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February 13, 1896
“A Lesson from the Birds” The Present Truth, 12, 7.
But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee;
And the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee;
Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee;
And the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
Who knoweth not in all these
That the hand of the Lord hath wrought this?
In whose hand is the soul of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind. , R.V.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 97.2
The great lesson that we are to learn from the lower orders of creation is the care that God has for all His creatures, and to be sure that since God cares for the lowest, He will much more care for man, whom He has made in His own image, and placed over the works of His hands.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 97.3
The Saviour said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.” . Still stronger: “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” .PTUK February 13, 1896, page 97.4
Again the Lord says, “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns: yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” . In the care of God for the birds we have the assurance that He will care for us; and as they do not spend time in anxious thought and worry, much less need we. Surely God will take as much better care of men than He does of birds, as the needs and the value of men are greater than those of the birds.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 97.5
But the care of God for the birds does more than assure us of His care for our physical wants. The life is more than meat. God’s care assures us that He will supply all our need, “according to His riches in glory.” . He who cares for that which is least, will not forget that which is the greatest.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 97.6
God’s care for the wants of the smallest of His creatures should be taken by us as comfort when we appear before the throne of grace to ask for mercy, and grace to help in time of need. Here is our warrant:-PTUK February 13, 1896, page 97.7
The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion;
Slow to anger, and of great mercy.
The Lord is good to all;
And His tender mercies are over all His works.
All Thy work shall give thanks unto Thee, O Lord;
And Thy saints shall bless Thee.
They shall speak of the glory of
Thy kingdom, And talk of Thy power;
To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts,
And the glory of the Majesty of His kingdom.
Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
The Lord upholdeth all that fall,
And raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
The eyes of all wait upon Thee;
And Thou givest them their meat in due season.
Thou openest Thine hand,
And satisfieth the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all His ways,
And gracious in all His works.
The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him,
To all that call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him;
He also will hear their cry, and will save them. , R.V.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 97.8
But the fact that God cares for all His creatures, and that all get their supplies from His open hand, does not imply that they are to sit still and wait for the food to drop into their mouths. He provides food for all, and expects them to take it.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 97.9
These wait all upon Thee,
That Thou mayest give them their meat in due season.
That Thou givest unto them they gather;
Thou openest Thine hand, they are satisfied with good. , R.V.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 98.1
The birds fly about, and gather that which the Lord has provided for them; but that does not indicate that they do not receive it direct from the hand of God. So the fact that man works for his living is no sign that he does not receive it direct from the Lord. Man is actually as much depended on the Lord for his daily bread as the birds are for their food. But for God’s provident care there would be nothing to gather, and but for the same care there would be no ability on the part of men to gather it.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 98.2
“When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which He hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping His commandments, and His judgments, and His statutes, which I command thee this day; lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;...then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God,...and thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.” .PTUK February 13, 1896, page 98.3
From the physical we are to learn lessons concerning the spiritual. God has provided every spiritual blessing that man needs, and more than he can realise. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places [things] in Christ.” . A man to whom this was quoted once asked, “If this is so, why do I not have all spiritual blessings? Why is it that I lack so much, and have so little enjoyment in the Christian life?”PTUK February 13, 1896, page 98.4
The answer ran thus: “What would you say of a man who should come to your house nearly starved, if, when you have loaded the table with the best that your house affords, he still rings his hands, and moans, ‘Oh, I am so hungry; how I wish I had something to eat!’ You would say, that if he is hungry the fault is all his own; that plenty has been given him, and that all he has to do is to take hold and eat. The fact that he is still starving does not prove that you have not given him everything he needs. Thus it is with the gracious gift of God. He has given you all spiritual blessings, and if you lack it is because you will not take that which He has so richly provided.”PTUK February 13, 1896, page 98.5
The man insisted that this was not a fair illustration, for, said he, “the beggar can see the food before him on the table, but I cannot see the blessings of God.” True, we cannot see them, but we may be more sure of them than if we could see them. We have the assurance of the Word of God that they have been given to us, and there can be no doubt about it. Our eyes often deceive us, but the Word of the Lord never does. “The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen our eternal.” . God’s Word makes thing so that did not exist before; therefore we may rest assured that all things that we need for this life, as well as for that which is to come, have been freely given to us, and that we have only to appropriate them.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 98.6
“Unwise Caution” The Present Truth, 12, 7.
