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    January 14, 1886

    “The Law and the Gospel Co-extensive” The Signs of the Times, 12, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In Nehemiah 9:13 we find the following words in the Levites’ confession to God: “Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai; and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments and true laws, good statutes and commandments.” Here we have reference made to true laws and good statutes. A good and true law would in every case condemn sin; therefore the law here referred to is of the same character as that which, being transgressed, makes it necessary for the gospel to be preached. This law was given upon Mount Sinai; so we examine the law there given to see if it meets the requirements.SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.1

    In the 19th of Exodus we have a description of the preparation of the people to hear the law from Sinai. We read:-SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.2

    “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to-day and to-morrow, and let them wash their clothes, and be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.” Exodus 19:10, 11.SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.3

    “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.” Exodus 19:16-18.SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.4

    This was the condition of Mount Sinai when from it God spoke “true laws, good statutes and commandments.” Chapter 20, verses 3-17, contains the words which God spoke at that time. We quote them in full:-SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.5

    1. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.6

    2. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.7

    3. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.8

    4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.9

    5. “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.10

    6. “Thou shalt not kill.SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.11

    7. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.12

    8. “Thou shalt not steal.SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.13

    9. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.14

    10. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbours wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbours.”SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.15

    These are the words which the Lord spoke in the hearing of all the people, from the midst of the fire and smoke upon Mount Sinai. Soon afterward he spoke to Moses, as follows:-SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.16

    “Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.” Exodus 24:12.SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.17

    Accordingly, we find by reading the remaining verses of the chapter, that Moses went up into the mount, and remained there with God forty days and forty nights. While he was there, the Lord gave him minute directions concerning the building of the sanctuary. Then we read:-SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.18

    “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” Exodus 31:18.SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.19

    “And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand; the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.” Exodus 32:15, 16.SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.20

    Then we are told how Moses, as he drew near the camp, saw the golden calf, and the people dancing around it, “and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath [at the foot of] the mount.” But this was not the end of the matter; for very soon we read thus:-SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.21

    “And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.” Exodus 34:1.SITI January 14, 1886, page 22.22

    We will now read the words of Moses, as he rehearses the whole matter to the Israelites, just before his death. We begin with the point last quoted:-SITI January 14, 1886, page 23.1

    “At that time the Lord said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount, out of the midst of the fire, in the day of the assembly; and the Lord gave them unto me. And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me.” Deuteronomy 10:1-5.SITI January 14, 1886, page 23.2

    One more quotation on this point. In the course of Moses’ final address to the people, in which he rehearsed all their history in the wilderness, he repeated the substance of the ten commandments, and at the close he said:-SITI January 14, 1886, page 23.3

    “These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.” Deuteronomy 5:22.SITI January 14, 1886, page 23.4

    The gist of these texts of Scripture may be expressed as follows: The good and true laws which were spoken upon Sinai (Nehemiah 9:13) were the ten commandments, found in Exodus 20:3-17; these ten commandments were written by God himself on two tables of stone; and there was nothing spoken to the people by the Lord, except that which was placed upon the tables of stone (Deuteronomy 5:22). Therefore the words found in Exodus 20:3-17, and no others, form the ten commandments, the perfect law of God.SITI January 14, 1886, page 23.5

    But what has this to do with the gospel? Just this: We found that the gospel is the remedy for sin, which is the transgression of the law; and that the law must be in force as long and as extensively as the gospel is preached. We were concerned to know what law it is the transgression of which makes it necessary for the gospel to be preached, and we have now found it. One more step completes the identification. It is this:-SITI January 14, 1886, page 23.6

