VOL. XX. APRIL 15, 1899. No. 8.
Views from the Watch Tower........................ 83
Testing of "Christendom".................... 83
Biblical Criticism among Methodists........... 84
"My Steps Had Well-Nigh
"I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life"............ 88
"He Shall Give You Another
Volunteers Wanted!................................ 93
The Memorial Widely Celebrated.................... 95
Will My Name Be Blotted Out?...................... 82
SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, "BIBLE HOUSE," 56-60 ARCH STREET, ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
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Those of the interested who, by reason of old age or accident, or other adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list constantly.
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WILL MY NAME BE BLOTTED OUT?
If any name, written in the Lamb's book of life, is blotted out, whose fault will it be? Not the Lord's, surely; for he is not only willing, but anxious, for us to continue in his fellowship.
Similarly, if your name be dropped from the lists of ZION'S WATCH TOWER, remember that it will not be of our intention or desire. Every provision has been made that all of the Lord's people who desire its helping hand along the narrow way to life may have it--for a dollar a year, if they are able to pay, or free, on request, if unable to pay.
Many of "the Lord's poor" deny themselves the visits of the TOWER for various reasons; some, because they "do not wish to go into debt." They overlook the fact that they are already in debt to the Lord, and that the WATCH TOWER is the Lord's, and is held as a trust or stewardship for him,--for his people.
Others "have a little proper pride," as they would say, and do not desire "charity." It seems to us that any pride which would lead us to starve ourselves spiritually would hardly be a little nor a proper pride, but a very improper pride which would be very offensive in the sight of our Lord. Possibly this is your test: possibly the Lord has reduced you to humble you, and, if not humbled by his disciplines, you will be rejected. Remember the Apostle's words, "God resisteth [is opposed to] the proud, but giveth grace [favor] unto the humble." Let us, then, humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, that we may have his grace more abundantly.--`James 4:6`; `1 Pet. 5:6`.
Others will say,--I am not so poor that I cannot afford to pay the small price, but just at present I cannot spare the money. Very well, send us a postal card, saying, Please continue my WATCH TOWER for 1899, and expect remittance later. This will be very agreeable to us. And, if later your prospects should become still less bright, and you write us to that effect, requesting that the debt be cancelled, we will do so most cheerfully. Any way, so that we do not lose from our list any who love the Lord and his present truth. In times of adversity you specially need spiritual helps, that your experiences may be profitable, and work out such blessings and graces as will prepare you for an inheritance with the saints in light.
Thus we make the way as clear as possible for all to come to the Lord's spiritual table. But we must insist that each one apply for himself, yearly--otherwise our list would be made up largely of persons who cared little for the truth, and persons removed to other localities, and of the dead.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
AS POINTED out in these columns as long ago as 1880, "Christendom," since 1878, is passing through the sifting and testing of the close or "harvest" time of the Gospel age, foretold by the apostles: a sifting which is to result in the fall of many in nominal Spiritual Israel. "A thousand shall fall at thy side, ten thousand at thy right hand,--but it shall not come nigh thee [the true saints, the body of Christ], only with thine eyes [enlightened by the spirit of the truth] shalt thou behold the reward of the unfaithful." --`Psa. 91:7,8`.
The Prophet describes the testings of this evil day, or day of falling. Its "pestilence" of infidelity he describes as operating secretly, hidden, as in the night darkness,--spreading spiritual sickness and death among the millions who outwardly confess, saying, Lord, Lord, while their hearts are far from him. Its "arrows" of "bitter words" (`Psa. 64:3`), slanders and misrepresentations of the faithful, he shows will be open as at "noonday;"--yet these "arrows" will not harm the faithful, for they "shall never fall" (`2 Pet. 1:10,11`), but, glancing off them, all others than the pure in heart will be caused to fall. The real enemy, as the Prophet shows, is the great Adversary, Satan, the "fowler," the ensnarer--his human agents being found amongst the deceived ones: and he prefers the most talented and influential he can obtain.
He is finding thousands of these amongst the professed ministers of Christ who, seeking honor one of another and not solely divine approval, are anxious to pose as "advanced thinkers," "higher critics," etc. These read, more correctly than do the masses, the trend of sentiment, the revolution of religious thought from faith in the ransom for sinners paid by the precious blood of Christ, to a theory of Evolution and self-development. They perceive that a large proportion of the "best educated" laymen as well as themselves already are Evolutionists and anti-ransomists: they are anxious to be considered leaders in thought among their flocks, but not anxious to alarm and drive off any of the "sheep," and especially are they thoughtful of those who have the long golden fleece.
Cases like that of Prof. Charles A. Briggs of the Presbyterian Church, who stated himself so plainly as to arouse the laity to demand his trial for "heresy," are exceptional and purely accidental--the results of miscalculation. Prof. Briggs, finding the Evolution and higher criticism ideas so popular amongst the theological students, miscalculated the general ripeness and readiness of Presbyterianism on this line. He supposed that he would be famous in a night--he knew correctly the sentiments of his own presbytery and the "upper classes" of Presbyterians with whom he came in contact: he did not realize that the Presbyterians of the "back-woods" were so unprepared to welcome him as a new Moses. Others more cautious, not only in Presbyterianism but in all denominations, waited to note the effect. The public did not applaud Prof. Briggs, and hence he was deserted, and in the interest of peace became a heretical "scape-goat," and was allowed to wander off unhonored into the fold of the Episcopal Church and into silence.
But the heresy which Prof. Briggs expressed too soon is growing, spreading everywhere, in all denominations: it is being "wisely," secretly, presented by ministers and Sunday-School teachers everywhere, and if we understand the Scriptures aright, it will not be
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long until all but the heart-consecrated children of God will be poisoned by it.
But when we say that nearly all will fall--"a thousand shall fall at thy side,"--we do not mean that they will all fall into open immorality, nor that they
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will abandon church organizations, nor that the fallen ones will even know that they have fallen. On the contrary, the fallen ones as usual will think that they are rising higher and higher--getting rid of error, etc. They will be thoroughly blind to the fact that with the errors and superstitions they are getting rid also of the truths and the faith which alone constituted them Christians in God's sight. This is the sense in which Babylon is falling, since 1878, and hence God's call, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."--`Rev. 18:4`.
BIBLICAL CRITICISM AMONG METHODISTS.
The public was surprised indeed, to read among the press dispatches of March 7th, published in the leading journals, under startling headlines--
"THE REV. S. P. CADMAN APPLAUDED, WHEN HE READS A PAPER HOLDING THAT THE GOOD BOOK CANNOT BE THE RULE OF FAITH. HE CALLS ATTENTION TO ITS DISCREPANCIES AND SAYS THE CHURCH WILL HAVE TO MAKE A NEW RULING ON INSPIRATION."
It seems that the Methodist ministers of New York and vicinity have of late been discussing at their Monday gatherings some of the Bible's "errors," as viewed by agnostics and "higher critics," --That Joshua commanded the sun to stand still. --That the Red Sea divided before the Israelites. --That Jonah was in the belly of a fish three days. --That Aaron's Rod turned into a serpent. --That Moses tapped a rock and waters gushed out. --That the earth swallowed up Achan and his companions. --That Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were in the furnace unharmed. --That God spake to Moses out of a burning bush. --That Daniel stayed unhurt in a den of lions.
On Monday, March 6th, Rev. Cadman read a paper affirming, "That the inerrancy and the infallibility of the Bible are no longer possible of belief among reasoning men."
About four hundred ministers were present, and on the rising of the speaker and the announcement of the topic the clerical audience expressed its sympathy with their brother in that he was willing to champion their views in so bold a statement of it, by hearty applause. The gentleman had not finished when the appointed time expired and "his auditors were so deeply interested in him that they readily voted that he finish. When he sat down the preachers loudly applauded the discourse," says the press report.
We quote from the published reports of the discourse which we have not seen denied in Methodist journals, altho a month has since elapsed:--
"This bold, portentous utterance--involving the most radical departure from accepted tenets of the Methodist Church since its very foundation--was made before the most representative body of Methodist clergy in America. It included the vast majority of the preachers of Greater New York. It is the first announcement of an impending controversy, which may shake the Methodist Church to its very foundation stones.
