ZWT - 1896 - R1911 thru R2082 / R2056 (253) - November 1, 1896
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VOL. XVII. NOVEMBER 1, 1896. No. 21.
View from the Tower...............................255
Poem: Cowper's View of
The Authority of Divine Truth.....................257
"He Giveth Quietness".............................259
Questions of General Interest.....................260
God's Blessing Upon Solomon.......................261
Rewards of Obedience..............................262
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VIEW FROM THE TOWER.
WE are asked to give some expression on the "Eastern Question"--the persecution of Armenian Christians, etc., over which the civilized world has for some time been agitated. We have avoided the topic hitherto because we have seen nothing therein specially related to prophecy; and because we aim to review only such features of worldly news as are directly or indirectly related to prophecy.
By many students of prophecy (especially Second Adventists) Turkey's extinction has long been looked for as the great event incident to the collapse of the present order of things: it has been expected and predicted repeatedly during the past fifty years. Every commotion in Turkey revives these expectations in the minds of some.
Our chief interest in Turkey centers in the fact that she holds control of Palestine and at present does not permit its re-settlement by Jews. This embargo must be broken before the severity of the great time of trouble, to permit the return of great numbers of Jews, and with considerable wealth, out of all nations. (`Ezek. 38:8-12-16`.) This seems to us to indicate that Palestine will be released from Turkish oppression and that the Jews will be persecuted and driven out of various countries before the great climax of trouble; and hence our expectation is a further dismemberment of Turkey, shortly, and not an immediate general European war.
That Turkey occupies an important place in European politics is very true and very apparent; and that the settlement of her affairs is likely eventually to involve serious consequences to the peace of Europe and the general "balance of power" is also evident. But, expecting that the crisis of this world's affairs will not be reached before 1910, we are not looking for anything phenomenal in or from Turkey, at present. Whatever, therefore, may be done by the European powers to restore order and to protect the Armenians, it will not, we believe, immediately involve Europe in the much feared general war.
The true situation is understood by few except the statesmen of Europe, and their patriotism, as well as the proprieties of their positions, prevent them explaining the true situation to the people. Indeed, the British are the only people whose rulers need to, or do, take the sentiments of the people much into account; and the British public are controlled, more than they are generally aware, through the leading journals. Diplomatic and financial questions are admittedly abstruse; even great journals take their theories and policies from a very few leaders of thought; and public sentiment is "waked up" for effect, or "quieted," according to the exigencies of the case as seen by the leaders to be valuable or injurious to their foreign policy.
European national politics are like a game of chess in which each nation is a player for its own interests, which, if not directly involved in the present move, would at least be affected by it and involved in the next move. To the casual observer Turkey is an effete, rotten, semi-barbarous kingdom in whose destruction all civilized nations should rejoice. But statesmen look beyond and ask, What shall be instead of Turkey? If the land could be submerged and made part of the sea it would solve the difficulty. But as this cannot be
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done, some other government must take the place of the Ottoman. The people of Turkey are not superior to their present government, and a republic would be impossible;--it would also be objectionable to autocracy. But a government of some kind it must have; and that is the difficult problem with statesmen; for the governments they represent have conflicting ideas and selfish interests to be served.
For many years Russia has coveted Turkey--particularly because of its remarkable seaport at Constantinople; which probably is the finest in the world. But Great Britain and all the powers of Europe have for years feared their great Northeastern neighbor under autocratic sway, and have been more or less anxious to cooperate for his restraint. Thus the Crimean war was the intervention of the English, French and Sardinian combined forces to protect Turkey from Russia; --not for love of Turkey, but from fear and jealousy of Russia. The resultant treaty stipulations prohibited Russia's maintenance of a fleet in the Black sea, and hence crippled her influence in the Mediterranean. Again, when Turkish atrocities against the Bulgarian Christians offered Russia in 1877 a favorable pretext for attacking Turkey, Great Britain encouraged the war for the cause of humanity and Christianity; but when, after a year's war at cost of life and treasure, Russia triumphed and her army invested Constantinople, the British government threatened war, moved her fleets and the Indian army, and, supported by Austria, compelled the Treaty of Berlin, at which Lord Beaconsfield presided and dictated the terms.
Now, the whole situation is different. France, Germany and Austria begin to see that in times past they served as cat's paws for England, whose chief interest has been the protection of her empire in India. They see that she has purchased the Suez Canal and taken possession of Egypt in pursuance of this policy. They see, now, what English statesmen saw long ago, that the great war most to be feared is an industrial war of nations, and that England has seized for colonies and commercial or trade feeders the most valuable centers of the uncivilized world. Now, so far from putting themselves under English leadership, the other nations are more jealous of England than fearful of Russia; and they would be glad to see England undertake to chastise Turkey, while they would improve the opportunity to extend their spheres of influence in Africa.
English statesmen are amongst the shrewdest in the world and are well aware that a war with Turkey would be a long and expensive one, which they dare not close except in victory, and that when victory had been gained the other nations would see that it was as fruitless and unprofitable to England as the war of 1877 and 1878 was to Russia. And, meantime, Russia would advance upon India, France upon Egypt, and Germany would establish an African colony in conjunction with the Dutch in the Transvaal.
Russia and Austria could easily settle the Turkish question by taking possession and dividing her territory, although the Turks could and would make a stout resistance; but meantime England might succeed in exciting France as well as Italy to jealousy and repeat the threat of war at the last moment. This is probably the only reason why Russia and Austria do not take possession of Turkey at once.
