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

    August 31, 1888

    “Something about Sabbath-Keeping” The Signs of the Times, 14, 34.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A gentleman in Chicago, who has received a few copies of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES, writes to us expressing his appreciation of the paper, and asks some questions, which we are very happy to answer. The first is as follows:-SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.1

    “If that particular day [the seventh day of the week] is essential, is it possible that God would have permitted the Christian church, whom he designed for such a glorious work, through all these eighteen hundred years to make such a great mistake?”SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.2

    We might ask in reply why, if pure Christian morality is essential, the Lord would let “the church” for more than a thousand years become a sink of corruption? If the Bible is essential, why did the Lord let “the church” burn all the Bibles it could get hold of? Or we might go farther back, and say, If the worship of one God is essential, why did the Lord allow almost the whole world to go into idolatry? To all of these questions, which are the same, two answers may be given:-SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.3

    First, the Lord has placed men on this earth as candidates for immortality. That can be given only to those who do well. But in order that men may do well, they must be given an opportunity to “do,”-they must be left free to choose for themselves. There is no virtue in the performance of right, when the individual could not possibly do anything else. There are thousands of men who do not drink, smoke, steal, nor commit any crime whatever, yet we do not call them models of virtue, nor do we attribute any virtue at all to them. The reason is that they are in jail, and cannot do any of those things. So if God should, by the exercise of his almighty power, compel all people to walk in the right path, there would be no virtue, and none could be fitted for the freedom of Heaven. The Lord’s servants are free, but such men would be slaves. God sets before all men life and good, and death and evil, and offers them their choice. If they deliberately choose the evil, they cannot blame him for the result.SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.4

    In the second place, as just stated, God has done everything possible on his part to prevent people from making a mistake. Even the heathen are without excuse, for they have in the things that are made abundant evidence of the existence of one God, and of his great power. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1. But when we come to “the church,” who dare hint of excuse? In addition to the light of nature, which they have in common with the heathen, the members of the church have God’s own plainly revealed will, written by holy men who were inspired by God’s own Spirit, and this will is able to make them wise unto salvation. The Bible read just the same a thousand years ago that it does now; but if men chose to burn it rather than to read and study it, why should God be charged with allowing them to make mistakes in duty? Or if men today prefer the opinions of “the Fathers” or some other uninspired men, to the simple declarations of God’s word, who is to blame if they err from the truth? What more could God do that he has not done? He could do no more toward keeping men from making mistakes, except to destroy their freedom of choice, and compel them to go in the right path; but then they would be machines, and not men.SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.5

    Moreover, there have been a few men in every age who have preserved the pure doctrine of the Bible. There has never been a time when there have not been some who have kept all the commandments of God. Now if one man in the world could know the will of God, there is no reason, except their own perverseness, why all men should not know it. No one can charge upon God the mistakes of men. In the Judgment, every mouth will be stopped.SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.6

    The next point upon which our correspondent desires information is stated as follows:-SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.7

    “So far as any observation has extended, I have found that all who practice this keeping of the Sabbath, are either engaged in religious work, and so are independent of an employer, or else they live in communities large or small, and so render strict observance not only possible but easy.”SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.8

    Our friend’s observation has evidently been very limited in this particular. He seems to imply that only those keep Sabbath who can do so just as easily as not. The fact is that more than nine-tenths of those who begin to keep the Sabbath of the Lord, do so at a personal sacrifice, not only of money, but often of friends. Take, for instance, a large part of those who are engaged in religious work. It is true that they are in a sense “independent of an employer,” but how did they become so? Simply by giving up the employment in which they were engaged, and taking hold of missionary work at one-half, one-fourth, one-fifth, and even one-tenth of their former earnings. Now this is possible for anybody, but it ought to be patent to everybody that it is not exceedingly easy.SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.9

    Those who keep the Sabbath are from every class of people, and from all occupations. While there are a few comparatively large churches, there is not a community where they form more than a small minority of the inhabitants; and scores of hundreds of them live by themselves, where they do not see another Sabbath-keeper for a year at a time. In cities, some who have trades are fortunate enough to retain their situation by voluntarily losing one day’s work and wages each week. In fact, there are very few who would not find it much easier to conform to the practice of the majority. Yet we have never heard anybody complain. We make these statements so that our friend, who evidently cannot keep the Sabbath without suffering some inconvenience, may know that if he takes hold of it he will have the company of thousands of others.SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.10

