VOL. XXX MARCH 15 NO. 6
A.D. 1909--A.M. 6037
Views from the Watch Tower........................ 83
Christian Nations Perplexed................... 83
Occult Phenomena.............................. 83
Another Harmony Suggestion.................... 84
Brother Russell's Sermons..................... 84
"Why Persecutest Thou Me?"........................ 84
How Noble His Conversion!..................... 85
Ransomer, Redeemer, Sin-Offering, Atoner, Advocate,
Confusion of Tongues in Babylon (Illustrated)..... 89
Christians First at Antioch....................... 90
Christ Our Passover (Poem)........................ 92
Missionary Spirit of Christianity................. 93
Reasons for a Layman's Change of Belief........... 94
Some Interesting Letters.......................... 95
Address Business Communications and Remittances to
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA.
--OR TO-- BRITISH BRANCH, 24 EVERSHOLT ST., LONDON, N.W. GERMAN BRANCH, UNTERDORNER STRASSE, 76, BARMEN AUSTRALASIAN BRANCH, EQUITABLE BULDG., COLLINS ST., MELBOURNE PRICE $1.00 (4S.) A YEAR IN ADVANCE.
ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER AT ALLEGHENY, PA., POSTOFFICE. ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POSTOFFICE DEPT., OTTAWA, CANADA
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ADDRESS US HEREAFTER AT BROOKLYN, N.Y.
TO THE LIST OF GENERAL CONVENTIONS IN OUR LAST
ISSUE ADD BROOKLYN, N.Y., SEPTEMBER
4TH TO 6TH, INCLUSIVE
VERY CHEAP POCKET HYMNALS WITHOUT MUSIC
As the friends are learning the tunes of the Hymns of the Millennial Dawn, they are coming to a fuller appreciation of the fact that there is not another collection in the world its equal--either in high standard of quality or in lowness of price. These are well termed "333 Ageless Hymns"; because they never grow old. The tunes, too, are grand and never wear threadbare.
The suggestion that all sing the same hymns, and all know the tunes at our Conventions, has borne good fruit also. All this has led up to a demand for the hymnal in very cheap form. This demand we can now meet. Orders may be sent in at once. Prices as follows:--
Paper covered, 4 cents each, postpaid; per 100, charges collect, $2.00. In Great Britain, (2d.) per copy; (10s.) per 100.
Cloth covered, 6 cents each, postpaid; per 100, charges collect, $3.50. In Great Britain, (3d.) per copy; (12s., 6d.) per 100.
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THE VOW IN BOOK-MARK FORM
By April 10th we hope to have the Vow Poem and also in Prose in good supply. We can fill your orders by mail, postage prepaid, as follows:--
On Satin Ribbon, 10 cents; three for 25 cents.
On silk finished paper, 25 cents per 100.
PROBABLE DELAY IN FILLING OF ORDERS
On account of the moving which is now in progress, the friends would do well to remember that quite probably there will be delay in the filling of orders now being received, and also in the answering of correspondence--for a few days only, we trust.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
CHRISTIAN NATIONS PERPLEXED
OUR dear friends, who do not believe in a future Millennium, attempt to prove that we are now enjoying the blessings of Christ's Kingdom, and point us to the Christian nations of the world, called "Christendom." They are greatly perplexed when we inquire why if Christ is King he should have different forms of government, and why his different governments for centuries have fought each other and today are wasting the blessings of our day on armies and navies and fortifications?
Alas! the name "Christendom" is a delusion. Satan is still "the prince of this world" and the term "Satandom" would be the truer title. But our "wily" Adversary is so crafty that he puts darkness for light and deludes the poor world. Thank God that soon Satan shall be bound for a thousand years that he may deceive the nations (peoples) no more, until the thousand years are finished.--`Rev. 20:3`.
Meantime, however, some useful purposes are being served by the military expenditures. Employment is being given to millions of men not only in military and naval services, but also in the building of guns and forts and battleships, --the mining of the ore, the smelting and rolling of the steel, etc. And not the poor, but the rich, foot the bills in taxes. The following from the Atlantic Monthly is interesting:--
CAUSE OF NATIONAL DEFICIT
All the great nations are today facing deficits, caused in every case by the military and naval experts. Into what a tangle the finances of Russia and Japan have been brought by militarists is known to everybody. Germany has, in a single generation, increased her national debt from eighteen million dollars to more than one billion dollars. The German Minister of Finance looks wildly around in search of new sources of national income. Financial experts confess that France is approaching the limit of her sources of revenue. Her deficit is created by her army and navy. The British government is always seeking for new devices by means of which to fill a depleted treasury. Her Dreadnoughts keep her poor. Italy has for years staggered on the verge of bankruptcy because she carries an overgrown army on her back. Even our own rich republic faces this year a deficit of over a hundred million dollars, largely due to the one hundred and thirty millions we are spending on our navy. Mr. Cortelyou has called our attention to the fact that while in thirty years we have increased our population by 85 per cent. and our wealth by 185 per cent., we have increased our national expenses by 400 per cent.
MANY SECESSIONS FROM THE GERMAN STATE CHURCH
Ecclesiastical circles in Germany are much exercised at the rapidly increasing desertions from the State Church.
Although the process of official separation from the Church is one of the greatest difficulty, delay and expense, it is computed that in Berlin alone considerably over 10,000 persons have severed their connection with the Church during the past year. So great is the number of those who are notifying
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their intention to terminate their membership that special offices have been opened in Berlin to receive their applications, which now number between 300 and 400 daily. These applications are almost altogether from members of the Lutheran Church, and hardly affect the Roman Church at all. Added to this is the significant fact that the numbers of communions, baptisms, and church marriages are rapidly diminishing. It is computed that for every five marriages celebrated five years ago in church and registry office only three are now celebrated in both places, the other two being satisfied with a civil ceremony alone.
Among the working classes, especially those attached to the Social Democratic party, there exists a bitter hostility to the clergy and all institutions which they control. The clergy have not shown themselves sympathetic to democratic wishes, siding on almost all occasions where conflict exists between poor and rich, between possessors and dispossesed, with the class in power. There is, moreover, a widespread feeling that the clergy are paid far too high salaries, yet notwithstanding this large additions have been made recently to their incomes.
Much dissatisfaction is also felt at the methods employed by the ecclesiastical authorities in collecting those dues assigned to them by law. Defaulters are as ruthlessly treated as though their debt were a civil one, and it not infrequently happens that defaulters' goods and chattels are sold to meet church demands.
But probably the chief cause of the movement against the Church is the spread of agnosticism among all classes of the population, and the fact that even in those universities where until recently an orthodox theology was taught, there are now few chairs from which ultra Liberal views are not proclaimed. --London Daily Chronicle.
The newspapers far and near are publishing the following item, which can be understood only from the Bible standpoint, namely, that humanity is beset by the fallen angels ("demons") except as protected by the divine power. And that now, in the end of the age, as a part of the great test or trial of the world, the divine protection will be relaxed in considerable measure. And that as a result occult phenomena will increase human delusions with a view to various ensnarements, mental and physical. The "very elect" will be shielded by the Truth and by its holy Spirit, keeping their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (`Matt. 24:24`.) We read:--
"Fred E. Foskett, a young machinist of Orange, Mass., has attracted the attention of Prof. James, of Harvard, and other leading members of the Boston branch of the American Society of Psychical Research, who gave him tests recently.
"The first of the tests was held at the home of Prescott F. Hall on Saturday afternoon. Prof. Wm. James and several well-known professors were there, and test conditions as nearly perfect as possible were made. Foskett was seated in the center of a room before a small table. There he performed every feat of the Hindu fakir and the Buddhist adept.
"On the table was an ordinary kerosene lamp with a chimney and a flat wick, a pan and several quarts of alcohol. According to the reports of those present, Foskett succeeded in every test. The first test was made with ordinary sulphur matches. Foskett lighted half a dozen, one after the other,
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holding them with one hand so close to the fingers of the other that the flames curled around them. He then lighted the lamp and held his hands above the wick, while the flames curled over them and the soot completely blackened them.
"From one of these tests to another Foskett went, while the scientists held their breath and watched every motion until he came to the climax. In this he poured a quart of alcohol into the basin, lighted it and then washed his hands, bathing them for nearly ten minutes in the burning fluid, washing it up over his arms and to his face--literally bathing himself in blazing alcohol. That completed the tests for Saturday. As soon as they were finished the physicians present examined Foskett, and they could not find the slightest trace of a burn or blister. Foskett then told them that the flames did not give him the slightest sensation of burning, that he felt comfortably warm and pleasant, and nothing more.
"The second tests were made at the home of Prof. James in Cambridge, and under the same conditions as the day before. Considerable mystery is thrown about them. Mr. Hall said they were so startling that he did not care to discuss them until they had been tried again. Another scientist who was there said that Foskett performed all of his experiments of the day before, and then 'ABSOLUTELY AND POSITIVELY DEMATERIALIZED.'"
"He seemed to dissolve into thin air as we watched him. Was gone forty-one seconds and then materialized."
A brother in Present Truth had a peculiar experience lately. He was called to the house by cries of Fire! He found that the lighted lamp had fallen over on the bookstand. The oil was blazing over the little table, burning the books, etc. In desperation he carried the stand out and threw it, lamp, books and all, into the snow. The blaze encircled his arms and came into his face and he expected to be terribly burned. To his surprise not even the hair of his arms was singed.
After smothering the burning carpet he went to pick up the things thrown into the snow and found his WATCH TOWER Bible and Diaglott still burning, whereas the Bible of his wife (a Methodist) was not at all burned, though on the same table.
The wife reasoned that this was a mark of God's displeasure against our publications. We argue reversely, that it marked Satanic displeasure.
This reminds us of the case of a young man obsessed of evil spirits. A brother in the Truth heard of his case and called to advise him how to get rid of the evil spirits-- taking along the Spiritism pamphlet and a copy of the WATCH TOWER. When he attempted to enter the room where the youth was, the latter became so agitated that the Brother retired. Later he entered without the literature all right. By conversation he got the youth to exercise his will against the spirits and finally got him reading.
Gradually he regained his freedom, and when last we heard, he was rejoicing in the Lord and had symbolized his full consecration by water baptism.
ANOTHER HARMONY SUGGESTION
Some who have visited the Bible House and participated in our morning hymn and prayer, and the subsequent thanksgiving at the breakfast table and reading of "The Vow" and discussion of the MANNA text offer a suggestion. They desire "The Vow" in some form convenient for reading with the MANNA, and to know the numbers of the hymns to be sung, that they may join with us in voice as well as in heart.
