ZWT - 1902 - R2929 thru R3124 / R3065 (257) - September 1, 1902
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VOL. XXIII. SEPTEMBER 1, 1902. No. 17.
Views from the Watch Tower........................259
Dr. Henson and The Fall.......................259
A Lonely Voice of Protest
Zionists Fail to Obtain From the
Sultan the Kind of Concessions
in Palestine They Desire....................262
Touched With the Feeling
of Our Infirmities..........................262
The Claims of Love and Justice....................265
Poem--"That I May Know Him".......................266
A Prophet Like Moses..............................267
Love of God in Mouth and Heart....................269
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
DR. HENSON AND THE FALL.
HAVING BEEN obliged in the past to criticize the teachings of the celebrated Baptist preacher, P. S. Henson, in respect to the eternal torment of the large proportion of our race being the divine program, we are the more pleased now to be able to quote with approval his public utterances respecting original sin--the Fall of man-- from the image and likeness of his Creator. He says:
"The Bible does not declare how old are the heavens and the earth, but only that in the 'beginning,' whenever that was, the Lord created them. How long were the creative processes we are not informed, for the word translated, 'day' in Genesis is often employed in the Bible to denote great tracts of time.
"As to the method of creation the Scriptures make no explicit statement, though an evolutionist might imagine that he found some shadow of support for his theory when he reads that the Lord said: 'Let the waters bring forth such creatures as live in the water, and let the earth bring forth such creatures as live on the land.' As to man, indeed, a different formula entirely is used, for God said: 'Let us make man in our image after our likeness.'
THE FIRST MAN.
"But whether He made man by direct creative act or by the slow evolutionary processes of the ages, the great fact remains that He made him, and this is all that the Bible directly declares. But whenever made and however made there must have been a first man, and as he had a name, or ought to have had, at least, for the purposes of history, there would seem to be no valid objection, save that which arises from the 'odium theologicum' to the traditionary name of 'Adam.' So far, then, there would seem to be no reasons for controversy between the foremost scientist and the most literal Scripturalist.
"The great battle ground is rather to be found in the third chapter of Genesis, which gives an account of that tremendous transaction which by common consent through all the ages has been denominated 'the fall of man.' And never was there a more widely prevalent disposition than there is to-day to discredit the whole Scripture narrative and to brand it as preposterous and absurd. And many timid souls have been so overawed by the toploftiness of the modern critics that they scarcely dare affirm their belief in the substantial verity of the Bible story.
FACTS FOR DOUBTERS.
"Now, for the confirmation and the consolation of such quaking Elis there are a few things it may be helpful to remember. The opening and the closing scenes of man's 'strange, eventful history' as portrayed in the Bible are each laid in a garden--the one in Eden and the other in Paradise. Whether the trees and rivers described in both stand for literal trees and rivers, such as we are accustomed to, does not concern our present purpose. But they stand for something, and no doubt the real fact will at last be found to be far beyond the figure.
ARGUMENT PROVING FALL.
"Now, whatever may be said of the figurative character of the language of Genesis, some things loom up as indubitably true unless the whole story be discredited as a tissue of lies.
"One is that man's original state was a state of innocence. Of course it was if he came fresh from the hand of God by direct creative act. And the like might be affirmed if the life he wore was the last result of evolution from the brute creation. No brute is a sinner, for he always acts up to the nature that is in him, but man is a sinner, and therefore some time, somehow he must have fallen, for now he consciously lives below his proper level. His very nature is depraved in its propensities, and therefore now 'when he would do good evil is present with him.'
"We excuse the sinner of to-day on the ground of bad heredity; but how came he by the bad heredity? We only dodge the difficulty by removing it farther back. And yet we cannot help asking whence flows the filthy stream that befouls all human history? The Scriptures locate the fountain. Has philosophy been able to do any better?
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INTERDICT AGAINST EVIL.
"The second indubitable thing is that God laid upon man an interdict. What a pity and a shame, cries the horrified critic, that God should set a snare by which to entrap the unsuspecting creature of His hand!
"And yet if man were to be a subject and not a sovereign it must some day and in some way be determined whose will was to be law upon this planet. If that matter once for all were to be tested, can any complainant conceive of a test more wise, more considerate, more conclusive than the one that was adopted? But what an outrage to interdict knowledge! and the devil has rung the changes on that outrage all down the ages. But he lies about this, as is his wont about everything else. It was not the tree of knowledge about which God drew a cordon, but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil--such knowledge of good and evil as comes from experience in evil doing. And the very words employed suggest their symbolic significance.
MAN'S NATURE POLLUTED.
"The third great fact that looms up darkly is that man transgressed the interdict and went beyond the bounds that God in wisdom and in love, and from the very necessities of being, had appointed, and so laid himself liable to the penalty which the Sovereign of the universe must needs attach to violated law. Not only so, but in the act of transgression he did violence to his own nature as well as to the law of God, and so became crippled and depraved. That nature he transmitted to his posterity; for the Word reads that 'he begat a son in his own likeness.' God never made a thing like Cain. Humanity in its totality was in Adam, and therefore in a very true sense what was done by Adam was done by us all, for the nature that was in Adam is in us all. It is not then without reason that we speak of the 'old man' in us, for it comes down to us from the very fountain head of humanity, and if the fountain head be foul nothing but the salt of the grace of God can purify the stream that flows from it.
THE BIBLICAL REMEDY.
"However much the language may be abused, there is such a thing as 'the solidarity of society' and the 'unity of race.' It is true that 'God hath made of one blood all nations to dwell on the face of the earth,' and hence if one member suffer all the members suffer with it, and being partakers of a common nature and all its heritage of pain and penalty, up from the depth of the sin and sorrow into which the first Adam has plunged us, we need to look to the Second Adam through whose atoning death we have redemption from the curse of sin, and through identification with whose risen life we are made partakers of the divine nature and are reinstated in the relationship of sonship to God.
"Such we believe to be substantially the Scripture doctrine of the fall of man through Adam and the restoration of man through Jesus Christ."
"THE WAY OF THE LORD MORE PERFECTLY."
The foregoing is good--Scriptural and logical; but Brother Henson should carry the question farther on the same Scriptural and logical plane if he would have the whole truth. For instance:
WAS THE REAL PENALTY NOT STATED IN THE
(1) Where does the Doctor get his theory of eternal torment? Answer. Undoubtedly from this doctrine of the Fall where all other "orthodox" people claim to find it. The claim is that our Creator not only meant all that he said in his threat to our first parents, and in the curse or sentence following it, but unutterably and infernally more: that when he said, "Dying thou shalt die," and, "Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return," he meant not only all the degradation and pain and anguish and dying of the past 6,000 years, referred to above by Dr. Henson, but included also an eternity of anguish beyond this mentioned dying--for the disobedient pair and for all their unfortunate offspring who would not be so blessed as to escape it by being of the "elect,"-- brought to a knowledge of the Lord, assisted to faith and obedience and sanctification of spirit, and to correct views of baptism and obedience thereto.
Where in the Scripture will the Doctor find for us this diabolical plan set forth as the divine plan of the ages which our Heavenly Father purposed in himself before the world was? Nowhere! Where will he find logic or reason to support such a theory? Nowhere!
Logic and all the facts known to men corroborate the Scripture teachings that God declared the whole truth in the death sentence promulgated against our first parents when they sinned, and inherited by their posterity in a natural way. This sentence includes mental, moral and physical degeneracy, as Brother
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Henson in the foregoing statement admits; and both logic and Scripture declare that death, the total absence of life, is the climax of this course of degeneracy. "The soul that sinneth it shall die." (`Ezek. 18:4,20`.) "The wages of sin is death." (`Rom. 6:23`.) Eternal life is a gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord, to be given only to the believing and obedient. He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." `I Jno. 5:12`.
