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    July 27, 1899

    “Notes on the International Sunday-School Lessons. The New Heart. Ezekiel 36:25-36The Present Truth 15, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In order that we may get the most possible benefit from this study, we will quote the portion of Scripture that it covers, beginning one verse back. It reads thus:-PTUK July 27, 1899, page 466.1

    “I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you; be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel. Thus saith the Lord God: In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that which was desolate. I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.”PTUK July 27, 1899, page 466.2

    There are some gracious promises in this lesson that can be appreciated by everybody; but the full benefit of it cannot be obtained without some knowledge of what has gone before. It is always a difficult matter to take a text out of its connection and to treat it as it deserves. A very brief outline of the conditions under which this scripture was written, and of God's purpose concerning Israel, will be of value both in this lesson and in the two that follow.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 466.3

    God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt in fulfilment of the promise made in the covenant with Abraham. See Exodus 6:2-8. That covenant was confirmed in Christ (Galatians 3:16, 17) and could be fulfilled only through His death and resurrection. In the inspired thanksgiving of Zacharias, the father of John the forerunner of Christ, we learn that Israel's being saved from their enemies, and from the hand of all that hated them was in performance of the promise of God to the fathers, and His covenant with Abraham, and their deliverance from their enemies was in order that they might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life. Luke 1:71-75. Their life, moreover, was to be everlasting, because the covenant made with Abraham was an everlasting covenant, and the promise was that he and his seed should have the land for an everlasting possession, which would involve their living for ever. Genesis 17:6-8.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 466.4

    When the promise was made to Abraham, he was distinctly told that he should die before the land could be possessed (Genesis 15:1-16), and Stephen tells us that he had not so much of the land as to sat his foot on, although God had promised it to him. Now since no word of God can fail, it necessarily follows that the inheritance which God promised to Abraham and his seed was only such an inheritance as can be obtained through the resurrection from the dead. This appears in the words of Paul when he stood before Agrigpa: “Now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers unto which promise our twelve tribes instantly serving God day and night hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” Acts 16:6-8. Every promise, therefore, to place Israel in their own land, involves the resurrection of the dead.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 467.1

    The nature of the true Israel must also be borne in mind. “They are not all Israel, which are of Israel; neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children; but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” Romans 9:6-8. The children of promise are counted for the seed, because the word was “In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Isaac was the child of promise, and he was born after the Spirit (Galatians 4:22-29); therefore as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God, and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. Romans 8:14-17. “And if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29. Only Christians indeed, therefore, those who are born of the Spirit, and who walk after the Spirit, are children of Abraham, and Israelites indeed. They are those in whom there is no guile. John 1:47. “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Romans 2:28, 29.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 467.2

    The children of Israel might have received the fulness of the promise soon after they left Egypt, for God was leading them to the Mountain of His inheritance, the place which He had made for them to dwell in, even the Sanctuary which His hands have established (Exodus 15:17); and this is in the heavens, in the New Jerusalem which is above, “the mother of us all.” Hebrews 8:1, 2; Galatians 4:26. But they did not believe, and therefore they could not enter in. Hebrews 3:18, 19. Ever since their failure, the promise has been left to us. Hebrews 4:1. David was king over all Israel in the land of promise, yet when he sat in his house, “and the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies” (2 Samuel 7:1), God said to him, “I will appoint a place for My people Israel, And will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more as beforetime.” Verse 10. And when David was delivering the kingdom over to Solomon, at the time when it was greatest, he said, in the presence and on behalf of all the princes and rulers of Israel: “We are strangers before Thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers.” 1 Chronicles 29:15. It is only by taking out from among the Gentiles a people for His name, through the Gospel, that God builds up the house of David. Acts 15:14-18. Christ is the One by whom the kingdom is to be restored to Israel, for “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 July 27, 1899, page 467.3

    Ezekiel prophesied at the time of the captivity of Israel. Long before the time when the scripture that we are studying was written, he had said to Zedekiah, whose name was a reminder of his rebellion against God, “Thou profane, wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord God: Remove the diadem, and take off the crown; this shall not be the same; exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high, I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more, until He come whose right it is; and I will give it Him.” Ezekiel 21:25-27. When the kingdom passed from Zedekiah to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, three overturnings or revolutions were foretold, which should give the dominion successively to Medo-Persia, Grecia, and Rome: then there should be no more world revolutions until the coming of Christ, who will destroy all the kingdoms of the earth, and scatter them like the chaff of the summer threshing floor, so that no place will be found for them, and will then reign for ever over an earth made new. See Daniel 2:44, 45; 2 Peter 3:10-13. We know, therefore, that the promises in this vision pertain to the work and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Certain it is that since the days of Ezekiel the Jewish people have never had a place of their own, so that the promise has not yet been fulfilled. It was not fulfilled by the return of Israel from the Babylonian captivity, and can be fulfilled only in Christ and His coming.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 467.4

