Larger font
Smaller font
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font

    January 13, 1888

    “Peter Confessing Christ” The Signs of the Times, 14, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Commentary.
    (January 20.-Matthew 16:13-28.)

    This is a lesson so full of strong points that but little space can be devoted to each. Jesus had just returned from healing the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician woman, and had reached the region of Cæsarea Philippi. Seemingly without any previous introduction, he asked his disciples: “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.” These ideas that were held by different persons were no doubt derived from Deuteronomy 18:18; Malachi 4:5. Besides this, it seems they had a tradition that before the end some of the prophets would rise from the dead; they were looking for the Messiah at about the time of Christ’s advent, but they had confounded the prophets concerning his first and his second advent, and were looking for him to come in glory. Accordingly, some thought that Jesus might be one of the prophets risen from the dead as a pledge of the general resurrection. Notice, however, that nobody is reported as saying that Christ was the Son of God. It seems that a belief of this was confined almost exclusively to his disciples.SITI January 13, 1888, page 25.1

    “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Here was a recognition of Christ’s real nature and mission. “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,”-the Son of the Author of life,-conveying the same idea as in the confession recorded in John 6:68, 69: “Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” The confession of faith which Peter made on behalf of the disciples, must have been as a refreshing draught to Jesus, in view of the way in which he was regarded by the world at large.SITI January 13, 1888, page 25.2

    And Jesus answered and said unto him, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona [Simon son of Jonas]; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in Heaven.” No human being had revealed this wonderful truth to Peter; no human being could reveal it. For “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14. Says Paul: “Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:16-18. From these texts we learn that no matter how much one may have heard of Christ, he doesn’t know him if he has not received the revelation which God alone can give by his Spirit. He who has this knowledge indeed, is a new creature. Many can testify that when Christ was revealed to them as the Saviour of sinners, and not merely of sinners in general, but of them in particular, it was in the place of secret prayer; or perhaps it was after hearing words, the like of which they had often before heard unmoved. And nothing could be more positive than the knowledge which is thus revealed. No argument could make it so plain, and no argument could make the individual doubt the knowledge thus revealed. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8.SITI January 13, 1888, page 25.3

    “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Upon this we quote the following from Edersheim’s “Life of Jesus the Messiah:”-SITI January 13, 1888, page 26.1

    “Not less Jewish in form are the succeeding words of Christ: ‘Thou art Peter (Petros), and upon this Rock (Petra) will I build my church.” We notice in the original the change from the masculine gender, “Peter” (Petros), to the feminine, “Petra” (‘Rock’), which seems the more significant, that Petros is used in Greek for ‘stone,’ and also sometimes for ‘rock,’ while Petra always means a ‘rock.’ The change of gender must therefore have a definite object, which will presently be more fully explained. Meantime we recall that, when Peter first came to Christ, the Lord had said unto him: ‘Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, Peter [Petros, a Stone, or else a Rock]’-the Aramaic word Kepla meaning, like Peter, both ‘stone’ and ‘rock.’ But both the Greek Petros and Petra have (as already stated) passed into Rabbinic language. Thus, the name Peter, or rather Petros, is Jewish, and occurs, for example, as that of the father of a certain Rabbi Jose bar Petros). When the Lord, therefore, prophetically gave the name Cephas, it may have been that by that term he gave only a prophetic interpretation to what had been his previous name, Peter. This seems the more likely, since, as we have previously seen, it was the practice in Galilee to have two names, especially when the strictly Jewish name, such as Simon, had no equivalent among the Gentiles. Again, the Greek word Petra-Rock-(‘on this Petra [Rock] will I build my church’) was used in the same sense in Rabbinic language.”SITI January 13, 1888, page 26.2

    “Believing that Jesus spoke to Peter in the Aramaic, we can now understand how the words Petros and Petra would be purposely used by Christ to mark the difference, which their choice would suggest. Perhaps it might be expressed in this somewhat clumsy paraphrase: ‘Thou art Peter (Petros)-a Stone or Rock-and upon this Petra-the Rock, the Petrine-will I found my church.’ If, therefore, we would not entirely limit the reference to the words of Peter’s confession, we would certainly apply them to that which was the Petrine in Peter: the Heaven-given faith which manifested itself in his confession. And we can further understand how, just as Christ’s contemporaries may have regarded the world as reared on the rock of faithful Abraham, so Christ promised that he would build his church on the Petrine in Peter-on his faith and confession.”SITI January 13, 1888, page 26.3

    Some have thought from the reading of Ephesians 2:19, 20 that Christ referred, not to Peter alone, but to all the apostles, as the rock upon which his church should be built. That text reads: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone.” But 1 Corinthians 3:10, 11 shows just how this should be taken. There the apostle Paul says: “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”SITI January 13, 1888, page 26.4

    This text teaches that Jesus Christ is the only foundation; he is not only the chief corner-stone, but the entire foundation. Then how could Paul say to the Ephesian brethren that they were built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets? He means the foundation which the apostles and prophets laid, as he says in 1 Corinthians 3:10, that is, Jesus Christ as the Life-giver and the Saviour of sinners. That this is the foundation to which he refers, is proved by the second verse of the preceding chapter: “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” This was the foundation which all the apostles laid, as Peter himself said after he had healed the lame man: “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:10, 12. And this was likewise the foundation of the prophets, as Peter further says: “To him [i.e., to Jesus] give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:43. Thus we see that the rock upon which Christ’s church is founded, is belief from the heart in him as the one whose blood can cleanse from sin.SITI January 13, 1888, page 26.5

    “And the gates of hell [hades, the grave] shall not prevail against it.” This does not mean that the gates of the grave are carrying on an aggressive warfare against the church, hurling themselves against it in a vain endeavor to overthrow it. Gates don’t “prevail” in that way, neither do men use gates in that way in warfare. Gates “prevail” against anyone when they effectually bar his passage. Now Christ is the Son of the living God; and “as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself” (John 5:26), “that he should give eternal life” to as many as the Father should give him. See John 17:2. He says of himself, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelation 1:18.SITI January 13, 1888, page 26.6

    Satan has the power of death (Hebrews 2:14); the grave is his prison-house, and all the dead he counts as his lawful prey, since death came because of sin. So he, as “a strong man armed keepeth his palace” (Luke 11:21), and “opened not the house of his prisoners.” Isaiah 14:17. But Christ is the stronger than he, who has come upon him, and overcome him, and passing through his prison-house, has carried away the keys, and will divide the spoils. Luke 11:22; Isaiah 53:12. The saints of God may go into the grave; Satan may stir up persecution against them, and may slay them by the thousands; but the gates of the grave cannot prevail to hold a single soul that has been fastened to the eternal Rock. “He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”SITI January 13, 1888, page 26.7

    “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.” No power was here conferred upon Peter that was not conferred in equal measure upon the other apostles, and in more limited measure, perhaps, to the entire church. In his instructions as to the method of dealing with an obstinate church member, Jesus said: “But if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:17, 18. Whatever the church does acting unitedly and in the fear of God, is ratified in Heaven, because it is the body of Christ. Ephesians 1:22, 23. As such, it is Christ’s representative on earth, and he has no other. To no individual, in the church or out, has Christ given power to bind or loose. And even “the church” cannot do this, except when it is walking in the light, and its members are abiding in Christ; for when this state of things ceases, it ceases to be the church of Christ, no matter what its name or pretensions. W.SITI January 13, 1888, page 26.8

    “The Fall of Man” The Signs of the Times, 14, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner


    1. In what condition was the whole creation when it came from the hand of God?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.1

    “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” Genesis 1:31.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.2

    2. Did this include man also?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.3

    “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright.” Ecclesiastes 7:29, first part.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.4

    3. Did man retain his uprightness?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.5

    “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Romans 5:12.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.6

    4. What prohibition had God laid upon the pair in the garden of Eden?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.7

    “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:17.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.8

    5. Who first partook of this forbidden fruit?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.9

    “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Genesis 3:6.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.10

    6. Was Adam deceived as to the consequences of the act?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.11

    “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” 1 Timothy 2:14.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.12

    7. How was Eve deceived?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.13

    “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.14

    8. Who was the serpent?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.15

    “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:2.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.16

    9. How did he begin his work?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.17

    “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Genesis 3:1.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.18

    10. When Eve repeated the prohibition, what did the serpent reply?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.19

    “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.” Verse 4.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.20

    11. What did he say that eating from the tree would do for them?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.21

    “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Verse 5.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.22

    12. In so saying, what imputation did he cast upon God?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.23

    13. In telling them that by eating the forbidden fruit they should be like God, what was Satan instilling into their minds?-Pride.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.24

    14. What was the cause of Satan’s fall?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.25

    “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:12-14.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.26

    15. What always follows pride?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.27

    “When pride cometh, then cometh shame; but with the lowly is wisdom.” “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 11:2; 16:18.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.28

    16. What was it that brought the heathen nations into their deplorable condition?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.29

    “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” Romans 1:22, 23.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.30

    17. What was the result of Adam’s transgression?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.31

    “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:17-19.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.32

    18. Was he allowed to remain in the garden?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.33

    “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Verses 23, 24.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.34

    19. How extensive were the consequences of his fall?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.35

    “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Romans 5:12.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.36

    20. Did death pass upon all men regardless of their character, just because Adam sinned? See last clause of Romans 5:12.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.37

    21. What kind of nature do all men inherit?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.38

    “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” Mark 7:21-23.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.39

    22. By what means may we get rid of this evil nature, and have a better one?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.40

    “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 5:4.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.41


    The mean cunning of the serpent may be seen in the way that Satan approached Eve. From the fact that while they were talking Eve took of the forbidden fruit, and ate, indicates that when the conversation began they were near the tree. Said the serpent, “Is it so, that God hath said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” “Is it possible that God would make so arbitrary and unjust a command?” The object of this speech can be seen at once. It was threefold, namely, to cause her to doubt the goodness of God; to raise himself in her estimation to the same extent that he lowered God; and to make her feel that she was being deprived of her “rights.” Pride and discontent were aroused, which prepared the way for open rebellion.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.42

    “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Here was a square issue between Satan and God, and Eve had been worked into such a condition of doubt and discontent that she readily sided with Satan. This was the first sermon on the natural immortality of the soul of man. Notice that it was this teaching that caused the fall; consequently the teaching that man is by nature immortal, is responsible for all the evil that has ever come to mankind.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.43

    “For God doth know,” etc. Here again Satan charged God with deliberately withholding a good thing from Adam and Eve, so that he might keep them in a position inferior to that which their natural talents entitled them to. What was that position? “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof ye shall be like God.” This is just what Satan said, and a literal translation of the Hebrews. Said Satan, “You might as well be like God; he knows this, and has placed this prohibition upon you, so that he may keep you down. Now will you consent to be thus imposed upon? Don’t do it; assert your rights and be free.” Who is there that doesn’t recognize this kind of talk?SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.44

    We see that Satan caused Eve to fall, by instilling into her mind the same ideas that caused his fall. See Isaiah 14:12-14. We see, also, whence Spiritualism comes, which claims that what the Bible calls evil is a necessity, that men cannot die, no matter what they do, and that each individual is the judge of his own acts, and is therefore equal to God. But read in Isaiah 5:20-24 the fate of those who call evil good.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.45

    Beware of the flatterer. When a man begins to sympathize with you, to tell you how you are being “kept down” and abused, and what high positions you might occupy if it were not for the grasping selfishness of some in authority, then make up your mind at once that Satan is talking to you through him. Don’t listen to him. Says Paul: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.46

    There is a vast difference between honest praise and flattery. It is right and just to encourage people by letting them know that their good work is appreciated. But flattery is always lying. It is Satanic in its origin. Look up and read carefully what the Bible has to say of the flatterer. “A man that flattereth his neighbor spreadeth a net for his feet.” Proverbs 29:5. See also Job 32:21, 22; Psalm 12:3; Proverbs 20:19; 26:28.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.47

    Solomon’s words in Proverbs 20:19 indicate that a tale-bearer is likely to be a flatterer. Satan’s question to Eve, “Is it so that God hath said,” etc., carries with it the air of virtuous indignation. The idea designed to be conveyed was, “I would never do such a thing; just trust me, and you shall have liberty.” How aptly the apostle Peter describes the people who work in this Satanic manner: “For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption; for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” 2 Peter 2:18, 19. The man who comes with some false story about somebody else, trying to cast reflections upon him, does so only to conceal his own faults. The gist of all his talk is this: You and I wouldn’t do such things, would we? He is seeking to build himself up, and by flattering your vanity, to take advantage of you. Look out for such; and, above all, “be not thou like unto them.” W.SITI January 13, 1888, page 27.48

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 14, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Methodist Recorder tells of a preacher who was forced to discontinue his subscription to the paper, on account of lack of means, and says: “He has been preaching three years, has organized three churches in that time, and has received but fifteen dollars for his work, and hence is compelled to seek secular employment.” We just venture the opinion that in the section of country where that man lives, there are some very poor Christians.SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.1

    The Pacific Health Journal and Temperance Advocate comes to our table with a new dress, which adds greatly to its appearance. And, by the way, it is to make its appearance twice as often as formerly, having been changed to a monthly. We understand that the list of subscribers is increasing, and the publishers design to steadily improve the Journal as the list increases, thus making it still more worthy of patronage. Every number contains matter that is worth more to any family than the price of a year’s subscription. Send a dollar to the publishers, and see if it is not so. See advertisement on preceding page.SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.2

    The following question appears in the Christian Advocate (New York):-SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.3

    “In a certain Methodist Church, by the minister’s consent and procurement, a play was enacted in the church for the benefit of the Missionary Society. Is this right and helpful to the cause of missions?”SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.4

    And we are glad to be able to present the following answer by the Advocate:-SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.5

    “It is wrong, disgraceful, and destructive to the missionary spirit. The way to get money for the cause of missions is to present it intelligently to the people; to use practical means; to see that an application is made to every person, and leave the result to their hearts and consciences.”SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.6

    Of the 2,974 persons arrested by the Oakland police during the year just passed, 418 were under eighteen years of age. In the police court a few mornings ago, when the judge pronounced sentence upon two youngsters, he said:-SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.7

    “It is the hardest duty I have to do-this sentencing of boyish misdemeanants to imprisonment in the public jail. But if I show mercy, and suspend sentence, the lads take advantage of the leniency, to commit other and greater crimes. I know that it will do these lads no good to send them to jail, but society must be protected from their depredations.”SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.8

    This is a sad state of things, and indicates a great lack of family government, without which all other government is not much of a success. As the Tribune says: “Unfortunately the spanking power is not vested in the officers, and parents, in whom it is vested, will rarely exercise it.” Solomon knew what he was talking about when he said: “He that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.9

    The term “rod,” as used by Solomon in speaking of the training of children, is a comprehensive one, embracing all methods designed to correct and restrain. It is a grave error to suppose that Solomon advocated continual beating of children; but that he did advocate the judicious use of the literal rod is true, and he thereby showed his wisdom. The child who is chastened “betimes” will not need to be continually corrected. There is such a thing as a child getting in the habit of obeying, and this is the end to be sought in all training of children. When this sort of government is maintained in the home the child never appears in the police court. The parents of such children will experience the truth of the proverb: “Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” But parents who allow their children to “come up,” and to govern themselves, too soon learn that “a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.10

    We have often stated that the matter which most of the daily newspapers furnish their readers, is a good index of the taste of the majority of those who read newspapers. Harper’s Weekly cannot be accused of being unduly prejudiced, and it says concerning “slugging:”-SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.11

    “The newspapers must be supposed to know the tastes and wishes of their readers, and that their readers are really profoundly and especially interested in the story of the efforts of two men to beat and bruise each other into swollen and disgusting helplessness, throws instinctive light upon the character of the general newspaper reader.”SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.12

    Not all newspaper readers enjoy such reports, by any means. Respectable people who must have the real news are obliged to tolerate this pandering to the baser element, which, according to indications, seems to be by far the larger.SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.13

    In noticing “Romanism and the Reformation from the Standpoint of Prophecy,” by Rev. H. Grattan Guinness, the Independent says: “There is enough in the general spirit and teaching of the Bible to argue against Rome and her teachings, without forcing prophecy into such definite identification of Rome with the man of sin as Mr. Guinness attempts.” Ah, yes; talk against Romanism in a sort of general way, but don’t say anything definite about it. That is the spirit of the so-called Protestantism of to-day. But it is a fact that an argument form “the general spirit and teaching of the Bible” never convinced anybody of sin and never converted a single soul. If a system of religion is wrong, any conscientious Bible student can find plenty of passages in the Book for the “definite identification” of that error; and if the Bible is not definitely against anything, its “general spirit and teaching” are not against it. The Bible is the one book that gives no uncertain sound. It is the true Protestant book, for it vehemently protests against all iniquity whether it calls itself “Christian” or not.SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.14

    The Jewish Messenger says: “It is useless to deny that the majority of our people, especially the young, are not attracted to our religious shrines, except on rare occasions.” And the Family Treasury adds: “The young Israelites do not stick to the faith of their fathers. Neither do they become Christians. They cease to be religious. And the chief cause of their apostasy is that the young Jew has no Sabbath. He is for the most part surrounded by such associations as keep him from the synagogues on Saturday; and so he neglects religion, and becomes an infidel.” But that isn’t the primary reason. The reason which lies back of even the Sabbath-breaking is that the life of the Jewish religion died out more than eighteen hundred years ago, and since then it has been mere dead formalism. The young Jew becomes an infidel, because the religion of his fathers, totally rejecting Christ, is itself practically infidel.SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.15

    On a recent Sunday morning all the churches in Ukiah, Cal., were closed, with one exception, and to that house of worship all the Christian people of the place resorted to listen to a sermon by a Jewish rabbi upon “Liberal Religion.” Commenting upon this occurrence, which we believe is without precedent, an Oakland paper says: “Such a service is a pleasing indication of the growing harmony among religious sects, and of the feeling of courteous fellowship whence may come at some time more unity of doctrine than at present exists.”SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.16

    This note would not be worthy of comment, were it not for the fact that it is the echo of a sentiment which is becoming very common among the various schools of religionists. We do not pretend to say that it is wrong to hear a rabbi; but we do believe that this note does not express a healthy Christian sentiment. There can be no “more unity of doctrine than at present exists,” between Jews and Christians, unless the Jews acknowledge Christ, or the Christians deny him. That the former will ever, as a people, acknowledge the lowly Nazarene, we have no warrant for believing; though alas! too many of the latter do in reality deny their Saviour. The spirit which leads professedly Christian people to abandon principle, and to surrender sacred truths for the sake of “unity of doctrine,” is not the spirit of the Master, but of the enemy of all righteousness. The Saviour himself refused all compromises, and plainly said, “He that is not with me is against me.” Christian courtesy does not require any follower of Christ to place himself in the attitude of even seeming to admit, either by word or act, that any Christless religion is as good as the religion of Christ. And it does seem that the Christian minister who surrenders his pulpit, even for a single day, to an avowed enemy of Christ, and of the religion which bears his name, can scarcely have proper conceptions of the importance and sacredness of the gospel of the Son of God.SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.17

    The Christian at Work says that “the custom is growing among the Jews of keeping their places of business open on Saturday for half the day;” and adds: “Of course this is a direct violation of the fourth commandment.” Yes, of course it is a direct violation of the fourth commandment, for that commandment enjoins the observance of the seventh day of the week, as the Christian at Work has often before admitted. But if it is a violation of the fourth commandment for the Jews to work on Saturday, isn’t it a violation of that commandment for professed Christians to work on Saturday? Of course it must be. According to the Christian at Work’s own admission, almost all professed Christians are breaking the fourth commandment. Then the issue comes squarely on whether or not the fourth commandment is binding on anybody. We would like to learn the position of the Christian at Work on this point. If it shall decide that the fourth commandment is not binding, then by what argument can it make it appear that any part of the moral law is binding?SITI January 13, 1888, page 32.18

    Larger font
    Smaller font