ZWT - 1895 - R1794 thru R1910 / R1825 (137) - June 15, 1895
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VOL. XVI. JUNE 15, 1895. No. 12.
Special Items: Missionary Envelopes...............138
The Work at Home and Abroad...................138
Views from the Tower..............................139
Whose Glory is in their Shame.....................140
St. Paul's Earnest Desire.........................142
Secret and Beneficial Societies...................143
Bible Study: Our Lord's Ascension.................145
Bible Study: Review...............................146
Bible Study: The Ten Commandments.................147
Into his Marvelous Light. (Letters.)..............147
SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS --ADDRESS TO-- TOWER PUBLISHING CO., BIBLE HOUSE, 58 & 60 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY (NORTH PITTSBURG), PA., U.S.A.
SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 A YEAR, IN ADVANCE, INCLUDES A SUBSCRIPTION TO "THE OLD THEOLOGY TRACTS"--QUARTERLY. MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, N.Y. DRAFT, MONEY ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR, AS FOLLOWS:
Those of the interested, who by reason of old age or accident, or other adversity are unable to pay for the TOWER will be supplied FREE, if they will send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper.
We are placing an order for another lot of our usual Missionary Envelopes, and make the proposition that any who can use 5000, can have them at less than half the usual cost,--with their card printed at the corner. This is to induce a very general circulation of this tract envelope. Order at once.
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THE WORK AT HOME.
The colporteur work of late is encouraging. The older colporteurs are succeeding better than for some time; and several new ones have started recently. We are at present giving special attention to New England and the Pacific and Southern states. "Pray ye the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth more laborers into his vineyard."
The Lord seems willing to make use of every modern invention for spreading the truth. Brother and Sister Bell who had hoped ere this to be in the colporteur work and who to this end have been trying, but without success, to sell their prune ranch on the Pacific coast, concluded that they must serve in some manner and at once. Bro. Bell assured us that he, by God's grace, possessed the eight qualifications mentioned in the Oct. 15, '94 TOWER, and that he continually strives to abound in those graces of the spirit. He received of the Society a Letter of Introduction, and at once began to visit and, so far as possible, to help the Church in the vicinity of his own home. On Christmas last he and his wife received bicycles as presents from their relatives, and they at once concluded that these should be made to serve the truth also. They have extended the range of their ministry and when last heard from were 300 miles from home encouraging the Lord's people and being encouraged by them. Thus the bicycle has been yoked in as a servant to the "good tidings of great joy."
Several brethren with Letters of Introduction are doing good service, some giving spare time from their business as commercial travelers, some from stores, etc., and Bro. McPhail giving his entire time. Letters received show that the Lord's flock is being refreshed by these agencies. We here remark that brethren and sisters desirous of symbolizing their consecration, the immersion of their wills into the will of Christ, by water immersion, can be served by any of these Brethren when they come your way.
Let the love and sympathy and prayers of God's people everywhere embrace and support these dear co-laborers; and forget not those of less favorable opportunities who are not ashamed of the Lord and his Word, but daily confess the truth, as they can,--by their means, their words, their example and by tracts, letters, etc.
PROGRESS OF THE WORK ABROAD.
Brother Joseph Winter has for some time been at work colporteuring MILLENNIAL DAWN amongst people of his own nation--Denmark. He is meeting with fair success and is now much encouraged by one of his converts joining him in colporteuring. May the Lord continue to bless and use them.
Brother and Sister Westall have just started for England to engage in the "harvest" work there--colporteuring MILLENNIAL DAWN. A great work should be possible in Great Britain, and for some time we have been watching to see whom the Lord would esteem worthy, putting them into the work. (`1 Tim. 1:12`.) The Tract Society sends these two forth with hope-prayers that they may make full proof of their ministry to the praise of his glory who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. May they be faithful and be greatly blessed.
Brother Oleszynski, a Polander who received the truth into a good and honest heart some three years ago, has gone to his native land to search out consecrated ones to preach to them the grand gospel of ransom, restitution and the high calling. He has much of the spirit of the truth, and in the day of rejoicing will bring his "sheaves" with him.
MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOLS. I., II. and III., English and German, VOL. I. in Swedish and Dano-Norwegian, at uniform prices, 25 cents per volume in paper covers, $1.00 per volume in embossed cloth binding.
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VIEWS FROM THE TOWER.
RELIGIOUS conventions have been numerous during the past month. The American Baptist Union met in Saratoga. The Presbyterian General Assembly and The United Presbyterian General Assembly met in Pittsburg, and The Unitarian Association in Boston. The latter alone seems to be suffering a serious decline. The time was when Unitarians had a monopoly of "liberalism" and general disbelief in the Bible, its miracles, etc., but it has lost this distinctiveness; not by reason of any reform on its part, but because ministers in so-called "Orthodox" churches have out-run them in disbelief of the Bible, its inspiration, its miracles and its doctrines.
As for the Baptists, they are in great danger of losing their liberty and coming into bondage to their Ministerial Associations which, anxious for power, are drawing the cords tighter and tighter about their confiding lambs and sheep. Increase of wealth among Baptists in the large cities of the North is an important factor in the binding process. The poorer Baptist churches and their ministers are finding union more and more desirable. Baptists have been among the most firm defenders of the Bible: indeed, denying, as they do, all church authority, they have nothing else than the Bible as a foundation to their existence, and the denial of it would mean the destruction of every excuse for their existence as churches, and leave them merely moral and social clubs or societies. Nevertheless, among Baptists, as well as among the organized denominations, disbelief in the inspiration of the Bible and in the very foundation of Christian doctrine--that the death of Christ at Calvary was man's ransom-price--is spreading rapidly, especially among the ministers.
The U.P. Assembly received very warmly a committee from the Presbyterian Assembly, and heard and applauded their addresses, which were to the effect that they hold much of doctrine, history and practice in common, and little at variance, and that the two denominations should become one, etc. They took steps looking to the control of U.P. Theological Seminaries, fearing a difficulty similar to that between the Presbyterian body and Union Seminary of Briggs fame. Evidently their hearts are failing them for fear as they see other quarters of the ecclesiastical heavens being shaken.
