ZWT - 1892 - R1346 thru R1484 / R1462 (001) - November 1, 1892
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VOL. XIII. NOVEMBER 1, 1892. NO. 21.
THE LAW OF GOD.
"The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good."--`Rom. 7:12`.
So says the Apostle Paul; and the Psalmist adds, "The law of the Lord is perfect;" and the Apostle James calls it "The perfect law of liberty." And again, the Psalmist breaks forth in an ecstasy of admiration, saying, "O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day."
Were these men mere religious enthusiasts when they thus praised the law of God? Let us look into it and see if it has the same inspiration for us. It says, Thou shalt have no other gods before me, nor make nor worship graven images; thou shalt honor thy father and mother, and shalt not kill, nor steal, nor bear false witness against thy neighbor, etc. Is there anything so very delightful and inspiring about these commands and prohibitions as to call forth such ejaculations of praise? To the casual reader it would seem not. Certainly no man feels specially flattered or edified either, on being told not to steal or kill or lie or cheat or bow down to worship senseless idols. And if we turn from the ten commandments to the ceremonial and provisional features of the law given to Israel, are the themes for meditation all the day any more inspiring? There we read articles for the regulation of slavery in Israel, and prohibitions against the enslavement of any Israelite (See `Lev. 25:44-46`; `Exod. 21:20,21`; `Deut. 23:15,16`); and of special provisions for the government of those who desired to take more than one wife, as to how they should still perform their obligations toward the wives they had already taken. (See `Exod. 21:10`; `Deut. 21:15-17`.) And again, there were commands that in cases of certain sins all Israel should take part in the execution of the criminal by stoning. Then there were all those features relating to the service of the Tabernacle, and the offering of sacrifices, and the observance of sabbaths, and jubilees, and feast days, etc. Is there any thing so inspiring in all these things? Infidels say, No, and hold it all up to ridicule; but let us with the apostles and prophets look deeper, and doubtless we also shall find God's law a theme worthy of our meditation all the day, and one in which we may truly delight ourselves.
It was foretold by the Prophet `Isaiah (42:21`) that Christ would "magnify the law and make it honorable." And this is an intimation that in some way the divine law had been made to appear beneath its true dignity and grandeur,--which is true. In bringing it down to the comprehension of sinful men, God was obliged to state it in such a way as to meet the exigencies of their case; and so it abounds in commands and prohibitions--"thou shalt," and "thou shalt not." But hear the law as our Lord Jesus expressed it, when he said, On these two commandments hangs all the law, viz., "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind;" and "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." (`Matt. 22:37-40`.) And the Apostle Paul briefly sums it up in one word, saying, "Love is the fulfilling of the law."
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It was thus also that the law of God was expressed to Adam and Eve in Eden. Love was the only law given there--love supreme, to God; and then love to each other as measured only by the love of self. Each was to love the other as much as self, and to love God even more. In this law every right-minded person can truly take delight. And those who thus delight themselves in the very central idea and spirit of God's law need no negative commands; for love's quick intuitions readily discover how to express its tenderest emotions toward God, and what would work good or ill to a neighbor.
To meditate on God's law is not, therefore, merely to ponder over the ten commandments --Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, etc.--but rather to ponder over the spirit of that law of love and to study its outworkings in all the minutiae of life's affairs. And if this is the daily theme of our meditations, how truly may we delight ourselves therein. Happy indeed is that soul who can say, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law of love is within my heart.
No parchment or tablet of stone can fairly represent the law of God. To be seen in its beauty and perfection, it must be viewed as engraven on the hearts of his intelligent creatures. The only clear and full illustrations we have yet had of it were Adam and Eve and our Lord Jesus. That written on the tablets of stone and given to Israel was a cruder manifestation of it to bring it down to the comprehension of fallen men.
This law of love works no ill to a neighbor and no ingratitude or irreverence to God, but is holy and just and good. Let us study it as it is written in the character and in the teachings of our Lord, as expressed by his own mouth and by the mouth of his holy apostles and prophets. In it we may profitably meditate all the day; and the more we meditate upon it the more we will realize its perfection and grandeur and see that it is indeed what `James` declares it to be--"the perfect law of liberty."
It is the only law of liberty that could be made; for nothing else than Love can secure the fullest liberty for every individual without in the least infringing upon the liberties of any
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other individual. Love, founded on justice, is therefore the only principle that has any right to authority or rulership anywhere. Justice is generally understood to be the object of all rulership; but Justice can never be fully secured where Love does not reign. Only love to the neighbor as to one's self can rightly adjust the affairs of men, either now or in the future. If it were possible now for love to fully control all the marts of trade and the busy hives of manufacturing industry, what a renovation it would make: How employers and employees would work together for the common welfare, and strikes and lockouts and boycotts would be things unknown; and both the brains of the employers and the hands of the employed would find restful relaxation when the day closes. How would all the inventions and discoveries, the improved machinery and the increased skill of hand and brain begin to bless the whole world. How soon would the toiling hands and brains find labor lightened, and hours shortened, and leisure gained for mental and spiritual culture and social enjoyment of all the good things which God has provided for the world's comfort and happiness. Could it so enter and control all legislative halls and executive departments and courts of justice, how quickly would the world's wrongs be righted and the cry of the oppressed cease. And in the Church, if fully exercised, what beauty and grace would be hers, and how brightly her light would shine out upon the world. And if in full control of the domestic circle, what a heavenly peace would pervade its precincts and send its hallowed influence abroad.
Think upon it: study it out in all its intricate and important bearings, and see what a paradise of beauty and joy will stand out before our mental vision--a paradise in the home, a paradise in the Church and a paradise in the world. O! what an inspiring and what a profitable theme for meditation all the day. As we thus consider this perfect law of God we find that it has indeed, as the Prophet affirms (`Psa. 19:7`), power to convert the soul; for we become so inspired with the glorious picture that we find ourselves, even here, under the present disadvantages, striving to approximate these
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happy conditions, which we confidently hope to realize in the future through Christ our Redeemer and Lord, who undertakes to establish this law of God in our hearts now, and who will by and by establish it in all the world.
Thus viewed, who will deny the Apostle's declaration that the law is holy and just and good; for it consists not in a merely passive refraining from evil, but goes further, in activity for good.
