VOL. VIII. PITTSBURGH, PA., FEBRUARY, 1887. NO. 6.
Zion's Watch Tower
HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE.
TOWER PUBLISHING COMPANY, PITTSBURGH, PA.
BUSINESS OFFICE: No. 40 Federal Street, Allegheny. C. T. RUSSELL, EDITOR.
The Editor recognizes a responsibility to the Master, relative to what shall appear in these columns, which he cannot and does not cast aside; yet he should not be understood as endorsing every expression of correspondents, or of articles selected from other periodicals.
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DID YOU GET A PAPER "DAWN" VOL I, AS NOV., DEC. AND JAN. TOWER?
To all regular subscribers, including those on the "poor list" unable to pay, and also to a large number whose subscription closed with December, 1886, we sent a paper bound edition of Millennial Dawn, Vol. I, as representing three numbers of the TOWER, November and December, '86, and January, '87.
The wrapper of this was of specially heavy paper, but some of them sent without tying got the wrappers much torn, and not a few lost the address entirely and failed to reach the proper hands. All therefore who failed to get that number, and who were entitled to it, either as paying subscribers or as the "Lord's poor," according to the terms at the head of this column, should write and let us know at once.
Because of the mutilation of so many wrappers, it becomes proper for us to reprint here a supplement which was printed inside of the wrapper, as follows:--
SUPPLEMENT TO ZION'S WATCH TOWER.
VOLUME VIII., NUMBERS 3, 4 AND 5.
TO ALL READERS, GREETING: We wish you all a very happy New Year and pray that it may be to all of us a very profitable one, very favorable to our further growth in grace and in knowledge, and in the love of God. And if the love of God thus united with and built upon the knowledge of his plan be shed abroad in our hearts, filling them, it will make us NOT ASHAMED of the Gospel of Christ, nor unfruitful in its service, but, on the contrary, valient supporters and expounders of it, willing and glad to support it in the face even of opposition and evil speaking on the part of those whom the God of this world hath blinded to the truth, by prejudices and misconceptions sacred with age and loved associations. And it is to render aid to you all in putting on the whole armor of God and to shed abroad in your hearts more fully the love, and thus provoke you to love and good service for the truth, that this special number is sent out thus. Let us explain: The book MILLENNIAL DAWN, Volume I. (cloth-bound, $1.00), which some of you have already had and read, seemed to be doing so much good that we earnestly desired to have you all possess a copy, but all were not able to purchase, and we had not the means to supply them gratis. So, to meet the many calls for a cheaper edition, which all could possess, and of which a large number could be used in loaning to friends and neighbors, we were led to issue the present edition as a special number of the TOWER, on the terms mentioned on back of same. We issued the October number late in the month, and will, commencing with February, 1887, hereafter issue at the first instead of the 15th of each month. Thus the time between the October, 1886, and February, 1887, issues which this edition fills, will not be too long for a thorough study of the subjects treated, even for those who already have the cloth-bound edition; for it is the general testimony of those who have been most blessed by the book, that the second or third readings benefitted them most, and paid better than the first even.
We could not think of getting out this edition on poor, common paper and with poor workmanship, hence the saving is in the binding and the quantity. The message it carries is clean and beautiful --"good news" indeed, and the Lord, we think, would be pleased to see the truth-bearers also clean and good.
The price of this number is 50c., but to our subscribers to whom it represents three numbers of the TOWER, we make the extra charge only 25c. Those who do not wish to retain it on these terms may return it to us and recken their term of subscription extended three months further, instead. Those who cannot pay the extra charge, and yet desire it and will read it, may keep it without pay-- freely, if they will drop us a postal card stating these facts. Any subscriber to ZION'S WATCH TOWER who may desire copies of this edition for loaning or giving may have them on the following special terms (free of postage in U.S. and Canada; 5c. each extra for postage to Foreign Countries):
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Anyone can have the present volume (VIII.) including this number at 75c.
With the hearty co-operation of you all we can have this edition in the hands of 50,000 readers before this time next year. Do you know of any better method of preaching the good news?
Yours in fellowship and service,
C. T. RUSSELL.
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VIEW FROM THE TOWER.
Matters are rapidly shaping themselves for the great physical struggle of the "Battle of the great day of God Almighty." In Europe all the great men and many of the little ones are full of fear and anxiety, looking after those things coming upon the earth--seeking to read the future and desiring to shape their course accordingly.
Britain's government is weaker than it has been for a long time; consequently she is without policy, except to endeavor
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to keep hold of all the countries over which in the name of God she claims the right to rule, because by force of arms she took control years ago. She is beset by her dependencies, whose people, under the increasing light of this day of increasing knowledge, are demanding greater privileges and liberties than she feels would be consistent with her self-preservation. Her common people are almost paupers, made such by drunkenness, combined with the injustice which in years past permitted the aristocracy to "seize" and call their own, all the land, which God gave to all the people. English statesmen and others see that she has enough to do to preserve her present arrangements, and that not for long.
Germany and France, armed now far beyond what reasonable taxation can support, are voting for increased military arrangements. But in Germany even pride of country and fear of France have not influenced their parliament to grant all the enormous increase asked for by their King, whose Prime Minister urged that the entire sum was needed and indispensable to the preservation of the Empire's peace, and who dissolved parliament rather than accept a less liberal allowance. Prince Bismarck's speech upon that occasion aroused the attention of the world, and showed that Germany is so fully engaged in keeping guard over her own Socialists, and in holding France at bay, that she is quite willing to let Russia have her own way in the overthrow of Turkey, Bulgaria, etc.
In view of the reorganized policy of Russia in connection with Turkey, this speech is significant as preparing the way for all of the great powers of Europe hitherto opposed to it, to give their consent to such an arrangement, or by declaring themselves opposed to it, to involve themselves in war to protect Turkey. This all looks as though next Summer would see a war on foot which might engage every nation of Europe. Already France is building extra barracks for troops upon the German frontier, and Austria is ordering extra hospital supplies and provisions, and arranging for transportation of troops in March, while Germans in England have been notified to be in readiness for a twenty-four hour notice to return home for military duty.
Wars in Europe would be no new thing, but circumstances are greatly changed and results would doubtless be greater than ever before. Every country contains a large class whose chief disease is discontent, and frequently not without just cause. These will gradually conclude that themselves and their sons can fill a better mission in life than that of supporting Royalty either by laboring under excessive taxation, or acting as bullet-stoppers. The fact that General Von Moltke and Prince Bismarck, as the agents of their Emperor, failed during the last month, even by the strongest appeals to patriotism, and the statement that the Empire would be endangered unless the measure and the funds it demanded were granted, failed to influence the one-half of the people's representatives, is an evidence that the Germans are no longer easily moved by that poor sentimentalism called patriotism. This is well; good sense and broader ideas will cause men to look with as much sympathy and care at the homes of others, as at their own. And it will lead them to withhold their aid and support from Kings and Emperors who take from them the flowers of the family in their very bloom for soldiers, and rob the remainder through taxation to support their thrones and gratify their vanities or spites--all under the name of patriotism!
But let no one imagine that such a war will bring final results. It will be but one act in the drama--one skirmish in the "Battle of the great day of God Almighty," which covers the coming twenty-seven years. It will doubtless change the map of Europe some, and by weakening and draining the empires it will prepare them for overthrow at the hands of the Communist vultures of `Rev. 19:17,18`.
Russia, recently refused a large loan of money by the great Jewish Banking House of the Rothchilds, has found another way of replenishing her treasury. She has ordered all Jews to leave Russia. She will thus from their confiscated property be able to supply herself with sinews of war, while taking revenge on the Rothchilds and helping to fulfill the predictions of Scripture, that in this day of the Lord the Jews in large numbers shall return to their own land. There are 4,000,000 [See R1465:2] Jews in Russia more than in all other countries.
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At home the interval of peace has come temporarily, only to be succeeded shortly by another travail pang more severe than before.
The large vote which Henry George polled in New York city, has alarmed some who dreamed not of so many in sympathy with views so socialistic, [we use the word in its true and proper sense] as those advocated by Mr. George. Now repressive measures are introduced. One Lutheran church has excommunicated several of its members for belonging to the Knights of Labor. The Catholic church in Canada has taken a similar stand, and a priest who has assisted Mr. George in his New York city canvass, has been relieved of his pulpit, a successor appointed, and he has been ordered to Rome. He has refused to go. He does not submit as the Catholic clergy used to do. He has been thinking to himself that as a man he has some rights, while in this country at least. His congregation has rebelled against the Archbishop's decree. The choristers refuse to officiate, and even the janitor will not open the house for the services of the newly appointed priest. At a largely attended meeting of the congregation, resolutions were passed demanding the reinstatement of the deposed priest, and declaring that until it is done they will neither attend its services nor contribute to its support. These resolutions were sent by a committee of thirty of the prominent members to Archbishop Corrigan. A banner displayed by one of the priests' adherents, read: "Give us from Rome all the religion you want, but of politics nothing." Rather unusual for Catholics, is it not? This goes to sustain our prediction of some years ago, (based upon our interpretation of `Rev. 19:19-21`,) that in the coming struggle the Nominal Church will take sides with and fall with the earthly empires, in their overthrow.
In spite of encouraging "statistics" skillfully manipulated to make a good showing, in spite of the retention on church rolls of the names of the dead, etc., candid minds are reluctantly admitting that Protestantism, and in fact all religion, is going rapidly backward. Babylon's fall from power and influence was thus attested to by Mr. J. W. Sproul, an Allegheny preacher of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, recently. He said, "it is a disagreeable truth, but it cannot be denied that the church is losing ground in every respect, and this despite the statements of statisticians." "How lamentable it is to be obliged to say that the church is not even holding her own."
Babylon is so wedded to the darkness and errors of human traditions that she cannot and will not admit the light and "meat in due season" to her children. Since some of these are the Lord's, the whole institution he declares, must be wrecked to set at liberty his captive children. It begins to fall.
