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    November 9, 1893

    “Front Page” The Present Truth 9, 32.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    The accompanying picture is a striking likeness of an ancient stronghold, as those who have seen many of the ruined castles of Europe can testify. Situated upon the very summit of a solitary peak, the sides of which were almost as steep as the walls of the castle itself, such a stronghold was almost inaccessible to an enemy.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 497.1

    Very similar to a castle represented in the cut, is the Wartburg, in Germany. It was to this castle that Luther was carried by his friends, when he was returning from the Diet at Worms, an outlaw because of the faith; and in it he was kept for ten months, in order that he might be preserved from his enemies, who sought to take his life. The castle had been a familiar sight to Luther in his boyhood, for he had attended school in Eisenach, at the foot of the mountain; and it was doubtless this castle that prompted his notable hymn,PTUK November 9, 1893, page 497.2

    “Ein est Burg ist Unser Gott.”PTUK November 9, 1893, page 497.3

    For God is represented in the Bible as a high tower, and a strong place of refuge, into which men may flee for safety. Thus we read, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and it is safe.” Proverbs 18:10. “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strong rock, in Him will I trust; my shield, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” Psalm 18:2.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 497.4

    In the passage last quoted, the word “trust,” is from the word which in many places in the Revised Version is translated “take refuge.” This is strictly literal, and makes the picture much more vivid. We shall so render it in the passages that follow. So the text ought to read: “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strong rock, in Him will I take refuge.” This is in keeping with the idea expressed in Proverbs 18:10, above quoted. In the eighteenth psalm we read: “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield unto them that take refuge in Him.”PTUK November 9, 1893, page 497.5

    Just as Luther found refuge in the Wartburg from the enemies who would have taken his life, so we may find protection in the Lord, from the enemies of our souls. Read Psalm 31:19-21: “Oh how great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee; which Thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of Thy presence from the pride of man; Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the Lord; for He hath showed me His marvellous kindness in a strong city.”PTUK November 9, 1893, page 497.6

    Take notice that those who take refuge in the Lord are to be kept in the secret of His presence from the pride of man. Not from the pride of men, but from the pride of man,-from human pride; that is, each one from his own pride. It is pride that causes man’s destruction (Proverbs 16:18); but the Lord is meek and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29), and those who take refuge in Him are protected from the destruction of pride by being encompassed with His humility. They are partakers of His righteousness, which is salvation.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 498.1

    Still further, they are to be kept secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. No man can be injured by any strife of tongues, in which his own tongue does not partake. The tongue is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. “It setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” James 3:6. But from this the Lord offers a sure refuge. The tongue of the man that is in Him, will not utter both blessing and cursing, but will “bless the Lord at all times,” saying, “Blessed be the Lord; for He hath shown me His marvellous loving kindness and a strong city.” “How precious is Thy loving kindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge under the shadow of Thy wings.” Psalm 36:7.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 498.2

    Again, read these comforting words: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my God; in Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust; His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:1-4. And again: “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me; for my soul trusteth in Thee; yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. I will cry unto God Most High; unto God that performeth all things for me.” Psalm 57:1, 2. Earthly castles could never afford a perfectly safe refuge, for there was a possibility of their being taken; but “they that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.” Psalm 125:1, 2.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 498.3

    Here is another comforting assurance: “The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him.” Nahum 1:7. We read that the wicked “plotteth against the righteous, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth;” but “the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord; He is their stronghold in the time of trouble. And the Lord helpeth them, and rescueth them; He rescueth them from the wicked, and saveth them, because they have taken refuge in Him.” Psalm 37:39, 40.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 498.4

    These things are not figures of speech, but they are real. Even now we may know that the presence of the Lord to protect is as real as any stone wall that was ever built, and infinitely more safe. And the blessedness of the whole thing is that anyone may have this refuge. Faithful will build a wall of defence as high as heaven itself,-defence not merely from spiritual foes, but from physical ones as well. But faith is shown by confidence and rejoicing. He who fears has not faith, because fear is born of doubt. So the Psalmist says to the Lord: “Thou art my hiding place; Thou shall preserve me from trouble; Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7. Just as the people of Israel were saved from an overwhelming force, when they began to sing, saying, “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endureth for ever” (2 Chronicles 20:21, 22), so the people of God will always be delivered when they sing songs of faith and praise. Therefore in the time of greatest danger they sing, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 498.5

    “What Authority?” The Present Truth 9, 32.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    What Authority?—In a paper on “The Lord’s day: Its Obligation and Observance,” at the Midland Institute, Canon Edmonds said that they “need not entangle themselves with the question of the relation of the Lord’s Day [which he erroneously applied to Sunday] to the Fourth Commandment. It was not observed to satisfy the commandment: it was made for man. Neither did its sanction rest upon the authority of the apostles or the Apostolic Church.” True, Sunday observance does not rest upon the authority of God, nor of those sent directly from Him. It is a product of human apostasy. How much better to observe the seventh day,—the Lord’s day indeed,—which does not require that one should “entangle” himself in connecting it, through the commandment, with God Himself.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 498.6

