ZWT - 1900 - R2555 thru R2747 / R2679 (241) - August 15, 1900
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VOL. XXI. AUGUST 15, 1900. No. 16.
Views From the Watch Tower........................243
Rev. R. Heber Newton's Opinion................243
Protestantism in France and in
Prepared to Fall Into Spiritism...............246
A Change Already in Progress..................246
Praying and Fighting--An Emperor's
"Not So Paul Won Macedonia"...................249
God's Providential Care...........................249
Doing, to Inherit Eternal Life....................250
The Good Samaritan............................252
Beware of Covetousness............................253
The Rich Churl................................255
Three More Conventions............................242
SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, "BIBLE HOUSE," 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 A YEAR IN ADVANCE. MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, N.Y. DRAFT, MONEY ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR, AS FOLLOWS:--
Those of the interested who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.
BRITISH BRANCH NO. 131 GIPSY LANE, FOREST GATE, LONDON EAST, ENGLAND.
THE CHICAGO CONVENTION--AUG. 25-27.
We learn with regret that some of the rail roads entering Chicago have instructed their near-by agents not to commence selling the cheap "G.A.R. Excursion" tickets until Aug. 26. This will undoubtedly prevent some from attending the Convention on its opening day, the 25th; but should it be the desire of a goodly number, the Convention can be prolonged to include the 28. The dates already announced will be the best we can do (Aug. 25-27), for we want to include a Sunday, and prefer that, so far as possible, the commotion incidental to arrivals on the opening day shall be over before Sunday.
Full particulars were given in last WATCH TOWER, and will be sent by mail on application. The Editor of this journal will attend, and hopes that all friends will introduce themselves to him, by name and place.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. CONVENTION--SEPT. 4 AND 5.
Friends of the truth residing in the vicinity of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., advise us that a Floral Fete will be held there Sept. 3-6, which will have very low rates of rail road fare from all points in New York and New England. They request a gathering of the friends of that vicinity,--and as many others as can conveniently meet with them on Sept. 4 and 5. The Editor has promised to attend on the 4th, and if possible to remain also the 5th. Purchase Excursion tickets to Floral Fete.
Comfortable accommodations can be secured at one dollar a day including board. Notify the WATCH TOWER office at once by postal card, when you will arrive, by what road, and how many will be of your party. On arrival go at once to the New Prohibition Hall, No. 464-1/2 Broadway.--But first look out for the Reception Committee at the door of the "Ladies' Waiting Room" displaying a copy of the WATCH TOWER.
DALLAS, TEXAS, CONVENTION--SEPT. 29,30, OCT. 1.
We merely remind the friends of Texas and vicinity of the date as above, reserving particulars for a later issue.
"HE THAT HATH NO MONEY--COME YE!"
At all Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society Conventions provision is made for the free entertainment of the Lord's "brethren" able to attend, but unable to pay for hotel accommodations. In notifying us of your coming, mention if the Lord's providence has made it expedient for you to accept the free hospitality of the entertaining Church.
CONVENTION OPPORTUNITIES FOR SYMBOLIC BAPTISM.
This is a feature in all conventions. Robes, towels, etc., are supplied, and the use of baptistry secured.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
REV. R. HEBER NEWTON'S OPINION.
DOCTOR NEWTON writes to the Christian Citizenship League as follows:--
"The teachings of the church, for the most part, are far from following the teachings of Jesus. Nay, they are far from recognizing what those teachings are. The organization of the church is planned and patterned upon a policy which is the very antithesis of a true society of Jesus.
"Commercialism dominates the organization, and conventionality tyrannizes the pulpit. The law of the market, rather than the law of the mount, is accepted by the church at large.
"Our Protestant churches are composed, for the most part, of a constituency drawn from the well-to-do classes, and they see nothing essentially unsound or unethical in the economic system of the day. The pulpit, therefore, is rarely free to deliver its soul, if it has one, upon the burning questions of our generation.
"Blind leaders of the blind, both seem hastening to fall into the ditch which lies before our civilization. And yet within the Christian church is the very ideal that the world hungers for, the very power to solve these problems. Infinitely pathetic is the situation."
This is a very severe arraignment of orthodoxy in any case; but coming from one of its leading lights it is terrible!
PROTESTANTISM IN FRANCE AND IN AMERICA.
Within the past few years Protestantism has been making considerable progress in Catholic France; but it is to be remembered that there the term Protestant includes all systems of religion and irreligion opposed to Roman Catholicism.
As might be expected, this in turn arouses the ire of Romanists, especially the clergy, who, long accustomed to full control of the masses, and to having their mandates pass without dispute or criticism, are now furious in their attempts to hinder their people from slipping the bonds of gross religious ignorance and superstition, and escaping from their control. Deprived of the civil power of the past--lost a century ago--and unable to torture or destroy those who protest against their system, they nevertheless clearly show that the spirit of the past still dominates them, and that only opportunity is lacking, and this by reason of a higher civilization and a more generally enlightened public conscience--not because of a higher and holier religious standing.
Words are the cruelest weapons now permitted, and these are used with energy and venom and regardless of the truth. For instance, the Bonne Presse, the organ of the Assumptionists (a Roman Catholic order), and many Croix, or Catholic Church papers, are seeking to arouse prejudice and public sentiment against everything not Catholic, by confounding Jews, Freethinkers and Freemasons with Protestant Christians--charging all with treachery to France, etc.,--and the general name of "Huguenots" has been revived as applicable to all those to whom Romanism is opposed. The inference is deducible from some of the writings, that their authors would like to see these modern "Huguenots" massacred as were the others--for the glory of God and the peace of the Roman Catholic Church. --See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., pages 332-353.
The names of some of the tracts and books published in the interest of this crusade against Protestantism would, alone, give a clue to the character of the attack; but we will give a few extracts:--
"The Protestant Peril," of 569 pages, declares:--
"The Huguenots go hand-in-hand with the traitors of the fatherland and with the foreign foes of France, just as their religious fellows did in the year 1870....The Protestants force their way into the houses of the French people, ostensibly to sell Bibles, but in truth to spy out where the honest peasant has
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hidden his savings. They are picking out quarters for the army of the invasion. Therefore, we must keep a watch over these imbeciles and force them to leave our towns....These pious gospel messengers do not propose so much to make converts to Protestantism, as to demoralize our good people and to lay plans for facilitating the proposed invasion of our country. We appeal to the peasants to become new crusaders in the interests of the good cause."
"The Protestant Conspiracy" charges that the queen of England annually contributes five million dollars to propagate Protestantism in France, and thus to make the latter a vassal state to Great Britain. Another work is entitled, "The Treachery of Protestantism." "Treason's Formation" is another of these. It says:--
"The Huguenot is a born traitor. A Catholic will die for his faith; a Jew to save his money; but a Protestant knows no martyrdom....The claim of the innocence of Dreyfus was simply a specimen of Protestant treachery in order to make it possible for England to occupy Fashoda, and William II. to make his journey to Jerusalem. All the defenders of Dreyfus are open or secret Protestants."
"The Protestant Conquest" is the title of another of these blasts of ignorance and falsity, designed to prejudice the populace so that they will give Protestants and the Bible no hearing. It suggests the wisdom and propriety of murdering leading opponents, both political and religious, as follows:--
"The Catholics are too scrupulous. Nobody can bake an omelet without breaking some eggs. No revolution can be achieved without advancing over dead bodies. Do you think it would be a crime to condemn and put to death such men as Zadok Kahn, Reinach, Scheurer-Kestner, Picquart, Zola, Brisson, Yves Guyot, Jaures, Clemenceau, Monod, and Ranc, because they have organized the Dreyfus conspiracy? I confess openly that I would have no hesitancy to vote for the death of this Reinach, etc., and such pastors as Monod, etc."
French Protestants are justly indignant at such unscrupulous methods of opposition, and are crying out for freedom and fair and honest treatment; and to offset it are publishing pamphlets entitled "Away from Rome," and scattering them widely.
