ZWT - 1901 - R2748 thru R2928 / R2906 (353) - November 15, 1901
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VOL. XXII. NOVEMBER 15, 1901. No. 22.
Views from the Watch Tower
Human Forces Bursting all
Bonds and Barriers..........................355
A New Chemical Agent..........................356
Streams in the Desert.........................356
In Peril from Their Own Troops................357
Faith Severely Tested.............................357
Certainly I Will Be With Thee.....................359
The Ten Plagues of Egypt..........................361
An Editor Lectures Churchianity...................364
Love Ye One Another...........................364
The Church Expectant..........................364
A Usurpation of Authority.........................367
LETTERS FOR THE EDITOR SHOULD BE SENT TO ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A. SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, "BIBLE HOUSE," 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
--OR TO-- BRITISH BRANCH, 131 GIPSY LANE, FOREST GATE, LONDON E. ENGLAND.
PRICE, $1.00 (4s.) A YEAR IN ADVANCE, 5c (2-1/2d.) A COPY. MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR, AS FOLLOWS:--
Those of the interested who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.
ENTERED AS SECOND CLASS MAIL MATTER AT ALLEGHENY, PA., POST OFFICE.
PILGRIM VISITS ARE FREE OF ALL CHARGES.
We find that some of the friends have refrained from requesting "Pilgrim" visits because they supposed they would be expected to contribute for his railway fare and also for his support. This is a mistake: the services of the preaching "Pilgrims" laboring under the auspices of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY are absolutely without charge;--nor do they take up any collections. The Society pays their railway and all other expenses out of its funds, which are all voluntary donations, from such as are able and anxious to serve thus.
All we ask of the friends visited is that they provide a parlor, hall, school-house or church building for the meetings and that they board and lodge the "Pilgrim" during the two or three days of his visit. We attend to all else.
REQUESTS FOR PILGRIM SERVICE.
The Pilgrim routes are made out months ahead; so it is too late to write us, as some do, when they learn from last page that a Pilgrim is coming to their vicinity. If you desire visits write us a Postal Card (or on a card of that size) answering the following questions: (a) Have you regular meetings now? (b) How many usually attend? (c) Who are the chosen leaders of the class? (d) Did the class vote its desire for Pilgrim visits? (e) Are you able and willing to secure a suitable room for private meetings? (f) Could you arrange also for one public meeting? and what number could probably be gathered?
You can answer briefly, thus: (a) Yes. (b) 14. (c) John Smith and Amos Brown. (d) Yes. (e) Yes. (f) Yes: 100 to 300.
When you see a notice of a "Pilgrim Visit" near you and do not know the meeting address, enquire of us by Postal card immediately. Those arranging for "Pilgrim meetings" will please notify us early respecting their arrangements.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
HUMAN FORCES BURSTING ALL BONDS AND BARRIERS.
JUSTICE BREWER, of the Supreme Court of the United States, was one of the speakers at the recent Yale bi-centenary celebration, and he made some statements which were extremely startling as coming from one in his high judicial position. The Picayune epitomizing his speech says:
"Commenting on the extraordinary results attained in scientific discovery and mechanical invention, and their use in all the business and economies of daily life in a country inexpressibly rich in natural endowments, and inhabited by a vast and rapidly increasing population of the most enterprising and intelligent races of men, he said:
"'These various causes are operating in our midst to produce wealth, consolidation, centralization. The rapidity and multitude of mercantile transactions are seen in colossal fortunes, in gigantic undertakings, in enormous financial consolidations, and corresponding organizations of labor. Local self-control is giving way before the pressure for centralized power. The town meeting is supplanted by the State Legislature, while the latter in its turn is yielding to the expanding power of Congress. Political parties are largely under the management of bosses, and the whole great forces of industry, business and politics seem passing under the domination of single central control.'
"The eagerness with which the physical forces brought into play by scientific discovery and invention have been adopted and enlisted in every branch of industry and business is not more remarkable than is the tendency towards the concentration and centralization of human forces and agencies. On one side capital is concentrating. On the other labor is combining. Each is mustering all its forces so that each may work with the other with completer system and to better advantage, and, in case of a conflict, each will be able to hurl itself against the other with all the great energy and effectiveness, and the prospect is that, sooner or later, both sides will attain conditions of such formidableness as that the shock, should they come in full collision, will destroy the existing social and political organization of the Republic, unless the masses of the people, who will not be bound to either side, shall rally to crush out the combatants and save the country's institutions.
"It has been declared by jurists that there is no evil which can occur in human economy that cannot find its remedy in the courts, but Justice Brewer does not agree with any such doctrine. He said in his Yale address:
"'You cannot stay this movement towards consolidation and centralization. It is a natural evolution. The commercial spirit is taking advantage of the wonderful facilities given by steam and electricity. Injunction against strikers will not stop it; legislation against trusts will not. Attempting to stay the movement of its chariot wheels by injunction or statute is lunacy, compared with which Dame Partington's effort to stop the Atlantic with a mop was supreme wisdom.'
"Then the last appeal is to the court of public opinion, and it must be a court independent of the contending parties. Not all the people of the United States belong to the privileged class of combined capitalists any more than they are members of labor organizations. The aristocracy of capital is made up of only a few thousands at the most. Organized labor may embrace a few millions of men not yet united under a central power. But although they may be so combined when the great conflict shall come, they will only make up a minority proportion of the entire population. There will be a great body of the people, to the number of tens and scores of millions, who will to a greater or less degree be independent, in sentiment at least, of both concentrated capital on one side and combined labor on the other, and this great majority will sit as a court to judge and determine what is necessary to protect the people's liberties and their free institutions from the aggressions of either or both of the combinations."
* * *
The thinking people of the world all perceive that
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the great day of trouble is approaching,--very much as we have shown it from the Scriptures in The Day of Vengeance and The Divine Plan of the Ages. Yet, as above stated, they hope that the masses will at the proper moment save society from complete wreck and ruin in anarchy. It is well for mankind that hope occupies so large a place in the natural heart which has nothing else to lean upon.
But if the Scriptures forbid us to exercise such hopes they give "us who believe" a still better hope of blessings to follow. The learned Justice hopes for the farming element, which heretofore has always been the conservative one, to preserve society and to enforce law and equity. But the Scriptures show the reverse of this. They show that it will be the reapers, the farmers, who will specially suffer and cry out at this time, and be specially instrumental in bringing about the anarchy.
Already the "Agrarian Party" (the farmers) of Europe are now causing kings and emperors serious trouble. They cry out that they cannot make a living at present prices and want prohibitive tariffs which would so increase the cost of living for laborers and mechanics as to seriously disturb manufacturing and all foreign commerce. This is the result of the demonetization of silver--farmers of gold standard countries being obliged to compete with farmers of silver standard countries, while manufacturing is all done in gold-standard countries and has no such competition with the cheap labor of heathendom.
Phenomenal conditions have given American farmers great prosperity--at the expense of millions in India and Russia, who have suffered from famine. But we are not to expect bountiful harvests here, and famines elsewhere to keep up prices, always. When the reverse movements come, the farmers of this favored land will also begin to cry out as represented in `James 5`.
A NEW CHEMICAL AGENT.
"The first milestone on the journey toward bloodless surgery has been reached. Its name is Adrenalin, that being the title of a chemical composition recently discovered by Dr. Jokichi Takamine, a well known and highly educated Japanese, who is connected with a chemical house that has a local office in this city. Adrenalin is to medicine what liquid air is to science, the only difference being that the chemical is under complete control, with unlimited possibilities before it.
"By the local application of Adrenalin, in solution of one part to 5,000, operations may be performed on the nose, ear and eye without the spilling of a drop of blood. Such operations have also been performed with Adrenalin in solution of one part to 10,000.
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"Thus has it been demonstrated that the discovery is the most powerful medicine known, and at the same time, it might be said, the most expensive. Physicians but it at $1 a grain, or $7,000 a pound.
"The isolation of the blood pressure raising constituent of the suprarenal gland is of course the chief virtue of Adrenalin, and its uses and developments along this particular line are unlimited. It has also been ascertained, however, that Adrenalin is a most powerful cardiac stimulant, and it has been hinted by physicians that it may be possible to resuscitate persons who have died of heart failure.