All men are waking up, and girding on their various swords and drawing nigh to the battle. "It is near and hasteth greatly." As the prophet has expressed it, (`Joel 3:9-16`,) the plowshares will first be turned into swords, and the great conflict must take place, before they shall peacefully be turned back again to plowshares. So though the dread evil is coming which will cause great trouble to us and to all, yet seeing the outcome of it, and relying upon God's sustaining power throughout, we alone can look forward with composure and trust.
"In God we have found a retreat
Where we can securely abide:
No refuge nor rest so complete,
And here we intend to reside."
But what is the outlook of our own battlefield close around the bulwarks of Zion? some one inquires. We answer that the enemy by first one agent and then another in heavenly garb seeks still, and more, to overthrow the truth, using all subtilty. Thank God we are not ignorant of at least some of his devices. (`2 Cor. 2:11`.) But more on this under the caption, "As the Serpent Beguiled Eve," crowded out of this issue. It will appear in our next.
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THE LORD'S SUPPER.
The anniversary of the Lord's Supper will this year fall upon Thursday evening, April 7th; and in harmony with a custom among the early Christians, we esteem it as they did, a blessed privilege to commemorate our Lord's death in the manner which he requested us to observe, and at the time observed by him. Though he has made free from the Law all believers in him who were under it (Israelites), yet he was "under the Law" and was limited by it. Accordingly he could be crucified only upon the fourteenth day of the Jewish month Nisan (which this year commences Thursday evening, April 7th, and ends at 6 P.M. on Friday, the 8th), because his death was the antitype of the death of the lamb whose blood sprinkled upon their door-posts covered or protected the firstborn of Israel. And these firstborn in turn were exchanged for the tribe of Levi (`Num. 3:12,13`), of whom came the priests through whose sacrificial ministrations all the
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people were justified.
The lamb typified Christ Jesus our Lord; its death represented his death. And, in exact correspondence with the type, his sacrificial death, must and did occur at the same date. The firstborn saved by the blood of the typical lamb, typified "the church of the firstborn, which he (Jesus) hath purchased with his own blood." Those firstborn Israelites, afterward the priests, typified the "Royal Priesthood" of whom the Lord himself is Chief Priest; and this anointed company is to be God's instrumentality for blessing all people who will come into harmony with him, typified by all Israel. Thus seen, the blood of the typical lamb cleansed and preserved all Israel, though applied at first and directly only to the firstborn. For if the firstborn ones had not been preserved, there would have been no priesthood; and if no priesthood, no reconciliation. So also in the antitype, the merit of the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, is applied during the gospel night only to the firstborn, the church, the select little flock, the Royal Priesthood, who under the direction of the High Priest, shall soon in the incoming age, bring all of honest hearts (Israelites indeed) into full harmony with God.
Let all of the Church of Firstborns then intelligently and reverently commemorate, not the typical lamb, nor eat it as did the typical people (Israel), but let them celebrate the death of our Paschal Lamb, the Lamb of God. Let us as often as its anniversary recurs, keep it in remembrance of him; for even Christ our Passover [lamb] is slain, therefore (let us not only commemorate his death) but let us joyfully afterward keep the antitype of the Feast of Passover.*
We do not celebrate the "Feast of Passover" on the night of April 7th. It is celebrated throughout the remainder of our lives which the seven days of its continuance represented; but we will celebrate the Supper, whose elements (bread and wine) symbolize the flesh and the blood of our Redeemer.
And yet the bread and wine are only symbols, and to appreciate what we do we must see deeper than these while using them as our Lord directed, saying, "Do this, in remembrance of me." The partaking of the bread representing his flesh, to us means a partaking of those perfections which were in him as a perfect man, which we and all, lost through Adam. In partaking of the wine representing his blood, his life, we accept from God again through him, the right to live, lost in Adam. Thus the eating and drinking of the bread and wine, emblematic of his flesh and blood, signifies our complete justification. All of the Redeemer's human perfections and his right to life--given for us--are thus accepted by us, in this symbol. All believers in the ransom are thus privileged to celebrate or commemorate it, and the blessings it brings.
But among those "believers" there is a class, a "little flock," to whom it means all this and more. These are those who have consecrated themselves as the under priests, under their great Chief. To these the emblems not only signify the Lord's sacrifice by which they are justified to human life and all its rights, but also their own consecration to be joined in sacrifice with him, to suffer with him, to be dead with him; to sacrifice all the rights to human perfection and life to which their justification through acceptance of his sacrifice had entitled them. To these the emblems (bread and wine) are not only remembrancers of the Lord's sacrifice, but also of their own covenant to share the sacrifice with him, if by any means they might fulfill the conditions and be accounted worthy to be "made partakers of the divine nature," and to be with him, his "joint-heirs" and co-workers in blessing all the people.
Paul calls our attention to this feature of the commemoration, saying: "The loaf which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ [the "little flock," the Church, of which our Lord is the head]? the cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ [the entire anointed company]? For we, though many, [members] are one loaf and one body, for we are all partakers of that one loaf. --`1 Cor. 10:15-17`.
All must eat of the flesh and blood of our Lord Jesus: i.e., they must partake of those human rights and privileges which his sacrifice secured for all, either in this age by faith, or in the next age actually, else they will have no life rights, either to make sacrifice of now, or to enjoy (without the privilege of sacrificing them) hereafter. So then we urge all believers to "do this" intelligently, and while using the emblems, to accept and apply and appropriate fully the justification from all sin and the right to life which God holds out through the Lamb of God, and in no other name or way. And especially let all believers who have been immersed with Christ into his death, and thus into membership in his "body" (`Rom. 6:3,4`), do this, remembering their justification through his blood and renewing their covenant to be dead with him as human beings, that they may live with him as partakers of the new, the divine nature.
So far as possible meet with such as you can recognize as fellow-members of the same body, and exclude no believer in the ransom. Arrange for the meeting long enough beforehand. It matters not who shall pass the emblems, even Judas may have assisted at the first celebration.
All who can do so are cordially invited to be present and celebrate with the church that is at Pittsburgh. If possible arrange your affairs to stay over the following Lord's day, which will be the anniversary of our Lord's resurrection. Turn aside--let us devote a few days to the pursuit of our spiritual interests exclusively. It will help possibly to break some of the cords by which the world, the flesh and the devil would bind us down to "diligence in business," to the dwarfing of the fervency of spirit in serving the Lord, so indispensable to every crown-winner.
Quite a number were present from a distance last year, and many more have expressed the intention of attending the coming celebration. Especially those whose labors are of a public character, will do well to come. Make a memorandum of questions which you would like to discuss, so that our communings together may be the more profitable. So far as possible all of our readers will be provided with board and lodging free during the meetings. Let us know of your coming a day or two ahead. Notice the date and get here some time before 6 P.M., of April 7th, that you may be in time for the celebration of the "supper." Come to the Z.W. TOWER business office.
*The "Feast" is not the "supper," but follows it and has a totally different significance. The "Feast" with the Jews lasted a week, and commenced after the lamb had been killed and eaten. Its observance was marked by joy of heart, separation from all carnality and from leaven. It represents the life of joy and purity and separation from sin [leaven] which all who recognize the value of the lamb, etc., are to enjoy.
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THE EASY YOKE.
"Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."--`Matt. 11:28-30`.
Satan the prince of this world has placed many yokes upon the necks of all mankind. They are bound and fettered by every device which he could arrange. But Jesus invites all such to come to him and find rest--the blessed rest of freedom from the galling yoke of the oppressor. That rest is found in the meek and quiet spirit which humbly submits to the easy yoke of the divine will and ceases the strife to gratify the perverted human will. The burden of the divinely imposed yoke is easy and light when we let it rest naturally upon us. It is only placed upon us for our good, and only those who cheerfully submit to it have rest and safety.
Our Lord's words were addressed to those of his day, bound by Jewish creeds and traditions and their own fears, engendered by their erroneous misconception of God and his plan. As with the Jewish church, so with the Christian church, the "yokes" of sectarianism and the "burdens" of tradition, fetter and gall those who possess the spirit of Christ, whose zeal and love are according to knowledge and for Christ and the church which is his body, rather than for a sect of human organization. Such cannot be comfortable with the yokes and burdens of men and must claim the freedom of sons of God, the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free.
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THE CHURCH OF GOD.
"Zion, arise, break forth in songs
Of everlasting joy;
To God eternal praise belongs,
Who doth thy foes destroy.
Thou Church of God, awake, awake,
For light beams from on high;
From earth and dust thy garments shake,
Thy glory's drawing nigh.
"To raise thee high above the earth,
God will his power employ;
He'll turn thy mourning into mirth,
Thy sorrow into joy.
In shining robes thyself array,
Put on thy garments pure;
Thy king shall lead thee in the way,
That's holy, safe and sure.
"In thee, the Lord shall place His name,
And make thee His delight,
And place on thee a diadem,
Divinely fair and bright;
And thou shalt be the dwelling place,
Of him that reigns above,
Yea, thou shalt be adorn'd with grace
And everlasting love.
"The joy of nations thou shalt be;
A bright and shining light;
For God is in the midst of thee,
To keep thee day and night.
He'll bring thy wandering children home,
And gather those without;
And with a wall of jasper stone,
Will guard thee round about.
"Arise, O Zion, praise thy King,
And make His name thy trust;
With joy and triumph loudly sing;
For he is true and just.
O Zion, sing with truthful voice,
Thy great Redeemer's praise;
In His almighty power, rejoice
Throughout eternal days."--Manifesto.
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THE TIME IS SHORT.
"But this I say, brethren, the time is short; so that they who have wives, should be as if they had none; and they who weep, as if they wept not; and they who rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they who acquire, as though they acquired not; and those occupied with this world, not going beyond the proper using of it." --`1 Cor. 7:29-31`.
