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January 4, 1894
“Front Page” The Present Truth 10, 1.
Temptations are steps, by which we go either down or up. The devil means that we shall go down by them, but God means that we shall go up. For “tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope.” . It lies with us to determine which it shall be.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 1.1
“Self-Righteousness” The Present Truth 10, 1.
Self-Righteousness.-We read in , that Christ spake a parable unto “certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others.” This always follows trusting in self: distrust of all that is not of self’s ways. There is nothing so high that self cannot look down upon it with disdain. When Lucifer turned his admiration upon self, upon his beauty and brightness ( ), in that first thought of self was hid the iniquity of his final presumption in heaven, when he said, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God... I will be like the Most High.” .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 1.2
“Proving a Thing by the Bible” The Present Truth 10, 1.
Proving a Thing by the Bible.—“You can prove anything from the Bible.” This assertion, so often heard, is utterly false, since the Bible is truth (), and only truth can be proved by truth. But it is true that you can persuade people’s minds to almost any doctrine, or at least make it appear plausible, by using the Bible. But whose minds—the minds of those who know God’s word? Ah, that is the point! You can prove (?) anything from the Bible to the person who does not know what the Bible says,—the person who reads it carelessly, hurriedly, and mechanically, or does not read it at all; the person who depends upon his own powers of intellect to distinguish between religious truth and error. “Spiritual things are spiritually discerned.” No matter what we are intellectually; we must have spiritual discernment. Then we will “be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness.” .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 1.3
“‘Things to Come’” The Present Truth 10, 1.
“Things to Come”.-Many people who rejoice in the Lord now, because of the knowledge of His love, allow their joy to be clouded by the fear of what may come in the future. The trouble is they do not know the perfect love of God, because “perfect love casteth out fear.” “There is no fear in love.” But God has given us positive assurance, so that we may learn what His love is. The Apostle Paul, full of the Holy Spirit, gave utterance to these words: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” . The present is all that we can ever have, for when the future comes to us it is present. And God has assured us that nothing can come that will turn His love away from us. “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have by drawn thee.” .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 1.4
“Our Need” The Present Truth 10, 1.
The real problem in the world is how to get rid of sin. Everybody knows this away down in the heart. It is not information that we need; it is help. When Christ found the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda, no amount of talk about his condition and how he came there would have availed, nor discussion about what he ought to do. The man was helpless, and could do nothing, and knew it. Christ gave him what he lacked,—strength and life. This was Christ’s way. The scribes and doctors of the law followed Him about discussing technicalities, and reasoning among themselves; but those who wanted help received it.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 1.5
We to-day, of ourselves, are just where the impotent man was; helpless, unable to separate ourselves from the sin that holds us. Therefore Christ “gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us.” We need that true sorrow and repentance for sin which shall make us long for this deliverance; but we have not to reproach and condemn ourselves in the vain effort to work repentance so deep that God will pity us. God’s love and pity are already upon the sinner, and in Christ is provided the repentance to all who will look to Him; for “Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” We need strength, and “to them that have no might He increaseth strength,” “according to His glorious power.” New life, also, we need, and He came that we might have life, and that “more abundantly.” “God shall supply all your need according to His riches and glory by Christ Jesus.”PTUK January 4, 1894, page 1.6
“Power of a Look” The Present Truth 10, 1.
Power of a Look.-When Christ was in the judgment hall, the night before His crucifixion, Peter denied Him with cursing and swearing, saying, “I know not the man.” Then “the Lord turned and looked upon Peter,” and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, that He should deny Him thrice, “and Peter went out, and wept bitterly.” That look converted Peter. Fifty days later Peter stood up before the multitude and boldly preached Jesus. He charged the death of Jesus upon the people, yet with such love and tenderness that they were converted. The threats of the rulers were not able to cause him to waver in the least. What could have made so marvellous a change in so short a time? Nothing but the look of the Lord. We may be sure that Peter never forgot that look. During that fifty days he had been living in the light of that look; and all his life long the knowledge of the love that was conveyed to him by it, must have been to him an inspiration. What the Lord did for Peter, He will do for us. He says, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.” . “Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.” .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 2.1
“Visible Prayers” The Present Truth 10, 1.
Visible Prayers.-David prayed to the Lord, “Let my prayer be set forth before Thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” . This has reference to the morning and evening worship of the sanctuary when incense was offered while all the people were praying without. See ; . In the book of Revelation we read that an angel came to the altar in heaven “having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should add it unto the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God, out of the angel’s hand.” . Still more emphatic is the statement that “the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” . From these things we may know that prayer is offered in faith, and there is no other real prayer, are not empty sounds before the Lord, but that they come before Him in visible form. They appeal not to His ears only, but to His eyes as well. This is an additional proof that He gives to us that He will not forget to answer them. He has them continually before Him.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 2.2
“How to Understand” The Present Truth 10, 1.
Although the Bible contains “the deep things of God,” and the statement of mysteries that even angels look upon with wonder, it is one of the easiest books to understand, if one proceeds in the right way. Jesus said that the things that are hidden from the wise and prudent are revealed unto babes, and that every one who receives the kingdom of God, must receive it as a little child. That is sufficient to show that the Bible is not a difficult book.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 2.3
The thing necessary to the understanding of the Scriptures is simple faith. “By faith we understand.” We cannot reason ourselves into an understanding of the Scriptures; we must believe them if we would understand them. Faith makes us know. It is actual knowledge, not fancy, that we get by faith.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 2.4
There are certain texts in the Bible that the beginner cannot understand. Peter says that Paul’s writings contain “some things hard to be understood.” What shall we do with them?—Do just what a little child would do,—leave them alone, and begin with something more simple.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 2.5
There are many texts that consist of plain, simple statements that anybody can grasp. Believe them; meditate on them; take them for the good that there is in them for you. As you do this, you will see more and more in them. But more than this, you will find yourself growing into a knowledge of those difficult portions, for one Spirit is in the whole book.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 2.6
Let it be a fixed rule never to argue with a text of Scripture. It is the same as arguing with God. If you cannot see any light in it, don’t begin to find fault with it. Don’t say, “I can’t see how this can be, when such and such a text says,” etc. when you do that, you are building up a barrier between you and the Scriptures, that will effectively shut you out from an understanding of them. Have patience; be content to wait. Faith and patience are inseparably connected, and it is only to faith that the righteousness of God is revealed.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 2.7
Don’t think that you can force your way into the inner sanctuary of God’s revelation. You cannot pound the word of God to pieces, and even if you could, the pieces would still be impenetrable. But steady faith will cause the difficulties to melt away, and you will find in due time that, instead of an iceberg, you have in every word of God, pure, clear, flowing, sparkling, life-giving water.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 2.8
“Ruinous Competition” The Present Truth 10, 1.
Ruinous Competition.-The history of nations for the present day is getting to be little more than a record of competition in the line of producing the best and most numerous instruments of destruction. England is agitated by the talk of some alarmists (who may or may not have good ground for their assertions) concerning the condition of the British navy; and France, observing this, is making preparations for a corresponding increase in her navy, in case any decided steps in this direction are taken by England. Already voices are being raised in this country in depredation of what can only result in a ruinous competition without any advantage to either side, but this argument will probably have as little effect upon naval expenditure as it has had upon the outlay for standing armies. If no nation of Europe had to-day either a standing army or a navy, each would be just as well off as the other, and all would be vastly better off than they are.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 3.1
How much better it is to trust in the arm of the Almighty for protection, than to go into bankruptcy and ruin trying to defend yourself! But the wisdom of the world will never learn this. That wisdom believes that “God helps the heavy battalions”; and so standing armies and big navies will be increased, and ruinous taxation will get more ruinous, until at last it will be seen that God helps and saves those who simply put their trust in Him, and that against His decrees all the navies and heavy battalions in the world are as chaff before the whirlwind.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 3.2
“Empty Words and Powerful Words” The Present Truth 10, 1.
