ZWT - 1907 - R3913 thru R4118 / R4000 (161) - June 1, 1907
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VOL. XXVIII JUNE 1 No. 11
A.D. 1907--A.M. 6035
"Go Ye Also into the Vineyard"....................163
Volunteers, Sharpshooters, Colporteurs,
Laboring Amongst the Colored People...........165
Is the Fate of a Soul Fixed at Death?.............165
Berean Bible Study in Tabernacle Shadows..........167
The Faithful Approved and Tested..................168
In the School of Discipline...................169
The Trial of Your Faith.......................170
Things Lawful Not Expedient.......................171
"Am I My Brother's Keeper?"...................172
"Eat, Asking No Questions"....................173
"All to the Glory of God".....................174
An Encouraging Letter.............................175
LETTERS FOR THE EDITOR SHOULD BE SENT TO ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS AND REMITTANCES
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, "BIBLE HOUSE," 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
--OR TO-- BRITISH BRANCH--24 EVERSHOLT ST., LONDON, N.W. GERMAN BRANCH--MIRKER STR., 45, ELBERFELD. AUSTRALASIAN BRANCH--EQUITABLE BLDG., COLLINS ST., MELBOURNE
PRICE, $1.00 (4S.) A YEAR IN ADVANCE. MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR AS FOLLOWS:--
All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied FREE if they send a Postal Card each June stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the Studies, etc.
ENTERED AS SECOND CLASS MAIL MATTER AT ALLEGHENY, PA., POST OFFICE.
THIS JOURNAL IS PUBLISHED IN THE FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH, DANISH AND ITALIAN LANGUAGES. SAMPLE COPIES FREE.
1907--THE GENERAL CONVENTIONS--1907
The design of these General Conventions is spiritual refreshment by mutual upbuilding along spiritual lines. "The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above." Those who have never enjoyed these "feasts" know not what they are missing. So say we all! Assuredly the Lord will make up the loss to those not permitted to join us; but when it is reasonably our privilege we do well not to forget these assemblies of ourselves.--`Heb. 10:25`.
GET READY PROPERLY
Prepare your heart for a blessing. Come to the Convention in the proper spirit--as a disciple, a learner. Come intent also on doing good as well as getting good, of consoling and encouraging others, as well as to be yourself comforted. Above all, come realizing that the Lord himself is the fountain of blessings, and remembering his word--not by might, nor by power, but by the Lord's Spirit are we to expect the blessings we hope for. In making ready and en route do not forget this important item, for on it your share of the Convention's blessings greatly depends.
PLEASE PRACTISE THESE HYMNS
We urge all who expect to attend the Conventions to practise the following selections from the Hymns of Dawn: (333 choice hymns and tunes--cloth bound, 35c, post prepaid.) Numbers 7, 8, 12, 15, 19, 23, 24, 32, 55, 59, 71, 72, 75, 77, 83, 87, 93, 100, 105, 110, 114, 116, 119, 123, 124, 126, 147, 152, 155, 165, 166, 174, 178, 195, 196, 198, 201, 203, 235, 249, 251, 255, 259, 268, 273, 280, 283, 296, 310, 321.
Many of these are familiar to all of you, but please learn them all so as to be able to sing them with spirit as well as with understanding.
THE INDIANAPOLIS CONVENTION
Friends from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, etc., desirous of attending the Convention at Indianapolis should ADVISE US AT ONCE, so that we may procure for them from the railroads orders for two-cent-per-mile rates.
Reports seem to indicate that there will be a large gathering at Indianapolis.
In private residences accommodations can be had for 50c and $1.00 each per night. In hotels board and lodging can be procured for $1, $1.25, $2, and upward to $5 per day.
Write at once, if you wish us to procure accommodations, stating briefly and pointedly what kind, number of persons, sex and color, and if married couples wish to room together. Do not expect any alteration of your party's location after writing. If others join it later they will be accommodated in the order of notification. Address all letters to C. A. Wise, 1112 W. 30th St., Indianapolis, Ind.
CHARTS OF THE TABERNACLE
We have arranged to supply beautiful Charts of the Tabernacle on cloth, carriage prepaid, for two dollars each. Very choice, and very cheap for the quality and size--5 ft.
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"GO YE ALSO INTO THE VINEYARD"
"Sow beside all waters; thou knowest not which shall prosper, this or that."--`Isa. 32:20`; `Eccl. 11:6`.
IF the sowing has been a general one with a view to the gathering of the Lord's little flock from every nation, people, kindred and tongue, we must expect the harvest work to be similarly broad, widely extended. In reply to inquiries respecting the African mission: Returns from Brother Booth are meager as yet. He arrived at Cape Town and at once proceeded to bring the good tidings to the attention of the English-speaking whites and blacks in that city. He has met with some success in the sense that a few are hearing gladly. We hope that some of them will be convinced. Some are inquiring whether or not reaping work could be done in India, Japan and China. We reply that we have a few WATCH TOWER subscribers in those far-off lands, who doubtless are doing everything in their power, and they will, we feel assured, be prompt to tell us if there are openings there for the services of the Truth and for the harvest message.
Meantime let us not forget that our own land is the gathering-place for people from every nation under heaven, and is therefore a fruitful field in a larger sense than any other. The Lord seemingly held back the discovery of this continent until the due time, when it would become the gathering-place for the oppressed of all nations; for the oppressed are specially amenable to the Truth, as our Master's words indicate, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, and ye shall find rest unto your souls." As an illustration of the advantages of the freedom of conscience secured by many who come to this favored land, we mention two instances which came under our personal observation. Meeting an Italian workman casually and finding him to speak broken English we had a conversation with him, as follows:--
"Are you an Italian?"
"Yes, me Italian."
"Are you a Christian?"
"Yes, me Christian."
"Are you a Catholic Christian?"
"No, me Protestant Christian."
"How does that come? I thought that nearly everybody in your land was Catholic. How does it come you are a Protestant now?"
"Me friend comee here, join Baptist Church; me comee here, he takee me. Now me no pray to Mary, me pray to Jesus."
Another case was that of a Greek who kept a confectionery store in Virginia, and was reached with the Truth by one of the brethren of his city. His own story to us was:--
"I never knew anything about other religions until I came to the United States some years ago. I was then surprised to find various denominations of Protestants, and that the Roman Catholics here were in the minority. I noticed that many of the Protestants were quite intelligent, and some of them apparently good people. I visited various churches, saying to myself, I want to find the Truth, whatever it is. A Methodist minister had a talk with me and urged me to join his congregation. I told him that I would do so if I could be convinced that it was the right one--that I was looking for the Truth. It was not long after this that one of the brethren handed me a tract, and subsequently I got into conversation with him and his presentations were more satisfactory than anything I had ever heard. He brought me the DAWN in English, and with patient perseverance I was able to read it and to understand it, and so the other volumes."
This brother promptly made some donations to the Tract Fund, sold out his business in Virginia and returned to Greece, where he has gotten out a translation of several of the tracts and the first volume of DAWN. His latest letter says that the translators are working on the second volume, which he hopes will be ready this year. The dear brother is throwing his entire heart into the matter, desiring to help the brethren of his
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own nationality. Meantime also he visits the ships that enter his port, and canvasses the passengers and seamen for English, French, Italian and Greek DAWNS.
Surely, as the Master said at the first advent-- The fields are ripe for the harvest, and he that reapeth receiveth wages. (`John 4:35,36`.) What wonderful opportunities lie right at our hand! Let us be wise in the use of these, not only praying but laboring. We must not think of the immigrants ungenerously; they come from countries poorer than ours, but many of them are bright, and some of them apparently honest-hearted, and quite likely some of them are at heart true Christians--the Lord's brethren and hence our brethren. Let us be on the alert to do them all the good in our power--to serve them with that which will do them more good than anything else we know of.
We earnestly commend the course followed by some of refusing better situations that would pay larger salaries, because the labor involved would be more taxing and leave less opportunity for the service of the Truth. We recommend that situations that pay well and absorb every moment of time except that requisite for providing the things that perish be sacrificed in favor of situations paying less wages but affording greater opportunity for volunteer work, colporteur work, etc. We are glad to say this spirit prevails more and more amongst those who have received the Truth in the love of it.
