The Signs of the Times, vol. 12
The Signs of the Times, Vol. 12
January 7, 1886
“The Ostrogoths and the Visigoths” The Signs of the Times 12, 1, p. 4.
THE peace which Constantine forced upon the Gothic nation in A.D. 331, continued for a period of thirty years. For the proper understanding of the further progress of our subject, it now becomes necessary to clearly define the distinction that existed between the two great divisions of the Gothic nation—the Ostro [Eastern] Goths, and the Visi [Western] Goths. As a matter of act this distinction existed from the earliest times of which we have any knowledge of the nation. SITI January 7, 1886, page 4.1
“The Ostro and Visi, the eastern and western Goths, obtained those denominations from their original seats in Scandinavia. In all their future marches and settlements they preserved, with their names, the same relative situation.”—Dec. and Fall, chap. 10, par. 8, note. SITI January 7, 1886, page 4.2
Although this distinction was ever observed amongst them as a people, yet in all their wanderings and in all their expeditions, from the time they left the Baltic till the period of which we now treat, A.D. 361,—they were united and acted as one people. Now, however, we shall find them separated, and with the exception of a short interval, never more united. SITI January 7, 1886, page 4.3
During the thirty years’ peace with the Empire (A.D. 331-361), and under Hermanric, the last king of the united nation, the Gothic power was spread from the River Danube and the Black Sea to the Baltic. Of this we read:— SITI January 7, 1886, page 4.4
“During a peaceful interval of thirty years, the Romans secured their frontiers, and the Goths extended their dominions. The victories of the great Hermanric, king of the Ostrogoths, and the most noble of the race of the Amali, have been compared, by the enthusiasm of his countrymen, to the exploits of Alexander; with this singular, and almost incredible, difference, that the martial spirit of the Gothic hero, instead of being supported by the vigor of youth, was displayed with glory and success in the extreme period of human life, between the age of fourscore and one hundred and ten years. The independent tribes were persuaded, or compelled, to acknowledge the king of the Ostrogoths as the sovereign of the Gothic nation: the chiefs of the Visigoths, or Thervingi, renounced the royal title, and assumed the more humble appellation of judges; and, among those judges, Athanaric, Fritigern, and Alavivus, were the most illustrious, by their personal merit, as well as by their vicinity to the Roman provinces. SITI January 7, 1886, page 4.5
“These domestic conquests, which increased the military power of Hermanric, enlarged his ambitious designs. He invaded the adjacent countries of the north; and twelve considerable nations, whose names and limits cannot be accurately defined, successively yielded to the superiority of the Gothic arms.... His dominions, which extended from the Danube to the Baltic, included the native seats, and the recent acquisitions, of the Goths; and he reigned over the greatest part of Germany and Scythia with the authority of a conqueror, and sometimes with the cruelty of a tyrant. But he reigned over a part of the globe incapable of perpetuating and adorning the glory of its heroes. The name of Hermanric is almost buried in oblivion; his exploits are imperfectly known; and the Romans themselves appeared unconscious of the progress of an aspiring power which threatened the liberty of the North, and the peace of the Empire. SITI January 7, 1886, page 4.6
“The Goths had contracted an hereditary attachment for the imperial house of Constantine, of whose power and liberality they had received so many signal proofs. They respected the public peace; and if a hostile band sometimes presumed to pass the Roman limit, their irregular conduct was candidly ascribed to the ungovernable spirit of the barbarian youth. Their contempt for two new and obscure princes [Valens and Valentinian], who had [A.D. 366] been raised to the throne by a popular election, inspired the Goths with bolder hopes.” SITI January 7, 1886, page 4.7
“The splendor and magnitude of this Gothic war [A.D. 367, 368, 369] are celebrated by a contemporary historian; but the events scarcely deserve the attention of posterity, except as the preliminary steps of the approaching decline and fall of the Empire. Instead of leading the nations of Germany and Scythia to the banks of the Danube, or even to the gates of Constantinople, the aged monarch of the Goths resigned to the brave Athanaric the danger and glory of a defensive war, against an enemy, who wielded with a feeble hand the powers of a mighty state. A bridge of boats was established upon the Danube; the presence of Valens animated his troops; and his ignorance of the art of war was compensated by personal bravery, and a wise deference to the advice of Victor and Arintheus, his masters-general of the cavalry and infantry. The operations of the campaign were conducted by their skill and experience; but they found it impossible to drive the Visigoths from their strong posts in the mountains; and the devastation of the plains obliged the Romans themselves to repass the Danube on the approach of winter. SITI January 7, 1886, page 4.8
