"The Greeks Seek after Wisdom." 1 Cor. 1:22
The first two verses of the eleventh chapter of Daniel outline the history of the second kingdom, Medo-Persia. That portion of the chapter included in verses three to thirteen records the history of the third kingdom, Greece. Those things which are "noted in the Scripture of truth" concerning Greece are the things which Gabriel made known to Daniel. The prophet had found it difficult to grasp the full significance of the symbols used in previous visions to represent the kingdoms of the world, and so in this last interview between the servant of God and the angel of prophecy, symbols are laid aside, and the history is repeated in plain language.
Notwithstanding the fact that Gabriel gives a plain narrative, the very words he uses, and the facts which he selects from the multitude of events which actually transpired, have a significance. In reading God's Word in any of its parts there is first to be found the story which lies on the surface, and secondly the deeper meaning which is just as truly there, but which must be sought for as with a lighted candle. It is hoped that the reader may at least catch a glimpse of the deep spiritual lessons while reading the plain narrative of events.
God had a purpose when he gave the history
of the four kingdoms, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. There is an incentive to understand these prophecies in the very fact that each nation is represented in a variety of ways, revealing different characteristics. And since Daniel is a prophet for the latter days, there is an increased desire to read not only the history but God's purpose in tracing the history with such unerring accuracy. Babylon, as a nation, as has been seen from the study of Daniel in connection with Revelation, represents a condition of things which will exist in the church of the last days. Great was the splendor of that kingdom, but she was a harlot, and a mother of harlots. Above the city Heaven saw the words, "Mystery of iniquity," for she made all nations drunk with the wine of her fornication.
Medo-Persia was a daughter of Babylon, and she played the harlot also; that is, she partook of the sins of Babylon, and departed from the living God. The principles of the religion of Babylon were carried out by the daughter, though the wickedness was in a measure checked by the constant presence of angels in the court, who labored in behalf of the chosen people of God; but the constant tendency toward tyranny and oppression in the government are revealed in the decree of Ahasuerus in the days of Esther.
As Medo-Persia had an important part to play in connection with God's people, and while her part differed from the dealings of Babylon with that same people, so the Greek nation was called of God to do a work-a specific work. She, too, was a daughter of Babylon, partaking of her sins; but these sins, while the same, led to different 169Margin
outward manifestations than in Medo-Persia. Like children of the same family, each reproducing the character of the parents, yet differing widely from one another, so Greece, Medo-Persia, and Rome are three sisters, daughters of the same mother, but each endowed with special features and strong peculiarities.
Greece spans the gulf between the Old and the New Testament. Its telling work as a nation was done during the time when there was no prophet in Israel, the period between Malachi and Christ, hence the book of Daniel is the only portion of the Bible which deals with this nation. The history of Greece can be traced to Javan of the family of Japheth, who, with his sons, settled in the islands of the Mediterranean. The natural divisions of the country by the bays and mountains developed many independent or semiindependent tribes, but they had one common language and one religion.
It would seem that the principles of the worship of Jehovah, as known to the sons of Noah, were carried into the isles of Greece, for throughout the entire system is traceable a close resemblance to the ceremonial law with its types and shadows, as carried on in Jerusalem in the days of Solomon. Again, when it is remembered that the kingdom of the Jews, in the days of its prosperity, was visited by representatives from all nations, it is easy to understand how the forms and ceremonies of the worship of Jehovah were adopted by the Greeks. Even the architecture of Palestine, especially the temple of Solomon, became a model to the Greeks, who were lovers of the beautiful. Everything that is good and beautiful in the world has its origin in the mind of God. 170Margin
The gross idolatry of Babylon and Egypt was replaced in Greece by a more refined worship, if there can be said to be degrees of refinement in licentiousness. At any rate, Greek customs were less revolting on the surface, and hence more subtile and ensnaring. The Êsthetic taste of the Greeks was developed by being in close contact with nature. They studied nature, and not having God's Word as an interpreter, they worshiped the forms instead of the Creator. They recognized the power of life, but not knowing the source of life, they were led into licentious practices, known as "the mysteries," where things which are sacred were defiled with drinking and passionate indulgence.
