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    December 14, 1899

    “Front Page” The Present Truth 15, 50.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:6.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 785.1

    The exactly literal rendering, as given in the margin of the revision, is naturally much better, as it gives the thought more fully: “He shall make thy paths straight,” or “plain.” Know Him, recognise Him, in everything, and He will make your way plain and right.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 785.2

    This throws the responsibility on the Lord; not that we should shirk anything, but we should not assume that which is entirely beyond our capacity. “The way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” Jeremiah 10:23. This being the case, he should not try, to plan his own way, or to direct his own steps. God is the only one who can do it, therefore it should be left entirely to Him. In recognising Him at every step, and acknowledging Him, we place ourselves unreservedly in His hands.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 785.3

    In one of David's inspired prayers we have the very same expression as in our text: “Lead me, O Lord, in Thy righteousness because of mine enemies, make Thy way plain before my face.” Psalm 5:8. We see that the Lord makes our way plain by making His own way plain before our face; for His way is the way in which we are to walk. He is the way.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 785.4

    The Lord's way is righteousness. “As for God, His way is perfect.” Psalm 18:30. Therefore it is that the psalmist prayed, “Lead me, O Lord, in Thy righteousness.” The assurance concerning the one who hears the voice of the Lord, and heeds it, is that “righteousness shall go before him, and shall make his footsteps a way to walk in.” Psalm 85:13. Such ones are blessed, because they are “undefiled in the way, walking in law of the Lord.” “They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways.” Psalm 119:1, 3.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 785.5

    God's way is always right. It is not so because He takes pains to make it so, but because He Himself is right. He is, and that is all that there is to be said. He cannot be other than He is, else He would deny Himself, and that He cannot do. In other words, He cannot cease to be.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 785.6

    Men are prone to judge God by a human standard, and to say that in the work of salvation He could have done differently if He had chosen to, but that in His wisdom He chose to do as He has done. That is a mistaken idea. There is but one right way, and that is the way that God does. Men are obliged often to stop and weigh matters, and to decide between two or more ways that seem to open before them; both ways cannot be right, for if they were there would be no choice between them, but both must needs be followed; for we are in duty bound to do everything that is right; it may be that both of the ways that we are considering are wrong, and we are obliged to pause, because of our ignorance, and because we have in us tendencies to evil, which have to be contended with. There is always before us a choice between two ways: the evil and the good; and because we often choose the wrong way, instead of allowing God to choose for us, we have to say later on, “If I had to that to do over again, I should do differently.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 786.1

    Not so with God. He never looks back upon His way with regret. He is never obliged to say, “If I had that to do over again, I should not do the way I did.” He does not try experiments. He is right and therefore all He has to do is to act out Himself. By His own word, His own life, He created the heavens and the earth, and when He saw everything that He made, “behold, it was very good.” He was perfectly satisfied, and there was nothing that He wished to change. It is for this reason that when sin entered into the world God was not thrown into confusion. His word had gone forth, and it could not be altered; all He had to do was to go on in the same way that He had begun, and to prove how firmly His word was established. The word that created continues its working, and re-creates. Throughout the eternal ages God pursues one steadfast course, without deviating to the right or to the left, and without needing to stop to think out it is best for Him to act. He lives His own life, and that is perfect. His way could not be changed, simply because His life cannot be other than it is.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 786.2

    God is revealed in Christ, for no one knows the Father save the Son, and He to whom the Son will reveal Him. Matthew 11:27. There is “one God and Father of all, and who is over all, and through all, and in all.” Ephesians 4:6. Christ is the word that in the beginning was with God, and was God, and “the Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart.” Romans 10:8. Therefore “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Simply let the Word have free course; do not hold down the truth, but acknowledge it; and the Word that was made flesh will be manifest in your flesh even as it was in Jesus of Nazareth. This is what it is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” John 1:12. Merely to believe that there was such a person as Jesus of Nazareth, and that He was indeed the Son of God, hundreds of years ago, is not to believe on Him. To believe on Him is to receive Him and to acknowledge Him in the life; to allow Him through the eternal Spirit to live in you the same life that He lived of old. This is to acknowledge the Lord, and this will ensure your walking in the right way-the way of the Lord's righteousness.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 786.3

    When we acknowledge Him in all our ways, we shall not need as heretofore, to hesitate between two ways, since for us there will be only one way-His way. We shall know that way, because He has promised that they who continue in His words shall know the truth. We shall never be guilty of saying that our way is right, for we shall know that all our own ways are wrong; in that “we have turned everyone to his own way,” we have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6); but we shall not hesitate to declare that God's way is perfect, and that it is God that maketh our way perfect, because He makes His way our way, setting us in the way of His steps. It will most certainly not be the way that we should have chosen, for our ways and thoughts are not His ways and thoughts; but we shall be content, since “He knoweth the way that I take; when He hath tried me I shall come forth as gold.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 786.4

    “Notes on the International Sunday School Lessons. Christ's Coming Foretold. Isaiah 9:2-7The Present Truth 15, 50.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Who can ever become weary of the grand words of the evangelical prophet of Israel? What a richness, a luxuriance, there is in them, and what rhythm? How easy it is to remember them! They fasten themselves in our memory, never to be effaced. There are but few of them in this lesson, but they are wonderfully comprehensive. Let us read them.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 786.5

    “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, Thou hast increased their joy; they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the rod of his oppressor, Thou hast broken as in the day of Midian. For all the armour of the armed man in the tumult, and the garments rolled in blood, shall be even for bursting, for fuel of fire. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the Government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall perform this.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 786.6

    The lesson begins with darkness, and ends with light. The preceding chapter closes with the statement that upon the earth there shall be “trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish.” “Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.” Christ is the light of the world; there is no life but from Him, and His light is the light of righteousness, for He is “the Sun of righteousness.” That the prophecy in our lesson refers to the first advent of Christ, is made plain by comparing the first two verses with Matthew 4:15-17. It was when “the Word of life” was manifested, that the light came into the world. “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 786.7

    But God did not leave the world in darkness for four thousand years. Far from it. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.” Genesis 1:1-3. The Word of life-the light of men-was “from the beginning.” 1 John 1:1. It was the eternal life, shining for the salvation of all men. And men saw the light-and rejoiced in it-in the far-away olden time. Abraham saw it, and was glad. John 8:5, 8. When the light shone forth out of the darkness in the beginning, “God saw the light, that it was good,” from that time it has been bringing good news. Thus long has “the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ” been in the world. “There be many that say, who will show us any good? Lord, lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon us.” Psalm 4:6. From “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6), has all the good come, that has ever been known on this earth. “Turn us again, O God, and cause Thy face to shine, and we shall be saved.” Psalm 80:3.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 787.1

