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    October 27, 1887

    “The Scripture Cannot Be Broken” The Signs of the Times 13, 41, p. 647.

    HOW much of the Bible shall remain when the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is in question? Here comes the Christian Union and says that the fifth and tenth verses of the ninth chapter of Ecclesiastes, “are not to be regarded as divine revelations respecting the future state.” The Union had said that there is nothing in the Bible limiting probation to this life, and a correspondent asked for an explanation of these two verses. Here is the answer in full:—SITI October 27, 1887, page 647.1

    “The passages referred to are as follows: ‘But the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.’ ‘Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.’ Ecclesiastes records the experience of one who had made full trial of the world and its pleasure, living without any spiritual faith or hope. He regards, as a result, that life as vanity, and the conclusion of his experiences is that the true way to live is to fear God and keep his commandments. The verses given above are not to be regarded as divine revelations respecting the future state; if so, then divine revelation would disclose that there is no immortality, no life beyond the grave; they are to be regarded as the expression of despair which inevitably and always accompanies the philosophy of materialism and the life of worldliness.”SITI October 27, 1887, page 647.2

    Well, let that stand so for a little while, and let us look further. David said of man, “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Psalm 146:4. And this, “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.” Psalm 115:17. And this, “In death there is no remembrance of Thee; in the grave who shall give Thee thanks?” Psalm 6:5. Are these words “to be regarded as the expression of despair which inevitably and always accompanies the philosophy of materialism and the life of worldliness”? Are these the words also of one who is recording “the experience of one who had made full trial of the world and its pleasure, living without any spiritual faith or hope”? Is that the kind of a man that David was? Did he live without any spiritual faith or hope? Was his the philosophy of materialism and the life of worldliness? And are these verses also not to be regarded as divine revelations respecting the future state?SITI October 27, 1887, page 647.3

    Job, too, according to the estimate of the Christian Union, was a man living without any spiritual faith or hope. His, too, was “the philosophy of materialism and the life of worldliness.” For he said: “But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up; so man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.” Chap. 14:10-12. Again, speaking of his infancy, he said: “Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me! I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.” And again he says: “Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little, before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death; a land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.” Chap. 10:18-22. Of the dead he says: “His sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.” Chap. 14:21.SITI October 27, 1887, page 647.4

    Good king Hezekiah, too, just after the Lord had miraculously restored him to health, and while thanking and praising the Lord for it, fell into the “materialistic philosophy” of the same worldly crowd, for he said, “The grave cannot praise Thee, death cannot celebrate Thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.” Isaiah 38:18.SITI October 27, 1887, page 647.5

    Paul also was tinctured with it, for he said: “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to-morrow we die.” And, “If the dead rise not ... then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” 1 Corinthians 15:32, 16-18.SITI October 27, 1887, page 647.6

    Now if the words in Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10 are not to be regarded as divine revelations respecting the future state, then how can these words of David, and Job, and Hezekiah, and Paul be regarded as such? And if it be left for men to decide which of the words of God are to be regarded as divine revelations regarding a future state, and which are not, then what is the use of the Lord’s saying anything on the subject?SITI October 27, 1887, page 647.7

    The fact is that the words of Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10 are divine revelations regarding the state of man between death and the resurrection; as are also the words of David, and Job, and Hezekiah, and Paul, above quoted, with many others that might be quoted. In short, the whole Bible, with all its doctrines, all its arguments, and all its conclusions, is in perfect accord with the plain text of these passages which the Christian Union sets down and excludes from divine revelation as the expression of the despair of the philosophy of materialism and a life of worldliness. It is true that with this view of the Scriptures, there is no place there for the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. But that does not affect the Scripture at all; it only shows the utter falsity of the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. And it is time to suspect the correctness of any doctrine when it presumes to set aside the plain words of inspiration, as “not to be regarded as divine revelations” upon the very subject on which they speak.SITI October 27, 1887, page 647.8

