The Present Truth, vol. 10- Contents
- January 4, 1894
- January 10, 1894
- January 11, 1894
- January 18, 1894
- January 25, 1894
- February 1, 1894
- February 8, 1894
- February 15, 1894
- February 22, 1894
- March 1, 1894
- March 8, 1894
- March 15, 1894
- March 22, 1894
- March 29, 1894
- April 5, 1894
- April 12, 1894
- April 19, 1894
- April 26, 1894
- May 3, 1894
- May 10, 1894
- May 17, 1894
- May 24, 1894
- May 31, 1894
- June 7, 1894
- June 14, 1894
- June 21, 1894
- June 28, 1894
- July 5, 1894
- July 12, 1894
- July 19, 1894
- July 26, 1894
- August 2, 1894
- August 9, 1894
- August 16, 1894
- August 23, 1894
- August 30, 1894
- September 6, 1894
- September 13, 1894
- September 20, 1894
- September 27, 1894
- October 4, 1894
- October 11, 1894
- October 18, 1894
- October 25, 1894
- November 1, 1894
- November 8, 1894
- November 15, 1894
- November 22, 1894
- November 29, 1894
- December 6, 1894
- December 13, 1894
- December 20, 1894
- December 27, 1894
March 15, 1894
“Russian Stundists” The Present Truth 10, 11.
Russian Stundists.—“Missioners” of the Greek Church are making missionary visits among the Stundist villages in the Uman district. The Stundists of one village were recently imprisoned and abused for fifteen days, and then let go with their heads shaven, to show how serious a thing it is to dissent from orthodoxy. In other places the priests are going among those sentenced to banishment, offering freedom if they will recant. These persecuted believers, however, know a freedom of which their priestly enemies seem never to have dreamed; and as they are scattered abroad they go preaching the word. The Lord’s work is going forward in Russia.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 161.1
“Doubts and Thistles” The Present Truth 10, 11.
Doubts and Thistles.-It is very bad for a farmer to have thistles growing abundantly in a field. The best thing for him to do is to kill the roots, and thus clear the field of them. But if he will not do that,—if he is determined to raise thistles,—then let him cut off the tops before they ripen, so as not to sow thistles in his neighbour’s field. I have seen the air full of thistle down from the field of a slack farmer, providing a crop for all his neighbours, yet I never saw the original crop diminished by so much as one thistle. Remember this: You cannot diminish your own crop of thistles by sowing your neighbour’s field with them.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 161.2
Even so it is with doubts. If you have them, the best thing to do is to root them out. But if you will not do this, do not sow them in the heart of your neighbour. Keep them to yourself. By giving expression to them, you sow the seed in the hearts of others, and do not in the least diminish the amount in your own heart. Keep your thistles and your doubts to yourself.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 161.3
“Confessing Christ” The Present Truth 10, 11.
Confessing Christ.-It is by our lives that we confess or deny Christ. To confess Christ is to confess that He is the Saviour of the world, and specifically that He is our individual Saviour; and this can only be done by manifesting that He is our Saviour, in the fact that we are saved by Him from our sins. Anything less than this would afford no evidence that Jesus is the Saviour of man.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 161.4
When we choose our own way in preference to His, that is, when we do not let Him have His way in us, we deny that He is our Saviour, for we thereby virtually say that our way is better than His, and if that were true He would not be our Saviour, for we could better save ourselves. So it is by our life, and not by empty words, that we confess or deny Him, and determine whether He, before His father and the angels, will confess or deny us.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 161.5
“The Blessing of Suffering” The Present Truth 10, 11.
The Blessing of Suffering.-Suffering is not usually counted a blessing, but it is such, if received in the proper way. Besides working in us patience and other Christian graces, when endured without murmurings or rebellion, it identifies us with Christ. For the Apostle Paul wrote, “I am crucified with Christ,” the result being that “Christ liveth in me.” . Crucifixion means suffering; but it means also union with Him. Christ suffered in being tempted. . So when we are tempted and endure suffering in not yielding to it, we have the blessed assurance that in that very thing we become identified with our Lord and Saviour; knowing that those who suffer with Him will also reign with Him in His glory.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 161.6
“Filled with God” The Present Truth 10, 11.
The time must come when all things in the earth and the universe will be filled with the glory of God. He is the Creator and Upholder of all things, and the One that “filleth all in all.” . Now we see not all things filled with His glory, because He has, for a little time, allowed another ruler in His universe besides Himself; namely, sin, in order that fallen man might live on probation, and have a period of time in which to accept or reject eternal life. So sin rules in most places on the earth, where God is the only rightful Ruler, through the longsuffering and forbearance of God toward men.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 161.7
This cannot always continue; for God cannot permanently yield up His rightful place as Ruler to the foul usurper, even in the smallest part of His dominion. He would not be God,—the Omnipotent and Omniscient,—if He were baffled in any place in the exercise of His universe. And though for a time,—now nearly six thousand years-He has allowed sin a place in His universe, He has from the first been steadily working to fill all things with Himself, thus dispossessing sin. He might have done this in a moment had He so willed, but He did not, for this would have been the destruction of man. He loved man, so He instituted another and a longer way.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 161.8
That way is the Gospel. By faith in Christ, the sinner can become filled with the glory of God and still live; for in Christ he meets the glory of God, and meets it as a righteous person, so that there is no antagonism between the glory and himself. But if he will not accept Christ, he must die; or the time will come when, the great work being completed and the plan of salvation for sinners having finished its course, God will fill all things, independently of men’s volition, with His glory, but that will result in the utter destruction of every sinner. So the question is, Will you be filled with His glory now, and live? or be filled with it after probation ends, and die?PTUK March 15, 1894, page 161.9
“Grass and Trees” The Present Truth 10, 11.