There is such a thing as being too cautious. This is the case when men hesitate to act upon the Word of the Lord. How often it happens that people will acknowledge the clearness of the Word of God, and still hesitate to let themselves rest upon it. “I know that the Bible says so, but I believe in being cautious. I do not believe in moving too hastily.” Such caution is sin. It is simply unbelief. How differently Mary did when the angels announced to her the birth of a son. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word.” And the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of Elizabeth, pronounced a blessing upon her for her ready belief. See .PTUK February 13, 1896, page 98.7
Note also the ready belief of the shepherds when the birth of Jesus was announced to them. As soon as the angels departed, they said one to another: “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.” . The people who are too wise to take things hastily would have said, “Let us go to Bethlehem and see if this thing is so.” But those shepherds were just simple enough to believe the word of the Lord without any questioning. That is the kind of faith with which the Lord is pleased.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 98.8
“Church Attendance” The Present Truth, 12, 7.
Church Attendance.-A Bolton man had a census of the attendance in all the places of worship in Bolton taken Sunday evening, Dec. 22, the evening when there would likely be the largest attendance of the year. Deducting the aged, sick, etc., estimated at 45,000, there were left 80,000 able to attend services. The figures showed that 13,214 were present at all of the sixty-one places of worship. During the time of services 10,000 people were passing along the main streets. The figures are of interest as showing about the proportion of church-goers in the average town.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 98.9
“A Discontented World in Arms” The Present Truth, 12, 7.
The signs by which it may be known that we are living in the last days multiply about us with startling rapidity. Some are written so plainly across the current history of the world that men of the world are forced to observe them with misgivings. The meaning of these things and the lesson to every soul are apparent to those who look at them in the light of the Word. Unfortunately the great mass of the world never has read the signs of the times which God in mercy has always hung out before them. So trifling a thing as reading the face of the sky to determine the weather on the morrow is not beyond the worldling, but he fails to discern the signs of his times, and so fails to prepare for duty in the crisis.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 98.10
The “distress of nations, with perplexity,” that fearful “looking after those things which are coming on the earth” which the Lord forecast in describing the condition of the world at His second coming, are signs that must be seen by all, whether all read the lesson or not. A few days ago the Spectator, a cautious and conservative review, not given to “alarmist” tendencies, gave a survey of the great Powers which is worth reproducing in part. This is the age of boasted enlightenment and progress, and of marvellous increase of wealth (and of want to), yet the journal mentioned gives its review of nations under the title which best expresses the condition of the world, “The Dissatisfaction of Nations.”PTUK February 13, 1896, page 98.11
“The century has been,” it says, “one of almost continuous progress, but it’s close is being marked by a singular epidemic of restlessness among the nations. They all say they are powerful and prosperous and advancing, but they all give signs of deep dissatisfaction with their position.”PTUK February 13, 1896, page 99.1
“In France, where population does not increase, large divisions of the people declare the social system a mere source of misery, while the whole community restlessly desire to change the external position of their country. They are thirsty for more glory, more excitement, more “position” among the nations of the world. They are afraid of war, yet hunger for war, and would risk almost anything if they could only be sure of striking some grand coup which would live in history and increase the world’s perception that the French are a great people. It is not only their provinces they want, but what Byron styled ‘the earthquake voice of victory.’ No statesmen even professes to know what France in her feverish discontent with men, institutions, events, and above all, rivals, may be impelled to do.”PTUK February 13, 1896, page 99.2
“In Germany discontent is actually burning, and is fed every day by an Emperor who cannot be quiet, and who dreams dreams of a Germany grown suddenly rich, and of an empire as great in the world as it is now in Europe, wherein he shall be recognised as the “mighty” child of the centuries. There the unrest is deepened by an economic situation which, if it continues, will produce the greatest results. The people increase yearly in numbers, their industrial activity goes on ever developing; but their physical comfort does not increase in the same proportion. The spread of material civilisation makes them feel their poverty in a new way, and they are positively raging with desire for changes, which, nevertheless, they see no way to realise at once.... With more than two millions of soldiers, they number more than two millions of active Socialists; and the Emperor, whom no one opposes, speaks always as if he expected one day to meet his people in arms.... There are signs in Germany which are ominous of coming trouble in the world.”PTUK February 13, 1896, page 99.3
THE REST OF EUROPE
