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    March 10, 1887

    “‘A Weighty and Timely Utterance.’ (Continued.)” The Signs of the Times, 13, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner



    The next Father who is quoted as authority for the observance of Sunday is Ignatius. We quote here all that Mr. Bailey claims for him.SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.1

    “Ignatius was the bishop or pastor of the church of Antioch in Syria from the year 70 to 107. He was a disciple of John, and was pastor at Antioch for twenty-five years before John’s death. In his epistle to the Magnesians 3:3 he says: ‘Wherefore if they who were brought up in these ancient laws come nevertheless to newness of hope, no longer observing Sabbaths, but keeping the Lord’s day, in which also our life is sprung up by him, and through his death, some deny.SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.2

    “Also Ignatius (quoted by Edwards in ‘Sabbath Manual,’ p. 113) says: ‘Let us Christian no more Sabbatize, keep the Lord’s day.’ ‘Let everyone that loves Christ keep holy the Lord’s day, the resurrection they, the highest of all days.’SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.3

    “Ignatius was arrested at Antioch when the Roman emperor, Trajan came there about the year 107, and was sent to Rome, where he suffered martyrdom, being torn in pieces by wild beasts. Did this early martyr and a disciple of John, who for thirty-seven years was pastor at Antioch Syria, a church which had the ministrations of inspired apostles-did he teach the people falsely in regard to the Lord’s day, the Christian Sabbath and a day of worship? Incredible!”SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.4

    For the benefit of those who are not acquainted with the Fathers we will state that all of the epistles credited to Ignatius exist in two forms, the longer and the shorter. It is very evident, even allowing that Ignatius wrote any epistles, that both those forms cannot be correct. And there is no question, even among scholars who endorse Ignatius but that the longer form is a corrupt text. In the above quotation the reader will notice that two statements concerning the Sabbath are credited to Ignatius. When we state, however, that these are the same, both being taken from the ninth chapter of the epistle to the Magnesians, the first from the shorter form, and the longer, the reader will see that it is found necessary to multiply even spurious testimony, in order to uphold the Sunday institution. We might state, moreover, what is the case, that in the original text of this so-called epistle by Ignatius, there is no reference whatever to the “Lord’s day.” But inasmuch as that statement, although a truth, must be taken by the general reader upon our word, we will allow the assumption that the epistle has been correctly translated, and will give argument upon which the reader can judge for himself.SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.5

    It will be noted that considerable capital is made of the fact that Ignatius suffered martyrdom for the truth, and that therefore his testimony concerning the Sunday Lord’s day must be valued. Thus Mr. Bailey says: “Did this early martyr and disciple of John, who for thirty-seven years was pastor at Antioch in Syria, a church which had the ministration of inspired apostles-did he teach the people falsely in regard to the Lord’s day, the Christian sabbath and day of worship? Incredible!” To this question we have two answers:-SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.6

    1. Because a man lived in the days of the apostles, and even in a church which had their inspired ministrations, it adds nothing to the weight of his testimony. Hymeneus and Philetus had the benefit of the labors of the apostle Paul, yet they overthrew the faith of many Christians, by teaching that the resurrection was already passed. 2 Timothy 2:17, 18. Diotrephes was not only one who loved to have the pre-eminence in the church, but he held a position of influence, since he had power to cast people out of the church; yet he openly rejected the teaching of the apostle John, and cast out of the church those who would receive it. 3 John 9, 10. Paul said to the elders of the church at Ephesus: “I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:29, 30. From this we know that very early in the history of the Christian church, men who were pastors in the church began to teach heresies; and that the heresies which they taught were not trivial is shown by Peter, who after writing about the giving of the prophecies said: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as their shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them.” 2 Peter 2:1. The fact that Ignatius was a bishop, and that to in the first century, would not make his teaching any more to be believed than though he lived in the present day. Nay, more. When that teaching directly contradicted the teaching of the Scripture, it would only make him the more blameworthy. But we need not impeach the integrity of the Ignatius, for,-SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.7

    2. There is no reason to believe that Ignatius of Antioch ever wrote any epistle at all. In support of this assertion we shall make a few quotations. The translators of the so-called Ignatian epistles, in there introductory notice, after stating that there are fifteen of them, say:-SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.8

    “It is now the universal opinion of critics, that of the first eight of these professedly Ignatian letters are spurious. They bear in themselves indubitable proofs of being the production of a later age than that in which Ignatius lived. Neither Eusebius nor Jerome makes the least reference to them; and they are now by common consent set aside as forgeries, which work at various dates, and to several special purposes, put forth under the name of the celebrated bishop of Antioch.SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.9

    “But after the question has been thus simplified, it still remains sufficiently complex. Of the seven epistles which are acknowledged by Eusebius (‘Hist. Eccl.’ iii. 36), we possess two Greek recensions, a shorter and a longer period. It is plain that one or the other of these exhibits a corrupt text, and scholars have for the most part agreed to accept the shorter form as representing the genuine letters of Ignatius.”SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.10

