VOL. VI. PITTSBURGH, PA., APRIL, 1885. NO. 8.
HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE.
C. T. RUSSELL, Editor and Publisher.
NO. 40 FEDERAL ST. ALLEGHENY, PA.
The Editor recognizes a responsibility to the Master, relative to what shall appear in these columns, which he cannot and does not cast aside; yet he should not be understood as endorsing every expression of correspondents, or of articles selected from other periodicals.
TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION.
TERMS:--Fifty cents a year, postage prepaid. You may send by Draft, P.O. Money Order, or Registered Letter, payable to C. T. RUSSELL.
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This paper will be sent free to any of the Lord's poor who will send a card yearly requesting it. Freely we have received and freely we would give the truth. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat--yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." And you that have it-- "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently--and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness."-- `ISAIAH 55:1,2`.
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VIEW FROM THE TOWER.
THE PASSOVER SUPPER.
As per previous appointment, the Lord's Supper was celebrated on its anniversary on the evening of March 29. From letters and cards received before and since, we judge that the event was very generally celebrated by the deeply-interested of our readers in every quarter, and doubtless by many from whom we have not heard as yet. In some places there were about a dozen, in others two or three, and sometimes one commemorated alone. To all of these, so far as we have learned, it was as with us at Allegheny City, a very precious season.
Here about one hundred met in our usual "upper room" and celebrated and commemorated our ransom, partaking of the emblems of our Redeemer's broken body and shed blood. Eight brethren and sisters from New York, West Virginia and various parts of Pennsylvania were present with us, and preceding the celebration, we had a pleasant social meeting, in which our hearts were refreshed by remembrances of our Father's goodness and care and love. Among other things, it was noted that one of the evidences of our relationship to God, our sonship, was, that he was more and more revealing to us his plans. In this connection, and as a proof of it, the words of Jesus came to mind: "I have not called you servants but friends, for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you. `John 15:15`.
When the hour of 8:30 o'clock arrived, which we judged would most closely correspond with the time at which the Supper was instituted by our Lord, we partook of the emblems: first briefly examining their significance. For the benefit of all we briefly review what we there saw.
We remembered the Master's words concerning the bread: This is my body [representatively] which is broken for you. This is the bread which came down from heaven, of which a man may eat and not die. Except ye eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, ye have no life in you. Looking from the symbolic bread to the body of Jesus, we realized that it was indeed the true bread. It came down from heaven in the sense that his being originated not on earth, but in heaven; in the sense that his being was not begotten of the will of the flesh, but that his was a transferred existence. That he who was rich became poor--became of a lower nature --was made flesh, for the special purpose of suffering death on our behalf, that we through his poverty [he gave "all that he had," even life] might be made rich; that we might have restored to us all those blessings which Adam, our representative once possessed and lost for himself and us.
We considered afresh why it was needful for him to be broken--to be slain for us. We saw that it was because we had no life in us. Death was working in and devouring the whole race. All being of the same condemned race, none could secure his own life, nor was there one who could by any means redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him--all were condemned and dying. But man's extremity was God's opportunity: he provided the one who, because of the same kind or nature, could give a ransom [corresponding price], and who, because not of the condemned Adamic stock [but from heaven], was an acceptable Redeemer. We saw that whereas the race, because of Adam's sin, was cut off from, separated from the trees of life in Eden, and hence could not live, yet now they had presented to them through Jesus a bread of life, a gift from heaven, the acceptance of which would restore the life and blessings lost.
We saw that though Jesus was this bread of life, it was needful that he should be broken, sacrificed--die for us, before any of our condemned race could partake of his merits. He being a perfect man, gave himself a corresponding price to cancel the curse of death upon all through the sin of the first representative. Now, all that remains is for each one blighted through Adam to come and partake [eat] of those perfections and rights which Jesus secured for us by his sacrifice on our behalf. We eat or appropriate Christ's perfections by faith, i.e., by faith we realize that Jesus was our ransom, and by faith we appropriate to ourselves those merits which, as a perfect man, he possessed, and which he broke or sacrificed for us.
Here we saw the beauty of God's arrangement that though the sacrifice was sufficient for all, none could receive life through it except by accepting and acknowledging the sacrificed one as the Life-giver. Thus seen, not only is an acknowledgment of the ransom an essential to life now, but in the next age also, it will be necessary. Forever it will be true--"Except ye eat of the flesh...ye have no life in you." That the ransom given is the foundation of all blessing must ever be recognized. "No man cometh unto the Father"--no man has "oneness" with him, except by the broken body and shed blood of the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. Who "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."
We looked also at the blood shed for many for the remission OF SINS--not for ours [the Church's] only, but also for the sins of the whole world, and we saw in the wine its symbol: "This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." `Matt. 26:28`. We glanced at the three great covenants [see "FOOD," page 148]: we saw how the Law covenant under Moses had failed to prove a real blessing and to give life to the dying race, but how the New Covenant would be superior and would accomplish the blessing [restitution] of all the families of the earth, by reason of the Ransom. Thus we saw that his blood--his sacrificed life or human existence--was the ransom which redeemed all, and made their restitution possible, was most emphatically the Blood of the Covenant-- the sealing, the ratifying, which makes the New Covenant operative. We rejoiced in the blood so freely shed which gave us access to the Father, and resolved that we should never be of those who lightly esteem the blood and count "the blood of the covenant" a common (ordinary) thing, and do despite to the spirit of God's favor manifest in that precious sacrifice. (See `Heb. 10:16-21` and `26:31`.)
Having seen this, in the bread and wine as representative of Jesus, we looked further and saw through the Apostle's words (`1 Cor. 10:16,17`) still another significance in the ordinance. He says: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion [sharing] of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion [or sharing in the breaking or sacrifice] of the body of Christ"? His suggestion is: As the Lord blessed and broke and passed the emblems, and thus represented his sacrifice, do not we, while recognizing that, also represent the same thing? namely, that we as members of the body of Christ are consecrated and being broken in sacrifice with our head? "For we being many are ONE LOAF and ONE BODY; for we are all partakers of that one loaf."
Regarded thus in its fullness, the eating of the emblems had a two-fold significance --representing to us Jesus' sacrifice which redeemed us, and our sacrifice with him. We saw that it was by reason of our now sharing with Jesus in the sealing of the New Covenant,
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that we shall in due time be permitted to share with him in bringing upon the world all the blessed provisions of that New Covenant in the "Times of Restitution of all things." The revival of memory on this subject seemed to strengthen in us all, the resolution to "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ," that when his glory shall be revealed we may be glad also with exceeding joy. We remembered the two Apostles whose request was to sit in the throne with Jesus, and we recalled Jesus' words in reply: "Are ye able to drink of the cup?" We realized our own weakness and the many besetments and allurements of the flesh, the world and the devil, which would conspire to keep us back from sharing the cup of suffering and death symbolized before us in the wine, yet realizing that we could do all things through the strength of our Head we said, Yea, Lord, we will drink it, "we are able" in thy strength; and then we heard from His Word the Lord's answer to each of us, "Ye shall indeed drink of the cup" "My strength is made perfect in weakness." "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name I will do it."
When we had partaken of the emblems, we sang a hymn, and went to our homes meditating meanwhile upon the scenes of eighteen hundred and fifty-two years ago: The garden, the betrayal, Herod's soldiers, the crown of thorns, the scarlet kingly robe, Pilate's endeavor to secure his release from the chief priests and great religionists of his day, how they hated him without a cause, because he exposed their false theories and hypocrisies; we saw and remembered him on the cross saying, "It is finished," and dying. The eye of faith grasped the situation, and our hearts, while full of grateful love, cried in faith, "It is finished," we are redeemed, our ransom price has been paid. We have life, we feed upon him, we apply and appropriate to ourselves the life and rights which he surrendered on our behalf. Thank God, "The Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us
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all; he bore [the penalty of] our sins in his own body on the tree. By his stripes has healing come to us. (`Isa. 53:5`.) We sang in conclusion our thanks to him as our Saviour as well as Lord:
"All hail the power of Jesus' name;
Let angels prostrate fall:
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all."
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EXTRACTS FROM INTERESTING LETTERS.
Texas, March 26, 1885.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: I hope and believe I am one of the consecrated ones, but do not know what member of the body I am. As I have no special gift as yet developed, I must be one of the feet members. He who knoweth the heart sees that I am willing and desire to be one of the members, serving in love, knowing what great things God has done for me and how unworthy I am. You will find enclosed $3.00, to be used in "running the body." It is a small amount, but I hope to send more, as I am prospered. I have been very much enlightened by two pieces in the March number of the TOWER, viz., "Think it not strange," and "If the whole body were an eye," &c. May our Father reveal more of the truth to the eye members for the building up and unification of the whole body! I would love to meet with you March 29th; though absent in flesh can be with you in spirit. Please remember the isolated members.
Yours in fellowship, __________.
Vinton County, Ohio.
BROTHER RUSSELL: I received the papers and likewise the Food you sent me in due time, and am truly thankful for them. But I do not think you can understand how grateful I am unless you know how hungry I was. I have stood for nearly thirty years on the rock Christ Jesus, knowing that in him our Father would in due time bless all families of the earth. But sometimes I was almost discouraged because I could not see the plan. I have no human creed to bind me. In all those long years I have only belonged to Christ, and now, praise be to God, who has helped me to stand in the dark, as light now springs up and shines forth in due time, I am ready to walk. I will do all I can for the spread of truth.
A sister in Christ, __________.
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Glasgow, Scotland, Feb. 16, 1885.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: I would take it as a favor if you would continue the TOWER to me. I had the hope of being able to send my subscription, but I see that I will not be able for some time. The monthly visits of the TOWER are so highly prized by me that I would feel the want of them very much. They are my only comfort now, being cut off from all the sects called churches. It gives me much pleasure to inform you that I met with four sisters and six brothers in this city twice within the last month, and we purpose celebrating the Passover. Hoping the Lord will bless his own work, I remain
Your Brother in Christ, __________.