    With this explanation, there need not much be said on the text before us, since it is straightforward reading. God promises to take His people from among the heathen, and bring them into their own land. The land which belongs to the people of God is no part of “this present evil world,” from which they are delivered by the death of Christ (Galatians 1:4), but the country for which faithful Abraham looked, “that is, an heavenly.” Hebrews 11:14-16.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 467.5

    In gathering them from among the heathen, to bring them into their own land, God sprinkles clean water, even the pure water of life, upon His people, to cleanse them from all their iniquities. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses, us from all sin” (1 John 1:7), and the Spirit and the water and the blood agree in one. 1 John 5:8. The clean water with which God sprinkles His people as He gathers them is the blood of Christ.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 467.6

    This cleansing is a thorough one, and since the filthiness which we have contracted among the heathen permeates us completely our cleansing involves an entirely new creation. God has to give us a new heart, which means a new life, for out of the heart are the issues of life. “If any man be in Christ there is a new creation.” He promises to put His Spirit in us, so that we shall walk in His statutes, and keep His commandments; for the law is spiritual. Then, says God, “ye shall be My people, and I will be your God.” Compare this with the promise of the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:33, 34), and the promise to Abraham. Exodus 6:6-8.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 467.7

    The heathen will see the fulfilment of God's promise to Abraham and his Seed, for they will all come up and surround the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, after it comes down from God out of heaven. Revelation 20:7-9. The people of God, redeemed from all their enemies, even from the last and greatest enemy, death, will go forth from the New Jerusalem over the renewed earth, and build cities and inhabit them, and plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. Isaiah 65:17-23. It is true that before they go forth the wicked will be destroyed in the fire that renews the earth; but the heathen will nevertheless know that the Lord builds the waste and desolate and ruined cities, for they will see the proof of it in the New Jerusalem, which will stand upon the site of the old city, only greatly enlarged. Zechariah 14:1-9; Isaiah 49:18-22.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 468.1

    “Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God.” This is humiliating, and may well cause us to be ashamed and confounded, but is wonderfully encouraging. The reason why so many people become discouraged, and doubt the possibility of their salvation, is that they think that it is their own worthiness that must be taken into account. “I am too unworthy for the Lord to take notice of me;” “I am so sinful that the Lord surely will not receive me,” are common expressions. Now comes the most comforting assurance that our unworthiness has nothing to do with the case. It is not for our sakes, but for His own sake, that the Lord forgives our sins. “I even I am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Isaiah 53:25. So we can say with all boldness and assurance:-PTUK July 27, 1899, page 468.2

    “Just as I am, without one plea,
    But that Thy blood was shed for me,
    And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee;
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”
    PTUK July 27, 1899, page 468.3

    “The Gospel of Isaiah. A Prayer for Healing Answered. Isaiah 38:1-8, 21, 22The Present Truth 15, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (Isaiah 38:1-8, 21-22, LOWTH'S TRANSLATION.)

    1. At that time Hezekiah was seized with a mortal sickness; and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amos, came unto him, and said unto him: Thus saith Jehovah: Give orders concerning thy affairs to thy family; for thouPTUK July 27, 1899, page 468.4

    2. must die; thou shalt no longer live. Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, andPTUK July 27, 1899, page 468.5

    3. made his supplication to Jehovah. And he said: I beseech Thee, O Jehovah, remember now how I have endeavoured to walk before Thee in truth, and with a perfect heart; and have done that which is good in Thine eyes. And Hezekiah wept, and lamented grievously.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 468.6

    4. Now [before Isaiah was gone out into the middle court] the word of Jehovah came unto him, saying: Go [back], and say unto Hezekiah,PTUK July 27, 1899, page 468.7

    5. Thus saith Jehovah, the God of David thy father: I have heard thy supplication; I have seen thy tears. Behold [I will heal thee; and thou shalt go up into the house ofPTUK July 27, 1899, page 468.8

    6. Jehovah. And] I will add unto thy days fifteen years. And I will deliver thee, and this city, from the hand of the king of Assyria;PTUK July 27, 1899, page 468.9

    22. and I will protect this city. And [Hezekiah said: By what sign shall I know that I shall go up into the house of Jehovah?PTUK July 27, 1899, page 468.10

    7. And Isaiah said:] This shall be the sign from Jehovah, that Jehovah will bring to effect this word which He hath spoken.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 468.11

