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    June 3, 1886

    “The Franks” The Signs of the Times 12, 21, p. 324.

    OF the nations that established themselves upon the ruins of the Western Empire, the next one in order is the kingdom of the FRANKS, whose course we will now trace.SITI June 3, 1886, page 324.1

    “As the posterity of the Franks compose one of the greatest and most enlightened nations of Europe, the powers of learning and ingenuity have been exhausted in the discovery of their unlettered ancestors. To the tales of credulity have succeeded the systems of fancy. Every passage has been sifted, every spot has been surveyed, that might possibly reveal some faint traces of their origin. It has been supposed that Pannonia, that Gaul, that the northern parts of Germany, gave birth to that celebrated colony of warriors. At length the most rational critics, rejecting the fictitious emigrations of ideal conquerors, have acquiesced in a sentiment whose simplicity persuades us of its truth. They suppose, that about the year [A.D.] 240, a new confederacy was formed under the name of Franks, by the old inhabitants of the Lower Rhine and the Weser. The present circle of Westphalia, the Landgraviate of Hesse, and the duchies of Brunswick and Luneburg, were the ancient of the Chauci who, in their inaccessible morasses, defied the Roman arms; of the Cherusci, proud of the fame of Arminius; of the Catti, formidable by their firm and intrepid infantry; and of several other tribes of inferior power and renown.SITI June 3, 1886, page 324.2

    “The love of liberty was the ruling passion of these Germans; the enjoyment of it their best treasure; the word that expressed that enjoyment, the most pleasing to their ear. They deserved, they assumed, they maintained the honorable appellation of Franks, or Freemen; which concealed, though it did not extinguish, the peculiar names of the several states of the confederacy. Tacit consent, and mutual advantage, dictated the first laws of the union; it was gradually cemented by habit and experience. The league of the Franks may admit of some comparison with the Helvetic [Swiss] body; in which every canton, retaining its independent sovereignty, consults with its brethren in the common cause, without acknowledging the authority of any supreme head, or representative assembly. But the principle of the two confederacies was extremely different. A peace of two hundred years has rewarded the wise and honest policy of the Swiss. An inconstant spirit, the thirst of rapine, and a disregard to the most solemn treaties, disgraced the character of the Franks.SITI June 3, 1886, page 324.3

    “The Rhine, though dignified with the title of Safeguard of the provinces, was an imperfect barrier against the daring spirit of enterprise with which the Franks were actuated. Their rapid devastations stretched from the river to the foot of the Pyrenees; nor were they stopped by those mountains. Spain, which had never dreaded, was unable to resist, the inroads of the Germans. During twelve years [A.D. 256-268], the greatest part of the reign of Gallienus, that opulent country was the theatre of unequal and destructive hostilities. Tarragona, the flourishing capital of a peaceful province, was sacked and almost destroyed; and so late as the days of Orosius, who wrote in the fifth century [cir. A.D. 415], wretched cottages, scattered amidst the ruins of magnificent cities, still recorded the rage of the barbarians. When the exhausted country no longer supplied a variety of plunder, the Franks seized on some vessels in the ports of Spain, and transported themselves into Mauritania. The distant province was astonished with the fury of these barbarians, who seemed to fall from a new world, as their name, manners, and complexion, were equally unknown on the coast of Africa.”—Dec. and Fall, chap. 10, par. 22, 24.SITI June 3, 1886, page 324.4

    In July, A.D. 276, Probus became Emperor of Rome, and reigned to August, 282. He drove back and severely chastised the Franks, and other German tribes who had wandered into Gaul “in quest of booty.”SITI June 3, 1886, page 324.5

    “But the most important service which Probus rendered to the republic, was [A.D. 277] the deliverance of Gaul, and the recovery of seventy flourishing cities oppressed by the barbarians of Germany, who, since the death of Aurelian [January, A.D. 275], had ravaged that great province with impunity. Among the various multitude of those fierce invaders we may distinguish, with some degree of clearness, three great armies, or rather nations, successively vanquished by the valor of Probus. He drove back the Franks into their morasses; a descriptive circumstance from whence we may infer, that the confederacy known by the manly appellation of Free, already occupied the flat maritime country, intersected and almost overflown by the stagnating waters of the Rhine, and that several tribes of the Frisians and Batavians had acceded to their alliance.SITI June 3, 1886, page 324.6