    “But although the shorter form of the Ignatian letters had been generally accepted in preference to the longer, there was still a pretty prevalent opinion among scholars that even it could not be regarded as absolutely free from interpolations, or as of undoubted authenticity. Thus said Lardner, in his ‘Credibility of the Gospel History’ (1743): ‘I have carefully compared the two editions, and am very well satisfied, upon that comparison, that the larger are an interpolation of the smaller, and not the smaller an epitome or abridgement of the larger... But whether the smaller themselves are the genuine writings of the Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, is a question that has been much disputed, and has employed the pens of the ablest critics. And whatever positiveness some may have shown on either side, I must own I have found it a very difficult question.’”SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.11

    Mosheim says:-SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.12

    “A regard for truth requires it to be acknowledged that so considerable a degree of obscurity hangs over the question respecting the authenticity of not only a part, but the whole of the epistle ascribed to Ignatius, as to render it altogether a case of much intricacy and doubt.”-“History of Christianity,” cent. 1, sec. 52.SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.13

    Neander says of the so-called epistle of Ignatius: “Even the shorter and more trustworthy addition is very much interpolated.”SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.14

    Dr. Schaff (“History of the Christian Church,” Vol., sec. 119), says:-SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.15

    “The doctrinal and churchly views of the Ignatian epistles are framed on a peculiar combination, and somewhat materialistic apprehension of John’s doctrine of the incarnation, and Paul’s idea of the church as the body of Jesus Christ. In the ‘Catholic Church’-an expression introduced by him-that is, the episcopal orthodox organization of his day, the author sees, as it were, its continuation of the mystery of the incarnation and the reality of which he outpoured great emphasis against the docetists; and in every bishop a visible representative of Christ, and a personal center of ecclesiastical unity, which he presses home upon his readers with the greatest solicitude, and almost passionate zeal. He thus applies those ideas of the apostles directly to the outward constitution, and makes them subservient to the principle and institution of the growing hierarchy. Here lies the chief importance of these epistles; and in this respect we have found it necessary to distinguish them already in the section on the organization of the church.SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.16

    “It is remarkable that the idea of the episcopal hierarchy should be first clearly and boldly brought out, not by the contemporary Roman bishops, Clement, but by a bishop of the Eastern Church; though it was transplanted by him to the soil of Rome, and their sealed by his martyr blood. Equally noticeable is the circumstance that these boldest documents of the hierarchy seven became so interpolate, curtailed, and mutilated by pious fraud, that it is to-day almost impossible to discover with certainty the genuine Ignatius of history under the hyper- and pseudo- Ignatius of tradition.”SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.17

    Dr. Killen:-SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.18

    “It is no mean proof of the sagacity of the great Calvin, that, upwards of three hundred years ago he passed a sweeping sentence of condemnation on these Ignatian epistles. At the time many were startled by the boldness of his language, and it was thought that he was somewhat precipitate pronouncing such a decisive judgment. But he saw distinctly, and he therefore spoke fearlessly. There is a far more intimate connection than many are disposed to believe, between sound theology and sound criticism, for a right knowledge of the word of God strengthens the intellectual vision, and assists in the detection of error wherever it may reveal itself... Calvin knew that an apostolic must have been acquainted with an apostolic doctrine, and he saw that these letters must have been the productions of an age when the pure white of Christianity was really obscured. Hence he denounced them so emphatically; and time has verified his deliverance. His language respecting them has been often quoted, but we feel we cannot more appropriately close our observations on this subject than by another repetition of it. ‘There is nothing more abominable than that trash which is in circulation under the name of Ignatius.’”-“Ancient Church.” Period 2, sec. 2, chap. 3, par. 12.SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.19

    We might quote much more to the same effect if we had space, but it is not necessary. The argument from Ignatius may be summed up thus: First, the testimony credited to him is in direct contradiction to the Scripture teaching. Second, the whole thing is a forgery. Third, it is quoted twice so as to increase the effect. This is the kind of testimony which is invariably quoted to supplement the so-called argument from Scripture in favor of Sunday. Since it is customary to reserve the strongest argument for the last, this affords a good comment on the strength of the argument from Scripture for Sunday. W.SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.20

    (To be continued.)

    “Something New But Untrue” The Signs of the Times, 13, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We thought we had heard all the arguments that could by any possibility be brought against the Sabbath; but we have just come across one that to us is absolutely new. This one comes all the way from Texas, and is the joint product of a Methodist minister, a professor in a college, and an “orthodox theologian.” We find it in a little pamphlet entitled, “The Sabbath Day Examined.” It is our design to give our readers the benefit of everything that is offered against the Sabbath, and so we give this. In deference to the high authority whence the book originates, we do not venture to change the grammatical construction in any particular. The reader will notice from the way the matter is introduced, that it is one of a class of similar arguments:-SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.21

    “Before leaving this class of arguments, we will introduce one more which is of itself sufficiently strong to preclude the idea of the most sanguine Sabbatarian of going back to creation to begin with number seven for Sabbath. I have before me a little book in which it is stated that an orthodox theologian asked a Sabbatarian, ‘From when do you date your Sabbath?’ ‘From creation, sir,’ was the reply. Now if you will just listen to me, I will prove that you do no such thing. Is the Sabbath a moral or religious institution? Nay, has it the elements of good or evil in it? Please answer. Is it good or evil? If either, the observance of it by Adam would have been a violation of the law which God gave to him. ‘Of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat.’ The same as to say, ‘The observance of the Sabbath by Adam before he sinned would have knowledge of good and evil, and of itself a sufficient reason for all the sin and misery that the world has ever known from that day until the present.”SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.22