    “The Great Deceiver” The Present Truth 9, 32.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    The second number of Borderland contains a report of some experiences with a writing medium, which is interesting as showing how readily people yield to delusion when they ignore the teachings of the Bible, the only source of truth. There are five letters that were obtained at one sitting, none of which are in any way remarkable. By this we do not mean that there was not more than human power involved in their production, but that the information contained in them is not remarkable. The gentleman who had the interview wrote his questions on slips of paper which were rolled up tightly, so that the medium did not see them, and the answers were written by the medium, in the usual manner. In some instances a very brief answer was written on the closed question paper, while the gentleman held it in his own hand.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 498.7

    There are five letters given. The first gave the gentleman the advice to study the phenomena of Spiritualism. This is what might have been expected. To ask the spirits if one shall study Spiritualism, is as if one should ask a land agent if he ought to invest his money in land.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 498.8

    The second letter expressed the opinion that a certain person referred to will do very well if he engages in business with a certain other person. The third letter gives the date of the gentleman’s little daughter’s birth. The fourth consists of some platitudes in answer to the question how he should spend his life so as to do the most good. The fifth letter is an answer to the request for a device with regard to his investments. Several banks are mentioned, which pay good interest, and which are said to be sound.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 498.9

    The gentleman says: “I have no theory on which to account for these remarkable phenomena. The ‘trick’ hypothesis seems to me to be precluded by the conditions. The ‘devil’ hypothesis is out of it, for the ‘father of lies’ could not have said so many things that are good and true.” We have no hypothesis either, but we do know that all such communications can come from no other source than the father of lies. It is strange that anyone who has ever heard that there is such a thing as a hypocrite, should think it impossible that such communications can come from the devil.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 499.1

    It is true that the devil is the father of lies, but that does not show that he cannot state a simple matter of fact when it will better serve the purposes of his deception. Satan told Eve that if she should eat of the forbidden fruit, her eyes should be open, and so they were. Yet he deceived her. A statement that is true in itself, becomes a part of a lie, when it is told in order to lead a person into a deception beyond. A lie may be told when the form of the words in which it is uttered is true.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 499.2

    It should be borne in mind that Satan is a great deceiver. Now no one is deceived by that which is palpably false. That which successfully deceives, must have the appearance of the truth. The writer once knew a man who used to practice telling lies as a pastime, and would exert himself to see how preposterous a story he could tell. But he never deceived anybody, and never expected that anybody would be deceived by his yarns. It was of course a vicious habit, nevertheless. But there was another man in the same town, who practiced lying as a fine art. He would, with the most sober face, tell a lie that had every appearance of truth. His stories were always told in the most natural manner, and there was no improbability in them. Now although everybody knew of this man’s habit, they would be deceived again and again. There was such an appearance of truth in all that he said, that even his most intimate acquaintances would be deceived.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 499.3

    How often does the seducer put on an air of respectability, and even piety, and give utterance to the most solemn truths, in order that he may win the confidence of his victim. But the very truths which he utters become parts of a great lie, since the man’s whole life is a lie. So it is with Satan. If he did not come in the guise of an angel of light, he would deceive nobody.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 499.4

    The Scriptures did not leave us without warning on this point. We are told that there shall come in the last days false christs and false prophets, who shall show great signs and wonders, so that they will all but deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24. Immediately before the coming of the Lord, Satan is to work “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10. The rapid growth of these deceptions, is one of the surest signs of the nearness of the end. There is but one sure way of escaping these delusions, and that is by receiving “the love of the truth,” which is the word of God.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 499.5

    “Righteous Judgment” The Present Truth 9, 32.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    Whenever the kindness and mercy of the Lord are dwelt upon in order that sinners may be encouraged to trust Him, someone will always be sure to interpose with the objection, “Yes, but the Bible says that God is angry with the wicked every day.” Of course the natural effect upon the doubting, trembling soul is to lead him to think, “I know that I am wicked, and therefore God is angry with me;” and then will follow either a feeling of apathy, or else vain efforts to do something to appease the supposed anger of God. Thus the purpose of the enemy of souls is accomplished.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 499.6

    Remembering that “God is love”; that He “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 that this was a sacrifice on the part of God Himself, because “the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” and “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19), let us examine the scripture in which the statement of God’s continual anger against all men-“for all have sinned,”-is supposed to be found. It is the seventh psalm, and we will study it as a whole. The study will show incidentally the danger of building a theory on a single text detached from its connection.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 499.7

