The Signs of the Times, vol. 10

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July 3, 1884

“Upper Columbia Conference” 1 The Signs of the Times 10, 26, p. 410.

THE fourth annual session of the Upper Columbia Conference of S. D. Adventists was held at Walla Walla, W. T., June 6-16, 1884. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.1

FIRST MEETING, JUNE 6, 9 A.M

Eld. G. W. Colcord in the chair. Prayer by Eld. J. H. Waggoner. Credentials of delegates called for and presented as follows: Walla Walla church, three; Milton, three; Dayton, two; Pataha, one; Farmington, one; Echo, one; church of Lostine, Oregon, eleven members, one delegate, admitted into Conference. Unorganized companies admitted to representation as follows: Alba, one; Alpowai, one; Idaho, one. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.2

All visiting brethren from General Conference and California, were invited to participate in the deliberations of the Conference. Minutes of last session read and approved. Remarks of great encouragement and devotion to the cause were made by Elders J. N. Loughborough and J. H. Waggoner. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.3

Committees were named by the president as follows: On Resolutions—Elders J. H. Waggoner and A. T. Jones, and Prof. S. Brownsberger. Nominations—I. M. Johns, N. L. McCormick, J. Bartlett. Auditing—Wm. Russell, Anderson Johnson, W. R. Jones, T. Chabit, J. Cochran, and Aaron Miller. Credentials—Ambrose Johnson, J. Hammer, and Wm. Semple. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.4

SECOND MEETING, JUNE 8, 9 A. M

Brother Womach, of Basket Mountain, and Bro. Geo. Rogers, of Butter Creek, Oregon, were admitted as representatives of their respective fields. Church at Goldendale, nine members, one delegate, admitted into Conference. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.5

Reports of laborers were called for, and reports made by Elders A. T. Jones, J. O. Corliss, G. W. Colcord, and by Licentiates W. A. Gibson and C. L. Ford. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.6

THIRD MEETING, JUNE 10, 6:15 P.M

Reports of committees were called for: Committee on Nominations reported: For President, Eld. J. N. Loughborough. Discussed by Elders Loughborough, Colcord, and Jones, and referred back to the committee. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.7

It was moved by Elder Jones that Elder J. M. Loughborough be cordially invited to labor in the Upper Columbia Conference. Discussion by Elders Loughborough, W. C. White, and J. H. Waggoner, and carried unanimously by a rising vote. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.8

Committee on Resolutions reported: the resolutions were read, and consideration postponed till next meeting. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.9

FOURTH MEETING, JUNE 11, 11:30 A.M

Consideration of resolutions was taken up, which we re-read as follows:— SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.10

Resolved, That our earnest gratitude is due to God for his tender mercy toward us, and for the good counsel he has given us by his servants at this meeting, and especially through the labors of Sister White. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.11

Resolved, That it is our duty, and we hereby pledge ourselves to more earnestly endeavor to keep the “unity of the Spirit” and of work in the Third Angel’s Message. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.12

WHEREAS, There are few laborers in this Conference, and because “the time is short” the needs of the cause are urgent, therefore, SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.13

Resolved, That we hereby request, and encourage all who can possibly give themselves to the work of God, to use every means in their power to place themselves in the ranks of the active workers. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.14

Resolved, That we recommend that all who can do so, avail themselves of a course of Bible instruction in Healdsburg College, in order to become better prepared to perform efficient service in the cause. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.15

Adopted unanimously up to the fourth, which was read, and the Conference adjourned. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.16

FIFTH MEETING, JUNE 11, 6 P.M

Resolution No. 4 was taken up and discussed at length by Prof. S. Brownsberger, Eld. W. C. White, Eld. J. H. Waggoner, and Bro. Wm. Nichols and carried unanimously. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.17