    “Among the useful conditions of peace imposed by Probus on the vanquished nations of Germany, was the obligation of supplying the Roman army with sixteen thousand recruits, the bravest and most robust of their youth. The emperor dispersed them through all the provinces, and distributed this dangerous reenforcement, in small bands of fifty or sixty each, among the national troops; judiciously observing, that the aid which the republic derived from the barbarians should be felt but not seen.... The wisdom of Probus embraced a great and beneficial plan of replenishing the exhausted frontiers, by new colonies of captive or fugitive barbarians, on whom he bestowed lands, cattle, instruments of husbandry, and every encouragement that might engage them to educate a race of soldiers for the service of the republic.... But the expectations of Probus were too often disappointed. The impatience and idleness of the barbarians could ill brook the slow labors of agriculture. Their unconquerable love of freedom, rising against despotism, provoked them into hasty rebellions, alike fatal to themselves and to the provinces; nor could these artificial supplies, however repeated by succeeding emperors, restore the important limit of Gaul and Illyricum to its ancient and native vigor.SITI June 3, 1886, page 324.7

    “Of all the barbarians who abandoned their new settlements, and disturbed the public tranquillity, a very small number returned to their own country. For a short season they might wander in arms through the empire; but in the end they were surely destroyed by the power of a warlike emperor. The successful rashness of a party of Franks was attended, however, with such memorable consequences, that it ought not to be passed unnoticed. They had been established by Probus, on the sea-coast of Pontus, with a view of strengthening the frontier against the inroads of the Alani. A fleet stationed in one of the harbors of the Euxine [Black Sea] fell into the hands of the Franks; and they resolved, through unknown seas, to explore their way from the mouth of the Phasis to that of the Rhine. They easily escaped through the Bosphorus and the Hellespont, and cruising along the Mediterranean, indulged their appetite for revenge and plunder by frequent descents on the unsuspecting shores of Asia, Greece, and Africa. The opulent city of Syracuse, in whose port the natives of Athens and Carthage had formerly been sunk, was sacked by a handful of barbarians, who massacred the greatest part of the trembling inhabitants. From the Island of Sicily, the Franks proceeded to the columns of Hercules, trusted themselves to the ocean, coasted round Spain and Gaul, and steering their triumphant course through the British Channel, at length finished their surprising voyage, by landing in safety on the Batavian or Frisian shores. The example of their success, instructing their countrymen to conceive the advantages and to despise the dangers of the sea, pointed out to their enterprising spirit a new road to wealth and glory.”—Id., chap. 12, par. 18, 21, 22.SITI June 3, 1886, page 324.8

    After this we find no important movement of the Franks, till the time of Constantine, the son of Constantine. At the death of Constantine, March 22, A.D. 327, the empire fell to his three sons—Constantine, Constans, and Constantius—and was partitioned accordingly. But “three years had scarcely elapsed before the sons of Constantine seemed impatient to convince mankind that they were incapable of contenting themselves with the dominions which they were unqualified to govern.” Constantine invaded the dominions of Constans, was drawn into an ambuscade, where, with a few attendants, he was surprised, surrounded, and slain, March, A.D. 340. Constans survived him nearly ten years, when he was murdered, February, A.D. 350, by the command of Magnentius, an ambitious soldier, who had usurped the purple. This left Magnentius and Constantius to dispute the sole reign of the empire. The dispute was soon brought to a close, however, at the battle of Mursa (Essek) on the River Drave. Magnentius was defeated, and “throwing away the imperial ornaments, escaped with some difficulty from the pursuit of the light-horse, who incessantly followed his rapid flight from the banks of the Drave to the foot of the Julian Alps. He, however, managed to escape into Gaul, where he gathered together some forces, but was defeated the second time, and, to escape being given up to Constantius he killed himself by falling on his sword, Aug. 10, A.D. 353, leaving Constantius in undisputed possession of the empire. See Gibbon, chap. 18.SITI June 3, 1886, page 324.9


    (Concluded next week.)

    “Some One-Thousand-Dollar Reasons for Keeping Sunday” The Signs of the Times 12, 21, pp. 327, 328.

