ZWT - 1906 - R3693 thru R3912 / R3713 (033) - February 1, 1906
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VOL. XXVII. FEBRUARY 1, 1906 No. 3
Views from the Watch Tower........................ 35
Evolutionists in Trouble...................... 35
The Confusion (Babel) of Christendom.......... 35
Johnstown and Binghamton Conventions.............. 36
Berean Study for February......................... 37
Australasian Branch Report........................ 37
The Battle of Temptation.......................... 38
Tempted Forty Days............................ 39
Our Lord's Earnestness........................ 40
"Like As We Are".............................. 41
Misapplication of Scriptures.................. 43
"Him Only Shalt Thou Serve"................... 44
Called to Higher Service.......................... 45
Why Are We Not Subject to the Law?................ 47
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THIS JOURNAL AND ITS SACRED MISSION
THIS Journal is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or "Seminary Extension," now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, chartered A.D. 1881, "For the Promotion of Christian Knowledge." It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Society's Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives styled "Pilgrims," and refreshed with reports of its Conventions. Our "Berean Lessons" are topical rehearsals or reviews of our Society's published "Studies," most entertainingly arranged, and very helpful to all who would merit the only honorary degree which the Society accords, viz., Verbi Dei Minister (V.D.M.), which translated into English is, Minister of the Divine Word. Our treatment of the International S.S. Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and Teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable. This Journal stands firmly for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated,--Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (`I Pet. 1:19`; `I Tim. 2:6`.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (`I Cor. 3:11-15`; `2 Pet. 1:5-11`) of the Word of God, its further mission is to--"Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God"--"which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed."--`Eph. 3:5-9,10`. It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken;--according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.
TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH
That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"--peculiarly "His workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel age--ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and the chief corner stone of his Temple, through which, when finished, God's blessing shall come "to all people," and they find access to him.--`I Cor. 3:16,17`; `Eph. 2:20-22`; `Gen. 28:14`; `Gal. 3:29`. That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these "living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready, the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection; and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium.--`Rev. 15:5-8`. That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that "Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "in due time."--`Heb. 2:9`; `Jno. 1:9`; `I Tim. 2:5,6`. That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as his joint-heir.--`I John 3:2`; `John 17:24`; `Rom. 8:17`; `2 Pet. 1:4`. That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's witness to the world; and to prepare to be kings and priests in the next age.--`Eph. 4:12`; `Matt. 24:14`; `Rev. 1:6`; `20:6`. That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity to be brought to all by Christ's Millennial Kingdom--the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church--when all the wilfully wicked will be destroyed.--`Acts 3:19-23`; `Isa. 35`. CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor.
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THE EMPHATIC DIAGLOTT.
Our announcements of this book in two bindings seem not to have been understood. The price in cloth binding is now $1.50; in leather binding, on thin paper, gold edges, divinity circuit, pocket size, $2.50. These prices include postage, and also entitle the purchaser to one year's subscription to ZION'S WATCH TOWER, gratis. If your subscription is already paid we will extend it one year. The Diaglott is not sold at less than these low prices, whether the TOWER subscription is desired or not.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
EVOLUTIONISTS IN TROUBLE.
EVOLUTIONISTS certainly deserve some commiseration: they so frequently forget themselves and tell things against their own theory. For instance, whilst telling us that Africa was the cradle of mankind from which by evolution various races advancing have spread over the earth; and while hunting in that field for a claimed "missing link" between the "least developed" of mankind and the monkey, they unthinkingly blurt out a completely different story. In an article on Irrigation, Prof. A. W. Hadley now gives it as his opinion that Africa once had a wonderful civilization, whose "stupendous" plans and perfect "technical details" were so grand that "later efforts are paled into insignificance." If thousands of years have brought degradation to the inhabitants of Africa, does not this down the Evolution theory and exalt the Bible teaching of a fall? We quote from Prof. Hadley's article as follows:--
ENGINEERING PAST AND PRESENT.
"The ancient period has to do with that accomplished during the reign of the Pharaohs, kings of Egypt who ruled 4,000 years ago, and carried out irrigation plans so bold in conception and colossal in execution that modern works are dwarfed into practical insignificance. "Recently discovered ancient writings and subsequent investigation by scientific explorers reveal substantial evidence to the effect that the famous six cataracts of the Nile between Assouan and Khartoum are not, as had been supposed for ages, mere works of Nature, but are, instead, the ruins of gigantic works of man, who constructed them for irrigation, power and navigation purposes. If this be true, then is Egyptian irrigation, like its civilization and literature, but another of the "Lost Arts of the Ancients;" for so stupendous were the plans and so perfectly were the technical details of engineering carried out that later efforts paled into insignificance. "For hundreds of miles over the barren wastes on either side of the Nile, where history tells us there once flourished populous cities, can now be found the traces of great canals extending northward to the Mediterranean and, in fact, radiating over the entire Soudan. These are found to lead to the vicinity of the several cataracts where the gigantic blocks of granite which form them extend for more than a mile across the river and are visible at low Nile. Furthermore, these blocks are of a peculiar formation of granite, totally unlike any other rock in the vicinity, and found only built up in this way at the several cataracts. "As additional writings are discovered and exploration progresses the evidence continues to grow until we are now practically convinced that immense areas in the great Soudan, with its miles of trackless, sun-scorched waste, were once under the most intensive cultivation, and the support of a vast population. "Who may say but that the surviving ruins of the pyramids, temples and tombs were but at the elevated gateway to such a region, and that there now lies hidden beneath hundreds of feet of silently shifting sand the graveyard of an empire, with its cities, towns and hamlets and its one-time fertile valleys; but with its inhabitants destroyed or scattered panic-stricken or degenerate to the four corners of the Earth?"
THE CONFUSION (BABEL) OF CHRISTENDOM.
We every now and then hear of some great scholar who has spoken or written things which have shaken the faith of many. Then we note announcements that his arguments have been met and refuted by some other professor: that Christian faith is saved, &c. The fact of the matter is that so much confusion reigns on theological questions in the minds of many that they know not what they are discussing. They will not look at the Truth, but will, without reading, denounce it on the strength of some one's opposition. They are blind and dote on things they do not comprehend. For illustration, Prof. Haeckel, a German scholar, has been whacking away at all revealed religion in a publication, "The Riddle of the Universe." Because he attacked openly "Orthodoxy" could understand him and concluded it should be frightened because he so intimated. At once a champion is found in the person
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of "Sir Oliver Lodge, D.Sc., F.R.S., LL.D.," whose array of titles implies worldly wisdom. He declares that he can refute Haeckel. "Orthodoxy" grasps the suggestion with joy! not because Orthodoxy knows what he will say or cares much, but because he says he is on her side and he has influence and titles. The Christian Commonwealth devoted an entire page recently to Sir Oliver Lodge's arguments and commented on them thus:-- "In view of the world-wide circulation of Prof. Haeckel's attack on the fundamentals of the Christian Faith--for that is what his "Riddle of the Universe" amounts to--the publication of Sir Oliver Lodge's reply is a matter of the first importance to all Christians, especially preachers and teachers." With such indorsement what spiritual wisdom might we not expect. From among other unchristian and unscriptural presentations we quote below some extracts which, going out thus labeled "Orthodox," will no doubt do far more harm than Prof. Haeckel's nonsense, more plainly labeled infidelity. Thus it is everywhere: professors and ministers are posing as defenders of Orthodoxy who, most decidedly, are unbelievers in the fundamentals of Christianity. Among other things Sir Oliver Lodge said, as quoted in "The Christian Commonwealth" (we are glad that we are not participators in its common wealth of error): "I believe that the universe is struggling up towards something, and that we are agents, that God does not work without agents. We have to lend Him a helping hand; certain things will not be done on this planet unless we do them. We have the power to help and the power to refuse help or even to hinder." Sir Oliver Lodge's vague ideas respecting a Nature God may be guessed from his statement following. He is wholly adverse to the Bible teaching of man's creation in God's image, his fall through sin, his redemption by the sacrifice of Christ and his hope of resurrection to more than was lost by obedience to the Redeemer when his Kingdom comes. We quote:--
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"I will just tell you the speculations that I have had reason to make on this subject, and I would recommend you to read Myers' two volumes on Human Personality. It is all wrapped up in that "subliminal self" notion--that "we are greater than we know," as one of the poets puts it; that not the whole of us is incarnated at any one time. If we are persistent and do not go out of existence, it follows that in some sense we never came into existence. The idea that we have persisted in the past and must persist in the future is as old as Plato--there is nothing new in it; it seems to me that at birth a bit of that large self was incarnated, and then as the body grew and could hold more, more and more as it were leaked into it--sometimes more, sometimes less. When more of it leaks into the body and displays itself here, we say, "There is a great man;" when only a little, a very little, we say, "He is not all there." We are none of us quite "all there," and when this body is worn out we rejoin the big lump, so to speak, and then another bit will be incarnated at another time, and so on. You may call that a suggestion of reincarnation, though it is not exactly that. The same individual John Smith will not appear again as William Jones, but it may be that different bits of that large lump will associate themselves with matter for a time for the training which it appears can only so be got--a kind of peculiar training that appears to be got by living on a planet, and utilizing material particles which we pick up out of this planet, obtained from beef and mutton and cabbages. We walk about for a time and utilize the things we find here, then we go back, and I should think it is very likely that another portion of us is incarnated, perhaps a bit of the same, perhaps a portion wholly different. Perhaps when a child dies in infancy and goes back it will have another chance. But I am not now talking science, I am talking speculation, but it is based on those facts which you find elaborated in Myers' book-- the facts of abnormal memory, multiple personality, trance states, unusual phenomena altogether, not by any means thoroughly understood, and yet which must be studied if we are to throw light upon this great problem."