It will be claimed, perhaps, that the leading English journals express the desire that Russia should take possession, and declare that England would not only not oppose but would disinterestedly approve such a step for humanity's sake. This is true; but the Czar well knows that the English journals and the English government are not the same; and we are quite sure that he will receive no such assurances from the government. But why not? Ah! that is the weighty factor in this Turkish business that is always secreted by the English government;--"Shylock" has a word to say in all British governmental matters. Like all pawnbrokers he has a dark back office; but from that back office the outward moves are very generally directed. "Shylock" remembers that "the unspeakable Turk" owes him a national debt of over seven hundred millions of dollars ($700,000,000), and that, however badly he may abuse Christians, he pays a heavy interest and with considerable promptness; and he reasons that if the "sick man" dies, the interest and debt will both become a total loss. "Shylock" will not let this come to pass except as a last resort. And he has immense influence with British statesmen--although he must remain out of sight to the public, who, if they knew that he is the adviser and shaper of public policy, would not be so easily controlled by their statesmen.
That Russia and Great Britain are likely to come into conflict before the full end of Gentile Times we believe; and that their struggle is noted in Scripture we think probable. Possibly it will yet be seen to be somehow associated with the prophecy of `Ezekiel 39th` chapter. Russia is great and powerful numerically, by location and because of her autocracy. England is great intellectually and financially. As liberty-lovers, as civilized beings, and above all as Christians, our sympathies must be closer to England than to despotic Russia, although we cannot close our eyes to England's faults, nor deny that the root of many of them is selfishness. "The love of money is a root of all evil."
Russia's rise to influence has been phenomenal. She is to-day the leading power of Europe, and under her leadership are Germany, France and Austria. The
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four at the four corners of Europe, so to speak, seem to give a better temporary guarantee for a few year's peace than Europe has had for some time. Meantime, realizing that the time is short and the work given us to do important, according to the King's command, let us be found using present opportunities with diligence, knowing that the "night" of trouble, wherein no man can work, hasteth greatly. "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset, and run with patience the race set before us."
* * *
The Roman Catholics and Greek Catholics are not very fully in accord nor much disposed to unite, judging from the following telegram to the press:--
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"St. Petersburg, Oct. 25.--Father Tolstoi, of the Greek Church, recently deposed from the priest's functions because he refused to clear himself of an accusation that he had been converted to Catholicism, has been arrested at Moscow and taken to Nijni, where he was condemned by a church tribunal to seven years' banishment from St. Petersburg and Moscow and was forbidden to hold any state office for twenty years."
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COWPER'S VIEW OF RESTITUTION GLORY.
"Oh, scenes surpassing fable, and yet true,
Scenes of accomplished bliss! which, who can see,
Though but in distant prospect, and not feel
His soul refreshed with foretaste of the joy?
"Rivers of gladness water all the earth,
And clothe all climes with beauty; the reproach
Of barrenness is past. The fruitful field
Laughs with abundance; and the land once lean,
Or fertile only in its own disgrace,
Exults to see its thistly curse repealed.
The various seasons woven into one,
And that one season an eternal spring,
The garden fears no blight, and needs no fence,
For there is none to covet: all are full.
The lion and the libbard and the bear
Graze with the fearless flocks; all bask at noon
Together, or all gambol in the shade
Of the same grove, and drink one common stream.
Antipathies are none. No foe to man
Lurks in the serpent now; the mother sees,
And smiles to see, her infant's playful hand
Stretched forth to dally with the crested worm,
To stroke his azure neck, or to receive
The lambent homage of his arrowy tongue.
All creatures worship man, and all mankind
One Lord, one Father.
"Error has no place;
That creeping pestilence is driven away,
The breath of heaven has chased it. In the heart
No passion touches a discordant sting,
But all is harmony and love. Disease
Is not: the pure and uncontaminate blood
Holds its due course, nor fears the frost of age.
One song employs all nations, and all cry,
'Worthy the Lamb, for He was slain for us!'
The dwellers in the vales and on the rocks
Shout to each other, and the mountain tops
From distant mountains catch the flying joy;
Till, nation after nation taught the strain,
Earth rolls the rapturous hosanna round.
"Behold the measure of the promise filled;
See Salem built, the labor of a God!
Bright as the sun the sacred city shines;
All kingdoms and all princes of the earth
Flock to that light; the glory of all lands
Flows into her; unbounded is her joy,
And endless her increase. Thy rams are there,
Nebaioth, and the flocks of Kedar, there
The looms of Ormus, and the mines of Ind,
And Saba's spicy groves pay tribute there.
Praise is in all her gates; upon her walls,
And in her streets, and in her spacious courts,
Is heard salvation. Eastern Java there
Kneels with the native of the farthest West,
And Ethiopia spreads abroad the hand,
And worships. Her report has travelled forth
Into all lands. From every clime they come
To see thy beauty and to share thy joy,
O Zion! an assembly such as earth
Saw never, such as heaven stoops down to see."
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THE AUTHORITY OF DIVINE TRUTH.
"And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind."--`John 9:39`.