The message which God sends to prepare for His coming is briefly summed up in these words: “All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof as the flower of the field; ... the grass withereth, the flowers fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” . “For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth; so also shall the rich man fadeth away in his ways.” . Such is man: as frail and as helpless as the grass. His breath is in his nostrils, and he is nothing to be accounted of ( ), for his life is but “a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” . Yet God does not despise the grass, but clothes it with the wondrous beauty, surpassing the glory of Solomon. See . And so we are to learn that God does not despise our low estate, but cares for us, even to the extent of clothing us with His own beauty. He who does not forget the grass, will surely remember man.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 162.1
Even in the grass, the mighty power of God is shown,—power to push aside all obstacles. As long as it is rooted in the soil in which God has placed it, His power works through it, till it has accomplished His purpose. So the power of God may be manifested in the feeblest of men, until they have been brought to the standard that He has designed for them,—even to “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”PTUK March 15, 1894, page 162.2
But when God thus accomplishes His purpose in them,—and He does it in all who are as passive in His hands as is the grass,—they cease to be considered as grass, and are called trees. The message which tells us that we are grass, is a message of comfort, in that it reveals to us the word of power. Now to all those who receive that comforting message from the Lord, comes this further message of comfort, that He has come,—PTUK March 15, 1894, page 162.3
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” .PTUK March 15, 1894, page 162.4
“The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.” .PTUK March 15, 1894, page 162.5
And so we have this wonderful growth in grace, that whereas we start as grass, we develop into trees, which cannot be withered, nor wrenched from their place, nor even bent, by the mightiest blast that may blow. What wondrous possibilities there are for those who are rooted in Christ!PTUK March 15, 1894, page 162.6
“A Mother’s Comfort” The Present Truth 10, 11.
If only men and women who profess to believe God would go to Him with their troubles and sins in the same confidence, there would be very many lighter hearts. Very often they do not come when the wound is fresh, confessing the very spot where the hurt of sin is upon them; but they feel as though the Lord would be ashamed of them, and so wait about at a distance from Him until the keenness of the wounding has worn off. Then they come, generalising about their need of help, as though they would get healed without letting the Lord know just what is the matter.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 162.12
It is all because they do not know the Lord as the child does its mother. When the sin is done He is wounded for it, and by His wounding we are healed. We have a very fountain of love and sympathy to go to for comfort; and to carry about the troubles and the bruises for a moment, is to say that we do not believe His love. When conviction comes it is the invitation of the Lord for us to lay bare that very sin before Him and receive the healing touch; for it is the Comforter that convicts. “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you,” saith the Lord. .PTUK March 15, 1894, page 162.13
“The Way, the Truth, and the Life” The Present Truth 10, 11.
These words of our Lord spoken to Thomas on the evening preceding the crucifixion, contain the very essence of the whole Gospel. Without Christ, nothing whatever that any person can find or that he can receive from others can take a step nearer to the Lord than he already is.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 162.15
There are many paths in the world, but only one way to the world to come. Men can find out many ways that are true, but there is only one truth that leads to the realms of eternal day. There are many things that exist in our world, but only one manifestation of eternal life.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 162.16
Christ is the way. Wherever He is not, there is not the way. There are paths which run alongside and seemingly parallel with the way; yet they do not lead to God. A man may walk in them if he chooses, and imagine himself to be travelling directly toward the celestial city; but if he does so he is deceived, and will never reach the city of God, so long as he continues therein; because Christ, and Christ alone, is the way. It matters not what knowledge he may have, or what strength of purpose or good intentions; if he is not walking in Christ, he is not in the way. Christ is the way of God; all other paths are the ways of self.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 162.17
Christ is the truth. It matters not how much knowledge one may have, if he has not Christ he has knowledge merely and not “the truth.” There is a difference between simple knowledge and “the truth in Christ.” Knowledge with Christ is “the truth;” knowledge without Him is knowledge merely, and though true, it is not the perfect truth. The world has knowledge, and wisdom of a worldly sort; yet the Apostle Paul declares that “the world by wisdom knew not God.” So while they had knowledge, they still had not the truth, because they were in great error concerning God. The familiar proverb says, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” and never is the saying truer than when it concerns religion. Knowledge should help a person to recognise God, Him who is the Author and Preserver of all things; but he who will not recognise God in His works, thereby perverts his knowledge so that he makes it declare something that is not true, and so turns it into a lie, as did the heathen of whom we are told in the first chapter of Romans. A half truth is the most dangerous of falsehoods. So he who has knowledge, yet cannot see Christ, is the most certain of all persons to be misled.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 162.18
Christ is also the life. But here again we find only nothingness for the one who has not Christ. For though all men have life, which comes from their Creator Jesus Christ and is therefore His life, he who will not recognise in his life the life of Christ thereby shuts out Christ and His eternal life from himself; but he who glorifies God by recognising Him as the Creator and the Giver of all things, recognising Him not merely in form but in reality, as evidenced in his words and deeds, thereby accepts Christ and has eternal life. There is no life outside of Christ. “He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” . That which he has who has not the Son, seems to be life, but it is not. It is only a vapour, that appeareth for a moment, and then vanisheth away. . He who will have life, can find it only in Christ.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 163.1
“The Price of Votes” The Present Truth 10, 11.
