ZWT - 1895 - R1794 thru R1910 / R1901 (269) - December 1, 1895
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VOL. XVI. DECEMBER 1, 1895. No. 23.
Views From the Tower..............................271
The Cup of the Lord and the Table
of the Lord.................................273
"Dawn Circles for Bible Study"....................276
Poem: The Plan of the Ages........................277
Bible Study: David Anointed King..................277
Bible Study: David and Goliath....................278
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A NEW GERMAN TRANSLATION.
SOME time since a German brother in conversation with the Editor remarked, "Although I am a German, I can understand the English DAWNS better than the German translation, which contains too many foreign words, not pure German." Investigation proved that, while the translation might be termed a good one, its language is in some places out of the range of the average reader.
We have accordingly had a new translation prepared, Brother Otto Koetitz being the translator. We have good reason to believe that the desired form of language has been attained.
The first volume is now ready, and the other two are in course of preparation. The prices of these will be uniform with the English edition. Indeed, for about a year and a half we have been purchasing the old edition and supplying them to our readers and to the colporteurs, at these prices, although many of them cost us seven cents per copy more than this. We will so continue to fill orders for vols. II. and III. of the old lot, as our new translation of these will not be ready for some months.
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VIEWS FROM THE TOWER.
THE Episcopal Convention has closed its session without electing one of its Bishops a "Primus" or chief; so that question lies over for three years more.
The tendency, however, among the "clergy" of all denominations, is toward the episcopal form of church government, and away from the congregational form. And each step in this direction is favorable to the federation of all with the Episcopal church.
The Lutherans are moving for at least one bishop, believing that in this form of government lies much of the success of Episcopaleans, Methodist-Episcopals and Roman Catholics. At their recent Conference at Lancaster, Pa., the subject of bishops was freely discussed. The "clergy" said that the "laity" favored the movement; and the only question amongst the "clergy" seemed to be whether or not they should send to Sweden for a bishop. It was not claimed that the Lutherans had an apostolic succession of bishops any more than have the Methodists; but it was claimed that long usage would carry additional respect and reverence for the office.
"Rev. Dr. John Kohler said the church wanted a historical succession. He thought a proper authority could not sustain the establishment of an indefinite supervision, but if the episcopate be established the history of the past would be a good authority back of the movement."
The Baptists are gravitating more and more toward denominational organization; and, failing to see the Lord's method for supervising the Church, they also are moving toward a hierarchy with bishops. These are not proposed under these names, but suggested to be (1) A "Permanent Council" and (2) "Pastor at Large." These matters, recommended by a committee, are set forth in several columns of the leading Baptist journal, The Examiner. Apparently, by the time the Protestant Federation is ready to form, the Baptist churches will be a denomination also and ready to be received as a member of the alliance.
We recently called attention to the fact that the young people's societies amongst the United Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans and Baptists were intended in a quiet way to offset the Y.P. Christian Endeavor Society which, starting amongst Congregationalists, had proved so popular and unsectarian a movement. Now it appears that our Presbyterian friends are disturbed on this subject also, fearing that their young people will become too independent, and, learning to vote for themselves, may learn also to think for themselves. A committee appointed to consider the subject met in Pittsburg during the past month. It appears that young people's societies have already been formed in several of the churches hereabouts, and the name Westminster is favorably considered. No definite action as to a denominational society has yet been taken, but the committee will report to the next General Assembly.
Objection is made that Christian Endeavor societies are too "interdenominational," and not calculated to promote sectarian "loyalty." The hope was expressed that if the General Assembly were to offer some suggestions the C.E. Society might accept them rather than risk so important a deflection. It is doubtful, however, if it is not too late to fight the Y.P.S.C.E. It is as likely to split some churches as to split the ranks of the Christian Endeavorers. Young Presbyterians are about as independent as the old ones.
After all, though, the liberty and activity of the C.E. may yet prove a snare to many of them. Not having the great divine plan before their minds, they are open to many assaults from which they were previously protected by the
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bondage of superstition and the errors of their denominations. Now is the time to let these Young People have the truth, before they fall into the traps of Theosophy, Christian Science, Spiritism, no-ransom evolutionism, the infidelity of Higher Criticism and Good Citizenship moralism.
As an evidence of the so-called gospel that is being preached, we notice the following among "Summary of Principal Sermons" in the N.O. Times-Democrat:
Rev. F. F. Passmore, Denver, Col., subject, Preachers. He said in substance, "Our great preachers to-day are preaching for big salaries, fine mansions and sumptuous living, and they are getting them."
Rev. Dr. Lloyd, Christian Church, Nashville, Tenn., subject, Ignorance. He in substance said: "The greatest tyrant oppressing the masses to-day is King Ignorance. A people rushing at such a rate of progress as we are going to-day need to keep informed, to think some for themselves. They should read the newspapers."
How to vote is also considered by many preachers to be a part of the gospel to-day. As an illustration, on Sunday evening, Oct. 20, the Cornell Memorial Methodist Church had a political meeting presided over by Mayor Strong, to whom it was surrendered by the pastor after an opening prayer. The Mayor, the report says, "was greeted with loud applause." The N.Y. Sun says, "He told the
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congregation that 'a better ticket to vote for than the fusion ticket' could not be selected; and he complimented 'the clergy of New York' for being 'willing to devote an evening,' that is, to open their churches on Sunday evening, for political meetings in its behalf. 'This is the third church,' he continued, 'that I have been invited to attend to-night to talk about whom we should vote for, and I suppose next Sunday there will be many more churches open for the same purpose.'
