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

    February 11, 1886

    “Jurisdiction of the Law. (Continued)” The Signs of the Times, 12, 6.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Thus far we have shown the existence of the law of God from the earliest history of mankind. We wish now to carry the argument a step further, as we have already intimated that we should do. We have found the law to be “the righteousness of God,” the rule of his government. Since God has always been supreme ruler, and his rule has always been just and righteous, he must have judged only by his own righteous character, which is embodied in the decalogue. Now God has created many worlds besides this one (Hebrews 1:2), and since he formed ours that it might be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18), the conclusion is legitimate, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, that he made the others for the same purpose. No thinking person can suppose that this little earth, one of the smallest among the innumerable planets of the universe, is the only one that is inhabited. Now of all these vast worlds, God is the King. “The Lord hath prepared his throne in the Heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.” Psalm 103:19. And since he can rule by naught except justice and righteousness, and all righteousness, even the righteousness of God himself, is comprised within the ten commandments, it follows that they, and they alone, form the rule of action in all God’s universe. Of the correctness of this conclusion we have direct evidence in Psalm 103:20, where we read that the angels “do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.” If the commandments are the rule in Heaven, where God himself resides, certainly they are the rule “in all places of his dominion.”SITI February 11, 1886, page 87.1

    This view of the law, and we are confident that it is a just view, lifts the law question far, far above the plane on which its opposers would fain confine it. Instead of being imperfect and not calculated to bring man into proper relation to his Maker, it is the righteousness of God; instead of being confined to a small portion of this earth, the bounds of its jurisdiction are as extensive as the universe; instead of being given to one nation of earth, and to that alone, it is that to which all loyal creatures, even the angels of Heaven, bow in humble allegiance; and instead of being limited to a few centuries of existence, it “stands fast forever and ever,” even as long as God exists and his kingdom ruleth over all.SITI February 11, 1886, page 87.2

    We are aware that at first sight many will think that this is going too far, and will possibly raise objections, and say that when we consider the nature of certain commandments, it is not reasonable to suppose that they could be in Heaven for the restraint of heavenly beings. We will therefore add one or two more points. But first we would remark that when a case is supported by positive evidence, we are not at liberty to reject it because there are points about it which we do not understand. Nothing can be proved so clearly that no one can raise an objection, or even frame an argument, against it; and many things that are susceptible of the clearest proof, cannot be fully comprehended even by those who present the proof. Take, for instance, the question of the existence of God. Both nature and revelation plainly teach that there is a God, who has existed from eternity; yet it is impossible to state the case so clearly that no one can cavil or raise objections; and there is no one, no matter how clearly he can demonstrate that there is a God, who can comprehend him, or understand how he could exist from eternity. The argument from ignorance is no argument at all. Truth is truth, however great our ignorance of it may be. The merchant sitting in his office can put a question to his agent a thousand miles distant, and receive a reply the next minute. Tell this well-known fact to a savage, and he will not believe you; he cannot comprehend how such a thing can be done, and will present objections and arguments which, to his mind, show the utter impossibility of such a thing. Yet in spite of his ignorance, the thing is true. So there are many things in connection with God and his government which finite wisdom cannot explain, but which we must accept.SITI February 11, 1886, page 87.3

    Now to further show the reasonableness, nay, the absolute necessity, of the ten commandments existing as a rule for all creatures of the universe,SITI February 11, 1886, page 87.4

    1. “The law of the Lord is perfect.” Psalm 19:7. Since it is perfect, nothing can be added to it or taken from it without making it imperfect. If, then, any creatures should be governed by more or less than this law, they would be governed by an imperfect law. But that, of course, would result in imperfect characters, and would further show the lawgiver to be imperfect; therefore such an idea cannot be entertained.SITI February 11, 1886, page 87.5

    2. “The law of the Lord is perfect,” because it is a transcript of his will,-his righteousness. Therefore all intelligent creatures must be governed by it. This has already been stated, but it will bear repetition. Too much stress cannot be laid upon it. Wherever God rules, his will must of necessity be law. That the ten commandment law, the law out of which the Jews were instructed, is the will of God, Paul shows in Romans 2:17, 18: “Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent [margin, triest the things that differ], being instructed out of the law.” That the ten commandments are here referred to, may be seen from verses 21-23. Paul, therefore, speaking to a Jew, said, You know the will of God, because you are instructed out of the law. No further evidence is needed to show that the ten commandments are the will of God. Now, since all intelligent creatures must be governed by the will of God, it is evident that they are governed by the ten commandments, unless it could be shown that God changes, having one will at one time and toward one people, and another will at another time and for another people. But this cannot be; for “with him is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17. There is, then, one law for all.SITI February 11, 1886, page 87.6