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JOHNSTOWN AND BINGHAMTON CONVENTIONS.
THE One-Day Convention at Johnstown, Pa., on January 14, was an enjoyable event. Friends from the surrounding towns met us there with hearty greetings which we as fully reciprocated. About seventy-five were present at the morning rally, only a portion of whom could be present also at the evening session, others however taking their places to the total of about 100 of the interested. The afternoon session was for the public--a cure for infidelity--"To Hell and Back." The dear friends had spared no effort to have the meeting well advertised by newspapers, window-cards, etc., and their labors were blessed and rewarded by the large crowd present at the Opera House --about 1400, some standing. We understand that special invitations were sent to all the ministers of the city, and were told that five of them, if not more, were present. One of them shook hands after the service, and most cordially approved what he had heard; another partially approved, but was argumentative. We hope for some results, though we may not know fully this side the vail. It seems impossible that so many people should give thoughtful attention for nearly two hours without being helped in some degree. BINGHAMTON, N.Y., had its One-Day Convention on January 28. We missed the pleasure of the morning Rally, but know from reports, as well as from the zeal of those in attendance, that it was uplifting, helpful. It does the friends good to mingle their hearts and voices, and we consider these Rallies amongst the special blessings of such occasions --nearly all participate and nearly all get a special refreshing. The afternoon session was in the Opera House, which holds about 1500. It was jammed, and it is said that nearly 500 went away for lack of room. Earnest faces indicated deep attention and thoughtful interest. The Lord only knows which hearts were ready for the Truth and the blessing which it surely carries with it. The friends must have done excellent work in thoroughly
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advertising the meeting. It seems, too, that circumstances favored them: the newspapers made game of the topic, saying that it would be a "personally conducted tour by Pastor Russell to hell and back." This later they corrected at the instance of the friends, who explained that the topic would be treated in a most reverent manner. Then the Street Railway Company declined to allow the posters on their cars, and the newspapers took the matter up, claiming that they should have fulfilled their agreement. The evening meeting was a heart-to-heart talk to the friends of the Truth, partially reported in the newspapers and thus accessible to those of you who desire it. The topic was, "Selling the Birthright."
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BEREAN BIBLE STUDY FOR FEBRUARY.
--FOR EXPLANATION SEE PREFACE OF WATCH TOWER BIBLES AND WATCH TOWER, MARCH 1, 1905.--
STUDIES IN PRAYER
11. How should we distinguish between worshipping God "in spirit and in truth," and mere lip-service? `Matt. 15:7-9`; `Jno. 4:23,24`; Z.'96-284 (2nd col. par. 1, 2); 285 (2nd col. par. 1); 287 (1st col. par. 2, and 2nd col.); E.478, (top of page). 12. Why should our petitions be for help "in time of need"? `Heb. 4:16`; Z.'98-23 (2nd col. par. 1). 13. Can we come too often to God in prayer, or is any affair of our lives too trivial to bring to his attention? Z.'95-214 (1st and 2nd cols); 215 (1st col. par. 1 to 4). 14. Why will not our Heavenly Father give us the things needful without our asking? Z.'03-8 (2nd col. par. 1); Z.'01-270 (2nd col. par. 1). 15. How may we learn not to "ask amiss," and thus have all our petitions answered? `I Jno. 5:14,15`; Z.'96-163 (1st col. par. 1 to 3); Z.'03-204 (1st col. par. 1, and 2nd col.); Z.'04-90 (1st col. par. 1); Z.'04-122 (1st col. par. 1); Z.'01-270 (2nd col. par. 3). 16. Why does God delay answering our prayers? `Lu. 11:5-8`; Z.'04-121 (2nd col. par. 2, 3); Z.'01-270 (2nd col. par. 2); Z.'05-343 (1st col. par. 2 to 2nd col. par. 2); Z.'05-346 (1st col. par. 1). 17. Should we strive to co-operate with the Lord in answering our own prayers? Z.'05-331 (1st col. par. 3, 4, and 2nd col. par. 1); E.244, par. 1, to 245, par. 1. 18. For what should we pray? For the Holy Spirit, Z.'05-346 (2nd col. par. 2); `Lu. 11:13`; E.242 to 245. For wisdom, `Jas. 1:5,6`; F.686, par. 2. For one another, `I Thess. 5:25`; `Jno. 17:20`; `Eph. 1:16`; `Col. 4:2,3`. For "the harvesters," `Matt. 9:38`; Z.'00-156 (1st col. par. 1). For our enemies, `Matt. 5:44`; `Acts 7:60`; "Manna," March 21. For "all men, for kings, and those in authority," `I Tim. 2:1,2`; Z.'05-222 (2nd col.). Special occasions for prayer,--see Z.'96-163 (1st col. par. 5) to 164 (1st col. par. 1); "Manna," June 25. 19. For what should we not pray? `I Jno. 5:16`; Z.'01-46 (1st col. par. 7); Z.'96-164 (1st col. par. 2); Z.'05-346 (2nd col. par. 1). 20. Is it proper to pray for the conversion of sinners? Z.'98-29 (1st col. [last sentence of first half], and par. 1); Z.'04-122 (1st col. par. 2).
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AUSTRALASIAN BRANCH REPORT.
