Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    April 4, 1895

    “Front Page” The Present Truth 11, 14.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    Is it hard work to lay down a heavy burden? No one will say that it is. Yet it is as hard to do that as to become a Christian; for a Christian is simply one who has yielded to the Lord-one who has laid upon Him the burden he was carrying.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 209.1

    The Lord invites all to cast their burdens upon Him. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee.” Psalm 55:22. Your burden is yourself. Before a person knows the Lord, he tries to sustain himself; he tries to hold himself up, as if he were self-existent and capable of maintaining his existence successfully against all the opposing forces around him. He tries to lift himself by himself, and, strangely enough, he imagines at times that he is succeeding. The plane of spiritual truth is, to the natural eye, full of optical illusions.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 209.2

    The effort to do this imposes a heavy burden of care, anxiety, disappointment, and conscious guilt. It is too heavy for anyone but the Lord to carry. The Lord knows this, and so invites all persons to give up their burdens to Him. He has made Himself the burden-bearer. Yet such is the perverting and blinding power of sin upon the natural mind that it seems a great deal harder to lay the burden down than to carry it! So men refuse to accept the Lord’s invitation and give Him their burdens, as being too hard a thing for them to do!PTUK April 4, 1895, page 209.3

    “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee.” Cast yourself upon Him, and you become a Christian, for thereby you show that you believe and trust Him. There is rest and happiness for all who will do this. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, all ye that are upright in heart.”PTUK April 4, 1895, page 209.4

    “Be Not Afraid” The Present Truth 11, 14.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    Fear is the result of sin. It is an emotion which the Creator did not intend that man should ever feel. “Fear hath torment,” and God never designed that man should be in torment. “God is love;” and He designed that His own Spirit, that of perfect love, should rule in the hearts of His creatures; and “perfect love casteth out fear.”PTUK April 4, 1895, page 209.5

    God does not wish us to be afraid of Him, nor afraid of anything that is less than God. He meets us with the words, “Fear not.” “It is I, be not afraid,” was the greeting of Christ to the terrified and storm-tossed disciples on Galilee. Yet He Himself was God, the Creator of heaven and earth.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 209.6

    The power and majesty of God are not displayed to terrify us. When the Israelites removed and stood afar off from the smoking, quaking mountain, with its burning summit and thunders of the law, the Divine word came to them, “Fear not; for God is come to prove you, that His fear may be before you, that ye sin not.” Exodus 20:20.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 209.7

    “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” Proverbs 8:13. It is not to be afraid of Him and shun His presence, but to hate and shun that which is unlike Him. The love of God is that we keep His commandments. And as hating evil is identical with keeping His commandments, so the fear and the love of God are identical. God wants all men to love Him; and “there is no fear in love.”PTUK April 4, 1895, page 209.8

    The devil, on the other hand, employs fear as one of the chief means of accomplishing his ends. He walketh about “as a roaring lion,” “seeking whom he may devour.” He is constantly trying to make men afraid to walk in the pathway of God,—to scare them out of doing right. And there are many people whom his roar seems to paralyse with fright. If he can paralyse men in this way, or by conjuring up before them some mirage of threatening evil, his purpose is met, since they are then useless in the plans of God. The Christian must be active, engaged in a constant warfare with the forces of evil about and within him. If he fears, he cannot engage in this warfare successfully. The fear of God is incompatible with the fear of anything that is contrary to Him.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 209.9

    And now the purpose of God in revealing His power and majesty is evident. It is that men may trust Him; that they may have implicit confidence in His ability to fulfil His word. Fear to do right means a lack of faith in God. “Why are ye so fearful, O ye of little faith,” were the words of Christ to His disciples on the stormy lake. We only need to know God’s power and to believe His promises, to be rid of all the fears that assail us from whatever source, with all the torment which attends them. And our privilege in this respect is also our duty, for such fear is dishonouring to God. It will be fatal to our hopes for the world to come. The “fearful,” as well as the unbelievers and adulterers and murderers, will have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone and die the “second death.” Revelation 21:8.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 209.10

    Are you hesitating because of the difficulties or dangers that lie in the pathway of obedience to God? Then hear the word that He speaks: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness. Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.... They that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” Isaiah 41:19-13. “The Lord knoweth the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.” Psalm 37:18, 19. “All things are possible to him that believeth.” Mark 9:23.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 209.11

    “War as It Is” The Present Truth 11, 14.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    The German Emperor’s organ frankly stated the apparent policy of the governments of earth when it said, a few weeks ago, that the war spirit must be cultivated diligently amongst the masses of the people. The god Mars was never more zealously worshipped than he now is in professedly Christian lands.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 210.1

