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November 17, 1887
“The Sabbath of Antiquity” The Signs of the Times, 13, 44.
Under the above heading, Rev. George S. Mott, D.D., has an article in the New York Observer, of October 27, which all who are engaged in teaching the claims of the Sabbath would do well to preserve, to show to them who claim that no Sabbath was known until the law was spoken from Sinai. Speaking of the Sabbath law as antedating the formal giving of the Decalogue, Dr. Mott says:-SITI November 17, 1887, page 682.1
And so the Sabbath law holds a similar position. It is one of the primal laws. It even antedates marriage. And now a question arises: Was a day of rest recognized in the youth of the human race, while as yet the traditions of Adam were only a few centuries old? The silence in the book of Genesis regarding the observance of the Sabbath, has led to the inference that the day was never held as sacred. But the light thrown upon those early ages by modern discoveries in Assyrian and old Chaldean lore has disclosed the fact that the Sabbath had its place for many centuries after the fall of man. These clay tablets, some of which may be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, covered with that strange cuneiform character, have been translated. And they tell us of a people called the “Accadians,” or “Mountaineers,” who came down toward the mouth of the Euphrates. Already they were an organized nation, possessing a peculiar form of writing, and a systematized legislation and religion. These were conquered by Nimrod. They were probably the first people that consolidated themselves into a nation. their writings are not preserved; but on these clay tablets are found extracts from their records and their traditions. And we find that the seventh day, by a tradition handed down from Eden, was holy at that early age, and was honored by a cessation of all work on it. A series of tablets on the creation have been translated, and one of them thus describes the divisions of time:-SITI November 17, 1887, page 682.2
“The moon he appointed to rule the night,
And to wander through the night, until the dawn of day.
Every month, without fail, he made holy assembly days.
In the beginning of the month, at the rising of night,
It shot forth its horns to illuminate the heavens.
On the seventh day he appointed a holy day.
And to cease from all business he commanded.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 683.1
Such was the tradition respecting the Sabbath. But was any respect given to this tradition? Was the Sabbath observed? Here the Assyrian tablets give us most welcome information. Some 2,300 years before Christ, a race inhabited that region who were given to reading and writing. There were large libraries located at different points, and voluminous records were made of all occurrences. These records described with minute particularity the manners and customs, the civil and religious regulations, and the laws of those early ages; and we learn that the seventh day was known and observed as a day of rest. In 1869 the eminent Assyriologist, George Smith, discovered a religious calendar of the Assyrians in which every month is divided into four weeks, and the seventh days, or Sabbaths, are marked as days on which no work should be undertaken.SITI November 17, 1887, page 683.2
Other tablets, referring to the Sabbath, have been discovered and translated. On them the day itself has almost the same name as we have received from the Hebrews-it is called Sabbata. It is spoken of as a “day of repose of the heart,” a “day of joy.” Its observance was enforced by law. Regulations as to this observance are laid down. And they are such as these: It was a day “when the shepherd of men must not eat meat; must not change the garments of his body; when white robes are not worn; when sacrifice is not offered; when the king must not go out in a chariot, and must not exercise justice wearing the insignia of his power; when the general must not give any commands for the stationing of his troops.” (Lenormant’s Beginnings of History, pp. 248 and 249, American Edition.) What precisely all these specifications denote we may never learn; but certainly they signify that on this Sabbatu, certain things were omitted which could be done on other days.SITI November 17, 1887, page 683.3
Now this was the Sabbath law under which Abraham grew up, because Ur of the Chaldees was in this same region. A sad degeneracy from the pure monotheism of the fathers already had shown itself, yet he would hear the seventh day spoken os as a “day of rest for the heart.” He was accustomed to weekly assemblies for public worship, to hymns of adoration, and to prayer, although much of this was rendered to idols. Also the Sabbath was an institution in the home of the emigrants at Haran; and when Abraham journeyed on to Canaan, the seventh day was still observed as holy. Under this Sabbath influence Isaac grew up, and so he trained his two boys to observe the day. Jacob continued the same in his large family, and when that family went to Egypt they did not leave the Sabbath in Canaan. It was handed on through following generations. For we find this fact in the sixteenth chapter of Exodus, that before the children of Israel came to Sinai, when as yet they were in the wilderness between Elim and Sinai, the manna was given to them, and respecting it they were told that they must gather on the sixth day so much as would be needed to last through the morrow, because none would be bestowed on the seventh day. And the reason given was, “To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord.” This expression is repeated several times, and finally in these words: “The Lord hath given you the Sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.” This was no new thing, and when the fourth commandment was formulated the time-honored regulations for the observance of that day were incorporated into it. The people were as familiar with its requirements as they were with those of the other precepts of the decalogue.SITI November 17, 1887, page 683.4