VOLUNTEERS, SHARP-SHOOTERS, COLPORTEURS, PILGRIMS
Try, dear friends, if possible, to secure a blessing by laboring in one of these departments of the harvest work. All cannot be Pilgrims, all are not qualified for the work, neither will the funds of the Society permit the engagement of large numbers, nor are many necessary, as each little class should have amongst its own number some possessed of talents which should be consecrated and actively used in the service of the brethren. All cannot be Colporteurs, though there is a much wider door of opportunity here. This service can only be engaged in by those who are comparatively free from earthly responsibilities and ties, or who can make themselves free by shaping their affairs to this end. They must be strong enough to endure a considerable amount of walking and the carrying of the books: they must be neither too young nor too old. Nevertheless this is a branch of the work which has been greatly blessed of the Lord, and laborers in this department are usually greatly blessed spiritually as they seek daily to lay down their lives for the Truth and for the brethren.
HOW CALLED TO COLPORTEURING
Mistaken ideas respecting calls to the ministry have troubled the Lord's people for centuries. Many seem to think that a mental impression is a call to preach, and insist that they must preach whether they have a natural ability or not, and whether they have opportunity or not, and whether people desire them to preach or not. A call to the Lord's service comes through the Truth and our acceptance of it. Whoever has the Lord's Spirit must feel interested in all of the Lord's work, and feel called upon to do anything and everything in his power to forward the same. Who needs more of a call to the use of his talents in the Lord's service than is given in our Lord's message, "Go ye, therefore, and disciple amongst all nations ...teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway: even unto the end of the age."
God's message is so good, so grand, that whoever receives it into a good and honest heart receives a blessing which so rejoices him that he must desire to live it, to tell it to others. That desire is a spirit of the Truth. He should follow that desire, that leading, that love of the Truth, that desire to lay down his life in its service just so far as possible--his limitations being according to his talent and according to the incumbrances and responsibilities which are properly his. A call to the Colporteur work implies that the person called has already turned from sin and is endeavoring to live reasonably, soberly. It involves more, that he has presented himself a living sacrifice to God. It involves further that he is so situated in life that it is possible for him to arrange his affairs without injustice to his own family or to his neighbors, so that he can be free to take up this work. The call to it consists of the desire to serve God, to serve the brethren, to serve the Truth. This holy spirit or holy desire should be gratified to the extent of ability, and should be restrained only by the necessities above mentioned. If all could realize this privilege and opportunity how many there would be to promptly enter this field of service.
Sharpshooters are those who have no particular time that they could devote to the Colporteur service, but who, nevertheless, make it their business to sell a considerable number of DAWNS to their friends and immediate neighbors. They differ from the Colporteurs in that they do not cover the territory. Any one who regularly and systematically canvasses territory spoils it as such for another for some years. All such are rated as Colporteurs, and need to have an assignment, that we may know what has and what has not been thoroughly worked. Nearly all of the Lord's dear people should be Sharpshooters, and we hope that they are.
"Volunteers" is a name applied to those who systematically undertake the distribution of the WATCH TOWER tracts free, in their own city or town, etc. Many of the dear friends do their volunteer work on Sunday mornings, going from house to house, perhaps having a son or a daughter assist by taking the opposite side of the street, placing the tracts carefully under the doors and ringing the door-bells. Very many indeed have been reached in this manner--and the tracts are free and the freight paid for you. We recommend that the dear friends in each city and town cooperate in this work so that it may be systematically done
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everywhere. The present rulings of the post-office department prevent us from sending tracts by mail at the usual newspaper rates as heretofore; hence we are more than ever dependent upon the dear friends for the scattering of the "hail" everywhere. "Do with your might
WHAT YOUR HANDS FIND TO DO"
An illustration of the blessed influence of this work comes to our mind as told by a brother who is now deeply interested in the Truth. At the time mentioned he was a railroad accountant, and an attendant of one of the principal churches of Washington City. He was born in China, where his parents were missionaries, and had become accustomed to the religion of formalism. One Sunday as he came from Church he was handed a tract by one of the brethren, whom he recognized as a merchant, owner of several stores in the city. He said to himself, That man is not doing that work for pay, he must be sincere; I will read the tract. Slightly interested from the reading of the tract he obtained further reading matter, the DAWNS. Now a bookkeeper in one of Washington's principal banks, he is one of the most aggressive of the volunteer force there, as well as an Elder of the Church.
We are not to hold back from the service of the Truth because we are well known by our neighbors nor because the majority of those who distribute tracts and handbills are illiterate or forced to the service by poverty. Rather we are to remember that we have given our all to the Lord, not only our lives but our physical strength, our mental strength, our reputation and influence and our money. If we made a full consecration to him we gave our all, and we must judge of our Lord's estimation of our attitude by his words, "He that is ashamed of me and my Word,...of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed" (`Mark 8:38`); and again, we remember the declaration, "They that honor me I will honor." It is not surprising then that we find that those who are most active in serving the Truth and who thus indicate their special love for it and its authority, the Lord, should have special evidence of his love to them in their spiritual health and progress and keeping by his power.
"I'm not ashamed to own my Lord,
Or to defend his cause;
Maintain the honor of his Word,
The glory of his cross."
The volunteer ammunition (tracts) is now being shipped--two million tracts. How many of them can and will you use judiciously, carefully. Let the dear brethren and sisters of each place, who have not already made application, consider together and send in a united order as quickly as possible, now that the fine weather is at hand. We know not how many more such opportunities will be ours. All around us we see evidences that the shackles of error are breaking, the darkness of superstition fading away, and that new delusions are being brought forward by the Adversary to captivate those who are now awakening and beginning to see a little light. Let us be faithful, us to whom the Lord has been so gracious in the bestowment of such clear knowledge of his own character and of the harmony of his blessed Word in the "Plan of the Ages."
LABORING AMONGST THE COLORED PEOPLE
A short time ago, when first mentioning the African mission, we called attention to the opportunities that are still nearer at hand and in which many may engage in the interests of our black brethren. The more we think of this the more it appeals to us. In nearly every city of our land there are colored people whose parents were brought from Africa as slaves, and who in the Lord's providence are now free and able to speak and read the English language. Many of them give evidence of deep religious sentiment and fervency of spirit. Why is not the Truth for these? Perhaps the Lord allowed us to overlook them to some extent in the past; why may we not now make a general movement all along the line for their aid? In many of the little gatherings of those in the Truth there is a surplus of talent and ability to present the plan of God. Why should not this surplus be turned to the help of the colored brethren? This may be done by the congregation systematically or may be done individually. But in either case we would like to be in touch with the laborers, and be kept informed as to just what is being done. We suggest that the following plan would perhaps work to advantage everywhere:
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Let those who have the time at their disposal and who have some ability for public address make a thorough study of the Chart of the Ages, with a view to giving several discourses therefrom. To those desirous of proficiency in this service we now offer free a little pamphlet giving outlines of discourses on the Chart that will be helpful to many. In writing for these please give a very brief statement of your qualifications, the time at your disposal, and the number of colored churches in your vicinity.
As soon as we are able to judge as to who would be proficient in this service we will send the outlines of a little plan of procedure which we believe will operate favorably.
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IS THE FATE OF A SOUL FIXED AT DEATH?
From the Buffalo Express, March 25, 1907
--A REMARKABLE SERMON BY REV. DR. HOLMES--
WESTMINSTER Presbyterian Church was filled Sunday afternoon when the pastor, Samuel Van Vranken Holmes, D.D., delivered a sermon on Eternal Hope. This was the fifth and last in a series of Lenten addresses by Dr. Holmes on Life's Last Realities. Dr. Holmes said:
"In concluding our course of studies in Life's Last Realities, we come to a problem which, difficult as it is,
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must not be shirked. It is a problem to which allusion has heretofore been made, but which I have purposely postponed for discussion until the end: What is to be the final destiny of those who die in their sins?
