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    February 3, 1890

    “Obedience Past and Present” The Signs of the Times, 16, 5.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We have a letter from a lady in Alabama who is very much interested in the work of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES and the American Sentinel, and who is doing good work in distributing them among her friends. She writes a very kind and appreciative letter, and asks several pertinent questions, stating, what may readily be seen from the tone of the letter, that she is standing for truth and it open for conviction. The questions which she asks will receive due attention, but before answering them we wish to set our correspondent right upon other points which she incidentally mentions in her letter. We quote a paragraph:-SITI February 3, 1890, page 43.40

    “I believe that Christ was the end of the law of Moses. He was the fulfillment of the law. Moses’ law was only emblematic. While they kept it, it was imputed to them for righteousness. When Christ came he gave the same law only in a spiritual sense. It was to be written upon our hearts. The Jews kept the form of the law, while they were a cruel, wicked, and vindictive people.”SITI February 3, 1890, page 43.41

    It is evident that our correspondent has in mind the law of ten commandments when she speaks of the law of Moses being emblematic. We have no fault to find with the expression “law of Moses” with reference to the moral law, for it is sometimes so used in the Bible, although that title is not distinctive. As to its being emblematic, the writer herself furnishes proof that it was not, by saying that Christ gave the same law. A thing cannot be emblematic of itself; but it is true that the law that Christ taught in the sermon on the mount is the same law that the Jews were taught, and it is also true that Christ was the author of it in the beginning.SITI February 3, 1890, page 43.42

    The idea of the writer is evidently, as shown by the last expression, “The Jews kept the form of the law,” that the Jews had simply an outward religion, while Christ taught spirituality; that the Jews had the form of the law, while Christ taught the same law in reality. But Christ in his sermon on the mount did not give anything new concerning the commandments, not even concerning the sixth and seventh. He did not teach whereas they had been informed that it was wrong to kill, he would not give them another and better commandment. Not by any means. He simply showed those people who had lost sight of the true religion that the sixth commandment does not simply forbid the taking of human life, but it forbids evil thoughts. This it did from the beginning. When the commandment was spoken from Sinai, it comprehended just as much as it does to-day. So with the whole law. Paul says in Romans 7:14 that “the law is spiritual.” This is true of the whole law, and was true of the whole law from the beginning. The law was never satisfied with anything short of spirituality.SITI February 3, 1890, page 43.43

    Now it is true that many of the Jews, perhaps the majority, kept the law only in appearance. But that does not prove that there were some among the people in that day who knew the extent and depth of the law, and that it required spiritual obedience, any more than the same thing is proved by the fact that the great majority of the people in these days have only an outward morality which is not real godliness. God makes no greater demand upon us than he did upon his people anciently. It is no more true now than it was in the days of Moses that love is the fulfilling of the law; neither is it any more true to-day than then that God designed that the law should be enshrined in the heart to be the spring of every act and thought. This is shown by the following scripture:-SITI February 3, 1890, page 43.44

    In Deuteronomy 6:5, 6 Moses addressed the people on behalf of God as follows: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart.” In Deuteronomy 20:6 Moses says: “And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and that thou mayest live.” The psalmist David in all his writings shows a clear perception of the spirituality of the law, and the extent of its requirements. In Psalm 37:31 he speaks thus of the righteous man: “The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide;” and in the eleventh verse of the one hundred and nineteenth psalm he says, “Thy word have I his in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”SITI February 3, 1890, page 43.45

    Many other texts might be cited to show that heart religion,-that is, a religion not of form, but of fact; a religion taking hold of the very life and character, and every thought,-was known to the conscientious Jews to be what God required, and that there were those who had experience in just such religion.SITI February 3, 1890, page 43.46

    Again, our friend says that “while they kept the law it was imputed to them for righteousness.” This is a slight mistake. Moses, in Deuteronomy 7:20, says, “It shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.” If they kept the law, that was their righteousness.But imputed righteousness is a different thing. The Scripture says that “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.” That is, the righteousness of God was counted to Abraham as his own, because he had faith in God. This is the way in which the ancient worthies were accounted righteous. Paul, in the book of Hebrews, says that Abel by his faith obtained witness that he was righteous, that Noah became heir of the righteousness which is by faith, and, finally, that all the worthies “through faith wrought righteousness.” Righteousness was imputed to them, the same as to us, by faith in Christ.SITI February 3, 1890, page 43.47

