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    October 27, 1887

    “Information Wanted” The Signs of the Times, 13, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The editor of the Herald of Truth in noticing a new addition to Sunday literature, said: “Our belief is that the Sabbath or seven-day worship is an institution as old as creation, yet lifted, in the highest Christian thought, above the formality of days. This we believe to have been the position held by the apostle Paul.”SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.1

    Now that the good Doctor who presides over the columns of the Herald has begun to making his “confession of faith,” we would like to have him go on, and also make more clear a few points in his article, for a confession of faith must of all things be most clear.SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.2

    1. “We believe that the Sabbath or seventh-day worship is as old as creation.” We will accept that, because we read that “in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:11. Also in Genesis 2:3 we read “God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” If the Doctor had done what we have done for him, viz., given authority, the first part of his statement would have been perfect. Now for the second part.SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.3

    2. “Yet [it is] lifted, in the highest Christian thought, above the formality of days.” We will quote the statement again in full, that the connection may be seen: “The Sabbath or seventh-day of worship is as old as creation, yet [it is] lifted, in the highest Christian thought, about the formality of days.” That is, “the Sabbath or seventh-day worship” has no connection with such formal things as days! Our knowledge of either theology for science is insufficient to enlighten us as to how the Sabbath, requiring seventh-day of worship, can be celebrated on no day at all. We doubt if even the learned editor of the Herald of Truth can make this appear.SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.4

    This, we are told, is what is accomplished by “the highest Christian thought.” Its seems, then, that the office of “the highest [modern] Christian thought” is to lift things from the real to the unreal; from plain common sense into absurdity. Let us try it on the first commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” This is the language of Jehovah, and teaches us that the worship of one God, Maker of heaven and earth, as an institution is as old as creation, and much older; but “the highest Christian thought” would lift this above the formality of any specified object of worship. And so the Hindu, whose highest aspiration is to become lost in contemplation of an idea, is the ideal Christian.SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.5

    Try it on the seventh commandment. That commandment guards the marriage relation, which, as an institution, is as old as creation (see Genesis 2:21-24); but in “the highest Christian thought” it is lifted above the formality of persons! That is, in “the highest Christian thought” we have seventh day worship without any day at all; we have the worship of one God, without regard to any Being; and we have marriage, without anybody being married! If this be the “highest Christian thought,” we will have none of it.SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.6

    Why does the Doctor take a position concerning the Sabbath which involves him in such absurdities? Because he doesn’t know what else to do. His knowledge of the Bible, and his honesty, will not let him make the claim that Sunday was the original Sabbath, and something else will not lead him acknowledge the fact that seventh-day worship, which is as old as creation, is to endure as long as creation lasts. So he takes a position which involves the keeping of no day at all, and thus stultifies himself in his strict observance of Sunday. We know that he has plenty of company in that position, but we can’t imagine how that can help him. If we were on the rack, the fact that a multitude of others were undergoing the same tortures would give us no relief.SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.7

    In the same paper from which we extract this partial confession of faith, there is a clipping from the Occident, descriptive of the so-called “baptism” of six infants, who, so says the Occident, were thus “numbered with the ‘household of faith.’” On this is we find the following comment, which we heartily endorse:-SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.8

    “The Herald of Truth wants to know how much faith these six little ones required to belong to the ‘household of faith’? The information would be valuable to its readers in this increasingly intelligent age. Or was it sponsor faith on the part of parents or guardians? If so, where is the warrant for it in God’s word? No twisting of Scripture, brother editors of the Occident, no ‘suffer little children to come unto me,’ is wanted. We are sick of this straining of Scripture ‘clean from the purpose’ of the text itself. Rise up, brethren of the Presbytery of San Francisco, like men, and give us your ‘Thus saith the Lord’ for ‘infant baptism,’ or else we will give you a ‘Mum Social,’ without the possibility of broken silence.”SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.9

    Suppose we administer to the Doctor a dose of his own medicine. The SIGNS OF THE TIMES wants to know how much “Christian thought” there is in an argument for a practice which takes the Sabbath of the Lord, which was declared by Jehovah himself to be “the seventh day,” and lifts it “above formality of days,” and then lets sit down again upon the first day? Where is the warrant for it in God’s word? We cannot accuse the Herald of “twisting Scripture,” for it has not made mention of any. But when it does quote, we want the full force of the text. We, too, are “sick of this straining of Scripture ‘clean from the purpose’ of the text itself.” Hitherto that has been almost the sole dependence of the Sunday cause. Rise up, brethren of the Baptist Church of California, and give us your “Thus saith the Lord” for Sunday keeping, or else unite with the Presbytery of San Francisco in their “Mum Social” over infant baptism. W.SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.10