    8. Behold I will bring back the shadow of the degrees, by which the sun is gone down on the degrees of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. And the sun returned backward ten degrees, on the degrees by which it had gone down.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 468.12

    21. And Isaiah said: Let them take a lump of figs; and they bruised them, and applied them to the boil; and he recovered.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 468.13

    In studying this lesson, reference should be made to the record in 2 Kings 20:1-11. It will be noticed that the Lowth's Translation, which we have reprinted here, two sections are inserted in brackets in the fourth and fifth verses, from the corresponding verses of the account in 2 Kings. Also, in order that the record of the event may be complete in one lesson, verses 21 and 22 are brought into the narrative in the regular course, instead of being left, as in our common version, at the close of Hezekiah's song of thanksgiving. Let the student diligently compare this reading with that in his Bible. There is no alteration, but only a bringing of the different parts of the narrative into one.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 468.14

    “At that time.” At what time? For an answer read chapter 36 and 37. The lesson itself (verse 6) indicates that it was at the time that the king of Assyria was besieging Jerusalem. Read also the accounts in 2 Kings 18 and 19. and 2 Chronicles 32.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 468.15

    The first thing that claims our attention in this study is the kindness of God in giving Hezekiah timely warning of his approaching death. For what reason Hezekiah was to die at that time, is not stated, and we have no business to conjecture. It would do no good if we should. Of one thing we may be sure, and that is that it was not because Hezekiah was a bad man. The record concerning his reign is that “he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done.” 2 Chronicles 29:2. He “wrought that which was good and right and truth before the Lord his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.” 2 Chronicles 31:20-21. No king has ever had a better testimony given him than that.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 468.16

    One of the most common things when a kind, benevolent, and good person dies, is to hear people say, “What had he done, that he should be taken away? if it had only been such and such an one, I could understand it, for he would never have been missed; but to take away so useful a member of society,-it is inexplicable.” Or sometimes a parent says, when a devoted and pious child is taken, “What have we done, that she should be taken from us?” Just as though God never thought of anything but devising some means of punishing people, and trying to make them miserable! Just as though it would be a mark of greater mercy on the part of God if He should allow all the unprepared ones to die, leaving behind only those who are ready either for life or death! God has “no pleasure in the death of him that dieth.” Ezekiel 18:32. “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart; and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.” Isaiah 57:1. The death of a good man, indispensable as he may seem to be, is often the greatest mercy that could befall both him and those who are left behind. Indeed, we may be sure that whatever takes place, the mercy of God endures for ever. “Though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” Lamentations 3:32, 33.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 469.1

    DEATH A COSTLY THING

    Let no one, however, think that it is a light matter to the Lord that any person, whether good or bad, dies. Death is not in God's plan for men. He is the living God, and the God of life. He is the Father of all, and from Him all parental love comes. There is no fatherly love on earth that is not simply a little fragment of the love of God for all men. Then let any father think of his own sorrow at the death of a loved child, and he will have an exceedingly faint idea of the sorrow that moves the heart of God when one of His children dies. See Jesus shedding tears at the grave of Lazarus, even when He knew that in a few minutes He would call His friend back to life. Read the one hundred and sixteenth Psalm. Note especially the fifteenth verse: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” That word “precious” is from the same word that is often rendered “costly,” and it always has that meaning, as anyone will know, who considers it origin. So we should read the verse as it appears in several versions, “Costly in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” It costs the Lord more than the human mind can compute, for Him to allow one of His saints to die, even though it be necessary. Death is an expensive thing to the Lord. It costs Him many a heartache. It is a personal loss to Him; He feels it, because every creature is a part of Himself. “We are His offspring,” and “in Him we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 17:28. But more, it is a loss to Him in the great work that He has to do in the earth. It is a common thing for men to say that God could get along without any of us, as though He were so self-contained and so self-satisfied and so far above all human feelings that nothing can move Him; when the fact is that everything moves Him. God has given the earth to man, and has never recalled the gift. Through man He has purposed to rule the world, and although we in our selfishness may not be able to understand it, it is a fact that God cannot get along without man. He showed this in that He gave His life for us. He could not live without man. He desires man to be His constant companion. It is for that purpose that He created man. Therefore we may be sure that it was not with a light heart that God said to Hezekiah, “Thou shalt die, and not live.”PTUK July 27, 1899, page 469.2

