THE PRESENT TRUTH.
- BY JAMES WHITE.
THE PRESENT TRUTH. VOL. 1.
- OSWEGO, N. Y. DECEMBER, 1849. - NO. 6.
"The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant." - Ps.xxv.14.
THE SHUT DOOR EXPLAINED.
"And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage; and the door was shut." - Matt.xxv.,10.
This text is the concluding part of one of the most important parables ever given by the Messiah, while acting in the capacity of a prophet. Its importance will be evident, when we consider the circumstances under which it was given, and the time of the fulfillment of those events it is designed to represent. The time of their fulfillment may be clearly known by the events which precede, and those that immediately follow.
This parable is a part of that memorable and last conversation that Christ had with his disciples, before the night of his betrayal, in which he portrayed to them the destruction of Jerusalem, and the signs and events which should immediately precede his coming, and the end of the world. Let us, therefore, waive every other consideration of minor importance, and candidly, and thoroughly investigate this all-important subject.
The text, according to its natural division, contains five parts:-
1. The buying of oil.
2. Coming of the bridegroom.
3. The going in with him.
4. The marriage.
5. The shut door.
1. The buying of oil is designed to represent a fruitless effort, on the part of the foolish virgins, to obtain that which would produce light upon the subject of the coming of the bridegroom. It also appears that they had previously a stinted share of oil, which for a short time produced a little light, barely enough to lead them to go forth at the first cry to meet the bridegroom. But while they were in the tarrying time, their light became darkness; and when the second cry was made at midnight, "BEHOLD THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH, GO YE OUT TO MEET HIM," they (excited more by fear than love) made an effort to obtain light; but not being ready, could not go in, and "THE DOOR WAS SHUT."
2. Coming of the bridegroom.
The definition of bridegroom is one newly married, or about to be united in marriage to a bride. Now if the term bridegroom, in this parable, applies to Christ, (which all will admit,) then all the scenes represented by this parable are to have their fulfillment in close connection with the marriage, or the giving of the bride to Christ. Here, two questions arise; first, what is represented by the bride, and second, where is she to be given to Christ, or where is the marriage to be solemnized?
First, what does the bride represent? The angel said to St. John, while in holy vision, "Come hither, I WILL SHEW THEE THE BRIDE, THE LAMB'S WIFE."
Here John was shown "that Great City, the Holy JERUSALEM." See Rev.xxi,9,10. St. Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, says, "But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all." Gal.iv,26. From these quotations we learn that the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, which John saw "coming down from God out of heaven, prepared AS A BRIDE ADORNED FOR HER HUSBAND," is what is represented as the bride; and its being given to Christ is compared to a marriage. Second, where is the marriage to take place? Said Jesus, "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when he shall RETURN FROM THE WEDDING." - Luke xii,35,36.
"He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return." Luke xix,12. Daniel also, in the night visions, saw one like unto the Son of man come to the Ancient of days, and he was brought "NEAR BEFORE HIM; and there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom." See Dan.vii,13,14. From these passages, it is plain that the receiving of the kingdom (which includes capital, territory and subjects) is what is compared to a marriage, or receiving a bride; and that it takes place near before him, (the Ancient of days,) a little previous to his "RETURN FROM THE WEDDING," in the "far country." If the above is the correct position in reference to the bridegroom, the bride, and the marriage, then it follows of necessity that the coming of the bridegroom is not to the earth; but "near before" the Ancient of days, to receive the bride, or New Jerusalem, the capital of the kingdom, in connection with the territory and subjects, previous to his second advent; and also, that the coming of the bridegroom, and Christ's second appearing, are two distinct and separate events.
3. The going in with him.
There is, evidently at this point in the parable, a change in the position of the bridegroom, and also in the relation he sustains to the church and world. Now, in order that we may arrive at a correct understanding of this important CHANGE, let us examine what inspiration has taught us of the priesthood of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, which plainly shows this change. St. Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews, written A. D. 64, says, "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the SANCTUARY, and of the TRUE TABERNACLE, WHICH THE LORD PITCHED, and not man." - Heb.viii,1,2. By reading the eighth and ninth chapters of Hebrews, you will readily discover that Paul, in order to lead us to a correct understanding of all things pertaining to Christ, while occupying the position and relation of priest, points us back to the Aaronic priesthood, the worldly sanctuary, with its apartments, furniture and services as figures, or true representations of the heavenly priesthood, sanctuary, furniture and services. O! how little is known of Christ and his work in the heavenly sanctuary, through a neglect to compare type with antitype, and shadow with substance; and how ready are such neglectors to brand any one with fanaticism, who presumes to follow inspiration in this matter.
