VOL. XXIX. JUNE 1 No. 11
A.D. 1908--A.M. 6036
The Editor's British Tour.........................163
The Glasgow Convention........................163
"My Lord and My God"..............................168
"He Opened to Them the Scriptures"............168
"Did Not Our Hearts Burn?"....................169
Sins Remitted--Sins Retained..................170
A Letter From South Africa........................171
"Lovest Thou Me More Than These?".................172
"What Shall This Man Do?".....................173
"What Is That to Thee?".......................173
"That He Tarry Till I Come"...................174
"Lo, I am With Thee Alway"....................174
The Mighty King of Kings (Poem)...................175
Berean Studies on the Atonement...................175
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OLD THEOLOGY QUARTERLY SUBSCRIPTIONS
We have not yet made clear to all our desires re the Quarterly Tracts. Heretofore many of you have sent money to the Tract Fund and then ordered tracts irregularly. Such can just as well apply a part of their donations to definite subscriptions to a certain number of each quarterly issue of tracts--with the privilege of ordering extra copies of the January issue or Volunteer number. These regular quarterly issues could go to the class or ecclesia with which you associate --to some one address--or could be divided up, sent to the addresses of several of the brethren--as may be most convenient to you and them--say 10 each or 50 each, as may be your pleasure. The price per year is 6c for single copy, quarterly, or 10 for 20c, or more at same rate.
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THE EDITOR'S BRITISH TOUR
TO THE DEAR BIBLE HOUSE FAMILY, ALLEGHENY, PA.
About noon (April 16th) we reached Leicester and were warmly welcomed by about eighteen dear brothers and sisters, whose greetings were most hearty and were expressed by the radiant faces and grasp of the hand. Brother and Sister Allsop most cordially entertained us. The afternoon discourse to the interested was held in their usual hall, about 100 being present, including about 50 visiting brethren. Three years ago there were no meetings here and only about three interested in Present Truth. The evening meeting was held in Temperance Hall and, considering it was the night before a holiday, was well attended, about 600 being present. The audience was a remarkably intelligent one and gave close attention to the "Overthrow of Satan's Empire." Despite our protests and the fact that our train for Glasgow left at 2 a.m., about a dozen of the friends stayed with us and accompanied us to the station. We thanked God for them as we beheld their love and zeal, and prayed for them heavenly compensations of spiritual rest and refreshment.
Glasgow, Scotland, was reached by 10 the next morning. As we alighted we were surrounded by about forty dear Brothers and Sisters--some of whom had been waiting there for us for three hours--and, as they said, for three years; for when leaving them in 1903, we had purposed returning in 1905. Some in greeting us remarked that the day was the anniversary of the day of our Lord's return from the dead. We returned their hearty greetings and smiles and handshakes to the best of our ability--inwardly commenting on the effect of the Truth and its spirit--so unlike anything else in the world. Brother Edgar, M.D., claimed us as his guest, and arriving at his home we were warmly welcomed by Sister Edgar and others awaiting our arrival.
At 3 p.m. of April 17th
THE GLASGOW CONVENTION OPENED IN VICTORIA
We cannot undertake a report of it in the proper sense of that word, but can tell you briefly little more than your own experiences at other conventions would tell you, viz., that it was a season of refreshing long to be remembered. We had nothing to do with the program and hence had nothing to do with the apparent monopolizing of the Convention's time. We merely submitted to the wishes of the dear friends and served their desires to the extent of our ability.
The Convention was opened by a brief address of welcome by Brothers Edgar, Hemery and ourself, expressing the greetings of the Glasgow Church and of the Society to all in attendance, with hopes for the Lord's blessing upon the Convention. This was followed by an address by Brother Johnson on "The Joy of the Lord." Next came a precious testimony meeting, after which we had tea, and following this at 7.30 we spoke on "The Resurrection," noting the fact that the day was the true anniversary of that great event. The discourse was published as our Sunday topic, with some variations. We were most hospitably entertained by Brother John Edgar, M.D., and wife, and after a
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most refreshing sleep we were ready for the second day of the Convention.
Saturday, April 18th, opened with a "Colporteur Meeting" in the forenoon. We spoke for two hours to the colporteurs, sharpshooters and volunteers on the character, importance and methods of the Harvest work. Incidentally we assured them of our agreeable surprise that the British work had so remarkably progressed during the five years since our last visit; and that we foresaw still greater things in their midst for some years to come. And here we assure you all that undoubtedly God has many loyal children in Britain for whom the Harvest message will surely be "meat in due season." Their awakening time has come! The "New Theology," Theosophy, Christian Science and Socialism are awakening public thought along religious lines; and all this must inure to their preparation for "The Old Theology" of the Bible, which we have for them.
In the afternoon we answered questions for an hour --nearly all of which were quite to the point, the audience showing keen appreciation of the Truth. Dr. J. Edgar followed us in a very helpful address on "Humility." Then came tea, and after it our discourse on "Baptism," closing another interesting and, we trust, profitable day.
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On Sunday forenoon, April 19th, the immersion service busied the Convention, while we visited some of the sick who were unable to attend the meetings. Seventy-eight symbolized their full consecration into Christ's death. At 2 p.m. Brother Hemery gave an address, said to be excellent, on the subject, "I am the Vine, ye are the Branches." We regretted inability to attend because of necessary private appointments.
The evening service was at "St. Andrew's Hall," of a reputed capacity of 4500. It was full to overflowing and Brother Hemery addressed about 500 at the overflow meeting on the same subject that we used at the larger service, namely, "The Return from Hell." The occasion was an inspiring one. The audience was an extremely intelligent one, and gave profound attention for about two hours. At the door free literature was taken with avidity.
An hour later we were on the railway train bound for our next appointment--Liverpool. Many of the dear friends had posted themselves relative to our train and its time for departure, for they gathered to the number of about 200 to bid us farewell again, singing, "God be with you till we meet again" and "In the sweet by and by." As the train pulled out we waved our handkerchiefs to each other, while some ran alongside to the full end of the platform. Our heart was deeply touched and we thanked God for the tie that binds his people to him and to each other.
The Convention continued a day after our departure, and, we learn, was profitable to the close. The attendance was estimated at 800. Undoubtedly many others would have been there had they not been preparing for our coming to their cities or vicinity--attending to advertising, etc.
THE LIVERPOOL MEETINGS
Although our train reached Liverpool at the very inconvenient hour of 4.40 a.m., before the electric cars were running, about 15 came to the depot on foot to meet us, rising even at 3 o'clock. Their hearty greetings we returned with good appreciation, and with glowing hearts remembered the Lord's words, that all who become his disciples in truth shall have even in this life "an hundred fold"--houses, lands, brethren, etc. Soon Brother Hay had us in a cab, en route for his home and its comforts; and presently Sister Hay received us and cared for our temporal interests most hospitably.
After some personal visiting in the afternoon (April 20) we addressed an appreciative audience of about 500 in a Baptist chapel rented by our friends for the occasion, and we were informed that nearly all of the congregation were "brethren" and "friends" of Liverpool and surrounding cities. We were gratified indeed, and praised God for the increased numbers since our last visit, but also and specially for the evidences we subsequently had of the growth in grace and knowledge amongst the dear friends. The beginning of the interest in Present Truth in Liverpool was with dear friends connected with a "Mission," and quite naturally the mission methods for a time influenced them and led to "frothy" rather than "solid" methods of Christian fellowship and endeavor. We rejoiced with them in their zeal manifested on the occasion of our visit five years ago, and hoped and prayed for their growth also in knowledge. Now we rejoice that they have grown in knowledge without having lost their zeal.
The evening session had been advertised and the attendance was estimated at 650, who gave closest attention to our topic, "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire." An hour after the evening service we boarded the steamer en route for Belfast, Ireland, and to our surprise about 150 of the dear friends gathered on the pier to give us a farewell. They sang for us several hymns as the boat delayed for a rail connection,-- "Blest be the tie that binds," "God has promised a glorious day," "All hail the power of Jesus' name," and "God be with you."
