The Signs of the Times, vol. 15

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The Signs of the Times, Vol. 15

1889

January 7, 1889

“Front Page” The Signs of the Times, 15, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

The Rome correspondent of the New York Observer writes to that journal that the denizens of the eternal city are jealous of the influence of the Jesuits in the councils of the Papacy. This powerful society in many cases has gained possession by intrigue or influence of the property belonging to the suppressed Brotherhoods, all the priests are left in their poor and unhealthy abodes and are expected to save the masses and attend the funerals for small pay. Every new house opened or new privilege accorded to the Jesuits arouses the jealousy of the lower clergy. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.1

The Evangelist of December 13 has an article on Christianizing New York City, in which its call is not for means and churches, but men. It says: “The work to be done is of a sort for which our city pastors in general are wholly unfitted.” “What is needed here is that divine power of sympathy, in the presence of which all distinctions are nothing. That is the magnetism which flows like an electric current from heart to heart.” Emphatically true. And why are not just such men needed in the great churches? Would Jesus of Nazareth be so highly educated and trained that he could not go out and preach to the poor? Or would he need a “professional education” in order to meet the demand in our great and popular temples, called churches? What is needed by the world is converted men, men converted to Christ in his truth, both in the great churches and in the mission hall. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.2

At the Washington Convention of the National Sunday Association, the chairman, Col. Elliott F. Shepard, said that he was “glad to welcome the Roman Catholics in any work in which they could be induced to join.” Some will be moved to ask whether the Sunday movement is a Protestant movement or not. If it is Protestant, then is there any difference between Protestant and Catholic? If professed Protestants are glad to welcome Roman Catholics in any work in which they can be induced to join, do they not thereby cease to be Protestants? We commend to those who are courting Roman Catholic influence and help, the following editorial utterance fromAmerica, under the date of December 6, 1888:- SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.3

“If anyone believes that there has come a change over the policy and purposes of the Vatican, because the Pope indorses the President’s Thanksgiving proclamation, he must forget the model of the church, Semper idem, and that history proves that Rome never changes. It modifies its means, but it never surrenders its aims. It stoops to conquer. Woe to the republic which accepts its patronizing condescension as significant of approval of republican institutions!” SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.4

The Russian mission to the Vatican has obtained from the Pope important concessions. Leo sanctions the deportation of Bishop of Vilna to Siberia, accepts Government candidates for certain important positions in the Roman Church in Russia, and consents to the use of the Russian language in the Catholic Churches in that country. The concessions are thought to be due to the French influence. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.5

The Jewish Times and Observer thinks “that Judaism has a great mission before it,” but it concludes that “if a part of that mission is to transform the Jewish Sabbath [Sabbath of Jehovah] into Sunday services we think the slower the progress the better it will be for Judaism.” And we say,Amen. One of the hopeful signs to Protestants that the Jews are soon to embrace Christianity is that many no longer keep the Sabbath, and now hold Sunday services. If conversion to Christianity means the transgression of a single command of God’s holy law, deliver the Jews for Christianity. But it does not mean this. Christ died to redeem man, not only from sin (Matthew 1:21), but from sinning (Titus 2:14; 1 John 2:6; 3:6); and sin is the transgression of the law. 1 John 3:4; Romans 7:7. If the Jews are to be converted, or are to make progress, it will not be in the direction of violation, but observance, of God’s law; and God’s law can only be observed through the grace of Christ. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.6

On the 24th ult. the Pope delivered an address to the Sacred College, which is said to have been unusually violent and bitter. The “great infallible” said that he was thankful for the blessing that had come to him on the occasion of his jubilee, but he complained bitterly of the treatment which the Papacy has received from the Italian Government. He said, “The whole world sees and what a painful situation I am placed.” Again in referring to hostile acts of the Italian Government, he said, “One can only ask, How far will they go?” “At the present time,” says the dispatch, “a systematic war is being waged. Even the person of the Pope is exposed to the threats of the mob.” The fact that the bishops in other lands are laboring for the restoration of the Pope’s temporal power was referred to as showing that the interests of the whole Catholic Church are bound up in the cause of the Papacy. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.7

It is evident that not only the Pope, but the whole Catholic world, is terribly in earnest in urging the restoration of the temporal power of the Papacy, and indications are by no means lacking which show that Leo’s frequent bids for active sympathy are not in vain. With only two exceptions, all the great powers of the world have virtually acknowledged the Pope as a civil ruler, and it would not be a matter of surprise at any time if a majority, if not all of them, were to unite in demanding of Italy practical recognition of the political “rights” of the supreme pontiff. The Papal head of the great beast of Revelation 13:1 has been “as it were wounded to death,” but the deadly wound will be healed, and “all the world shall wonder after the beast.” Verse 3. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.8

“A Solemn Question” The Signs of the Times, 15, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