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MY DEAR SIR AND BROTHER: When I wrote asking you to correspond with me by letter, I had no idea that ZION'S WATCH TOWER was a paper, never having heard of it, else I should have known that your time would not permit you to answer every inquirer by letter. But as you so kindly acquainted me with that paper, I send you three dollars, being subscription for three copies of the TOWER, and the rest for postage of a few copies of "Food for Thinking Christians" and "Tabernacle Tract."
I do not know how to express my thanks to God and you for those blessings I have received. Really I hardly know myself for joy. For some time past I have been dimly conscious that a blessing was hovering over me, because I have been going through the deep waters, and I could not account for it. I asked my fellow-believers if they were used to such wrestling as I was experiencing, and they knew nothing of it. I see now the fallow ground was being broken up to receive the good seed. O, how I praise Him for the truth He has given me, and in what a way, too. I joined the Church of England soon after I was converted, but a few months was enough there; then I joined the Wesleyans, but a little more than a year was enough: then I joined the "Brethren," of which I am still a member, but I do not think it likely to continue long, because when they know I deny the doctrine of the Trinity, as well as eternal torment, I think my connection must cease of necessity. I have been a member of a mission to preach the gospel to the poorest classes in the lowest parts of the city, but I was prevented from ill health from continuing doing so, which I now see was my Father's hand restraining. God has given me a talent (the gift of preaching), and although I quite expect all the halls and rooms will be closed against me, yet I will declare the truth in the streets and in the public places as soon as ever I am taught more clearly. I do need some Aquilla or Priscilla, but I can trust to Jesus who is made to me wisdom. I have spoken to several since I have read your papers, and they have had ears to hear in a measure. I feel a great desire to tell it out, and am intensely anxious for the Tabernacle Tract and Food again (I only had one on loan), for instead of the TOWER satisfying me it has set me craving for more. My Bible is no longer a book of a dead language; it is a mine of wealth. I was talking yesterday with a young friend about that article in last number, "Except a corn of wheat die," and while talking the Spirit took of the things of Christ and showed them unto me.
Praying that our Father may still enable you to see many more precious views from the WATCH TOWER, and use you as the channel to convey it to his hungering and thinking children,
I am yours sincerely, __________.
P.S.--I am a cab-driver, and am lost in wonder and amazement as to why He has favored me thus, but `1 Cor. 1:21` is being made literally true in my experience.
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Texas, January, 1885.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: I write this for information. We (a few brothers and sisters) have come out of the Church (so called), and are standing for, and searching for the truth. I have been preaching four years, and from the first was called peculiar in my opinions. About two years past I received a copy of ZION'S WATCH TOWER of a dear friend and brother, which I read and compared with the Bible, and have been at it since. I soon began to preach in harmony with the TOWER, because I believed it to be in harmony with the Bible. Therefore my preaching got worse instead of better, my church said, and the consequence was I soon left them, shook off the shackles, pulled out of the yoke, and bless God I am standing in the liberty. During this time I have circulated the TOWER and preached in harmony with its teachings. When I left the church some others--about twenty and since then more--have also come out. The greater portion of us were Methodists. Having, therefore, never been baptized (by immersion), the question has been considered by us. Some want to be baptized, and others are satisfied. They have come to me, and as I have not been immersed I hesitated about immersing others. If I could find a brother that would baptize me, and do, nor ask, any more, I would be glad to receive baptism. The Baptists here will not baptize unless we join their Church, and we do not want to become again entangled with a yoke of bondage.
Now, what ought we to do? I do, and have for some years desired to do, God's will; and I do not want to leave one duty undone. I do pray and believe that you will find time to answer this letter.
Your brother, __________.
It does us good to learn of each others victories and achievements, as well as to sympathize in each other's burdens and difficulties; and we and all the members of the body who shall read the above will rejoice with you, realizing that it has fallen to you as it is written: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Your question too, is good, as indicating the right spirit: Like one of old you are evidently inquiring, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do"--you no longer seek the will of men or sects but of God, because you are free. Thank God for this. You have seen, as all must, who study the Bible and are thinking Christians, that Baptism is enjoined, both by precept and example by
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Jesus and the Apostles. You realize that baptism must have a significance beyond the mere outward symbol, and yet you realize that the symbol which was important enough for Jesus and the Apostles to practice and teach, is important enough for you to practice and teach also.
Possibly you have not noticed that the word Baptize is a Greek word, which, like the word Christ, is transferred into the English, but not translated. As the word Christ, if translated into English, would mean anointed, so the word Baptize translated would signify to dip, to plunge, to immerse. You have probably noticed also that Jesus and the Apostles taught nothing with reference to baptizing infants, and that nothing in the Bible gives the least ground for the theory so prevalent among many of the sects, especially the Lutherans and Roman Catholics, that the babe which has not been sprinkled should it die would be damned to eternal torture. On the contrary, you have no doubt noticed, that in every case it is the BELIEVER who is enjoined to be baptized, and we all know that if the believing could be done by proxy much more the baptizing could be done for another.
This much we may know from a very limited use of reason in the study of the bare facts recorded, without seeing the true import of the ordinance. But when we come to see the significance of the ordinance, no room is left for conjecture. As already pointed out in these columns [see Oct., '84, issue], the baptism of Christ and that of John are of different import. The former indicates that all who perform the symbol have consecrated themselves to death, have delivered themselves over into the hands of Jesus, praying that He will work in us to will and to do of His good pleasure; that we may be buried as human beings --immersed into the BODY [the true Church*] of Christ by being immersed into death with him, (`Rom. 6:3,4`,) and be also with Him and like our Head [spiritual beings] in the resurrection; sharing his death and also his resurrection. (`Phil. 3:10`.)
Those who do see the real meaning and significance of the water symbol, must see in it a beauty and force. The complete burial and the struggle which nature makes against it, are strikingly suggestive of the complete consecration against which our human will struggles hard. The helpless condition of the one buried, and the power yet ease by which the administrator can raise him up, represent strikingly our helplessness in death, and the power of God who raised up Jesus, to raise up us also by Jesus. Thus the raising up represents not only our future quickening and perfection, but also the fact that we even now are in the world as no longer human beings, but "new creatures" in Christ Jesus, walking in newness of life; in the world, but no longer of it.
If any one sees clearly the real import of the ordinance, and DESIRES not to follow those footprints of Jesus as well as others, he should, in honesty to himself, make a thorough examination of the obstacle which hinders, lest peradventure it be pride which would prove that the real baptism, the real death, had not taken place. The wholly consecrated heart will be willing, if not anxious, to have it's Master's will done in every matter.
We have never urged any one to perform the symbol. Jesus and the Apostles never did so. Like the reality, it must be a voluntary offering, to be an "offering" at all. The same is true of all the Lord's dealings with those whose selection is now in progress: they are called or invited, not forced or compelled. The Lord's Supper and Baptism, and the things symbolized by these, are held out as privileges, and are intended to draw or select those who thus appreciate them. Our obedience is the test of our love, and thus the Master puts it: "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
Does some one inquire whether the obtaining of the CROWN might depend on so small a matter as obedience to a symbol? We answer, Yes, it might. If the propriety and significance of the ordinance never came to your notice, or if you could not obey it, then you are blameless of any disobedience; but to him that knew his Master's will and did it not, to him it is SIN--wilful sin. (`James 4:17`; `Luke 12:47`.) Such are not overcomers. God tests powerfully sometimes with small things. In Eden the sin was in disobedience: the fruit was the test which showed it. So here various are the tests by which our Lord requires us to prove our full consecration. The form or symbol is nothing, except as it represents the real consecration. Is the consecration real and complete which is ashamed of the symbol? It is well that we make sure work of it by being conformed in all things to the pattern of our Lord. Let no man take thy crown. They will soon all be "laid up" for overcomers and the body complete; now is the acceptable time if you have any sacrifice to present to God, holy and acceptable by Jesus Christ.
For our part we stand in constant fear (`2 Cor. 11:3`; `Heb. 4:1`.) for those who have failed to perform the symbol after having realized the true significance of Baptism. Nothing short of full, complete consecration will stand the test of the trials of this "Evil day" into which we have already entered: all others must fall under the delusive snares of the adversary. Only as we are wholly swallowed up in consecration shall we be "able to stand." Such being kept by the power of God are the Elect and the delusions and snares would deceive if it were possible, the very elect; but it is not possible, because they shall be holden. One fear is lest those referred to should be found short of full consecration.
As to who shall baptize you in symbol, my Brother, it makes no difference. I should prefer one of the Brethren who appreciates the reality. You could then plant him and others in the likeness of Christ's death, and raise them in a figure or symbol of His resurrection. It matters not where, either--a regularly prepared Baptistry, which you might hire for the occasion, or the river, or any place where there is plenty of water. (`John 3:23`.)
*The "Baptists" get a glimpse only of the significance of the ordinance: they see that Baptism is the only means of access to the body, the church, but fail to see the real Church--the one whose names are written in heaven; as they fail also to grasp the true import of the immersion into death, of which that into water is only the symbol.
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"Let your moderation be known unto all men."--`Phil. 4:5`.
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"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." (`Luke 9:23`.)
Would ye be My disciple? Consider again;
Can ye follow My footsteps through trial and pain?
Can ye throw away pleasure, and glory, and fame,
And live but to honor My cause and My name?
Can ye turn from the glitter of fashion and mirth,
And dwell like a pilgrim and stranger on earth,
Despising earth's riches, and living to bless?
Can you follow the feet of the shelterless?
Can ye ask from your heart the forgiveness of men?
Can ye list to reproaches, nor answer again?
Can ye pray that repentance in life may be theirs
Who've watched for your falling, who've set for
When you hear I am come, then, can you arise,
The joy of your heart springing up in your eyes?