    “Who Is Responsible?” The Signs of the Times, 13, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In a catechism of the Episcopal Church we find the following question and answer:-SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.11

    Q.-What did your sponsors do for you?SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.12

    A.-They did promise and vow three things in my name:-SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.13

    “First-That I should renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh. Secondly-That I should believe all the articles of the Christian faith. And thirdly-That I should keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of my life.”SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.14

    This, our readers will understand, is the promise that is made at the baptism (sprinkling) of an infant. As we read it, the thought occurred to us that those who make it take a grave responsibility upon themselves. We do not believe that any realize how great that responsibility is. Let us see. The baptism of an individual indicates his death to sin, and his determination to walk, as the apostle says, “in newness of life;” or, as the catechism has it, to “renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh,” and to “keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walking in the same,” all the days of his life. Now is evident that an infant a few days or weeks, or even months old, is not competent to make any such promise. It knows nothing of the sinful works of the flesh, nor of God’s holy will and commandments. This is well understood, and therefore his parents, or some other persons of mature age, make the promise for him. These persons are then called that child’s sponsors.SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.15

    The question now arises, Suppose at the child, as he approaches manhood, does not manifest any disposition to fulfill the vow made for him by his sponsors, who is responsible? Such a case frequently happens. We have personally known many who have been baptized (?) in infancy, who courted “the pomps and vanities of this wicked world,” and reveled in “all the sinful lusts of the flesh.” It is barely possible that they nominally believed the “articles of the Christian faith;” but their faith was not indicated by works, for they lived and died in open violation of “God’s holy will and commandments.” Now in such cases are not those who made the vow responsible for its non-fulfillment? The very name that is applied to them-“sponsors”-indicates that they are.SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.16

    A sponsor, according to Webster, is “one who holds himself to answer for another, and is responsible for his default.” Then those who make the vow above recorded virtually say, “I bind self as the surety that this vow shall be fulfilled in the future life of this infant; if he shall fail to fulfill it, I will do it myself or will suffer the consequences of such failure.” But this, as all can see, involves difficulties that cannot be overcome.SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.17

    1. It becomes necessary, in case the child proved faithless, for the sponsor to do his duty for him, as well as his own. This, however, is an impossibility, for no man can do more than his own duty. It is upon the supposition that a man may do more than his own duty, that the Catholics base the monstrous doctrine of indulgences. Christ says: “When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do.” Luke 17:10.SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.18

    2. “The wages of sin is death;” since the child lives and dies in sin, the one who has pledged himself to become responsible for his failure to live a Christian life, must die in his stead. But here more difficulties present themselves: (a) What is to become of the one in his stead the sponsor dies? He cannot be saved, for he has never accepted Christ, and “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. Then two men must die for the offense of only one. This would be an injustice, and therefore cannot be, for God is just. (b) The sponsor has, perhaps, lived a life of a humble obedience, and faith in Christ; then, according to the promise (Romans 10:9; Revelation 22:14), he must be saved. And thus it happens that he must both live and die! His own reward is eternal life, but on account of the sins of the one for whom he became surety, he must suffer eternal death. Impossible.SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.19

    3. While there can be no doubt that the sponsor really pledges himself to one or the other of the above-mentioned impossible things, the Bible settles the matter thus: “Behold, all souls our mind; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine; the soul that sinneth it shall die.” “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Ezekiel 18:4, 20.SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.20

    Thus we see that in no way is it possible for sponsors to fulfill the vow that they may make at the so-called baptism of an infant. Their action is nothing else than a solemn farce. But does this relieve them entirely from responsibility? By no means. It is not a light thing for one to promise that which he can by no possibility fulfill. If for “every idle word that men shall speak they shall give account thereof in the day of Judgment,” much more shall they be held to answer if those idle words are in the form of solemn vows?SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.21

    The conclusion which anyone can see should be drawn is that such promises are sinful. “But the child cannot promise for himself to forsake the ways of sin, and what shall be done?” Wait until he has sin to forsake, and then he will be old enough to make the promise to forsake it if he wishes to. If the child is not old enough to make an intelligent choice for himself, he is not old enough to know what sin is, and consequently he needs no baptism. When he is old enough to choose, then he is old enough not to act on his own responsibility, and no others need take the responsibility which they cannot by any possibility discharge.SITI October 27, 1887, page 646.22