THE BELFAST, IRELAND, MEETINGS
As the steamer reached Belfast next morning we caught sight of five brethren on the dock. We recognized each other, though we had never met before. Indeed not one of the present Belfast Church was in the Truth at the time of our previous visit, five years ago. The greetings were warm, as usual, and soon Brother McComb had us in a cab hurrying us to his home, where we were warmly received by his wife, Sister McComb, and her mother--both beaming with joy, and thinking, of course, not of us, whom they had never before seen, but of the Truth which bound all of our hearts to each other and to the Lord.
Soon after breakfast a number of other friends joined us in the McComb parlor and we had pleasant fellowship in the Truth--cheering and comforting and building up one another in the most holy faith. After dinner we had a meeting in the little hall generally used by the friends. Our subject was along lines of general helpfulness, suited as best we were able to their needs. After about two hours we adjourned for tea, and the entire twenty-four who were present thus spent the interim of time until the evening meeting, which was advertised for the public.
A very intelligent audience of about 300 attended the evening service and manifested a deep interest in our subject, "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire." At the conclusion of the service a man wished to oppose our presentation, and, mounting a chair, began a harangue on the text, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, together with all that forget God." We asked him to sit down and we would answer his objection; and the audience insisted that he do so. We then briefly showed that the wicked are such as sin wilfully after they have knowledge to the contrary, and that those who "forget God" could not include the heathen who had never known God; that the word hell in this text is sheol in the Hebrew and means the tomb; and that the Hebrew really says that the classes described will be "returned to sheol"--returned to death;--implying their previous recovery and release from it for the trial secured for them and for all through Jesus' death. Then another mounted a chair and objected that the Church do not die because Jesus said, "He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." We reminded him that he should quote the entire passage, namely, "And I will raise him up at the last day." Briefly we pointed out that the life given us now is ours by faith and promise and that the Word says, "This life is in his Son," and "When he who is our life shall appear we also shall appear with him in glory."
After a good night's rest we on the 22nd started for Dublin, joined by Brother Hemery and five others. We arrived after noon and ere long were with the brethren
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and friends (about 40) in their usual meeting room. At their request two hours were spent in answering their written questions on Bible topics. At the conclusion they expressed themselves as well pleased, and we proceeded to enjoy a social tea which had already been prepared.
The evening meeting was for the public, and drew a remarkably fine audience estimated at 1000 or more. Before the opening we received from Mr. O'Connor, secretary of the Y.M.C.A., his card with a request thereon for an opportunity for questions. We announced the fact and promised to entertain the questions after concluding the lecture on "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire." Our address of an hour and a half long was well received, and at its conclusion nearly all of the audience remained to hear Mr. O'Connor's questions and our replies.
Then came stirring times, for Mr. O'Connor had many friends at the rear of the hall who loudly applauded when he commented that the speaker had not used a Bible and had not asked the audience to turn to his quotations. We replied that surely we had quoted much more Scripture than we could have read from the Bible in the same time, and that we had given the intelligent audience credit for being familiar with the Scriptures quoted, and that as for ourself we had our Bible here--pointing to our forehead. The audience recognized the fact that the criticism of Mr. O'Connor was a captious one, that the Scriptures had been quoted rapidly and voluminously by us in the lecture, and the applause on our behalf and in support of our reply was tumultuous, and showed that we had the sympathy of about nine-tenths of the audience.
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When the applause could be stilled we asked the Y.M.C.A. secretary to please proceed with his questions. He did so by asking whether the speaker believed in the deity of Christ. We replied that we believed all that the Scriptures declare on the subject and requested that since he had brought his Bible he kindly put his query in Scriptural language. He objected that we should answer his question as put. We replied that the words might be used with various values and hence that we must insist that a Scriptural question should be put in Scriptural language. The audience agreed with us in deafening applause, and the secretary responded by asking, "Do you believe that 'God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself'?" (`2 Cor. 5:19`.) We replied that we do most heartily so believe. We then took the opportunity to quote `John 1:1`, calling attention to the emphasis of the Greek which distinguishes between the Father as "the God" and the Son as "a God" in this passage. We proceeded to show that the Father had no beginning; that the Son was "the beginning of the creation of God"-- "by whom all things were made"--angels and men. The secretary objected that our publications do not so teach; but we assured him that he must have misunderstood, for we had done our best to express in them this very thought.
But when the secretary sat down a Mr. Allston arose and attempted to quarrel with our translation, "a God" and "the God." He floundered considerably, and the audience, getting tired of him, called on him to sit down and made such disturbance that his voice was drowned for a time. When next heard he claimed that we had misrepresented the creeds in stating that they consigned nearly all mankind to eternal torment. This gave us opportunity to rehearse briefly the Catholic and Protestant views of mankind in death--that while all agree that the saints who walk the "narrow way" go to glory, the Catholics send nearly all others to Purgatory and the Protestants more unreasonably consign nearly all to eternal torment. This brought down the house with applause, as they perceived the dishonesty of any denial of our claim on the subject according to all the teachings they had ever received.
We announced here that doubtless the profit of the question meeting had been attained and invoked the Lord's blessing. But at this juncture the ex-Governor of the Dublin prison arose and called for a vote of thanks to the speaker of the evening for his able handling of his subject. The audience responded by an outburst of stamping, cheering and hand-clapping which told that the Truth had satisfied some heads better than had the error. Our hope is that some hearts also were touched and that some wheat in the garner may finally result.
Another good night's rest at Brother Stewart's home, some further fellowship with the friends and visiting of the sick, and we took tram to the boat, accompanied by about a dozen of the dear friends, who took leave of us on the boat with warmest assurances of love and the presentation of a silk umbrella, a souvenir of our visit to Ireland. We left the Emerald Isle with prayers for the dear Church of Dublin, waving to them and they to us until lost to view.
Bradford was our next stop. We reached there at noon (April 24) and were warmly received by quite a little crowd of brethren, and soon were at the hospitable home of Brother and Sister Hudson. In the afternoon we met about 100 dear friends in a Methodist chapel hired for the day. About two-thirds of the number came from nearby places, all wearing what is known as the "MILLENNIAL DAWN smile" and otherwise manifesting their joy in the Lord and his precious promises. We spoke to them for an hour and a half along the line of practical living and our precious hopes, and then a free tea was served in one of the ante-rooms.
By request the evening meeting was on the subject, "Where are the Dead?" An audience of about 500 gave closest attention and at the conclusion took with avidity the "Hell TOWERS." We are hoping that some of them had hearing ears. A good night's rest prepared us for our next appointment--at Birmingham. As we left Bradford a little company on the railway platform bade us "God speed."
Birmingham was reached Saturday noon. We were greatly surprised that the afternoon meeting, for the interested only, was attended by about 115--fully one-half of whom came from nearby cities and villages. We had a most delightful season of fellowship and specially rejoiced with the Birmingham friends on their growth not only in numbers but also in the spirit of the Truth. A very dear brother whom the Lord used to start the interest here became imbued with some wrong notions to the effect that nothing could be done except by himself, and that no more "wheat" could be found there. He dominated the class and hindered its sphere of usefulness until the Lord called him out of their way--we trust to a share in the Kingdom. Although the dear friends still reverence his memory they perceive that the speedy increase in their numbers and zeal and warmth since his death are blessings in which they might have participated
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sooner had they been less subservient. We rejoice in their present condition of spiritual life--so in contrast with their condition when last we visited them, respecting which we made no comments, knowing that in DAWN STUDIES, Vol. VI., they had our advice and the Scriptures noted.
The evening meeting was a great success, especially considering that it was Saturday. About 300 gave us closest attention on the topic, "Where are the Dead?" Immediately on the conclusion we hastened to our train. On the platform we bade goodbye and waved our handkerchief to dear friends who saw us off.
It was past midnight when we reached Manchester and were met by Brothers Glass and MacKenzie and taken in a cab to Brother Glass' home and supper. A good sleep refreshed us and prepared us to meet the Sunday morning gathering of the interested, estimated at more than 300, but including one-third from nearby points. They had an interesting Testimony Meeting before our arrival, and all faces were radiant when we were introduced and while we spoke to them for half an hour. Next came dinner, then a visit to a dear dying sister, at her special request, and then our afternoon sermon on "Love the Principal Thing." About 800 were present at this semi-public service. In the evening the immense Hippodrome was crowded, extra chairs being used. It is estimated that 3,300 were present and that about 500 were turned away--each with one of the HELL-TOWERS. Best of all, the audience gave excellent attention --we cannot think that better attention was ever given to our message--not even in Allegheny.
