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    September 11, 1884

    “How Will They Do It?” The Signs of the Times, 10, 35.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We are not entirely alone in the belief that Spiritualism is of the devil, as the following from the Pacific Methodist will show:-SITI September 11, 1884, page 552.1

    “We regard Spiritualism as among the most infernal of Satan’s inventions and its absurdness before the bar of enlightened reason is not proof sufficient of its harmlessness, when we reflect that nothing is too preposterous to believe, when the appeal is made through the senses, and is one which accords with the reigning corruption of the soul..... We doubt if Christianity has ever before confronted such a monster as this modern necromancy. And this repulsive hybrid from the cesspools of nameless infamy reigns over many, and is spreading its borders. Let the press speak, and the pulpit but cry aloud.”SITI September 11, 1884, page 552.2

    “The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry?” This is what the “press and the pulpit” might well ask. We are glad when we see any one aroused over the terrible delusion of Spiritualism. But what can they say or do against it? Will they cry out against the corruption that is often associated with it? That would be simply an attempt to lop off some of the other branches, leaving the root untouched. Besides, if that is all that our friend the Methodist would assail, he would find his efforts seconded by many Spiritualists themselves. There are thousands of them who outwardly lead moral lives, so far as their fellow-men are concerned. Therefore a person might assail vice and corruption with all his power, and still leave Spiritualism unscathed.SITI September 11, 1884, page 552.3

    If the Methodist really wants to strike at the root of Spiritualism, we will tell it how. Let it teach the Bible doctrine concerning the state of the dead. Let it teach that “the dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down in the silence” (Psalm 115:17); that “the dead know not anything” (Ecclesiastes 9:5); that man’s “breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth, in that very day his thoughts perish” (Psalm 146:4); that they “sleep in the dust of the earth” (Daniel 12:2); and that “till the heavens be no more they shall not awake, nor be raised out of sleep.” Job 14:12.SITI September 11, 1884, page 552.4

    He who with all his heart believes these plain declarations of Scripture, can never be a Spiritualist. A belief in the conscious state of the dead is the foundation and superstructure of Spiritualism. He who holds to that doctrine has no warrant that he will not be a Spiritualist; indeed, there is hardly a possibility that he will not, when evidence is presented that appeals overpoweringly to his senses. Nothing but a firm belief in the word of God, as it reads, will save man from Satan’s masterpiece of deception.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.1

    We know that many try to make a distinction, and say that while they believe that departed ones are conscious and active, they do not believe that they can communicate with their friends in the flesh. Well, why do they not? Have they any reason for thinking that the dead cannot communicate with the living? “Why, certainly,” says one, “the Bible says that they cannot.” Exactly; we quoted several passages at the beginning of this article. The Bible says that the dead cannot communicate with the living, because they are unconscious, “they know not anything.” And no man can prove that the dead cannot make themselves known to us, without using those texts which declare that they have no conscious existence.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.2

    Perhaps there are Christians who see nothing shocking in such teaching. They say, “It is a matter of no practical importance how I believe concerning the dead. We could be just as good, even if we believed that the dead could return to us.” Do not thus deceive yourselves. For what purpose did Christ come? He says he came “that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. And again, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10. Now if we believe that we shall never die, but that, when that which men call death takes place, we shall go right on just as we do now, only under somewhat improved conditions, where does faith in Christ come in? What inducement can we have to believe in him? Cannot all see that those who hold such a theory leave Christ out of their religion entirely?SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.3

    And this is just what Spiritualism actually does. It rejects Christ. There is no Spiritualist who believes in Christ as a Saviour; they regard him as a good man, and that is all. They have no room for a Saviour in their system. They repudiate Christ.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.4

    With this brief explanation all can see why we are so earnest in our teaching of conditional immortality. It is not as a mere theory which we can adopt or reject at pleasure, but a truth of vital importance. To accept the doctrines of Spiritualism is to reject Christ; and without him we can do nothing. John 15:4, 5. He is “made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30. We can be ‘complete” only in him.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.5

    The Methodist truly says that Spiritualism is one of “Satan’s inventions;” it was invented by him when there were but two human beings on earth, and formulated in these words: “Thou shalt not surely die.” We shall not cease to cry out against this “modern necromancy.’ We should be rejoiced if we might stand side by side with the Methodist in this fight. The Bible, and that alone, will furnish the weapons. E. J. W.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.6

    “Under the Law. (Continued.)” The Signs of the Times, 10, 35.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Before directly considering the remaining passages containing the expression “under the law,” we wish briefly to recapitulate some points already canvassed, simply stating propositions, and referring to the texts which establish them.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.7

    1. The keeping of the law of God is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13. The fact that the word “man” is unqualified, shows that no particular man or race of men is referred to, but that the wise man intended to include the whole human race. It is the duty of all men to love God and their fellowmen.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.8