"You will remember that, in our study of judgment after death, we reached the two-fold conviction that retribution in the life to come is inevitable because grounded in a general moral necessity, and that such retribution must necessarily entail moral separation from goodness and from God. Now, in the face of these facts, is there any hope of better things for sinful men hereafter? Or are we shut up to the belief that such men must spend an eternity in pain and punishment and without hope of moral and spiritual recovery? And this problem has an importance and interest far greater than any general speculative concern as to human destiny. I told you the other afternoon, in our discussion of heaven, that one of its most blessed realities would be the reunion with those whom we have loved and lost. And I am sure that, in almost every heart, there is love and longing for some one who has passed out of this life, caring little or nothing for Christ or the things of the Spirit, and whose last days, it may be, were clouded by sin and shame. What, then, of such? Must we give up all hope of seeing them again, of meeting them by and by, knowing, as we do, that inevitable desolation separates the good and the evil when the secrets of all hearts are disclosed?
DESTINY FIXED AT DEATH?
"Of course, you know what the teaching of the Church on this question has been for centuries, and what it continues to be in certain quarters today. But one must be blind indeed to movements in the modern religious world who is not aware that a great change has come over the minds of thinking people in regard to this matter. For a mighty and ever-growing doubt has arisen within a generation as to the irrevocability of destiny at death. The conviction has come to be very common today among educated men that there is every possibility of moral change for a human soul in the future life; and this conviction, too, is based, not on mere human speculation, but on the unmistakable implications of the Master's own teachings.
"Personally, I do not believe that Jesus taught the doctrine that human destiny is fixed at death, that after the dissolution of the body the chance of moral change is withheld from men, and that those who die in their sins are condemned to everlasting torment. I believed it once, but I thank God that I believe it no longer; and the implied threat in that doctrine is no more to multitudes of men today than 'the rattling of a medicine man's gourd.' Instead, the world of thought is rapidly coming to believe that, for every man who survives the death of the body, there is opportunity given to be united to God in Christ, and for so long as there is the slightest survival of individual spiritual life. Moreover, this belief rests upon solid foundations.
"In the first place, it is a purely arbitrary assumption to affirm that moral finality is reached at death. Such a doctrine is not taught explicitly anywhere in the Scriptures, and the several passages sometimes cited in its support are capable of very different interpretations --interpretations more completely in harmony with Jesus' teachings elsewhere. No more is there anything in the nature of death itself to put an end to the possibility of change. Apart from the awe and mystery attaching to death, there is no reason for assuming that at its crisis man's destiny is irrevocably fixed. The entire position of the Augustinian theology at this point is pure and gratuitous assumption.
"On the other hand, a wider observation of this life and a deeper knowledge of men have conspired to reveal the incomplete and undeveloped state in which a vast majority of souls leave the world at death. They do not make sufficient moral progress here to settle the moral issue involved for all time. Most of those who die have by no means reached that stage of character where moral change is impossible. They are only on the threshold of development. They have just begun to recognize the importance of moral choices. And, as one of our modern theologians has well put it, 'It would be very strange if so solemn an experience as death were withdrawn from among the experiences that might influence the final decision of the soul.'
"Moreover, as I tried to point out in a previous address in this series, no conceivable life in the future can possibly deprive men of moral and spiritual accountability. The doctrine that 'moral strain' is only for this life, that in heaven man is free from moral activity and that in hell his moral responsibility is ended and he is compelled to suffer only for the sins committed in the flesh--this doctrine is intolerable and impossible. The moment a man ceases to be an active moral agent, he becomes less than a man, he sinks to the level of an automaton. And if, as is clear, the future life is as morally active and responsible and as full of solemn ethical meaning as the present, then a free moral agent will be capable of choosing good even if he is in hell. Wherever living spirits are, the law of growth and progress, with all the corresponding possibilities of degeneration and death, must be carried with them and must hold for eternity.
CHANCE FOR LOST SOULS
"Now, if all that has thus far been said is true, if the final destiny of man is not fixed at death, and if moral and spiritual choices are open to him in the future life, then is it conceivable that God can fail of winning gracious victories of love over countless souls whom the world has reckoned lost? Over against the dogma of a hard and unrelenting theology at this point, I prefer to place the teaching of my Master in the parable of the lost sheep, wherein he tells us that the Good Shepherd will not cease to search for the one that is strayed and is lost 'until he find it.' For God will surely never falter in his quest for the sinning and unrepentant, so long as opportunity is left to recover them. Just because God is good and loving and sovereign, just because of that wondrous divine compassion which we witness on Calvary, we may have confidence that multitudes of souls without number shall finally be restored to holiness and happiness and heaven.
"Only let it be remembered that such a restoration will come about, not through any forensic process or legal fiction, but through the only salvation that can ever really avail here or hereafter--the salvation wherein God helps man to make an end of sin in his own soul, and wherein he imparts to him the life of the
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Spirit. No man will ever be saved hereafter in any way, other than that in which he is saved here. No redemption is ever possible that does not involve a departure from sin and a humble, resolute quest after holiness. Therefore, let no man think that this is an easy doctrine, that he can keep on sinning and living in selfishness until by and by an indulgent God will rescue him from punishment by judicial fiat. This universe of ours is a universe of inexorable moral laws, and the hope of a final restoration does not mean that a single one of those laws will ever be broken. So long as men continue in wilful sin, no salvation could possibly be accomplished. Moreover, delay only renders redemption the more difficult. Hence it is well that here and now we turn to the Christ, and begin to find life in him, and through him likewise to know God; for the Master has told us that this is life eternal, to know God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent.
"And now a single and solemn question remains to be answered. What if there be any who shall persistently refuse to be recovered, who, in a future life as in this, shall spurn the love divine and sink deeper and deeper in selfishness and sin? What is to be said of their final destiny? It is certain, as has been seen, that persistence in sin makes heaven impossible, so long as that persistence endures. But, on the other hand, to posit an endless hell for wickedness is to posit an endless dualism, continuing through the endless
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reign of sin in certain hearts. Such dualism would spell defeat for a sovereign God.
"There is, however, a simple alternative, and one that I believe is implicit in the teachings of both Jesus and Paul--that when a soul, through its persistence in sin, comes to the point where it is morally irrecoverable, it comes also to its final death. Paul distinctly tells us that immortality is an achievement, and the inference is plain that some souls may finally fail of immortality. Moreover, throughout the New Testament, immortality is correlated with goodness, 'possible where goodness is, impossible where goodness is not.' With Jesus the issues of the future are presented, not in terms of pleasure and pain, but in terms of life and death. 'For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have aeonian life.' 'For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his psychical life?' These and other utterances of Jesus seem to indicate that eternal life is a possibility only, and is the alternative of death and extinction. The only really indestructible elements of personality seem to be the moral and the spiritual. In the processes of organic evolution, 'the living creature at no stage remains alive so long, and only so long, as it conforms to the conditions of living.' Shall we think otherwise of the human soul? When a soul has reached the stage of moral and spiritual development which Paul describes in the phrase 'being in Christ Jesus,' it is the possessor of eternal life. But when a man has continued in sin, has gone on dwarfing his moral and spiritual nature until every appeal of God is in vain, is it not in accordance with the analogies of life that extinction is the certain outcome?"
BEREAN BIBLE STUDY IN TABERNACLE SHADOWS
In the references below, Z. represents this journal and T. stands for Tabernacle Shadows. The references should be given to brethren and sisters for reading in the classes. Free comment should be permitted either before or after each reading.
ANOTHER TYPE OF THE ATONEMENT SACRIFICE
1. What is illustrated in the further picture of the Atonement, given in `Lev. 9`? `Heb. 2:10`; `Col. 1:24`; T.79, par. 1-3.
2. If, as we have already seen, there is no intrinsic merit in the sacrifices of the Church, why are we called to be sharers with him in his sacrifice? Z.'07, p. 47, "Readest Thou Carefully?"
3. In what sense was our sinless Lord made perfect through sufferings? `Heb. 2:10,17,18`; E.119, 142.
4. How does the Apostle Paul show our intimate relationship to our Head? `Eph. 1:4,6`; `2 Thess. 2:14`; `2 Tim. 2:12`; T.80, par. 1.
5. Was it part of our Father's original "plan" that the Church should have a part in the work of Atonement? `Lev. 9:7`; `Col. 1:24-28`; `Eph. 1:4,5`, R.V.; T.80, par. 2.
6. How long has the "burnt offering" of Jesus been burning? and what class have been witnesses to this? `Lev. 9:12-14`; T.81, par. 1.
