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    July 7, 1890

    “Did Abraham Think that God Would Provide a Lamb?” The Signs of the Times, 16, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The editor of the Christian Union, Dr. Lyman Abbott, is a strong advocate of the opening of museums, libraries, art galleries, etc., on Sundays.SITI July 7, 1890, page 375.65

    “Did Abraham think that God would provide a lamb instead of Isaac?” is a question that comes to us for answer. We read in Hebrews 11:17-19 that Abraham offered Isaac, through faith in God, “accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead.” If Abraham had expected that God was going to provide a substitute, there would have been no occasion for faith in the resurrection, and the matter would have been no trial at all.SITI July 7, 1890, page 375.66

    A clergyman of the Church of England, Joseph Leycester Lyne, polpularly known as “Father Ignatius,” is now in this country lecturing and preaching to raise funds for the Abbey of St. Anthony, in Wales, where he has organized a community of Benedictine monks. The rules of the order are the same as those followed at similar Roman Catholic institutions. Mr. Lyne has gathered a number of clergymen who are infatuated with a monastic life.SITI July 7, 1890, page 375.67

    Elsewhere in this paper we have written briefly on the subject of eternal life, showing that it can be obtained only in Christ, and that to deny that life comes only through Christ is virtually to deny Christ. Now it is doubtless a fact that the most of the professed Christians who believe that all men, whether good or bad, will exist throughout eternity, imagine that they do believe in life through Christ, because they confound life with happiness. They hold that only believers in Christ will have eternal happiness, and that unbelievers will be doomed to eternal misery, and they call the first state eternal life, and the second state eternal death. But in considering this subject it should not be forgotten that life and death are distinctly opposite conditions. As long as a man has breath he is alive, no matter how miserable he may be. People who are suffering intense agony, sometimes pray for death to relieve them of their sufferings. Nobody considers them dead because they are in misery. So if the wicked were to be drowned to an eternity of conscious suffering, they would have eternal life just as surely as would the righteous in glory. Let the terms “life” and “death” be taken in their simple, obvious meaning, and the doctrine of immortality as revealed in the Bible may very easily be understood.SITI July 7, 1890, page 375.68

    At the recent Convention of the New York State Sunday-school Association, Dr. John Hall delivered an address on “The Old Testament Enfolding the New,” in which he said that it is simply calumny to say that God is represented in any other light in the Old Testament from what he is described in the New; and he closed with this exhortation:-SITI July 7, 1890, page 375.69

    “Put before your pupils the union, completeness, and beauty of the Old and the New, and you will be magnifying Christ. That is the only thing you need to do. If you magnify Christ, he will draw all men unto him.”SITI July 7, 1890, page 375.70

    We are glad to see the attention of people directed to the entire Bible instead of to fragments of it. It is all profitable.SITI July 7, 1890, page 375.71

    “Seek for Immortality” The Signs of the Times, 16, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, [God will render] eternal life.” Romans 2:7.SITI July 7, 1890, page 375.72

    From this verse we conclude that the sum of glory and honor and immortality is contained in eternal life, which is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23. It also furnishes the most complete refutation of the idea made so popular by Plato and Addison, that men are by nature endowed with immortality, because there is so universal a longing for it. The apostle asks in one place, “What a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” and with far greater force might it be asked, What a man hath, why doth he yet long for? and with still greater force, What a man hath, why is he exhorted to seek for?SITI July 7, 1890, page 375.73

    Let us note the occurrence of the word “immortality” in the Bible. It will not take long, for it occurs only five times, yet they take us by regular steps through the whole subject. First, we read in 1 Timothy 6:15, 16 that the “blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords,” is the one “who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen nor can see.” He has “life in himself,” and can bestow it on whomsoever he will.SITI July 7, 1890, page 375.74

    The contrast between God and man is clearly brought out in Romans 1:23, where we are told that the heathen “changed the glory of the uncorruptible [or immortal] God into an image made like to corruptible [or mortal] man.” God is immortal; man is mortal, and he is therefore exhorted to seek for immortality, that he may dwell with God.SITI July 7, 1890, page 375.75

    But where shall we seek for immortality? Shall we look to writings of the ancient heathen? Of what use would that be? “The world by wisdom knew not God,” and how then could they know anything of immortality, which belongs to God alone? The word of God alone can direct us in our search, and it declares that the purpose and grace of God in Christ “is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:10. The gospel, then, is the place where we are to seek for immortality. There alone is it revealed; there alone can it be found.SITI July 7, 1890, page 375.76