Later, when we took our train for Edinburgh at 12:50 o'clock, we were surprised to find as many as thirty-eight on the platform to bid us good-bye. They had for us a remembrance of Manchester--an Autograph Album, which contains an inscribed address of welcome and thanks for the visit and a wish for our return, and the addresses of the Manchester Class of Berean Students of the Word. We accepted it with deep appreciation of the love it represented. Our train departed amid the singing of praise to God and the waving of handkerchiefs, after all had filed past us and exchanged personal greetings. We departed weary, and full of sympathy for the dear friends, who because of the lateness of the hour would get no tram-car service. We could secure no sleeping-car accommodations, but under the Lord's blessing had some sleep, and arrived at our destination at seven the next morning.
At Edinburgh, the beautiful, we were met at the depot by Brother Robertson (and others), who took us in a cab to his hospitable home for breakfast. Then came a two-hour talk to the friends, numbering about 140--our topic being "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you." Next came dinner, and then another two-hour session attended by about 300, in which we replied to questions touching order in the Church and how the brethren should deal one with another. Then came tea; and following it the public session on the topic, "The Return from Hell." About 600 were present. Excellent attention was given and we trust a good impression left. Two attempts were made to interrupt, but we went along and the Lord delivered us from any real disturbance. Then Bros. Watson and MacDonald took us in a cab to a hot supper and to the railway depot, where we bade good-bye to a very zealous band of about thirty-five and got into a sleeping-car--shaking hands and waving handkerchief to the singing crowd. God bless them!
Notwithstanding an all-day rain we had a splendid time at Luton. About a dozen met us at the station with hearty greetings, and Brother Moody had a cab in waiting, which took us speedily to his home, where we met his dear family, all of whom are in the Truth, and were most hospitably entertained. Numerous friends called during the forenoon to greet us; and at the afternoon meeting in a hall we met all of the Luton Church and more than as many more from nearby points, in all about 100, who gave close attention to our discourse on "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God, through sanctification of the spirit and the belief of the Truth." A free "Tea" was provided and greatly enjoyed by all.
Next in order came the Public Meeting, at eight p.m., the attendance at which was estimated at 700--excellent, surely, for a week night and rainy weather. The audience was an intelligent one, and gave close attention; we trust the future will show that some were deeply interested and profited and assisted in preparation for a share either in or under the Kingdom of God's dear Son. A large crowd gathered at the railway station and bade us good-bye! We reached London not long after midnight and were most comfortably entertained
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by Brother Hemery and family.
MEETINGS IN LONDON
A good portion of Friday was spent in searching for a meeting room convenient to our office and much larger than the one now in use (overcrowded) in the Society's depot, 24 Eversholt street. We are hopeful of good results.
In the evening at Horticultural Hall about 900 were present (about 700 of them strangers) to hear about "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire." We had excellent attention, and had assurance from several that they were interested, had seen matters in a new light and would investigate further.
Thursday afternoon we met with the specially interested to the number of about 350, and again in the evening addressed about 450, in the same room used on the occasion of the Memorial--formerly a Wesleyan Chapel. The interest evinced was excellent, as may be judged by the numbers and by the fact that it was neither a Sunday nor a holiday, nor were the meetings advertised to the public. Brethren were present from surrounding places, however, some coming nearly 200 miles. At the close of the evening service we sang together, "God be with you 'till we meet again"; and then the congregation filed past, shaking our hand and wishing us and we them God's blessing.
ILFORD'S CLOSING MEETING
The last discourse of the tour was at Ilford Town Hall--to the public. About 1000 were present--fifty standing; and some, we learned, were turned away. We had a splendid hearing on "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire." One-third of the audience were friends of the Truth, Ilford being a suburb of London adjacent to Forest Gate, where the majority of the London congregation reside. We hope for good results. Before the evening meeting we had a pleasant social season and tea with Brother Guard and family and with about forty others. We parted from these dear friends with warm greetings, and sang together, "God be with you."
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Saturday noon we took the "boat train" for Liverpool, parting with about forty on the platform singing their good-bye. Four accompanied us the 240 miles to see us off--two from Liverpool who had attended the London meetings, one from London who had been in the Truth but two months and who brought us some flowers, chiefly "forget-me-nots," and Brother Moody, of Luton, who accompanied us on much of the tour. They saw us on to the steamer and, with others from Liverpool and Manchester, about 85 in all, waited for two hours until our boat started; then sang, "In the Sweet Bye and Bye," "Crown Him Lord of All," "Blest be the Tie that Binds," "God be with you," etc.
Our heart goes out very warmly to the dear British friends, and we feel sure that the 5,000 now interested there are but the beginning of a great gathering. We expect the numbers to double within the next few years. We told them of our hopes and assured them that in America, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden, Denmark, etc., the brethren of the King were of the same spirit, that the loving zeal of our British brethren is the most manifest of all. But the Spirit of Christ is surely growing wonderfully in all who are studying "Present Truth." May it abound more and more in all of our hearts. Thus we shall be more and more "copies of God's dear Son," our dear Redeemer.
ON THE SEA--HOMEWARD BOUND
We enjoyed a very restful season on the sea, which was very quiet. We ate, slept, exercised, read, and, of course, talked. In answer to prayer, the Lord granted us some very favorable opportunities for presenting the Truth to several who seemed to have "hearing ears." We trust that their interest may continue and abound to their present and eternal joy. We have considerable hope for four in particular, and some hope for four others.
The breaking of a blade of the ship's propeller delayed us a day, and thus we avoided a most severe storm, which wrecked a vessel near our pathway on the night we were due to arrive. We would even then have reached port on the next night (Friday) but for a heavy fog, which detained us all night just outside our port. But this also proved advantageous, for it gave us opportunity for three two-hour talks on the great "Divine Plan of the Ages." (1) To a returning missionary, whose acquaintance we had not previously made, and who seemed to have "an ear to hear" the "good tidings of great joy for all people," which we presented as forcefully and wisely as we knew how. (2) To a doctor and two of the ship's stewards, and (3) to two travelers who had been waiting for an opportunity to inquire concerning the better Gospel, of which they had casually learned something through others. We talked with them from before nine o'clock until eleven o'clock, the hour for closing the ship's parlor. Both had hearing ears and seemingly appreciative hearts and will read and, we trust, come fully into the Truth. One of these, we understand, rehearsed much of what he had heard to a fellow-passenger on the promenade deck until midnight. We were in consequence of these experiences very appreciative of the fog and the delay which it occasioned, and more than ever resolved to appreciate delays and fogs, etc., knowing that "All things are working together for good to those who love God, to the called ones according to his purpose." Thus gradually we learn to spell Dis-appointment His-appointment, and to look for his leadings.
When we landed at nine o'clock Saturday morning, we found twelve dear brethren and sisters of the New York City Church waiting for us with smiling faces and outstretched hands. (Poor dears, they had been standing there for over two hours, having been misinformed that the landing would be at seven o'clock.) Some, we learned, got up at three o'clock to be there to welcome us. We greeted them with equal warmth, commenting in our heart that naught but the Truth and the spirit of pure love which it develops could form such a heart-binding tie. We assured the dear friends of our deep appreciation of their fragrant alabaster boxes so liberally poured forth; but that we accepted these, not as a personal tribute, but as marking their love for the Lord and his Truth, and, because we, by his grace, occupy a prominent place as their representative.
Escorted to the railway station we fellowshipped until train time. Handing each one a new farthing, we explained that we had brought from the Bank of England enough of these to supply one each to the Allegheny Congregation; that these would be not only souvenirs of our trip, but much more, reminders of God's loving care for all who are his--yes, and for the world of mankind. We explained that each farthing would represent two sparrows and remind us of the Lord's words: "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? yet not one of these (sparrows) can fall to the ground without your Father's notice. Are not ye of much more value than many sparrows?"
