The Present Truth, vol. 12


The Present Truth, Vol. 12 (1896)


January 2, 1896

“The True Relation of the Church to the State” The Present Truth, 12, 1.

E. J. Waggoner


The church is the body of Christ. We read that God set Christ at His own right hand in the heavenly places, “and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1:22, 23. “He is the Head of the body, the church.” Colossians 1:18. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 1.1

The body that is severed from its head is a dead body. That body which has an outward connection with the head, but which does not respond to the thoughts of the head, and does not move in harmony with them, is paralysed, and is the same as dead. So that so-called church which is not prompted in all its acts by the thoughts and Spirit of Christ, is not the true, living church of Christ. It has a name to live, but is dead. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 1.2

Christ is “the Head of the body, the church,” “for it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell.” Colossians 1:18, 19. The fulness that dwells in Him is the fulness of God. Colossians 2:9. It is the fulness of grace and truth. John 1:14. “And of His fulness have all we received.” John 1:16. The church, which is His body, is “the fulness of Him that filleth all and all.” Ephesians 1:22, 23. Both Christ and His true church have the same “fulness,” namely, that of God. They are one. “As He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17. Therefore, PTUK January 2, 1896, page 1.3

The relation of the church to the State is identical with the relation of Christ to the State. Of course speaking of “the church,” we mean the church of the Bible, and nothing less. The professed church of Christ which presumes to assume a different relation to the State from that which He occupied when on earth, is false to Him and to its profession. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 1.4


But the church is composed of members, and the interests and duty of the whole body is the interest and duty of each individual member. “We are many members, yet one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” Romans 12:5. “Whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” 1 Corinthians 12:26, 27. The church as a whole sustains the same relation to Christ that each individual member sustains. “The Head of every man is Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:3. “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.” 1 John 2:6. Therefore we have the further unavoidable conclusion, that PTUK January 2, 1896, page 1.5

The relation of each individual member of the church to the State is identical with the relation of the church itself to the State; and this, as we have seen, is identical with the relation of Christ Himself to the State. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Romans 8:9. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 1.6


What now do we mean by “the State”? When we speak of “the State,” without any qualifications expressed or implied, we do not refer to any particular State or form of government, but to earthly government, as distinct from the government of God. Neither do we mean law-makers and rulers alone, since they would be nothing without people under them. And since all the world is under some form or other of human government, the term “the State” is really synonymous with “the world.” Therefore we have the final, unavoidable conclusion, that PTUK January 2, 1896, page 1.7

The relation of the church and of each member of it, to the State, is simply the relation of Christ to the world. Our task then is to consider from the Bible what that relation is, and to apply it practically to ourselves. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 2.1


In the first place, and including everything else, the relation of Christ to the world is one of love and sacrifice. “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. This is as true of Christ as of the Father, for He “loved us,” and “gave Himself for us.” See Galatians 2:20; Revelation 1:5. He said, “The bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:51. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 2.2

This means that the attitude of the church and of each member of it, to the world and to each individual in the world, whether ruler or subject, whether official or private citizen, is to be one of salvation, and not of condemnation and reproach. “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17. Christ said to the rebellious Jews, “Do not think that I will accuse you unto the Father.” John 5:45. To His disciples He said, “Ye are the salt of the earth.” “As My Father hath sent Me, so send I you.” John 20:21. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 2.3

Another text which shows at the same time the relation both of Christ and of His true disciples to the world, is 2 Corinthians 5:19, 20; “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. So then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ’s stead, Be ye reconciled to God.” PTUK January 2, 1896, page 2.4

That is, we are now, as members of Christ’s body, to do the same work that Christ did when He was on earth in the flesh. We are “in Christ’s stead,” “ambassadors for Christ.” God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, and now He appeals to the world through the church of Christ, just as He did then through Christ Himself. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 2.5


