ZWT - 1909 - R4301 thru R4536 / R4471 (273) - September 15, 1909
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VOL. XXX SEPTEMBER 15 NO. 18
A.D. 1909--A.M. 6037
Views from The Watch Tower........................275
The Roman Catholic Reply to Christian Science.275
Nocturnal Hallucinations--"Wake Up!"..............277
Clearer Light to be Expected..................277
The Charges Against Us........................278
"Confess Your Faults One to Another"..........278
Our Reply to a Letter.........................280
Filling Up Sufferings--for the Church.........280
The Father's Drawing and the Son's Drawing....281
Explanations and Corrections..................282
Impossible to Deceive the Elect...............283
"Christ is Come" (Poem)...........................284
Self-Restraint in Liberty.........................284
Varying Degrees of Love...........................285
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
"BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST.,
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BROOKLYN BETHEL HYMNS FOR OCTOBER
After the singing of the hymn the Bethel Family listens to the reading of "My Vow unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text for the date is read and questions and comments considered. Finally, just before leaving the table, the MANNA comment is read. Desiring that all share the blessings, we commend the plan to others. The hymns for Oct. are indicated below to permit all who so desire to join with us: (1) 16; (2) 144; (3) 19; (4) 136; (5) 280; (6) 230; (7) 229; (8) 296; (9) 32; (10) 119; (11) 293; (12) 191; (13) 279; (14) 324; (15) 172; (16) 9; (17) 179; (18) 204; (19) 141; (20) 307; (21) 29; (22) 7; (23) 325; (24) 1; (25) 79; (26) 208; (27) 328; (28) 155; (29) 273; (30) 312; (31) 113
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
DR. AKED'S CONGRATULATIONS
THE CHURCHES may now add to Mr. Rockefeller's responsibility for the taint of wealth, that through his university he has tainted the nation's theology. George Burman Foster has finally been ousted from membership in the Chicago conference of Baptist ministers.
But he still remains a member and a minister of that denomination, as well as the professor of comparative religions in what is generally known as Mr. Rockefeller's Baptist University. It was a merry war, filled with expletives and unchurchly heat, which ended Mr. Foster's ministerial affiliation.
But now comes Dr. Aked, pastor of the Fifth Avenue Baptist church of New York, "the Rockefeller church," and agrees with the professor, though he can see no excuse for a book dealing with the fundamental tenets of the Christian religion, and "dashed off in thirty days," like a best seller.
He approves, however, of its purpose, which he says was to supplant the foundations of the faith of our fathers with something unbelievers may believe, but which more likely was to put cash in a purse that felt a money hunger.
Dr. Aked also congratulates "the whole church of God" upon the admission to the Presbyterian ministry of three young men who refused to accept the birth of Christ as miraculous, or the story of Adam and Eve as told in Genesis, or some of the miracles of the New Testament as authentic. He calls them "young men who think and are prepared to advance in the fulness of Christian thought and Evolution."
--Duluth News Tribune.
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC REPLY TO CHRISTIAN
"Current Literature," presents briefly the Roman Catholic reply to Christian Science, as set forth by the Rev. L. A. Lambert, LL.D., as per the following extract:--
According to Mr. McCrackan, "Christian Science teaches that there is but one God, a God who is Infinite Spirit and Creator, the universe, including man, consisting of an infinite number of expressions of this One Spirit." This conception of God seems to approach the Christian concept; but actually, Dr. Lambert contends, it is something very different. As he puts it:
"You say, 'God is Infinite Spirit.' Why not say an Infinite Spirit? Why persist in avoiding the individual article an? You say, 'God is Infinite Creator,' but in the same sentence you deny that he is Creator when you say the universe, man included, consists of an infinite number of expressions of the One Spirit, or God. If by 'expression you mean that the universe, with all its phenomena of changes and individuations, is only subjective changes and evolvements of the Deity, you should say it frankly, as the Pantheists do, and take your place among them, and drop the word Creator from your philosophy. If you mean by the word Creator what Christian philosophy means by it--the production by God, from nothing, of things distinct from himself--you should drop the term 'expression' and use the word Creator. Exact science does not tolerate the use of both these terms in the same sense. Not the least objection to Christian Scientists is their misuse or vague, non-committal use of terms; it is characteristic of all their literature."
Christian Science, Mr. McCrackan asserts, "does not deny the existence of the universe. It does not question the reality of a single object in the universe. But it teaches that this reality is an expression of mind, and not matter." But this statement, Dr. Lambert holds, is a mere subterfuge. "There can be no doubt," he observes, "that Christian Science denies the reality of the universe in the sense that Christians affirm it. In saying it is an expression of mind they deny its creation; in saying it is not matter they contradict the common sense of mankind." The argument proceeds:
"Christian Science denies the real existence of the typewriter by means of which Mr. McCrackan wrote his letter, and the paper on which he wrote it, and the train that brought it to us. All these, it tells us, are mere mental expressions, having no real existence outside of and distinct from the Divine Mind. The bullet that entered the body of President McKinley was only an idea of a bullet existing in the Divine Mind, as was also the President, and the assassin who killed him, and the chair in which the assassin sat to receive the idea of a death shock from an idea of electricity, is only the idea of a chair, existing nowhere but in the Divine Mind. And the human mind that believes in the material reality of the bullet that killed, and the wretch who shot it, and the chair that he sat in, and the electricity that killed him, is, according to Christian Science, a mind victimized by delusions and hallucinations. The assassination was, in reality, only a clash of incompatible ideas in the Divine mind, and one of them went down into the idea of a grave, which also exists only in the Divine Mind; and the idea of a government of the State of New York sent the other antagonistic idea to the Divine idea of a grave. And the idea of the world will continue to revolve --in the One Mind--as heretofore."
From this fantastic statement of the implications of Christian Science, Dr. Lambert passes on to an affirmation that the new creed is sheer Pantheism. The very essence of Pantheism, according to his definition, is the denial of the creative act. "Those who hold to that ism," he remarks, "do not say that God is in matter, but that all that is, is God; that all the phenomena of which we are conscious are but the visible unfolding or evolvement of the
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Divine nature, as the rose unfolds itself, all unconscious of what it does; and this universe, as seen by us, is to God what the surface of the ocean is to the ocean, whose waves and bubbles rise and fall back into it, never ceasing in all their changes to be a part of it. Pantheism looks on the universe and all its changes--including thought--as phases or forms of the Divine Being, evolving and ever to evolve or unfold, by a fatal necessity." But this is precisely what Christian Science teaches. Addressing himself directly to Mr. McCrackan, Dr. Lambert says:
"As you deny the existence of all spirits except the Infinite Spirit, and deny the existence of the material world also, there remains nothing in existence but the Infinite Spirit; hence you can, by the term 'expression,' mean only some form, state or change of this Spirit Himself. The term 'expression,' then, in your sense, clashes with creation; it goes further, and denies creation, leaving nothing but subjective change, development or evolvement of the Infinite Being. This is Pantheism pure and simple. You may not intend this, but it is the inevitable conclusion from your Christian Science principles.
"You confirm this conclusion when you say: 'The only real universe is mental. Things are thoughts.' That is, thoughts in the mind of God. If things are nothing more than thoughts, existing only in the Divine Mind, then things --this universe--are eternal, for God's thoughts are eternal and unchangeable. Consequently, there never has been a creation; for, had there been, there would be something more than thoughts. There would be thoughts plus their realization in time and space by the creative act. You see, then, that when you deny the existence of everything but thought, you deny creation. It will not do to say that God created his thoughts, for that would necessarily imply that he had to do something--create--before he could think--a supposition too absurd for a sane mind. To say, therefore, that only divine thoughts exist is to deny creation and fall into Pantheism. While you hold such views you should eliminate the term 'creation' from your Christian Science vocabulary; it has no place there whatever.
"In contrast with this is Christian philosophy, which teaches that from all eternity the archetypes, patterns or exemplars of all things that have real, substantial existence were in the Divine mind, as the plan of a yet unbuilt palace is in the mind of the architect, and that by the creative act of Divine Omnipotence copies or replicas of these eternal archetypes were brought from nothing into real being, separate and distinct from their Creator. Here it will be seen that the creative act is the mark of distinction between Christian teaching and Pantheism in all its forms, including Christian Science as one of its forms."
Proceeding to an examination of the Christian Science attitude toward evil and "mortal mind," Dr. Lambert quotes this statement of Mr. McCrackan's:
"The use of the word 'Mind' in Christian Science deserves special notice. Spelled with a capital M it is synonymous with Spirit. Thus God is spoken of as Mind or Spirit. Spelled with a small letter, mind is used to designate that human mind which rises in rebellion against the Divine Mind--that mortal mind which attempts to counterfeit the Immortal Mind. This Mortal Mind is the 'carnal mind,' spoken of by Paul, and is the fruitful source of all sin and sickness. It is--not to put too fine a point upon it--the lying serpent, the devil, which tries to separate man from his Creator."
This method of distinguishing the Divine Mind from the human mind is credited by Dr. Lambert with originality, if with nothing else. But it leads, he thinks, to an identification, rather than a differentiation, of the two kinds of mind. For if the Divine Mind is all, how can the existence of mortal mind be even imagined? To quote verbatim:
"The logical conclusion is that the human mind, alias mortal mind, alias the lying spirit, alias the devil, is an expression or mode of the Divine Mind. It cannot be anything separate and distinct from the Divine Mind, since according to the writer above quoted, what ever is not that Mind or a mode of it is absolute nothingness. A further conclusion
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is that sin, sickness, the spirit of rebellion and counterfeiting, the lying serpent and the devil, are in and of the Divine Mind and have no existence outside of it. They are all, therefore Divine in their nature, as the Mind of which they are but an expression or mode is Divine. The Universe, including man, is only an eternal thought existing in the Divine Mind, having no corresponding external reality. All the evils of this life of our conscious existence, sin, sickness, pain and death, are only ideas in the Divine Mind! Such, it seems to us, is the god whom the Christian Scientists call Infinite Love, Perfection and Truth!"
There is, we are told, no escape from this dilemma. Either "mortal mind" was created by God, or it was not. According to Christian Science, it was not. The sole remaining alternative is that of an uncreated mind apart from God. Dr. Lambert says:
"You tell us that this being was not created by God. As it could not create itself it is, therefore, eternal, because uncreated. You have then an eternal liar eternally facing and defying God; one the origin of good, and the other the origin of evil. This dualism is the necessary result of what you say of mortal mind. It is Manichaeism, that combination of Magism and Buddhism that was condemned by the Christian Church in the third century."
