ZWT - 1888 - R0997 thru R1088 / R1020 (001) - April, 1888
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VOL. IX. ALLEGHENY, PA., APRIL, 1888. NO. 8.
Zion's Watch Tower
HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE.
TOWER PUBLISHING COMPANY.
BUSINESS OFFICE: No. 151 Robinson St., Allegheny, Pa. C. T. RUSSELL, EDITOR.
The Editor recognizes a responsibility to the Master, relative to what shall appear in these columns, which he cannot and does not cast aside; yet he should not be understood as endorsing every expression of correspondents, or of articles selected from other periodicals.
TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION.
TERMS:--FIFTY CENTS A YEAR, POSTAGE FREE. Including special number (Millennial Dawn, Vol. I., paper bound) seventy five cents. Remit by draft, P.O. Money Order, or Registered Letter, payable to C. T. RUSSELL.
Three shillings per year. Including "Special Number," four shillings. Remit by Foreign Postal Money Order.
This paper will be sent free to any of the Lord's poor who will send a card yearly requesting it. Freely we have received and freely we would give the truth. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat-- yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." And you that have it--"Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently--and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness."--`ISAIAH 55:1,2`.
Entered as SECOND CLASS MAIL MATTER, at the P.O., Allegheny, Pa.
TELL ANY, who do not get the TOWER because too poor, that it is their own fault. They should read the TERMS above. God has thus provided food, for all his children.
DEAR FRIENDS:--The general work is great, and as at present situated, it is impossible to answer your welcome letters. Please accept our good wishes and the TOWERS and DAWN as your answers, just as when you pray to God you accept the answers already given you in the Bible.
MANY inquiries come for our reason for regarding 1878 as the turning point from which it is henceforth, blessed for the dead who die in the Lord. (`Rev. 14:13`.) This will be made clear in DAWN VOL. II. How soon it will be ready we cannot yet say definitely. Please wait as patiently as possible.
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TILL HE COME.
Because Paul, referring to the Lord's Supper, says that we do thus "show forth the Lord's death till he come," some regard that as a limitation. Consider, however, that in the Jewish age the typical lamb was slain and eaten every year, until our Lord, the true or antitypical lamb, came. But when John the Baptist introduced our Lord as present, and said "Behold the Lamb of God," the killing and eating of the typical lamb did not at once cease to be proper; for our Lord himself observed it up to the same night in which he was betrayed. The commemoration of the typical lamb only ceased to be proper, when the antitypical lamb was slain on Calvary.
So now, our Lord, the true Lamb of God, gave us the bread and wine as emblems of his flesh and blood, given for us--for our passing over or sparing. And we are to commemorate his death with these emblems until he comes, and until the last member of his body shall have been passed over--into the fullness of salvation, with him and like him. Then the symbol shall cease, the antitype having fully come in our being thus passed over. Until this grand consummation of our hopes, it is proper for us to show it forth by commemorating his broken body and shed blood by which it shall be secured.
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VIEW FROM THE TOWER.
A very precious season of communion of saints was the four days meeting held by the church at Allegheny, commencing Sunday, March 25th, and closing Wednesday night, March 29th. Though the weather was unfavorable the attendance was good, and it might be said that it was four days of continuous meeting, broken only by intermissions for rest and food.
The number from abroad was about as usual, and though some of the faces were new we were already acquainted by letter. The greater number of these were from Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, New York, and of course Pennsylvania; while some came from far off Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Our first meeting at half past ten o'clock Sunday morning was of a social character, and we need not tell you that the testimonies as to the Lord's dealings, and the preciousness of the truth, and its spread in different localities were warm, heart-cheering, stimulating and encouraging in the extreme. Our hearts burned within us, as for two and a half hours we communed together, and then adjourned almost from necessity, while as many more were yet unheard from, though the testimonies still continued in a less formal way during the hour for our noon lunch as well as during the intermissions of the days following.
It was a ministerial conference in the truest sense; yet not composed of ministers of sectarianism, nor such as would be generally called ministers by men to-day, but ministers (servants) of Christ, in the Scriptural use of that word, all of them or with few exceptions. The report of each consisted mainly of a brief statement of his service of the Lord and his truth, and the blessing and strength he himself had enjoyed while endeavoring to dispense the words of life to others. One brother with tears in his eyes told how the truth filled his heart and overflowed in desire and effort to bless his neighbors, how he had been misunderstood by some, and misrepresented by others; of how he had gotten a brother of our Allegheny church to come up and preach eight public discourses in eight days, and how some had been blessed by this means and his distribution of Arp tracts and loaning of Dawns. Brother Adamson told of his field which at present is in central Ohio. He is doing a great work, putting Dawn into the hands of thousands, besides holding meetings with the interested and writing articles for secular journals to thus draw the attention of the masses to the truth and its beauty as compared with the errors and distortions so far from the "glad tidings," yet commonly dispensed under the name of "gospel." Among the many other testimonies, all of which were cheering, was that of Brother Wright, of Wisconsin, and Brother Page, of Minnesota. These two were insurance agents until a short time ago; now they are preachers of the glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Not that they have left the insurance business, but that now it is secondary to the preaching of the cross of Christ and the restitution, and kingdom which now is the first, the chief business of life: The insurance business stands related to their present work as tent-making did to Paul's ministry (`Acts 18:3`)--as a necessary means to the
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one grand work and end in view. And thus it is with all the consecrated when they come to see the privileges of the present high calling. With all such to whom as ambassadors of God this ministry of reconciliation has been committed, (`2 Cor. 5:20`) the service in the "Royal Priesthood" is superior to all else.
Brother Wright who will be remembered as the defender of Episcopalian church views in the TOWER of last October related how a copy of Dawn loaned to him, had under God's blessing been instrumental in opening his eyes to see wonderful things in the Bible, and a beauty and fullness in God's character and plan, which lifted him out of the rut of churchly formalism, into heart fellowship and communion with the Heavenly Father and with our Lord who redeemed us. Long ago consecrated and earnestly desirous of doing the will of God, he had been misled by the low standard prevailing in the nominal churches. The traditions and customs of the churches had fettered and dwarfed him, but when the truth entered it proved his heart to have been warm, consecrated, "good ground" by the vigorous growth so soon attained. Though not one year has passed since DAWN was first loaned him, he has come to see the truth clearly for himself,--so clearly and strongly as to leave the Episcopal church and trust only in his membership with us and all the consecrated in THE CHURCH "whose names are written in heaven," and to outwardly symbolize, by immersion in water, his consecration long ago made, to be faithful even unto death in the service of God.
In that short time, too, Bro. W. has sent to friends and acquaintances whom he trusted might have "an ear to hear" these glad tidings, nearly one hundred copies of DAWN, many of them accompanied by letters urging careful and prayerful readings. Some good fruit has already resulted among his insurance acquaintance: Brother Page who came over nine hundred miles to feast and commune being one of these.
Bro. Page told us of joy, peace and renewed love toward our God within the last six months; how he had been an earnest consecrated child of God, but that as he began to use his God-given reason upon the plan presented by the churches, as the plan of God--to save a few and torment the great majority of his creatures to all eternity, he had become skeptical and worldly, though he still kept seeking after truth. He told us of how Spiritism, Swedenborgism, and other counterfeits, found him hungry and led him to study them, and that DAWN reached him just in time, as a helping hand stretched out by our great Head for his aid. Yet, when DAWN came to him through the mail (sent by our Lord through Bro. Wright), he glanced at it, and supposing it to be an "Adventist" publication, was about to put it into the waste basket, when another glance led him to take it home and read it. Bro. P.'s every word and tone witnessed to the fact that he had found the Lord again--found him more beautiful and lovable than he had ever before realized. Christ is reinstalled the Master of his heart, his tongue, his moments and his all. He, too, has been planted in the likeness of Christ's death--immersed in water in symbolization of his death with him. You will know of Brother Page's zeal for the Master and his honor, when we tell you that within the past six weeks we have sent him nearly one hundred copies of DAWN for loaning and mailing to his friends. We give these last two cases somewhat in detail, knowing how greatly you will appreciate their promptness and earnestness. Our prayers are with them and with all who are serving the truth and using whatever talents they possess.
The afternoon discourse was upon Baptism, the substance of which may be presented in next month's TOWER: It was followed by the immersion of thirteen in water, in symbolization of their burial into Christ.--`Rom. 6:3-5`.
The evening service was a precious season, as with simplicity we partook of the emblems of our Lord's broken body and shed blood, after considering their import as presented in the March TOWER. While rejoicing together and realizing that it was good to be there, the loved and scattered members of the one body of Christ were not forgotten, but were borne upon our hearts and lips before the throne of grace.
The subsequent meetings were every one precious, and were devoted to the examination of various doctrines and topics as requested by those present. We trust that the sweet memories of those hours of communion, and those precious lessons and unfoldings of the word of truth learned at the Master's feet may comfort and cheer not only those present, but many others through them.
A letter from Brother Tackabury came, just as the meeting was closing, telling us that he is sinking rapidly. The company unanimously desired that their love and sympathy be communicated to him.
Letters since received from various quarters tell of a very general commemoration and of precious seasons.
A sister who has been loaning and selling DAWNS, hands us the following letter received by her lately:--
Washington Co., Ohio.
DEAR FRIEND:--You will remember me as one to whom, some months ago, you loaned Millennial Dawn Vol. I. After reading it once, I wrote to you, stating some difficulty in understanding some part, and that I wished to read it again. A friend also wanted to read it, so we concluded to buy it. I have read the book through a second time, and some parts of it many times over. I cannot tell you how I felt when reading "The Plan of the Ages" the first time. It was so new and startling, so different from what I had always believed the Bible taught, and yet so beautiful, it filled me with wonder and awe. And the more I read and studied the more beautiful it appeared.
I have received several copies of ZION'S WATCH TOWER, and think they must contain the "meat in due season," they are so satisfying. It makes all other reading seem stale. I shall wait with impatience for Vol. II.
I would like to spend all my time selling "Millennial Dawn," if I had strength to do so, but I am not able. I have, however, made some effort, and have sold some. Hope I will be able to do more in future. Yours in spirit, MISS M. P.
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--While out with Dawns I met and sold a copy to a young man, aged about eighteen years, whose father was very angry, and made some threats, that if I sold his boy a book I would be sorry for it, but as the book was delivered and paid for, I simply offered to refund the money if not satisfactory. The young man refused, saying he wanted the book. I left his store, thinking I would not care to ever enter it again, but after I had related to my wife what had transpired, we concluded the better plan would be to continue dealing with them as usual, unconcerned as though nothing had happened. Two weeks later the father apologized, saying that my actions surprised him, as he never expected me to come into his store again. But because I came back and spoke to him as though nothing unpleasant had ever occurred, he concluded to read the book, and did so, and was surprised to find it the grandest book he ever saw. He had decided to commit it to the flames, and had I followed my first inclination, he doubtless would have done so. He has since read the book and recommended it to others, and sold one for me, and last night ordered a cloth bound book, saying he would give the one he had to some poor person who was unable to purchase a copy. So please send me a copy of Dawn, cloth bound, at your earliest convenience.
Yours in hope, C. A. H.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Please use this gold $5.00 for the Lord's poor in sending the TOWER to those too old and poor to pay for it, or in any way you see best. It has been treasured; but now I make it a small New Year's offering to the dear Lord, who has given me so much light and knowledge. Yours for the truth.
DEAR BRO. AND SISTER:--We have reason to rejoice that our labor in the Lord has not been in vain. About two weeks ago a brother from Indiana, formerly of the Christian Church, stopped at my house to sell medicine, and on seeing the chart on the wall at my reading table, he said to wife, do you read what belongs to that chart? She answered, Yes, and understand it. He said he also was a reader of the TOWER. The tears of joy fell thick and fast. He enquired for me, and when we met I cannot describe my joy; he was the first one of this faith that we had met, and we had a feast of love for about one week. Send on the TOWER, also the balance of this five dollars in Millennial Dawn with some Arp Slips.
The people are beginning to ask for this Bible teaching. Our hearts desire is to meet with you next March, to celebrate the Lord's Supper. If we cannot we will celebrate the Passover at home.
Yours, W. M. Y.
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"What is your experience, brother? Tell us what the Lord has done for you." These are expressions with which the majority of professing Christians are familiar; and the responses to such a call from the leader of a meeting are generally a narration of the feelings or sensations experienced; some very thrilling, and others exceedingly common place: in short-- Christian Experience from a prayer-meeting stand-point has become largely a matter of sensation. A man or woman may have known the Holy Scriptures from a child and taken them as a guide, may have followed the Saviour and lived soberly, righteously and godly in this world, and yet, if he or she cannot relate an "Experience" after the approved order, they are almost unchristianized by some.
Do not misunderstand me. I would not belittle anything by which a believer has been brought into communion with his God, or any sensation that may be the legitimate outgrowth of such communion.
I do believe, however, that this religion of sensation has been fostered and encouraged until it has reached an abnormal growth. Turning to the Word for light, we find that the term, in the sense in which
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it is now used, is unknown. The method in conversion as well as in practice has been completely revolutionized since the days of the Apostles.
What is Experience? According to Webster it is "wisdom gained from practice;" and this definition is very appropriate for Christian as well as worldly Experience. In `Rom. 5:3,4` we read, "We glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience experience; and experience, hope." Christian Experience is not merely sitting down quietly and letting the Spirit of God work in our hearts--it is eminently practical, and it is impossible to divorce experimental from practical Christianity. He who would relate an Experience of what the Lord has done for him must at the same time narrate what he has done for the Lord. It may do while we are nestlings to open our mouths with the incessant cry, Give! Give! but a time comes when we must put away childish things, and meet the stern realities of the new life. It is not sufficient to pray "Lord, what will thou have me to do?" unless, when the service is shown us we immediately perform the duty, and thus become doers of the word.
Christian Experience is not the exaltation of feeling, or ecstacy that finds expression only when inspired by the ardent songs, prayers and exhortations of Christian fellowship; and he who is dependent upon such "means of grace" for his vitality, is but an infant in experience.
Christian Experience is "putting off the old man with his deeds, and putting on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him."
Christian Experience is growth--"To grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ;" to be rooted and grounded in Love, and grow up in all things like unto Him who is our Head.
Christian Experience is to build up a character, "adding to faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity."
Christian Experience is to be laborers in the Lord's vineyard, workers together with God; and it is to be soldiers of the Cross armed cap-a-pie with the whole armor of God, following the Captain of our salvation.
Christian Experience is visiting the widow and fatherless in their affliction, and keeping ourselves unspotted from the world. As an example of true Christian experience the reader is referred to the experience of Paul as recorded in `2 Cor. 11` and `12`.
It is in such schools as these that the Christians gain Experience; and this is the true Experience that worketh hope that maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. --Word of Truth.
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ROMANISM AND THE SCHOOLS.
The Christian Herald says:--
"An attack on the Public School System is reported from the Northwest. The Roman Catholics are endeavoring to so curtail the efficiency and development of the public schools as to fill sectarian schools with the children for whom the public schools have no provision. The Evening Post mentions several movements of this character. At Barton, Wis., the Roman Catholics attended the annual meeting in force, and passed a resolution that no public school should be maintained for a year. At Melrose, Minn., the priests succeeded in getting the public school year shortened, thus giving the parents the option of letting the children remain idle or sending them to the Romanist schools. And in Stearns county, Minn., the Romanist catechism is openly taught in the schools in defiance of the law, while religious instruction is given by the priests either at the opening or closing of the schools."
An English writer of some note, H. G. Guinness, writes thus:--
"Fifty years ago there were not 500 Roman priests in Great Britain; now there are 2,600. Fifty years ago there were not 500 chapels, now there are 1,575. Fifty years ago there were no monasteries at all in Great Britain; now there are 225. There were even then sixteen convents, but now there are over 400 of these barred and bolted and impenetrable prisons, in which 15,000 English women are kept prisoners at the mercy of a celibate clergy, who have power unless their bequests are obeyed, to inflict on these hapless and helpless victims torture under the name of penance. Fifty years ago there were but two colleges in Great Britain for the training of Roman Catholic priests-- i.e. of men bound by oath to act in England as the agents of a foreign power, the one great object of which is avowed to be the dismemberment of our empire and the ruin of our influence in the world; now there are twenty-nine such schools. And, strangest of all, England, which once abolished monasteries, and appropriated to national use the ill-gotten gains of Rome, is now actually endowing Romanism in her empire to the extent of over five million dollars per annum." (The exact amount is L.1,052,657.)
The chief result of Home Rule is to be the extirpation of Protestantism in Ireland. Catholic Progress says: "The woes of Ireland are due to one single cause--the existence of Protestantism in Ireland. The remedy can only be found in the removal of that which causes the evil. Would that every Protestant meeting-house were swept from the land! Then would Ireland recover himself, and outrages be unknown."
That this attempt would be made is not to be questioned. Cardinal Manning insists that it is a sin, and even "insanity," to hold that men have an inalienable right to liberty of conscience and of worship, or to deny that Rome has the right to repress by force all religious observances save her own, or teach that Protestants in a Catholic country should be allowed the exercise of their religion. "Catholicism," says a Roman magazine, "is the most intolerant of creeds; it is intolerance itself. The impiety of religious liberty is only equaled by its absurdity."
A most important point to be borne in mind in consideration of this question is, that Romanism is not a religion merely, but a political system. We are of course bound to allow to Roman Catholics the liberty of conscience which we claim for ourselves; but we are not bound by any law, human or divine, to allow them the right of conspiring for the overthrow of our liberties, government, and empire. Adam Smith well says: "The constitution of the Church of Rome may be considered the most formidable combination that was ever formed against the authority and security of civil government, as well as against the liberty, reason, and happiness of mankind."
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JEWISH AWAKENING IN SIBERIA.
The awakening among God's ancient people, like the stirring of the dry bones in Ezekiel's valley of vision, cannot fail to command the attention of thoughtful Christians. It has been rather customary among some religious teachers, wherever they could find a curse in the Bible, to hand it over to the Jews, while, when they came across a blessing there, they would coolly appropriate it to the Gentiles. But the Lord usually has his own way, and fulfills his own word, and as his threatenings have been fulfilled, so no good thing which he has really promised will fail to be accomplished in due time. Hence, while we guard against one-sidedness and prejudice in all directions, we may watch with interest and hail with joy every token of blessing upon the long scattered and afflicted sons of Jacob, "of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all blessed for evermore."
The Presbyterian Witness says: "News comes from ice-bound Siberia of a gospel movement essentially the same as that of Rabinowitz. The leader is Jacob Scheinmann, a Polish Jew, who twenty years ago, through independent thought, came to the conclusion that the Messiah, the Son of David, was the true Savior. The strict Talmudic Jews got him transported to Siberia, where for fifteen years he labored, almost unheeded, to awaken faith in his fellow-exiles. Among the uncalled-for mail matter which he found at Tomsk, where he was engaged in business, was a pamphlet by Rabinowitz, with whom he at once communicated. He has been busy disseminating his views through pamphlets called 'The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness.' Delitzsch's Hebrew translation of the New Testament is being eagerly read and studied by the Siberian Jews. It is said that fully 36,000 copies have been thus used."--Armory.
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"THE man whose honor cannot be trusted in a business transaction is an infidel, though he superintends a dozen evangelical Sunday-schools, presides at the noonday prayer-meetings, and is accounted the most polished pillar of the church."
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To-day I seem to understand
That pain and struggle, grief and care,
Are chisels in an unseen Hand
That round us into statues fair.
--A. P. Miller.
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I sat alone at the organ,
At the close of a troubled day,
When the sunset's crimson embers
On the western altar lay.
I was weary with vain endeavor,
My heart was ill at ease,
And I sought to soothe my sadness
With the voice of the sweet toned keys.
My hands were weak and trembling,
My fingers all unskilled,
To render the grand old anthem
With which my soul was filled.
Through the long day's cares and worries,
I had dreamed of that glorious strain,
And I longed to hear the organ
Repeat it to me again.
It fell from my untaught fingers
Discordant and incomplete.
I knew not how to express it,
Or to make the discord sweet;
So I toiled with patient labor
Till the last bright gleams were gone,
And the evening's purple shadows
Were gathering one by one.
Then a Master stood beside me,
And touched the noisy keys,
And lo! the discord vanished
And melted in perfect peace.
I heard the great organ pealing
My tune that I could not play,
The strains of the glorious anthem
That had filled my soul all day.
Down through the dim cathedral
The tide of music swept,
And through the shadowy arches
The lingering echoes crept;
And I stood in the purple twilight
And heard my tune again,
Not my feeble, untaught rendering,
But the Master's perfect strain.
So I think, perchance, the Master,
At the close of life's weary day,
Will take from our trembling fingers
The tune that we cannot play;
He will hear through the jarring discord
The strain, although half expressed;
He will blend it in perfect music,
And add to it all the rest.
--M. E. Kinney.
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SHALL ACCOMPLISH THAT WHICH I PLEASE.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign, that shall not be cut off."--`Isa. 55:9-13`.
It will be observed by reference to the `preceding verses` of this chapter that the world, and not the saints, are here addressed. Their ways and thoughts are not as God's ways and thoughts. But it is the privilege of the saints, the meek and fully consecrated children of God, who have laid aside their own ways and their own thoughts, to both know and walk in God's ways, and by thus knowing and coming into sympathy and harmony with him, and viewing all things from his standpoint, to thus think his thoughts. Thus it is written (`Psa. 25:9`) "The meek will he guide in judgment; and the meek will he teach his way."
Some accept this text as unquestionable proof of the Calvinistic, or rather fatalistic doctrine of unconditional election, claiming it to be a part of God's plan that the eternal destiny of each individual was unalterably fixed, long before any of them were brought into existence. Those who hold this opinion differ to some extent as to what that destiny may be; but this is no part of the question under consideration.
Those who so confidently quote the above words--My word shall not return unto me void, but shall accomplish that which I please, etc., should very carefully study God's purpose and see what it is that God designs or pleases to accomplish by sending forth his word. Though the assertion is true of God's purpose or plan as a whole, the part of his purpose to which particular reference is made in this connection, is clearly shown by the `following verses` to be the great restitution-- "For ye shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace, etc." No special reference is here made to his purpose for the church, since the world, and not the church, is here addressed through its type, the nation of Israel. As surely as the Lord hath spoken it, his word shall not return unto him void, but shall accomplish his purpose in sending it. God nowhere says that he sends his word to individuals with a determined purpose to accomplish their conversion to him; and that because he sent it for that purpose, the conversion of those individuals is sure to follow sooner or later. Nor does he say that he sent it to some other individuals with a determined purpose to accomplish their eternal ruin. Read the parable of the sower: The seed was sown abundantly, and for a particular purpose; but that which fell by the wayside and was quickly devoured by the fowls, did no injury to the wayside: it left it just as it found it. That which fell on stony ground, where because it had not much depth of earth it withered away, did no injury to the stony ground. And that which fell among thorns and was choked by them, did no injury. Neither did the seed sown do any good in such places. It simply left them as it found them. But the sower should spend no special effort to sow the seed in such hopeless places. As the parable indicates, he should be sowing it in prepared ground so far as he is able to judge. Otherwise, his first efforts should be to help to prepare the ground preparatory to the sowing of seed, and this should be done in the seasons most favorable-- while most impressible.
But though the seed did no harm where it brought forth no fruit, the good and prepared ground which received it was richly blessed with an abundant and glorious harvest; and in this, the purpose and only expectation of the husbandman was fully accomplished. He did not expect a harvest from the rocks, among the thorns, or on the wayside. Nor was the seed of truth so scarce that he needed to order the sower to sow with such scrupulous care that not a grain of it should fall in such places--"There is that scattereth and yet increaseth, and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, and it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth shall be watered also himself." (`Prov. 11:24,25`.) So then neither the seed nor the sower has anything to lose by the scattering broadcast: nor is the untilled ground injured. And this applies to the sower of truth, as well as in the figure to the sower of grain. We know that the truth will bring forth good fruit only in good hearts, yet we are to preach the good tidings to all who are willing to hear.
"Do not cast your pearls before swine," one quotes. No, of course not: Do not give the precious pearls of deep spiritual truth which none can receive save the consecrated, for whom it was designed, to those who love to wallow in the mire of sin, and root after that which will satisfy the cravings of their fallen nature. To do so is only useless, and they will turn and rend you.
God's word shall not return unto him void. It shall accomplish that whereto it was sent in this age, viz., the gathering out from among the mass of mankind a peculiar people--the meek of the earth, a little flock begotten by the word of truth, that they should be a kind of first fruits of God's creatures. (`Jas. 1:18`.) By the sending out of his truth during the prevailing darkness and opposition with which it meets on every hand, God seeks out, develops, tests and separates this peculiar class, which is to be a peculiar treasure unto him above any fruit which shall be gathered in any other harvests. They are his jewels, the chaste virgin of Christ, and soon shall become his glorious bride. And this purpose shall be fully accomplished within the appointed
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time, in the end of the Gospel age; for it was the work mapped out for this age only.
But this age is not the only sowing and reaping time: another plowing with the plow of trouble, and harrowing with the harrow of affliction and pain, has during our time of development been making the world ready for a grand sowing and growing during the Millennial Age, with a great and good harvest of ripe and fully developed human fruitage in the close of that age. Just as surely as the mouth of the Lord hath spoken that his word shall not return unto him void, but shall accomplish that whereto it was sent, so surely shall that harvest yield abundant fruit. Has He not said as forcibly and as clearly that "The knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth, as the waters cover the sea," that "All the families of the earth shall be blessed" through the Christ, and that "all nations shall come and worship before him;" as that during the Gospel age his purpose has been to "take out" of the world a peculiar people--a little flock? Can one part of his word fail more than another? Surely His word shall not return void, but shall accomplish all his glorious purposes.
In the great and unparalleled time of trouble by which the Millennial age is introduced, the whole field, "the world" (`Matt. 13:38`), will receive its final and most effective harrowing, after which will follow the sunshine--for the Sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in his wings--and the refreshing showers of divine grace upon penitent and contrite hearts. Thus prepared, the whole world will be good and hopeful soil. That will be the grandest sowing time the world has ever seen, and as a consequence, the world will soon be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Mankind shall spring forth and grow up in restitution from death to life; they shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace by the "Prince of Life," the "Prince of Peace." Redeemed of the Lord, they shall return, and come to Zion [The Church--the Kingdom] with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads--they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shalt flee away. In coming they shall say: "Come! let us go up to the mountain [kingdom] of the Lord, and he will teach us his ways and we will walk in his paths." (`Isa. 2:3`.) They shall be led forth from sin, condemnation and death, with peace, from grace to grace, and from victory unto victory, along the grand highway to perfection, to the glorious inheritance redeemed for them by the precious blood of Christ.
The mountains and the hills [the ruling powers] shall break forth into singing; and all the trees of the field [the people] shall clap their hands. (`Isa. 55:12`.) The accomplishment of this glorious purpose of the restitution of a fallen race to perfection, and crowning them with eternal glory, "shall be to the Lord for a name, and for an everlasting sign" of his justice, wisdom, love and power, which shall not be cut off.
Throughout all the intricate workings of this divine plan, not a single principle of the divine character, nor of human free agency, has been or will be violated. Herein consists the glory of that plan. Had God designed to ignore human free agency, it would have been much wiser to have done so in the very first instance --in preventing man's fall into sin. Or had he designed to let his love override his justice, it would have been better had he excused the sin at once, without a redeemer and the long six thousand years of human suffering and death, and begun the work of restitution at once.
But such was not God's purpose, and the glory of his plan consists in the vindication of his righteous character, the display to all his creatures of the harmony of his various attributes and of the firmness of those principles of justice, and righteousness, and love, and power, in which all his willing creatures may eternally rest; and in the joy and blessing of all creation and their establishment in righteousness for the eternal ages to follow.
Let praise and honor and glory and power and dominion be unto our God forever and ever. His thoughts are not as men's thoughts, nor his ways as men's ways; but thanks be unto God who hath brought us to his own glorious standpoint of observation, and is teaching us his ways.
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MOTHER EVE'S TEMPTATION.
There is a lesson in our mother Eve's transgression which we presume few have carefully considered and profited by. In a recent number of the TOWER (March '87) attention was called to the manner in which the serpent beguiled Eve by his sophistry, and also to Paul's warning to the Church, the prospective bride of the Second Adam, lest she be beguiled in a similar manner. Further thought upon the subject leads naturally to the question, Where did the tempter's power over Eve begin? and did God leave her subject to such a deceptive, ensnaring temptation, without sufficient knowledge to show her at once the absurdity and falsity of the arguments used?
The adversary chose a deceptive and attractive form in which to present the temptation, and Eve was young, innocent and inexperienced. She had never been deceived, nor had any experience with evil. The tempter came unbidden, and with malicious design. Whether he believed that God was able to inflict the death penalty or not; or whether he questioned God's firmness, thinking his love for his glorious creature would be strong enough to cause him to ignore the penalty of his broken law, there is room to question.
The tempter first suggested the question to his unsuspecting victim--"Hath God indeed said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" "And the woman said, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it; neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die."
"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye will surely not die; for God doth know that on the day ye eat thereof,
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your eyes will be opened and ye will be as God, knowing good and evil."
"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and did eat, and gave to her husband and he did eat."
Now where did the danger of Eve begin? True the argument looked plausible. Satan first stated that, if she should partake of the forbidden fruit, she would not die, and then suggested that God was depriving them of privileges which they ought to be enjoying, treating them ungenerously and as though they were dependent upon him and under his authority. This calumny upon God's goodness, Eve failed to resent, as she should have done. She should have replied at once, that God had been so good to them, and had so abundantly showered his blessings upon them, that it would be base ingratitude to harbor such a thought of him even for an instant, and that she had no reason whatever to doubt his truthfulness; that he never had deceived them and therefore they had no reason to believe he ever would, and that his authority was rightful, since he was their Creator and generous benefactor; that such authority was an evidence of his love exercised over them for their good, his wisdom and knowledge and experience being most necessary for their protection and continuous welfare. And with this repulse she should have utterly refused to hear or heed one whose suggestions were so disloyal.
Had she thus repulsed the very first suggestion of evil, instead of harboring a suspicion for which there was no cause, further suggestions would have been warded off. She should have obeyed the impulse of benevolence, promptly refusing to harbor suspicion of evil from a source whence nothing but goodness had flowed. Continued and unchanged manifestations of love and justice and goodness leave no room for reasonable suspicion of evil. And such suspicion whenever and by whomsoever harbored is wrong and leads to evil. There, then, Eve's danger began --in consenting to harbor suspicion as to the truthfulness of God. God's command had been so explicit and positive that there was no mistaking his meaning: They were neither to eat of the tree, nor to touch it. It was most plainly labeled, HANDS OFF. And any suggestion to the contrary should not have been entertained for a moment. The penalty for violation of this command was to be death--a most just penalty; for if, after all God's goodness and favor in giving them existence and every blessing, they would not gladly obey his just and loving authority exercised for their protection and well-being, they were surely unworthy of continued existence. And God wisely and justly deprived them of it, when they had so disobeyed.
Since, the apostle Paul has forewarned the church of an effort of the very same adversary, to beguile the second Eve, the prospective bride of the second Adam, in a very similar manner; and that the temptation would assume its most deceptive and ensnaring form in the last days of the Gospel age, when the church is nearest to the glorious consummation of her hope, it behooves all the consecrated therefore to be on guard, awake and watchful. We need not for a moment be in doubt as to what is the present counterpart of Eve's temptation. It is as Paul suggests (`2 Cor. 11:3`), a temptation to depart from the simplicity of the doctrine of Christ, and to accept the theories of "the enemies of the cross of Christ," whom Satan seduced into his service, who "transform themselves as angels of light"
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(`2 Cor. 11:14,15`), who represent themselves as messengers of truth, wresting the Scriptures and perverting them to establish another gospel, which indeed is not another.--`Gal. 1:8`.
It has been the constant effort of the TOWER, since its first observance of this special effort of the adversary to undermine the foundation, and then overthrow the faith of the saints, to assist the church in putting on the whole armor of God that they might be able to withstand the sophistry of error, and to thus stand approved of God, firmly established upon the only foundation of the gospel--Redemption through the precious blood of Christ--rooted and grounded in the faith. Indeed, this was the very cause in the interest of which the TOWER was started.
Let the consecrated ones apply the lesson of Eve's temptation and fall, as Paul suggests, that they may not be overcome as she was by the art and sophistry of the tempter, even though his messengers appear as messengers of light (truth).
Led, like Eve, mainly by curiosity, many have given valuable time and attention to following up these no-ransom theories, until they are lost in a labyrinth of confusion, uncertain as to what they believe on any subject. This is most plainly noticeable in the confusion of those journals which advocate these various theories. Driven by the queries of their correspondents and their endeavor to make their theories appear plausible, and to twist and distort the Scriptures into an appearance of conformity with their theories, they are continually involving themselves deeper and deeper in the labyrinths of error, and shutting and barring themselves in to their false conclusions by pride and self-will. And those who are following them, giving time and attention to their false and foolish imaginings, as they attempt to build upon premises known at the outstart to be false, are step by step drifting away from all truth, when they should be growing in the knowledge of the truth, if the same time and effort were spent not in seeing how many ideas can be built upon no foundation, but in building wisely and carefully upon the only foundation for faith, "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom for all."
Many will say, Well, I cannot understand their teaching exactly, but I am not afraid to read anything. I will read and hold on to what is good in their teaching and let the rest go. It cannot hurt me. But they forget that it can and does hurt them. It is with them as with mother Eve; the power of the temptation is in their inexperience. Those perfect in experience, as well as perfect in mental powers, can doubtless fully meet and repulse the tempter, no matter by whom represented or how deceptive the arguments, but for all others the sure way and the only way to escape is to say: Get thee behind me Satan, because thou savorest not of the things that be of God, but of men.
But how can investigation of anything injure the honest searcher? In the first place, it consumes the time which might otherwise be spent in gaining a more thorough acquaintance with the real plan of God, in building up themselves and others in the truth. And while they are pursuing these false theories, they are losing sight of and forgetting the true plan. And the mind thus filled with false doctrines, and set to work in a vain endeavor to understand them and to see how they can be made to appear consistent, even with themselves, cannot at the same time be occupied in meditation upon God's truth. Such therefore must measurably cease to be guided by the spirit of truth into more and more truth, and strengthened and confirmed in the truth already gained; and thus they are constantly losing both the truth and the spirit of it, while imbibing error and the spirit of error. Yes, they have confidence in themselves, that they can discern and will accept only the truth, advanced by false teachers, and reject the error; and this is much of their difficulty--they have too much self-confidence and not enough of the meek, child-like spirit which listens for the Father's voice and trusts his plan and not its own philosophising. Very soon they find themselves befogged and bewildered in the maze of confusion and they have forgotten, "let slip" (`Heb. 2:1`), so much of the truth with which they should be armed, that they seem utterly incapable of reasoning, or of rightly applying the Scriptures on the most simple subjects; so distorted and colored do the plain teachings of the Scriptures become under a false light.
But need we seek for truth in such polluted channels? Does God anywhere tell us that, if we would find the pure waters of truth, we must wallow in every miserable gutter, because there is a little water in it; or that we should try to filter the polluted mass to get the little bit of good Satan permits to remain in it as a bait for the unwary? No, never! You will find a fragment of good in every false system under the sun. But God never gave you the hopeless task of filtering all or any of those muddy streams to find the truth. He sends you to the pure, unmixed fountain of truth--his Word; and though among his consecrated children he has appointed some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists; and some pastors, and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...that we might be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (`Eph. 4:11-14`)--he would have us test all their teachings by his Word. We must diligently and faithfully prove all things for ourselves, as our attention is called to them by faithful teachers. As heretofore stated in the TOWER, (See March '85 No.--"Theories True and False") the mission of the faithful teacher is to stand as an index finger helping the household of faith to trace for themselves, on the sacred page, the great principles, as well as the minor details, of the divine plan. And no faithful student thus assisted, and guided by the spirit of truth, which is meekness and true holiness--a desire to know the truth that he may obey it and work in harmony with the divine plan--can fail to recognize the truth, and to be convinced of and established in it. And those thus guided to the end are the elect, whom it is "impossible to deceive."
Why impossible? Because their spirit of meek obedience and fidelity to God will not permit them to give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines. They first look well to the foundation upon which any teachings claiming to be the gospel rest, and if the foundation be any other foundation than that which the Scriptures have laid so broad and deep, viz.: Redemption through the precious blood of Christ (`1 Cor. 15:3`; `Eph. 1:7`), they have no further interest in it, except to point it out to others as a snare and trap of the great enemy.
Let all the dear household of faith take heed, lest as the serpent beguiled Eve by his subtilty, so your minds be corrupted from the simplicity of the doctrine of Christ. God had plainly said they should not eat of that tree; neither should they touch it, lest they die. Therefore those who fall are without excuse. Had they remained obedient to God, they would never have had anything to do with that tree, except to warn their children against partaking of or touching it, and to inform them of the prescribed penalty in case of violation of that command. So the saints should give no heed to those who invite them to build their hope of salvation upon any other than the true foundation, nor handle their pernicious doctrines in an attempt to build up another plan in opposition to the plan of Jehovah. Those full of the spirit of obedience will refuse to take these steps and will never fall. The Word of God to Eve was clear and explicit, and so now it is to the prospective bride of the second Adam. It clearly tells her that the death of Christ was the "propitiation" [satisfaction] for her sins, that "he died for our sins," "the just for the unjust," and that "by his stripes we are healed," "being justified freely by his blood:" that "by him we have redemption, even the forgiveness of sins." It repeats this testimony in hundreds of forms, and shows her how it was illustrated for centuries in the thousands of Israel's sacrifices, and bids her beware of false philosophies which would pervert this gospel and lead her into error "as the serpent beguiled Eve," and it points out that the willful rejection of the precious blood leads to the second death.
It should be the Christian's rule to give no heed to any theory built upon any other foundation than that laid down in the Scriptures. And that foundation is so simply and clearly laid down therein, and so oft repeated--being mentioned, and emphasized, and referred to, on every page and in every possible instance, from Genesis to Revelation--that none could fail to recognize it, save those led captive under the blinding influence of the great enemy. If any teacher, no matter how good or wise he may seem--yea, if an angel from heaven (`Gal. 1:8`.) should present a theory of salvation ever so plausible, and quote ever so many scriptures to make it appear so, yet built upon any other foundation than that laid down in the Scriptures--"Redemption through the precious blood of Christ"--reject it promptly. Resent the insult against your faithful God, and give no heed to the seducing spirit of error, though it come to you as a messenger of light.
Another notable feature of the temptation of Eve which has its counterpart here was her deception as to the penalty in case of her violation of God's command --"Thou shalt surely not die." So all these false teachers who deny the ransom, loudly proclaim this same lie--"Thou shalt surely not die." They talk loudly of the love of God, but have little to say of his justice, and boldly teach that the second death which God has warned all to shun, is the greatest blessing that men could desire.
"Take heed:" let Eve's tampering with the evil one, and harkening to, and heeding his suggestions, and her lack of faith in the Word of God, be a lasting lesson to the church. "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall." Beware of the first encroachments of the enemy. MRS. C. T. RUSSELL.
"To HIM that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life."--`Rev. 2:7`.
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Further information from London confirms the fact that Mr. Spurgeon has withdrawn from the Baptist Union, and now stands free and independent, directly associated only with the congregation to which he ministers. But these advices prove also that though Mr. Spurgeon is with us in defence of the Bible doctrine of atonement only through the precious blood of Christ; and that with us he expects the kingdom of God at our Lord's second advent, as the fifth and universal empire of earth and though he has made a long and good step into personal liberty, yet he is still bound by that dark and terrible error of Babylon, that everlasting torture is the provision which God premeditated and designed before the foundation of the world, as the everlasting state of all his human creatures except the small handful chosen in Christ and called out from the masses during this Gospel age.
We very much regret that one free in many respects is still bounden by this, the meanest, most God-dishonoring and blasphemous error to which the "dark ages" gave birth. He will search in vain for this doctrine in the writings of the apostles, and find that the passages supposed to favor it are among the parables and dark sayings of our Lord and the symbols of Revelation, and that the apostles never expounded any of these as they are commonly misinterpreted to-day.
Mr. Spurgeon's view of the atonement is utterly inconsistent with his view of the everlasting torment of all except the church.
Mr. Spurgeon, we are happy to see, still acknowledges that our Lord was our substitute, and bore in our room and stead the penalty for sin, which was against us. Should he not then see that if the penalty against us had been everlasting torment, our Lord to have been our substitute, ransom or corresponding price, would of necessity have to suffer eternal torment for us? But we know that he did not, does not, and will not suffer this for us, hence we could thus know, if not otherwise, that everlasting torment is not the penalty to which we were condemned.
Again, if we find what penalty our substitute paid, we can surely know what the penalty was from which believers escape, and to which unbelievers are still condemned. Our Lord became a man, was "made flesh," and "gave himself a ransom for all." But he did not give himself to live in torment, he "died on our behalf"--he "died for our sins," he "died for the ungodly," etc., are Bible expressions.
As the gentleman well knows, we could multiply citations proving that our Lord died for us, but not one passage could be produced from Scriptures to prove that he either should or did go into everlasting torment for our sin. "He bore our sins in his own body on the tree," but not to all eternity in a lake of fire. Though Episcopalians recite that our Lord "descended into hell," it is surely well known to Mr. Spurgeon, and all men of education, that hades does not signify a lake of fire, but signifies the state of death, and is the Greek synonym for the Hebrew word sheol (grave) of the Old Testament.
This penalty which our Lord underwent as our substitute, ransom or corresponding price, was exactly what the Bible everywhere represents as the wages of man's sin. See `Rom. 5:12`--"By one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and DEATH by [or, as the penalty of] sin." If life in torment were the penalty, would the apostle be justified in making such a statement? In speaking of what was the result of sin he could do no less than mention the worst results. So everywhere the penalty of sin is described as destruction. "The soul that sinneth, it shall DIE"--not live at all. "The wages [or penalty] of sin is DEATH." Thus saith the Scriptures, which alone are competent authority with us. We must not accept the twistings and turnings of these plain Scriptures by a self-constituted "clergy" of the dark ages, nor permit their vaporings about death meaning life, to influence us in any degree, but must take God's Word in its reasonable and obvious sense. To do otherwise is not only to make the Word of God a lie, but to represent our gracious Creator as a most terrible fiend--worse than any human friend that ever lived, and more detestable and inexcusable because man fallen and depraved is to some extent excusable.
We hope that Mr. Spurgeon will use his liberty and search well the Scriptures on this subject and not permit previous inferences to hinder full investigation. We are in the "time of the end," wherein it was promised that knowledge should be increased. The light is shining more and more clearly on all subjects than ever before and the Word of God is reflecting upon itself its own glorious light by means of Concordances, and thus, much of the gloom and error of the "dark ages" is being dispelled. When the issue is squarely met, all must see that either the doctrine of atonement for sins by the precious blood of Christ, or the doctrine of eternal torment--one or the other--must be false. Take your Concordance and by its aid search the Word, and you will find atonement by the blood everywhere,--as some one has said, It is upon every page of the Bible. It runs through the entire Bible as a stream, growing broader and deeper from Abel's sacrifice down to "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain," in Revelation. It is the basis of every argument by every apostle, and the foundation of every promise from the one to Abraham down to the last promises of the Lamb, who says, "I am he that liveth and was dead." Note, too, that all these references to the blood and death of our Redeemer, in no sense refer to, or symbolize everlasting torment, but all fit perfectly when applied to his death--once for all.
Let the same Concordance then be consulted to see how many times everlasting torment is mentioned, and it will not once be found. The nearest approach to it is the term "everlasting punishment." (`Matt. 25:46`.) This is in connection with a parable which relates to the next age, and shows the final outcome to willful sinners. It does not here say what the nature of the punishment will be. But it is elsewhere stated that "The wages [punishment] of sin is death." These scriptures throw light upon each other, and do not contradict each other. God does not change the wages of sin, and though he provided through our Lord Jesus a recovery from the penalty pronounced against all in Adam, yet such as shall willfully reject the favor, will die again--the second DEATH. So far from premeditating and foreordaining his creatures to everlasting torture, our gracious Creator declares of those who will suffer the second death even, that he willeth not the death of him that dieth, but would [prefer] that all should turn unto him and live.--`Ezek. 19:32`.
Of course, for these truths to be firmly held and publicly proclaimed, requires great grace, and implies great humility, as well as great boldness. Mr. Spurgeon's boldness and courage have been attested to a considerable extent by his general ministry, and now by his recent firm stand against error, and in defense of the doctrine of the ransom; by his withdrawal from the Baptist Union. His humility as a minister of Christ has shown itself by his refusal to apply to himself the title of Reverend, and his failure to seek and obtain the further title of Doctor of Divinity, both of which are so "highly esteemed among men," but ill-fitted and disapproved in the sight of our truly Reverend Lord, who declares to all saints-- "All ye are brethren," and "One is your Master." Grace "sufficient" is promised each of us for every step, as we walk in the path of the just which shines more and more UNTO THE PERFECT DAY; but we may be assured that those steps will lead us down from any pinnacle of earthly glory we may once have occupied. Thus it was with our Lord and with the apostles, and thus it must be with us--"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, and he may exalt you in due time."
Of course, being prominent, like Saul of Tarsus, a bold stand for this truth of the ransom in the face of the worldly-wise, who are now rapidly rejecting it, will forfeit their esteem, and bring their opposition and scorn--this Mr. Spurgeon has already experienced. The rejection of everlasting torture would cut off from him the sympathy and praise, and bring instead the denunciation and contempt, of that other large class of Christian people, who do not yet see the inconsistency of their position and are trying to believe that the wages of sin is everlasting torture and yet that the death of our Redeemer paid our corresponding price--that,
"Jesus died and paid it all
Yes, all the debt I owed."
The cost from a human standpoint is great--to be scorned by both Pharisees and Sadducees. Yet like Paul, every truly earnest soul may have supplies of grace, whereby each can rejoice to count all such things but "as loss and dross for the EXCELLENCY OF THE KNOWLEDGE of Christ" --that we may suffer rejection, contempt, etc., with the Master, if by any [such] means we might be accounted worthy of a part in the First Resurrection--among the overcomers the joint-heirs in the Kingdom.
As the eyes of our understanding more clearly recognize the King in his beauty --the true greatness and grandeur of his character--as we become more and more intimate with his plans as revealed in His Word, we are prepared to see in many passages of the Bible a fulness of love and mercy which the smoke of Babylon's errors has long obscured. "This is the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world"--can no longer be understood to mean, one in ten thousand, but as it says, "every man." "He is the propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (`1 John 2:2`.) --This, too, is seen to mean just what it says, when no longer nullified by the
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theory of everlasting torture. "One mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all--TO BE TESTIFIED IN DUE TIME." (`1 Tim. 2:6`.)--This passage, too, comes to have a full glorious meaning to all who see it: that the ransom covers all, and must be a benefit to ALL; and to benefit all, must be testified to ALL, and in such a time and manner that ALL can and shall "come to a knowledge of the truth."
This general opening of blind eyes, and general testimony of the ransom belongs to the next age; the work of the age now closing is to select the Church, the Bride, the members of the Body of the Christ, who with their Head and Lord shall be exalted, glorified and empowered to bless (restore and teach) all the families of the earth, thus testifying and making available to all in God's due time--the precious Blood of the Lamb which taketh away the sin of the world.
"A hope so much divine
May trials well endure."
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A lump of coal showing on its surface, in delicate tracery, the form of a fern or fish, is prized by the geologist as a specimen of the vegetation or fauna of a very remote period in the day of creation. Such a fossil is valuable as a connecting link between the dead past and living present, possessing no other value except to be burned.
In the world of theology we find many such relics of bygone ages fossilized in the form of liturgies, creeds, confessions of faith, etc., many of them originating in the Carboniferous period of religious knowledge, the "dark ages," which, apart from their value as antiquities, representing the mind and practice of the religious systems of their day, are of no use whatever, except as fuel.
"For what so fiercely burns
As a dry creed that nothing ever learns?"
It is remarkable that in this age of progress and development, men of education and intelligence should shape their thoughts and teachings after the pattern of these Theological Fossils, which are as devoid of life as the petrifications that we find in the museum duly classified and labeled.
In the advanced light of medical science of to-day, the physician who would follow the old system of bleeding, pilling and blistering, and confine his patient in a dark, illy-ventilated room, would be denounced not only as an "old fogy," but as a fool, since medical colleges are continually experimenting and opening up new avenues of knowledge as to the causes and cure of disease. In strong contrast with this, sectarian theology has learned nothing, neither can it learn anything so long as the minds of its teachers are moulded and shaped by the petrified dogmas of their ancestors. He who receives his credentials as a denominational teacher is not a free man. He is bound to accept as the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, the complications of doctrines as handed down to him from the "fathers" of his denomination. What those men, hundreds of years ago, with minds perhaps befogged with superstition, declared to be truth is truth, to which nothing can be added, and from which nothing can be taken away. No matter what light advanced scholarship may have thrown upon the inspired Word; no matter what science may have revealed; no matter what new truths the servants of God may have brought forth from the store-house: the religious instructor of to-day must shut his eyes to the light, and stop his ears from hearing strange or new sounds, and submissively bow to the teachings of antiquated theologians, priests, prelates and parsons, as though their voice were the voice of God. There is no idolatry that has more submissive devotees than has this worship of the stocks and stones of Fossil Theology; there is no tyranny more oppressive than is the tyranny of creed.
How is this accounted for? Very easily. Denominations are formed about the teachings of some man or set of men. These teachings are accepted as the quintessence of truth; preachers are instructed in these doctrines, and ordained to teach them;
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colleges are endowed to perpetuate them, and the graduates from these schools, before being authorized to preach, must subscribe to the system of practice and doctrine taught, and agree to teach the same. He is not a free man. He dare not turn either to the right or to the left under penalty of losing his commission, and with it the means of gaining a livelihood. Instead of building upon the foundation of the prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone, the foundation is human; and the divine injunction applies with terrific force: "In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
Witness the recent trial of the professors of Andover College as an illustration of the despotic power of creed. It was not a question, Did these men teach truth? The only question considered by the judges was, did they teach contrary to the Confession of Faith, and established traditions of the denomination. And in a score of instances that might be cited of ministers brought before ecclesiastical tribunals, they are always tried by the same antiquated law, and required to pronounce the sectarian Shibboleth.
There is little wonder that spiritual deadness is characteristic of the churches everywhere, with fussy Uzzas reaching out their hands to steady the ark of the Lord; with inquisitorial ecclesiastics snuffing out the light of truth as soon as it shows its first feeble rays, and then compelling those who hunger and thirst after righteousness and truth to accept their dead forms and creeds, or else look elsewhere to have their cravings satisfied. Thank God that His truth is not committed to such hands, but is free as the water of life to all who will go to the fountain and drink. Divine truth is not in dead forms and compiled dogmas, but it is liberty and life in Christ Jesus.--Words of Truth.
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THE PAPAL POWER.
The Catholic says:
"Protestant religious sheets inform us that Blaine is in Rome coquetting with the Pope. The secular press asserts that Gladstone is guilty of the same misdemeanor, but denies it in the next breath. They all agree that Salisbury is guilty of the most pronounced coquetry with the Papal Power. This is certainly a strong straw. It discloses the current of modern thought on a question which is undoubtedly wedging its way to the front of political questions in European circles. The dormant potency of the third ring in the Papal Tiara [third crown in the Pope's hat] breeds unrest, and well founded fear, in the hearts of kings and Kaisers.
"The spirit of the world, and emperors and kings, have battled against temporal power, because they understand from history that the Papal Power is the strongest menace against lustful brutality, and violent oppression and tyranny. It has humbled kings, it has disgraced emperors, it has throttled tyranny, and it has earned the everlasting enmity of the world for its civilizing influence. The world bends to the powers that smote it in the past, and disfigured its fair face with rapine and pillage, and ravishings and blood waste, and fears the universal sovereign who cemented the discordant elements of paganism and barbarism into one grand, unitive civilization.
"The Papacy will regain its temporal sovereignty, because it is useful and convenient to the Church. It gives the head executive of the church a fuller liberty, and a fuller sway. The Pope can be no king's subject long. It is not in keeping with the divine office to be so. It cramps him and narrows his influence for good. Europe has acknowledged this influence, and will be forced to bow to it in greater times of need than this. Social upheavals, and the red hand of anarchy, will yet crown Leo or his successor with the reality of power which the third circle symbolizes, and which was once recognized universally."
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RECONCILED BY HIS DEATH AND SAVED BY HIS LIFE.
"If then, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."--`Rom. 5:10`.
That we were actually enemies, and yet at the same time reconciled to God, seems at first sight a contradictory statement. But remembering that the whole race were reckoned and treated as enemies --condemned to death because represented in the transgression of their father Adam--we can see how the death of Christ, who as Adam's substitute took his place in death, reconciled thereby not only Adam but all his race to God. The penalty of sin was death--"In the day thou eatest thereof, dying thou shalt die"--a most just penalty! It is not eternal torture and misery of any kind, but simply the taking away of the abused privilege of living. And since in life man failed to show himself worthy of life, it is evident that when dead, destroyed, he could do nothing to recover himself.
But when the Son of God became partaker of our nature, and then as a man took Adam's place in death never again to rise as a man, the man Adam could justly be released, his life being thus redeemed or purchased. And as all his posterity lost life through his fall, so they all regain life through his redemption by the man Christ Jesus, who thus gave himself a ransom--a corresponding price--a substitute for all.
The great majority of the race who are yet living are still in opposition to God; and the vast majority of those who are dead, died without being converted (turned) to God. But nevertheless they are all reconciled to God by the death of his Son, as the above text asserts.
And if reconciled to God by the death of his Son WHILE THEY WERE YET ENEMIES, it was obvious that they were not reconciled to God by being converted to God, else they would have ceased to be enemies, and the death of his Son would have nothing to do with it. It is evident also that they were not reconciled to God by the good example of his Son; for Adam and millions of his posterity were dead before his Son came, and millions since have died without knowing of or heeding his example, and yet all were reconciled to God by the DEATH of his Son; and therefore, "as through Adam all die, EVEN SO, through Christ shall all be made alive"--having been reconciled to God, having regained the privilege of living, through Christ who redeemed them by his death, by substituting himself for Adam in death.
But let us consider further the doctrine which Paul proceeds to build upon this foundation, which he accepts as sure. He adds: "Much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Seeing that the plan of our reconciliation by the death of his Son, while we were enemies, is affirmed by Jehovah by the mouth of all his Apostles and Prophets, and that it is reasonable and just, and in perfect harmony with the righteous character of our God, it is even "much more" evident that in his own due time we shall be saved. How? "By his life." But how saved by his life, if he became our substitute in death?
Thus it was his life as a man that he sacrificed on our behalf forever; but since that sacrifice was made in obedience to the Father's will, it pleased the Father to resurrect, or re-create our Saviour. And since he could not resurrect him as a man without undoing the ransom, he raised him to another nature. Without interfering with our ransom, God could have raised him to any other nature, either higher or lower than human; but as a reward for his obedience and humiliation, God "highly exalted" him, even to the divine nature. Had our Lord like Adam forfeited his right to life by sinning, he could not have been raised to any nature, but having in loyal obedience sacrificed his life as a man (which was all the life he possessed) God could and did raise him to another nature. And now he ever liveth as a divine being, with all power and authority in heaven and in earth to accomplish the remainder of the plan of our Father, who so loved us, even while condemned sinners, as to give his only begotten Son to die for us--"the just for the unjust."
And if the Son so loved us as to die for us while we were yet enemies, will he not in the Father's appointed time use his great power to awaken from death the millions whom he purchased with his own precious blood? And will he not exercise his authority and power as a wise father [life-giver] for the training of those awakened millions, leading them step by step, by wise and wholesome discipline and instruction, gradually up, up, up to perfection? And only those who refuse to take the steps will fail to reach perfection and everlasting life. The boon of eternal life in perfection and glory will be forced upon none, but, "Whosoever will may take the water of life freely," while those who will not, shall die the second death, from which there shall be no redemption and no resurrection.
After such affirmations and evidences of Jehovah's benevolent designs, and our Lord's obedient and benevolent execution of them, have we not the fullest assurance that all the redeemed race shall be "saved by his life"? and that only those who will not obediently hear (heed) that Prophet--Jehovah's Anointed--shall be cut off from the blessed privilege of eternal life--die the second death? (`Acts 3:22,23`.) Surely, Just and true are thy ways, Lord God Almighty: Thy love is fathomless; thy wisdom is as deep and broad as thy love; thy justice is firm as thine eternal throne. Haste the blessed time when all shall know thee from the least to the greatest, and when thy love, fully comprehended, shall call forth a loving response from every worthy heart; when the willful evil doer shall cease, and when every creature in heaven and in earth shall with united voice ascribe "blessing, and honor, and glory, and power unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the lamb forever and ever." MRS. C. T. RUSSELL.
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"'GIVE me neither poverty nor riches,' said Agur; and this will ever be the prayer of the wise. Our income should be like our shoes, if too small they will gall and pinch us, but if too large they will cause us to stumble and to trip. Wealth, after all, is a relative thing, since he that has little and wants less, is richer than he that has much and wants more. True contentment depends not upon what we have; a tub was large enough for Diogenes, but a world was too small for Alexander."
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THE TITHING CUSTOM.
In God's dealing with "Israel after the flesh," a part of their law was that for collecting tithes. A tithe signifies a tenth, and all Israelites were thus taxed one tenth of their yearly income for the support of their religious government, etc.
Seeing the immense and constant flow of wealth which such a system of taxation secures, has led to various imitations of this Jewish custom among later religionists. In all countries where the Roman Catholic church holds political control, she exacts tithes; for instance, in France she collected tithes until the Revolution of 1790: and in some parts of Italy they continued to be collected until a few months ago, when they were abolished by the present king (who, however, provided for the living expenses of the Catholic clergy, whose income from private estates is insufficient, out of the national taxes). Against this abolition of tithes, Catholic journals here, whose publishers are not obligated by it, protest loudly, yet it is doubtful whether it is not a part of an understood arrangement between the king and the pope. Doubtless the growing civilization of the Italians makes these tithes yearly more meagre and more difficult of collection, and the shrewd Leo, foreseeing the end of this income, has preferred to see its collection taken from him, while at the same time the civil rule, by appointing for the maintenance of the clergy out of the general tax, has made its income more certain and reliable, both for the present and future.
Various denominations of Protestants, while not insisting on the one tenth, nevertheless often refer to the Jewish tithes, and without saying that the same Law is binding upon their faithful, they certainly often give that impression to their hearers.
Tithing is probably the secret of the success of the Mormons and "Seventh-day Adventists." The constant flow of money into their treasuries--one-tenth the earnings of all their people--permits the prosecution of their proselyting work far and near, pays the salaries and traveling expenses of many missionaries, and engages talent in writing and publishing which otherwise would lie dormant.
But what--Are we under this law of tithes? Nay, verily! "Ye are not under the law, but under grace." (`Rom. 6:14`.) The tithing, like all other features of the Law, was given, not to the "new creatures in Christ Jesus" of this Gospel age, but to the Jews, who as minor children were under arbitrary, fixed laws, and not under grace. (See `Gal. 4:1-7`.) But what does it signify to be under grace in this matter of our giving to the Lord's work? It does not mean that there is less need of money than formerly, nor that the grace of God will provide the money in some other and miraculous manner. It merely means, You are no longer bound or obligated by command to give one-tenth of your income, but are left free in this regard that your grateful hearts may find opportunity for manifesting their love and gratitude to the Lord by liberality even when at the cost
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of self-denial. This is the grace or liberty bestowed upon us as matured children of God, over and above the servant or childhood estate of the previous dispensation.
Is this, our liberty, a reason for devoting less than one-tenth to the Lord's service, because he does not command it of us, but leaves us free to act for ourselves under the influence of love for the truth? Would not the command generally be the very least that would be reasonable? and indicate that proportion of our income as
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the Jew was privileged to give as much more than a tithe as he pleased.
In this as in all the features of the Law given to Israel, we find that the letter of it, as they understood it, is less than what would be our reasonable service under grace. When Bro. Adamson met us, after seeing some features of the truth and getting acquainted, we were pressing home upon his attention the Bible doctrine of full consecration, and he, supposing us to refer to money matters, at once replied, "For years I have given a tithe, a tenth of my earnings to the Lord's service." We admired and loved the earnestness which this indicated, and told him so, but at the same time pointed out that one-tenth was only the measure or limit placed upon God's people under the law in the servant age. Bro. A. was surprised that any one thought one-tenth too little, well knowing, as we all do, that few give one-fourth of a tenth of their income. When, however, we pointed out that full consecration means ten-tenths, the whole, he saw it at once and began to do that. Now he sees with us that entire consecration of all we possess--time, talents, money, all,--is our "REASONABLE SERVICE." From that time on, he has been considering all that he has as fully and forever given up to the Lord, and he himself appointed of God the steward or executor to use all, according to his ability, to the glory and honor of him who called us out of darkness into this marvelous light. Brother Adamson, as you all know, considers that he can best use his time and talents to God's glory by selling DAWN, and he is doing with his might what his hands find to do.
So, it is for each one who has presented himself fully and entirely to God, "a living sacrifice," to consider how he can most fully and efficiently use his all in the great service to which he has consecrated it. Such, therefore, cannot decide their course by their likes and dislikes, their fears, preferences, or conveniences; it is their own preferences that they agreed to give up, their own wills that they agreed to ignore, and reckon as dead,--this was the "living sacrifice" (`Rom. 12:1`), which all the truly consecrated laid upon God's altar, to be consumed in the service of God, a sacrifice of sweet savor. It is well that the consecrated should each carefully scrutinize his own heart, and consider well whether he serves himself or God, whether he is a living sacrifice to God, or to business, to family, to society, or worst of all to selfishness and indolence.
Even aside from our covenant of entire consecration to the Lord's service, we should gladly and of willing hearts do if possible ten-fold more in the service of the truth, from love, than we ever did from fear, in the service of error. Nay, more; looking back and remembering what we have unwittingly done in past years to spread error, to bind and blind God's children, and to dishonor and misrepresent our Heavenly Father's plan and character, we should, remembering that "the time is short," strain every effort to at least undo the mischief we helped to work, that perchance in the reckoning time when we give our account we may be able to see, as our works pass in review, that we have not more dishonored than honored our Lord.
His servants ye are to whom ye render service, is an evident truth. So we see that for a long time we, though like Paul honest, and verily thinking that we did God service, were really in a measure servants of the devil, forwarding error, ignorantly opposing truth, and dishonoring God and his Word. Oh! how glad we should be that we did not die while ignorantly fighting against God and blaspheming his holy name (by misrepresenting his character and plan), and helping to teach others to thus blaspheme. God knows that in ignorance we did it, and would have accepted of us through our dear Redeemer; but oh! what shame and confusion would have been ours, to find that life had been more than wasted, in opposing him whom we loved and sought to serve. See `1 Cor. 3:14,15`.
But thanks be to God, though "the time is short" it is very favorable to us, that we may not only undo much of our past misdoings, but, besides, do more--do something to honor the Lord, do some good and acceptable work upon the good foundation, work which will abide and which our Lord will acknowledge and reward, saying "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord." Yes, now is the most favored time, and this should encourage us. In the past, our efforts and expenditures of time and money in the service of error yielded but slight returns compared with what the same time, talent, and money used now, backed by the truth and the love of it, will do.
This should encourage us all, and time and talent and money should be spent as never before in the spread of the truth-- in letter writing, in talking, in preparing, translating, printing, loaning, selling, etc., reading matter; and in every way lifting up the truth, the standard of the Lord before the people--`Isa. 62:10`.
We are glad to note the sentiments of some of the brethren and sisters that 1888 A.D. shall be one of greater effort in the Master's service, in the service of the truth, than any before. We say, Amen! and trust it will be the sentiment of all the saints, the consecrated. We pray that God will grant us each the needed grace whereby to overcome the selfishness and smallness of our "earthen vessels," that our ambitions, hopes and affections may be lifted from the groveling, earthly things, to the heavenly things promised to such as are faithful to the end of life's race. How many will appreciate the privilege of laying up honors and treasures in heaven, at the cost of treasures and comforts and honors earthly? Some--the "overcomers," who delight to do God's will, and who count all things earthly but as loss and dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ask yourselves, you who have tasted "the good word of God," How much better is it than the error which once beclouded love and hope with fear, and which, instead of real faith, gave ignorant, unreasoning, unsatisfying, blind credulity? How much (trying to put a money value on that which is more precious than rubies--yea, than much fine gold)--how much more is the truth worth than the error you formerly held? You paid liberally for the error, we all know. If you did not give hours of time and thought in preparing for and attending upon the fairs, suppers, socials, treats and what not, of some sect, you at least gave time to hearing the preaching of error, and money to pay for that preaching at home as well as in foreign lands. It is safe to estimate that if you were a member of any of the sects of "Christendom," in good and regular standing, it cost you not less than five hours of time (including time for dressing, etc.) and from fifteen cents to one dollar in money each week. (In this we include the usual collection taken at every Sunday service, besides the special collections for Home and Foreign Missions, and for Bible and Tract Societies; also pew rent and expenditures in connection with fairs and socials.) This calculation is very moderate, many giving five times as many hours, and ten times as much money, yet this, our moderate estimate, shows that error and blindness and fear cost you, in fifty-two weeks of each year, 260 hours of time and from $7.80 to $52.00 per year in money.
Now ask and answer to yourself the questions--How much more is the truth worth than the error? and How much more time and money am I spending in spreading the truth in my own heart, and in the hearts of others? If you are not satisfied with your course in view of your own calculation, begin at once to show the Lord, yourself, and your family, how highly you appreciate the truth above error. Act at once, for "the time is short."--See Feb. '87 TOWER.
We are taking for granted, of course, that you have stopped your contribution of time, talent and money formerly given cheerfully to the spread of what you now see to be error, but which at the time, Paul-like, you "verily thought to be God's service." No doubt God accepted your good intention while blinded by error, but now you see, and now you are responsible as a steward of God's blessings --time, talent, money, etc.--and can neither waste them upon yourself, nor use them to spread error, without having in due time to plead guilty, as unfaithful servants. We have great light, and should remember that "Where much is given much will be required."
Instead, therefore, of being willing to transfer merely the same amount of money, and time and influence from the spread of error to the spread of truth, we all should feel as we sometimes sing--
"Truth--how precious is the treasure!
Teach us, Lord, its worth to know."
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To justify is either to make just and right that which is wrong, or to prove and show to be just that which is free from blame.
"Justification by faith" is well known to be a Scriptural doctrine, yet we think its real meaning and scope are not fully understood by many who profess to have been so justified.
The tendency of the times is toward a still more unscriptural idea, and while we doubt not many have been saved in the past who did not understand it, in this age and land it becomes more than ever our duty to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."--`2 Pet. 3:18`.
Paul's statement of the case is as follows:-- In the `first two chapters of Romans` he shows that all mankind are sinners; that the natural tendency is downwards; that neither the Gentiles with the light of nature, nor the Jews with the light and law of Moses, are able to free themselves from sin and sinful tendencies. When he reaches `Rom. 3:21`, he thus explains God's simple yet wonderful provision for the race. "But now apart from law a righteousness [justness] of God hath been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe; for there is no distinction: for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the REDEMPTION that is in Christ Jesus: whom God set forth to be a mercy-seat through faith in his blood, to show his righteousness in passing by the sins formerly committed, during the forbearance of God: and to a showing of his righteousness in the present time, in order that he may be righteous [just] while justifying him who hath faith in Jesus."
Mark the following points:--
1. All have sinned, are unjust, therefore need justifying--that is, to be made just or right.
2. Neither Nature nor Law can justify the sinner.
3. God remains strictly just himself, while justifying the sinner.
4. God's method of justification has been witnessed [attested] by the Law and the Prophets.
5. It is granted us through redemption made by Christ Jesus.
6. It is attained through faith in his blood.
7. It accomplishes the passing by (so cancelling or crossing off) of former sins, and the restoration of the sinner to favor.
Statement No. 1 is admitted by the class we wish to talk to; those who do not believe it are out of our present reach, but will be reached effectually by the judgments of the coming age.
No. 2. As to the light of nature. The ante-diluvians had that light with evidently better physical and mental natures than we to work with, but they developed characters that even Noah's flood could not wash out and leave them living. Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them had this light, but a fiercer flame overtook them. The Amorites and other nations of Canaan had this light, but it led them to destruction. (`Deut. 18:9-12`; `Gen. 15:16`; `2 Kings 17:29-41`.) And it has been true all down the ages that "The dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty."
As to the Jew, if the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service, and the promises (`Rom. 9:3-5`), and all the light of Sinai could not save them, how say some among you that the heathen may be saved by the light of nature? That there have been remarkably noble specimens of humanity among the heathen--considering their surroundings--there is no doubt; and through the plan of mercy God has provided, such will have a reward: even the giving of a cup of cold water will not be forgotten. (`Mark 9:38-41`.) Some even to this day retain more of the original Adamic nature or character than others. We see this both in civilized and barbarous lands. Lingerings of the original noble, generous nature that God created in Adam (His own likeness) reassert themselves, and come up, sometimes in families, and sometimes in individuals, and sometimes under circumstances that least favor such a character.
But such a character could not, and can not now save a man whose life is already forfeited. Can any little kindness done to his fellow-prisoners by a man under sentence of death, and waiting the day of his execution, legally save his life? So the human race who have been under the dominion of death ever since the day of Adam's transgression, whatever good they may do, are powerless to save themselves from the penalty.
Paul in `Rom. 3:9-20` first states clearly this helpless condition of both Jew and Gentile, and then points out the plan of justification that the God of Love has provided.
No. 3. But this plan cannot interfere with God's justice and integrity. He cannot, as some claim, withdraw his sentence, and by a sovereign will to do as he pleases, forgive whom he will, or even those who seek his forgiveness. Having enacted a law and pronounced its penalty
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upon a race who had been brought under its condemnation, He cannot eat his own words, speaking humanly, and reverse his decree. His justice, his holiness, his unchangeableness of character (`Mal. 3:6`,) must remain perfect.
In that beautiful `55th chapter of Isaiah` we read: "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither [in vain], but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, and giveth seed to the sower, and bread to the eater; so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereunto I sent it."
Our loving Father, then, had a wise purpose in making his decree which brought such condemnation; and when it has accomplished his will, we will see that his LOVE is equal to his JUSTICE, that his WISDOM devised the plan, and that his infinite POWER was nowise taxed to carry out his purpose without confusion or clash. Let us study His "way" in the light of our next point:
No. 4. What did the Law witness in reference to justification? Emphatically that "without shedding of blood there is no remission." (`Heb. 9:22`.) Every sacrifice, day by day, and year by year, proved this.
But why blood? Some people seem to have a terrible horror of coupling blood with salvation. Any subject, perhaps, may be made a tiresome hobby, but the allwise God has seen fit to use blood as a symbol and as an instrumentality, and we may not instruct HIM.
"Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin: and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned:"--being of the Adamic nature. Life being forfeited, life only could redeem; so the Lord tells us, "The life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement by reason of [being] the life."-- `Lev. 17:11,14`; `Gen. 9:4`; `Deut. 12:23`.
Did these sacrifices day by day make the Jews perfect? No, says Paul (`Heb. 10:1-4`), else having been cleansed once for all, they might have ceased their offerings. But he says "In those sacrifices there is a remembrance made of sins year by year." What were they then, and what for? Inspiration answers "a shadow of the good things to come, not the substance of the things themselves."--Syriac. But the shadow must be a true outline of the substance, so they pointed to the complete and perfect justification from sin by the "better sacrifice," the "body" that the Father himself prepared; offered once for all [time].--`Heb. 10:5,10`.
The Prophets [`Ps. 22`, `Isa. 52`, `53`, `63`, etc.,] testified to the same truths. Both describe a vicarious or substitutionary justification; that is, the guilty one is freed by an act done, or a price or penalty paid by some one else.
But why some one else, why not the one really guilty? Because, as before shown, the penalty being death, i.e., his right to life, he had no equivalent to redeem it with. Having lost his all, what had he left to buy it back with? But as we have seen, a "body" has been prepared, a sacrifice well pleasing to God has been made, a Redeemer is found.
No. 5. John the Baptist was the divinely appointed herald of this divinely appointed Redeemer, and his words of introduction were:--"Behold the LAMB of God, which taketh away the sins of the world." (`John 1:29`.) How could those Jews understand such a declaration only as referring to one who was to be in some way offered up, as a sacrifice in the place of some one else who had sinned.
A new school of wise (?) men have arisen who say: "Away with this talk of Christ's death atoning for us, and of his blood being required to satisfy the Father, as if the Father was a Shylock demanding his pound of flesh. It was not his death, but his life that was efficacious; his pure self-denying life; giving us an example that we should follow in his steps."
No doubt this sounds very sensible to some extremely esthetic religionists of today; but it is sophistry, nevertheless.
We appreciate that spotless life. We believe that short as it was, it was without a parallel in nobility, wisdom and blessing; we believe too that only those who make it their pattern, and that glorious
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character their highest ambition, will be privileged to become members of that Divine body of which he will be the Head.
There was a grand purpose in his life; there was one--even more necessary--in his death.
Imagine an athlete finely developed and bounding with life, coming to a dying man whose every power was hopelessly shattered, who could at most live but a few hours, saying to him: "Look at me, see what I am; my system of exercise not only keeps me in full health but I believe will add years to my life."
Would not this be mockery? Have we not seen that the whole race passed under the dominion of death when Adam fell? `Rom. 5:12`. "Death reigned from Adam to Moses." The law was given, but it only revealed man's weakness; so death continued to reign. Jesus came. His body was a miraculous fornication of the Father in the womb of Mary. (`Heb. 10:5`.) His life came directly from heaven (`Heb. 1:5`, `Luke 1:35`,) and he was therefore, though human, yet free, both from Adamic sin and its penalty, death.
He was the second man, perfect, sinless, in the likeness of God. The first one, Adam, had failed in the test, and falling carried the race (yet in his loins) with him.
The second one, Jesus, had come to REDEEM this lost and ruined race. He must first stand the test to show to angels and to men that he was the peer, the equal of the first Adam then, not before, he paid the redemption price,--a life for a life. Having first redeemed Adam, and all the race in him, his example, his character, became available to them as a pattern of the way of obedience; the reward of which is eternal life.
But eternal or any measure of life could not come to those under the dominion of death, i.e., these whom death had a claim against, until they are first released from this claim;--redeemed, as had been clearly shadowed forth in the types of the Jewish covenant.
Redemption under the law could be made only by an estimated equivalent value. In some cases (`Lev. 25:25-31`; `27:14-34`; `Num. 3:44-51`) it might be made with money; in most cases, and where sin was involved, only blood could atone, or justify. (`Heb. 9:22`.) Peter refers to this and clearly shows what justified us. "Knowing that ye were redeemed not with corruptible things, with silver or gold;...but with the precious blood of Christ; as of a lamb without blemish and without spot; who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifested at the end of the times for your sake."--`1 Pet. 1:18-20`.
No. 6. This justification [salvation] is attained by faith in his blood. "O yes," says some one, "blood again, always blood. Do not the Scriptures clearly teach that we are saved by grace, that is favor? How then by blood, and by a purchase? Is it a favor to receive that which is bought and paid for?"
If we were without means and starving or freezing and a passerby should find us, and go and get food and help and rescue us, it might or might not be a favor to him, it would certainly would be a great favor to us. But because it is of favor, it is not less "by faith;" nor because by faith is it less "through blood." It is all three-- by faith in the blood ransom provided by the favor of God, who "was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself."
In turning away from the distorted view of the sacrifice presented in some hymnbook theology, let us be careful that we do not turn away from the Scriptures of truth. If our theories do not agree with the words of inspiration, we had better search the Word for a more harmonious theory; better void the theology than avoid the Scripture.
No. 7. How are these sins passed by? Suppose as was once possible a man got badly in debt and could not pay. Having nothing, he himself is sold and afterward put in prison. A friend discovers him and asks to be shown his account. It is brought and the friend says, "Here is the amount, mark that paid. Now, turn over a new leaf--so passing the old account by. Write my name at the top, he is my slave, whatever he needs give him and charge it to me." Having done this the friend makes him free, but the man filled with gratitude, while rejoicing in his freedom, gladly yields willing obedience and service to his new and kind master.
Thus to the world, whose millions have been enslaved to Satan and his minions, the picture illustrates Sin's tyranny and degradation, and God's love and deliverance and favor as perhaps nothing else would.
The Law, with its sacrifices and typical justification; its jubilee cycles, enslavement and purchased redemption (`Lev. 25:8-28`.) etc., were all given as pictures, as object lessons to illustrate God's wonderful plan of salvation. A blind Church has neglected God's pictures, (failing to see them clearly herself) but under the restored Levitical priesthood, in the coming age, enlightened by that of the order of Melchisedec, these illuminations will be powerful instrumentalities in the accomplishment of the work they were really intended for: great index fingers pointing unerringly to the justification and redemption and RESTORATION of the race of slaves (of Sin and Satan), by Jehovah's way--through the blood of the world's Redeemer and Master, Jesus Christ our Lord.
W. I. MANN.
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C. H. SPURGEON in a sermon on `Rev. 5:10` said: "Do you know I am a fifth monarchy man? In Cromwell's time some said there had been four monarchies and the fifth would come and overturn every other. Well, I never wish to do as they did; but I believe with them that a fifth monarchy shall come. There have been four;--and there never shall be another until Christ shall come....I am afraid we cannot hope for much better times until the Lord Jesus Christ comes a second time. Often do I cheer myself with the thought of His coming....For that day do I look: it is to the bright horizon of that second coming that I turn my eyes."
THE Protestant Churchman says: "What is the view we are to take, and the duty to which we are called?...To take the view of earth which the Lord's word suggests, Till the glorious coming of the Saviour we may anticipate nothing but successive overturnings of men and earthly things...The history of men, in the closing period of the times of the Gentiles, is a history of warfare and revolution, until the Saviour appears in the power and majesty of His coming. Thus are we to look at the coming state of the world and men, till He appear to take the kingdom."
"WE are living in the very age towards which all eyes have been directed as those of the closing days of the church's conflict, as long ago as the time of Luther."--Samuel Garratt.
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"A VERY unpleasant complication has arisen in a wealthy and fashionable church in Cincinnati. For some time past a woman of previously doubtful reputation has been a constant attendant at the services of this church. She has frequently been affected to tears by the sermons, and in other ways manifested a great interest in religion. The prominent members of the church, however, and especially the ladies, are indignant at her for venturing to sit among respectable people, and the pastor has been requested to inform her that she is not wanted. Thus far he does not appear to have done this, and a number of people talk of leaving the church, unless this woman is made to do so. Wonder if these ladies ever read the `eighth chapter of John`, from the third to the eleventh verses. Probably not, or if they have, it is very likely they don't believe in any such spirit as that shown by Jesus the Christ."--Sel.
WHOSE is this fastidious? "Church;" Whose spirit has it? Surely the church founded by Christ included Mary Magdalene. The great fashionable congregations of the worldly have its spirit, which is against (contrary to) Christ's spirit. --W. M. WRIGHT.