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    August 2, 1883

    “The Honor Due to God” The Signs of the Times, 9, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live.” Luke 10:25-28.SITI August 2, 1883, page 343.1

    There are very many degrees of service which we may render to God, but there is only one that is acceptable to him, and that is undivided service. God requires that all the faculties both of body and mind shall be consecrated to him; he will accept nothing less. We are to regard ourselves and all our talents, both of mind and means, as belonging to him without reserve. It is a rare thing to find one who realizes the full extent of the claims that God makes upon us. Our minds have been so warped by selfishness that it is difficult to even conceive of such perfect service as the law requires, and much more so to do it. It should be the great object of every person to have his spiritual discernment so quickened that he may be able to comprehend the completeness of service that God requires of him. It could not be any more forcibly stated than it is in the text above quoted, but to understand and carry out all the details is the work of a life-time.SITI August 2, 1883, page 343.2

    But it should be constantly borne in mind that God does not make this claim upon us arbitrarily, and without sufficient reason. He claims no more than is his just due. In Revelation 4:11 we find the basis of God’s claim upon his creatures as follows:-SITI August 2, 1883, page 343.3

    “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”SITI August 2, 1883, page 343.4

    It is because God has created us that he has a right to our service. This fact is made very prominent in the Bible. Why should we serve Jehovah, rather than the gods which the heathen worship? Because God created us and all things that we enjoy, and they did not. Paul says: “There be gods many and lords many, but to us there is but one God, the father, of whom are all things, and we are in him.” 1 Corinthians 8:5, 6. The psalmist says: “Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:2, 3. If we had made ourselves, or could by our own aided efforts maintain our existence for a single moment, we would be under no obligation to any being; but since we are indebted to God not only for life, but for all that is necessary for its continuance, common gratitude requires us to render him all the service of which we are capable, for it is impossible for us to do as much for him as he is done for us.SITI August 2, 1883, page 343.5

    Some may cavil at the expression, “Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created;” but such persons forget that what is for the pleasure of God, is for our highest good. They forget the possibilities of a life which he has given us; that is only preparatory to a life that shall never end, a life filled with joys of which it is impossible for the mind of man to conceive. It is the Father’s “good pleasure” to give us the kingdom that shall have no end. The service of which the lawyer spoke, and of which Christ approved, is summed up in one word, “godliness,” and of this Paul says that it ‘is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8. It is only because men lose sight of what God is doing and propose to do for them, that they refuse to render him the service which is his due.SITI August 2, 1883, page 343.6

    But love to God must be expressed in some tangible form. The love that consists merely of a dreamy sentimentality, and indefinable “good feeling” that is dissipated by a call to the performance of some duty, comes far short of the love that will win eternal life. True love consists in doing, not in simple feeling; and words and protestations of affection are of little value unless accompanied by corresponding deeds. Said the Saviour: “If ye love, keep my commandments.” John 14:15. And again: “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 7:46. The apostle John also says: “And hereby do we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” 1 John 2:3; also, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” 1 John 5:3. When the lawyer quoted, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,” etc., the Saviour replied, “thou hast answered right; this do and thou shalt live.” There is something for us to do as well as to feel. A person can no more love God and fail to manifest it by deeds, than he can live without breathing.SITI August 2, 1883, page 343.7

    But before we can manifest our love to God by deeds, we must know what would please him; and he has therefore specified the ways by which he would have men express their love for him, so that they can have no excuse for taking a course of which God disapproves, under the impression that they are pleasing him. Following are two of the ways in which we may honor God and show our love for him:-SITI August 2, 1883, page 343.8

    1. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isaiah 58:13, 14.SITI August 2, 1883, page 343.9

    By these two texts we see that God requires us to devote to him a portion of both our time and our means. Of our time he requires one-seventh; of our means one-tenth. We shall proceed to show that these requirements are exactly similar; that the same reasons exist for each; that both are explicit and unconditional; and that the same degree of guilt attaches to the neglect of one as to the other. In comparing them we shall give a few leading facts in regard to the Sabbath, and then consider the tithe in its various relations.SITI August 2, 1883, page 343.10

    THE SABBATH

    1. It is based on the right of property. Our time, as well as ourselves, belongs to God; but he reserves only one-seventh for himself, leaving the rest to us. We may devote a part of the six days to him, and we ought to, but we are not allowed to appropriate any portion of the seventh to our own use. Of it God says that it “is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God;” he calls it “my holy day.” It is obvious, then, that if we should appropriate any of this time to our own use, we would be guilty of theft. When the people violated the Sabbath, God said that he was “profaned among them.” Ezekiel 22:26. That being said he was robbed of his honor, and treated with contempt.SITI August 2, 1883, page 343.11

    2. The Sabbath existed prior to the Jewish dispensation. There is nothing in it of a ceremonial nature. God claimed it as his own in the beginning. See Genesis 2:2, 3.SITI August 2, 1883, page 343.12

