ZWT - 1881 - R0175 thru R0310 / R0205 (001) - April, 1881
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VOL. II. PITTSBURGH, PA., APRIL, 1881. NO. 10.
HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE.
PUBLISHED MONTHLY. 101 Fifth Ave., PITTSBURGH, PA.
C. T. RUSSELL, Editor and Publisher.
J. H. PATON, . . . . ALMONT, MICH. W. I. MANN, . . . . SWISSVALE, PA. B. W. KEITH, . . . DANSVILLE, N.Y. A. D. JONES, . . . PITTSBURGH, PA. L. ALLEN, . . . . . HONEOYE, N.Y. J. C. SUNDERLIN, . FT. EDWARD, N.Y.
In no case will the Editor be responsible for all sentiments expressed by correspondents, nor is he to be understood as indorsing every expression in articles selected from other periodicals.
TERMS, 50 CENTS PER YEAR, In Advance--includes postage.
All communications should be addressed to "ZION'S WATCH TOWER," as above, and drafts, money orders, etc., made payable to the Editor.
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PITTSBURGH CHURCH MEETING.
Service held in "Curry Institute Hall," corner Penn avenue and Sixth street, Pittsburgh, at 3:00 o'clock P.M., every Sunday. Every Wednesday evening, at No. 80 Cedar avenue, Allegheny, at 7:30 o'clock P.M. All are cordially invited.
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The death and resurrection of a human body as a thing distinct and separate from the intelligent being, is never mentioned in the Scriptures. We never read that Abraham's body died, nor that Jesus' body died, nor that any one's body died.
Being signifies existence, and there can be no being or existence without life and body both. Withdraw life and the being or existence ceases, for life is but a power or principle, the same in the lower animals as in man; the difference in qualities between man and the brute, consisting not in a different kind of life, but in a different kind of body.
Any being is properly called a soul or person. This is the Scriptural sense and usage of the word soul, so little understood; viz. Being (life and body combined.) Thus we read of the creation of Adam--"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (ruach--the same breath said to be given to beasts, birds and fishes) and man became a living soul," (being.) `Gen. 2-7`.
We will cite a few illustrations of the Bible usage of the word soul showing that it signifies being: `Lev. 5:2`, "If a soul (being-person) touch any unclean thing he shall be unclean." `Verse 4`, "If a soul (being) swear." `Verse 15`, "If a soul (being) commit a trespass." `Lev. 22:11`, "If the priest buy any soul (being) with his money." `Prov. 6:30`, "If he steal to satisfy his soul (being) when he is hungry," `Prov. 27:7`, "The full soul (being) loatheth the honey-comb, but to the hungry soul (being) every bitter thing is sweet." `Prov. 19:2`, "That the soul (being) be without knowledge is not good." `Verse 15`, "An idle soul (being) shall suffer hunger." `Luke 1:46`, Mary said, "My soul (being) doth magnify the Lord." Jesus said, "My soul (being) is exceeding sorrowful even unto death." `Matt. 26:38`, "Thou shalt love the Lord... with all thy soul (being.) `Matt. 22:37`, The rich man said, "Soul (being-self) thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry. But God said existence) will (cease) be required of thee." `Luke 12:19`, "For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul (existence, being,) or "What can a man give in exchange for his soul (being existence.") `Matt. 16:26`. How many illustrations of this scripture are furnished us in every day life. Men and women labor for wealth, to gain as much as possible of the whole world only to find when they are rich that wealth has come at the expense of health. How many of those who spend their life in laying up earthly treasure, find that their very being-- existence--has been sacrificed in gaining the wealth. Then what would they not give to get back again health, etc. They lavish their wealth upon physicians, traveling, etc., but it is of little use: They made a poor exchange when they gave their being for money.
In `Acts 2:41`. There were added to the church about 3000 souls (beings, persons.) `Acts 7:14` "He called Jacob and his kindred 75 souls," (beings.) `Acts 27:37`, "There were in all, in the ship, 276 souls," (beings.) "Some purified their souls (beings-- lived more purely) in obeying the truth." `1 Pet. 1:22`. "The law of the Lord is perfect converting (changing) the soul" (being.) `Psa. 19:7`. Other souls (beings) were subverted, turned from the truth by error. `Acts 15:24`, Other, unstable souls (beings, persons) were beguiled. `2 Pet. 2:14`.
The word soul is used, also to represent the being's affections. "O thou whom my soul (being's affections) loveth. `Cant. 1:7`. The soul of David (affections) was knit unto the soul of Jonathan....(The two beings were united.) `1 Sam. 18:1`. [The word soul is used with reference to fish, fowl and beasts, as it is of man; to represent their being or existence, but is usually translated "life" in our Bibles as in `Gen. 1:20 & 30`, etc.]
With this view of the meaning of the word soul, viz: That it includes all being or existence (a combination of life and body) let us inquire--what dies--the principle of life, or the body? We answer neither; the life principle is one which pervades all creation just as does electricity. This principle of life pervades and is an essential element of all being, in tree, in fish, in fowl, in beast, in man, in angels, and in the fullest degree in God who is its source or fountain. This principle cannot be said to die though if it be withdrawn from any creature to whom God has given it, that creature will die--cease to have being. Thus the breath of life is taken from beasts, birds, fish and man.
Neither can it be properly said that the body dies, since, separate from the principle of life the body never had life and consequently could not die. The body without the spirit (of life) is dead and that which is dead cannot die.
WHAT THEN IS DEATH--WHAT DIES?
We answer, the being dies--ceases to have being or existence. Death is the dissolution, or separation of the things which combined, constitute being, --namely, life and body. Thus when the spirit of life returns to God who gave it (all nature is His reservoir of life) then, the being is dead and soon the body will return to the dust from whence it was taken."
We see clearly then, that not the body but the being--called in Scripture, soul, dies. Let us notice some instances in which this is stated in so many words: `Job 31:39` (marginal reading) cause the soul of owners thereof to expire"--(dissolve, die.) "Their soul dieth in youth, etc." `Job 36:14`, margin "To deliver their soul (being) from death and to keep them alive in famine." `Psa. 33:19`.
He spared not their soul (being) from death (dissolution). "He keepeth back his soul (being) from the pit"...(death.) `Job 33:18`. "He shall deliver his soul (being) from the grave." `Psa. 89:48`. "All souls (beings) are mine...the soul (being) that sinneth it shall die." `Ezek. 18:4`. It was the soul (being) of Jesus which was given for our ransom. "Thou shalt make his soul (being) an offering for sin"...."He shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied." "He hath poured out his soul (being) unto death." `Isa. 53:10-12`. But, (`Acts 2:31`.) His soul (being) was not left in hell," (hades--the condition of death.) He was raised to being again but a being of a higher order--having a grander than human form-body. "Put to death in the flesh but quickened by the Spirit." And now we come to the point-- What will be raised up, in the resurrection? The body says some one. Not so I answer, it is the BEING that God promises to raise up. It once existed, and lost existence and is to be raised up to existence or being again. Men, can resurrect a body from the tomb (that is, bring a body out of a tomb to the surface;) but only God's power can resurrect or bring to existence again a being who has died.
We see then that resurrection means the restoring of being. Now, "with what body do they (these beings) come" (into being again?) is a question asked by Paul. (`1 Cor. 15:35`). [We have seen that being is made up of two elements, body, and spirit of life--hence if restored to being they must have some sort of bodies provided them.] Paul proceeds to tell us, that while each must have a body, yet, in the resurrection all beings will not have the same kind of bodies. He says that there are two general sorts or kinds of bodies--the earthly or natural bodies, and the spiritual --heavenly bodies. There are two, perfect illustrations of these two kinds of bodies: Adam was the head of the earthly, human family and a pattern of the perfect human body. Christ Jesus at His resurrection was the first born from the dead to the perfect new nature, the spiritual, and He, "thus born of the Spirit, is spirit." (`John 3:6`.) His is a sample or illustration of a perfect Spiritual body.
All humanity, belongs to one of two classes: either they are natural men--The ADAMIC SEED, or they have been begotten of the Spirit through the word of truth and have given themselves up to Christ, that the will of God might be done in them. This is the newly begotten man; he belongs to the SPIRITUAL SEED. Now says Paul, "God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him and to every seed his own body." That is, those who have, during the present life, become partakers of the divine nature must needs have a divine form --a "spiritual body" "like unto Christ's glorious body" while those who have not thus changed nature would have no change of body. When again brought into being, they will have natural, human bodies.
The resurrection which some will have, to spiritual conditions of being --with spiritual bodies--is in Scripture designated as special, by calling it "The first resurrection," first in importance --chief. It is also frequently designated by the article THE (very noticeable in the Greek text; but less so in our English translations) for illustration--notice the following instances, (`Luke 20:35`.) "They that shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world and THE resurrection neither marry nor are given in marriage." Again, Paul always taught that there would be "a resurrection both of the just and the unjust;" yet he says: If by any means I might attain unto THE resurrection. `Phil. 3:11`.
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The first--to spiritual condition and being. Again he designates this resurrection to spiritual being as "His resurrection," because Jesus
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was the first one so raised from death to spiritual being. "That I might know Him and the power of HIS resurrection (i.e., that I might be raised as He was raised.) Then follows an account of how he might attain to that glorious resurrection to spiritual being, viz.: "knowing the fellowship of His sufferings and being made conformable unto His death," (`Phil. 3:10`.)
None will attain to this chief resurrection, except they consecrate themselves entirely to God's service, "We beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies (and all their powers, talents, reputations--all) a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, your reasonable service." So shall you be among those who shall be in THE first resurrection for "Blessed and holy are all they that have part in THE FIRST resurrection: on such the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and reign with Him a thousand years. (`Rev. 20:6`.)