DIVINE truth comes to us with all the authority of its divine Author. With a gentle dignity consistent with its noble character it urges its claims upon the reason, the judgment and the conscience of men, and then leaves them, as free moral agents, to accept or reject its claims. Its true messengers also come with the same moral force of inherent worth, rather than with noisy demonstrations or "lying wonders," such as are used by the powers of darkness to attract idle curiosity into the snares of Satan. They come imbued with the spirit of the authoritative message they bear--the spirit of holiness and truth.
Thus our Lord Jesus, the great chief Messenger of the divine covenant, was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners; the prophets were holy men who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the holy spirit;
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and the apostles were holy men chosen of God and charged with the divine testimony. So also all of those called of God to preach the good tidings have this anointing of the holy spirit of God (`Isa. 61:1-3`; `Luke 4:16-21`) as their necessary preparation for this service, and without this anointing they are but as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals, having no commission from God to declare his truth. To any who, without the divine anointing, presumptuously take it upon themselves to handle the testimonies of God, attempting to expound them to others, "God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction and castest my words behind thee!" (`Psa. 50:16,17`.) Only those who have the anointing of the spirit of truth have any commission from God to preach the truth to others. And indeed only such can do it; for others, not being willing to admit its full sway and authority in their own hearts, yet anxious to justify themselves before men, will pervert the truth, deceiving and being deceived, wresting the Scriptures to their own destruction.
Divine truth, flowing from the pure fountain of truth, God himself, who is all light, and in whom is no darkness at all (`1 John 1:5`), coming to us through the appointed channel of God's Word and declared by his faithful servants imbued with his spirit, comes with a moral and logical power proving its authority and enforcing it with an emphasis which carries warning with it, and which plainly says, "Take heed how ye hear."--`Luke 8:18`.
The message of divine truth conveyed to us through our Lord Jesus and his holy apostles and prophets, and from time to time, as meat in due season, called to our attention by such members of the anointed body as God hath set in the Church to be pastors and teachers, and even by the feebler members of the body, are not therefore subjects for mere idle consideration and human speculation and dispute: they are not common themes for reckless handling with irreverent hands: they are the eternal principles of truth and righteousness. They are the oracles of God and the principles of his holy law by which every man must be judged as worthy or unworthy of eternal life. They come, with a quiet insistence, demanding our candid, serious, careful consideration of their claims upon us in view of the fact of a coming judgment in which these principles of truth and righteousness shall surely triumph and prove a savor of life unto life or of death unto death to men, according as they are obedient or disobedient to their authority.
It was to establish these principles of judgment, and to acquaint men with them, as well as to redeem them from the sentence of the first judgment of the race in Eden, that Jesus came into this world. (`John 5:24`; `20:30,31`.) Yet this judgment, while it begins in a measure with every man as soon as he begins to comprehend the divine testimony, is not, in the case of the world in general, to reach its final decision until the time appointed for the world's judgment, the Millennial age; for at his first advent Jesus said, "I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" --the day of final reckoning, the Millennial or Judgment day.--`John 12:46-48`.
In view of these considerations what folly is it for any man blindly to ignore or foolishly tamper with and pervert or reject the authority of divine truth! On the other hand, how grateful to God we should be for his goodness in making known to us the principles of his law, the testimonies of his Word, by which we are to be judged. And how anxious we should be that our understanding of those principles of judgment should be clear and free from any bias of human prejudice which might blind our eyes to truths of such solemn import. As the Psalmist says, "The judgments of the Lord [expressed by his holy apostles and prophets] are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than
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honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned; and in keeping of them there is great reward."--`Psa. 19:9-11`.
The above statement of our Lord was called out by the contrast presented in the conduct of the Pharisees and of the blind man to whom sight had been given. The miracle gave unmistakable evidence of divine power manifested through Christ, and was a testimony to the truth of his claim to the Messiahship. The Pharisees, perceiving the logical deduction from the admission of the fact, and unwilling to admit the authority of a teacher greater than themselves, rejected even this undeniable testimony, and cast the man out of the synagogue, because he confessed the truth.
In this miracle our Lord had clearly taught the great truth that God was with him, and that he was indeed all that he claimed to be--the fulfilment of the law and the prophets, the long promised Messiah. These Pharisees, tho feeling the force of this testimony, nevertheless harbored so much envy and hatred in their hearts that it blinded them to the truth. But not so was it with the young man upon whose sightless eyes the miracle had been wrought. Envy, hatred and the spirit of rivalry were absent from his mind, and wonder and gratitude prompted him to reason out the logical deductions from this marvelous fact. In his course we observe the steps of obedient and increasing faith and the results so blessed and so different from those to
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which the course of the Pharisees led. The act of hopeful obedience (based doubtless upon what he had heard of Jesus previously), in following the simple directions to go and wash his clay-anointed eyes in the pool of Siloam, was rewarded by immediate sight, although the man had been born blind; this blessing, gratefully realized, increased faith; the testimony of obedient, grateful faith, in the face of opposition, brought the reward of persecution; and persecution, accepted in preference to the approval of men upon terms of unrighteousness
--of stifled conviction and ingratitude,-- brought the reward of the clearer revelation of Him who was the hope of Israel and the world. And not only so, but this realization that Jesus was indeed the very Christ promised of God, and expected for four thousand years, came to the formerly blind man with this additional element of joy, that he had been specially favored and blessed by him.
