ZWT - 1899 - R2411 thru R2552 / R2528 (241) - November 15, 1899
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Vol. XX. NOVEMBER 15, 1899. No. 22.
Views From the Watch Tower........................243
Zionism Making Progress.......................243
Time's Secrets Revealing......................245
The Power of the Word of God......................246
"Wine is a Mocker"................................249
Noah's Intoxication Excusable.................250
Nehemiah's Correction of
Some Neglected Facts of Human
Items:--Millennial Dawn, Vol. V--
The Musical Tower.............................242
A New Price List of Bibles....................242
SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, "BIBLE HOUSE," 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 A YEAR IN ADVANCE. MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, N.Y. DRAFT, MONEY ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR, AS FOLLOWS:--
Those of the interested who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.
MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. V.--"AT-ONE-MENT."
Copies of DAWN V. (500 pages), have been sent to all on the WATCH TOWER lists whose subscription is not in arrears--including all of the "Lord's poor," who applied as per above terms, during the present year. Any who expected it and have not received it, and whose reckonings would thus appear to be different from ours, are requested (1) to ask their postmaster to look for it in his office, and then if not found (2) to at once notify us, mentioning date of last remittance and how money was forwarded.
THE MUSICAL TOWER.
Some time ago (Feb. 1, '96) we issued a musical number of this journal containing eleven very choice hymns with music very expressive of our grand hopes and joys. We published a large extra edition but it is gone and in response to many calls we have gotten out a new edition,--for we know of none better. Furthermore, believing, trusting that the singing of these truly gospel hymns at your firesides is likely to favorably instill present truth, we have concluded to make the price of this issue 2 cents each--post free. At regular sheet-music rates these would cost 25 to 50 cents each.
A NEW PRICE LIST OF BIBLES, ETC. WILL BE ADDED TO
OUR NEXT ISSUE.
YOUNG'S ANALYTICAL GREEK, HEBREW AND ENGLISH
The publishers will no longer permit this work to be sold by anyone, under their list price,--$5 in cloth binding. However we will DELIVER IT by mail or express for the above price, and additionally will give the purchaser as a premium five copies of MILLENNIAL DAWN in paper covers--any volume.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
ZIONISM MAKING PROGRESS.
ZIONISM is not dying out, as some of its enemies predicted it would. It progresses steadily-- the last of its three annual congresses at Basle (Aug., '99) being the best attended of all and one of deep interest. Three hundred representative Jews gathered from all parts of the world--some of them quite influential rabbis.
Three different sets of ideas prevail among Jews interested in Zionism. Some of them view the matter
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as a political measure, believing that the Jew would be more respected if he had a home of his own. Others favor it as a social move essential to the future welfare of Israelites all over Europe: they see a growing Jew-hatred in Russia, Austria, France and Germany, and even some signs of ill-will in England and the United States, and they argue truly that the day is not far distant when a still more open persecution will compel extensive emigrations of Jews to somewhere; and that Palestine has some attractions over and above any other land. The third class views the subject from the religious standpoint, looking longingly for a fulfilment of the promises of God through the prophets, recorded in the Bible. And with this view are more or less intermingled Messianic hopes: some however hold that the nation of Israel restored is to be the Messiah for the other nations. The religious standpoint of interest seems to be growing --even Dr. T. Herzl at one time regarded as an agnostic --an infidel--is of late giving evidence of a deep interest in the movement as a prophetic fulfilment.
The religious view in Zionism is reinforced by practical experience. Baron Hirsch, disregarding the religious or prophetic view, spent millions of dollars in planting Jewish colonies in Argentina, South America, and in New Jersey, U.S., etc., but these are all failures, tho not yet wholly abandoned. On the other hand Baron Rothschild and others planted colonies in Palestine which have flourished exceedingly. If trials and discouragements arise there, they do not utterly dishearten, for the prophetically inspired hope prevents this. It is said that a portion of the Baron Hirsch funds will be hereafter used in Palestine.
The subscriptions to the Zionist Bank stock come in but slowly, however, and mostly from the poorer classes,--a little over one-seventh of the L.2,000,000 ($9,750,000) being thus far taken. On this bank fund depends the present project, humanly speaking; for the scheme of the projectors seems to be to use this bank's capital in assisting commercial enterprises in the Holy Land. It is not the intention, as we understand the matter, to collect this money as a banking capital and then to offer the sum to the Turkish government as a purchase price for the freedom of Palestine: no, but to collect the sum and then, showing the facts to the Sultan, to request of him civil, commercial and religious liberty for the Jews in Palestine: guaranteeing him by this sum raised throughout the world that the territory would not be inundated by pauper Jews from whom no revenue could be derived, but by a thrifty, intelligent people, whose yearly taxes would double the imperial revenues from that quarter. When the Lord's time arrives, wealthy Jews will take a hand, and the door to Palestine closed to the Jew since 1891 will be opened.
Rabbi Dr. Gaster of London, interviewed by a newspaper reporter, is accredited with having made the following remarks on Zionism,--since the August congress:--
"A great step in the Zionist movement is the establishment
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of our bank. Of this Dr. Wolffson of Cologne is president, and there are seven directors, who founded the bank at a cost of $40,000 and paid the sum out of their private purses. Since the shares of the bank have been placed on sale 300,000 have been sold; $200,000 having been taken in Russia, $40,000 in Roumania and the rest by Jews all over the world, so that now, when asking the Sultan to give Palestine to us, we have a cash guarantee with which to back our good faith.
"When Palestine is ours, every office will be filled by the elective vote of the people. It will be much the Biblical form of government; the head being a governor, supported by a privy council and a legislature. The Jewish authorities will levy taxes, and the people will reap the fruits of them.
"Turkey will derive then a greater revenue from Palestine than she does now. We have great faith in the Turks. No one who has ever lived among them will fail to uphold me when I say that there is no race more honorable nor whose word is more sacred. Their laws, if rightly administered, are even wiser and more liberal than those of the United States. And I say, and have authority for the statement, that the Turkish government never has molested, for religious reasons, a race over which they had power. The Armenians brought their troubles on themselves. Jerusalem and Palestine now are downtrodden by the Turkish officials, but unscrupulous officials are to be found in every land.
"Jerusalem is, unfortunately, a kind of a festering sore. It is there, first of all places, that 'sanitation' must take place. It is filled with beggars and with old men who have gone to lay their bones there. When my people went to Palestine, I said to them, 'Go north, for in the south are those who have gone there to die. You go to live.' In Jerusalem three religions meet, and that is a ticklish thing, and mixed with it is the depravity of the officials, living on money extorted from those under them.
"And when the country is ready for the new colonization, will the Jews go there?
"It will be a flood. They will go in millions: that is the great danger. The persecution of the race has spurred them on. They are enthusiastic now--then they will be wild. It will be a rush that I tremble to think of. Why, our shares, now placed on sale, are being bought up by people all over the world. They are being taken by men in the mines of Siberia, in South Africa, in Russia, in the west, the United States. When a London Jew has put aside a pound he comes and buys a share, and so it is all over the world. It is the poor Jews who are buying the shares, not the rich ones. The rich are not all with us. Our movement makes them remember the past of their race, and they do not wish to remember it. They have for years been trying to open the door of society with a gold key, and they want society to forget their history. They argue against us, and say that patriotism to their native land would interfere with their new nationalism.
"We must find some way of checking this rush to Palestine when it comes. When the Jews realize that there is a land--and that their mother country--with Jews forming its government and peopled by their race, Europe will be almost depopulated by them. And when we have gone, Europe will look around her in bewilderment. The war between capital and labor is coming-- it is now begun, and the Jew in Europe is its natural scapegoat. When that scapegoat is gone the two powers will have to face each other.