When we carefully consider the law of God, viewing it through the magnifying glasses of Christ's life and teaching, and see how honorable and good and glorious it appears--for he truly magnified it, brought out its fine points, and made it honorable--we see that in what is commonly called the law of Moses, or the law of God, there are two distinct parts, which some have distinguished as the moral and the ceremonial laws; but which we would distinguish as the moral and the provisional laws. The former consisted of the ten commandments written upon the two tables of stone, and the latter of all the remainder of the law, which was peculiarly adapted to the purposes of that dispensation and the circumstances of that age.
In considering the provisional law given to Israel, some features of which, as above noted, are pointed out by Infidels as below the moral status of to-day (as they are), we must bear in mind that God's purpose with Israel at that time was not restitution, but merely the regulation of that people to such an extent as to be able to use them to represent typically the various features of his plan; and, while so doing, to guard them as a nation against such moral deflections as would make them and him as their God a reproach among the other nations. Consequently, God did not set about rooting out all the evils that were in their midst, but, as it is written, "The times of this ignorance God winked at [tolerated, or avoided taking notice of], because he hath appointed a day" --a set time, the Millennial age, for that work. (`Acts 17:30,31`.) As to how Israel accomplished his purpose as types, see "Tabernacle Shadows of Better Sacrifices."
Many in Israel, as well as in the world at large, had fallen into the evil of taking many wives and also of enslaving their fellow men. These evils God was not attempting to correct, because the "appointed time" for the deliverance from sin and the restoration to purity and holiness had not yet come. He was leaving that work for the Millennial age. Yet, without fully undertaking the work of eradicating all evil and bringing about complete reformation then, God did give some directions for the regulation of Israel in these matters, as well as many wise and wholesome laws admirably suited to the conditions of that time and the purposes of that dispensation.
It is clearly manifest that God's original purpose was not a multiplicity of wives, nor the enslavement of any member of that race which he had created free and in his own image, and that he will not permit such things when his time has come for restoring all things according to his original purpose. Thus we see that the claim of Infidels against some features of the Mosaic law, as not being up to the ethical standard of to-day, does not hold good against the divine law, which Paul says is holy and just and good, which the Psalmist says is perfect, and which `James` calls "the perfect law of liberty;" for Love, which is the central idea of the ten commandments, is the very essence of the law of God, and is indeed the law of liberty; and, as we have seen, it is the only law which can give liberty. It is the law with which God's own nature is inscribed; for "God is love:" and it is the law which he inscribes upon the heart of every one of his intelligent creatures created in his own likeness, both angelic and human, and to the glorious liberty of which it is his purpose to restore our fallen race.
It is the law which shone out so beautifully in the character and teaching of our Lord Jesus, and which he thus magnified and made honorable. It is the law which produced the bliss of Paradise before sin entered, and which will restore it again in the sweet by and by. Glorious law! Well may we exclaim with the `Psalmist`, "O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day."
But this law will not be fully established in the world until the end of the Millennial reign
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of Christ; and since the object of that reign is to bring men gradually up to the conditions and requirements of that law, there must of necessity be provisional laws during the Millennium adapted to the conditions and purposes of that age, just as there were provisional laws adapted to the conditions and purposes of the Jewish age, while the perfect law of Love will be held up before all as the goal of their aspirations. And when the end of the Millennium is reached, these provisional laws, which will make allowance for imperfections and shortcomings during the appointed times of restitution or reconstruction, will be removed; and then, every man must come up to the full standard of the perfect law of Love. Any who then, with the ability acquired under, the special arrangements of the provisional laws, show themselves unwilling to be actuated by the high-toned principles of the eternal law of Love, will be counted unworthy of life, and will die the second death.
During the Gospel age this same law of Love is held up as the ultimatum of the Church's aspirations for holiness and purity. And yet, as there will be during the Millennial age, so there is now, a provisional law of life under which the Church is placed, whose conditions take cognizance both of our infirmities (and make due allowance for them) and also of God's purposes for our discipline and development. This law the Apostle Paul (`Rom. 8:2`) calls "the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus," whereby all who submit themselves fully to it are "made free [reckonedly] from the law of sin and death." Under the blessed provisions of this law, so admirably adapted to our present conditions, all in Christ are now permitted to work out their eternal salvation, while God works in them to will and to do his good pleasure.
THE PROPER ATTITUDE TOWARD GOD'S LAW.
Complete happiness and unalloyed bliss can never be secured to any one except by entire harmony with the perfect law of love--supreme love to God and love to the neighbor as to one's self. This law is the full expression of God's will and purpose concerning his creatures. His will is our happiness and peace and joy, and is essential to our fitness to live forever in the possession of his favors. The proper attitude, therefore, of every loyal child of God is not only that of submission to this law to the fullest extent of ability, but also of grateful and joyful harmony with it, and delight in obedience to it and in contemplation of it.
This law of love, whose foundation is justice, is the only law which seeks the highest good of its subjects, and it is the only law which will ultimately be permitted to rule anywhere in God's clean and sinless universe. Now, however, the case is different: Satan is permitted to interfere largely in the affairs of men, and for a time men are permitted to take their own course subject to Satan's interference and unhindered by divine interposition. And in the midst of this state of affairs the Lord's children, who constitute the embryo Kingdom of God, grow up and develop. They find themselves under human laws sometimes approximating the perfect law of God, and sometimes far from doing so. What should we do about these laws
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wherein they fall short of the perfect law of God?--resist them? or submit to them?
To resist all such laws would be to array one's self in violent and fruitless opposition to the whole present order of things, and we must remember that even this present order of things is ordained of God (`Rom. 13:1`); for he decreed that the time of Gentile rule should continue until the appointed time for Christ to reign in righteousness. Consequently the children of God are counseled to be subject to the powers that be, because the powers that be, although imperfect, are ordained of God to continue for a time. It is therefore his will rather that we should suffer injustice than that we should spend our strength in fruitless efforts to interrupt the present order of things. And so the kingdom of heaven suffers violence now, but such will not always be the case; for the time of her deliverance is at hand.
While such necessity is laid upon the Church in its relationship to the world, however, there should be no such state of things among themselves. In the Church every member should be a careful student of the perfect law of love, and her society should be, so far as possible, a
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model exemplification of this glorious law. There should be no tyranny of one member of the body of Christ over another; for, says the Apostle, "All ye are brethren, and one is your master, even Christ."
