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    October 13, 1890

    “Front Page” The Signs of the Times, 16, 40.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Nowhere in God’s word are the people of God promised a reward at death. Death is ever treated as an enemy. Those who die are in the enemy’s land (Jeremiah 31:16); death is the last enemy to be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26); it will be destroyed at last in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14). The promise of God is that those who believe in him will be raised up in “the last day.” John 6:40. Again, Jesus says: “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:27. The coming of Christ is that great event around which cluster the brightest and best hopes of Christians,-life, joy, peace, a kingdom incorruptible, forevermore; and all these come through the presence of Christ. Glad day! why should not the child of God love it and long for it?SITI October 13, 1890, page 506.10

    “For Our Sake Also. Romans 4:17-25” The Signs of the Times, 16, 40.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The fourth chapter of Romans is one of the richest in the Bible, in the hope and courage which it contains for the Christian. In Abraham we have an example of righteousness by faith, and we have set before us the wonderful inheritance promised to those who have the faith of Abraham. And this promise is not limited. The blessing of Abraham comes on the Gentiles as well as on the Jews; there is none so poor that he may not share it, for “it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed.”SITI October 13, 1890, page 506.11

    The last clause of the seventeenth verse is worthy of special attention. It contains the secret of the possibility of our success in the Christian life. It says that Abraham believed “God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.” This marks God’s power; it involves creative power. God can call a thing which is not as though it existed. If a man should do that, what would you call it?-A lie. If a man should say that a thing is, when it is not, it would be a lie. But God cannot lie. Therefore when God calls these things that be not, as though they were, it is evident that that makes them be. That is, they spring into existence at his word. We have all heard, as an illustration of confidence, the little girl’s statement that “if ma says so, it’s so if it isn’t so.” That is exactly the case with God. Before that time spoken of as “in the beginning,” there was a dreary waste of absolute nothingness; God spoke, and instantly worlds sprang into being. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.... For he spake, and it was; he commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:6-9. This is the power which is brought to view in Romans 4:17. Now let us read on, that we may see the force of this language in this connection. Still speaking of Abraham, the apostle says:-SITI October 13, 1890, page 506.12

    “Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, so shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb; he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:18-22.SITI October 13, 1890, page 506.13

    Here we learn that Abraham’s faith, in God, as one who could bring things into existence by his word, was exercised with respect to his being able to create righteousness in a person destitute of it. Those who look at the trial of Abraham’s faith as relating simply to the birth of Isaac, and ending there, lose all the point and beauty of the sacred record. Isaac was only the one in whom his seed was to be called, and that seed was Christ. See Galatians 3:16. When God told Abraham that in his seed all nations of the earth should be blessed, he was preaching the gospel to him (Galatians 3:8), therefore Abraham’s faith in the promise of God was direct faith in Christ as the Saviour of sinners. This was the faith which was counted to him for righteousness.SITI October 13, 1890, page 506.14

    Now note the strength of that faith. His own body was already virtually dead from age, and Sarah was in a like condition. The birth of Isaac from such a pair was nothing less than the bringing of life from the dead. It was a symbol of God’s power to quicken to spiritual life those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Abraham hoped against hope. There was no human possibility of the fulfillment of the promise; everything was against it, but his faith grasped and rested upon the unchanging word of God, and his power to create and to make alive. “And therefore it was imputed unto him for righteousness.” Now for the point of it all:-SITI October 13, 1890, page 506.15

    “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it 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 offenses, and was raised again for our justification.” Romans 4:23-25.SITI October 13, 1890, page 514.1

    So Abraham’s faith was the same that ours must be, and in the same object. The fact that it is by faith in the death and resurrection of Christ that we have the same righteousness imputed to us that was imputed to Abraham, shows that Abraham’s faith was likewise in the death and resurrection of Christ. All the promises of God to Abraham were for us as well as for him. Indeed, we are told in one place that they were specially for our benefit. “When God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself.” “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” Hebrews 6:13, 17, 18. Our hope, therefore, rests upon God’s promise and oath to Abraham, for that promise to Abraham, confirmed by that oath, contains all the blessings which God can possibly give to man.SITI October 13, 1890, page 514.2

    But let us make this matter a little more personal before leaving it. Trembling soul, say not that your sins are so many and that you are so weak that there is no hope for you. Christ came to save the lost, and he is able to save to the uttermost those that come to God by him. You are weak, but he says, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9. And the inspired record tells us of those who “out of weakness were made strong.” Hebrews 11:34. That means that God took their very weakness and turned it into strength. In so doing he demonstrates his power. It is his way of working. For “God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are; that no flesh should glory in his presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-29.SITI October 13, 1890, page 514.3

    Have the simple faith of Abraham. How did he attain to righteousness?-By not considering the deadness and powerlessness of his own body, but by being willing to grant all the glory to God, strong in faith that he could bring all things out of that which was not. You, therefore, in like manner, consider not the weakness of your own body, but the power and grace of our Lord, being assured that the same word which can create a universe, and raise the dead, can also create in you a clean heart, and make you alive unto God. And so you shall be a child of Abraham, even a child of God by faith in Christ Jesus. E. J. W.SITI October 13, 1890, page 514.4

    “A Superficial Age” The Signs of the Times, 16, 40.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Christian at Work of September 18 has some severe strictures on the public schools which we are inclined to think are generally true, not because the schools are public schools, but because they are conducted according to the spirit of the age. The above journal says:SITI October 13, 1890, page 514.5

    “In the opinion of thoughtful persons are public schools are by no means what they ought to be. The subjects of study are too multiplied, the time given to each too meager and inadequate. The system of ‘cramming,’ by which a pupils memory for mere words is developed abnormally and at the expense of his faculties of discrimination and sound judgment, now so popular and almost universal, is an utter perversion of the true conception of education. It transforms a bright boy or girl into a temporary parrot, ready to astonish every hearer with a seemingly brilliant performance, which, however, upon further attention, it turns out to be little more than a species of clipped and empty-headed gabbie. There is in all this no grasp of the underlying principles, no comprehension of the nature of things, no real intellectual and symmetrical training. It is exactly in the mental constitution what a course of gymnastics would be in the physical which should take infinite pains to exercise the muscles of one arm and should leave those of the other arm, chest, back, and legs, entirely inactive and undeveloped. In both cases a monstrosity is the result.”SITI October 13, 1890, page 514.6

    Superficiality is the fault of the age-superficial education, superficial politics, superficial philosophy, superficial theology, and, worse than all, superficial religion. Our fathers, who had but few books and newspapers, who knew scarcely anything of the light literature of to-day, studied more, thought more, meditated more, and laid a better foundation for character in abiding principles which but few of the youth of this generation know. But, as the Christian at Work points out, character is more necessary than all else. Parents, see to it that your boys and girls are laying the foundation of character beneath the surface, on the principles of truth, justice, and integrity, and love of God. Days now will count years by and by.SITI October 13, 1890, page 514.7

    “Unprofitable” The Signs of the Times, 16, 40.

    E. J. Waggoner

    From the Interior of October 2 we clip the following question and answer:-SITI October 13, 1890, page 514.8

    Dear Interior: Please give me some points and scriptural quotations and arguments by which I may answer the seventh-day Adventists, and thus defend our Sabbath as the first day of the week. A. S.SITI October 13, 1890, page 514.9

    “If these people will not accept the apostolic example of setting apart the Lord’s day for worship-if they set themselves against the church from the beginning, and refuse to give the supreme honor to Christ, ‘neither would they believe though one should rise from the dead.’ We do not think it profitable to argue with such.”SITI October 13, 1890, page 514.10

