ZWT - 1895 - R1794 thru R1910 / R1784 (065) - March 15, 1895
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VOL. XVI. MARCH 15, 1895. No. 6.
Special Items--Extra Towers, Calendars,
Wall Rolls, etc............................. 66
Views from the Tower--............................ 67
The Religious View............................ 67
The Jewish View............................... 70
Poem: Some Better Things.......................... 70
The Memorial Supper............................... 71
"Come, My People."................................ 72
Bible Study: Love the Essence of Divine Law....... 74
Bible Study: Review............................... 75
Encouraging Letters............................... 75
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VIEWS FROM THE TOWER.
DR. Horton, in the Methodist Times, says:--"On the church of England it is impossible to rely. She is permeated with the Roman virus. Her clergy denounce the Reformation. Whatever love they had for the gospel of Nazareth and the Son of Man is dying away. They are fascinated by the gospel of Rome and the Vicegerent of Christ. The apostasy is not yet complete, but its progress is amazing. I venture to say that but for the accessions to the church of England from the Nonconformist churches at this time Protestantism would be as good as dead within her borders. And those accessions cannot continue. Presently the Nonconformist churches will claim and use their own sons, and will not be able to spare them for a Romanised Establishment. The hope of England lies in the Free churches, in the homes of the Spirit of Christ which have been provided and kept by the Spirit of God against this time."
On Feb. 25, Archbishop Ireland addressed the students of the University of Chicago in the chapel,--Subject, "Religion, Science and Good Citizenship."
The Chicago University is under Baptist patronage. What Romanism does not know about true "Religion, Science and Good Citizenship" would fill many volumes; and, judging from the past, a Roman Catholic Arch-bishop should make a remarkable instructor upon these subjects!!
According to an article which has been going the rounds of the Press over the signature A. Tyler, this same Bishop Ireland on the occasion of his last visit to Rome encouraged the Cardinals there in the following (patriotic?) words:--
"We can have America in ten years, and I give three points for your consideration--the Indian, the negro, and the public schools. The importance of the possession of America cannot be overestimated. It is a providential nation. The movements of the modern world have their highest tension in the United States. The natural order is seen here in its best, and here displays its fullest strength. The church, unhampered by dictates of government or by despotic custom, can, with freedom, choose its arms, and, making straight for the opposing foe, bring the contest to a speedier close. I am aware there are those among us who do not partake of my hopefulness. What can be done, they say, in America? Catholics are a handful. What can be wanting? Why should we fear or hesitate? We number 10,000,000--a powerful army, if the forces are well drilled, and their latent strength put in action. Catholics in America are loyal to the faith, brave in confessing it, self-sacrificing in its interests, devoted to their chieftains; when combined efforts are called for, ready, and at all times prompt to obey when orders are given."
As a sign of the times we note that the Socialists of France are adopting a form of civil baptism for their children. In the town of St. Denis, where socialism has quite a hold, the Mayor, himself a socialist, recently baptised as many as nine children in one day--using a socialist formula, with the express statement that the parents desired to withdraw them from the guardianship of the church. The account says, "The god-parents took a pledge to bring up the children 'in the love of labor and liberty and the sentiment of fraternity necessary to make them good citizens and fervent republicans.'"
Not only with these, but with many of the "leading lights" here, who follow more conservative lines, the idea is growing, that "the doctrines of Christ" and "faith in his blood" belong to a religion which has been outgrown; and that the true religion for the future, and the only one that will gain the attention of the masses, is the
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gospel of social revolution--humanitarianism and utilitarianism. All who see clearly the true gospel of redemption through the precious blood and as a result, by and by, the offer to all men of restitution (`Acts 3:21`), and these alone, are prepared to point out clearly to the deluded that they have mistaken the false, earthly systems of men for the Church of God whose names are written in heaven, and that the only hope of the groaning creation is described by St. `James (Chap. 5:7,8`) and St. Paul.--`Rom. 8:22,21`.
THE HIGHER CRITICS IN BAD COMPANY.
"It has just leaked out," says Truth, "that at a Baptist congress in Detroit lately the Higher Critics got a deserved set-back. This is the story.
"President Harper [of Chicago University] and President Andrews, of Brown University, with others, had been advocating the methods of modern Higher Criticism, and saying that the `last twenty-seven chapters of Isaiah` were written by some other man, when Prof. Howard Osgood of Rochester arose in reply. He spoke briefly, completely answered the Higher Critics, and then said, 'I have here an article written almost exactly one hundred years ago. I will read it and tell you the author.' He read a criticism on the Bible, and especially on Isaiah, advocating a double authorship of the latter, in almost exactly the language of Harper and his friends. He made a few comments upon the clearness of the ideas of the author, and showed his teachings to be identical with modern Higher Criticism. He then exclaimed after a long pause, 'The author of this paper was Thomas Paine.' The effect was wonderful. There was a look of surprise on the faces of the critics, and then, as the applause rang out, they looked as though they would like to escape....It was carefully kept out of the papers for some reason."
Prof. Drummond, in his "Natural Law in the Spiritual World," after cautiously advancing the doctrine of Evolution--so guardedly that many of his readers absorbed his suggestions without realizing what they implied of Scripture contradiction--has now thrown off the mask and declares his anti-Scriptural views in his new book, "The Ascent of Man."