"And nothing except Palestine will satisfy us. At Basle, when Mr. Trietsch, the American, asked for my support of his scheme to form a Jewish colony in Cyprus, I said: 'That plan now has advantages over a hasty colonization of Palestine, and I will aid you in it, but not under the flag of Zionism. Zionism means Palestine, or it means nothing.' And when he proposed his plans before the congress, the people were enraged. No sooner was his purpose put into words than every delegate was on his feet, crying as one man, 'Down with him!"
Many exaggerated statements are made respecting the numbers of Jews now in Jerusalem and Palestine: old reports are taken as a basis of a guess-work calculation --in ignorance of or overlooking the fact that no Jews have been allowed to locate in Palestine for more than six years. The Hebrew Almanac, published in Jerusalem in 1897, gives that city's population as 45,420 --composed of 28,112 Jews, 8500 Mohammedans and 8780 Christians. The population of the whole land is estimated at 650,000, and of these about one-twelfth are Jews, viz., 55,000.
Meantime persecutions against the Jews are breaking out afresh in Austria. A cablegram of the Associated Press dated Vienna, Oct. 23d, says:--
"Anti-Semitic riots broke out at Halleschau, Moravia, yesterday evening. Jewish houses were stoned, stores were pillaged, a house was burned and the gendarmes charged the rioters, killing three persons, and injuring several others. The military finally restored order."
Strange to say, the basis of these persecutions is the old charge of using Christian blood for baking, for washing and for religious ritual,--the same charges brought against these innocent people in the persecutions of the long ago, without a shadow of reason. If the word blood were used figuratively as when we speak of blood-money, there would perhaps be something in it: but literal blood is meant and charged, of course by ignorant people.
Rabbi Doctor Gudeman, Jewish leader in Vienna, who opposed the Zionist movement, is now astounded and is holding public meetings at which he makes oath that nothing in the Jewish ritual sanctions blood, and points out that the Jewish law in every sense is to the contrary--pointing out that all Christians have that same law in their Bibles and well know that it sanctions nothing of the kind. Speaking of the charge the Rabbi characterized it as "low, shameless falsification of the truth," and has drawn against himself considerable bitterness. Perhaps thus the Lord is teaching him and
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others the necessity for Zionism. We expect much more persecution before the Jews get thoroughly awake to the fact that "the time to favor Zion" is at hand.
TIME'S SECRETS REVEALING.
Scientists and "higher critics" have for years been declaring the Bible narrative incorrect, especially its chronology;--that the histories of China and of Egypt proved this conclusively, showing that the world is several thousand years older than the Bible chronology would indicate (now 6027 years A.M.). Great stress has been laid on the testimony of papyrus records found in ancient Egyptian cities, whose ruins are being exhumed: these proved the XII. Dynasty of Egypt,
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according to M. Maretta, to have held sway in 3064 B.C. or about six hundred years before the Bible's date for the flood--with no destruction of those ruins by the waters of the flood and no record of a blotting out of Egypt's population. According to Prof. Lepsius the XII. Dynasty of Egypt flourished B.C. 2380 or about 88 years after the deluge date furnished by the Bible's chronology: and of course it would be impossible for eleven dynasties to have flourished in so short a period and for Egypt to be the great country it evidently was at that time--with its pyramids already built. Hence "science" laughed the Bible to scorn and ridiculed the idea of divine providence in its preparation.
But now, what? The ruins of Egypt are contradicting the scientists and confirming in a general way the Bible chronology, by the showing of papyrus documents that were written during the reign of Usertesen III. of the XII. Dynasty of Egypt, and prove their date to be 1872 B.C. (possibly 1876)--six hundred years after the Bible's date for the deluge* and about fifteen years before Joseph was sold into Egypt.
Below is the story of this valuable find narrated by Prof. T. H. Breastead, Secretary of the Egyptological section of the International Congress of Orientalists, upon adjournment of the congress.
"The first fixed date in human history has been discovered. It is disclosed in Egyptian papyri nearly 4000 years old. Announcement of its discovery has just been made at the twelfth international congress of orientalists, now being held in this city.
"Last winter Dr. Borchardt, scientific attache of the German legation in Cairo, and Dr. Shaefer, assistant director of the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, discovered a mass of papyri near the pyramid of Usertesen III. at Illahun, about fifty miles above Cairo and about 175 miles above the mouth of the Nile.
"These papyri have proved of the greatest interest. They consist of a series of temple archives and records of temple administration in the twelfth dynasty, about 2000 years before Christ. They have been deposited in the Royal Museum at Berlin, and there Dr. Borchardt has spent the past summer in giving them a preliminary examination and classifying them.
"The lists of temple offerings and temple officials are chiefly of interest to the specialist, but there are many letters from one official to another particularly interesting as showing how these functionaries did business in the days of Abraham.
"It is of one particular letter in this collection, however, that I wish to speak--the letter by means of which the date referred to is established. There was no more important religious feast among the Egyptians than the celebration of the rising of the star Sirius, or, as the Greeks called this star, Sothis. It is easy to understand, therefore, why the chief temple-official should write the accompanying letter. It is in hieratic, that is, the handwriting of the ancient Egyptians, as distinguished from the elaborate hieroglyphic used in stone inscriptions. I translate the essential portions of a letter sent to Pepy-hetep, the chief ritual priest, twenty days before the rising of Sothis, in order to give him ample time to make ready for the feast:
"'Copy of the letter...which the prince, the overseer of the temple, Nub-Kau-Re, sent, saying to the chief ritual priest, Pepy-hetep: "Take note that the rising of Sothis occurs in the fourth winter month, on the xvith day. Give notice to the lay priests...and post this letter upon the bulletin board of the temple."
"The feast was duly celebrated by the chief ritual priest on the 16th, and on the 17th he made note of the various offerings consumed at the feast, as follows:--
"'Year vii., fourth winter month, xviith day....Gifts of the feast of the rising of Sothis: 200 various loaves, 60 jars of beer...'
"The two documents therefore coincide perfectly, and it is as certain as evidence can make it that Sothis rose on the 16th day of the fourth winter month.
"When this fact is established the chronological reckoning is very simple. The Egyptian calendar year contained 365 days, being one-fourth of one day shorter than the astronomical year. The calendar year therefore gained a quarter of a day each year on the astronomical year, or an entire day every four years. This can be made very simple in this way: Suppose we have a clock which gains a quarter of an hour every day. In four days it will have gained an hour, and in eight days two hours, etc. You will see that by comparing this clock with correct time and exactly measuring the gain, you can instantly compute how long it took the clock to make that gain. It is just so here. The occurrence of the rising of Sothis, an astronomical event, is here given in terms of the calendar year; we can thus check off this calendar and tell how far it has run ahead of real time, as we did with the fast running clock. Doing so, we find it has run ahead in all four months and nineteen days. The question now is, how long did it take the calendar to gain four months and nineteen days at the rate of a day every four years?
IN 1872 OR 1876 B.C.
"Without going into the reckoning further I will only say that the result brings us either to 1872 or 1876 B.C., a margin of four years being unavoidable.
*See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., Chap. 2.
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"This is the oldest fixed date in human history. There are dates which belong at least 1000 [?] years earlier in Egyptian history, but we are unable to fix [!] them; they may be anywhere within a period of 500 or 600 years, so wide apart are the limits of possible variation.
[This is according to "science," which does not regard anything as fixed by the Bible's testimony.--EDITOR.]
"The date of Sargon I. in Babylonian history claimed as fixed at 3750 B.C. by many Assyriologists is supported by only one document, written over 3200 years later than the date which it is quoted to support, and as far removed in time from the date of Sargon, as Queen Victoria is from Moses. It is properly looked upon with distrust by many orientalists.
"But the date 1872 (or 1876) B.C. established by the new papyri rests upon contemporary evidence. There is no doubt of its correctness; and with this remarkable discovery we enter upon a new epoch in the chronology of oriental history.