    Having found where immortality is revealed, how are we to make it ours? The Scriptures are very definite on this point. Thus we read: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3:36. The beloved disciple declares of Christ, that “in him was life.” He was “full of grace [favor] and truth;” and the psalmist tells us that in the favor of God there is life (Psalm 30:5); therefore he who has Christ has the favor of God, and life from him.SITI July 7, 1890, page 375.77

    That life comes from God, and that no man can have it except by the grace of Christ, is shown very clearly. Said Jesus: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10. From this, with the statement in Acts 17:28, “for in him we live, and move, and have our being,” we learn that we depend upon Christ, not alone for immortal life, but for this present existence. When Adam fell he brought the race of mankind under the sentence of eternal death, and it was only through the grace of God in Christ that a second probation was granted. So while the saints will throughout eternity offer praises to Christ for bestowing immortality upon them, all men owe thanks to him for giving them this little span of life, in which to seek for immortality.SITI July 7, 1890, page 375.78

    Jesus reproved the Jews for inconsistency, in that, while they searched the Scriptures, because in them eternal life was to be found, and those Scriptures testified of him as the way of life, yet they would not come to him that they might have life. John 5:39, 40. Now if life could have been obtained in any other way than through Christ, the Jews might have retorted, “We don’t need to come to you that we may have life, for we have it without you.” This is what they, in effect, did; and it is what thousands are actually saying to-day. It is the language of Spiritualism. Believing that men are by nature endowed with immortality, Spiritualists scornfully reject Christ as the way of life. The inevitable tendency of the doctrine of the natural immortality of man, is to lead men to lightly esteem Christ.SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.1

    Read one more testimony. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself; he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 1 John 5:10-12. It is a terrible thing to deny that life can be obtained only in Christ, for to do so is to charge God with lying, since that is the record that he has given. Let God be true, even though every man be proved a liar.SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.2

    Note that while eternal life belongs to everyone who has Christ, no one is yet in full possession of it. God has given to us eternal life, but this life is in his Son. Not only is it to be found in him, but for a little space it remains in him, for safe keeping. Paul says to Christians: “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:3, 4. Eternal life is ours now, if we have Christ, just as surely as it ever will be; but Christ keeps it in his own charge. When will it be ours by actual possession? This brings us to the summing up, which we read as follows:-SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.3

    “Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-54.SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.4

    Now let us review briefly. All men are by nature mortal, corruptible; God only has immortality. If we would have immortality, we must seek for it. It is to be found only in the gospel of Jesus Christ. He who does not seek Christ, will know nothing of immortality. Outside of Christ there is no life. For a little season we have, by the mercy of God, existence granted to us, that we may seek life. As long as God’s mercy is extended to men, good and bad alike may live; but when Christ shall say to those who reject him, “Depart from me,” they will be cut off from the Source of life, and will suffer eternal death. But to those who have accepted Christ, the gift of immortality will be bestowed at his appearing.SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.5

    How is it possible that men who profess to love our Lord Jesus Christ, can dishonor him by ignoring him as the giver of life? E. J. W.SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.6

    “Is It Civil?” The Signs of the Times, 16, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The latest utterance of the chief worker in behalf of Sunday legislation is the following:-SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.7

    “Laws setting apart a weekly ‘Independence-day’ are no more inconsistent with liberty and much more essential to it than the law of the annual Independence-day.”SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.8

    The man who expects that people are going to accept such a feeble comparison, as that as sound argument for Sunday legislation, pays a poor compliment to their intelligence. There is no more likeness between the Sunday observance that is contemplated by the proposed laws and the observance of the Fourth of July, than there is between a Presbyterian synod and a college base-ball nine. When such a plea as that is made for Sunday laws, all you have to do is to ask if under the proposed Sunday laws it is designed to give people the same freedom of action that they have on the Fourth of July. Are we to believe that all the so-called American Sabbath Union is working for is for a law granting the people full liberty to take “a day off” every Sunday, to go on a picnic, let off fire-crackers, lounge around, and do as they please generally? Some less gauzy plea will have to be invented.SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.9

    “The Only Example” The Signs of the Times, 16, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The following question and answer we clip from the Christian Advocate:-SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.10

    Question-Is it wrong for a professed Christian to read Shakespeare’s plays?SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.11

    Answer-Wesley read them.”SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.12

