The Present Truth, vol. 14

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The Present Truth, Vol. 14 (1898)

1898

January 6, 1898

“The Arm of the Lord” The Present Truth 14, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

When Paul stood up to address the assembly in the synagogue at Antioch, he began with this statement:- PTUK January 6, 1898, page 1.1

“The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought He them out of it.” Acts xiii. 17. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 1.2

The arm is the member most used in working; the strength of one's arm represents the strength of its owner. Therefore the arm of the Lord signifies the power of God. Thus it was by the arm or power of God, that the Israelites were delivered from Egypt. David said:- PTUK January 6, 1898, page 1.3

“We heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work Thou didst in their days, in the times of old. How Thou didst drive out the heathen with Thy hand, and plantedst them; how Thou didst afflict the people and cast them out. For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own right arm save them; but Thy right hand, and Thine arm, and the light of Thy countenance because Thou hadst a favour unto them.” Ps. xliv. 1-3. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 1.4

All the power manifested in the deliverance of Israel from Egypt,-the dividing of the Red Sea, the overthrow of the Egyptians, the dividing of the Jordan, and overthrowing of the walls of Jericho, as well as the miraculous provision of food and drink, was the working of God's right arm. “Thou hast a mighty arm; strong is Thy hand, and high is Thy right hand.” Ps. lxxx. 13. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 1.5

Again we read: “O sing unto the Lord a new song; for He hath done marvellous things; His right hand and His holy arm hath gotten Him the victory. The Lord hath made known His salvation; His righteousness hath He openly showed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered His mercy and His truth toward the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.” Ps. xcviii. 1-4. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 1.6

All the wonders connected with the coming of the Lord to save His people, and to punish the wicked, are the operation of the arm of the Lord. Thus the prophet announces: “Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold His reward is with Him.” Isa. xl. 10. Again the power of that arm in effecting the final salvation is thus set forth:- PTUK January 6, 1898, page 1.7

“Awake, awake, O arm of the Lord; awake as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art Thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? Art Thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over? Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head; they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” Isa. li. 9-11. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 2.1

The quaking earth and heavens, the darkened sun and moon, the falling stars, the moving islands and mountains, and the mighty hailstones, that herald the approach of Christ, are all indications of the power of the Lord's arm. “The Lord hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” Isa. Iii. 10. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 2.2

TO BRING SALVATION

But note that last statement: As the result of God's making bare His holy arm, all the ends of the earth shall see His salvation. “Mine own arm brought salvation unto Me.” Isa. lxiii. 5. Herein is rejoicing and not sorrow, in contemplating the devastating power of that arm, as seen in the destruction of the world of the ungodly. All that terrible power is simply the measure of the mighty power by which God delivers His people. Not simply the power by which He will save them when He comes, but the power by which He saves them now from their sins. God's people are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter i. 5. That is, they are kept by the arm of the Lord. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 2.3

With this agree all the Scriptures. The Lord says: “My righteousness is near; My salvation is gone forth, and Mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon Me, and on Thine arm shall they trust.” Isa. li. 5. What a wonderful thought, that those who accept the word and work of the Lord, can trust and find comfort in the very arm that does such terrible things! They dwell in the secret place of the Most High. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 2.4

So passing on from the place where we are told that the Lord shall come with strong hand, and His arm rule for Him, we read: “He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom.” Isa. xl. 11. That mighty arm that can move the mountains as though they were pebbles, that can take up the islands,-the British isles as well-as though they were fine sand, and can shake the earth so that it will reel to and fro like a drunken man, is the arm that gathers and protects the lambs of the flock, and leads the sheep. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 2.5

All the power of that arm is exerted to gather them, and then, when folded to His bosom, they can rest securely in its embrace. “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.” Isa. lxvi. 13. “There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in His excellency on the sky. The eternal God is Thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deut. xxxiii. 26, 27. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 2.6