How could we expect this learned gentleman (See `Isa. 29:14`) to be interested in, or to appreciate, the Bible doctrines of redemption and restitution from the FALL? (See `Acts 3:21`.) Far easier for him would it be to forget all the greatness of the past--the statesmanship of Moses, the wisdom of Solomon and Confucius, the logic of Paul and Socrates and Plato; the poetry of the Psalmist, Job and Shakespeare; the "lost arts" of manufacture, elastic glass, tempered copper and Damascus steel; and the musicians and sculptors and painters of the past; and to think only of the greatness of the present so-called "brain-age." Far easier would it be for him to conclude that St. Peter and "all the holy prophets since the world began" were mistaken, deluded, and that he and all the "higher critics" are correct. Because, forsooth, the "times of restitution" which Peter and all the holy prophets and apostles hold
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forth as the hope of the world, would, according to these self-styled critics, be a return to ape-hood. Truly the words of the Lord are fulfilled--"The wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid."
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE SOCIAL STRUGGLE.
"In a recent number of the Forum, Prof. Goldwin Smith directed attention to the belief current throughout Europe that a wide-reaching and violent social upheaval is not distant. Whether the movement will result merely in temporary collision and disorder, or in complete revolution, depends of course upon the relative strength of the disruptive agencies and of the forces arrayed upon the side of the existing order. At first sight an immense preponderance of material power would be attributed to the upholders of the present social system, but the history of the French Revolution proves that such preponderance cannot be maintained unless there is a corresponding moral power behind it. That this moral support must come mainly from the Roman Catholic Church is the averment made in an interesting article contributed by Mr. Charles Robinson to the American Magazine of Civics.
"It would be, indeed, a mistake to say that no European Catholics are infected with socialistic doctrines. A wing of the Centrist or Catholic party in Germany has evinced considerable sympathy with socialism, and the same thing may be said of a section of the Clerical party in Belgium. These sporadic phenomena are doubtless explicable by the fact that Catholics and Socialists encountered for many years in Belgium a common opponent in the liberalism of M. Frere-Orban, and in Germany a common oppressor in Prince Bismark. Such inclinations, however, to fellowship in feeling and action seem destined to be transient, for the reason that the causes which produced them have ceased to operate. Liberalism of the Frere-Orban type is now almost extinct in Belgium, and Bismark made the journey to Canossa before he retired from public life. Moreover, the head of the Church of Rome, whom every Catholic is bound to obey, has declared himself of late in the most distinct and authoritative terms on the side of the social system which has individualism for its basic principle. Catholicism, therefore, is already in theory, and will presently become in fact, a unit in resistance to the social solvents which range from the collectivism that professes to seek the fulfilment of its aims by constitutional means alone, to anarchy of the most irrational and malignant type.
"On the other hand, no Protestant denomination has yet taken an unequivocal position with regard to the contest between socialism and individualism. Not even in Germany have the so-called Christian Socialists, among whom Chaplain Stocker has been so conspicuous, received any official rebuke from the Lutheran and Evangelical churches. Although, too, we might deem it probable that most of the Protestant sects will be eventually enlisted among the protective forces of society, yet, as Mr. Robinson points out, there can be nothing simultaneous, coherent, and effectual in their action, owing to their innumerable subdivisions and their traditional dissensions. The moral support, then, which is indispensable to the retention of material power by the defenders of the existing order, must come principally from the Church of Rome. In a word, it is not liberalism, as Gambetta thought, but socialism that may see in Catholicism its chief enemy.
"Mr. Robinson does not fail to note the striking change in the attitude of European statesmen toward the Catholic
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Church, since they have begun to apprehend the approach of a revolutionary epoch. Crispi in Italy and Castelar in Spain have publicly acknowledged the necessity of securing the cooperation of Catholicism, if the politico-social fabric reared on parliamentary institutions and the individual right of property is to be upheld. The Opportunists, who formerly were the most implacable assailants of the Catholic Church in France, are now disposed to welcome the conciliatory overtures of Leo XIII. and to form a species of alliance with the so-called "rallied" Republicans. In the Reichstag only the other day a bill permitting the Jesuits to resume educational functions in Germany was passed for the second time; and, should it now be sanctioned by the Bundesrath, the last vestige of the Falk legislation, aimed against Catholics, will have disappeared. These incidents are indications of a general awakening to the magnitude of the service which the Catholic Church may render, should the existing social system be seriously threatened."
--New York Sun.
Protestants are rapidly preparing for federative union and to take a hand in protecting both the good and the bad of the present social structure. The world, especially the rich and aristocratic class, is turning to the great religious systems for help. And religious people generally are and will more and more be inclined to assist, because they clearly see that the wreck of society would be a general calamity to the poor as well as to the rich; and because they believe that it would greatly retard mission work for the conversion of the world--which they think to be their special commission; and all this because they do not recognize the times in which we are living. As with the Jews in the end of their age, they "know not the time of their visitation." They know not that the Lord's time has come for the transfer of the control of earth from the princes and kings of the earth (and especially from the great Prince of this world, who now worketh in the hearts of the children of disobedience--`1 Thes. 5:2-4`; `2 Pet. 3:10`) to the control of Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, "whose right it is."
"But ye [faithful, watching], brethren, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief"--although it will come upon all others as a thief and a snare.-- `1 Thes. 5:1-5`.
Although you are powerless to rectify the evils of the present social order, while numbers and power and influence uphold it, you are waiting for God to do this according to his promise, and not in vain you pray continually, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is [done] in heaven." You know, too, that the conversion of the world under present conditions is hopeless, and you are waiting for the King of glory to take full possession and to bless all the families of the earth with the knowledge of the Lord, which shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep.
While your influence must always be for godliness, for contentment and for peace, yet you may sustain your hearts and the hearts of others with the Lord's promises of deliverance. And even though the trouble be severe, "such as was not since there was a nation," you need fear no evil; for the Lord is the refuge and habitation of his people, and for them all things shall work together for good. Your hearts are sustained by such promises and by the prospect of the glory and blessing of the Millennial age which will be thus introduced by--
"The signs and groanings promised
To precede a second birth."
"Wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather [all] the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy [justice, anger]. For then [following this great trouble, upon the ruins of present systems, I, the God of heaven, will set up my kingdom and] I will turn unto the people a pure language [the unadulterated truth], that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent."--`Zeph. 3:8,9`.
Evidently Protestants are feeling the jibes of the world, that their forces are too scattered to be of much avail in the coming "battle of the great day of God Almighty." In evidence note the following items.
EX-PROTESTANTS WORKING FOR CHURCH UNITY.
"The Rev. Dr. Lunn, editor of The Review of the Churches, London, England, and President of the Grindewald Conference, has returned to the Murray Hill Hotel, after conducting a most successful series of meetings in Boston, Toronto, Chicago, Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
"In several of these cities the recommendation of the Grindewald Conference, that Whit Sunday in each year should be observed as a day of special prayer for unity, and as the occasion for each preacher to give a sermon dealing with the good qualities of some denomination other than his own, has been enthusiastically adopted.
"The ministers of Chicago, Washington and Baltimore all unanimously agreed to observe Whit Sunday in this manner, and in Washington an interdenominational association has been founded as the result of Dr. Lunn's visit.
"Dr. Lunn will address a meeting of ministers, and laymen on 'English Movements Toward Christian Unity.'"
--N. Y. Times.
"The Ram's Horn, of Chicago, has offered a prize, $100 in gold, to anyone who presents the best plan and creed to unite the churches of Christendom. It is specified that the plan of organization or government or federation shall not exceed 500 words, and that the statement of creed (which may be in the language of Scripture) shall not exceed
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500 words. A preliminary examination will select the best twelve papers, which will be referred for final award to a committee composed of John Henry Barrows, D.D., LL.D., George Dana Boardman D.D., LL.D., Bishop Samuel Fallows, Bishop John H. Vincent and Joseph Cook."
"Say ye not, a confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, a confederacy."
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THE JEWISH VIEW.
The movement in New York City for the conversion of the Jews is at present principally represented in the mission work of the converted Jew, Hermann Warszawiak. Considerable progress has been made of late, and now it has been decided to erect a building specially suited to the needs of the work. It will be called, "The Christ's Synagogue," and will have a separate entrance to, and special apartments for, a Jewish Missionary Training School. A library, a gymnasium, etc., will add to its attractions for the younger Hebrews.
We rejoice in every good work, including such efforts to turn away blindness from Israel. And this, as we have elsewhere shown, is due to come about when the Gospel Church has been completed. But we would rather see them remain "blind," than see them deluded into the no-ransom views of Antichrist. We know not what gospel Mr. Warszawiak is preaching, but we trust that it is the old theology, of which the cross of Christ is the center. With the Jewish mind in its present skeptical state, it would be no difficult thing to lead many of them to acknowledge pseudo-Christianity. Many will admit that the great Jew, Jesus, whose name is claimed and whose character and teachings are generally reverenced if not obeyed throughout Christendom, was a martyr to Jewish prejudices, etc., if only you do not make it a condition that he shall believe that this Jesus died for the sins of the Jews and the whole world. There "the offense of the cross," mentioned by the Apostle, comes in. Leave out the cross, the ransom, and many Jews are ready thus to join in what we may be excused for calling, "Christian Infidelity."
But by and by, as soon as the Gospel Church, the Bride, has been selected, the true gospel will be preached with demonstration to the whole world, and again it will be "to the Jew first;" and then, through the Jews, to others of the world--the gospel that in Christ the sin-offering types of the Jewish law have their fulfilment, and that in Christ the promises to Abraham must all be fulfilled. (`Gal. 3:16,29`.) This is the gospel that must ultimately open the eyes of the "blind."--`Rom. 11:25-31`; `Isa. 29:18`; `35:5`; `42:7,16`.
Urging Jewish scholars to study the New Testament, the Jewish Messenger says:--
"The subject should receive more attention than it does in our seminaries; the day is past to regard it as dangerous. We Jews have no right to be so self-satisfied as to refuse new light, if it be good and wholesome, from any source. Perhaps Judaism as it is in the lives of the great mass of us would have more depth, beauty, and spirituality if we did not shut ourselves in an intellectual ghetto and call that process loyalty to religion."
Miss Barlee, who has been connected with the London Jews' Society in Jerusalem for about ten years, thus describes the changes which have taken place during her residence there:--
"Innumerable houses have been built outside the city walls, and new colonies formed. Rows of new houses are to be seen in places where, when I first came, I used to pick wild flowers among the rocks and stones. Progress is written upon everything. The Jaffa Railway, now an established thing, ceases to be an object of wonder to the native population; new lines will soon be open in other parts of the country; a boat now crosses the Dead Sea, and lately I received a letter from Kerak in Moab, where postal communication with Jerusalem has been established. In Jerusalem itself, civilization has made rapid strides, carriages of every description are now flying to and fro in the different new roads. It would seem that the Lord's time to favor Zion is at hand."
SOME BETTER THINGS.
Though wintry wind the yellow leaf displaceth,
For Spring's sweet harbingers it maketh room;
Ere long the tender bud the forest graceth,
New verdure waketh from old Nature's tomb.
The snowy blossom from the orchard fadeth,
'Tis then the earnest of fair fruit we find;
Though morning mist the landscape overshadeth,
The sunlit mountain-peaks are just behind.
Lo, in the crimson West the glory dieth,
And from his throne Day's monarch hath withdrawn!
Herein the promise of the sunrise lieth--
Already we are waiting for the dawn.