Under the head of “Protestant Notes,” a Church paper calls attention to the practices of one of Lord Salisbury’s appointees, and threatens the Marquis with a loss of the support of Protestant voters at the next election if he does not “publicly express his deep regret for making such an appointment.” Of course he will not do so, as the source from which the votes is doubtless well considered before appointments are made.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 163.2
But is this a strictly Protestant method of protesting against error, or of bringing a man to repentance? If a man deeply regrets an act, of course he will say so, but if he does not, and is induced to say so by threats of personal loss, he is made a hypocrite. In politics such methods are considered lawful, as this is the way of the world; but Protestantism should stand for the word of God and Gospel methods. The Gospel is so pure, so free, so identical with Christ-likeness that there is nothing in it that savours of worldly policy or force. Paul once breathed out threatenings, but he was then Saul the persecutor. When he found Christ he dropped all of that. The priest threatened Pilate with political disaster if he did not meet their demands, and a fallen church in Constantine’s day purchased his “conversion” by their political support. The Gospel is never advanced in that way.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 163.3
Those who consent that the man who is victorious in a political contest shall have the power to appoint men to give the bread of life to the people, have no right to protest in the name of Protestantism, if those appointed know nothing of the living word. The Lord only can give the credentials needed. It is not within the power of any political party or politician to give or withhold them. After having helped to make a Prime Minister an authority over the church, it is useless to complain that he does not act as a Protestant should. Protestants are not made in that way.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 163.4
“The Delusion of Spiritualism” The Present Truth 10, 11.
A correspondent of the Pall Mall Gazette writes of spiritualistic seances and manifestations among the Chinese, and says that it may be generally alleged that Spiritualism is quite as common in China as it is in Europe or America.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 163.5
Of course it is; for Spiritualism, as it is called in the West, is the characteristic of all heathen religions. The ancestral worship of Chinese is but one form of the worship of the supposed spirits of the dead, which dates from the earliest days when men refused to retain the knowledge of God, and were left to their own imaginings.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 163.6
It is well known that the gods of the heathen were but the ancient dead, about whom mythology had woven tales of supernatural powers. Thus it was that when Israel forsook the Lord and joined themselves to Baal-peor, “they ate the sacrifices of the dead.” .PTUK March 15, 1894, page 163.7
It is not at all unlikely that those giving themselves over to their own ways in this worship anciently had just as clear manifestations of supernatural power as the Spiritualists of our own time insist upon. The Lord repeatedly warned against the practice of enchantments and divination; and when Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses they were able to work wonders and deceived Pharaoh by them.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 163.8
The devil was ready to supply manifestations in order to hold men in his deceptions. Instead of dealing with the spirits of the dead, therefore, they were paying their homage to and receiving manifestations from the spirits of devils. In the same Psalm from which we have quoted, the Lord says His people “mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils.” .PTUK March 15, 1894, page 163.9
The Apostle Paul says the same thing of the heathen in his day, those cultured Greeks and Romans who talked so beautifully of the divinity of man, and the life which he had in himself, and who lived such wicked and profligate lives because they did not recognise, even as one of their own poets had said, that their life and every power of their being were not of themselves but of God, and in Him only. “But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.” .PTUK March 15, 1894, page 163.10
All through paganism this thread of evil runs, and the modern revival of Spiritualism, Theosophy, etc., in all countries only shows that the time has come when the enemy will try to cause all the world to “give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.” Everything indicates that we are living in the last days, and just here it is, that “as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses”—by the power of the wonders they wrought-so now by the same means will men “resist the truth.” “But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.” . The Lord is mightier than Satan. When the enemy magnifies himself to do great things, the Lord says, “Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice; for the Lord will do great things.” .PTUK March 15, 1894, page 163.11
But a knowledge of the Lord and of the life and power of His word, is our only safeguard. It is no idle warning that is given to the world for such a time as we have entered upon. “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” . The Lord says that the devices of the devil, his signs and wonders, will be such as, if it were possible, would deceive the very elect. We are in the beginning of these things, and multitudes are already being deceived by them.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 163.12
The natural heart exalts self always, and the natural man likes to believe that he has life in himself, and immortality in his own nature. Therefore men refuse to come to Christ that they may have life indeed; and when Satan comes as an angel of light, professing to demonstrate the pleasing fable, they readily yield themselves to him. But to those who yield to the life of the Lord in everything, casting aside all human reasoning and holding fast the word of God, the promise is: “Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast.” .PTUK March 15, 1894, page 164.1
“A Word of Faith” The Present Truth 10, 11.