We remarked that God's drawing power is exercised chiefly toward the meek, the humble-minded, the lowly in heart, and that their proper humility at times led these to feel their own unworthiness so keenly that they needed the comforting assurance that God's infinite powers permit a supervision of all creation, including the poor little sparrow and much more the interests of humanity, and particularly the welfare of the saints, the consecrated, the members of the Church, which is the Body of Christ. The Father's providential care is over all his works, even over the sparrows--but "The Father himself loveth you"! How wonderful is all this! No wonder that those who realize the truth of these divine messages love in return! "We love him because he first loved us." And no wonder if this love becomes contagious amongst the spirit-begotten and Truth-enlightened, so that he that loveth him that begat will love also all who are begotten of him. (`I John 5:1`.) Here, then, we have the secret of the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love. If these farthings shall remind us of the sparrows, and the sparrows remind us of our Lord's words respecting the Father's love for us and care for us and of his new commandment, that we love one another as he loved us, then they will, indeed, be mighty sermons to us, repeated each time we see them.
* * *
After we had bidden farewell to the representatives of the New York City Church, a speedy train enabled us to be with the Bible House family at 8:15 Saturday evening, where we were warmly welcomed by about
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fifty--with prayer and refreshments, preceded by the singing of the following hymn, the first verse of which represented our sentiments, and the other two the sentiments of the family:
"Home again! Home again!
From a foreign shore.
And oh! it fills my soul with joy
To meet you all once more.
Here I left the friends so dear,
To cross the ocean's foam;
But now I'm once again with those
Who fondly greet me home."
"Welcome home! Welcome home!
This our happy strain;
For God in love has overruled,
And brought thee home again.
Day by day our earnest prayers
Were with thee o'er the sea,
That God would bless his work abroad,
And gently care for thee.
"Happy hearts, happy hearts,
Join in grateful praise
To him who guides and guards his own
Throughout their earthly days.
Cords of love our hearts entwine,
Sweet love that shall not fail;
'Twill firmly bind us while on earth,
And reach beyond the vail."
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"MY LORD AND MY GOD"
--`JOHN 20:19-31`.--JUNE 7.--
Golden Text:--"Thomas answered and said
unto him, my Lord and my God."--`v. 28`.
THE story of our Lord's resurrection never loses its interest to the Christian. With the cross and Pentecost and our Lord's second coming and the resurrection of the Church, it is one of the most important events recorded in the Word of God. Whatever helps to impress it upon our minds assists in establishing in us the faith once delivered unto the saints. Indeed we may say that if Christian people in general studied, understood and appreciated the resurrection of Jesus it would correct very many of the errors of theology received from the "dark ages" and it would protect them from other doctrinal errors of our day. Let the words of the apostles then sink deep into our hearts. If Christ be not risen your faith is vain and our preaching is vain, ye are yet in your sins (`I Cor. 15:17`), and we who have espoused the cause of Christ are most wretchedly deceived. Whoever realizes the force of the Apostle's words and trusts to him as an inspired teacher, will assuredly not believe that the dead are alive, but that, as the Scriptures declare, their hope is that eventually they will be made alive by their resurrection from the dead. Connecting this lesson with the preceding one brings to our attention our Lord's manifestation to two of his disciples on the day of his resurrection as they were walking into the country to the home of one of them at Emmaus. The name of but one is given, Cleopas; the other has been variously suggested to have been Nathaniel or Peter, but nothing is known on the subject. The two travelers were talking as they walked, and of course the topic of their conversation was the great tragedy of three days before and the consequent disappointment of all the grand hopes they had built of sharing with Messiah in his Kingdom. What wonder that they were sad! It was at this juncture that Jesus, in another form, overtook them and in passing looked upon them saying, sympathetically, Countrymen, wherefore so sad; is there any special trouble? Their reply was, Perhaps you are a stranger hereabouts and have not heard of the recent tragedy? Jesus, a just and true and noble character, was taken by our rulers and delivered over to the Roman authorities for crucifixion, because they were envious of him and of his growing influence with the people. It is a sad thing that such an occurrence should ever take place in this city of Jerusalem. Besides we and many others were witnesses of his good works and wonderful teachings and know that never man spake like this man. What wonder, then, that we are sad! Just as you came we were discussing a new feature of the matter; we have just heard that the tomb in which he was buried was robbed, but some of our friends declare that they saw at the sepulchre a vision of angels and received the message that he had risen from the dead! Ah, Sir, we are living in strange times; we know not what to think of these things; we are perplexed!
"HE OPENED TO THEM THE SCRIPTURES"
To the surprise of these sorrowful men their fellow-traveler was mighty in the Scriptures; he seemed to be sympathetic, to be a believer in Jesus and his Messiahship, but he had a remarkable way of presenting matters, explaining to them that they should not be sad, but on the contrary glad; that the very matters that were casting such a gloom over their lives were important features in the fulfilment of the divine program and in full accord with the teachings of Jesus and with the Scriptures. We may well suppose that he carried their minds backward and reminded them of the original promise made at the time of sin's first victory, that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, but that it should mean the bruising of his heel. Thus the crushing of evil was pictured, and the fact that it would cost Messiah something of suffering was also implied, but that the suffering would be insignificant and the destruction of the Adversary would be ultimately complete.
We can also imagine his telling them about Abraham typifying the Father and Isaac typifying the Son, Messiah, and that Isaac's consecration to death, from which Abraham received him in a figure, was a typical fulfilment of the fact that Messiah must actually die and rise from the dead, and that this was illustrated in the various types of the Law, in the Passover lamb and
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also in the sin-offering of the Atonement Day. Coming down he doubtless mentioned Joseph as a type of Messiah and that his imprisonment, before he was exalted to association with Pharaoh in the government, was a type of Christ's imprisonment in death before his exaltation to be the Life Giver to the world and next to the Father in the Kingdom. Doubtless he reminded them also of the words of the Prophet Isaiah, "He shall be led as a lamb to the slaughter, as a sheep before his shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth." We can think of many Scriptures which he doubtless quoted and thus brought to their attention, telling them that they had been slow of heart to believe all that God's Word contained on this subject, that they had believed the glorious features but had failed to give proper weight to the ignominious, sacrificial features of the divine plan which were not less necessary, indeed were fundamental, the basis upon which the blessings should ultimately rest. He also assured them that it behooved the Son of man to suffer, that it was necessary for him to suffer as the redemption price of Adam and his race and that then he should rise from the dead to be their Deliverer.
The narrative does not tell with what amazement the two sorrowing disciples looked at their companion and wondered at his erudition and knowledge of the Scriptures, which was so much greater than their own, so much greater than that of the other apostles! No wonder that reaching their home they invited him to stay with them! He made as though he would go farther and undoubtedly would have done so had they not been anxious to have him stay; but they urged him, pleading that the day was far gone, that he could not accomplish much in the remaining hours and that they would like to have his fellowship.
KNOWN IN THE BREAKING OF BREAD
Soon they were seated at their simple evening meal, and without hesitation the wonderful stranger, who seemed to have such a grasp of the divine plan, was requested to ask a blessing upon the food. It was as he asked the blessing that they recognized his familiar tones and that it was none other than Jesus who could teach them as he had done--and simultaneously with this thought the stranger vanished. He had accomplished his purpose; why should he remain? His purpose was threefold: He would prepare their minds by pointing out to them the prophecies and the necessity for their fulfilment and their order for fulfilment; secondly, he would demonstrate to them not only his resurrection but also his change, that he was no longer the man Christ Jesus, but the same Jesus under new conditions, a spirit being, no longer limited in any respect; now he could appear and disappear at his convenience and in one form or in another form, as suited best his purposes, and in one garb or in another garb as would serve the occasion best. Thus to Mary he appeared as a gardener, to these two disciples as a traveler --but neither Mary nor these noted any print of nails in his feet or in his hands; although they were close to him, neither recognized his features nor his clothing-- in fact, his raiment, as we remember, was divided amongst the Roman soldiers, and what he wore, therefore, must have been specially provided for the occasion, just as the wine was provided at the Cana marriage by divine power, which is so incomprehensible to us.
"DID NOT OUR HEARTS BURN?"
