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    December 29, 1898

    “The Call of Abraham. The Time of the Promise” The Present Truth 14, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Since we begin in this number of the paper some studies in Isaiah, it is fitting that before we begin them we should consider the place which the prophecy of Isaiah occupies in Scripture, its relation to us, and its right to be called the Gospel of Isaiah. This last item, however, will appear from the prophecy itself as we proceed in our study.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 816.1

    In this matter, as with everything else, we must go back to the beginning if we would get the proper understanding of it. We know the fact that in the beginning God gave man dominion over all the earth (Gen. i. 26-28) and that it was the presence of God in man that gave him the authority. It was God working in him both to will and to do of His good pleasure; and it pleased God to rule the earth through man. Yes, it is true of the first Adam, as well as of the second, that it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell, for He was the son of God. Luke iii. 38. This is evident from the fact that it is in Christ as Man, the Man Christ Jesus, that all fulness dwells, and that we are made full in Him. Col. ii. 9, 10, R.V. “Of His fulness have we all received” (John i. 16), that we may be filled “with all the fulness of God.” Eph. iii. 19.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 816.2

    Man rejected the word of the Lord, and thus lost his dominion. In sinning, be lost the crown of glory and honour. But even in announcing to man the consequences of his fall, God made promise of the Seed through whom all things should be restored and in making known to Abraham the fact that the Seed in whom all the families of the earth should be blessed should be his, God made promise to him that “he should be the heir of the world.” Rom. iv. 13.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 816.3

    Not in Abraham's lifetime, however, was this promise to be fulfilled. “He gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on; yet he promised that He would give it to him for a possession.” Acts vii. 5. Nevertheless Abraham died in faith, for he well understood that it was only through the resurrection from the dead that he was to receive the inheritance. In making the covenant with him, God had said, “Know of a surety that the seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge; and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” Gen. xv. 13-16.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 816.4

    But when God made promise to Abraham, He, “willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.” Heb. vi . 13-18. That was this: “By Myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son; That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Gen. xxii. 16-18.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 816.5

    Taking these texts all together, we see that the promise and the oath are for our sakes. We have the same interest in them that Abraham had. In fact the oath was altogether for our sakes. We see also, as already noted, that the promise was to be fulfilled only through the resurrection; and the resurrection is promised in the words, “Thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.” The seed is Christ and all who are His (Gal. iii. 16, 29), and “the last enemy that shall he destroyed is death.” 1 Cor. xv. 26. The promise that God confirmed to Abraham with an oath was that in the fourth generation, after four hundred years, his posterity should come into the land, and possess it. And this meant that Abraham himself should also inherit it, for the posterity cannot come into inheritance before the father does.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 816.6

    Now we are told that when Moses was born, as the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, “the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham.” Acts vii. 17-20. Therefore we know of a surety that when God sent Moses to bring His people out of the house of bondage, the time had come when “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven” should be “given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.” And this is further corroborated by the inspired words of Moses after crossing the Red Sea: “Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of Thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which Thou hast made for Thee to dwell in, in the sanctuary, O Lord, which Thy hands have established. The Lord shall reign for ever and ever.” Ex. xv. 17, 18.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 817.1

    But although “there failed not aught of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel; all came to past,” the people “in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,” “yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not, His word; but murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord.” Acts vii. 39; Ps. cvi. 24, 25. “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Heb. iii. 19.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 817.2

    Nevertheless “the Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter iii. 9. Therefore “again He limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To-day, after so Iong a time; as it is said, To-day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” Heb. iv. 7. No man has any more than to-day; but the Lord promised Abraham that days of repentance should be lengthened out to four hundred years. Even that, however, was slighted, and since it must be that some accept the promise and enter into the promised land, God kept on saying, Today, even after the expiration of the first time.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 817.3

    It was not until the refusal of the children of Israel to accept the freedom to which the Lord had called them had been marked by their being carried away to Babylon, that God set another time for the deliverance of His people. When they went to Babylon, God told them that in seventy years He would deliver them; and so He did; yet they did not get free from Babylon any more than they had from Egypt, and in view of this God again extended the time, marking off a very long period, which is also now in the past. But before the Babylonian captivity the only time that had ever been set was the four hundred years concerning which God had sworn to Abraham. At any time up to the Babylonian captivity the people might, by repentance and faith, have entered into the promised inheritance. They were living under exactly the same conditions that we are: They were living in the time of the end, the longest prophetic period having been completed. The only thing that hindered the coming of the Lord and the restoration of all things, was their lack of preparation because of unbelief.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 817.4