    In the quotation of the psalm, which follows, we have not followed any one translation, but have combined several, so as to give the most literal and vivid rendering of the Hebrew. It will be seen that the psalm may be naturally divided into six sections, the last consisting of but one verse. The first section presents a picture of onePTUK November 9, 1893, page 499.8

    PURSUED BY THE ENEMY

    O Lord my God, in Thee do I take refuge;
    Save me from all them that pursue me, and deliver
    me;
    Lest he tear my soul like a lion,
    Rending it in pieces, when there is none to deliver.
    PTUK November 9, 1893, page 499.9

    This is the cry of a soul in extreme peril. He is chased by an enemy who is like a raging lion, which will tear him in pieces if he does not find a place of safety. We see at the very outset that we have before us the cry of a soul pursued by Satan, the great Destroyer; for “the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about, seeking whom he may the power.” 1 Peter 5:8. In a preceding article we have read some of the text which show how sure a refuge God is in such times of peril.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 499.10

    The next section shows the injustice of the enemy’s attack:-PTUK November 9, 1893, page 499.11

    O Lord my God, if I have done this;
    If there be iniquity in my hands:
    If I have rendered evil to him that was at peace
    with me;
    (I have even delivered him that was mine enemy
    without cause);
    Let the enemy chase my soul and catch it;
    And let him tread my life to the earth,
    And cast down my glory to the dust.
    PTUK November 9, 1893, page 499.12

    The lion cares nothing for the fact that his prey is inoffensive, and has done him no injury. He is filled with a desire to destroy, and he slays to gratify his own passion for destroying. So the devil lies in wait for the innocent, as shown in his dealing with our first parents in the garden of Eden. The spirit that deliberately plots the spiritual ruin of an innocent soul, is purely satanic. Such a degree of wickedness is abhorrent to any soul that is not utterly degraded, and so the psalmist utters aPTUK November 9, 1893, page 499.13

    CALL FOR JUDGMENT

    Arise, O Lord, in Thine anger;
    Lift up Thyself against the fury of mine adversaries;
    And awake for me the judgment Thou hast commanded.
    So shall the congregation of the peoples compass Thee about,
    And over it return Thou on high.
    PTUK November 9, 1893, page 499.14

    Read in the light of the first section of the psalm, this cry for vengeance does not seem so revengeful as it sometimes does to the careless reader. It is not the demand of one man for vengeance upon other men who are hostile to him, but it is a call for judgment upon the arch-enemy. Moreover it is inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that the element of human passion does not enter into it. Compare this section, and indeed the whole psalm, with the thirty-fifth psalm.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 499.15

    In this section we have present before us, in brief, the last judgment, and its results. When the judgment which God has commanded, shall be executed upon the “wicked spirits in high places,” the congregation of the people will compass the Lord about, as He returns on high to “reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before His ancients gloriously.” Isaiah 24:23.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 499.16

    In the next section we have a statement of thePTUK November 9, 1893, page 500.1

    CERTAINTY OF THE JUDGMENT

    The Lord judgeth the peoples;
    Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness,
    and the uprightness that is in me,
    Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an
    end, but establish Thou the righteous;
    The righteous Lord trieth the hearts and the reins.
    My shield it is with God, who delivereth the upright
    in heart.
    God is a righteous judge, yea, a God that hath
    indignation continually.
    If He turn out, He hath whet His sword,
    He hath bent His bow, and made it ready;
    He hath prepared for him the instruments of
    death,
    He will make His arrows fiery.
    PTUK November 9, 1893, page 500.2

    Have we here a little self-righteousness? No, for the Lord says of His people, “Their righteousness is of Me.” Remember that this is the prayer of one who has taken refuge in Christ, and “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:17, 18. The uprightness that is in such an one, is the uprightness of God, and it is according to that that the psalmist would be judged. The soul that makes God its refuge, can look on judgments without fear, because he is in the place whence they come, so that they cannot call upon him.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 500.3

    It is in this section that the verse occurs which in the common person is rendered, “God is angry with the wicked every day.” The words in italics, however, show what was added by the translators. Even if we take the text as it stands in the common version, there need be no difficulty, since we see that “the wicked” are not sinners on probation, but the devil and all his hosts, both of angels, and of men who have sold themselves to him to persecute the godly.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 500.4

    “God is a righteous judge, yea, a God that hath indignation continually.” Is it not well? Is it not comforting to know that we are not left alone and forgotten? that the efforts of the enemy to accomplish our destruction, awaken the indignation of the mighty God? Even when Satan’s rage works through men who have no fear of God before their eyes, we may know that God regards it as directed against Him. And so indeed it is, when we fly to Him for refuge. He makes our cause His own. When the children of Israel were marching toward Canaan, the Amalekites came out to fight against them, but in reality it was to fight against God. In Exodus 17:16, with the margin, we read, “Because the hand of Amalek is against the throne of the Lord, therefore the Lord is against Amalek,” etc.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 500.5