In his consideration of the therapeutic methods on which so much of the success of Christian Science rests, Dr. Lambert has little or nothing to say of the results accomplished. He makes some telling points, however, against the theories that underlie the methods. When Mr. McCrackan urges, "It does not appear that Christ and the Apostles taught that God healed the sick by material means," he replies: "Neither does it appear that they taught that God appeased the hunger of the hungry by material means. There was no need to teach what everybody understood and believed. The fact that our Lord and his Apostles did not contradict the common and universal belief is the best possible proof that the belief corresponded with the truth." He goes on to argue:
"When the deaf, the dumb, the blind and the paralyzed came to him to be healed, what more opportune time could there be to correct the errors of their mortal minds by telling them that their diseases were only in their deluded minds and not in their bodies, for they had no bodies to be diseased, no ears to be deaf, no eyes to be blind, no limbs to be paralyzed. Instead, however, of talking in this Christian Science vein, our Lord received the sick and treated the diseases they complained of as real bodily diseases, and used his supernatural power to miraculously heal them. The leper said: 'Lord, if Thou wilt Thou canst make me clean.' And Jesus put forth his hand and touched him, saying, 'I will; be thou clean,' and immediately the leprosy was cleansed.--`Matt. viii. 3`. No suggestion here of error of the leper's mortal mind. All is real, both the leprosy and the miraculous cure."
The Christian Science theory of healing, it is contended, can not claim a New Testament basis. It involves its exponents, moreover, in a dilemma almost as bewildering as that raised by the theory of "mortal mind." For Christian Scientists, be it remembered, teach that the material body, even when eaten by cancer or tortured by pain, has no real existence outside of mind, and that as existing in the mind it is a delusion, a phantom lie told by the mortal mind to itself. They teach that the testimony of the five senses, which bear witness to the reality of our material bodies and the material universe about us, is not good testimony, for it has to be constantly corrected. And yet they at the same time claim--in proof of their doctrines--that they have effected many cures. Dr. Lambert points out:
"Now these three positions make it necessary for the Christian Scientists to answer the following questions: How can their claim to have healed diseases be proved? How can they get their evidence present to our consciousness, or before the court of our mind, except through the senses? And if we cannot rely on the testimony of our senses how can we know that the cures they claim to have effected are real cures and not delusions?"
In illustration of his point, Dr. Lambert offers the following short dialogue:
"Christian Scientist:--We have cured many diseases.
"Christian:--Give us a case in proof.
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"Christian Scientist:--Well there is the case of John Doe, who had a cancer on his cheek. You see, it is now entirely healed. Nothing but a scar remains.
"Christian:--It would seem so, and I would be inclined to believe it were it not that you have told me that my senses are not to be trusted. My senses are the only means by which I can know that the cancer has been healed. Now, as you say they deceive me, I cannot say on their testimony that I know anything about the cure which you speak of. Therefore, until you admit that my senses are credible witnesses, I cannot admit any of your claimed cures.
"Christian Scientist:--But I can bring many other cases.
"Christian:--But the same difficulty remains as in the cancer case. Before your cures can be proved to me you must admit that my senses are reliable witnesses, and if they be reliable enough to prove your cancer cure they are equally reliable when they tell me that the cancer was a real one and that the body it was on is a real material body, and not a mere idea existing in some mind. You cannot use the testimony of the senses to prove your claimed cures, and reject it when it disproves your doctrine. It is good in either case, or it is good in neither."
The attempt to give Christian Science philosophy a Christian purpose, direction and end is pronounced by Dr. Lambert utterly futile. "It is the antithesis of Christianity," he says. He sums up the whole matter thus:
"Christian Science is a revulsion against gross materialism. It is the opposite extreme. Materialism denies the existence of everything that is not matter: Christian Scienceism denies the existence of everything that is not spirit or mind. They are both errors, equidistant from the truth, which is that both material and spiritual beings exist."
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NOCTURNAL HALLUCINATIONS--"WAKE UP!"
IN A recent issue we mentioned a Brother in Australia, once tenderly referred to in these columns as "our beloved son Timothy," who has apparently gone blind respecting spiritual things. We noted that he had broken out into print to proclaim that for seventeen years, as he now sees it, he labored under the delusions of our teachings, and to apologize for having done his best to re-echo the same. Poor man! We wonder if his wife induced him to write so foolishly? Yet all those seventeen years both he and his wife have proclaimed were the most blessed years of their Christian experience, the years of their best growth in grace and knowledge. Now they declare that what they then believed was the very key to the Divine Plan of the Ages, was a false key-- namely "the mystery"--that the Church, the Body of Christ, is to be sharer with her Lord in his glory, by virtue of being privileged "to partake of his sufferings," "to be dead with him"; "For if we suffer with him, we shall reign with him; if we be dead with him, we shall live with him." This "mystery," this key to the understanding of the Divine Plan, they now declare to be the rankest error--so rank that it makes the Editor of this journal and the thousands rejoicing in this Truth and the light which it sheds upon the Divine Word amenable to the Second Death.
It is truly remarkable what a twist can come into the human mind when once it cuts loose from the cord of Truth saying, "Let us break their bands asunder and cast away their cords from us." Fancying that they have themselves gotten out of Second Death conditions (from which it is impossible to renew anybody), they are now intent upon helping all of "The Watch Tower" readers out of this same Second Death condition; reasoning, doubtless, that if they could escape after seventeen years, others who have come in more recently might have as good a chance; but of course there would be no chance for the Editor of "The Watch Tower" left alone. Poor him!
Still filled with this notion, the same Brother and Sister have issued a leaflet entitled, "Wake Up!" Having gotten "awake" themselves they are anxious to awaken others--to what? Presumably to the condition they were in seventeen years ago, when first they came into the light of Present Truth shining from this Journal and its subsidiary publications. We assure this dear Brother and Sister that seventeen years ago, and since, all in our power has been done to awaken them and all of the dear "household of faith" everywhere. We believe that they were awakened and that now they have gone asleep again and are merely dreaming in their sleep--having a nightmare experience. Would that we knew how to properly awaken them, that they might comprehend their present experience as nocturnal hallucinations. We wish to say again, however, that if anybody knows of a better interpretation of God's Word than that which we present, we advise him by all means to accept it. More than this, if anyone has thoroughly examined our presentations of the Divine Plan and does not find his heart and his head at rest and his longings satisfied as nothing else could do, we advise him or her to search further. As for ourself, we can only say that we are so satisfied with the Divine Plan that we could not part with a single feature of it. During the thirty-five years of the harvest time in which we have been proclaiming
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these truths, we have had nothing to discard, nothing to reject as erroneous. On the other hand, our pathway, as promised, has been shining more and more as it led onward. No steps have needed to be retraced. We have no expectation that the Lord leads his people in a wrong way for thirty-five years, nor for seventeen years, and will then need to wake them up to retrace their steps. On the contrary, "Our King is marching on!" and all who are following him will continue to find that he leads in a right way and that their "pathway shineth more and more unto the perfect day."
CLEARER LIGHT TO BE EXPECTED
Someone may ask, Do you, then, claim infallibility and that every sentence appearing in "The Watch Tower" publications is stated with absolute correctness? Assuredly we make no such claim and have never made such a claim. What motive can our opponents have in so charging against us? Are they not seeking to set up a falsehood to give themselves excuse for making attacks and to endeavor to pervert the judgments of others? Did Moses or Aaron or Joshua or David or Solomon or any of the prophets ever make such a claim for themselves? Or would anybody make such a claim for them? The very suggestion is absurd. The most we could claim for the best of them would be that they were loyal to God in their hearts, that they sought to do his will and to be guided by his Word and providences, and that God did make use of them in one way and another for the service of his cause and the blessing and instruction of his people. What need would we have to claim more than this for "The Watch Tower"?
In the above we are not instituting comparisons as to the degree of use or usefulness of the parties named. Some the Lord used more and some he used less. Some made fewer mistakes and others more. We are merely pointing out the unreasonable position taken by our opponents. The degree of their heart disloyalty to God and unbrotherliness toward us, which impels them to make such unkind and untruthful presentations, is not for us to determine. They are not our servants. We are neither responsible for their utterances, nor competent to determine the degree of their sin or the proper punishment therefor. They profess to be servants of Christ, as do we, and to the Master each of us must give an account. Nay, since we are in the day of accounting, it is but proper for us to understand that each one is now giving an account and that the Lord is saying to each, "Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee." (`Luke 19:22`.) The merciful, kind, loving, may expect mercy; they are of the kind to whom the Lord has promised the
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riches of his grace. The unmerciful, the bitter, the hard, the cruel, may not expect mercy. They have not the heart development which would make them proper subjects for mercy. They are in that condition which, for their own good, will necessitate their being cast into the outer darkness of the world, where shortly there will be much wailing and chagrin and gnashing of teeth and disappointment in the great time of trouble with which this age will close. This tribulation will be with a view to melting their hearts and sweetening their characters; or, failing of this, will mean to such the Second Death.
THE CHARGES AGAINST US
Our opponents make various claims inconsistent one with the other. Let us examine these criticisms:--
(1) They claim that we have improperly applied `Matthew 24:45`, etc., to "The Watch Tower" publications and that, upon that assumed authority, we have sought to take away the liberties of the Church and to "lord it" over God's heritage. We reply, Not so. Not until our Sept. 15 issue, were even the counter claims re `Matt. 24:45`, presented in these columns. Those applications were made by our enemies as something they could combat. And the more they have combatted their supposed man of straw, the more they have shown up their own impotence and the truth of the proposition they wished in advance to discredit. Thus our opponents have called attention to a matter which our modesty would have hindered our mentioning. The more they have attacked our position the larger is the number who have realized its truthfulness.
