Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    May 25, 1899

    “A Finished Work. John 19:17-30The Present Truth 15, 21.

    E. J. Waggoner

    John 19:17-30

    Jesus had been tried, found innocent, and condemned to death. He was condemned for being the Son of God, the Jews crying out, “We have a law, and by our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God;” and yet the law itself was full of statements of God's care of them as sons, and of declarations that He wished to be their Father, and have them act toward Him as sons. Jesus was condemned for being what all ought to have been and were not.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 321.1

    The world knew not Jesus as the Son of God. He was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, but declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. See Romans 1:3, 4. He did not become the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead, but the resurrection, was the proof, the demonstration, that it was such. He was as much the Son of God during His whole life before the crucifixion as He is now, but the resurrection is the proof of it. Even so with all who are true foIlowers of Him. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear we, shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:1, 2. This being the case, we need not be surprised if we should receive some of the same treatment from the world, that He received.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 321.2

    BEARING THE CROSS

    “And He bearing His cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew, Golgotha; where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.” He could have refused to bear the cross, if He had wished, and none could have compelled Him. He “endured the cross, despising the shame.” If we are His true followers, we shall also meekly endure what is put upon us. How often, on the contrary, we not only refuse to bear anything that we can possibly avoid, but we fret and complain over burdens and trials that we cannot escape. Thereby we not only show that we are not His disciples, but that we are positively unwilling to be His followers.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 321.3

    Jesus could have avoided the cross, but only by denying His mission, so we can refuse the cross, but only by denying Him. There are thousands of ways in which the world will crucify us, if we are really determined to be followers of Jesus, among which sneers, a mild pity for such impractical fanatics, or surprise that we should be content to bury our talents, and flattering invitations to “better our condition” are not the least. There will be many a specious temptation to engage in something which the world would make us believe to be perfectly consistent with our profession, but which we in our hearts know to be inconsistent. We refuse the cross of Christ, and deny Him, either by giving up the truth, or by acting contrary to its purity and simplicity.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 322.1

    KING OF THE JEWS

    “And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews; for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city; and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that He said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written, I have written.” This was a severe blow to the pride of the priests, and was all the poor satisfaction that Pilate got out of the affair.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 322.2

    Was this the proper title to put upon the cross, or was it a libel, which Pilate was willing enough to perpetrate in order to spite the Jews? A little thought will convince anyone that it was the simple truth. Jesus was and is the King of the Jews. When Nathanael greeted Him with the words, “Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel” (John 1:49), Jesus accepted it without rebuke or comment. There was nothing incongruous in the double title. As Son of God, He was also King of Israel, because God the Father makes Himself known even to us in this age, as the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob; and it was only in their seed that all the families of the earth were to be blessed. He always declared Himself to be the Son of David; and the angel who announced His birth to Mary, said, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:32, 33.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 322.3

    It follows, therefore, that all subjects of Christ's kingdom must be Jews. All true Christians are Jews. Nowhere is Christ called the King of the Gentiles. All who are Gentiles are “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:11, 12. All Christians must cease to be Gentiles, and become Jews. Then is Christ indeed their King. “Salvation is of the Jews.” John 4:22. Let no one therefore despise that portion of the Scriptures which was committed-especially to the Jews. In it we find salvation and eternal life.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 322.4

    DIVIDING THE SPOIL

    “Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also His coat; now the cost was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for if, whose it shall be; that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted My raiment among them, and for My vesture they did cast lots.”PTUK May 25, 1899, page 322.5

    Even so must it be done with Christ's followers, when they become perfect representatives of Him. The reason why it is not done now is that, while there are true followers of Jesus, in whom His life is perfectly reproduced, they are so very few that they attract no notice. In the church as a whole the life of Jesus is not manifested. Among the great majority of professed followers of Christ, anyone who should be just as Christ was in the world, would be counted a fool and a fanatic, and thus is Jesus Himself condemned. Men think that they are followers of Christ, although they know that they do not do as He did; but they explain the incongruity, and satisfy their consciences by saying that times are different now from what they were then; the circumstances are so different that Christianity is obliged to adapt itself to them; but the principle is the same. This is but a delusion of the devil. The world is just the same now that it was then, and Jesus Christ is exactly the same. So when the life of Jesus is perfectly reproduced in His followers, they will share His sufferings and humiliation. “The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord. If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household?” Matthew 10:24, 25.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 322.6