CHRIST THE ARM

Once more, “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground; He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” Isa. liii. 1, 3. Christ is the arm of the Lord, and especially Christ crucified. A helpless infant; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; unable Himself to do anything; despised and rejected of men; thought to be stricken, smitten of God, and as a malefactor hung upon the cross for the jeers of the mob, He was nevertheless the arm of the Lord, that brings salvation, the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Cor. i. 24, 25. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 2.7

All the mighty power of God is manifested in the cross of Christ. Who of the men of the world believed that in that little babe in the manger in Bethlehem, or in the poor, despised man hanging on the cross, there was the power that could move the world? God's strength is made perfect in weakness. For “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are; that no flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Cor. i. 27-29. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 2.8

The comfort for us is that no matter how poor we are, no matter how insignificant and despised, no matter how ignorant and sinful, the arm of the Lord is all sufficient for our salvation. Yea, it is in just such conditions that the glory of its power is most manifest. God does not despise the poor and the outcast, for there is where His own arm is. Then praise the Lord when you hear of the stretching forth of that mighty arm; and if it proceeds to shake terribly the earth, then cling the closer to it, and nestle the more confidingly in the bosom of the Almighty, for there is everlasting safety. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 2.9

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” Ps. xlvi. 1-3, 11. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 2.10

“Making No Difference” The Present Truth 14, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

The Lord makes no difference between men in the matter of salvation, since there is in reality no difference among men in the matter of sin. But the Lord does put a difference between sin and righteousness, and pronounces a woe upon those “that call evil good, and good evil.” Isa. v. 20. It is therefore painful to see Christian people unconsciously labouring to obliterate the distinction between good and evil. For example, a Christian journal bewails the fact that “the daily press is almost entirely hostile to the movement” for the Sunday-closing of public-houses, and refers with approval to the Echo, as an exception, quoting the following as a trenchant statement of the case:- PTUK January 6, 1898, page 2.11

The seller of drink and drinkers alike enjoy freedom which is denied to those who would enjoy right sources of recreation and instruction. Why should not the spirit-seller be put on the same level as the ordinary shop-keeper? PTUK January 6, 1898, page 2.12

Of course neither the Echo nor the religious paper which endorses it, means to stand as the champion of the drink-traffic; but the question, “Why should not the spirit-seller be put only the same level as the ordinary shop-keeper?” shows the actual tendency of the movement to close public-houses on Sunday only. The success of it will entrench the spirit-seller to a degree never before known. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 2.13

“Mingling Darkness with Light. Origin of Sunday Observance” The Present Truth 14, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

A reader of PRESENT TRUTH sends us the following letter of inquiry:- PTUK January 6, 1898, page 3.1

In following the articles in your valuable paper by Mr. A. T. Jones, relating to the Papacy, I find he has said that ages before the fourth century the idolatrous people celebrated the 25th December. Can you tell me how long before that time it was celebrated? and can you tell me how long before the resurrection of our Saviour the idolatrous people kept Sunday? Will you kindly answer through PRESENT TRUTH? PTUK January 6, 1898, page 3.2

The last question should properly be answered first, for it will go a long way toward answering the others, if we know that the idolatrous people of old never “kept” Sunday, in the sense that the word “kept” is understood by Christian people to-day. A Sabbath day, a rest day, is something that no heathen religion has ever known. Just as the religion of Jesus Christ is the only religion that ever existed in the world, which offered to people rest from their sins, saying, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden: and I will give you rest;” so the religion of Christ is the only religion that has ever had a rest day. Christ gives rest from sin, by virtue of His power as Creator-the power of the cross,-of which the seventh day is a sign. Other religions have holidays and festivals; Christianity alone has the Sabbath. When we speak of Christianity we mean the religion of the Bible, whether in the day of Abel, Abraham, and Moses, or Paul. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 3.3

Both Christmas and Sunday are festivals connected with sun worship. Numerous citations might be given, but our space admits of only that which is very direct. Of Constantine's Sunday law, Dean Milman (“History of Christianity,” Book iii.) says:- PTUK January 6, 1898, page 3.4

