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    May 6, 1886

    “The Visigoths in the Western Empire. (Continued.)” The Signs of the Times 12, 17, p. 260.


    “WHILE the emperor and his court enjoyed, with sullen pride, the security of the marshes and fortifications of Ravenna, they [A. D. 409] abandoned Rome, almost without defense, to the resentment of Alaric. Yet such was the moderation which he still preserved, or affected, that, as he moved with his army along the Flaminian way, he successively dispatched the bishops of the towns of Italy to reiterate his offers of peace, and to conjure the emperor, that he would save the city and its inhabitants from hostile fire, and the sword of the barbarians. These impending calamities were, however, averted, not indeed by the wisdom of Honorius, but by the prudence or humanity of the Gothic king, who employed a milder, though not less effectual, method of conquest. Instead of assaulting the capital, he successfully directed his efforts against the Port of Ostin, one of the boldest and most stupendous works of Roman magnificence. The accidents to which the precarious subsistence of the city was continually exposed in a winter navigation, and an open road, had suggested to the genius of the first Cesar the useful design, which was executed under the reign of Claudius. The artificial modes, which formed the narrow entrance, advanced far into the sea, and firmly repelled the fury of the waves, while the largest vessels securely rode at anchor within three deep and capacious basins, which received the northern branch of the Tyber, about two miles from the ancient colony of Ostia. The Roman Port insensibly swelled to the size of an Episcopal city, where the corn of Africa was deposited in spacious granaries for the use of the capital.SITI May 6, 1886, page 260.1

    “As soon as Alaric was in possession of that important place, he summoned the city to surrender at discretion; and his demands were enforced by the positive declaration, that a refusal, or even a delay, should be instantly followed by the destruction of the magazines, on which the life of the Roman people depended. The clamors of that people, and the terror of famine, subdued the pride of the senate; they listened, without reluctance, to the proposal of placing a new emperor on the throne of the unworthy Honorius; and the suffrage of the Gothic conqueror bestowed the purple on Attalus, prefect of the city. The grateful monarch immediately acknowledged his protector as master general of the armies of the West; Adolphus, with the rank of count of the domestics, obtained the custody of the person of Attalus; and the two hostile nations seemed to be united in the closest bands of friendship and alliance.SITI May 6, 1886, page 260.2

    “The gates of the city were thrown open, and the new emperor of the Romans, encompassed on every side by the Gothic arms, was conducted, in tumultuous procession, to the palace of Augustus and Trajan. After he had distributed the civil and military dignities among his favorites and followers, Attalus convened an assembly of the senate, before whom, in a formal and florid speech, he asserted his resolution of restoring the majesty of the republic, and of uniting to the empire the provinces of Egypt and the East, which had once acknowledged the sovereignty of Rome. Such extravagant promises inspired every reasonable citizen while a just contempt for the character of an unwarlike usurper, whose elevation was the deepest and most ignominious wound which the republic had yet sustained from the insolence of the barbarians. But the populace, with their usual levity, applauded the change of masters. The public discontent was favorable to the rival of Honorius; and the sectaries, oppressed by his persecuting edicts, expected some degree of countenance, or at least of toleration, from a prince who, in his native country of Ionia, had been educated in the pagan superstition, and who had since received the sacrament of baptism from the hands of an Arian bishop.SITI May 6, 1886, page 260.3

    “The first days of the reign of Attalus were fair and prosperous. An officer of confidence was sent with an inconsiderable body of troops to secure the obedience of Africa; the greatest part of Italy submitted to the terror of the Gothic powers, and though the city of Bologna made a vigorous and effectual resistance, the people of Milan, dissatisfied perhaps with the absence of Honorius, accepted, with loud acclamations, the choice of the Roman senate. At the head of a formidable army, Alaric conducted his royal captive almost to the gates of Ravenna; and a solemn embassy of the principal ministers and Jovius, the Pretorian prefect, of Valens, master of the cavalry and infantry, of the questor Potamius, and of Julian, the first of the notaries, was introduced, with martial pomp, into the Gothic camp. In the name of their sovereign, they consented to acknowledge the lawful election of his competitor, and to divide the provinces of Italy and the West between the two emperors.SITI May 6, 1886, page 260.4

