VOL. XVIII. DECEMBER 1, 1897. No. 23.
Special Terms on Dawns............................286
"The Anointing Which You Have
Poem: Some Day....................................295
"He That Humbleth Himself
Shall Be Exalted"...........................295
Paul's Dying Words................................298
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"THE DAY OF VENGEANCE."--DAWN, VOL. IV.
As announced in our issue of Sept. 15, the fourth volume of MILLENNIAL DAWN was sent to all paid up subscribers as representing the October and November issues of ZION'S WATCH TOWER. All who failed to receive a copy should notice the date beside their names on the address tag. If the date is past it indicates that the subscription expired at that date. If the tag differs from your record of the matter, you should drop a card to the Tower Pub. Co., explaining and inquiring. Those regularly on the list as "the Lord's poor," who applied for the TOWER for and during 1897, received a copy of DAWN, volume IV., the same as cash subscribers.
The second edition of ten thousand of this volume will soon be ready. This volume bids fair to be quite in demand by the public. Many can grasp the subject from this standpoint who are not disposed to heed direct appeals to the Bible: to many we hope it will prove to be an entering wedge for the truths of the other volumes.
The first half of the volume is not as new to WATCH TOWER readers as to others; but it seemed necessary to a complete treatment of the topic and, as many letters already received indicate, even the review portion is fresh and interesting and strengthening to those who know it best.
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"THE ANOINTING WHICH YOU HAVE RECEIVED."
--`1 JOHN 2:21,27`.--
EVERY BLESSING which God has given to us as his people, our adversary, Satan, would if possible take from us; and to this end he seeks to deceive us in respect to the real gifts and provisions of God;--to mislead us respecting the truth, and to substitute for it something which will prove an injury to us. This general truth is forcibly exemplified in connection with the Scriptural teaching respecting the holy spirit and Satan's misrepresentation of the same, by which multitudes of Christians are deceived, blinded and hindered from spiritual development. A few poor translations in our Common Version English Bible, indicate clearly that the translators were as much confused upon the subject of the holy spirit as are the majority of Christian people to-day.
In the passage above cited (`1 John 2:27`), the Apostle says, "The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you all things, and is truth and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, ye shall abide in him." How Satan has used this mistranslation to befog the minds of the Lord's people and to make them believe contrary to the testimony of their own senses! To illustrate the subject, we mention an incident in our own experience.
A lady who had been attending our preaching for about a year ceased to be in attendance for about a year, when the following conversation, in substance, took place.
We said, "It is some time, Sister, since we had the pleasure of meeting you."
She replied, "Yes; I have not attended your meetings for about a year. I have now taken the holy spirit to be my teacher;"--referring to the above Scripture.
We replied: "Well, Sister, you certainly have found an excellent teacher; and we trust that you are an attentive pupil, and that you are growing greatly in grace, in knowledge and in love."
She answered that she thought she had made considerable development.
We replied, "May we be excused for putting to you a very leading question along the line of your spiritual progress?"
Answer: "Yes, with pleasure."
We replied, "Our question then would be, How much and along what lines have you learned during the past year, in which you feel confident that the holy spirit has been your teacher? Will you please mention something that you have learned during this year's instruction that you did not know before?"
The Sister tried in vain to think of one solitary item of truth or grace acquired during the year, and we then said, "Dear Sister, if you are correct in supposing that you had the holy spirit as a special and personal teacher in the very way that you think, then evidently from your own testimony you have been a very poor pupil and have learned nothing. Now, may we inquire how it was the year previous when you met with us for the study of the Lord's counsel?"
Her answer was that during the year previous she certainly had learned a great deal respecting the divine Word and plan along many lines. Nevertheless, she was so pleased with the thought that she needed no human assistance in the study of the Lord's Word, and that God operated upon her mind and treated her as a private pupil, and not as one of the general class of scholars, that she was seemingly puffed up with the thought and preferred to continue it rather than to
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have the truth in the Lord's way,--Not forgetting the assembling together for the building up of one another and the use of all the means which God would grant for the understanding of his Word. How many others claim thus to be private pupils of the holy spirit without having anything creditable to show either in grace or knowledge, year after year.
This illustration is a representative of thousands of similar instances in which the Adversary misleads those not sufficiently meek to accept the Lord's counsel in the Lord's way. No fact could be more plainly taught in the Lord's Word than that it was his intention to make use of human instrumentality, teachers, in the development of his Church. Mark the Apostle's statement. (`1 Cor. 12:28,29`.) "God hath set [placed in position] some in the Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?" We admit that many of these early gifts to the Church passed away, but we hold that some of these were not intended to pass away until the Church should be completed. In proof of this we refer to `Eph. 4:8,11-16`, in which he says, speaking of our Lord Jesus and the giving of the holy spirit to the Church, "He gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all come in the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man,--unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."
What then is the significance of this statement about there being "no need that any man teach you" but that "the same anointing teacheth you all things?" We answer, the Apostle has reference here to a particular matter described in a preceding verse. (`1 John 2:18,19`.) Some who had been believers in Christ had rejected him and had left the company of those who still believed. The Apostle is merely pointing out that those who had received the holy spirit of the Lord should in this fact have sufficient proof to offset any arguments of the Adversary to the effect that Christ was an impostor. Since they had received the holy spirit as a seal to their hearts and to their faith, it should be quite unnecessary for John or any one else to write to them an epistle, proving to them, or teaching them, that Jesus is the Son of God; for the anointing which they had received was proof positive of this fact, superior to any arguments that could be framed by any man. And to this all Christians will agree. But the passage has no reference whatever to general instruction in righteousness and in the Word of God and in the plan of salvation.
Another statement in the same connection (`1 John 2:20`) is similarly misread. It says, "Ye have an unction [an anointing or lubrication] from the Holy One and ye know all things." The passage thus rendered is very certain to be a stumbling block to many. If they do not "know all things," they are in doubt whether or not they have ever received the holy spirit. If they claim that they should know all things and that they do know all things, they are very apt to convince their friends by such claims that they are somewhat unbalanced mentally. The passage however becomes very simple and very reasonable when properly translated thus: "Ye have the anointing of the Holy One and ye all know it." The one receiving the anointing should know it, whether others know it or not. And yet the character of this anointing has been presented
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to the Christian mind in so confused a manner that the vast majority to day do not know whether they have the anointing from the Holy One or not. Nor have they any idea what such an anointing would imply in their own personal experience. We may therefore profitably examine this subject together, "that we may know the things that are freely given unto us of God."