In order to save men, Christ came as one of them. He had all honour and authority, but He could not have reached men if He had come to them in the form of a king. It would have shut Him away from the common people, for however kind He might have been, they would have been diffident in His presence, because of His office. So He “emptied Himself,” and “took upon Him the form of a servant.” Philippians 2:5-7. God says, “I have exalted One chosen out of the people.” Psalm 89:19. Christ was one of the people, not above them, except in goodness and meekness. The poorest and humblest did not shrink from Him, because He was one of them. There was no barrier between Him and the common people. When one wished Him to assume a position of authority in worldly matters, He said, “Man, who made Me a judge or a divider over you?” Luke 12:14. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 2.6

We, as followers of Christ, are exhorted to let the same mind be in us that was in Him. Philippians 2:5; 1 Peter 4:1. When two disciples, thinking that Christ’s kingdom was of this world, asked for places of honour and authority in it, He said to them all, and to us as well, “The princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you; but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant; even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 2.7

The disciples of Christ, therefore, cannot hold offices of power and authority in the governments of earth. The chief reason why not, and the one that is sufficient in our present study, is that such positions of authority are inconsistent with the character of servants. It is not difficult for anybody to see that it would have been incongruous for Christ to hold any office whatever under the government, or to have anything to do with politics. Now if a Christian at the present day is really like Christ it should be as incongruous for him to occupy such a position as it would have been for Christ. If it seems natural and right for professed Christians nowadays to be politicians, it is simply because the standard of Christianity has fallen below that of Christ. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 2.8

Christ broke down every barrier that would separate the common people from Him. He was simply one of the common people, sympathising with them, and helping them in their needs. Whoever consents to occupy any position that is above that of the most common people, except as the meekness of the Spirit of Christ may elevate his character above theirs, is not a true representative of Christ, but is elevating himself above Christ in this world. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 2.9

Again, Christ says: “My kingdom is not of this world.” John 18:36. Therefore His people are not of this world, as He says, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John 15:19. In His prayer for them, and for us, He said, “The world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:14. How can a man be a part of the machinery of the world, to carry out the plans of the world, and not be “of the world”? It is impossible to be a part of the world, and still not be of the world. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 2.10


The force of Christ’s statement that we are not of the world, in connection with the subject before us, is seen more clearly when we read the words penned by the Apostle Paul: “Our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20. A man cannot consistently have an active citizenship in two countries at the same time. If we are citizens of heaven, then we are not of this world; if we choose to be known as citizens of this world, the same as those who do not profess to be “partakers of the heavenly calling,” then we break off our allegiance to heaven. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 2.11


Consider this point further. “If ye are Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29. If we are not Abraham’s seed, then we are not Christ’s. But if we are Abraham’s seed, then we shall walk as Abraham walked. Read John 8:39 and Romans 4:11, 12. Abraham and those who were heirs with him of the promise, “confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declared plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly; wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He hath prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:13-16. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 2.12

Note the statement, “They that say such things declared plainly that they seek a country.” What things? Why, those who say that they are strangers and pilgrims on the earth, such ones declared plainly that they seek a country, that is, an heavenly. Their confession that they are strangers and pilgrims is the plainest declaration that could be made to that effect. But if they do not by their actions as well as their words confess that they are strangers and pilgrims, then of course they do not declare that they seek for any different country from this present world. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 3.1

Christ, the Seed of Abraham, was likewise a stranger and a pilgrim on this earth. He was only a sojourner here; in the world, yet utterly separate from it. If we are not in the same position, then we are not Christ’s. Why should Christians in this generation sustain any different relation to the world than in the days of Abraham and of Christ? The Spirit of God by Peter shows that they will not, for he exhorts them “as strangers and pilgrims.” 1 Peter 2:11. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 3.2

Now this expression is not a mere form of words or figure of speech. It was strictly and literally true of Abraham, of Christ, and of the apostles. The words of the Bible are not used for sound, nor to fill up space, but mean just what they indicate. The terms “pilgrims and strangers,” and “sojourners,” when applied to Christians on this earth, and the statement that their citizenship is in heaven, mean that they occupied the same relation to the governments of this world that a citizen of any country on earth would occupy if he were travelling in a foreign country. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 3.3