    “God be merciful to us and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us; that Thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among all nations.” Psalm 72:1, 2. “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound; they shall walk, O Lord in the light of Thy countenance. In Thy name shall they rejoice all the day, and in Thy righteousness shall they be exalted.” Psalm 89:15, 16. Thus sang the Psalmist hundreds of years before Jesus walked in “Galilee of the Gentiles.” Ah, the light that shines forth from Jesus of Nazareth was enlightening the earth ages before the glory of God shown round the shepherds of Bethlehem, and the angel said, in fulfilment of the words of Isaiah, “Unto you a child is born,” a Saviour. “And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 787.2

    There is healing in the wings of the Sun of righteousness. He makes people feel whole-“every whit whole.” To those that sat in the shadow of death, light has sprung up. The light of life scatters the shadows of death. “The light of His countenance” has in it “saving health.” Let “the joyful sound” bring out over all the earth, that He who heals the sick, gives sight to the blind, cleanses the lepers, raises the dead, brings the captives out of the dark prison house, and binds up the broken-hearted, has come to earth, and that His healing presence has never departed.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 787.3

    Then why are not all healed and set at liberty?PTUK December 14, 1899, page 787.4

    Oh, “Many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them were cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.” Yet the light shone for all. It still shines. From those who take the veil off their hearts, the shadow of death will flee away before the life-giving beams of the Sun of righteousness.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 787.5

    And they shall joy according to the joy in harvest. “Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.” Psalm 97:11. The sowing-time is the promise of the harvest. What though the corn of wheat falls into the earth and dies, and the storms of long, dark winter nights howl above it? The promise in sure: “If it die, it bringeth forth much fruit;” therefore He who sees with the eye of faith may rejoice as much amid the blasts of winter as when the golden light of autumn reveals the glory of the ripened sheaves. So although the rod of the oppressor is grievous, and for a season “for ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations,” “the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ; whom having not seen, ye love; in whom though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6-9. Rich men now oppress the poor; the just are condemned and killed; but the joy of the coming harvest is reflected in their faces, and for very joy they do not resist; but take all patiently. “Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” James 5:6-8.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 787.6

    “The harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:39-43. All the armour of the armed man-the furies oppressor-shall be only for a burning, for fuel of fire.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 787.7

    Whereby may we know this? By this: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.” The first coming of Christ had in it the power and the glory and the joy of the second advent. That little Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger, is “the power of God.” A “tender plant” it was, weak as any other babe that ever was born, yet Herod trembled, and raged against it in vain; “for the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Corinthians 1:25. That Child shall yet cause all the kingdoms of this world to totter and fall and crumble into pieces that cannot be found, while “of the increase of His government in peace there shall be no end.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 787.8

    Often during His short revelation on this earth did the “Holy Child Jesus” show forth His power and glory. Once was it seen that nothing less than “the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” were veiled by the flesh of the Carpenter of Nazareth, and the three disciples in the holy mount were “eye-witnesses of His majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16-18. For the light that encircled Him then was not light that shone upon Him, but light that shone from Him; “the glory as of the only begotten of the Father” was always visible to those who could recognise it in the form of “grace and truth.” John 1:14. So we see that the mighty power that will be revealed in the shaking heavens and earth at the second coming of Christ, will be but the power of Christ's coming in the flesh. It is the same “power of the Highest” that overshadowed Mary, enabling her to bring forth the “holy thing” that was called the Son of God; and it is the same “power that worketh in us” even now, to form Christ in us the hope of glory.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 787.9

    There is not so much difference between the first in the second advent of Christ, as people are wont to think. The prophets, as in the instance before us, often mentioned them together as one. The second is but the further unfolding of the first. No man believes in the first, who does not also believe in the second. He who was, is the One who is, and who is to come.” Revelation 1:8. He is not divided; we must take the whole of Him or nothing. If we do not accept Him as the One who is coming again to take visible possession of His own inheritance, then we do not fully realise His power as our present sovereign Lord. Never in eternity will there be any more power manifested in Jesus than was necessary to bring Him to birth in Bethlehem of Judea, and to raise Him from the dead. And that is the power by which He now dwells in every living heart. The power of His coming to Judgment, is the power of His humble birth, and the power of the cross. Only by the cross are repentant sinners saved, and reprobate sinners destroyed.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 788.1

    Therefore lift up your heads and rejoice. The time of tribulation is the time to “joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Romans 5:1-3, 11. The oppressor may be as cruel and fierce as ever; “your adversary the devil” may be as active as ever; there may be visible oppression; but Christ has promised “liberty to the captives,” and the liberty is ours. The power by which He will at the last “rend the heavens,” and “come down” (Isaiah 64:1), is the same power by which He now rides on a cherub and flies on the wings of the wind to the help of His afflicted, tempted ones. Psalm 8:1-10. Then why not now rejoice over the conquered foe. Do you expect to be glad when the Lord comes to claim His own? You will not unless you rejoice now, even while surrounded with trials. The crown will be given only to those who “love His appearing;” and none love His appearing who do not know the power of it in His blessed presence. “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow because her hour is come; but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.” John 16:20. Therefore, “rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, rejoice;” for “unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 788.2

    “Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills be joyful together before the Lord; for He cometh to judge the earth.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 788.3

    “The Gospel of Isaiah. A Stupid, False Witness. Isaiah 44:9-29The Present Truth 15, 50.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (Isaiah 44:9-20.)

    “They that fashion a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and their own witnesses see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 788.4

    “Who hath fashioned a god, or molten a graven image, that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed; and the workmen, they are of men; let them all be gathered together; they shall fear, they shall be ashamed together.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 788.5

    “The smith maketh an axe, and worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with his strong arm; yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth; he drinketh no water, and his faint. The carpenter stretcheth out a line; he marketh it out with a pencil; he shapeth it with planes, and he marketh it out with compasses, and shapeth it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man, to dwell in the house. He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the holm tree and the oak, and strengtheneth for himself one among the trees of the forest; he planteth a fir tree, and the rain doth nourish it, Then shall it be for a man to burn; and he taketh thereof, and warmeth himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto. He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied; yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire; and the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image; he falleth down unto it; and worshippeth, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 788.6

    “They know not, neither do they consider; for He hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand. And none calleth to mind, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh and eaten it; and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree? He feedeth on ashes; a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 788.7

    One must search long to find a finer piece of description than this. True to the life, it is at the same time wonderfully cutting and sarcastic; its accuracy, however, is what makes it so. The passage will bear reading many times, and after the reader has done with laughing at the poor, stupid idolater, who makes his own god, he may turn the laugh against himself; for this image-maker's descendants and counterparts are found in every country under heaven, and in every society, and every church.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 788.8