    DEATH AN ENEMY

    Hezekiah did not wish to die; the thought of it was most painful to him. “Hezekiah wept sore.” Was it because he felt that he had been a bad man, and therefore dreaded to meet His God?-No; for he had so little consciousness of guilt that he could recount to the Lord the integrity in which he had walked before Him. If dying means, as the theologians tell us, to be with the Lord, why should Hezekiah have felt so sorrowful at the thought of dying?-Ah, he knew better. There is no man in his senses that would not rather live than die. The tears that people shed over the dead, even while they try to make themselves believe that death is a friend, show that it is impossible for anybody to believe that lie. Every funeral train and every tear are testimonies to the effect that death is an enemy, and not a friend. Death speaks of the devil, the adversary of mankind. The righteous hath hope in his death, simply because he has the assurance through Christ that death shall be destroyed, and he be delivered from its grasp. Death is always and everywhere a thing for tears, and not for joy.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 469.3

    “NO” AS AN ANSWER TO PRAYER

    The Lord heard Hezekiah's prayer, and allowed him to live a little longer. Yes, “He heard his prayer.” How natural it is for us to say that, when we have prayed for something, and have got it. But suppose we do not get it, what then?-Then we shake our heads mournfully, and say, “The Lord didn't see fit to hear us.” Just as if there were ever anything that God did not hear. People in their selfishness generally have the idea that the universe is run for their own individual benefit, regardless of anybody else, and each one thinks that his own wishes should be attended to in every detail, and at once, no matter how many others may be distressed by it. So if God does not say “Yes” to every request of theirs, they feel that they have been greatly abused, and even insulted, because, say they, “I prayed to the Lord, and He did not answer me.” Haven't they ever heard that “No” is as much an answer as “Yes” is? And has not God as good a right to say “No” once in a while as any earthly parent has, who knows several things that his child does not know? Many a child has lived long enough to find out that the answer “No,” to a request for some much-longed-for thing, which seemed to him almost like a death blow, was the greatest blessing that could have been given him. It is always so when God says it, for He gives everything that is good, and He gives nothing that is not good.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 469.4

    HEZEKIAH GAINED NOTHING

    But Hezekiah received “Yes” as an answer to His prayer. We will not say that he received “a favourable answer.” He got what he asked for, although it was directly contrary to what God had said he should have. Did he really get it, though? “Certainly he did,” you say. Let us see. What did he ask for?-He asked for a reversal of the decree that had gone forth, that he should die, and not live. “And he did live,” you say. How long?-Fifteen years. That is not very long, and when that time had elapsed, what then?-Why, then he died. Yes, that was what God had said concerning him. He had to die just the same as if it had happened fifteen years before; death is just the same one time as another. But how much better off was Hezekiah after the close of that fifteen years than he was at the beginning? What had he gained by trying to overthrow the word of God? Ah, God works all things after the counsel of His own will; His word will be fulfilled sooner or later, and it is well for mankind that it is so.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 469.5

    HEZEKIAH'S HEALING A PUBLIC CALAMITY

    Whatever Hezekiah may have gained personally in his own feelings by the result of his prayer, it is certain that the people lost by it. We do not hear very much of Hezekiah after that incident. He appears only once, and then in a circumstance that is not greatly to his credit. But we know that in that fifteen years Manasseh was born, for Manasseh was only twelve years old when he succeeded him at his death. Read a little about him: “Manasseh was twelve years old when he began his reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem; and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord had cast out from before the children of Israel. For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim,-and he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom; also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards; he wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger. So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel.” 2 Chronicles 33:1-9. “Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.” 2 Kings 21:16. Surely the people of Israel had no reason to be very jubilant over the result of Hezekiah's prayer.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 470.1

    RIGHT AND WRONG PRAYING

    When we look at what followed, it seems quite evident that it would have been better if Hezekiah had kept still and allowed things to take the course pointed out by the Lord. “What! Isn't it always right to pray to the Lord for what we want, especially for life and health?” Yes; provided we pray in accordance with the will of God. That is always the rule. We must allow that God knows best. He sees the end from the beginning; and when God tells a man that he is to die, and sends a special messenger, a holy prophet, to bear the message, the very best thing for that man, and for everybody else, is that he should die. There is “a time to be born, and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2), and knowing how much the death of one of His children costs the Lord, we may be sure that the time for a man to die is when God says so.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 470.2

    “Shall we then not dare ask the Lord for a continuance of life?” Why not? We have not received any message from the Lord, telling us that we are to die, and not live. On the contrary we are told, “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sin, they shall be forgiven him.” James 4:13-15. That is for us, unless we have received some direct intimation from the Lord that we are to be an exception. But let us remember that it is the prayer of faith, that saves the sick, and that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17. Then we must not ask for anything contrary to the Word of God, and we must know the Word of God as personally addressed to us.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 470.3