    Therefore we are living in the last days, when the Son of man may be expected to return, and therefore when the work of the Gospel must be consummated, all those who give themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to keep His commandments, must do so with the understanding that it is to cost them all their worldly property. There have been those who took joyfully the spoiling of their goods (Hebrews 10:34), and even so must it be again. In this we can see that Christ's followers are not to amass wealth for themselves. Whoever becomes really and truly a disciple of Christ, realising, that he must become as poor in this world's goods as was the Master, will never let considerations of property stand in the way of his obeying any truth of God.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 322.7

    EACH THE DISTRIBUTION OF HIS OWN

    It is always much easier and pleasanter for a man to dispose of his own property than for another to do it for him. Therefore the lesson that should be learned from the division of Christ's garments is that it is best for Christians themselves to do the “spoiling” of their goods, rather than to leave it to be done by force. When they came to seize Christ's goods, they found nothing except the clothes that He had on, and these were plain. Happy will those be who are in a similar condition when the decree goes forth that no man may buy or sell save he that has the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. See Revelation 13:17. Christians should learn to do their own dividing. In like manner they should not defer their gifts of property to the cause of God until they are dead. There is no virtue in giving that which one no longer has any use for, and which one must necessarily leave. It is like giving the Lord an old, worn-out garment.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 322.8

    CREATION COMPLETE IN THE CROSS

    When everything had been accomplished, that the Scriptures had said should be done to Jesus, “He said, It is finished; and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.” In those words, “It is finished,” there is a world of meaning. It was not simply that His sufferings were finished; not that He was now at liberty; no, there was in it no thought of Himself. The work of God was finished in Him for the redemption of the world. The new creation was prepared for all, and nothing could deprive them of it. The cross of Christ is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18), and that power is creative power. Romans 1:20. The cross creates. In Christ all things are to be restored as they were in the beginning, when everything that God had made was “very good,” and man-perfect man-had dominion over all. The work of God was finished from the beginning of the creation (Hebrews 4:3), and therefore the rest was ready. The proof of this is seen in the fact that “God did rest the seventh day from all His works.” Verse 4. Finished work necessarily brings rest. In Christ creation is renewed, so that He offers rest to all who will come to Him. Matthew 11:28. He gives the same rest that God gave man in the beginning, and the sign of it is the same. The Sabbath of the Lord is the sign and seal of the cross of Christ.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 323.1

    THIS LAW ESTABLISHED

    Christ came to do the law of God. Psalm 40:7, 8. To the Father He said, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” John 17:4. So the words, “It is finished,” indicated that in Him the law had found its perfect fulfilment. But this shows the absolute perpetuity and immutability of God's law. God is not less wise than a man, and no man spends time and strength, and suffers pain, to accomplish a work in order that he may immediately destroy it. The more labour the work costs, the longer it is expected to stand. It cost the life of the Son of God, to do the perfect works of the law; that life was of infinite value; therefore the law will endure to eternity.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 323.2

    ACCEPTING THE LAW IN CHRIST

    Since a finished and perfect work stands, it follows that all who accept Christ must accept the law of God to be manifested in their lives. Let no one say that since Christ perfectly fulfilled the law, therefore we have no need to keep it. He finished the work in order that we might keep it. In Him the law exists in its perfection, and therefore whoever receives Him must also receive the perfect keeping of the law. “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:31. The law is the perfection of the character of Christ. Whoever finds it a hardship to keep the law, thereby proclaims his dissatisfaction with Christ; and whoever reviles and rejects the law, is at the same time reviling and rejecting Christ. Why should one wish to do so? If we ourselves were required to exhibit in our lives all the virtues of the law, then we might well complain, for they are not only contrary to the desires of the natural man, but impossible of performance. Romans 8:7. But “it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13. By the blessed will power of Christ, we may be made both willing to do the law, and doers of it. He not only makes us able to do the will of God, but lovers of that will. Those words, “It is finished,” contain for us all the blessedness and joy and power of the new Creation.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 323.3

    THE FAMILY OF CHRIST

    We should not close this lesson without noting that which it teaches as to the relatives of Christ, and our relation to them. As He hung on the cross, He saw His mother standing by, and also His beloved disciple John, and He said to His mother, “Woman, behold thy son! Then saith He to the disciple, behold thy mother!” John immediately recognised the relationship, by taking her to his own home. This is something more than a mere item of history. It is recorded to teach us that we stand in the closest relationship to all who are related to Christ. Jesus said, “Whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.” Matthew 12:50. Therefore we are to recognise all such as our own kindred, equally with those who are our kindred by ties of blood, even by the blood of Christ. This tie also binds us to all for whom Christ died; but of course those who have accepted the sacrifice of Christ are thereby made near. “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 323.4

    “The Gospel of Isaiah. The Cause of Ignorance. Isaiah 19:1-14The Present Truth 15, 21.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (ISAIAH 19:1-14, LOWTH'S TRANSLATION.)