MELBOURNE, Australia, Nov. 1, 1905. DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:-- It is again my duty and great pleasure to hand you the report of the Tract Fund expenditures and receipts, and of Publications circulated through the Society's Australasian Branch during a year. As the years roll on, and Faith, grounded on the testimony of God's Word, comes the nearer to that realization of her conviction concerning the things as yet unseen, and in which she rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory, her sister, Hope, well instructed, learns to tinge with brighter hues for her the borders of the clouds of trouble with which the passion of selfishness in its greed of gain and power is rapidly obscuring the outlook on the world, ecclesiastical, social, political and commercial. And one of the greatest incentives to Hope to use her brightest colors on these ever-darker clouds is what those of the Lord's people whose spiritual perceptions have not been dulled by the cares of this world may now "see" and "hear" in the progress of the harvest. Two classes of laborers are engaged in the great work: the one class, by far the greater, numerically, is working among the "tares," binding them by means of errors into their various bundles, religious, social and political; with these we have nothing to do. The other class of laborers seeks the "wheat," in order that by means of the Present Truth it may be gathered into one body, of which the Lord Jesus himself is the Head. "Gather my saints unto me," is the command to them, and this is the labor in which we esteem it an honor to be joined. In the past year there has been a notable increase in the circulation of the MILLENNIAL DAWN Series in this portion of the field. The Colporteurs who came out from the United States and Canada, with the Australasians who have left all to join in the same service, have had their hands full of labor and their hearts full of joy as they have sought to thrust in the "sickle" by distributing the volumes, and subsequently have been brought into touch with eager inquirers after the Truth, desiring to know the way of the Lord more perfectly. Others are contemplating entry into this blessed service, and there is opportunity for still others to say to the Lord, "Here am I, send me." Viewed from the practical standpoint, the best day's work done by a Colporteur in this portion of the field has been in securing orders for 105 volumes in one day; 103 of these were afterward delivered in a half day. The same colporteur maintained an average of 50 volumes per day for two consecutive months. Certainly, this is exceptional; but it may be taken as a straw, indicating the direction of the wind, and an encouragement
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to those who are asking what share they may have in the great doings of the harvest time. But for those who cannot seize opportunities like the above, there is the Volunteer Work of Tract Distribution. Our statistics show that this has had attention in the last twelve months; but we sometimes wonder whether the friends realize that a large supply, well assorted, is maintained here, and that the tracts are to be had for the asking. Indeed, in no other way are they supplied, no charge being made for them under any circumstance. We shall hope to be called on more largely than ever for these little messengers. It has been the writer's privilege to make a Pilgrim Tour of about 5,000 miles in Eastern Australia and New Zealand. In all parts visited, it is plain to be seen that the "eagles" are being gathered to the "carcase." (`Luke 17:37`.) The largest attendance at meetings was at Sydney, where 200 to 300 came to the Chart Talks announced for the public. Besides this tour, there have been occasional extra meetings in and near Melbourne. Yet, the influence exerted by the Truth, when compared with the enormous power of Error, seems very small; and were it not for the assurance that God's Word does not return unto him void, but accomplishes his good pleasure, and prospers in the thing whereto he sends it, one might feel discouraged. But we do not know all things. We do not know the way of the wind,
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or other wonders of the works of God; neither do we know how hearts here and there may be in process of preparation for the reception of the Truth. We cannot tell where the good-ground heart may be found. But as surely as clouds full of rain empty themselves upon the earth, and as surely as the fallen tree remains in the place where it fell, so surely shall the bread-corn (truth) cast upon the waters (peoples) be found after many days. Therefore, "in the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good."--`Eccl. 11:1-6`. The financial report tells its own story. Without the generous cooperation of the Head Office, in this and other ways, the Australasian Branch could not go on as it does. Seeking a continued interest in your prayers and those of all the dear brethren scattered abroad, I remain, dear Brother, Your servant and His, E. C. HENNINGES.
AUSTRALASIAN BRANCH SUMMARY
Copies of DAWN and TOWER DAWN................ 17,703 Copies of Booklets........................... 1,996 ---------- Total........................................ 19,699 Tract Pages sent free........................ 4,218,600 ---------- Letters and Cards received................... 1,686 Letters and Cards sent....................... 2,490 ---------- Total........................................ 4,176
EXPENDITURES L. s d Pilgrim Work, expense of meetings, etc. 216 18 5 Cost of literature sent out free, rent, gas, etc., etc........................ 256 5 0 Postage, freight, etc.,................ 73 12 6 --- -- -- Total.................................. 546 15 11 Receipts from Australasia.............. 108 12 6 --- -- -- Deficit................................ 338 3 5
[We should remark that the deficit above shown, also those of the German and English Branches previously reported, are all owing to the Headquarters at Allegheny. These were all included in our principal report and its statement of a deficit.--EDITOR.]
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THE BATTLE OF TEMPTATION.
--`MATTHEW 4:1-11`.--FEBRUARY 4.--
Golden Text:--"In all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."--`Heb. 4:15`.
WITH sin came selfishness--indeed "original sin" sprang from selfishness, which has marked its development at every step for now six thousand years. Selfishness is the mainspring of a battle not only against benevolence and righteousness but against everything that stands in its ambitious way. It has led to all the conflicts of the world, both personal and national. While it is evil and only evil in itself, it may, under God's providences, serve a useful purpose in the development of character. As God stands for every principle of goodness, righteousness, mercy and truth, Satan stands for or represents all the adverse principles of sin, covetousness, injustice, untruthfulness, unprinciple, selfishness in its every form. Sooner or later each individual esteemed worthy of divine favor and life must be tested along this line of principle --faithfulness to God and the principles of righteousness against lack of principle, selfishness. The apostles record the temptation of Jesus along the line of selfishness, after his anointing with the holy Spirit. Doubtless as a child and as a young man he had temptations along this line such as are common to others, and doubtless his perfection of being made this as nothing, so inwrought must love have been in the very constitution of a perfect being such as he was. It may surprise some that his temptation could be as great, yea, much greater, after the anointing of the Spirit. This, however, was the case. Moreover, it is well to remember that our Golden Text, "Tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin," does not refer to the ordinary temptations experienced by our Lord in common with others before his anointing. It was our Lord's trials, temptations and victories as a New Creature that constituted him the Captain of our Salvation and our pattern--"Tempted in all points like as we [new creatures] are."
LED BY THE SPIRIT INTO TEMPTATION
We should never voluntarily go into temptation. Reverence, humility and caution should deter us. We should have such a realization of our own imperfection that we would seek to avoid temptation and pass by on the other side. Nevertheless, when temptations do come to us we should be of good courage, remembering that greater is he who is for us than all they that be against us, that he has promised never to leave or forsake us, and that his strength shall be perfected in our weakness if we will by faith accept of his aid. We must not expect to escape temptations, trials, difficulties,
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perplexities, because only through these can we be developed, perfected in character. Only the tried ones could ever be declared overcomers. Sin, error, is all about us, and presented to us not only by the world and Satan but also by the attitudes of our own flesh. If we be without trials, without temptations, without difficulties, we may be sure that we will never be overcomers and never receive the crown of glory and joint-heirship with our Lord, the Head, the Captain, the Leader of the overcomers. We are not forgetting the request of the model prayer, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." But for the foregoing reasons we incline to prefer the rendering of this verse as given in the Emphatic Diaglott, "Abandon us not in temptation, but deliver us from the Evil one." As our Lord declared, "It must needs be that offences [trials] come." Our Lord was led by his own spirit, his own mind, to go into the wilderness and thus indirectly into trials and difficulties there experienced. So it is with the Lord's followers. It is through their holy minds or dispositions, the result of their full consecration to the Lord and their reception of the begetting of his Spirit, that they, too, are led into temptations, trials, difficulties similar to those which our Lord experienced.
TEMPTED FORTY DAYS
The account in our lesson speaks of our Lord's temptation as occurring at the close of his forty days in the wilderness, but Mark and Luke in referring to the same forty days imply that our Lord was tempted for the entire period. Both thoughts are evidently correct: he was tempted during the forty days, tested, tried as respects his own mind, his own disposition to do the Father's will, while the temptation narrated in our lesson, which occurred at the close of the forty days, was a special conflict with Satan--Diabolus. And we here remark that this name Diabolus is always in the Greek used in the singular number, evidently referring to Satan, the prince of demons. The matter is confused before the mind of the English reader by the fact that our common version Bible uses the word devils, in the plural, whereas the Greek in such places is a totally different word, signifying demons. Errors entertained by many hinder them from properly appreciating the matter of our Lord's temptation. Some, with the theory that he was a spirit being who merely assumed a human body and pretended for a time to be a man, can have no proper appreciation of this account until they drop their misconception and accept the Scriptural declaration that "he who was rich, for our sakes became poor"-- that "he was made flesh"--that he was actually the "man Christ Jesus" and no longer the spirit being; but humbly, voluntarily, stripped of his glory, honor and privileges as a spirit being, became subject to all the limitations of a perfect man, corresponding to father Adam and his perfection before he sinned and came under the divine sentence of death.
"ABOUT MY FATHER'S BUSINESS"
Some things our Lord knew most distinctly, other things had not yet been revealed to him by the Father. Even as the boy of twelve we find that he knew that he had proceeded forth and came from God, that he had come into the world on a special mission, and that he must be about his Father's business. Learning that he could not enter upon the Father's business, "the work thou gavest me to do," until he was thirty years of age, he patiently awaited the time and hid his identity and contented himself with being a faithful son in the humble sphere in which divine providence had placed him. But just as soon as he had reached the appointed age he hastened to make his covenant with God, symbolized by his baptism--namely, a full consecration of his every talent and power to do the Father's will even unto death. At the time noted by our lesson he had done this and had received the anointing and filling of the holy Spirit. He now stood at the threshold of his great work, and realizing its importance and that now it was due time for him to understand the divine plan which he was to execute, that he might do it thoroughly and in full accord with the divine will he sought the wilderness, that in solitude he might know thoroughly the proper course for him to take in announcing himself as Messiah to Israel and the world.
WORTHY THE LAMB SLAIN
Symbolically our Lord shows that it was not possible for him to know the completeness of the divine plan until after he had demonstrated his worthiness to be the heir of all things, and until that worthiness was proven by his obedience unto death, even the death of the cross. In the symbols of Revelation he points this out to us, showing how the divine plan had long been in the Father's hand a sealed scroll, and how that no one in heaven or earth had been found worthy to open that book or scroll or to understand the particulars of the divine program until he, as the antitypical Lamb of God, had been slain, and by his sacrifice had demonstrated his worthiness to receive wisdom, honor, dominion and might. Then to him was the scroll or book of the divine plan entrusted in its every detail, that in due time all the wonderful provisions of the divine plan might be fully executed in the glorification of the Church and the blessing of all the families of the earth.--See `Revelation 5`. Those forty days, we may safely assume, were spent in meditation and prayer, our Lord being led to this course by his spirit of devotion to the Father, his anxiety to do the Father's will in the Father's way. He had neither Bible nor concordances nor other assistance in the study of the divine predictions, but he had instead the perfect memory and the eighteen years of hearing the reading of the Law in the Synagogue. We may safely say that he knew the entire Word of God by heart. He had known it for some time, and not only had exercised his own thought upon it but had also inquired of the most learned their views. He evidently realized that it was not due time for him to have a clear and full understanding of the prophecies until he had received the holy Spirit--that the divine revelations were only intended to be understood by those enlightened by the holy Spirit. He therefore now expected and doubtless realized newer and clearer views of the subjects he had been studying from childhood respecting his personal mission and the manner in which it was to be executed, as foretold in
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the shadows of the Law and in the veiled testimonies of the prophets.
"TEACH ME THY WILL, O GOD"
In fancy we may see our Lord meditating upon how he was to be the Mediator of a new Covenant, the antitype of Moses, who mediated the Law Covenant. In our minds we may with him watch the procedure of the going up into the mountain, the receiving of the commission and the preaching of it to the people under a vail, and how this transaction not only represented a first advent but a second advent in glory. We may presume that he studied carefully the type of the sin offerings, the Day of Atonement sacrifices, by which propitiation for the sins of the world was to be accomplished. We may in our mind's eye see him unravelling the symbol of the typical Jubilee year and noting the blessings of the Millennial age which shall ultimately come to all who should become the Lord's people through him. We see him studying the type of the Israelites bitten by the serpents in the wilderness of Sin, and how their looking with faith upon the brazen serpent was the cure. We may see him endeavoring to apply this to himself as the antitype who should be made sin, treated as the sinner in the interest of the sin-smitten ones. We may see him wrestling with the prophetic statements of Isaiah respecting the one who would be led as a lamb to the slaughter; how he should be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and that the people of Israel would be ashamed of him and hide as it were their faces from him, giving him no support, no assistance or cooperation in the work he had come to do; how the Lord would lay on him the iniquity of us all, that by his stripes we might be healed. We see him wrestling with the statements made by the prophet Daniel, some of which were in process of fulfilment and therefore to be understood; others sealed by God and impossible to be understood by any--waiting times and seasons which the Father had put in his own power, of which neither the Son nor the angels of heaven, any more than others, were informed. We see him studying the symbolical representations of the establishment of the Kingdom of heaven at the close of a certain period of the world's history, and how it would be with power and great glory; how previously Messiah would be cut off, not for his own sins but for the sins of the people, and how he would seal up the testimony, anoint the most holy, etc., etc.
OUR LORD'S EARNESTNESS
These studies--interspersed, we may be sure, with prayer--seemingly occupied our Lord's attention so completely, so fully, so thoroughly for those forty days that he had no thought for anything else. We may infer that he neither ate nor slept, for the record is that at the close of the forty days he afterward hungered. So intent was his perfect mind upon the great subject with which he wrestled that it absorbed all of his vitality, energy, in this effort to know the Father's will in order that he might do it. We can very readily suppose, too, that he experienced various temptations during these forty days of study; that although he was separate from sinners and all sinful thoughts or ambitions, nevertheless it would be quite a test to his loyalty of purpose to so interpret the Scriptures as to see in them the great sufferings, trials and disappointments which he afterward experienced. Continually there would be the opportunity of taking a different view of the matter--the opportunity of construing the course outlined for him another way than that which would mean so much of degradation and dishonor to the One despised and rejected of men even unto death, even the death of the cross.
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"STUDY TO SHOW THYSELF APPROVED"
There is a great lesson in all of this for all of the Lord's followers. If it was the wise and proper course for the Master to go aside for the study of the divine plan before beginning his public ministry, how much more should his followers feel it incumbent upon them as fallen beings with imperfect judgments to seek counsel of the Lord's Word and Spirit to ascertain what work the Lord would have them do in his vineyard before beginning any work. If this course were more generally followed there would be far less ranting done in the name of the Lord, fewer would feel that it was their privilege to rush in and work for the Lord without first studying carefully the divine will or program respecting that work--lest they should be hinderers of the Lord's plan which they desire to serve. Let us more and more apply each to himself the Apostle's words to Timothy, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth." Until we do study we will have every reason to doubt our preparation or usefulness in the Lord's service. First comes consecration, wholly, unreservedly; and secondly, as the first step in the fulfilling of that vow, comes the study of the divine will, the divine Word, the divine plan; and following that comes labor in the Lord's vineyard.
THE TEMPTER CAME TO HIM
At the close of the forty days of personal, earnest study, and when our Lord had reached a conclusion respecting the divine program as outlined through the Law and the prophets, and when in doing so he was exhausted in mind and in body, then the tempter came, the representative of all subtlety, a liar from the beginning. As the Lord's followers we can from experience say that this is the Adversary's general course--to intrude himself and his temptations at the opportune moment of our greatest weakness. While busily engaged in searching for the Father's will our Lord was not molested by the tempter, but as soon as he had digested the subject and reached a conclusion, and while his perfect but overtaxed human powers needed and sought refreshment, recuperation, that was the moment of the tempter's assault. Let us remember that it is the same with us who are his footstep followers, how he was tempted in all points like as we are. We have found some of the Lord's faithful people surprised at first because they had so few trials, and we have always admonished such to use such a period of rest for study, for putting on the whole armor of God, that they may
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be able to stand when the assault shall surely come later on. Apparently the Lord's providences safeguard us at the very beginning of our experiences until we have sufficient opportunity for reaching a firm and definite conclusion in our own minds respecting his will, as presented to us in his Word. Whoever fails to use this period faithfully, earnestly, will find himself so much the weaker, so much the more liable to defeat, when the testings from the Adversary come a little later. It is also to be noted that these peculiar trials and temptations which come to us as the Lord's followers do not reach us until after we have attained the point of full consecration to the Lord. Neither do we have the privilege of coming to a clearer appreciation of the teaching of the Word until after such a consecration.
"AS AN ANGEL OF LIGHT"
The account does not say and we therefore cannot know whether Satan appeared to our Lord personally or not. The fact that he was tempted in all points like as we [his brethren] are seems to imply that Satan did not appear to him personally, because he does not so appear to us in connection with our temptations. We may be sure, however, if there were any personal appearance it would be that of an angel of light, and not at all as Satan is vulgarly pictured, with hoofs, horns, etc. If Satan were to present himself in any vulgar form to any in harmony with the Lord, the effect would be to at once disarm the temptation. We may be sure, therefore, that Satan would adopt no such course at any time. The Apostle puts us on our guard, that rather we are to expect the Adversary's temptations along the line of an angel of light--a minister of the Truth. He always affects to be a helper and not a hinderer of the Lord's people. He would show them how to get along in the world much more smoothly and more happily; he would bless them; he would turn their narrow, rugged path into a path of roses; he would be their friend, their counsellor, their guide. Only after they had followed him awhile would they find, when well under his power, that he is a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the Truth. As illustrations of some of his misrepresentations in our day note the claims of Theosophists, Spiritualists, and Christian Scientists. These all affect to lift mankind to higher planes, to free them from pains and trials, and to give them a higher wisdom, guidance and instruction than that which they might receive from the divine Word and the light which shines therein from the cross of Christ.