Can ye come out to meet Me where'er I may be,
Though ye come on the waves of the storm-crested
When I call, can ye turn and in gladness "come out"
From the heart of your childhood, the friends of
With naught but My promise on which to rely,
Afar from your loved--can ye lie down and die?
Can ye take up the cross that was heavy for Me,
The scoffing and scorn, My disciple to be?
Blest Saviour, Thou knowest the weakness of man;
With strength that Thou givest, we answer, We can.
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THE TWO SALVATIONS.
A failure to clearly discern the distinction between--first: the sacrifice which Jesus gave for our sins, on account of which we have been granted repentance and remission of sins, and second, the sacrifice we have been called to make with Christ as sharers of his sufferings and to fit us to share his glory, has been the source of much confusion of thought. In consequence, some preach: It is ALL grace, we can do nothing; God through Christ does all. These would quote in proof, "By grace are ye saved through faith and that [grace] not [because of any merit] of yourselves--it is the gift of God,"--"not of works, lest any man should boast." (`Eph. 2:9`.) Others declare: It is grace truly, but unless you do works in harmony with it, you never will be saved. It is written, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice," and "WORK OUT your own salvation." (`Rom. 12:1`, and `Phil. 2:12`.)
The party which mixes works and faith gradually comes to regard faith as of little value, and works as all important, and detracts from the value of the sacrifice which Jesus gave, while adding to the importance of the sacrifice of the sinner, or as they term it the sinner's death to sin, as the means or cost of his own salvation.
The party which depends wholly on faith, generally inclines to an opposite extreme and ignores the possibility of any fallen being doing works acceptable to God. In their endeavor to show that Jesus fully and amply "paid it all," these frequently assert that the penalty of sin was eternal torture, and that Jesus endured as much SUFFERING in a few hours in Gethsemane's garden as all mankind would have suffered in an eternity of torture.
Each of these parties is without argument when confronted with the Scriptures of the opposite party, and without denying or disproving the texts in opposition, each quotes the texts and teaches the view which seems most approved to itself; while the infidel sneers--"Your Bible contradicts itself."
There is a difficulty somewhere-- what is it?
It is this: As we saw when examining the doctrines of Election and Free-grace, both are true; both are supported by Scripture, and the difficulty has been a failure to note the two ages to which the two doctrines apply--an election according to favor during the Gospel age, and Free and complete favor to all during the Millennial age. So also the doctrines of Faith and Works--Belief as a ground of salvation, and Sacrifice as a ground of salvation. Both are true: We must merely rightly divide the word of truth and its beauty and harmony will be manifested. As in the doctrine of Election, the harmony was seen by observing the two ages, so with this doctrine, the beauty and force can only be distinguished by recognizing two salvations.
Does some one hastily say: I cannot believe that; the Scriptures teach of but one salvation? We reply: How do you know? Have you searched the Scriptures with that in view, to see? If you had said the catechism, etc., which I studied when a child, taught that there is but one kind of salvation, then we should have agreed with you. Perhaps that is what you meant: at all events we can show clearly that the Bible does teach two kinds of salvation and two totally different classes of saved.
First, then: There is a general salvation common to all the Adamic race. Adam, the representative of the race, through sin lost the perfection of manhood with all its privileges; the result being death--extinction--not only for himself but for all springing from him and represented by him--"and so death passed upon all men." Jesus came to seek and to SAVE that which was LOST. If his mission was successful it must result sooner or later in the recovery and restoration of that which was lost.
Since Adam was not a spiritual but human image of God, he lost not a spiritual existence, but a human existence. He lost not a heavenly home, but an earthly paradise. He did not even lose heavenly promises, for none such were given him. Since we all sustained our loss through Adam, ours like his must have been a loss of human perfection, human existence, human likeness to God, an earthly Paradise, etc.; hence Jesus' mission was to redeem--save--recover --restore "that which was lost." He commenced the work, by ransoming the race [giving a "corresponding price"]; and the Apostle assures us that he will complete the work of saving that which was lost--"When the times of refreshing [making new] shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ....whom the heavens must receive [retain] until the times of RESTITUTION [or restoration] of all things which God hath spoken, by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." (`Acts 3:19-21`.)
Thus seen, the ransom given by Jesus and the results to be obtained are the exact offset to the sin of Adam and the loss thus sustained.
This salvation comes to all men just as freely through Jesus as the loss came unsought through Adam. As now death is upon all, so in the restitution, life shall pass upon all, and as a result, all will begin to improve and to come into full perfection of manhood, which condition when reached may be everlastingly theirs on condition of everlasting obedience to God. This then is the general salvation--"common salvation" in which all shall share, because Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man; because "the man Christ Jesus" "gave himself a ransom [corresponding price] FOR ALL, to be testified in due time." This salvation is the saving of man from sin and death to holiness and life; but it in no sense changes his nature; he will still be man and while of the earth earthly, when saved or RESTORED, will again be an earthly image of God, and "very good"--the lord of earth restored to his dominion--recovered from his "fall."
Secondly, glance at the other salvation; the special one, called in Scripture, "THE salvation," "YOUR salvation," "OUR salvation," "so GREAT salvation," etc. Like the other, this salvation is also from sin and death, but it includes a change
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of nature, so that the life enjoyed when this salvation is fully accomplished will be not a restoration of human nature, but a transforming to the "DIVINE nature," no longer earthly beings, but heavenly or spiritual beings. The Scriptural evidences on which a hope for this special salvation is based are familiar to our readers, and the call to this hope is mentioned as a "high calling," a "heavenly calling," etc.
"This great salvation" must take place first, before the "common salvation" shall be accomplished, for those who experience the "great salvation" are to be God's instrumentalities through whom the "common salvation" shall be bestowed upon all the world of mankind. They without us shall not be made perfect. (`Heb. 11:40`.)
These who share in "so great salvation" are but a "little flock" and in it are not many rich or great or noble according to the course of this world, for to this salvation God hath chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, heirs of the kingdom. "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God has 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 naught, to bring to naught things that are." `1 Cor. 1:28`.
The Apostle speaks of these two salvations in the same sentence, when he says, "We trust in the living God who is the SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN, specially of those that believe." `1 Tim. 4:10`.
As these two salvations differ, so do the conditions differ. The only conditions for the common salvation are a recognition of Jesus who bought us with his own precious blood and an acceptance of the salvation provided coupled with their best endeavors to abstain from sin. No works must be here added to the work of the Redeemer to merit this recovery of that which was lost.
"In our hands no price we bring,
Simple to His cross we cling."
Those who will share in the "great salvation" and be "especially" saved to heavenly conditions, must first share by faith in the common salvation. These during the Gospel Age have accepted Jesus and his atoning sacrifice as the ground and substance of restored rights and privileges as men, not getting that restoration to perfect manhood actually, as the world will during the Millennium, but accepting it now by faith it is to such, a reckoned perfection; an imputed justification, a reckoned recovery from all that was LOST to all that human perfection and blessing which Jesus' ransom [corresponding price] recovered for all. But if such would accept of the "heavenly calling," they must do more than thus believe and accept. They are believers and are already subjects of this common salvation from death and sin, before they are called to run for the heavenly prize.
The Apostle forcibly impresses this when he says: "I beseech you brethren [already believers in Jesus as their Saviour, already reckoned, restored or justified through faith, hence called brethren] that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice unto God."
This proves that sacrificing is not the condition of becoming brethren, for these were brethren but had not presented themselves as sacrifices. Thus all who are freed from sin are not only children of God, but are all brethren whether they are of the human nature, justified, or like the Apostle begotten to the divine nature. The earthly and the heavenly when complete and perfect will be all one family, as there is one God and Father of all.
Then as though anticipating an objection from these brethren, that they were unworthy to be sacrifices since all sacrifices must be pure and holy else they could not be acceptable to God, the Apostle answers this objection by reminding them of their justification and reckoned purity on account of Jesus' sacrifice, and assures them that being thus justified their sacrifices would be "holy" and "acceptable to God" as well as a "reasonable service" for them.
This "service" of "sacrifice" after having been justified from sin and death by Jesus' ransom alone, is the condition upon which any shall be "accounted worthy" of the heavenly prize, the great salvation. Only upon the condition of sacrificing WITH the Master, sharing in and filling up that sacrifice for the world, are any promised a part in that "little flock" which shall share Jesus' resurrection [the same sort] because they share his sacrifice.
This is the salvation which can only be obtained by sacrifice--by "working out YOUR own salvation" and the dissimilarity of this, from the salvation which no man can work out for himself, but which was purchased by the precious blood of Jesus, and which must be accepted by all as the free gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord, should be apparent to all critical readers. And when this distinction is recognized all those Scriptures which before seemed contradictory on the subject of salvation by faith and salvation by works, become beautifully harmonious and clear.
But, some may inquire: Do you then claim and teach that those who gain heaven and become members of the little flock and share in divine nature and honors will gain them by their own works simply? that they will merit such high honors? Ah no! Do not misunderstand us thus.
"Grace first contrived the way
To save rebellious man,"
In every step 'tis still displayed
Throughout God's wondrous plan."
The recovery of man from sin and death was God's favor through the sacrifice of his Son. Restitution to his "former estate" was not merited, hence was the manifestation of God's grace or favor. So the offering to some of the redeemed race of the infinite "prize" in exchange for the human rights and privileges which he himself had just presented to us freely through Jesus, is but a further manifestation of the grace of God. We do not by any works or sacrifices merit an exaltation to the divine nature and glory--"far above angels and principalities and powers" as joint heirs with Jesus. And not only so, but we never could have dreamed of such an offer being made us! It is simply astounding to us; to many this "EXCEEDING
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RICHES OF HIS grace in his loving kindness toward us IN CHRIST JESUS," is wholly inconceivable, and unbelieved. But those who believe the offer and give their little all, [justified-- saved through Christ] in exchange for a prize so great, can only say:--
"God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works His sovereign will."
