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    March 9, 1888

    “The Spirit of Antichrist. No. 12” The Signs of the Times, 14, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    One point more remains to be noticed in the work of antichrist. In the remarkable discourse concerning the signs of his second coming, our Saviour first said: “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Matthew 24:4, 5. This was given in answer to the question. “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” The Saviour’s language plainly indicates that attempts would be made to counterfeit his second coming, and so successfully made as to deceive many.SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.1

    Again he says, speaking of the time following the great persecution: “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Verses 23, 24. This shows that the counterfeit will be very close. From these statements and warnings, we can come to no other conclusion than that just before the coming of Christ, his great adversary, Satan, will, as far as is possible, counterfeit all the wonderful signs that Christ has said would attend his coming. This conclusion is stated in express terms, in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-10. The apostle Paul says:-SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.2

    “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming; even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.”SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.3

    The sum of the apostle’s argument is very clear. The whole chapter is devoted to the time of the coming of the Lord. Some unscrupulous person had written a letter to the Thessalonian brethren, telling them that the Lord’s coming was close at hand, and had signed Paul’s name. See verses 1-3. Compare also chap. 3:17. Paul wrote to them that that day could not come until after the great apostasy, and the setting up of the Papacy, and reminded them that when he was with them he had told them so. Paganism then hindered the complete establishment of the Papacy, but soon that would be taken out of the way, and when that was done, then should the Papacy be fully revealed, to be destroyed by the brightness of the coming of Christ. And the coming of Christ to destroy the Papacy, would be, he said, just after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.4

    We inquire, Is there any present prospect that these predictions of Jesus and Paul, concerning Satan’s counterfeiting Christ’s second advent, will be fulfilled? Our answer must be, There is. Spiritualism is even now planning such a campaign, one that is calculated to turn the attention of people away from Christ’s literal coming. In the World’s Advance Thought (published at Salem, Oregon) of April 5, 1886, there was the following editorial utterance upon the subject of “A Coming Messiah“:-SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.5

    “In a recent Harmony Hall lecture on ‘The Messianic Idea,’ the necessity for a new messiah, and the certainty of his early advent, were philosophically considered, as well as prophetically proclaimed.SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.6

    “The messianic idea is involved in the theory that all the phenomena of spiritual manifestations, however diverse and widely separated, may be referred to a single mediumistic source of distribution.... The time has already come for logically arranging the authenticated facts which shall demonstrate it....SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.7

    “There are regular cycles of spiritual progress, of truth unfoldments; and we are now passing from one into another. Another ‘Sun of righteousness’ is called for on earth, and the messenger cannot be far off whose life mission it shall be to practically illustrate the new truths that will be vouchsafed. He will not be a mere racial messiah, to which class belonged Buddha, Zoroaster, Pythagoras, Mahomet; nor a half-world messiah, as was the great Nazarene; but steam locomotion and lightning communication, and the harmonizing influences of commercial intercourse, have made a whole world messiah possible, and such the next one shall be. Though themselves ignorant of the fact, as a body, the great and multiplying army of mediums are his accomplices.”SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.8

    In the same paper a lecture delivered in Harmony Hall, Salem, Oregon, by Judge H. A. Maguire, is reported thus:-SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.9

    “I say, ‘as one having authority,’ Spiritualists, and all, may see a hope, that shall be a realization to this very generation, of the higher spiritual forces getting control over and governing all the institutions of earth. Silently and invisibly to the worldly-wise, these forces have been, and are being, under the direction of a divine intelligence, extended into every department and station of human life, and the culmination is near at hand,-the ushering in of a new messiah and a new spiritual dispensation.”SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.10

    The editor of the Golden Gate, of April 2, 1887, in an article entitled, “Significance of Prophecy,” speaks as follows concerning the second advent:-SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.11

    “It is not thought by all who believe in the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures-except a small portion who adhere to the literal but strained and illogical interpretations thereof-that the prophecies pointing to a second coming of Christ, do not contemplate a personal return to earth of the gentle Nazarene whom the Jews crucified; but rather the advent of the Christ spirit to the world-the unfoldment of a new spiritual dispensation.SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.12

    “Now these prophecies, by several lines of computation, were demonstrated by Miller and his coadjutors to point to the year 1843 as the time when the great cataclysm, the destruction of the world, was to take place. By a revision of their data the time was afterward brought down to 1848, the year when direct and positive communication was opened up between the two worlds-the advent of modern Spiritualism.SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.13

    “From that time to the present, the believers in a literal second coming of Christ have been daily and hourly looking for his appearance in the heavens, accompanied by a mighty host of angels. The mighty host are here, and the Christ spirit comes with their teachings; hence, may it not be that the prophecies have been fulfilled.”SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.14

    The well-informed reader knows full well that by no “revision of their data” was the time for the coming of the Lord ever brought down to 1848; but that does not invalidate the fact that Spiritualists expect that all the prophecies concerning the second advent are to be fulfilled by Spiritualism.SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.15

    But one Ben Franklin French, of Los Angeles, Cal., is still more positive, and in an article entitled, “Who Are the Real Adventists?” written March 18, 1887, he claims that Spiritualists alone are the true Adventists, and that those who are looking for Jesus from Heaven have no right to the name. He says that he was a ‘44 Adventist, that he did not give up his faith when the time passed, but waited, believing that the prophecy would be fulfilled, although it might tarry, and that the introduction of Spiritualism in 1848, was the fulfillment of Daniel’s vision. So the promises of the coming of Christ are all to be fulfilled only by Spiritualism! And professed Protestants, by claiming that the coming of Christ is to be a spiritual coming, are preparing themselves for Satan’s deception on this point.SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.16

    We believe that the Scriptures most plainly teach that Satan will appear in glory surpassing anything that men have seen, and that he will have a host of his followers with him, and that this will be claimed as a fulfillment of the prophecy that “the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels.” Then the warning, “If any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not,” will apply.SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.17

    But will Satan find any who will acknowledge his claims to be Christ? Yes; all who have not received the love of the truth, will follow him. Those who are looking for Christ to take the reins of this Government, will flock to the standard of this usurper. To show how ready people are to follow anything that offers them present happiness, we quote the utterance of the editor of the National City (Cal.) Record, in commenting upon a sermon in which the preacher had declared Spiritualism to be real, but of the devil:-SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.18

    “We have not yet been allowed the privilege of witnessing a materialization of the dead; have not been so fortunate as the Elder in that respect; but whether they are agents of the devil or not, so the spirits had the appearance of being good spirits, it would matter not, we would go a long way to see the same, and forever after worship the devil.”SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.19

    We have in our possession a letter from an infidel, touching the attitude of infidels toward the National Reform movement. Says he:-SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.20

    “If Jesus will come and sit visibly on the throne where we can see him, and talk to him, there will be no unbelievers, and all will obey.”SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.21

    Thus the way is preparing for Satan’s last, over-mastering deception. W.SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.22

    “Christmas and Sunday” The Signs of the Times, 14, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Soon after the holidays, the following item entitled “Christmas,” appeared in Messiah’s Advocate, a journal published in Oakland:-SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.23

    “We have paid no attention to this day in the Advocate. We have no idea that the 25th of December is the anniversary of our Saviour’s birth, but that Christmas is purely a Popish festival, and we think the sooner Protestants cease to adopt Papal customs, the wiser and better they will be.”SITI March 9, 1888, page 150.24

    We heartily agree with our contemporary: we believe that Christmas is purely a Popish festival, and we think that Protestants ought to have nothing to do with Papal customs. Yet we are sorry to know that the greater portion of professed Protestants, do follow the customs of Rome. Since our neighbor professes such a dislike for Popish customs, we have thought that a little comparison of Christmas and Sunday might not be amiss. We shall show that both are Papal institutions, having been borrowed, like all other customs of the Romish Church, from paganism.SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.1

    Concerning the origin of Christmas, McClintock and Strong’s Encyclopedia says:-SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.2

    “The observance of Christmas is not of divine appointment, nor is it of New Testament origin. The day of Christ’s birth cannot be ascertained from the New Testament, or, indeed, from any other source. The Fathers of the first three centuries do not speak of any special observance of the nativity.... ‘The institution may be sufficiently explained by the circumstance that it was the taste of the age to multiply festivals, and that the analogy of other events in our Saviour’s history, which had already been marked by a distinct celebration, may naturally have pointed out the propriety of marking his nativity with the same honorable distinction. It was celebrated with all the marks of respect usually bestowed on high festivals, and distinguished also by the custom, derived probably from heathen antiquity, of interchanging presents and making entertainments.’ At the same time, the heathen winter holidays (Saturnalia, Juernalia, Brumalia) were undoubtedly transformed, and, so to speak, sanctified by the establishment of the Christmas cycle of holidays; and the heathen customs, so far as they were harmless (e.g., the giving of presents, lighting of tapers, etc.), were brought over into Christian use.”SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.3

    Chambers’ Encyclopedia says:-SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.4

    “It does not appear that there was any uniformity in the period of observing the nativity among the early churches; some held the festival in the month of May or April, others in January. It is, nevertheless, almost certain that the 25th of December cannot be the nativity of the Saviour, for it is then the height of the rainy season in Judea, and shepherds could hardly be watching their flocks by night in the plains....SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.5

    “Not casually or arbitrarily was the festival of the nativity celebrated on the 25th of December. Among the causes that co-operated in fixing this period as the proper one, perhaps the most powerful was, that almost all the heathen nations regarded the winter solstice as a most important point of the year, as the beginning of the renewed life and activity of the powers of nature, and of the gods, who were originally merely the symbolical personifications of these. In more northerly countries this fact must have made itself peculiarly palpable, hence the Celts and Germans, from the oldest times, celebrated the season with the greatest festivities. At the winter solstice the Germans held their great Yule-feast, in commemoration of the return of the fiery sun-wheel; and believed that from the twelve nights reaching from the 25th of December to the 6th of January, they could trace the personal movements and interferences on earth of their great deities, Odin, Berehta, etc. Many of the beliefs and usages of the old Germans, and also of the Romans, relating to this matter, passed over from heathenism to Christianity, and have partly survived to the present day.”SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.6

    Prof. J. G. Müller, the author of the article on the worship of the sun, in the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, after mentioning that the sun was worshiped by the Persians, under the form of Mithras, which finally became the Sol Deus Invictus of the Romans, says:-SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.7

    “The Mithras-worship even exercised its influence upon the fixing of the Christian Christmas-festival in December. As the new birth of the sun-god was celebrated at the end of December, so, likewise, in Christ, the new Sun, in the field of spiritual life was adored.”SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.8

    The Encyclopedia Britannica, after mentioning the obscurity in which the origin of the Christmas festival rests, says:-SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.9

    “By the fifth century, however, whether from the influence of some tradition, or from the desire to supplant heathen festivals of that period of the year, such as the Saturnalia, the 25th of December had been generally agreed upon.”SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.10

    Another item pointing to the heathen origin of Christmas is the fact that the mistletoe, which was regarded by the ancient Druids with the highest veneration, has always been, especially in England, a favorite Christmas decoration. McClintock and Strong’s Encyclopedia (article Christmas) says that the dressing of houses with mistletoe on Christmas day is “a custom probably as old as the Druidical worship.” Druidism, it may be remarked, was the worship of the ancient Britons; it was allied to the Baal or sun worship of the Phoenicians, and, like it, was accompanied by human sacrifices.SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.11

    Bingham, in his “Antiquities of the Christian Church” (book 20, chapter 4), gives the following account of the status of Christmas in the ancient church:-SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.12

    “As to the manner of keeping this festival, we may observe that they did it with the greatest veneration. For they always speak of it in the highest terms, as the principal festival of Christians, from which all others took their original. Chrysostom styles it the most venerable and tremendous of all festivals, and the metropolis and mother of all festivals.... and we may observe that the day was kept with the same veneration and religious solemnity as the Lord’s day. For they had always sermons on this day, of which there are many instances of Chrysostom, Nazianzen, Basil, Ambrose, Austin, Leo, Chrysologus, and many others. Neither did they let this day ever pass without a solemn communion.SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.13

    “Finally, to show all possible honor to this day, the church obliged all persons to frequent religious assemblies in the city churches, and not go to any of the lesser churches in the country, except some necessity of sickness of infirmity compelled them to do so. And the laws of the State prohibited all public games and shows on this day, as on the Lord’s day.”SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.14

    If it be asked how the Christmas festival came to be adopted by the church, we can answer only in the following words of Dr. Killen’s in the preface to his “Ancient Church“:-SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.15

    “In the interval between the days of the apostles and the conversion of Constantine, the Christian commonwealth changed its aspect. The bishop of Rome, a personage unknown to the writers of the New Testament, meanwhile rose into prominence, and at length took precedence of all other churchmen, rites and ceremonies of which neither Peter nor Paul ever heard, crept silently into use, and then claimed the rank of divine institutions.”SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.16

    That is undoubtedly the way in which it was introduced. If it be asked why this was allowed, we shall let Mosheim answer in the following words:-SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.17

    “It is certain that to religious worship, both public and private, many rites were added, without necessity and to the great offense of sober and good men. The principal cause of this I readily look for in the perverseness of mankind, who are more delighted with the pomp and splendor of external forms and pageantry, than with the true devotion of the heart, and who despise whatever does not gratify their eyes and ears. But other and additional causes may be mentioned, which, though they suppose no bad design, yet clearly betray indiscretion.SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.18

    First, there is good reason to suppose that the Christian bishops purposely multiplied sacred rites for the sake of rendering the Jews and the pagans more friendly to them. For both these classes had been accustomed to numerous and splendid ceremonies from their infancy, and had made no question of their constituting an essential part of religion. And hence, when they saw the new religion to be destitute of such ceremonies, they thought it too simple, and therefore despised it. To obviate this objection, the rulers of the Christian churches deemed it proper for them to be more formal and splendid in their public worship.SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.19

    Secondly, the simplicity of the worship which Christians offered to the Deity, had given occasion to certain calumnies, maintained both by Jews and the pagan priests. The Christians were pronounced atheists, because they were destitute of temples, altars, victims, priests, and all that pomp, in which the vulgar suppose the essence of religion to consist. For unenlightened persons are prone to estimate religion by what meets their eyes. To silence this accusation, the Christian doctors thought they must introduce some external rites, which would strike the senses of people, so that they could maintain that they really had all those things of which Christians were charged with being destitute, though under different forms....SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.20

    Fourthly, among the Greeks and the people of the East, nothing was held more sacred than what were called the mysteries. This circumstance led the Christians, in order to impart dignity to their religion, to say that they also had similar mysteries, or certain holy rites concealed from the vulgar; and they not only applied the terms used in the pagan mysteries to the Christian institutions, particularly baptism and the Lord’s Supper, but they gradually introduced also the rites which were designated by those terms. This practice originated in the Eastern provinces; and thence, after the times of Adrian, (who first introduced the Grecian mysteries among the Latins), it spread among the Christians of the West. A large part, therefore, of the Christian observances and institutions, even in this century, had the aspect of pagan mysteries.”-Eccl. History, Book I, col. 1, part 2, chapter 4, sections 1-5.SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.21

    The object was, in short, to gain converts from among the pagans. The same thing also applies to the Sunday festival, the heathen origin of which we shall now proceed to show. W.SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.22

    (Concluded next week.)

    “The Oracles of God” The Signs of the Times, 14, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In the article by Dr. Spear, quoted in another part of this paper, it is stated that “the oracles of God,” which Paul says were committed to the Jews, mean the entire Old Testament Scriptures. While it is true that the entire Old Testament Scriptures are the oracles of God, we do not think that the term primarily refers to them. The word “oracle” is from the Latin word meaning to speak, to utter. Now the ten commandments are the one portion of the Scriptures that God uttered with his own voice; and we think that there is sufficient evidence to show that the term “the oracles of God” refers particularly to the ten commandments.SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.23

    In Acts 7:38 Stephen says of Moses that he “was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the Mount Sinai and with our fathers; who received the lively oracles to give unto us.” Here the reference to the ten commandments is unmistakable.SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.24

    It is well known that the ten commandments were kept in the ark in the most holy place of the tabernacle. This is all that was in that apartment. The presence of God was manifested between the cherubim that were upon the mercy-seat above the ark; “and there,” said the Lord to Moses, “I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy-seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.” Exodus 25:22.SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.25

    The mercy-seat, with the cherubim above, over-shadowing the glory of God, and the tables of the law underneath, represented the throne of God, which has justice and judgment for its foundation. The ten commandments are a transcript of God’s character, they are his will, and consequently are the principles and rule of his Government. God does or says nothing except what is in harmony with them. This being the case, the most holy place of the tabernacle is called “the oracle,” as being the place that contained the oracles of God. See 1 Kings 6:5, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23; 8:8. And so, when David prayed to God upon his throne he said: “Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.” Psalm 28:2.SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.26

    Remembering that the ten commandments are “the oracles of God,” we can understand what a powerful exhortation the apostle makes when he says, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.” 1 Peter 4:11. That is, whatever a man says, and especially if he speaks as a teacher, should be in harmony with the law of God. In other words, it should be as true as if God himself had spoken it. So when God speaks of the model for his ministers, he says: “The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips; he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 2:6, 7.SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.27

    If all who profess to acknowledge God would remember to speak on every occasion as the oracles of God, there would be a revival such as has never been known.SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.28

    But while the ten commandments are primarily the oracles of God, it is also true that the term may properly be applied to the entire Old Testament; for the Old Testament is but a commentary on the ten commandments; in which, both by precept and example, we are shown how the law should be kept, and by example and judgment are shown the consequences of sin. The same thing may also be said of the New Testament, which is an expansion of the Old. So while the ten commandments were issued directly from the lips of God, the entire Bible is properly called the word of God.SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.29

    And this suggests another thought. Christ is the Word. John 1:1; Revelation 19:11-13. He is so called because it is through him that all of God’s will is revealed to man. He it was that spoke the law from Mount Sinai. It was the Spirit of Christ that was in the holy prophets, speaking through them. As he declared the law of God, so he makes known to us the love of God, and will finally execute the divine judgment. Moreover, he is the Word of God, in that in him we have the law,-the oracles of God,-personified. And so all stand together,-the law, the Old Testament, and Christ. Whoever or whatever casts discredit upon one, dishonors the other to exactly the same extent. W.SITI March 9, 1888, page 151.30

    “Abraham’s Plea for Sodom” The Signs of the Times, 14, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner


    1. Who came to Abraham while he lived in Mamre?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.1

    “And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre; and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; and he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground.” Genesis 18:1, 2.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.2

    2. Who were these men?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.3

    “And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham stood yet before the Lord.” Verse 22.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.4

    “And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground.” Chapter 19:1.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.5

    3. Did Abraham recognize the Lord as one of the three men?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.6

    4. How did Abraham show his hospitality? Chapter 18:3-8.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.7

    5. What exhortation based upon this occurrence is given to us?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.8

    “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.9

    6. When the men rose to go, what did Abraham do?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.10

    “And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom; and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.” Genesis 18:16.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.11

    7. What did the Lord say?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.12

    “And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?” Verses 17, 18.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.13

    8. Why did the Lord honor Abraham in this manner?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.14

    “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” Verse 19.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.15

    9. What did the Lord say of Sodom and Gomorrah?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.16

    “And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous.” Verse 20.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.17

    10. What did Abraham say to the Lord?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.18

    “I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city; wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee; shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Verses 23-25.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.19

    11. What reply did the Lord make?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.20

    “And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.” Verse 26.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.21

    12. In what spirit did Abraham continue his plea?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.22

    “And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes.” Verse 27.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.23

    13. What was the second request, and the reply?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.24

    “Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.” Verse 28.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.25

    14. What concession did the Lord still further make in answer to Abraham’s earnest prayer?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.26

    “And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake.” Verse 29.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.27

    15. How did Abraham still further pray, and what was the result?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.28

    “And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” Verse 30.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.29

    16. For what still smaller number did the Lord say he would spare Sodom?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.30

    “And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake.” Verse 31.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.31

    17. Finally, how many righteous persons did the Lord say would save Sodom?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.32

    “And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.” Verse 32.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.33

    18. In this simple narrative, what scripture do we see fulfilled?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.34

    “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16, last clause.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.35

    19. Cite some notable instances where wicked men’s lives were spared on account of a righteous man. Acts 27:21-25; Job 42:7-9.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.36

    20. What relation do the righteous sustain to the people of the earth?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.37

    “Ye are the salt of the earth.” Matthew 5:13, first clause.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.38

    21. Will the presence of righteous men always be sufficient to save the wicked from merited punishment?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.39

    “Or if I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast; though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.” Ezekiel 14:19, 20.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.40

    22. What is the only safe place for people to occupy?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.41

    “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust; his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:1-4.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.42


    The first thing noticeable in this lesson is Abraham’s hospitality. As soon as he saw the men he ran to them and begged as a personal favor that they would stop with him. “If now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant.” This is the true spirit of hospitality; it is the very essence of hospitality. The truly hospitable man loves to care for others, and instead of making them feel that he is conferring a favor on them, he makes them feel they are doing him a favor by accepting his hospitality.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.43

    We cannot always judge people by their appearance. In fact, judging from the appearance is about the most unsafe thing a person can do. Those three men who came to Abraham were no doubt very ordinary looking. Very likely they looked heated and dusty. Nevertheless two of them were angels, and one was the Lord himself. What a lesson for us, and how forcible are the words of the apostle: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2. How many people are there who would invite the Saviour into their houses if he passed by just as he used to walk along the dusty roads of Judea and Galilee? Isaiah said that there was no beauty in him that he should be desired. When we think of all the circumstances of the case, we shall be less likely to justify ourselves by condemning the ancient Jews for not accepting Christ. Their conduct was inexcusable; but would we have done any better?SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.44

    It may not be amiss in connection with this incident in Abraham’s life, to speak of the ancient practice of feet washing. Many people claim that in washing his disciples’ feet, as recorded in John 13:1-17, the Lord was simply impressing on them the importance of hospitality, and that he did a thing that was very common in those times. Christ’s own statement to Peter, “What I do thou knowest not now,” and also the simple fact that it was a thing absolutely unknown for a host to wash the feet of a guest, ought to be sufficient to disprove this; Abraham was the prince of hospitable men; but he said to the men: “Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.” They were to wash their own feet, just as they were to rest themselves. No principle of hospitality or courtesy required one man to wash another’s feet; but Christian fellowship does require just that, and not only that, but all the service one for another that may be implied by it.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.45

    Another lesson that ought not to be lost sight of may be learned from Abraham’s prayer for Sodom. First, Abraham asked for just what he wanted, and second, he was importunate. He gained confidence as he proceeded. There is altogether too much formality in prayer. By this we do not wish to be understood as favoring in the slightest degree that familiar style of speech that is becoming common, with a certain class, and which cannot fail to shock a reverent person. Prayer should be uttered just as one cannot help uttering it if he realizes the greatness of the One whom he is addressing; but still the petitions should be such as would be made to a father. A great deal of the formality in prayer is due to the fact that people don’t expect to have their prayers answered. In fact, all the formality in prayers comes from that source. The people who have the most faith will be the most careful in their petitions. W.SITI March 9, 1888, page 154.46

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 14, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We are requested to state that Mrs. E. G. White will spend Sabbath and Sunday, March 10 and 11, with the church at Lemoore; and the following Sabbath and Sunday with the church at Fresno.SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.1

    The Seventh-day Adventist Year Book for 1888 is a pamphlet of one hundred and sixty pages full of important and interesting matter relating to the cause and its workings. Every friend of the cause should have one. Much pains and careful work have been expended on this book, and we think that it is the best Year Book ever published. For sale at the office of Pacific Press for ten cents.SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.2

    An elder in the Presbyterian Church having suggested that if congregations would adopt a plain, inexpensive uniform, it would remove much of the reluctance of the poor to come to church, the Interior says that “the best uniform any church can adopt is the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.” Very true; but the trouble with it is, that it does not attract enough attention to warrant its general adoption.SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.3

    The demand of popular churches is for preachers that will “draw.” How to meet the demand is the question with many preachers. One thing that never fails is sensation; and the way some ministers pander to the popular appetite is a disgrace to the gospel. A San Francisco clergyman lately secured a congregation by advertising as his theme “Get Up and Get.” He applied it to the call of Abraham. He ought to apply it to himself.SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.4

    The Presbyterian Banner says that the friends of the Sunday, in Louisiana, are demanding a more rigid Sunday-law, and a stricter enforcement, and that this will be the test question in the election of the members of the new Legislature in April. It is thought that the Sunday party will be successful. The Banner says that “the ministers of all the Protestant denominations are laboring earnestly to secure the victory which seems almost in sight.SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.5

    We have been requested to invest in a book bearing the pretentious title, “History of the Origin of All Things.” We have no inclination to purchase, for we already have several copies of an old book that to our mind gives the exact truth on the subject. It is called the Bible. If anybody would like to study the subject, and has not the book, we would refer him to the Pacific Press Publishing Company, Oakland, Cal., as a place where he can find a full assortment.SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.6

    A friend has sent us a copy of the Anglican Church Chronicle, published in Honolulu, from the leading editorial of which we take the following:-SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.7

    “We are not quite sure that it is altogether correct to be always using entreaty go get people who are pledged to the performance of certain duties, to carry out their pledges. There ought to be some recognized judicial means of compelling erring church-members to a sense of their delinquencies.”SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.8

    Well there was once some recognized judicial means of compelling church people, and others too, to conform to the customs of the church, and that was the Inquisition. It was quite an effective means, so far as it went; but we never heard that it succeeded in making people conscientious. But then, the Church Chronicle no doubt thinks that conscientiousness in the performance of church duties is a minor affair, so long as the duties are performed, and in this it is by no means singular.SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.9

    An anonymous correspondent says: “I have always supposed that the root of ‘Deuteronomy’ was Deus, and that the book had reference to intercourse with the Deity.” This explanation certainly has the merit of originality and novelty. We very much doubt if anybody else in the world ever thought of such a derivation; but there are no doubt very many who do not know the origin of the name of the fifth book in the Bible, and so we give it. The word “Deuteronomy” is formed of two Greek words, deuteros, second, and nomos, law, and means the second giving of the law. The law was first given by the Lord upon Mr. Sinai, but Moses rehearsed it to the people, and all the events connected with the giving of it, just before his death.SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.10

    Reports from the European are of a nature to cheer and encourage the heart of every one who loves the cause of present truth. Elder Conradi writes through the Review and Herald a very interesting account of the work, from which we gather the following notes: In Central Europe a large printing establishment is publishing in different languages while half a dozen ministers and a score of colporters are scattering the seeds of truth. There are over seven hundred Sabbath-keepers, and they are found from Piedmont to the Netherlands. New ones are constantly embracing the truth in Russia. Two brethren living beyond the Volga have been on a missionary tour; at one place six joined the church, and Russian Baptists were found who were much interested. The church in the Caucasus now numbers seventy. Several churches have lately been organized in France. Brethren Vuilleumier and Geymet are laboring in the Piedmont valleys, and have an attendance of one hundred. In Switzerland both German and French canvassers have good success. The book sales in four months amounted to nearly $3,000. Six more have embraced the truth at Zurich under the labors of Brother Ertzenberger. Brother Conradi has visited Holland, where he finds a very favorable field.SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.11

    Elder Matteson, writing from Stockholm says that their mission school has just closed, and that thirty more colporters have now gone out to the Scandinavian field. During the time of the school, in ten weeks there were sold in Stockholm books and papers for $1,508. At the celebration of the ordinance is over ninety believers took part, and many others are interested.SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.12

    There are plenty of people calling themselves Christians, who profess great faith in Christ and the New Testament teachings, but believe in the Old Testament only as it concurs with their sense of propriety. Accordingly they reject the Bible account of the creation and fall, ridicule the stories of Samson and Jonah, and in many cases rend the word of God asunder and repudiate the former part as obsolete, and unreliable. The inconsistency of this course while holding up Christ and the apostles who appealed so strongly to these ancient Scriptures and held such faith in their truthfulness and substance, is shown in the article by Dr. Speak in this paper. The selection is an unusually long one, but none too long since it is all good. We bespeak for its careful reading. And henceforth let us be ... ent; for the Bible and all its characters and factors stand together.SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.13

    We have just received from the publishers, Harper & Brothers, New York, a copy of “The First Book in Physiology and Hygiene,” by J. H. Kellogg, M.D., who is at the head of the Medical Sanitarium at Battle Creek, Mich. The book is designed as a primary text-book on physiology, for children from six to twelve years of age. It contains twenty-six lessons, with a summary at the close of each lesson, and questions for review at the close of the book. The wide experience of the author as a physician, and his skill as a teacher, have enabled him to get up a book that is thoroughly scientific, and at the same time adapted to the comprehension of children. Moreover, the book is eminently practical. With this book in hand as a guide, we cannot see how any teacher who has a fair knowledge of physiology can fail to make the subject interesting. Of course it is expected that the teacher will have charts and models, and will add many illustrations to that given in the book; but, even if this is lacking, we think that the book is better able to teach itself than any other book we have ever seen, and better, in fact, than many persons to presume to teach physiology and hygiene. We hope to see this book generally adopted in the public schools, and whether or not, parents would do well to procure it for their children to study at home.SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.14

    “A Question of Figures” The Signs of the Times, 14, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A brother in Philadelphia sends the following three questions on one of the Sabbath-school lessons, which he wishes answered through the SIGNS OF THE TIMES:-SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.15

    “1. How do you prove that Adam lived 233 years with Methuselah? Smith’s Dictionary says it was 243 years.”SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.16

    So does the Bible. By an error in copying, the lesson came short just ten years. This was better than to have had the number too large.SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.17

    “2. How do you count to get 352 years in the 20th question? The genealogy of Shem, in Genesis 31:16-25 counts only 262 years from the flood to Abram.”SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.18

    The brother’s difficulty arises from the fact that he supposes Abram to have been born when Terah was seventy years old. The fact is that Abram was not born till Terah was one hundred and thirty years old. We learn this as follows: Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran (Genesis 13:4); he did not go out of Haran until his father was dead (Acts 7:4); and Terah, his father, was two hundred and five years old when he died (Genesis 11:32). Now a very slight mathematical calculation will enable anybody to see that Abram was born when Terah was one hundred and thirty years old; 206-75=120. With this in mind, the brother will have no difficulty in finding that from the flood to the birth of Abraham was 352 years.SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.19

    “3. If Noah was five hundred years old when Shem was born (Genesis 5:32), and Shem was one hundred years old when Arphaxad was born (Genesis 11:10); two years after the flood, how could Noah have been six hundred years old when the flood came? (Genesis 7:11).”SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.20

    The brother has fallen into the same difficulty here as in the case of Abram; he evidently thinks that Abram, Nahor and Haran were all born at the same time, and that Shem, Ham and Japheth were also born at one time. But the Bible does not say so. Terah was seventy years old when his first son was born, but Abram was not born until sixty years later, so we have seen. So Genesis 5:32 tells how old Noah was when his eldest son was born; but that oldest son was not Shem. From Genesis 10:21 and Genesis 9:22, 23 we learn that Japheth was the oldest son of Noah, and that Ham was the youngest, and that consequently Shem was the second son.SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.21

    Although Abram was undoubtedly the youngest of the sons of Terah, he is mentioned first because he is the only one of importance. Shem was the second son of Noah, yet he is always mentioned first because he is the one from whom the genealogy of Christ is reckoned.SITI March 9, 1888, page 160.22

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