The word "anointing" and the word "unction" carry with them the thought of oiling, making smooth, lubricating. From earliest times God has used oil as a type of the holy spirit: for instance, the kings of Israel, before being installed in office, were anointed; likewise the priesthood. (`Exod. 30:22-32`.) Christ is the antitype not only of Israel's kings, but also of Israel's High priests--the two offices unite in him. And as we have already seen, "the Christ" according to divine arrangement is to be a composite body, the elect overcoming Church, under Christ its glorious head. Hence, the oil which was poured upon the head of the king and the priest in type, and which ran down over the entire person, represented the holy spirit of God, poured out upon our Head, Christ Jesus, which subsequently reached the Church which is his body, at Pentecost, and which has been flowing down ever since, anointing the various members of his "body" from that day to the present time.
And the antitype, the holy spirit upon God's elect, should be expected, in some respects at least, to resemble the type. As the effect in the type was to cause a shining of the face, so the antitype, the holy spirit, is indeed the "oil of joy" which counteracts the spirit of heaviness in all those who receive it, causing their faces to shine and their hearts to rejoice with joy unspeakable. Oil was used in olden times for anointing the skin to give smoothness and softness and suppleness to the joints and muscles: so the holy spirit brings to all
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who are anointed with it a smoothness and softness of character and manner not previously theirs. The Apostle in explaining this holy spirit, this spirit of Christ, the spirit of the Truth, the spirit of God, calls it Love; and properly so, for God is Love, and hence the spirit of God must be a spirit of love. Explaining the spirit of love, the Apostle declares that it is the sum of all its graces. He enumerates some of these, calling them gentleness, meekness, patience, brotherly-kindness, affection, long-suffering; all these graces together, love. He likewise points out what characteristics are opposed to love and denominates them the carnal mind or disposition, whose characteristics are anger, malice, hatred, strife, vain-glory, emulations and all such works of the flesh and of the devil, which are contrary to the spirit of God but are elements of the spirit of the world.
As the Apostle John says, whoever has received the spirit of Love, the holy spirit or disposition, the spirit of the Truth, has an unction, anointing, lubrication from the Holy One: for it has no other author: it is the spirit of God, which proceedeth and came forth from him, bestowed upon his faithful. As the Apostle further declares, "Ye [who have received it] all know it."
The possession of this spirit of Love, the spirit of the Truth, is an evidence that the possessor has been begotten of God and is a child of God; and that if faithful to his Lord and Head, even unto the end, he will by and by be made a joint-heir in his Kingdom. The possession of this spirit on the part of those who believe in the Lord Jesus as their Redeemer constitutes therefore, as the Apostle says, the seal of their adoption into God's family--"whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption [deliverance]." (`Eph. 4:30`) The absence of this unction or anointing, even tho accompanied with some knowledge of the truth, is an evidence that the heart has not been fully consecrated to the Lord; the will not fully resigned to his will and Word.
In the beginning of the Gospel age it was proper that the manifestation of divine favor should be not only through the fruits of the spirit, faith, hope and love, but also that it should be manifested by outward signs, or "gifts" of the spirit,--tongues, miracles, prophesyings, etc. And hence the Pentecostal blessing not only sealed the Lord's people with his spirit of love, but also gave miraculous physical "gifts" to the Church: they however soon passed away--the power to communicate those gifts being limited to the Apostles.
The spirit of the Law age was the spirit of Justice. During that epoch God manifested the element of his character which we term Justice, and his Law, "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," was the one according to which the Jewish ideas formulated. But when in the fulness of time God manifested another element of his character, namely Love, then that became the pattern,--the next lesson for all who would be taught of him to learn. "Herein was manifested the love of God, in that he gave his only begotten Son;" "in this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins."--`1 John 4:9,10`.
Accordingly, we find our Redeemer, who was filled with the holy spirit of love himself, speaking as the mouthpiece of the Father and declaring, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another." We find him also explaining the Law, and showing that while it signified justice, yet it could be fulfilled only by love. "Love is the fulfilling of the Law." We hear him summing up the entire significance of all that had been taught to Israel, saying, (1) "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, soul [being] and strength;" and (2) "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets." The Apostle John and others of the Lord's disciples heard his wonderful teachings and witnessed his exemplification of this holy spirit of love and marveled; but it was not their privilege to possess the same spirit until Pentecost. Before that they received him and became his followers, disciples, and received some instruction respecting the way of life; but it was expedient for them that he should go away--that he should pay the ransom-price, be raised from the dead by the Father's power and ascend up on high to appear as their high priest and make an atonement for their sins--else the Comforter could not come, they could not receive and be begotten by the spirit of the truth, the spirit of love, the holy spirit. (`John 14:16,17`; `15:26`; `16:7`.) And this is the declaration of the Apostle John, "As many as received him [Jesus], to them gave he power [privilege] to become the sons of God [beginning at Pentecost]; even to them that believe on his name: which were begotten [beginning at Pentecost] not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."--`John 1:12,13`.
It was only natural and to be expected that the believers in the early Church would overlook the most important blessing, the sealing, the anointing of the holy spirit of Love; and that they should think chiefly of the "gifts"--of tongues, healings, miracles, etc. It was therefore necessary that the Lord through the Apostle should call their attention to the fact that the fruits of the spirit, faith, hope, love were the essentials, and not the tongues, miracles and other gifts. He
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says, "Yet show I unto you a more excellent way"-- following after love, whose development and ripeness will be a gradual and progressive work. And the Apostle points out clearly that one might have all the various "gifts," healing-power, miraculous power, ability to speak with tongues, etc., yet if they did not possess in addition to these the spirit of God, the spirit of Christ, the spirit of the Truth, the spirit of Love, they would be simply tinkling cymbals, sounding brasses-- drums without spiritual life or vitality in any degree, and consequently without any proper hope respecting a future life or the Kingdom.
If we have this holy spirit, this anointing, this unction, we surely know it as a fact, whether or not we have always discerned it as being the spirit of our adoption to the divine nature. However true it is that this holy spirit is to be a gradual development in the Lord's people, a growth in grace, it is nevertheless equally true that it had a definite time of beginning. It did not begin when first we came to know the grace of God in Christ, in the precious blood shed for the forgiveness of our sins. With repentance and faith came justification, and its "joy and peace through believing;" but it was not until later that we had, by the same faith, "access into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of [sharing] the glory of God."-- `Rom. 5:1,2`.
This latter grace we attained only by learning to admire to some extent God's character of love. He invites us to consecrate ourselves fully to him, to lay aside and to sacrifice our own wills and to follow in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus Christ, who did not his own will but the will of his Father who sent him: and it is when we reach this point of full surrender of our own wills to the will of God that we may be purged of selfishness, the spirit of the world and of earthly ambitions, and be filled with the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of holiness, the spirit of the truth, the spirit of love. Then we are accepted of the Lord as "new creatures in Christ Jesus" and receive an impartation of his spirit of holiness, love, as the seal or mark of our acceptance --"being transformed by the renewing of our minds." Thenceforth, all holy things, the things of God and the people of God, as well as God himself, draw forth our hearts; no matter who they are nor under what circumstances, we love the Lord's people and everything which is in harmony with the Lord's Word and character. And correspondingly from the same moment of full consecration we are the enemies
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and opponents of sin, we "hate every evil way" and everything sinful, mean, selfish, contemptible, and contrary to love, whether we find its stain upon our own flesh or upon others of the fallen race. Thenceforth it is our mission as new creatures to be representatives of God and his truth and his spirit of love, and all other considerations are secondary; and the language of the heart is:--
"Henceforth my chief concern shall be,
To live and speak and toil for Thee."
This is the new life, and from the time it begins we are reckoned as "new creatures in Christ Jesus; old things have passed away, all things have become new." But the new creature has various difficulties to contend with, all of which are permitted of divine providence for his development and perfecting, which will not be accomplished until he has proved faithful unto death, and in the first resurrection has been clothed with the spiritual body and its new conditions against which there will be no necessity for warfare. "But we [new creatures] that are in this tabernacle [present earthly conditions unfavorable to the new creature] do groan, being burdened [by the constant conflict with the powers of darkness as well as with the motions of sin in our own flesh and the contact with sin abounding on every hand]." The new creature finds in the present existence necessity for a continual battle between his flesh and himself as a new creature, an adopted and begotten son of God, whose disposition or spirit is one of holiness and love toward God and men; for he is opposed by inherited imperfections and depraved tendencies in his own physical system. Hence, he is obliged continually to recognize the two personalities, as the Apostle expresses it--the new "I," which loves God and men, especially the household of faith, and which desires holiness, seeks peace and endeavors daily to become more and more an exact copy of the Lord Jesus Christ; and the other "I," the natural man, which is reckoned dead, but which will not be actually gotten rid of until literal death; which continually seeks to obtrude its will and preference, and requires to be continually kept under by the new "I," in complete subjection to the will of God in Christ, to the holy spirit of love.--`1 Cor. 9:27`.
The beginning of this experience as a "new creature" varies somewhat with different individuals. The spirit of the Lord, the spirit of Love, has to a certain extent won favor with very many of the worldly, and many of these to some extent, conform their lives to it slightly, even tho they have never been begotten by it to a complete transformation of disposition. As a consequence, we find that the so-called "Christian world" which has not received the holy spirit as a comforting and guiding influence, nor as a seal or mark of adoption into the Divine family, has nevertheless adopted some of the outward features of the holy spirit of love as its standard, and outwardly at least has been blessed thereby. For instance, gentleness is one element of the holy spirit, and some people who are thoroughly
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worldly have cultivated this grace of gentleness to a very large extent and are pleased to be known as gentlemen and ladies (gentlewomen). Indeed, amongst a certain class of thoroughly worldly people for one to say to the other, You are not a gentleman, sir! or You are not a lady, madam! would be a sure method of arousing anger, malice, hatred, strife and various other qualities which would prove beyond question that the persons so jealous of their reputation for gentleness are really devoid of the spirit of Love, and hence, that their gentleness is not a fruitage of the holy spirit within, but is merely an outward adornment, fastened on externally.
Similarly, we have noticed business men exercise wonderful patience in dealing with unreasonable customers, and may have marveled how they attained so good a degree of proficiency in patience, and self-control; but perhaps after the customer had been served, cordially shaken hands with and bidden good-bye, those who were near have heard the burst of passion and indignation, accompanied perhaps with profanity, which indicated that the patience and self-control manifested were merely from a love of money, and not the fruitage of love, the holy spirit. In society, the lady who is very gentle in manner and in word, and very patient, and who perhaps manifests her love with much gusto and a kiss and with many gentle and affable manners, will sometimes in private reveal the fact that such conduct was not the fruitage or result of having her heart filled with the holy spirit of Love, but was merely a display on the surface of carefully cultivated gracious manners; the heart perhaps revealed its true condition privately in speaking evil of the one on whom kisses and demonstrations of affectionate love had been showered but a few moments before.
With the "new creature," begotten of the spirit of Love, matters are wholly different: the demonstrations of love for God in worship are not outward formalities or mere habits of worship, but the homage of the heart, which delights to not only outwardly worship, but to bow before the Lord in secret and to serve him with its very best of time, influence, voice or other means. Its love for humanity is genuine, sincere, also: it loves chiefly amongst men those who have the most of the Lord's likeness in their characters; and whether rich or poor, learned or unlearned, the mark of divine acceptance, the seal of the spirit of the Lord upon any, is quite sufficient to draw out for such love and interest and service according to the necessities and the opportunities --as unto the Lord. Even toward the worldly and the wicked (who are not knowingly and wilfully wicked) there is a sympathy, an appreciation of the blindness of their minds which has come from the god of this world, and which hinders them from appreciating the goodness of God and the beauties of his character. Feeling a sympathy for these and for all who are under the distresses of the "curse," the new spirit, the loving or holy spirit, prompts them not only to "love unfeigned" for the "brethren," but to sympathy unfeigned for the entire "groaning creation." From this condition springs their gentleness to all, their patience with all, their kindness and moderation and long-suffering, Love. But these who have the true spirit of love and who in this have an evidence that they "have passed from death unto life,"--that they have the spirit of Christ, without which they would be none of his, that they have been "sealed with the holy spirit of promise" as the earnest or beginning of the new nature,--these are the few exceptions even amongst those who have named the name of Christ.
It need not be surprising to us that all Christians have not exactly the same experience in reaching the beginning of this spirit-begotten condition, with its renewed mind. Let us remember that some are born into Christian families where the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of love, has been to a considerable extent recognized: either the outward graces of gentleness, patience, brotherly-kindness, etc., have been set up as home rules and standards, and have helped to bring blessing and peace, or the true spirit of love itself, has control of one or more influential in the family, in whom these various graces are a natural fruitage or outgrowth, which makes some impression on each member of the family. Those who are born and reared under such favorable conditions, and who thus have learned to appreciate love and to practice it to some slight extent, are indeed highly favored. Yet nevertheless, when they shall have reached years of discretion and personal judgment, and after they have confirmed with their maturer thoughts the faith of childhood respecting the redemption which God has accomplished through Christ, each should come to the point of making a definite, positive and everlasting covenant with the Lord,--presenting himself a living sacrifice to him, to his truth and to his service. Understanding that this means the dethronement of self, and the enthronement in their heart of the will of the Lord, as instead of their own will, not only as respects evil things, but in respect to every matter, such thereby become new creatures in Christ Jesus; consecrated and accepted as members of "the Church which is his body," and as heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, their Lord, if so be that they will "suffer with him that they may also be glorified together" with him. When such a young person, brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord shall have thus completed his covenant by laying himself upon the altar of the Lord, he will be sealed with the holy spirit of love: he will
(CONTINUED ON PAGE 294.)
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feel a broader and a deeper love both for God and for his fellows, than he ever before experienced. Nevertheless, in his case the change will be less sharply defined than in the case of one differently born and reared --one reared under the influence of undiluted sin and selfishness; who, believing in Christ as his Redeemer and repenting of sin, subsequently presents himself a living-sacrifice to the Lord. With the latter, the change from feelings of hatred, envy, strife and selfishness, suddenly giving place to warm, loving devotion to the Lord and sympathy and love for fellow-creatures, would be a great and much more startling experience. Hence some of these latter, if of a demonstrative turn, may sing or weep for joy and feel like embracing everybody near them, when first they receive of the spirit of love and holiness.
But while the Apostle's statement of the matter must always be true, that those who have received the anointing from the Holy One "all know it" themselves --can readily discern the change of their own sentiments --it is also true that it should not be very long after they received it and know it, before others should know it also. The Lord has indicated one particular way in which he desires every new creature, whose will
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has been baptized into the will of Christ and who has received of the holy spirit of love and who has become a new creature in Christ, pledged to walk in newness of life, to indicate this change to others; namely, by an immersion in water, as a symbol of the consecration and immersion of the will; and while this should be promptly attended to as a confession before fellow-creatures, yet such a confession would not be a sure sign of the new life: for many have thus confessed "newness of life" whose living epistles seem to contradict this.
When however the holy spirit is received into the heart as the actuating principle of a life guided and instructed by the counsel of the Lord, it will not only obey the Lord in the matter of symbolic immersion, but it will also soon manifest itself in the various affairs of life, to those with whom the "new creature" comes in contact. The anointing which comes upon the Lord's people must soon or later affect their outward conduct by manifestations of greater meekness, patience, gentleness, brotherly-kindness, affection and generosity of word and deed. All of this is in the illustration of the anointing oil which typifies the spirit from which we have an unction or anointing or lubrication. But this lubricating and mollifying of character will come slowly, gradually, and we must not expect a miracle or as sudden a change in our earthen vessels as we had in the spirit of our minds: nevertheless, the "new creature," the renewed will, is to control the earthly body and impart its spirit and disposition to it, so far as possible, and should begin the work at once. If the new mind or spirit or disposition of love for God and man dwells in us richly, as new creatures, it will speedily begin to lubricate, make smooth and unctuous the earthen vessel.
In this day of machinery all have some knowledge of it and of why machinists put oil upon all its joints and bearings: it is in order that it may operate with the greater ease and perform its duties the more perfectly. Without the oil the tendency would be for the various parts to bind and produce friction, heat, wear: with the oil, the mechanism will perform its duties much better than without it. Nevertheless, as we all know, machines are of various degrees of perfection and imperfection, hence while the oil will be of advantage to every machine, it will not produce the same evenness and smoothness of motion in every part of each. And so it is amongst Christians: while every Christian will be blessed by the holy spirit, the unction, anointing and lubrication from the Holy One, through the spirit of love received, nevertheless all Christians will not be alike smooth, regular, moderate, gentle, long-suffering, tenderly affectionate one toward another in love. The anointed heart or will can be, will be, must be striving for perfecting in love and actuated by it as a motive power, but the outward working of this upon the natural body, the outward man, will vary according to its natural makeup and its rooting in selfishness --sin. The man or woman who was naturally bad tempered, cross, selfish, hateful, mean will be helped from the time the anointing of the holy spirit of love is received; yet it may be weeks or months or years before the friction in certain parts of the disposition is worn smooth; and it should be the constant effort of every "new creature in Christ," first of all to be sure that he has received the unction, the spirit of love, and secondly to grow in that spirit and grace, to be filled with the spirit of love, letting the spirit of Christ dwell in him richly and abound, and thirdly he should constantly and earnestly strive to let the light he has received so shine before men that they may see his good works, that they may see that the spirit of Christ has produced in him a great change and an increasing change toward meekness, gentleness, patience, brotherly-kindness, benevolence, in all the workings and operations of life, that thus he may glorify God in his body and in his spirit (new mind) which, with all he has, are given to the Lord by consecration as well as being his by redemption.
Whatever friction may be unavoidable between the new creature and the world, which has a different spirit and which therefore operates along different lines and on different principles, there should be no friction amongst those who are the Lord's people, and who
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have all received of the same spirit. We recall the Apostle's words respecting the body of Christ in which he urges that even the speaking of the truth should be done in love one for another; that we "may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted, by that which every joint supplieth [lubrication] according to the effectual working of every part in its own place, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." (`Eph. 4:15,16`.) The Apostle's thought seems to be that while each new creature may be considered as a complete member of Christ, and have all the parts of his own character thoroughly lubricated with the spirit of love, yet in addition to this all the new creatures are to recognize themselves as members one of another, and of the body of Christ, the Church; and are to exercise toward each other in their various efforts toward cooperation in obedience to the will of the Lord, such love, such unction, such anointing, such lubrication, as will prevent friction and enable the whole body of Christ to cooperate for its own upbuilding in the graces as well as for its own completion in numbers.
This same thought is brought to our attention through the prophet David who, after saying, "How good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity," adds, "It is like the precious ointment upon the head"--the anointing oil upon the typical priest, Aaron, representing the holy spirit upon the royal priesthood, head and body.--`Psa. 133`.
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"Some day all doubt and mystery
Will be made clear:
The threatening clouds that now we see
"Some day what seems a punishment,
Or loss or pain,
Will prove to be God's blessing, sent
For very gain.
"Some day our weary feet will rest
In sweet content;
And we will know that we were blest
By what was sent;
"And, looking back with clearer eyes
O'er life's short span,
We'll see with wondering, glad surprise,
God's perfect plan;
"And, knowing that the way we went
Was God's own way,
We'll recognize his wise intent,
Some day, some day."
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"HE THAT HUMBLETH HIMSELF SHALL BE EXALTED."
--DEC. 5.--`PHIL. 2:1-11`.--
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."--`Phil. 2:5`.
THE exhortations of this lesson are taken from the Apostle's letter to the Church at Philippi. It will be remembered that this Church was the first one founded in Europe: the particulars connected with its small beginning were noted in our lessons for July 4th and 11th. Referring to the smallness of its beginning Dr. McLaren, commenting upon the account of how the Apostle and his companions found outside the city by the river bank a place of resort for prayer and "spake unto the women which resorted thither," says:--
"Not blowing of trumpets, not beating of drums of any sort. A few women and some worn out travelers talking together by the banks of the rushing river. How scornfully the great folk of Philippi would have smiled, if they had been told that the chief title of their city to be remembered at all would be the presence in it of that one insignificant Jew, and his letter to the Church founded on that morning!"
The Apostle indirectly reveals something respecting the general character of the Philippian Church in the Epistle written to it: we find in it nothing like reproof or correction, as we find in most of the epistles written to other Churches by the same Apostle. It is a particularly beautiful and loving letter and indicates a very close sympathetic bond between the Apostle and this Church in particular. Moreover, this Church on four different occasions that we know of rendered the Apostle practical sympathy by financial assistance, as well as by words of comfort and cheer. While at Thessalonica he twice received their gifts in his support; again while he was at Corinth they ministered to him, and again when he was a prisoner in Rome they did not forget him. It was their messenger, Epaphroditus, who brought this last memorial of their love, who was "sick unto death"--probably prostrated by the malarial fever. On his recovery, the Apostle Paul sent back with him this beautiful letter known to us as The Epistle to the Philippians. (`Phil. 2:25-28`; `4:14-19`; `2 Cor. 11:9`.) The other Churches may possibly have ministered
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to the Apostle also, but if so the fact is not recorded; apparently they missed a great opportunity, and we may be sure that while the Apostle did urge them to contribute to the relief of the brethren at Jerusalem, during a period of famine, he would not make a request for personal assistance, however much he may have been in need, or however much he might have appreciated even small manifestations of their love for him and the cause he served.
* * *
The lesson before us respecting Christian humility does not intimate that this grace was lacking among the Philippians, but that the Apostle recognized it as being one of the most important of all the graces, and one which required continual cultivation, in order to a continual growth in the likeness of Christ. The opening words of this lesson are an exhortation to brotherly-love and affection amongst themselves. He says, If there be any consolation in Christ, if there be any comfort of love to those who are in him, if they have any heart, if they have any mercies,--as tho he would put them to the test whether or not any would deny that these graces appertain to all who have come into Christ as new creatures. Then, as tho they had assented to his proposition, conceding that there is comfort, love, fellowship, sympathy and consolation in
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Christ for one another, he adds: You can fill my joy full by being thus minded toward each other--having love for each other, being in sympathy and accord with each other, and having one mind or purpose or will as a Church, the Lord's will. How grand an expression this is, his joy would be filled merely by knowing of their sympathy and love for him, not by knowing of their professions of love for the Lord, but by knowing that they loved, sympathized with and consoled one another, in the proper fellowship of the members of the body of Christ! This would fill his joy more full than anything else that he could know respecting them. Likewise, we may be sure the same conditions would be most pleasing and most acceptable in the sight of our Lord and Savior. The Apostle John had the same thought respecting brotherly-love in the Church as an indication of its godliness, when he says: "He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?"--`1 John 4:20`.
To this end--that such a spirit of perfect unity and fellowship might obtain amongst the believers at Philippi, Paul exhorts that all shall cultivate the grace of humility, and that in every affair each shall take heed that "nothing be done through strife or vain glory," that self-laudation and strivings for preeminence be thoroughly put away as the greatest enemies to the spirit of the Lord and the blessing of the Church. On the contrary, each should have that lowliness of mind which can see the good qualities of fellow-members and appreciate some of these qualities at least as superior to his own. Lowliness of mind does not necessarily signify an ignorance of any talents or graces which we ourselves may possess; but so long as the Church is in the present imperfect or tabernacle condition, the perfection of all the graces, and all the talents, and all the abilities, need never be expected in any one person in any congregation. So, then, each one may, if he be of lowly mind, see in others certain good qualities or graces superior to his own and should delight to recognize these and to esteem their possessor accordingly.
For each one to look merely upon his own things, interests, welfare or talents and to ignore these in others would manifest a general selfishness, and consequently a dearth of the spirit of Christ, which is a spirit of love and generosity. In proportion as we are filled more and more with the holy spirit, love, we will find ourselves interested in the welfare of others. This was the mind, disposition or spirit which was in our dear Redeemer,--which he so wonderfully manifested, which we must copy and develop in our characters if we would ultimately be of the "little flock" who shall be joint-heirs with Christ in his glory: concerning whom God has predestinated that to be accepted with him to this position they must be "copies of his Son."-- `Rom. 8:29`.
That we may partially discern how our Lord Jesus exemplified this spirit of humility, the Apostle briefly sums up in few words the story of his humiliation and how it led to his present exaltation. He points out to us that when our Lord Jesus was a spirit being, before he stooped to take our nature and to bear the penalty of our sin, he was in "a form of God"--a spirit form, a high and glorious condition. But instead of being moved selfishly to ambitiously grasp for higher things than those which God had conferred upon him--instead of seeking to set up a rival empire as did Satan-- he did not meditate a robbery of God to make himself his equal (Satan's course), saying, "I will ascend above the stars [the bright ones, the angelic hosts], I will be as the Most High [his peer, his equal]." Quite to the contrary of this, our Lord Jesus, "the beginning of the creation of God," was willing in harmony with the Father's plan to humble himself, to take a lower nature and to do a work which would imply not only a great deal of humiliation but also a great deal of pain and suffering. The Apostle points out how the "Only Begotten" proved his willingness and humility by complying with this arrangement; and that after he became a man he continued of the same humble spirit, willing to carry out the Divine plan to the very letter, by dying as man's ransom-price; and not only so, when it
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pleased the Father to require that the death should be a most ignominious one in every respect, perhaps beyond the requirements of the ransom merely, he did not draw back, but said, "Thy will not mine be done," and stooped even to the ignominious "death of the cross."
Here, as the Apostle points out, we have the most wonderful demonstration of humility, meekness and obedience to God that ever was manifested or that could be conceived of. And this is the pattern the Apostle points out that we should seek to copy. "Let this same [humble] mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."
It was on account of this humility, which enabled him to render perfect obedience, that the Heavenly Father has so highly honored our dear Redeemer as to raise him from the dead to the Divine nature, to a station far above angels, principalities and powers, and every name that is named. That this is his argument is shown (`verse 9`) by the word "wherefore;" i.e., on this account, on account of this humility just described, God hath highly exalted him.
Not only did our Lord's beautiful and perfect humility and obedience demonstrate that he was loyal to the core to the Heavenly Father, but it also demonstrated that in him the Father's spirit, Love, dwelt richly, for he shared the Father's love for the race he redeemed. On this account also he is found worthy to be the divine agent in the blessing of all the families of the earth, as per the terms of the divine covenant made with father Abraham. Thus he has become the head of the "Seed of Abraham" which is to bless the race redeemed; and hence it will be to him that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, when Jehovah's "due time" shall come for the pouring out of divine blessings upon the redeemed world--that all may come to a knowledge of the truth and, if they will, into full harmony with God, and to eternal life.
The Apostle not only holds up the Lord Jesus as the great example of a proper humility, self-abnegation and obedience to God in the interest of others, but he would also hold up before us the reward, the high exaltation of our Lord by the Father, the result or reward of his obedience, that we also might be encouraged, and realize that, if faithful in following the footsteps of our Redeemer and sacrificing the advantages of the present to serve the Lord and his cause, then, in due time, we also may expect to be glorified with him and to share his name and throne and work, as members of his anointed body, his Church, his joint-heir.
In the succeeding `verses (12-16`) the Apostle gives a most beautiful tribute to the Church at Philippi, while urging them to continue on and to make more and more progress in the race-course in which they had already started, working out in themselves through humility and obedience the character, the disposition of Christ, with fear and trembling, and thus working out each his own share in the great salvation to glory, honor and immortality which God hath promised.
We cannot work out our own justification; but being justified by the blood of Christ, and being called with the heavenly calling, we can make our calling and election sure, we can work out our own share in the great salvation to which we have been called in Christ, by giving heed to the instructions of the Lord; by following the pattern which he has set for us. Not that we will attain perfection in the flesh, but merely perfection of will, of intention, of heart; and keeping the body under to the extent of our ability, its weaknesses and imperfections will be reckoned as covered by the merit of our Lord, the Holy One.
It is encouraging also for us to know that this warfare is not merely one of our own, against weakness and sin; but that God is for us, has called us, and is helping us. He already works in us, by his Word of promise, and has led us thus far in the willing and the doing of his will, his good pleasure: and he will continue thus to lead and to help us and to work in us by his Word of truth, if we will continue to give heed to his counsel. "Sanctify them through thy truth --thy Word is truth." The gospel is "the power of God unto salvation" to every one that so accepts it; and no greater stimulus to true godliness can be found than the "exceeding great and precious promises given unto us; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature."--`2 Pet. 1:4`.
Moreover, in following in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus, running the race for the great prize set before us in the Gospel, we are not to murmur by the way, finding fault with its difficulties and narrowness; nor are we to dispute respecting it, nor to seek to have any other way than that which divine providence marks out before us, realizing that the Lord knows exactly what experiences are necessary to our development in the school of Christ, and realizing also that, if obedience were possible while our mouths are full of complaints and dissatisfaction with the Lord and our lot which he has permitted, it would indicate that we were at least out of sympathy with the spirit of his arrangement; and such an obedience, if it were possible (but it would not be possible), would not meet the divine approval, nor gain us the prize. Hence, as the Apostle exhorts, we should "Do all things without murmurings and disputings; that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke,...holding forth the Word of life in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the World."
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PAUL'S DYING WORDS.
--DEC. 12.--`2 TIM. 4:8,16-18`.--
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course: I have kept the faith."--`2 Tim. 4:7`.
PAUL wrote these his dying words to Timothy whom he dearly loved, and frequently refers to as his son. He was in prison in the city of Rome, and is supposed to have been sixty-three years of age at this time. His imprisonment in Rome referred to in a previous lesson, when he was permitted to live in "his own hired house," had terminated by his being released from custody; and it is supposed that during the period of his release, about three years, he revisited some of the Churches previously established and also carried the gospel into Spain.
It was during this interim of his freedom that the great persecution arose in Rome under Nero. That brutal Emperor is supposed to have caused the city of Rome to be set on fire that he might witness a great conflagration from the tower of his palace, or possibly with a view to having it rebuilt in a more modern style a monument to himself. But the losses occasioned by this fire, which could not be gotten under control for six days, and which laid a large portion of the city in ashes, stirred up so great a commotion amongst the people, so aroused their anger, that he thought it discreet to let the blame be laid at the door of Christianity; --the charge being that the Christians were the incendiaries and responsible for the great destruction wrought. Following out this line of policy, Nero began a terrible persecution of Christians, thus directing the suspicion of the people away from himself and against those who had taken the name of Christ: who were unpopular anyway with the wicked and the idolatrous. Multitudes were slain with the sword, exposed in the amphitheaters to be torn by wild beasts, or covered with the skins of wild beasts to be torn to pieces by dogs, while some were wrapped in sheets covered with pitch and tied to stakes and set on fire as torches, to illuminate Nero's garden.
This persecution commenced shortly after Paul's release from his first imprisonment in Rome; and the spirit of bitter persecution thus aroused was still hot, when, three years later, he was again arrested. This time, as he explains in the words of this lesson (`verses 16-18`), it would appear that he had a public examination, possibly before Nero himself; but the fear of the people was so great, and quite probably the Apostle's language so bold, that he was forsaken of all, as was his Master when before Pilate. He tells us nevertheless, that he had with him the Lord's presence, which strengthened him to such an extent that he spoke the Word with a boldness which permitted the gospel to be fully known to the Gentiles thereabouts. He evidently was more anxious to make known the "good tidings" than to preserve himself from pain and death. He was a true and noble soldier of the cross--a close follower in the footsteps of our great Chief Captain, Christ Jesus. Paul's prison was a very uncomfortable place we may be sure. We visited the place which tradition points out in the city of Rome as being the place of his incarceration. It is a dungeon below the surface, dark, damp and extremely forbidding. But notwithstanding all this the reader must be struck with the tone of triumph which pervades the Apostle's writings from there. What else than the power of God could so sustain an able and cultured man under the various trials and vicissitudes through which he passed, including this his last imprisonment and his final execution, which followed shortly after the writing of this epistle to Timothy? He was spared from crucifixion by reason of being a Roman citizen, and instead he was beheaded, says tradition.
* * *
In the light of the foregoing circumstances, Paul's charge to Timothy is, so to speak, his dying message; and so regarded, its solemnity and impressiveness are increased before our minds. What was this dying charge? It was that Timothy should be diligent, zealous in preaching the Word of God; that considerations of his own convenience should be entirely set aside and every opportunity for declaring the message of God's love in Christ availed.
As considerations moving to this end the Apostle mentions first the Father, God,--his approval; and second, the Lord Jesus Christ, the appointed Judge of all, living and dead, at his appearing and Kingdom. Only when moved by all of these considerations, can the preaching of the gospel be most effectual. He who does not believe in God the Father and in his Son, our Lord Jesus, could not preach the gospel at all; and even tho believing in the Father and the Son, no man can really preach the good tidings intelligently who does not believe also that the Son has been appointed by the Father to judge the world in the appointed Millennial day (`Acts 17:31`), and that this judgment of the world will be at (during) his manifestation and Kingdom, at his second advent.
The Apostle explains that, as a minister of the grace of God, this declaration of the gospel may include three features; (1) reproof, (2) rebuke, (3) exhortation. But it is safe to caution all of the Lord's people against a too liberal use of the first two features. In order to reprove properly, the heart should be very
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full of love and sympathy; else the reproofs and rebukes may be sharp, and possibly do more harm than good. Even with the heart full of love, it requires a head that is exceedingly well-balanced to be able to make use of reproofs and rebukes to good advantage to those who really need them. And herein God's people are to be wise as serpents, harmless as doves. Exhortation is the form of faithfulness which quite evidently can best be used by the majority of the Lord's people. And even it, as well as the other efforts, should be characterized by patience, longsuffering, brotherly-kindness.
Another point to be noticed is, that it is the Word of God that is to be preached, and not the word of man. However God may use human instrumentalities in expounding his Word, the distinction between the Word of the Lord and the word of the expounder is to be continually recognized. Moreover, all this is to be done with "doctrine," better translated as in the Revised Version, "teaching." The Apostle links "teaching" with "long-suffering and patience," and gives us the thought that he who would be a successful servant of the Lord, really helpful to the Lord's flock, will be willing to dispense the message "line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little," as a teacher; backing up the Word of the Lord with reason, and exemplification in his own life in connection with the exhortations, etc.
This message to Timothy, who was a public minister, would of course have special force and application to all who are endeavoring to feed "the flock over which the holy spirit hath made them overseers" (`Acts 20:28`); but it applies to all who are truly the Lord's, every one of whom is to be a preacher of righteousness, a servant of the truth, "holding forth the Word of life" to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.
In this connection the Apostle prophesies, as in some other instances, and foretells a future day when sound teaching would not be endured by those avowing themselves to be followers of Christ. Prophetically, he points out the great falling away which culminated in the organization of Papacy. This reached a fulfilment very quickly after the death of the apostles. Teachers assumed to be a separate class and designated themselves "clergy," branding all others "laity." And this seemed to be more generally pleasing to the carnal mind than the divine arrangement. The people preferred that some one else should do their thinking and studying for them, rather than be merely their helpers or teachers, respecting the Word of the Lord. Thus darkness more and more dense came on the Church, resulting in the establishment of the great "abomination" noted in the Scriptures.* The minds of the people were turned away from the truth to fables, from the study of God's Word to the doing of penances and vain repetitions of prayer; from faith in the precious blood of Christ, as the continual and only and ever acceptable sacrifice for sins, they turned to "the mass" and its fresh and oft repeated sacrifices for sins. Instead of walking by faith, the minds of the people were turned to fables respecting sacred relics and wonderful cures wrought by these;--nails from the cross, pieces of the cross, bones of saints, etc., etc. So completely were they turned to fables that for centuries the Word of God was wholly neglected; and that period is known in civil history as "the dark ages."
Altho a Great Reformation set in and the Word of God reappeared amongst the people, and altho the preaching of it has brought great blessing and liberty to the people since, nevertheless the adversary still perverts the truth, and induces God's people to separate themselves, the one from the other, and thus to destroy the force and value of the Reformation and the influence of God's Word. Satan's present methods are suited to the occasion: he cannot prevent the circulation of the Scriptures, but he can blind with prejudice and superstition the minds of those who read, and see that what they read will profit them little: this is his present method of procedure. Under sectarianism he endeavors to offset the testimony of God's Word with the declarations of faith in the various creeds of Christendom.
The Apostle's words are as forceful as ever for all who would be ministers of the Word of God and not of the traditions of men; with all who would have their works stand in this day of fiery trial into which we are coming. To all such the Apostle's words to Timothy
*See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., Chap. 9; VOL. III., Chap. 4.
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have a special appropriateness--"Watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist [a teacher and expounder of the gospel and not of human tradition]."
How humble and yet how confident are the closing words of the great Apostle's testimony (`verses 6-8`), "I have fought a good fight," etc. He did not boast of perfection in his flesh, but on the contrary disclaimed it, saying, that he had constant need to keep his body "under," in subjection to the new mind. He did not boast of how many Churches he had established, nor how many converts he had made and baptized. He did not boast of his knowledge of the Lord's Word, nor of his ability as a speaker, nor of how many epistles he had written, nor of his imprisonments and sufferings for the sake of the gospel. His boast, on the contrary, was simply that he had fought well, fought faithfully, fought the best he was able, against sin abounding on every hand and weaknesses in himself. His boast was not that he had made a faith, nor that he had expressed
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the gospel in the most clear and positive manner which would descend generations after him to glorify God and to bless his people; but his boast merely was that he had "kept the faith," the faith which God through his Word had inspired, the faith which he had received, and was given to all of the Lord's people; he had kept it, he had been faithful to it, he had not bartered it for a mess of pottage, earthly advantages.
On the strength of these two points,--his having kept the Word of the Lord's testimony obediently, and his having fought in defence of it to the end of his course, to the best of his ability--on the strength of these two things he builds his hope for the crown of rejoicing in the Kingdom with the Redeemer and his faithful, at his appearing.
What an encouragement is here for the very humblest of God's people; not by intellectual or physical strength, not by wonderful works, not by anything that we can do or have done for the Lord, his cause, and his people, are we to hope for eternal glory; but simply with the Apostle we are to seek to use what talents we do possess and what opportunities the Lord provides for us, faithfully. We are to keep the faith, not denying the faith under any consideration--not to secure the favor of any, nor to avoid the frowns of any, may we be unfaithful to the Word of God's testimony. We too, are to fight the good fight against selfishness in its every phase, especially in ourselves, and to develop in ourselves more and more under the Lord's instruction, his spirit, the spirit of love, the holy spirit.
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Volume IV. has been duly received and once read. To say that I am pleased with it, will hardly express my sentiments. You are certainly to be congratulated, as it bears not only the marks of laborious compilation but especially of deep study. To those already interested in present Truth it will be of inestimable personal value, and I think may awaken the interest of many who have carelessly neglected to study the other volumes.
Yours in Christian love, C. H. DICKINSON.
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For the encouragement of our readers, and as showing that there are still opportunities for service in the colporteur work, we publish a letter from a dear Brother who is employed all day in business, but spends what time he can in the evenings in spreading the knowledge of the truth among the people in his city.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Enclosed please find our report for DAWNS delivered the past 30 days. It is simply wonderful how the dear Lord is blessing every effort here put forth to spread the good news. Considering the few hours employed in this service, he seems to be leading me in many of the smallest details of his work so as to get the best possible result in the least possible time. Blessed be his name forever!
The last month has far overtopped my highest expectations in DAWN work, 272 VOLS. being delivered. May we pray God always to keep us humble, so he may condescend to accept our sacrifices, not because of their own, but because of Christ's merit. May the Lord's richest blessings rest upon you and yours is my prayer. Yours in the Redeemer, M. P. THORI.
MY DEAR BROTHER:--Just a word to thank you for DAWN VOL. IV. I have read it with some degree of care (shall study it), and regard it as a masterly portrayal of the present condition of things in the social, political and ecclesiastical world. He is blind indeed who, after reading it (even if he could not before), cannot see that all things are rapidly approaching the final catastrophe. Many do see it who yet do not know what it means, and who do not see and will not believe that it means the end of the present order of affairs, and the establishment of a glorious, better order under the rule of the Christ. What insight into the deep things of God has been bestowed upon you! I thank God from the depth of my heart that he has been pleased not only to bring these wonderful things to my attention, but also that he has given me the receptive mind and heart to take hold of and rest on them.
I pray God's richest blessing upon the work in which you are engaged, as well as upon yourself personally and the whole household. I feel very lonely in my isolation here, but God knows what is best. I find frequent occasions to present the truth, but none seem able to accept it fully.
Yours in the love of the truth,
WM. W. MURRAY. M.D.
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Wisconsin. TO THE AUTHOR OF MILLENNIAL DAWN.
DEAR BROTHER:--Having been very much interested in the reading of the DAWN, and particularly of VOL. IV., which I am now reading, and feeling that it contains an amount of information from every source which, if true or trustworthy, is of the greatest value, and finding that many feel disposed to question the reliability of the figures you give, I take the liberty to ask you for some direct word of assurance along this line. I am a class leader in the M.E. Church of this place and have charge of other work in the county, and feel anxious about these things. Please kindly give me such words of assurance as you can.
Yours in Christ, H. D. WHITE.
[Reply.--All the quotations and statistics given in VOL. IV. of DAWN are properly credited to their respective authors, and stand or fall on the merits of those authors and on their veracity. We did not put into the book anything which we thought could reasonably be questioned, and you will notice by going over the names of the various journals and persons quoted that they are nearly all well known and of international reputation. --EDITOR.]