"The acceptance of Dr. Cadman's proposition, heard with respect and applause by the New York ministers, is comparable to the adoption of a new constitution for the United States. It places the Bible on the basis of historical works on other than divine subjects: it rejects the authenticity of all parts of Holy Scripture which are repugnant to human reason.
"UNDERMINING THE BASIS OF THEIR FAITH.
"As Mr. Cadman himself said yesterday, the Bible was accepted as the true source of authority and inspiration by Martin Luther when he established the Protestant Church. Luther made the Scripture the base of all faith. It is now proposed to abandon the teachings of the early fathers of the Protestant Church.
"The speaker referred to the Old Testament, half of whose pages, he said, were of unknown authorship. The New Testament likewise contained contradictions. The Bible, the church, the ministry, he said, were agencies. The true source of inspiration was neither a book, nor a church, nor a ministry, but the living Christ himself.
"The weekly meetings of the Methodist ministers take place in the Methodist Book Concern building, on Fifth avenue. They are held in secret. The congregations have not known anything concerning the discussion of this vital change in doctrine. This publication will be the first intimation they will have had that the faith in which they have been reared is threatened with an organic change that will make it no longer the faith of Wesley.
"It also goes without saying that the enunciation of this proposition will not tend to heal the differences between the Methodist Church North and the Methodist Church South, which were rent apart by the civil war, for the Southern Church has rejected time and time again kindred innovations.
"But Mr. Cadman insists that, whatever the church may decide on the question in the future, it will not destroy the belief in the chief and final source of Christian inspiration, a belief in Christ, the Son of God.
"In taking up his subject the preacher stated the proposition which he would prove:
"'That the inerrancy and the infallibility of the Bible are no longer possible of belief among reasoning men.'
"THE TWO CRITICISMS.
"The speaker referred to the great change which had taken place in the methods of Bible criticism within the last fifty years. There should no longer be any confusion between literary criticism and the criticism
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of inspiration. It had been said in former times by authorities of weight that the two criticisms conflicted. This was not true. They were not on the same plane. Inspiration appealed to the spiritual ear. Literary criticism was addressed to an ascertainment of facts from a human standpoint. Mr. Cadman illustrated his meaning by saying that it was one thing to examine, classify and discuss the mechanism of a great organ, and another to pass judgment upon the music which proceeded from it. No literary criticism could affect the divine music breathed into the soul of man by the life of Jesus Christ.
"The Bible, he said, was compiled much as is any other book. It was written from the records and witnesses of the time. It had been impossible to determine the authorship of much of the Old Testament. Half of its pages, said Mr. Cadman, were of unknown authorship. The same was in a measure true of the New Testament. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John differed in quoting words said to have been pronounced by Christ upon a given occasion. Parallel passages were not alike.
"Mr. Cadman referred to that much-discussed question of Christ's reference to the miracle of Jonah and the whale. Those who have taken the Old Testament in its entirety, believing all and every part of it, have based their theology in part upon Christ's reference to Jonah, when, in `Matthew 12:39,40`, he said:
"'But he answered and said unto them: An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given to it but the sign of the Prophet Jonas.
"'For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and nights in the heart of the earth.'*
"There had been, the preacher said, a great conflict upon this speech of Christ. It had been particularly a bone of contention, because as a matter of fact Christ did not remain in the earth three days and three nights, but two nights and a day. Mr. Cadman said that he had settled the matter in his own mind by saying that he was willing to suffer from the disease of suspended judgment so long as he knew that Christ did arise. It would always be impossible to reconcile the facts of Christ's burial with the facts of his alleged statement, and it would be forever useless to discuss whether he had ever said what St. Matthew attributed to him, or whether he had lain as St. Matthew quoted Christ as saying he would lie. But this should never deter Christian men from believing in the Christ and in his life.
"When Luther separated his followers from Papacy he had turned from priests and priestly interpretations of the Bible to the Book itself. He had placed the Bible before mankind as the source and authority for inspiration. Mr. Cadman said he regretted that these early fathers of Protestantism had not gone further and urged as the highest source of inspiration Christ himself.
"The speaker said that the trend of thought among the best minds in the Methodist Church during the last fifty years had been toward a better knowledge and a newer view of Christ himself rather than of the Bible. He said that there had been a vast increase in the number of the 'Lives of Christ' in the last decade: that the energy and force of Christ as the incarnation of God was becoming better understood every day. He regarded as inevitable a restatement and a rejudgment of the church upon the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible.
"The Bible itself gave authority for a belief that God was in the ocean, in the firmament, in the rocks. Science's contribution to the knowledge of mankind went hand in hand with a belief in God. By this statement he did not mean to agree with those philosophers who had used the word God as a peg on which to hang their vagaries: but nevertheless he believed in the
*See explanation in our issues of April 1, '97, and March 1, '98.
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demonstration of God in the seas, in the mountains, in the various forms of life on this planet.
"There were means of salvation outside of and beyond and before the Bible was written. That must be conceded by every one. The Bible was an agency, the church was an agency, the ministry was an agency.
"The church had dabbled too much in the distant streams of theology. It had examined the streams, but not the source, which was alone pure. The streams had been polluted by conflict and dissension.
"The ministry had taken up too much time in unraveling knots of theology to the neglect of God himself.
"The leading authorities of the church had discussed the questions involved in the parables of Christ. It had been urged that even if the events named in the illustrations the Lord used were not of actual fact, that did not destroy their value as moral lessons. So, also, it had been urged that if the story of Jonah and the whale had been an allegory like Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress,' it nevertheless had force and effect, for the Prophet Jonah without doubt stood on a very high spiritual ground.
"But whatever position the church took--whether it held that the Bible must be accepted, as it stands, as the revealed truth, as the Word of God, as compelling faith because it was the Word of God, or as a historical document, valuable, ineffably valuable, because of its real substance--the decision would never affect the faith of Christian men in the Holy Trinity-- in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost."
With more zeal than discretion the Rev. J. B. Gallaway of the Third Presbyterian Church of Paterson, N.J., put in an appearance among the Methodist ministers the following Monday, apparently to criticize Rev. Cadman's position, but he was soon identified and his voice drowned by applause for Rev. Cadman,
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and amid cries of "Put him out!" the gentleman was gently hustled out "in a decidedly ruffled condition."
When the press reports were published, the New York M.E. "divines" were astonished that their views should be considered extreme--Rev. Cadman no less than the others. They had been so united in their views that they were surprised that the reporter should think them strange. It was another case of honesty among preachers to an extent the public cannot yet appreciate. But the public of "Christendom" is following these leaders rapidly: if only the leaders have yet lost faith in the Bible and its doctrine of the ransom, the others are rapidly losing this--the saving "faith once delivered to the saints."--`Jude 3`.
Interviewed by a reporter, Bishop E. G. Andrews, who was present during the address, said, "I do not care to discuss the question." Bishop Stephen M. Merrill, who was not present, said, "I don't want to think of it. It will not amount to much anyway. I have nothing to say either of Cadman or his nonsense." Rev. Cadman himself said of the matter:--
"I was surprised when I saw the article in the Journal. I regard my paper as a conservative statement of the trend of modern Methodist theology. The questions I have discussed must be settled sooner or later. I have no objection, under the circumstances, to the publication of my views."
We are to understand, then, that, bold as these words may appear to some, they were not half the truth, but a "conservative" statement. And they represent the "trend [or tendency] of modern Methodism." This is just what we are emphasizing,--the movement is going on and on, in the same direction with increasing momentum, not only among Methodists, but among all classes of Christians who do not now receive the sealing in their foreheads.--`Rev. 7:3`.