    Paul says (Romans 7:7): “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not know sin, but by the law; for I had not know lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” The law here referred to must be the same law that is referred to in John 3:4, because it is one that points out sin; it does this because it is “holy, and just, and good.” Therefore it is the law to which the gospel relates. And what law is it?-It is the law which condemns unlawful desire by saying, “Thou shalt not covet.” But this is the last one of the ten commandments. Therefore we have proved to a demonstration that the ten commandments of Exodus 20:3-17,-those commandments which were spoken by Jehovah, in the mount, out of the midst of the fire, of the smoke, and of the thick darkness, and which were written on two tables of stone and deposited in the ark,-form the law which points out sin. They are the law which has been universally trodden underfoot, making it necessary that the gospel should be preached in all the world, to every creature; and, therefore, it is as plain as the Scripture can make it, that they are still binding upon every creature in every part of the world. If it were otherwise, there would be no sin, and, consequently, no need of the gospel. Whoever, therefore, says that he is not under the jurisdiction of those ten commandments, virtually says that he has no sin; and whoever says that he has no sin, places himself outside of the gospel plan; for “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” and no others. His salvation has reference only to those who have transgressed the law of God, the ten commandments.SITI January 14, 1886, page 23.7

    The above argument is, we think, so conclusive as to make it almost unnecessary to notice the assumption that the gospel of Christ is that which points out sin. If this were true, we should have Christ introducing the gospel into the world in order to save men from the rejection of it! That is, the remedy for the disease creates the disease, the remedy being introduced to cure that which without it would never have existed! Such an absurdity is too puerile to be entertained for a moment. The gospel must relate to something outside of and prior to itself. Since the gospel saves from sin, it is evident that sin existed before the gospel, and that it continues to exist so long as the gospel exists; and since sin is the transgression of the law, it is just as evident that the law existed before there was sin, and, consequently, before there was any gospel, or any need of it, and that it exists as long, at least, as the gospel exists.SITI January 14, 1886, page 23.8

    The testimony of men can never add to the force of the Bible; but to show that the view taken here is not a peculiar one among Christians, we quote from the two men, both imminent for scholarship and piey:-SITI January 14, 1886, page 23.9

    “The ordinary method of God is to convict sinners by the law, and that only. The gospel is not the means by which God hath ordained, or which our Lord himself used, for this end. We have no authority in Scripture for applying it thus, nor any ground to think it will prove effectual. Nor have we any more ground to expect this from the nature of the thing. ‘They that are whole,’ as our Lord himself observed, ‘need not a physician, but they that are sick.’ It is absurd, therefore, to offer a physician to them that are whole, or that at least imagine themselves so to be. You are first to convince them that they are sick; otherwise they will not thank you for your labor. It is equally absurd to offer Christ to those whose heart is whole, having never yet been broken. It is, in the proper sense, casting pearls before swine. Doubtless they will trample them underfoot; and it is no more than you have reason to expect, if they also turn again and rend you.”- Wesley’s Works, Vol. 1, Sermon 85.SITI January 14, 1886, page 23.10

    “The law of God, and its great and solemn injunctions, should be distinctly set forth. Our congregations should be gathered as a round the base of Mount Sinai, while from its summit is heard the voice of God in those commandments which from its summit are heard the voice of God in those commandments which are unalterable and the eternal in their character. The effect of these utterances will be, that conscience will be awakened, and hearts will tremble. Some will say, with Moses, ‘I do exceedingly fear and quake,’ when they behold the majesty of law, the purity of God, and their own impurity. Others may be repelled, and will say, ‘Let not God speaks to us anymore.’ Some will object to the sternness of the law, and will say, ‘Prophesy smooth things;’ but still that law must be preached. It brings the sinner to recognition of his sins in having transgressed God’s holy law, and shows him the fearfulness of the doom which is impending over him.SITI January 14, 1886, page 23.11

