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    July 21, 1890

    “Front Page” The Signs of the Times, 16, 28.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The following from the Nashville Christian Advocate is a very apt criticism on a very common expression: “Neither in church life nor individual experience is there any such thing as ‘holding our own;’ this is the law of death; grave-yards hold their own.”SITI July 21, 1890, page 412.5

    “Evidences of Christianity!” exclaims Coleridge; “I am weary of the word. Make a man feel the want of it, ...and you may safely trust it to its own evidence.” A truer thing was never spoken. Not all the logical treatises ever written can turn a skeptic from dead works to serve the living God; but when the soul grows weary with its burden of sin, and hears the voice of Jesus saying, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest,” he knows that Christianity is true. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.” 1 John 5:10.SITI July 21, 1890, page 412.6

    An article in the Lutheran Observer, defending the Augsburg Confession from the charge of teaching infant damnation, closes thus:-SITI July 21, 1890, page 412.7

    “The Lutheran way of stating it is easy enough. It is about as follows: Since the children, without any knowledge or choice of their own, come under all that sin has brought, so without their own will and choice may they come into all that Christ has wrought for the world. The sign and seal of all this is baptism. But we are not authorized to say that because the ordinance in any case is absent, therefore the blessings of Christ are wanting. Hence, we erect it into a doctrine for the universal church, that all children, baptized or unbaptized, pagan or Christian, are saved, or, as the revised Westminster Confession will have it, are of the number of the elect.”SITI July 21, 1890, page 412.8

    And now it rests with them to explain the significance of infant “baptism.” How can it be a sign that the infants are given the benefit of all that Christ wrought for the world, when it is allowed that unbaptized infants share the same? Nothing could show more fully than the above paragraph does the fact that so-called infant baptism is an absurd practice, no foundation whatever in either reason or revelation.SITI July 21, 1890, page 412.9

    “That the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved Me.” This is one clause of our Saviour’s prayer to the Father, just before his betrayal. What a precious truth is teaches! That God loves us just as he loves his only begotten Son. Is it difficult to believe this? We have only to remember that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If he had loved us less than he loved the Son, he would not have given the Son for our redemption. Why did he so love us? He answers: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake.” And what will his love accomplish for us? Again he says: “I will make a man more precious than fine fold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ohpir.”SITI July 21, 1890, page 412.10

    “Sinning Without Law” The Signs of the Times, 16, 28.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law; and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.); in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” Romans 2:11-16.SITI July 21, 1890, page 412.11

    The first part of this passage is a conclusion of what has gone before, as well as an introduction to what follows. God will render to every man according to his deeds, whether he be Jew or Gentile, because there is no respect of persons with him. The fact that a man was a Jew by birth did not commend him to the favor of God, over the Gentile who was equally good. Every soul of man that doeth evil will receive punishment therefor, no matter what his nationality or profession.SITI July 21, 1890, page 412.12

    But right here comes in the implied question, How can God do thus, and still be just? There are such varying degrees of light and knowledge that it would seem that the ignorance of some ought to shield them from punishment. The apostle has anticipated this in the beginning, by showing that the heathen are without excuse, since they have through the things that God has made, enough light to guide them aright; nevertheless, he proceeds to explain further. There will be degrees of punishment: those who have sinned without law, shall perish without law; and those who have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law. When?-“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ,” in accordance with the gospel which Paul was commissioned to announce. The difference between sinning without law and sinning in the law is that which will now claim our attention.SITI July 21, 1890, page 412.13

    A very slight examination suffices to show that verses 12 and 16 are to be read in connection, and that verses 13-15 are parenthetical. They are thrown in as an explanation of verse 12. A right understanding of them will cause God’s justice, and the universality of the law, to stand out clearly.SITI July 21, 1890, page 412.14

    In the first place, let it be remembered that only those who have sinned are to be punished. God doesn’t punish men for ignorance, but for sin; and “sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4. Therefore “every soul of man” who in the judgment shall be made to suffer punishment, will be one who has transgressed the law of God, and that knowingly.SITI July 21, 1890, page 412.15