    2. Those who obey the law will stand justified before God. Romans 2:13. This proposition follows as a natural consequence of the first; for a just God will never condemn a man who does his whole duty. Nothing more than that can possibly be required of anybody.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.9

    3. But no man has done his whole duty, for none have kept the law perfectly. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 also verses 9-12. “What things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” Romans 3:19.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.10

    4. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight.” Romans 3:20. This is the direct consequence of the fact stated in verse 19. A good law will never justify evil-doers. And in these two verses we again have proof that the law was designed for the whole human family, and not for any particular class; for the law could not condemn those for whom it was not designed. That is to say, a law cannot condemn those who are not within its jurisdiction. But the law does condemn the whole world; therefore all the world are under its jurisdiction.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.11

    5. “Condemnation” is “the judicial act of declaring guilty and dooming to punishment.”-Webster. It is the direct opposite of “justification,” which is “a showing to be just or conformable to law, rectitude, or propriety.”-Ib. Therefore since the law of God declares the whole world to be guilty before God, and will not justify a single individual, it follows that all the world are under the condemnation of the law of God.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.12

    6. The whole world being found guilty, and being condemned by the law, are said to be “under the law.” Romans 3:19. Therefore “under the law” is a synonym for “condemned by the law.”SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.13

    7. Since all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, we are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24. We are justified by faith alone, “without the deeds of the law,” Romans 3:28; for no amount of good deeds will atone for one sin. If a man had stolen a horse, abstaining from horse-stealing to all eternity would not in the least clear him from the guilt. If we are freed from past transgressions, it must be solely by an act of favor on the part of God.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.14

    8. This justification belongs only to those who believe in Jesus. Romans 3:26. It is purely a matter of faith on the part of the sinner, and of favor on the part of God. Romans 3:21, 22, 28. And therefore to obtain justification from past transgressions, the sinner has only to have sincere faith in Christ. It takes just as long to be justified as it does to have faith in Christ, and no longer.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.15

    9. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1. That is, those who are in Christ-those who have faith in Him-are not under the law; they are the subjects of God’s special favor.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.16

    10. As a consequence of all the preceding propositions, it follows that all men are under the law until they have faith in Christ; from that moment they are out from under the law, unless they again bring themselves into condemnation by again yielding themselves to sin.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.17

    11. The law was ordained to life. Romans 7:10. That is, if it had been kept perfectly, which is what was designed, it would have given the obedient one eternal life. See Matthew 19:17.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.18

    12. But “the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23. And since all men have sinned, all men are condemned to death. There is no law in existence by which man in his present condition can secure eternal life. That is the gift of God through Christ. But it is not the fault of the law that it cannot give life. It is just as holy and just and good as it was before. The fault lies in man alone. Romans 7:12-14.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.19

    We are now prepared to consider a passage of Scripture, portions of which have been quoted perhaps oftener than any other part of the Bible, as proving the abolition of the law, but which is one of the strongest proofs of its perpetuity. It is found in the third chapter of Galatians. Verses 24, and 25 are supposed to teach that Christians need not keep the law. We shall consider these verses, as we do all others, in the light of the context. We shall have but little more to do than to refer to propositions already established by the Bible. We have not space to give Paul’s argument in full from the beginning of the chapter, but will begin with the twenty-first verse.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.20

    The apostle speaks in some of the preceding verses of God’s promise to Abraham, and, through him, to all the faithful. He says that the inheritance was simply by promise, through faith in Christ, yet the law was also given and designed to be kept. Then he asks, “Is the law then against the promises of God?” That is a very pertinent question. It opens the whole subject. Is the law against the promises of God? If we keep the law do we thereby manifest our disbelief of or contempt for the promises of God? Do we deny Christ by keeping the law? Paul answers in the same verse: “God forbid; for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” Galatians 3:21. The idea is, The law is not against (in conflict with) the promises of God, because we do not expect to gain the inheritance through the keeping of the law. That this is true is proved by the simple fact that if the law could have given life, righteousness should have come by means of it, and there would have been no need of Christ’s sacrifice and of the promises. So the simple fact that promises were given, proves that the law is powerless to give life.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.21

    And why is it that there could be no law that would give life? Verse 22 contains the answer: “But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” As we have already shown from the Scriptures, the reason why men cannot be justified and receive eternal life through the law is that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” And now mark well this point: The existence of the law, instead of being against the promises of God, is so much in harmony with them that they would amount to nothing without it. How so? Because, (1) “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” 1 Timothy 1:15; (2) He can save only those who believe. Mark 16:15; Acts 16:31; Romans 3:20, etc.; (3) All men are sinners (Romans 3:23) whether they are conscious of it or not; but (4) No one can know that he is a sinner until he examines the law of God, for “by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20, and (5) If a man did not find himself to be a sinner, he could not be induced to believe in Christ for the remission of sins; for if it is true that “they that are whole need not a physician,” it is equally true that they that think they are whole will not apply to a physician, no matter how sorely they may stand in need of one; therefore, (6) It is absolutely necessary that the law be in the world, in order to lead men to lay hold on the promises. The law of itself could save no one; the promises would be of no benefit to men without the law to show them their need of those promises. The law, by showing all men to be sinners, makes it possible for the promises to be extended to all the world. Whoever, therefore, claims that he is no sinner, puts himself outside the promises of God. And now, as we quote the text again, we shall have a better understanding of it: “But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise of faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” Galatians 3:22.SITI September 11, 1884, page 553.22