“The situation in Austria is little better, with these differences, that there is deep liking for the Emperor, that the people do not think of colonies, and though over-governed, it is by men who, at bottom, are carelessly good-natured. In Russia, though nothing stirs, there is yet no content; the population increases like that of Germany, and with it the feverishness for more room and freer access to the sea, while the people show in the outbreaks against the Jews, in the new agitation against corporal punishment, and in the local displays of resistance to the payment of arrears of taxes, a sense that they are administratively overpressed. In Italy no one is happy, and in Turkey the dominant race is so stirred by fears and furies, that it is deliberately threatening all its Christian subjects, and extirpating one ancient people with horrid incidents of cruelty and lust.”PTUK February 13, 1896, page 99.4
“In the United States the unrest is as great, but it comes from a different origin. There is economic trouble produced by the great change in the value of silver, but the unrest in the main is that of the peasant, who has become a great man, and longs not only for a larger sphere, but for a higher place among mankind. Ever growing larger, richer, and more active, never meeting with neighbours as strong as itself, and tormented by unsatisfied pride, the American nation is half-tempted to forgo old policies, and declare itself sole arbiter and mistress of two great Continents. That would be rank in the world, and to the prosperous and the strong rank always seems the next thing to be sought.”PTUK February 13, 1896, page 99.5
“Even in England, with all her external calm, there are great signs of restlessness. An uneasy idea that the world is hostile, and a pessimist idea that the people multiply too fast to be easily provided with hot suppers, having taken hold of the ruling classes and ruling men, and while the country under both parties has been silently arming, those classes have also been straining themselves to acquire more wealth, wider estates.... We also are troubled, uncertain of our way, ready for war, yet hating war, straining all of us in a leash, yet with no clear perception of the quarry we wish to strike. Even economically nothing is settled. We say in economics that we only desire justice, and never settle what justice is. In foreign politics we say we only desire to be let alone, but we mean in our hearts that we only desire to increase in peace-and that aspiration excites in the remainder of mankind a keen resentment.”PTUK February 13, 1896, page 99.6
THE WORLD A POWDER MAGAZINE
“The civilised world, in truth, which for nearly a century has advanced so rapidly on the path of material progress, is at this point of its strenuous labours seething with discontent, ready to risk all it has attained in an outburst of furious wars, intended to secure objects which it only half perceives in the distance, and is by no means certain that it really at heart desires.... A very small match just now would fire the magazine, and we feel no confidence, as we did five years ago, that all the matches are in safe hands. It is useless to say that the extent of the armaments is a guarantee of security, or that the people’s will not permit war, or that war is too wicked for the sensitive consciences of the modern nations.”PTUK February 13, 1896, page 99.7
Such a waking up of nations the world has never seen before. And this review of the situation leaves out the populous countries of the East which are learning the arts of war from the Western and professedly Christian nations. Yet the match is not dropped. The dogs of war, straining at their leashes, are not loosed. There is nearly always a little conflict on somewhere, but the death grapple is delayed, all the preparations for it, so long continued, are increasing discontent and exhausting resources.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 99.8
What holds back the tempest? It is not statesmanship alone, as statesmen are responsible for the preparations for strife. It is not the pulpit of popular Christendom; for it is a lamentable fact that during the critical times of the last few months the pulpits which have made their voice most heard have called for war with Turkey. The hand that holds the winds of strife in check is the Divine hand, for before the battle of the last day the everlasting Gospel is to be proclaimed in every nation and kingdom. There are to be wars and rumours of wars, but not until the Gospel is preached as a witness unto all nations will the end come. . John saw in vision the angry nations gathering, and he saw also the hand of God restraining the tempest of hate until His work was done. .PTUK February 13, 1896, page 99.9
Then as the signs multiply that show that in this our day the coming of the Lord is at hand every believer is to remember that “it is high time to wake out of sleep.” What is the message to the world? “The everlasting Gospel” (), with its final call to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people to worship God and give glory to Him. Now is the time to give that message, as every year and every month but increases the difficulty of carrying it to the world. Now, as never before, let believers proclaim it by the life and by the Word; for the world is worshipping Mars, the god of war, it is worshipping the Papacy, it is serving self, and needs to be brought face to face with the Word of “Him that made heaven, and earth.” There is a surer foundation to build upon than this discontented, unstable earth, and that foundation is the everlasting Word.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 99.10
“Making a Way” The Present Truth, 12, 7.