When our Lord vanished the two disciples were thoroughly aroused. We can imagine the looks upon their faces, the earnestness of their motions and the beam of their eyes as they said to one another, "Did not our hearts burn within us by the way as he talked to us and opened to us the Scriptures?" Ah, yes! Joy had now taken the place of sorrow with them; his explanation of the prophecies which made their hearts burn at the time caused them to glow still more now that they knew the speaker, recognized him as their crucified and risen Lord. They hastened back to the city seven miles away. They were so full of enthusiasm that they could not be content to rest at home with their glorious message while they knew that other dear hearts were in perplexity. They had the true spirit of discipleship, the desire to tell the good tidings of great joy, whatever the cost, to those who had the ear to hear.
And are not our experiences similar to theirs notwithstanding the fact that centuries have since elapsed? Indeed, our condition is very similar to theirs in this respect. The false doctrines of the "dark ages" have cast a gloom and a sorrow and fear and disquiet over all Christian hearts. The story of the resurrection is still with us, but it has been made rather meaningless by the various false doctrines, as, for instance, that our Lord was the heavenly Father himself, that he did not die, could not die, else the Universe would have been without a Ruler, hence, that there is no real death, no real atonement for sin, but more or less of a deception practiced, a make-believe dying upon the cross while Christ as the Father permitted the deception to be worked. Surely thus our Lord has been taken away and we know not where they have laid him; and what is true of us is true of all the Lord's truly consecrated people. But now in this harvest time the Master is
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again present with his people. We are in his parousia, in the time of his presence in the end of the age, and those who have been watching and hearkening have heard the prophetic knock indicating the time of his presence, and have opened their hearts. Our hearts burn within us now as we come to understand better than in the past the great messages of God's Word, telling us of his love not only for the Church but also for the world, and of the redemption accomplished through the precious blood and of the salvation that shall be brought unto us at the revelation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in Kingdom glory; yea, and of a blessing also upon all the families of the earth which will be willing to receive the same into good and honest hearts. Do not our hearts burn within us as these prophecies of old open before us and we see their true significance? And shall not we like these disciples at Emmaus arise hastily and go to the brethren wherever they may be and tell them the blessed tidings
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of the Redeemer's presence, to help them to understand the riches of God's grace as outlined in his precious Word? Surely all who have the proper feeling have this missionary spirit and desire to do good to all men, especially those of the household of faith.--`Gal. 6:10`.
"HE BREATHED ON THEM"
Meantime Jesus, the spirit being, immediately transferred himself from Emmaus to the upper room where the disciples were assembled and the doors were fastened because they were fearing the Jews and also that the persecution which had come to the Lord might also extend to them. They were having their evening meal when our Lord, discarding the body and the clothing in which he had appeared to the two at Emmaus as a spirit being, came into their midst while the doors were shut, just as an angel could do. There he materialized, created for himself a body of flesh with clothing and in an instant stood before the disciples, who were terrified and were scarcely calmed by his familiar salutation, "Peace be unto you." It was still the first day of the week, the day of his resurrection; we may be sure the disciples were discussing the great and momentous event and the news they had indirectly received of our Lord's resurrection. They were endeavoring to harmonize the various stories told by the women, wondering to what extent they had been deceived, etc. And now to hear the Master's own words saying, "Peace be unto you,"--what could it mean? It meant a confirmation of the story of the women that they had actually seen the Lord, that he really was no longer dead. Then the Master showed them the wounded side and lacerated feet and hands, and their fright was turned into joy. The perplexities were not all gone; but they were getting the lesson that their Master was triumphant over death. Undoubtedly they were still perplexed at his appearing to them while the doors were shut; it would require a little time for them to learn that he was no longer the man Christ Jesus but the glorified Jesus, the spirit Jesus. They got a further lesson on this subject when a few moments later he vanished out of their sight, or, as some would say, dematerialized. The material body and clothing could not have gone through the walls while the doors were shut; a spirit being, however, is not limited by doors or locks or walls and our Lord, a spirit being, had used spirit powers and then additionally had created the body in which he then appeared, which was in still another form than that of a gardener, a stranger, a traveler to Emmaus.
Here our Lord took occasion to give his commission to the apostles, saying, "As the Father sent me, even so send I you." I have done the work the Father gave me to do; I now appoint to you a great work, which you are to do in my name, even as I worked in my Father's name. Symbolically then, as conveying to them a lesson, Jesus breathed upon them and said, "Receive ye the holy Spirit." He thus represented that he would put his Spirit, his disposition upon them which would enable them to carry out their commission, even as his own reception of the holy Spirit at the time of his baptism enabled him to carry out his consecration. What he did was rather a pantomime teaching; they must tarry at Jerusalem before they would really be endued with power from on high, before they would be endued with the holy Spirit. And why must they wait for Pentecost? Because the holy Spirit could come only upon those who were fully reconciled to the Father, and before they could be acceptable to the Father the great Redeemer must first ascend on high and appear in God's presence on their behalf and on behalf of all the household of faith to apply for them the merit of his sacrifice as a covering for all of their blemishes, that through him they might be acceptable to the Father and be permitted to receive the full adoption of the holy Spirit as the sons of God.
SINS REMITTED--SINS RETAINED
Addressing the apostles our Lord indicated the dignity of their complete representation of himself, saying, "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained." This dignity, this honor, this privilege was not granted to all believers, but merely to the apostles. And it is not true that this authority descended from them to others, the clergy, nor that the power to forgive sins nor to fix the responsibility for sins is thus come to reside in those who are alleged to have been called by apostolic succession in the laying on of hands. The apostles had no such successors; there were only twelve and when one (Judas) lost his bishopric it was given to another, St. Paul. These twelve are represented in the symbols of Revelation as the twelve foundation stones of the New Jerusalem, and these alone were the apostles of the Lamb, specially privileged as such, and specially addressed in the above words.
It is right, therefore, that we should heed carefully the words of the twelve apostles as being a divine revelation in the most special sense, that we should note well what they tell us of such sins as are cancelled by the merit of Christ's sacrifice and which sins are not cancellable, but are sins unto death or sins for which a measure of stripes must be inflicted. In view of this how carefully we should study not only the words of the Master himself but also those of the apostles, to note the conditions upon which God is willing to accept all who come unto him through Christ and the conditions upon which sins may be forgiven.
But while it is not granted to any but the apostles thus to fix the limitations upon which sins are forgivable and which sins must be punished, it is the province of all those whom the Lord uses as his mouthpieces to make known these limitations to the Church and to point out to them the teachings of the apostles on these subjects. Thus it is our privilege today to explain to those who have hearing ears what are the conditions of justification by faith and reconciliation to the Father and what are the conditions leading to the Second Death-- not on our own authority, not on our own account, but in the name of the Lord through his apostles, whose words we properly quote in substantiation.
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"MY LORD AND MY GOD"
The Apostle Thomas was not with the others on that first Sunday evening that our Lord appeared in the upper room. It was probably fortunate for many since that he was absent and that he was of that doubting disposition which lead him to rebuke the others for having believed in the Lord's resurrection upon too slight evidence. When they related to him the circumstances he declared, "Unless I put my finger in the prints of the nails and thrust my hand into his side I will not believe." An entire week passed and there was no further manifestation of our Lord so far as the records show until the next first day of the week, probably again in the evening, the beginning of the eighth day from the time of our Lord's resurrection. On this occasion all of the eleven apostles were present. The conditions were very similar to those of the week previous. Possibly they had been expecting all through the week to see our Lord and had been disappointed and when they were together a week later they hoped that this would be a favorable time for him to reveal himself. Thereafter the first day of the week was made an occasion for special meetings of the Lord's followers in remembrance of his revelations of himself on the first and on the eighth days. Thus as the Jewish Law, providing for the seventh-day Sabbath, was recognized as ending with the Jewish dispensation, the Gospel Church, under the guidance of the holy Spirit and freed from the Law, nevertheless desired a special day in the week for rest and spiritual refreshment, and the choice for the first day became very pronounced. We must remember, however, that there is no stipulation of the first day of the week nor any other day as a Sabbath. As Christians we delight to have the Sabbath spirit, the spirit of consecration to the Lord every day, and we are glad that the first day of the week is so generally observed by the nominal Church and that thus the Lord's Spiritual Israel can have the more favorable opportunity for fellowship with him and with each other on the day which most beautifully represents their hopes, the resurrection day, the day which marked the beginning of the new hope, new joy and a new dispensation of divine providence.
