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    June 10, 1897

    “‘He Hath Blinded Their Eyes’” The Present Truth, 13, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again; He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart; and be converted, and I should heal them.” John 12:39, 40.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 353.1

    Many people are more inclined to find doubt and despair in the Bible, than to find hope and comfort, although the Bible contains none of the former, and is full of the latter; so when they read the words of the prophet Isaiah, they at once begin to complain against God, and to say that He is unjust and partial, and they will feel sure that they cannot believe, because God has made it impossible.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 353.2

    Now the Bible claims to be the Word of God. It exists for the sole purpose of revealing God to men, that they may see in Him the One altogether worthy of worship and affection. Everybody knows that this is the object of the Bible, whether they believe what it says or not. That being the case, how can it be supposed that anything can be found in the Bible that would tend to depreciate God in the estimation of men? Considered from a human standpoint, and as a merely human production, no one would be so foolish as to write things derogatory to his hero, in a book published for the sole purpose of honouring him. We may therefore be sure that none of the men who had to do with the production of the Bible saw in such statements as the one first quoted anything except such goodness and mercy as is consistent with the character of an all-merciful God, a God who not only loves, but who is love.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 353.3

    That there is comfort in even such texts as that quoted from Isaiah, and that they were written for the sole purpose of producing hope and comfort, is proved by Romans 15:4: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and, comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” And that the words of the prophet Isaiah do not teach that there are some who cannot be saved even though they wish to is shown by the inspired words of Peter, concerning Christ: “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:43.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 353.4

    When we read that God has hardened the heart of any person, then we should read the story of Pharaoh. God hardened his heart; but everyone who reads the account carefully, will see that it was only by the manifestation of kindness and mercy that He did it. When God sent judgments upon Pharaoh and his land, he humbled himself, and confessed his sin, promising repentance; but as soon as God showed him favour and prosperity came again; then his heart was hardened. It was because Pharaoh hated truth and righteousness, that as soon as special mercy was manifested toward him he took advantage of it to sin yet more. “Let favour be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord.” Isaiah 26:10.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 354.1

    Read the verses in connection with John 12:39, 40, together with the eleventh chapter, and you will see that the way the Lord blinded the eyes of the people was by sending great light to them, which was not according to their previous experience. Jesus declared Himself to be the Light, and His mighty works had showed how great was the Light. But the greater the work that He did, the more the people hated Him and His teaching. Everybody knows the effect that great light has upon the eyes of those who are not accustomed to it; it blinds them, or causes them to close their eyes. The more they have accustomed themselves to live in the darkness, the more does the light blind them.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 354.2

    The Jews, like all the rest of the world, sat in darkness; but their blindness was even greater than that of the rest of mankind, because they had had great light; and everybody knows that the darkness is much more intense to one who goes out of the light into it, than to one who has always been in the dark. But while others came to the light that shone in the darkness when Jesus came, the Pharisees and the principal part of the Jews rejected Him. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” John 1:11. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” John 3:20, 21. The Jews had loved darkness, and persisted in walking in darkness so long that the light was much more blinding to them than the darkness itself.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 354.3

    The very same statement by the Prophet Isaiah we find thus quoted in Matthew 13:13-15: “They seeing not; and hearing they hear not neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: for this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” The same Spirit of truth prompted Matthew to make this quotation from Isaiah, that moved Isaiah to write the words in the first place; therefore, we know that what we read in Matthew, is the exact meaning of what we read in Isaiah. God blinded the eyes of men, only by sending them wonderful light.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 354.4

    Is it therefore God's fault that they cannot see?—Not by any means. How can it be? If men complain because God shows mercy, what would they say if He manifested wrath? If they reject the love and mercy of God, what can He do for them? Shall we complain of God for sending light that caused men to close their eyes? Shall we say that if He had not sent light, they would not have closed their eyes? Well, what then? is it better to have one's eyes open in the pitchy darkness, where there is not a ray of light, than to have them shut in the sunshine? The last condition of the man is just the same as the first, and his possibilities are infinitely greater; for nobody can possibly see in the darkness, but all can see in the light if they will accustom their eyes to it. Let us open our eyes, and praise the Lord for bringing us “out of darkness into His marvellous light.”PTUK June 10, 1897, page 354.5