* * *
When we remember how nearly our own feet came to slipping in this same manner thirty-one years ago, it gives us great sympathy for others. At that time, confused by the contrary doctrines of Christendom and the irreconcilable antagonism of many of its chief teachings (in re hell, etc.) to the simplest kind of justice and reason and love, the writer concluded, much against his will, that he must abandon the Bible as an inspired standard: he would regard its writers not as knaves, but as well-intentioned tho deceived men. He would give most credence to the New Testament writers, yet could not regard them as inspired or reliable, because they believed the Old Testament prophets to have been inspired and quoted their words as inspired. He reasoned, as others are doing to-day, that, if the New Testament writers had been inspired, they could not have been deceived in re the Old Testament writings; and that the inspiration of the apostles could not have been plenary or direct, but merely an inspiration in a secondary sense, as we sometimes use the word, when we say that music is inspiring, or that the truth is inspiring to all who receive it into honest hearts.
Exactly like Rev. Cadman, his mind centered upon Christ as the great revelation of God to men, and he would hold to Christ, even tho he felt that he must drop the Bible as a standard.
But what should he believe respecting Christ? was the next question. How could he determine which of the apostolic statements were true, and which were their "mistakes"? He soon saw that, if he considered himself able, qualified to select the wheat and reject the chaff of apostolic testimony, he would be obliged to consider himself greater than the apostles--more inspired than they. Of humble mind, he could not do this which many to-day have no hesitancy in doing. He looked again at the plain, unvarnished tale of the New Testament and noted that the apostles displayed no evidences of fanaticism, and that all their reasonings and deductions were eminently moderate and logical. He noted also their purity of life and of teachings, their unselfishness and self-sacrificing zeal, and concluded that these matters must be given weight; and that such cool, noble, zealous men should not be accused either of knavery or fanaticism, when they claimed special endowment with power and wisdom for their particular work.
Coming to the consideration of our Lord Jesus, he concluded that he was dependent upon these witnesses for all that he knew respecting him who "spake as never man spake," and that he could not consistently accept a part of their testimony as truthful and reject another part. Further reflection pointed out that our Lord himself, according to these honorable witnesses, quoted from the Old Testament in a manner which clearly testified his faith in the divine, plenary inspiration of the prophets and in the general correctness or truthfulness of its merely historical portions:--Jonah and the great fish; Noah and the flood; the destruction of Sodom and of "Lot's wife," etc.
The question then was between rejecting all or accepting all. Carefully and prayerfully he considered the matter and reached the conclusion that he had never yet examined the Scriptures purely on the merits of their own testimony. He had followed the usual custom of judging the Bible in the light of what the various creeds of Christendom say it teaches: and yet he was aware that these various creeds in many particulars directly antagonize each other. He resolved to thoroughly investigate the Bible, to see what its theory might be, interpreted by itself to a mind stripped of all reverence for human tradition, and willing, yea desirous
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to find in the Scriptures a divine revelation. He felt his need of a standard or test of truth; he felt that he dare not trust or lean to his own understanding --nor yet to the understanding of others, on questions so wholly beyond human knowledge and experience. He felt, moreover, that it is but reasonable that we should expect that God, having wise, just and loving plans and purposes respecting mankind, should make some revelation thereof, that would be reasonable and understandable to those in harmony with him and desirous of knowing and doing his will, however hidden and obscure from others.
The results of these investigations are well known to WATCH TOWER readers, and are set forth in the volumes of the MILLENNIAL DAWN series. We found that for centuries various sects and parties had split up the Bible doctrines amongst them, blending them with more or less of human speculation and error; and that the misplacement of the truth frequently made of it gross error. We found the important doctrine of justification by faith and not by works had been clearly enunciated by Luther and more recently by many Christians; that divine justice and power and wisdom were carefully guarded tho not clearly discerned by Presbyterians; that Methodists appreciated and extolled the love and sympathy of God; that Adventists held the precious doctrine of the Lord's return; that Baptists amongst other points held the doctrine of baptism symbolically correctly, even tho they had lost sight of the real baptism; that some Universalists had long held vaguely some thoughts respecting "restitution." And so, nearly all denominations gave evidence that their founders had been feeling after truth: but quite evidently the great Adversary had fought against them and had wrongly divided the Word of God which he could not wholly destroy.
Our work since has been to bring together these long scattered fragments of truth and present them to the Lord's people--not as new, not as our own, but as the Lord's. So far from desiring to make something new, we are most careful to avoid both in letter and spirit either taking from or adding to the Word of the Lord; for we are fully convinced that "the Word of God is sufficient," "that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."-- `2 Tim. 3:17`.
What blessings, what riches of grace, have come to us and to others of the household of faith through this bringing together of the jewels of divine truth so long scattered amongst various denominations and misset
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in tarnished human theories! What harmony, what beauty, what refreshment we now have in that which before was insipid, incongruous and distracting! How firm a foundation we now have for faith, hope and love! What a contrast to our former vague hopes, dim faith or credulity, and cold love--three-fourths fear!
But as we claim that what we present is not our own, not new, but "The Old Theology"--so old that it had been lost sight of for centuries--we must disclaim any credit even for the finding and rearrangement of the jewels of truth. "It is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes." The writer wholly disclaims superior ability or qualification for the reorganization of the truth in its present solidarity. As the time had come for the bringing together of the scattered thoughts of past centuries in the marvelous inventions of our day,--so the time had come for the bringing together of the fragmentary hopes and promises of God's Word scattered through Christendom. To deny that the Lord has simply "poured out" this harvest time blessing of "present truth" in his own due time and in his own way, would be as wrong as to claim it as of our own invention. "Poured out" exactly expresses the truth on this point too, for he neither "burned the midnight oil," nor racked his brain, nor otherwise forged the chain of truth with heavy sledge blows of human reason on the anvil of knowledge. On the contrary, it came gradually, silently, as comes the morning dawn: the only effort necessary was to keep awake and face in the right direction. And the greatest aid in so doing was the effort put forth to awaken others of the "household of faith" and point them to the light and in turn to urge upon them the necessity for serving also, if they would overcome the lethargic "spirit of the world," and be ready to go in to the marriage of the Lamb.
To deny that the "marvelous light" of present truth is of the Lord's providence as truly as was the light of the Jewish "harvest," and the lesser light of the period of "The Great Reformation," would be to deny that we are in the "harvest" of this age, in which the Lord specially promised his people just such refreshment --"meat in due season," "things new and old"--set forth afresh under his own supervision.
In view of the fact that we are in the testing time, when (in the Church) every man's faith and works are to be tested "so as by fire" (`1 Cor. 3:15`); in view of the fact that we are now in "the evil day" when the question is not so much, Who shall fall? but, "Who shall be able to stand?" (`Rev. 6:17`) what shall we conclude respecting the conditions on which one may "never fall," but have an abundant entrance to the Kingdom now near at hand?--`2 Pet. 1:11`.
Several conditions are laid down in the Scriptures.
(1) All of the "brethren" will be awakened in season to put on "the whole armor of God" as in contrast with the small pieces of the armor worn by various denominations in the past--"in the night." Whoever
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shall be left asleep and in darkness and thus not prepared to "stand" in this evil day, will thereby make it evident, whatever his professions, that God who readeth the heart did not find him worthy of the light of present truth. "Light is sown for the righteous, gladness for the upright in heart."--`Psa. 97:11`.
(2) All once awakened must be sufficiently appreciative of the "marvelous light" to rejoice greatly therein. They must also take heed, lest they become overcharged and spiritually drowsy by "the cares of this life," etc.; and must use energy in putting on the whole armor of God--not only the "helmet" to protect the intellect from the "fiery darts" of Evolution and agnosticism, but also the "breastplate" of righteousness to protect the heart, and the "shield" of faith for use on all occasions as necessity demands; and besides these they must have the "sword" of the truth, the Word of the Lord--grasping it by the handle and not by the blade, that they may defend themselves and others in this conflict with the powers of darkness, with which this age ends. Lastly they must prepare for the rough pathway by putting on the "sandals" of full consecration to the Lord, even unto death.-- `Eph. 6:11-17`.
(3) All such soldiers of the cross will be fiercely assaulted by the Adversary, and, to be able to stand, must "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints."
(4) One of the final and most searching tests of these "brethren," and the one under which probably the most of those once awakened and armed will fall, will be,--love for the brethren. Seemingly many will fail at this point and be therefore accounted unworthy of an abundant entrance to the Kingdom on this score. Whoever has the spirit of love according to the pattern (`Rom. 8:29`), is expected to agree with the Apostle Paul's statement,--"Because he laid down his life for us, we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren."--`1 John 3:14,16`; `1 Pet. 1:22`; `3:8`.