I would here state, that we have the best authority for referring to Moses and the prophets. Christ, after his resurrection, said to his disciples - "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that ALL THINGS MUST BE FULFILLED WHICH WERE WRITTEN IN THE LAW OF MOSES, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, CONCERNING ME." - Luke xxiv,44. Also, Paul, while a prisoner at Rome, when they had appointed him a day, and many came to him, into his lodging, expounded and testified to them "the kingdom of God, persuading them CONCERNING JESUS, both out of the LAW OF MOSES, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening." - See Acts xxviii,23. "Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come." - Acts xxvi,22.
The prophet Malachi, while describing the burning day, and addressing those to whom the prophet Elijah should be sent, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord, says, "Remember ye the LAW OF MOSES my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel," &c. - See Mal.iv,1-4. From these Scriptures we see that we are not only directed to the law of Moses, but a positive injunction is laid upon us to remember it. Not to keep it; for its ordinances were nailed to the cross; but its types and shadows, as St. Paul has taught, were figures of the true. They were a true representation of the "good things to come" connected with the ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. Therefore, they are our positive, and only sure guide, contained in the oracles of truth, to lead us to a correct understanding of the work of Christ in "THE TRUE TABERNACLE, WHICH THE LORD PITCHED, and not man."
The Apostle Paul clearly shows that Christ, while fulfilling his priesthood, occupies a sanctuary containing two apartments; the Holy, or first tabernacle, and the Holiest of all, or second tabernacle, within the second vail. In the Holy is the candlestick, the table of shew bread, and the golden altar. - See Heb.ix,2; Ex.xl,24-26. In the Holiest of all, is the ark of the covenant, the mercy-seat, and the two cherubims overshadowing the mercy-seat, above which is seen the most excellent glory, or Ancient of days. - See Heb.ix,3-5: Ex.xxvi,33,34.
I am now prepared to explain the third division of the text, viz. "they that were ready went in with him to the marriage." In order to make the matter perfectly plain to your understanding, let us go back, and see in what way they went in, under the typical services.
Under the Mosaic economy, a cycle of one year embraced all the ordinances, and services of the tabernacle, and typified all the services of Christ, while acting in the capacity of a priest. Under the type there was a daily ministration for the sins of the people, for three hundred and sixty-four days, then that ministration ceased. Then on the last day of this cycle of three hundred and sixty-five days, or the tenth day of the seventh month, the high priest, having washed himself in pure water, puts on the holy garments, made expressly for the services of this day. Thus prepared, he passes from the Holy, into the Holiest of all, bearing on the breast-plate of judgement the names of all the tribes of Israel. In this manner, all the true Israel went in with him.
Thus Christ, in the antitype, in the true tabernacle in heaven, closes the antitypical daily ministration in the Holy Place, clothes himself in the holy garments, having on the breast-plate of judgement, on which is inscribed the names of the true Israel of God, who are described by the following words in the text, "they that were ready." Thus arrayed, he is prepared to perform all the services of the antitypical tenth day, and passes into the Holiest of all before the mercy-seat, and is brought near before the Ancient of days. Thus, they that were ready went in with him to the marriage as he went in to receive his bride, "and the DOOR WAS SHUT."
The cleansing of the sanctuary, blotting out the sins of all Israel, and sending them away upon the head of the scape-goat, &c. in the type, were performed by the high priest on the memorable tenth day of the seventh month, all of which were shadows of the services of Christ in the heavenly tabernacle, after his ministration in the Holy Place closes; some of which I may notice hereafter.
4. The marriage.
I think there are but three portions of Scripture in the New Testament that speak of marriage, which refer to Christ. The parable of the king's son, Matt.xxii,2-14; the parable of the ten virgins, Matt.xxv,1-12, and Rev.xix,7-9; in all these it is used as a figure, to represent something that is not real marriage; but that which bears a close resemblance to it. Therefore, the only reasonable conclusion that I can arrive at is, that marriage, when used in reference to Christ, represents the receiving into close connexion, and perpetual union, the Kingdom, or some component part of the Kingdom.
