ZWT - 1893 - R1485 thru R1610 / R1583 (291) - October 1, 1893
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VOL. XIV. OCTOBER 1, 1893. NO. 19.
VIEW FROM THE TOWER.
"WHERE are we?" is the significant question now troubling the thinking portion of Christendom, and occasionally propounded through the religious and secular press. The question has been suggested by the manifest absurdities of the old creeds and the clash of new speculative philosophies, producing such confusion that it is impossible for many to determine just where they stand.
The perplexity of the situation is very manifest from the following remarks which appeared recently in the New York Sun:--
"And so the drift goes on, until little by little the question: 'Where are we?' becomes a pregnant religious one. Professors sit in the chairs of seminaries teaching doctrines far enough removed from the originals to make the ancient benefactors turn in their graves; clergymen sign pledges on ordination which they probably know the administrator does not believe himself; the standards are in many cases only the buoys which show how far the ships of the churches have got away from the mapped-out channels. It is the age of go as you please, of every man for himself, and all that. Nobody knows where it is all to end, and those who are interested most seem to care least."
This may be regarded by some as merely a pessimistic view of the case; but it is not. The writer has not expressed it nearly so strong as the facts would warrant. Within the past three years the tendency toward open infidelity has been amazingly on the increase in both the pulpits and pews of Christendom; and now the boldest strike is being made, not only against the doctrines of the Bible, and against the doctrines set forth in the various creeds, but against the Bible itself as a divinely inspired revelation.
Failing to see in it God's plan of the ages and all its varied corroborative testimony as one harmonious whole, and seeing its inharmony on every other line of interpretation, the conclusion is rapidly being reached, and that by eminent clergymen, too, that the Bible is not a divinely inspired book; and with great boldness they are so openly declaring it that thinking people in amazement are inquiring, Whither are we drifting?
The recent controversy in the case of Dr. Briggs has done much to accelerate the movement toward infidelity: for, though the Presbyterian General Assembly has declared against him, he is regarded by many as a very martyr for truth. The Rev. Lyman Abbott, successor to Henry Ward Beecher, ranks him as a prophet, and a worthy successor of the prophets of old. But for this it is not at all necessary in his estimation that he should be in harmony with the prophets of the Bible; for Dr. Abbott has no more respect for the Bible than for many other books. Quoting the common
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belief--"The Bible is the Word of God!" he replies, "Oh, I beg your pardon, the Bible is not the Word of God. I challenge any man who calls the Bible the Word of God to find that phrase, the Word of God, ever used in the Bible." "The Bible [he says] is itself the product of the church, and the church is the product of the individual experience.
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First comes the individual consciousness of God, and then out of all the gathered consciousness of God there comes the institution of religion, the church; and then out of the life of the church and its ministry comes the literature of religion, the Bible." His order of authority would therefore be (1) the individual consciousness of God, (2) the church, and (3) the Bible.
Of course, then, Dr. Briggs and Dr. Abbott and many other eminent divines (?) are quite on a par with all the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles, according to this theory.
But Dr. Abbott is not the only one who thus boldly repudiates the Word of God: others, too, are gaining courage by such examples, and these sentiments bid fair to be the popular ones in a very short time. The Rev. Dr. Campbell, a professor in the Presbyterian college of Montreal, Canada, recently delivered a lecture before the students on "The perfect book, or the perfect Father," in which he boldly assailed the Bible as a mass of contradictions, not fairly or truthfully representing the character and plan of God, and consequently not an infallible rule of faith. And now this gentleman's course is likely to raise as stiff a breeze in Canada as that of Dr. Briggs has raised in this country, the matter having been already referred to the General Assembly there.
Another reverend (?) gentleman, Mr. Horton, who has written a volume on "The Inspiration of the Bible," and another on "Revelation and the Bible," said recently, in a lecture to the divinity students of Yale College, that he objected to the current practice of preachers calling the Bible the Word of God. He had no toleration for what he termed a strange birth of time, "the cult of Bibliolatry." He said it was due to truth and honesty for preachers "to deliver the church from the confusion and mischief and error which have been incurred by this one baseless notion, that a book written by human pens and handed down by human methods, transcribed, translated and compiled by fallible human minds, is, or can be as such, the Word of God."
It matters little how presbyteries, synods and assemblies deal with these men and their views: they cannot silence them. The rising generation of theological students is under their influence, and many who have quietly held such views are now encouraged to give expression to them. But the most notable outgrowth of these sentiments is what is called The New American Bible, now in course of preparation under the direction of Prof. Haupt of the Johns Hopkins University, the contributors (Prof. Briggs being among them) all representing the school of the so-called higher criticism, which repudiates the commonly accepted view of divine inspiration; and the attempt is to reconstruct the Scriptures from their standpoint.
Thus the authority of the Scriptures is assailed in high places, and the question, Whither are we drifting? is indeed a pregnant one in Christendom. The drift is unmistakable. The rapids of skepticism are fast hurrying on toward the final plunge into open infidelity; and "who shall be able to stand?" This is the day when "the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is;" and it behooves every child of God to fortify his faith with all the evidences which the Lord has graciously supplied to enable us to stand in this evil day.
We would therefore commend to our readers a careful review of the first three chapters of MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. I., and the articles in the TOWER on "The Law of God" (Nov. 1, '92) and "The Calling, Office and Authority of the Twelve Apostles" (May 1, '93). And let us notice further that the Scriptures do claim to be the Word of God, though their authority by no means depends upon the finding of that expression in the Scriptures, as Dr. Abbott seems to intimate. See `Luke 4:4`; `5:1`; `8:21`; `Acts 4:31`; `8:14`; `11:1`; `13:44`; `Rom. 9:6`; `10:17`; `2 Cor. 2:17`; `4:2`; `Eph. 6:17`; `2 Tim. 2:9`; `Titus 2:5`; `Heb. 4:12`; `6:5`; `13:7`; `Rev. 1:2`; `11:3`.