    WE verily believe that there never was an extended argument made in favor of the Sunday-sabbath in which appeal for help was not made to the Fathers, and we never expect to see an argument on that subject that does not so do. This one-thousand-dollar-prize argument is by no means an exception. We wish that the American Sunday-school Union, or the trustees of Dartmouth College, or whoever else may have the management of a prize fund, would offer a prize of five hundred or one thousand dollars for an essay on the perpetual obligation of the Sunday-sabbath, which should make no mention of the Fathers, and no reference to any human authority, but should be confined strictly to the word of God. Such a production would be worth such a prize as a curiosity in Sunday-sabbath literature, if for nothing else.SITI June 3, 1886, page 327.1

    To what purpose is a reference to the Fathers anyhow? What is the good of it? Suppose all the Fathers with one voice should say that Sunday is the Lord’s day, that the first day of the week is the Christian Sabbath; still to the man who fears God and trembles at his word (and to such alone the Lord looks, Isaiah 66:2) the question would be, What saith the Scripture? To that question there is but one answer that ever comes to anybody on this subject. That answer is, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work.” The Scripture said to the Fathers, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” If the Fathers disregarded it, they sinned, that is all. The Scripture says to the American Sunday-school Union, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” If the American Sunday-school Union disregards it, the Union sins, that is all. The Scripture says to Mr. A. E. Waffle, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” When Mr. Waffle disregards it, he sins, and when he or any other teaches others to disregard it, he teaches rebellion against the Lord, that is all.SITI June 3, 1886, page 327.2

    Suppose the Fathers and everybody else from the apostles’ day to our own should have disregarded the commandment of God, it would still be just as much our duty to obey that commandment as it would if all had kept it strictly. It is not a question of what the Fathers did, but what they should have done. We are not to interpret the commandment of God by what men have done; but what men have done must be tested by the commandment. The law of God is the immutable standard, and men’s actions must conform to that or they are wrong. Mr. Waffle himself admits as much. Thus he says:—SITI June 3, 1886, page 327.3

    We are under no obligation to follow the example of Christians who lived in any age subsequent to that of the apostles. Perversions of Christian doctrine and corrupt practices sprang up so early and prevailed so widely as to make such an imitation altogether unsafe.”—P. 203.SITI June 3, 1886, page 327.4

    Why then does Mr. Waffle, as well as do Sunday advocates generally, go to an age of “perversions of Christian doctrine,” an age of “corrupt practices” so widely prevalent as to make it “altogether unsafe”? This is why:—SITI June 3, 1886, page 327.5

    “We study their history because it throws additional light upon the teaching and the example of the apostles.”—Id.SITI June 3, 1886, page 327.6

    Go to an age of darkness to throw additional light upon the age of light itself! Go to an age of “perversion of Christian doctrine” to gain “additional light” upon the perfection of Christian doctrine! Go to an age of “corrupt practices” to gain “additional light” upon the only age of pure practices that the world has ever seen! Study the perversion of Christian doctrine, and the corrupt practices of men, because it throws “additional light” upon the word of God! Use a tallow-dip or a rush-light because it throws “additional light” upon the sun!! To what depths of absurdity will men not run in their attempts to justify their disregard of the commandment of God? What will they not sanction in their endeavors to make void the commandment of God by the traditions of men?SITI June 3, 1886, page 327.7

    The teaching of the apostles is the word of God, and the word of God is light. Apart from the example of Christ there is no such thing as “the example of the apostles;” and the example of Christ is but the shining of that Light which came into the world, to which men will not come because they love darkness rather than light. And these men, instead of coming to the true Light, run away off to an age of darkness, to an age of confessed “corrupt practices” and “perversions of Christian doctrine,” and there, by rummaging around among the Fathers, they manage to find some obscure passages in corrupt texts, and these are seized upon because they “throw additional light” upon the true Light. They run away into the darkness, where all things look alike, and in groping around there they find some men to whom they say, You look like us; you talk as we do; you walk as we do; your views of morals are just like ours;—you are our Fathers, and behold what great light is thrown, by your ways, upon the teaching and example of the apostles, that is, upon what we are doing. True, the apostles said nothing at all about it, but we are doing it, and you did it before us, and that is proof that the apostles intended to do it.SITI June 3, 1886, page 327.8

