recorded in John 11:41, 42. On this occasion not only the disciples, but a great company of Jews, were present. Now if Jesus had designed by his words in Matthew 6:6 to condemn public prayer, it is certain that he himself would not have prayed in public.SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.18

    Take the occasion of the transfiguration. Jesus “took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.” Luke 9:28. It is certain that he prayed at that time in the presence of those three disciples, for it was “as he prayed” (Luke 6:29) that “he was transfigured before them.” Mark 9:2.SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.19

    When we take the record concerning the disciples and the apostles of Christ, we find numerous instances of public prayer. After Jesus had ascended, the eleven returned to the upper room where they dwelt, and “these all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus.” Acts 1:14.SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.20

    It was while they were thus daily joining in prayer, that Peter stood up in the midst of them (and there were a hundred and twenty gathered together, Acts 1:15) and laid before them the necessity of having another apostle chosen; and after appointing two men, they prayed and asked the Lord to show which one he had chosen; and their prayer was answered. Acts 1:24-26.SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.21

    After Peter and John had been released from the imprisonment which followed the healing of the lame man, they returned to their own company and reported what had been done. When the company had heard that, they lifted up their voices in thanksgiving to God; “and when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” Acts 4:31. Thus God again showed his acceptance of united prayer.SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.22

    Another instance of availing public prayer is found in the twelfth chapter of Acts. Herod had put James to death, “and because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also.” “Peter therefore was kept in prison; but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.” Acts 12:5. If the narrative ended here, it might be claimed that the prayers for Peter’s deliverance were offered by individual members of the church at their homes; and no doubt many prayers were offered in secret. But in verse 12 we read that after Peter had been miraculously delivered from the prison, “he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.” Here was united prayer by the church, and the prayer was answered. It was not hypocritical prayer, nor prayer offered for the applause of men; it was such prayer as the Lord delights in.SITI March 2, 1888, page 134.23

    Again when Paul was on his way to Jerusalem, he stopped at Miletus, to hold a meeting with the elders of the church at Ephesus. After an affecting discourse, “he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.” Acts 20:36. This may mean simply that Paul alone prayed, although it seems more likely that they all prayed; but whichever way it was it is another instance of public prayer.SITI March 2, 1888, page 135.1

    Once more, while Paul was on this same journey, we find him praying in public. At Tyre, where the ship discharged her cargo, the travelers found disciples, with whom they tarried seven days. “And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city; and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed.” Acts 21:5. Whoever can say that the prayers in either of these instances were offered in a hypocritical spirit, or with a desire for the praise of men, must be entirely ignorant of Christian love and fellowship.SITI March 2, 1888, page 135.2

    Other instances of public prayer might be given, but we proceed to notice some directions concerning public prayer, and some direct commands therefore, which we find in the Bible.SITI March 2, 1888, page 135.3

    In 1 Corinthians 11:4-13 the apostle Paul gives directions concerning the fitness of things in prayer, stating that a woman ought not to pray with her head uncovered, nor a man with his head covered. This was a direction for the public assembly. And in 1 Corinthians 14:14-16 the apostle argues as follows concerning praying in an unknown tongue:-SITI March 2, 1888, page 135.4

    “For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also; I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?”SITI March 2, 1888, page 135.5

    Now when a man prays in secret, it does not make any difference what language he uses, so long as he himself knows what he is saying; for the Lord can understand any language. And it makes no difference in how low a tone he speaks. But this will not do in the kind of prayer that Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 14:14-16. In that the person must pray so as to be understood, so that those who listen may say, Amen. This inspired direction concerning prayer is another proof that public prayer is not displeasing to God.SITI March 2, 1888, page 135.6

    In Hebrews 10:24, 25 we read: “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”SITI March 2, 1888, page 135.7

    Now when the same apostle says: “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8), we must conclude that he intends that when the brethren assemble themselves together to exhort one another, they shall also pray together. And that this is what they should do, we learn from our Saviour’s words in Matthew 18:19, 20:-SITI March 2, 1888, page 135.8

    “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”SITI March 2, 1888, page 135.9

    In these texts we have the authority for a prayer-meeting. But now read a direct command for public prayer: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” James 5:14-16.SITI March 2, 1888, page 135.10

    Does anybody believe that James intended that the elders of the church should come to the sick man’s house, and then each retire to a room by himself to pray? No; for it is expressly stated that they are to “pray over him.” The next verse provides for mutual confession and united prayer; and no one who has experienced the blessedness of praying with the afflicted and needy, would wish to be forever debarred from the privilege. He who would not be convinced by this array of Scripture testimony that public prayer is not a sin, but is required by the Lord, would not be persuaded “though one rose from the dead.” But while we have thus pleaded the case of public prayer, we would not be understood as depreciating secret prayer in the least. The man who does not pray in secret, cannot offer an acceptable prayer in public. For in every true prayer the soul must enter into the holy of holies and there hold communion with God, and it is in the closet that the intimate acquaintance with God is gained which enables one to do this.SITI March 2, 1888, page 135.11