    The careful reader cannot fail to notice that the court is still in session. We ourselves are in the court room. The case will be on until the Judgment day comes. Now the witnesses are being examined, and are giving in their sworn testimony. The trial is to decide who is God, whether the Maker of the heavens and the earth, or the things that man makes, and so, really, man himself.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 788.9

    In the verses preceding the beginning of this lesson, we have the Lord's witnesses again addressed. Indeed, the whole of the preceding chapter concerns them. They are the redeemed of the Lord, those whom He gathers out of every country, who are called by His name, and whom He has created for His glory, and who show it forth. God has blotted out their iniquities, and poured His Spirit upon them in floods, which they have gladly received, so that they may testify to Him. “One shall say I am the Lord’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.” To them God speaks, and tells them not to be afraid. He is the first and the last,-the only God,-and they, as His witnesses, are not to be afraid to lift up their voices with strength, and to declare His name and fame.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 789.1

    “We know that no idol is anything in the world, and that there is no God but one.” 1 Corinthians 8:4. There are many that are called gods, but there is only one God, namely the living God, who made all things. No idol is anything, and “they that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.” Psalm 115:8. Therefore the maker and worshipper of an idol is nothing. That is what our lesson tells us: “They that make a graven image are all of them vanity.” This word “vanity,” is from the Hebrew word meaning “emptiness,” “confusion,” as in Genesis 2:1. “The earth was without form.” Job 26:7: “He that stretcheth out the north over the empty place.” Isaiah 24:10; 34:11: “The city of confusion is broken down;” “He shall stretch upon it the line of confusion.” Isaiah 29:21: “a thing of naught.” Isaiah 41:29: “Their molten images are wind and confusion.” That is all there is to an idol, and it is all there is to the one who makes and trusts in one. That is, it is all there is to anybody who does not trust in the Lord Jehovah. The Judgment day will prove this, when all who have rejected God will cease to be, so that neither he nor his place will be found. Psalm 37:10.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 789.2

    “Eyes have they, but they will see not.” This is spoken of the idols of silver and gold, which are the work of men's hands. These false gods have their witnesses, even as the Lord has His; but on the principle that everybody is like the object of his worship, “their own witnesses see not nor know.” The reason for this will soon be made clear, if the reader has not already seen it. But first, let us contrast these witnesses with the “Faithful and True Witness,” and with those who range themselves on His side. He says, “We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen.” John 3:11. Peter and John, two of the Lord's witnesses, said, “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20. God does not desire that His witnesses shall speak anything else. He says, “Go and tell the things which ye do hear and see.” A man who testifies to what he has seen, and what he knows, can answer without fear under any circumstances; but the one who tries to tell what he has not seen, and what he knows nothing about, and what indeed does not exist, will very speedily be put to shame. “If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching.” John 7:17. There is therefore no need for anybody to be in doubt. The mere curiosity seeker will not find anything; the man who wishes to make an exhibition of his knowledge, will not be able to give any testimony that will bear cross-examination; but whoever wishes to do the will of God,-whoever yields himself to the Lord,-will know. “If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31, 32.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 789.3

    What constitutes the real difference between the worshippers of the true God and those who trust in the things of naught?-Just this, that the first trust in something, and the others in nothing. Now remember that a man is absolutely nothing of himself. It is only by the Spirit of God that men are made, and by the breath of the Lord that they receive life and understanding. Job 32:8; 33:4. “All nations are before Him as nothing; and they are counted to Him as less than nothing, and vanity.” Isaiah 40:17. All the substance, the reality, that there is to any man is the presence of God. This is the grand truth that all the world needs to learn. Whoever thinks that he is something, when he is nothing, deceives himself. Galatians 6:3. That is the trouble with the idolater here described as a type of his class. “A deceived heart hath turned him aside.” He does not know that there is nothing real but God, and that in Him all things hold together. That is what makes men so proud and boastful. That is the secret of all self-confidence and vain-glory. Now if a man recognises this truth, and trusts in the Lord wholly, yielding his body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, he will be “filled with all the fulness of God,” and there will be substance, reality, to him and his words. He will be able to speak with authority. It is God that worketh in him, and it is the Holy Spirit that speaks in him. But when a man who is nothing to begin with, rejects the source of all life and wisdom, and trusts in that which he himself has made, and which must of necessity be nothing, it follows that the whole thing is emptiness. His words and deeds are wind, and he himself is but chaff. His own testimony carries him away; or, as in Isaiah 1:31, the strong is tow, and his work is a spark, so that he has nothing but destruction in himself.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 789.4

    “Let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together.” Numbers do not make strength. A thousand million ciphers are of no more value than one alone. A lie does not become the truth because ten thousand men testify to it. Men cannot create anything; and that is the root of the whole matter. People who know that a single lie will be of no avail, imagine that very many of them will stand. But it is folly. “Ye have ploughed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies; because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.” Hosea 10:13. “The hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place.” Isaiah 28:17. No man can possibly have any more strength than he has with God in him alone. God's presence in another man will not answer for me; so that I cannot trust even in a good man; how much less, then, in a wicked man. “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou bear witness in a cause to turn aside after a multitude to wrest judgment.” Exodus 23:2. “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.” Proverbs 11:21. Let no one rest in any way that he is pursuing, confident in the thought that “everybody does so,” or that it has been the custom for many years. Find out for yourself what the Lord says, and then you will know that you have the truth, and that your way will stand. His Word is the only real foundation. “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 789.5

    Anyone who reads this, anybody who can read the Bible, can see at once the folly of the man who makes a god out of a tree. It would seem that no one could possibly be so foolish as to worship a thing that he himself has made, and could say to it, “Deliver me, for thou art my god.” Part of the tree he uses for cooking his dinner, and the remainder he makes into a god. Surely he ought to be able to see that there is no more power to the portion of the tree which he worships than in that which he burns in the fire. Yet the thing is done by men of as good mental ability as any of us. “The deceitfulness of sin” is amazing; and this deceitfulness is in every human heart. See Jeremiah 17:9.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 789.6

    There is nothing more common in this world than self-justification-the desire to maintain one's own cause, and to demonstrate that one is in the right, and has done no wrong. We have all had experience in this. The tendency is inherent in human nature. “They all with one consent began to make excuse.” Luke 14:18. That is, they all began to show what they regarded as a good reason for not complying with the summons that the king issued. Now if a good reason, a reasonable excuse, can be given for any course, that shows that the course is right. So every excuse that anybody makes for his acts,-for not serving God,-is a claim that he is all right in himself, without heeding the Lord. In what are we trusting, when we do that?-Manifestly in ourselves,-in the works of our own hands. Then we do not differ a particle from the man who is described in this chapter. A deceived heart has turned us aside, and we are feeding on ashes. If we confess our sins, we shall find mercy from God, because in confessing them we are acknowledging that God is, and that He is in the right; and He is mercy. All that is needed therefore, is for us to confess our sins, not because God stands on His dignity, and wishes to humiliate us, but because only by confessing that we are wrong and that He is right will we trust in Him, who is the only source of life and righteousness. “Go and proclaim those words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause Mine anger to fall upon you; for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, and that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God.” Jeremiah 3:12, 13.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 790.1

