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    May 27, 1889

    “Front Page” The Signs of the Times, 15, 20.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In a recent editorial article the Jewish Exponent raises the question, “What is religion,” and offers to “open its columns to a full and free expression of opinion on this subject. It will welcome any thoughtful contributions upon the meaning, scope, purpose, and influence of religion at the present day.”SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.38

    “The Pope,” says the Catholic American, “is the Father of all people. Catholics and heretics, faithful and enemies, strangers and neighbors, warlike and peaceful, all Christians have an equal title as his children.” Whereupon the Lutheran witness says: “Why then does the Pope not aid us Lutherans financially in the establishment and maintenance of our schools, churches, colleges, and seminaries?”SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.39

    The Congregationalist says: “We regret to see, from the Ultramontane Univers, that recent alterations in St. Paul’s Cathedral are interpreted as a sign of English return to Romanism. Much the same, also, is alleged of Westminster Abbey.” And if we read prophecy and the signs of the times aright the day is not far distant when not only England but all of the nations of Europe will practically return to Romanism and “give their power and strengthen to the beast.”SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.40

    “Is death a reality, or a wise and beautiful change?” is a question discussed by Dr. E. B. Wheelock in a late number of Carrier Dove. Of course the conclusion arrived at is that there is no death; that “what we call death is only transition.” It is significant that while this is in harmony with the teachings of the modern orthodox (?) pulpit it is contrary to the word of God. Death according to the Scriptures is a sleep, a state of unconsciousness, but popular theology and Spiritualism make it a state of great activity and increased knowledge. We prefer to believe the Bible.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.41

    April 30, Jews and Christians worshiped to gather in Newark, N. J. “The congregation of the First Congregational Church and the congregation of the Temple B’nai Jeshurun had convened to hold appropriate services in observance of the centennial. The temple was filled with people. The temple organist opened the services, and the Caecilian choir rendered a final anthem. Dr. Boyd read from the Scripture, and offered a prayer. Rabbi Joseph Leucht then delivered an address of great eloquence and power, in which he paid a great tribute to our history, and progress as a people and nation.” Whether or not the prayer was offered in the name of Christ is not stated.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.42

    In a recent article entitled, “Creed Tests,” written concerning the trial of the bishop of Lincoln for ritualistic practices unauthorized by the Book of Common Prayer, Archdeacon Farrar well says:-SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.43

    “Men say that they multiply ritual observances in order to glorify the sacrament. Is the sacrament glorified by postures and vestments, or by meek, pure, and humble hearts? Over half of Europe men do not only glorify, but worship the sacramental elements; they genuflect to them and pageant them about like an idol. Are these countries better for this blank idolatry? One of the vilest kings of France, Louis IV., went on his knees in the mud before the host, and was cheered as a religious king; yet he did so coming from the Caprea of his loathly palace, returning to the sty of his habitual vices. Nations are saved by righteousness, manliness, and self-denial; by preaching a simple Christ to simple men; not by miters and candles and such gewgaws.”SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.44

    “Principles and Precepts” The Signs of the Times, 15, 20.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The word “law” is derived from the same root as the words “lie” and “lay,” and primarily has the same meaning. “A law is that which is laid, set, or fixed, like statute, constitution, from Lat. Statuere.”-Webster. And in harmony with this, the same authority gives as the first definition of the word “law,” “A rule of order or conduct established by authority.” It is a favorite saying with those who would make void the law of God while professing allegiance to his word, that the ten commandments are good, but that they are adapted only to fallen beings, and hence cannot bind angels nor redeemed saints, nor even people in this world who have been converted. Let us see how such a theory agrees with the definition of law.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.45

    We will suppose that the angels are free from law, and that redeemed saints are to have a like freedom. In that case there would be nothing “laid down” for their guidance-no rule or order of conduct established by authority. In fact, there would be no authority, and each one would act independently of all the others. There would then exist in Heaven the same thing that would exist on earth if there were no law, namely, anarchy; for that means “without rule.” But “God is not the author of confusion,” and therefore such a state of things cannot exist in Heaven, and if not in Heaven, then of course not among the saints still on earth. The case may be stated thus: 1. When there is no law there is anarchy and confusion; there can be nothing else. 2. Confusion cannot exist among God’s people, whether in Heaven or on earth. 3. Therefore, the people of God are always and everywhere subject to his law.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.46