In the Revision, the sense of the first part of , is given thus: “Let no man deceive you with empty words.” Everybody knows what it is to have words spoken to them, mere platitudes, which come with a hollow sound that makes it plainly apparent that the heart and soul of the speaker are not in them. And talk of spiritual things, the words of man, coming only from the man, must be empty, and as sounding brass and clanging cymbal.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 3.3
The words of God are not so. The angel said to Mary, “No word from God shall be void of power.” There is no emptiness here. The man who knows one word, as indeed the word of God, knows the power of God. Man is to live, “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” This is the encouragement to the person who awakens to the fact that he has neglected the study of the Bible, and knows so very little of it. While we seek to become acquainted with God more and more by His word, every word that we do know has for us life and power and salvation.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 3.4
Then in working for the salvation of others we have but to open these words of God, so that they may be seen to be full of grace and truth. “The opening of Thy words giveth light.” The light is not exhausted with a first burst of glory, as the Spirit opens to us the word; but in every one is stored up the everlasting power and life of God; for “God is light,” and it is His own life shining out upon us.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 3.5
“The Lord’s Temptation” The Present Truth 10, 1.
There is one most precious statement in the account that Luke gives of the Lord’s temptation in the wilderness. It is this, “And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season.” . Christ was tempted for our sakes. “For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted.” . How can He succour us in our temptation?—By putting His mind in us, as the Apostle Paul in exhorts us to let Him do. “Forasmuch then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” . Whoever therefore is armed with the mind with which Christ resisted temptation, suffers with Him; and he conquers with Him also. Satan will tempt us fiercely, but we have the comforting thought that when we resist with the mind of Christ, he will leave us for a season. He will in time return to the attack, hoping to find us off our guard; but for a time we may be left entirely alone with the Lord, to gather fresh strength for another struggle. The devil will flee from us, when we resist him steadfastly in the faith; but Christ has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. With His abiding presence we need not fear the fiercest attack of the adversary.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 3.6
“What Is Heathenism?” The Present Truth 10, 1.
There is a wide difference between the popular idea of what constitutes heathenism, and the Bible idea. In truth, the heathen is one who does not know God; and the knowledge of God means more than an assent to the fact of His existence. His name is not only I AM, but I AM THAT I AM. To know Him truly is to know Him as He is, as Creator and Saviour and Redeemer. This knowledge is an experience. To know Him is “life eternal.”PTUK January 4, 1894, page 3.7
The Jews professed to be the only ones who knew God, and yet “because they knew Him not,” they crucified the Lord. And the Gospel was received among the Gentiles, despised as heathen, more readily than among those who considered themselves God’s chosen. God has made of one blood all nations, and He is “not far from every one of us”—just as near to the untutored savage who is feeling after Him in the darkness, as to the man whose life has been lived under more favourable circumstances. When that great company is gathered into Zion from every nation and tongue and tribe, it will be seen that race distinctions and natural advantages have counted for nothing in the Gospel of grace.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 3.8
We think of these things as we read of wars waged against uncivilised races, and of armed exploring parties, conducting their operations in the interests of commercial companies. It is popularly supposed that Maxim guns and powder and shot are essential to the African traveller. But during all the years that explorers have been fighting their way through the African interior, missionaries have been quietly carrying the Gospel of peace to the natives, finding no use for weapons other than the word, and no need of other protection than the presence of God.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 3.9
During this century commercial greed, always relentless as death, has presented to races of lesser civilisation one of the darkest sides of human nature exhibited since the fall of man. The fact that “heathen” peoples were involved has apparently taken away all restraint. The popular mind seems, unconsciously, perhaps, to minimise the iniquity of an act if it concerns some far-away pagan.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 3.10
Often those are called heathen, who distinguish them from professed Christians, have rebuked high and hollow professions by showing a keener sense of justice than those who represented so-called Christendom. For instance, the Chinese fought two wars as their protest against the introduction of British opium. With the crude arms which they had to oppose against modern artillery, the struggle was but a massacre, and they yielded. Yet when pressed to legalise the traffic which they could not prevent, and when offered the assistance of the British Government to collect revenue from it, the Chinese High Commissioner said:—PTUK January 4, 1894, page 3.11
It is true, I cannot prevent the introduction of the flowing poison; gain-seeking corrupt men will, for profit and sensuality, defeat my wishes; but nothing will induce me to derive a revenue from the vice and misery of my people.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 3.14
Which was the darker paganism, that of the East or West? This incident shows what is being continually shown in other things, namely, that all that passes for modern culture and progress, even with an outward acknowledgement of God, has in it nothing that makes for righteousness. Every unrenewed heart has in it all the works of the flesh, and the moment we make a distinction between the “heathen” sinner and the “Christian” sinner, we come within the rebuke of the apostle, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, oh man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another thou condemnest thyself, for thou that judgest doest the same things.”PTUK January 4, 1894, page 3.15
The essence of heathenism is the worship of self, putting the creature before the Creator. So with us in all our natural lives, we have put self before God, our own ways before His ways. All alike have been tainted with sin, which is but self and the worship of self. Therefore Christ died for all men, that He might take this self and give His own self, His own Life, instead. This Gospel is what every natural heart needs, whether in Africa, or Asia, or Britain. This alone is the “power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth;” and the time is near at hand when all who do not already know that power as a living and real experience will have an opportunity to accept it. The evil one is not always to shut out from men’s vision the manifestations of a power mightier than His own. All signs show that the day of the Lord is near and hasteth greatly, and of this time the prophet says, “The Lord hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”PTUK January 4, 1894, page 3.16
“Conflicting Voices” The Present Truth 10, 1.
Many persons are troubled to know how to decide what is the truth, when there are so many voices, each claiming to be the truth, yet all disagreeing. It need not be difficult; Christ gave a sure rule by which we may know the truth, and avoid being deceived. He said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it be of God, or whether I speak from Myself.” .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 4.1
This of itself is sufficient. God is anxious to have men saved. Therefore He has made the way of salvation very plain. He has provided that no one who is earnestly seeking after truth in order that he may serve God, shall be deceived. Let the reader stop to think, and he will remember that those who have such difficulty in deciding what the truth is, are those who are seeking some excuse for their rejection of it. They wish to continue in their own way, and they ease their conscience by persuading themselves that their way is as likely to be right as any other, since there are so many different voices.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 4.2
Following the text above quoted, is another statement of how we may know the truth: “He that speaketh from himself seeketh the glory of Him that sent Him, the same is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” This was said with reference to Christ, but it applies to every one whom Christ has sent. The false teacher seeks his own glory. We may sometimes detect that desire in the subtle flattery that he gives to some. Self will in some way be prominent in everything. But the teacher who is sent by the Lord has only the Lord’s message to deliver. Self does not appear at all.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 4.3
Again, Jesus said to the unbelieving Jews, “I know you, that ye receive Me not; if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” . This is similar to the first text quoted. “If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching.” The reason given why the Jews could not receive Christ, who spoke the name of the Father, is that they had not the love of God in them. They did not wish to do the will of God, and therefore it was impossible for them to understand. The sceptic Hobbs once said that if the proposition that the sum of the squares of the two sides of a right-angled triangle equal the square of the hypotenuse, were opposed to men’s self-interests, or their right to rule, there would not be anybody able to understand it. Some would say, “It maybe so,” but they would not be able to make a clear demonstration of it, or to see it when demonstrated by others. A willingness to receive the truth is the essential thing to knowing the truth; and the blessed thing is, that whoever is willing and anxious to know the truth, cannot be deceived.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 4.4
But some people are so timid, so fearful of being led astray, that they hesitate about accepting what they really know to be the truth. There is no doubt in their minds that a certain thing is the truth, but they do not know what may be involved in it. They fear that it will lead them farther than they wish to go, and so they hold back. In this we see an unwillingness to receive the truth. It makes no difference that they may be perfectly willing to accept what they now see; the fact that they fear what it may lead them to, shows that they are not really in love with the truth, since no truth can ever lead one into error.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 4.5
Now what is the result of such a course? Just what we might expect, namely, that they will before long greedily accept some palpable error. He who rejects the voice of God, will readily accept a false voice. Strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, comes only on those who receive not the love of the truth. . It is not the love of some single truth, that will save men from deception, but the love of the truth. He who rejects the truth, must necessarily believe a lie; for there is nothing else but falsehood left for him to believe. And he who does not love the truth, and the whole truth, no matter what the consequences may be, is necessarily shut up to loving a lie. The only safeguard against deception,—against being led astray by voices that are not the voice of God,—is to accept unhesitatingly the voice that is unmistakably the voice of God.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 4.6
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, 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.” “I am the good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine.”PTUK January 4, 1894, page 4.7
“What Is the Papacy?” The Present Truth 10, 1.