It needs no argument to show that it would be highly inconsistent for such a traveller to interfere with the affairs of the country where he might be sojourning for a short time. He could not expect to hold office. If he wished to, he could do so only by adopting it as his own country, and severing his connection with his former country. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 3.4

An Englishman or an American travelling in Russia, Turkey, or China, would find himself subjected to many inconveniences. He would find many things not to his liking. He would be annoyed by laws and regulations which he might consider unjust; yet he would not think of trying to set those things right by seeking to amend or abolish the laws. Neither would he, if he were wise, make bitter comments upon the government. He would know that he had no business to interfere with the affairs of the country, and would quietly submit to the inconveniences, consoling himself with the thought that he was going to stay but a little while. Even so should Christians,-citizens of the heavenly country, and pilgrims and strangers on this earth,-do when subjected to the annoyances of unjust laws here below. They can be patient until the coming of the Lord, knowing that it will be but a little while till their travelling days are done, and they rest in a quiet habitation. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 3.5


“But,” some one will ask, “If the stranger were grossly ill-treated, and especially if he were unlawfully dealt with, would he not be justified in appealing to his own government for protection?” PTUK January 2, 1896, page 3.6

Certainly he would, and so the Christian stranger on this earth may do, even as Christ Himself left us an example, that we should follow in His steps; “who, when He was reviled, reviled not again, when He suffered, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.” 1 Peter 2:23. His disciples have the privilege of doing the same, with the assurance that they will not appeal in vain; for “I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor.” Psalm 140:12. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 3.7

Another thought in connection with seeking for or depending upon the protection of earthly governments. It is a fact that the protecting power of the State is simply its fighting power. The British government, which is always so prompt to protect British subjects in whatever part of the world they may be, and to demand instant apology or reparation for any insult or injury to one of them, does so only on the strength of its army and navy. If it were not for its powerful men-of-war, it would have no power whatever to protect its citizens. A mere request from the government, with no power back of the request to force compliance, would be unheeded. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 3.8

Now if we as Christians ask for or depend upon the protection of the State, we are asking it to fight for us, if mere words do not suffice. But the servants of Christ cannot fight. He said, “If My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight.” John 18:36. His kingdom is not of this world, and therefore they cannot fight, either in their own behalf or for somebody else. He is the Prince of peace, and His true servants are as He is. If therefore they may seek the protection of the State, they occupy the inconsistent position of saying to the State, “We cannot fight for ourselves, because that is wrong; will you not please fight for us? But bear in mind that we would not fight for you, if you should ask us to.” It would not be simply inconsistent; it would be wicked. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 3.9

But the best of all is that Christians do not need the protection of earthly governments. Their King will be their protection when all the governments of earth are arrayed against them. For them to ask the protection of the State, therefore, would be to distrust and dishonour the power and willingness of the Lord to protect them. See Ezra 8:21-28. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 3.10


Christ’s servants cannot fight, because their Master is the Prince of Peace, and they are sent in His stead to preach peace. They are ambassadors for Christ, to carry the message of the Gospel of peace to the world; not to a few people only, but to “all people” (Luke 2:10), to “nations, and tongues, and kings.” Revelation 10:11. As such they are not to ally themselves with earthly governments, nor in any way to interfere in their affairs, since those governments exist only by the power of the sword. To do so would be disloyalty to their King and country. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 4.1

As ambassadors they have nothing to do with maintaining their own rights. They are charged only with the duty of maintaining the honour of their King and Government, and in upholding His rights. God has a right to every man’s service, and His ambassadors are standing for His rights, when, in Christ’s stead, they induce men to become reconciled to God. While they are doing this work, the strength of their home Government, that is, the Government of heaven, is pledged to their support and protection. Earthly governments can only avenge insults to their ambassadors after they are committed; but God is able not only to execute vengeance, but to restrain wrath. When the fathers, to whom the promises were made, and whose children we are if we are Christ’s, “went from one nation to another, and from one kingdom to another people, He suffered no man to do them wrong, yea, He reproved kings for their sakes, saying, Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm.” Psalm 105:13-15. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 4.2