A letter which shows more real confidence in God and the power of His word than anything we have lately seen in the correspondence on the Ritualist question in Church papers, appears in the last English Churchman. Mr. William Acworth writes from a sick room what he says will probably be the last letter he will ever write, and proves that he at least believes that the Gospel cannot be united with the world. It is to save the people out of the world and its alliances. Referring to an address by the Bishop of Liverpool, who showed the rapid growth of Ritualism, but who yet counsels the people not to forsake the Establishment, Mr. Acworth says:—PTUK March 15, 1894, page 164.2
Does he think that the people should go to the parish church, and pray to be delivered from all false doctrine, when they know that he who administers, is an avowed supporter of these false doctrines? Until I am convinced that I am wrong my advice must be, “To your tents, O Israel.” Better not go anywhere than to go where false doctrine is taught. For has not Jesus Christ Himself taught us that “the Truth” is the grand means of the sanctification of the Church?PTUK March 15, 1894, page 164.3
For forty years of the more than sixty of my ministerial life, I was as much enamoured as Bishop Ryle of a National Church. I am now led to doubt the correctness of my views.... Dr. Ryle says he would rather see the Church become Congregational, or Wesleyan, than have no Establishment. In the days of the Commonwealth, Presbyterians and Congregationalists lifted their heads so high, and exalted their pretensions so much, as to induce the nation to fall back again upon Episcopacy. Priestcraft is now, as it has ever been, the natural outcome of attempting to combine spiritual and secular authority. The Church has yet to learn what our Lord taught: “Render unto C?sar the things which be C?sar’s and unto God the things which be God’s.”PTUK March 15, 1894, page 164.4
This is real Protestantism. Who that knows that the Gospel is the “power of God” can expect to add power to it by allying it to the world? There is no use in fighting the assumptions of Romanism and thus we are prepared to renounce them ourselves, and put our trust in the word that alone has power to save souls from sin.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 164.5
“Satisfaction” The Present Truth 10, 11.
“There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.” . “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” . “It shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God.” . “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not; ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain; ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” .PTUK March 15, 1894, page 164.6
This is a description of men by nature. Everywhere we find unrest and dissatisfaction. The poor have no cause to envy the rich, for discontent is found in the mansion as in the hovel. Those in any station in life who are perfectly contented, are in a very small minority. Everywhere we see people seeking for happiness in various ways, and vainly confident that they will find it if they pursue the object of their desires far enough.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 164.7
Although these longings are so often for things forbidden, and for that which only increases the dissatisfaction, it is God Himself who has implanted them in the human heart. It is not that God has caused men to desire unlawful things, but that the desire for unlawful things is only the perversion of a desire which God Himself has placed in man.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 164.8
God is a bounteous Provider. He scatters His benefits with a lavish hand. He desires that men should enjoy the abundance which His love has prepared, and that they should be satisfied. He is no niggard, neither is He a tyrant. He knows what will perfectly satisfy every soul, and yet He never attempts to compel anyone to find satisfaction in His way. He knows that no one can be satisfied under compulsion, and that even that which is good will not satisfy unless it is the individual’s own choice. So He gives everyone full liberty to choose whatever he will.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 164.9
Jesus Christ is “the Desire of all nations.” . There are comparatively few of the people in the world who know Him, and who recognise Him as the object of their desire; but it is a fact that all the very longings of the human heart can be satisfied in Christ, and in Him alone. God has implanted desires in every soul, which can be satisfied only by the possession of Christ, in order that when He is lifted up before them, they may see in Him the object of their desires, and be drawn to Him. The devil’s work is to deceive people with the thought that their desires may be satisfied in some other way than by the possession of Christ.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 164.10
David was a man of like passions with other men, his flesh was sinful, and as full of evil desires as any other human flesh. Yet when the Spirit enlightened his understanding, he said, “O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee; my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” . And again: “My heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.” .PTUK March 15, 1894, page 164.11
How can it be made to appear that the appetites and lusts of the flesh are really the crying out of the flesh after God?—Simply by the fact that no man was ever yet satisfied by the indulgence of fleshly appetites and lusts. The drunkard drinks to satisfy a craving that is never satisfied. The vicious and licentious man, in common with the miser, finds no satisfaction in the gratification of his passion. The reason why he follows the lusts of the flesh so eagerly, is that they make him their slave, deluding him with the idea that the next time he will find that complete satisfaction which evades him this time. The Lord, knowing that He alone can give the soul perfect and complete satisfaction, calls to us, saying, “Wherefore 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.” .PTUK March 15, 1894, page 165.1
What a wonderful God is ours! How tender and loving and thoughtful! What wonderful provision He has made for the salvation of every soul! He has so constituted man that he cannot find peace and rest outside of Himself; for the reason that everything outside of Him is death, and in Him alone is life and safety. These unsatisfied longings of weary hearts are but a proof of the tender, loving care of the Father above, and that He will not leave any of His children without continually reminding them of the fulness that He has to bestow; for every want felt by mankind is but the announcement, if they would recognise it so, of the fact that God has something which He wishes to give us,—something which will satisfy the want. Only at His hand can “the desire of every living thing” be satisfied. .PTUK March 15, 1894, page 165.2
Thus God has provided comfort for us, even from our very weaknesses and lusts. Here is help for the tempted. No matter how much the flesh cries out for sinful pleasures, we may be assured that those things are “deceitful lusts,” that will not give the satisfaction they promise; and then the comfort comes in the knowledge of the fact that the longing is in reality for Christ, and that by accepting Him for all that He is, the desire will be satisfied. There is life and victory in that. Knowing that, we may count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations; because with every temptation He provides the way of escape, that we may be able to bear it. Then we shall sing:—PTUK March 15, 1894, page 165.3
“More About Sunday Closing” The Present Truth 10, 11.