Of necessity the present order of things often places one member of the body of Christ in a measure of temporary subjection to another member of the same body, as, for instance, in the relationship of master or mistress and servant, of parent and child, or of husband and wife; and in all these relationships there is an opportunity to let the graces of the spirit adorn and beautify the character and exemplify before the world the outworking of the perfect law of love. And it is thus, by our daily walk and conversation in all the little things of life, that we are to let our light shine before men, as the Lord commanded.--`Matt. 5:16`.
The Apostle Paul calls our attention to this, and lest we should be slow to gather from our meditations on the perfect law of God the exact line of conduct to be followed in these various relationships, he clearly points it out for us. He counsels those in authority to remember that they have a Master in heaven, and that there is no respect of person with him; that he regards no distinctions of Jew or Greek, bond or free, male or female, because we are all one in Christ. And therefore he counsels magnanimous and generous conduct, saying, Give unto your servants that which is just and equal, forbear threatening, and "do the same things unto them that they are counseled to do unto you"--i.e., serve them with kindness and compensation, and do it with good will as unto the Lord.--`Eph. 6:9`; `Gal. 3:28`; `Col. 4:1`.
Then to those who serve he says, "Let as many as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor [treat them with respect and Christian courtesy], that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit." With singleness of heart they should render service as unto the Lord, not as men-pleasers, but as the servants of Christ doing the will of God from the heart, knowing that it will be accepted of the Lord and rewarded. (`1 Tim. 6:1,2`; `Eph. 6:5-8`.) There is no servility in such service, however humble the task may be. Service rendered in such a spirit is always dignified and ennobling; and a recognition of such nobility on the part of the master or mistress is also a beautiful exemplification of the spirit of Christ.
Children are taught to obey their parents (`Eph. 6:1`), because their youth and inexperience stands in need of parental guidance and control. There comes a time, however, when parental authority must cease to control--when the child has come to maturity and is able to guide himself or herself. Otherwise the wheels of progress could never roll on in the world, but would be continually dragged back by the withering hand of infirmity. The rule applies to children during their minority only, though the duty of honor and reverence to parents may never be relinquished, but should the rather increase as age advances.
Wives are counseled to submit themselves unto their own husbands as unto the Lord. Aye, respond many voices, there is at least one blot of injustice upon the sacred page. Yes, chime in many Infidel voices, the Bible institutes domestic slavery and therefore it is a bad book. And there is a strong undertone of similar sentiment even among Christians. At least there is considerable perplexity on the part of many as to the exact line of duty in emergencies arising out of this relationship, and therefore the subject requires here something more than a passing notice.
While the Scriptures represent the husband as the head of the wife, and counsel a deferential attitude on her part toward him, the instruction to the husband is such that, if it is carried out, such an attitude on the part of the wife is the most natural and agreeable thing. A true woman, however marked her intellectual and spiritual attainments, is naturally worshipful. She looks up to God and Christ with supreme reverence, and to the earthly image of God-- if such her husband be--(See `Eph. 5:33`--Diaglott) with something akin to the same feeling; especially when she considers that such a
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one, so worthy of esteem and reverence and love, has indicated his preference for her above all others of womankind to be his life-companion and an heir together with himself of the grace of life. If he is truly noble and good and pure and of sound judgment, and yet modest in asserting his prerogatives, as well as humbly mindful that he is short of perfection, and therefore reasonable and considerate when judgments differ, it is so natural for a true wife to defer to such a one that she is rather in danger of exercising her own thought and judgment too little, and needs to guard against such lethargy.--`1 Pet. 3:7`.
Such husbands are those who love their wives as their own bodies, and "as Christ also loved the Church and gave himself for it" (`Eph. 5:25-29`); and who, forsaking all others, cleave only unto her as the beloved and cherished companion. And no woman, however cultured or refined or possessed of true dignity and worth of character, is in the least degree humiliated by her deferential attitude toward such a husband. Her love and respect will dictate such an attitude, while his love and true nobility will call it forth.
The law of love, whose foundation is justice, is the only law that ought to rule in the home; and that law should be written in the heart of each member of it. If it is not written there, the walls of the home may be covered with rules and regulations, it may be thundered forth from angry voices, and emphasized with frowns and hard sayings, and yet, notwithstanding all this, anarchy will reign supreme--there will be no "home."
Thus viewed, the Bible does not institute domestic slavery; but, on the contrary, it points the way to the most perfect bliss that earth can know. MRS. C. T. RUSSELL.
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PALESTINE AND THE JEWS.
We really cannot see why these unhappy and unfortunate Jews who have been flying from Russia to this country, who are now excluded from our ports by the bars raised against immigration, who cannot find a country in Europe that will let them live in it, who have failed in their attempts to form colonies in South America, who have searched vainly all over the world for a part of it in which they will be welcomed, should not look to the land of their forefathers, Palestine, and should not seek to repeople that land, in the hope that the power of their race will be revived as it existed in ancient times when Jerusalem was in its glory.
The idea that this restoration might be accomplished was entertained by the late Mr. Laurence Oliphant, a diplomatist, publicist, traveler and author, a true friend of the Jewish people, a scholar who knew Palestine and its resources, and the race that once inhabited it, and its rulers, and the governmental system under which it exists. Mr. Oliphant was never able to carry out the Palestinian project which he devised, but even after he gave it up and came to this country he brooded over it, and maintained that it was practicable.
We are familiar with the arguments that disfavor the Jewish colonization of Palestine in this age of the world. We know that many attempts to establish Jewish colonies there have failed. We are aware that the Turkish Government has been averse to all the colonizing projects for which its grace has been invoked. We are fully conscious of the facts that Palestine has lost many of the attractions which it formerly possessed; that much of its once fertile soil has been reduced to sterility; that the few petty old cities in it are shriveled and poverty stricken; that the people by which it is inhabited are opposed to the incoming of a multitude of Jews; and that the administration of its affairs by the functionaries of the Turkish Government is not in accord with the desires of the pious and able Sultan of Turkey.
These things are true, yet they need not dishearten Baron de Hirsch, who, on account of the suspension of immigration to this country, is again looking toward Palestine as a possible home for the millions of Jews of the Russian exodus.