    We are not told what reply the Sabbatarian made to the “orthodox theologian” who got off the above. No doubt he was so much overwhelmed by such a torrent of “orthodox” theology and “orthodox” grammar and logic, too, that he could not reply. But we have had time to take breath since we read it, and so we venture to turn the tables on the “orthodox theologian” as follows:-SITI March 10, 1887, page 150.23

    1. Is marriage a moral or religious institution? Nay, has it the elements of good or evil in it? Please answer. Is it good or evil? If either, then the entering into the marriage state by Adam would have been a violation of the law of God, which forbade him to know good or evil. Therefore Adam, according to our orthodox theologian, was not married until after the fall, and was not in the transgression.SITI March 10, 1887, page 151.1

    2. Has God the elements of good or evil in him? Is he good or evil? If either, then if Adam had known anything about him before the fall, it would have been a violation of the commandment which God gave to him, that he should know good or evil. But God is good; he is goodness itself; therefore, according to the argument of that “orthodox theologian,” we must conclude (a) that Adam did not know God until after the fall; (b) that since he did not know God until after the fall, he never received from God any commandment concerning the tree of knowledge of good and evil; and that (c) consequently, Adam never having received any commandment from the Lord, never fell, but continued a clam-like existence, neither good or evil, but half way between both, like Mohammed’s coffin suspended between heaven and earth!SITI March 10, 1887, page 151.2

    But someone who has not had the superior advantages of that college professor or the “orthodox theologian,” may be simple enough to say, “These conclusions directly contradict the plain statements of the Bible.” Of course they do; and so does the conclusion of the “orthodox theologian,” in regard to the Sabbath. So also does every “argument” which is fabricated against the Sabbath which God gave to man in Eden, and proclaimed in thunder tones from Sinai. The lofty theories of many an “orthodox theologian” would tumble to the ground instantly, or, rather, would never be raised, if he should take counsel of the Bible, and should accept its plain statements.SITI March 10, 1887, page 151.3

    The tree which was forbidden to Adam was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and not of the knowledge of good or evil. Adam knew good; so long as he regarded the command of the Lord, he could not know anything else, and God did not design that he should; but when he transgressed the Lord’s command, he knew evil as well as good. This transgression, which made him evil, brought “death and all our woe,” and it also brought into the world a flood of just such absurd, contradictory, unscriptural, and wicked “arguments” as that put forth against the Sabbath by that reputed “orthodox theologian.” W.SITI March 10, 1887, page 151.4

    “Discrediting Prophecy” The Signs of the Times, 13, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Another time-setter who would be nothing if he were not sensational, has arisen in New York, and declares that the world will come to an end in the year 1900. Of course all his so-called calculations are the most foolish kind of guess-work; for there is absolutely no prophetic period which reaches this side of 1844. But that will not prevent this man from finding followers; he could, however, acquire no notoriety whatever if it were not for the newspapers, some of which are devoting considerable space to notices of his vagaries.SITI March 10, 1887, page 151.5

    The more absurd any proposition is, the more widely it is sure to be circulated by the secular press. If it were not for this fact, weather prophets, perihelion theorists, and time-setters, might about as well go out of business. But as this time-setting is a most fruitful source of unbelief, we can scarcely hope that the devil will allow it to slumber; and it behooves those who have received the truth, and who have an understanding of Christ’s work in the heavenly sanctuary, to give heed to the words of the Saviour: “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when he will return from the wedding; that, when he cometh and knocketh, they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching.”SITI March 10, 1887, page 151.6

    “Unconcealed Infidelity” The Signs of the Times, 13, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    By this term we do not refer to the blasphemous rantings of Ingersoll, but to the infidelity that is preached from Christian pulpits and scattered broadcast by the religious press. This is scarcely a Bible doctrine, or a fact of sacred history that is not positively denied by some professing to be religious teachers. The Bible says that in six days God created the heaven and the earth; but that truth has been so long and so generally denied by religious teachers, that he believes the simple Bible statement, is considered an old fogy. To believe the simple statement of the Bible is considered a mark of ignorance. Our attention has been especially directed to this matter of late by several noted instances of clerical infidelity, a few of which we will notice.SITI March 10, 1887, page 151.7

    An English clergyman has recently published to books on “Christ and Christianity,” in one of which, entitled “A Picture of Jesus,” The following version is given of the miracle at Cana:-SITI March 10, 1887, page 151.8

    “The Virgin is evidently a little discomposed. The run on the wine is, no doubt, due to the people who came in the retinue of her Son. She cannot bear that members of her own family should put to shame the giver of the feast and so close a friend. “They have no wine, my dear Son—you see there are too many, in consequence of—‘Hush!’ Jesus stops her, with exquisite sensibility and gentle courtesy. He will not have attention called to the fact of there being any deficiency.SITI March 10, 1887, page 151.9