(2) When the above argument goes against them our opponents next declare that if "The Watch Tower" be recognized as "that servant" of `Matthew 24:45`, then they believe that `verses 48-51` should be expected to have fulfilment upon us. The wish of their minds is father to the thought--that they see the dreadful things of these verses fulfilled in us. By hook or crook they must seek to prove that "The Watch Tower" now claims that the Lord delayeth his coming. They must try to prove that "The Watch Tower" is smiting its "fellow-servants" and gluttonously eating and drinking with drunken Babylon. An evil mind and a large imagination can prove anything to its own satisfaction, just as the scribes and Pharisees, at our Lord's First Advent, accused him of being a gluttonous person and wine bibber, keeping company with prostitutes and the lower orders of society, with which they would have nothing to do. Just so they claimed that he was "Beelzebub, the Prince of devils." He was charged with blasphemy and executed as a criminal. His words to us forewarn us to expect similarly false accusations and cruel treatment, for "the servant is not above his Master." To these charges we reply:--
We are by no means affiliating with Babylon and no one appreciates that fact or would substantiate our claim more thoroughly than Babylon herself. We have not smitten the brethren. The files of "The Watch Tower" for thirty years prove this. Even our enemies are referred to in kindly and generous terms. On the contrary, those acquainted with the facts know that both publicly and privately "false brethren" have smitten us on both cheeks, as well as backbitten us, slandered us and done everything mean and contemptible and contrary to the Spirit of the Lord. We have committed our case to the Lord; or, rather, we have recognized that our case is the Lord's. We are confident that we are doing his will in not rendering evil for evil nor slander for slander, but contrariwise, blessings in return for injuries. We continue to do all in our power to hold forth the Truth in its glorious beauty, that, peradventure, not only its friends will be the more charmed and blessed, but that possibly some of its enemies may be recovered from their folly.
To the charge that we have boasted and that we have sought and are seeking to bring the people of God under bondage to human systems, we reply: These charges are surely false, so far as our heart is concerned, as the Lord knows our heart. It is wholly his for use in his service for the promulgation of his Truth, for the blessing of his people. Moreover, we believe that all the facts of the case viewed by any conscientious mind, fully, thoroughly and permanently contradict the claims of our opponents. Our publications continually set before God's people the Divine standard, the Bible. They uphold it as no other writings in the world do. They appeal to it on every occasion for the answer to every question for the instruction of God's people in every particular, as no other publications do, so far as we are aware. If there are any other publications on earth which so clearly set forth the rights of the Church as against all popes, bishops, clergy, and their enslaving tendencies, we have no knowledge of them and would be gratified to see them and to know that others have either equaled or surpassed our efforts to have God's people know the Truth, that the Truth should make them free.
Indeed, we have wondered if our faithfulness to the Church in pointing out the liberties and authority of the ecclesia, and that pastors, elders and deacons are the servants of the Church, and not her lords, may not be the very reason why some of the elders and leaders amongst them seem especially opposed to "Scripture Studies," Vol. VI. Some instances have been brought to our attention in which the liberties of the Church have been usurped by the leaders who, wishing to maintain the usurpation, have tried to hinder the Lord's flock from hearing the Shepherd's voice telling them their proper course from "The Watch Tower." It is not for us to judge any. "The Lord will judge his people." It is for us to forewarn all with whom we have influence that the nearer they get individually, and as classes and Churches, into exact harmony with the teachings of the Lord's Word, in that same proportion will they be ready and able to stand the crucial tests that are upon us now.
May we suggest that to our understanding the special trials of this "hour of temptation" begin with the leaders and progress more and more amongst those who have been called out of darkness into God's marvelous light? Later on this will reach the clergy of the nominal Church and its laity, and eventually, the wholly unregenerate masses. The Apostle's words represent well our own sentiments toward all with whom we have influence, namely, "Remember, that by the space of [thirty] years I ceased not to warn every one night and day."-- `Acts 20:31`.
"CONFESS YOUR FAULTS ONE TO ANOTHER"
It is charged against us that our teachings on vital truths have changed and that still we are sending out to the public "Scripture Studies" which give forth our former teachings and that thus we are guilty of dishonesty. Our opponents ought to be glad if this were true, for they give the impression that they agree with the publications as they are going forth, but would disagree with them if they were changed. This is another case of "deceiving and being deceived." Our opponents wish for something to quarrel about and to charge against us; so they seize upon this matter, which we will shortly show is a subterfuge, and misrepresentation, whether from misunderstanding or not is not for us to judge. It will be noticed, however, that so far from loving the "Scripture Studies" and trying to buy up a whole edition of them in their present form and before any changes are made, these opponents have no love for the "Scripture Studies," are not circulating them
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at all, and many of them have been adverse to them for some time and merely awaited an opportunity and an excuse for striking a murderous blow at "The Watch Tower"--"that servant."
The fact is that we are teaching no new doctrine and disowning no old doctrine. And we debated for a time whether or not it would be worth while at all to make the very few changes in "Scripture Studies" necessary to bring them up to the light of the present moment. We finally concluded that it would be wise to make these
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few changes. We did not think worth while to mention the trifling changes to those who are readers of "The Watch Tower," but since the subject has been brought up by our opponents we shall take pleasure in showing forth the slight changes that have been deemed expedient. Our readers will be surprised to note their nothingness. Our opponents, anxious to justify themselves and to scatter error and to interrupt the harvest work (which they cannot do), have seized upon these points of clearer light and sought to make out of them something great, revolutionary, opposed to everything before presented; opposed to Christ; opposed to the Ransom; opposed to everything that is good and holy. To effect this end they are ready to twist and turn and double upon their own track times out of number. Their "midnight howl" might well be, "Anything for a cudgel wherewith the beat 'that servant,' and to kill him, as far as spiritual influence is concerned, and to get possession of the Vineyard!"
Perhaps it would be dignifying these opponents too much to ask if they are amongst the princes who counsel together and at whom "the Lord shall laugh and have them in derision."--`Psa. 2:2-4`.
We have always held that Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant. We have always held that the Church is the Body of The Christ. We have always held that the New Covenant will go into effect with Israel and with the world through Israel at the Second Coming of our Lord, after the Church shall have gone up into Mt. Zion--into the spiritual Kingdom in the power of the First Resurrection --"His Resurrection." We have always held that this Mediator, Jesus the Head, and the Church his Body, will stand between God and the world of mankind during the Millennium--that the world will have no intercourse with God, the Father, until after the Messiah, the Mediator, "that great Prophet," antitypical of Moses, shall have accomplished for Israel and the world all the blessed provisions of the New Covenant. We are still holding and still teaching all these things.
We have always held that the Church, as the Body of Christ, partakes with him of Divine favor on the spirit plane as heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant--not as heirs of the Law Covenant, nor as heirs of the New Covenant. (`Gal. 3:29`.) We still hold this. We have always held and still hold that natural Israel cannot attain to Divine blessings under the Law Covenant and that the privileges and hopes of that Covenant all passed away when Jesus inherited all of its blessings and rights at his death and in his resurrection. We have held and still hold that the Law Covenant, although devoid of any power to give life or blessings to the Jew, is still a bondage upon that people and will continue upon them, and that the only way that they can get out from under its sentence of death is either by accepting Christ as their husband now, and becoming his associates in the spiritual Kingdom as members of the Church, or else by participating as a nation in the blessings of the New Covenant, which will be opened to them at our Lord's Second Advent, when the Church is complete and when the New Covenant will go fully into effect.
What, then, is the difference?--what then the enlightenment on the pathway which we now see and to which our opponents find an opportunity for declaring hostilities long rankling in their bosoms? This: Recognizing that the New Covenant will during the Millennium bless Israel and all nations with Restitution privileges, human perfection, etc., we formerly assumed that in some sense, which we could not explain, its influence came in advance to the Gospel Church during this Age, giving us justification or Restitution to human rights through faith, instead of actually, as the world will have these during the Millennium. This view was essentially right, but not in every particular. The fact is that, as the Scriptures say, we are "justified by faith," and not by any Covenant. The New Covenant has nothing whatever to do with justification by faith. Under it the glorified Christ will grant to Israel and the world, not a reckoned restitution, but an actual one, through works which they will be assisted to perform.--`Rev. 20:13`.
We now see still more clearly than before that the New Covenant and its Mediator is the Divine provision between God and the sinful world only. We see that God, during the present age, is calling for a special class who have the eye of faith, the ear of appreciation and the heart of obedience--"even as many as the Lord your God shall call." He calls no others than these. By his providences and his Word he calls them to accept Jesus as their Redeemer, through whom alone by justifying faith the Father may deal with them, and accept them as "members of the Anointed." Through faith in the Redeemer (not through any Covenant) he offers these the privileges of consecrating their reckoned earthly rights and their share in the resurrection or restitution blessings coming to the world. He proposes that such as accept this arrangement may be counted in with Christ as sharers in his sufferings and as dying as his members, and may be rewarded with a share with him on the heavenly plane as members of the promised Seed of Abraham. When now we look at the Lord's Word we find that we were confusing our vision by trying to apply the New Covenant to ourselves and by supposing that it had anything whatever to do with justification by faith or that justification by faith needed any Covenant.
We can see now that the New Covenant is not in operation yet; hence the Mediator of the New Covenant is not performing his work under that Covenant yet. His first work will be to seal the Covenant. We saw before that all the blessing, all the resurrection life, all the future opportunities to any member of Adam's race must come through the precious blood of Christ and that it, therefore, must contain the value which will ultimately seal the New Covenant and secure its blessings to Israel and the world. We still see this, but we see that our Lord, instead of at once applying his blood to seal the New Covenant, did something very different. He applied it for the sins of the "household of faith," who, during the Gospel Age, would believe in him and make consecration of themselves to the Father's service and be begotten of the holy Spirit. For over eighteen centuries his blood has been efficacious for these and for these alone and has brought to these and to these alone reckoned restitution rights. Israel did not receive actual restitution because their New (Law) Covenant, which provides for this, has not yet been sealed.
Evidently the New Covenant was not sealed at our Lord's First Advent, although Jesus there, as "the Mediator of the New Covenant," shed his precious blood, necessary to its sealing. Yet Jesus surely has not given up the office of Mediator of the New Covenant which he undertook. He has not refused to apply his blood to the sealing of the New Covenant. He is merely doing something else first, in harmony with the Father's will from before the foundation of the world.--`2 Pet. 1:2,3`.
Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant, tarries before he mediates that New Covenant, to gather together the "very elect," who are to constitute his members, his Body, his joint-heirs, in the Millennial glory and mediatorial work. He is the Messenger or servant of the New Covenant and each one of the Church now being called and chosen becomes an underservant and messenger of the New Covenant. As St. Paul declares, "He hath made us able ministers (servants) of the New Covenant." (`2 Cor. 3:6`.) This work of qualifying the Church, the members of the Body of the Mediator, prepares them for a future service in helping Israel and the world under and through the terms of the New Covenant. And additionally St. Paul and the other Apostles and each of the Lord's faithful ones are ministers or servants of this New Covenant now, in that they are engaged, as the Lord's mouth-pieces, in calling the members of the Body of Christ, and engaged also as the Lord's representatives in edifying one another and building one another up in the "most holy faith," preparing
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one another as members of the Body of the Mediator, the Body of Christ, to be associated with him in the work of his Mediatorial Kingdom of a thousand years.