    SELF-DESTROYED

    In the last part of the section of the psalm that we have just considered, there is evident allusion to the wicked, and the words, “if they turn not.” If the wicked turn not, God has prepared the instruments of destruction for him. Read Job 38:22, 24. In the following section we have a description of the persecutor, a statement which shows the justice of his punishment:-PTUK November 9, 1893, page 500.6

    Behold, he travailleth with iniquity,
    And he hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood.
    He made a pit, and digged it.
    And he shall fall into the ditch which he hath made.
    His mischief shall return upon his own head.
    And upon his own crown shall his violence come down.
    PTUK November 9, 1893, page 500.7

    In the judgment it will appear that God is clear. He is love, and yet there is punishment for the wicked, and “fiery indignation that shall devour the adversaries.” And this is because He is love. We cannot now go further into particulars than to call attention to the obvious fact that it would not be an indication either of love or justice, for God to allow the wicked to destroy the innocent. But let it not be forgotten that all the punishment that any wicked person will ever receive, will be only that which he brings upon himself, and which he might have avoided if he would. “Despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” Romans 2:4, 5.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 500.8

    So we read in the last part of the first chapter of Proverbs, that the wicked in their destruction only “eat of the fruit of their own way.” All they that hate the Lord, love death. Proverbs 8:36. Thus in the passage before us, the wicked only receive that which they themselves have worked out; they are taken in their own net, and fall into the pit which they dig for another. They that love cursing shall receive it, for God will give to every man that which he most delights in.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 500.9

    The last section is the ascriptions of praise:-PTUK November 9, 1893, page 500.10

    I will give thanks unto the Lord according to
    His righteousness.
    And will sing praises to the name of Jehovah
    Most High.
    PTUK November 9, 1893, page 500.11

    And thus we find, as we always shall, that the portion of Scripture which Satan uses for the purpose of discouraging people, is the one that is full of comfort for them. If we are not ignorant of his devices, nor unmindful of the goodness of God, we shall know, whenever a text seems to be for the purpose of holding us off from God, that we do not understand it, and will study it with a prayer that the Holy Spirit will teach us the truth as it is in Jesus.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 500.12

    “Propitiation” The Present Truth 9, 32.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    “And He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” If men would allow the Bible to explain itself, instead of trying to explain it, much difficulty would be saved. All the logical definitions are derived from Paganism, since theology is principally the study of heathen philosophy. Men have looked into the human heart in order to find God, instead of looking into His word and His works. Accordingly they have thought of God as a being whose wrath against men must be appeased by sacrifice; and the history of religion in the world is largely a history of the attempts of men to devise some sacrifice that would “appease the Divine justice, and conciliate the Divine favour.” Men have punished themselves almost to death, and have persecuted others quite to death, because they thought that God demanded it of them as the price of His favour. This is the human idea of propitiation, but it is not God’s.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 500.13

    If instead of the long word, “propitiation,” we read “sacrifice,” we shall simplify matters a great deal, because the shorter word is more common. Then let it be remembered that God Himself has provided the sacrifice, or the propitiation. Thus we read, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” Romans 3:23-25.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 500.14

    Notice that it is God who has set forth Christ as the propitiation or sacrifice. Then since God provides the sacrifice for sin, it surely cannot be that He has enmity against sinners. “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. “God is love” (1 John 4:16); but “the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7. The enmity that is to be appeased is all on the part of men, and God, who is sinned against, provides the means of reconciliation. Of Christ we read:-PTUK November 9, 1893, page 501.1

    “For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight.” Colossians 1:19-22.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 501.2

    Now remember that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself,” and you will see that God Himself has made the sacrifice for us. It is by the death of Christ that we are reconciled, and God was in Christ reconciling the world. The Word that was made flesh, and that was offered upon the cross, was God.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 501.3

    It would be impossible for man to make a sacrifice that would atone for sin. Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:6-8.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 501.4

    Even a human sacrifice would not avail, not because God requires something more valuable, but because it cannot remove sin. The sacrifice which God provides, and which He alone can provide, is one that will remove sin, and thus destroy the enmity that is in man’s heart against God. God gives to us His life in Christ, and that life can take away sin, as has been demonstrated by the fact that it has conquered death. “There is none good but one, that is God.” Therefore the only way in which man can become good is to be filled with the life of God, and this He gives us freely in Christ.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 501.5