"To Chicagoans this discovery is of especial interest, for the new date belongs to the reign of the same king whose funeral barge (or that of his family) is in the Field Museum. All will recollect the large Egyptian barge standing in the east hall of the museum. It was acquired by the enterprise of Mr. Ayer and the generosity of Mrs. McCormick. The king to whose funeral furniture this barge belongs was a Usertesen III. of the twelfth dynasty.
"The second document is dated in his seventh year --that is, 1872 or 1876 B.C. From the middle of the nineteenth century B.C. to the end of the nineteenth century A.D. the barge lay covered by the Sahara sands beside the king's pyramid, some thirty miles above Cairo. In 1894, after its discovery by De Morgan, it was removed to Cairo and thence to Chicago. This now certain date of the barge is several centuries later than that posted on the large gilded sign hanging over it in the museum.
"Of course the announcement of this new date created great interest among the members of the congress. Unfortunately, Dr. Borchardt was called away by official duties in Egypt before the date for reading his paper announcing his discovery. The paper was read by Prof. Erman, in Borchardt's absence, and Professor Erman accepted for him the warm congratulations of the congress.--Rome, Oct. 14th, 1899."
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THE POWER OF THE WORD OF GOD.
--NOV. 19.--`NEH. 8:1-12`.--
"The ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the Law."--`Nehemiah 8:3`.
REBUILDING the city wall tended to unify the hearts of Israel and to revive faith in the Lord, and in his gracious promises to that nation. Nehemiah was wise in beginning the reformation movement as he did, and his wisdom undoubtedly was of the Lord and in harmony with his prayers for wisdom and usefulness. So all who would engage in divine service require not only zeal but also the wisdom which cometh from above, and only those who seek it prayerfully will be in condition to be used of the Lord and to be helpful as reformers amongst their brethren.
As illustrating different methods of serving the Lord, and how some methods are wiser and more successful than others, and as a means of adding to our own wisdom respecting methods of serving the truth, let us here contrast the efforts of Nehemiah with those of Ezra. For instance--Ezra seemed to find only faults in the chiefs of the people, and berated them as tho they had nothing commendable in them. Nehemiah, on the contrary, began his work by ignoring some of the evils which he doubtless quickly discerned, and sought the cooperation of the nobles in the general cause. Subsequently at a favorable opportunity, when
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the people cried out because of usury and oppression, he very wisely yet very moderately remonstrated against their course, pointing out in kindly words yet boldly their wrong, and he was successful in correcting the wrong without antagonizing the wrongdoers. (`Neh. 5:7-13`.) Ezra, full of zeal and anxious for quick reform, convened the people, in the rain, without shelter. (`Ezra 10:9-13`.) Nehemiah, on the contrary, not only chose the pleasant season, but also the accustomed occasion, for his gathering of the people. Ezra attacked the one particular sin of intermarrying with the surrounding peoples, and thus held up one particular class of the people to special shame and confusion: Nehemiah seems to have taken a broader view and to have assailed sin in general, showing that all were sinners in some respects, and that all needed reformation. Ezra's method was the more aggressive, accompanied by legal prosecutions, penalties, etc. (`Ezra 10:8,14`.) Nehemiah's method was to make general a knowledge of the divine law, and through it to appeal to the awakened consciences of the people, that each might act for himself, heartily as unto the Lord. Without finding fault with Ezra's intentions, all reformers may profitably apply the lessons of this contrast to themselves, and seek to use Nehemiah's wise and gentle method in dealing with those who are in error, either doctrinally or otherwise.
With the completion of the wall and the security thus realized and the faith and hopes thus inspired, it was but reasonable that the event would be celebrated with feasting and rejoicing. But Nehemiah wisely waited this until he had reorganized the people socially according to the heads of their families, especially the priests and Levites, who were the divinely appointed ministers and teachers of the people. (See `Chap. 7:63-73`.)
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Meantime also, donations were received for the Temple and its service, and Nehemiah, himself very wealthy, setting an example of liberality in his large gifts, was imitated by many. By this time the "Feast of Trumpets" on the first day of the seventh month drew near. It was a time for the general gathering of the people, the beginning of their civil year, announced by trumpet blowing. Here the narrative of our lesson begins, with the spontaneous gathering of the people in an open place, a plaza, near the water gate, called here a "street."
In all probability this congregation of the people was instigated, first by Nehemiah, the Tirshatha (Persian for provincial governor), and secondly, through the heads of the people and the priests and Levites. Evidently preparations had been made for such a gathering, for a large platform, called a "pulpit," had been erected. When the people assembled and called for the reading of The Book of the Law of Jehovah, appropriate at this season, all things were in readiness, and Ezra the priest, accompanied by thirteen men, evidently chiefs of the people, representing the various tribes, took their appointed places on the platform or "pulpit" to give dignity and importance to the service.
Apparently the convention was opened with prayer. "Ezra blessed Jehovah the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads and worshiped Jehovah with their faces to the ground." They were about to begin a study of the divine Word, as expressed in the Law, and no one is in the proper attitude of mind to be taught and blessed by the Lord's Word unless he be in the attitude of heart which appreciates the greatness of God and the unworthiness of himself. Such a condition of heart is essential to true hearing and understanding. And here we have the secret of much of the failure to understand God's Word--today as well as in times past. "He that seeketh findeth; to him that knocketh it shall be opened," and the "seeking" consists not merely in church attendance or Bible reading, but in a heart-hunger to know the truth and to obey it.
The service began early in the morning, "From the morning [daybreak] until midday," and during that time we are told that "the ears of all the people were unto the book of the Law," that is, they gave close attention to hear and to understand every word. It was not only necessary that they should desire to know and that they should be in the attitude of heart to implore divine blessing and assistance, but it was also necessary that they should be attentive, giving ear. And more than this, it was necessary that there should be amongst them teachers capable of expounding the Law, explaining the meaning of words, and how the divine Law was to be applied to the daily life, and what it signifies. Thirteen teachers (Joshua and twelve others) are indicated by name. These probably were priests, and the statement is that associated with him were "the Levites." These "caused the people to understand the law, and the people stood in their place." We are not to understand that the people stood for five hours: they stood while the Law was being read, and sat down, after the eastern custom, on their haunches, during the time explanations were being given. The expression "all the people stood in their place" signifies that the teachers mentioned moved about amongst the people, instructing them, answering their questions, making plain the meaning of the features of the Law just read, while the people remained in their places.
There is a lesson here for God's people of today-- all who are interested in the welfare of Zion and in the repair of her walls of righteousness. As Nehemiah looked up the genealogies of the priests, it is appropriate for us to recognize the difference between the consecrated, whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life, and the unconsecrated, whose names assuredly are not so written, and who therefore cannot be recognized as religious teachers in any sense. So also today our Governor, the Lord Jesus, is searching amongst the people and separating to himself those whose names are written--the consecrated--for his kings and priests-- a "royal priesthood." Arrangements are already made for the great antitypical "Feast of Trumpets," and the beginning of a new civil year or Millennial era for mankind --for all who desire to be the Lord's people, to hear his Word and to obey it. Raised above the people, on a higher plane of being, will be Christ, the great Priest, and his associates, spiritual Israel, to declare the Word of Jehovah, the Law of righteousness, the Truth; and amongst the people, to teach them and to expound the Law to them, will be the ancient worthies, representatives of Israel in the flesh, and the Levites, all who believe, the entire household of faith aside from the elect and then glorified Church.
The blowing of the trumpets announcing the beginning of the antitypical Jubilee year will soon be heard throughout all the world, and the true-hearted will speedily respond. Meantime our great and wise Governor is instructing the Royal Priesthood, and thus preparing for the great work of the future. The arrangements are all so perfect and so complete that when the declaration comes the people will all hear the word of the Lord "distinctly," and they will get the "sense" and "understanding" of it. It will no longer be as in the past and at the present time, a din, a Babylon of confused noises, misrepresenting the divine message, and confusing those who desire to know the will of the Lord. The first result of that presentation will be weeping
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and mourning for sin, but the message of the great Priest and Governor will go forth to the people, to the effect that they need not weep and mourn, because the great sacrifice for sins has already been offered, "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world," and that in consequence the Millennial Day in which they will be living is not to be a day of mourning but a day of rejoicing, a day of acceptance of divine favor, a day of newness of life and of consecration to the Lord.