We can know little about the perfection and grandeur and powers of those who shall become spiritual beings except that they will be "like unto Christ's glorious body." (`Phil. 3:21`.) As the Apostle says: It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him." (`1 John 3:2`.) What an answer is this to those who claim that nothing is real but a flesh and bone body. Who would insist that Jesus, after His resurrection was the very same flesh and bones He was before He died. Was that a glorious body? No, that was the body he took for the suffering of death--but being put to death in the flesh He was quickened by the Spirit, "a life-giving spirit." (`1 Cor. 15:45`) Now He is the express image of the Father's person. Is the Father and Creator of all things simply a great Man? Nay, verily, "God is a Spirit." "It doth not yet appear, what...but we shall be like Him." Away with that grossness of materialism, which can realize nothing higher than the natural, human plane. Let us take Paul's account. There are human natural bodies and there are spiritual bodies. Both will be glorious, but the glory of the human, earthly, (terrestrial) is one thing and the glory of the spiritual, heavenly, celestial, is quite another and quite a different thing. See (`1 Cor. 15:40`.)
The restored world of mankind shall be indeed glorious men like the perfect head of the human race, but that glory will not compare with "the glory that shall be revealed in us," who have given up the human nature and become partakers of the divine nature, into the perfection of which we hope soon to be ushered. Like the earthly one (Adam) such will they be also that are earthly (human)--Like the heavenly one (Christ when "born from the dead")--such will they be also that are heavenly, (now begotten to the heavenly nature by the word of God through the Spirit, then to be born into the perfection of that being). `Verse 48`.
Paul gives us a slight account of the great change from natural to spiritual which awaits those who have part in THE first resurrection: `Vs. 42` informs us "Thus is THE resurrection of THE dead: It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown an animal body, it is raised a spiritual body." [Diaglott].
ORDER IN RESURRECTION.
All of God's works and plans are full of order: It has well been said--order is the first law of heaven. While, there shall be a resurrection both of the just and unjust and all shall be made alive, and while some shall be made alive as perfect spiritual beings, and others in the likeness of the earthly one, Adam, yet there are times and seasons and orders for all this, as Paul says: "But every man in his own order, Christ the first fruits--(Jesus the head and we the "members of his body"--yet "all ONE body"--The head raised 1800 years ago, the body very soon we trust,) afterward they that are Christ's at his (parousia) presence--the "great company."
These are the first orders and include all of those who are of the spiritual family, but there are others--every man in his own order--and when all of these orders are complete (Paul mentions only those in which the church's interest centered) when all have been brought to life and perfection either on the human or spiritual plane (except those who die the "second death") "then (at the end of the 1000 years reign of Christ and the saints,) cometh the end," "when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power." For he must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet-- The last enemy that shall be destroyed (during that 1000 years reign) is death" (Adamic) in all its forms; sickness, and pain, as well as the tomb--"Then the end" will have come--the end of sin on earth, the end of the great work of ransoming mankind and bringing them into full harmony with their Creator. Then--the Son shall deliver up the kingdom--dominion of earth to God even the Father; that God may be all--and his will done in all. See `vs. 23-28`.
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FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.
"Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." `Matt. 25:34`.
Which world is this at whose foundation the kingdom is prepared? If there were only one world, and therefore the word world always meant the same thing, there would be no room for discrimination; but as there are three worlds.--The world that was, the world that now is, and the world to come,--there is room for the question, "Which world is meant?" The Greek word translated world, wherever the heading of this article is found, is Kosmos, which, sometimes means the people, or world of mankind, as in `John 3:16`, "God so loved the world," but often means, as Greek scholars tell us, the order or condition of things. The order or state of things--heaven and earth--which was, Peter tells us, ended at the flood; the second order ends at, or during, the sounding of the seventh trumpet which is associated with the second coming of Christ; and then begins the new or third order; the new heaven and earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. `2 Pet. 3`.
Now from the foundation of which of these three worlds is the kingdom of God prepared? Our suggestion is, that it is the third world and not the first. That the same expression is used in some Scriptures in reference to the first world, we do not doubt; and as to which is meant the plan of the ages should in all cases determine.
We think it is clear that the Bible reveals three kingdom ages--the Jewish, Gospel and Millennial ages,-- represented by the Saviour as the three measures of meal, in which the work goes on to completion. We can find no trace of a kingdom before the Jewish age. In it the typical kingdom was organized. In the Gospel age, as shown by many of the Saviour's parables, the church is called the Kingdom. It is not perfect, however, nor pure, for in it tares and wheat grow together, until the tares are gathered out of his kingdom. They could not, of course, be gathered out unless they were in.
Some think the kingdom means the earth, and that to gather the tares out of His kingdom means to rid the earth of all the world of mankind, except the saints. But if we understand their position, they do not seem consistent, for they teach that instead of taking out the tares, the Lord will take out the saints, leaving the world of mankind on the kingdom (if the earth is the kingdom) to be burned up. We seriously doubt if the earth is ever called the kingdom.
We understand that during the Jewish and Gospel ages, the kingdom of God has been in a process of preparation; but it is not fully prepared until the end of the Gospel age, when the tares are separated, then the wheat shall be exalted to glorious power, and then begin to "shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."
It seems that when the kingdom is prepared it is time to set it up, as it could not be set up (put in power-- glorified) if it had no existence, or before it was fully prepared. Just so the Papal church (woman) could not have been placed in power--i.e., could not have been set up on the beast (`Rev. 17`,) before she had an existence or before she was prepared for that step, by the completeness of the falling away, or apostacy from Christ. When the counterfeit kingdom was thus prepared, and set up--put in power--She was then prepared and ready to gather within her pale the millions upon millions who would not previously have listened to her voice. So we believe when the true church or kingdom of Christ is set up, she will then be prepared to gather to her pale those who will hear her voice.
It seems to the writer that the setting up of this kingdom is laying the foundation of the world--to come-- the third and endless order of things, and that it is so prepared and set up for the benefit of mankind, seems clear from the text, and also from the fact that "The Spirit and the Bride" shall say "Come."
The scene in our text is laid when the Son of Man shall have come in His glory; and that the saints are with Him in glory before He thus comes is evident, because the gathering
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of the saints to Christ must precede their coming or appearing with Him; and Paul tells us that "When Christ who is our life shall appear, we also shall appear with Him in glory." `Col. 3:4`. Let this fact be noted and it will be seen that the "sheep" of `Matt. 25`, are not the saints who are already rewarded and with Christ, but another class. It is not our notion, as some think, but Paul's statement, that "The saints shall judge the world." `1 Cor. 6:2`.
With this view that it is the foundation of the third world at which the kingdom is prepared, another passage appears luminous; "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world." `Eph. 1:4`. It seems more in keeping with the gospel conditions that we are chosen during the gospel age, in order to be prepared to share in laying the foundation of the coming world or order of things, and also as the `next verse` asserts to adopt children by Jesus Christ to Himself, than that we were chosen, as some express it, "Away back in the counsels of eternity," when we had no responsibility in the matter. The means by which we are chosen in Christ are not omitted by the apostle, which show that though the Lord is the prime mover in the work, yet they involve the mental action and obedience of the chosen one: "Through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." We do not doubt that the plan to the end was known and arranged from the beginning, but the man is chosen when the truth is applied and obeyed. We regard it as a wonderful privilege thus to be called out, and so to be present at the laying of the foundation of the future order of things--"The world to come," in which all nations shall be blessed.
J. H. P.
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NEW VERSION OF THE N.T.
The necessity for a better translation of the New Testament and from older and more authentic MSS., has long existed and now seems about to be realized in the New Version just completed and soon to be published. [We hope the translators have been bold enough to correct not only the many mistranslations of words; but, also the interpolations without the fear of man which bringeth a snare. A number of these interpolations have been noticed in a former number of the WATCH TOWER, as lacking in all old Greek MSS. written previous to the fifth century: such as `John 21:25`. Also the words--"in heaven the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost, and these Three are one; And there are three that bear witness in earth"--parts of `1 John 5:7,8`; and the words--"But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished" and part of `Rev. 20:5`.
From what we have heard of this work, it will be very valuable and certainly a great improvement upon the present standard version. But we venture the assertion that it will be a great lever in the hands of Infidelity, and will be used to overthrow respect for Christianity, its teachings and its standard--the Bible, in the minds of those who have no understanding of how and why the changes are right and proper. For this the church's ministers are to blame. For years they have sought to instill into people, and particularly children, an unreasoning, superstitious awe for the Bible, and thousands who attend church, have the impression that to question the correctness of one word in the King James' version, is infidelity. Ministers who know, or should have known that the word hell in our English texts is the translation of more than one Greek word and in a large majority of the cases should have been translated-- the grave--or--the condition of death --have preached year after year from texts where the word should be grave and have allowed their hearers to understand it as meaning--a lake of fire --for fear, some one should get the impression that--"God is love," for fear the church could not stand, except supported by error. Many have preached right along from the interpolation of `1 John 5:7,8`, and never informed their hearers that the strange statement that--it was witnessed in
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heaven, that Jesus was really the Son of God--was not a part of the Word of God; but was introduced by Papacy during the tenth century. Who there needed such witness--did not all in heaven know it? And why did they thus keep the people in ignorance? Because they feared that if people knew this, the only text which gives even a shadow of support to the doctrine of the TRINITY, to be an interpolation to support a papal error, they might renounce the error and believe Jesus' words. (`John 5:30`; `8:28`; `10:29`; `14:28`; `Rev. 2:27`.)