"Premature childbirth may also be made obsolete, as it is said Adrenalin can be made to revivify the heart of the dead child. Work along these lines is now being carried forward by Dr. Takamine in his laboratory, and before another year is gone it may be possible to perform amputations without the loss of blood, which is so disastrous to the patient."--New York Herald.
STREAMS IN THE DESERT.
"Surely the 'Great American Desert' of our childhood days will soon be a thing of the past. The only conception of a desert that the next generation will be able to obtain must come from pictures and descriptions of something that once existed, but is no more. Indeed, it is quite likely that we shall not have to wait for the next generation to witness the realization of this change.
"A special from San Bernardino announces that an artesian gusher, with a flow of nearly 200 inches of water, has been struck on the Mojave desert, near Victor, at a depth of less than 200 feet, by parties who were drilling for oil. This is not, by any means, the first time that water has been struck in Southern California by persons who were seeking for oil, and in some cases the water has proved to be more valuable than a moderate amount of oil would be.
"Out on the Colorado desert, below sea level, they have obtained a fine supply of artesian water at a moderate depth, and at the other end of the desert, near Yuma, water is flowing through a canal which is big enough to be navigated by a steam launch.
"All this is only a slight foretaste of what is to come within the next few years. That favorite quotation of our friend, the country editor 'The desert shall blossom as the rose,' is destined to be exemplified to a remarkable degree in Southern California within the next decade. Not only shall the desert blossom as the rose, but also the less beautiful but more profitable cabbage and potato and cauliflower and sugar beet and watermelon and fruit tree, and many other things which profit a man's stomach and swell his bank account."--Los Angeles Daily Times.
The foregoing clippings corroborate the testimony of the Scriptures,--that we are in the dawn of the new epoch, long by God's prophets foretold--the Millennium, the period of divine favor for the blessing of Adam's race through him who redeemed it-- Christ. They corroborate the assurance that under that Kingdom of Messiah the "curse" shall be lifted from the race and as Sin and Death have reigned for 6,000 years, now soon Grace and Truth shall reign unto righteousness and life.--`Rom. 5:17-21`.
Meantime, also let us not forget the teaching of the Lord's Word that so far as humanity is concerned, it is so full of selfishness that it cannot enter into these blessings now due peaceably; but must needs pass through "a time of trouble [anarchy]
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such as was not since there was a nation." We must note the trend of events in this direction therefore, also. It is significant that one Socialist publication claims to have sent out during the forty weeks of this year, over 6,000,000 papers and pamphlets. And below we quote a cable to the Chicago Daily News--also significant.
IN PERIL FROM THEIR OWN TROOPS.
"London, Sept. 30.--Dangerous social fanatics in the ranks of continental armies are causing unrest in a number of the principal capitals of Europe, according to a high officer of the British army who has just returned from a professional tour of the continent. He asserts that some monarchs are in peril when in the presence of their own troops and are now taking drastic measures to correct the evil. To the correspondent of The Daily News he said today:
"The barracks of Europe have become nurseries of anarchism. Realizing the opportunity offered to them in the leisure hours of army life, anarchists have gladly submitted to conscription and subsequently have poured the poison of their doctrine into the ears of their comrades. They have appealed especially to young peasants caught in the net of compulsory military service, and have sent many of the latter out of the army convinced of the tyranny of the ruling classes and eager to identify themselves with the radical element of the population.
"This has happened on a particularly large scale in Germany, Austria and Italy, and the officials of those countries are greatly disturbed. They have adopted measures for strangling revolution in the barracks. The latter are now frequented by government eavesdroppers and spies who make short work of the preachers of assassination and insurrection."
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FAITH SEVERELY TESTED.
"By faith, Abraham when he was tried, offered up Isaac;... accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the
dead, from whence also he received him
in a figure."--`Heb. 11:17,19`.
WITH CHANGES of dispensation come changes of divine methods of dealing with the faithful. The Lord's command to Abraham to sacrifice his son was totally different from any command he would give to his people now; and yet tests of a similar import, though of different kind, are laid upon the Lord's people to-day, and for a very similar purpose, viz., the testing of our heart-loyalty toward the Lord:--testing of faith in him,--in his wisdom, in his power, in his goodness.
In Abraham's day the patriarchal form of government prevailed, and under it the father of a family held an autocratic power which seemingly was rarely questioned by the children. The same extreme view of paternal government prevails, at least outwardly, in China to-day, we are informed. The patriarch, Abraham, was amenable to no earthly law or ruler, but to God only; and when the Lord proved or tested his faith and obedience by calling for the sacrifice of Isaac upon Mount Moriah, Abraham, full of faith and obedience, promptly responded, and there was no law or power to restrain the obedience. Even Isaac, who by this time was twenty-five years of age, seems to have offered not the slightest resistance to the divinely arranged program as set before him by his father; for in the vigor of youth he certainly need not have been bound to the altar contrary to his own will.
A severer test upon Abraham than this one could not be imagined. What could be a more difficult thing for any father to do than to slay his own child, even in response to the divine command? But in Abraham's case the sacrifice was a doubly keen one, because, not only had he the natural parental love for his offspring, but this was the son of promise, for whose birth he had waited according to divine promise, and longed and prayed, for twenty-five years--the son whose birth in his old age was admittedly a miracle of divine power--the son in whom, according to the divine word, centered all the gracious promises which had filled Abraham's heart for now fifty years; and which, during all this period, had constrained him to be a pilgrim and a stranger in the earth, so that he might in due time inherit these gracious promises which belonged to the future. How strange it must have seemed to him--how utterly inexplicable, that the Lord should ask him to surrender Isaac as a sacrifice!
Our respect for Abraham's faith rises higher and higher, as we behold the various manifestations of his confidence in God, and his obedience to the divine command. We say to ourselves, even as new creatures and partakers of the divine nature, O that we might have in fullest measure this abounding faith, this willing obedience, this trust, resting securely in God, this assurance that he is able to accomplish all that he has promised, even though the accomplishment of it should make necessary a resurrection from the dead! For the Apostle assures us that Abraham philosophized upon this matter--respecting the fact that Isaac was his legitimate heir, and had been so acknowledged of the Lord, saying, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called." He could see no other way that God's word could be true; yet so strong was his faith that he trusted that the Lord was able to raise his son from the dead in order to fulfil the promise. `Heb. 11:19`.
This is exactly the kind of faith that the Lord desires to find in the spiritual seed of Abraham, the Gospel Church--a faith that will trust him even where it cannot trace him; a faith which recognizes his perfect wisdom, perfect love and perfect power. It is not a faith, however, that is a spontaneous growth, under present fallen conditions. It requires years for its development. Abraham had not this degree of faith when first he entered the land of Canaan as a pilgrim. It was the lack of this perfect trust in God which made him fearful to acknowledge Sarah to be his wife, when later he went into the borders of Egypt; it was a faith that had grown through his continued intimacy
*This was written as the S.S. Lesson for Aug. 25 but was accidentally omitted. Many requests lead us to present it now.
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with his Almighty "Friend." His previous trials and testings had already contributed to the development of this his finished faith; the long waiting and frequent disappointments in respect to Isaac had been beneficial; the attempt to assist the Lord in the fulfilment of the promise, in the begetting of Ishmael, and the subsequent rejection of Ishmael as not being of the Lord's arrangement, had no doubt helped to establish the patriarch in his confidence that God's purposes are immutable, and his power unlimited.
And so it is with the spiritual seed of Abraham, the Christ, the Church:--our faith-development also is a work of time and patient endurance of trials and testings, which, rightly received, work out for us an increase of knowledge, an increase of faith, and an increase of fellowship with God,--until, by the Lord's grace, we later on reach such a development of faith in him as sometimes surprises ourselves, and assures us that we have made some progress; because at the beginning of our way we could not have endured the same trials successfully. Thus we see that in many respects even our faith is a gift of God--that while we exercised some faith in the beginning of our experiences, yet the development of it to such a condition and degree as will be acceptable to God is of God's grace, through his providential leadings, dealings, instructions. To him, therefore, we must render the praise, not only for the glorious results, but also for the faith and the works of this present time, which fit and prepare us for the coming glory and blessings.