    It was in this time of waiting that Isaiah prophesied. His was the message of the everlasting Gospel, saying, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His Judgment is come; and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” See Rev. xiv. 6, 7. Therefore since the conditions were the same then as now, and the thing that was impending was the same, it follows that the prophecy of Isaiah is spoken as directly to us as if the prophet were living to-day, and his words were now uttered for the first time. There is no portion of the Bible that is more full of the living Gospel, and that is more important to be understood, than the prophecy of Isaiah. A clear grasp of the facts outlined in this article will enable us to appreciate the study of the book at every step.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 817.5

    “The times are prophets now;
    They preach impending doom;
    Let each, repentant, bow,
    And saints prepare for home.
    We wait for Jesus from the skies;
    Soon shall His glories greet our eyes.”
    PTUK December 29, 1898, page 817.6

    “The Gospel of Isaiah. Smiting and Healing” The Present Truth 14, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    SMITING AND HEALING

    1. “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amos, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem; in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahas, Hezekiah, kings of Judah:—PTUK December 29, 1898, page 817.7

    2. Hear, O ye heavens; and give ear, O earth,
    For it is Jehovah that speaketh.
    I have nourished children, and brought them up,
    And even they have revolted from Me.
    PTUK December 29, 1898, page 817.8

    3. The ox knoweth his possessor;
    And the ass the crib of his lord;
    But Israel knoweth not Me:
    Neither doth My people consider.
    PTUK December 29, 1898, page 817.9

    4. Ah sinful nation! a people laden with ini-
    quity!
    A race of evil doers! children degenerate!
    They have forsaken Jehovah;
    They have rejected with disdain the Holy
    One of Israel;
    They are estranged from Him; they have
    turned their back upon Him.
    PTUK December 29, 1898, page 817.10

    5. On what part will ye smite again, will ye add correction?
    The whole head is sick, and the whole heart
    faint;
    PTUK December 29, 1898, page 817.11

    6. From the sole of the foot even to the head,
    there is no soundness therein;
    It is wound, and bruise, and putrefying sore;
    It hath not been pressed, neither hath it
    been bound;
    Neither hath it been softened with ointment.
    PTUK December 29, 1898, page 817.12

    7. Your country is desolate, your cities are
    burnt with fire;
    Your land, before your eyes strangers de-
    vour it;
    And it is become desolate, as if destroyed by
    an inundation.
    PTUK December 29, 1898, page 817.13

    8. And the daughter of Zion is left, as a shed
    in a vineyard;
    As a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a
    city taken by a siege.
    PTUK December 29, 1898, page 817.14

    9. Had not Jehovah God of Hosts left us a
    remnant,
    We had soon become as Sodom; we had
    been like unto Gomorrah.”
    Isa. i. 1-9.
    PTUK December 29, 1898, page 817.15

    Inasmuch as everybody has the Bible in the so-called “Authorised Version,” and can refer to it at pleasure, and very many have the Revised also, it has been thought best in the present study to give the readers the benefit of another translation. The one chosen has been that of Bishop Lowth, which is without doubt, as a whole, the best English translation of the prophecy of Isaiah. Accordingly we shall print the text of this, as above, and shall in the notes give the student the benefit of any other translations that serve to make any portion of the text more striking. This statement of the case will serve for the regular reader, so that it will not need to be repeated.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 817.16

    Let every one who proposes to derive lasting benefit from these studies of the Gospel according to Isaiah, give heed to the following counsel: First of all study the text carefully. How? Read it again and again, taking special pains to find out exactly what it says. Note the dependence of every verse and sentence upon that which precedes. Nobody in the world can tell you anything that is true concerning the text, that is not found in the text itself; and if you give heed, you can tell what the Lord says as well as anybody; for He uses the language of the common people. The notes that follow are only designed to fix your attention more sharply on what is contained in the text, and to help you to retain it by associating it with other familiar portions of Scripture. You will see that nothing is introduced that is not contained in the text of the lesson, and will thus learn how rich is the Word of God.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 818.1

    “Hear, O heavens, O and give ear, earth?” Why? Because the Lord hath spoken. When the Lord speaks, it is the time for every one in heaven and earth to keep silence. “The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Hab. ii. 20. “Job answered the Lord and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer Thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer; yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.” Job xl. 3-5.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 818.2

    The importance of keeping still when the Lord speaks cannot be too strongly emphasised. When one of the great men of earth speaks on a subject of which he is supposed to be master, most people have the good sense to give attention, esteeming it a privilege to be permitted to hear; and even though they do not fully agree with all he says, they are modest about expressing their opinion; but few have any scruples about answering back when the Lord speaks. Almost everybody considers himself competent to be a critic of the Bible. But if we would always keep silence before the Lord, not even in our inmost hearts uttering a word, but allowing God to give us His thoughts, we should find not only life but sound wisdom as well; for the word of God is life, and “the Lord giveth wisdom; out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Prov. ii. 6.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 818.3