Surely there is no change, no casting away of any item of Truth, in connection with these matters. On the contrary, the whole subject of the New Covenant is still further clarified by our seeing that it has nothing whatever to do with the justification of the Church--that it is still future; that it has not yet been sealed; that on the contrary, the offer to our Lord's followers is that they may partake with him of his cup, of his sacrifice, of his suffering. Our sharing with him as members of the Body of the great Prophet, Priest, King of the world and Mediator of the New Covenant, under which Israel and the world will be blessed, is made dependent upon our having share with him in his sufferings. This explains why the blessings of the world did not begin eighteen centuries ago. This explains why Israel was cast off and its New Covenant not entered into for all these centuries. (`Jer. 31:31`.) This explains why restitution could not come to Israel and through Israel to the world until the Second Coming of Christ, when the "elect" number of his followers would have drank his cup of suffering of sacrifice, of self-denial. "If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him; if we be dead with him we
shall also live with him." If we be justified by faith
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in his blood, and be accepted as members in his Body through consecration unto death, we then shall be members
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of the Spiritual Seed of Abraham, through whose mercy natural Israel shall obtain mercy and become the earthly Seed of Abraham under the New Covenant arrangement and be used in dispensing the blessings of God to all the families of the earth. See `Romans 11:25-36`.
It is charged that to deceive and to mislead, "The Watch Tower" made a false quotation in its issue of January 1, 1909, page 12, quoting, "This is the blood," instead of "This is my blood." This objection is far-fetched. As is well known, the different Gospels state our Lord's words in slightly different form. Luke says, "This cup is the New Covenant in my blood, which is shed for you." (`Luke 22:20`.) Mark says, "This is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many." (`Mark 14:24`.) Matthew says, "This is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many." (`Matt. 26:28`.) What is the difference between these expressions, the blood of the New Covenant, and, my blood of the New Covenant? Is not Jesus' blood the only one that could be meant? This is exactly our contention, that the cup represented our Lord's sufferings and that he gave it to his disciples, saying, "Drink ye all of it"; Divide it amongst yourselves. Our contention is that it was Jesus' cup of which he drank and that he gave it to his disciples to finish--that thus symbolically we were invited to be partakers of the sufferings of Christ.-- `2 Cor. 1:5-7`.
It is our opponents who deny that the Lord drank of the cup--that it was his cup. They, not we, claim that he drank of one cup and we of another--that his sufferings were of one kind and ours of a different character. We have pointed out their error, citing them to `I Cor. 10:16`, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion, [Greek, Komonia, participation] of the blood of Christ"--the sacrifice of Christ? And again, "After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood." (`1 Cor. 11:25`.) It is our contention that is supported by these Scriptures. They show that the cup represented the blood, the death, the sacrifice of Christ, whose purpose or intention is the sealing of the New Covenant; and they show that our Redeemer invited us to participate with him in that cup of sacrificial death.
Such objections are merely dust-throwing. The text means the same thing exactly whichever way it is read, for Christ's blood is the blood, the only blood, by which the New Covenant can be sealed. And it is this blood, this merit, which shall ultimately seal the New Covenant, that our Lord now passes through us, the Church, members of his Body--permitting us to drink of his cup, that we may also participate in his glories. Thus he said to the disciples who desired to sit upon the Throne, "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of?" (`Matt. 20:22`.) Our Lord there indicated clearly that none will ever sit with him in the Throne except those who share with him in his sacrifice--not a different cup, not a different sacrifice. As to how the my was changed to the we may never know, as the matter passed through the hands of the stenographer, the type-setter and proof reader. But we emphasize the fact that no violence was done and that our argument would have been better served by the my than by the the, as that is just what we are upholding, that we share with our Lord in his cup.
OUR REPLY TO A LETTER
The opposing Brother and his wife want to know why we did not answer at length a not very kindly-worded letter received from them. We did answer the letter in a kindly way; that we hoped might be most helpful to them. We did not write a book, nor even a pamphlet, thinking or hoping that by the time their letter had reached us their minds would have clarified to some extent, and that no answer would really be necessary. The fact is that when the heart gets soured spiritual truths and harmonies lose their beauty--no amount of explaining will prove satisfactory. The heart that is contentious and that sitteth in the seat of the scornful, is not in a condition to receive the blessings of the Lord. On the contrary, we read, "The meek will he guide in judgment and teach his way." We quote below from our letter, to show that we did not neglect this Brother's spiritual interests, but treated him according to the best wisdom granted to us of the Lord. The closing paragraphs of our letter, dated November 24, 1908, read:--
"Dear Brother, were I to judge of your heart from the phraseology of this letter alone, I should be inclined to suppose that your faith in the Lord and in Present Truth had wholly lost its anchorage. The intimations of your letter would seem to imply either that the Lord had nothing whatever to do with what we call the Harvest and the Harvest Work, and that the whole matter is an error and a fraud, or else that you had gradually been reaching a very severe judgment of his poor methods of conducting an unwise selection of instruments for it and that you feel half inclined to tell him so, and to give him pointers all along the line, whereby he might profit and not let his work go to smash before the Harvest time is ended.
"Dear Brother, I love you and nothing herein is written in any harsh or unkind spirit, but quite to the contrary, to, if possible awaken you to a realization of the fact that you are in a very dangerous attitude of mind --that after years of faithfulness and devotion you are in danger of making shipwreck within sight of the heavenly port. Dear Brother, search your heart diligently with the candle of the Lord's Word and find and destroy anything that may be there in the nature of leaven. We are surely in the "hour of temptation," and the principal tests upon us will be faith and love--faith in the Lord, the Supervisor of the Work, and faith in all those who are truly his--and who love the Lord and the Brethren.
"I assure you of my continued love and interest for yourself and wife and all the members of the Lord's family, everywhere, and remain,
"Your brother and servant in Christ."
FILLING UP SUFFERINGS--FOR THE CHURCH
We have applied to the Church as a whole the Apostle Paul's words respecting himself (`Col. 1:24`) to show the participation of the Apostle and of all the fellow-members in the Body of Christ in the sufferings of our Head. He says, "I Paul...fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his Body's sake, which is the Church." We have called attention to the fact that when all the sufferings
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of the Church, the Body of Christ, are complete, the blood of that sacrifice, antitypically sprinkled in the "most holy," will be on behalf of and in cancellation of the sins of "the people" (`Leviticus 16:15`), "The sins of the whole world." We have pointed out specifically that all the merit was in our Lord Jesus, typified by the bullock sin-offering, and that the Church's share in the "better sacrifices," represented in the Lord's goat sin-offering, is of grace and not of merit.
Our opponents think they find an objection to this in that portion of the text quoted above, which says, "for his Body's sake, which is the Church." They say, "The Watch Tower" declares that the merit of the sacrifice of the "Lord's goat," those accepted as members of Christ's Body, will be sprinkled upon the mercy-seat for the cancellation of the people's sins, while St. Paul says his sufferings were for the Church. We reply that there is no conflict here. The sufferings of Christ came to him in connection with his services to the Church; and the sufferings of the members of his Body come to them similarly in the service of the Church; but as to what application of this merit the High Priest will make is another matter. The Scriptures show us that the merit of his own sacrifice, "the bullock," was sprinkled or applied on behalf of the antitypical priests and Levites and that his secondary sacrifice of the flesh of those accepted as his members, "The Lord's goat," will be applied "for the people." In other words, the Church is exhorted, "We ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren." This is our Lord's new commandment to us. But as to how he will apply the merit of this part of his sufferings in cancellation of the sins of the people is explained to such of us as can understand "the mystery." Our knowing or not knowing how the High Priest applies his own blood, passed through the Church, has nothing to do with the fact that it will be applied "for the sins of the people."
THE FATHER'S DRAWING AND THE SON'S DRAWING
It seems difficult to make sufficiently lucid for some, the fact that while all of Adam's race are sinners, "children of wrath," nevertheless they are of two classes-- (1) Those who have eyes and ears to discern the Lord's provision of mercy in Christ and whose hearts are obedient to the same, and (2) others whose ears and eyes are closed to the message of grace and whose hearts are rebellious. The first of these, amenable to God's grace, are drawn now by the Father--"even as many as the Lord your God shall call." These, because not rebellious, are drawn to Jesus for faith-justification. He becomes their Advocate and they, begotten of the holy Spirit, are at once sons of God.
The second class, "carnally minded," rebellious, "not subject to the law of God," cannot be dealt with in the same manner. For them God has provided the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, which shall put down rebellion by force, bind Satan and scatter the powers of darkness and flood the world with the true knowledge of the Lord. The world for a thousand years will be under what is termed "Martial Law." In other words, it will be under a Mediatorial Kingdom whose mission will be to establish harmony between God and men--between God and the world, from which the Church will have been previously selected. By the close of the Mediatorial Kingdom peace and harmony will be established, and then, as a pacified province of God's great Empire, it will be turned over to Jehovah. In other words, the
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world will require 1000 years to reach that peace with God which the elect class of this age reaches almost instantly, by faith similar to Abraham's.--`James 2:23`.
Abraham needed no Mediator to justify him. He was "justified by faith," and so are we. (`Rom. 5:1`.) But Abraham did need a Redeemer, and so do we--Jesus Christ the righteous, who died for our sins and through faith in whose blood we have remission of sins. (`Matt. 26:28`; `Acts 10:43`.) In Bible usage the word Mediator is always used in connection with a Covenant. Moses was the Mediator of the Law Covenant; Jesus is the Mediator of the New (Law) Covenant, under the terms of which he will shortly establish his Mediatorial Kingdom for the blessings of Israel and the world.--`Jer. 31:31`; `Ezk. 16:60,61`; `Rom. 11:27,31`.
Abraham needed no Advocate; but we need one: not to secure forgiveness of original sin, but as our Head to represent our every interest as New Creatures. Because of ignorance, and weakness, and having the treasure of our spirit-begetting in earthen vessels, we as sons of God could not hope to make good our consecration vows. We need an Advocate and have been provided one--"Jesus Christ the righteous," "who ever liveth to make intercession for us"--as new creatures, his members.
In view of these indisputable facts is not the Scripture teaching reasonable when it declares that the Heavenly Father, during this age, "draws" or "calls" such as he chooses for "members of the Body of Christ" --the Prophet, Priest, King and Mediator of the Millennial Age? And is it not equally reasonable that we are told that during the Millennium Christ will "draw all men unto himself"--whether they hear or forbear?