    It is not alone in the public press and in plays, and in books, and in magazines that young and old are taught that the art of killing is a glorious occupation, but even in the religious world the war spirit is very generally regarded as not wholly contrary to the spirit of Jesus Christ. So the Boys’ Brigades, which started in this kingdom, are increasing and have taken a firm hold on the popular taste in other lands, and youngsters are being taught to handle weapons of war. And beside all this, it is not supposed to be a blasphemous thing to dedicate a battle-ship with a prayer for the blessing of God upon its mission-the killing of human beings; and the idea is a popular one that one who is killed in the attempt to kill others is not unworthy of being classed with the martyr who lays down his life for others.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 210.2

    War, as it is, is not a waving of flags and plumes, and the performing of glorious, large-hearted deeds. It is barbarous butchery pure and simple, and no man can take part in it who doesn’t allow his better nature to sink into the savage. Here is a picture of the battle as it is, described by Mr. W. V. Herbert, who took part in the defence of Plevna, in 1877. The book has just been published by Longmans and is credited with being true to life. When the hand to hand combat came, it was, he says,—PTUK April 4, 1895, page 210.3

    A chaos of stabbing, clubbing, hacking, clutching, shouting, cursing, screaming men; knots of two or three on the ground, still fighting, and clinging to each other in their death agonies; above the surging mass of heads the butt-ends of rifles rising and falling like the cranks of numberless overheated engines; the mounted men with swords working at lightening speed; the colours briefly leading the way; horses charging into solid bodies of men, rolling over, burying beings already mutilated beneath them; frantic faces streaming with blood; the air reeking with the breath of thousands of panting creatures, like the hot winds of the desert-all the madhouses of the world discharging their contents into the seething cauldron of human passion and iniquity. Dante’s Inferno let loose, a legion of demons from Hades run riot. As to my personal experience, I remember nothing. The actual contact, the psychological moment of such a charge, last but a minute or so; and such a lifetime of experience is crowded into it that memory is hopelessly at fault. All I know is that I discharged the six chambers of my revolver, but at whom I have no notion; that my saber was stained with blood, but with whose I cannot tell; and that suddenly we looked at one another in blank surprise-for the Russians had gone, save those on the ground, and we were among friends, all frantic, breathless, perspiring; many bleeding, the lines broken, the tactical units dissolved; most of us jabbering, shouting, laughing, cursing, dancing about like maniacs.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 210.4

    Who can say that a Christian has any business in such a place as that? And that is what war is; for men cannot deliberately kill their fellow men until intoxicated and made mad by the spirit of war. The Christian is one who follows Christ, who has the life of Jesus manifested in his mortal flesh; but no man ever followed Christ into such an inferno. After the combat that follows the sufferings of the maimed and dying, and this is the picture in the hospital:—PTUK April 4, 1895, page 210.5

    Imagine a thick, hot, reeking atmosphere, filled with indescribable odours, enough to sicken you by the very recollection. Imagine some hundreds of men-yourself among them, with a raging thirst devouring you, a burning pain in the face, every particle of strength and vitality gone-lying on the bare boards, with bundles of rags or filthy straw for pillows, many insensible, many dead or dying, many in convulsions, some horribly mutilated, all bleeding, most of them groaning, others screaming, or pitifully whining for a drop of water, in half a dozen languages. Oh, that cry for “Su!”—how often have I heard it! After the lapse of seventeen years it follows me into my wildest dreams. Imagine surgeons, with tucked-up shirt-sleeves and bloody hands, giving the first-aid; for this was a temporary ambulance, in rear of the lines. Imagine callous men dealing out homeopathic doses of water, or laudanum, or brandy. Imagine everything that is most horrible, disgusting, sickening, hideous, heart-rending, within the range of your conception, and you will have a faint notion of this hell of man’s creation.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 210.6

    The author is not writing against war, but how else could he characterise its work? It is a hellish thing, because it comes from Satan alone. Wherever the war spirit is being inculcated, there is Satan himself working. “They are the spirits of devils working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” The Gospel of Christ’s coming kingdom must of necessity separate the followers of Christ from the strifes of this world, and in this, as in other things, earthly governments will meet in the Christian one who cannot disobey God at the command of men.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 210.7

    “Asking and Receiving” The Present Truth 11, 14.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Lord says, “Ask, and it shall be given unto you.” Already the Lord has given men everything; for “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. And “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?” Romans 8:32. Christ is heaven’s greatest gift; and the giving of Him is proof that “all things” have been freely given. Therefore we do not need to importune God to bestow upon us good gifts, but only to express our belief that He has given them, and our gratitude to Him that it is so. This is the prayer of faith.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 210.8

    The fact that people often ask God for things which they do not get, is no evidence that God has not given us liberally as His word has said. God gives men only good things, and He alone knows the needs of the soul. While we pray, “the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 210.9

    The Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Prayer must not be offered according to the will of man, without reference to God’s will; and then whatever God sends in answer must be taken as being in harmony with His will, even though it may seem at first quite otherwise. “All things work together for good to them that love God.” In this way we can believe that we receive the things we ask, as we are told to do (Mark 11:24), although we may not recognise them in the shapes God’s hand has given them for our good.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 210.10

