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    February 8, 1883

    “Miracles” The Signs of the Times, 9, 6.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Last week we considered the subject of miracles very briefly, in connection with the one at Gibeon. It may not be amiss to say a few words more on the same subject. There is a growing disbelief in miracles, even among those who profess to believe the Bible. So common is this disbelief that one needs to have a well-defined position, and be firmly fixed in it, in order not to be affected. Not to deny the existence of miracles is to deny the truth of the Bible, for that is founded on miracles. The creation of the earth, the creation of man, the incarnation of Christ, his sacrifice for sins,-are all miracles.SITI February 8, 1883, page 65.1

    But there is a tendency, and it is not confined to infidels, to explain the miracles recorded in the Bible, by the laws of nature, as commonly understood. It is claimed that God will not work contrary to the laws which he has ordained. That may be true; but who knows it? Who shall say that God is obliged to work always in a fixed course? Extraordinary occasions call for extraordinary action, and why may not God work in any way that he pleases?SITI February 8, 1883, page 65.2

    Again, even if we admit that God must, or does, always work according to fixed laws, how does that help the matter? Who is there so presumptuous as to suppose that he understands all laws of nature? The term “laws of nature” is a convenient one to express what little we know of nature. Men formulate their observations of the properties of matter, and call the result the laws of nature. But it is not necessarily the laws of nature any more than a single section of the Constitution is the laws of the United States. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in any man’s philosophy.SITI February 8, 1883, page 65.3

    It may be true that all miracles are performed in harmony with certain fixed laws, but not according to any laws within the scope of man’s knowledge. Take for instance the miracle noted last week-the standing still of the sun and moon. Take a miracle in the lesson covered by this week’s review-the one in which the prophet caused iron to swim. These were both contrary to any laws known to man. But both of these are surpassed by the creation of the earth, or the raising of a dead man to life. We cannot understand them; if we could they would not be miracles.SITI February 8, 1883, page 65.4

    The existence of miracles is proved by the existence of God. If God exists, miracles must exist, for a being who did nothing but what could be fully comprehended by men, would be only a man, and not God. If there is a God, he must be infinitely superior to man, and consequently must perform acts infinitely beyond man’s comprehension. And on the other hand, the occurrence of miracles (things that are wonderful because they are unexplainable) proves the existence of a Being infinitely superior to man. And that such things do occur every day, no one in his senses will deny. The humble child of God is not troubled with speculations as to how miracles are performed. He accepts them as revealing the power of the God whom he worships. He can say, The One who created the universe; and still controls it, “upholding all things by the word of his power,” who “hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,” who “taketh up the isles as a very little thing,” and to whom the nations “are as a drop of a bucket,”-He is the God whom I worship. It is in accordance with his nature to do wonderful things. And this God has said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” E. J. W.SITI February 8, 1883, page 65.5

    “The Nature of Jehu’s Zeal” The Signs of the Times, 9, 6.

    E. J. Waggoner

    There is much in the character of Jehu to admire. He was active and energetic, one who never let the work in hand like. He was a driving, go-ahead man; one who in these days would doubtless be called, if engaged in trade, a successful businessman. When he was commissioned by the Lord to execute his judgment on the house of Ahab, he lost no time. Jehoram and Jezebel were quickly dispatched, together with all the sons and relatives of Ahab. As he was engaged in the work of the extermination, he met Jehonadab, to whom he said, “Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord.” He knew that he was following the commandment of the Lord, and he seemed to take pride in it. He wanted others to see that he was not afraid to stand up for the truth, even though it was unpopular. So after slaying the remnant of Ahab’s followers, he gathered the priests of Baal and destroyed them, and, so the record says, “destroyed Baal out of Israel.”SITI February 8, 1883, page 65.6

    All this was very praiseworthy. The Lord commended him for it, in these words: “Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, by children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.” But unfortunately Jehu’s zeal stopped too soon, or, rather, it was not of the right kind. We read: “But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart; for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.” His zeal for the Lord did not lead him to shun sin himself. He could rebuke and punish sin in others, but could not avoid it himself. When there was vigorous work to be done, when people could see, he was zealous; but when it came to the matter of walking in the law of the Lord with all his heart, with none but God to see, his zeal was gone.SITI February 8, 1883, page 65.7

    How many there are like him. They can talk the truth glibly, and are ever ready to defend it. No matter how unpopular the truth is, they are not ashamed to uphold, and are ready to denounce those who differ. But as to living out the truth in their daily lives, at home and abroad, in private as well as in public, they are lacking. They seem to think that they can make up for personal sins by a vigorous denunciation of the sins of others. But God has not two sets of workmen: one to watch and another to pray; or one to preach and another to work. One good quality will not make up for the absence of another. All must be combined in the same individual. He only is a man of God, who is “perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” E. J. W.SITI February 8, 1883, page 65.8

    “Facts vs. Misrepresentations” The Signs of the Times, 9, 6.