We reiterate, therefore, that all the drawing thus far done from the time of our Lord to the present has been done by the Heavenly Father himself--not by a mediator nor by an advocate. It is our Lord himself who declares, "No man can come unto me except the Father which sent me draw him, and he that cometh unto me (by the Father drawn) I will by no means cast out" (reject). (`John 6:44,37`.) Our Lord followed the same thought when he declared that he is the Vine, we the branches, and the Heavenly Father the Husbandman, and that this Vine, the Church, is of the Father's own right hand planting--separate and distinct from the world. Jesus gave the same thought in the parable which represents the Heavenly Father as making a Marriage Supper for his Son, and sending forth his servants to invite the bidden ones. When those already bidden did not satisfactorily respond the Father sent forth other servants into the highways and hedges that the banquet feast might be provided with guests. The same lesson is taught by our Lord's words, "My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand."--`John 10:29`.
The same lesson is typically taught in Abraham's sending his servant Eliezer to select a bride for Isaac. Abraham, the type of God, sent his servant, the type of the holy Spirit, to select a Bride, type of the Church, for his son Isaac, type of Jesus. Rebecca needed no mediator between herself and Abraham, for she came at his call and was guided by his servant. She was related to Abraham before her invitation to become Isaac's bride, just as all those invited to become the Bride of Christ by the Father's invitation were previously related to him as members of the "household of faith." The marriage took place after Abraham's agencies for the selection of the Bride had accomplished their work. So now, with the completion of the Divine selection of the Church, will come the Heavenly Bridegroom to receive her to himself, in the field near the antitypical well, Laharoi. Later she will be presented before the Heavenly Father and the holy angels and will become the Bride-Consort of her Lord, her Head, her Redeemer.
Then the lifting up of Christ will be complete. Unto him "every knee will bow, of things in heaven and things in earth," the Church also acknowledging him her Lord, her Head. Then will come the time when the exalted One, Head and Body, will fulfil his promise, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me." (`John 12:32`.) The drawing will continue throughout the Millennial Age, until every member of the race shall have felt its influence and impetus and all the willing and obedient shall have been blessed, uplifted, restored to perfection. We do not claim that our Lord's lifting up to the glory of power was separate or apart from his being lifted up on the cross. On the contrary, "no cross no crown." We hold that our Lord and subsequently his members attain
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to the position of glory by the "narrow way" of the cross of self-sacrifice; and that without this experience he would have had no authority or power to draw and uplift the world of mankind. In other words, the right of the Christ in glory to seal the New Covenant and to be its servant or Mediator, through whom all the families of the earth will be blessed, is based upon his sacrificial death. Truly "the prophets spake of the sufferings of The Christ [Head and Body] and of the glory that should follow."
Our Lord was lifted up on the cross that he might have the right to draw all men, but he was lifted up to resurrection glory that he might have the ability to draw all. The two thoughts are logically inseparable.--`John 12:32`.
In harmony with this we read of the Father's address to the Anointed, "Ask of me and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." (`Psalm 2:8`.) St. Paul points out to us that the fulfilment of this will be at our Lord's Second Coming, after the Father shall have drawn the Church; after Christ shall have justified them, and the Father shall have begotten them by the holy Spirit, and they shall have finished their course and been accounted worthy to attain to joint-heirship with their Redeemer as members of the Spiritual Seed of Abraham. Nothing can be plainer to those whose eyes of understanding are opened to appreciate the "Mystery." The whole creation is groaning and travailing in pain together until now, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God; waiting for the shining forth of the Sun of Righteousness; waiting for the drawing work of the great Mediator between God and the world to begin and to proceed to its glorious accomplishment.
EXPLANATIONS AND CORRECTIONS
In our issue, Z.'94, p. 349, we said, "The Jewish converts could scarcely realize the greatness of the change from the Law Covenant to the New Covenant." Instead of new we should have said grace Covenant, meaning the original Abrahamic Covenant, typified by Sarah. (`Gal. 3:29`; `4:28`.) In the same article we remarked that Gentiles needed no longer to become Jews, but had access to God through Christ and [as ministers of the N.C. to participation in the mediation of] the New Covenant in his blood. This is a correct statement. The only reason for the calling of the Gentiles during this Gospel Age to be associated with Christ is that we may thus share with him in his blood of the New Covenant--his sacrifice, and subsequently share with him in putting that New Covenant with Israel into force during the Millennium.
Again in "The Tower" of '93, p. 372, we said, "Let us look at the Church under the New Covenant. Her relation to the New Covenant is during the Gospel Age. But to her the covering mercy of that Covenant is not to permit time to reach physical, mental and moral perfection, but to give her a standing before God, where she can offer herself to God a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, through the merit of Christ--under the merciful provisions of the New Covenant." This is not a proper statement, as we now see the matter. The essence of it all is true enough, namely, that through Christ the Church has a reckoned perfection and standing before God, an opportunity to offer herself a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God through the merit of Christ. The only mistake is in the added words, under the merciful provisions of the New Covenant." This thought came down to us from the dark ages and was a mote hindering our vision. We now see that the Bible says nothing whatever about the Church being "under the merciful provisions of the New Covenant." God's merciful provisions for the world are all in that New Covenant, but not so with the Church. His provision for his called and drawn is Scripturally styled "justification by faith." Nothing here is changed or abandoned. The Church's justification is the same, and the New Covenant stands as ever, but in its proper place --a Covenant or arrangement by which the world will receive its blessing during the Millennium.
In the same connection, p. 373, we said, "The New Covenant is absolutely necessary with its provision of the covering of our sins by the merit of our Redeemer's sacrifice." And again, "Our Lord gave himself a Ransom, a corresponding price, a substitute, for all, but he represents before the bar of Justice since the Resurrection only those who come unto God by him, under the gracious terms of the New Covenant, sealed or ratified by his death." The essential thoughts here are correct. The only error was in assuming that the New Covenant, which belongs to the next age, had anything to do with our justification, which is purely by faith in the blood of Christ.
Similarly, following the common error and neglecting the direct statement of the Bible, we wrote in "The Tower," 1901, p. 182, "Meantime throughout the Gospel Age the Lord's people, by the eye of faith, beheld the great High Priest as their Mediator who ever liveth to make intercession for us." We should have used the Scriptural term Advocate instead of the word Mediator. Again we said, "They are accepted with the Father, not directly, but indirectly, 'accepted in the beloved,' who is our intercessor, our Mediator." Again, instead of Mediator we should have said Advocate. We used the word Mediator in a loose, unscriptural manner, as others still do. We had not then noticed that the term Mediator in Scriptural usage is always connected with the mediation
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of a Covenant. Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant and, as St. Paul points out in `Hebrews 12:24-28`, we shall in the end of the age, as his Church complete, in the General Assembly of the Firstborn, come to him, the Mediator of the New Covenant, as his Bride and Joint-heirs in carrying out its blessed provisions for the uplift of Israel and the world.
Our Covenant is the original Abrahamic Covenant, the Oath-Bound Covenant, which God consummated four hundred years before the old Law Covenant. It needed no mediator, has no mediator, because, as the Apostle points out, it has no contingencies to be mediated. God promised that in his own time and way he would develop the Seed of Abraham. He has about accomplished this. "No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God." (`Heb. 5:4`.) Our Lord Jesus was called first and responded loyally for the joy that was set before him. The Heavenly Father is now calling the members of the Body--"as many as the Lord your God shall call." These, holy and acceptable through Christ's sacrifice, he will soon "raise up with him" as participants in the Spiritual Seed. Then, with the Anointed complete and ready, the New Covenant promised centuries ago to Israel will go into effect.
Note another case in which we used the terms New Covenant and Mediator improperly, though the thought behind was, and still is, entirely correct. We said, "If anyone lose his relationship to Christ through the loss of his faith in the precious blood or through the loss of the holy Spirit through wilful sin, such an one falls out of the protection, the care, the covering, of Jesus." That is all right, but we erroneously added the Mediator of the New Covenant. True, Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant, but, to bring in the fact here seems to imply that his mediatorship and the New Covenant have something to do with the Church. This is a mistake. Those words in bold type added nothing to the articles and injure them not at all by being omitted now.
In "The Tower" of '02, p. 223, we said, "It is nearly nineteen centuries since the New Covenant was sealed with the precious blood of our Mediator." We there said something for which there is no Scripture and hence something we should not have said and which we now properly correct. The New Covenant is not yet sealed. The blood of Jesus--the merit of his sacrifice-- which will eventually seal the New Covenant at the end of this age, is now being otherwise used. It has been applied to the Church for her Justification, in order that she might have justified human rights to sacrifice and thereby might come into membership in the Body of Christ, the great Mediator, the antitype of Moses, whom
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God has been raising up during this Gospel Age. (`Acts 3:23`.) So far from telling us that Christ sealed the New Covenant, the Scriptures tell us the very reverse, namely, that he became the "surety" of it. (`Heb. 7:22`.) A sealed Covenant needs no "surety," but an unsealed Covenant does need a "surety." Thus we have a little more light upon the subject--not contradictory of any teaching or principle of Christian faith or practice, but further explanatory of the Divine purposes and arrangements.
In our issue of 1906, p. 26, we said, "Our Lord Jesus in his own person has been the Mediator between the Father and the 'household of faith' during this Gospel Age." This statement is incorrect. No Scripture so declares. It is a part of the smoke of the dark ages which we are glad now to wipe from our eyes. As already shown in this article we now see more clearly than ever how no man can come unto the Son during this Gospel Age except drawn by the Father, and that none will be in the elect Church except "as many as the Lord your God shall call," and as shall then make their calling and election sure, "for no man taketh this honor unto himself"--neither the High Priest nor the under-priests nor the Levites. We are all called of God to be his agents as the Spiritual Seed of Abraham in mediating the New Covenant for the blessing of natural Israel and the world.
IMPOSSIBLE TO DECEIVE THE ELECT
The great hour of temptation foretold in the Psalms and prophecies and by our Lord and the apostles, "The hour of temptation shall come upon all them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth," is upon us and, as the Apostle suggests, the question is not, "Who shall fall," but, "Who shall be able to stand?" Or, as stated through the prophet of old, "Who may abide the day of his coming, and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi (the 'household of faith') and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness."-- `Mal. 3:2,3`.
