VOL. I. PITTSBURGH, PA., JANUARY, 1880. NO. 7.
HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE.
PUBLISHED MONTHLY. 101 Fifth Ave., PITTSBURGH, PA.
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DIALOGUE. `Rev. 13`.
B. I am here again Bro. A., anxious as ever to enjoy whatever light may be due the church; I know that you believe the word of God to be a lamp, whose oil is the spirit, which sheds its light upon the path of the just as fast as the light is due, in order that at each step we may not be in darkness. Have you seen anything fresh or new lately?
A. God's word is "new every morning and fresh every evening." In this respect it differs from all other books and, undoubtedly it is a fountain of living waters (truths) from the fact that it contains special dispensational truths, as well as general truth. Thus it is a great storehouse from which the Lord's servants are to bring forth "things new and old," that the household of faith may have meat in due season." I seem to see in a clearer light than ever before, the present condition of the nominal church and its future. We talked some of this subject at a previous interview, when we considered `the text`--"Babylon is fallen." The subject in general and the Bible teaching concerning it, seems daily to open up more clearly. I think too, that it is--the meat due here. Many saints in "Babylon" are ignorant of the fact, and therefore do not obey the call--"Come out from her my people, so that you may have no fellowship with her sins and that you receive not of her plagues." Would this subject be agreeable to you this evening?
B. It would, and profitable too I hope. I was much interested in our last conversation on The Antichrist and its picture in `Rev. 12`.
A. Then we will consider the "Two horned beast" of the `next chapter` now. It seems to follow connectedly, our last topic.
B. Suppose you use the Emphatic Diaglott; it is so much clearer. Then I can have the advantage of both translations.
A. The `first ten verses` of this chapter describe the Papal--Roman dominion. It is the Leopard; its spots showing mixture, or church and empire combined. It receives its power &c., from the "Dragon" (Pagan Rome.) Let me here explain that in symbol, "Heavens," signify the higher or ruling powers, "Earth," represents the people obedient to those ruling powers. When the Dragon gave its place to Papacy, it (Papacy) became "the heavens" and those who were obedient to it (the church) were "the earth." "The sea" represents the general masses of the world, without religious restraints.
The "Leopard" arose from the sea--from among the masses of the people--received its power and dominion etc. "And the whole earth wondered after the beast." And they did homage to the Dragon (Paganism) because he gave the authority to the Beast. And they worshiped the Beast saying: Who is like to the Beast? Thus we see that the people honored both the empire and the ecclesiastical or church power, finally concluding that the Beast (ecclesiastical power) was the stronger, and saying--"Who is able to make war (to contend) with the Beast. The "blasphemies and the great swelling words" of this power, we talked of at our last interview. Its time for speaking is not limited; it still speaks, but not so its time for acting. It had "power to act forty and two months." This is the same period referred to in `chap. 12` as "twelve hundred and sixty days," and three and a half times (3-1/2 years) extending from A.D. 538 to 1798, when its "power to act" or put to death seems to have ceased.
THE TWO HORNED BEAST
`Vs. 11`. "And I saw another wild beast, ascending from the earth." If the previous beast was an ecclesiastical power, this beast called another would also be an ecclesiastical, or church power. As the first beast had ten horns, or powers, which gave to it their support, strength and protection, so this beast has "two horns." The first beast received a deadly wound from the sword. (`Vs. 14`.) The sword is the word of God and Papacy received such a wound during the reformation. The preaching of the word of God by Luther, Zwingle and others, showing it to be the "mystery of iniquity," "The man of Sin," "The Antichrist," &c., took away much of its power and almost took its life.
B. I see then that the second beast with two horns, you regard as another ecclesiastical power arising since the reformation. Can it be possible that it refers to or symbolizes Protestantism?
A. I think it does. As Papacy became a beast by the union of church and empire, so with Protestantism. It is not called a beast until it unites with the empires represented by the two horns--two powers, England and Germany. Notice that this beast does not come out of the Sea (the irreligious masses) but from the "Earth" (the people who had been obedient to Papacy). It has not the fierce, aggressive character of the "Leopard," but "two horns like a lamb." It used its horns only as a means of defence and protection.
B. The next statement that it "spake as a dragon" does not seem to fit Protestantism. It would seem to imply that the second beast taught the same things as the dragon, i.e. Paganism &c.
A. By no means, the two beasts are being contrasted. We have already been told what were the claims of the Leopard or Papal ecclesiasticism, how it spake great swelling words and blasphemies, how it claimed the right to "rule all nations with a rod of iron" by virtue of its other claim that it was "The kingdom of God." Protestantism, though it associated itself with earthly empire and became a beast made no such boast. It spake no such swelling words and made no such pretentious claims. It does not speak as the dragon, as a dragon--Its claims are the same as any civil or dragon power.
B. O I see! I thought that its speaking as a dragon, would indicate that it was worse than Papacy but I see that it really marks it as being better and is the distinguishing feature between it and "The man of Sin." It does seem that the Spirit clothed the matter in such symbols as would be difficult or impossible to understand until it should become meat due to the church.
A. Notice further that although the two-horned beast claimed less, its greater humility did not operate against it, for "All the authority of the first beast he executes in his presence."
B. That is the Protestant Beast [the state churches of England and Germany.] was able to exert as much influence and power as Papacy could by its greater claims. But what is meant by "in his presence?"
A. This is thrown in to show us that the rise of the second, did not destroy the first one. They continue to exist contemporaneously.
"And he makes The Earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast whose mortal wound was healed." Papacy's wound began
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to heal from the time the Reformation Church united to worldly empires, for how could the Reformers any longer use the Sword of the Spirit against Papacy as a church-- state organization when they themselves were the same.
And not only did this cause them to cease to wound and injure Papacy, but when they justified their own church and empire organization and demanded for it the respect and reverence of the people, they virtually caused all, both papists and protestants to worship, respect and honor the Papal Church. To such an extent is this true, that to-day the Papal Church is recognized among christians as one of the churches of Christ, instead of, in its true character as the "Antichrist," that the Lord recognizes as "The Abomination of the Earth." The utterance of early reformers against this church, if made to-day would be denounced by both christians and the world.
`Vs. 13`. "And he does great signs
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so that fire he makes to come down from heaven to the earth in the presence of men." Remember that both beasts are now, in "heaven," or in authority. The second beast displays its power over "the earth," or those who are under its authority by occasionally sending down fire [symbol of judgment and punishments] upon them--declaring certain judgments and punishments upon those who oppose it--heretics. Such fire was sent down upon the Dissenters-- Baptists, Puritans and others.
`Vs. 14`. "And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by the signs which it was given him to do in the presence of the beast." Those who dwell on the earth (not "the earth" itself--i.e. the people who acknowledge and obey these two beasts) probably refers to independent christians not allied to worldly organizations. These were deceived by the pretentious claims of divine right and appointment etc.
They claim as the Papal church did and does that they are the only church of Christ and that none but their ministers and bishops have right to preach since they and the Roman Catholic clergy alone are rightly "ordained of God." They claim that the right to ordain (set apart and install in office) was originally possessed only by the Apostles, who through "laying on of hands," conferred the gifts of the Spirit. This last we know is true, but they also claim that those so ordained, could, in ordaining others, confer the same spiritual gifts and powers. This was probably first promulgated to give power and seeming authority to the clergy, and to create between them and the balance of the church, a gulf of awe so wide that few would dare leap over. Thus priest-craft obtained a mighty hold upon the minds of the people. It is the carrying out of this same principle that sanctions the teaching, that none are qualified to understand the Bible aright except those consecrated by the imposition of holy orders by the Apostolic succession. This claim of both beasts we deny, and assert that the laying on of hands by all the Bishops and Popes, could not add to the spiritual gifts of any, saint or sinner. We challenge both churches to produce a single case in which "the gifts of the Spirit" (as they are explained in `1 Cor.`) ever followed the ordination of their ministers.
