ZWT - 1906 - R3693 thru R3912 / R3791 (177) - June 15, 1906
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VOL. XXVII JUNE 15, 1906 No. 12
Views from the Watch Tower.......................179
Church Union--Next, Federation....................179
The United Church of Canada.......................179
Federation in Great Britain.......................180
Education Makes "Fools"...........................180
We Are Counted As Fools...........................181
Man and Woman Under the Curse....................181
Hell Fire and Saintliness Denounced by Two
All Things Work For Good (Poem)...................182
A Vision of the Kingdom...........................182
"Never Man Spake Like This Man"...................185
Greatest in the Kingdom...........................186
Some Interesting Letters..........................190
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
CHURCH UNION--NEXT, FEDERATION
THE Presbyterian and Cumberland Presbyterian bodies have reunited, as per the following telegram in the public press columns:
Des Moines, Ia., May 24.--Dr. Hunter Corbett, the Moderator of the Presbyterian General Assembly, declared the union of the Presbyterian Church of the United States and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church completed at 10.21 o'clock this morning as follows: "I do solemnly declare and hereby publicly announce that the basis of union and reunion is now in full force and effect, and that the Cumberland Presbyterian Church is now reunited with the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America as one Church." The big ecclesiastical assemblage burst into a storm of rejoicing. Handclapping, cheering and waving of handkerchiefs gave expression of unalloyed pleasure.
* * *
The spirit of union and federation prevails everywhere. Our readers well know that from prophecy we have for twenty-five years been expecting not only that the Federation would come soon, but that the vitality of it would come from the Episcopal Church. The insurmountable barrier thus far seems to be in the claim of this denomination to "Apostolic Succession," which asserts that none are qualified ministers except as "ordained" in the line of such succession. Now we find a movement amongst Episcopalians to concede something: to claim merely the Historic Episcopate and to drop the claim of Apostolic Succession, so as to promote the union of all Protestants. This view is set forth in a recently published book by Rev. E. McCrady (Episcopalian), entitled,
"APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION AND THE PROBLEM OF UNITY"
We quote one paragraph:-- "When we ourselves are broad enough, catholic enough, to admit that the theory of the divine right of Episcopacy is a theory only--when we are willing to own, as we must, that while fitting in very well with historical facts, it can never be absolutely demonstrated --when we further are willing to recognize the fact that the Reformers did not believe in such a theory themselves, and that the Church, in spite of all the influences brought to bear upon her, has carefully refrained from officially promulgating such a doctrine--when, in other words, we cease to unchurch our Protestant brethren by insisting upon a principle logically indefensible and never officially set forth--we will then be in a position to expect some concessions on their part, and--we venture the further prediction--we shall then begin to hear some solid discussion, and see some valid signs of the approaching union of Christendom."
* * *
The Bible clearly sets forth that such a federation of Protestants will be effected before the great final catastrophe which will usher in the Kingdom of God's dear Son and the glorification of the Church of the Firstborn; hence our interest in every item pointing to its realization.
"THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA"
"The negotiations for the union of three churches in Canada have attracted world-wide attention. Nearly all of the religious journals and many of the secular ones devote much space to special comment upon this theme. These comments are almost entirely congratulatory. The Toronto Globe has rendered important service by printing the expressions of opinion by men of light and leading in the three churches in various parts of the country. It is a surprise to find how generally these are favorable expressions. Of course there are a few doubting Thomases, a few who magnify the differences and overlook the great harmonies, who advise us to be careful and go slow; but the overwhelming concensus is in favor, not of federation, but of organic union. We have received correspondence from various parts of the United States, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with reference to an account we wrote in The
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Christian Herald of this great movement, and all of these are of devout thanksgiving for the leading of divine providence. We quote from the Literary Digest some of the press comments on this subject: "'An extraordinary movement, in some respects, not paralleled in several centuries,' is the phrase by which the New York Christian Advocate (Methodist) characterizes the movement toward union between the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregationalist churches in Canada. The report of the joint committee of these three denominations, just published, is described by the Toronto Globe as 'the most remarkable ecclesiastical document issued in Protestant Christendom since the Reformation.' All the indications seem to point to the ultimate consummation of this union, and the name tentatively chosen for the new Church is, 'The United Church of Canada.' The Interior (Presbyterian, Chicago) writes of the union planned as 'the most radical and remarkable coalition of churches that has been proposed since the Reformation brought in the era of denominational divisions,' Zion's Herald (Methodist, Boston), reminds us that Canada in the past has led the way in effecting denominational unions. "The Christian Advocate remarks editorially: 'This experiment in each of its stages should receive the concentrated attention of the Protestantism of the world. If it succeed it will make feasible the only reasonable plan for the diminution of the number of distinct communions.' "The Presbyterian (Toronto, Canada) thinks that the prospects are bright for a consummation of the proposed union. It says: 'There will be no unseemly haste; in the nature of things there cannot be. It will take some little time to prepare the basis and have it pronounced upon ultimately by the body of the people. Agreement as to the things that may be given up and the things that shall remain, will not come in a moment, but it will come. There is an organizing power of its own in a great, structural, co-ordinating movement like this.' "The Presbyterian Banner (Pittsburgh, Pa.) comments as follows: 'We would hardly think a union of these three churches possible in this country, but it appears to be possible only a few miles north of us, and it is the Lord's doing and marvellous in our eyes. The Spirit of the Lord, however, is not restricted by geographical boundaries and red and blue lines on the map, and what the Spirit can do there he may do here.' "The Methodists in Canada number 916,659, the Presbyterians 842,016, and the Congregationalists 28,000. Thus, as the Church Standard (Protestant Episcopal, Philadelphia) points out, the new Church will enter upon its work with a membership of 1,786,676, 'nearly one-third of the population of the whole of Canada.'" --Onward (Methodist, Toronto).
FEDERATION IN GREAT BRITAIN
The London Daily Chronicle recently published a lengthy appeal for special prayers for the reunion of Christendom. It was signed by the President of the United Methodist Free Churches; the President of the Methodist New Connection Church; the President of the Wesleyan Methodist Conference; the Moderator-elect of the English Presbyterian Church; the President of the Baptist Union; the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; the Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Free Church of Scotland; the Primus of the Scottish Church, and the Chairman of the Congregational Union of England and Wales. Evidently a few more years of stress will accomplish what they pray for,--a union of sects, a federation on the basis of ignoring one another's errors. But this will not be the heart union for which our Lord prayed--one in the Father and the Son and in heart
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fellowship with each other, because "sanctified by the Truth."
EDUCATION MAKES "FOOLS"
"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God."-- `Psalm 14:1`.
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY CLASS 65 PER CENT. FOOLS
The faculty of Columbia University put the following questions to a class of 45 students in elementary psychology: (1) "Do you conceive of God as a personal or an impersonal being?" (2) "What difference do you make between a personal and an impersonal being?" (3) "Under what image or images do you think of God?" (4) "What difference would the non-existence of God make in your daily life?" Papers bearing these questions were distributed to the class, with the request that they be returned with their answers within a few days. Only three replies were received. The Professor then made the questions a part of the regular class lesson, and an entire lecture period was granted for the preparation of the answers. It was further granted that none need sign his name to his replies, in hope that this would bring out full responses. Three refused to express themselves, returning the question papers blank. Twenty-two said their conception of God was impersonal. Four expressed doubt as to God's personality. Sixteen only (35 per cent.) expressed belief in a personal God. Thirteen of the young men said that it would not make the least bit of difference in their daily lives if they had not heard of the existence of God. The rest said that there would be some difference, but no two agreed exactly as to the same condition of life. These things are hard to believe, but the facts are vouched for by the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. They remind us of the Apostle's words, "The world by wisdom knows not God"; and again, that "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not." How glad we are that these blinded young men will yet be brought under the influence of him who died for
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them at Calvary, to the extent that their blindness shall be turned away and the "knowledge of the glory of the Lord" shall shine into their hearts. How strange it seems that their Christian friends and relatives (1) so combat the thought of God's mercy enduring beyond the tomb, that these and "all the families of the earth may be blessed" by the Messiah (Head and body), the elect of this age. (2) How strange that they think of such young men, who say in their hearts, "There is no God," as being of the "elect," believers, footstep followers of Christ--to whom alone in this age the "great salvation" is promised.