"LIKE AS WE ARE"
Not like as the world was our Lord tempted, not like as we are tempted as natural men and women, but like as we are tempted who have become new creatures in Christ through a full consecration of our hearts, based upon our justification through his blood. Our Lord's temptations correspond to the temptations of this class only. Our temptations are from three different quarters, well represented in the three tests put to our Lord by Diabolus. First the flesh, second the world, third the adversary himself. All of our Lord's trials as a New Creature were from these three quarters, and all of the trials of his followers as New Creatures are from the same. Let us, while following our Lord's experiences, apply the same to ourselves.
TEMPTATION FIRST--THE FLESH
Self-gratification is to some extent proper, but there are limitations. Those who are consecrated to the Lord may not seek to gratify themselves, their appetites, in any manner contrary to the divine arrangement--to do so would be sin. This rule applied to our Lord as well as to all his followers. After his forty days' fast he was very hungry, and the tempter's suggestion to him was that of a friend. Jesus was reminded that he was the Son of God, that he had every right to all the favors of God, that his hunger was a legitimate craving of nature, that there was nothing sinful in being hungry, and that he had therefore the right, the privilege, to reasonably gratify his appetite. All this was true. The next suggestion was, You have the power--you have just received the anointing of the holy Spirit--you may therefore at your pleasure command these stones and they would turn to bread; power to do this is vested in you by God. Use that power now for the supply of your needs. Why should you hunger? Take counsel of a friend, appreciate my interest in you; if I were an enemy I would prefer to see you starve to death or at least prefer to see you suffer. How insidious was this temptation! It had in it many elements of truth, and apparently was kindly and well meant. There was just the one flaw which our Lord's keen mind at once discerned, and his loyal heart at once repudiated the advice. He reasoned, This holy Spirit, this power I have received in my anointing, was not intended to be used for self gratification; it was my begetting of the Spirit as a New Creature, to the intent that as a great High Priest I might lay down my life, might sacrifice myself as a human being. If now I should use this holy power, which was given me for the purpose of sacrificing, in an opposite direction, to heal, restore, to strengthen the mortal body which I have just delivered to death, it would be wrong--it would be using the power of God in an opposite direction from the divine intention. However hungry I feel I cannot do this. My life is in my Father's hands. I have been here these forty days under the guidance of the holy Spirit, seeking to know and to do the Father's will, I have not forfeited my life by disobedience, I may therefore conclude that while I am thus about my Father's business naught shall harm my Father's child. Hence I conclude that my hunger will not prove really injurious to me. My answer to this temptation of the Adversary will not impugn his motives in mentioning it, for that would be unkind and needless. My reply is: Bread is not the only thing by which man shall live; every word of God is a word of life. I have been feeding upon this heavenly food, I am strong in my spirit, in my determination to do my Father's will. I will not use improper means for my refreshment of body. The Father will be able to make up to me whatever disadvantage may accrue through my faithfulness to him. His will be done in me.
SPIRITUAL PRIVILEGES NOT FOR SELFISH USES
How are the Lord's followers tempted as he was in this respect? We have no power to turn stones into bread. No! But having received the holy Spirit,
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it is within the range of our opportunities to use the same contrary to our consecration, to use it for our physical benefit--for instance, to make merchandise of the Gospel, to preach that which would be pleasing to the natural man and bring us worldly applause and approval and wealth and social caste, etc. This would be selling our birthright for the mess of pottage. Those who see the matter in its true light, those who are in the right attitude of heart to appreciate the matter, will not do this but will say, Natural food alone will not sustain us. We cannot live except as we have the smile, the favor, the approval of the Lord our God. To live without that would not be living for us. Another temptation coming to some of the Lord's consecrated ones along this line would seem to be in the teaching that to some extent prevails, that they should go to God with every ailment and pain and thus
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use their privileges as anointed members of the body of Christ for the healing of their mortal bodies, which they have already in consecration surrendered to death. Would this be right? Would it not be along the same lines as our Lord's temptation to use the privileges and opportunities and powers that were his as the anointed one to comfort, strengthen and upbuild his mortal body? We believe that the cases are analogous, and that it is highly improper for any of the Lord's people who have received of his Spirit, who have made a consecration of their lives, to ask for any special intervention of the Lord's power on their behalf, to attempt in any manner to use their privileges as members of the Royal Priesthood to minister to their flesh. On the contrary, so far as their fallen flesh is concerned, they have all the rights and privileges of the whole world to food and raiment and anything that in the Lord's providence may come to their attention as being healthful, strengthening, call this food or call it medicine as we please. It is our holy Spirit privileges as Royal Priests that cannot be invoked for earthly advantage, because this relationship to our Lord was not granted us for such a purpose, but rather that under this holy Spirit relationship we might the more efficiently lay down our lives for the brethren. It is in vain that some reason that they merely desire physical health that they may better perform their sacrifices to the Lord. The Scriptures declare that obedience is better than sacrifice. Let us accept such temporal, physical blessings and mercies as divine providence grants us with gratitude, with thankfulness, and let our holy spirits, our holy minds, intentions, so use our mortal bodies as to make the best use possible of our talents, opportunities, and conditions for the service of the Lord, not asking for resuscitation or special strength as our Lord did not, but accepting such favors as the Father might grant to us unsolicited--"Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him." "After all these things [food, raiment, health, etc.] do the Gentiles seek." --`Matt. 6:8,32`.
TEMPTATION THE SECOND--THE WORLD
Satan did not stop to argue the question; he saw that it would be useless as soon as he perceived that the Lord's stand had been firmly taken. And so we also have the promise, "Resist the tempter and he will flee from you."--`Jas. 4:7`. But although Satan fled, desisted from the first temptation, he speedily brought another, still in a friendly manner. Paraphrased, his proposition was this: "I carry you in mind to the roof of the southern wing of the Temple, which overlooks the valley of Hinnom [Gehenna]. A leap from that altitude would attract the attention of all the people, especially the most religious class, if done at the hour of the day when large crowds gather in the Temple. It would be a wonderful way of announcing your mission and showing at the same time the divine power which is in you. And there is a Scripture which implies that this was to be the way you would make an announcement of your Messiahship. It reads, 'He shall give his angels charge concerning thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.' (`Psa. 91:11,12`.) This Scripture would undoubtedly be fulfilled by the leap I am suggesting, and the people, realizing its fulfilment, would apply the Scripture directly to you and would all give attention to you as Messiah. They would all as a whole become your followers, and your mission would be thoroughly launched in one day." Longfellow practically pictures the scene:
"Unto the holy Temple on Moriah,
With its resplendent domes and manifold
Bright pinnacles of gold.
Where they wait thy coming, O Messiah!
Lo, I have brought thee! Let thy glory here
Be manifest and clear.
"Reveal thyself by royal act and gesture
Descending with the bright triumphant host
Of all the highermost
Archangels, and about thee as a vesture
The shining clouds and all thy splendors show
Unto the world below."
Again the suggestion had the appearance of being a friendly one. Could it be that Satan was really interested in the Lord's mission? Could it be that whereas he had been the tempter at first he was now sincerely desirous of undoing his work and becoming a co-laborer with and a helper of the Lord Jesus in his mission? Would it not be a great item in itself to gain first of all the great tempter who had misled so many, and, by converting him, to begin the work with his co-operation? And were not his words wise? Would it not provoke a general comment all through Palestine, and awaken the people to a realization of the power of God in their midst in the person of Jesus?
THOU SHALT NOT TEMPT GOD
All of these thoughts and many more doubtless came to our Lord in connection with the tempter's suggestion. But his study of the divine plan during those forty days, and the conclusions he there reached, quickly settled our Lord's decision that he could not take such a course, that it would not be consistent with the divine plan which he saw outlined in the Law and the prophets, and that anyway such a procedure would not be according to proper lines, reasonable conduct; that in thus leaping from the Temple parapet he would in a measure be tempting God by going contrary to the established law of gravitation. He could readily see that if in the performance of some obligation, some duty, he should miss his footing and fall from the Temple, that the Lord would be able to protect him, that he would receive no
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injury; but it would be quite another matter for him to adopt a plan for serving God that was contrary to what he recognized to be a law of nature. Not by merely curious wonder-working was he to be known to the people, but by the working of the works of him who sent him; by giving illustrations, in the healing of the sick and the blind and the lame, of the great work of God in restitution which would be accomplished through him later, during the Millennial age. The Adversary had no more to say, it would have been useless; he left him so far as that temptation was concerned. Have the followers of Jesus temptations along this line? Yes, we answer. The world continually looks to those who confess their relationship to the Lord as sons and who profess to have received the spirit of adoption, and urges them to show or attempt to show some marvel in his favor, if they would prove that they are specially the Lord's children.