    The devil tries to get people to stop at the mere asking for needed blessings. But an essential step in the process of realisation consists in grasping them. And this must be done by faith. Faith is that by which we lay hold upon the object sought. If we ask and then wait for God to make it apparent to our natural senses that we have the blessing, before believing that it is ours, we are very likely to lose it altogether. This is one of Satan’s most successful cheats. Faith says, “Believe that ye receive them;” and if we will do so, we can be as thankful to God as though they had appeared in the form we would have given them ourselves.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 211.1

    It must not be forgotten that the attitude of the receiver toward God must be one of praise. God can work marvellously for the person who will give Him the glory. But He cannot work for the one who would take the glory to himself.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 211.2

    “How Sunday Laws Work Lawlessness” The Present Truth 11, 14.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    On the 5th of last month nine Seventh-day Adventists residing in Graysville, Tennessee, U.S.A., were placed on trial for performing their ordinary labour on Sunday, and were convicted. The fines and costs amounted in each case to over twenty-two dollars (about ?4 10s.) These they, as a matter of conscience, refused to pay, and so they were all lodged in prison.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 211.3

    Among the prisoners were all the teachers of the Graysville Academy. The school is consequently forcibly closed, and the students have been obliged to go to their homes. The Sunday law, in thus opposing education and enlightenment, shows its natural descent from the Dark Ages of papal supremacy and bigotry.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 211.4

    It is quite likely that many people are surprised at such results, and it is certain that many are indignant at them. We understand that local sentiment is decidedly opposed to the action that was taken against those men. Difficulty was experienced in securing a jury, and all the papers have spoken emphatically against it.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 211.5

    But no one need be surprised that any indignity or outrage that is caused by Sunday laws,—and what has already been done is but a promise of the reality that is to follow,—for since the very existence of Sunday laws is in direct opposition to God’s laws,—and what has already been done is but a promise of the reality that is to follow,—for since the very existence of Sunday laws is in direct opposition to God’s law, it must be that only evil can result from them.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 211.6

    WHY DISREGARD THEM?

    It certainly will not be out of place once more to state the fact that the refusal to rest on Sunday after having rested on the Sabbath, is not a matter of caprice, nor are those who do so setting their private interpretation of Scripture in opposition to the law of the land. They are simply obeying a plain and specific command of the Lord, which does not admit of interpretation, or provide for evasion. It says: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, ... for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 211.7

    This commandment stands as firm to-day as when it was made known to Adam in Eden, and as firm as when it was uttered by the Lord from Sinai, in tones that shook the earth. The integrity of the whole Bible is bound up with it; for all the words of God together are no more firm than every single word. If this commandment may be changed to suit men’s custom or convenience, then the whole Bible may be set aside for the same purpose.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 211.8

    It is a fact that the mass of professed Christians have been led into a violation of this commandment, not realising what they were doing. It is a fact that the most of those who have thus been led astray are very jealous of any infringement upon the day which has been substituted for the one sanctified by the Lord. And, further, it is a fact that the fourth commandment is at this present time being brought into greater prominence than any other. And this shows that the fourth commandment is to be the test for Christians, as to whether or not they will live “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”PTUK April 4, 1895, page 211.9

    This Sabbath question, therefore, is not simply a controversy as to which of two days men shall celebrate as the Sabbath. It means that, and more. It is a question as to whether men will obey God or not; whether they will abide by the Word of God, or will throw it aside for the traditions and commandments of men.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 211.10

    In such a case, no option is left those who have given themselves wholly to the Lord. They must obey God, no matter what the cost.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 211.11

    THE JUDGE CONVICTED

    An interesting fact in connection with these Tennessee cases is that the judge expressed his sympathy with the victims, and intimated that he thought they were right in their belief. He also said of the law under which they were condemned, “I have serious doubts as to the justice of the law.” The following is the opening part of his summing up and sentence:—PTUK April 4, 1895, page 211.12

    In these cases the defendants have been adjudged guilty, after a trial by a jury of good men, of violating that day which is recognised by the law of our State as the Sabbath, and it becomes my duty-painful though it be-to pronounce judgment upon the verdict.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 211.13

    While my private sympathies are with the defendants, and while I might go even further and say that I believe they have good grounds for their belief as to the Sabbath, yet this is a temporal, not a spiritual, court. We are not trying the question as to whether a particular belief be right or wrong. The only concern we have is to ascertain what the law is and whether it has been violated. As to the law, it is plain, and it is not only our sworn duty to enforce it, but it is also our duty to encourage respect for all law in general. As individuals, we may each have our own opinions as to the justice of a law, but as public officials, entrusted with its administration, our duty is unequivocal. A co-ordinate branch of the government is clothed by the people with the law-making power, and when the power is exercised within constitutional limits, the judiciary can do nothing but enforce the law thus enacted. The Supreme Court of this State, whose decisions must be taken as final by the lower courts, has passed upon the law in question, and we cannot rightfully reverse the decision.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 211.14