“The incessant rains, which swelled the waters of the river, produced a tacit suspension of arms, and confined the emperor Valens, during the whole course of the ensuing summer, to his camp of Marcianopolis. The third year of the war was more favorable to the Romans, and more pernicious to the Goths.... Athanaric was provoked, or compelled, to risk a battle, which he lost, in the plains; and the pursuit was rendered more bloody by the cruel precaution of the victorious generals, who had promised a large reward for the head of every Goth that was brought into the imperial camp. The submission of the Barbarians appeased the resentment of Valens and his council; ... and the same generals, Victor and Arintheus, who had successfully directed the conduct of the war, were empowered to regulate the conditions of peace.... SITI January 7, 1886, page 4.9
“Athanaric, who, on this occasion, appears to have consulted his private interest, without expecting the orders of his sovereign, supported his own dignity, and that of his tribe, in the personal interview which was proposed by the ministers of Valens. He persisted in his declaration, that it was impossible for him, without incurring the guilt of perjury, ever to set his foot on the territory of the empire; and it is more than probable, that his regard for the sanctity of an oath was confirmed by the recent and fatal examples of Roman treachery. The Danube, which separated the dominions of the two independent nations, was chosen for the scene of the conference. The Emperor of the East, and the judge of the Visigoths, accompanied by an equal number of armed followers, advanced in their respective barges to the middle of the stream. After the ratification of the treaty, and the delivery of hostages, Valens returned in triumph to Constantinople; and the Goths remained in a state of tranquillity about six years; till they were violently impelled against the Roman empire by an innumerable host of Scythians, who appeared to issue from the frozen regions of the North.”—Dec. and Fall, Chap. 25, par. 31-33. SITI January 7, 1886, page 4.10
“The invasion of the Huns [A.D. 376] precipitated on the provinces of the West the Gothic nation, which advanced, in less than forty years, from the Danube to the Atlantic, and opened a way, by the success of their arms, to the inroads of so many hostile tribes, more savage than themselves. SITI January 7, 1886, page 4.11
“The Huns, who under the reign of Valens threatened the empire of Rome, had been formidable, in a much earlier period, to the empire of China. Their ancient, perhaps their original, seat was an extensive, though dry and barren, tract of country, immediately on the north side of the great wall. Their place is at present occupied by the forty-nine hordes or Banners of the Mongous, a pastoral nation, which consists of about 200,000 families. But the valor of the Huns had extended the narrow limits of their dominions; and their rustic chiefs, who assumed the appellation of Tanjou, gradually became the conquerors, and the sovereigns of a formidable empire. Towards the East, their victorious arms were stopped only by the ocean; and the tribes, which are thinly scattered between the Amoor and the extreme peninsula of Corea, adhered, with reluctance, to the standard of the Huns. On the West, near the head of the Irtish, in the valleys of Imaus, they found a more ample space, and more numerous enemies. One of the lieutenants of the Tanjou subdued, in a single expedition, twenty-six nations; the Igours, distinguished above the Tartar race by the use of letters, were in the number of his vassals; and, by the strange connection of human events, the flight of one of those vagrant tribes recalled the victorious Parthians from the invasion of Syria. On the side of the North, the ocean was assigned as the limit of the power of the Huns. Without enemies to resist their progress, or witnesses to contradict their vanity, they might securely achieve a real, or imaginary, conquest of the frozen regions of Siberia. SITI January 7, 1886, page 4.12
“The Northern Sea was fixed as the remote boundary of their empire. But the name of that sea, on whose shores the patriot Sovou embraced the life of a shepherd and an exile, may be transferred, with much more probability, to the Baikal, a capacious basin, above 300 hundred miles in length, which disdains the modest appellation of a lake and which actually communicates with the seas of the North, by the long course of the Angara, the Tongusha, and the Jenissea. The submission of so many distant nations might flatter the pride of the Tanjou; but the valor of the Huns could be rewarded only by the enjoyment of the wealth and luxury of the empire of the South. In the third century before the Christian era, a wall of fifteen hundred miles in length was constructed, to defend the frontiers of China against the inroads of the Huns; but this stupendous work, which holds a conspicuous place in the map of the world, has never contributed to the safety of an unwarlike people. The cavalry of the Tanjou frequently consisted of 200,000 or 300,000 men, formidable by the matchless dexterity with which they managed their bows and their horses; by their hardy patience in supporting the inclemency of the weather; and by the incredible speed of their march, which was seldom checked by torrents, or precipices, by the deepest rivers, or by the most lofty mountains. They spread themselves at once over the face of the country; and their rapid impetuosity surprised, astonished, and disconcerted the grave and elaborate tactics of a Chinese army.”—Id., chap. 26, par. 8. SITI January 7, 1886, page 4.13