    “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” Verse 23. Right here read once more the propositions at the beginning of this article, and the texts therein cited. In what condition does God’s great sin detective,-the law,-show men to be? Guilty before God,-condemned to death. How can they be freed from this condition? By faith in Christ. There is no other way by which men can get free from condemnation. “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. Then how long must they remain in this state of condemnation? Until they can grasp the great truth of salvation through Christ alone, and exercise faith in him. They are “shut up” to this one way of escape.SITI September 11, 1884, page 554.1

    We wish to call the reader’s attention to the forcible figure here introduced. Mr. A has killed a man. In so doing he has broken the law of the State. It may have been his first and only offense; but no matter, he is a law-breaker. And now he is seized by the officers of the law, and taken into court, where, the facts being set forth, the law shows him to be guilty, and he is condemned to death. But sentence will not be executed for several weeks, and what is done with Mr. A in the meantime? He is shut up in prison, possibly with chains on his limbs. Now what is it that holds him there? It is the law of the State. It was the law that seized him, condemned him, and shut him up in jail. The sheriff and the judge were merely the agents of the law. He is then indeed “under the law.”SITI September 11, 1884, page 554.2

    And now Mr. A begins to realize his impending doom, and longs for freedom. How can he get it? The walls of his cell are impenetrable, the doors are securely bolted, and he is chained to the floor. It is very clear that he cannot help himself. Who can? There is only one man, and that is the governor. To him he turns as his only hope. He cannot plead the many good deeds that he may have done, for they do not destroy the fact that he has sinned. It was past transgression that brought him into his present condition. He can only promise obedience for the future, and beg for mercy. Through the mediation of powerful friends, and the clemency of the governor, he at last obtains his freedom.SITI September 11, 1884, page 554.3

    Now how is it in the case of the transgressor against God’s law? There is no hope of escaping, for the law is omnipresent, and as soon as the sin is committed it seizes the unfortunate one. “The wages of sin is death,” and since he is clearly a sinner, he is condemned already. Hence he is immediately “shut up.” He cannot bribe the jailer, and he has nothing to expect but death. He casts about for a way to escape from his bondage, but every scheme which he devises fails. One hope alone appears, and that is Christ. He has promised to rescue all who believe in him, and the unhappy sinner, believing that Christ is able “to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him,” lays hold on the hope thus held out, and becomes a free man. Now Paul says that before faith came we were all “under the law, shut up,” in just the condition above described. It is not merely the Jews, not a certain few, who are shut up under condemnation of the law, but all men in all ages of the world’s history have been in just that condition. As soon as any one exercised faith in Christ, he obtained his freedom.SITI September 11, 1884, page 554.4

    The verses that we first referred to, the 24th and 25th, are thus explained; but few more words are needed. As a consequence of the previous statements, the apostle concludes: “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” In verses 21, 22, the apostle anticipates this verse by showing how absolutely necessary the law is to the carrying out of the promises of God through Christ. See the comments on those verses in the preceding part of this article. Notice that the law does not point to Christ-that office is intrusted to something else-but it brings us, yea, drives and forces us to him as our only hope. And this is just what was done by the individual who is called in our version a “schoolmaster.” The proper term would be “pedagogue,” a word applied anciently not to one who taught children, but to one who accompanied them to the place where they might be taught, and beat them if they ran away. Of course the law does not bring those who do not wish relief; but when sinners want liberty, and begin to struggle for it, the law allows them no avenue of escape except Christ, who is the “end of the law.” It stands as an impossible wall, in whatever way the sinner may turn for escape, until he sees Christ, the Door across whose portals the law throws no bar.SITI September 11, 1884, page 554.5

    “But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Verse 25. No; the moment that we implicitly believe that Christ loves us individually, with a love that is able to save us, we are free. The chains that bind us to the body of death are severed, and “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” We are now new creatures in Christ, and must henceforth walk in newness of life, no longer “under the law,” but “under grace.”SITI September 11, 1884, page 554.6

    We would like to carry these thoughts still further, but this article is already too long. In our next we shall finish our consideration of the term “under the law,” and will then pass to some other phases of the law question. E. J. W.SITI September 11, 1884, page 554.7

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