    And this is the meaning of Paul’s language in Romans 10:4, which our friend quoted, that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” The law is so pure, its standard so high, its requirements so great, that no man has the power to fulfill it; but Christ has the law dwelling in him in that he is the author of it. It proceeds from him; he is righteousness; he is the truth and the way; and to those who have implicit faith in him, he becomes righteousness and truth. In other words, men can obtain in Christ, through faith, the very same righteousness which the law requires, but which, because of the weakness of their flesh, they cannot derive from the law itself. The Author of the law, in whom grace as well as truth dwells, can impart to them the righteousness which the law demands; and thus the object of the law is obtained, namely, the formation of a perfect character, and finally the inheritance of everlasting life, to which the law was ordained. See Romans 7:10. The reason why so many of the Jews failed to obtain righteousness was because they failed to seek if by faith. The “obedience of faith” is the only obedience that God could accept since the fall of Adam. E. J. W.SITI February 3, 1890, page 43.48

    “The Puritan Idea” The Signs of the Times, 16, 5.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In Dr. Herrick Johnson’s address on “Sunday Newspapers,” which has been circulated widely as a campaign document by the abettors of religious legislation, occurred the words, “Oh, for a breath of the old Puritan,” meaning that what the speaker wanted was a return to Puritan habits and customs. In the recent annual meeting of the Iowa Sabbath Convention, Mr. Gault said that what was wanted in laws was a wave of Puritanism. From these and other expressions we learn that the Puritan idea of government is the model for National Reformers of whatever stripe. A few quotations from a standard work may enable those who are interested to know just what kind of government a Puritan government would be. In a late work by Professor Fisk of Harvard College, entitled, “The Beginnings of New England,” is the following in connection with the account of the exodus of the Puritans from Holland:-SITI February 3, 1890, page 43.49

    “All persons who came to Holland and led decorous lives there, were protected in their opinions and customs. By contemporary writers in other countries this eccentric behavior of the Dutch Government was treated with unspeakable scorn. All strange religions flock thither,’ says one; ‘It is a common harbor of all heresies, a cage of unclean birds,’ says another; ‘The great mingle-mangle of all religion,’ says a third. In spite of the relief from persecution, however, the Pilgrims were not fully satisfied with their new home. The expiration of the truce with Spain might prove that this relief was only temporary, and, at any rate, complete toleration did not fill the measure of their wants. Had they come to Holland as scattered bands of refugees, they might have been absorbed into the Dutch population, as Huguenot refugees have been absorbed in Germany, England, and America. But they had come as an organized community, and absorption into a foreign nation was something to be dreaded. They wished to preserve their English speech and English traditions, keep up their organization, and find some favored spot where they could lay the corner-stone of a great Christian State.”SITI February 3, 1890, page 43.50

    This language is not written in any spirit of captious criticism. The author manifests a spirit of fairness, and writes in an impartial manner, simply giving historical facts. That he did not charge the Puritans with inconsistency is seen from the following, which very clearly sets forth the Puritan idea:-SITI February 3, 1890, page 43.51

    “It is worth while to inquire what were the real aims of the settlers of New England. What was the common purpose which brought these men together in their resolve to create for themselves a new home in the wilderness? This is a point concerning which there has been a great deal of popular misapprehension, and there has been no end of nonsense talked about it. It has been customary first to assume that the Puritan migration was undertaken in the interests of religious liberty, and then to upbraid the Puritans for forgetting all about religious liberty as soon as people came among them who disagreed with their opinions. But this view of the case is not supported by history. It is quite true that the Puritans were chargeable with gross intolerance, but it is not true that in this they were guilty of inconsistency. The notion that they came to New England for the purpose of establishing religious liberty, in any sense in which we should understand such a phrase, is entirely incorrect. It is neither more nor less than a bit of popular legend. If we mean by the phrase ‘religious liberty’ a state of things in which opposite or contradictory opinions on questions of religion shall exist side by side in the same community, and in which everybody shall decide for himself how far he will conform to the customary religious observances, nothing could have been farther from their thoughts. There is nothing they would have regarded with more genuine abhorrence. If they could have been forewarned by a prophetic voice of the general freedom-or, as they would have termed it, license-of thought and behavior which prevails in this country to-day, they would very likely have abandoned their enterprise in despair. The philosophic student of history often has occasion to see how God is wiser than man. In other words, he is often brought to realize how fortunate it is that the leaders in great historic events cannot foresee the remote results of the labors to which they have zealously consecrated their lives. It is part of the irony of human destiny that the end we really accomplish by striving with might and main is apt to be something quite different from the end we dreamed of as we started on our arduous labor. It was so with the Puritan settlers of New England. The religious liberty that we enjoy to-day is largely the consequence of their work, but it is a consequence that was unforeseen, while the direct and conscious aim of their labors was something that has never been realized, and probably never will be.SITI February 3, 1890, page 43.52

    “The aim of Winthrop and his friends in coming to Massachusetts was a construction of a theocratic State which should be to Christians, under the New Testament dispensation, all that the theocracy of Moses and Joshua and Saul had been to the Jews in Old Testament days. They should be to all intents and purposes freed from the jurisdiction of the Stuart king, and so far as possible the texts of the Holy Scriptures should be their guide, both in weighty matters of general legislation, and in the shaping of the smallest details of daily life. In such a scheme there was no room for religious liberty, as we understand it. No doubt the text of the Scriptures may be interpreted in many ways, but among those men there was a substantial agreement as to the important points, and nothing could have been farther from their thoughts than to found a colony which should afford a field for new experiments in the art of right living. The State they were to found was to consist of a united body of believers; citizenship itself was to be co-extensive with church membership; and in such a State there was apparently no more room for heretics than there was in Rome or Madrid. This was the idea which drew Winthrop and is followers from England at a time when-as events were soon to show-they might have staid there and defied persecution with less trouble than it cost them to cross the ocean and found a new State.”SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.1

    The Puritans simply followed the customs of their time. Religious liberty was a thing unknown. Roman Catholicism and intolerance have been synonymous from the beginning. The Church of England was as intolerant as the Roman Church. The Puritans had not advanced far enough to perceive the error of the principle of religious intolerance, only they did not want the intolerance extended to them. They did not think that the Church of England ought to be intolerant, because they could see her errors, but, feeling sure that they themselves were right, they were equally sure that their opinions ought to prevail, and ought to be imposed upon others. In all New England, in the days of the Puritans, there was only one man who was far enough ahead to perceive that religion was a matter that rests with the individual, and not with the civil government, and that man was Roger Williams.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.2

    Although the Puritans were intolerant, and persecuted others even as they themselves were persecuted, they are not to be stigmatized as bad men. They thought they were right. They were but little removed from the darkest period of Roman superstition and oppression, and they had before them no example of perfect religious freedom. In consideration of their circumstances we can make allowance for the ideas of government which they had, and honor them for that spirit of independence which was perpetuated in their children, and which resulted in the complete religious liberty which was finally established in this country. But while we may make allowance for those men, considering their time, what allowance can be made for men who have before them the history of one hundred years of religious liberty in the United States, and who can compare its glorious work with the work of the religious despotism of the Old World. Those who in this age would institute the Puritan idea of government, must be either deplorably blind or else wickedly selfish. E. J. W.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.3

    “Letter to the Hebrews. Chapter 9:8-14” The Signs of the Times, 16, 5.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (Lesson 20, February 15, 1890.)

    1. What did the first covenant have connected with it?SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.4

    2. Who performed the service in the worldly sanctuary?SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.5

    3. How often was service performed in each apartment? Hebrews 9:6, 7.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.6

    4. What was signified by this? Verse 8.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.7

    5. What was that sanctuary? Verse 9, first part.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.8

    6. How much was accomplished by the service?-Ib.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.9

    7. Who is our real high priest?SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.10

    8. Where does he minister? Hebrews 8:1, 2; 9:11.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.11

    9. Is it necessary that he offer something? Hebrews 8:3.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.12

    10. What does he offer? Hebrews 9:12.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.13

    11. What does his blood do for us? Verses 13, 14.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.14

    12. With what are we redeemed? 1 Peter 1:18, 19.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.15

    13. What is the blood of Christ called? Hebrews 13:20.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.16

    14. Did Christ minister as a priest while he was on earth? Hebrews 8:4; 9:8.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.17

    15. When did the first sanctuary cease to stand as a sanctuary? Matthew 23:38; 27:50, 51.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.18

    16. What secured the pardon of transgressions that were committed under the first covenant? Hebrews 9:14, 15.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.19

    17. Since Christ did not begin his priestly work of offering his own blood until after the crucifixion and ascension, how could this be? Galatians 3:17; Hebrews 6:13-18.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.20


    The ordinances of divine service that were connected with the first covenant had no efficacy whatever. They could not make the comer thereunto perfect as pertaining to the conscience. All transgressions committed under that covenant that were pardoned, were pardoned by virtue of the second covenant, of which Christ is Mediator. Yet although Christ’s blood was not shed until hundreds of years after the first covenant was made, sins were forgiven whenever they were confessed. That covenant, as we have seen, was for the purpose of directing the minds of the people to the Abrahamic covenant, which God confirmed in Christ. Galatians 3:17. This confirmation was by an oath, in addition to the promise. These “two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie,” made the sacrifice of Christ as efficacious in the days of Abraham and Moses as it is now. This is made still more evident by the statement that these two things given to Abraham are the things which give us strong consolation.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.21