    Why will not men believe the Lord, and take Him just as He reveals Himself? The only reason is, as stated before, that they take counsel of their own hearts, and not of God. They do not come close enough to the Lord to get acquainted with Him. To Him belongs power, but His mercy is equal to His power. “God is love,” and therefore the more we learn of His power, the more powerful must we know His love to be. When we taste, and continue to taste, and see that the Lord is good, we shall turn a deaf ear to all the insinuations of Satan, no matter in what guise they come.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 501.6

    “The Confessional” The Present Truth 9, 32.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    At the late Protestant Conference at Bath, the ex-nun, Miss Golding, is reported to have alluded to the Roman Catholic confessional as “a den of infamy worthy only of Satan himself.”PTUK November 9, 1893, page 501.7

    Whether she was correctly reported or not, the words are quite true; because it could not be otherwise from the circumstances which the confessional presents. This will be apparent from a brief examination of the nature and object of confession as a feature of the Christian life.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 501.8

    We are taught in the word of God to confess our sins. “Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another, that he may be healed.” “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” James 5:16; 1 John 1:9. Many other passages likewise teach the duty of confession, this being a necessary step in the process of conversion, or the new birth, without which no person can see the kingdom of God.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 501.9

    But to whom should confession of sin be made? The Catholic says, To the priest, at the confessional. If, as the Catholic doctrine teaches, the priest is the one who has power to grant absolution from sin, such an answer might not be improper. But the doctrine is not true. God alone has the power to forgive sin. Every sin that men commit is against Him, and must have forgiveness from Him.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 501.10

    He who has the power to forgive sins has the power to do miracles. Jesus said to the scribes, “That ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, [He saith to the sick of the palsy], I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.” Mark 2:10, 11. He had just put to them the question, “Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?” The question was a pertinent one, for the one act was as difficult as the other, since both required the exercise of creative power. To heal the palsy, required the creation of new parts of the body to take the place of those that were diseased. To say, “Thy sins be forgiven thee” required the creation of a righteous man out of the sinner, even as we, all who believe, are “created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Ephesians 2:10. Creative power belongs only to God; it has never been delegated to any of His creatures.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 501.11

    But for what purpose do we confess our sins? What is accomplished by the act? To the priest, who presides over the confessional, one chief result is the gaining of knowledge which he did not before possess. But is this the object, or one of the objects, which confession is designed to accomplish? Do we confess in order to impart information to some one? Certainly this is not the object of confession to God, for He sees all our sins, and we can impart no information to Him. Nor do we do this when we confess to our brother the trespass that we have committed against Him, unless, as sometimes happens, it is a wrong the existence or the author of which he has not discovered. But no one will seriously contend that the proper object of confession is to impart information. We confess to an individual because he is the one concerned in the wrongful act which we have committed. We confess for our own good, that our spirit may bear witness with the heavenly Spirit that we are sinners, and also for his benefit, too manifest to him our contrition of heart, and take out of his way the stumbling block that our wrong-doing may have placed before him.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 501.12

    Confession of sin, therefore, should only be made to the party or parties that have been wrong. God is always one of these parties, for every sin is a transgression of His law. A sin that is against God alone, should be confessed to Him alone. One that is against our neighbour should be confessed to God and to our neighbour. God forgives the wrong that has been done to Him in the transgression of His law, and our neighbour forgives-or should forgive-the wrong done to him. And thus the one who committed the wrong is cleared from the guilt of his transgression. Man has no power to forgive sin, for sin is the transgression of the law of God, and no man has authority to say that the claims of that law are satisfied. Even God Himself could not say so had not the demands of that holy law been met in the death of Christ. Any man can forgive a wrong done to himself, but this would not free the wrong-doer from the claims of the law of God. But if a man will not forgive a wrong that is done him, he cannot hold the wrong-doer in guilt if the latter has made confession.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 501.13

    And what is confession? It is coming into agreement with the Spirit of God and saying that the act of which we have been guilty, is wrong. But in confessing that we were wrong we also testify that God and His law are right. By the very act of condemning ourselves we justify God. We say with Paul, “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good; .. but I am carnal, sold under sin.” Romans 7:12-14. When we have transgressed against our neighbour we have thereby testified against the law of God, which commands us to love our neighbour as ourself. We have in the act condemned God and His law, and justified self. And our confession, our condemnation of self and justification of God and God’s law, must be as extensive as was our justification of self. Obviously this must be so, before God can hold us guiltless.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 502.1