Yes, in the coming and now beginning trouble upon the church (Zion's Travail). The new version of the Scriptures as well as Infidelity will play an important part, and "From the time that it, (the trouble) goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning it shall pass over, by day and by night; and it shall be a vexation only until He shall make you to understand doctrine, (truth.) For the (theological) bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself in it and the covering (doctrines) narrower than that he can wrap himself in it." For the Lord...shall do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act His strange act. Now, therefore; be ye not mockers lest your bands be made strong. For I have heard of the Lord God a consumption (an end --a "harvest,") even determined upon the whole earth." (`Isa. 28:19-22`, margin.)
Yes in the whole world there is to be a separation between evil and good, truth and error; but in the church first comes this harvesting there will indeed be a fearful shaking, both of wheat and tares. (`Matt. 13`,) as the two classes of the church (the tares much the most numerous) are separated by the sickle of truth. There will indeed be a great and sore trial upon the church when one after another, long cherished errors are torn away--it will be a hard time for any to stand as Christians. Paul entreats us concerning this commencing evil day, "Take unto you the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in that evil day." Thousands who are building on the good foundation, Christ, are building with the wood, hay and stubble of human creeds and traditions instead of the gold, silver, etc., of God's Word-- "The fire of that day shall try every man's work (faith structure) of what sort it is," (`1 Cor. 3:13`.)
Yes, a thousand (in the churches) shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, yet it shall not come nigh you if you make God's TRUTH your shield and buckler. (`Psa. 91`.) How important, then, that we should see that our faith is founded on and supported by the word of God, "That our faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." (`1 Cor. 2:5`.) Then we shall have that which is neither the arrow of infidelity, nor the pestilence of spiritualism, nor the purifying fire can destroy. Thus only shall we be able to stand (these evils). And it shall be a trial only until "He shall make you to understand doctrine"--the true teaching of His word. Then it will be seen that God's plan (bed) is longer and wider and higher than the creeds of men, and a man may stretch himself on it and rest, fully covered with the amplitude of God's mercy, love and grace, which is sufficient for any man to wrap himself in it. O, that Christians might get into this place of rest where they could realize a little of the length and breadth, height and depth, and know something of "the love of God which passeth knowledge!" "O, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out." (`Rom. 11:33`.)
"There's a wideness in God's mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There's a kindness in His justice
Which is more than liberty.
"But we make His love too narrow
By false limits of our own;
And we magnify His strictness
With a zeal He will not own.
"If our love were but more simple,
We should take Him at His word;
And our lives would be all sunshine
In the sweetness of our Lord.
--"Search the Scriptures, search and see;
These, said Jesus, speak of me."
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THE COMING STORM.
"Oh! sad is my heart, for storm that is coming;
Like eagles the scud sweepeth in from the sea;
The gull seeketh shelter, the pine trees are sighing,
And all giveth note of the tempest to be.
A spoil hath been whispered from cave or from
The shepherds are sleeping, the sentinels dumb,
The flocks are all scattered on moorland and
And no one believes that the Master is come.
He's come, but whom doth he find their watch
Oh, where--in his presence--is there faith the
The rich, every sense in soft luxury steeping;
The poor, scarce repelling the wolf from the door.
Oh, man, and oh, maiden, drop trifling and pleasure,
Oh, hark, while I tell of the sorrows to be,
As well might I plead in the path of yon glacier,
Or cry out a warning to wave of the sea."
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THE LORD'S SUPPER.
Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the feast. `1 Cor. 5:7`.
The Passover was a Jewish feast kept annually (and is still observed by them) as a commemoration of their remarkable deliverance under the tenth plague upon Egypt--the Passing-over or sparing from death of their first-born.
The circumstances as narrated in `Ex. 12` --the slaying of the Lamb, the roasting of the flesh with fire, and the eating of it with bitter herbs and unleavened bread while the eaters stood, girded and shod, and with staff in hand ready to depart out of Egypt for the Land of Promise-- Canaan--are doubtless familiar to most of our readers. Also, the meaning of these things which were but types: How that Jesus came-- "The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world," and "Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us"--how the door posts and lintels of the household of faith are sprinkled (typically) with the blood of our Lamb which speaketh better things, and saves in a higher sense all that are in that house--how that we are to be pilgrims and strangers, not making Egypt (the world) our home nor resting there, but with staff in hand--how that the "bitter herbs" represent the bitter experiences and trials of this life, which are needful to us and tend to sharpen our appetite for the unleavened bread, (truth in its purity; leaven being a type of corruption or error,) and for the eating of our Lamb, who said unless you eat my flesh...you have no life in you: Thus we partake of our Lamb and have Christ formed within, the hope of Glory. Thus during this night of more than 1800 years, since our Lamb was slain, the one true household has been eating--waiting for the morning of deliverance--the early dawn of which we believe has already come.
When Jesus died on the very same day, and in fulfillment of that part of the type--the Lamb--how fitting it seems that all Christians should commemorate the day on which our Lamb died. We certainly have much more interest in the day than has "Israel after the flesh," who recognize only the type. Then, while we keep the feast daily--partaking of Christ and His word of truth, would it not be a great pleasure and a beautiful way, to commemorate our Lord's death on its anniversary?
We understand that it was our Lord's wish that this day be observed annually as a remembrance of Him, and that he instituted what is termed, The Lord's Supper, of bread and wine--emblems of His body and blood, our Passover supper --as a substitute for the Jewish observance of the type.
Everything connected with it seems to show that this was His intention. He kept the Passover regularly every year, and at the last one, the night in which he was betrayed, he said: "With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." What Jesus commemorated was the killing of the Passover (Lamb;) and not the "Feast of Passover," which followed it for seven days. The Jews at that time kept both, but particularly the latter, (the feast). They do not now, and have not for a long time commemorated the killing of the Passover, but the feast only.
Jesus commemorated (the last time) the killing only and then gave Himself as the real sacrifice. When he had instituted the new supper--remembrancers, (the bread and wine) instead of the old type (the lamb) he gave to his disciples and said: "This do in remembrance of me." (Keep no longer the type or shadow but use these new emblems to commemorate me--the anti-type.) "As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death, (not the typical lamb's) till He come," the kingdom be established and the type completed by the passing over, or sparing of the first-born (overcomers) and the ultimate deliverance of the entire "household of faith."
The Passover killing--Christ's death, can be remembered at no time so appropriately as on the regular anniversary, the fourteenth day of the first month. Jewish time which this year falls on April 14th (commencing at 6 o'clock P.M.) The feast of seven days eating unleavened bread, which followed representing in type the continuous, perfect and everlasting feast which we enjoy after and because of our ransom; (seven being typical of perfection).
We are aware that some christians observe the Lord's supper every Sunday, and claim that their custom is based upon the oft repeated mention in Acts of the "breaking of bread," and "upon the first day of the week when the disciples were come together to break bread." (`Acts 20:7`) etc. They evidently overlook the fact that bread-breaking, was of necessity a frequent occurrence but that there is no mention of wine in any of these instances which constitute as important a feature in the ordinance as the bread, nor are any of these meetings on the first day of the week ever called the "Lord's Supper" or by any name that should lead us to such a conclusion.
There are several reasons why "The Lord's Day" would not be at all appropriate for the commemoration of His death, the principal one being, that "the first day," or "Lord's day" was instituted and used to commemorate an event the very opposite in its character, viz: The resurrection of our Lord. The one was in the "night" and called a supper, the other was observed in the day. The one was a night of weeping and sorrow, the other a morning of joy and rejoicing, saying--"The Lord is risen indeed." The one was a type of the present night of suffering--the Gospel Age-- the other a type of our gathering together and communion in the bright Millennial day--after the resurrection of the body "very early in the morning."
When Jesus had risen from death He appeared to the disciples frequently, if not invariably on the "first day" of the week, and on several occasions made himself known to them in the breaking of bread at their ordinary meal. Upon the organization of the church what would be more reasonable, than to suppose that they would set apart that first day, as especially a day for meeting with each other and with Him, and that coming from distances as well as because He thus revealed Himself first, they would arrange for the having of their food in common on that day? But this was always a day of joy as the other was properly a night of sympathizing grief.
The proper observance of this ordinance like that of baptism, seems to have been lost sight of during Papacy's reign: This one doubtless, was made void, to allow for the deathbed administration of the "Sacrament" to keep the dying from purgatory, etc. Protestants have not generally given the subject much attention, using the words--"As often as ye do this--"as authority for any convenient time, and not seeing that "this" referred to the Passover, as oft as ye do commemorate this event do it in remembrance--not of the type but of the anti-type--Me.
We do not say that a sin is committed by an untimely observance, nor that the non-observance, is sinful; but we do say that the observance of it as instituted is much more suggestive, appropriate and commemorative than any other.
We have so observed it here in Pittsburgh for some years and it has ever been a blessed occasion. We will celebrate it this year at the residence of Bro. W. H. Conley, No. 50, Fremont street, Allegheny City, Pa. April 14th, at 8 o'clock P.M., and cordially invite all who can do so, to be present and join with us. Brethren and sisters from a distance will be entertained by the friends here. If possible please send a postal card to "WATCH TOWER" office, No. 101 Fifth avenue, Pittsburgh, and call there on your arrival.
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IN THE FLESH.
The proper distinction between "the flesh" and "spirit" and the significance of each as used in Scripture relative to mankind, is but little understood; yet is very important to an understanding of God's word and plan.
The word flesh is used in a general sense to mean mankind--humanity. As originally created it was "very good," an image on a perfect though small scale, of the spiritual order of which God is the head.
But through sin and its consequences, death and disease, a blight came and flesh is no longer perfect and beautiful, but marred, sinful, and imperfect to such an extent that none of the race can keep God's law, consequently none can be recognized by a just God except as sinners, and the only just thing to do with sinners is to punish them, and "The wages of sin is death." Hence we read "All flesh is grass and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, etc." (`Isa. 40:6`.)