It was in this way that the second beast deceived or led into error (bondage) the various independent companies of protestant christians, telling them ("those who dwell on the earth") to make an image to the (first) beast, who has the wound of the sword and lives."
B. We understand then that these two churches, the church of England and the church of Germany by their claims and organizations similar to Papacy, said to smaller companies of Independent Protestant Christians by example etc.: You will also find it necessary to have an ecclesiastical fence to separate your clergy from the common people of the church, that their utterances, by seeming authority may have the greater weight, even as the word of God with the people--thus preventing the exercise of individual thought and study.
A. Yes, they demonstrated to them that they required an organized government &c., of the clergy over the common people like to Papacy in form, in fact an "Image of that beast." This each denomination, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and legion besides, did, as they gained power, i.e. While they denounced priest-craft and advocated individual study of the Bible, yet, they claimed the authority of their clergy to interpret the scriptures. And while they freely placed the Bible in the hands of the people, they handed them along with it, the catechism and creed of the church. They concede the right of the individual to be a member of the church and to study the word if they will agree to believe neither more nor less than the clergy who formed the creed. Strange liberty! Thus each denomination did make an image; but there is a sense in which they have all united to make one grand image, the one referred to in this `fourteenth verse`.
B. I notice that the Sinaitic MSS. adds the word also in this verse-- "That they also should make an image." --Would not this seem to indicate that Protestantism as represented in this beast, is an image of the first beast also?
A. Yes, the thought is there even without the word also, since they are both beasts, but also, does add to the force. Well, they took the advice of example and did organize such an image. In London, Aug. 19th, 1846, there assembled representatives of all the leading protestant denominations of Europe and America, who there organized under the name--"Evangelical Alliance." That was a church organization in many respects similar in form ("an image") to Papacy. Its design is to increase the power and authority of Protestantism, just as the formation of the Leopard beast was the result of a desire to increase the power and authority of Papacy.
B. Surely you do not mean to say that the "Evangelical Alliance," which seemingly has been for the cementing of all protestant christians into one organization is an evil thing.
A. The union of believers is one of the things for which we long and pray, but it is brought about, not by the organization of societies, but by the Holy Spirit. It is a union of hearts bound together by the golden chord of truth; not a union of church societies bound by creeds.
If the Evangelical Alliance were the coming together of christians, saying--We realize that there is "One Lord, one faith, one baptism," and that all truth is in harmony, and therefore, as we who profess to be God's children differ widely on various subjects and our various creeds in many particulars contradict each other, we desire to lay aside all written creeds and we unite in this manner as christians, with no rule nor creed but the Bible. We will henceforth strive to be taught of God and seek to come to harmony in the understanding of His word.
I say if this were the object, I could rejoice at such an organization. But it is not; no, each denomination stands as firmly as ever by its creed. And this Alliance is designed only as a protection to those creeds. The Alliance has a creed of nine articles, and none can be considered as within the pale of Orthodoxy, except by subscribing to this creed. It is, I repeat, an organization in form and purpose, similar to Papacy and is here properly termed the "Image of the beast."
`Vs. 15`. "And it was given him to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast, should be killed."-- That is, the Protestant beast gave vital power and authority to the image (The united sects--Evangelical Alliance). It has done this by joining with them in the organization. The church of England and the church of Germany were both represented at several of the late meetings of the Alliance. This is contrary to the Spirit of their creeds, as all know who are conversant with them. The English and German churches each claim, as the Papal has always done, that theirs is THE CHURCH founded by the Apostles and that their ministers and bishops have the special unction for teaching by the "laying on of hands," or what is known as ordination and Apostolic succession. These claim that the Papacy was an apostacy from their church, and that the various other denominations are schisms from their church and heretical, in that they hold doctrines differing from theirs.
They have departed from the real ground of their creed when they take part with other denominations in forming, and recognizing (giving life to) "the image."
And even the Papal Church went so far as to acknowledge the Image, for during the session (in Europe) two months since, she sent her GREETINGS to the "Evangelical Alliance." The recognition by these beasts gives force and power to the image, so that it can command the reverence of all; and woe be to the one who dares refuse to worship "Orthodoxy." He is symbolically "killed" --cut off, as a heretic, and is no longer recognized as a Christian.
`Vs. 16`. "And he causes all, the little and great, and the rich and the poor, and the freemen and the bondmen, that they should give themselves a mark on the right hand or in their forehead;" i.e., the Image causes all who would be its followers and worshipers to commit themselves either by a public profession (mark in forehead), or by giving able support with their might, power and means (mark in right hand). A mark is a seal or sign of allegiance.
B. How do the various denominational churches constituting the Image follow Papacy?
A. In many ways. For instance: Papacy established the clerical hierarchy, who lord it over God's heritage instead of serving their brethren as Jesus explained--"One is your Master and all ye are brethren," and as Paul said--"We are to speak the
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truth in love and grow up into Him in all things who is the head, even Christ; from whom the whole body fitly joined together (not by creeds of men, but by love begotten by the one Spirit of truth) and compacted by that which every joint supplieth (every joint is every member, not the clergy only) making increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." Thus coming "to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God." `Eph. 4`.
As Papacy established the priesthood over the church, so Protestantism has established almost the same, and there is no opportunity for the body to edify itself, every joint taking part. True, there is a seeming show of liberty at prayer meetings, &c., but it is only upon the surface, for the ordained pastor is to watch zealously lest anything contrary to the teachings of his church should be expressed, and if so to silence the audacious member at once, for the church creed is the rule, not the Word of God. If this is not sufficient, they must have a sort of church trial and excommunicate him ["kill him"]. The trial, by the way, gives evidence of another likeness to the beast, namely, the exaltation of the teachings of the organization above the Word of God, for all such are tried according to "the authorities" of their church.
Another mark is the ordination or apostolic succession. This is claimed by Methodists and others, who go through the same form of consecrating their ministers as do the Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches, and without scriptural authority.
B. Do you not think it right that fellow servants should pray over and in the name of God set apart a fellow member for the Lord's service?
A. O yes! What I object to is the idea held, that some supernatural power and wisdom is conveyed, and that it is particular that the blessing come in a direct descent from the first Apostles. Another prominent mark of the beast copied
[Continued on seventh page.]
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[Continued from second page.]
by the image is the honoring of the special class, the clergy, with special honors and titles. They are known as Revs., Divines, etc., but Jesus, the divine, said: "Ye call me Lord and Master, and ye say well, for so I am." "Be not ye called Rabbi, neither be ye called Masters, for one is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren (`Matt. 23:8`). These titles are assumptions fashioned after those of Papacy.
When the various denominations began their existence, more full of the spirit of Christ, they claimed no such high-sounding titles. The Reformers were not known as Rev.__________, D.D., &c., but as John Knox, Martin Luther, John Wesley, &c. Unpretentious, like Jesus and the Apostles, they were intent upon serving God and therefore became the servants (ministers) of the church. These had marks of God's approval, and as a result, their ministry was wonderfully blest. But now the clergy are far from being servants, they are Lords. They have itching ears, loving the approval of men. As pride and worldliness have come in, vital godliness and power have gradually departed.