Here we see in strong contrast the spirit of obedience on the part of the young man who received sight, and the spirit of disobedience and rebellion on the part of the Pharisees. In the one case the authority of truth was despised and its light rejected, the darkness being preferred because their deeds were evil; while in the other its authority was received and appreciated and from its blessed testimony were drawn the precious lessons of faith, obedience, gratitude, humility, fortitude and loving reverence. Thus, the same truth which blinded one enlightened and blessed the other. And so truth is always, as Paul tells us, a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death. It is only those who receive the truth into good and honest hearts that are rewarded with its blessed fruitage.--`2 Cor. 2:14-16`.
Let every man, therefore, take heed how he hears the testimony of God: let him not be of those who receive it into a heart filled with selfishness or a spirit of vain glory or pride or irreverence or ingratitude; so that it may not have the blinding effect that it had upon the Pharisees, or the hardening effect it had upon them and upon Pharaoh, who thereby ten times precipitated upon himself and his people the plagues of divine wrath, which finally culminated in the destruction in the Red sea. But with a pure heart, a good and honest heart, let us receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save our souls.-- `James 1:21,22`.
It is well for all the Lord's people ever to bear in mind that the present age, the present life, is our judgment day. Let us see to it that we conduct ourselves with that prudence and godly sincerity so befitting so solemn and momentous a time, and also that we come to the consideration of the divine testimony with that reverence and humility which insure the enlightening, and guard against the blinding, effects. Well indeed would it be for the world if they too would consider that "the eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good;" and that "God shall bring every work into judgment with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil;" and that "there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be known."--`Prov. 15:3`; `Eccl. 12:14`; `Luke 12:2,3`.
This judgment in the case of the Lord's consecrated people culminates with the present life, and in the case of the world it will culminate in the age to come. There is, however, a judgment of the world as nations (not as individuals) which culminates in the present age. Thus, for instance, there was the national judgment of Israel which condemned them to blindness and to an overthrow, as unworthy of the continued favor of God. So also upon nominal spiritual Israel, the nations of Christendom, the judgment of God is also to blindness and to an overthrow in a great time of trouble. "Take heed how ye hear" the teachings of God's Word!
M. F. RUSSELL.
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"HE GIVETH QUIETNESS."
"'WHEN he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?' And who but he, the 'God of all comfort,' can give quietness in the midst of tumults which rise upon the soul like sudden storms upon the sea? Like ocean mariners in peril, we cry unto him, and he bringeth us to the desired haven-- blessed haven--of quietness and peace in God.
"What is the cry which brings this answer of peace? It is not a prayer that all occasion for disturbance shall be removed, for it is not always the divine will to bring peace to the human spirit in that way; it is not always the best way. But there is a cry which never fails to bring the quietness in which none can 'make trouble.' It is a prayer for sweet, trustful, loving acquiescence in the will of God.
"'May thy will, not mine, be done;
May thy will and mine be one;
Peace I ask--but peace must be,
Lord, in being one with Thee.'
"What is it which disturbs my spirit? Is it anxiety about my work, my finances, my reputation, my friends? Suppose my Father in heaven should hear my prayer and remove every apparent cause for unrest in regard to one or all of these matters to-day. That would not give settled peace, for in a life so full of uncertainties as this, new occasions of anxiety would probably arise to-morrow.
"But if I say, 'Lord, let each one of these matters which concern my peace of mind so closely be under thy control; order all entirely according to thy will, for thou art my Father and my Friend; thy will is that
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thy children should have the very best in all things; and thou knowest what is best for me,' what a place of rest is that! How the sense of too heavy responsibility rolls off; how the distracting care is shifted from the heart too weak to bear it to the strong shoulder upon which the government of all things rightfully and easily rests.
"If this experience of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price, is not realized at once, we must not be discouraged. It is not only of a great price as to value, but it often costs a great price to gain it.
"It follows successive battles, often repeated self-surrender, and multiplied trials in which the unfailing care and love of God have been clearly manifested. We were watching the sea waves under the northeast wind; how disturbed and dark they were! Suddenly, with a fierceness that seemed cruel, the rain fell in torrents, and the unresisting waters grew perfectly calm as under an overwhelming surprise. When the storm had passed, the setting sun shone gloriously, and the quieted waters were beautiful in colors of rose and gold.
"Nature has its spiritual correspondences. Surprise comes upon surprise, sudden, overwhelming. The spirit which once tossed restlessly in chafing winds of lesser trials sinks in sweet submission under heavier griefs. We learn that even in the storm God was, and at last his conscious love, his abiding presence, his unvarying peace--the beauty of Godlikeness--glorify the character and life." --Selected.
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QUESTIONS OF GENERAL INTEREST.
Question. How can we reconcile with the love and justice of God the selection of the consecrated believers of the Gospel age only to be the bride of Christ, and not the overcomers of all ages?