This, like all other tests, will be most pointed and conspicuous during this time of special privilege and special trial in the end of the age. (`Rev. 3:10`.) Let us consider how it will come that we may be the better prepared to meet it successfully. (a) It will recognize brotherhood neither along the narrow channels of sectarianism, nor on the unlimited plane of worldly disregard for the divine Word which declares for "the brotherhood of man." It will recognize children of the Evil One and children of God: and all of the latter will be esteemed and loved and served as "brethren" --all trusting in the precious blood of Christ for forgiveness, and fully consecrated to the Lord's service.
(b) If such are seen anywhere, in "Babylon" or out of her, asleep, fettered and blinded by false doctrines and superstitions, by a soldier of the cross who has gotten awake and put on the armor, it is his duty, as it should be his pleasure, to speed to his relief in the wisest and best and quickest manner. Self-ease, self-repute nor any other self-ish spirit must hinder him; the spirit of love must energize him to do all in his power--even to the laying down of his life--for the brethren. All who have this spirit must yearn to help those in danger of losing their hold upon the Lord after the manner of those now blindly leading them into unbelief.
(c) The same spirit of the "Captain" (`Heb. 2:10`) will lead him to so love not only the brethren that are still asleep, but if possible still more ready to lay down life for the brethren who, like himself, have gotten awake and are putting on the armor. He will sympathize with their trials by the way and assist them to put on the sandals and to adjust every piece of the armor. Should any be specially weak and liable to stumble he will not despise him, nor revile him, even as the elder brother, the Captain, would not do so. On the contrary, he will be the more watchful and helpful toward the weaker even tho he most enjoy himself in the company of the stronger. This is not the time for the strong to gather by themselves for mutual admiration and enjoyment;--that will come later on to all such who so love the brethren as to lay down their lives on their behalf. These will hear the Master say, "Well done, good and faithful servant: enter into the joys of thy Lord."
* * *
Only in the light of present truth is the Bible explainable to reason. In its light we see that certain books are inspired directly, others, historical, needed not inspiration, but merely supervision of the Lord, that the truths appropriate for each age might be so stated as to be understood by the consecrated class, the "brethren," under the guidance of the spirit in due time.
Only from the inside can the great plan of God be seen and appreciated, and only the "brethren" are admitted to this inside view. "If any man will do his [the Father's] will, he shall know of the doctrine."-- `John 7:17`.
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"I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE."
--APRIL 23--`JOHN 14:1-14`.--
AFTER washing the disciples' feet, and after the sop had been given to Judas, and he had gone out; and after telling the disciples that they all would be offended that night because of him, and answering Peter that he would deny him thrice before the cock crew, we may well suppose that the hearts of the eleven were heavy, disturbed, troubled with fearful forebodings. Had they indeed been deluded, or had they misunderstood the Master when he told them that he was the Messiah, the heir of the Kingdom, and that they should sit with him in his throne? How could they interpret his language, seeing that only five days before he had received the hosannas of the multitude as the Son of David, the King of Israel, when riding on the ass? What could it mean that the Master was now "exceeding sorrowful" and spoke of betrayal, and of their dispersion and of his own death?
It was in answer to these their troubled thoughts
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that our Lord spoke to them the beautiful words of comfort and consolation recorded in the `14th`, `15th`, `16th` and `17th chapters of John`'s Gospel, beginning-- "Let not your hearts be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me."
The apostles were already consecrated to God as his servants, before they came in contact with Jesus; they already believed in God, trusted in him, were Israelites indeed without guile. This is testified to further by our Lord's prayer, in which he says, "Thine they were, and thou gavest them me." The trouble in their hearts was not in respect to the foundations of their
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hopes, for these were all established. They not only knew and trusted God, but knew and trusted also the promises of God respecting the Kingdom and the blessing that should come to all the families of the earth through it. The whole question before their minds was respecting Jesus:--Was he indeed the Messiah, or had they built some false expectations upon his wonderful words and deeds? How should they understand it if now, after three and a half years of ministry he should die at the hands of his enemies, instead of establishing his Kingdom and subduing all things to himself, as they had expected? He had said that he was going away, and that whither he went they could not come. How could they understand these matters, and harmonize them?
They had not yet learned the meaning of the words which early in his ministry our Lord had addressed to Nicodemus--"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God;"--"Except a man be born of water and of spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God." (`John 3:3,5`.) But these were spiritual truths, and could not be appreciated until Pentecost would bring them the anointing of the holy spirit, and permit them to "comprehend with all saints the lengths and breadths and heights and depths" of the divine plan. But they did need some comfort, and the Master proceeded to give them the best and the strongest spiritual food, instruction, that they were able to receive. He had many things to tell them, but they could not bear them then, could not understand them, until the anointing of the holy spirit would prepare their hearts.
Our Lord began by reviving in them their faith in the Father and in his plan, saying, Ye believe in God, --believe also in me: recognize the fact that all of the Father's plan will be accomplished, and inasmuch as you have seen my loyalty to the Father in word and in deed, and inasmuch as you have seen the Father's power unto good works manifested in me, let faith's anchor hold; continue to trust me, continue to have confidence, and you shall have a blessing; wait for the development of the divine plan, and it will more than satisfy your highest expectations. You are perplexed because I said that I am going away--going to the Father, but let me explain to you that my going is in your interest: I go to prepare a place for you in my Father's house of many apartments; and as surely as I do this I will come again and receive you unto myself, that we may henceforth be together forever.
Thus, in a few words, the Master declared the work of the Gospel age, pointing to his second advent and the glorification of the Church at the end of the age. He did not here stop to give them detailed explanations of the trials of faith and of patience through which they must pass; this he had done on other occasions, warning and cautioning them (`Matt. 24`); now their hearts were troubled, and he would merely console them with the assurance that his going away was necessary, that his second coming would be certain, and that the gathering of all to everlasting fellowship with him in the mansions prepared was assured.
The Father's House is really the Universe, and figuratively speaking heaven is his throne, the earth his footstool. Divine providence has made abundant arrangement for the everlasting blessedness of all the sons of God. In the divine arrangement a provision had been made for man when in harmony with God, before the fall, but by reason of sin all of man's rights to a place in the everlasting abode of the just had been forfeited, and at the time of our dear Redeemer's discourse he was in the world for the very purpose of redeeming man and all his forfeited rights and possessions. (`Luke 19:10`; `Eph. 1:14`.) The purchase had not yet been completed--our Lord intended to finish the arrangements therefor within a few hours at Calvary. But this would cost the sacrifice of himself--the full surrender of the man Christ Jesus as a man, and he could be with them no longer as a man. The hope was that by his obedience to the divine will he should not only redeem Adam and his race by the sacrifice of himself, the man Christ Jesus, but that he would be raised from death to a new nature on a higher plane--the divine nature. Thus it was necessary that he should go away from them as the man Christ Jesus, and that they should see him no more as the man, but that in due time, at his second coming, they also should be "changed" from human conditions to spirit conditions, and "be like him and see him as he is."--`1 John 3:2`.
It was necessary, also, that, after laying down his life, he should ascend to the Father and present his sacrifice as on man's behalf--as man's ransom--and this he did: the Pentecostal blessing was the divine attestation that the sacrifice for sins was accepted of the Father on man's behalf, and that hence the resulting blessing came forth upon all who accepted Jesus as their Redeemer.
The interim between our Lord's death and his
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second advent is not long from any standpoint of faith. (1) It is not long from God's standpoint, for, as the Apostle Peter declares, "A thousand years are as one day" with the Lord. (`2 Pet. 3:8`.) (2) It is not long from the standpoint of true believers, for to none of them is the average of life and waiting above fifty years. We are not to take the longest and most incongruous view of this period--not to feel as tho we had been living for eighteen hundred years in waiting expectancy: "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof," and sufficient to each individual is his own share in the trials, polishing and preparations for the coming of the Bridegroom to receive him unto himself. While it is an affair of the Church as a whole in one sense of the word, it is an individual affair in the most important sense of the word to each of the Lord's followers.