    The judge must be allowed the credit of acting conscientiously; but it is very clear that his conscience needs enlightening. At present it is in a fog, but there is hope that the sunlight of truth may dispel it. Since very many other honest-minded people are in the same condition it becomes necessary to make this point clear.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 211.15

    RESPECT OF PERSONS

    It seems to be a commonly accepted idea that a judge or other officer of the law is in duty bound to execute a law, although he knows that it is wicked and unjust. A graver error was never entertained. It is precisely the same idea as that of the private citizen who thinks he is in duty bound to disobey the commandment of God if the law of man tells him to.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 211.16

    Here is the Sunday law. It is the law of the land, and it says in effect to every man, “You must not keep the fourth commandment.” But the man whose conscience is enlightened says, “I must obey God at whatever cost,” and does so. The same law says to the judge, “You must see that punishment is inflicted on every man who was convicted of obeying the fourth commandment.” But if it would be sin for the private citizen to disobey God even at the command of the State, is it not equally sin for the judge to be the instrument of the State’s punishment of him for his loyalty to God?PTUK April 4, 1895, page 211.17

    We do not say that the judges recognise that their act is a sin; they do not; and for that very reason the truth should be set before them. It is no kindness to them to praise their devotion to a mistaken idea of duty. The Bible has a message of instruction even for the kings and judges of the earth. Psalm 2:10.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 212.1

    But some one will say that the case of the judge is not parallel to that of the private citizen, since the judge has sworn to uphold all the laws, and that he is in reality bound to do so as long as he is in office. That is true; but it is not absolutely necessary that he stay in office. The private citizen loses his employment, and is sent to gaol, for his loyalty to truth; the judge who may know the truth, and be loyal to it, could not sacrifice any more for it; and he ought not to think that his position absolves him from obeying God.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 212.2

    And yet so difficult is it for men to rid their minds of the pagan idea that the State is greater than God, that even those who laud the private citizen for his loyalty to truth, and say that he could not do otherwise than disobey the human law that tells him to disobey God, will at the same time say that the judge who sentences him could not possibly do any differently, although he also knows that he is the agent of a wicked law. The world needs to learn that God has but one law for rich and poor, high and low. The fact that a man wears a wig and a gown does not make him any less amenable to God’s law than the man who wears corduroy.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 212.3

    “The rank is but the guinea stamp,
    A man’s a man for a’ that.”
    PTUK April 4, 1895, page 212.4

    HONOURING THE LAW

    Most people have very confused ideas about their respect for the law. People think that they are very zealous for the majesty of the law, when, as a matter of fact, they are simply contending for the law that suits their convenience, against one that they dislike.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 212.5

    To say nothing of the way in which human laws are allowed to become dead letters, and are ignored even by those who boast most of their strict adherence to law as law, we need only take the case in question. Here are two laws-the law of God, and a law of man that is in direct opposition. It is obvious that no man can keep both of them, any more than he can go both east and west at the same time. Now can anyone doubt how one can best show his respect for law? Will it be by keeping the human law, and transgressing God’s law, or by keeping God’s law notwithstanding the fact that the human law forbids it? Every man by his choice will show whether or not he regards God as greater than man.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 212.6

    There is a vast amount of lawlessness in the world, but it is not on the part of those who keep God’s law. The devil is primarily “that wicked one.” It was he who first rose up in rebellion against all law. Now he works in “the children of disobedience,” to make them lawless. In the Papacy the spirit of the devil is incarnate, so that the rise of that system is said to be the revelation of “that wicked,” “who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8. “That wicked” is literally that lawless one; and the description is exact, because the presumptuous setting aside of the law of God, which the Papacy, prompted by Satan, has dared to do, is the greatest manifestation of lawlessness ever exhibited on earth, and the greatest source of the present lawlessness. If men ignore God’s law, how can they honour any law?PTUK April 4, 1895, page 212.7

    The Sunday laws themselves, therefore, which so many think must be obeyed in order to show proper respect for law, are really the cause of the disrespect for law which is so prevalent in Christendom. The more laws are enforced, the more will lawlessness increase.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 212.8

    “THE REMEDY’

    The judge who tried the cases in Tennessee said, “I have serious doubts as to the justice of the law, but the remedy is not to be found in disobeying it, but in having it repealed.” But we, and those whom he sentenced, have no doubts as to the justice of the law. We know that it is not only unjust, but absolutely wicked, and that to obey it is sin. If the State wishes to repeal the law, well and good. That is its own business. But whether it does or not cannot possibly make any difference with those who know that their first duty is to God. Whether the laws of men oppose or not, they must keep God’s law. That man who virtually says to the Lord, “I will obey you next October, when I can do so without any inconvenience to myself,” has very little idea of what is meant by honouring God.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 212.9