"THIS GENERATION SEEKETH A SIGN,"
said our Lord, and thus it is with every generation, every people--the whole world. The world wants miracles or outward show of sanctity and great professions. Some responding to this spirit of the world have adopted peculiar dress. Monks, nuns, quakers, and others make profession of wonderful powers received through laying on of hands, and would thus impress the world along worldly lines. Others claim the power by magic words to change the bread and wine into the actual body of Christ, and authority then to sacrifice him. We cannot suppose that sane people really believe that they do anything of the kind; we must suppose that they do it for a spectacular effect upon the world. Similarly the red and purple and gold and white and black robes, miters, not now enjoined. The world seeks after signs of healing, wonder-working magic, etc., and the nearer the Lord's people approach to these things the more they may expect to influence the world. Romanists are leaders along these lines, and have relics of saints, garments, bones, etc., to which reverence is attached in the minds of all classes except in the most civilized lands. Many of these things are attempted also by the Mormons, Spiritualists, Christian Scientists, and magnetic healers, and there is a general tendency amongst all denominations to attempt something of the spectacular whereby to arrest and fix the attention of the public. As our Lord avoided anything and everything spectacular so should also his followers. True, our Lord performed some miracles of healing, but we should remember that the numbers healed as compared with the whole number of the people was comparatively small. We should remember also that these were the foretold witnesses by which he should be recognized, that they were foreshadowings of his coming glorious work of restitution to all the families of the earth, which shall be accomplished in due time during the Millennial age. True, also, there were miraculous gifts and tongues in the early Church, which we see through the Apostle's statement were designed for the establishment of the Church until the work of grace should more thoroughly be developed in the hearts of the Lord's people, when the fruits of the Spirit should and did supplant the miraculous gifts of the Spirit. The Lord's people should be on guard against any unreasonable procedures in the proclamation of the Gospel. The service of ambassadors for God is a reasonable service, and those who are in proper line in the footsteps of Jesus will be found to possess more and more of the "spirit of a sound mind."--`2 Tim. 1:7`.
MISAPPLICATION OF SCRIPTURES
Note in connection with this temptation of our Lord that the Adversary quoted Scripture in support of his position, and that our Lord met the temptation not only upon reasonable, logical grounds, but with the Scriptures also. The lesson in this is that we not only need
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to have the Bible in our possession and be able to read it, but we also need the guidance of the holy Spirit, the spirit of a sound mind, in our application of the Word to the affairs of life. Our Lord did not dispute that the Father could give the angels a charge over him to bear up his feet, to preserve him from injury, but he did reason correctly and in harmony with the Word that it would be wrong for him to tempt the Lord, to try the Lord, to test the Lord's ability. Instead of proving the Lord and having him co-operate with a wonder-working spirit, we should the more carefully investigate the teachings of the divine plan, to ascertain and follow the course marked out for us in the Lord's providences, our reasonable service, even to the extent of the using up of our mortal bodies in reasonable methods, in the promulgation of the Truth. In the light of the unfolding of God's plan we see that the living members of the Church constitute the feet of the body of Christ--the last members. We see further that in the prophecy which Satan quoted reference is had to the serious difficulties and trials of our day which would precede the feet members, "The hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell upon the earth."--`Rev. 3:10`. We see that in our day there is a stumbling-stone permitted for the testing of our faith and patience and loyalty; that whoever is of the proper character will be aided of the Lord to victory, so that the stumbling-stone to such will be a stepping-stone to higher riches of grace and blessing. We hear the Apostle speaking of our day and saying, "Who shall be able to stand?" (`Rev. 6:17`.) And the answer is that all the faithful in Christ, all the true members of the elect body, will stand in this day of testing, because the Lord will give his messengers a charge, a message in their interest, that they may bear them up in their hands by their power, lest they should be stumbled in this time. Nothing shall be able to stumble, to deceive, the very elect.--`Matt. 24:24`.
TEMPTATION THIRD--THE DEVIL
All of these temptations were of the devil, but from different standpoints. The third one was Satan's own temptation in a special sense or degree, in that it was along the subtle lines which he himself has seemed to follow in all his work as an adversary of God and of righteousness. In this temptation the Lord is taken, not physically but in the spirit of his mind, up into a high mountain-- a very exalted kingdom. Physically he was all this time in the desert near Jerusalem, and as a matter of fact there is neither in that desert nor anywhere in the world a mountain from which all the kingdoms of the
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world could be viewed except with the mind's eye. The very high mountain or high kingdom superior to all earthly kingdoms was Satan's own dominion of the world. For a long time by usurpation he has been the prince of this world, who now worketh in the hearts of the children of disobedience, and who blinds the minds of those who believe not the Gospel. (`2 Cor. 4:4`.) Not that Satan is known to be the ruler and is recognized as such, nor that God has given him this dominion, but by deceiving mankind he has usurped the control of their minds. He is the great deceiver of whom we read that in the Millennial age our Lord Jesus shall bind him that he shall deceive the peoples no more.--`Rev. 20:3`. In this temptation Satan seems to have entered sympathetically with our Lord in his work, as though he had said to him, "I see that you are bent upon doing a thorough work, and that to some extent you realize the difficulties which are before you--the impossibility of bringing order out of present confusion. You see the world of mankind steeped in sin and ignorance and superstition, taking pleasure in war, licentiousness and falsehood. You long to recover them, to establish a dominion of righteousness in which all the people shall be blessed and brought to see the advantage of obedience to God, of lives of peace, sobriety and happiness. I am with you in this matter. I also deplore the wretched condition of the world; I have been a witness to its degradation for four thousand years, and am now ready to join with you or rather to have you join with me in the work of lifting the world out of its deplorable condition. "It was not my original design to bring such a blight upon mankind. I wanted to have a dominion, I wanted to be a ruler; there was no chance in heaven, because everything there was strictly under the rule and guidance of Jehovah God; therefore I endeavored to establish a kingdom amongst men. I will admit that humanity as it is at present is no credit to me or to my reign of centuries. I am willing to turn over the entire matter to you, to exert all the influence and power which I possess amongst men and to thus give you the control of the whole world to lift them up, to bless them, to do them every good, if you will but recognize me in connection with this dominion of earth. This is the short road to all that you desire to accomplish for man, and it is the only road, for you may well judge that if you do not take up with my proposition I will oppose you at every step and you see what my influence is amongst men. Not only will you yourself have most rugged experiences, but all who will attempt to co-operate with you I would oppose, so that there would practically be no opportunity for doing the good you have come into the world to accomplish except as you have my assistance and co-operation."
"HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE"
Our Lord's answer came promptly; we might paraphrase it thus: "O, Lucifer, it is true that you have great power, that you could co-operate, that you could also on the contrary oppose the work in which I have engaged and to which I have just consecrated my life. You rightly judge that my flesh shrinks from such a terrible conflict as I realize is before me, and that if the work could be accomplished in an easy, peaceable manner it would be my joy to have it so. But I remind you that my life is not consecrated to the work but to the Father, my God, and from this standpoint you are not only God's opponent, adversary, but also my adversary, in that you are endeavoring to alienate my affections and loyalty from him. Get thee behind me, I will not recognize you, I must follow the right course, well expressed in the Scriptures which say, 'Thou shalt reverence the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve.' There can be no compromise. You are on one side of the matter and God is on the other side. You may oppose me in my work in every way within your power to the extent that the Almighty will permit you. No more can you do, and if this in the Lord's providence shall bring me trials, disappointments, pain, suffering, death, I have already pledged myself to God to the full extent of all this." The temptation was ended, our Lord's firmness and uncompromising loyalty to the Father and to his plan were fully vindicated; he was prepared now for the ministry of three and a half years, and knew to expect that from start to finish he would have the opposition of the adversary in every sense of the word--even unto death, even the death of the cross.