    But, says the Union, if these words are to be regarded as divine revelations, “then divine revelation would disclose that there is no immortality, no life beyond the grave.” Not at all. It only shows what it was intended to show, and what is manifestly the divinely revealed truth, that there is no immortality, no life in the grave, where men do certainly go. For that same book of Ecclesiastes abundantly shows that there is to be life beyond the grave. But that life can only come through the resurrection of the dead. The whole difficulty is that in the doctrinal scheme of the immortality of the soul there is no place for death, nor for the grave, nor for the resurrection of the dead, while by the Bible all these are held constantly in view. Death comes alike to all; all go alike to the grave; and there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. Those who, through faith in Christ, have done good, shall come forth from the graves unto the resurrection of life, while those who have done evil shall come forth unto the resurrection of damnation.SITI October 27, 1887, page 647.9

    It is better to believe what the Bible says than to try to set aside so much of it as does not agree with the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. “The Scripture cannot be broken.” “The word of God shall stand forever.”SITI October 27, 1887, page 647.10

    J.

    “The Fifth Commandment. No. 3” The Signs of the Times 13, 41, pp. 647, 648.

    “CHILDREN, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1. The Scripture here announces the principle that must actuate all true obedience: the principle that leads to doing right, not from interested motives, but because it is right. One of the profoundest of moral writers has said that, “To obey a parent, or to obey God, from interested motives, would be sin.” This is pre-eminently true. But the child must learn to obey his parents before he can learn to obey God; and if he learns to obey his parents from interested motives, that principle will become so imbedded in his nature that even though when a man he should be brought to professed obedience to God, he will always be at a disadvantage in his best efforts, until, by a thorough discipline of himself, he shall have uprooted every vestige of the evil principle learned in his infancy and youth. Therefore, in bringing up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” it is incumbent upon parents diligently to impress upon the minds of the children the principle of obedience which God has given—“Obey ... because it is right.”SITI October 27, 1887, page 647.1

    But to be obeyed, the parent must assert authority, and have that authority respected. Both Peter and Jude speak particularly of a class of evil-doers who despise government, and Peter says that of the unjust whom the Lord will reserve unto the day of Judgment to be punished, these are the chief. He says they are presumptuous and self-willed. But no person who is made to learn obedience and to respect authority when he is a child, will despise government when he grows up. There, however, is the great difficulty nowadays. Children are allowed to despise government in their own homes, then they despise it at school, then they despise it in the State, and they despise it before God; they become presumptuous, self-willed, and hardly anything short of the Judgment itself will convince them that there is a government and a law that will be respected.SITI October 27, 1887, page 647.2

    It is the truth that genuine scriptural government in the home is now the exception. Indeed, it is so exceptional as to be almost the occasion of special remark wherever found. In the vast majority of families children are either not taught to obey, or else are taught to obey from interested motives; and in either case their actions are sin. Obedience is not natural in any child. Every child has to be taught to obey; and it requires diligence to teach him, too. Take a child who is just learning obedience; tell him, for instance, not to touch a certain thing, and that is the very thing he will touch if there is any possible show. And just here is where this principle of disobedience and of disrespect for authority is confirmed in many a child. The mother tells the child, in many instances, not to do certain things which in themselves are of very little importance, and which, except for the principle of obedience involved, it is a matter of perfect indifference whether the child does or not. Being, then, but matters of indifference, the child is told not to do so; he does so, and then because it is so slight a matter it is let pass, and he is allowed to disobey, which is not a slight matter. For as surely as your child is allowed to disobey in any point, he by that learns these three things: (1) He learns to disobey; (2) he learns that your command may be slighted with impunity, and (3) in that he learns to despise your authority. And again we say, That is not by any means a slight matter, although it may be the outcome of a matter in itself wholly indifferent.SITI October 27, 1887, page 647.3

    But someone may ask, “Would you insist thus strictly upon matters in themselves wholly indifferent?” No, that would be tyranny. What then shall be done? This: Let matters that are indifferent remain so. If it makes no difference whether the child does a certain thing or not, say nothing at all about it. Insist not at all, make no test at all, upon any matter in itself indifferent. Before you give a command be sure that the matter is of sufficient importance to involve the principle, and then be sure to insist upon the principle. Be sure of these points and then you may be sure that your child will not learn to disobey you, nor to slight your command, nor to despise your authority.SITI October 27, 1887, page 647.4