And so we conclude that the Sabbath has existed from the beginning. But as the true knowledge of God was displaced by the false, to that degree did the observance of the Sabbath wane, until it finally disappeared in the depths of a degrading idolatry. Yet I believe no Sabbath has come and gone since man was created, but that somewhere precious souls have kept it holy unto the Lord.SITI November 17, 1887, page 683.5
“Analogy Not Proof” The Signs of the Times, 13, 44.
In a recent article, Prof. R. A. Proctor reviews at some length a so-called argument by Dr. Phillips Brooks, on immortality. Mr. Proctor quotes and answers Dr. Brooks as follows:-SITI November 17, 1887, page 694.1
“I have before me a sermon by the Rev. Mr. Brooks, Doctor of Divinity, in Boston, in which he speaks of a man immediately after death. ‘That man is dead,’ he says; ‘what is it that has come? A minute ago I was talking with him; he was speaking to me of the loves and dreams and imaginings with which I have been familiar, as I have known him these forty years. Now that is stopped. Shall I believe that an has come to that vitality? The spiritual life is in the powers of the soul, not in the accident which linked them in association with this body in which the physical change has taken place. Shall I believe that they have ceased because it has ceased to be their minister?’ To which he answers: ‘No, because what has passed away is merely the bodily life, not the inner life with its thoughts and emotions.’SITI November 17, 1887, page 694.2
“He does not deem it necessary to show that the power of conceiving thoughts or feeling emotions is not as essentially a quality of that which has been destroyed by death, as the power of making tine cloth is a quality of a weaving-machine, and presumably brought to an end by death as the weaving powers of the machine by its destruction. What he says of the man might equally be said, and with about as much reason, of the machine. ‘A minute ago that machine was weaving beautiful cloth; now it has done its last work, and all its parts will presently be applied to other uses. Shall I believe that the powers of working charming patterns it possessed so short a time since are gone because its mere material structure is to be destroyed? Never; for only the merest accident linked those powers with the machinery!’SITI November 17, 1887, page 694.3
“No answer is needed to one argument any more than to the other. The destroyed machine lives no longer as a piece of mechanism; it can never more produce the delicate textures or the charming patterns which it produced when it existed as a machine. It will live only in its products, direct and indirect. And in like manner, it seems reasonable to believe (though none can say it has been approved) the dead exist no longer as beings capable of feeling or expressing emotions. They live only in their work-in the influences, direct and indirect, which they have produced on those around them during life, or on those who are to come hereafter.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 694.4
The Professor’s reasoning is correct, not because of the analogy which he draws, but because it is in accordance with reason, and most of all, because, whether he knew it or not, it is in accord with divine revelation. The dead, so far as their present condition is concerned, are perished from the earth. The statement, however, by no means indicates a disbelief in immortality, although it is possible that Professor Proctor may not look beyond the grave. But Paul, who says: “For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised; and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished” (), thus teaching that the dead are so far as present existence and capacity are concerned, the same as though they had not been, also says: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” .SITI November 17, 1887, page 694.5
That which may be drawn from Paul’s argument, concerning the state of the dead, is, in brief, this: The resurrection of the dead depends upon the resurrection of Christ; if Christ is not raised, then the dead will not be raised; and in that case those who have fallen asleep (died) in Christ, have perished. To perish means, “To be destroyed; to go to destruction; to pass away; to come to nothing; to be blotted from existence.” Now it is evident that the condition of those who died before Christ first at the end, was not changed in the least by his coming and his death and resurrection. Adam and Abel died and returned to dust hundreds of years before the first advent; if that coming of Christ had not taken place until the present time, their condition in the grave would not have been altered in the least; and if Christ had never died and rose again, their condition; would remain the same to all eternity that it is now. But Paul says that in that case they would be perished. Therefore it is evident that the dead are not in existence, and that only the promised future resurrection saves them from being forever perished from the face of the earth.SITI November 17, 1887, page 694.6