    1. Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city which David
    besieged!
    Add year to year; let the feasts go round in
    their course.
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.1

    2. Yet will I bring distress upon Ariel;
    And there shall be continual mourning and
    sorrow.
    And it shall be unto Me as the hearth of the
    great altar.
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.2

    3. And I will encamp against thee, like David;
    And I will lay siege against thee with a
    mound;
    And I will erect towers against thee.
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.3

    4. And thou shalt be brought low; thou shalt
    speak as from beneath the earth;
    And from out of the dust thou shalt utter a
    feeble speech;
    And thy voice shall come out of the ground
    like that of a necromancer;
    And thy words from out of the dust shall
    give a small, shrill sound.
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.4

    5. But the multitude of the proud shall be like
    the small dust;
    And like the flitting chaff the multitude of the
    terrible;
    Yea, the effect shall be momentary, in an in-
    stant.
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.5

    6. From Jehovah God of Hosts there shall be a
    sudden visitation,
    With thunder, and earthquake, and a mighty
    voice;
    With storm, and tempest, and flame of de-
    vouring fire.
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.6

    7. And like as a dream, a vision of the night,
    So shall it be with the multitude of all the
    nations, that fight against Ariel;
    And all their armies, and their towers, and
    those that distress her.
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.7

    8. As when a hungry man dreameth; and lo! he
    seemeth to eat;
    But he awaketh, and his appetite is still un-
    satisfied;
    And as a thirsty man dreameth, and lo! he
    seemeth to drink;
    But he awaketh and he is still faint, and his appetite
    still craving;
    So shall it be with the multitude of all the
    nations,
    Which have set themselves in array against
    Mount Sion.
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.8

    9. They are struck with amazement, they stand
    astonished;
    They stare with a look of stupid surprise;
    They are drunken, but not with wine;
    They stagger, but not with strong drink.
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.9

    10. For Jehovah hath poured upon you a spirit of
    profound sleep;
    And hath closed up your eyes;
    The prophets, and the rulers; the seers hath
    He blindfolded.
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.10

    11. So that all the vision is to you, as the words
    of a book sealed up;
    Which if one delivers to a man, that knoweth letters,
    Saying, Read this, I pray thee;
    He answereth, I cannot read it; for it is
    sealed up.
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.11

    12. Or should the book be given to one that
    knoweth not letters,
    Saying, Read this, I pray thee;
    He answereth, I know not letters.
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.12

    13. Wherefore Jehovah hath said:
    Forasmuch as this people draweth near with
    their mouth,
    And honoureth Me with their lips,
    While their heart is far from Me;
    And vain is their fear of Me,
    Teaching the commandments of men;
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.13

    14. Therefore behold, I will again deal with this
    people,
    In a manner so wonderful and astonishing;
    That the wisdom of the wise shall perish,
    And the prudence of the prudent shall dis-
    appear.
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.14

    What is Ariel? That it is a city, is plainly stated. What city? In the translation which we are using, it is stated to be the city which David besieged, which is not very definite, since David besieged more than one city. In the Revised Version we have the better rendering, “the city where David encamped,” and when we put by the side of this the rendering of the common version, “the city where David dwelt,” we have no difficulty in understanding that Jerusalem is the city referred to in the prophecy.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.15

    In the twenty-eighth chapter we have the case of Samaria set forth, and now in this chapter Jerusalem is dealt with; but in both it is the whole world that is involved.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.16

    The word “Ariel” means “lion of God.” A few moments’ study of the passages in which this word occurs may be of interest. Aside from this chapter, we find it in 2 Samuel 23:20, and the parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 12:22, where it is stated that Benaiah “slew two lion-like men of Moab.” The Revision shows us that the words “men of” are added by the translator. Literally it is “two Ariel of Moab,” which is not a translation, and which to us does not mean anything. Translated it would read, “two lions of God of Moab.” Now when we remember that the phrase “to God” is often used to express the superlative degree as to size, fairness, etc., (See Psalm 36:6; Acts 7:20, with the margin of both cases), we understand that Benaiah slew two very great lions of Moab.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.17

    Again the word occurs in Ezekiel 43:15, 16, where it is rendered “altar.” The marginal rendering is in one case “mountain of God,” and in the other, “lion of God.” This we can understand when we remember that the temple, the essential part of which was the altar, was on the summit of Mount Zion, and that Mount Zion and the temple stood for Jerusalem.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.18