    There are some petitions which one can make only in secret; they cannot be expressed before men. All matters of a strictly personal character are for the closet alone. Our Lord reproved the spirit of parading one’s secret wants, or his piety, before the world; but while he emphasized the necessity of secret prayer, he did not thereby condemn public prayer.SITI March 2, 1888, page 135.12

    It is true that public prayer may be perverted, and may become a mere form, or may be engaged in merely for display. The same may be said of secret prayer. We have known people who were careful that people should know their hours for secret devotion, and others who did not need to tell people when they prayed, as everybody in the immediate neighborhood could hear. Such prayers, although uttered in the closet, are as much condemned by our Lord as are the street-corner prayers. And as for form, there are few who will not have to confess that, even when by themselves, they have sometimes engaged in prayer in a listless, perfunctory manner, and have literally “said their prayers.”SITI March 2, 1888, page 135.13

    But some will urge, as a last resort, that they “can’t possibly pray in public.” We don’t believe any such thing. We have heard people make such an excuse for not taking part in prayer-meeting, and in some cases they were the most talkative people in the meeting, and would, if allowed, monopolize all the time of the social meeting. Peter was not afraid to pray in public when he felt the waters of the Sea of Galilee giving way beneath his feet. Perhaps when these people feel their foundation giving way beneath them, and see nothing between them and destruction, they will not stop to consider who may hear, when they cry, “Lord, save me.” W.SITI March 2, 1888, page 135.14

    “Unnecessary Difficulty” The Signs of the Times, 14, 9.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A correspondent of the Christian Union asks that paper: “Will you please tell me what you regard as the meaning of the passage of Scripture which reads, ‘Every knee shall bow,’ etc.? I hear it quoted frequently as proof of the final restoration of all men.”SITI March 2, 1888, page 136.1

    To this the following is given:-SITI March 2, 1888, page 136.2

    “The passage in Ephesians is one of those in Scripture which seem to indicate that at the last all living and existence will be reconciled to God, and will live in allegiance to him. How these passages are to be reconciled with others which seem to imply hopeless and irremediable sin and spiritual death, from which there is no resurrection, is one of the most difficult problems in Biblical interpretation.”SITI March 2, 1888, page 136.3

    The editor of the Christian Union has evidently mislaid his concordance. In Romans 14:11 we read: “As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God;” and in Philippians 2:10 we find a similar statement, but there is no such passage in Ephesians.SITI March 2, 1888, page 136.4

    But the error in the reference, which might have been accidental, is by far less noteworthy than the theological slough into which the Union confesses that it has fallen. Is there anything difficult about the text? Not that we can see. We know that the text does not teach the final restoration of all men to the favor of God, because Paul plainly says that there are some “whose end is destruction” (not spiritual death). He says further that they shall be “punished with everlasting destruction;” and further, of the “man of sin,” he says that the Lord shall consume it with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy it with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy it with the brightness of his coming. And Isaiah, by whom the statement was originally made, says that the Lord is coming “to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity;” and that “the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the Lord shall be consumed.”SITI March 2, 1888, page 136.5

    These men were inspired of God, and therefore did not write contradictory statements. Now notice, they do not say that all men shall bow to Christ and receive pardon, but simply that every knee shall bow, and that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. There are thousands who do this now, and who will forever have a place in the kingdom of God, to praise him to a degree that is impossible now. But there are many more thousands who do not now acknowledge God as Christ, and who will persist in their refusal until their eternal destruction is measured out to them. And yet God will be honored by every man who has ever lived. There will not be a soul that will not at some time confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father. All, however, will not make their acknowledgment in the same way.SITI March 2, 1888, page 136.6

    When the opening heavens shall reveal the King in his beauty, sitting in royal state upon the throne of his glory, accompanied by ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of angels, the righteous will look up and say, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us; this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Isaiah 25:9. What a glorious time that will be!SITI March 2, 1888, page 136.7

    But there will be those who have despised him here, saying, either by words or by actions, or both, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” To them the coming of Christ will bring no joy, no peace. Terror will fill their hearts, and freeze their blood, as they look upon him whom they have pierced. From all the wicked will arise the despairing cry to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:16, 17. Who would want to be of the company who confess Christ under such circumstances?SITI March 2, 1888, page 136.8