The expression “the papacy” naturally brings to mind the Pope of Rome, with his cardinals, bishops, and priests, the Vatican, the Inquisition, and various other institutions connected with the machinery of the papal system. But the real papacy is not a set of men holding the titles of pope and cardinal and priest; is not the institutions which these men and their supporters have planted in Italy and throughout the world; it is not the false doctrines of Catholicism; nor is it all three of these together. It is a system of principles,—of false principles,—carried out to the full limit of their evil capacity. It is false worship developed to its most baleful degree of perfection. Before there were any popes or bishops or cardinals, or before most if not all of the false doctrines which Rome teaches had arisen, “the mystery of iniquity doth [did] already work.” Before papal institutions had been established or the papal machinery had been put in operation, the principles were working which culminated in the revelation of “the man of sin,” the “son perdition.”PTUK January 4, 1894, page 4.8
What the real essence of this system is may be seen from the following words of the Apostle Paul, taken from his second letter to the Thessalonians: “Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day [the day of the Lord] shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth HIMSELF above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” . The Revised Version reads, “setting himself forth as God.” It is the exaltation of self; it is putting self in the place of God. Develop this principle to the full limit, and the result will be the papacy every time.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 4.9
And this principle is naturally inherent in every man. Every individual has within him a tendency to put self in the place of God. This tendency most naturally finds expression in efforts to supply the power to make himself do what is right. He makes vows, and resolves to live righteously; next he makes laws to compel himself to be righteous; and finally he inflicts penances upon himself as a last resort, to change himself, as it were, in the pathway of obedience to the Divine will. This is the principle that works in paganism,—the principle that leads men to throw themselves under the wheels of Juggernaut, to crawl on hands and knees for scores of miles to the Ganges, or shrines of their gods, and to inflict upon themselves various other tortures. With it is coupled the equally false idea that such things serve in some way to appease the wrath of God.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 5.1
The papacy goes a step farther than this and thereby reaches a far more baleful position. It extends the principle to the doctrine that a man should not only make laws and inflict penalties for the spiritual guidance of himself, but for other people as well; that he should not only exercise power to regulate his own conscience, but the consciences of his fellows! And thus we have the Pope of Rome, sitting as God in the temple of God, and assuming authority to command all men under sin; to shut up heaven to all, or to release from “purgatory,” or to absolve souls from the penalties of all laws; to regulate, in short, the consciences and the worship of the whole world! This is the principle of putting self in the place of God, carried out to its full extent.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 5.2
And what should be borne in mind in connection with all this is that this principle of self-exaltation is not confined in its operation to any certain kind or class of men, but is a principle which has a natural hold upon all, a hold which can only be loosed by the power of the Gospel of God. And hence it is just as possible to have popes among Protestants as among Catholics. Indeed it is certain that there are many popes in the Protestant world to-day,—not visibly and ostensibly such, but men which nevertheless put themselves, or allow others to put them, in the place of God, so that people seek to them instead of to God to learn what is right. The principle is the same in both, and the results are bound to be as evil in the one case as in the other.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 5.3
Let every man beware how he puts himself in a position, or allows himself to be put, where he stands in the place of God. “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.” It could be not God’s voice that is heard, and God’s power that is felt, through him,—if, in other words, he calls attention not to God but to himself, lifts up himself and not Christ before the multitude, then, although not a pope in name, he is actuated by the same principle that works in popery, and is bringing upon himself a share in its condemnation.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 5.4
“‘By Their Fruits’” The Present Truth 10, 1.
“Ye shall know them by their fruits,” said the Saviour, in the sermon on the mount. Whom shall we know by their fruits? and what shall we know of them? These are questions that are worth attention.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 5.5
The common idea is that in these words the Saviour gave a test of character; that He has given us all a rule which we are to go about applying to everybody we meet, and measuring them up, and deciding on their fitness or unfitness for heaven, or at least of their worthiness to be received in the fellowship with people so good as we are. Then again, they are taken as applying to one’s own self, as if each individual were required to be continually taking an inventory of his own good and bad deeds, so as to be able to tell at any moment just how high or how low he stands in the Christian scale. All this is but another illustration of the common practice of taking an expression out of its connection, and giving to it an arbitrary interpretation; of putting a meaning upon a text, instead of drawing the meaning out. Let us read the text in its connection.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 5.6
Bear in mind, also, that this is spoken only of a certain class—“false prophets”—and not of people in general. Neither does it tell us that we are to judge the character even of this class; and we are never warranted in assuming that the Scriptures mean what they do not say.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 5.9
How are we to act towards these false prophets?—Beware of them. Why?—Because if we heed them we shall certainly be led astray. What is the work of a prophet?—It is to teach, to instruct. The work of a false prophet, therefore, is to teach false doctrines; and we are commanded to cease to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge. .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 5.10
But how are we to know the false teachers from the true?—The text last referred to gives us the clue. “Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.” “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.” . We are to prove the teachers by their teaching. “To law and the testimony if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” . “He whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God.” . “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.” . This is how we are to know the teachers, whether they are of God.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 5.11
Some one will say, “What is the use, then, of having teachers? I thought that teachers were for the purpose of telling us what is true and what is false; if we cannot depend on them, but have to decide for ourselves, why can we not get along without them?” Teachers are indeed necessary, but they are not to take the place of God to us. Christ is the light of the world, and He Himself is the only light to light every man that cometh into the world. He says, “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.” . The promise of the new covenant is, “They shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know Me, from the least to the greatest.” . The reason for this is found in the words of Christ, “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and have learned of the Father, cometh unto Me.” .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 5.12
Christ is the truth. . No man can know truth, except as he knows Christ. And Christ must be revealed in and to us by the Father. See ; . When we know Him indeed, we know the truth. That is, we know truth; we can tell the difference between truth and error. Then we are to go on, “being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” . We are to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 5.13
The word of God, like God Himself, is unfathomable. The more we learn of it, the more there is for us to learn. There is, and will be to all eternity, something new for us to learn, even in that with which we already are committed. The work of the true teacher is to open the words of God to the people. He is to lead them to the words of life, that they may drink from the same fountain from which he has drunk. Our part is to have such communion with the Lord that when a thing is presented to us we may know at once whether it is truth or error. We are to know how to distinguish between the voice of the Good Shepherd and the voices of strangers.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 6.1
So we find that the fruits of the false prophets, by which we are to know—not judge—them to be false prophets, are their teachings. And each one, instead of depending on some minister to tell him what the Scriptures mean, is to have such a knowledge of the truth in Jesus, that he can for himself decide as to the correctness of the minister’s teaching. Thus no man can throw his responsibility upon another. Let everyone take heed that he does not reject truth. As for judging anybody, that is to be left to the one Judge—the Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 6.2
“The Sin of Covetousness” The Present Truth 10, 1.