    THE USE OF REMEDIES

    “And Isaiah said, Let them take a lump of figs; and they bruised them, and applied them to the boil; and he recovered.” Some one will say, “Why, Hezekiah was healed by natural means, after all; it was a strange and unusual remedy, to be sure, but it was a remedy, nevertheless.” Well, what of it? “Oh, when the Lord heals, He does not use remedies.” Ah, how did you learn that? Does not the Lord use instruments for the performance of His will? He uses things that are, and even things that are not, for the accomplishment of His purpose. Do not imagine that a thing is any the less a work of God, because He has done it through some agency, human or otherwise. Know this, that there was never a person healed of any disease in this world except by the Lord, and that He always uses some means, visible or invisible. The means is none the less real, if it is invisible. Do not get the idea that when you see a thing done, and see the thing that doest, it is not from the Lord; and that the miracle occurs only when you cannot see anything but the result. The words of the Lord are medicine, whether they are in visible form, or are invisible. Proverbs 4:20-22, margin. It is His Word that He sends to heal the afflicted. Psalm 107:20.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 470.4

    Remedies are always in place when people are sick, and are always perfectly consistent with fervent prayer for their recovery, even with the course that is set forth in the fifth chapter of James. But remember that they must be only the Lord's remedies. They must be remedies which are the embodiment of the living Word of God. They must not be things which contain death, and are themselves but the agencies of death. God heals by imparting life, not by giving death. “Men ought always to pray,” but that does not mean that they should sit still and do nothing. We ought to pray for our daily bread; but the command to do that comes from the same source as the command that “if any would not work, neither should he eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10. When we have done an honest day's work, and have received food as the reward, we are to thank God for the gift just as much as if the ravens had been sent to feed us while we sat by the brook. It is from His hands just the same. And so we are always to pray for the recovery of the sick, and at the same time to make use of every means that God has made known to us as serviceable. This does not include poisonous drugs, for they are not life-bearers, but death agents. And then if, after applying the means that God Himself indicated, the patient recovers, we are to thank the Lord just as heartily for the performance of a miracle of healing as if we had heard Him speak with an audible voice, and tell the disease to depart. The Lord is the Great Physician, and there is not a medical man in the world that cannot learn things from Him that will astonish him.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 470.5

    A SIGN FROM THE LORD

    The Lord gave Hezekiah a sign by which he might know that he should recover. We notice by reading 2 Kings 20:8-10 that Hezekiah was very particular as to the sign. He did not want any doubt about it. So the shadow on the dial was made to go backward ten degrees. Wonderful! Yes; but no more so than the healing of Hezekiah. Nay, it was no more wonderful than is the daily going forward of the shadow. Everything is wonderful, for in everything the eternal power and Divinity of God are manifest. We have known professed Christian men who had the audacity to attempt to explain the miracle of the going backward of the shadow on the dial, as well as the standing still of the sun in the days of Joshua. Some people think that they are in duty bound to seem to know as much as the Lord; but all will at the last be obliged to admit that the Lord knows many things that we do not. We would not minimise the going backward of the shadow, or the standing still of the sun, but would magnify the miracles that are taking place every day, and which are unnoticed because of their frequency. The fact that the sun keeps its place in the heavens, and that all the heavenly bodies move in their courses so exactly that men who watch them closely can tell to a second when to expect them at any particular point, is a stupendous miracle. God placed them in the heavens “for signs,” as well as “for seasons, and days, and years.” Genesis 1:14. They are signs to all men that the power and mercy of the Lord are everlasting. They are signs of the faithfulness of God, which is established in the very heavens. When we see the shadow moving forward we may be as sure of the fulfilment of the Word of God to us as Hezekiah was when he saw it going backward. No word of God can fail, and every sunbeam is proof of it. God has not left Himself without witness, and we are not obliged to ask for something special in our case. All we have to do is to look round us.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 470.6

    “‘What Is Truth?’” The Present Truth 15, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The question of Pilate at the trial of the Saviour should be the honest inquiry of very soul,-“What is truth?” And why?-Because it is by the truth that men are sanctified and made free. John 8:32; 14:6. What then is truth? The answer is simple and short,-“Thy Word is truth.” To know God's Word is to know the truth; but this means more than to give a formal assent to it, for the Psalmist says, “Thou desirest truth in the inward parts.” Psalm 51:6. This is apparent, for by the law (which is the truth, Psalm 119:42,) all are to be judged.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 471.1

    Error comes in with sin; and as there is no union between righteousness and sin, so truth and error cannot mix. Truth does not naturally find a lodgment in the carnal heart, for by it sin is made known, and sin never invites inspection.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 471.2

    Almost from the very beginning of the human race there has been a fierce struggle between these two opposing forces, and in the latter days especially is this conflict to be waged more than ever; for so insidious will the work of Satan be that, if it were possible, the elect themselves will be deceived. Mark 13:24.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 471.3