    “But the Saviour says, ‘Suffer little children to come unto me,’ and how dare we disobey that command?” You need not. “Suffer,” that is, allow them to come. Do not throw any obstacle in their way, and you will be obeying it. You may invite them to come, you may urge them to come, but do not think that you can come in their stead. The most that you can do in that line is to set a godly example for them; if this is done, they will undoubtedly come. But the very word “suffer,” that is, “permit,” “allow,” “refrain from hindering,” shows that the “little children” referred to are old enough to make a move on their own account, if no obstacle is thrown in their way. Moreover the “baptizing” of infants is in no sense obedience to the Saviour’s command, because the infants do not and cannot come to Christ. When Christ says, “Suffer little children to come unto me,” he does not mean infants who cannot come to him for the reason that they cannot know and appreciate him.SITI October 27, 1887, page 647.1

    The inconsistencies herein shown up should convince all of the folly of what is called infant baptism. But the practice is not simply foolish, it is absolutely wicked. It makes people satisfied that they have complied with the divine requirement when they never have, and it fills the professed church with unconverted persons. In fact, the evils that spring from this perversion of the sacred rite are legion. For all of these, we ask, who is responsible? With what words will those who practice infant baptism answer, when the Judge shall asks, “Who hath required this at your hands?” W.SITI October 27, 1887, page 647.2

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 13, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Church of the Advent of San Francisco which last year invested $25,000 in a “paper carnival” to get a return of $6,500, is just now engaged in another paper carnival, for “charity’s sake.” We shall see if possible, how the finances if this one will balance.SITI October 27, 1887, page 656.1

    Ex-Governor St. John is now lecturing in California on his favorite subject, “Prohibition.” One evening last week he addressed a large and intelligent audience in Oakland, and made some telling points in favor of constitutional prohibition. Although a church member, he unsparingly scores professed Christians who give any quarter whatever to the liquor traffic. As the late John B. Finch used to say, “A thing is never settled until it is settled right,” and “A compromise with evil is a victory for the devil.”SITI October 27, 1887, page 656.2

    Some time ago we received a copy of the Popular Science Monthly, accompanied by a postal card stating that the magazine contained some good points which we might be able to use, and requesting that we should return it if we did not use the article. We had already used the article, but we cannot return the magazine, because the sender forgot to sign his name to his postal card, which was mailed from New Orleans. If he will send his name, with the necessary stamps for the return of the Monthly, we shall be most happy to comply with his request.SITI October 27, 1887, page 656.3

    “Fierce” is one of the epithets which the apostle Paul uses in describing the characteristics of the people of the last days, and there is not a daily paper published in the land which does not in every issue record some of the out-croppings of this trait. It is not simply that men are fierce in battle, or for revenge when they have been injured, but that they exhibit their ferocity without any provocation. Even in childhood is being developed to a marked degree as is indicated in the Academy in Alabama, where an extra force of police is found necessary to protect the Jewish pupils from the causeless abuse of their companions.SITI October 27, 1887, page 656.4

    On Sunday, October 23, the corner-stone of a Catholic college was laid in Oakland. After the ceremony, Rev. Joseph Sasia, of the Jesuit College in San Francisco, delivered a sermon on education, in which, as a matter of course, he referred to the fact that Catholic schools and churches are taxed, and that the government does not give Catholic schools a share of the public money, and then said: “We earnestly believe that, by the blessing of Providence, our grievances will be redressed, and our just claims shall justly prevail.” If the obsequiousness with which the Catholic Church is treated by the political press is any justification, we may well believe that the priest will not have to wait long to see his desire fulfilled.SITI October 27, 1887, page 656.5

    A Catholic speaker said the other day in Buffalo, N.Y., that the Baltimore Plenary Council declared that “to turn the Lord’s Day [Sunday is meant] into a day of toil is a blighting curse to a country.” When the National Reform Association secures its coveted close alliance with the Romish Church, the decrees of the Baltimore Council will be excellent campaign material. And just as we are writing this note, a grand Catholic procession of military companies, with three brass bands in full blast, is passing,- a part of “the largest demonstration of ‘the Church’ ever held in Oakland”-it is Sunday too. Yet we are sure that a solitary Seventh-day Adventist who should go quietly about his work of to-day would “disturb” the peoples of Sunday rest more than all this Catholic parade.SITI October 27, 1887, page 656.6