The tenth commandment reads thus: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour’s.” . It is generally summed up, in the Scriptures, in the comprehensive prohibition, “Thou shalt not covet.”PTUK January 4, 1894, page 6.3
This commandment, more than any other, shows the spiritual nature of law of God. All the other commandments may be violated openly, as well as in the heart, so that men may see the sin; but the violation of this commandment can be detected by no one but God. When the sin of stealing is committed, we may know that it has been preceded by covetousness; but no man can know that the tenth commandment has been violated until the sin of covetousness results in the open violation of some other commandments.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 6.4
From this we may learn the folly of the idea that it can ever rest with men to enforce the law of God. The law of God is not kept while the tenth commandment is broken; but no power on earth can tell when it is broken or when it is kept. “The law is spiritual,” and eludes the grasp of earthly rulers.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 6.5
But this is not all. That which is true of the tenth commandment is true of them all, for the tenth contains all the rest. The first commandment forbids idolatry. Now read two verses: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” . “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” . Thus we see that law of God is a perfect circle, ending just where it begins. The violation of the tenth precept is the violation of the first; and this means the violation of all the others, because to reject God is to reject His whole law.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 6.6
Very emphatic testimony to the comprehensive nature of the tenth commandment is given by the Apostle Paul, in : “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”PTUK January 4, 1894, page 6.7
Here the last commandment is put for whole law. It was the tenth commandment that convicted the apostle of sin. As a Pharisee he had from his childhood been a strict observer of the law, so far as it concerned outward actions. He could appeal to all the Jews, who knew his life from his youth, with no fear that they could convict him of any wrong doing. But “the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man look on the outwardeth appearance, but the Lord looketh upon the heart” (), and so when Christ was revealed in Paul, he found that he had never kept a single precept of the law. Evil desire had been in his heart, although unknown to him; and that made the things that he had counted gain, nothing but loss.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 6.8
Lust, or unlawful desire, precedes every open sin. “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts, and enticed. Then when lust conceiveth it bringeth forth sin; and sin when it is finished, bringeth earth death.” . The lust of the flesh, when denied, is not sin; but as soon as it is cherished it becomes sin, for “the thought of foolishness is sin.” .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 6.9
And so it is that the violation of the tenth commandment lies at the bottom of the transgression of every other commandment. The law in plain terms forbids covetousness, or evil desires; so that in every case the plain letter of the law is violated before anything is ever done that men can see and recognise as sin. Well might the Psalmist exclaim and pray, “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse Thou me from secret faults.” . And may every heart echo this language. Only the life of Christ can cleanse from all unrighteousness.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 6.10
“No Difference” The Present Truth 10, 1.
The very great differences that we see among men, in the matter of education, refinement, and all those things that give men standing in the world, are by many thought to be so great that nothing can ever effect any change. Persons at the two extremes are almost thought to belong to different orders of beings; and to many it seems almost impossible that even the Gospel can ever lift men up from the lowest depths, to a level with favoured mortals.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 6.11
But what after all makes this difference? Only the circumstances of birth, and a few years of training. The difference in birth does not count for much; for the son of the most cultured nobleman, if brought up from earliest infancy with the children of the slums, would differ from them in no respect. So that the only difference is that which arises from a difference in advantages.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 6.12
As to the matter of birth, that may easily be settled; for all must be born again, before they can into the kingdom of heaven. The noblest as well as the most despised, must alike be born from above; and when they have experienced this new birth, from the Lord, they will be of one family. All will be of equally “high birth.” “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 6.13
Then their association and fellowship is alike “with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” Everybody knows that a man from the lowest ranks of society, even from barbarism would, by a few years of proper education, and association with educated and truly refined people, become educated, and transformed in his manners. What, then, may not be accomplished by association on terms of equality with Christ, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge?PTUK January 4, 1894, page 7.1
The children of savages have been taken and educated under Christian influences, so that in the course of a few years no one could possibly detect by their language nor their manners that they had not had advantages of birth equal to the children of the most highly civilised. Suppose that we should see those same ones after they have been in glory for a few thousand years, associating with Christ and the angels, how much effect would be seen of these distinctions which are made so much of by men of this world? If there should be any difference, it would doubtless be that the one with the fewest earthly advantages might occupy the highest place.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 7.2
God looks at men from the side of eternity, and not with man’s narrow view. Knowing that their hearts are all fashioned alike (); that there is no difference, because “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” ( ), God puts no difference between men in the matter of salvation, purifying the hearts all alike by faith. .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 7.3
“Where is boasting? It is excluded.” . “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called; but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are; that no flesh should glory in His presence.” .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 7.4
The Gospel brings hope to the poor and despised. “I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon me.” “I was brought low, and He helped me.” “He hath showed strength with His arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.” . “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth; for in these things I delight.” .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 7.5
“The Power that Keeps” The Present Truth 10, 1.
In that wonderful chapter, the fortieth of Isaiah, we have a most vivid representation of the power of God, and the greatness of His creation. Take, for instance, the fifteenth verse: “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance; behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing.” More literal and more forcible is the rendering in the margin of the Revised Version, “The isles are as the fine dust that is lifted up.” That is, the islands are no greater to God than the fine dust is to us; more than this, they are no greater to God than the dust, because with God there is no such thing as comparison; nothing is hard for Him. Darkness and light are both alike to Him; great and small have no difference between them in His sight. The greatest thing in our eyes is as easy for Him as that which seems to us easy.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 7.6
What an idea of the immensity of the universe is given by that expression, “Behold, the isles are as the fine dust that is lifted up.” All the islands of the sea are no greater, in comparison to the universe of God, than the fine dust that every breeze lifts up is to the whole earth. Truly, “the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the strength of the hills is His also. The sea is His, and He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.” .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 7.7
But this is not all. Our minds are directed to another evidence of His greatness. “Lift up your eyes on high, and see who hath created these, that bringeth out their host by number; He calleth them all by name; by the greatness of His might and for that He is strong in power, not one faileth.” . With the natural eye innumerable stars can be seen; the telescope reveals innumerable others, but even the most powerful telescope reveals only an exceedingly small fraction of the number of stars. Photography, however, enlarges our ideas. By exposing plates for several hours, the light is accumulated so that stars too distant to be discovered even by the telescope, record their existence. In a photograph of a very small section of the heavens in which no stars could be seen, many thousands were revealed. If our camera were placed on the most distant of the stars, we doubtless should have the same thing repeated. Millions upon millions in number are the stars of heaven; yet God calls them all by name, because He made them; and the word of His power keeps them from falling. They hang upon His word. Well might the psalmist exclaim, “O Lord, how manifold are Thy works; in wisdom hast Thou made them all.”PTUK January 4, 1894, page 7.8
All this shows the power of God; for the Lord by the Apostle Paul assures us that ever since the creation of the world, the invisible things of God, namely, His eternal power and Divinity, are clearly seen through the things that He has made. . It is because He is great in power that none of the host of heaven fall from their places. They do not collide, because His hand guides them in their various orbits.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 7.9
With this view of the power and wisdom of God, how forcible are the words that follow: “Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed away from my God? Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary; there is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint, and to him that hath no might He increaseth strength.” No one need fear that he is in danger of being forgotten by the God to whom the names of the infinite number of worlds are as familiar as the names of children are to their parents. The stars are God’s flock, which He guards and we are His flock also. That is one point of encouragement. The other is that all this power is for the use of the man who is in need. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. The power by which God is able to keep the soul from falling, is the power by which He keeps the host of heaven in their proper places.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 7.10
“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” . By that same word they are kept. See . And this is the word of the Gospel which is preached unto us. . Therefore we may know that all the power of the universe is pledged for the redemption of those who believe God. The existence of the universe depends upon the fulfillment of God’s promises to us; for the same word that brings the promises to us, is the word that upholds all things; and if that word were broken, everything would return to chaos, and vanish from existence. And this comfort is for the poorest and the weakest and most sinful; for God’s word would be broken just as surely if it failed to the least, as if it failed with the greatest. So the existence of the stars in the heavens is a pledge to even the weakest soul, that God has not forgotten His promises, and that every prayer of faith will be answered. Thus it is that God’s people in the last days, when troubles thicken, and wicked men and persecutors become more rampant, are directed to “look up.” Strength comes from looking up.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 8.1
Therefore, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, preserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”PTUK January 4, 1894, page 8.2
“Fighting Machines” The Present Truth 10, 1.