If your probation should close this very hour, would it be well with your soul? If you were told that in an hour your case would be for ever decided, would it arouse consternation in your breast? Would you want to take back those hasty, impatient words that you spoke this morning? Would you tremble to think of the Judge finding you committing the act which he did last night, or are even now contemplating? If so, then you are in a dangerous condition, for you know not but this may be your last hour. There will come a last hour for you, and you have no warrant that it will be different from the present. How necessary, then, that we ever live in the light of God’s countenance. What a blessing to the world such a life would be. “Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.9

Talents are nurtured best in solitude, but character on life’s tempestuous sea. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.10

“Confidence toward God” The Signs of the Times, 15, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Psalm 5:3. Thus wrote the psalmist David in the innocency and integrity of his soul. He could not have written thus if he had not been able to write as in verse 1: “Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my meditation.” Looking up is a sign of hope and courage, and of a clear conscience. The guilty child hangs its head, and the criminal is afraid to look the officer of law in the face. Thus Ezra, when identifying himself with his people, said: “I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God; for our iniquities are increased over our head.” Ezra 9:6. But the man whose heart is pure, whose thoughts are of God, and who meditates in his law day and night, can look up, not in self-confidence, but in the strength of Christ. “But thou, O Lord,” says David, “are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” Psalm 3:3. He whose heart is free from guile may look up, and he shall behold the beauty of the Lord, for the pure in heart shall see God. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.11

“Look Up” The Signs of the Times, 15, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

The Lord does not want people to look down. If they do, like Bunyan’s man with the muck rack, they will see only the straws, the sticks, and the rubbish of earth, and not the crown that is above them. God is in Heaven; but that which is of the earth is earthy. By beholding we become changed. So then if we look down, we become groveling in our disposition; if we look up, we may behold the glory of the Lord, and be changed into the same image. Here is an argument against despondency. The discouraged despondent man hangs his head. But when he does that he can see only himself, and so he adds to his despondency. Not only so, but by beholding only that which is imperfect, he becomes more and more assimilated to that which is imperfect. Satan makes an easy prey of the doubting, despondent man. How much better to say with the psalmist: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1, 2. Besides this we are expressly enjoined to look up at this time. After speaking of the signs of his coming, Christ said: “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28. Who are living so that they can daily rejoice in hope of the glory of God? SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.12

“The Christian’s Lever” The Signs of the Times, 15, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

Archimedes is quoted as saying: “Give me a place on which to rest my lever, and I will move the world.” But the Christian has a lever that is infinitely greater than that, for it will move not only the earth, but heaven also. And he has a place on which to rest, too. The lever is faith, and its resting-place is the throne of the eternal God. Hear what David says of the time when he was in deep trouble, and cried unto the Lord. “He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly; yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.” “He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.” Psalm 18:9, 10, 16. Read verses 1-19. Truly “there is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky.” Deuteronomy 33:26. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.13

“The Penalty Eternal” The Signs of the Times, 15, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

In a letter recently received, a clergyman in Nebraska intimates that he has objections to the doctrine that “the penalty of the transgression of the moral law is not eternal,” seeming to have the idea that we hold to that view. We are happy to say that we do not believe any such doctrine; and we hope he never will believe that the penalty for sin-the transgression of the moral law-is not eternal. If he now believes that the penalty is eternal, he is correct, but he may be in error as to what that penalty is. However, the Bible is very plain on that point, as a few texts will show. First we quote the Saviour’s words in Matthew 25:46:- SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.14

“And these [the wicked] shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal.” SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.15

This is plain. The word “everlasting” is from the same Greek word as “eternal,” in the same verse, and the statement shows that the punishment of the wicked and the reward of the righteous will be of equal duration. Now read what this punishment of the wicked is to be. The apostle Paul says that- SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.16

“The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.17

These two texts are sufficient to decide the matter. In addition we quote the words of Paul: “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23. The penalty for the transgression of the law is death, and that death, when once inflicted, will be as lasting as the Government of God. This follows from the fact that the day of grace will then have passed. There will be no more pardon for sin, and so of course those upon whom the death penalty is inflicted, must rest under it forever. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.18

The popular error concerning the punishment of the wicked lies in the supposition that it consists solely of torment. But that is a mistake. The wicked are likened to “the chaff which the wind driveth away” (Psalm 1:4), and we are told that Christ will “burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:12. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.19

It is not in the nature of man to exist eternally in the midst of fire; but the wicked are to be cast into a lake of fire. Revelation 21:8. The psalmist says of the Lord: “A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about.” Psalm 97:3. And again: “But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs; they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.” Psalm 37:20. The prophet Nahum also says of the wicked: “For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry.” Nahum 1:10. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.20