This "great salvation" is to be to all eternity the great monument of God's grace by which all his creatures angelic as well as human, shall have indubitable proof that God's grace is boundless, and his love and wisdom and power by which he is able to cause all things to work together for good to those who love and serve him are unfathomable.
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THE FAVOR OF GOD.
Let the conditions of the present Gospel Age, the besetments of Satan now permitted, the obstacles which now hinder faith, and the sacrifices which are now demanded of all who would now be overcomers as shown in the article-- "Think it not strange" (See last issue) be CONTRASTED with the favorable opportunities of the incoming Millennium, when the obstacles to faith shall be quite removed, when all shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest; when Satan's power shall be restrained, and when the requirements of God will be no longer the sacrifice of things right and lawful, but merely the rejection of evil, with full liberty to use and enjoy every blessing and privilege, then freely supplied to all. In view of the contrast some would exclaim: "How favorable a time the Millennial Age will be! How I wish that I could have lived then instead of now! Why will that age be so much more gracious or favorable than the Gospel Age, if God is no respecter of persons and loves us, as much as them?"
Well, such is a very natural mistake. The fact is, however, that the Gospel Age is the one of special FAVOR. The greatest and grandest favor that ever has or ever will be offered to any of God's creatures is held forth during this Gospel Age, and closes with its close. While the advantages and opportunities of the next age are most favorable, the prize then obtainable is proportionately less valuable, though the prize offered for obedience during the Millennial Age will be great and grand also: It will be glorious indeed to have everlasting existence, in perfection and happiness under God's approval and blessing. But the fact is, that the prize offered during the Gospel Age to the sacrificing members of the body of Christ, is exceedingly great, exceedingly grand, infinitely sublime. So much so, that in the estimation of all who have truly realized its value, it is priceless, and would be cheap at any cost. It is no less than to be made of the Divine nature, and to share Divine honors and glories with our illustrious Head and forerunner. It was when contemplating the EXCEEDING great and precious promises, held out during the Gospel Age, and the EXCEEDING riches of God's grace [favor] in his loving-kindness toward US through Christ Jesus, that the Apostle to the Gentiles, looking at its cost, in trials, besetments, burdens, sacrifices and sufferings, said: I do count them but loss and dross, and shall rejoice if by any means [at any cost-- any sacrifice] I may win CHRIST and be found in him--if I may be a member in that BODY OF CHRIST which is to be so highly exalted and honored in God's due time. `Phil. 3:7-14`.
So then, in this as in the ordinary affairs of life, an article which costs far more may be a more favorable bargain than one costing less, though it be a favorable bargain also. Not only the cost, but the things obtained therefore, must be considered, when we decide as to which is the more favorable of any two things.
Our conclusion that the Gospel Age is one of superior favor [grace] to any before or after it, is abundantly proven to be God's estimate by many Scriptures; a few of which we here quote:
"I thank my God always on your behalf, for the GRACE of God which is given you through Jesus Christ" (`1 Cor. 1:4`). "By whom also we have access by faith into THIS GRACE wherein we stand and rejoice" (`Rom. 5:2`). God "hath saved us [from Adamic sin and its penalty through Jesus our propitiation] and called US with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace" (`2 Tim. 1:9`). "Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace [favor] that should come UNTO YOU." "Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but UNTO US they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the Gospel unto you." `1 Pet. 1:10,12`.
Seen in its true light then, the fact is that Jesus' death was the equivalent or "corresponding price" for Adam's sin and penalty, and quite sufficient to legally effect the release of every member of the race. And the Millennium of blessing and the restoration of all mankind to that human perfection and being which they had lost through Adam, would have at once commenced after Jesus' resurrection, but for the Gospel Age of SPECIAL FAVOR offered to believers willing to follow in Jesus' footsteps of sacrifice. They are reckoned as members of the world's Redeemer and their sacrifice [made worthy and acceptable first by his] are accepted as parts of Jesus' sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, and are RECKONED as filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ.
This opportunity for sacrifice is a favor, because of the great reward and high honor promised to Jesus which we may share by reason of sharing in his sacrifice.
Does some one suggest that the favor contained in the privilege of suffering and sacrificing with Christ may perhaps be continued, and thus all come to the same divine nature and honor? We answer, No. This would be unscriptural as well as unreasonable. Wherein would consist the special favor of the Gospel Age unless it be as we have shown, a call to and opportunity for gaining a "high calling," a "heavenly calling," not otherwise obtainable?
Then, too, if the body of Christ "fills up" the measure of the afflictions of the anointed, how could there be any to fill up in a succeeding age? And if the sacrifice for sins is complete, and its measure filled up by the Gospel Church, what occasion and what opportunity could there be for sacrificing any in the Millennial Age? Further, we know that had there not been sin in the world, and had it not had liberty to flourish, it would have been impossible for either Jesus or his followers to have sacrificed, since there could have been no opportunity. Hence also, to have sacrifices for sins during any coming age, would imply that evil must then be in control, as well as that the sacrifices of Christ head and body were not a sufficient ransom. The fact everywhere expressed in Scripture is contrary to this; Christ shall reign and the wicked shall no longer have liberty to insult, buffet, malign and crucify the righteous. Satan shall be bound--restrained--have no power. Christ shall have all power, and in his day the righteous shall flourish instead of being sacrifices; and the wicked shall be cut off, instead of prospering in wickedness. Ah, yes! the sufferings of Christ will have ended, and the glory which was to follow [the end of his sufferings] shall have commenced. See `1 Pet. 1:11`.
Yes, though now the world esteem us as it did our Head, "stricken, smitten of God and afflicted," and not favored, yet the time is coming when of both head and body it shall be recognized as true, that the Christ was smitten for the world's iniquities, and that the price of the world's salvation was exacted of him, when throughout coming ages God shall display, and men and angels shall recognize--"The exceeding riches of his grace, in his loving-kindness toward US through Christ Jesus."
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LIFE AND DEATH.
"See, I have set before thee this day life and death." `Deut. 30:19`.
These were the words of Moses to Israel when he had delivered to them the law of God, promising life to the obedient, and threatening certain death to the disobedient. Accompanying these solemn words through Moses, we have also the affirmation and exhortation of Jehovah through the prophet `Ezekiel (33:11`), "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live: Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
The same alternative had been placed before Adam in Eden, and through his transgression, the sentence of death had already passed upon all the race; and there could be no release from that sentence until a ransom or substitute had been given, and no redeemer had yet appeared.
The above words follow the giving of the law to Israel; But, God knew that his law was the full measure of a perfect man's ability, and that therefore, it was impossible for Israel to keep it. Was it then mere mockery for God to set before them life, when he knew they could not attain it? and to present death as a possibility, when he knew it was certain?
In view of the fact that not one gained life under that law, it would certainly appear to be mockery, were it not for the fact that further enlightenment through New Testament teachings, proves Israel to be a typical people [See "Tabernacle Teachings."] Israel is seen to typify the world of mankind; and the sin-offerings, sacrifices, atonement, etc., made typically for them, prefigured the real and effectual sacrifices and atonement made for the whole world.
So we must regard this promise of life, and this warning of possible death, as given to the whole world through Israel their type. When? when the law in full, is given and expounded to the whole world, by that "Great Prophet of whom Moses was a type, (`Acts 3:22`; `Deut. 18:15`.) --the Christ, head and body--in the in-coming Millennial Age. When they thus receive that law, the first death will have been passed, and because of the ransom given they will have been awakened from it, to have the privilege of running for life as individuals; released from the former sentence or condemnation which came on them through Adam. They may then run for life with the full assurance of obtaining it, if they run lawfully. Yet that there is a possibility of failure is proved positively by the words of `Ezek. 33:11-16`, to all those who believe God true, and not a mocker.
We see then that the Millennial Age is the world's appointed Judgment Day. Then the final issue of life and death will be before the world. But we have learned further, that not only is Israel a type of the whole world, and God's dealings with them typical of his dealings with the world in its day of Judgment, but we learn that Israel is also typical of the Gospel Church in this day of Judgment. (See Tab. Teachings.)
Since the Gospel Church enters upon its reward before the world's judgment begins, it is quite clear that our judgment must be finished before that time. In other words, our judgment must be finished within the limits of this present life. Death ends all opportunity for those who have during this age, consecrated themselves entirely to God. Solemn thought, that every moment we stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Before us, are now placed the FINAL ISSUES of life and death, which will in the future be placed before the world.
"See, I have set before thee THIS DAY, life and death."
True to his diabolical character, the great deceiver is specially busy now among the consecrated, as he will be with the world when loosed for a little season in the end of their judgment day (`Rev. 20:3`). His object now, as it then will be, is to deceive those running for life, and if possible, to deprive them of it. He cannot then, nor now, deceive those trusting implicitly in the word of the Lord, with full purpose of heart to serve and obey him; but those not so trusting and not fully so disposed, he will deceive, not as to what is truth, but as to what the result of such a course will be. He will repeat the lie given in Eden, "Ye shall not surely die" (`Gen. 3:4`), reasoning variously as emergencies may require:--with some, that God is too good to pass the sentence of death again, and that even if he should, he would rescue them from it as he did from the Adamic death. And as an angel of light he will praise the goodness and love of God and attempt to prove how it will overleap and overpower his justice. Others, he will deceive as to the nature of death, attempting to prove it a blessing in disguise, or a necessary step in an evolution to a higher nature, or a symbolic expression to imply the destruction of evil, or what not? Anything but the dread penalty of wilful sin as set forth in the Scriptures to be total extinction of existence. He will also attempt to deceive as to the merit and efficacy of the ransom, without full recognition of which, God has declared that none may have life. `Acts 4:12`.