    Once more, at the close of the thousand years, when all the wicked dead are raised, including the millions that will be in their graves when Christ comes to raise the righteous, and who consequently did not see him, all will be gathered around the holy city with the insane idea of taking it. But when they gather around it and see its glittering, impregnable walls,-the walls of salvation,-and see Christ himself sitting upon his own throne, clothed with all the power and glory of God, they will realize how terribly they have been deceived, and in the terrible wail of despair that will go up from the doomed host, not a note of derision will be heard. All will be forced to acknowledge that Christ is indeed king. That will be the time of their humiliation, while those who have abased themselves in this life, will then be exalted to God’s right hand. How much better for people to humble themselves than to wait for God to humble them. W.SITI March 2, 1888, page 136.9

    “Abraham and Melchizedek” The Signs of the Times, 14, 9.

    E. J. Waggoner

    LESSON 10.—SABBATH, MARCH 10

    1. Where did Abraham dwell when Lot was taken captive?SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.1

    “And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner; and these were confederate with Abram.” Genesis 14:13.SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.2

    2. When he heard of Lot’s misfortune, what did he do?SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.3

    “And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.” Verse 14.SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.4

    3. What success did he have?SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.5

    “And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.” Verses 15, 16.SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.6

    4. Who went out to meet Abraham on his return with the spoils?SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.7

    “And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale.” Verse 17.SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.8

    5. Who else met him and brought refreshments?SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.9

    “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine.” Verse 18, first part.SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.10

    6. Who was Melchizedek?SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.11

    “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.” Verse 18.SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.12

    “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace.” Hebrews 7:1, 2.SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.13

    7. What besides giving him refreshments did Melchizedek do for Abraham?SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.14

    “And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth.” Genesis 14:19.SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.15

    8. Which was the greater man, Abraham or Melchizedek?SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.16

    “Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.” “And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.” Hebrews 7:4, 7.SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.17

    9. What did Abraham give to Melchizedek?SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.18

    “And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.” Genesis 14:20.SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.19

    “Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.” Hebrews 7:4.SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.20

    10. What did the king of Sodom say to Abraham?SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.21

    “And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.” Genesis 14:21.SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.22

    11. What reply did Abraham make?SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.23

    “And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich.” Verses 22, 23.SITI March 2, 1888, page 137.24

    12. What only did Abraham reserve of the spoils?SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.1

    “Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.” Verse 24.SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.2

    13. What had he taken out before he reserved the portion for the young men who went with him?SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.3

    “And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.” Genesis 14:20.SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.4

    14. Since Abraham said that he would not take so much as a shoe latchet that belonged to the king of Sodom, whose property must he have regarded the tithe which he gave to the priest of the Lord?SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.5

    “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s; it is holy unto the Lord.” Leviticus 27:30.SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.6

    15. Who is our priest?SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.7

    “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.” Hebrews 4:14.SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.8

    16. Of what order is he the priest?SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.9

    “Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” Hebrews 6:20.SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.10

    17. Then ought we not to pay tithes as well as Abraham?SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.11

    18. What words of the apostle Paul indicate that our great High Priest should receive tithes of us?SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.12

    “And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.” Hebrews 7:8.SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.13

    19. What did Jesus himself say concerning men’s duty to pay tithes?SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.14

    “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” Matthew 23:23.SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.15

    NOTES

    Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom, because he had much cattle, and the country furnished rich pasture. He grew exceedingly rich. But then Chedorlaomer and the allied kings made war upon Sodom, and took both Lot and all that he had. Abraham remained in the plain of Mamre, dwelling in tents, and God gave him peace with all mankind. Surely it was better to be Abraham in the country than Lot in the city.SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.16

    But although Abraham was a man of peace, he could fight when it was necessary. Taking three hundred and eighteen of his servants he pursued the enemy, and brought back Lot and his family, and everything that had been taken from Sodom. We must not understand that Abraham’s servants comprised the whole of the army, for we learn that Amer and Eshcol were confederate with him, and accompanied him on the expedition. Doubtless each of these had a large number of followers.SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.17

    It was not a small thing for Abraham to conquer Chedorlaomer and his confederate kings. The seat of Chedorlaomer’s kingdom was beyond the Euphrates; and a glance at the map will show how extensive his kingdom was when the city of Sodom was subject to him. Rawlinson says of his defeat by Abraham: “The actual slaughter can scarcely have been great, but the prisoners and the booty taken had to be surrendered; the prestige of victory was lost; and the result seems to have been that the Mesopotamian monarch relinquished his projects, and, contenting himself with the fame acquired by such distant expeditions, made no further attempt to carry his empire beyond the Euphrates.”-Seven Great Monarchies, First Mon, chap. 8. This event, which stopped the course of an empire, is passed by in the Scripture narrative with a word. Rawlinson says that the word “slaughter” (Genesis 14:17) is too strong a rendering of the original. The Hebrew does not mean more than “defeat” or “overthrow.”SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.18