"WE ARE COUNTED AS FOOLS"
The above words by St. Paul are still true of those faithful to the Word of God. Below we reprint an item from the Digest, re the changing meaning of the word heresy. The Rev. Crapsey, D.D., of the Episcopal Church, has recently been telling his doubts and disbeliefs, yet contends that he is still an orthodox Episcopalian and should be permitted to teach his unbeliefs under the prestige of "the Church," wearing its livery, holding its honors and receiving its pay. Some one not well posted on such matters thought this was wrong and brought the matter up in a heresy trial, Dr. Crapsey disbelieves the Bible, rejects its being of divine inspiration, thinks Jesus was born as every other child, that he had no prehuman existence, that Joseph or some man was his father. So far as we may be able to judge, Robert Ingersoll and Rev. Crapsey, D.D., would have agreed perfectly except as to methods of teaching the unbelief. In our opinion Mr. Ingersoll took the more honorable position in not pretending to be a minister and servant and teacher of the One whose words he denied. Dr. Crapsey, in his unbelief, has so much company now among ministers that his conviction was a general surprise. Others would doubtless feel that if they condemned him they would be at the same time condemning themselves, because the majority, apparently, are now "higher critics." Dr. Crapsey is surprised and desires a new trial.
"THE WAY WHICH THEY CALL HERESY"
The Apostle says, "After the way which they call heresy so worship I the God of my fathers." (`Acts 24:14`.) Likewise, today, if anyone will arise in any of the churches of Christendom and fearlessly preach the Bible's presentations as set forth in the MILLENNIAL DAWN volumes, it would not take long to decide him a heretic. In other words, times have so changed that those who deny the Bible's testimony are recognized as orthodox, while those who teach and expound the Bible faithfully and consistently are recognized at once as heretics, just as in Paul's day. The article follows:--
CHANGING DEFINITIONS OF HERESY
"'In the eighteenth century it required a radical philosopher like Hume to advance such arguments against the credibility of Christian miracles as today may be put forth by an Episcopal rector, with a fair chance of baffling the heresy-hunters at the last,' remarks a writer in the Evening Post, apropos of the recent trial of Rev. Algernon Crapsey. The churches, the writer asserts, are looking for a definition of heresy that can be generally accepted, 'for it is annoying, to say the least, to convene investigating bodies every year to define the offense anew.' Dr. Crapsey's trial, he points out, will leave the Episcopal Church practically where it was before in the matter, 'except that in Bishop Walker's jurisdiction it will be decided either that the miracles of the Bible must be accepted or that they may be rejected.' However, he adds, it will serve to show that what was heresy yesterday is not necessarily heresy today. We read further: "'As compared with the published utterances of Heber Newton, Dr. Crapsey's statements do not seem to be extreme, though they mark a distinct advance in frankness from the day that Bishop Gray "deposed" Bishop Colenso for attempting to question the Pentateuch. The words are much more specific, too, than those uttered by Dr. Charles A. Briggs in 1891, when he became professor of Biblical theology at the Union Theological Seminary, and which led to his withdrawal from the Presbyterian ministry. But Dr. Briggs found refuge with the Episcopalians, that Church called by Phillips Brooks "the roomiest Church in America." Whether the denomination that refused to consider charges against Heber Newton and welcomed Dr. Briggs will decide to retain Dr. Crapsey must depend upon the court's reading of history.' "Some years ago, when Dr. Heber Newton gave up his rectorship of All Souls' Church to go to Leland Stanford University, the New York Sun commented in part as follows: "'The religious views expressed so boldly by Dr. Newton which aroused so loud a protest ten or fifteen years ago have no longer the novelty they then had. The conclusions of the "higher criticism" of the Bible, which in general may be said to have furnished the basis for them, have since affected very profoundly the teachings of Protestant churches very extensively, and they are accepted if not actually propagated by professors in practically all their leading theological schools. Thus the religious public has become accustomed to views which provoked astonishment and resentment when they began to be proclaimed so frankly by Dr. Newton.'"
MAN AND WOMAN UNDER THE CURSE
Sin and death have long reigned. Selfishness instead of Love has had control of the world for centuries. Now God is lifting the vail of ignorance, and all who have been getting the worst of the bargain become violent for their rights. The masses of Russia have long been happy in ignorance and superstition. Their ignorance was their bliss. Now there is a general awakening; everybody is dissatisfied; all are clamoring for their rights. The nation is in revolution, and undoubtedly will become more unhappy yearly as the awakening comes, until the great catastrophe of anarchy, which will be the divine opportunity for rectifying all wrongs and establishing the social order on Love instead of Selfishness. It is necessary that all should
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be awakened, that all may see the effect of selfishness and learn to deprecate it. The men of Russia have been degraded and brutal because of their share of the curse; because their mothers knew nothing but selfishness to teach them. Now these mothers and sisters are awakening and crying out against the very conditions they assisted in creating. They have our sympathy; the more so because their discontent will for the time make them and their homes the more unhappy until they learn their lesson. And of course only a few will ever learn in this day "The Christian's secret of a happy life"--the peace of God, built on the exceeding great and precious promises of the Scriptures.
HELL FIRE AND SAINTLINESS DENOUNCED BY TWO M.E. BISHOPS
We clip the following from the Toledo Times, May 24, report of the Rocky Mountain Missionary Society: Denver, Colo.--Hell fire, such as is preached from many pulpits, does not exist, declared Bishop Oldham of the Methodist Episcopal Diocese of Southern Asia yesterday before the convention of the Rocky Mountain Missionary Society.
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"Just tell me of anybody who believes we will be burned alive in a place filled with brimstone and fire. I'd hate to die if I thought I'd get a scorch for every sin," said the Bishop. "I wouldn't be a saint for anything," exhorted Bishop J. C. Hartzell of Africa, in taking up the discussion, "but at the same time I go to Church regularly, even if I don't do the talking. There are two extremes: the man who, in spite of all the help God, man or the Bible gives him, goes to the bad, and the man who is so tremendously greedy good that he is dubbed saint. I'd rather be a man, for a man has all the possibilities of right and wrong, and a saint hasn't any choice."
CRAZED BY DR. TORREY'S SERMON ON HELL
The Chicago Tribune, May 24, tells of a Mr. J. W. Griffin of Atlanta, Ga., crazed by hearing Dr. Torrey's sermon on hell and taken in charge by the police.
ALL THINGS WORK FOR GOOD.
If our Father's gracious promise Was more clearly understood, That his daily dealing with us Works together for our good;
How the burdens that are pressing Hard upon us would grow light, And each trial prove a blessing Were our trust in him complete.
If our hearts were always lightsome, And we knew no anxious care, We might overlook the sorrow That surrounds us everywhere.
If our stores were overflowing, Then, perhaps, we never would Learn to sympathize with others Who are lacking daily food.
Knowing he is always "for us" We, as children of his grace, Can afford to bear with patience "Trusting where we cannot trace."