That this does not argue a disbelief in immortality is further shown by Paul’s words which follow: “Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” . We believe in immortality, although we do not believe that men have it by nature so that they cannot die. Immortality will be bestowed, according to the Bible, which is our only source of information, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.SITI November 17, 1887, page 694.7
But the Interior, ignoring these plain declarations of the Bible, assume that if men are not conscious in death there can be no immortality, and that he who argues that death is a cessation of existence-in other words, that death is death-denies the possibility of immortality, and proceeds to “prove,” by an analogy, that men are conscious in death. It says that the weaving-machine could not have produced the fabric unless there have been some controlling power, a weaver, who was independent of the machine. Then it concludes:-SITI November 17, 1887, page 694.8
“Now we are ready to discover whether the analogy makes for, or makes against, the independence of mind for its existence over matter. And as we know to a certainty that mind, which is the prime essential of the weaving machine-without which it would be nothing but formless wood, iron, brass, leather, and fibers of hemp-that the animating and directing mind is not in the least dependent upon the weaving-machine for its existence, so we may know as certainly as we can know from an analogy, that the animating and directing mind is not dependent for its existence upon the human machine. The analogy flatly contradicts Mr. Proctor’s theory that the machine produces the mind, and is necessary to its existence.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 694.9
That is to say, that because the mind that runs the weaving-machine is independent of it, therefore, the mind must be independent of the body. (It must be so, you see, or else the analogy wouldn’t work.) And it still further concludes, that since the man loses none of his skill when his machine is destroyed, therefore the mind loses nothing of its force when the body is destroyed. Very pretty analogy, isn’t it? But the analogy should have been carried a little further, and it should have been shown that, even though the man retained his skill after his machine is destroyed, he cannot leave without a machine, so the mind, even allowing that it could exist without the body, can accomplish nothing after the body is destroyed. To be sure this analogy does not teach us anything, but from the Scriptures we learn that it is a correct one, and that the mind cannot act independently of the body, for the psalmist says: “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” .SITI November 17, 1887, page 694.10
Analogies prove nothing, yet they are all that can be adduced in favor of the natural immortality theory. We once heard Joseph Cook deliver one of his famous lectures, the point of which was to prove the immortality of the soul. In the beginning of his lecture he told a story of the war ship Cumberland. He said that as she went down under the blows of the Merrimac, a sailor who was down in the hold saw a glimmer of light through the open hatchway, and swam up through the water toward that point of light, until he reached the surface and escaped. This he compared to the soul leaving its tenement of clay, and soaring heavenward; and this illustration was the only “proof” of the immortality of the soul that was given in the entire lecture! This incident was often referred to, and because the man escaped from the sinking ship, it was taken as a natural consequence that the soul survives the body, and leaves it at death. And the greater part of the man’s audience seemed to think that he had “proved” his point! When even the philosophical Joseph Cook is driven to such ridiculous makeshifts for arguments to prove the inherit immortality of the soul, the thoughtful reader can readily see that the theory itself is inherently weak.SITI November 17, 1887, page 694.11
The fact is, as before stated, that analogies and illustrations prove nothing, not even the truth. When a truth has been demonstrated, then an illustration is valuable for the purpose of impressing the truth already demonstrated, but it is not the proof. Not only can no illustration prove anything, but no illustration can perfectly illustrate any biblical truth. As Dr. Clarke has expressed it, “No parable can go on all-fours.” Then how much more feeble must illustrations be when they are used as proof of error. They serve simply, when closely examined, to make the error more apparent. The trouble is that too many persons wish to believe the pleasing fable that they are by nature immortal, and thus allied to Deity, and therefore an assertion to that effect will have more weight with them than scores of plain declarations from the Bible to the contrary. W.SITI November 17, 1887, page 694.12
“The Relation of the World to God” The Signs of the Times, 13, 44.