    3. There are none who can have a greater interest than the righteous whether of the redeemed or of those who never sinned, in having the ten commandments maintained as the standard of right. And this for the very reason that it is the standard of right. It is the badge of their loyalty. If there were a place where the ten commandments were not held as the law, the righteous ones would not want to go there; for there would be nothing to show that they were righteous. But enough has been said to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the universality of God’s holy law. In all places of God’s dominion, rational beings are by this law either justified or condemned. E. J. W.SITI February 11, 1886, page 87.7

    (To be continued.)

    “Faith Healing” The Signs of the Times, 12, 6.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The question as to the propriety of the praying for the recovery of the sick, and of depending on the prayer of faith for the healing of disease, has of late been discussed very much, by both the secular and religious press. On the one hand, the infidel and the worldling scoff at the idea of expecting the recovery of those whose diseases will not respond to the action of the medicinal agents known to science. To them such a thing seems an impossibility, an absurdity. The cause of this incredulity is found in 1 Corinthians 2:14. On the other hand there are those who read James 5:13-15, and declaim that all the remedial agents known to the medical profession should be thrown aside, and that in every disease the patient should rely on prayer alone for his recovery.SITI February 11, 1886, page 87.8

    These are the two extremes; the first was well represented by Mr. Tyndall, who several years ago proposed to test the efficacy of prayer by an experiment. He proposed to set apart two wards in a hospital; the patients in one to be treated by the ordinary remedies, and those in the other to be prayed for. This impious and foolish proposal was, for obvious reasons, declined by the Christian world. As an instance of the other extreme, we may cite the case of the young man belonging to the missionary company that Bishop Wm. Taylor recently conducted to Africa. Being taken with one of the fevers incident to that climate, he utterly refused to make use of any means for his recovery, but, as he said, trusted himself entirely in the hands of the Lord, believing that his faith would insure his restoration to health. In vain the Bishop urged him to adopt the simple remedies which proved successful in other cases similarly afflicted, and the young man died.SITI February 11, 1886, page 87.9

    We most heartily believe in the power of God to heal the sick, that he has often done so in answer to the professor of faith, and that he does so still; but at the same time we believe that those who discard all remedial agents, and establish what they term “faith cures,” i.e., places where all the sick who have faith may come to be healed by prayer alone, bring the cause of religion into disrepute. The position of the modern “faith cures’ advocates may be summed up to about as follows: 1. Disease of the body corresponds to disease of the soul, and if cured at all, must be cured in the same manner that sins are forgiven, viz., by faith alone; 2. All disease may be cured if we have faith; 3. We must trust the Lord for the healing of all our ailments, without using any material remedies. And therefore, (1) The use of any remedial agency is a manifestation of a lack of faith; and (2) If we call on the Lord in faith, without having first employed remedies, we have a right in every instance to expect, and even to demand a cure. The folly of such a position may be readily seen by a consideration of the Scriptural position, to which we will now proceed.SITI February 11, 1886, page 87.10

    We will first cite as a parallel the instruction found in the Bible concerning the provision for the nourishment of our bodies when in health. In the sermon on the mount, Christ said: “Take no thought for your life, of what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink; nor yet the for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more then meat, and the body than raiment?” “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall be eaten? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be closed? for heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” Matthew 6:25, 31, 32. Now an extremest might say, “It is wrong for me to work for my living; God knows what I need, and he will see that I am provided for, if I only exercise faith, and do not try to do anything for myself.” So he folds his hands in idleness, and perhaps starves to death. What is this? What is there wrong in this interpretation of Scripture? Simply this: He has been too hasty in his conclusion, and has not taken into the account that other inspired declaration that, “if any would not work, neither should eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10.SITI February 11, 1886, page 87.11