    “No doubt Jesus and his disciples had brought wine enough, at least for themselves, according to custom. But now, is it not possible-even likely and Christlike-that with loving thoughtfulness, and knowing the extra concourse in consequence of his presence, Jesus may have said to his disciples, ‘If we go, we must not be burdensome to our friends; they are not rich; many will follow us; the sacred rights of hospitality, by which at least a season none may be excluded, must not be put to shame; take plenty of wine, and let it be good-the best wine. But don’t let it be known; we must not do a kindness to get praise by others, at the expense of wounding our host’s feelings; let us so manage that, if possible, he may not even know that his wine ran short; let us leave our supply outside, it need only be used if called for, and then served up out of the host’s own pots. The water pots at the door are sure to be empty by that time, it will be most convenient to put our wine in them at the right moment, and no one will be likely to notice that it is not the host’s own wine.’SITI March 10, 1887, page 151.10

    “So when the wine ‘runs short,’ Jesus himself steals away from the feast-the servants quickly get in the wine, fill up the water pots under his directions-and the whole had been done so quietly that the first thing noticed is that wine is being poured out of pots usually containing water. Some noticed that; the servants, we are told, knew about it, and could have been the real explanation; but the ruler of the feast did not even know that the wine had failed; he only noticed that what was now served was the best wine.”SITI March 10, 1887, page 151.11

    The above was written by one who writes “Rev.” before his name; and we have seen it printed in a prominent denominational journal, without a word of dissent. Instead of being called a picture of Jesus, his book should have been entitled “a Caricature of Jesus.” For no one who has ever read the simple narrative in the second chapter of John, could believe that the one who wrote the paragraph above had any other motive than to ridicule the Bible account. The evangelist plainly states that the servants, at the command of Jesus, filled the six stone water-pots, and as plainly states that that water was made wine; yet this man professing to give a picture of Jesus, has represented him as using deception in order to perpetrate a very clumsy trick. It is not simply that the miracle is denied, but Jesus is represented as being actually dishonest. No professed infidel ever did more to bring the Bible into disrepute by his coarse jokes upon it, than has this professed minister of the gospel. We cannot believe that a man who presents Jesus in such a light as he does, can have any faith in him or in the Bible.SITI March 10, 1887, page 151.12

    In its issue of December 9, the Christian Union reprints an article from the Popular Science Monthly, which begins thus: “There is no weed weedier or more ubiquitous than the common thistle. In Paradise, it is true, if we may trust John Milton and the Sunday-school books-wise, as usual, beyond what is written-there were no thorns or thistles.” The one who wrote that has read the Bible to little purpose, if he has read it at all, or else he doesn’t accept the Bible as final authority on any subject. The Bible says that at the close of creation, “God saw everything that he had made, and, behold it was very good.” Genesis 1:31. Thorns and thistles are not good. Also we are told that “out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food.” Genesis 2:9. And the growth of thorns and thistles is expressly declared to have been the direct consequence of the sin of our first parents: “And unto Adam he [God] said, Because thou hast harkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded the, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of is at all the days of thy life; thorns and thistles shall it brings to thee.” Genesis 3:17, 18. It would be well if many who nowadays presume to write upon Bible subjects had as much knowledge of the Bible as John Milton had; better still if they believed it as fully as he did. The quotation which implies that thistles grew from the beginning, and were in Eden, is perfectly in keeping with the rapidly-increasing tendency to leave God out of the account altogether, and to hold that the world evolved itself.SITI March 10, 1887, page 151.13

    Again, in the Christian Union of January 20, the editor, Lyman Abbott, makes an exhibition of infidelity in his comments on the current Sunday school lesson. The lesson is upon the call of Abram, Genesis 12:1-9, and is entitled “The Faith of Abram.” We make a few quotations from the article:-SITI March 10, 1887, page 151.14

    “And so he went out, ‘not knowing, whither he went;’ not knowing, I may add, by whom he was led. He went by faith, obedient to the command of that inward sense which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. He crossed the Euphrates, passed over the desert and entered the unknown land which he determined should be his home. He pitched his tent and built an altar near to what afterward became Bethel; and initiated his entrance in a new country by a new worship. He called, it is said, upon the name of the gods. In treating this ancient history we are almost wholly in the land of conjecture; the conjecture is reasonable that he first introduced into use, and so into the Hebrew Scriptures, the plural form Elohim, the gods, as a method of expressing his faith that the many Lord and gods of the Chaldaic religion were but different names or expressions for the one God who is the Master and Maker of all. As Paul commended the altar to the unknown God, and whom the Athenians unknowingly worshiped proceeded to declare unto them, so Abraham, not attacking even by implication the polytheistic beliefs of his father’s house, grouped in thought all the gods of the earth and the heavens together, and took the first up toward a true monotheistic worship by calling on the name of the gods, as though in the many he would recognize but One.SITI March 10, 1887, page 151.15

    Some persons may in the above a sample of the advanced theology, but we can see only a sample of advanced in fidelity. The Scripture says, “Abraham believed God;” Lyman Abbott says that Abraham was not sure that there was any God. The Scripture tells us the simple facts about the call of Abraham, where he was when he was called, how old he was, where he went, and where he stopped on the way, and the instances connected with his journey; Lyman Abbott says, “in treating this ancient history we are almost wholly in the land of conjecture.” We submit that the only room there is for conjecture is by ignoring the Bible narrative. The writer of the above conjectures that because the word “Elohim” is used (not however by Abraham, but by Moses, the historian), therefore Abraham had the gods of Chaldea in mind when he built the altar and worshiped at Bethel. He might as reasonably conjecture that Moses had the many gods of the Egyptians in mind when he wrote, “In the beginning God [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth.”SITI March 10, 1887, page 151.16

