ZWT - 1900 - R2555 thru R2747 / R2732 (353) - December 1, 1900
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VOL. XXI. DECEMBER 1, 1900. No. 23.
What Hope for the Innumerable
No Condemnation Possible Until
The Ultimate End of the Commandment
Claiming, Receiving and Administering
"Thou Crownest the Year with Thy
"No Weapon Formed Against Thee
Questions and Answers.............................368
Items: About Tower Subscriptions, etc.............354
SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, "BIBLE HOUSE," 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 A YEAR IN ADVANCE. MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, N.Y. DRAFT, MONEY ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR, AS FOLLOWS:--
Those of the interested who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.
BRITISH BRANCH NO. 131 GIPSY LANE, FOREST GATE, LONDON EAST, ENGLAND.
TAKE HEED HOW YOU SEND.
This is the season at which our mails are largest and when money enclosed in letters not "registered" is apt to greatly tempt Post Office employees to dishonesty. Remember therefore that if you cannot procure a Money Order or Express Order or Bank draft, money sent should be registered.
ABOUT RENEWING YOUR Z.W.T. SUBSCRIPTION.
We hope to have our lists grow larger and larger each year. We are anxious that the names of all interested in "present truth" should be on our lists, and that thus they may share with us the spiritual food now being dispensed by our present Lord. We do not urge you to renew, tho we will be glad to have you continue with us to the very close of this warfare. All we feel it proper to do is to make our terms so reasonable as to leave no valid excuse for any to go without this spiritual food if he has an appetite for it. For instance, If you cannot conveniently send the cash in advance let us know of your desire to have it on credit--and pay when you can: remembering that should you never be able to pay you can have the debt canceled at any time upon request, stating your inability.
"THE LORD'S POOR" SHOULD ALSO RENEW.
Send us a postal card this month informing us that you desire the visits of the WATCH TOWER continued, and that you are still unable to pay for it; and it will go to you as freely, gladly, as to those who pay. Indeed all such subscriptions are paid out of a fund specially provided for the purpose. Do not fear to accept this portion of the Lord's provision for your spiritual nourishment. We much prefer that so far as possible renewals reach us in DECEMBER.
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WHAT HOPE FOR THE INNUMERABLE NON-ELECT?
[Continued from our last issue, "Make Sure of Winning in God's Election."]
IN OUR LAST ISSUE we found abundant Scripture evidence that God is selecting a little flock from amongst mankind to be joint heirs with our Lord Jesus in the Millennial Kingdom. That fact being proven, it cannot be questioned that all the remainder of mankind are non-elect. The question now is, What provision has the great Creator made for this class-- numbering at least fifty thousands of millions of all the families of the earth? Is this condition hopeless or not?
According to orthodoxy it is hopeless--the theory being that all the non-elect of mankind were predestinated by God to be sufferers of eternal torment; but we find no Scripture whatever in support of such a theory. So surely as God did elect or predestinate an elect class he must equally have predestinated and foreordained that there would be a non-elect class. And to suppose that he foreordained that this non-elect class should suffer eternal torment would be to suppose God a monster, devoid of every sentiment of justice, not to mention love. And if God did not foreordain the non-elect to eternal torment, neither could he have authorized any to use eternal torment as a threat against the non-elect--neither to intimidate them nor for any other purpose. Indeed, what object could there be on God's part in endeavoring to scare the world of mankind into striving to be of the elect little flock, when he had already predestinated that only a small number comparatively could be of this elect flock? The whole matter, viewed from any such standpoint, is unreasonable.
Let us notice, on the contrary, that this eternal torment theory may properly be charged with nearly every deflection from the doctrine of the necessity for holiness of life on the part of God's people. Everyone who has read with care the Scriptures already cited which refer to the elect class must realize that the standard which God has set "for the very elect" is a very high standard; and that comparatively few-- saints only--ever attain to that high standard. All will acknowledge that very few of their friends and neighbors, parents and children, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, who have died, could have any hope of being in the "elect class," according to the high standard for that class set in the Scriptures: and yet the awfulness of the theory they hold respecting the non-elect has driven them to so modify the standard of Christian living that would be acceptable to God as to include these dear friends. Thus day by day, and century by century, as deaths occur in every family connection, the tendency, under the influence of the popular error of eternal torment, is to lower in the minds of all Christian people the standard of true holiness,--"What manner of persons ought we to be." The funeral discourses in nearly every case help forward this work of undermining the Christian standard, and dropping it to a worldly level of morality--and scarcely even that; because even persons who are notoriously immoral, unjust, extortionists, etc., and who have very little indeed to commend them, are felt to be not sufficiently bad to be eternally tormented; and under the theory that they must go either to a heaven of eternal bliss or to a hell of eternal torment, they are, in their neighbors' minds, admitted generously to the former rather than consigned to the latter.
What incalculable harm has been introduced into the faith and hopes of Christendom through this God dishonoring doctrine of eternal torment, which implicates
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the great Jehovah as the chiefest coadjutor of Satan,--the planner, the designer of all his accredited devilishness, the one without whose cooperation Satan could not have done all that he, as ordinarily pictured, has done and is doing,--dominating a host of fireproof and pain-proof devils, pitchforks in hand, tormenting millions of humanity, delivered into their power by the Almighty, and by some inscrutable power rendered fire-proof but not pain-proof.
THE GENEROSITY COMMENDABLE BUT THE THEORY
We cannot but sympathize with the greater generosity of our day which is gradually coming to disown such a theory, and we must also sympathize with that sentiment which has sought to rescue from such an awful future the loved ones of the present life, however evil and injurious they may have been. But while this increase of benevolence is commendable it is bringing the remedy from the wrong quarter. It is bringing a remedy which, while it is to some extent consoling to the heart momentarily, nevertheless leaves a terrible fear, lest peradventure the high standards of the Scripture may be required, and that all not coming up to them will suffer excruciatingly. In others it leads to doubts, not only respecting the eternal torment, but also respecting the eternal bliss: and additionally it casts serious doubt upon the Book of divine revelation which is the only foundation for heavenly hopes, because they believe it to be also the authority for their "hellish fears."
WHAT SAY THE SCRIPTURES RESPECTING THE
In the Scriptures the non-elect are of two classes: First: Those who in the present life were (1) enlightened, (2) justified through faith, (3) called, and accepting the call were sanctified and begotten of the holy spirit, and started on the course with a view to making their calling and election sure--but who have not made it sure, but on the contrary have failed, by not coming fully up to the requirements.
This class in turn is Scripturally divided into two parties:--
(a) Those who sin wilfully after that they have received a knowledge of the truth, and been made partakers of the holy spirit, etc. For those there remaineth no more a share in the sacrifice of Christ-- no further mercy, opportunity or hope. To them the result is the Second Death--nonentity.--`Heb. 6:4-6`; `10:26,27`.
(b) The other class consists of those who, while at heart preferring righteousness and truth, and loving the Lord, have not become copies of God's dear Son, in that they fail to attain to his Spirit of full devotion of heart to the doing of the Father's will-- rather they permit themselves to become overcharged with the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches, and thus fail to complete that sacrifice according to their covenant, and hence fail to make their calling and their election sure. For these the Lord has a gracious provision, as suggested in `Rev. 7:13-15`. They will not be utterly confounded, because they have trusted in him (`Psa. 22:5`), and he will surely carry them through. Yet the Lord's intervention on their behalf must be strictly along the lines of his covenant and general plan--he cannot interfere with their free moral agency; he will not coerce their wills, but he can and will bring them to such a place of experience as will test them and compel them either to renounce their loyalty to him or to seal that loyalty with their lives. Those who renounce the Lord will, of course, in so doing bring upon themselves the penalty of the Second Death, but those who, under such compulsory circumstances, are faithful, cannot be counted as of the same likeness with God's dear Son, who, without compulsion, voluntarily gave up his life in the Father's service. The little flock of the elect Church will contain all of this class, and to them will be granted the Kingdom, and to sit with Christ in his throne, and to be the Temple of God and to have the crowns. (`Rev. 3:21`; `1 Pet. 5:4`.) But the others, who will "come up out of great tribulation," having washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, altho they will have suffered equally as much as the elect (more indeed, if the mental conditions are taken into consideration) will not get a crown of victory, but a palm of victory; will not get a seat in the throne with their Lord, as his Bride, but nevertheless an honorable place before the throne as servants. They will not become pillars and stones in the living Temple of God, but they will have the honorable privilege of serving God in his Temple, the Church.