Mount Moriah is one of the hilltops embraced in the city of Jerusalem, which of course was not in any degree built or inhabited in Abraham's time. The Temple was built upon this hilltop, and the original rock upon which it is supposed Abraham offered his son--later represented by the ram--is now to be seen. True, it is no longer called the Temple, but a Mohammedan mosque--the Mosque of Omar. Nevertheless, the Mohammedans have preserved this natural rock from any desecration, and visitors are permitted to look upon it over a railing;--the writer so viewed it with keen interest in 1892. In Solomon's Temple it constituted the base of the altar of sacrifice, and a drain (apparently a natural one) leads from this place of the killing of the sacrifice, underground toward the valley of Jehoshaphat, or the "valley of dry bones," which typically represents Adamic death, as the Valley of Hinnom symbolizes the Second Death. We see in this the divine foreknowledge and fore-arrangement in respect to every feature of the plan of salvation. God not only foreknew that he would use the land of Palestine in connection with the development of typical Israel, but he premeditated also the construction of the Temple, centuries afterward, upon the site which he selected for it. And that site, and the Temple, and the city, Jerusalem, and the Valley of Jehoshaphat and the Valley of Hinnom, all were intended to be, and are, so many lessons in respect to the divine plan, past, present and to come--to those who have the eyes of their understanding opened to see these matters from the right standpoint--from the standpoint of Jehovah, who promised forgiveness and blessing through Abraham's seed, and who has since been gradually working out his great and glorious propositions. Although our Lord Jesus, the Head, and the Church which is his body, were not slain upon this typical rock in Mount Moriah, nor in any other one spot in the world, nevertheless, the lesson is a clear one to all who understand that the blood of bulls and of goats, which can never take away sin, offered upon this spot--typified the better sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Only those who recognize the fact that Abraham was a type of God (`Rom. 4:17`, margin), as Isaac was a type of Christ, can have any clear and satisfactory comprehension and appreciation of the incidents of this lesson. As Abraham was willing to offer his only son, in whom centered the promises, so Jehovah gave his Only Begotten Son, in whom centered the promises, that he should die on our behalf--a sacrifice to meet the demands of Justice, to the intent that thereby every promise of God respecting the blessing of all the families of the earth might be made possible, and in due time be accomplished. Although Abraham's hand was stayed, that he should not obey the Lord's command, nevertheless, the entire incident illustrates what other Scriptures affirm, viz., that "without the shedding of blood there is no remission" of the world's sins;--that unless the heir of the promises should die for man's redemption the promises could never be fulfilled. And this lesson is fully carried out in the picture before us; for although Abraham was not permitted to offer Isaac, a representative of Isaac was offered, the ram which God had provided.
So, throughout the Jewish age, God permitted the natural children of Abraham to rejoice in his promise of blessing, requiring of them also that they continuously show forth the fact that the blessings could not come without a great sin-offering;--requiring them also to sacrifice bulls and goats, as sin offerings year by year continually, though these could never take away sin. They pointed to the great sin-bearer, who should also be the great deliverer. And now we, of this Gospel age, viewing the matter from the standpoint of its accomplishment, can see, as the Word of God declares, that the same God who in times past provided for the typical sacrifices has now provided the real one,--"by whose stripes we are healed." We can see also, as the Apostle explained, that as Isaac was so are we--the antitypical Isaac, members of the body of Christ--offered upon the Lord's altar. We see that Jesus, our Lord and Head, "offered up himself," and that we, covered by the merit of his sacrifice, are permitted to "present our bodies living sacrifices" upon the same altar, and to "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ."--`Col. 1:24`.
What a joy, what a blessing, to see the real meaning and value of the antitype; and to realize that the death of Christ the Head, and the sacrifice of the Church, his body, so far from annulling or destroying the original divine plan, are only steps in its accomplishment: that in the divine order the sacrifice of the human nature is essential to a part in the first resurrection, with its glory, honor and immortality. It rejoices us to realize that so far from the divine plan being frustrated by the death of the antitypical Isaac it is being consummated thereby--that the death of the Christ is the broad foundation which God is laying, by which he can "be just and yet the
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justifier" of all them that believe in Jesus; so that when this glorious Messiah and his house of sons shall be exalted to the power intimated in the promise, he will be fully competent and fully authorized to confer upon the world the great and wonderful blessings which God forestated to father Abraham in an obscure and typical manner.
In the light of the spirit's revelation we rejoice to see that the blessings which are coming through this "seed of Abraham" (`Gal. 3:16,29`) will not only be, first of all, the divine favor toward the Church, evidenced in the glory, honor and immortality bestowed upon every member thereof, but additionally the blessing also upon the natural seed of Abraham, Israel according to the flesh; and furthermore, the blessing upon all the families of the earth, as the Lord has promised;--the blessing of release from the control and deceptions of Satan, and from the dominion of sin and its weaknesses: so that all who will may hear the voice of that great Prophet, Priest and King, and come forth step by step, not only out of the prison-house of death, but also out of "the valley of the shadow of death,"--clear up, up, up, to the mountain-tops of perfect life and perfect harmony with the divine Creator, lost for all through father Adam by disobedience, but redeemed for all--for as many as will accept it--by the precious blood of Christ.
Occasionally some poor creatures of unbalanced mind, untaught and ignorant as respects the divine character and plan, misapprehending the Lord's dealings with Abraham and his posterity as types, imagine that as God called upon Abraham to sacrifice his son, so he calls upon them to make some human sacrifice. Fortunately these poor deluded creatures are not numerous, and they call for our sympathy rather than for our denunciation. The friends of God, the children of God, will make no such mistake respecting the divine will, because, as it is written in the Scriptures, "they shall be all taught of God." Those who are taught of God know that human life is to be held very sacred. They know also not to lean to their own understandings, nor to dreams nor to imaginings. They see further that even in Abraham's case God did not wish the human sacrifice, but merely tested Abraham's faith. Nor have we such promises made to our children; we have, therefore no such faith to be tested by the death of our children; hence it would be impossible for God to test us thus. Moreover, when we see that the entire procedure with Abraham was typical, and when we understand its lessons, the entire matter is clear and plain to us.
While the seed of Abraham, the Church, has no such testing as his, it has, nevertheless, many severe faith-trials and testings, and as these are rightly received, and in proportion as faith abounds and triumphs in respect to all of our affairs of life, we are more and more blessed and taught of the Lord, and more and more acceptable to him, and more and more meet for the inheritance with the saints in light, as Abraham's seed.
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"CERTAINLY I WILL BE WITH THEE."
--`EXOD. 3:1-12`.--DEC. 1.--
MOSES, at forty years of age, having been schooled in all the learning of the Egyptians, and recognized as mighty in word and in deed, as noted in a previous lesson, determined to cast in his lot henceforth with the people of God. He renounced his relationship to the king's family, "refusing to be any longer called the son of Pharaoh's daughter." He chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, and with them to have an inheritance in the promises made to their fathers. While with the Egyptians he was a sharer of the riches which were accruing to that people through the oppression and bondage of the Israelites; and Moses could no longer be a participator in the fruits of this wrongdoing, nor enjoy these pleasures of sin, injustice. We have this attestation to his moral rectitude, his love of justice. It indicates that he was naturally high-minded, noble, just. How many of the Lord's people, living under the instructions of the Gospel, and the enlightening influences of the holy spirit at the present time, need to take a lesson from Moses' course. How many would be willing to enjoy the fruits of sin and injustice--to continually receive and enjoy wealth and luxuries known to be unjustly wrung from poor unfortunates? How many would be inclined to console themselves with the thought that they were not directly responsible for the injustices and oppressions whose profits they nevertheless would enjoy? How noble was Moses' course, and how much approved of the Lord! It is proper that all who know and love righteousness and justice should take a firm stand upon these principles.-- `Heb. 11:24-26`.