    But the writer continues:-SITI March 10, 1887, page 151.17

    “Of course I am well aware that there are able theological writers who suppose that modern theology was furnished to Adam in Eden, and to Abraham in Ur, and to whom this whole rendering of Abraham’s immigration will seem secular, if not profane. To them the plural Elohim is an evidence that Abraham believed in the Trinity, and his erection of an altar is conclusive proof that he comprehended the atonement. If religion is something external to man, we may certainly conceive it prepared ready-made and given to him, like the dress of skins which the Lord God made for Adam and Eve in the garden. But if religion is character, if it is what man is, not what he has, in the crude and ruder states of human development, religion must be simple and crude in its forces; then, as we are content to teach our children the very simplest truth is concerning God, and their duty toward him, and their right of trust in him, so we not only may, but we must, think God has taught the race.”SITI March 10, 1887, page 152.1

    The trouble is that his theory does not allow that God is the author of religion. In fact, it ignores God entirely. Instead of allowing that God is the teacher of the race, it makes man his own teacher, and religion something that is evolved from his own inner consciousness. If religion is not something external to man, then it is only human and not divine. The Bible says that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God;” but the writer of the above paragraph, in claiming that religion is something that is developed within the individual man, being crude at first, but becoming more perfect as the man becomes better educated, does away entirely with the necessity for a God. His theory is infidelity pure and simple.SITI March 10, 1887, page 152.2

    To show that this charge is well founded, and that the editor of the Christian Union has in his comments entirely ignored God, we make one more quotation:-SITI March 10, 1887, page 152.3

    “So perhaps from this simple story we may get a simple and clear idea of what is that calling and election which has been a theological trouble to so many minds. Abraham was the first in the long line of God’s ‘chosen people;’ and he is himself designated in the Bible as ‘called’ and ‘chosen.’ We are called whenever we feel within an inspiration to a higher life or to some special divine action; we make our calling and election sure when we are obedient to the voice divine.SITI March 10, 1887, page 152.4

    “To listen to and obey this voice is faith. Abraham ‘believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness.’ Abraham’s creed at this time, if I have read his story correctly, must have been of the simplest kind. He could have believed in no Bible, for he had none; in no divine, atoning Saviour, for he had apparently been told of none; there is nothing to indicate that he knew anything about the future state, nor anything more about God than a general conviction that Elohim was one, not many. He knew less than the Magi who followed the star. But, like them, he followed. His inward convictions were very few; what they revealed to him was very simple; but he followed them whithersoever they might lead him.”SITI March 10, 1887, page 152.5

    We have in the above at least one direct contradiction of the Bible. Paul says (Galatians 3:8, 17) that the Gospel that was preached to Abraham, and that the covenant that God made with him was confirmed in Christ; Lyman Abbott says that Abraham had no belief in a divine atonement, because he had been told of none. But even worse than this is his theory of the call of God, and his comment on the statement that Abraham believed God. This call, we are told, was simply inward inspiration; and his faith was simply obedience to the promptings of his own heart.SITI March 10, 1887, page 152.6

    The Bible says that “Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him for righteousness;” but we are told that what he believed was simply an impulse from within; therefore we must conclude if we except Dr. Abbott’s theory, that the God that Abraham worshiped was himself; and that his faith being counted to him for righteousness was simply his own self-approval! This is the doctrine of Spiritualists and infidels. We never picked up a Spiritualist paper that does not counsel its readers to follow the promptings of their own heart. If following one’s inward convictions wherever they may lead him, with no regard for a supernatural revelation, were what is meant by faith, then there would be multitudes of people upon the earth who could truly claim to be children of faithful Abraham. But that is not faith; nothing is safe except obedience to the plainly expressed will of God.SITI March 10, 1887, page 152.7

    It is a matter of very little importance what any single individual believes. We have no controversy with Lyman Abbott. If he wishes to believe that the Bible is a myth, he has that privilege, but we cannot help feeling righteously indignant when we think that such stuff as we have quoted is sent out to tens of thousands of Sunday-school scholars, many of whom will accept it as legitimate comment upon the Scripture. It is a terrible pity that honest students of the Bible cannot be allowed to receive the pure and unadulterated word of God.SITI March 10, 1887, page 152.8

    The blindness and infidelity concerning the Scriptures that we find among men in high position, is simply appalling. Yet people will say, “If the seventh day and not the first is the Sabbath, why have not these learned ministers of the gospel found it out and preached it?” We reply, If the Bible is the inspired word of God, why have not these men found it out and why do they not preach it, instead of teaching their own gain imagination? When a man can pervert simple Bible and history as has been done in the quotations we have made, it is not surprising that he cannot see a scriptural duty which interferes with his convenience. And yet these men, not withstanding their unconcealed infidelity, will be blindly followed by thousands. W.SITI March 10, 1887, page 152.9

    “The Lord’s Prayer. Thy Kingdom Come” The Signs of the Times, 13, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner


    In this brief petition is contained one of the most comprehensive requests ever made by mortal man. Thousands have repeated the simple phrase thoughtlessly, and thousands who have pronounced the words with all the reverence possible for them, have had very limited ideas of what they were asking for. Someone has well written:-SITI March 10, 1887, page 154.1

    “‘Thy kingdom come;’ thus day by day
    We lift our hands to God, and pray;
    But who has ever duly weighed
    The meaning of those words he said?”
    SITI March 10, 1887, page 154.2

    Let us try to weigh the meaning of the words, that we may utter them more intelligently. It is certain that if we know the full meaning of the petition, we shall not lightly make use of it.SITI March 10, 1887, page 154.3

    First, we will notice that the Lord’s prayer shows the kingdom to be still future. That prayer is for all Christians; it is a model for us, just as much as it was for the personal followers of Christ. We are to pray for the kingdom of God to come; but that would be out of place if the kingdom were already set up. That it was not set up in the days of Christ’s first advent, is shown by the question which his disciples asked as they stood upon the Mount of Olives, just before he was taken out of their sight. Said they, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6. Christ did not say, It has already been restored, but “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power.” That is, It is not for the disciples to know when the kingdom will come; but they are to pray for it; if they knew that the time for the kingdom were fixed, it would be useless to pray for it. That God has not made known the time of the coming kingdom, is shown by the statement that he has put it “in his own power.” He is not under obligations to set up the kingdom at any specified time, for he has not appointed any; it is all within his own power.SITI March 10, 1887, page 154.4

    Many people have the idea that “the kingdom of Christ and of God” is a spiritual kingdom, that it is simply the reign of the Spirit in the hearts of believers. It is true that the gospel plan is termed a kingdom, as in Colossians 1:13 and Revelation 1:9; but that kingdom,-the kingdom of grace,-begun as soon as man fell, as soon as he had need of “the grace of God which bringeth salvation;” but the kingdom referred to in the Lord’s prayer is, as we have seen, still future; consequently that kingdom cannot be the gospel. Moreover, the apostle James says: “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” James 2:5. Here he speaks of a kingdom that is promised to those who love the Lord,-a kingdom of which they are heirs through faith. It is this kingdom for whose coming we are to pray.SITI March 10, 1887, page 155.1


    When Adam was created, he was made king of the earth, as is shown by these words: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Genesis 1:27, 28. This dominion was forfeited by the fall, and the world passed into the hands of the one who had conquered Adam,-Satan,-who is now “god of this world.” Not that God has no control over the earth; for even when he gave the dominion to Adam, he did not relinquish any part of his own universal dominion; but Satan took as much of the dominion as was given to Adam. He is not able, however, to go beyond the bounds which God sets for him. See Job 1:12, 26.SITI March 10, 1887, page 155.2

    When David was king over Israel, God promised him that his throne should be “established forever.” 2 Samuel 7:16. This promise was often repeated, and God said, “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven.” Psalm 89:34-37. Yet notwithstanding this promise, it was not long before the whole kingdom of Israel was overthrown, and the people were taken into captivity; and although many of the people were afterward allowed to return to their own land, the kingdom was never restored. The kings who afterward reigned in Jerusalem were simply the creatures of the Roman power, which controlled Judea and all the rest of the civilized world.SITI March 10, 1887, page 155.3

    But David himself, it seems, never expected that his throne should be established forever with earthly monarchs upon it. He understood that Christ was the one referred to, who should rule over the kingdom. So Peter, after quoting David’s words in Psalm 16:8-10, said: “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell the grave, neither his flesh did see corruption.” Acts 2:29-31.SITI March 10, 1887, page 155.4

    Christ, then, is the one who is to “restore again the kingdom to Israel.” It is to be a literal kingdom for he is to sit upon the throne of David. When the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she should be the mother of Jesus, he said: “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:32, 33. The coming kingdom must, therefore be as literal a kingdom as was that of David.SITI March 10, 1887, page 155.5

    The kingdom is, however, to be different, in that it will be perfect and sinless. Said the prophet, addressing Christ by inspiration; “And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.” Micah 4:8. And the Lord himself, in his promise to David, said: “Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more.” 2 Samuel 7:10.SITI March 10, 1887, page 155.6

    These two texts teach us that the dominion of Christ is to be the same as that given to Adam,-“the first dominion,”-that it will be the earth in its Eden beauty and freedom from the oppression of sin. And so we read the words of Peter, who, after speaking of the fire which shall melt the earth, and shall destroy sin and sinners out of it, says, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Peter 3:13. This promise is recorded in Isaiah 65:17-25. Read those verses, and then read the parallel passage in Amos 9:13-15. Then read Amos 9:11, 12, and you will see that this new heavens and new earth is in the time when the Lord has restored the kingdom to Israel. So we learn that when we pray, “Thy kingdom come,” we are simply praying for God to set up his own reign of righteousness in the earth made new.SITI March 10, 1887, page 155.7


    But let not the subject be dismissed with this simple statement of the truth. Around the fulfillment of this promise cluster the grandest and most tremendously important events. That kingdom is ushered in by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, as Paul indicates in his charge to Timothy: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead... his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word.” 2 Timothy 4:1, 2. This kingdom Christ receives before he returns to earth; for he himself compared himself and kingdom to a certain nobleman that “went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.” Luke 19:11, 12. See the account of his receiving this kingdom, in Daniel 7:13, 14. So it is, that when Christ comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, he will be sitting upon the throne of his glory, and to the righteous he will say: “Come, ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matthew 25:31-34. This again shows that the kingdom which the saints are to inherit is the dominion of the earth.SITI March 10, 1887, page 155.8