"Commissioner Roosevelt then entered the pulpit and was received with enthusiastic applause. He made a rattling speech in his best vein, hitting out against his critics without mercy; and his many spirited sallies provoked frequent applause and much merriment." The session closed by singing the Doxology.
In the same great city recently another great preacher's gospel was an advocacy of the German Sunday. He (Rev. Heber Newton--Episcopalean) explained that the Germans have services at 9.30 Sunday morning which are well attended; at 11 o'clock the children's session has its turn till noon. In the afternoon the whole population in families visit the beer gardens and chat pleasantly and drink beer and listen to the strains of sweet music. Rev. Newton pleads for saloons to be permitted to be open on Sunday afternoons that the American Christians might similarly have the (spiritual?) refreshment of music and beer.
How strange that those various preachers and their intelligent congregations should consider that they preach and hear "the Gospel of the Son of God." Ah! they think that the old, old story is worn out and has lost its charm; they consider the crowds and the applause of men and the big salaries,--and these they must have.
The trouble is that in both the pulpits and pews the "tares" outnumber the "wheat," the sanctified in Christ Jesus. The gospel, because it acts only upon the heart, controls only the "wheat." The preponderating "tare" element needs constantly to be rubbing up the outside, because inwardly they are full of the spirit of the world --pride, ambition, selfishness, envy. "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."--`Rev. 18:4`.
A speculative craze has recently spread over Europe. South African gold fields are reported to be very rich; and on the strength of this report numerous share-companies have been started. The purchasers of these shares are chiefly of the "middle classes" who by economy have saved a little money, and who now hope by these investments to have a comfortable income for the remainder of life. Beginning with England, this wave has spread all over Europe.
Prudent, far-sighted men see that the "promoters" who organize these companies and boom them to fabulous prices will make immense fortunes (many have done so already), and that the people who invest their hard-earned hoardings at the boom prices will lose their little alls; and they so advise them, but to no purpose;--the whole world is racing for wealth.
The boom may last a year or two, but it must sooner or later collapse in a panic. The fluctuations in the value of these shares in one day recently was $500,000,000. When the crash comes and these investors lose all it will tend to make them, the "middle class," sour, gloomy and dejected; and thus it will push many of them into the ranks of the socialistic and anarchistic, hopeless "lower classes." Thus we see another factor preparing for the bringing forward of the great crash of the "time of trouble."
The threatened dismemberment of Turkey is exciting great interest the world over. It seems imminent; and our "Second Adventist" friends have long held the theory that Turkey is the False Prophet of `Rev. 19:20`, and that its overthrow means "the end of the world." As our readers are aware, we take a totally different view of these things, believing that Turkey has nothing whatever to do with the symbolic False Prophet referred to. Should dismemberment be determined on it will be done very cautiously; for all Europe dreads war as never before. But if war should occur, it would by no means be even a part of the final "trouble such as was not since there was a nation." If this were the year 1905, instead of 1895, the matter would have a totally different aspect. How blessed in the midst of so many rumors of wars and commotions and trials of life to have the peace of God which passeth all understanding keep our hearts! Our Master's words were, "My peace
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I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
We have already called attention to the Jew-haters, the anti-Semitic party of Austria. It grows more bitter and more strong daily. This party has by recent elections gained a large majority in the Municipal Council of Vienna, on the proposition that the Jews be persecuted--by being refused public office and contracts, that present contracts held by them shall be cancelled and that their children be separated from others in the public schools: and these are only beginnings of persecutions. This Council elected a rabid "Jew-hater" for mayor, charged with executing these measures. The Emperor, contrary to custom, exercised his power and set aside the choice and ordered a new election. The Council re-elected the same man by way of showing their determination; whereupon the Emperor's representative declared the Council dissolved. Great excitement results, and the Jews, who represent one-tenth of the population and one-third of the wealth, are sorely perplexed.
Yes, we are in "the time of Jacob's trouble;" and we shall not be surprised if bitterness against the race shall reach such intensity as to expel them from Austria, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal--possibly from England. The Lord has promised to gather the "remnant of Israel" that they shall come back to their own land "with weeping and with supplication."--`Jer. 31:8-10`.
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THE CUP OF THE LORD AND THE TABLE OF THE LORD.
"Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?"--`1 Cor. 10:21,22`.
WE find these words of warning addressed, not only to "the Church of God at Corinth," but also "to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord." (`1 Cor. 1:2`.) They apply to the entire probationary membership of the Gospel Church down to the end of the age.
Those whose hearts are still loyal and true to God may at first think strange of such an admonition, and say, "Paul, Paul, why so counsel us when we have no desire to touch or taste or handle the devil's goods? Such counsel seems to betoken some mistrust of our loyalty to the Lord." But Paul replies, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." The warning is a wholesome one: our testing and trial are not yet finished: while the Lord's cup is presented to us, the devil, as an angel of light, and with great subtlety, presents his cup also; and while the Lord spreads his table, the devil spreads his also.
What is the Lord's cup? Call to mind the Lord's reference to it--"The cup which my Father hath given me to drink, shall I not drink it?" And again, when its bitter dregs were to be drained to the end, hear him pray, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me! nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." And yet again, "O my Father, if this cup may not pass from me except I drink it, thy will be done." It is the cup of sacrifice, even unto death. And not only is it the sacrifice of life, but of reputation and all that humanity holds dear. The life is sacrificed in the midst of reproaches and persecution and extreme trials of faith and patience. After the last supper with his disciples Jesus took the symbolic cup, saying, "This is my blood of the new testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins....Drink ye all of it." (`Matt. 26:27,28`.) The Apostle (`1 Cor. 10:16`) refers to the same cup saying, "The cup of blessing, for which we bless God, is it not a participation of the blood of the Anointed one?" And so also, "The loaf which we break, is it not a participation of the body of the Anointed one? Because there is one loaf we, the many, are one body."
Thus we see that the body of Christ is invited to share the same cup with the Head--the cup of sacrifice, of ignominy and reproach. "Drink ye all of it." And blessed is he who has thus far so faithfully partaken of the Lord's cup that he can say, "The reproaches of them that reproached thee have fallen upon me."
We have seen what is the Lord's cup: now what is the cup of devils? Well, it is a cup of sacrifice also; and those who drink of it sacrifice their true happiness in the present life and their prospects for the life to come. These, however, are the dregs of Satan's cup: these do not appear upon the surface. Its surface sparkles with hopes of earthly prosperity, pride, self-exaltation and "honor one of another;" and to attain these hopes, time,
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talent and influence are sacrificed to the bitter and disappointing end.
That is indeed a cup of intoxication, a cup of deceptions and delusions, whose awful potency finally is unto eternal death. Well does the Apostle say, "The things which the Gentiles [the unbelieving world] sacrifice they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye [believers, Christians] should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils." In other words, we cannot partake of the spirit of the world, the spirit of selfishness, ambition, pride, and sacrifice our lives to these ignoble aims, and at the same time partake also of the spirit of Christ, which is unselfish, humble, self-denying and glad to sacrifice earthly ambitions in the service of him who bought us with his own precious blood. We cannot partake of both spirits; for the one is the reverse of and antagonistic to the other. "Ye
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cannot serve God and Mammon." Nor can ye long halt between the two. "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways," and "Let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."--`Jas. 1:7,8`.
Since this warning is addressed, not to the world, but to those who have already pledged themselves to drink of the Lord's cup, their partaking now of the devil's cup implies their turning away from the Lord's cup. And if any are so foolish as to give the consent of their minds to the partaking in some measure of both the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils,--of the spirit of the Lord and the spirit of the world and of devils, of the doctrines of the Lord and the doctrines of devils, he is wilfully despising his covenant and doing despite to the spirit of favor.
Let us consider now what is "the table of the Lord." It is the board richly spread with a bountiful supply of divine truth--bread of life and meat in due season and honey in the honeycomb, and the choicest beverages of milk and wine, and of the pure water of life, clear as crystal. (`John 6:32-35`; `Matt. 24:45`; `Psa. 19:10`; `Isa. 55:1`; `Rev. 21:6`; `22:1`.) It is spread for every one that is hungering and thirsting after righteousness; and blessed are they that come to it, for they shall be filled: they shall be richly fed and abundantly satisfied, and their souls shall delight themselves in fatness.--`Isa. 55:1,2`; `Matt. 5:6`; `Psa. 22:26`.
This table of the Lord has been spread for his saints, his Church, from the very beginning of the Gospel age; and it has always been supplied with meat in season; and some of the Lord's people have been appointed to serve. Thus, for instance the apostles served in the beginning of the age, not only in setting before the Lord's people the meat in due season, but also in laying up in store food for the Church in future days. (`2 Pet. 1:15,19`.) Their service has been valuable to the entire Church, even to the present day. And all through the age there have been devout, godly men who called the Lord's people to his table, and ministered to them from its bounty; and the hungry have been fed and blessed.
But now the end, the harvest of the age, has come, the richest season of all the year, when the buds of prophecy and promise have developed and are now bringing forth their golden fruit, and the table of the Lord fairly groans under its bounty. And not only so, but the Lord of the harvest himself, being now present, according to his promise, comes forth and serves his people. (`Luke 12:37`.) Here, as never in all the past, the richness and fatness of the purposes and promises of God are made manifest in all their completeness. Here is a systematic theology such as the Church has never before known,--the plan of salvation set before us in such order and beauty that it surpasses our brightest hopes; a plan consistent and harmonious in every part and wrought out silently and grandly through all the ages past on principles of the most profound moral philosophy, and with a precision and exactness of time and order that are suggestive of the mathematical precision of the great Designer, Executor and Revealer. So glorious is it in its completeness, its symmetry and beauty, that the satisfied soul perceives that no addition could be made to it without marring its excellence, and joyfully exclaims, "It is the Lord's doing and the Lord's revealing, and it is marvelous in our eyes;" and "What more can he say than to us he hath said" of his wisdom and love and grace? Though the Lord makes use of human agency to portray and proclaim the riches of his grace and his loving kindness to the sons and heirs of God, and though he permits all at the table to be co-workers together with himself in serving one another at the feast, to God belongs all the glory of both plan and execution; and to our Lord and Head belongs the praise of this service of the revealing, and of the anointing of our hearts to receive it, and our eyes to behold it, and our ears to hear it, and our tongues to declare it. Glory to God in the highest, and unto the Lamb forever and ever! Let the whole earth be filled with his glory!
While the Lord's table is thus richly spread with a satisfying portion for all who hunger and thirst after righteousness and after the knowledge of God, whom to know is life and peace, there are many other tables spread to which the people of God are invited. Papacy has its table upon which, with some fragments of truth, are found in abundant supply the abominable doctrines of the mass, of eternal torment, and purgatory, and the idolatry of Mary, and the presumed saints, and auricular confession, and implicit obedience to scheming priests, etc., etc. Protestants also have their several tables, upon which may be found some truth, such as the redemption through the precious blood of Christ, baptism, faith in God and in his inspired Word, etc.; but oh! what fragments of truth they have are all befouled; for, says the Prophet (`Isa. 28:8`,--and his words are true), "All [their] tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean." They are full of rejected matter--old errors swallowed in the past with thoughtless complacency. But the shakings (`Heb. 12:26,27`) of these judgment times are making the people sick, so that they cannot retain those horrid doctrines of eternal torment, the predestination to eternal woe of the great majority of mankind before they were born, etc., etc. And yet, lacking the moral courage openly to disown and abandon them, their tables are therefore polluted with the sickening rejected matter: their tables are all unclean.
Before the "shakings" of this present time produced the nausea that befouled those tables, many of the Lord's dear people were permitted to sit there and select the good food and to antidote the poison of the errors with larger draughts of the water of life from the fountain of God's Word. But now, harvest having come, and the separating work being due (`Matt. 13:30`), all the true people of God are called away from those tables to the bountiful harvest table where the Lord himself is now serving. In obeying the voice of the Lord and abandoning the unclean tables
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many enemies are made, but blessed are those who have the hearing of faith and obey the call to the Lord's table. It was of this the Psalmist sung, saying, "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil: my cup [of blessing] runneth over."
But there are other tables besides the unclean tables of Babylon. There are tables of devils: tables laden with all manner of subtle and ingenious evil doctrines, bringing in "damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them," wresting the Scriptures, perverting them, undermining their teaching, and substituting human philosophies. Of these are such tables as the Papacy--that "masterpiece of Satanic ingenuity," Theosophy, Spiritism, Christian Science (falsely so called), Evolution, and all the various phases of human philosophy which ignore the doctrine of redemption through our Lord's vicarious sacrifice, and aim to teach men how to climb up to eternal life by some other way. These all are tables of devils, against which the Apostle warns us, saying, Ye cannot partake of the Lord's table and the table of devils.
Some, alas! after they have accepted the invitation to the Lord's table, and have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, do turn away from the Lord's table to the tables of devils, apparently thinking they can return at their pleasure and be welcomed again at the Lord's table, and come and go at will and partake of both. "Oh yes," say they, "we are not narrow-minded weaklings, afraid to taste anything except what we find on one table. True, the table of the Lord is a very good one; but there are good things on the other tables too, and we taste every thing; yes, we 'prove all things, and hold fast that which is good,' no matter where we find it."
Such, alas! is the attitude of many, who forget that "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall;" and if the efforts of faithful brethren fail to convince them of the error of their way, it is not long before they begin to manifest a distaste for the food supplied at the Lord's table, and it becomes more and more evident that soon they must leave it altogether. The unwholesome and poisonous dishes on the devil's table soon vitiate the taste, undermine the spiritual health, and produce abnormal cravings for that which is not good; and the spiritually sick soul has no longer any disposition to feast at the Lord's table. Nor does the Lord desire that he should; for in leaving the table of the Lord he has done despite to the spirit of favor, and if he persist in such a course he must depart altogether; for "Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table and the table of devils." "Ye cannot please two masters."
In the act of going from the Lord's table to the table of devils he who does so virtually says that he is not satisfied with the bounties of divine providence, and that he still has some respect for the devil, the great enemy of
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God. Thus he proves his disloyalty to God by his fellowship with unrighteousness. In quoting the scripture, "Prove all things, hold fast that which is good," he forgets the accompanying modification, "Abstain from all appearance of evil." (`1 Thes. 5:19-22`.) We have much to do, and all we can do, if we do it well, in proving the abundant merits of the food upon the Lord's table, and in appropriating it to our spiritual life and health and serving it to others. We taste and see that the Lord is good, and prove the healthfulness of his doctrines, but we have nothing to do with the doctrines of devils, except to abstain from them, and to warn others of their ill effects, as illustrated in those who have tampered with them.
Any child of God should be able to tell at a glance the devil's table from the Lord's table, especially after he has been fed at the Lord's table. The foundations of any system are easily discovered, and there is only one true foundation--Christ, the ransom. "Other foundation can no man lay." (`1 Cor. 3:11`; `15:3`.) And any one whose soul has been satisfied with the truth, should perceive at once the deformity of error. As a musician's ear, trained to the beautiful harmonies of sound, quickly detects a discordant note, or as an artist's eye, trained to all the fine distinctions of form and color and order, quickly marks the defective work of an amateur, so the mind and heart, educated in the beautiful harmonies and the perfect and artistic order and system of the Divine Plan, quickly detect the discord of error, and they need no other satisfaction and can find no higher delight; and the soul armed with this "whole armor of God" needs no other preparation to be able to withstand either the subtle or the brazen-faced incursions and attacks of error. "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil;" rest in the Lord, and be satisfied; and feed at the Lord's table only, if you would have that spiritual health and vigor which is proof against all the pestilences of this evil day.
To those who are not satisfied at the Lord's table after having feasted there, apply those words of the Lord by the Prophet `Isaiah (1:1-6`), "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken: I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider." The ox and the ass know enough to return again and again to the owner and crib where hitherto they have been well fed. In this they manifest more discretion than those of the Lord's people who forsake his table to prove the dishes offered on the devil's table, or to turn to the unclean tables where all that is good is made unclean by association with that which is unclean.
It is not surprising, then, that the Lord will not permit such to return to his table--"Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table and the table of devils." Why? Because in thus turning away from the Lord's table where they have been so richly fed, and where the Lord has girded himself to serve, they have manifested disloyalty to him,
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and have despised the riches of his grace, and done despite to the spirit of favor. Those who wilfully do so after being once enlightened are of that sinful class typified by rebellious Israel. The Prophet describes them in no uncertain terms, saying, "Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters! They have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. ....The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it."
Nor are we narrow-minded in confining our studies to the divine plan, regardless of all vain philosophies and human traditions and speculations; for its scope is as wide as redemption, its science the most exact, and its philosophy the most profound. Having learned the divine plan revealed in the Scriptures, it is the privilege of all who are imbued with its spirit to apply its measuring lines to the whole matter of divine revelation, and thus, by its assistance together with the hallowed influences of prayer and communion with God, to receive that education in spiritual things which enables us to appreciate with a musician's ear the finer strains of the heavenly melody and its precision of rhythm and order; and with an artist's eye the fine and beautiful shadings of divine wisdom and grace.
Oh, no! we shall not be narrow-minded in thus following the guidance of the Lord into "the deep things of God," now revealed in his due time, "which things the angels desire to look into," and which will be the saint's delight through all eternity. What think you? Will the saints and angels be narrow-minded when the devil and his tables are all destroyed? Let us away with every evil thing, and find our delight in God, and be satisfied with the consolations of his abundant grace. Let the language of our
hearts continually be:--
"No longer far from rest I roam,
And search in vain for bliss;
My soul is satisfied at home:
The Lord my portion is."
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"DAWN CIRCLES FOR BIBLE STUDY."
IN our issue of Sept. 15, we commended these as profitable for the upbuilding of the Church by establishing each one in the general features of the complete plan of the ages, whereby alone all Scripture can be rightly divided and appreciated. This method has four specially commendable features. (1) It brings into use and study the entire range of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, instead of confining the attention to a few verses of one chapter. It is a topical, instead of a verse and chapter, study of the Bible. (2) It leads the mind and heart to refreshment in that which we all have proved to be rich and nutritive food from the Master's storehouse, and away from vain speculations which neither satisfy nor strengthen the heart. (3) It accustoms each one to think for himself, and to study to arrange his conceptions of the truth in harmony with all the Scripture statements bearing thereon, and also to express to others the truth which he sees. (4) These are the objects of all teachings in the Church, as the Apostle states them--"For the edifying of the saints "for the work of ministry."
We notice, however, that a few, very few we are glad to say, have totally mistaken the suggestions made respecting this kind of meetings, and understood us to advise the abandonment of the Bible and instead that the MILLENNIAL DAWN be read. Nothing could be farther from our thought. As for the mere reading of the BIBLE or the DAWN, that can be better done privately, each for himself.
On the contrary, the suggestion is to make Bible studies general; and as the light has come to us all by studying God's orderly plan as set forth in DAWN, so it will continue to become more and more clear in all its minutiae as we continue to study it from the same standpoint. If the Plan of the Ages gives the only true outline of the divine plan, and if we have learned that outline thoroughly, let us use the same helping hand, observe the same divine plan and order, in continuing the study of the minutiae of God's plan of the ages.
It is for this purpose that we advise "Dawn Circles for Bible Study;" and as an illustration of the proposed method we offer the following as a sample analysis of the first paragraph of DAWN, VOL. I., viz.--
What constitutes the divine revelation?--`2 Pet. 1:21`; `2 Tim. 3:16,17`.
When and how did sin come into the world?--`Rom. 5:12`; etc.
Who is the "Sun of Righteousness"?--`Mal. 4:1,2`; `Matt. 13:43`; `Dan. 12:3`.
When will this "Sun" arise?--`Acts 3:19-21`; `Col. 3:4`.
What will its shining effect?--`Mal. 4:1,2`; `Isa. 60:18,19`; `25:7-9`; `Acts 3:23`.
What will be its "healing," and how performed?-- `Rom. 5:18,19`.
Do sin and death, directly or indirectly cause present "weeping" and trouble? How?
Upon what sure ground can we hope for the "morning" and its "joy"?--`Rom. 5:6-8`; `14:9`; `1 Cor. 15:3,21`; `2 Pet. 1:16,19`; `Prov. 4:18`; `Job 14:13-15`; `Psa. 49:14,15`.
Will that "glorious day" be followed by a night?-- `Rev. 21:21-25`; `Isa. 60:20,21`.
Other Scriptures might be brought forward profitably, but all will see the necessity for not permitting too much latitude, and the leader of the class will exercise his best judgment in kindly reminding any who might be disposed
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to digress considerably. The class should contain several Bibles, and we recommend that all meetings be opened and closed with praise and prayer. The plan of some of having pencils and noting the references in the margins of their DAWNS is also commended. It will be of great help to all when endeavoring again to prove the truth to the skeptical.
A Bible-study more interesting or more profitable than the foregoing could scarcely be imagined. In this everyone can take part; all can thus be assured of the firm foundation upon which the good tidings of great joy rest; all can edify and build one another up in the most holy faith; the "meat in due season," now provided by the Lord for all who feast at his table, is thus with an open Bible before the entire class, and each one may pass to the others refreshing portions.
A class of three would find abundant and rich Bible food for an hour, suggested by this one paragraph; and a larger class of say a dozen would scarcely get through with it at one meeting. We commend to all the little companies of the Lord's flock these "Dawn Circle Bible Studies" for one meeting in each week. They will tend to make all proficient in the understanding of God's Word which is a prerequisite to the required "work of ministry," serving it to others. (`Eph. 4:12`). It is a much safer plan than to meet to speculate and try to make types out of every person and every thing mentioned in the Bible, a plan that has led many (into pride of skill in making something out of nothing and thence) into "outer darkness." And it will generally be found much more profitable than to take any chance subject, or to be without some previously appointed subject. Each lesson should be thought out by all and especially by the leader or "elder." However, each class ought to be willing to consider any Bible topic suggested by any attendant, and considered by a majority of the class to be a profitable topic. For this purpose the DAWN lessons could be temporarily discontinued or, preferably, extra meetings could be appointed.
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THE PLAN OF THE AGES.
A beautiful vision of glory has caught my enraptured gaze; It is thrilling my heart with gladness, and filling my mouth with praise. My soul had so longed for this vision; I knew it must come to view, When Faith would behold God's goodness in the light which makes all
things new. And so I have searched for the treasure, believing I yet would find; And that God in his infinite mercy would open my eyes, so blind, To see the Truth in its grandeur, all fresh with the dews of grace, And sparkling in the glory that beams from the holy place; To know his love, passing knowledge in its length and depth and height, With a breadth no man can measure, and a strength sin cannot blight. The Lord hath his time appointed to fulfil our hearts' desires, And there comes an hour in his "due time" when the weary watch expires. So, standing upon my tower in the dawn of a better day, And waiting there for the vision he promised should not delay, I saw God's plan of the ages on tablets of truth made plain, And the love wherewith he loved us, and his plan man's love to regain. Oh, truly, the scene was blessed, transcending my noblest thought; With my cup of joy overflowing, I cried, "What hath God wrought!"
In the past I had had some glimpses of what his great love might be; But the scene had so many shadows it seemed a vast mystery.
The creeds of men, and false doctrines, had formed a veil o'er my eyes, And the truth of God looked sombre when hidden 'mid such disguise; But now it is joy and gladness, "glad tidings of great joy!" And e'en if I had a thousand tongues I could each one employ To tell it out to his people, and call to his saints beloved, To come and gaze on the vision with the shadows all removed; To trace with love's guiding finger, in the light of the holy oil, God's plan for the world's redemption from sin and all its turmoil. For, Oh, such a vision, surely, will quell all their doubts and fears; And such a bright dawn of promise will banish night's falling tears.
Then come to the watch tower, pilgrims, come up to this height serene, And gaze on this rapturous vision, and take in the blessed scene, 'Til the truth of God, so mighty, shall break every captive's chain, And the bliss that was lost in Eden is restored to mankind again.
F. G. BURROUGHS.
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DAVID ANOINTED KING.
--DEC. 1.--`1 SAM. 16:1-13`.--
Golden Text--"Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."--`1 Sam. 16:7`.
IN selecting David to reign over Israel God chose one who was not only suitable to the necessities of that people and time, but one who aptly prefigured the Christ, Head and body, selected during the Gospel age and anointed to sit on the throne of the Kingdom of the Lord. In this view of the matter the golden text forcibly reminds us of the statement of the Apostle Paul (`1 Cor. 1:26`), "Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised hath God chosen; yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught the things that are; that no flesh should glory in his presence."
God looked for the same characteristics in David that he now seeks in those whom in this age he calls to be anointed for the Kingdom. He found in him faith, meekness, courage, energy and loving obedience. Yet he was
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young and inexperienced and untrained and unskilled in the duties of the high office to which he was called. This latter condition, which, in the estimation of men, would have been an insurmountable barrier, was no obstacle in God's sight; for God is able to inspire his called ones with his spirit and to arm them with his might. So he did with David, and so he does with the Christ--our Lord Jesus and his body, the church. In the Psalms of David his typical character is very clearly indicated, sometimes personifying Jesus our Head, and sometimes the whole body of Christ. Thus, for instance, when he says, "They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture," the reference is only to our Head; while in other cases, as in `Psa. 23`, the application is to the whole body, whose Shepherd is the Lord Jehovah.
It required the two reigns of David and Solomon to represent the great work of the Lord's Anointed. David's reign represented the work of the church in the flesh, while Solomon's reign represented the work of the church glorified and at rest from all her enemies.
David when anointed was but a youth. He was not one, however, who wasted the precious spring time of life in sowing "wild oats." He was a bud of promise, a noble youth,--meek, modest, gentle, faithful, courageous in the line of duty, and brave to face danger and to endure hardness in any good work, especially wherever the interests of God's cause or God's people were at stake. Seeing in him this sterling stamp of character God called him to higher service. So he has been calling and anointing with his holy spirit a similar class all through the Gospel age. They are the Lord's anointed kings; but their kingdom, like that of David, is not established: they are surrounded by enemies on every side as was David, and the whole time of their life in the flesh is a continual warfare as was his. Like David, too, they have had it in their hearts to build the temple of God in the present age, that all the world might come and worship. But this privilege is not granted to the church in the flesh, even as the building of the typical temple was denied to David, but was reserved for Solomon, to whom the Lord gave a rest, peace and prosperity which made it an apt symbol of the reign of the glorified church.--`1 Chron. 22:7-9`.
But while David was not permitted to build the temple of God, he was permitted to gather together and prepare the materials for the building. So the church in the flesh makes ready the materials for the temple of God which in the dawn of the Millennium will come together noiselessly as did Solomon's temple, without the sound of a hammer. David's warfare, then, was a type of the warfare of the whole church, Head and body, while in the flesh, against the principalities and powers of darkness on every side that oppose her to the very end of her earthly course, so that, though she is anointed for the kingly office, she is never established in power, peace and security to the day of her death. Her work on this side the vail is to war a good warfare, and to industriously gather the materials and prepare the living stones for the glorious temple which shall by and by call all the world to worship.
Beyond the vail of the flesh this same anointed company (all the faithful overcomers of this age) will enter into the glorious reign prefigured by the reign of Solomon-- "They shall rest from their labors, and their works follow with them." (`Rev. 14:13`.) And the temple of God
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shall rise and shine in its beauty, and in it shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, which blessing was typified by the abundant blessing, peace and prosperity of Israel during the reign of Solomon.
Let all who have this glorious hope in them remember the words of our `golden text`--"The Lord looketh on the heart." He is looking to see who is worthy to sit on the throne of his Kingdom; and has shown us very clearly the traits of character for which he is looking. It behooves us, then, to see that our hearts (our will, purpose, intention and effort) are in such a condition of loyalty, faithfulness and obedience as will bear the inspection of the all-seeing eye, while we remember for our encouragement that, as shown in the type, no conditions of birth or station or circumstances can form any obstacle to our acceptance with God and our future exaltation with Christ if we are faithful.
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DAVID AND GOLIATH.
--DEC. 8.--`1 SAM. 17:38-51`.--
Golden Text--"The battle is the Lord's."--`1 Sam. 17:47`.
THE lesson to the Christian to be gathered from this narrative is briefly embodied in the golden text-- "The battle is the Lord's." Let him ever bear this in mind, and daily go forth to battle with the great powers of darkness, strong in the strength which God supplies, with the faith, courage and heroism that distinguished David, and no foe can stand before him. The one great essential to victory is faith. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." "Without faith it is impossible to please God" or to secure his interposition on our behalf.
Having faith, we need no carnal weapons, and no armor of human invention is of any service to us; but trained and practical faith can work wonders as great as did David's sling and stone. The sling and stone were not an untried weapon with David. He was in constant practice with them, and thus he had gained skill and confidence in their use. So the Christian must practice dependence upon God continually in all the small affairs of life, and then when the giant trials come his practised faith will be abundantly able to meet and overcome them. And the
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more severe the trial, the more glorious the victory of faith and the greater the strength of character derived from its exercise. Doubtless it was the previous struggle with the lion and the bear, and the victory God gave him then, that gave David such boldness in defying the power of Goliath. So every battle we fight and every victory we win through faith in God develops strength for future conflicts and makes the more sure our final overcoming.
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ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS.
DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER RUSSELL:--You are entitled to a little report of our "Dawn Circle for Bible Study." We have been longing for a Sunday afternoon meeting, and have prayed for a brother in our midst to be touched with the spirit of truth to take the care of such a meeting. At one time it looked as though our requests were to be granted, but every hope of a present answer was taken away as we found unwillingness or faintheartedness among all the good men we thought interested. So the meeting must be abandoned or I must take the forward step, which, in the strength of the Lord, I did, and announced a series of Bible studies on the Plan of the Ages with chart illustrations. Last Sunday we began with but ten present; nevertheless the Lord was present to fill all the vacancies, and we spent a blessed time. All expressed themselves as greatly interested and enlightened, and purposing to attend regularly and to bring others. It was all the Lord's doings.
I was led in opening to give a little of my experience in Bible study, past and present, and the dear friends seemed very much touched, so much so that when I came home I thought I would try to express the same in verse, and wrote the enclosed, which I know is too long to be used in the TOWER; and which please return to me, as I have no copy.
We have a table at the meeting place, containing tracts and books and TOWERS, which we urge the attendants to take with them; and last week they did so very generally; so we hope for good results from this mode of circulating the truth. You must count us now as really a little Church, and pray for us daily. Remember especially the poor earthen vessel the Lord has to use, that his may be all the glory.
Your sister in His service, F. G. BURROUGHS.
[We are well pleased with the report of your "Dawn Circle for Bible Study." We think that under the circumstances there you have done right to step forward and take the initiative, which we perceive you have done in the spirit of meekness with all deference to the Lord's will in the choice of brethren generally for the more public service. But if there be no brother in the company sufficiently or equally competent to lead, then the interests of the flock should not be permitted to suffer from that cause, when a sister with the necessary qualifications stands ready with consecrated talents meekly and faithfully to serve them. We call to mind that once God raised up a female judge in Israel; and if in these days of more general education and enlightenment he should bring forward some sisters with marked meekness, faithfulness, sobriety and ability to serve his flock with a little more prominence than others, we may not despise these indications of the Lord's will. No brother who is a mere novice in the knowledge of the truth, or a mere babe in Christian experience, should be asked to take a leading part merely because he is a brother. If a sister have preeminent talents, by all means use them. You did well, too, in starting the class with a Chart exposition.
Believing all will enjoy our Sister's poem, "The Plan of the Ages," we here published it on another page of this issue.--EDITOR.]
DEAR SIR AND BROTHER:--I loaned the DAWN to a man recently, whose comments were, "Oh! I must go over it again;" adding, "It is splendid."
I find that very few members of the church wish even to talk about Christ's coming now. Of course, there is but little oil in their lamps. Some tell me I would be frightened at his coming. The idea of being frightened at the coming of my Brother, with whom I am on the best of terms of love; never! Neither will any Christian who is striving and praying without ceasing.
Well, as the child grows in grace his troubles accumulate; hence we have to tighten the cords of prayer.
Since Christians are liable to sins of omission or sins committed inadvertently, or sins committed because of doubt as to whether "so and so" is a sin (And so many take advantage of this doubt!), I am constrained to ask them to read the `seventh chapter of Joshua`, which clearly explains why prayers are so often not answered.
In this chapter it is recorded that God said to Joshua, "Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?" Joshua had asked God why it was that Israel was defeated in battle, and his army put to flight? God answered, The children of Israel cannot stand before their enemies, because a theft has been committed by one of the people.
Thus we see that our prayers and our efforts in life will not be blessed by our heavenly Father if our hearts are sinning against God as did Achan, who with his sons and daughters was put to death for the theft in question. Thus it is that millions of good deeds and fervent prayers are nothing in the sight of God. Why? Because a wrong has been committed, and until reparation has been made it will be vain to plead at the throne of God.
Our faith may be strong; we may love God; if we are his children he does love us; but if we have committed that which is evil in his sight, until we make a clean surrender, our prayers will not be answered: there are formidable barriers between us and heaven.
To any in that condition I would say: You promised an unconditional surrender when you declared you would stand on the Lord's side. Do you not know that you did? But probably "one thing thou lackest;" and doubtless you know what it is. Does the thought of surrendering it make you sad? Is it a "sweet morsel?" Ask yourself what is its name! Is it worldly gain? malice? envy? revenge? or a want of charity? with which you have built a barrier around yourself, excluding your prayers from
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heaven? Be it what it may, you will be compelled to make a clean surrender ere you can expect a realization of divine favor. Will you surrender now? or will you continue your warfare against your own soul, and remain like an army that is whipped and continues to fight until nearly annihilated over a long and fruitless retreat?
The religion of many who profess to be God's children is of three kinds. Either they have never become children of God, and hence their religion is wholly theoretical; or they have been truly converted, but fail to live a consistent Christian life; or, not having kept very close to our Heavenly Father, temptation has found them unsheltered,
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sin has crept in and taken root and developed to such alarming proportions that suddenly they awaken to a sense of their condition, and become doubtful as to whether God really owns them or not. [A small minority, having by their own experience or that of others come to appreciate the above dangers, are living close to him; and because in Christ they endeavor to do always those things which please Him, they are able to approximate the sentiment expressed by him when he said, "I know that thou hearest me always." --`John 11:42`; `8:29`.--EDITOR.]
Yours in Christ, LEWIS W. BURWELL.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I am still holding the truth, and hope to remain faithful to the end.
I have just returned from Minnesota, where Bro. Melin has been preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. Many Swedes are stepping into the light there. I have visited N. Dakota twice this summer, and have been blessed and encouraged.
Three years ago I preached the gospel of restitution in my native country, Norway. Many were interested, and would, I believe, have been brought into the full light, if I could have remained longer with them. I intend to go back soon.
Yours in the faith, K. P. HAMMER.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--I am getting more and more every day into the knowledge of our gracious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and God's glorious plan for redeeming poor fallen man. I have been a student of the MILLENNIAL DAWN series for about one year. I am entirely a different man to what I was when I first commenced their study, and since through a diligent search of the Scriptures I have come over on the Lord's side and have left Babylon. I am now happy in Christ, when before all was dark and gloomy. I was raised a Methodist, my father being an itinerant Methodist minister. He says their church is not what it used to be when he was actively engaged in the service. He is very much grieved that the ministry and the church have so far retrograded from its old teachings.
I am studying hard and praying that I may not only hold on to what I already have but that I may see more and more of God's glorious plan, and receive "meat in due season" for the household of faith, which is so necessary for growth and development in the Christian life that I am trying to live. A great field is open here for the spread of the truth. Pray for me, dear brother, in my solitary efforts for its advancement, and "Pray the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth more laborers into his harvest." Your brother in Christ, J. L. BAKER.
DEAR TOWER:--I have heard that some of the members in the church from which I withdrew have been enquiring of the minister and elders why I left; and they have been told that I did not leave the church, only withdrew from the eldership. And on the strength of that they have called on me for money for the church. I was going to write the minister and explain to him my reasons for coming out of Babylon, but fear he would not read my letter before the congregation. He knows my position, for I have sent him many tracts and TOWERS.
I see in a recent TOWER that you have prepared a letter for just such cases, and I gladly avail myself of the chance to set some of my friends at rest on the matter. See enclosed order.
Yours in love, PETER DOUGLASS.
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I have made a startling discovery lately. Although I left the M.E. church four years ago, I find upon inquiry that the minister under whose pastorate I left the church did not take my name off the church roll as I told him to do. And he has misrepresented me greatly. A great many regard me as a backslider, others think me an infidel, etc. I have searched into the matter and brought these things to light. Your suggestion about the letters of withdrawal in a recent TOWER seems to me very good, and I will be glad to avail myself of them. I am glad so much provision is made by the Lord for all his sheep, and praise him for his bountiful providence.
May the Lord abundantly bless and use you is my prayer every day. Continue to pray for me.
Yours in Him, ARTHUR CLARK.
[The "Withdrawal Letters" were meant for just such cases, or, rather, to prevent such misrepresentations. They are kindly presentations of our reasons for standing separate from sects of "Babylon." They show that we feel no bitterness, but only love and sympathy, toward all of the Lord's sheep,--whether in or out of Babylon. Use these letters freely. They are now a number of the O.T. Tract series.--EDITOR.]
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Enclosed you will find one dollar for a WATCH TOWER subscription for a brother to whom I have already sold DAWNS. He is delighted with them.
Am happy to say our "Dawn Circle" is making progress and I have strong hopes it will be a fruitful source of growth in the truth and knowledge of God in just the manner the Lord delights in. (See `Jer. 9:23,24`.) It is this that has caused us so much joy. Bro. Mogensen has been baptized, and is full of preparations to go forth colporteuring.
Yours in love and the faith, T. H. LLOYD.
MR. RUSSELL:--Early this year MILLENNIAL DAWN VOL. I. came into my hands, I might say heart; for no book ever laid hold of me in the same way. I cannot tell you what it has done for me and cost me already. It is no small thing at sixty-seven to be turned upside down and outside in, until I don't know where or what I am, only a sinner saved by grace, and that I stand on the Word which liveth and abideth forever! Many are the questions I would ask if I saw you face to face. I want to prove all things by the Word. Praying that God may use and bless you in work for the saints,
I remain yours very sincerely, MARY DRUMMOND.