Many hesitate about giving themselves to serving the Lord in His own way because they concede no way to get on if they do so. The blessed thing about it is that even where there is no way the Lord can make one.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 100.1
When the children of Israel were before the sea, with the Egyptians behind them, they distrusted the Lord and thought there was no way out of their trouble. But the Lord made a way. Isaiah puts into the mouth of those who are surrounded by the trials of the last days the appeal: “Art Thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the deep of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over.” .PTUK February 13, 1896, page 100.2
It would have been just as easy for Him to have made a way over the surface of the sea, as when Jesus called Peter out to meet Him on the waves. The Lord makes ways for those who believe. But men are so slow to believe the Lord and trust Him.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 100.3
“The Jesuits” The Present Truth, 12, 7.
The Jesuits.-It was inevitable that such a body as the Jesuits should spring from the Papal system. Its organisation is so strong that successive popes have tried in vain to free themselves from its grasp, and now and then something is made public showing that the Jesuits still know how to gain their ends in spite of the popes and cardinals, who dare not break with them. “We are informed on good authority,” says the Chronicle, “that Cardinal Manning left papers containing an important statement dealing with the Society of Jesuits and their policy, with distinct directions for the publication of the statement after his death. This came to the knowledge of the Jesuits, who made extraordinary efforts for the suppression of the papers in question, and with success. Thus it has come about that a solemn message which the Cardinal designed to reach the ears of Christendom has been deliberately and secretly suppressed.”PTUK February 13, 1896, page 100.4
“Items of Interest” The Present Truth, 12, 7.
-After suffering from a drought Australia has been visited by a tornado in Queensland. The wind and rain destroyed immense property, and many were drowned by the floods.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 110.11
-The Medical Society of Berne advises the passing of a law prohibiting the publication of suicides, on the ground that the reading of such accounts suggests suicide to certain people.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 110.12
-Newspaper correspondents report that Russia is massing troops along the Armenian frontier, and it is expected that the understanding between Russia and Turkey will lead to Russia’s co-operation in pacifying disturbed districts the spring if necessaryPTUK February 13, 1896, page 110.13
-In Saxony no one is permitted to shoe horses unless he has passed a public examination, and is properly qualified. A great school at Dresden has students from all parts of the world studying “farriery.” This includes not only shoeing horses, but their care and treatment.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 110.14
-A company has been formed to put autocars on the streets of Paris in competition with the cabs. This auto-cab is to seat three passengers inside and one by the side of the driver. It will be driven by means of a petroleum motor, and in winter will be warmed by the vapour and water used to cool the cylinders. A French journal humorously suggests that perambulators shall be fitted with motors so that the nurse can ride as well as the child.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 110.15
“Back Page” The Present Truth, 12, 7.