* * *
But now note the difference between the sentiments of Protestants in France, and Protestants here. Where they are in the minority they want liberty and God's Word to prevail, and appeal to reason and the Bible as in offset to ignorance, superstition and priestcraft. But how is it here in "the land of the free" where Protestantism controls the great majority? Ah! here we see the weakness of fallen human nature displayed; for here Protestants, like the Catholics of France, are most bitterly opposed to any advanced light--especially any further light from the Bible;--not only denying what they cannot gainsay Scripturally, but becoming the more angry in proportion as they find present truth unanswerable.
True, they have not published volumes in opposition to our presentations, but this is no doubt due to two facts: (1) There is no opportunity to confound the gospel we preach with any class of politicians or political aspirations; and (2) they know nothing to say against our position, and fear to call attention to it lest their closely guarded and tightly penned "sheep" should get a taste of "the good word of God," and break away from sectarianism to the "green pastures and still waters" of divine truth. But most of their fears are groundless, for the majority of their flocks are not "sheep" anyway; and the "goats," true to a perverse nature, would prefer tin cans, paper, filthy rags, or any thing of a sensational character--Evolution, Higher Criticism, human philosophy, and "science falsely so called"--rather than the truth.
United States Protestant methods differ from French Roman Catholic methods, but both have the same object; namely, to prejudice the minds of the people under their control who are trusting to them as their guides and spiritual advisers; thus to hinder them from investigating truth on its merits and in the light of the divine Word.
Having mentioned the Roman Catholic method, it is but just that we cite instances illustrating the Protestant method. For instance, some years ago the pastor of the North Ave. M.E. Church of this city made a most furious attack upon the Editor of this journal, whom he had never met, and whose writings he probably had never read--as would seem to be implied by the false statements of our position made by him in a discourse over an hour long. What was the ground for the attack? Simply that five members of his congregation had been baptized by us the week previous, and that he knew, in some way or other, that we believed in the imminence of the Kingdom of God. He railed at the fact that this teacher did not belong to any of the sects, and was not recognized by any of them, informed his people that he had been specially educated so as to be able to guide them in all spiritual matters; and that they should seek no other counsel respecting God's Word.
He then demonstrated his wisdom and ability as "a scribe instructed respecting the Kingdom" by declaring that the second coming of Christ must be many thousands of years future, because in his judgment, this was clearly taught, not by the Bible writers, but by the coal fields and ore deposits of earth, which he thought would last that long.
If the learned gentleman had only thought of it he might have prophesied a still longer interim--millions
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on millions of years--basing his calculations on the supply of limestone for macadam and whitewash, and on the supply of granite for tomb-stones. This encouraging (?) sermon on "The Second Coming of Christ" ended with an attempt to arouse the murder spirit amongst the "goats" of his flock and to intimidate the "sheep" with words, understood by all to refer to the Editor of this journal, who was (by request of the recently baptized ones) present in the audience thirty feet from the reverend and learned speaker, who in loud and angry tones shouted, "Do you know what they would have done to such a man eighteen centuries ago? They would have led him outside their city and would have stoned him to death!"
Here is the same murderous spirit manifested by the French Catholics--and in both incited by a bitter hatred of the truth--or rather by a fear of the truth, and a desire to preserve, by any and every means, the human organization they have been taught to regard as divine. "By any means" is none too strong; for we know of numerous instances in which professed ministers of God's truth have most outrageously falsified for the good of the cause, as the Jesuits would say.
For instance, it makes the false shepherds (who seem to predominate) very angry when members of their flocks receive present truth and request that their names be stricken off the sectarian roll because they consider it quite enough and much more in accord with the Lord's will and Word to have it written only in "the Lamb's book of life,"--and quite sufficient to be members of "the Church of the first-born, which are written in heaven," and thus in fellowship with all true "sheep," wherever found. In some instances reported to us the pastor kept the letter to himself, and long afterward charged the one who had withdrawn with backsliding, neglect of covenant in not attending service and hence unworthy of respect or fellowship.
In one instance a dear sister who had been a Bible class teacher of prominence and influence was so feared by her erstwhile pastor that he deliberately, and with much hypocritical show of sorrow, circulated the report that she had "gone insane"--"a very pitiable case." His crafty satanic method succeeded; and her church friends and neighbors "let her alone," for fear they would "excite her" and "make it necessary to send her to an insane asylum." Needless to say, the sister is of much sounder mind than ever before; --of much sounder mind than any who can believe the unscriptural and God-dishonoring doctrine of eternal torment, taught by the jarring creeds labeled "Orthodox."
It was in view of such cowardly and disreputable methods coming to our notice that we prepared what are known as "Withdrawal Letters"--setting forth the truth in kindly language--which we supply freely to all who desire them, so that each member of the congregation receiving one may be truthfully informed as to our reasons for renouncing membership in sectarian systems; and thus, too, the temptation to misrepresent is taken from the false shepherds whose love for the sheep is chiefly for the sake of their "golden fleece." But those kindly-worded letters are feared and hated as much as the DAWNS.
Space forbids us to mention numerous instances of perfidy and misrepresentation by "ministers" against our publications--especially MILLENNIAL DAWN. Publicly and privately they warn their people against it, and advise those who have it not to read it, but to "saturate with oil and burn it," evidently thinking us so opposed to eternal torment that we would use some kind of fire-proof paper that would need oil to make it burn. Others, learning that colporteurs had reached their city and had sold DAWN to their parishioners, have gone about from house to house, warning, threatening and entreating (according to the intelligence and financial dignity of the person) that they violate their engagements and refuse to take the books, and if they already have them to be sure to burn them.
Why all this warning, etc.? Love for the "sheep"? Oh no, indeed! but love for themselves. They well know that wherever the true light of the Word of God goes their "craft is in danger." (See `Acts 16:16-24`.) Often they hear of their "sheep" getting into by-paths of sin, but who ever heard of their working themselves into a frenzy of energy on that account? Why then are they so excited the moment MILLENNIAL DAWN is mentioned, or seen in the houses of their sheep?
Their fear is (1) that if their people read the DAWNS they will know far more about the Bible, and will begin to think and to ask questions which they cannot answer. (2) It will show them that they have been hiring shepherds to lead them to the green pastures of truth, who, instead, have been penning them up in sectarian folds and forcing them to subsist on the God-dishonoring doctrines of the dark ages. (3) It will lead the true "sheep" to get out from among the "goats" and "wolves in sheep's clothing," by showing them that the "harvest" time of separation has come, and that the great Chief Shepherd is calling forth his own sheep to himself and to fellowship with all other sheep--free from human creed-pens. (4) No wonder these worldly-wise shepherds resent a teaching which would gather the few grains of "wheat" from a parishful of "tares." It would look bad to call his a wheat-field if there were no wheat in it. Then, too, it would count in numbers (tho far less than they suppose
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--for the "tares" take little or no interest in present truth), and their prestige and salary depend so much on numbers; how could they regard DAWN otherwise than as their enemy likely to bring all kinds of trouble to their slumbering flocks by awaking them to thought and Bible study?
This seems to make no allowance for honest preachers, lovers of the truth who should be glad to find it in DAWN or anywhere, and glad to proclaim it at any cost,--some one complains. No, we do not deny that there are honest, God-fearing and truth-loving men in the Christian ministry, scattered probably among all denominations; but, evidently, as at the first advent, the Doctors of Divinity as a class are, by their training and selfish interests, enemies of the true light, the wisdom from above, and friends and patrons of earthly wisdom. The majority are blind and cannot see the true light, and of the remainder a large proportion seem to love the present world, and to be willing to sell the truth for its "mess of pottage." Nevertheless, here and there some "forsake all" for the sake of the truth,--to suffer with Christ, if so be that they may also reign with him by and by.