When our Lord appeared on this occasion he addressed Thomas particularly, showing that he had knowledge of what his disciples had discussed when
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they saw him not. Using Thomas' own language he exhorted him to stretch hither his finger and put it into the print of the nails and to thrust his hand into his side, and not be faithless but believing. The fact that Thomas was not too easily convinced gives us all the more assurance that the manifestations were unquestionably genuine and conclusive to those honorable men who bore witness thereto at the cost of their reputation, their influence, their lives--their all. We are not informed whether or not Thomas did put his finger into the nail prints and his hand into our Lord's side; it matters not, for at all events his mind was convinced.
Thomas' response is the Golden Text of this lesson, "My Lord and my God!" He recognized a divine power as indubitably attested by this manifestation; he knew therefore that the one in whose presence he stood was not only his Lord and Master Jesus, whose disciple he had become, but he recognized him as his God, as a mighty one, superior to all mankind, worthy to be called by the name God, which signifies "mighty one." This would not, however, mean that Thomas supposed our Lord Jesus to be the heavenly Father. We are to remember that the word God is applied not only to the Father and to the Son but also to the holy angels and on one occasion to men, to the seventy elders of Israel, whom Moses appointed in the wilderness.
Nevertheless we delight to remember the testimony of the Word that all men should honor the Son as they honor the Father also. The word also signifies that there are two so far as personality is concerned, though they are one so far as purpose and plan are concerned, as our Lord declared. Thus our Lord testified that all of his followers are to become one, even as he and the Father are one--one in purpose, in intent, in will, in spirit. Thus we also properly recognize the Lord Jesus as our God, a mighty one, in harmony with and one with the Father.
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A LETTER FROM SOUTH AFRICA
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:--
I am today in receipt of your welcome letter of 24th ult. I esteem it highly, and was exceedingly glad to hear from you.
I shall have much pleasure in giving you my honest opinion about the translation you mention, when it reaches me. I regret to find that you have met with so many disappointments in the translation.
Brother Booth is very active in connection with the Millennial message. I am deeply interested in your six books, and have two brothers similarly interested; one is a clergyman of the Dutch Church; not only a reader, but a thinker. He is emeritus; resides at Pretoria, Transvaal, and edits a Dutch Church paper, besides preaching when requested. I do not know how far the Lord means to use him in spreading the DAWN message.
Then there is a mutual friend of Brother Booth and myself, Rev. J. H. Orr, minister of the Independent Congregational Church, Wymberg (one of our suburbs), who is already preaching some of the new truths contained in your books.
As you will have heard, quite a nice little company, of which I was one, all interested in the Millennial message, assembled in Brother Orr's Church to celebrate the Passover--five Europeans, 29 natives (conducted in three languages--English, Dutch, Sixloga.) It was an important and impressive hour, and a new era in our lives.
Brother Orr is preaching the message, with great acceptance by his hearers.
Your books have left a deep impression upon me, and I am watching to see how far the Lord will see fit to use me in spreading the truths they contain.
No doubt Brother Booth has written to you about the native brethren, Oliphant and the student. Herein we observe the hand of God also.
I have been doing what I can to assist Brother Booth in getting your publications out among the people. No license is needed for the sale of books, only for stationery, etc.
With sincere regards, believe me,
Truly yours in Jesus,
L. DE BEER,--Africa.
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"LOVEST THOU ME MORE THAN THESE?"
--`JOHN 21:1-25`.--JUNE 14.--
Golden Text:--"Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."--`Matt. 28:20`.
QUITE a long interval elapsed between our Lord's appearance to the disciples on the eighth day (which was the sixth manifestation after his resurrection) and the one recorded in this lesson; it was about three weeks. During that interval we may be sure that our Lord was frequently with the apostles in spirit, watching over their interests. During that time the excitement incidental to his resurrection and six appearances within eight days wore off. Week after week they waited for further manifestations, and then concluded that something more practical should occupy their attention. Peter, because of his years and natural leadership, was the first to suggest a practical turn of affairs, saying, "I go a fishing"--I will return to the fishing business; what will you do? James and John, former partners with Peter, replied that they were of the same mind, and speedily the partnership was revived. They returned to Palestine and took possession of the ships and fishing tackle which they had abandoned three years before in obedience to the Master's call-- "I will make you fishers of men." We can imagine the disappointment of those men; and yet as they looked back and thought of the blessings experienced during the three years of following Jesus they must have felt glad as well as regretful; glad that they had been with the Master, and that they had had such a blessed season of cooperation, but regretful that the whole matter had evidently come to naught; that in the eyes of their neighbors and friends they had made fools of themselves, been deceived; they must have been grieved also because a return to the former occupation would be comparatively distasteful to them. Their first night's experience in the fishing business was calculated to disappoint them greatly; they toiled all night and caught nothing.
"JESUS STOOD ON THE SHORE"
With the morning dawn they were approaching the shore faint-hearted and discouraged, when a voice from the shore attracted their attention; some one calling for fish, they were obliged to reply that they had none. Then the stranger on the shore directed that the net be cast on the right side of the boat. They followed the suggestion of letting down the net again, when immediately it was full of large fish.
It was the loving John who first realized that the miracle implied that the stranger on the shore was the Lord, and he proclaimed his conviction to Peter. The latter, a man of action, and doubtless still suffering at heart from his denial of the Lord, plunged into the sea and swam ashore, but evidently was timid when he reached the land and waited and helped to pull the net full of fish to the shore. When the three fishermen were landed and things made fast and safe, it was noticed that the stranger had a fire of coals and fish thereon, and he invited the weary ones to come and have breakfast with him. This they did. It is not probable that they ate in silence, yet their conversation is not recorded, except that none of the disciples felt at liberty to inquire if it were the Lord, knowing, confident that it was he. There is no indication that on this occasion our Lord appeared with marks in his hands or his feet or his side; everything implies that he appeared in still another form, and was thus giving them another lesson in the fact that he not only had risen from the dead but was wholly changed, and was now a spirit being, who could go and come like the wind and they could not tell whence he came or whither he went; he could appear in a form best suited to the occasion.
"SIMON, LOVEST THOU ME?"
Poor Peter was doubtless wishing for some favorable opportunity to make some amends for his denial of the Lord, when our Lord looked at him and addressed him not as Peter, a rock, but as Simon, saying, "Lovest thou me more than these?" He may have meant, Do you love me more than these nets and boats and this fishing business? or he may have meant, Do you love me more than these other disciples? At least there was an opportunity for Peter to call to mind his own rather boastful expression of love for the Lord on the same night in which he denied him. He had said, "Lord, though all should forsake thee yet will not I." Peter replied without making any comparison between himself and the others or the fishing implements, saying, "Lord, thou knowest that I love thee." Our Lord used the word agapao for love, while Peter used a different word, phileo, supposed to signify a warm, personal affection. Upon this declaration our Lord replied, "Feed my lambs," my little sheep. There was in this the suggestion of a partial restoration of Peter to the work of the ministry. Three years before, our Lord had taught the multitudes on the shore from Peter's boat, and subsequently had performed the miracle of granting them a great draught of fishes, so great that the net broke. Following that incident, our Lord had said to Peter and James and John, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Now he gave them a similar miracle, and the net did not break, although 153 large fish were caught; and it was now, after this catch, that
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our Lord wished again to start the apostles as fishers of men under the auspices of the Gospel dispensation beginning with Pentecost, when they would be endued with power from on high. Although our Lord did not directly reprove Peter, he nevertheless impressed upon him the seriousness of his mistake and his denial, and intimated that thereby he had forfeited his place as one of the apostles. This new commission that he might feed the lambs of the flock indirectly implied that he might not be a full shepherd amongst the sheep. But our Lord again put the same question in the same form, and Peter replied in the same words. Jesus then extended the commission to him, saying, "Tend my sheep," care for the sheep, serve the sheep. By these two parts of the commission Peter was authorized to feed the lambs, but merely to tend the sheep; he had not yet received the full liberties of shepherding. As Peter had denied the Lord three times, so our Lord questioned him the third time, this time, however, changing the word for love to phileo. Perhaps Peter recognized the analogy; in any event he was deeply grieved at this third questioning of his love and that our Lord used this time the word phileo. Peter's reply was pathetic, "Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee." With this third confession our Lord restored him fully as a bishop or shepherd, saying, "Feed my sheep." He was authorized not only to feed the lambs and tend the sheep but finally to feed the sheep also. We are glad
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for Peter; and we admire our Lord's course in adopting such a skilful method of reproof and his generosity in not reproving more severely. Let us learn lessons from this grand exampler! Are there any other lessons we may learn from our Lord's words? Is it not well that we inquire each of his own heart whether or not we have a warm, deep, earnest love for the Lord, or if it is only a general love and admiration? We are to seek to cultivate that personal fellowship with the Master which will enable us to answer these questions affirmatively, and to assure him that we love him more than lands or houses, boats or nets, parents or children, husband or wife or self. As our heavenly Bridegroom he is worthy of our love, and if we do not feel this love toward him we are not of the kind fit for the Kingdom, not fit to be members of the Bride, the Lamb's Wife. And how shall we know, how shall we test our own hearts as to the degree of our love for the Lord? How will the Lord test us if not by permitting trials and difficulties, oppositions, etc., to overtake us? As our Lord hid himself from the apostles for three weeks or more, yet was near them watching over them and ready to take advantage of the most favorable moment to impart the necessary lessons, so we may be sure that he watches over our interests to give us needed instruction and guidance--and if sometimes he hides his face behind a frowning providence it is with a view to our blessing or strengthening, to prepare us to appropriate some valuable lessons which will be helpful to us in our preparation for a place in the throne. Let us, then, rejoice even in tribulation, knowing what it is working out, and in such tribulation let us ask ourselves the question, How am I showing my Lord that I love him supremely?