The message will then be similar to the one which Governor Nehemiah promulgated, "Go your way, eat the fat and drink the sweet [enjoy the wonderful provisions of God's bounty with thankfulness and pleasure] and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared [cause the knowledge of the Lord to fill the whole earth], for this day is holy unto the Lord: neither be ye sorry, for the pleasure of Jehovah is your strength"--rejoice that you are restored to divine favor. And all the people will rejoice, because they will understand the words of the divine Law--because they will see and appreciate the divine arrangement, and find it to be indeed "good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people."
These blessings which will be to the world in the future may already be appropriated in a measure by the Lord's consecrated people--the Gospel Church, the Royal Priesthood. By faith we are permitted to hear the words of the divine Law in advance of their public proclamation, to the whole world, and therefore blessed are our ears which hear and our eyes which see, for many have not seen and have not heard,--the god of this world at the present time blinding their minds so that they cannot. To us, too, the first hearing of the divine Law should perhaps bring remorse and tears as we realize our shortcomings, and that with our very best efforts we cannot measure up to the perfect standard. But to us also comes the Lord's message, through his servants our brethren, saying, Weep not, but rejoice. Behold the goodness as well as the severity of God, behold his Love as well as his Justice, and that he has made through Christ a full propitiation, not only for the sins that are past, but also for the inherited weaknesses and blemishes of the present and future-- that all of our blemishes have been covered with the great sin-offering finished at Calvary.
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It is our privilege, therefore, to dry our tears and to rejoice in the God of our salvation, and to eat of the fat things of his Word, the exceeding great and precious promises given to us, and to drink of the sweets of his favor, and to send portions of this our blessing to others who have not yet seen and have not yet heard and who have not yet tasted of the riches of divine grace. And whoever receives the grace of God not in vain will be prompt and zealous, not only in his own rejoicing, but also in his endeavors to communicate his blessings to others.
Another lesson here is that while God has all power he nevertheless uses human instrumentalities. He could have spoken from heaven, instead of sending Nehemiah; but he did not. He could have thundered his Law without having it read by Ezra; but he did not choose to do so. He could have instructed the people without using the priests and Levites or any human instrumentality for exposition; but such was not his method. And the Lord's dealings in the past are our best guides respecting his mind on such subjects and respecting what are likely to be his methods for the present and the future. In full harmony with this thought is the apostolic statement that "God has set the various members in the body [the Church] as it hath pleased him." Are all apostles? are all teachers? are all orators? Evidently not! And amongst the Lord's people the desire should be to know the Master's will, to know what talents have been entrusted to him, and to use those zealously, and to wait for others to be given, rather than to neglect the talents possessed or to seek to use those not possessed. "Do with thy might what thy hand findeth to do."
"The Word of God is quick and powerful." (`Heb. 4:12`.) There is much need that this lesson be thoroughly learned by the Lord's people. Nothing can take the place of the Lord's Word; and all teachings, whether oral or printed, should be recognized as secondary to the inspired Word, and should be received only as corroborated by the Scriptures. Or rather, they are to be appreciated only as they unlock the treasures of wisdom hidden in the Bible--riches of which the world in general is ignorant, and of which even the majority of Christian people, altho they have Bibles by the million, know comparatively little. Indeed, as Bibles become more numerous the great Adversary seems to be permitted to have the greater power to deceive and to mislead respecting its teachings; so that today, with its greatest opportunities, is witnessing a general decline of faith in the Scriptures--"a great falling away," led by some of the principal luminaries in the nominal systems --falling from their steadfastness of faith, falling into scepticism and into the radically anti-Biblical theory of Evolution--under the lead of so-called "higher criticism" and scholasticism.
The more the Lord's people shall be able to discern that we are already in the "evil day" mentioned by the Apostle, in which many shall stumble and fall from their steadfastness of faith, the more should they give earnest heed lest they should let slip the precious things of the divine Word, which is a lamp to their pathway, and through which God supplies the needed aids for walking the narrow way which leads to the
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Kingdom.--`Eph. 6:13`; `Heb. 2:1`; `Psa. 119:105`.
And let us beware also in this day of the "new lights" and of many presenting themselves as special teachers, that we permit none to lead us away from the Lord's Word, and to confuse us in our understanding. "Let us hold fast the confidence of our rejoicing [in Christ and his redemptive work--and not in our righteousness] firm unto the end." Let us earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, of which the ransom is the very center or hub into which and from which every other truth must and does fit perfectly. And let us remember that whatever assists us in this direction is a teaching that is from God, while whatever leads in another direction must evidently be not of God but of the Adversary. While proving the things which we receive, by their harmony with the Scriptures and their ability to unlock them and make clear their meaning, we may well remember the Master's words: "He that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God,"-- and the reverse of this is evidently equally true.--`John 3:20,21`; `Heb. 3:6`; `Jude 3`; `1 Thes. 5:21`.
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"WINE IS A MOCKER."
NOV. 26.--`PROV. 23:29-35`.
"Wine is a mocker; strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."--`Prov. 20:1`.
VERY RARELY indeed do we discuss the subject of intemperance: not because we do not realize it to be a crying evil, one of the most dreadful elements of and accessories to the degradation of our race, but because so far as we know our readers few of them would have need of advice or reproof along this line. As for the world, it is not our attempt to revolutionize and reform it along the lines of total abstinence or temperance in respect to the liquor evil, the social evil, the profanity evil, the backbiting evil, the war evil, the lying evil, or others. And this is not because we have no sympathy with reforms in all these various directions, but because, according to our understanding of the divine Word, it is God's plan that another and higher work be attended to now by the Lord's ambassadors --viz., the work of gathering out a people for his name, spiritual Israel, the holy nation, the peculiar people, the royal priesthood, the Church, the body of Christ--under whose ministration in glory, in a coming age, the world's reformatory uplift is to be accomplished, under conditions that will be adequate and make success certain.
An intelligent and very earnest reader of the WATCH TOWER publications remarked the fact that he had been struck with the absence of all appeals on the liquor question, the tobacco question, gambling, etc., and yet he said--"When I began reading these publications I was a moderate drinker, an habitual smoker and chewer of tobacco, and altho not a gambler I was well versed in cardplaying as a social diversion and time-killer. But since reading the WATCH TOWER publications my life has undergone a complete change in respect to all of these things. I asked myself the question, Have I or have I not consecrated my all to the Lord, covenanting with him to use life, voice, strength, influence, and means to his glory, to the best of my knowledge and ability? I answered, Yes. The question then came, Can you see in what manner your drinking of wine or smoking or chewing tobacco or playing a social game of cards will be to the Lord's glory, to the increase of your influence for righteousness, or a proper expenditure of time and money, in harmony with your covenant? I was obliged to answer myself, No; that these things would all be contrary to my covenant, and I therefore abandoned them in the Lord's name and strength. But now what I want to know is, what was the nature of the influence exercised upon my mind by the reading of MILLENNIAL DAWN which produced or helped to produce these results? for, as I said before, I cannot remember anything directly upon these subjects in this reading matter, and on the contrary, other books which I have had and read which did deal with these subjects pointedly and explicitly, failed utterly to make any impression upon me. Why is this? How is this? What is it that has such influence over me?"