A. T. J.
(To be continued.)
“The Doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul Subversive of the Truth.—No. 5” The Signs of the Times 12, 1, p. 7.
“FOR the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23. “Sin entered into the world, and death by sin,” and “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” But when man had sinned, and thus brought himself under the doom of death, then Christ, the only begotten Son of God, presented himself, and was accepted of God, in man’s behalf. God had before pronounced the penalty of death against transgression. And Adam would have died the day he sinned, had not the Son of God interceded in his behalf, and presented himself in satisfaction of the demands of the broken law of God. But by the love of Christ and the mercy of God, man was given a second probation, a second opportunity to attain to righteousness. Only for the mediation of Christ, the race of man would have ceased the day that Adam sinned. Only for Christ there never would have lived a man after Adam. So that every man who has ever lived, or who shall ever live, from the sin of Adam to the end of the world, owes that life to the fact that Christ, the Son of God, offered himself when Adam sinned. SITI January 7, 1886, page 7.1
This is shown in the words of Christ, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10. Christ offering himself in behalf of Adam, is the only means by which men have life at all,—“I am come that they might have life.” But this life is only temporal. It is only extended as an opportunity for man to approve himself worthy of eternal life, that he may show himself worthy of having life more abundantly; for as Christ said, he is come that they might have life, “and that they might have it more abundantly.” The way in which men use the life which is already given, will decide whether they shall have life at all. The man who shows himself abusive of the trust of God, and ungrateful for his favor shown in granting this life, only shows himself unworthy of that which he already has, and much less can he be intrusted “more abundantly” with anything pertaining to life. SITI January 7, 1886, page 7.2
In this view is contained the very basic principle of the lesson inculcated in the parable of the unjust steward. “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much; and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?” Luke 16:10-12. And also in the lesson of the parable of the talents: “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” Matthew 25:29. If men will turn to purposes of iniquity, and transgression, and sin, a life which is committed to them for a time, how can the Lord commit to them this gift for eternity? If this life, which is not their own, they will devote simply as an instrument of unrighteousness unto sin, to rebellion, and unfaithfulness to Him who giveth it, how shall he give to such immortal life—a life, which, being not subject to cessation, may properly be called their own? To do so would be only to subvert his own authority and the principles of his government. Such a thing he will never do. But such as devote this life to the honor of Him who giveth it, and to righteousness before Him, to them will be given life “more abundantly,” even eternal life, in which to honor and glorify Him; while from all who do not so, shall be taken away even that which they have. “Of a truth ... God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” Acts 10:34, 35. SITI January 7, 1886, page 8.1
The righteousness which is acceptable with God is the righteousness “which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference; for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:22, 23. “HE became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Hebrews 5:9. And “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Christ’s coming to this world was not in vain. He came for a purpose, and that purpose is that those who will believe in him may not perish, but have eternal life; and as surely as those who believe in him shall have eternal life, just so surely those who do not believe in him shall perish. If not, if those who do not believe in him do not perish, then this record which he has given cannot be true. If, by virtue of the immortality of the soul, those who do not believe in Christ live as long as those who do, then where is there any point in these scriptures? We know full well the meaning that is put upon the word “perish” by those who believe in the doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul; that is, that it means eternal life in misery. But no such idea is contained in the Scripture. Eternal life is the heritage of those who believe in Christ, and of those along. Nor will language allow any such meaning to be put upon the word “perish.” That word is defined thus: “To be destroyed; to go to destruction; to pass away; to come to nothing; to be blotted from existence; to die; to lose life.” This is Webster’s definition of perish, and every part of it can be duplicated time and again from the Scriptures. But no single particle of this definition can be true if the soul be immortal. SITI January 7, 1886, page 8.2