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Palestine itself yet stands, and it still has its old-time hills, valleys and plains, its brooks,
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rivers and lakes. The country is redeemable, and it has in some respects better prospects in these times than it has had at any other time since the fall of Jerusalem. Its climate is the same as it was when Moses started out from Egypt to occupy it. Its soil, though impoverished by centuries of neglect, can be improved by modern scientific appliances. Grain and fruit can yet be grown in its fields; sheep and hoofed beasts can yet find grass in its pasture lands; fish can yet be bred in its waters; its cities can be rebuilt and made fit for merchants and all manner of workers; its trade with the sea-coast and with distant countries can be revived and made more extensive and advantageous than it was in ancient times.
Capital can work wonders in Palestine, capital that is now in Jewish hands. Were a tithe of the enormous amount of money owned by the Jews of Europe invested in Palestine, and used there with Jewish shrewdness and energy, the country might be transformed within a brief generation. A short time ago, the Jewish millionaire, Baron de Hirsch, announced his readiness to expend $100,000,000 in the execution of his project for the removal of the four million Jews of Russia to some other country; and he had begun to carry out that project this year by transporting 25,000 of them to the United States, when we were compelled by the approach of the cholera to put a stop to immigration. It is under these circumstances that he has once more taken up the thought of Palestine, upon which, some years ago, his mind was set. Other Jewish millionaires, among whom we may name Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Sir S. Montefiore and M. Lazar Brodski, have expressed their desire to co-operate with him, and they have it in their power to furnish all the capital required for the development of the manifold resources of Palestine. At this very time capitalists are making investments there far greater than any that have ever before been made. The railroad line from Jaffa to Jerusalem, which has been built by a French company, and which will this week be open for business, is but one of several railroad enterprises in Palestine, the most important of which is perhaps the line already begun between Haifa and Damascus. The influence of the new Jaffa-Jerusalem line upon the region which it traverses, and the cities which it unites, has already been marked. Population is increasing there, and many hundreds of new houses are now building. We learn through a letter from Jerusalem that about 600 residences and shops are in course of construction outside the city walls, and that the city itself, which had but 30,000 inhabitants six years ago, has now nearly 80,000, or more than it has had at any past period since the times of Titus.
The Turkish Government has recently adopted measures favorable to the repeopling of Palestine by the Jewish race. Jewish colonists can now obtain, upon easy terms, proprietary rights in those agricultural settlements that have been turned over to them, and they are at liberty to build houses upon the lots which they may be able to procure. The price of good farming lands in Galilee, which will soon be traversed by the Haifa-Damascus Railroad, is from $10 to $15 per acre, and a farmhouse can be built for $600 or $800, while laborers who will not work very hard can be hired for low wages.
The greater number of Jews now taking up their abode in Palestine are from Russia; and several millions of Russian Jews are ready to go there, in case Baron de Hirsch and his compatriots can find no more desirable place for them.
A writer in the Hebrew Journal of this city gives some account of the new Palestinian movement. He says that the Jews who have been praying through the centuries for the "restoration" are now trying to bring it about by natural means; that the desire of the Russian Jews for it is overwhelming; that they are raising funds for the establishment of colonies; and that the "Palestinian propaganda" is sustained by the great body of the orthodox rabbis, including Chief Rabbi Joseph of this city.
There are now in the world more than ten million Jews, about three-quarters of whom are in Russia, Poland, the Balkan States, and Turkey. If the movement toward Palestine should get the impulse that the Hirsch committee is able to give it, an imaginative person can conceive
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of the country's doubling or trebling its Jewish population before the close of our century, and of its having a larger Jewish population fifty years hence than it had in ancient times, when its census ran up to three millions.
Should the restoration be accomplished, all hail to the New Jerusalem!
--New York Sun. Sept. 27,'92.
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"FATHER, GLORIFY THY NAME!"
"Father, glorify Thy name!"
Is my humble prayer,
Not because in all Thy joys
I may have a share;
But because my love for Thee
Has grown deeper, Lord,
I would have Thy blessed name
By all hearts adored.
"Father, glorify Thy name!"
Is my earnest prayer.
It may cost me keenest pain--
Yet, O Lord, I dare
To uplift this fervent plea,
And the answer claim:
Though it mean the cross for me,
Glorify Thy name!
"Father, glorify Thy name!"
Is my daily prayer.
All the loss my life may know
Thou wilt help me bear;
To Thy will I say, Amen!
In Thy love I trust:
Father, glorify Thy name
Through unworthy dust!
"Father, glorify Thy name!"
Is my constant prayer;
I have nought to dread or fear--
Thou hast all my care.
Death can be but gain to me,
E'en a death of shame:
Father, grant my humble prayer,
Glorify Thy name!
--F. G. BURROUGHS.
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There is a tendency among God's people to cement fellowships as well as to make divisions upon various unscriptural lines.
As illustrations: The various branches of the Presbyterian family have each its own system of theology and its own methods of worship. They are one family and have a special sympathy or fellowship upon the doctrine of Calvin --that everything that comes to pass was foreordained. Among Baptists, although there are many subdivisions of them, there is a common bond of fellowship in water-immersion. No matter what else a man holds or does not hold, if he practice immersion there is at once a sympathetic fellowship. So also it is among Premillennialists: They feel that any other differences, almost, should be overlooked if their point of special interest is acknowledged.
We protest that none of these are true grounds for the fellowship taught in the Scriptures; and that the rejection of any or all of these is not the Scriptural ground for refusing fellowship in Christ.
The Scriptural basis of fellowship and disfellowship is both a much broader and a much more simple one. It is simply of two parts: (1) an acceptance of Christ as the Redeemer, and (2) a full consecration to him. Whoever complies with this scriptural formula is entitled to the love, respect, sympathy and care of every other such one; for such, and such only, constitute the Church which God recognizes--the Church "whose names are written in heaven."
And if the above proposition be true as indicating who are worthy of our fellowship, it must be true also that any one who cannot claim fellowship upon this basis has no claim to it at all.
All Christians should see that this rule is broad enough to unite all of God's people, and narrow enough to exclude all others, including those who would seek to "climb up some other way." (`John 10:1`.) And if this simple test-- the only one recognized by the early Church --is sufficient, let us recognize it and none other.
But, says an objector, such a simple basis of
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faith would let in all sorts of false doctrines and would divide the Church of Christ. No, we answer, the Church is already divided: it would tend to re-unite the true ones and to separate the worldly and the false. Upon so broad a platform all true Christians could come together for the study of God's Word. Methodists would find themselves studying the principles of election, baptism, etc., while Presbyterians and Baptists would find themselves studying free grace and free agency. The result to all (after sectarian considerations were gone) would soon be harmony--Bible harmony.
But, says one, so broad a platform would compel us to fellowship Unitarians and Christian Scientists and Spiritualists. Not at all, we answer. None of these believe in Jesus as their Redeemer. It would exclude all such and all others who deny that man is a sinner under divine condemnation, and that "Christ died for OUR SINS," "the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." It would and should exclude all who do not recognize this essential base of Christianity. (Possibly a few believers in the ransom may call themselves by the above names, ignorantly--not appreciating the doctrines upon which they are built. We refer to the views of the leaders and the masses of these denominations.)
A man may be honest and sober and in every way moral and be a Buddhist or a Mohammedan or an Infidel (an unbeliever as to the claims of Christ) of any other shade. Morality and general decency may be proper enough grounds for their recognition socially, as friends and acquaintances; but these constitute no claim whatever upon the sacred name of Christian, nor upon the close heart-sympathy which should make truly one all who are trusting in the precious blood of Christ--our ransom-price from sin and death--and who are fully consecrated to him.
We are living in the time when past and present combinations and doctrines of men will be breaking to pieces; when many are, and many more will be, seeking fresh grounds for fellowship; when it is important that all true Christians should stand fast, and shoulder to shoulder defend the foundation principles upon which we stand--the rock foundation;--for "other [proper] foundation can no man lay."
How our great Adversary would like to get the soldiers of the cross confused and separated, following different affinities, rallying around different standards, and hence leaving the true standard--"the cross of Christ," the "Ransom" --undefended. Let all who see the true standard assemble to it, and separate themselves in heart and Christian fellowship from all the unclean [those unjustified by faith in the redeeming blood, and clothed still, therefore, in the filthy garments of their own unrighteousness, instead of the wedding garment of Christ's imputed righteousness]. Let their efforts be for and with each other; to present each other blameless and unreprovable, without spot or wrinkle, before the Heavenly Bridegroom. Hear the Word of the Lord:--
"Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people: cast up, cast up the highway, gather out the [stumbling] stones; LIFT UP A STANDARD for the people." `Isa. 62:10`.
Let us assure ourselves, from a study of God's Word, that it is as much a part of our duty to disfellowship (as Christians) those who, either directly or indirectly, deny that Christ gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price] for all, and who, hence, are the worst enemies of the cross of Christ, as it is our duty to fellowship any who confess him thus as their Savior; and who, hence, are our "Brethren" in him. We are to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but should rather reprove them."
SECTARIAN UNION VS. CHRISTIAN UNION.
The clamor for closer sectarian union progresses; and the rapid growth of the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor not only furnishes an illustration of the popularity of such a union as is being called for, but suggests a way by which it might be attained--by a league as Christians which, while guaranteeing fellowship to its members, will make fealty and fidelity to the various sects an obligatory condition. Such a union will bind men and women, more than ever, to the creeds of the dark ages, and help sustain a little longer the tottering walls of Babylon. Resolutions favoring such a union were recently passed by the Protestant Episcopal Conference at Baltimore and by the Congregational Conference at Minneapolis. In our next issue we hope to present evidences showing that the giving of life and authority to the Image of the Beast (`Rev. 13:15-17`) is not far distant.
STUDIES IN THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.
--INTERNATIONAL S.S. LESSONS.--
SUGGESTIVE THOUGHTS DESIGNED TO ASSIST THOSE OF OUR READERS WHO ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES WHERE THESE LESSONS ARE USED; THAT THEY MAY BE ENABLED TO LEAD OTHERS INTO THE FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL. PUBLISHED IN ADVANCE, AT THE REQUEST OF FOREIGN READERS.
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PAUL'S FIRST MISSIONARY SERMON.
IV. QUAR., LESSON VIII., NOV. 20, `ACTS 13:26-43`.
Golden Text--"To you is the word of this salvation sent."--`Acts 13:26`.
`VERSES 14-26`. When Barnabas and Saul came to Antioch in Pisidia they spent the first Sabbath day in a synagogue of the Jews. They went in and sat down, trusting that the Lord would open some door for them to speak to the people. They did not force themselves forward or in any way seek to violate the customs of the synagogue, but, looking to the Lord for direction, they simply placed themselves, as best they knew how, in the way of opportunity to serve the Truth. In this alone there is an important lesson for us all. By their very attitude Barnabas and Saul were each saying, "Lord, here am I, use me!" And very soon the Lord did make use of his ready instruments, and used them effectively to his praise. If these brethren had gone about some other business, or listlessly wandered about or waited at home and said they would like to do something for the Master, but would wait for him to hunt them up and to disentangle them from other engagements, they might have waited a long time, and no doubt other instruments would have been used instead. And so may we wait long and unsuccessfully unless we place ourselves in the way of probable opportunity, and thus declare our actual readiness and our waiting attitude.
`VERSE 15`. "And after the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, 'Men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.'"
One cannot but admire the spirit of liberality which prevailed among the Jews, and wish that the Truth had a similarly free course today. In how few congregations of God's professed Christian children is there any opportunity offered at any meeting for any one to speak a word to the people or to call attention to the Lord--except the pastor, and he is gagged by an elaborate and very restrictive "Confession of Faith" before he is allowed to say a word, and is liable to be deposed if he violates that Confession. How evident it is that the great Adversary has gotten the various Creeds so expressed that they suit his purposes, and has hedged the way so that they cannot be displaced even fragmentarily by truths.
`VERSES 16,26`. Then Saul, who was called Paul, stood up to bear his testimony for the Lord. With what eagerness he embraced the opportunity is manifest from the stirring discourse which followed, in which, with characteristic skill, he drew the attention of the people to prominent points in their national history, leading up to the reign of David as king; and then, referring to the promise of blessing to Israel through a son of David, he declared (`verse 23`) that of this man's seed God had, according to his promise, raised unto Israel a Savior, even Jesus, whom they had ignorantly crucified; and that this same Jesus was he of whom John the Baptist had said, "There cometh one after me whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose."
`VERSE 26`. Then we almost catch the tones of his voice floating down the centuries, as with kindling eloquence he declares--"Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent." Yes, it was sent to Israel first--to the people whom God had chosen and to whom belonged the promises-- to all such as were "Israelites indeed," worthy sons of faithful Abraham who trusted in the promises and were anxiously waiting for their fulfilment; and not only to these, but also to all the worthy Gentiles among them who feared (or reverenced) God. Or, in the words of the Prophet Isaiah, it was now sent to all the meek. (`Isa. 61:1`.) This gospel is not for the proud and high-minded. The proud Pharisee and the dignified Rabbi could not receive it; and those who looked only for Israel's national predominance over the nations of the world, and who figured only this out of the numerous prophecies of Messiah's glorious reign, could not receive it. Nor could the proud or wicked Gentile who had dismissed God from all his thoughts, and given himself over to a life of present ease or pleasure or self-gratification, receive it. It is "good tidings" only to the
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meek, who reverence God and who have respect unto his promises. But God assures us that not only the Day of Vengeance, but also the entire Millennial age which will follow it, will have the effect of breaking many stony and proud hearts and bringing all mankind to
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so humble a condition that they will be able and willing to appreciate the grace of God which offers salvation (`Rom. 14:11`; `Phil. 2:10`) --whether they, after the humbling chastisement and greater knowledge of the Lord, submit themselves fully to his gracious arrangements and gain the reward of Life, or whether, when permitted, pride and self-will will again be their choice, and they thus be accounted unfit for Life--deserving the Second Death.
`VERSES 27-31`. Then, in reminding them of their national sin in crucifying Jehovah's Anointed, he shows that it was because their rulers did not honor him or recognize him as the one of whom spake Moses and all the prophets; and yet he tells them that even in this sinful act of crucifying the Lord they were unwittingly fulfilling what the prophets had foretold; for Isaiah had declared that he should be brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he would not open his mouth to defend himself, for he knew that his hour was come and that his life was to be given a ransom for many. Probably here the Apostle enlarged on the prophetic proofs of Jesus as the Messiah; for we must regard this account by Luke as a mere synopsis of his discourse, showing its general drift. Then he drew attention to the fact of his resurrection, and declared himself one of a number of witnesses of that fact; for "he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem."
`VERSES 32-37`. Having thus introduced Jesus, the promised Messiah and Savior, the hope of Israel and the world, he then added, "And we declare unto you glad tidings"--glad tidings of the fulfilment of prophecy in the resurrection of Jesus, which was in itself, according to the divine plan, an evidence that his sacrifice had been acceptable as our sin-offering and a pledge of the resurrection of all who believe in him as their Lord and Redeemer. Then the Apostle referred to the statement in the `Second Psalm`--"Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee"--as applicable to his new resurrection life, which should never again return to corruption--death--and showed that the promise in `Isa. 55:3,4`, of "the sure mercies of [or holy things promised to] David"* --the dominion and power and glory of the kingdom of God on earth, etc.--belonged not to David literally, but to the Messiah, Jesus, whom David in some instances typified; "for," said he, "David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers and saw corruption." Consequently he argues that the prophecy has not reference to David, but to Christ, whom David here typified.
`VERSES 38,39`. Having thus securely planted the claims of Jesus of Nazareth upon the testimony of the prophets and of the eye-witnesses of his life and death and resurrection, and having called their attention to the glorious promises for the blessing of Israel and all the world through the expected Messiah, he made to that attentive congregation the startling announcement: "Be it known unto therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you [even you, who in your ignorance and folly despised and slew him] the forgiveness of sins. And by him all that BELIEVE are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."
`VERSES 40,41` are words of solemn warning in view of the responsibility which the hearing of this truth brings with it. When the truth is presented to us by any of God's messengers, however humble, it is to the end that we may either receive or reject it as we choose. The meek, those who reverence God and desire to know and to do his will, will receive it and be blessed by it; but all the proud and worldly-minded and all those who are wise in their own conceits will reject it. And to such says the Prophet, as quoted by the Apostle, "Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you."
A great work was going on in those days; for God was there beginning, by the preaching of the truth, to select from among men and to train and prepare "a people for his name"-- to be joint-heirs with Christ of his Millennial Kingdom. The despisers indeed wondered at the progress and power of the truth, but they were left in their lost, perishing, unjustified condition, because they would not believe and repent.
The same is true to-day also, the only difference being that we are living in the harvest or end of the age, when the work of selecting the bride or body of Christ, which was there begun, is now being finished. And here as there the truth is manifesting the meek and worthy ones as well as the despisers. Let all heed the Apostle's warning and beware lest that come upon them which is spoken of in the prophets. What is that?--A hardness of heart which despises instruction and which will not walk in the right ways of the Lord, but which walks according to its own wilfulness in the way which leads to destruction; for out of Christ there is no salvation. "Behold, ye despisers, and
*See Lesson vi., First Quarter, in our issue of February 1st.
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wonder, and perish." Beloved, let us mark well the responsibility which the testimony of God's truth brings, and be not like those who, denying the possibility of any perishing, proceed further and reject the great salvation proffered only on condition of faith in Christ as our Redeemer, and consequent repentance of sin and reformation of life in harmony with the will of God.
`VERSES 42,43` show that many, of both Jews and Gentiles, received the truth with gladness and desired to hear more of these things.
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THE APOSTLES TURNING TO THE GENTILES.
IV. QUAR., LESSON IX., NOV. 27, `ACTS 13:44-14:7`.
Golden Text--"I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles."--`Acts 13:47`.
`VERSES 44,45`. As a result of Paul's discourse of the preceding lesson, on the next Sabbath day almost the whole city came together to hear more of this gospel. And when the unbelieving Jews observed this evidence of the growing popularity of the doctrines of the crucified Jesus, they were moved with envy and bestirred themselves in opposition to the truth, because they saw that this new religion was calculated to supersede Judaism, around which clustered all their national pride and their selfish sectarian hopes. As a people, they had, because of this very pride, failed to comprehend the true import of their own God-given religion, and to see its transient an typical character; and so its precious promises, misunderstood and perverted, served only to minister to their further pride, while they boasted of being the children of Abraham, the special favorites of God, to whom belonged the promises.