The Presbyterian Assembly decided that the graduates of Union Theological Seminary shall not be ordained as Presbyterian ministers. This seemed to many a bold, courageous course in defense of the Bible; but when all the facts are recognized, it appears very much less. It has taken cognizance of Prof. Briggs' teachings, has examined him, has recognized his teaching as Infidelity of the most pernicious sort, has refused to longer recognize him as a teacher and suspended him as a minister until he shall have time to recant. He repudiates all ideas of recanting, and still holds and teaches his unbelief in the Bible, with increased energy. The other professors at Union Seminary have approved Dr. Briggs' course and teachings, and are still recognized as good enough to represent Presbyterianism. The Directors of the Seminary have disregarded the orders of the General Assembly, have endorsed Dr. Briggs and retained him; and yet some of those very Union Seminary Directors were specially honored by being reelected to places of special influence by this very Assembly. Why?--Because of the love of money. Mr. Briggs' friends are wealthy and influential, and the past year has shown that Missionary and other Societies of the denomination have fallen behind financially; and Presbyterianism as a whole, as well as many of its ministers individually, keeps close watch as to which side of every question brings the golden butter to its bread. In no other way can its action be accounted for in selecting
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to its Board of Home Missions three out-and-out Briggs sympathizers. (Infidels so far as the Bible is concerned-- believers so far as morality is concerned.) One of these, Mr. J. Crosby Brown (a very rich man and eminent banker who is President of the Board of Directors of Union Seminary, and who has a son a Professor in that institution), has been made President of the Board of Home Missions. Another made a director is Dr. Hastings, the noted leader and President of Union Seminary, whose teachings are recognized as so bad that a man instructed there is so likely to be an out-and-out infidel, that no matter what he may confess or profess to believe he cannot be recognized as a Presbyterian minister. The Assembly is learning not to put much faith in the professions of men taught in Union. And, indeed, do they not know from their own consciences that not one minister in ten believes what he professes at the time of his ordination? Evidently it will not be long before the time-and-money-serving spirit will sweep all denominations into practical infidelity, as the Scriptures have pointed out to us.
On Sunday, June 2, "Whitsunday," by a very general arrangement, sermons were preached in churches of various denominations favoring a union of all Protestant sects. The Pope, in an encyclical, offered Roman Catholics a premium to have them pray for the conversion of Protestants to the church of Rome. The premium offered was release from Purgatorial pains--so many days release for each prayer offered during the nine days preceding Whitsunday and for the eight days following it.
But neither the motives for union nor the desired object are good, reckoned from the Bible standpoint. They are on a par with the Pope's claim to control the future as well as the present life.
The same bigotry that during the "dark ages" established Inquisitions with their dungeons, and torture chambers furnished with every device that wicked hearts and brains and hands could prepare, would now fain grasp again the power lost in the Great Reformation. It would, no
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doubt, at first conduct itself more moderately than in the past; but minds trained to believe that God has prepared "hell" as a great bake-oven and that he is not only sweeping his creatures into it by the million, but that he has pleasure in so doing,--that he made that "hell" for those creatures and those creatures (foreknowingly) for that hell, are wholly unfit to be trusted with power over their fellows. They are sure to be influenced by their perverted ideas of God's methods to perhaps send heretics a little sooner to the burning. The evil is only intensified by adding to these errors the superstition that the pope carries the keys of hell and purgatory (and delegates that power to priests), and controls the future destiny of fellow creatures, many of whom, thank God, are much better every way than himself.
Here is the premium for prayers referred to above, the words of the man who claims to be infallible, unerring, the italics and explanatory words in brackets being ours:--
"To all who, for nine consecutive days before Pentecost, either publicly or privately, recite some special prayers to the Holy Spirit, we grant on each of those an indulgence of seven years and seven quadrgenes [40 days]; and a plenary [full, complete] indulgence [from any and all sins that he may commit] on any one of these days, or on the feast of Pentecost itself, or on any day of the following octave, provided, having confessed their sins and received absolution and holy communion, they pray God, according to the intention which we have above expressed.
"We further grant that those who desire to repeat for the eight days following Pentecost upon the same conditions may gain both of the above indulgences. These indulgences may be applied to the souls [of the dead, already] in purgatory."
The Rev. Thos. Dixon (Baptist), on May 26, preaching in New York City, declared that Christianity is a failure in that city and had been repudiated by the spirit of Christ. He is reported by the N.Y. World to have said:--
"The Baptist denomination in this city owns $4,000,000 worth of property, and, although within the last twenty years 15,000 children have been born into that faith, they have in that time lost 2,000 members. The combined wealth of the Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist churches here is $16,000,000. There are in those churches the brainiest men of the age, and yet they are not holding their own. They are a curse, because they are only maintaining the traditions of a dead past."
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WHOSE GLORY IS IN THEIR SHAME.
"Out of thine own mouth will I condemn thee."
HOW gradually people may drift away from their own landmarks is nowhere better illustrated than in that very prosperous denomination known as Episcopal Methodists. Its founder, John Wesley, an Episcopal clergyman, realized that the common people were being neglected religiously, and, prompted (we believe) by the best of motives, started the movement which is now world-wide in its influence, and which in these United States numerically and otherwise is the strongest of all Protestant denominations.
But prosperity has made Methodists proud, and has largely killed the spirit which gave birth to the organization. It is so changed to-day that its founder would not recognize it, and if Mr. Wesley or the Lord Jesus were to appear again and teach the same things in the same manner as of old, neither would be acceptable--neither would be allowed to preach a second sermon in any popular M.E. Church of any large city. We have evidence from Methodist sources on this subject which we will present below.
We learned recently that a new M.E. Church in Allegheny, which is completing a fine church-building about six blocks from our office, to be known as the "Calvary M.E. Church," had decided that in order not to encourage the
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poor it would rent no sittings to servants. At first we could scarcely credit the testimony, but were finally convinced that it must be the truth; for even a worse expression of the same spirit manifested itself in the North Avenue M.E. church, two blocks from our office, on the same street. In the latter church a spirit of rivalry with the former had sprung up; and, as a result, a meeting was called to decide whether or not they would best dismiss their present pastor, Mr. Story. At that meeting the astounding charge against the pastor, plainly stated, was that he was bringing into the church too many of the poorer classes,
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and that the wealthier people were consequently leaving for other churches.
After considerable discussion, covering so far as we can learn about two weeks, it was decided to have Mr. Story remain. But Mr. Story, having learned that his stay is not the unanimous wish of the people, has very properly resigned.
Following closely our knowledge of the above facts came the article which we reproduce below, by an M.E. minister, published in a leading Methodist journal--The Northwestern Christian Advocate--without one word of comment or criticism, and hence endorsed by it as the new standard of Methodism which it advocates. This abundantly proves that the spirit of Methodism in Allegheny is the claimed new spirit of Methodism everywhere. The writer so thoroughly draws the contrasts between present and past Methodism that comment from us is needless, except to say that in our view of matters they are boasting and glorying in their shame.