It is written that Moses' course in this matter was the result of his "esteeming the reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt." The reproaches of Messiah were heaped against the Israelites; for undoubtedly the Egyptians had learned that the Israelites believed themselves to be the heirs of the great promises from the Almighty made to their father Abraham, and repeated to Isaac and Jacob,-- that through this nation should come the great Messiah, the great Deliverer, who should bless and rule the world. No doubt the oppressed people were frequently taunted upon these extravagant hopes, by their oppressors. But Moses, believing these promises, preferred to associate himself with the despised people, and left the courts of Egypt. As the Apostle explains, this was because "he had respect unto the recompense of the reward"--he hoped by allying himself with his own people to preserve his share in these Abrahamic promises and in the blessings which must ultimately come through them by a better resurrection. --`Heb. 11:35,39,40`.
Although, naturally, Moses was meek, he nevertheless was not ignorant of his education and abilities; and these being known to the Israelites he had every reason to suppose that they, expecting deliverance from Egypt about this time (in harmony with God's Word to Abraham about four hundred years before) would rejoice in having him for a counsellor, a representative, a qualified law-giver, amongst them.
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In his zeal for his brethren, and in his abhorrence of the injustice practised upon them, he smote one of the Egyptian task-masters, and delivered the oppressed Hebrew. He presumed that by such a course he would awaken the energies and spirits of his people and that they would accept him as their leader and that the deliverance from Egypt would forthwith begin. But his disappointment was great when the next day he discovered that his kinsmen had no such loyal feeling toward him as he had toward them; for, while endeavoring to correct a dispute between two Israelites, the one who did the other wrong resented the endeavors of the peacemaker, and showed that he and a large class whom he represented failed to appreciate the conduct of Moses, and failed to accept him as a law-giver. The erring Israelite demanded, "Who made thee a judge or a law-giver over us?" Where is your authority? We deny that you have any. Would you slay me, as you did the Egyptian yesterday? Moses was completely disheartened, and fled to the wilderness of Paran. He had fondly hoped that his sacrifice of the throne and glory of Egypt for his people's sake would be appreciated by them, at least, but coming to his own his own received him not. Apparently he had made a great sacrifice, and to no purpose. Undoubtedly the natural meekness of his disposition was intensified by this rebuff.
Thoroughly discouraged, cut off from the cultured class of Egypt, cut off also from his kinsmen, whom he had hoped to assist, Moses hermit-like, settled down to a life in the wilderness. His natural nobility and training made him chivalrous in the defence of women, and soon he found himself defending the seven daughters of Jethro, who, as shepherdesses, were tending his flocks. This led to his marrying one of these, and himself becoming a shepherd, caring for his father-in-law's flocks. Forty years was the period of this isolation, this great change of life from one of culture, refinement and honor amongst men, to the solitudes of that wilderness. Moses, so far as we have information, up to this time had no direct manifestation of God's favor. He merely had a knowledge of the hopes which belonged to his people through the promises made to Abraham. He doubtless regarded as a mistake his action at forty years of age, in attempting to become the leader of his people; yet from the inspired record we must suppose that his faith in the divine promises never faltered, and that he preferred to be on God's side, and an outcast from Egyptian society, rather than the reverse. Nevertheless, we can see that God's supervision was over all of his affairs, and that with the tests of his loyalty came valuable experiences, preparing him for the Lord's great work, in the Lord's time. It gave him another kind of schooling, and a valuable one, though he was ignorant of it at the time. We cannot doubt that his wandering as a shepherd over that wilderness for forty years made him thoroughly familiar with every road, every hill, every stream, in it, and that this was subsequently of great advantage to him, when, under the Lord's direction, he became the leader of Israel through that wilderness toward Canaan. Neither need we doubt that Moses' own character received valuable lessons of patience and humility and obedience to the divine will during those forty years. Even his marriage here to Jethro's daughter, who bore him two sons, would seem to have been overruled by the Lord for the good of his people; for the woman being an African, a black, the sons would of course be mulattoes, and would correspondingly have less respect amongst the Israelites than if they had been Moses' children by an Israelitish woman, for as such they might have had the reverence of the people in Moses' stead at the time of his death, and thus the tendency might have been to establish a rulership in his family line, which evidently was not the divine purpose.
How often the Lord's people--spiritual Israelites --find that they have experiences somewhat along the line of Moses! How sometimes our efforts and energies and plans for good, yea, our self-sacrifices, seem to be rejected, their value nothing, and ourselves turned away from activities and opportunities which we had coveted as opportunities for the Lord's service. How disheartening we have found this, until later on we discovered that the Lord's hand was able to bring blessing out of our disappointments, and how we could and have learned lessons under trying circumstances, which we could never have learned otherwise. And how these lessons have been ordered of the Lord so as to fit and to prepare us for future usefulness in his service and to his people. Let us, then, have the more courage and the more faith and the more trust in God--trusting him where we cannot trace him, knowing that all things shall work together for good to them that love him--the called ones according to his purpose.
It was at this time, when Moses was eighty years old, that the Lord sent him to deliver Israel. Perhaps it was not accidental that Moses' career was thus divided into two equal periods--40 years of Egyptian training, and rejected; then 40 years' absence followed by his successful deliverance of God's people. Perhaps in this Moses was a type. So also the period from the time Israel started as a nation (at the death of Jacob, the last of the patriarchs) until the antitype of Moses "came unto his own and his own received him not" (1845 years) is the same length as the period of his absence, at the end of which is his second advent, shortly to be followed by the successful deliverance of all of God's people from the oppressions of Satan, sin and death.
What a change the forty years wrought in Moses! At its beginning he was ready and anxious to lead the Israelites; full of modest confidence in himself, as a leader, a commander, a law-giver, for that people-- no doubt realizing by faith that God had prepared him and educated him that he might have the proper qualifications to be their leader. But now, when the Lord's time has come, his courage is gone, his self-confidence is upset, and he protests to the Lord that he is totally unqualified. Now the Lord needs to encourage him, and Moses receives more deeply than he could have done forty years before the thought that Israel's deliverance was not to be by man or through man, but by the Lord himself,--and that the human agent would be merely the Lord's representative. What a valuable lesson Moses was learning, and how necessary is such a lesson to all of the Lord's people, especially to any and to all whom he would use in
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any special sense in connection with his work. We must learn that it is not our work, but God's work, not our power or ability or wisdom, or greatness or learning, but the divine power working in and through us, which is mighty to the pulling down of strongholds, and to the lifting up of weak, and to the bringing in of the great salvation which he has promised. The more thoroughly we learn this lesson the better it will be for ourselves, and for all who, in the Lord's providence, we are sent to assist in his way-- to deliver from the bondage of sin and death.
Our Golden Text, "Certainly I will be with thee," is an inspiration to the Lord's people everywhere and at all times, when endeavoring properly to do any part of the Lord's work, heeding his call through the Word. If God be for us, and if God be with us, who can prevail against us eventually? There may be with us, as there were with Moses and his service, various difficulties, trials, vexations and disappointments, --for we have the treasure of the new nature in earthen vessels, and the weaknesses and imperfections and short-sightedness of these are sure at times to cause us difficulties and discouragements. On such occasions our duty is to turn the eyes of our understanding to Him whom we serve, whose ambassadors and representatives we are, and to recall his promise, "Surely I will be with thee." This means eventual victory, though, perhaps, through devious ways that we know not, and expect not, which nevertheless will ultimately prove to have been advantageous to us and to our Master's glory.
"This shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee." No doubt Moses thought now of his failure to interest his people when he went to them still covered with the honors of the schools and the army, and in the prime of life; and perhaps he now contrasted his present condition as a shepherd, forgotten by many who knew him in Egypt, without renown, without favor before the court, without influence or prestige; and no doubt he said within himself, If I could make no impression before, how could I hope now to accomplish as much? But, "This shall be the token unto thee," to prove "that I have sent thee." He was to know that when God sent it meant that the right time had come, and that all of God's good purposes would be accomplished. He was to know that without the Lord he could do nothing; that with the Lord he could do all things. And so all of the people of God, who would be useful and used in his service, must learn this lesson: "Without me ye can do nothing." Then God gave Moses the absolute assurance that he and his people should come forth out of Egypt, and should worship in the very mountain in which now he beheld the burning bush, and talked with the angel of the Lord.