The rescript commanding the celebration of the Christian Sabbath bears no allusion to its peculiar sanctity as a Christian institution. It is the day of the sun, which is to be observed by the general veneration. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 3.5

“The venerable day of the sun” is the title by which Constantine referred to the day-a title which shows its ancient connection with sun worship. It was very natural that he should not allude to “its peculiar sanctity as a Christian institution,” for it had none. Nobody at that time had ever thought of Sunday as the Sabbath day; so far as a Sabbath day was observed, it was the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, between which and the first day of the week all professed Christians made a clear distinction. Chambers’ Encyclop?dia, Art. Sunday, says:- PTUK January 6, 1898, page 3.6

Unquestionably the first law, either ecclesiastical or civil, by which the Sabbatical observance of that day is known to have been ordained, is the edict of Constantine, 321 A.D. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 3.7

Constantine's law simply required that tradespeople should abstain from labour “on the venerable day of the sun,” but said: “Let those who are situated in the country freely and at full liberty attend to the cultivation of their fields.” Yet the Church historian Mosheim, himself an advocate of Sunday, says that by this law Constantine required Sunday “to be observed more sacredly than before.” It was not till after the partial Reformation, that the notion of Sunday as a sacred day came into the church. It was the Presbyterians, who wished to be independent of Rome, and who therefore felt obliged to find some other ground for Sunday observance than that of Rome, who first quoted the fourth commandment as authority for it. So much for Sunday. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 3.8

As to the Christmas festival, we quote from the Rev. Dr. Philips Schaff, who states the case very concisely:- PTUK January 6, 1898, page 3.9

The Christmas festival was probably the Christian transformation or regeneration of a series of kindred heathen festivals-the Saturnalia, Sigillaria, Juvenalia, and Brumalia-which were kept in Rome in the month of December, in commemoration of the golden age of universal freedom and equality, and in honour of the unconquered sun, and which were great holidays, especially for slaves and children.-Church History, volume 1, section 77. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 3.10

That Dr. Schaff did not say this in any spirit of hostility to the festival, appears in the following further statement:- PTUK January 6, 1898, page 3.11

Had the Christmas festival arisen in the period of the persecution, its derivation from these pagan festivals would be refuted by the then reigning abhorrence of everything heathen; but in the Nicene age this rigidness of opposition between the church and the world was in a great measure softened by the general conversion of the heathen. Besides, there lurked in those pagan festivals themselves, in spite of all their sensual abuse, a deep meaning and an adaptation to a real want [this by way of excuse]; they might be called unconscious prophecies of the Christmas feast. Finally the church Fathers themselves confirm the symbolical reference of the feast of the birth of Christ, the Sun of righteousness, the Light of the world, to the birth festival of the unconquered sun, which on the twenty-fifth of December, after the winter solstice, breaks the growing power of darkness and begins anew his heroic career. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 3.12

He further states that the feast celebrating the birthday of the sun “is the feast of the Persians’ sun-god Mithras.” In a translator's note to Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History (Book 3, Century iv., part 2, chap. iv.) we read:- PTUK January 6, 1898, page 3.13

From the first institution of the festival, the western nations seem to have transferred to it many of the follies and censurable practices which prevailed in the pagan festivals of the same season, such as adorning the churches fantastically; mingling puppet shows and dramas with worship, universal feasting and merry-making, Christmas visits, and salutations, Christmas presents and jocularity, and Christmas revelling and drunkenness. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 3.14

These things were not transferred to the festival, but transferred with it. Since beginning this article we find in the Christian World of Dec. 16, a quotation from Dr. John Hall, of New York, protesting against the association of “Santa Claus” or any secular idea with Christmas, upon which the paper says:- PTUK January 6, 1898, page 3.15