That there will be torment and anguish in connection with the punishment of the wicked would naturally follow from the fact that fire is to be the agent of their destruction. Not only so, but the apostle Paul expressly declares that God will render “indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil.” Romans 2:8, 9. But this tribulation and anguish is not the sum of the punishment of the wicked, for the same apostle declares, as already quoted, that it is to be everlasting destruction. When the penalty is death, a man may suffer greatly in dying, but it cannot be said that he has received his punishment until death ensues. And when death shall have taken place in the case of the finally impenitent, it will be everlasting. “They shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is The Lord of hosts.” Jeremiah 51:7. “They shall be as though they had not been.” Obadiah 16. W. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.21

“Praise Ye the Lord” The Signs of the Times, 15, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

It is recorded but once that the apostle Paul sang. And that instance was not such an one as would naturally inspire song. It was not after a pleasant, happy, unmolested meeting, or at the social board, or to while away weary hours; it was in the dark, damp, cold prison cell, with back ridged and raw from lashes, and feet fast in the stocks-a position most intolerable. The feet must be elevated to be put in the stocks, and the only easy position is to lie down. But Paul and Silas were deprived of any rest even in this way; for their backs were sore from the beating. But prayer brought a greater victory than was wrought by Samson’s strength; faith claimed the promise, and the wearied prisoners “sang praises unto God.” The grace and peace of God swallowed up all the pain and unpleasant surroundings. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.22

Paul’s great Prototype, for whom he suffered joyfully, is recorded as having sung but once. And when was that? on the mount of transfiguration? or after his resurrection? No; it was just before his betrayal, just before the agony of Gethsemane, just before the darkness of the cross. And Jesus knew that the sufferings were before him; yet with faith in that Father who was too wise to err, too good to prove unkind, he could sing: “Praise ye the Lord.” “The Lord is my strength and my song, and is become my salvation.” “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; because his mercy endureth forever,”-expressions found in Psalm 113 to 118, which were sung on paschal occasions. If there was more praise to “Him from whom all blessings flow,” there would be greater blessings. “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me,” saith the Lord. Truly “it is good to sing praises unto our God.” SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.23

“A Servant of Jesus Christ. Romans 1:1” The Signs of the Times, 15, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

There are some words and expressions which, by their very frequency of occurrence, make but little impression upon us. We are so familiar with them that we read them and speak them as a matter of course, scarcely thinking that they have any meaning. One such expression is that which begins the epistle to the Romans, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ.” Two other of Paul’s epistles, the one to the Philippians, and the one to Titus, as also Peter’s second letter and the epistles of James and Jude, begin in the same way, and in other places the apostles style themselves, or are styled, the servants of God and of Christ. The prophets, also, and Old Testament worthies, as Moses, Joshua, etc., are called servants of God. That this is more than a catch phrase, and that it is of the deepest significance, will be apparent as we study it. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.24

The Greek word which is translated “servant” in these instances is doulos, doulos, and is defined by Liddell and Scott as “properly a born bondman, or slave.” It was the regular Greek word for a slave, and was often used of the Persians and other nations subject to a despot. The Revised Version has “bond servant” in the margin of Romans 1:1, as the equivalent of the word rendered “servant.” SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.25

We may accept the word, “slave,” therefore, as the one which the apostle uses to show the completeness of his subjection to Christ. We have, therefore, only to study the condition of a slave, to know not only how Paul regarded himself, but how all who really serve God must hold themselves. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.26

A slave is one who is the entire property of another. He cannot dispose of his time nor his actions as he will, but only as his master directs. Neither can he hold property in his own right. His strength is his master’s; and if he earns anything, that which he receives belongs to his master. In the days of American slavery, negroes were often hired out to men who were not their masters, and often they earned large wages, but not a cent of it could they call their own. When their master bought them, they brought no property of their own, and all that they could expect for their service was enough to sustain life. Their time and strength were as absolutely their masters as were those of the horses with which they worked. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.27

Now compare this with what we find set forth in the Scriptures as the proper condition of Christians, who are servants of Christ. Says the apostle Paul: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. Notice the completeness of the subjection. We are not our own, and therefore we cannot have a word to say as to what we shall do. The will of God, and his glory, is to direct us in everything. So the apostle says: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.28

But there is another thought suggested by the word “slave,” as applied to Christians, and that is that they have been reduced to servitude from a previous condition of rebellion. Although, as the Lexicon says, the Greek word for “slave” signifies “a born bondman,” it is a fact that by natural birth no person is a servant of God. By nature we are all the children of wrath. Paul classes himself with us when he says: “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.” Titus 3:3. And in another place he thus contrasts the different kinds of servitude in which men may live:- SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.29

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Romans 6:16-18. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.30