This class is not prominently referred to in the Scriptures, nor in the types and symbols even; because none were called to this position, but, as the Apostle declares, "Ye were all called in one hope of your calling"--to the highest place of joint heirship. (`Eph. 4:4`.) The position attained by these is an unpromised one, of the Lord's abundant mercy.
Second: The second class of non-elect from the Scriptural viewpoint is the world of mankind, including three classes:--
(a) It includes those who have never had any knowledge of God's provision of grace in Christ, and who consequently could not have gone on further to be of the called elect class of this age.
(b) It includes those who have heard of the
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grace of God, but in that indistinct, indefinite manner which does not bring conviction--those who have seen in Jesus something wonderful and great and admirable, but who have never seen him from the Lord's standpoint of Redeemer and Savior--their eyes being blinded to the manifold evil influences of "the god of this world," business or pleasure or love of money or distracting religious dogmas. These, not having seen and not having accepted Christ as the Redeemer, could go no further and by no possibility could they have been amongst those called to the election of this Gospel age.
(c) It includes those who have heard of Christ as the Redeemer, and have appreciated him as such, and have accepted him as their Savior; but who like the nine of the ten lepers cleansed by our Lord at his first advent, thought not to return to give glory to God--thought not to present their bodies living sacrifices in his service. These having reached the point of justification were, undoubtedly, amongst the ones called; but they failed to make their calling and election sure, not caring to respond to the call. Of this class, apparently, are the thousands, the masses of church members of the various sects. They are glad for what they see, but not anxious to see any more, as, intuitively, they realize that further knowledge would bring greater responsibilities, which they desire to avoid and not even to think much about.
These last mentioned "receive the grace of God [the privilege of justification] in vain." (`2 Cor. 6:1`.) The intention of this reckoned or faith justification of the present time is to enable the justified ones to present their "bodies living sacrifices, holy, and acceptable to God," their reasonable service; because they could not be acceptable to God as sacrifices, nor in any sense of the word come to his altar, while still they were sinners. Since to permit this sanctification and sacrifice is the only object of the giving of this grace in the present time, they have received it in vain, in that they have not used it as God designed it to be used by those who are appreciative.
Amongst this second class of non-elect, we may say that the vilest are too good to be turned over to devils for an eternity of torment, either mental or physical, and God their Creator was too wise to have ever made them in such a condition as to necessitate such an abominable result, so inharmonious with his character and with every sense of right and justice, and necessitating the everlasting perpetuation of evil, upheld, and therefore sanctioned, by divine power. And God's Word, rightly understood, teaches no such thing. It is only where the false theory has corrupted and perverted the judgment that it is able and willing to construe such a theory from the parables, symbols and "dark sayings" of our Savior, instead of understanding and construing them much more reasonably and in full accord with the divine character of justice, wisdom and love.*
NO CONDEMNATION POSSIBLE UNTIL AFTER TRIAL.
If the worst class of non-elect do not deserve eternal torment, the less degraded certainly would not deserve it; and indeed we are to remember that none of them can deserve any punishment until first of all they have had their trial. True, the whole race had a trial in father Adam, in Eden, and when he lost in that trial the whole race lost life and came under the sentence of death. But in harmony with the divine plan, our Lord Jesus redeemed Adam and all his race by giving himself as the ransom-price for Adam and thus incidentally for all. We are to remember that Jesus was not only the Redeemer of the Church, but also the Redeemer of the world, as it is written: "He is a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours [the Church's] only, but also for the sins of the whole world."--`1 John 2:2`.
If then all these non-elect have been redeemed from the first trial and its sentence with the same precious blood which redeemed the elect Church; and if the Church, by the grace of God, has had her trial in advance of the world in general, and if the Church's trial was the result of the redemption, and without that redemption she could have no further trial for eternal life, is it not manifest that the same redemption has provided a trial for the whole world of mankind, as well as for the Church of this Gospel age? And what matters it that the trial of the world did not take place at the same time as the trial of the Church? Has not the great God, our Savior, the full right to arrange this matter of salvation according to his own wisdom? Who amongst fallen men is competent to direct him?
And yet this is what Christian people have been doing; they have been attempting to arrange the divine plan, instead of hearkening to God's own revelation respecting the same. They have said, but he has not said, that the present life is the only opportunity for trial, and that this trial-time will end with the end of the Gospel age. He, on the contrary, has foreseen their misrepresentations of his plan, and has caused it to be written aforetime through the prophet: "My thoughts [plans] are not your thoughts [plans], neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways
*See What Say the Scriptures About Hell?--sample sent free on postal card request.
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higher than your ways and my thoughts [plans] than your thoughts [plans]."--`Isa. 55:8,9`.
The Scriptures tell us specifically respecting the Lord's plan for these non-elect. We will give it first in our own phraseology and then we will give the Scriptural language. They tell us that the Church is being selected from the world in advance, in order that this little flock, thoroughly trained in the school of experience, thoroughly polished and in full conformity to the Head, Christ Jesus, is, with their Head and Lord, to constitute the Royal Priesthood, whose work will only begin after its election has been completed and it has been received into glory; and that its work will be the judging of the world of mankind, not in the sense of pronouncing condemnation upon them, but in the sense of granting to each member of the non-elect a trial (judgment) for eternal life. That trial of the non-elect is guaranteed, based upon the great ransom-sacrifice wherewith all mankind were purchased from the death-sentence that came upon all through Adam. And that this trial-time, or day of the world's judgment, will be the Millennial day (a thousand years long), in the which full opportunity shall come to all, full knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth, as the waters cover the great deep, and a full blessing of eternal life may be attained by whoever wills and obeys, of those then on trial; and that the remainder (the unwilling and disobedient) will be destroyed in the Second Death.
Among the many Scriptures supporting this presentation we cite two which are very pointed and should be fully satisfactory if there were no others. "God hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world [future] in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained"--the Christ, Head and body.-- `Acts 17:31`.
"Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?"--`1 Cor. 6:2`.
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THE ULTIMATE END OF THE COMMANDMENT IS LOVE FROM A PURE
HEART AND A GOOD CONSCIENCE.
"Now the end [ultimate object] of the commandment is love from a pure heart and a good conscience, and an undissembled faith--which some, having failed [to discern] have turned aside to foolish talking."--`1 Tim. 1:5,6`.
NOT ONLY in the Apostle's day did many fail to get the true idea of religion--the Lord's commandments to his people, etc.--but many, probably an increasing number, have since similarly failed. We may suppose that the method of the great Adversary is to confuse the minds of those who are feeling after God and righteousness. It is thus, as the Scriptures declare, that he deceives the whole world--putting forms, ceremonies, theories and confessions instead of heart religion.
Those who teach the monstrous false doctrine that the present life decides the fate of every human being, either for eternal misery or for eternal joy, consider this doctrine the very bulwark of pure Christianity and of holiness; consequently many who really do not believe it tacitly give it their consent and approval, believing that in so doing they are forwarding the cause of holiness. But this is a great mistake; this is one of the great Adversary's delusions, by which he would make the piety of God's people serve his cause, (1) because this doctrine dims the divine glory as respects love and justice, and (2) because the doctrine, instead of cultivating or promoting holiness, cultivates and promotes the reverse of this, as we shall show.