The relation which men sustain to God is the thing that above all others should be understood, and which is understood the least. Not only does the world in general fail to understand the matter, and feel perfectly indifferent over it, but many professed Christians, and even teachers of religion, have very crude ideas upon the subject. This thought was brought to mind very forcibly by a sentence in a sermon by Rev. Phillips Brooks, D.D., which was published in the Christian Union. It was this: “The world is not under law, but under grace.” The context showed that this statement was meant to be taken literally, and not to convey the idea that the grace of God is held out to the world. It is a parallel to the teaching which is so common, about “the Fatherhood of God, and the brotherhood of man.” We propose, therefore, as briefly as possible, to show just how the world does stand related to God.SITI November 17, 1887, page 694.13
In the first place, we will say that God is not the Father of all people who are in the world. God is the Creator of all, the Judge of all, and if sin had not entered into the world, he would be the Father of all; but now the mass of mankind have a far baser parentage. Adam was the son of God. . While he was sinless, God was at once his Father and his King. But when he listened to the voice of the tempter, and deliberately (for he was not deceived, ) did the bidding of Satan, he yielded to Satan the principality-the earth-which had been intrusted to him, and forsook his allegiance to God.SITI November 17, 1887, page 694.14
It is sin that separates from God. . In Jesus said to the wicked Jews who claimed God for their Father, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” Again in the explanation of the parable of the wheat and tares, Jesus said, “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one.” . In these two texts sinners are directly charged with being the children of the devil. In the apostle Paul makes the same point, and says that he himself was once a member of the same family. He says: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 694.15
“By nature the children of wrath.” This fact answers the cavil that people often make against the destruction of the wicked, saying that God will not destroy his own children. No, he will not. The wrath of God comes only on the “children of disobedience” (), and all are by nature the children of disobedience, and consequently of wrath, since it is in the nature of man to sin,-to obey Satan rather than God. Said Christ: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.” . And Paul says: “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him.” .SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.1
Then since this is the nature of, not one man or a few men, but of all mankind; since “the whole world lieth in wickedness,” and the children of disobedience are the children of wrath, how can any escape the wrath of God, which brings destruction? Simply by becoming the children of God, since God will never destroy his children; for “like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” . In the family of God there is no wrath, for only the peace-makers shall be called the children of God. .SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.2
But that which proves most conclusively that men are not by nature the children of God, is the fact that they become such by adoption. Says Paul: “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” .SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.3
Read the same thing in : “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.4
Natural children are heirs without adoption; therefore we say that the fact that all who are the children of God become so only by adoption, shows that there are no natural children of God. And how do men become the children of God? By receiving the Spirit of God, which is also the Spirit of Christ, which makes them like Christ, and consequently heirs with him. This Spirit is given through the mercy of God, to those who exercise faith, as Paul says: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” .SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.5