    We do not quote this question and answer for the purpose of making any comment upon Shakespeare’s plays, or upon the fact that Wesley read them, or to say whether or not any Christian should now read them. What we wish to note is the form of the answer,-“Wesley read them.” We honor Wesley as a man of God, but the fact that he did a certain thing is no reason whatever why somebody else should do it. If it is right for Christians to do any given thing, it is not because some good man has done the same thing. If the thing is right, the Christian of to-day may do it for the same reason that the old-time Christian did it, but not because he did it.SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.13

    There is not a man that ever lived on this earth, save “the Man Christ Jesus,” whose example in any given thing may be taken as a reason why others may do the same thing. No matter how good the man was, he who refers to him as authority for any practice, is in a dangerous condition. Christ suffered for us, “leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps;” but he is the only example.SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.14

    This is the reason why it is so dangerous a thing to take any man, however good, as a model either of faith or practice: There is no man who is infallible; so long as his course is exactly correct, his follower may not go astray; but he is liable to err, and then the poor fellower, who has substituted another’s judgment for his own, is sure to go wrong. To follow any man in belief or practice is to invest that man with infallibility, and to blindly copy his mistakes as well as his perfect deeds. The result will be a poor imitation of his goodness, and an exaggeration of his frailties.SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.15

    It is no discredit to anybody to say that he is not authority in matters of doctrine, nor an example in the realm of duty. God’s word alone is the standard of truth, for it is the truth, and it unfolds its treasures to the humblest as well as to the great. Whoever has a determination to do God’s will shall know the doctrine. And he who follows a good practice because some good man has done the deed, really worships the man, instead of God. Even though the man never made a mistake, his imitator would fall far short of attaining to his goodness, because God is the only one whose worship can elevate. Hero-worship is simply attempted imitation; but he who worships God alone, worships one who is not simply an example, but who lifts the worshiper to his own level.SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.16

    Therefore, “be not ye called Rabbi; for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth; for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.17

    “Positive Testimony” The Signs of the Times, 16, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Independent and the Congregationalist have had a little friendly dispute in regard to women taking part in meeting. Both assume that the apostle Paul positively condemned everything of the kind, forgetting that his statement, “Let your women keep silence,” etc., is to be read in connection with his directions as to how they shall appear when praying or prophesying in meeting. But assuming that Paul absolutely forbids women to speak in meeting under any circumstances, the Congregationalist says that to disregard the injunction is to impair the revelation of which it is a part. But the Independent retorts as follows:-SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.18

    “Hardly so. ‘In six days the Lord made heaven and earth;’ that is quite as definite as what Paul said. And when it comes to the Sabbath, there is not only the injunction for the seventh day, as definite as words can make it, but reason given also, in the ordination of the week and the Sabbath as a memorial of creation, as definite as any reason given by Paul for the subjection of women. And yet the whole church has given it up, with no repeal and no history of the change, simply because time and conditions had altered.”SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.19

    But the conditions have not changed. It is still a fact that God created the heavens and the earth in six days, and rested upon and blessed and sanctified the seventh day, and the seventh day is still the only memorial of creation, and it is just as important to remember God’s power now as it ever was. The commandment is unrepealed, and is as definite as it ever was. Only the people have changed.SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.20

    “What Think Ye of Christ?” The Signs of the Times, 16, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    It is reported that Edwin Arnold, author of “The Light of Asia,” is now engaged on a poem to be entitled “The Light of the World,” having for its subject the character and history of Christ. It is said that “the view of Christ’s person is that he was not God, but a perfect man, a link between God and man.” To be sure, Edwin Arnold is not a professed Christian; but his worldly wisdom ought to teach him that nothing can be a link between two objects, unless it actually touches both of those objects. So it is utterly impossible for Christ to be a link between God and man, unless he is both God and man. If he lacked but a hair’s breadth of perfect divinity, then he could not have power to make men partakers of the divine nature; and if by the same amount he failed to come down to the level of man, we could not get hold of him. But he does indeed form a perfect link between God and man, because, having by nature the attributes of divinity, he took upon himself the likeness of men. And, by the way, if Christ were not God, then he could not be a perfect man; for he testified of himself that he is God, and perfect men do not bear false witness. And further if Christ were only a perfect man, and not God, how can the fact be accounted for that never before or since his life on earth has there been a perfect man? Why hasn’t some other man made his way perfect? People may utter all the sentiment they please about the perfection of Christ’s character as a man, but it all amounts to nothing if he is not also acknowledged to be God.SITI July 7, 1890, page 402.21

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