When the prophet says, "thy land shall be married," - see Isa.lxii,4 - he means that the territory or locality of the Kingdom is to be brought into close connection with the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. When the New Jerusalem is adorned as a bride for her husband, and is given to Christ, and the saints or virgins go in with him, as guests to the marriage, then it is that he receives the capital of his promised and long looked for Kingdom.
And when, as described to John in vision - see Rev.xix,1-9 - God shall have judged her that did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and shall have "avenged the blood of his servants at her hand;" and when the voice as "of a great multitude," and "as the voice of mighty thunderings" shall proclaim "Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth, let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready;" and when to her is "granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white," which "is the righteousness of saints," then the subjects of the Kingdom become the bride; and in joint-heirship with the bridegroom possess "the Kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the Kingdom under the whole heaven."
5. THE SHUT DOOR.
A door supposes a change of scenery, or a change from one apartment to another. There are several things to which the term door is applied, such as "door of utterance," and "door of faith." "I am the door," said Jesus. But the door mentioned in the text represents not only a change in the position of the bridegroom, (Christ,) but it also shows a change in his relation to the world, from that which he previously held. Here, again, let us examine the services of the typical priesthood, that we may understand the services of Christ in the antitype. After the priests had performed the daily services, ordained especially for the Holy Place, or first apartment, and the memorable tenth day of the seventh month had arrived, then there was an entire change in the services of the sanctuary to be performed on that day.
By reading the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus, you will find that the high priest here washes his flesh in water, puts on the holy garments, and enters upon an entire new work. The offering up of the daily sin-offerings has ceased, and the high priest, on this day, atones for or blots out the sins of Israel, and removes them from the altar, where they have been imputed or laid during the year, through the blood of the victims daily offered. On this day of atonement, or of cleansing the sanctuary, the high priest (as above stated) passes into the Most Holy Place, bearing on the breast-plate of judgement the names of all such as, through obedience to the typical ordinances, have applied for a remission of sins, through the blood of their victims there offered; and THE DOOR of the first apartment IS SHUT. "And there shall be NO MAN in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. - Lev.xvi,17. On this day of atonement, he is a high priest for those only whose names are inscribed on the breast-plate of judgement. Now just so sure as the Aaronic priesthood was a type of the priesthood of Christ, then the sanctuary, with its apartments and appendages, were figures of the true sanctuary in heaven; and the services and ordinances of the earthly tabernacle were shadows of Christ's ministration, which is the substance. With this view of the subject, it is plain that a time in Christ's ministration must come, (before he puts on the kingly robes, and girds his sword upon his thigh, and comes to execute judgement,) that he will cease to be a priest in the first apartment of the true tabernacle for the sins of the whole world, and put on the holy garments, and, with the true Israel of God inscribed on HIS breast-plate of judgement, go in with them before the mercy-seat, where John saw one having a golden censor offering the prayers of all saints (wise virgins) before the throne; and be a merciful high priest over the household of faith, cleanse the sanctuary and place all the sins of the true Israel upon the scape-goat, which is the devil. Then, he will lay off the priestly garments, and clothe himself with the garments of wrath, and come to gather his elect from the four winds, under heaven, and destroy the wicked, and burn up their city.
Having thus explained the text, I will now examine some ideas suggested in the foregoing exposition. And first, the time of the fulfillment of the events, contained in the text, may be known by those which precede, and those that follow. Christ, after giving the signs of his coming, and a description of what should take place at his coming, proceeds to give a history of some of the scenes which should be transacted previous to that event. It appears that just before his coming, his wise and faithful servants, seeing the signs fulfilling, and some of the events which were to precede his coming actually transpiring, would raise the soul-thrilling cry - "THE LORD IS COMING," and thus wake up others to an examination of this all-important subject by this "meat in due season." Then this cry would excite those professed servants, who were unfaithful in their Master's cause, and who loved the things of this present world, to raise an opposite cry - "My Lord delayeth his coming." While these opposite cries are being given, THEN commences the fulfillment of the parable of the ten virgins. Here some, by examining the arguments of the faithful servants, and seeing good evidence that the signs were fulfilling, were led thereby to go forth to meet the bridegroom. We here plainly see that the cry of the faithful servants is the cause of their going forth, and that their going forth is the effect produced by this cause; therefore, the fulfillment of the parable could never commence without the cry, "The Lord is coming," being first raised by the faithful servants.