As our Lord said to Peter upon the profession of his love that he might feed the lambs and tend and feed the sheep, so he says to all who are his followers. Not that we can have the honorable place of apostles in connection with the Lord's dear flock, but that each of us may find opportunities for tending and assisting, feeding, nourishing the flock of God, especially all whom the Lord's providences place in the Church as elders so that, as the Apostle Paul said of the elders at Ephesus, they may feed the flock of God over whom the Spirit has made them overseers, bishops, shepherds. (`Acts 20:28`.) It is proper, nevertheless, that each one for himself provide things decent and honest in the sight of all in a temporal way; it is also necessary and proper that each under-shepherd give attention to his own spiritual feeding and refreshment; but it is very important that the Master's commission in respect to the flock shall have a prominent place in our hearts, that we shall rightly esteem it a great privilege to feed and to tend the Lord's followers in his name and as far as possible in his spirit of self-denial, self-sacrifice, in loving service, laying down our lives for the sheep, as he did. Whoever is heedless of the sheep should not in any sense of the word be recognized as an Elder, a leader, and each dear Elder should be esteemed and chosen to the position by his brethren because of evidence of loving zeal and devotion to the cause of the great Shepherd and the flock, and not from any selfish or worldly reasons. The primary qualification of an Elder in the Church, an under-shepherd, must necessarily be love for the Lord. All of the eloquence, all of the zeal might be hindrances and injurious to the flock's best interest, except as love for the great Shepherd would be the mainspring of action. And how may we know who has love for the Lord, and know of its measure? Our Lord tells us through the Apostle that if we love not our brethren whom we have seen we would be deceiving ourselves if we claim to love God, whom we have not seen. Hence love for our Lord must be expected to manifest itself in love for the brethren, and only those who manifest great love and sympathy, benevolence, patience, gentleness, brotherly kindness for the dear flock, are to be considered faithful shepherds or worthy of eldership. The self-seeking, the ambitious are to be feared and not to be encouraged.
"WHAT SHALL THIS MAN DO?"
Following the questioning our Lord, still addressing the Apostle Peter, made a prophecy respecting him that he would live to be an old man, and that then he would be deprived of his liberties. This was not a very bright prospect to hold out before Peter; it meant a further testing of his loyalty. We are glad to know that the Apostle was not discouraged, and that he was faithful even unto death. The prophecy proved to Peter and to the other apostles present, that in the work in which they were to engage afresh they were not to expect Kingdom honors and blessings, but rather to remember the Lord's previous declaration that the servant is not above his Master, and that as men despitefully used the Master the servants must expect nothing better. How nobly those chosen ones came up to the various tests and requirements placed upon them! There is a lesson for us, too, along the same lines, namely, that faithfulness to our Master will probably bring us tribulation of one kind or another. Hence we are not to seek our own wills or our own ways, but rather to look for and accept the Lord's providential guidance of our interests and to prefer this, knowing that he is able always to make all things work together for our good as New Creatures. John tells us that our Lord's words were understood to signify that Peter would die a violent death, and that in conclusion Jesus said, "Follow me," note my example and copy it.
Peter evidently felt that the conversation was pivoted largely upon himself and sought to turn it a little, saying respecting John, whom he recognized as the Lord's favorite disciple, "Lord, what shall this man do?" What is your prediction and what will be your providence in respect to John? Our Lord's reply was almost curt; it amounted to, Mind your own business and you will have plenty to do, though it was stated in a more polite form. Jesus said, "If I will that he tarry until I come,
WHAT IS THAT TO THEE? FOLLOW THOU ME"
This is a difficult lesson for all of the Lord's followers to learn, but a very important one. If we allow ourselves to look about us and to wonder why some fellow-disciple is not receiving apparently the same amount of chastisement or trials or difficulties or burdens that the Lord permits to come to us, and if then we permit ourselves to become judges of the Lord and his wisdom and his providences, the result will be disastrous to ourselves. It will destroy our peace and undermine our faith and hinder us from learning the lessons necessary to prepare us for the Kingdom. If such criticisms of divine providence at any time come to our minds, we should answer ourselves, promptly, in the
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language of our Lord to Peter, "What is that to thee? Follow thou me." You are not competent to regulate these matters, nor is it proper nor necessary for the Master to explain to you all of his plans and purposes. It is far better for you that you learn faith, submission and trust. No two of us have the same natural disposition, no two of us, therefore, need the same disciplinary training at the hand of the Lord. We have confidence in his wisdom and love; let us manifest it, realizing that if our trials are greater our blessings will be proportionate, and as the Lord said to Paul, so he would say to each of us, "My grace is sufficient for thee, my strength is made perfect in weakness." (`2 Cor. 12:9`.) With the Apostle let us say, If, therefore, the Lord's grace is proportionate to our trials let us receive with rejoicing all the trials he may send that we may have the more of his grace! It is for each sheep to know the Shepherd and to follow him, taking as straight paths for his feet as possible, and leaving with the Shepherd the general oversight of the flock and its interests, giving attention in proportion as the Lord through the brethren gives opportunity to assist in the shepherding work and in the name of the Lord to counsel or assist his dear flock.
"THAT HE TARRY TILL I COME"
Our Lord had clearly indicated that Peter would not tarry until his second coming, that he would die, and now, without saying that John would tarry until he should come, he merely said, If it should be my arrangement that he tarry till I come, would that interfere, Peter, with your arrangements and my dealings with you as my follower? But the matter became a proverb amongst the Lord's followers that John would not
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die, and the fact is that he outlived all the other apostles. Yet he himself did not understand the Master's words to mean that he would not die, for he so calls our attention to the matter in this very lesson.
There is a sense in which John has tarried until the second coming of Christ, namely, in that he was made a representative of the whole Church in the book of Revelation. The things which happened to John are the things which have happened or will happen to the Church. The angel showed John--but in reality it was for the John class. John fell down to worship the angel, and was told not to do it, and this is in reality a lesson to the whole Church, that they are not to be worshipers of God's messengers who bear to them the divine Word of truth and grace. The John class is, therefore, still in the world representatively, and we trust that we are members of it; it has tarried until the second presence of the Lord.
Applying this lesson to ourselves further, we suggest that some of the dear friends seem disposed to query as to how long they must wait before the First Resurrection change shall come and which of them shall remain the longer, etc. Let us leave the entire matter to the Lord; we should be glad if our change should come soon, yet fully content if the Lord has further service for us and the change should be delayed. Those who experience the change the earlier will, of course, have in many respects the greater blessing for the time; but if the Lord has service for us on this side the vail let us be glad to do his will; let us be assured that he will grant sufficient grace for every experience of life.