    With the truth there is no compromise. Every decision must be clean-cut. There can be no half-way position. “He that is not with Me is against Me.” There is no neutral ground.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 471.4

    “Job's Singing School” The Present Truth 15, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    An old deacon greatly surprised his good wife one cold winter evening by sayig to her, “My dear, I am going out to organise a singing school.” In astonishment she looked up and said, “Why you can't sing a tune; how can you teach music?” He made no reply, but left the house, harnessed the horses, took a good supply of provisions and fuel, and started for the home of a poor widow with six children. He found her in a destitute condition, with no fire, and the children crying for something to eat. When he made known the object of his visit, and laid before the family what he had brought, tears of joy filled their eyes, and their heartfelt thanks were showered upon him. When he returned home his wife inquired how he had succeeded in getting up his singing school, and he replied, “First class.” Then taking from the shelf the family Bible, he read, “The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me; and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.” “That is the kind of singing school I have started, one of Job's singing schools,” he said, “and it was a success.”PTUK July 27, 1899, page 471.5

    “Denmark” The Present Truth 15, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The little kingdom of Denmark does not desire war with any country, and has no motive for war. It does not desire the territory of any other power; its people are industrious, frugal, and prosperous; and it would have everything to lose, and nothing to gain, by a war. yet it has one great anxiety, which is just now specially troubling it, and that is, that it will not be allowed, by the other and greater powers, to retain its position of neutrality. What a striking comment upon the confidence that men have in the present talk about peace.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 471.6

    “A Cheering Thought” The Present Truth 15, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The marks of sin are plainly visible everywhere around us. Disappointments are on every hand, tears flow freely, heart-strings are bleeding and torn, our loved ones are snatched from our embrace; and were it not for the hope of the Christian, we should truly be “of all men most miserable.” But thanks be to the God of love, while it is appointed for man once to die, he does not need to die twice. And it is a most solemn yet joyful thought that the time is drawing near when the entombed millions who have fallen asleep in Jesus will hear the shout that will call them forth from their dusty beds, and in the twinkling of an eye be made immortal. “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless.”PTUK July 27, 1899, page 471.7

    “Little Folks. Fire and Water” The Present Truth 15, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “All power in heaven and in earth is given unto Me.” These are the words of Jesus, and the Psalmist also tells us that “power belongeth unto God.” If we really believe these words of God, we shall see, wherever there is any power working in the earth, the hand of God.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 474.1

    Think of the power of running water, which, through what is called “the science of Hydraulics,” is put to so much practical use for the service of man, to turn his mills and water wheels, etc.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 474.2

    But whose is this power? Where does the water come from, and who causes it to flow? It all comes from God, the “fountain of living waters,” and the One who moves all things in the universe by His Spirit that first “moved upon the face of the waters.” Therefore this “power belongeth unto God.”PTUK July 27, 1899, page 474.3

    Think again of the power of fire or heat, and the wonders that are wrought by it, of the mighty changes that take place under its influence. It can make solids into liquids, and liquids into gases or vapours. What could be done without it in our homes, our manufactories, and in all nature?PTUK July 27, 1899, page 474.4

    This fire and heat, we have learned, comes from the sun, the shining forth upon this earth of God's glory. All this therefore simply shows us the power of His glory, the transforming power of the light of His countenance. “Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.”PTUK July 27, 1899, page 474.5

    Now we will think for a little while of something that is produced when these two things, fire and water, are brought in contact with each other, something very familiar to you all,-PTUK July 27, 1899, page 474.6

    STEAM

    You see it every day, but have you, I wonder, ever thought what it really is? Even in this we may see the wonderful power of God's life working, and how He has placed this at the service of man.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 474.7

    We said that heat can change solids to liquids and liquids to gases or vapours. This is proved to us very often by what we can see of its motion upon water. In the winter when the water is very cold, it takes the solid form that we call ice. But when the warmer weather comes the solid ice is changed by the sun's heat into liquid flowing water.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 474.8

    But when it becomes warmed still more, like everything else it expands, spreads out and gets lighter, with the heat, until at last it evaporates, becomes so thin and light that it passes into the air and rises up to form the great billowy clouds that float there over our heads, through which God waters and refreshes the earth.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 474.9

    In the power of the great sun working upon the waters of the ocean, warming and drawing them up into the sky in this way, it is easy for us to see God's hand, and to know that it is His power working. But He wants us to learn from this to see the same thing everywhere, and to recognise His power wherever we see it at work.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 474.10

    We have learned how fire and water come from God through the sun and the clouds, and all the power that is in them is the power of God's life. Men see the fire, the heat with which God supplies the earth through the sun, to warm the water which flows to us from Him.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 474.11