The report of the meeting of the Sunday Closing Association, recently held in Birmingham, presents some points that are worthy of note. It shows the fact that men high in position in the church, both established and nonconformist, are willing to compromise to any extent with the liquor traffic, if only the Sunday, which has no Divine authority whatever, may be strictly devoted to ecclesiastical purposes.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 165.6
I have been long convinced that the stoppage of the sale of drink on Sunday would be no real hardship to the drink consumer, and that he could by a little forethought obtain on Saturday all that He may require on Sunday, and by a little self-control keep what is so obtained on Saturday for Sunday use.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 165.8
So it seems that it matters not a particle how much one drinks, even on Sunday, provided he buys it the day before. From the very beginning of this Sunday-closing agitation we have maintained that it was in no sense a temperance movement, since the amount of liquor consumed would not be appreciably diminished by Sunday closing. It simply means that publicans should sell in six days what they now sell in seven.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 165.9
The Chairman appealed to the audience to do something for the 300,000 persons who were employed on the Lord’s Day in the public-houses of the country. Some barmaids worked as many as 110 hours a week. The public should do something for the social benefit and physical welfare of the persons who were engaged in an occupation which medical statistics and the returns of the Registrar-General showed was certainly calculated to shorten life.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 165.10
Indeed they ought, and the only correct way is to induce them to abandon such a business. But men are engaged in a business that tends to shorten their own lives, and whose only tendency is to shorten the lives and ruin the morals of their patrons, common sense should teach us that the way to give real help is to induce them to give up the traffic altogether, and not to build them up so that they can work harder for the destruction of their fellow-men. The movement for Sunday closing appears to be wholly in the interest of the liquor traffic, and the Pagan Sunday. Therefore no consistent temperance man, to say nothing of those who love the Lord and His truth, can have anything to do with it.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 165.11
Canon Wilkinson was “anxious that one day in every seven days should be assigned to men for rest and religious exercises.” But suppose the men do not choose to use the day for rest and religious exercises, after it has been so assigned them; what must then be done? It is evident that the next thing would be a law compelling them to go to church, with fines for non-attendance, and spies to see who evaded the law, as it was in Scotland in former days, and in some of the American Colonies.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 165.12
There is nothing more sure than that such a thing as this must necessarily follow the strict enforcement of a law prohibiting all Sunday labour. It is as true now as ever, that Satan finds mischief for idle hands to do. Idleness means sin and crime. Work is not a curse, but a blessing. Enforced idleness means simply enforced crime. When the Government forces men to be idle one day in the week, it forces them into a condition that must necessarily result in crime; and then it must provide some means of employment for those forced to be idle, to prevent the mischief which its previous action has already planned for.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 165.13
Someone will ask, “Do you not believe in Sabbath-keeping? in resting on the seventh day?” Most certainly; but mark this point well: That for which we plead is the observance of the Sabbath of the Lord, and not for the heathen Sunday, which was brought into the church by Constantine and the worldly-minded bishops of his day.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 165.14
“But what difference can there be in the matter of idleness and crime, between resting on Sunday and on the seventh day of the week, commonly called Saturday?” our friend asks.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 165.15
Listen, and I will tell you. If it were merely a matter of idleness, and enforced idleness at that, there would not be the slightest difference between Sunday and Saturday rest. But remember our statement, that the thing to which we urge men, is the observance of “the Sabbath of the Lord.” Now note well the following points:—PTUK March 15, 1894, page 165.16
1. The Sabbath of the Lord is not the portion of time commonly called Saturday, which begins and ends at midnight, but is the seventh day of the week, according to the scriptural method of reckoning time, namely, from sunset on what is known as Friday until sunset of the next day. See , etc.; ; .PTUK March 15, 1894, page 166.1
2. True Sabbath-keeping is not idleness. “Is it not rest?”—Yes, it is rest, but it is the Lord’s rest, and that is not idleness. When Jesus was reproved for not keeping the Sabbath according to the notions of the Pharisees, He said, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” . On another occasion, when he also healed a man, He said, “It is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days.” . True Sabbath-keeping does not consist in idling away one’s life, but is the receiving of fresh life from God, and the imparting of it to others. It is the great conserver of righteousness through faith in Christ Jesus.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 166.2
3. True Sabbath-keeping is not and cannot be forced. It is as impossible to force a man to take even physical rest, as it is to force him to sleep. How much more is this true when we speak of spiritual rest, which alone constitutes true Sabbath-keeping. “God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Where there is not freedom of soul, there is no true worship of God. True Sabbath-keeping is the evidence that one knows God (); and he who knows the Lord is free. See . Sabbath-keeping, therefore, being of the very essence of liberty, cannot be forced to the slightest degree.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 166.3
4. It is evident therefore that Sabbath-keeping is something far different from mere Saturday-keeping, which would correspond to Sunday-keeping. It is a thing which men engage in of their own free will, and which stands for the perfection of freedom. Thus it is as far from enforced Sunday observance, as the midday sunshine is from midnight darkness.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 166.4