7. In this picture of the Atonement Day, given in `Lev. 9`, why is there no mention of the "scape goat"? Is it because here the consecration of the Priest is represented, and because the "Great Company," represented by the "scape goat," is excluded from membership in the "body" of the self-sacrificing Priest?
8. What important teaching does this picture further confirm? `Rom. 8:17`; `Luke 9:23,24`; `2 Tim. 2:11,12`; T.81, par. 2.
9. What is represented in the "peace offering"? `Lev. 9:18`; T.81, par. 4.
10. What is this "better-covenant" referred to, and when will it come into existence? `Heb. 8:6-13`; `Jer. 31:31-34`; T.82, top; C.296, 297.
11. Who is the Mediator of this covenant, and who are to be blessed under it? `Heb. 8:6,10,11`; T.82, top; Z.'97, p. 82.
12. What particular blessing seems to be typified in `Lev. 9:22`? `Matt. 5:13,14,16`; `2 Cor. 3:2`; T.82.
13. State in a general way the difference in the two pictures of the Atonement Day given in `Lev. 16` and `Lev. 9`. T.82, par. 2.
14. What did Moses typify, and why did both Moses and Aaron go into the "tabernacle of the congregation" after the different sacrifices of the Day of Atonement were finished? and why did they then come out, and together bless the people? `Lev. 9:23`; `Gal. 3:8,16,29`; `Gen. 12:3`; T.83, par. 1.
15. Will God's law be to any extent ignored, or sin
excused during the next age? `Isa. 28:17,18`; `Acts 3:22,23`; T.83, par. 1.
16. Will the law of "obey and live," "he that doeth righteousness is righteous," be then a disadvantage or a blessing? `Hag. 2:7`; `Psa. 96:10-13`, R.V.; `Isa. 25:8,9`; T.83, par. 1.
17. Will the blessings of the Millennial reign become manifest at once to the entire world as soon as the reign begins? `Lev. 9:23`; `Isa. 40:5`; T.83, par. 2.
18. Are the "priests" included in those who are to be blessed under this reign? and if not, why not? `Lev. 8:22-24`; `Matt. 25:31,32`; `Rom. 8:18-22`; `Rev. 21:2,3`; `2 Thess. 2:14`; T.84, par. 1.
19. Is reference made to this blessing of the whole world in `Heb. 9:28`? and does this imply that those who "look for him" shall all recognize him as soon as he comes at his second advent. Z.'01, p. 179.
20. Was Christ manifested to the Jews at his first advent, as the sin-offering for them? and has the Church been so manifested to the world? and if so, did the Jews, or does the world as yet, realize the value of this sin offering? `2 Cor. 4:11`; `Isa. 53:1-3`; `Jno. 15:18,19`; `John 1:5`; `Heb. 13:13`; T.84, par. 2.
21. What is the difference in the manifesting of Jesus and his Church to the world during the Gospel age and during the Millennial age? `Col. 3:4`, R.V.; `I Cor. 15:42-45`; `Mal. 4:2,3`; T.84, par. 2; D.616; A.322, near bottom; T.84, par. 2.
22. Will the glorified Christ appear to those who "look for him" in a manner that can be appreciated by their natural vision? If not, how will he appear to them, and how will others be aware of his presence? `I Tim. 6:16`; `2 Cor. 4:18`; `Heb. 2:9`; `12:2`; `2 Thess. 1:8`; `Isa. 40:5`; `Luke 17:26-30`; T.85, par. 1,2.
23. Will the fact that Christ appears only to those who "look for him," imply that there will be some who will not "look for him," and who will not recognize or realize that the great Messiah is present for the blessing of the world? `Rev. 1:7`; `Psa. 22:27,28`; `Psa. 67:2-7`; `Isa. 52:10,15`; `2 Thess. 1:7,8`; T.86, par. 2,3,4.
24. Do the Lord's faithful ones "see Jesus" now? And in what way? And how does this way differ from the way in which we will see him beyond the vail? `Heb. 2:9`; T.85, par. 1.
25. Will human beings ever be able to see things on the spiritual plane? And why? `John 8:19`; `14:9`; `I Tim. 6:16`; `John 1:18`; T.85, par. 2; 86, top, and par. 3.
26. What other examples have we of unseen spiritual power? `Eph. 2:2`; `6:12`, Diaglott; `Isa. 8:19`; T.86, par. 1,2.
27. What is the meaning of the Apostle's expression that God "is the Savior of all men, specially of those who believe?" `I Tim. 1:40`; `Isa. 26:19`; `Hos. 13:14`; `Jno. 5:28,29`, Diaglott; T.87, top of page.
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THE FAITHFUL APPROVED AND TESTED
Golden Text:--"When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee; and through the rivers they shall not
overflow thee.--`Isa. 43:2`.
REVIEWING the lessons of the quarter we find that they indicate that God was seeking for and approving and encouraging and testing those of his people who exercised special faith in him--to the extent of obedience, to the extent of their ability. Nor should this surprise us: what other quality could God seek in any member of the fallen race? Surely he could not seek for perfection, for his own Word declares explicitly that "There is none righteous, no not one." (`Rom. 3:10`.) As he sought not the perfect in mind or morals or features, we ask ourselves what quality would especially commend any member of the race to the Lord, and our answer is, in harmony with the evidences of the quarter, that "God seeketh such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth"--in honesty, in sincerity. Such worship would be impossible except as it had a basis of faith: as it is written, "He that cometh unto God must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him"; and again, "Without faith it is impossible to please God." (`Heb. 11:6`.) True, the Apostle writes that love is the principal thing, but the Apostle is writing to those who already have been approved in their faith. In another sense of the word faith is the principal thing, because it is the basis and only condition upon which any other of God's favors are now obtainable.
Abraham--what did he do? What great exploits? How is it written? "Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness." (`Rom. 4:3`.) According to this, faith will hide a multitude of defects? Indeed, according to the Word, it is only by the exercise of faith in our Redeemer that we are reckoned as covered with the robe of righteousness, and made acceptable to the Father, and permitted to stand complete in him.
What was there in Isaac's experiences in life to mark him as one of the Lord's. Isaac did nothing great, nothing wonderful. He founded no colleges, he built no churches, he organized no great relief funds, etc., etc., praiseworthy as those things may be; but he had the approval of God because he also believed God.
What wonderful things did Jacob do to give him a place of such prominence in the history of God's people, and to make him worthy to be the father of the nation of Israel? There is no record of any very wonderful works on the part of Jacob, aside from the fact that he had a wonderful faith in God. He believed in the Oath-bound Covenant made to his grandfather Abraham--it saturated and
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filled his entire life. Everything in his entire course from first to last was shaped in accordance with that faith. God counted his faith to him also for righteousness, and his name has come down to us amongst others who had the grand testimony that they pleased God and are ultimately to have a share in the great work of God as a reward.
JOSEPH, THE FAITHFUL
Joseph accomplished more than his forebears as respects great and useful work in the world: in the line of God's providences he not only saved the nation of Israel, his father's house, but also the nation of Egypt from the famine which otherwise might have destroyed them all. But Joseph is not brought specially to our attention in the Scriptures because of this great deed. Rather the Scriptures lay as much emphasis upon some of the smaller transactions of his life, and recite all of his affairs as evidences of his faith in God. Without that faith Joseph would not have been anything. It was his faith that kept him in good courage and of restful heart even in the midst of trying circumstances and conditions; it was his faith and loyalty to the one in whom he believed that kept him from the hour of temptation while a member of Potiphar's household; it was his faith that triumphed in the prison and gave him opportunities for comforting and assisting others, and learning himself to sympathize with those in distress. It was his faith which prompted him to have that relationship with God which brought to him the interpretation of dreams and the exaltation to power and influence. It was his faith still that enabled him to use those opportunities without losing his head, that showed him to have the spirit of a sound mind.