O heart bereaved, some better thing remaineth,
Though God should seem thy treasures to remove;
Some better thing his gracious hand retaineth,
He will not fail the children of his love.
Some better thing! Thy life-joy all departed--
Its glory trailing sadly in the dust;
O cleave to Him,--the Savior tender-hearted;
Thou canst not understand, but thou canst trust.
Perchance he leads to depths of self-abasement,
And storms awake, and billows round thee roll.
Give thanks! Contrition is the open casement
Through which the Dove of Peace shall reach thy soul.
O patient heart, thy best, thy brightest bringing,
With full consent upon His altar lay!
Some fair new blessing even now is winging,
All unobserved, its sure and noiseless way.
Thy purpose crossed, each sunny prospect clouded,
Still to His changeless promise learn to cling.
Although His plan may be in darkness shrouded,
Jehovah hath reserved some better thing!
--Lucy A. Bennett.
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THE MEMORIAL SUPPER.
WITH Christians generally it is customary to celebrate Good Friday as a memorial of our Lord's death, and Easter Sunday as a remembrancer of his resurrection. But with the early Church every Sunday was a remembrancer of our Lord's resurrection, while his death, symbolized in the Last Supper eaten the evening before the crucifixion, but "in the same day," was celebrated annually, as the antitype of the killing of the Jewish Passover lamb,--on the fourteenth day of the first month, lunar time, as reckoned by the Hebrews. Desiring to return to the "old paths," many WATCH TOWER readers, in every quarter of the world, adopt and practice this custom of the Primitive Church. Its appropriateness is beyond question even by those who for one reason or another have seen fit to adopt more modern customs and to celebrate it quarterly or monthly or weekly or daily,--according to human judgment, caprice or theory.
Only two of these theories claim Scriptural authority, and they alone, therefore, require answer.
(1) Those who hold that the Lord's death should be commemorated daily have no other argument than that the Apostle declared, "As often as ye do this ye do show forth the Lord's death until he come." They forget that three or four times a day or even hourly would be more "often," and therefore more proper, according to their definition of this word "often." The fact is that the stress lay upon the words "do this," as our Lord said,--"This do ye, as oft as ye drink it [annually], in remembrance of me." (`1 Cor. 11:25`.) The Lord's disciples as Jews were accustomed to the killing and eating of the Paschal lamb, at a specified time annually, and our Lord wished that henceforth they should recognize him as the antitype of that lamb,--his death as the antitype of its death and the passing over, or justification from death to life, of the Church of the Firstborn (`Heb. 12:23`) as the antitype of the sparing of the firstborn of Egypt.
To "do this,"--i.e., to celebrate the Passover,--was the command of the Law to the Jew; but our Lord in setting his followers free from the Law Covenant and accepting them under the New Covenant did not command them to "do this," nor to do anything but "love,"--which he declared to be the fulfilling of his law of the New Covenant. But he did say, "As oft as ye do this [yearly--never oftener,
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and never less often did the Jews celebrate their Passover], do it [henceforth, not in remembrance of the typical Passover and the typical lamb slain and eaten, but] in remembrance of me,"--"the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world," by whose death and blood of sprinkling you are passed over, from death unto life, and by the eating of whose flesh (figuratively speaking) ye shall obtain strength for the journey out of the Kingdom of darkness, sin and oppression, the dominion of Satan (typified by Pharaoh) to the heavenly Canaan under the lead of the Lord's Anointed, whom Moses and Joshua typified.
(2) Those who celebrate the Lord's death every Sunday well know that more appropriately that day commemorates the reverse idea,--the resurrection of our Lord from death; but they think that they find justification of their course in the "breaking of bread" every first day of the week, practiced by the early Church. But they hastily draw a wrong inference: those "breakings of bread" were only ordinary lunches or "love-feasts" eaten for a double purpose--to satisfy hunger, but apparently, specially, because they met on that day to celebrate the Lord's resurrection;--because it was in the "breaking of bread" that he had twice made himself known to them on that notable day when his communion and expounding of the Scriptures had driven away their fears and enkindled hope and caused their hearts to burn within them with the hope that maketh not ashamed. (`Luke 24:32`; `Rom. 5:5`.) It was in connection with the eating of natural food that twice again before his ascension, our Lord made himself known to the disciples and instructed and refreshed them, and probably both were on the first day of the week.--`John 20:26`; `21:13`.
Is it any wonder, then, that the early Church formed the habit of gathering every first day of the week to commune with the Lord in spirit; and is it any wonder that they repeated the "breaking of bread" and any other features that would keep vividly before their minds the scenes and thoughts of their first experience and heart-burning? It is not surprising. But that had nothing whatever to do with the annual Passover, which to the early Christians took on a fresh importance, because "Christ our Passover" had been slain. (`1 Cor. 5:7,8`.) Christ our Passover represented his sacrifice by both bread and wine, as symbols of his flesh and his blood; but the accounts of the love-feast or "breaking of bread" make no mention of the wine,--and not the slightest hint that these were meant to commemorate the sufferings and death of our Lord, the Head, and the Church, which is his body.
But we, as Christians, do not celebrate the Jewish Passover and its deliverance from Egypt, nor do we kill and eat the typical lamb. With the Jews the lamb, its selection on the 10th day of the month and its killing on the 14th day were separate from the Passover festival, which began on the 15th and lasted for a week. The Jews celebrate specially the festival: we memorialize the death of the great Lamb of God, and understand the Jewish seven days festival to be only typical of the complete and everlasting joy resulting from our present eating of our Lamb with the bitter herbs of persecution during this Gospel night, waiting for deliverance early in the Millennial morning. Surely when the blindness of fleshly Israel begins to turn away, nothing will appeal to them more forcibly than that Christ is the antitype of the Passover lamb, and that the blessings flowing from his death are the antitypes of the Passover blessings.
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We follow the Jewish method of reckoning the date-- the same that our Lord and the Primitive Church followed --and it is very simple. The Jewish (ecclesiastical) year begins in the Spring,--with the first appearance of the new moon after the Spring equinox. There they begin to count their month. This year the new moon of Spring will appear on the 26th of March, and consequently the fourteenth day of the first month will be April 8th. But as in the Hebrew reckoning the day begins at six o'clock of the preceding day, it follows that the fourteenth of Nisan will begin at six P.M., Sunday, April 7th. About 8 o'clock on that evening, therefore, would be the anniversary of the Lord's Supper.
At this hour, in accordance with our usual custom, the Church at Allegheny will celebrate the memorial of the greatest transaction upon the pages of history;--the transaction which means so much to all who trust in the ransom given once for all, but which has so little meaning to others. No arrangement is made for a convention or general gathering at the time; but friends passing through the city are always welcome. The same course is recommended to the scattered ones of like mind everywhere: that they meet with brethren residing near them, and celebrate with as nearly as possible the simplicity of the model given us by our Lord over eighteen centuries ago.
Let us each call to mind that the bread and wine not only symbolize our Lord's sacrifice on our behalf, but also that as his Body or Church we are members of the one loaf now being broken for others;--that thus we are to share with our Lord in sacrifice, and by and by share also his glory--"If so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together."--`Rom. 8:17`.
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"COME, MY PEOPLE."
"Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast."--`Isa. 26:20`.
THERE is an affectionate tenderness about these words of our Heavenly Father which helps us to realize his great love for his people, and his special care over them. Through his prophet, taking the standpoint of the end of this age, he is forewarning us of a great time of trouble which is just imminent (`verses 5,6,21`)--"a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation," when the whole present order of things, civil, social and religious, shall be swept with the besom of destruction. Yet in the midst of it all he would have his people in rest and peace in him, as saith the prophet, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength."--`Verses 3,4`.
And again the Lord had another of his prophets put into our mouths those beautiful words of trust and confidence --"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth [the present social order] be removed, and though the mountains [governments] be carried into the midst of the sea [overthrown by the turbulent sea of world-wide anarchy]; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swellings thereof.... The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge." (`Psa. 46`.) Surely, "like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him."--`Psa. 103:13`.
But while appreciating very gratefully this special love and care for us as his people, in the comfort, encouragement and protection afforded us by our Heavenly Father in the midst of the world's great tribulation, we would come far short of having his spirit if we should regard the matter with self-complacency, forgetful of his great love for the whole world also, which, vailed behind the clouds of his righteous indignation against their sins, in wisdom strikes the heavy blow which will shatter all their idols and humble their pride in the dust, that so the sore wounds of his wrath may prepare for their everlasting healing. If God so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son, "that whosoever believeth in him should not perish [eternally], but have everlasting life," he loves them still, and it is his love that wields the rod for their correction. So also would he have his people regard his judgments, and while rejoicing in the sunshine of his favor, because by faith and obedience they have come into an attitude which can receive it, he would have them share his spirit towards the world; and while the blows of his righteous indignation fall heavily upon them, he would have us point them to the cause of their calamities and to the only remedy-- "In returning [to God] and rest [in him alone] shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." "Be still," saith the Lord, "and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."--`Isa. 30:15`; `Psa. 46:10`.
But who are those whom the Lord is pleased to designate by the endearing name, "My people?" Does this class include every one upon whom his name is named? No, for that would include a great number of false professors. As the Psalmist expresses it, it includes all those who have made a covenant with God by sacrifice (`Psa. 50:5`)-- all the consecrated and faithful children of God, however young or weak they may be, whose hearts are fixed firmly and resolutely to be true loyal and obedient children by his assisting grace.
To be numbered among the people of God is a very great privilege; but it means much more than many seem to understand--much more both on their part, and on
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God's part. On their part, it signifies, not merely a name to live, in some great organization which bears the Christian
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name, but that they have become sons and heirs of God through Christ, that they have fully consecrated themselves to God to follow in the footsteps of his dear Son, that they have renounced the vain pomp and glory of the world and have solemnly covenanted to live apart from its spirit, ambitions, hopes and aims; and not only so, but that, in pursuance of that covenant, they are striving daily to be faithful, and meekly to take up their cross and follow their leader and head, Christ Jesus.
On God's part it signifies the fulfilment of all his gracious promises to such through Christ, both for the life that now is, and for that which is to come. It signifies that in the present life we have his fatherly love, care, discipline, counsel, teaching, protection and encouragement to the end, and that afterwards we shall be received into his glorious presence and everlasting rest and joy and peace. Oh, how blessed to be the people of God! even in the present life the reward of his favor is beyond computation. Through all the age God has permitted his people to be scattered as sheep in the midst of wolves, and as wheat in the midst of tares; but now the harvest of the age is come, and their gathering together unto him is due. They have been growing in the midst of that great organization, the nominal Christian church, which God calls Babylon (confusion), but which men call Christendom (Christ's Kingdom). Upon this great system which has appropriated the name of Christ while misrepresenting his teaching and his spirit (although in possession of his Word of truth and of many advantages of precept and example from his saints so long permitted to dwell in her midst), God is about to pour his indignation, which will involve the whole world with it; but before doing so, he forewarns his people to come out of her (Babylon), that they be not partakers of her sins, and that they receive not of her plagues. (`Rev. 18:4`.) But while calling them thus to come out of Babylon, he calls them also to come into another place, or condition rather--"Enter thou into thy chambers and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself...until the indignation be overpast."
The place of hiding is the secret place of the Most High, under the shadow of the Almighty. (`Psa. 91:1-9`.) This secret place of the Most High, Beloved, is the place of intimate communion and fellowship with God, through the blessed privilege of prayer and through faith in his precious Word and his promised providential care.
"When all around our souls give way,
He then is all our hope and stay."
Oh, how precious is this hiding place! What rest and refreshment we find in the midst of the commotion that is even now bestirring the whole world, but especially the nations of Christendom--rest from the pride and folly of man in their abortive efforts to readjust the present unsatisfactory social order; and rest from the strife of tongues in an equally vain attempt to evolve the clear principles of truth and righteousness from the present confusion of human traditions. (`Psa. 31:20`.) Here we find rest, peace, light and joy, which the world can neither give nor take away.
Few indeed are those who can understand our motives in thus withdrawing from the world and from the various organizations of the nominal Christian church to walk alone with God; and many are the reproaches which such must endure for his name's sake. But fear not; "shut thy doors [of faith] about thee," and heed not the reproaches; turn a deaf ear to them, and "Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread" (`Isa. 8:13`); and, "Above all, take [for the conflict before you] the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."
It is well, especially in this time of greatest need, that the Lord's people should consider the value of this portion of the Christian's armor, and that the doors of their faith should thoroughly shut them in to the secret place of the Most High. When the reproaches fall thick and fast, when they are told that they have left the faith and gone after fables, that they have incurred the Lord's displeasure, and that their sufferings for Christ's sake are the penalties they deserve, when their names are cast out as evil and they are separated from the company of those whom they have long regarded as the Lord's people, because they bear his name, ah, then is the time for firmly grasping the shield of faith and for adopting the triumphant language of the Psalmist:
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?...Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident....In time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me: he shall set me upon a rock....When my father and my mother [my most trusted human friends] forsake me, then the Lord will take me up." "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." --`Psa. 27:1,3,5,10`; `23:1,4`; also `56:4`.
It is to inspire such a faith as this that the Lord has offered us, in addition to all his precious promises, so many encouragements to simple, childlike trust in him, and that he has bidden us turn a deaf ear to the reproaches of men, saying--"Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings....I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man that shall be made as grass, and forgettest the Lord, thy Maker, that has stretched forth the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and hast feared continually every day, because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy?...I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens [establish the new heavens], and lay the foundations of the earth [the new earth], and
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say unto Zion [the people tried and proved by these afflictions to be the worthy heirs of the new Kingdom-- the new heavens and earth], Thou art my people."-- `Isa. 51:7,12,13,16`.
What condescension on the part of the Almighty to thus consider our weakness when the darts of the enemy wound our hearts, and to pour in the balm of his consolation. He would not have one of his children whom Christ has made free to come again under the bondage of "the fear of man which bringeth a snare." (`Prov. 29:25`.) He would have every man in Christ realize his liberty from sin and superstition and his solemn accountability to God for all his thoughts and words and doings.--"Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread."
Just here the words of the Apostle Paul (`1 Thes. 5:21`; `Gal. 6:4`) are worthy of special notice--"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good," and "Let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone and not in another." Thus every individual in Christ is reminded of his own personal responsibility in matters of faith and conduct. Not until he has proved what is truth and righteousness, accepting the Word of God as the only standard of authority, is it proper to take a resolute stand; but, having proved "what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God," nothing should be able to unsettle his faith or turn him from the line of duty, and no fear of man should bring him again into the snare of bondage to superstition or human traditions or opinions of others. If each individual prove his own work--his faith in the doctrines and his conduct in life--by the square and compass of God's Word, "then shall he have rejoicing in himself and not in another"--i.e., his faith, no matter through what privileged human agent or agency it may have been received, will be so established by the Word of the Lord that it will be his own, and in no sense dependent upon another.
It was the neglect of this principle, of the right and duty of the individual judgment in proving all things by the inspired Word, that brought upon the Church the snare of the great apostacy, which set up infamous popes to dictate in matters of faith and conduct and subvert the consciences of men. Let us remember the command, "Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread." Let us fear and dread to displease him; let us see to it that we know and love righteousness and that we have the law of God, not in our heads only, but also in our hearts, for so shall we ever find acceptance with him; and to such, who in faith continually rely upon the Lord, who go forth, strong in the strength which he supplies through faith, to do valiant service for truth and righteousness, comes also the blessed assurance, "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom."
While the storm of trouble that is to engulf the whole world will affect all men, both individually and collectively, the Lord's people, who seek only to draw yet closer to him, entering more fully into the secret place of communion and fellowship and rest in him, and shutting the doors of faith about them, will there be safely hidden from the alarm and fear and trembling that will take hold upon all other classes; and while they patiently endure its effects upon their temporal interests, they will rejoice not only in the knowledge of God's overruling providence, in the whirlwind and in the storm as well as in the calms of life, but also in his blessed assurance that his wrath will be thus revealed only "for a little moment," and then will his righteous Kingdom be manifested in power and great glory, and they shall shine forth as the sun.
"Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast." Oh blessed invitation! Lord, we will trust in the covert of thy wings.
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LOVE THE ESSENCE OF DIVINE LAW.
--MARCH 24, `ROM. 13:8-14`.--
Golden Text--"Abstain from all appearance of evil."--`1 Thes. 5:22`.
`VERSES 8-10` need no comment. The truth of the statement, "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law," is obvious to all. Love delights to bless, and against its pure and benevolent instincts there is no law. It recognizes the rights and liberties and proper relationship to God and fellow men of every individual, and in no sense interferes with those inalienable privileges of any of God's intelligent creatures; but rather delights in the largest development and most rapid progress of every individual. It is noble, generous, free, frank, unselfish, kind, tender-hearted, pitiful, helpful and true.
This noble benevolence, Paul says, we owe to every man.--"Owe no man any thing but to love one another." This debt we owe, not only to our brethren in Christ, but also to our brethren of the human family. Originally God created man in his own image, and though that image has been sadly defaced in all, he has planned to restore it, and himself so loved the world, even while they were yet sinners, that he redeemed them at great cost. And if God so loved the world, then we also should love them with the same benevolence, kindness and tender compassion; and if we love God and have our hearts filled with his spirit we will delight to do so.
`Verses 11-13` remind us of the near approach of the day of Christ when virtue will meet its just reward, and when sin and selfishness will be exposed in all their horrid deformity. Therefore, the Apostle urges, we should put on the armor of light, that we may stand approved in that day.
`Verse 14`. Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ--put on his loving, generous, noble, pure spirit: study and copy his life, which was an illustration of the perfect law of God;
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and, while so doing, ignore so completely the desires of the old nature as to make no provision for fulfilling them, thus manifesting the singleness and fixedness of the purpose to follow him.
The `Golden Text` is a plain and timely precept to all who would live godly--"Abstain from all appearance of evil." It would not be consistent with righteousness to do otherwise than abstain from the appearance of evil, as well as from the evil itself. If we love righteousness and hate iniquity we will hate the very appearance of evil ourselves, and will shun the appearance as we would shun the thing itself. We will shun it, not only because we desire to have others think well of us, but because we love purity and delight in moral excellence.
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Golden Text--"Take my yoke upon you and learn of me."-- `Matt. 11:29`.
We trust that all our readers who have been studiously pursuing the lessons of this quarter have indeed taken upon them the yoke of Christ, and that they have been learning of him, not only in an intellectual way, but also through the medium of the heart. Not until we have taken the Lord into our daily life as our living, personal companion and confidential friend and counselor and comforter and guide, as well as our Redeemer and Lord, can we fully learn of him those precious lessons which give to his disciples a joy which the world can neither give nor take away.
May this intimate communion and fellowship with Christ impart to us each more and more of his own spirit, so that the world may take knowledge of us, as they have of others (`Acts 4:13`), that we have been with Jesus; and let the prayer of each be,
"Lord Jesus, make thyself to me
A living, bright reality!
More real to faith's vision keen,
Than any earthly object seen;
More dear, more intimately nigh,
Than e'en the sweetest earthly tie."
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ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--We had for our lesson last Sunday, "On Trial for Life." Can it be possible that if I do not attain the high calling, I shall die the Second Death? I had always supposed that if I failed to attain the prize of the high calling I would get the spirit nature; that is, so long as I remained under the ransom. Is there not a second prize, or is there no other life for us?
[In reply we refer the brother to the TOWER for July 1, '94, "The Prize set Before Us."--ED.]
My life has not always been an overcoming one, in the warfare between the new and the old natures; and I have had no assurance that I would attain the reward of the high calling; but I did receive some comfort from the thought that I would be with the "great company;" and now you have taken that from me. But though I have not always walked as obeying the high calling, I do love the dear Lord with all my heart and love his truth and all his saints, and would give my life for any of them; yet for all that I have not assurance that the dear Lord would give it me, and it would be too bad, after serving the Lord for so many years, to be at last a castaway. The thought makes my heart fail within me, and I have again covenanted with the Lord that with his help I will be a better man, and I have resolved to live nearer the fountain of divine grace and to pray without ceasing. Pray for us here, as a church. We all feel a desire, as never before, for a more consecrated life and to walk in the spirit. We will all be more careful to walk in the narrow way. Your Brother, ADOLPH FOYEN.
[REPLY.--You have correctly understood the article in question. The human nature once consecrated to the Lord a sacrifice--exchanged by his grace for the new nature, the spiritual,--is gone from our grasp entirely and forever. Whatever life we gain thereafter must be spiritual life or none. Hence the Lord and the apostles always present the matter as a race for life, and declare that the gospel is to us, either "a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death;" and speak of those who draw back, not as drawing back to an earthly hope of restitution, but as drawing back unto perdition--destruction.
But our Heavenly Father's plan has so safeguarded us that none will be total failures here, except those who would also fail of life there,--in the Millennium. While the way to joint-heirship is very "narrow," as the prize to be gained is very valuable, yet the Lord's provision for the "great company" of the consecrated, who fail as "overcomers," his arrangement for their special scourging as sons and for bringing them through great tribulation for the "destruction of the flesh" which they did not overcome and "sacrifice" as they had covenanted to do, will be so complete that all who would be worthy of life at all will be purified and made white and tried, and be "saved so as by fire," though their works shall suffer loss--the loss of the great prize of joint-heirship with Christ. See the letters and answers in last issue. See also again the article to which you refer and one in our issue of Feb. 15th--"The King's Highway;" also, "The Scape Goat Class" in TABERNACLE SHADOWS OF BETTER SACRIFICES, pp. 59-63.
These are good resolutions, dear Brethren: Any who run for anything less than the great prize of our high calling are making a great mistake. God's way is not only the best in the end, but the best all the way to the end. Those who, though loving the Lord and righteousness, cling to the desires of the world and the flesh, and endeavor to drag these along in the race, are never satisfactory to the Lord nor to themselves. And they find "the destruction of the flesh" a much more severe ordeal than its "sacrifice" would have been; for the Lord's smile is upon those who joyfully sacrifice what they can in
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his service. Go on, dear Brethren, the King is your Brother as well as your Lord, and his "grace is sufficient for you." He says, Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Faithfulness means to the extent of your ability: and none of us should expect to be owned at all of the Lord unless willing to do according to our
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ability in his service. The love of Christ constraineth us to do no less than this.]
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--Your kind favor of the 14th ult. with letter of Bro. Green came duly and was read with much interest.
Relative to meetings to be held at Carroll: It will give me pleasure to lead them whenever I can, and I have so informed Bro. Goodbury. Bro. Allport is also desirous that I should start a class at W__________.
Enclosed please find check to cover our "Good Hopes," also twenty-five subscriptions to ZION'S WATCH TOWER.
During last year a considerable number of tracts (No. 12) were distributed at church doors on Sunday mornings, and we have reason to believe that some good has been accomplished. As a consequence a number of DAWNS have already been sold. Our meetings have also been held regularly. The attendance has been good, sometimes as high as twenty.
Wishing you a happy and prosperous year, I am your fellow-servant and brother in the truth,
H. N. RAHN.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: We have had another splendid meeting to-day, although the number present, owing to bad weather, was not so large as usual. Yet all who did come seemed to feel the power and presence of the Lord, and held sweet communion with him and with one another. There is one brother, who is now a regular attendant, in whom I feel a great interest. He is sixty years old or more. Many years ago he read himself out of orthodoxy and withdrew from the Lutheran church, finally becoming an atheist, then a spiritualist of the most pronounced type, which belief he has held for a number of years.
About a year since, I loaned him DAWN, but he did not get much interested until two months ago. He has now read all three volumes, the first volume three or four times, and says that after reading many systems of theology this comes the nearest "holding water" of any of them. He used to be a great Bible reader; but believing that the churches were the authorized exponents of Bible doctrine, and seeing their sham and hollowness, he turned his back on it all, despaired of ever getting any satisfaction out of it, and latterly seemed to take delight in fighting the Bible and was looked upon as a great blasphemer.
Now that he sees the harmony of God's great plan, he says, "I thought I had been fighting the Bible all these years, but I see now, that I have been fighting the hypocrites and liars instead." How many honest skeptics are doing the same thing to-day. Our old brother has given up his spiritualism and is as teachable as a child. In this particular, at least, the truth has wrought a complete change in him. He wants the TOWER.
Yours in our dear Redeemer, C. A. OWEN.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL AND WIFE:--Your last communication to me was in answer to an inquiry as to whether a person who had read the DAWNS and accepted their teaching as the plan of God, but who because of his inevitable surroundings could not see his way clear to accept and run for the high calling, would have an opportunity for the earthly phase of the Kingdom. I need not restate your answer. You know what it would be.
As you know I have been a reader of the TOWER since '92, and have never had a doubt as to the correctness of your interpretation of God's plan; but it pointed out the way so narrow and difficult, that I thought that with the responsibilities of a large family and some other difficulties, I could never attain the end. Hence I was really making no effort in that direction (a delusion of the enemy of all souls). Your answer to my inquiry, and the coming of Brother Bohnet about the same time, showed me that the very things I had supposed to be insurmountable obstacles were perhaps the very things I needed to fit me for the Kingdom honors. Hence I am determined to run for the prize, notwithstanding I know I still have much to overcome. But the Lord has promised to be with me in six troubles and will not leave nor forsake me in the seventh. Praise his dear name for ever! I am so glad, too, to accept him as my substitute; for it is only in and through his imputed righteousness that I can hope to stand.
In conclusion will say, pray for our little number here, that the very God of peace may sanctify us wholly, and keep us against the evil day. May God bless you and spare you long to give meat in due season is my prayer.
H. C. ROGERS.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--I desire to congratulate you on the beautiful "new dress" of the WATCH TOWER: it is very striking. How firm a foundation the tower stands upon, while those waves and storms beat upon it. The entire design is excellent.
Regarding contribution to the Tract Fund the coming year: if prospered, count on me for as much as heretofore --more if I can make it so.
With love to yourself and Sister Russell,--in Christ,
Your brother, J. H. BROWN.
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DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--In reading the article in TOWER for Feb. 1, on "Seeking Fellowship with Rome," I am reminded of an editorial in the N.Y. Evangelist, Jan. 31, which shows how the contagion is spreading amongst all the "daughters" who seem to be developing so much "love" for the old "mother." The editorial in question was upon the Pope's recent American Encyclical. Among other good words for the "old mother," the Editor says:
"There is neither weakness nor corruption in St. Peter's chair to-day, and there is much of wisdom, much we may be glad to recognize without any disparagement to Protestant principles, which is worthy of respect. Why should we not rejoice if the prospect is that, by virtue of this necessity to accommodate itself to the American spirit and American institutions, such a change may be brought about in the ancient church as may be tantamount to an internal, if not an external reformation? The church of Rome, with all its faults and all its errors, is a part of Christ's Church. It has done a glorious work, in some periods of the world's history. We should not be Christians if we did not hope that it may yet have a glorious work to do."
I have underscored some of the most notable words. How it must make the "faithful" smile to read these words of love--especially when they recall those "glorious periods" past,--the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Massacre of Bartholomew, the slaughter of the Hugenots and Waldenses, the fires of Smithfield, and all the other "glorious periods" when noble men and women were horribly tortured and put to death, simply because they loved God and his Word of truth!
How clearly passing events in the "ecclesiastical heavens" go to show the truth of our view of God's plan,-- that he has "spewed" the systems--Babylon--out of his mouth. Truly the "voice of the Bridegroom and the Bride is heard no more in her." They "know not the time of their visitation."
With Christian love, yours, J. A. MITCHELL.