The Signs of the Times, vol. 12

February 11, 1886

“The Ostrogoths and the Visigoths. (Continued.)” The Signs of the Times 12, 6, pp. 84, 85.


“ON the 9th of August [A.D. 378], a day which has deserved to be marked among the most inauspicious of the Roman Calendar, the Emperor Valens, leaving, under a strong guard, his baggage and military treasure, marched from Hadrianople to attack the Goths, who were encamped about twelve miles from the city. By some mistake of the orders, or some ignorance of the ground, the right wing, or column of cavalry arrived in sight of the enemy, whilst the left was still at a considerable distance; the soldiers were compelled, in the sultry heat of summer, to precipitate their pace; and the line of battle was formed with tedious confusion and irregular delay. The Gothic cavalry had been detached to forage in the adjacent country; and Fritigern still continued to practice his customary arts. He dispatched messengers of peace, made proposals, required hostages, and wasted the hours, till the Romans, exposed without shelter to the burning rays of the sun, were exhausted by thirst, hunger, and intolerable fatigue. SITI February 11, 1886, page 84.1

“The emperor was persuaded to send an ambassador to the Gothic camp; the zeal of Richomer, who alone had courage to accept the dangerous commission, was applauded; and the count of the domestics, adorned with the splendid ensigns of his dignity, had proceeded some way in the space between the two armies, when he was suddenly recalled by the alarm of battle. The hasty and imprudent attack was made by Baeurius the Iberian, who commanded a body of archers and targeteers; and as they advanced with rashness, they retreated with loss and disgrace. In the same moment, the flying squadrons of Alatheus and Saphrax, whose return was anxiously expected by the general of the Goths, descended like a whirlwind from the hills, swept across the plain, and added new terrors to the tumultuous, but irresistible charge of the barbarian host. SITI February 11, 1886, page 84.2

“The event of the battle of Hadrianople, so fatal to Valens and to the empire, may be described in a few words: the Roman cavalry fled; the infantry was abandoned, surrounded, and cut in pieces. The most skilful evolutions, the firmest courage, are scarcely sufficient to extricate a body of foot, encompassed, on an open plain, by superior numbers of horse; but the troops of Valens, oppressed by the weight of the enemy and their own fears, were crowded into a narrow space, where it was impossible for them to extend their ranks, or even to use, with effect, their swords and javelins. In the midst of tumult, of slaughter, and of dismay, the emperor, deserted by his guards and wounded, as it was supposed, with an arrow, sought protection among the Lancearii and the Mattiarii, who still maintained their ground with some appearance of order and firmness. His faithful generals, Trajan and Victor, who perceived his danger, loudly exclaimed that all was lost, unless the person of the emperor could be saved. Some troops, animated by their exhortation, advanced to his relief; they found only a bloody spot, covered with a heap of broken arms and mangled bodies, without being able to discover their unfortunate prince, either among the living or the dead. SITI February 11, 1886, page 84.3

“Their search could not indeed be successful, if there is any truth in the circumstances with which some historians have related the death of the emperor. By the care of his attendants, Valens was removed from the field of battle to a neighboring cottage, where they attempted to dress his wound, and to provide for his future safety. But this humble retreat was instantly surrounded by the enemy; they tried to force the door, they were provoked by a discharge of arrows from the roof, till at length, impatient of delay, they set fire to a pile of dry magots, and consumed the cottage with the Roman emperor and his train. Valens perished in the flames; and a youth, who dropped from the window, alone escaped, to attest the melancholy tale, and to inform the Goths of the inestimable prize which they had lost by their own rashness. A great number of brave and distinguished officers perished in the battle of Hadrianople, which equaled in the actual loss, and far surpassed in the fatal consequences, the misfortune which Rome had formerly sustained in the fields of Canne. SITI February 11, 1886, page 84.4

“Two master-generals of the cavalry and infantry, two great officers of the palace, and thirty-five tribunes, were found among the slain; and the death of Sebastian might satisfy the world, that he was the victim, as well as the author, of the public calamity. Above two thirds of the Roman army were destroyed: and the darkness of the night was esteemed a very favorable circumstance, as it served to conceal the flight of the multitude, and to protect the more orderly retreat of Victor and Richomer, who alone, amidst the general consternation, maintained the advantage of calm courage and regular discipline.” SITI February 11, 1886, page 84.5