For the very same reason they are losing all power to expound the Word of God--the gift of teaching --because "God abhoreth the proud but giveth grace (favor) to the humble." The early reformers were humble, and God led them into much knowledge of His Word, and although we are much farther along "the path of the just," and the servants should have more light and bring things new as well as old from the Word, yet we find ministers of all denominations ready to confess their ignorance of the Word. They appeal for their information back to the early reformers, and thus confess that they have less light than they. Pride always has hindered growth in grace and does now." "How can ye believe who receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor which cometh from God, only?" That their light should grow dim and their spiritual life become dwarfed is the natural result of their joining the image and subscribing to creeds made in the fifteenth century, which, like the iron shoe of China, will not admit of any growth. It is a shoe a little larger than Papacy put upon its followers but of the same sort.
Another mark received by nearly all is
SPRINKLING INSTEAD OF BAPTISM.
This has been handed down through the Church of Rome to the Churches of England and Germany, and through the influence of these to the allied Evangelical churches.
The word baptize is not a translated word, but a transferred Greek word, and means to dip, immerse, wash, as is abundantly proven by its use in hundreds of instances in profane Greek literature. Its use in scripture seems also to teach the same thing, as well as the admitted fact that all Christians for nearly three centuries practiced immersion. The Church of Rome (the only one which has a history) admits that the word signifies, to immerse, and that it was so practiced by early Christians, but claims that SHE changed it. She claims that she, through her head, the Pope, (the vicar of Christ), had authority to change any ordinance. This is in harmony with the spirit of Papacy as illustrated in the quotation at our last meeting from Pope Martin: "Wherefore no marvel if it be in my power to change time and times, to alter and abrogate laws, to dispense with all things, yea, with the precepts of Christ." Can you wonder that I should feel aggrieved to see fellow Christians ignore the precepts of Christ and exalt instead the teachings of men, claiming that it makes no difference?
B. Certainly if these are marks of the beast, it is time that all Christians should realize it. Also, that all who are worshiping any church organization should be warned. "See thou do it not." These are thy fellow servants. "Worship God." `Rev. 22:9`.
A. The image worship is hindering hundreds from seeing the beauties of the Word of God. They may perhaps glance at it and for a moment think for themselves, but that is all. The church discipline is so strict and they reverence it so much that a look or frown is sufficient to warn them that independent thought is a dangerous thing and must not be indulged in, lest they be regarded as infidels. Would that all could see that these local organizations called churches are not THE CHURCH, but that the Church of God includes all Christians, all whose names are written in Heaven, and that when these local organizations attempt to come between them as children, and God their Father, or to put their creed instead of the Word of God, their assumed authority is not to be recognized, nor tolerated; and that it is our duty to rebuke it as sinful.
`Vs. 17`. "So that no one may be able to buy or sell unless he who has the mark, the name of the beast, or the number of his name." The buying and selling here are doubtless symbolic, and refer to trading, or exchanging of spiritual things-- truths. None are recognized as having a right to teach or preach unless they have these marks; i.e., he must have a theological examination to see whether he bears all the marks and reverences the authority of the image. He must either be a part of the beast itself, or of the number of his name--many denominations.
B. Our meeting has been profitable to me, I hope. I will watch the closer that I do not worship men nor men's opinions and creeds. Man worship in some form seems to be a failing of very many.
A. If you feel interested enough in these topics, and will call again, we may take up some of the subsequent chapters of this interesting but in times past sealed book. Farewell.
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"As Unknown and yet Well Known."
Not a link with earth unbroken,
Not a farewell to be spoken;
Waiting for their Lord to take them
To Himself, and like Him make them.
With their hearts upon a treasure
That has dimmed for them earth's pleasure,
Lamps well trimmed, and brightly burning,
Eyes forever upward turning.
Earthly rank and riches losing.
Worldly ties and claims refusing.
On to Christ in glory passing.
All things there in Him possessing.
But in Him their hearts are resting,
Faith looks up in days of testing,
Follows Him with true allegiance,
Loves to walk in His obedience.
Well know there--
Oh, what joy for Christ to take them
To the Father, who will make them
Welcome in His mansions yonder,
Strangers here--to be no longer.
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The Old and New.
The natural and the spiritual, both, are elements of God's plan. Some make too much of the one and some too much of the other. If we would keep balanced we should carefully avoid extremes. First the natural and afterward the spiritual, is God's law of development, both of dispensations and persons; and the natural is first also in the sense that the spiritual grows out of it--not developed by the power of the natural itself, but by the power of the spiritual, with which the natural is impregnated. In God's order there can be no spiritual without first the natural, hence the spiritual is in one sense dependent on the natural. This gives us a clear application of the principles: "The elder shall serve the younger," spoken concerning Esau (the elder) and Jacob (the younger). `Gen. 25:23`. They were twins; and thus intimately related, clearly represent the relation between the natural and the spiritual, Esau, as the natural, first, and afterward Jacob.
The Jewish and Gospel dispensations stand so related to each other. As Esau for pottage sold Jacob his birthright and Jacob received the blessing of the firstborn, so natural Israel by desiring only the things adapted to an earthly condition, lost the kingdom, and it is given to another nation--the Gospel church-- the true Israel of God. But the Gospel church grew out of the Jewish; the remnant saved being the nucleus around which the Gospel church was gathered. Christ, his apostles and all the remnant were Jews, they received the Holy Spirit and became the light beams to the Gentiles: "Salvation is of the Jews." `John 4:22`. The natural is the elder, but the elder serves the younger.
The natural and the spiritual are related thus to each other in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, reckoning from the beginning of his earthly life. As one born of the flesh (the natural) he was natural, but when he was born from the dead by the Spirit he was spiritual, and he is our Leader in the order of development. This order, in Christ is the key to the whole plan, and is the basis of Paul's statement concerning our resurrection. "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body." `1 Cor. 15:44,46`. The natural could not of itself become spiritual, neither could there be the spiritual, in God's order without "First the natural." The natural or "vile body" changed becomes the glorious body; changed by the power of the Spirit indwelling. `Rom. 8:11` and `Phil. 3:21`.
The relation of the grub and the butterfly is a good illustration of the Christian in his two stages of existence. It is first the grub and afterward the butterfly, the grub changing into a butterfly on account of the butterfly nature which the grub possesses. So when a man has the Divine or spiritual nature, in due time he will "bear the image of the heavenly," a glorious form, (`1 Cor. 15:49`). But a mere natural man has no germ of the spiritual, and hence he needs a Saviour--he needs the life giving power of the Second Adam.
Adam was a mere natural man and in harmony with this fact was on trial only for natural life, which the typical tree could prolong. There is no intimation in the bible that spirituality or immortality was placed before him as of possible attainment. If it be said, "God's plan cannot change, and therefore God intended from the first that man should develop from the natural to the spiritual." I answer by admitting the premises, and urging in consequence that God intended that man should receive spiritual life by the Second Adam. As man had only natural life when created, a redeemed or ransomed life can only be natural; and as a naturally dead man can not develop into spiritual life, man needs a Redeemer, and must either be actually redeemed if dead, or counted redeemed if under sentence, in order to receive the spiritual life. We may thus be able to see great light and beauty in the fact that in Christ are combined both the natural and the spiritual, for man needs a Redeemer from the curse "Dying thou shalt die," and also a spiritual Life-giver. We are compelled to believe that Christ is man's Redeemer from natural death, because He gave his natural life (Gr. psuchee) a ransom for the many; and natural life could not redeem spiritual life nor spiritual redeem the natural, as the law requires "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." But we are asked was it not God's plan to raise man from natural death? We answer, yes; but it was as much his plan to raise them by a Redeemer, as to raise them at all, or as it was his plan to give men spiritual life by the Second Adam. It is evidently a part of the plan to save or deliver man from the natural death, and so far at least God saves the old man. It seems to us a misapprehension of the relation between the natural and the spiritual, that leads to the idea that there is no provisions for the salvation of the old man. If God raises the dead "distinct from Christ," or without a Redeemer, he saves them without a provision; but even with this view, the recovery of the natural man from natural death in order to give him spiritual life is as much a necessity as in our view, that God saves men by a Redeemer. It seems strange that any one should say that God has made no provision to save the natural man. Pray tell us who needs saving if not poor lost, sinful mortal man. The spiritual man needs no Saviour; he is the saved man. To restore is to save from death; in this sense he saves all mankind. To give spiritual life is to save by preventing the second death. "On such the second death hath no power." "Neither can they die any more." `Rev. 20:6` and `Luke 20:36`.