All these various deceptive devices which will be brought to bear upon the world in the end of their judgment day, after they have been fully enlightened, tasted of the good word of God, and the powers (opportunities and advantages)
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of the world to come, are now being advanced among those now on trial-- consecrated believers. Are such able to meet them? If not, we must charge God with unfaithfulness in leaving his sheep unprotected among the wolves. But no, God is true, and it is not possible to deceive his elect--those who still maintain a full purpose of heart to trust and obey him. His truth, our "shield and buckler" is made so plain now that no such child of God can fail to see it, and therefore to rest in it.
Hear further the words of the Prophet: "I command thee [spiritual Israel now-- the world in the age to come] this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, that thou mayest live...But if thine HEART turn away, so that thou WILT NOT hear, but shalt be drawn away [deceived or allured] and worship other Gods and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish....I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing, therefore choose life." `Deut. 30:15-19`.
Not from such earnest words of warning would any reasonable mind gain the idea that death, from which Jehovah says "Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die" and again "As I live, I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth"--is a blessing, a death to sin, or a necessary step by which to gain a higher nature. Could any of the elect (those in the right condition of heart) be so deceived? Nay, if any are deceived, the fault is chargeable to themselves, and not to God.
It is a duty imperatively demanded of the watchmen on the Tower of Zion today, not only to point out to Spiritual Israel the blessed and inspiring promises now nearing fulfillment, but also to warn of present and approaching danger. If any of those whom God hath placed in such positions of trust, fail to watch or to warn, their blood shall be required of his hand. True, none will be lost solely on account of the watchman's unfaithfulness, but on account of their own unfaithfulness. The watchmen nevertheless will be held to account as though all depended on his warning.
In obedience to his high trust, Paul thus faithfully warned the church, and pointed out in language that cannot be mistaken by unbiased minds, the blessing and cursing, life and death, set before us. `Heb. 10:25-31`.
Another device of the adversary in this critical hour, is to endeavor by sophistry and deception, to diminish the incentive for which we run the "Narrow Way"--making it appear that there is little advantage to be gained by such sacrifices as we are required to make-- representing that only mere selfishness can see in the word of God a prize (the divine nature) for the Gospel Church above what the world shall share. Of course the inference is, that it is folly to thus run for what the world will in due time get without such exertion.
"Christian be on thy guard,
Ten thousand foes arise;
The hosts of death are pressing hard
To draw thee from the prize."
MRS. C. T. R.
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"CUSTOM may lead a man into many errors, but it justifies none."
"IT is easier to find a score of men wise enough to apprehend the truth, than one intrepid enough to stand up for it in the face of opposition."
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SATISFIED AND DISSATISFIED.
Sunday, January 25, 1885, the Rev. Talmage said in his sermon to his Brooklyn congregation:
"If you want to know how life seems to me now, I answer, It is very bright. I have had dark days, sad days, tumultuous days, but there now is not one cloud on my sky. I would rather be here than anywhere else. My surroundings suit me exactly. Except yours, I have the best family in all the world. My friends are kind and sympathetic; the world to me is a most desirable abode. I have nothing against the weather, for if it be cold, I have fuel and stout apparel; and, if it be hot, I flee to the mountains, and have no indictment to present against anything or anybody."
On the same page with the above report was the following one of the destitution and dissatisfaction existing in Cincinnati as expressed by a Communistic parade carrying a red and black flag through the principal streets of that city. The report says:
"One who is on the street at night will find an able-bodied man on almost every square, whose plea for a few cents for bed or bread is certainly not always that of the professional beggar. Men steal that they may be sent to the workhouse, and tell of it when arrested with shamefaced exultation. The workhouse is filled to overflowing, and the prisoners have to sleep two in a bed designed for only one. The charities and the charitable are overtaxed. Cases of destitution are brought to light daily till they are monotonous. On Wednesday a Russian Jew tried to let out his life through his wrists, because of his utter despair of longer earning bread for himself and his wife and babies in a strange land.
"This is the condition which one in every ten of the whole population finds confronting him. The transparencies borne last Saturday night said: 'Work or bread;' 'The many fast, the few feast;' 'The pensioned idleness or pensioned industry;' 'Order and an empty stomach can never be allies;' 'No mendicants or millionaires.' 'Self-preservation is the first law of nature;' 'Revolutions grow with the discontent of the people;' 'Revolt was never belied by the tin cup of the soup-house;' 'Charity covers sin, labor covers the back;' 'Wealth needs charity, we need labor.'"
Truly the distinction between men, both in talents and comforts, occasioned through the Adamic "fall" and hereditary taint, is very great; and to the lower strata of society it becomes more grievous to bear as intelligence increases. How much the world needs the promised kingdom of God! It is "groaning and travailing in pain," waiting and hoping for a good time to come, though how it will come they cannot clearly see. They vainly hope that love's righteousness shall become universal, and that the question of service and wages and a more uniform distribution of life's blessings will result.
Some hope that this grand and desirable result may be attained by the preaching of Christ, and point to the millions of professed Christians; and, in their desire to increase the showing of results even counting those whom they call "anti-Christ" to swell the numbers. But while all should be glad to concede that all of these systems, both Christian and anti-Christian are exhibiting increasing benevolence, yet at the present rate it would be a long time before Love would hold the sway over selfishness. In fact, to-day, the satisfied and dissatisfied, the luxurious and the poverty-pinched are seen side by side in greatest contrast in the greatest city of the world (London) under the government which claims to be the most advanced in Love and Righteousness. The dissatisfied are becoming restless and desire revolution, not realizing that the speedy effects of it would be to make their condition worse, as well as to destroy the peace of the satisfied class.
But not until men have exhausted their efforts to legislate the world into Love, and to revolutionize it into Righteousness; not until it has learned that what is now called Christianizing people is far from the real thing, and that after all its boasted millions of Christians only a comparatively little flock are really such, not until then, we say, when discouraged and sick with its many failures will mankind be prepared to see what God hath wrought.
Then, in despair of establishing a righteous empire whose rule shall be for the blessing of all, it will be prepared to receive the true kingdom of God. It will then realize that the kingdoms of earth the Church-State organizations which they have been taught are God's kingdoms, were merely Satan's deceptions to obscure the truth and prevent men from loving or expecting the real kingdom of God promised.
Then it will be realized, that while the so-called church systems were endeavoring to spread their power and dominion over earth, God was selecting from among men a "little flock" to whom it is his "good pleasure to give the kingdom," even the control of the whole world--to rule it and to bless it with righteous government, and a restitution to original perfection; in which condition when universally attained they shall be able to live in love and peace and righteousness. Each shall then be able to love God with all his heart, and his neighbor as himself.
It was predestinated that such a "little flock" should be selected and the conditions are named--they must all be conformed to the image of Christ Jesus; now in the spirit of their minds, and shortly glorified with Him and made fully like him, they shall share his power (`Rom. 8:17`). Then, at the same time that these shall have been selected, the world shall have learned the need of the perfect government which God shall establish through these. It is for this government that the world waits and groans, though as yet it realizes it not; even "the manifestation of the sons of God." (`Rom. 8:19`.)
And since we know the outcome--the blessings in store for it--we can view with equanimity and calmness the gathering storm sympathizing with the expression of the poet:
"I turn me awe-struck from the sight,
Among the clamoring thousands unite.
I only know that God is right
And that the children of the light
Shall tread the darkness under-foot.
"I know the pent fire heaves its crust,
That sultry skies the bolt will form
To smite them clear; that Nature must
The balance of her powers adjust,
Though with the earthquake and the storm."
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IT REPENTED THE LORD.
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart, and the Lord said I will destroy man whom I have created, from the face of the earth. `Gen. 6:5-7`.
The question naturally arises, If God is omniscient, knowing, the end from the beginning, how could he repent of his course in creating man?
The word repent means:--"To change the MIND, or, COURSE OF CONDUCT on account of regret or dissatisfaction with what has occurred."--Webster. The question then is, Did God change his mind [plan], or, his course of conduct? We claim, that knowing the end from the beginning, God's mind could not change, hence it must signify change of conduct. That is, God changed his course of dealing with man because of man's wickedness which grieved him, but he did not need to change his mind or plans, because these plans had from the very first recognized the corrupting and degrading tendency of sin, and provided (in purpose or mind) the Lamb of God--"slain from before the foundation of the world," as the redemption price.
It is difficult for our finite minds to comprehend this, because for us to change our course of action, usually means to change our minds or plans as well--because of our shortsightedness. To comprehend Omniscience and Omnipotence is as difficult as to comprehend Eternity or the infinitude of Space. But what no one can fully comprehend, we as God's children, may at least apprehend by faith, guided by his revelation to us. To those whose eyes are anointed with eyesalve (`Rev. 3:18`.) the prophetic statements of God's word, both in the Old and New Testament in their fulfillments, now discernable, give ample proof that God does know the end from the beginning; that he changes not from his original purpose. `Mal. 3:6`; `Isa. 14:27`. God's plans were perfect before they began to be executed; hence all the changes of God's course or conduct are working out the accomplishment of his original purpose which contemplated these very changes.
Those who recognize the gradual development of God's original plan, can see clearly that the various changes in his course, or dealings, as displayed in the Jewish Gospel, and Millennial Ages, do not at all indicate so many changes of his mind or plan, though they are doubtless so misunderstood by many. Is it asked, Why then is it so expressed as to give the impression that because God's heart was grieved by reason of man's wickedness, his mind as well as his action changed? We answer, This matter is stated in a manner suited to convey to the general reader as much as he is able to comprehend of God's reasons for the change. God was very much grieved and displeased by man's rapid progress in wickedness: that instead of loathing his sinful and fallen condition and looking to God for relief, he took pleasure in still further degrading himself; and God, according to his original purpose, changed the course of his dealings and ended that age by blotting out of existence for a time those who were so unworthy, that their gross depravity should not interfere in the further development of his plan.* Thus also when God speaks of the sun's rising and setting, it is not that he did not know that it is the Earth's instead of the Sun's motion that produces day and night, but because he addresses himself to men according to their comprehension.