It is a great mistake to affirm that the Bible is the product of the Church; and those who make this claim do not know where to look for the Church. The Scriptures declare that Jesus Christ was the head and forerunner of
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the Church; and if he was the forerunner it is plain that none of the members of the Church preceded him, and, therefore, that the Old Testament Scriptures--which Paul says "were written aforetime (before Christ's advent) for our instruction that we through patience and the consolation of the Scriptures might possess the hope" (of the gospel--`Rom. 15:4`)--were not the product of the Church. And if, as we have shown, the writings of the Apostles were divinely inspired, then the New Testament Scriptures are not the product of the Church. But consecrated human agencies were used in both cases as God's honored instruments. The word of the Lord through the Apostles is not the product of the Church, but of divine revelation. And never since those inspired apostles fell asleep has the church been able to add one iota to the heavenly wisdom revealed through them; and to whatever extent she has wandered from their teachings, she has manifested her folly by vain philosophies which expose her ignorance and egotism.
Nor is the Church, as Dr. Abbott claims, the product of individual experience or consciousness of God; for, apart from the Word of God, we have no acquaintance with him. We are sanctified by the truth of God's Word, is the way the Lord expresses it (`John 17:17`), not that the Word of God is the product of our previous sanctification without the truth. The Word of God, therefore, is the only real authority of divine truth; and neither the Church collectively, nor church councils, nor the individual members of it, except the twelve divinely inspired ones, are any authorities.
It is claimed by some that the Church has exercised the authority of deciding and declaring which of the various ancient writings properly belong to the sacred code as we now possess it. But the claim is utterly fallacious. Concerning this claim let us observe how the facts stand, and note how manifestly the great Head of the Church has supervised this matter. The same divine providence which communicated the truth to the prophets, both by natural and supernatural means, was just as capable of preserving and, later, of compiling those documents; and in both cases the human agents were only the instruments in his hands, whether knowingly and willingly or not.
The Old Testament Scriptures were all carefully and religiously preserved by the Jews down to the inauguration of the Christian dispensation, and then their testimony was carefully interwoven by Christ and his inspired apostles with the further developments of divine truth due in the new dispensation of the Gospel age. And they are freely quoted and referred to by them as of divine authority, while the New Testament writings are presented as supplemental to them and of equal authority and divine inspiration; and all bear the one harmonious testimony.
The various books being thus linked together, so that if one were lost others would indicate the loss, and if a false one were supplied it would lack such indorsements and its inharmony would be manifest, it is easily seen that no human authority was necessary to make up the canon of Scripture. It is divinely indicated; and we would be very obtuse not to be able to recognize it, even if those writings were lying around loosely and separately. Those who compiled the Scriptures merely did what we could do to-day without their aid: they read the mutual indorsements of the Lord and the apostles and prophets. But while we do not accord to them any authority or special wisdom in the matter, we do gratefully accept the compilation as a providential aid to our study of the complete Scriptures, in the same way that we also accept the still more recent helps of concordances, etc.
And all of these providential helps have aided in the discovery in the Scriptures of the divine plan of the ages, which links them all together as parts of one harmonious whole which cannot be broken. Without the aid of the compilation of the Scriptures and its systematic division into chapters and verses for convenience of reference, and the valuable aid of complete concordances in the comparison of scripture with scripture, humanly speaking, we would at least be at great disadvantage, if indeed we could at all have arrived at an exact knowledge of the plan of God. God, who works by means, and who uses human instrumentalities
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when adapted to his service, wisely and graciously had all this preparatory work done for us before the due time came for the full discovery and understanding of his plan of the ages. And we rejoice and give thanks to God, and highly esteem every consecrated and honored human instrumentality which has facilitated our progress in the knowledge of the truth, though we recognize them merely as the instruments of a wise over-ruling providence which carefully comprehended, and carefully adjusted, all the various means to the accomplishment of his purpose in the full enlightenment of his elect "in due time," "the time of the end."--`Dan. 12:10`.
Those who lack the evidence of the plan of the ages to the inspiration of the Bible lack the strongest testimony of all, and the time is very near when none will be able to stand the searching tests of this day of the Lord who are not amply supported by its strength. Praise the Lord for his keeping power: "his truth is our shield and buckler:" it is a network of testimony that cannot be broken.
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THOUGH YE BE ESTABLISHED.
"I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth."--`2 Pet. 1:12`.
WHAT things? Why, of the necessity of giving all diligence to add to our faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness, charity:...For if ye do these things ye shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.--`Verses 5-11`.
To be established in the truth signifies that we have carefully studied and thoroughly proved it by "the law and the testimony" (`Isa. 8:20`), and that as a consequence we are convinced of its verity, so that our faith is steadfast and immovable: we know in whom we have believed; we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good; we have partaken of the sweets of fellowship with him; we have partaken of his spirit of meekness, faith and godliness to such an extent as to be led into a joyful realization of the fulness of his grace as manifested in the wonderful divine plan of the ages; and we have been permitted to see, not only the various features of that plan, but also the necessity and reasonableness of all its various measures in order to the full accomplishment of its glorious outcome in the fulness of the appointed times. This is what it is to be "established in the present truth." It is indeed a most blessed condition, bringing with it such peace and joy as the world can neither give nor take away.
But though we be thus established in the present truth, we need to bear in mind that our election to the high position to which we are called is not yet made sure. The race for the prize of our high calling is still before us, and we are yet in the enemy's country, surrounded by many subtle and powerful foes, so that if we would be successful we must "fight the good fight of faith," remembering, too, that "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but [God's Truth is] mighty to the pulling down of the strong-holds" of error and superstition and of inbred sin; and remembering, also, that "we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."--`2 Cor. 10:4`; `Eph. 6:12`.
It is in view of these facts--of the warfare before us, of the subtlety of our temptations and of the weaknesses of the flesh--that the faithful Apostle Peter urges all diligence in the cultivation of the Christian graces and a continual calling to remembrance of the precious truths we have learned, that we may be strengthened thereby to make our calling and election sure. Faith is a good thing; but faith without virtuous works is dead; and to hold the truth in unrighteousness is worse than never to have received it. The truth is given to us for its sanctifying effect upon our hearts and lives. Therefore let it have free course and be glorified.