This is the great, the special salvation and is to believers only; and the principle involved is, THE OLD MADE NEW. If God does not save the old man he saves nobody. And if the new creation does not consist in making the old man new, by the power of the spirit, then our glorified Saviour is not the man Christ Jesus who went about doing good; who learned to sympathize with his brethren, because "he was tried in all points like as we are;" and who gave himself a ransom for all, by his obedience unto death; and was therefore highly exalted. `Phil. 2:8,9`. If he does not save the old man by making him new, then there is neither resurrection nor change--the putting on of immortality. The butterfly may or may not remember his grub life, but as he flutters in the air with his beautiful form and gaudy dress, he is the very same creature that once wallowed in the soil of earth.
Our change will indeed be great, well may it be called a "New Creation;" (to form anew or give a new form.) "It doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." `1 Jno. 3:2`. We would doubtless be greatly surprised could we in vision see ourselves in glory: these vile bodies changed, and fashioned like unto his glorious body; but no one need be afraid of losing his identity. When we look back, and realize what God hath wrought in redeeming out of every kindred, and in making us Kings and Priests, well may we then exclaim: "Oh death where is thy sting, Oh grave where is thy victory. Thanks be unto God that giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." And as Jesus by the memory of his suffering can sympathize with the sorrowing and the tempted, so will we by the trials which we have overcome, be prepared with him to share in the administration of power, to succor and bless the nations of Earth in the millennial day.
All hail, to our mighty Redeemer and
Who saves the redeemed to a life without
In thy kingdom of glory, may we share
with the few
In bringing mankind from the old to
the new. J. H. P.
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Into All Truth.
"Howbeit when he, the spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth." --`John 16:13`.
To whom was that promise made by the Saviour, to the Apostles, or to the church? And if to the church, does it belong to each individual of the church? We believe there is a sense in which it was designed for the Apostles, and was fulfilled in them. Revelation has two phases, one of which is fulfilled in the word being spoken or written, the other in its being understood. This is especially true of prophecy, which though spoken or written by men inspired by the spirit, was not understood, nor intended to be understood by them, (`1 Pet. 1:11,12`.) but was for the church. Prophecy can only be fully understood when fulfilled, and a truth is not fully revealed until it is understood. To reveal is to make known, and in a very important sense the promise of the Spirit was fulfilled when the inspired writings were complete and given to the church. We do not believe that new truths, not contained in the Bible, have been given to men, and when men come to us claiming to have new revelations, we beware. But we have no doubt that in the application and understanding of the word, the Spirit's help is as necessary as in writing it. The prophets and apostles had inspiration to write and the church have the same Spirit's help to understand.
The Apostles are as the twelve foundation stones of the church, (when complete and glorified the New Jerusalem.--`Rev. 21:14`,) and as such, represent the whole church, and for this reason, the terms "ye" and "you" addressed to them, refer to the whole church. In this way we believe the promise of the Spirit
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belongs to the whole church. "Go ye into all the world," is our commission, to preach the gospel, as well as their's, though addressed to them. "Lo I am with you alway even unto the end of the world," is a precious promise to us and could refer to them only in the sense that they were a part of the one family addressed, and in their time, received by the Spirit all needed help. The church is one body, Christ being its head, and the Apostles important members of it, but the body would be incomplete without the toes, and the same Spirit animates the toes that animates the Head. "There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye
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are called in one hope of your calling." `Eph. 4:4`.
The living generation of believers in Christ represents the church now as at any time in the past, but it requires the whole number, dead and living, to constitute the church, that body which when complete and filled with glory, will shine as the sun in the Father's kingdom. Now, we do not and cannot believe that Christ, in any sense, intended the promise of which we are speaking, for any one individual, now, or at any time in the past; hence we do not believe that any one person ever had, or ever will have the truth concerning Christ and his plans this side of the kingdom or immortal state. "Now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known." `1 Cor. 13:12`. Whoever expects all the truth while in a mortal state will, doubtless, be disappointed, but this need not stand in the way of any ones applying himself faithfully, with the assurance that his work shall be richly rewarded. He who searches will find. There can be no doubt, that, in consequence of the promise of the leading of the Spirit, the living generation of Christians has, at all times, had all the truth due at that time, and therefore that the church now living has all the truth due in our day; and because of the progress of truth in the "path that shines more and more even unto the perfect day," we may reasonably claim that the present generation of christians know more of prophecy and God's plan than any generation preceding. We have the advantage of the aggregate progress of the past, besides the fulfillment of the prophecies which clearly indicate our position on the verge of the glory of the kingdom. But it is just as true now as it ever was, that there is variety of power and intellect in the church. There are babes, young men and fathers, now as at all times in the past, and yet, it is as much a fact that the babe with its undeveloped capacity for knowledge or work, belongs to the family as that the father belongs to the family. The existence of life by the Divine Spirit is what constitutes any individual a member of the body, and the degree of strength or knowledge the members possess depends upon circumstances. The growth in grace and knowledge is of members in the family and does not constitute them members, and however young, ignorant or feeble a member is, he is certain of a place in the kingdom, unless for some reason he is disinherited and cut off. If the branch bear no fruit it is cut off and withers, but every branch that beareth fruit, be it ever so little, he purgeth it that it may bring forth more fruit. `John 15:2`. If each individual now, on the strength of the promise, may claim perfect knowledge, so might each individual at any other time, and we know that even in the apostle's day, no one had all the help the Spirit gave, but God divided to each man severally according to his own will.--`1 Cor. 12:11`. If a knowledge of all the truth is necessary in order to fit a man for the kingdom, then admitting that the last generation could get it all, only these could be the heirs and all the dead are shut out. True, they were not expected to know as much as christians now, neither was each one expected to know all that they all knew, but they were expected to bring forth fruit unto holiness, and that they each could do. It is no more reasonable to expect each one to know now, all that all know than it would have been at any time in the past. The bride is evidently chosen with reference to her union with Christ by his spirit and her loyalty to him rather than her degree of knowledge. She is called out under circumstances peculiarly dark in some respects, and it is not until after the bride is complete and Zion is brought back that even the "Watchman shall see eye to eye."--`Isa. 52:8`. Though we cannot know all until the perfect is come, we can grow in grace and in knowledge, and the Spirit will help our infirmities.
J. H. P.
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The Completeness of the Body.