In a recent issue of the Chronicle appears a report which the Italian Minister of War made to his government on the present strength of “Italy’s fighting machine,” showing that at the present time that nation is capable of putting into the field in the emergency of war 1,000,000 trained men, as compared with 791,00 three years ago; also that the War Department has 1,625,000 repeating rifles and is manufacturing more at the rate of 11,000 a month. The report gives numerous other details respecting improvements and artillery, fortifications, etc.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 8.3
This of course does not compare with the military showing that might be made by Germany, France, or Russia, but it is not this showing, in itself, that constitutes the significant feature of the present military situation in Europe. What furnishes the most serious food for reflection is the fact that the nations of Europe are fast turning themselves into a huge fighting machine, in which their energies and resources are almost wholly absorbed. Italy is trembling on the verge of complete bankruptcy, and straining every nerve to the point of collapse, in the endeavour to keep her fighting machine growing; and her allies are not far behind her. Never before did the world behold the spectacle of her greatest nations turned into huge machines of war and destruction; surrounded by the glories of her highest civilisation, and yet becoming bankrupt in order to perfect that which sweeps the marks of civilisation to the earth!PTUK January 4, 1894, page 8.4
With the help of Germany, Italy has been tided over her present difficulties so that the ship of State has barely enough water under her to keep her from getting hopelessly aground; but the relief is only temporary. The public here is waiting for the sound that will indicate that under the intense strain something has parted or broken down in the complicated machinery of the “triple alliance,” and that war is again to desolate the fields of Europe. It is simply a choice between war and social revolution induced by unendurable taxation. The two storm clouds are looming up on the horizon, and it is only a question of which is approaching most rapidly. It is not improbable that both may discharge their deadly contents at the same time.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 8.5
But while statesmen are perplexing themselves over the solution of these things, and looking with failing hearts into the future, the question for us is, What does the situation import with regard to the day of the world in which we live? What momentous period of time have we now reached. “What of the night? watchman, what of the night?” The prophetic answer is, “The nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 8.6
Shall we search the prophetic word, to know where we stand and what are the things that are coming? or shall we accept the silence of “dumb dogs,” that “cannot bark,” as evidence that nothing is impending, and that all things are to continue as they were from the foundation of the world? ; .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 8.7
“‘For Your Sakes’” The Present Truth 10, 1.
Time would fail us to tell of the interesting and marvellous things to be learned from the beautiful birds. You must keep your eyes open and study them for yourself. But more than all else there is one thing that we would have you remember when you see them seeking their tiny but cosy homes:—PTUK January 4, 1894, page 12.1
Jesus, the King of kings, the glory of heaven, and the One who made the earth and all of these wonderful things, came down to this earth once and was so poor that He did not have so good a home as the little birds. He Himself said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.”PTUK January 4, 1894, page 12.2
“Birds” The Present Truth 10, 1.
In the country, in the city, on dry land, or on the ocean, wherever we go we find our feathered friends-the birds. What a quiet, lonely place earth would be without them! They fill the air with music, the trees with life and beauty, and our hearts with joy and gladness.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 13.2
There are two kinds of birds, flying birds, and running birds. Those that fly very far and swiftly have the largest and strongest wings. One bird that has very long wings can fly so fast that it is called the “Swift.” The humming-bird, the smallest bird that lives, can move from one place to another as quickly as a flash of light or a glance of the eye. The ostrich is the largest and strongest of all birds, but his wings are small and he cannot fly. Because he needs to run so much his legs are long and strong, and his bones are nearly as solid as those of a horse, while the bones of most of the flying birds are full little air-cells that make them very light.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 13.3
Did you ever stop to think why we see so many more birds in summer than in winter? When it is about time for the cold weather to begin many of them gather into companies and fly off south across sea and land to a warmer country. Then when the snow melts and the warm spring-time comes, back come our little friends as bright and happy as ever. A Swift has been known to come back to the very same spot every year for seven years. The pretty swallows and martins often do the same.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 13.4
Look at the feathery clothing of the birds. What can be more light, more dainty, and more beautiful? One bird has a jaunty cap on his little head, another a ruff round his neck, still another a white puff about his legs. One wears a soft inner garment of delicate down, and an overcoat of hair, another waddles along in greased coat, caring neither for rain nor a plunge in the brook. This little fellow still wears his baby clothes, while that one looks as proud in his new suit as a boy does in his first trousers; for birds get new suits once in a while as well as you. The Bird of Paradise is dressed very handsomely, and is more careful of its clothes than some children, for it will not allow a speck of dirt to get on them.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 13.5
How busy they are! These are holding a grand concert. Those are having some kind of meeting. Yonder we see them fishing, hunting, butchering or diving. Here and there a few are mining, hammering, weaving, sewing, making beds, plastering, or building houses. We notice that many are getting dinner, or talking, whistling, chattering, or warbling. One is tolling a bell so loud that it can be heard three miles away (its cry sounds like a bell tolling). Another is carrying real letters for his master, and still another is barking like the dog, mewing like the cat, and trying to make every sound that he hears anyone else make.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 13.6
If you wonder how they can do so many different things, just look at their skilful tools. Those that need to wade in the water have stilts, those that swim have paddles, those that get their food out of the mud beneath the water have feelers and strainers in their bills, and those that eat soft food have spoons. The woodpecker has a drill and a worm-puller; the Kiwi-kiwi a staff, the humming-birds insect catchers, long, straight, curved, or double-curved, to fit the flowers in which they find the insects. The hawfinches have broad seed-crushers, the Cross Bills nut-catchers, the Tailor Bird a sharp, slender bill for a needle, the owls night eyes. The Jungle Fowl has great feet for shovels, and the Jacana very long, slender toes for water that enable him to walk on shoes, floating leaves. The longer you study them the more you will see that each bird has been given just the tools that he needs.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 13.7
What wonderful houses they build! and in what strange places we sometimes find them! They generally have but one room, but that of the Paradise Whidah bird has two, one for the sitting-room and one for the nursery; and the Sociable Weavers weave great hotels out of flat reeds and grasses, with thatched roofs, which sometimes have as many as three hundred and twenty rooms, each containing a separate family of birds. The Golden Eagle has a neighbouring ledge of rock for his larder or pantry, where he keeps the food that he has brought until it is needed. The Jungle Fowl shovels up a mound or oven, sometimes fifteen feet high and sixty feet round, in which to keep its eggs warm. The Tailor Bird with its long bill and little feet makes thread out of cotton and sews the edges of two leaves together and then puts his nest in the little pocket he has thus made. The Oriole hangs in his nest from the branches of a tree and sews it together with horse hairs or strings. The Kingfisher makes his nest of fishbones, and the Esculent Swallow makes a nest that is thought to be very good to eat! The nest of the humming-bird is hung like a tiny cradle to a twig and it rocks back and forth with every breeze. What a cozy home with its silky walls and downy bed!PTUK January 4, 1894, page 13.8
Birds kill so many insects, worms, mice, flies, snakes, etc., that they are a great help to the farmer and gardener. Their feathers make good beds and pillows, and the eggs of some are good for food. One ostrich egg is as large as twenty-four hen’s eggs, and the shell is so strong that it is used to carry water in. See if you can think of anything else for which birds are useful.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 13.9
The same One who made the water animals of which we learned last week, made these wonderful birds. And he made them on the same day that he made the water animals. Can you tell, now, when the birds began to live, and who made them? This same wise, loving Being who made and clothed and gave tools to the birds, teaches them how to use their tools, and He scatters their food over the earth for them to gather. He says that He does not forget one little sparrow, and therefore we need not fear that He will forget us, for we are worth more than many sparrows. Let us always think of this precious promise when we look at the little birds.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 13.10
“Interesting Items” The Present Truth 10, 1.