And now we turn again to the statement that enforced Sunday rest-Sunday idleness-tends to crime, and that the present Sunday laws are responsible for the great amount of Sunday intoxication. There is nothing more certain than that the great majority of people, even in England, do not wish to devote Sunday to religious exercises. If they were so inclined, they would do so, for there is nothing to hinder them. The fact that comparatively few people care to attend church, is too patent to need any argument.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 166.5
Now when these people are by law prohibited from working on Sunday, since they have no religious conviction, and perhaps a greater portion of them no literary aspirations, they must inevitably seek some form of gross amusement. And then the only way left for the Government to check this evil which it has originated, is to attempt to get them into some place of meeting. But such forced attendance will have no worship in it. It will be only a form of worship, with no power over the heart and life. And the sinful desires still remaining in the heart, will be sure to find vent in some way. Sin cannot be repressed except by the Spirit of the Lord.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 166.6
The only proper thing to be done, therefore, is for the Government to have no Sunday laws of any kind whatsoever. Leave people just as free on Sunday as they are on every other day, either to work or play, as they may choose. Let the Government know no distinction in days. Let no one fear that this will result in the utter abolition of Sabbath-keeping. Not by any means. There are many thousands of people who are keeping the Sabbath of the Lord in obedience to the commandment of the Lord, although human legislation discriminates against such observance, rather than in favour it. And people who wish to observe Sunday, thinking it required by the Lord, are as free to do so as Sabbath-keepers are to keep Sabbath.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 166.7
If that were done the world would be in a far better condition than it now is. There would be less of a form of religion without the power. But it will never be done. The observance of Sunday has no warrant whatever in the Scriptures, and first-day advocates are so conscious of this fact that they realise the impossibility of inducing the people generally to observe the day at all, if deprived of the power of the civil law in its behalf. Therefore we may expect that Sunday will be more and more strictly guarded by law, and that as a form of religion is thus enforced, the power thereof will correspondingly decline. But all those who love the Lord give fresh heed to His word alone, and thus have no fellowship with anything except that which is backed by the power of the Holy Ghost.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 166.8
“In the Hollow of His Hand” The Present Truth 10, 11.
Anyone who has been at sea in a storm knows how utterly insignificant man and all his works appear in comparison with the force disporting itself about him. Yet “the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.” . The forces that we see in nature are but the “outskirts of His ways.”PTUK March 15, 1894, page 166.9
If you wish for a vivid illustration of God’s infinite power, fill the palm of the hand with water, and note how few drops there are, and how easily they are comprehended. Then know that God “hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand” (), these waters that wash all shores, and across which the traveller sails day after day with no horizon but the waves. He cannot go beyond the hollow of the Lord’s hand, and as water that is held carefully in the hand, so near are we in all the affairs of our lives to the heart and thought of God.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 166.10
This fortieth of Isaiah begins with, “Comfort ye, comfort ye My people,” and the comfort is that all the mighty power of God revealed in the chapter is pledged to the faint. When things go wrong, and you are tempted to think that even the Lord cannot hold them level and bring calmness and quietness to the troubled waters, just fill the hollow of your hand and see how easily you can hold it still. With infinitely greater ease the Lord can bring quietness and peace into the troubled life.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 166.11
“The Source of Comfort” The Present Truth 10, 11.
Comfort, like every other blessing, has its source in God. He is “the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.” . In other words, all mercy and all comfort spring from Him. He gives comfort for every affliction, no matter how great, to all who will come to Him as to a Father. But no comfort can be found elsewhere. Those who can give the most comfort to an individual are not those least afflicted, as we might naturally suppose, but those who have most of the Spirit of God, the Comforter.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 166.12
Paul and Silas, when released from prison at Philippi, after they had been beaten severely and had their feet bound in the stocks, might be thought to have been the most in need of comfort among the leaders there; but we are not told that they were comforted by their brethren, but that the brethren were comforted by them. . 23, 24, 40. They themselves had the comfort which comes from God, and having this in a larger measure than their brethren, they were able to impart comfort to them.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 166.13
It was after many years of trouble and persecution that Paul wrote to his brethren in Corinth: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” . Having this assurance, we need not faint in the day of trial and adversity. It is only when people cut themselves off from God by refusing to believe His word to them, that they are left without comfort and hope; and only when they have the comfort of God themselves that they are fitted to be a help and a blessing to others.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 167.1
When we can say, with Jesus Christ, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,” then we can also say, “He hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; .. to comfort all that mourn.” . This is the highest and noblest work that lies within the sphere of human attainment. God imparts the Spirit freely, and all who will accept it and take it, will do this work.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 167.2
“Belief and Action” The Present Truth 10, 11.