MOSES, THE MEEKEST MAN
Moses, perhaps more than all the characters of this lesson, was a mighty man both in word and deed; but while his greatness as a leader and a lawgiver shines out and marks him as a wonderful character, his faith is the most remarkable feature of his history. Not that in his case or in any of these cases the matter of faith is specially paraded and held up to our admiration--rather it is told in that simple manner which carries with it powerful conviction. We see the faith in its operation without being told about it. Moses without the Lord would have been nothing; Moses with the Lord, without faith, would have accomplished nothing, for God would not have used him, but would have found another instrument for his service. It was the combination --God, Moses, Moses' faith and obedience--that prompted the grand exhibit which we find in his life, and constituted him in the eyes of the whole world one of the most gigantic figures of history. So great was Moses that he could in simplicity and without bombast write, "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up of your brethren like unto me"--in reference to the great Messiah, King of kings and Lord of lords.
These things being true teach us that the most important thing for us, that we may have the divine favor and approval and blessing, is first of all that we have implicit faith in God. And this faith we find both from the Scriptures and from experience is a matter of development, growth. Our faith should grow stronger with every day, month and year that we live, so that our closing days in life would be the fullest of trust. But here we must note a danger and difficulty amongst those who seek to cultivate faith: the Adversary would present faith in man and in the words of man and in the theories of man as instead of faith in God and his Word.
How many have been hindered, turned aside from the right path, by a misplaced faith! How many today are worshiping the creeds and theories of men and neglecting the Word of the Lord! How necessary to us that, while recognizing the fact that God has always used mouthpieces and leaders amongst his people, we should also recognize the fact that Satan has many mouthpieces and provides many leaders, and that our method of discrimination as between the true and the false prophets must be by their faithfulness to the Word of God, as it is written--"If they speak not according to this Word it is because there is no light in them." (`Isa. 8:20`.) Let us then not only resolve to cultivate faith, but that we make sure that it will have foundation in the Word of the Lord. And to thus make sure will imply such a love for truth, such an appreciation of the divine Word, as will lead us to spend time and energy, money, everything, that we may know the truth and be made free by it. Whoever, therefore, loves money, praise of men, honors of men, etc., more than he loves God or his Word, is not likely to obtain or to hold the proper knowledge of God, upon which alone
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the proper faith and obedience can be built.
IN THE SCHOOL OF DISCIPLINE
It was not sufficient that Abraham had faith to begin with, so that he was ready to follow the invitation of the Lord to leave his own country for another upon which as yet he had no claim except the divine promise. It was because Abraham had such a faith and was able to exercise it that God counted him worthy to receive promises at all. Then came the test as to how strongly he would hold to the promises--for instance, the test respecting his son, whose birth was the very center of all the divine promises. Twenty-five years did God test the faith of Abraham on this point until he was growing old, and Isaac was born when he was a hundred years old. Notice again how God kept Abraham in the school of discipline, testing his faith; not testing it with a view to breaking it and destroying it, but on the contrary applying the tests so as to increase the faith, to make it stronger and every way better. Note, for instance, that Isaac was allowed to grow up to be a young man, and Abraham to pass the time of life when he might hope to have another son, when God commanded the slaying of Isaac as a sacrifice. How grand was the faith that never faltered, that still believed that in his Seed all the families of the earth should be blessed! What evidence we have here that Abraham was well taught and had learned well the various lessons under the divine instruction! He was able to offer up his son, and counted that God was able to raise him from the dead and thus to fulfil the promise--never doubting. O, what a grand summit of faith was thus evidenced! How such a character must have pleased God! and it shines out the more because of the darkness and idolatry of his time.
Consider how Isaac and Jacob were also schooled in advance, and learned well the lesson of confidence in God
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and his Oath-bound Covenant. See the same in the case of Joseph, whose life was full of adversity and was grandly rounded out by these trying experiences, his faith becoming stronger, apparently, at every step of the journey of life. Note the same in Moses' case from first to last. He who was so humble minded respecting his own talents that he insisted he was quite unfit to be the leader of the people, after being assured that God would lead him and use him as his representative and channel merely--then Moses was willing and ready and able to do all things through his faith in the Almighty God. The lesson clearly is that the trials and difficulties, tests and disciplines of faith were specially provided of the Lord for the development of the character of the ancient worthies chiefly along the lines of faith; that they not only had faith prominent to begin with, but that God saw to it that this characteristic was more and more a pronounced one in them.
THE TRIAL OF YOUR FAITH
We are glad to have the testimony of the Apostle that these grand characters of the past met with the divine approval, and fell asleep in death to await at the resurrection a grand reward--their trial and testing having been successfully finished. But in the same connection the Apostle tells us that in the divine plan the "little flock" of this Gospel age has been called to a still higher station and privilege and blessing than the ancient worthies. The Apostle's words are, "These died in faith, not having received the thing promised; God having provided some better thing for us [the Gospel Church], that they without us should not be made perfect." Their perfection will be to the human nature; ours, if we are of the very elect, will be to the divine nature, far above angels, principalities and powers.
What then shall we suppose respecting God's approval in the Gospel Church, and the tests that he will apply? Can we think that he would make faith a test in the past and ignore it as respects the present election? Nay, verily! Faith is still the test of all who would please God. So then, as God in the past selected for the channels of his promises and blessings only those who could exercise faith, we may expect that in the present time the Lord has nothing whatever to offer except to those who can exercise faith in him and in his promises. We know that this must of necessity signify that the called of this Gospel age would be a very much smaller number than the whole population of the world; and then again we have the further declaration that of the called few will be chosen. What does this signify except that few will prove themselves to have the requisite faith and obedience to please God, to be counted worthy a share in the Kingdom with his dear Son, our Lord.
And if only those who have faith have been called throughout this Gospel age, what shall we say of the testings of faith for these? The Apostle's intimation is that their faith will need a great testing. He says, "The trial of your faith is much more precious than that of gold which perisheth." (`1 Pet. 1:7`.) Gold has a special value at the present time by reason of its scarcity--a value that will perish when with the new order of things it will be as easy to have gold as to have clay or iron; but the "little flock," which the Lord is selecting during this Gospel age, is always to be specially precious in that to this class alone of humanity, so far as the divine revelation shows, will be granted the divine nature, with its glory, honor and immortality. Hence the trial of the faith of this class is very precious, a very important matter. None shall be admitted to that glorious immortality without first being tested and proven by the Lord. But here again let us remember that our testing is not as respects the flesh, to see whether or not we are perfect in the flesh, but on the contrary we are assured that God knoweth our condition--that all things are open and naked before his sight, and that he declares that we are all imperfect.
What then is God seeking in us? The development and perfection of faith! The first element in it is to believe in him as a faithful, wise, true God; and secondly to believe in his revelation of Jesus as his Son, and the one through whom he has provided a covering for our imperfections, our blemishes, past, present and future. This is the essential phase which must be held on to, and which he will therefore test in order to prove our loyalty. This is the faith that must grow stronger as the days and months and years roll by. This is the faith through which will be reckoned to us the merit of Christ's atonement, and through which we will have reconciliation. This is the faith that must be proven to have such tenacity and strength that it will trust the Lord even where it cannot trace him, as did Abraham when he believed that God was able and willing to fulfil his promise, even though it should imply the resurrection of Isaac from the dead. We must learn, we must develop, at least that much faith also, so that we will believe in God and the fulfilment of his promises even though the fulfilment of them signifies not only our own resurrection from the dead to glory, honor and immortality, but signifies also an awakening of all the families of the earth from the prison-house of the tomb, that they may have fulfilled toward them the gracious promise made to Abraham --"In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Without such faith in God and in his promises it will be impossible to please him and to become of the elect class which he is now selecting.
"IF GOD BE FOR US"
Nor are we to worry ourselves to make tests for our own faith--rather we are to leave the matter in our Lord's hands. The tests will probably not come to us along the lines of our expectancy, but, on the contrary, from unexpected quarters. That many such tests are before us in the "evil day" in which we are living, the Apostle assures us. He tells us that we will require the whole armor of God in order to be able to withstand the assaults upon our faith in this time. So subtle will be these assaults that our Redeemer tells us that if it were possible the "very elect" would be deceived. But, thank God, it is not possible for these to be deceived. The Lord has become their refuge and their habitation; he has accepted the supervision of their affairs; he will not suffer them to be tempted above that they are able, but will with the temptation provide a way of escape. (`1 Cor. 10:13`.) While we are not to think it strange concerning these fiery trials, our faith in the Lord's testimony respecting them will have much to do with
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our preparation for withstanding them: if we believe his Word we will improve every opportunity for putting on the helmet, the breastplate, the sandals, and for the learning to use the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and the shield of faith, whereby we may quench the fiery darts of unbelief. Whoever does not take heed to the Word and thus put on the armor of God is thereby showing his lack of faith, his unbelief, being disobedient to the word of the Commander. When he assures us that every man's work shall be tried of what sort it is, and that only the gold and silver and precious stones of divine truth will constitute such faith as will stand the tests of this day, we may be sure that our Lord understood the matter thoroughly; and in proportion as we have this faith we will be energetic in getting rid of any wood, hay or stubble of our theology, and replacing the same with the precious things of the divine Word, that we may be able to stand in the "evil day," that we may be counted worthy to be helped of the Lord as those who are truly his. According to our faith it will be unto us.