"The Church is the 'one body' of Christ, and all Christians are individual members of that body. No one liveth to himself, no one dieth to himself; when one member suffers all members suffer with it. It is one of the sins of a self-sufficient age to deny the unity and completeness of Christ's body, and to set up tests of unity other than those which he has appointed. In the natural body each member united with the head has vital union with every other member connected with the same head. The basis of true Christian unity is union with Jesus Christ who is the head of the body. Men lay down as the basis of their unity, union with some human leaders through the doctrines which he has proclaimed or the forms which he has instituted. They are united by external observances, by laws, forms, rites and bands. Their union is the union of staves in a barrel; Christ's union is the union of branches in a vine. Their union is that of bones in a skeleton, joined and wired together, but destitute of vital energy; the union of Christ and his people is the union of the members of a body, joined together by those ligaments which every joint supplieth, and pervaded by the energy of a common life. The unity which Christ inaugurated embraces the whole family of God. It includes every man who has vital connection with the great Head of the Church. Men's schemes are too narrow for this, and include only those persons who coincide in opinions, who agree in forms, who are trimmed according to a certain pattern, or shaped in conformity to certain human standards. Christ bids us to receive one another as he has received us. The fact that we have passed from death unto life, and that we are united to Christ the living Head, is proof that we are united to his people. If our fellowship is with the Father and with the Son Jesus Christ, it is also with one another. Men, however, restrict their fellowship; and hence, while Christ's Church is inclusive and wide-reaching, their churches are narrow, and shut out more Christians than they shut in. The results of this are grievous to God's people who are thus excluded from union with saints, but still more grievous to those who exclude them. How often we see churches crippled and helpless for lack of the labor and sympathy of Christian brethren who stand by their side ready and willing to be helpers in their toils, but are excluded by some party Shibboleth, or by some unscriptural name or form. How often we see men shut away from their proper field of Christian effort, simply because they cannot accept the unscriptural statements and arrangements, which men presume to impose before they will receive them to their fellowship. Men toil in weariness, and bring themselves to the borders of the grave, that they may do work which others would willingly and wisely do, who are not permitted to participate in the labor. Thus men virtually say to God's children, 'You may be members of Christ's body, but we have no need of you or your services.'
The apostle has taught us that no member of the body can be spared from its place and its proper work, without serious injury. No man can separate himself from the body of Christ without harm; nor can any portion of Christians separate themselves from others who love the Lord, or exclude other Christians from their fellowship, without doing themselves great injury.
The union of true Christians springs from a higher than human source; and their adaptation to each other for mutual helpfulness is so complete and perfect that any separation must work harm both to those who cause it and to those who endure it. The feet may say, We are strong, we have no need of the eyes, we carry the body, and the eyes are mere useless gazers, but when the eyes are gone, and the feet are groping and floundering in the ditch, the folly of this decision is most manifest. So whenever any of the Lord's children in their inexperience and self-sufficiency think themselves able to dispense with the presence, the service, and the loving fellowship of others of the children of the Lord, they may find sooner or later, by their weakness, inefficiency, and a thousand calamities and troubles that may come upon them, they have over-estimated their own powers, and have put away from them those members which God hath set in the body, that they might abide together in the unity of love and in mutual helpfulness. All down through the ages comes our Saviour's parting prayer for his disciples, that "they all may be one," and the hearts of the truly regenerate yearn and long for this unity. Deeper than the names and forms and creeds of men, throbs that inward, divine and universal life which Christ imparted, and which makes his children one.--The Armory.
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Type and Antitype.
In searching for the true relation between the natural and the spiritual, we are called to look again at the types and allegories. It has been seen and is a familiar fact to most of our readers, that the Lord uses natural things to represent spiritual things. This method of teaching is doubtless more common in the Bible than is generally supposed. We have long been convinced that the writings of Moses are largely allegorical; but we would guard against extremes. Some deny the literal meaning, because of the allegorical and typical, but our view is that in addition to the literal they have a superior value, on account of their representing the great plan of salvation. They mean all they say, but they mean much more than they say.
What they say is the letter, but the deeper meaning is the Spirit. To the Jew and to many Christians, the letter is as the veil which hides or obscures the real and deeper truth. Paul treats of this subject in `2 Cor. 3`, and we might truly say still, as he said of the Jew: "Even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart."--(`Ver. 15`.) The tendency of seeing only the letter is killing, but the Spirit, appreciated, tends to liberty and life. "The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." --(`Ver. 6`.) "Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."--(`Ver. 17`.) Combining the teachings of Paul and the Saviour himself (`Jno. 5:45-47`,) we draw the conclusion that the writings of Moses contain the gospel of the Son of God, as a shell contains a kernel; that both are real and each is valuable in its own place and for the purpose designed; but the kernel is more valuable than the shell. We regard the whole Bible as none too large, and all teaching directly or indirectly the gospel of Christ. The Lord is the Golden Thread of revelation, as he is the soul of the plan of salvation. From all who can see the fullness and harmony of the writings of the Old Testament with the gospel of Christ,
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the spirit of doubt as to the Divine inspiration of the Bible will flee away. The fact that the truth has been hidden for ages and yet there, under cover of the mere history, is, to us, a strong evidence that no human mind laid the plan of the book or the great salvation brought to light by it.
When men begin to see the flood of light from this source, there may be a liability to lose balance or to be carried too far in the application. An extreme spiritualism should be avoided as well as an extreme materialism. We do not believe that every portion of the Bible has double meaning as do some. Some portions relate wholly to the natural and some wholly to the spiritual, and the natural represents the spiritual, so that the relation of the two in the plan is preserved. For instance, there are two Jerusalems--the old and the new, the natural and the spiritual--and the old is doubtless a type of the new, but sometimes the Lord speaks of the one and sometimes of the other and we should be careful not to confound them.
We would call special attention to the fact that antitypes are not always wholly spiritual. This has been overlooked by some in the treatment of this subject, and confusion instead of light has been the result. Adam is a type of Christ, but in Christ is combined both the natural and the spiritual, in the order of development. So this antitype is not wholly spiritual. The spirit of a type is what it means. Many types foreshadow the great plan of salvation, but the plan has the two elements: First the natural and afterward the spiritual; and therefore the type represents both.
Christ's life is the key to the plan; two births and two lives are brought to view, and at his death and resurrection is the turning point between them. He was born of the flesh first, and afterward of the spirit. He was "put to death in the flesh, and made alive by the spirit." `1 Pet. 3:18`. The life he lived before his death was natural, and the life by resurrection was spiritual, and Adam as a type represented both. In the natural life Christ was alone, (he had no church, then) and "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone." `Jno. 12:24`. He died to bring forth fruit. So Adam was alone for a time, and the Lord said "it is not good for a man to be alone, and the Lord caused a deep sleep to come upon him;" and so his wife was developed from his side.
That part of Adam's life which was before he fell asleep, represented Christ's natural life, and Adam's falling asleep, represented Christ's natural death. So we see that Christ's flesh life and his natural death are a part of the antitype, and an important part of the plan; let no man dare to belittle them; on the other hand let no one confound the natural with the after and spiritual life of Christ. Adam's life, after awaking from sleep, represented Christ's life after his resurrection. His marriage represented the marriage of the Lamb, the generation of the race the regeneration of the race, and the dominion over all given to Adam and his wife, represents the united reign of Christ and his wife--the church--over the Earth and the nations in the world to come. "Come hither, and I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife, and he showed me...that great
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city, the holy Jerusalem." "And the nations shall walk in the light of it." `Rev. 21:9,10,24`.
The bride in both type and antitype becomes a mother, and therefore imparts her own nature to her offspring. No one can see this great fact, without being impressed with the magnitude of the plan, and the fullness of the love of God. Isaac, the son of faithful Abraham, is a type of the Son of God, the Father of the faithful in the highest sense. Isaac was offered a sacrifice, being three days subject to death, and was received from the dead, all in figure, and Jesus the Son of God died, and rose again the third day, in fact. The calling of the wife, the marriage and the development of the family, in both type and antitype, follow the resurrection in proper order. Isaac's life, before he was offered, represents Christ's life, before he was offered-- the natural life, the sacrifice of Isaac in figure represented the sacrifice of Christ's natural life; for Christ gave his natural life (psuchee) a ransom for many; and the after life of Isaac represented the spiritual life of Christ. Here again it is clear that the antitype is both natural and spiritual. Joseph went into the pit and came out again, and was exalted to the right hand of power in Egypt, and became the Bread keeper and Life preserver for both Egypt and Israel. Joseph had a life before he went into the pit, as well as after he came out, and so had Christ the antitype.