There is a pathetic strain throughout their history. They came so close to the God of nature, and yet not knowing him, they wandered in such utter darkness. Theirs is a constant reminder of the fate of those students of to-day who seek to understand natural phenomena, but do not interpret nature by the word of its Creator. They, too, worship Zeus and Demeter, Pluto, or Poseidon, instead of the Christ. The fact is that the children of to-day are fed upon the myths and traditions of this very people, who were groping in darkness, worshiping the gods of Olympus, and ignorant of the God whose voice shook the mountains in every storm, whose smile was in every sunbeam, and whose rivers watered the fields.
The Greeks offered sacrifices, but of what value were they when they accepted not the sacrifice of the slain Lamb of God? The spirit of prophecy was cherished, but while God's prophets mingled with the people, the Greek 171Margin
prophetess was a maiden of questionable character, secluded from the people, who received her inspiration from a vapor which poured from a rent in a rock over which the temple of Delphi was built.
There was a priesthood, the duties of whose members were to reveal the will of the gods. The sacred feasts of Jehovah's people were replaced by the national games of the Greeks. As the passover and the feast of tabernacles called the Hebrew race together, and promoted unity and a love of God, so the Greek games gathered that people together, promoting one common language, religion, and law. God's people met for spiritual worship; the Greeks for physical or intellectual enjoyment.
The history of Greece is the history of physical and intellectual culture. The people admired grace and beauty, and her literary minds worshiped the intellect. Plato, the greatest of Greek philosophers, lived four hundred years before Christ, and his teachings have led the thoughts of writers in every age since then. The Jews mingled the teachings of the Bible with the philosophy of Plato, and that formed the traditions of men, against which Christ so often warned his followers. The false philosophy, and the "science falsely so called" of Paul's time, was Greek teaching, which breathed the spirit of Plato and his students.
Plato's writings have replaced the Bible with many, and a large number of modern writers, both of prose and poetry, recognize him as their intellectual leader. The philosophy of this man was often good, and he admired truth; but the error lay in admiring or assenting to truth, and 172Margin
failing to live it out. His followers came under the condemnation of Christ, together with the Pharisees, of whom he said, "They say, but do not."
Here, in Greek religion and Greek learning, was the most subtile form of that mixture of truth and error which Satan offered at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which existed from the days of Eden to the time of Greece. Babylon enslaved the bodies of God's people, Medo-Persia made laws to slay them, but Greece captured their minds, and enslaved them to her ideas. She counterfeited so neatly, so adroitly, the spiritual teachings of the Old Testament; and so quietly, yet so surely, wound her tendrils about God's people, that her slavery was far worse than that of Egypt or Babylon. It is this influence which must be taken into consideration while following the history of the Greeks as given by Gabriel.
The angel had said, "When I am gone forth [from Persia], lo, the prince of Grecia shall come." And of Greece, he says, "A mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will." It is in this language that Alexander is introduced in the divine records. He was not a Greek, but a Macedonian, the son of Philip of Macedon. He stands in history as one of those strong characters whom God uses in spite of the fact that they are unacquainted with him, and know not his manner of working. Alexander, in Greek history, corresponds in some ways to Cyrus, the Persian.
Alexander, as a boy, showed an indomitable will, and as he grew to manhood the trait
strengthened. He was educated by Aristotle, the illustrious pupil of Plato, in the wisdom of the Greeks. When twenty years of age, Philip, king of Macedon, died, leaving the government to Alexander. This was the year 336 b. c. Alexander united the independent states of Greece, and placed himself at the head of their amphictyonic council. The Greeks were ambitious, and the new general organized an army for foreign conquest.
The third kingdom was represented by a leopard with four wings on its back. This symbol covered the time not only when Alexander was king, but during its divided state, as well. The swiftness of conquest is well represented by the wings of a fowl; the cunning, insinuating nature by the lithe form of the leopard, and the mingling together of truth and error in its doctrines and practices by the spots. "Can the leopard change his spots?" No more could Greece give truth without a portion of the false; no more can truth and error be separated in that system of education founded upon the wisdom of the Greeks-her philosophy, her myths, and her nature teaching.
Again Daniel saw the progress of this third nation, as a rough goat coming from the west without touching the earth. This marks the rapidity of the conquests carried on by Alexander. It was Granicus, Asia Minor, Issus, Tyre, Gaza, with the surrender of all Egypt; Arbela, Babylon, Susa, Bactria, and India-all in the space of eight short years. Having conquered those who opposed him, he planned to unite the extensive territory over which he bore sway.
He was an organizer and diplomat as well as a general.