Having shown how this important parable must commence, let us examine the different steps of its progression. First, the virgins go forth to meet the bridegroom; second, they meet with a disappointment; third, they wait or tarry, still believing that his coming is near, yet, by waiting, they become drowsy, and slumber and sleep; fourth, a cry is heard, "BEHOLD THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH, GO YE OUT TO MEET HIM;" fifth, a trimming of lamps, and an effort, on the part of the foolish virgins, to procure oil; and sixth, the scenes described in the text take place. Now has there been a succession of events, within our second advent experience, which bears an exact resemblance to the above named events in the parable? If there has, then we have, at least, some good reasons for believing that the door is shut.
When Bro. Miller, and those who became acquainted with him, and adhered to his expositions of the prophecies, went forth faithfully showing to the world that according to the best light they could obtain from the prophecies, the prophetic periods and the signs, that Christ would come by the end of the Jewish year 1843, then the faithful servants gave "meat in due season." And while giving this cry, the hireling priest, the infidel, and the drunkard, united in raising the cry, "My Lord delayeth his coming" - "These are fanatics who say he is coming;" and thus they smote their fellow-servants. Here were two events, perfectly fulfilling in all their features, the acts of the faithful and wise servants, giving "meat in due season," and the evil servants, uniting with the drunkard in opposing the truth, who will reap their reward with hypocrites in bitter weeping, and gnashing of teeth.
While these two cries were going throughout the width and breadth of the land, the specified time came, and the virgins, with the word of God, (their lamps,) went forth fully expecting to meet the bridegroom at that point of time. Now for a disappointment, and tarrying time. Were these the next events that actually transpired in our experience after we went forth in the spring of 1844 to meet the bridegroom? Thousands, thousands can answer this question in the affirmative; and the evil servants have not yet forgotten to reproach and taunt us with this disappointment. Next in this series of events is a cry at midnight, or about the middle of the slumbering and sleeping time, "Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him." This also, was fulfilled in exact order as to time and event. It was calculated that the Jewish year, 1843, would end the twenty-first of March, 1844; and this was the time of the first going forth. The second going forth was on the tenth day of the seventh month, 1844. The tarrying time, or time of slumbering and sleeping, was the space between these two points; and at the centre point, or midnight, the second cry began to be heard, which increased in power and effect as it went throughout the land, waxing louder and louder, until the virgins were fully awake.
Thus we had in our experience, previous to the tenth day of the seventh month, 1844, a perfect fulfillment of all the events in the parable, as stepping stones to the SHUT DOOR; and since that time, the event, (knocking at the shut door,) that was to take place after the shutting of the door, has not failed to fill up the concluding scene in the drama. We are thus brought to a clear and perfect fulfillment of every feature of this important parable, and also to a clear fulfillment of those Scriptures connected with, and relating to the shut door; such as the parable of the great supper, Luke xiv,16-24; the proclamation of the "mighty angel," "that there should be TIME NO LONGER," Rev.x,1-8; the flying angel, proclaiming the hour of judgement come, Rev.xiv,6,7; and the cleansing of the sanctuary, &c. Therefore, we are brought, by the force of circumstances, and the fulfillment of events, to the irresistible conclusion that, on the tenth day of the seventh month, (Jewish time,) in the autumn of 1844, Christ did close his daily, or continual ministration or mediation in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and SHUT THE DOOR, which no man can open; and opened a door, in the second apartment, or Holiest of all, which no man can shut, (see Rev.iii,7,8,) and passed within the second vail, bearing before the Father, on the breast-plate of judgement, all for whom he is now acting as intercessor. If this is the position that Christ now occupies, then there is no intercessor in the first apartment; and in vain do misguided souls knock at that door, saying "Lord, Lord, open unto us." The words of the prophet apply to the fulfillment of this point in the parable.
"They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord; but THEY SHALL NOT FIND HIM - HE HATH WITHDRAWN HIMSELF FROM THEM.