It was then and still is, impossible, for the fallen natural man to clearly appreciate and realize these matters; and God's purpose seems to be to prove to man the Omniscience as well as the Justice and Love of his Creator, rather than to tell him of them.
*Under the strict discipline of the Millennium, those who then would not even attempt righteousness, will be compelled to conform to it and to taste of its advantages over sin and its results, so that if they will they may choose life and live.
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"SHOW me the man you honor. I know by that symptom; better than by any other, what kind of a man you are yourself; for you show me what your ideal of manhood is, what kind of a man you long to be."--Carlyle.
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IS PROTESTANTISM A PROTEST?
The tendency toward a union between Roman Catholics and Protestants becomes daily more apparent. It is not long since Bishop Potter, of the Episcopal Church, instituted a "Holy Order," after the manner and covenant of the Romish priesthood. It is not long since the Council of the same denomination held in Detroit, heard approvingly an essay advocating the "Auricular Confession," by one of their members, and now comes the Rev. Dr. Kellog, a professor in the Presbyterian Seminary of Allegheny, as an advocate of a sort of PURGATORY.
All this must be very comforting to their Mother, the Church of Rome. That she appreciates it, is evidenced by the following remark clipped from the Catholic:
"We entertain no other feeling but that of pity for the man who rehashes the worn-out calumnies of Protestant bigotry and hate, at a time that Protestants and Catholics are being brought closer together, and to a clearer understanding of the religious issues that keep them separated."
For some years, we have endeavored to point out that Protestant sects are the daughters of Rome referred to in `Rev. 17:5`. That Papacy is not only called a harlot (system), but also the MOTHER of harlots and abominations. Little did we expect that so soon we would hear Protestant ministers boast of this relationship, as in the quotation below from the Rev. Mr. Donehoo [Presbyterian] of this city:
"Wince as you will, you must admit that this (the Catholic Church) is the Mother Church. She possesses an unbroken history extending back to the times of the Apostles. For every fragment of religious truth which we prize we are indebted to her as the depository. If she has no claims to being the true Church, then are we bastards and not sons."
Very true: the "fragment of truth" and the great mass of error, nearly all came to the daughters through their mother. From her they got the fashion of sprinkling babies and calling it the fulfillment of what the Bible calls baptizing believers. From the mother they got their idea of an eternal hell of woe.
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She taught them how to twist the words sheol and hades from their plain and obvious meaning to the support of that blasphemous doctrine--eternal torment. From her they learned to confess what it is impossible for them to understand, much less believe--the doctrine of Trinity--three persons in one and one person in three. From her, they received the heathen doctrine of human immortality, which not only contradicts the Bible doctrine of death (extinction) as the punishment of sin, and nullifies the offer of immortality to the saints who seek for it (`Rom. 2:7`), but becomes the basis of their theory of everlasting torture, claiming that because of (immortal) nature man cannot perish, they endeavor thus to make eternal torment seem reasonable. Yes, from their mother they got all that is bad, not excepting the putting of the standards and decrees of their sects instead of the Bible.
One thing only remains as a real ground of protest between the daughters and their mother, and that is the foundation principle of the Gospel of Christ. It was this foundation principle that Luther preached and which was the beginning of the much needed Reformation movement, viz., Justification by faith, and not by works. Beyond this first principle the Reformation made little progress.
A realization that Christ Jesus paid the ransom once for all, and that our interest in it must be laid hold of by faith in his finished redemption, is the great first principle which the Church of Rome does not recognize: she is noted in Scripture as the one which took away the "continual sacrifice." She substituted the "sacrifice of the Mass" for the everlasting or continual sacrifice of Calvary.* Thus she made void the ransom. Her daughters have held fast to the doctrine of justification by faith through acceptance of Jesus' ransom until now, though the philosophy of it was never very clearly seen by them. Now, this one ground of PROTEST and difference between mother and daughter is being looked upon doubtfully by many, and will shortly be abandoned by the mass of Protestants, as it is already abandoned by some of their more bold and outspoken leaders. Through various subtle sophistries of the Adversary this truth is being gradually undermined, the way being already well prepared by long established and deep-rooted errors, which obscure the force and beauty of the ransom as presented in Scripture. When this is gone, Protestantism is gone, for there will then no longer be any ground for protest against the "Mother" Church. If Jesus be not the ransom price, why pray in his name more than in the name of "Mary" or the "saints"? The result, too, would soon be to substitute works for faith in Christ's atoning work.
Rev. Mr. Donehoo continues:
"It (the Catholic Church) holds up Christ as the Saviour of mankind. It is engaged in Christ's work--feeding the hungry, sheltering the orphan, reclaiming the fallen, providing hospitals for the sick and suffering, asylums for the poor and aged, and reaching a class whom the most zealous Protestant can never influence. Talk about missionaries to labor amongst Romanists! I would as soon think of sending missionaries amongst Methodists and Episcopalians and United Presbyterians and Lutherans for the purpose of converting them into Presbyterians."
Good works, benevolence, kindness, charity are in perfect accord with the principles of Christianity. We should do good unto all as we have opportunity, especially to the household of faith. But we protest against such things being considered either the ground for acceptance with God, or the proof of possessing the Spirit of Christ.
These are moral and benevolent deeds only, and should be recognized and praised as such, and not be counted for more. Many infidels and atheists are kind and benevolent as well. While we praise their good deeds, we must not confound them with Christianity. The necessary foundation for an altar upon which any works must be laid, to be acceptable to God, is, Jesus the ransom.
The Apostles do not enumerate hospitals and asylums among the "fruits of the Spirit." Neither Jesus nor Paul nor Peter gave their time or attention to founding such institution, nor did they teach others so to do. There is a still more important work to do in preaching the glad tidings--in clothing the naked with the robe of Christ's righteousness, in healing the sick and lame and blinded with the whole truth, and in feeding the hungry with the "true bread."
Let us attend to this work; there are many who, for various reasons, will attend to the other--in fact the world recognizes the necessity for such institutions as asylums, hospitals, etc., and they are liberally provided for by the State.
Indeed, it can scarcely be questioned that the underlying motive which in many cases prompts and maintains these "charities" is sectarian pride and selfishness. All recognize the influence of such institutions upon the worldly. All can see the opportunities thus afforded for the spread of sectarian influence, and some can see that, instead of being a tax upon resources, such institutions are frequently sources of revenue when State appropriations and private bequests, etc., are taken into account.
The important work of the present is the perfecting of the BODY of Christ. The members of that body, wherever they may be, should be sought out, helped, strengthened, prepared for union with their Head--a preparation which requires the light now shining for its accomplishment. To this let us give all our energy and talent; for this let us sacrifice as Jesus and the Apostles did, realizing that what we have not the time and opportunity of doing for the world now, shall more than be compensated for in the blessed work of the Millennial Age, now dawning.
*The sacrifice of the "Mass" is not generally understood. It is really a repetition of the sacrifice of Christ, or purports to be such. See "Tabernacle" pamphlet, page 78.
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LORD AND SAVIOUR.
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of."--`2 Pet. 2:1,2`.
We are asked to examine the above passage critically. First we remark that the words italicised above are all from the same Greek word. Destructive heresies swiftly destroy the teachers as teachers, and others follow their destructive ways and bring the true teachings of Scripture into disrepute.
A question arises: Does the Apostle predict that the class referred to will deny the Lordship of Christ, or deny that he "bought" or ransomed them? Those who have the Emphatic Diaglott will notice that its interlineary translation reads thus: "Even the having bought them, Sovereign Lord denying." Thus making prominent the denial of their having been bought, as the destructive heresy.
And when we carefully consider the matter, the reasonableness of this view becomes apparent. If these "false teachers" denied the Lordship of Christ, they would not be received at all by the church; hence could have no opportunity of bringing in that as a heresy, for all the church and all pretending, even, to be of the Church of Christ, acknowledge Christ as the Lord and Head of the Church. On the contrary, had any man said, I believe in the ransom, but reject the Redeemer as my Lord, such position would be ridiculous. We have never yet known or heard of any one who acknowledged the ransom that denied the Lordship of Christ. We have heard of some both in the days of the Apostles, and especially now, who acknowledge Jesus as Lord, but deny that he "bought them." It is evident, then, that to this last named class only this Scripture is applicable.
And that it is a destructive heresy is evident--destructive of the truth, destructive of the faith once delivered to the saints. It makes shipwreck of faith, by removing from it the only sure foundation --redemption and remission of sins through the blood of the cross.
The heresy to which the Apostle alludes was future from his day, and though the cross of Christ has ever been a stumbling block which hindered many from coming into the nominal church, yet never until the present time has this destructive and subversive heresy obtained so strong a foothold among professing Christians.
The description suits the methods now employed by teachers of the no ransom theory: They "privily" or privately bring in the doctrine. They do not openly deny the meaning of the words "bought" and "ransom," etc., and openly contradict the Scriptures where these words are used; but while quoting these words they covertly and privily seek to leave an impression contrary to their true and undeniable meaning.
Let us see well to it that we acknowledge Jesus both as Lord and Saviour, and not as Lord only. He was the Lord or Master of the Disciples when as a perfect man he made consecration of himself and called them to be his disciples or pupils. In view of what he had been before he left the glory of the heavenly condition, and in view of his superiority as a perfect man among imperfect ones, no less than in view of the high exaltation to which he was heir through his sacrificial death, it was proper that his followers, who recognized his true character and believed his claims, should call him Lord and Master, for such indeed he was.
Our Lord was publicly recognized as Saviour when as a babe he was named Jesus. (See `Matt. 1:21`.) He was publicly recognized of God through John at the time of his baptism, as the Saviour-- the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. It was by virtue of his putting away the sin by the sacrifice of himself that he had the right to exercise to some extent his power as Lord, in casting out devils and reviving the dead and dying. But it was when he had fully completed the sacrifice at Calvary, that the full right and authority and Lordship began.