The Scriptures tell us that the angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that reverence him for their deliverance or protection. They intimate also that Satan and the fallen angels are very desirous of invading our minds and hearts and bodies with evil suggestions. To a greater or lesser extent we must surely believe that Divine providence through the human will has raised a considerable barrier for the protection of the natural man from the evil spirits. Otherwise, surely through evil promptings and obsessions, the world centuries since would have gone mad under such infernal impulsings. We may be sure, however, that as the Adversary specially opposed the Lord, so he marks out and specially assaults the faithful members of his Body--and the greater their prominence the more severe would naturally be the attack. "We are not ignorant of his devices," nor of the fact that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against wicked spirits in influential positions." (`Eph. 6:12`.) Without Divine assistance surely all would be led captive at his will--misled, ensnared by him who puts darkness for light and endeavors to show the light to be darkness.
Our thought is that for the testings of this hour the Lord permits the Adversary to come very close to the tempted, so that the slightest inclination in their hearts towards evil would quickly put them in contact with the adverse influence of the Adversary. No wonder, then, it is the hour of temptation! No wonder all except the saints, the "very elect," will be unable to stand! The saints, as they find the close approach of the Adversary, will draw nearer and nearer to the Lord and feel restful and content only "under the shadow of the Almighty." And they will thank God for any help at hand, such as the Vow, which he may send to assist them into the "secret place of the Most High." As for those who come under the power of the Adversary we can only expect that their hearts and minds will become more and more perverse. Not only may we expect that they will "speak perverse things to draw away disciples after them," but we are to remember further that "many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the Truth shall be evil-spoken of."--`Acts 20:30`; `2 Pet. 2:2`.
What may we not expect if the Lord in the closing hours of this age shall permit the Adversary and his supporters, through Hypnotism, Spiritism, etc., to come close to humanity and overcome the barriers of the will, which hitherto has been man's protection! What might we not expect as the result--anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife and general devilishness, inaugurating a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation-- every man's hand against his brother and neighbor!
The following are the changes made in "Studies in the Scriptures" to harmonize with the foregoing presentations on the subject of the New Covenant, its Mediator, and the Church's justification by faith and acceptance as the Seed of Abraham under the original Oath-Bound Covenant of Grace:
Page 113, line 16, "who hath sealed the Covenant with his own precious blood," changed to, "whose precious blood is to seal the Covenant."
Page 130, line 7, "Under the New Covenant the members," changed to, "Under the Covenant of Grace members." Last line, "(in this life or the next)" changed to, "(in the Millennial Age)."
Page 69, line 5, "sealed or," changed to, "secured."
Page 298, line 8, "but only for the remnant selected from the twelve and the residue selected from among the Gentiles," changed to, "It must first be sealed by the blood (death) of the Mediator--Head and Body, from Jews and Gentiles."
Page 342, lines 17, 18, 3416 inches, changed to, 3457 inches to agree with later accurate measurement, would seem to mark 1915. The former figures were "paper measure" from Piazzi Smith's illustration supposed to have been drawn to a scale, but found inaccurate.
VOLUME V.--later paging.
Page 28, line 15, "by divine prearrangement sealed," changed to, "made possible the sealing of." Lines 20 and 21, "The New Covenant had been sealed," changed to, "the redemption had been secured." Next to last line, "which sealed," changed to, "for sealing."
Page 121, line 34, "sealed the New Covenant," changed to, "opened up a new way of life"! Line 39, "New Covenant," changed to, "precious blood."
Page 139, line 29, "New," changed to, "Oath-bound."
Page 243, line 32, "reckoned," changed to, "thenceforth."
Page 426, line 26, "his own sacrifice, his own death as," changed to, "his own death (and his members) for."
Page 455, line 31, "was made," changed to, "becomes." Line 34, "and having sealed," changed to, "that he might seal." Line 35, "made," changed to, "make."
Page 88, line 13, "the call of this Gospel Age could not be promulgated or effected until our Lord had sealed the New Covenant with his blood," changed to, "the call
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of this Gospel Age could not be promulgated until first our Lord by his death had become 'surety' for the New Covenant."--`Heb. 7:22`.
Page 109, line 11, "New," changed to, "Grace."
Page 168, line 5, "sealed," changed to, "secures." Line 7, "reconciliation with him through this Redeemer, and his sacrifice only," changed to, "fellowship with our Redeemer in his sacrifice and reward." Line 13, changed to, "privilege of communion in Christ's blood."
Page 227, line 3, "New," changed to, "Grace."
Page 228, line 15, "New," changed to, "Grace." Line 16, "it, who," changed to, "the Law, but."
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Page 285, line 3, omit "six."
Page 357, line 30, "sealed," changed to, "suretied." --`Heb. 7:22`.
Page 358, line 16, "sealed, ratified," changed to, "suretied."--`Heb. 7:22`.
Page 362, line 26, "New," changed to, "Grace."
Page 392, line 29, changed to, "the high priest who made the sacrifice."
Page 397, line 27, "sealed," changed to, "suretied."-- `Heb. 7:22`.
Page 401, line 25, "New," changed to, "Abrahamic." Line 26, omit, "sealed and."
Page 432, lines 11 and on from bottom, changed to, "received him as the antitypical Moses. As they were baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud, the acceptance of Christ, as instead of Moses, would imply that they were in Christ, as members of his Body, under him as their Head, and through association with him, ministers of the New Covenant, of which the complete glorified Christ, Head and Body, will be the Mediator."-- `Acts 3:23`; `2 Cor. 3:6`.
Page 434, line 13, "Mediator," changed to, "Surety." `Heb. 7:22`. Line 14, add, "which they engaged to serve." --`2 Cor. 3:6`.
Page 461, line 4 from bottom, "was sprinkled upon," changed to, "is efficacious for."
We recommend the friends to note the above changes in their volumes of "Scripture Studies." We submit to any honest mind that the changes, while trifling, are very helpful; but that they in no sense or degree affect our faith in the fundamentals of God's Word--that our Lord Jesus' death is the basis of all hope for both the Church and the world; that all the merit of redemption proceeds therefrom; that the privilege of sharing in our Lord's sacrifice, and subsequently in his Millennial glory, is "the Mystery" respecting which some never were permitted to see, and concerning which others are now evidently being blinded; that shortly Abraham's natural seed will be saved from their blindness and become the beneficiaries of the New Covenant and share the work of dispensing Divine mercy to all the families of the earth. This is God's Covenant with them--they shall obtain (Divine) mercy through your mercy.-- `Romans 11:27-32`.
We close this article as we began it, with the suggestion that the dear friends who are shouting "Wake up!" are merely experiencing a nightmare. They have gone to sleep and their confused notions are merely "nocturnal hallucinations," which would be amusing to us did we not realize the seriousness of their condition. In their somnambulism they are in danger of falling from all the precious things which they and we had hoped they might attain. Those who have any influence with persons in this condition should use every energy to wake them up. Nevertheless let no harsh or unkind word be uttered, either to them or in respect to them. The present is a time of trial, of testing of character and of faithfulness, not only for them, but for all who have named the name of Christ.
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SELF-RESTRAINT IN LIBERTY
--`I COR. 10:23-33`.--SEPTEMBER 26.--
Golden Text:--"Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification."--`Rom. 15:2`.
WE KNOW not to what extent intemperance and other vices prevailed in the Apostle's day. In a general way the Church is cautioned, warned against every form of vice, of sin, of intemperance. These are questions which might have been discussed with Jews and Gentiles entirely irrespective of religion. These are not the questions discussed in this lesson. Indeed, the Scriptures say little respecting the grosser vices, because the Apostle addressed Christians and not the worldly. Note the address of each of the epistles-- To the believers, the "household of faith," the "saints." These, having left the world, having turned their backs upon sin and debauchery of every kind, needed not to be specially exhorted along the lines of vices. There were other questions more important to the saints and these the Apostle discussed.
Our lesson specially relates to a religious difficulty of that time. The Gospel teaching was that idols were nothing, and hence that offering of meat to these idols could do no harm to the meat. At the same time a question of principle was involved. Idolatry was so general at that time that it had become the general custom to offer upon the altar of sacrifice to their gods certain parts of the animals and the remainder might be taken by the sacrificer to eat at his home, or it might be given to the priests, or it might be sold in the market-place. Indeed, much of that which was contributed to the priests found its way to the markets. The public in general being fully in sympathy with this custom, were glad to purchase these meats, and they were in general use. When the question of the eating of these meats came up, some had much difficulty while others had none; the consciences of the former rebelled against their eating what had been offered to idols.
We can certainly sympathize with those who had trouble with their conscience in this way, even though we clearly see that the idols, being of stone or wood, could do the meat no injury. However, this was one of the burning questions of that time. Its discussion by the Apostle implies this. We can readily see that whoever would violate his conscience would injure his spiritual welfare and interests, regardless of whether the thing was right or wrong. We can readily see, too, how one might influence another. The brother of strong mind, discerning the situation, might eat with impunity; while his neighbor, less strong in mind, might be influenced by his example to eat, to the injury of his conscience. And, as a result of doing violence to his conscience he might be led out of the way altogether. This is the thought the Apostle had in mind in writing the lesson of today.
The essence of this lesson is that the Christian, by Divine arrangement, has a great deal of liberty to do good, to do everything that is proper, to do everything that will not injure himself or a brother or a neighbor. But he has no liberty to do wrong--no right to do anything that would injure himself or his brother or his neighbor. In other words, our liberties, while apparently absolute, are really limited. All the Thou shalt nots of the Law are removed, but the essence of that Law still remains, briefly comprehended in the statement, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and thy neighbor as thyself. The Christian is at liberty to do anything that does not conflict with this basic Law of his new nature--the Law of Love. This appears upon first sight to be a great liberty, but, on closer examination, it is found to give us much less liberty than others exercise, as they think, with propriety. Not only does the Law of Love thus control us, because that is the Divine standard of justice, but additionally, God has accepted us in covenant relationship with himself under the Abrahamic Covenant, under Christ our Head, the Mediator of the New (Law) Covenant. Under this Covenant agreement with the Lord we are firmly bound to more than the Law or justice requirement; we are bound to sacrifice our rights and privileges, in the interests of others.
Below we furnish an arrangement of St. Paul's various expressions, touching this general subject, compiled by Prof. Wells:
With what weapons and in what spirit Christians should gain the victory.
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1. STAND BY YOUR PERSONAL LIBERTY.
Ye, brethren, were called for freedom.--`Gal. 5:13`.
Why is my liberty judged by another conscience?-- `1 Cor. 10:29`.
Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, eat, asking no question for conscience's sake:
For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.-- `1 Cor. 10:25,26`.