    “A deceived heart has turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand.” How is there a lie in the right hand of the man who trusts in the woks of his hands, that is, in anything that he has done,-the man who will not confess to God, but who maintains that he has life and righteousness in himself?-The answer is very easy. Read the preceding verses. The man who proposes to save himself by his own works, “is hungry, and his strength faileth; he drinketh no water, and is faint.” But afterwards he eats and drinks, and is satisfied. But he did not make the food and drink, and he knows it. All the strength that he has comes from what he eats and drinks, that is, from something outside of himself, which he has received. The strength of our right hand is the strength that God has given us, yet we talk and act as if it were our own. Therefore it is evident that there is a lie in our right hands whenever we do so. Yes, we ourselves are lies, for we profess to be something when we are nothing. Every morsel of food that we eat, and upon which we depend for strength to go about our daily work, or which we use in self-gratification, is an evidence that we are wholly dependent on God. The easiest thing in the world to know is God. Anybody who has sense enough to know that eating will give strength, has no excuse for not knowing God. Ah, there are very many stupid people in this world; very many false witnesses. Shall we hearken to the Lord, and be wise, or shall we continue in our folly?PTUK December 14, 1899, page 790.2

    “For Little Ones. ‘Christ in You’” The Present Truth 15, 50.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Now the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto the city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came in unto her, and said:-PTUK December 14, 1899, page 794.1

    “Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 794.2

    But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this might be. And the angel said under her:PTUK December 14, 1899, page 794.3

    “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God. And behold thou shalt bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 794.4

    What a wonderful and glorious promise, was it not? And was not Mary indeed “highly favoured”? She thought so; then marvelled greatly at the gracious words. The thought that came first to her mind and lips was, “How shall this be?” How could anything so wonderful take place,-that she should bring forth the child who should be the Son of God and Saviour?PTUK December 14, 1899, page 794.5

    Did you know the Lord has sent a message, a promise, to you, which will make you, if you believe and receive it, just as “highly favoured” as was Mary? Did you know that He wants His Son Jesus Christ to “be formed in you”? This is what the Apostle Paul told his “little children” in one of his letters to them. He said also that this was the whole secret of the riches of the glorious Gospel, the Good Tidings,-“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Not Christ born of Mary in the Bethlehem stable,-but Christ in you.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 794.6

    Then do you not think that you, like Mary, “have found favour with God”? And surely you will want to know as she did, “How shall this be?” So that you may not do anything to hinder this gracious purpose of God.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 794.7

    Then listen carefully to Gabriel's answer to this question, for Christ can “be formed in you” only through the same means, and by the same power, that He was born of Mary. “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that Holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 794.8

    How much was Mary herself to do to bring this to pass? Nothing at all; all was to be the work of the Holy Spirit of God. And there is nothing of all, dear children, that you can do to form Christ within you, so that His love and meekness, for His weakness, gentleness, and power, shall be seen in your life.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 794.9

    But “the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee,” dear little one. He is with you everywhere; you cannot go where He is not.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 794.10

    “Whither shall I go from Thy presence, and whither shall I flee from by Spirit?” Wherever you go the Spirit of God is there; and wherever He is, the power of the Highest is overshadowing you to form Christ in you if you will let Him.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 794.11

    Only believe His promise, as Mary did, and say like her: “Be it unto me according to Thy Word.” Then yield yourself to the sweet influence which His Spirit is shedding round you every moment, and His power will fill you with the new life of the Lord Jesus Christ, and make you a true “child of promise,” “born of the Spirit.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 794.12

    Does this remind you of the child we spoke of last week,-Isaac, the child of promise? Perhaps you can see better now some of the beautiful lessons that God was teaching Abraham when He promised him a son, who should be born of the Spirit, and could come in no other way.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 794.13

    He was “preaching the Gospel beforehand under Abraham,” showing him how, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ should be born, not only into the world, but formed in his own heart, to save him from his sins.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 794.14

    Like Mary, “Abraham believed God.” This was all that he needed, all that you need to do, in order to receive the fulfilment of all His promises.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 794.15

    Another time we will find some more of the Gospel lessons that are hidden in the life of Isaac; but next week we must tell you of the fulfilment of the promise that God sent to Mary by the angel Gabriel.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 794.16

    “Items of Interest” The Present Truth 15, 50.

    E. J. Waggoner

    -According to Reuter, a serious native anti-Christian rising is announced at Chian-fu, China.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.1

    -Nearly 340,000 has been received by the Lord Mayor of London for the Transvaal War Fund.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.2

    -The S.S. Himalaya, which recently arrived in London from Melbourne, had on board 412,000 eggs for the London market.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.3

    -The total results of the self-denial week observed by the Salvationists in Australia amount to 27,100, an advance of 2,000 over 1898.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.4

    -The United Presbyterian suggestively observes that “the world is practically at peace, except the two great English-speaking nations, who have been foremost in advocating peace.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.5

    -It is reported that a price of ?5,000 has been placed on the head of Mr. Cecil Rhodes, which some will be paid to any Boer who will bring him dead or alive.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.6

    -The trans-Atlantic steamship Majestic, of the White Star Line, has been converted into a transport, and this week, Wednesday, leaves for South Africa with 2,000 troops.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.7

    -During the week ending November 30 there were forty-six fresh cases of plague in Mauritius, twenty-nine of which prove fatal, making the total number of deaths from plague thirty-six.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.8

    -A firm of solicitors in London, well known in legal circles, fell last week with liabilities amounting to ?300,000 with practically no assets. The crash was so terrifying that one of the members committed suicide.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.9

    -There has been a serious outbreak of typhoid fever in one of the principal cities of New York, U.S.A., due to the disease being communicated through milk supplied by a milk and whose wife was ill with the disease.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.10

    -A great business block of buildings in Philadelphia, U.S.A., including the premises of the Lippincott publishers, has been destroyed by fire. The damage is estimated at nearly three-quarters of a million sterling.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.11

    -The Anglo-American Rapid Vehicle Co. is the name of a new industry that has lately filed the articles of incorporation in America. The capital stock is placed that ?15,000,000, and it is formed for the purpose of combining the most important English and American automobile companies.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.12

    -And expressman in New York has a three-year old colt which he has taught to drink beer and whisky and to chew tobacco. The pores frequently goes the rounds of the saloons with his owner, and many persons treat him in order to see him drink. In one evening it is reported that he drank 120 glasses of beer, and was made dead trunk thereby.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.13