“The pride of the Goths was elated by this memorable victory; but their avarice was disappointed by the mortifying discovery, that the richest part of the Imperial spoil had been within the walls of Hadrianople. They hastened to possess the reward of their valor; but they were encountered by the remains of a vanquished army, with an intrepid resolution, which was the effect of their despair, and the only hope of their safety. The walls of the city, and the ramparts of the adjacent camp, were lined with military engines, that threw stones of an enormous weight; and astonished the ignorant Barbarians by the noise, and velocity, still more than by the real effects, of the discharge. The soldiers, the citizens, the provincials, the domestics of the palace, were united in the danger, and in the defense; the furious assault of the Goths was repulsed; their secret arts of treachery and treason were discovered; and, after an obstinate conflict of many hours, they retired to their tents; convinced, by experience, that it would be far more advisable to observe the treaty, which their sagacious leader had tacitly stipulated with the fortifications of great and populous cities. SITI February 11, 1886, page 84.6

“After the hasty and impolitic massacre of three hundred deserters, an act of justice extremely useful to the discipline of the Roman armies, the Goths indignantly raised the siege of Hadrianople. The scene of war and tumult was instantly converted into a silent solitude; the multitude suddenly disappeared; the secret paths of the woods and mountains were marked with the footsteps of the trembling fugitives, who sought a refuge in the distant cities of Illyricum and Macedonia; and the faithful officers of the household, and the treasury, cautiously proceeded in search of the emperor, of whose death they were still ignorant. The tide of the Gothic inundation rolled from the walls of Hadrianople to the suburbs of Constantinople. The barbarians were surprised with the splendid appearance of the capital of the East, the height and extent of the walls, the myriads of wealthy and affrighted citizens who crowded the ramparts, and the various prospect of the sea and land. SITI February 11, 1886, page 84.7

“While they gazed with hopeless desire on the inaccessible beauties of Constantinople, a sally was made from one of the gates by a party of Saracens, who had been fortunately engaged in the service of Valens. The cavalry of Scythia was forced to yield to the admirable swiftness and spirit of the Arabian horses; their riders were skilled in the evolutions of irregular war; and the Northern barbarians were astonished and dismayed, by the inhuman ferocity of the barbarians of the South.... The army of the Goths, laden with the spoils of the wealthy suburbs and the adjacent territory, slowly moved, from the Bosphorus, to the mountains which form the western boundary of Thrace. The important pass of Succi was betrayed by the fear, or the misconduct, of Maurus; and the Barbarians, who no longer had any resistance to apprehend from the scattered and vanquished troops of the East, spread themselves over the face of a fertile and cultivated country, as far as the confines of Italy and the Hadriatic Sea. SITI February 11, 1886, page 84.8

“The effects which were produced by the battle of Hadrianople on the minds of the Barbarians and of the Romans, extended the victory of the former, and the defeat of the latter, far beyond the limits of a single day. A Gothic chief was heard to declare, with insolent moderation, that, for his own part, he was fatigued with slaughter: but that he was astonished how a people, who fled before him like a flock of sheep, could still presume to dispute the possession of their treasures and provinces. The same terrors which the name of the Huns had spread among the Gothic tribes, were inspired, by the formidable name of the Goths, among the subjects and soldiers of the Roman Empire. SITI February 11, 1886, page 84.9

“Five months after the death of Valens, the emperor Gratian produced [Jan. 19, A.D. 379] before the assembled troops [Theodosius] his colleague and their master; who, after a modest, perhaps a sincere, resistance, was compelled to accept, amidst the general acclamations, the diadem, the purple, and the equal title of Augustus. The provinces of Thrace, Asia, and Egypt, over which Valens had reigned, were resigned to the administration of the new emperor; but, as he was specially intrusted with the conduct of the Gothic war, the Illyrian prefecture was dismembered; and the two great dioceses of Dacia and Macedonia were added to the dominions of the Eastern Empire. SITI February 11, 1886, page 84.10

“The deliverance and peace of the Roman provinces was the work of prudence, rather than of valor: the prudence of Theodosius was seconded by fortune: and the emperor never failed to seize, and to improve, every favorable circumstance. As long as the superior genius of Fritigern preserved the union, and directed the motions of the Barbarians, their power was not inadequate to the conquest of a great empire. The death of that hero, the predecessor and master of the renowned Alaric, relieved an impatient multitude from the intolerable yoke of discipline and discretion. The barbarians, who had been restrained by his authority, abandoned themselves to the dictates of their passions; and their passions were seldom uniform or consistent. SITI February 11, 1886, page 84.11

