The Signs of the Times, vol. 20

The Signs of the Times, Vol. 20


December 4, 1905

“His Life’s Crisis.—No. 1” The Signs of the Times, 20, 49, 592.


By A. T. J.
Founded on Fact.

Friday night. The sound of singing near by told that a meeting had begun. But Harry Irvine, assistant teacher in the local State school, did not feel disposed to postpone the study of an interesting mathematical problem to attend the service conducted by these people. SITI December 4, 1905, page 592.1

But on this occasion a stern sense of duty impelled him to go. Had not Mr. Hart in his lecture the previous night taught a doctrine in connection with the scape-goat of Leviticus 16 that was a dishonour to Christ? Harry Irvine was a theological student, and had in view as his final goal the ministry of a popular church. He must certainly defend the doctrine of his denomination against such a pernicious error. He would take advantage of the speaker’s offer to answer questions. SITI December 4, 1905, page 592.2

So taking a piece of paper, he thought for a while, and framed two questions as pointed and as awkward as possible. Then he left his room, passed along the street into the lecture room, and placed his question on the speaker’s table before taking his seat. SITI December 4, 1905, page 592.3

The lecture began. The subject was the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. But Harry kept his eye on that scape-goat question. The speaker told of the origin of the Sabbatic institution at the very beginning of history. Yes, that was all right. Mr. Hart had a voice whose softness and gentleness told of association and fellowship with Jesus, and Harry listened with real pleasure. But when the Sabbath in the New Testament was referred to, and it was shown that Christ had never hinted at a change, that He and the apostles observed the Sabbath, and that the New Testament closes without even a hint that Sunday had become the Sabbath, or that anything of sacredness had become attached to it, Harry almost ceased to breathe, and the matter of the scape-goat gradually faded from his mind. SITI December 4, 1905, page 592.4

But worse was to come. The lecturer went on to show that a base system of fraud had attempted to prove that the modern Sunday Lord’s day was the Lord’s day of Revelation 1:10, and that the Early Fathers kept the Sunday as the Sabbath. It was demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that the observance of Sunday was only a human ordinance. SITI December 4, 1905, page 592.5

But the worst of all was coming. Step by step the lecturer led his hearers along till they could see that the unmingled wrath of God would be poured out upon those who wilfully trampled upon His sacred day, and honoured, in its place, the ordinance of man. It was not the words of the lecturer, but the words of the Bible, that carried conviction to Harry’s mind. His hope of attaining to the work of the ministry was wrenched from him, and those only can understand the pain of the process who have passed through a similar experience. SITI December 4, 1905, page 592.6

The lecture came to a close at last, and Harry’s two questions were answered. But he hardly listened. The answers were clear and convincing, but it was not the question of the scape-goat, but that of the Sabbath that was of supreme interest just then. SITI December 4, 1905, page 592.7

He went home and to bed, but not to sleep. For hours he lay thinking of the crisis that had come in his life. On the one side there appeared the comfortable and useful life that he hoped to pass in the ministry. This seemed nearly within his grasp. On the other, what was there? The path of obedience looked barren enough. It would be a life of toil and reproach. He would be deserted and despised by his friends. What would his parents think of it? He could scarcely see the crown of life that would be his at the end of the journey. SITI December 4, 1905, page 592.8

Could he not disregard the duty thus unexpectedly brought to his notice? That thought did not once enter his mind. God had spoken through His word. The voice that must be obeyed said: “The seventh day is the Sabbath,” and Harry did not question as to whether he should obey. But could he not obey secretly, and yet carry out his cherished plans?—No; Harry could see that what he believed he must preach, fled it was with a vision before his mind of his wrecked hopes that he at last fell into a troubled slumber. SITI December 4, 1905, page 592.9