Answer. To those who for many years have been under the impression that all of the human family who will be saved will be saved to the same plane it is natural that the "diversity" (See `Eph. 3:10,11`--Diaglott) of God's creation should be difficult to receive. But this does not alter God's plan. The attitude of our hearts should be that of hearty acquiescence in what we see to be taught in God's Word; and we must ever remember the Apostle's words, "Who art thou that repliest
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against God?" "Hath not the potter power over the clay to make one vessel unto honor and another vessel unto less honor?" What if the fish should say that it is unjust for them to be confined to the waters? And what if the birds should object to their environment and wish to be as the fleet footed hare or the graceful deer? And what if the king of the forest should insist that it is unjust that he was not made man? What confusion there would be in creation! And is it more consistent for men to wish to be angels, when God never intended them to be such? And why, since God has invited only a special few to be heirs of the Kingdom, should it be taken as a slight to others of mankind not to be invited? God has not arranged to injure any of his creatures. He has blessings in store for them all, but he reserves the right to bestow upon each one such a blessing as his wisdom dictates. If we were to go on the street and from a dozen newsboys select three to whom to give a dollar each, would we be injuring the nine to whom we gave nothing? But if we should do an injury to any of them, we would be guilty of wrong doing. So God has a right to select the recipients of his favors. All that we have is of grace. We have merited nothing. And "the gifts and callings of God are without repentance." On this point we advise that you read again MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I., Chap. 10.
To the Church of this Gospel age only, God has offered through Christ a new, a spiritual, nature; they alone are invited to become "partakers of the divine nature." The highest offer to others is restitution to the perfection of human nature lost in Eden through disobedience.
Question. If Noah was 600 years old when the flood came (`Gen. 7:6,11`), was he not 601 years old when the water was dried up (since the flood covered the earth one year and ten days)?
Answer. In the 600th year of Noah's life (`Gen. 7:11`), he was 599 years old. In his 601st year, the first month and first day (`Gen. 8:13`), he was not 601 years old but just beginning his 601st year; consequently up to that date he had lived 600 full years.
Question. What will be the standing of the world in the Millennial age before they believe in Christ, and in case they never come into harmony during that age? Some argue that a man cannot be tried for life until he has life.
Answer. Before they believe in Christ, men are in the attitude of condemned beings. (`John 3:18`.) We all have been condemned on account of father Adam's sin, and the only name given under heaven or among men whereby we can be saved is the name of Jesus. God can be "just and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus; but he cannot justly be the justifier of any one who does not believe in Jesus. (`Rom. 3:26`.) Therefore we conclude that any person who has not the Son has not life; indeed, shall not see life; but the wrath of God (death, inherited from Adam) abides on him; he is condemned ALREADY; and this is the condemnation, that light came into the world, and he wickedly loved darkness rather than light.--`John 3:36`; `1 John 5:12`; `John 3:18`; `1:9`; `1 Tim. 2:4`; `John 3:19`.
As for the teaching that "a man cannot be tried for life until he has life," we do not know a single
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statement of Scripture to that effect; but we do know, and have quoted above, positive evidence to the contrary.
No man is on trial individually until brought to a knowledge of Christ and his sacrifice and the opportunity of reconciliation with God through him. And this knowledge of the true light, we are informed, must eventually reach every member of Adam's race. If, when he receives this knowledge, he accepts the grace of God and the terms of the New Covenant, his trial for life everlasting under its terms begins: if he rejects the offer his original condemnation to death continues and is approved by his own conduct in refusing this grace of God in Christ.
There are two stages of trial for life set forth in this Gospel age, and similarly there will be two stages of trial set before the world in the next age. The first stage of trial now is to come to a knowledge of the fact that we are sinners, under divine sentence, and that Christ has been appointed Mediator of a New Covenant, under which God is willing to receive us, and under which we may be reconciled to God and gain everlasting life, etc. If we refuse to use this knowledge and to enter into the New Covenant privileges, we thus reject justification;--choose to remain under condemnation, not choosing to take the steps necessary to escape it. If we do accept the favor of the New Covenant, we then begin our trial and discipline and have the assurance that if obedient to the great High Priest we shall be enabled to run the race for life successfully and win the prize of life everlasting.
So with the world in the Millennial age. They must all come to an accurate knowledge of the truth. (`1 Tim. 2:4`.) Those who then decide to reject Christ will be deciding to remain under sentence of death, and "shall not see life." Those who then act upon the knowledge and accept Christ will be reckonedly justified to life and will begin a trial for life, to determine whether they are worthy of everlasting life. The trial will be according to development of character and will close with the end of the Millennial age; and all not having attained acceptable characters before that time "will be destroyed from among the people"--that none but perfect beings may pass into the perfect conditions beyond the Millennium.
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GOD'S BLESSING UPON SOLOMON.
--NOVEMBER 15.--`1 KINGS 9:1-9`.--
"The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it."--`Prov. 10:22`.
GOD'S second revealing of himself to Solomon, recorded in this lesson, occurred twenty-four years after he had become king, when he had reached the forty-fourth year of his age. He began the building of the temple in the fourth year of his reign. Its construction occupied seven years, and after finishing it he built his own palace, which took thirteen years. (`1 Kings 7:1`.) During this long period of twenty-four years Solomon was occupied not only with these great works, but in general in cultivating trade with neighboring countries, repairing his cities, etc., etc. He had just reached the period, we may suppose, where he was "in all his glory." His fame had spread throughout the world. He had become wealthy and had cultivated luxurious tastes, which in turn had increased the expenses of his government and, if prosecuted further, would lead to the oppression of his people with burdensome taxes. In the language of the first verse of the lesson, Solomon had reached the place where he was able to gratify his every desire. He had reached the critical point of danger; for, without question, great prosperity is much more dangerous than moderate competency.