    When we read that “Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold,” we cannot form any estimate of his greatness. But when we think that on an expedition of this kind he was able to arm three hundred and eighteen servants that were born in his own house, we know that he was not an ordinarily rich man. This one item, more than any other, gives us an idea of how God had prospered Abraham. In his case we have a comment on the words of our Saviour: “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek); for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:31-33. Abraham’s first desire was to have the righteousness of God; he looked for a heavenly country, and God gave him the wealth of this. We must not expect to see such wealth given to everyone who seeks God and his righteousness; he has not promised more than food and raiment, and, having that, the Christian will be content. But that is sure to be given. Says David: “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” So “godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8.SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.19

    The first recorded instance of tithing is this one, where Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God. Abraham had a right to all the property that he recovered from the Chaldeans, and this right the king of Sodom acknowledged when he said, “Give me the persons, and take the goods thyself.” But Abraham answered: “I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich.” Abraham would not be under obligations to a wicked man. The wealth that he had he had received through the blessing of God; and now he would not give anybody a chance to say anything that would detract from the glory of God. So Abraham returned the goods to him, with the exception of a share for the young men who went with him.SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.20

    But before Abraham had this talk with the king of Sodom, he had taken out a tithe of all, and had given it to Melchizedek. “And he gave him tithes of all.” This was before the young men took out their portion. From this, then, we learn how we should pay tithe. The tithe should be the first-fruits. It should come out before we take out of our earnings that which is necessary for our support. “The tithe is the Lord’s.” When we pay it to him, we are simply giving to him his own. For this reason Abraham could say that he would not keep back anything that belonged to the king of Sodom. One-tenth of all the wealth of Sodom belonged to the Lord, and ought to have been given to him. But the king was an unfaithful steward, and had kept the Lord’s money. But when it came into Abraham’s hands, he promptly gave the Lord that which belonged to him. “Will a man rob God?” Alas! too many do. How is it with you, reader? Have you stolen property in your possession?SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.21

    Many will ask the question, “Who was Melchizedek?” The best answer that we can give is that he was “king of Salem,” and “priest of the most high God.” Our information does not go beyond this. That he was a type of Christ is stated in Psalms and in Hebrews. Christ is a high priest “after the order of Melchizedek.” He combines the kingly and the priestly office in one person. And since Abraham paid tithe to Melchizedek, the type of Christ, surely the children of Abraham ought to pay tithe to Christ, the great high priest after the order of Melchizedek. W.SITI March 2, 1888, page 138.22

    “Peace Prospects in Europe” The Signs of the Times, 14, 9.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Just at the present moment a very pacific state of public mind in regard to European matters has been produced by the mutual assurances of Bismarck and the Czar, that neither of them has any thought of war, and each of them are sure the other has not. It is interesting to consider the basis upon which these assurances are made. Professor Garlanda, writing from Rome to the New York Independent, it gives the figures of Europe’s military standing at the opening of 1888. Italy’s available forces number 871,299 men, and 255 ships of war. France keeps under arms 500,000 men, and can call out 2,000,000, and her navy consists of 400 vessels. England has 218,557 armed men and a navy consisting of 700 ships. The Russian forces consist of 2,001,379 men under arms or immediately available. The Turkish standing army numbers 180,000 men. Germany presents in her enemies the view of an army of 487,673 officers and men under arms; and in case of war her standing army numbers at once 1,753,000, and 993,000 men of the Landarche. The Landsturm, the last contingent, contains 3,955,000 men. Her navy consists of 183 vessels, a new and containing all the latest improvements.SITI March 2, 1888, page 144.1

    These immense figures represent armies equipped with the most effective weapons of destruction. In them we have the source of this feeling of confidence. But if peace were to result from these great preparations for war, it will have been bought at the expense of calamity and oppression such as lead the philanthropist to feel that the luxury of being governed is dearly paid for by the oppressed people. Should war result, the consequences of the clash of such armaments no one can forecast. History furnishes no parallel.SITI March 2, 1888, page 144.2

    Bismarck’s prophecies of peace rest upon the fact that the consequences of war are made so terrible. It is certain that they are not suggested by any peaceful attitude which the jealous nations have suddenly taken. Men are not engaged in turning swords into plowshares, but every sinew of the people is strained to create and maintain the grandest military demonstration the world has ever seen; and armament which will soon take an active part in the great closing struggles for human glory, which are the immediate premonitions of the coming of the Prince of Peace.SITI March 2, 1888, page 144.3

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