Nor does it always stop with threatening words: these in small towns are often followed by social ostracism and business boycott too often successful. For instance, a brother wrote us a short time ago, changing his address, explaining that he had been obliged to move onto a farm because his cotton-gin, saw-mill and grist-mill in town had been boycotted until he could no longer earn a living--because of his attempt to explain the truths of the Bible to his neighbors. The charge against him was that he "had too many different translations of the Bible" and "had many texts marked in his Bible which neither the preacher nor his neighbors could find in theirs;"-- not being so well acquainted with their Bibles as with their almanacs, daily papers, dominoes, cards and chess.
Alas, poor world! It is still true that "men love darkness rather than light," and that this is their condemnation, leading surely to the great time of trouble with which this age is predicted to end, as the same love of darkness led natural Israel to its great trouble and overthrow, in the end of the Jewish age.
Yet none of these things move the Lord's people, for the same light upon the Word shows not only that the Lord's true people will be hated and maligned even to the end of this age, and that whosoever will live godly must suffer persecution; but it shows also the object of such tests and trials and sacrifices--to fit and prepare a little flock to be faithful and merciful kings and priests of God during the coming age, when with their Lord, Jesus, whom they follow through evil as well as good report, they shall, as God's representatives, "judge the world"--giving to all the fullest opportunity to come back to full harmony with God and righteousness.
PREPARED TO FALL INTO SPIRITISM.
It is our expectation that Spiritism, as one of the latter day delusions, is to play an important part in the next few years in connection with the great falling away already begun, in which "a thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand." Romanism taught, and still teaches, a Purgatory to which their dead go at death for purification for heaven; and that while there the prayers and paid masses of their friends on earth avail for them to a sooner release --to heavenly bliss. Protestantism at its start, through Luther and its principal exponents, denounced this as a Papal deception to fill its coffers with the money of its deluded people; and failing to grasp the truth that a dead person is not alive anywhere, but awaits the resurrection of the dead as his only hope of a future life, Protestantism took its illogical position still held--that death ends all hope, and that all not fit for heaven go to a hell of everlasting torment. And, in harmony with this, prayers to and for the dead were reprobated--the righteous needing none, and the wicked being hopeless.
It has often surprised us that with the thought that their dead are not dead, but more than ever alive and "hovering" among the friends at the funeral, as some ministers explain (?), there has not been a greater disposition to follow the lead of Spiritism and seek communion with those supposed to be alive and near, and able to assist. The explanation seems to be that Romanists are under the control of the priests instructed who are the saints who may be prayed to, and
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instructed that those who need to be prayed for can only be reached or assisted through the priests,--who alone must do the mass-saying and praying. And Protestants have been restrained by the original declaration of the leaders that prayers to and for the dead were both Romish superstitions, unsanctioned by the Word of God--to which we heartily agree.
A CHANGE ALREADY IN PROGRESS.
But the Boer-British war has started a fresh discussion of the question of prayers for the dead. As Roman Catholics, after news of a battle, repaired to their cathedrals to pray for the Catholic dead, and to offer mass on their behalf in Purgatory, Protestants have been perplexed and felt their need of something to offset the hard error of their creed that if the soldier were a saint he went at once to glory, but if not a saint at once to an endless and hopeless torment in
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hell. Loving fathers and doting mothers were unable to hide from themselves that their sons, and the army in general, were far from being saints or "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light;" and yet they felt sure that they were far too good and noble and patriotic to be turned over to the care of devils to be roasted eternally: and this coming now, at a time when people are thinking more than ever before, and when human sympathy is greatly expanded, is awakening serious thought in Britain.
As usual, however, the Adversary manages to turn thought into a wrong direction; and so they fail to see that all the dead must wait for the second coming of the Lord and for the resurrection awakening then due, and that then (during the Millennial age) the whole world will be a grand and good Purgatory;-- when Satan will be bound, and when so many as will, can have the assistance of the Royal Priesthood in getting rid of their errors and weaknesses, and coming back to perfection by a process of restitution. No, on the contrary, the suggestion is that the early Reformers must have erred in rejecting that feature of Rome's teachings which permits and encourages prayers for the dead. Note the sentiments promulgated by the influential Christian World of London. It says:--
"Here is theology in the roughest; its chiefest problem thrust on you in a fashion which brooks no shirking. What has really happened? Where or what is he who, a moment ago so near, is now at a remove to which our space computations offer no clew? We are all on-lookers to-day at tragedies of this sort, and the questions behind them press us with relentless force. Do our dead still think or love? Have we any sort of relation with them? Can we do aught for them or they for us?...
"What on this subject [communion with the dead] is the position of Protestant Christians to-day? Signs are abundant that the standpoint from which it is approached by non-conformists, not less than by conformists, is a somewhat different one from that held by the Reformers and the Puritans.
"Thoughtful minds are now asking whether the sixteenth-century onslaught on Purgatory and priestcraft did not, in the rush, carry away with it some precious things that it is time now to restore....
"And why should we not pray for the dead? What is prayer, in the best conception of it, but the following of those we love, with aspiration and affection, with desire for their highest good, with the whole best emotion of our soul? What barbarous infidelity has taught us that death interposes a limit to this outgoing? The notion that those who now rest in God are, because of that, beyond the reach or need of prayer is heathen, and not Christian. It is disloyal at once to God, to the departed themselves, and to our own best instincts. There is no position, not that of heaven's central point; there is no condition, not that of supremest blessedness, that is outside the range of love....
"We have neglected our dead, and in so doing have weakened one of the most intimate of our links with the unseen. We have put up in our minds barriers that do not correspond with the reality, and so have obstructed the flow of some of the grandest of the human inspirations. The mind revolts against these limitations. Its prophetic instinct recognizes them as a mistake. The vagaries of Spiritualism are a rough protest against the policy of cutting the cable between here and the Beyond. And that other side protests also. Near to us, on the other side of a very thin veil, lies a great realm of life which has the closest connection with our own. What that connection is we at present only dimly discern. Our organs of perception seem only in the most rudimentary condition. It may be that our later indifference on this side has hindered their development. But develop they must, for they are among humanity's most priceless possessions. A stage will yet be reached when they will be part of the soul's general apparatus, and when, not to a stray prophet here and there [mediums?], but to the common man will it be given to stand with Bunyan's pilgrim on the Delectable Mountains and behold what was visible there."
Light (Spiritualistic, London, April 10) thinks this is a real, tho belated, recognition of the essential truth of the Spiritualistic position. It says:--
"Spiritualists have been severely criticized and ridiculed for affirming that the departed are frequently benefited by the advice, sympathy, and prayers of earth-dwellers. We have been denounced for teaching that progress after death, following upon repentance and effort, is possible for the ignorant and sinful dwellers on the threshold....
"Think of it! Spiritualism is a 'protest against the policy of cutting the cable between here and the Beyond!' Aye, and evidently the protest has not failed, it has not been in vain. While the writer laments that 'our organs of perception [psychical, mediumistic perception, or "spiritual gifts"] seem only in the most rudimentary condition,' he suggests that indifference has 'hindered their development,' and he fully justifies us and our long struggle for recognition against, not only indifference, but prejudice, intolerance and active hostility, by affirming 'develop they must, for they are among humanity's most priceless possessions!'
"After this we shall assuredly have The Christian World founding a 'School of the Prophet's for the development and exercise of mediumship and psychical powers generally."
PRAYING AND FIGHTING--AN EMPEROR'S SERMON.
The German Emperor preached a sermon on board his yacht Sunday, July 29, from the text, `Exodus 17:9-11`. His argument was that as Moses prayed and got a blessing for Israel, so all Germans at home should pray that their brethren gone to war in China might successfully slaughter the heathen Chinese, who should be like the Amalekites. The press report of the discourse follows:--
"The soldiers shall be the strong arm which punishes assassins. They shall be the mailed fist which
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smites that chaotic mass. They shall defend, sword in hand, our holiest possessions. True prayers can still cast the banner of the Dragon into the dust and plant the banner of the cross upon the walls.