We answered, that undoubtedly the good influence exercised was the spirit of the truth, operating upon the good ground of an honest and consecrated heart. We pointed out that the effort of our publications is to strike the axe of truth at the root of the evil tree, instead of attempting to lop off the various evil branches. A thorough consecration to the Lord is in opposition to every form of sin and in harmony with everything that is good, noble, true, pure. The difficulty with a majority of those who are truly consecrated to the Lord is that they have been mistaught. They have been misled to believe that Christianity is merely morality and civilization, instead of being taught by the divine Word that Christianity is a following of Jesus' footsteps in full consecration to the Heavenly Father's will in all matters.
They have been taught that the chief work of the Christian is to get saved and to save others; and by saved is generally understood a breaking off of the
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gross immoralities, a conformity to civilized usages, and a membership in some earthly church. False views of the Church's mission evidently have much to do with this setting up of false standards in the name of Christianity. Thinking men have realized the impossibility of securing the conversion of the world along the Scriptural lines of full consecration to the Lord. It was realized long, long ago that such hopes are baseless from what we know of humanity in general, and having in mind the erroneous thoughts that God had committed the conversion of the world to the Church, the effort was made to bring about at least a partial reformation of the conduct of the world. Thus the high standard for the Lord's people as set forth in his Word has been, to the majority of Christian people, a dead letter, and to the majority of ministers an unknown or at least an untaught lesson, because in violent opposition to their cherished but unscriptural theory respecting the conversion of the world by human agencies.
Thus we see what a great loss true Christianity and true Christian teaching sustained through the introduction
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of a false hope, a false theory, and through the abandonment of the original hope set before us in the gospel--the faith, the hope, that God is now electing, selecting, polishing and preparing a little flock of faithful covenanters, who in his own due time, as the body, the bride, the joint-heirs with Christ glorified, will be given the power and great glory necessary to the establishment of righteousness in the world,--the binding of Satan and of sin, the opening of the blind eyes of corrupted humanity, and the unstopping of the dull ears that all may hear, and know the truth respecting the divine character and gracious provision of our Heavenly Father's plan for the world's salvation--and to an opportunity of sharing in that salvation everlastingly, if they will.
While still adhering strictly to the same principles, viz., the pointing out of the necessity for full consecration on the part of those who would be of the Lord's flock, we nevertheless think it not amiss to occasionally draw attention to the Scriptural presentation on the subject of intemperance in the use of intoxicating liquors. It is neither necessary nor proper that we should take the radical and unscriptural ground seemingly taken by so many who advocate total abstinence, viz., that to even taste liquor is a sin, a grievous sin. We can go no further on any point than do the Scriptures, when they declare, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." In harmony with the intimation of these inspired words is the thought that whoever trifles with this mocker is in danger of being deceived by it, of being ensnared, of being injured, of being wrecked.
Of course, the dangers are greater to some than to others, but dangers there are to all: and especially as our race has grown weaker physically and more nervous through the changed conditions peculiar to our times. Undoubtedly under present circumstances and conditions the movement toward total abstinence is an excellent one; we merely urge that the claims for total abstinence should be presented on their own true, proper basis, and not upon any misrepresentations of the Scriptural teachings on this subject.
We can certainly without impropriety urge upon the Lord's people the language of the Apostle, "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the spirit [the new wine, the new exhilarant, the new antidote for care and pain and trouble]." (`Eph. 5:18`.) Realizing the nervous pressure of our day we may certainly urge that each should consider for himself whether or not the use of wine at all under present conditions might not be improper, as being dangerous. And it would appear that those who get most thoroughly filled with the spirit have in it the new wine, the new exhilarant of the new nature in which they can rejoice most, and of which they cannot partake to excess and injury.
It is in place here for us to remind ourselves of our Lord's words, through the Apostle, that no drunkards shall inherit the Kingdom of God. (`1 Cor. 6:10`; `Gal. 5:21`.) We are not to understand these texts to teach that no one who has ever been drunk can enter into the Kingdom of God, but rather that whoever has come under the influence of the Gospel call and been begotten of the holy Spirit must of necessity receive so much of the spirit of a sound mind that he would not be deceived by the mocking wine and the insane influence of strong drink. (`2 Tim. 1:7`.) On the contrary, if any had been unwisely addicted to the use of liquors to intoxication he must, under the instructions of the Lord's Word and the leadings of his holy Spirit, become more thoroughly instructed in the way of righteousness, and sanctified to God, else he can never be accepted as one of the overcomers, one of the "little flock," who through the wisdom that cometh from above, and in laying hold upon the power of God in Christ, are enabled to break the bonds of Satan which have enslaved them.
NOAH'S INTOXICATION EXCUSABLE.
For the sake of some who may be inclined to excuse a certain amount of dissipation in view of Noah's drunkenness (`Gen. 9:20,21`), we should say a word in defence of the patriarch. The record is that Noah was a God-fearing man whom God recognized and especially favored because of his righteousness; and the fact that he became intoxicated after having had six
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hundred years of experience has not only struck Christian people with astonishment, but has inclined some weaker characters to excuse their own unwisdom by his course.
In Noah's defence we call attention to the fact that his intoxication was after the flood and was purely accidental. The flood itself was a part of a great change in the aerial conditions of our earth: to our understanding the flood was produced by the precipitation to the earth of an immense quantity of water which previously had surrounded the earth at a distance as a cloudy canopy.
The breaking of this canopy or envelope of water not only produced the flood, but altered the conditions of nature so that storms, rains, etc., resulted, things which had never been before. (`Gen. 2:5,6`.) Another result, we believe, was the production of an aciditous condition of the atmosphere tending toward ferment, which directly affected human longevity, so that according to the Scripture records the average of human life quickly decreased from eight and nine hundred years to one hundred. This ferment from the changed atmosphere, affecting the grape, produces "must," and thence the alcoholic condition which produces drunkenness. According to the record, Noah's drunkenness was the result of the first vintage of grapes after the flood, and it evidently was contrary to all his experiences preceding the flood. As we have no record of his ever having become intoxicated afterward we are justified in supposing that this one instance was the result of ignorance respecting the changed character of the grape product fermented. From this standpoint nothing will be seen in Noah's conduct calculated to encourage or excuse drunkenness on the part of those who know very well that "wine is a mocker."
Those who have received the holy Spirit and who have found it to be the spirit of a sound mind should seek to inculcate some of their new soundness of judgment on all matters to others as they have opportunity --especially to their children, who subsequently learning the source of that sound judgment may be the more favorably influenced toward a full consecration of themselves to the Lord, thus saving them from many disasters, moral and physical, to which they may be exposed if left without the wise counsel of those to whom they should and do look naturally for lessons of instruction and for helps in the way to nobility of life and character.
We give below a portion of the lesson under consideration in the form of a wine glass, and some remarks of an unknown author in the form of a decanter, which may be interesting to the children and impressive to their memories.
THE DRUNKARD'S WOE-CUP.
"Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath
contentions? who hath complaining? who
hath wounds without cause, who hath
redness of eyes? They that tarry
long at the wine; they that go
to seek out mixed wine.
Look not thou upon the
wine when it is red,
when it giveth
when it goeth
last it biteth
like a serpent, and
stingeth like an adder."
THE OLD DECANTER.
"There was an old decanter,
and its mouth was gaping
wide; the rosy wine had
ebbed away and left its
crystal side; and the
wind went humming
humming, up and
down the sides it
flew, and through
its reed-like, hollow
neck, the wildest notes
it blew. I placed it in
the window, where the
blast was blowing free, and
fancied that its pale mouth
sang the queerest strains to me.
"They tell me--puny conquerors!
the Plague has slain his ten, and
War his hundred thousand of the very
best of men; but I,"--'twas thus the bottle
spake--"but I have conquered more than all
your famous conquerors so feared and famed of
yore. Then come, ye youths and maidens all, come
drink from out my cup, the beverage that dulls the
brains and burns the spirits up; that puts to shame
your conquerors that slay their scores below, for
this has deluged millions with the lava tide of
woe. Though in the path of battle darkest
waves of blood may roll; yet while
I killed the body, I have damned
the very soul. The cholera,
the plagues, the sword, such
ruin never wrought as I, in mirth or
malice, on the innocent have brought.