    Then through the laws of His life which are working in both the water and the fire, some of the power, the heat that is in the fire, passes into the water and it expands into steam (of the wonderful power of which we will tell you move another time). This power is used to work all kinds of heavy and intricate machinery, to drive the engines which draw long train-loads of people at immense speed over the land, and to push, the huge steamboats across the ocean.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 474.12

    But whose is the power that is doing all this? It is the power of God, whose life is in the water, and from whom comes the heat that changes it into the form of vapour steam. Man cannot create or make power, but can only use the power which God is giving him in all these things.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 474.13

    Men use their talents to find out how best to control a small portion of the power with which God has filled the earth, to supply their own wants. But how few there are who recognise in it all that “power belongeth unto God,” and that “there is no power but of God.” So they do not “glorify Him as God,” but “become vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart is darkened.”PTUK July 27, 1899, page 474.14

    May you, little children, be kept so “pure in heart that you may see God”-see Him working everywhere and in all things, and so learn to “Fear God, and give glory to Him.”PTUK July 27, 1899, page 474.15

    “Jottings” The Present Truth 15, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    -Russia, has placed orders for 20,000,000 dollars’ worth of war material with the United States.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.1

    -It is computed that 7,000 swans’ skins are annually imported into London to make “puffs,” used by ladles to lay powder on the face.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.2

    -Quite a number of the fashion-leading women of Paris have decreed that the corset must go, and to this end have begun a crusade against it.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.3

    -In the last three months the fire insurance companies of New York have paid in losses two and a half times as much as they have taken in premiums.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.4

    -A single fly, if unmolested from the beginning of the fly season, will produce through itself and its successors, in a single season, the almost unbelievable number of 2,080,820.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.5

    -At Lambeth, detectives discovered a spurious coin mint, one of the most extensive ever brought to light in the metropolis. The floor was literally strewn with bogus florins, shilling pieces, etc.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.6

    -France last week launched a new submarine torpedo boat, costing ?38,000.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.7

    -The Dowager Empress of China has issued an edict directing financial reforms, brought about from her study of the works of a leading Chinese reformer.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.8

    -Over twenty-five deaths from lockjaw have occurred in New York City and surrounding country, due to accidents from toy pistols, etc., while celebrating the Fourth of duly.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.9

    -Two additional battleships, one cruise, two gunboats, fourteen destroyers, twenty-five torpedo boats and one submarine torpedo boat are ordered by the Budget Committee to be added to the French Navy during 1900.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.10

    -The whole of the American correspondents at Manila have entered an emphatic protest against the alleged systematic suppression and falsification of news carried on by the censorship. They state that the true facts in the case have not been reported.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.11

    -Extraordinary qualities are possessed by the River Tinto, in Spain. It hardens and petrifies the sand of its bed, and if a stone falls in the stream and alights upon another, in a few months they unite and become one stone. Fish cannot live in its waters.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.12

    -Upon application of the Sanitary Inspector to Bermondsey Vestry, orders were issued for the destruction of several tons of strawberries, raspberries, etc., because of the unwholesome condition of the fruit. A large proportion of it was consigned to Lipton's jam factory.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.13

    -The so-called Tugrin fog dispelier, expected to prove a boon to mariners, is simply a three-inch tube eight feet long, through which warm air is forced by a blower. A hole is thus cleared, ensabling the navigator to see several hundred feet through the densest fog. Fog is still an unsolved problem.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.14

    -According to the report just given, lunatics are increasing in London at the rate of 500 a year, and it is calculated that by 1901, accommodations will be required for 15,918. An appropriation of ?1,000 has been made by the Asylums Committee for inquiries and preparations of preliminary designs for further accommodation.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.15

    -Nine shop-keepers were prosecuted at Sheerness for Sunday trading. The magistrate imposed a fine of five shillings in each case, on technical grounds, but declined to make any order for the payment of costs, on the ground that he thought it absurd to invite people to that place for fresh air, and then make it impossible for them to get even an apple or an orange.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.16

    -London requires 600,000 cows to supply it with the products of the dairy, 84,000 being needed for milk alone. Nearly 12,000 of these “milk machines” spend their lives in sheds, and hardly ever see daylight, so to speak; 4,000 horses are engaged in delivering the products, and rather more than 30,000 hands are engaged permanently in the traffic.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.17

    -The Peace Conference is proving itself to be a farce. Russia has, since the proposal of the Peace Conference, never ceased arming. War vessels are being built and ordered at a hitherto unheard-of rate; new guns are being bought, and orders have just been placed in America for ?5,000,000 of ammunitions of war; and the latest proceedings at The Hague confirm the belief that nothing will prohibit the use of newly-invented engines of war.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 478.18