    E. J. Waggoner

    EDITOR SIGNS OF THE TIMES-Dear Brother: I have before me the December number of the Richmond Star, a paper published monthly at Richmond, Ind., by Milton Wright, a preacher and, I believe, bishop of the church of the United Brethren in Christ. The motto of the paper is: “First pure; then peaceable.”SITI February 8, 1883, page 66.1

    On the first page is an article which I give below, and I wish to know if it is true. F. G. HARRIS.SITI February 8, 1883, page 66.2


    “Perhaps scarcely any class of Christian professors practice false quotation from authorities so much as Seventh-day Adventists. They have widely asserted that Dr. Mosheim states, in his celebrated “Church History,” that it was by a decree of the Emperor Constantine in the fourth century, that the Christian day of worship was change from the seventh day of the week to the first day of the week. A few quotations from Dr. Mosheim’s “Church History” will show that he testifies the very opposite from what he is represented by these Sabbatarians as doing.SITI February 8, 1883, page 66.3

    “In the history of the first century of the church, chap 4, sec. iv. Mr. Mosheim says:-SITI February 8, 1883, page 66.4

    “‘All Christians were unanimous in setting apart the first day of the week, on which the triumphant Saviour arose from the dead, for the solemn celebration of public worship. This pious custom, which was derived from the example of the church at Jerusalem, was founded on the express appointment of the apostles, who consecrated that day to the same sacred purpose, and was observed universally throughout the Christian churches, as appears from the united testimony of the most credible writers. The seventh day of the week was also observed as a festival, not by Christians in general, but by such churches only as were composed of Jewish converts; nor did the other Christians censure this custom as criminal or unlawful.’SITI February 8, 1883, page 66.5

    “Dr. Mosheim, in his history of the second century chap 4. sec. says:-SITI February 8, 1883, page 66.6

    “‘The first Christians assembled for the purpose of divine worship, in private houses, in caves, and in vaults where the dead were buried. Their meetings were on the first day of the week; and in some places they assembled on the seventh, which was celebrated by the Jews. Many also observed the fourth day of the week, on which Christ was betrayed, and the sixth, which was the day of his crucifixion.’SITI February 8, 1883, page 66.7

    “Now after the foregoing most explicit testimonies concerning the universal observance of the first day of the week for Christian woship during the first and second centuries, Dr. Mosheim, in his history of the fourth century, uses the language which has been so misrepresented by Seventh-day Adventists. He says in his history of the fourth century, chap 4. sec. v:-SITI February 8, 1883, page 66.8

    “‘The first day of the week, which was the ordinary and stated time for the public assemblies of Christians, was in consequence of a peculiar law enacted by Constantine, observed with greater solemnity than it had formerly been.’SITI February 8, 1883, page 66.9

    “How differed are these testimonies of the learned and judicious Dr. Mosheim from those stated by Seventh-day Adventists to deceive the unlearned and ignorant. It is a great injustice to avert a wise historian’s testimony to just the opposite of what he has testified. It seems to be the work of ‘those who love and make a lie.’ [ED.”SITI February 8, 1883, page 66.10

    To the brother’s inquiry we reply that the article is both true and false-principally false. Seventh-day Adventists do not claim that Mosheim states in his “Church History” or anywhere else, that the Sabbath was changed by the decree of Constantine. No such claim can be found in any of our writings. It will be noticed that the writer of the article does not attempt to substantiate his charge, by showing just where the false quotations may be found. It is very easy to make charges in a general matter, but an accusation, in order to be valid, must be backed up by proof. But of this he had none, and he is therefore guilty of what he charges upon us-misrepresentation.SITI February 8, 1883, page 66.11

    Now as to the truth of his quotations. If the brother will take the pains, he will find them all in “The History of the Sabbath and First Day of the Week,” by Eld. J. N. Andrews, for sale at this office. (See advertisement in this issue.) This work, which is complete on this subject, contains these and many other quotations from first-day historians. In fact, all that is quoted from early writers in support of the Sunday, will be found in this book. Instead of claiming that the Sabbath was changed in consequence of Constantine’s law, evidence is given to show that Sunday was kept long before his time.SITI February 8, 1883, page 66.12