    Jerusalem stands as the centre of the worship of the true God, and therefore all the judgments that come upon Jerusalem because of the corruption of the worship of Jehovah will surely come wherever that worship has been perverted. It should also be noted, in reading the text, that instead of “Woe to Ariel!” we may read, “Ho, Ariel!” as in the Revision and in the margin of our common version. So combining the various renderings, we may arrive at this: “Ho, Ariel, Ariel, the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year; let the feasts be observed in their courses, and the sacrifices be offered, yet will I bring distress upon Ariel, and there shall be mourning.” That is to say, ceremonies and festivals, no matter how numerous nor how strictly observed, will never ward off judgments, nor take the place of personal righteousness of character. Compare this with verses 13, 14. It is the same lesson that is set forth in the first chapter of Isaiah, and one which cannot be repeated too often in this generation.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 324.19

    The reader will notice that Lowth's rendering of the first part of verse 3, is widely different from that in the common version or the revision. Lowth has it, “I will encamp against thee, like David,” while the others have it, “I will camp against thee round about.” The difference comes in this way: The Hebrew word for “circle” differs from the Hebrew of “David” only in the last letter, and those two letters are so nearly alike that one is easily mistaken for the other, and some ancient manuscripts have it David. It is really a matter of no importance, and attention is called to it only that we may see that little differences of that kind do not affect the meaning. If we read, “I will encamp against thee, like David,” it is the same as though we read, “I will camp against thee round about,” for that is the way David did.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 325.1

    We can now read the verses and see the picture which they present. Jerusalem, although very scrupulous in the observance of all the forms and ceremonies of the law, and of many of which the law knew nothing, yet disregarding the weighty matters of the law, namely, judgment, mercy, faith, was besieged by the Assyrians, afterward by the Babylonians, and still later by the Romans, and laid low. These nations, heathen and wicked as they were, were the agents of God, so that God Himself could say that He was encamping against the city. And those judgments upon Jerusalem of old were only a foretaste of the final destruction which shall come upon all who choose to follow their own way rather than God's way. Compare verse 6 with 1 Thessalonians 4:15-16; 5:3; Revelation 6:12-17; and Revelation 11:18, 19.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 325.2

    “And thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground.” When Saul consulted a woman with a familiar spirit, the answer came out of the ground. See 1 Samuel 28:7-13. Evil comes from beneath; all that is good comes from above. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.” James 1:17. Christ said to the wicked Jews: “Ye are from beneath; I am from above; ye are of this world; I am not of this world.” John 8:23. “He that cometh from above is above all; he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth; He that cometh from heaven is above all.” John 3:31. The evil spirit speaks from the earth; Christ speaks from heaven. Hebrews 12:25. Jerusalem is to be visited with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, and storm and tempest, and the flame of the devouring fire (Verse 6), and its destruction is to be sudden. When they shall say, Peace and Safety, then sudden destruction cometh. 1 Thessalonians 5:3. The multitude of the proud shall be as chaff that passeth away. “For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” Malachi 4:1. The time when this judgment shall be executed upon Jerusalem is very evident.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 325.3

    “And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her and her munition, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision.” The fact that men are instruments in the hands of God to execute judgments, does not necessarily prove that what they do is righteous. They are unconscious and unwilling instruments. They are intent upon carrying out their own purposes, but God overrules all in such a way that His purposes are accomplished. See the case of the selling of Joseph by his brethren. They were moved by envy and hate (Genesis 37:17-28; Acts 7:9), nevertheless it was God's purpose that was carried out in the deed. Genesis 45:7, 8; Psalm 105:17, 18: So it is when God allows unfaithful servants to fall into the hands of their enemies. What they suffer is but a part of God's judgment upon them, yet the men who execute this judgment are prompted only by their evil passions, and must themselves receive punishment for the judgments that they inflict.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 325.4

    One can readily see how Jerusalem will be the center of contention among the nations. Among all professed Christian nations the Turk is regarded as something to be got rid of. Professed ministers of the Gospel have been for years crying out for vengeance to be executed upon the Turks, and berating the heads of Government for their slowness to begin the war of extermination. The Turkish Empire would long since have ceased to be a part of Europe, if the other Governments could have been agreed as to who should be its successor. In process of time it will be drive out, and when the Turkish Empire is limited to Asia, Jerusalem will be the natural capital of it, inasmuch as it is the principal city in many respects. But since even now the cry has gone out for the Turk to be driven off the face of the earth, so much the more will it go forth then. So that it will be at Jerusalem that the armies of the nations will chiefly be assembled when the Lord appears in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 325.5