There was a time when they that were in the flesh could please God. That was when Adam and Eve held daily communion with God before sin entered; but now all flesh has become "sinful flesh," and therefore now, "they that are in the flesh cannot please God." If they live as exemplary moral lives as they know how, their best works will be imperfect, hence they cannot claim that they are not sinners, nor could God in justice recognize them or deal with them in any other manner than as sinners, and punish them according to the penalty of his just law--put them into the great prison house of death--the tomb.
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But as we have already seen, God has a purpose--a double purpose: the first part of which relates to the present Gospel (good news) age, and the second part belongs to the incoming Millennial age. His purpose is first, to select a part of the race whose nature shall be changed so that they will no longer be human or earthly beings, but spiritual or heavenly beings, and as such enjoy themselves in his service. His purpose secondly being that all the remainder of the race may come again to the perfection of the human nature, and as perfect earthly beings ever live in harmony and communion with Him and His law, as Adam did before sin entered the world; and on this, their plane, enjoy perfect human pleasure in doing those things that are well pleasing to God. Then it will be true of all on both the spiritual and natural planes--"I delight to do thy will O God." Then they that are in the flesh can please God, because all flesh will be perfect and free from sin. This is the "Restitution of which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy Prophets since the world began." (`Acts 3:21`.)
During the Millennial age all mankind will be brought to a knowledge of God--His plan, His wisdom, His power, His Love--"all shall know Him from the least to the greatest," for "The knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth." And it seems as though to know Him will mean to love Him, and to love Him will mean to obey Him, and to obey Him will mean to have life and enjoy God forever, to the great majority of the race. That all will then be called upon to exercise faith, to some extent, we cannot doubt, for "without faith it is impossible to please God," but everything will be favorable to faith. Evil will be restrained, (Satan bound a thousand years) error and vice will be checked, while righteousness and truth shall be dispensed to the people by the antitype of the Melchizedec Priesthood --Jesus and the gospel church as Kings and Priests--"A priest upon his throne." Priests to instruct in righteousness; Kings to enforce obedience to righteousness. Faith then will be easy.
They will readily appreciate the statement--Christ died for our sins-- was our ransom, &c.--because they will themselves be witnesses that the penalty, death and pain, and sickness, is being removed, and that they are again brought into favor with God; and it would be only reasonable for them to ask why sinners are restored to life, &c., again. Has God changed His mind and concluded that sin was not so bad a thing after all, and that he had erred when he pronounced sinners unworthy of life and was now repenting of his action?
No, the answer comes, God changes not; you were justly condemned, but God loved you and gave His son, and Jesus loved you and gave himself a ransom for you. You are redeemed and therefore restored. Then it will be easy to believe that--"Jesus hath died and there is remission."
But during this age, as many as now hear ("He that hath an ear let him hear,") the good news are by it informed that Christ died for our sins, that the price of sin has been paid, and they are justified, if they believe it, and that they can come unto
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God not as sinners but as righteous persons, and by faith call God "Father." It is as justified (perfect) fleshly beings that they now call God Father--because in God's sight restored to the condition occupied by Adam before he became a sinner, viz: a fleshly or human son. (`Luke 3:38`.)
The next step for these justified beings to take, is to consecrate their justified flesh (being) to God. "Present your bodies a living sacrifice," present it to God alive, for his service. God accepts it and reckons you dead as a human being, but alive as a new creature (begotten) to a new life of a new (divine) nature, and your human nature is reckoned as dead forever, and in due time, when perfected as new spiritual beings we will have our spiritual bodies. But now we, new creatures, live in these old bodies-- reckoned dead; yet our Father counts us no longer sons on the fleshly plane to which he justified us through Jesus' ransom, but sons on the higher plane as begotten of the Spirit, and he says of such: "Ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of Christ dwell in you." Those who have thus given up the human nature --become dead--are reckoned by their fellow men as being still in the flesh; but of God, as being in the Spirit. To those thus dead God reveals His plan and the exceeding riches of His grace. Thus the good news is declared to them that are dead, that they might be judged (reckoned) according to men (as being) in the flesh but live according to God in the Spirit." (`1 Pet. 4:6`.)
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HOW MUCH WILL YOU GIVE?
Dear friends we are not going to pass around the contribution box now, but thinking this to be an all-important question, one upon which depends, perhaps, as much the interest of every one of us, as any question we could propound, let us each for himself carefully consider it.
We do not ask how much will you contribute towards paying for the organ in the church, nor how much will you subscribe toward paying the minister, nor how much you will subscribe toward sending the gospel to the heathen, nor even how much you will contribute for the relief of the poor, though each of these may be considered commendable objects in their time and place; but how much will you give for the gospel of Christ?
But do you say, is it not a free gospel? Does not the prophet say "Ho, every one that thirsteth come ye to the waters, and he that has no money come ye, buy, and eat; yea buy wine and milk without money and without price?" Yes that is a correct quotation, but there is nothing in the passage quoted to indicate that a man who has money can have the gospel and still keep his money; those who are to have it without money are those who have no money to pay. But sincerely my brother, my sister, my friend HOW MUCH will you give for the Gospel? It is exceedingly valuable and you should not expect to get it for nothing, you should not be willing to take it for nothing if you could, neither can you expect to give an equivalent for it, for "its price is beyond rubies, and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto it."
Now if you have some faint idea of its value, perhaps, you will be willing to make some offer for it. Offerings are in order for it now, this is "the acceptable (receivable) year of the Lord," and we are close to "the day of vengeance of our God;" and if you want a chance in the high calling, you need to be quick and prompt about it; we expect the quota under this call will soon be filled and hope you will not be among the number who will "stand without knocking and saying open unto us," when it will be forever too late. Again we ask how much will you give? Suppose we consider the word give (as it has a number of significations) first in the sense of yielding, in the phrase to "give ear," which signifies to hear, to listen; now are you willing to give your attention and thought to this gospel? Are you willing to bend your mind to it? Are you willing to carefully, prayerfully and persistently consider it? Are you willing to give it all the thought which you have hitherto given to matters of little or no importance? Consider it well; think of the hours you have spent reading works of fiction, wit and humor, perhaps in playing some sort of game for diversion, or even in reading history or secular news, mainly for the purpose of being considered "well informed," or possibly for the purpose of being qualified for some position of honor (worldly) or fame.
Are you willing to give way, to give that attention to the gospel that you have to these? Do you answer in the affirmative? That is well so far, but that is not enough. Are you willing (notice, these questions are for you to answer to yourself in the present tense, not to-morrow) to give in the sense of quitting as in the phrases, to give place, to withdraw, to make room; are you willing if this gospel requires it, to give place to principles which will antagonize those which you have hitherto entertained? Are you willing to have a radical change made in your mind, and in your manner of reasoning, i.e., so that instead of reasoning from an earthly or natural standpoint, it shall be from a spiritual or gospel stand point, for earthly wisdom "descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual; devilish." `James 3:15`.
Earthly wisdom would reason, "if thine enemy hunger let him starve," and everything else on the same line, but heavenly wisdom waits to have our heavenly Father who understands all the weaknesses of our natures, and all the influences that have been brought to bear upon us, adjust matters for us, instead of taking them into our own hands and managing from an earthly plane, and with earthly wisdom; that is to say, looked at from an earthly standpoint, we resign our own wisdom and become fools for Christ's sake. You think that is giving considerable do you? Well it is, but you cannot become a vessel fit for the master's use without. Are you willing? Yes. Very well that is good, but that is not enough, for this gospel requirement, very likely will reveal to you that very many things which you have hitherto considered harmless in their nature, are really very injurious to you and you will be called upon to give in the
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sense of relinquishing, or in the still stronger sense of abandoning, i.e., to let go of in the sense of never taking hold again--a long good bye--to the things you once loved; among them may be earthly hopes and expectations; this heavenly wisdom will teach you that all these are transitory and vain, and that the more you depend upon them the more you will be deceived by them, and the greater will be your disappointment, for your expectations will fail to be realized, and your hopes will be blasted. You will find everything turned around under the influence of the gospel, and that the things which are highly esteemed among men are abominations in the sight of God. `Luke 16:15`.
Notice the words "highly esteemed among men;" earthly things needful for our physical well being are not to be despised, nor will heavenly wisdom prompt us to despise them, nor are they the things referred to as highly esteemed among men, for men will sacrifice these for the highest interests of the soul, and if you will give way to the influences of the gospel upon you, you will be led to abominate that which is HIGHLY esteemed among men.
Let us see what things are highly esteemed among men; what do they make the greatest sacrifice for? Probably the greatest effort that men make is to be worshiped; honor, fame, a name among men; not so much to be superior as to be regarded superior.
To have men cast out your name as evil, that is a terrible thing for a man who knows nothing of the gospel of Christ; to lose his reputation is one of the greatest if not the greatest calamity that can befall a man, he will not mind as much the loss of his character, but the loss of his reputation is most terrible, to the man of the world, for if you lose this you will lose your worldly friends mostly, some of them will stand by if you have plenty of money, but it will take a great deal even of money to hold many friends after your reputation is all gone, so if you relinquish your reputation for the sake of the gospel (nothing else should induce a man to part with it) you will be doing pretty well, you will be giving considerable. Do you think you can do it? Y-e-s? Well can you not say it with emphasis? "By the grace of God I will!" That is good. You are giving yourself poor, after the wisdom of this world, aren't you? Never mind, look not at the things that are seen; they are temporal. But you have not given enough yet--Have you any money? (No, we are not going to pass the contribution box now.) Yes, some. Well much or little you will need to give it, not to pay for the gospel but out of gratitude and that it may be sent to others, and there are some of the Lord's brethren living near your house that are hungry or sick and need help, so your (?) money will be needed, and with it will go those few friends who stuck by you for your money's sake after your reputation was gone; you found by bitter (blessed) experience that a great share of your friends left you when your reputation did, and now the rest of your worldly friends will go and you will be left alone; will you do it? "Yes, by the grace of God I will!" The sting of death (to the world) is past, isn't it? How much easier it is to say yes, now. Praise the Lord! But you have not given enough yet.