An army of conquerors was broken into many disorderly bands of savage robbers; and their blind and irregular fury was not less pernicious to themselves, than to their enemies. Their mischievous disposition was shown in the destruction of every object which they wanted strength to remove, or taste to enjoy; and they often consumed, with improvident rage, the harvests, or the granaries, which soon afterwards became necessary for their own subsistence. SITI February 11, 1886, page 84.12

“A spirit of discord arose among the independent tribes and nations, which had been united only by the bands of a loose and voluntary alliance. The troops of the Huns and the Alani would naturally upbraid the flight of the Goths; who were not disposed to use with moderation the advantages of their fortune; the ancient jealousy of the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths could not long be suspended; and the haughty chiefs still remembered the insults and injuries, which they had reciprocally offered, or sustained, while the nation was seated in the countries beyond the Danube. The progress of domestic faction abated the more diffusive sentiment of national animosity; and the officers of Theodosius were instructed to purchase, with liberal gifts and promises, the retreat or service of the discontented party. The acquisition of Modar, a prince of the royal blood of the Amali, gave a bold and faithful champion to the cause of Rome. The illustrious deserter soon obtained the rank of master-general, with an important command; surprised an army of his countrymen, who were immersed in wine and sleep; and, after a cruel slaughter of the astonished Goths, returned with an immense spoil, and four thousand wagons, to the Imperial camp.”—Decline and Fall, chap. 26, par. 21, 23, 28, 26, 29. SITI February 11, 1886, page 84.13

A. T. J.

(To be continued.)

“‘The Abiding Sabbath.’ Some Five-Hundred-Dollar Logic” The Signs of the Times 12, 6, pp. 89, 90.

IT will be borne in mind that the book entitled “The Abiding Sabbath” was written to prove “the perpetual obligation of the Lord’s day;” and that by the term “Lord’s day,” the author of the book means, in every instance, the first day of the week. Therefore, “being interpreted,” the book, “The Abiding Sabbath,” is an argument to prove the perpetual obligation of the first day of the week. It is likewise to be remembered that the trustees of Dartmouth College paid the Fletcher prize of $500 for the essay which composes the book “The Abiding Sabbath.” This certainly is tangible proof that those trustees, and the Committee of Award appointed by them, considered that the object of the essay had been accomplished, and that thereby the perpetual obligation of the first day of the week had been proved. But we are certain that any one who has read the two preceding chapters on this subject, will wonder how, in view of the arguments there used, the author can make it appear that the first day of the week is “the abiding Sabbath.” Well, to tell in a few words what we shall abundantly demonstrate, he does it by directly contradicting every sound argument that he has made, and every principle that he has established. SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.1

In the first chapter of the book, from the scripture “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:3), he proves the institution of the Sabbath at creation, and says: “Whatever institutions were given to man then, were given for all time.” SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.2

And again: “‘God rested the seventh day,’ and by so doing has given to the law of the Sabbath the highest and strongest sanction possible, even to Deity.... It is therefore-bounded by no limits of time, place, or circumstance, but is of universal and perpetual authority.” SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.3

It was the seventh day upon which God rested from the work of creation; it was the seventh day which he then blessed; it was the seventh day which he then sanctified; and he says, “The seventh day is the Sabbath.” Now if, as Mr. Elliott says, this institution was given to man “for all time,” and that, too, “with the highest and strongest sanction possible even to Deity;” and if it is bounded “by no limits of time, place, or circumstance,” how can it be possible that the first day of the week is the abiding Sabbath? It is clearly and absolutely impossible. The two things cannot stand together. God did not rest the first day of the week. He did not bless, nor did he sanctify, the first day of the week. He has never called the first day of the week the Sabbath; nor as such an institution has he ever given it any sanction of Deity, mush less has he ever given it the “highest and strongest sanction possible even to Deity.” Then upon no principle of truth can it ever be made to appear that the first day of the week is the abiding Sabbath. SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.4