    But there is a special force in calling upon the heavens and the earth as witnesses when the rebellion of men is mentioned; for they have never transgressed God's will. The earth is obedient to the voice of God, and has been ever since He said, “Let the earth bring forth grass.” “For ever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations; Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. They abide this day according to Thine ordinances; for all things are Thy servants.” Ps. cxix. 89-91. See Jer. ii. 13, 13 and Deut. xxxii. 1-3 for other instances where the Lord calls upon the heavens and the earth to witness the apostasy of the people.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 818.4

    Notice the contrast brought to view in verses 2 and 3. In the original the contrast is very marked,-children as against dumb brutes. “Children have I made great and exalted, and even they have rebelled against Me.” So much for children, while the ox and the ass recognise their master. The ox and the ass give more respect to their possessor than children to their Father. What a striking contrast.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 818.5

    Whom do the ox and the ass recognise as their lord and master? The answer is easy; it is the one who feeds them. The ass knows the crib of his lord. He knows where he finds his sustenance. And the beasts show their recognition of their owner by bending their necks to the burden which the master lays upon them. They give service to the one from whom they receive their support.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 818.6

    Does some one say that this does not require very much discernment on the part of the beasts? Then what shall be said of the children whom God has nourished? If the recognition of a master is so simple a thing that even a beast is not considered as specially worthy of credit for submitting to the hand that feeds him, what language can express the stupidity of men who do not know the Lord “who giveth us richly all things to enjoy?” even “life, and breath, and all things.” Remember that man was made to be the lord of the brute, and as such is designed to be infinitely above the brute in knowledge. What excuse can be made for him then, when he is ignorant of that which the slowest witted of beasts know perfectly well?PTUK December 29, 1898, page 818.7

    To know God is the easiest thing in the world. If it were not, there would be some who would have excuse for not knowing Him. But all are “without excuse,” for everything reveals Him. One does not need to be a philosopher, in order to know God. All that is required is that one have as much knowledge as an ox or an ass, to recognise the simplest facts. Continually to recognise the One who feeds us, is all that is needful to make one a Christian. One does not need to theorise; the Gospel is not a theory, but a fact. Simply to believe things that are, is all that is wanted. “He that cometh to God must believe that He is.” And the evidence that He is, is seen in the gift of our daily bread.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 818.8

    Everybody can easily see that he does not feed himself. The ox and the ass know that. All our living comes from without ourselves, and we do not make it. Now in order that no one can have any chance to cavil, and say, “How can I know the name of the one who does provide this food?” we may say, “All that you are required to do is to recognise the Creator.” Worship the One who made “heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” When we do this, it will be easy to see that the One who gives us life has a right to the management of that life, and our duty is done. “Ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee.” Job xii. 1.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 818.9

    Some one may be inclined to say that the portion of Scripture allotted to this lesson is not very comforting, since it is all reproof. Well, it is true that the necessities of the case have forced us to take only a broken fragment of the message, but it is not without comfort, even if it is reproof. It is a reproof addressed to children, and the Lord says, “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of His correction; for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” Prov. iii. 11, 12. The Holy Spirit, whose special office is that of Comforter, is first of all a Reprover of sin. John xvi. 7, 8. “The commandment is a lamp, and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” Prov. vi. 23.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 818.10

    “Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity.” Shall we cringe and cower before the Lord because He addresses us in that manner?—Not by any means; for we hear the call of the Saviour: “Come unto Me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden; and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matt. xi. 28, 29.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 819.1

    “Take My yoke upon you,” says the Lord. Certainly. The ox and the ass submit to the yoke of the one who feeds them; why should not we? And they bear heavy burdens for their masters; but our Master calls us to come to Him, that He may relieve us of our burdens. We are “laden with iniquity.” Why?—Because we have departed from Him. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. Only when we “have gone away backward” do we find hard labour and heavy burdens. What a blessed service it is, that gives rest from labour!PTUK December 29, 1898, page 819.2

    “Why will ye be still stricken, that ye revolt more and more?” When the ox and the ass are rebellious and refuse to bear the burden placed upon them by their lord, or when they turn aside out of the way, what do they bring upon themselves? The rod of correction, of course. Even so it is with us, when we depart from the way. But bear in mind that the strokes that come are not given arbitrarily. Departing from the way of life is in itself death. So the offence brings its own punishment. “For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord; they would none of My counsel; they despised all My reproof. Therefore they shall eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.” Prov. i. 29-32. They that sin are treasuring up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath. Rom. ii. 5. “His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.” Ps. vii. 16.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 819.3