He will surely guard the issue Of each test, though it may seem Hard to bear; its object always Is to draw us close to him.
So whatever may befall us We who love him always should Know the Lord is overruling All that happens us, for good. --John LaDow.
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A VISION OF THE KINGDOM.
--`LUKE 9:28-36`.--JUNE 17.--
Golden Text:--"This is my beloved Son. Hear him."
THE SCENE on the Mount of Transfiguration, to be appreciated, must be viewed from the standpoint of our Lord's words. Eight days before, our Lord had promised his followers that some of them would not taste of death until they should see the Kingdom of God. He did not explain to them whether they would see the Kingdom in reality established in eight days or whether they would see a vision of the Kingdom. He left their minds full of wonder and expectancy, and then at the appropriate time took with him Peter, James and John, the three most prominent of the twelve apostles, who went up into the mountain, presumably Mount Hermon. From a comparison of the accounts some have surmised that possibly the Lord and the apostles remained in the mountain all night, as Jesus sometimes did, away from the multitude, in quiet, in prayer. In one of the accounts we are told that the apostles were heavy with sleep, and the inference seems to be that they were awakened at the proper time to see the vision; that its glorious grandeur was too great for them; that they fell upon their faces in fear, which was increased as a very dense, black cloud enveloped them, and when they heard a voice in the cloud saying, "This is my beloved Son: Hear him." One account shows that it was necessary for the Lord to touch the apostles, saying, "Arise, and be not afraid."
JESUS SAID IT WAS A VISION
So far as the apostles were concerned everything that they saw was so actual, so real, that they supposed the whole matter actual, just as John in the visions of Revelation saw, heard, spoke, etc., and just as Paul explains that
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in one of his visions matters were so real that he could not have told whether he was in the body or out of the body-- whether he was still on earth having a vision or whether he had actually been taken away for a time and shown realities. Thus it is with all visions: their every detail is as actual and as perfect as though it were a fact. Our assurance that this transfiguration was a vision is in our Lord's words: "And as they were coming down from the mountain Jesus commanded them, saying, Tell the vision to no man until the Son of man be risen from the dead." When we have our Lord's direct statement that it was a vision it would be folly for us to perplex ourselves to explain it upon any other theory or hypothesis, such, for instance, as wondering how Moses and Elias could be there without a resurrection, especially when it is remembered that Jesus was the first to rise from the dead, "the firstborn from the dead."--`Rom. 8:29`; `Col. 1:18`.
THE MEANING OF THE VISION
Our Lord's words of eight days previous show clearly that the vision was intended to be a foreshowing of the glories and honors of the Kingdom in some sense of the word. It represented then the Son of man coming into his Kingdom --into his dominion. Peter, one of those who saw the vision, informs us that he got this lesson from it--that he was persuaded respecting the majesty of Jesus, of his dignity as the Messianic King, and the fact that all there pictured in vision would eventually be fulfilled. He says, "We have not followed cunningly devised fables when we declared unto you the power and coming of Jesus, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty [his kingly glory] when we were with him in the holy mount."--`2 Pet. 1:16,18`. The central figure, therefore, of that vision was Jesus himself. Moses and Elias were merely accessories to fill out the picture. It was the Son of man who was to be honored, whose kingly dominion was to be represented, so that the disciples, who were to be so severely tried in their faith respecting him very shortly, might have a firm conviction respecting the authenticity of his claims as Messiah--that they might be able to witness a good confession of him to others, and be prepared through faith to accomplish the work of God to which they had been chosen as apostles of the Lamb --that the three who were with the Lord were representatives of the twelve, in whom the latter would all have confidence.
"HE WAS TRANSFIGURED BEFORE THEM"
The account is very explicit; his countenance was changed, his raiment became white and glistening, the heavenly glory fairly shining in his entire person. He was not changed actually. That change from human to divine, beginning at his baptism, when he received the anointing of the holy Spirit, the begetting of the holy Spirit to the divine nature, did indeed develop, change him from glory to glory, shining out in all the conduct of life; but his actual change did not occur until three days after Calvary, when he was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. Then that which was sown in weakness was raised in power, that which was sown in dishonor of men was raised in glory, that which was sown in the fleshly body which knew no sin, but was holy, harmless, separate from sinners, was raised a spiritual body, filled with all the fulness of the divine nature. What the disciples saw, therefore, was not this change from human to divine, but a vision of it--a picture of it. Somewhat similar was the vision granted to Saul of Tarsus
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on his way to Damascus, when smitten down by the light above the brightness of the sun at noonday. He declares that the Lord appeared to him at noonday, a light shining above the brightness of the sun. Something of this brightness, this light, this transcendent grandeur was pictured before the three apostles in the holy mount, and no wonder that they fell upon their faces with fear--they were in trepidation in the presence of such glorious grandeur. Respecting the divine glory we read that Christ, "whom no man hath seen or can see,"--since his resurrection--"dwelleth in a light which no man can approach unto." Whenever even a vision is granted to mortals of this heavenly grandeur they must be specially protected of the Lord that the glorious brightness does not injure the mortal eye. In the case of Saul of Tarsus, we know that, lacking this protection, his sight was destroyed and he was blind for certain days, until by a miracle his sight was partially restored, though even then the defect remained a thorn in the flesh to his last moments--a reminder of how once he had been a persecutor of the just, an injurious person as respects the Lord's cause--reminding him also of the propriety of humility, and assisting in keeping him very humble, so that he describes himself as being one of the least of all saints. Indeed we may safely conclude that those of the Lord's people who have seen with any kind of vision the glories of the Lord or have had a glimpse through the eyes of their understanding or otherwise of the glorious character and person of our Lord and God, have had the opportunity of realizing more than ever their own littleness and insufficiency. As it was the three most advanced ones of the Lord's followers who were granted that vision of the Kingdom, so since then it is the most advanced of the Lord's followers, the most humble, the most zealous, the most faithful, who are granted the clearest visions, the clearest perceptions of the glories of the Kingdom, and these are permitted to reveal to others of the elect little flock more and more of the grandeurs of the divine arrangement as each may be able to hear and to appreciate and to understand the same. What wonderful privileges are ours at this day! Abiding in the Lord's love and favor, with loyalty of heart toward him, it is now our privilege of going up into the Mount of God and seeing wonderful things. Our visions are of a different kind. Before us are opened the glorious things of all the past--the divine revelations to Abraham and the prophets and through Jesus and the apostles--all of these things now are opened before us, radiant with harmonious beauty. Ours is a vision of Moses and the Lamb, and ours is a picture of Moses and the Lamb in the very highest and grandest sense.
"MOSES AND ELIAS APPEARED"
No intimation is given to us of why Moses and Elias were introduced into the vision. We must draw an inference. Since it was a vision, and as Christ was shown in the vision as a King, these two faithful ones of the
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past must be viewed in their relationship to Jesus and the Kingdom. These two, as will be remembered, like Jesus, had fasted each forty days: thus representatively they were one with the Lord in a remarkable devotion to the heavenly Father--in the practice of self-denial from a desire to be acceptable to the Lord and to fully acquaint themselves with the divine purposes. Moses evidently represented the Mosaic dispensation. He stood as a representative of Israel after the flesh, and possibly as a representative also of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Enoch and all the faithful of the past, as we read, "Moses was faithful as a servant over all his house." Are they to have a place in the Kingdom? We answer, Yes. The divine promise is that when Messiah shall be glorified, the ancient worthies --whom Moses evidently represented in this vision-- will be made princes in all the earth, agents or representatives of the heavenly Kingdom, its ministers of righteousness amongst men. (`Psa. 45:16`.) Nevertheless those ancient worthies, as we have previously seen, are separate and distinct as a class from the Church. John the Baptist, the last of the prophets, than whom the Lord declares no prophet was greater, belonged to that fleshly house of faithful servants of God, who instead of being the fathers shall shortly be the children of Christ and serve the cause they love as the princes of Messiah. But they without us shall not be made perfect: God having reserved some better thing for us.-- `Heb. 11:40`.
ELIJAH, THE CHURCH'S REPRESENTATIVE
Elijah in the vision evidently represented the Gospel Church. We have already pointed out that Elijah's work was an attempted reformation, such as the Church has been commissioned to attempt throughout this Gospel age. We have already pointed out (see MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. II., chap. 8) that Elijah typified the Gospel Church in all of his course; that the 1260 days of the drouth and famine while Elijah was in the wilderness prefigured the 1260 years of drouth and famine while the Church was in the wilderness during the "dark ages"; that the persecutor of Elijah was Jezebel, while the persecutor of the Church is symbolically called Jezebel. (`Rev. 2:20`.) We have seen that the emergence of Elijah from the wilderness and the measure of reformation that took place prefigured the Reformation movement of the sixteenth century and onward, and that his subsequent fleeing from Jezebel represented later persecutions, and that Elijah's eventual taking away in a whirlwind, in a chariot of fire, illustrates the ultimate gathering of the last members of the Gospel Church in connection with the time of trouble. Now look at the vision, the picture, and note its significance --Jesus glorified, transfigured, radiant like the sun as in `Revelation (1:14-16`), and with him in the Kingdom glory and brightness, represented by Elijah, the Elijah class, the Gospel Church, the little flock, his joint-heirs in the Kingdom, and also associated with him the ancient worthies portrayed by Moses. A conversation is represented as taking place respecting our Lord's crucifixion. And so it is that not only the ancient ones trusted in a sacrifice to come, but the Gospel Church trusts in the sacrifice already accomplished for her, and there is a full communion or fellowship between the two. Furthermore, when the Kingdom shall be established, assuredly all of the Lord's faithful ones will look to Calvary and its great sacrifice for sins as being the very center of the divine program or arrangement on which hangs all the blessings both for the Church and for the world through the Kingdom of God's dear Son.
"THIS IS MY BELOVED SON: HEAR HIM"
The essence of the entire vision was to impress upon the minds of the apostles the fact that Jesus was the Messiah, that he was worthy of being heard, that he was the mouthpiece of God, that he that honored him honored the Father also. This voice was heard from the cloud, which represented the darkness and trouble which would be permitted to come upon the Lord's followers in the midst of all the trials of the dark days that were coming upon them in connection with Jesus' rejection by the Jews, his scourging, dishonor, crucifixion, death, burial. In all this they were to remember the voice of the Father, "This is my beloved Son," and were not to be discouraged nor allow their faith to grow faint. Similarly throughout this Gospel age the Lord has frequently permitted the same dark cloud to come over his faithful ones, that they might be the better prepared also to listen to his Word, his message, "This is my beloved Son," and this vision of the Holy Mount is an assurance respecting the glorious Kingdom which he will establish, which will be the end of darkness and trouble. As the apostles were overpowered by the brilliancy of the vision and feared when they entered the cloud and heard the voice, so we in our weak and imperfect conditions sometimes find it difficult to grasp the glorious things which God hath set before us. The picture of the things unseen as yet is so wonderful as to amaze us. The fact that we have been invited to be heirs of God and associates with Jesus Christ our Lord in his Kingdom is too wonderful for us to grasp. We begin to fear lest we should fail in so great an undertaking. It is well for us to realize our own littleness and unworthiness, and to see that the whole matter is of the divine arrangement. It is well for us under the circumstances that the dark cloud of trouble and opposition is permitted to keep us very humble, that we may indeed fall on our faces in the dust. It is well that we should listen to the voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son: hear him." It is well that we should hear the Son assuring us that all things shall work together for good to those who love God. It is well that we should exercise faith in him that speaketh from heaven, lest we should become weary and faint in our minds. It is well that the Master teach us as he taught his disciples, and that looking up we should see Jesus only, that we should realize that in him alone is our help, that God hath laid help upon one who is mighty to deliver, and that so realizing that all of our help is in Christ Jesus we should hold fast to the relationship which we have already secured through faith in his blood and through consecration to him.
MAKING THREE TABERNACLES
The impulsive Peter cried out, "Lord, it is good for us to be here: let us now make three tabernacles--one for thee, one for Moses and one for Elias": not knowing what he said. How many there are who, Peter-like, want to be
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doing something, want to be rearing earthly tabernacles. How few at first catch the real spirit of the vision and realize that it represents things that are yet to be attained and not things of the present time of temporary tabernacles. All about us we see the disposition to rear costly temples of an earthly kind to the Lord, and a neglect of the vision in its real meaning, sentiment, teaching--that it points to the future, to the enduring perfect Temple condition, when everything imperfect and temporal shall have passed away and the Kingdom of God's dear Son shall have been fully established. Let us remember that Jesus did not accept Peter's proposition for earthly temporary tabernacles, but directed the minds of his followers to the eternal things of the Kingdom, which are to be brought to pass in God's due time. May the Master's touch ever keep us more and more awake to the privileges of our position, to the glorious opportunities that are granted to us of participating with him in his Kingdom.
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"NEVER MAN SPAKE LIKE THIS MAN."