Then in Part II., on the fourth commandment,—the “Sabbath of the law,“—he says of the Sabbath therein given to Israel when God brought them out of Egypt:— SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.5

“The first institution of religion given to the emancipated nation was the very same with the first given to man.”—P. 110. SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.6

He says that it has “a meaning not for the Hebrews alone, but for the whole race of mankind;” that “the reason of the commandment recalls the ordinance of creation;” that “the ideas connected with the Sabbath in the fourth commandment are thus of the most permanent and universal meaning;” and that “the institution, in the light of the reasons assigned, is as wide as creation and as eternal as the Creator.”—Pp. 114, 126. SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.7

And yet into this commandment, which says as plainly as language can speak, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God,” Mr. Elliott proposes to read the first day as “the abiding Sabbath.” Before noticing his reasons for such a step, we would insert one of his own paragraphs:— SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.8

“Long should pause the erring hand of man before it dares to chip away with the chisel of human reasonings one single word graven on the enduring tables by the hand of the infinite God. What is proposed? To make an erasure in a Heaven-born code; to expunge one article from the recorded will of the Eternal! Is the eternal tablet of his law to be defaced by a creature’s hand? He who proposes such an act should fortify himself by reasons as holy as God and as mighty as his power. None but consecrated hands could touched the ark of God; thrice holy should be the hands which would dare to alter the testimony which lay within the ark.”—Pp. 128, 129. And so say we. SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.9

After proving that the ten commandments are of universal and perpetual obligation, he discovers that the decalogue “contains transient elements.” He says:— SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.10

“It may be freely admitted that the decalogue in the form in which it is stated, contains transient elements. These, however, are easily separable. For example, the promise attached to the requirement of filial reverence, ‘that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee,’ has a very evident reference to Israel alone, and is a promise of national perpetuity in possession of the promised land.” SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.11

But lo, just here he discovers that this is not a “transient element,” and that it has not “reference to Israel alone;” for he continues in the very same paragraph:— SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.12

“Even this element is not entirely of limited application, however, for Paul quotes the commandment in his letter to the Christians of Ephesus (Ephesians 6:2), as ‘the first ... with promise,’ evidently understanding the covenant of long life to have a wider scope than simply the Hebrew nationality. And it is clear that nothing can be imagined which could give more enduring stability to civil institutions than that law-abiding character which is based on respect for superiors and obedience to their commands.”—Pp. 120, 121. SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.13

His proposition is that “the decalogue contains transient elements.” And to demonstrate his proposition, he produces as an “example,” a “transient element” which he immediately proves is not a transient element at all. Then what becomes of his proposition? Well, by every principle of common logic, it is a miserable failure. But by this new, high-priced kind, this five-hundred-dollar-prize logic, it is a brilliant success; for by it he accomplishes all that he intended when he started out; that is, that by it he might put aside as a “transient element” the seventh day, and swing into its place the seventh part of time. For after proving that his example of a transient element is not a transient element at all, he continues:— SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.14

“This serves to illustrate how we may regard the temporal element in the law of the Sabbath. It does not bind us to the precise day, but to the seventh of our time.” SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.15

To the trustees of Dartmouth College, and to the Committee of Award which they appointed, and to the American Tract Society, it may serve to illustrate such a thing; but to anybody who loves truth, sound reasoning, and fair dealing, it only serves to illustrate the deplorable weakness of the cause in behalf of which resort has to be made to such subterfuges. SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.16

Besides this, his admission that the decalogue contains transient elements is directly contrary to the argument that he has already made on this very subject. On page 116, he had already written of the ten commandments:— SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.17

“These statutes are therefore not simply commands or precepts of God; for God may give commandments which have only a transient and local effect; they are in a distinctive sense the word of God, an essential part of that word which abideth.... By the phrase ‘the ten words,’ as well as in the general scope of Hebrew legislation, the moral law is fully distinguished from the civil and ceremonial law. The first is an abiding statement of the divine will; the last consists of transient ordinances having but a temporary and local meaning.” SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.18