    “Their proposals were rejected with disdain; and the refusal was aggravated by the insulting clemency of Attalus, who condescended to promise that, if Honorius would instantly resign the purple, he should be permitted to pass the remainder of his life in the peaceful exile of some remote island. So desperate indeed did the situation of the son of Theodosius appear, to those who were the best acquainted with his strength and resources, that Jovius and Valens, his minister and his general, betrayed their trust, infamously deserted the sinking cause of their benefactor, and devoted their treacherous allegiance to the service of his more fortunate rival. Astonished by such examples of domestic treason, Honorius trembled at the approach of every servant, at the arrival of every messenger. He dreaded the secret enemies, who might lurk in his capital, his palace, his bed-chamber; and some ships lay ready in the harbor of Ravenna, to transport the abdicated monarch to the dominions of his infant nephew, the emperor of the East.SITI May 6, 1886, page 260.5

    “But there is a Providence (such at least was the opinion of the historian Procopius) that watches over innocence and folly; and the pretensions of Honorius to its peculiar care cannot reasonably be disputed. At the moment [A. D. 410] when his despair, incapable of any wise or manly resolution, meditated a shameful flight, a seasonable re-enforcement of four thousand veterans unexpectedly landed in the port of Ravenna. To these valiant strangers, whose fidelity had not been corrupted by the factions of the court, he committed the walls and gates of the city; and the slumbers of the emperor were no longer disturbed by the apprehension of imminent and internal danger. The favorable intelligence which was received from Africa suddenly changed the opinions of men, and the state of public affairs. The troops and officers, whom Attalus had sent into that province, were defeated and slain; and the active zeal of Heraclian maintained his own allegiance, and that of his people.”SITI May 6, 1886, page 260.6

    “The failure of the African expedition, was the source of mutual complaint and recrimination in the party of Attalus; and the mind of his protector was insensibly alienated from the interest of a prince, who wanted spirit of command, or docility to obey.... The resentment of the Gothic king was exasperated by the malicious arts of Jovius, who had been raised to the rank of patrician, and who afterwards excused his double perfidy, by declaring, without a blush, that he had only seemed to abandon the service of Honorius, more effectually to ruin the cause of the usurper. In a large plain near Rimini, and in the presence of an innumerable multitude of Romans and barbarians, the wretched Attalus was publicly despoiled of the diadem and purple; and those ensigns of royalty were sent by Alaric, as the pledge of peace and friendship, to the son of Theodosius.SITI May 6, 1886, page 260.7

    “The degradation of Attalus removed the only real obstacle to the conclusion of the purple, and Alaric advanced within three miles of Ravenna, to press the irresolution of the Imperial ministers, whose insolence soon returned with the return of fortune. His indignation was kindled by the report, that a rival chieftain, that Sarus, the personal enemy of Adolphus, and the hereditary foe of the house of Balti, had been received into the palace. At the head of three hundred followers, that fearless barbarian immediately sallied from the gates of Ravenna; surprised, and cut in pieces, a considerable body of Goths; re-entered the city in triumph; and was permitted to insult his adversary, by the voice of a herald, who publicly declared that the guilt of Alaric had forever excluded him from the friendship and alliance of the emperor.SITI May 6, 1886, page 260.8

    “The crime and folly of the court of Ravenna were expiated a third time by the calamities of Rome. The king of the Goths, who no longer dissembled his appetite for plunder and revenge, appeared in arms under the walls of the capital, and the trembling senate, without any hopes of relief, prepared, by a desperate resistance, to delay the ruin of their country. But they were unable to guard against the secret conspiracy of their slaves and domestics; who, either from birth or interest, were attached to the cause of the enemy. At the hour of midnight [Aug. 24 A. D. 410] the Salarian gate was silently opened, and the inhabitants were awakened by the tremendous sound of the Gothic trumpet. Eleven hundred and sixty three years after the foundation of Rome, the Imperial city, which had subdued and civilized so considerable a part of mankind, was delivered to the licentious fury of the tribes of Germany and Scythia.”—Decline and Fall, chap. 31, par. 18-21.SITI May 6, 1886, page 260.9

    A. T. J.

    (To be continued.)

    “Some One-Thousand-Dollar Reasons for Keeping Sunday” The Signs of the Times 12, 17, pp. 264, 265.