    In this kingdom righteousness, and that alone shall dwell. 2 Peter 3:13. The prophet says of that time: “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.” Isaiah 60:21. Read the verses preceding this one, and then read the twenty-first chapter of Revelation, the last verse of which says: “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”SITI March 10, 1887, page 155.9

    This state of righteousness will not be brought about by the conversion of all men, for we read that as the end approaches “iniquity shall abound” (Matthew 25:12) and that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse” (2 Timothy 3:13); and that in the days when the Son of man shall be revealed, it shall be as it was in the days of Noah and of Lot. Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-30. So when God gives to Christ the heathen for this inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth, for a possession, the first thing he does is to rule them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. See Psalm 2:8, 9. Says the prophet: “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” Isaiah 13:9. And we also read that when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with his mighty angels, it will be “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10.SITI March 10, 1887, page 155.10

    Thus we learn that to pray, “Thy kingdom come,” is to pray for the coming of the Lord to destroy the wicked, and to cleanse the earth of everything that defiles, and to give immortality to his people. God is no respecter of persons. Whosoever shall not be found written in the book of life shall be cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15. It will avail nothing that men have said, Lord, Lord,-that they have prayed earnestly, even praying for the kingdom of God to come, if in that day any defilement is found in them, they will be cast into the lake of fire. Who is there, then, that realizing what the kingdom of God is, who alone can inherit it, and what will be the fate of those who are unfit,-can pray, “Thy kingdom come,” and still cherish sin in his heart? How carefully and unblamably we must live if we are able to unite, in saying, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” W.SITI March 10, 1887, page 155.11

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 13, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Bradstreet’s says that the grand total of wages sacrificed by strikes since January 1, is $3,000,000.SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.1

    In this session of Congress, which is just closed, appropriations for coast and naval defenses have been made to the following amounts: Steel for ordnance and armor, and a gun factory, $8,000,000; coast fortifications, $5,000,000; ordnance for naval purposes, $8,000,000; ten steel cruisers, $21,800,000; floating batteries for Coast defense, and torpedoes, $15,000,000.SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.2

    Elder J. M. Reese, president of the Tennessee Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, writes us from Nashville that he has good prospect of success in securing the passage of a bill which will relieve Sabbath-keepers of the persecution to which they are subject because of the present unjust Sunday law. We believe that the bill will pass it this time, and that those in Tennessee who keep the commandments, will yet have a little season for unmolested work.SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.3

    Immediately after the Sunday law meeting of which we gave a brief review in the SIGNS last week, we published a somewhat extended review of the main points considered, under the heading, “The Sunday law.-An Address to Thinking People.” In the address we quoted Senator Crocketts speech as it appeared in the SIGNS last week. This little document was gotten out principally for circulation here in Oakland, where the meeting was held; but friends of the truth and other places have called for it, so that although it has been printed less than two weeks, more than thirty thousand copies have been distributed. Thus the matter of the Sunday law is being agitated.SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.4

    “Is its right for a Seventh-day Adventist, who is the owner of a house, to let it for a grocery store where liquors are sold and cards are played in open day? V. S. N.”SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.5

    A person undoubtedly does wrong to let a building with the knowledge that it will be used for immoral purposes, such as our questioner describes; but if the person hiring the building gave the order to understand that it was to be used for legitimate business purposes, and after getting possession went to selling liquor, the owner cannot be held responsible for the deception, neither has the power over the building until the time expires for which the building was rented. Then of course the owner can and should refuse to let his house any longer for such purposes. We would add, also, that liquor-selling and card-playing are no worse in open day than under cover of darkness.SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.6

    Two weeks ago, in a note with the heading, “A Sign of the Times,” we quoted an indorsement of Catholicism, by the late Dr. Hodge, of Princeton. In the Independent of February 17, 1887, we find the following editorial utterance, which confirms our statement that Protestantism is fast turning Catholic. It is this:-SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.7

    “Our readers well know that we have our eyes open to see the good in the Roman Catholic Church, and that we welcome it as an ally against atheism in religion, and socialism in the State. The religion of Catholicism is that of the Bible, and considerable more; but it is a religion of God and the Bible.”SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.8

    After such an utterance, the statement that there is no fear that Catholicism will become a controlling factor in this country, is only an evidence of the blindness of the writer. If Protestants accept and welcome the Catholic Church as an ally, they may rest assured that they will have the controlling influence; for Rome never enters into an alliance as second to any other power. In this country, the power that controls may not be called Catholic, but whatever the name, the thing will be the same. Protestantism which has repudiated the principles of the Reformation will be no better than Catholicism.SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.9