Yet directly in the face of this, he will have it freely admitted that the decalogue “contains transient elements.” Are there transient elements in the divine will? Can that which abideth be transient? And if the decalogue contains transient elements, then wherein is it “fully distinguished” from the “civil and ceremonial law,” which “consists of transient ordinances”? The genuine logic of his position is (1) the ceremonial law consists of transient ordinances; (2) the decalogue is fully distinguished from the ceremonial law; (3) therefore the decalogue consists of nothing transient. But with the aid of this five-hundred-dollar-prize logic it is thus: The ceremonial law consists of transient ordinances. The decalogue is fully distinguished from the ceremonial law. Therefore it may be freely admitted that the decalogue contains transient elements!! And so “with the ceremonial system vanished the Jewish Sabbath,” which he defines to be the seventh day, p. 177, 190. By one argument on these transient elements, he manages to put away the precise seventh day, and to put in its place “the seventh of our time;” by another he is enabled to abolish the seventh of our time, as well as the precise seventh day, by which he opens the way to insert in the commandment the precise first day as the “abiding Sabbath” and of “perpetual obligation.” SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.19

Again we read:— SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.20

“While the Sabbath of Israel had features which enforce and illustrate the abiding Sabbath, it must not be forgotten that it had a wholly distinct existence of its own.... Moses really instituted something new, something different from the old patriarchal seventh day.”—P. 134. SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.21

With this read the following:— SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.22

“The first institution of religion given to the emancipated nation was the very same with the first given to man.”—P. 110. SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.23

How the Sabbath of Israel could be the very same with the first given to man, and yet have a wholly distinct existence of its own; how it could be the “very same” with the first given to man, and yet be “something new” 2500 years afterward; how it could be something different from the old patriarchal seventh day, and yet in it there be “still embodied the true Sabbath,” we cannot possibly conceive; but perhaps the genius that can discern in the decalogue transient elements which it proves are not transient at all, could also tell how all these things can be. SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.24

Just one more illustration of the wonderful efficacy of this five-hundred-dollar-prize logic, and we shall close this article. On page 135 he says:— SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.25

“In the Mosaic Sabbath, for the time of its endurance and no longer, was embodied, for a particular people and no others, this permanent institution which was ordained at creation, and which lives now with more excellent glory in the Lord’s day.” SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.26

That is to say: 1. In the Mosaic institution, “for the time of its endurance [1522 years] and no longer,” was embodied an institution which is “rooted in the eternal world” (p. 28), and which is as eternal as the Creator (p. 126); 2. In the Mosaic institution, which was “for a particular people and no others,” was embodied an institution whose “unrelaxed obligation” extends to “every creature,” “to all races of earth and all ages of the world’s history” (pp. 122, 124). SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.27

In other words, in an institution that was for a particular people and no others, for 1522 years and no longer, was embodied an institution that is eternal, and for all races in all ages of the world’s history. SITI February 11, 1886, page 90.1

Now we wish that Mr. Elliott, or some of those who were concerned in paying the five-hundred-dollar prize for this essay, would tell us how it were possible that an institution that is as eternal as the Creator could be embodied in one that was to endure for 1522 years and no longer; and how an institution that is of relaxed obligation upon all races in all ages, could be embodied in one that was for a particular people and no others. And when he has told us that, then we wish he would condescend to inform us how in the Mosaic Sabbath there could be embodied three such diverse elements as (1) The “permanent institution which was ordained at creation,” which was the seventh day; (2) “Something new,” which he says was “not improbably a different day;” and (3) “the institution which lives now with more excellent glory in the Lord’s day,” which he says is the first day of the week. SITI February 11, 1886, page 90.2

We have not the most distant idea, however, that Mr. Elliott, or any one else, will ever explain any of these things. They cannot be explained. They are absolute contradictions throughout. But by them he has paved the way by which he intends to bring in the first day of the week as the abiding Sabbath, and they are a masterly illustration of the methods by which that institution is made to stand. SITI February 11, 1886, page 90.3

Next week we shall notice his Sabbath of Redemption. A. T. J. SITI February 11, 1886, page 90.4

“Notes on the International Lesson. The Second Temple. Ezra 1:1-4; 3:8-13” The Signs of the Times 12, 6, pp. 90, 91.

The Commentary

(February 21.—Ezra 1:1-4; 3:8-13.)