When he was risen from the dead, he no longer said, "I can of mine own self do nothing" (`Jno. 5:30`; `8:28`); but on the contrary he then declared, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (`Matt. 28:18`.) The Apostle tells us that full power and authority were bestowed on him at his resurrection. He says, he was declared to be Lord of the living and dead BY a resurrection from the dead. Him hath God raised up to be a prince (Master or Lord) and a Saviour. `Rom. 14:8,9`; `Acts 5:31`; `Rom. 1:4`.
He was our Saviour or Redeemer first, and having bought, purchased, redeemed, ransomed us from the dominion or control of death, he became rightfully our owner, our Lord, our Master. Let us keep our faith-building on the rock foundation, recognizing him who is Lord of all, as equally Redeemer or Saviour of all--"Our Lord AND Saviour Jesus Christ."
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TO HIM THAT OVERCOMETH.
"It must needs be that offences come, but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh,"-- `MATT. 18:7`.
It is needful and right that severe trial of faith should test the church whose trial is now closing, that the faithful overcomers may be developed, as well as separated from all others, and that, by their exaltation, the new Millennial age may commence. Nevertheless, as the trials come, they cause us to tremble;
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and, as some fall in them, it causes pain. Yet our confidence must rest in the All-wise Harvester and in his sickle of truth. We must remember that he can make no mistake as to who shall stand or who fall. Not one whose name is "blotted out" of the book of life (`Rev. 3:5`) shall stand; and not one whose name remains, shall fall. He forewarned us who should be "able to stand," and that in all, it would be but a "little flock," saying, "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange things happened unto you"; "The fire of that day shall try every man's work, of what sort it is." `1 Pet. 4:12` and `1 Cor. 3:13`.
"A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee" [the body of Christ.] "He shall give his angels [messengers--servants of the church] charge over THEE [or truths to sustain and strengthen thee] and they shall bear thee up in their hands [sustain and help thee], lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." [Lest the feet or last members of the Gospel church should stumble over the Rock of offence over which the nominal mass of both the Jewish and Gospel churches are to stumble.] `Psa. 91:7,11,12`; `Isa. 8:14`; `1 Cor. 1:18`.
When the falling is ended, and those who stand are exalted, doubtless it will be true, that some fell whom we had expected would "stand," and that some will be found standing "complete in him," whom we had not expected to come off "victors."
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WISE AS SERPENTS, AND HARMLESS AS DOVES.
"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." `Matt. 10:16`.
Thus spoke our divine Lord when he first commissioned his apostles to preach the gospel. They were going out to save men from death. Their operations would be among all class and characters. They themselves would be exposed to persecution and death. They would have to meet prejudice and bitter opposition. Unbelief and hardness of heart would hinder them at every step. They had a most important mission to accomplish. It was important that their object should be gained. They must succeed. Christ gave them this general rule by which to govern their conduct, as best calculated to secure the object they had in view. Human nature is much the same in all ages, and the plan of God is mainly the same. This rule is doubtless just as good now as it was eighteen hundred years ago.
Why does our Saviour take the serpent as an example of wisdom for them to pattern after? There must be some reason for this. He does not want those who go out to catch souls to imitate the serpent except in the matter of its wisdom. But in that respect he does. The habits of the serpent are peculiar, and contain a lesson of instruction. Why does not the Saviour tell his servants to be wise as lions, wolves, or other ferocious beasts? Why select a serpent?
Any one who has given the matter any reflection can readily answer. The serpent does not, in approaching his victim, rush out in a manner to frighten, intimidate, and repulse, like those creatures. His approaches are very cautious, and yet effectual. He glides along in the most careful manner possible, so as not to needlessly alarm, and presents himself in a manner to favorably affect the one whom he is seeking to reach. If necessary, he can wait long and patiently, while the victim runs or flies hither and thither, still holding himself in that position which will most favorably influence. The victim, thus drawn toward him, comes within reach, and is taken. When the serpent strikes home to secure his prey, there is very rarely a failure in accomplishing his object. In all this there seems to be a wisdom peculiar to that creature. When the cat or other destructive animal lies in wait for its prey, it usually conceals itself until it gives the spring which destroys its victim. But the serpent often presents itself fully to view, and, by the attractions which it presents, secures its object.
Our Saviour instructs his followers to imitate the wisdom of the serpent, while they are harmless as doves. They do not catch souls to destroy, but to save. If they desire to accomplish this good object, they should use wisdom. The object is the highest and noblest that can engage the attention of men. Therefore the highest wisdom should be employed to accomplish it.
The human mind is difficult to manage. How necessary that all who try to present God's truth before it, either as
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ministers, or distributors of tracts, or in common conversation, should understand their business. It is very easy in ten minutes' conversation to leave impressions upon minds which it will be nearly impossible to efface. Much injury has been done to the cause of truth in the past by individuals in various communities being ever ready to "pitch in," as the common expression has it, and argue and debate, on street corners or in stores, or wherever there was a chance to crowd in the truth, whether people wanted to hear it or not, until people became disgusted, and perhaps their ears could never again be reached. This is not the wisdom of the serpent. It has no resemblance to it.
Neither do such follow the directions of Peter. They may quote a portion of his direction, but they forget or ignore the remainder. "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." The class above referred to rarely wait to give any one a chance to ask them the reason of their hope, but press them upon people against their wishes, and they entirely forget the "meekness and fear." Such only do harm.
This great principle of the Saviour and his apostle should be remembered by all who engage in the distribution of tracts and papers.
A spirit boasting, or glorying over others, because our views of Scripture are more consistent than theirs, will always drive them away. We may use the truth as a club to show our great strength in the argument, but it will not bring men to God. And, as a general rule, unless there be a disposition to listen and consider the truth, and hear what is said, talk concerning it will not accomplish very much.
What we want is a spirit of meekness and Christian love, which, being real and genuine, and heart-felt, will manifest itself to the one listening, and show him that our motive is to do him good, not to gain a personal victory over him. When a person can be persuaded that is our real motive, it will have its influence.
We must not undertake to force religion or truth down people's throats. Were it possible to succeed in so doing, it would amount to nothing really in the sight of God. He wants the willing service alone. When we have that spirit of love spoken of above, it will give us the very disposition spoken of by our Saviour, at the head of this article. For the "wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without wrangling [margin] and without hypocrisy." It is a wisdom that comes from another source which makes men love contention and personal triumph, and leads men to crowd upon people that which they will not hear if they can help it. It is "earthly wisdom," which grows out of selfishness.
--G. I. Butler.
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THE THIRD DAY.
BRETHREN IN CHRIST:--I find in the `sixth chapter of Hosea` a reason why Christ was resurrected on the third day.
Hosea says, "Come and let us return unto the Lord for he hath torn and he will heal us, he hath smitten and he will bind us up; after two days, (two thousand year-days) will he (God) revive us, in the third day, (Millennial day) he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. `Hosea 6:1-2`.
Thus we see the two thousand of the Jew's cast off condition and the one thousand years of favor and resurrection, and it furnishes a reason why Christ arose on the third day.
The `3d verse` explains still further-- "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord; his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain; as the latter (or Spring) and former (or Fall) rain unto the earth." So we have Christ's first coming to Redeem the inheritance and prepare for his kingdom and call his saints. And His Second coming to claim his kingdom and restore lost man to his estate. How beautifully these prophecies blend together showing us that there is a meaning in all that Christ did and it seems glorious that God is willing to disclose some of these mysteries to us in this day. So may we walk as to win the "prize of the high calling" of God. Rejoice, brethren, rejoice!
W. E. PARSONS.
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THE MOSAIC ECONOMY.
"There never was a saner law than the Mosaic. It loved nature, could not bear to see the fields impoverished, and decreed that they should not be. It could not bear to see the human form mutilated, and declared only the unblemished beautiful in the sight of God. It did not love to harass or burden the dumb creation; the ox that trod out the corn was not to be muzzled. The young, tender tree was protected, and was not unduly taxed to yield abundance. The law was full of a great sense of the good of nature, a great sense of the glory of humanity, and of the large and lovely harmony without....There never was so careful a law about what we call sanitation. It cared for the cleanliness of the body. It feared infection, and separated those with infectious diseases from the great multitude, declaring them unclean. Its laws of ceremonial uncleanness had great health in them--a real human sanity. Then, though it knew slavery, as all the ancient world did, the slavery it knew was the gentlest, and most generous. Every man taken slave could in the sabbatic year, regain his freedom, go forth a free man. Its laws, too, of property, were noble laws. They made property sacred, did not allow its accumulation into a few hands, or into one, but secured its fair and equal distribution. Every Jubilee year the land was redistributed: the old families that had lost it, might again possess their inheritance. If by misfortune or by crime a man had lost his estate, he had a chance given to redeem himself and his place in the community, to go back into his old and better order. Capital, also, was carefully guarded, that it should not become an immense and oppressive power in the hands of the rich, to make them extortionate over the poor. Jewish law is the justest law to the poor yet framed, to the man that toiled, to the man prepared honestly by sweat and labor to earn his bread. Do it justice. I ask for it from you only justice, but justice I do ask; and that is but a just demand."--Sel.
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Submission is a strong word, consecration still stronger. Surrender is cessation of resistance, consecration a transfer of all we are and have to Christ for active service. It covers person and property, talents and opportunities, and accepts of Christ as leader, manager, friend, and Saviour; present, active, and efficient in all the minutiae of life. There are degrees of consecration, and even entire consecration is progressive, for new interests, cares, burdens, capacities and opportunities arise and await disposal, and Christ is revealed in new relations, making new demands, offering new privileges; and these await trustful acceptance, so that ever and anon the proposition to devote all to Christ and receive all of Christ, claims fresh attention. Many commit spiritual interests to his care and worry on alone with temporal concerns; they trust him to save their souls, but hesitate to ask his aid in business; accept daily grace, but doubt respecting daily bread; rejoice in Christ as a Saviour, but fail to apprehend him as a brother, a companion, a present, constant friend. Consecration is not absolutely perfect until the fulness of our Lord is perceived and received, and the fulness of life is devoted to him, for every revelation of Christ calls for new devotion from us. The consecration must be as broad as the apprehension, covering the fulness of Christ and the fulness of man.--Sel.