-Two insurgent Riff chiefs have been handed over by the Sultan’s brother to the Spanish commander at Melilla, who had them placed on a cruiser to be conveyed to Tangier.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 14.33
-Rioting is reported from Pontymister, in Wales, where the steelworkers are on strike against a reduction in wages. Several men have been injured in a conflict with the police.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 14.34
-Grave anxiety is entertained as to the safety of the small British force under Captain Wilson, which went in pursuit of Lobengula. Nothing has been heard of the party, and Mr. Rhodes telegraphs that he fears the worst.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 14.35
-The trial of seventeen prisoners arrested in connection with the riots at Aigues Mortes in August last, has been begun at Angoul?me. Public feeling in Rome is very high on the subject, and if the prisoners are acquitted anti-French demonstrations are expected.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 14.36
-A fearful gale which recently raged at sea, severely tested the sea-going qualities of the new ironclad resolution, which was well-nigh overwhelmed in the Bay of Biscay. She shipped tons of water, lost a man overboard, and returned to Queenstown in a sadly battered condition.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 14.37
-There have been further serious disturbances in Sicily, the mob in two places coming into collision with gendarmes and troops. In both instances firearms were used by the troops, and several persons were wounded. More troops have been sent to the island.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 14.38
-Anarchist scares and outrages have been so numerous throughout Europe for a fortnight past that much space would be required to enumerate them in detail. In France and Spain fresh evidences of anarchist plots are continually coming to light, while their political kinsmen, the Socialists, are causing much trouble to the police in the large centres.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 14.39
-Severe fighting has taken place recently between the opposing forces in Brazil, and it is evident that the war is rapidly drawing to a crisis. The probability of victory seems still to be on the side of the insurgents. Meanwhile business at Rio de Janeiro is entirely prostrated, and yellow fever has broken out, from which many are said to be dying.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 14.40
-Telegraphic advices from Massowah state that severe fighting has taken place between the Italian troops, numbering about 1,500, and a force of dervishes 10,000 strong. The fight which lasted over two hours, resulted in the decisive defeat of the dervishes, who broke and fled. The dervish loss is estimated at about 1,000; the Italians had three officers and 100 men killed.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 14.41
“Back Page” The Present Truth 10, 1.
A German investigator has been trying the effect of tobacco smoke upon different animals, and finds it is not obnoxious to some of them. The goat, for instance, seemed to enjoy the experiment. It is difficult to see what encouragement this is to yield to smokers, or to non-smokers who are forced to inhale the fumes of the burning weed. The goat is proverbially perverted in his taste and careless of his diet.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 16.1
An item of news from France is that M. Jules Simon, is agitating the question of a ten years “truce of God” among the European nations, and a compact that none shall fight for ten years. The difficulty is that the spirit of fight is in the natural heart. The “course of this world” is according to the “prince of this world,” and he was “a murderer from the beginning.” “There was war in heaven” itself as soon as Satan began his own work, and his last act is to gather the nations “together to battle,” against the Lord. Back of all the rulers and statesmen and political schemers, the seat of “wars and fightings” is in the lust of the unrenewed heart. This is beyond the reach of political reformers.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 16.2
The excise officers recently visited the cellar of a publican in Spitalfields, and found that about one-ninth of the contents of a barrel, supposed to be ale, was water. Accordingly he was held to answer for the inferior quality of his goods. He pleaded guilty, with an explanation, and was fined £30. In this case the alteration was a positive benefit, although the man did it dishonestly; but the law knows no exceptions, it is bound to see that people get just what they think they are buying, even though it be nothing but poisonous trash. And really it does seem as though a man is deserving of severe punishment for selling to people God's free gift, and, worse than all, adulterating it with his vile beer.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 16.3
The English Churchman deplores the fact that “members of the sacerdotal party” still continue “to monopolise the chief positions in the Church of England.” It cites several instances of the appointment of pronounced Ritualists to the most valuable “livings,” and closes its protest with the statement:—PTUK January 4, 1894, page 16.4
“Mr. Gladstone, too, has once more shown his antipathy to Protestantism by presenting to the living of Lutterworth the Rev. Canon Alderson, whose sympathies are decidedly with the counter-Reformation movement. It might have been hoped that even the present Prime Minister would have hesitated to inflict this insult upon the memory of John Wycliffe.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 16.5
It does seem incongruous, and a long step backward to see a Romanist in the pulpit of the great “reformer before the Reformation;” but it simply shows which way things are drifting.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 16.6
The growth of militarism among the eighteen governments of Europe is sufficiently illustrated by the following figures. In 1869 the European armies on a peace footing numbered 2,195,000 men. In 1892 the number had risen to 3,747,600. In 1869 the war footing amounted to 6,958,000 men. Last year the men available for an immediate destruction reached the portentous number of 21,800,500. Of course we have to pay very heavily for such insane wickedness. In the interval between 1869 and 1892 the annual cost of the armies and navies of Europe rose from ?116,732,583 to ?203,050,000. And at the later date the National Debts, which are almost exclusively the results of militarism, reached the bewildering sum of ?4,689,014,000.-Methodist Times.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 16.7
The weekly rest-day will be saved only through organised effort, national in scope, wisely directed and conscientiously supported. The Sabbath is the one chief pillar of the Republic; and every consideration of citizenship, humanity and religion urges us to encourage the national movement.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 16.9
Of course by “Sabbath,” the speaker meant Sunday, since the American “Sabbath” Union is hardly opposed to the Sabbath. But it is easy to see the punishment that will be meted out to Sunday workers, when the statement in the above paragraph becomes the prevailing idea. If Sunday is regarded as “the one chief pillar of the Republic,” then of course those who disregard Sunday must be regarded as plotters against the government, and the punishment allotted to traitors will be given them.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 16.10
Under the heading, “The Growing Uneasiness of Nations,” the Christian Commonwealth, of December 21, has the following, which gives a fair idea of the state of men’s minds at this time. And this is but the beginning. What will the end be?PTUK January 4, 1894, page 16.11
Public observers are beginning to show sincere anxiety as the year draws to its close, in view of the evident restlessness of Continental nations. The feeling of European uneasiness is becoming daily more manifest. Critics of international conditions ascribe this ominous fall in the barometer to the great increase of Russian naval force in the Mediterranean. Everybody now couples Russia and France when allusions are made to possible trouble ahead, and when we consider the uncertainty of the Triple Alliance it becomes clear that there is abundant cause for solicitude. If Russia and France are strong in the Mediterranean, they at once threaten our access to Egypt and India. Our naval authorities are being goaded by alarmists to undertake a colossal augmentation of our fleets, seeing that the road to our Eastern Empire must be defended at any cost. All sorts of wild and random propositions are being made by busy theorists.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 16.12
“Sunday Work by Episcopal Permission” The Present Truth 10, 1.
Sunday Work by Episcopal Permission.-A correspondent of the Church Times writes sympathetically of the simple life of the peasantry in certain portions of the Swiss mountains, where the tide of civilisation has not rushed in to make the people sordid and grasping. We read:—PTUK January 4, 1894, page 16.13
At Saas Fee they are building themselves a new church, and have collected all the stones, sand, etc., for it. The first Sunday I was here I walked over there, and found men and women and little boys all hard it work, with their deep baskets on their backs, digging out the foundations. They had special leave from the bishop to work on Sundays.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 16.14
This illustrates the Catholic idea of Sunday-keeping. It is simply a church ordinance, and may be suspended by church authorities. In England formerly, it was not infrequent that bishops of the Church of England gave permission at special times for the prosecution of secular labour on the Sunday. As it was an institution of the church, there was no reason why church authority should not direct in its observance. With the Sabbath of the Lord, however, it is vastly different. His blessing is upon it, and His presence in it to give rest of soul to those who believe, and no one on earth can come between the believer and his Lord, who says, “It is a sign between Me and you.”PTUK January 4, 1894, page 16.15
“Front Page” The Present Truth 10, 1.
What a world of strength and comfort there is in the thought that God speaks to us with a “still small voice,”—that all the works of nature are the results of a small whisper. Since God whispers to us, He must be very near to us, and so He is. This suggests close communion with Him, in the closet, and about our daily tasks. It means that we must be listening, or we shall fail to catch the sound of His voice, although if we do listen we may hear it amid the loudest din of earth. Blessed is he who can say, “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.”PTUK January 4, 1894, page 17.1
“Getting Rid of Self” The Present Truth 10, 1.
Getting rid of self.-It is quite generally recognised that “self” is the great thing that stands in the way of Christian progress, and that it must be denied and put away. Accordingly we hear people express the determination to get rid of self, so that the Lord may have a complete possession. But too many forget that they themselves cannot put away self. For it is obvious that when self attempts to put self away, self will remain all the time. Self is sin, and only Christ can put away sin. He hath appeared to “put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” . “He gave Himself for our sins that He might deliver us from this present evil world.” . Only the power by which He “emptied Himself,” can empty us of self. Let us rejoice that He is abundantly able to do it, and simply yield ourselves to Him, that He may work His own will in us.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 17.2
“Not Discouraged” The Present Truth 10, 1.
Not Discouraged.-Of Christ it is said, “He shall not fail or be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth.” . He will set judgment in the earth, not as an abstract thing, but by putting righteousness into human hearts. That means in my heart, if I will let Him. He has undertaken my case, and knows all about me. He knows more of the evil of my heart than I have ever dreamed of. And yet He is not discouraged. Surely if Christ with all His knowledge of the sinfulness of my heart, and of the weakness of the flesh, is not discouraged, I have every reason to be of good courage, knowing that He who has begun a good work in me will perfect it against the day of His coming.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 17.3
“Come to the Fountain” The Present Truth 10, 1.
This is an invitation to come and drink of the water of life. We do not have to wait till we reach the Paradise of God before we experience the refreshment of this longed-for draught. In the last chapter of revelation the invitation is again given: “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.” . Whosoever desires this water of life, may come and take it now.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 17.5
The water of life has been dispensed to mortals just as freely as the bread of life. Without bread and water, a person could not live. Neither can he live spiritually without the bread and water of life. The Israelites drank of this water in the wilderness; “for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” . Christ offered the same water to the woman at the well in Samaria, and also said, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.” .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 17.6
The Psalmist declares that with God is the fountain of life. . God is “the fountain of living waters.” . The river of life that flows through the midst of Paradise, proceeds “out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” . Wherever God dwells, there is the fountain of life. And thus when Christ dwells in the heart by faith, there is in that individual “a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.”PTUK January 4, 1894, page 17.7
God is in His word; and therefore His word contains the water of life. Jesus said, “My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is strength indeed;” and He explained His meaning by adding, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit and they are life.” . To the tempter in the wilderness He said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” If man can live by the word of God, there must be in it the water of life.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 17.8
The invitation given in the fifty-fifth of Isaiah offers us wine and milk. This is what the thirsty soul obtains when he heeds the invitation and comes “to the waters.” But Peter declares the milk to be the word. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” . Milk is that which nourishes, and wine is that which revives and cheers. And this is just what the word of God does to the one who receives it.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 17.9
“Wherefore,” says the prophet, “do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” How can this be realised? The prophet explains: “Incline your ear, and come unto Me; hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 18.1
God’s word is the water of life, and whosoever will may come. It is free to all. Drink of that fountain, and you will realise that a river of living water flows through the desert, imparting to all who will take of it, everlasting life.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 18.2
“The Knowledge of God” The Present Truth 10, 1.
The Knowledge of God.—“Hereby shall we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him, whereinsoever our heart condemn us; because God is greater than our hearts, and knoweth all things.” . How will the fact that God is greater than our hearts, and knoweth all things assure our hearts before Him, when consciousness of sin would naturally cause our hearts to condemn us?—Because of the assurance from God that “by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many,” or, as better expressed in the margin of the Revision, “Make many righteous.” . Grace and peace are multiplied to us “through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.” . Therefore we are exhorted to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”PTUK January 4, 1894, page 18.3
“Insulting God” The Present Truth 10, 1.
Insulting God.-This is what many professed Christians do, who would be shocked at the bare suggestion. Moreover they are not ashamed to do it to His face. Let us illustrate. Suppose I had an acquaintance to whom I would say on almost every occasion when we met, “I find it very difficult to believe what you say to me; I wish you would help me to believe what you say.” That would not be complementary, to say the least; but the man might be so forbearing as to repeat his statements and promises. He might even go so far with me as to take a solemn oath that his words were true. Nevertheless I continue to say to him, “It is so difficult to believe you.” And then when I meet with friends I speak of this one, and tell them how hard it is for me to believe him. Would not such conduct be justly called an insult to the man? Would what I say have a tendency to give others confidence in him? Everybody can see that such language would be the same as saying to others, “Be very cautious in your dealing with that man; look out for him, and do not trust him too much, or you may be deceived.” Now that is just the way thousands of professed Christians treat God. It is an insult to God, and a disgrace to the cause of Christ, for any professed Christian to talk about lack of faith. They do not treat God with the ordinary courtesy that they would show a neighbour. Who can expect to see sinners converted to God, when those who profess to be acquainted with Him talk and act as though He were not to be trusted?PTUK January 4, 1894, page 18.4
“Turning over a New Leaf” The Present Truth 10, 1.
It is well to turn over a new leaf, as we are in the habit of essaying to do at this time of the year. But let it be remembered that this is something that must be done in wisdom. The important thing about turning over a new leaf is not the time of the year, but the manner in which it is done.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 18.5
Sensible men of all classes have long recognised the folly of attempting to produce a perpetual motion,—or a machine which will create its own power. But the same men are constantly trying to make this idea practical in the moral life. They are constantly trying to get some power of themselves to make themselves do better; and that is nothing else than an attempt to create the power that they lack. But this is just as impossible as it is to create power for a perpetual motion. The principle is the same. And when one can be done, then we may expect to see the other.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 18.6
God alone has power to create. If man could create power, he could make himself equal with God by simply creating enough power. But no man can furnish himself with any more moral strength than he already has. This is what he tries to do, but he cannot do it. He finds that he has not power enough in himself to live right, so he thinks the matter over and makes a resolve that he will live right,—as if that could create the power that he lacks. He does not stop to reflect that if he has not strength to do right, he has not strength to keep a resolve to do right; since the same strength is necessary for one as for the other. He fails; but still the ignis fatuus of some new strength that he can almost reach floats before him and lures him on through repeated failures, till he is ready to give up in despair.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 18.7
This is the trouble very often with turning over a new leaf. We turn it over, but do not get anything more than we had before. It was human nature before; it is human nature now. It was human strength and wisdom before; it is nothing more than that now. And therefore we can only reasonably expect the same result.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 18.8
We must have more strength; and the only way to get it is to have it put into us. For strength we must look to God. He has an abundance for all our needs, and is willing and more than willing to give it freely. He will give it if we will let Him. And the first step toward this is to lose all confidence in self. This is always a characteristic of the children of faith. “We are the circumcision,” says Paul, “which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” . When we failed, we trusted in the flesh,—in our own strength. But as soon as we cease to have confidence in it, we cease to trust in it. Then we look to God and trust alone in Him. We turn over a new leaf, not from self to self, but from self to Christ. And that leaf must always remain pure and spotless.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 18.9
We must look to Christ until we cease to know self. We must reckon ourselves to “be dead indeed unto sin” (), which means to be dead to self,—the carnal nature, the “old man,” and then in the hour of temptation look to God, being yielded unto Him, and believe that He will strengthen us to continue dead unto self, but alive unto Him. Thus the channel is open through which God can fill us with His power, and thus supply the strength that we have not.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 18.10
“The Purpose of Blessings” The Present Truth 10, 1.
That which very often stands in the way of our receiving the blessing of God, is our failure to comprehend the purpose for which His blessings are given. If we would search out and know this as He has revealed it in His word, and would ask with that purpose in view, our petitions to God would not so often ascend in vain. And until we do so, we cannot ask according to His will.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 18.11
God’s blessing comes through the gift of His Spirit; and His Spirit is given us in order that we may do more and better work in His cause. The Lord never sends His Spirit to an individual merely to make that individual feel happy and enjoy himself, or to gratify his curiosity. The Lord never gives His Spirit to be appropriated by self; for then self alone would be glorified. In every recorded instance of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, it was to fit the recipients for labour.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 18.12
The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.... And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee.” . No matter what the work may be, we need to be qualified for it by the reception of His Spirit.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 19.1
As soon as Christ was anointed, “with the Holy Ghost and with power,” He began His ministry, and “went about doing good.” And when the wonderful outpouring of the Spirit took place on the day of Pentecost, there were converted the same day three thousand men.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 19.2
It will not do, then, to have merely ourselves in view when we ask God for His blessing. We must have in view His glory, in the accomplishment of His work. We must ask with an expectation of being at once sent out in the harvest field; and until we do ask for that purpose, and not for our gratification, it will never come. We must bear in mind that the great thing now, and while this world lasts, is the accomplishment of God’s work. This, and not our pleasure and convenience, is the matter of pressing moment; for we will have all eternity to feel happy in after we have entered into the joy of our Lord.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 19.3
“Wisdom from the Spirit” The Present Truth 10, 1.
Wisdom from the Spirit.-In we read this statement of God’s dealing with Israel: “Thou gavest also Thy good Spirit to instruct them.” More strictly literal would be the rendering, “to cause them to act wisely.” The Jewish rendering is, “to make them intelligent.” This is the word of the Spirit of God: to make the possessor “of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord.” The Spirit of the Lord gives intelligence in regard to all the affairs of life, since the whole life of the Christian is to be one of serving God. The Lord says: “Turn you at My reproof; behold, I will pour out My Spirit upon you, I will make known My words unto you.” . “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” . What folly, then, to think to understand the Bible without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is poured out into the hearts of all who have a will to obey the Lord; the Spirit leads into all the truth, only for the purpose that it may all be obeyed. And this obedience gives “subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion” in all things; for “a good understanding have all they that do His commandments.” . So Moses said to Israel, concerning the commandments of God, “Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” .PTUK January 4, 1894, page 19.4
“What Is Protestantism?” The Present Truth 10, 1.
The name “Protestant” is derived from the protest of the German princes, which was read at the Diet of Spires, in 1529. The word therefore originated with the Reformation, and the principles of Protestantism are the principles of the Reformation.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 19.5
It is a mistake to suppose that Protestant is simply a negation, or that it means any particular set of dogmas. Protestantism is not a statement of what Luther believed, not of the doctrines that were held by Wycliffe, or Zwingle, or Melancthon, or any other reformer. But it does consist of the principles which prompted all the real reformers that have ever lived. Let us note that principle, as exhibited by a few of the reformers, beginning with Wycliffe, who was in many respects the greatest of them all.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 19.6
Philosophy then lay in guesses rather than facts. Whatever could be known from having been put before man in the facts of nature, or the doctrines of revelation, was deemed not worth further investigation. It was too humble an occupation, to observe and deduce. In the pride of his genius, man turned away from a field lying at his feet, and plunged boldly into a region where, having no data to guide him, and no ground for solid footing, he could learn really nothing. From this region of vague speculation, the explorer brought back only the images of his own creating, and, drawing up these fancies as facts, he passed them off as knowledge.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 19.8
Wycliffe turned from this mass of rubbish to find in the Bible the only true wisdom, so that among the “heresies” which the Catholic Church found in his writings is this, that “wise men leave that as impertinent, which is not plainly expressed in Scripture.” He held that “if there be any truth, it is in the Scripture, and there is no truth to be found in the schools that may not be found in more excellence in the Bible.” And he also taught that “Christ wished his law to be observed willingly, freely, that in such obedience men might find happiness. Hence he appointed no civil punishment to be inflicted on transgressors of his commandments, but left them to a punishment more severe, that would come after the day of judgment.”PTUK January 4, 1894, page 19.9
We do not sincerely believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, or we should abide by the authority of his word, especially of the evangelists, as of greater weight than every other. It is the will of the Holy Spirit that the books of the Old and New Law should be read and studied, as the one sufficient source of instruction; and that men should not be taken up with other books, which, true as they may be, and even containing Scripture truth, are not to be confided in without caution and limitation.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 19.11
The fact that he translated the whole Bible into the language of the common people, shows that in the Bible and the Bible alone was Wycliffe’s hope of any real reformation.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 19.12
A thousand books had they lever to be put forth against their abominable doings and doctrines, than that the Scriptures should come to light. For as long as they may keep that down, they will so darken the right way with their mist of sophistry, and so tangle them that either rebuke or despise their abominations, with arguments of philosophy, and with worldly similitudes, and apparent reasons of natural wisdom, and with wrestling the Scriptures unto their own purpose, clean contrary unto the process, order, and meaning of the text; and so delude them in descanting upon it with allegories; and amaze them, expounding it in many senses before the unlearned lay people (when it hath but one literal sense, whose light the owls cannot abide) that though thou feel in thine heart, and art sure, how that all is false that they say, yet couldst thou not solve their subtle riddles.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 19.14
Which thing only moved me to translate the New Testament. Because I perceived by experience how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth, except the Scriptures were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 19.15
Luther’s whole work was based upon the Bible. It was the Bible that he found chained in the monastery at Erfurt, that turned him from darkness to light, and was the beginning of the Reformation to Germany. The Bible was at that time chained in every sense of the word, for the common people could not get at it, and even if they could, they could not read it, because it existed only in an unknown tongue. But Luther unchained it, for he translated it into the simple language of everyday life, so that every peasant could read it.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 19.16
In the controversy over the mass, Luther, although opposed to that ceremony, deprecated force, and said: “It is by the word that we must fight, by the word must we overthrow and destroy what has been set up by violence. It will not make use of force against the superstitious and unbelieving.” “The mass is a bad thing; God is opposed to it; it ought to be abolished; and I would that throughout the whole world it were replaced by the supper of the Gospel. But let no one be torn from it by force. We must leave the matter in God’s hands. His word must act and not we. And why so? You will ask. Because I do not hold men’s hearts in my hand, as the potter holds the clay. We have a right to speak; we have not the right to act. Let us preach; the rest belongs to God.” “Our first object must be to win men’s hearts; and for that purpose we must preach the Gospel. To-day the word will fall in one heart, to-morrow into another, and it will operate in such a manner that each one will withdraw from the mass and abandon it. God does more by His word alone than you and I and all the world by our united strength.”—D’Aubigne’s History of the Reformation, book 9, chapter 3.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 20.1
It matters not that Luther was not always consistent with these principles. There has been scarcely a single reformer in the world, who continued a reformer as long as he had. But these are the principles which made all the Reformation that there ever was. They were summed up in the following manner in the protest at Spires:—PTUK January 4, 1894, page 20.2
Seeing... that there is no sure doctrine but such as is conformable to the word of God, that the Lord forbids the teaching of any other doctrine, that each text of the Holy Scripture ought to be explained by other and clearer texts, that the Holy Book is in all things necessary for the Christian, easy of understanding, and calculated to scatter the darkness, we are resolved, with the grace of God, to maintain the pure and exclusive preaching of His Holy Word, such as is contained in the Biblical books of the Old and New Testaments, whither abiding anything therein that may be contrary to it. This word is the only truth; it is the sure rule of all doctrines and of all life, and can never fail or deceive us. He who builds on this foundation shall stand against all the powers of hell, whilst all the human vanities that are set up against it shall fall before the face of God.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 20.3
Thus it is that we cannot go to the writings of any man or any company of men to find out what Protestantism is. The reformers were but fallible mortals, and did not know all of the Scriptures. Custom had a strong hold on the best of them, so that they were persuaded by long habit that many things which they allowed were really according to the Scripture. True Protestantism is simply the truth of the Bible, without the addition of any man’s opinion. Therefore to be a Protestant is not to believe just what Luther or any other reformer believed, but to hold to the Bible; and the Bible is explained by the Holy Spirit, as the sole guide in life. He who does contrary to this, is not a Protestant, no matter by what name he is called.PTUK January 4, 1894, page 20.4