Now, my dear friend, you are not far from the kingdom. Will you sacrifice your ease, your comfort, yea life itself if called upon? Will you let it be worn out, or burnt out, or in any way used up for the sake of the gospel of Christ? You will? Thank God! I am so glad; you will be so rich. Now let us look over this covenant. You have given your attention, your time, your mind, your reputation, your friends, your money, your life--seven items. You have given yourself poor indeed, haven't you? I acknowledge the fact, it is so, poor, very poor, and you have done this willingly. It makes me think of something I have heard, and while I am looking at you, your countenance seems changed; you remind me of some one I have known. Ah, it comes to me now, Jesus of Nazareth was his name, why how much you resemble him, you must be his brother. "You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich." `2 Cor. 8:9`. Why you have done just as he did and just what he intended when he said: "I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you." `John 13:15`. Well that is the best kind of will you could make, and I am glad to greet you as my brother, I also having done the same things--"for which cause he is not ashamed to call us brethren." `Heb. 2:11`.
You can afford to be poor and go about in disguise for a while, now, inasmuch as you are an heir of the kingdom. "Hearken my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?" `James 2:5`. And now you will learn faster and be able to prepare yourself for regal employment in the regal family; for "if any man will (wills or wishes to) do his will, he shall know of the doctrine. `John 7:17`. You now belong to that company so aptly described by the poet when he said:
"What poor despised company
Of travelers are these,
Who walk in yonder narrow way,
Along the rugged maze?"
"Ah; these are of a royal line,
All children of a King.
Heirs of immortal crowns divine,
And lo, for joy they sing!"
"Why do they, then, appear so mean?
And why so much despised?
Because, of their rich robes unseen
The world is not apprised."
"But why keep they that narrow road
That rugged, thorny maze?
Why that's the way their leader trod;
They love and keep His ways."
"What! is there, then, no other road?
To Salem's happy ground?
Christ is the only way to God;
None other can be found." J. C. S.
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Many of our readers are familiar with the outline of God's plan as embodied in three worlds,--The world that was before the flood, the world that now is, and the world to come. This is a striking example of the fundamental character of number three in the structure of the Bible plan of revelation and salvation. Each of these worlds, or orders, is spoken of in succession as having its own "heavens and earth." `2 Pet. 3`. Here we have the foundation of the idea of the third heaven. The third earth and the third heaven are the final and perfect, wherein "the tabernacle of God is with men," (`Rev. 21:3`) and "wherein dwelleth righteousness." `2 Pet. 3:13`.
Be it observed there are heavens, as well as an earth in each order. They seem to exist in relation to each other as cause and effect, the outer, lower and visible as an expression of the inner, higher and invisible. The heavens rule and the earth is subject. This is at least clearly so of the second and third orders. In the second, called "This present evil world," the "powers of heaven," (by permission and with limitations of course, as no creature can outwit the Creator) are "wicked spirits," all embodied as Satan, their head and Prince. `Eph. 6:12` and `2:2`. His kingdom is invisible, but under invisible
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control, uses men and nations as visible agencies, and produces visible results of the most baneful and atrocious character. The earth is in harmony with the heavens; and we would suggest that it may be that all evil physical conditions, including wars, storms, diseases, pains and death are but the pulsations, so to speak, of the powers of darkness. We see an intimation that this is so, in the fact that the earth was cursed for man's sake when he sinned. It was for man's sake, or on account of man, perhaps, in two senses, first, it was a consequence of man's yielding to evil, and second, it was for man's good, as pain by fire is to teach us to avoid the fire.
In view of the facts and promises we hail with joy the near change from the second to the third world. The day dawn, or transition period we believe has come. In the third world the power of heaven will be the "spirits of just men made perfect," or "raised a spiritual body," and all embodied as Christ, their Head and Prince--"The King of kings and Lord of lords." His kingdom, having supplanted Satan's and taken its place, will also be invisible to mortals, only when for special reasons miraculously manifested; (`John 3:3-8` and `Luke 17:20`,) but it too shall act through visible agencies, and produce visible results, not baneful and atrocious, but grand and glorious. For all nations shall serve and obey
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Him, and in Him be blessed. `Dan. 7:14-27` and `Gen. 22:18`.
Let me ask the reader to which he aspires,--a place in the new earth, or a place in the new heaven?--to be a subject of God's kingdom, and so enjoy its blessing, or to be a royal priest and reign with Him? He and His royal associates will rule to bless. Let us aim high,--at "the mark for the prize of the high [heavenly] calling of God in Christ Jesus." `Phil. 3:14`.
This present or the second world has its three ages--Patriarchal, Jewish and Gospel. These are three progressive steps from the lower to the higher in the plan of revelation.
There are three kingdom ages,-- Jewish, Gospel and Millennial. There is no kingdom of God, mentioned in the Bible, as in any sense related to the Patriarchal or One Man age. In the three ages mentioned, the work is represented as being done by a "Woman"--the church; and the progression may be characterized as from the Jewish typical to the Gospel mystical or hidden, and then to the Millennial glorious--"the manifestation of the sons of God," by which the groaning creation is to be "delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." `Rom. 8:19-21`.
This work of progression and glorious success, seems to be illustrated by the Saviour's parable, in which He compares the kingdom of heaven to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until the whole was leavened. `Matt. 13:33`. A very plausible and we will add, forcible objection to this application of the parable, is based on the fact that leaven of bread and of doctrine are spoken of in the Bible as elements of impurity and of corruption. Would the Saviour represent the kingdom of heaven by an element and process of corruption? We understand the Saviour here uses one feature of the leaven only, in His illustration, that is its permeating power. It does not cease until the work is done, so God's kingdom will not cease its operations until the curse is removed.
Another example in which the Saviour uses only one feature of a thing to illustrate a point, may be seen in `Luke 17:37`, or `Matt. 24:28`, when in speaking of the "gathering together unto Him," He says: "Wheresoever the carcass [dead body] is, thither will the eagles be gathered together." "How could the Saviour," we have been asked, "compare himself to a dead body?" The attraction is the point of the illustration: as the eagles are, by an unerring instinct, sure to find the carcass, so that the Divine Spirit in the saints will surely bring them to Him whom their soul loveth.
The Saviour seems to use the idea of progression in three steps in reference to the development of the Gospel age ending with the harvest, in His illustration of, "First the blade, then the ear, and after that the full corn in the ear." `Mark 4:26-29`. This may be regarded as true also in reference to individual growth in grace and in the knowledge of Christ.
When the Lord sets out to do anything He means to make a success of it. Let us imbibe His spirit and follow His example.
J. H. P.
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As the time draws nigh for the celebrating of the Passover; it may not be out of place to consider a few points therewith connected. As to the proper time of observing the Lord's supper, there is much diversity of opinion. Some claim the first day of each week as the only correct time; others, that it should be observed every first Sunday of each month, while some only partake of the feast once in three months. If there is a correct time for the observance of the passover, it is evident that all the above views cannot be correct; and indeed it would seem, from the manner in which many speak of it, that God had left the matter entirely in our hands; that we might please ourselves, observing it just as our opinion of the matter might dictate. From examination of the Scriptures, we feel confident that all the positions cited are merely inferences drawn by man, and therefore if not obeyed would not prove fatal; for there is much difference between the doctrines of men, and the commandments of God. Without stopping to inquire into the various causes for such a variety of ideas as to the proper time for the Lord's Supper, we shall at once proceed to investigate the Bible--our only guide and instructor in all matters of religion, its ordinances, etc. Under the law dispensation, [which was a shadow of good things to come; `Heb. 10:1`,] there was a particular time for the killing and eating of the paschal lamb--"Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying: In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb;... and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month, and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening." `Exodus 12:3-6`.
The month referred to corresponds with the new moon of April or March; and counting forward from that point the allotted time, will bring us to the passover. That the lamb slain, pointed forward to Jesus, there can be no doubt; and when we examine minutely, the details connected with His death; the time will be seen to be clearly marked. "Then Jesus, six days before the passover, came to Bethany....On the next day [five days before the passover] much people that were come to the feast, when they heard Jesus was coming to Jerusalem... went forth to meet Him." `John 12:1,12,13`. As the lamb was taken up on the tenth; so Jesus went up to Jerusalem [where he was sacrificed] five days before the passover, which would be the tenth. "Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed... and they made ready the passover, and when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him: and he said unto them, with desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer," `Luke 22`. The lamb pointed to Jesus, and we in eating the Lord's Supper; commemorate His death, and also the time. If this truth were recognized by christians; they would not attempt to commemorate the Lord's death on the first day of the week; for Jesus died not then, but rose from the dead; therefore, no one should celebrate His death on the day of His resurrection; unless that day should happen to be the fourteenth day of the first month, at which time the Lord's Supper should be observed. One cannot keep the fourth of May in commemoration of the "Declaration of Independence;" then, neither can any person celebrate the Lord's death on the day he arose.
It is true that Jesus said: "For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come;" [`1 Cor. 11:26`.] However, as he did not say how often, and all the truth on any Bible subject is not found in one place; we must determine, what time it would be proper, from the various connections, and the sense demanded by the type. Therefore, as the type foreshadows it, and the sense demands it; we conclude that the Lord's death should be commemorated at the time He died.