SIXTH MEETING, JUNE 12, 9:30 A. M

Committee on Nominations reported: For President, Eld. J. N. Loughborough; Secretary, Eld. G. W. Colcord; Treasurer, I. M. Johns; Executive Committee; W. J. Goodwin and T. L. Ragsdale. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.18

Moved that the report be adopted as a whole. After remarks by Elder Loughborough, it was carried unanimously. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.19

SEVENTH MEETING, JUNE 12, 5:15 P. M

Calls for labor were heard. Strong calls were made for Colfax and Moscow, and for Weston and Centerville. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.20

EIGHTH MEETING, JUNE 13, 11 A.M

Wm. Nichols, Treasurer, presented an itemized report showing amount received, $1,407.20; paid, $1,407.20; with a balance due on labor, of $435. The report was accepted. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.21

The Committee on Credentials and Licenses reported: For credentials, Elds. G. W. Colcord and A. T. Jones; for colporter, W. R. Jones. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.22

A motion to accept the report was discussed by Elders Loughborough and Waggoner, and adopted. Other names were referred to the Conference Committee. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.23

It was voted that a tent and camp-meeting fund of $500 be raised. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.24

Moved that Brn. W. J. Goodwin and Wm. Nichols be chosen as delegates to the Pacific Coast Council, at East Portland. Carried unanimously. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.25

It was voted the appointment of Camp-meeting Committee be left to the Executive Committee. A vote of thanks was tendered to the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company, and the Northern Pacific Railway Company, for reduced rates of travel over their lines. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.26

NINTH MEETING, JUNE 16, 5:30 A.M

The Auditing Committee reported all business settled satisfactorily. Calls for labor were made in favor of Alpowai, Wallowa, Grande Ronde, and Goldendale. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.27

Adjourned sine die. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.28

G. W. COLCORD, President. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.29

ALONZO T. JONES, Secretary. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.30

A. T. Jones, “Charity the Object of the Law,” 2 The Signs of the Times, 10, 29 (July 31, 1884), pp. 450, 451. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.31

TEXT.—“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned; from which some having swerved, have turned aside unto vain jangling.” 1 Timothy 1:4, 5. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.32

The word “end” is it used here as in other places in the Scriptures, as meaning purpose, as in the James 5:11. In exhorting to patience under the coming of the Lord, he says, “Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord.” That is, we see the purpose of the Lord in allowing Job to suffer affliction. Again the word is used in Romans 10:4, “For Christ is the end the law, for righteousness, to every one that believeth.” That is, Christ is the purpose of the law for righteousness. Righteousness is in the law of God. Psalm 119:172. To maintain righteous character is one of its purposes. But that purpose has been frustrated by man in his transgression, and he has forfeited all opportunity of obtaining righteousness from the law. Now Christ steps in; through him we obtain righteousness, and he thus becomes the purpose of the law for righteousness. This is the point of Paul’s argument in Romans 8:3, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,” &c. So then we may read the text, “The purpose of the commandment is charity,” &c. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.33

From the context, it appears that the word “commandment” also is used in an accommodated sense, as being synonymous with the word “law.” It is used the same way by Paul in Romans 7:8, “Sin taking occasion by the commandment ... For without the law and was dead.” Verse 9: “I was alive without the law.... but when the commandment came.” Now putting these definitions in the place of these two words, we get the real meaning of the text by reading it: “Now the purpose of the law is charity.” And as charity means love, Proverbs 10:12; 1 Peter 4:8, we have this still further reading: “The purpose of the law is love;” and by it we discover that the purpose that God had in giving the ten commandments was love. This is further proven by Deuteronomy 33:2, 3: “The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from Mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints; from his right hand went a fiery law for them. Yea he loved the people.” And as God is love, 1 John 4:8, and as it was love which led him to give his law to the people, and as the very purpose of the law is love, it could be nothing but a law of love. And so we find it. Romans 13:8, “He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Verse 10, “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” 2 John 6, “This is love, that we walk after his commandments.” 1 John 5:3, “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments,” and Matthew 23:37-40. So then we see that the degree of love which is demanded by the law of God is measured only by the demands which are made upon us by the Lord himself, for the law is simply and only an exposition of the perfections of God. But this purpose of the law cannot be met by the natural man. Romans 8:7. Therefore the apostle adds a phrase, “The purpose of the law is charity, out of a pure heart.” “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” Jeremiah 17:9; and the Saviour gives us a picture of the natural heart in Mark 7:21, 22, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.” And this is what God finds in men, instead of the purpose of his law. Well indeed it is that Paul says that the purpose of the law can come only out of a pure heart. And blessed be God who has not only in love given us a lot of love, but has given the Son of his love to redeem us from this iniquity, and to teach us the way of love. By faith in him the heart is purified. Acts 15:9. And by his Holy Spirit dwelling in the heart, making it spiritual and thus in harmony with the law, the purpose of the law can be met,—love out of a pure heart, for the fruit of the Spirit is love. Galatians 5:22. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.34