    “What the Gospel Teaches” The Signs of the Times, 16, 5.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “And he said unto him, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:15, 16. These words were spoken by our Saviour after his resurrection, and shortly before his ascension. They are perfectly in harmony with his words recorded in Matthew 24:14, that “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.” There is no mistaking the extent of territory in which the gospel must be preached-nothing less than the whole world. And how long must it be preached? Read the whole of Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Then the gospel is to be preached until the end. The end here referred to is the same that is mentioned in verse 3, “The end of the world.” That this “end of the world” is in connection with the coming of the Lord, is shown by the words of the disciples in the verse last mentioned, and by the words of Christ in Matthew 13:40-43; 24:30, 31.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.22

    The fact that by divine command the gospel is to be preached in all the world until the coming of the Lord and the end of the world, proves conclusively that until the Lord comes, a necessity for its being preached will exist in all the world. This needs no further argument, for it is nowhere disputed. We will therefore turn our attention to a consideration of what the gospel is, and what creates the necessity for its being so long and so extensively preached.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.23

    The word “gospel” means, literally, “a good message;” Webster’s first definition is “glad tidings.” According to its derivation, it might be applied to any good news; but in the Bible it is used with exclusive reference to one thing; what that thing is, we may easily learn from the Bible itself.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.24

    In Luke 2:10 we find these words, addressed by the angel of the Lord to the shepherds in the field: “Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings [a gospel] of great joy, which shall be to all people.” The next verse tells what this gospel is: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Then the gospel which is to be preached to all people is the announcement of a Saviour. It is from this that Webster derives his specific definition of the gospel, as, “especially, the good news concerning Christ and his salvation.”SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.25

    But the simple heralding of Christ, without stating the nature and object of his work, would not be the preaching of the gospel. The “good news” consists in the fact that Christ the Lord is a Saviour. That Christ comes as a Saviour, necessarily implies that there are people to be saved, and something from which they must be saved. Turning to Matthew 1:21, we read the angel’s declaration before the birth of Christ: “And thou shall call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins.” Paul says (1 Timothy 1:15): “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” So it is manifest that the preaching of the gospel consists in the announcement that Christ will save people from sin.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.26

    But while the gospel is the good news that Christ brings salvation from sin, it is evident that that simple announcement would not suffice to produce the desired results, viz., that men should believe and be baptized. For there are millions of people who virtually say that they are “rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” not knowing that they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” No matter how destitute a man may be, it would be of no use to offer him money if he were ignorant of his necessities, and perfectly satisfied with his condition. So no man can feel any interest in the gospel as a means of salvation from sin, unless he (1) knows what sin is, and (2) is convinced that he is a sinner, and (3) understands the nature and results of sin, so as to realize that it is something to be shunned. Therefore the gospel, with its announcement of salvation from sin, must also make known what sin is. This it does, as we shall see.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.27

    John, the evangelist, so called because it is he who more than anyone else dwells on the love of God and Christ in the salvation of man, defines sin. He says: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4. In harmony with this, Paul says that “where no law is, there is no transgression.” Romans 4:15. And “sin is not imputed when there is no law.” Romans 5:12. Volumes could not define sin more clearly than do these three texts. We have found out, then, (1) that “gospel” means good news; (2) that the gospel of the Bible is the good news of a Saviour-Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10, 11); (3) that Jesus saves from sin (Matthew 1:21; 1 Timothy 1:15); and (4) that “sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4.SITI February 3, 1890, page 71.28

    So that, in short, the gospel announces the way by which man may be saved from the transgression of the law, and from the consequences of such transgression. Sin is the disease; the gospel is the remedy. And since the gospel is to be preached in all the world, until the coming of the Lord, it follows that “all the world,” yea, “every creature,” has sinned. This we read in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”SITI February 3, 1890, page 82.1

    It must also be true that sin will be in the world till the Lord comes. And this we verify by a comparison of Genesis 6:5 and 13:13 with Luke 17:26-30. But since sin is the transgression of the law, it also necessarily follows that “the law” will be in full force in all the world until the coming of the Lord. In other words, sin is the disease, and it cannot exist where there is no law. Romans 4:15. The disease, sin, does exist in “every creature” in “all the world;” for the remedy, the gospel, is to be thus extensively made known, and the great Physician would not send the remedy where it is not needed. “They that be whole need not a physician; but they that are sick” (Matthew 9:12); and therefore the law, by which alone “is the knowledge of sin”-the disease-is binding upon “every creature” “in all the world.” Now since “the wages of sin”-the transgression of the law-“is death” (Romans 6:23), it is important that all men know just what that law is, the transgression of which brings death, and just what its nature and requirements. These points will therefore next claim our attention.SITI February 3, 1890, page 82.2

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