(2) Brother Henson also lacks the appreciation of "The Biblical Remedy" as he states it.
He perceives the solidarity of the race in the first Adam,--in the prevalence of his condemnation upon all his posterity. Why can he not see the solidarity of the race in respect to the sacrifice of Christ, that he "by the grace of God tasted death for every man." (`Heb. 2:9`.) Why can he not see that divine provision of a remedy for sinners is co-extensive with the blight of sin? Why does he fail to give weight to the clear Scriptural declaration that-- Christ's sacrifice is "a propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins [the church's sins] and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world"? (`I Jno. 2:2`.) If under the gloomy shadowings of creeds and theories formulated in "dark ages" or in the haze just following them, the Doctor has been in the habit of applying all these texts which so clearly specify "the whole world" to merely the elect church, it is surely time to see the error and to note the fact that our Heavenly Father's plan centered in Christ Jesus our Lord, is so high and so deep, so long and so broad, as to provide not only the special heavenly salvation of the elect church of this age, to "the divine nature," but also to provide through this elect church, the spiritual seed of Abraham, a general salvation,--
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which, beginning with fleshly Israel, shall extend through the Millennial age to "all the families of the earth"--as God's promise reads.--`Rom. 11:25-32`; `Gal. 3:29`.
In this time when Evolutionism and Higher Criticism are making void the Word of God we are trusting that the true believers who hold fast to the Word may get still more widely opened "the eyes of their understanding," that they and we may be thus enabled to see "eye to eye," by being enabled to comprehend with all saints the true dimensions of our gracious Father's wonderful plans. (`Eph. 3:18`.) We are trusting in the same Savior and in the same Father; but by their grace our eyes have been opened a little wider, a little sooner than those of some of our brethren whom we sincerely love and long to assist out of darkness into the wonderful light of the Millennial dawn, now streaming in upon all who are awake and looking in the right direction to see the glorious Sunrise of the new dispensation--now being ushered in by our Lord's parousia.
THE RESULTS OF WORLD-REDEMPTION.
(3) As degradation even unto death was the penalty of sin, so God's provision is that restitution even unto life is the remedy. As the penalty was world-wide through Adam, so the remedy is to be world-wide through Christ;--an opportunity for reconciliation to God has been secured for every member of Adam's race by the sacrifice of Christ, who did not go to eternal torment for our sins, because eternal torment was not the penalty for sin; but who did pay the full penalty against Adam (and incidentally against his race) in that "he died for our sins" he "died the just for the unjust."--`I Cor. 15:3`; `I Pet. 3:18`.
"BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND THOU
SHALT BE SAVED."
We agree to this: we are not arguing for a glorification of sinners: we are prepared to go with the Scriptures farther along this line than Dr. Henson may be willing to follow. We hold that the above quoted words of the Apostle (`Acts 16:31`) are meant to teach not only that none but believers in Christ can be saved, but that, beyond believing, full consecration to the Lord is necessary to eternal salvation --eternal life. Dare the Doctor go so far and interpret this Scripture at its face value, realizing as he does so that it would cut off from salvation the vast majority of Baptists and of all other denominations of Christendom and the heathen world almost entirely? Dare any do this, having in mind the "orthodox view" that all not saved now must spend eternity with demons and in torture? To their credit be it said that they cannot so apply this Scripture. To their credit be it noted that they hope there is some great blunder somewhere, and that it will not come true as it seems to them to teach. But their great danger is, that the Adversary will prejudice and blind them against the only interpretation of God's Word which can harmonize the Bible and satisfy reason, until they shall have rejected the Bible in toto, because viewed from their wrong standpoint its teachings must more and more appear unreasonable, nonsense.
"THERE IS NO OTHER NAME GIVEN UNDER HEAVEN
AND AMONGST MEN WHEREBY WE
MUST BE SAVED."
Accepting this declaration as inspired and true, wherein is the hope for the world, not one-twentieth of whom have ever heard of this only name? We answer in the Apostle's language that it is "The hope of the resurrection of the dead." Only the saints of this Gospel age may hope to have share in the "First Resurrection"--to "glory, honor and immortality" and to joint heirship with their Lord in the Kingdom; but there is hope for almost all others of our race in the after-resurrection, which our Lord calls "the resurrection by judgment." (`John 5:28,29`, see Revised Version.) That resurrection will be for all the "unjust" (unjustified by faith and obedience); it will be for all the "evil,"--all who have not been approved of God in Christ as "good"--all who have not escaped "the condemnation that is on the world."
That resurrection, open to earth's billions, will require a thousand years for its accomplishment--the Millennium--and the attainment of it at the close of the Millennium will require the development of meekness, patience, perseverance, gentleness, brotherly kindness, love on the part of all who would receive its blessing; all others being hopelessly cut off in the Second Death. To participate in this grand resurrection privilege will necessitate the awakening of all who "sleep in the dust of the earth," or as our Lord expressed it, all that are in their graves shall hear his mandate and come forth before they can share in the privileges of the "resurrection by judgment." The expression "by judgment" signifies (harmoniously with other Scriptures), that the Millennial age arrangements will differ from those of the present and past ages, in that while now judgments (rewards and punishments) are deferred then they will follow immediately each act and word of obedience or disobedience. "When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth (as they will then be) the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." And the Lord through the Prophet assures us that in that blessed day every sinner refusing for one hundred years to make progress shall be accounted irreconcilable and shall be cut off forever--even though as compared with the life privileges of that time he would be but an infant at one hundred years of age --as in the antediluvian age. `Isa. 26:9`; `65:20`.
The only exceptions to the privileges of that "resurrection by judgments" will be the few who in the present life commit the sin unto death-- "Second Death." These as described by the Apostle can be only such as by faith and consecration as true Christians, have received the blessings of special knowledge and the holy spirit, and then fall away either by turning heartily into wilful sin or by rejecting the wedding garment of Christ's imputed righteousness.
We long to assist all the true "brethren" and urge any reading this and still finding any obstacles to faith and obedience to the "only name" to correspond with us. We will take pleasure in lending you a helping hand to the Heavenly Kingdom, and will gladly loan you the "Bible Keys," through the
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faithful and prayerful use of which the Bible will become to you "a new book"--the best of all books.
A LONELY VOICE OF PROTEST AGAINST EVOLUTION
AND HIGHER CRITICISM HERESIES.
The Chicago Record Herald recently devoted a column article to a farewell sermon of Rev. W. T. Euster at Wheadon M.E. Church, Evanston, Ind., exposing the religious teaching of professors at "Garrett Biblical Institute" in that city. Following are some extracts.
"What I say about the results and influence of 'higher criticism' here in this field may startle some, but no one can adequately realize this without living here for some length of time. I have in my ministry here taken every occasion to converse and argue with every theological student I could get acquainted with. Many of them have lived on the same street with me, and many have attended on my ministry. I have asked them all sorts of questions. I have not found one who would say that he accepted the miracles of the Old Testament as declared there: only four have I found in all this number who had enough faith in the Bible as it is, to stand the test of the discipline; many of them I found Unitarian and infidel in belief; not one could I find that would say that Jesus Christ knew more or as much about the Old Testament as some of these Unitarian professors.
"The saddest thing is the number of bright young men and women whose faith is utterly wrecked here each year. Many of these young men say they never would have taken any interest in destructive criticism of the Bible had it not been forced upon them by those who are employed to teach the doctrines of the church.