    “The law must be followed by the gospel; the awakened sinner must be pointed to the Saviour, that he may feel that, deep as are the stains of his transgressions, the blood of Christ can wash them all away. There are many preachers who love to dwell on the gospel alone. They talk sweetly and beautifully of the fatherhood of God. This is well. It is more than well. It is essential. But sometimes they go beyond this, and declaim against the preaching of the law-intimate that it belongs to a past age, a less civilized society; that men can best be moved by love alone, and they rely wholly on its attractive power. Such a gospel may rear a beautiful structure, but its foundation is in the sand. No true edifice can be raised without its foundations of being dug deep by repentance toward God, and then shall the rock be reached, and the building shall be strong enough through faith in Jesus Christ. The law without gospel is dark and hopeless; the gospel without law is inefficient and powerless. The one leads to servitude, the other to antinomianism. The two combined to produce ‘charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.’”-Bishop Simpson in “Lectures on Preaching,” pp. 188, 189.SITI January 14, 1886, page 23.12

    The obligations which rests upon all mankind to keep the law of God, will be considered more at length in future articles. E. J. W.SITI January 14, 1886, page 23.13

    “Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XIII. (Concluded.)” The Signs of the Times, 12, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner


    But as the pope proceeds, he grows more bold, and speaks out the popish views so plainly that it would seem that even the most blind Protestant might take the alarm. He says:-SITI January 14, 1886, page 24.1

    “These, then, are the things taught by the Catholic Church concerning the constitution and government of the State. Concerning these sayings and decrees, if a men will only judge dispassionately, no form of government is, per se, condemned if so long as it has nothing repugnant to Catholic doctrine, and is able, if wisely and justly managed, to preserve the State in the best condition. Nor is it, per se, to be condemned whether the people have a greater or less share in the government; for at certain times, and with the guarantee of certain laws, such participation may appertain, not only to the usefulness, but even to the duty of the citizens. Moreover, there is no just cause that anyone should condemned the Church as being too restrictive in gentleness, or inimical to that liberty which is natural and legitimate. In truth, the Church judges it not lawful that the various kinds of divine worship should have the same right as the true religion; still it does not condemn those governors of States, who, for the sake of acquiring some great good, or to prevent great ill, patiently bear with manners and customs, so that each kind of religion has its place in the State.”SITI January 14, 1886, page 24.2

    Let no one think that “the Church” would lay out a cast-iron rule for the government of States. Let not patriotic Americans be alarmed. The pope does not condemn a Republican form of government, nor indeed any form of government, per se, if it will only work for the interests of the papacy. The Catholic Church is just as well satisfied to control a senate or a legislature as it is to control a king. And let no one, says the crafty Leo, condemn the Church for its leniency in tolerating the other forms of worship than the Catholic, because it does not now, any more than it ever did, judge it lawful that the various kinds of divine worship should have the same right as the Catholic religion; but, owing to its present “unfavorable position,” it is not able to “interfere” as much as it would like to. And, moreover, the Roman Church, so great is its kindness, does not condemn those rulers to allow “each kind of religion” to have “its place in the State,” since, on account of the existing circumstances, they cannot help themselves. That is, the pope does not condemn rulers for not persecuting Protestants, when they have not the power to do so! what marvelous gentleness!SITI January 14, 1886, page 24.3

    And then, as if to emphasize the fact that the Catholic Church still cherishes, as a precious legacy, the principles (or, rather, the lack of principles), which caused Huss and Jerome and thousands of others to be burned at the stake, the pope says:-SITI January 14, 1886, page 24.4

    “Therefore at so critical a juncture of events, Catholic men, if, as it behooves them, they will listen to us, will easily see what are their own and each other’s duties in matters of opinion as well as of action. And the formation of opinion, whatsoever things the Roman pontiffs have handed down, each and every one is it necessary to hold in firm judgment, well understood, and as often as occasion demands, openly to declare.”SITI January 14, 1886, page 24.5

    But how shall these wise and humane recommendations be carried into effect? The pope provides for this as follows:-SITI January 14, 1886, page 24.6