But what has this to do with deciding whether the world is or is not under the law? It has everything to do with it, settling the question completely, and showing that all men are by nature under the law, and that only the sons of God are under grace. Notice carefully: The Spirit of God is the pledge of our adoption as sons of God (); it is “the Spirit of adoption;” “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” . With this read : “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” The obvious conclusion from this text and the context is that those who are not led by the Spirit are under the law; and since only those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God, it follows that all who are not children of God are under the law. And since the children of God are few in comparison with the children of the wicked one, it follows that the greater part of the world are under the law.SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.6
Now what is meant by “under the law”? Does it mean, as most commonly supposed, subject to the law? in a state of obligation to keep the law? Our investigation concerning the sons of God furnishes the answer. Remember that only those who are not led by the Spirit, who are not children of God, are under the law. Then the children of the wicked one are under the law. Remember also that those who are not led by the Spirit, who are not children of God, are under the law. Then the children of the wicked one are under the law. Remember also that it is only sinners that are the children of Satan; as Paul expresses it, they are “children of disobedience.” It is because they are disobedient that they are strangers from God, children of the wicked one, under the law. And this is corroborated by the words of the apostle. “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.7
All men are under obligation to keep the commandments of God. “Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.” . But all men are not under the law; those who are led by the Spirit are not under the law; therefore we conclude that it is simply the disobedient,-those who do not do their duty, in keeping the commandments,-who are under the law. All others are under grace, since it is only by the grace of God that anybody can keep the commandments.SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.8
Read also : “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” In this passage we have the fact emphasized that those who are not under the law are the ones over whom sin has no dominion, and that those who are under the law are the servants of sin.SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.9
But sin brings condemnation; those only are free from condemnation, who walk according to the Spirit,-are led by the Spirit,-and who consequently are the sons of God. And the condemnation under which the sinner rests is a condemnation to death; “for the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” . Remember also the idea in , that those who are under the law, servants of sin, are servants “of sin unto death.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.10
Man’s relation to God, then, is simply this: By nature all men are sinners,-servants of sin,-children of Satan,-under the law,-condemned to death. By the righteousness of Christ, through faith in the blood, men may be made righteous,-servants of obedience unto righteousness,-children of God,-delivered from the condemnation of the law. Only those who are in Christ attain to this high honor; but this does not free them from obligation to keep the law. This can be seen from the very fact that it is sin that brings condemnation. Now it those who have been freed from condemnation,-have been taken out from under the law,-should transgress the law, they would thereby show their lack of appreciation of the grace of God, and would bring themselves into condemnation,-would bring themselves under the law.SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.11
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” . To all men “the Spirit and the bride say, Come.” With every man that enters into the world, the Spirit strives to cause him to renounce the service of Satan, and to become a child of God. But, alas! with the exception of a few who esteem the reproach of Christ, “the whole world lieth in wickedness.” Reader will you place yourself on the Lord’s side? If so, you must come to Christ, who is the way ( ), the truth ( ), and the life,-the one in whose heart is the law of God,-that you may become changed into the same image, having, like him, the law of God completely formed in your own heart. W.SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.12
“The Lord’s Prayer” The Signs of the Times, 13, 44.