"And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." For three years our Lord had been making himself known to his disciples, and also making them acquainted with the Father's character; and hence, when he now informed them that he was going home to the Father, they were to feel that they knew the Father better than ever, and could better than ever appreciate such a home of righteousness and true happiness as he would provide and maintain. Moreover, their experience with the Lord, and under his instructions and leading, had made them acquainted with the way to God, even tho they did not recognize it as such. Hence our Lord's declaration, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life--no man cometh to the Father but by me."
Our Lord was the "Way" in that only through his sacrifice, the "ransom," imputing his merit to sinners, could they be made acceptable to the Father or be received back again into fellowship with him. He was the "Truth" in the sense that only through his words, his instructions, his guidance, could there be any hope of coming into harmony with the spirit of God, the spirit of truth. He was the "Life" in that all the race was dead, under divine sentence--had forfeited the rights of life--and none could come again into life conditions except through him--through the life which he gave for ours. Thus he is our Ransom, or Way; our Teacher or Instructor in righteousness, in the truth, and our Life-giver;--"Neither is their salvation in any other." "No man cometh unto the Father but by me" --no man need hope for any place in any of the mansions of the Father's house by any other way, by any other truth, by any other life.--`Acts 4:12`; `John 14:6`.
And so also Christ will be the Way, the Truth and the Life to the world of mankind in the Millennial age. And as the Lord, by his sacrifice and offering, opened for the Gospel Church, his bride, an abode in the heavenly division of God's mansion, or house, so by the same sacrifice he redeemed and will restore and give to mankind (to as many as obey him--`Acts 3:23`) a home in the earthly divisions of the Father's house, which will then again become a Paradise of God.
Much as the apostles esteemed the Master, it was difficult for them to grasp the thought of his perfection --that he was the very image of God in flesh. (`1 Tim. 3:16`.) They had heard him tell, and indeed knew also from the Law, that "God is a spirit"--not flesh, and hence not visible. They had heard him declare previously, also, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son,...he hath revealed him." (`John 1:18`.) But they had never grasped the thought that in seeing Jesus they saw the most that was possible to be seen of the divine character--its likeness, its perfect image in flesh. It was therefore necessary that the Master should call their attention to this fact, saying, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." He did not mean them to understand that he was the Father, for this he had distinctly disclaimed repeatedly, telling them that the Father was greater, and that the works which he did were done by the Father's power. (`John 14:28,10`.) Nor did he mean them to understand that in seeing him they had seen an invisible being, as God is invisible. He did mean them to understand that in seeing his character, his motives, his love, they had seen a true expression that most faithfully represented the Father in all these particulars.
He would have them understand the unity subsisting between the Father and himself, his will was buried into the Father's will, he would have no other; "Not my will, but thine, be done." He would have them understand that the Father, by his power, by his spirit, dwelt in him also, so that his words and works fully and completely represented the Father. He declared to them that the works which they had witnessed during his ministry fully attested this power of the Highest resting upon him and operating through him. And this seems to have fully satisfied the apostles, and to have brought rest to their hearts.
As a further explanation of the necessity for his going to the Father, our Lord declares that as a result of his going his followers should do greater works than he had done. It may perhaps be proper to think that some of these "greater works" will occur after the
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Kingdom has been established--the great work of awakening the world of mankind from the sleep of death and restoring the willing and obedient to the full perfection of human life. That, truly, will be a greater work than our Lord Jesus accomplished at his first advent, for then his greatest work was the awakening of the sleeping ones without bringing them to the full perfection of human nature.
But in our opinion this is not the only sense in which the Lord's followers are to understand that their
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works shall be greater than those of the Master. The Lord's works were on a fleshly plane as a matter of necessity. The holy spirit had not yet come--could not come until after he had given the ransom price and had presented it to the Father, and it had been accepted. Consequently, those to whom he ministered (even his disciples, not being begotten of the spirit) could not be instructed from that standpoint. Their ears were heavy as respected earthly things, but in regard to heavenly things they could understand nothing; for, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." It is since Pentecost that "God hath revealed them [spiritual things] unto us by his spirit," which "searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."--`1 Cor. 2:10,14`; `John 3:12`.
In the midst of the house of servants, not yet begotten of the spirit--not yet granted the privilege of sonship (`John 1:12`), our Lord could do and teach on no higher plane than the earthly, except as he "spoke unto the people in parables and dark sayings," which in due time the Church would understand, under the leading of the holy spirit. It was in consequence of this that our Lord's miracles were all physical, and his plain understandable teachings were all on a plane appreciable by the natural man.
But when the holy spirit was come, after Pentecost, the Lord's people, in his name, and as his representatives, began to do greater, more wonderful works than those which he himself had performed. Did the Lord open the eyes of the blind? His followers were privileged to open the eyes of men's understandings. Did the Lord heal the physically sick? His disciples were permitted to heal the spiritually diseased. Did the Lord cure physical leprosy? It was the privilege of his followers to heal spiritual leprosy, sin. Did our Lord revive the dead? It was the privilege of his followers to preach a Gospel by which many "passed from death unto life" in a much higher sense. And these privileges of these still greater works are yet with the Lord's people. Blessed are those who appreciate their great privileges, and are about the Father's business with energy, with zeal. But those who, having received a talent of the Lord, bury it in the earth--in business, in pleasure, in society--cannot expect to be received of the Master at his second coming, nor to hear him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord."
As indicating how fully he would still continue to be the active agent of the Father in all things relating to the Church, our Lord assures us that such things as we ask of the Father he (Jesus) will do for us, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. The Father hath committed all things into the hands of the Son; nevertheless, in everything the Son acknowledges the Father and gives glory to his name.
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"HE SHALL GIVE YOU ANOTHER COMFORTER."
--APRIL 30.--`JOHN 14:15-27`.--
CONTINUING his discourse to his troubled disciples at the time of his instituting the Memorial of his own death, our Lord not only promised to come again and receive them to himself in due time, but additionally he promised the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, during the interim of his absence. Since he was about to lay down the human nature he could no longer be with them as the man Christ Jesus--in his resurrection he would become again a spirit being like unto the Father, and could no more be seen by his disciples than the Father could be seen by them, until the time would come when the entire Church, complete, would be "changed," made "like him" (and like the Father) and see him, and be with him, and share his glory. His resurrection "change" made necessary either the leaving of his disciples alone, without any help or aid during the Gospel age, or else that help be granted them in some other manner. The few occasions on which our Lord appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, for a few moments each, were miraculous manifestations, simply for the purpose of assuring them that he was no longer dead, and that having risen from the dead he was no longer controlled by human conditions. Hence, as a part of the lesson, the flesh bodies in which he manifested himself appeared miraculously and disappeared likewise--he came and went as the wind.--`John 3:8`; `Luke 24:26,31`; `Acts 1:3,4`.
The holy spirit would be another Comforter, but the comfort would be of the same kind. Indeed, our word "comfort" does not properly represent the thought of the text, which rather is, to strengthen, to sustain: the holy spirit would not be merely a consoler of woes, a soother of fears, in the sense of our word comfort, but it would quicken their understandings, strengthen their zeal, and energize them for doing and enduring such things as divine providence might permit to come upon them for their correction in righteousness, and in order to make them "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light."
The holy spirit or holy influence that should come to the Church and abide with it through the age, to supervise and direct in the interest of the faithful, was to be a representative of both the Father and the Son. Indeed, the thought that the holy spirit is the representative
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of the Lord Jesus with the Church is so strongly put that sometimes the Lord himself and his spirit or influence are spoken of interchangeably; as for instance, when he said to them, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age." (`Matt. 28:20`.) And again, "I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you [through the holy spirit]." And again, "In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I [through the holy spirit] in you, ...and I will manifest myself to him [through the holy spirit]....And we [the Father and the Son] will come unto him, and make our abode with him [through the holy spirit]."--`Vss. 18,20,23`.