"It is sad, indeed, when young men come to the place where they feel that modern infidel professors know more about the Old Testament than did Jesus Christ! I have not been able to find one theological student here that would contradict this.
"I am not a pessimist. I believe God will bring order out of this confusion, and that many of these preachers who go out of here Unitarian and infidel will be honest enough
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to step out of the Methodist pulpits unless they can get back to faith and loyalty to the church which has educated them.
ZIONISTS FAIL TO OBTAIN FROM THE SULTAN THE KIND
OF CONCESSIONS IN PALESTINE THEY DESIRE.
Vienna, Aug. 7.--Dr. Theodore Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement and head of the Palestine association and Dr. Wolffson, president of the Jewish colonial trust, have returned here from Constantinople. They report that their conference with representatives of the sultan with reference to the proposed settlement of Zionists in Palestine has been without result.
In reply to Dr. Herzl's written statements on the subject the sultan expressed sympathy with the Jews in their purposes and named certain concessions which he would grant. These, however, did not meet the requirements of the Zionists.
Dr. Herzl says he still has hopes of being able to convince the porte of the beneficial results which would result from the settlement of Jews in Palestine.
This set-back is of course only a temporary one: prophecy must eventually be fulfilled. Jews are still (since 1892) deprived of permission to settle in the Holy Land, and may only visit it by special permit for from 30 to 90 days. Ere long it will be different.
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TOUCHED WITH THE FEELING OF OUR INFIRMITIES.
"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one who was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin."--`Heb. 4:15`.
WHILE in this our judgment day we find great comfort in this blessed assurance, realizing as we do our own weaknesses and shortcomings and manifold temptations, we call to mind this statement now for another purpose; viz., to remind the members of the elect Church of God who are to constitute the Royal Priesthood of the new dispensation, that they, like their Lord and Head, must also be touched with the feeling of the world's infirmities, else they would be totally unfit for so exalted and responsible a position.
In the Royal Priesthood of that age the world is to have the same comfort in its priesthood that we in our present infirmities find in Christ. For this cause, chiefly, we apprehend that the priesthood is chosen from among men--that redeemed men who were once in the same plight with all the rest of humanity, being thus exalted to the divine nature with all its power to bless, might also, from their past experience and observations while they were men amongst men, be qualified to be very wise and merciful priests, knowing well how to deal with the poor sin-sick world; and that the world might find comfort and consolation in the realization of such sympathy.
Such being the mission of the Church in the not far distant future, all who expect to be of its approved membership in glory should now be cultivating a broad and generous sympathy for all their fellows of the "groaning creation"--a sympathy which considers the weaknesses and temptations--mental, moral and physical,--of fallen men, and which is ready to forgive and to help the repentant erring; a sympathy illustrated by the verse--
"A bending staff I would not break,
A feeble faith I would not shake;
Nor even rudely pluck away
The error which some truth may stay,
Whose sudden loss might leave without
A shield against the shafts of doubt."
It is not enough that we know the truth and rejoice in hope of a future personal exaltation: we must not forget the very object of that exaltation--the blessing of all the families of the earth--and the present duty of conformity to the word and example of our Lord, that thus by his Word and Providence he may fit us for the duties and honors to which he has called us. Only by so doing can we make our calling and election sure.
If we turn our eyes to the pattern, we see in our Lord Jesus one who was deeply moved at the sight of human degradation, moral and physical. So must
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it be with all his followers. We must be in sympathy with every impulse of the world which is toward righteousness and reformation of character and life; we must rejoice at every movement that is made in this direction; and our sympathies should go out toward all who are laboring for the common uplifting as well as for all the oppressed everywhere. And so we trust they do. We sympathize with the temperance work and would not have one abandon the ranks of its laborers, except to engage in the higher work of this harvest time, to which the elect, consecrated sons of God are now specially called. And we say, God bless every truly philanthropic heart and hand that is trying to rescue the unfortunate victims of strong drink! We would have all such go on until the Master, noting their zeal, where it springs from love to him, shall say, "It is enough; come up higher"--to the higher work, the harvesting or gathering together of his elect from the four winds.--`Matt. 24:31`.
We sympathize also with the social purity movement, which aims at the emancipation of woman and the elevation of man, and which eloquently appeals to the conscience of the present generation for the prenatal rights of the yet unborn generations of the twentieth century--their right to be well born and bred--with as little of the taint of hereditary evil as the present generation can give. It, however, grapples with an evil so deep-seated that little can be hoped for from it, except the creating of a more healthful sentiment on the part of thoughtful and well disposed people, and a greater realization on the part of many of the giant proportions and exceeding hatefulness of sin.
We sympathize, too, with the demand of another class of reformers for a single standard of virtue for men and women alike--that public sentiment should be no more lenient toward the sins of men than toward the sins of women; and believe that a single standard of virtue, which would as completely ostracize a guilty man from society as a guilty woman, would be a safeguard to many a young man to whom the path of vice is made, alas! too easy.
We sympathize with Law and Order Societies in their efforts to enforce laws, although their methods are not always the wisest.
We have much sympathy with the Salvation Army in its attempts to rescue the submerged victims of the world's selfishness and wickedness.
We are glad, too, to see the evidences of philanthropy and moral reform in some heathen lands, though we know how necessarily feeble must be the resistance to the mighty waves of corruption against which they battle.
And so with every good work and with every noble sentiment our hearts are and should be in accord; and we rejoice with them over every victory they gain for righteousness and truth, however small, although we are not with them on the same plane of endeavor; for God has given us the higher commission. The priesthood may not despise the Levites, nor even the children of the camp. We rejoice that there are Levites--hewers of wood and drawers of water*, and that even in the world's great camp there are some who not only incline to righteousness, but who are bravely endeavoring to stem the overwhelming tide of evil. But we rejoice more in the fact that it will ere long be our privilege to take hold of all these much needed reforms with energy and power, and push them forward to glorious success, when in God's due time we shall be endued with power from on high.--`Matt. 13:43`; `Gal. 3:29`.
Dearly beloved of the consecrated household, let us not forget to keep in touch with the groaning creation; to sympathize with its sorrows and its woes; to realize its deep degradation and misery; to remember its frailties, its awful burden of hereditary taints and consequent weaknesses; its present environments of ignorance and superstition; and its long established errors of public sentiment; remembering that we too are still in the sinful flesh, and that the motions of sin are still often painfully manifest in us, in some directions, at least, if not in many. And as the cries of the groaning creation come up into the ears of the Lord of hosts (`Jas. 5:4`) with strong and pathetic pleading to his loving heart, so let them come into our ears and gain our sympathies, and quicken our zeal to co-operate with our Heavenly Father's plan for the establishment of his Kingdom of righteousness and peace.
But let us bear in mind that a real pity for the world, a full sympathy with every good work of reform, and an active co-operation with God in the necessary preparation for our great future work, imply also that we have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness and that our lives be a standing rebuke to them. "How," says the Apostle, "shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?... Our old man [our justified human nature] is crucified with Christ that the body [organization] of Sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve Sin"-- nor in any sense recognize Sin as our master.--`Rom. 6:2-6`.
It should be our constant effort, therefore, to seek to discern the course of righteousness on every question of moral obligation, and to see to it that our conduct, our sympathies and our influence, however small, are on the side of righteousness. In this day of searching judgment it should be observed that every principle of moral obligation is being brought forward
*See "Tabernacle Shadows of Better Sacrifices."
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for searching examination. One cannot thoughtfully read the daily press without observing this tendency of the times in which we live. No matter how long and firmly established have been the old ideas, nothing can escape this scrutiny. And the principles of righteousness are being boldly set forth --here on one subject, and there on another; and that in defiance of the thundering anathemas from all the old fortresses of sin, iniquity and superstition.