The Sabbath-school lesson for November 26, being on the Lord’s Prayer, we know not what better we can do for the Sabbath-school scholars and the general readers than to reprint the following, which we wrote as a comment on the International lessons, when the Lord’s Prayer was the subject:-SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.13
of Matthew contain the model prayer. In introducing it the Saviour said, “After this manner therefore pray ye.” This indicates not that the prayer which follows is to be invariably used, although it is very often fitting to use it, but that it should serve as a model for our petitions. Since it is the model petition, framed by divine wisdom, it must necessarily, and does, cover everything which man needs, both temporal and spiritual. It is because of this comprehensiveness that the Lord’s Prayer may be repeated by all of people, both young and old, in all time. It never grows old. It is the only prayer ever written which was worthy of being repeated by others than the one who composed it. This is because it is the only prayer ever composed for man by a divine being. Prayer in which petitions made by men are used, must necessarily be largely mechanical, and therefore destitute of the real essence of prayer, which is the sincere desire of the individual at the present time. When a man is in extremity he will have no difficulty in forming his own petition, and he would have no use for a petition made by someone else. A prayer-book would have been of very little use to Peter when he was sinking in the Sea of Galilee.SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.14
From this prayer we learn that we are to come to God not as to a judge or a governor who is to be appeased, but as to a father who is all sympathy and love. Many people have entertained a wrong idea from the parable of the unjust judge, recorded in . The unjust judge at first refused to grant the request of the poor widow, yet he finally granted it because of her importunity. The idea too commonly drawn from this is, that if we persevere in prayer God will relent and answer our petitions; but the parable is not designed to compare God with the unjust judge, but to make a contrast. If the unjust judge who neither feared God nor regarded man, would grant the widow’s petition, because of her importunity, then most surely God will avenge his own elect who cry earnestly unto him, this parable and the first two words of the Lord’s Prayer are sufficient in themselves to give Christians the most perfect confidence when they pray. Add to this the fact that we have a merciful and faithful High Priest who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and “was tempted in all points like this we are,” and we may “boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.15
We have seen it stated that the term “Our Father” implies that all men are brethren, because children of the same Father. But this is a mistake. All men are not children of the same father. Paul says that we are all by nature the children of wrath “because we are” the children of disobedience. ; . And as the devil is the author of sin, Christ directly charged the disobedient Jews with whom he was talking, with being the children of the devil ( ); and in he expressly states that those who do iniquity “are the children of the wicked one.” The apostle John also speaks of those who keep the commandments, and of those who transgress them, and says, “by this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil” ( ), thus showing a direct contrast between those who have God for their Father, and those whose father is Satan. Moreover, we learn in and that people become the children of God by adoption, and that the mark or seal of adoption is the Holy Spirit; but if they were by nature the children of God, they would not need to be adopted. Paul also declares that “if any man have not the Spirit Christ, he is none of his.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.16
“Thy kingdom come.” This is nothing less than a prayer for Christ’s second coming, for his coming and kingdom are associated together. . When he was on earth, Christ told his disciples, who thought that his kingdom should immediately appear, that he was like a noble man who “went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return” ( ), thus indicating his return to Heaven to receive his kingdom, and his second coming to gather the subjects of it. In harmony with this we find in a prophetic description of Christ appearing before the Father, and receiving “dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him.” And Christ himself said that when he should come in his glory with all his holy angels with him, then would be the time that he should sit on the throne of his glory, and that he would then say to the righteous, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” . This kingdom is entirely distinct from the kingdom of grace, upon the throne of which God the Father sits, and before which Christ ministers as priest. That kingdom has already come, and if that were the kingdom referred to in the Lord’s Prayer, it would be out of place to use that petition. But the kingdom referred to there is the one of which the faithful followers of God are at present only heirs, waiting for the promised possession.SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.17
“Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” The will of God is simply the law of God, see and , where we learn that those who know the will of God are they who are instructed out of the law. How the will of God is done in Heaven is told in : “Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, harken unto the voice of his word.” When the will of God is done on earth as it is in heaven will be when all the works of the devil had been destroyed, and when the new heavens and the new earth have been given, wherein righteousness shall dwell. Then will be fulfilled the words of the prophet: “Thy people also shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.” . Therefore the uttering of this part of the Lord’s Prayer, if the petitioner is sincere, indicates a complete submission to the will of God, and an earnest desire to keep every portion of the ten commandments.SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.18
“And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” In this is implied what is plainly stated in : “For if ye men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if he forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Therefore it is utterly useless for anyone to use this prayer, or to expect God to pardon his sins, unless he freely forgives all who have trespassed against him. Paul says ( ), “Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake have forgiven you.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.19
This is the merest glance at the Lord’s Prayer, but it is all that we have space for. To give it any adequate study, not less than an entire lesson should be spent upon each clause of the prayer. But perhaps even with this glance some may see a depth of meaning in the prayer which they have never before realized, and may be led to study it more carefully until they can pray it “with the spirit and with the understanding.” W.SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.20
“Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 13, 44.