    “What Is in Your Heart?” The Present Truth 15, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Hezekiah king of Judah was a good man, who “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.” He could remind the Lord that he had walked before Him in truth and with a perfect heart, and done that which was good in His sight, and God did not correct him. Isaiah 38:3.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 480.1

    Nevertheless at one time Hezekiah acted very foolishly and wickedly. God had wondrously healed him, and had given him a sign in the heavens, which could not but be known in all the earth; yet when messengers from Babylon cams to enquire about it, Hezekiah, instead of using the opportunity to lead them to God, vainly showed them all his treasures, like a child exhibiting his toys. We read that he “rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up.” 2 Chronicles 32:25. Pride goeth before destruction, and in this instance we see how it prepares the way for it; for the vain-glorious exhibition of the treasures of the kingdom only aroused the cupidity of the Babylonians, and resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 480.2

    But how could Hezekiah, who had always lived a humble, godly life, turn so suddenly to folly, and to sin against God? The answer is: “In the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.” 2 Chronicles 32:31. We see, therefore, that all this folly was in Hezekiah's heart, unknown to him, even while he was serving God in truth and uprightness.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 480.3

    The hearts of all men are alike. All have the same nature. “From within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.” Mark 7:21, 22. These things are in the heart, not of a few men only, but of all mankind. No one need say that none of these things are in his heart, for they are all there, even though they have not all appeared openly. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I the Lord search the heart.” Jeremiah 17:9, 10.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 480.4

    Was not Hezekiah a converted man? was he not a Christian?-Certainly he was. The history of his life shows that. Yet all this evil was present, waiting the time when it could reveal itself. In the flesh of no man dwells there any good thing. It is only when we walk in the light as God is in the light, that the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1 John 1:7. The life-blood must continually flow through us, to cleanse away the impurity. Only in the Lord have we righteousness and strength; there is none in us. If we allow Him to leave us for a moment, some of the wickedness of the flesh will manifest itself.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 480.5

    Many are trusting in themselves, and congratulating themselves upon their own supposed righteousness. They are ready enough with their condemnation of others, forgetting that much of their own seeming goodness is simply lack of opportunity or of special temptation to do wrong. Forgetting to give God the glory, they will surely some time be allowed to exhibit the weakness of their lives. If from such a fall they learn, as did Peter, to trust in the Lord, then even that will contribute to their salvation.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 480.6

    None of us have any reason to boast over another. “By the grace of God I am what I am.” “Who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” 1 Corinthians 4:7. We have no occasion to boast of any goodness that appears in us, since it is all of God; but we have much reason to be ashamed of any sin, because grace from God is given us in sufficient measure to overcome all sin. Although sin, like a beast of prey, always croucheth at the door, with its desire toward us, we may rule over it; but this can be only when we recognise that the sin of all the world is ours, and in humility trust in the Lord.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 480.7

    Even though God should for a little moment leave us, He will gather us with great mercies. Isaiah 54:7, 8. But this history of Hezekiah was recorded in order that we might know what is in our hearts without its being necessary for God to leave us. Even while we are serving God in truth and righteousness, we may and should know that we stand only by the power of God's hand. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” Jude 24, 25.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 480.8

    “Rejoicing in Truth” The Present Truth 15, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Rejoicing in Truth .-Love “rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” 1 Corinthians 13:6. It “thinketh no evil.” What is love?-“Love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:10. True love-the love of God-is “that we keep His commandments.” 1 John 5:3. Love is righteousness. Now here is a test by which we may know ourselves. If we find a sort of satisfaction in hearing that some person has some weakness, some bad habit that he has not overcome, or if we find any pleasure in talking or hearing of the failures of any person, especially if that person be one from whom we expect better things, then we may know that the very evil of which we are talking or hearing is in our own hearts and lives. Our satisfaction in hearing of the evil is because we regard it as a sort of excuse for our own sin. If the love of God is in our hearts, the mere thought of another's failure will give us pain. God is love, and He takes no pleasure in hearing or seeing evil. Our sin causes Him pain and sorrow. Moreover, He thinks no evil concerning us. He is not suspicious, but treats us as though we were good, in order to draw us and hold us to the good. “For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11.PTUK July 27, 1899, page 480.9

    “Back Page” The Present Truth 15, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Every nation is represented in the Peace Congress; at the same time every nation is planning for an increase in its military force, each one expressly stating, however, that this preparation is designed only for defence, and not for attack. But if no one ever attacks, there will be no occasion for defence, and if there were any mutual confidence among nations, some of them, at least, would relieve themselves of the burden of preparing for defence which we are assured will not be needed. Who believes it?PTUK July 27, 1899, page 480.10

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