But right and truth must and shall prevail when our Kingdom has been established (`Matt. 6:10`; `Luke 12:32`; `22:29`), however feeble now may be the voices lifted in their defense. Let our sentiments and our course of action always be noble and pure, and on the right side of every subject that comes forward for ventilation and investigation; for we should be "a peculiar people, zealous of good works."--`Titus 2:14`.
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"No soldier on service entangleth himself in the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enrolled him as a soldier. And also if a man contend in the games, he is not crowned except he have contended lawfully." "Know ye not that they who run in a race all run, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible crown. I, therefore, so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one beateth the air: but I keep my body under and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." `2 Tim. 2:4,5`; `I Cor. 9:24-27`.
THESE EARNEST EXHORTATIONS of the faithful Apostle to the Gentiles were most clearly illustrated in his noble course of life. He shunned no danger, shrank from no labor or reproach or privation, and bravely and cheerfully endured hardness and suffered the loss of all things temporal that he might win Christ and be approved of him. As we look upon such a course and consider the fortitude and the strength of character necessary so to run, we may well conclude, that, except we be similarly supplied with the help of divine grace, we shall not be able to persevere to the end.
Paul sped along in that race, not in his own strength, but in the strength which God supplied. And the promise of such aid is none the less ours than it was his. The divine grace is imparted to us through the exceeding great and precious promises of God inspiring us with new and glorious hopes beyond the wreck and ruin of the present order of things. Permitting our minds to dwell upon these we see in the now rapidly approaching dawn of the day of Christ a new heavens and a new earth; and by faith we sit together with Christ in the heavenly places of glory and honor, and together with him are crowned with immortality. By faith we see also the blessed privileges of such an exalted station, and the divinely appointed work in which we will be engaged together with Christ.
A weary, groaning creation awaits our ministry of power; and in the proportion that we partake of the loving, pitiful spirit of our Master will we be able to appreciate such a privilege. If we are cold and selfish and untouched with the feeling of earth's infirmities; if the woes of our fellow-men awaken in us no feelings of sympathy and of desire to help, we can have no appreciation of the prize of our high calling. But if, on the contrary, we love our fellow-men as God and Christ loved them; if we pity their weakness and remember the hereditary cause, we will lay not all
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their sins and short-comings to their personal charge. We will be anxious to clear their minds from the mists of ignorance and superstition and the bias of prejudices; and to help them to more rational modes of thought and action, and to better ideas of life and its relationships and responsibilities. We will seek to gather out of their pathway all the stumbling stones whereby so many are now precipitated into a course of vice; and to cast up a highway of holiness upon which no lion of intemperance or other evil thing may be found. We will be ready to declare to them all the everlasting gospel of salvation, and to open their deaf ears to hear and their blind eyes to see the salvation of God. If such are our sympathies toward the world of sinners which God so loved, then we are able to appreciate to some extent the privileges of our high calling, when, as joint-heirs with Christ in His Kingdom and power, we shall be able to put into actual execution all our benevolent desires for the uplifting and healing of our sin-sick world.
Any who have ever experienced the joy of converting even one sinner from the error of his ways, or of establishing the feet of one of Christ's little ones, may have some idea of the joy that will attend the ministry of the saints when they are fully endued with divine power for the great work of their Millennial reign; for they will not be hampered as now, but every effort put forth will be a success.
The privilege of such a blessed work, even aside from the precious thought of association with Christ and of our blessed relationship to the Father, is a wonderful inspiration to every benevolent heart which, even now, would fain take upon itself the burdens which it sees oppressing others whom they love and pity.
But though inspired with such a hope of benevolent service for the whole world in God's appointed time, and of blessed association with Christ in it, we must remember that we have yet to "strive" for the prize of our high calling; and not only so, but we must strive "lawfully." We must run our race, not only with diligence, energy, patience and perseverance, but we must run according to the prescribed rules, as otherwise our labor will be in vain. First of all we must enter into this course by the "strait gate"--by a full consecration of our all to the Lord, after exercising faith in the precious blood of Christ as our ransom price. If we do not enter by this door, we are not counted in the race for the prize, no matter how zealously we run. This is the first rule for those who would so run as to obtain. "Enter ye at the strait gate;...because strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
Having so entered, the Apostle now urges that we be filled with the Spirit of Christ, that we may not be led by the desires of the flesh away from God and from the course which he has marked out. Then the body, the human nature, must be kept under the control of the new mind, the spirit of Christ in us. Its ambitions and hopes and desires must be kept down; and the only way to do this is to keep filled with the spirit. "Walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the desires of the flesh."--`Gal. 5:16`.
If we are filled with the spirit--with the same mind that was in Jesus Christ--we will act from the same motives: it will be our meat and drink to do the Father's will. We will engage in his work because we love to do it, even aside from the inspiring prize at the end of our course. Christ was so full of sympathy with humanity, and so thoroughly of one mind with the Father, that he could not do otherwise than to devote his life to the good of others. Yet in all his labors he strictly observed the divine plan. Though, like the Father, he loved the whole world, he did not go beyond Israel to bless the Gentiles with his ministry,
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because the appointed time for that work had not yet come.
He observed God's times and seasons and methods. He never recklessly exposed his life until from the prophets he recognized that his hour had come to be delivered into the hands of his enemies. He taught his disciples not to go into the way of the Gentiles until the due time; and then he sent them forth. He did not make long prayers on the street corners to be heard of men, nor exhort the multitude with noisy harangue; as the prophet indicated, he did not lift up his voice nor cry aloud in the streets. (`Isa. 42:2`.) He chose God's methods which are rational and wise, and which are effective in selecting out from among men the class which he desires to be heirs of the promised Kingdom. Let those who would so run as to obtain the prize, mark these footprints of the Master, and be filled more and more with his spirit.
If so filled with the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, we, like him, will desire to be as free as possible from entangling earthly affairs, and to have our time as free as possible for the Lord's service, and then to devote all energy, ability and effort to that service.
To have the mind of Christ is indeed the one requirement of lawful striving--a mind which humbly and faithfully submits itself to the will of God as expressed in his great plan of the ages, and which devotes all energy to the accomplishment of his will, because of an intelligent appreciation of the ends he has in view.
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THE CLAIMS OF LOVE AND JUSTICE.
THERE IS NOTHING more necessary to the peace and prosperity of the Church of God than that its members should have a clear understanding and appreciation of moral principles, with a full determination to be controlled by them. Even among Christians there are often differences of opinion, with reference to principles of action, which greatly interfere with spiritual growth and prosperity. Such difficulties most frequently arise through a failure to rightly distinguish between the relative claims of love and justice. Therefore we deem it profitable briefly to consider these principles and their operation among the children of God.
Justice is sometimes represented by a pair of evenly poised balances, and sometimes by the square and compass, both of which are fitting emblems of its character. Justice knows no compromise and no deviation from its fixed rule of action. It is mathematically precise. It gives nothing over for "good weight" or "good measure:" there is no grace in it, no heart, no love, no sympathy, no favor of any kind. It is the cold, calculating, exact measure of truth and righteousness. When justice is done, there is no thanks due to the one who metes it out: such a one has only done a duty, the neglect of which would have been culpable, and the doing of which merits no favor or praise. And yet, cold, firm and relentless as this principle is, it is declared to be the very foundation of God's throne. It is the principle which underlies all his dealings with all his creatures: it is his unchangeable business principle. And how firmly he adheres to it is manifest to every one acquainted with the plan of salvation, the first step of which was to satisfy the claims of justice against our race. Though it cost the life of his only begotten and well beloved Son to do this, so important was this principle that he freely gave him up for us all--to satisfy its legal claims against us.