    Seeing that it will not do to claim that any beings are absolutely free from law, the enemies of the truth have invented a specious theory, with which, unfortunately, many firm believers in the law of God have been captivated. It is this: “The law,” they say, “as it exists in the ten commandments, is adapted only to fallen beings. These commandments hang on the two great principles of love to God and love to man, and it was these principles alone that existed before the fall, and these alone will be the law for the redeemed.” And some there are who claim that these principles are all the law there is now for Christians. We regard this theory as more dangerous than the one which claims that all law is abolished; for it is the same thing in reality, while it has the appearance of great deference to the truth of God. Let us examine it.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.47

    It is utterly impossible for anyone to be guided by an abstract principle. Certain principles may have a controlling influence on our lives, but they must be embodied in definite precepts. As an illustration, we will relate a portion of a conversation which we once had with a gentleman who claimed that Christians have nothing to do with the ten commandments. The question was asked him, Is there, then, nothing for Christians to do? Answer-“Yes, they must love the Lord.” Very good, but how are they to show that they love the Lord? Answer-“By doing what he tells them to do.” Well, what is it that contains specific statements of what the Lord requires us to do to show our love for him? Answer-“Young man, I am older than you are.” The reader will wonder, as we did, what bearing this had on the subject. It showed that the man saw that the only possible answer was, “The law of God,” an answer which would not agree with his theory, hence he chose to give none. But the illustration serves to show that principles, to be obeyed, must be embodied in precepts.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.48

    Says the beloved disciple: “This is the love of God, that we keep is commandments.” 1 John 5:3. So when we read that the first great commandment is, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37), we know that it means nothing more nor less than that it is our first and highest duty to keep, both in letter and in spirit, all those commandments which define our duty to God. In no other way can we show that we love him.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.49

    Suppose for a moment that a man were placed here on earth with nothing to serve as a rule of life except the statement that he must love God supremely and his neighbor as himself. He sets out with a firm determination to do his whole duty. But erelong he is found doing something which God abhors. We will suppose that he is adoring the sun and moon. When reproved for this, he might well reply, “I did not know that I was doing anything wrong; nothing was said to me about this matter. I had a feeling of love and gratitude to God, and did not know how to manifest it in any better way than by paying homage to the most glorious of his created works.” By what law could the man be condemned? He could not justly be condemned, because the will of the Creator on that point had not been made known to him, and he could not reasonably be expected to know the will of God if it had not been revealed.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.50

    It will be seen by a very little consideration, that to put a man on the earth with nothing but a general command to love God, and at the same time to expect him to do nothing displeasing to God, would be to assume that the man had infinite wisdom. For God is infinite; and if a man, without being told, finds out what God requires, it can only be because he can comprehend infinity. But this is an impossibility. “Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty to perfection?” No indeed; the creature that could know the mind of God any further than it was directly revealed by him, has never existed.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.51

    Then since, as we have conclusively proved, there must be a law for all creatures, and since this law must be definitely expressed, and since, moreover, the whole duty of man is to love God above all things, and his neighbor as himself, we are shut up to the conclusion that the ten commandments always have been and always will be the rule of life for all created intelligences. In direct support of this, Solomon says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13. This settles the matter, at least for the present time. John also says that the love of God is to keep his commandments; but it will be our duty to love God to all eternity; therefore it will always be our duty to keep the commandments of God. And it makes it no less a duty because it becomes our highest pleasure. To the natural man, duty is irksome; the object of making him a new creature in Christ, is that it may be a pleasure for him to do his duty. Paul says that God sent his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, thus condemning sin in the flesh, in order that the “righteousness [requirements] of the law might be fulfilled in us.” Romans 8:3, 4. The object of the gospel is to make us like unto Christ, who said, “I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.52

    In addition to the above, we offer the words of the prayer which Christ has commanded us to pray to God: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven.” Matthew 6:10. Now the will of God is his law. See Romans 2:17, 18; Psalm 40:8. We are taught by this prayer, then, that when the kingdom of God is established on this earth, God’s law will be kept here even as it is now kept in Heaven. And David says by inspiration, that the angels that excel in strength “do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.” Psalm 103:20. That is, they are anxious and delight to keep God’s commandments. Duty is with them a pleasure. And when God’s kingdom comes, we also, if permitted to become subjects of it, will delight to do God’s will, and will keep all his commandments, of which “every one” “endureth forever.” We shall then do perfectly what we now are (or should be) striving to do in spite of the weakness of the flesh.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.53

    This subject will be continued in another article, in which we shall consider the objection that there are certain commandments of the decalogue which angels or glorified saints could not violate if they wished to, and that therefore it is absurd to suppose that obedience to those commandments is required of them. E. J. W.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.54