It is a great mistake, and yet a very common one, to apply the teaching of the Apostle Paul to the world and the church indiscriminately. It should be borne in mind that the apostle is addressing the church only, as a peculiar people, separate from the world, with hopes and aims, and present conditions and future destiny entirely different from those of the world, although they appear to be as other men. It would seem strange indeed if such a class should need no special instruction.
Under the erroneous impression that these and other teachings of the apostle were intended alike for all, Paul is generally considered as an extremist, and as a teacher who though good in some respects, had his peculiarities which colored his teachings, and which should therefore be received at a discount to that extent. Paul was indeed a man of marked personal peculiarities, and therefore he was a fit instrument and a chosen vessel to do the greatest work that any man, except "the man Christ Jesus," was ever privileged to accomplish. He was a man true to his convictions, untiring in energy, and full of zeal,--one of the meek who, when called upon by the Lord even in the midst of his zealous persecution of the saints, in which he verily thought he was doing God service, meekly inquired, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" And what the Lord showed him to do, he did immediately, not stopping to confer with flesh and blood.
But these were not the only peculiarities which influenced Paul's teaching. By the favor of God, Paul was caught away (in the spirit, that is, mentally) to Paradise, to the third heaven, the new dispensation or kingdom of God, where he saw things to come, which were not then lawful to be uttered clearly, because it was not yet due time. And the broad view of God's plan thus given to the apostle enabled him to realize the real position
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of the saints, and the weighty interests involved in their development as members of the body of Christ. Yes, Paul at that early day of the church's history was by special favor of God permitted to know what is now due to all the saints, viz., the plan of God spanning the ages past and future. And from this standpoint of knowledge he was able to guide the church by his teachings all through the age--from the beginning down to the closing days of her course, until she is presented to her Lord as a chaste virgin accounted worthy to be his bride. In this great work of preparing the bride for the marriage, the various apostles and prophets were privileged to share; but Paul was more highly honored thus than any other.
As we are now privileged to see from the same standpoint of knowledge, it now being due time, we can see a propriety in Paul's teaching which is in perfect accord with God's plan and purpose for the saints, though it must seem extreme to others. Being begotten to a new nature, they are no longer to live after the old. We should now live, not as men, concentrating our interests, affections, hopes and aims on earthly things and striving after them, but as new creatures, whose sole interest and concern is for the advancement of the interests of the heavenly kingdom.
The principal work in the interest of the heavenly kingdom during the present age has been the selecting and development of the church, who are to be God's agents for the enlightenment, conversion and blessing of the world in the age to come. The all-important work, therefore, to which every earthly consideration should now bend, is the seeking out and preaching the gospel to the meek, few though they be; encouraging, strengthening, and helping them in every possible way to make their election sure.
For this great work we are reminded that the time is short, and that if we would have a share in it, we must push aside the earthly hindrances and improve every passing hour; for very soon our opportunity will be gone. Consider for a moment how very short is the opportunity which as an individual you possess, that you may more fully realize the necessity for haste and diligence in the service. Deduct from the brief space of your present life the years past, before you came to a knowledge of the truth and consecrated your life to the service of God, and then the declining years of life, when sight grows dim and physical strength grows more and more feeble, and then the time and strength which must be expended in providing things needful for the temporal wants of ourselves and those necessarily dependent upon us, and with the greatest economy of time, how much is left for the great work in hand to which we have consecrated ourselves? When we actually figure it out, how very insignificant it appears! Truly, Paul is right here--the time left for service is extremely "short"; and it behooves the saints to resolutely push aside the hindrances and overcome the obstacles, if they would run successfully for the prize, or accomplish anything to the Master's honor, or to show their love and appreciation of the good tidings by sounding the trumpet of truth to fellow-pilgrims.
The time is short; so that they [of us] who have wives should be as if they had none. The establishing of an earthly home and the rearing of an earthly family, which is generally regarded as the principal business of life, should not be the ambition of the saints. The injunction to increase and multiply and fill the earth, was given to the natural man, but not to the little flock, the new creatures, partakers of the divine nature. Their mission is not to help to people the earth, but to help bring to the spiritual birth the new creatures of the divine nature--the little flock--begotten of the heavenly promises. And the time for that work being short, they cannot afford to further cumber themselves by increasing their earthly cares. The idea of consecrating one's life to the service of God, and then going on, year after year, tying ourselves down and loading ourselves with cares and responsibilities of an earthly character, which when once incurred we dare not shirk, and which with increasing and necessary demands will require more and more of our time and thought, and care and attention, is simply preposterous, and entirely out of harmony with our covenant. It is not following the footsteps of either the Lord or his most faithful apostle.
Jesus said he had finished the work given him to do at his first advent, and how did he spend his life? He spent it in selecting, teaching, training and developing a small and apparently insignificant company of men and women, who should form the nucleus of the church, which under his future direction and care would be fully developed and perfected. He did not cumber himself with the cares of this life, and let his special work take its chances, in the odds and ends of time which could be spared from earthly things. The increase of the earth's population, he considered no part of his work; nor is it the mission of those who follow in his footsteps.
With his clear insight into the plan of God, and a realization of the importance of the great work in hand, Paul's counsel that the unmarried should remain so, that they might thus give themselves without hindrance to the Lord's service, and that the married should not add to their earthly cares, and thus make their pathway more difficult and their opportunity for service less, was timely and important, and in perfect harmony with The Lord's example and teaching (`Matt. 19:12`), which he also so closely followed.
None should make the mistake, however, of supposing that the responsibilities of a family already incurred can be ignored or set aside; on the contrary, it is written, that he that provideth not for his own is worse than an unbeliever, and hath denied the faith.--`1 Tim. 5:8`.
The worldly and lukewarm Christians are in total ignorance of the great work before the saints either in the future or in the present age, and therefore our work seems to them unimportant and foolish--a waste of energy; but we must not for a moment view it from their standpoint. This work, insignificant though it may seem in the eyes of others, and small though it may appear to us now in its results, is the grandest work in which it was ever the privilege of any to engage. Eternity alone will reveal to the world its magnitude and importance, or enable us to fully realize it.
Further, we are told that because the time is short, those who weep should be as if they wept not, and those who rejoice as though they rejoiced not, and they who buy as if they acquired not. We may and have, in common with all mankind, causes of an earthly character for both weeping and rejoicing; but we should not allow either joy or sorrow to unfit us for our work, nor to detract from our interest and effort in it. But we may rejoice always in the Lord, knowing that in due time all tears shall be wiped away, and that fleeting earthly joys shall give place to the songs and everlasting joy which by-and-by shall be upon every head. And those who acquire wealth or goods should not reckon their acquirements their own, or for the gratification of self-pride or the love of display, but as something belonging to the Lord, something more of his entrusted to them to be utilized in his service. If once thoroughly awake to the fact that every acquirement is the Lord's and not their own, that their time, influence and talent, past, present and future, is all consecrated, it would free such from many of the snares to which they are subject-- "which some coveting after, wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."-- `1 Tim. 6:7-12`.
Finally, while necessarily occupied with the business of this life and the expenditure of its income, we should not go beyond the just using of it for ourselves as becometh saints. Provide things honest, neat and comfortable for the temporal necessities, and then give them no further thought. Though we have consecrated ourselves and all our goods which we have acquired or may acquire, to the Lord, he permits us to appropriate this much of it for our temporal wants. In harmony with our covenant, this only is the "proper using" of earthly goods.
O how narrow is the way in which the saints must walk who follow in the footsteps of the Master! There is self-denial at every step, but Jesus said, "He that taketh not up his cross, and followeth not after me, is not worthy of me." If we cannot prove our love for the Lord by thus sharing in his reproaches and self-denials, we are not of the class he wishes to make his Bride. It will be no easy thing for any to endure unto the end, but blessed is he that shall do it. If we keep looking at the things behind, cherishing the old ambitions and fostering the old spirit which once impelled us, endurance of our trials will become more difficult if not impossible; but let us take the apostle's advice, and forgetting the things behind, seek new conquests over the world and flesh and devil. Let us thus press forward to the mark of the prize of our high calling, which is of God through Christ Jesus. And bearing in mind that the time is short, let us make haste to improve passing opportunities for such a grand and blessed service.
HE is a great conqueror who can conquer himself.
WHEN you make a mistake don't look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind, and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is now in your power.-- Hugh White.
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BIBLE LIGHT ON PROBATION AFTER DEATH.
Brother Stowe is a contributing member of one of the branch Bible Societies. At one of their recent meetings the so-called "Andover question" of probation for infants and heathen in death, was taken up for discussion. Brother S., though not a public speaker, prepared and delivered the following paper, which shows the question from our standpoint in a good light. It made quite an impression on some of the D.D.'s who heard, and we doubt not they wondered that a Christian business-man could become so well versed in theology as to be able to teach them on this subject. It shows how the earnest ones who have the will can find some way to serve the truth. Each saint should seek to multiply his opportunities for service and thereby increase his talents. Willing hearts, hands and voices are finding and using hundreds of ways, great and small, and making openings.--Editor.
Opinions, from other sources than the Bible, differ as to what the act of death is, but the agreement of the whole Bible seems to be that it is a total extinction of life, and, therefore, that the state of death is an entire suspension of being, mental as well as physical. This being so, man's probation or trial must occur, not in death, but before the state of death has begun or after it has ended--in resurrection.
"So man lieth down and riseth not; till the heavens be no more they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. Oh, that thou wouldst hide me in the grave, that thou wouldst keep me secret until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldst appoint me a set time and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait till my change come. Thou shalt call and I will answer thee; thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands."--`Job 14:12-15`.
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."--`Eccles. 9:10`. ("Grave" is here translated from "sheol.")
"For in death there is no remembrance of thee; in the grave (sheol) who shall give thee thanks?"--`Ps. 6:5`.
"For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised; and if Christ be not raised your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." --`1 Cor. 15:16-18`.
A great multitude of texts convey the same meaning. This death is the Adamic death, from which Christ, by virtue of his sacrifice, giving a ransom or corresponding price, redeems all men. The first probation of the race was a representative one in Adam, whereby all became subject unto death. Were there not to be a recovery as wide as the condemnation the first probation would be properly regarded as a total failure, a sweeping victory for the adversary at the outset of creation. But "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world." (`Acts 15:18`.) "For the Lord of Hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?" (`Isa. 14:27`.) We who believe in the infinite power, wisdom and benevolence of God cannot doubt that he has a definite and systematic plan for the development of the race, by which the largest possible proportion thereof shall be brought to ultimate and permanent good. This idea was hinted at when God told Adam that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. Two thousand years later he told Abraham plainly that in his seed should all the families of the earth be blessed. Gradually the features of the plan were delineated in the prophecies, but it was yet a mystery until its fulfillment began. Paul declares (`Col. 1:27`) that "this mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations,...now made manifest to his saints,... is Christ in you the hope of glory."
Jesus is anointed to be the Head or Lord over the Church, which is his body, and unitedly they constitute the promised "seed"--the Great Deliverer. "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs, according to the promise" (`Gal. 3:29`)--the promise of blessing to all the families of the earth.
There never was a publication to the Gentiles of the "only name" given whereby men must be saved until the world was 4000 years old, and the very gradual and intermittent progress of the "good tidings which shall be to all people" up to this day, indicates the purpose of God hitherto to have been other than
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the application of the ransom to the world in this life. Who can doubt God's power to have enlightened all men had he so chosen? He has not done so. More than nine-tenths of the race have died without any knowledge of Christ. Only a "little flock" has been "called and chosen and sanctified," while mankind at large have only lived that they might learn the sad but needful lesson that sin brings misery and evil brings destruction. With this experience which Adam had not, they will be better prepared than he to accept the favor of God when it shall be extended to them. To them, indeed, "the law," whether written on tables of stone or in their hearts, has been a "schoolmaster," availing for their condemnation, but not for their salvation, since that must come through Christ alone.
The present mission of Christ to the Gentiles has been to take out of them "a people for his name." Convinced of this, many have supposed that all not so chosen were forever lost. In reality the few are chosen and severely disciplined now, that through their labors in the coming new day "all the families of the earth" shall be blessed.
There is to be a resurrection of all. "But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (`1 Cor. 15:20-22`.) "Therefore, as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation [to death], even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." (`Rom. 5:18`.) "And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you, whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." All that was lost in Adam by the world of mankind will thus be restored through Christ. All the prophets had declared it, though it is improbable that they understood it. This resurrection, this "justification to life," then, is a part of the Savior's work of blessing all the "nations," "kindreds" and "families of the earth." How, then, shall we read his words--`John 5:28-29` --"Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation." The new version renders the last word "judgment" instead of "damnation," and a glance at the original discloses the fact that the change is wisely made. The Greek word is "Krisis." Webster gives eight definitions to the word "judgment," which includes trial as well as sentence. Read now `verses 24 to 27`, the burden of which tends toward the giving of life, rather than its withdrawal.
"Judgment must begin at the house of God," says Peter. The church has its trial now; the world will have its trial hereafter. The "day of judgment" will be a period commensurate with the extent and grandeur of the work to be done in it.
"Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the straight gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in and shall not be able when once the master of the house has risen up and hath shut to the door." This refers to the present dispensation.
Now note a picture of the coming day: "Strengthen ye the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong; fear not; behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart and the tongue of the dumb sing, for in the wilderness shall waters break out and streams in the desert....And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." And the ransomed of the Lord shall return (from death) and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."--`Isa. 35:3-10`.
Every age is tributary to its successor in the revealed plan of God. In the present the rod of God smiteth the rocky heart of a man, and lo! it becomes a "well of water springing up into everlasting life;" but in the broader day, when the New Jerusalem "cometh down from God out of heaven," the water of life is not a little well here and there, but a mighty river, and then "whosoever will may partake" thereof freely. (`Rev. 22:1,2,17`.) The church is then complete; yet we are told that the leaves of the trees upon the margin of the river are for the healing of the nations, showing that there will then be nations not in health, but capable of being healed.
"The ransom given does not excuse sin in any; it does not propose to count sinners saints and usher them into everlasting bliss. It merely settles the first condemnation and its penalty, and reckons the sinner released from that condemnation and its results, direct and indirect, and places him again on trial for life, in which his own willful obedience or willful disobedience shall decide whether he may or not have everlasting life."--Millennial Dawn," Vol. I., p. 148.
"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."--`2 Peter, 3:8-9`.
"Who will have all men to be saved (from death) and come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." --`1 Tim. 2:4-6`.
In this last clause lies the key to the mystery. To the millions of the living to-day and to the far vaster myriads of the dead the ransom has not been testified, but that it will be we have many a "Thus saith the Lord." When even extinct and sinful Sodom shall be brought back to her "former estate" and made a daughter to Jerusalem, as we read in `Ezek. 16:44` to end, we may well believe that "the mercy of the Lord endureth forever," and that "I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession." The mysteries of human destiny that have pained our hearts and tested our faith are clearing up in the advancing light due to the household of faith, and as the Church beholds her work spreading out before her in the coming life, and sees the grandeur of her association with her head in ruling and blessing the nation's new-born from the grave, she is filled with gratitude and gladness and her heart is stirred with passionate zeal for present self-purification and to make known to all the good tidings which shall be to all people.
J. A. STOWE.
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LIVING BY FAITH.
"Now the just shall live by faith, but if any man draw back my soul shall have no pleasure in him."--`Heb. 10:38`.
Living by faith is a very different thing from living by sight. To live by sight is to act in the present, and plan for the future, according to our own knowledge, experience and judgment; while to live by faith is to study and accept God's plan for both the present and future, and to act as he directs, ignoring our own ideas of expediency whenever God's word speaks to the contrary.
It will not require very deep penetration therefore to decide to which of these two classes we belong. Every man belongs to either the one or the other, unless he be an idiot or insane. The great mass of mankind are endeavoring to walk by sight; yet they are so very short sighted that they can see but a short distance in advance, and their past experience has been so brief and varied, that it forms a poor criterion on which to base a correct judgment in devising plans for the future. Yet, lacking faith in God, it is the best they can do for themselves, and they very generally realize that all their plans must end with the present existence, as they know nothing of the future beyond the tomb.
But there is a small class who walk by faith. They are a peculiar people, separate from the world, and cannot assimilate with it. Having learned and believed God's plan, and seeing that it not only includes all the present but stretches on into eternity, and having implicit confidence in his infinite wisdom and boundless love, they simply place their hand in his, accepting of his proffered leading, and promising to follow wherever he directs, trusting that however dark or thorny the way may be, the end will be blessed and glorious. They are not promised that the pathway in the
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present life shall be one of luxury and ease, that they shall have abundance of comforts, that their business plans shall all succeed, that friends will multiply, and that their declining years, specially, shall be years of rest, after the heat and burden of the day is past.
No, these things are not promised, but it is promised that their bread and water shall be sure as long as God desires
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to have them live; and having food and clothing they are to be therewith contented, and whatever temporal adversity may come, to remember through it all, that all things whether good or evil, shall, under the divine management work together for good to them. Having this confidence it is their privilege to be always rejoicing, trusting with childlike simplicity to their heavenly Father's love and care, and faithfully meekly and obediently following in the footsteps of our leader and head, Christ Jesus, who set us an example that we should follow in his steps.
His life was one of implicit faith in the promises of God, and his daily walk in perfect harmony with his faith--obedient even unto death. He took no thought more than was necessary for the life that he then possessed--either for the present or future of his earthly existence; and beyond that, he had nothing except what was secured to him by the promise of God.
The apostle denominates this class who now thus live by faith, the just. This includes Jesus their Lord and head, the just one, and all those now justified by faith in his blood and following in his footsteps. These justified ones are just, having received the favor of justification through Christ, and in grateful and cheerful obedience submitted themselves to God. Blessed "little flock" follow on, through evil report and good report, through present tribulation and trial and conflicts within and without; it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom; blessed virgin church "the King hath greatly desired thy beauty" and thou shalt be his bride and joint-heir, if thou wilt prove thy love for him by cheerful endurance unto the end.
But if any of this class draw back the Lord will have no pleasure in them. To draw back from this high privilege into which we have come by faith, is to go back to the world and to live after the course of this world, to take the world's standpoint of observation and to reject the Lord's leading. The drawing back is not generally done suddenly but gradually. It begins with discontent, and the discontent soon finds expression in complaint; and complaint soon developes into open opposition, which grows more and more fixed and obstinate. Paul declares the end of such apostacy when in the `next verse` he remarks hopefully, "But we are not of them who draw back unto destruction, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."
Let each of the dear consecrated company beware of taking the first steps backward; and if you realize that you have already done so, wake up to a sense of your danger and recover yourself at once from the snare of the adversary. Your only safety dear ones is in keeping your eye of faith fixed on the mark of the prize of your high calling and forgetting the things behind. If you keep looking back at the sacrifices already made you will only see the things behind, and the things before-- unseen except by the eye of faith--will cease to attract you, and very soon you will be caught in the snare of the prince of this world. Besides the malady of discontent is contageous and may spread to some other members of the household of faith, and so many be defiled. Thus you would be a stumbling block and adversary of the body of Christ rather than an aid and upbuilder of it. "Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation."--MRS. C. T. R.
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"NO VARIABLENESS, NEITHER SHADOW OF TURNING."
"Do not err, my beloved brethren: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures."--`Jas. 5:16-18`.
Only those who have been brought to a clear knowledge of the plan of God, can really rejoice in those assurances which the Scriptures give of the unchangeableness of his character, and the certainty that all his purposes shall be accomplished. To the great majority of Christians this assurance only awakens fearful apprehensions. For centuries the church has been taught that God's plan is to consign all but a few of his creatures to eternal and hopeless misery; and as they look at his perfect law and realize their own shortcomings when measured by it, and much more the utter failure of all the world to find justification through it, the assurances of God's unchangeableness sounds like the knell of an eternal and merciless doom for the great majority of the human race.
But with what different feelings we read the blessed words, "With Him is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" --we who have been so wonderfully enlightened through the Scriptures concerning God's plan: as to how it was wisely designed before the creation began; how it has been developing in the ages past; what is its present status and mode of development; and what and when will be the glorious outcome. As we take in the grand scope of the wondrous plan and perceive the blessings in store through it for all creation, both spiritual and human, our hearts are filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory as we read, "With him is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." "I am the Lord, I change not." "My word that goeth forth out of my mouth shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."--`Mal. 3:6`; `Isa. 55:11`.
Do not err, beloved brethren: every good and perfect gift comes from God. God's plans for mankind are all good and perfect, and when fully realized in his appointed time will amply demonstrate his glorious and benevolent character. Every purpose of God is for the ultimate good of his creatures. His severest chastisements are for the reformation of the wayward and their final establishment in righteousness and everlasting happiness; and only when they absolutely refuse to be rightly exercised by the discipline of the Lord will he administer the final punishment which forever blots them out of existence, because unworthy of life. And this he declares will be the last resort; for "As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death [second death] of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.--`Ezek. 33:11`.
God is not the vindictive tyrant which so-called orthodoxy represents him to be, delighting in the eternal misery and torture and hopeless despair of millions of his creatures; and those who have been taught to so regard him should reflect upon his words through the prophet `Isaiah (29:13`)--"Their fear toward me, is taught by the precept of men."
God's eternal purpose is briefly epitomized in two great covenants carefully recorded by the prophets--the Abrahamic Covenant, and the New Covenant. The former, addressed to Abraham, reads thus: "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." (`Gen. 12:3`; `22:18`.) The latter, addressed to the typical people Israel who represented the whole world [see Tabernacle Types] is recorded thus: "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days [when the days are accomplished for the overthrow of the kingdoms of this world and the setting up of the kingdom of God] saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge. But every one [who dies then --the second death] shall die for his own iniquity [his own wilful sin, and not because of inherited weaknesses and tendencies to sin]. Every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge." --`Jer. 31:31-34,29,30`.
Of these two covenants it will be seen, that the latter, or new covenant guarantees to all mankind, represented by Israel, a restitution. This is the prophet Jeremiah's testimony concerning the restitution of all things which Peter says, God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began (`Acts 3:21`). A restitution, as all must know, signifies a restoration of that which was lost--the restoration of mankind to the perfection and blessedness lost in Eden. Read it again, and see how emphatically and clearly the Lord here states his purpose; and notice further that it is unconditional --an affirmation of Jehovah not subject to any contingencies which might hinder its going into effect. And then remember his words: "I am the Lord, I change not," and the words of the Apostle James, "With him is no variableness, neither shadow of turning"; and the words of the Apostle Peter, which show that the times of refreshing, the times of restitution, are due to begin with the return of our Lord Jesus Christ whom the heavens receive until that time.--`Acts 3:19-21`.
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In view of this glorious purpose of God for all mankind, is there not cause for great rejoicing in the unchangeableness of God's purpose, and also in looking for the appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ clothed with divine power for the accomplishment of that purpose?
The former or Abrahamic covenant, it will be observed, is not applicable to the whole world, except in the sense that the whole world shall be blessed through it. It guarantees that a class called the "seed," whom God shall elect, shall be clothed with authority and power as Jehovah's agents for the accomplishment of his purposed blessing of all, as indicated in the new covenant. This promised Seed of Abraham is the Great Prophet of whom Moses wrote (`Deut. 18:15-19`; `Acts 3:22,23`), and whom the Apostle Paul explains to be the Christ--Jesus the head, and the overcoming church the members of his body.--`Gal. 3:16,29`.
As the new covenant which guarantees restitution for all, belongs specially to the Millennial Age, so the Abrahamic covenant, which guarantees the selection and exaltation to power of the Great Prophet who shall restore all things, is confined exclusively to the Gospel Age. This covenant must be fulfilled, before the New Covenant can go fully into operation. And of course when it is fulfilled, the special favors now offered through it will no longer be offered to or attainable by any. The favors of the Abrahamic Covenant do not go beyond this age, in which the selection of the little flock to receive the kingdom will be fully accomplished.
It is in this covenant that those who are Christ's faithful followers now, may read their title clear to joint heirship with him in his kingdom.--"Now to Abraham and his seed...which is Christ, were the promises made. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." --`Gal. 3:29`.
Abraham was the father of this seed only in a typical sense--"like unto him whom he believed, even God." (`Rom. 4:16,17`, see margin.) Like as Abraham was the father of the natural Isaac (type of Christ--`Gal. 4:28`; `Rom. 9:8`), so God is the father of the spiritual seed, the spiritual Isaac, which is Christ, head and body." (`Gal. 3:16`.) And yet a special blessing will come to the natural seed of Abraham in fulfilment of this covenant as he understood it. The covenant has two phases and will be fulfilled in each. (See "Millennial Dawn," Chap. XIV.) As James explains, "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures." Not only was Jesus thus begotten of God, but every member of the anointed body is thus begotten." (`1 Pet. 1:3`; `John 20:17`.) Of this spiritual body or class Jesus was the first fruits, and they all as a class are a first fruits of all classes or orders which shall be brought back to harmony with God through their ministry of sacrifice.
To be begotten is to receive the first impulse of life. As a race we were all dead, having lost life and all right and claim upon it through Adam's transgression. And not until begotten again, through faith in and acceptance of his promises, are any alive in the sight of God. The whole world yet lieth in condemnation [condemned to death], and consequently the steady tread of the whole race is downward toward the tomb. The time for their begetting again, or regeneration, has not yet come, but will have come when the great Restorer has fully taken unto himself his great power, and begun his reign. Then the fact of their redemption and consequent
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right to life through faith in the Redeemer, and grateful acceptance of the unmerited favor, will be clearly testified to all (`1 Tim. 2:6`), and the hope begotten of this truth will be the first impulse of that life which when fully developed will be eternal. Those thus begotten of the truth, and who go on unto perfection, will be fully born into life when actually and fully delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God--when the great work of restitution is complete.
But there is a class who are now begotten of the truth, as the apostle James here asserts, before the time appointed for the begetting or regeneration of the world in general. By faith they now accept the promised redemption, and though their restitution to perfection does not follow their acceptance of the ransom in this age, they are reckoned of God as restored and are told to so reckon themselves. They are thus not only begotten again, but are reckoned of God as born again, made perfect, fully restored, just as all mankind will be when the great work of restitution is complete in the end of the millennial age. Thus by faith they become partakers of the blessings of the New Covenant before its time for coming into force fully or for all. The blessings of restitution are reckonedly theirs, and God can now treat them as sons, "holy and acceptable" unto him.
The apostle explains why it is that some are thus begotten now. It is that they may be "a kind of first-fruits of his creatures." When this class is fully developed, born, in the resurrection, they will be the first ripe, perfected fruit of his plan. "Blessed and holy are all they that have part in the first resurrection." These are justified, begotten, in this age, in order that they may lay hold by faith upon another and still greater favor of God offered in this age, that they may be eligible to a yet higher calling, even to the divine nature. (`2 Pet. 1:4`.) The conditions of this high calling are works and sacrifices added to faith; and since only perfect works and unblemished sacrifices are acceptable with God, it was needful that all of the sin-defiled ones called to such service should first be justified or reckoned pure and perfect, that they might present themselves living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. Those begotten of the truth, who hear and obey this call to become joint-sacrificers with Christ Jesus (`Rom. 12:1`) thus become heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant, joint-heirs with Christ, members of the "seed," the "Great Prophet," the "anointed," which is to bless and restore all nations; which is to apply the blessings of the New Covenant actually to all mankind.
As members of the condemned race we never could have become heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant had we not first had the favors of the New Covenant applied to us; for only that which is holy, without spot or blemish or any such thing, is acceptable as a sacrifice (`Lev. 22:20`; `Deut. 15:21`; `17:1`; `1 Pet. 1:19,16-19`; `Eph. 5:27`), and we are so reckoned through Christ, our Redeemer.
We notice further the expression of the apostle--"a kind of first fruits." While this class will be the very first fruit of God's creatures, it is only one kind of fruit, and there will be other kinds to follow, both human and angelic. But the divine kind will be first of all--first, both in point of time and also of rank. And through the divine kind shall all the other kinds be blessed; for they are to be exalted far above angels and principalities and powers, with Christ, even at the right hand of God [chief place of divine favor]. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him, but God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit." (`1 Cor. 2:10`.) Surely our light afflictions, our little crosses of the present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us, if we prove faithful unto death and are counted worthy of the crown of life.
Language seems too weak to paint the glories of our high calling, and the blessedness vouchsafed to the heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant. Only those who are diligently delving into the depths of God's revealed truth are able to grasp these promises and to realize their value. And we might add, that only those who are faithful also in spreading the knowledge of the truth are able to fully appreciate it themselves. As we tell it to others, its blessed inspiration fills our own hearts to overflowing, and we are enabled to run more swiftly and more patiently the heavenly race. Let those who are faithfully running the race remember that "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." (`1 Thes. 5:24`.) Let not your faith stagger at the promises of God; for what he has promised he is able also to perform (`Rom. 4:21`), and "with him is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
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A VAST MAJORITY IN HELL.
In the Christian Register, a Unitarian paper, we find the following:
"The Examiner (Baptist) freely concedes the point we have pressed in regard to the damnation of the vast majority, at least of the adult portion, of the race. It says: 'The idea of a probation in this life does imply the possibility of salvation, but the possibility may never be realized. As a matter of fact, we believe that, for the vast majority of the heathen, this possibility never is realized, and we never yet heard of an orthodox theologian who held any other belief than this.'"
In its comments, the Christian Register makes the following remarks:
"This is meeting the issue fairly and squarely. The Examiner does not seem to be afraid to show its colors. Now let it print its weekly edition on black paper with a small margin of white, and its color will correspond with its doctrine. We are glad, however, that the Examiner is consistent. In these days of word-twisting and mental reservation, consistency is a notable virtue."
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Another writer copying the above adds: "The suggestion is good, but if the white margin is to represent the few saved, even from christendom, saying nothing about heathen lands, according to church creeds, the white margin will be so very small as to hardly be discernable. The hell into which our Baptist brethren would thrust the whole world, except the few who accept their terms of salvation, is described by the Christian poet, Dr. Watts:
'Tempests of angry fire shall roll
To blast the rebel worm,
And beat upon the naked soul
In one eternal storm.'"
Here we see the difficulty which is rapidly overtaking intelligent Christians everywhere. It is a struggle between old creeds and reason, and the cause is that they falsely suppose their creeds to represent the Bible's teaching, and hence neglect the Bible and seek not in it, for the wisdom of God which alone is able to solve the question now rising prominently before men's minds, viz.:--What is the fate of those who have died in ignorance of the only name given under heaven or among men whereby we must be saved?
In the above controversy the Examiner seeks to hold on to the Bible statements, that only believers in and accepters of the Lord as their Ransomer will be saved. But it failed to see that the present age is for the selection of a little flock, and that an age is coming in which all the blind eyes shall be opened and the deaf ears unstopped, when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth, and when all shall know [believe in] him-- when the "little flock" shall have become the Bride, the Lamb's wife, and as such shall say unto all the world, "Come," to the waters of truth and grace and live. (`Rev. 22:17`.) And failing to see this, it is forced to the position it takes, that the "vast majority" of the race never have had, and never will have a chance for life through Christ's ransom sacrifice --hence his ransom was not a ransom for all to be testified [to all] in due time." This in the Examiner's creed implies that the vast majority of humanity go into an eternity of torture because God did not make ample provision for them, either in the ransom or in the granting of a knowledge of that ransom as a basis for belief, without which they cannot be justified.
Would that the Examiner and all could see that God's "due time" for granting a knowledge of the only name, is not limited to the present age and present adverse conditions: that As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his ways and thoughts higher and wider than those of the vast majority of his children whose fear toward him, and too narrow views of his character and plan, are taught by the precepts of men.-- `Isa. 29:13` and `55:9`.
The Christian Register's views of the subject are broader and more reasonable when it repudiates the thought that God will consign the vast majority of mankind to endless torture simply because they knew not of Christ, and did not believe on him of whom they had not heard. But its reasonings are human merely. Not seeing the plan of God as set forth in the Bible, of a ransom for all and a due time for all to partake of the benefits of that ransom and believe in, and accept of Christ, it rejects the Bible's teachings entirely and represents a large and growing class who while professing a respect for the Bible, and calling Christ the Redeemer, in fact deny the teachings of the Bible and reject Christ as a Redeemer; denying that there was any need of a ransom for all, or for any. They virtually make everlasting life a reward for every man who will wear the filthy rags of his own righteousness, claiming that every man who lives the best he knows how, avoiding gross sins, will be accepted of God and granted everlasting life as a reward therefor. With such a view where was the necessity of testifying it now, or in any other "due time?" In such a view where could Paul's statement apply--"There is none other name given under heaven or among men whereby we must be saved?"--or where is the sense of urging men now, or at any time to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved, if they are to be saved without believing, and on the basis of works merely?
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To do or not to do, to have
Or not to have, I leave to thee;
To be or not to be, I leave:
Thine only will be done in me;
All my requests are lost in one,
Father, thy only will be done.
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SAMARITANS LOOKING FOR MESSIAH.
The woman of Samaria, talking with Jesus at Jacob's well, said, "I know that Messiah cometh (which is called Christ") (`John 4:25`, Revised Version.) Her people accepted the five books of Moses and from them drew their hope of a coming Messiah.
A most wonderful corroboration of the woman's words is found in the belief of the Samaritans to-day. They belong to the race of the woman with whom Christ talked. They live at the ancient Shechem, (now Nablus,) not far from Jacob's well. They have a copy of the Pentateuch, which is of great antiquity. They celebrate all the Mosaic festivals, and are the only ones of all the Jewish race who offer sacrifices at the Passover.
The Jewish Intelligence gives some interesting facts. The community now numbers about a hundred and fifty souls. By wearing of pink turbans they are distinguished from other people of the land. Their high priest is Jacob ibn Harun. Prof. Strack, of the German Palestine Association, had an interview with the high priest and questioned him concerning the belief of his people. The high priest replied in a letter, saying that their word Taheb (Ta'ib in Hebrew, signifying the Promised Prophet who will convert the people) refers to the prophet promised by the Lord, "I will raise them up a prophet," etc. (`Deut. 18:15,18`.) They interpret this as meaning "one who will teach the nations the good way, and lead them to walk in it only, so that the whole world will repent of its sin and become converted and purified from all evil." It is indeed a remarkable fact that the Samaritans, who accept only the Pentateuch, should have so strong a belief in the coming Messiah, and adopt the interpretation of `Deut. 18:15,18`, which the New Testament gives (`Acts 3:22`; `7:37`; `John 4:25`.) They think that they are now living in the age of "apostacy," which will only end with the appearance of Taheb, the Messiah, who will re-establish worship on Gerizim in its pristine purity.
Great political convulsions will precede. "Then, the wisest of all the nations will be charged by the kings of the earth to find out the true faith. Among them will appear also Taheb, as the representative of the Samaritans, and quite unconscious of his Messiahship. But the whole council will be so impressed by his superior wisdom that they will follow him to Gerizim, where they will find the law of Moses, the vessels of the temple, and the hidden manna." Then the whole earth will submit to the law of Moses and to Taheb. At the foot of "this mountain" (Gerizim) of which the woman spoke to Jesus, her people still worship in a humble synagogue, in their prostrations throwing themselves on their faces towards the eastern summit of Mount Gerizim. They are still looking for Messiah.--S.S. World.
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ANSWERS TO YOUR LETTERS.
It is not possible for us to answer your letters as we should like to do. Our mail averages fifty to one hundred letters a day, some of them full of citations to Scripture which we have no time to look up, much less to reply to at length. We state this as an explanation why your letters have gone unanswered often, or perhaps a ten paged letter has been answered on a postal card.
Please put all orders for books, etc., separate from your letter on another
::R906 : page 7::
piece of paper. And please state any questions as concisely as possible after you have finished your letter--as a Postscript. And be sure you write your name and full address plainly. Many letters come without and cause us much annoyance, as well as you.
But think not, dear brethren and sisters, that your letters are unappreciated because unanswered. We can read five, for one we can answer; and were it not for the strength and encouragement which your many excellent letters afford, we would no doubt long ago have felt quite discouraged. But such wonderful letters from all quarters-- from China, Britain, India, Sweden, Hayti, Australia, South America, besides the thousands from our own States and Canada, give evidence of such a work of grace in your hearts, and such zeal and variety of effort on your part to serve the truth, often at great sacrifice, that our hearts are re-invigorated. We wish you could all share this comfort and encouragement with us, and for this reason publish extracts (this month from an unusually large number) of letters. We give you but a sample, and we are by no means sure that they are the best; for some contain orders written in the body of the letter, and get lost after those orders are filled.
So then write on, dear friends; your letters give us points, and frequently suggest subjects for TOWER articles. But do not be disappointed if your answer is slow, or if you get none. The TOWER, from month to month, is our letter to you; and the MILLENNIAL DAWN, when finished in its several volumes, will, we trust, answer all reasonable questions.
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EXTRACTS FROM INTERESTING LETTERS.
Brother Adamson has been laboring for the truth in New York state for some time past with good success. In Buffalo especially quite a number were awakened to see the morning light. A hasty note recently received from him at Rochester, says among other things, "I have excellent letters from various places, especially Buffalo. Saints are encouraged and comforted by the truth, and growing daily in favor and knowledge. Here, storms have prevented much out-door work, but I have out 336 of the Packets, (containing Food and sample TOWER) nevertheless. Catholics and Presbyterians seem to have gotten some "orders" respecting the Packets, not to read. Poor, stupid, blind "orthodoxy."
Yours in tender regard and love in the anointed. J. B. A__________.
Word received from Brothers Marting, Gillis, Myers, Bryan, Cobb, Blundin, Hickey, Van Hook, Bowman, [Brother Bowman, please send your present address in another good letter.] and many others, indicate that amid circumstances sometimes favorable and sometimes adverse, each is seeking to do what he can. And though our home (Pittsburgh) missionaries are seldom referred to, you should know that there are here quite a number who will we doubt not, receive of the Master in due time such honorable mention as, "She hath done what she could," "Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things."
We are more and more convinced that the "slothful servant" becomes a wicked one, and in the present time of trial will be sifted out, and by getting out of the light into darkness, will thus get his portion with the hypocrites. It will be found that every one who shall be of that "little flock," the "Royal Priesthood," will have been a priest not in name only but in deed and in truth-- he must sacrifice his own will, and spend and be spent in the Royal service if he would share in the glories to be revealed in that Priesthood. This applies to each, not merely the public teachers, but to the private also. Every under priest will not only recognize his justification by the High Priest's sacrifice, but must also bring his sacrifice to God, acceptable in the name and merit of the great High Priest.--EDITOR.
Orangeburg, S.C., Dec. 13, 1886.
BROTHER RUSSELL: The special number of TOWER is at hand. I am highly pleased with your plan in thus absorbing the three issues of the TOWER whereby the many readers of the TOWER may obtain so invaluable a work as the Millennial Dawn, at the trifling extra charge of 25 cents. I sincerely hope that not only every subscriber may obtain it, but that many of the thousands of creed-bound and famishing ones in the various sects may obtain one, or read one thoroughly. No book is more calculated to establish one in the truths of God's word than Millennial Dawn, and those who are drifting upon the sea of insecurity would do well to clasp Millennial Dawn very warmly. Enclosed is 75 cents, the extra charge for three of us here.
Yours in Christ,__________.
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Ohio, Dec. 13, 1886.
MY DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: I am so near the wall that my being cries out with anguish--hard pressed by the flesh and Satan. My desire is to resign my position in the nominal church--that of pastor, (though not a salaried position, for I will not hire). I might say my desire was to do so, but now I conclude to remain a while yet. My reasons are these: Your late work, "The plan of the ages," The Fire of Judgment, I call it-- is in season to accomplish a great work here. It is the wedge which will separate the true from the false; and I shall see that it is driven into our congregation, but I shall be wary in my work. When all the wheat has been reached, then we will forsake the old nominal threshing floor and go out into the broad, white wheat fields and glean.
I have delivered three lectures here in my native village, which are not in the least in taste with nominal religion. My themes were: 1. God--His attributes --His Plan, and Purpose in Creation. 2. Man--His Origin and Destination. 3. Life and Death--The Wages of Sin and the Gift of God. My next will be the new race--Christ. By the time I have these all fixed in their minds I will be ready to preach any Bible subject to them, having their minds prepared to receive it. I am now ready to advertise Z.W.T. from the pulpit, as people are wondering where I get this strange doctrine. Verily God has been leading me; I have no purpose of my own.
Some of the brethren in __________, are arranging to have me come and preach for them. If it is God's will, I expect to go there in a few weeks, but I do hope the Lord will not permit Satan to exalt me, for I am heart sick of worldly praise. I think we are in the midst of a great trouble in the nominal church, and M. Dawn is destined to take a prominent position in this coming storm. It is the panacea that will open the blind eyes and unstop the deaf ear, and unloose the dumb tongue in the nominal Babylon. What a confusion I anticipate! "Come out of her my people." I would send you some money, but I can't just now. I am no financier, I am more of a Bible student. I remain your brother in Christ, and ask for your prayers in my behalf. J. P__________.
DEAR BROTHER: Your letter of the 13th rejoices me greatly. May God bless you dear brother, giving you grace according to your day, and upholding you with the word of truth.
I am glad that you are seeing clearly, I am glad too that you have a fervent zeal which permits you to become warm and excited over a matter worthy of excitement and warmth--the great prize-- the inheritance--a pearl of great value. I pity those who become deeply absorbed muck-raking for earthly treasures, but are cold and lifeless and do less in regard to the heavenly prize of our high calling. My prayer is that you may not be moved when you find others lukewarm. Do not conclude that you are too hot, our Lord and the chief apostles were enthusiasts, and burned with zeal and love for their work.
Go on, dear brother; your plan is good, carry it out thoroughly. Being unbound by oath of office or covenant with any denomination to preach only their doctrines, you are at perfect liberty to preach God's Word as it opens.
It is well to understand what we must expect that we may not be disappointed but strengthened as we see the harvest separation progress. In this as in many other respects the "harvest" of the gospel age closely resembles its type, the "harvest" of the Jewish age. Now as then "they shall cast you out of the synagogues," and "shall say all manner of evil against you falsely," and shall "hate you." Rejoice, however, and be exceeding glad, for this is an evidence or "witness of the Spirit" that you are in the "narrow way" as voiced by the word of sure testimony.
For this reason you must be on your guard that your opponents may find no real cause for their evil speaking. Guard weak places. If you are "no financier" that would be a very assailable point. Guard it well. Live within your income, if it cuts off all luxuries and reduces you to potatoes and salt. Owe no man anything but love.
You will want to arrange your affairs on a business basis at once, because as soon as you begin to scratch instead of tickle the ears you will find purses begin to close, and, generally speaking, you may expect the truth to separate you from the more wealthy of your friends and leave you in company mainly with the poor, rich only in faith and the coming inheritance.
As an ambassador of the Great King, yet as a follower of him who was a servant of servants, be both noble and fearless, as well as humble and condescending. Be careful for nothing, but in everything and in every condition give thanks always and make full proof of your ministry. Such fruitage will honor the Lord and stand the test of the present trial--"so as by fire." Let me hear from you often. Grace, mercy and peace.
Yours in fellowship and service,
C. T. RUSSELL.
Howells Depot, N.Y., Jan. 2, 1887.
MR. C. T. RUSSELL, DEAR SIR: I was very much surprised, and so much pleased, to receive the Dawn. I was eagerly watching for the special paper, but never dreamed I was to get the much wished for Dawn. I had hoped to be able to pay up the two years arrearages, renew my subscription and send for the Dawn, which I have greatly desired ever since you announced it ready, but owing to recent sickness, a light form of diphtheria, including husband, self, and our four children, which caused us great anxiety and some expense, I abandoned my purpose, concluding to wait awhile. But through your kind consideration I have to-day had the pleasure of perusing some of the contents. It is valuable to me, and I shall try to do what good I can by loaning it to others.
Humbly and sincerely yours in Christ,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: Accept my tribute of thanks for the Dawn. I concur most emphatically in all Brother Adamson has said respecting it. Notwithstanding some of the chapters are old friends, they add to the book's value. I esteem its price, next to the grand text-book of our faith, above rubies. I have read the book through and some chapters several times, and I am amazed at the light it sheds upon God's word. Truly the Lord is with you and your dear wife, may he grant you all needful grace to sustain you. You are willing to be accounted "fools" for Christ's sake now and seek only for "glory, honor and immortality hereafter." You will be glad to know that I received my copies safely and have six of them loaned out at work. I cannot tell you yet what effect they are having on the readers, but will report in my next. I want seven more copies to send to friends in different parts of the country. I feel that this is just a sort of work I can do.
Praying that the blessing of the Master of the harvest may continually abide upon you, I remain in loving fellowship and service, yours affectionally,
A. P. R__________.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: I am slowly improving in health. I am usually quite comfortable, and am able to take a walk of a few rods each day-- usually about the yard. I have not strength for more than this. I cough considerable at times, though by no means as much as I did. Have not finished Millennial Dawn yet, as I cannot read much without getting too tired.
I am thankful to our dear Father in heaven for giving you light and ability to write this volume, and trust it will be a very effective agency in disseminating the truth. I am aware that to have it so, the book must be brought to the attention of the people, and were I able it would be a great pleasure to me to add my mite in this direction. Perhaps the Lord may yet give me the strength. His will be done. Permit me to express my hearty approval of "A Word of Warning" in last number. I am thankful that all through the struggle you hold the readers of Z.W.T. to the Scripture teaching, and that while there is so general a tendency to looseness on Bible teaching, the WATCH TOWER has held up Christ and him crucified as the only foundation.
Mrs. T. joins me in Christian love to yourself and Sister Russell.
Yours in Christ, S. T. TACKABURY.
Brooklyn, Jan. 9, 1887.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: Both your letters were received in due time and suggestions considered. I am afraid you over-estimate my service; or is it possible that there are so few willing to do much of anything that what I rejoice to do appears to be more than it is? Well, I feel that I am doing but little to what I would do, and so do that little gladly.
The package arrived in due time. I was surprised at its size, but glad that I could get so many to distribute. Have sold one book to a Methodist brother in business, who has been considering these views for some time.
On Friday evening I went down to Talmage's church with about 100 copies of Z.W.T. About eight hundred or more were present. The first half hour was devoted to lecture; then, while singing, all who do not wish to remain longer go out. Then about three-quarters of an hour are given to devotional meeting. Six hundred were present. I sat near the door, and was out nearly first; pulled wrapper off papers instantly and commenced handing out rapidly, saying, "New Christian work, new book," &c. By the time all were out my papers were gone. Many go there from other churches, so the paper must be pretty widely spread. Then I went into the church, and, seeing a couple of young men looking at a copy, I handed them two, with the request that they should be handed to Dr. Talmage.
I am profiting by the perusal of Millennial Dawn. Your statements are clear, backed by Scripture proof, and advance step by step in so orderly and connected a manner that the learner is led gradually up to the view of these great truths, instead of being overwhelmed at once, and thus turned away from them. I do wish every earnest Christian could be induced to read the book.
I shall go to another large church next Friday evening, and also mail copies to different places. To many places in the United States, and to Canada, England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and even Russia, has the October number WATCH TOWER gone. You may think I have done some mailing when I tell you that almost all that large package of TOWERS have gone by mail. The five Millennial Dawns came safely to hand, and I sold two and mailed the other three, one to Mr. Moody, one to Major Whittle and one to Rev. Geo. E. Needham, Secretary and originator of the Proph. Conf., with letter to each, and asking a reply; and I sent a bound copy of Millennial Dawn to Canon F. W. Farrar, of England, with a longer letter, which I am almost certain will bring an answer. I have been very busy during December, but now am sitting down to go a second time studiously through Millennial Dawn. I desire to fasten many things therein upon my memory.
I mailed you yesterday a money order for $10, which I expected to send you last month. Wish it were greater. I rejoice, even though not without trials.
Yours in service, B. P__________.
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C. T. RUSSELL, DEAR SIR: Find enclosed $1.25, for which please send one copy of Millennial Dawn and the TOWER one year. I never was interested in religious writings till I read Food. I am not a Christian; it is so hard to do right; but I just love to read this teaching, it is so reasonable. I was on the "Poor List" last year, and am not really able to subscribe. I live in a "dug-out," with only a dirt floor, with a large family; but I do not feel like taking so much for nothing, so will send this much in spite of all. Will also send some names for samples.
Yours sincerely, E. W__________.
DEAR FRIEND: You probably are more acceptable in the sight of our Lord than many who profess much more. Your willingness to sacrifice for the truth proves this. The fact that you love the truth proves that you have an "ear to hear." The fact that God has sent it to you at all, proves that he has some blessing in it for your heart and life. In fact, you are already a believer, and now you are experiencing some of the "joy and peace" promised to such as believe. Grasp a firmer hold of the Lord; realize him not only as the Saviour of all from death, but as your Redeemer. Trust him for the future and learn to trust him for the present also. Serve him by serving the truth and daily seek to be more like him in your thoughts and deeds. "She hath done what she could," is the highest praise any disciple can expect.--EDITOR.
Brother Brown, writing from Chicago, says: "I called yesterday to see Brother C. (an attorney-at-law) and passed about three-quarters of an hour very pleasantly with him. I found him to be a Scotch, "dyed in the wool" Presbyterian, but by accident a year or so ago his attention was called to Food. On Sunday last he sat down immediately after breakfast and began to read Millennial Dawn, Vol. I. He read without stopping even to eat until 10 o'clock that night, and the first half of the book looks as my own copy did, only more so, for he had underscored fully half of it.
MR. C. T. RUSSELL: Enclosed find one dollar for the paper.
Educated by a Methodist father and Presbyterian mother, even as a child my inquisitive mind detected the inconsistency of accepting the tenets of both denominations, and also of rejecting them. When I grew older and ventured to express my doubts, my father replied, "It does seem illogical and inharmonious; but, my child, I am sure the Bible is true and logical if it were clearly understood. Do not try to comprehend what you cannot understand, but believe in Christ." Even then the thought crossed my mind, if Christ died to restore what Adam lost, why not make every man just as Adam was? That would be restoring. However, I tried to follow the advice given, tried earnestly and sincerely to exercise faith, but after a time fell into skepticism --stayed away from church, and had for my friends worldly people, scientists and infidels. My home was then in a beautiful city, but my mind kept at times reverting to the old subject. I finally concluded there must be, there is, one true church, and it must be the Catholic Church, since so many of the Protestants whom I knew were so insincere; and as the Episcopalians claimed the same origin, I would try that.
Just as the change to this little town was talked of, your tract fell into my hands. I glanced over it, thinking it odd; said something to the pastor about it, who laughed at me for thinking it something new. The little book was packed amongst my effects, and while in a doubting mood one day fell into my hands again, seeming to answer every troubled question. I believe now my faith is established; and it seems odd to me that other people--cultured, Christian people--cannot see it as I do.
Pardon my long letter, unless it interests you to hear details. I am in the "Wilderness condition," have consecrated, and dare not turn back. Remember me in your prayers. Kindly and respectfully, MRS. E. W. R.
Brother MacMillan, of Latrobe, says: "We don't express our praise as does the Salvation Army, but if any of God's people can feel and live a Hallelujah life, we ought to. I sometimes wonder what those Salvation Army people would do if the light from God's word would shine upon them and illumine their understanding as it has done ours; for the little they have makes them so noisy.
An aged brother here wishes me to say that the Dawn is the best prepared table of food that ever he sat down to, and that he cannot get done eating. He keeps right on partaking, and, strange as it may seem, his hunger has not yet diminished."
San Joaquin Co., Cal.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: I have now given Millennial Dawn a thorough examination, and like the book. I took one day last week trying to get subscribers for it, and have got twelve for my first day's work, and as I intend to place one in each family who attend my Sabbath school (I say my school because for the last eighteen months I have had no connection with any denomination of Christians), and as I wish to send some to distant parts, I send you enclosed a P.O. Order for fifteen dollars, for which send the value in Millennial Dawn, Vol. I. Yours, etc., D. K__________.
Bear Lake, Michigan.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: I have not done as much as I should like for the advancement of the truth, and the setting up of Christ's Kingdom, but I desire to do more. I long to give all my time to the glorious work of spreading the truth. To open the blind eyes, and to turn men from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Christ Jesus.
I had an opportunity last summer to symbolize my baptism, I was baptised by immersion by a Baptist minister, we had a talk together and I found his idea of baptism was according to scripture. He could not accept all of our views, although he was the most liberal Baptist I ever met, acknowledging the evils of sectarianism but fearing to come out. He baptised me on my confession of faith, but not into the Baptist church as is generally the custom.
I have been approached by two Congregational ministers, one of them a great scholar, bearing the title D.D., trying to persuade me to unite with them in a Congregational church which they are trying to organize in this place. They made use of all manner of nice speeches, saying my influence would be a great help; and it mattered not what I believed if I would accept their creed. They even went so far as to write out what they called articles of faith, separate and apart from their regular church creed, leaving out some articles which they thought I and some others who have accepted the TOWER views, would object to. But they found we were not for sale: we told them that we would take nothing less than the Word of God itself for our creed, with Christ for our only foundation and hope; and with firm faith in him as our only Saviour, we claimed the right to search the Scripture for ourselves and to believe whatever it teaches.
The TOWER is a great help in the search for truth, we would not do without it. There is always some new light received from the Scriptures by reading it and comparing it with the Bible.
The Millennial Dawn which I am reading through the second time, is indeed a most wonderful book, it seems impossible for any one to read it and not be convinced of the truthfulness of its position. It is a great feast to my hungry soul. I find too, that the Diaglott is a wonderful help in clearing up many seemingly dark passages. I thank our dear Father in Heaven for all these helps.
Will you please send me about a dozen of the October number of the TOWER? I think I can make good use of about that number. I intend loaning them instead of giving them away. I intend sending for some packets in order to do some colporteur work as soon as the way opens.
Below are the names of two ministers (Baptist and Methodist) to whom please send the TOWER, October number.
With love to yourself and the church at Pittsburgh, I am yours in Christ,
J. N. L__________.
Buffalo, Jan. 2, 1887.
DEAR SIRS: I have just received the first volume of Millennial Dawn, I was about to send for one bound in cloth, as it would stand rougher usage, as I intend to lend it to all inquirers after truth. A priest here desires to read it, and I am more than pleased to loan it to him, as I believe it to be the essence of the word of God. ZION'S WATCH TOWER has been distributed to a great many of the members of the church of which I am a member. At first it was not received very warmly, but now many are anxious to read it and are seeing the Bible as a new book through its teachings, especially the priest to whom I allude.
Yours in Christ, O. E__________.
Helsingborg, Sweden, Dec. 19, 1886.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: It is now some months since I had the pleasure of receiving your letter and papers (Swedish as well as English), for which I thank you much. I will use them so that they will do the most good. People in general are averse to hear of salvation for any after this life, just as in America. Here the Lutheran faith predominates, but many have been led to abandon the idea of an atonement, and, as I have seen in the TOWER, you are fully acquainted with their way of mixing things. At one meeting, where I was defending the atonement, and claimed that Christ purchased us with his blood, one speaker said, "The average of Christian teachers allow that something great took place at the crucifixion of Christ, but of what and how, there seems to be no clearness." An odd one is desirous of perusing the TOWER, and they have nothing to say but that light and truth are shown through them. Thanks be to God, when I see through all God is showing me, that my efforts are not in vain, and people are getting more prepared to hear the glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. Thank God that light is shining; thank God that I am privileged to help to spread it. Some years ago, when I sacrificed myself to God, I had no idea that I should be distrusted and rebuked of any that trust God, but in entire reliance on God and his Son, my Redeemer, I shall be able to overcome. Yours, in hope of glory,
N. M. O__________.
Fort Dodge, Iowa, Jan. 17, 1887.
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST: I had just finished reading your book, lent by a friend, when the cheaper edition came. I thank God that he has given you such a work to do for his children, and now I have a great desire to persuade as many as possible to purchase and read the book. I had thought to get as many copies as I could and lend them, but that does not satisfy me. I could not reach enough, and I believe the way is open for me to visit the Christian and thinking people of this place, and perhaps of others, and my brother proposes to do the same in other cities and towns, if we meet with success sufficient to cover our necessary expenses. My hopes are very buoyant, because I want everybody to read it, yet I know that I must not expect too much.
I enclose fifteen dollars, send me of the cloth and paper bound Dawn, Vol. I., half each.
In Christian fellowship. Sue B__________.
New Orleans, La., Dec. 17, 1886.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: Inclosed please find P.O. Order for ten dollars, for which please renew my subscription for the WATCH TOWER (three copies), and send another copy of Millennial Dawn. What is over use where most needed. The money I send I received in answer to prayer. I have been desirous to send my subscription and something for the Lord's work, but somehow was not able to spare it out of my wages. Yesterday I asked the Lord to help me get it. Today my employer handed me twenty dollars as a present, which seems to me a direct answer to my prayer.
I have been since asking the Lord to make plain his will to me regarding it, which I believe to be this, to give ten dollars for the clothing and feeding of the spiritual man, the other ten I give to my wife for her part of the work, namely, supplying the physical necessities of the Lord's poor around us. Still trusting in God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy, I remain as ever your fellow-laborer in the harvest field.
Oceana Co., Mich., Dec. 6, 1886.
C. T. RUSSELL, DEAR BROTHER: The first volume of Millennial Dawn, so kindly sent came safe to hand, may the Lord richly bless the unselfish love bestowed on the poor of the Lord's flock. I have not read it all through yet, but have been greatly blessed from the perusal so far. I thank God every hour of my life that I am enabled to understand so much of his grand loving plan for the blessing of all the families of the earth. I am sorry I am unable to forward you any money with this, the great drouth here the past summer has deprived me of that happiness. I am compelled this winter (with poor health) to labor in the lumber woods for means to supply self and family with bread, and food for my stock. However, I expect some money before long and part of it shall be appropriated in renewing my subscription for the TOWER and the volume of Millennial Dawn, and I trust something for the Tract Fund.
I shall want one of the cloth bound volumes for my library, and intend to use the present volume for lending to those whom I have reason to believe are hungering for the truth.
Your brother in fellowship and service.