--`JOHN 7:46`.--JUNE 24.--
AT THE END of the quarter a review is in order. We begin at the Mount of Beatitudes and close with the Mount of Transfiguration, and on the way in the Master's words and conduct find illustrations of the wonderful teachings of the Sermon on the Mount and how faithful obedience to the instructions there given will mean to us eventually a place in the Kingdom, pictured in the Transfiguration scene. The blessings of the meek, the merciful, the persecuted for righteousness' sake, etc., etc., all will find their fulfilment when, by the grace of God, we shall eventually be changed, transfigured, by the power of the First Resurrection, and made like to our great Redeemer and Lord-- "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father."--`Matt. 13:43`. How wonderful are the Lord's dealings with us and yet how reasonable. His appeal is, "Come let us reason together: though your sins be as scarlet they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool." (`Isa. 1:18`.) He shows us how he has prepared for this: that he himself was provided, the sacrifice for sins; that our Lord has already died the Just for the unjust that he might bring us to God, and that God can be just when he receives us, just in his dealings with us, because the justice element of his Law has been fully met on our behalf. He gives us a glimpse of the blessings he proposes to bring to the world of mankind, points us to the Lamb of God, whose sacrifice takes away the sin of the world, and invites all those who have love and sympathy and appreciation to come now and accept not only life eternal but favor upon favor-- joint-heirship with his Son in the glorious Kingdom which is to bless the world in the great uplift of "restitution, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began."--`Acts 3:19-23`. This message comes to us through the Son of God, of whom our Golden Text declares, "Never man spake like this man." No wonder the apostles said to him when some were forsaking him, "Lord, to whom should we go? Thou hast the words [the message] of eternal life." Others may indeed think that they have eternal life in themselves--they may persuade themselves that by some inherent, immortal principle they will live forever, and that when they die it will merely be the appearance of dying, and actually they will become in that moment more alive than ever. At best that is a very difficult thought, and few are able to so hypnotize their own judgments as to believe it. We on the contrary, hearkening to the voice that spoke as never man spoke, hear his declaration that our hope is in him as the "resurrection and the life." (`John 11:25`.) We hear him telling us that the hour is coming in the which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth. (`John 5:28,29`.) It is reasonable. We can reason together with God when we take the voice of his Son and reject the voices of the "dark ages." From this standpoint--that a resurrection has been provided through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus--the whole matter of death and eternal life is clarified before our mental view. We see the condemnation through Adam, and how death is justly reigning throughout the whole world of mankind ever since. We see the death of Christ, the Just for the unjust; that he has bought us with his precious blood, that he has paid our ransom price, and that as a result, in God's due time, all shall come forth from the power of the tomb. We see the keys of death and of the grave in the hands of the one who has purchased all; we rejoice in the proclamation of the coming blessing to all the families of the earth, through a release from this power of sin and Satan and death. We hearken still more intently to the voice of him that speaketh as never man spake, and hear him assure us that there are two resurrections--one a life resurrection, the other a judgment resurrection. We hear him tell us that only those who through faith and obedience attain a standing with God under the cover of the precious sacrifice will be counted the good, the justified, and only they will share in the life resurrection, because only they will have passed their trial and be counted worthy of life. All others will come forth to the judgment resurrection to be disciplined under the Kingdom, to receive stripes in proportion to the wilfulness in which they have cooperated in their own downfall into mental, moral and physical degradation, but to be helped by the stripes, to be corrected in righteousness, if they will, and to be brought step by step out of the sin-and-death conditions, up, up, up, by resurrection power of Jesus, to the full perfection, to all that was lost in Adam. Well may we rejoice in this one who spake as never man spake, in him who has the words of eternal life. Respecting those words the Apostle Peter says, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might become partakers of the divine nature." (`2 Pet. 1:4`.) Ah, yes! wonderful words of life, tell them
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over again, think them over again, rejoice in them more and more--let them fill our hearts and be in our mouths a new song of the loving-kindness of our God, whose tender mercies are over all his works. Of these words, which the Master spake as never man spake, the Apostle further declares that he spake of our salvation. He says, "Which salvation began to be spoken by our Lord and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him." Not only was there no eternal life in our race, and no hope for attaining any except through Jesus, but all of the promises of the past would have been powerless without his work of atonement, and not until he came was it known how our redemption was to be accomplished. True, the Lord had provided various types and shadows in the numerous sacrifices of the past which illustrated the fact that without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin; but they could not be understood until the antitype had come. Then he brought life to light and immortality to light--life for the world, eternal life to be conferred during the Millennial age--immortality for his Church, his Bride, his little flock, his joint-heirs. These were never brought to light before; they were faintly seen and vaguely described, but it remained for the great teacher to set forth before us the salvation which God had proffered through him. Thank God that our hearts have made our lips more and more tell forth the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light. Through faith in him we are already reckoned risen to walk in newness of life, and through him by and by the Father will raise us up by his own power, that we shall be like him and share his glory, honor and immortality.
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GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM.
--`MATTHEW 18:1-14`.--JULY 1--
"It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish."
AFTER the vision in the Holy Mount representing the coming glories of Christ there followed temptation. And this has not been an unusual course of events with the Lord's people ever since. Our highest and most glorious views of the heavenly things which the Lord has in reservation for his people are quickly followed by earthly trials and difficulties, which serve to test and to prove us whether or not we be of the Kingdom class-- whether or not we will be submissive to the heavenly moulding and fashioning, that we shall be made meet, fit, for the Kingdom--whether or not, by full submission to the divine instructions in the school of Christ, we shall make our calling and our election sure to a place in the Kingdom to which he has called us. The disciples had the same thought that all Jews entertained
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respecting the Messianic Kingdom, that it would be established by a great Messiah, a great King, who would bear rule over all the earth; that God's favored people Israel would be his special charge and nearest to him in association in his Kingdom, and that through this Kingdom all nations, all peoples, all kindreds, would be blessed even as God had promised and sworn to Abraham. These sentiments had been quickened in the minds of the people by the appearance of Jesus, his wonderful words of life and his wonderful works witnessing that "never man spake like this man," and that Messiah could do no greater works than Jesus did. Israelites in general were in perplexity because their chief priests and teachers and rulers in the synagogues, etc., all rejected Jesus and were his opponents. The disciples, however, believed on him, followed him and hung upon his words that they and all of his followers should yet be associated with him in his Kingdom glory. Probably the disciples who were not with the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration felt a little envy of those who had seen the vision and who subsequently told them. Could this mean that Peter, James and John, who were with the Lord on the Mount, would be more highly favored than the remainder of the discipleship when the Kingdom should be established? As they journeyed, following Jesus at a little distance, the dispute grew quite warm with arguments on the one side and on the other respecting which should be the greatest in the coming Kingdom. Our Lord doubtless knew at the time their arguments in the dispute, but instead of administering a personal rebuke to those most at fault, he chose rather to make of the matter a general lesson, profitable, helpful, strengthening to them all. And is not his example valuable to all of his followers? Is it not wise on our part so far as possible to avoid personalities and the holding up of any individual to special criticism? All mankind have faults and blemishes, some in one particular and some in another, and it is very rarely wise to single out an individual in the body of Christ for a special reprimand; it is generally better to do as our Master did in this instance --to give a general lesson on the subject which will be helpful to all, not only to those who are taking the wrong course, but also to those who are more nearly right in their views and conclusions.
"AS A LITTLE CHILD"
Our Lord inquired of the disciples what topic was so greatly absorbing their attention and leading to such warm discussion. It is to the credit of the apostles that they were ashamed to acknowledge that they had been disputing concerning which should be chief or greatest in the Kingdom. The whole matter was to be a favor to them anyway; they realized that they had done nothing to merit so great an honor, that the call to a place in the Kingdom was of grace, of favor. Why should they quarrel with each other respecting the Master's distribution of his royal favors? They felt abashed, and Jesus did not press the question. Knowing of the matter he allowed them to see that he had a knowledge, not only of their words, but also of their very hearts and intentions. Most skilfully, most gently, did he administer a rebuke; not in coarse, harsh terms did he berate those
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who were inclined to be self-seeking; he did not threaten them. A child was near--he took it and set it in their midst. Afterwards, says Luke, he took it in his arms. Their attention riveted by this peculiar proceeding, they were prepared for the lesson--which many today misunderstand when they suppose that our Lord meant that the Kingdom of heaven would be composed mainly of little children. No such words were uttered by our Lord and no such thoughts were communicated to his disciples. On the contrary, Jesus never called little children to be his disciples; he himself did not begin his ministry as a child, but when he was thirty years of age. Nothing in this, however, signifies that our Lord had not a deep sympathy with children, as is illustrated by his taking some of them into his arms and blessing them and saying, "Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such [like] is the Kingdom of heaven." Our Lord loved the innocency and simplicity of a little child, and was quite willing to show his own humility in acceding to the wishes of the mothers that he notice their children and give them his blessing. Indeed we can rest assured that no good man or woman could be without love for the innocency and simplicity of childhood.
"GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN."
Neither should we understand that because Jesus' ministry began at thirty, and because those whom he called to be his disciples were of mature years, that this would limit the age of any who might become the followers of Christ during this Gospel age. Quite to the contrary, we believe that some of very tender years have reached a sufficiency of information respecting our Lord and his work of redemption and his invitation to followers to intelligently take their stand with Jesus' disciples by full consecration of heart and life and every interest, with apparently quite a clear conception of what they were doing. Indeed, we feel like encouraging those of the young who are disposed to make a full consecration of their lives to the Lord to believe that in so doing they are not only acceptable, but that additionally they the sooner enter into the rest of faith, and are spared many of the unfavorable experiences which come to those who first seek the world and the pleasures thereof. In this lesson, however, we should distinctly note that the Lord is neither addressing little children nor discussing them, except as an example or illustration of simplicity, docility and teachableness, and freedom from pride and ambition. This was impressed upon the disciples as they looked at the little child sitting there unconscious of the great honor thrust upon it, unconscious of being used by the glorious King of kings to illustrate a lesson. The thought of our Lord is clearly given in the fourth verse, which says, "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Let us not lose sight of the fact that it is the Kingdom of heaven that the Lord is discussing and not the world. This was the same thought the apostles had, not which of them would get into the Kingdom of heaven and which would not get into the Kingdom, but--supposing that all were going to be in the Kingdom--which would be the greatest? The Lord's reply to this question is along this line, namely, that the one of them who would be the most childlike, most humble, most unpretentious, most willing to be taught and guided, would be the one who would be greatest. This thought applies to the Church both in its present and in its future conditions. At the present time, the Church, the Kingdom, is in an embryo condition, not glorified, not recognized even by the world, but recognized by each other and by the Lord. Humility and childlikeness amongst the brethren now should be esteemed as a mark of true greatness from the Lord's standpoint. Such as are of this childlike class we may know assuredly will be proportionately highly honored in the future, when the Kingdom shall be established in power and great glory as God's agency for the blessing of all the families of the earth. In harmony with this thought that the humble, the teachable, the simple, the unpretentious should be esteemed the greatest, we should expect to find in all the ecclesias, in all the companies of the Lord's people, that those chosen to the place of eldership and prominence in the Church would be amongst the most humble of mind and of conduct in the whole company. Any other condition than this would imply that the congregation had not rightly understood and appreciated and obeyed our Lord's sentiments expressed in connection with the incidents of our lesson. This does not mean, however, that the brother possessing five talents should be entirely unconscious and neglect to use them. It does not mean that he should be blind to the fact that some others of the brethren have fewer talents, but it does mean that he should have such love, such humility, that his only desire in connection with his talents would be to use them for the good of the Lord's cause--that he would be so humble minded, so zealous for the Lord, that he would not for a moment think of using his talents to serve personal ambitions, to vaunt himself or to in any measure or degree seek to suppress the talents, opportunities and privileges of others that his own talents might alone be recognized. It does mean that if he have five talents, and if of the right, childlike, humble spirit, he will have such interest in the dear brethren that he will do all reasonably within his power for the good of the whole cause, for the exercise of the various talents of the different brothers and sisters in such manner as will be to their upbuilding, strengthening and mutual edification, that the whole body of Christ may thus minister to its wants and necessities and comforts in faith and hope and love.
"EXCEPT YE BE CONVERTED"
The word converted signifies to turn about, to experience a change, but many fail to recognize this broad meaning of the word, and instead think of it as signifying the leaving of a relationship to the world and the devil and coming into relationship with God. The Lord did not mean to say to his apostles that they were not converted in this latter sense--that they were aliens, strangers and foreigners from God. He already knew them to be Israelites indeed. In his prayer he declares, "Thine they were and thou gavest them to me, and I have kept them." What he did mean was that they must be turned from their present attitude of mind in respect to ambition for place and honor in the Kingdom, else they would never enter into it. Already they were
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in his embryo Kingdom, and hence his meaning was that unless in the embryo Kingdom his followers should develop a childlike, humble spirit and turn from the selfish and ambitious spirit, they would utterly fail of getting into the Kingdom of glory, the Millennial Kingdom. What a lesson there is here for the Lord's followers-- his "little ones." He shows us that while he has invited us to the greatest and grandest of all honors and privileges, nevertheless the attainment of this high calling, the making of this calling and election sure, will depend upon the way in which we receive the honors, privileges, blessings, the call. If it stirs up in us selfish ambition for greatness and power and honor amongst men, it is having the wrong, the undesigned effect. The effect which God designs is that we should realize our own insignificance and unworthiness of such great honors; that we should feel ourselves very little indeed in the sight of God, and wonder that he would so condescend as to take from the fallen race a little company to constitute the Bride, the Lamb's wife in glory, joint-heirs in his Kingdom. As in the school of Christ they grow in grace and grow in knowledge, this humility, this childlikeness, must not depart, but rather it must increase more and more. They must realize their own unfitness and unworthiness of such great honor, they must receive all of God's favors as of his bounty, his grace. The moving power with the proper disciples of Christ, who would maintain the love and favor of their Lord and ultimately make sure their calling and election in his Kingdom, must not be selfishness, love of position and power, name and fame. What, then, must it be? We reply, the moving power must be love--love for God, love for the brethren, and at least sympathetic love for the whole world of mankind, even including our enemies, many of whom are doubtless such because of blindness. The Apostle expresses this ruling, propelling power in the true followers of Jesus, saying, "The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge that if one died for all then were all dead: and that he died for all that they which live should henceforth not live unto themselves but unto him which died for them and rose again."--`2 Cor. 5:14,15`.
"HE THAT RECEIVETH YOU RECEIVETH ME"
Our Lord's discourse continues on the same lines when he says, "Whosoever receiveth one such little child in my name receiveth me." He is not referring to the receiving of infants in his name but the receiving of disciples in his name --the receiving of such disciples as have this child-like character and thus have the mark of being the true followers of Jesus. Whoever receives one of these humble, faithful, unpretentious ones, not because of worldly name or fame, not because of boasts of being some great one, but because they are the Lord's, because they give evidence that they have his Spirit--whoever receives such, the Lord says, should be considered and rewarded as though they had received the Master himself. Reversely, the Lord says that whoever will do injury to one of these little ones--these that are little or humble minded, these that are meek and loyal of heart--it were better that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he be drowned in the depths of the sea. The word here rendered "offended," and in the revised version "stumbled," is derived from the Greek word "skandalon," and is closely related to our word scandal, which originally meant, "the stick in a trap on which the bait is placed, and which springs up and shuts the trap at the touch of the animal." Hence our Lord does not mean whosoever will anger or ill-use one of these little ones of my discipleship, but whosoever will entrap, injure, hurt one of these spiritually, etc. If a person were drowned in the sea it could do him no further harm and be no barrier in any sense of the word to his future life in the resurrection time; but should he entrap, scandalize, injure one of the Lord's little ones, to the spiritual damage of the latter, he will thereby subject himself to certain losses beyond the present life--he will suffer loss or injury in the resurrection life provided for all mankind through the great redemptive sacrifice. Our Lord does not state what will be the character of the loss or punishment or stripes that such an one will have, but does intimate that its bearing upon his future and eternal interests will be so great that it would have been far better for him to have had his earthly life shortened instead; and we all know how all mankind clings to every year of earthly life permitted.
WOE UNTO THE WORLD FROM SNARES
After telling us in `verse 6` how serious a matter it will be for anyone to injure one of the Lord's little ones, one of his specially consecrated disciples, the Great Teacher in `verse 7` applies his lesson to the world, and declares that a large part of the world's difficulty and woe comes to it along similar lines--"skandalon." These snares or traps or injurious misrepresentations, etc., cause a large part of the world's present discomfort, but they must needs be, they are a necessary part of the general trouble through sin, which are to cause mankind to ultimately hate sin and to long for the rule, the reign of righteousness, the Kingdom. But our Lord adds, while these offences or stumblings will cause special woes to many throughout the world, they will be specially injurious to the ones who started them, "To that man by whom the stumbling cometh." For this reason all who are the Lord's people are to be specially on guard that, whatever others may do in the way of injuring, scandalizing, wounding, stumbling, causing trouble now, they must refrain from this, and remember that they are the followers of the meek and lowly One who did harm to none, but on the contrary laid down his life in the interests of others. The Lord suggests as an illustration that the tendency to wrong doing which would prove "skandalon" or stumbling, an injury to others, might be a quality of character that would seem as close and precious to us as a right hand or a foot or an eye--it might be one form of wrong doing or injury or another form; but in every case those who would be followers of the Prince of Peace and ultimately be his joint-heirs in the Kingdom must, as good soldiers of righteousness, fight against all such sinful, selfish, injurious tendencies of the flesh. These must be mortally combatted, to the extent that the New Creature would be willing, yea anxious to utterly destroy that element of his
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fallen disposition which is contrary to the Master's pleasement, even though it be at a sacrifice that would be illustrated by the loss of an eye, a hand or a foot. We are to put away such practices, that we may be truly our Lord's footstep followers and be counted worthy to enter into and share his Kingdom. If we will not so do we cannot enter the Kingdom. If we will hold on to these tendencies of the fallen nature they will mean ultimately our destruction in the Second Death, for every person who has and who maintains an injurious character, a tendency to scandalize or injure others, will be esteemed of the Lord wholly unfit for any part in his Kingdom--yea unfit for eternal life at all. Hence the Lord's declaration that such would go into the fire or destruction eternal--the Second Death. No wonder, then, that our great Teacher urged all who would be his disciples to put away from them, to mortify, the deeds of the body, the selfish instincts of the fallen nature, at any cost, no matter how dear, that they might enter into life with him as participants in the Kingdom, as members of the Bride. Our Lord urges that such a loss of an eye or a hand or a foot, as representing earthly advantages and privileges of the present time, would be far better than, possessing these privileges, to be ultimately destroyed in Gehenna fire. Gehenna fire here and elsewhere, as we have pointed out, referred primarily to the valley outside the city of Jerusalem, where all the offal was destroyed (not preserved or tortured), and this, as we have seen, symbolized or prefigured the general destruction of the Second Death associated with the New Jerusalem government of the Millennial age--in which all the unworthy, all the offal, all the unfit, will be utterly destroyed in the Second Death, that the Lord may have a clean universe in which every creature would praise and honor him and exemplify his law and character and government of love.
"DESPISE NOT THESE LITTLE ONES"
Continuing to discuss his followers as "little ones," our Lord intimates that some who might not seek to entrap, ensnare and to "skandalon" them might nevertheless despise them, and so he gives a warning against this also. Amongst the Lord's "little ones" are not many great, not many wise, not many learned, and they are chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith; and hence many might be disposed to despise them, to slight them, to evil entreat them, etc., because their despisers know them not, because they realize not that they are united to their hidden Lord--they know not us as they knew not him, the Forerunner and Captain.-- `1 Cor. 1:26-28`; `James 2:5`; `1 John 3:1`. When our Lord would intimate why his humblest followers should not be despised, the illustration he uses implies that they are the special objects of the heavenly Father's care and love, and that to despise them or to do anything demeaning toward them would surely bring some kind of retribution either in the present life or in a future one. The matter is put as though the Lord would say, You cannot
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even despise one of my "little ones" without the Father knowing it very quickly. He says, "In heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father." These angels have no difficulty in bringing to his attention the difficulties, trials or persecutions of his faithful ones. Some, from this statement, have presumed the Lord to mean that every human being has a guardian angel looking after his interest, and that as now the world numbers 1,600,000,000, it would imply that there is a similar number of angelic beings looking after the interests of these. This is wholly erroneous; the Lord does not anywhere intimate any special guardianship of the interests of the world. He does tell us that he has arranged for the redemption and restitution of mankind in due time; but any special supervision intimated in the Scriptures is only over those who belong to the Lord in the sense that is mentioned in this Scripture, namely, as his "little ones." It is respecting these "little ones" that we read, "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them." (`Psa. 34:7`.) And again, "The angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister [serve] to the heirs of salvation." (`Heb. 1:14`.) It would not at all surprise us if there were a guardian angel for each member of the Lord's little flock, the Lord's consecrated, his "little ones." However, we are to remember that the word angel is one of wide significance, and might include all the powers of God both animate and inanimate, by which he could take knowledge of and render assistance to those who are his. In any event, however, the thought of the picture the Lord here shows is that his "little ones" are never forgotten, and that all their trials and difficulties are speedily brought to the Father's attention through the angels or agencies of divine arrangement. What a comfort this is to those who are seeking to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and who find themselves frequently misunderstood or slandered or despised or neglected! Any good done to this class will never be forgotten by the Lord; any injury done to them will also be known and will not go unpunished, and the punishment will be in proportion to the degree of intelligence and wilfulness of the wrongdoer. "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord." Therefore, brethren, avenge not yourselves; leave all in the hands of the Lord as you suffer injury patiently and learn advantageous lessons therefrom; but at all times be careful, vigilant, that you yourself shall stumble, injure, none.
THESE "LITTLE ONES" NOT TO PERISH
`Verse 11` is omitted from the revised version because it is not found in the oldest manuscripts, and this is good authority for omitting it. The same words do occur in `Luke 19:10`, and they represent an eternal truth. They were probably introduced here by some one who thought that Matthew had overlooked the words and that this would be an appropriate place for recording them. However, there are various diversions between this account of a hundred sheep and the other account of `Luke 15:3-7`. The one was apparently made to the Scribes and Pharisees; this narrative on the contrary was made to the disciples. We have elsewhere discussed the parable addressed to the Pharisees, showing that the hundred sheep properly represented the entire family of God, and that the one sheep that went astray represented properly enough humanity, which fell
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from divine likeness and favor through Adam's disobedience. The parable shows the Lord's love and mercy in pursuing after the lost sheep, humanity, and intimates its recovery in the end--not that all will be universally and everlastingly saved, but that all will be brought to conditions of salvation, to a clear knowledge of the truth and to a full opportunity for accepting the same, so that the rejection will be a just cause for their sharing the Second Death. This statement respecting the hundred sheep is applied in a totally different manner, as the context shows. Here it refers to all of the Lord's "little ones," all who become his followers, his sheep. Should one of them be stumbled, should one of them stray, the Lord in his providence will not abandon him, but will purify him if possibly he may be recovered. And all who are in harmony with the Lord should have this same thought and interest in one another, that they would be willing to spend and be spent in the recovery of a brother from the snare of the adversary. `Verse 14` sets the matter forth very clearly, saying, "Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish." Hence, as the Apostle explains, he that recovereth a sinner from the error of his ways, saves a soul from death and hides a multitude of sins. (`Jas. 5:20`.) This is not referring to the souls of the world in general, which are still under the sentence of death, but it is referring to the souls of believers, who through faith have been justified and consecrated to the Lord. If they shall fall away, shall stumble by any means, all the faithful are to be energetic in their endeavors to recover such, to bring them back into full accord with the Lord. Its assurance further is that it is not the will of the Father that they should perish, and hence we may rely upon it that any and every reasonable and proper thing in their interests will be done rather than that they should be abandoned. This same spirit at work in the household of faith amongst the "little ones" would lead them, not to strive as to which of them would be greatest, but rather lead them to mutual helpfulness, that each and all might gain the prize of the high calling. It is in accordance with this thought that the Lord does not wish these to perish that he provides that those of his consecrated ones who do not follow voluntarily in the work of sacrifice shall not be abandoned, but shall be put through trying experiences, as represented in the "great company," who will wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. It would, of course, have been better had they been so loving and loyal and zealous as to joyfully sacrifice earthly interests to gain the heavenly; but even though they do not thus do all in their power to fulfil their Covenant the Lord is merciful toward them and unwilling that any should perish. He will see to it that they are brought through such experiences as will eventually test and prove them, and, if they are faithful under the test, bring them off conquerors.