We doubt whether Santa Claus will lie frightened away by this deliverance. Christmas was a festival before Christianity came in, and the mirth-making-shall we say the pagan element of it?-got into the race so deep and early that it will take a great deal more than the fulminations of the stalwart New York Presbyterian to dislodge it. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 3.16

All that now remains to be answered is, When did the celebration of these festivals begin? They are doubtless as ancient, or nearly so, as sun-worship and to that no definite answer can be given. The citations already given show that sun-worship was very ancient. It is, indeed, the most ancient form of idolatry; for when men began to worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator (Rom. i. 25) the sun would naturally be the first creature after themselves-to attract their attention. Of one thing, however, we may be certain: Truth is more ancient than the most ancient error, and will exist for ages after error has been banished from the universe together with its worshippers. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 3.17

“A Feature of State Religion” The Present Truth 14, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

The St. Petersburg correspondent of the Daily Mail writes to that paper as follows concerning some Russian methods of conversion:- PTUK January 6, 1898, page 7.1

The authorities in the government of Samara, Russia, have recently been actively engaged in the criminal pursuit of kidnapping children. In the Busulykski district all parents known to belong to heterodox sects have had their children taken from them. The police usually make their visits in the middle of the night, take the children out of bed, and carry them off in the cold night air, in spite of the frantic entreaties of the parents. Many peasants have lost their whole family in this way. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 7.2

This practice of kidnapping children is increasing in all pars of Russia. lt is, of course, a gross abuse of official power, and an illegal attack on the religious freedom established by statute in Russia. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 7.3

There are doubtless few, if any, other so-called Christian lands where such a proceeding would be tolerated, at least not at present; and yet Russia is only consistently carrying out a sentiment that is rapidly taking possession of all governments and societies, a sentiment that is the basis of nearly all organised reform, namely, that the individual is nothing and the State or society is everything. The whole tendency is for the majority to decide what is the right course to pursue, and then let the individual conform to it or suffer the consequences. The kidnapping of the children of so-called heretics in Russia, is the natural and logical result of a church-ruled State. Let any class of religionists claim the monopoly of religion in any country in the world, and have the power to enforce their claims, and the same thing would be done that is being done in Russia. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 7.4

“Back Page” The Present Truth 14, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

Japan has nearly two hundred ships of war now in process of construction. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 16.1

“No student of affairs,” says a weekly journal, “can be blind to the fact that history is being made with marvelous rapidity in these days.” PTUK January 6, 1898, page 16.2

Our next book Study in the columns of PRESENT TRUTH will be the Epistle to the Galatians. The entire epistle will be covered in about eighteen or twenty numbers. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 16.3

A thing that is plain cannot be explained, that is, it cannot be “made plain,” since it is so already. Thus: “John goes to school” is a simple statement of fact, and it cannot be made any plainer. All attempts to “explain” the statement would simply be aggregations of words which would either have no meaning at all, or else would serve bewilder the listener. The only possible result of any attempted explanation of such a simple proposition is to call the attention away from the fact stated. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 16.4

The fourth commandment is composed of a series of just such simple statements of fact. After the commandment proper, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” we have these statements: (1) The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. (2) In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, etc. (3) He rested the seventh day. (4) Therefore He blessed the Sabbath day, and sanctified it. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 16.5

These are as plain statements of fact as is the statement that “John goes to school,” or that “the sun shines.” They cannot be made any plainer. All that can properly be done with them is to believe theirs, since “the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Every so-called “explanation” of the commandment is either a direct contradiction of it or else such a mass of verbiage as serves to confuse the unfortunate person who is persuaded to put confidence in it. If anyone knows where the fourth commandment is stated in plainer terms than in Ex. xx. 8-11, we should be glad to have it shown to us. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 16.6

The Greek Church authorities, as we notice elsewhere in this paper, are kidnapping children, in order to see that they are brought up in “the Church.” Speaking of this, a Russian exile told the Daily Chronicle the other day:- PTUK January 6, 1898, page 16.7