    “But generally, as we have said, to wish to take no part in public affairs would be in that degree vicious, in which it brought to the common weal neither care nor work; and on this account the more so, because Catholic men are bound by the admonition of the doctrine which they profess, to do what has to be done with integrity and with faith. If, on the contrary, they are idle, those whose opinions do not in truth give any great hope of safety, would easily get possession of the reins of government. This also would be attended with danger to the Christian name, because they would become most powerful who are badly disposed to the Church, and those least powerful who are well disposed. Wherefore it is evident that there is just cause for Catholics to undertake the conduct of public affairs; for they do not assume those responsibilities to approve of what is not lawful and the methods of government at this time; but in order that they may turn these very methods, as far as may be, to the unmixed and true public good, holding this purpose in their minds, to infuse into all the veins of the commonwealth the wisdom and virtue of the Catholic religion.”SITI January 14, 1886, page 24.7

    Is there any one who cannot see the meaning of this? Is it an innocent and harmless recommendation? Read it again carefully. Catholic men ought to take active part in public affairs. Well, is there any reason why they should not? No; a Catholic has as good a right to vote as anybody else has; but we would have professed Protestants alive to the object for which they vote, so that it may be defeated. Why should Catholic men not be idle in public affairs? Because if they are, those were not favorable to popish assumptions will get the reins of government. This must not be allowed. No one need think that a Catholic, but becoming active in the politics of a Government that is non-Catholic, does so because he approves of that form of Government, but because the design is to turn “these very methods” to the support of the “public good.” In other words, the pope is anxious to use even this Republican Government for the support of papal pretensions.SITI January 14, 1886, page 24.8

    In connection with the last quotation, read the following:-SITI January 14, 1886, page 24.9

    “The means to seek these ends can scarcely be laid down upon one uniformed plan, since they must suit places and times different from each other. Nevertheless, in the first place, let concord of wills be preserved, and a likeness of things to be done be sought for. And each will be attained to the best, if all shall consider the admonitions of the apostolic see a law of conduct, and shall obey the bishops.”SITI January 14, 1886, page 24.10

    What does this mean? It means that whatever methods varying circumstances demand should be employed. Only one object is in view, and that is to secure the advancement of the Roman Catholic religion, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship. It means that whether in Europe or in the United States, the Roman Catholic who engages in politics is to “consider the admonitions of the apostolic see a law of conduct,” and to “obey the bishops.” It means that a steady and untiring effort is being made to bring the United States, as well as all other Governments, under the dictation of a foreign, ecclesiastical ruler, the representative of that “man of sin,” “who oppose and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped.” We claim that these conclusions are legitimately drawn from the letter of Pope Leo XIII., and not only so, but these things are plainly stated in that letter. Every candid person must testify that we have not wrested the pope’s meaning in the slightest degree. His words speak for themselves.SITI January 14, 1886, page 24.11

    And now someone will ask: Do you really imagine that the pope will ever gain such control as he desires? Not in this country; but the danger is none the less, not withstanding. When Protestants can see nothing but what is perfectly allowable in such a letter as that of the pope’s, and can even commended, it shows that the principles of what is nowadays termed Protestantism are not very different from those of Catholicism. The angel of Revelation, who announced the judgment of the great harlot, Babylon, declared that “all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Revelation 18:3. Fornication, when applied to the church, means connection with the world, which, on the part of the church, is always unlawful; and the position which the majority of professed Protestants take concerning the pope’s views on “the Christian Constitution of States,” shows that people are fast becoming intoxicated with the pleasing idea that the church, instead of depending alone on the pure words of the gospel, ought to unite with the world, that it may secure support from it. So intoxicated are they that their vision is affected, so that they cannot see anything wrong in the demands of the papacy. Surely it cannot be long before the likeness to the beast will be complete it. And when this unholy union has been consummated, then we may be sure that all the wrath of offend supreme power will be visited upon those who will maintain their allegiance to God alone.SITI January 14, 1886, page 25.1

    We are willing to be called alarmists, for we are commanded to “sound an alarm.” Joel 2:1. God grant that many may heed the alarm, and in keeping “the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus,” may find a safe refuge from the unmingled wrath of God, infinitely greater and more terrible than that of all the nations of earth, which is sure to be visited upon all who worship either the beast or his image. E. J. W.SITI January 14, 1886, page 25.2

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