    We will suppose that the judge is a professed Christian. Even if he is not, many who are take the same position. If he had lived in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, and had been present when the command was made that every one should worship the golden image, would he have said, “Obey the law until it is repealed”? Would he have said to Daniel, when the decree was issued forbidding prayers to God, “The remedy is not to be found in disobeying the law, but in having it repealed”?PTUK April 4, 1895, page 212.10

    Here is an illustration that will appeal to every one, whether professed Christian or not. In ancient Babylon there was a law that every woman must at least once in her life prostitute herself in the temple of Venus. If such a law were in existence now, would any man calmly say to his wife and daughter, “You must submit to the law until it is repealed; the remedy is not to be found in disobeying it”? Well, “Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth” (Revelation 17:5), true to her name, has presumed to set aside the fourth commandment, and in so doing has virtually said to men that the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth, may be set aside if it suits men’s lusts or convenience; and “the Babylonian woe,” is as much to be shunned as it ever was. The fact that Rome has made the nations “drunk with the wine of her fornication” (Revelation 18:2), so that her rebellion against God has been incorporated into their laws, does not make it any less abominable.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 212.11

    “The remedy” is to be found only in serving God. And this is an individual matter. The repeal of the law would be no remedy whatever; for let it be remembered that the evil of the law does not consist in the fact that it puts a good and innocent men in prison. That is a comparatively trifling affair, only an incident in “the great transgression.” The evil is in the fact that it leads men lightly to esteem God’s law. If by political influence the wicked law should be repealed, the evil would still exist in the hearts of men; they would still exalt self above God’s law.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 212.12

    To be sure, if such a repeal were the result of conscientious conviction on the part of the law-makers, it would be a thing for which to thank God; but even that would not remedy the evil in the hearts of the people, because they cannot be made good by Act of Parliament.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 213.1

    But even such a repeal could not by any possibility be effected, except as men suffered for the protest which their loyalty to God made against the wicked law, and thus brought the truth into prominence. When the apostles were forbidden by the authorities to preach in the name of Jesus, what folly it would have been to say to them, “Obey their commands; don’t say anything about the Lord until they see their error and rescind their unjust decree.” All would have perished in their sin. It was the apostles’ determination to obey God rather than men that brought men to see the error of their ways.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 213.2

    “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” and the only remedy is the blood of Christ, which cleanses from sin, and which produces the righteousness of the law of God in those who believe His Word.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 213.3

    “Candid Admissions About Sunday” The Present Truth 11, 14.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    This is a time when the Sabbath question is coming to the front, and demanding attention, so that clear, definite statements concerning it are naturally sought for. Since, as Mr. Gladstone says in the article which will soon be reviewed at length in these columns, the people generally, and even the defenders of Sunday observance, “are singularly ill-equipped with consistent or perspicuous ideas of the subject,” it must be a cause of rejoicing when a man is found who speaks on the subject in no uncertain tones.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.1

    Such a man is found in the person of Rev. Robert Eyton, Prebendary of St. Paul’s, and Rector of Upper Chelsea. Mr. Eyton, as will be seen, is a man of some note in the Church of England, and on account of his evangelicalism is in no mean repute among Nonconformists. The following selections are from a little book entitled “The Ten Commandments,” published last year, by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., which is composed of sermons preached at Holy Trinity, Chelsea, by Prebendary Eyton. We first quote from him on thePTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.2

    TRUE IDEA OF THE SABBATH

    Through all the provinces of human life the same idea ran, viz., that God claimed the world as His own; and the sign that men own that claim was to be through their separation of a portion. On this ground to break the Sabbath was to disown and denied God’s claim upon men’s time. Hence the serious penalty attached to it,—the penalty of death. The Sabbath was therefore not an arbitrary institution; it was designed to bring out a necessary idea in the education of Israel, viz., that time belonged to God. Without it they would have forgotten God. The Sabbath was the solemn recalling of God to the mind of the people; the weekly rest appealed to them as nothing else could, to remember the God of their fathers.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.3

    The real purpose of the institution was lost sight of when, through the teaching of the rabbis, its observance became a bondage and a worry.-Pages 59, 60.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.4

    The thoughtful reader will at once conclude that such an institution, designed for such a purpose, must endure unchanged for ever. Surely it is as necessary for men to remember God now as it ever was. God says, “Hallow My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.” Ezekiel 20:20. Mr. Eyton truly says that without the Sabbath they would have forgotten God. Therefore it is self-evident that the turning aside from the Sabbath, and the bringing in of another day but the Sabbath, was simply the great apostasy which culminated in the Dark Ages, when knowledge of God almost departed from the earth.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.5