This is one of the most important features of the subject, and it is of the most practical interest to us at the present time and for the time to come. But the same principles with which we started will guide us here. The relation of the church to the persecuting State is identical with the relation of Christ to His persecutors; and the relation of each member of the church to the persecuting State is the same also. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 4.3

The exhortation to us is, “Consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:3, 4. Christ did resist unto blood, striving against sin, without thinking or becoming discouraged. It is when we fail to consider Him, that we become weary and faint, and in that condition we fret and give utterance to expressions that are not Christlike. Let us take a few moments to study Him as we are constantly to consider Him. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 4.4

Consider Him in the Judgment hall, and on the cross. “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth.” Isaiah 53:7. “When He was reviled, He reviled not again.” 1 Peter 2:23. One of His revilers was so struck with His meekness and forbearance, that he was won even on the cross. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 4.5

“He was taken from prison and from judgment.” Isaiah 53:8. His trial and execution were wholly unjust and illegal, and He was convicted only on the testimony of hired, false witnesses. Read Matthew 26:59-62. Yet not one word of “righteous indignation” or reproach did He utter, nor did He even “ask only for His rights;” and in this He “suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 4.6

Some one may say, “But Christ knew that His hour had come, and that He must necessarily suffer at that time, or else He would have done differently.” Yes, He did know that His hour had come. Before that His enemies had many times tried to seize Him and put Him to death, “but no man laid hands on Him, because His hour was not yet come.” John 7:30. When at last He was taken, and He said to Pilate, “Thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above.” John 19:10. He came to this world to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37), and He witnessed a good confession before Pontius Pilate. 1 Timothy 6:13. “As He is, so are we in this world.” If we as Christians are called to bear witness before governors and kings, we may have the same assurance that Christ had, that they can have no power against us except what is given from above. So we need not worry about ourselves, but may give our whole attention to the Lord’s business. If we are walking “in the light as He is in the light,” we may know that no harm can come to us if our hour has not come; and if it has come, we may meet it even as He did. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 4.7

Not only did no words of reproach against His persecutor fall from the lips of Christ, but none appear in the record of His sufferings. On the cross He prayed, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Thus He illustrated His own words to us, “I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 4.8

Praying for our enemies is incompatible with holding them up to contempt and scorn, or seeking to have punishment executed on them for their misdeeds. The Lord has taught us to pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us.” Now if we claim that we do pray for them that despitefully use us and persecute us, and at the same time publish them as dastardly miscreants, and hold them up to the indignation and scorn of others, and ask for the strength of a law to be visited on them, we virtually say that we wish the Lord to treat us in the same way. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 4.9

But God does not do that way. He “upbraideth not.” “He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.” Psalm 103:10. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself,” not doing or saying anything that would tend to drive the world from Him. He was drawing them; and this He did by “not imputing their trespasses unto them.” 2 Corinthians 5:19. Holding men up to scorn or reproach is not the way to draw them. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 4.10

Of course this does not mean that we are to call evil good, or that we are not to show people their sins. We are sent to save them, and they cannot be saved from their sins if they do not know them. But this must be done in love, and with no other desire than to save their souls. Love will not lead to the saying of a word that will wound the feelings of any, or cause others to hold them in reprobation. When we have in our hearts the love for sinners that Christ had, we shall know very well how to deal tenderly with sinners without compromising the truth. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 4.11

It may be thought that by setting forth in glaring colours the injustice and maliciousness of persecutors, we can excite in others such indignation that they will shun the same course, and be led to accept the truth. But we must remember, first, that the salvation of the persecutors is just as important as the salvation of anybody else, and, so far as we know, just as possible. And, second, that “the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” James 1:20. Indignation and bitterness against persecutors has nothing in common with the Spirit of Christ, and can never lead one to Christ. Such a spirit is but a face of the spirit of persecution itself, and may easily develop into the same persecution. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 4.12