"LO, I AM WITH THEE ALWAY"
Our Lord's assurance that he would be with his followers until the end of the age was a consoling message. He did not tell us how long the age would last, nor all the trials and difficulties which would intervene between the time of his ascension and his return for the harvest work and the exaltation of his Church and the beginning of his Kingdom reign. It has been to our advantage that he left us in ignorance on this point; but we are assured, however, that in due time the wise shall understand; and again through the Apostle we are assured, "Ye, brethren, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief." (`I Thess. 5:4`), but "as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth." (`Luke 21:35`.) Our Lord indicated that at his second coming he would give such a knock as would arouse his faithful ones and lead to the trimming of their lamps, that they might know of the presence of the Bridegroom and be prepared to enter with him to the wedding festival. It is not intended that this prophetic knock should be heard by the world; it is intended only for the virgin class, wise and foolish.
Evidently our Lord did not intend that we should understand these words of the Golden Text to mean that he would be personally present in the world throughout the age. Rather we must understand him, in harmony with other statements, to the effect that the holy Spirit, the holy power of God, which came at Pentecost, was the representative of the Father and of the Son, the Spirit of both with the enlightening and instructing power, supervising all of our affairs and interests, expedient for us, beneficial to us. How glad we are that it is our great privilege to be living now in the time of the parousia, the presence of the Lord, and to have his special supervision in the same manner as when he was present with his disciples during those forty days before he ascended. But we are not to expect any materialization or manifestation of our Lord's presence, such as was appropriate and indeed necessary at that time. We have seen that the necessity then was that the disciples should have convincing proof that our Lord was risen and that he was not any longer human but capable of appearing in various forms. No longer are these lessons needed, for we know he is a spirit being and is present with us in this harvest time supervising all the work of the harvest. Indeed, we have every reason to be on guard now against the manifestations of the Adversary, knowing from the Scriptures that the evil spirits, the fallen angels, will have considerable power in the way of materializing, and that it will be part of their deception to endeavor to ensnare and deceive us by impersonating the Lord and the holy ones as well as earthly friends. Let us not seek to walk by sight, but to be quite content to walk by faith, as our Lord desires us to do. The promise to us now is that we shall see him as he is--not as he was --because we shall be changed that we may be made like him. He will no longer change himself to appear as a man to us.
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THE MIGHTY KING OF KINGS
From far in the great aions of eternity,
From space unlimited, unmeasured by the steps
Of worlds, from silence broken only by the voice
Of him, the self-existent One, whose skilful word
Created him,* came forth the glorious Son of God!
O sacred moment! which with shaded eyes we dare
With holy boldness to approach; not with a vain
Desire to see and know what God has hid, but drawn
Thereto by that blest Spirit which in reverence
Delights to search the deep and precious things revealed.+
O glad Beginning of Creation's early morn!
O glorious Finish of Creation's noon and night!
O blessed Son, begotten of the Father's speech,
Thou only Well-Beloved, in whom all fulness dwells!
Silence and space alone were found to worship thee!
But deep within the counsels of th' Eternal One
Lay countless hosts whose praise should celebrate the Son;
And to the Son was giv'n prerogative++ to call
Them to existence, in abodes of him prepared,
And crown with happiness each creature in its sphere.
Rich in insignia of his high rank, he still
Delighted in the emblems of humility;
And wore upon his heart the gem obedience,
And clothed his arm with zeal, his feet with haste, to do
The holy will of him who loved and cherished him.
*`Rev. 3:14`. +`I Cor. 2:10`. ++`John 1:3`.
And now reign silence, solemn, still, as that which on
His natal day received him; for the angels watch,
With awe constrained, while he divests himself of all
His wealth and glory, and becomes a babe; then loud
Hosannas sing, "On earth be peace, good will to men."
And lovingly they watch him as the perfect man's
Estate he magnifies with like obedience,
Unflinching loyalty and firm humility;
Till, daunted not by Calv'ry's cross and shame, he gives
His life a ransom for a helpless, dying race.
That awful day the darkened sun and quaking earth
Creation's anguish voiced; but One yet reigned supreme,
Who loved him with the power of infinite strength,
And in his master hand the mighty issues held--
The matchless Son had won the title to a throne!
What throne? Could all the boundless universe produce
A worthy coronet for his escutcheon which
Nor honor, glory, shame nor death could mar? Behold,
The heav'nly myriads worship, while the Father crowns
The risen Son--divine,* immortal,+ Lord of all.++
O hail, Immanuel! Prince of life and glory, hail!
Let earth with heaven unite in adoration, praise,
Thanksgiving to thy God, whose attributes thou hast
Exalted, and to thee, whose love and sacrifice
Constrain to endless gratitude a race redeemed!
--R. B. Henninges.
*`Heb. 1:3`, Diaglott. +`John 5:26`. ++`Rom. 14:9`.
BEREAN STUDIES ON THE ATONEMENT
THE TEXT BOOK USED FOR THIS COURSE IS
SCRIPTURE STUDIES, SERIES V. (E)*
Questions on Study IV.--
The Author of the Atonement.
(58) Was faith in the unreasonable and unscriptural made a test of orthodoxy and its disbelief threatened with eternal torment and was the error thus fastened? P.64.
(59) Is the Hebrew name Jehovah properly shown in our common Bibles? How many times does it occur? How many times is it correctly rendered and how many times incorrectly? P.65, par. last.
(60) What motive seems to have led to this kind of hiding of the Truth? P.65, foot-note.
(61) What about the word elohim--how frequently does it occur? What does it signify, and to whom is it applied? P.66, par. 3.
(62) What Hebrew words are used as titles for our Lord Jesus? P.66, par. 4.
(63) When elohim, the Hebrew word usually translated God, is used in (`Psa. 8:5`) and translated angels, is it a mistaken translation or not? Prove it. P.67, par. 2.
(64) Is the Hebrew word elohim, usually translated God, ever applied in the Scriptures to the heathen or false gods? If so, how many times? Give some illustrations. P.67, par. 3 and on.
(65) Is this same word elohim ever applied in the Scriptures to men in olden times? If so, give illustrations. P.68, par. 3-8.
(66) Is this word elohim ever used prophetically in reference to the saints of this Gospel Age? If so, give quotation and explain. P.68, par. 9,10, and foot-note P.69.
(67) Is elohim otherwise rendered in the Old Testament? P.69, par. 1.
(68) What are the facts respecting the terms God and Lord in the New Testament? Give illustrations. P.69, par. 2, and P.70.
(69) What about the word Godhead of the New Testament--how many times does it occur, and is it always from the same Greek word? P.71, par. 4.
(70) What is the ordinarily understood meaning of this word Godhead, and is it the proper thought of any of the three Greek words used?
(71) Give the Greek words mistranslated Godhead and show the meaning of each. P.71, par. 5 and on.
(72) Did the fact that Jesus was "worshiped" by his disciples and others, and the fact that he received such worship without protest, prove that he was Jehovah, his own Father?
(73) Prove the answer by Scriptural citations. P.72, 73.
(74) Our Lord Jesus said explicitly, "I and my Father are one" (`John 10:30`.) Does this prove that he was both Father and Son, or that the one person filled these two offices? P.75, par. 1,2.
(75) When our Lord prayed for his followers, "that they all may be one" (`John 17:21`), does it signify that he expected or desired that all of his followers should ultimately become one person or one in heart-harmony and purpose?
(76) How, then, must his statement of the next verse be understood, viz.: "that they may be one even as we are one"? P.75, par. 3,4.
(77) If "no man can see God and live" (`Exod. 23:20`), what could our Lord Jesus have meant when he said, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (`John 14:7-10`)? P.76,77.
*Five years ago DAWN-STUDIES, VOL. V., was reset, and unfortunately the type was not exactly same size as before; and hence page for page they differ. The references given in these Berean Studies apply to the present edition, a copy of which postpaid will cost you but 30c. But keep your old edition, for unfortunately the New Bible helps refer to its pages.