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SOME INTERESTING LETTERS.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:-- On pages 263-4 of Volume VI., MILLENNIAL DAWN, you express these thoughts: "Honesty to the Truth is a prime essential to progress in it; to oppose what one believes to be true and to even temporarily uphold what one believes to be error, for...any reason, will surely be offensive to the Lord," etc., and, "Next to the Lord, the Truth is the most precious thing in the world; it is not to be trifled with, not to be played with; and whoever is negligent along this line will himself sustain injury." You can imagine, dear Pastor, better than I can describe how happy I am, therefore, in the fact that God guided me not to oppose what, from the time of your debate with Dr. Eaton (which was my initiation into the study of Present Truth), appealed to me as the Truth. Every influence of my past religious experience (a happy one, because I then knew none better) held me to my old associations, where my pastor assured me I might hold your views and yet remain in Methodism, which opinion I for a while rejoiced in as correct. But oh, how I have since rejoiced, and continue to rejoice, that God led me to come out of error simply for love of the Truth as God's Word teaches it, and as I came to see plainly through your teaching. So far from there being anything in the past to attract, I find the love of the Truth increasing daily. It has taken a little over one year to read the full course of MILLENNIAL DAWN--counting "Tabernacle Shadows," TOWER, tracts and sermons as part of the course, and a most delightful, as well as inestimably profitable, course it has been, I acknowledge with inexpressible gratitude to the Father and to you. Your sister in Christ, ELIZABETH M. GILLETT,--Pa.
MY DEAR SIR AND BROTHER:-- Can you bear with me if I tell you a little experience of how the DAWNS came to my attention? I was visiting a relative in B__________, and in looking over their book case I saw the "Divine Plan of the Ages" and I took it up to see what it was. After noting some of the headings of chapters, I just sat down to devour as much of it as was possible before I had to leave. I inquired of the lady who bought it, "What book is this, and where did you get it?" She explained that she bought it of an agent for 35c., but had not read it and did not really know what it was. I only had time to read two or three chapters and I tried to explain to her what it was. I went from there to D__________, to visit an aunt, and I told her of the book I had seen and that I was going to have one as soon as possible. My description of the appearance of the book led her to think that she had bought one like it some time before, but as she could not understand it she had taken it to her sister. The latter was a good Baptist, and after a brief examination she pronounced it an Advent book and would not read it. I secured that copy and read it through, and was so
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taken up with it that I just had to talk about it to nearly everyone, and lent it to my father-in-law, who is a great Bible reader. He read it two or three times, but can hardly "fall in" with "future probation," although he admits it to be the most reasonable and sensible theory he has ever read. Next I brought up the subject to a brother member of the M.E. Church. When I was trying to explain the chart in the front of the book, he remembered that he also had purchased a book like it, but had only read a little of it as he could not understand it--and it was an Advent book anyway. I could not see how he could start to read it and not go on. However, he is not a very devout member of the Church. As for myself I was always in the Sunday School, but for 10 or 12 years I have been a railway mail clerk, and must confess I have hardly kept the dust off my Bible covers in all that time. Since reading the "Divine Plan" I have had the Bible in hand at every brief opportunity. I find a difference between reading the Bible and searching the Scriptures. I have read Vols. I., III., am reading Vol. IV. and am sending for Vol. II. Oh, it seems such a revelation to me, and it seems also very plain. I would like to see you and grasp your hand. There are lots of questions I would like to ask you, but I don't feel that I should impose upon your time. Tonight I am in M__________. I have attended the preaching service in Wesley M.E. Church this evening. The preacher read the book of `Jude` and in commenting on the `9th verse` said that what was meant by it was a mystery. It never had and never would be explained by man. His principal theme was in `verse 23`, applying it to the Church's duty to snatch sinners out of the fire of hell. It all seemed so weak and childish to me. My Vol. I. is now in the hands of a fellow-clerk on the road. He is a Universalist and I am waiting patiently for his verdict. I assure you that I will keep my books in the hands of some who will read them and that no time will be lost. The messages which you wrote ten or fifteen years ago are being most remarkably emphasized in the last two years. Wishing you the fulness of the joy of his elect, I am, yours sincerely, CHARLES J. DAVIS.--N.Y.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:-- Greetings in the Lord! I received some time ago, through our Brother Hemery, a little token of your love, together with a letter containing your greetings and words of encouragement. These, my dear brother, are very highly appreciated indeed, and be assured they are reciprocated by me. I feel, dear Brother Russell, that I owe you a real debt of gratitude for help and blessing which, under our heavenly Father's providence, by your instrumentality, I have received and am still receiving. The Truth, my beloved brother, is more precious to me today than ever it has been. I love it and hold it as priceless, and I am determined that my boast shall ever be in Him who is the Truth. I am glad of the privilege of being a Colporteur, even though, on account of home affairs, I cannot get going as far afield as I would sometimes like. However, the work is the Lord's, and how and by whom it has to be accomplished is his business, and his will be done. I could tell you a lot in my affairs to the praise of my Redeemer, of his wonderful care, of his patience, his mercy and his loving forbearance. Oh, when I think of his goodness I feel ashamed of myself, of my waywardness and of the very poor service I have rendered him. Oh, for grace to serve him better, and to bring every thought, word and action into subjection to his perfect mind and will. I frequently remember you, my dear brother, at the throne of heavenly grace, as I know your trials must be many. It has always been so with the prominent teachers of the Lord's flock; the Adversary seems to have a special eye to their downfall, and your case cannot be an exception, but he who is for you and whose cause you serve is greater than all that can be against you. With much love in Christ, yours in the hope of our calling, GEO. H. TAUBMAN,--Scotland.
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MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Your very kind letter expressing Christian love and greetings was received. Thanks for all your kind remembrance of me, not only in this letter but during the more than four years of Pilgrim service in which the Father permitted me to engage and for which I shall ever be grateful to him. While these years have been full of toil and travel, and sometimes the flesh has grown weary, and while the enemy has sometimes greatly vexed the soul, yet as I look back over more than three score years of life, these four years are the best, brightest, sweetest, happiest years of them all, and it is with regret that I must for a time--I do not know how long--drop out of the regular work to look after some other duties that present themselves. While I would have greatly preferred to continue in the work, yet I bow obediently to what seems to be the Father's will, knowing that he knows best and that he always gives to his children what is best for them. I wish to say to you, dear brother, that while I may not be in the regular work, I will endeavor at all times to do what I can in a local service for the spread of the Truth. It is not my purpose that there shall be any break in the service; having closed my last Pilgrim service last Sunday evening, I am engaged to speak for the Boston Church again next Sunday p.m. I expect to spend the next Sunday with friends in B__________, and other places have spoken for services, so that I see no cause for me to be found in idleness. With Christian love, very sincerely yours in the faith, JOHN HARRISON.
DEAR BROTHER:--I have noticed in several cases recently, when consecrated brethren have died, not one of them has seemingly expressed a wish as to burial according to our service, with enough force to have it used; (this of course applies to places where there is no class and elders to serve). I therefore decided to copy my service [see Vol. VI., p. 328] and file it away, as my last request, and I feel sure it will be recognized by my family. In copying it I see how remarkably clear it is, and feel as though our dear people miss a great opportunity for service in accomplishing our mission as the feet members of the body of Christ if they neglect it, for, as you remark, "hearts are then tender," and the fact that the hands lying cold before them copied the service while still in the earthly tabernacle would add force to the message. Your servant in the Lord, I. D. B.,--Ark.