"They have dealt treacherously against the Lord, for they have begotten STRANGE CHILDREN; now shall a month devour them with their portion." - Hosea v,6,7.
But, says the objector, does not this leave the present generation, who have passed the line of accountability, since that time without an intercessor or mediator, and leave them destitute of the means of salvation? In reply to this objection, I would remark, that as they were then in a state of INNOCENCY, they were entitled to a record upon the breast-plate of judgement as much as those who had sinned and received pardon; and are therefore subjects of the present intercession of our great high priest.
The professed conversions, through the instrumentality of the different sects, are also urged as positive proof that the door is not shut. I cannot give up the clear fulfillment of prophecy, in our experience, which shows the shut door in the past, for the opinions, fancies and feelings of men, based upon human sympathy and a superstitious reverence for early imbibed views. God's word is true, though it prove all men liars. As a stream is of the same character as the fountain that sends it forth, (see James iii,11,) and does not rise higher than the fountain, so these professed converts will not rise to a better state than the low standard of the fallen sects; therefore, they are converted to the religion of the various sects, but not to God, and the high and holy standard of the Bible. The Prophet Hosea saw this time; and for "our learning" and guide has written - "They have dealt treacherously against the Lord; for they have begotten strange children."
Fulton, N. Y. Dec. 16, 1849
THE PRESENT TRUTH.
OSWEGO, DECEMBER, 1849.
"Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."
WHO HAS LEFT THE SURE WORD?
We are often charged with following our experience, instead of the unerring word of God; but such a charge is unjust and untrue. It is true that we "hold fast" our holy advent experience in the past, which has so perfectly fulfilled prophecy; but in doing so, we do not neglect nor depart from the sure word. The Bible is our chart - our guide. It is our only rule of faith and practice, to which we would closely adhere.
In order to show the fulfillment of Prophecy, we have to refer to history. To show the fulfillment of prophecy relating to the four universal kingdoms of the second and seventh chapters of Daniel, we have to refer to the history of those kingdoms. Deny the history, and the prophecy is of no use. Just so with the prophecies relating to the second advent movement.
If we deny our holy experience in the great leading movements, in the past, such as the proclamation of the time in 1843 and 1844, then we cannot show a fulfillment of those prophecies relating to those movements. Therefore, those who deny their past experience, while following God and his holy word, deny or misapply a portion of the sure word.
It is cruel and unjust to represent us as having abandoned the PRECIOUS BOOK OF BOOKS - the Bible - to follow impressions, fancies, &c. when we have done no such thing, and when those very men that charge us thus leave or misapply a portion of the sure word. Once, the whole advent host believed that the parable of the ten virgins applied exclusively to the advent movement; and that the first going forth, in the parable, was fulfilled in us, as we came up to the first specified time; and that the cry in the parable, "Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him," and the trimming of lamps, &c. were also fulfilled by us, as we gave the seventh month cry. We still believe what the whole host once believed; and with holy confidence and energy published and preached to the world. And strange to tell, many of those who have abandoned the fulfillment of prophecy in our past experience, are ready to brand us with fanaticism, and rank us with Shakers, &c. for believing what they once believed, and for carrying out and showing a consistent fulfillment of the parable, in all its parts, which shows that the door is shut. These men should be the last to oppose our views, and complain of a lack of charity on our part, when they, in such an unsparing manner, rank us with apostates for holding fast and carrying out what they once believed and boldly proclaimed. When we in 1843 sang, "My Bible leads to glory," we sang a true sentiment. It did not stop in 1844, and "lead" us back around another way, no, no; but it led onward by the shut door, through the WAITING TIME, and keeping of "the commandments of God," into the kingdom. Glory to God, "My Bible leads to glory." Amen.
The truth, in answer to the question, "Who has left the sure word," is that we closely adhere to the sure word of God, which plainly marks out our holy experience, and acknowledge the mighty work of God in calling out the advent people from the world and fallen church; while those who deny this work of God and their own experience have "left" those portions of the "sure word" which relate to the advent movement. While standing on the sure word, and acknowledging our holy experience, wrought in us by the living word of God, set home to our hearts by the mighty power of the Holy Ghost, and while keeping the commandments of God, we are safe - yes, we are safe. Let the storm of persecution rise, and the fiery darts of the wicked fly all around us; thus armed with holy truth, we are safe. Glory to God, we are on the rock. My spirit grows warm, as I contemplate this glorious theme.