    “From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness” in the body because of the sin that has been committed; but “wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores.” That is the result of refusing to hear the words of the Lord, which “are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” Prov. iv. 20-22. Nothing is more sure than that there is the closest connection between sin and disease. Disease is only the working of death; and death came into the world with sin. Rom. v. 12. But for sin, there would be no disease in the world. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Rom. x. 17. And “the just shall live by faith.” That is, men can live by the words of the Lord. It is a fact that we have no life except that which the Lord gives us. This everybody must admit. And it is also a fact that the Lord's life is perfect and eternal. There is no life but the life of the Lord, therefore the life which the Lord gives us is a perfect life. Then is it not, to say the least, as easy for the Lord to give us perfect health as to have us suffering from all manner of disease? Certainly, and far easier; for the Lord cannot give us any other life than that which is perfect. Why then do we suffer disease?—Simply because we “have all gone out of the way,” and have departed from the Lord. We have rejected His words, which are Spirit and life. It is not the Lord who sends us disease, but disease comes as the result of rejecting or neglecting the word of the Lord. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea iv. 6.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 819.4

    Read Ps. xxxviii. 1-8 to find a parallel to Isa. i. 4-6. Notice how often in the Bible disease of body is named as a result of departing from the Lord. When men shall have wholly rejected the Spirit and Word of the Lord, the first manifestation of it will be a plague of “a noisome and grievous sore” upon them. And the plague that appears in the body of a man, will be only the working out of “the plague of his own heart.”PTUK December 29, 1898, page 819.5

    Read Luke vii. 50 and viii. 48, noting the margin of the Revision. There we see that Jesus used the same words to the one whose sins He forgives as to the one whom He healed of a grievous disease. “Thy faith hath saved thee,” is the same as “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” Salvation is simply the work of making whole. When Jesus on the Sabbath day healed the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, He made him “every whit whole.” John x. 21-33. Afterward when He found the man in the temple, He said to him, “Behold, thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee.” John v. 14. This shows us (1) that the man's disease had been the result of personal sin; and (3) that Jesus in healing his disease had saved him from the sin, even as He did the paralytic. See Matt. ix. 2-6. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.” Ps. ciii. 2, 3.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 819.6

    “From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it.” That is our condition apart from the Lord. But when the lame man at the gate Beautiful was healed by the name of Jesus of Nazareth, Peter said to the people who gathered round, “His name through faith in His name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know; yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” Acts iii. 16. That man was not only healed in body, but saved as to his soul, for all the prophets gave witness “that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.” Acts x. 43. Moreover when Peter talked of the case the next day before the judges, he declared that the man stood there whole in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, in whom alone there is salvation, thus identifying the healing of the body with salvation.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 819.7

    One thing more we must not omit in the consideration of this lesson. Note the horrible condition brought to view in Isa. i. 5, 6. Remember that disease is but the outward physical manifestation of sin. It is not always the result of our own personal sin, but that makes no difference; if we are not responsible for it, we may be sure that God will save us from it, since He saves us from the result of our rebellion. The fact which we wish to keep in mind is that disease is but the working of death, which is the fruit of sin. Now a body that is full of wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores is not by any means a pleasant object to look at. It is, indeed, most disgusting. Now remember that, no matter how fair one's person may be to the sight of man, if the heart is corrupt that person looks to God just as he would to us if covered with loathsome ulcers. “The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” 1 Sam. xvi. 7.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 819.8

    Remember also that this fearful condition of body is but the result of departing from the Lord and lading ourselves with iniquity. Then read the blessed Gospel according to Isaiah: “Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;” (Compare Matt. viii. 16, 17.) “but He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isa. liii. 4-6. If we are laden with iniquity, and covered with sores and bruises, we but share the lot of the Lord. We put it that way, although the fact is that He shares our lot. He takes our burden of sin and our sicknesses. What for? In order that we may be freed from it all. His sores heal our sores. How so? Because His sores are our sores. What? are the sores that He has my sores? Yes, certainly. Why, then I do not have them any more. No; they are all upon Him. Let Him keep them then, for “He will swallow up death in victory.” Wonderful Physician, who heals our diseases by His own; but so it is, and so let it be.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 819.9

    “Studies in the Gospel of John. ‘Follow Me’” The Present Truth 14, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Him.” John i. 35-37.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 820.1

    “The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow Me.” Verse 43.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 820.2

    That the disciples first mentioned did not follow the Lord without being called, is seen from the account in Matthew's Gospel. There we read: “And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. And He saith unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him.” Matt. iv. 18-30.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 820.3

    The first thing to be considered is that this call of Jesus is to us as well as to those of whom we read in this narrative. To all who labour, and are heavy laden, the Saviour says, “Come unto Me.” “And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Rev. xxii. 17.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 820.4