    How can this be? it is asked, when in this very connection the apostle speaks of those who have “sinned without law.” Verse 14 and 15 answer this perfectly. Let us read them again:-SITI July 21, 1890, page 412.16

    “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.”SITI July 21, 1890, page 412.17

    Go where you will, it is impossible to get outside the sphere of the law. Even the Gentiles, who “sin without law,” are judged guilty by that same law written in their hearts. And so it appears that they are not actually without law, after all. All the law that they are without is the written law; but they have in their hearts a copy of that law, which, although not by any means so complete and perfect as the written law, is yet sufficient to either acquit or condemn them in the judgment, according as they have obeyed or violated it.SITI July 21, 1890, page 412.18

    We have, in a previous article, referred to the enmity which, immediately after the fall, God implanted in the heart of men against Satan. Now since enmity against God is hatred of his law, it follows that enmity against Satan must be love for that law; for Satan is in every respect opposed to God. The putting of this enmity into the heart of man was an act of grace on the part of God; nevertheless, it is correct to say that man has this by nature, since God made it to be a part of his nature. It is the light wherewith Christ lights every man that comes into the world.SITI July 21, 1890, page 412.19

    We see, then, that men are not born into this world totally depraved. They have some knowledge of right and wrong, and some promptings to do right. They may obliterate this knowledge and these promptings by their own evil course, if they will; or, yielding to the good impulse, they may grow in knowledge. It is this knowledge that men have, by which the Holy Spirit produces conviction of sin. It is only when the Spirit has been resisted till sin has completely darkened the soul, and the mind is wholly void of judgment, that the Spirit ceases to strive with man, because there is nothing left by which it can produce conviction. Then the conscience has become seared as with a hot iron, and the sinner is beyond hope.SITI July 21, 1890, page 418.1

    Now it matters not how little a heathen may know as to what is right and what is wrong, it is evident that if he knows only one thing, that one item is sufficient to condemn him, if he disregards it. If a man who has a little knowledge of the righteousness which the law requires, ignores that little, that is proof that he would treat the whole law in the same way, if he had it. It is not necessary, therefore, to try him by the whole law, in all its exceeding breadth. He is judged by just that which he has. In the judgment, according to the text under consideration, he will not be confronted by the whole law, which he has never seen, but he will be brought face to face with himself. He will be confronted by the things which he knew that he ought to do, and did not do; and it can be said to him as well as to the sinner who lived in the full blaze of the gospel, “Ye knew your duty, but ye did it not.”SITI July 21, 1890, page 418.2

    Thus the heathen who has never seen the law will “perish without law;” but since there is nothing that a man ought to do, which is not commanded by the law (“Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13), it remains a truth that it is by the law, in reality, that every work and every secret thing are brought into judgment.SITI July 21, 1890, page 418.3

    Of course there is no difficulty about those who, sinning in the law, are judged by the law. They are those who, having the whole law revealed to them, disregard it, and are judged by the whole law. The only thing in this passage that ever troubles anybody, is the matter of sinning without law; but we have seen that this gives us warrant for claiming that there is sin which is not taken account of by the law, or that any are outside the jurisdiction of the law of God.SITI July 21, 1890, page 418.4

    It is worth bearing in mind, also, that the light which is sufficient to condemn man, is sufficient, also, to save him, if it is followed. If the man who has but a little knowledge of right and wrong, will but walk in the light that he has, he will be justified. To him more light will be given, for “light is sown for the righteous.” “If any man willeth to do his will he shall know of the teaching.” John 7:17, Revised Version. And thus is seen the justice of God’s dealings with man. E. J. W.SITI July 21, 1890, page 418.5

    “Pleading for Persecution” The Signs of the Times, 16, 28.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Lutheran Observer refers to Dr. Hickok as “the highest authority in political economy and moral science,” and quotes from his “Moral Science” with reference to religion in the State. Following is a portion of the citation:-SITI July 21, 1890, page 418.6