    When the Lord appears in the clouds, all the wicked will be destroyed by the brightness of His coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:8. This will be but the beginning of their destruction. At the appearing of Christ, all the righteous dead will be raised incorruptible, and will be taken to be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52. But the rest of the dead, the wicked, will not live again until the end of a thousand years, during which the righteous will be sitting in judgment with Christ, in heaven. Revelation 20:5, 6. “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle; the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city; and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” Revelation 20:7-9. They go up with the intent to capture the city; but, lo, the city against which they now come is the New Jerusalem. Jerusalem has undergone a transformation while they have been asleep; and against this new city they are powerless.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 325.6

    When the psalmist went into the sanctuary of God, he understood the end of the wicked. He said, “Surely Thou didst set them in slippery places; Thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, Thou shalt despise their image.” Psalm 73:17-20. So the multitude of those who come up to fight against Jerusalem shall be “as a dream of a night vision.” They are to be “punished with everlasting destruction,” and the fire with which they will be consumed is “eternal fire,” yet they are “suddenly consumed, as in a moment.” Their destruction is the more speedy simply because the fire is eternal, even the consuming fire of God's own glory. No matter how long a time is occupied in the act of consuming them, compared with the eternity to follow it is but a moment. “So shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Zion.”PTUK May 25, 1899, page 325.7

    Men who receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved, have no alternative but strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12. The greater the light which God sends, the greater will be the darkness if it is rejected. Thus it is that the Lord pours out the spirit of deep sleep, and closes the eyes of the prophets and rulers. Verse 10. The rendering of this verse in the Revised Version is very striking and suggestive: “For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes, the prophets; and your heads, the seers, hath he covered.” The prophets and the seers are the eyes and heads of the people; when therefore these are drunken the whole body must necessarily stumble and fall.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 326.1

    A vision is a thing seen. To give a vision is to make something plain. Think then in what a condition of dullness people are, to whom a vision is as a sealed book, or like an open book handed to one who cannot read. In verses 11, 12 we have a picture of a time of gross ignorance. What can be the cause of it? The Lord Himself tells us. The wisdom of the wise perishes, and the understanding of the prudent man is hid, because the people draw near the Lord with their mouth, while their heart is far from Him, and their fear toward Him is taught by the commandment of men. Here is something for serious consideration.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 326.2

    Compare the reading of verse 13 in the Revised Version: “Their fear of Me is a commandment of men which hath been taught them,” or, as the margin has it, “learned by rote.” There is no thought or reason in it, but they have been told certain things to do, and have learned them parrot-like, and do them mechanically. Ignorance, and not simply ignorance, but the inability to comprehend, is the inevitable consequence of such a course; for when men do not use the gifts that God has bestowed on them, those talents are sure to fall into decay. God has given all men minds which are to be used to their utmost limit, and that can take place only when He is allowed to use them; but when some men allow other men to serve as minds for them, they of course have no use for one of their own, and so it is removed. Only the commandments of men may be learned by rote. Men may attempt to learn the commandments of God in that way, but it is impossible. God's commandments are a living force, and wherever they are, there must be activity.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 326.3

    Commandments of men are not to be regarded. Of course this refers to matters pertaining to God. There is no man in the world so good that his word is to be regarded as of any authority in things pertaining to God. If it is his word, it is of no more value than the wind. But if he speaks the word of God, then the word will be with power, and will have the stamp of authority. No man is authorised by the Lord to speak his own words to the people, and whoever does so is a false teacher, seeking only his own profit. “He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God.” John 3:34. “To the law, and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 326.4

    When the wisdom of the wise men perishes, and the understanding of the prudent men is hid, what will become of the poor people who trust in the wisdom of men? They will evidently fall into the ditch, together with their blind leaders. “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh.” Jeremiah 17:5, 6.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 326.5

    What then is a poor, ignorant man to do? His course is plain; he is to go to the Lord for wisdom; “for the Lord giveth wisdom; out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6. If anyone, no matter how poor, lack wisdom, “let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5. “Through Thy precepts I get understanding.” Psalm 119:104. “I have more understanding than all my teachers; for Thy testimonies are my meditation.” Verse 99. God has not made any one class of men the depositories of wisdom. “If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know.” The Book is open, and it is plain; let each one read it for himself, and whatever he finds there let him adopt, without waiting to inquire of some man. The most ignorant may become wise, simply by giving heed to the Word of God; while the wisest men become fools when they turn away from that Word.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 326.6

    Some will say, “We have no time to study the Word of God, and to become acquainted with it.” That is indeed strange. It is like the captain of a ship who is so busy navigating his vessel that he has no time to consult the chart and compass, or to take observations. It is like a man who has no time for eating. Men live only by the word of God; therefore the study of the word is the only thing they have time for. Time is given to men for the sole purpose of enabling them to gain eternity. Yet how few will believe it. They will act as though this short life were all, and as though it depended on them to secure it; whereas this life is given by God, and is but the ante-room to the life eternal. Who will be wise? let him seek first of all the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and infinite wisdom and riches will be his.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 326.7