    But how do these considerations apply to the institution of the confessional? Certainly it needs no argument to show that this papal institution meets none of the requirements of that repentance and acknowledgement of sin which will secure the pardon of Heaven. The priest is but a man. He has no power to forgive sin; for this, as we have seen, is nothing less than the power of creation. To take away sin is to create a man new in Christ Jesus; it is to bring a clean thing out of an unclean thing, a work which God says no man can do. Job 14:4. He listens to a recital of sins that do not concern him, and thereby incurs great damage to his own soul; for no man can long contemplate sin without being harmed thereby. He does not have the witness of the Spirit to the confession that comes to him, for the Spirit does not bear witness with confessions that are not made to God. Nor does the confessor find the comfort that is bestowed by the Spirit when true confession is made. The knowledge that comes to the priest in this way is knowledge that he should not have. It is neither for his own benefit, or for the benefit of the confessor, or of any one else. And it need not be said that the use which the priest makes of such information is often one that is not justified by either the law of God or of man.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 502.2

    When we confess a sin to one whom we have wronged, the interest and concern which the latter person has in the matter makes it a very different thing from a confession made to someone else; for the Spirit of God operates in such a case both upon the heart of the confessor and of the person wronged; to both it bears witness of the righteousness and goodness of God. But if the party is one not concerned in the transaction, the Spirit cannot bear that witness to him, because he is not the party wronged, and has consequently nothing to forgive. Confession, indeed, cannot, strictly speaking, be made to another person than the one who was wrong, because confession means an acknowledgement of our wrong-doing to the one against whom we have transgressed. We can tell the same thing to a third person, but that does him no good, but rather harm, because it can never benefit any person to listen to the tale of another’s sins. Paul exhorts us to listen to and think upon only what is pure, lovely, virtuous, and of good report. Confession comes in this class of things, but a mere recitation of sins does not.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 502.3

    “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall find mercy.” Proverbs 28:13. In the confessional, the great deceiver has substituted for true confession something that is not confession at all. Just as he has perverted the Christian ordinance of baptism into the ceremony of sprinkling, and the observance of the Sabbath into the keeping of Sunday, so he has perverted confession-wherever the confessional is established-into something which can never bring pardon or mercy. The devil does not want people to confess their sins. He is willing enough that a person should confess the sins of others, and tell them far and wide, but he does not want that confession which is the putting away of self. He knows what the Scripture says, that “with the heart men believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:10. But there is no salvation from the confessional. Those who would obtain salvation must not be ignorant of the devices of Satan. And in order not to be ignorant they must search the word of God for enlightenment. There they will find only that which is genuine, and learn the difference between the true ordinances which pertain to salvation, and the false and spurious inventions which the devil has palmed off upon the credulous minds of those who neglect its sacred pages.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 502.4

    “Union” The Present Truth 9, 32.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    Union.-We are told that those who took part in the conferences of the “Parliament of Religions”PTUK November 9, 1893, page 503.1

    “represented systems as diverse as those of the Episcopalians, Methodists, New Churchmen, Christian Scientists, Theosophists, Friends, Catholics, Presbyterians, Jews, People’s Church, Monism, and Idealistic Atheism.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 503.2

    “The outcome of its deliberations was an agreement upon the following formula as a possible basis for universal religious co-operation:-PTUK November 9, 1893, page 503.3

    “‘Recognising all humanity as one family, we welcome light from every source, and earnestly desire to grow in knowledge of truth and the spirit of love, and to manifest such growth by helpful service.’”PTUK November 9, 1893, page 503.4

    We have nothing to say as to the propriety of the union of these “systems,” but we are well assured that Christianity has nothing in common with Theosophy, Atheism, Shintoism, “Christian” Science, and other things of that kind, and there can be no manner of union between it and them. “What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” 1 Corinthians 6:14-16. Those professed Christians who have given the representatives of heathen religions cause to think that there is a basis for union between their religion and Christianity, have injured the cause of missions more than they can remedy in their whole lives.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 503.5

    “Interesting Items” The Present Truth 9, 32.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    -The “cyclists’ stoop” is troubling doctors. Cyclists’ leaning forward affect both spine and chest.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.1

    -Severe fighting has been taking place between the Spaniards and the Moors at Melila, General Margallo being killed.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.2

    -A New York paper states that the Brazilian Government has purchased six United States merchant vessels for use as warships.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.3

    -Rioting has been going on at Lima, Peru, and the Ministry have tendered their resignations, which, however, have not been accepted.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.4

    -The estimated population of Victoria, is 1,162,526. The average expenditure on intoxicants for each man, woman, and child last year amounted to £4 14s. 6d.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.5

    -It is stated that 21,448,910 persons have paid for admission to the Chicago Exhibition since its opening. About $2,500,000 will, it is said, remain to be distributed among the stockholders.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.6

    -French troops are reported to have entered the disputed territory on the Tripoli-Tunisian frontier. Fifteen hundred Turkish troops have arrived at Tripoli from Constantinople to reinforce the garrison.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.7

    -English missionaries in China affirm that there is every prospect of a coming political upheaval there and that the Christian missionaries are largely blamed by the Government officials for the existing situation.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.8