    It may not be amiss, in passing, to call attention to the first quotation from Mosheim, in which it is stated that “all Christians were unanimous in setting apart the first day of the week,” etc.This passage is taken from Maclaine’s translation of Mosheim’s History, and is always quoted by first-day writers, because it accords so nearly with what they wish to prove true. Now Dr. Mclaine did not profess to give a strictly accurate translation of Mosheim. He himself says in his preface: “I have sometimes taken considerable liberties with my author, and followed the spirit of his narrative without adhering strictly to the letter; and have often added a few sentences to render an observation more striking, a fact more clear, a portrait more finished.” That is, he has not hesitated to exaggerate what Mosheim really said, whenever he wished to do so. Other writers, not Sabbatarians, say that Dr. Mclaine “has interwoven his own sentiments in such a manner with those of the original author, both in the notes and in the text, that it is impossible for a mere English reader to distinguish them; and in diverse instances he has entirely contradicted him.” In the translation of Dr. Murdock, who has given “a close, literal version,” the passage is materially modified. Although Dr. Mosheim states that Sunday was observed in the first century, he does not state that “all Christians were unanimous” in so doing. As far as we are concerned, however, we are willing to let the passage stand as quoted. We mention it merely to show that first-day writers are not over-scrupulous as to the means they use to advance the interest of the Sunday. As for selves, we are anxious that the exact truth on this Sunday question should be given in every instance; for the more the truth shines upon it, the more clearly it is seen that there is no divine authority for Sunday-keeping.SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.1

    And now what do Seventh-day Adventists claim in regard to Constantine’s law? They claim, not that Sunday was not kept previous to its enactment, but that it was the first law ever given in favor of Sunday observance. And that we do not make this claim rashly, the following testimonies will prove:-SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.2

    “It was Constantine the Great who first made a law for the proper observance of Sunday; and who, according to Eusebius, appointed it should be regularly celebrated throughout the Roman Empire.”-Encyclopedia Britannica, art. “Sunday.”SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.3

    “Chambers’ Encyclopedia,” published by J. B. Lippincott & Co., under the heading “Sabbath,” says:-SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.4

    “But whatever may have been the opinion and practice of these early Christians in regard to cessation from labor on the Sunday, unquestionably the first law, either ecclesiastical or civil, by which the sabbatical observance of that day is known to have been ordained, is the edict of Constantine, 321 A.D.”SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.5

    There is no one who will presume to dispute these authorities. There is no one who can find any law for Sunday-keeping prior to this edict of Constantine. From these authors we learn that while many Christians did keep Sunday before Constantine’s time, they did it voluntarily, and not on account of any law which had been given. From “Chambers’ Encyclopedia,” article “Sabbath,” we quote as follows:-SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.6

    “At what date the Sunday, or first day of the week, began to be generally used by Christians as a stated time for religious meetings, we have no definite information either in the New Testament or in the writings of the Fathers of the church. By none of the Fathers before the fourth century is it identified with the Sabbath, nor is the duty of observing it grounded by them either on the fourth commandment or on the precept for example of Jesus or his apostles, or on an anti-Mosaic Sabbath law promulgated to mankind at creation, and continuing in force after the coming of Christ.”SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.7

    If anyone wishes to verify this statement, he will find in a little work entitled, “Testimony of the Fathers Concerning the Sabbath and First Day of the Week,” for sale at this office, every passage in the writings of the Fathers of the first three centuries, in which an allusion, or even a supposed allusion, is made to the Sabbath or first day.SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.8

    Kitto, in his “Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature,” in the article “Lord’s Day,” after noticing the text commonly produced in favor of Sunday observance, says:-SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.9

    “Though in later times we find considerable reference to a sort of consecration of the day, it does not seem at any period of the ancient church, to have assumed the form of such an observance as some modern religious communities have contended for. Nor do these writers in any instance pretend to allege any divine command, or even apostolic practice, in support of it.”SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.10

    Now for another quotation from Mosheim. We are always pleased when it is brought forward in favor of Sunday observance. We give the passage as quoted by our reverend critic:-SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.11

    “The first day of the week, which was the ordinary and stated time for the public assemblies of Christians, was in consequence of a peculiar law enacted by Constantine, observed with greater solemnity than it had formerly been.”SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.12

    That law of Constantine’s reads as follows:-SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.13

    “Let all the judges and town people, and the occupation of all trades, rest on the venerable day of the sun; but let those who are situated in the country, freely and at full liberty to attend to the business of agriculture; because it often happens that no other day is so fit for sowing corn or planting vines; lest the critical moment being let slip, men should lose the commodities granted them by Heaven.”SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.14

    If, as Mosheim states, the Sunday was, in consequence of this law, “observed with greater solemnity than it had formerly been,” the reader may well wonder how much sacredness was attached to Sunday before this time. Not much, certainly. This statement of Mosheim is not of much use to the Sunday cause.SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.15

    But our opponents will still say with a triumphant air: “Nevertheless the Sunday was kept by the expressed appointment of the apostles, or at least on account of their example.” Why, how do you know that? “Because Mosheim says so.” Very well, and how did Mosheim find it out? Did he live in the apostles’ time? Did he confer with them? They will be compelled to answer that he did not; that he was a modern writer, born more than two hundred years after the discovery of America. How then did he learn what the apostles wrote? He had the New Testament, wherein their writings are contained. But we have the same, and so have our first-day friends; why then, instead of quoting from Mosheim that the apostles commanded the observance of Sunday, do they not go direct to the writings of the apostles, and point out the passage wherein such command is made? For the very reason that no such passage can be found, as they very well know.SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.16

    But why does Mosheim say that Sunday observance was founded on the express appointment of the apostles, if it is not really so? For the same reason that many first-day theologians of the present time make reckless assertions which they cannot prove. He believed in Sunday sacredness, having been taught it from his youth. In his reading of early history he found that some Christians kept that day; and since he could find no commandment any where else for Sunday-keeping, he straightway concluded that the apostles themselves must have commanded it. If they did not, who did? Sure enough, who did?SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.17

    We are not at all alarmed for the Sabbath, when told that Sunday was kept very soon after the apostles’ time. We learn that the fourth day of the week and likewise the sixth was observed also. We learn also, according to Tertullian, that the custom of praying for the dead was common in the second century, and that the invocation of saints, the superstitious use of images, the sign of the cross, etc., were common in the fourth century. Apostolic authority was claimed for all of these. Will our first-day friends accept them on this authority? Certainly not. And why not? “Because,” they will tell you, “these things are forbidden in the Bible, and we find nothing in the writings of the apostles sanctioning them.” Exactly; and so we say about the Sunday.SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.18

    It matters not how early a custom was established, so long as it does not have the sanction of divine authority. We find that an abominable practice (1 Corinthians 5:1) was prevalent among certain Christians, even while the apostles were yet alive; shall we therefore conclude that all Christians are in duty bound to do likewise? Assuredly not. Even among Christ’s chosen twelve there was a thief, and yet we do not conclude from this fact that Christ sanctioned robbery. Paul knew that abuses would creep into the church, and warned the disciples against being led astray. Acts 20:29, 30. He stated that even in his day the “mystery of iniquity” was working, and the great apostasy had commenced. 2 Thessalonians 2:7. Let no one think it strange, then, that we find men in the early centuries adopting the Sunday festival, along with other heathen customs. Sin has always existed even within the professed church of God, and will continue to exist until He shall come “whose fan is in his hand,” to “thoroughly purged his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner,” and to “burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” E. J. W.SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.19

    “Time of Christ’s Resurrection” The Signs of the Times, 9, 6.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A friend in Oregon questions the correctness of a statement incidentally made in the Sabbath-school department of the SIGNS a few weeks ago, to the fact that Christ rested in the tomb on the Sabbath day, and rose on the morning of the first day of the week; and he asks, “Is there any Scripture evidence to prove that our Lord rose from the grave on the first day of the week?” To this we reply that we think there is. It is true that we are not told in so many words when the resurrection took place, but the evidence seems to be clear nevertheless. Jesus told his disciples several times that he would be crucified and rise again the third day. Matthew 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; Mark 9:31; Luke 9:22, etc. Christ was crucified on Friday. This fact is plainly stated by Luke, who closes the account of the crucifixion and burial of Christ with these words: “And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath true on.” Luke 23:54. Then he still further identifies the time by saying that the women who saw the burial, “returned, and prepared spices and ointments, and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.” Verse 56. Now it does not require any mathematical skill to determine that “the third day” could not by any possibility be earlier than the first day of the week following, and that it was not later, we know from the record. Therefore the first day of the week must have been the resurrection day.SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.20

    Matthew 28:1 is quoted as proof that Christ rose on the Sabbath; but the statement here is simply (according to our version) that the women came to the sepulcher “in the end of the Sabbath.” But the original of this passage allows perfect harmony with Mark 16:1, which says that it was “when the Sabbath was past.” These Scriptures have to do simply with the coming of the women to the tomb. They came very early on the first day of the week and found the grave empty; but the argument given above is, we think, conclusive as proving that the resurrection did not take place before the beginning of that first day.SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.21

    “But,” some will say, “this gives a stronger argument to the believers in Sunday observance.” Not at all. The fact that Christ rose on the first day of the week has no more to do with the Sabbath question then with the doctrine of the temporal millennium. There is no commandment for the observance of the resurrection day; not even an intimation that that day was henceforth to be the Sabbath. From the time of the crucifixion onward, the disciples observed the Sabbath the same as before.SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.22

    Whoever tries to prove that Christ did not rise on the first day a week, wastes his time, and strengthens those who are keeping Sunday in their determination to do so. Better far to admit at once that Christ rose on the first day of the week, and then show that Sabbath sacredness is not affected in the least by that fact. E. J. W.SITI February 8, 1883, page 67.23

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