    The idea that “we must live, you know,” has taken so deep hold upon people that it is hard for them to begin to keep the commandments of God when doing so will result in the loss of their business. But as a matter of fact, there is no use for a man to live if he doesn’t live as the Lord wants him to. Since we could not live a moment but for the power of God, and since everything that we earn comes from him, it would certainly seem more reasonable to expect a living when serving him than when trampling upon his precepts. So the psalmist says: “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” Psalm 37:3. True, he does not say that such ones shall be fed on dainties; but “a little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.”SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.11

    We like to read the story of those heroic men and women of past ages, who preferred death to disobedience of the commandments of God. It is not very probable that anybody in this age will be called upon to suffer martyrdom for the truth’s sake; but are we so much better than they that we cannot suffer a little inconvenience for it? How many people are there who fully understand the eleventh chapter of Hebrews? W.SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.12

    “Liberals Appreciate the Sabbath” The Signs of the Times, 14, 34.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “We rejoice,” says the New York Observer, “that the liberal newspaper of Boston appreciates the Sabbath as a precious spiritual opportunity, and that it speaks boldly in favor of its being kept sacred to the highest service of man in the service of God.SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.13

    How the Investigator, “the liberal newspaper of Boston,” and a most outspoken infidel sheet, can “appreciate the Sabbath as a most precious spiritual opportunity” is altogether more than we can imagine. Of course by “Sabbath” is meant Sunday, but still that fact does not explain the appreciation of “precious spiritual opportunities,” and we await more light before commenting further on that point; but the latter part of the quotation presents almost as great a difficulty. How could such a paper consistently express the sentiment which the Observer here attributes to “the liberal paper of Boston”? If that paper had simply said that it was in favor of Sunday being kept sacred to the service of man, the solution would be simple enough, for many even among infidels think that a stated day of rest is well-nigh essential to man’s highest physical good, but when it comes to so “liberal” a paper being in favor of the “Sabbath” for the “service of God,” we confess that we don’t understand it. Will somebody explain?SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.14

    One thing we can understand, and that is that the keeping of Sunday will soon be the one test of Christianity, and no matter what a man’s opinion of the Bible may be, he will be counted “Christian” if he but observes Sunday. This will be the bond that will unite infidels and churchmen, and which will thus tend to the complete corruption of the church. The above statement by the Observer, a staunch Presbyterian paper, shows that a few words in favor of Sunday, by a “liberal” sheet, will cover up a great deal of infidelity.SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.15

    “Surroundings of the Early Church” The Signs of the Times, 14, 34.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The first chapter of Romans affords a glimpse of the heathen world which enables us to understand something of what Christianity had to contend with in making converts, and also to comprehend to some extent the strength of the corrupting influences which surrounded the early church. The apostle not only gives a comprehensive view of the state of morals among the heathen, but he tells the steps by which they reached the depth of degradation which is there revealed. He first notices the fact that at one time the people did not know God. Verse 21. From the Mosaic record we learn the same thing. We know that in the years immediately following the creation and the flood, all the inhabitants of the earth had the knowledge of the true God. Adam and Noah-the two fathers of the race-served the Lord, and they would of course teach their children about him and his requirements. There could, therefore, be no excuse for the gross ignorance which afterwards prevailed.SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.16

    Even had this oral teaching been wanting, there would have been no excuse for the abominable idolatry, and the ignorance of God, which characterized nearly all of the inhabitants of the earth, because nature itself reveals not only the existence, but also the power of God. In speaking of the heathen, Paul indicates the justice of God in pouring out his wrath upon them, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in to them; for God hath showed it unto them.” Romans 1:19. The next verse tells how God revealed himself unto them. As we quote it, we transpose the clauses, to save the necessity of explanation by comment: “For [i.e. since] the creation of the world, the invisible things of him [God], even his eternal power and Godhead, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; so that they [those who deny God] are without excuse.” More than this, the same apostle tells us that God “left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” Acts 14:17. The psalmist also tells us that “the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1. So plainly does nature teach the existence of God, that he who even in his secret thought says, “There is no God,” is justly called a fool. Psalm 14:1. Such an one may be said to be ignorant of the a b c of knowledge.SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.17