2. BUT CONTROL YOUR LIBERTY BY THE LAW OF LOVE.
All things are lawful, but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.-- `1 Cor. 10:23`.
Destroy not with thy meat him for whom Christ died.-- `Rom. 14:15`.
Let no man seek his own, but each his neighbor's good.--`1 Cor. 10:24`.
But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling-block to the weak.--`1 Cor. 8:9`.
Overthrow not for meat's sake the work of God. All things indeed are clean; howbeit it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth.--`Rom. 14:20,21`.
Use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another.
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For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.--`Gal. 5:13,14`.
3. KEEP YOUR CONSCIENCE PURE.
Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he approveth.--`Rom. 14:22`.
Each one of us shall give account of himself to God.-- `Rom. 14:12`.
4. CONSIDER THE EFFECT UPON THE CONSCIENCES OF OTHERS.
But if any man say unto you, This hath been offered in sacrifice, eat not; for his sake that showed it, and for conscience's sake:
Conscience, I say, not thine own, but the other's.-- `1 Cor. 10:28,29`.
Let us not therefore judge one another any more; but judge ye this rather, that no man put a stumbling block in his brother's way or an occasion of falling.--`Rom. 14:13`.
5. THE PRACTICAL CONCLUSION.
Wherefore, if meat causeth my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh forevermore, that I cause not my brother to stumble.--`1 Cor. 8:13`.
Even as I also please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.--`1 Cor. 10:33`.
THE TEMPERANCE QUESTION
As already noted, the Apostle is not discussing a worldly question, but one applicable to the Church only. However, the same principle may not improperly be applied still more broadly to the world and the Christian's relationship to mankind in general along the lines of temperance. It is not sufficient that we appreciate our own liberties. We have a still further responsibility towards those who are not so strong or not so clearly informed as ourselves --a responsibility that we will not wish to pass by if our hearts are in tune with the spirit of Divine love. The Apostle gives us a lesson, saying that we should "do good to all men, especially to them that are of the household of faith." This thought can be well applied to the last `verse` of our lesson (`33`), "I please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved."
If every Christian could apply these words of the Apostle truthfully to himself, the effect upon the world would be magical--suddenly energizing. They would see in Christians a renouncement of their own tastes and preferences in the interests of others, a principle which the world could very thoroughly enjoy and very quickly grasp. Should all those now enjoying Present Truth resolve to live henceforth, even in the spiritual affairs of life, up to the standard of the Lord, what an influence it would bring, what an influence would extend from their words, their thoughts, their deeds! Then the Church would become, indeed, a shining light in the world! It is for us to take our stand with the Lord and wait patiently for him to bring to us more than compensating blessings in his own good time and way. The Vow is assisting many to do this. He who does not learn to sacrifice his own will, his own preferences, in the interests of others, will never, we fear, have that preparation of character which the Lord demands of those who shall be joint-heirs with himself in the Kingdom.
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VARYING DEGREES OF LOVE
THE article in a recent number of this journal entitled, "There Is a Sin Unto Death," appears to have created a very profound impression upon many of our readers. We are glad of this: "To be forewarned is to be forearmed." The central thought of that article suggested that possibly in the past we had underestimated the number who will eventually be remanded to the Second Death by the great Judge. It calls attention to the fact that none could reasonably and properly be acceptable to God and receive his blessing of eternal life except as they should first attain his character likeness. Because "God is love" this is the standard for all whom he will acknowledge as his children on either the heavenly or the earthly plane of perfect existence. The Divine Law, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind and strength and thy neighbor as thyself," must be fully complied with. The Church of this Gospel Age must reach this glorious standard in the spirit of their minds, in their hearts; the imperfections of their flesh being covered by the grace of God through their faith in Christ. The world during the Millennial Age must reach the standard of that perfect law actually. More than this, after the standard or mark is reached the Lord demands that character in harmony with this standard shall become fixed. To accomplish this, besetments and trials and testings are permitted and are especially severe, crucial, after this mark has been attained. "The Lord your God doth prove you, whether you do love the Lord your God with all your heart or no."
These premises our readers in general will recognize as sound, Scriptural and logical. It follows, therefore, that all who do not attain this standard of character cannot have the gift of God, eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Fortunately this trial for life or death eternal is not now upon the world of mankind in general, but only upon the Church. Nor is it upon the Church nominal, but merely upon those believers who have made consecration of themselves and been begotten of the holy Spirit. If these shall fall away, "There remaineth no more sacrifice for their sins," the Apostle declares. Let us be glad that it is not ours to judge the hearts of our brethren. We are glad to wish well to all and to hope that the great Judge may see grounds for excusing many of the blemishes of the brethren, which are manifest to us, and of our blemishes manifest to them. The Scriptures declare that the Lord judgeth the heart and not the outward appearance. It is ours, therefore, to hope all things favorable and to even doubt nothing, except as we may see evil fruitage in those claiming to be brethren--fruitage of conduct and spirit positively contrary to the Word and Spirit of the Lord. Even then we are not to bring against them any railing accusation, but to leave them in the Lord's hands.
With our most generous thoughts, however, we cannot blind ourselves to the fact that not many amongst the Lord's professedly consecrated followers give strong evidence of being at the mark of perfect love toward God and their fellow-beings. The Apostle intimates that for such we should fear and, bringing home the lesson, we should fear for ourselves--"Let us fear lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest any of us should seem to come short of it."--`Heb. 4:1`.
In view of the strictness of this Divine test and our own inability to see it lived up to by many and our carefulness
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and fear for ourselves, we can only hope that the great majority of professed Christians have never really been spirit-begotten and are not, therefore, subject to this searching test of character in the present life. Indeed, it seems rather remarkable that some of those who recently have "gone out from among us because they are not of us," seem to have their contention, partially at least, along these very lines: they dispute that any are spirit-begotten, or that God has made the path to glory a narrow one of self-sacrifice, or that the sufferings of Christ, the Head, are to be shared by the Church, the members of his Body. Such a position on the part of those once begotten of the holy Spirit and who have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the coming age would seem to indicate a blindness which would imply the loss of the illumination of the holy Spirit, as they had once enjoyed it. And this would imply the Second Death. Let us prefer, however, to suppose that they never were really enlightened--never were really begotten of the holy Spirit; that they had merely made a consecration to God to live moral lives and to forward his cause--without making a full surrender in the proper Scriptural manner --laying down life and everything at the Lord's feet, "presenting their bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God and their reasonable service." Instead of understanding spiritual things they may merely have been repeating spiritual precepts, without true comprehension.
Here we are reminded of a conversation that we once had with a lady. She said, "My husband has made full consecration of himself to the Lord and professes to be begotten of the holy Spirit and to see various teachings in "Millennial Dawn," "Tabernacle Shadows," etc., which, in connection with the Bible, give him a great illumination respecting the Divine will. I, on the contrary, have never made such a consecration, yet I can understand those same spiritual things. How do you account for it?" In reply we outlined the type: the Court of the Tabernacle with its Altar representing faith in the forgiveness of sins through Christ's sacrifice; the Laver representing the putting away of the filth of the flesh, etc. We reminded the lady that the tabernacle stood in this Court yet was separated from it by the first vail or curtain, which represented the death of the human will in complete consecration to the Divine will. We said to her, According to your own statement, you are outside that curtain. You have never yet made a full consecration of your all to the Lord. Your husband has made such a consecration, has experienced such a death of his will as is represented by passing under that curtain, and he has arisen on the other side of it a New Creature, begotten of the holy Spirit. He tells you what he sees--the golden walls of the Tabernacle proper, the heavy Curtain, or second vail, separating between the Holy and the
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Most Holy, the Table of Shew-bread, the Golden Candlestick whose light illuminates everything, the Incense Altar from whence proceeds the sacrifice of incense and prayer beyond the Second Vail into the Most Holy to cover the mercy-seat. You give attention to your husband's descriptions of these things; you have them all in mind; yet you do not see in the same particular sense and degree in which he sees. You are trusting to his word, in which you have absolute confidence. He is trusting in the everlasting actualities with which he is directly associated.
May it not be that many more are in this condition than have plainly told us so? Surely we have now come to the time when all who have not made an actual, bona-fide consecration of their lives to the Lord--a full and complete surrender of their wills--will be separated from the consecrated ones. "The Lord your God doth prove you, whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart or no."
"STAR DIFFERETH FROM STAR"
Another question arises: Since it is evident that all must reach the standard of perfect love, in order to attain everlasting life on any plane, what would be the test by which the different degrees of glory will be awarded, as suggested by the Apostle's assurance that, "as star differeth from star in glory," so also will it be in the resurrection of the Church?
We reply that since the very least one admitted to eternal life must have reached the mark of perfect love, it follows that these different degrees of reward will represent different degrees of loving zeal on the part of those after they shall have reached the standard of perfect love. For instance, St. Paul was not merely anxious to attain the fruits and graces of the holy Spirit; he was not merely willing to suffer with Christ, if need be; but his zeal led him beyond this--to glory in tribulations also; to rejoice to be accounted worthy to suffer for the cause of his Lord; to rejoice to lay down his life for the brethren. He was not only glad to have fellowship in Christ's sufferings and to drink of his cup, but he had so much zeal that he rejoiced if he could get more than his portion, more than his share. He was on the alert for opportunities for service. If others used them, well. If he could stir up the love and zeal of others, well. But if he found some work undone which he might accomplish, he delighted to do it. Well did he say that we might take him as an example in following after our Lord Jesus. Surely we may conclude that he will be one of the brightest shiners in the heavenly Kingdom and that in following his example we also may become more and more pleasing to our Lord--not by wildly beating the air, but with wisdom and prudence and faithfulness doing those things which the Lord had indicated would be pleasing in his sight, as evidencing our loyalty to him, his brethren and his Truth.
IS LOVE THE ONLY TEST?
Another inquires, "Is love the only test?" We find that some of those who have opposed the Vow and now are gradually becoming more and more opposed to the various features of the Truth are quite bitter, malicious and strifeful; but we know a few of them who at least have a form of meekness and who on this very account seem to exercise the more power to create discord, because some of the friends reason that he or she cannot have forsaken the Lord nor been forsaken by the Lord, else they would not have so kindly a manner. My question is, Is love (gentleness) the sole test of our membership in the Body of Christ?