And still I breathe upon them, and they
shrink before my breath; and year by year my
thousands tread the dismal road of DEATH."
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NEHEMIAH'S CORRECTION OF SABBATH-BREAKING.
--DEC. 3.--`NEH. 13:15-22`.--
"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy."--`Exod. 20:8`.
NEHEMIAH remained with his people as its Persian governor for twelve years, when he was recalled to the palace by Artaxerxes. (`Neh. 13:6`.) He returned to Jerusalem by the king's permission probably five years afterward. Meantime the interests of the Israelites had prospered in temporal matters, but suffered from a moral and religious standpoint. Malachi prophesied during this period, and from his book we get a clear insight into some of the degeneracy of that time. The demoralization seems to have started with the desire to be on friendly terms with the gentiles in that vicinity, contrary to divine command.
This led to more mixed marriages, and correspondingly to a growing lack of interest in the divine law and worship. The high priest's grandson, Manasseh, married the daughter of Sanballat, once a prominent enemy of the Jews, and a man of influence; and one of the tithe-chambers of the Temple was desecrated by fitting it up as a dwelling place for Tobiah, the Ammonite, who by marriage became related to the high priest: and this policy, sanctioned by such high authority, was greatly followed by others. (`Neh. 13:4,5,28`; `Mal. 2:14-16`.) It is not surprising that such disregard of divine law led naturally and quickly to the neglect of tithes for the support of the ministers of the Temple, leading also to further selfishness, which, if it brought a sacrifice to the Lord at all was disposed to bring the poor, the lame and the blind of the flock, not the unblemished fatling. It is no wonder, either, that there followed in the wake of these things sorcery, adultery, false swearing, oppression, defrauding of widows and fatherless, etc.--`Mal. 1:7,8`; `3:5,9`.
But our lesson deals particularly with another evil of that time--Sabbath-breaking. The policy of those who succeeded Nehemiah on his return to Persia was, as we have seen, to conciliate foreigners, and this, no doubt, largely in the interest of commerce. With the coming of heathen wives and the relaxing interest in the Lord and his commandments, and the frequent intercommunication with heathen who observed no Sabbath day, Sabbath day regulations were quickly broken down.
We may draw a lesson here for Spiritual Israel, and apply the Apostle's words, "Evil communications corrupt good manners," and our Lord's words, "Ye are not of this world, even as I am not of this world." The Spiritual Israelite is commanded to be separate from the world, and to seek his fellowships with his own people, the Lord's people, and not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. (`2 Cor. 6:14`.) We may apply this specially to marriage, but to some extent it might be regarded as applicable also to business partnerships, etc. As the heathen peoples surrounding Israel exercised a continual pressure upon them, so worldly influences surrounding the Spiritual Israelites continually press them with the spirit of worldliness, which needs to be continually repelled; for once this spirit is admitted to the citadel of the heart it wars against the spirit of holiness, devotion to God, etc., and to whatever extent the worldly spirit invades the family, in that proportion the sanctifying of the spirit of truth is antagonized and off-set. Let us, as Israelites indeed, be continually on guard against all alien and alienating influences of the world, the flesh and the devil.
Nehemiah, on his return to the governorship, at once addressed himself to the rectification of the disorders described, beginning with the cleansing of the Temple, the restoration of its service, and the proper supplies for its ministers. Then he came to the question of Sabbath desecration, with which our lesson particularly deals. He remonstrated with the nobles against such a violation of the divine command--the fourth in Israel's Decalogue. He pointed out to them the fact that Sabbath desecration had much to do with their Babylonish captivity. It will be remembered that in explaining the seventy years' desolation of the land of Israel the Lord declared that he would make it desolate seventy years until it should have fulfilled its Sabbaths --its Jubilee years. (`2 Chron. 36:21`.) True, those were year-Sabbaths, and not day-Sabbaths, but we are to remember the Sabbath system (the seventh day and the fiftieth day, the seventh year, and the fiftieth year) was a connected whole: and doubtless had Israel properly observed their Sabbath days they would also have properly observed their Sabbath years and Jubilees.*
Nehemiah, after thus discoursing with the nobles on the propriety of the matter and the danger to the nation of thus violating the divine Law, began a reformation by closing the gates of Jerusalem at sundown of the sixth day of the week (Friday), and keeping them closed until sundown of the seventh day of the week (Saturday). The foreign tradesmen coming for business on the Sabbath were disappointed and obliged to camp outside the city; but in expectation that the reformation would be shortlived they came in like manner the next Sabbath. Nehemiah then warned them that to come again for Sabbath trade and to keep up a commotion around the gates of the city on the Sabbath day would subject them to arrest as disturbers of the law and peace of the city, and they were thus restrained.
*See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., Chap. 6.
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We must all commend Nehemiah's devotion to the divine Law and must concede that he in no sense of the word exceeded its requirements.
The Spiritual Israelite, altho in no sense of the word under the Law of Sinai, which was given exclusively to the fleshly Israelite, has nevertheless his Sabbath day--his rest day. It is a larger and a fuller day than was the Jewish one, as his rest is a grander and more perfect rest than the physical one of the Jew. The spiritual Israelite rests in faith, rests in Christ. Having taken upon him the yoke of this new Master he finds, as was promised, rest to his soul, and not merely rest to his flesh--mind-rest, not merely bodily rest. (`Matt. 11:29`.) This is the rest or Sabbath mentioned by the Apostle (`Heb. 4:3`) saying, "We which have believed do enter into rest." Our rest in the Lord is as complete as is our belief in him. He who believes fully rests fully; he who believes only partially rests but partially. The ideal condition of the spiritual Israelite is the attainment of a perfect rest, a perfect Sabbath-keeping, in his present experience, and a waiting and laboring for another and still more complete rest-- the actual rest of the perfected condition--the rest that remains for the people of God. "Let us therefore labor to enter into that rest [Sabbath], lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief [of fleshly Israel.]" --`Heb. 4:9-11`.
While the Spiritual Israelite should never lose sight of these, his real Sabbaths, the antitypes of fleshly Israel's Sabbath days and Sabbath years, and while he should never forget that he is completely freed from the Law of Sinai respecting any and all Sabbaths, holy days, new moons, etc. (`Col. 2:16`), nevertheless he does rejoice in and should avail himself of any arrangements of nominal Christendom which may appear to be favorable to his spiritual resting, his continual Sabbath-keeping.
It so happens that nominal Christendom has set apart one day in seven as a Sabbath of rest--not the seventh day, which was commanded to the Jews, but the first day of the week, which was never commanded to anyone by divine authority. No matter by whatsoever misconception this first day of the week, called Sun-day in commemoration of the ancient heathen worship of the sun, was originally set apart as sacred and is still set apart by the laws of Christendom, it contains a great blessing, not only to the people at large but especially to the true Israelites.
(1) To the people at large it means a day of rest from toil, a day of recreation, refreshment, change; a day for different sights and sounds, a day different from other days immersed in toil; a day of opportunity for mental development according to the best lines they may have knowledge of and be willing to follow. For a time some laborers, mechanics and merchants regarded the compulsory cessation of toil as a hardship, injurious to their interests, but they very generally have come to see that there is an over-supply of labor anyway, and that as far as the whole people is concerned, the labor of the six days will be worth exactly as much as the labor of seven. Consequently we find that now labor organizations are earnest for the enforcement of Sunday laws, and that practically the only persons of contrary mind are those who own and operate machinery. In 1886 a thousand carpenters in Berlin petitioned the government for protection against Sunday labor; in the same year a Socialistic congress in Belgium propounded as one of its chief demands Sunday rest. In Holland there is at present in progress an effort for emancipation from Sunday work; and recently in Wisconsin a Law and Order League was organized to enforce Sunday laws, etc. Working men are finding that in losing Sunday they gain nothing to compensate them.
While the fourth commandment to Fleshly Israel was chiefly in the nature of a type, foreshadowing the rest coming to Spiritual Israelites, nevertheless, like every divine law, it was in no wise injurious, but on the contrary very beneficial to Fleshly Israel to observe the seventh day, even as it is now beneficial to all mankind to observe a seventh day--whether the first day of the week, observed by Christendom, or the seventh day of the week observed by the Jews. Experience proves that such a rest is necessary from the human and physical standpoint.
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(2) To the true Spiritual Israelite Sunday is and for long centuries has been a great boon, a great blessing --the only drawback has been that not infrequently he has been mistaught to believe that Sunday is the Jewish Sabbath or a divinely appointed substitute for it, and in consequence has been brought under a bondage --the bondage of the Jewish Law, with which really the Spiritual Israelite has nothing whatever to do, he being under a new covenant with a new law and a new Mediator. (`Heb. 8:6`.) But the Spiritual Israelite, already resting in heart (Sabbath-keeping antitypically, by faith in the Redeemer's finished work), rightly understanding the matter and appreciating the privileges which a general Sunday observance brings, may use this day to wonderful profit and blessing. And the fact that he has an opportunity so to do means to him an obligation so to do; because, tho without stipulations of law to bind him, he is under the general Law of Love, and by it is obligated to do with his might what his hands find to do--to glorify the Lord, to bless the brethren, and to do good unto all men as he may have opportunity: and the day and customs are favorable to his exercise in all these respects.
The Spiritual Israelite is to esteem that whatever mistaken notions humanity may have had which led
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them to set apart the first day of the week, the matter has nevertheless been evidently of divine providence to present special opportunities for profit and progress to the Spiritual Israelites now called to be of the Royal Priesthood. And such are prompt to avail themselves of these privileges and opportunities; to assemble themselves for the study of the divine Word, for praise, for prayer and for spiritual fellowship,--building one another up in the most holy faith.
In view of the fact that the majority of the Lord's consecrated people are poor,--not many great, not many wise, not many learned, not many rich--how necessary it has been that the Lord should provide such an opportunity as this day affords for release from earthly toil and spiritual refreshment; and how fortunate it is for such that the masses of Christendom esteem rest on this day to be compulsory from the divine standpoint.
Of all the people in the world, therefore, those who enjoy the light of present truth and recognize this day as a God-given privilege, and not as compulsory, should be the very last to either do or say anything which would bring discredit on the day and its sacred observance as a day of rest. This, of course, does not mean that we should advocate its observance with the usual arguments; but it does mean that all such should be careful in their observance of the day for three reasons:
(1) Because they would not wish to see the day fall into disuse or disrespect in the esteem of the world in general, for humanity's sake, as well as for their own sakes--physical and spiritual.
(2) Because they would not wish to do anything which would lead others to a violation of a less enlightened conscience, remembering that the conscience is the most valuable as well as the most tender and easily injured quality of the human nature.
(3) Because they do wish to maintain a proper religious influence with their neighbors, whose minds are not clearly and fully enlightened on this subject-- to the intent that they may exercise the greater influence for good and for the truth as time and opportunity shall offer.
For all these reasons we urge upon the readers of this journal a glad and careful observance of Sunday as a sacred, a holy day, providentially set apart by human law. Let it be entirely separated from business, and so far as possible from all labor not actually necessary; let it be employed in the upbuilding of themselves, and their families, and the household of faith, and as many as the truth shall draw into their sphere of influence,--in moral and spiritual directions.
In the concluding verse of the lesson Nehemiah asks the Lord's blessing upon himself, in view of the work which he had done in the name of the Lord. He was fighting valiantly for God's cause, and thereby making many enemies; and hence while not flinching from his duty it was not unreasonable, but very proper, that he should think of the Lord's faithfulness toward all faithful to him. Had Nehemiah lived in our day, with its Gospel high calling and privileges, we doubt not he would have been one of the "saints," and then, assuredly, he would have known definitely and clearly of the exceeding great and precious promises given to the Gospel Church. But he lived before the "high calling" began, before the exceeding great and precious promises were made. He knew not what he would receive of the Lord for his faithfulness, but we may know, because instructed of the holy Spirit through the Apostle's writings. We may be assured that if Nehemiah continued faithful to the end of his career he would be amongst the worthies of the past mentioned by the Apostle in `Hebrews 11`--those who wrought righteousness, and were valiant on the side of God and his Law. We are assured that these were acceptable with God and will ultimately be made perfect--in the future, after the Church, the elect body of Christ has been completed, been made perfect, and glorified in the heavenly Kingdom. --`Heb. 11:39,40`.
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SOME NEGLECTED FACTS IN HUMAN BIOLOGICAL HISTORY.
"STUDENTS of Human Physiology, Pathology and Dietetics have hitherto persistently ignored certain facts in man's history which have a controlling influence on present conditions. To ignore these historical biological facts is as irrational as it would be to attempt to study the present civil institutions of our country and ignore our past history.
"In regard to man's early biological history we have records of the highest credibility. There records are corroborated by all the facts within the reach of present observation. That present theories and speculations are contrary to them has no weight with a truly scientific mind, which cares for facts alone.
"These records do not inform us what was the method used in the creation of man. They thus leave the field open for interesting speculation as to whether it was by an evolutionary process or otherwise. We do learn that the first progenitors of the human race were perfect human beings, a man and a woman of the highest organization, both physical and mental, lacking in nothing except character, something which could only be developed by experience and the exercise of their faculties. We are also informed that the woman was developed from the man by the method of reproduction known as gemmation or budding; this, however, being an exceptional case, all subsequent reproduction in the human race being by the sexual method.
"This perfect human pair were placed in a perfect environment, called the garden of Eden, or Paradise. This was a small portion of the earth's surface specially prepared for the abode of man, who was specially favored above the rest of the animal kingdom, having been endowed with an organization so much superior to that of any other animal that he possessed the powers of reason, conscience, imagination, generalization and free will to a high degree, thus making him an earthly image of spirit beings.
"So exalted an animal was worthy of a more prolonged existence than the lower animals, consequently
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he was endowed with the privilege of continued life on earth, being so constituted that as each cell of his structure became worn out and effete it was removed and a new cell put in its place, thus keeping his tissues always young and free from senile decay.
"The design of the Creator being that the human race should be 'Sons of God' and not merely 'works of his hand' like the lower animals, the announcement was made to Adam that the law of limited existence and death which he saw controlling the lower animals should not prevail against him or his offspring, but that he would be permitted to live on everlastingly in his perfect environment, provided he developed a character which would love and pursue righteousness and eschew evil; otherwise the gift of lasting life would be taken from him and he would be brought under the law of limited existence and death, everlasting life being a curse to an evil being and not a blessing.
"As we have seen, man, being a perfect being, endowed with the power of rejuvenating his tissues so that he could always remain young, was placed in a perfect environment, called Paradise. Here the climatic conditions were perfect, the sanitary conditions were perfect, and, last but not least, he was supplied with a perfect diet.
"As a simple and suitable commencement of the disciplinary training necessary to develop his character and test his obedience, he was placed under a single prohibition. He was given the 'herb bearing seed' for food and allowed to eat of the fruit of every tree in Paradise with one exception. 'Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat;' and he was warned that if he disobeyed this command he would surely die. Perhaps if man had not been influenced towards the wrong course he would have stood this simple first test successfully, but there was present a spirit being of a high order whom ambition and selfishness had led into rebellion. By a line of specious reasoning he succeeded in seducing Eve, 'the
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weaker vessel,' into a violation of the prohibition. Adam knew that the penalty for this was death; that his beloved and only congenial companion must cease to exist. Feeling that he would rather die than live without her, he also took of the forbidden fruit in order that he might share her penalty, preferring the nothingness of death to life without her who was his other self, 'bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.' We are expressly informed that 'Adam was not deceived.' What he did he did with his eyes open. In effect he committed suicide for love.
"The laws of God are unchangeable, and the penalty of death once threatened for this disobedience must be executed. Adam and Eve were put to death, within the limits of one of God's 'thousand year days,' as He had said, 'In the day that thou eatest thereof dying thou shalt die.' God had made man on a plan which permitted continued existence in a suitable environment, and man would have continued to live on, even in sin and rebellion, if he could have remained in Paradise. In order to put the sentence of death into execution it was necessary to drive man out of Paradise into the 'cursed' or unfinished part of the earth 'lest he put forth his hand and eat of the tree of life and live forever.' In the unfinished earth he was exposed to climatic vicissitudes, to accidents and catastrophes, to the attacks of disease germs, to wearing and unwholesome forms of labor. Above all, he was deprived of his natural food.
"Since the day when Adam and Eve were driven from Eden, 'the world being all before them where to choose,' and the cherubim, armed with the revolving sword of flame, took its station at the gate, no human being, so far as we know, has ever tasted a mouthful of man's natural food. Thus Adam and all his race have died, altho originally adapted to everlasting life on earth: Adam being put to death as the penalty of his sin, and all his posterity because the germs of the whole race being in Adam's body when he commenced to die, by the natural law of heredity they could only receive what Adam had to give them, which was death and not life.
"These, then, are the controlling facts of man's biological history, a life history which is not paralleled by that of any other animal, namely: the possession of an organism built so as to be capable of running on forever if surrounded by a special environment and supplied with a special food, but separated from his special environment and deprived of his special food by a judicial decree: and the medical profession will fail to solve the problems of pathology and dietetics as long as they ignore these facts. With man every condition is pathological, every environment is unnatural, every article of his diet is abnormal. That the race did not become extinct long ago can only be explained by the history given above.
"The mental condition of man depends upon the physical. There can be no mind without a body. Therefore, man's mind is unsound as the inevitable result of his physical derangement. This is why man, altho endowed with reason, everywhere acts in an irrational manner. Some men are insane, but all men are of unsound mind. There have been only two human beings who possessed perfectly sound minds. One was Adam, but his mental and physical health continued for only a brief period, perhaps not more than one year. The other was Jesus, the Christ. Altho not of Adam's race, he was a perfect human being; perfect mentally as well as physically. Imperfect men who attempt to conform their ideas and their conduct to his perfect standard are said by Paul to have the 'spirit of a sound mind.' It is the highest attainment of depraved humanity to have the spirit or disposition of a sound mind. Puck was fully justified by the facts when he exclaimed, 'What fools these mortals be!' Our weakened and unsound minds can make but little progress towards the truth on medical subjects or any other until we obtain 'the spirit of a sound mind' and endeavor to see man's condition in its true light.
"I do not like to leave this subject without adding that the fall of man was foreseen and provided for in the Plan of God, and he has not changed in the least his purposes to have on earth a Paradise populated by perfect men. At the time appointed that purpose will be accomplished. The race of Adam will share in it, for altho the death sentence has been executed upon them and they have been consigned to the grave, they have been ransomed from the grave and will live again. All in Adam die, but all in Christ will be made alive in the future.
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"I can speak with positiveness on these points, thanks to the light thrown on these hitherto dark questions by that wonderful book, The Plan of the Ages. It is a key to that sublime treasury of facts, the Bible, enabling us to reduce its facts to a system, 'having the completeness of a science, the precision of algebra.' The author's discovery of The Plan of the Ages has done for Bible phenomena what the discovery of the heliocentric character of the solar system did for astronomy. In another generation this will have displaced all other theology and philosophy as completely as the Copernican astronomy has displaced the Ptolemaic." DAVID P. JACKSON, M.D.
In Toledo Medical and Surgical Reporter.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Your welcome letter hand. The interest and love which your letters show are a great blessing to me. Praise God for all the lovingkindness he shows me. If I had the ability (and if I were not afraid to weary you and take up your time) I would try to tell you how grateful I feel toward you also.
Concerning the "harvest" work in Sweden: since I first recognized this work, and that the proper time for it is now due, I have, so far as I have been able, been spreading the precious truths with which the Lord through DAWN has honored me, to such as are professedly his people. Have had a number of encouraging experiences in the work, and feel that the Lord is constantly making me more fit for it.
A few days before I started from Stockholm I enjoyed a visit from Bro. Winter. He is helping me greatly by writing me letters, the contents of which gladden my heart. May the Lord bless him! His health is poor, or maybe he would have gone along on this "missionary" trip.
Since I left Stockholm I have sold 89 copies of VOL. I., but only a few copies of the other two; have distributed a good many tracts and have through conversation sought to interest the Lord's people whenever opportunity afforded. I visit preachers and teachers in "Babylon," even the priests of the state church. Pray that the Lord may give me wisdom and in all things be my leader.
Have met with some people who have never heard of M. DAWN, but yet discern something of the true state of affairs in the churches, and hold views in considerable harmony with the DAWN teachings. I met a brother who reads the TOWER. He is deeply interested in the truth. Some who have received the DAWN through me have begun to work to help spread it. A lady of some prominence is acting as my "agent" in Stockholm; also another sister is zealously working in this service.
My stock of books is kept by a firm of merchants, both believers, and personal friends of mine. They forward books as I need them. Have stamped their names on the tracts and books, and they fill all orders for books. The opportunities which I have for doing "harvest" work are many, and the knowledge that these opportunities will soon be gone spurs me on to harder work if possible, in the "harvest" field. God grant that I may have the proper wisdom to make the best of these opportunities as they present themselves.
Up to date I have sold 248 copies of VOL. I., 37 copies of VOL. II. and 27 copies of VOL. III.; total, 312 copies. My "helpers," mentioned above, have sold some, but how many I am not able to say just now.
That you may still continue to be the channel through which blessings upon God's people may flow, is the constant prayer of,
Yours, gratefully, AUG. LUNDBORG.--Sweden.
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Brother Weber was with us Saturday and brought an account of the grand feast you all had at St. Louis. I am in communication with the Trunk Line Association regarding a Philadelphia Convention.
We are getting great blessings from VOL. V., and rejoicing in the light thrown on so many Scriptures. May the dear Lord continue to use you in dispensing such food to us all, is my constant prayer. When you said, at the Boston Convention, that you thought in the next few years a great many would come into the truth after seeing the pronounced unscriptural views of the nominal ministry I was somewhat surprised at first, as I had thought the wheat was pretty well sifted from the denominations, but your reasons were very convincing, and since then I have had many opportunities to note its harmony with the Word and the signs of the times. Corroborative evidence is furnished, I think, in the splendid newspaper accounts of some of the Boston and St. Louis meetings. The account of your discourse in Monday's St. Louis Republican was without a flaw so far as I can recall, and such articles must certainly be intended by the Lord to cause some to search further for the light.
The adversary is also active. The friends in Philadelphia received postals, notifying us that E. C. Mott would speak here. I am so thankful, however, that his erroneous teaching is so well known to the brethren here that it seems most improbable that he could move them from their steadfastness if they heard him. He has for some time been teaching that none are justified but those that are spiritually begotten--basing it upon an erroneous interpretation of `1 John 5:1`, and wresting all other Scriptures to suit his theory. It is a terrible thing to be so influenced by a desire to bring out something new that we reject the Old Theology in order to glorify self. I pray for grace and humility that I may not be led away by pride.
As treasurer for the Philadelphia Church I have been instructed by the brethren to send to the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY an order for $25, which is herein enclosed.
With Christian love to yourself and the dear friends in the TOWER office, I remain,
Yours in the service of the Truth,
BENJAMIN H. BARTON.