Brother Compton, who sent us the clipping (formerly a Methodist), in the letter accompanying it says: "Nothing that I have ever read in the TOWER has so forcibly shown the decadence of the modern church as this complacent article by a 'Minister of the Gospel.'" Yes, the same principle, we fear, applies also to all other denominations to a greater or less extent.
We give the article entire (the italics are Brother Compton's).
"SOME FEATURES OF AMERICAN METHODISM.
"The revival of religion in the eighteenth century under the leadership of the Wesleys and Whitefield purified the moral tone of the Anglo-Saxon race and put in operation new forces for the elevation of the unevangelized. Secular historians, both English and American, have united in crediting the movement originated by these remarkable men with much in modern church machinery and statement of doctrine which tends to spread and plant our civilization. The doctrine of 'free will' preached by them and their successors has, with the evolution of modern experiments in secular government, been one of the most popular dogmas engaging the thoughts of men. Among our American fore-fathers this doctrine was peculiarly contagious. Throwing off the yoke of kings, and disgusted with a nationalized and priest-ridden church, what could be more enchanting and more in harmony with their political aspirations than the doctrine that every man is free to make or mar his own destiny here and hereafter?
"The doctrine of the 'new birth' upon which the Methodists insisted, and the preaching of which by Whitefield in New England was like the telling of a fresh and unheard story, likewise produced effects upon which the secular and even the unreligious looked with approbation. For this doctrine not only demanded a 'change of heart,' but also such a change in the daily life as to make the Methodist easily distinguished from the man of the world by his behavior. The great purpose for which the church existed was to 'spread scriptural holiness over these lands.' This was the legend on her banner--with this war-cry she conquered.
"Another reason for the phenomenal success of Methodism in this country is to be found in the fact that to its simple, popular service the common people were gladly welcomed. Only those who have been untrained in ritual can appreciate this apparently insignificant but really very important fact. To know that you may enter a church where you can take part in the service without the risk of displaying your ignorance of form and ceremonies is of greatest concern if you have no desire to make yourself conspicuous. Thus the plain, unstudied service of the early American Methodist church was exactly suited to the people who had but lately abandoned the pomp of Old World religions. Lawn sleeves, holy hats, diadems, crowns and robes were repugnant to their rough and simple tastes. The religion that taught them that they could make their appeals to the Almighty without an intermediator of any kind emphasized the dignity and greatness of their manhood and appealed to their love of independence.
"The marked triumphs of this church may also be attributed in part to the fact that she had not then laid down the Master's whip of small cords. There was in those early days, from time to time, a cleansing of the church from pretenders and the unworthy which had a most wholesome effect, not only on the church itself, but also upon the surrounding community. For after the storms which often accompanied the 'turning out' of the faithless, the moral atmosphere of the whole neighborhood would be purified, and even the scoffer would see that church-membership meant something.
"A factor also assisting in the success of which I write was the pure itinerancy of the ministry which then obtained. Without doubt there were heroes and moral giants in those days. The influence of a strong, manly man, possessed by the idea that here he had 'no continuing city,' making no provision for his old age, requiring no contract to secure his support or salary, denying himself the very things the people were most greedy to obtain, and flaming with a zeal that must soon consume him, must have been abiding and beneficent wherever it was felt.
"No mean part in achieving her commanding position in this country was played by the singing of the old-time Methodists. Serious, sensible words, full of doctrine, joined to tunes that still live and rule, there was in such singing not only a musical attraction, but a theological training whereby the people, uncouth though they might have been, were indoctrinated in the cardinal tenets of the church. The singing of a truth into the soul of child or man puts it there with a much more abiding power than can be found in any kindergarten or Quincy method of instruction. Thus, without debate, doctrines were fixed in the minds of children or of converts so that no subsequent controversy could shake them.
"It remains now to show that
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THESE ELEMENTS OF SUCCESS HAVE BECOME ANTIQUATED, AND THAT A NEW STANDARD OF SUCCESS HAS BEEN SET UP IN THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
"Let me not assume the role of boaster, but rather be the annalist of open facts, a reciter of recent history. So far as the standard of doctrines is concerned, there is no change
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in the position held by the church, but the tone and spirit which obtain in almost all her affairs show at once the presence of modern progress and light-giving innovations. The temper and complexion of this mighty church have so far changed that all who are interested in the religious welfare of America must study that change with no common concern.
"The doctrine of the new birth--'Ye must be born again'--remains intact, but modern progress has moved the church away from the old-time strictness that prevented many good people from entering her fold, because they could not subscribe to that doctrine, and because they never had what once was called 'experimental religion.' Now Universalists and Unitarians are often found in full fellowship bravely doing their duty.
"The ministry of the present day, polished and cultured as it is in the leading churches, is too well bred to insist on 'holiness,' as the fathers saw that grace, but preach that broader holiness that thinketh no evil even in a man not wholly sanctified. To espouse this doctrine as it was in the old narrow way would make one not altogether agreeable in the Chautauqua circles and Epworth leagues of the present.
"The old-time, simple service still lingers among the rural populations, but in those cultured circles, where correct tastes in music, art and literature obtain--among the city churches--in many instances an elaborate and elegant ritual takes the place of the voluntary and impetuous praying and shouting which once characterized the fathers. To challenge the desirability of this change is to question the superiority of culture to the uncouth and ill-bred.
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"When the church was in an experimental stage, it possibly might have been wise to be as strict as her leaders then were. There was little to be lost then. But now wise, discreet and prudent men refuse to hazard the welfare of a wealthy and influential church by a bigoted administration of the law, such as will offend the rich and intellectual. If the people are not flexible, the gospel surely is. The church was made to save men, not to turn them out and discourage them. So our broader and modern ideas have crowded out and overgrown the contracted and egotistical notion that we are better than other people, who should be excluded from our fellowship.
"The love-feast, with its dogmatic prejudices, and the class-meeting, which was to many minds almost as bad as the confessional, have been largely abandoned for Epworth leagues and Endeavor societies.
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"The present cultured ministry, more than ever in the history of the church, conforms to the Master's injunction to be 'wise as serpents and harmless as doves.' Who among them would have the folly of the old-time preachers to tell his richest official member who is rolling in luxury to sell all for God and humanity and take up his cross and follow Christ? He might go away sorrowing--the minister, I mean.
"While evolution is the law, and progress the watchword, rashness and radicalism are ever to be deplored, and the modern Methodist minister is seldom guilty of either. The rude, rough preacher who used to accuse the God of love of being wrathful has stepped down and out to give place to his successor, who is careful in style, elegant in diction, and whose thoughts, emotions and sentiments are poetical and inoffensive.
"'The time limit,' whereby a minister may remain in one charge five years, will be abandoned at the next General Conference in 1896. In the beginning he could serve one charge but six months; the time was afterward extended to one year, then to two years, then to three, and lately to five. But the ruling, cultured circles of the church see that if her social success and standing are to compare favorably with other churches, her pastorate must be fixed so that her strong preachers may become the centers of social and literary circles. For it must be remembered that the preacher's business is not now as it often was--to hold protracted meetings and be an evangelist. No one sees this more clearly than the preachers themselves. Great revivalists used to be the desirable preachers sought after by the churches, and at the annual conferences the preachers were wont to report the number of conversions during the year. Now, however, a less enthusiastic and eccentric idea rules people and priest alike. The greater churches desire those ministers that can feed the aesthetic nature, that can parry the blows of modern skepticism and attract the intellectual and polished, while at the annual conference the emphasized thing in the report of the preacher is his missionary collection. The modern Methodist preacher is an excellent collector of money, thereby entering the very heart of his people as he could not by any old-fashioned exhortation or appeal.
"How great the lesson that has been so well learned by these leaders of Christian thought, viz., that the gospel should never offend the cultured and polite taste. To a church that can so flexibly conform to the times the gates of the future open wide with a cheery greeting. What more fitting motto can be found for her than the herald angels sang: 'Peace on earth, good will to men.'"
--Rev. Chas. A. Crane.
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ST. PAUL'S EARNEST DESIRE.
"For me to live is [to live] for Christ, and to die, gain. But if to live in the flesh, this is to me a fruit of labor; and what I should choose I do not exactly know. I am indeed hard pressed by the two things (I have an earnest desire for the returning and being with Christ, since it is very much to be preferred); but to remain in the flesh is more requisite on your account. --`Phil. 1:21-24`, Diaglott translation.
IT will be observed that the chief difference between the above and the common English version of this passage is the substitution of the word "return" for the word "depart." In justification of the use of the word "return" the translator in a footnote says:--
"To analusai, the loosing again or the returning, being what Paul earnestly desired, could not be death or dissolution, as implied by the word depart in the common version, because it seemed a matter of indifference to him, which of the two--life or death--he should choose; but he longed for the analusai, which was a third thing, and very much to be preferred to either of the other two things alluded to. The word analusai occurs in `Luke 12:36`, and is there rendered return;--'Be you like men waiting for their master, when he will return,' etc. Jesus had taught his disciples that he would come again, or return, `John 14:3,18`; thus, also, the angels said to them at his ascension, `Acts 1:11`. Paul believed this doctrine and taught it to others, and was looking for and waiting for the Savior from heaven, `Phil. 3:20`; `1 Thess. 1:10`; `4:16,17`, when... he would 'ever be with the Lord.'"
An examination of the Greek word analusai shows that it is used in Greek literature by Plato in both ways--
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as signifying sometimes depart and sometimes return; but the word occurs only twice in the New Testament, here and in `Luke 12:36`. In the latter instance, as stated above, it is rendered "return," and manifestly could not be otherwise rendered and preserve the sense. In the case we are discussing (`Phil. 1:23`), we hold that it should be rendered return, for the very simple reason that, even when used to signify depart, it must carry with it the thought of depart again, to depart to a place where one had previously been. The Greek prefix ana in ana-lusai signifies again as our prefix re in return signifies again. Hence, if rendered depart, we would be obliged to add the thought re-depart or depart again. And this would spoil the matter as related to St. Paul; for he had never been with Christ in glory, and hence could not "depart again" to be with Christ there. But when we translate analusai "re-turning," and apply it to our Lord, every difficulty seems to be removed.
Let us note the circumstances which gave rise to the expression. The Apostle had been for some time a prisoner at Rome, and while at times well treated by some of the Emperors, he was constantly liable to be put to death on some caprice. He wrote this Epistle in acknowledgment of a substantial gift from the Church at Philippi, and took the opportunity to tell them fully of his own condition, the progress of the Lord's work, etc., and to encourage them to steadfastness to the end.
Since they would like to know his prospects for release, he tells them that enemies (seeing his liberty for two years, `Acts 28:30`) were explaining Christianity, hoping thereby to add affliction and perhaps death to his bonds. (`Phil. 1:16-19`.) But he realized the prayers of the Church on his behalf and expected that his trial before Nero would result in his deliverance,--his acquittal, or his sentence to death. Then he tells them that as to his own preferences it would be difficult for him to choose between life (with its sufferings) and death (with its rest from toil); but while he had no choice as between these two things possible, he had a longing, an intense desire for a thing he well knew was impossible, a thing which he knew, and had taught the Church, was a long way off (`2 Thes. 2:1-8`)--the returning of Christ and being with him. Then, leaving the impossible and returning to the possibilities, he assures them that he has a conviction that God has a work for him yet to do for the Church, and that he would be released. And although the Scriptures give no account of it, tradition declares that he was acquitted by Nero and had some five years of liberty and service before being rearrested and executed.
It is worthy of note here that several other words are repeatedly used in the writings of both Paul and Luke when depart is manifestly meant. And it should be remembered that Luke was the Apostle's amanuensis, who traveled much with him and was accustomed to use words in the same sense.
But if any yet contend for the word "depart," rather than "return," we submit the following.
No doubt Paul would have desired, especially in view of his knowledge that the Lord's second coming could not occur soon, that he might depart to heaven or anywhere else in order to be with the Lord at once. But he knew that such a desire could not be granted in harmony with the divine plan, and hence, although it would have been his earnest desire, it did not enter into consideration as one of the possible things: he was still left in a strait of indecision as to his own preference of the two possible things --to live and serve the Church in suffering, or to die and rest from his labors--waiting "for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body."
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SECRET AND BENEFICIAL SOCIETIES.
DEAR BROTHER:--I would like to have your opinion on the subject of life insurance. They are organizing lodges all around here--United Workmen, Knights of Pythias, Red Men, Masons, Odd Fellows, etc. They are working it just about like sectarianism in the churches. Would like to see an article in the TOWER on the subject.
Yours in the love of the truth, W. E. KILLAM.
OUR REPLY TO THE QUERY.
In our judgment the majority of "secret societies" are merely beneficiary and have no secret schemes antagonistic to the general public welfare, the secret rites and ceremonies being merely "boys' play," occupying the time and attention of persons who have no greater aims than those which pertain to the present life. We note, however, that several Roman Catholic Societies seem to have schemes connected with the use of fire-arms, and are therefore to be classed as malevolent rather than benevolent.
We note also that the Order of Free Masons, if judged by its past history, has some secret object or scheme, more than fraternity and financial aid in time of sickness or death. And, so far as we can judge, there is a certain amount of profane worship or mummery connected with the rites of this order and some others, which the members do not comprehend, but which, in many cases, serves to satisfy the cravings of the natural mind for worship, and thus hinders it from seeking the worship of God in spirit and in truth--through Christ, the only appointed Mediator and Grand Master.
In proportion as such societies consume valuable time in foolish, senseless rites and ceremonies, and in substituting the worship of their officers, and the use of words and symbols which have no meaning to them, for the worship of God, in his appointed way--through Christ, and according to knowledge and the spirit of a sound mind--in that proportion these societies are grievous evils, regardless of the
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financial gains or losses connected with membership in them.
But respecting those orders which are merely Mutual Insurance Societies, in which the members pay a certain weekly sum of money to their sick, and at death a larger sum to their families, we must concede that they represent a good principle. It is certainly in harmony with the golden rule to help our neighbor when he is in need. The only objection we see to this is, that it puts the matter on a business or selfish basis and thus destroys its benevolent features; for each one joins, not for the good he can do, but for the help he hopes to obtain for himself or his family.
If, therefore, the matter be considered merely as a business arrangement, we can see no more wrong in joining such Mutual Benefit Societies than in taking out a policy in a regular Life or Accident Insurance Co., or insuring property in a Fire Insurance Co.--provided always that there be no confession of error or binding obligation required, contrary to the liberty wherewith Christ makes free. Wherever oaths of secrecy are demanded it is safe for God's people to touch not, taste not, handle not,--except as oaths are prescribed by public law, as before courts or in reference to documents for public record. In every other case the children of God will be blessed in obeying strictly the admonition,--Let your Yea be yea, and your Nay, nay; for "whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." It is in connection with his description of the "last days" of this Gospel age that St. James cautions against all binding oaths, such as many Secret Societies demand.--`Matt. 5:37`; `Jas. 5:12`.
We suggest, however, that, even as business concerns, many will be disappointed greatly by these Mutual Benefit
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Societies, in the near future. When the time of trouble shall have fully culminated, these Societies, as well as the great Life Insurance Companies and business in general, will all be paralyzed; and those leaning upon them will be sorely disappointed. The only ones who will be secure then will be those who have laid up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break through and steal. All others, even the rich, will "weep and howl for the miseries" which shall come upon them."
The present agitation for Societies and Unions, which is taking the world by storm, seems to be foretold in the Scriptures, and includes, we believe, not only Church organizations, but all the various organizations which tie men up together in bundles, to-day as never before. (See `Isa. 8:12`; `Matt. 13:30`.) These "bundles" or Societies may seem simple and harmless just now, but when the symbolic fire reaches them, when the great time of trouble shall have kindled the passions of the world in general, then it will be almost impossible to escape from these bundles. Pride will hold them together;--none will wish to show the "white feather" of cowardice;--none will wish to appear disloyal in the hour of trouble;--Societies will act en masse, and individuals will thus be led into positions which they never would take alone. Money also will be a factor. After having paid in considerable "dues," they will not feel disposed to lose that money;--especially when they see the cloud of trouble getting darker and nearer. Thus bound together they will suffer from the "burning," the distress, of the time of trouble, which God declares will be such as was not since there was a nation.
Better far will those be who lean not upon Egypt (`Ezek. 29:6,7`--the world), for help, but who lean upon the Lord. The Lord will be their fortress in the day of trouble.
Such societies, on selfish business principles, are foreign to the spirit of God's Church. In it, those who have this world's goods should be ready to assist the needy of the Lord's family, hoping for nothing again. And all who are members of the true Church whose names are written in heaven, all who have the spirit of the Head, will be willing and anxious to do good unto all men as they have opportunity, especially to the household of faith, who are not leaning upon earthly Societies, but who, instead of spending "dues" in that way, are using their means to serve the Lord, his truth and his people.
Since we do not condemn Life Insurance Societies conducted upon business principles, even though we fear that they will be very insecure dependencies when the time of trouble shall have fully commenced, some one may ask, How are we to understand our Lord's words,--
"TAKE NO THOUGHT FOR TO-MORROW."
We are to understand these words in perfect harmony with the Apostle's words, "Provide things honest in the sight of all men," and "He that provideth not for his own [as he may be able] hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel." Our Lord's words signify, Do not be weighed down with anxious care for to-morrow; but while seeking to know and to do God's will, trust in his providential care, which he has promised will cause all things to work together for good to them that love him supremely. It is as right for the husband to consider the future welfare of his wife, as for the Heavenly Bridegroom to provide for the Church (`Eph. 5:25`.) It is as proper for the earthly father to make provision for his children--especially in good training and fair education, as for the Heavenly Father to plan for and educate and prepare a future home for his children. (`1 Cor. 2:9`.) It is when parents attempt to become rich and to leave their children rich that they specially err. (`1 Tim. 6:9,17,18`; `Mark 10:23,24`.) They in attempting to contravene the law of God (that sinners learn to labor and to eat bread in sweat of face) work an injury to their children. But their error does not justify other parents in neglecting to give their children the best patrimony, an education, at least rudimentary, including religious and moral training.
Those who leave their children such a legacy and the example of a noble, upright life of fellowship with God leave a bequest which the breaking of banks and insurance companies and all the terrible troubles of "the great day" will only make the more pricelessly valuable.
So then our advice to God's consecrated people is,-- "Trust in the Lord and do good, and verily thou shalt be fed." Use time and money in the Lord's service, and rely upon him to cause all things to work for your highest good.
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OUR LORD'S ASCENSION.
--JUNE 23, `LUKE 24:44-53`.--
Golden Text--"And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy."
WHILE all who are still true to the sure foundation of the Christian faith and have not been moved away from the hope of the gospel recognize the necessity of Christ's death as the payment of our ransom, and see in his resurrection the pledge of salvation to all them that believe, few seem to consider what was accomplished for us and also for himself by his ascension. Yet this was a feature of the divine plan as necessary to our salvation as were the sacrifice and the resurrection.