For two or three years it has been the custom of our people to hold a week of prayer near the close of the year. This year it has been appointed for December 17-25. We think that for many reasons this date is preferable to holiday week; but it is probable that the brethren in Europe, Africa, New Zealand, and Australia will find it convenient to hold it between Christmas and New Year’s. A large committee appointed by the General Conference is working diligently to prepare a programme, which it is designed shall reach the most distant fields in ample time.SITI November 17, 1887, page 704.1
“On Tuesday, August 16, the ladies of the church gave a jubilee social. The lecture-room was crowded, refreshments were abundant, and the spirit of Christian love and fellowship seemed to animate every heart.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 704.3
Is it not becoming too common to suppose that the good feeling produced by pleasant company and “abundant refreshments,” is the manifestation of “the spirit of Christian love and fellowship”? Even in acts of devotion, religion is getting to be very much a matter of feeling, and many people suppose that when they feel well and happy they are Christians. This is the outgrowth of the teaching that “religion was designed to make people happy.” Happiness, in the common acceptation of the term,-that of freedom from care and anxiety, or pain,-may never be the lot of the true Christian; but he will have peace and joy even under the most untoward circumstances. The time for perfect happiness and fullness of joy to the Christian, is when he stands in the presence of God. “In the world,” said Christ, “ye shall have tribulation.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 704.4
The German Empire wastes no time in talking about arbitration, and evidently does not believe in it. In fact, we do not think that there is any nation that believes in it, but there are some that talk it, seemingly as a blind to cover their war preparations. But Germany makes no secret of her war preparations. Only last spring a new magazine rifle was perfected, and the whole German army has been supplied with the new weapon, and has just learned how to use it; and now it must be abandoned, because it is found to be inferior to the rifles in use by the armies of France, Russia, Austria, England, and Holland. The report says:-SITI November 17, 1887, page 704.5
“The chief fault of the German repeater is its too great caliber of eleven millimeters, as against eight in French and most other models. Germany could not accept a small caliber at first, because it is only recently she has succeeded in producing powder of six times the strength of the older description, and in inventing a steel coating for bullets which will prevent the present rapid leadening of the barrel. The chief advantage of the new powder, in connection with the new small caliber bullets, is its superior penetrating effect. The bullets will pierce three horses, one behind the other. They will penetrate steel plates of thirty millimeters in thickness. Whereas the present rifle pierces only five millimeters of steel plate. The German military administration therefore consider it absolutely necessary to introduce improved weapons as soon as possible.SITI November 17, 1887, page 704.6
“The expense will be enormous, as the existing rifles cannot be adapted, as was the case with the magazine rifles. Not only new frames, but also new barrels, will have to be made. The Government hopes to have a rifle superior to the new French one, especially as the caliber will probably be a little less then eight millimeters.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 704.7
Think of a nation being burdened with so great an expense; and just as likely as not, when the new rifle has been distributed, it will be found that the French or the Russians have one still better, so that it in turn will have to be thrown away to make room for another. but the burden upon the people is not taken into account. The nations are in a mad race for supremacy, and each is fearful of being left behind. How long can such a state of affairs last?SITI November 17, 1887, page 704.8
We believe that all good citizens will agree that nothing but the simple ends of justice have been met, by the execution of the murderous Chicago anarchists. It has been attempted to make it appear that the sentence and execution are a blow against the right of free speech, and a good deal of misplaced sympathy has resulted; but the fact is that they were executed for murder and conspiracy to murder, and not for what they said. Many other people have uttered as treasonable and blood-thirsty sentiments as did these men, and have not been executed, because they did nothing more. It is a terrible thing for a man to be hanged, even by the decree of a court, but it is also a terrible thing for a man to be murdered, without a moment for preparation; and the Bible plainly declares for capital punishment, by saying, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” Concerning the widespread sympathy that was manifested in behalf of these convicted men, and that is always expressed to a greater or lesser extent when in the red-handed murderer is condemned to death, we shall have a few words to say next week. It is a notable sign of the times.SITI November 17, 1887, page 704.9
“The General Conference” The Signs of the Times, 13, 44.