Up to this point of time, we may reasonably infer, Solomon's course at least in a general way had the divine approval. He had accepted the prayer of his dream as the sentiment of his heart. He had been seeking for wisdom and to a considerable extent had been walking in her way and had received the promised blessings of affluence and fame. But now he had reached the danger point: He had come to a parting of the ways. One way would lead onward in humble reverence for God and a continuous seeking for Divine wisdom and guidance for the management of the kingdom and a seeking more and more for the elevation of the people, their prosperity, happiness and cultivation in mental, moral and religious directions. The other way opening before Solomon would lead onward to pride, folly, self-gratification, the oppression of his people and by setting before them a bad example of royal profligacy, licentiousness, extravagance, carelessness of religious obligations and charity for false religions.
At this juncture the Lord appeared to Solomon as before at Gibeon; that is, in a dream (`1 Kings 3:5`); and an account of the Lord's words spoken in that dream is given in this lesson. The Lord's words imply his approval of Solomon's course up to this time, indicating that he had accepted the prayer of Solomon's first dream as Solomon's prayer, that he had accepted the temple built to his name, not only outwardly but in reality, as implied by the words: "Mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually." The Lord then proceeds to set before Solomon a view of the right and the wrong paths which lay before him, counselling him to
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choose the path of wisdom and righteousness as his father David had done. This reference to David shows us that the Lord was not expecting absolute perfection of David or Solomon, or any of the fallen race, but that he was seeking and would appreciate the heart intentions of those who sought to serve him and who, even though falteringly, sought to walk in his way.
The outcome of both paths is particularly stated: the path of obedience would not only establish the kingdom in his own hands, but insure it in the line of his posterity, even as it was promised to David. In this promise God shows that he has reference not merely to the immediate descendants of Solomon and David, but that his particular reference is to Christ, the great King, the antitype of Solomon, whose Kingdom shall be an everlasting Kingdom, and all people shall serve and obey him. As God promised to David that Christ should come of his seed, so here he proposes the same to Solomon, that if Solomon would hearken to his words and walk in his way, the Messiah should come through his posterity. But on the other hand, the choosing of the wrong course now would mean disaster not only to
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Solomon and his greatness but to Israel and its national prosperity, and to the temple which was a delight to Solomon and a wonder to the world.
We all know the sequel: We know that Solomon chose the wrong path, that he chose self-gratification; and thus, although noted as the wise man, he is also noted as having determined his course unwisely and the "high" house which he had built to the Lord, that is, the notable house in the eyes of the world, did become a by-word. It was robbed of its treasures and profaned; and the world knows to-day that the Lord's displeasure against Israel and his rejection of them for a time was the result of their rejection of him, and that this in part at least was induced by Solomon's choice of the wrong course; and that the high places which he established for the worship of false religions to please his wives and their heathen relatives, became snares to the people of Israel and continued to have an idolatrous and ungodly, sinful tendency for centuries; until God cast them out of their land, overthrew their typical kingdom and temporarily gave a lease of earthly dominion to the Gentile nations, to last until the time for his establishment of the antitypical Kingdom in the hands of the greater than Solomon and through the instrumentality of the true Israel of God;--until the time for the building of the true, spiritual, antitypical temple of which Christ and his Church are the "living stones" as well as the "royal priesthood."--`Eph. 2:21`; `2 Cor. 6:16`.
As a matter of fact, our Lord Jesus did not come through Solomon's line, but through that of his brother Nathan, in whose lineal descent was Mary, the mother of Jesus. (See `Luke 3:31`.) Only the legal heirship came through Solomon, through his descendant Joseph, the legal father of Jesus. (See `Matt. 1:7,16`.) That the line of genealogy given in `Matt. 1` is not that of Mary, our Lord's mother, according to the flesh, is conclusively shown by a comparison of `Matt. 1:11,12`, with `Jer. 22:30`.
The practical suggestions of this lesson are applicable to all of the Lord's people, for although none of us of the Gospel age are called to be typical kings with typical grandeur and wealth and wisdom, as was Solomon, but on the contrary are called to occupy humble positions, not many great or wise or learned being chosen and called, nevertheless, before each of us continually appear two ways, the one the way of divine favor, spiritual blessing and light, the other the way of self-gratification, divine displeasure and condemnation. The choice which we are called upon to make is even more important than that which was placed before Solomon. The question with him was whether or not Messiah, according to the flesh, should come in the line of his posterity. The question with us is whether or not we shall make our calling and election sure as joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, our Lord, in the Kingdom and glory of which Solomon's was but a type. The resolution of each one should be that with humility he will accept the divine favor, seek to walk in the divine way--in the footsteps of Jesus--and by obedience, humility and love seek to make his calling and election sure, as one of the kings and priests of the antitypical Kingdom.--`Rev. 5:10`.
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REWARDS OF OBEDIENCE.
--NOVEMBER 22.--`PROV. 3:1-17`.--
"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."--`Prov. 3:6`.
IN this lesson Wisdom personified stands as an instructor and offers good counsel to such as have an ear to hear and a desire to obey her.
(`1`) "Wisdom is justified of her children." They show their parentage, and reflect their mother's likeness. But to this end Wisdom's laws and commandments must be carefully heeded. Wisdom's laws are divine laws, expressed not only in the Scriptures, but also in the laws of nature. "The children of the light" should walk in the light in reference to physical as well as spiritual matters--health, food, cleanliness, clothing, etc.
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(`2`) No one of ordinary perception can fail to note that a wise and moderate course in life in obedience to the divine laws is beneficial with respect to the life which now is, and also that which is to come. True, many in the prime of life and health do not give heed to Wisdom's voice; true, many who do give heed are such as are already greatly impaired, having either inherited weaknesses and frailties from the un-wisdom of their parents (beginning with Adam and Eve) or having neglected the voice of Wisdom until retribution overtook them. But even for the impaired the counsel of Wisdom is profitable, as many have proved, and brings with it more of peace than can be found in any other way.
(`3`) How grand the counsel of this verse! How wise, and how necessary to a large development of heart, are the graces here mentioned--mercy and truth! No one is truly great who is mean, spiteful, vindictive. Mercy towards others, implying consideration for their failings and sufferings, is an ennobling grace, a part of the image of God, too largely lost by many. Truth here stands for sincerity, pureness and uprightness of dealing in all our affairs. Who could be a true nobleman without this quality? Much more is it necessary to every true Christian.
"Bind them about thy neck" signifies that these are to be esteemed as jewels and ornaments of character carefully guarded from loss and always in sight,-- delightsome things. And not only should they be manifest to all as outward graces, but they should be written or engraven in our hearts. Nobility of character, God-likeness, was a part of man's original endowment, and was written in his very heart, nature, constitution; but Adamic sin and its resultant separation from God, and now six thousand years of degradation, have well nigh obliterated this original divine law from the heart of humanity. So to fallen man in general, the evil and selfish and resentful suggestions present themselves, instead of mercy and sincerity. But the child of God, the child of Wisdom, is to retrace and engrave again upon the tablets of the heart (that is, in his very character) these graces so generally obliterated. This work is at the present time being followed only by those who are in the school of Christ,--the "little flock." But by and by the school of Christ will be enlarged; and these who are now pupils will be associated with the great Master as teachers and instructors of the Word; and then the whole world will be called upon to rewrite in their hearts the original law of righteousness. And all who appreciate the opportunity will be assisted in so doing by the Lord and his servants; as it is written. --`Jer. 31:33,34`.
(`4`) Such characters are sure to be pleasing in the sight of God, and are acknowledged even by such persons as are children of darkness and hate the light, and would say all manner of evil falsely against the children of the light.
(`5`) Every matured child of God must learn well and appreciate the sentiment of this verse. Experience has taught him the imperfection of his own judgment in many things, and the fallibility of all human counsel; and he has learned and is still learning to trust the Lord implicitly. In order thus to trust the Lord, a knowledge of his Word and the plan of salvation which it reveals are very important; they inspire trust and confidence, not only in the ability and wisdom of God, but also in his justice and love.
(`6`) It is not only proper that God's children should trust him in their hearts, but also that they should confess and acknowledge him as their Lord and Master in all of their affairs. Such as are careful thus to acknowledge the Lord have the assurance that he will direct their paths. Their paths will not be directed in ways most congenial to the fallen nature: nor do they wish for this; for, as already seen, they are desiring and seeking mercy and truth, as outward charms, and also as deeply graven inward principles.
(`7`) Nothing is more dangerous to the child of God than self-conceit: it blocks the way to true progress and reformation of heart, and hinders true usefulness to others, and especially usefulness in God's service; for his Word declares, "God resisteth the proud, but showeth his favor unto the humble."
Instead of self confidence, Wisdom dictates a distrustfulness of self, remembering its weaknesses and imperfections, and correspondingly the greater reverence for God and reliance upon him, which more than anything else will strengthen and enable us to depart from the evil of our fallen estate.
(`8`) "Health [or vigor] to thy muscles and marrow to thy bones," as a figurative expression, would seem to signify general vitality, vigor of mind and body, which certainly are among the blessed results of that proper reverence for the Lord which leads us to depart from sin in thought, word and deed.
(`9`) Whatever we possess should be made to contribute its part in God's service. Whether our substance consists of a rich endowment of talent, or education, or influence, its first fruits, its results, should go to the service of our gracious heavenly Father, as our Lord said: "Seek ye first [chiefly, to serve] the Kingdom of heaven."
(`10`) Whatever our substance, if faithful in its use and in consecrating its best to the cause of God, a blessing will result to us. During the Jewish age God's covenant with that people was to the effect that faithfulness to him and his laws would bring them temporal
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prosperity; and the same rule will be in force during
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the Millennial age; as it is written, "In his days [the Millennial age] shall the righteous flourish," but "evil doers shall be cut off." (`Psa. 72:7`; `37:9`.) This rule does not apply during this Gospel age, however: the meek do not now inherit the earth, nor the righteous in general. Now the proud are prosperous, "Yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered." (`Mal. 3:15`.) Not only our Lord Jesus and the apostles, who honored God with the first-fruits of their being, but also many of the household of faith since, have not had overflowing barns and wine presses. Chiefly they have been "the poor of this world, rich in faith;" yet, nevertheless, they have had the finest of the wheat, the purest of the oil and the best of the wine, as represented in their spiritual nourishment and enrichment.
(`11,12`) The trials and difficulties of this present life are not to be esteemed as marks of divine disfavor, if we have become children of God, children of Wisdom, under the provided conditions of the New Covenant. We are to remember the promise of our Father, that "All things work together for good to them that love God, to the called ones according to his purpose." (`Rom. 8:28`.) Reproofs, trials, disciplines should be reminders to us that we are not perfect, that we still have need of the mercy of God in Christ, even with our best efforts; and should lead us to greater diligence in "perfecting holiness in the fear [reverence] of the Lord." --`2 Cor. 7:1`.
(`13-17`) Wisdom and understanding are not exactly synonymous terms. Wisdom describes more particularly the perception of right and wrong principles and their results and the propriety of following these. Knowledge or understanding relates more particularly to the information and building up of judgment and character, as the result of obedience to the voice of Wisdom.
It is a great blessing and privilege indeed to find Wisdom, for few there be that find her in this present time. Wisdom is the light which cometh from above. She is the truth. Her grand exemplification among men was "the man Christ Jesus," our Lord, "the true Light." Light from above, Wisdom, is still in the world, as represented in the divine Word; but to the majority it is unseen, unknown; as it is written, "The God of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not." Thank God for the assurance that in due time all the blind eyes shall be opened, and that then the true light, the true wisdom from above, shall lighten every man! Then all will see the truth, and all will hear the voice of Wisdom, the voice of God, the voice of Christ, the voice of the Church, and be privileged to drink at the fountain of Wisdom and knowledge, and, if they will be obedient, to obtain the full measure of divine favor and blessing as represented in the offer of everlasting life.--See `Rev. 22:17`.
But, alas! although but few find Wisdom now, still fewer heed her voice and purchase the true knowledge and its precious blessings as she directs. Nothing else that can be bought is so valuable. Under Wisdom's direction now not only the silver of truth may be obtained, but the divine nature, as symbolized by gold, and graces of character, as symbolized in precious stones. All these may now be secured by obedience to her voice --and more; for "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath entered into the heart of man the things that God has in reservation for them that love him,"--including everlasting life, heavenly riches, honor, joy and peace.
ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS.
DEAR BROTHER:--I wish to present a few thoughts called up recently by reading in DAWN, Vol. III., pages 228, 363, etc., the statement that the Scriptures do not indicate, so far as seen, the exact date of the exaltation of the last members of the "little flock" and the "closing of the door."
During '94 and '95 I spent some time in studying Revelation for my personal development, but was unable to come to any conclusions as to the "day"-year of Babylon's destruction. (`Chap. 18:8`.) Later I was referred by Sister Townsend to `Hos. 5:7`.
Note in connection `Zech. 11`, which refers particularly to the Jewish rejection of Jesus. We know that the Jewish house was left desolate in A.D. 33 and that to the Autumn of A.D. 36 special favor was confined to the individuals of that nation. As Israel is referred to in prophecy as Israel--the whole house; Judah--the two tribes; and Ephraim--the ten tribes, it occurred to me that "the three shepherds" (`Zech. 11:8`) were the priesthood of the nation, as a whole and in its two later divisions--the whole Aaronic line. One month (30 years) for their cutting off would bring us to the Autumn of A.D. 66.
From history we find that just at this time (at least not later than early in A.D. 67) a band of Jewish rioters displaced the Royal and Legal Priesthood and polluted the temple; hence the Aaronic Priesthood was there literally ended, though rejected previously, when the sacrifice of Christ displaced the sacrifices of the Law.
Finding its literal fulfilment thus upon Fleshly Israel, it is not difficult to see how it is with Spiritual Israel (Babylon, Ephraim, Ariel, etc.), which is also represented as divided into three parts.--`Rev. 16:19`.
`Hos. 5:7` speaks of "strange children" of Israel and says Jehovah withdrew himself from them entirely. "Now shall a month devour them with their portions [belongings]." The antitype of cast-off Israel is the nominal Christian Church (Babylon), and the corresponding date to Jehovah's withdrawal from Israel in A.D. 36 is 1881. 1881 plus 30 equals 1911, when Babylon shall be entirely "devoured" or destroyed.
In DAWN, Vol. III., we see how the Pyramid indicates Oct. 1910 as the [probable] date when the last members of the "little flock" shall be changed and accounted worthy to escape the severity of the trouble. The saints are warned, "Come out of her,...that ye receive not of her plagues" (`Rev. 18:4`); for (`verse 8`) "her plagues shall come in one day [year], and she shall be utterly burned"--destroyed in that, her last day, ending Oct. 1911 and beginning Oct. 1910, thus corroborating the Pyramid's testimony.
The shortness and suddenness of her destruction are indicated by `Isa. 47:9`; `10:17` and `Rev. 16:17-21`, as plainly shown in DAWN.
Thus the dates 1910 and 1911 seem clearly marked. I have attempted to give briefly the main thoughts, just enough to enable you to grasp the idea. Yours in fellowship, C. H. DICKINSON.
A returned missionary writes us as follows:--
TO THE AUTHOR OF MILLENNIAL DAWN. DEAR SIR:--A friend gave me the first volume of MILLENNIAL DAWN. I have been greatly interested and profited by it, reading it with Bible in hand to note references.
As a missionary of twenty years in China, there are times when I cannot look at that dreadful diagram of the condition of the world. Having been in the chief great heathen fields of the world, and seen the darkness (yea, felt it), and this nearly 2,000 years after Christ's coming, with all my assurance that Christ shall have his rightful inheritance, and all my enthusiasm in the work, yet often my heart has failed within me, at the magnitude of the work yet to be accomplished. Your rendering of the matter brings me comfort, appeals to my reason and faith, and yet does not "cut the nerve of missions."
I want volumes II. and III. of DAWN, also TABERNACLE SHADOWS. Kindly also send me sample copy of your paper. Mrs.__________