    A proper interpretation of Scripture takes into the account the various texts bearing on a given point, and then draws a legitimate conclusion from the whole. As bearing on the question of living, we quote the following: “Let him that stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” Ephesians 4:28. “We beseech you, brethren, ... that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you: that ye may walk honestly toward then that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.” 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12. A very plain intimation that if they do not work they will lack the necessaries of life. Again Paul says: “But if any provide not for his own, and, specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” 1 Timothy 5:8.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.1

    Now is there any lack of harmony between these texts and Matthew 6:25? Not a particle. Read now Deuteronomy 8:18: “But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God; for is he that giveth thee power to get wealth.” Read the context, from the 10th verse onward, and you will see that all the texts which we have quoted are bound together. Men are to work with their hands for their support; but they are still to give the credit to God, because he gives them the power and the opportunity to labor. If God gives a man the ability to work, and then orders circumstances so that he has an opportunity to work, the honor belongs to God. Thus it is that God supports us. And knowing that “the Lord will provide,” we are not to worry and fret over the future, as though the Lord had no interest in us.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.2

    There are cases, however, in which is beyond the power of man to secure provision by his own labor. In such cases the Lord has worked a direct miracle, as in the case of the Israelites in the wilderness, and Elijah by the brook Chereth and in the desert. What God has done for the support of his people, we may be sure he will do again under similar circumstances, for his promise cannot fail; but from a careful examination of Scripture it certainly appears that we are not warranted in expecting the Lord to work a direct miracle for support, so long as it is possible for us to provide for ourselves by using the means which is ordained. Such an expectation is not in accordance with God’s word, and hence is not faith.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.3

    Now it seems to us that the same principle that governs the support of the body when in health must be acted upon in seeking a restoration of it to health, when it is diseased. This can best be proved by citing typical instances of healing, as recorded in the Bible. By so doing we shall find that the cases where God has directly interposed to heal people by a miracle, were cases that were beyond the reach of human skill.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.4

    In the first place we have a record of many who were raised from the dead. Here, of course, human agency was of no avail.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.5

    Entering into particulars, we not the case of the young man who was born blind. John 9. In his case it was not thought worth while even to seek for a cure; for, as the young man said, “Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind if this man [Christ] were not of God, he could do nothing.” John 9:32, 33.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.6

    Again, we read of a woman with the issue of blood, who was healed by touching the hem of Christ’s garment. She had been afflicted for twelve years, “and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing better, but rather grew worse.” Mark 5:26. The “beloved physician” says that she “had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any.” Luke 8:43.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.7

    Take the case of the nobleman’s son he was “at the point of death.” The case was very urgent; for when Jesus was testing the man’s faith, the father cried out, “Sir, come down ere my child die.” John 4:49. He felt that Jesus alone had power to check the fever.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.8

    The man at the pool of Bethesda had been unable to walk for thirty-eight years. John 5:2-9. He was unable even to make the attempt to make use of the remedy that was supposed to be able to reach his case. He was healed by the word of the Lord.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.9

    Indeed the third of Acts we have the account of the man whom Peter healed at the gate of the temple. He had never walked, and no means known to man could enable him to walk. The healing of this man was admitted, even by the scoffing Jews, to be “a notable miracle.”SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.10

    Take the case of the stilling of the tempest, recorded in Matthew 8:24-26 and Luke 8:22-25. Here, when the men were unable to manage the boat on account of the violence of the sea, and were about to perish, Christ stilled the winds and waves with a word.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.11

    When Jesus miraculously fed the 4,000 men, besides the women and children, it was because they had eaten nothing for three days, and were in the wilderness, where it was impossible to find food for such a vast multitude. More than this, they had not sufficient strength to go to the villages to buy food, and doubtless but few of them had money, had they been able to go.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.12

    To all these cases might be added the numerous instances of the cleansing of lepers who had been cast out as incurable, the healing of the deaf and dumb, and the casting out of devils. In every case the direct power of Heaven was interposed after the means known to mortals had failed.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.13

    The case of Peter’s mother-in-law might be cited by some as a case where Jesus healed a curable disease. But no one knows that this fever could be cured. Indeed. The probabilities are, rather, that, as in the case of the nobleman’s son, they had been unable to check the fever by ordinary means.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.14

    There is another class of cases that may be thought to contradict the position above taken. These are the cases where persons whom God has employed in a special manner in his service, have been healed in answer to prayer when there was urgent need of their immediate attendance upon certain duties connected with the Lord’s work. Persons have been healed of ailments that possibly might in time have been removed by medical skill, if it had been employed. But these cases are in reality the same as the others; for there was certainly no human skill that could heal them in the brief space of time that the circumstances demanded.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.15