There is another phrase added in the text. “The purpose of the law is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience.” It is a point that has been much debated whether conscience be a sufficient guide; and it may always be answered in the negative, because the conscience itself must be guided. The phrase now under consideration shows that, because it says a good conscience, implying that there are consciences that are not good. And this is made sure by 1 Timothy 4:2, where we read of the “conscience seared with a hot iron.” Surely such a conscience as that needs to be guided; for a bad conscience could be nothing but a bad guide, and needs itself to be guided to that which is good; in short, needs to be made good. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.35

This “seared with a hot iron,” of course is a figure, applied to the conscience, but if we understand the real searing with a hot iron, we may understand what the figure really means, applied to the conscience. If by accident your hand were struck upon a red-hot iron and held there a moment, it would be burned so much that the pain would be very severe. If the same hand were put a second time upon the same piece of hot iron, the pain would not be so great. And if it were put there the third time, there would be no pain at all. The tissue of the flesh would be so deadened that all sense of pain would be gone. Now carry the illustration to the conscience. Take, for instance, a young man, the son of pious parents, and who has been brought up in the fear of God. He leaves home and goes out into the world and falls in with evil associates, say with a class of persons who will steal, and to think that the one who can steal most expertly should be held in esteem among them. The young man is influenced finally to steal, for the first time; it is conscience will sting him to the quick. I once saw a young man steal a fine scarf, and go and put it away where it was perfectly safe; no one saw him but myself, and he did not know even that, but he was as restless as a person could be; and when he had stood it perhaps half an hour, I saw him go and get the scarf, and put it right back where he stole it from. Then he was easy. SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.36

Suppose now this young man resist the pleadings of his conscience, and keeps what he has stolen; when he steals the second time, his conscience will not affect him nearly so much; and when he has stolen the third or fourth time, he will have no conscience on that point of all. He has utterly deadened his conscience, “seared it with a hot iron.” And so can he do under any commandment of the decalogue; and finally bring himself to that place where he will have no conscience at all on any of these points. Now suppose he by some means is induced to enter a church, where he, perhaps, hears read from the Bible the words his mother taught him, or hears the words of a hymn which she sang to him, when a child, and he becomes a child again and listens to it all, until he falls on his knees before God, and cries for forgiveness; it is granted, and, like a child, again he starts into the world; he meets his old associates; they invite him to go with them in the old way, and he abhors it. Why, what is the matter? Ah! he is converted. The law of God is written anew upon his heart by the Holy Spirit, 2 Corinthians 3:3, and now he has a good conscience, one which recognizes the claims of the command, “Thou shalt not steal.” SITI July 3, 1884, page 410.37