By marrying a princess of Babylon, and giving several members of the royal family of Persia in marriage to his generals, he sought to win the favor of the conquered races. It was while in Babylon, directing affairs in that ancient Eastern capital, that Alexander died, probably as a result of intemperance and excess. He was still a young man, but the nations of the world bowed at his feet.
In following the rapid conquests of Alexander,-symbolized by the goat which touched not the ground,-no mention has yet been made of the Jews. As God brought Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus in direct contact with his people, that they might know the God of heaven, so he permitted Alexander to learn of him. While that conqueror was passing from Tyre, after its surrender, toward Gaza, which guards the entrance into Egypt, he stopped at Jerusalem. Josephus states that great consternation filled the city when it was known that the Greek warrior was coming. But the high priest, Juddas, had a dream in which he was bidden to go out to meet Alexander, arrayed in his priestly garments, and accompanied by the temple officers clad in white.
When Alexander met this company, much to the surprise of his army and generals, he bowed to the ground to worship the God whose name was on the miter worn by the high priest. He then accompanied the priest to the temple at Jerusalem, where the sacrifices were explained. Moreover, the prophecies of Daniel concerning the rise and fall of Babylon, the conquests of MedoPersia, and its subsequent fall and the rise of a third empire were explained. Daniel, who had witnessed before Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus,
was then quoted to Alexander. The mighty conqueror was in the presence of the Spirit of God, and was given the message that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. Would he bow in submission, and let God conquer for him? This was the opportune moment in his life.
Alexander acknowledged God, but left Jerusalem and pushed forward in battle. Gaza fell. Egypt was entered, and there, in order to gratify a selfish pride, he had himself proclaimed son of Jupiter Ammon. He who might have become a son of God chose rather to be called the son of Jupiter. The result of Greek education and learning is fully exemplified in this one act. The outcome of such a choice-a fit consummation of all Greek teaching-was met at Babylon when the king, at his very prime, laid down and died with no hope for the future. It is sad but impressive commentary for those who seek the ways of the world in preference to the truths of God.
One thing which the inspired historian notes, is, that he would do "according to his will." When man makes such a resolution, it means that he has been offered a choice between God and Satan, and has chosen the latter. There are but two minds in the universe, and he who rejects God may claim that he exercises his own mind, but it means that he is swayed by the mind of the enemy of God. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus," for it brings liberty. The spirit which wishes to exalt self is imitating the philosophy of the Greeks, and its result is death; for Greek philosophy is but a continuation of the philosophy used to deceive
Adam and Eve in Eden at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Alexander left no heirs to the throne who could hold the reins of government. His eldest son was a child of five. A number of strong men had acted as generals of the army during the march through Asia, and on the death of the emperor eight of these contended for supremacy. None, however, were strong enough to subdue all the others. For about twenty years there was war and contention. Finally in 302 b. c. it was settled that Ptolemy should hold Egypt; Seleucus should take Syria and the east; Lysimachus had Thrace and Asia Minor, and Cassander was located in Greece. The territory of Alexander was divided, but "not to his posterity;" neither was the strength of these four equal to that of Alexander, and the four partitions lasted but a few years. Greece, which was under the rule of Cassander, was taken by Lysimachus, thus uniting the western and northern divisions.
In 281 b. c., after intrigues too numerous to mention, Seleucus met Lysimachus and slew him in battle. This reduced the four divisions to two, the rulers of which were afterward distinguished as kings of the north and the south. Seleucus, the king of the north, now held territory which had formerly belonged to three generals, while Ptolemy retained the southern division. This agrees with the words of Gabriel to Daniel. The fifth verse, according to Spurrell, reads: "Then shall the king of the south, even one of his [Alexander's] princes be strong; yet shall another exceed him in strength and have dominion; a grand dominion shall be his dominion."
The Ptolemy who gained Egypt was surnamed Soter, or Saviour, and on his death he was succeeded by his son, Ptolemy Philadelphus. The Seleucus who gained the three divisions was succeeded by his son Antiochus Soter, who was killed by the Gauls in Asia Minor. The third in the line of Greco-Syriac kings was Antiochus Theos, who was reigning in Syria while Ptolemy Philadelphus was on the Egyptian throne.
There is, however, something aside from the mere succession of kings which is worthy of notice. Gabriel gave Daniel the framework of the history of Greece. We have in the inspired record something which corresponds to the skeleton in the human body, and the flesh and organs of life need to be put in. These nations which were then in existence were a shelter, perhaps, a scaffolding, built about God's people, offering them another opportunity to work. The Spirit of God was working in the courts of monarchs as faithfully as ever. At the same time the controversy between truth and error never for a moment abated.