Moses came twice to his own people --natural Israel, and was rejected at the first, but delivered them at the second coming. So of Christ, He comes twice to the same people, is rejected at the first and at the second delivers them. The coming in flesh, and the coming in glory are both represented, in that type, and yet both are to the natural seed. In each of these types, Adam, Isaac, Joseph and Moses, the death of Christ is foreshadowed, though none actually died. Adam fell asleep; Isaac was offered in spirit; Joseph went into the pit; and Moses had to flee for his life. The death of Christ is shown, in this and many other ways to be an important part of the plan. It is the turning point between the natural and the spiritual; and to say that the natural life, the flesh and blood life of Christ profiteth nothing, is to say that God's plan is all spiritual, instead of "first the natural and afterward the spiritual." This would be a strange perversion of Christ's words, "The flesh profiteth nothing;" for Christ was speaking figuratively, when he said, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." Eating literal flesh, and drinking literal blood, of course would profit nothing, in giving spiritual life, and therefore Christ wanted them to understand that he was not talking of the literal. But that does not destroy the fact, that Christ had literal flesh and blood, that he took it for a purpose, (`Heb. 2:9,14,15`.) and that he actually died.
The spirit could not take the place of the flesh, any more than the flesh could take the place of the spirit: both would be equally unprofitable, out of their order. Observe the order and all is clear, harmonious and beautiful. Christ gave his natural life (psuchee) to redeem man, and gives us the spiritual to live by, and we must eat it (i.e. receive the truth) in order to sustain life, (spiritual.) The value of the cross (death) of our Lord Jesus, is beautifully enforced by the two cherubim. The centre is the meeting place, the point of reconciliation between God and man, and so Paul says we are reconciled to God by the death of his Son. `Rom. 5:10`. The one cherub represents the Jewish church looking forward, and the second the Gospel church looking back. The first therefore represents the natural and the second the spiritual, and the antitype is again proved to contain both. From these facts we may see another. Because Elijah was a type of the Gospel church, and Elijah healed the sick and raised the dead (physically) it does not follow that the antitypical Elijah can only deal with spiritual life. Just as surely as to restore is to give back what was lost, so surely Christ and the church, will restore natural life to the world; It has not been proved yet, though often assumed and asserted, that man lost spiritual life by Adam's sin. But because restoration is the work of Christ and the church, let no one conclude that they will do nothing more. Elijah represents Christ as Restorer, and Adam represents Christ as Head of an immortal race.
We do not presume to have exhausted this subject; no doubt there is much more to be learned. Each new truth learned must be retained if we would grow, and we are quite sure that any idea advanced, that ignores either the natural or the spiritual in the plan, is darkness instead of light, and if taken as the key to other ideas, will lead to greater darkness. It is doubtless true that many stumble because they fail to discern the spiritual; and as a means of safety we suggest the necessity of keeping in mind the relation between the natural and the spiritual.
J. H. P.
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"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification."--`1 Thes. 4:3`.
And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. And for Aaron's sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and thou shalt anoint them, and shalt consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office. `Ex. 28`.
Sanctify unto me all the first-born; they are mine.
The church of first-born (`Heb. 12`) the body of Christ, is sanctified --called out or separated from the world--through the truth, the word of God, and for a purpose.
Christ, praying to the Father, for the church, says: "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth." `John 17:16,17`. And Paul, in his letter to the `Eph., 5` chapter; "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water, by the word that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." `1 Thess. 5:23` reads: "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul--life--and body be preserved blameless in the (parousia) presence of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Again in `2 Thess. 2:13`, we read: "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth, whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
A sanctified church is composed of sanctified individuals, who are not called for their own sakes alone, but for a glorious purpose in God's plan; and sanctified, not because of their own merit (`Gal. 2:6`,) but because of their relationship to Christ.
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints...I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you; so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming--revelation--of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called; but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world, to confound
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the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are; that no flesh should glory in his presence. "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto you wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; that, according as it is written, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. `1 Cor. 1`.
This complete sanctification in Christ; constitutes the perfection and unity of the church.
"For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren." `Heb. 2:10,11`.
"For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified; whereof the Holy Ghost is also a witness to us." `Heb. 10:14,15`. And again; God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment--sentiment." `1 Cor. 1:9,10`.
This entire sanctification, like all other spiritual blessings, is based upon a knowledge of truth, which can only be obtained by earnest, continual, and prayerful searching; and being led by the spirit into all truth. Thus it can be called a sanctification of the spirit, and belief of the truth. `2 Thess. 2:13`. No one can believe the truth, unless he knows the truth.
As it is a fact that the scriptures develop or unfold gradually, and thus give light on the whole of the path of the just; and the spirit guides into all truth, then it is necessary to understand present truth. Faith comes by hearing; and hearing by the word of God, (`Rom. 10:17`) so faith is based upon the word of God. Paul says: "And now brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified." `Acts 20:32`.
When we learn what is revealed of the glorious position to which the sanctified will be elevated in the future, we can not wonder at the strict requirements given in the scriptures, for those who would attain to that position. They are to be elevated to a higher plane; changed from the image of the earthly--first man; into the image of the heavenly, or second man, the image of God, adopted into the family of God, and become, in the full sense "sons of God."
We who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves, groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption --sonship--to wit, "the redemption of our body--the body of Christ." `Rom. 8:23`.
"As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." `Rom. 8:14`. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure." `1 John 3:2,3`. Jesus Christ was sanctified, and sent into the world (`Jno. 10:36`.) for the good of the human race; and his body or bride are for the same purpose.
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the spirit, if any bowels and mercies; fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife--party spirit--or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, or interests; but every man also on the interests of others. Let this same mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name, which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow; of those in heaven, and those in earth, and those underneath the earth-- underground ones--and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. `Phil. 2:1,10`.
And if we are the children of God, we are heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be glorified together. No wonder that Paul could say: What shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
B. W. K.
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We have now sent seven numbers of the ZION'S WATCH TOWER, to quite a number of persons from whom we have never heard. We have offered it FREE to all unable to pay if they wanted it enough to ask for it. Those who want it and can afford to pay for it, need no invitation to subscribe. So we conclude that all from whom we have not heard at all are not interested, and shall discontinue sending it. To all such we say God bless you--Farewell.
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Extracts from a Letter.
We make a few extracts from the letter of a friend. They are suggestive, and we hope that others may be profited by them as we have been. J. H. P.
1. "If a man wished to bestow a title of honor and entail an inheritance on a slave, would he not first make him free? How could a single soul be converted, if not first counted alive in God's sight? 'Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.' Our freedom, so that we may choose eternal life, is based on Christ's death."
2. "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom." "If Christ could in any sense be called a Bridegroom, without any bride, before the gospel
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had even commenced, why can he not bear that title now, when he has come as Reaper? Why did the Jewish age belong in a special way to God? Although not 'called the Son until the incarnation' yet Christ as the 'word' created all things.' He is the Beginning as well as the End, the Author as well as the Finisher. Having created all things He sustains and possesses them. 'He came to His own and His own received Him not.' He came in the flesh to a fleshly typical bride. The marriage feast was prepared but those who were invited were unworthy." `Matt. 22`.