    We know that between the Fathers and these their sons there is a most striking family resemblance. They do look alike; they do talk alike; they walk alike; and their ideas of what constitutes obedience to the word of God, are just alike, and we would be fully justified in saying that they all belong to the same family, even though the sons should not own it, but when they take every possible occasion to advertise it and to parade the Fathers as indeed their Fathers, they cannot blame us if we admit it, and do our best to give them the benefit of the relationship. But even though this family resemblance be so perfect that we can hardly tell the Fathers and their children apart, there is one fatal defect about it all, that is, none of them look like Christ. Not one of them walks as he walked; for he kept the seventh day, the Sabbath of the Lord. It matters not how much they may resemble one another, the question with us is, Do they resemble Christ? It matters not how closely their words may agree among themselves, the question still is, Do their words agree with the word of God?SITI June 3, 1886, page 327.9

    We have not the disposition, even though we had the time, to go with Mr. Waffle and the American Sunday-school Union in their one-thousand-dollar excursion into that age where “perversions of Christian doctrine and corrupt practices sprang up so early and prevailed so widely,” because Mr. Waffle himself has told us that it is “altogether unsafe,” and, besides that we remember a statement in our Guide-Book, written about just such excursions as this, that says: “Be not deceived; evil communications corrupt good manners.” Moreover, we have before us the statement of what Mr. Waffle learned by it, and that is enough for us. Here it is:—SITI June 3, 1886, page 327.10

    “Every statement bearing upon the subject, that can be discovered in the writings of the Fathers, is to the effect that the Christians of the first two centuries were accustomed to keep holy the first day of the week, and that most of them regarded themselves at liberty not to keep the seventh-day Sabbath.”—P. 214.SITI June 3, 1886, page 327.11

    The commandment of God, written with his own finger on the tables of stone, says: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.... The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” But here we are informed that “every statement bearing on the subject, that can be discovered in the writings of the Fathers, is to the effect that the most of them [Christians] regarded themselves at liberty not to keep the seventh-day Sabbath.” But this is simply to say that they regarded themselves at liberty not to keep the commandment of God. Well, we know a great many people in our own day who regard themselves at liberty to do the same thing; and, like their Fathers, too, they will call themselves “Christians.” Yea, they will even hold that to be the distinguishing feature of a Christian. The Mormons too regard “themselves at liberty not to keep the seventh-day Sabbath,” and also not to keep the commandment that forbids adultery, and they call themselves “saints.” Well, if disobedience to that one commandment is what makes a Christian, why should not disobedience to two commandments make a saint? Will Mr. Waffle or the American Sunday-school Union tell us why? The commandment of God directs the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath. The Fathers and Mr. Waffle and other Christians of that kind “regard themselves at liberty not to keep it.” The word of God likewise directs the keeping of the commandment which says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery;” the Mormons “regard themselves at liberty not to keep it.” The word of God directs the keeping of the second commandment; the Catholics “regard themselves at liberty not to keep it.” The word of God directs the keeping of the third commandment; Colonel Ingersoll and his kind regard themselves at liberty not to keep it. Now upon what principle can these “Christians” convince those “saints,” and Catholics, and atheists, of sin? We should like to see Mr. Waffle frame an argument that would show that they are wrong, that would not equally condemn himself, and all those who with him “regard themselves at liberty not to keep the seventh-day Sabbath.”SITI June 3, 1886, page 328.1

    Well, when Mr. Waffle finds that the Fathers, and others of their day, regarded themselves at liberty not to keep the commandment of God, what does he do? Does he say that they were disobedient? Does he repudiate such an example and hold to the commandment of God instead? Not he. He just settles down upon the sinful example as though it were righteousness itself. It is the very thing which he has been all this time striving to reach—something to strengthen and confirm him, and others whom he can reach, in their disregard of the commandment. For he says of these writings of the Fathers:—SITI June 3, 1886, page 328.2

    “Thus they strengthen the conclusion we have already reached from our examination of the example and teachings of the apostles, that the latter intended to transfer the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day.”—P. 214.SITI June 3, 1886, page 328.3

    It never requires a great deal of evidence, nor of a very strong kind, to strengthen a conclusion we have already reached, especially when we have reached the conclusion without evidence. And that such is the way Mr. Waffle has reached his conclusion is plain by his own words. He had already written this:—SITI June 3, 1886, page 328.4

    “So far as the record shows, they [the apostles] did not give any explicit command enjoining the abandonment of the seventh-day Sabbath and its observance on the first day of the week.”SITI June 3, 1886, page 328.5