In Psalm 37:10 we read: “For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.” Again, in Isaiah 41:11, 12 we read a promise of what the Lord will do with those who contend with the “seed of Abraham,” “the friend of God;” “Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded; they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of naught.” But to the meek, to those who learn of Christ, it is promised: “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” “The seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever.” Psalm 37:11, 28, 29. All is summed up by the Lord Jesus in once sentence, as follows: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life.” John 3:36. And again: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” John 6:53. SITI January 7, 1886, page 8.3
If these scriptures, from the first of this article to the last, do not show that future life is obtained only in Christ, then it would be impossible for the Lord himself to put words together that would show such a thing. If the Lord wanted to tell men that without believing in Christ they could have no life; that without believing in him they should perish; if he wanted to tell them that the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, how would it be possible to tell them so more plainly than he has already told, in the words quoted? Yet in defiance of these plain, positive scriptures, and in direct subversion of them, the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, which gives to all men immortal life irrespective of Christ, is held by the majority of professed Christians as a veritable article of Christian faith. Why is it that men will not believe the record that God has given on this subject? Why is it that they will not believe that future life is given alone through Christ? It is no light thing to disbelieve this. Many seem to think, and will even so express themselves, that it makes no difference. We state it as the simple truth, that to not believe that eternal life for man is in Christ alone, is one of the greatest insults that can be offered to the God of Heaven. SITI January 7, 1886, page 8.4
Please read carefully the following scripture, and see whether we have stated more than the exact truth:— SITI January 7, 1886, page 8.5
“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. SITI January 7, 1886, page 8.6
Here is the plain statement that to believe not a certain “record” is to make God a liar. That record is just as plainly stated to be, that the eternal life that is given us “is in the Son” of God; and that “He that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” Now the doctrine of the immortality of the soul causes men to not believe that record. They who believe the doctrine of the immortality of the soul do not believe that they who have not the Son of God have not life. Therefore the doctrine of the immortality of the soul “hath made God a liar,” because it causes men to “believe 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.” Therefore we say that to not believe that future life is given us in Christ alone, is to insult the God of Heaven by making him “a liar.” It does make a difference how we believe on this question; for when God is made a liar, he ceases to be Jehovah, he ceases to be God. SITI January 7, 1886, page 8.7
Nor is that all; for when the Lord is thus removed from his throne, Satan is put into his place. See here: In the event of man’s sinning:— SITI January 7, 1886, page 8.8
|GOD SAID,||SATAN SAID,|
|“Thou shalt surely die.”||“Ye shall not surely die.”|
Which of these told the truth? It is impossible for both to be true. The doctrine of the immortality of the soul teaches that the devil told the truth. For that doctrine teaches that there is no death. And if there be no death, then every man has life independent of belief in Christ, which, as we have read from the Word, makes God a liar. Therefore the doctrine of the immortality of the soul sets God aside as a liar, and exalts Satan as the one who tells the truth, and as the one who is to be believed. SITI January 7, 1886, page 8.9
Here we close our investigation of this subject for the present. We believe we have made good our promise to show that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is subversive of the truth of God. We have proved by logical deduction from sound Scripture premises, that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is subversive of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead; that it is subversive of the doctrine of the coming of the Lord; that it is subversive of the doctrine of the Judgment; that it is subversive of the mission of Christ; that it supplants Christ in the honor of opening the way from this world to another, and bestows that honor upon Satan; and finally that it puts God aside as a liar, and exalts Satan to his place as the one who tells the truth. The logical summary of all this is contained in one word—SPIRITUALISM. The immortality of the soul is the foundation of Spiritualism; and through the already prevalent belief of that doctrine, Spiritualism will yet lead the world to the active acceptance of every point which we have charged. Therefore we pray all to flee this thing, and believe “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.” SITI January 7, 1886, page 8.10
A. T. J.
“Notes on the International Lesson. The Faithful Rechabites. Jeremiah 35:12-19” The Signs of the Times 12, 1, pp. 10, 11.
(January 17. Jeremiah 35:12-19.)
THE Rechabites were of the people of the Kenites, and of the house of Rechab. The Kenites were the descendants of Moses’s father-in-law. When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, Moses’s faith-in-law came with Moses’s wife and his two sons to visit him in the wilderness, shortly after they had left Egypt. After remaining a while with Moses he departed, and “went his way into his own land.” Exodus 28. But “Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses’s father-in-law, We are journeying unto the place of which the Lord said, I will give it you; come thou with us, and we will do thee good; for the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel. And he said unto him, I will not go; but I will depart to mine own land, and to my kindred. And he said, Leave us not, I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes. And it shall be, if thou go with us, yea, it shall be, that what goodness the Lord shall do unto us, the same will we do unto thee.” Numbers 10:29-32. SITI January 7, 1886, page 10.1
BY this Moses prevailed on Hobab to go with them; for when we come down to the book of Judges, we read: “And the children of the Kenite, Moses’s father-in-law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people.” Judges 1:16. In 1 Chronicles 2:55, we have the first mention of Rechab, the father of the Rechabites. “And the families of the scribes which dwelt at Jabez; the Tirathites, the Shimeathites, and Suchathites. These are the Kenites that came of Hemath, the father of the house of Rechab.” The next mention we have of any of the house of Rechab, is in 2 Kings 10:15, 23. When Jehu was on his way to execute judgment on the house of Ahab, “he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him; and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give me thine hand. And he gave him his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot.” After this there is no more mention of any of the house of Rechab till this time which is the subject of the lesson for to-day,—a period of about two hundred and seventy-seven years,—but here we find that this Jehonadab who accompanied Jehu was the one who had given the directions which the Rechabites had observed all these years, which the Lord adopts as the meaning of teaching an important lesson to his people. SITI January 7, 1886, page 10.2
THE date of the events connected with this lesson is about 607 B.C. Jehoikim [sic.] was king of Judah, having been made king by Pharaoh-Necho, king of Egypt. About 610 Necho had gone out against the king of Assyria; but he went no farther than the River Euphrates, being delayed there by the siege of Carchemish. As he was on his way toward the Euphrates, Josiah, king of Judah, went out to stay him. Necho tried to persuade him to let him pass unmolested, as he was not the one against whom Necho was going. Josiah would not listen, but persisted in his resistance to Necho, and a battle was brought on, in which Josiah was killed, and thus perished the last good king, and the last stay, of the nation of Judah. “And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah.” By the death of Josiah, the nation of Judah fell into the power of Pharaoh-Necho, and when the people of the land made Josiah’s son, Jehoahaz, king in his father’s stead, he was suffered to reign only three months, when Necho “put him in bands at Riblah,” and made Eliakim, another son of Josiah’s, king, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. Shortly after he began to reign, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came to Carchemish, and defeated Pharaoh-Necho’s army, and drove him back to his own country. “And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land; for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the River Euphrates, all that pertained to the king of Egypt.” SITI January 7, 1886, page 10.3
AT this time, wickedness was rife in Jerusalem, and Jehoiakim showed no disposition to check it. “He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.” And when the Lord sent him a message direct by the hand of Jeremiah, when Jehudi had read to him “three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.” Jeremiah 36:23. Then the Lord said to him, “He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David; and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost.” It was to this man, and to a people who were scarcely better than he, to whom the Lord sent the lesson that forms the subject of our lesson to-day. When Nebuchadnezzar had come over the Euphrates against Pharaoh-Necho, the Rechabites had bundled up their tents and equipage, and had gone into Jerusalem for fear of the Chealdean army. The Lord told Jeremiah to go to the house of the Rechabits, and bring them into the house of the Lord, and set wine before them to drink. Jeremiah did so. SITI January 7, 1886, page 10.4
“BUT they said, We will drink no wine; for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever; neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any; but all your days ye shall dwell in tents.... Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters; ... and have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us.” SITI January 7, 1886, page 10.5
“THEN came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? saith the Lord. The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father’s commandment; notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me.... Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto me; therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them; because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered.” SITI January 7, 1886, page 10.6
THIS lesson is of just as much importance to us as it was to the men of Jerusalem; because Paul in writing specially of this time says that the people’s ears will be turned away from the truth, and turned unto fables—made-up stories, the sayings of men, the traditions of our fathers—and in view of this it was that he gave that solemn charge to the ministry: “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom: Preach the word.” 2 Timothy 4:1-4. There is a disposition in man to follow the precepts and example of men, rather than to obey the word of God. For the reason, no doubt, that the precepts of men are not so straight as are those of God; for not all the precepts of men are as righteous as this one of Jonadab, that his people should drink no wine. The precepts of Mahomet are obeyed by thousands where there is one to obey the precepts of Christ. The doctrines of the papacy are honored likewise by thousands where there is one who will follow faithfully the word of God. SITI January 7, 1886, page 10.7
A. T. J.
“‘Written for our Learning’” The Signs of the Times 12, 1, p. 11.
THE apostle says that “whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning.” We may draw a very useful lesson from the case of the Rechabites, who were commendably tenacious of the commandment of their father. SITI January 7, 1886, page 11.1
There is always a disposition in man to do as his ancestors did, without ever inquiring whether it is right or wrong. If among professed Christians there was the readiness to obey strictly what the word of God commands that there is to be content with barely doing what our fathers did, or what is enjoined by tradition and the precepts of men, it would be only a little while till the earth would be full of the glory of God. God commands that we shall be baptized, but the majority of professed Christians are willing to do almost anything in the world but to render faithful obedience to the word. The Lord commands that men shall do no work on the seventh day, but the great majority of professed Christians are willing to do anything at all but to obey the plain commandment of God in this matter. In honor of a wholly man-made institution, they are willing to do all that would be required by the Lord in honor of his own Heaven-born institution. This choice has been made, and is being made, by thousands as the days go by. If there were about this man-made institution the merit of the precept of Jenadab, there might be some shadow of excuse, but about this there is no one redeeming quality; it is wholly iniquitous, created in defiance of the commandment of God. And the children of Jonadab, the son of Rechab, will arise in the Judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they obeyed the commandment of their father, and these will not obey the plain commandment of God. SITI January 7, 1886, page 11.2
The Lord has given his commandments, precept upon precept, and line upon line; he now sends a message to all nations saying with a loud voice, “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation... Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:9-12. SITI January 7, 1886, page 11.3
How many of the people of our day are going to be condemned by “the faithful Rechabites,” as were the people of Jerusalem of old? How many will still refuse to obey the commandments of God? And upon how many in our day will come all the evil that the Lord has pronounced, “because I have spoken unto them, but they have not answered”? “Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith.” A. T. J. SITI January 7, 1886, page 11.4