3. "I do not think any truth is vital, nor any error fatal which when believed and obeyed does not affect character. Those who understand the plans of God are called His friends, but the understanding does not make them so, it only proves their friendship. We permit others to become acquainted with our very life, not to make them our friends but because they are our friends. Christ says: 'Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.' It seems strange that any can believe that righteousness is other than right doing. ['Little children let no man deceive you; he that doeth righteousness is righteous.']"
4. "It is a relief to turn from the crooked and tangled reasonings of men, to the simple clear word of God. Its statements are full of heaven born power to those who receive them. I believe with all my heart that 'a little scripture is worth a good deal of reasoning,' and I am so glad man's reasoning can not alter God's word. I do not believe God ever put these latter day truths into one man's hands to dispense to the church. It would be too great an honor for the flesh to endure. Whoever makes such a claim, is in danger of becoming bigoted. But can we not afford to be calm, patient and charitable?
Heaven help you, my brother, not to falter or grow weary. The work God does through us now will stand when controversies shall be forgotten.
"Truth with diamond point shall be written on the hearts of a redeemed race."
Our request, of last issue met with a generous response for which we extend you our thanks. Very many of the papers returned were liberally underscored etc., and gave evidence of interest and careful and prayerful reading which was very interesting and pleasant for the editor to notice. Although not laboring for the "praise of men" nor "seeking praise one of another;" yet every such indication of your interest in the work we have so deeply at heart, gives us fresh strength and joy.
The kind words received from many of you during the past six months have been duly appreciated also. Although we have not been able to answer you, they have afforded your editor pleasure and comfort, and that was doubtless your object. We seldom publish letters, of correspondents, because firstly, we have no room to spare, and secondly, they generally contain personal allusion to the writers too complimentary to admit of publication. We subjoin just two, which contain no personal allusions and which represent many received.
Springfield, Mass. Dear Brother: I send you the paper you requested, but fear it will not be fit to send to your subscribers (The paper received was marked etc., from first to last, I kept it as a memento.) I read them over and over, lend them, but never give them away for they are as choice to me as gold dust. As I read I mark and comment for my own benefit, so you see it is pretty well worn out and defaced. I cannot pay you until warm weather as my coal takes up all my spare money. But if you can, please continue it to me and may the Lord reward you. Your sister in Christ. V. N. J.
Yes sister you will get your paper, as freely without as with the money. It is published expressly for such as you.
A new reader writing from Vermont says: "A lady friend sent me two copies of ZION'S WATCH TOWER, which came from an unknown source. I then wrote to you and got more, also the little hymn book. I cannot express my gratitude to you for sending them to me. They are just what I wanted. It is meat and drink to read them. I want to introduce these papers into our village if I can. I think they are just what is needed all over the earth. As I am 83 years old and unable to canvas I have secured the services of a young lady to do so for me. Very truly yours." M. D. W.
So it is, here and there, everywhere, some can say with the prophet "Thy word was found and I did eat it." It is sweet unto my taste.
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THE article entitled "The Holy Bible," crowded out of the December number, and referred to in the "Questions of Correspondents" last month, will be found in this number.
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WILL THE CHURCH BE A MOTHER?
We are in the habit of thinking and speaking of the church in this way. We have taught so because we supposed, felt sure that the Scripture was our authority for so doing. But upon investigation, we find that it has no Scriptural foundation. Let us look at the matter carefully and make sure what is truth, then cast away any ideas which we may have built upon this supposition.
We had supposed it to be taught by the type of Eve and Rebecca and positively asserted by Paul in `Gal. 4:26`, "But Jerusalem which is above is free which is the mother of us all." Let us examine the positive statements first and afterwards the types. Casting your eye over the `preceding verses` and the `third chapter`, you will notice that in the Apostle's argument throughout, he endeavors to show clearly the difference between the law age just closed and the Gospel age just commenced. In `3:17`, he contrasts the two agreements of God--the two covenants. He claims that God's first covenant-- the Gospel--which was preached before (before the law,) to Abraham (`Gal. 3:8`,) and confirmed in Christ, could not be disannulled by the second covenant (the law) made with the fleshly seed. Then he argues [`vs. 29`,] that if we be Christ's, we are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise or first covenant and being children of this better covenant with the better promises, it is quite unnecessary to prove that we are related as children to the second covenant--the law--either by obedience to that law or by tracing of fleshly descent. In `4:21-31`, he carries out this same line of reasoning, viz: That fleshly Israelites were children of God by the second covenant, while we become, by believing into Christ, children of the first covenant, and if we are children of that covenant, surely IT IS OUR MOTHER--"the mother of us all."
Yes, Jesus our head, comes as the Son of this covenant and we in Him.
Paul declares that God gave a type of these two Israels and two covenants. Abraham represents God. Hagar, the bond woman, represents the covenant of bondage--"the law." Sarah represents the first covenant, and as Isaac was the promised offspring of this wife, or free woman, so "we brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of this promise" or covenant. The fleshly children dwelt in the earthly city Jerusalem, still in bondage; but we who realize "the liberty of the sons of God," have "our citizenship in heaven" and in our new nature, "We are risen with him (Jesus) and seated together in heavenly places." They are the bond-servants of the law and of earth; we God's free heavenly children begotten of grace; they the children of the earthly kingdom, represented by Jerusalem; we of the heavenly kingdom, the "Jerusalem above."
We are sure then that `Gal. 4:26` does not teach that the church will be a mother; are we not?
Next examine with me the type of Eve: It is nowhere said that Eve is a type, but we think there are good reasons for considering her such, but we should remember that types have a time for ending as well as for beginning. Upon examination we feel assured that the type ceased where Eve was accepted by Adam as his wife. Paul tells us that Adam was a figure of him who was to come--Jesus--and we have seen how the death of Jesus was typified by the deep sleep which came upon Adam; how Jesus' pierced side, the price of our development as his bride, was typified by the open side of Adam from whence came Eve; how Adam, recognizing his wife as of his nature, bone of his bone, represents the fact that we shall be recognized by our Lord as of his nature--the spiritual. "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit." But here the type ceases. We should not suppose because Eve became a mother that Christ's bride will become a mother, any more than that Eve sinned and caused Adam's fall, so the bride of Christ must sin and cause the fall of her Lord. Moreover, we are sure that the having of children by Eve was after she had ceased to be a type of the bride of Christ, because her children were born in sin and under the penalty of death. Should we force these children as a type it could only prove that the bride of Christ would become the mother of dead-born children. No, we see no reasonable ground for considering Eve as a type beyond the time of Union with Adam, representing our union or marriage with our Lord. In fact this seems to be as far into the future as God ever revealed either by word or type.
But does some one say: "God said, be fruitful and multiply." Yes, we answer, this (`Gen. 1:28`.) was said to Adam as a natural man, not as a type of Christ. The description of the typical features occurs in another connection, `Gen. 2:21`. Read, compare and notice that there is no reference to offspring in the typical account.
Again we have seen that Isaac was a type of Christ; that Abraham's sending the servant to get a bride for Isaac, typified our Father's sending the Holy Spirit to take out of the gentiles a people, or bride for his (Christ's) name. And
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as the servant brought Rebecca from her father's house to Isaac and to Abraham's home, so we as the antitypical Rebecca leave our father's home [the world,] and go forth under the guidance of the spirit, to meet our Lord and to dwell in our Father's home. We, too, expect soon to meet our Isaac on the way that he himself may bring us into our new home. But here the type ceases. We had somehow come to imagine that Abraham blessed her and said: Be thou the mother of thousands of millions, but no, upon examination we find that this was the utterance of Rebecca's mother and brother, and was doubtless the customary greeting of their day. On the contrary, Rebecca was barren while a type. It was not until twenty years after this type had ended that she bore Jacob and Esau and this is quite another distinct type. `Gen. 25:20,21,26`.