    “Little Folks. The Lord's Flock” The Present Truth 15, 21.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “May brings flocks of little lambs, Skipping by their fleecy dams.”PTUK May 25, 1899, page 330.1

    Is it not a beautiful sight, this “footprint of the Lord.” We learned last week that “the pastures are clothed with flocks” because He “visiteth the earth and watereth it.” Think of this now as you see the flocks of sheep, with the dear, happy little lambkins skipping gaily about, so full of joyous new life.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 330.2

    And this beautiful sight is as old as the world, for an the fourth chapter of Genesis we learn that Abel, the son of Adam and Eve, was “keeper” or “feeder of sheep;” and we read also about the “firstlings” or lambs “of his flock.”PTUK May 25, 1899, page 330.3

    Some of the noblest men of whom we read in the Bible, those whom God specially used in His work, were shepherds, keepers and feeders of sheep.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 330.4

    For forty years “Moses kept the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law;” and it was “as he led the flock to the back side of the desert” that “the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush.”PTUK May 25, 1899, page 330.5

    Moses’ work in caring for the flock of sheep had given him just the lessons that he needed to teach him to do the work that was now given to him, to lead the Lord's great flock, His people Israel, through the desert to the promised land. God “led His people like a flock, by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”PTUK May 25, 1899, page 330.6

    No doubt you will think too of the shepherd boy, David, who kept his father's sheep so bravely and faithfully. He too was being prepared to lead and feed the Lord's flock; for in Psalm 78 we are told that,PTUK May 25, 1899, page 330.7

    “He chose David also His servant,
    And took him from the sheepfolds;
    From following the ewes He brought him,
    To feed Jacob His people, and Israel His inheri-
    tance.”
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 330.8

    Through his shepherd life God taught David many precious lessons of His own love and care for His people; for “we are the sheep of His pasture.” David saw how, for the sheep, everything depended upon the shepherd, their food, their comfort, and their safety. And he joyfully sang:-PTUK May 25, 1899, page 330.9

    “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want
    He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
    He leadeth me beside the still waters.”
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 330.10

    A gentleman once asked a shepherd, “When do, your sheep lie down?” And the man told him, when they have eaten enough and are quite comfortable, when there is nothing to make them afraid. David knew this, and so you see how much he means when he says that the Lord wakes His sheep to “lie down.” We may be sure that they will be wall fed, and that they will have nothing to fear, because they are so safe in His keeping.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 330.11

    Sometimes David had to lead his flock through dangerous places, where there were wild beasts ready to spring upon them, but the sheep did not need to worry, because their shepherd was keeping them. David afterwards said, “When there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after him and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth; and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.”PTUK May 25, 1899, page 330.12

    Then as he thought of the tender watchfulness and great might of his own Shepherd, he sang:-PTUK May 25, 1899, page 330.13

    “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the
    shadow of death
    I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.”
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 330.14

    Though Satan, the great enemy of the Lord's flock, “goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour,” His sheep and lambs need fear no evil, for Satan cannot touch them while their Shepherd is near. He knows that he has no power over them so he tries to draw them away from Jesus, so that he can seize and destroy them.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 330.15

    But a good shepherd keeps watch to see that his sheep do not stray. If one of David's little lambs strayed away from the flock, he went anxiously after it, and brought it back to a place of safety, and led it gently in the right way with the others. This was what taught him to sing:.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 330.16

    “He restoreth my soul:
    He guideth me in the paths of righteousness for
    His name's sake.”
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 331.1

    He would have felt it to be a disgrace to him as a shepherd to lose one of his flock; for a true shepherd is a keeper of sheep. So he knew that “for His name's sake,” for the sake of His own good name, His reputation as a shepherd, the Lord would “restore his soul,” and guide him in the right way.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 331.2

    Read the words of Jesus in the tenth chapter of John, verse 11: “I am the Good Shepherd, the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.” David risked his life for his sheep, but Jesus gave His, for this was the only way that He could keep them safely, the only way that He could destroy the “roaring lion” who was seeking to kill all His sheep and lambs.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 331.3

    He says: “I lay down My life for the sheep;” but He says also: “I lay down My life that I might take it again.” When He took up again the life that He had laid down for His sheep, He showed that He had conquered all the enemies of His flock, so that we need “fear no evil.”PTUK May 25, 1899, page 331.4

    Nothing can hurt the Lord's flock without first taking His life, and this is not possible, for He is “alive for evermore.” And so long as He lives, His flock are quite safe. So He says, “My sheep shall never parish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.”PTUK May 25, 1899, page 331.5