The twenty-sixth annual session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists assembled in the church on the corner of Brush and Twelfth Streets, Oakland, Cal., at 9 A.M., November 13. The president, Elder Geo. I. Butler, called the meeting to order, and Elder O. A. Olsen led in prayer.SITI November 17, 1887, page 704.10
LIST OF DELEGATES
The following persons having labored in mission fields, or having been under the employ of the General Conference during the whole or part of the past year, were received as delegates:-SITI November 17, 1887, page 704.34
SCANDINAVIA-O. A. Olsen.
CENTRAL EUROPE-W. C. White.
AUSTRALIA-J. O. Corliss.
HAWAIIAN ISLANDS-A. LaRue.
PACIFIC ISLANDS-J. I. Tay.
BROOKLYN MISSION-J. F. Hansen.SITI November 17, 1887, page 704.35
The meeting was occupied in organizing, and in listening to an interesting address by the president, concerning the progress of the work, and outlining the matters to be considered at this session. In the afternoon some very interesting questions were presented, but no final action was reached.SITI November 17, 1887, page 704.37
“Words of Faith and Soberness” The Signs of the Times, 13, 44.
At the last regular monthly meeting of the Clerical Association (Episcopal) of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, which was held in Oakland last week, the Rev. Mr. Lee read an exhaustive paper on “Church Entertainments,” which concluded as follows:-SITI November 17, 1887, page 704.39
“Doubtless the world and the church would be better off it many an edifice, which has God’s name upon it, had never been built, and if many a man who, though speaking in Christ’s name, but at the same time living on spurious charity, were forced to work and earn, by the sweat of his brow, what it is a scandal and a shame for him to make use of.SITI November 17, 1887, page 704.40
“What is required, it certainly seems to me, is not more comfort or more money, to make religion powerful, but a better use of the means we already have-a more earnest and uncompromising opposition to any union of the followers of Jesus Christ with the servants of sin, and the thoughtless pleasure-seeker. Of course the church must in one way come into contact with the world, for it otherwise could not carry out its mission; but let it beware how it accepts or employs worldly methods to extend its influence, or to strengthen its existing institutions. Every dollar which it obtains by any enterprise which is unquestionable, must, in the nature of things, tend to its weakness and humiliation. Every surrender to the demands of a mercantile age, and of a careless, pleasure-loving people, will add intensity to the rebuke. ‘I know thy works, that thou art neither cold no hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.’ .SITI November 17, 1887, page 704.41
“In view of the prevalence of the practice here in question, and of the frequent occurrence of ‘church entertainments’ in this diocese, and especially in view of the fact that several have been recently held, and that others are in prospect, it may seem foolish and Quixotic to oppose what has evidently the voice of the majority in its favor; but let us not hesitate, or fear, to look such questions fairly in the face. We should not ask, What is fashionable or common? but, What is right and best for Christian people to do? We should not ask, How can money be more easily collected? but, How would God have us to about the work which he has given us to do? Let us endeavor to view it in this way, and may the merciful Saviour give us grace, so to act as to avoid the open scandal of making his house a ‘place of merchandise,’ or, worse than that, ‘a den of thieves.’”SITI November 17, 1887, page 704.42
We commend this to the careful perusal of all who try to carry on church work by any other means than by pure Christian benevolence. In view of the “paper carnival” that has just been held by the members of a church of his own denomination, we think Mr. Lee’s paper is very timely. Let no one hereafter accuse us of a lack of charity, when we denounce church fairs, lotteries, carnivals, etc., for by the testimony of one who ought to know, they make the church a “den of thieves.” No more severe arraignment could be brought against them.SITI November 17, 1887, page 704.43