Belief and Action.-There is no such thing as belief without action on the part of the one believing, where it is possible for him to act. Men may think they believe while they do not act; but in this they only deceive themselves and others. We speak of a decrease of belief, as if one kind of conviction could be stronger than another; but in reality there is but one kind of conviction, for when we know a thing, we cannot proceed any further in the way of ascertaining its truth. We cannot have any stronger reason for taking action than positive knowledge. If we do not act, it is because we do not truly believe.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 167.3
The man who thinks he believes the word of God, and yet is not moved to action in harmony therewith, only deceives himself. Believing is yielding to God, and resistance to the devil. We cannot believe that what God says is true, without acquiescing with His will, which is yielding to Him. And yielding to Him is itself resistance to Satan,—the only effectual resistance it is in our power to make. But God never lets an individual who yields Him remain destitute of His own life and power, but immediately fills him with it; so that action becomes the inseparable accompaniment of faith; for no one filled with the spirit and life of God, can possibly remain inactive. If therefore you are not an active Christian, you are not a Christian at all.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 167.4
“Sunday Slavery” The Present Truth 10, 11.
A London newsagent, says The News, strongly urges the publishers who supply Sunday papers to bring out the addition on Saturday evening, stating for himself and others, that “we have ascertained beyond a doubt that nearly all our customers would be more than satisfied.” In behalf of his view he says:—PTUK March 15, 1894, page 167.5
It is alleged that the British workman will have his Sunday paper regardless of any one, therefore it must be supplied him. Surely this misrepresents the attitude of those whose working hours are limited, and whose Sunday rest is so jealously guarded! Will the working classes (for whom the Sunday editions alone are produced) repel this charge of selfishness, and assist a longsuffering body of their fellow-workers to attain to the same privileges they themselves enjoy? If so, the victory is won, and Sunday publishing is doomed. I may say that I myself have never touched Sunday trade, directly or indirectly, from strong Sabbatarian principles, believing in the wisdom of the old commandment, “Six days shalt thou labour,” so I am the more ready to lend a hand to free those who chafe under the present state of things. What chance have those who are discouraged and demoralised by forced Sunday labour of attaining a knowledge of things concerning man’s higher self?PTUK March 15, 1894, page 167.6
“Forced Sunday labour.” This can be nothing else than Sunday slavery. A person who is compelled to labour against his will is a slave. It is a sad thing, truly, that a portion of our citizens should be kept, even for one day in the week, in a condition of involuntary servitude.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 167.7
It will be said, of course, that the printing and delivering of a Sunday paper necessitates Sunday work. And this is true. But does this fact compel any person in the kingdom to labour involuntarily on Sunday? Are not all persons free to act their own pleasure in the matter of the observance of Sunday?PTUK March 15, 1894, page 167.9
Ah, the trouble is, if they should refuse to labour on Sunday they would in all probability lose their positions. So they dare not refuse; for if they should lose their places, they would not know what would become of them and of those dependent upon them for support. This is a sad condition to be in. It is slavery,—a compulsory and involuntary obedience to the dictates of another will than their own.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 167.10
But we inquire, To what are they in bondage? And the answer is obvious: they are in bondage to fear,—the fear that it will not be well with them if they do that which their inclinations or it may be the dictates of conscience would lead them, were they free, to do.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 167.11
There is a remedy for all this,—a full and complete one. Some, like the newsagent before quoted, propose to do away with all Sunday work; but this is at best an uncertain remedy, and one which would not touch the real difficulty,—the fear. It is far better to have the fear removed than simply to be relieved from the conditions which caused it to be left, and thus leave it to spring again into activity whenever these happen to change.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 167.12
This is what the true remedy does; it removes the fear. It sets the soul free from every possible thing to which it could be brought into bondage. The remedy is Jesus Christ and His freedom.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 167.13
Christ has given Himself to every individual, and whosoever will accept Him, will have Him. And having Him, he will have all things; for all things are in Him, He being their Author and Upholder. God the Father has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ; and we have the declaration, “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”PTUK March 15, 1894, page 167.14
No person can have Jesus Christ and still be in bondage of any kind. Christ sets the soul free from all slavery. Having Him, we have no fear. No; we “have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear.” ; . We are sons and daughters of the Omnipotent, and have no fear that it cannot be well with us while doing the will of our Father. For “all things work together for good to them that love God.” .PTUK March 15, 1894, page 167.15
This is freedom worth having. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty;” and that liberty is perfect liberty which nothing on earth can take away. And of this freedom there is no better symbol than the Sabbath,—the weekly day of rest; for that day is a day of perfect freedom and rest in the Lord, to all who will take it as God has made it. Six days we must labour, and do all our work; but when the Sabbath day comes we enter a period of time when our own work and all that pertains to the cares and perplexities of our earthly subsistence is shut out, and the soul is left free to rest in Him who is the source of all pleasure and delight.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 167.16
So to all who are in bondage to any fear, we say, Come to the liberty that is in Christ. Do not trust to man’s efforts to give you liberty, but trust in the work of One who can never fail. Liberty by human law,—which is always compulsion and force, and in Sunday observance and other religious matters always contrary to the Gospel,—is not true liberty. The true liberty is found in being actuated by “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” The freedom of Christ takes all worry and anxiety out of our lives. Come, then, to Him and be set free. “If the Son... shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” .PTUK March 15, 1894, page 168.1
“Back Page” The Present Truth 10, 11.