All filled with this spirit of pride were thereby incapacitated to receive the doctrines of Christianity; for there is no room for these in a proud heart: this gospel is pre-eminently the gospel for the meek, and none but the meek ever have continued or ever will continue long to rejoice in it. And as the truths of the dawning Gospel dispensation separated the meek from the proud, and thus gathered out a worthy remnant from the Jewish nation to be joint-heirs with Christ in his kingdom, so the truths due now in the dawn of the Millennium and harvest of the Gospel age are accomplishing a similar selection, and thus completing the elect number from among the Gentiles. And now, as then, the worthy ones are being gathered out of a great organization. Here it is out of the nominal Gospel Church: there it was out of the nominal Jewish Church. In both cases the few are gathered out and the great mass prove themselves unworthy through pride and unbelief.
`VERSES 46,47`. Seeing the unreasonable prejudice and opposition to the truth on the part of the Jews, Paul and Barnabas boldly withstood them, saying, "It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you [It was necessary because they were the natural children of Abraham and natural heirs of the covenant made with Abraham]; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles: For so hath the Lord commanded, saying, 'I have set thee [Christ] to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth."
These Jews did not directly judge and pronounce themselves unworthy of life; but in rejecting the only conditions upon which everlasting life is promised, they in effect rejected life, for it is promised only on the condition of faith in Christ as Lord and Redeemer. However, we do not understand that their rejection of Christ then, blinded and hindered as they were by prejudice and hardness of heart, was a final rejection of life; for the Lord's gracious provision for them is yet to open their blind eyes and to give them a heart of flesh so that they may yet see and believe the truth-- and that notwithstanding the fact that they died in their sins without faith in Christ; for it is written, "Thus saith the Lord God: Behold,
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O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live." (Compare `Ezek. 37:12-14`; `Rom. 11:25-32`.) None will ever be finally judged unworthy of life (worthy of the Second Death) until they have enjoyed every advantage of a full, fair trial with a clear knowledge of the truth. See `Heb. 6:4-6`.
"Lo, we turn to the Gentiles; for so hath the Lord commanded," etc. Ah, these words were a joyful message, "good tidings of great joy," to some of the humble Gentiles who heard, and who, Lazarus-like, had long desired to be fed with even the crumbs of divine favor falling from the table of bounties provided for the Jewish Dives.
`VERSE 48`. "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord, and as many as were ordained to eternal life [i.e., as many as had that disposition of meekness and trust in God, and a desire to be in harmony with him and to do his will, which disposition God has ordained shall receive the reward of eternal life] believed." And here, too, we may learn a lesson and recognize
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God's direction of his own work as the apostles recognized it. While it is as true now as in the days of the apostles that "Not many great," or wise, or learned according to the course and estimation of this world, but only a few (and they often the poor of this world, rich in faith) receive the "good tidings" joyfully, we should never lose sight of the fact that those drawn to and held by the truth are always those of humble hearts, seekers after God and his ways, the very class for whom God has provided and ordained the blessing of everlasting life. But neither should we forget that God has other sheep, not of this flock; and that he has provided that the fullest degree of natural evidence shall be given to those other sheep, the faithful of whom shall have everlasting life also, though on a lower plane or nature than the little flock now being selected, who are required to walk, if at all, by faith and not by sight.
`VERSE 49`. "And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region"--doubtless not only by the preaching of Paul and Barnabas, but by all who then received the truth.
`VERSES 50-52`. Persecution was the immediate reward of the Lord's faithful witnesses, as it always has been and will be until the reign of Christ brings in everlasting righteousness.
Persecution serves to separate those whose interest is only lukewarm, and who, being unworthy of a place in the "little flock" to which it is the Father's good pleasure to give the Kingdom, the Lord desires to separate. Besides, it serves to strengthen and develop the true ones, thus fitting these "overcomers" more fully for the work of God, now and hereafter.
But they rejoiced in the midst of suffering and were filled with the holy Spirit--with a holy zeal and enthusiasm which, while it led them to shake off the dust of their feet for a testimony against that city, turned them to another, to declare the glad tidings to others who still sat in darkness.
`CHAPTER 14:1,2`. The experiences in Iconium seem to have been very similar to those in Antioch--a large congregation of interested hearers, many conversions to Christianity, of both Jews and Greeks, then persecution from the unbelievers and efforts to turn away from the faith those who had believed. Such experiences are not common amongst Christian professors now, because they are drowsy with the wine of Babylon's false doctrine (`Rev. 18:3`) and are not sufficiently interested and active in the service of Truth; and the devil does not think it wise to persecute for error's sake. But each child of God learns by experience the force of the Master's words, "Whosoever will live Godly [to please God] in this present time [when evil reigns] shall suffer persecution;" and this in proportion as he receives the truth and faithfully declares it.
`VERSE 3`. On account of the opposition it seemed necessary for the two brethren to remain a long time in Iconium in order to establish the faith of them that believed. And the Lord worked with them, endorsing their testimony by special miraculous gifts--probably of healing, mainly.
`VERSES 4-7`. By and by the persecutions waxed more severe, so that the whole city began to take sides for and against these witnesses of the Lord, and the excitement grew until it would have resulted in a mob. When they became aware of this, they fled from the city, doubtless recalling the Lord's counsel--"When they persecute you in one city, flee ye to another." They fled to Lystra and Derbe, and there also they preached the gospel.
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ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM EARNEST WORKERS.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--It is with much pleasure that I inform you that the truth is spreading in our neighborhood. I feel that the Lord is leading me: that I have more patience now than hitherto--which I greatly needed, and for which I often prayed. Of five first Volumes of DAWN, given to such as I thought truth hungry, I have as yet heard from only one. It has opened the light and truth to two Presbyterians, and I am daily expecting to hear the same good news from the others.
But notwithstanding these encouragements, I often fear that our knowledge has outgrown our love and piety, that some of us have imbibed a spirit of debate, and are not wise enough to know just how to speak the truth in its season.
Should we reason upon the Scriptures with those who appear to be insincere, and yet have a zeal to contend for their theory? I have seen on our streets Bible students arguing Scripture from different views, the bystanders hallooing for the side which suited them best, and neither party seeming to have the proper
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reverence for the Word of God. The truth would seem to suffer by this conduct, because I saw none who seemed to be truth hungry; and I thought it best to keep silent, and to try only to heal the sick. And yet I am afraid to
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settle down on this opinion, for I know that I am not a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and am sometimes surprised to see some, for whom I did not hope, receive the truth, while others, apparently more hopeful, reject it.