    In connection with the foregoing extract, the author states that the Sabbath rests on the direct command of Jehovah. We now proceed to consider thePTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.6

    GROUND OF SUNDAY OBSERVANCE

    and are not at all surprised to find that it really has none. We quote:—PTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.7

    The observance of Sunday in the Christian Church comes to us with quite a different sanction, based on different grounds, from that of the Jewish Sabbath. It rests upon no direct Divine command; no word is said about it in the New Testament; it grew up out of those same necessities in man’s nature which had been recognised by the Fourth Commandment, and which were felt to be still existing; but its growth was very gradual. For three centuries at least it was marked by no cessation of work, though from the first was marked by religious worship.-Page 61.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.8

    In this connection also the following very naturally comes in:—PTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.9

    To discuss then any questions about Sunday observance, in connection with the Fourth Commandment, is obviously to discuss questions which cannot be settled in that fashion. Sunday comes to us as a great privilege, a magnificent possession; but it has no possible connection with the Jewish Sabbath, as regards its fundamental idea of observance or even as regards its Divine sanction.-Pages 63, 64.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.10

    From the foregoing it will be seen that our author regards Sunday highly, and that therefore his testimony to the fact that it has no Divine sanction is not at all that of a prejudiced person.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.11

    In immediate connection with the preceding paragraphs we are introduced to some of thePTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.12

    RELATIVES OF SUNDAY,

    which serve to point out its origin. Let us read again from the little book:PTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.13

    There may be observances like the observance of Lent, Ascension Day, Christmas Day, etc., which are sanctioned by the custom of centuries, and which deserve our serious recognition; but you cannot go behind the general principle and set up any detail as binding by a direct Divine sanction. Our observance may have behind it the universal custom of the Christian Church; but if the observance of Sunday is urged on that ground, the observance of Ash Wednesday or Lent stands on exactly the same footing as the observance of Sunday.-Pages 64, 65.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.14

    This agrees with the statement in the “Catholic Christian Instructed,” that “Sundays and holydays all stand on the same foundation, viz., the authority of the Catholic Church.” The man who keeps Sunday, and yet regards Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Ascension Day, etc., is highly inconsistent. But the man who believes that the Word of God is sufficient to make a man “perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works,” is bound to reject them all.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.15

    There are two important statements that we have passed by, in order that those of the same kind might be grouped together. We turn back to them and find the admission thatPTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.16

    SUNDAY IS NOT A REST DAY

    There is no word, no hint in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday.-Page 62.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.17

    And since the Old Testament says nothing about Sunday, there is no hint in the Bible about abstaining from work on that day. It follows, therefore, that it is no sin to labour on Sunday. Whoever claims that it is, can do so only on the ground that “the church,” not only has the same power that God has, to issue laws, the transgression of which is sin, but that it has a right to go beyond God, and to make laws contrary to His. We have no controversy with those who make that claim, and do not dispute their right to follow “the church” instead of the Bible; we only wish to let it appear very clearly that to observe Sunday instead of the Sabbath is to follow the leading of that “church” which exalts itself above God. We wish this to appear very plainly, so that those who wish to follow the Lord may do so, since there are very many who are perfectly innocent of any wrong intention in keeping the first day of the week instead of the seventh. We wish also to have the truth of this subject so well known that no one can follow “the church” under the impression that he is obeying God’s commandment.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.18

    But we pass to another statement in immediate connection with the one last quoted, which tellsPTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.19

    HOW SUNDAY REST BEGAN

    As time went on, the opportunities for Christian communion in worship were secured by abstinence from work. The Church grew strong enough to effect this; and in the time of Constantine the courts of law were closed by the imperial edict, and all workers except that of agriculturalists (in whose favour an exception was made) was suspended. But Constantine’s decree was the first public step in establishing the first day of the week as a day on which there should be secular rest as well as religious worship.... Into the rest of Sunday no Divine law enters; it has been won as a privilege, it has to be protected as a right.-Page 63.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.20

    Constantine was never a Christian in the true sense of the word; and at the time when this decree was issued he was as much a heathen as was Diocletian who preceded him, and under whose reign the Christians were so bitterly persecuted. At the very time when this edict was issued, Constantine occupied the heathen office of Pontifex Maximus, and in that capacity he issued an edict the next year regulating divination by means of the entrails of beasts. Therefore since his law was the first public step toward securing Sunday rest, it is evident that when “the church grew strong enough to effect this,” its strength was merely the strength of assimilated Paganism.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 214.21

    A PLAY DAY

    Two more extracts will suffice for this time. Prebendary Eyton has told us that there is nothing in the Bible that prohibits work on Sunday, and so it naturally follows that any recreation is allowable that is proper at any time. He says:—PTUK April 4, 1895, page 215.1