Thus it is that those who receive the holy spirit, the spirit of the truth, the spirit of love, the spirit of the Father, the spirit of Christ, are enabled to see Jesus, and have a new life begun in them. (`Vs. 19`.) They see with the eyes of their understanding, and do not
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walk in darkness. They hear the voice of the Lord, saying, "This is the way; walk ye in it." They taste the good Word of God, and realize that he is very gracious. They feel the love of God shed abroad in their hearts, producing in them love for the brethren and all the good fruits of the spirit--meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love.--`Isa. 30:21`; `1 Pet. 2:3`; `Rom. 5:5`; `Col. 3:12,13`.
These experiences, however, are promised conditionally --they are not promised to those who have never heard of the grace of God, but to those who have heard, to "as many as the Lord our God shall call," who, hearing his commandments, are moved by responsive love to do them. Such have the Father's love, such have the love of the Son, and such shall have the fellowship both of the Father and the Son through the medium or channel of the holy spirit. This is declared in the `15th and 16th verses`, and again in the `21st, 23d and 24th`. Not only are faith and obedience of the heart necessary, before any can come into the spirit-begotten condition, but a continuance and growth in faith and in obedience are necessary in order to a continuance and growth in the spirit of holiness, or the holy spirit, the spirit of fellowship with the Father and with the Son.
It is one thing to have a begetting of the spirit, and quite another matter to attain to that condition urged by the Apostle, saying, "Be ye filled with the spirit." (`Eph. 5:18`.) The measure of our filling will correspond with the measure of our emptying of the spirit of selfwill, and filling with the spirit of faith and obedience. And altho the obedience cannot do otherwise than manifest itself in the daily life, nevertheless it is the obedience of the intention, of the will, of the heart, that the Lord regards in his consecrated people, and not merely the control of the earthen vessel. Hence, some whose hearts are thoroughly loyal to the Lord may be pleasing to him, while not the most pleasing to some of those with whom they come in contact; while others, "highly esteemed amongst men" because of outward moralities, may be an "abomination" in the sight of God, because of coldness or dishonesty of heart. (`Luke 16:15`.) Nevertheless, he that hath the new hope in him, and the new spirit, will seek to purify himself, not only in his thoughts, but also in his words and deeds and all his affairs, inward and outward.-- `1 John 3:3`.
It should not be overlooked that, altho the holy spirit, like all other favors, is of the Father, it, like all others of his gifts, comes to us through the Son, and not by any direct relationship between the Father and us. As we saw in our previous lesson that our prayers addressed to the Father are to be answered by the Son, --"Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son: If ye shall ask anything in my name I will do it;"--so we see in this lesson that the gift of the holy spirit comes to us, not because of any direct relationship between the Father and us, but at the instance of our Lord Jesus. "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter"--at my request and my account the Father will do this for you. (`Vs. 16`.) The same thought is again expressed in `vs. 26`, "The holy spirit whom the Father will send in my name."
The lesson to us here is, that our only standing before the Father as yet is a reckoned one--in Christ, as members of his body,--our Lord Jesus represents the Father to us and represents us to the Father. The comfort and strength of the holy spirit imparted to us is the Father's, the spirit of truth, all of which emanates from the Father: it reaches us not directly, but only through our Lord and Head, Jesus. In a word, we have no standing whatever with the Father, and will not have any, until by his grace, through our Lord Jesus, we shall have been "made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light," and by the "change" of the first resurrection shall be perfected in his likeness, which is the divine likeness: then and thereafter, being actually perfect, and not merely reckonedly perfect, we may have an individual standing with the Father, but not before.
Hence it is that if any one lose his relationship to Christ through the loss of his faith in the precious blood, or through the loss of the holy spirit, through wilful sin, such an one falls out of the protection, the care, the covering of Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant,--and falls into the hands of the living God, --which means a judgment according to facts and works; and to all imperfect creatures this means death. (`Heb. 10:31`.) Hence also the exhortation of the Scriptures, that we abide in him, that we remain under
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the blood of sprinkling, that we abide in his love.-- `John 15:4,6,10`; `1 John 2:24-29`.
Our Lord pointedly declares that he who does not seek to please him by conforming to his instructions, thereby manifests that he does not love him. (`Vss. 23,24`.) Surely there can be no better test of love than devotion, and no better test of devotion than obedience. Our enlightened consciences render hearty assent to the Master's words, and with the Apostle we exclaim, "The love of Christ constraineth us, for we thus judge that, if one died for all, then all were dead, and that he died for all, that they who live [justified and begotten to newness of life] should henceforth not live unto themselves, but unto him who died for us, and rose again." --`2 Cor. 5:14,15`.
The Master pointed out to us distinctly that in keeping his sayings we are not merely pleasing and obeying him, but that he is in all this matter the mouthpiece of Jehovah, the Father, and consequently that in pleasing and obeying him we are pleasing and obeying the Father. This much he could tell them while still with them, but he had many things that he desired to make known to them, and that were necessary for them to know, but that they could not receive as yet, because the holy spirit had not yet come upon them, and could not until after the ransom sacrifice had been made at Calvary and offered in the Holy of Holies, after he ascended up on high, there to appear in the presence of God for us.--`John 7:39`; `Heb. 9:24`.
Our Lord's assurance is that this Comforter or strengthener, the holy spirit of the Father, sent on account of and at the instance of Jesus our Redeemer, Mediator and Head, will be our instructor--using various instrumentalities for bringing the instruction to us --the Word of truth, the writings of the apostles, and the various helps and agencies which the Lord, through the holy spirit, has and shall from time to time, as needed, provide to his flock.
How beautiful, how consoling to their troubled hearts, and how refreshing to ours, is the legacy of love and peace left to us by our dear Redeemer, as expressed in the `27th verse`! "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." This peace and joy which surpasseth human understanding, was not given to the world, nor is it given to the nominal Christian professor, nor to the formalist and ritualist, however zealous they may be. It is intended for and can be had only by those who receive riches of grace through the holy spirit--those who by obedience to the truth and its spirit grow up into Christ their living Head in all things. Such have peace, deep and abiding, and ever increasing proportionately as they come to comprehend with all saints through faith and obedience the riches of divine grace--the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the love of God.
This is not worldly peace, not the peace of indifference and carelessness, not the peace of sloth, not the peace of self-indulgence, not the peace of fatalism; but it is the peace of Christ--"my peace." Looking back we can see that the Master preserved his peace with God under all conditions. It is a peace which implicitly trusts to the divine wisdom, love, justice and power, a peace which remembers the gracious promise made to the Lord's faithful--that nothing shall be any means hurt his faithful, and that all things shall work together for good to them that love God. This peace can accept by faith whatever divine providence permits, and can look through its tears with joyful expectancy for the ultimate blessings which the Master has promised, and of which the present peace and joy are merely foretastes.
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"We ought also to lay down our lives
for the brethren."--`1 John 3:16`.
VOLUNTEERS FOR HOME DUTY,--male and female, are called for: those who can give about two hours every Sunday, and who are willing to give these in the Lord's service and as part of their "living sacrifice" (`Rom. 12:1`)--together with the best they have of influence, and good personal appearance. The service is such as any person in health can render: it is an unusual but dignified and very successful preaching of the truth, which we will explain hereinafter.
The necessity for this service is that "brethren" are in danger; and love of the brethren and the Elder Brother's approval are the incentives to enlistment. All, whose eyes of understanding are open, realize in harmony with the View of this issue that the leaders in religious thought have already lost their anchorage --their faith in the precious blood of Christ as the ransom price; and that those under their influence are tending rapidly in that same direction under the doctrinal winds of Evolution and higher criticism. They do not cry for help, because they do not realize their situation. We must not wait our sacrificing until they
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request it; even as our Lord did not wait for sinners to call him to sacrifice: he gave himself for us, and thus should we voluntarily "lay down our lives for the brethren."