By various signs God established the faith of his servant. The burning bush itself was one of these demonstrations of divine power. Another demonstration was the casting of his rod upon the ground, and its becoming a serpent, a symbol of evil, and the divine power exercised again by which the serpent was turned again into a staff, representing God's power to turn evil things into good things through the operation of faith. Again, his hand was thrust into his bosom, and taken out was found to be leprous, and being thrust in again and taken out was found to be restored to health. In sending out his people in the present time, his ambassadors, the body of Christ, to service (services that are much inferior in many respects, yet superior in some regards), the Lord does not give us these visible demonstrations of his power, but we may be sure that none are sent unless first they are given some testimonies on a higher spiritual plane. They must behold the Lord as the great light; they must realize that his justice is as a consuming fire as respects everything sinful, everything evil, but that through Christ he has mercy upon our imperfections, and grants us to see his light and to enjoy it without being consumed thereby.
Only after such lessons have been learned in the school of experience under our great Teacher and Pattern, Jesus, are we ready for the Lord's service in various ways, as he may be pleased to indicate them and to send us and use us. Let us learn thoroughly the lesson that our undertakings, even for the Lord and in the interest of his people, can only prosper in the Lord's time, and when we are sent of him; but that nevertheless every effort we may put forth, even in our ignorance, if done in meekness, humility, and with a respect for the recompense of reward, will surely be owned of the Lord, and blessed of him to our good and to our development for future service, even as in Moses' case.
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THE TEN PLAGUES OF EGYPT.
--`EXOD. 11:1-10`.--DEC. 8.--
"The angel of his presence saved them."--`Isa. 63:9`.
HE WHO SEES, in the narrative of the ten plagues upon Egypt, and Israel's deliverance thereby, nothing beyond what is contained in the simple story recognizes only the shell, and not the kernel of the lesson. In the type it was typical Israel alone that was delivered by Moses and the first-born; in the antitype it will be "the groaning creation" that will be delivered--all such who will accept deliverance, under the leadership of the antitypical Moses, Christ, and his Royal Priesthood,--the elect Church of this Gospel age. In the type it was Pharaoh and his coadjutors that were first chastened by the plagues and subsequently destroyed in the Red Sea. Their antitype is Satan and all his coadjutors, --all who profit by evil; and in the beginning this will include many who unwittingly are under his blinding influence; but ultimately it will include only such as are wilful and deliberate servants of sin and lovers of unrighteousness--injustice, etc.
A previous lesson showed us Moses, receiving instruction and encouragement from the Lord respecting his future work as the deliverer. We saw him at the burning bush, and noted his reverence for the Lord and yet his need of being thoroughly convinced
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that God, with his infinite power would go with him, if he would again go to his countrymen, and essay to be their deliverer from bondage. We noted that the Lord gave him, as a sign or evidence of his commission, the miracle of his rod or walking stick turning into a serpent, and being changed back to a stick; and another sign in respect to leprosy coming upon his hand, and being instantly healed by putting it again into his bosom. When Moses had been himself convinced he enquired of the Lord by what means he should convince the Israelites of his authority as their leader, and that the Lord would now deliver them. He was commissioned to introduce himself to the Israelites by these same signs by which he himself had been convinced of the divine authority and backing for his undertaking; and if either or both of these evidences were insufficient Moses was commissioned to take water from the Nile river, in sight of his countrymen, and to pour it upon the dry land, where it would become blood, the Lord assuring him that by means of some or all of these signs the people would be convinced and accept his leadership.
These three signs, which were so convincing to the Israelites, doubtless signified certain truths which, in the present time, will be convincing to the Lord's true people at the proper time; and demonstrate to them that there is to be a great deliverance of all who trust in the Lord, from the power of Satan and the bondage of sin and death. Time and space forbid a thorough examination of the antitypical significance of these signs here; but in our next issue we hope to show that we are now living in the time when the antitypes of these signs are due to antitypical Israel, as proofs of the presence of the Deliverer and the imminence of the deliverance. We expect to show that the antitypes of these signs are now being given, and of what they consist.
Moses' next mission, with Aaron, was to go before Pharaoh and make a demand that the Israelites might be permitted to go a three-days' journey into the wilderness to worship God and do sacrifice to him. Nothing was said respecting their non-intention of returning, nor was it necessary to do so. They were not in a just sense bondmen; they had not forfeited their liberties, either through war or debt; they had the same right to depart that they had to come into Egypt; and, if their request for a temporary absence were granted, they could later determine whether or not they would return to Goshen. The request in this form made the trial of Pharaoh the less severe; nevertheless, his refusal to grant the holiday proved conclusively that he would have refused to grant them full liberty. Instead, Pharaoh sent forth instructions to the task-makers to increase the burdens upon the Hebrews, declaring that if they were worked hard enough they would have no time to think, and speculate about holidays, etc. It was at this time that the Israelites were required to turn out their full quota of brick per day, without having a straw furnished them, as had previously been the custom--straw being then used as a binder for bricks, which were sun-dried, instead of being burned hard, as at the present time. This stage of the Israelitish bondage is fully corroborated by certain recent excavations in Egypt, which show some structures built of brick, with straw binder; some with brick with binders of reeds and rushes, and some, finally, with practically no binders at all, and therefore that much the more difficult to handle in the making.
The effect of this move was at first to discourage the Hebrews and to lead them to complain to Moses,
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through their elders, that instead of being a deliverer and a helper he was bringing increased miseries. And so, likely, it will be with many of the groaning creation, in the near future. Their first efforts and aspirations toward the deliverance which the Lord has promised them will be resented by "the powers that be," and for a time their efforts at attainment of coveted blessing will seem to work disadvantageously. Nevertheless, the effect in the end will be to the more deeply impress upon all the evils of the present reign of sin and selfishness, and to make all the more appreciative of the Millennial blessings and liberties of righteousness, when they shall be attained; and the more determined that they will follow the leadings of the Lord, and be obedient to him, that they may attain that liberty.
PHARAOH'S HEART HARDENED.
Under the Lord's instructions Moses presented himself before Pharaoh, and made formal demand that the people be let go. Nevertheless, the Lord said to him, "I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt." "But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies and my people, the Children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt, by great judgments; and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord."
This is perhaps as appropriate a place as any to consider the sense in which the Lord "hardened" Pharaoh's heart. And we may here also consider the Apostle's expression on the subject, saying: "The Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, 'Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.' Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth." (`Rom. 9:17,18`.) The Lord had raised up to the throne of Egypt a man of iron will and perverse spirit, who would not readily yield, and upon whom, therefore, repeated and severe judgments would be necessary, which would demonstrate divine power on behalf of Israel. Secondly, these would incidentally constitute a retribution against the whole people of Egypt, as participators in the unjust oppression exercised toward Israel. In a word, divine power would be better shown, and retributive justice better rendered, and a lesson for all time better written, by the raising up to the throne of Egypt of this man, than by raising up to the throne any of the others who might have been heirs, had they lived, or had he not lived.
It should be noticed that neither here nor elsewhere does God interfere with the freedom of the will of any individual, whether amongst those who profess obedience to him, or others. As respects the hardening of Pharaoh's heart: as we look carefully into the narrative we find that it was accomplished through God's mercy only, and hence that no charge could be
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laid against divine justice on this account. It was because of Pharaoh's repenting that the Lord stayed one and another of the plagues brought upon him, and the nation which he represented. But this goodness and mercy of God, which should have led him to repentance, led him in an opposite direction, to greater hardness of heart. And so it is with the world in general today: when the judgments of the Lord fall severely upon the world there is a tendency to contrition, humility and repentance; but when the Lord's blessings abound there is the greater likelihood amongst those who are rebellious of heart to become hardened and unappreciative. So it was with Pharaoh, and so it will be with "the powers that be" in the end of this age; but so it must not be with those who are truly the children of God. To all these God's mercies and blessings, favor upon favor, should and do lead to greater appreciation, thankfulness and loving obedience, because they are his.
