The Signs of the Times


November 6, 1884

Science Falsely So Called


In these days when skepticism and infidelity so often appear in a scientific garb, we need to be guarded on every hand. Through this means our great adversary is deceiving thousands, and leading them captive according to his will. The advantage he takes of the sciences, sciences which pertain to the human mind, is tremendous. Here, serpent-like, he imperceptibly creeps in to corrupt the work of God. ST November 6, 1884, par. 1

This entering in of Satan through the sciences is well devised. Through the channel of phrenology, psychology, and mesmerism, he comes more directly to the people of this generation, and works with that power which is to characterize his efforts near the close of probation. The minds of thousands have thus been poisoned, and led into infidelity. While it is believed that one human mind so wonderfully affects another, Satan, who is ready to press every advantage, insinuates himself, and works on the right hand and on the left. And while those who are devoted to these sciences, laud them to the heavens because of the great and good works which they affirm are wrought by them, they little know what a power for evil they are cherishing; but it is a power which will yet work with all signs and lying wonders,—with all deceivableness of unrighteousness. Mark the influence of these sciences, dear reader; for the conflict between Christ and Satan is not yet ended. ST November 6, 1884, par. 2

If Satan were to make an open and bold attack upon Christianity, it would bring the Christian at once to the feet of his mighty Deliverer, who alone could put the adversary to flight. He does not generally do this. He is artful, and knows that the most effectual way for him to accomplish his designs is to come to poor, fallen man in the form of an angel of light. In this disguise he works upon the mind to allure from the safe and right path. He has ever been ambitious to counterfeit the work of Christ, and establish his own power and claims. He leads deceived mortals to account for the works and miracles of Christ upon scientific principles; he makes them appear as the result of human skill and power. In many minds he will thus eventually destroy all true faith in Christ as the Messiah, the Son of God. ST November 6, 1884, par. 3

Satan worked in a similar manner when through Moses the power of God was manifested in Egypt. He well knew that Moses was chosen of God to break the yoke of bondage from off the children of Israel; and he also knew that in this work Moses was a type of Christ, who was to come to break the reign of sin over the human family, and to deliver those who were captives to its power. He was aware that when Christ should appear, mighty works and miracles would be wrought by him, that the world might know that the Father had sent him. He trembled for his power. He resolved to accomplish a work which should answer a twofold purpose,—(1) To destroy the influence of Moses as the servant of God, by using his agents to counterfeit the true work of God; (2) To exert an influence by his work through the magicians which would reach down through all ages, and in many minds destroy true faith in the mighty miracles to be performed by Christ when he should come to this world. ST November 6, 1884, par. 4

It was the power of God, and no human influence or power possessed by Moses, that produced those miracles wrought before Pharaoh. Those signs and wonders were designed to convince Pharaoh that the great “I AM” had sent Moses, and that it was the duty of the king to let Israel go that they might serve the living God. Pharaoh called for the magicians to work with their enchantments. They also showed signs and wonders; for they wrought not by their own science alone, but by the power of their god, the devil, who through them ingeniously carried out his deceptive work. Yet even here the power of God was shown to be superior to that of Satan; for the magicians were unable to perform all the miracles which God wrought through Moses. Only a few of them could they do. The magicians’ rods did become serpents, but Aaron's rod swallowed them up. And when they sought to produce lice, and could not, they were compelled to acknowledge even to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” ST November 6, 1884, par. 5

Satan was unwilling to have the children of Israel released from bondage that they might serve God. He wrought through the magicians in a manner to harden the heart of the tyrant against the miraculous manifestations of God's power. He also thought to stagger the faith of Moses and Aaron in the divine origin of their mission, and then his instruments would prevail. But after the magicians had failed to produce the plague of lice, they could no more imitate Moses and Aaron. God would not suffer Satanic deception to proceed further. His controlling power cut off the channel through which Satan worked, and even the instruments through whom Satan wrought so wonderfully could not save themselves from the plagues. We read: “The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.” ST November 6, 1884, par. 6

When Christ came to earth, Satan renewed his attack. He came to the Saviour in the wilderness in the form of a beautiful young man,—more like a monarch than a fallen angel,—with Scripture in his mouth. Said he, “It is written.” He spread the world before Christ in the most attractive light, and intimated to him that he need not endure so much suffering to gain its kingdoms; Satan would yield all his claims if Christ would but worship him. ST November 6, 1884, par. 7

Satan was dissatisfied in Heaven because he could not be first and highest in command, equal with the Father, exalted above Christ. In the wilderness he hoped to gain advantage through the weakness and suffering of Christ, and obtain from him that homage which he could not win in Heaven. Could he have succeeded, then the plan of salvation would have failed, and mankind would have been plunged in hopeless misery. But Jesus yielded not to the suggestion of the tempter for a moment; on the contrary, he asserted his superior power by bidding him, “Get thee hence.” Satan was baffled. He then turned his attention to accomplishing his purpose in another way,—by winning from the human race that honor which was refused him in Heaven, and by Jesus on earth; and here he has been only too successful. ST November 6, 1884, par. 8

The plan of redemption was not defeated. The dear price has been paid for man's ransom. And now our great adversary seeks to tear away the foundation of the Christian's hope, by turning men's minds into such a channel that they may not be benefited through the great sacrifice offered. He leads them to believe that they can do very well without an atonement; that they need not depend upon a crucified and risen Saviour; that their own merits will entitle them to God's favor. And then he destroys confidence in the Bible, well knowing that if he succeeds here, and faith in the detector which places a mark upon himself is destroyed, there are no bounds to the victories he may gain. ST November 6, 1884, par. 9

If the tempter can so deceive the human mind as to lead mortals to think that they possess the inherent power to perform great and good works, they cease to rely upon God. They acknowledge not a superior power. They give not God the glory which he claims, and which is due to his great and excellent Majesty. Satan's object is thus accomplished; and he exults that fallen men presumptuously exalt themselves, as he exalted himself in Heaven, and was cast out. He knows that if they take this course, their ruin is just as certain as was his own. ST November 6, 1884, par. 10

Another means by which Satan seeks to separate the soul from God is to make man believe that prayer is but a useless form. He well knows how needful are meditation and prayer; and by his devices he would divert the mind from these important exercises, that the soul may not lean for help upon the mighty One, and obtain strength to resist his attacks. The prayer of faith is the great strength of the Christian, and will assuredly prevail. This is why Satan insinuates that we have no need of prayer. ST November 6, 1884, par. 11

Neglect of prayer leads men to rely on their own strength, and opens the door to temptation. In many cases the imagination is captivated by scientific research, and men are flattered through the consciousness of their own powers. The sciences which treat of the human mind are very much exalted. They are good in their place; but they are seized upon by Satan as his powerful agents to deceive and destroy souls. His arts are accepted as from Heaven, and he thus receives the worship which suits him well. The world, which is supposed to be benefited so much by phrenology and animal magnetism, never was so corrupt as now. Through these sciences, virtue is destroyed, and the foundations of Spiritualism are laid. And thousands are conversing with, and receiving instructions from, this demon-god, and are acting according to his teachings, all the while supposing that they are obeying the voice of God through their dead friends. ST November 6, 1884, par. 12

(Concluded next week.)