It might seem to the casual observer that Greece was not in reality a ruling power in the sense that Babylon and Medo-Persia were universal monarchies. Let us see: From the first it has been noted that Greece was an intellectual ruler rather than a power which held the bodies of men in slavery. If we may personify Greek intellect in an abstract way, we may say that Alexander was the tool in its hand for building up a kingdom where it might hold sway. He did this work well; and while he individually fell, the Greek language, learning, and customs were introduced into all countries where his arms had 178Margin
opened the way. The Greek religion, with its mysteries, was accepted in Syria and Asia Minor; Greek games were celebrated in the eastern provinces. But Greek education took a position ahead even of her religion, and Greek teachers and scholars followed in the wake of the conqueror. Greek was the language most used, and Greek books were in demand. The city of Alexandria in Egypt was founded by Alexander, and it became the center of Greek learning. Egyptian idolatry and Greek philosophy sat enthroned beside each other. As the Encyclopedia Britannica states it, "In Egypt a Greek aristocracy of office, birth, and intellect existed side by side with a distinct native life."
Israel had once been miraculously delivered from physical bondage in Egypt. They had been warned against fleeing to Egypt for protection in the days of Nebuchadnezzar at the siege of Jerusalem. They may have escaped the bondage of those earlier times, but they were captured by the learning of the Greeks. In the days of Ptolemy Soter, many Jews flocked into Egypt, and those who remained in Jerusalem and Palestine imbibed many of the ideas of the Greeks.
It has been stated that the history of Greece fills the time between the prophecy of Malachi and John the Baptist. We are now ready to appreciate the reason why Israel was so long without the sound of the prophet's voice. God gave Israel a system of education, separate and distinct from the system of all other nations; a system which, if followed, would forever make it impossible for the people to go into captivity. But Israel often gave up her God-given system for the teaching of heathen nations.
When the Jews returned from Babylon, they were strongly tinctured with Babylonian ideas of education and religion. This prepared them to accept with readiness the teachings of the Greeks. The rabbis of Jerusalem mingled the principles of Greek philosophy so thoroughly with the statutes of Jehovah, which they were commanded to teach the children, that from the death of Malachi to the birth of John the Baptist, there was not a family in Judah to whom the education of a prophet could be intrusted.
The Greek games were performed in Jerusalem itself, and Jewish youth, dressed only in the scarf and broad hat in imitation of the god Hermes, wrestled like the Athenian athletes. It is stated by Dr. Mears that the priests, when the signal was given for the sports, left their work in the temple to watch the games. Greek names replaced the Jewish in many instances, and even priests intermarried with the Greeks. It is no wonder that Gabriel gave specific instruction concerning the name to be given the babe of Zacharias and Elizabeth, for although there was once a time when every child in Israel was named under the inspiration of the Spirit, the Israelites had now chosen Greece in place of God.
The whole Jewish teaching was Hellenized; and when John the Baptist was born, his mother and father were commanded to leave the city of Jerusalem, and educate the child in the desert, away from the influence of the schools and society of the Jews. Christ himself never entered the schools of his day because of the mixture of the truth of God with heathen philosophy. Greek teaching exalted nature; but the Son of God could not hear the voice of the Father in 180Margin
the teachings of the schools, and he wandered through the woods alone, or in company with his mother. Then it was that nature, the great object lesson of the Creator, was opened to his expanding mind. Other Jewish youth sat at the feet of the rabbis, learning what the spirit of the Greeks taught, and they crucified the Lord of life.
It is a wonderful thing to man, who is so limited in means, to watch the workings of God, who is so limitless in resources. When the Jews fled to Egypt, then God took advantage of their presence there, and turned it to his glory. Ptolemy Philadelphus founded the Alexandrian Library, and it was he who encouraged the translation of the Old Testament into Greek. It was thus that the prophecies concerning the promised Messiah were put into the universal language nearly three hundred years before the birth of Christ.
The world might become intoxicated with Greek philosophy, but God left man without excuse by placing the word of life in the household tongue of the nations. Satan may scheme, and his agents on earth may be wise, but they can do nothing against the truth without in that very act promoting the truth. While the dark wings of paganism were drawing closer and closer about the world, to shut out if possible the very light of heaven, the word of God, as a lighted candle, a torch among the sheaves, was shining under that darkness, and proclaiming the advent of the Desire of all ages.
The first verses in the history of Greece (Dan. 11:3-5) bring the student face to face with that country as an intellectual power, and reveal the secret of her strength to be in her language and
philosophy. She conquered the world by bringing all minds under her control. It was the plan of the enemy of truth to subjugate minds to a false philosophy; and since this was the scheme upon which he worked in Greece, it was under this same national influence that the truth which frees the mind was given to the world. How far-reaching then were the purposes of God.
Another great principle lies side by side with the one given in those first verses. This second, which is hidden in verses six to thirteen, has to do with the working out of those same principles through the government as a channel. The kingdom of Alexander resolved itself into two divisions, a northern and a southern. Both were Hellenized, but the northern represented more truly Greek principles, while the southern division was strongly tinctured with the old Egyptian ideas both of government and religion. It was the northern division which carried forward the work of the prophecy as symbolized by the leopard and the rough goat, and it was from the northern division that the little horn of Daniel 8 proceeded. Consequently it must be right to conclude that it is the GrecoSyriac division, rather than the Egyptian division, which will do the work of which Alexander was the forerunner. Nevertheless there will be throughout the ages until the end of time a strength rising from the south and opposing the northern power. This will again be seen in the Mohammedan work of the Middle Ages during the supremacy of the fourth beast. But we must watch the working out of the principle during the life of the third kingdom, as that is introductory in itself to the future work.
History reveals the fact that the greatest strength in government is found in those powers whose territory extends from east to west, and that nations which try to govern territory extending far to the north and the south have trouble. It is in recognition of this fact that each universal empire has progressed mainly from east to west, and each succeeding kingdom has gone farther to the west than the preceding ones. This continues until the globe is encircled, and all the kings of the earth finally meet in the great battle of Armageddon.
In spite of this controlling principle among nations, and in face of the decree of the Holy Watcher, the north and the south attempted to unite. Worldly policy of intermarriage was followed, and as Spurrell renders verse 6, "After some years they [the kings of the north and the south] shall be associated; for the daughter of the king of the south [Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus] shall come to the king of the north [Antiochus Theos] to make agreements." Antiochus put away his lawful wife, Laodice, in order to marry Berenice, and the results of this transgression of God's law are given by the pen of inspiration. "The arm shall not retain its strength, neither shall their offspring be established; but she shall be given up, and her attendants, and her child, and her supporters at those times." Human pen can not make the history any plainer than did Gabriel in relating it to Daniel nearly two hundred years before it occurred. Berenice lost favor in the eyes of Antiochus Theos, who thereupon recalled Laodice. The jealous wife then caused Antiochus to be poisoned, and placed her own son on the
throne. Through her influence, also, Berenice, her child by Antiochus, and her Egyptian attendants and supporters, were all murdered.
This aroused the royal house of Egypt, and a brother of Berenice, a shoot from her roots, advanced into the territory of Antiochus with a large army. "He shall rule within the fortifications of the kings of the north, and shall war against them and shall prevail." Ptolemy Euergetes, son of Ptolemy Philadelphus, is here described. He not only invaded Syria, but went to Babylon, where he found some of the Egyptian gods and molten images which Cambyses had captured during his war in Egypt. These Ptolemy returned, and for this was named Euergetes (benefactor) by his grateful people. It is said that he carried to Egypt forty thousand talents of silver and many vessels of silver and gold. Ptolemy Euergetes then returned to his own kingdom, where he outlived Antiochus Callinicus, the son of Laodice.
But trouble did not cease then. There was a natural jealousy and antipathy between the north and the south. Ptolemy Euergetes held much of Syria on the death of Antiochus Callinicus. Two sons of Callinicus undertook to regain the lost territory, and redeem the honor of their father. The first was weak and inefficient; the younger, Antiochus Magnus, who took the throne in the course of a few years, was stronger. He is the "one" who advanced speedily, regaining much of the lost territory.
About the time of the accession of Antiochus Magnus to the Syrian throne, Ptolemy Philopater took the throne in Egypt. He manifested no disposition to invade the territory of the king of
the north, being indolent, and a great lover of luxury and ease, but he was aroused by the prospects of an invasion of Egypt, his own throne being threatened by Antiochus Magnus. Antiochus was supported by an immense army, which fell into the hands of Ptolemy Philopater, who, elated by his victory, returned to his capital to feast. Although he had cast down ten thousand soldiers, yet he did not profit by the victory. Nothing was gained; it was but a merciless slaughter of human beings; a contest for brute supremacy which is hateful in the sight of God and man. The difference is striking between such warfare and the progress of mighty generals whom God used to establish kingdoms and punish kings.
Ptolemy Philopater did even worse things, for in self-esteem he entered Jerusalem, and attempted to profane the temple by himself offering sacrifice. The restraint offered by the priests so incensed him that he began war against them, and history states that between forty and sixty thousand Jews, who then lived in Egypt, fell by the sword. Those Jews who sought Egypt, either for protection or for the advantages of her schools and libraries, withdrew from the sheltering hand of their God, and the time came sooner or later when they felt the wrath of the enemy. Through all these struggles the nation whom God had chosen might have stood as a beacon on a hill, instead of being trampled upon by every army in its marches between Egypt and Syria. Nay, more, the location of the Jews in Palestine and her capital was by divine appointment. They were at the gateway of the nations, and might have held the balance of power. Had 185Margin
they held aloft the sword of the Spirit, all nations would have bowed before their kings and paid tribute into their treasury. It was so in the days of Solomon; it might have been repeated in the days of Greek history.
Alexander's act of reverence when he met the company of priests at Jerusalem should have been an object lesson to all Judea of what God by his Spirit would cause all nations to do. But so blinded by Greek teaching were those Jewish leaders, even at that time, that they failed to see this. Instead of flocking to Alexandria for the wisdom of Greece, nations should have sent their youth to schools of the prophets at Jerusalem, and scholars of the world should have sought wisdom from those who knew the God of wisdom. But it was not so. Israel then was as the church of to-day. Instead of leading by virtue of the spiritual life, she sought the wisdom of Egypt and Greece. Such things bring sadness to the angels of God.
Peace was finally concluded between Philopater and Antiochus Magnus, which lasted fourteen years, until the death of Ptolemy.
Ptolemy Philopater was succeeded by his son Ptolemy Epiphanes, who was in his minority. Antiochus Magnus took advantage of this seeming weakness in Egyptian affairs, and made extensive preparations to invade Egypt with the design of swallowing the entire dominion of the Ptolemies, But the Most High ruleth in the kingdoms of men, and Antiochus was brought to realize that there was another power on earth as well as in heaven.
In verse 14 the voice of the fourth beast is heard; Rome placed itself on the side of the helpless
king, and Antiochus found his ambition thwarted. The life of the Greek kingdom is spent. There were still many years of struggle, but it was a struggle for existence, not for added territory. But what Greece would not gain in territory she did gain as a teacher of nations, and although she finally lost all territorial supremacy, though like the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar, the tree was cut down, yet the roots remain unto this day. More than once as an intellectual power Greece has arisen. Throughout the intellectual world she has votaries bowing before her shrine-the mind of man. Her philosophy is to-day studied under the guise of modern writers; her ideas are instilled into the minds of children, from the kindergarten to the universities, and students graduate from the schools of the land knowing much more of the mythology of Greece than they do of the religion of Jesus Christ; better acquainted with Greek heroes than with the Man of Calvary. Greek learning still rules the world, and it will until the setting up of the everlasting kingdom of God-till the stone cut out without hands shall fill the earth.
As the Jews during the days of Alexander and his successors were without excuse, so the Israel of to-day has set before it the wisdom of the Eternal in contrast with the wisdom of Greece. And the message is, "Choose ye this day" at which shrine thou wilt bow. Sitting at the feet of Jesus, learning of him, taking his word as the authentic history of the world, his truth as the interpreter of nature, will insure eternal life. Accepting the writings of men, human speculations regarding the history of the world, its creation, its age, placing a human interpretation upon 187Margin
the works of nature, and seeking to find out by experiment and speculation what must be known by faith,-this brings death; for it leads away from Christ, the center of the universe, the source of all wisdom-the great drawing power of creation. The first is the system of God, of which faith is the motive power; the second is the Greek system, which exalts human reasoning. One may not bow down to the idols of Egypt, nor drink of the wines of Babylon, but if he is entrapped by the more pleasing sophistries of Greece, his fate is the same in the end.
For this reason Eternal Truth has shone along the pathway of men in all ages to guard against the enemy. In these last days, when all the evil of the past is renewed and presented to man in all its varied forms, then it is that Greek philosophy and skepticism come forth in full force. A heart filled with truth is the only safeguard against error.