THE glorious kingdom of Babylon had fallen, and the kingdom of the Medes and Persians had taken its place. The captivity of Babylon that was laid upon Judah was now to be broken. The great Nebuchadnezzar had carried away all the people of the land, except a few of the very poorest, to Babylon, “where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths; for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years.” One hundred and six years before they were carried to Babylon, Isaiah had not only said that they should be carried away, but had also said that they should return, and that the temple and Jerusalem should be rebuilt. One hundred and seventy-four years before the feast of Belshazzar and the fall of Babylon, Isaiah had written of both, and of Cyrus in his capture of the city. Thus he called Cyrus by name more than a hundred years before he was born. Then it was that the prophet wrote: “That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure; even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” “He shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 44:28; 45:1, 13. SITI February 11, 1886, page 90.5

ALTHOUGH Isaiah had prophesied the captivity, he had not said how long it should be. Jeremiah told that it should be seventy years. In the year 606 B.C., the first captivity was made, when among those taken was Daniel. Then, exactly when the seventy years ended—B.C. 536—Cyrus issues his proclamation for the return of the captives to their own land, to build the temple of the Lord. And this is a copy of the proclamation: “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God), which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.” SITI February 11, 1886, page 91.1

“THE Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus.” How did the Lord do this? By his angels. In Daniel 10, we read of a time in the third year of Cyrus, when Daniel was greatly concerned about something in connection with the cause of God, and he fasted and mourned and prayed “three full weeks.” At the end of the three weeks, as he was by the River Tigris, a glorious angel stood before him and said, “Fear not, Daniel; for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.” If, then, Daniel’s words were heard the first day, what could have delayed the angel “three full weeks”? He tells: “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days;” exactly the length of time Daniel had been seeking the knowledge which the angel was to give him. That is, the king of Persia was to have some part in the answer to Daniel’s prayers; and the angel had to go to the court of Cyrus, and, by exerting his holy influence there, to bring about the events through which Daniel’s prayer could be answered. And when the angel was to leave Daniel, he said, “Now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia.” Read the tenth chapter of Daniel entire. SITI February 11, 1886, page 91.2

CYRUS, however, was not the first king of the Medo-Persian power after the fall of Babylon. In Daniel 5:30, it is said: “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.” And in Daniel 11:1, the same angel of the tenth chapter says: “Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I stood to confirm and to strengthen him.” Darius reigned two years, when he died, and Cyrus succeeded to the kingdom; and as the angel stood with Darius the Mede; and with Cyrus in his third year, to influence him so that Daniel’s prayer could be answered, it is certain that it was by the influence of his holy angel that the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus to let go the captive people of God. SITI February 11, 1886, page 91.3

“HE hath charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem.” How did Cyrus learn that God had charged him to do this? Daniel was in the court of the kingdom of Babylon during the whole of the captivity; and when Babylon had fallen, and Darius the Mede had taken the kingdom, he says: “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; in the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” Daniel 9:1, 2. Then when Cyrus came to the throne in 536, at the expiration of the seventy years, it is certain that Daniel showed him the word of God by Isaiah saying: “Thus saith the Lord to Cyrus whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him,” “He shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives.” Thus Cyrus knew that God had charged him to build him a house. SITI February 11, 1886, page 91.4

IN answer to the proclamation made by Cyrus, there were 42,360 people, besides their servants and their maids that numbered 7,337, and 200 singing men and singing women—49,897 in the whole company—who returned to Jerusalem. Joshua the son of Jozadak was high priest and Zerubbabel was appointed governor. When they reached Jerusalem, they immediately set up “the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon.” “From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the Lord. But the foundation of the temple of the Lord was not yet laid.” SITI February 11, 1886, page 91.5

THEN the chief of the fathers “offered freely for the house of God, to set it upon his place. They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work.” The amount of these gifts was about $500,000, an average of ten dollars for each person—man, woman, child, servant, and maid—in the whole company. But the merit of the service was that they gave it “freely” and of “their ability,” and the blessing of the Lord, in abundance, came upon both their gifts and them. “For God loveth a cheerful giver,” and “if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” 2 Corinthians 8:12; 9:7. SITI February 11, 1886, page 91.6

WE do not wonder that “when the builders laid the foundation of the temple,” “the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” They had given freely of their ability, and they had a right to rejoice. When the first temple was to be built, the people offered willingly. “Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord; and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.” 1 Chronicles 29:9. If there were more, and more cheerful, more willing, giving to the cause of God, there would be more genuine rejoicing in God and in his truth. Try it. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” God does “love a cheerful giver.” SITI February 11, 1886, page 91.7

A. T. J.