    -In future mourning envelops are not to be allowed to pass through the post in France. The reason given by the postal authorities is that black-edged envelopes are easily tampered with. They can be opened, and it damaged in the process a little ink will conceal the damage.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.14

    -There left for the Transvaal last week on the steamer Karami, one of the heaviest cargoes of war material ever dispatched from the British shores. Among the ammunition are forty million rounds of small-arms ammunition in 3,640 boxes; 7,000 rounds of shrapnel and, and shall, and 4,000 rounds of 5 in. lyddite shell into 2,000 boxes; 851 boxes of fuses and forty boxes of pistol ammunition.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.15

    -A break for stopping steamships has just been invented by a Liverpool man whereby it is claimed that a vessel sailing at twenty knots an hour can be stopped within a space equal to twice her length.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.16

    -The first tests in the United States of the Pollak-Virag system of rapid telegraphy were made a few days since. Between Chicago and Buffalo (1,000 miles) 90,000 words an hour were transmitted. Between Chicago and Milwaukee, 140,000 words were correctly transmitted in the same length of time.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.17

    -At a recent meeting of the American Board of Commissary for Foreign Missions held in Providence, U.S.A., it was reported that over 2,000 Congregational churches, more than a third of all, and 4,880 of the 5,500 Sunday-schools, or nearly ninety per cent. of all made no contributions for foreign missions.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.18

    -Because of the representations of the German Governor has to the comparative weakness of the Triple Alliance, the Common Government of Austria has asked that the appropriations to the Naval and Military Budget be increased to 6,000,000 florins more than last year. The demand has caused considerable comment.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.19

    -The Danish merchants and farmers have to ship to the English troops in South Africa 50,000 packages of butter as a Christmas present. Cigarettes and tobacco seem to be the favourite present, for one tobacco firm has sent 100,000 cigarettes, and to one Lady Anderson and other tobacco man presented 20,000 cigarettes for the use of the wounded.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.20

    -Last summer the Canadian Government sent over to Finland Prof. Mavors of the Toronto University to see if he could not divert to Canada some of the Finns suffering from the attorney of the Russian Government. As a result the Government has been notified that 15,000 Finns will come out to Canada next spring and locate on farms in the Northwest.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.21

    -Sir Henry Tate, of sugar refiner fame, died in London on the 5th ints. Amassing a great fortune, he spent lavishly in establishing art galleries, libraries, and founding scholarships. He it was who saw in a little device for cutting sugar into cubes, a valuable invention, and to get up after it was rejected by several sugar refiners, and with it made his fortune.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.22

    -The New York World, in giving an itemised list of expenditures connected with the late Shambrock-Columbia yacht race, states that Sir Thomas Lipton expended ?190,000 in building his yacht and carrying out the race with her for America's cup. That is a vast sum to be spent by a single individual on a sport, and is possible only in these days of colossal fortunes.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.23

    -The Denton Grange from Southampton for South Africa one day last week, having on board quite a remarkable cargo, consisting of thirteen traction engines, two steam ploughs, sixty ambulance vans, forty-two for rich and living vans, twenty ammunition than, 170 buck waggons, 1,000 tons of hay, 1,000 tons of oats and bran, and a large quantity of water-pipes for water stations from Capetown to Pretoria for the use of traction engines. She is expected to reach Capetown in about twenty-three days.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.24

    -According to a Vienna correspondent, the Countess Dunen-Borkowaka, a young widow of Vienna, renowned for her beauty, has just met with a horrible death. She had contracted the habit of smoking cigarettes while reading in bed. Yesterday morning the Countess was found burned to death in her bed-room. Only her skeleton remained. Having gone late to bed, she had evidently dropped asleep with a lighted cigarette in her fingers. The pillows seemed of caught fire, and she was doubtless ablaze before being able to cry out for help.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 798.25

    “Back Page” The Present Truth 15, 50.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Two more numbers complete this volume of PRESENT TRUTH. In keeping with our purpose to make every number as good as we possibly can, and steadily to improve, we hope to be able to do much better in the coming year than in the past. We are planning for some material improvements in the way of better paper, new headings, and better and more numerous illustrations. As to the matter, we trust that the Lord will enable us week by week to give “meat in due season.” Have you received a blessing reading the paper? Surely, then, the least that you can do in acknowledgement of it, is to put others in the way of receiving a blessing, by placing the paper into their hands.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 800.1

    In this issue of the paper we have really the last of the Sunday-school lessons for the year 1899, as the next one is a review of all the lessons for the year. Accordingly next week's paper will contain no Sunday-school lessons notes. The next number but one, however, the last one of this volume, will contain the first one of the series for 1900, and there will be no intermission during the year, with. The lessons for next year will be on the life of Christ, and the incidents selected for study are the most striking ones in the Gospels. We hope to have suitable illustrations to accompany the notes, which we trust will be no less interesting and profitable to the general reader than to the Sunday-school teacher and scholar.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 800.2

    The prominence and the praise given to the young buglar who with his own hand shot three Boers at the Elands Laagte, is bearing fruit. The Daily Mail has received from a schoolmaster in Suffolk a watch and chain, subscribed for by the children of this school, and accompanied by a letter from the children to the boy trumpeter, of which the following is a portion:-PTUK December 14, 1899, page 800.3

    “Our schoolmaster reads us the war news every morning, and what we liked best was to hear about you, and how you shot the three Boers, and we thought we should like to send you a Christmas present.... We are pleased you are our young countryman, and we hope if any of us are ever soldiers we will do our duty like you.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 800.4

    Thus the children are being taught that duty is done and fame is won by killing people. Yet even in battle, the bravest deeds that have been done have been in connection with saving life, and not in taking it.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 800.5

    People are always heedless of warnings of danger that they cannot themselves see. This is shown by the continued free use of milk as an article of food. Speaking a week ago before the Royal British Nurses’ Association, the chief inspector of the local Government board, Sir Richard Thorne-Thorne, said that milk is “one of the most dangerous of all foods,” because probably 90 per cent. of our cows are tubercular. In view of this, it is surely little less than foolhardy to go on using milk day after day. Why will people deliberately risk their lives when it is not necessary?PTUK December 14, 1899, page 800.6

    Let no one beguile himself into complacency with the thought, “I know where my milk comes from, and the people take the very best care of their cows,” or even with, “I keep my own, and so I am sure that the milk is good.” It will be admitted that no cows could have better care, or would be more likely to be healthy, than those of Her Majesty's herd, yet it is a fact that not long since out of forty that she had examined, no less than thirty-four were found to be tuberculous, and were immediately ordered to be killed. That is, in the herd of the best house in the kingdom, kept in the best possible condition, in the cleanest surroundings, 85 per cent. were tuberculous. And yet people will not open their eyes to the fact that the plague is upon the cattle, and upon them heavily.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 800.7

    The gambling instinct-the readiness to “take chances”-is inherent in human nature. So all men gamble with life. A danger to life is pointed out, and although they recognise the danger, they will say, “well, I'll risk it; I've escaped so far, and I take my chances.” Now it is true that many people who use tuberculous milk do not get tuberculosis, yet it is equally true that many who think they are “all right” have the germs of the disease in them. One thing is certain: that diseased food, even if it does not produce actual disease, cannot possibly make healthy tissue and build up healthy bodies. At its best, milk is not food for adults; at its worst, no one should think of touching it.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 800.8

    What has the use of milk, whether tuberculous or not, to do with the Gospel? Why devote space to it, that ought to be devoted to the exposition of Bible truths, and to exhortations to godliness? Ah, the Gospel is the promise of life, and “godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” Life is sacred, it is the gift of God, and belongs to Him, and is not to be trifled with; to Him we must render an account for the way we use it. Even the law of the land recognises the evil of suicide, and punishes the one who attempts it. No man has the right to destroy his life, or to put it in danger unnecessarily. On the contrary, we are in duty bound to develop the life that is in us to the highest possible point, and to keep our bodies in the highest state of health, that we may be able to render in this world the service to God which is His due.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 800.9

    Healing of diseases is coupled with forgiveness of sins. Psalm 103:3. The redemption of the body is contemplated in the Gospel just as surely as the saving of the soul. There is every evidence in the Bible that God regards a healthy body as necessary as a sinless soul. “I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper, and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” 3 John 2. “The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24. But just as the forgiveness of sins involves the keeping of the commandments,-the ceasing to sin,-even so the healing of disease by the Lord involves the observance of the laws of life,-the abandoning of everything that tends to cause it. Surely this should not be thought a hardship. We can well understand and sympathise with the child who seriously objects to taking the nauseous mixture which the doctor orders; but it is strange that men should so persistently refuse to adopt a course of life which is in itself good. All the Lord asks is for us to leave off the thing that is injurious. Truly “His commandments are not grievous.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 800.10

    “The Gospel of Isaiah. Abolishing the Enmity. Isaiah 44:21-28The Present Truth 15, 50.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (Isaiah 44:21-28.)

    “Remember these things, O Jacob;
    And, Israel; for thou art My servant;
    I have formed thee; thou art a servant unto
    O Israel, by Me thou shalt not be forgotten.
    I have made thy transgressions vanish away
    like a cloud;
    And thy sins like a vapour;
    Return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.
    PTUK December 14, 1899, page 805.1

    Sing, O ye heavens, for Jehovah hath effected
    Utter a joyful sound, O ye depths of the
    Burst forth into song, O ye mountains;
    Thou, forest, and every tree therein!
    For Jehovah hath redeemed Jacob;
    And will be glorified in Israel.
    PTUK December 14, 1899, page 805.2

    Thus saith Jehovah, thy redeemer;
    Even He that formed thee from the womb;
    I am Jehovah, who make all things;
    Who stretch out the heavens alone;
    Who spread the firm earth by Myself;
    I am He who frustrateth the prognostics of the
    And maketh the diviners mad;
    Who reverseth the devices of the sages,
    And infatuateth their knowledge;
    Who establisheth the word of His servant;
    And accomplisheth the counsel of His mes-
    Who sayeth to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be in-
    And to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built;
    And her desolated places I will restore;
    Who sayeth to the deep, Be thou wasted;
    And I will make dry thy rivers;
    Who sayeth to Cyrus, Thou art My shepherd!
    And he shall fulfill all My pleasure;
    Who sayeth to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built;
    And to the temple, Thy foundations shall be
    PTUK December 14, 1899, page 805.3


    What a contrast we have here between the true God, and the god made by a man who cannot work a single day without fainting from hunger and thirst, and who takes a portion of the material from which his god is made, and cooks his dinner with it. These things are to be remembered. This was written for us in this nineteenth century. That man who makes his god out of an ash tree is no more of a heathen than is any other man who does not trust in the Lord.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 805.4


    It is a blessed thing for any man to hear the Lord say to him, “Thou art My servant.” To whom does He say it?-To every one who will listen to Him. Jesus tasted death for every man, and all have been purchased by the blood of Christ. As soon as anyone yields to the Lord, to serve Him, that moment he is the Lord's servant. Romans 6:16. Then he has all the privileges of the Lord's house. The Lord's servants are all free men. The loosing of them from bondage is the mark of servitude to Him. Psalm 116:16. The Lord's servants, that is, those who give themselves wholly to His service, are known by their freedom.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 805.5

    In verse 21 we have literally, instead of “I have formed thee; thou art My servant,” “I have formed thee My servant.” God creates man His servant. When God made man in the beginning, man was God's servant. But he was made a king, with absolute authority over all the earth and everything connected with it. So the Lord's servants are all kings by birth. There are many different grades of servants just as there are different degrees of ability; but the Lord has no one in His service, who is lower in rank than king. Men have lost the dominion. Adam lost control of himself, and therefore all his authority was gone; but Christ came to restore that which was lost; in Him we are created anew, and then the authority is restored. We are given complete dominion over ourselves, and the man who can rule himself can rule anything else under heaven.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 805.6


    Surely there is not a more comforting passage of scripture in the Bible than this. It is full of tender, comforting words. “O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me.” “He that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:3-4. How often we hear somebody say that God has forgotten him. Why, the very breath that he uses in saying it, is an evidence that God has not forgotten him. A man is not a mere machine. He is not like a clock which the owner winds up, and then leaves to run down when the spring has uncoiled. If that were the case, then everybody would live at least to old age. No man lives of his own power, for “there is no man that has power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death.” Ecclesiastes 8:8. We lie down, and go to sleep, and we awake, simply because the Lord stays awake and watches. In the beginning He breathed the breath of life into man's nostrils, and He has continued doing that every moment since. If He thought only of Himself; if He gathered unto Himself His Spirit and His breath; all flesh would perish together, and man would turn again to dust. Job 34:14-15. But God does not forget a single individual; therefore we live. This does not imply that when a man dies it is because God has forgotten him. Not by any means. No; the God who has so complete a grasp of details that He knows every sparrow, and the number of the hairs upon every head, as well as the names of all the innumerable stars, can never be accused of forgetfulness. Details do not worry Him.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 805.7


    Where are our sins?-They are in us, in our own lives, of course. “From within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” Mark 7:21-23. Then when God says, “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins,” what does He mean?-Simply this, that by His life He cleanses us from all sin-takes it out of us. “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7. The Hebrew word here rendered “blotted out,” is the word meaning to wipe off, as one would wipe words from a slate or blackboard. God takes the sins, and obliterates them. Do not make the mistake of saying that there is no such thing as sin, as some people do. There is sin, and it is very real; but it is not in Christ. “He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.” 1 John 3:5. He has “condemned sin in the flesh.” Romans 8:4. In His own flesh He has “abolished the enmity” (Ephesians 2:15), which is the carnal mind. Although He was in the flesh, the mind of the flesh had no control over Him. But it was our flesh that He took, therefore He has abolished sin in the flesh of every one who will confess Him. It is literally blotted out. He took upon Himself all the sins of the world, yet no person ever saw the slightest trace of a sin in or on Him. In Him the sins were as effectually effaced as if they had never existed.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 805.8


    When the child plays truant from school, he is afraid to meet the master. The youth gets into bad company, and fears to go home. Conscience-a guilty conscience-makes cowards of us all, ever since Adam and Eve hid themselves from the face of the Lord in the garden of Eden, after they had eaten the forbidden fruit. People judge the Lord by their own hard, unforgiving natures, and think that since they have sinned against Him He must be angry with them; this keeps many away from Him; they do not believe that He will accept them if they come to Him. But He says, “Return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.” He tells us that the sins are blotted out, so that we need have no fear of returning. Nothing is held against us; all is gone in Christ. More blessed than all this is the fact that in this blotting out of our sins their power is destroyed, so that they cannot have dominion over us. God Himself has provided the way so that we need not come back like culprits, cringing and cowering with fear, but like sons, confidently, expecting mercy, and grace to help in time of need.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 805.9


    Here is something for the heavens and earth to rejoice over. How often the heavens and earth are called upon, in connection with the work of redemption. In the very first chapter of Isaiah, the heavens and earth are called upon to witness that God has nourished and brought up children, who have rebelled against Him. Now the same heavens and earth are called upon to rejoice, from the utmost heights to the lowest depths, because God has redeemed His people. Why should all nature be called upon to rejoice in this? Ah, there is good reason for it, because all nature was as it were placed in pawn, pledged to man's redemption. God upholds all things: in Christ all things hold together; so when God gave Christ, interposing Himself by an oath, thus pledging His own existence for man's salvation, the whole creation was placed over against the redemption of man. Humanly speaking, all nature was risked by the Lord in the grand enterprise of redeeming man. If the work had failed, if God had broken His word, then His life would have been forfeited, and the universe would have been dissolved. God and all creation, therefore, have a far greater interest in the redemption of man, than any man can have, or than all mankind can have. Their existence depends upon man's salvation. So we can well understand why “heaven and nature” should be called on to sing the grace of God that bringeth salvation, and why they should respond. What a strong ground of faith this gives us. There is not a thing in God's universe that has not an interest in our redemption, and there is nothing that is not calculated to help us in the way of life. Nothing is against us, but everything is for us. “All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come: all are yours; and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” 1 Corinthians 3:21-23.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 805.10


    God had no helper in the creation of the universe. The Word was with God in the beginning, but the Word was God. He who by Himself created the heavens, and spread out the earth, is competent to redeem His people. Redemption is but creation anew, and the fact that God is Creator, and that without any aid,when indeed there was no one else to give aid,-He created all things, is sufficient proof that what He has promised concerning man, He is fully able to perform. This is the reason we are called upon in the very last days to give glory to God, and to worship Him as the One who made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. Revelation 14:6-7.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 805.11


    That which God does by another is as firm as if done without any agency. He confirms the word of His servant. He has reconciled us to Himself, and has put into us the Word of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19. “He whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God.” John 3:34. Whoever speaks only the Word of the Lord, need have no fear that one of his words will fail. “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11), and he may speak with all boldness. The tokens of liars will be frustrated, and diviners will be seen to be mad, and the worldly-wise will be taken in their own craftiness, and their knowledge shown to be foolishness; but the simple truth uttered by the lowliest follower of God will stand as long as the sun and moon endure.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 806.1

    The last reference in this chapter, concerning Cyrus and his work, will be considered in connection with the first verses of the next chapter, where the subject is continued.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 806.2

    “The Gospel of Isaiah. God, the Ruler of Nations. Isaiah 45:1-7The Present Truth 15, 50.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (Isaiah 45:1-7.)

    “Thus saith the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him, and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two-leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron; and I will give thee the treasurers of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob My servant's sake, and Israel Mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name; I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known Me. I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside Me; I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me, that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness; I made peace, and create evil; I the Lord do all these things.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 819.1

    When Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had a dream describing a calamity that was to befall him, he was told that it was to let him “know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will.” Daniel 4:25. In the scripture before us we have a wonderful example of the truth of this, and also an illustration of the fact that nothing happens by chance, and takes God by surprise, but is provided for long beforehand.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 819.2

    Isaiah prophesied “in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.” Isaiah 1:1. Hezekiah reigned twenty-nine years (2 Chronicles 29:1) and as he lived fifteen years after his great illness (Isaiah 38), we know that he had reigned fourteen years at that time. But Isaiah had at that time been prophesying at least forty-six years, for Jotham and Ahaz had each reigned sixteen years. 2 Chronicles 27:1; 28:1. We know not certainly how long Isaiah prophesied in the reign of Uzziah, but the sixth chapter seems to indicate that he began in the last year of his reign. The point is that in 714 B.C., which was about the date of Isaiah's special message to Hezekiah, Isaiah had been prophesying between forty-five and fifty years; and that as he did not prophesy later than Hezekiah's reign, he died before the year 698 B.C. We are therefore safe in putting the date of the scripture which we have before us as not later than 712 B.C.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 819.3

    Of what importance is this fact? It shows the minuteness of God's foreknowledge, and the perfection of His plans for the salvation of His people. Babylon was captured by Cyrus in the year 538 B.C., when he was sixty-one years old. We find therefore that Cyrus was named, and his work was described in detail, more than one hundred and thirty years before he was born, and about one hundred and eighty-four years before the work was done. That is to say, more than one hundred years before the children of Israel were carried captive to Babylon, the Lord had not only foretold their release from captivity, but had named the man who should be instrumental in setting them free, and had given a minute description of the incidents of the capture of the city. In view of this, how forcible are the words “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside Me.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 819.4

    In order that the exactness of the prophecy may be better appreciated by the reader, we quote the following brief account of the capture of Babylon from Rawlinson's “Great Monarchies.” It may be necessary to state, for the aid of some, that Babylon was very large, surrounded by a wall of immense height and thickness, and stored with provisions sufficient to last twenty years. The river Euphrates passed through the city, dividing it into two parts, but there was also a wall on each side of the river, the whole length of its passage through the city, and the twenty-five streets which led across the river were enclosed by huge gates of brass. Having described the progress of Cyrus to Babylon, against which his army began a seemingly hopeless siege, Rawlinson continues:-PTUK December 14, 1899, page 819.5

    “Withdrawing the greater part of his army from the vicinity of the city, and leaving behind him only certain corps of observation, Cyrus marched away up the course of the Euphrates for a certain distance, and there proceeded to make a vigorous use of the spade. His soldiers could now appreciate the value of the experience which they had gained by dispersing the Gyndes, and perceived that the summer and autumn of the preceding year had not been wasted. They dug a channel or channels from the Euphrates, by means of which a great portion of its water would be drawn off, and hoped in this way to render the natural course of the river fordable. When all was prepared, Cyrus determined to wait for the arrival of a certain festival, during which the whole population were wont to engage in drinking and reveling, and then silently in the dead of night to turn the water of the river and make his attack. All fell out as he hoped and wished. The festival was held with even greater pomp and splendour than usual; for Belshazzar, with the natural insolence of youth, to mark his contempt of the besieging army, abandoned himself wholly to the delights of the season, and himself entertained a thousand lords in his palace. Elsewhere the rest of the population was occupied in feasting and dancing. Drunken riot and mad excitement held possession of the town; the siege was forgotten; ordinary precautions were neglected. Following the example of their king, the Babylonians gave themselves up for the night to orgies in which religious frenzy and drunken excess formed a strange and revolting medley.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 819.6

    “Meanwhile, outside the city, in silence and darkness, the Persians watched at the two points where the Euphrates entered and left the walls. Anxiously they noted the gradual sinking of the water in the riverbed; still more anxiously they watched to see if those within the walls would observe the suspicious circumstance and sound an alarm through the town. Should such an alarm be given, all their labours would be lost. If, when they entered the riverbed, they found the river walls manned and the river-gates fast-locked, they would be indeed caught in a trap.” Enfiladed on both sides by an enemy whom they could neither see nor reach, they would be overwhelmed and destroyed by his missiles before they could succeed in making their escape. But as they watched, no sounds of alarm reached them-only a confused noise of revel and riot, which showed that the unhappy townsmen were quite unconscious of the approach of danger.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 819.7

    “At last shadowy forms began to emerge from the obscurity of the deep river-bed, and on the landing places opposite the river-gates scattered clusters of men grew into solid columns-the undefended gateways were seized-a war shout was raised-the alarm was taken and spread-and swift runners started off to show the king of Babylon that his city was taken at one end.” (Jeremiah 1:31) In the darkness and confusion of the night a terrible massacre ensued. The drunken revelers could make no resistance. The king, paralyzed with fear, at the awful handwriting upon the wall, which too late had warned him of his peril, could do nothing even to check the progress of his assailants, who carried all before them everywhere. Bursting into the palace, a band of Persians made their way to the presence of the monarch, and slew him on the scene of his impious revelry. Other bands carried fire and sword through the town. When morning came, Cyrus found himself undisputed master of the city, which, if it had not despised his efforts, might with the greatest ease have baffled him.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 819.8

    Note the statements of the prophecy: “I will loose the loins of kings.” At the very hour when Cyrus was making his entrance into the city, while Belshazzar was engaged in a wild, idolatrous feast, God caused a writing to appear on the wall of the banqueting hall. “Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.” Daniel 5:6.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 819.9

    “And the gates shall not be shut.” All the skill of Cyrus, and even his stratagem of diverting the course of the river, would have availed nothing, if the gates leading to the river had not been left open. His army might have marched into the city, and out again if it could have got out, but could have inflicted no damage. But in that night of idolatrous revelry, everything was neglected and the way was open. The gods whom the princes praised gave no protection.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 819.10

    This entire prophecy is devoted to showing that there is none but God. He is the Creator and the Redeemer. He can create, and He can destroy. Nothing takes place without His counsel or consent. Everything works out His will. He makes even the wrath of man to praise Him. Psalm 66:10. Kings and nations think that they are controlling, and are doing their own will, when they are simply working out God's plan. We must not make the mistake of thinking that God plans all their wicked practices, but however wicked they are, however opposed to His will, they carry out His purpose even by their opposition.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 819.11

    It was God who said to Jerusalem, “Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof.” He said it, and Cyrus was His agent in carrying it out. God also said to the deep, “Be dry,” and it was He who dried up the rivers. So when Cyrus was digging his channels, and turning aside the Euphrates from its bed, he was simply doing God's work. What a marvelous, awe-inspiring thought-that men are factors in the great plan of the Most High God! And how glorious when they yield themselves willingly and understandingly! All the events of this earth's history, are not for the benefit of those who are enacting them, but for the salvation of God's people. Instead of being afraid when wars and rumours of wars and tumults come, thinking they are about to be overwhelmed, the faithful followers of God may be of good courage, knowing that out of these very alarms, and even by means of them, God is working out their deliverance.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 819.12

    God did his work through Cyrus, “that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me.” And how widely was the name of God known in consequence?-Over all the world. The kingdom of Babylon was world-wide. See Daniel 2:37-38; Jeremiah 27:4-7. Of course this came under the dominion of Cyrus, and so the decree for the building of the temple ran thus:-PTUK December 14, 1899, page 819.13

    “Now in the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled; the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, King of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also into writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus, King of Persia. The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and He hath charged me to build Him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is the God) which is in Jerusalem.” Ezra 1:1-3. So we see that the one true God was proclaimed by Cyrus throughout all the world.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 819.14

    “What a wonderful tribute from a heathen king!” some will exclaim. Why do you say, “a heathen king”? True, Cyrus was a Persian. He was brought up in ignorance of the true God: but so was Abraham. Joshua 24:2. God revealed Himself to Abraham, and he believed, and so became the friend of God. Cyrus was surnamed by God while he was yet ignorant of Him, even long before he was born, yet he came at last to know God, and he acknowledged Him before all the world, declaring Him to be God, and confessing that he held his title from Him. What more could anybody do? If there was ever a Christian king in any land, then certainly it was Cyrus, of Persia, as well as Nebuchadnezzar, of Babylon. This man, direct from heathenism, did what the Israelites, with a long ancestry of believers failed to do.PTUK December 14, 1899, page 819.15

    Cyrus was, therefore, an Israelite, even by his own confession. Read his proclamation over again. He declared his belief in the Lord of heaven, who had brought him to the throne, and said, “He is the God,” and at the same time declared Him to be “the Lord God of Israel.” God takes from among the Gentiles a people for His name (Acts 15:14), and Cyrus, the Persian, was one of them. It is not the flesh, but faith, that determines who are Israel. “God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.”PTUK December 14, 1899, page 819.16

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