The principle of love, unlike that of justice, overflows with tenderness and longs to bless. It is full of grace, and delights in the bestowment of favor. It is manifest, however, that no action can be regarded as a favor or a manifestation of love, which has not underneath it the substantial foundation of justice. Thus, for instance, if one comes to you with a gift, and at the same time disregards a just debt to you, the gift falls far short of appreciation as an expression of love; and you say, We should be just before we attempt to be generous.
And this is right: if justice is the foundation principle in all of God's dealings, it should be in ours also; and none the less so among brethren in Christ than among those of the world. As brethren in Christ, we have no right to presume upon the favor of one another. All that we have a right to claim from one another is simple justice--justice in the payment of our honest debts to each other, justice in our judgment one of another (which must make due allowance for frailties, etc., because we realize in ourselves some measure of similar imperfection), and justice in fair and friendly treatment one of another. This is all we have any right to claim; and we must also bear in mind that while we have a right to claim this for ourselves from others, we are just as fully obligated to render the same to them.
But while we may claim justice--though there is no obligation to demand it for ourselves, and we may if we choose even suffer injustice uncomplainingly-- we must, if we are Christ's, render it. In other words, we are not responsible for the actions of others in these respects, but we are responsible for our own. And, therefore, we must see to it that all our actions are squared by the exact rule of justice, before we ever present a single act as an expression of love.
The principle of love is not an exact principle to be measured and weighed like that of justice. It is three-fold in its character, being pitiful, sympathetic or reverential, according to the object upon which it is centered. The love of pity is the lowest form of love: it takes cognizance of even the vile and degraded, and is active in measures of relief. The love of sympathy rises higher, and proffers fellowship. But the love of reverence rises above all these, and delights in the contemplation of the good, the pure and the beautiful. In this latter sense we may indeed love God supremely, as the personification of all that is truly worthy of admiration and reverence, and our fellow men in proportion as they bear his likeness.
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Although we owe to every man the duty of love in some one of these senses, we may not demand it one of another, as we may the principle of justice; for love is the overflow of justice. Justice fills the measure full, but love shakes it, presses it down, heaps it up and overflows justice. It is therefore something not to be demanded, nor its lack to be complained of, but to be gratefully appreciated as a favor and to be generously reciprocated. Every one who craves it at all should crave it in its highest sense--the sense of admiration and reverence. But this sort of love is the most costly, and the only way to secure it is to manifest that nobility of character which calls it forth from others who are truly noble.
The love of sympathy and fellowship is also very precious; but, if it come merely in response to a demand, it comes robbed of its choicest aroma: therefore never demand it, but rather by manifestation of it toward others court its reciprocation.
The love of pity is not called out by the nobility of the subject, but rather by the nobility of the bestower, who is so full of the principle of love that it overflows in its generous impulses toward even the unworthy. All of the objects of pity are not, however, unworthy of love in the higher senses; and some such often draw upon our love in all the senses.
To demand love's overflow of blessing--which is beyond the claims of justice--is only an exhibition of covetousness. We may act on this principle of love ourselves, but we may not claim it from others. The reverse of this exhibits a manifest lack of love and a considerable measure of selfishness.
Thus, for instance, two of the Lord's children were once rooming together and, through a failure to rightly consider the relative claims of love and justice, one presumed upon the brotherly love of the other to the extent of expecting him to pay the entire rent; and when the other urged the claims of justice, he pushed the claim of brotherly love, and the former reluctantly yielded to it, not knowing how to refute the claim, yet feeling that somehow some Christians had less principle than many worldly people. How strange that any of God's children should take so narrow and one-sided a view! Cannot all see that love and justice should work both ways and that it is the business of each not to oversee others in these respects, but to look well to his own course, and, if he would teach others, let it be rather by example than by precept?
Let us beware of a disposition to covetousness, and let each remember that he is steward over his own goods, and not over his neighbor's, and that each is accountable to the Lord, and not to his brother, for the right use of that which the Master has entrusted to him. There is nothing much more unlovely and unbecoming to the children of God than a disposition to petty criticism of the individual affairs of one another. It is a business too small for the saints, and manifests a sad lack of that brotherly love which should be specially manifest in broad and generous consideration, which would rather cover a multitude of sins than magnify one.
May love and justice find their proper and relative places in the hearts of all of God's people, that so the enemy may have no occasion to glory! The Psalmist says, "Oh, how love I thy law [the law of love, whose foundation is justice]! it is my meditation all the day." (`Psa. 119:97`.) Surely, if it were the constant meditation of all, there would be fewer and less glaring mistakes than we often see. Let us watch and be sober, that the enemy may not gain an advantage over us.
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THAT I MAY KNOW HIM.
"Lord, let me talk with Thee of all I do,
All that I care for, all I wish for, too.
Lord, let me prove Thy sympathy, Thy power,
Thy loving oversight from hour to hour!
When I need counsel, let me ask of Thee:
Whatever my perplexity may be,
It cannot be too trivial to bring,
To one who marks the sparrow's drooping wing.
Nor too terrestrial since Thou hast said
The very hairs are numbered on our head.
'Tis through such loop-holes that the foe takes aim,
And sparks unheeded, burst into a flame.
Do money troubles press? Thou canst resolve
The doubts and dangers such concerns involve.
Are those I love the cause of anxious care?
Thou canst unbind the burdens they may bear.
Before the mysteries of Thy Word or will,
Thy voice can gently bid my heart be still,
Since all that now is hard to understand
Shall be unraveled in yon heavenly land.
Or do I mourn the oft-besetting sin,
The tempter's wiles, that mar the peace within?
Present Thyself, Lord, as the absolving priest,
To whom confessing, I go forth released.
Do weakness, weariness, disease, invade
This earthly house, which Thou, Thyself, hast made?
Thou, only, Lord, canst touch the hidden spring
Of mischief, and attune the jarring string.
Would I be taught what Thou wouldst have me give,
The needs of those less favored to relieve?
Thou canst so guide my hand that I shall be
A liberal 'cheerful giver,' Lord like Thee.
Of my life's mission do I stand in doubt?
Thou knowest and canst clearly point it out.
Whither I go, do Thou Thyself decide
And choose the friends and servants at my side.
The books I read, I would submit to Thee,
Let them refresh, instruct and solace me.
I would converse with Thee from day to day
With heart intent on what Thou hast to say;
And through my pilgrim walk, what e'er befall,
Consult with Thee, O Lord, about it all.
Since Thou art willing thus to condescend
To be my intimate, familiar friend,
Oh, let me to the great occasion rise,
And count Thy friendship life's most glorious prize!"
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A PROPHET LIKE MOSES.
--`DEUT. 18:9-19`.--SEPTEMBER 7.--
"This is of a truth that prophet that should
come into the world."--`John 6:14`.
AMONG THE GREAT ONES of earth, Moses stands out pre-eminent as a leader, lawgiver and ruler. He really combined in himself the three offices, prophet, priest and king. As a king, the representative of the great King, Jehovah, he would be classed as an autocrat whose meekness and gentleness, nevertheless, protected those under his care against any arbitrary use of his power and authority. Although Aaron was the high-priest proper, yet in a still larger sense he performed his services under, and as representative of Moses--and the latter had equal privilege of going into the Holy and Most Holy, and joined with Aaron at the close of the atonement day in giving the atonement blessing to the people. As a prophet, or teacher and lawgiver, he, under the instruction of the Lord, was far in advance, not only of others of his time but, of the many who have sought to copy and to improve upon the laws which he laid down. In all of this, however, he was merely a type of the great Prophet, Priest and King whom God purposed should in due time, accomplish a still greater deliverance for a still mightier host to a still better kingdom of promise,--the Millennial Kingdom. Moses did not take the title of king or priest, although the humbler title of prophet, teacher or representative of God, represented also in his case the kingly and priestly functions that we have seen.
By this time Israel had reached the borders of Palestine on the east of the river Jordan, and had conquered the Amorites and the forces of Og, king of Bashan,--famous in the Psalms,--the giant of the noted iron bedstead. Moses, now one hundred and twenty years old, being forewarned of the Lord that his mission was at an end and that because of his transgression in the matter of striking the rock the second time he could not enter into the land of promise, had called the Israelites to deliver to them a closing message--a valedictory, as it were.
Our lesson is a part of that valedictory address which, we may presume, was delivered in the great teacher's most impressive style, and represented his most solicitous thought in the interests of the people in whose behalf he had sacrificed the honors of Egypt and for whom he had spent his life. For forty years the people had been trained and disciplined in the ways of the Lord, and yet their great leader realized that they needed special guarding against the evils which had degraded the people of Canaan;--the besetments of Satan, and the fallen angels operating through human agents and mediums. Wherever we may look, amongst all the heathen nations, we find that the evil spirits have had much to do with the degradation of the human family. Operating along the lines of man's natural and religious instincts, they have perverted these to sensualities of various kinds and have diverted his worship from God, sometimes directly to themselves and devils, and sometimes to four-footed beasts and creeping things and idols of wood and stone, as the Apostle declare.--`Rom. 1:23`; `Rev. 9:20`; `I Cor. 10:20`.
Those who investigate the matter will find no room, we believe, to doubt our statement that the fallen spirits are at the bottom of all the religious delusions of the world,--their ability to deceive and mislead being correspondingly less in proportion as the gospel of Christ has shined into a heart or a community or a nation.*
The great lawgiver enumerates here eight different forms of spirit-deception and miracle-working; (1) Divination, the receiving of information from occult sources, from the spirits by means of omens, oracles, etc. (2) Augury, the fixing of lucky and unlucky periods and the observance of these which tends to bring the mind into bondage to the evil spirits. At the present time amongst many, Friday is considered an unlucky day, as also certain stages of the moon. (3) An enchanter, one able to exercise superior mental control, known to-day as hypnotism. (4) A witch or sorcerer, one who claims to be able to exercise a power over the affairs of others, and in many cases does so, though not to the degree he has frequently gotten credit for, and certainly never in opposition to divine power. (5) A charmer--serpent charmers, etc., including also those who claim to be able to put spells upon people and animals, to tie magic knots, etc., by a power something akin to hypnotism. (6) Consulters with familiar spirits, amongst spiritualists to-day there are mediums who claim to have their special familiar spirit while others claim a general intercourse with the spirits. (7) A wizard, one who claims to be wise in hidden or occult wisdom--possibly as some suggest, describing one who has general intercourse with the spirits as in contradistinction to one who has intercourse only with the "familiar spirit." (8) A necromancer, one who professes to hold communion with the dead--as do spirit mediums of to-day. Moses declared that all who take part in such proceedings are an abomination to the Lord and that the nations already inhabitating Canaan were being dispossessed and their land given to Israel, in large measure because they had gone over to these doctrines of devils and communion with devils. The Israelites in this respect were to be perfectly free from everything of this kind--were to obtain their information, not from fallen spirits personating the dead or otherwise, but from God through his appointed oracles, laws, commands, etc.
We feel that we cannot too strongly impress upon spiritual Israelites everywhere the necessity of having nothing whatever to do with the present day representatives of these evils. It is not a light thing, therefore, for one who has heard the message of the Lord on this subject, to attend spiritualistic seances, to visit a fortune-teller, or to practice or be practiced upon in any manner by hypnotists, or any other representatives of Satan and the fallen angels and the black arts, or to use any of the various implements of divination now in vogue, such as planchets, etc. In olden times as well as now many of these villainies were practiced by the same individual, as for instance, the witch of
*See pamphlet, "Proofs that Spiritism is Demonism."-- This Office.
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Endor was also a necromancer. So stringent were the laws of ancient times that not only the practitioners of these wrongs were condemned to death, but also those who encouraged them by seeking their counsels, etc. Had it not been for these drastic laws no doubt Israel would have come under these debasing influences to a much larger extent than it did, and would have been correspondingly degraded like the heathen nations whose worship is, as the Apostle declares, divergent from the worship of God to the worship of devils, and their instructions instead of being from the Lord are from devils, evil spirits, "seducing spirits."
We have no hesitation whatever in saying that these evil spirits which ever since the flood have been seeking to gain power over humanity through deceptions and through the operation of various occult powers, have enticed them, bewitched them, brought them under the influence of fear and superstition, and into mental slavery so that they can be and are guided by falsehood instead of by the truth. This is one of the ways in which, as the Apostle states, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believed not," and has hindered the light of the goodness of God in the face of Jesus Christ from shining into the hearts of men. As already intimated this same power is still at work even in Christendom, operating through spiritism, theosophy, hypnotism and Christian Science--yea, and we believe also operating deceptively in some who claim to be filled with, and moved by, the holy spirit, producing trance conditions, the vagaries of the "Holy Rollers" and various unseemly things done by people who mistakenly claim that they are filled with the holy spirit, but who are in fact, filled with and controlled by the evil spirits,--for their works they do. Our Lord Jesus and the Apostles were filled with the holy spirit and we may be sure that its character and its manifestations have not changed since their day: we may be sure, therefore, that spirits that cause people to behave
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themselves unseemly are "lying spirits."
It was under the teaching of these evil spirits that the people of Canaan first established the valley of Hinnom as a place of torture. This valley outside the city of Jerusalem, now known in the Greek language as Gehenna, had erected in it a brass figure of the god Moloch which, being hollow was heated intensely and then into its outstretched arms were occasionally placed children offered thus in sacrifice. God forewarned his people against this and every form of cruelty and also against the evil spirits which would so seduce them and pervert their minds as to lead them to such horrible and insane practices and beliefs. With Israel, therefore, this valley instead of being a valley of sacrifice, became the symbol of the Second Death in that it was made a crematory for the carcasses of dead animals, and for the bodies of certain vile criminals not deemed worthy of honorable burial. Under the Lord's arrangement, however, no torture was permitted in this valley or elsewhere in Israel--not the living, but the dead were consumed in it.
We are glad that we are living in a day when this Moloch torture is detested, a day in which civilized people, at least, look upon all such practices with abhorrence; nevertheless, the evil spirits operating upon the higher plane to suit the higher conditions of the spiritual Israel, have introduced false doctrines among them to such an extent that for centuries the masses of Christendom have attributed to the Almighty God of love a character and disposition far worse than that of Moloch. These false theories have cast into the fire not only a few sacrifices to satisfy Jehovah, but have made the whole human family to occupy this position, to be subjects of eternal torture--except a comparative few who with sincerity of heart and faith and obedience, lay hold upon Christ in this present life and are thus saved from an eternity of suffering. This doctrine of devils was introduced amongst spiritual Israel during the period which we denominate the Dark Ages; it finds no countenance whatever in the Word of God, neither in the Law nor in the prophets, nor in all the dissertations of the apostles of the New Testament; at very most it claims to base itself upon certain misunderstood parables of our Lord and upon certain misunderstood symbolical figures of speech in the Apocalypse. Yet, so completely have the evil spirits done their work, that the masses of Christendom thoroughly believe that the Bible is the authority and groundwork for that awful doctrine of eternal torment,--this Moloch cruelty ascribed to the God of Love, and now that their minds are becoming emancipated so that they can no longer believe such doctrines, they are disposed to reject the entire Bible, the Word of the Lord, because they think that it is the foundation for this awful, blasphemous error. Thus the fallen spirits again mislead many into new devices--Christian Science, Theosophy, Spiritism, etc., anything, everything to get them away from the simplicity, beauty and grandeur of the divine Word and plan.