Undoubtedly this spirit of oneness and brotherhood will increase as we get the love of God more and more shed abroad in our hearts. The Bible House Family--henceforth the "Bethel Home," deeply reciprocates these precious sentiments, and will sing and pray and discuss with the more pleasure because of this fresh evidence of the oneness of the family of God everywhere.
Our worship hour is 7:00 a.m., except Sundays, at 8:00 a.m. We have long given the choice of hymn to each in turn. Hereafter we will permit each to choose in advance and publish in advance the choice monthly, as follows:--
BETHEL HYMNS FOR APRIL
(1) 19; (2) 121; (3) 155; (4) 105; (5) 198; (6) 193; (7) 7; (8) 179; (9) 176; (10) 224; (11) 263; (12) 307; (13) 312; (14) 233; (15) 208; (16) 325; (17) 119; (18) 87; (19) 144; (20) 268; (21) 114; (22) 273; (23) 116; (24) 63; (25) 313; (26) 4; (27) 72; (28) 194; (29) 93; (30) 217; (31) 264.
Our provision for copies of "The Vow" for use in the MANNA book is in the form of Book-marks, described on second page of this issue.
BROTHER RUSSELL'S SERMONS
Some of the dear friends appear fearful lest Brother Russell should become popular and then vain. Take no anxious thought on the subject, dear friends. Leave matters in the Lord's hands. He can give you rest and keep you from stumbling either into cold opposition or even lukewarmness.
As already expressed, our expectation is that the Truth will have a very brief season of wonderful prosperity, which will draw the attention of Christendom to it through the pens and tongues of friends and foes. Even so it was in the close of our Lord's ministry, until the "rulers" said, "The world is gone after him," and took counsel to kill him. As the change of sentiment came quickly and those who hailed our Lord as King five days later cried out "Crucify him," so here the change may come quickly also.
What the Newspaper Syndicate now handling Brother Russell's sermons may sometimes say of him in laudatory terms, by no means represents Brother Russell's humble estimate of his own talents. Publishers must be allowed to use their own ideas of what they publish and how they introduce it. They recognize the fact that the sermons are striking a responsive chord with many of their readers; and they must make the unresponsive feel that there is merit and dignity in the service so that they will not oppose it.
Brother Russell has tried sending out the sermons without his name--merely as sermons from Brooklyn Tabernacle. But some of the newspaper publishers object to this, declaring that the personal feature is necessary. Let us then worry less over each other and specially guard our own hearts in this evil day; lest any root of bitterness and fault finding spring up to turn us aside. In a word, let us leave to God his supervising work and look for and thankfully use the opportunities he may be pleased to grant us in his blessed service. We "hold the Head" when we thus recognize the Lord's headship of his own work. Any other attitude is dangerous.
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"WHY PERSECUTEST THOU ME?"
--`ACTS 9:1-19`.--APRIL 18--
Golden Text:--"And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?"--`V. 4`.
HAVING already noted the establishment of the Gospel in Judea and Samaria and the opening of the door of opportunity to the Gentiles, we come now to the consideration of the spread of the message amongst the Gentiles. This brings us into touch with the great Apostle Paul, whose labors in the ministry will be the theme of the International Lessons for the remainder of this year.
The Apostle to the Gentiles had two names, Saul and Paul. Of Jewish parentage he was named after Israel's first King, Saul; but, as his father was a Roman citizen, it was proper that he should receive a special name with such and Paul was chosen--possibly because in the Greek language the name Saul (Saulus) signified "waddling." We find that after St. Paul's ministry reached to foreign lands he adopted and used his Roman citizenship name exclusively.
His family stock was strongly Jewish and religious-- Pharisees. This accounted for his not being sent to the University of Tarsus, but instead to Jerusalem to the School of Gamaliel. Nevertheless, quite probably his early association with learned Greeks helped to give him mental poise, which
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was afterward helpful to him when he addressed all classes.
Tradition has it that his parents were quite wealthy, as their position of Roman citizenship implies. Paul's education in Gamaliel's School further implies this, as that was an advanced School or Seminary, attended by few except the sons of the rich. It is surmised that Paul's conversion to Christianity isolated him completely from his home and family and deprived him of an income previously enjoyed, all of which he gladly forsook for Christ's sake. The fact that he had a trade at tent-making is not out of harmony with this, for it is the custom of the rich to give their sons trades. The fact that St. Paul was poor and needed to use his trade seems to imply that his financial allowances were discontinued. His later condition, on the contrary, seems to imply that he afterward inherited a patrimony, which enabled him to live in his own hired house, with numerous conveniences, enjoyed at that time only by the wealthy, and surely not by prisoners in general. It is remarkable that money matters are scarcely mentioned in connection with our Lord and the Apostles, the coins in sufficient amount for taxes and the collection of donations for sufferings at Jerusalem at one time being the only exceptions we recall. We are glad to follow this same course in connection with the present Harvest Work and to commend it to all the Household of Faith everywhere.
Although St. Paul declared, as his enemies would be inclined to say, that in bodily presence he was weak and his speech contemptible, nevertheless, in offset to this, we recall that at Lystra the populace compared him to their god Mercury and thus impliedly complimented his general brilliancy and vigor of manner or both. Dr. Peloubet summarizes this great man's character in the following glowing terms, which we fully endorse:--
"He was deeply religious, whole-souled, ardent, energetic, persevering, broad-minded, affectionate, loving. He was great in more ways, probably, than any other man of human history. He was a great traveler, a great author, a great orator, a great organizer, a great missionary, a great philosopher. All of this genius was yielded in absolute consecration to Jesus Christ. He is the Moses of the New Testament. The two stand supreme amongst men."
HOW NOBLE HIS CONVERSION
We must not use this word conversion in its ordinary sense. We must remember St. Paul's own words to the effect that he was a strong believer in a true God and fully consecrated to his service, not in a formal or nominal sense, but heartily, energetically, with a zeal which persecuted the Church. He had a zeal toward God, but it was not according to knowledge. When God supplied him with the knowledge, it did not change his heart, his impulse, his devotion; it merely changed the direction of his activities. The word convert signifies to turn around. Paul was not turned from a wrong condition of heart to a right one, but he was turned about in his course of action. He served the same God, and with the same zeal, but intelligently and correctly. It is important that we note this carefully, so that we shall not expect God's dealings to be after this manner with unbelievers. He does not smite them down, but, as the Scriptures say, draws them. And he draws only such as are in the right attitude of heart--"Feeling after him."--`Acts 17:27`.
St. Paul's experience may find more of a parallel in the Christian Church, amongst those consecrated to the Lord, but blinded by superstition. Such may violently persecute those of "this way," and may do so in all "good conscience," as did St. Paul. There is hope for all such, that in some manner the Lord will cause the eyes of their understanding to open. We have more hope of the conversion from error to Truth of those who, in their blindness, are bitter persecutors of "this way," than we have for those who are cold and indifferent or lukewarm. The Lord stands pledged to help those whose hearts are right toward him. True, many, like St. Paul, may weep bitter tears in future years over their misdeeds of ignorance, over their failure to give proper heed to the instructions of the Scriptures, but in the end the Lord will deliver them. On the contrary, however, there is little hope for any who have once tasted of the good Word of God and the powers of the coming age and been made partakers of the holy Spirit--if such shall fall away we may do all in our power for their recovery, but cannot have much hope. As the Apostle remarks, it will be impossible to renew those who have gone to this length.
THE ARREST OF THE "INJURIOUS" MAN
The previous lesson narrated the progress of the Truth, the Lord blessing the activities of its followers; but still Saul of Tarsus was energetically opposing the Lord's followers and, as an authority in the Law before the Sanhedrin and the high priest and the people, he was carrying the persecution with a high hand. It was evidently because of his consent that Stephen was stoned. His latest move was to get orders from the high priest to bring the Christians of Damascus to Jerusalem to be tried before the Sanhedrin, rather than that they should be tried in their local synagogue. The authority had been secured and Paul, as a representative of the highest Jewish authority of the time, accompanied by a band of men, possibly zealots like himself or possibly commissioned servants, a sort of police squad, neared Damascus at about midday. Suddenly, in the midst of the noonday brightness, came a still brighter light, which fell specially upon Saul, and in the midst of which he sank to the ground quite overcome. Was it a sun-stroke? No! It was a vision "Above the brightness of the sun at noonday"--a vision of the Christ, the Son of God in Glory. A voice was also heard, not only by Saul, but by his companions, though they comprehended not the words as he did. He heard in the Hebrew tongue the message from the Lord, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" The bewildered Saul queried, "Who art thou, Lord?" And the answer came, "I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest." [The remaining words, "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks; and he, trembling and astonished, said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" are not found in the old manuscripts.] "Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do."
What an opening of the eyes of Saul's understanding occurred at that moment, when he lost his natural sight by reason of the Lord's mercy upon him! We can better imagine than explain what must have been the course of his reasoning. With a self-righteousness he had been a believer in God against heresy and heretics. He had thought of himself, doubtless, as having a specially large degree of Divine approval, because of his untiring zeal--and now suddenly to be told that Jesus was really the Messiah! This was the significance of our Lord's first reproof, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me!" Saul thought verily that he had been doing God service in persecuting those whom he believed were a little band of heretics, amongst whom were not many great, wise, learned or noble. Now, to his astonishment, he found that the Glorious One of the vision claimed generally the unwise, ignoble, poor as his brethren, his "members," whose sufferings were a part of his own.
SAUL HUMBLED AND MEEK
The zealous Pharisee, loyal and appointed to the putting down of heretics, who so prided himself upon his zeal for the Lord, in one moment was humbled to the dust, not only literally falling to the ground, but crest-fallen in his mind and
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self-esteem. The city of Damascus, which he had expected to enter with great dignity as the representative of the Jewish High Priest, the head of the Jewish religious system, he entered very differently. Opening his eyes after the voice had told him to go into the city, Saul found himself totally blind, so that he required to be led by the hand. So overwhelmed was he that for three days he did neither eat nor drink. He was doubtless acquainted at Damascus or possibly stopping at a hotel, but evidently on the most aristocratic street of the city, called "Straight," because it was really straight, as were so few of the streets of old-time cities. It was a very noble thoroughfare for those times of narrow streets. Its width was one hundred feet and it had a colonnade of marble columns separating the roadway from the building.