Now I say that the law of God is the great regulator of the conscience; and so much of the law of God as is in the heart, just that much contents a man has, and no more. Webster remarks on the word conscience that—“The English word implies a moral standard of action in the mind.” What moral standard of action is there for the human mind? None other than the ten commandments, which show the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13. And Paul expresses it clearly in Romans 7:25: “So then with the mind as serve the law of God.” This is further confirmed by Romans 2:14, 15: “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law are a law unto themselves; which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness,” &c. So we see that when they show (by doing the law) the work of the law written in the hearts, their conscience bears witness. And it is only to the work of the law, that there conscience does bear witness. Therefore it is plain that where there is no work of the law, the conscience cannot bear witness, and consequently, virtually, there is no conscience. On the strength of these “proofs of the Holy Writ,” let me repeat, Just as much of the law of God as is in the heart, just so much conscience a man has. SITI July 3, 1884, page 451.1

However from the quotation before made from Mark 7:21, 22, it appears that there is hardly any of the law of God recognized in the natural heart. But God in his great love, “wherewith he hath loved us,” has made abundant provision for this lack. If we will repent, he will convert us, Acts 3:19; and write his law new in our hearts, 2 Corinthians 3:3; Hebrews 10:15, 16; Psalm 19:7; and thus, in writing his good law in our hearts, he gives as a good conscience, and the purpose of the law can be met. SITI July 3, 1884, page 451.2

There is yet another phrase that Paul has given us: “The purpose of the law is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” James (chap. 2:14-26) sets before us fully the nature of a feigned faith, a faith that depends all upon believing without any doing—all faith and no works. But Paul in Galatians 5:6, shows us what he means by the phrase “faith unfeigned.” “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” There is; it is not alone a faith which works, but a faith which works by love. And thus in this, the “purpose of the law” is met. What a wondrous view of the law of God is here set before us! The purpose of the law is love. Love out of a heart from which love alone can flow. Love out of a conscience which witnesses to nothing but love. Love by a faith which works with nothing in view but love. SITI July 3, 1884, page 451.3

And this brings us to notice, for just a moment, the last part of our text, with the marginal reading. “From which some not aiming at, have turned aside to vain jangling.” This shows that the purpose of the law, which is charity (love) must be our aim in the Christian life. What more painful thing to we see then a person who has no aim in life, having no controlling influence, no guiding star, but holy and entirely the creature of circumstances, now here, now there, and finally nowhere. But the person who has an aim, it matters not what it may be, everything must be turned to helping him reach it. Circumstances may seemingly turned him from it, but in the outcome they have only helped him onward. Warren Hastings, one of the men to whom England owes the greatness of for dominion, when he was but a child playing in the fields, saw the castles and estates that had once belonged to the name of Hastings. And child though he was, he determined then that he would bring them back once more to the name. And though it was nearly at the end of a long life before he reached it, he did reach it. Through many vicissitudes, adversity and prosperity, his one aimed in life was that, and he accomplished it. In the Christian life God has set before us this aim, charity. And we are to aim at nothing else; for he who aims at anything else, even though he should reach his aim, really aims at nothing and reaches nothing. For though I aim at the eloquence of the tongues of men and of angels, and reach it, I reach only the lifeless, sounding brass. Though I aimed at the gift of prophecy and reach it, or the understanding of all mysteries and reach it; though I aim at all knowledge and reach it; though I aim at martyrdom and reach it; though I aim at any or all of these, and reached them, I have aimed at nothing and reached nothing. But if I aim at charity, I aim at that which God has set for my aim; and he will help me to reach it. And in reaching that, the highest, in the very nature of the case I reach all below it. SITI July 3, 1884, page 451.4

Here, then, is our aim. Let it be indeed our aim. Let nothing swerve us from charity. For as surely as we lose our aim, of vain jangling is the inevitable consequence. The apostle Peter, after showing us how to reach charity says: “For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”So means in this way, which shows that without charity we cannot obtain that entrance. Oh! we must aim at charity; we must reach it. And may the Lord help this people, who are set for the defense of the law of God in the earth, to aim at charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned, and so fulfill the purpose of that law. SITI July 3, 1884, page 451.5