    Remember that you, dear little ones, are the lambs of the Good Shepherd's flock, and He says of you, “He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom.” What a “safe and happy shelter”!PTUK May 25, 1899, page 331.6

    “Gracious Saviour, tender Shepherd,
    Little ones are dear to Thee;
    Gathered in Thine arms and carried
    In Thy bosom may we be;
    Sweetly, fondly, safely tended,
    From all want and danger free.
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 331.7

    “Tender Shepherd, never leave us
    From Thy fold to go astray;
    By Thy look of love directed,
    May we walk the narrow way;
    Thus direct us, and protect us,
    Lest we fall an easy prey.”
    PTUK May 25, 1899, page 331.8

    “Jottings” The Present Truth 15, 21.

    E. J. Waggoner

    -An American Bicycle Trust has been incorporated in New Jersey with a capital of $8,000,000.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 334.1

    -In a terrible railway disaster near Philadelphia, thirty-four persons were killed and many injured.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 334.2

    -Two hundred thousand families, it has been calculated, are living in London on about ?1 sterling a week.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 334.3

    -It is calculated that in ordinary everyday travelling the people of England spend about ?150,000 a day.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 334.4

    -The trusts in America do not help trade. A Boston railroad company has purchased 8,000 tons of steel rails in England owing to a trust having advanced the price.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 334.5

    -The conversion of Jews to Christianity seems to be a very expensive business. Recent missionary figures show that it cost over ?38,000 to convert twenty-eight Jews.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 334.6

    -The Russian Government is again taking exceptional measures against the Jews. It has just decided to prohibit their stay in St. Petersburg even in the case of Jews of French nationality.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 334.7

    -The Papal Nuncio at the Hague has received instructions to withdraw from the place while the Pease Conference is in session. This is intended to mark the Pope's displeasure at his exclusion.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 334.8

    -M. de Bloch, to whose influence the Czar owes his idea of disarmament, has proved by figures that in any Continental war the vast armies cannot possibly be provided for, and must perish on account of their size from famine and epidemics.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 334.9

    -Russia has demanded a fresh railway concession from China which will enable her to run her railway to Peking. In its Note refusing the Russian demand the Chinese Government says it can no longer believe in Russian promises of friendship.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 334.10

    -The Swedes are much exercised over the late Russian move in Finland because they see in it an ultimate menace to their own national independence. Russia has always desired an ice free port, and this could only be had on the Atlantic coast of Scandinavia. The possibility is one that is being actively discussed in Sweden.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 334.11

    -The Philadelphia Steel company has just secured from the Indian Government the contract for the construction of the viaduct over the Goktiek Gorge on the Burma Railway. The viaduct will be one of the largest in the world, measuring 2,260ft. long, and standing 320ft. high. It will involve the use of 5,000 tons of steel.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 334.12

    -The Transvaal has not been invited to send a delegate to the Peace Conference, for fear of giving offence to England, but the Dutch papers are writing bitterly over the exclusion, and point out that Bulgaria, which stands in the same relation to Turkey that the Transvaal does to England, has been admitted. It is difficult to imagine how peace can come out of the turmoil and jealousy which centres in the ConferencePTUK May 25, 1899, page 334.13

    -The Chicago committee appointed to examine the food being exported to England finds that condensed milk preserved by means of wood alcohol is poisonous, and that this material is used for embalming bodies. It has also been discovered that tarred rope is used to adulterate ginger pulverized clay is mixed with flour, corn starch is an adulterant of powdered sugar, ground-up cocoanut shells are sold as buckwheat flour, jellies are made of apple cores and parings mixed with ... and butter is made of tallow and marrow.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 334.14

    “Back Page” The Present Truth 15, 21.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The fact that the Peace Conference sits at The Hague at the same time that the battalions of the Dutch army are undergoing their annual exercises in the same city, is suggestive of the irony of the affair. Talks of peace with preparations for war will go on side by side until the last.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 336.1

    In connection with the little article on another column, entitled “Dividing the Prey,” setting forth that there are no Christian nations, but that all are essentially savage, like wild beasts or birds of prey, read the following from the Daily Chronicle, on the peace problem that is now attracting so much attention:-PTUK May 25, 1899, page 336.2

    The sad fact is, as we have had to point out more than once since this great problem was propounded that the temper of the Great Powers is not conspicuously Christian. Their enormous armaments and their balanced alliance have provoked a condition of morbid watchfulness and mutual suspicion. The chief preventive of war is the fear that if it came, it would be infinitely terrible and ruthless. There is but little sign among the Great Powers of any willingness to obey any law other than the law of force.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 336.3