    OUR readers will remember that for several weeks lately we have bestowed some attention upon a book entitled “The Abiding Sabbath,” the book being an essay that received a prize of five hundred dollars, as the best of a number of efforts, by different individuals, to prove the perpetual obligation of all men to keep the first day of the week as the Sabbath. We are perfectly willing that the decision as to the merit of that book, shall rest with our readers. We have nothing more to say in regard to it. But since we began the review of the foregoing prize essay, we have received another on the same subject, and with exactly the same design. This too is a prize essay. Not a five-hundred-dollar, but a one-thousand-dollar prize essay. It was written in 1884 by “A. E. Waffle, M. A., then Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature in Lewisburg University, Lewisburg, Pa.” The prize of one thousand dollars was awarded “after a painstaking and protracted examination,” by the Committee of Publication of the American Sunday-school Union; the award was approved by the Board of the Union; and the essay was printed and copyrighted by the Union in 1885. It makes a book of 418 pages, and is printed under the title of “The Lord’s Day; Its Universal and Perpetual Obligation.”SITI May 6, 1886, page 264.1

    The author of this book treats the subject in three parts. Part I he devotes to proving the necessity of the Sabbath, by showing that it is necessary to man’s physical, his intellectual, his moral and religious, and his social welfare. In Part II he discusses the proposition that “the Sabbath of the Bible was made for all men.” In Part III he considers “the nature and importance of the Sabbath.” We shall not notice the work in detail because the ground has been mostly covered in our review of “The Abiding Sabbath.” About all that we shall do with this book will be to notice the reasons that are given for keeping Sunday, as we want the people to become thoroughly acquainted with the kind of reasoning that draws five-hundred-dollar prizes, and one-thousand-dollar prizes, in proof that Sunday is the Sabbath. We need to make no apology for following up this subject. For certainly a subject to which is devoted so much high-priced discussion, is worthy of notice to any extent to which that discussion may run; more especially when in it there are involved moral and religious principles upon which turn eternal destinies.SITI May 6, 1886, page 264.2

    Of the early institution of the Sabbath Mr. Waffle says:—SITI May 6, 1886, page 264.3

    “Our first argument is founded upon the fact that the Sabbath was instituted at the beginning of human history.... In the first three verses of the second chapter of Genesis, we read: ‘Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.’ ... The nature of this early Sabbath is hinted at in the words which record its institution. God rested from the work of creation. This is evidently meant to teach men that on the seventh day they are to cease from secular toil, and rest.... This idea is more fully developed in the statement that God blessed and sanctified the seventh day.... Sanctifying the day means that God set it apart as a day to be devoted to holy uses. It could have no higher use than to keep man near to his God and to cultivate his moral and religious nature.... It is hardly possible to avoid the conclusion that a Sabbath, on which men rested from secular toil and engaged in the worship of God, was instituted at the beginning of human history. Just as the law of marriage and the law of property are older than the decalogue, so the law of the Sabbath, having its origin in the needs of man and in the benevolence and wisdom of God, was given to the first man, and but repeated and emphasized on Sinai.... The bearing of this conclusion upon the general discussion will be readily perceived. If the Sabbath did have this early origin, it was given to the whole race, and should be observed by every human being.... The moral law itself is not done away in Christ; no more are the things before it which God made obligatory upon man. Unless it can be shown that the law of the Sabbath, given at the creation, has been repealed by a new legislative act of God, it is still binding upon all men who learn of it. For, coming at this time, it was not given to one man or to one nation, but to the whole human family.”SITI May 6, 1886, page 264.4

    That is the exact truth, well stated. The Sabbath was instituted at the beginning of human history. The first three verses of the second chapter of Genesis are evidently meant to teach men that on the seventh day they are to cease from secular toil, and rest. And it is indeed true that, unless it can be shown that the law of the Sabbath given at creation, has been repealed by a new legislative act of God, it is still binding upon all men who learn of it. And that it has not been repealed, that there has been no new legislative act of God, neither by himself, nor by Christ, nor by the apostles, Mr. Waffle shows conclusively. After proving the Sabbath to be a part of the moral law, he advances argument to show that “the law of the Sabbath has never been repealed,” from which we shall present a few passages. He says:—SITI May 6, 1886, page 264.5

    “If the conclusions of the preceding chapter are just, the law of the Sabbath can never be abrogated. So far as it is a moral law it must remain binding upon all men while the world stands.... We assert that the law of the Sabbath, so far as it is a moral law, has never been annulled. A law can be repealed only by the same authority that enacted it. It certainly cannot be done away by those who are subject to it. If the law of the Sabbath, as it appeared in the ten commandments, has been abolished, it must have been done by some decree of Jehovah. Where have we the record of such a decree? Through what prophet or apostle was it spoken? ... We can find no words of Christ derogatory to this institution [the Sabbath] as it was originally established, or as it was intended to be observed. All his utterances on the subject were for the purpose of removing misapprehensions or of correcting abuses. It is strange that he should take so much pains to establish the Sabbath upon a proper foundation and promote right views of it, if he had any intention of doing away with the institution altogether.... The same is true of his actions. There is no record that he ever did anything upon the Sabbath not consistent with its purposes from the beginning. He healed the sick; but works of mercy on that day were never forbidden except in the rabbinical perversions of the Sabbath.SITI May 6, 1886, page 264.6