Let us go back of the trial and crucifixion of Christ, to consider a still greater manifestation of His love and tenderness for those who were seeking His life. In the washing of His disciples’ feet, we have one of the most wonderful and touching exhibitions of the love of Christ for erring and malicious men. It shows us how He laboured to save them. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 5.1

Before going further, read John 12:1-8 together with Matthew 26:6-16, and John 13:1-30. Read these scriptures carefully, and note the following points:- PTUK January 2, 1896, page 5.2

Judas was angry because the woman used the ointment upon Jesus, instead of selling it and putting the money into the treasury. He even influenced the other disciples to protest against the “waste.” But they did not know that Judas was a thief, and that he was angry because he could not get the money for himself. Jesus, however “needed not that any should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.” John 2:25. Therefore He knew that Judas was a thief, and that he had been stealing from the treasury. He knew also the hypocrisy of his pretended care for the poor. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 5.3

Judas resented the gentle reproof of Jesus, and, in order to get revenge, and at the same time to satisfy his avarice, he went at once to the chief priests, and made a bargain to sell his Lord to them. Jesus also knew this. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 5.4

Six days afterward came the passover, when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, as told in John 13 The devil had already put in the heart of Judas to betray Jesus (verse 2), who knew all about it, yet Jesus washed the feet of Judas with the rest; for we read that while He was washing their feet Jesus said, “Ye are clean, but not all. For He knew who should betray Him; therefore said He, Ye are not all clean.” Verses 10, 11. Judas did not go out until after Jesus had finished washing their feet, and had sat down again to supper. See verses 21-30. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 5.5

Think of it! Judas had already bargained away the Lord. To be sure he did not realise what would be the result, even as few men realise the end of their actions. But it is true that there was in his heart bitter envy and hatred against the Lord, and maliciousness which involved murder. Jesus knew all this, yet He washed his feet. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 5.6

There was never on earth a baser deed than that of Judas. The Roman soldiers cruelly abused the Lord; but their trade was to shed blood, and they knew nothing of Jesus except that He was a condemned criminal. The priests and rulers were more wicked, for they had heard the gracious words of Christ, and had seen His mighty works of love and compassion. But their wickedness was not equal to that of Judas, for he had been the intimate “familiar friend” of Jesus. He had lived with Jesus, and had been the recipient of His goodness. He had had evidences of His Messiahship and of His goodness, that none other of His persecutors had. At the time of the Passover supper Judas was meditating the basest act of treachery ever known on this earth; yet Jesus, against whom it was directed, and who knew all about it, lovingly washed the feet of that, His cruellest enemy. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 5.7

Why was it?-“For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” In that He taught us not only to love the brethren, but also love for our enemies. Since Judas was the basest of all base men, there can be no question but that what Jesus did for him He would as readily have done for any other man in the world. He would as readily have washed the feet of the chief priests, or of Pilate, as of Judas. Therefore if we do not have such love in our hearts for all men, even those who may be seeking our life, as would lead us to wash their feet if occasion served, then washing the brethren’s feet is but a form, and we are not following the example of Christ. It is a small thing to love the brethren, who loved us; but the example of Jesus teaches more than this. It teaches the tenderest love towards our bitterest and basest enemies. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 5.8


Note further that Jesus treated Judas just as He did the other disciples, although He knew his heart, and that he was planning to betray Him. There was not an act, not a gesture, not an expression, not a tone of voice, not even a look, that betrayed to the other disciples the fact that Judas was a traitor. Jesus knew that the devil had already put into the heart of Judas to betray Him, and that he had already made a bargain, yet He did not hold up his case for the indignation of the other disciples. There was no difference in His demeanour towards the sullen Judas and the loving John. In this Jesus was showing His method of dealing with the worst sinners. He was giving us an example. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 6.1

What led Jesus to act in this way? Did He force Himself to it? Did He make a mighty effort to conceal His feelings? Certainly not. There was no guile in Him. He had nothing to conceal. There was nothing in His heart but love. He loved the erring Judas with the tenderest love. We have much to learn of the greatness and the tenderness of God’s love for sinners, and we can learn it only as “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Then we can labour for the salvation of our persecutors even as for that of our most devoted friends, having no thought of their unkind and unjust treatment of us. Then we shall occupy the same relation to the world that Christ did, who came not to condemn the world, but to save the world. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 6.2


For remember that what Jesus did was for the sake of Judas himself, as well as for the sake of the other disciples and for us. He desired to save Judas. Up to the moment that Judas received the sop, and went out, there was a possibility of his repenting, and abandoning his wicked purpose. Look again at the narrative. Before the Passover the devil had put into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus. But Judas had not yet done it. Jesus was always loving and kind, seeking to save the lost, having “compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way.” Hebrews 5:2. What could more strongly tend to melt the heart than to see Jesus at one’s feet to wash them? What a depth of kindness and tender love it revealed! What a desire to win the erring? How Judas must have had to steal his heart to resist it! At last the decisive moment came. Jesus said that the one to whom He should give a sop, should betray Him. Judas, in spite of the Divine love that had been manifested toward him, took the sop, thus finally committing himself to the awful deed; “and after the sop Satan entered into him.” John 13:27. The die was cast. Even then Jesus had no harsh words for him. Knowing that there was now no hope that Judas would repent, He simply said, “That thou doest, do quickly.” Then Judas went out from the presence of the One who loved him with an everlasting love, and who had been drawing him with lovingkindness. But the fact that he received the grace of God in vain does not in the least diminish the force of the example for us. May it not be lost upon us. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 6.3


We need not turn from this scene, when we consider the case of Saul of Tarsus, for it presents but a continuation of the same love of Jesus for His enemies. In Saul we have one to whom the grace of God was not applied in vain; yet most of us would have been likely to look upon him as a hopeless case. He “persecuted the church of God, and wasted it.” Galatians 1:13. He was “exceedingly mad” against the disciples, persecuting them unto death, entering into houses to drag men and women to prison, pursuing them even to strange cities, and compelling many to blaspheme. See Acts 8:3; 22:4, 19; 26:9-11. No man could ever be a more persistent and bitter persecutor than Saul was. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 6.4

And he had heard the truth, too. He had disputed with Stephen, and had heard his last, inspired testimony. If we should see such a man in these days, how ready we should be to post him as a hardened wretch, unworthy of the notice of honest, respectable people. How natural it would be to think that the only use he could be put to would be to point him out as a terrible example. And yet that very man was all the time “a chosen vessel” to carry the truth to people and kings. His labours in the cause were “more abundant” than those of all the rest of the apostles. 1 Corinthians 15:10. With such an example before us, how dare Christians ever regard any bitter persecutor as beyond the hope of salvation? And if there is a possibility of saving any man, how dare Christians do or say one thing that could have any other tendency than to win them to Christ? Much less, how could we desire that their lives should be taken in retaliation for their persecution? Think of the wicked inconsistency of professed followers of the Prince of Peace, who came to save life, not to destroy it, asking for the lives of their enemies! running the risk of cutting off men in their sins who might be saved. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 6.5

Paul himself suffered the same treatment that he had dealt to the church. Talk about injustice! where will you find it, if not in the imprisonment of Paul? Every Roman governor before whom he appeared agreed that he had done “nothing worthy of death or of bonds,” yet he was kept bound. For two years Felix kept him in prison simply in order to get a bribe from him, and finally left him in prison, to gratify the spite of the Jews. Acts 24:26, 27. Yet even after the thing was done, we have only the barest statement of the fact, without one word of comment as to the meanness of the persecution against him. Why was this?-It was because the Spirit of Christ was in the men who wrote as well as in the men who suffered. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 6.6

In the case of the apostles, as well as in that of Christ, we see the true relation of the church to the State, because “great grace was upon them all.” Filled with the Spirit of Christ, they had no thought but of love for the souls even of their bitterest enemies, and an intense desire for their salvation. May God grant that the same “great grace” may not be received by us in vain, and that we may so “consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself,” that we may learn that “the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle and unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure would give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” 2 Timothy 2:24-26. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 6.7