THE ANTITYPICAL PROPHET.
Having thus forewarned the people, Moses reminds them that he is only a type of the greater Prophet whom the Lord had previously promised. The previous promise was at Mt. Sinai in Horeb, when God typically represented the giving of the New Covenant and when the people saw the lightnings, heard the thunderings, and felt the tremblings of the earth, which represented the great time of trouble in the end of this age; then they cried out unto the Lord entreating that instead of directly communicating with them he would do so through Moses as mediator. It was there that the Lord intimated that in the introduction of the antitypical New Covenant it would be at the hands of a still greater Mediator than Moses,--that great Prophet whom the Lord would raise up.
Our Golden Text points us to the Man Christ Jesus as this great Prophet! but the people who made this declaration did not fully comprehend the situation. Had they done so they would not a few days after have crucified the Lord. As a matter of fact, Jesus in the flesh was not the great Prophet, though his work in the sealing of the New Covenant with his blood at Calvary was necessary before he could be made alive in the spirit--as the new creature, put to death in the flesh but quickened in the spirit; put to death in weakness
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but raised in power; put to death in dishonor, but raised in glory, put to death in the flesh, an animal or human body, but raised a spiritual body on a plane of glory, honor, immortality. This great Prophet that God has promised is not a man, not of the human nature; but is the Lord of glory who has bought the whole world at the cost of his own life and shortly is to be its great Prophet, Priest, and King, to lead, to direct, to rule, to correct, to uplift and to ultimately bring to perfection whosoever wills to be in harmony with God--and the remainder will be cut off in the Second Death. The Apostle Peter brings out this feature of the ultimate end of all who will not obey the great Prophet, in his discourse recorded in `Acts 3:23`, "It shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear [obey] that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people" --the Second Death.
But still more wonderful than this is the divine plan: from the divine standpoint our glorified Lord Jesus is to be the Head, and the faithful of his Church are to constitute the members of this great Prophet. The Lord God raised up our Lord Jesus as the Head of this Prophet more than eighteen centuries ago, and since then he has been finding amongst the redeemed children of men, those who shall ultimately be counted worthy through him to be reckoned in as joint-heirs of the Kingdom, members of the body of this great Prophet. Although in all a little flock, 144,000, the calling has been so special and the testing or approving and disciplining, so thorough, that it requires the entire Gospel age to find and to perfect these members, and when all shall have been found, and all shall have been raised up by first resurrection power to glory, honor and immortality and joint-heirship with their Lord and Head, then the great Prophet shall have come and then his great work will be before him. Then will come the deliverance of all who are God's people, who desire to sacrifice to him, to worship him and to be separate from sin; all such will have an opportunity for deliverance and for leading and guidance into Millennial Canaan under this great Prophet. Praise God on behalf of the world for such a glorious outlook! praise God for the privilege of our present blessings of invitation and opportunity to become identified with this great Prophet, by faithfulness to him who bought us with his own precious blood!
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LOVE OF GOD IN MOUTH AND HEART.
--`DEUT. 11:20`.--SEPTEMBER 14.--
IN HIS VALEDICTORY Moses proceeded to rehearse to Israel the Law of the Lord in full, reciting the blessings that would come from obedience to this Law, and the curses which would surely follow a disobedient course. He even proceeded to prophesy, and in the same chapter, in verses preceding our lesson, he points out that Israel would experience both the blessings and the curses, and that as a result they would ultimately be scattered throughout the earth, but that God, in infinite mercy, would remember them and finally bring them back to himself, and circumcise their hearts, a type of which circumcision they already had in the flesh.-- Compare `Rom. 11:25-30`.
Here the words of our lesson come in and seem to apply specially to Israel restored under the new conditions of grace. Even the most faithful under the Law were obliged continually to say, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this death-condemnation" in which I am, under this Law? --Behold the Law of God is just and good and right, and I approve the same with my heart, but am unable to comply with its conditions because of weakness, --death working in my mortal body! The time of Israel's return to divine favor at the close of the Gospel age is the period mentioned by the Lord through the Prophet Jeremiah; saying, "After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people; and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."--`Jer. 31:33,34`.
Under that blessed arrangement of the New Covenant, established in the hands of the greater Mediator, the Christ, the great Prophet, the desires and intentions of the heart, accompanied with the best endeavors of the flesh, will be accepted, even tho the latter be imperfect for a time, and require the blessed influences of the "times of restitution" to bring them to perfection. Moses' prophecy looks down to this time, grasps the new situation, sees Israel turned to the Lord with new hearts, enabled to keep his Law perfectly; it will not be too difficult for them, but new and plain and possible.
That this is the proper thought to be attached to this prophecy of Moses, is shown by the Apostle Paul. (`Rom. 10:4-10`.) He applies these words to the Church during this Gospel age, as in contrast to the conditions of the Jewish age, which had just closed. The Gospel Church enters into the privileges and opportunities of the New Covenant now, in advance of Israel and the world in general. It is the privilege of the spiritual Israelite now, beforehand, by the exercise of faith to realize in himself acceptance with God, justification by faith; to realize further that the merit of Christ covering all his imperfections, which are not of the heart, continues him in this justified relationship with God, notwithstanding the imperfections of his flesh and of his works--for we "are not under the Law but under grace." To those who can now exercise the faith, all the blessings that will come to the world in the Millennial age are possible --and more. To such these greater blessings are not hidden, but may be seen with the eye of faith. To such they are not far off--pertaining to another age-- but are possibilities of the present time, through the
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operation of faith. Such, having the ear of faith, are not saying, We cannot know the mind of the Lord, for he is afar off in heaven; who shall bring us a clear, definite statement of his will? These already have this declaration of the divine will in the person of Christ, in his teachings, personally and through the apostles. Neither will such say, Christ indeed has come, has died, has gone into the sleep of death; who shall now bring him forth that he may instruct us? For with the same eye and ear of faith they both hear and see that he is no longer dead, but is risen, glorified, empowered of the Father, and that he ever lives to be the blesser and High-priest for all those who approach the Father through him.
What then is this message which can thus be heard with the ear and recognized by the eye of faith? The prophet as well as the Apostle declares that it is possible for us to have this salvation, an ever-present power within us, in our hearts and in our mouths. The Apostle declares that this which Moses prophesied is the Gospel which he preached, which we have received; viz., the confession of the Lord with our mouths and faith in him in our hearts.
It is noteworthy that both the Prophet Moses and the Apostle Paul state the matter in the same manner; first, the confession with the mouth; second, the belief in the heart. This form of statement is probably not of accident, either. The confession with the mouth is the first outward evidence given of a faith in the heart; and indeed it seems to be a part of the divine arrangement that all confession of the truth is necessary to a full appreciation of it. True, we cannot properly confess what we do not believe; hence a belief must have precedence to a confession; but the confession is necessary to the expanding, enlarging and completing of faith in the heart. Who ever thinks that the light he has received in his heart can be maintained without a public confession of it is deceived, and hence it is declared, "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." The righteousness started by faith cannot go on and reach the completion which will mean eternal salvation,
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unless it be accompanied by acts of faith, most prominent of which is the confession of the lips.