The sect on which this new form of persecution has fallen most terribly is the Molokan, or Sabbatarians, so called because they keep the Sabbath on Saturday instead of Sunday. Like all the Puritan sects, they are a very peaceful and industrious people, going their own way in the fear of God. But they do not observe the fasts, nor attach any particular sanctity to priests, and they allow anyone who knows the Bible well to preach to them. That is all; and now their children are torn from their homes. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 16.8

We learn from the Good Health that the sanatorium in Battle Creek (U.S.A.) has a large patronage from the public, and has on its roll of physicians and nurses, and has on its roll of physicians and nurses, and those taking the nurses’ and medical missionary training course at the main institution and in its Chicago branch a total of 664 men and women, all consecrated to the world of the Lord. Adding the other workers employed by the institution brings the number up to 1,010. And this, and other similar, though no so large, institutions in America, and various other parts, under the direction of Seventh-day Adventists, are devoted to Gospel health work. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 16.9

A letter from Dr. Ottosen, editor of Sundhelsbladet, a Danish journal devoted to the dissemination of the principles of healthful living, states that interest in the subject is greatly increasing. Although the new Sanatorium at Skodsborg, near Copenhagen, is not yet ready for the reception of patients, several have already engaged rooms for the whole of next summer, and the prospect is that it will be overcrowded from the very beginning. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 16.10

“The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals seems” says a morning paper, “to be meeting with no little difficulty in its attempt to suppress the plucking of live birds, a cruel practice that is said to improve their flesh, especially in the case of geese. Several English farmers have been summoned for this practice within the last few weeks, but in no case has a conviction been obtained, which seems to justify Charles Lamb's reproach that if an additional flavour were imparted by it animals would whipped to death.” PTUK January 6, 1898, page 16.11

The American correspondent of the London Freeman says:- PTUK January 6, 1898, page 16.12

The daily papers are amusing themselves with a report form a town in Kentucky, where the minister of what is called the “Christ” church preached a sermon in which he affirmed that there is no devil, upon which “the congregation took offence, and when the reverend gentleman attempted to speak again he was ejected from the house and about twenty pistol shots were fired after him.” This may have changed his mind or else convinced him that there were a number of orphan children in his audience who were prepared to do the works of their father. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 16.13

“The Outlook” The Present Truth 14, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

The Outlook .-“The New Year opens amid martial mutterings,” says one morning paper in its political survey. Another great paper says:- PTUK January 6, 1898, page 16.14

The year 1808 is likely to be full of anxiety.... Look where we may, there never was a more restless time. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 16.15

There is upon the earth “distress of nations, with perplexity,” and men of the world who are not blind to the restlessness of the time are anxiously “looking after those things which are coming upon the earth.” But above all the nations is God, the Lord. Now let every heart truth Him and rest in Him. “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for you redemption draweth nigh.” Luke xxi. 25-28. Blessed promise of peace amidst the world's perplexities, and of rest amidst its restlessness! PTUK January 6, 1898, page 16.16

“The ‘Good Health’ Magazine” The Present Truth 14, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

The “Good Health” Magazine .-This monthly magazine, from which we have often reprinted most excellent articles, as our readers know, may now be obtained through our agents. It is edited by Dr. J. H. Kellogg, of the Battle Creek (U.S.A.) Sanatorium, and has long had a circulation by post amongst many in the United Kingdom who are interested in the Gospel of healthful living. Now we shall be able to supply it direct, at the published price, 5d. The December number, which was somewhat delayed, has just arrived, and we believe that every one who purchases it and reads it will desire it regularly. Some of the leading articles are: “Are We a Dying Race?” “An Island Paradise,” “A Portable Shower Bath,” “Complications in Measles,” “The Hygiene of Childhood,” “How to Stop the Use of Alcohol,” “The Body the Temple of God,” and scores of other contributions to the whole subject of living, and of caring for the body in health and disease. We heartily recommend this magazine to our readers, for we know it will prove a blessing to every home where it is read. PTUK January 6, 1898, page 16.17