The night in which they ate the flesh of the lamb: typifies the whole gospel age: and through this night of 1800 years; we should, as each fourteenth day of the first month of the Jewish year rolls around, celebrate the passover in commemoration of the death of our paschal lamb.
The lamb slain was to be, "without blemish." `Exo. 12:5`. This shows beautifully, the perfection and purity of our lamb: "For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us." `1 Cor. 5:7`. "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold;...but with the precious blood [life] of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot;" [`1 Pet. 1:18,19`.] "And ye know that He [Jesus] was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin." `1 John 3:5`.
There are several features to be observed in the application of this type. The slaying of the lamb [as already found] foreshadowed the death of Jesus; but now we wish to consider another point, viz., "And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it." `Exo. 12:8`. In this picture is shown how we [the church] partake of the nature of Christ, by eating His flesh; [in the figurative sense] for he says: "Verily, verily, I say unto you; except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; for my flesh is meat indeed; and my blood is drink indeed." `John 6:53,54`. The reader will remember that the flesh of the lamb was to be eaten with unleavened bread; so says Paul: "Purge out therefore the old leaven, [corrupt nature] that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened....Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice, or wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." `1 Cor. 5:7,8`.
The passover was not only to be eaten with unleavened bread, but with bitter herbs. This shows the suffering of the body of Jesus. If we eat, [partake of His nature] we will suffer. The truth obeyed, will lead us to give up the world; resist the devil, and overcome [crucify] the flesh; which is hard to do, and necessitates suffering. Truth declares: "If we
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have been planted together in the likeness of His [Christ's] death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man [fleshly nature] is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed;...for he that is dead is freed from sin." `Rom. 6:5-7`.
Again says truth: "For thy [Christ's] sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter," [`Rom. 8:36`.] and, "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." `2 Tim. 3:12`. All of these things require an effort on our part: self-denial, and suffering; for we bear "about in the body the dying [suffering] of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body: for we which live are alway delivered unto death [of the flesh] for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh;" [`2 Cor. 4:10,11`] and: "Though our outward man [natural] perish, yet the inward man [spiritual] is renewed day by day;" (`verse 16`) for: "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." `Gal. 5:24`. There is no doubt, that if we follow in the footsteps of Jesus, [a life of obedience] we shall suffer. This is clearly intimated by our Lord when He says: "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?...And He saith unto them, ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with." `Matt. 20:22,23`. By referring to `Matt. 26:39`. We know the cup spoken of was in reference to His death, therefore we drink of the same cup; and are baptized with the same baptism, [death] for: "Know ye not that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death?" `Rom. 6:3`. By viewing this in the above light, it is very significant that Jesus partook of the passover; for as He ate it with "Bitter herbs," [suffering,] so also do we, and in this He was our example and forerunner. Let us therefore, walk in the narrow [difficult] path of life; the one Jesus trod: "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin," [`1 Pet. 4:1`] therefore; "Rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." `verse 13`.
The next point in connection with the passover to be considered is: "And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, [loins girt about with truth; `Eph. 6:14`,] your shoes on your feet, [your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; `verse 15`] and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste; it is the Lord's passover;
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for I will pass through the land of Egypt this night,...and the blood shall be to you for a token...and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt." `Exo. 12:11-13`. This type being a figure of the whole Gospel Age; and the living phase of the church, being always represented, we are brought down to the end of this dispensation, where the living saints are to be changed and caught away to meet Jesus, without the tasting of death; [`1 Thess. 4:15-17`] being: "Accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." `Luke 21:36`.
The Hebrew word "Pesach," and the Greek "Pascha," [its equivalent] signifies: "A passing over." This feature of the type is yet to be fulfilled, Jesus said: "I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God....I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come." `Luke 22:16-18`. Hence it will not be fulfilled until we [the living] are changed into the likeness of Christ; at which time we will be gathered unto Jesus, being those mentioned by the prophets: "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another:...and they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts; in that day when I make up my Jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." `Mal. 3:16,17`. As we are living in "That day." [A period of 40 years,] therefore ought we to be ready: having our loins girt about with truth; our staff in hand, all ready for a journey, [our change] for we know not how soon we shall see Jesus as He is: and so be passed over. It will be observed that only the "First-born," were threatened; [`Exo. 12:12`] so now only: "The church of the first-born." [`Heb. 12:23`,] is in danger: for, if we are not passed over: ["Accounted worthy to escape,"] we lose our high calling; and not only so but we lose it forever; therefore let us so live, that we may be ready. Paul says: "Through faith he [Moses] kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest He that destroyed the first-born should touch them." `Heb. 11:28`. That being the type, and this the anti-type certainly it is as important that we do God's will, lest we be not spared as one of the Bride company.
One more feature of the passover is worthy of notice: "And ye shall let nothing of it [the lamb] remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning, ye shall burn with fire." `Exo. 12:10`. In this there is a very important truth to be observed; viz.: That those who were passed over, had eaten during the night. So, during this Gospel Night, we partake of our Lamb, [Christ] and apply the blood of sprinkling; but as there was none of the lamb to remain until the morning; so in like manner here; for, when we are ushered into the full dawn of day and the morning has fully come; no one can eat of the lamb, [that is, partake of the Divine nature--Immortality] as the Lord's Supper will be a thing of the past, for it is to be fulfilled when the kingdom has come, [that is, when the living saints are changed; and we are thus passed over,] and we need not longer keep it in remembrance of His death; hence it will be an ordinance forever past, as also will be baptism into Christ; for the Christ [anointed] head and body (Jesus and Bride) will be complete; therefore, these ordinances pass away with the ending (harvest) of the gospel age, and people (those in the light) will then look back on these things; [now glorious privileges] as we now look back to those ordinances obtaining under the law.
Finally brethren and sisters in Christ, seeing these things are true; ought we not to be earnest? and especially as we have reasons for believing the time very short; for if we have not Christ formed within--and under the blood of sprinkling when the door closes the prize now offered, [Immortality and heirship with Jesus] is to us forever lost.
Can aught on earth compare,
With the glory we shall share?
Is there aught to us so dear,
'Twill take the place of Jesus here?
Ah no! methinks there naught can be
To ever sunder, He and me;
For to Him, myself I give,
Hence, I shall with Him ever live.
A. D. J.
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THE STRANGERS IN ZION.
The idea which has become general among Christians, that it is a very easy thing to be a Christian, a life free from trouble, very respectable, containing all the pleasures of natural conditions without any of its evils, is one of the great evils of the present system of evangelization. The Evangelist says come, leave off liquor, profanity, lying and all great presumptuous sins, join our church, attend its meetings, give to its support regularly and believe, that you may go to heaven and you are one of the best of Christians. You will find through the church the passage way to wealth, to social standing and the most advantageous matrimony, and if you desire a valuable aid to political ambitions. Thus you will have the most pleasant and happy time of any people living on earth: come, then, with us.
In this way Zion is full of "strangers"-- they are in her--her children, but not of God's begetting. They are tares sown by the wicked one; begotten of evil desire--desires of the flesh. The desire that she might be great, and her outward appearance and prosperity such as would commend her to the world and cause her to be admired; that by the numbers and wealth of these strange children she might build grander and costlier edifices with higher steeples; that her ministers should be noble men of titles and large revenues--the language artists of earth; that her music should be the most refined and artistic.
Thus she draws nigh to the Lord with her lips, and honors Him with her mouth, while her heart is far from Him, courting the world and its vanities and pleasures. She has ceased to know as of yore that "the love of God constraineth," and "the goodness of God leadeth to repentance," and now she knows Him only to fear, and God says: "Their fear toward me is taught by the precepts of men. Because of her love of the world, (which is enmity against God,) therefore has He permitted blindness to come upon her, and her teachers hath He covered.
The prophecies and visions of God's word are become unto her "as the
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words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned [a Doctor of Divinity,] saying: Read this I pray thee: and he saith I can not, for it is sealed; and the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying: Read this I pray thee--and he saith I cannot, I am unlearned.... Therefore behold I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid." `Isa. 29:10-14`.
Oh Zion how hast thou defiled thyself! how hast thou become Babylon! how hast thou multiplied thy riches but not thy joy! how hast thou increased thy children but not of God --for the multitude of thy strangers is as the dust.
How is the mustard seed become a great tree, spreading itself in all the earth for the wicked, yea the fowls of the earth find a home in thy branches. Thou art become the habitation of devils, the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. How art thou become Babylon and confusion? it is even the voice of thy confused company of strange children.
Woe unto thee O Zion, how art thou become Babylon and confusion: it is woe unto thee, for thine anguish and travail cometh: for the Lord shall take from thee His children, and in the multitude of the strangers thou shalt not have consolation. With anguish, and through great tribulation shall his children come out of thee. For the Lord shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. But who may abide the day of His coming, (presence,) and who shall stand when he appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers soap."
But Zion saith: "I am rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing," and knoweth not that she is poor, and wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked. Thus saith the Lord: "I counsel thee, buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed...and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve that thou mayest see. So, then, because thou art neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and receive not of her plagues." (`Rev. 18:4`.)
Would that God's children might all realize that their joy should come from their faith in His promises, and not from the world's smiles; that their pleasure should consist in self denial and crucifixion of the fleshly nature, and not from its gratification. Then could they indeed count present afflictions a joy, and "rejoice to be accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Christ." They would think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which shall try them, as though some strange thing happened unto them: remember that when men shall revile you and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my name's sake, rejoice and be exceeding glad." Yea, and whosoever will live Godly shall suffer persecution, and persecution has always come from some religious class in power.
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"BY AND BY HE IS OFFENDED."
Jesus tells us of a class who when they hear the truth receive it with joy until they find that it costs something to possess it; then they are disappointed and would rather surrender the truth than pay its inevitable price --persecution and self sacrifice.
People under different circumstances have different trials to encounter and different valuable things to part with if they would "Buy the truth and sell it not." As a rule the price of it is demanded in those things which the purchaser values most highly. Usually social standing, reputation, a good name are the most prized of all things, and usually this is the price which we must pay for truth. No doubt it is to-day much as it was when Jesus was present in the form of a servant. The severest cross then was to confess and follow the lowly one, among whose followers were none of the Scribes and Pharisees--the theologians of that day--whose only answer to Jesus' teachings, &c., were, "Give God the glory, we know that this man hath a devil."
The church rulers of that day were the most strict in outward forms of any period of Judaism, and no doubt they thought they did God service in warning the people against Jesus. They felt keenly the importance of their position as Teachers, and were proud of it, and hence were in no way prepared to receive the meek "Lamb of God." Jesus said they were "Blind leaders of the blind," and only the blind ones followed their leading. Those who had ears to hear and eyes to see followed the Lord.
It must have been quite a trial-- scorching--for the Jewish convert to realize that in believing this Jesus, they were opposing the great system of theology that had been in force for centuries. It must have tried their courage and faith intensely to realize that they, illiterate men, were opposing their ideas against the views of all the learned theologians, who pronounced the new Teacher a fanatic. Again, it would cut them off from the pecuniary advantages accruing from the friendship of the wealthiest and most influential class of society. All of these things were sore trials, but were put as trial in this way to develop and separate the "peculiar people," for Jesus declared that if any man was ashamed of him and his words-- teachings--the same was not worthy to be his disciple. All of this finds its perfect parallel in this time of harvest, and now as then. He that is ashamed of the Lord's teachings--ashamed to confess his faith in His presence is unworthy to be His disciple and is not wanted.
The theologians of that day threatened and scourged those who followed and believed in Jesus as the Christ. (They all believed that Christ was coming, but denied His presence and "knew not the time of their visitation.") Just so the theologians of to-day are the bitter opposers of the presence of Christ. Because they know not the time of their visitation; they are "stumbling" as did the Jewish church. They threaten and scourge in the synagogues (churches) now, too, except it is in a different way; it is now a scourging with the tongue--far sharper often and more powerful than a literal scourge.
One of the severest trials at that day was to be put out of the synagogue; "They feared the Jews," for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue." (`John 9:22`.) This was the only "respectable church" in those days, and to the poor Jew it seemed disgraceful to be cut off from the church. No doubt they considered that their relationship to God was dependent upon their belonging to the nominal church. The new Teacher spoke against the Pharisees and Rulers of the synagogues, and said that in many things they were hypocritical; that for a pretence they made long prayers and drew nigh with their lips. Some felt the truth of this and would have followed
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Jesus and have been willing to join His church, if He had one--but the church He represented was bound together by the truths he taught, and He said to them: "Rejoice rather that your names are written in heaven." (`Luke 10:20`.)
So now, "in the days of the Son of Man," those who receive present truth are cut off from fellowship with the nominal churches. Having tasted the heavenly manna they are no longer satisfied with the husks. Yet they have so long been identified with the churches, have been so actively engaged in their socials, fairs, etc., which in their simplicity they have come to regard as "working for Jesus," that the thought of sundering those ties is like cutting off a right hand. But dear friends, remember that as then, so now, the nominal church stumbles and falls, (`Isa. 28:13` and `Rev. 18:2,21`,) and those in it, whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life are the only ones now recognized as His church.
As when then present Jesus used clay mixed with the product of His mouth to anoint literally the man born blind, and thus gave him sight, so now in this "harvest" the words of His mouth, mixed with and used through the clay of humanity, may have been his agency in the opening of your spiritual perceptions to understand his truth and see its beauties. It was on the Sabbath--the seventh day--that his eyes were opened: It is now the seventh day [--on a grander scale--the 6000 years of time having been complete in 1873.] It was by the power of the present Jesus that the clay and washing gave sight; so here also.
Marvel not if in other respects the blind man's case was typical of yours. When he confessed his faith in Jesus they said: "Dost thou teach us?--and they cast him out of the synagogue." He might have kept quiet and believed in his heart and retained his standing in the church, but that would have been cowardly and had he done so--been ashamed of him he would have missed his subsequent communion with Jesus. So here, your eyes being opened to the recognition of the Lord's presence and blessings of light and truth, which in consequence have come to you--it remains with you as it did with him to keep silence and remain in the church, or confess his presence and be cast out; to hold "the fear of man which bringeth a snare" and be ashamed of Him and His words, or confess Him and be confessed before the Father and the
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holy angels. If we love the opinions and respect of men and of a worldly "Babylon," church, and seek honor one of another, how shall we expect that honor which cometh of God only-- To be of the bride of Christ.
"Your brethren that hated you--that cast you out, said--'The Lord be glorified:' But He shall appear to your joy and they shall be ashamed." (`Isa. 66:5`.)
And "Jesus heard that they had cast him out...and He found him," (`vs. 35`,) and became his teacher personally, and the man "worshiped Him." So with you, the Lord will hear of your witness for Him, and when you are separated from the nominal church--"Babylon"--your experience will be that Jesus himself will teach you and show you marvelous things of His truth and plan. And then you can indeed worship HIM--in spirit and in truth, and no longer worship the creeds of men. Jesus' explanation of our trial in receiving him will be explained to us as to him: "For judgment (a trial) am I come into this world that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind." (`vs. 39`.)
We know of some who are now experiencing this kind of scorching. They have heard the word and received it with joy--their eyes have been opened to see wonderful things in God's word. They have realized that the Lord is present and has opened their eyes--they have confessed Him and denied not--they have been baptized typically in water, in a likeness of His death and raised in the figure. Now they are seeking daily to be baptized into death--the death of the old natures--the likeness of Christ's. The sun of persecution and reproach has risen and the scorching has commenced. If they be stony ground hearts their profession and all will wither away and die out, but if good hearts, the seed will continue to grow and yield fruit which the sun will only ripen and perfect-- not wither.
To these we would say, remember how our master said that if any man would be His disciple (pupil--to learn of Him) he must take up His cross and follow Him. Remember how you promised to follow Him through evil and good report; remember, too, that He is an ever present help in time of trouble, and thus remembering, may you be enabled to "endure hardness as good soldiers"--"Endure as seeing Him that is invisible."
"Beloved think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: On their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. Nothing glorifies God's name and character more than does the grand plan which He is showing to us, and which we preach. Rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when his glory shall be revealed ye may be glad, also, with exceeding joy." (`1 Pet. 4:12-14`.)
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WANTED 1,000 PREACHERS.
A vast field is open for the employment of the time and talent of every consecrated man and woman to whom the Lord has committed a knowledge of His truth.
The harvest message that the King has come, and the separation between wheat and tares is progressing, and the opportunity for seeking the prize of the high calling to joint heirship with Christ as His Bride is soon to end, are important items of truth for the entire "household of faith." The knowledge of the plan of God as it relates to the blessing of "all the families of the earth" in "the ages to come," and other information concerning the manifold grace of God, whereof he has made us stewards, (to distribute and use) would be of incalculable value and aid to many who so soon will find themselves assaulted with the errors of Infidelity, Spiritualism, etc.
It seems as though the language of Jesus, (`Matt. 20:7`,) is applicable now--"About the eleventh hour (five o'clock P.M.--only one hour before the labor of the day would cease) he went out and found others standing idle....He saith to them, 'Go ye also into the vineyard and whatever is right that shall ye receive.'"
The church is God's vineyard and we are just at the close of the Gospel day. Let us all go in, thankful for the opportunity to be co-workers with God here; and if faithful hereafter also. There is so great a variety of work that all may find employ--all were hired in the parable. If you have a half hour, or an hour, or two, or three, you can use it and it will be acceptable with the Lord of the harvest. Who can tell the blessings which may flow from one hour's service under God's direction.
To those so situated that they can give one-half or more of their time exclusively to the work of the Lord, we have a plan to suggest. [We refer to those who have not families dependent on them for support-- both men and women,] viz: That you go forth into large or small cities, according to your ability, as Colporteurs or Evangelists, seek to find in every place the earnest Christians, many of whom you will find possessed of a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge; to these seek to make known the riches of Our Father's grace, and the beauties of His word, giving them tracts; and as a work of kindness and love to them, endeavor to sell them the "Day Dawn," or to take their subscription for the "Watch Tower," [or if interested, but too poor to purchase, presenting the same as a gift from God.]
As few could afford to travel, pay their board and clothe themselves without some income, we propose to furnish the TRACTS and DAY DAWNS free, and to allow any such person to take subscriptions for the WATCH TOWER, using the money obtained from both of these sources, ("Day Dawn and Watch Tower,"-- the Tracts are free and must not be sold,) in defraying necessary expenses. Should your receipts be more than would be needed to pay expenses, (not at all probable,) you would be expected to make some returns to us.
Now, who has a burning desire to go and labor in the Vineyard, and has been praying that the Lord would open the way. Is not this the way? This offer is made to you by the
"WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY."
The immense proportions which the tract work seems to be assuming suggested the idea of a combination of effort in this direction, and the result is the forming of this Society. There is a great demand for tracts. Over 900,000 pages have already gone out, and we are now making contracts for several millions of pages. We trust that the Lord may be pleased to use these as the agencies for opening blind eyes to the beauties of His word, as He once used even clay and spittle to open natural eyes.
To all we would say: Order all
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the tracts you can use to God's glory. We repeat our previous suggestion, viz: That you give them, not all at once, but one at a time, and generally in their order as issued--keeping a list.
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HOW TO TEACH.
To these who would go forth to use either much or little of their time, we would say: It is a matter of great importance not only to teach the right thing but to present truth in a proper manner and order. This may be observed as a rule of life, pertaining to everything we undertake: if we would reap good fruit we must not only plant good seed, but it must be planted at a proper time, in a soil previously made ready, and it must be cared for until it becomes possessed of strength. So, too, must the seed be carefully, prayerfully and wisely sown, and the words of our Master are: "Be ye wise as serpents but harmless as doves."
Present first the Restitution and the beauties of God's unfolding plan; then show that all this awaits and is dependent on the King and kingdom coming. Then, when your hearer or reader has come to love the King and to long for his kingdom, may be quite soon enough to present the manner of His coming--that it is not Jesus the man but Jesus a spiritual being, who comes, unseen, except to the Bride's eye of faith, enlightened by the golden candlestick--the word of truth.
And lastly present "the time, that now we are "in the days of the Son of Man," "the day of the Lord"--if they scoff and say, "where is the promise of His coming--(parousia-- presence) while all things continue as they were?" (`2 Pet. 3:4`.) Point them to `Matt. 24:37` and `Luke 17`. But let time be the last part of the "good news," and tell no one of the time and presence, except they show that they have "an ear to hear," and "him that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches," not unto the world.
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A PRAYER FOR LIGHT.
[These lines were written by Mrs. Commodore Inman, of Philadelphia, whose husband gave the name to the popular line of trans-Atlantic steamers. They are only recently from her pen, though she is upwards of eighty years of age.]
Life! great mystery! Who shall say
What need hath God of this poor clay?
Formed by his hand with potent skill--
Mind, matter, soul and stubborn will;
Born but to die; sure destiny--death.
Then where, Oh, where this fleeting breath?
Not one of all the countless throng,
Who have lived and died and suffered long,
Returns to tell the great design--
That future--which is yours and mine.
We plead, Oh God! for some new ray
Of light for guidance on our way;
Based not on faith, but clearer sight,
Dispelling these dark clouds of night;
This doubt, this dread, this trembling fear;
This thought that mars our blessings here;
This restless mind, whose bolder sway
Rejects the dogmas of the day
Taught by jarring sects and schools,
To fetter reason with their rules.
We seek to know Thee as Thou art--
Our place with Thee--and then the part
We play in this stupendous plan,
Creator Infinite, and man.
Lift up this veil obscuring sight,
Command again: "Let there be Light!"
Reveal this secret of Thy throne;
We search in darkness the unknown.
The above we clip from one of the daily papers, because it so clearly shows the longings and groanings of creation. The "whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now," "for the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." (`Rom. 8:19-22`.) From how many hearts this wail and groan for truth ascends to God we may never know in this life, but certain it is that freedom of thought (unsectarian-- not creed-bound) is largely on the increase.
Even the natural man is so fashioned (mentally) in the image of his creator, that with intelligence, (notwithstanding the depravity and degradation under which he now is) he cannot but look upward and realize that there must be a great Creator: and reasoning further, he knows that he must have been created with reference to some great plan; and reasoning that so great and powerful a being must be great in Love and benevolence as well as in power, he longs to know something of that plan and his part in it. He looks about him for a solution of the mystery of his being and future, as though expecting that the great loving One would have anticipated his wants and have made preparation for their answer.
Before him stands the Christian world with its hundreds of sects and isms and creeds of men; each contradicting more or less the others-- each claiming the Bible as its text book and guide--each supporting its claims by some (often very few) passages from that book. He is confused, yet listens. They all declare man's sin and need of heavenly help; that commends itself to him as truth; they each point to God as the only helper, and most of them to Jesus as the ransom from sin and death. This is not unreasonable. He listens, still they offer no solution to the mystery, whence came sin and why? But they begin to describe God as either a being so weak and helpless that he could neither prevent sin nor abolish it, or else as a loveless one who possessed the power to overthrow sin and evil, and could elect all the race to glory and happiness, as well as the few whom they claim will be so blessed, but did not want to--wanted to illustrate His great power at the expense of the endless torment of his weak and helpless creatures. He hears, but neither of these views give him rest. No, he "groans" show me a God not only possessed of more power than myself but one also possessed of wisdom to frame a plan in harmony with a love and mercy greater than my own, and I will worship Him.
Thus not only does the reflective natural man find no rest, but those in the church who are possessed of the best and most loving minds (and therefore most God-like and Christ-like) groan and agonize and pray for light, by which they can see God's love; for all who know him at all, know that "God is love." The condition of this last mentioned class is described by the prophet (`Isa. 28:20`.) "For the bed (theological resting place), is shorter than a man can stretch himself on it." The creeds may serve as a resting place for those who are curled up in selfishness and fast asleep, but when they awaken and attempt to stretch themselves, they will find it no longer a resting place.
And now dear brethren and sisters what have we to offer these distressed ones? Thank God (to Him be all the glory) we are living in the morning of the Millennial Day when the "mystery of God" is being finished--completed, and the fragments of truth, held by the various denominations of Christendom, are taking their places in one great, grand, harmonious PLAN, based not on isolated passages of Scripture, but comprehending and including every passage in harmony--Showing the selection by FAITH of "a little flock" in order that in God's due time the masses of mankind should be blessed through these --showing the necessity of Evil in the proper education of man in order to prevent his ever choosing it or thinking it good in the future.
The numbers of those who weep and mourn in Zion are on the increase daily, and it is your privilege and mine to comfort them and point them to the glorious plan, which illustrates our Father's glorious character to be, Wisdom, Power, Justice and Love combined.
Are we using every effort to make known the riches of God's grace, which so many are ignorant of, yet all are longing to hear? Are we sparing ourselves either physical or mental exertion or pain? Are we selfishly satisfied to rest in God ourselves, and permit others to grope in darkness--groaning until by and by the Sons of God will be manifested with power? (`Rom. 8:19`.) If so, we are cherishing an un-Christ-like spirit and may never be exalted with those who walk in His footsteps as He hath set us an example--counting not their lives dear unto them.
It is a glorious privilege to spread the truth and open blind eyes now, and if we do not love it enough to undergo some sacrifice for the privilege, we are not sufficiently interested to be among the few engaged in that glorious work in the ages to come. It is he that is faithful in the least that shall in due time be given greater opportunities.
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The condition of the Jews in Germany has long been one of exceptional honor and influence, and "In no country have they supplied such a large number of leading scholars, poets, judges, administrative officials, and politicians." But the old jealousy, which in the middle ages brought such terrible cruelties upon them, alike in Germany as elsewhere, seems still to exist, and has of late begun to manifest itself in the formation of "Anti-Semitic Leagues" in Berlin and elsewhere. The movement is said to have originated in certain discourses of the Court Chaplain, Dr. Stocker. The Emperor has been appealed to, and is said to have expressly commanded his Chaplain "to discontinue his effusions." The president of an Anti-Jewish Society started in Dresden "desires that the Jews be deprived of their political and social rights and privileges, and that the German government should purchase, or otherwise obtain possession of, Palestine, in order to force the Jews of Germany to emigrate en masse to the Holy Land."--Glasgow Messenger.
::R217 : page 8::
IN NEWARK, N.J.
The friends in Newark may expect three meetings on Sunday, April 10th. Bro. A. D. Jones and the Editor will meet with you. Bro. Jones will remain over and celebrate with you the Lord's Supper on the evening of its anniversary--April 14th.
By mistake, an article appeared in last paper as an editorial which should have been credited to Bro. J. C. Sunderlin. It was headed "Looking unto Jesus."
EXCUSE BRIEF LETTERS.
The editor feels that he owes himself an apology. His time is very much occupied. The Watch Tower, the tracts, the Sunday and Wednesday meetings besides other necessary business occupy his time fully and the mail correspondence is necessarily much neglected.
I receive and read with interest your many kind letters, but I cannot answer them all, much as I should like to: sometimes they go entirely unanswered and sometimes very briefly.
I do not make these remarks to hinder your writing, but to excuse and explain what otherwise might seem like negligence or indifference. I am ever glad to hear from you--to know of your welfare and your trials and to learn your questionings--I can read ten letters, while I would be answering one--therefore write on, but accept the articles of the WATCH TOWER as special answers to your letters.
DEAD SEA PRODUCTS.
A French Company is said to have been recently formed for the purpose of utilizing the products of the Dead Sea. An engineer last May visited the ground, to report upon the feasibility of procuring from its waters and shores natron, salt, petroleum, sulphur and other chemical substances, to be brought by a small boat to the north-west shore, near Jericho, and thence to be carried to the Mediterranean Sea at Joppa. At the same point on the sea a small factory will be put up, to reduce crude materials to pure and more compact state. Should the scheme assume a practical shape it will do much to bring about that development of trade with the eastern shores of the Mediterranean which the study of prophecy leads us to expect.--Selected.
We desire to make a list for our office of all places where our readers hold regular meetings and services of any kind, whether in churches, halls, or private houses. Evangelists and Teachers frequently pass the "twos and threes" en route from one point to another.
If you have no gathering of this sort, let me recommend you to establish one in your own home with your own family, or even a few that may be interested. Read, study, praise and worship together, and where two or three are met in His name, the Lord will be in your midst--your teacher. Such was the character of some of the meetings of the church in the days of the Apostles. (See `Philemon 2`.)
WHY EVIL WAS PERMITTED.
Tract supplement No. 4, accompanies this number and will, we trust, be acceptable to you all. It is a subject much thought of by all, and more than one child has asked, "Why did God make the Devil?" It is a subject which should command some attention from all thinking Christians.
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THE Turkish government in Palestine has secured 80,000 acres of land between Jerusalem and Jaffa, for a colony of Jews. The proposition is to open up a settlement for the persecuted Israelites in Europe; and England and America are raising funds for the project.