The theory that the present life is merely to decide who are worthy of eternal joy, and who are worthy of eternal torments, resolves itself finally in the general thought as signifying that all fiendish characters may perhaps be worthy of some kind of ill-treatment to all eternity, provided they shall not breathe a prayer of penitence at some time before they expire; but that all half-way decent people are too respectable or too good to justly merit an eternity of torture, and hence must be of the kind who will receive an eternity of bliss. Thus this hell-fire doctrine, instead of promoting holiness, purity of heart, promotes the reverse,-- carelessness as respects anything except out and out murder and general devilishness.
On the contrary, the Scriptural doctrine makes no threat of eternal torment, and promises a full opportunity for every human creature to come to a knowledge of the truth, either in the present life or in the next life, and thus, under the terms of the New Covenant, to avail themselves of the opportunity for eternal life through the great atonement sacrifice finished at Calvary. This Scriptural doctrine is replete with the highest incentives to holiness, purity of heart and of life; because, instead of holding forth a general penalty of torture, it holds forth "a just recompense of reward," a reward of blessing or of stripes which will be proportionate to the individual efforts of each to come into harmony with God and his holiness.
First we have the call of the Gospel Church to become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ,
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in the Millennial Kingdom, upon the condition of holiness of heart, and subsequently will come the offer of restitution and everlasting life in human perfection, to those of the world who similarly return to heart-harmony with the Lord. The Scriptures hold out no suggestion anywhere that eternal life will ever be given to any creature on any plane of existence, except upon this condition of full, complete heart-harmony with the Lord. Anything contrary to, or even short of, this perfect harmony with the Lord, will, from the Scriptural standpoint, mean the Second Death. Here, then, in the divine offer, we have the highest inducement to strive for our closest possible attainment to perfection; and we are assured that such striving will ultimately, according to divine favor, be rewarded with perfect conditions (in which absolute perfection will be possible)--in the resurrection.
Many there are who have very erroneous views of what is signified by the expression, "pure in heart;" one class considers this impossible of attainment in the present life; another class, no less mistakenly, considers this to mean absolute perfection in every thought, word and deed; and in believing that they fulfil these conditions, and in teaching others similarly, they are making a grave mistake.
Answering the last error first, we remark that it is possible for one to deceive himself respecting his own heart and his own condition, as for instance, apparently, the Pharisees of our Lord's day: claiming that they were perfect, and that they kept the whole law, they were merely deceiving themselves, but not the Lord; by their self-deception, a form of hypocrisy, which blinding them to their own need of the robe of Christ's righteousness, left them in the filthy rags of their own righteousness, unfit for the Kingdom. And so with some today, who claim perfection of thought, word and deed. They have blinded themselves to their own weaknesses, imperfections and errors, and are in a far worse condition than he who, tho outwardly less moral, is at heart better in the Lord's sight, because honest in confessing his unworthiness, because for such the Lord has provided forgiveness of sins,-- covering with the robe of Christ's righteousness.
Nevertheless, those who think that purity of heart is an impossibility in the present life are likewise mistaken. Their mistake arises from not seeing a wide distinction between a purity of heart and a perfection or righteousness of all the words and deeds of life. The heart, as used in this text, refers to the mind, the will, the actuating intentions or motives of the man. With this thought before the mind, it is easy to see that one might be pure of heart, that is of pure intentions, and yet confess himself unable to do and to be all that his good intentions desire and endeavor. He whose heart is pure toward the Lord in Christ is the same one whose eye is single, the same one who is not double-minded but single-minded, whose mind, will, heart, seeks first, last and always the will of God. Hence the exhortation of the Apostle, "Purify your hearts, ye double-minded."--`Jas. 4:8`.
But how can this condition of purity of heart be attained? Is this to be our message to sinners--"purify your hearts"? No, the Gospel does not call sinners to purify their hearts: on the contrary it declares it to be an impossible thing for the sinner to purify his heart; a fuller's soap, which the sinner does not possess, is needed to cleanse the heart and bring it into that attitude of relationship with God and his will which will be pure and acceptable in his sight. On the contrary, sinners are called to repentance--called upon to confess that not only their outward lives are imperfect, short of the glory of God, but that their hearts also are rebellious, impure and in sympathy with impurity. After the sinner is repentant for sin, desiring to come into harmony with the Lord and his righteousness, he is pointed to the great atonement for sin, and is drawn to the great Redeemer, through a desire to be made free from sin and to come into harmony with God. When this step has been taken --when the sinner having repented of his sins, and having made restitution so far as possible, accepts Christ and the pardon he offers, and seeks to walk in the way of righteousness, then he is justified,--justified freely from all things, from which the Law could not justify him--"justified by faith through the blood of Christ"--brought nigh to God, into relationship with him, and caused to know the joy and peace of his forgiving love.
When this is accomplished, when justification by faith has been established, when the sinner is reckoned and treated as no longer a sinner, but as reconciled to the Father, then his heart may be said to be pure, cleansed from "the sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." But now arises a new question with the reformed one: while past sins are graciously covered, weaknesses of the flesh are present, and temptations of the adversary are on every hand. He starts to walk forward, but finds himself beset by the world, the flesh and the devil: what shall he do? A heart searching probably begins there: finding himself incapable of guiding himself, or of keeping himself, his proper course is to accept another offer of divine grace, namely, the second step in our great salvation. He hears the voice of the Lord, through the Apostle, saying, "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God [manifested in the covering of your sins], that ye present your bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."
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The reformed one, if rightly instructed, realizes his inability to stand in his own strength, realizes that his only hope of maintaining justification granted to him lies in getting the Lord to take charge of him. At first he may think to go into partnership with the Lord, and to say, "Some of self and some of thee," some of my own will and some of the Lord's will; but rightly instructed he finds that this will not be satisfactory to the Lord; that the Lord will accept him, and become responsible for him, and guarantee him glorious victory and eternal reward, only upon this one condition, namely, a full self-surrender, a full consecration of heart.
It is after the sinner has come through all this process and has made a full consecration of his heart to the Lord, that he is of the class described in our text, one of the pure in heart, under the law of love, the law of the New Covenant. But notwithstanding the purity of his heart, his motives, his intentions, his will, to fulfil the Lord's great commandment, which is briefly comprehended in one word, Love,-- he will find that he has a battle to wage, that the law of his members, depraved through heredity in sin, is a strong law of selfishness, in opposition to the new law, to which he has pledged himself, the law of his pure heart or new heart or will,--the law of Love.
Hence, as the Apostle suggests in our text, we must learn that the ultimate end or object of the divine commandment or law, means LOVE,--even tho we do not find ourselves thoroughly able to live up to every minute particular and requirement of that law. Yet our inability to live up to the requirements of that law must be through no lack of the will, or intentions of the loyal and pure heart toward the law, and toward the Lord whose law it is: whatever failure we make, however short we may come of the grand ultimate object before us, it must be solely because of weaknesses of the flesh, and besetments of the adversary, which our pure hearts, or wills failed to resist.
And here the Lord's promises are helpful, assuring us that he knows our weaknesses and frailties, and the wiles of our great adversary, the devil, and the influence of the spirit of the world, which is contrary to the spirit of love: he tells us that we may go freely to the throne of the heavenly grace, and obtain mercy in respect to our failures to live up to the grand standards which our hearts acknowledge, and seek to conform to; and that we may also find grace to help us in every time of need. And, availing ourselves of these mercies and privileges provided through our great High Priest, we are enabled to fight a good fight against sin, to repulse its attacks upon our hearts, and to drive it off if it shall succeed in invading our flesh. Thus, and thus only, may the Christian keep himself pure in heart, preserving his stand as one of the fighters of the good fight, one of the overcomers of the world and its spirit.
There will be a tendency on the part of the flesh, and the mind of the flesh, to deceive us in respect to this commandment of Love. The mind of the flesh will seek to go into partnership with the new mind, and will be very ready to recognize love as the rule and law of life, under certain conditions. The mind of the flesh would recognize love in words, in profession, in manners--a form of godliness, without its power. Gentle manners, such as love would demand, may be exercised by a selfish heart deceiving itself, and seeking to deceive others; on the lip may be the smile, the word of praise, of kindness, of gentleness, while in the heart may be feelings of selfishness, of grudge,
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of bitterness, of animosity, which, under favorable conditions, may manifest themselves in more or less carefully worded slander, or backbiting, or reproaches. Or these, continuing in the heart and rankling, may, under favorable conditions, bring forth anger, hatred, malice, strife and other wicked works of the flesh and of the devil, wholly contrary to the proper course of a pure heart, and at utter variance with the commandment of the law of the New Covenant--Love.
We are, therefore, to have clearly before our minds the fact that the ultimate object of all the divine dealings for us and with us, and the ultimate significance of all the divine promises made to us, is the development of love, which is god-likeness, for God is love. And to have this love developed in us, in the sense and to the degree intended by the Lord, it is necessary that it shall come from a pure heart, in full accord with the Lord, and his law of love, and wholly antagonistic to the Adversary and his law of selfishness. To have this kind of love in its proper development requires also a good conscience: for be it remembered that there are bad consciences,--our consciences require regulating, as do all the other features of our fallen nature. If our consciences are to be regulated we must have some standard by which to set and regulate them. The conscience is like a watch whose dial is properly marked with the hours, but whose correctness as a time-keeper depends upon the proper regulating of its mainspring, so that it may point out the hours truthfully: so our consciences are ready to indicate right and wrong to us, but they can only be relied upon to tell us truly what is right and what is wrong after being regulated in connection with the new mainspring, the new heart, the pure will, brought into full harmony with the law of love, as presented to us in the Word of God.
Our text also points out the necessity for an undissembled faith. And here, we believe, is one of the
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important difficulties besetting many who are in the nominal churches: they are not honest; they are not conscientious in respect to their faith. If they believe differently from the denomination they have been connected with, they are willing to dissemble their faith, to misrepresent it, because they fear a disturbance in the church; they fear to be thought peculiar; they fear to lose the esteem of fellow-Christians ("wheat") who might understand them, and of fellow-associates ("tares") who would be sure to misunderstand them, and speak evil of them. They love the praise of men more than they love the praise of God, else they would not risk the disfavor of God through a violation of conscience, and a dissembling of their faith, in order to maintain the friendship of the world and of the nominal church.
We urge that all our readers consider carefully, studiously, the words of our text, remembering it is those who miss this true thought who are not only missing the opportunity of the present time to be overcomers of the world, and the opportunity of the future, to be "joint-heirs with Christ" in his Kingdom, but who, additionally, are lending influence now in the wrong direction, and are likely to be turned aside to foolish talking, preaching and teaching and discussing matters which are illogical, irrational, nonsensical; because their hearts have become darkened through neglect of the principles which the Lord has set forth for the government of those who are new creatures in Christ Jesus. And sometimes the matter goes beyond foolish talking, and the heart becomes embittered and corrupted: love is cast out of the heart, and selfishness takes its place, and from it flows words of bitterness, anger and evil, instead of words of love, kindness, gentleness, mercy and goodness.
"Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life"--life or death. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
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CLAIMING, RECEIVING AND ADMINISTERING A KINGDOM.
--`LUKE 19:11-27`.--DEC. 23.--
"Every one of us shall give account
of himself to God."--`Rom. 14:12`.
NATURALLY enough the fact that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, the city of the great King, and that he had definitely acknowledged himself as the Messiah, and that he was exercising a great influence amongst the people, and that under this influence the rich Zacchaeus had been soundly converted, led the disciples to believe that when they reached Jerusalem, then only fifteen or twenty miles distant, they would immediately see tangible evidences of the establishment of God's Kingdom--that they would see Jesus assume regal robes, power and authority, and that they themselves would be associated with him in the throne of power, and that speedily Israel would arise from the dust to be the dominant nation of the world, and through its laws, at the mouth of Messiah, supported by his divine powers, would bring blessing to every nation, people, kindred and tongue.
It was in view of this erroneous expectation that our Lord gave the parable of this lesson--to point out to the disciples, and vaguely to others, that kingdom glories were yet a considerable distance in the future, and that before they could be expected he must leave them and go to the central seat of government and receive his commission from Jehovah, the Father, and return; and that meantime he would give to some of his servants a work to do in his name which would prove their loyalty, their love, by their faithfulness.
The figure used as the basis of the parable was one with which the people of Jericho were quite familiar. They had in their city the palace of Herod, and knew that when his father, Herod the Great, died, Herod Archelaus, then king, set out on a mission to Rome, to the court of the Caesars, the rulers of the world;--the object of the mission being to obtain Caesar's authority and investiture of government as the king of Judea instead of his deceased father. They knew that Herod returned, fully equipped with authority, and was in consequence the ruler. They knew also that when he went to Rome a deputation of citizens of Judea was sent after him to make complaint against him, and to urge that he be not appointed;--and to inform Caesar that the government of the Herods was no longer desired by the people of Judea. Josephus says that this deputation of opponents who went to Rome numbered 500. The people probably also remembered that when Herod Archelaus returned with kingly power he first of all rewarded his faithful retainers with various offices throughout the kingdom, and subsequently dealt harshly with those who had manifested their opposition. Thus we see that those who heard this parable were much more likely to be appreciative of its significance than the majority of the people of today would be, because customs of the present time are so different.
It was understood by those who heard the parable that the Lord referred to himself as the nobleman, that heaven was the far country, that Jehovah himself was the great King, whose commission was essential to the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom, and that Jesus'
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disciples were the servants to be entrusted with the "Pounds," and that those who would not have him rule over them were more or less in love and in league with the darkness of sin. Everyone who opposes righteousness, or who loves and serves unrighteousness, is thereby declaring his opposition to the reign of righteousness, which the Lord proposes to establish in the earth in due time,--when his Kingdom shall come and his will shall be done on earth as it is done in heaven.
There is in this lesson a severe rebuke (which alas! is not often recognized) to those who claim that the Kingdom of God was set up at Pentecost. They must see, unless they with more or less wilfulness close the eyes of their understanding, that this parable is against their theory, and teaches that the Kingdom is not to be expected to be set up until the return of Messiah at his Second Advent. It is also a rebuke to those who claim that in some manner, incomprehensible to themselves or anybody else, the second advent took place 1800 years ago, at the time of Israel's overthrow, about A.D. 70. They must see, unless with a certain amount of wilfulness they close their eyes of understanding against it, that nothing at all corresponding to a second advent of Christ took place at that time--nothing corresponding to the setting up of his Kingdom occurred there; nothing corresponding to the calling of those of his servants and reckoning with them and rewarding them with places in the Kingdom took place there; nothing corresponding to the calling of his enemies who would not have him rule over them, and the punishment of them, took place there--in A.D. 70.
Indeed, the parable is opposed to every theory respecting the Kingdom except the right theory, and it is in full accord with it; because the right theory is not a human wish or whim or conjecture to help substantiate some human program of events, but is the sum and substance of all the teachings of the divine Word brought into harmonious unison and interpreted thus, Scripture throwing light upon Scripture, by the holy spirit.
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Those who heard the parable might have conjectured that it required months, or possibly years for its fulfilment; but probably none of them expected that it would require more than eighteen centuries--because, as natural men, they would be disposed to look at matters from the natural standpoint, from the standpoint of seventy to a hundred years as being the limit of human life. Nor did the disciples even know how to view matters from the divine standpoint until after they had received the holy spirit. Under its enlightenment, however, the Apostle tells us plainly that "A day with the Lord is as a thousand years."--`2 Pet. 3:8`.
As the Revised Version points out, the ten servants to whom the pounds were given, were only a part of all the nobleman's servants; they would seem to represent the consecrated class who have professed full devotion to the Lord, and to each of whom is given a special gift or blessing, not given to others of the servants of the household of faith. This special gift or blessing seems to be referred to by the Apostle, when he says, "A measure of the spirit is given to every man [in the true, consecrated Church] to profit withal." (`1 Cor. 12:7`.) It is the same gift to all, the same spirit amongst all, working in all of this class; and the duty of each one is to use this gift of the Lord for its increase; and the more his devotion and the more his faithfulness the larger may be the results.
We are to notice a difference between this parable of the "Pounds" and a somewhat similar one of the "Talents." The latter represented the natural abilities of the individual--"to every man according to his several ability," some one, some two, some five talents or opportunities. But this parable of the pounds ignores the individual abilities of the servants, and shows them each as receiving the same thing and for the same purpose. Possibly the differences of opportunities are to be understood as implied, because the Lord expressed as hearty approval of the one who gained four pounds as he did the one who gained nine. Both did well, both were good, both were faithful. The one with greater talents, in order to be equally faithful with the one of fewer talents, should be able to and should show larger results: and the rewards given would seem to imply the same thing--that greater sacrifices in the present time "work out a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," And this emphasizes the instructions of a previous lesson, showing that those who are rich in talents, opportunities and privileges, if faithful, achieve a larger victory and a still grander reward than those who are poorer and who therefore sacrifice less, tho the sacrificing be done in both cases with the same spirit, which in both is thoroughly acceptable to God, pronounced well done, and the servant faithful and good.
The servant who hid his talent and returned it, and whose loss of all opportunity to share in the Kingdom is shown, would seem to represent a class not merely justified but sanctified--consecrated fully to the Lord, and made the recipients of the holy spirit, even as the other members of the body. He is called a "wicked" servant; not because he had committed murder or robbery of any kind, but because, having assumed an obligation by which he was entrusted with certain of the Master's goods not given to others, he failed of his covenant and obligation. Such a servant could not be trusted, and properly was considered unfit for any share in the Kingdom; and the blessings which had been entrusted to him were given to the one who had
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already most, but whose faithfulness had been so abundantly attested by zeal. So to everyone who uses present blessings and opportunities well, zealously, further blessings, privileges and opportunities shall be granted, and from those who do not so use them they will be taken away.
To our understanding we are now living in the very time represented by this feature of the parable-- the time when our Lord, invested with the authority of the Father, is about to take to himself his great power and reign; and when preparatory to that reign, he is reckoning with his servants now living, with a view to their appointment to places in the Kingdom he is about to inaugurate. It is from this standpoint that we interpret the testings and siftings now in progress amongst the consecrated ones in and out of all the sects of Christendom. "The Lord your God proveth you, whether ye do love the Lord your God or no." Present truth and present conditions are testing and showing to what extent those who have received the Lord's favor are faithful. This does not imply that others of this class who have died in the past of this age are ignored: on the contrary the Scriptures assure us that they would be dealt with first, and that those accounted worthy have a share in the first resurrection preceding those who are alive and remain at the present time.-- `1 Thess. 4:1-17`.
But the living ones pass through an experience of testing (the ending of their trial) before they die; they must give an account; judgment must pass respecting them; they must either be gathered, as "wheat" into the barn or be left in the field where the "tares" are shortly to be burned. Fortunately for us, the reckoning is not one of an instant, but time is granted to us to make up our accounts; and blessed is he who, finding that he has not been as faithful as he might have been in the past, is now putting forth redoubled energies --"redeeming the time" (grasping opportunities-- `Eph. 5:16`), in order to make as favorable an account as possible while our King is waiting to receive them and willing to show us all the favor that could be desired.
Ten servants were chosen as a general number to represent all of the consecrated, but only three of these are mentioned as illustrations of faithfulness and unfaithfulness. Thus the Lord avoids even intimating how many of the whole number of consecrated will prove faithful to their consecration and enter into the joys of the Lord--into the Kingdom, and to share with him in the throne; and how many of them will fail to be accounted worthy of these honors and blessings; and how many of the latter may be counted worthy of the Second Death; and how many of them will come, through faithfulness in tribulation, to be honored servants in the Kingdom.--`Rev. 7:9-15`.
The enemies of the King are all to be slain, after he takes to himself his great power and begins his reign; "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Some would suggest that this slaying will be with the sword of the spirit, and imply a universal salvation; but to our understanding such an interpretation would be utterly at variance with the spirit of the parable, and hence sophistical, and unworthy of any one claiming either honesty or ability as a teacher in Israel. There ought to be a reasonable relationship between the figure of the parable and the reality, as it will be fulfilled. To our understanding the slaying of the enemies represents clearly and distinctly the punishment which the Lord prescribes for the enemies of righteousness, viz., the Second Death. However, this by no means signifies that all the people (aside from the specially trusted servants) are enemies. It was not so in the parable, which rather implies four classes: (1) The king's servants; (2) those specially granted the pounds for use in his service; (3) the citizens; (4) the class of the latter opposed to the king, his laws, etc.
After the Kingdom has been established under the King, and his then exalted servants, we may be sure that all in harmony with him will have cause to rejoice in his favor and the blessings of the Kingdom; and if some of the citizens had misunderstood the King's character, having heard him traduced and slandered, they will soon perceive, under the blessed conditions of the Millennial Day, how grossly the "Prince of this World" had misrepresented the character of the Prince of Peace, telling them that he (the latter) had a place of eternal torment prepared for them, into which he would surely cast nine-tenths of their number, etc., etc. When these begin to have the eyes of their understanding opened, so that "the light of the knowledge of the goodness of God," shining in the face of the new King, will bring them enlightenment and joyful privileges hitherto undreamed of, many of them, unquestionably, instead of longer being enemies and hating the King and hating his rule, will become staunch friends and supporters, and will rejoice greatly that they are freed from the yoke of the former prince, Satan, and will rejoice in his binding, which makes possible their liberation from the bondage of ignorance, superstition, fear and calumny.
It will require all of the thousand years to demonstrate who are the friends of truth and righteousness, and who their enemies. The "enemies" of righteousness are enemies of God and of Christ, and of all who are in harmony with righteousness; and this separation from the King's friends is Scripturally represented as the separating of the "goats" from the "sheep," which will progress throughout that Millennial period, and eventuate in the gathering of all the "sheep" to the right-hand of the King's favor, and the gathering of all the "goats," of contrary disposition, to the left-hand of his disfavor,--where, because of their wilful and intelligent rejection of the principles of righteousness (the laws of his Kingdom), they will be counted not his servants or messengers, but the servants or messengers of Satan, and as such they will meet their destruction in the symbolical lake of fire, "which is the Second Death." --`Rev. 20:14`; `Matt. 25:31-46`.*
*See our issue of March 15 and April 1, 1900, page 101.
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"THOU CROWNEST THE YEAR WITH THY GOODNESS."
--`PSALM 65:11`.--DEC. 30.--
WHAT MORE appropriate lesson could have been chosen for the close of the year! It is fitting that the Lord's people should continually keep trace of the mercies and blessings they enjoy--otherwise the pressure of the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches would so crowd in upon our minds and hearts as to cover from our observation and ultimately choke up completely the springs of divine grace, which, kept open, minister continually to our joy and refreshment in the holy spirit.
To this end it is appropriate that we have a daily review of the blessings we enjoy--that every evening we call to mind the privileges enjoyed, the providences which have guided our way, and the blessings, both temporal and spiritual, which have come to us; some of them in common with the world in general and others of a special kind, known too and appreciated by those only who know the Shepherd and are known of him; --who hear his voice and to whom the rod and staff, his chastenings and guidance, are continually a comfort and a joy.
It is appropriate, too, that we take weekly reviews, looking at the same mercies and blessings from a still broader standpoint of observation, reminding us of the rest into which we have entered through faith in the precious blood, and also of the rest that remains for the people of God, whereof God has given us assurance in that on the first day of the week he raised up Jesus from the dead.--`Heb. 4:3,9`.
But it is with special appropriateness that at the close of the still larger cycle of a year we should take a still broader and more comprehensive view of our experiences, looking circumspectly at the way we have traveled and considering well which have been the steps which hindered progress, and which have been proper steps in the footprints of Jesus, bringing us nearer to the goal--the "mark" which we must surely attain if we would be accounted worthy of a share in the promised Kingdom.
A year may seem a longer or a shorter period, according to the circumstances. To the mind of childhood it is a very long period, while to more developed minds, filled with the activities of life, it seems much shorter-- speeding all too rapidly to permit the accomplishment of all the things desired to be achieved. Then again, the year will seem proportionately long as it has contained draughts of bitter experience or sufferings, mental or physical;--proportionately short, as it has contained joys and pleasures which seem to slip away all too quickly. To a certain extent such experiences are common to all mankind; yet the Christian, especially if he have been for some time in the school of Christ and is somewhat developed both in knowledge and in grace, has a larger capacity than others for grasping and appreciating life; because, no matter how unsound his natural mind may have been, he has now "the mind of Christ," "the spirit of a sound mind," which is far better able than the natural mind to estimate matters at their true worth.
Such an advanced Christian looks back through the year and recalls life's storms as well as its sunshine, its sorrows as well as its joys, its tears as well as its smiles, and sorrows not as others who have no hope (but who, instead, have more or less of vague fear and dread of the future, both of present life and that which is to come). His troubles have been divested of their hobgoblin features, and minimized by the spirit of a sound mind, and the instructions of God's Word, which assures all such that the trials, difficulties and adversities of life, rightly accepted as lessons, are blessings in disguise,--which will work out "a far more exceeding and an eternal weight of glory" in the life to come. --`2 Cor. 4:16,17`.
He will perceive too, that his joys have been of a purer and a more solid kind than any he ever knew before he was begotten of the holy spirit. They have not had commingled with them the bitterness of envy, malice and hatred, but have been unalloyed; because they have not been rejoicings in iniquity, but rejoicings in the truth. Moreover, they have been much more numerous than ever before; because he not only is able to joy in the Lord, joy in his Word, joy in the holy spirit, joy in fellowship with brethren of like precious faith, but by the grace of God he has been enabled additionally to joy in tribulation also;--not because he loved tribulation, but because he loved the patience, the experience, the character, which God assures us are a fruitage which all tribulations must yield us under his providence, if we are rightly exercised thereby.-- `James 1:3,4`; `Rom. 5:3`.
Of whom are all these things true? Not of every man, surely, for alas! we know many who have no such experience--the world that lieth in darkness knows not God. Nor are these experiences true of all people of intelligence,--nominally Christians. Surely but comparatively few of those who profess the name of Christ enjoy these precious experiences, or will be able to look back upon the year with satisfaction of this kind, realizing that God has crowned the year with his goodness! Many who cannot rejoice in the goodnesses which we have enumerated foregoing, will nevertheless return thanks for temporal good things and mercies, and strive to peer into the darkness with which an insufficient knowledge and an insufficient faith enshrouds the trials and difficulties of life, which to them are incomprehensible and sources of no joy, and generally of little advantage; because they have not taken the necessary step of full consecration to the Lord, to bring them under his protecting care and under the enlightening influence of his Word through his spirit: or, having taken the step of consecration, they have not been performing their vows, but seeking to serve both God and Mammon, without pleasing either, and without receiving satisfactory blessings from either.
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The class which can and does look back through the year from the standpoint that we have described-- the class which looking back can see that God's goodness has crowned every feature of life throughout the year, is the "little flock," the true Church, whose names are written in heaven,--the Body of Christ, the Bride class. They are described by the Prophet in preceding verses of this Psalm. They are the true Zion, which shall shortly be set up, filled with divine glory, the joy of the whole earth, and the divine channel of blessing to all the families of mankind; "For out of Zion shall go the Law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." Hear the Prophet:--
"Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Zion:
And unto thee shall the vow be performed.
O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come!
Iniquities prevail against me: as for my transgressions,
thou shalt purge them away.
Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to
approach unto thee,
That he may dwell in thy courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house,
The holy place of thy temple."
Here we have a description of the elect Church, of which Christ is the Head, and all the faithful royal priests who, now fulfilling their vows of sacrifice, are companions in the sufferings of Christ, as by and by they shall be his companions also in the glory that shall be revealed. (`Rom. 8:17,18`.) They are God's choice, or his "elect," for, as the Apostle informs us, God has predestinated that this class whom he will choose shall all be copies of his Son. (`Rom. 8:29`.) They shall dwell in his house--they will be members of the great Temple which the Lord God is building of spiritual stones, in and through which he will bless the world with a knowledge of himself and his grace.-- `1 Pet. 2:4-8`.
Is it any wonder that these can rejoice in spirit, saying, "Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits"? "He hath put a new song into my mouth, even the loving-kindness of our God." Is it any wonder that these looking back can see in the year that is past that that which has blessed and rejoiced them in every sense of the word has been of divine goodness, and that thus God has crowned the whole year with his favor toward them? These can say with faithful Joshua, "Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake."--`Joshua 23:14`.
These are assured by their Lord that in the Father's house are many mansions, many conditions, suitable to the many kinds of his intelligent creatures; nevertheless there was no mansion for them, because they were to be of a new nature, "partakers of the divine nature," and hence it would be necessary for him to go away and "prepare a place for them"--a heavenly condition. These, knowing that they must be prepared for the place, as well as the place be prepared for them, are enabled to rejoice under every blow of the hammer of discipline, because they realize that it is a part of the Master's work in their preparation to fill the place to which they have been called in the Father's house --which will be the place of God's Temple, in which they are to be living stones.--`Eph. 2:10`.
And if the experiences and sentiments of this "little flock" are beyond the ken of the natural man, his neighbors and friends, is it any wonder? Despised and rejected of men, they are nevertheless God's royal priesthood; "as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold they live"-- a life more abundant. In all these things they have cause to rejoice, realizing that the path in which they
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tread has in it the footprints of him who redeemed them and became the leader and forerunner of this priesthood. The world knows us not, even as it knew him not.
As we thus review the leadings of divine providence during the year that is past, let God's goodness and mercy stimulate our faith and confidence in him as respects the New Year coming in. A proper retrospect on the part of a proper child of God will enable him not only to render thanks for the past, but to look up and lift up his head, realizing that our deliverance is nearer than when we first believed; and that he that began a good work in us is both able and willing to complete it, if we will but continue to submit our wills, our lives, our all, to his wisdom and loving care.--`Rom. 13:11`; `Phil. 1:6`; `1 Pet. 5:5,6`.
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"NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST THEE SHALL PROSPER."
OUR PUBLICATIONS have many able enemies, yet one and all they are powerless in their opposition. As in the harvest of the Jewish age the Scribes, Pharisees and Doctors of the Law, when they could not resist the truths then due, "gnashed upon him with their teeth," but "could not answer him," so it is now in the harvest of the Gospel age. Their rage is impotent except as it resorts to misrepresentation and sophistical trickery which the Lord assures us cannot "deceive the very elect."
About ten years ago a certain Professor Morehead (himself tabooed by many as a "heretic" because of his advocacy of pre-millennarian views) wrote an article for the United Presbyterian in which he did his worst to defame MILLENNIAL DAWN. The article was reprinted as a tract in various quarters by persons laboring
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under similar misconceptions of divine and human justice. These are published by some three or four parties--none of whom, probably, ever read the books he seeks to defame.
We did not consider Prof. Morehead's tirade worthy an answer, believing, as we still do, that honest people (of whom alone we need expect to find the "saints" whom we seek) would be quite able to discern the professor's sophistry. The below correspondence will be interesting to our readers as showing the correctness of our supposition that honest children of God are not misled by the Adversary and his agents.
CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN TWO MINISTERS RE MILLENNIAL
DAWN AND THE MOREHEAD "SMOKE."
(Bro. Sedden, as we understand it, was at the time Recording Secretary of the Southern Chautauqua Assembly of Atlanta, Ga., and Bro. Worrell a visiting speaker at its Evangelical Alliance prayer service. The matter has been held over for some time now in order to permit Bro. Worrell to find time for a reply justifying his position, but all in vain.)
ATLANTA, GA., Aug. 11, 1899.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--You will probably be interested in the enclosed, which will explain itself. Kindly return to me the letter to Bro. Worrell re the Morehead tract. Keep the latter, however, if you can use it in any way. [The letters follow in their order.] Yours fraternally, A. E. SEDDON.
ATLANTA, GA., Aug. 2, 1899. REV. A. S. WORRELL,
DEAR BROTHER:--I was in the Alliance prayer-meeting this afternoon when, in the close of your address, you denounced as unscriptural the teachings of C.T. Russell of Allegheny City, Pa. I regret that the necessity of your having immediately to catch a train deprived me of an opportunity I greatly desired to ask you in what particulars in your opinion the teachings of the MILLENNIAL DAWN series of books are unscriptural. I have read four volumes of that series, and other writings of Bro. Russell's, and am not only interested but also impressed by his presentation of God's Word. If there are some points in which he is at variance with God's Word, I should esteem it a great kindness and an act of extreme brotherly service to have them pointed out. Hoping you will kindly reply, I am, Yours fraternally, A. E. SEDDON.
LOUISVILLE, KY., Aug. 12, 1899. MR. A. E. SEDDON,
DEAR SIR:--Yours of the 2nd inst. has been received and noted, in reply to which I enclose a tract touching on some of the evils of the MILLENNIAL DAWN. Much more could be said, but my time is taken up in other work that falls to my lot in my regular business.
It amazes me that anyone who really knows the Christ of the Bible should have ever been ensnared by the writings of Mr. Russell. The Christ of Mr. Russell is altogether a different character from the Christ of the Bible. See `Isa. 9:6`; `John 1:1,2`, etc., etc.
I trust that his writings do not truly represent him. May you, my dear sir, not be ruined by the errors of Mr. Russell. Respectfully,
A. S. WORRELL.
ATLANTA, GA., Aug. 14, 1899. REV. A. S. WORRELL,
DEAR SIR:--On receiving today yours of the 12th inst., in reply to my request of an earlier date, that you should specify charges that you make against the writings of Bro. Chas. T. Russell (in justification of your denunciation of those writings at the Evangelical Alliance prayer meeting), I regret I cannot accept it as a satisfactory reply.
I cannot resist the impression either that you ranked my intelligence very low in supposing I could accept such a reply as having any weight at all, or that, giving me credit for average intelligence, you trifled with my sincere and even anxious inquiries by sending an answer which would not have satisfied you, had our positions been reversed.
The only charge you made against the MILLENNIAL DAWN doctrines in your address was that you had known cases where Christian character had 'wilted' under their influence. But you surely cannot use that as a proof that the doctrines are unscriptural, since such 'wilting' is possible and frequently happened under Apostolic teaching. See `Heb. 6:4-6`; `10:28-31`; `1 John 5:16`. I wrote you in all sincerity asking for a specification of charges. I understood from your own statement that you were wholly given up to the Lord's work. It was as a sincerely inquiring disciple who supposed it possible that you could clearly see some aspect of truth that had escaped my notice that I felt such an inquiry was rightly made of the Lord's servant, and that in the Lord's name I had a right to expect a candid statement of specific charges.
What do you send me? A statement that your time is taken up in other work that falls to your lot in the course of your regular business; but you find time to express amazement that any one who really knows the Christ of the Bible should ever have been ensnared by the writings of Mr. Russell. You make the assertion, "The Christ of Mr. Russell is altogether a different character from the Christ of the Bible;" but you do not specify one single item of the alleged difference. You express a hope that his writings do not truly represent him and that I may not be ruined by his errors, but you do not pen one sentence calculated to avert that ruin, nor do you suggest any explanation of your extraordinary hope that Mr. Russell may think one way and write another. Is that something to be hoped for? If a man teach errors, it surely were better for him that he believe that he is teaching the truth, than that, knowing the truth, he nevertheless teaches error with seeming sincerity in writings that do not truly represent him. It seems to me that could your "hope" for Bro. Russell be realized, it would place him in a very low plane of moral obliquity.
In addition to this you enclose two tracts, one an excellent homily on `Luke 2:10,11`, in which, after carefully reading it twice, I cannot discern the remotest connection with my inquiries. Personally I would say "Amen" to every sentence of that tract--and I believe that Brother Russell would do the same. You also enclose
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a tract which is a direct attack upon the MILLENNIAL DAWN books. To this I will now refer.
You express a hope that Bro. Russell's writings do not truly represent him. I think it will be the kindest thing I can say to you that I trust this attack on the MILLENNIAL DAWN books by Prof. W.G. Morehead does not truly represent what you as a Christian brother, would say about those books if your "regular business" allowed you sufficient leisure to read them--and you certainly ought to read them before you attack them again. Your first attack may be excused on the ground of misinformation, but that excuse should never avail you again.
Can you as a fair minded man approve an attack which cites the price of a book as an argument against it; that cites the missionary zeal displayed in advocating its teachings as argument against it; that calls
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names--"nocturnal hallucinations," "hydrophobic," "packed full of fundamental error," "product of insanity," compared with "the infidel Renan"? This is not honest Christian controversy! I think too well of you to suppose that you really endorse this kind of attack; yet my charitable estimate of you is sorely tried when I reflect that you evidently thought this kind of argument good enough for me.
As regards the teachings of the MILLENNIAL DAWN books on the human and divine in the nature of Christ, can you state a presentation of Scripture teaching on that important subject that more satisfactorily answers to all the Scriptural statements than Bro. Russell's? If you can, then for Christ's sake I earnestly and reverently ask you to do it; and I am convinced that Bro. Russell will receive it no less gratefully than I.
I was recommended to write to you as a scholar and a Scriptural exegete: Can you find fault with Bro. Russell's exegesis of kelusma ["shout"]? If you can, what is the error? If you cannot, why do you make use of the Morehead attack? If Prof. Morehead himself could assail the MILLENNIAL DAWN teachings on the two points above referred to, why did he not do it? If he cannot assail them, is he not guilty of shameful insincerity in making believe that he can?
With regard to Bro. Russell's opinions respecting the dates 1874 and 1914, time, of course, will alone prove how far he is right. But surely you do not endorse Prof. Morehead in suggesting these opinions are in the nature of deadly heresy. I have read a vast quantity of Millennial literature, "pre" and "post," have listened to a great deal of platform and pulpit talk on the same subject, and am utterly unable to conjecture what, out of all the bewildering mass, has a right to the name of "orthodox premillenarianism" by the side of which all other opinions are to be denounced as "nocturnal hallucination." Your own recent exposition of `2 Tim. 3` led me to infer that you regard these as the closing days of this present dispensation. Has your study of prophecy led you to detect deadly heresy in Brother Russell's conclusions? If so, what is it?
I understand the Morehead attack to assert that Bro. Russell teaches that the resurrection will be simultaneous for all the dead. My simple answer is that in MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL., IV., pp.640,641, Prof. Morehead can find conclusive proof that he is incorrect. If the bracketed words ("simultaneous for all the dead") are not intended to indicate the writer's understanding of Brother Russell's teachings, but his own conception of Scripture teaching, he had better consult his New Testament before he attacks a Christian brother again. The emphasis placed on a "first resurrection" of necessity implies subsequent resurrection. "All that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and shall come forth"; but not all of these will have part in the first resurrection.
Prof. Morehead, in section 7 of his attack, ignores, possibly does not know enough Greek to distinguish between, the parousia and the epiphania. I was referred to you as a Greek scholar. As such I cannot imagine that you can endorse the Morehead attack or apparent attack. Are you, as a student of the Greek New Testament, prepared to deny and disprove from Scripture that the Lord's second coming will at first be discerned by only a comparatively few faithful watchers? Do you regard the word "coming" in our English version as adequate to embrace the ideas embodied by both parousia and epiphania?
I have detained you so long in criticism of the Morehead attack because I am inclined to believe that you made use of it hastily. I want you to read it carefully, to discern its dishonesty, its innuendo, its crafty appeal to the odium theologicum, its essential weakness, its unchristian vituperation. Lay it aside, Bro. Worrell. Don't fight for the Lord with the devil's weapons. If Bro. Russell errs there is Scripture to show it. If Scripture is on his side then I am convinced that after you have shaken off the theological prejudice with which you are apparently possessed, you will have grace enough to admit that Bro. Russell has a right to speak and to be judged by the Word; and that denunciation about "ensnaring souls," "ruin," expressions of amazement, etc., have really more of bluff about them than of the spirit of Christ.
Your statement about "wilting" of character under the influence of Bro. Russell's teaching proves that your opportunities of observation have not been wide enough to qualify you to form an accurate estimate; certainly not wide enough to justify you in assuming the office of public censor as you did on the 2nd inst. The humble and persistent zeal of the "Pilgrims," engaged in teaching the views advocated by Bro. Russell, comes nearer to apostolic zeal and self-abnegation than most Christian work now-a-days. I have known many who, like you, seem to be afraid of Bro. Russell's teachings, yet who pay well deserved tribute of admiration to the devotion and consecration of those who accept it.
As for Bro. Russell himself, I do not know him personally, have never met him, never seen his portrait even; yet I cannot help admiring the absence of the "ego" in his ministry. I have several times written to him concerning difficulties I have encountered in reading his works. He always replies personally; he presents reasons lucidly and never indulges in denunciation or exclamations of amazement. He never uses the trickery practiced by Prof. Morehead, nor resorts to innuendo. I am, dear Brother Worrell,
Yours in the love and pursuit of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, ALFRED E. SEDDON.
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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
THE BEGINNING AND ENDING OF THE MILLENNIUM.
Question.--I understand from `Rev. 20:4-6`, that Christ will reign one thousand years, and from verses `2 and 7` that Satan will be bound during that period. If Christ began to reign in 1878, and Satan will not be bound until 1915, the two periods do not seem to synchronize; and furthermore, both extend beyond the seventh-thousand year period which, according to our Bible chronology, began in the Autumn of 1872. How is this? Can you assist me?
Answer.--The Lord has evidently arranged for the gradual closing of the Gospel age and opening of the Millennial age, in such a manner that the one laps upon the other, with some particular purpose in view; but just what his purposes are he has not been pleased to inform us: and since this extends into the future we may reasonably suppose that it is not now "meat in due season for the household of faith." When the end has been reached and accomplished, we have no doubt whatever that it will be manifested to all of the Lord's people that his Word has been accurately fulfilled. Until then a certain amount of faith is required and expected from those who have so many evidences of the Lord's wisdom and exactness in the features of his plan already accomplished. "We can trust him where we cannot trace him." Apparently this matter of when the thousand-year period should be reckoned as fully beginning and fully ending will be an open question until the close of the Millennial age. It is our expectation, from `Rev. 20:8,9`, that the obscurity of this question will have something to do with the final test of loyalty and obedience to God, which will come upon the whole world of mankind who will have enjoyed the blessings of restitution throughout the Millennial age, and have attained perfection at its close. The indefiniteness of the end of the period would appear to be an important feature of their testing. Apparently they will think the period of Christ's mediatorial reign ended before the Lord's time; and some of them, impatient of delay, will make a demonstration, and demand of the earthly representatives of the Kingdom that full dominion be at once restored to perfect man, according to their understanding of the divine plan and its times and seasons.
In so doing these will be demonstrating their own unworthiness to enter the age of perfection which will follow the Millennium, and will be destroyed in the Second Death. For, while such an attitude of mind may be forgivable in imperfect men of today, those perfect beings who shall have had a full restitution and large experience will be required to exercise a full faith, an unwavering confidence in the wisdom, love and promises of the Creator. And their failure to manifest implicit faith and obedience to the divine program after all their experience will be proof sufficient that they are unworthy of the eternal state. If permitted to go beyond into the full liberties of sons of God they would always be liable to sin and its consequences; and God's promise is that there shall be no more sighing, no more dying, no more crying, no more pain there, the equivalent of a promise that there shall be no more sin. Hence all who shall not have developed characters in full accord with, and fully submitted to the divine will, will be esteemed as having enjoyed all the blessings and privileges divine mercy has to offer. The fire, the judgment from heaven, will destroy such from among the people, in the Second Death, as unworthy of Life-eternal.
The Scripture declaration respecting the saints, the "overcomers" is, "They lived and reigned a thousand years." The reign of the saints cannot be properly said
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to begin before all the "jewels" have been gathered, nor before "the times of the Gentiles" end, in 1914. Nor is it said that their reign will be no longer than a thousand years. After the thousand years' reign Satan shall be loosed and the above trial shall ensue; but the reign of Christ and the Church will evidently continue long enough after the thousand years to destroy all found unworthy in that final test, and to thus complete the work for which this reign is instituted;--for, as expressed by the Apostle, "He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet....And when all things shall be subdued unto him [some by conversion and some by destruction], then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him [the Father]."-- `1 Cor. 15:24-28`.
WHO CONSTITUTE "THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH"?
Question.--Our Lord commands us to do good, "especially to the household of faith." Who constitute this household--only the consecrated saints? Or does it include also the justified class, some of whom have not yet reached the position of sanctification or entire consecration?
Answer.--We understand that the Church of Christ, as viewed from the divine standpoint, and as addressed in the Scriptures, includes only "the sanctified in Christ Jesus;"--those who have taken the step of justification through faith and, additionally, the second step of consecration to the Lord.
But "the household of faith" takes in a much larger number,--all who have faith in the Lord as their Redeemer from sin and its penalty,--all who are trusting in the precious blood of Christ, and seeking in any degree to be in harmony with the Lord and his rules of righteousness. The loving interest and care of all the "saints" (the consecrated) is to be exercised, not only toward each other, but also especially toward these members of the household of faith who are supposed to be under "instruction in righteousness," helping them forward to take the position of full consecration and become reckonedly dead to the world, and new creatures in Christ Jesus, risen with him, to walk in newness of life and to become his joint-heirs in the promised Kingdom.