It has been surmised that these ten plagues upon Egypt began about July 1st, and lasted until the following April,--in all about nine months. This surmise is based upon the character of the different plagues, and what is known of the climate and usual conditions of Egypt favorable to the plagues. The first three, the waters changed to blood, the frogs, and the lice (insects), appear to have been common to the Israelites as well as to the Egyptians, the land of Goshen being spared from the remaining seven plagues--flies or winged pests; murrain, or cattle disease; bains, or smallpox; hail and fire; locusts; darkness; and finally the death of the first-born. During this series of plagues Pharaoh relented a little occasionally to the extent that he agreed that the males of the Hebrews should go forth, as requested, to sacrifice in the wilderness, the females and children being held as hostages for their return. But this brought out the answer that when they would go it must be all of them, including their cattle and herds, and to this Pharaoh would not hear, until Egypt was smitten with the tenth plague, and all the first-born of Egypt (humanity and animals) died; then he urged them to go. The chastisement was sufficient. So it will be in the end of the time of trouble that is approaching, and which is figuratively represented by these plagues, especially "the seven last plagues."--`Rev. 15`:
When the last plague has been poured out, as a vial of divine wrath, "the powers that be" will realize that it is useless to fight against God. And as Pharaoh and his people received a severe retributive punishment for every evil they had inflicted upon the Israelites, and as their first-born became retributive representatives of the Israelitish babes they had caused to be drowned in the Nile, so their flocks and herds, and the crops that were destroyed by the locusts and insects, etc., and all the troubles upon them, were retributive punishments, for the unjust exactions made of the Israelites. So we may suppose that the great troubles and losses which will come upon "the powers that be" of the present time, in the approaching trouble, will, in some sense or degree, be a retributive requirement,--an offset for a not sufficiently benevolent and just treatment of many under their control in the present time, when the blessings and inventions of our day should be accruing more generally to the benefit of the masses.
Objection has been found by some to the statement that the Lord, through Moses, instructed the Israelites to "borrow" of their Egyptian neighbors jewels of silver and gold, etc., and that they did so, and thus "spoiled the Egyptians"--took away a great spoil or trophy of valuables, when they went. Two answers may be made to this objection. The first is that our Common Version translation is very inaccurate, and thus gives ground for the thought of a deception; the word in the original signifies asked, requested, or begged for, and should not be rendered "borrowed." The Revised Version renders this properly, "asked for." The Hebrew word is the same as when Solomon "asked" wisdom, and did not "ask" long life; neither "asked" he riches; neither "asked" he the life of his enemies. (`1 Kings 3:11`.) As it would be improper to render the word "borrow" in Solomon's case, it is equally inappropriate in the case of the Israelites. Similarly the word rendered "lent" should be "gave." The fact is that the Egyptians were thoroughly sore of heart under the repeated castigations given them by the Lord, during the nine months of the plagues. They were glad to learn that their representative and king had finally ordered the people to leave the country. They felt themselves like hastening them out, lest some further visitation should come upon them; or lest Pharaoh should again change his mind. Hence, when the Israelites importuned them for jewels and fine garments, etc., they gave them freely, hoping to be rid of them the quicker. The other answer to the argument is that in all justice the Egyptians owed the Hebrews the value of these jewels, and more too, for the onerous services they had compelled them to render; and hence the Israelites were not asking an alms for which they had given no equivalent, but were really asking for their back pay.
Our Golden Text seems to be wholly misapplied. It seems to have no reference to Israel in Egyptian bondage; neither does it fully and completely apply to their antitype--those who will be delivered from the power of Satan, sin and death during the Millennial age. It applies merely to the overcoming Church, the "Church of the First-born," which was represented only by Moses and the first-born of Israel, spared during the night of the Passover. The Lord is specially with this class, the "little flock," the "elect," "the body of Christ," who shortly shall lead the people out of bondage into the liberty of the sons of God. As many as obey the voice and follow the leading of this great Prophet, Priest and King, of which Jesus is the Head, and his elect Church the members in particular of the body, will be fully delivered from the power of Satan, represented by Pharaoh.
A general lesson, applicable to all persons and at all times, is that justice should be done; that none should be oppressed; that the Lord cherishes the cause of the oppressed, especially if they be his people; and that he will deliver them and will permit the wrath of man to work out retributive justice and punishment upon all oppressors.
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AN EDITOR LECTURES CHURCHIANITY.
REMARKABLE as it may appear, the editors of the secular press seem to grasp the religious situation much better than do the average ministers of the gospel or editors of religious journals. Perhaps this is because they are in a better position to see truthfully and point out tersely what they do see; they are bound neither by creedal obligations nor by "bonds of bread and butter" to abstain from seeing and narrating honestly, truthfully.
In evidence, note the following, clipped from the editorial columns of the Cleveland Press.
"LOVE YE ONE ANOTHER."
"That there is a great need of revival today is evident to all. The church has allowed politics, business and speculative thought to get beyond her influence as a spiritual impulse and ethical standard. Modern reforms which have as their end the betterment of men's lot have sprung very largely from a diffused Christianity, and too often the bearing of the church toward them is cold and unfeeling, if not actually antagonistic.
"The churches are all blessed with a proportion of really Christian men and women, whose giving and prayers and unselfish service keep the world from falling into ruin. These are the church. But these are not satisfied. They feel a deep need of revival. It is only the dead and frivolous and indifferent that are satisfied. Modern scribes and pharisees, hypocrites, cleansing the outside of the platter, whited sepulchers, self-deceived, measuring themselves by themselves, in daily deadly danger of crucifying their Lord afresh and putting Him to an open shame--these are the satisfied ones.
"We need a revival of religion because of our lack of love. This is the center and core of Christianity. You love them that love you, your families, your friends, but what thank have ye? Do not the heathen the same? When you make a feast you invite persons agreeable to yourself, for your enjoyment and theirs. This is not a sin, but it is no better than the heathen, for they do the same. The Christian feast is for the poor and the homeless and friendless. The Christian love is for one's enemies. The Christian service is for the disagreeable and weak and vicious and unclean. The Christian duty is to all the world. But Christian men live under rules and standards that are the incarnation of selfishness. There is no love in business, no love in war, no love in modern pleasure.
"Frivolous and selfish wives, deadening the religious life of husbands; worldly and godless husbands, making it difficult for their wives to live as Christians; parents a stumbling block to growing children and a byword to them that are without; professing Christians mad with lust of gold and place and power, silent and unfeeling in the face of social wrong, without compassion for the multitude, ambitious for social preferment, given over to vanity, envious, skilled in the hypocrisies and expedients of selfishness, denying daily in word and deed the power of godliness. Surely these need revival.
"How few Christians there are who can lead an inquiring soul to a knowledge of Jesus! They are without excuse. To say that they cannot do this is to hide behind a lie. There is not a housewife but can teach her maid to cook and clean and sew; not a mother but can teach her children the elements of etiquette; not an artisan but can talk intelligently about the trade he has mastered; not a scholar but can give some account of what he knows; not a political partisan who is not eager to explain his views; not a lawyer but stands ready to argue any case, pro or con; not a doctor who cannot give some reason for the cure he prescribes; not a business man but can train others for his business. But many of these say they cannot talk to another upon the subject of religion.
"For many a Christian employer to speak to his workmen of the love of Jesus would be to cause bitter mirth and deepen the conviction among them that he is a hypocrite. Those who do not confess Jesus with their lips because they consider their example sufficient, too often furnish an example of everything but Christianity. But it is the insistent, searching word of Jesus that every man is responsible for his neighbor, no matter how he may feel about the responsibility or how cleverly he may shirk it.
"The spiritual energies of the modern church are paralyzed and neutralized by a great and plain contradiction between what church members say and do.
"Christian gentlemen organizing great financial undertakings and incidentally corrupting governments, bribing the public, overriding the laws of the land; such believers would find it hard indeed to lead another to the Savior. Their proper method is to hire an evangelist, for it is very evident in this case that religion is religion and business is business.
"It would seem that the next great revival will be a revival within the church itself. It will consist in an improvement in quality, rather than increase in quantity of church members. It will turn away from machinery and artificiality and organization, and will depend upon personality and character. It will deal directly as between man and man. It will be a thing of life; of everyday life to be lived as the hours go, simply and honestly.
"A witness is useful only in so far as he knows. He is not permitted to testify upon what he has heard, or upon what he imagines, or guesses, or hopes. What he has seen and knows, this is his only testimony of any power. To what great realities does the average modern Christian testify? A man eager, almost frantic, in his striving for wealth; the frivolous, shallow member of some Christian church, intriguing and degrading herself for the sake of social preferment among worldlings; to what do these testify? Church 'service,' misnamed, wherein indolent believers luxuriate in enjoyment of observing with critical eye the intellectual gymnastics of their minister; to what do these testify? Cold and formal prayer meetings, sepulchral and oppressive, to what do these testify?
"THE CHURCH EXPECTANT."
"The brightest glory of the new century's dawn springs from a hope, deep and widespread, of coming religious revival. In the last few years a great change in the matter of worldliness has swept over Christian people everywhere, chilling into deadly torpor
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their spiritual energies. Worldliness has come to characterize those who profess to be citizens of heaven.
"Earnest Christian parents are everywhere perplexed and saddened because church membership is of little aid in keeping the children unspotted from the world. Cash, like charity, covers a multitude of sins, and failure to make money is about the only hell believed in and feared.
"The great contradiction between what Christians say and do threatens to destroy the churches. It is now commonly, if not universally, held that financial success is proof positive that a church is prosperous.
"It was inevitable that the masses should find in the Sermon on the Mount just that moral ideal and standard which best expressed their unspoken aspirations and desires. Turning to the church, they expected to meet a powerful and sympathetic ally, for the church professed to base its life upon these very teachings of Jesus. But alas! stupefied with worldliness and prostrate under the sturdy blows of an unspiritual rationalism, the church had no answer for the masses. Mutual antagonism, suspicion, misunderstanding, and, on the part of the workingmen, very often hatred, was the result. The church preached and professed to believe the moral ideas which formed the only hope for the masses and did not practice what it preached. The church stood for religion, the masses for morals; and both were wrong inasmuch as a half truth is not the truth. Now, these alienated forces are coming together. Religion has got as far as it can without an adequate morality; and social ethics has got as far as it can without religion.
"A first feature of the coming revival will be its emphasis upon the teachings of Jesus. In the transaction of business, in the giving and taking of the exchanges, in the close touch and stress of politics, in the lighter and happier amenities of social intercourse, Christian men and women will endeavor to set forth Jesus. The new revival will powerfully affect the daily lives of Christians. It will make a distinction in the way a Christian man works and enjoys himself and the way an unconverted man does these things. It will be marked by a return to the morality of the golden rule."
* * *
We fear that in the above description of "The Church Expectant" the writer has described what he hopes for rather than what he sees evidences of as approaching. There is already such a "Church of the living God, whose names are written in heaven" (and some of these are probably to be found in all the denominations of Christendom, and some of them outside of all); but they are, as a rule, poor in this world's goods and not very highly esteemed among men, and often are spoken evil of, falsely, for their fidelity's sake.
Whoever expects nominal Churchianity to reform and become a household of saints will be grievously disappointed. On the contrary the Scriptures clearly show us that all denominations are, and will increasingly be, merely moral clubs "having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof,"-- "drawing nigh unto God with their lips while their hearts are far from him."
But, let it come;--it is a part of the "harvest" work of separating the "wheat" from the "tares." As the worldly spirit of formalism more and more gains control of all sects, it will wean and separate more and more the Lord's true people, who alone have ever been the true Church in our Lord's estimation. These must realize their lean and starved condition, and that Babylon has no substantial food for their nourishment and upbuilding,--only the husks and chaff of formalistic piety. They must realize that the doctrinal tables spread by Babylon are unreasonable and nauseating--musty and putrid "traditions of men" (`Isa. 28:8`), before they will look beyond Babylon's bondage of sectarianism and creedal fences, and leap the barriers to freedom and the feast of fat things spread for them now by our present Shepherd.
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THE WIDE-MARGIN LINEAR BIBLE.
THE ARRANGEMENT of the Tower and Dawn references, for the margins of these Bibles, has proven to be much more of a task than was at first anticipated. The work is progressing, though slowly, and none must expect the Bibles before February, 1902--though we will do our very best to have them a month earlier.
In one way the delay has been to the advantage of some of our readers: had we met with no obstacles the edition would have been far too small. We first thought of 1,000 copies--then concluded to risk 2,000; but the orders have rolled in on us until now they exceed 3,000. We felt sure the Bible would be what every Watch Tower student would need; but were not sure to what extent all would appreciate our efforts and trust our judgment. The evidences are gratifying to us, as we are sure the books will be appreciated by you, and profitable to you in Bible study, when you have received them and learned to use them.
We had fixed October 1, as the limit of the time during which we would receive advance orders at the prices already mentioned--$2.00 for "French Seal" (sheep) binding, and $3.00 for the "Persian Morocco" (tougher leather) binding; however, we have concluded to allow all who will to place their orders at the same prices up to November 15, next. We will, meantime, order some more than we expect orders for; but as there will be some financial risk in so doing, the tardy must pay for this, and the prices will then be $1.00 additional on each kind.--Still, however, they will be the cheapest Bibles in the world,-- worth double. On the other hand, the coming orders may again be more than we expect, and the tardy may get none,--for the orders must be filled in rotation as received.
We regret that we cannot encourage our British readers to hope for these Bibles. The "Oxford Press Co.," of England, has notified us that they will not allow the book on British soil, as they hold exclusive copyright privileges for Great Britain and Ireland on
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the "Revised Version," which constitutes a feature of the Linear edition. We have written them explaining this edition, and offering a royalty, and will get them to our British friends, if possible. They may send in their orders to our British Branch (prices, 9s. and 13s.); we will include these in our orders anyway.
Money may be remitted later--anytime before January 1st, 1902. Books not paid for by then will be granted to others, if the supply be short.
ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FRIENDS.
Dear Brother Russell:--
I am very glad to inform you that we, that is, those of us who attended the Richmond, Va., Convention, enjoyed the meetings very much. We reached the hall on Sunday morning, when you were about half through your discourse on Baptism, regret that we were not in time to hear it all. The afternoon Sermon on "Salvation" was grand, and gave us impressions which shall be as lasting as life. I thought of the large number of people in Richmond, and yet so few, comparatively, to listen to the discourse.
I informed you some months ago that I had rented a space in the ferry house where I placed a box for the distribution of Tracts. We were arranging for continuing it for another month when the Agent informed me that he had taken tracts from the box, to his wife, who had become very much interested; and desired him to refund the money which I had paid as rent, and also to continue the box in the ferry house at her expense. This, you must see, was very encouraging.
A brother at the Richmond meeting from this locality testified there that he had become interested through reading tracts taken from the boxes in the Ferry waiting rooms. We are quite sure that large numbers of people are reading the tracts, seldom do we find one cast aside or destroyed.
Your Brother in the blessed truth,
GEO. M. TURNER.--Virginia.
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Dear Brother Russell:--
Maybe you will remember that, coming home on the train from the Richmond Convention, I mentioned to you my friend who lives in Vermont. I think I spoke of feeling somewhat anxious, because I had not heard from her for some little time. Two days after that I received a letter, a long one, from her, from which I wish to quote just a bit. She says: "For myself--I can truly say, Margaret, that I now see clearly what our high calling is. I realize that once having seen it, and made a full and complete consecration of ourselves, we have surrendered all hope of life on the human plane--that if we fail then to be "faithful unto the end," nothing is left for us but eternal death. I have "counted the cost"--I have laid my little all upon the altar. It is too late for me to draw back now. You will not think I have been hasty. It is seven months now since I began to study these things for myself. Slowly, but surely, I have come into the light. The Truth has held me and I could not escape. I know it is God's own truth. And oh, Margaret, how could I do anything else but yield to my King fullest allegiance!"
You can understand what joy it gave me to hear this --in fact I cried for joy (and I am not easily moved to tears) to know that she has made the consecration, and has begun to realize joy and peace. She says further along in the letter: "With prayer and humility for weeks I have been counting the cost; and it has been a solemn and a glad surrender. I realize how utterly I am nothing; I know I am weak--but I know that I have His almighty strength to lean upon. It has brought such a blessed peace and rest and joy. I need not tell you, for you know it. And yet I must tell it--only I have not words to express it. I cannot see why He should have chosen me, and loved me, and taught me, but I know He has. I do not know where or when or how my trials will come. I dare not say I am ready for them, only as He gives me strength. I am not worrying about it. There is no room for worry in this strange, glad peace that fills me." She had read Vols. 1, 2, 3 and 5, and when she wrote had just finished chapter eleven of Vol. 4. I can see she is not clear on some points yet, she does not yet realize that all who are truly the Lord's are called to "come out"--but I believe it will not be long before she will see this.
Pardon the length of this letter, but I wanted you to know this, because I am sure you will rejoice with us.
We have just enjoyed our Pilgrim Draper's stay with us, and feel it has been a season of refreshing.
With much Christian love, I am your sister in the Lord,
MARGARET SMITH.--Washington, D.C.
Dear Brother Russell:--
I do not often have opportunity to express to you my appreciation of your great benefits to me, for my time is taken up very much and I am studying the Bible with those wonderful helps, the Dawns.
Since my coming into the truth, one year ago last month, my views, plans, ambitions, hopes, condition of heart, knowledge in serving Christ, attitude toward mankind, and attitude toward many other things, have changed. What blessed truths the Lord has provided for his humble servants at this time!
I think one of the brethren wrote you that there were thirteen believers immersed here at Washington, Sunday, August 25th. There were three sisters and ten brothers, and I am happy to tell you that I was one of the ten that symbolized their consecration to the Lord.
My dear brother, I know your time is taken up in something greater, grander than reading letters; but I wish to say a word in connection with the spreading of the truth. Since starting out in the one hope and faith, one year ago, I see what wonderful progress the truth is making in separating the wheat and tares, the Lord's true people from the world. Truly the way is narrow and few will find it, but that few are in such an attitude of heart that they look for a "thus saith the Lord," for every step, so that they can follow the leading of the truth which we find in the Scriptures. I can see and testify that this light is doing the work it was sent to accomplish; and as the great time-lock that holds the time prophecies is now open it enables the true virgin class to obtain a much better understanding of God's word.
Trusting that you may continue to be "the steward of Christ," upholding all truth, I am your brother in Christ,
MARSHALL G. ELLIS,--Heights, D.C.
Dear Brother Russell:--
To let the brethren know what may be accomplished by a little with the Lord's blessing, and to encourage the brethren who read the Tower to send out to their friends and relatives "Dawns," "Towers" and tracts, I send you the following short sketch of how the Lord gave us the light and gospel of peace, and how it has grown in so short a time.
Three years ago this winter a brother in Wisconsin sent a "Dawn Vol. I." to a brother in Spokane, Wash. At that time, so far as I have been able to find out there were but two "Dawn" and "Tower" readers in the city, and they were not acquainted. That one "Dawn" was the means of starting the work which has brought together a class of eighteen brothers and sisters, all of whom have been engaged in the "Volunteer" work, so far as circumstances would permit. All are now firm believers in the Gospel of Peace (`Eph. 6:15`); and together they have distributed about eight thousand sample tracts, booklets and "Watch Towers," and there are many others who are brothers who do not take part in the "Volunteer" work. So my dear brethren, be not discouraged if you see no results from your efforts (`1 Sam. 18:7`). Continue in the good work for it is indeed handing forth "meat in due season" to the household of faith.
Your brother in the Lord,
CHAS. E. BELL,--Washington.
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A USURPATION OF AUTHORITY.
CONGRESS is the law-making branch of the United States Government: the President and his Secretaries are the executive branch--whose duty it is to enforce the laws as Congress makes them. Congress passed the present postal laws nearly thirty years ago, and all Postmasters General since, until now, have enforced them faithfully, even though several of them have appealed to Congress to change the laws, so as to prevent so general a circulation of cheap periodicals. Congress in every case has refused to change the laws which have done so much to make the American public "wide awake."
Now, however, we have a Postmaster General who attempts to usurp the law-making functions of Congress and to ride rough-shod over the will of the people as repeatedly expressed through their representatives in Congress. The duty of the people is to resent such unlawful disregard of their rights; and the protests should properly go to the President of these United States, who undoubtedly is quite unaware of this piece of injustice and lawlessness being practiced under his administration.
Postmaster General C. E. Smith, and his third Assistant, E. C. Madden, who have engineered this nefarious violation of the law, and who are glorying in their shame, show clearly that they are not men to be trusted, when they plan for ruling the people and decide what liberties the people ought to be allowed and what disallowed.
What is the remedy? It is to make such conduct odious to all lovers of liberty--to all who love justice. And the best way to do this is to promptly inform President Roosevelt (addressing him at Washington, D.C.), telling him that the credit of his administration is involved by the conduct of these his representatives, and calling for their dismissal and for the appointment of men who are not of their lawless (anarchous) cast of mind. Send postal cards or letters, or if convenient get up general petitions and obtain as many signatures (of old and young) as you can. All are interested, and all have a right to protest against the infraction of the laws favorable to "the poor of this world," who are the chief users of the paper-bound pamphlets whose circulation is being interfered with. The rich buy cloth-bound books, which are not affected by these acts of these pseudo-law-makers.
We do not claim that the Postmaster General is destitute of good impulses in this matter: his claim is that he wishes to save the people's money. But our reply is that the people do not wish him to economise at the expense of violation of the people's laws. They do not need a paternal government. They are able to change the laws, through their representatives when and how they please.
If the laws of the land were being enforced we should not have one word of remonstrance to make, however much their enforcement might injure us. But when, under divine providence, the laws are on our side it would be wrong for us to submit without protest and thus to encourage still further violations of law in disregard of the rights and wishes of the law-makers --the people. Office holders should be held to account as the public's servants;--otherwise they will be justified in concluding that the people are serfs and desire to be ruled by Czars.
Many need no suggestions from us, but are quite competent to express themselves forcefully and cogently. Others, however, may be helped by the following general suggestions as to brief forms, which each may change and modify to suit his own tastes.
Hon. Theo. Roosevelt, Washington, D.C.: Respected Sir:--
Doubtless you are unaware of the gross injustice being done the poor by your subordinates--the Postmaster General and his Third Assistant. They have undertaken to make "rulings" respecting pamphlets (2nd class mail), which are gross violations of the laws of Congress of nearly 30 years standing. We call upon you to cleanse your Cabinet of such law-breakers. Give us examples of obeyers of the laws in their stead, and we will esteem you, for your justice, accordingly.
To the President of the United States, Washington, D.C.
Your Excellency is respectfully petitioned to overrule recent Postoffice legislation against second-class mail matter.
To the President of the United States: Washington, D.C. Your Excellency:
We call upon you to redress the grievance of the poor, and at the same time uphold the Postal Laws of Congress, by causing the unlawful act of the Third Assistant Postmaster General to be set aside and its perpetrators ousted. We refer to the recent illegal "rulings" respecting pamphlets, refusing them second class mail privileges such as Congress designed and expressed; and such as they have enjoyed for the past 30 years. The acts of your subordinates must be regarded as the acts of your administration. We hope to have this wrong speedily righted.
To the President of the United States. Washington, D.C. Hon. Sir:--
We, the common people, hold you responsible for the violation of our Postal Laws at the hands of your Postmaster General and his Third Assistant. Congress enacted the law for second class mail in the interest of education and intelligence amongst the poor and the middle classes. It is robbery and fraud for these men now to frustrate that law which the people, by their representatives in Congress, have now three times refused to alter. We urge you to dismiss these law-breakers and to put in their stead men who will obey the laws as the people, through their representatives, enact them. Thus you will win the esteem of lovers of law and equity.