SIMILAR TEMPTATIONS BEFORE HIS BRETHREN
In what respect are we tempted as was our Lord in this final temptation? We reply that similarly the adversary comes to us with suggestions respecting a compromise of the Truth. As the eyes of our understanding open to see to what extent evil has a dominating influence in the world, and that fidelity to the Truth will cost us all that we have, in that same proportion usually comes the suggestion to compromise, to try to accomplish the good by more or less fellowship and partisanship with the evils that are in the world. It is along this line that many in the nominal churches justify themselves in respect to the worldly forms and customs introduced. Fairs, private theatricals, games, etc., are all compromises intended to attract the worldly by having the Church approach as nearly as possible to the world's conceptions and ideals and standards, etc., and yet with a view not to degradation but to uplift the world. This was exactly the course which Satan proposed to our Lord and which he rejected. All who would follow in the footsteps of Jesus must also reject every compromise with the world--"Ye are not of the world even as I am not of the world, therefore the world hateth you."--`John 17:16`. Let us remember the words of our Lord, that those who would be his disciples should sit down first and count the cost before they enter upon discipleship, before they make the consecration of their lives, before they take upon them the holy name, "members of the body of Christ," the Church. And having taken their stand with the full knowledge that the way in which they are going is a narrow one, full of trials and difficulties, and that its further end is death, they will, with this view before their minds and such a consecration, be less likely to be sidetracked by the deceiving oppositions of the Adversary. Rightly instructed by the Word of the Lord they know that no real blessing could have come to the world except through his death, and to whatever extent he might have yielded to the Adversary's proposition for an easy way would have been a hindrance to that consummation.
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Likewise they know that all the Church, the elect of God, called to walk in his footsteps now, are to take up his cross and follow him and be faithful even unto death if they would have the crown of life. They see that in the divine order the blessing of the world can come only through the sacrifice of the Christ, Head and body. The more they come to understand the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of God's great plan, the more they see the wisdom of the divine arrangement and the impossibility of the success of any other. The sacrificing priesthood of the present time is to constitute the glorious Royal Priesthood of the future, through which all the families of the earth are to be blessed. All who would constitute themselves members of this Royal Priesthood must learn at the very beginning of their experience to say, Not my will nor my way, but thy will and thy way, O Lord, be done. Let each of us as followers of the Master be prompt in giving our response to the Adversary's proposition of compromise. He who dallies with temptation increases its power every moment; hence the propriety, yea, the necessity, of an absolute consecration of the heart, the will, at the beginning: on that foundation the daily conflicts with the world, the flesh and the Adversary become much more simple and lose much of their power. Meantime let us pray as our Lord directed, "Abandon us not in temptation, but deliver us from the evil one," realizing that of ourselves we are no match for the Adversary, that our help is in the Lord, and that greater is he who is on our part than all they that be against us.
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CALLED TO A HIGHER SERVICE
--`LUKE 5:1-11`.--FEBRUARY 11.--
Golden Text:--"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children."--`Eph. 5:1`.
OUR lesson relates to the calling of Peter, Andrew, James and John to be our Lord's constant companions, and the training for their work as apostles after his glorification. A period of about a year elapsed between the temptation in the wilderness and the scene of this lesson on the Lake of Galilee. In the meantime some of John's disciples and others had accepted Jesus as their teacher in heavenly things and were more or less in his company. Peter, Andrew, James and John being amongst these. It was about this time that John was imprisoned, and Jesus' ministry seems to have become more vigorous thereafter. As the narrative shows, Jesus was on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, and the public attracted to him-- hungry for the word of life--pressed so closely as to inconvenience him, and he stepped into one of the fishing boats moored to the shore. It was Peter's boat, and our Lord requested him to push the boat a little from the shore, from which position he could the more easily address the large crowds on the shelving beach. Peter and his brother Andrew were managing one of the boats, and James and his brother John another of the same partnership, while hired helpers were also assisting (`Mark 1:20`.) They were cleaning and mending their nets, for they had been out all night; they were preparing for the next night's fishing, for at that time it appears that most of the net fishing is done. These fishermen and perhaps others in the same vicinity proceeded with their work while the Lord was preaching, no doubt giving earnest attention to his words at the same time.
"LAUNCH OUT NOW"
When our Lord had finished his discourse he suggested to Peter that he take the boat to deep water and let down his nets for a catch of fish. The response was that no fish were to be expected--that they had toiled all night without results; but through respect to the Master, if he desired it they would let down their nets again, without having any expectations as fishermen that they would meet with any success. The result was a net full of fish, the weight of which began to break the meshes of the net. Their partners were signalled to come to assist, with the final result that both boats were heavily laden with fish, so as almost to endanger their safety. When Peter noted the miracle performed he fell at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." He realized that he was in the presence of one possessed of more than human wisdom and power, and correspondingly he felt afraid. Although he and his partners had known Jesus for now over a year, he had never before so thoroughly realized the wonderful power hidden in Christ. A miracle was performed, however we may view it: we might suppose the creation of the fish on the spot, or the power of the Lord to at will bring a great school of fish to that vicinity, or the knowledge of the Lord that such a school of fish was in the vicinity. No matter which view we take, it would still leave the miracle intact; nor should we wish it otherwise, realizing that it is on a parity with others of Jesus' mighty works. Respecting the fishes of that lake we quote from a prominent writer as follows:-- "The Sea of Galilee was always famed for the number and variety of its fish. There are more than fifty kinds. The thickness of the shoals of fish in the Lake of Gennesaret is almost incredible to any one who has not witnessed them. They often cover an area of more than an acre; and when the fish move slowly forward in a mass, and are rising out of the water, they are packed so close together that it appears as though a heavy rain were beating down upon the surface of the water."
THE OBJECT OF THE MIRACLE
It is evident that this miracle was performed for the purpose of fully and finally convincing Peter, Andrew, James and John respecting the Lord's relationship to the Father, and his power of control in respect to things temporal as well as things spiritual. The lesson evidently had its designed effect, and our Lord clinched the matter by then and there inviting the four to become his permanent disciples--to become fishers of men. This was the opposite course from what Peter had suggested--that the Lord depart from them because he was perfect and holy and had direct intercourse evidently with the heavenly powers, while they were poor and weak and sinful, imperfect through the
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fall. Separation did indeed take place, but it was between the disciples and their earthly business, not between them and the Lord. "They forsook all and followed him." Similarly tests have come to all whom the Lord has called throughout this age.
MANY CALLED, FEW CHOSEN
There was a great multitude on the shore who heard the Lord's teachings, but not to all of them did his message come with the same force and to the same end. Only a few were specially chosen and called. Doubtless there were elementary conditions in the hearts of these four that constituted them the ones ready and worthy to receive the special message. There may have been Israelites indeed in the multitude on the shore who were not yet ripe for the special invitation of discipleship, just as these same four who now forsook all to follow the Lord had been with him more or less for about a year, yet had not until now reached the place where they were ready to forsake all. All down through the Gospel age the Lord's invitations have been extended chiefly to those in the humbler walks of life--not many great, not many rich, not many wise, not many learned, not many noble, hath God chosen, but the mean things of the world, the things not esteemed--mainly the poor of this world rich in faith. (`I Cor. 1:26-28`; `Jas. 2:5`.) The Lord's dealing is practically the same with all. He does not invite them at first to a full consecration, but rather gives them leading and instruction along lines of justification, and after they have grown in knowledge to some degree they have the privilege of forsaking all to be his special disciples, to be fishers of men. One difficulty with Christians in general of all denominations is that this second step of full consecration is rarely brought to their attention. Under the false teaching that it is a question respecting heaven or hell that they must decide, the majority seem to feel satisfied that if they are reasonably decent, reasonably honest, they will escape eternal torment, and are not ambitious beyond this. They thus claim themselves to be, and are reckoned by others as disciples of Christ, whereas in reality they still belong to the multitude who hear with more or less of joy and bear witness to the wonderful words proceeding from the Lord's mouth, but who fail to attain the position of special disciples, not appreciating and not taught that to be the Lord's disciples we must "take up our cross and follow him." O, how necessary to the saints is the Truth! How wonderful the Lord's words, "Sanctify them through thy truth, thy Word is truth!" Error can never sanctify, and in proportion as it is mixed in our minds with the Truth, to that extent is the latter diluted and lacking in power.