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"CHRISTIAN CONSCIOUSNESS" VS. THE BIBLE.
In the Independent, Prof. Francis L. Patton sharply criticizes the statement by Dr. Harris, in the Andover Review, that "Christian consciousness" must be recognized as the final authority in matters of faith and practice. In the course of his article he says:--
"Common consciousness cannot be appealed to as the criterion of religious progress without danger of jeopardizing the Protestant principle that the Bible is the rule of faith. Dr. Harris admits that what he calls the "obsolescent theology" agrees as well with the word of God as it ever did, but affirms that it does not agree with Christian consciousness. Suppose, however, that the Bible should say one thing, and Christian consciousness should say something else; or suppose that Christian consciousness should undertake to supplement the Bible. What then? It is an old charge against those who have had an objective rule of faith, that they made the word of God of none effect through their traditions, and that they taught for doctrines the commandments of men. We know how the Roman Catholic Church followed the example of the scribes and Pharisees in this respect.
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Is there no danger that a party will arise in the Protestant churches, committing the same error? We think that there is great danger. And when, under the influence of a zeal that lacks both knowledge and discretion, the attempt is made to force upon the consciences of men the yoke of party fanaticism and popular clamor, there is little doubt but that an earnest, but at the same time ignorant, pietism will find great use for the phrase that is under discussion, and as a phrase, catchword, appealing to the sympathies of the unthinking, that Christian consciousness may become the 'organ' of what some will call religious progress."
There is little doubt that the state of things outlined by the Professor is imminent, as there is that "Christian consciousness" is superseding the Bible, as a test in matters of religion. We see this "Christian consciousness" manifested in that form of worship which mistakes feeling for faith, whose adherents know that they are right, because their hearts tell them so!--Signs.
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IN A MYSTERIOUS WAY.
"No," said the lawyer, "I shan't press your claim against that man; you can get some one else to take the case, or you can withdraw it, just as you please."
"There would probably be some money in it, but it would, as you know, come from the sale of the little house the man occupies and calls 'home'; but I don't want to meddle with the matter, anyhow."
"I suppose likely the old fellow begged hard to be let off?"
"Well--yes, he did."
"I didn't speak a word to him."
"Oh, he did all the talking, did he? What did you do?"
"I believe I shed a few tears; he didn't speak a word to me."
"Well, may I respectfully inquire whom he did address in your hearing?"
"Almighty God. But, not for my benefit, in the least. You see"--the lawyer crossed his right foot over his left knee, and began stroking his lower leg up and down, as if to help state his case concisely--"you see, I found the little house easily enough, and knocked on the outer door, which stood ajar, but nobody heard me; so I stepped into the little hall, and saw through the crack of another door just as cosey a sitting room as there ever was."
"There, on a bed, with her silver head way up high on the pillows, was an old lady. I was on the point of knocking, when she said, as clearly as could be, 'Come, father, now begin; I'm all ready' --and down on his knees by her side went an old, white-haired man, still older than his wife, I should judge; and I couldn't have knocked then. He began to pray; first he reminded God they were still his submissive children, mother and he, and no matter what he saw fit to bring upon them, they shouldn't rebel at his will; of course 'twas going to be very hard for them to go out homeless in their old age, specially with poor mother so sick and helpless, but still they'd seen sadder things than ever that would be. He reminded God, in the next place, how different it might all have been if only one of their boys had been spared them; then his voice kind of broke, and a thin white hand stole from under the coverlet and moved softly over his snowy hair; then he went on to repeat that nothing could be so sharp again as the parting with those three sons--unless mother and he should be separated. But at last he fell to comforting himself with the fact that the dear Lord knew it was through no fault of his own that mother and he were threatened with the loss of their dear little home, which meant beggary and the almshouse, a place they prayed to be delivered from entering if it could be consistent with God's will; and then he fell to quoting a multitude of promises concerning the safety of those who put their trust in the Lord; yes, I should say he begged hard; in fact, it was the most thrilling plea to which I ever listened; and at last he prayed for God's blessing on those who were about to demand justice"--the lawyer stroked his lower limb in silence for a moment or two, then continued, more slowly than ever:
"And--I--believe--I'd rather go to the poorhouse myself, to-night, than to stain my heart and hands with the blood of such a prosecution as that."
"You are afraid to defeat the old man's prayer?" queried the client.
"Bless your soul, man, you couldn't defeat it!" said the lawyer. "It doesn't admit of defeat! He left it all subject to the will of God; but he left no doubt as to his wishes in the matter; claimed that we were told to make known our desires unto God, but of all the pleading I ever heard, that beat all. You see, I was taught that kind of thing myself in my childhood, and why I was sent to hear that prayer, I'm sure I don't know; but I hand the case over."
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"I wish," said the client, twisting uneasily, "you hadn't told me about the old fellow's prayer, because I want the money the place would bring; but I was taught the Bible all straight enough when I was a youngster, and I'd hate to run counter to such a harangue as that you tell me about. I wish you hadn't heard a word of it; and another time I wouldn't listen to petitions not intended for my ears."
The lawyer smiled.
"My dear fellow," he said, "you're wrong again; it was intended for my ears, and yours too, and God Almighty intended it. My old mother used to sing about God's moving in a mysterious way, I remember."
"Well, my mother used to sing it too," said the claimant, as he twisted his claim-papers in his fingers. "You can call in the morning, if you like, and tell 'mother and him' the claim has been met."
"In a mysterious way," added the lawyer, smiling.--Sel.
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THE NEVER-FAILING SPRING.
In a place where we once had our home there was a spring, famous in all the country round from the fact that it was never known to fail, or even to vary to any perceptible degree, either in volume or temperature. It bubbled up at the base of a very high mountain, close by the country road side. And there it may be found this day, year in and year out, through summer's parching heat and winter's biting frost, always the same, offering up to every passer-by a precious draft of clear, cold water. Other springs dry up; the water in the brooks sink away in the thirsty sand, and even the river becomes a poor insignificant thing, crawling along in the middle of its wide channel, the very shadow of its former self, but this spring--the spring-- keeps up its steady flow in defiance of the sun's withering rays and the torrid atmosphere. It seems insensible to climatic changes, and to it all seasons are alike. And this ever-flowing spring is known far and wide in that country. Every school boy knows it well and loves it, too, and so do the laborers in the field. Many knees bow at its brink in the summer time, and hot, sunburnt, toilworn faces are often mirrored in its crystal waters. The people have great faith in this spring. They would as soon expect the mountain to be removed as not to find it giving forth its bounteous stream. And when all other sources fail them, they feel sure that they know of one that will never deny their thirst. And, as we have said, the spring's temperature never changes. It marks the same degree all the year round. For this reason its waters seem intensely cold in summer, and slightly lukewarm in the dead of winter. It does not conform itself to the state of the atmosphere. The reason of this we shall explain presently. But what an illustration we have here of constancy--this spring that never fails.
So many professing Christians are like those surface springs, that are but the mere drainings of the upper soil. They promise well in certain seasons; they gush and flow in copious streams when the air is full of rain and the ground is soaked with water. It is easy enough to be a spring then. But where are they when the dry time comes, when the sun is high and the ground is baked with heat? Men seek them, and alas! they are not to be found. When springs are needed most they disappear, and where their waters flowed is nothing found but arid sand. It is not so hard to keep up appearances of spiritual strength in times of revival, when "showers of blessings" fall around, but in times of drought, under the scorn of the world, under the burning heat of bitter opposition, of fiery trial, of persecution --how is it with the soul then? Does it remain in its place, giving out as before the gracious influences of a pure and meek and lowly spirit, or does it disappear and fade away in sin and worldliness?
Oh, how good a thing it is to be a constant Christian! A Christian through all times and seasons, in public and private, in all circumstances and conditions of life. Do you not know such souls-- sweet-tempered, gentle, gracious souls, always near to God, always with their faces shining with a light from heaven? You always know where to find them-- at the foot of the cross--ready to give you, a weary, thirsty seeker, a precious draught from the overflowing chalice of their own faith-filled, loving hearts. But the reason why the temperature of the spring is always the same is because its sources are deep. It has its origin far down below the surface of the earth among the very foundations of the mountain itself. It is not fed by the drainage of the surface, but by an ever-living rock-hewn reservoir down in the secret places of the hills. All its constancy and sweetness and purity is owing to the fact that its sources are deep. Herein we have the explanation of a mystery in spiritual things. The faith that is firm and changes not to suit the fashion of the times, the soul that is ever full of grace and truth, the character that is Christ-like, conforming not to the ways of the world, must have its sources deep--deep down in the bosom of the Rock. It is no wonder that many fail who profess faith in Christ, depending, as they do, upon transitory emotions upon shallow convictions and passing excitements. They cannot endure a spiritual drouth, because they have no depth. They have no real, vital union with the only One who is able to keep them from falling, and to present them "faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy."--N.Y. Observer.
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WORKS AND REPENTANCE.
WHAT are "works meet for repentance"? What are works answerable to amendment of life? "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind." "Put off ...the old man, which is corrupt, [and] put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man the truth....Let him that stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good. ...Let all bitterness and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you;...and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." `Eph. 4:22-32`. Here, among other things, it is said, "Let him that stole steal no more." But that is not all. He must give back that which he stole. "When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die, if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; if the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die." `Eze. 33:14,15`. "Then it shall be because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering. ...And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord, and it shall be forgiven him." `Lev. 6:4-7`. Such are works which show amendment of life. Such show that the heart has been touched, and wishes to stand right with God and man. Godly sorrow for the wrong, turning from the wrong, and then, as far as possible, making the wrong right--that is repentance.--Sel.