This feature of the plan is clearly shown in the service of the typical tabernacle. It corresponds to the act of the high priest, Aaron, in entering the Most Holy with the blood of the atonement sacrifice and presenting it before the Mercy Seat together with the sweet incense which represented the human perfection of Christ.* As God said to Moses, referring to the Tabernacle, "See that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount," and required that the whole service of the Tabernacle should be performed with exactness according to the prescribed directions, so in the antitype every feature of the divine plan must be carried out in line with the type so carefully given.
Our Lord's ascension was therefore, according to the type, an essential part of the divine plan. Nor was it arbitrarily indicated in the type: there was a necessity for it, else it would not have been expressed there. In referring to it before his death, Jesus said to his disciples, "I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also."--`John 14:2,3`.
If we inquire whither he went, we have his answer, "I go unto my Father." (`John 14:12`.) But why was it necessary that he should go away? Had he not finished the work of sacrifice? and could he not now have remained on earth for the personal direction and supervision of the work of the Gospel age? Granted that that work was the selection and the teaching, training and discipline of a people for his name, had he remained as the visible head of the Church would it not have been greatly to her advantage? Then all matters of faith and conduct could have had authoritative settlement; and the dissensions of "Christendom" would have been a thing unknown; and "that Man of Sin, whose coming was after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness," could never have arisen: no blasphemous popes or others could then have lorded it over God's heritage. Oh, how blessed would it have been, seemingly, according to human judgment, had the Lord remained with his people after his resurrection! Why might it not have been so? Why was it necessary that he should go away and leave them apparently at the mercy of every wind of doctrine and of all the machinations of the powers of darkness to overcome them--by arts, temptations, allurements, deceptions and by persecutions in every conceivable form?
Well, however it may appear or may have appeared to human judgment, the Lord himself said, "It is expedient for you that I go away." "But consider, "Lord, the disciples might have urged, "that the Church, as it increases in numbers, and as false teachers will surely arise among us, will greatly need a visible head to direct her course and to save her from endless divisions and discords. How can the Church remain one, as thou hast prayed (`John 17:11`), in the midst of the conflicting voices and influences that will arise?" But no, the early disciples asked no such questions: they were not so self-confident as the multitudes of professed Christians of later date, who seem to have concluded that, since the Lord had so unwisely ignored the subsequent conditions and necessities of the Church, they would select from their midst one upon whom they would confer the title, "the vicar of Jesus Christ," and consider him and his successors in office the visible heads of the Church, who should be considered by all as infallible authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
Both the Church and the world are aware of the evil results of this heady philosophy, and of the monstrous usurpations of authority and power that have made both
*See `Lev. 16`; also TABERNACLE SHADOWS, p.48,50.
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the church and the world to groan under the iron heel of oppression. And yet, strange as it may seem, though the folly of this measure has been so glaringly manifest, and the hated power of the false head of the Church has been cast off, again there is a great cry for his restoration to power and authority. The religious leaders of to-day are saying, We need and must have a visible head to reorganize and unify the divided hosts of "Christendom"--Christ's (?) kingdom;--and many are looking anxiously to the Papacy for that head.
Nevertheless, we are of those who still believe that it was expedient for Christ to go away; and that, too, without leaving any visible head to represent him in office. It was expedient for various reasons; and those in view of all the seemingly adverse conditions that could, and that the Lord knew were sure to, arise; for he foretold the very things that were to come to pass--the coming of the Man of Sin, the false teachers, and plausible false doctrines and how they would prosper, and the persecutions of the saints through long and weary centuries, and the treading down of the truth and the prevalence and prosperity of error.
His going away was expedient for the following reasons:--
(1) As already intimated, in order that, in accordance with the pattern given us in the typical high priest, Aaron, in the service of the typical tabernacle, he, as our great High Priest, should enter into heaven, into the presence of God--the antitypical holy of holies--for us. To this the Apostle Paul refers, saying, "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands [into the typical tabernacle, as did Aaron the typical high priest], which are figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us."--`Heb. 9:24`.
If we would know what Christ our High Priest did for us after his ascension to the "most holy," to heaven itself, the presence of God, we have but to look back to the type which was made to illustrate it. There we see the high priest, after he had sacrificed the bullock which represented the humanity of Christ (while he himself then represented the new creature of the divine nature), entering the Most Holy with the blood of the bullock, and there presenting it before the mercy seat in the presence of the Shekinah glory;
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thus formally presenting to God the evidence of the typical sacrifice for the sins of the people, and so typically completing the work of atonement toward God. (See `Lev. 16:6,14,17`; `Heb. 9:7`.) And the Apostle in `Heb. 9:7-14`, shows that this work, thus typically accomplished by the typical high priest, was actually accomplished by Christ after his ascension to the Father, and that this formal presentation of the fact of his sacrifice for our redemption, was therefore a necessary part of the work of atonement, without which, according to the type (`Lev. 16:2,3`), his sacrifice would have availed nothing. It was only after the sacrifice had been made in exact conformity to the prescribed method, and after the evidence thereof (the blood) had been duly presented in the Most Holy, that the blessing of God could be granted to those for whom the atonement was made. Every part of the prescribed work was, in the antitype, as in the type, a necessary part, without which the whole would have been a failure. The typical sacrifices, of course, availed nothing, except to illustrate to our minds the actual processes of the work of atonement and the reasonable necessity of all its various features.*
(2) His going away was expedient also for himself, and again for us indirectly. This our Lord illustrated in his parable of the young nobleman going into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. (`Luke 19:12`.) Paul tells us that our Lord's great exaltation, which included, not only his change to the divine nature, but also his official elevation to the right hand of God, was granted to him as a reward for his atoning sacrifice--"And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name." This full exaltation, it is manifest, could not have been experienced until the sacrifice had been, not only made, but presented as well, as the fulfilment of this part of the divine plan. This full exaltation was that "glory" to which the Lord referred when he said, "Ought not Christ [according to the Scriptures] to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" (`Luke 24:26`.) His going away was necessary, therefore, to this exaltation to the right hand of God--an exaltation which also is greatly to our present as well as to our future benefit.
But let us consider further what is said of this glorious exaltation for which purpose it was necessary that our Lord should go away. The Apostle Paul says (`Eph. 1:17,20,21`), "The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,...raised Christ from the dead and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world [age], but also in that which is to come." And in his `Revelation` to John on Patmos, Jesus said, "I am set down with my Father in his throne." The inference is plain, therefore, that our Lord was exalted as Jehovah's Prime Minister in the throne of universal dominion, for which exalted office he was also duly qualified, being made a partaker of the divine (immortal) nature, a dignity never before conferred upon any created being. Such has been the honor and glory of our blessed Lord ever since he ascended up on high, there to appear in the presence of God for us.
But what does it signify to us that our Lord was thus exalted so far beyond even our comprehension of the glory? Oh, it signifies much! it signifies that "when he ascended up on high, he led captivity [death] captive;" for he that ascended thus into the heavens is he, the very same Jesus, "that descended first into the lower parts of the earth [the grave]; [and] he that descended is the same also that ascended up, far above all heavens, that he might fill all things." (`Eph. 4:8-10`.) It signifies that we have now "a great High Priest, that hath passed into the heavens [one who is now on the most intimate terms and in the closest possible favor with the Sovereign of the whole universe],... and not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but [one who] was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin;"..."a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people;" and "in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted." It signifies that, "if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;" and therefore, we may "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (`Heb. 4:14-16`; `2:17,18`; `1 John 2:1`.) His very presence there in the glory of his enduring priesthood is the only appeal that is necessary on our behalf; for Jehovah himself loveth us--the dear purchase of the precious blood of his Anointed One (`John 16:27`); in fact, the whole plan of this reconciliation was of God, and is wrought out in Christ. Yes, praise the Lord!
"Before the throne my surety stands;
My name is written on his hands."--`Heb. 7:22`; `Isa. 49:16`.
Yet the ascension of our blessed Lord to the right hand of power signifies more even than this: it signifies his ability now to "give gifts unto men." At the appointed time--the times of restitution of all things--he comes forth from that holy of holies, heaven itself, whither he hath entered for us, and he will lift up his hands and bless the people (`Lev. 9:23`), and there will be a thousand years of his glorious reign. But this is not all; for as soon as he had ascended up on high and presented his sacrifice on our behalf, he sent the Comforter, the holy spirit of adoption, into the hearts of his disciples (on the day of Pentecost), whereby they were enabled to cry, Abba, Father. It was with reference to this gift that Peter said on that day, "Therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear." (`Acts 2:33`.) And this gift has continued with the Church ever since. It was sent according to his promise--"It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you: but if I depart I will send him unto you." This gift, the Apostle John shows, could not be given to the disciples until after the Lord's ascension. "For the holy spirit was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified."--`John 7:39`.
With some idea at least of the necessity of the Lord's departure in their interest, and assured of his coming again in glory and power, we can understand the rejoicing of the disciples as they returned to Jerusalem after his ascension. They were comforted and blessed, not only by the hope of his return, but also by the promise of the Comforter, as a token of his love and of the Father's favor, not many days after.
*See TABERNACLE SHADOWS OF BETTER SACRIFICES.
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A REVIEW OF OUR LORD'S MINISTRY, ETC.
Golden Text--"Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith."--`Heb. 12:2`.
In view of all the precious lessons of this quarter gathered from the life and death and resurrection of our Lord, we have only to repeat to those who are endeavoring to follow in his footsteps, the exhortation of the Apostle: "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so
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easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
He who by his example and teaching has inspired our faith will, if we continue to follow his leading, finish, perfect it. He will establish, strengthen, settle us so that we cannot be moved; and finally present us to himself "a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." He will also perfect us by present experiences for our office as the "royal priesthood" as he was "made perfect through suffering" for his office as Chief Priest.
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THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.
--JULY 7, `EXOD. 20:1-17`.--
Golden Text--"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself."--`Luke 10:27`.
For a full presentation of the subject of this lesson, the reader is referred to the following articles in previous issues of this journal; viz.,
(1) The Divine Law, Universal and Eternal.--Nov. 1-15, '94.
(2) The Law of God.--Nov. 1, '92.
(3) Taking God's Name in Vain.--May 15, '93.
(4) The Bond of Perfectness.--Oct. '91.
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"OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT."
DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER RUSSELL:--Although we are strangers to you, you are not strangers to us; and as a slight evidence of our appreciation of the blessings your books have brought us, we venture to trespass upon your precious time long enough to tell you something which may prove of interest.
We are a young husband and wife who have been members of the nominal church for about ten years; but are now, we trust, stepping from its darkness into the light of the new day now dawning for the consecrated children of the Most High.
About the first of December, '94, Miss Erlenmyer, one of your colporteurs and one of the Lord's dear saints, called at our home, and finding us deeply interested in the subject of our Savior's return, had little difficulty in persuading us to take the first volume of DAWN, promising to call again as soon as we had had time to read it.
We began to read and in two or three weeks were interested to such an extent that although nearly everything else was mixed up and we scarcely knew what we believed, we did see clearly that there certainly is some special prize, some exceptional opportunity, for which the humble, sacrificing members of Christ's flock are invited to strive. We felt that there was only about one plank in the old platform left for the Christian worker to stand upon, and that was the one in which we have always been most interested, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." We have always been expecting to fall into some trap unless we clung close to our Savior, and at the time of which we speak were by no means sure that your interpretations of the Scriptures, despite their apparent harmony with them, were not the well-meant views of another class of those unfortunates who unwittingly go about "deceiving and being deceived."
This hesitancy to accept the message led us into a most serious predicament from which, however, the Lord has extricated us, and that, too, in a manner which seems to us unmistakable personal evidence that your views of the Word are correct. A few words of explanation are necessary to understand the way we got into what has proven the greatest testing season of our lives.
Long before we ever met each other it was our earnest wish that we might serve the Lord, if it chanced to be his will, as missionaries in the foreign field. One of us has, however, been for years physically unable to go; the other had no opportunity to go before our engagement took place, and as he received only the next day after that event a notice of acceptance of an application made nearly two years before, from which nothing had been heard in the meantime, but which, had it been received even one day sooner would have been considered a "call" and prevented our engagement altogether, it seemed to both of us that we had been plainly shown the Lord did not wish to use us in that direction.
In this city there is a young lady who from her infancy has wished and expected to some time go to the foreign field, and she has had the advantages of the education usually given at Mr. Moody's Northfield School and the Chicago Training Institute to fit her for such work. She is now the city missionary of the church with which we are at present connected, and is, we believe, earnestly trying to do her Master's will.
To come to the point: One evening early in January, after a long discussion of the sore needs of what seemed to us the Master's work, and of the ways and means at our disposal, we decided to send the above mentioned young lady to the foreign field and sustain her in the work as God saw fit to favor the plan, provided she was willing to accept the call. We concluded that if the DAWNS were right we had not many years in which to work and that whether they were right or wrong we would be doing the Lord's will by giving up for him every earthly prospect.