    “A Pledge” The Signs of the Times, 15, 20.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Christians become sometimes disheartened, almost discouraged. The Lord seems to have forgotten them. He has forgiven past sins, but he gives no help in present trial. The sins of the heart rise up in rebellion against God’s will, and there is no power within the soul to put them down, and the Lord has left us to be destroyed of the enemy. So it seems to the sad, sin buffeted heart. But it is not true. God has not forsaken. He “hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” And God has given us a pledge of his willingness to help in all the future, if we will trust in him. Says the apostle Paul, “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. What greater pledge could be asked than this? So surely as God gave his Son, so surely will he grant all needed help to the seeker. Has he given the greater gift? he surely will the lesser. Take the promise home to thy heart, Christian; it will never fail thee, if thou wilt but meet the reasonable conditions which God asks of thee. Hold to it by faith; it is one of the “exceeding great and precious promises,”-a help to impart to us the “divine nature.”SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.55

    “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.” Psalm 55:22.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.56

    “The Sabbath-School. The Sin of Moses” The Signs of the Times, 15, 20.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Old Testament History.
    (Lesson 23, June 5, 1889.)

    1. When the Israelites came to Kadesh, in the Wilderness of Zin, what took place?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.57

    “Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month; and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there.” Numbers 20:1.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.58

    2. From what did the people suffer?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.59

    “And there was no water for the congregation; and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron.” Verse 2.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.60

    3. What did they do and say?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.61

    “And the people chided with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord!” Verse 3.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.62

    4. What did they charge Moses with doing?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.63

    “And why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?” Verse 4.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.64

    5. What did they say of the place where they then were?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.65

    “And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.” Verse 5.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.66

    6. Whom did they blame for bringing them out of Egypt? Verses 3-5.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.67

    7. Who had really brought them from Egypt?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.68

    “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:1, 2.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.69

    8. Then to what was their murmurings equivalent?-To a denial that God had anything to do with their wonderful deliverance.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.70

    9. What does the psalmist say of them?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.71

    “They forgat God their Saviour, which had done great things in Egypt; wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red Sea.” Psalm 106:21, 22.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.72

    10. While the sin of the Israelites was exceeding great, is it an uncommon one?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.73

    11. What did Moses and Aaron do in this extremity?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.74

    “And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces; and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them.” Numbers 20:6.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.75

    12. What directions did the Lord give them?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.76

    “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.” Verses 7, 8.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.77

    13. When the people were gathered before the rock, what did Moses say?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.78

    “And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?” Verse 10.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.79

    14. What does the psalmist say of this occurrence?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.80

    “They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes; because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.” Psalm 106:32, 33.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.81

    15. How did it go ill with Moses?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.82

    “And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.” Numbers 20:12.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.83

    16. In what particular did Moses and Aaron trespass against the Lord?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.84

    “Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel.” Deuteronomy 32:51.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.85

    17. When Moses allowed the Israelites by their rebellious words to provoke his spirit, what position toward God did he also assume?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.86

    “Aaron shall be gathered unto his people; for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against my word at the water of Meribah.” Numbers 20:24.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.87

    “For ye rebelled against my commandment in the desert of Zin, in the strife of the congregation, to sanctify me at the water before their eyes; that is the water of Meribah in Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.” Numbers 27:14.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.88

    18. Do we have any intimation that the Lord in any degree excuse to sin because he labored under great provocation?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.89

    19. In this giving way to anger, of what grace did Moses show a lack?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.90

    “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.” 1 Corinthians 13:4, 5.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.91

    20. What evidence have we that, although Moses was prohibited from entering the promised land, he repented of this and was fully forgiven?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.92

    “So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor; but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.” Deuteronomy 34:5, 6.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.93

    “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” Jude 9.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.94

    And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. and, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.” Matthew 17:1-3.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.95

    21. Then what must even the best of men say to the Lord?SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.96

    “If thou, Lord, shouldest market iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? but there is forgiveness with the, that thou mayest be feared.” Psalm 130:3, 4.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.97