ANANIAS GOD'S MESSENGER
If one mentioned Ananias in the Scriptures was convicted of falsity toward the Lord, another of the same name was found faithful. He resided at Damascus. To him the Lord appeared in a vision directing him fully as to how he
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should find Saul and what he should do to him for the opening of his eyes. Ananias protested that there must be some mistake, because this man Saul had done much evil to the saints of Jerusalem. He knew also the purpose of his visit to Damascus.
The Lord's commendation of Saul to Ananias was, "Behold, he prayeth!" Ah! how much of a story is told in those three words! How sure we may be that those who similarly humbly address the Almighty are in no injurious mood! True, there are hypocritical prayers, just as our Lord illustrated in the parable of the Pharisees and the publican, but, taken as a whole, private prayer may be considered a sure index to an honest, contrite heart. In our estimation, only the praying ones, even of the Lord's consecrated people, are at all likely to win the prize. If they do not love the Lord enough to render thanks for his mercies and to approach the throne of the heavenly grace and obtain mercy and strength to help in every time of need, then they are not likely to have sufficient strength to stand the trials and tests. We wish that we could feel sure that all of our readers are faithful and earnest in the practice of prayer. We are sure of many of them, but as we long for their progress, we urge them to embrace this great privilege heartily.
Ananias is the first one accredited with the use of the word "Saints" in connection with Jesus' followers. As we well understand, the word signifies "holy ones," "sanctified ones." Surely it is a fitting name for all who profess and endeavor to follow in the footsteps of their Master. Let us each try to be worthy of the name, whether it ever be applied to us or not.
A CHOSEN VESSEL TO ME
In answer to Ananias' protest, in the vision the Lord said to him, "Go thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel, for I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake." Saul was peculiarly fitted by birth, by education and by temperament for the service for which the Lord chose him. He was a chosen vessel, and one of large capacity. And yet he was only a vessel. The good things that vessel was to carry were the Divine message of love and mercy. So it is with all the called "members" of the Church. We are merely vessels. The excellency, the merit, the worth, is of our Lord. We are merely servants to him and to his Church. We are not to understand that Saul was chosen to go to heaven, but chosen to be a vessel of mercy. But even in this respect his choice was dependent upon his own willingness. Speaking of the matter himself he declares, "I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision." Elsewhere the Apostle tells us that the "Lord called me from my mother's womb." Presumably he meant that the Divine providence evidently had ordered and arranged that he should be born under certain conditions and environments which tended to make of him just such a vessel for the Gospel as he now was. This choice did not interfere with his free agency, however. He himself declares that he might still become a castaway, even after he had preached to others. The same lesson is appropriate to all of us. The Lord may order our affairs so as to give us special opportunities and privileges in connection with his work, but he never interferes with our hearts-- to be in his service against our will. We may at any time draw back from the service, "But," said St. Paul, "if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him."--`Heb. 10:38`.
The chosen vessel was to bear the message of grace
(1) To the Gentiles;
(2) To Kings;
(3) To Israel.
We can see the propriety of preaching to the Gentiles first in order. We can see also that such a person as St. Paul had special opportunities for serving the Truth, on such occasions as those in which he appeared and reasoned before Felix, Augustus, Agrippa and others--possibly before the Emperor Nero. (`2 Tim. 4:16,17`.) His commission also mentioned Israel, and we remember how his preaching in various quarters was "to the Jew first."
SUFFER FOR MY NAME'S SAKE
How strangely it sounds, "For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake!" Is any other service than that of our Lord ever entered on these terms-- promises of suffering? Surely not. Yet how honest for the Lord not to call his disciples under any misapprehension of the facts! We are called to suffer with him--to sacrifice ourselves, our earthly interests--to share his Cross and, by these experiences, to prove that we have been begotten of his Spirit, and that it has been shed abroad in our hearts and constituted us copies of God's dear Son. Faithfulness to this cause insures the reward of joint-heirship with our Redeemer in his Kingdom; nor can those Kingdom honors be hoped for on any other terms. The Apostle understood this and seems to give the thought, also, that the more any of the Lord's followers can share of the sufferings of Christ, in the flesh, proportionately will be his share in the glory which by and by shall be revealed to us--in the "members of his Body."
The expression, "For my name's sake," is comprehensive. It includes everything connected with the Divine Plan, of which Jesus, the Messiah, is the center. It includes sufferings for the Truth's sake, because the Truth is vitally connected with the "only Name." It includes the brethren because they have named the name of Christ and they are under his name as members of his Body. It includes all the work of the Millennial Kingdom because he is the Head of it all, and his name, his honor, is associated with it all. Let us, therefore, be glad of any sufferings which come to us directly or indirectly, because of our faithfulness to the "precious name" and these various interests which are associated with it.
"APPEARED TO THEE IN THE WAY"
Assured by the Lord's leadings that the way was open to him to serve the Truth, Ananias hesitated no longer. In full confidence of faith he addressed Saul in the most kindly terms, saying, "Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the holy Spirit." (`V. 12`.) Promptly there fell from Saul's eyes something resembling fish scales. Evidently the intense light had destroyed the surface of the eye, which now peeled off. His sight was restored, though to what degree of perfection is questionable. It seems evident that for the remainder of life he was afflicted with weak eyes, which hindered his writing his own epistles, except one which, he remarked, was written in large characters. We can fancy the disadvantage he would be under in some respects by reason of this affliction, that his bodily presence would be much less attractive than before, and that nothing but the Truth behind his words could longer influence his auditors.
We can fancy the sympathy which St. Paul's affliction called forth among the loving brethren. "I bear you witness, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me."--`Gal. 4:15`.
The Apostle as a chosen vessel was to have a very conspicuous part in the Divine program, in the introduction of the Gospel, and his own humility was a very essential matter. Doubtless the Lord foresaw that this remnant of his eye trouble would ever keep him in remembrance of the great blunder he made in his zeal without knowledge, and of the Lord's mercy to him. These two thoughts would doubtless keep him humble and trustful and probably provide a great blessing to him, even though he entreated for its removal, until the Lord indicated otherwise, saying, "My grace is sufficient for thee." (`2 Cor. 12:9`.) Ah, says the Apostle, if having this affliction means more Divine grace, then I am content to keep it and would be sorry to part with it. Let us, dear friends, view our trials, persecutions, difficulties, thus--as of Divine permission for our good. Let us be assured that he who has accepted us in the bonds of love and who has begotten us with his Spirit and called us sons, is not unmindful of our highest interests and would not suffer us to be tried and tempted except as he would make all such experiences work out harmoniously to our highest welfare.
Saul had been praying and fasting for three days and nights and now realized the Lord's forgiving love, as manifested in the sending of Ananias, in harmony with his dream and with a recovery of a measure of his sight. With this evidence of Divine favor he would start afresh. First he would be baptized and thus symbolize his allegiance to the
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Crucified One. Then he would eat for the refreshment of his body that the strength might be used in the service of his new Master.
We read that forthwith Saul preached Christ in the synagogue of Damascus. We admire his courage, his honesty! We do well to let the illustration quicken our own minds and hearts with appreciation that we may be fortified for similar and all emergencies--to use every opportunity to serve the Lord and to undo anything that we have previously done amiss. Presumably the Apostle felt his need of special preparation for the ministry of the Cross of Christ. At all events it is presumed that it was shortly after his conversion, shortly after his preaching at Damascus, that he turned aside into the desert of Arabia. It is possible that those three years were spent studying out the various features of the Divine Program. Doubtless there he received visions which filled him with enthusiasm for the work of his great message, the blessings of which have come down through all age and are still with us.
"Lives of great men, all remind us,
We should make our lives sublime;
And, departing, leave behind us,
Footprints on the sands of time."
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RANSOMER, REDEEMER, SIN-OFFERING, ATONER, ADVOCATE, MEDIATOR
ADMITTING that we are not justified by the degree of our knowledge of the Divine Plan, but by the fulness of our faith, we are, nevertheless, deeply interested in every expression of the Scriptures bearing upon the philosophy of the great fact which the arms of our faith have grasped as a whole. The fact was as large when first we laid hold upon it as it is today, but we did not see its details as we now see them. And quite possibly there may be certain features which will yet more fully open to our eyes of understanding in the future. Our proper attitude is one of gratitude to God for knowledge of the blessed fact that his forgiveness of sins is somehow or other made possible to us through the death of Jesus. It was the appreciation of that fact which justified us and drew us to the Lord in consecration, saying, "The love of Christ constraineth us." (`I Cor. 5:14`.) Since that blessed moment it has been our privilege to go on and on, growing in grace and in knowledge and appreciation, in love and self-sacrificing obedience. Let us continue in this way and permit no amount of philosophizing to rob us of the blessings and privileges already secured. Some seem in danger of so doing--in danger of quarreling over philosophies which they cannot see; and, by the wrong spirit fostered through the quarreling, they seem in danger of losing all the blessings ever enjoyed. Let us not follow such a course, but, while maintaining our justifying faith and spirit of devotion, let us seek to appreciate every feature of Divine Truth presented to us in the Divine Word.
THE RANSOMER AND THE RANSOM
The Gospel message is the good tidings respecting a Ransom sacrifice, on account of which God may be just and yet be the justifier of the believer. Of the Ransomer God gave the first intimation to father Abraham, yet without explaining the particulars. He merely intimated that in some manner Divine Justice would be satisfied by Abraham's offspring, the Messiah, and that in consequence a blessing would go through his Seed to all the families of the earth. When our Lord was introduced as the Seed of Abraham he made the first statement of the philosophy of the Divine Plan by which, as Abraham's Seed, he was to bring the promised blessing. He declared, "The Son of man came to give his life a ransom for many." (`Matt. 20:28`.) This comprehensive statement of the Ransom was not elaborated--no details were given. However, in the Law to Israel, God prefigured and elaborated the Ransom, not in such a manner that all would understand it, but in types and shadows, which in his "due time" he proposed should be made clear and plain to such as would have the proper eye of understanding, enlightened by the holy Spirit.
SIN-OFFERING OF ATONEMENT
The word Ransom, as we have already pointed out, signifies a price to correspond. Adam, disobedient and a sinner, was condemned to death and needed to be Ransomed or Redeemed or Purchased back from death and from the condemnation of Justice. As he was but one man, so it needed but one man to Redeem him, to Ransom him. But it needed a perfect man, and there was none such. And so God sent Jesus, holy, harmless and undefiled, to be the Ransom of Adam and incidentally of his race, because all were involved through his disobedience. When, therefore, Jesus "died, the just for the unjust," on Calvary, a price sufficient had been laid down to redeem Adam and his race.
But this merit has not yet been placed in the hands of Justice. Merely the merit of the sacrifice of a perfect human life was laid down in death, and it belonged to our Lord Jesus when the Father raised him from the dead by his own power.
What did the risen Jesus do with the merit of his own sacrifice? We answer, that forty days later he ascended up on high, there to appear in the presence of God for us--believers, the "household of faith." This was pictured in the Law. As Jesus said, "Moses wrote of me." (`John 5:46`.) In the type Aaron, the high priest, typified the consecrated Jesus anointed with the holy Spirit, the High Priest of our profession. As Aaron took the blood of the bullock, which represented his own blood or life or sacrifice, and went with it into the Most Holy and sprinkled it upon the mercy-seat to make for himself (and the under-priests) and for his house (the tribe of Levi) atonement for sins, so did our Lord Jesus do in the antitype. He took not the blood of the bullock, but "his own blood," the merit of his own sacrifice. He sprinkled it not for the literal priests and Levites, the typical people, but for the antitypical Royal Priesthood, and Levites (or servants) of the "household of faith."
What has this to do with the Ransom? We answer, This is the philosophy of it, as set before us in the Scriptures. It is not God's intention nor our expectation that all or many will be able to understand this Divine philosophy. As our Lord says, It is "given" to some to understand and not "given" to others. (`Matt. 13:11-17`.) We write in hope of assisting only those to whom it is "given to know the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven." We write not to those outsiders to whom it is not intended these mysteries shall be understood or made known--either because they never came into the right attitude of heart to receive them, or because they subsequently left that proper condition of loving devotion, humility and teachableness.
So, then, our Ransom sacrifice was presented before the Father when Jesus ascended up on high after his resurrection; and, according to the God-given type, it was presented, not for all the people, but merely for the antitypical "household of faith." The Sin-Offering, the offering which Christ made to Divine Justice in offset to man's sin, was the Ransom. None but he could have given it, as we have shown, and he could have given it for one of the race only, or for all of the race of Adam, as he might choose to apply it. As a price it was sufficient for all, but for how many of the all he would choose to apply it rested entirely upon himself and the Divine Plan, which he was following, although, as the type shows, he did not apply it for all, but for merely the "household of faith"--"for us." Nevertheless it is ultimately to apply for all, "a ransom for all," not only in the sense that it was sufficient to meet the penalty for all, but additionally in the sense that it will yet be made available to all--indirectly-- by passing the merit through the "household of faith," through the "members of his Body."
The waters of a great spring are set apart for the supply of a great city. To serve the intended purposes it is passed through numerous pipes and spigots. It is the same water in each spigot because from that same spring. In partaking of its refreshment we might indeed refer to the spigot from which we drew it, or we might refer to the spring itself or sometimes to the one and sometimes to the other. So in thinking of the merit of our Lord Jesus' sacrifice we should remember that all sin-atonement merit sprang from our Lord's sacrificial death--whenever applied and however. He is the Ransomer. His blood is the blood of Atonement
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for the sin of Adam, which brought the death sentence upon him and his race. No one adds to that Ransom and no one takes away from it. In the divine plan it is appropriated to the Church, "the elect," in order to let us have the privilege of joining our Lord as his "members" and by dying with him; as sharers of his sacrifice we merely pass his merit on to natural Israel and the world through the New Covenant. He is the spring, we are the pipes.
THE BETTER SACRIFICES THAN THOSE
In Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices (published in 1880) we have already elaborated this subject. We therein show that Christ, instead of applying the merit of his sacrifice directly to the whole world, eventually effects the same thing by applying his merit to the comparatively small class drawn of the Father during this age. The Father draws (`John 6:42`) to the Son for "justification by faith in his blood" those who love righteousness and hate iniquity, and who are feeling after God, if haply they might find him. The Son receives these and acquaints them with the fact that he has already made atonement for sin and presented it on behalf of "every one that believeth." And then he guides them to the further privilege of this Gospel Age--that they may become joint-sacrificers with him and thus become his Bride and Joint-Heir in his Mediatorial Kingdom, which is soon to be established for the blessing of the unbelieving world-- yet undrawn, unjustified, unblessed. The Son will draw them during the Millennium.--`John 12:32`.
Why should the merit of Christ Jesus be thus placed upon the "household of faith" and not upon the world of mankind in general?
We answer that this feature of the Divine Plan of the Ages is, as yet, a "Mystery" to all except the "saints." To the latter God reveals this great privilege--that by it he will "bring many sons to glory," under the Captaincy of Jesus, and that these will be called "his brethren," "his members," "his bride," according to the various standpoints of observation. In order that they may share his nature and its glory they must share his sufferings, "his death"; thus, since he must suffer, the just for the unjust, so these, being justified through faith in his blood, must similarly suffer, the just for the unjust, as his "members," and as "filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ;" not afflictions left behind in the sense of the Redeemer's incompetency to make the full Atonement for the sins of the whole world, but sins left behind in the sense that our Lord did not apply his own merit directly to the world of unbelievers. Their sins are left behind that the merit of Christ, passing through the elect Church, might benefit them just as much in the end, and additionally might give the "elect" of this age the opportunity of suffering with their Lord and Head, in order that in due time they might be glorified with him.--`Col. 1:24`.
This is all clearly shown in the type of `Leviticus 16`. As
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the High Priest's own personal sacrifice is represented in the bullock, so the sacrifice of his adopted members, justified by his blood, is shown in the secondary or supplemental sacrifice of the goat. All who have studied the subject remember well that everything that was done to the bullock was done to the goat, and that thus our Lord in advance foretold and illustrated that all who will be members of the "elect," the Royal Priesthood, must be copies of God's dear Son, the great High Priest, by whose sacrifice they were justified. Again, these are they who are called to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, in the "narrow way"--the way of self-sacrifice, self-denial, the way of the cross.
We have repeatedly called attention to the fact that these highly honored ones were originally "children of wrath even as others," and many of them "strangers and aliens from God," but brought nigh unto him "by the blood of the cross" and still closer through the sufferings of this Gospel Age, this antitypical Atonement Day of sin-offerings.
Who cannot see that our Lord offered himself once for all, a sin-offering? and that Christ dieth no more than "once for all"? Who cannot see that there were two distinct sin-offerings in the type--the bullock and the goat? Who cannot see that there are two sin-offerings during this Gospel Age, our Lord, our Redeemer, the center of all the merit, and the sacrifice of his Church, his Body, to whom his merit is applied? Who cannot see that these two offerings, the bullock (Jesus) and the goat (the members of his Body), are the "better sacrifices" mentioned by the Apostle Paul? (`Heb. 9:23`.) Who cannot see that these are the sin-offerings which alone were burned outside the camp? (`Lev. 16:27`.) Who cannot see that the Apostle urges us to present our bodies living sacrifices and to "Go forth unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach"? (`Heb. 13:13`.) So surely as two and two make four, we who go without the camp with our Lord are therefore participants in the sin-offerings, exactly as the Apostle declares.
"WE HAVE AN ADVOCATE"
We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. The world has no advocate with the Father, because they do not believe and have not accepted Jesus as their Redeemer and Advocate: he has not "appeared" for them, but "for us." When he appeared in the presence of God for us, just after his ascension on high, he presented his merit for believer's "sins that are past by the forbearance of God." He did not apply his merit for our future sins, transgressions, trespasses, weaknesses, ignorances, etc. As the basis of his work as our Advocate, our Lord retained a measure of his abundant merit for this purpose, with a view to having us come daily to the throne of the heavenly grace to obtain mercy--not for the original sin, which for believers is past, through the forbearance of God, but for our daily trespasses of ignorance or weakness. So he encourages us to remember that the imperfections of our earthen vessel need be no hindrance as New Creatures, spirit-begotten, because for all these human weaknesses "we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous." Thus we are exhorted to keep our garments unspotted from the world, because if we are in the right condition of heart we may appreciate the privileges of going to the throne of grace and having every trespass of weakness and ignorance blotted out, washed away.
Thus our Lord is the Atoner "for our sins and also for the sins of the whole world." But there is a difference. Our sins are represented in one part of the sin-offering, the bullock, and the sins of the whole world are represented in the other part, the goat. (`Heb. 13`.) He has already made satisfaction for our sins. Now he is offering his "members" in sacrifice that we may share his sufferings and glory. He is passing his merit through us that he may apply it "in due time" "for the sins of the whole world." Surely the merit of the Atoner is not decreased in any wise by reason of its passing through those whom he accepts and whom the Father accepts as his "members" on the larger scale!
This is the thought which our Lord suggested, saying, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." (`John 12:24`.) The immediate fruitage of our Lord's death was the bringing forth of the Church and the "household of faith." The dying in turn of those grains accepted as part and parcel with the original is to bring forth in the Lord's due time the appointed crop suggested by the Prophet, saying, "There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon." --`Psa. 72:16`.
"MEDIATOR OF THE NEW COVENANT"
The word "Mediator" is not synonymous with the words "Ransomer," "Redeemer," etc. On the contrary there could be no use for a Mediator until first a Redeemer had ransomed mankind. The word "mediator" is Scripturally used in connection with the establishment of the Covenants, and never otherwise. For instance, "Moses, the mediator of the Law Covenant," and Christ, "the Mediator of the New Covenant." Notice, however, that Aaron, the priest, did not mediate any Covenant; neither does Jesus, as the antitypical Priest, mediate a Covenant. It was the work of the priest to offer sacrifices for sins, and this our Lord has been doing for nearly nineteen centuries, as the antitypical High Priest. All of the antitypical priesthood must offer up "sacrifices holy and acceptable to God," else they cannot be of the "Royal Priesthood."--`Rom. 12:1`.
But notice further that Moses typified the greater Christ
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--Jesus the Head and the Church his "members." As, for instance, in `Acts 3:23` St. Peter says, "For Moses verily said unto the fathers, a Prophet (Teacher and Mediator) shall the Lord your God raise up unto you from amongst your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye obey in all things, whatsoever he shall say unto you; and it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not obey that Prophet, shall be destroyed from amongst the people." The antitypical Moses here pictured was undoubtedly the glorified Christ, Head and Body, in his instruction of the world during the Millennium. It is certainly not true that all are destroyed who disobey the Lord at the present time. It is this antitypical Moses taken from amongst the brethren that God has been raising up during this Gospel Age. Our Redeemer and Lord was raised up first to be "Head over the Church which is his Body." Since then the members are being raised up from the world, separated from the world to the Lord and the Millennial work.--`Eph. 1:23`; `4:4,12,16`; `5:30`; `Col. 1:18`; `3:15`.
Moses was not the typical priest and made not the typical atonement for sin; that was the work of the priest--Aaron. Moses as the mediator of the Law Covenant typified The Christ, Head and Body, Mediator of the New Covenant.
However, that it might be seen that the work of the Mediator of the future in the sealing of the New Covenant will be vitally identified with the Atonement work, we have the declaration of the type that Moses used in sealing the Law Covenant, the typical blood of both bulls and goats. The lesson of this most distinctly is that the greater Mediator, Jesus the Head of the Church, his "Members," will seal or sprinkle the New Covenant with the blood of both of the sacrifices the meritorious blood of the antitypical bullock (our Lord, our Redeemer), and also the blood of his "members" (the Church), the antitype of the goat.
OUTLINED BRIEFLY IN REVIEW
Looking back at the original Covenant made with Abraham, it is like a closed-up telescope. For hundreds of years natural Israel seemed to be the Seed of Abraham, to whom the promises were made and through whom all the nations of the world would be blessed. Yet after more than sixteen centuries the telescope was slipped out a notch and matters so completely changed that the Jew does not know what happened unto this day. The thing which did happen was that Christ Jesus came and personally became the Seed of Abraham, by obeying the Law. Then, by dying for Adam's race, he was exalted to be the Spiritual Seed of Abraham. Then he was ready to give the earthly part of Israel's blessings to as many as would receive them--by justification by faith. Bewildered Israel held off and the favor went to the few of that nation and to thousands of others previously in darkness--Gentiles. These, after accepting the blessed privilege of human justification, were invited to surrender it, to sacrifice it, as their Redeemer had done.
This work of sacrificing has been going on for more than eighteen centuries, and soon will be finished. When the sacrificing finishes, to whom will the blessed privileges of fellowship with God and Covenant privileges then be given? We answer that the Apostle and the prophets declare that it will be given to Israel again, but not by their own Law Covenant, but by a Law Covenant which the Lord will make with them at that time. The Redeemer and his sacrificing associates, his "members" or "Bride," will act as Mediator of the New Covenant between God and Israel.--`Ezek. 16:60,61`; `Rom. 11:27-32`.
Furthermore, the blessed privileges of that New Covenant will not be confined to those of Jewish birth, but all the nations of the earth will be privileged to become "Israelites indeed," without guile, and to come under the terms, conditions and blessings of that New Covenant.
Thus eventually the blood of Christ shall extend in its efficacy and blessing, not only to the "household of faith" of this present time, but to the Jews in the next age and through them to all nations. It will be none the less the blood of Christ that will bless and whose efficacy will restore all nations to fellowship with God because (1) Spiritual Israel and (2) Natural Israel shall have been associated in conveying the blessing to all nations.
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Have in mind, then, that a priest never is a mediator of a Covenant and that a mediator of a Covenant is never a priest to offer sin-offering and make atonement. What God has thus distinctly separated in his Word, we do well to keep separate in our thoughts and words, else our poor heads will become confused over terms, even while holding fast to certain facts.
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CONFUSION OF TONGUES IN BABYLON
[This page is an illustration of a "BIBLE BELIEVER" holding "THE WORD OF GOD" "HOLY BIBLE" standing in front of various mountains while people walk up to the monuments on top of the mountains. The following signs are placed on the mountains.]
ALTARS OF SOPHISTRY.
HIGH PLACES OF HUMAN
OCCULTISM, SCIENTIFIC THEOLOGY, HYPNOTIC HEALING.--THE EMMANUEL MOVEMENT, ADVANCED THEOLOGY, SOCIAL SERVICE, RELIGIOUS LEGISLATION, SOCIALISM, NEW THOUGHT, HIGHER CRITICISM, NEW THEOLOGY, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE, EVOLUTION, ETHICAL CULTURE, SPIRITUALISM, THEOSOPHY, FEDERATION OF CHURCHES
WORSHIP THE LORD IN THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS
The above illustration, sent us from an unknown quarter, is too good to pass unnoticed. We regret that we cannot give proper credit. The lesson is so plain as to require no detailed comment. Truly the world is passing by the Bible to worship at every other shrine than that of the Divine Truth. Yet even such falling away is less deplorable than falling from the pinnacle of Truth into bitter envyings and hatred, strife and vainglorying contentions. The changes of the last century are taken by Evolutionists and all "Progressives" to prove that a gradual progress of our race has been in operation for thousands of years, whereas there is no such evidence. They see not, neither can they understand, the true philosophy of the great advances of the century past in the arts and sciences. The Bible alone reveals the secret; and the secret of the Lord is with those that reverence him and his Word. Only such as have humble hearts, have the hearing ear to discern the message of the Scriptures. It declared long ago that this wonderful epoch would come, and explained that it would mark the end of the present age and the inauguration of the Millennium; that this would be the "day of God's preparation" for the reign of righteousness. It tells that the knowledge born of the travel and commingling and printing would bring present developments. It shows, too, that present blessings to the unregenerate hearts will mean discontent, and that they in turn will bring the great time of trouble which will shake the present social structure to its foundations and pave the way to the long-promised Kingdom of God under the whole heavens.--`Dan. 12:4,9,10`.
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CHRISTIANS FIRST AT ANTIOCH
--`ACTS 11:19-30`; `12:25`.--APRIL 25.--
Golden Text:--"The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch."--`Acts 11:26`.
ANTIOCH, on the sea coast north of Jerusalem, was once a very prominent city--the third city in the Roman Empire, only Rome and Alexandria taking precedence. Our Lord narrates the introduction of the Gospel there, giving us a glimpse of the simplicity of the early Church under the guidance of the holy Spirit and the instruction of two of the ablest teachers of the Gospel. From it, therefore, we may advantageously gather suggestions and helpful lessons respecting what the Church of Christ should ever be in faith, simplicity, love and zeal.
First we notice the hand of providence. The stoning of Stephen spread to a general spirit of opposition to Christianity amongst the Jews. So far from this being accidental, it was the Divine purpose that thus messengers of the Gospel might be scattered in every quarter, carrying with them the message of good tidings on their lips and its spirit in their hearts and lives. Remembering our Lord's words, When they persecute you in one city or place, depart for another, his persecuted followers obeyed, and thus a blessing was carried beyond the boundaries of Palestine. Knowledge of the fact that "the middle-wall of partition," separating the Gentiles from the blessings and privileges of the Jews, had been broken down, had not yet become general. Hence the earliest preaching of the Cross of Christ was to the Jews only, and this was of Divine intention also; as St. Paul points out, It was necessary that the Gospel should be preached first unto you--the Jews--the natural seed of Abraham, to whom the promise was made. However, in the Lord's providence, some of these Antioch believers were Jews of Cyrene and Cypress, converts to Christianity; these being more familiar with the Greek language and less familiar with the Hebrew, overflowed the joy of their hearts, the good tidings of the Gospel message, upon their Gentile neighbors, who, to their joy, responded in a remarkable manner. "A great number believed, and turned unto the Lord."--`Acts 11:21`.
The secret of their success lay in the fact stated, "The hand of the Lord was with them." The word hand, as a symbol, signifies power and direction. Here we have the true secret of all successful Christian work which will have the Divine approval. Each individual Christian, so to speak, is a finger of the Lord; as our dear Redeemer expressed the matter, "I, as the finger of God, cast out demons." (`Luke 11:20`.) If we would be used and useful as God's agencies, ambassadors, we should seek to be impulsed and guided by him. We are to hear his voice through the Scriptures and we are to realize his energizing power in the spirit of the Truth. As it is written, "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." (`John 14:16,17`.) Whoever forgets this, to that extent fails to render acceptable service, which will bring forth the proper results. Nor are we always to gauge the success of our endeavors by the "great numbers," as in this case, which was quite exceptional. We should, however, expect some fruitage to our labors, and if,
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peradventure, by unwisdom in our methods of presenting the message we have lost our influence as "ambassadors for God," we should seek to appreciate the lesson of greater wisdom and should look to the Lord for an open door to service along some other lines or in some other place, where our lessons of experience could be put to practical effect.
"THE EARS OF THE CHURCH"
The oneness of the Body of Christ, the Church, is illustrated by the fact that this progress of the Truth at Antioch speedily became known to "the ears of the Church at Jerusalem." This reminds us of the Apostle's illustration in `I Cor. 12`th Chap., where he likens the Church to a human body, whose active members are hands, feet, eyes, mouth, etc. The Apostles at Jerusalem were on the lookout to help, to encourage, to assist in forwarding the Gospel in every quarter, just as we of the WATCH TOWER today feel an interest in and give attention to the progress of the Truth in every quarter. Christianity is not selfish, but the reverse. When selfishness is seen--avarice, self-seeking--it is so much of the Antichrist spirit creeping in. "To do good and to communicate, forget not," writes the Apostle.
God uses means--human means so far as possible. And so he wishes that we, as his representatives, should follow his example. The decision was to send the new converts the help which it was realized they would need, to encourage them, to forewarn them of dangers, and to assist to clearer knowledge of the Divine Plan, that thus they might become a force for good and not for evil under the Lord's banner. A disciple named Joseph was chosen, one who had shown great zeal for the Lord and for the Church and who had given considerable of his property for the assistance of others. They gave him a new name, Barnabas, which signifies Son of Consolation. How beautiful! This testimony of itself draws out our love to Barnabas in a manner that would have been impossible if the record had been to the contrary-- that, although a follower of Jesus, he was quarrelsome, disputative, a stirrer-up of strife and contentions.
It may be said that none could have such discordant character and yet be a Christian at all. We agree that no matured Christian could be of such a character, yet we know of some who naturally are very contentious, who, by the grace of God, have received the Truth. These need to be the more vigilant in cultivating amiability and humility. And assuredly the brethren should have considerable patience with such, especially if they note in them loyal-heartedness toward God, the Truth and the brethren--and particularly if they see evidences that they are striving to overcome their natural contentiousness. However, it would be mistaken kindness to encourage such or to fail to indicate to them the unloving manner wherein they injure the cause they wish to serve. Such should never be chosen to positions of leadership or otherwise encouraged until they show evidences of victory along this line. Assuredly such should never be chosen as missionaries or representatives of the Church to others, for they would misrepresent the Lord and his Spirit, which is one of humility, gentleness and patience, even while strong and resolute for the Truth.
THE SON OF CONSOLATION CHOSEN
Barnabas was evidently a most wise selection to be a representative of the brethren at Jerusalem, a Pilgrim to the newly interested brethren at Antioch. The narrative indicates that he stopped to visit other groups of the Lord's people enroute, Antioch being the end of his prescribed journey. On his arrival several things resulted:
(1) He himself received a blessing. "He perceived the grace of God and was glad."
(2) He exhorted them all that with purpose of heart they should cleave unto the Lord. They had already separated themselves from heathenism and Judaism, and by faith and obedience and acceptance of the holy Spirit had been joined to Christ. The exhortation was that they should thus abide, separated from further affiliations and bound unto the Lord--with purpose of heart--not temporarily nor because of mental conviction of the logic of Christ's religion, but that their hearts should be fully given over to the Lord in the fulness of consecration.
Such consecration was the subject of Barnabas' preaching for quite a little while, and the result was "Much people were added unto the Lord." Now notice another beautiful tribute to Barnabas' character, and let us each see to what extent we can find these characteristics predominant in ourselves, and to what extent we can, by God's grace, have them still more abound. We read, "For he was a good man, and full of the holy Spirit and of faith." What more could be said to the credit of any child of God? This testimony is far richer than if we read, "For he was a learned man, or a brainy man, and
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full of self-confidence and a mighty collector of monies for the Church." His heart was full of the spirit of holiness and he was full of faith as respects God's power and God's Truth.
We remark that the usual signs of prosperity amongst nominal Christians are not here mentioned--Church building, collections, etc. The success of the early Church lay greatly in the fact that the money question was ignored, likewise the building of great temples for worship. The work was one of proclaiming Christ and turning the hearts of men from sin to righteousness, from ignorance to knowledge and unbelief to faith--from devilishness to saintship.
SAUL BROUGHT TO ANTIOCH
Barnabas perceived the largeness of the field of opportunity at Antioch and bethought him of Saul of Tarsus, whom he sought out and brought to the new field of labor. Evidently the Lord had allowed Saul to rest in quietness for a time to digest certain features of the Truth, to get himself properly gauged up. No doubt these lessons were needful for the development of humility and faith and obedience. Now, however, the time had come for Saul to be introduced into the Gospel work. Again God used instrumentality. Barnabas did not trust to writing a letter, but went to see him personally, to urge upon him activities in the Master's service and to point out to him the open door of a still greater work at Antioch, where Saul's learning and talents would be an additional fortification to the Truth and inspiration to the brethren. For a year he assembled with the Church at Antioch and taught much people publicly and privately.
DISCIPLES CALLED CHRISTIANS
The name "Christian" was first applied to the Lord's followers at Antioch. Such a name would not be given to them by the Jews, nor in any place where Judaism was paramount, because the Greek word Christ is the equivalent to the Hebrew word Messiah. And the Jews would be the last in any sense of the word to intimate that Jesus was the Messiah, or that his followers were Christians or Messiahans. We do not read that Christians first assumed this name at Antioch, but that they were first called it by others. Would that the custom had continued to prevail, and that still the only name by which the Lord's followers throughout the world would be known would be his name! Dr. A. McClaren correctly suggests, "If the men at Antioch had called Christ's followers 'Jesuits' that would have meant the followers of the mere man. They did not know how much deeper they had gone when they said, not 'followers of Jesus' but 'followers of Christ'; for it was not Jesus the man, but Jesus Christ, the man with his Office, that makes the center and bond of the Christian Church."
There is a forceful lesson in the following from the pen of Rev. Peloubet, D.D.:--
"John Wesley was said once to have dreamed that he saw a great throng entering hell and he asked whether any Methodists were among them. Yes, he was told, and plenty of them. And Baptists? Yes. And Presbyterians? Yes. Then in his dream he found himself suddenly at the gate of heaven and earnestly asked the porter who were inside. Methodists? Not one. Presbyterians? Baptists? No, not one of these. Catholics? No. 'Then who are inside,' he asked. 'Only Christians,' was the reply."
We are not endorsing Brother Wesley's dream of the crowds entering heaven and hell; believing as we do, that all go to the Bible hell, the grave, the tomb, and that the First Resurrection will be composed only of the saints victorious. We do, however, feel sure that in that Resurrection of the Blessed and Holy, sectarianism and membership in sectarian institutions and worldly lodges will not be recognized as giving
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such members any priority, honor or glory, but possibly the reverse. The name that will stand will be Christians. They will all be that. Why should Messiah's Bride, after taking his name, confuse matters in any degree by adding to it the name of any human being or institution? We urge them all to stand free from all human titles and bondages in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. Our bondage is to the Head and under his direction, and by his Spirit we are firmly bounden by all the principles of righteousness and to all those who have his Spirit, his mind, his disposition, as living members of the one Body. To separate ourselves from these bonds of love and sympathy and fellowship and obedience would mean our starvation and death, even as a branch cannot abide itself, nor bear fruit, except it abide in the Vine, in fellowship with the other branches of the same Vine, and as a participant in the juices (the graces, the blessings) which come to all the true branches through the root.
THE FRUITAGE OF THE SPIRIT AT ANTIOCH
In the Lord's providence the Antioch brethren were advised in advance of impending famine throughout the civilized world. The scarcity would affect all parts and classes, but especially be severe upon the poor, by reason of the high prices. Immediately the Antioch brethren bethought them of the fact that the brethren at Jerusalem, specially poor and persecuted, would be special sufferers from that famine and they desired to aid them and made a collection accordingly. They did not hesitate, because, not wealthy themselves, they would probably also feel the severity of the famine. The love of God shed abroad in our hearts overcomes much of our natural selfishness and tends to make us generous and thoughtful of others. How beautiful, how Christlike, the spirit! We must love these brethren for this and seek to emulate their example and to be of willing mind as respects any assistance to be rendered to any of the fellow-members of the Body of Christ, near and far.
The Apostle truly intimates that if any professed follower of Christ see his brother have need and close up his heart of compassion against him and refuse him aid, this would be an indication that he lacked the spirit of the Head, the spirit of love, the distinctive feature which our Lord said would indicate his disciples as different from all others in the world. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another."--`John 13:35`.
Whenever an opportunity for doing good comes to our attention it should not be slighted, but reasonably investigated with the thought that possibly the Lord has brought this matter to our attention as a test of love for him or for the brethren. Indeed it will profit us greatly if we can learn to look at all of life's affairs from this standpoint. If trials and difficulties, joys and pleasures, are all scrutinized with the thought of the Lord's oversight and guiding care in respect to our interests and affairs it will greatly increase our faith and our spiritual joy.
Paul and Barnabas were the chosen agents to see to the transportation of the food supply for the aid of the Jerusalem brethren in the approaching period of famine. In due course they returned, bringing with them John Mark as a further helper in the good work.
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CHRIST, OUR PASSOVER
BY REBECCA FAIR DONEY
In the dark night, when Egypt lay asleep, Forth went the angel, God's command to keep: Slay all the first-born, even from the throne, Down through the realm to the humblest home.
Swift was his work; and on the midnight air, Oh, what a cry of anguish, and despair Rose, from the hearts of those in every home: God's word was sure; the last great plague had come.
But in the homes of Israel, what a sight! Darkness without, in every dwelling, light. Clad for a journey; shoes upon their feet; With staff in hand, a solemn feast they eat.
Their father's God had heard their cries at last: His time had come; their bondage now was past; So in that night while Egypt mourned her dead, They ate the lamb with bitter herbs and bread.
But why this blood we see on every door? Why does the angel, seeing, pass it o'er? Israel's first-born in Egypt's danger shared; And only through that blood could they be spared.
Centuries passed; and still by God's command, Each year they slew, and ate the paschal lamb. Not that its blood could for their sins atone, But as a type of one that yet should come.
* * *
That sinless one, who, hanging on a tree, Bore all earth's sins, to set the prisoners free; That Righteous One, that perfect Lamb of God, Who for the world gave his most precious blood.
Our blessed Lord, with those whom he loved best, On that last night, sat down to keep the feast. "With great desire," he told his chosen few, "Have I desired to eat this feast with you."
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"My heart is grieved; for I betrayed shall be By one of you, my chosen company." "Lord is it I?" each asked in trembling tone, "Nay, Lord, we'll die with thee! cried every one."
But in great sorrow, still our Lord did say, "One shall deny; another shall betray; All be offended, and flee unto their own-- But for my Father, I should be alone."
After the feast, he took the Cup, and said "Drink ye of it; for you my blood was shed. I drink no more, until I drink with you, In that glad day, when we shall drink it new."
Then blessed the bread, and as each one did take, "This is my body, broken for your sake." Oft as ye drink this wine, and eat this bread Ye do show forth the suffering of your Head.
Bearing the whole world's load of guilt and shame, Knowing his own would soon deny his name; Knowing, by God, he would forsaken be, Thus our Lord went to his Gethsemane.
And still that sacred feast down through the years, Thy saints commemorate with holy tears. Keeping the words of him, who said, "This do In mem'ry of my dying love for you."
In this dark night, Lord, we, thy first-borns meet, With staff in hand and shoes upon our feet. Thy precious blood is sprinkled on our hearts; Thy broken body life to us imparts.
Come, dearest Lord, and bless us while we feast; Around this board, be thou our honored Guest. We eat, and drink, and here our vows renew; Oh to our vows, Lord, keep us ever true!
All earthly hopes and joys, behind us lay; Lord, we would walk with thee, the narrow way. What is earth's joys and what its glittering dross? We gladly leave it all for thy dear cross.
Thy matchless sacrifice doth us afford, A chance to share thy sufferings, dearest Lord. Broken with thee, we claim this privilege rare, That in thy joys we may obtain a share.
On this Atonement Day, we would lay down Upon the altar, Lord, beside thine own, Our sacrifice; it is so very small; Take, Lord, and offer it; it is our all.
Day after day, our testings, Lord, increase: This side the veil, we know they must not cease. Scourging, or sword, or flames, whate'er it be, Help us, dear Lord, in our Gethsemane.
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The bitter cup that to thy lips was pressed, We, too, would drain, nor shrink at bitterness. These marks of sonship share with our dear Head; To live with thee, we must with thee be dead.
We'll take the cup tho' filled with grief and pain; Drink the last drop, and, dying, drink again; Oh wondrous joy! this time, the cup shall be The cup of life, and immortality.
Lord, we have had a blessed feast with thee; Now we go forth that we may tested be. Help us, that we do not our Lord betray; When Satan tries to sift, Lord, for us pray.
* * *
Some solemn night, mid scenes of dread, and woe, While the fierce winds from every quarter blow; While passions rage, and tempests onward sweep, Their last memorial, thy saints shall keep.
They may be few who gather round the board; Many, be entered into their reward. Praising the One who led them safely home; Waiting, until the marriage hour shall come.
Some, weary grew, before the fight was o'er; Some, through offence, would walk this way no more. Zealous awhile, methinks, they did run well, But at the test of Love, they stumbled--fell.
Those who are left, the last of thy dear "feet," Keep the last feast before the mercy seat; Gathering strength for what before them lies, When they complete in death, their sacrifice.
Some glorious morn the angelic host shall sing! Some glorious morn the bells of heaven ring! The Church of Christ has passed her trial stage; Eternal bliss is hers from age to age.
Before his Father's throne, with love and pride, Christ shall present his perfect, spotless Bride. The feast begins; the marriage hour has come; Christ and his faithful, are forever One.
On that blest day, the Bridegroom shall sit down, With his dear Bride beside him, on the throne. To share his joys; to see his blessed face; In that blest throng, oh Lord, give us a place. February 21, 1909.
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MISSIONARY SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY
--`ACTS 13:1-12`--MAY 2.--
Golden Text:--"Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned." --`Mark 16:15,16`.--(Omitted in the old Mss.)
THIS verse and all this chapter from `verse nine` to the close is acknowledged by all scholars to be an interpolation --an addition to the Scriptures--not written by Mark, but added centuries later. The words are not found in the oldest Greek manuscripts. We would better use the well-authenticated words of `Matt. 28:19`, "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit."
The spirit of Christianity is an aggressive one. The Gospel sets before the true believer an object, a motive, which inspires to an enthusiasm of the highest degree. The message becomes a burning one which must flame forth as a true light to enlighten others. Otherwise it would become extinct, smothered. "Quench not the holy Spirit, whereby ye are sealed," may surely be applied to a proper missionary spirit, as well as in other ways.
Missionary endeavor in foreign lands certainly has been in harmony with the Divine intimation, that a knowledge of the grace of God might be scattered abroad so as to select God's "elect" from every quarter. We are not by these words endorsing everything connected with the methods or the message which have been sent forth in the name of the Gospel. We do believe, however, that a blessing has resulted even through the use of wrong methods and impure teachings. Those who have given money to the cause have surely received a blessing, compensating every endeavor to serve the Lord. The sacrifice of earthly means has brought its blessing and compensation in fervency of spirit. We are not certain to what extent the heathen have been benefited by the lessons civilization has brought them; some, more; some, less. Only the Lord will know how to determine the actual results and to apportion the rewards for services in his cause.
It is our thought that while there is so much to be done at home in civilized lands, those who have their hands full do well to content themselves therewith, leaving it for the Lord to open up the way later, according to his wisdom and grace, for the heathen to hear the message. Our readers will remember that in the Lord's providence it seemed wise that Brother Booth and wife should go to Africa as representatives of the Truth. This seemed to be no hindrance to the work in civilized lands, and the evidences were that the Lord had some ripened grains of wheat in far-off Africa. Word from Brother Booth and others of Cape Town and vicinity assure us that the proclamation of the good tidings of great joy is making fairly good headway in that region. Three white brethren there are now preaching to mixed audiences continually. Some half dozen little congregations are rejoicing in a growing knowledge of the Divine Plan of the Ages. Further, three black brethren have espoused the cause
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and zealously begun its proclamation. One is laboring near Cape Town. One has already journeyed nearly two thousand miles and is exerting a considerable influence amongst his people near Lake Nyasa. Another has just started for the same vicinity on foot, a journey of about a month. With him go six or eight other young black Christians who thus journey, that they may have the benefit of his indoctrination on the way and be the better prepared to tell the tidings of great joy when they reach their fellow-countrymen. Our missionary efforts, however, both at home and abroad, are of a different character and different inspiration than other missionary efforts. Ours is not a proclamation of a fierce God and a great place called hell or Purgatory into which all their forefathers have gone and into which they must go unless they receive our message. Ours is the missionary message of St. Paul and Barnabas--an announcement that the God of love has provided a Redeemer; that in due time the Redeemer will establish his Kingdom and through it bless all the families of the earth with a knowledge of his grace, and grant assistance back into harmony with God and thereby an opportunity for eternal life.
Ours is a message of special favor now being given out to any who have the "ear to hear" and the heart to appreciate and accept it. Ours is the missionary hunt for the Lord's jewels, for his "Royal Priesthood," his "little flock," his "elect"--that these may be enlightened and assisted to a clearer knowledge of the Truth, that they may make their calling and election sure to joint-heirship with their Redeemer in his coming Kingdom. Our chief work is at home or in places where the Gospel has already been proclaimed, because we understand the Scriptures to teach that we are in the Harvest time of this Gospel Age, just as the work of the Lord and his Apostles was in the Harvest time of the Jewish Age. To his disciples Jesus said, "I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor." Other men labored and ye are entered into [the fruit of] their labor--harvesting the ripened grain. It will not surprise us to learn in due time that as many as two hundred new believers in Africa celebrated the Memorial Supper this year in excess of the number that partook of it last year. Of course, two hundred are not many, nor can we hope that they will all be ripened grains of wheat. However, we consider this a very favorable opening, considering the length of its establishment.
THE MISSIONARY SPIRIT IN ANTIOCH
Our lesson tells us that there were three public speakers at Antioch, besides Paul and Barnabas, and that as they
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served and practised self-denial, the holy Spirit indicated that Barnabas and Paul should have a special work to do in carrying the message of God's grace to others. And in this way we have a suggestion in respect to the proper course to be pursued amongst the Lord's people generally, wherever it is found, that the number of public speakers and teachers, Berean Lesson leaders, etc., is greater than is really needed. Instead of wasting valuable time and energy all should recognize the facts of the case, and square them to the instructions of this lesson, and separate some to special missionary effort. A failure to notice the breadths of the Lord's work and the privileges of service has proven a temptation to some, and led to fault-finding and bickering, heart-burnings and discouragements, instead of mutual encouragements, sympathetic aids, and increase in the joy of the Lord and spread of the Truth. Each member of Christ, and especially each one of teaching ability, should seek to take the broadest possible view of the Lord's work and the most loving and appreciative view of every fellow-servant's endeavors. This course leads to mutual upbuilding, while the other course tends toward coldness and leanness, if not to back-biting and devouring one another.
LAID THEIR HANDS ON THEM
The Church ordained the Apostles for this missionary service. The laying on of hands did not signify the impartation to them of any spiritual or occult powers. It did not mean the giving to them of authority to preach. It did mean that the congregation of the Lord at Antioch recognized these two men as God's servants and authorized them to go forth as their representatives, and impliedly at their charges, to carry the message of good tidings to others. As the priests laid their hands upon the animals which were to represent them in sacrifice, so the Church laid their hands upon those who were to represent them in the service of the Truth.
Similarly today we are following what we believe to be the direction of the holy Spirit in sending forth the Pilgrims to proclaim the good tidings. They go forth, as the apostles expressed the matter, not authorized to preach by man or men or human systems, but by him who said, "Go ye, disciple all nations"--people of all nationalities, and not merely the Jews, as at first. Nevertheless the Church in general lays its hands upon these Pilgrims in the sense of saying, "You go with our approval, as our representatives, and all of your expenses will be met out of our donations to the Tract Fund. Serve the Lord faithfully and make reports to us through the Society's channels.
LIGHT AND DARKNESS IN CONFLICT
They decided to go first to the Island of Cyprus, probably because Barnabas was a native of that Island and because it would be their proper route in going into Asia Minor. Apparently nothing of special moment occurred until they had gone almost the length of the island, where they came in conflict with a Jew, a sorcerer, known as Elymas or magician. Much of the trickery of that time and today is aided and abetted by the fallen angels or demons. Elymas perceived that the reasoning of the Apostle was having its effect upon the governmental deputy or pro-consul and sought to gainsay the Truth, recognizing that the success of the Apostles meant the loss of prestige to his own presentations of falsehood. St. Paul, imbued with a special power of the holy Spirit, fastened his gaze upon Elymas and said, "O full of all guile and all villainy, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season."
It was not Paul's power, nor Paul's judgment, but the Lord's, and Paul was merely his mouthpiece. Nor does the Lord always thus punish his opponents now, but rather this was an exceptional occurrence, intended to assist in the establishment of the religion of Christ as well as to encourage the apostles in their further ministries. It is not for us to seek to emulate St. Paul's course in this matter. He was an Apostle, specially empowered and specially used in a sense that we are not. It is ours to preach the Word and to leave the results to the Lord. However, the day is not far distant when, under the power of the Kingdom, those who resist the Truth will be dealt with vigorously and feel the heavy hand of Divine judgment on them. We are glad, however, that there will be a recovery from those judgments, even as there was in the case of Elymas; even as his blindness was only for a season. Of that future Age it is written, "When the judgments of the Lord are abroad (everywhere) in the land, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." No doubt Elymas learned something by his experiences, and the narrative indicated that the matter was of great assistance to the pro-consul. But his belief was aside from the miracle. As we read, "The deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord." We remark here that this is the proper influence which we should seek to leave in every heart; not astonishment at our ability or oratory or other powers, but astonishment at the teaching of the Lord's Word. Indeed, there is no doubt that this is the secret of the progress of the Harvest message today. People are astonished at the doctrine. Our Pilgrim speakers are not beyond the average. Many would say, perhaps, not up to the average of denominational ministers, but they have the teaching. They have the Divine Plan of the Ages-- and this it is which impresses and astonishes those who hear.
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REASONS FOR A LAYMAN'S CHANGE OF BELIEF
If any one had approached me four months ago with any "new" or different religious belief than I then had, I would have stated that I was a Congregationalist and satisfied with that belief; that I did not think there was any belief nearer right or nearer to Bible truth. Not that I think Congregationalism better than the faith or belief of other denominations, but certainly just as good.
But recently the unexpected happened. A "new" belief was brought to my attention, one concerning which I knew but little. This was Pastor Charles T. Russell's first volume of SCRIPTURE STUDIES, known as "The Divine Plan," of which I was hearing much from day to day. I had always considered myself quite liberal in my estimate of those of a different Christian faith, but toward these books I found myself bitterly prejudiced.
Some things were brought to my attention which I thought, if true, every one ought to know. But were they true? Could they be true? I did not want to be won over to any "new thing," but there were some things of which I wanted to know more, and to these I listened and read, but not wanting to be convinced.
Finally replying to inquiry, I said I was not so obstinate or headstrong as to refuse to believe or to be convinced, if I was in error in regard to Scripture teaching, provided the statements presented to me were Scriptural and would lead to a better understanding of the Bible and of God's plan, and provided also the proofs could be produced.
In this spirit I began the reading and study of the MILLENNIAL DAWN-SCRIPTURE STUDIES. I found each volume of the series intensely interesting, as God's wonderful plan and truth was unfolded. After reading the series of six volumes I can say that if these books are true they certainly are the most wonderful and important books ever written--outside the Bible. And I believe they are true! If they are true every one ought to know the Bible teaching.
I found that the chronological results are reached by five separate and distinct lines of computation, and the same careful and conscientious handling of every subject is manifested throughout the series.
Pastor Russell rids religion of error, the error which has crept in little by little through the Church of Rome, etc. He rids religion of tradition and man-made creeds and seeks to make plain God's way in all Scriptural purity, proving all teaching by Scripture, and by unperverted Scripture alone.
He does not exalt self. He exalts Christ alone, with the Father. He tears down nothing taught in God's holy Word. He builds up no creed nor religious system, but takes the Scriptures and the Scriptures alone for our spiritual guide,
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proving and testing all things by that standard. He combats evil of every kind, and every shade of infidelity, Spiritualism, Higher Criticism--every form of unbelief.
At first thought some conclusions seem radical to one accustomed to the usual so-called "orthodox" interpretations, but in every instance they will be found to be soundly Scriptural.
Believers in MILLENNIAL DAWN do not teach, as some seem to think, that those who believe and faithfully follow these teachings are the only ones to be saved. They not only teach that all such must follow the Master in the strait and narrow way, but teach also a more compassionate gospel and a broader plan of salvation for all who will be saved, than is usually understood and commonly taught by others.
MILLENNIAL DAWN does teach that there are other truths than those commonly taught by the various churches and religious systems, truths that are important, and these it seeks to make plain.
Not one more creed to add to the world's diversified religious beliefs, but the one interpretation, which means harmony of all Scripture and unity of belief and purpose to all Christians of whatsoever name--to all seekers after truth who are willing to forsake all and follow Christ.
J. M. M.--Ia.
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SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
May the richest blessings of the Living God rest upon you, and upon all who are determined to cooperate in the doing of the Lord's will. My prayers are for you and them many times every day. Your name is continually being pressed before the Throne.
Let me take this opportunity to thank you and the dear Lord for the full and beautiful--yea, gorgeous light turned upon the Covenants--another proof that the Word of God is being fulfilled: "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." "The way of the wicked is as darkness; they know not at what they stumble."--`Prov. 4:18,19`.
This last clause brings a measure of sadness. They stumble at the light, the very thing that should be a blessing to them. No doubt this precious light will also prove offensive to the spiritual vision of some whose eyes are weak and cannot, therefore, stand the full glare of the light of God's Truth. If so, it shows they are unfit for the Kingdom. But it makes the heart ache.
I am truly your servant in love and service of our Lord and King, O. L. SULLIVAN.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
It has been on my mind for some time to write you of the extreme thankfulness to our heavenly Father and to you for the experience I have had in connection with "the Vow." After reading February 15th TOWER, I can no longer refrain from writing. My heart overflows with gratitude after reading dear Brother Gibbs' letter, which surely needs no explanation.
He has exactly expressed my heart sentiments. I have been in one of the same traps in which he was. I also quickly ate of the bait which appeared so good, but now see the course I was following. I had not yet become a "first-rate back-biter," but was working my way rapidly toward one. Oh, Brother Russell, it grieves me to think of the untrue things I believed and thought of you. I am now deeply impressed by your sincerity and daily manifestations of the Christ-like spirit and tender love and care over the entire flock, as expressed in the TOWER.
I am so thankful for the Lord's guidance of you in sending our dear Brother Herr among us, for it was through him I have been delivered from the snare of the Adversary. He showed me in a most loving manner how all such evil surmises and back-biting (against you in connection with "the Vow") were not fruits of the Master's spirit of love. By these fruits we can know them. After clearing my mind of those evil thoughts, I then could not see any objections to the Vow.
I cannot see how a true child of God could oppose it, or your presentation of it in the TOWER. I have now made "the Vow" "my Vow" unto the Father, knowing what it means to me the rest of my life. I would prefer making it as a Vow instead of a resolution, as I feel a vow more binding than a resolution. Need we hesitate to be bound in any way closer to the Lord!
I would not exchange the precious blessings enjoyed since making "the Vow," for the spiritual coldness endured while having the spirit which opposed it. Everything is with new beauty and clearness. I press onward with renewed zeal, realizing more clearly how very carefully we must guard our every thought (as we build character by thought), to bring every thought into captivity to the will of Christ, and think only of the things that are pure, holy, lovely and of good report. And with the holy things always uppermost in our minds, how can we find any time for evil surmising and speaking!
It is with great sorrow I see some taking the course they are in their oppositions to "the Vow," those noble and esteemed ones, who have been particularly dear to me as brethren in Christ. It is with very much heartfelt sympathy for you, Brother Russell, as I know what it has been to you, but I also know of the Lord's special care and guidance over you to keep you in such peace of mind and love amid such fiery darts of the Adversary.
It seems that you have done all in your power to tell them of the course they are taking and they cannot yet see the unreasonableness of their arguments. Let us continue to pray for them.
I have made apology for my former stand to all those to whom I particularly slandered you and "the Vow," so I do not especially request that this letter be published, although I would not be ashamed to give such a testimony to the whole Church. I am assured of your forgiveness of my sin.
May our dear Lord continue to bless you richly and use you in his service unto the end. You may know of my daily remembrance, and Christian love for you and the whole Bible House Family.
Your sister in the One Hope,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I feel that I must write you, if only a few lines. I have been thinking daily about "the Vow." It seems to me it is the sixth volume in a "nutshell."--`Rev. 21:9`.
Do you realize how much I need your prayers, and the Lord's grace as my eyes open--are being opened? May grace abound.
Your brother, W. M. HERSEE.
PUBLIC MINISTRIES OF THE TRUTH
UNDER THE AUSPICES OF PEOPLE'S PULPIT
ASSOCIATION OF BROOKLYN, N.Y.
ONE-DAY LOCAL CONVENTIONS ADDRESSED BY THE
EDITOR OF THIS JOURNAL AS FOLLOWS:
PITTSBURG N.S. (Allegheny), PA., MARCH 28
Session for the public at 3 p.m. in Allegheny Carnegie Hall, Corner Ohio and Federal Sts. Visiting friends heartily welcomed. Baptismal services for those desiring same and notifying, at 10:30 a.m. Question meeting at 7:30 p.m., Bible House Chapel, 610 Arch street.
BROOKLYN, N.Y., APRIL 4
Discourse by Brother Russell at 3:00 p.m. Evening meeting for the interested at 7:30 o'clock, when the annual Memorial Supper will be celebrated. Visiting friends cordially welcomed.
All meetings will be held in the Brooklyn Tabernacle, Nos. 13-17 Hicks street. Convenient to all cars and ferries--close to the old bridge terminus.
BOSTON, MASS., APRIL 11
Morning and evening meetings in Faneuil Hall. Take surface cars from depots going through Dock Square. Local friends will be at stations to assist visiting friends. Meeting at 10:30 a.m. for Prayer, Praise and Testimony.
Afternoon session for the Public in Tremont Temple, Tremont street, between School and Bromfield streets, at 3:00 o'clock; subject, "Where are the Dead?"
Evening meeting for the interested at 7:30 o'clock. Arrangements have also been made for a meeting in Tremont Temple Building, on Saturday evening, for the benefit of those who may have to come to the city at that time. When purchasing railway tickets inquire for reduced rates, account of
Bible Students' Convention.
TOLEDO, OHIO, APRIL 18
BROOKLYN, N.Y., APRIL 25 and MAY 2
BROOKLYN TABERNACLE EVERY SUNDAY
Preaching at 3:00 p.m. Praise service at 7:00 p.m.; Berean Bible Study at 7:30 p.m. Convenient to New York via Subway, and Jersey City via P.R.R. Annex Ferry.
STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES
THESE STUDIES ARE RECOMMENDED TO STUDENTS AS VERITABLE "BIBLE KEYS." PRICES ARE NET AND BARELY COVER COST OF PRODUCTION, WHEN DELIVERED BY COLPORTEURS THE COST AND PRICE ARE INCREASED.
SERIES I., "The Plan of the Ages." gives an outline of the divine plan revealed in the Bible, relating to man's redemption and restitution: 386 pages, in embossed cloth, 25c. (1s. 1/2d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.).
This volume has been published as a special issue of our journal-- at the extremely low price of 5c. a copy, in any quantity, postage included. (To foreign countries, 9c.) This enables people of slender purse to herald far and wide the good tidings in a most helpful form.
SERIES II., "The Time is at Hand," treats of the manner and time of the Lord's second coming, considering the Bible Testimony on this subject: 370 pages, in embossed cloth, 25c. (1s. 1/2d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.)
SERIES III., "Thy Kingdom Come," considers prophecies which mark events connected with the "Time of the End," the glorification of the Church and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom; it also contains a chapter of the Great Pyramid, showing its corroboration of the dates and other teachings of the Bible: 384 pages, in embossed cloth, 25c. (1s. 1/2d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.)
SERIES IV., "The Day of Vengeance," shows that the dissolution of the present order of things is in progress, and that all the panaceas offered are valueless to avert the predicted end. It marks in these events the fulfilment of prophecy, noting specially our Lord's great prophecy of `Matt. 24` and `Zech. 14:1-9`: 660 pages, in embossed cloth, 30c. (1s. 3d.). India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6-1/2d.)
SERIES V., "The At-one-ment Between God and Man," treats an all- important subject--the hub, the center around which all the features of divine grace revolve. Its topic deserves the most careful and prayerful consideration on the part of all true Christians: 507 pages, in embossed cloth, 30c. (1s. 3d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6-1/2d.)
SERIES VI., "The New Creation," deals with the Creative Week (`Genesis 1` and `2`), and with the Church, God's "New Creation." It examines the personnel, organization, rites, ceremonies, obligations and hopes appertaining to those called and accepted as members of the Body under the Head: 740 pages, in embossed cloth, 30c. (1s. 3d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6-1/2d.)
The above prices include postage.
IN FULL LEATHER BINDING, gilt edges, the set (6 vols.) $3.00, (12s. 6d.), plus postage, 60c. (1s.).
Is also published in foreign languages as follows: German, six vols., in Swedish Vols. 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6; in Dano-Norwegian, three vols.; in Greek, three vols.; in French, two vols.; Hollandish, Spanish, and Italian, one vol. each; bound in cloth, uniform with English edition, prices the same; in Polish, condensed edition, one vol., 10 cents.