    There are thousands of people who are seeking for the same light and knowledge, who are getting nothing in return. Notice that the Interior does not quote the words of Christ: “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.” No; for “Moses and the prophets” give no sanction to Sunday-keeping. So the Interior parodies the words of Christ, putting tradition and custom in the place of the Scriptures. But if it ignores Moses and the prophets, surely it ought to allow some weight to the words of Jehovah: “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work.” To be sure, the Interior assumes that the apostles, putting themselves above their Lord, set apart the first day of the week for rest and worship; but it wisely refrains from attempting to give the scriptural quotations which would establish the fact.SITI October 13, 1890, page 514.11

    It talks about refusing to give supreme honor to Christ. Let us see wherein Christ is honored. Is by observing a day that commemorates nothing, and concerning which he has made no command? or by obey his commandment, and observing the day which commemorates creation completed, and thus honors Christ as the divine Creator? No one can acknowledge Christ’s divinity without acknowledging him as Creator; and everyone who acknowledges him as Creator, must, to be consistent, acknowledge that He who created also rested upon the seventh day, and blessed and sanctified it, so that the seventh day is the only Lord’s day. Therefore to accuse Christ of changing the day of the Sabbath (a thing impossible to do), is to array Christ against himself.SITI October 13, 1890, page 514.12

    At first our thought was, What a pity that religious papers, which set themselves as guides, should put off an earnest inquirer with such an evasion, as the Interior has done; but on second thought it seemed as though good might come of it. A virtual acknowledgment that there are no “scriptural quotations and arguments” by which Seventh-day Adventists may be answered and the first-day sabbath defended, is far better than to jumble a lot of irrelevant texts together, and claim that they make out a case. The Interior is right; it is indeed not profitable to argue against the Bible declaration that the seventh day is the Sabbath.SITI October 13, 1890, page 514.13

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 16, 40.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Brother Grant Adkins and wife, who have labored in tent work in California this last season, left this city the 6th inst. To labor with Elder J. W. Scoles in Tennessee. Tennessee has, in the last four years, made herself notorious by her oppressive Sunday laws, but she has many honest souls who are longing for truth and light.SITI October 13, 1890, page 514.14

    The time to trust God is not by and by, but now. How often do we hear Christians says: “I will trust the Lord,” “I will give myself to him,” “I am going to do better by God’s grace,” all of which look forward to the future. The time to trust God is now, the time to give ourselves to God is now; the time to do by his grace is now. “God is a very present help” to all who believe him. We only live in the Now; the Future is ours only as it becomes the Now. The name of our God is not I WAS, or I WILL BE, but “I AM.”SITI October 13, 1890, page 514.15

    At this writing (October 6), a party of twelve or more design to start the 13th instant for the East. Among these are Elder J. N. Loughborough and wife, Brother Delmer N. Loughborough and wife, Elder Isaac Morrison, Brother D. E. Scoles, Sister Lena Hudson, the senior editor of this journal, Elder E. J. Waggoner, and family, and others. Elder Loughborough will take charge of the Nebraska conference, of which he has been elected president. The many burdens he has borne in California render change and less burdens absolutely necessary to the maintenance of health and life. May God bless him abundantly in his new field. Brother Morrison and Scoles go East to attend the ministers school at Battle Creek, Mich.SITI October 13, 1890, page 514.16

    Dr. E. J. Waggoner will take a prominent part in teaching in the ministers’ school at Battle Creek, Mich., this winter. We regret exceedingly to lose his help from this office; in fact, we know not how we could get along without him if it were not for the assurance that our work was God’s work, and that he will supply “all our needs.” Brother Waggoner will still write for the SIGNS. May God bless him in his many and hard labors there. May we not ask the prayers of our readers that God may bless us here also, and make our publications the means of saving many souls? We are glad to welcome to this coast our old co-laborer in the British field, Elder J. H. Durland, who will assist us much in our work.SITI October 13, 1890, page 514.17

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