Before any man becomes the born bondman of Christ, he has to be born again. But this new birth implies a previous death, and that death is by crucifixion. See Galatians 2:20. Now crucifixion was a form of punishment inflicted on only the worst class of men, and its use as applied to those who thereby become Christ’s, shows a previous condition of rebellion. “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7. The words of the Lord to Isaiah, concerning the people of Israel, describe the condition of all men by nature:- SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.31

“Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever; that this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord.” Isaiah 30:8, 9. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.32

From this rebellious state we are brought into the condition of servants. As it has aptly been expressed, we capitulate, and accept the terms of peace. We become subject to God. The word “subject” or “subjection” carries with it also the relation which we should sustain to God. It comes from two Latin words meaning “under the yoke,” and is derived from the Roman custom of erecting a yoke and causing those whom they had conquered in battle to pass under it, as a token of their complete surrender. This ancient custom also explains the act of David, in putting the men of Rabbah “under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron,” and making them pass through the brick kiln. 2 Samuel 12:31. It was the same as making them pass under the yoke, as a token of their being his servants. So Christ calls us to, “Take my yoke upon you.” Taking the yoke of Christ upon us is to yield ourselves completely to him, for him henceforth to rule every act and every thought. As Paul expresses it, it is “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5. SITI January 7, 1889, page 1.33

Right here it should be noticed that true service to Christ is willing service. We are his bond-servants, brought into captivity to him, but it was love that bought us, so that we gladly submit. As Olshausen says of Paul: “He had been overcome by the redeemer, conquered and subdued by his higher power. But as one not merely outwardly conquered, and still disposed to resist, but inwardly subdued, Paul had at the same time become a willing instrument for executing the purposes of the Lord as an apostle.” SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.1

Moreover, although the word rendered “servant” signifies one subject to a despot, that only indicates the completeness of the control which God has over those who are truly his servants, but does not carry with it any idea of degradation. It makes a vast among of difference to whom one is a servant. The servant of a poor, ignorant, coarse man would be a most abject creature. The slave of such a monarch as Nebuchadnezzar might be a high officer of State. So to be a servant of the Most High God is the highest honor that any creature can have in the universe. Angels in Heaven, that excel in strength, do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word, and are glad to declare themselves only fellow-servants with those who on earth are wholly devoted to Christ. Revelation 22:9. SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.2

Again, the slave of Christ is the only free man in the world. Paul says: “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman; likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” 1 Corinthians 7:22, 23. David says: “O Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid; thou hast loosed my bonds.” Psalm 116:16. Here we have bondage and freedom. The man out of Christ is an abject slave; he is “holden with the cords of his sins.” But the moment he yields himself unconditionally to Christ to be his servant, the body of sin is destroyed, and henceforth, if he continues to be the Lord’s servant, sin has no more dominion over him. He is free to do right. His bondage is the bondage of love, and he finds the yoke easy. SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.3

The Lord will not accept divided service. He will not go into partnership with the devil, each having an equal share in a servant. A man must be wholly the Lord’s, or he is not the Lord’s at all. Says Christ: “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24. If, then, we have given ourselves to the Lord as his servants, and then seek in anything to please ourselves only, we rob him of service which is his due. Our strength, both of mind and body, belongs to the Lord, for he says:- SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.4

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” Luke 10:27, with verse 28. SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.5

Now suppose a man indulges a habit which destroys his strength of body and vigor of mind; he is not then the Lord’s slave; he is the slave of sinful indulgence. One man eats more than is good for him, more than he needs. He does so, simply because the food tastes good. That extra quantity of food, instead of increasing his strength, is a tax upon it. Strength that he should have to devote to the Lord is perverted to the service of appetite. Now it matters not what that man’s profession may be, he is not the bond-servant of Christ. If he were, he would glorify God in eating and drinking, as well as in every other act of life. SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.6

Here is a test by which we may settle every question as to the lawfulness or unlawfulness of an act: Will it glorify God? If it will it is not only lawful but necessary. The man who is honest with himself before God in this question can settle which things are unlawful for him, and how far he may go in things that are necessary, as in eating and drinking. SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.7

“But what a hardship,” says one, “to be obliged to rein ourselves up to such a test.” Well, that depends on whether or not we are really the slaves of Christ; whether or not we have willingly, gladly capitulated, accepting his terms, and yielding to his service. If we have, then it is not a task to inquire what will be to his glory, and to do it. We have yielded to him because in his infinite love and mercy he has enabled us to see that there is more to be desired in his service than in our own; and we have made his will our own. He has made us new creatures, giving us a new heart, and new purposes, so that when we do his will we are simply doing our own, for his will is ours, and our will is his. SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.8

“But suppose our will is His, and we have only one longing, supreme desire, namely, to do his will and glorify Him, how can we always do it?” That is answered in the very fact that we are his, wholly his. We are not our own, but have resigned ourselves into his hands as simple instruments of his will. We have no power in ourselves, but he has all power, and can make us what he wishes. And here comes in the encouragement of the thought that we serve a mighty Master, one against whom all the powers of earth and heel combined can do nothing. So when the fierce temptation arises, when the infirmity of the flesh would cause us to fall, we, having the mind of our Master, to hate sin, flee to him for strength, and his strength does what our weakness cannot. SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.9

What comfort in the thought that the whole thing is comprised in simple submission to God. “Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Romans 6:13. God wants us to live holy lives; he has shown the strength of his desire for us to be delivered from evil, by giving his Son to die for us. And since God has such an infinite longing for us to be free from sin, and has such infinite power to accomplish his desires, what can hinder the accomplishment of those desires, if we but yield ourselves to him? No matter how fully we may have been the servants of sin, we now, having become servants to God, are made free from sin, having our fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. Romans 6:22. SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.10

No wonder that Paul was able to accomplish such wonderful things. He was the Lord’s slave, wholly and without reserve, and the Lord simply worked through him. Even while the most conscious of his own weakness, he could say: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.11

God is not partial; he is no respecter of persons. He is as ready to strengthen us with all might, according to his glorious power, as he was the apostle Paul. And so no matter what our inherited or acquired weakness, we may be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation; and when that salvation is revealed, we may be sealed as his servants, to see his face, and stand before his throne, serving him day and night in his temple. Glorious service! Who would not prefer that to the poor, miserable service of self? W. SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.12

“Narcotized by Sin” The Signs of the Times, 15, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

In discussing the fact of the non-church attendance of the masses the Occident says:- SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.13

“The masses on this coast do not attend church because fear is not awakened in them. It is in them as sure as conscience is in them, but it is not aroused. It is narcotized by long sinning and insidious unbelief.” SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.14

This is the exact truth, and is only giving in other words the reason which we assigned a week or two ago, namely, that people do not attend church because of a lack of interest in spiritual things. The Occident says, too, that the consciences of the people are becoming more stupid, but that they “can be aroused.” No doubt they could be aroused, but the question is, Will they be? There is small ground for hoping that such will be the case. Nothing can arouse consciences narcotized by sin except the plain, cutting truths of the word of God, and as the time has come when men will not endure sound doctrine, but having itching ears are heaping to themselves teachers after their own lusts, the probability of there being any general arousing does not seem very great. SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.15

“Institutions Versus Individuals” The Signs of the Times, 15, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

“We want a Sunday law to protect Christians in their worship on that day,” is one of the utterances often heard from National Reformers. It is done to catch the popular favor; for all know that Christians are thus protected now. What State is there in all this commonwealth that does not have laws for the protection of its subjects in their religious worship? Where are Sunday congregations broken up by the lawless without laying themselves liable to heavy penalties? There is quite a difference between protecting the individual who observes an institution and protecting the institution which he observes. All have a right to the first protection. It is the Government’s duty to grant it. It is a mere question of equal rights. But if it is the duty of the Government to protect one religious institution of its subjects, it is its duty to protect all; and thus would follow inextricable confusion; for the number of the institutions is legion, and their name, Babel. We would have transubstantiation, consubstantiation, and real presence, and the symbolic view of the eucharist all legalized by the Government. Immersion and sprinkling and pouring would all be baptism by law. The first day and seventh day would both be legal Sabbaths. But no, this would never do; for the overwhelming majority of the Christians of “the land” “demand the legal protection of but one day, and that the first day of the week.”-Rev. C. M. Westlake, of N.Y. That is just what the clamor for protection to religious institutions means,-the protection of “me and mine,” the equal rights of-a “majority of Christians.” Rome believed in the equal rights of Romanists. The Puritans believed in the equal rights of Puritans. And the religious rights and liberty promised those who may dissent from the authorized code of the future, is of the same merciful character which Rome extended to heretics, and Puritans to Quakers. SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.16

“The Sabbath-School. Resisting the Truth” The Signs of the Times, 15, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

Old Testament History.
(Lesson 3. January 19, 1889.)

(Concluded.)

1. Relate what we have already learned of the work of Pharaoh’s magicians. SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.17

2. What have we learned that they could not do? SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.18

3. What was the second plague that was brought on the land of Egypt? SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.19

4. When plague was stayed, did Pharaoh keep this promise? SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.20

“And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh; and Moses cried unto the Lord because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh. And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields. And they gathered them together upon heaps; and the land stank. But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.” Exodus 8:12-15. SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.21

5. What was the next plague? SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.22

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt. And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.” Verses 16, 17. SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.23

6. Could the magicians repeat this miracle? SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.24

“And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast.” Verse 18. SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.25

7. What were they forced to acknowledge to Pharaoh? SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.26

“Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God.” Verse 19, first part. SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.27

8. In so saying, what did they virtually admit concerning their own work? SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.28

9. What does Paul say will be the character of men in the last days? SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.29

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” 2 Timothy 3:1-4. SITI January 7, 1889, page 7.30

10. Among what people will this wickedness exist? SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.1

“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Verse 5. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.2

11. What will this sort of people do? SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.3

“For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Verses 6, 7. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.4

12. How will they resist the truth? SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.5

“Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth; men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” Verse 8. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.6

13. What other prophecy have we of miracles to be wrought for the purpose of deceiving? SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.7

“And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” Revelation 13:13, 14. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.8

14. What did the Saviour say on this point? SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.9

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Matthew 24:24. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.10

15. By what agency are these lying miracles wrought? SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.11

“For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Revelation 16:14. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.12

16. What name is given to those who in this age do the work which the ancient magicians and sorcerers did? Ans.-Spiritualist mediums. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.13

17. Is there now any indication that the deceptions of Spiritualism will find a place among those who profess godliness? See notes. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.14

18. What does Paul say of those who shall resist the truth by their lying wonders? SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.15

“But they shall proceed no further; for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.” 2 Timothy 3:9. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.16

19. How was the folly of Pharaoh’s magicians made manifest? SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.17

“And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not; so there were lice upon man, and upon beast. Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God; and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.” Exodus 8:18, 19. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.18

“And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast. And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.” Exodus 9:10, 11. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.19

NOTES

It is evident that wherever the principles of Spiritualism are held, whatever manifestations may accompany it will sooner or later be accepted. That almost the whole professedly Christian world is fast getting into a position to readily receive as of heavenly origin all the deceptions of Spiritualism, is evident from the following extracts, which show how universally the principles of modern Spiritualism are held. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.20

In the month of September, 1885, Monsignor Capel, the celebrated Roman Catholic propagandist, delivered a lecture in San Francisco, concerning Spiritualism, of which the S. F. Chronicle, of September 7, gave a report, in which it was said:- SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.21

“Monsignor Capel denied that he had expressed a disbelief in Spiritualism. He had simply left out of the category of possible supernatural manifestations all biological phenomena. Aside from these, Spiritualism was but a misrepresentation of Catholic teaching, and it had been in the world from the beginning.” SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.22

He said, further, that to Catholics the spirit world was as clear as the light of a gas jet; that the dead were but disembodied spirits, with whom they were in daily communication, and to whom they prayed. Thus the great Roman Catholic Church is essentially at one with Spiritualism. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.23

TheSunday School Times, of August 20, 1885, had a long editorial entitled, “What Our Dead Do for Us,” in which the following occurred, among much more of the same nature:- SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.24

“Much of the best work of the world is done through the present, personal influence of the dead.... As a practical fact, and as a great spiritual truth, our dead do for us as constantly and as variously as they could do for us if they were still here in the flesh; and they do for us very much that they could not do unless they were dead.” SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.25

The New York Christian Advocate, of September 8, 1887, contained an article on the death of Dr. Daniel Curry, and which was said:- SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.26

“But he is not gone. We will not say ‘Good-bye’ to him. We will keep him among us still. Reserve that seat in the front pew of the conference. Let the old place be kept sacred. He was not the man to leave his friends. In the thick of battle, in the time of danger or holy communion, in the solemn hour of crisis, he will be there. ‘Are they not ministering spirits?’” SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.27

The Christian Union of November 3, 1887, contained a sermon preached by Dr. Henry M. Field (Presbyterian) at Cornell University, in which he said:- SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.28

“Oh, may the dead ever be with us, walking by our side, taking us by the hand, smoothing the cares from the troubled brow, and pointing us upward to the regions of everlasting light and peace.” SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.29

Many similar passages could be quoted from representatives of all denominations. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.30

The folly of Pharaoh’s magicians was made manifest by their inability to counterfeit all the miracles which Moses performed. So, says Paul, it will be with the last-day wonder-workers. Satan, through his agents, as well as in person, will “show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Matthew 24:24. The miracles which in the past have been given as proof of the power of God, and the signs of the coming of the Lord, will be counterfeited. But they will be cut short in their deceptive career, by mighty wonders which will strike terror to their hearts. The mountains and islands will be moved out of their places, the earth shall be turned “upside down,” the heavens shall depart as a scroll when it is rolled together, and as the deceivers vainly seek for the rocks to hide them from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, they will be forced to acknowledge that “this is the finger of God.” SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.31

“Danger of Resisting Truth” The Signs of the Times, 15, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

Truth is of God; error is of the devil. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5), therefore the truth of God is the light of the world. Christ, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), said also, “I am the light of the world.” John 8:12. That truth is light and error is darkness, is shown also by the words of Jesus to Nicodemus:- SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.32

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” John 3:19-21. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.33

The idea is that those who do the truth will be willing to have the light of truth shine upon them; but they who do evil do not love to come in contact with the truth, because that would reveal the error of their course. There are many more in this condition than is commonly supposed. Some people who condemn others as boldly resisting truth, and rejecting light, are doing the same thing themselves. How many are there who congratulate themselves that “we have the truth,” who have not often shrunk from reading some portions of the Bible, or from some of the plainest and most direct portions of the testimonies of His Spirit? How many are there who have not, at times at least, felt nervous lest some particular sin should be pointed out in plain terms by the servant of God? Such ones are dreading the light, lest the evil that they are cherishing deep in their hearts, scarcely acknowledging to themselves, should be reproved. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.34

The Lord desires “truth in the inward parts.” It matters not how much truth one may process, how firmly one may hold the theory, if he cherishes evil in his inmost heart, so that he dreads the searching light of God’s word, he is resisting the truth just as surely as was Pharaoh, who said, “I know not the Lord; neither will I let Israel go.” He is serving gods of his own devising, just the same as Pharaoh was. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.35

Having thus briefly noted how one may resist truth, let us look at the danger of such a course. Said Jesus:- SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.36

“Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you; for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.” John 12:35. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.37

The opposite of light is darkness. It needs no argument, therefore, to show that when one rejects light, he chooses darkness. God is merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness, yet his Spirit will not always strive with man. He will plead with a man, will stretch out his hands a long time, but when the man hugs his sin to his bosom, persistently refusing to see the light that would show its deformity, the light will be withdrawn. The man who, in the face of the light which God gives, cherishes impure desires and imaginings, and refuses to let them go, is getting ready to shut the last ray of light away from himself. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.38

And what will be the result? He will soon walk in darkness, and will not know whither he goes. The light that is in him will become darkness, and then how great his darkness will be. All this will come to the man whose eye is not single; that is, who has not one aim and only one thing before him, namely, to serve God in spirit and in truth. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.39

When a man has thus shut light away from him, there is nothing bad that he may not be expected to do. How can he be expected to distinguish between truth and error when he is walking in darkness of his own choosing. He may be, in a certain sense, sincere; that is, he may think that he is doing just right, because he is in the dark and all things look alike. There are men to-day in the ranks of blaspheming Spiritualists and blatant infidels, who once preached the plain truth of God’s word, and they are as earnest in their advocacy of error as they were once in their defense of truth. They cannot by any possibility see that which once looked to plain to them. It is now impossible for them to believe truth. Why? Because they received not the love of the truth. They cherish some secret sin which the light of truth condemned. They yielded themselves to the service of Satan, and now they are led captive by him at his will. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.40

Yet such an one will talk about morality, and will imagine that he is continually rising higher in the scale. How is this? Simply because his standard of truth and morality is constantly being lowered. He is continually drawing nearer his ideal, and so becoming as he sinks in the scale of morality, his ideal is lowered to a still greater degree. Terrible delusion! Fighting God and His truth, yet imagining that he is serving God; and what is worse than all, having no power ever again to know what is truth. How can those upon whom the truth shines as clear as the noonday sun, avoid this fate? Only by cherishing every ray of that light. Let it light up every corner of the heart. Say, with the psalmist, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Then shall your path be as the shining light, shining more and more unto the perfect day. W. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.41

“Happy New Year” The Signs of the Times, 15, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

We do not say this to our readers simply because it is customary, any more than we say, “Good-morning,” to our friends simply because that is the conventional expression. From the heart we hope that this new year may be to all the readers of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES a happy one. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.42

We do not wish them such happiness as the world gives, but that true happiness which the servants of God enjoy; that happiness that continues even in the midst of trial and distress, because that very tribulation brings to them in larger measure, and makes more real and precious, the power of Christ; that happiness which does not depend on external circumstances, but which dwells within the individual, so that in the multitude of his thoughts within him the comforts of the Lord may delight his soul. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.43

The past year has been one of great blessings and mercies. God has in a special manner blessed the workers in the office of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES, and we feel of good courage as we begin another volume. We do not contemplate any new departure, but we do expect that the blessing of God will be with us in an increased degree, and that the SIGNS will be made much more efficient than ever before in the line of work which it has been following. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.44

What we shall endeavor to the best of our ability to give comfort, encouragement, and instruction in the way of life and practical godliness, and thus to do our share towards making this a happy new year for our friends, we hope that we may at least have the benefit of their prayers to a throne of grace. Not long shall we have to battle with powers of darkness; soon shall the King descend and crown his waiting people with glory, according to the “exceeding riches of his grace,” and then will begin a glad new year, the joy of which shall continue throughout eternity. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.45

“CHRISTMAS AND NATIONAL REFORM” is the title of a leading article in the Christian Nation of December 19; and the first sentence of the article is, “There is no necessary connection between Christmas and National Reform, and yet there is a natural relation which writers on Christmas do not seem able to escape.” True; there is a natural relation.Both are of the Papacy.Christmas being compounded from “Christ,” a name of our Lord, and “mass,” the Catholic name of a most idolatrous rite. And National Reform is the unholy perversion of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the usurpation of his authority by man. There is a natural relation. That was a happy thought, Mr. Editor. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.46

We are receiving reports from quite a number of churches in regard to the services during the week of prayer, and the holiday contributions to foreign missions. We have made no report of our meetings in Oakland, because we wished all the reports, as far as possible, to appear at the same time. Next week we shall publish all the reports that we have, and we hope to have them all in by that time. If any churches have not reported, they will please do so immediately. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.47

TheCalifornia Prohibitionist chronicles with evident credit to the rumor that the saloon men of San Bernardino will soon close their saloons during divine service on Sundays. What a victory for prohibition and the churches! Now we suppose all the churches will have rest. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.48

“The Signs of the Times for 1889” The Signs of the Times, 15, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

A Sixteen-Page Paper. Published Weedkly, at Oakland, Cal.

FOR THE International Tract Society

With the beginning of the year 1889 the SIGNS OF THE TIMES enters upon its fifteenth volume, which the publishers are determined shall be the best ever published. It will consist of fifty numbers of sixteen pages each making, in the course of the year, 800 pages of the choicest reading matter, classified each week as Editorial, Missionary, Sabbath-school, Temperance, General Matter, and Secular and Religious News, besides Editorial Notes. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.49

EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT

The editorial force upon the SIGNS OF THE TIMES has been increased, and for this and other reasons the publishers feel warranted in promising for the coming year a greater amount and a better variety of matter in the Editorial Department than ever before. In this part of the paper will be discussed in an interesting and readable manner the various phases of practical Christian life and doctrine, embracing the evidence of the divinity of the Scriptures; the fulfillment of prophecy; the signs of the times; the harmony of the law and the gospel; together with everything that pertains to a thorough knowledge of our duties to God and to each other. Educational, social and political questions will also be discussed, the latter, however, only so far as they relate to matters of religion, for with politics as such the SIGNS has nothing to do. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.50

THE SABBATH-SCHOOL DEPARTMENT

The Sabbath-school Department will be largely a running commentary, by the editors, upon two series of lessons, one of which is the regular International Series. These Lesson notes will be of such a character that they will not only be of great service to students in the preparation of their lessons, but will also be perused with interest and profit by the general reader. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.51

MISSION DEPARTMENT

In the Missionary Department will be published reports from the various mission fields, both home and foreign, together with brief descriptions of the fields and their wants. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.52

TEMPERANCE DEPARTMENT

In the past no part of the paper has met with more favor than the Temperance Department. Many temperance societies use the SIGNS regularly in their meetings, and the publishers hope to make this feature of it still more interesting in the future than it has been in the past. This Department will contain not only the very best temperance matter obtainable, but also short articles relating to the preservation of health, including the discussion of proper food and dress, and correct habits of working, eating, sleeping, etc. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.53

HOME CIRCLE DEPARTMENT

This department is fully described by its name. In it will be published short stories of an elevated character, beside short sketches of the history, travel, and biography. Altogether, it will be a most interesting and instructive part of the paper, especially for the young folks, though all can read it with profit. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.54

RELIGIOUS AND SECULAR NEWS

This department will be maintained in perfect keeping with the high moral tone of the paper. The news published will be carefully selected and everything of a low or sensational nature carefully excluded. The design of this department is to enable the reader to keep abreast of the times and the current news of the day without reading a mass of objectionable and offensive matter usually found in the public prints. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.55

ARTICLES ON THE BOOK OF ROMANS

With the first number of the new volume we begin a series of articles upon the book of Romans, which will form a most interesting commentary upon this portion of the word of God. These articles will be distinct, each one being as nearly complete in itself as it is possible to make it. Under the heading of each article will appear the reference to that portion of the epistle covered by the comment, which will enable those who desire to do so to keep the connection of thought; this feature will also be appreciated by those who wish to preserve the articles for future reference, either by clipping and pasting in a scrap-book or by filing the papers which contain them. One object of these articles will be to make it impossible for the careful reader to peruse the epistle to the Romans without getting at least a general understanding of its scope and object. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.56

GENERAL ARTICLES

The general articles published in the SIGNS are the very best selected and original matter of obtainable. The articles are usually short, and always clear and pointed. Much of the matter in this department is written especially for this paper, but selections are also carefully made from the leading religious papers, only the very best being taken. Altogether the publishers feel safe in saying that no other paper published will furnish a greater variety of equally good matter for the year 1889 as will the SIGNS OF THE TIMES. SITI January 7, 1889, page 10.57

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