    If, after joining in worship, you like to refresh yourself in any way by any game that is lawful on any day, whenever it be, so long as it does not involve the employment of others, it is not either a social offence or a religious one.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 215.2

    No commandment of God bids us to do this or not do that on Sunday; we are absolutely free as far as His law goes.... But there is a most precious Christian tradition which marks Sunday as pre-eminently the day for public worship, and there is a strong social tradition, though not so early or so wide, in favour of Sunday rest.... Only we must not say that rest from work is prescribed by God’s command.-Pages 69, 70.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 215.3

    It seems that a man may play as much as he pleases, provided his play does not demand labour by some other person. But suppose that other person desires to work; suppose he derives more satisfaction from labour on Sunday than he would from play; what is to hinder him from working? Mr. Eyton has shown that it is not wicked either to work or to play on Sunday, since there is no Divine command of any sort whatever concerning the day. And the question of disturbance surely cannot come in, since no reasonable person would offer any apology for the hypersensitiveness of the man who is disturbed because his neighbour on one side works on Sunday, but is not in the least disturbed by his left-hand neighbour’s tennis playing.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 215.4

    At some future time we shall bring further evidence to show that both work and play on Sunday are exactly in keeping with even the so-called “Christian” observance of the day in the first centuries; but this must suffice for the present. The commandment of Jehovah, spoken with His own voice, in tones which shook the earth, and from which not one jot nor one tittle can by any means pass away, says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work.” In contrast with this, Sunday, even its own advocates being witnesses, has no Divine authority whatever, and had not even the sanction of human laws until the fourth century.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 215.5

    “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him, but if Baal, then follow him.”PTUK April 4, 1895, page 215.6

    “News of the Week” The Present Truth 11, 14.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    -Home rule has been granted by Portugal to the Azores islands.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 222.1

    -Recent municipal elections in Austria reveal a marked increase in anti-Jewish sentiment.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 222.2

    -The controversy in the boot and shoe industry is still apparently far from a settlement.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 222.3

    -The “Religious Freedom Bill” has met defeat in the Hungarian House of Magnates, through the strong influence of the Roman Catholics.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 222.4

    -Reports from the scene of civil war in Colombia state that a great battle was fought March 15, resulting In the defeat of the insurgents, who lost 1,200 men.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 222.5

    -In Paris the Salvation Army have taken to “staging” Bible subjects, the first one represented being the parable of the ten virgins. The costumes worn are described as “quite theatrical.”PTUK April 4, 1895, page 222.6

    -Trouble is feared in the Niger district, Northwest Africa, from the presence of two large French expeditions which have found their way into British territory. It is hoped that a prompt withdrawal may avert a collision.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 222.7

    -There was fighting between Mohammedans and “Christians” at Tolcat, in Asiatic Turkey, March 20. About five persons were killed and fifty wounded. A very unsettled state of affairs prevails, and further violence is feared.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 222.8

    -A terrible famine is raging in Eastern Equatorial Africa occasioned by drought and the locust plague. People are dying of starvation over a large tract of country. In many cases they are selling themselves and their children for food.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 222.9

    -The “bubonic plague” has broken out afresh in a virulent form in British Kowloon, which is a part of the colony of Hong Kong, on the mainland, separated only by the harbour from the island. The epidemic will therefore almost inevitably soon be in the densely populated city of Victoria.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 222.10

    -It is announced from Rome that the Congregation of the Propaganda have decided to vote in favour of Cardinal Vaughan’s proposal for the education of English Catholics at Protestant universities. It is expressly stipulated, however, that such students must attend special courses of instruction given by Roman Catholic professors appointed at these universities.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 222.11

    -A man and several of his relatives are on trial in county Tipperary, Ireland, for burning his wife as a witch. She had been suffering from influenza, and was first made to swallow several things for the purpose of “exorcising the devil,” and was then held over a fire by her husband to make her confess that she was not his wife, but a witch, her injuries resulting in death.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 222.12

    -A formal proposal made in the Reichstag, March 23, that that body should congratulate ex-chancellor Bismarck or the occasion of his eightieth birthday, was opposed by the Socialist members and others, and on being put to vote was defeated. Emperor William, when he learned of the vote, was very indignant. The incident affords a significant indication of the growing influence and power of Socialism.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 222.13

    -The peace negotiations between Japan and China at Simonoseki, have been interrupted by an attack made on the Chinese representative by a young Japanese fanatic, who shot the statesman in the face, inflicting a wound which was at first regarded as slight, but is now said to be serious. Meanwhile hostilities continue, and the Japanese forces are reported to have captured the Pescadores Islands. They have also made a landing on the Chinese coast at Haichow, capturing the city after severe fighting, and are thought to be planning an attack upon the Grand Canal, and a march upon Nanking.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 222.14