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Let its precious fruits appear more and more from day to day. Add to your faith virtue --true excellence of character, such excellence of character as will mark you as separate from the world and its spirit. In all such the world will see those moral qualities which they must approve, however they may oppose our faith. Add sterling honesty, truth and fair dealing in all business relations; moral integrity, in all social relations; manifestly clean hands and a pure heart, and a bridled tongue that works no ill to a neighbor. All of these the world has a right to expect from those who call themselves Christians; and all of these are indispensable features of that virtuous character which must be added to our faith. The clean hands will not dabble in anything that is not virtuous: they will have nothing to do with unrighteous schemes or projects in business. The pure heart will not devise evil things, or harbor evil thoughts, or plot mischief. And the bridled tongue will not be given to evil speaking, but will hold its peace when it cannot speak well and wisely. But the promptings of virtue go further than merely these negative features which refuse to do anything which would work ill to a neighbor; they incite not only to passive, but also to active, goodness--in benevolent charity which seeks to alleviate suffering, to sympathize with sorrow, to comfort those in distress and to elevate and bless others--to assist "all men as we have opportunity."
To such a virtuous character we are counseled to add knowledge--the knowledge of God's character, that we may the more thoroughly imitate it, and of his truth, that we may more fully conform to its teachings: And to knowledge, temperance--moderation, self-restraint, in all things. "Let your moderation be known unto all men." We are not to be hasty and hot-tempered, or rash and thoughtless. But we should strive to be evenly balanced, thoughtful and considerate: our whole manner should be characterized by that carefulness which would indicate that we are ever mindful of the Lord's pleasure, of our responsibility to him as his representatives, and of our influence upon our fellow-men, to see that it always be for good, never for evil.
"And to temperance, patience." "Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." Yes, this grace smooths the way for every other, because all must be acquired under the process of patient and continuous self-discipline. Not a step of progress can be gained without the exercise of this grace of patience; and not one of the graces more beautifully adorns the Christian character, or wins the approval of the world's conscience, or glorifies the God of all grace whose truth inspires it. It is long-suffering meekness earnestly striving to stem the tide of human imperfection and weakness, and endeavoring with pains-taking care to regain the divine likeness. It is slow to wrath and plenteous in mercy: it is quick to perceive the paths of truth and righteousness, and prompt to walk in them: it is mindful of its own imperfections and sympathetic with the imperfections and shortcomings of others.
"And to patience, godliness"--a careful study and imitation of the divine character as presented in the divine Word.
"And to godliness, brotherly kindness"-- an exercise and manifestation of the principles of the divine character toward our fellow-men.
"And to brotherly kindness, charity"--love. Kindness may be manifested where but little love exists toward the subject of such kindness; but we cannot long persevere in such acts of kindness before a sympathetic interest is awakened; and by and by that interest, continually exercised, deepens into love. And even though the subject may be unlovely in character, the love of sympathy for the fallen and degraded grows, until it becomes tender and solicitous and akin to that of a parent for an erring son.
Peter indeed describes a most amiable character, but who can consider it without feeling that to attain it will be a life-work. It cannot be accomplished in a day, nor a year, but the whole life must be devoted to it; and day by day, if we are faithful, we should realize a measure of growth in grace and of development of Christian character. It is not enough that we know the truth, nor to be contented to hold it in unrighteousness. We must see to it that the truth is having its legitimate and designed
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effect upon the character. And if the truth is thus received into good and honest hearts, we have the assurance of the Apostle that we shall never fall, and that in due time we shall be received into the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Hence we see the necessity of ever keeping the instructions and precepts of the Lord fresh in our minds, and of drinking deep into its inspiring spirit, although we are already established in the faith. To be established in the faith is one thing, but to be established in Christian character and in all the graces of the spirit is quite another.
A PRACTICAL SUGGESTION.
Feeling as we do the necessity of a deeper work of grace, both in our own hearts and in the hearts of all of the dear household of faith, the thought has occurred to us that more special effort in this particular direction on the part of us all would probably be of great benefit. We do not know through what discipline of faith and patience we may yet be called to pass in the approaching dark night of which we are forewarned, but "sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof," and also, thank God, sufficient unto the day is the grace thereof, if we earnestly lay hold of it and patiently continue in it. As each day brings its trials, so, if we have been rightly exercised by the trials, each day should bring its victories--thus leaving us strengthened and more firmly established in character, as well as in faith.
With the end in view of specially promoting the growth of Christian character, our suggestion, which has already been made and adopted by the congregation in Allegheny, is that wherever a few of the consecrated can arrange to meet together, it would be well to appoint a mid-week meeting for this special purpose. Such a meeting should be devoted to worship, prayer and praise, and to brotherly exhortation, conference and counsel, but not to Bible study or controversy. All discussions of doctrinal matters should be eliminated from such a meeting, and such subjects as would elicit controversy avoided, leaving such matters for another meeting, at an appropriate hour on the Lord's day, when all meet together; the object being, not to ignore doctrine, nor to discourage Bible-study; but, while meeting this necessity at the one meeting (on the Lord's day), to devote the other (the mid-week meeting) to the other equal necessity, without distraction.
Our arrangement here in Allegheny and Pittsburg is as follows: As our congregation is much scattered, we have them parcelled into as many neighborhood gatherings as is necessary for the accommodation of all desiring to attend; and a leader is appointed for each meeting, discretion being observed as to capability. They should be brethren established in the faith--sound in doctrine, faithful and pious. These meetings are held on Wednesday evening at the residence of some member of each little group. The meeting is opened with a hymn and prayer, the reading by the leader of an appropriate passage of Scripture, bearing on the subject of practical piety; then each one is asked to give his or her personal experience as to progress in the narrow way--as to how he or she is growing in grace and striving to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. Here they may humbly tell of their victories, or speak of their trials, or ask for Christian counsel and sympathy in hard places, speaking more freely in such little gatherings than would be possible or proper in larger assemblies. Here they can hear each other's petitions for each other, and Christian love and sympathy flow the more freely from heart to heart.
The object kept in mind at these meetings is a fresh, living, weekly and daily experience with the Lord and in his service, and not merely a stale experience of the remote past. A clear past experience is good, but a clear present experience is better;--much more vitally important. Doctrine is ignored at these meetings except as the word doctrine applies to all Scripture teachings, including hope, trust, obedience, godliness, prayer, etc. Too many, we find, have been contenting themselves with knowing the truth, without making special efforts to live it, daily and hourly. As honesty of heart and faith in the Redeemer's finished work and consecration to his service are necessary to a full entrance into the "holy,"
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where the deeper features of the divine plan can be discerned and fully appreciated, so these qualities must remain, must abide, or the light will become darkness--you will be cast out of the light into the outer darkness in which the world and the nominal church grope after the phosphorescent glimmerings of error --Spiritism, Christian Science, Theosophy and Universalism.
The leader of such a meeting should study to adapt his counsel, correction or encouragement to the special needs of each of the little group over which he is placed, and his reverent piety and personal interest in each should inspire the confidence of all. We believe that such mid-week meetings would indeed prove steppingstones to higher attainments in the divine life, and that thus all may be greatly blessed and profited; and the whole body will be able the more effectually to minister to one another in spiritual things. At a monthly general meeting of the same character, we hear of the spiritual progress of the various little groups both from the leaders and the various attendants, and quarterly the leaders are transferred to other groups.
May the blessing of the Lord go with the suggestion, and may the outcome be a strengthening of the bond of Christian love and mutual sympathy and fellowship everywhere.
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"WHO IS SUFFICIENT FOR THESE THINGS?"
"For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish. To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the Word of God, but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ."--`2 Cor. 2:15-17`.
THIS ministry, which all the consecrated, as ambassadors for Christ, have received, is one of tremendous import. It greatly influences the final destiny of those to whom we preach this gospel of the Kingdom, the tendency being either to life or to death. The Apostle's language here is another of the solemn warnings of the inspired Word against the danger of the second death, and should wake up any who have been deluded into the idea that there is no such possibility, to a sense of their danger in permitting the great adversary to thus deceive them. There is an equal responsibility on the part both of those who undertake to preach the gospel and of those who hear it. The truth is God's truth, and the responsibility both of speaking and of hearing it is very great.
The Apostle's words show that many in his day, as in ours, failed to realize this responsibility, and, to answer their own selfish ends, corrupted the Word of God. To wilfully or recklessly corrupt the Word of God--to vitiate its pure and holy doctrines; to add to it the vain philosophies of ambitious men and seek to support their theories by perverting its truths; to underrate its exceeding great and precious promises and mystify the conditions upon which they may be realized; or to minimize or make void the solemn warnings of the Word of God--is indeed dangerous business, in which the faithful saints will never engage, but in which those who fall away from the faith are usually most active--deceiving and being deceived.
To be faithful ambassadors for Christ--faithful representatives of the truth and faithful proclaimers of it--requires great humility and simplicity of heart. It necessitates the complete ignoring of all worldly ambitions and aims, and the cultivation of a brave spirit of endurance which will not shrink from any reproach which fidelity to the truth may bring. And such service, the Apostle here shows, is acceptable to God as sweet incense, no matter what may be the effect upon those to whom we minister, whether they accept or reject the message of divine grace. What God is looking for in us is loyalty to him and devotion to his cause; and this condition of heart he appreciates, regardless of our success or failure to secure large results. What a comfort it is amidst all discouragements to know that under all circumstances the spirit of Christ in us is as
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sweet incense to God. And the reward of his constant approval is richer than all the unwholesome sweets of ambition gained by corrupting the Word of God.
To the hearer of this gospel, the message must prove either a savor of life unto (or tending to) life, or a savor of death unto (or tending to) death. His responsibility is great: there is no neutral ground; he either receives it or rejects it. But observe that the statement is not that the rejection of any item of truth inevitably dooms the rejector to death, and vice versa, but that the tendency of such a course is to death, and of the opposite course to life, unless interrupted--changed.
Thus, for instance, the Lord, in reproving the Scribes and Pharisees, who rejected the gospel and yet claimed to be the children of God and leaders and examples of godliness to others, significantly inquired, "How can ye escape the condemnation of gehenna"--the everlasting destruction, the second death? (`Matt. 23:33`.) In rejecting the truth so plainly brought to their attention, and in pursuing the hypocritical course of claiming to be faithful and devoted children of God, they were forming and establishing such characters that, ere long, repentance would be impossible to them. Few, perhaps, clearly realize how serious a thing it is to be making character, and that every act and every thought leaves its impress upon the soul. Every right thought and act tends to establish the character in righteousness, while every wrong thought and act, and every self-deception tends to confirm and establish an unrighteous character. And when a wrong course is adopted and persistently followed--when conscience is stifled, and when reason and Scripture are perverted to selfish ends, until the heart is deceived and the judgment is overcome-- who can predict the repentance of such a one?
Such construct characters or wills so out of harmony with God and righteousness as to be fit only for destruction. (`Heb. 6:4-6`.) How can such "escape the condemnation of Gehenna"? for God will not permit any one to live whose will is confirmed in unrighteousness. How responsible then is the position of those who are building character in themselves and in others! Remember that our characters are manifested by our habits of life; and each act, even the smallest, tends to form some new habit, or to confirm one already established. How important, then, that our thoughts and actions should not be aimless, but with a purpose (`1 Cor. 10:31`); and, above all, that our lives should be "transformed [re-formed] by the renewing of our minds;" that, putting aside the evil, and all influences which tend toward evil, we should receive of the Lord, through his Word, the "spirit of a sound mind," the "mind of Christ." In this view of the case, it is indeed a solemn thing to live, a solemn thing to think, and to act; and it behooves us to guard well our words, our thoughts and our actions, and to ever bear in mind our responsibility to God, both for ourselves and for others as ambassadors for Christ.
"And who is sufficient for these things?" Surely none of us in our own strength. We need first of all to give ourselves to the Lord without reserve, and then daily to drink in more and more of his spirit by communion with him through his Word and in prayer; and constantly to watch and pray lest we enter into temptation.
Let all the consecrated endeavor more and more to realize their responsibility, both in the matter of their own character-building and also in that of building up others in the most holy faith and in the character which is the legitimate result of that faith. The issues of eternal life and eternal death are before us, and before those to whom we present this gospel; and therefore it behooves us carefully and prayerfully to present the pure truth of God in all sincerity and in the spirit of Christ before God, ever bearing in mind that it is a savor either of life unto life or of death unto death.
"Grant skill each sacred theme to trace,
With loving voice and glowing tongue,
As when upon thy words of grace
The wondering crowds enraptured hung.
"Give strength, blest Savior, in thy might;
Illuminate our hearts, and we,
Transformed into thine image bright,
Shall teach, and love, and live, like thee."
STUDIES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.
--INTERNATIONAL S.S. LESSONS.--
SUGGESTIVE THOUGHTS DESIGNED TO ASSIST THOSE OF OUR READERS WHO ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES WHERE THESE LESSONS ARE USED; THAT THEY MAY BE ENABLED TO LEAD OTHERS INTO THE FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL. PUBLISHED IN ADVANCE, AT THE REQUEST OF FOREIGN READERS.
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JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH.
IV. QUAR., LESSON III., OCT. 15, `ROM. 5:1-11`.
Golden Text--"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."--`Rom. 5:8`.
Thus far this epistle has established (1) the necessity of justification to salvation from sin and death; (2) that the terms of this salvation are alike for both Jews and Gentiles; (3) that faith in the precious blood of Christ as the payment of our ransom, implying a humble, grateful reliance upon the same for salvation, is the one divinely appointed condition of justification and salvation; and (4) in Abraham's case, he has illustrated the nature and promptings of such a true and saving faith. In this lesson the Apostle refers to the blessed influence of faith upon the character, and to its bearings upon the future prospects of those exercising it.
`Verse 1` shows that the immediate effect of faith is a blessed realization of peace with God; not through personal worthiness of his favor, but through our Lord Jesus Christ," by whom we have received the atonement, his righteousness being imputed to us by faith. In thus accepting him whom God has appointed for our salvation, as our redeemer and Lord, we thereby acknowledge our own imperfections and sins and the necessity of redemption by the payment of a ransom, a substitute, an equivalent price, for that which was lost through sin.
This first step of faith restores the believer to all the privileges and blessings originally bestowed upon the human son of God, Adam, and afterward forfeited by him, though their full realization does not belong to the present age, viz.--everlasting life, uninterrupted peace and communion with God, and all the blessings of his fatherly providence. But, until the appointed time of Christ's reign, the experiences of the believer are the joys of faith and hope, and of present peace and communion with God in consequence of that faith and hope. In other words he holds a check for full restitution, to be honored and cashed in the due time of God's appointment.
`VERSE 2` has reference to a second privileged step of faith, an access by faith into a still higher grace, or position of favor, wherein also we stand by faith and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Elsewhere we have been shown that this higher grace is the privilege of being "transformed" to a higher nature, of being made "partakers of the divine nature," "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, if so be that we suffer with him," and of being made like him and seeing him "as he is"--"the express image of the Father's person." (`Rom. 12:2`; `2 Pet. 1:4`; `Rom. 8:17`; `1 John 3:2`; `Heb. 1:3`.) This is the "high calling" (`Phil. 3:14`) of those who, being justified by faith, have enough faith to go still further and accept and appreciate this great privilege of our high calling and enough of the spirit of Christ to follow in his footsteps of self-sacrifice faithfully, even unto death. The access into this higher grace cannot be obtained except from the standpoint of the previous grace of justification.
This is clearly manifest from the exhortation of the Apostle in `Rom. 12:1`. "I beseech you therefore, brethren,...that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." Those addressed are "brethren" of the household of faith, justified believers, before they are invited to accept this higher grace. Otherwise, being still under condemnation to death, they would have nothing to offer in sacrifice to God, and certainly nothing which would be holy and acceptable. Of this we have assurance also in the typical sacrifices of the Mosaic law. The sacrifices of the day of atonement which foreshadowed the "better sacrifices" (`Heb. 9:23`) of Christ Jesus and his body, the Church, must be without blemish (`Lev. 1:3`; `3:1-6`; `4:3,23,28`; `22:21-25`), and so must the "better sacrifices" be. Christ Jesus, our Head, "the High Priest of our profession," was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners;" "he knew no sin;" and in him, therefore, the Father was well pleased. (`Heb. 7:26`; `1 John 3:5`; `Matt. 3:17`.) We, however, have no such actual perfection; but, clothed in his
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imputed righteousness by faith in his blood shed for the remission of sins--justified-- we also are acceptable to God in the Beloved. (`Eph. 1:6`.) And thus, being called, we are eligible to the higher grace of sonship on the plane of the divine nature, and to joint-heirship with Christ Jesus of the Father's love and bounty; and to us belong the "exceeding great and precious promises" of God.--`2 Pet. 1:4`.
`VERSES 3,4`. In this confident and glorious hope we rejoice, even in the midst of tribulations, knowing that they constitute the discipline necessary to fit us for our future exalted station. If rightly exercised by these, by a spirit of humility and submission, they will work in us the beautiful grace of patience. And patience in submitting to trial will lead to large and valuable experience --experience of God's love and wisdom and grace and comfort. And this experience will brighten hope and strengthen our confidence in God.
`VERSE 5`. "And hope maketh not ashamed, because," etc. Those inspired by this hope experience no sense of shame under the discipline and trials they must endure. The world, and merely nominal Christians, may despise and reject and persecute them, as they did their Lord; but, having the love of God shed abroad in their hearts, they glory in tribulations and rejoice to be counted worthy to suffer for his name's sake. And in the glorious message they bear there is nothing to be ashamed of; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. It tells of an election now of a "peculiar people," for an exalted position of service, and of the abounding free grace to all the families of the earth when, in due time" (`1 Tim. 2:6`), the elect "little flock," the "royal priesthood," the "peculiar people," have been exalted to reign with Christ in his Kingdom.
`VERSES 6-8` return to the subject of justification to point out the great love of God in providing for the redemption of sinners at such cost to himself. Rarely, indeed, would human love sacrifice life for another, even for a righteous person; but God commended his love to us, in that while we were yet sinners, he gave his only begotten Son to die for us--a gift which fond parents of an only and dutiful child can perhaps most fully appreciate.
The Apostle also points out our helpless condition--that we were without any strength to help ourselves, and that our salvation is therefore the free gift of God, through Christ, and hence a manifestation of his great love. He further indicates that the time of the payment of our ransom price was definitely prearranged--"In due time, Christ died for the ungodly." This is a marked reference to the fact that time is a special feature in God's great plan of the ages. There was a particular appointed time for the payment of our ransom, as well
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as for every other feature of the wondrous plan. Those who wish to consider this important time element, will do well to study MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., The Time is at Hand.
`VERSES 9,10` teach us to build upon this manifestation of God's love in the gift of his Son, and our justification through faith in his blood, the reasonable, as well as Scriptural, hope of final complete salvation through him. When we were enemies, God, by the death of his Son, manifested his sympathy for us by paying our penalty for us; and "much more, being reconciled [being justified and recognized as sons of God], we shall be saved from wrath [restored to the proper condition of sons--liberated from sin and death, the manifestation of God's wrath] through him."
Thus, as long as we continue to trust in the merit of our Redeemer, gratefully accepting the free gift of God's love, we have the fullest reasonable and Scriptural assurance of salvation.
`VERSE 11` points out a further cause for rejoicing in the fact that we who believe have now received the atonement--that we are now reckoned of God as perfect through Christ, and as worthy to be called his sons, and to receive the favors of sons. Having this reckoned standing now, we are in position to receive the additional favor of our high calling to be the bride and joint-heir of his dear Son. May all the consecrated duly appreciate their high calling, and strive to make their calling and election sure. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith."--`1 John 5:4`.
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IV. QUAR., LESSON IV., OCT. 22, `ROM. 12:1-15`.
Golden Text--"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."--`Rom. 12:21`.
Having in previous chapters called attention to the marvelous depths of divine wisdom
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and grace manifested in the plan of the ages, and having pointed out its strong foundation and its ultimate glorious purpose, the Apostle now (in `chapters 12-15`) proceeds to draw some very practical lessons, and to exhort the household of faith to fully appreciate and accept the grace of God through Christ, and to be faithful and worthy sons and heirs of God.
`VERSE 1` is an exhortation to those already justified by faith in Christ as the Redeemer, and who are therefore "brethren" of the household of faith, to enter into the higher grace of sons of God on the spiritual plane and become joint-heirs with his dear Son and partakers with him of the divine nature. (`2 Pet. 1:4`.) The way to this exalted position is pointed out as a way of sacrifice--"Present your bodies a living sacrifice." To do so is to do just what our Lord Jesus did, who said, "I came not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." It is to ignore the will of the flesh with all its ambitions, hopes and aims, however proper they may be in themselves, henceforth to devote all our time, our energies and our talents, be they many or few, to the doing of the Master's work, so that we can say with Christ Jesus, it is my meat to do his will and to finish his work. (`John 4:34`.) And this consecration is even unto death, when, the course being finished, the reward is sure.
Such a sacrifice on the part of justified believers is reckoned of God as "holy," because the merit of our Redeemer is imputed to us through faith; and it is therefore acceptable to God, and is but our reasonable service, and would be so even if no such reward were promised.
`VERSE 2`. "And be not conformed to [patterned after] this world [its ideas, hopes and aims]; but be ye transformed [remodeled, changed] by the renewing of your mind [by taking the mind of Christ--by endeavoring to think as he thought and to do as he did or would do in your circumstances], that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God"--for only by coming into such an attitude of mind can we fully know the will of God. Any other attitude is more or less biased by prejudice, making our discernment of the will of God more or less indistinct.
`VERSE 3`. Through the grace given unto him Paul foresaw that one of the greatest temptations among Christians would be ambition to be great and highly esteemed, if not by the world, at least among those in the faith, and to do some great thing that would attract attention, rather than the common things that constitute the bulk of actual service. And therefore he counsels every man to take a sober estimate of his talents, neither overrating nor underrating them, so that he may make the best use of them as a wise and faithful steward.
`VERSES 4,5` assure us of the important and honorable place of every member of the body of Christ, though all have not the same office. All are useful and needful one to another, and each should seek to know his place and to do his part in it for the edification of the body.
`VERSES 6-8` urge faithfulness in the use of our talents in accordance with a sober and just estimate of them. Thus, if we have no talent for public speaking or teaching, we should not waste our energies and misrepresent the truth by poor attempts to use a talent not possessed; but, having found that capacity in which we can do most effectual service for the truth, let us spend our energies along that line with diligence and carefulness. "Having, then, gifts differing," let us use them with diligence, patience, simplicity and cheerfulness, contented to be very humble in the estimation of others that our humble talents may increase the more to the Master's glory.
`VERSES 9,10`. "Let love be unfeigned" --not hypocritical. And let it always be pure--not a sickly sentimentalism which forgets or ignores the proper bounds of propriety between brethren and sisters in Christ, which even the world recognizes, and which all the saints should the more firmly establish. The pure love of Christ in our hearts knows no man after the flesh, and puts no confidence in the flesh; it recognizes the inherent depravity of the old nature and keeps the flesh under the heel of the new nature. Consequently, its disposition is the very reverse of undue familiarity: it is dignified, simple, pure, and maintains always that proper reserve with the opposite sex which is approved even by the world, and which much more becometh saints. The manifestations of love among the saints should rather be after the manner indicated in `verse 10`--by "in honor preferring one another," and by such kindness as is entirely consistent with the most refined modesty and purity. In such a state of mind and
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heart, sisters will prefer to exchange their confidences and intimacies with their husbands or with sisters, and brethren; with their wives or with fellow brethren; thus no reproach will be brought upon the cause of Christ.
The Apostle again indicates the disposition of this pure love among the saints in his letter to Timothy (`1 Tim. 5:1,3,5`), saying, "Rebuke not an elder [an aged brother, even if he has erred; have respect to his years], but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; the elder women as mothers; the younger women as sisters, with all purity [with no semblance of undue familiarity]. Honor widows that are widows indeed"--whose trust is in God, and whose conduct is consistent with that trust.
"Abhor that which is evil and cleave to that which is good;" "abstain from all appearance of evil," and "let not your good be evil spoken of" through any careless or imprudent conduct; and, "finally, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report: if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things," and act on them.--`1 Thes. 5:22`; `Rom. 14:16`; `Phil. 4:8`.
`VERSES 11-15` need no comment, but are worthy of careful pondering by all those who are earnestly striving to develop in themselves the likeness of Christ.
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ABSTINENCE FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS.
IV. QUAR., LESSON V., OCT. 29, `1 COR. 8:1-13`.
Golden Text--"We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak."--`Rom. 15:1`.
The Corinthian Christians were in the midst of an idolatrous people, and had come out from them. They had heard and accepted the gospel of Christ, and now desired to be entirely separate from idolaters. To such an extent was idolatry practiced in Corinth that most of the meat offered for sale in the markets was first offered to idols, and it was not always easy to learn which had and which had not been offered in sacrifice to some heathen deity. Some of the Christians were conscientiously opposed to having anything to do with such meats, while others felt that it made no difference whether they partook of it or not, since the meat suffered no change, and since they had no sympathy with the idolatrous worship. The question was referred to the Apostle Paul, who replied:--
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`VERSES 1,4,7`. "Now, concerning the idol sacrifices, we know that an image is nothing in the world [that it is only an imaginary god], and that no one is God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth (as there be gods many and lords many), yet to us there is but one god, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. But this knowledge is not in all." (The intervening lines are parenthetic. See Diaglott). All men were not enlightened by the gospel and so relieved from superstition; and, consequently, the eating of such meats in their presence might seem to them to be an indorsement of the idol-worship; and thus they might be misled into a partial indorsement of idolatry. Or at least the influence of such Christians might be greatly weakened.
Therefore, while he admits that there would be nothing wrong--no sacrifice of any principle--in the eating of such meat (`verse 8`), he advises that these Christians forego the use of their liberty in this matter out of deference to the conscience of weaker brethren who might otherwise be made to stumble.
And so clearly did the Apostle realize his responsibility for the weaker brethren, that he said that if his eating of meat would cause his brother to stumble he would never eat meat.--`Verse 13`.
Nor was he inclined to glory over his weaker brother because of his fuller knowledge and consequent freedom from superstition. Mere knowledge, he said, puffs up, but love builds up. (`Verses 1-4`.) Therefore he preferred in love to seek to build up the weaker brother's faith and to avoid placing any stumbling block in his way, rather than to boast of his superior knowledge and liberty and to cause his brother for whom Christ died to stumble. The latter course he shows to be sinful (`verse 12`), while the former is the only one consistent with true Christian love.
The `Golden Text` from the Apostle's letter to the Romans, with the `two succeeding verses`, further enforces this same sentiment, which all would do well to consider in every matter. While with us at this day this principle
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does not involve the eating of meats, it does touch many other things which should be considered in the light of our responsibilities for our brother's keeping in the faith. It should regulate our general conduct, our conversation, our manners, our dress, our conduct and habits of life, that all may be to the glory of God, to the edification of our brethren, and that our light may shine before the world.
"OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT."
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I cannot refrain from writing you, for my heart is full of joy and thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for this great and glorious knowledge which he has been pleased to give me, and I wish to render unto you my heartfelt thanks for so many encouraging words. I find that many are very ready to receive the truth, and I explain it to the best of my ability; but I cannot lend one book to the many that wish it, and I expect soon to order more. I believe I could sell many. I cannot express in words the enjoyment the TOWER gives us. May God bless it as the means of placing many upon the sure foundation, which is Christ Jesus.
How wonderful is God in his love to us! It seems almost too good to be true, only that it is sealed with his own name and with the blood of his only begotten Son. God will be with you and he will greatly bless you, for he has many hungry souls crying out for the Bread of Life.
Yours in the Lord, T. H. LLOYD.
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DEAR SIR:--In the good providence of God, your three volumes of MILLENNIAL DAWN were placed in my hands by one of the Lord's "little ones." They have been read carefully and prayerfully, over and over again; and for them I render unceasing praise to our blessed Lord.
I am one of those "who love his appearing," and I am watching the "signs of the times" with unbounded interest. Enclosed find subscription to the WATCH TOWER.
Yours in his love, MRS. M. E. MORRILL.
KIND SIRS:--"He that desireth knowledge, let him ask of God." I have realized untold blessings from VOL. I. of the MILLENNIAL DAWN series; and, desiring to know more of the truth of God, I send my order for the other two volumes. Find enclosed fifty cents.
May God bless you in the work you are now advancing. Yours with respect,
REV. W. H. PRATHES.
GENTLEMEN:--About two years ago I read the first volume of MILLENNIAL DAWN, and am well pleased with it. It sheds new light on God's Word. After critical examination I am convinced that it presents the truth. I now desire volumes two and three of the DAWN series.
I joined the Missionary Baptists when about 17 years old, and was a zealous member until about ten years ago, when I began to investigate their teachings. To my great astonishment I discovered they were teaching and following their creed and the doctrines and traditions of men. So about three years ago I earnestly requested them to drop my name from their membership. I almost became an avowed infidel.
After reading The Plan of the Ages (bought of a colporteur) and skimming through volumes two and three (borrowed on short time), I lost that proclivity to infidelity, and again enlisted as a soldier of the cross. I am an earnest seeker after truth. I have had a strong desire to preach the gospel of Christ ever since my youth, and I earnestly hope and pray that the day is fast approaching when, by the grace of God, and careful study, I shall know what I believe, and why I believe it, and shall bear to many the precious news of "good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." Your prayers are earnestly desired.
Yours fraternally, O. H. PUREFOY.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I praise God for the truth as I now see it. For seventeen years I wandered in darkness, groping, expecting something, I knew not what, and believing all the time that those who did not repent and accept Christ in this life would be lost; but I do thank God that this truth has dawned upon me in its beauty and holiness: that I can see a God of justice, love, mercy and power, and that in Jesus Christ, to whom I hope to be united as one of the Bride, I see that which is altogether lovely. To him may all honor and praise be given. Amen. G. W. LACY.
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--When out collecting for a banquet in the Salvation Army about the first of April, I was introduced to DAWN. Words cannot express the joy and delight which that book and the TOWER lent me by a friend have given me. I acted at once on my honest conviction, gave in my resignation and commenced to spread the truth. A great number have since commenced to read DAWN, but the officer in charge here is shocked at my course. He called a special meeting and denounced me as a heretic, infidel, traitor to the Army and a person to be generally shunned--I suppose to prevent the soldiers visiting me as I was widely known here. He said he did not care what we believed, if we did not teach it. However, I told him I would teach it: that I should, to do my duty to God and my fellow men, proclaim the truth as loudly as I had the falsehood. I ask the prayers of all the faithful that I may be strengthened for my work. As Father Chiniquy says with regard to Rome, you have to live in the Army to understand it. Looking from the outside, one would think it real, and I believe at first it was; but selfish ambition, self-aggrandizement and vain-glory have so crept in that it will overthrow itself.
Your new-found sister,
MRS. E. WILLIAMSON.
DEAR SIR:--I have just finished reading MILLENNIAL DAWN, and I am charmed and delighted beyond all expression. I want to thank you for the real joy and heart-gladness the work has afforded me. Everything is so plain and reasonable that I want the whole world to read this work; and if others would receive one hundredth part the light and joy that have come into my life, they would be amply repaid for time and trouble.
With what system and order our Heavenly Father has worked for man's benefit had crossed my mind to a certain extent before; but you have made him more than ever the All-wise. What can I do to help on this glorious work? J. TUFFORD.
EDITOR ZION'S WATCH TOWER:--The papers sent are at hand. I have been greatly interested in the subject of baptism, and have studied considerably the different doctrines taught concerning it, and my mind has been very much unsettled regarding it. I want to say now that your article on "Baptism and its Import," in TOWER of June 15th, is to me the plainest and most convincing exegesis of the subject that I have ever read. That number of the WATCH TOWER alone is worth the year's subscription.
Yours in Christ, J. M. ALEXANDER.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I have been studying The Plan of the Ages, and desire to say that I am fully with you, heart and head. I know these things are true. The dear Lord is blessing me with the light of truth. Oh, how I rejoice to be thus favored of the dear, loving Master. I cannot keep it. I desire to let these truths go unto others; for I know many are hungering for relief from sectarian thralldom, and would love to be planted on the Rock rather than on shifting sand.
Any tracts you have to spare at any time we will be glad to receive. I am not able to travel, but I can mail quite a number to others and thus help to spread the light.
May the dear Lord continue your life and health, and bless you both, is my prayer.
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DEAR BROTHER:--I have given up all for the Master's work, and I am all alone. I have had to stand as a witness against the entire city. For the last week my stand was taken in accordance with our Master's teachings as shown me through the WATCH TOWER. I did not force my views on any one, but, when it became necessary, I withstood the entire town. They threatened to boycott me, and many of them have done so; but the Master has quadrupled my business in spite of their opposition. What difference to me how many are against me, when he is for me. The only thing that troubles me is that I cannot do more for him.
I have placed the DAWN before almost every one in this city. Dear brother, pray for me, that I may stand fast and that he may open a way of usefulness for me. It is a great honor to be able to work for our Master. Yours in his love,
G. L. FRANKLIN.
DEAR SIR:--Received of your Colporteur MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. I., which has been carefully read. Never was a book read with more interest and never was such a flood of light let in by so few pages. I am glad to congratulate you on having, by God's grace, discovered the truth. J. O. HEATER.
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NEWS FROM FOREIGN FIELDS.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--It is to me a great pleasure to inform you that the Lord, the Keeper of Israel, brought me back home safely, and that I found all my family well. On Saturday the 19th inst., I was, by the grace of God, able again to bear the name of our precious Lord Jesus before a multitude of Jews, who were very glad to see me again among them at our meeting-house. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away his mercy from me.
I feel very much obliged to you and dear Sister Russell for the Christian love and kindness shown to me by you both during the two days of my stay with you at your house. I am thankful to the Lord for that pleasure, which I never thought to obtain. I believe that our sudden meeting and talking about the Kingdom and the harvest truth shall have a good reward for us both. (`Prov. 24:14`.) Now, just after all what the Lord gave me to see, to hear and to comprehend in your country, I am holding my peace, to wit, whether the Lord had made my journey prosperous or not; but I can tell you, that the best place of America, and the time when my lungs breathed good fresh Christian air, was the two days of my stay in Allegheny. There I was surrounded by good earnest men, who are happy indeed in their blessed hope to sit down soon with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven. There I was strengthened about the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers, the hope of Israel, much more than in other places. Oh! Our Father which art in heaven, thy Kingdom come. Amen.
John is preparing an answer to your kind letter to him. I, jointly with my wife and children, send to yourself and to your dear wife our Christian love and best wishes. We are every evening praying for you both, that the Lord may preserve you for a long time to serve for his Kingdom and glory.
Remember me to all our dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, who belong to your honorable congregation, especially to brother Wm. L. Campbell, who bestowed much labor on me.
Believe me, I am yours truly in Jesus Christ,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I arrived in Liverpool on the 4th inst. Had a pleasant voyage; no trouble with seasickness. On the steamer, I formed a little Bible class, and succeeded in stirring up quite an interest on the line of present truth. Sold some DAWNS, and gave out tracts.
When I arrived in Liverpool I found a place for baggage and lodging. In the afternoon called to see a sister and two brethren who seem very noble and zealous for the truth. They each pray earnestly and constantly for you and Sister Russell (and all saints), and have been praying for my coming and the success of the work here. Yesterday noon, I came out to a town of about 30,000 population, and in a day and a half I have taken orders for fifty volumes. Will not say much of the general prospects yet, as I do not know very much but will write you more fully, later. Hope to get Sister G__________started the first of next week.
With kind greetings in our dear Redeemer,
S. D. ROGERS.
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There is now a great railway system in the course of construction, which will girdle the Holy Land from one end to the other. A French company has secured a concession for a line from Beyrout to Damascus, and has already commenced work on a narrow-gauge road. An English syndicate is now building a railway from Haifa to Damascus, which will be about 140 miles long. The road will border on the southern shore of Galilee, and almost without a curve along the famous wheat region, biblically known as the plains of Bashan. This road will undoubtedly prove of the greatest interest to Syria in an agricultural and commercial way, finding a means for placing upon the eastern market the rich products in which that section abounds. --Selected.