We conclude then that neither directly nor by type does God tell us that the church will after her union with Christ, beget children of her own nature.
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Brother Geo. Storrs.
Our brother, so long the editor of "The Bible Examiner" is known to most of our readers; also that he has been obliged by severe illness to discontinue his paper. While he no doubt feels, as we do, that he should like to continue the proclamation of the love of God for all His creatures, yet he has much reason to thank God for being privileged to spend so long a life and one so consecrated to the Master.
Feeling that many of you, as well as I, would be glad to hear from our brother occasionally we offered him the use of a part of our space. The following from his daughter, will be of interest to you.
BROOKLYN, Dec. 14th 1879.
Bro. Russell: Your letter of the 9th, was duly received and read to father as he lay on his sick bed, exhausted and worn. He appreciates your Christian sympathy and kind suggestions, but as for his writing or inditing anything, he has not strength either of body or mind. He does not suffer so constantly, as he has done but he is much emaciated and helpless as a child and is so heavy, that we find it necessary to have a man to lift him.
We should like a statement of his condition in ZION'S WATCH TOWER-- Your offer is the first we have received, from any paper, and we thank you for it. He is very patient and uncomplaining, though, at times his sufferings are so great, that he longs for rest. Yesterday was his 83rd birthday, as I suppose you know. He sends much Christian love. Yours respectfully,
H. W. STORRS.
We (without solicitation) suggest to any of our readers to whom the Lord has given bountifully as His stewards: that this is one opportunity (among many) of "ministering to the necessities of the saints."
BRO. PATON purposes visiting several places in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa during January and February. Any living in that direction who desire meetings should address him at once. J. H. Paton, Almont, Michigan.
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Our Living Saviour.
Though we have known Christ after the flesh and the memory of that "man of sorrows," "who bought us with his own precious blood" is sweet and sacred; yet: now we know him as our living Redeemer whom (because of obedience "unto death even the death of the cross.") "God hath highly exalted and given him a name that is above every name. "He is Lord of all." Our living Saviour.
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Bible Class Department.
The Holy Bible.
The Bible commands our reverence and respect because of its author--God. We accept its teachings as authority and law on this account. How important it is then that we have the Word of God as pure and free as possible from human teaching. The channels through which it has come have not all been pure. Are we certain then, that the Bible as we now have it, is all inspired and holy? Let us glance at the New Testament. Perhaps all are aware that the New Testament was written originally by various apostles at different places and times. After their death, their letters, &c., came to be highly prized by the church as authorities on various subjects, and we have reason to believe that this was the design of the Spirit in causing the writings at first,--not merely to bless and instruct the portion of the church to whom directly addressed, but to have it contain elements of truth valuable, and intended for the whole church in all ages. It was not long before each church had a copy of all the sacred writings. These copies were all made with the pen for about fourteen hundred years (until printing was invented) and the process of copying and recopying gave rise to many small errors and omissions, as for instance the addition or omission of an and, or the, or but. Another source of trouble is the interpolation, or adding to the word of various words and sentences. A few of these, about four, bear marks of design and seem to have been added about the ninth century, probably to give a basis or support to some papal dogma, while the great majority seem to have arisen from accident. For instance, one copyist while writing the text of the word might add as a sort of parenthesis some thought which he might have as to its meaning, not designed to be understood as a part of the sacred writing, but merely to refresh his own mind when reading the same scripture again, much as we are in the habit of doing on the margin of our Bible. Yet another copyist using this MSS. as a guide would be apt to copy the previous writer's note into the body of the text, and so that uninspired clause would be handed down to future generations as inspired, and these have given much trouble.
Seeing then the liability to error, it is only just to ourselves that we be careful that what we accept as our basis of faith and hope is the word of God and not the errors of men, since it is "all scripture given by inspiration of God," that is "profitable for instruction in righteousness, etc." Our regular authorized version called "King James' Bible," was published A.D. 1511. It was not a translation from the original. It was not a direct translation from the original Greek, but a revision of several versions then in use as will appear from the following instructions given by King James to the forty-seven learned persons whom he appointed to revise translations then in use (1604)-- "The Bishop's Bible (A.D. 1568) to be followed and altered as little as the original will permit. And these translations to be used when they agree better with the text than the Bishop's Bible--namely: "Tyndale's, (first Bible published 1526.) Coverdales, (1535) Matthews (1537) Whitchurch's and Geneva (1560.) These being all translations from the Vulgate Latin and not from the original Greek text, (only compared with it) it follows that our "King James' Bible" is only a revision of the Vulgate Latin. Says an able writer: "This translation was perhaps, the best that could be made at the time, but if it had not been published by kingly authority, it would not now be venerated by English and American protestants as though it had come direct from God." At the time of the revision of "King James' Bible," the translators had the advantage of some eight Greek MSS. and none of these were of earlier date than the tenth century. Who will say how many errors large and small crept into the text during that thousand years? It is claimed that the errors may be numbered by thousands, mostly small and insignificant, but some of importance and weight.
Few perhaps are aware of the great advantages possessed by translators of the present day. Between 600 and 700 Greek MSS. are now known, some of which are quite ancient. Two of them, the "Sinaitic" and "Vatican No. 1209," dating about the year A.D. 350. What an advantage in our favor above every other age, for obtaining the pure word of God. Truly the word of God is being fulfilled, "In the time of the end ...knowledge shall be increased. Not merely scientific and mechanical knowledge has increased but also knowledge and understanding of what is the word of God. The Sinaitic MSS. the most valuable of all was only recently found and was published in 1870.
If not governed by prejudice and preconceived opinions we should improve all the opportunities offered to grow in the knowledge of the truth, remembering that it is not error but truth which sanctifies. Truly
"We are living; we are dwelling,
In a grand and awful time.
In an age on ages telling,
To be living is sublime."
WHAT HELPS CAN WE OBTAIN
which would give us a more clear understanding of what is the true and inspired text, you ask.
I answer: There are three which I can commend, all of which I make use of and receive help from, viz: The New Testament (regular authorized version) with foot notes of different readings by the three oldest MSS. --"Sinaitic," "Vatican No. 1209," and "Alexandrine"--the latter written about A.D. 450. (From the Vatican MSS. are missing the epistles to `Timothy`, `Titus` and `Philemon` and `Heb., from 9:14 to close` and also the `book of Revelation`.) This work, known as "Tischendorf's New Testament," is to me very valuable.
Second: The "Emphatic Diaglott," a work upon which a great deal of time and care have been bestowed by its author Benj. Wilson. We value it highly. It contains the Greek text of the N.T. according to Dr. Griesbach and interlined with it a literal word-for-word translation-- The corresponding English being placed directly under the Greek word. Together with this it contains a new version for general reading based upon the labors of many learned critics. In the form of foot notes, it gives the different readings of the Vatican MSS. No. 1209, as far as it goes, after which Vatican MSS. 1160 (of the seventh century) 884 pp.
Third: "The American Bible Union" translation of the N.T.--a revision of the oldest translations compared with ancient MSS. It is very useful, giving a good clear rendering which is usually in harmony with the others above mentioned, though not so critical. It would be of little advantage to any who possess the Emphatic Diaglott.
We have corresponded with the publishers of the above named works, and are able to announce that we can furnish them to our readers at wholesale prices--postage added, viz: "Emphatic Diaglott" cloth, (price $4.00) for $2.70
" " finer binding ( " 5.00) " 3.35 "Tischendorf" N.T. cloth, (price 1.00) " 75 "A Bible Union" N.T. " ( " 1.00) " 65 " " " pocket edition ( " 1.00) " 75
If you wish any of these books we shall take pleasure in furnishing them to you at these prices.