    NOTES

    We are often prone to excuse some sin in ourselves, on the ground that it is the only time we ever committed it; or that we but seldom fall into it, and only under the greatest provocation. Many seem to think that if a person has great provocation he can commit the sin with impunity. But that reasoning would have made it right for the Saviour to yield to Satan’s temptation in the wilderness; for no man ever suffered so fierce temptation. The truth is, there is no excuse for sin, and anger is not admissible under any circumstances. When the translators of our common version of the Bible wrote that charity “is not easily provoked,” they were evidently moved by some consideration for the weakness of the flesh. They seem to have the idea that a man might have charity and still be provoked to anger, providing he was not very easily provoked. But they did a great injustice to the truth, for the words as Paul wrote them are simply, “is not provoked.” True charity does not get provoked under any circumstances.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.98

    The sin of Moses was a great one, even greater than that of the people; for he had all the light that they had, and more. It is true that the people were the cause of his fall, yet that did not in the least relieve him from responsibility. The real cause, after all, was in his own heart, otherwise nothing that the people could have done would have moved him. The Lord cannot tolerate sin, no matter in whom it appears; yet he is “the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” Exodus 34:6, 7. That Moses repented, and was abundantly pardoned, is shown by the fact that after his death he was raised and taken to Heaven and was commissioned to come on the message of love to Christ. From this we are warranted in concluding that if it had not been for this one sin he would not only have been permitted to enter the land of Canaan, but would, like Elijah, have been translated without seeing death.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.99

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 15, 20.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Dr. Craft’s visited the Pacific coast in the interests of the so-called American Sabbath Union, has been postponed till August and September.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.100

    For answer to the question, Who spoke the law? inquirers are referred to the article, “The Gospel in the Old Testament,” on page 308 of this paper. See also “Spirit of Prophecy,” Vol. 2, top of page 217.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.101

    The Pacific Union, a labor paper, remarks that “Los Angeles last year exported 8,095 tons of beer,” and asks, “How much did the country gained?” Nothing.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.102

    May 17 the senior editor of this paper, Elder E. J. Waggoner, left for the East, to be absent probably until about the first of September.After visiting his mother, who has just returned to Michigan from Basel, Switzerland, Brother Waggoner will attend the Pennsylvania and New York camp-meetings, subsequently spending some time with Prof. Wm. R. Harper, at Philadelphia and Chautauqua, for the purpose of completing a course of study in Hebrew which he has been pursuing for several years.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.103

    May 22 to June 10 Brother Waggoner will be at Williamsport, Penn.; June 10 to 17 at Rome, New York; June 18 to July 3 at Protestant Episcopal Divinity School, Fiftieth Street and Woodland Avenue, Philadelphia, Penn., and from July 5 to August 15 at Chautauqua, New York. Those wishing to write to him personally will govern themselves accordingly. Matter intended for the SIGNS OF THE TIMES or American Sentinel should be sent to the office of publication as formerly.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.104

    A Baptist minister in Eureka, this State, recently preached a sermon in which he took strong ground against all religious legislation, including the Blair bills recently before Congress. He declared that such measures were opposed to Baptist principles. His church, however, seemed to have taken quite another view of the case, for we understand that they were so displeased with the sermon that they requested the resignation of their pastor, and will employ some man who will suit them better. Times change, and it seems that Baptists change with them.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.105

    It is stated that Worcester, Mass., has a religious society called “Faith Home.” The members, who number a dozen only, unable to obtain spiritual satisfaction in the churches, meet every Sunday and study the Bible to suit themselves. They believe that they can reach perfection and an equality with Christ, and thus resist death and live an eternity on earth. To do this they believe that the body must be regenerated by means of certain mental and physical preparations. Of course all this is contrary alike to the teaching of the Scriptures and to the tangible experience of the human race, and for the latter reason of course few will believe it; but it is really no worse to believe that the whole man may resist death than to hold that the most important part of man is now immortal, and that that which we call death is only transition. Truly there is no telling to what lengths of absurdity people will go when they repudiate the teaching of the word of God.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.106

    “How will it end?” meaning the world, is a question which is discussed in the San Francisco Chronicle of May 19, and as usual the religious editor of that paper has shown that whatever other virtue he may possess faith in the Scriptures is not a part of his stock in trade. Referring to the testimony of Inspiration, he says: “A sacred writer has remarked that when the final catastrophe comes as the heavens will be rolled together as a scroll, and the earth will melt with fervent heat. He had probably seen volcanoes, experienced earthquakes, and so gain some idea of the irresistible character of subterranean forces.” And that is all. He then turns to the theories of science falsely so called, and dwells at length upon the hair-brained idea that the world is destined to freeze up. Anything is, it seems, preferred to that which the word of God teaches. But the newspapers are not to blame, they are only following the lead of the popular ministers who speak smooth things and prophesy deceits.SITI May 27, 1889, page 295.107

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