There is said to be considerable anxiety in Church circles as to the policy of the new Premier and ecclesiastical appointments. Lord Roseberry, it is stated, is “as indifferent to rival Church parties as Gallio was to Christianity itself.”PTUK March 15, 1894, page 176.1
The officials in St. Petersburg maintain stoutly, and no doubt sincerely, that there exists no religious persecution in Russia. The persecutor generally makes himself believe that the exercise of his power is because of his charity for mistaken souls.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 176.2
We are glad to learn, from a letter of Mr. Henry Frowde to The Church Times, that there is very little demand for the New Testament, either revised or old version, apart from the Old Testament. This is as it should be. There is no more reason for cutting the Bible in two between Malachi and Matthew, than between Isaiah and Jeremiah, or Luke and John. It is all one book, inspired by the same Spirit, and all equally profitable.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 176.3
To compel a poor person to send his child to a Board School, where a system of religious instruction was taught in which neither he nor anyone else believes, and then to find or imprison him if he did not, was, in his opinion, a system of religious persecution parallel to that in Rome, when the heathens burnt Christians because they did not believe in heathenism.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 176.5
But even though someone else believes, the injustice is the same to the parent who is compelled to patronise a religion which does not believe. Here is where both sides in the religious instruction controversy miss the mark.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 176.6
The London School Board is still wrestling with the problem of religious education. Those who oppose definite religious instruction have the most difficult part of the problem to solve, since they believe that it is the duty of the State to teach religion. The task which they have set for themselves is that of showing how religion can be taught in Board Schools, without having any definite doctrines taught. If they would take the position that the State cannot by any possibility teach the Christian religion, and that when it attempts to do so the result is only Paganism, they would be consistent in their protests.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 176.7
“Terribly Handicapped” The Present Truth 10, 11.
Terribly Handicapped.-A physician, who has been making a study of the children of habitual drunkards in the slums of Paris, says: “There is a flaw in the very nature of those young wretches, that the psychologist sees clearly and notes with apprehension-the absence of affectionate emotions; and where they do not become the lunatics, they show insensibility and pitilessness.” What an awful harvest the world must yet see from the vice of intemperance, which is filling the slums of all the great cities. And this same law of heredity must surely work in all grades of society; for it is no respecter of persons. The nursing babe, whose mother thinks she requires the stronger spirits as a stimulant, is very often getting from one to three per cent of alcohol, we are told, in the mother’s milk, and the foundation of the appetite for liquor is well laid before the child can walk. Intemperance is but one of the evils which are at work to make men hard and pitiless, “unthankful, unholy, without natural affection,” as Paul says in describing the last days. Now as never before, it is for every soul that knows the Lord to crucify the flesh and add temperance to knowledge; for there is a Gospel to be proclaimed that has actual and present power to break every yoke, and save to the uttermost all who are willing to be separated from sin.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 176.8
“The Altar” The Present Truth 10, 11.
The Altar.-A writer in the Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette refers to , and asks, “Can this be a prediction of an altarless church?” No; it is not. But the altar is not one lighted with candles, for the performance of the mass. The verse reads: “Even them will I bring to My mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer: their burnt offerings and sacrifices shall be accepted upon Mine altar; for Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” The apostle in Hebrews tells us what the sacrifice is: “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” . And the altar is described by John in the Revelation: “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.” . This is the altar to which we have access by the faith of Jesus. There is courage in the thought that not a petition that comes from the heart is lost, but all are offered up before God, mingled with the sweet grace of Christ, His merits and intercessions. Let no timid soul find discouragement in the fact that it is the prayers of all saints that are offered before the throne. The saints of the Bible are people who know that they are sinners, and who know that Christ died to save them from their sins.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 176.9
“An ‘Unhappy Dogma’” The Present Truth 10, 11.
An “Unhappy Dogma.”-The Guardian, which is supposed to represent a large majority in the Church of England, speaks of the “unhappy dogma” of justification by faith, which Luther preached. Luther did not preach it as a dogma, but as a life, and such it is. The grand truth that sinners are “justified freely by His grace” is now as unknown to multitudes who go through the forms of religion in all sincerity, as it was in pre-Reformation days.PTUK March 15, 1894, page 176.10
“The Cost of War” The Present Truth 10, 11.
The Cost of War.-The support of the three and a half millions of Europe’s standing army is impoverishing the people, and it is no wonder that financiers are looking with apprehension at the cost of putting into the field the entire war footing of fifteen million drilled soldiers. “The statement which is sometimes made,” says a scientific journal, “that the fortunes of war are decided behind the green baize doors of bankers’ private offices, contains more truth than is at first apparent.”PTUK March 15, 1894, page 176.11