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    August 26, 1897

    “Editorial. Independence” The Signs of the Times, 23, 33.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Independence. —The feeling of independence is inherent in human nature. The first declaration of independence against God was made by Lucifer, in the courts of heaven, and next, at his instigation, by man in the Garden of Eden, when he set about to make himself equal to God, and thus independent of his authority. The first marked feature to manifest itself in the infant is the disposition to have its own way; and unless this disposition is checked, it grows stronger with years until even in early youth he declares his determination to have his own way, regardless of what anybody else may say or think.SITI August 26, 1897, page 513.1

    Who Shall Rule? —This is easily answered in the case of the infant. That the child is of right subject to the parent, is so self-evident as to need no special argument. The child is not independent of its parents. Why not?—Simply because it is not. It can not be. It depends upon them for existence in this world, and after it sees the light of day it is as dependent as before. It is absolutely impossible for it to maintain an independent existence. If forsaken by its mother, and left with no one else to take her place, it would perish in a very short time. For years the child is the most helpless of animals; it is absolutely dependent on the exertions of others for its existence. Then of course it must be subject to those who provide for it, because—SITI August 26, 1897, page 513.2

    Dependence Means Subjection. —He who provides a thing has a right to say how that thing shall be used. To partake of one’s bounty,—to be absolutely dependent,—and at the same time to rail against him, and to use all one’s power against him, is the basest ingratitude. Whoever does that is by common consent regarded as lost to all sense of justice. So long as one is absolutely dependent on another, that other must of right have the controlling voice in the dependent one’s affairs.SITI August 26, 1897, page 513.3

    Who Is Independent? —Who is there that is indebted to no one for his existence?—Not one; as already seen, every child is of right subject to its parents. But the parents themselves,—whence to they derive their support, their life itself?—“God that made the world and all things therein, ... giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; ... for in him we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 25:24-28. The parents of every child, yea, every person in the world, are as absolutely dependent on God for existence and its continuation, as the infant is upon its parents. The strongest and wisest man in the world is far more helpless compared with God, than the newborn infant is compared with him. When Peter stepped out upon the water at the word of Jesus, he was conscious of the fact that he was dependent upon Jesus for support. But he was just as much dependent on that support when walking on the land.SITI August 26, 1897, page 513.4

    God the One Ruler. —Those who are nearest to God, beholding his power and glory, and who themselves occupy the highest position of all created beings, do humble reverence to God, saying, “Worthy art thou, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power; for thou didst create all things, and because of thy will they were, and were created.” Revelation 4:11, R.V. “Know ye that the Lord he is God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:3. Therefore, just as the child is of right subject to his parents, because dependent on them for existence, so all men are of right subject to God, absolutely dependent on him for life, and breath, and all things; and this is the very lesson that God would have both parents and children (and that includes everybody) learn from the relation of parent and child. The child is dependent on its parents, in order that both it and they may see their common dependence upon God; and the child is by the nature of things compelled to be dependent on its parents until it comes to years of discretion, in order that, in the proper order of things, it may learn the lesson of dependence, and pass from the recognition of dependence upon its parents to the recognition of its dependence upon God; nay, more, long before it ceases to be dependent upon its parents, it should learn the lesson that it is subject to them, for the reason that all are subject to God.SITI August 26, 1897, page 513.5

    The Responsibility of the Independent One. —We speak now of the one who chafes under proper restraint, and who imagines himself to be independent, for God alone is independent. Well, since God alone is independent, from him alone may we learn the responsibility that one really assumes when he asserts his independence. God is self-existent; his name is I AM; no other being in the universe contributes the slightest particle to his support. Therefore he has a right to do as he will, and none can question him and say, “What doest thou?” “Our God is in the heavens; he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” (Psalm 15:3); and none have ever been able to withstand him; “For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?” He who would stay the Lord in any of his purposes, must be one who has first given to him; but there are none such.SITI August 26, 1897, page 514.1

    What It Means. —The one therefore who assumes that he is independent, and who asserts his independence, takes upon himself the responsibility of maintaining his own existence. When the headstrong youth declares his independence of his father’s control, the father sometimes allows him to carry his declaration to its legitimate conclusion, and attempt to provide for his own support. Now it may be that the youth from that time is able to live without his father, although but for his previous dependence he could not now be seemingly independent, but it is impossible for him to be independent of God. He goes out into the world in his boastful pride, declaring himself to be independent even of God. He blasphemes the name of God. He will not be dependent on any being, not he. But wait! He is breathing, yes, even breathing out defiance to God. Where did you get your breath, my friend? Did you make it?—No, you didn’t have anything to do with it. “You found it ready made and used it, and the supply is kept up while you are asleep. Now, no matter who made it, it is certain that you did not, and therefore if you are determined to be independent, you must at once cease using it. Of course no other man made it, any more than you did; God alone made it. Now the only way for you to be independent of God is for you to provide your own air, and use no other. Everybody who declares independence against God, puts himself under obligation to make his own air. You can not do it?—No, of course you can not. If you cease using God’s air you will immediately die. Whose life are you using, then?—Why, God’s and his only. Certainly then it is nothing more than common fairness that he be allowed to direct his own life. Every man who breathes is by that very act under obligation to devote his life to the Lord, for him to control.SITI August 26, 1897, page 514.2

    “His Mercy Endureth Forever.” —We have said that sometimes an earthly father tells his rebellious sons that he may look out for himself if he will not acknowledge parental authority; but this God does not do. “His mercy endureth forever.” “He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:43. “He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” Luke 6:35. This is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance. If men would only acknowledge the truth that is evident in every breath they breathe, the very drawing of their breath would draw them to God. How easy is it to believe God?—Just as easy as it is to breathe. Then “let everything that hath breath praise the Lord,” and thus prepare the way for God to show them his salvation. E. J. W.SITI August 26, 1897, page 514.3

    “Discovering Truth” The Signs of the Times, 23, 33.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Discovering Truth. —The astronomer does not make the celestial bodies which his telescope reveals; they were in existence before he saw them, and all that he has done is to look steadily and patiently at some particular portion of the heavens, until the new light suddenly dawned upon his vision. Even so with a man searching for hid treasure or for something that is lost. He digs faithfully, or patiently searches for it, until he finds it; but when he has found it, he can not take any credit to himself for its existence. He did not manufacture it; he simply had the patience to keep looking until he found the right place, or till his eyes became accustomed to the light, and could distinguish objects. Then he had only to look and see that which was plainly visible. It is exactly the same way in the study of divine truth. Truth and wisdom come from God alone. He is the author of truth, because he is the truth. No man can manufacture or invent truth, for it exists from eternity. All that anybody can do is to open his eyes and see it. One reason why more people do not know and have the truth is that they think that to acquire it requires special qualifications and a sort of genius, whereas all that is necessary is open eyes. The natural man wishes to “work out” theories, so that he may have the credit of being wonderfully clever; but truth comes only to him who acknowledges his ignorance, and does not desire to gain applause for wisdom which does not and can not originate with him. If our sight is defective, we have only to pray to the Lord to anoint our eyes with eyesalve, and open them, that we may behold wonderful things in his law. Revelation 3:15; Psalm 119:18. E. J. W.SITI August 26, 1897, page 3.1

    “Inciting to War” The Signs of the Times, 23, 33.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Inciting to War. —It does not augur well for the prospects of peace, when leading church teachers declare that the three conditions of justifiable warfare are,—the command of the prince, a just cause, and a good intention-and that the first cause “relieves the individual soldier from all moral responsibility for his military action,” that “it is lawful for Christian men at the command of the magistrate to wear weapons and to serve in the wars;” and, even worse still, that “in war men have the opportunity of rising to higher levels of virtue than they would have thought possible of attainment.” Such teaching is not calculated to make men acquainted with God as the One who “maketh wars to cease unto the ends of the earth.” He who “hath the power of death, that is, the devil,” has, by means of his skill in passing himself off as an angel of light, attained to a very prominent position as a religious teacher, so that counsels of war and death are largely supposed to be a part of the Gospel of life and peace. E. J. W.SITI August 26, 1897, page 3.2

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