    We are apt to lose the most of the blessing that we should receive from the narrative of the calling of the first disciples of Jesus, because we allow the story of what they became to drive from our minds the knowledge of what they were when they were called. We imagine that Jesus called them because of some special goodness in them, which drew Him to them, and so think that they were specially favoured above other men. Thus it is taken for granted that such ordinary mortals as we are could never be called by the Lord as they were called. Let us therefore see if we can find out anything about the nature of these men who were so honoured by the Lord as to be called to follow Him.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 820.5

    There were twelve of them, but of only a few have we any particulars. We know that Peter and Andrew and James and John were fishers. Fishing is not the most refined and gentle occupation in the world, and we are given glimpses of the character of James anti John, which show that they were not very gentle by nature. They, as well as Peter, were ready to fight anyone who offered them or their Master insult.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 820.6

    When Peter was brought into a place where his life seemed to be endangered through his acquaintance with Christ, his fears gained the mastery of him, and he denied his Lord. Not only so, but he did it with curses and swearing. Now we cannot suppose that Peter was in the habit at that time of using profane language but we well know that men who have never in their lives been accustomed to use such language, do not break forth into profane expletives on any occasion, no matter how much they are taken unawares. But a man who in former days has been in the habit of swearing, but who through association with Christ has abstained from it for some time, may very easily relapse into the old way when sudden temptation assaults him while away from the Lord. Indeed, no matter how long a man has been master of an evil habit, the moment he loses his connection with the Lord, that moment he begins to sink back into the old slough. So the fact that when Peter was frightened into denying Christ, he did it with cursing and swearing, shows that in the old days before he knew the Lord, he had been a rough, profane fisherman full of generous impulses, and what the world would call “good hearted,” but the very opposite of the Christian gentleman that he became when filled with the Spirit of God.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 820.7

    Judas was another of the men whom Jesus called. He was the one who betrayed the Lord, selling Him for thirty pieces of silver. His besetting sin was covetousness. When the funds of the little company of disciples were placed in his keeping, he became a thief. Yet we must not forget that he was called by the Lord to be an apostle, and as one of the twelve was sent out with “power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of disease and all manner of sickness,” and was given the commission, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils.” Matt. x. 1-8. Even up to the very moment when he delivered the Lord into the hands of the mob, there was no one but the Lord Himself who could distinguish any particular difference between him and the other disciples. He was outwardly as correct in his deportment as they; and there is nothing to indicate that in the beginning his nature was any worse than theirs. Indeed, from what the Bible teaches of the nature of all men, we know that when the disciples were called, Judas was as promising a subject as any of them.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 820.8

    What made the difference at the last? Simply this, that the eleven yielded themselves to the influence of the Lord, and were drawn out of their old lives, and transformed by His Spirit, while Judas, however much he may have been attracted at the first, clung to his own way, stubbornly resisting the transforming power of the Lord, and so became more and more hardened. Judas shows what any man may come to if he resists the Spirit, while Peter, James, and John, together with many others, reveal to us what the grace of God can do for anyone who submits to it.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 821.1

    It is no disparagement of the apostles to say that by nature they were no better than any other men. They all, including Judas, had faculties which, when trained and developed by the Lord, would make them most powerful workers in His service, but which, left untrained, would make them equally strong to do evil. It is to the everlasting praise of the glory of the grace of the Lord Jesus, that such men, taken from such surroundings as they were taken, could develop into such giants in spiritual stature, and such able ministers of the Holy Spirit.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 821.2

    The lesson to be learned from the call of these disciples is one of hope, and courage, and trust. We are to remember that they were men “of like passions” with us, neither better nor worse by nature than we are. They may have had some more marked characteristics than we have, which would make them capable of occupying a larger sphere than we are designed for, but in that respect they did not differ from us more than many of our unbelieving fellow-men do at the present time; for there is no doubt that there are very many men in the world, who have greater natural ability than the majority of those who have given themselves to the Lord's service. We are to learn that what a man is by nature is not by any means the measure of what he may be by grace. Just to the extent that we, in our thought of what the most of the twelve became, lose sight of what they were when they were called, do we lose the benefit of the sacred narrative. It was written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Since they were but sample specimens of all mankind, and God is no respecter of persons, we see in their call the call of all men. It rests with us, by humble acceptance of the will of God, to make our calling and election sure.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 821.3

    OBJECT OF THE CALL

    Jesus said to the first disciples just what He says to all, “Follow Me.” Now let us see why they were called. We have seen that when called they were sinners. Jesus did not call them for what they were, but for what they might become under His training. Did He therefore say, “Follow Me, and I will save you from your sins”?—That was implied in the call, but that is not what He said. What He said was, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And that is just what His call means to every one of us. Personal salvation is included in the call, as a matter of course; for no one can give to others that which he has not himself; but that fact that Jesus calls us to Him in order that we may be saved is emphasised and made more sure by the fact that He calls us to make us saviours of others.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 821.4