Our answer is, No and Yes. No, it is not the only test as viewed by the ordinary mind, unguided by the Scriptures. Do we not know worldly people who are very kindly disposed and moral and gentle and patient and generous? Do we not know Christian Scientists and many others, whom we believe to be thoroughly out of relationship to the Lord and entirely cut off from the leadings of his Spirit, possessing these same traits of character--some of them to an admirable degree? From this standpoint we must answer the question negatively and say that more than such a love and willingness must be looked for as a test of character and relationship to the Lord.
But there is another viewpoint given us in the Scriptures, and from it we may answer this question--Yes, Love is the only standard or test of relationship to the Lord and to the brethren. Let us elaborate. Gentleness, meekness and patience are indeed elements of the holy character, the holy mind, which the Lord will develop in us: but they are not the sum of this character which we call love. They are only twigs or branches, as it were, on the great tree of Christian faith and fellowship --twigs and branches which are duplicated to some extent on other trees and on other vines than that of "the Father's righthand planting."
In giving his command the Lord did not specify, first meekness, gentleness, etc., but, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, soul, and strength." Hence the first test of relationship to the Lord is that of faithfulness to him and to his Word. "If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."--`Isa. 8:20`.
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So, then, in looking for Christian brotherhood we should begin at the beginning and look for loyalty to God and to our Lord and to the Gospel message and to the brethren. Meekness, gentleness, patience, etc., are commendable qualities in any one, but they prove nothing of themselves. Does not the Apostle call attention to this when he says that some, with feigned words and smooth speeches, would make merchandise of you; that is to say, would use you for their own advantage, to prosper their own designs and ambitions? Is not this the same thought expressed by another Apostle who exhorts us that we should not love in word merely, but in deed and in truth? (`1 John 3:18`.) These words intimate that some do love merely in word--feigned words and smooth speeches. The real evidence of the sincerity or truthfulness of our love, as the Apostle points out, is evidenced by our deeds and not merely by smooth words. With the smooth words we should look for that zeal for God and for his Truth which would demonstrate its sincerity by looking out for and serving the interests of the Truth, by evident effort to control words and acts, in harmony with the interests of the Truth. Our Lord Jesus honored the Truth greatly when he made it identically himself, saying, "Me and my Word." Whoever, therefore, honors not the Lord's Word, and serves it not, lacks that evidence of love for the Lord himself.
The Lord puts the least of his disciples as his personal representative, assuring us that kindness done, or evil deeds done, or evil words spoken, in respect to the least of his followers, are counted as said or done to himself. Whoever vows to love the Lord with all his heart, mind, being and strength and to be zealous for his service will of necessity be on the lookout for the Lord's brethren, even the least of them--to honor them, to serve them-- and certainly not to stumble them. Whoever, therefore, lends himself to stirring up strife and dissension in the Church, which is the Body of Christ, furnishes this evidence that he has not the Lord's Spirit; that he is "none of his;" that whatever smooth speeches and honeyed words he may use are merely deceptions and do not make known, but on the contrary hide the real sentiments of his heart.
In addition to the honeyed words and smooth speeches some add honeyed deeds and little attentions, in order that they may have the better opportunity for injecting the poison of asps, which is under their lips. (`Rom. 3:13`.) These honeyed words and deeds are the baits behind which is fastened the hook of slander, evil-speaking, evil insinuations, etc., by which they foster discord and stir up anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife and other works of the flesh and the devil.
How dwelleth the love of God in these? How love these the Lord with all their heart, mind, soul and strength and their neighbor as themselves? Not at all. They are in the very gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity, as the Apostle declares--however they may measurably deceive their followers and themselves to the contrary.
It is for each of God's people to be so filled with his holy spirit--with love for the Lord and for all the glorious attributes of his character--that he will be proof against such tools of the Adversary and, so far from having fellowship with them he will instinctively shun them, even as the Scriptures declare. We are to "Love righteousness and hate iniquity" and to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness." Rather we should reprove them, not necessarily by word, but certainly by conduct, by having no fellowship with them, because we are of another spirit, the spirit of life, the spirit of peace, the spirit of truth, the spirit of brotherhood, the spirit of the Lord.
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BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, GENTLEMEN:--
I have through the kindness of a friend here, a Methodist minister, been allowed the grand privilege of reading your first volume, entitled, "The Divine Plan of the Ages," and was very much impressed with it. Its ideas so nearly concur with my own that I am very anxious to have more of the light and beg to enclose herewith check covering the cost of the remainder of the books and "The Watch Tower."
I look forward to the arrival of "The Watch Tower," as I am very anxious to keep in touch with present-day happenings in relation to the Scriptures and feel that it
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will be a source of light to me at all times, as the books have and will be.
I wish to say that I have never been a Church member and have been called an infidel on account of my non-belief in a Father who could torture throughout eternity people created by him in his own likeness when they were born in sin and were so weak. The first glimpse of the "Divine Plan" made me feel that I was not entirely alone in my belief and that the coming of the Saviour could be looked forward to with great longings and happiness instead of misery, separation, torture, etc., to some probably who were dear to us.
I am a young man, a deep reader and have until finding your books been unable to secure much consideration from the ministers of the (sect) churches, as all of them left the impression upon me that one must be a member of some church to be saved.
Will you please forward books and paper promptly, as I do not wish to miss a single enlightening point, and have a dear wife and mother I am so anxious shall see the great light as I see it.
Yours very truly, E. M. VIQUESNEY--Ga.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
In the early '90's, being a great reader of all kinds of literature--history, Biblical and profane books of all kinds--my wife thought she would purchase me an unusual book, and bought me a copy of Millennial Dawn, Vol. 1. I was interested in Prof. Totten, of Yale, in his prophecies in reference to the books of Daniel and Revelation, and subscribed for the "Christian Herald" to read what he had to say. So I read Millennial Dawn at that time, but some influence was against me, and for years the book lay in my library unopened. Last summer at one of our Baptist meetings down here, I heard a clergyman speak about the Russellites and their belief as being damnable heresy. It was a new name to me. I asked about these people; who they were, and tried to get some further light, reasoning that there must be something extra about these people to be so condemned. I had often read of Gamaliel's advice to the high priest and tried to follow it by granting all movements a reasonable hearing. I came home from the meeting, and asked my wife if she knew where that old book she had bought for me years ago was. We looked it up. I began to read it. I was ripe for it. I got tired looking up your references to the Bible and took the book as written. Not having the necessary money to buy the other five volumes at that time, I did the next best thing. I went right into the Bible as never before. I would to God I had not wasted all these years, but had done so at first.
Patiently bear with me, as I am full of this good news. I live in the country on an R.F.D. route. Some one threw a little pink tract in the box. God's blessings on him! I read every word; then it was up to me to find out who put it there. I made careful inquiry and found a fellow by the name of Mr. Nunally, living about four miles away, who had a reputation as being a saint; just the fellow I was looking for. I drove over and got what I wanted. I am now near the end of Vol. 6, which has stirred me up to write to you. I must have the monthly paper as soon as I can get it. It is a severe trial for me to ask you to give me credit for the same until I can pay for it and also for "The Tower."
PUBLIC MINISTRIES OF THE TRUTH
UNDER THE AUSPICES OF PEOPLES PULPIT
ASSOCIATION OF BROOKLYN, N.Y.
ONE-DAY LOCAL CONVENTIONS ADDRESSED BY THE
EDITOR OF THIS JOURNAL AS FOLLOWS:
WOODSTOCK, ONT., SEPTEMBER 11, 12, 13
Request has come from the friends in this vicinity for meetings on Saturday the 11th and Monday the 13th, in connection with the Sunday meeting on the 12th, at which Brother Russell will be in attendance, with a morning session for the interested at 11:00 o'clock, and an afternoon meeting for the Public at 2:30 o'clock.
Visiting friends will be heartily welcomed.
BROOKLYN TABERNACLE EVERY SUNDAY
Preaching at 3:00 p.m. Praise service at 7:00 p.m.; Berean Bible Study at 7:30 p.m. Convenient to New York via Subway, and Jersey City via P.R.R. Annex Ferry.
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STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES
THESE STUDIES ARE RECOMMENDED TO STUDENTS AS VERITABLE "BIBLE KEYS." PRICES ARE NET AND BARELY COVER COST OF PRODUCTION, WHEN DELIVERED BY COLPORTEURS THE COST AND PRICE ARE INCREASED.
SERIES I., The Plan of the Ages, gives an outline of the divine plan revealed in the Bible, relating to man's redemption and restitution: 386 pages, in embossed cloth, 25c. (1s. 1/2d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.).
This volume has been published as a special issue of our journal-- at the extremely low price of 5c. a copy, in any quantity, postage included. (To foreign countries, 9c.) This enables people of slender purse to herald far and wide the good tidings in a most helpful form.
SERIES II., The Time is at Hand, treats of the manner and time of the Lord's second coming, considering the Bible Testimony on this subject: 370 pages, in embossed cloth, 25c. (1s. 1/2d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.)
SERIES III., Thy Kingdom Come, considers prophecies which mark events connected with the "Time of the End," the glorification of the Church and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom; it also contains a chapter of the Great Pyramid, showing its corroboration of the dates and other teachings of the Bible: 384 pages, in embossed cloth, 25c. (1s. 1/2d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.)
SERIES IV., The Day of Vengeance, shows that the dissolution of the present order of things is in progress, and that all the panaceas offered are valueless to avert the predicted end. It marks in these events the fulfilment of prophecy, noting specially our Lord's great prophecy of `Matt. 24` and `Zech. 14:1-9`: 660 pages, in embossed cloth, 30c. (1s. 3d.). India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6-1/2d.)
SERIES V., The At-one-ment Between God and Man, treats an all-important subject--the hub, the center around which all the features of divine grace revolve. Its topic deserves the most careful and prayerful consideration on the part of all true Christians: 507 pages, in embossed cloth, 30c. (1s. 3d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6-1/2d.)
SERIES VI., The New Creation, deals with the Creative Week (`Genesis 1` and `2`), and with the Church, God's "New Creation." It examines the personnel, organization, rites, ceremonies, obligations and hopes appertaining to those called and accepted as members of the Body under the Head: 740 pages, in embossed cloth, 30c. (1s. 3d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6-1/2d.)
The above prices include postage.
IN FULL LEATHER BINDING, gilt edges, the set (6 vols.) $3.00, (12s. 6d.), plus postage, 60c. (1s.).
Is also published in foreign languages as follows: German, six vols., in Swedish Vols. 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6; in Dano-Norwegian, three vols.; in Greek, three vols.; in French, two vols.; Hollandish, Spanish, and Italian, one vol. each; bound in cloth, uniform with English edition, prices the same; in Polish, condensed edition, one vol., 10 cents.