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"FAITH CAN FIRMLY TRUST HIM, COME WHAT MAY"
Our Golden Text is a very encouraging one. In view of the fact that all of the called, chosen and faithful must be required to pass through the school of experience, discipline and testing with a view to their final approval, how encouraging it is to know that the Lord will indeed be with us in every trouble, that he sympathizes with us in all of our trials, adversities, afflictions, perplexities, etc., and that "behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face." The waters of affliction, disappointment, perplexity, trouble, will be about us, and we are not to float with the current either, but are to endure hardness as good soldiers. But our source of strength in battling with the current of life is never to be forgotten--"When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee." Blessed thought! "I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me," and he assures us, "My strength is made perfect in weakness." (`Phil. 4:13`; `2 Cor. 12:9`.) Our Golden Text implies rivers of trouble, but assures us that when we pass through the rivers they shall not overflow us, they shall not extinguish us; on the contrary the Lord will pull us safely over to the other side, where we shall have life, and that more abundantly, with the glory, honor and immortality which he will provide for his Bride--his Elect.
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THINGS LAWFUL NOT EXPEDIENT
--`1 CORINTHIANS 10:23-33`.--JUNE 30.--
Golden Text:--"It is good neither to eat flesh nor to drink wine nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth."
OUR lesson relates to personal liberty, and is interjected into the regular course as a temperance lesson. It is a fact that no other religious system teaches personal liberty in the sense and to the degree that it is taught in the Bible--by Jesus and his apostles. Even the Jews under the Law were taught a higher degree of personal liberty than were others in their day--by the Law itself. The essence of all human religion and philosophy seems to be the bondage of the individual to the customs, the usages, of his forefathers, bound by ignorance, superstition and priestcraft. It may be argued that amongst Christians, too, priestcraft, ignorance and superstition are quite prominent and weighty. We assent to this, but point out that such bondage is quite contrary to the teachings of the Scriptures. It is written, "Whom the Son makes free is free indeed" (`John 8:36`); and everywhere the teaching of the New Testament is that "Where the Spirit of Christ is there is liberty."--`2 Cor. 3:17`.
MENTAL POISE OR BALANCE
If so great personal liberty is accorded under the Gospel, the question arises, Why should there be any difficulty along this line? We reply that the difficulty lies in the fact that the Lord's people, who are given this large liberty as New Creatures, find difficulties to its exercise in their own flesh--because of inherited weaknesses, mental and physical; and they find perplexities and difficulties also because of the general undone, fallen condition of humanity, and because human weaknesses take so many different forms, all of which need more or less restraint in some form or other. The difficulty is in knowing how to balance our liberties as New Creatures with these blemishes of the old nature--the natural man. Nor is it possible to make this question entirely clear to the natural man because, as the Apostle says, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."--`1 Cor. 2:14`.
Even to those whom the Scriptures recognize as "New Creatures," begotten again of the holy Spirit, the elucidation of this question is difficult, because so many "New Creatures" fail to recognize the difference between the new (I) and the old (I). The newly begotten spirit is represented by the new will, and the old flesh is reckoned dead when we are begotten again. The New Creature, having no proper body until it shall experience its resurrection "change," is permitted to use the fleshly body as its servant, which is reckoned alive for that purpose. This body is subsequently reckoned as having passed from death unto life to be the body and servant of the New Creature until the latter shall have eventually experienced its perfecting in the resurrection "change," in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. The Apostle explains this new relationship between the spirit-begotten mind or will and the body reckoned dead and reckoned as awakened again, saying, "If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit which dwelleth in you." The power of God which was sufficient to raise Jesus from the dead a quickening Spirit is surely powerful enough to operate in our mortal bodies so as to permit us (New Creatures) to use them in God's service.
LIBERTY OF THE SONS OF GOD
Let us get the proper thought: The holy Spirit is a
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spirit of liberty--God "seeketh such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth": he seeks not the worship and service of slaves under bondage and restraints. Hence amongst the angels we may be sure there is no compulsion to divine service--they all serve willingly, gladly, joyfully. We may be sure that it is the ultimate design of God that every creature throughout the universe which has not and will not come into absolute harmony with the Creator --no other restraint but of joyful willingness--shall ultimately be destroyed as unworthy of further divine favors unto life eternal. But mankind is not in this free condition. The liberty of the sons of God was lost to our race through the disobedience of our first parents: we were alienated from God, and came under his sentence of death as unfit for eternal life.
The Scriptures tell us that we were "sold under sin"-- sold into bondage, servitude, into sin, by the disobedience of our first parents. The world is still in this bondage, and hence is not free in any sense of the word, and should not be. As bond-slaves of sin, the world must wait for the deliverance which God has willed and will fully provide, and of which the Apostle writes, saying, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now," "waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God." "For the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God." (`Rom. 8:19-22`.) Here the Apostle tells us that the world's liberty awaits the dawning of the Millennial morning, when the sons of God, Christ the Bridegroom and the Elect Church his Bride, shall be manifest in power and great glory as the divinely appointed Royal Priesthood, judges for the world--to lift them out of bondage to sin and death, and by restitution processes to give back to them, by the close of the Millennium, the full perfection of their human nature and a perfect home, and divine favor and blessing unto everlasting life--all the unwilling and disobedient being destroyed in the Second Death.
"NOW ARE WE THE SONS OF GOD"
With one voice Jesus and his apostles assure us that those of the human family who have had the ear to hear and the heart to appreciate the message of God's grace in Christ, God has been willing to accept as sons of God, and to accord to them the liberty of the sons of God without their waiting for the times of restitution to secure these favors. Those who by faith have the eyes of their understanding opened and who evidently hear, are reckoned as justified --as made right in God's sight--because their minds are right, their wills are right, however imperfect their flesh may be. Those of this class who consecrated themselves irrevocably to the Lord and were begotten of the Spirit were counted New Creatures, of a new nature, to whom old things had passed away and all things had become new--who henceforth walked not after the desires of the flesh but after the desires of the Spirit. These are the New Creation, begotten by the Lord's Spirit.
It is to these New Creatures that God has accorded liberty--not to the world nor even to the flesh of the New Creation. The New Creature, because in full accord with the Lord, may be granted full liberty; and hence it is that the Church, the body of Christ, is left without bondage to any law except that they shall love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, and their neighbor as themselves. They are entirely free within these limitations, which are the very most that could be granted under the divine arrangement, which recognizes only those who have the Spirit of God as being sons of God and having any liberty whatever as such.
CONFLICT BETWEEN THE FLESH AND SPIRIT
Here arises the conflict: the spirit indeed is willing to use its liberty only to the glory of God, but the flesh is artful, cunning, strong. Although condemned to death, "crucified with Christ" and "dying daily," as the New Creature grows "strong in the Lord and in the power of his might," nevertheless the flesh--always contrary to the spirit on these subjects--argues for its rights, its privileges, its liberties, in a manner which the New Creature, the new mind, the new will, must frequently disregard, deny. It is a trick of the condemned flesh to appeal to the New Creature along the line of personal liberty, pointing out in the words of our
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lesson that all things are lawful to it--that is, that there is no law restraining its liberty, and that therefore it should grant to the flesh larger concessions in some respects, at least, than the world would enjoy.