    There are so many among professed followers of the Lord Jesus who are even after years of Christian profession often troubled with doubts as to their acceptance with God. They wish they knew that they were accepted of Christ. What wonder, then, that we find so many seekers after God who are appalled at the sense of their own unworthiness, and who hesitate to make a start to serve the Lord, fearing that He will not accept such sinners as they are. Now all these fears would be swept away if these persons could but be brought to see the fulness of the meaning of the call of the Lord Jesus. It does not stop with the individual who is called. God calls us, in order that through us He may reach somebody else. “Let him that heareth say, Come.” So when anybody says, “It doesn't seem as though the Lord could save so great a sinner as I am,” you may always say in reply, “My dear brother, or sister, the Lord has called you for the sole purpose of making you a saviour of some other poor sinner; the saving of you is incidental to that object. It is but a light thing for Him to save you; the great thing is that He will make you a means of salvation.”PTUK December 29, 1898, page 821.5

    Let us now read one or two texts which make this even more clear. The first is, 2 Cor. v. 17-20. We quote the margin of the Revision, and omit the word “you” from verse 30, which, as indicated by being placed in italics, is no part of the text. “If any man [person] is in Christ, there is a new creation; the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new. But all things are of God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation: to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses, and having placed in us the word of reconciliation. We are ambassadors therefore on behalf of Christ, as though God were intreating by us; we beseech on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God.”PTUK December 29, 1898, page 821.6

    In reading this do not forget that the ones who have the word of reconciliation placed in them are the ones who are reconciled. Whoever therefore is in Christ, and therefore a new creature has in him the word of reconciliation, and so is an ambassador for Christ, to carry on the ministry of reconciliation. By each one who accepts the Lord Jesus, God beseeches sinners even as He did by Him. If you have never seen this in the text, read it until you can see it, for it is there.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 821.7

    Now we will read Isa. xlix. 6-9: “It is a light thing that thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be My salvation unto the ends of the earth. Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and He shall choose thee. Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit desolate heritages; that thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves.”PTUK December 29, 1898, page 821.8

    There can be no question but that these words apply primarily to Christ; but He is “the Son of man,” and came to earth in man's stead in order that we might be ambassadors in His stead. That these words refer to men whom the Lord calls, equally with Christ, may be seen by comparing verse 6 with Acts xiii. 46, 47, where we read that Paul and Barnabas said, “We turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldst be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.” The apostles applied the words to themselves as naturally as though they themselves had been named in the prophecy. This shows that whatever work was given to the Lord to do in this earth, is given to every one who will accept His call.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 822.1

    How wonderfully comforting is this scripture! To whom does the Lord say that He will make him His salvation?—“To him whom man despiseth.” It is true that Jesus was despised and rejected of men; but He was despised solely on our account, because He bore our reproach. He put Himself absolutely in the sinner's place. Yet despised as He was, as one forsaken of the Lord for his sins, He was the salvation of God, showing that every one who is despised for sins that he himself has done is also chosen to be the salvation of God.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 822.2

    What a blessed sound is the call of the Lord! How it removes every shade of doubt and fear. No longer, when we rightly hear it, is there any room for doubt if the Lord can save us. The call of the Lord reaches far beyond that, saying to us as it finds us in the degradation of sin, “Son, go work to-day in My vineyard.” “Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children.”PTUK December 29, 1898, page 822.3

    “For the Children. Snow Crystals” The Present Truth 14, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    What is it-this soft, white, beautiful covering that falls from heaven so gently and noiselessly, and spreads itself over the earth.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 825.1

    “Crystallised water,” you will perhaps answer, water that has been frozen by the cold into little crystals, and fallen in flakes upon the earth.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 825.2

    But think, again, what the water is, and where it comes from. Try to remember some of the lessons that we learned about it a little while ago.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 825.3

    Like the air, which is His breath, and the sunlight, which is His glory, the water comes to us from God Himself, and is His own life, which He pours out upon the earth to give life to everything that He has made.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 825.4

    So when the water is crystallised by the cold, we can see something of the beauty of the Lord's own life, the beauty of the Lord Himself, in the beautiful, pure white snow.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 825.5

    We can see much of its beauty by looking at it as it lies like a soft white carpet upon the ground, and robes the trees and bushes in its fleecy mantle; still more if we take some in our hands and look closely at the little flakes. But if we put some under the microscope and examine it, we shall see that these tiny flakes are perfect little star-shaped crystals of extreme beauty.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 825.6

    Here are some of the lovely forms that you would see. You will notice that they nearly all have six points or sides, and that they are all perfectly regular in shape. As many as one thousand different beautiful forms have been noticed, but in the same snow-fall the flakes are generally alike.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 825.7

    The beauty that we see in all the earth and sky is the beauty of God Himself. His own life appears to us in all these beautiful forms. And “He hath made everything beautiful in its time.”PTUK December 29, 1898, page 825.8