We would like to impress this feature of the divine truth upon all of the Lord's dear people everywhere; realizing that many are weak, puny, sickly, in their spiritual health, because of their failure to follow the Lord's direction--to declare courageously
--and as wisely and lovingly as possible-- what great things the Lord hath done for our souls. It is not sufficient that we confess the first blessing received, tho that is necessary before we can receive additional blessing. But each blessing as received should be promptly confessed, to the praise of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. This is the law of spiritual development. This is the command to the spiritual Israelite. If he is not obedient, that which was nigh, in his heart and in his mouth, will ere long become far off to him;-- the eye of his understanding will cease to see clearly; the ear of faith will cease to distinguish plainly and he will gradually go further and further away from the glorious privileges which are ours, as new creatures in Christ under the New Covenant.
LIFE AND GOOD; DEATH AND EVIL.
To Spiritual Israelites, who have been begotten of the spirit, adopted into the family of sons of God, and made prospective joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord, the message is the same that it will be during the Millennial age to the world of mankind; viz., choose life or death. Thank God we have gotten free from that horrible doctrine of Moloch which, perverting the plain Word of God, would declare to us that God has set before us eternal blessing or eternal torment! Not so; his Word is most explicit; the rewards are life or death. Thus our Lord positively announced, "He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son shall not see life"-- and those not seeing life, of course could not experience eternal torment. Nevertheless, this proposition of life or death is a very serious one; much more potent in its influence than any other, because we can believe it; because we can see its reasonableness. How reasonable it is that God should declare to his spiritual Israel of this Gospel age that if, after they come to know him, taste of his good Word, experience the power of the age to come; after they have had the eyes of their understanding opened; after they have heard, seen, appreciated, the divine plan--if after all this they do not love the Lord their God, and trust him in their hearts, and sufficiently, too, to confess him with their mouths, they are unworthy of eternal blessing which he has to give--their lack of appreciation of divine mercy means their unworthiness of life!
How reasonable, too, is this declaration as respects the world of mankind during the Millennial age! Life and death will be the alternatives set before them also. The great Prophet, the Christ, Head and body, as representative of the Father and of his Law, will make matters very clear, very plain, to all those who, when they know the Lord's goodness, have any desire or appreciation thereof. But they too must learn to acknowledge the Lord in their lives, in their hearts, and to confess him with their mouths, else they will be unworthy of the future life. The difference between the two classes,--we of the Gospel age, they of the Millennial age,--will not be as respects the question of life and death. The penalty in either case will be Second Death; the reward in either case will be eternal life. The difference in the reward will be that the faithful overcomers of spiritual Israel will be granted joint-heirship with their Lord on a higher plane of life, sharing with him his glory, honor, immortality; while the faithful of the world, tho blessed in lower degree with a restoration of human perfection and life, will, nevertheless, be blessed fully and completely up to their very highest ability to appreciate and desire.
The essence of this command, now applicable to the Gospel Church, by and by to be applicable to restored Israel and all who, under the favorable conditions
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of that Millennial age, will be accepted as the children of Abraham, is the Law of Love. "I command thee this day to observe the Law of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways and keep his statutes, and his commandments and his judgements." It is the correct thought that love to God must be from the heart,--voluntary, in order to be of the kind which he desires and will appreciate. "He seeketh such to worship Him as worship Him in spirit and in truth." Why, then, does Moses say, "I command you"? Why does the Lord command love, through the Prophet, since a commanded love would not come up to the standard of voluntary love?
We answer that the Lord sets before us the standard of love necessary to be attained if we would enjoy the blessings which he purposes to give. He commands, in the sense of laying before us plainly and distinctly His only terms for life eternal. As previously pointed out, love is a matter of development and begins with a kind of duty love, which gradually growing out as we grow in grace and in knowledge, expands into gratitude, then into admiration, and finally ridding itself of all dross and selfishness, becomes pure and fervent love. The Lord is pleased if in our hearts he sees this endeavor to approach in truth the way of life which he has opened through the death of his Son. He is pleased to note our expansion and development under the light of his favor. He is pleased to grant us the covering of the Lord Jesus' merit, and to reckon to us perfection, and to adopt us from the very beginning of our love and consecration; and he will be pleased when we have finished our course, when we have attained the mark, when we have come up to the standard he has set--perfect love--to grant us the blessing of life eternal, which He cannot grant upon any other condition.
These things, really intended for spiritual Israelites, were spoken to natural Israel, as were all the prophecies of the Old Testament. Hearing, Israel heard but did not understand, as now it is our privilege to understand, because we are of the "house of sons," adopted and begotten of the spirit; whereas they were of the "house of servants," for "Moses verily, as a servant, was faithful over all his house; but Christ as a son, over his own house, whose house are we, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end." To the extent that any natural Israelite comprehended even in part this Law of Love, and endeavored to grasp it, in that proportion he was blessed, notwithstanding the fact that he was under the Law and bound by the Law, and thus a servant and unable to become a Son. We see noble illustrations of these faithful ones of the past, in Moses himself, Joshua, Caleb, Samuel, David, and all the prophets, whose faithfulness the Apostle records, as having been pleasing to God, and who shall have corresponding rewards, altho they will not have the reward that is promised to the Church--"they without us shall not be made perfect."-- `Heb. 11:39,40`.
In the closing words of this grand oration, the Prophet cautioned his brethren again concerning any disposition to leave the Lord and accept instead other gods. His words are specially applicable to spiritual Israelites, and we do well to give them earnest heed. We are already by faith in this blessed condition; we have heard the words of eternal life. We already have entered the Canaan-rest condition by faith in our Lord. We, therefore, are in danger from the besetments of our own flesh and from the besetments of sin abounding and from the Adversary--in danger of making other gods, and turning our hearts away from the proper center of their affections, either to the god of wealth or the god of fame or the lesser gods of the family circle and home, or to the most ignoble of all, self. We are not to be drawn away by any of these from our loyalty to God, nor to render worship or service in any sense to any of these. To do so would mean to turn away from the hopes and joys and blessings now ours. To resist these temptations, and to abide in the Lord's favor, on the other hand, will mean to continue in the joys and blessings and rest of our present state of grace. Thus the Lord sets before us the blessings and the curses, the advantages and the disadvantages, the right course and the wrong course, life and death.
Our choosing of life and blessing and righteousness and God are not merely the choice of a moment; the daily trials and testings of life prove whom we love and whom we serve. Let us examine our hearts and our daily course of life, and note for what we are spending life's energies, what fills our affections, what "satisfies our longings as nothing else could do." To the extent that we find the Lord the center of our lives, our hopes, our aims, and his will the ruling law in every affair of life, in that same proportion we find joy and peace and blessing and growth spiritually. If we thus, under present conditions and trials and oppositions of the world, the flesh and the devil, separate from them and cleave to the Lord, we are choosing the better part, the part of blessing, choosing life, and we shall live and shall inherit the goodly land of promise, the Millennial Canaan, and there be joint-participators with our Master in bringing God's promised blessing to the world, that they also may hear and know and obey his voice, and cleave to him and thus have life, and inherit the other, the earthly, features of the Abrahamic blessing.
Our Golden Text is quite appropriate to this lesson. It is in vain that we say we love the Lord if we do not seek to do those things pleasing in his sight. He is not seeking those who merely give outward allegiance, but those who at heart love him and his righteous arrangements. He is satisfied, indeed, to accept us at the beginning, largely upon our professions of faith and devotion, under the robe of Christ's righteousness, knowing that in our imperfect development
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we could not love perfectly; but he expects us to grow in grace, knowledge and love, and only by so doing can we abide in his love, and only by abiding in his love can we hope to attain the glorious things which he has in reservation only for those who love him.