    “A State has, and ever must have, some form of religious faith. It must use religion and appeals to conscience, and apply the doctrine of future retribution in some way, or it cannot attain its end in the conservation of the public freedom; and this necessity for religious forms will make it necessary that it recognize some articles of faith. It must have its own binding oaths, and holy days, and sacred books.... The only course for any individuals who may dissent from such religious faith, is to follow each the honest dictates of his own conscience, and subject himself to such retributions as the State in its judgment deems necessary for its own ends of freedom. All regard for honest differences of conscience should be scrupulously exhibited as far as may be; yet, with a single eye to public liberty, it may be necessary that the State should sometimes determine against individual conscience; and in all such cases, while the individual should preserve his own conscience in its integrity at any hazard, he must still quietly yield to the penalty which the State, in its honest regard for public freedom imposes.SITI July 21, 1890, page 418.7

    “A theistic nation may thus incorporate into its national education the religious acknowledgment of a personal God; a Christian nation may use the Gospels as a text-book; a Protestant nation may use the Protestant Bible in the public schools.”SITI July 21, 1890, page 418.8

    By the same token, a Catholic nation may use the Catholic Bible in the public schools, and the Protestant minority must say nothing, or suffer for conscience’ sake. There is no question but that the Catholic nation would ignore the convictions of Protestants; but it does seem inconsistent for a professed Protestant to uphold it in such a course.SITI July 21, 1890, page 418.9

    The same line of reasoning that Dr. Hickok uses would uphold all the barbarities practiced by Turks upon Chinese. The government must have some form of faith; that form must of course be the will of the majority; if the majority are Mohammedans or pagans, then the Christians whose conscience will not allow them to practice the prevailing religion, must suffer. The man who advocates State religion, thereby pleads for religious persecution, and justifies the martyrdom of Stephen, James, and Paul, the burning of Huss, and every other murder that has been perpetrated in the name of religion. It is very easy to talk about other people suffering for their convictions, but few stop to think that it means simply martyrdom.SITI July 21, 1890, page 418.10

    In such a discussion as this it should not be forgotten that the United States is no more a Protestant nation than it is a Catholic nation. This country is not yet a church organization, notwithstanding the efforts to make it such.SITI July 21, 1890, page 418.11

    “The Eight-day Sabbath” The Signs of the Times, 16, 28.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A friend has just stepped in to ask for an explanation of Ezekiel 43:26, 27, which has been presented to him by some zealous people as a sure proof that God ordained the Sunday as the Sabbath. After satisfying his mind on the subject, it occurred to us that others might be troubled in a similar manner, so we call attention to the text here. It reads thus:-SITI July 21, 1890, page 418.12

    “Seven days shall they purge the altar and purify it; and they shall consecrate themselves. And when these days are expired, it shall be, that upon the eighth day, and so forward, the priests shall make your burnt-offerings upon the altar, and your peace-offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord.”SITI July 21, 1890, page 418.13

    The taking of this text as an argument for Sunday observance is a specimen of the too common practice of adopting a theory, and then seizing upon some text and trying to fit it to the theory by sound, regardless of what it actually says, or of its connection. In this way many honest people deceive themselves, thinking that they are really studying the Bible; and many people who are not so honest deceive others who have little acquaintance with the word. In this case let the reader note the following points:-SITI July 21, 1890, page 418.14

    1. There is not in the entire chapter, nor in the chapter before, or the chapter following, any mention of the Sabbath or of Sabbath observance. The subject of discourse is the sanctuary and the altar that was to be built for Jewish service.SITI July 21, 1890, page 418.15

    2. The verses in question are a part of the directions as to how the priests should prepare the altar for service. Verses 13-17 give the dimensions of the altar; and verses 18-27 give the ordinances of the altar, to prepare it for regular use. Bullocks and goats were to be slain and offered as sin-offerings, to cleanse the altar.” See verses 18-25. For seven days these ceremonies were to be performed, and then it would be ready for service; and from the eighth day it was to be in constant use, not every eighth day, but upon the eighth day and onward, every day. This is all there is in the text, and all that can be made from it. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear,” and “whoso readeth, let him understand.”SITI July 21, 1890, page 418.16

    3. But some, not satisfied with learning what the text clearly says, will say that it may mean something else; so we will, in a few words, show what it cannot possibly mean. We will grant, for the moment, for the sake of giving the Sunday cause every possible advantage, that the seven days were to begin with Sunday, so that the eighth day would also fall on Sunday, and that the expression, “upon the eighth day and so forward,” means every eighth day, instead of every succeeding day. No what? Does that prove that the certain thing commanded was to be performed every Sunday? Not by any means, as can be seen by anybody who can count as far as eight on his fingers. The next eighth day would be Monday, the next one Tuesday, the next one Wednesday, the next one Thursday, the next Friday, and the next Saturday; and only once in seven weeks would it be possible for it to fall upon Sunday. Every day of the week would receive the same treatment. It requires no great mathematical skill to figure that out.SITI July 21, 1890, page 419.1

    4. Again; supposing still that the text means that the eighth day was to fall on Sunday, and that the expression, “and forward,” means only every eighth day, let us see how it will work in an exactly parallel expression. Turn to Leviticus 22:27, and read:-SITI July 21, 1890, page 419.2

    “When a bullock, or a sheep, or a goat, is brought forth, then it shall be seven days under the dam; and from the eighth day and thenceforth it shall be accepted for an offering made by fire unto the Lord.”SITI July 21, 1890, page 419.3

    Now, according to the argument which makes Ezekiel 43:27 teach Sunday observance, we learn that a young bullock or sheep or goat was to be exempt from use as a sacrifice for the first seven days of its life, but that every eighth day after that it was to be offered as a burnt-offering! Impossible? Oh, no; it must be so, or else the argument that makes Sunday the Sabbath will fall to the ground!SITI July 21, 1890, page 419.4

    5. But we haven’t yet exhausted the possibilities of Leviticus 22:27. From the Sunday theory of Ezekiel 43:27 we have learned that “the eighth day and so forward” means not only every eighth day, but that every eighth day falls on a Sunday, and that thus the text is an evidence that Sunday was to be observed. So by the same token we learn that when a young bullock or sheep or goat had lived with its mother seven days, it was to be offered as a sacrifice on the eighth day, which, of course, was always a Sunday, and that every Sunday thereafter (every eighth day) it was likewise to be offered as a burnt-offering, in order to show the Jews that in the new dispensation Sunday would be the Sabbath.SITI July 21, 1890, page 419.5

    This is nonsense? Of course it is; and so is the argument which makes Ezekiel 43:27 refer to Sunday. You say that anybody can see that what Leviticus 22:27 means is that from the eighth day of an animal’s life it may be taken at any time, no matter what the day, as a burnt-offering. Certainly; we agree with you; but what seems so strange to us is that anybody should not be able to see just as easily that what is meant in Ezekiel 43:27 is that after the altar had been purified for seven days, it could be used any day thereafter, no matter what day of the week, and every day, if necessary, for burnt-offerings and peace-offerings.SITI July 21, 1890, page 419.6

    6. And now, finally, doesn’t it seem as though the Sunday cause must be extremely destitute of argument, when its friends are forced to use such palpably absurd methods to support it? Could there be any stronger argument brought against the claim that Sunday is the Sabbath than the effort to get Sunday argument out of Ezekiel 43:27? Contrast this with the simple language of the fourth commandment, in connection with Genesis 2:1-3. “What is the chaff to the wheat?” E. J. W.SITI July 21, 1890, page 419.7

    “Notes on the International Lesson. Lost and Found. Luke 15:1-10” The Signs of the Times, 16, 28.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (Luke 15:1-10. July 27, 1890.)

    “Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.” The publicans were those who gathered the publienum, or government revenue. The publicans of the New Testament were, according to Trench, “men of an inferior sort, who did the lower work of the collection. They were everywhere hateful for their rudeness, their frauds, their vexations, and oppressions; we possess long lists of opprobrious epithets with which, among the Greeks, they were assailed. But there was that which made keener yet the scorn, and more intense the hatred, with which the Jewish publicans were regarded by their own countrymen. They were nothing less than renegades and traitors, who for filthy lucre’s sake had sided with the enemy, and now collected for a profane heathen treasury that tribute which was the evident sign of the subjection of God’s people to a Gentile yoke. This scorn and hate found utterance in a thousand ways; no alms might be received from their money chest; their testimony was not received in courts of justice; they were as the heathen, and in some sort worse than the heathen.”SITI July 21, 1890, page 419.8

    Their calling was a lawful one, yet full of temptation. The natural tendency of most men would be to take advantage of the opportunity which it so abundantly offered to make money dishonestly, since nothing but an eager desire for money would tempt one to put himself under the ban of public sentiment; and the fact that the publicans were everywhere despised, would naturally tend to give them a despicable character. That as a class they were very bad is shown by the connection in which they are frequently referred to-“publicans and sinners;” also by Christ’s statement that an incorrigible church-members was to be regarded “as an heathen man and a publican.” Matthew 18:17. Yet they were not wholly depraved, nor insusceptible to good influences, as is shown by many instances. They were sinners, it is true, but still in a more hopeful condition than were the self-righteous Pharisees. See Matthew 21:31. We find this verified in Luke 7:29, 30, where we are told that the publicans justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, not being baptized of him. They also flocked to hear Christ’s teaching, as noted in this lesson, because he had a message of hope for them.SITI July 21, 1890, page 419.9

    “And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” The pride and bigotry of the scribes and Pharisees are shown by this murmur. But we may leave them, to consider the charge that they brought against Jesus. “This man receiveth sinners.” It is a cause for joy to know that the Pharisees told the truth on this occasion. Christ receives sinners. “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,” said he. John 6:37. He sends out the gracious invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. He calls sinners to him, and receives them, because they are sinners, and he alone has the power to cleanse from sin. Would that every despondent sinner might believe the words spoken of Christ, “This man receiveth sinners.” Poor, blind Pharisees! They trusted to themselves that they were righteous, and did not know that they were sinners, even worse than the despised publicans. Had they known that, they might have proved to their everlasting joy the truth of that which they supposed was a bitter reproach; for Christ would have received them likewise.SITI July 21, 1890, page 419.10

    Verses 4-9 contain two vivid illustrations of God’s interest in sinners. The first one is this:-SITI July 21, 1890, page 419.11

    “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”SITI July 21, 1890, page 419.12

    In this the reasonableness of Christ’s receiving sinners is shown. Anybody would go to search for a lost sheep, even though it was only one out of a hundred. God’s creatures are his flock. How natural that he should seek after the lost ones. “The Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” And since he came at an infinite personal sacrifice, to save the lost ones, who can for a moment doubt that he will gladly receive those who come to him? How is it possible for a sinner to doubt the willingness of Christ to receive him? He gave his life for no other purpose than that they might come to him. He “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity.” Titus 2:14.SITI July 21, 1890, page 419.13

    “Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” But where are they that need no repentance? Not on this earth, certainly; “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. It will not do to say that Christ meant that there is more joy over one sinner that repents, than there would be over ninety-nine that needed not to repent, if there were any such. It is evident that those who need no repentance must be the unfallen angels and the inhabitants of other worlds. But this is a minor matter. The great point is that not only is Christ willing to receive sinners, but he calls for them, and rejoices when they come.SITI July 21, 1890, page 419.14

    “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” It does not say that there is joy among the angels over one sinner that repenteth, although we may be sure that they who are sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation, are deeply interested in everything that concerns them. But there is joy “in the presence of the angels.” The Father and the Son do not conceal their joy “over one sinner that repenteth.” Who, then, may despise the day of small things, or esteem it a small thing to convert one sinner? What if the labor be hard, and the expenditure great, and only one soul is saved as the result, is it a small thing to add to the joy of Heaven? And does not this give us a clue to the meaning of the words which the Lord will say to the faithful servants, namely, “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord”? The joy of the Lord is to see sinners repent and be saved. This joy is great because the salvation, has been achieved at an immense sacrifice. If we are permitted to share the joy of the Lord, it will be to rejoice over the salvation, not of ourselves, merely, but of others, and especially of those whom our influence has helped to bring to the knowledge of the gospel. E. J. W.SITI July 21, 1890, page 419.15

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