We invited the young lady in question to call as soon as possible, which she did the next evening, and we found her not only ready but anxious to take up the work. The next day she sent in her application to the Mission Board, asked to be appointed to the field to which she has from her childhood wanted to go, and even mentioned the date she would like to start.
About a week later Miss Erlenmyer called, as she had promised, renewed our interest in the DAWN, left VOLS. II. and III., and such a sea of trouble as our first examination of the Chronology plunged us into, we earnestly hope we may never be called upon to go through again. We saw the old landmarks of orthodoxy topple and fall on every side, and although God's Spirit enabled us to look with a sense of joy upon the ruins of the creeds and catechisms, it did not extricate us from our contract to engage in work which we see is no longer necessary, and we did not have the confidence, as yet, in these, to us, new interpretations of the Word, to enable us to withdraw our offer.
In our extremity we asked our Father in Heaven to show us the truth or falsity of your teachings by sending our friend as we had planned, or preventing her from going.
Since that time we have gone on reading and studying the books and growing in the doctrine of grace and in the
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knowledge of the love of God until, from a comparison of their teachings with the infallible Word, confidence in the DAWN has become heart-certainty that they are right. But although we have been for several weeks fully convinced, and have been growing stronger and stronger week by week, we have done nothing to interfere with the plans mentioned, fearing to take out of the Lord's hands what we had placed in them, and knowing from many rich experiences in the past that in his own good time he would answer us in a way that would satisfy.
Our confidence in the Lord has not been in vain, for as fast as we have come into the light we have received our answer, although in a manner that has given us much pain. Our dear friend whom we had expected to send began about six weeks ago to have trouble with her eyes. A month ago the affliction had become so serious as to require regular treatment twice a week. Now she is unable to read or write and cannot even bear the light for any length of time.
A week ago she told us that it would be years before she could go, and day before yesterday informed us she had written to the Mission Board and requested them to let the matter drop. Of course we know that the Lord has not sent this affliction upon her for the purpose of answering our prayer, but we know, too, that the young lady in question has heretofore enjoyed good health and we believe this trouble, which it now appears has been coming upon her unobserved for years, has been providentially postponed until now, or otherwise so ordered as to give us an opportunity to "Prove whether these things be so."
Now we have proved the Lord, and he has answered us, and we mean to obey the call. With fear and trembling, but with confidence in our mighty King, we enter at the
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eleventh hour to run the race for crowns which others have flung aside. The thought that others have had them and lost them almost unnerves us. Oh! may he grant to strengthen our weak hands and confirm our feeble knees, that we be not castaways after having once entered the Holy Place and feasted on the wonderful truths so providentially placed in our way, is the heartfelt prayer of
Your loving brother and sister in Christ,
EMMA AND CLAYTON J. WOODWORTH.
[Since writing the above the Brother and Sister have withdrawn from the earthly organization of which they were members; but they are more than ever united to the one Church "whose names are written in heaven."--ED.]
TOWER PUBLISHING CO.:--Enclosed find order for One Dollar for which please send to the undersigned for one year ZION'S WATCH TOWER. I feel that I must have it, for as far as I have read in the DAWN I am more than ever convinced that it is leading me into that truth which will make me free. For nine years I have been groping in the M.E. church for what I have found in your book in as many hours. With the teachings of that church I have always felt, as they often sing, that "there was a void that never was filled." I have been a local preacher in that church, but have now renounced all connections with it, and as fast as the truth is gained by me, with the help of God I will teach it.
I have already given three lectures which have created quite a stir here, and many are looking up the Word to find me mistaken; but the truth still stands, thank God! Coming in at the eleventh hour, I am reminded that "the time is short." Am now sixty years of age; but when speaking in the light my "strength is renewed like the eagles." There are two or three already who are showing a desire to be led into the light. May God bless and help you still to unfold to me and other seekers the blessings that will follow from a true knowledge of him who gave himself a ransom for all. I take the liberty to subscribe myself,
Your brother in Christ, JAMES BUNTING.
DEAR BROTHER:--Last October a gentleman called at my house and drew my attention to a book he was selling. I was upon the point of refusing when the title, "MILLENNIAL DAWN," interested me. I consented to examine it, saw at once it was something I wanted, and ordered all three volumes. After going through them two or three times, to say I was astonished is a very mild expression. Although I had been brought up in the fear of the Lord and in the faith as taught by the Methodist church, still I had strayed far from all religion, believing that a God who would torment one forever could not be the God of love I had been taught. I was not far from atheism, but those DAWNS, thank the Lord, altered all that. I am now trying to serve God, and thank him sincerely that the colporteur called at my house. I will pray for him, and may his efforts be blessed in spreading the truth.
The DAWNS having proved such a blessing to me, I am anxious that others should have the benefit of the truth which they contain. I enclose Money Order and several addresses. May God spare you long for his work.
Yours in the faith, E. E. MITCHELL.
DEAR SIR:--Excuse a perfect stranger for troubling you, but will you please tell me if the fourth volume of MILLENNIAL DAWN is yet published, and where I can get it? I got the first three volumes from one of your agents last year, and have read them through five or six times with both pleasure and profit. I consider them books not to be read merely but to be studied. Every time I have read them I have gathered something new. In my opinion this is the true religion, the only one that combines reason with faith, and that is not contradictory to the sciences.
Your respectfully, E. S.__________.
TOWER PUBLISHING CO.:--I am carefully studying Vol. I. of MILLENNIAL DAWN. It is the clearest production I have yet found, and I desire to read VOLS. II. and III. Enclosed find order. If you have a catalogue of other works please send it, and oblige,
J. W. S__________, Pastor M.E. church.
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DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--God be praised that at last I have willingly yielded to the Spirit's call through the Word, and have left Babylon, never to return, and am now happy in Christ my Redeemer. How blessed is the light that hath shined into our hearts! And now we realize fully the words of the Apostle--"And we, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake us unawares."
I have been reading DAWNS for about a year and a half. I heard the Spirit's call through the Word, but was so weak and so strongly bound to Babylon, that it was hard to throw off the shackles of bondage and enter into the liberty there is in Christ; but he will not break the bruised reed, or quench the smoking flax; and in his wisdom he sent among us Brother V. C. Haviland to do colporteur work. Bro. H. sought me out, and strengthened me, even as Ananias did Paul; and now I am in the light, bless his holy name, O my soul, and all that is within me!
Yours in hope of eternal life. FRANK H. RUSS.