"Again is heard God's command, 'Choose us out men and go out to fight with Amalek.' A hot and sanguinary struggle has begun. Already a number of our brethren are over there under fire. Many more are traveling along hostile coasts. You have seen them, the thousands who, to the call of volunteers to the front who will guard the empire, have assembled themselves to battle with victorious banners. We who remain at home are bound by other sacred duties. Woe unto us if we remain slothful and sluggish while they are engaged in their difficult and bloody work, and if from our place of security we only curiously look on while they wrestle in battle.
"Not only should we mobilize battalions of troops, but we should also, and shall, set in motion an army of trained people to beg and entreat [God] for our brethren that they may strike into the wild chaos with sword in hand. May they strike for our most sacred possessions. We would pray that God the Lord may make heroes of our men and lead those heroes to victory, and that then, with laurels on their helmets and orders on their breasts, he may lead them home to the land of their fathers.
"Our fight will not be finished in one day; but let not our hands grow weary or sink until victory is secured. Let our prayers be as a wall of fire around the camp of our brethren. Eternity will reveal the fulfilment of an old promise--'Call upon me in trouble, and I will deliver thee.' Therefore pray continuously."
The Emperor and many other militant "Christians" fail to see that Israel was used of God as a typical people and that the duly authorized slaughter of the Amalekites was because their iniquity was "come to the full" (`Gen. 15:16`), and God would use them as types of evil and evil-doers to be overthrown by the antitypical Moses, the antitypical Mediator, Christ-- as Pharaoh and his hosts previously typified the same thing. Similarly the "Land of Promise," Canaan, was typical of the heavenly Canaan.
The Spiritual Israelite is to watch and fight and pray, but against a different kind of enemies and with different weapons--mighty through God to the pulling down of error, and the gaining of victories over sin and self and Satan. "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal," says the inspired Apostle--not swords, machine-guns and battle-ships.--`2 Cor. 10:4`
As for the "Christian soldiers" going to "heathen China" from "Christian Europe" we fear they have not a true "soldier of the cross" among them, and
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but few who have any knowledge whatever of the sword of the spirit--the Word of God. They are probably no better than the thousands of their comrades already there and of whose unchristian conduct, after the capture of Tien Tsin, the telegraphic dispatches published say:--
"This day has been devoted entirely to looting the native city [Tien Tsin]. The Chinese killed many of their women to keep them from falling into the hands of the allied troops. It is impossible to cable a description of the scenes that were enacted.... American and Japanese troops were the only ones who made any attempt to restrain the civilian or soldier looters."
THE GERMAN KAISER'S HUMANE (?) EXPRESSIONS
The Emperor is practically the pope of the German National Church system; we presume he has received the collegiate degree of "D.D.," as did Bismarck. He is evidently another "man of blood and iron." He has surely placed himself, by recent utterances, at the head of the revived ancient order of Christian soldiers of the period of the crusades. The "Boys' Brigades" should all be pointed to this fact; --and be advised to resign and turn in the opposite direction from the general Christian (?) drift of our day. The following from the Presbyterian Banner is to the point. It says:--
"'Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy; but I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.' Is this passage in the German New Testament? Has the Emperor William ever read it? If he has he must have forgotten it, or lost its spirit, for last week, in dispatching German troops to China, he is reported to have said to them, 'Every civilization not founded on Christianity is sure to be brought to naught. I send you out. If you close with the enemy, remember this: spare nobody, make no prisoners; use your weapons so that for a thousand years hence no Chinaman will dare look askance at any German.' The whole address breathes the spirit of ruthless destruction to the Chinese. The great 'war lord' doubled up his 'mailed fist' and threatened to pound China to pieces. The vain emperor, swollen with a sense of his own importance, seemed to be sublimely unconscious of the violent inconsistency of his fierce paganism with his professed Christianity. He would outdo Mohammed in spreading religion with the sword. There are difficulties, however, in the way of this plan. Christ himself told Peter, who was eager to use it for defending the Kingdom, to put up his sword, and there is no evidence that he has handed this weapon to William II. for this purpose. And further, there are the Chinese themselves; there are 400,000,000 of them, and they may prove a considerable obstruction in the way of William's policy. In fact, the German emperor's plan is about the worst possible one that could be announced in the present emergency. It would consolidate the Chinese and turn them into a horde of fanatics that might easily turn out to be a genuine 'yellow terror.' It is believed that the emperor's rash words will render the cooperation of the powers difficult, if not impossible. England and America will not set out on any such bloodthirsty mission.
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When Christianity seizes the sword, it may perish by the sword. Poor old China, in its paralysis, needs pity. Something must be done in the way of chastisement and reorganization, but let not passion seize the sword and sweep it with a besom of destruction. Justice must be done, but let it be tempered with mercy, and let the Christian nations act in a Christian and not a pagan spirit."
"NOT SO PAUL WON MACEDONIA."
Rev. Dr. Halderman lifts his pen against the modern and erroneous methods of propagating the gospel of "peace on earth, good will toward men." He says:--
"I am absolutely sure that in the future Russia will gain the supremacy. It is also true that, taught by Western genius, the Eastern hordes will yet break in awful avalanches on the West. The greed, the rapacity, the Christless, godless selfishness of European nations will get its reward. All the Christianity that has been wrought in China will be small, counting in the terrible final balance that shall be made against so-called Christian nations, who have poisoned China with opium and made them look upon Christians as only another division of rapacious foreign devils.
"Considered morally, there are two sides to the question. These Chinese are fighting for their homes, their land, their institutions. They know the Christian nations are ready to rob and cheat them; and when they find the missionaries backed up by guns and swords and bloodthirsty Cossacks, by rude and godless soldiery, ready to kill and slay, they are only the more infuriated and determined in the opinion that any white man is a devil and needs to be slain.
"It was not so that Paul won Macedonia and Rome. When he went to Rome he did not say, 'Down with Nero! Down with the powers that be!' On the contrary, he counseled Christians to recognize that here Nero's government, bad as it was, was permitted by God and that Christians should submit.
"It was by the blood of martyrs our church won at first: not by the blood of their foes, but their own blood; not shed with arms in their hands, but shed at the stake or rack or block with prayer on their lips and love in their hearts."
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GOD'S PROVIDENTIAL CARE.
BECAUSE two of the Lord's dear sheep of the Allegheny congregation recently lost their lives in an accident, while returning home from meeting and discussing the sermon, many of the brethren have been surprised. The inquiry arose, Do we not believe that God's consecrated people are specially the objects of his care? And if so, how was such an accident possible?
These same questions are liable to arise in many minds, and hence we discuss the matter here for the benefit of all.
We advise that each WATCH TOWER reader shall peruse afresh the tract entitled, "Calamities: Why God Permits Them." In it we discuss this topic at considerable length--from the standpoint of accidents to the world, and accidents to the Church. Now we will confine our remarks to the latter phase of the subject, suggesting:--
(1) It is the Scripture teaching that every member of the Church must die somehow. This was the purport of our consecration--"even unto death." Each member of the "royal priesthood" became a member by consecrating,--presenting his body a living sacrifice as did our High Priest, Christ Jesus. And just as it was necessary for him to finish his course of dying in actual death, so will it be with each of us.
(2) As the Master's death was not on a "flowery bed of ease," neither, probably, will be the death of any of his footstep-followers. And, if it be a choice between a bed of tedious sickness and a sudden death by "accident," many would choose the latter as the less painful--the quicker "change."
(3) But it is not for us to choose on this more than upon other subjects. It is ours to accept with patience and full resignation whatever divine providence may permit; and this may vary. Under some circumstances it may be better that death come through a lingering illness in which God will be glorified, and the power of his truth to sustain shall be demonstrated in the patient, loving spirit of the dying sufferer. Or, at another time, the Lord may see best to permit death to come upon his dear ones suddenly--as a shock, as a calamity; to test the faith of some, and to awaken others from lethargy to vigilance,--from drowsiness to a fresh energy in running the race toward the mark for the great prize. The suddenness of the death of the two dear sheep of this Allegheny fold certainly has had a good effect upon many of the dear ones most intimate with them, and who knew them both as most saintly characters --ripe in the Christian graces, and fully ready and waiting for their "change." Undoubtedly many not so prepared have been awakened to fresh vigilance, and a renewal of consecration vows, and zeal in self-sacrifice, by this incident and the thought--Would I have been ready had the call thus suddenly come to me?