    “Only a Shadow” The Present Truth, 13, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Every shadow of darkness, every cloud of gloom, every fear of whatever kind is simply the shadow of death and of the devil. He has cast his hellish shadow over the world. Now, as Zacharias prophesied by the Holy Ghost at the birth of his son, the Lord has visited us and delivered us out of the hand of our enemies that we “might serve Him without fear.”PTUK June 10, 1897, page 354.6

    He has delivered us from every tremor of fear, and hath sent the Dayspring from on high “to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.” If you have His life you have His light. What is there to be afraid of? To the one in Christ death itself is only a shadow. The sting is gone. Satan can cast the shadow over him, but there is nothing in a shadow to be afraid of. He is delivered from the power of darkness. He is going through an enemy's land, whose weapons are all broken. He is going into a nest of scorpions, whose stings have been removed. He is going into a prison house, the key of which is held by One who loves him.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 354.7

    “Lords Many and Gods Many” The Present Truth, 13, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The heathen are subject to gods many and lords many. In the ancient religions of Europe and the East, nearly every profession or pursuit, either of business or pleasure, was under the patronage of special deities, at whose shrines the superstitious offered their devotions. When the Gospel was preached it had power to turn those who received it “from idols to serve the living and true God.” But when the falling away came, instead of turning the heathen from their idols, the church of the apostasy invented the doctrine of the invocation of saints, and substituted deified dead men and women for the gods of the heathen.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 354.8

    Thus it comes that in Romanism there are now patron saints, whose aid the superstitious invoke, and who are supposed to have special callings over which to exercise care. The elasticity of the Catholic calendar of saints is shown by the recent selection in France of a patron for cyclists. The Catholic Times says:—PTUK June 10, 1897, page 354.9

    “St. Catherine of Alexandria is the saint upon whom the choice of Catholics appears to have fallen, a preference suggested by the time-honoured custom of representing her in sacred art in association with the wheel which was intended for her torture, but which was miraculously used against her persecutors. The Croix, which warmly advocates the choice of St. Catherine makes the following reflections on the subject: ‘As the saint stands leaning upon her wheel she makes us think of a bicyclist in repose. The cyclist travels upon a wheel and the saint who, escaped so miraculously from suffering and danger will protect those who invoke her aid with faith.’”PTUK June 10, 1897, page 354.10

    “A Papal Mission that Failed” The Present Truth, 13, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    After Italy's defeat, and failure to negotiate the release of prisoners held by the Abyssinians, the Pope sent a mission. Being overmuch elated by the first friendly reception of the papal envoy, the organs of the Vatican boasted of the success of the Pope where the Italian Government had failed. It was but a few weeks, however, before the boasting was turned to chagrin by the utter failure of the papal mission. The story of the failure just now comes through the Daily Mail's correspondent in Abyssinia, who received it as follows from a young Frenchman resident in the country:—PTUK June 10, 1897, page 356.1

    “Look at Mgr. Macarius,“ he said, “sent by the Pope to obtain good treatment for, and, if possible, the release of the Italian prisoners. Menelik was quite willing to hand many of them over-those born in what were the Pontifical States, at least. But how did the Papal delegate behave? He was invited to visit his brother prelate, the Abuna, the head of the Abyssinian Church, and one of the most influential of the Emperor's counsellors, a man who could have secured the success of the mission. But his Beatitude haughtily declined to go, unless he was received by 150 priests in full canonicals, afoot, while he rode on his mule.” “A touch of Cardinal Wolsey about this,“ I observed. “And what was the result? Failure-utter failure.”PTUK June 10, 1897, page 356.2

    Before the Abyssinians demonstrated their fighting powers, they were regarded as but a part of barbarian Africa, and Europe considered it proper for Italy to take their land and kill them off, if necessary, in the interests of “Christian civilisation.” The Pope specially blessed the arms of Italy, and it was understood that priests would follow the army to establish the papal authority over the conquered provinces. But now rival missions from European States are fairly racing with one another to the Emperor's court. He understands the situation perfectly. He says: “When the Italians were threatening me with invasion, and I wrote to all the European sovereigns asking their help and influence to intercede for peace-even offering to give up my territory in Erythrea-did a single one deign to answer? Not one!-neither Queen Victoria, the Czar, the Pope, nor any of the rest. Now, seeing that I have successfully defended myself, they all send their missions.”PTUK June 10, 1897, page 356.3