    In the spring and summer we have the beautiful flowers and plants. But in the winter when the flowers are gone God says “to the snow, Be thou on the earth,” and so He spreads another carpet over it, just as beautiful, just as wonderful, and we find when we look into it, just as varied, as the grass and flowers.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 825.9

    Besides the lovely shapes of the snowflakes, how beautiful is their dazzling whiteness. There is no colour in the snow itself; you know that water is as colourless as air. But the snow's whiteness is caused by the way in which these wonderfully formed little snow crystals break up the light and reflect it.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 825.10

    We have spoken before of the seven different colours that are in the light, and how these all combined or blended make white. So the snow gets its pure, brilliant whiteness by reflecting all the rays of light.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 825.11

    God is able to “wash us from our sins in His own blood,” so that His pure light can shine through us, and be reflected by us to show His beauty to others.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 825.12

    We have been talking to-day about the beauty of the snow; next week we hope to tell you something of its usefulness.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 825.13

    “Jottings” The Present Truth 14, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    -It is very probable that the new London University will occupy a portion of the Imperial Institute rent free.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.1

    -A scientist looking for microbes says there are absolutely urine on the Swiss mountains at an altitude of 2,000 feet.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.2

    -It has been pointed out that since 1837 the British nation, though the greatest of her interests is peace, has gone to war no lees than 11 times.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.3

    -Another large company is reported from America, which intends to control the production and output of linseed oil. The capital will be nearly ?7,000,000.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.4

    -There are now over 330,000 words in the English language, acknowledged by the best authorities, or about 70,000 more than in the German, French, Spanish, and Italian combined.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.5

    -An explosion of the powder magazine situated in the midst of the Chinese camp at Hangchow caused appalling devastation. Something like a square mile of houses have been levelled to the ground, and it is estimated that 8,000 native soldiers have been killed.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.6

    -One tropical and subtropical variety of sea-weed is known which, when it reaches its full development is at least 600 feet in length.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.7

    -A grip epidemic has broken out both in New York and Washington. The death-rate in the former city has alarmingly increased during the past week.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.8

    -Spain has greater mineral resources than any other country in Europe, including iron, copper, zinc, silver, antimony, quicksilver, lead, and gypsum.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.9

    -The proportionate mortality from cancer is now four and a half times greater than it was half a century ago. No other disease can show anything like such an immense increase.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.10

    -A trade paper advocates caution in the use of flannelette, as it is sometimes treated with chloride of zinc, which has a cauterising effect upon any portion of the skin with which it comes in contact, destroying the epidermis or creating nasty sores.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.11

    -Owing to the great pressure of work in all the locomotive engineers’ ships throughout England, due to the arrears caused by the great engineering strike, one railway company has placed an order for twenty engines with firms in the United States.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.12

    -In a recent speech of Hr. W. T. Stead, he gave the following figures: “Thirty years ago the Army and Navy expenditure of Europe was ?120,000,000 per annum; now it was ?30,000,000. Thirty years ago the cost in this country was ?21,000,000 a year, but now we found ?42,000,000 inadequate for our defences.”PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.13

    -The development of the science of ordnance has greatly increased the expense of firing guns. It has been calculated that any nation which kept all its guns in action for twenty-tour hours would thereby be reduced to bankruptcy. This is not only on account of the expense of individual shots, but because of the great rapidity with which successive allots can be discharged.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.14

    -The financial crisis through which one of the largest firms of Scotch whisky distillers is now passing, is likely to involve a number of business houses. Scotch banks, after a long refusal to lend money on whisky, tea, and other bonded geode, have lately broken through this rule, for as much as eight per cent. was thus to be secured. Some, banks now consequently find themselves heavily involved.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.15

    -Last Sunday was observed as Peace Sunday, and many preachers of all denominations urged the duty of supporting the Czar's manifesto. Politicians may be excused for seeing in the Imperial scheme the only chance for peace, but ministers of religion ought to know enough of true peace to understand that it does not come by human means. Peace is unattainable by the carnal heart, whose natural fruit is enmity and hatred.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.16

    -The Vatican is very anxious to establish a missionary centre at Khartoum for the purpose of making Roman Catholics of the Soudanese, and is now endeavouring to obtain the consent of the English Government to this move, promising that the mission shall be completely separated from foreign influences. The Pope is persuaded that the British Government will not put any obstacle in the way of the extension of Catholic missions.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.17

    -An Association has just been formed for the Prevention of Consumption. Its object is to educate public opinion to the tact that consumption is not necessarily a fatal disease, and that it can be cured if taken in time and properly treated. It is desired to instil into the public mind that the disease may be communicated by means of milk and meat, also through expectoration which dries, turns into particles of dust, and so circulates in any atmosphere. The Association also expects to establish self-supporting sanatoria in England.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 829.18