It is only about a year since any public effort was begun by Seventh-day Adventists in Jamaica, West Indies, following the interest awakened by the canvassers who sold our literature throughout the island. Yet we see by a recent report that there are now about 200 observers of the Sabbath in the island.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 112.1
Italy has now over 30,000 Italian troops in Africa, prosecuting her Abyssinian campaign. “This is the largest European force,” says a newspaper, “ever gathered in Africa since Napoleon’s time.” Italy is “advancing civilisation” in Africa. The usual term “Christian civilization” would hardly be used in this case, as the Abyssinians also proclaim themselves “Christians.”PTUK February 13, 1896, page 112.2
It is now given out that the British navy is to be augmented by seventy-four new vessels, namely four battleships, four first-class cruisers, six third-class cruisers, and sixty torpedo destroyers. This increase will involve an outlay of nearly ?10,000,000 sterling, and it is possible that the number of third-class cruisers may be still further increased. Weapons and engines of war, like everything else, are made for use; and so, however much people may talk about peace and arbitration, it is evident that there will be some terrible fighting sometime.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 112.3
A reliable journal states that Mrs. Cleveland, the wife of the President of the United States, and the sister of the Secretary of Agriculture, are leaders in a movement among religious women, especially those connected with the Administration, to promote Sunday observance in the city of Washington. It is expected that this movement will meet with a large measure of success, for, as the paper says, “the example of the fashionable world pressure to be followed, in a measure, by the community at large.” But let them not forget that “the friendship of the world is enmity with God.” Such a means of promoting Sunday observance, is of itself sufficient to show that it has no Divine authority.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 112.4
The Christian truly says that “the recent display of temper in three great nations nearly all allied in blood and interest, over what, in other and calmer times, would pass without arousing any comment, is an ominous symptom of the unrest of the uncivilised world.” It is a sign that we are nearing the time thus described in : “And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to them that fear Thy name, small and great; and that Thou shouldest destroy them that destroy the earth.”PTUK February 13, 1896, page 112.5
We learn from the papers that many who have hitherto avoided the theatre are enthusiastic in praise of a play now running in London which depicts the sufferings of the early martyrs, the whole pivoting upon the usual love story which must, we suppose, be a part of every stage play. People feel deeply impressed, and some even “feel” as though converted by the exhibition. What shall be said of a spiritual temperament that does not feel nauseated at the thought of mimicking on the stage at so much a night to a gallery of staring and emotional people the sufferings of those who died for the faith of Jesus?PTUK February 13, 1896, page 112.6
The only thing that need be said of it all is that those early Christians who endured martyrdom for the love of Jesus at the hands of the Roman mob were not playing a part. They were not thinking of dramatic effects. Nor can anyone who enters into the Spirit of Christ which constrains them to follow Him find any profit in the attempt to dramatise spiritual things, making them clumsily profane. The temper of a society that can do such a thing, or applaud it, is not the temper that endured the sufferings. It is rather that of the gay world that sat in the amphitheatres of Rome and witnessed the sufferings of the dying and heard their moans of agony, finding it as interesting as a play. Nor was it by any “sign of the cross” that men were drawn out from that pleasure-loving world to a life of holiness, but by the lifting up of the cross indeed in the preaching of the Word.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 112.7
One of the prominent Sunday-law advocates of America, Mr. Morse, of Massachusetts, introduced a Bill into the House of Representatives, advocating the “abolition” of the Sultan, and the transformation of the provinces of Turkey into “a Christian federation to be headed by a Christian President, under the control of the International Commission.” This proposition is quite “up to date” in the line of “Christian Statesmanship;” but like all other plans with regard to Turkey, it will probably lie dormant for a while.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 112.8
“The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Yet the light itself ever remains the same. The light that shines from God was as great and as bright in the beginning as it is now, or as it will ever be. How then is it that the path of the just becomes brighter and brighter?-Evidently because he keeps advancing, walking in the light. The only way to get more light is to walk in the light that we now have. He who stands still, waiting for the light to become brighter, before he will take a step, is in danger of losing that which he has. “Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you.”PTUK February 13, 1896, page 112.9
“The Majority” The Present Truth, 12, 7.
The Majority.-Many say of various duties which would lead them aside from the easy path of human tradition, “Yes, that is plainly the thing to do; but it does not seem necessary, and the great majority have followed the other way for centuries.” They forget that one who would go with the multitude need not profess Christianity. A German statistician has just published figures putting down all professedly Christian people (and counting whole populations as Christians) 500,000,000. The number of heathen, Mohammedans, and Jews is just twice that. And aside from this everybody knows that the majority, in every country, are indifferent to real religious life. We are to follow the Lord and not the crowd.PTUK February 13, 1896, page 112.10