    3. Since the Sabbath existed before and during the Jewish dispensation, it cannot have been affected by the close of that dispensation, and hence must exist to-day in as full force as in the beginning. This is what we would naturally expect, and we have direct testimony to that effect. Our Saviour positively affirmed that not one jot or one tittle of the law should pass away. Matthew 5:17-19. He kept the Sabbath himself, Luke 4:16; John 15:10; and showed that his true disciples would be keeping it at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, nearly forty years after the Jewish dispensation closed. Matthew 24:20. We have already referred to Ezekiel 22:26; if it were necessary, we could easily show that this chapter has reference to the last days,-our own time. The Lord says: “Thou hast despised my holy things, and hast profaned my Sabbaths.” Verse 8; but the Sabbath could not be profane by wicked men, if it were not sacred; therefore it exists as sacred time in the last days.SITI August 2, 1883, page 343.13

    THE TITHE

    The above propositions hold good in regard to the tithe.SITI August 2, 1883, page 343.14

    1. It also is based on the right of property. God created all things; they are his. The psalmist says: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1. Again the Lord speaks for his servant: “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills, I know all the fowls of the mountains; and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee; for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof.” Psalm 50:10-12. “The silver is mine, and the gold is mined, saith the Lord of hosts.” Haggai 2:8. We may gain some of this world’s goods for ourselves, but it is God who gives us power to get wealth. Deuteronomy 8:18; it is he that “giveth us all things richly to enjoy.” 1 Timothy 6:17. Without God, we could not exist a single moment; we are utterly dependent on him for “life, and breath, and all things.”SITI August 2, 1883, page 343.15

    But, as with time, so with property, God has reserved a portion for himself. That which he claims is one-tenth; the other nine-tenths he places entirely at our disposal. We may and should devote a portion of this to the Lord, and hold it all subject to his call; but we have nothing to do with any part of the tithe, except to pass it over to the Lord. In Leviticus 27:30 we read: “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s; it is holy unto the Lord.” Compare this verse with the fourth commandment: “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work.” The same words are used concerning the tithe that are used in regard to the Sabbath, and it must, therefore, the equally sacred with the Sabbath. “It is the Lord’s.”SITI August 2, 1883, page 344.1

    Since the tithe belongs wholly to God, it needs no argument to prove that if we use it, or any part of it, ourselves, we are guilty of robbery. This is a self-evident fact; but lest any should doubt it, we will quote the Lord’s own words: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and in offerings.” Malachi 3:8. These are solemn words. Reader, do they apply to you? We shall come back to this point again.SITI August 2, 1883, page 344.2

    2. The tithe is not peculiar to the Jewish dispensation. By reading God’s instruction to the Jews, on this subject, we learn some things that we would not otherwise know; but the tithe did not originate with the Jews. God said to the Jews: “The tithe of is the Lord’s,” not “shall be the Lord’s.” The tithe was the Lord’s before the Jews had an existence; the Lord simply refreshed the memory in regard to the fact. Turn to Genesis 14, and you will there find recorded a transaction that took place in the patriarchal age. The facts are these: Lot, Abraham’s nephew, lived in Sodom. Several kings made war against the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, and, having conquered them, took all their goods. Among the prisoners was Lot. When Abraham heard this, he pursued and attacked the victorious army, and recovered all the booty and captives that they had taken. As he was returning from the slaughter of the kings, he was met by Melchizedec, king of Salem, who brought forth bread and wine. Melchizedek was “the priest of the most high God,” and he blessed Abraham. To him Abraham gave tithes of all that he had gained. See Genesis 14:17-20; Hebrews 7:4. This was four hundred years before the covenant was made with the Jews, and nearly two hundred years before Judah, from whom the Jews received their name, was born. It is true that this is the first instance on record of the payment of tithe, but we are not told that the system of tithing was instituted here; and since the same conditions existed before this time that did afterwards, we must conclude that tithes were paid from the beginning.SITI August 2, 1883, page 344.3

    3. Since the tithing system, like the Sabbath, existed before the Jewish dispensation, it also must exist still, unaffected by any changes that have been made. And here also we have the most positive testimony. In Matthew 23:23 we find the following language of Christ: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” He did not rebuke them for paying tithes, for he plainly says that they ought to do so; but he rebuked them for their hypocrisy. They were scrupulous about paying tithes, because that was something that could be seen; they could take care that everybody should know that they performed this duty, and thus they would gain a reputation for piety and devotion to God. But when it came to heart-service,-judgment, mercy, and faith,-they could not make so much of an outside show, and therefore they omitted it. It was for this hypocrisy that the woe was pronounced upon them. They could not atone for the neglect of one duty by the strict performance of another; for both were essential. E. J. W.SITI August 2, 1883, page 344.4

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