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    December 9, 1889

    “Who Is to Blame?” The Signs of the Times, 15, 47.

    E. J. Waggoner

    There are very many people who want peace, but they want it after their own ideas. It is quite common for people who have taken a wrong course to lay the blame of the trouble that inevitably follows upon someone who, so far from following in the wrong, has endeavored to set things right. They say, “If you will let us alone, there will be no trouble.” Many children are very patterns of propriety so long as everything goes to suit them, but when their tracks are crossed, there is trouble. Then the trouble is charged, not to their own perverseness, but to their parents, or those who try to check their wrong-doing. It is a painful fact that these children do not always lose this trait when they grow up. It is not easy to live under condemnation, and, therefore, the natural mind seeks an excuse for sin, and an excuse is not very hard to find.SITI December 9, 1889, page 632.69

    An instance in point is seen in the case of Ahab. His course is briefly stated in the following scripture: “And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him.... And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.” 1 Kings 16:30-33. Elijah was a man of God, who dared to stand boldly for the worship of the true God, even though he were the only one in the nation who was not an idolater. His life alone was a constant rebuke to the wicked king, and his testimony was plain. Through him the Lord spoke, and said that on account of the wickedness of Israel there should be no rain throughout the land. This came to pass, and great suffering necessarily followed. But did Ahab acknowledge that he himself was the cause of all this? Hear him: “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” 1 Kings 18:17. Like a petulant child, he blamed the one who was trying to save him. But Elijah stated the case in its true light when he answered: “I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.” Verse 18.SITI December 9, 1889, page 632.70

    But human nature is the same now as in the days of Ahab. The following paragraph is from a report of labor, which a first-day preacher sent to the organ of his denomination, and which will serve to illustrate this fact:-SITI December 9, 1889, page 632.71

    “Our next was at Battle Creek. This is the headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventists. As Saturday is one of the busiest days of a city, and Sabbath [Sunday] the great working-day of the Adventists, and as the ungodly are embolden to respect neither, it is hard to tell in Battle Creek whether it is Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. Thus the seventh-day system spreads infidelity.”SITI December 9, 1889, page 632.72

    Note the parallel. Ahab led Israel into idolatry; Elijah fearlessly preached and practiced the religion of the true God. The result of this was that many of the people halted “between two opinions.” 1 Kings 18:21. They did not believe anything. In the modern instance, the Seventh-day Adventists teach, and try to conscientiously live out, the commandments of God. This includes the observance of God’s Sabbath, the day which he rested upon, blessed, sanctified, called his own, and commanded all men to observe. See Genesis 2:2, 3; Exodus 20:8-11; Isaiah 58:13, and many other texts. The great mass of mankind, following in the wake of papal lawlessness and assumption, trample upon God’s holy day, and exalt a rival in its place. In consequence of this, some people accept neither. They do not take the trouble to examine for themselves to see which is right, and reject both as of no consequence.SITI December 9, 1889, page 632.73

    Now who is to blame for their infidelity? Is it those who are walking according to God’s rule, or those who walk in a way of their own devising? In the case of Ahab and Elijah all will agree Elijah did right. He is looked upon by all Bible readers as a model of integrity; and such he was. All the trouble and unbelief that existed is chargeable solely to Ahab’s wicked course, and to those who followed him. Would it not, then, be more in accordance with the facts to say that first-day-keeping, or at least Sabbath-breaking, leads to infidelity? If God’s word remains the same now that it was four thousand years ago, it would. He gave the Sabbath as a sign, that men might know that he was the true God. Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:20. If men had always kept the Sabbath of the Lord, remembering that it is the memorial of his creative power, there would never have been any idolatry or infidelity.SITI December 9, 1889, page 632.74

    The question to be decided is simply this: Does it make a wrong thing right for a majority to practice it? Is it better to disobey God with the many, or to obey him with the few? Will God alter his laws, and make wrong right, because the majority do wrong? His word says, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 22:2); and, “Thou hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.” Proverbs 11:21. It is safe to believe these statements, in spite of the assertions of men to the contrary. Although the gospel of Christ is a gospel of peace, it does not contemplate a peace purchased by a sacrifice of right-doing. Christ foresaw that men would be shaken when they saw divisions on account of his doctrine, and he forewarned his disciples in Luke 12:51-53. Let men deplore divisions, and let them endeavor to promote harmony; but let them labor only for Bible union, and not fear to say, with Joshua, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve; ...but as for me, and my house, we will serve the Lord.” E. J. W.SITI December 9, 1889, page 632.75

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