    The hope that was expressed by some that the Dr. McGlynn affair in New York would result in a considerable defection among Catholics in that city, has proved to be vain. The rebellious priest has refused to go to Rome, but he has not, and probably will not, be excommunicated for his disobedience. And now we are told that the Pope has sent him his blessing, and that the Doctor was very much pleased and affected to be thus noticed by “his holiness.” All of which indicates very clearly that McGlynn will not withdraw from the communion of “the church.” If he did, it is by no means certain that he could take with him a single follower. About the only way to rescue a Roman Catholic from the chains of error which the Papacy has cast about him, is to get him converted; and that is not accomplished by partisan fends or socialistic theories. Those who expect to see the Catholic Church, even in a single city, wrecked upon such a rock as the McGlynn trouble, read history and prophecy to very little purpose.SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.10

    An error which is clung to most persistently by a great many people, is that the coming of the Lord will overtake all “as a thief in the night.” It is true that the apostle does say (1 Thessalonians 5:2) “that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night;” but he immediately adds (verse 4): “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the days; we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” So it is only those were in darkness that will be overtaken as a thief; and of them the apostle says (verse 3), that “sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.11

    In his description of the recent revival in Boston, the Rev. M. C. Ayers says:-SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.12

    “At any meeting one might see silk hats and silk dresses in close contact with homespun and overalls; and the wearers of the different grades of apparel manifested absolute consciousness of equality in the one great fact that they were sinners, and thus they were heartily ashamed of their sins.”SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.13

    “The rich and poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all.” Proverbs 22:2. The rich are no better than the poor, and there is no reason why they should not meet on common ground, when they are common sinners. But if they are simply “ashamed of their sins,” they will not long keep on that common ground. The frequent use of similar expressions of late, in connection with great revivals, convinces us that we need not hope for any real religious awakening. The man who has no deeper feeling than shame for his sins, and either covers them up and hides them from even his own sight, or he may become lost to shame for them. When Michael stands up, and “many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,” some of them will awake to shame, and everlasting contempt; all those only who have felt godly sorrow for sin, because they have violated God’s holy law, will awake to everlasting life. Genuine revivals are always connected with something else than shame because of the meanness.SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.14

    The Interior tells of a Protestant lady who “not long since called upon her pastor, and said she had attended worship in a Catholic cathedral, and wished to say that she was favorably impressed. The priest, in his discourse, had quoted a text of Scripture, and he did it in a way to convey the impression that he was quoting final authority-the truth, having been found in Scripture, was indisputable. That, she thought, was the secret of the priest’s power over the people. He did not doubt, and therefore they did not.”SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.15

    Of course we are not to understand that Catholics as a rule follow the Bible any more closely than do Protestants, but upon this occasion when the priest did refer to the Scripture his manner was such as to impress this woman, who was evidently not accustomed to hearing texts of Scripture quoted as “final authority.” The principal business of many of the pulpits of to-day is to “explain away” the plain words of Scripture, and to tone down the more plain and cutting truths, so that they may not be offensive to “ears polite.” The Interior well says: “Making apologies for the Bible is about the weakest and poorest talk a man can indulge in.”SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.16

    While reading the article from the Christian Union, extracts from which are made in the article in this number of the SIGNS, entitled “unconcealed infidelity,” one thought forced itself upon our mind. It was, Why is the Bible used at all by those who so utterly ignore iTs plain statements? When a writer will take the simple narrative that of the call of Abraham, and will say that in dealing with the subject he is almost wholly in the field of conjecture, and will then add, out of his own fancy, things directly subversive of the Bible narrative, we cannot see why he might not as well make up an entire story, and comment upon that. Indeed it would be far better, for then those who want the original Bible could have it unadulterated by theological fancy, and those who want the conjectural Bible could take it. But this will not be done; no man could get up anything that would compete with the Bible, and they would soon lose their prestige; so they keep close enough to the Bible to lean upon it when their imagination fails,-close enough to seduce our unthinking people into the unconscious infidelity.SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.17

    In a late number of the Occident, there is a good, homely article by “Rusticus,” about hearing. The closing paragraphs speak of so crying an evil of this time, and contain so much wholesome truth in relation to it, that we give them here:-SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.18

    “There are a great many new things in this world and a great many true things. But it must not be taken for granted that all the new things are true things, and that all the true things are new things. There is a good deal of old-fashion truth-of truth that will never become obsolete. This truth is like daily bread. It is revealed for the permanent nourishment of our souls. We eat it with our ears. And if we refuse to seek it, and prefer unhealthy condiments and stimulants, we must expect to be feeble in faith.SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.19

    “If any of my readers are troubled with itching years, I advise them to go at once to the Great Physician and ask him to heal them. I have known the disease to prove fatal in some cases. I do not believe that anyone who is afflicted with it can be happy in the Lord. But alas, in these days it is a fearful epidemic. There are whole churches that suffer from it, and yet don’t seem to know why they have no revivals of religion.”SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.20

    At the National Conference of Charities and Correction, Governor Hoadly of Ohio, related the following, the truth of which he vouched for, having himself inspected the letter referred to: “There is in a certain governor’s office, I shall not say where, the letter press, books, and correspondence of a certain governor, I shall not say who. A friend sought from this governor the pardon of two criminals. The governor gave his correspondent the choice, but refused to pardon both, because, as he said, that county’s quota was exhausted! This was no joke, but the reason seriously given by an earnest governor who distributed pardons by geography.” Such a travesty on justice needs no comment; we note it as a sign of the times.SITI March 10, 1887, page 160.21

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