    Nevertheless it is a fact that the nations did forget God; and Romans 1:22-32 is an accurate description of their condition in consequence. The truthfulness of this description is attested by the heathen themselves. They deified the most profligate men and women, and worshiped vice instead of virtue. Their gods were male and female, and mythology, i.e., the history of the gods, is little else than a record of licentiousness. The Baal and Astoreth of the Canaanites were the Jupiter and Venus of the Romans and Greeks, and every heathen nation had gods corresponding to them. The temples erected to them were magnificent brothels, and their priestesses were prostitutes. Licentiousness was not simply allowed, but it was commanded as an act of religion. Among the Babylonians it is said that, “once at least in her life, every woman was obliged to prostitute herself in the temple of Bel.”-American Cylopedia, art. Babylon. Heathenism “had made lust into a religion, and the worship of its gods a school of vice, penetrating all classes of society.”SITI August 31, 1888, page 534.18

    Let the reader first read Romans 1:18-32, and then compare it with the quotations that follow. Professor Stuart, in his “Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans,” says on the twenty-seventh verse of the first chapter:-SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.1

    “The evidences of the fact here stated by the apostle are too numerous and prominent among the heathen writers to need even a reference to them. Virgil himself, ‘the chaste Virgil,’ as he has been often called, has a Corydon amulet Alexis. [Corydon loving Alexis], without seeming to feel the necessity of a blush for it. Such a fact sets the whole matter in the open day. That at Athens and Rome sodomy was a very common and habitual thing, needs no proof to one who has read the Greek and Latin classics especially the amatory poets, to any considerable extent. Plutarch tells us that Solon practiced it; and Diogenes Lactius says the same of the stoic Zeno. Need we be surprised, then, if the same horrible vice was frequent in the more barbarous parts of Greece and the Roman Empire?”SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.2

    In the heathen worship there were “mysteries,” to which only the initiated were admitted. These were celebrated in the inner temples, and it is doubtless of them that the apostle Paul speaks when he says: “For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” Ephesians 5:12. If the things recorded in the first chapter of Romans were done openly, what must have been the depth of the wickedness that was done in secret, and of which it is a shame even to speak? But let is be understood that the heathen themselves felt no shame for any of their practices. They glorified in them as things which brought them nearer to the gods. The more licentious they were, the more nearly they resembled the gods which they worshiped. The worst abominations were done in secret, without a sense of shame, but to show that certain ones had advanced beyond the common people in a matters of “religion.” On this point, Professor Stuart, in commenting on Romans 1:24, says:-SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.3

    “The imputation is, that in apostatizing from the true God and betaking themselves to the worship of idols, they had at the same time been the devoted slaves of lust; which indeed seems here also, by implication, to be assigned as the reason or ground of their apostasy. Everyone knows, moreover, that among almost all the various forms of heathenism, impurity has been either a direct or indirect service in its pretended religious duties. Witness the shocking law among the Babylonians, that every woman should prostitute herself, at least once, before the shrine of their Venus. It is needless to say, that the worshipers of Venus in Greece and Rome practiced such rites; or that the mysteries of heathenism, of which Paul says ‘it is a shame even to speak,’ allowed a still greater latitude of indulgence. Now is it necessary to describe the obscene and bloody rites practiced in Hindostan, in the South Sea and the Sandwich Islands, and generally among the heathen. Polytheism and idolatry have nearly always been a religion of obscenity and blood.”SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.4

    Summing up the evidence against them, Paul says that they were “filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.” Romans 1:29-31. And to crown all, he adds that they not only did these things, but had pleasure in those who did them. Nothing could exceed such depravity. As Professor Stuart says:-SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.5

    “It is often the case, that wicked men, whose consciences have been enlightened, speak reproachfully of others who practice such vices as they themselves indulge in. Few profligate parents, for example, are willing that their children should sustain the same character with themselves. But when we find, as in some cases we may do, such parents encouraging and applauding their children in acts of wickedness, we justly consider it as evidence of the very highest kind of depravity.”SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.6

    “It is of such depravity as this that the apostle accuses the heathen. And justly; for even their philosophers and the best educated among them, stood chargeable with such an accusation. For example; both the Epicureans and the Stoics allowed and defended sodomy and incest, numbering these horrid crimes among things indifferent.”-Comment on Romans 1:32.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.7

    This was the state of morals, not alone of the lower, uneducated classes, but of the philosophers,-those who instructed the youth in “virtue.” That the apostle uses the term, “without understanding,” with respect to the morals, and not the intellect, will be readily seen from the following quotations:-SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.8

    “Truth was but of small account among many, even of the best heathens; for they taught that on many occasions, a lie was to be preferred to the truth itself! To which we may add, that the unlimited gratification of their sensual appetites, and the commission of unnatural crimes, was common even among the most distinguished teachers of philosophy, and was practiced even by Socrates himself.” Horne’s Introduction, vol. I, chap. 1.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.9

    In confirmation of the statement that the philosophers encouraged lying, Dr. Whitby collected many maxims of the most eminent heathen sages, from which Dr. Horne quotes the following:-SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.10

    “A lie is better than a hurtful truth.”-Menander.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.11

    “Good is better than truth.”-Proclus.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.12

    “When telling a lie will be profitable, let it be told.”—Iberius, in Herodotus, lib. Iii, c. 62.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.13

    “He may lie, who knows how to do it, in a suitable time.”—Plato.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.14

    “There is nothing decorus in truth, but when it is profitable; yea, sometimes truth is hurtful, and lying is profitable to men.”-Maximus Tyrius.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.15

    Mosheim says of the time just preceding the introduction of Christianity:-SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.16

    “The lives of men of every class, from the highest to the lowest, were consumed in the practice of the most abominable and flagitious vices; even crimes, the horrible turpitude of which was such that it would be defiling the ear of decency but to name them, were openly perpetrated with the greatest impunity.”-Historical Commentaries, vol. I, chap. I, sec. 21 of Introduction.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.17

    But while the people were abominably licentious they were no worse than their religion taught them to be. The following from Dr. Schaff will serve to give the reader some idea of the nature of their religion and of the character of the gods which they worshiped:-SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.18

    “How could there be any proper conception and abhorrence of the sin of licentiousness and adultery, if the very gods, a Jupiter, a Mars, and a Venus, were believed to be guilty of those crimes? Modesty forbids the mention of a still more odious vice, which even depraved nature abhors, which yet was freely discussed and praised by ancient poets and philosophers, practiced with neither punishment nor dishonor, and likewise divinely sanctioned by the lewdness of Jupiter with Ganymede.”-History of the Church, vol. I, sec. 51.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.19

    It was from this state of degradation that the gospel essayed to lift men; from people addicted to such practices, the early Christian churches were formed. When we consider this, instead of wondering at the heresies that crept into the church, and the disorderly conduct that was sometimes tolerated even in the apostolic churches (see 1 Corinthians 5:1, 2), we are amazed at the heights of piety to which many attained. The fact that even among that corrupt mass thousands were found who would give, not only their property, but themselves also for the advancement of the cause of truth and holiness, is a wonderful monument to the regenerating power of Christianity.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.20

    But great changes are not made instantaneously. Even though men are converted, they need instruction, since they are then but babes in the truth; and this fact shows that old habits of thought and practice cannot at once be entirely forgotten. We do not mean to intimate that the converted man has any license to sin, or any excuse for it; but pardon for sins is not sanctification; the one who has been pardoned is not perfect, but is to “go on to perfection;” and he still needs an advocate with the Father, that his imperfections may still be pardoned and overcome. Now men are always tempted on the side of their natural inclinations; if the converted man gives way to temptation, it will be his old sins that he will commit; and when, as is too often the case, a man joins the church without having been thoroughly converted, of course the old habits will continue unchanged.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.21

    Let the student of church history remember this, and at the same time bear in mind what has been quoted concerning the moral condition of the people among whom the gospel gained its victories, and it will throw light on many phases of professed Christianity. It will also prevent him from attaching too much importance to the precepts and practices of even the foremost of those in the Christian church who had been brought up in heathenism. He will always compare every act or saying of those men with the Bible, to see to what extent their early training was allowed to bias their course. W.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.22

    “The Commentary. The Mark of the Beast” The Signs of the Times, 14, 34.

    E. J. Waggoner

    THE PURPOSE OF THE SABBATH IN THE MESSAGE.
    (Lesson 11, Sabbath, September 15, 1888.)

    1. Who will be required to worship the beast and his image, and to receive his mark?SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.1

    “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads; and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:12, 15-17.SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.2

    2. In opposition to this what does the Third Angel’s Message say?SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.3

    “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” Revelation 14:9, 10.SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.4

    3. What are those led to do who heed the voice of this message?SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.5

    “Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Verse 12.SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.6

    4. What does this show?-That the power spoken of in Revelation 13:12-17 will put forth all their strength to compel men to do something that is contrary to the commandments of God.SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.7

    5. What have we found was the principal object of the Papacy, in the fourth century? and what is the purpose of the Protestantism of to-day?-To see the power of the State to compel all people to keep Sunday as the Lord’s day, or Christian Sabbath.SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.8

    6. Of what day is Christ the Lord?SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.9

    “But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.” Exodus 20:10.SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.10

    8. Then what day is the Lord’s day?SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.11

    9. What does the Lord called the seventh day?SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.1

    “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy days; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words.” Isaiah 58:13; Exodus 20:10.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.2

    10. Is there any commandment of God for keeping Sunday?-None whatever.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.3

    11. What testimonies can you give on this point from eminent first-day authorities?SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.4

    The $500 prize essay of the American Tract Society acknowledges the “complete silence of the New Testament so far as any explicit command for the Sabbath [Sunday, the first day of the week] or definite rules for its observance are concerned.”-Abiding Sabbath, p. 184. And the $1,000 prize essay of the American Sunday-school Union says: “Up to the time of Christ death, no change had been made to the day.” And, “so far as the record shows, they [the apostles] did not however, give any explicit command enjoining the abandonment of the seventh-day Sabbath and its observance on the first day of the week.”-Lord’s Day, pp. 186-188. See note.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.5

    12. What was the single link that in the fourth century united Church and State, which developed the beast?-The Sunday institution.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.6

    13. What is the single point in a similar movement in our day which develops only an image to the beast?-The Sunday institution.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.7

    14. What does the papacy set forth as the sign of its authority to command men under penalty of sin for disobedience?SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.8

    “The very act of changing Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of.... Because by keeping Sunday strictly they acknowledge the church’s power to ordain feasts, and to command them under it.”-Catechism of the Catholic Christian Instructed.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.9

    15. Then what is the mark of the beast?SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.10

    16. Then what is the keeping of Sunday?SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.11

    “The keeping of Sunday is an homage they pay, and in spite of themselves, to the Catholic Church.”-Plain Talk about Protestantism.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.12

    17. Then when Protestant churches attempt to compel people by law to keep Sunday, what is that only to do?-It is only to compel men to worship the Papacy-to worship the beast.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.13

    18. But, as in the very act of compelling people to do this these churches make an image to the beast, what then will be the enforced observance of Sunday in this nation?-It will be the worship of the beast and his image.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.14

    19. But may not Sunday-keeping be enforced as a civil duty?-Never; because Sunday is wholly a religious institution; and the civil power has no right to enforce religious duties.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.15

    20. What does Christ command on this subject?SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.16

    “Then said he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things are God’s.” Matthew 22:21.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.17

    21. By what power was Sunday-keeping instituted?-The church.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.18

    22. Why were the ancient Sunday laws enforced?-The Church demanded it and it was done to satisfy and help the church.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.19

    23. Why are Sunday laws now enacted?-For the same reasons precisely.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.20

    24. Is the church Cæsar?-No.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.21

    25. Is the church God?SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.22

    26. Then what follows?-That as Sunday-keeping belongs neither to Cæsar nor to God, there is no place in existence that can of right command it.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.23

    NOTE

    QUESTION 11.-The student is at liberty to present any other testimonies on this point that he may choose.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.24

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 14, 34.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Camp-meetings are of late coming largely in favor again. At the last meeting of the Baptist ministers of San Francisco and Oakland, a committee was appointed to inquire into the feasibility of holding an annual camp-meeting in Oakland.SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.1

    The settlers of antelope Valley, Los Angeles County, Cal., have made an offer of 300 acres of land to the Boards of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the M. E. Church South, as a location for their proposed homes for infirm and sick ministers.SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.2

    President Davis, of the University of California, has proposed that the various denominations of the State should each establish a home at the University for the students of their faith, and thus look after their social and religious interests. The proposition has been favorably received, and prominent Methodist clergymen have already visited Berkeley to look for a desirable site for their denominational home.SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.3

    We learn from an exchange that the Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and its recent session in Pittsburgh, Penn., directed the church authorities to discipline members who advertise their business in the secular Sunday newspapers. We do not learn, however, that any objection was expressed to their having their advertisements appear in the Monday morning papers, all the work of which is done on Sunday.SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.4

    Subscriptions for the SIGNS OF THE TIMES and the American Sentinel are now coming in faster than one man can set up the names and arrange the list. This is what we like. We find men enough to take care of the list, if our friends will only send in their subscriptions, and those of their friends and neighbors. It is just as easy for us to write for twenty-five thousand subscribers, and, in fact, it easier. Try us and see.SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.5

    In a public address at the recent Spiritualist camp-meeting in Oakland, William Emmette Coleman said that in his opinion probably ninety-nine one-hundredths of the so-called materializations were fraudulent. A regular correspondent of the Golden Gate says that he should concur on the opinion, and honor him for the utterance, if he had said ninety-five per cent. And Hon. Amos Adams, one of the leading Spiritualists of California, and till recently the president of the State Association, speaks as follows of the materialization séances at the Onset Bay camp-meeting:-SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.6

    “How in the light of reason and common sense these poor, deluded people can reconcile the fact that the child they laid away only weighing from thirty to fifty pounds, could, in the space of one short year, swell into such vast proportions, and weigh at least two hundred pounds, none but those who go to séances knowing they will not be deceived can answer. We believe we have seen people at these séances, who, if a bag of barley were placed at the aperture, with a potato on it for a head, would walk up and embrace it, and then get up in the next fact meeting and state that their long, long ago grandfather, who came to this country in 1600, materialized for them last night at Mrs. Soganboss’s séance; and it was impossible for them to be deceived, because he was recognized by a scar on his forehead, caused by a wound made by a spear, when his long-ago grandfather was fighting the battles of William the Conqueror; would not the relation of this ‘fact’ would be greeted with wild applause!”SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.7

    This, as told by the Spiritualists themselves, does not prove that there are no genuine Spiritualist manifestations, but simply that “materialization” affords the best opportunity for fraud. After all, we do not see why it should be thought strange thing for mediums to practice fraud, when they are in constant communication with, and under the control of, lying spirits.SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.8

    The pastor of one of the leading Baptist Churches in Cleveland, Doctor Dowling, has recently renounced close communion, and has given a general invitation for all who wish to join in celebrating the Lord’s Supper. The Michigan Christian Advocate comments on this action as follows:-SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.9

    “Now that the brother has broken away from one species of bigotry, let us hope that he may yet go a step further and concede that dipping, like close communion, is not necessarily a condition of thoroughly devout Christianity.”SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.10

    We see no reason why he should not, and indeed he must do so if he is consistent in his course. And then when he has decided that baptism is not necessarily a condition of Christianity, he may well conclude that repentance and conversion are likewise unnecessary. And when those old-fashioned things no longer stand in the way, what wonderful advancement (in numbers) the church may be expected to make.SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.11

    A later dispatch brings the news that Doctor Dowling has withdrawn from his church and from the Baptist denomination. The probability is that as he is a very popular man, the church will not accept his resignation, and will follow him out of the denomination.SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.12

    The gentleman whose questions we answered on another page, in his letter to us expresses his appreciation of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES in the following manner:-SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.13

    “I like the paper because it gives so much good truth, not making man’s thoughts too prominent [which is] a very common fault in the religious journals to-day. Then I like it because while discussing the debatable questions of the day in a friendly spirit, it seeks no higher authority than God’s word.”SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.14

    We do not wish for any higher recommendation for the paper than this. To uphold the word of God as the supreme and sole authority in all matters of faith and duty, is the one object of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES. We know of no higher authority than the Bible. And when we say that, we mean the Bible as interpreted by the Bible, and not by some man’s opinion. There is no man so good or so sound that his opinion is worth anything if it conflicts with the plain teaching of Scripture.SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.15

    The New York Evangelist notes the fact that the session of the Central Presbyterian Church, Rochester, N.Y., is energetically protesting against the Sunday “desecration” that is carried on in its city, and says that its action is to be followed by the other churches. It then adds: “Only a prompt, firm, and united stand will make head against present inroads upon the Sabbath [by which it means Sunday] and other of our cherished American institutions.”SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.16

    Calling Sunday an “American institution” is far better than calling it the Christian Sabbath or the Lord’s day; but we protest against it. We claim an interest in all American institutions, but we know none in Sunday. Sunday is a pagan institution, and nothing else can be made of it, whatever it may be called.SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.17

    It is said to be Mr. Gladstone’s opinion that Rome, meaning the Roman Catholic Church, would not have lasted as long as she has if it were not for the large amount of faith and hope and charity to be found within her pale. Is that the reason why Confucianism, Buddhism, Mohammedanism, and other forms of paganism, have lasted so long? The custom of measuring a religious organization by its claim or by the length of time it has existed, is a most pernicious one. That standard of measurement would prove paganism to be the only true religion.SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.18

    Our readers will fully understand, without any comments from us, the bearing of such action as is noted in the following item from the San Francisco Chronicle of the 29th inst.:-SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.19

    “A Saturday half-holiday is growing rapidly in favor. In the East not only the stores and shops are closing at Saturday noon, but the factories and foundries also, and the workmen here are going to follow suit, if possible. It looks as though the half-holiday is destined to be as much an occasion of secular observance as is Sunday.”SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.20

    “No Union with Infidels” The Signs of the Times, 14, 34.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A brother in Oregon has sent to this office a letter, of which the following is the principal part:-SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.21

    “Mr. Sam P. Putnam, president of the American Secular Union, and editor of a journal called Free Thought, published at San Francisco, was in this town a few days ago lecturing on Infidelity. While here he circulated some of his papers. In one of these papers occurs the statement, made by J. L. McCartney, that the Seventh-day Adventists had ‘joined the Secular Union in opposing the objects of the Natural Reform,’ etc.SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.22

    “Some of the citizens of this place are using this against us, saying that we are a strange class of Christians who unite with infidels.”SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.23

    It is no new thing for those who style themselves National Reformers to brand us infidels all who differ with them. This they find to be much easier than answering arguments. But we are not troubled by that; it is a great satisfaction for us to know that their calling us infidels does not make us such.SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.24

    In this instance, however, the reporter seems to have been somewhat at fault. The item in Free Thought was clipped from the Chronicle’s report of a ministers’ meeting at which Professor McCartney presented the subject of National Reform. The report made the Professor say that Seventh-day Adventists had joined the infidel league in opposing Natural Reform. As soon as we read the report, we addressed a note to Professor McCartney, asking him if he had been correctly reported. We did not believe that he had been, for we had had a long talk with him the day before, in the course of which he spoke very highly of the spirit of devotion which he had seen in our Sabbath-school and church service. He replied that in his address he made no reference to us, but that in the discussion that followed the reading of his paper, someone mentioned the Seventh-day Adventists as being opposed to the movement.SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.25

    That is all there is to that. We are most heartily opposed to the National Reform movement, but that does not make us infidels. We are opposed to it because we love the Bible and pure Christianity, and we do not want to see them trampled in the mire of politics.SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.26

    One word more. The Congregationalist ministers, before whom Professor McCartney read his paper on National Reform, considered the matter at their next meeting, and voted, unanimously, we think, not to indorse National Reform. Query: Does that act place them in the ranks of infidelity?SITI August 31, 1888, page 544.27

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents