VOL. XXXI JULY 1 No. 13
A.D. 1910--A.M. 6038
Bro. Russell's Foreign Tour Report--Sec. 3........211
The Later Pentecost...........................211
Keep Thy Heart Diligently.....................212
Our Justification to Life.....................213
Israel's New Covenant to be Made With
"The Heavens Were Opened".....................214
Life Laid Down--Not Paid Over.................216
Past Sins--Daily Trespasses...................216
"Without Spot or Wrinkle".....................217
Chautauqua Lake Convention........................217
Railroad Rates and Arrangements...............218
Without a Parable He Spake Not....................218
Confessing the Son of God.........................219
"Whom Say Ye That I Am?"......................219
St. Peter--the Rock--The Keys.................220
Delivered from Satan's Snare......................221
Copy of Letter to the Seceders................222
Berean Studies on Creation........................223
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
"BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N.Y., U.S.A.
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INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION CONVENTIONS
BROOKLYN, N.Y., JULY 3
Morning Rally for Praise and Testimony at 10:30 o'clock in the Brooklyn Tabernacle, 13-17 Hicks street. The evening meeting at 7:30 o'clock will also be in the Tabernacle. Discourse for the Public at 3:00 P.M. in the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lafayette avenue and St. Felix street. Topic: "True Liberty." Visiting friends will be warmly welcomed.
ERIE, PA., JULY 10
Morning Rally for Praise, Prayer and Testimony at 10:30 o'clock, Zuck's Hall, corner 16th and Peach streets. Service for the public at 2:30 P.M. in the Majestic Theater, Tenth street, near State street. Topic: "Hereafter." Visiting friends will be warmly welcomed.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN., JULY 15-17
CONVENTION HALL, AUDITORIUM ANNEX
Discourse for the Public by Brother Russell, Sunday, July 17, 3:00 P.M., at the Auditorium, corner 11th street and Nicollet avenue. Topic: "Hereafter." Visiting friends will be warmly welcomed.
SCRANTON AND WILKES-BARRE, PA., JULY 24
LYNN, MASS., AUGUST 14
UTICA, N.Y., AUGUST 21
FALL RIVER, MASS., AUGUST 28
BROOKLYN, N.Y., SEPTEMBER 4
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BROTHER RUSSELL'S FOREIGN TOUR REPORT
SUNDAY morning, May 15, we met with the London friends in what is known as the "Whitfield Tabernacle." The present structure was built on the spot where the original Whitfield Tabernacle stood, and what is reputed to be Whitfield's old pulpit is there. We occupied it on the occasion mentioned and talked to the friends of the London Church. Our text was, "Gather together my saints unto me, those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." We emphasized the fact that we are not to be gathered to human teachers, nor into sects, and parties, and denominations. Our gathering of ourselves and our assistance to others is to be into membership in the Body of Christ, the Church of the living God whose names are written in heaven. Saints only are to be gathered. Others may be attracted to some extent and remain for some time in fellowship with the brethren, the Truth and the Lord; but ultimately persecution or ambition, or something else, will separate from the Lord and from those in accord with him, all who are not holy, saintly, fully consecrated.
We specially emphasized that all properly drawn and called and united to the Lord would come into this fellowship
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"by sacrifice." Not only would the sacrifice of Christ be the basis of their acceptance with God, but they themselves would enter into covenant relationship with God, by sacrifice. We pointed out that this covenant relationship began upon their turning from sin and seeking the Lord. We endeavored also to point out that justification to life was not obtainable until after Christ's sacrifice and ascension on high. We noted the fact that those called during this age are merely such as desire fellowship with God to the degree of being willing to forego and sacrifice earthly interests, aims, ambitions and hopes, to be with Christ partakers of heavenly things. We urged all, in the language of the Apostle, to make their calling and election sure--to "present their bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God." We had a very enjoyable session and at its close greeted many of the friends. The attendance was about one thousand, and represented not merely the City of London and suburbs, but many were present from a considerable distance, from Manchester, Bristol, Glasgow, etc.
In the afternoon, Brother John Edgar, M.D., of Glasgow, addressed the friends in the Tabernacle on the subject, "Our Oneness in Christ." We did not have the pleasure of hearing him, but through others understood that it was a very earnest and profitable discourse.
THE LATER PENTECOST
The evening session was in the world-famous "Royal Albert Hall." The attendance was estimated at six thousand. It was an exceptionally intelligent audience; far above the average in this respect, and in years and in religious appearance. We had excellent attention, our topic being, "The Later Pentecost." We endeavored to show that the Times of Restitution of all things will be the Later Pentecost, in which God will pour out his spirit upon all flesh. But we need not detail the discourse since it is already in the hands of such as desire it, through the newspapers.
On Monday there were a number of baptisms symbolized at two different baptistries; we did not learn the number who thus symbolized. In the afternoon at the Tabernacle we had a Question Meeting. The attendance was about 800. The questions propounded evidenced thoughtful study on the part of the friends, and we trust that the answers were helpful to them. Many of the questions appertained to the subjects which have recently been so interesting to us,--respecting the Advocate, Mediator, Ransom-price, vitalizing our Justification, etc.
Our evening service beginning at 6:30 o'clock was a Love Feast--one of the most enjoyable that we have ever participated in. We gave a talk, taking for our subject a little souvenir, which we proffered to all attending the Convention. Indeed, we made similar offers to all the Convention gatherings during our tour, as we had already done in America, and we expect to continue the practice all the year. The souvenir is not of great intrinsic value, and yet it is priceless; it is not for sale, and is given in this manner only as a Convention souvenir. It is a book-mark made of thin celluloid, cut in the shape of a heart. On the one side is a wreath of forget-me-nots, which suggests that the Conventions and the subjects there discussed, and all the dear friends there met in fellowship, are long to be remembered. On the heart below the forget-me-nots is the text, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called the Sons of God." These beautiful words should be fixed in our memories, and should have a weighty influence with us, encouraging us in our fellowship with the Father, with the Lord Jesus, and with each
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other. They should remind us of the exceeding great and precious promises of the Lord's Word, and of the glories in reservation for those who love him, and who attest their love by proper zeal, and thus show themselves copies of their Redeemer.
Turning the book-mark over, the inside of the heart has a grapevine in the center which spreads around the top of the heart, with larger and smaller clusters of grapes. This reminds us of our Lord's words, "I am the vine and ye are the branches--herein is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit"--fruits of the Spirit. In the center of the heart is a medallion picture of the Lord, about the size of a finger nail. It is traditionally the oldest likeness of the Master. Some time ago an emerald stone was found in Constantinople amongst the effects of the Emperors. In it was etched an intaglio likeness of Jesus. The tradition attached to it is that it was executed in the time of Tiberius Caesar and sent to him as a present. Whether this legend be true or not, the likeness is probably the oldest picture of our Lord in the world. Later on the intaglio was presented to the Papal collection at Rome, and what we have reproduced is from a photograph of it. We elaborate this little scrap of history, realizing that it will enhance the value of the memento in the minds of all who love the Lord, and who long to see his face, not in the flesh; but as the Apostle explains, when "changed," we shall be made like him, and see him as he is--rather than as he was.
KEEP THY HEART, DILIGENTLY
Underneath the likeness of Jesus is the text, "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." This text we endeavored especially to emphasize as the great lesson of our lives. We pointed out that to all who have made consecration, and whose consecration the Lord has accepted, there is a test or decision. Begotten of the holy Spirit to the spirit nature, the issues are life eternal on the spirit plane, or death eternal. To those who have given up the human nature in consecration, and whose sacrifice God has accepted through the merit of our Advocate, there is no prospect of restitution. Such have received by faith one justification to life through the merit of Jesus' sacrifice, and it is not the Divine purpose to give more than one justification to life to anybody. Whoever therefore receives this justification and fails to use it to the attainment of eternal life will find, as the Apostle declares, that "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins"; he has had his share in the one sacrifice. Hence in a very pronounced sense the issues of life are before all the spirit begotten.
Another thought is that amongst those who will attain to the eternal life to which they are begotten of the Spirit, there will be two classes--a "little flock" of Priests, and a great company of Levites. The priesthood are to have spirit life on the highest plane, the divine nature, while the other overcoming ones of the Church are to attain life as spirit beings on a lower plane, like unto the angels. Hence, in this sense the spirit begotten household of faith have before them two issues of life. We exhorted all to lay aside every weight and every besetting sin, that by the grace of God we may make our calling and election sure to the highest position--to which we have been called--to membership in the Body of Christ-- to membership in his Bride--to membership in the Royal Priesthood.
We sought also to impress the force of the words, "Keep thy heart with all diligence." We are not to think of God as keeping our hearts, and we are not to pray to him to do for us what he instructs us to do for ourselves. To keep our hearts means to watch carefully the loyalty of our hearts to the Lord, to his brethren, to his Truth--to watch that we do not stray from our consecration Vow--that we do not become selfish, vainglorious, haughty, worldly. Our position in the universe is unique. We are not of the world, but have stepped out from it, under the Lord's calling, drawing, invitation--to joint-heirship with his Son.
LOYALTY TO GOD THE TEST
In our covenant with our Lord, we have agreed to give up our earthly rights and privileges and to accept heartily, cheerfully, whatever this may imply in the way of self-sacrifice and earthly losses. Our test, therefore, as New Creatures is whether or not we will maintain this spirit of loyalty, and devotion, and sacrifice, faithfully, through all kinds of trials and testings. If so we will be copies of our dear Redeemer, and just such as the Father desires shall be associated with him in his Kingdom of glory and the work of the future. If we fail to display our loyalty, we are failing to make our calling and election sure. Every yielding to selfish inclinations signifies a backward step, a repudiation of our covenant of sacrifice. Every victory over self, and sin, and error, signifies a step forward, a demonstration of the spirit which God will approve, a demonstration that we are of the kind who will be counted worthy to become joint-heirs with his only begotten Son, our Redeemer.
We urged therefore that every attention be given to heart-searching, heart-keeping. We reminded the friends of the words of the Apostle, "Keep yourselves in the love of God," and that we keep ourselves in God's love by keeping our hearts. We reminded them also that we ought to keep our flesh--our bodies--under or in subjection to the new mind. Nevertheless the Lord's testing of us will be along the line of heart devotion, and not along the line of our fleshly imperfections. He knows in advance that according to the flesh there is none righteous, no not one. It is the loyal heart that he is seeking, and our partial victories over the flesh are merely attestations to our Lord of our loving zeal, and of our desire to be all that he would have us be.
Following this parting exhortation, we had a Love Feast; the Elders of the London Congregation ranged themselves on either side of us. While the singing of hymns progressed, the congregation of about 1,100 filed past shaking hands with the representatives of the Society and of the London congregation. It was a blessed season of fellowship, and was evidently greatly enjoyed by all. If there were exceptions we did not note them. This feature of the service concluded the Whitsuntide London Convention for 1910.
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The night express brought us to Glasgow, Tuesday morning early--not too early, however, for our dear Glasgow friends. About thirty-five of them met us at the railway station with cordial greetings. Doctor Edgar took us off to his home, where we were greatly refreshed, not only with natural food, but by spiritual fellowship. The City Hall had been secured for both the afternoon and evening meetings. In the afternoon the congregation consisted, as you may suppose, of the interested only, the number being estimated at 375. We had close attention while we endeavored to portray what constitutes covenant-relationship with God, and how the Church attains to this in this age; and how differently the world will be privileged to attain to it in the Millennium.
We saw that Adam in his original purity and perfection was recognized of God as a son, and hence in covenant-relationship
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with him in the same sense as are the holy angels--in the sense of having full Divine fellowship and the Divine assurance of everlasting life on condition of continued obedience. We perceived how the fall destroyed that covenant-relationship and placed Adam and his race in the position of aliens, sinners, condemned by the Divine Law to death. We saw how Abel, Enoch, Abraham and others because of their faith and obedience were restored to covenant-relationship with God to the extent of having Divine friendship and fellowship, but not to the extent of being restored to perfection and eternal life and sonship. At very most they could be "friends of God" and have the prospect of "a better resurrection" than the remainder of the world on this account. We hearkened to the Apostle's words to this effect, assuring us that "They had this testimony that they pleased God," but nevertheless, "that they, without us (the Church) could not be made perfect"; because, God had provided some better thing for us--admitting us, through Christ, to sonship on the spirit plane.
We perceived that this manifestation of Divine grace toward us was not necessarily on account of our greater saintliness, nor on account of our greater faith; but because we live in the "acceptable time." God can now accept such as sons, to glory and joint-heirship with Jesus, on the basis of his being their Advocate, and making good the imperfections of their offering, by the imputation of his own merit. Thus "we are accepted in the Beloved," and heirs to "an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept through the power of God." On the other hand, we noted that the promises of the Old Testament to the Ancient Worthies are earthly promises, not heavenly, and will be realized only after the Christ, Head and Body, shall have been glorified on the spirit plane.
OUR JUSTIFICATION TO LIFE
Thus we distinguished between Abraham's justification by faith to a fellowship with God, as a "friend," waiting for the completion of his justification--to life, at the hands of the Redeemer--and in contradistinction, our own complete and actual justification to life and our own begetting of the holy Spirit as sons, "new creatures," joint-heirs with our Savior. We thus perceived that we not only have a faith-fellowship with God, but also "access into this grace wherein we now stand, rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God." (`Romans 5:1,2`.) We rejoice in the fact that we are already sons of God without rebuke, though it doth not yet appear how great, how wonderful we shall be after our glorious "change," which will make us like our Redeemer and enable us to see him as he is, and to share his glory, in the Kingdom which flesh and blood cannot inherit.
Abraham drew nigh to God by faith without an Advocate or Mediator, except prospectively. We perceived that had he had an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, Abraham might indeed have been introduced at once to the Father and become a son of God on the same terms by which we enjoy our privilege of sonship, through Jesus as our Advocate.
We noted the difference between an Advocate and a Mediator--that an Advocate stands alongside of, as a representative, as a mouthpiece, as an assistant, so that those he represents may through him come at once into relationship with the Father. On the contrary, a Mediator stands between two who are at variance, until such time as he shall accomplish his work as a mediator and bring them fully into accord. We saw that this would be the work of the great Mediator, The Christ, during the Millennium. The Anointed of God, Head and Body, the Royal Priesthood, will for a thousand years occupy the position of Mediator between God and men--between God and the world.
He will make satisfaction to Divine Justice by presenting his blood--the merit of his sacrifice--as a corresponding price for the sins of the whole world. This presentation will be made as soon as his elect Church shall be completed and with him in glory. By virtue of that application of the merit of his own sacrifice, the whole world will be turned over to The Christ of God and "he will take to himself his great power and reign." The turning over to him of the dominion of the earth by the Father will be in acknowledgment of his having paid the ransom-price over to justice for Adam and all of his race --"for the sins of the whole world." When Justice accepts of Christ's atonement "for all the people," the formal transfer of the kingdoms of this world will take place, and God will put all things in subjection, under his feet.
Then for a thousand years Christ's Mediatorial Kingdom will put down all insubordination and destroy every foe of righteousness and truth that will not submit; the last enemy that will be destroyed is death. Simultaneously with the overthrow of sin and its power in mankind will come the uplifting of man mentally, morally and physically for a thousand years (up, up, up to all that was lost in Eden), the redemption price of whom was secured at Calvary by our Lord's faithful sacrifice of himself. Those who will refuse to obey that great Prophet, Priest, King, Mediator, like unto Moses, the typical mediator of the Law Covenant, will be destroyed from amongst the people in the Second Death.--`Acts 3:19-23`.
NEW COVENANT TO BE MADE WITH MEDIATOR
At the end of the Mediatorial Kingdom the whole world will have reached human perfection and be quite competent to keep every requirement of the Divine Law. Then the world will be ready to be turned over to the Father by the Mediator, who will then step out from between God and men, and thus bring God and humanity together in covenant-relationship. Whoever of mankind will then prove his loyalty to God may enjoy the Divinely provided life in fellowship and blessing forever. During the Millennium the world will not be in covenant-relationship with God except in and through the Mediator. All their blessing will come through him, and their approach to the Father and all their worship will be through him. In other words, the New Covenant with Israel will be made not with them directly, but with their Mediator, and he will stand between them and God until they are perfected by restitution, ready to be received as sons of God, in covenant-relationship with the Father, at the conclusion of the Millennium.
We contrasted for a while this delay in the world's coming into personal covenant-relationship with the Father for a thousand years, under the Mediator, with the instantaneous work which the Redeemer effects for his Church, his members, not as their Mediator, but as their Advocate. He introduces us and brings us at once to the Father through the imputation of his own merit to our sacrifices. He thus makes our "sacrifices holy and acceptable to God," permitting their Divine acceptance as such, and the consequent immediate begetting of the sacrificers by the holy Spirit to sonship, to covenant-relationship, as "new creatures in Christ."
The evening service was for the public, our topic being, "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire," which we
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treated in our usual manner. The attendance present was estimated at 3,300--certainly a very large showing for a week-night. We greatly enjoyed our Glasgow visit, and with deep appreciation of the manifestations of loyalty to the Lord and to his Truth, we left the friends for our next appointment, at Dundee. Quite a number accompanied us to the railway station, and some went on with us.
SECURING AND GIVING THE RANSOM-PRICE
We had two very interesting meetings at Dundee, both quite in contrast to those of our previous visit to the same place seven years ago. The class and the interest had in the meantime grown very encouragingly. The afternoon we spent with the interested who assembled to the number of about 175. Here again the subject of the Ransom seemed to be uppermost, and we had pleasure in pointing out the difference between our Lord's giving himself to be the Ransom-Price for all, and his subsequent work, soon to be accomplished, of applying that ransom-price "on behalf of all the people." We noted the largeness of the work of salvation, yet every part of it fitting in with every other part. We called to mind how our Lord left the heavenly glory--how he was made flesh, for our sakes became poor--how he took upon himself the human nature, in order that he might be man's Redeemer.
We noted, however, that Jesus was not the Redeemer when he was born, except in a prophetic sense, the same sense in which he was the Savior, the Advocate, the Mediator, the King, the Priest, the Judge, the Prophet. Nor was he all of these as the lad of twelve years when he discussed the Law and the Prophets with the teachers of his day in the Temple. Nor was he all of these when he reached perfect manhood at the age of thirty years-- except in a prophetic sense. His actual sacrifice took place when he was thirty years of age--when at Jordan he was baptized and symbolically represented the full surrender of his all to do the Father's will, as the same had been written aforetime in the Book, the Bible--in the Law and the Prophets. There it was that the prophecy was fulfilled of him, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God,
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as it is written in the Book." All the things that you, Father, have caused to be written in the Law and in the Prophets respecting the Savior of mankind, I am here, fully consecrated to accomplish.
At that moment our Lord sacrificed himself--laid down his earthly life in the Father's hands, saying: "The cup which my Father hath poured for me, shall I not drink it." At that moment of sacrifice he represented "the bullock of the sin-offering" and its slaying by the High-priest. He became the antitypical High-priest in the moment of his self-surrender as the sacrifice. Immediately, as the High-priest, he passed into the Holy a "new creature." There he offered for three and a half years the incense of his earthly life-devotion, a sacrifice well pleasing to the Father. At the same time, according to the world's estimation, his self-surrender was a stench, as was represented in the burning of the bullock's hide, etc., "outside the camp." From that moment the disciples beheld, in his spirit of devotion, the antitype of the burning of the fat on the brazen altar in the Court.
From that same moment he was the Lamb of God slain --his life given up to the doing of the Father's will. We looked at the picture of this given in the book of Revelation. There we saw Jehovah upon his throne with a scroll in his hand, written in the inside and on the outside, and sealed with seven seals. No one had yet been found worthy to execute or even to be made acquainted with the Divine Purposes. In answer to the proclamation, "Who is worthy to take the scroll?" no one "in heaven or on earth was found worthy." Even our dear Redeemer in his previous condition was not entrusted with the scroll. But when he had made his consecration as the "Lamb of God," giving up and devoting his life without reserve to do the Father's will--then as a lamb freshly slain he was proclaimed worthy, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive glory, honor, dominion, might and power." Then the scroll was delivered to the Lamb.
"THE HEAVENS WERE OPENED"
We noted the correspondency to the giving of the scroll to the Lamb, in the fact that as soon as Jesus had indicated his full self-surrender to the Father's will, the holy Spirit came upon him begetting him as the great High-Priest to his great work. Then we read that as he went up out of the water, "the heavens were opened unto him"--the higher things were manifest to him, made clearer. As the Logos he had not been permitted to read the scroll; as the boy Jesus, and as the young man Jesus, he had not understood the deep meaning of the Scriptures. Even the angels, we are told, did not understand. The Law was so written in types, in pictures, and the prophecies were so given in symbolical language and illustrations that the Divine Plan thus presented could not be understood by angels or men until the "due time" when God would grant the influence of his holy "Spirit which searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God." It was at this moment of our Lord's consecration, the moment of his death as the Lamb, the moment of his begetting and anointing as the High-Priest, the moment of the heavens or higher things being opened to him--at that moment the scroll was handed to him by the Great Eternal One. Then proclamation was made, "Worthy is the Lamb!" "The lion of the Tribe of Judah hath prevailed." Although his prevailing would not be completed until Calvary, the surrender of his will was complete, and it was accepted as the sacrifice of his all, since everything else that he had was included in this surrender of his will.
We can well imagine how the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, gave heed as the boy to the reading of the Law and Prophets every Sabbath in the synagogue. We can readily see how he knew the Scriptures thoroughly, and that his perfect mind enabled him to memorize the whole Bible from Genesis to Malachi speedily. How many times he must have wondered respecting the types of the Law, the bullock of the sin-offering, the incense, the sprinkling of the blood, the killing of the Lord's goat and the sprinkling of its blood, the burning of the bodies of those beasts outside the camp, the entering of the Holy of holies on the Atonement Day, and the reconciliation of "all the people" to the Almighty!
How often he may have thought of the Passover night, the slain lamb, the sprinkled blood, the unleavened bread, the passing over of the first-borns, the exchange of the first-borns for the tribe of Levi, representing the Church of the first-borns, and the selection from these of the priests who sacrificed as the antitype of the Aaronic Priesthood! How often he must have thought of and tried to associate properly together the declaration of the Messiah's glory, and the blessing of the world through Israel, and every knee bowing and every tongue confessing and in contrast, the statement about one who would be led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers be dumb--one whom it would please the Father to bruise, and to put to shame; not one bone of whom should be broken--one who should make his grave with the rich, and be with the wicked in his death!
These hitherto complicated and apparently contradictory presentations of the Father's Plan all became luminous
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to our Lord when the scroll was handed to the freshly slain Lamb--to the newly consecrated Jesus. The illumination by the holy Spirit opened before his mental vision the heavenly things. Type and antitype, promise and fulfillment, began to come together and our Lord hastened away from the multitude at Jordan into a solitary place in the wilderness, that there he might deliberate upon the Divine purposes as they were disclosed to him by his illumination.
STUDYING TO RIGHTLY DIVINE TRUTHS
For forty days he was rapt in study so intently that he forgot to eat, forgot to be hungry. He had meat to eat of another kind. He was absorbed in his study of the Father's will respecting him. At the conclusion of the forty days of Bible study in the wilderness he had reached the solution of all the problems proper for him to understand respecting the Divine Word. Figuratively he had read and comprehended all that was written on the outside of the scroll--all that was necessary for him to know prior to the time when he would complete his sacrifice at Calvary.
That he had not yet broken the seals, and that he had not yet comprehended all the things written on the inside of the scroll, is evident from his words to the disciples on one occasion, when he said, "Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no nor the angels of heaven, neither the Son of man, but the Father only." We thus see that there were certain features of the Divine Plan still kept secret or sealed from our Master up to the time that he had finished his course. But, after his resurrection, we remember his words, "All power in heaven and earth is given unto me."
It was after the forty days that the Tempter came unto him. His first salutation was that of a friend intent upon rendering assistance. He greeted our Lord as a friend, because they had known each other before on the plane of glory. Now Satan sympathized with Jesus in that he was hungry, and in effect said to him, You perhaps are not aware of the great power that came upon you at the time of your baptism. You now have a Divine power which makes it unnecessary for you to go hungry. You should use at once the power that you possess which will enable you in a word to "command these stones to become food."
When recently we stood at the fords of Jordan, where Jesus was baptized, we looked from there to the wilderness of Judea into which he went on that occasion, "Led of the Spirit," or rather according to the Greek, "Driven of the Spirit (his own spirit) into the wilderness." He was driven by his earnest desire to know fully and completely the will of the Father, that he might do it. As we beheld the wilderness of Judea full of stones, with practically nothing else in view, we could understand why the Adversary suggested the turning of stones into bread, for there was nothing else to make bread of. We noticed that Satan took the most opportune time to make his attack upon the Savior--when the Master was weak and faint in body and mind through his long fast and study.
Under the illumination of the holy Spirit Jesus had for the first time been able to put together all the testimonies of the Scripture, and had seen what great sacrifices were implied before he should enter into his glory, and be able to give to the world the blessings of eternal life. It was at this moment that the Adversary appeared and presented his temptations. But our Lord was proof against them. Satan left in disgust, convinced that further effort with the Master would be a waste of time. Thus we read, "Then Satan left him." We have no record that he ever returned to tempt him; angels of God then ministered to him.
We found in all this valuable lessons to those who are walking in the footsteps of Jesus. Their illumination of the holy Spirit could not, of course, be as great as that of Jesus, but at their consecration, their baptism into death, came their spirit begetting and, as the Apostle declares, "a measure of the spirit is granted to every man (in the Church) to profit withal." The measure will be according to the degree possible through his infirmity of the flesh. But to the Master who had no infirmity, the Father gave his Spirit without measure, without limitation, fully.
We noted also how the Adversary makes an attack upon all of the Lord's consecrated, seeking their weak points at their weakest moments. We noted the mistake of some in parleying with the Adversary, saying: How do you do it, etc., etc., and we noted that the Master's course was the reverse; that he parleyed not; he was prompt in his refusal. He left no room for the world, the flesh or the Adversary to gain an advantage over him. We noted that our success as his followers will be greatest along the same line of promptness and decision
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of character and that every time we stand firm for righteousness under temptation we are demonstrating our loyalty to God in accordance with our Covenant of sacrifice. We saw that the Lord proceeded along the same line of loyalty, fulfilling his consecration even unto death, the death of the cross.
WHAT DID JESUS' DEATH EFFECT?
Here we raised the question, What did Jesus accomplish by the offering of himself, begun at Jordan and finished at Calvary? Did he purchase the world? No. Did he redeem the Church? No. What did he do? He secured the price, the ransom-price, sufficient whenever applied, to effect the cancellation of the sins of the whole world, but he had not yet applied it. Neither the world nor the Church was as yet released from Divine condemnation, or brought into full fellowship with God. Although there were five hundred brethren, who had accepted Christ and become his followers, the Father had not yet accepted these. They had offered themselves in consecration to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, they had taken up their cross to follow him, they had been justified to fellowship with God, even as Abraham, but they had not been justified to sonship and life. Hence, they could not have earthly or restitution life. Neither could they present their bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, because, they were still sinners from the Divine standpoint. No appropriation of Jesus' merit had yet been made in their case. When Jesus ascended up on high, forty days after his resurrection, he commanded representatives of these, about 120, to tarry at Jerusalem in the upper-room until they should be endued with power from on high--until the Father should recognize them--until the Father should accept the sacrifice which they had already made. But first Jesus, as their Advocate, should appear in the presence of God for them, and make such imputation of his merit to them as to cover their blemishes, and permit Divine Justice to accept them as "living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God."
We remembered that it was on the fiftieth day that the holy Spirit came upon the waiting ones. That was the first intimation to them that the Redeemer had been acceptable to the Father, and that he had imputed to them his merit, and that the sacrifice which they had
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already made was acceptable to the Father in the Beloved One, and that they were no longer merely justified to friendship, but had come into the position of sons, into covenant relationship with the Father. Thus it is written of the Jews, "He came unto his own, but his own received him not; but to as many as received him, to them gave he power (privilege) to become sons of God, even to them that believed on his name": which were begotten not of man nor of the will of the flesh, but of God--begotten of the holy Spirit. Thus they became sons of God, members of the anointed Body of the great Messiah, Prophet, Priest, Mediator, King, Judge, appointed for men, on their behalf to effect reconciliation between God and men during his Millennial reign.
Meantime the same work has been progressing throughout all these eighteen centuries. Others have been called, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles, to be the followers of Jesus, his under-priests--the Church of the first-borns whose names are written in heaven. As soon as this work shall have been accomplished, the great Mediator, the antitype of Moses (`Acts 3:22,23`), raised up from amongst his brethren, will be completed. Then the Mediatorial Kingdom will begin the blessing, uplifting and reconciling of the world. Meantime we thank God for the fact that "we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Jesus as the perfect man, the fleshly seed of Abraham, might have accomplished considerable in the way of helping mankind. As one who committed no sin, whose life would have been secure to him, even though it required twelve legions of angels to protect him, he might have been a glorious earthly prince.
But even as a great ruler amongst men, he would not have been able to accomplish the Divine Purpose of blessing mankind with full uplifting out of sin and death conditions to life eternal. As the man Jesus he could not have accomplished restitution for the race because he would have needed his own human life and rights for himself. The man Jesus, therefore, could not have been "the Seed of Abraham" mentioned in the Abrahamic Covenant, that in the Seed of Abraham all of the families of the earth shall be blessed. To become this Seed he must first attain to spirit being, just as the record shows he did. By virtue of his sacrifice of his earthly nature, and by virtue of God's having raised him from the dead to the heavenly plane as a reward for his obedience, he has his earthly rights to give to Justice as the ransom-price for what Adam lost. The Redeemer is the "Seed of Abraham" on the spirit plane, and during this Gospel Age he is finding his Bride and bringing her to the same spirit plane with himself as his associate and joint-heir in all the great work of the Millennium--the blessing of all the families of the earth. Thus it is written, "If ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed (spiritual) and heirs according to the promise."--`Gal. 3:29`.
LIFE LAID DOWN, NOT PAID OVER
Do we see clearly what Jesus sacrificed, what he laid down? He gave himself, he submitted himself to whatever might be the Father's will, but he did not forfeit his earthly life by committing sin so that it should be taken from him. Neither did he barter or exchange it for the heavenly nature. He merely submitted or laid down his earthly rights, in harmony with his own words, "I have power to lay down my life and to receive it again," authority to say this, I have obtained from my Father. No man took it from him, in the sense that no man had that power, since God had promised that, "he that keepeth the Law shall live by it." Therefore, our Lord's life would have been protected had he not voluntarily submitted and laid it down.
He laid it down that he might receive it again. He laid it down in the Father's hands, saying: "Into thy hands I commit my spirit." Then Jesus' rights to earthly life, earthly protection, earthly honor and glory, earthly dominion and power all belonged to him as a New Creature when he arose from the dead. He had lost and forfeited none of his earthly rights. Those earthly rights are the basis of all the blessings of God through him to Adam and all of his race. Jesus has nothing else to give away. He needs nothing else; because, in the merit of this sacrifice there is a corresponding price for the first Adam, and a sufficiency for all.
However, Jesus does not give the Church his earthly nature, and earthly rights, but keeps these to give to the world during the Millennium. Indeed, our calling is a heavenly one, and we should feel somewhat disappointed if instead of the heavenly we should receive the earthly or restitution blessing. But since Jesus does not give us these restitution blessings, and since he has no other merit to give to us or to anybody, what does he do for the Church? what is our hope in Christ? what is the philosophy of it?
The answer is, that this merit which shortly is to be appropriated as the ransom-price for the sins of the whole world, was already in the hands of Divine Justice, unappropriated, when our Lord ascended up on high, there to appear in the presence of God for us, the household of faith--to present our cause to the Father. As our Advocate he declares to the Father that we are anxious to become members of the elect Church, his Bride, his Body. In harmony with the Divine arrangement he appropriates a share of his merit to us, so that our sacrifices might be acceptable to God.
Thus, instead of giving us the restitution blessings, which are for the world, our Redeemer, our Advocate, imputes to us of his righteousness, and on the strength of it the Father reckons us holy and acceptable, and immediately accepts our sacrifices. Thenceforth we are dead as human beings and our only standing in God's sight is as "new creatures." But, we have this treasure in imperfect earthen vessels, in which the new creature cannot do all that it would. It is the new creature, however, that God is testing and proving--the new creature is on trial, not the flesh. The new creature has no Original Sin, nor is it responsible for the Original Sin of the old creature, which was justified and accepted of God in sacrifice and therefore gone. The responsibility of the new creature is that it shall keep its heart in the love of God, in loyalty to him. Correspondingly, of course, it will strive to keep the body, the flesh, in harmony with the Divine regulations. Its zeal and energy in controlling the flesh and bringing every thought and word and act into accord, as nearly as possible with the Divine will, shows the degree of its love and zeal.
PAST SINS--DAILY TRESPASSES
The new creature needs not to apologize, nor ever to remember the weaknesses and imperfections of the flesh appertaining to the period preceding the sacrifice. By faith the new creature should remember that old things have passed away, and all things have become new, for thus the Apostle declares, "There is now, therefore, no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit." Our Advocate did a thorough work as respects the sins of our flesh: they are past and gone through the forbearance of God. (`Rom. 3:25`.) The Father did a perfect
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work in reckoning us dead indeed to everything of the past, and in begetting us by the Spirit as new creatures --sons of God. It is for our faith to grasp the situation and to enjoy it.
However, as new creatures we are imperfect in that we have only the old body with its blemishes through which to serve the Lord. Because of antagonism of the legally dead flesh, "We cannot do the things which we would." What shall we do as respects our failure to come up to all the requirements of the Lord, because
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of our fleshly imperfections? Shall we say to ourselves and to each other, God knows that these imperfect things of daily life are not willingly ours as new creatures, and therefore we need not confess them.
We answer that this would not be the proper course. The imputation of Christ's merit to our consecrated sacrifice merely covered the blemishes against us at that time, but did not cover blemishes future. Hence, daily we should remember before the throne of heavenly grace the imperfections and blemishes of each day and hour, and should ask Divine forgiveness for these through our great Redeemer. Thus he taught us, "Pray ye, Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us." This would not relate to Original Sin, which could not thus be forgiven. It relates to our subsequent shortcomings, after we have become children of God through the begetting of the holy Spirit. Thus, the Apostle writes, "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
"FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES"
Our Advocate not only imputed his merit for our past sins, but he is still with the Father and has an abundance of merit. Our Advocate has merit sufficient to cover the sins of the whole world, and therefore to cover all our blemishes. Hence, when we go to the Father through him, we may realize that provision has already been made for the covering of our trespasses, but that we can obtain forgiveness only through prayer. God doubtless intended a great blessing in making this arrangement. He intended that each time we come to the throne of grace, we should earnestly repent of our imperfections, and earnestly promise him that we will strive against them in the future. He would thus encourage us to earnestly seek to fortify our characters along the line of these weaknesses, that we might become stronger and stronger in the power of the Lord and in his might, and be strengthened unto every good work.
When thus we come to the Lord to obtain mercy and to find grace to help in every time of need, and promise continued and increased zeal in fighting the good fight, it puts us on our honor, as it were, and makes us more careful respecting our future course. If perchance we fail again along the same lines, we are properly abashed. Then comes an important testing to us. The suggestion comes that we should refrain from going to the Lord in prayer; that we should feel too much humiliated to go to him. If these suggestions be followed, the result will be alienation, coldness. The earth-born cloud will hide from us the heavenly Father's face. Even if we do not go off into greater outward sins, such a course would mean a loss of fellowship, which is very important to our growth in grace and knowledge.
"WITHOUT SPOT OR WRINKLE"
Every error, every slip, every mistake, is a spot upon our wedding garment and should be repented of and expunged. With great humility we should go to the Master that we might have such spots promptly cleansed away; as it is written, "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us (new creatures) from all sin." Thus we are able to abide in his love. Those who neglect this matter may find themselves increasingly careless respecting the spotlessness of their robes, until perhaps, if they do not fall completely into the Second Death, they find their garments bedraggled and unfit for the wedding. The Bride must be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, and the arrangement on her behalf by her Bridegroom is ample to this end. Those, therefore, who for any reason allow the spots to accumulate, and do not have them cleansed, will have a further test and be obliged to decide to return like the sow to her wallowing in the mire of sin, and thus come under the condemnation of the Second Death, or else, as members of the Great Company, they must wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb, in the great tribulation with which this age will end.
At the public session at Gilfillan Hall, our topic was, "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire," and notwithstanding the rainy weather, nearly 700 were present. We had the closest attention. Let us hope that some good was accomplished, some ears unstopped and some eyes opened to look further and to listen more attentively for the Voice of the Great Shepherd, in respect to the Divine Plan of the Ages, concerning which he is now instructing his people.
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CHAUTAUQUA LAKE CONVENTION
NINE DAYS--JULY 30-AUG. 7.
WE hereby confirm previous announcements, and request all who expect to attend this Convention to so advise us at once--particularly such as desire us to secure for them accommodations at cottages along the shores of Lake Chautauqua. We expect to engage the apartments outright for those who order them, paying for two days at least, in advance.
We will use the large Auditorium at Celeron, which is an amusement place of the quieter sort. However, the Auditorium is far enough from the noise to serve our purposes. We anticipate that the friends will have no particular interest in the amusements. Anyway these are less patronized in the day time and our proposition is to hold Convention sessions in daylight only-- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an intermission at noon for a plain sandwich luncheon.
BOARDING AND LODGING
At the cottages at various points we will arrange for lodging, breakfast and supper. Large and small steamers ply the Lake frequently and will constitute a convenient method of transportation.
Our Committee in charge of arrangements is prepared to offer per day rates which include a boat ride to and from the Auditorium, a very plain noonday luncheon at the Auditorium and breakfast, supper and lodging at a cottage, all included for the following sums, which vary according to the accommodations and meals for the nine
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days, namely, $9, $11, $14. Those desirous of hotel accommodations can be arranged for at from two to four dollars per day.
Those staying a shorter time than nine days may expect to pay a little more proportionately, $1.25 to $1.50 per day, all included. We have made these arrangements, believing them to be specially advantageous to all concerned. Unless we are mistaken our Convention will take up nearly all the available accommodations, except at Jamestown hotels.
RAILROAD RATES AND ARRANGEMENTS
Our Convention is held under the auspices of the "International Bible Students' Association," but excursion rates have NOT been granted in this name. There will be three general excursion rates. The first of these is the regular Chautauqua excursion on July 29. It is the cheapest excursion. It will be good to return any time within thirty days and will permit those living in New York City and vicinity, and at points east of Hornell, on the Erie Railroad, as well as all whose tickets naturally read through Buffalo, to include a visit to Niagara Falls. Those who take advantage of this special Chautauqua rate must begin their trip on Friday, July 29, excepting from points in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, from which States tickets will be sold only on July 28. These tickets are on sale at very cheap rates; usually they amount to about $2 more than a full single fare. Then, though you purchase these tickets to the Chautauqua Assembly Grounds, you can get off at Celeron and come direct to the Auditorium. We have made arrangements for having these tickets validated for the return journey without inconvenience.
In the interest of those who cannot attend at the beginning of the Convention, another excursion has been granted in the name of The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society to start either August 5 or 6. The rate is not quite so cheap, however--one fare and a half. The ticket is good to return so as to reach starting point not later than August 17, and also gives option of returning via Niagara Falls, as mentioned above.
Where neither of the above rates can be secured, the following will apply: From practically all points in the United States and Canada regular summer tourist tickets are on sale daily to JAMESTOWN at fares approximately two cents per mile in each direction; or, in other words, about one fare and a half for the round trip; return limit October 31.
CONSECRATED PEOPLE OF GOD
who trust in the Redeemer's merit for their acceptance with God, are cordially invited to this Convention. Let us gather with hearts full of gratitude to God and desirous of knowing and doing his will more perfectly as the days go by. Let us come expecting to receive blessings at the Lord's hand and desirous of being used of him to strengthen and comfort and assist his "brethren."
The Railroad Company has co-operated with us in issuing our Program and Information Bulletin for those desiring to attend. On the one side of it is a picture of Lake Chautauqua showing the various little cities surrounding it, the stopping-places of the little steamers. If you purpose attending the Convention write us for one of these circulars. Determine as soon as possible and make your application, and, if possible, send in the money for your lodging, that everything may be prepared for your comfort in advance of your arrival. We will make no assignments of lodgings until July 15. Then we will apportion the lodgings to those ordering them and will serve their interests impartially to the best of our ability.
The spending of the evenings quietly at the cottages will give opportunity for rest and fellowship amongst the friends. If at any of the cottages there is a desire for singing in the evening or for chart-talks or whatever, the opportunity should be accepted. We trust that, as usual, the dear friends will leave an influence for good behind them. We hope that the Bible Students of this Convention may long be remembered by the people on Chautauqua Lake shores as model Christians in every sense.
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WITHOUT A PARABLE HE SPAKE NOT
Golden Text:--"The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."--`John 6:63`.
"WITHOUT a parable spake he not unto the people." What the prophet had declared of him was true, "He shall open his mouth in parables and dark sayings." It is important that we remember this. Many noble Christian people have inferred that our Lord's words were all simple, and that they presented the truth in a manner easily understood by everybody. Nothing is further from the truth. If our Lord's parables and dark sayings be taken as plain, literal statements of truth, they will lead to all kinds of errors and misapprehensions. Let us remember, therefore, the Apostle's declaration, "Without a parable spake he not unto the people."
There is absolutely nothing in the words of Jesus without a deep significance. How many have stumbled over our Lord's parables by taking them to be literal statements of facts! How absurd the conclusion drawn from the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, for instance! How absurd to conclude that simply because a man was rich, fared sumptuously every day, and was garbed in fine linen, that he must suffer through all eternity! How equally absurd to interpret the poor man Lazarus, who lay at the rich man's gate, as representing, literally, poor and diseased beggars! How unreasonable to think that only such as have had an experience of this kind, with dogs to lick their sores, and hungering for the crumbs that fall from the rich man's table, would experience the joys of heaven, according to the Divine program! How foolish to think of Abraham's bosom, which could hold only two or three, as being the portion of blessing for only a handful of beggars!
Note afresh the parable of the wheat and the tares, the gathering of the former into the garner and the burning of the latter. Neither represents literal experiences. In the parable the wheat is not literal wheat, the tares are not tares. The wheat symbolizes the inheritors of the Kingdom; the tares symbolize the offspring of error-- children of the wicked one. The gathering into the barn of safety symbolizes the glorification of the Church on the spirit plane, and precedes the shining forth of the sons of God in the glory of the Millennial Kingdom, for the blessing of the groaning creation; as the Apostle declares, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God." The whole creation is waiting for the shining forth of the sons of God in the Kingdom, and their shining forth in truth and righteousness will scatter
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all the darkness of sin and error and awaken and revivify the world of mankind.
Eventually all the willingly obedient may enjoy the blessings of eternal life. On the other hand, the description of the burning of the tares, instead of referring to a literal burning, has, evidently, a symbolic significance; it means the destruction of the tare class--not their destruction as individuals, but as "tares," as imitations of the "wheat" class.
How glad we are to find the key to these symbolic statements--these parables! How glad we are that by the use of this key the parabolic figures become reasonable and beautiful! What a silver lining there is to the dark cloud of trouble which is now looming up before the world! How glad God's people must be to learn that just beyond the clouds and shadows comes the glorious Millennial day!
The parable of "the sheep and the goats," taken literally, has caused confusion to many. They think of the separation of the sheep and the goats as now in progress, failing to notice the Scriptural declaration that the parable shall find its application "when the Son of man shall come in his glory and all his holy angels (messengers) with him. Then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory and before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another as the shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." We thus see that the application of the parable belongs to the Millennial Age. All through that age the work of Christ and the Church, his Bride, seated with him upon his throne, will be a work of blessing to the world of mankind. And the manner in which those blessings will be received, will demonstrate the sheep-like or goat-like character of every individual of the human family. The sheep-like will come to the right hand position of favor, the goat-like, to the left hand position of disfavor. The conclusion of the thousand-year Judgment day will bring the expression of the Lord's favor towards the sheep-like, rewarding them with eternal life, and the expression of his disfavor towards the goat-like, destroying them in the "second death." This is symbolically represented by the statement, "Depart ye cursed into the lasting fire (a figure of destruction) prepared for Satan and his messengers (followers)." The reward of the righteous will thus be everlasting life. The "everlasting punishment" of the unrighteous will be everlasting death, for the "wages of sin is death and the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."--`Rom. 6:23`.
"I THANK THEE, FATHER"
Evidently some wise and gracious purpose stands connected with the hiding or secreting at present of the Divine purpose from mankind in general. While the Scriptures declare it is a mark of special favor to the Lord's people that they are made acquainted with the Divine Purposes, yet nowhere do they declare that all those from whom God's plans are secreted are doomed to eternal torture, or to everlasting destruction. Thus our Lord Jesus prayed: "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight."
Had the hiding of the Divine counsel from mankind signified eternal torture for those from whom it was hidden, there surely would have been no ground for thanking the heavenly Father for this act. We can thank him, however, that although many of the worldly wise are not privileged to know of his glorious plans, nevertheless those plans are sure. For the world to have known of the Divine purposes in advance would doubtless have been injurious, because in their blindness they would have attempted to thwart these purposes and therefore would have gotten themselves into a worse condition of condemnation.
WORDS OF SPIRIT AND OF LIFE
Our text shows that however dark and parabolic were our Lord's teachings, nevertheless, rightly understood, his message is one that is spiritually helpful and life-giving to those who can and do understand it. It is this quality of our Lord's message which makes the religion of the Bible different from that of all the heathen. It is a message of life as well as a message of holiness. It is a message of forgiveness as well as a message of condemnation. It is a message of love as well as a message of justice. His wonderful words of life--they are charming, beautiful, forceful! We may read them over year after year and we see still more beauty in them, still deeper significance, and that in proportion to our own growth in grace, our growth in knowledge, and in the spirit of our Master.
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CONFESSING THE SON OF GOD
--JULY 17.--`MATT. 16:13-28`.--
Golden Text:--"Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
OUR Master, wisely and with becoming modesty, hesitated to declare his own greatness. He allowed his actions to speak and to tell to his disciples that he proceeded and came forth from God, and that in the performing of miracles, and particularly in his teachings, he was the Finger of God and his mouthpiece. John the Baptist was sent to be his special forerunner. It was he that declared that Jesus was "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." It was he that declared that the Master was so much greater than himself that he was not worthy to stoop down and loose his sandals.
But after John had borne him witness, testifying, "This is he," and had declared that he saw the holy Spirit descending upon Jesus like a dove, and that this was a sign given him whereby he might know his Messiahship, then came the time for the Master to bring the matter pointedly to the attention of his followers. John had been cast into prison and later had been beheaded. John's prophetic testimony was fulfilled, when he said of Jesus, "He must increase, but I must decrease." The mission of Jesus and his Apostles became more prominent every day, and those who had formerly talked about John were now asking respecting Jesus, whether he was a prophet sent of God, or could it be that he was the Messiah. Do the rulers indeed know whether this is the Messiah or not? Surely "no man
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could do the miracles which he doeth unless God be with him" in some special manner.
"WHOM SAY YE THAT I AM"
Our Lord first inquired respecting the general opinion of the people concerning himself. He did this, not because of his own ignorance, but that he might draw
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out the thoughts of his disciples. They replied that some thought he was John the Baptist; others supposed he was one of the prophets. The ideas of the heathen were gradually making inroads upon the Jews. The doctrine of reincarnation, wholly unscriptural, is suggested in these answers. All the answers, of course, were wrong, for the prophets were all dead and could not reappear until the resurrection. Then our Lord pointedly put the question to his chosen followers: "Whom do ye say that I am?" The courageous St. Peter promptly answered as spokesman for the whole company, "Thou art the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God." This was the very answer designed to be brought forth. It was the truth, but our Lord hesitated to present it, because it would better come from the disciples themselves and then have his endorsement. His answer to St. Peter was, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."
It was not that St. Peter had experienced a special vision or revelation, but such a great spiritual fact as was then under consideration, could be duly appreciated only by those who were specially favored of the Father. Indeed, it is evident that the same principle still operates, for we read, "No man can come unto me, except the Father which sent me draw him." Our primary drawing and calling is of the Father up to the time when we accept his grace in Christ and make our consecration to do his will and receive the spirit of adoption into his family as God's children; we are then put into the school of Christ to learn of him. Let us learn the lesson that the special blessings always come, not only from believing in Christ, but also from confessing him to and before others.
ST. PETER--THE ROCK--THE KEYS
According to the Greek, our Lord replied to Peter, "Thou art a stone, and upon this rock will I build my Church." The rock upon which the Church is built is this confession which St. Peter made. St. Peter himself was not the rock, but he was one of the living stones built by faith upon the rock of truth. It was this same Apostle who so beautifully explained the whole matter, assuring us that all consecrated believers are "living stones" in the temple of God, whose foundation and capstone is Christ, in whom we are builded together through the operation of the holy Spirit.--`I Pet. 2:4-7`.
The expression, "Upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell (hades) shall not prevail against it," is one that is much misunderstood. The gates of hell are not gates to some place of torture, nor gates to purgatory. They are, in the Greek, "gates of hades," and hades signifies a state or condition of death. The passage might well be translated, "The gates of the grave shall not prevail against it." That is to say, Christ Jesus invites the Church to die with him, to share in his sacrifice, in his death, and while, apparently, the gates of hades have prevailed against the Church, against God's people, for more than eighteen centuries, nevertheless, we have the assurance that they shall not forever prevail. The Master's assurance is that by his death he has become Lord of all and has the keys of death and hades. He has the right to open hades, the tomb, and to call forth all who have gone down into it. He assures us that he will do this, as he says, "All that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man and shall come forth."
Nevertheless, for all these centuries it has required faith to believe that, by dying with Christ, his followers shall yet live with him--that sharing with him in his death they shall yet share with him in his resurrection to the glory and to the honor attaching to the divine nature. So, then, our Lord's words mean that there will be a resurrection from the grave, and since the Church is to be "a kind of first-fruits unto God of his creatures" (`Jas. 1:18`; `Rev. 14:4`), her resurrection means, indirectly, the uplifting of mankind, the opening of the grave to every member of the human family.
The giving of the "keys" of the Kingdom to St. Peter has no reference to locks and bars of heaven over which St. Peter is the custodian. The Church in the present time is the Kingdom of Heaven in its preparatory or embryotic state, and St. Peter was privileged to do the opening work to the Gospel Church. He opened the door to the Jews at Pentecost, when, as the mouthpiece of the Lord, he proclaimed the meaning of the Pentecostal blessing and the hopes then open to every Jew coming individually into membership in Christ. He used the second "key" to open the same Kingdom privileges to the Gentiles, in that when the due time came for Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, to be received, St. Peter did the work. By preaching to Cornelius the Gospel and baptizing him into Christ he threw open the door to the Gentiles, as our Lord foretold in the words of this lesson.
St. Peter's commission that whatever things he should bind on earth should be bound in heaven and what things he should loose on earth should be loosed in heaven, is the same that was given to the other Apostles. (See `Matt. 18:18`.) It does not mean, of course, that the Lord has turned matters over to St. Peter and made him Lord of heaven and earth, nor that any or all of the Apostles were so honored. It simply means this: God purposes to use his Apostles and to so hold up their hands, in all their affairs, that the whole Church may have confidence in them, and may recognize their teachings as of God. If they declared that certain of the commandments under the Jewish Law were not binding upon Christians, we must know that their statements were true, and that, similarly, in heaven, the release or change is recognized. And if they bound certain doctrines and teachings, we must know that those are bound and firmly established in heaven. In other words, we must recognize the Apostles as God's inerrant mouthpieces.
The time for the proclaiming of Jesus as the Messiah did not come until after his death and resurrection. Indeed, his Messiahship properly dates from his resurrection. He desired his disciples to recognize him properly, and he explained to them about his approaching death and resurrection, but he did not wish them to proclaim this to the world until the due time. St. Peter, perhaps elated with the Lord's commendation of his previous speech, undertook now the role of teacher to the one whom he had just acknowledged as the Messiah. In this he erred. It was in sympathy that he urged that the Master should not think of any steps which would lead to death, but should think rather of prosperity and earthly favor, yet our Lord's reproof was pointed. He said: You are my adversary, Peter, when you thus speak to me. You would thus endeavor to dissuade me from doing my Father's will, to hinder me from drinking the cup which my Father has poured for me; your counsel is that common to the world and not of God.
Similarly, the followers of Jesus sometimes need to resist their friends, who thus offer counsel contrary to the Divine will and Word and Providence. These should
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not be encouraged nor their advice followed. They need correction from their fellow-disciples, as did St. Peter.
The words of Peter furnished the Master an opportunity for calling the attention of his followers to the terms of discipleship. Not only must the Master himself suffer, but all of his followers likewise. This course was provided for every one, and whoever would flee from it would lose the eternal life hoped for. Whoever would take up his cross and follow the Master to death would thereby make sure of his share in eternal life on the heavenly plane. His disciples had already pledged their earthly lives, and for them to withhold them for worldly advantage, would mean that they would lose their souls, their lives. This is not true of the world in general, but merely of the Church, called to be of the elect, Royal Priesthood.
He then assured them of his second coming, and that he would come in the glory of the Father and with his angels (messengers)--not again as a man--as a sacrifice. At the time of his second coming he would reward every one of his followers according to the faithfulness of each. He concluded this reference to the coming Kingdom by the assurance that some of them would have an ocular demonstration of his coming power and glory before they would die. This we will consider in our next study.
DELIVERED FROM SATAN'S SNARE
DEARLY Beloved Brother and Pastor:--I am writing to tell you how good our dear Lord has been to me in delivering me from the Power of Darkness, and restoring me to his favor again; and also to ask you to forgive me for the trial that my recent course must have caused you. But in order that you may fully realize the mercy and loving kindness of God toward me, I will briefly tell you of my experiences of the past few months:
Late last summer I began to doubt the Scripturalness of your position on the Covenants and the Sin-Offering. From a small beginning, this soon grew until it included many other points of doctrine, and, in my conviction that you were wrong, I opposed your teaching, though not publicly. I still continued to meet with the Class, but felt that sooner or later a separation must come; yet I loved the friends so much my heart ached as I saw we were surely drifting apart. About the time of the Saratoga Springs Convention, I had become convinced that God's people were being misled by you, and that you were profiting by their blindness; that you had become unfaithful to your stewardship. Not only would I not go to the Convention myself, but was unwilling that my dear wife and daughter should go--both of whom are in the Truth and have never swerved in their loyalty to it--so I not only missed a blessing myself, but deprived them of one. But the prayers of the dear friends in my behalf prevailed, and my eyes were opened to see that I was wrong. I turned about, and peace and joy once more filled my heart.
Then I began to search for the cause of my blindness, my unbelief, and I was sure that I found it. It was the Vow! What! did I oppose the Vow? No! Had I not taken the Vow? Yes; but with limitations. You know that at the time the Vow was suggested I was doing local Pilgrim work under the appointment of The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and I thought the Vow was only for the Pilgrims, so I took it "for so long as I was in the Pilgrim work." It followed, then, that when the local Pilgrim service was discontinued a year ago that my Vow expired by limitation, and the protection that it had afforded me against the suggestions of Evil Spirits was at an end. So for several months the barrier had been thrown down, as it were, and I believe Satan and his co-adjutors had seized the opportunity (`Eph. 6:12`), with the result that my faith had been nearly shipwrecked. Dear Brother, as soon as I saw this I renewed the Vow for all time. This happened immediately after the Saratoga Springs Convention. Some of the dear brethren to whom I had confided all, advised me to make a public statement of the facts in our testimony meeting, that others might be helped, and also write the same to you; but I said, No, only a few of the friends know anything of my doubts, and I will not tell them. I overlooked the fact that God knew, and that my testimony should be to his glory. Had I taken their advice, I believe, the remainder of this letter would never need be written. But this I failed to do; my stand for the Lord was not sufficiently firm. Is it any wonder, then, that Satan quickly took advantage of the loophole thus left open, and soon my doubts returned? Truly "every man's work is being tried so as by fire."
When the article on "The Wedding Garment" came out in THE WATCH TOWER of December 1, 1909, implying that full justification was granted only those who agree to consecrate--to sacrifice the restitution blessings reckoned to them, I took exception to this teaching. You recall, dear Brother, our talk over these points on the occasion of our ride from Washington to Richmond, and how I disagreed with you and charged you with wresting the Scriptures. At first I said, "This new view of justification is the only thing I take exception to," but soon discovered that you had erred (?) on the Covenants; next, the Sin-Offering doctrine was an insidious denial of the Ransom; next, it was Baptism--that was wrong, too; and of course you had worked your blasphemous (that is what I called it) doctrine into the Memorial service of our Lord's death. Soon those who opposed you were all right, and you were wrong. I got to believe that you had never been "That Servant, whom the Lord made master of all his goods"--that Servant was a class; that most of those things you once had right, but you had changed. You see the condition my mind was in, and yet, I believe I was honest, and was loyal to the Lord in opposing what I thought was error. My heart was not at ease; the conflict was terrible, and I suffered greatly. And while I verily thought I was right in my course, I have prayed earnestly every day for guidance into the Truth, and into peace. I kept the Vow as best I could under such conditions. While I thought my faith was on a surer foundation than ever, I now know it was nearly gone.
Within the last few months meetings have been established in Washington by those who oppose your teachings; and to this meeting I went, while still attending the regular services of those in the Truth. However, I soon found it impossible to partake of two tables, and I chose the table of error, as I now see it to be; then, however, I felt sure it was a purified table of the Lord. Such was the state of my mind when the One-Day
Convention was held here on March 13th, 1910. This was the turning point with me--the day when the Lord graciously showed me my true condition--that I was growing spiritually blind. On the Wednesday previous I had declared that I would never attend another "Russellite" meeting, and when I arose on the morning of the Convention I was still resolved not to go to the services. Then, as I saw my wife and daughter preparing to go I thought I would better pray over the matter; and I earnestly besought our dear Father for guidance-- whether to go or to remain away. I arose from my knees, now undecided. I then began to arrange some papers in my desk, when my eyes fell on a note I had made on a statement in THE WATCH TOWER of March, 1898. It read, "The armor complete in 1898 with the New Covenant as one of the pieces." (This is not a quotation, but a comment I had made.) I started to copy it in a "List of evidences that Brother Russell has changed." I see now that the knowledge that God "will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah" is a part of the armor. When I looked up the paragraph I happened to glance over the article in the same TOWER on the Memorial Service (p. 101). Now at our "Opposition meeting" our last Bible study had been on the Last Supper, and we thought we had learned something that Brother Russell had never seen, viz., That the Jewish day on which our Lord instituted the memorial of his death was the day of preparation for the passover, "when the lamb should be slain."
Judge my surprise when in a short paragraph I found that you had fully set forth the same thought some twelve years ago, together with a more important thought that had escaped our attention, namely, that we do not celebrate the passover feast, but the death of the antitypical Passover Lamb. I then turned to page 71 and read the list of questions and found in questions 5-8 a thought recently more clearly stated, that our Lord in dying "bequeathed the Restitution blessings purchased by his death to the fallen, dying race--as many as shall accept the blessings under the conditions of the New Covenant." But the fact that we symbolize our acceptance and sacrifice of these shows they will not be given directly to the world, but through the Church. Now this was the very point that I had declared "new" last year, when it was more plainly set forth in THE TOWER, and over which I had been finding so much fault, and getting more and more confused, until I had finally rejected nearly all that you had ever presented. But the most surprising fact that dawned on me was that for ten years I had been using this same article as a basis for the Memorial service, and had explained these same points each time. The alarming truth dawned on me--I was growing spiritually blind! I was not only forgetting the precious truths, but I saw that I was losing sight of the true import of our Lord's death. This decided me: I went to the Convention. I was further convinced that what I saw and heard was of the Lord.
On the advice of two loving Sisters, I asked several Brethren to call on me and pray with me and give me counsel. I told them that I realized that I was spiritually sick from improper food, and was growing blind, so that my ability to appreciate the deep things of God's Word was slipping away. I told them how our Lord had called my attention to this, and now, that I saw what the trouble was, and while I could not even then see as they did on some of the points of doctrine, it was no longer a matter of doctrine, but a desire of getting back fully into God's favor; and I had confidence that I would soon get all right on the doctrine. After a season of prayer and counsel from the brethren, the Lord enabled me to make a firm decision as to my future course. Immediately I gathered up all of the literature of the Henninges, McPhail, Randall, et al., stamp and burned it. You can imagine how pleased the brethren were to see me do this, for they had been very cautious in advising me, rather leaving the Lord to guide me. On the following day I sent a letter to the ones with whom I had been meeting, explaining why I could not attend those services again. I enclose a copy of this letter. On the same night I made a statement to the Church confessing my error in my past opposition to the Truth, and my resolution and by the Lord's help to return to the clean table, where the food neither sickens nor blinds, and asked them to forgive me.
I am glad to add, dear Brother, that the points of doctrine which had been a cause of stumbling to me have since become clear; the Lord has graciously healed my spiritual sight, and my heart is rejoicing in the sunlight of his favor. I want to add in behalf of my brethren who are still in confusion, that I believe they are honest in their convictions, and that there is no bitterness in their hearts, and I hope they will yet be recovered from the snare of the Adversary. I think when they show a disposition to return by attending the regular meetings in a proper spirit, they should be met with kindness and encouragement. With much Christian love,
Your brother in Christ,
CLARENCE E. FOWLER,
COPY OF BRO. FOWLER'S LETTER TO THE SECEDERS
DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS--LOVE AND GREETINGS IN CHRIST OUR REDEEMER:--Perhaps it will be a surprise to you to know that during the last few days I have become awakened as to my real spiritual condition. As I reread some of the views I once appreciated and rejoiced in, I was surprised to find that to some extent their deep significance seemed obscure. I also found that some of the things that we had labored so hard to search out, and thought as new, had been presented some twelve years ago; and I saw that I was fast becoming spiritually blind, and that Satan was leading me around in a circle, as it were. Then, at the Convention meetings last Sunday, the fervor, the zeal, and the love manifested by the brethren touched my heart, already broken. Again, Brother Russell's talk on "Choose you this day whom ye will serve," caused me to seriously ask myself, Have I chosen aright? Does the Lord approve my course? Surely this that I both see and hear is Truth, and of the Lord, and yet I have arrayed myself in opposition to it. And then I prayed our Lord (as I had been praying for months), to open my eyes, and I believe he answered my prayer. I became convinced that the trouble was with myself, and not with the Truth as Brother Russell had presented it; I had not been looking at it from the proper angle of vision. I have since prayed over the matter, and some of the points have become clear to me, and I have confidence that in the Lord's due time it will all be plain again. So I have resolved, by the Lord's grace, to retrace my steps ere it is too late--to return to my "first love"--the Table where we all received the Truth.
There is no question, dear brethren, that of us who believe we are in the Harvest of the Gospel Age--in the second presence of the Lord--events of tremendous importance are occurring which are rapidly approaching a climax. Church Federation and events outside sink into insignificance in comparison with developments within the Church: "Every man's work is being tried as by fire"; the question is, "Who shall stand?"
In view of my recent positive stand in opposition to the teachings of THE WATCH TOWER, no doubt my present attitude will seem inconsistent, but, dear Brethren, we must each answer to his own Master, and I know your love for me will prompt you to wish me God's blessing, even though to some extent our views of doctrine diverge. On the other hand, dear Brethren, I wish to assure you that my recent experiences and associations with you enable me to more deeply sympathize with you, and love you all. And even though you cannot admire my vacillation, believe me to be sincere.
As long as we stand together on "Christ, the solid Rock," I shall esteem you as brethren, and will daily pray that the mists of confusion which now threaten to separate us will speedily be cleared away, and then we will once more see "eye to eye." Meanwhile, dear Brethren, I trust you will see it to be the Lord's will to meet with us again, and can assure you a hearty welcome in seeking with us to know and serve the Lord. God bless you! With love, as ever,
Your brother and servant in the Redeemer,
CLARENCE E. FOWLER.
BEREAN STUDIES ON CREATION
The Text-Book Used for this Course of
Scripture-Studies is Series VI--Study I
(1) Is there any Scriptural foundation for the claim of some that original sin consisted in sexual intercourse on the part of our first parents? Give a full Scriptural analysis to this question. P. 41, par. 1,2.
(2) How should we regard the suggestions of some that the Scriptures mislead us into thinking of Adam as the first "of the earth, earthy"? What answer shall we give to those who urge a pre-Adamite race of man and who claim to find proofs of their hypothesis in various strata of the earth's surface, some of which they attribute to a period long before Adam's creation? Give Scriptural proof texts in contradiction to this theory and show their consistency with scientific facts. P. 42.
(3) State the views of Profs. Stokes, Bennett, Beale, Virchow and Barraude respecting the answer of geologists to the theory that man was developed from the lower orders of animals. P. 43, par. 1.
(4) Read to the class an extract from "The Meeting Place of Geology and History," by Sir J. W. Dawson, LL.D., F.R.S.
(5) Prof. Pasteur is recognized as having been a great bacteriologist. Did he favor the Darwinian theory or not? Quote something from him pertinent to the subject. P. 44, par. 1,2.
(6) Quote the views of the Russian savant, Prof. Virchow, respecting the Darwinian theory of man's evolution from lower animal species. P. 44, par. 3.
(7) Should we consider the unscriptural theories of Prof. Darwin and those who follow his suggestions as wise and logical, or otherwise? What proofs can be adduced to prove that humanity four thousand years ago no more had tails than we have--nor different toes and thumbs? P. 45, par. 2.
(8) What should be the attitude of the Lord's people in respect to these evolutionist propositions of our day which are discrediting the Bible in the eyes of the learned? P. 45, par. 3.
(9) In view of what we have already seen respecting these creative epochs styled in the Scriptures "days," what can we say of the Sixth Day, which we are now considering? When was its beginning and when its close? What would be the date of its close, counting from the beginning of the ordering of creation--the putting in order of the earth, the time of whose creation is not stated but whose setting in order is being accomplished during the seven great epoch days? Summarize the matter. P. 45, par. 4.
(10) We come now to the examination of the great Seventh Day of the creative period. Does it have an evening and a morning?
(11) What should we expect of this Seventh Epoch Day as viewed in the light of our findings respecting the six previous epoch days and what is signified by the statement that Jehovah God rested from his creative work during this Seventh Epoch Day? P. 46, par. 2,3.
(12) What has our Lord Jesus to do with this Seventh Epoch Day and the Father's cessation from creative work? Why did the Father rest? Will the Son undertake the completion of the Father's work? If so, why was it thus left to him? Make the entire matter clear. Let all of the class express themselves on this important question and have clearly in mind the matter of its great importance in God's Plan and therefore in the understanding of it. Pp. 47, 48.
(13) Did this resting on the part of the Great Creator from further creative work and from actively rescuing his creatures from sin and its penalty imply a lack of love on his part? Or how shall we understand it? P. 49, par. 1.
(14) What can we know respecting the period in which the Creator rests from his creative work? In other words, according to the Scriptures, how long will this Seventh Epoch Day last and how do we reach information on the subject? P. 49, par. 2.
(15) May we be sure that our Creator's expectations respecting the ultimate outcome of his purposes regarding the earth will be realized? Can we be sure that the Redeemer will accomplish all that the Father intended? P. 49, par. 2.
(16) Quote some Scriptures showing the ultimate victory of Messiah and the accomplishment of the Divine purpose. P. 49, par. 2; P. 50, par. 1.
(17) What grounds have we for assuming that the whole period in which God has been ordering the earth and developing it from the inert, void mass at the beginning down to the Paradisiacal condition at the close of the Seventh Day will be in all a period of 49,000 years--seven great days of 7,000 years each? P. 50, par. 2.
(18) Give a brief outline of this creative epoch from the Scriptural standpoint. Quote Scriptures applicable to the earliest beginning of the creative power, and other Scriptures showing the glorious consummation at the end of these seven great days. P. 51, par. 1; P. 52, par. 1,2,3.
(19) Does the `first chapter of Genesis` conflict with scientific discoveries, or merely with the theories of some scientific gentlemen? Quote the views of Prof. G. F. Wright, D.D., LL.D., on this subject and discuss these. P. 52, par. 5,6.
(20) Is the Genesis account compatible with scientific facts? Do not these facts corroborate the Genesis records rather than conflict with the Divine record? What does Prof. Wright say for himself on this subject and what does he give as the opinion of the great geologist, Prof. J. D. Dana of Yale College? P. 52, par. 6.
(21) We have seen that the Genesis record does not attempt to explain the creation of the earth as respects its matter--that the Genesis account merely relates that there was such a beginning and that the matter was created by God, but tells nothing whatever of the time of its creation, nor concerning how long a period elapsed before the ordering work of the seven epoch days began. Does this view appeal to others? Read to the class a quotation on the subject. P. 53, par. 1.
(22) The Genesis record shows a progressiveness in the matter of bringing forth of vegetable and animal life; in part, perhaps, an evolutionary process. Our contention is merely as respects man's creation--that it was a distinctly separate work and in no sense an evolutionary process. What is the main point and argument of Prof. Darwin and his evolutionary followers? Read to the class what Prof. Wright has to say on this subject. P. 53, par. 2; P. 54; P. 55, par. 1.
(23) Let another read Prof. Wright's suggestions as respects the difference between human reason and animal instinct. P. 55, par. 4.
(24) Let another read to the class Prof. Wright's comment on man's capacity for religion in contrast with the incapacity of the brute. P. 55, par. 5; P. 56, par. 1,2.
(25) Who discovered the principle of "natural selection"? What does Prof. Wright remark respecting his findings and respecting the disposition of humanity to wear clothing and use tools and respecting his musical capacity, etc., etc.? P. 56, par. 3, to P. 58.