FORSAKING ALL TO FOLLOW CHRIST
The narrative of our lesson would seem to imply that these four disciples had acted in a very irrational manner, leaving their boats and nets instantly without disposing of them or making provision for their care; but Mark's account informs us that the boats were left in the care of Zebedee, the father of James and John, with hired helpers. Nor need we suppose that the Lord and these four who became so prominent as his apostles started away from that vicinity that same hour or even that same day. It may have required time to make proper arrangements for the fish, for the business interests of the partnership, etc. The same is true of us: we have duties in life which it would be
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wrong to abruptly cast aside and ignore, responsibilities to others and a stewardship. The "spirit of a sound mind" is to govern the Lord's people in all of their affairs, both temporal and spiritual. The important thing decided at the moment and decided positively and permanently was that they accepted the Lord's invitation to enter the Father's service with him--fishing on a higher and grander scale, for men--gathering them into the Gospel net, with a view to their ultimate glorification as New Creatures in Christ and participants with him in the glory, honor, and immortality of his Kingdom soon to be established. Let us each remember the importance of a positive decision respecting our consecration to the Lord, our acceptance of service under him as our Master and Captain. Let us then as wisely as possible arrange life's affairs so as to be without carefulness respecting earthly things that we may the more readily and more completely give all of our time and energy to the most important of all works, the service of God, tidings of great joy for all people.
OUR GOLDEN TEXT
However much we have heard of Jesus, however much we have rejoiced in the salvation which he died to secure for us, however much we have trusted in the merit of his sacrifice, we did not become his disciples until we had formally reached the point of giving our hearts, our lives, our wills to him--responding to his invitation, becoming followers of God as dear children under the guidance and instruction of our elder brother, Jesus. The opportunity does not come to all of us in just the same form that it presented itself to the four fishermen of our lesson, and yet there is a similarity. With many of us, as the Apostle explains, it is the Lord's will that we should abide in the vocation in which we were when the message of grace first reached us. (`I Cor. 7:20-22`.) Not all are called to an open, public ministry, devoting all of time, talent, effort and interest to the Gospel message. The majority of the called the Lord evidently intends to instruct as his disciples while they are about their ordinary business, the duties and responsibilities of life. With these, however, it is necessary that there be a forsaking of boats and fishing tackle, etc., in the heart from the moment that a full consecration is made to the Lord. We cannot serve God and Mammon. We cannot have two objects in life, both equally prominent to our attention. The Lord will not have it so with those who are to be his joint-heirs in the Kingdom. This class must appreciate the privilege of fellowship in his labor, sufferings and hopes of glory to such an extent that their hearts will no longer be in the ordinary affairs of life, their ambitions will no longer be for wealth or name or fame from the world's standpoint. All such ambitions and hopes we must "forsake" if we would be his disciples. He must be first, joint-heirship with him must be our ambition; otherwise our hearts would not be in a condition that would be pleasing to the Lord or that would not be single for his service; we would be of the kind described as double minded, unstable in all our works and ways. (`Jas. 1:8`.) Undoubtedly
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this is a difficulty with a large number of those who have named the name of Christ and professed consecration to him and his service.
"AS DEAR CHILDREN"
It is high time that we learn that we cannot serve God and Mammon, and that we choose as between these. If we do not choose the Lord and his service and place these first before our hearts' affections, we will be counted as placing the others first,--the interests of the natural man; and the Lord's appreciation of us and the reward he will give us will correspond. He has indeed blessings for all the families of the earth, but the special blessing presented in the exceeding great and precious promises of glory, honor and immortality are for those who love him supremely, more than they love houses or lands, business or wealth, family or kindred or self. Our exhortation to all who have forsaken all to follow the Lord is that we do not look back, that we estimate that we have made the grandest bargain imaginable, that we are in the way for obtaining the grandest prize imaginable, together with association with our Lord in his wonderful work and with the divine approval. This seems to be the thought of the Apostle when he urges us to lay aside every weight and entanglement that we may run with patience the race set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author of our faith, until he shall have become its finisher. Let us as promptly as possible, at the beginning of our Christian experience, settle once for all the matter of surrendering our wills to be followers of the Lamb; let us once for all arrange as wisely as possible our temporary affairs and interests in accordance with the reasonable demands of others respecting the same, and let us then faithfully persevere to the end of the race course.
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AN INTERESTING QUESTION ANSWERED.
WHY ARE WE NOT SUBJECT TO THE LAW?
Question.--Please make some further comments on the relationship of the Jewish Law Covenant to the Israelites, and explain why you assert that we are not subject to its provisions. Answer.--The Law given by Moses was good in every sense of the word, but the Covenant to which it was attached was one which was insufficient to meet the necessities of mankind, weak through the fall and incompetent to keep the perfect Law. The original law given was written in man's very nature when he was created perfect, in the image of God, and when his conscience was a sufficient criterion of judgment as respects the right and wrong of any matter. God's Covenant with Adam was one of eternal life based on continued obedience, and any infraction of that Covenant meant death. God's law to Israel, under the Mosaic covenant, implied that all who were thus in Moses as the mediator of that covenant, were reckoned as lifted out from the remainder of mankind, and as separated from the sentence of death upon the race in general through Adam. This was to the intent that Israel might have a fresh trial. But because of the imperfections of their flesh, Israel was unable to keep the Law of their Covenant, and hence unable to keep their share of the covenant and thus came under a special sentence of death-- for that Law Covenant, which they thought would be unto life, they found worked death. The New Covenant differs from the Mosaic Covenant specially in its provision that God will be merciful to those under it, whereas under the Mosaic Covenant he proposed simply to be just. Israel could not gain any special blessing under a covenant of justice, but whoever comes under the New Covenant of mercy obtains a great favor. The New Covenant, as we have seen, differs from the Mosaic Covenant in placing its subjects under mercy instead of under justice. It has also a higher Mediator, one who was able to compensate justice and thus to extend mercy without infracting the Law. It was also established by better sacrifices--by the antitypes of bulls and goats, which were the sacrifices which sealed the New Covenant. While the Law of the New Covenant is in many respects the same in substance as the Law of Moses' Covenant, it nevertheless is a higher statement of that Law, and in full harmony with all the other higher features of the New Covenant. The highest statement of the New Covenant is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, strength and being, and thy neighbor as thyself," and although this highest statement of the divine Law was made known to Israel under Moses, they could not from their standpoint comprehend that statement of the Law, and a lower statement of the same Law was given them as a part of the Law of their Covenant, namely, the Ten Commandments. Those Ten Commandments have nothing whatever to do with the New Covenant, sealed with the precious blood of Christ, nor with the spiritual Israel accepted of God under that New Covenant. Indeed we may properly say that although the Ten Commandments were suitable enough to the House of Servants, our heavenly Father would not insult any of his children by addressing to them the language of the Ten Commandments. When we remember that the New Covenant and its Law applies only at the present time to the new creatures in Christ Jesus, who know that they have passed from death unto life because they love the brethren, and who know that they are the children of God because they have received his spirit of adoption, then we are prepared to see that it would be wholly incongruous for the heavenly Father, who has already accepted them in the Beloved One, to address to these the language of the decalogue. How hurt the consecrated people of God might properly feel to have the heavenly Father address them, saying, "Thou shalt not kill!" They would look up to the Father in sorrow, saying, "Dear heavenly Father, we have received of your spirit of love and have no longer the spirit of hatred and murder." Similarly with all the various charges of the decalogue, proper to the House of Servants: they would all be insulting to the House of Sons, implying that they were not sons and had not received of the Father's spirit and were not accepted of him in the
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Beloved, for Love worketh no ill to his neighbor. The fourth commandment is no different from the others of the ten. It is on a lower plane than would be proper for the House of Sons, and consequently was never given to them. It merely commands rest from labor, but under the comprehensive law of love to God and man, and through the possession of the Father's Spirit, the new creatures in Christ Jesus have a higher rest than had the natural Israelites. Ours is a rest of faith and trust in God, and in Christ our Lord through whom he is working all things according to the counsel of his own will. Ever since Pentecost this rest of the people of God, as it pertains even to the present life, is perpetual, and not merely one day out of seven.