The opinion I have of the success of Colporteurs is this: It depends upon the spirit in which the book is presented. I believe that, when one is clothed in the imputed righteousness of Christ, and made pure and clean, whiter than snow, it modifies his manners, making them so loving and kind, that it is hard for any to refuse to purchase so cheap a book on such an important subject. Those who would serve the Lord acceptably must have clean hands; and could I always feel myself thus qualified, I would be still more eager to go out into the field.
It seems to me that all believers need to be forcibly reminded that all knowledge and faith, and many great victories in our warfare, will amount to nothing, if we fail to have the spirit of love, meekness and child-like simplicity. Oh! that my longings for these necessary qualifications were satisfied. The Lord grant that I may be able to put them on; and will you pray that I may be thus endowed.
Yours in the Gospel hope, J. K. CONNER.
[REPLY:--I am glad, dear Brother, that you see so clearly what sort of persons in holy conversation and godliness all the colporteurs, and all who have obtained the hope of the gospel, should be. But you should not wait until you are perfect before giving your time and strength to the Lord's service. You have the proper conception of what the ideal colporteur should be. Now start, and in the strength of the Redeemer work, as nearly as you can, up to that standard. Those who so run shall never fall, but shall have an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of our Lord.-- `2 Pet. 1:11`.
You are right in not bandying the gospel on the streets. We are instructed to be ready at all times to give a reason for our hope to him that asketh; but neither the Bible nor sound judgment dictates street quarreling for the Truth's sake.
Our great Master did "not cry aloud nor lift up his voice in the streets;" nor did he seek the boisterous and profane for his followers. The spirit of God led him to "preach the gospel to the meek"--to the truth-hungry wherever found--to those who have "an ear to hear." (`Isa. 42:2`; `Matt. 12:19`; `Matt. 11:15`; `Isa. 61:1`.) We cannot do better than follow the great Teacher's example.--EDITOR].
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--The great cause is advancing, and I preach at my DAWN-selling with great freedom and power. Think of busy infidels letting the shop go, to hear the gospel for a half hour, and then urgently requesting further talks! Many of this class, formerly God and Bible rejectors, listen to the plan of redemption and restoration, and say promptly that it is both reasonable and just; and that they are willing to love and obey God, and to receive the rewards of righteousness, under conditions so just and wise.
I would feel much tempted to preach on the streets, but my rheumatism gets worse in my left shoulder, so I rest poorly at night and need all my strength for the canvass.
I must visit some of the interested, not before seen, this afternoon. I am much gratified to see the advance of truth among "just and unjust" here. The Lord be praised! Mrs. A. joins in greetings to you and Sister Russell.
Loving regards in Christ, J. B. ADAMSON.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Believing that you love to hear occasionally from those who have been awakened to a livelier hope (than they had in the nominal systems of Christianity), both for themselves and for mankind at large, I will say, as I have often heard it said by brothers and sisters in class-meeting, that I am "not tired of the way" in which I have been led through your ministry. No! I have a joy, peace, confidence, love and knowledge that I did not have when I followed those who are supposed to be religious guides, but are really themselves blind. Oh, I am so glad that we are now in the dawn of the Great Day; and, such are the signs, that we can lift up our heads for our redemption draweth nigh! We are truly, as I have just read in a secular paper, living in an age distinctively one of research and advancement, and men are no longer content to accept blindly the theories and conclusions of others on important subjects; but are becoming students for themselves on the high seas of religious principles and beliefs! It says further: "No little sadness attaches to the piteous state of those who want to believe the Bible just as it stands, but are tormented with doubts believed to be honest ones. May a ray from the throne of God send convincing light to all so harassed and troubled!" And I would add: May we, who have been blessed of God with greater light than others, humbly and meekly offer it to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, that they may rejoice with us.
Your brother in Christ, OSCAR JONES.
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SPECIAL ITEMS FOR REGULAR READERS.
MEETINGS IN NEW YORK CITY.
The Editor, in response to the urgent solicitations of the friends in and adjacent to New York City, will (D.V.) preach there Sunday, Nov. 27th, as follows:--
At 10:30 A.M. in Cooper Union Meeting Room No. 24. Subject, "In Our Days."
At 3 P.M. in Hardman Hall (Fifth Avenue and Nineteenth Street). Subject, "The Restitution of All Things."--`Acts 3:21`.
At 7:30 P.M. in Hardman Hall. Subject, "The Millennium and Its Day of Preparation."
Private meetings will be held elsewhere on Monday. Sister Russell, also, is expected to be present.
The notice is given thus publicly and in season, that readers from surrounding places may attend, if they can make it convenient.
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PROTESTANTS NO LONGER.
Protestants lately seem to be sadly at a loss to account for their name--Protestant. They know from history that there was once a wide difference of religious views between the founders of their sects and the Church of Rome. They know of the rack, the prison and the stake; but they wonder why it all was, and think there must have been some great mistake.
Papacy declares that she never changes; and so Protestants fancy that they have been misinformed, and are seeking union with the very one whose conduct and doctrines their forefathers protested against--even unto death. The Congregational National Convention at Minneapolis adopted the following in a resolution on the subject:--
"The Roman Catholic body is recognized as a branch of the church of Christ, and the report welcomes the opportunity to co-operate with its members, clergy or laity in the advancement of the cause of Christian truth and Christian morals. The attitude of the Episcopal church coming forward in England and America bearing an olive branch is heartily commended."
We are glad indeed to believe that the membership of the Church of Rome contains some noble souls, and that as a whole her multitudes are more enlightened than once they were; but we believe the system to be Satan's handiwork, and as really Antichrist as it was when, with greater power, it "wore out the saints of the Most High," and practiced outward evil, and prospered in it. The same false doctrines still underlie her system; and only opportunity is lacking for the same display of devilish intolerance that during the dark ages marked her pathway with blood.
We respect all decent, honest men as men; and whenever we can we shall be glad to do them good, physically and spiritually. But we reserve the titles of fellowship, "Christian" and "Brother," for those who trust in the Savior and his one sacrifice for all. This as much ignores Roman Catholics, who hold to many, repeated sacrifices for sins (sacrifices of the Mass), as it does to those who deny any sacrifice.
We mentioned in our last our intention of presenting in this issue some evidences that the giving of life and authority to the "Image of the Beast" is not far distant. We did not mean by this that you should expect a review of `Rev. 13`. The evidences referred to, crowded out of this issue, may appear in our next.