    If, then, the apostles gave no command for it, the conclusion which he has reached is, so far as the teaching of the apostles goes, totally without evidence. And as he has said that “the authority must be sought in the words or in the example of the inspired apostles,” when he admits that there is no command for it, he has nothing at all left but what he calls the example of the apostles, upon which to base his conclusion. And upon this we would remind him of his own words, that “the average mind is more readily moved by a direct command than by an inference drawn from the example of even inspired men.”—P. 242. He has reached his conclusion, then, by an inference drawn from the example of the apostles. But how does he know and how can he show that his inference is just? Oh, by studying the history of an age of “corrupt practices and perversions of Christian doctrine,” he learns “that the most of them regarded themselves at liberty not to keep the seventh-day Sabbath,” and that they “could hardly have made a mistake concerning the import of their [the apostles’] words and actions.” And so having landed himself and his whole Sunday-sabbath scheme squarely upon Catholic ground in the midst of an age of “corrupt practices” and perversions of Christian doctrine, his great one-thousand-dollar task is completed; his grand one-thousand-dollar prize is won, and there we leave him to enjoy it.SITI June 3, 1886, page 328.6

    We have now examined the reasons for keeping Sunday which have been given in a five-hundred-dollar-prize essay, and in a one-thousand-dollar-prize essay. We have been asked which is the better one of the essays. We can only reply that there is no “better” about it—each is worse than the other. Yet we are not prepared to say that the trustees of Dartmouth College, and the American Sunday-school Union, have done a wholly bad work in paying the prizes by which these essays were put before the world. We are certainly justified in supposing that these essays furnish the very best argument for Sunday-keeping that can be made in the United States; and we think it well that the utter groundlessness of the Sunday institution either in Scripture or reason, should be made to appear, as is done in these essays, even though it be at an expense of $1,500. Yet it does seem a pity to pay so much good money for so many bad arguments, in support of a worthless institution.SITI June 3, 1886, page 328.7

    The commandment of God reads the same to us that it does to these prize essayists and to everybody else. It says to all: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.... The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” And for our part we hope we shall never reach the point where we shall regard ourselves at liberty not to keep the commandment of God, for to keep the seventh-day Sabbath is the commandment of God. He who regards himself at liberty not to keep it, regards himself at liberty to commit sin.SITI June 3, 1886, page 328.8


    “Watch and Pray” The Signs of the Times 12, 21, p. 329.

    JESUS had told his disciples that the temple in Jerusalem should be thrown down, that not one stone should be left upon another. And when they asked him, “When shall these things be?” he gave them a sign which, when they should see, they were to know that the desolation was at hand. That sign was, “When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” Luke 21:20. For this sign they were to look. They knew not when it would be, but if they believed the word of the Lord, they believed it would be, and they were to look for it. And even when they should see it, it was only a sign that the desolation was nigh. When they should see the sign, they could not tell when the event would be, only that it was nigh. But the sign was what concerned them most; they were not to wait for the event. For he said as soon as the armies were seen about Jerusalem, “Let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains;” and their flight was to be so hasty that if they were in the field they were not even to go to the house to get any clothes; and even if one was on the top of the house, he could not go down into the house to take anything with him. It is evident, therefore, that the sign which Christ gave must have had an important place in the minds of all who really believed his words, for otherwise they would not be ready to leave on such short notice. Indeed, the Saviour made provision that this sign should have an important place with them. Because in view of it he said, “Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day.” Thus the Lord, in making it a part of their prayers, fixed the sign and their flight ever before them.SITI June 3, 1886, page 329.1

    In the same conversation the disciples asked the Lord concerning a much greater event than the destruction of the temple, even the coming of the Lord himself in glory, and the sign of it. Of this he told them, “There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” And “when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” Luke 21:25, 26; Matthew 24:33. These things began to come to pass in May, 1780, and any one who will look at all can see “all these things;” and as the disciples when they saw Jerusalem compassed with armies were to know that the desolation of it was nigh, just so we know that the coming of the Lord Jesus, “wrapped in a blaze of boundless glory,” is at the doors. And just as they were to watch for the event and pray that they might escape it, so Jesus has said to us: “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” Luke 21:36. He who believes the word of the Lord will watch for these things. He who watches for them will pray that he may escape them and stand blameless before the Son of man. And he shall be delivered as surely as were the disciples from the terrors that came upon devoted Judea. “And now, little children, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” 1 John 2:28.SITI June 3, 1886, page 329.2


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