    It is true that to do this will require more thought and careful watching than nine-tenths of parents are accustomed to give to this subject; but what subject can more worthily engage the thoughtful attention of parents? A dutiful, obedient, respectful child is an honor to his parents, and an ornament to society. And if children are not to learn these things at home, where shall they learn them? At school? No. Because if they are not taught them at home, and the attempt is made to teach them at school, all that is done in this direction at school will be undone, and in many cases worse than undone, at home. For if the child despises authority and government at home, he will despise them at school. And if the attempt is made to compel him to respect them, perchance by a proper and very much needed use of the whip, then the parents are at once up in arms against the teacher, and in defense of the child and only to confirm him in his rebellion. “Oh,” they say, “our children are not whipped at home, and they shall not be at school.” True, they are not whipped at home, but, unless they come a good deal nearer to being natural-born saints than children generally do in this world, they ought to be. The Bible says, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” Proverbs 22:15. And “the rod of correction” is the only remedy that the Bible gives for this universal defect.SITI October 27, 1887, page 648.1

    J.

    “Let Justice Be Done” The Signs of the Times 13, 41, p. 648.

    TO execute justice upon the rich and influential is one of the hardest tasks that the body politic, in these days, has to perform. About three or four months ago, in New York City, Jacob Sharp was convicted of bribery, and was sentenced to the penitentiary, and yet he has not, so far, seen the penitentiary. First there was a stay of proceedings granted, for a hearing before the State Supreme Court. Then, that there might be no delay, Governor Hill called a special sitting of the Supreme Court to consider this case alone. The Supreme Court decided against him. Then another stay of proceedings was granted for a hearing before the Court of Appeals; and there the case hangs. And there is not the least doubt that if the Court of Appeals decides against him, then an appeal will be taken to the Supreme Court of the United States, if there is any possibility of the tricky lawyers finding the slightest technicality; and if they can’t find one they will create one. It is exceedingly doubtful whether this man will ever receive the punishment due for his crimes, or the penalty already pronounced upon him. For precisely the same crime, a poor man would have been in the penitentiary long ago.SITI October 27, 1887, page 648.1

    The Anarchists in Chicago form another case in point. Nearly a year ago they were found guilty of murder, and justly condemned. Then the case was appealed to the State Supreme Court. That court decided against them. Now, every possible effort is being made to secure a hearing before the United States Supreme Court. To gain this point, the best talent in the United States is secured, and the claim is made that the jury law of the State of Illinois is contrary to the Constitution of the United States. Thus the whole legal machinery of the State for years back must be broken up, that a gang of murderers may escape the penalty due their crimes. And this because they belong to a noisy rabble that can cast a lot of votes.SITI October 27, 1887, page 648.2

    In San Francisco lately, a man was held for trial in $10,000 bail, on a crime of jury-bribing. At the trial he was convicted, and was to be sentenced in a few days, but meantime was let go on the bail of $10,000. Of course the man left the place at once, and when the day for his sentence came, he was in Mexico. And now instead of ... the $10,000 forfeit at once, the State has to institute suit for it, and if ever half of it reaches the State treasury it will be a wonder. But even if all of it should have been paid into court without a word, what satisfaction would that have been for the criminal who was convicted?SITI October 27, 1887, page 648.3

    Another case in this same connection is one in which a lawyer was convicted of contempt of court, and sentenced to $500 fine and six months in jail. He had scarcely landed in his cell before a writ of habeas corpus was sued out, and he was released on bail till the court chose to hear his case. When he was heard the court decided against him and remanded him again to jail. He had barely reached the jail again when another writ of habeas corpus was sued out from a judge of the State Supreme Court, and he was let go on $500 bail for a hearing before that court when the court gets ready. This is but a part of the story, for there is no telling where the thing will stop, or whether the sentence will ever be executed.SITI October 27, 1887, page 648.4

    All these cases happening at the same time in different parts of the country—New York, Illinois, and California, in the Eastern, Central, and Western States—only go to show how almost entirely the course of law has become only a travesty of justice. It is not very long that the forms of law can stand such outrages. At such a rate all respect for law will soon be gone, and downright violence will take its place. But where is the prospect of its growing any better? There is none at all. These criminal lawyers and tricksters are constantly growing worse and more abundant. And nothing but violence can be the end of it all.SITI October 27, 1887, page 648.5

    J.

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