    -The Matabele have a singular marriage custom. The husband does not buy his wife, who therefore remains the property of her father, and when children are born their own father has to buy them from their mother’s father.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.9

    -A nun eloped from a convent in Buda-Pesth. On reaching the street she joined a young man and disappeared with him. In a letter sent to the Mother Superior, the runaway said she had not found at the convent the happiness she desired.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.10

    -President Cleveland will, it is reported, soon send a message to Congress completely disavowing the policy of ex-President Harrison in reference to the Hawaiian Islands, and in effect a declaration in favour of the restoration of the ex-queen Lilluckalani.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.11

    -An Australian has patented an invention for setting type by telegraph. We are told that a newspaper correspondent in New York, by playing a typewriter keyboard, will ere long be able to set type simultaneously in a dozen or more cities all over America.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.12

    -It is announced from the Cape that after several engagements with the Matabele, the latter have been utterly defeated by the force of the Chartered Company, who now occupy Buluwayo, which was Lobengula himself has fled to the northwest.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.13

    -Ancient ruins have been discovered in Mashonaland, believed to have been the work of people who went there in search of gems in Solomon’s time. An explorer says he has discovered in the locality six or more of the precious stones mentioned in the Book of Revelation.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.14

    -Railway enterprise, after a period of slackness, is budding again in Japan. There are no fewer than eleven new railways under consideration, two of them electric, one from Kobe to Mitamachi seventeen miles long, and another from Sogo to Ozuma, a little over eleven miles long.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.15

    -A woman in Tunis proclaimed that she had been told by an angel in a dream that whosoever drank of the water in her cistern would escape cholera. Within two days 20,000 passed through her premises to drink there, and the police had eventually to interfere to stop the profitable traffic.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.16

    -Dr. Gregory, of the British Museum, during a recent expedition, made an ascent of the great African mountain, Kenia, to a point 17,000 feet above sea-level, or 3,000 feet higher than had been reached by any other explorer. Glaciers were reached, and some of the party suffered from frostbite.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.17

    -The Bill repealing the purchase clause of the Sherman Act was passed by the Washington House of Representatives by 191 votes against ninety-four, and has since been approved by President Cleveland. This, it is hoped, will do something to relieve the financial situation in the United States.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.18

    -Cholera has broken out at Susa, and twenty-five deaths are reported. 4,000 of the inhabitants have fled, and the majority have arrived at Tripoli. A panic consequently prevails. Asiatic cholera still exists in St. Petersburg, in Moscos, in Buda-Pesth, in Brussels, in Rotterdam, in Rome, in Hamburg, and in the Hague.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.19

    -By means of the hydrograph, a new invention messages can be exchanged between ships on the sea with the Morse system of signlas. The apparatus consists of a transmitting and a receiving instrument which, when in operation on different vessels, are in no way connected with each other, except through the medium of the water.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.20

    -An electric car on the Oregon City Tramway line, containing thirty passengers, went through an open drawbridge in Madison-street on the morning of Nov. 1, and was plunged into Carpen River. Twenty-five of the passengers were drowned. The accident was caused by a dense fog which obscured the river and concealed the fact of the drawbridge being open.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.21

    -Four natives of India who pretended to cure diseases of the eye, and inflicted great suffering on their patients, were charged at the Old Bailey with obtaining money b false pretences. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty, adding an expression of their regret that there is no criminal law to prevent persons of gross ignorance from practising medical surgery.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.22

    -The large nomadic population of Kalmucks inhabiting the immense steppes between the Don and the Lower Volga, and also to the east of the latter river, are, it is stated, rapidly leaving European Russia. It is believed that in a very few years the Kalmucks, the last remnants of the Mongolian race in this continent, will have finally settled in Southern Siberia or Mongolia.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.23

    -As regards time the countries of Europe will now be divided into three groups: That of the West-England, France, Spain and Portugal-who take their time from Greenwich; The Central Group-Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Switzerland, and Italy-whose time is an hour later; and finally the Oriental Group-Russia, Turkey, the Balkan States, and Greece-whose time is two hours ahead of Greenwich.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.24

    -The Mayor of Chicago (Mr. Cater H. Harrison) was shot dead at his residence on the evening of Oct. 28, by a man named Prendergast, who is supposed to be insane. The funeral was one of the most imposing ever witnessed in America, no less than 50,000 persons being in the procession. An epidemic of homicidal mania is said to have resulted from the assassination, and many arrests have been made. in consequence of this state of things President Cleveland, when he goes out, is attended by detectives.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.25

    -Owing to the spread of dissent in the Russian Army, the question has been raised as to whether it is advisable to allow Nonconformists to attain even non-commissioned rank, as in the opinion of the “Holy Synod” such persons may have a pernicious moral and religious influence on the rank and file, and especially on recruits. In consequence of this inquiry the Minister of War has informed the Procurator of the “Holy Synod” that soldiers belonging to dissenting sects will not in any case be promoted.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 510.26