“What grace, O Lord, and duty alone
Around Thy steps below;
What patient love was seen in all
Thy life and death of woe.
PTUK January 2, 1896, page 7.1

“Thy foes might hate, despise, revile;
Thy friends unfaithful proof;
Unwearied in forgiveness still,
Thy heart could not only love.
PTUK January 2, 1896, page 7.2

“Oh, give us hearts to love like Thee!
Like Thee, O Lord, to grieve
Far more for others’ sins than all
The wrongs that we received.”
PTUK January 2, 1896, page 7.3

“Items of Interest” The Present Truth, 12, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

-The latest photograph of the heavens shows 68,000,000 planets and stars. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.1

-The silverware belonging to Queen Victoria’s table is valued at ?2,500,000. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.2

-The number of criminal convictions in Great Britain has declined 37 per cent. in the last 22 years. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.3

-Ostrich-taming is a very profitable industry in Africa, where it is computed there are over 150,000 tame birds. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.4

-South Africa’s revenue is largely increased this year, and it is surmised that the surplus for the year will be a quarter of a million. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.5

-The Kingstown, Ireland, lifeboat crew, numbering fifteen, lost their lives by the capsising of the lifeboat in the terrible gales of last week. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.6

-It is stated that the number of horses and mules employed in army service at the present time is about 27,000, the number being somewhat in excess of the establishment. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.7

-Latest statistics show than there are at present seventeen Roman Catholic diocesan bishops in England and Wales and seven in Scotland, in addition to one archbishop and two bishops of titular sees. The total number of priests in Great Britain is 3,014, and these serve 1,789 churches and missions. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.8

-A Warsaw linguist has invented a new language, as a rival to Volapuk, which has made little progress. The latest attempt at a universal language professes to have made it possible to learn the grammar in a few hours and the vocabulary in a low days. The author says he has already 10,000 able to talk and write it. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.9

-The United States has, in proportion to its population, the smallest standing army of any nation. It consists of 27,959 men. With a view, perhaps, to the spirit of war which seems to be working among the people the military authorities recently obtained returns of the men available in case of a forced enlistment. These same to 9,144,500. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.10

-A French naval engineer, resident in Liverpool, claims to have discovered a means of solidifying petroleum. It can, he says, be made as hard as marble. Three cubic feet represent the bulk of a ton of coal, and will continue combustible as long as 50 tons. Atlantic-going steamers, which now require 5,000 or 6,000 tons of coal, will henceforth only require 2,000 tons of petroleum blocks, and at the same time will be able to do the voyage in four days. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.11

-A concrete bridge, having a clear span of 164 feet and 26 feet wide, has been constructed over the river Danube, at Munderkingen, in Austria. It is stated that, while stone is scarce and costly there, good Portland cement is produced in large quantities. In building the bridge the centring was covered with oiled paper, on which was laid the concrete. Blocks of this concrete have shown a resistance of 187 tons per square foot in seven days, 235 tons in 28 days, and 308 tons in live months. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.12

“Back Page” The Present Truth, 12, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

The Seventh-day Adventist printing and publishing house in Christiania, Norway, has been fined 100 kroner (about ?5 10s.), under the Factory Act, for Sunday labour. The technical offence with which they were charged was that of allowing persons to work on Sunday, who do not keep the Sabbath, a few being employed in the works who are not Sabbath-keepers. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.13

The religious journals and the ministers, with very few exceptions, on both sides of the Atlantic deprecate the idea that there should ever be war between Great Britain and the United States of America, either over the Venezuelan boundaries or anything else. That is well, and is what ought to be expected; for the two nations are really but two sections of one nation, having a common language and common interests. Both countries would have everything to lose, and nothing to gain, by a war, no matter which gained the technical victory. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.14