Our lesson is the Apostle's answer to such an appeal: he declares that while nothing is forbidden the New Creature under direct divine law, it is also true that there are many things that would be inexpedient, ill-advised, contrary to its best interests, its strengthening, its development: hence such inexpedient things should be noted, and the interests of the New Creation should always decide the question, although the New Creature, begotten of the Spirit of God, loving God supremely and his neighbor as himself, is forbidden nothing. It is to be remembered, says the Apostle, that not all things edify, profit, strengthen, build up, encourage. And whatever is not to edification is not profitable, and is not to be entertained or practised regardless of law on the subject.
"AM I MY BROTHER'S KEEPER?"
Continuing his argument along this line, the Apostle shows that the New Creature, while not restrained by law, is restrained from many things by his own nature. Begotten of the spirit of love, and loving his neighbor as himself, he is bound to think not only of what would be harmless to himself but also to consider what would be helpful or injurious to his neighbor: hence, as the Apostle says, none of us should seek his own welfare merely, but each also his neighbor's welfare. In a word, the Apostle shows that the New Creature is his brother's keeper in the sense that he must consider his brother's interests as well as his own. Not that he should interfere with his brother's rights, privileges and interests, and be a busybody in other men's matters, but that he should allow the Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of love, to so thoroughly fill his own heart that he would be a helper and not a stumbling-block to the brethren and to the world.
These New Creatures to whom the Apostle ministered resided in the midst of civilized heathendom, and hence were exposed to trials along lines very different from those
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affecting the converts from Judaism residing in Palestine, where the surroundings would be godly at least. Not that the Christians of Palestine had no difficulties, for we know that they had their special trials in respect to the demands of the Law, the usages of the synagogues and the Temple, etc., but the Apostle was now discussing the special trials of Christians in foreign lands. The custom of that time was to offer animals as sacrifices to idols, and then to give the carcasses of the animals to the priests, who in turn sold these through butchers in the public markets. Hence those who would eat meat at all would find it almost impossible to avoid eating meat that had been offered to idols. This was a serious point and a very perplexing question: what should they do? Some were stronger of mind than others, and could understand that an idol was nothing, and that therefore the offering of meat before nothing could do it no injury. However, all were not thus minded: some brethren and sisters were weaker--unable to draw such a distinction, and for these New Creatures to live conscientiously would mean that they must deny themselves frequently the use of such meat. The case would be particularly difficult where some of the members of the families were Christians and others were not. No wonder the Apostle referred to this question in more than one of his epistles and indicated its importance.
There were two sides to the question: The idol being nothing, the offering of the food to it being nothing, the personal liberty question alone would be in dispute, for there was no law given on this matter except the law of love. The other side of the argument would be that the brother who could not conscientiously partake of such meat might have too much pride or an insufficiency of courage to follow his convictions, and might thus violate his conscience in trying to keep pace with another whose eyes of understanding open more widely or more quickly. The Apostle's exhortation is that these should be remembered, and that the one of broader comprehension should be willing to consider his brother and not to stumble his conscience--be willing to refrain from eating such meat rather than run the risk of injuring his brother, whom Christ so loved that he died for him.
"EAT, ASKING NO QUESTIONS"
In the verses preceding our lesson the Apostle urges great care on the part of believers, pointing out to them that God delivered the nation of Israel, but that subsequently, because of their lack of loyalty, he permitted them to die, some for one offence and some for another. His suggestion is that we, having been set free from the bondage of Satan, should be careful how we use our liberty, lest it become to us a snare, a stumbling-stone. In view of the prevalence of idolatry at that time he felt it expedient to urge the Church, saying, "Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry." (`1 Cor. 10:14`.) He then proceeds to contrast the feast which marks us as Christians--the Memorial of our Lord's death --with the heathen feasts to which many of the Lord's people would undoubtedly be invited, and in which they would be exposed to various misleading influences which might prove injurious to them as New Creatures in Christ, tending to relax their vigilance over the flesh and to hinder them from progress in growth as New Creatures. He points out that there is a fellowship, a communion, implied in our partaking of our Lord's loaf and the Lord's cup--that we thus indicate that all of the New Creation are members of the body of Christ, participants in the same joys, blessings, hopes, promises and sufferings. Then he declares that in the feasts of the heathen not God but devils were worshipped, and he asks what communion or fellowship could there be between the table of the Lord and the table of devils, and between those who feast at the Lord's table on the heavenly spiritual things and those who were more or less identified with the heathendom of the time. The implication is that there is no fellowship, no communion.
Although in our day conditions are in many respects much more favorable, nevertheless there is some similarity. Many of our dear friends and relatives fail to worship the true God, the God of love and wisdom and power, but the declaration is that Christ has been provided as a "ransom for all, to be testified in due time." Many on the contrary, while thinking that they worship God, really worship "doctrines of devils," of which they are ashamed, and by which they are hindered and restrained from progress in the Lord's good way. While we should sympathize with these and with all mankind in their blindness and superstition, yet what communion, what fellowship could there be between ideas so diametrically opposite? What fellowship of worship and teaching could there be between such and those who recognize God as the loving, merciful One who willeth not the death of him that dieth, but who would that all should turn unto him and live, and who has made a full provision that the knowledge of Christ shall reach every member of Adam's race either in the present age or in the coming Millennial age by an awakening from the tomb. Surely there can be little harmony between us and those who believe and teach that God, before he created mankind, deliberately planned the eternal torment of the great majority of them and determined a plan by which only a mere handful, a little flock, should ever hear of or enjoy a knowledge of the truth and an opportunity for salvation.
The food upon these two different tables is so very different as to make a breach. Not that we will be out of accord with our brethren and neighbors, but that to the Lord and his Word we must be true. We cannot but show forth the things which we have seen and heard: we love to tell the story, and to refrain from so doing would be woe to us, "Woe to me if I declare not the gospel" (`1 Cor. 9:16`); and again the Apostle says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth"--and we know that all will be granted an opportunity of knowing and believing.--`Rom. 1:16`.
The Apostle points out the reasonable, proper course to be followed under such circumstances. If a Christian of that time were invited to a feast he was not bound to suppose that the meat had been offered to idols, and therefore not bound to refuse it. On the contrary, he might give thanks and eat it without injury to his conscience if able to see the matter in its true, proper light. But if some brother said to him, The meat provided here has been offered to idols, and I fear that it would be wrong for us to eat it, then, says the Apostle, it should not be eaten for the sake
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of the brother who indicated his own knowledge and fear-- for his conscience' sake--lest he should be stumbled. I am to be willing, yea, glad to deny myself what otherwise would have been my liberty, my privilege, since my conscience was not at all involved, but clearly discerned that the idol was nothing and did no injury whatever to the meat. How grand is this lesson of brotherly consideration;--yet it is strictly within the lines of the law of love, for are we not to do to our brother or neighbor as to ourselves? and would we think it right to risk our own spiritual standing for a morsel of meat? How then could we risk our brother's standing on such a consideration? The law of our liberty in Christ, love, must govern our conduct automatically on every occasion. The Lord wishes us to learn, not as children, certain fixed rules, but as philosophers the fixed principles which can be applied.
THE PRINCIPLE OF WIDE APPLICATION
All who have been begotten of the holy Spirit of love will perceive that the principles governing the New Creation are of very wide application indeed. The committee selecting this for our lesson desired that we forget not the application
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of this principle to the subject of temperance in respect to alcoholic liquors. Surely so grave an evil should not be overlooked, and to it we might advantageously add the influence of other narcotics--opium, morphine, cocaine, etc. These evils which so seriously tempt the human race, which have wrecked so many lives, blighted so many prospects, destroyed so many homes, and which annually consume an amount of wealth which, applied properly, would mean so much of comfort, blessing and elevation to the race, certainly demand thought from all who have been begotten of the holy Spirit of love. Such cannot be indifferent to the interests of their brethren nor to the interests of mankind in general. True, we have neither the word nor example of our Lord and his apostles to the effect that we should leave the more important work of preaching the good tidings of the Kingdom to engage in a temperance work; but we may be sure that whatever influence we have that cannot be used in the forwarding of the Kingdom message could much better go to the restraint of this demoniacal influence in the interest of our fellowmen than to almost any other cause in the world.