(4) If to some the question arises,--But what about the little children needing parental care? The answer is, that these parents had already placed their children, as well as themselves, under divine care; and that care is still over the children: as able to care for
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them now, as for both parents and children before. This is a place for trust--for faith. Whoever cannot trust his children to divine care does not as yet properly know his Heavenly Father, and needs to give renewed diligence to this important study. Such an one has not yet attained the faith that would be acceptable to God, and without which it would be impossible to please God,--the faith of an "overcomer."
(5) The shock connected with our dear Redeemer's death was no doubt a severe test of faith to some of the early disciples--it seemed as tho it proved that our Lord was in disfavor with the Father--"We did esteem him smitten of God, and afflicted." Yet to those who stumbled not in unbelief the shock of our Lord's cruel death became afterward a great lever of sympathy for good as they fully grasped the thought, "He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for sin which brings peace to us was upon him, and
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by his stripes we are healed." The apostles also suffered violent deaths and learned to regard such calamities not as marks of divine disfavor, but the reverse.
(6) There can no "accident" happen to the Lord's consecrated ones, viewed from the divine standpoint. Not a hair of their heads can be injured aside from the Father's permission, and what God purposely permits cannot be properly considered an accident from his standpoint, nor from the standpoint of those who fully trust his providence and grace. We might even suppose a calamity in which ninety-nine children of this world and one of the Lord's consecrated met death together. It might be purely accidental so far as all but the Lord's one was concerned: but, to that one nothing could occur unforeseen of God--nothing that God could not have fully controlled, and which permitted must mean a blessing to his child who rightly and in faith accepts it,--"For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God." So it was in our Lord's case. As he testified, the Jews could not touch his life before because his "hour was not yet come." And when his hour did come, our Lord testified to Pilate,--"Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above." The same is true of every member of the body of Christ, the royal priesthood. But this divine supervision does not watch for the unconsecrated of the world--except as they may be children of the saints, or others whose affairs and interests are interlinked with theirs.
(7) Expecting as we do that the living members of this royal priest or "jewel" class will all be gathered to glory sometime before A.D. 1915 (and so far as we are now able to surmise by 1910), we are bound to suppose that a considerable number of these will, in some manner, die sudden or violent deaths. And happy for us will it be if this thought that our "change" may come at any moment, shall be so impressed as to assist us to be always ready to answer the summons with joy.
Let us each permit this thought to arrange our business affairs, our family affairs, our relationship to the "brethren"--our relationship to the world in general--all our words, and thoughts, and doings; and thus it will bring us great blessing and assist in making us "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light."
The Editor will not be surprised if his death should come suddenly; nor if by divine permission it should come in some unpleasant form that might, for the moment, seem to "jolt" and interrupt the "harvest work." Let all of the consecrated be on guard against such a wavering of doubt respecting the divine power to care for and carry on the work. If such a trial does come, it will no doubt in part, at least, be intended of the Lord to show that the work is his and not ours; and that he is perfectly able to carry on his work, using one or another of his children as his servants to set the food of his providing before the household of faith.
All of our affairs in daily life are shaped to these ends: to the development and bringing forward of others ready to the Lord's hand, should he at any moment call for the transfer of our stewardship and bid us "Come up higher." And the same applies to the financial means and interests which the Lord has entrusted to our care. Let none be surprised, then, at anything which may happen to us, but, on the contrary, glorify God on our behalf, and press along the "narrow way" with redoubled energy.
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DOING, TO INHERIT ETERNAL LIFE.
--`LUKE 10:25-37`.--SEPT. 9.--
GOLDEN TEXT: "Thou shalt love thy
neighbor as thyself."--`Lev. 19:18`.
PROBABLY while our Lord was preaching, and his audience seated about him, either upon the hillside or in a synagogue, a lawyer stood up, and thus politely intimated his desire to say a word in connection with the subject under discussion. The term "lawyer," amongst the Jews at that time, signified one versed in the Law of Moses, one claiming to be able to expound that Law, and to teach others its true meaning. Such persons today we term theologians. These were also termed scribes or learned men--irrespective of their religious convictions, some of them adhering to one view and some to another; some being Pharisees,
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others Sadducees, etc.,--each endeavoring to interpret the Law in harmony with the teachings of the sect to which he adhered.
Luke does not give us the connections, but quite possibly this lawyer raised his question in connection with some discourse in which our Lord held forth that he himself was the Bread of Life, of which, if a man eat, he may live forever--or in which he had been representing himself as the Good Shepherd, who would give his life for the sheep; or as the Redeemer who had come, that God's people might have life, and that more abundantly--eternal life. This lawyer (or, as some today would say, this D.D.) was probably of the Sadducees, who denied a resurrection and any future or eternal life, interpreting the Law, which promises life upon certain conditions, as merely a decoy, intended to promote holiness amongst the Lord's people, but nevertheless a deception, since the holiest and most faithful of the race had not inherited eternal life, but had gone down into death, even as others.
In this view of the matter this Jewish D.D. propounded to our Lord a question, hoping that the answer would give room for a discussion, in which he would be able to show himself the greater of the two teachers, and to prove to his pupils, at least (who were probably present with him), that his theories were correct--that no matter how faithfully the Law might be kept no reward of eternal life would be given, and that faith in Christ would be equally futile in this respect. The Evangelist says he asked the question, "tempting" the Lord, that is, to prove him, to draw him out, to expose the weakness of his argument: saying, "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" You recognize me as a scribe, a doctor of the Law, a teacher; as one, therefore, who is living a godly and upright life, so far, at least, as his neighbors and pupils may be able to discern. Looking back I see that the holiest and best of our nation (the holiest nation in the world, and the only one recognized of God) have not inherited eternal life. I see that, on the contrary, they have died as other men; I see that for some cause (whether it be the Lord's failure to fulfil his promise, or man's failure to comply with the conditions) all have died, none having attained eternal life. Tell me now, what shall I do that I may not share the same fate of death--that I may live everlastingly?
Our Lord answered the question with great directness, at the same time signifying his unquestioning faith in the promises of God, that whatever God had promised he would surely fulfil--implying, therefore, that if he failed to obtain eternal life it would be his own fault, and not the fault of God. Our Lord practically said, I stand by the Scriptural record: you are versed in the Law; quote, as you understand it, the teachings of the Law on this subject.
The answer shows that this Doctor of the Law was well versed, for he quoted correctly the most direct statement on the subject to be found in the Law. Our Lord's reply was equally to the point: "Thou hast answered right; this do and thou shalt live"--I confirm the Law; I uphold it; I vouch for its truthfulness; none who keep that Law can possibly die. The difficulty with all Jews who have died has been, that they did not fulfil that Law requirement toward God and man.
The Doctor of the Law was trapped. He had hoped to entangle Jesus in a discussion, and had himself become entangled; for the great Teacher had pointed out that the fault was not in God--that God was not unfaithful to his agreement under the Law; that the fault lay with the people. And this included the lawyer as well as the remainder of the race; and that he so understood it is implied in the statement, "He, desiring to justify himself, said, And who is my neighbor?" It was very shrewd of the lawyer to avoid discussing the first commandment, respecting the love for God with all the heart, mind, soul and strength; because no one can thoroughly judge another in respect to this feature of the Law; only God and each individual heart knows absolutely whether God is loved with every talent, every power of heart, of mind and of body. But others can judge to some extent respecting obedience to the second commandment: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." The lawyer felt that he could safely leave the first proposition and claim that none could judge his heart, provided he could "justify himself" in respect to the second proposition, his dealing with his neighbor. Hence it is that he brought up this point, saying, "But who is my neighbor?"
There was a difference of opinion amongst the most learned Jews on this subject of who is the neighbor meant in the Law,--some claiming that it meant all Jews, and Jews only. Others claimed that the word "neighbor" would mean only those Jews who lived holy lives. Thus the lawyer practically said, I shall be obliged to yield my contention and acknowledge you superior to myself as a teacher, unless we can get into a contention on this subject of who is the neighbor. In that event I shall at least be able to bring a strong argument that will appeal to all the hearers. But when the great Teacher had, in parable form, explained the true meaning of the word neighbor, the lawyer found himself without an argument.
Some have supposed that our Lord meant that this Doctor of the Law and others who heard him should understand that the Samaritan of the parable, by doing a kind and neighborly act, won for himself the inheritance of eternal life, and that our Lord meant further to teach that the lawyer and all of his hearers might inherit eternal life if they would go and do likewise--do as the
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Samaritan did--do good, help their neighbors. This view is a serious error. In the first place, we do not know that any Samaritan ever did just such an act of kindness. It was merely a parable, a suggestion: Suppose that such conditions existed, and suppose that a Samaritan had done such an act, would he not be a good "neighbor"? The reward of eternal life was not offered on condition of being a good neighbor merely. This was one of the conditions (the one the lawyer questioned), but it was quite secondary to the main proposition--Thou shalt love the Lord with every power and talent of mind and body. The lesson which the lawyer and every other Jew needed to learn was that no imperfect man could possibly fulfil that requirement. All so learning that "There is none righteous, no, not one" (`Rom. 3:10`), would be prepared to look for the promised Messiah as, first of all, their sin-bearer, to justify them and to discipline them and make them perfect and able to obey the Law.
Our Lord in the parable represents a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan, in order to give force to the matter. The priest was specially consecrated to God, the Levite also was consecrated (and most of the Doctors of the Law were Levites), while the Samaritans were outcasts, without God and having no hope in the world, aliens and strangers from the commonwealth of Israel. The Samaritans, altho they lived in a part of the land of Israel, shared none of Israel's promises; but, as our Lord testified, "Ye worship ye know not what: we [Jews] know what we worship; for salvation is of the Jews." The Samaritan, therefore, was introduced into the parable to make a strong contrast before the minds of the hearers, and to say, A neighbor is one who does a neighborly act, however high or however low he may be in the scale of intelligence or dignity or divine favor.
What our Lord wished to prove to the lawyer and to all hearers was, that the Law was just and holy and good, and that any Jew complying with its conditions would inherit its promise--eternal life. He wished all of his hearers to realize, therefore, that the fact that neither they nor their fathers inherited eternal life proved, not that the Law was imperfect, but that they were imperfect, sold under sin, and unable, therefore, to comply with the just demands of the Law. It was difficult for the Jew to learn this great lesson; viz., that he could not keep the perfect Law of God, and hence that he needed a Savior, a Redeemer, who would keep the Law for him, and thus justify him before God, and who would then grant him eternal life as a gift, as a favor--not of the Law, but of grace.
In harmony with this, the Apostle assures us who trust in the sacrifice for sins which Jesus gave, and who have entered into New Covenant relationship with God through him, that "the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us--the true sense, meaning, purport of the Law being in our hearts, God accepts this as instead of absolute fulfilment of the letter of the Law. The sacrifice of our Lord Jesus compensating for all our imperfections, for all differences between the actual demands of the Law and our efforts to conform our lives thereunto, we, walking not after the flesh but after the spirit, are reckoned as no longer fleshly beings but new creatures.
THE GOOD SAMARITAN.
Altho this parable of the good Samaritan was not given to illustrate by what good works the lawyer, or any other man, Jew or Gentile, might attain eternal life, but, on the contrary, was given merely to head off the argument of the lawyer, and to leave him without excuse, it nevertheless contains a rich lesson, which has brought a blessing to many. Not only has it made clear to many of the Lord's dear children the course of conduct pleasing in the Father's sight, viz., that of generosity, love, benevolence, etc., but it has also brought blessing to many who are not the Lord's children, in that they became recipients of mercies, favors and kindnesses in adversity which, otherwise, they might never have known.
The road leading from Jerusalem to Jericho has a steep downward grade through a rocky country, which abounds in caverns, the hiding places of highway robbers. It has always been a dangerous road, and on it the traveler is not entirely safe to this day, unless under some kind of a protective guard. This feature of the parable was, therefore, in strict accordance with the conditions of the time; so was the fact of the priest and the Levite passing, for Jericho was one of the appointed cities of the priests and Levites, and it is estimated that twelve thousand of them resided there then. These, with other priests and Levites from other parts, took their turns in the service at the Temple in Jerusalem, and, consequently, were frequently on this road.
Our Lord's parable seems to imply that the religion of the Jews, instead of bringing them nearer and nearer to the spirit of the Law, was really, by reason of the formalities and ceremonies and pride connected with it, tending to separate them further and further from the condition of heart which would be acceptable to God. The priest, most fully consecrated to the service of God in the Temple, is represented as having least interest in the brother in distress. He passed by on the other side (of the ravine), not counting the circumstance worthy of attention; reflecting, no doubt, with a self-righteous feeling respecting the honor of his own position as a servant of God, and unwilling to run the risk of ritual contamination. The Levite, also consecrated to God and his service, but not so high in office
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and privilege, was more disposed to consider the poor brother, and to render a helping hand. He went so far as to stand and look at the sufferer, and to think over how much trouble would be involved in assisting him, and how much risk he himself might run in so doing (altho we are inclined to believe that the priests and Levites were, on account of their office, generally exempted from molestation by the robbers).
Then our Lord chose, as the hero of his parable, a despised Samaritan, unrecognized by God and disowned by his favored people. This heightens the force of the picture, by suggesting the thought that one who had never learned at all respecting the true God and his will, one who had never been offered eternal life on the terms of obedience to that Law, might nevertheless exercise so much of brotherly kindness and sympathy as to lend a helping hand to a neighbor in distress.
And it is still true that many who, by reason of their better knowledge of God, through his Word and plan, should be possessed of a larger measure of his love and grace, are instead more deficient in these qualities than some who have been less highly favored. It might indeed be that some who are strangers to the covenants and promises of God as yet, possess, by reason of being well born, a large measure of natural generosity, benevolence, kindness, sympathy, and might be good Samaritans by nature, rather than by grace; and it may also be true that some who have been begotten again to the new life and to the new hopes may naturally have less of this good Samaritan element of kindness and generosity, because low born according to the flesh-- born with a predominance of selfish proclivities. However, such an one, coming under "the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus," will soon be taught in Christ's school, that love is the fulfilling of the Law; and if he be an obedient pupil he will gradually attain to a better appreciation of the heavenly Father, and in heart, in spirit, will learn to love him with all his mind, with all his being, with all his strength. And so surely as this condition obtains, and in proportion as the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, it will enlarge them also toward our fellow-creatures, so that every "new creature" must at heart come into such a degree of fulness of love toward God and toward his fellows as would make him not only an obedient and self-sacrificing son of God, but also a good Samaritan, a kind friend, a loving father and husband, a generous neighbor to all with whom he stands related. He will be a living exemplification of the Apostle's injunction,--doing good unto all men as he has opportunity, especially to the household of faith.--`Gal. 6:10`.
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"BEWARE OF COVETOUSNESS."
--`LUKE 12:13-23`.--SEPT. 16.--
"What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"--`Mark 8:36`.
WHILE JESUS was preaching on spiritual themes he was interrupted by one of the audience, whose heart was filled with anxiety respecting temporal matters, esteeming that he was being wrongly dealt with by his brother in the division of the parental estate; and perhaps finding that through some technicality he could not obtain what he considered to be his just rights under Jewish laws, he appealed to the great Teacher to use his influence on his behalf--to speak to his brother--to tell his brother that he ought to deal generously, and perhaps to threaten him if he failed so to do.
How many there are who see just this much and no more in the teachings of Christ--a channel through which to serve their own interests; a means of securing justice to themselves. How many are ready to quote our Lord's precepts when it suits their convenience so to do, but who otherwise and at other times manifest little interest in them, and in the principles of righteousness which they inculcate! Persons in this attitude of heart are rarely able to grasp or enjoy the spiritual truths which our Lord enunciated, just as the young man in the lesson was failing utterly to profit by our Lord's spiritual teaching, because his entire thought was preoccupied with his own personal, selfish plans and schemes and views--however just they might have been.
Our Lord flatly refused to interfere in the manner suggested, saying, "Who made me a judge or an arbiter over you?" Thus he illustrated the general teaching of the Scriptures, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's," and again, "If any man sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, refuse not even if he take similarly thy cloak also"--do not ask or expect anything beyond what is granted by the civil laws of the land in which you live. "Be subject to the powers that be; for the powers that be are ordained [permitted] of God." Our Lord's Kingdom, long promised, and which eventually shall be "the desire of all nations," had not then come, and still has not been set up. We still pray, "Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." The Lord's people are to recognize this fact, and not to expect absolute righteousness and justice until present conditions cease, with the close of this dispensation,-- of which the Scriptures tell us Satan is the prince or ruler. Instead of expecting justice in full measure now, the Lord's people should rather be surprised that there is so large a measure of justice obtainable in many parts of the world.
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As our Lord was not willing to impose himself as a judge or an arbitrator in his day, so his followers now should not seek to interfere in secular affairs. The case would have been different had the two brothers come together to our Lord, and, indicating that they wished to do right, had requested his judgment of what would be the right course. In that event undoubtedly our Lord would have favored them with his view of the question and the reasons for it.
It would be an excellent thing for all of the Lord's footstep-followers to learn well this lesson of non-interference in secular matters--the lesson, that those who speak as the oracles of God should speak respecting spiritual matters, to the spiritual class and not to the worldly--to them that have ears to hear, and not to the blind and deaf. This, of course, would not mean that the Lord's people should not give any advice, but merely that they should not give advice nor otherwise interfere outside the laws, customs and usages of the country in which they reside. The young man in the narrative undoubtedly had appealed to his brother and to the Jewish authorities for the relief which he thought he ought to have; and similarly it is proper for a Christian to appeal to the person immediately interested for what he considers to be just rights in the matter in dispute. He may appeal also to the laws of the land in which he resides; but if he fails in this he should content himself with his condition and wait patiently for the Lord's Kingdom and its righteous retribution.
* * *
This principle, put into practice by Christian missionaries in China, would, we believe, have led to very different conditions than those which now obtain there. But our Lord's example and various injunctions along this line have been very generally ignored, and, to the contrary, it has been the custom of missionaries, who have gone to China and other lands, to ignore the laws of those lands and "the powers that be" there, which God's ordinance has permitted. They have attempted to settle all kinds of disputes; interfering in a manner which the Master, in this lesson, disapproved of. Not only so, but they have sought and invoked, publicly and privately, the interference of various so-called Christian governments of the world on their behalf, and in violation of the laws of "the powers that be" in those countries. It is as a result of this wrong line of conduct that the good of Christianity, its moral and civilizing influences, are specially hated and feared,--as political interferences, aimed at the destruction of the laws and institutions which to those people appear to be wise and good; and which undoubtedly are adapted to the present intellectual and moral conditions of the masses of their people.
We cannot too strongly condemn, as contrary to the Master's teachings, modern methods of missionary effort--backed by cannon, warships and soldiers. It seems to us wholly contrary to the method employed by our Lord and the apostles, and advocated by them. It is much more in harmony with the methods adopted during the dark ages, by Papacy, and by Mohammedanism. Early Protestant missions seem to us to have been along much more reasonable and proper lines. The missionary, in giving himself to that work, understood and agreed that, figuratively speaking, he took his life in his hands; he had already sacrificed his life before starting. Neither he nor those who sent him forth thought of appealing to the government to avenge his death, either with many lives for the one life, or with large sums of money, nor with large concessions of land, or with large privileges of commerce. He went as a representative of the meek and lowly Jesus, as a "living sacrifice," as the apostles in early times went forth, without backing, ecclesiastical or civil. Like the apostles, they were privileged to appeal to all the laws and moral instincts of the people in whose midst they were living, and for whose good they were laying down their lives; but more than this they did not do, and were not authorized to do by anything in the Scriptures.
It is the present wrong system of compassing sea and land to make proselytes, with battleships, cannon and soldiers, that is responsible for the loss of thousands of lives and awful misery. Were the missionary question today left upon the same footing that it occupied in the days of the apostles, and again at the beginning of this century, it would probably be less pretentious in appearance, but in reality probably would have found just as many of the "elect" as the present method; and would have left undisturbed questions that already have caused much trouble, and which in the near future will cause more. It would have left millions of the poor heathen in a much more contented frame of mind than at present--would have left them much more susceptible to the influences of the true Gospel, when, by and by, the great missionary work which God has planned will begin in earnest, under the administration of the Kingdom of Heaven, with Christ and his elect Church, the kings and priests, to rule and bless with infinite power and wisdom and love.
* * *
But while refusing to interfere with the matter, the Lord made use of the intrusion to point a lesson on the subject of covetousness--a lesson which would be of benefit to both of the brothers, if they were present, and a lesson, indeed, which could not fail to be of profit to all of his hearers. The exhortation to take heed of covetousness would apply to the one who had sought our Lord's interference. Possibly he had been asking something outside of his rights and outside of his father's will and intent--coveting what his father had really intended should go to his brother. Or, if he were asking only what was reasonably his due, our Lord's words would be a consolation to him, as showing that whether or not he got all of his rights in the present life would be a comparatively unimportant matter--unimportant as compared to his having such experiences as would be favorable to his eternal life, and rightly using those experiences. Our Lord's words would also be a lesson to the other brother, if he were seeking to defraud and to take unjustly what belonged to his brother--or even if he were covetously ungenerous in construing his brother's rights. Indeed, everyone who will carefully
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consider the meaning of our Lord's parable in illustration of this subject of covetousness will draw from it a valuable, a profitable lesson.
THE RICH CHURL.
In this parable it is not stated that the rich man had obtained his wealth by any unlawful means. He is not charged with having defrauded his brother or his neighbor. The record merely is that he had temporal blessings in abundance, and that by natural increase he was very wealthy; and the point of the lesson turns upon his question to himself, What shall I do with these possessions?
The right attitude of mind, "the spirit of a sound mind," would have answered this question somewhat after this manner: These bounties of divine providence are a trust, and I am a steward, a trustee; my position will permit me to be a source of great blessing to others
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of my fellow-creatures not so bountifully supplied; in fact, I have in my hand the power to make many fellow-creatures comfortable and happy; and in discharging this stewardship in this proper manner I shall have much greater pleasure than if I endeavored selfishly to use all these bounties upon myself, or to store them up for my own use in the future.
Such an unselfish, generous course would not only have had divine approval, and thus have constituted "true riches" "laid up in heaven," but, additionally, it would have been the most direct road to happiness for the already favored individual himself. It is a true proverb, "There is that scattereth and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, and it tendeth to poverty." So, many have found that hoarding of earthly wealth leads to poverty of heart, to a meanness of disposition, which is not enjoyed by the individual himself, and which is strongly reprobated by him with whom rests our eternal interests, our everlasting blessing and riches. On the contrary, he who uses, in harmony with his best judgment, the earthly wealth committed to his care, thereby purchases to himself a rich reward of approbation on the part of all with whom he has to do; and, through the Lord's gracious arrangement in Christ, this cultivation of the spirit of love becomes a most important factor in respect to his attainment of everlasting joy and blessing.
As illustrating the uncertainty of such selfish calculations, our Lord might have made the parable to close by showing the rich man as losing all of his possessions and being reduced to beggary through some misfortune, such as war or fire; or he might have shown him the victim of a loathsome disease, in which even his riches could not purchase attendance, so that thus he might suffer want in the midst of plenty. But he chose to close the parable by merely representing the rich man as dying suddenly--ceasing to have and to hold and greedily enjoy his selfish hoardings. "Soul, take thine ease," etc., is merely another way of saying --Self, take thine ease, eat, drink, etc.
Our Lord, to enforce the lesson, then raises the question, Whose, then, shall these things be? They could no longer be enjoyed by the accumulator, whoever might get them; he would be poor indeed, whoever might enjoy them; for these were all that he had; he had given up thought and effort and every talent to money-making and to attempted selfish enjoyments, and had not been rich toward God,--had not been rich in good works,--had not laid up treasure in heaven. His life had been a failure; he would enter the next life a pauper, as respects mental and moral development in good qualities. He would enter it with a load of selfishness, with which to some extent he had been born, but to which he had added greatly by a life of selfishness. And his load of selfishness will, in that future life, for a time handicap his efforts toward true nobility, should he then make efforts toward perfection under the gracious terms of the Millennial Kingdom.
Tho our Lord in the parable represents the covetous person as succeeding in accumulating riches, yet, as a matter of fact, the majority of covetous people never so succeed; and their selfishness is not less reprehensible from the fact that it fails of success. The thought rather is that if a covetous person who succeeds makes a miserable failure of life, how much worse would be the failure of the covetous person who gains nothing, either in the present life or in that which is to come!
Our Lord, turning to his disciples at this juncture, gave a special lesson applicable to them only, and not to the multitude. Literally translated this message is: Be not anxious as respects your earthly life, its food and its clothing. Think rather of the life which is to come; remember that this present condition is, from the divine standpoint, a death condition. Consider that in you who believe, the new, the eternal life, has already begun, and that if you will faithfully continue under present conditions in living for this new life, and not after the flesh, it will be perfected in the First Resurrection. Think more of your bodies than of the raiment which covers them; think more of your life than of the natural food by which it is at present sustained. God is able and willing to give perfect life and perfect bodies and perfect conditions to those who believe in me, who walk in my footsteps and meet my approval. The reason why you need not take anxious thought for these temporal things, for which the world takes anxious thought (and necessarily so), is this: you have come into harmony with God, and have been adopted into his family; believing in me, you have been granted "liberty to become sons of God." (`John 1:12`.) As sons of God, with the new life begun in you, you are to realize that everything of the present life is quite unworthy to be compared with the future and eternal interests. You are to remember that, having consecrated yourselves to the Father's will in becoming my disciples, you have given up every interest and matter to his superior wisdom. Be content, therefore; be without anxiety, knowing that so long as you abide in me, and so long as you are walking in my footsteps, your Heavenly Father knoweth what things you have need of, even before you ask him, and is both able and willing to give what is best.
Therefore, if in divine providence you receive poverty as your unavoidable portion, accept it as best for you, according to divine wisdom; remembering that it is our Redeemer who is guarding our future and eternal interests, and permitting such experiences in this present life as will be most beneficial to us, and as will lead most directly to eternal riches and favors, and that in greatest measure.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I feel prompted to assure you that my interest in the glad tidings of great joy is increasing. I assure you this--not that I believe you think otherwise concerning me, but it is a pleasure for me to tell you in words what I am not able always to prove in deeds. I rejoice that in the present great harvest our Lord uses all willing witnesses of the truth in some capacity: no one need be discouraged, for, "Those members of the body which seem to be more feeble are necessary."
ZION'S WATCH TOWER is a very welcome visitor to our home. While meditating on two discourses in July 15 TOWER, viz., "The Ministry of Comfort" and "Forgive Us our Debts," I rejoiced in spirit that you so clearly defined the divine disposition for those striving to attain it, since it is the heavenly Father's desire that we should become copies of his dear Son.
The subject of Justice, alluded to in "Forgive us our Debts," used to perplex me, but about two years ago I was much enlightened by an explanation on the exercise of the above attribute, that I read in a WATCH TOWER. Among other things you wrote, "God did not enact the penalty of sin from sinners, but of a perfect man, created in the image of God, whose sin was wilful. If we were perfect ourselves and dealing with others who were likewise perfect, a law of Justice and demands of Justice would be in order. Since we are transgressors ourselves, and objects of divine grace, and since our fellow-creatures are in the same pitiable plight, through the Adamic fall, there is no room for us to take our stand upon Justice." In another place I noted, "While always endeavoring to be just we should not demand justice from others but act along the line of love and compassion." This view of righteous judgment (`John 7:24`) appealed to my heart and cleared away my difficulty.
I am so thankful for this Scriptural instruction and that I have learned not to consider the brethren by daily conduct, or rather by the imperfections of the earthen vessel. Doubtless all are striving to do the best they can, but by the ruling thought or controlling motive of their lives. I believe all those who are guided by righteous principles to the best of their ability and earnestly endeavoring to spread the glad tidings of the Kingdom have God's loving approval. How tender, patient and long-suffering our Father is! If there is any sign of fruit on the branches the great husbandman prunes and prunes and does not cut off entirely: only dead branches are severed from the vine. Oh the love and mercy of our God! Praise be to his holy name forever!
My love for God, for the Church and for humanity increases constantly, but I am slow about cultivating the fruits of the spirit. Please pray for me, dear Brother Russell, that I may bloom in this direction. I long for perfection of character.
Accept this letter as a little token of appreciation and much Christian love for yourself and all dear harvest workers in the Bible House.
AMELIA E. POWER,--Pennsylvania.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I beg you not to think me less appreciative if I do not correspond as frequently as others. Indeed, I have at times reluctantly refrained from writing you, having in mind your many thousand correspondents, and your work to "prepare the table" and give "meat in due season," and "declare what he seeth." Assuring you that wife and I try to do our part --watch in the WATCH TOWER, "eat and drink" at the Lord's table (`Isa. 21:5`); and thanking you for your share in setting forth this meat and drink, we also thank our heavenly Father, the giver of all good--especially for that feature of his plan which you have been chosen to carry out. We make mention of you daily before the throne of grace.
I am happy to report that my efforts, together with yours, have not been in vain in this place. Here are some of the "more noble" who are receiving the truth with all readiness of mind, searching the Scriptures daily to see if these things be so. One sister who was quite prominent in the Salvation Army notified the officers of this sect that she could no longer cooperate with them, and to this end gave a banquet, inviting the officers to it (one Ensign, one Captain and one Lieutenant), at which she took occasion to explain why she withdrew, assuring them that she was not joining another sect, neither leaving God nor Christ nor the "brethren." Then she offered me the opportunity of speaking and reading out of the Word of God.
I have found two who purchased DAWNS a few years ago but did not know what they contained. They have now been aroused to read them. I go over the field once in a while, to see how they all get along with their reading and find out where the wheat is, seeking to ripen it, and will, when they can appreciate it, call their attention to the TOWER. I will try ere long to gather the interested ones to a series of chart talks and to get acquainted, and then will suggest a DAWN Circle.
I often think in solitude of the favor shown me, that I have been called to a share in the sufferings of Christ, and to the hope of sharing with him in glory. He only knows how dearly I love the cause, and how humble it makes me when I think of the kindness you have shown me, first in bringing me onward toward maturity in the knowledge of Him who hath called me out of darkness into his marvelous light, and then in permitting me to share with yourself in the harvest work as a co-reaper and fellow-servant, going from house to house, calling attention to that wonderful book, MILLENNIAL DAWN. I highly esteem this service with you in the gospel as a son with his father (`Phil. 2:22`), and assure you that I am from henceforth fully and unreservedly in the service of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. I invite your suggestions at any time, for while I am a colporteur, by the grace of God, I am, by the same grace, a "volunteer," so that if you think best to "shell the forts" first, here I am, or if to skirmish on the borders from house to house, I will so continue. At any rate send me some "volunteer ammunition." "Remember me with thee... and make mention of me unto Jehovah."
With due respect and love to the TOWER helpers, I am yours with much Christian love and gratitude,
CHARLES J. PETERSON,--Kansas.