    “Back Page” The Present Truth 11, 14.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    A well-known preacher said the other day that the “evangelicalism of the early years of the century is yielding to a peddling sort of semi-political sermon, from which sin and salvation seem much eliminated.”PTUK April 4, 1895, page 224.1

    Reunionists who urge a federation of all shades of Catholics and Protestants are away behind the famous French preacher, Pere Eyancinthe Loyson. He is preaching “in favour of the union of all forms of religious belief, including Islamism.”PTUK April 4, 1895, page 224.2

    “I have the greatest fears,” wrote the late Dr. Dale, “of what will come from the present passion of some excellent persons to capture the churches, and to change them into political and municipal caucuses. It will compel a serious reconsideration of the true idea of the church.”PTUK April 4, 1895, page 224.3

    The Vatican has authorised the attendance of Roman Catholics at the English Universities, a thing heretofore prohibited. In petitioning for this favour Cardinal Vaughan “pointed out that the hostility formerly displayed toward Roman Catholicism by the English Education Department had almost totally died out.”PTUK April 4, 1895, page 224.4

    In his address at the opening of the Free Church Congress at Birmingham, Dr. Charles Berry said:—PTUK April 4, 1895, page 224.5

    A nation is not made religious by the mere constitutional recognition of religion, any more than it is made moral by Act of Parliament. A nation is religious only when the citizens who compose it are so governed by God’s Spirit as to regulate all their conduct-personal and collective-according to the mind of Christ. England will be religious only when Englishmen are converted. The road to national Christianity lies through personal regeneration.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 224.6

    That is true; but there is no hope that even on those correct lines there will ever be any national Christianity; “for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13, 14.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 224.7

    Fallen man is so victimised by his evil passions that he is always capable of apparently incredible reactions, and once sincere men have put the Church in the place of the Christ, there is no depth of medi?val superstition and daring to which they are incapable of plunging. It is useless to argue with such persons; you might as well argue with a Spanish Inquisitor.-Methodist Times, March 28.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 224.8

    Most true; and that is just the secret of the prosecutions for Sunday labour that are now taking place in various parts of the world. Sunday is an institution of “the church,” in direct opposition to the precept of the Scriptures and the example of Christ; therefore when men have fully committed themselves to it as against the Bible, “there is no depth of medi?val superstition and daring to which they are incapable of plunging.” We write not to condemn, but to warn; He who turns aside from the plain Word of God has no safeguard against committing evil of the worst sort.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 224.9

    “Seizure of Goods for Sunday Work” The Present Truth 11, 14.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    Last week we announced that the Court had granted distress warrants for the seizure of goods belonging to the International Tract Society, to satisfy fines and costs imposed for Sunday work.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 224.10

    We are now able to report that the seizure has been made, and before this paper reaches its readers in the provinces, the goods will doubtless have been sold. At this writing (March 31) the works of the Society, 451, Holloway Road, are in the hands of the bailiff, until on April 2 he shall remove to the auction rooms such goods as he sees fit.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 224.11

    Many, considering the circumstances of the case, have expressed themselves as confident that the matter would not be carried to such a point. They have thought it impossible that extreme measures could be taken, in England, for a matter of mere Sunday work, when no question of injustice to employés, or of disturbance, was involved. Such may now know that Sunday laws work in England exactly as they do in other countries.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 224.12

    We do not make this statement by way of complaint. Nothing has been done that we did not expect. The issue involved is whether the traditions of men, even though crystallised into law, shall be acknowledged as above the commandment of God; and we have no accusation to bring against those who take the side of tradition against God.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 224.13

    The question is still before the people, and we have more confidence than ever in asking them to put themselves on the side of God’s truth, because the Sunday prosecutions are but the fulfilment of prophecy which shows that the coming of the Lord is near.PTUK April 4, 1895, page 224.14

    “‘What Could I Do?’” The Present Truth 11, 14.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    A little note in the Christian comes in very aptly in connection with the Sunday law question, which is having so much agitation at the present time. A Turkish soldier was interviewed concerning the Armenian outrages. When he was asked how many he killed, he said, “God knows. It may have been five. It may have been seven. What could I do? I had my orders.” And when asked if the soldiers liked the hideous work of impaling infants on their bayonets, he replied, with a despairing shrug of the shoulders, “We were soldiers; what could we do?”PTUK April 4, 1895, page 224.15

    Upon this the Christian says, “Although he acted under ‘orders,’ his conscience gives him no rest; human orders cannot cancel Divine commands.” Very true; and this applies to the fourth commandment as well as to the sixth. And it applies to the judge on the bench, and the officer of the law, as well as to the private citizen. The Sunday law forbids obedience to the fourth commandment. The judge who enforces it says, “I am the sworn agent of the law; here are my orders; what can I do?” And too many private citizens say, “The law of the land commands us, and what can we do?” But the law of God says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy;” and “human orders cannot cancel Divine commands.”PTUK April 4, 1895, page 224.16

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents