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    June 3, 1889

    “Front Page” The Signs of the Times, 15, 21.

    E. J. Waggoner

    One argument (?) used against prohibition is that such laws are violated. In this line the Alta says: “Iowa is a prohibition State, but of five murderers on trial there now, four are proved to have committed the crime while drunk.” Taking another and more sensible view of the matter, the Pacific Union retorts: “Which only shows that two prohibitory laws have been violated-one against the use of liquor, and the other against murder. Would the Alta have them both repealed?”SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.108

    Rev. Henry Truro Bray, minister of an Episcopal Church at St. Louis, has at his own request been removed from the ministry. He states that his views in regard to religious matters have undergone a change, which renders it impossible for him henceforth conscientiously to perform his ministerial duties. He asserts also that many clergymen are in a position similar to his own, but for various reasons are unable to follow his example and leave the church, in whose doctrines they no longer believe. Many admitted this to him, including one bishop. It would be interesting to know who these gentlemen are who are not in a position to be honest.SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.109

    The Advance urges that because the President and Postmaster-General are church-members they should see to it that the Louisiana State Lottery be not allowed to use the United States mails in their swindling business. No lottery should be permitted to use the mail; but an appeal to the officers of the Government to enforce the law should not be based upon the fact that they are church-members. If it be true that President Harrison ought to officially do certain acts because of his religious belief, it follows that another President, holding different religious views, should act differently. Every president should execute the laws faithfully, whatever his individual opinions and religious preferences may be.SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.110

    “For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell.” So says Inspiration of our Saviour. Sinner, are you laden with iniquity? He will “undo the heavy burdens.” Is the past all blotted and marred and blackened by sin? “Whoso confesseth and forsaketh [his sins] shall have mercy.” Do you fear the deepest pain cannot be washed away? “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” Are you weary? “Let him take hold of My strength.” Yes; Jesus is able to save “to the uttermost.” Bereaved one, do you mourn? He will comfort you. Toiler, are you weary? He will give you rest. Yes; there is fullness in our Redeemer. There is a balm for every bruise, a healing for ever hurt. Then, sinner, mourner, toiler, why not come? Could you ask more?SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.111

    Modern Spiritualism is based upon the first recorded lie of Satan. The penalty pronounced upon man for sin was death. “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die;” “The soul that sinneth it shall die.” These are the words of the Lord. Satan says, “Ye shall not surely die.” And it is a remarkable fact that, from that time to this, the arch deceiver has deluded a large part of the race to believe that death is life. And upon this doctrine of the immortality of the soul, or consciousness in death, are built some of the most soul-destroying doctrines known. The multitude of heathen gods, which were but deified dead heroes, the worship and invocation of saints, purgatory, Mormonism, Swedenborgianism, and modern Spiritualism, are all built upon this error. The united testimony of Scripture is that “the dead no not anything;” that life depends upon the resurrection, that all rewards and punishments take place at that time.SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.112

    There is quite a sentiment among Presbyterians in favor of a revision of the confession of faith as proposed by the Presbytery of Nassau. Writing on the subject, a correspondent of the New York Evangelist says:-SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.113

    “Man made the Westminster Confession, and man may alter it. There has been progress of doctrine all through the centuries, and that progress will continue. Is it anything more than reasonable to suppose that on vexed questions two centuries and a half of Christian thinking have put us into possession of better “forms of words” than even the Fathers employed? Must we hastily conclude, if one says this, that he is drifting away from that great doctrinal anchorage, the eternal purpose of God? Why not grapple with the revision problem, seeking, as the Fathers did, the divine guidance and blessing? If the Confession is perfect in all its parts, and needs no alteration, let us say so. But let us not commit ourselves to the feeble proposition, “It is inexpedient to take any action on the question.”SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.114

    On the same subject the Presbyterian says:-SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.115

    “It is evident that the church is not at all ready for the revision of its doctrinal standards, and that if there is any dissatisfaction or restiveness in regard to it, it is local and limited. When the Scotch and English Presbyterian Churches get through with their work of revision, the church in America may be ready to consider whether anything of value has been secured by their labors; but for the present there seems to be no reason for the agitation of the subject.”SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.116

    “God’s Seventh Day Man’s First Day” The Signs of the Times, 15, 21.

    E. J. Waggoner

    There is nothing that can be proved so conclusively that no one can find a chance to cavil, if his inclination or selfish interests prompt him to do so. The infidel Hume once said that if there were anything in the forty-seventh proposition of Euclid that crossed any person’s selfish interest, or limited the power of any man or class of men, there would be hundreds who would dispute the mathematical demonstration that the square of the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. And so it is. It is not difficult, with the mass of mankind, to gain their assent to the most absurd theories, if their passions or business interests lead the way; but it requires more than mere human reason to thoroughly convince a man of the plainest truth, against his inclinations. Only the grace of God can subdue the evil heart of unbelief.SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.117

    By no other means than by the existence of the principle just cited, can we account for some of the so-called arguments against the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. One of the weakest of these is that the day which is observed by the majority of people is indeed the true Sabbath of the fourth commandment, since “God’s seventh day was Adam’s first day.” We would not think this objection worthy of notice in this paper had not several correspondents especially requested it.SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.118

    What is meant by the expression, “God’s seventh day was Adam’s first day”? Of course nothing else can be meant but the seventh day of time, according to God’s count. This, it is claimed, is man’s first day, because he could not have any knowledge of time that had passed before his creation! To be consistent, the advocates of this theory should keep as their Sabbath the seventh day, counting by sevens from the day of their birth. If this chanced to be on Wednesday, then they should keep Tuesday, for how do they know that there was any such thing as time before they were born? It will be replied that others have kept a record of time, and we accept their testimony and reckoning. Exactly so; and is it not possible that the same God who imparted to Adam the knowledge of the Sabbath, could inform him of the fact that there was a measurement of time before he was created? It seems that Moses found out a great deal about things that occurred before his own time, even as far back as the very beginning, because he was willing to take the Lord’s word for it; and the first day of Adam’s existence is rather early for him to be setting up his own reckoning in opposition to that of his Maker.SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.119

    But it is strange that none of those who have stumbled at this objection raised by their leaders, have ever questioned the truth of the assumed fact. They have never thought to inquire if God’s seventh day was indeed man’s first day. This point can be settled by reading the first chapter of Genesis, which contains a record of the transactions of each day of the creation week. There we learn that man and the lower animals were created on the sixth day of the week. If Adam, then, as is claimed, commenced an individual reckoning of time, the seventh day of the week would have been the fifth day of the week according to God’s reckoning. No one can deny this. We know it is claimed that Adam was created late on the sixth day, and that the next day was really his first day. Really, it was no such thing. We are not informed as to the exact hour of the day when Adam was created, nor does it matter; we do know that he was created on the sixth day, and, consequently, that was his first day of life. If a child is born on the 12th of June, the 12th and not the 13th of June in each succeeding year is celebrated as his birthday, even though he were born late in the afternoon.SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.120

    Now why do not the advocates of the theory in question stick to the facts in the case? Simply because the facts would demolish their theory. If the facts were adhered to, they could find in them no semblance of an excuse for Sunday-keeping, and it would not be for their interest to advocate the observance of either the fifth or the sixth day of the week.SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.121

    The absurdity of the theory is apparent enough, but we want to consider it a moment in the light of the fourth commandment. That says, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work.” Did God mean by this the seventh day, or the first day? “Both,” say our friends; “he meant the seventh day according to his own private count, but the first day according to man’s reckoning.” We have heard that the Jesuits say a thing that they do not mean, and which is not true, and make a mental reservation, or repeat the truth in an undertone; but this theory charges God with the same duplicity. The commandment was spoken to and for men, and must, of course, be in the language to which men are accustomed, otherwise it would be meaningless. Now if God’s seventh day was Adam’s first day, then man’s seventh day must be God’s sixth day; and, this theory being true, it follows that the fourth commandment enjoins the observance of neither the first nor the seventh day, but the sixth!SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.122

    But this, and similar absurd theories, arise from the assumption that the Sabbath is a human institution, and that God has nothing much to do with it, except to advise man to rest when he feels like it. The fact is, that it is God’s day upon which we are to rest,-the one upon which he rested, and which he blessed and set apart. It is “the seventh day” which is “the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” Man could not make a day holy if he tried; but God made the Sabbath holy, and he commands man not to desecrate it. Man had nothing to do with making the Sabbath; his only duty in regard to it is to keep it.SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.123

    One word, in closing, to our brethren who may sometimes be at a loss to know how to answer an objector. Do not hold yourselves under obligations to refute at sight every assemblage of words that may be called an argument. Ask the objector first to prove his proposition, and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred he will demonstrate that there was nothing to refute. In the remaining instance you may need to aid him by quoting a few texts of Scripture. E. J. W.SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.124

    “Romanism in England” The Signs of the Times, 15, 21.

    E. J. Waggoner

    That Romanism is gaining ground very rapidly in England is beyond question, and this too in opposition to the well-known conservatism of the English people. This gain is not in proselytes which are made to Romanism, but in the sentiment of the people, especially the more aristocratic. Some entire churches have become Catholic, and many others are that now in all but name, and it certainly seems to be only a question of time when almost the entire State church of that country will do homage to the Pope. The following extract from a letter to the Irish Churchman and Protestant Review (London) will perhaps give the reader a better idea of the drift of the High Church than anything that we could say:-SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.125

    “As a member of the Church of England, I have been simply astounded during the last few years at the rapid growth of Ritualistic practices, and the wholesale dissemination of Ritualistic doctrines in our Established Church, and at the barefaced effrontery of the High Church party in thrusting forward, on every possible occasion, the pernicious theology of the Church of Rome. The question which all this has naturally suggested to my mind-as I doubt not it has to the mind of many another-is, Where is this to end? Carlisle, in 1810, said, ‘Popery cannot come back any more than Paganism can.’ Dr. Ryle, bishop of Liverpool, writing in 1888, said, in the face of such proofs as those now furnished in the services, the practices, and the doctrines of the Ritualistic party, ‘It is absurd to tell us that extreme Ritualism has no tendency to Popery, and is not the highway to Rome.’SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.126

    “With the doctrine of Transubstantiation-a doctrine against which our ancestors, three hundred years ago, contended with their very lives-ringing in our ears, and preached week after week in Protestant churches throughout the length and breadth of the land; with the practice of auricular confession growing up in our midst from day to day; with the introduction into our services of strange gestures, vestments, incense, candles, and a host of other relics of the Church of Rome, can we, as honest members of our grand old church of England, come to any other conclusion than that are arrived at by the bishop of Liverpool?SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.127

    “Unfortunately for the evangelical party, High Church principles have now attained such a hold on the minds of the people that the difficulty of combating the evil is becoming daily-I had most said hourly-a more and more stupendous task.”SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.128

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 15, 21.

    E. J. Waggoner

    At this writing it seems probable that before this paper reaches the reader the work of the Berlin Conference on Samoan affairs will have been completed, and that in a manner most satisfactory to the people of Samoa. It seems that everything claimed for the Samoans by this Government has been conceded by Germany.SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.129

    The Catholic American says that “the restoration of the temporal power is in the highest degree an international question which deserves to be discussed in an international congress.” And we take it from Revelation 17:12, 13 that it will be so discussed, and that the powers of Europe will “have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast,” the Papacy, but only for a little while; for it is that power whom the Lord shall “consume with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming.” And his coming is near.SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.130

    In a recent article on “The Roman Question,” or rather on the restoration of the temporal power of the Pope, the Catholic American asks: “How can the (the Pope), without being independent in temporal affairs, have the assurance of being able to teach all nations?” We give it up; and we confess that we do not see how he could have that assurance even with temporal power. “How can they preach except they be sent?” says the apostle, and we are sure that the Pope has no authority at all, as Pope, to teach the gospel. The power of which he is the embodiment is called by the apostle, “the man of sin,” and “that wicked,” and “unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?” He “that as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God,” can have no divine “assurance of being able to teach all nations.”SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.131

    A correspondent of the Christian Oracle in a late communication to that paper makes the proposition that “Adventists who pretend to keep the Sabbath law ought to do their utmost to compel all around them to keep the Sabbath,” and says, “They do not obey the command and unless they do.” His proof (?) is as follows:-SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.132

    “Examine the Sabbath law of the decalogue. You must keep the Sabbath yourself. But is that all?-No indeed. You must compel others to do it to, and here are the ones named: (1) Your son; (2) your daughter; (3) your manservant; (4) your maidservant; (5) your cattle; (6) the stranger or the gentile.”SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.133

    The most notable feature in this exhibit is the omission, after the word stranger, of the words, “that is within thy gates.” The commandment says, “Nor the stranger that is within thy gates.” This requires Sabbath-keepers to require all upon their premises to refrain from labor upon the seventh day, but lays no duty upon them, and gives them no authority outside of that, as everybody knows, and as every honest man will admit. The Sabbath-keeper can and should say to a stranger who for any reason might desire to do any unnecessary work upon his premises on the Sabbath, “You must not do it;” but he would have no right to say it to his neighbor who wished to work upon his own premises, within his own gates.SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.134

    The California Christian Advocate of April 17 has the following, which will be of interest to all the readers of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES. We have before alluded to his proposed visit and to its object, but this presents it more fully and shows that so far from being dead the demand for religious legislation is not even sleeping on this coast. The Advocate says:-SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.135

    “Rev. Wilbert F. Crafts, field secretary of the American Sabbath Union, is planning to spend August and September in the Pacific States and Territories, in the interests of Sabbath observance, and especially in the interest of the proposed National Sunday-Rest day, for which ten millions have petitioned Congress. He has spoken on this subject twice before the Senate’s Committee on Education and Labor, also at the international convention of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, and at the General Assembly of the Knights of Labor, both of which bodies indorsed the petition unanimously. He has presented this subject in the halls and churches of the chief cities of twenty-two States. The remaining States and Territories he expects to visit before the next Congress. Of course, his visit on our coast will greatly help in securing Sunday laws in California and Nevada, the only States that have none, and in securing better enforcement of the existing laws in the other States and Territories, and better observance of the Sabbath by church people...SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.136

    “Mr. Crafts is to debate with Professor Jones, of the Seventh-day Adventists, in Michigan, and will probably arrange to meet some of their leaders in California also.”SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.137

    Of course our readers are aware that Mr. Crafts is not to debate with Professor Jones, of the Seventh-day Adventists. But the reason has not yet been stated; it is this: He simply don’t want to. The facts are that Mr. Crafts challenged Mr. Jones for a debate; the challenge was promptly accepted, and the time, place, etc., etc., all agreed upon when for some not very clearly defined reason the valiant champion of National Reform backed out, and now says that he will not debate. Possibly he has concluded that “Professor Jones, of the Seventh-day Adventists,” has arguments which he does not care to encounter at short range.SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.138

    We are not authorized to speak on the subject, but we doubt not that if Mr. Crafts will make his wishes known in time, and give a sufficient guarantee that he will not run before the battle begins, he can be accommodated if he desires “to meet some of their leaders in California.”SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.139

    Cardinal Newman is credited with saying that “much of the fault found with the gospel comes from a wish to make religion acceptable to the world in general, and more free from objections than any moral system can be made, and more immediately and visibly beneficial to temporal interests of the community than God’s comprehensive appointments condescend to be.”SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.140

    This is certainly true, and the fact is to be deplored, but in catering to the demand for a gospel shorn of its “objectionable” features, the ministers of the present day are only following the example of the bishops, especially in the third and fourth centuries, when to make Christianity acceptable to the heathen they incorporated with Christian rites the many pagan forms and ceremonies still observed by the Roman Catholic Church. The children are only following the example of the heathen, for the time is come when people will not endure sound doctrine. And as in the fourth century, as related by Gibbon, the most respectable bishops persuaded themselves that the heathen “would the more readily renounce the superstitions of paganism, if they found some resemblance, some compensation, in the bosom of Christianity,” so the popular ministry to-day console themselves with the thought that lowering the standard, and throwing over the follies of the world the garb of religion, will make Christianity so attractive that all will embrace it. But alas! when thus emasculated it is no longer the Christianity of Christ, and is little better than the baptized paganism, which is now known as Roman Catholicism.SITI June 3, 1889, page 295.141

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