"For He has been with us - still is with us, And He's promis'd to be with us to the end."
Here I will give some extracts from a letter that I have recently received from Brother Holt, of Connecticut:
"My treasure is not here, I seek for a city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God; and my hope is big with immortality. My faith is in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Feeling is not faith. Our feelings may be the impulse of the moment, produced by surrounding circumstances, which may make a deep impression on the mind, and afterwards we may see that our feelings were not in accordance with the word of God. When one leaves the Bible, and trusts in his feelings, he places himself in a position to be acted upon by the devil at his pleasure. Many will point us to one who is said to be converted, for positive proof that the door is not shut, thus yielding the word of God for the feelings of an individual. Every feeling, action and thought of man may be tested by the word: if not, how can he be brought into judgement for every thought? How strait the way is. God will have the whole heart."
"Dear Brother and Sister, my heart was glad to hear from you, and others whom I love in the truth. Our hearts are knit together, and I do not forget to make mention of you always in my prayers. We are one in faith, and in spirit, serving the same God, and the same Saviour Jesus Christ, striving together to advance the holy cause of God's eternal truth."
"I have sold all to buy the truth; and after a true estimation, I have found that it takes all that a man has. The truth will stand when heaven and earth passes away, and will be our `shield and buckler' in the day of wrath."
The following is from the "Advent Shield," No 2, page 267, published January, 1845. It shows the view that was then generally taken by Adventists of the seventh month cry:-
"THE SEVENTH MONTH MOVEMENT. - The late movement in connection with the seventh month of the Jewish sacred year, was the most marked and striking event that has occurred in connection with the doctrine of the Second Advent, since the commencement of the present interest respecting it. It is well deserving a passing notice, and its history is interesting, not only as a memento of the past, but also as a landmark for the future."
On page 271 is the following:
"ITS FRUITS. - It produced every where the most deep searching of heart and humiliation of soul before the God of high heaven. It caused a weaning of affections from the things of this world - a healing of controversies and animosities - a confession of wrongs - a breaking down before God, and penitent broken-hearted supplications to him for pardon and acceptance."
"Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."
"Hymns for God's Peculiar People that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."
This is the title of a small collection of hymns of forty-eight pages now in the press; but will be out in a few weeks. It will contain a choice selection of hymns applicable to our faith and hope at this time. Those who have choice hymns that are appropriate to the present time, will please forward them immediately to my address; and also, send in their orders for the Hymn Book. As but a small edition will be wanted, they will come high. Price, twelve for one dollar - 12 12 cents single copy.
THE PAPER. - When I commenced the "Present Truth," I did not expect to issue more than two or three numbers; but as the way opened before me, and as the cause of truth seemed to demand something of the kind, I have continued thus far. While publishing the four first numbers in Connecticut, the brethren sent in more means than was necessary to sustain the paper, which I have since used in travelling to visit the scattered flock. - At the present time I am destitute of means, and am some in debt.
Dear brethren, I know that you are ready and anxious to sustain the cause of truth. Therefore, I state the above to inform you of the present condition of the paper as to means. I hope that all who may esteem it a privilege, and are able, will send in their donations immediately.
POPULAR OBJECTIONS ANSWERED.
It is not uncommon for those upon whose attention the claims of the seventh day are urged, to attempt to escape the force of truth by a variety of objections. This is often done by such as are convinced that the Scriptures require the observance of the seventh day and not the first. It is a remarkable feature of these objections, that they are totally unlike and destructive of each other. But as they are often presented and much relied on, we will mention a few of them.
"The original Sabbath cannot be observed in different parts of the earth, as the day begins at different points of time." This objection, if it were of any force, would affect the observance of the first, or any other day of the week, equally with the seventh. It is, therefore, an objection to the appointment of any particular day, and of course charges God with folly in giving the commandment. All that can reasonably be inferred from the difference of time, is that the original Sabbath was not observed at exactly the same time in all parts of the world. And since all the nations of the earth agree in the numbering of the days of the week, no practical difficulty could ever arise from this. - The same may be said in regard to "sailing around the world." If it is really an objection, it lies against the appointment of any day. Those, therefore, who acknowledge the wisdom of God, should be slow to make such an objection to his commandment. Those who object to the seventh day because they \can gain or lose a day by sailing around the world, may consistently with themselves call two nights and an intermediate dark day one night. The truth does not require that men should thus "put darkness for light," and so "wrap it up." A cause which demands it, ought for this reason to be abandoned.
"The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Jews." It is not uncommon, in discussions on this subject, to speak contemptuously of the seventh day as the Jewish Sabbath. An enlightened person, however, will look upon this as the fruit of ignorance or malice. The Sabbath was given long before the existence of the Jewish nation, and is in the Scriptures often called the Sabbath of the Lord, never the Sabbath of the Jews. It is true, we are told by one of the prophets that the Lord made known to Israel his holy Sabbath; but if this makes a Jewish Sabbath, then the other nine precepts of the decalogue are Jewish, and may with the same propriety be reproached as such. This conclusion would reach still further, make the Scriptures Jewish, and the Saviour of men and his salvation Jewish. Such, therefore, as consider this an objection to the seventh day, to be consistent with themselves, should reject the religion of Jesus altogether. But how does it correspond with the spirit of Christ thus to reproach and speak contemptuously of a people to whom we are so deeply indebted, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came? "Boast not thyself against the branches; for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee." We ought to labor for their salvation by manifesting towards them the spirit of the Messiah, rather than to increase their prejudices by speaking contemptuously of things they hold dear.
"The first day of the week is so generally observed." It is often said, If the first day be not the Sabbath, why do so many observe it? With equal pertinence might we ask, If all the systems of religion which heathen men have lived and died by are false, why have they been suffered so to abound as to swallow up almost every vestige of true religion? Why have the disciples of Mahomet been suffered to exceed in numbers the professors of Christianity? Why is the purest denomination of Protestants permitted to bear such a disproportion to the church of Rome? The reason is obvious; truth is not more easily propagated than error, and pure religion has always been connected with persecution and reproach. If we are to determine between truth and error by the "show of hands," we shall be compelled to adopt the greatest absurdities. The number of those who observe the first day, therefore, can be no evidence for or against its claims.
"Whether Christians ought to observe the seventh day or not is a doubtful question; and therefore inquiry on the subject is unprofitable and ought to be avoided." It would be wrong for disputants to cherish an unchristian spirit in the discussion of this question, and it would be equally wrong to neglect honest and thorough inquiry on the subject. To consider both sides of a question involving a religious duty, with moderation and candor, is safe and profitable. The fact that some doubts are connected with it, is the very reason why it should be examined. That which at first seemed doubtful may thus become clear and certain. The noble Bereans were commended for their spirit of inquiry, and in this respect they should be an example for us. The assertion that inquiry in regard to things revealed is unprofitable, implies that we ought not to concern ourselves about what is our duty, and is contrary to the exhortations of Scripture to add knowledge to faith and virtue, and to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour. "Buy the truth, and sell it not," is the advice of the Word of God. We should not, therefore, be hindered from our inquiries by any earthly considerations.
When the claims of the original Sabbath are plainly presented, many seem to be convinced of their justness, but, at the same time, think that a general return to the seventh day is impracticable. They allege that the custom of keeping the first day has been so long and generally maintained - that it is so intimately wrought into the habits, calculations and business of life - that it has received such explicit sanction from the civil powers, and is so often and ably vindicated by ministers and commentators, that it is in vain to expect a change, and that the cause of Sabbath-keeping is rather retarded than promoted by efforts to promote a change. - The principle of expediency here acknowledged is at war with the Bible, and extremely dangerous. When men can gravely question whether it is better to follow their own customs than to return to the law of God, their case is critical. God delights not in such. He will dwell only with those who "tremble at his word." Not those who say, "Lord, Lord," but those who "do his will," are accepted of him. - Again, if the views here expressed had been adopted in other cases, what would have become of the various reforms which have already blessed the world? What would have become of the whole subject of Protestantism? There is nothing more impracticable in a Sabbath reform, than in any other reform. In other cases, difficulties which at first seemed insurmountable, have given way to laborious and prayerful effort; so may they in this. At any rate, we ought to "obey God rather than man."
All letters relating to the "PRESENT TRUTH," should be directed to JAMES WHITE, Oswego, N. Y. care of Luman Carpenter.