    “It is fair to conclude that Christ never intended to abolish the Sabbath. The only conceivable ground for such a statement is the fact that he opposed the notions of it prevalent in his time. But his efforts to correct these furnish the best evidence that he was desirous of preserving the true Sabbath. He said that it became him to ‘fulfill all righteousness.’ He voluntarily placed himself under the law, including the law of the Sabbath. Thus he not only maintained the sacredness of the Sabbath by his words, but he also kept it as an example for us.SITI May 6, 1886, page 264.7

    “But do the apostles teach that the fourth commandment is no longer in force; that it is not binding upon Christians? It is asserted by many that they do, and appeals are made to their epistles to maintain the assertion.... Paul says: ‘Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.’ How could he have given it higher praise? And this he says just after the declaration, ‘We are delivered from the law.’ Does he mean that we are delivered from that which is ‘holy, and just, and good,’ and that we are henceforth to disregard the things required in the law? Not at all. He simply means that we are freed from the penalty and the bondage of the law. Again he says: ‘Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law.’ Here his meaning obviously is that the law is not only honored by the redemption through Christ, but is established in the minds of those who through faith enjoy this redemption, faith giving ability to appreciate its excellence, and power joyfully to obey it. But he is even more specific. When he wants a summary of our duties to our fellowmen, he can do no better than to take the second table of the law. Romans 13:8-10.... Paul was hardly so inconsistent as to quote thus from a law which had been abrogated as a rule of life.SITI May 6, 1886, page 264.8

    “He is not alone in this practice. St. James says: ‘Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.’ What of it, if the law is annulled? It does not matter if we violate obsolete laws. But James would have said that these laws were still binding, and that no one of them could be violated with impunity. His main point is the integrity of the law—the impossibility of wrenching out one of its members without destroying all. The way in which Paul and James and Peter and John urge upon the Christians to whom they write abstinence from certain specific sins, and the performance of specific duties, shows that those who believe in Christ have need of law. This general view of the relation of Christians to the law will help us to understand what is said by Paul concerning the law of the Sabbath. It is plain that no part of the moral law is abolished. This is still recognized as of binding force upon all. The law of the Sabbath is a part of it, and any apostolic precepts which appear hostile to the Sabbath must be interpreted in the light of this fact.SITI May 6, 1886, page 264.9

    “Our conclusion is that there is nothing in the writings of the apostles which, when fairly interpreted, implies the abrogation of the Sabbath.... They honored the moral law as the highest expression of God’s will, and say no word to indicate that the law of the Sabbath was not a part of it. Thus both Christ and his inspired apostles have given their sanction to this institution. They have not taken away this choice gift of God to men.”SITI May 6, 1886, page 264.10

    This is sound doctrine. It is true that in speaking of the law of the Sabbath he uses the qualifying phrase, “so far as it is a moral law;” but as the law of the Sabbath is moral to the fullest extent; as there is nothing about it that is not moral, his statement is literally sound. That is, the law of the Sabbath in its widest extent “must remain binding upon all men while the world stands;” and the law of the Sabbath being entirely moral, “has never been annulled.” There is more of it that might be quoted, but we have not the space for it. Besides, this is all-sufficient to show the universal and unchangeable obligation of the seventh day as the Sabbath of the Lord.SITI May 6, 1886, page 264.11

    And now, in view of the fact that the seventh day is the day which God established as the Sabbath at creation; in view of the fact that the seventh day is the day named by God in the fourth commandment; in view of the fact that the law of the Sabbath “as it appeared in the ten commandments,” has never been repealed; in view of the fact that Christ kept, “as an example for us,” this identical day—the seventh day—named at creation and in the decalogue; in view of the fact that the apostles maintain that “no part of the moral law is abolished,” and that it is “of binding force upon all;” in view of the fact that God, and Christ, and his inspired apostles, have given their sanction to this institution, and that in all their words of sanction to the institution there is no reference to anything but the seventh day as the Sabbath; in view of all this, we ourselves would give a thousand dollars, if we had it, to any man who could show, by any process of legitimate reasoning, how Sunday, or any other day but the seventh day, can be the Sabbath.SITI May 6, 1886, page 265.1

    Next week, if the Lord will, we shall give our readers the advantage of some of the steps which Mr. Waffle takes to accomplish this, for which he received a prize of one thousand dollars. A. T. J.SITI May 6, 1886, page 265.2

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