If this peaceful talk between the people of the two countries were the result of love for peace itself, and utter abhorrence of all war and strife, it would be a cause for rejoicing. But such is not the case. There has not been in the United States any expression of disapproval of the war in Cuba, but rather a hope that the Cubans may succeed. We have heard very little, if any, protest in England against the war with Ashanti. And, worse still, the ministers and the religious press in both England and the United States are loudly demanding that war, even to extermination, be made on Turkey. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.15

The New York Independent complains bitterly that “our missionaries are not protected,” and asks that “a strong detachment of marines, not less than four hundred,” be sent to Marash, to protect missionaries and missionary property. At the West London Mission the statement was made on “Peace Sunday” that the time had come when “we should send word to the Sultan that unless murder and outrage are instantly stopped we would bombard Constantinople;” and the New York religious journal just mentioned asks, “How long shall such a government be endured?” PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.16

Yet these same people will sometimes quote, “The powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” At the same time they are encouraging the Armenians to rise up against the Turkish power, and are demanding that it be overthrown by the bombardment of cities, by which not only property, but the lives of men, women, and innocent children may be destroyed. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.17

When people read the thirteenth of Romans, they seem to think that it means simply that “Our Government” is ordained of God. The English Government being a good Government is of course ordained of God. But the Scripture makes no distinction. The Turkish Government, or even that of Ashanti, is as truly ordained of God as is the Government of England or the United States. When the Apostle Paul wrote, there was no such thing as a “Christian nation” on earth. The Emperor Nero was on the throne of the world, and Christians were slaughtered by him without mercy. It is doubtful if another such monster of cruelty ever lived before or since his day. Yet the power was “ordained of God.” PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.18

Imagine the Apostle Paul calling for vengeance on Nero, and asking that Rome be assaulted with engines of war! Yet it would have been no worse than for ministers to call for the bombardment of Constantinople. For Christians to have resisted the Roman Government, because of the abominations of Nero, would have been to bring damnation upon themselves. What makes it any different now, when the provocation is not nearly so great as it was then? PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.19

We are not apologising for cruelty and wickedness; but wickedness on the part of a heathen or a Mohammedan cannot be made right by wickedness on the part of professed Christians. Revenge doesn't right a wrong. To resist the Government of Turkey is to resist the ordinance of God just as surely as it would be to resist the Government of England or the United States; and Christians will not resist or denounce even their worst enemies or bitterest persecutors. The time has come when Christ’s professed followers must decide whether they will follow Him or not; whether His words are practical, everyday life, or not. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.20

Our readers will remember that the PRESENT TRUTH of Dec. 5 contained a copy of a letter that had been sent to the Home Secretary, stating the result of the working of the Factory Sunday law. Following is a copy of the reply that was received, which many of our readers may have seen in the newspaper press:- PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.21

Whitehall, 13th. December 1895.

With reference to your letter of the 1st. instant, drawing attention to the operation of Section 21 of the Factory and Workshop Act, 1878, in as far as it affects the printing works of the International Tract Society at 451 Holloway Road, I am directed by the Secretary of State to acquaint you that the matter has received his very careful consideration; but, as the law at present stands, the Seventh-day Adventists cannot be exempted from the penalties consequent upon a breach of the Factory laws as to Sunday labour. The Secretary of State does not think that the number of the sect afford any hope or reason for legislation to alter their position. I am, sir, your obedient servant, KENELM E. DIGBY. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.22

All that is necessary to be said about this reply is, that the letter to the Home Secretary was not an appeal for any exemption to Seventh-day Adventists. It was written for the sake of Her Majesty’s Government, that they might, if they wished, free themselves from the responsibility of a wicked law-a law that is wicked, not because it oppresses Seventh-day Adventists, but because it defies the law of God. It is just as wicked to impose a Sunday law upon a non-Sabbath-keeper as to seek to enforce it upon a seventh-day observer. The wickedness is in the law, even if it be kept, and not in the fines which it imposes on those who disregard it. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.23

At some other time we shall call attention more at length to the admission that numbers, and not considerations of right and justice, are what influence those who have the framing and administration of the laws. PTUK January 2, 1896, page 16.24