    “Three Great Mistakes” The Present Truth, 13, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Notice three great mistakes made by different parties in connection with the trial of Jesus, each having its special lesson.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 356.4

    1. Peter's self-confidence made a coward of him when he came to the test. Knowing the Lord and loving Him, he yet denied the truth because the flesh failed him.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 356.5

    2. The prejudices of the priests and rulers made them blind to all truth and honour, and while their attitude was in itself a confession that they were wrong, they so deceived themselves that they knew not what they did.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 356.6

    3. Pilate's love of office and position led him to yield to the clamour of prejudice, although he knew what he ought to have done. He knew Jesus was a just man, and half feared that He might be more than man, but he would endanger his position if he did right.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 356.7

    Here are lessons (1) for followers of the Lord who trust in their own ability and knowledge of the form of the truth, (2) for those whose prejudices refuse to let them investigate the truth with open hearts, (3) and for any whose positions may appear to stand in the way of right doing.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 356.8

    Jesus triumphed in it all because, as even His enemies said, “He trusted in God.”PTUK June 10, 1897, page 356.9

    “Joy in Believing” The Present Truth, 13, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Joy in Believing .—Of the Philippian jailer it is said that he rejoiced “believing in God.” Acts 16:34. The Norwegian version has it that he rejoiced “because he believed in God.” That is reason enough for rejoicing. He who really believes in the Lord must rejoice. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1, 2, 11. “Now the God of peace fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13. He who does not rejoice does not believe.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 356.10

    “Items of Interest” The Present Truth, 13, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    -Another tunnel under the Thames is decided upon, a footway only, to connect Greenwich and the Isle of Doge.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 366.1

    -The late Matabele campaign, although the rising lasted but eight months, cost the Chartered Company a quarter of a million sterling.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 366.2

    -300,000,000 is the estimated population of the British Empire at the present time. This is one-fifth of the total population of the world.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 366.3

    -A bicycle-maker says there are 12,000,000 wheels in actual use in the world, and were they to be placed in single file they would reach right round the earth.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 366.4

    -The forces of the Congo Free State have defeated a detachment of the Mahdiste. On the north, the Egyptian expedition is preparing for an early advance against the Mahdist centre on the Nile.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 366.5

    -The German town of Orb, in the Speizart Mountains, with 3,300 inhabitants, has no taxes except dog tax. All expenses are defrayed by proceeds of public saline baths, forests, and a fund of ?120,000.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 366.6

    -When the telephone wires are overland the speed of transmission is at the rate of 16,000 miles a second; where the wires are through cables under the sea the speed is not more than 6,020 miles a second.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 366.7

    -In all circles in Turkey there is said to be a determination not to give up Thessaly. The Powers are hastening on the settlement in order not to give Turkey time to settle down in the captured province.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 366.8

    -In Crete the civil war is being resumed, Moslems attacking “Christians,“ and the latter attacking the former. The old love of fighting and religious hatred make a combination that defies all attempts at restoring order.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 366.9

    -All along the route of the Jubilee procession stands are being erected. One stand being built at enormous expense in St. Paul's Churchyard is expected to seat 2,000 people, and at the advertised price for seats will bring in ?42,000 if filled.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 366.10

    -The Greek Crown Prince is to be a guest of the Queen at the Jubilee. It is openly said that the invitation was given because of the out-cry of the Greek populace against him, as commander of the army. The crowd that shouted for war, and forced the King into it, naturally turns against him and his dynasty when defeat comes. The situation in Greece is still considered extremely critical.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 366.11

    -The King of Siam, who is on his way to England, is said to be the only reigning Buddhist. As such, he was received with great honours at the head centre of Buddhism in Ceylon, but on being refused permission to touch some relics considered specially sacred, he left in anger. In Siam the religious orders keep very firm control of the King, and when the Crown Prince arrives at a certain age he is compelled to serve six months novitiate in a monastery, after which he is recognised as heir to the throne.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 366.12

    “Back Page” The Present Truth, 13, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The six Powers forming what is called the Concert of Europe spend annually ?300,000,000 in armaments.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 368.1

    All slaves in the Niger Company's territory are to be freed at Jubilee time by statute, which will be declared officially at the various parts of the dominions.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 368.2