    Unbelievers often charge the Jews with having been the most cruel and blood-thirsty people of all ancient times. It is easy enough to disprove this by a comparison with the doings of the other nations of those times. But on this point we have contemporary evidence, and on such a question that is the most valuable evidence. We have it, too, at a time when, if ever, it might be supposed that the change might be well grounded.SITI October 27, 1887, page 656.7

    Of Omri king of Israel the Bible record is that he “did worse than all that were before him.” Ahab was Omri’s son, and of him the inspired record is that, “Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him.” 1 Kings 16:25, 30. Ahab it was who married Jezebel, consented to Naboth’s death on the evidence of false witnesses, and persecuted Elijah and his kind. Yet at this very period the kings of Israel were so much better than other kings, that among the surrounding nations they were famed for their mercy. And here is the proof: On a certain occasion, “Ben-hadad king of Syria was defeated by the army of Israel under Ahab. He lost nearly all his army and was himself about to be captured. “And his servants said unto him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings; let us, I pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel; peradventure he will save thy life.” 1 Kings 20:31.SITI October 27, 1887, page 656.8

    This one point is sufficient to silence forever this charge of cruelty. The evidence is unimpeachable, and proves that the most wicked and cruel kings that Israel ever had were so much better than their contemporaries of surrounding nations that they were famed for being merciful kings. The truth this that the people of Israel from the day that they left Egypt, instead of being the worst, were the best people of all ancient times.SITI October 27, 1887, page 656.9

    “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18. This is often incorrectly quoted, “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the truth,” an expression which is not found in the Bible. But Christ is the truth, as well as the way and the life; and he who grows in the knowledge of Christ, must necessarily grow in the knowledge of the truth. The trouble with many is that they think that growing in the knowledge of Christ, will be accepted as a substitute for growing in the knowledge of the truth; or, rather, professing to believe that Christ is the truth, they make their own feelings the standard of whether or not they know him. The Bible is the only standard of truth, that has ever been given to man, and a summary of all the truth of the Bible is contained in the ten commandments; so that the only standard by which it may be known that we are really growing in the knowledge of Christ, and therefore in knowledge of the truth, is the law of God. The more one grows in the knowledge of Christ, the more perfectly will he keep the commandments of God.SITI October 27, 1887, page 656.10

    “‘Not According to Law and Order’” The Signs of the Times, 13, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner

    There has been for some time quite a contest in Oakland over the saloon business, and many sharp words have been said on both sides. At an indignation meeting held to protest against the course of some councilmen who had violated their pledges to the people, the Rev. Dr. Horton arraigned the saloons as foes of order and good government, which drew out a response through one of the dailies, from an apologist for the saloons. Following is a part of the defense:-SITI October 27, 1887, page 656.11

    “I will only mention one instance as a reason I respect a man that keeps a brewery, a liquor store, a saloon, a restaurant, or a hotel. Some twenty odd years ago, a brewer came into my place of business and said: ‘A certain official is $500 short in his accounts. To-morrow he will be exposed. He is a good man, as you know, a man of family. Ruin and San Quentin stare him in the face. I have a plan of getting him out of this difficulty. Here are ten names on this piece of paper, and yours is one of them; each of us pay $50 by to-night.’ The $500 came forth. One of that syndicate, a brewer, one a liquor man, a hotel keeper, six in all were men with foreign names, ideas, and characters. Four were native-born Americans. So was the one saved, and did not belong to their lodge or church, but he belonged to the human family; he was a man worth saving.SITI October 27, 1887, page 656.12

    “Most of that syndicate have passed over the river, whence there is no return. Their lips are closed, never to reveal the secret, and mine have been closed on it that even my own family will first know of it when they read these lines, but never shall I reveal names.SITI October 27, 1887, page 656.13

    “This is part of the religion I believe in. I hope Mr. Horton will read this to his hearers at the next indignation meeting, and give them a chance for a tremendous applause, for that act was not according to law and order.”SITI October 27, 1887, page 656.14

    If this is the best defense that could be made for brewers and saloon keepers, thinking people will say that their case is a hard one. Silence would be better than such a defense. It simply shows that they are opposed to law and order; that their sole claim for recognition from the people is that they will combine to save a thief from just punishment. This is exactly in keeping with the nature of the business; it tends only to crime, and to the making of criminals. It is never according to order, and is in accordance with law only when the law makers, under pressure from the traffic, think to gain a little “revenue” by legalizing sin.SITI October 27, 1887, page 656.15

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