    “Back Page” The Present Truth 14, 52.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Jesus Christ is the way and the truth and the life.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 831.1

    The Holy Spirit, who comes in His name, bringing His own personal experience, is “the Spirit of truth.” Not simply a truth, but the Spirit of it.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 831.2

    That which sanctifies through the Spirit is the Word of God, which is truth. Only truth can sanctify; error cannot.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 831.3

    “No lie is of the truth.” Christ, the truth, is the life. Truth therefore is life; a lie is death. And everything that deviates from the character of Christ is a lie.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 831.4

    The truth sanctifies, and therefore saves. But the holding of no creed or articles of faith, however true, can ever save anybody. For no creed that men can formulate can possibly embrace all the truth. Therefore no man can be sanctified and saved merely through the holding of certain truths.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 831.5

    God does not save men as a reward for their acceptance of certain statements of truth; salvation is the inevitable result of receiving and being permeated and transformed by the truth, the whoIe truth; for that which is true is eternal. Not a few true things, but the Spirit of truth, received in the love of the truth, can save. God desires “truth in the inward parts.”PTUK December 29, 1898, page 831.6

    It is not necessary that one should know all the things that are true, that is, all facts, before he can be said to know the truth. If it were, none could be saved, for eternity will be spent in discovering new facts. But, on the contrary, it is by the knowledge of the truth that we are able to distinguish facts from fancies. Only he who really knows the truth, cannot he deceived.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 831.7

    “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus. Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” This is real life. “The Spirit of truth” “is life because of righteousness.”PTUK December 29, 1898, page 831.8

    From all this we can see the importance of not simply having, but being, the truth. We must not only have the truth, but we must have no lie. “Speaking the truth in love,” is the only way to make real growth in Christ. We must know that whatever we say is the truth. “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.”PTUK December 29, 1898, page 831.9

    On this basis it is easy to see how gossipping, and the repetition of tales which one hears, cannot possibly be in harmony with truth. Many people who would he shocked at the thought of telling a lie, will carelessly repeat things that they hear about others, and which they cannot know are true. Now whoever tells what he does not absolutely know to be true, thereby shows that he does not fear to tell a lie. It is not enough to say that we did not know a certain thing which we told was not true; we must know that it is true, or we must keep silent. Of course “speaking the truth in love” means refraining from repeating many things which we know to be true.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 831.10

    “And now, little children, abide in Him; that when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”PTUK December 29, 1898, page 831.11

    God requires good works in His people. He wants to have “a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” and He desires it so much that He gave Himself for us that the object might be accomplished. When God, who calleth those things that be not as though they were, gives Himself to make us zealous of good works, it is certain that the good works thus secured will be worthy of Him. In other words, God's own works will appear in those whom He redeems from all iniquity.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 831.12

    The only way that this can, he is for God Himself to dwell in men, and work in them to will and to do. “He gave Himself for us.” “We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Eph. ii. 10. We are His workmanship by faith. When we cease from our own works and stop all boasting, and confess that it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves, we leave the way open for the Lord to display His own infinite workmanship. We simply show forth His excellencies.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 831.13

    Whoever thus commits His way entirely to the Lord may rest in the knowledge that all is well. The good works which will be required of him in the Judgment, when God, without respect of persons, will judge according to every man's work, are already prepared. Indeed, they are finished; for the works of God were finished from the foundation of the world. We were then created in Christ Jesus, and when we acknowledge this, we know that His works are ours. “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ.” Phil. i. 11.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 831.14

    The man who enters into this rest does not live a life of idleness. He is filled with fruit. He can enter confidently upon tasks which the most ambitious would judge beyond their powers, because he knows that, although the work may seem to call for more of ability and endurance than he has ever displayed in the past, it is not impossible of accomplishment, but is already prepared for him to walk in. He does not know how the work will turn out, but he walks in it, and step by step he finds the task accomplished, until when he gets to the end, he sees the completed work. He knows that He has not done it, and so does not glory in himself. He can only thank God for this fresh answer to the prayer, “Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants.” Ps. xc. 16.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 831.15

    So the Christian life is made up. There is no fear of the hour of judgment, for those who live by faith are just. This is why the Gospel calls on men to glorify God, “for the hour of His judgment is come,” and worship the Maker of all things. Rev. xiv. 7. To give glory to God by allowing Him to reveal His creative power in us, and confessing that it is to Him alone we owe the works thus wrought, is the preparation needed for the hour of His judgment. The rest to which God calls us is so perfect that it is not disturbed by the anticipation of the most searching judgment. “Ye are complete in Him.” The perfect love which is shed abroad in our hearts, fulfilling the law, casts out all fear.PTUK December 29, 1898, page 831.16

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