    It is announced that, by invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, a high Russian ecclesiastic, chosen by the Czar, will attend the religious services connected with the Queen's Jubilee, and represent the Russian Church in the Lambeth Conference. The High Church clergy are greatly pleased.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 368.3

    “There never was a time,“ said a London physician the other day, “when London was fuller of superstition than at the present time. We have palmistry, crystal-globe reading, Spiritualism, and fortune-telling, flourishing in our very midst, and frequently amongst the best educated.”PTUK June 10, 1897, page 368.4

    One of our Society's evangelists in Brazil, who has been visiting isolated believers in the interior, tells of one little company, who had had no call from a minister for more than a year, but who had been so faithful in letting their light shine that he found twenty-three persons awaiting baptism.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 368.5

    At the annual meeting of the English Church Union, held last week, Lord Halifax expressed the desire of the Union to see closer relations between Canterbury and Rome, and between Nonconformists and Catholics, and declared:—PTUK June 10, 1897, page 368.6

    The changes that had taken place in England in all that concerns the general aspect and conditions of religion during the last sixty years are so great that almost everything seems possible even in no very remote future.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 368.7

    There is all too good ground for the hopes of reunionists. Not that corporate reunion, of the kind that Anglican Catholics desire to see, appears to be in sight, but there is apparent a receding from Reformation principles and a turning from the Word which is dragging the Protestant world over to the side of papal tradition.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 368.8

    One of our American organs brings a good word concerning the progress of Sabbath reform in Chile. Just over eighteen months ago an evangelist with his family, sailed from Liverpool for Chile, the first of our Society's missionaries to go to that South American State. He now reports that between seventy-five and eighty persons are keeping the Lord's Sabbath, among them some who are labouring acceptably in extending work. Rome has long ruled with a high hand in South America, and a compromised Protestantism cannot give the trumpet a certain sound. The Gospel of Sabbath reform appeals to Protestant and Romanists alike to come out from tradition and take their stand upon the living Word of the living God, and worship Him alone.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 368.9

    The Gospel can be propagated only by free gifts. Christ gave Himself, not in payment of a debt, but for those who had no claim upon Him. Those who receive the Gospel in the spirit in which it is given, will also give freely, not as payment for what they have received, or may receive, but for the benefit of others.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 368.10

    “Columba, of lona” The Present Truth, 13, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Columba, of lona .—It is said that the celebration of the thirteenth centenary of the death of Columba, June 15, may lead to some rivalry in Scotland. The Roman Catholics propose a pilgrimage, likewise the Scottish Episcopalians and the Presbyterians. It is not possible to say with which party Columba would choose to identify himself were he alive. Certainly he would be accounted a bad Catholic, as the influence of his teaching made trouble for the Romanists when they tried to bring the early British churches under subjection. Nor is it likely the other churches would be pleased with him, for to his influence Mr. Skene, in his “Celtic Scotland,“ attributes the fact that, till the eleventh century, the Scots rested on the seventh day, and worked on the Sunday. Queen Margaret succeeded in putting an end to this un-Catholic practice by use of her authority and the command of “the blessed Pope Gregory.”PTUK June 10, 1897, page 368.11

    “The Only Question” The Present Truth, 13, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Only Question .—There is no question whatever in religion as to who is right or who is wrong. God alone is right, and there is no question about it. Unquestionably we are to believe what He says. The only question is, What does He say? Here it is not a question as to what this or that man, or one party or another, says that He says, but, What does He say? Every man must listen for himself, as only those who hear His voice can receive life from it. Men may preach the Word, but only God Himself can make it audible to the soul. God is talking to you in His Word. “Hear, and your soul shall life.”PTUK June 10, 1897, page 368.12

    It has ever been the work of Satan to bear false witness against God, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and the father of it.” John 7:44. It must be Satan, therefore, that has made so many people believe that God is harsh, and stern, and unapproachable, for the truth is that “God is love.” 1 John 4:8. So approachable is He that we may “come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 368.13

    “Sacrifice” The Present Truth, 13, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Sacrifice .—“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:17. A broken and contrite heart is one that is broken in pieces and ground up. Not of much worth, is it? What is it good for? Nothing. And that is why it appropriates Christ, who is of infinite worth, a sacrifice that is always acceptable to God. Having nothing in itself, but trust wholly in Christ. He is the surety of the new covenant, and so when He comes He will say, “Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.” Psalm 1:5.PTUK June 10, 1897, page 368.14

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