There are some faithful brethren enlisted in the foreign service, who as colporteurs and pilgrims go from city to city. The Lord is blessing these and sending more such laborers into his vineyard; but through love of the brethren still in Babylon he is stirring us up to arrange a plan of work in which many more can engage;--those who are anxious to serve as good soldiers of the cross, but who cannot leave home and family responsibilities, and whose week-day employment
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leaves little time for special service of the King of kings and the exercise of their Ambassadorship. (`2 Cor. 5:20`.) We will explain the plan proposed-- indeed already tried with excellent success in Allegheny and Pittsburg.
We propose publishing the booklet, "The Bible vs. Evolution," in large quantities (indeed, have already contracted for over 300,000 copies) for free circulation under restricted conditions, as follows: These neat, tastefully bound booklets which we sell at five cents each or twenty-five cents per dozen for general use, will be supplied free to those who will agree to distribute them to church-goers on Sunday mornings and evenings--one church at a time. The preferable plan of operations is for the friends who will so engage in each city or village to lay out a program which will insure that no congregation be omitted and that none be served twice. All large congregations require at least two or three for proper rapid service as they come out. And generally the effect is better if the distributors locate half a block away from the church building in each direction in which the people go--or according to circumstances.
Unusual--for God's servants to follow the example of the Lord and the apostles and go after the lost sheep? Yes, rather unusual--few are ready to lay down anything for the brethren, tho many are willing to toil day and night for wealth or fame or some other selfish consideration. The majority of those who attempt to feed the flock even on unclean provender, and to mislead then, require goodly clippings of their golden fleece for so doing. Hence, some may think of these Volunteers as "fools" or "crazy" for giving books away free. The black-sheep and the "goats" may do some butting and bah-ing, but return them good for evil--kind looks for scowls, kind words for bitter ones.
If there be any of the Lord's true sheep among them, these will take knowledge of you that your methods resemble those of Jesus, and if your manner corresponds, they will know that you have learned of him. And these are the only ones you really need expect to help anyway. And the more genteel your appearance and graceful and loving your manner, the more will your printed testimony count with your auditors.
The minister inside the chapel has entertained the congregation for half an hour and received from ten to fifty dollars for his services, and his congregation will soon forget most of what he said. You on the outside deliver to each a printed sermon an hour and a half long, which can be thought over carefully and repeatedly, and which under divine blessing may do some more good than all the sermons they ever heard, --as many testify.
You might not be able to get the attention of even one congregation in your city, even if you had superior ability: but by this ministry you can reach every congregation. Do you know any better investment of two hours every Sunday, in the interest of the "brethren" yet in darkness? Do you know any work that would probably glorify the Lord more or bring you more of his love and blessing? If you do, you should be actively using that better plan and should be wonderfully blessed in the service.
All Volunteers in each city should come together at once and lay out the work of their city methodically. Then select one of your number as scribe on this business to write to us stating the number of Volunteers, the number of churches in your city and your estimate of the adult attendance, and also the number of juniors. For the latter we would furnish tracts, to save the more expensive booklets. Letters on this subject should be headed "Volunteers" and be on a separate sheet of letter paper from your business orders and from your letters to the Editor,--tho all may be enclosed in same envelope. Care over the Volunteer work will be in the hands of an office assistant, tho under the Editor's supervision.
Even our smallest services are sure to be blessed and owned by our loving Lord who says,--"He that reapeth receiveth wages and gathereth fruit unto eternal life."--`John 4:36`.
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THE MEMORIAL WIDELY CELEBRATED.
REPORTS already received indicate that the Memorial Supper was more generally celebrated than ever before--in modern times--probably one-third more than last year. We are glad of this: it generally indicates good spiritual condition; for those who intelligently and conscientiously memorialize the shed blood of the New Covenant and our Lord's body broken for us are not the ones to fall into the sin of denying that the Lord bought them. (`2 Pet. 2:1`.) And in turn, it is those who most heartily realize that they were bought with the precious blood who are most constrained by the love thus manifested to resist sin and additionally to consecrate themselves to be "broken" also and to lay down their lives for the brethren.
We have received up to the present 339 reports of meetings, representing 2501 participants (quite a few of these neglected mentioning the numbers participating). We will not attempt a full tabulation of the various reports received,--many of which were from solitary ones and little groups of twos or threes. We will merely give numbers of some of the principal meeting thus far reported, from various States, and a few extracts from the letters reporting same:--
Massachusetts.--Boston, 71; Springfield, 11.
Rhode Island.--Woonsocket, 8--all French; service in French.
New York.--Binghamton, 11 (and in vicinity, 8); Ballston Spa, 5; Buffalo, 21; Newburgh, 13; Olean, 7; Schenectady, 8; Saugerties, 6; Cohoes, 15; Mamaroneck, 7. New Jersey.--Jersey City, 7.
Pennsylvania.--Philadelphia, 24; Altoona, 30; Scranton, 21; Butler, 13; Rockland, 9; Tyrone, 9; Washington, 12; Easton, 7; Laughlintown, 6; Oil City, 7; Wheeler, 9; Jefferson, 7; Allentown and Bethlehem, 8; Allegheny, 250.
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Delaware.--Wilmington, 7; Washington, D.C.--12.
Maryland.--Cumberland, 9; Baltimore, 17; Oakland, 14.
Virginia.--Reedy, 12; Manchester, 11; Pleasant Grove, 10; Lynchburg, 6; Portsmouth, 7.
West Virginia.--Mt. Lookout, 25; Wheeling, 14; McMechin, 10.
Ohio.--Felicity, 7; Newark, 7; Cincinnati, 24; Toledo, 40; Cleveland, 25; Columbus, 30; Dayton, 14; Mansfield, 7; Tiffin, 12; Youngstown, 28; Canton, 17; Oxford, 7; Barnhill, New Philadelphia and Dennison (one meeting), 25.
Indiana.--Oriole, 7; Indianapolis, 27; Boonville, 7; Fort Wayne, 15.
Illinois.--Havana, 6; Hegewisch, 11; Belleville, 7; Decatur, 11; Kewanee, 6; Atlanta, 10; Chicago (North Side), 40; Rockford, 6; Martinsville, 7; Elgin, 19.
Michigan.--Saginaw, 12; Detroit, 8; Wheeler, 7; Kalamazoo, 10; Muskegon, 13; Adrian, 6; Ypsilanti, 11.
Wisconsin.--Waukesha, 6; Milwaukee, 9.
Minnesota.--Minneapolis, 15; Northfield, 7.
Iowa.--Red Oak, 13; Tingley, 9; New Albany, 11; Council Bluffs, 23; Atlanta, 7; Indianola, 8; Lawler, 12.
Nebraska.--Bartlett, 7. N. Dakota.--DeLamere, 10. S. Dakota.--Verdon, 4; Huron, 14.
Kansas.--Wichita, 7; Williamsburgh, 6; Atwood, 6; Peabody, 7; Abilene, 10.
Missouri.--Kansas City, 8; St. Louis, 28.
Oklahoma.--Perkins, 7. Kentucky.--Grace, 12.
Tennessee.--Knoxville, 10; Tullahoma, 5.
N. Carolina.--Hayne, 24. Georgia.--Atlanta, 6.
Florida.--Jacksonville, 6. Alabama.--Randolph, 5.
Mississippi.--McCool, 6. Arkansas.--Darcy, 8.
Texas.--Dallas, 12; Tyler, 10; Corsicana, 6; Shady Grove, 6; Bass, 9; Vineyard, 8; Snow, 20; San Antonio, 20; Weatherford, 17.
California.--Norwalk and Downey, 7; Visalia, 12; Santa Barbara, 11; Alameda, 13; Oakdale, 5; Sacramento, 10; Ventura, 9; Los Angeles, 61; Los Gatos, 6; Stockton, 5.
Washington.--Montesano, 6; Seattle, 15; Farmer, 5.
Canada.--Goderich, 4; Meaford, 5; Dorchester, 5; Brantford, 22; Niagara Falls, 7; Hamilton, 10; Toronto, 21; London, 7; (Ontario). Truro, N.S., 8; Regina, N.W.T., 7; Rapid City, Man., 10; Brandon, Man., 8; Clive, Man., 4; Wharnock, B.C., 5.
Jamaica.--20. Switzerland.--Thun, 14.