    “English Christianity” The Present Truth 9, 32.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    English Christianity.-The question is asked, “Who could bring himself to think of the English Christianity without the English Sunday?” and the answer must be, no one. But Englishmen, like Americans, Germans, Romans, etc., are human, and therefore “English Christianity.” Like the so-called “Christianity” of any other nation, is purely a human affair. Sunday is very appropriately and necessarily associated with “Christianity” of a human type, because as a religious state it is wholly of human creation. But Sabbath observance is inseparably connected with the Christianity of Christ, which is the only form of Christianity that is of any value.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 512.1

    “Back Page” The Present Truth 9, 32.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    In The Evangelical Magazine, Rev. J. Guinness Rogers has an article, the object of which is to show that “the fullest recognition of the rights of free thought is compatible with the truest of loyalty to the faith of the Gospel.” That is true, but it is not all of the truth. The whole truth is that nothing but the recognition of the rights of free thought is compatible with the faith of the Gospel. Christ said, “If any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not; for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” John 12:47. The test of a Christian is that he is like Christ; therefore he who tries to repress freedom of thought, and who would punish a man for his opinions, is to that extent, at least, not a Christian.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 512.2

    The Nonconformist churches of Hampshire have just formed a “Free Church Federation,” the object being that of “uniting all Evangelical Free Churches in the county, upon questions of common interest.” They propose to establish a Free Church Association in every town, and, as far as possible, in every village in the county, with a central county council. The delegates were in session two days, and passed resolutions in favour of the Local Veto Bill, and the disestablishment disendowment of the Church of England and Wales. It is expected that this Federation will soon be general throughout the kingdom. Such a Federation is sure to make the power of the churches felt in politics as never before.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 512.3

    The Turkish Ambassador declares that there has been no religious persecution of Christians in Turkey, but that all that has been done is to punish violators of the laws of the country. Exactly, and by the same token there has never been any religious persecution in the world. The Christians were put to death in the days of the Roman emperors, and later in lands controlled by the Roman popes, because they violated the laws of the land; and keepers of the Sabbath of the Lord are prosecuted in the United States and other countries, for violation of the laws of the land, which declare Sunday to be the Sabbath, in defiance of the laws of God. No professed Christian who believes that civil governments have a right to pass laws concerning matters of religion, or to define to any extent what shall be the religion of a country, can consistently find any fault with what has been done in Turkey and Russia.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 512.4

    The Government of Saxony has adopted the following method of securing the payment of taxes. The names of persons who are delinquent are printed and hung up in all the restaurants and public houses, and the proprietors dare not serve those persons with food and drink, under penalty of losing their licenses. This must be an efficient method, for the publicans would no doubt in many instances be willing to pay the taxes themselves, knowing that it would not take long to recoup themselves out of the enormous profit of the drink which they would sell.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 512.5

    “Devotional Reading” The Present Truth 9, 32.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    Devotional Reading.-The following, by Dr. James W. Alexander, is a picture of how very many people seek to manufacture devotional feeling:-PTUK November 9, 1893, page 512.6

    On Sabbath and other occasions, I have worried myself with attempts to awaken devotional feeling, by reading compositions of a merely hortatory kind-practical and experimental writings. Our devotion must have a solid basis, and I believe it is in many cases the best thing we can do to go into the very strongest parts of theological argument, and feed upon such strong meat as one finds in Calvin, Rivet, Turretin, Witeius, and Owen.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 512.7

    We make no comment on the authors referred to, but wish to call attention to the principle. We have seen the list of books published in religious papers, in response to requests for information as to the best books for devotional reading, but have never seen the Bible mentioned among them, although it is the one book for that purpose. To go to other books in order to awaken devotional feeling, when the Bible is at hand, is as if one should go to a cistern for water to quench his thirst, when the fountain whence the cistern water comes is close by.PTUK November 9, 1893, page 512.8

    “Theology against Christianity” The Present Truth 9, 32.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    Theology against Christianity.-At the recent meeting of Nonconformist ministers, and the Mansion House, to consider “the spiritual needs of London,” Dr. Parker said that the churches “might be to blame to some extent for men supposing theology was Christianity.” The churches are assuredly wholly to blame for whatever idea of that kind men may have. Dr. Parker’s statement is an admission of the fact that theology is not Christianity. Of course it is not. But whatever in the line of religion is not Christianity, is Paganism, and that is exactly what theology is. Since it is admitted that ideology is not Christianity, why would it not be the proper thing to ignore theology entirely, and give attention wholly to the Gospel?PTUK November 9, 1893, page 512.9

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