The reason why the Kingdom message is given precedence to all others is that, whatever may be done for the world under present conditions, will be merely palliative and not radical cures. The Kingdom under the whole heavens, the exercise of divine power in the hands of the glorified Christ, is the only power to which we can look for the overthrow of these venomous evils. We may be sure that when the Kingdom of God's dear Son is established and the will of God begins to be done on earth as it is done in heaven, it will mean the utter abolition of every ensnaring and degrading influence--the bringing of all things into subjection to the will of God in Christ. We may be equally sure that it would be pleasing to the Lord that all who would be his true followers should give no countenance to these evils, nor to any others in the present time, even though we cannot share with our fellowmen in the hope that any powers of ours would ever ultimately put down these terrible evils. We must still wait for God's Son and his mighty power to intervene, and hence we continue to pray and to labor for the Kingdom that is to come.
A TERRIBLE AND TRUE INDICTMENT
A minister of God makes the following indictment against the influence of the saloon:--
"The saloon is the enemy of God. Its forces are against the forces that make for righteousness. It makes a brute of the being God created in his own image and likeness. Its very atmosphere wreaks with blasphemy. It is destructive of all faith, all virtue, all love toward God, reverence for God and likeness to God. It is the organized expression of the kingdom of Satan amongst men.
"It is the enemy of man. It bloats his visage, corrupts his heart, weakens his will, sears his conscience.
"It is the enemy of the home. It puts out the fire, empties the larder, turns the protector of the family into a thing of abhorrence, clothes the wife in rags and brings the children to suffering and shame.
"It is the enemy of the State. It is the breeding-place of all the plots and conspiracies that threaten the downfall of society. It is the Gibraltar of bad politics. It is the gathering-place of thugs and repeaters, the market of the purchasable vote, the fountain head of municipal wrong-doing.
"The devil is for it; God is against it. Vice is for it; virtue is against it. The brothel is for it; the home is against it. Falsehood is for it; truth is against it. The anarchist is for it; the statesman is against it. Poverty is for it; plenty is against it. Misery is for it; happiness is against it. Disease is for it; health is against it. Death is for it; life is against it."
"ALL TO THE GLORY OF GOD"
The Apostle sums up his argument in favor of loving consideration for our brethren and liberty of conscience for ourselves--"Whether, therefore, ye eat or drink or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God." More than thirty years ago this text was so impressed upon the mind of the writer that he had it beautifully painted on glass and it still greets the eyes of visitors to the WATCH TOWER office, the Bible House parlor and the Editor's study. It is difficult to imagine a more comprehensive statement of the Christian's liberty and limitations than is expressed in these words. To whatever extent one learns to govern thoughts, words and deeds by this glorious precept he is becoming more and more filled with the spirit of the law of love, strengthened in character and meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. This limitation to what would be to "the glory of God" will enter into and affect all the affairs of life if we will only permit it. A dear brother now deceased told us on the occasion of our first meeting that for years he had been a nominal Christian, first a Congregationalist and subsequently an Episcopalian, and always found of his personal liberty; but how, failing to see the other side of the question, he had allowed his liberty to lead him into various excesses. He felt that he was exercising his personal liberty when he drank wine and occasionally played a social game of cards with the rector of his Church, and generally he felt at liberty to do whatever would not be in violation of the laws of the land.
His inquiry was, "Brother Russell, can you explain to
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me the change which has come over my life: I do not understand it myself. My friends used to hand me tracts in opposition to wine and tobacco, etc., but I pooh-poohed them and said in effect, 'I am as good as you; mind your own business and let me mind mine. I am violating no law, I am merely exercising my personal liberty.' But, Brother Russell, since I read MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. 1, a change has come over me, and those practices which I once considered my liberty I now esteem to be my snares and avoid them. The matter came about in this way: I first asked myself, Is that time spent with the rector playing cards a profitable use of my time? Are you doing it to the glory of God? And as for the wine, do you use that to the glory of God? I was obliged to answer both questions in the negative and discontinued both practices. It was not long after this that I found myself striking a match and about to light my usual cigar. The thought of doing all things to the glory of God came to my mind afresh and I said, 'Can you smoke that cigar to the glory of God?' It took a little time to decide the question, for I had been in the habit of smoking on an average ten cigars a day. That match went out and I struck another while still thinking. I finally decided that I could not smoke the cigar to God's glory and I threw it away. It was only a short time after that that I found myself feeling for my fine-cut tobacco, and about to take it as a substitute for the cigar. Again the question arose, Can you chew the tobacco to the glory of God? My judgment answered, No! and I threw away the tobacco. I have never used either since. Conscious that the thing that had influenced me to this course was the reading of the DAWN I reexamined the volume carefully, but could find in it no tirade against the practices I had just discontinued--no recommendations even along sumptuary lines. I want to ask you what it was in the DAWN that effected such a revolution in my life." We replied that the DAWN, instead of attacking the branches of evil, followed the Scriptural course of laying the ax to the root of the tree. Whoever realizes the true meaning of his consecration vow, the true significance of his begettal of the holy Spirit, the true meaning of the perfect law of liberty under which he has come, the law of love, will find it ample for the regulation of all of life's affairs, for he must seek thereafter that whether he eats or drinks or whatever he does all shall be to the glory of God.
"GIVE NONE OFFENCE"
The Apostle carries this thought of our personal responsibility in seeking God's glory to its legitimate conclusion. He shows that we will be disinclined to do anything that will stumble either Jews or Greeks or the Church of God. And he declares in the last verse of the lesson that this was his own course in life--that so far as possible in line with his conscience he sought to be pleasing to all men in all things--disregarding his own advantage and considering chiefly the profit of the many that he might do all possible for their salvation. This noble spirit is the only one consistent with our law of liberty--love which is always generous, thoughtful of the interest of others, unselfish, not proud, boastful, greedy;--not ill-mannered, not careless of the interests and feelings of others, either in the great or in the small things of life--the present or the future. We are glad that the Apostle was able to call attention to his own course as an exemplification of his teaching. And this should be the rule with all of us, not merely to give precepts but to follow them with example.
The Apostle in the next verse, which should be a part of the same chapter, says, "Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ." It would have been strangely inconsistent of the Apostle to set himself up as an example in anything except as he had pointed out either directly or indirectly that he could be an example only because he was a follower in the footsteps of the Redeemer. Christ is the pattern of us all, though we may learn to appreciate the grandeur of his example better by our closer contact with some who are walking in his steps and with whose experiences we may be able the more closely to sympathize. O that this lesson of the import of our law of liberty in all the affairs of life might be with us with increasing force, not only in our own affairs but also in our relationship in the Church, the body of Christ, that each might be the more careful as the days go by to exemplify the love of Christ, the love of God, the love of the brethren--the love even of our enemies.
AN ENCOURAGING LETTER
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I have been to St. Paul, Minn., to the Memorial, and learned concerning the prospective Convention to be held there in July. Am delighted the Lord is thus favoring them, as there are many new ones apparently coming in there now. I think that about ten or twelve, who have become interested from the sale of DAWNS, are attending the meetings, and that about ten have made entire consecration.
I was surprised to see the rapid growth of the Church there in zeal and love. You advised them to have a Wednesday evening testimony meeting and use a verse of Scripture for the text and they are carrying it out to the letter. The first Wednesday meeting I attended there were twenty-two present, all living long distances away, and all seemed ready to give testimony along the line of the subject. They use your text for the preceding Sunday's discourse published in the Pittsburg Dispatch. They meet at a different home of the brethren each week until they complete the circuit, as some cannot get to meeting at any other time than when it is at their home.
Minneapolis is carrying out the same plan. Sundays they all meet together, and the Elders are giving some fine discourses.
My heart has been greatly rejoiced of late to learn of three who after being stirred up by your discourse at Lynn, Mass., in January accepted the terms of consecration and complied therewith. They were from my home town in Nova Scotia, some of my warmest friends. I gave two of them the "Plan of the Ages" seven years ago, but they never read it or valued the Truth in the least until they heard you in January.
I thought I would write you privately about these things, as your heart would be rejoiced to learn of the prosperity of the Kingdom work anywhere. We are always rejoiced when anyone is benefited by the sale of the books, and I know you must be even more so. I have a friend who is reading with great interest, and is accepting the Truth as fast as she sees it. I have been almost sure her life has been consecrated to the Lord for years, it has been so beautiful. She cannot afford to pay for the TOWER and will you kindly place her name on the Lord's poor list.
Yours in him, E. E. M.,--Minn.