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Great Britain.--Glasgow, 16; Stratford, 21; Sheffield, 4. Denmark.--Copenhagen, 15; Odder, 12.
As a feature of next year's report we propose that the numbers witnessing to full consecration by symbolic immersion in water, during the year beginning March 26th, be mentioned in connection with the number participating at the Memorial Supper.
All of the following reports will be read with keen interest and warm love and sympathy by the "brethren;" but we wish to add to your zest in the reading of the Jamaica letter, by explaining that our dear Brother Clarke is a full-blood Jamaica negro: and we doubt not that at least one-half of those who celebrated with him are negroes. We rejoice that our God is "no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted with him."-- `Acts 10:34,35`.
Brother Clarke was already a Christian when the harvest message reached him: he was serving the Lord to the best of his knowledge and ability and loved the Bible. The American Bible Society made him its agent, and he went hither and thither holding up the "Lamp." God in due time considered him worthy of the light of present truth and poured fresh oil into his heart, as well as into his Lamp, through MILLENNIAL DAWN. Brother Clarke rejoiced in the truth greatly, and enjoyed his work more than ever, because now he could not only take the people the Bible as God's jewel casket, but he could also take them the "keys," also provided by God, by which they could open God's Word and understand and appreciate its wonderful harmony and beauties as never before.
But the American Bible Society was not willing to have the "keys" go with the jewel casket and informed Brother Clarke that he must either drop the DAWN or leave their employ. He promptly decided that there were already more Bibles circulated than people could understand and that the highest service he could render to the great Giver of all good was to lay down his life in serving the brethren with this "marvelous light" which God has now granted all his people who have eyes to see it. God bless Brother Clarke! His loyalty of heart proves that he has the spirit of the truth.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--A number of us met together here yesterday evening to commemorate our Lord's death. We began our service at 7:30 P.M., and had about twenty present, including two or three Christian friends who participated with us.
Some few were hindered from coming out, and others did not care to participate, on the ground that it was only to be observed "till he come," not being able to see that the Apostle Paul evidently included in this expression the complete glorification of every member of the kingdom, and that "we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord" are to commemorate his death, the very basis of our hope, just as the saints did who preceded his coming, until we receive our change from the human to the spiritual-- to be with and like our Lord. Blessed hope!
But in all this we bear and forbear one another in love, hoping and praying that each may win the prize of joint-heirship with Christ our Lord.
Those of us who did participate experienced that blessedness expressed in the words--
"Sweet the moments, rich in blessing,
Which before the cross I spend." We meditated upon our Savior's great agony in the garden, as he prayed to the Father, when his sweat, as it were great drops of blood, fell down to the ground, and then we saw him before Pilate, being falsely accused of the Chief Priests and Elders, and he answered nothing, but "committed himself unto him that judgeth righteously," and then in our mind's eye we saw him as the soldiers took him into the Praetorium and put a purple robe upon him and a crown of thorns upon his head, and then bowed their knees before him, saying in mockery, "Hail, King of the Jews," and he endured it all patiently, "who, when he was reviled, reviled not again," and "who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame." We then read in `1 Pet. 4:1`, that, inasmuch as Christ
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has suffered for us in the flesh, we are to arm ourselves "likewise with the same mind,"--not that we might have to experience the same amount of suffering, but the thought was with "the same mind," "who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered he threatened not, neither was guile found in his mouth," and that thus possessing the "same mind," the "mind of Christ," to the end of our course, we would come off more than victors through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We then saw him as he hung upon the cross, surrounded by his enemies, wagging their heads and saying, "If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross and save thyself!" And lastly, we beheld him as his sufferings reached the highest point, when the Father's fellowship of spirit was withdrawn and he uttered those agonizing words, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" We could see that he was taking the sinner's place, that he was to die just as if he were the sinner, and that the sinner's place was a separation from God's fellowship and subsequently the surrendering up of life itself in death, and there in his death we appreciated our ransom--the equivalent for all who lost life through the disobedience of father Adam. Oh, how my heart goes out to him, when I think of what he has done for me--
"Nothing to settle? All has been paid.
Nothing to anger? Peace has been made.
Jesus alone is the sinner's resource;
Peace he has made by the blood of his cross."
With love from the brethren and myself, I am, Yours in our Redeemer, E. J. COWARD,--Texas.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I write you a few lines to acquaint you with the memorial services. I received your letter of the 25th and notified the sister promptly, but she did not get to any of the meetings. We had a lesson on Baptism at Dover Hall, our present place of meeting, at 2:30; at 5 we adjourned to the Brethren Church building, where three brethren and one sister symbolized their burial into Christ's death; then we returned to our hall, and after two hours of social intercourse we partook of the Lord's supper. I neglected to count those present, but I think 24 would be about correct. We had a most pleasant time, and we trust a profitable one, too.
Yours in Christ, SMITH WALKER,--Philadelphia.
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:--I am just writing you a hurried note to inform you of the blessed time we had at the Passover Supper last evening. You will doubtless rejoice with us in the increased number--we had twenty-one who participated in the Supper, this being more than double who joined us last year.
In the usual afternoon meeting we had 23 or 24, about as many as we could get into our little room. We read from the TOWER "A Look at the Crucified One," taking up many of the touching incidents at the supper and in the garden. All seemed deeply interested and touched; all seemed thoroughly imbued with the responsibility and the necessity of a more thorough consecration to the Master's service and love; harmony and earnestness prevailed and much depth of feeling, as also at the Memorial Supper. Our service in the evening commenced with a season of quiet meditation. We then read `Matt. 26:26-28` and sang Hymn 2; then followed a prayer of thanksgiving for the great privilege of being able in heart to comply with our Lord's command; then a few words upon the responsibility we were assuming and also an earnest exhortation for the fulfilling of our vows more heartily in the future than in the past. We then read `1 Cor. 10:15-17`, also `1 Cor. 11:23-33`, and sang Hymn 122. Then before breaking bread thanks were offered by Brother Raymond, and before participation in the cup thanks were offered by dear old Brother Moore, and the meeting closed by singing the first Hymn. Much time of quiet, silent contemplation and communion with our dear Lord was allowed, and we dispersed almost in silence. All seemed to realize the deep solemnity of the occasion, and there seemed but one heart and one mind in desiring to energize for the crown of immortality; every heart seemed full to overflowing in love to our blessed Redeemer. We did not forget you in our prayers.
Your brother in our Master's service,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I feel thankful to be able to inform you that I had the privilege of observing the Memorial Supper, alone as usual; I say alone, but not lonely, for I had a precious Friend with me who never leaves nor forsakes me. He is more than all the world to me. I have been cooperating in the proposals you made last year to ask the Lord's blessings in striving after the spirit of love, and reading every other Sunday `Matt. 5` and `1 Cor. 13`. I sincerely believe they have been a great help to me.
May God bless you, is the prayer of your sister in the faith. Pray for me. MARTHA WILSON,--I.T.
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I make haste to send you the report of our little Convention here: the manifestation of divine love, the rejoicing;--Oh! the blessing. I can scarcely write the things which transpired here on the 26th of March. Scoffers who came to scoff at us were speechless, and many were compelled to join in praising our dear Lord.
We began at 5 A.M., with prayer and praise, and at 8 o'clock we marched to the pool prepared by the Bros. Davidson a few chains from their home, where three hundred people looked on with amazement. A short address was given: believers' baptism was set forth to the best of our knowledge. Three brethren symbolized their consecration "unto death" with their Lord. At 11 o'clock we had public preaching, when the benefit of the "ransom" was set forth to the best of our ability. Eighty-five were present at this service. At 2 P.M. we had refreshment. Many scoffers were surprised at the manifestation of love among us,--so that they apologized for being satisfied with both temporal and spiritual provisions. Invitation was then given to all who are trusting in the merits of the "ransom," and fully consecrated, to partake with us in the "cup" of suffering. At 6:30, twenty of us drew around the Lord's table, with solemnity,--following the suggestions given us in the WATCH TOWER. The blessing received at this service can hardly be expressed by me, in writing. The brethren join in sending their love.
Yours, in the service of the truth,
H. P. CLARKE,--Jamaica, W.I.