    Again we notice that in many cases where miracles of healing were performed, the sufferers were required to do something before their cure was effected. Namaan the Syrian was required to wash seven times in the Jordan. 2 Kings 5:1-14. The blind man of whom John writes, after having his eyes anointed with clay and spittle, was told to go and wash in the pool of Siloam, and then he received his sight. Now whatever effect these washings had, it is safe to say that if those individuals had not employed the means provided they would not have been healed. Thus we see that God has provided remedies that will with his blessing accomplish the restoration of the sick to health, and he has made it possible for men to obtain a limited knowledge of these remedies. Now when those heaven-ordained remedies are within our reach, for us to expect to get well when we refuse to make use of them, is a manifestation not of faith, but of presumption. The case is exactly parallel to one who, having health and strength, should fold his hands and expect the Lord to feed him.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.16

    But the worst presumption comes in when men establish what they call “faith cures,” where, as they advertise, all people may come to be prayed for and healed. This is a reversing the true order of things, instead of being content to be instruments in the hands of God, such ones presume to make God an instrument in their hands, and to manipulate him to suit their own interests.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.17

    It is entirely a mistake to try to make a strict parallel between sickness, disease of the body, and sin, disease of the soul. Men can do nothing whatever to secure the forgiveness of sin, except to believe in the merits of Christ. There are no means provided, no works, by which a man may cleanse himself from sin. But there are means provided by which he can remove certain forms of disease. Again, God has not promised to instantly heal all cases of disease; but he will at once forgive the sins of any who come to him in faith. But in every case of healing, whether of the body or of the soul, the praise rightfully belongs to God. “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed.” Lamentations 3:22.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.18

    Once more: Everything must tend to the glory of God. All things are for his pleasure, and he is worthy to receive all honor, and glory, and blessing. Revelation 4:11. Now it is not always for his glory that even his most devoted servants should be freed from disease. Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was not removed, although he thrice besought the Lord that it might depart from him. Therefore he gloried in infirmities, that the power of Christ might rest upon him. Sometimes Christ is glorified by the patient’s suffering, or even by the death, of his faithful followers, and therefore the Christian should pray that he may recover if it will be for the glory of God. “Not has I will, but as thou wilt.” We do not always know what will be for the best. We are zealous to work for the Lord; and when we are afflicted we feel like a prisoner of war, who, in his anxiety to be in the battle, beats against his prison bars. We are in danger of imagining that the Lord needs us in the field, forgetting that he knows best, and may require us to serve him in affliction, and that he can get along without any of our service. Milton solved the problem, when, having been smitten with blindness in the midst of his career, he wrote:-SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.19

    “When I consider how my light is spent
    Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide;
    And that one talent which is death to hide,
    Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
    To serve therewith my Maker, and present
    My true account, lest he returning chide;
    Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?
    I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
    That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
    Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
    Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best; his state
    Is kingly; thousand at his bidding speed,
    And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
    They also serve who only stand and wait.”
    SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.20

    If the position of many so-called “holiness” people and the modern “faith cure’ advocates were true, that we may at once be healed of all disease if we will but exercise faith, then Christians would not all be practically immortal. There would be no death. But immortality is not promised to any one until the coming of the Lord and the resurrection. See Luke 20:35, 36; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, etc. At that time “the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing.” Isaiah 35:5, 6. Of the new earth it is said, “And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick; the people that dwelt therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.” Isaiah 33:24. And then, when all things shall have been made new, and the people of God have been redeemed from destruction, we will find the complete fulfillment of Psalm 103:2-4: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth all thine the iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies.” Compare this with Isaiah 33:24.SITI February 11, 1886, page 88.21

    It is a favorite saying with a man that “God helps them who help themselves.” This is true; but there is something else that is equally true, and that is that God helps those who are not able to help themselves. And while his protecting care is continually over us, blessing the means which we employ for the preservation or the recovery of our strength, it is not till we are brought where the resources which we have at hand utterly fail that God miraculously exhibits his power; and then only when he will be glorified in so doing. As is often said, “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” Isaiah 40:29. E. J. W.SITI February 11, 1886, page 89.1

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents