Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
VOL. XXIX. DECEMBER 1 No. 23
A.D. 1908--A.M. 6037
Views from the Watch Tower........................355
Church Union Skilfully Arranged...............355
The King of Peace Inaugurated.....................357
We are in Training for a Throne...............358
"Let Us Draw Nigh With a Pure Heart (Poem)........358
Christendom's Temperance Lesson...................359
Proud of Their Tables No Longer...............360
The Work of Dragon Alcohol....................361
Give Me Submission, Lord (Poem)...................362
Desire and Choose, Then Seek and Attain...........363
Lessons from This Story for Our Day...........363
Joint-Heirs with Christ.......................364
Judgment of Fallen Angels.........................365
Berean Studies on the Atonement...................366
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"LET NOT YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED"
"Trust in the Lord and do good and verily thou shalt be fed"--both physically and spiritually.
Give no heed to the wise who manifest their lack of humility in their boastful assurance that they have obtained special revelations. Remember that "He giveth grace to the humble." "Thou couldst have no power at all except as permitted of the Father," is still true of Satan and of all his unwitting servants. The Father's will we must not fear, but desire.
"THE WONDERFUL STORY OF GOD'S LOVE"
This is the title of a poem of 56 verses by Sister M. M. Land. It is a beautiful little booklet, appropriately illustrated, and suggested for use as a Christmas token. Price, 15c or $1.50 per dozen, postpaid.
INFORMATION FOR COLPORTEURS
Several of our most successful Colporteurs are finding rural districts and country roads excellent territory; better, they say, than cities. Remember to suggest DAWN-STUDIES and Manna for Christmas presents.
GERMAN VOLUNTEER LITERATURE
We have an excellent and large supply of German Volunteer Tracts on hand. Let all those whose hearts have been so greatly blessed by the Truth herald forth the "good news" to others. Order at once the quantity you can judiciously use.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
ALTHOUGH this Journal does not pretend to keep track of politics in the ordinary sense of the term, it seems scarcely proper to allow a matter of so world-wide an interest as the election of a President to pass without comment. The leaders of both of the prominent parties are men of such high character and ability that in our judgment the interests of the public would be quite safe in the hands of either.
Now that Mr. Taft has secured the prize of the most honorable station of service in the gift of this nation, he is to be congratulated upon his popularity. Nevertheless he also deserves our sympathy, for however generally popular and successful his execution of the laws may be, faithfulness to his responsibilities will present an arduous task. Besides, if our estimate of the conditions that will prevail during his regime prove correct, he will face grave responsibilities and more trying conditions than the present incumbent of the office--strenuous though those have been. As for Mr. Bryan, perhaps he is worthy of congratulations also, in that he has escaped arduous duties and responsibilities, severe trials and difficulties. If it be true, as we have heard it intimated, that he is a consecrated Christian, he may properly enough apply to himself the Scriptural declaration that "All things are working together for his good." We can readily surmise that many other positions in life will be more favorable to saintship and growth in grace than is the one which he has just missed.
Recognizing the fact that we are now in the Harvest time of this Age, and that the Great King is taking a hand in all the affairs of the world, we may be sure that the election just closed has brought the results which he prefers. In this connection it may not be amiss for us to suggest what may be the probable influence of the election of Mr. Taft and a Republican Congress by so strong a majority. To us it means a strong sentiment of conservatism on the part of the majority and fear of anything radical in any direction. The large Republican majority in Congress, and particularly the election of Speaker Cannon, will be considered an endorsement of a strongly conservative policy, in harmony with the Republican party and high tariff and trusts, more than an endorsement of President Roosevelt and his more aggressive policy and utterances, of which Mr. Bryan seemed a more thorough exponent than Mr. Taft.
This will probably mean, at least temporarily, a more favorable outlook for business prosperity than if Mr. Bryan had been elected. But even if a measure of prosperity should ensue, we must not forget that, according to the Scriptures, we are to anticipate further financial spasms, "As travail upon a woman with child," with increasing severity, until the climax shall be reached.
Mr. Taft's broad-mindedness and worldly wisdom will make him popular with all religious people, Protestants and Catholics, and be very favorable to the expected federation of Protestants and their sympathetic cooperation with Catholicism in a combined effort to bring Church and State into very close relationship, which the Scriptures lead us to expect within the period of Mr. Taft's administration.
It will be remembered that in this very month there is to meet in Philadelphia a council of various denominations, with a view to deciding on such a federation as we, so far back as 1881, pointed out was coming. The method to be followed, we surmise, will be somewhat after the suggestions of the article following this one. The results will be a seeming strengthening of all the forces of earth, making for law and order and good government, and "Peace, Peace," will be loudly proclaimed in many quarters. But, according to the Scriptures, the power will lead to very stringent laws and regulations and enforcements, which ultimately will result in a revolutionary upheaval and the predicted "time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation"--Anarchy.
CHURCH UNION SKILFULLY ARRANGED
Special interest attaches to the proposed union between the Presbyterian and Anglican churches in Australia, which is described as "the most elaborate program of reconciliation between episcopacy and
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presbytery which has been worked out since the sanguine days of the Savoy Conference in London just after the restoration of Charles II." Although the compact of union has been drawn up by a joint-committee comprising on the Episcopalian side the Archbishop of Melbourne, three other bishops, six priests, and two laymen, and on the Presbyterian side two ex-moderators of the General Assembly, nine other ministers, and two laymen, the scheme has yet to go before the Presbyterian General Assembly and the Anglican General Synod. According to
a Presbyterian paper published in Chicago, "it is already plain that the High-church party in the Anglican fellowship throughout the world will move heaven and earth to prevent the ratification of the agreement on the Episcopalian part." From the same source we learn the following interesting details of how the joint-committee approached a problem so bristling with difficulties:
"They began work by the model of the so-called Lambeth quadrilateral, and speedily agreed on the first three points--that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments should be accepted as an infallible rule of faith and practice; that the standard of doctrine should be the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, and that the sacraments observed in the United Church should be the Lord's Supper and Baptism. On the fourth point, 'the historic episcopate locally adapted,' there came a hitch, and it took long and patient negotiation to find a way out satisfactory to both parties.
"After a year of conferences, the joint-committee announced the adoption of an extended minute agreeing on the following principles and provisions: The United Church shall be an independent church without any connection with the State. It shall recognize that the same succession of ministerial orders was common to all Christians up until the Reformation, and since then the succession has been maintained with equal validity in the Anglican Church through ordination by bishops, and in the Presbyterian Church through presbyteries presided over by moderators. In forming the United Church there shall be held to be no difference whatever in the standing, rights, and privileges of Presbyterian ministers and of Anglican priests. (To this clause, which is the hardest point for High-churchmen to get over, a minority of the Anglican committee would give only a qualified assent.)
"After the two churches are united, all ministers shall be called presbyters. Some form of superintendence will then be necessary, and the church shall therefore have power to elect any presbyter to be a bishop. But the church in its duly constituted legislative body shall have power not only to enact the laws which bishops must obey, but shall also have power to determine their tenure of office in the jurisdiction to which they are elected. Candidates for the ministry shall be first ordained to preach, without right to administer the sacraments, and shall then be called deacons or licentiates. When they are ordained as presbyters with power of administering sacraments, the act shall be performed with the laying on of hands of one bishop and at least three presbyters.
"When a presbyter is consecrated to the bishopric, three bishops and a committee of presbyters appointed for the purpose shall 'take part'; it is not stated who shall lay on hands. The Book of Common Prayer is to be sanctioned, and additional forms of worship with it; but local congregations, if they prefer, may adhere to non-liturgical services. Church wardens and ruling elders shall be superseded by an order of local lay officials, for whom no name is yet designated, who shall have oversight of the local congregation, but shall not have right to participate in the dispensation of the communion.
"In the actual consummation of the union it is proposed that the primate of the Anglican Church shall take every Presbyterian minister by the hand and confer upon him 'all the rights, powers, and authorities pertaining to the office of a priest in the church as set forth in the ordinal of the Church of England.' Then the moderator of the Presbyterian Assembly shall in turn confer by name on every Anglican priest 'all the rights, powers, and authorities pertaining to the office of a presbyter in the church as set forth in the ordinal of the Presbyterian Church.' It is understood that before entering the union the Presbyterian Church of Australia will consecrate a few of its own pastors to the bishopric, so that they may be immediately assigned to dioceses along with present Anglican incumbents." --
* * *
The combination above suggested impresses us as a most skilful one to accomplish a church union without seemingly wounding the pride of the participants. By the method suggested, the sanction or blessing of the apostolic succession would be imparted to the Presbyterian ministers without any acknowledgment on their part of receiving the boon, because the presiding officer of the Presbyterian body would simulate a similar blessing upon the Episcopal clergy. Nobody would be deceived, yet everybody would affect to be deceived. Apparently, by the assistance of some cunning fox, the way at last has been opened for a reuniting of Protestants of all denominations with the Episcopal system.
This, as our readers generally know, we have been expecting for a long time--since 1880, when first we saw it outlined in the Divine Word as the imparting of "life
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to the image." (`Rev. 13:15`.) It will probably require two or three years to effect such a union and another year for it to develop and exercise its power, but this is surely what is coming sooner or later. When first we drew attention to the matter, union and everything akin to it was being opposed, and the claim of the various denominations was that the cause of Christ prospered better by divisions. What a change has come to pass in the intervening twenty-eight years!
WHY A MINISTER QUIT
"Most of the ministers today are out for the money," said the Rev. Arthur Gee, in an address to his flock of the Arlington Baptist Church. "I am not out for the money, and I'll quit. There is too much commercialism in the churches. Churchianity is taking the place of Christianity. I won't accept any creed to bind my faith. I want liberty of speech and freedom to preach. I can't get these in the churches. That's why I quit."
MR. TAFT'S VIEW OF MATTERS
Mr. Taft, in his Kansas City speech, said: "Vigorous action and measures to stamp out the existing abuses and effective reforms are necessary to vindicate society as at present constituted.
Otherwise we must
yield to those who seek to introduce a new order of things
on a socialistic basis.
Roosevelt leads his party as Lincoln led his, as McKinley led his, to meet the new issues presented, to arm our present civilization and fit it with a bold front
to resist the attacks of Socialism."
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THE KING OF PEACE INAUGURATED
--`I KINGS 1:32-40,50-53`.--NOVEMBER 22.--
Golden Text:--"Know thou the God of thy
father, and serve him with a perfect heart,
and with a willing mind."--`1 Chron. 28:9`.
SOLOMON'S name signifies peaceful. Nathan, the Prophet, who was his tutor, called him Jedidiah, which signifies, "beloved of Jehovah." Apparently he inherited certain natural traits which were much to his advantage, and under special divine blessing gave him properly the title, "the wise man." A writer says of him:--
"His parental inheritance was remarkably strong in several directions. His father David was in the maturity of his age; his mother was the grand-daughter of the Prince Ahithophel, whose advice 'was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God.' He thus inherited from his mother sagacity, quickness of judgment, judicial insight and perhaps some sensual weakness; from his father, thoughtfulness, literary taste, the skill of ruling and an interest in religion. His bodily form and countenance must have borne the graceful characteristics of all David's children; and, if we may follow the description given in the Canticles, he was fair, with bushy locks, dark as the raven's wing, yet not without a golden glow, tall and imposing."
He was about twenty years of age when his reign began. His father, King David, was about seventy years old and quite feeble, and it was manifest to all that a successor to the throne must soon be found. David's eldest son, Amnon, was murdered by Absalom, who was next in years, and the latter was slain in the battle of his rebellion. The next in age, "the heir apparent," was Adonijah, who evidently understood that his father, the king, premeditated that Solomon should be his successor, and this purpose he sought to thwart by himself seizing the kingdom on the pretext that his father was now too old to administer its affairs.
When Adonijah thought his project ready, he invited his adherents with all of the king's sons--except Solomon, who seemed to have shared his jealousy--to a great banquet in the "royal garden." Here, amid the mirth of the festival, a preconcerted cry was raised, "Long live King Adonijah"! Joab, King David's able general, now advanced in years, and Abiathar, the High Priest, were among his abetters. Thus the second conspiracy was hatched in David's family.
"THE KINGDOM OF THE LORD"
"God is not in all their thoughts," writes the Prophet. This was true of Absalom's conspiracy, and again of Adonijah's. They did not consider that the kingdom of Israel was the special institution of the Lord, different from other kingdoms, so that, as the Scriptures declare, it was God's Kingdom. Thus we read, "Solomon sat upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord in the room of his father David." Had the conspirators realized that they were really attempting an interference with the Divine arrangements, surely neither attempt would have been made. God's people of today should be on the alert to discern in all of life's affairs, the will of the Lord. We surely should know that the Lord's wisdom and power are with the interests of Spiritual Israel in all of their affairs, in such a manner and to such a degree that human conspiracies and oppositions can work only harm to those who foment them. Though the Lord may permit these to go to great lengths and to have apparent success, as in the case of the conspiracy of the high priests and Scribes and Judas against our Lord, or in the case of Absalom and his coadjutors against King David; but the assurance given to all who have the faith to receive it is that "all things must work together for good to them who love God, who are the called ones according to his purpose," and that it must always be true in the case of all the Lord's people; as Jesus said to Pilate, "Thou couldst have no power at all except it were permitted thee of my Father." The Father will permit nothing which would interfere with his glorious plans. He assures us of this, saying, "The word that goeth forth out of my mouth shall not return unto me void; it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it, and accomplish that which I please."
SOLOMON CHOSEN, ANOINTED, PROCLAIMED
In due time, Divine providence drew the attention of King David to Adonijah's conspiracy--in proper time for him to take the necessary steps to accomplish the Divine will. Our lesson tells of how David called another priest, Nathan the Prophet, and Benaiah, another general, and sent them with his son Solomon to the valley just outside the city gate and near the very place where Jesus later rode on the ass. Solomon was directed to ride on King David's own white mule, an act which would of itself proclaim him David's appointed successor. With this special envoy went the two companies of the king's special body-guard, the Cherethites and the Pelethites. Presently, the anointing performed, the trumpet was blown announcing Solomon king, and the people unanimously confirmed this with great shouts and rejoicing. Thus was Solomon brought in state to the palace, where he reigned jointly with his father David for some six months until the death of the latter.
SOLOMON'S WISDOM AND MODERATION
The king was a very young man for the heavy responsibilities devolving upon him, and the moderation displayed shows him to have been not merely well-balanced but well-trained. Solomon was born when his father was in his 53rd year, and at a time, doubtless, when he had learned from experience that he had been too indulgent to the remainder of his family. David had not brought them up with sufficient strictness. He had not realized sufficiently the need of training them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Great affairs of state had claimed his attention and the children had been left too much to the care of others not so reverential as the king. Himself religious from his youth, he seems to have supposed that his children would possess similar qualities of heart and mind. Evidently he had not sufficiently realized the demoralizing influence of wealth and earthly honors; that these do not make for godliness but, to the contrary, cultivate pride, worldliness, godlessness.
It was doubtless due to David's increasing reverence for the Lord, and his realization of the mistakes made in the training of his other children, and his desire that his successor to the throne should honor the Lord and carry forward the interests of religion--these things doubtless led the king to put his son Solomon under the special care of the Prophet Nathan, with the view to his preparation to serve the Lord and his kingdom righteously, and to build the temple of the Lord which David had purposed to build but was not allowed. The Prophet Nathan knew of the temple project and of God's promise that it should be built
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by David's heir, and that Solomon was the chosen of the Lord and of the king. We can imagine the Prophet's faithfulness in the training of Prince Solomon for the duties of the position he was intended to fill.
Respecting Adonijah it is written, "His father had not displeased him at any time." (`I Kings 1:6`.) Evidently he was a spoiled child, and one that probably felt glad that his father had never put him under the tutelage of so religious an instructor as the Prophet Nathan. He no doubt considered that Solomon was specially hampered and hindered from certain pleasures and "sowing of wild oats" and in general had too much restriction. Solomon, however, seems to have been greatly pleased by this experience, which illustrates well the fact that the twig that needs to be bent should be dealt with early. Fain would we impress this lesson upon all parents and guardians--that their wards need supervision and loving religious control, and that it is a mistake to allow the early years of life to be wasted through inattention and lack of training and then expect good results.
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WE ARE IN TRAINING FOR A THRONE
Our Father is the Great King and he has promised that the Christ shall sit upon his throne, and we have been invited to become parts of the Christ, the Anointed, the Messiah. Shall we wonder that we need training for this important position; shall we be surprised if disciplines are imposed and requirements made of us more than are imposed upon those not intended for this high position! Surely the arrangements of our Father, the Great King, are wise and righteous altogether. Therefore, those who are in full sympathy and accord with him will be anxious to learn the lessons and to make the preparations necessary for the Kingdom honors. These must not wonder if they are excluded from the companionship and feastings of the Absalom and Adonijah types. They may be disesteemed by their ambitious brethren and may be evil spoken of, from the Head down to the last member of the Body, but if they have the Divine favor, theirs shall be not only the anointing but also the acceptance to the throne. "Have patience, brethren, the hour of your deliverance draweth nigh"; "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time."
OUR GOLDEN TEXT
"Know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and a willing mind." There is a golden sentiment expressed in these words. Outward service is not sufficient in our dealing with the Lord. "He seeketh such to worship, as worship him in spirit and in truth." Solomon's excellent start in his high office and the favor of God which then came upon him had been preceded by years of study. Under the Prophet's direction and under his father's suggestions he was enabled to enter into the spirit of his father's plan respecting the erection of the great temple at Jerusalem which would put religion, the true religion and worship of God, in the most prominent position before the nation of Israel. He got, sympathetically, the spirit of his father which discerned that the whole nation of Israel would be specially blessed in putting God and his worship in advance of every other thing and interest. He was informed respecting the stores of material and wealth gathered by his father for the temple purposes and consecrated to that service. In these things Solomon found abundant opportunity for the exercise of his intelligence and his ambitions along proper and helpful lines, which drew him nearer to the Lord and taught him how better to serve the Lord and his people Israel as his father's successor.
So we see, as we seek the Lord with all our hearts as "dear children," and with willing minds, that he makes known to us his great plans and purposes respecting the future. He makes known to us his purpose to have a temple, and preparations already made therefor, and how and when it will be built and its object: the blessing of all the families of the earth. At each step of the way, as we the more fully enter into sympathy with God's great plan of the ages, it serves to develop us the more and to prepare us for the share in that Temple and Kingdom.
SOLOMON'S WISE MODERATION
Our lesson closes with the account of Solomon's magnanimity toward his brother Adonijah. It seems to have been the custom of that day amongst other kingdoms that as soon as the king was installed in office, others who might become his rivals and opponents were put to death. Adonijah, probably judged Solomon by himself, and concluded that his life would be in danger, and laid hold upon the altar in the tabernacle court as a place of safety until he would get a message from the king assuring him that he would suffer no harm for the rebellion he had almost inaugurated. Solomon's words to him, as well as his conduct, were wise and kind--"If he will show himself a worthy man, there shall not a hair of him fall to the earth, but if wickedness be found in him, he shall die"; and when he presented himself before Solomon the latter said to him, "Go to thine house." In other words, no punishment of any kind was to be inflicted for the past, and as for the future, he was on his good behavior. Generosity is always a good sign wherever it is displayed, and in the children of the heavenly Kingdom it is an indispensable quality; as our Master said, "Be ye like unto your Father in heaven, for he is kind to the unthankful and causes his sun to shine upon the just and unjust, and sendeth rain upon the good and upon the evil."
God purposes that ultimately all the wicked will he destroy, and he extends his present kindness and mercy to his enemies and the enemies of righteousness by reason of the fact that ignorance and weakness have such a hold upon the human family that they are not so responsible as they would be under full light and ability. It is only when we get this broad view which God's Word emphasizes that we can exercise loving benevolence toward all men, yea, against our enemies also, realizing that they like ourselves are encompassed with weakness, frailties and ignorance, by which their responsibility every way is largely controlled and which God has arranged to cover and ultimately remove through the merit of our Redeemer. As he generously overlooks these inherited blemishes, so we shall--all who have his spirit and are guided by his Word.
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"LET US DRAW NIGH WITH A TRUE HEART"
Betake thyself to prayer, dear child;
A time like this demands
An oft communion with thy Lord,
A closer grasp of hands.
Spend seasons sweet and precious, child,
Confiding all thy ways;
Herein lies strength and succor full
To meet these evil days.
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CHRISTENDOM'S TEMPERANCE LESSON
--`ISAIAH 28:1-13`.--NOVEMBER 29.--
Golden Text:--"I keep under my body, and
bring it into subjection."--`1 Cor. 9:27`.
OUR lesson pertains to natural Israel and the fact that it was drunken with pride and prosperity and because of these warned of a coming overthrow. Only those who recognize that there is a Spiritual Israel, antitypical, are able to appreciate many of the promises of the Old Testament. The Apostle Peter declares that "Not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things now freely reported to you." (`I Pet. 1:12`.) Whoever, therefore, merely reads the Old Testament prophecies as relating to matters and conditions then present and impending fails to get the real instruction and blessing designed of the Lord.
Applying the lesson to Spiritual Israel, so-called Christendom, we find similar declarations of drunkenness referring to an intoxication of error, false doctrines and theories. Thus we read that the scarlet woman held in her hand an intoxicating cup wherewith she "made drunk all nations." (`Rev. 17:2`; `18:3`.) This figurative use of the word drunkard is more noticeable in `Isaiah 51:17`; `63:6`; `Jer. 46:10`, and `51:57` than in our lesson. The vomiting mentioned in our lesson is also figurative, as we shall see. We are not disputing that intemperance proportionately prevailed in olden times and that it does now prevail in Christendom. We are merely pointing out that the Lord's disputation is less with the literal drunkard than with the mentally and morally intoxicated of our day.
As prosperity led the way to the intoxication of pride, so the prosperity of Christendom during the past century has led up to great boasting, pride and self-consciousness. One denomination boasts that it completes a new meeting-house for every day in the year. Others boast of the amount they expend upon missions, and altogether they felicitate themselves on their conversion of the world to Christ. Little do they seem to realize that if the heathen were all converted to the same condition which prevails in Christendom it would mean that they would be just ready to convert over and over again. Still worse! It would mean that larger percentages than at present would be put into prisons and insane asylums. Little do they seem to realize that the number of the heathen is twice as great as a century ago, according to their own statistics.
FALL BACKWARD, BROKEN, SNARED
These words from the last verse of our lesson remind us of similar words in the Psalms, when applied to the stumbling and fall of natural Israel from God's favor upon their rejection of Christ at his first advent. (`Rom. 11:9`; `Psa. 69:22`.) Our lesson applies to the fall of Babylon (Christendom) now in the end of this age, at the time of our Lord's second advent.
From this standpoint is seen in our lesson God's prophecy of the doom of Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots, and of her daughters, the various Babylonish systems which have sprung from her. `Verses 3 and 4` tell us that the crown of pride will quickly fade, and the beauty of the great system which human ingenuity has built up and named Christendom will be like a fading flower, and like the early fruit it will quickly disappear; but that "in that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty unto the residue of his people." That is to say, the earthly beauty of present ecclesiastical systems will disappear; but to a remnant of faithful ones here the Lord himself will become more glorious, because in this day this remnant, or "little flock," specially blessed of the Lord, will be enabled to see the breadth, height and depth of the love of God, passing all understanding. More than this: this class will have a spirit of judgment, justice, and balance of mind in respect to the wonderful events transpiring, so that they will not be overtaken unawares in the day of the Lord, which will come, however, as a thief and a snare upon the great mass, upon the world in general. Furthermore, the Lord in this day to this
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class will be a strength and power, enabling them to "turn back the battle at the gate." (`Vs. 6`.) So that while outwardly there may be conflicts, inwardly they will have peace.
"THEY STUMBLE IN JUDGMENT"
Returning again to the nominal system, which is to fall, the Prophet points out that the priests and the prophets of the Church have erred through the intoxication of false doctrine. On this account "they err in vision, they stumble in judgment." They do not stumble in their feet, but in their minds. An actual spree would surely do them far less harm than the mental intoxication under which they are laboring, because it would be far easier to escape from the former than the latter. The intoxication from the cup that has made all nations drunk affects various subjects. The intoxicated think that they are about to convert the world, instead of remembering that the Redeemer said, and also the apostles, that our Lord would come at his second advent and that he would receive his Bride to himself, set up his Kingdom and then conquer the world. (`I Cor. 15:23-25`.) Their intoxication of error leads them to fear that the Almighty has predestinated that all the world, except the "little flock," the Elect, are bound for either purgatory or eternal torment. Such as get sobered up from this false doctrine are apt to become intoxicated with the spirit of the world and the mingled drinks of Evolution, Higher Criticism, Agnosticism, Christian Science, New Theology, etc., and this last intoxication is, if anything, worse than the first. All of these intoxications of error pervert the judgment and hinder a proper view of the divine Word and the simplicity of the Gospel of which Saint Paul was not ashamed.
"ALL TABLES FULL OF VOMIT"
It is not supposable that all the tables of the people of Israel were literally full of vomit, with no place clean. Not literal tables were intended. In `Romans 11:9` the Apostle, speaking of the Israelites, said, "Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling-block, and a recompense unto them." The Israelites had but one table, the table of divine truth, which God spread for them and upon which he heaped bountifully his gracious promises from the Law and the prophecies. The Israelites stumbled over those promises and became proud and vain and imagined that God's favor would not pass them by, and thus they stumbled as a people, and left the way for us who are Gentiles to be brought nigh to God, that we might have access to the spiritual table supplied with the "exceeding great and precious promises" of God's grace and Truth.
Our lesson refers to tables, whereas Israel had but one table. Christendom today is divided into various sects and parties and each has its own party which it calls the table of the Lord. Each claims that its doctrinal table is of divine provision. Examining these creed-tables,
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these confessions of faith, we find they do indeed present their votaries certain Scriptural truths, but alas, these have been so mixed and conglomerated with human traditions of the dark ages as to be unwholesome and some of them nauseating! None of them is presented in attractive, appetizing form. What is true of one is true of all, with slight modifications. Our Presbyterian friends on their table make a specialty of such dishes as Sovereign Grace, Divine Foreordination, Predestination, Election and Reprobation. There is an element of Truth running through all of these; but alas, in the condition in which these were prepared in the Dark Ages, so much of the old lady's leaven is intermingled that now they are thoroughly fermented, injurious!
The Methodist table is slightly different. It omits the special viands preferred by Calvinists and instead has dishes labeled Free Grace, God's Love, A Chance for All, etc.; but when we look into these dishes our disappointment is unspeakable. The dish, Free Grace, simply signifies that God is will-less, or powerless, respecting the salvation of mankind and, doing his very best, will rescue but a handful of saints, while the great masses of mankind will be eternally lost. The dish labeled "Love of God," upon examination, proves to be merely a statement of God's willingness to show his love to his saints and "little flock," but that for the masses of mankind he has provided eternal torture as an expression of his love for his enemies,
quite in contradiction
to his instruction to his saints that they should
love their enemies and do good to them!
Peering into the third dish to see what kind of chance for all is provided, we find that, stripped of subterfuges, it really means not a chance, but a certainty of eternal damnation and torture to every member of the race except the few who in the present life hear of the "only name" and accept the Gospel proposition and take up their cross to follow Christ.
The Roman and Greek Catholics have their tables, too, and, in contrast, these tables, perhaps, are not so bad as either of the foregoing. Their main dish is Purgatory and the redeeming feature of it, of which they boast, is that its roasting and boiling, frying and stewing will not be endless, but that, by virtue of masses, indulgences, popes' jubilees, etc., the hundreds and thousands of years due to be spent by mankind in the horrible place may be somewhat curtailed.
Our Baptist friends have the same dishes upon their tables that the Presbyterians and Congregationalists have on theirs--Election, Predestination, etc., with eternal torment for the non-elect, but they have one large central dish of which they principally take note and draw to our attention. This is labeled Immersion. However, instead of this dish enlarging the scope of the Elect, it seriously contracts it by claiming that while the Elect will be saved and all the non-Elect be lost, there is the further test that all the Elect must be immersed in order to gain numbers for the Church of Christ, which alone they claim is to be saved.
PROUD OF THEIR TABLES NO LONGER
The time was when each denomination prided itself respecting its table, and publicly advertised its various dishes and the Christian strength and refreshment to be obtained from these; but that time has gone. They boast of their doctrinal dishes no longer. They are ashamed of their visions and prophecy, of the things they once saw to be beautiful and declared to be such. Now, instead of boasting of these, they seek to hide them. Their nausea as respects their own doctrinal standards is graphically pictured by the Lord in the words of the Prophet when he declares that "All tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean."--`Vs. 8`.
Alas, alas! the Editor, and perhaps a large majority of this journal's readers, once sat down to those tables. But, thank God, clearer light upon his Word has led us to reject and eject the cruel misrepresentations of the divine character and plan which once intoxicated us! Our dear friends of the Presbyterian denomination felt so disgusted with the Westminister Confession that they spread a new cloth over it all and adopted a very short and colorless creed for public use. They made a mistake, however, in allowing the filthiness of the old table to remain. They should have gotten rid of the entire mass and should have sought the Lord and his Word for the better spiritual food he is so willing to supply. Thank God some of us have realized the Lord's willingness to spread for us a fresh table directly from his Word, laden with the true promises of the Scriptures, exceedingly great and precious! How our souls now rejoice and we desire to continue always at this table feasting upon the "things new and old"! How we see fulfilled to us our Lord's promise that at his second advent, if we should hear the knock of his presence and open our hearts by faith to receive him, he would come in to us and cause us to sit down to meat and come forth and serve us--"things new and old"! What a rich, blessed feast we have had! Our only sorrow seems to be that our dear friends still stick by the tables and the denominational names, which in spirit they reject, and refuse to come with us and partake of the Lord's bounty, "Which satisfies our longing as nothing else can do."
"WHOM WILL HE TEACH KNOWLEDGE?"
The point here is that Christendom is astray and stumbling, because intoxicated with error, and the question is pertinent, How can the Lord correct them and teach them knowledge?--substitute knowledge for ignorance and superstition. He has given us in the Gospel of Christ a most glorious message, "Good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people"; but whom will he make to understand this? This is the query of the Prophet. The answer is given, "Them that are weaned from the milk and drawn from the breast"; them that are no longer babes in Christ, but willing to feed upon the strong meat of the divine Word.
But alas! many of these, awakening from their intoxication of error, are inclined to stumble into agnosticism in some of its forms. They are not willing to look for the Lord's message in the way he has been pleased to give it--"Here a little and there a little." They want to open their Bibles and to read therefrom, directly and explicitly, what will be harmonious and reasonable. But this is not God's way. They must accept the Truth as he provides it for them, "Here a little, and there a little." They must be prepared to receive the message of Truth and Grace--because it is the Lord's--from other lips than those of their own denomination and in quarters from which they had not expected it to come. Whoever is really Truth-hungry and sincere must thus be marked out and separated from others. And this is the will of God, for he is seeking those who follow not human tradition, but who hearken for and follow the voice of the true Shepherd.
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THEY WOULD NOT HEAR
God's message to his people is for those who have "an ear to hear"--not to the others. To the hearing ear he says, Follow my voice, by whomsoever it is proclaimed and through whatever lips, and study my Truth and receive spiritual strength therefrom--"Line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little," and this will give you rest, peace, satisfaction. This is the rest wherewith he causes the weary to rest and this is the refreshing which he has provided for the true sheep. But others will not hear. The spirit of the world and its various intoxications attract them, hold them; and hence the Lord's final message to these is that because of their rejection of the Truth in the form in which he had presented it they will "fall backward and be broken and snared and taken." But the "little flock" who accept the divine terms are being richly blessed. These are his jewels whom the Master is now polishing and will shortly translate to glory by the First Resurrection, that they may constitute the joint-heirs in the glorious Millennial Kingdom, which shall rescue eventually all the world of mankind who desire divine favor from the blindness and intoxication and deceptions of our Adversary, the devil.
"I KEEP MY BODY UNDER"
Our Golden Text is a great lesson of itself. It brings to our attention the fact that, like the Apostle, we should recognize ourselves as New Creatures in Christ Jesus, for whom "old things have passed away and all things have become new," and, acting from this standpoint, the New Creature should keep a continual supervision of the old nature, its desires and affections, and should keep these continually under or subject to the new nature, and the higher law should bring it gradually into full subjection, yet hoping, yet praying for the glorious consummation of the First Resurrection, when the New Creature, the new mind or will shall be clothed upon with the spiritual body. Such a keeping under of the body will include wisdom and control in respect to what we eat, as well as what we drink and what we wear, and our every act, word and thought.
Those who selected today's lesson as one that would assist the cause of total abstinence undoubtedly had excellent intentions, and we desire that it may be profitable to some that we quote here some logical reasons presented favoring total abstinence. Surely all of the Lord's saintly people must feel a deep, sympathetic interest in every move made for the restraint of the great alcohol dragon which has already accomplished so much harm and which we cannot expect will be brought under full control until Messiah's Kingdom shall exercise its power and Satan shall be bound. So while we cannot take our time from the still more important message of the Kingdom, we certainly can express our sympathy towards all who take their stand in opposition to this dragon and on the side of the Lord and general righteousness. This is our excuse for the following Peloubet quotations, which may be helpful to some and specially to the children in the families of our readers:--
THE WORK OF DRAGON ALCOHOL
"We visit a hospital in company with Dr. Wilcox and inquire whether the dragon alcohol, as some say, will make you strong and healthy. Suppose we go out to the Erie County Hospital and ask Dr. Gilray, the superintendent, how many sick he had in the hospital last year, and he tells us two thousand. Well, what made them sick? Oh, a lot of causes. But did the dragon alcohol bite any of them? Oh, yes, about one-half of them were made sick because of the dragon's bite. Yes, I guess more than that if you count those whose parents were bitten by the dragon, and who fell ill because their parents were not strong.
"Again, the dragon's friends will tell you that his bite will give you a clear brain, and make you a jolly good fellow. All right, we all want clear brains in this world, so let us go to some place where they make a study of brains. The man who knows the most about brains in this vicinity is Dr. Hurd, at State Hospital on Forest avenue. Suppose we say to him, 'Doctor, how many people in your hospital this morning?' He replies, 'Seventeen hundred.' 'What made them insane?' 'Oh, a lot of reasons.' 'Well, are any of them insane because they have taken poison into their systems?' 'Yes, lots of them.' 'How many of them?' 'Well, perhaps half of them have either been poisoned themselves or born of parents poisoned.' 'What kind of poison?' 'Oh, alcohol generally.' 'Oh, then they have been bitten by the dragon alcohol?' 'Yes.' 'Well, Doctor, do you think any of them were made insane because they ate too much ice cream?' 'Oh, no, never heard of such a case,' 'Too much meat, too much milk? will any kind of healthful food make one crazy?' 'Oh, no!' 'Well, then, Doctor, if alcohol is a food, as some chemists claim it is, and if it is the only kind of food which ever made people crazy, would you advise our taking it and giving it to our friends?' 'Well, no; I wouldn't.'
"But we want a little more light on this subject of clear brains, so we take a journey down the Lackawanna railroad to the Craig Colony, where the epileptics are cared for, and we ask Dr. Spratling, 'How many of the patients are epileptics because of alcohol?' And he answers, 'About forty per cent.' Now suppose we go to Massachusetts prison for the criminally insane, and ask the same question; then listen to the awful answer. 'Ninety-three per cent from alcohol.' Well, if that is the way it makes people have clear brains, I guess we had better eat ice cream, cake, bread and butter, etc., which have never been known to make epileptics, idiots, or lunatics."
The doctor's office is not far away. It is a good place for making inquiries, for the desire of good doctors is to prevent people from injuring their health, as well as to cure their diseases when they have them. Let us listen to a little company of them as they express their opinions.
Victor Horsley, M.D., F.R.S., Professor of Clinical Chirurgy, University College, London, speaks: "The bad effect of alcohol on persons performing muscular work is well-known. The evidence is overwhelming that alcohol in small amounts has a most harmful effect on voluntary muscular work."
Dr. T. D. Crothers, superintendent of Walnut Lodge Hospital, Hartford, Conn., declared that alcohol is more dangerous than the disease it is given to correct. "Both alcoholism and tuberculosis, one the 'great white plague' and the other the 'great black one,' are a menace to civilization."
Adolf Fick, M.D., Professor of Physiology, University of Wurzburg, states that "Every dose of alcohol, even the most moderate, diminishes strength. All that man asserts of the strengthening effects of alcohol is a delusion. The well-known poor man's glass during working hours is beyond question injurious. Every penny which the workman spends for alcoholic drinks is not only wasted but employed for a destructive purpose."
August Forel, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, University of Zurich, says: "Life is considerably shortened by the use of alcohol in large quantities. But a moderate consumption of the same also shortens life by an average of five or six years."
THE BUSINESS VIEW OF ALCOHOL
From the doctor's office we go to the Insurance offices, where a most careful and scientific investigation has been made. The editor of the
introduces us, as they tell how alcohol takes away health and life.
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Aetna Life: "Drink diseases the system and shortens life."
Dominion Life: "Weakens constitution to resist disease."
Equitable Mutual Life: "Drink impairs vitality; less likely to throw off disease."
Hartford Life: "Moderate use lays foundation for disease."
Knights Templar and Masonic Mutual Aid: "Total abstainer the better risk."
Massachusetts Mutual Life: "Drink reduces expectation of life nearly two-thirds."
Pacific Mutual Life: "Predisposes to disease."
Royal Templars of Temperance: "Death rate much lower among abstainers."
For the last place we can visit on this day's excursion, we will go into a Court House and listen to the judge. Rev. J. F. Hill of Pittsburg, secretary of the permanent Committee on Temperance of the Presbyterian church, will introduce us. When the judge tells his court-house story he is sitting at a banquet with the city council and the jurymen in a noted case that had just closed.
"No, I thank you, I never indulge," said the judge, as his companions passed the sparkling wine to him.
His companions rallied him on his change to total abstinence. "Isn't it sudden?" "Wife object?" "Nothing short of the tragic could have made a prohib. out of you."
"Oh, come, tell us what brought you into the teetotaler army!"
Reluctantly the judge told his experience:
"Five years ago--it was five years ago this very day--strange!" A pause.
"You remember the Rushworth case being tried in Sawyer county? It was the longest trial known in the state, and everybody was getting tired of the complications. I was on the bench, and on the day in question had taken something to encourage me, and had also given the jurymen enough to put them in the best of humor. The verdict was 'guilty.' After passing the sentence I asked the young criminal if he had anything to say. He was only twenty years of age. I was sorry for him, but duty is duty, and I felt at that time that I had done mine honorably and justly. The court was packed, and
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as the boy arose, a hush prevailed. His mother, father, and two sisters sat in the gallery near the door. His fine eyes lit up as he caught his mother's look of love, and then he said, in a voice I have never been able to forget: 'I am guilty of the charge. I deserve the punishment. I do not wish to place the responsibility of my crime on any shoulders but my own. I am everything the judge says I am--a gambler, a forger, and a heavy drinker, and, as the last witness said, not fit to be in the presence of honest men and women. I am glad the judge has granted me the privilege of speaking. I see some of my old chums here, and what I say may do them a little good--may keep them from stumbling over the rocks that ruined me."
He looked around until his eyes rested on the seats at the right of the entrance.
"Dr. Pickets, I took my first lesson in gambling from you! You said there was no harm if I did not 'go in too heavy!' I went 'too heavy,' it seems. The boy laughed nervously, and the doctor flushed crimson, and loosened his cravat.
"I took my first lesson in forging from you, Mr. Wyatt. The juror at my right hand jumped from his chair as if shot from a cannon, but said nothing. His adeptness with the pen was well known, and his head drooped with a sense of guilt.
"I took my first drink of brandy from a lady, who serves drinks that sting." A woman started up, she was one who had entertained royally.
"Judge, I am all you say, a gambler, a forger, a drinker, and now you have given me another name-- convict. Twenty years--is that the sentence?"
"Father," he said, turning his eyes toward the gallery, "you had a great future planned for your son. I'm sorry I have disappointed your hopes and darkened your home; forgive me!"
"Four months later," continued the judge, taking a paper from his pocketbook, "I received this letter from that young man.
"I always carry it," he said. "This, friends, is what made a teetotaler of me. I've heard the greatest sermons of the greatest preachers, but nothing ever came so near making a Christian out of me as did this letter from that boy in prison. I hope it may yet. That boy had a martyr's spirit, and I feel sure that if I am ever permitted to pass through that strait and narrow gate, Albert Rushworth will have more to do with my entering than any other human being I ever knew." Judge Morse held the soiled paper nearer the light, and read the last words from the boy he had sentenced to "twenty years at hard labor."
"Judge, I've tried to escape, and am writing this from the hospital ward. I was not quite brave enough to bear the thought that I must pass twenty years in this tomb. I much prefer the one I am about to enter-- the grave. I feel sure that if you had been sober the last day of my trial, my sentence would not have been for twenty long years. I tried to escape, and the guards shot me; the doctor says I cannot recover, so you see my term will soon end. Be careful of Clarence; it is pretty hard for young men to resist the temptations that are sanctioned by law, and patronized by those in civil power. Be careful of Clarence; boys follow where men lead, and to be or do like some men is the highest ambition boys have. I followed the wrong kind of examples, but cannot die without sending you this parting message: Be careful of Clarence.
Albert Rushworth, No. 187, cell 18."
"Clarence is my second son's name," said the judge, folding the letter away in his note-book; "and he and Albert had been the closest of friends for a long time. I felt every word of that letter as a message to lead me into a better life."
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GIVE ME SUBMISSION, LORD
Dear Father, hold my trembling hand,
And bid my heart be still,
And help me while I waiting stand,
To know and do thy will.
Teach me, when grief has touched my heart,
Or when my pulses thrill
With some exquisite new-found joy
To trust thee and be still.
For only thou who formed the mind
Canst all its workings know;
And in thy love and pity kind
Compassion thou dost know.
For thou canst school each wand'ring thought
Till it revert to thee;
Thou canst direct each deed that's wrought
Till we thy purpose see.
Thou canst our hearts emotions calm,
Our best affections claim,
Till by thy spirit's soothing balm
They glorify thy name.
Thus what we know, and do, and feel
We give into thy hand;
Use all according to thy will,
For thou dost understand.
Thine is an "everlasting love,"
And therefore thou has "drawn;"
Thou art our magnet from above,
And so we "follow on."
We follow on by day, by night,
Whate'er thy leadings be,
Knowing the path, if dark, or bright,
Leadeth thine own to Thee.
G. V. G. Calkins.
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DESIRE AND CHOOSE, THEN SEEK AND ATTAIN
--`I KINGS 3:4-15`.--DECEMBER 6.--
Golden Text:--"The reverence of Jehovah
is the beginning of wisdom."--`Prov. 9:10`.
KING SOLOMON began his reign with a reverent heart, as evinced by his offering sacrifices at Gibeon. In this he evidenced the faithfulness of our Golden Text, which prepared his heart for the blessings which he subsequently received of the Lord. We note the wide difference between his attitude and that of his two brothers, who had sought the throne of Israel in an ambitious spirit and in a traitorous manner, as described in preceding lessons. So far as the record shows Solomon manifested in this matter a proper respect for the Lord and his Divine appointments. In this he may be considered an illustration of our Lord Jesus and of the Church, which is his Body; even as Absalom's career corresponded to the course of Satan and all those who follow his disobediently ambitious course.
Possessed of reverence for the Lord and acknowledging him before all the people as the real Ruler of Israel, and by sacrifice confessing him as Israel's Ruler, the young king was in just the right attitude of heart to receive a blessing. He slept--he dreamed. Whether the dream was the outworking of his own devotion of heart and the Lord's response to it or whether the Lord, noticing his teachable attitude of mind, gave the dream as a lesson respecting Solomon's proper course, none can say, because the matter is not revealed; but, at all events, the young king had a most beautiful dream, which, in view of later developments, can be considered only as a true reflection of Solomon's attitude of heart.
He dreamed that he was in the presence of the Almighty, who graciously inquired what were his desires. Solomon's answer was a most humble one. It intimates that he realized that it was not of any worthiness or merit of his own that God's favor was thus indicated, that it was merely the continuation of the Divine mercy which for years had blessed his father, King David, "according as he walked before thee in truth and in righteousness and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day." (`I Kings 3:6`.) How beautiful an adornment is humility! The fact that few possess it should make it all the more estimable to us. It is like salt to our food. It adds a blessing to every other grace and talent we may possess.
"I AM BUT A LITTLE CHILD"
We have nothing to indicate that Solomon ever became very haughty, proud, though he certainly would have been a marvelous man had his great wisdom and honor and wealth not affected in some degree the childlike
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simplicity which he expressed to the Lord in this dream, saying, "O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father; and I am but a little child; I know not how to go out or come in [how to conduct myself in public or in private before the people]. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give thy servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to judge this thy great people."--`Vs. 7-9`.
The simplicity of this prayer is beautiful. In it Solomon recognized his own littleness and need of assistance and God's greatness and ability to help. He recognized also that the people were not his, but God's; and that he was not really the king, but God's servant appointed to judge or rule the people according to Divine standards. He recognized that good might appear evil and evil might appear good to his imperfect judgment; and his prayer, therefore, was for wisdom; not that he might be reputed the wisest man in the world, nor for any other selfish purpose or ambition, but that as God's servant he might faithfully and wisely administer the duties of his office, and honor God and bless his fellow-Israelites. Would that all rulers and judges today might have a similarly humble opinion of themselves and a similarly broad appreciation of the duties and the responsibilities of their office, and a similarly child-like faith in God's ability to guide them, to use them, to bless the work to which he has appointed them! Would that they could recognize that all people are God's people, and that they themselves must render an account to God which will be exacting to the extent of their knowledge and ability.
"THE SPEECH PLEASED JEHOVAH"
We do not wonder that the record shows that the Lord was pleased with his choice--because Solomon asked neither long life, nor riches, nor the lives of his enemies, but something far better--wisdom. Then, just as we might expect, with our present knowledge of the Lord's bounty and mercy and generosity, Jehovah declared to Solomon that his request for wisdom was granted, but that with it he would add riches and honor above those of any other human being of his day; and he promised also that if Solomon would continue in this way he would lengthen his days, give him an increase beyond the limitations of his natural powers.
When Solomon awoke and found that it was but a dream, doubtless there was a measure of disappointment in connection with it, but it brought before his mind, clearly and distinctly, just the condition of heart and mind most pleasing to the Lord. And be it remembered that for a considerable number of years Solomon maintained his humble attitude of heart and faithfulness to God. He returned to Jerusalem and there, through the agency of the priest, made various additional offerings and sacrifices to the Lord, the flesh of the peace-offerings constituting a feast for his servants, including many of the royal citizens. Thus was his reign reverently and wisely inaugurated and the foundation laid for his personal prosperity and that of the nation, which, as God's representative, he both ruled and served.
LESSONS FROM THIS STORY FOR OUR DAY
The word opportunity signifies "standing at the door." We have seen how great opportunities stood at Solomon's door and how he embraced them. Similarly opportunities stood at the door of his two brothers and they embraced them for sin and treason. Let us note that opportunities for good and for evil come to all of us at some time and it is for us to decide which we will grasp. But before the opportunity, comes the desire. If the desires be impure, an evil opportunity in harmony therewith will be found. If the desires be good, noble, true, loyal, opportunities in harmony with these will come to us. The thought to be impressed upon our minds, therefore, is that the desires of our hearts should be noble in every respect, and that all ignoble desires be studiously and promptly set aside, to the intent that
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only the good opportunities may come to us. But desire and opportunity are not enough. Many a man has had both and gotten nothing. When the good desires have been cultivated and developed and by and by a noble opportunity stands before us, then comes the responsibility of seizing it--decision. Probably more people make failure of life at this juncture than at any other.
Our counsel to the worldly would be along these lines: That first they should have noble ambitions; that they should resist all others; that they should be on the lookout for opportunities in harmony with their noblest sentiments and should seize them with all the energy of their being, when they come within their reach, and should never let them go. It is worthy of note, too, that very few are so meanly born or unfavorably environed that they are utterly devoid of noble principles or incompetent of discernment as between these and ignoble ones. True, born in sin and shapen in iniquity and surrounded by others in similar conditions, none can help it if ignoble suggestions come to his mind. But it is within his power to exercise his will to resist the evil suggestion and bid it be gone and to entertain only noble, pure, true sentiments. This is illustrated by the adage which declares that "We cannot help crows flying over our heads, but we can prevent them from building nests in our hair."
The difficulty is that where an affinity exists between the evil suggestions and the fallen nature, the will may not be prompt enough to rid itself of the intrusion. The battle of the will, therefore, is not merely with the crow thoughts that desire to nest with us, but additionally the wrong disposition which desires the crow company. A child's hand was stuck in the narrow mouth of a vase. He called for aid and the father suggested, "Open your hand loosely." "I know," replied the child, "that if I do that, I'll drop my penny." The thought is that to release ourselves from the power of sin requires such an exercise of the will as would enable us to drop the cost of our release, "the pleasures of sin for a season."
THE NEED OF CHRIST WITHIN
Our Lord gave a parable respecting a man possessed of an evil spirit who got rid of it and got his heart swept and garnished--but empty. By and by the evil spirit took with him seven others more wicked than himself and they overpowered him and his last end was worse than the first. A valuable lesson can be drawn from this. It illustrates that under present adverse conditions we are unable to keep ourselves, and that even if we were relieved from the power of sin, even if we were justified freely from all the sins that are past, we would be unable to keep ourselves--the world, the flesh and the Adversary in manifold forms will surely overpower our good resolutions and desires for purity and uprightness. What we need is an occupant for our hearts--the Divine One. If Christ be enthroned in our hearts, if our wills be turned over to him in full submission, he is able to keep our hearts, to guard our hearts. Respecting such he says, the Father and myself will come in to them and abide with them. Oh, the security this implies! Let us not forget that the will is the doorkeeper of the heart and that the Lord's presence will not remain except as we will to have it, and that if we admit to our hearts evil thoughts, evil surmisings, the Lord will not hear us, will not abide with us, but will proportionately vacate and leave room for more and more of the evil influences to enter into us and to possess us.
Hence the admonition, "Keep your hearts in the love of God." The Evil One and entrenched sins will endeavor to remain in our hearts and fight against our wills. But not so with righteousness and the laws of God. These are easily offended and easily driven out. Hence with the Psalmist we should pray, "Oh, Lord! take not thy holy Spirit from me." Remember also the exhortation of the Apostle, "Grieve not the holy Spirit with which ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."
If we know these things, happy are we if we act upon them. Happy are we if we realize the primary necessity for good desires and for the rejection of evil desires. Happy are we if, when the message of God's grace came to us as an opportunity of return to his favor, we promptly embraced and received at his hands justification by faith, through the merit of the precious blood. Happy are we if being thus swept and garnished and delivered from the power of the Adversary, we promptly recognized our obligation to the Giver of all blessing and sought relationship with him. Happy are we if, learning of his willingness to accept the keys of our hearts, to accept our will, we should give it to him fully, completely, forever! Happy are we if we maintain this same attitude of heart-purity and desire for the Lord's will instead of our own, and if more and more we allow the Spirit of the Lord to fill every nook and corner of our hearts and to drive out, not only sin, but every worldly ambition, that we may be fully and wholly possessed by the Spirit of our Lord, the holy Spirit! Happy are we if we continue to manifest meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, goodness, brotherly kindness, peace, love, so that anything which would mar this heavenly bliss or quench this holy flame or offend our Master or lose us his smile, would be considered as indescribable disaster! Happy are we if the joys of the Lord thus continue in our hearts and rule our lives and make us joyful in our pilgrimage towards the heavenly city and its glories! Happy are we as we find the Spirit of the Lord working out through hands and feet and tongue and every power to glorify the name
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of our Redeemer and to bless his children and as many others as possible of the groaning creation!
JOINT-HEIRS WITH CHRIST
Dear fellow-members of the Royal Priesthood, in a certain sense we already have received the anointing of the Great King, which constitutes us in an embryotic sense the Kings and Priests of the future. We are at the threshold of a great work. We are to be associates with our Lord in the Kingdom, that we may be his assistants in conferring Divine blessings upon all the families of the earth. Our position, therefore, is not so unlike that of Solomon. We, like him, have turned aside from service for a time that we may offer sacrifices to the Lord. Each has a sacrifice to bring, his justified self, his will, his time, his influence, his talents. Now is the time of our dream. Now is the time when the Lord has appeared to us, revealing himself to the eyes of our understanding through his Word. He invites us to choose. He wishes us to see of what spirit we are. Day by day we are making choice, either wisely or unwisely. And day by day he is taking note of those who make a wise choice, as did Solomon.
Do we ask for long life by seeking chiefly self-preservation? Do we ask for riches by giving the best of our time and talent to their accumulation? Or do we ask for triumphs and trials of an earthly kind over others? If we ask any of these things or all of them, as some seem to do, we are not choosing the better
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part, and the Lord will sooner or later advise us that our choice is not pleasing to him. Are we day by day seeking at the Lord's hand and through his Word an understanding heart, that we may know his will and obediently follow his instruction? If so, we are choosing wisely, reverently--"The secret of the Lord is with them that reverence him, and he will show them his Covenant."
Our desire to know the secret of the Lord should be two-fold: (1) That we may fill the office and service to which he has so graciously called us; and (2) that we may be prepared in his providence for the blessing of all with whom he will bring us in contact, not only in the present life, but also in that which is to come. It should be our desire, as it was Solomon's, to realize our own littleness, our own unworthiness of so great an honor; to realize that we have the Divine favor only because of our relationship to the typical David, the Beloved, our Redeemer. We are reminded of our Saviour's words, "Except ye become as little children ye can in no wise enter into the Kingdom of God." Here again is the thought of simplicity and humility and teachableness, and not the thought of littleness of stature or immaturity of judgment. The thought of what we have been called to, in the Lord's providence, in connection with his Kingdom, should lead us to be very humble in the present time, to learn all the lessons which our heavenly Father would give to those who shall be associated with him in his Kingdom, "To the called according to his purpose."
All of the Lord's people are sheep. All are under the Good Shepherd. But amongst the sheep he has appointed some to measurably represent him and to assist and guide the sheep in right paths. These may get the special blessing from this lesson by applying the suggestions to some extent to their present relationship to the people of God. None of the elders of the Church of Christ should ever be heard saying, "My people!" "My flock!" "My Church!" "My congregation!" Rather in humility he should be feeling himself as a little child needing the Divine wisdom to guide, direct, feed the Lord's people, whose interests are so great, so momentous, and the corresponding need of assistance on the way to the Kingdom.
To all who thus choose, to all whose hearts are firmly fixed unwaveringly upon these principles and desires, the Lord declares his approval and assures them that while now granting them the desires of their hearts in respect to wisdom and knowledge, he will by and by give them still more wisdom and, in addition, riches and honor and length of days--eternal life. If this matter of consecration has been thus far but a dream, let us awaken to realities and permit the good promises of the Lord to awaken in us, not only to will and to do aright the Father's good pleasure, but also to cultivate in word and deed, and the thought and intent of our heart, the good purposes of his will. So doing, we shall shortly enter into the "Joy of our Lord."
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JUDGMENT OF FALLEN ANGELS
A REPLY TO SOME QUERIES
YOUR favor of the 23d is at hand, and I much appreciate its loving spirit. With very much of it, dear brother, I am in very hearty accord and have offered some suggestions in the DAWNS and Tracts, especially respecting the fact that the angels were preached to, taught a great lesson in connection with our Lord's sacrifice and resurrection, and that some of them probably have taken their stand for righteousness and perhaps suffered from some evilly-disposed on this account. I do not see, however, as you seem to intimate, that their trial is wholly in the future. As the trial of the Gospel Church has continued throughout this age, but will terminate with severe testing, so I understand that the fallen angels have been on trial--but in their case for over 4300 years; that some have been taking their stand and that now what remains of trial for them is a short, sharp, final test similar to the one that will come to the world at the close of the Millennium.
Your suggestion that these fallen angels must see and appreciate the testing of the Millennial Age before their trial could be complete does not to me appear sound. They have knowledge, not only of the primeval condition, witnessing the degradation occasioned by sin in the world, but also of heavenly conditions and their own harmony at one time with these conditions. With mankind the matter is different. We have had comparatively no knowledge or illustration of perfection, but only of sin, degradation. God's purpose to give mankind an uplift and a knowledge of the good seems reasonable, for man has by experience no knowledge of the beauties and grandeurs of the heavenly estate for his instruction by contrast.
Assuming, as I do, that there have been good and bad fallen angels since Christ preached to them, and assuming that this knowledge brought to them responsibility, trial, testing, my understanding is that the culmination of their testing is about due. I do not understand these to be the angels of the devil mentioned in `Matthew 25`. Those I understand to be the goat-class, messengers of Satan, who love unrighteousness and who during the Millennium will pass to the left hand of the great King and Judge as "goats."
The judgment of the great day, I believe, is upon us, testing the Church, the world and the fallen spirits, and, I believe, will produce an awful time of trouble. We are to remember that, according to the parallel dispensations, the King came in, or assumed his power in 1878. He then called for his servants and began to reckon with them respecting the pounds and talents.
If we are correct in our supposition, the majority of the "little flock" is now with the Bridegroom beyond the veil and assisting in the work of judgment already beginning. Why may not we on this side of the veil have some share also in the matter? If the judgments of the Lord are already abroad in the earth and have to do with the fiery trials which are trying the Church, "When every man's work shall be tried so as by fire," and when the "great company," thus tried, shall suffer loss of all their Kingdom privileges, yet themselves be saved so as by fire, is not this a part of the Lord's judgment which begins with the house of God, which extends to Babylon and involves the whole world? Is not this the time of which it is written, "This honor hath all his saints, to execute the judgments written"? Will not this execution of the judgments written constitute a large part of the great trouble just before us? Again, in his statement, "To him that overcometh
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will I grant power over the nations, and he shall dash them in pieces as a potter's vessel," does not our Lord suggest that the Church will have a share in this work? To suppose the Head and the majority of the members in glory, and the Feet still in the earth and in the very midst of much of the trouble, but shielded from it by their close relationship to the Lord, as the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace were protected --does not this fit all of the conditions?
Consider now the part of the fallen angels. In the "lying wonders" would not the expression "lying" convey the thought of deception? And could any wonder be greater than an apparent resurrection of the dead? And would it be more deceptive or a greater lie than for the fallen angels to personate the dead? It seems to me that the acquirement by the angels of the power to materialize and personate the living and the dead will most wonderfully accord with the various declarations respecting "all manner of deceivableness and lying wonders."
My thought is that God's restraint upon the fallen angels was not merely one of command, but included also his taking away from them the powers of materialization, which once they misused. I do not think of divine power as returning to the demons the liberty and authority to materialize, but understand that whatever success they may have in this direction and the still further success they are expecting is
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all the result of their finding out a method by which it might appear to them that they had circumvented the divine mandate. Thus they would seem to triumph over God and be able to work their orgies in defiance of his power.
Here would be the sublime test, which would demonstrate not only the gross wickedness of those of them who for centuries had defied God and righteousness and injured humanity, but it would be the supreme test also upon that other company of the fallen angels who, we are assuming, are sick of sin, abstaining from it and longing for divine mercy and reconciliation. The breaking loose of such evil spirits and the resulting pandemonium would imply amongst them a climacteric test, the decision in which would be final. It not only seems to me that no such tests would be possible for those demons during the Millennium, when nothing shall hurt or destroy, but it also seems incongruous to me to suppose that there would be any hope for those who are in a devilish attitude now after having witnessed the fall and its terrible consequences, and the goodness of God manifested in Jesus' death and resurrection and the faithfulness of his followers in being baptized into his death.
I am not urging this matter, dear Brother, merely explaining the matter as it appears to my mind. In doing this I, of course, wish to thoroughly arouse the Lord's people in due time, to put them on guard, to forewarn and forearm. And incidentally, we know not but that we are forewarning and forearming those of the demons who have turned their faces again towards God and his righteousness. It is far from our thought to terrify the Lord's people or others. Rather we point them to the only sure place of safety, and admonish them that in abiding therein they need have no fear. The Vow we have recently suggested is a finger pointing in the right direction--to the fullest imaginable degree of consecration to the Lord and his service, and to love for the brethren and to separateness from sin. These, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty, need fear no evil. The Lord will be their refuge and habitation, and no evil can come near that dwelling-place.
In a word, those who are living as closely as possible to the Lord in faith and obedience and knowledge are absolutely safe and need fear none of the powers of darkness. We believe that all others are unsafe propositions, as they are distant from this safe habitation.
BEREAN STUDIES ON THE ATONEMENT
THE TEXT-BOOK USED FOR THIS COURSE
IS SCRIPTURE STUDIES, SERIES V. (E)*
Questions on Study V.--
The Author of the Atonement.
"THE EVERLASTING FATHER"
(1) What titles are given to our Lord in `Isaiah 9:6`?
(2) In what sense should we understand that our Lord Jesus was the Mighty God? How the Wonderful One? How the Counselor or Teacher? How the Prince of Peace? P.141, par. 2.
(3) Does the application of the title, The Everlasting Father, to our Lord Jesus, in any manner conflict with the application of such a title to Jehovah? If not, why not? P.141.
(4) Quote one or more Scriptures which refer to the heavenly Father as one person, and to the Son of the Father as another person, and which declares Jehovah to be the Father of our Redeemer. P.141, par. 3.
(5) Is Jesus now the Everlasting Father or will he become such in the future? Under what circumstances will this be to him a proper title? P.141, par. 3,4.
(6) What relationship will the perfected world hold at the end of the Millennium to the Son--and what to the Father? P.141, par. 4.
(7) Explain the Scripture which says, "Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children," etc. (`Psa. 45:16`.) Who are the fathers and whose children will they become and by what process will the change be effected? P.142, par. 3.
(8) Is our Lord Jesus ever spoken of as the Father of the Church? If not, why not? P.143, par. 1.
(9) What is the relationship between Christ and the Church, Scripturally stated? Prove your view by several quotations. P.144.
(10) If this particular relationship between Christ and the Church is the "mystery" of the Scriptures, explain it and show why.
"THE SON OF MAN"
(1) How does this title, "The Son of man," apply to our Lord Jesus, since the Scriptures declare that he was born of a virgin, and since he never acknowledged Joseph as his father? P.149.
(2) Cite a few of the texts in which our Lord applied to himself the term, "The Son of man." P.150.
(3) Is this to be applied to our Lord merely respecting his earthly ministry or is it also applied to him relative to his glory of the future? P.150.
(4) Since the evidence is conclusive that our Lord Jesus was not Joseph's son, has it any weight that his
human nature was sacrificed forever? Why should he adopt this title which so clearly identifies him with humanity? P.151.
(5) Who was
of the human race, aside from our Lord Jesus? P.152, par. 1.
(6) Quote from the Psalms showing that Adam was ordained of God to be the head of his race. P.152, par. 1.
(7) Is Christ to inherit that which was originally Adam's? Quote a Scripture in proof of this. P.152, par. 2.
(8) If Adam's inheritance was lost through sin, how does it come to Christ as
man? P.152, par. 2.
(9) Does the Greek text connected with our Lord's title, "The Son of Man," show any peculiarity? If so, what? P.153, par. 1.
(10) Why should this title, "The Son of Man," apply to our Lord Jesus not only after his resurrection, but after the Millennium--to all eternity? P.153, par. 2.
"THE MAN CHRIST JESUS"
(1) Is it conceded even by the enemies of the Gospel that Jesus was a remarkable personage? If so, on what account? Cite some Scriptures in proof of this. P.153, par. 3.
(2) What was the significance of Pilate's expression, "Behold the man"? Where should the emphasis be laid and what significance should be attached to his words? P.154.
(3) Quote Rousseau's eulogy on
Man." P.154, par. 2.
(4) Quote Napoleon Bonaparte's eulogy on "The Man Christ Jesus." P.155.
(5) Why should the world be excusable for considering Jesus more than a man? P.155, par. 4.
(6) Was he not more than a man--not only more than sinful man, but more even than a perfect man? Where, how and when did he receive this greatness? P.155, par. 4.
"NO BEAUTY THAT WE SHOULD DESIRE"
(1) Quote the text of `Isaiah 52:3` and show comparison with Leeser's or Young's translation.
(2) Does this Scripture imply that our Lord Jesus was of mean personal appearance? P.156, par. 2.
(3) Mention various views of honorableness, beauty, etc., and show which of these ideals our Lord disappointed and why. P.156, par. 3.
(4) What were the Scribes, Pharisees and rulers of the Jews expecting in Messiah from his reign? And how did our Lord disappoint these expectations. P.157.
(5) In what respect was our Lord's appearance undesirable and disappointing to those men? P.158, par. 2.
(6) What can we say of the expression, "His visage was so marred?" Is it not out of harmony with what we should expect of a perfect man and what we should expect in the light of various Scriptures referring to our Lord? P.158, par. 3.
(7) Give a better translation of the passage of this prophecy and show its application. P.159, par. 1,2.
(8) If our Lord was "touched with a feeling of our infirmities" might not this include possible lines of sadness on his face? Explain this fully. P.159, par. 3.
(9) Would our Lord, the Perfect One, suffer more or less from his environment because of his perfection? P.160, par. 1.
(10) How did these outward conditions probably affect our Lord's personal appearance? And would they assist in appreciating human conditions sympathetically? P.160, par. 2.
(11) Review the questions of this lesson and point out what beauty there is in the expression, "The chiefest among ten thousand." P.161, par. 2.
THE CHANNEL OF ATONEMENT--THE HOLY SPIRIT
(1) Does the holy Spirit have an important part in connection with the Reconciliation of At-One Ment of the Church of God? If so, what is its part? And why could we not without it appreciate the Divine will or understand the "deep things" of God's promises? Pp.163, 164.
(2) Will the holy Spirit be an instrumentality of blessing to the world also during the Millennium? Quote a Scripture in proof of this. P.163; P.164, par. 2.
(3) What reason can be assigned for the blessing of the world being mentioned by the Prophet in advance of the blessing of the Church, when really other Scriptures show us that the order was reversed? P.164, par. 1,2.
(4) Quote another Scripture in the New Testament which shows that the holy Spirit will operate during the Millennium for the blessing and assistance of the world.--`Rev. 22:17`. P.165.
(5) What Doctrine arose in the Church after the death of the apostles--after the New Testament had been completed--and beclouded the Truth in general and the operations of the holy Spirit in particular? P.165, par. 1.
(6) Does the word Trinity or Trinitarian occur in the Bible? If not, by what authority are these terms so generally applied as names of doctrines, churches, etc.? Are the Scriptures consistent and harmonious on the subject of the relationship of the Father to the Son and the holy Spirit, and how? P.165, par. 2.
(7) Is the expression, "These three, the Father, the Son, and the holy Spirit, one in substance, equal in power and glory," a Scriptural quotation? If not, where is it found? P.165, par. 2.
(8) Explain how three persons could be one person, or how one person could be three persons. And if merely one in kind or substance be meant, and not one in person, where would be the proof of their equality, since the Father is always mentioned first--mentioned as the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? P.166.
(9) Give references to the holy Spirit under sixteen different terms or titles in the New Testament. P.167.
*Five years ago DAWN-STUDIES, VOL. V., was reset, and unfortunately the type was not exactly same size as before; and hence page for page they differ. The references given in these Berean Studies apply to the present edition, a copy of which postpaid will cost you but 30c. But keep your old edition, for unfortunately the new Bible Helps refer to its pages.