    “In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am there ye may be also.” That is going home. The aim of the whole Gospel is to bring us home. Whether we recognise it or not, God regards us as children and as such, He desires us to share in the home. But if we refuse to take the place that belongs to children, to come borne to the Father's house, then we cannot share in the blessings of home. So the invitation is everywhere in this Gospel-Come. That one word sums up the whole Bible from beginning to the end. When the Lord would save righteous Noah from the coming flood, He said to him, “Come thou and all thy house into the ark.”PTUK May 25, 1899, page 336.4

    Almost the last thing in the Bible is that gracious invitation, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him halt heareth say, Come. And whosoever will let him take of the water of life freely.” Following this is the promise, “Surely I come quickly.” Then, the response: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” This is the longing desire of hearts sinsick and weary everywhere, and it can be realised, for the invitation is a personal one, the salvation is a personal one, and the home that Jesus has gone to prepare is a real home. “Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.”PTUK May 25, 1899, page 336.5

    An apprentice at Whitehead's torpedo works, a lad of nineteen, has invented an electric gun that is described as “deadly, noiseless, and smokeless.” It is said that “the most satisfactory experiments have been made with the model, which weighs only seven pounds. A target was shattered at a distance of five miles. The velocity of the shot is estimated at five and one-half miles in two seconds. It is said that the Admiralty have offered the lad ?75,000 for his invention, and that he has refused it, but at their request he is engaged in manufacturing a gun that will weigh one hundredweight, to be ready in July. Thus the work of preparing war goes on apace. What a terrible time it will be when the nations, armed with such murderous weapons, become really angry.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 336.6

    The Daily Chronicle gives expression to the sentiment that all right-minded people must feel, when it says that a world organised on a war basis, such as we see at present, to an extent greater than at any previous time since creation, “is not good,” and that “the thing cannot go on as it is.” And adds the striking statement which is true enough, and which should be remembered at the close of the Peace Conference:-PTUK May 25, 1899, page 336.7

    It is important to remember also that by the very fact of entering a Conference the nations have intensified the problem. Risk of war and burden of preparation were bad enough before, when no one mooted the question of a better way. But if a Parliament of the world is convened to find that better way, and is obliged to say that no way can be found, then the war cloud will be blacker than ever, and the risk of an actual Armageddon will be nearer.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 336.8

    “Dividing the Prey” The Present Truth 15, 21.

    E. J. Waggoner

    There is probably no man who is better acquainted with the political condition of the nations of the world than Henry Norman, or one who can more accurately state the causes that are operating to bring about certain results. An article contributed by him to the New York Independent, entitled, “China: A Coroner's Inquest,” is very interesting in that it shows incidentally that now, just as always in the past, the lust of nations for conquest is restrained only by the power of other nations to resist.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 336.9

    He regards China as already dead, and says, “it can be shown that there is no hope for China on the inside, and that as regards the relations of the great Western nations with her the golden time has been let slip, that consequently partition is to be expected in the future, and that the struggle for partition may mean war.”PTUK May 25, 1899, page 336.10

    Continuing, he says; “China is less able to-day than at any period of history to protect herself against outside interference, however humiliating and disastrous this may be, and the only alternative to successive amputations of her territory is a successful rising of the many revolutionary and disaffected parties within her own borders.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 336.11

    Again: “Hopeful people thought the result of the war with Japan would enlighten even China, and that she be compelled to organise some kind of army and navy, to give pause, at least, to intending marauders upon her. Nothing of the sort has taken place.” As a consequence all the great Powers are talking about “the partition of China.” Yet five years ago it was not so. Then, Mr. Norman says, “the Chinese army was supposed to be a huge, more or less disciplined force, which would at any rate make a rough and ready struggle when rifles were put into its hands; ... the Chinese navy was believed to be a factor in Eastern affairs.” “The fateful words, ‘partition of China,’ were then never heard.”PTUK May 25, 1899, page 336.12

    All this is told as a simple matter of fact, not with any thought of reflecting on the Christianity of the peoples which ready to pounce upon and divide up any nation that cannot defend itself. China is a dead carcase, and the other nations are perched round like vultures, anxious to devour it, hindered only by their dread of one another's talons.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 336.13

    We still hear people talk about the “Christian nations” as though there were such a thing, and yet it is taken as a matter of course that they will act the part of highway robbers wherever they can do so without successful resistance. And while this is so, many of the religious leaders are accepting this as perfectly legitimate, and are zealously advocating the observance of forms and ceremonies and days. Thus they say, “Is not the Lord among us?” while the earth is becoming filled with violence.PTUK May 25, 1899, page 336.14

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents