VOL. XIII. SEPTEMBER 1, 1892. NO. 17.
VIEW FROM THE TOWER.
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock!" says the Master, addressing himself to the present or Laodicean stage of the Church nominal. Yet she is "rich and increased in goods" (in supposed world-converting machinery, as well as temporally prosperous), self-complacent and feeling no need for the second coming of the Lord and the establishment of his Kingdom to put down all enemies of righteousness, and to cause the knowledge of the Lord to fill the whole earth. She is so satisfied with the present machinery that she believes that she can do all this of herself, and would rather dislike to have the second advent occur now, to spoil her plans and her "many wonderful works." (`Rev. 3:14-20`; `Matt. 7:22`.) Hence she hears not the knockings which from time to time declare that he has already come--that he is even now present, doing his work, his great work [overthrowing the nations], and bringing to pass his act, his [to them] strange act [of spewing "Laodicea" out of his mouth], rejecting the nominal Church systems and casting all but the faithful into the outer darkness of the world, relative to his plans and doings, letting them have a full share in the vexatious time of trouble already begun.--`Isa. 28:21,22`.
Several loud raps have recently been given, so loud that even the worldly begin to inquire what they mean. Within the past two months, one loud, long knock came at Homestead and generally in the vicinity of Pittsburg. Another was heard in the Rocky Mountain mines. Another was heard in the coal-mining towns of Tennessee; another along the railroad lines in New York state; another in labor circles in France; another in the cholera plague visiting Europe.
Not that the Lord directly caused or approves of the rioting or bloodshed; but that these things are related to the day of his presence, the "day of trouble," with which the Gospel age will close and the Millennial age be ushered in--a day of distress and perplexity upon men, upon nations, and upon the Laodicean church-- a day of vengeance and righteous retribution.
But whilst men's hearts are "failing them for fear and for looking after [forward to] those things coming upon the earth," of which present rumblings are but premonitions, an excellent opportunity is afforded, for those who understand the situation, to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to all who have an ear for the message. These rumblings mean the breaking in pieces of the powers that be, the Gentile governments, which for now nearly 2500 years have, under Satan's blinding and by God's permit, ruled the world under the law of selfishness. The Scriptures have foretold the utter dissolution of society as at present organized, and the reconstruction of it upon principles of righteousness and love, under the great Prince Immanuel--upon whose reign all the gracious prophecies of peace and blessing and good will toward men depend; and for whose kingdom to come the whole creation (although ignorantly) is "groaning and travailing in pain together, waiting for the manifestation of the
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sons of God" [the Church--the Christ, head and body], in the power and glory of the Kingdom promised.
Let each of us who is informed through the Lord's Word be on the alert to invent and to wisely use the many opportunities now, thus afforded for preaching the good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people. But great prudence is needed, and wisdom from on high should be sought, else the results may be injurious rather than beneficial. The right words at the right time will surely do good; while ill-chosen words or an inopportune time may prejudice the mind so as to hinder some from seeing the beauty of the Lord's plan for years to come. Our Lord's words, "Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves," should never be forgotten.
Sometimes, and with some people, the loan of a "Dawn" or of an Old Theology Tract,
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with very few words, is the wise course. At other times the words introducing the reading matter are all-important. And the true, earnest minister (servant) of the truth will lose sight of self, and all disposition to vaunt his knowledge of the Lord's word and plan, and will seek merely the glory of God and the blessing of his hearers.
Tell the story as simply, as kindly and as truthfully as possible. Overstatements harm the cause they would advance. Do justice to all concerned. "Let your moderation be known unto all men"--whichever side of the question they may take and however partisan they may be. Let your counsel and influence always stand for peace and right and order, however you may seek to make apology for blinded law-breakers on either side of any question. A poor law is better than no law. Lawlessness has no sanction in God's book, nor in the example of any held up to us by it as worthy of emulation; but the reverse: God is a God of order and of law, and all who have his spirit will be friends of order. True, all law and order will be overthrown in this day of trouble, and that by divine permission; but so long as there is any law, all who are God's people should respect it. When the Apostle said that we should "be subject to the powers that be," he did not add so long as the laws are perfectly just and equal. No: he knew, as we know, that laws made by imperfect men cannot be perfect laws. Our only question about obeying the laws must be if they conflict with our duty toward the divine law of love to God and to our fellow men. And very few, if any, human laws demand of us a violation of this, our supreme law.
While using present labor-troubles, etc., as a starting point for conversation, always remember that it is to be but an introduction to the Gospel of the Kingdom. We are not commissioned to teach other matters than the one Gospel; but we may and shall use every other subject to introduce the good plan of God to the attention of all "the meek" (`Isa. 61:1`) --especially to those who confess to be God's people. Remember that this is your one work, if you are of the consecrated body of Christ, the Church. To this end you eat and drink and sleep and labor at your earthly tasks--that you may have time and strength and opportunity to make known the gracious plan of our God, the foundation of which was laid in the ransom-sacrifice for all given eighteen centuries ago by the man Christ Jesus, and which is about to have a glorious consummation at his hands and at the hands of the Church, in the setting up of the Kingdom for which so long we have prayed, "Thy Kingdom Come!"
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"THEY SHALL BE MINE."
"Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him."--`Mal. 3:16,17`.
The Prophet Malachi, in connection with the above words, was foretelling, not only the coming of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ at his first advent, but also the coming of a greater, and in a fuller sense an antitype
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of Elias, before the great and notable day of the Lord's second advent. (See MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. II., Chapter viii.) What, therefore, we find here addressed to nominal fleshly Israel, in view of the Lord's first advent and of the harvest work of sifting and separating and the final disposition of the wheat and chaff of that people in the close of the Jewish age, we find applicable now, in the harvest of this Gospel age, to nominal spiritual Israel--to the great sifting and separating work now progressing under the direction of the Lord of the harvest, who is now present.
While, therefore, we see the fitness of this prophecy in its application to fleshly Israel in the close of the Jewish age, and while we recognize its rebukes, its warnings and its promises to that people in the past, the important feature for our present consideration is its application now, in the closing days of this dispensation.
We see that the promised Elias has indeed come, and that the great "Messenger of the Covenant" in whom we delight--Jesus, our Lord and Savior--is now actually present. And truly his presence is like the refiner's fire and like fuller's soap. (`Verse 2`.) All of those who profess to be his people are now under rigid inspection. The tests are being constantly applied to all professions of godliness, and are separating, with unerring precision, the pure gold of actual loyalty to God from the dross of mere profession and outward forms of godliness.
The condition of the nominal spiritual Israel was wonderfully mirrored in that of fleshly Israel. When the Lord says, "Return unto me, and I will return unto you" (`verse 7`), now, as then, the reply is, "Wherein shall we return." They will not own that they have departed from the right ways of the Lord: in their own estimation they are rich and increased in goods, spiritual as well as temporal, and have need of nothing, though actually they are poor and miserable and blind and naked. (`Rev. 3:17`.) In their own estimation they are whole and need no physician, though actually they are sick and full of wounds and bruises and putrefying sores. The Lord says to them, Ye have robbed me in tithes and offerings; your words have been stout against me; and ye have declared it a vain, unprofitable thing to serve the Lord and to keep his ordinances. But they answer,
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"Wherein have we robbed thee?" and "What have we spoken against thee?" and "What profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked contritely before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered." --`Verses 8,13-15`.
In making profession of consecration to the Lord and yet living in pleasure and luxury with the world, conforming to worldly ideas, etc., the great nominal church has robbed God of that which they covenanted to give him--the loyalty and devotion of their hearts. Their words, too, have truly been stout against the Lord--their teachings have been in direct opposition to his Word, though they will not own it; and seeing no present profit in following the Lord closely, and observing the temporal prosperity of the wicked, they are content to follow the Lord afar off and to make whatever compromises with the world may be necessary to secure their present advantage.
Such is the attitude of the great mass of nominal Christians to-day: they have a form of godliness, but the power has long since departed. They build magnificent temples of fashion, run in debt to the world for them, and tax even the poorest to pay the interest on the mortgage and to secure a grand organ, a paid choir and a pulpit orator. These they dedicate to God, and then open them for the festival, the fair, the grab game and church theatricals; and while all effort is made to court the favor and secure the patronage of the rich, the humble poor are shunned and slighted and elbowed first into corners and back seats and finally outside the gates.
Thus increased in worldly goods and flushed with pride and apparent prosperity, the masses of the nominal church of all denominations are at ease. They are satisfied with their position and attainments, unwilling to acknowledge their shortcomings and backslidings, and are enjoying their feastings and revelry with the world. And their words are stout against the Lord's
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truth, because the truth would expose their errors and sins and destroy their friendly relationship and alliance with the world.
But in the midst of all this confusion and error God's people have been developing. They are the mourners in nominal Zion whom the Lord promised in due time to comfort. (`Matt. 5:4`; `Isa. 61:3`.) They are the wheat in the midst of the tares or mere imitation Christians. They do not love the spirit of the world and cannot assimilate with it; they are not satisfied with the distorted creeds of human manufacture and deplore the fact that others are; they love the Word of God and make it their study; and they love the spirit of God wherever they see it exemplified. And while the multitudes come together in the great temples of fashion, ostensibly to worship God, but really to worship Mammon, these prefer to meet one with another, and on every such occasion rejoice in the verification of that blessed promise of the Master--"Wherever two or three are met together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
These reverence the Lord's words above the teachings and traditions of men, and it is their delight to withdraw from the great multitude and commune together concerning the Lord and concerning his promises. So these that reverence the Lord speak often one to another; they love to encourage and build one another up; they love to tell of the Lord's goodness and of his truth wherever they can find a listening ear; and when through them a neighbor or friend finds the truth they rejoice together, and together widen the circle for proclaiming the good tidings and for communing one with another with reference to their heaven-inspired hopes. Their hearts are full of love and loyalty to God, and though their opportunities to serve him and to spread abroad the honor of his name may be few, yet their loving zeal is not passed by unnoticed by the Lord; for, says the Prophet, "The Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that reverenced the Lord [not systems and creeds and traditions of men] and that thought upon his name [that were zealous for the honor of his name, not the names of Wesley, or Calvin, or Knox, or Luther]. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels. And I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him."
Yes, the Lord is looking for loyal, loving, generous and noble hearts, for those who prefer the joy of his approval and of his promises to every earthly joy, and whose actions prove their zeal and devotion. Such, wherever we find them, are the Lord's jewels; and these will all be spared when the overwhelming trouble shall shortly be visited upon the wide fields of Christendom. These ere long will all be gathered out from amongst the tares and exalted to glory and honor and dominion with Christ as his Bride and joint-heir.
"Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not." Then, after the gathering and exaltation of the Church, and after the great time of trouble has accomplished its purpose of leveling all the proud and all the great systems--civil, social and religious--which have so long blinded and misled the world, then the new order of things will be established, wherein the order of the present time will be reversed. Instead of the proud being set up then, the meek shall inherit the earth, and life and prosperity and happiness and every blessing shall be the rewards of righteousness; and evil doers shall be cut off when the discipline of that time shall fail to effect a transformation, though none, we are informed, shall be thus cut off without at least a hundred years' trial under the favorable conditions of that time.
While we thus view our Heavenly Father's glorious plan and rejoice to declare it to others, what a comfort it is to know that he reads the loyalty of our hearts with reference to it; and though our talents may be few and weak, and really insignificant in our own sight, yet in the Lord's estimation the use of an opportunity even to speak to a neighbor about his truth and the honor of his name is not overlooked. "And the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written." Did you ever think of this when, perhaps with faltering
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speech, you tried to tell the good tidings of great joy to your next neighbor, or your shopmate, or your Christian brother or sister? or possibly to a larger company?--"The Lord hearkened, and heard it." Aye! and has not your heart burned within you as the heavenly benediction fell upon you, and sweet peace and joy filled your soul and fired your zeal with an intense yearning to herald the good news to earth's remotest bounds? Yes, every loyal and faithful child of God has had some of this blessed experience and may have more of it, and will, to the extent that he is energetic in serving the truth.
And if our names be not blotted out of that book of remembrance through unfaithfulness, we shall surely be gathered among the jewels, though no mighty deeds have made us great in the eyes of our fellow-men. The tests of love and loyalty are not always great deeds, though, if we love with all our hearts, they will be as great and as far reaching in their influence as our talents and opportunities will permit; but the prompt and ready use of even the smallest talent is carefully noted by our loving Lord in his book of remembrance. And not the imperfect rendering of service, but the perfect intention with which it is rendered, is faithfully recorded.
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I long had borne a heavy load
Along life's rough and thorny road,
And often-times had wondered why
My friend walked burdenless, while I
Was forced to carry, day by day,
The cross which on my shoulders lay:
When, lo, one day the Master laid
Another cross on me. Dismayed,
And faint, and trembling, and distressed,
I cried, "Oh! I have longed for rest
These many days. I cannot bear
This other heavy load of care.
I pray thee, Lord, behold this one--
Shall I bear both while he has none?"
No answer came. The cross was laid
On my poor back, and I was weighed
Down to the earth. And as I went
Toiling along and almost spent,
Again I cried, "Lord have I been
Untrue to thee? Is it for sin
That I have done, that I must still
Carry this cross against my will?"
"My child," the Master's voice returned,
"Hast thou not yet the lesson learned?
The burden thou hast borne so long
Hath only made thee grow more strong,
And fitted thee to bear for me
This other load I lay on thee.
Thy brother is too weak as yet
To have a cross upon him set.
God's burdens rest upon the strong.
They stronger grow who bear them long,
And each new burden is a sign
That greater power to bear is thine."
So now no longer I repine,
Because a heavy cross is mine,
But struggle onward with the prayer,
"Make me more worthy, Lord, to bear."
--Mrs. B. M. Bailey.
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There is another sense in which some are said to be in Christ. While, as we have just shown, all believers are represented in Christ for justification, just as they were formerly represented in Adam for condemnation, some come into Christ as members of the Christ body, of which Christ Jesus is the head. The term "Christ" signifies the Anointed, and the ceremony of anointing in olden times, from which this term is borrowed, signified the consecrating or setting apart of some one for the office of king, etc. So the Son of God, our Lord Jesus, was anointed, consecrated or set apart by God for the offices of prophet, priest and king. He is, therefore, the Anointed, the Christ; and since it is the purpose of God to select from among
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men some to be joint-heirs with him in this inheritance --"a royal priesthood," of which Christ Jesus shall be the head or high priest-- all who are of this anointed company are said to be in Christ. Such are said to be baptized into Christ: they come into this anointed company, into the body of Christ, by baptism; not by baptism in water merely, but by baptism into the spirit, the disposition, the mind and will of the head, Christ Jesus, which proves eventually to be a baptism even unto death. "Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death." But those who are thus planted in the likeness of his death shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection--the first order of resurrection, which is to the spiritual, divine nature.--`Rom. 6:5`; `Rev. 20:6`; `2 Pet. 1:4`.
But this high calling is not the special salvation referred to in the above text. (`1 Tim. 4:10`.) True, that special salvation of justification must be obtained (reckonedly, by faith) by every one of this class, before he is even called with this high calling to come into Christ as a member of his body and a fellow-heir with him of the coming kingdom. This high calling is not salvation at all, but a gracious favor of God beyond the favor of salvation; or, as John expresses it (`John 1:16`.--See Emphatic Diaglott), it is grace upon grace, favor upon favor. The special salvation referred to by the Apostle is one which will be bestowed upon all who believe: not only of this age and of past ages, but also of the Millennial age; while the favor of the high calling is proffered only to believers during the Gospel age.
Thus we have seen that the Lord clearly points out the conditions upon which his special or actual salvation, which is provided for all men, may be realized by all men. And none can realize it in any other way; for our "God is a consuming fire" to any who claim or demand his salvation on any other terms than through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (`Rom. 3:24`.) Any who seek to climb up to life in any other way he declares to be thieves and robbers (`John 10:1,8,9`); and to such the Apostle gives fair warning, saying, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (`Heb. 10:31`)--a fearful thing to stand trial before God in our own righteousness, which is but "filthy rags," and without the covering of the robe of imputed righteousness secured for us by our Redeemer, who according to our Father's gracious plan becomes the representative and Mediator for all who accept his grace. It is the folly of some, nevertheless, to claim that none can lose or miss this salvation--notwithstanding all that the Scriptures say about the conditions of salvation, and their warning against the possible loss of it. In the face of the testimony of the Scriptures to the contrary, such a suggestion is a forcible reminder of the subtle tempter's language to our mother Eve in Eden. Said he, "Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die." God says to all men, "You may have salvation upon these terms," while some men say, "There are no conditions, there are no terms, but the everlasting salvation all will have." But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you: let God be true, though it prove every man a liar.
The theory of a universal, eternal salvation is not a new one: it has had some adherents for many centuries. Indeed, it is older than the doctrine of redemption; for it was announced by His Satanic Majesty to our mother Eve in Eden, when, tempting her to despise the word of the Lord, he boldly said, "Ye shall not surely die." For those who have never been enlightened with a clear knowledge of the plan of God, and who have been confronted all their lives with the horrible nightmare of eternal torment for a large majority of the race, there is some excuse for swinging to the extreme of liberalism. In such cases, it may be regarded more in the light of a benevolent and hopeful reaction from old superstitions. But the case is very different when one turns away from a clear knowledge of the divine plan of redemption and restitution through faith in Christ and
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repentance and submission of heart and life to God, to embrace a theory which is antagonistic in its nature to the whole scheme of redemption and restitution as set forth in the Scriptures. Let those who have been once enlightened take heed, "lest as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ"--the simplicity of Christ's doctrine. --`2 Cor. 11:3`.
It is true that God has provided salvation for all men, and that the fullest opportunity for realizing it will be granted to each and all; but the terms upon which the favor may be realized are also distinctly stated, and that together with the fact that there will be no compromise as to terms; and, further, that those who reject the terms reject the proffered salvation, and hence die the second death, from which there will be no redemption and no deliverance. (`Heb. 10:26-31`.) The Scriptures also abound in warnings as to the danger of coming under the penalty of death the second time, after having been released from the first death, either reckonedly or actually.--`Heb. 6:4-8`.
But some, still anxious to maintain this delusive hope, are willing to press every lame argument into its service; and they do so until by logical deduction, based upon this false premise--that the eternal salvation of every man is so secure that it cannot be forfeited-- they are driven to the denial of the whole plan of God from its foundation in the vicarious sacrifice of Christ to its glorious finish at the end of his Millennial reign in the restitution of all things to the perfect condition and happy estate from which man fell through sin.
Those who determine to make this theory of a universal, eternal salvation the rallying point in their theology begin by asserting that it must be so, because God is love; then they go farther and say, it must be so, because God is just. Thus they presume upon the love of God and claim his salvation upon the score of justice; and upon this hypothesis they do all manner of turning and twisting to force the Scriptures into harmony with their theory. They make light of all the Bible warnings of a second death, by claiming that they do not mean actual physical death, but that the term is figurative and signifies a death to sin; that it is the opposite of the first death, which was a death to righteousness; and that it was this figurative death to which God referred when he said, "In the day thou eatest thereof, dying thou shalt die." Thus the actual death loses its sting as a penalty for sin, and it is generally regarded by them as a necessary step in a process of evolution by which man is evolved to a higher condition or nature--the spiritual.
To attain this spiritual nature it is therefore necessary, in their estimation, for every man to die the second death, which they regard as a blessing and not a curse. And since physical death is, presumably, merely a step in a process of evolution to a higher condition, and not a penalty for sin, therefore there is no necessity for a ransom from it. Hence the death of Christ is regarded only as an extreme measure of self-sacrifice, as an exhibition of the martyr spirit, in his zeal to show men how to live; and the idea of a vicarious or substitutionary sacrifice being required for the satisfaction of divine justice, so that God could still be just and yet be the justifier, or savior, of him that believeth in Jesus (`Rom. 3:26`), is indignantly scouted as a barbarous view, and the "precious blood of Christ wherewith we are sanctified is counted a common thing" and of no more value to us than the blood of any other martyr.
But while these would-be philosophers make this preposterous claim, that the second death, against which the Scriptures so faithfully warn us, is only a death to sin and the dawn of a new life to righteousness, and that it is therefore nothing to be feared, but rather to be desired, they seem at times to forget this hypothesis, and, inconsistently enough with their own theory, they tell us that if a man actually experiences a second physical death, or even a third or fourth, these like the first could only be regarded as further necessary steps in the process of evolution, and out of each the persistent sinner will be recovered without a redemption, as he was presumably out of the first death. So they claim that the process of physical death and resurrection may be repeated over and over until the sinner is prevailed upon to submit to the
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will of God. And since the Scriptures declare that some will die at the end of Christ's Millennial reign, they claim that the work of reform will continue into the ages to follow--ignoring entirely the positive statement of the Apostle to the contrary.--`1 Cor. 15:24,25`; `Rev. 20:6`.
This theory would be served by changing several passages in God's Word. Thus--
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THE WORD OF GOD READS:
"As by one man's disobedience sin entered into the world, and death by sin,...even so, by the righteousness of one, justification to life has passed upon all."
"As all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive."
"As by a man [Adam] came death, by a man also [the man Christ Jesus, by his sacrifice for sin] came the resurrection of the dead."
"He that hath the Son hath life: he that hath not the Son shall not see life."
"He hath opened up for us a new way of life."
"To those who seek for glory, honor and immortality, he will render eternal life."
"I have set before you life and death: ...Choose life that ye may live."
THIS THEORY WOULD HAVE IT:
As by one man's disobedience sin entered into the world, and death by sin,...even so, by the righteousness of one, justification to the second death has passed upon all.
As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all die the second death.
As by man came death, by a man also came the certainty of the second death.
All shall share the second death, and thus all shall see life.
He hath pointed out to us the advantages of the second death.
To all, whether they seek it or not, he will render the second death, which means a death to sin that will never end.
You have no choice in this matter. I will cast you all into the second death, which will be eternal death to sin.
The revolutionary tendency of the doctrine is thus very apparent; and when the mind is fully set on establishing this theory and perverting every scripture to its support, the false doctrines that grow out of it are legion, and the entire Word of God is made of no effect.
The Bible teaching is plain and simple to those of simple mind, and admits of no such fanciful and absurd interpretation. There, death is declared to be "the wages of sin," and not merely a departure from righteousness. (`Rom. 6:23`.) Sin is the departure from righteousness; and death, destruction of being, is its just penalty. And since death was the just penalty of sin, and was pronounced by God, who cannot err, and who is unchangeable--the same yesterday, to-day and forever--it could not be revoked or set aside: no power in heaven or earth could set aside the immutable claims of justice until, by the grace of God, the man Christ Jesus, our Lord, paid our penalty, died for our sins, legally set us free, and thus made provision for our recovery out of death in due time by the process of resurrection. Thanks be unto God and our Lord Jesus Christ for this great salvation, purchased on our heavenly Father's part by the sacrifice of his only begotten and well beloved Son, and on our Lord's part by the sacrifice of himself, and made efficacious to us through faith on our part in his precious blood shed for many for the remission of sins. --`Matt. 26:28`.
And as the original difficulty was not death, but sin, so the remedy is not second death, but righteousness. The two principles are Sin and Righteousness, and under God's arrangement they each have certain results. Sin results in DEATH, while righteousness results in LIFE. The entire race became sinners by heredity in Adam, weak and unable to fulfil all righteousness, and hence all shared the penalty, death-- "death passed upon all men," because all are imperfect, sinners.
But God, foreseeing that some would, after experience, be willing to obey all righteousness if provided the ability through Christ--through the New Covenant sealed and ratified by his death as our representative and substitute, bearing our penalty--compensated for all sins past and for present and future sins resulting from the fall, to all who accept him as their Redeemer
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and who become followers of his commands. Thus such are made the righteousness of God in him (Christ) and shall obtain the reward of righteousness--everlasting life.
While we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of them that believe, let all "thieves and robbers," who are attempting to teach men how to climb up to life by some other than God's appointed way, take warning; for while "God is love," let them know that he loves that which is lovely, that he has decreed that all that is unworthy of love in his universe shall be destroyed, and that when the Millennial reign of his Anointed is complete not one blot shall remain to reproach his fair creation; for Christ "must reign till he hath put all enemies under his FEET." Then he will have brought forth judgment unto victory. (`Matt. 12:20`.) And his victory will be complete when all evil and all wilful evil-doers--Satan and all those who follow his leading (`Heb. 2:14`; `Rev. 20:10,14,15`), shall have been cut off. His victory will consist in the establishment of righteousness and peace, no matter how many or how few fall in the conflict.
Let all the faithful--the elect--take heed that they be not deceived by those vain philosophers who, "desiring to be teachers, understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm" (`1 Tim. 1:7`); for God hath declared that wilful evil-doers "shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be admired in all those that believe in that day." And from the mention of the character of the class that shall be destroyed it is very manifest that the second death into which they are cast is not a death to sin, as Universalists claim. Hear the Word of the Lord--"The fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is THE SECOND DEATH. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire:...this is the second death." (`Rev. 21:8`; `20:10`.) That is a bad lot: we do not want to be in such company. Before their destruction comes they will have had fullest opportunity to repent; and the fact that Satan will have had the opportunities of seven thousand years and yet remain incorrigible will be ample proof to every intelligent mind that there is such a thing as becoming established --fixed and immovable--in sin as well as in righteousness. Let us remember the word of the Lord--"For evil-doers shall be cut off; but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and he shall not be there. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace."--`Psa. 37:9-11`.
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FAITH AND FEELING.
Feeling should never be mistaken for faith, yet there is as much connection between faith and hallowed feeling as there is between the root and the flower. Faith is permanent, just as the root is ever in the ground. Feeling is casual and has its season. Just as the root or bulb does not always shoot up the green stem and beautiful flowers, so faith does not always produce ecstasy of feeling. Our faith may be just as strong when we are despondent as when we are filled with joy. As we feel the calamities of war, the pangs of disease and the hardness of poverty, our feeling sinks down to zero, while our faith may be as firm as the granite that underlies the cloud-kissing hills. Measure not God's love and power by your own feeling. The sun shines as clearly in the darkest day as it does in the brightest: the difference is not in the sun, but in some clouds that are between you and the sun. So God loves as well when we see not the brightness of his countenance as when we do.
One of the things we learn by a Christian experience is that low measures of feeling are
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better than ecstasies for ordinary life. God sends us his rain in gentle drops, else tender plants and delicate flowers would be beaten to pieces. If our faith is founded on the immutability of God, our Christian life and love will flow steadily on like a deep river, not easily affected by a cold blast nor obstructed by despondencies. Moses was not governed by feeling when he stood on the margin of the Red Sea, neither was Abraham when he offered up Isaac, nor Israel when they compassed Jericho seven days. Have faith in God, move forward all along the line, and we shall have the victory.--Sel.
STUDIES IN THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.
--INTERNATIONAL S.S. LESSONS.--
SUGGESTIVE THOUGHTS DESIGNED TO ASSIST THOSE OF OUR READERS WHO ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES, WHERE THESE LESSONS ARE USED; THAT THEY MAY BE ENABLED TO LEAD OTHERS INTO THE FULLNESS OF THE GOSPEL. PUBLISHED IN ADVANCE, AT THE REQUEST OF FOREIGN READERS.
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LESSON XIII., SEPT. 25, `ISA. 5:11,22`; `28:7`; `PROV. 20:1`; `23:19-21,29-35`; `GAL. 5:19,21`; `HAB. 2:15`; `HOS. 14:9`.
Golden Text--"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." --`Prov. 20:1`.
The lesson chosen by the International Committee as a temperance lesson for this quarter was `1 Cor. 11:20-24`. But some, seeing no reference to temperance in these Scriptures, have made the above selection, which we will here treat briefly, referring the reader to our issue of March 1891 for an exposition of the lesson in `1 Cor. 11:20-34`. We still have a few on hand which can be supplied to any requesting it.
While some of the above Scriptures are well chosen for a temperance lesson, there is much more in some of them, as will be observed by those who will study them in connection with their various contexts. Let us here pursue such a study of them, though we must necessarily be brief.
`ISAIAH 5:11,22`. The reference here is not to literal wine, but to the intoxicating spirit of the world, so freely imbibed by nominal Israel, both fleshly and spiritual. It was through such intoxication that fleshly Israel rejected the Lord at his first advent, and that nominal spiritual Israel is now stumbling over that same stumbling-stone. (`Isa. 8:14`.) The whole chapter, like `chapter 28` of the same prophecy, was given as a warning to both fleshly and spiritual Israel against imbibing the intoxicating spirit of the world. Woe indeed came upon fleshly Israel in the end of their age of favor, because of their intoxicated and miserable condition of heart and mind. It came in the dreadful overthrow of Jerusalem and their complete destruction as a nation. And a similar woe upon nominal spiritual Israel--"Christendom" so-called--will, according to the sure word of prophecy, be visited upon them in the closing days of this harvest, because nominal spiritual Israel has partaken also of the same intoxicating wine.
And while all who constitute a part of that great system, which because of its intoxication is now cast off and disowned of the Lord, and out of which he is now calling those who are still his people (`Rev. 18:2,4`), will share in the woe that is coming upon it, the prophet (`verse 22`), makes very special mention of woe that is to come upon those who are mighty to drink this wine, and men of strength to prepare the cup for others. In other words, the prophet seems here to indicate special condemnation to those who are the public leaders and promulgators of false doctrine.
`ISAIAH 28:7`. This scripture refers to the same class as that last mentioned--the priests and the prophets, the leaders and teachers in nominal spiritual Israel now, and in nominal fleshly Israel at the close of the Jewish age. Because of their intoxication with the wine of this world's pleasures, etc., they are all out of the way: they err in vision, they stumble in judgment, and are unable to discern and follow the truth, and much less to teach the truth, though they occupy the position of teachers. For further notes on this chapter, see treatment of Lesson III., in our issue of January 15th.
`PROVERBS 20:1`. This proverb of Solomon evidently has reference to literal wine and strong drink, and its truthfulness is so manifest as to require no comment here. Well would it be if all men would ponder and heed this wise warning against a foe so subtle and so destructive to peace and righteousness.
`PROVERBS 23:19-21` classes drunkenness and gluttony together. Both are unworthy of true manhood and bring their sure reward of poverty and disgrace.
`PROVERBS 23:29-35` extends the wholesome counsel further, picturing the miserable results of intemperance; for the momentary pleasure
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at last "biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder."
`GALATIANS 5:19-21` classes drunkenness among the miserable works of the flesh, which Paul here contrasts with the beautiful fruits of the spirit of God among those who have become the children of God. And thus the Apostle arrays himself, and all the saints who seek an inheritance in the Kingdom of God, on the side not only of temperance, but also of every good work and disposition.
`HABAKKUK 2:15` seems, from the context, to have special reference again to the spirit of the world, and declares woe unto such as endeavor to lead others to imbibe of this intoxicating wine. But the condemnation would apply equally to those who tempt others to the use of intoxicating drinks.
`HOSEA 14:9`. This scripture has no reference whatever to the subject of temperance, but closes an exhortation to fallen Israel to return unto the Lord.
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SAUL OF TARSUS CONVERTED.
FOURTH QUAR., LESSON I., OCT. 2, `ACTS 9:1-20`.
Golden Text--"Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God."--`John 3:3`.
In this lesson we have a forcible illustration of the importance of a correct knowledge of the truth as well as a zeal for God. Paul had the latter, but, lacking the former, he went to the extreme of persecuting the Church of Christ. Nevertheless, God, who reads the heart, discerned its loyalty and zeal, and, without blaming him for doing that which he thought was right and acceptable to God, he simply pointed out to him the better way. Light, says the Prophet (`Psa. 97:11`), is sown for the righteous; and Saul was righteous at heart and hence the truth was due to him in God's appointed time.
Before that time arrived, however, the beloved and faithful Stephen had sealed his testimony with his blood, while Saul was consenting unto his death. Was God negligent, then, of the interests of his faithful martyr? Ah! no; but his ways are not our ways. Stephen's life was fully consecrated to the Master's service, and evidently the only question with him as to when or how it might end was, which time or way would be most to the glory of God. It has been truly said that the blood of the martyrs has been the seed of the Church. Stephen thus became an example to the whole Church of faithfulness even unto death; and having thus gloriously finished his course, there was thenceforth laid up for him a crown of righteousness to be received at the Lord's second appearing.
Little did Stephen think that one who stood by, consenting unto his death, would soon go forth as a zealous advocate of the very cause he was persecuting. That Paul's heart was right in the matter, even when his head and his hands were in the wrong, is very clear from his statement of the matter in `Chapter 26:9-11`, where he says, "I verily thought within myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth, which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and, being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them, even unto strange cities."
Again, we find the Apostle referring to the matter in his letter to Timothy (`1 Tim. 1:12-14,16`), saying, "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful [at heart, though wrong in action], putting me into the ministry who was before a blasphemer and a persecutor and injurious: but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus....Howbeit, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting."
In view of these statements, therefore, we are not to consider Paul's conversion as a conversion of the heart from a disposition of opposition to one of harmony with God, but as a conversion or turning about, through a better understanding of the truth, from an erroneous course to one in harmony with God and his plan of salvation.
The Lord's mercy and love to this deluded though sincere servant were beautifully manifested in the words addressed to Saul: In the midst of the overwhelming glory of the heavenly presence a tender voice fell on his ear, saying, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." And Saul answered, "Who art thou, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness, both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people and from the Gentiles unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God,
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that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me." And Saul, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" And the Lord said unto him, "Arise and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do."--Compare `Acts 9:3-6` and `26:13-17`.
Saul's prompt obedience and instantaneous change of conduct were indicative of a noble character; and his question, "What wilt thou have me do?" showed an earnest desire to be active in the service of God to the extent of his ability and knowledge. And no sooner had he learned the will of God than he was off about his Master's business--preaching Christ at Damascus and Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, to Jews and Gentiles, calling upon all to repent and turn to God and do works meet for repentance. (`Acts 9:19,20`; `26:19,20`.) Nor did the zeal of this faithful soldier of the cross abate in the least until he had finished his course. After years of unmitigated toil and care and persecution and trouble on every hand, he rejoiced at the close of life to say--"I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
The instance of this lesson affords also a striking illustration of the Lord's personal oversight and supervision of the interests of his Church, both as a company and as individuals. By the loss of Judas a vacancy had occurred in the company of the apostles, which vacancy the apostles themselves endeavored to fill by their election of Matthias. (`Acts 1:26`.) This they had no authority to do, but, presuming such to be the Lord's will, they chose two and asked the Lord to indicate which of the two whom they had selected would be his choice; and when the lot fell upon Matthias-- for it must of course fall on one of the two-- the eleven accepted him as the Lord's choice for the place of Judas. But the sequel showed that the Lord merely ignored their presumption in the matter, and in his own time and way chose Saul of Tarsus, a man at heart devoted to the service of God and needing only to be enlightened by the truth when all his consecrated powers would be fully enlisted in the blessed work of bearing the name of Christ to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. And this Saul, afterward called Paul, was the most noted, self-sacrificing and efficient of all the apostles.
Then, too, in the selection and special favor shown to Saul, we see the Lord's appreciation of loyal and zealous hearts. What a comfort is this to all the saints in the midst of a realizing sense of our own infirmities and short-comings, that if our hearts are loyal, the Lord can read it there. If we lack knowledge he will grant it in his own good time and way; and his wisdom will correct our mistakes, and his love and mercy and grace will abound toward us more and more as we continue to walk in his ways.
The part which Ananias was privileged to take in the healing of Paul's eyes and in enlightening his mind with the truth was one which must have brought great joy and blessing to his own heart--not only because of being specially chosen of the Lord for this purpose, but also in seeing such a one as Saul of Tarsus so fully convinced of the truth and enlisted in its service. How wonderfully wise are the ways of the Lord; how blessed is his truth; how tender are his providences; how consoling is his mercy; and how rich are his abounding love and grace! And how glorious is the hope set before us in the gospel of ere long seeing him face to face and of being transformed into his glorious likeness, when, being like him, we shall not be overpowered with the glory or stricken with blindness.
The `golden text` of this lesson was evidently chosen with the idea that Saul of Tarsus was born again when he was converted to the service of the cause of Christ. But such was not the case. Saul was only begotten of the spirit when through the teaching of Ananias he was brought to a knowledge of the truth and to a full consecration of his life to its service. But his birth as a new spiritual being was not due until the resurrection. Birth presupposes both a begetting and a course of development ending at a particular time in the completeness of the new being. The Greek word (gennao) rendered born has the significance of both begetting and birth. Hence, except a man be both begotten and born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God. Paul's birth was not due until the dawn of the Millennium, at the second advent of the Lord. The Lord was the first born from the dead (`Col. 1:18`), and this second birth in his case surely did not mean conversion to God; nor does it ever have such significance.
A WORD TO COLPORTEURS.
All Colporteurs who are giving their entire time to the sale of DAWN will, hereafter, please write at least a Postal Card at the close of each week, so that it will reach us each Monday.
Let us know of your spiritual and physical health, the results of the week's labor, etc.
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"OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT."
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I write to express my sincere gratitude to you, as an instrument in the dear Lord's hands, for unfolding the good and precious truths that his Word teaches. I have read three of your books titled MILLENNIAL DAWN. They have been a great deal of help to me. They have inspired my soul with zeal and more love to my dear Savior. The truths they draw from the Word of God seem as refreshing and uplifting to the believers who are bowed down by the teachings of the nominal church as did the dear Savior's teachings to the poor, lost sheep of Israel at his first advent. The restoration and plan of redemption for all is the only thing that can be harmonized with the Word of God. Oh! how the nominal church is lacking in knowledge. Light, more light! Some might think this true doctrine has a tendency to lead one away from God. But thanks be to him, it is the reverse. It fills us with love beyond what words can express. It draws us up on to a plane where we can behold the beauty and holiness of our God more clearly, where we can drink of his waters more freely and can look up into his tender face and read his countenance of love in a measure as never before.
May the Lord help us all to look to him through clearer eyes, and may our earnest prayer be, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Amen."
Yours in Christ, C. W. BLAND.
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MY DEAR SIRS:--I enclose a check for $10. Please send me Young's Concordance, twenty copies DAWN, Vol. I., ten copies Vol. II. and eight Vol. III. I assume you will allow me the wholesale price on the above as I wish to circulate them, either selling or giving them away.
I enclose a postal card received from a friend which indicates how he appreciates the truth. I see that others send you words of thanks and encouragement, so I thought perhaps you could find time to read this. It may be of some little interest to you to know how the light came to me. We have a union Bible class once a week; and, some three months ago, every time we met it so happened that before the lesson was finished we would drift into the subject of the Millennium. One evening one of the friends said, I have a book called the "Plan of the Ages," which a lady gave me, that may give some light on the subject. Have not read it, but will loan to you. Since then there has been a well of rejoicing springing up in my soul which I pray will be unto life everlasting. `1 Cor. 2:9,10` comes to me very forcibly in the light of the Plan of the Ages. Please return the postal.
In the interest of the truth, truly yours,
J. T. HURST.
The card referred to is as follows:
Dear Friend:--Not for ten years of life would I have missed reading Vol. I., MILLENNIAL DAWN. I shall read the others as soon as I can spare moments. How truly wonderful is God's plan! Human mind cannot grasp its fulness. Your friend, J. A. B__________.
DEAR SIR:--I am a constant reader of "MILLENNIAL DAWN," Vols. I., II. and III. My eyes were opened to the light of God's truth in my "Jubilee" year. (I turned fifty years on the 4th inst.) I feel that I am emancipated from the bondage of creed and tradition.
I have been connected with the Baptist denomination for over thirty-five years. In 1874 I was a theological student at Rochester, N.Y., but my health failed me and I never became a minister. For this I have been thankful, since my enlightenment, knowing that I would have been a messenger of error rather than truth, and less liable to have received "the truth now due." Yours in fellowship,
TOWER PUBLISHING COMPANY:--I have just finished reading the first volume of MILLENNIAL DAWN. Am delighted: it settles difficulties, answers questions and illuminates the way wonderfully. I am deeply indebted to you. Am seeking for light; have you more of such publications? If so send me circulars.
PASTOR M.E. CHURCH.
DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER RUSSELL:--Oh, if you could only know the joy that the DAWNS have brought to this poor heart of mine! I belonged to the Missionary Baptist sect; but in studying my Bible I saw there was confusion, and I sent to different places and got Disciplines and Articles of Faith, but found none in harmony with the Scriptures. Last fall a dear Brother sold me DAWNS I. and II., and after carefully reading them I found them in perfect accord. Praise the dear Lord that he has raised up expounders of his precious Word, after the counsel of his own heart. Oh, the joy there is
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now in studying the precious Word of God from his standpoint!
I will not intrude more on your valuable time. God bless you abundantly in your labor of love.
DEAR FRIENDS:--I have just finished reading Vol. III. of MILLENNIAL DAWN; and the language of my heart is, How wonderful are thy works, O Lord God of Hosts: just and right are all thy ways. I have been greatly blessed in reading the books, and want to confess that I believe they are truth, notwithstanding I have had to give up my former views that I held dear; but with the bright light shining on the Word, I can hold them no longer. I do feel to thank the dear Lord and his servants for the light. How wise and beautiful are all his plans, and how well they correspond with the declaration that "God is Love." O, who would not love and serve him! The "Time of Trouble" is now just in the future, but the true child of God feels that he has a shelter under his mighty arm.
Enclosed find $2.00 for the WATCH TOWER, and copies of PLAN OF THE AGES in paper covers. I want all to read them that will, for truly "we are living in a grand and awful time," and I want to do what little I can to help spread the truth. Yours truly, R. S. LEEDS.
TOWER PUBLISHING COMPANY:--Enclosed please find pay for the TOWER and THE PLAN OF THE AGES. Permit me to add, this volume, which was loaned to me and which I have read, is wonderful in its clearness--logical throughout --and a most wonderful Key to the Holy Scriptures. Truly the author must have been divinely directed in his researches of the Bible. Be pleased to hand these lines of thanks to him and his helper, for their patient and loving work. It has drawn me nearer to God than ever before, and I have professed to be near him for fifty-two years. Please also send me a price list of your books. I must have more of them. Yours, MRS. S. J. BROWN.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Ever since reading Vol. I. of MILLENNIAL DAWN, last winter, I have been wanting to write to you, but feared your time was too much occupied to answer me. My whole life has been changed by the reading of the DAWN series, the first volume of which I came across accidentally, or providentially, and read only because I had nothing else to read. There are some questions, however, that are not yet clearly settled in my mind, and on which I wish to receive light.
I have tried to do something towards giving light to others since I found it myself, and I hope that my efforts have not been in vain; for it is my greatest desire to do the work of my Father acceptably. I would like to go into the colporteur work, but, being in debt, I think it my first duty to pay up. Any advice you can give me will be gratefully received, for I have no one to consult when in doubt, and all is not yet clear. Thank God for the light that has come, and may it shine brighter and brighter.
Truly yours in Christ, J. A. AUSTIN.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Since reading the MILLENNIAL DAWNS, the Tracts and the WATCH TOWER, I cannot do less than write and tell you that my heart is so full of the love of God through the better knowledge of the truth advocated in the above expositions, that I desire to thank you, and wish you many a "God bless you." I am growing in grace and the knowledge of the truth daily, and verily I have songs in the night. Truly, "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him," and he will show them his covenant. I see nothing in the DAWNS to take exceptions to: they are all built upon a "Thus saith the Lord," and a rightly dividing the Word of truth--a harmonious whole. The prophetic periods are very convincing to me, and I am glad that the thousand years are made so plain to be yet future; for some of the leading Adventists are trying to put them in the past.
I thank God that I have kept aloof from man-made creeds, and I can accept truths, hitherto not made known, but now in the due time revealed to the little flock. May the dear Lord still bless us, and keep us humble at the cross, "trusting in the precious blood," is the prayer of your brother in the faith,
T. W. RICHARDS.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I have learned that you have another volume of DAWN now out, and I would like to read it.
It would now be impossible for me to preach my old sermons over again. Even the ordinary language of "Orthodox" prayer is distasteful to me, and some of the usual forms of expression absolutely shocking to my new feelings. God is blessing your work and many are coming out of the darkness. Yours in the bonds of the "Glad Tidings," J. D. GEHRING.
[God is blessing us, dear Brother, and we rejoice in every evidence of the spread of his truth. No; DAWN Vol. IV. is not out, and will not be ready for some time.--EDITOR.]
ZION'S WATCH TOWER
HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE.
PUBLISHED TWICE A MONTH.
TOWER PUBLISHING COMPANY, "BIBLE HOUSE" ARCH STREET, ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
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SUBSCRIPTION PRICE $1.00 A YEAR, IN ADVANCE, (INCLUDES ALSO A SUBSCRIPTION TO TWO COPIES OF OLD THEOLOGY TRACTS QUARTERLY) By Express Order, Postal Money Order, Bank Draft, or Registered Letter. Foreign only by Foreign Money Order.
FREE TO THE LORD'S POOR.
N.B.--Those of the interested, who by reason of old age or accidents, or other adversity, are unable to pay, will be supplied FREE, if they will send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper.
ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM EARNEST WORKERS.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--You expressed a desire to be informed of the progress of my work in the Hudson river towns. It is quite encouraging to me and the friends of the truth, though as yet not very far advanced. At W__________, where nearly every one knew of the DAWN, and many had the first volume, I sold 200 in about five days. At P__________, in a week and a half, I sold 330 books, besides spending one day delivering--98 degrees in the shade. All praise to the Lord for this measure of success. I am not feeling very strong physically, but his spirit is sufficient to quicken my body.
Brother B__________ and others are quite anxious that I should hold some meetings, and while I may consent to it, it will be with some questioning as to whether it is wise to use much of my strength and time in that direction--especially in towns like this where I expect to remain only a few weeks. I am quite satisfied that those who will not read and understand the DAWN are not very near ripe--if they have any of the wheat quality at all. And I believe the "winds" are being held that the saints may be sealed, not that the world is to become greatly interested now. Hence it seems necessary that we should hasten over the field-- "flying in the midst of heaven."
With kind greetings to the Church at Allegheny, Yours in our Redeemer,
S. D. ROGERS.
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I write to let you know that my interest and zeal in the Lord's service are not abated. Perhaps, dear Brother, you have wondered why I, unlike others of the dear workers, do not turn in any money to the Society, but I would say that all I get is not spent selfishly upon myself. I find abundant opportunity to help some of the dear saints around here. There is one sister who at times is very destitute, and who has become very much interested in the truth. She is a widow with two children.
If you could only see how some of the dear ones (this sister included) in S__________ are feasting upon the glorious truth, it would cheer your heart very greatly; and as for myself, I could not express upon paper, nor in language, the joy that fills my heart in perusing the precious things brought out in the TOWER of late. Often my thoughts revert to yourself and dear sister R., and prayers on your behalf, as well as for all saints, ascend to the throne of grace. It often comforts me to think that the Lord knoweth the heart of each one of his children, and whether they are fully in harmony with him and his wonderful plan; and though we may sometimes misunderstand each other, yet the Lord understands us at all times.
With warm Christian love, Your brother in Christ, W. J. THORN.
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--The TOWER came to hand to-day, and your article on "Enoch, Elijah and the Sentence" has lifted from my mind a load that has been troubling me for some time and I want to thank you. Words fail to express my gratitude to such a kind, loving Heavenly Father, and to you who have been serving him and us so faithfully. God's justice, love and power are made clearer than ever, and I can exclaim with the apostle, "Oh, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge, of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out." Praying that he will guide and direct you into all truth, and with love to all the saints, I remain,
Yours in the service, C. C. WRIGHT.